to have Courage....In Family Life, In Spirituality, In Health, In Living Simply

I'm on a journey...... as we all are. Learning, remembering, re-discovering about health, spirituality, relationships, emotions and the mind.

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Sweet End & a New Beginning

We had the privilege of having my eldest brother and his son spend a few days with us, along with our own dd Layne, and last night we were joined Momentarily (1 sleep) with Rauchelle.  But it was a sweet way to spend part of the last of 2010 with some of those that we love.

And tonight was Shabbat so we celebrated with a Special Meal.
A wonderful way to go into the New Year of 2011.

New Years Apple Challah
(Toveli's Request)

Blessings to all of you,
and all the best for you and your loved ones
in the New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Don't Touch My Junk (the TSA Hustle)

Here's a light-hearted rap full of truths about the loss of freedom the USA public has accepted from the government under the guise of Protection.  It's got to stop.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

100 Thing Challenge, an interview

Man vs Debt did an interview with the creator of the 100 Thing Challenge which I found encouraging, and hope to pass that encouragement on to you too. A great way to start the New Year.

Check it out!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hours Upon Hours

A Boy's Imagination + K'Nex =  some military contraptions

PS.....December Photo Project (DPP) was officially over with
on the 25th, but here's a picture for today, anyways.
I enjoyed doing the DPP, although some nights it was a
bit of a chore, especially when I was ready to bed down
with the Littles.  (Sometimes I didn't upload till the next morning
because bed was better.....ahhh, confessions, now I can
enter 2011 with a lighter heart!)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

(DPP) Fourteen

A new ink-well.  A new calligraphy pen.  A new art, becoming.  
A new 14 year old. At our house.

Today we had Everette's family over to celebrate Danaka's birthday 
and feast on something besides turkey dinner.  
And feast we did. 

We played games.

Took lots of pictures.  
Even pictures of others taking pictures (thanks Laars and Tasha!). 

'Rock, Paper, Scissors' reverberating through our heads. 

Lots of giggles, tickles, and wiggles.
An extra 5 pounds, and still a stuffed fridge.

Fun Fun Fun

Happy Birthday, Danaka!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

(DPP) Tumble

Underneath there is the oldest sister, lovingly attacked by the 2 little brothers.  
Lots of fun and alot of noise.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

(DPP) Patches

Making a Bed Skirt
Just in Time for Mom to come visit!

Digital Sabbatical

I've been taking a break from the computer every Saturday now for the past few months, and then I decided I liked it enough to add another Day-Off per week, so since Nov 30th I've been taking Tuesdays off too.

But I think I want more.

So, I'm jumping into taking a week break from the computer.  One whole week.

This has come about partly from reading this and this.

I find that the computer has added alot of simplicity to my life.  Like shooting off a quick email, or researching some trivia when the children ask a question and I don't know the answer.  I like keeping my genealogy on the computer, etc.  But I know that it robs me of alot of time every day that I sit there.

Not that its bad.  But maybe there is something better to do with my time???

Yup.  Spend time with my lovely family.  And that's what I'm going to be doing this week.  With some family coming home for the Holidays (we don't really Do Christmas, so I don't know what else to call it, but everybody basically gets a break from school or work, so it is a holiday).

So, I'm planning to be offline from Dec 23-29 (other than posting a quick photo for the December Photo Project I signed up for).

I trust that however you Celebrate Christmas or the Holidays or whatever, that you take time to breathe deeply, be in the moment with those around you, look into people's eyes and connect with their hearts.  Be mindful in everything you do, as if its the only thing you have to do today.

Blessings to all of you, my friends and family.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

(DPP) Watching Movies

We pull the couches up in front of our biggest computer screen and watch a movie.  
No TV for us, but this works just fine.
And now those with needlework projects like to do it while watching a movie, 
or while Mom reads aloud.

Oh, and welcome to Winter (officially).

Monday, December 20, 2010

(DPP) Haircut

Laars doesn't like getting his hair cut.  
I don't blame him.
Those electric clippers buzzing past your ear
must be unnerving.
But Mitch asked me to clip around his ears,
then Laars volunteered himself for a haircut
so Mama jumped at the opportunity.

I love how his smile takes up 
most of his face!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

(DPP) Neighbourhood Rounds

The fire department does rounds of neighbourhoods, collecting non-perishables for the local foodbank, and helping Santa do some PR and handing out candy canes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

(DPP) A Teacher Visits

Miss Mac comes to visit and bring gifts for the children.
Here she marvels over Maret's art work.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

(DPP) Bowl of Love

This is what my hubby served up for me today!  It was so delicious!
Thanks, sweetheart.

Monday, December 13, 2010

(DPP) Big Sis Little Bro

Mix together Big Artistic Sister with 4 year old Little Brother and some colourful nailpolish the other Sisters just got from Santa's Early Elves and you have Happy Faces!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

(DPP) Santa's Early Elf

I suppose I should say "Elves", the two workers who collected and delivered stickers, and tape, and purses & nailpolish (for the girls), and swords (for the boys, of course), and chocolate bars or Smarties for everybody (amongst other stuffs).

Thankfully, much of it was consumable.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

(DPP) My Cute Red Shoes

Ever since I purchased these shoes, I've loved them.  And I've gotten plenty of compliments on them.

The funniest was when I was strapped on a gurney in the hall of an over-crowded hospital in Mesa, AZ after an ambulance ride.  The ambulance attendents noticed my cute shoes while we waited to get into an emergency room, and they were shocked at how little I paid for them since their wives both purchased expensive, expensive shoes and purses, one of which was like a $500 purse so she could carry her little dog.  And the other wife had had a pair of shoes that had been hundreds of dollars that got chewed by their (bigger) dog and so the wife went out and bought another pair of the expensive shoes.  They went on and on about their expensive wives, and I jokingly said that maybe they were married to the same woman.

Anyways, I've enjoyed my cute red shoes, and while sitting on the ferry today I decided to take a pic of them.  Because I like them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

(DPP) Celtic Knots

These are my favorite candle holders
Remembrance from our time spent on Cape Breton

Sunday, December 5, 2010

(DPP) Nature Journalling

Gaelyn observing her environment.

no internet

This is Karen's eldest daughter, Layne, popping in to say that Karen has no internet until Wednesday.  An imposed sabbatical.  She will see you all next week.

PS. Rebecca, she's still taking photos daily and will upload later.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Photo Project (DPP) and a Writing Workshop

What a day of New Things for Me.

I've never been a part of a photo project but decided "What the Heck" so I'm doing it.

The whole month of December I am going to commit (as long as I can remember on a daily basis) to taking and posting a photo for the day.  Sounds simple, but here I am at 11 pm just remembering that I was suppose to get this up and posted.  And this is only Day One!!!

I know I'm plenty busy, but this appealed to my Creative Side.  The Side that is so often neglected because I'm a busy mom.  And because the Research side of me easily wins out when its helpful with my childrens' school work.  I can always justify the Research part.  But the Creative side seems.....well......somehow selfish.  I know intellectually that it isn't selfish. But a conflict inside makes me feel like its selfish.

But, I'm doing this.  I'm gonna take some pictures everyday, and even if I don't have time to say something or explain, I'm just gonna shoot and put it up here.  Starting Now!!

This is Sigmund Brouwer.  Yeah, looking a bit retarded here, but hey, he was talking about silent but deadly farts, or maybe it was about the spider crawling over his French teacher's head for 15 minutes while everybody stared (rather than listened), or discussing whether any of us would have told him if he had a booger hanging from his nose.
I've never ever been to a Writing Workshop, but today I had the privilege of taking Danaka, Maret and Toveli to one put on by Heritage Christian Online School where Sigmund Brouwer shared.
He is from Red Deer (& Tennessee) and spends his time writing, and speaking to homeschool and public school students to encourage them to change their approach and attitude towards reading and writing.

And it was a Wonderful workshop!

Sigmund was totally down to earth, entertaining, utterly honest with tact and huge amounts of encouragement.  We all left there feeling that we can certainly write a whole lot more, with fun, creativity, and purpose.  I know my girls had a great time.  It was an afternoon well spent.

We were all encouraged to Dream.  Get our imaginations going and get it written down.  The editing and spelling and grammar can all be tinkered with later.  But the important part was Story.  Get the Story.  Figure out who your audience is, then tell Story that will draw on the audience's feelings.

Whether its to make us sad, or worried, or get us to laugh, tell us a story that effects our emotions, or else we aren't going to be drawn into Story.

PS....if you want to join the photo project, check-out the green button on the left side there.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I enjoy taking Saturdays off from using the computer so much that I've decided to also take Tuesdays off.  So, there you have it.  I won't be posting anything tomorrow, and hopefully taking every Tuesday off to get more accomplished with my family and enjoy life a bit more.

Blessings to all of you,

Today, Tomorrow and Always.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

No Need for a TV

Takes up way less space than a TV, is more versatile & movable  Great when simplifying ones life.

Just sometimes hard to fit a family of 9-11 around it at once, with everybody getting a decent view.  But works decently with a smaller crowd.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crazy Day for a Party

We had it all planned out.

Saturday we would meet Rauchelle in Nanaimo and pick Layne up at the Duke Point ferry.  We'd go for lunch and spend some family time celebrating Layne's birthday which was actually the day before (Friday).  Then Chelle would return to O's where she lives, and we'd take Layne home with us for the weekend.

Then we made the Birthday call to Layner Friday morning and sang "Happy Birthday" to her.  She announced that what she had planned for the afternoon had fallen through so now she was free and could come over today (Friday, her actual birthday).  So with some quick phone calls we changed plans for the day. 

Instead of a fairly quiet day at home preparing for Shabbat (bake bread, vacuum house and clean bathrooms) we whipped into action, got the bread rising, baked a cheesecake, did the house work, made a bed up (on the floor) for Layne, packed changes of clothes for the little guys, ate quick lunch and hit the road by 1 pm to pick Layne up at Duke Point 22 hours ahead of our original schedule ;)  and proceeded to travel up to O's for the One-Day-Late American Thanksgiving Dinner intended for an American who had to cancel coming and which turned out to be a Birthday Dinner for Layne instead!!  With fresh challah that rose beautifully in spite of getting a few chills en route, and an Oreo Cheesecake Danaka baked before leaving home, and an awesome meal put on by Lisa and Rauchelle.  It was a huge Success.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Miss Minimalist’s Gift Avoidance Guide

 Christmas is just around the corner, and I know that alot of you are busy with thoughts about Giving and Receiving.  We personally haven't been doing the Gift Exchange practice for about 10 years, I think.  My how time flies ;)  But it was an adjustment to make, and put some uncomfortable strains on some relationships around Christmas time particularly.  We were accused of ruining Christmas for Grandma, not allowing her the joy of giving gifts to her Grandchildren (which wasn't true, but .....Whatever), and taking the fun out of Christmas, and being Scrooges, and Extremists, etc.

But, looking back over those years, we are glad we put a stop to the insanity around the consumerism of Christmas (and Birthdays) as far as it pertains to our household.  And that's all we can do.  As it pertains to me and my house!

I subscribe to Miss Minimalist and really like her Gift Avoidance Guide, on how to help others adjust to not giving you a bunch of needless stuff to clutter up your space.

Enjoy the Guide.

Miss Minimalist's Gift Avoidance Guide

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Rabbit Came to Live at Our House

Peter that is.

As in Peter Rabbit.

We have had some Peter Rabbit books grace our home in the past here and there, but now, we actually own The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter.  And I am happy!!  It was something I almost ordered this year (and the last few years) with the childrens curriculum, along with The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh but I put it off yet again.

And then today Everette and I stole away for a Coffee Break (unusual these days) and lo and behold, but he received some phone calls which gave me permission to sneak out to the adjoining New & Used Bookstore to spend my time wisely, and what do I find but the winner of childhood books in perfect condition at a fraction of the new price and voila, Peter came home with me.  And his stories have been read throughout the afternoon and evening in their entirety. 

When its called The Complete Tales, it really IS!  I didnt realize how much was edited out of the familiar versions I had read.  And now I really get an education in Beatrix Potters writings.  And so do my children.

And they are loving Beatrix's stories, right along with Mom.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hollyhock Doll

Last night Toveli and I shared a book "Priscilla and the Hollyhocks" by Anne Broyles, about a young slave girl on a Southern plantation, her forced march along the Trail of Tears, and a chance encounter with a white man she'd previously met who ends up paying $1000 in gold to adopt her so she can get an education and be part of a family with 15 other adopted children.  

From the book, Toveli learned to make a Hollyhock doll from the flower & a bud, and made one from a plant in our backyard.

 Bit blurry, but these were all taken by the Artist Herself.  Including the one she took of herself!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finding Farley

If you check out this interesting documentary of one young family's journey by canoe, foot and sailing from Canmore, AB to River Bourgeois, NS (where we lived for 1 year!) you arent likely to be disappointed.  As lovers of Farley Mowat s writings, they push through their challenges of rapids, too many portages, millions of bugs and achy body parts to follow the trails of Farley and experience the nature of Canada that Farley wrote about, to end up at the home of their new-found friend.

Near the end of the video when they are getting close to their destination they show Church Point, where we actually lived.  Our house was just over the hill on the other side.  As a matter of fact, the picture I have at the top of my blog here, is taken at that churchs cemetery where Layne and Rauchelle loved to go, and many of the children rolled down the hills there. 

We aren't fanatics of Farley Mowat s writings.  We ve read a few, and watched "Never Cry Wolf", and drove past his house to see where he lived. Everette even ran into him at the post office, and my friend s husband won a bid when the Farley Mowat was up For Sale (but he cancelled his bid, cuz what does one do with a big ship like that in your backyard, hey Jennifer?) but I was taken more by the fact of them doing a cross-country journey more difficult than ours, and ending up in the very same town.  I thought that was cool, and we could identify with much of the scenery that they experienced except for the up-north and Newfoundland aspects.  Obviously theirs was a much slower paced journey fraught with bugs beyond belief (right there, I'd bail) and were more fit, likely, than when they began.  I wouldn't be doing that journey with our children, that's for sure, but maybe one of our children will want to do it themselves when they are older.  They certainly enjoyed the film, and identifying with some of the scenes. They have a good taste and feel for this big land, and I'm so glad we have given that experience to them. And experienced it for ourselves too.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scrambled Eggs

I wrote previously about all the different labels on eggs, and then this week I came across this video Scrambled Eggs - 

Lots of sneaky things happen where us consumers just aren't aware.  We need to be diligent and educated.  I get tired of that sometimes, and just want to hide in ignorance and purchase what's the easiest.  But that kind of attitude isn't going to make things better for myself, my family, or our community.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remembering Samuel

It's been a year now since Samuel was born....still.

Some moments still choke me with tears welling up.  My arms are empty.  My milk is dry.

There's an empty spot in my heart.

And yet I am rich with an experience. Although short, it was bitter-sweet to have Samuel growing and then lingering within my womb.  I longed for the fluttering, the kicks to mama that said "I'm okay".  I could only identify one kick that I knew was definitely him.  Just one strong flutter to mama.  But that memory is a gift he gave me.  Something from my little boy to the mama that carried him. 

Today we remember (as we do all the other days, too).  You are loved and missed by your whole family.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Catching Your Heart

There are many things in life
that will catch your eye,
but only a few will 
catch your heart...
pursue those.
~Michael Nolan

Friday, November 12, 2010

Highway of Heroes Tribute

I picked up a book at the library earlier this week called "Highway of Heroes" by Kathy Stinson, because it looked like a fresh-off-the-press picture book I could use with the children Lest We Forget. And so I read it to them yesterday, and I learned something. Somethings. And one of them is how emotional I can get about those who have died so that I can live in a relatively free country.

The Highway of Heroes was not a staged event. It grew, from the respect that Canadians have for those who have given their lives to protect our country. When a soldier returned to Canada in a coffin and was being transported from CFB Trenton to the coroners in Toronto, people started to gather on overpasses to pay respect to the fallen soldier, and his family. And every time another soldier returns for a final convoy lead by the hearse they are travelling in, the people who stop to salute or fly their Canadian flags from overpasses increases so there are now crowds on each of the 50 bridges they pass under.

I don't care what country you are from, or what your political stance on The War is. But I do think there ought to be respect for their courage and commitment, and to show respect and compassion on their families at this time of loss.

This moved me to tears.

Lest We Forget.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I heard about making Lapbooks years ago from other homeschoolers, but we just never did them at all.   I guess I just didn't see what all the excitement was about, and the children and I were busy scrapbooking our life.

But I now have a new appreciation for Lapbooks, and I see a spark that has ignited an excitement in several of the children, particularly Maret who has been busy working on all things Horsey.

Inside this refolded folder she has several small reports on pedigrees, common horse names for the USA and the UK, the top 10 Race-horses, etc.

And the exciting thing is that she is self-motivated to do the research, do tidy printing, and work tirelessly on something that ends in a project she can hold and proudly share with others.

Gaelyn, needing more help from mom, has also accomplished a few Lapbooks.  Hers are actually more of a coming together of work she's already done.  I just put it into a Lapbook form so she can show it off in a more pleasing presentation.

Here's her book on Parts of a Flower, and includes some info on the need for sunshine and water and nutrients that she narrated to Mom. There's also a cross-word she did, and some flower pedals she drew for a little math practise, and several different types of flowers she coloured along with a diagram of a flower that she labeled the parts.
The rose below was partially covered over (on purpose) when I was printing it off so she had to try and draw in the other part of the rose as to what it would look like.

This was a flip-up book Gaelyn did to help her with the Days of the Week.  So sweet what she drew to help her remember the names of the days.  Hard to see for some of them, but let me explain.
Monday is a moon and stars.  Good connection between Monday and Moon-day.
Tuesday is a pointing finger.  As in "I am choosing some candies.  Choosing sounds like!"
Wednesday has a picture of swirling wind.  Wed  ~~ wind.  Sounds close to me!!
Thursday gets a 3, because it starts with the same beginning sound, Th
Friday has challah, because we often celebrate the beginning of Sabbath with the traditional braided egg-bread, challah.
Saturday is a day of rest, right, and we sit on chairs.  Sat.....on a chair.
Sunday, no brainer.  You got it!  It's a Sun.

Gaelyn had (close to) tonnes of loose papers that she was doing copywork on from Draw Write NOW! books, and I lumped the farm and other animals all together in an accordion type thing.....

and now she can flip through her writing and see it like a book (that's actually taller than her when it's all pulled out).  She has some simple drawings she can look at, too.

I've unloaded of most of our scrapbooking paraphernalia, which was hard for me but I did it, and so now the Lapbooking is helping me feed the creative side of me.  And its giving a real boost to the children as they see their hard work being displayed, as if it is treasured.

These are humble beginnings, but I know the children will get more and more creative, and more skills to keep them tidy and well displayed.  Mitchell and I worked on the Months of the Year, and are now collecting information for one on Ancient Egypt.  Gaelyn will be doing one on the Provinces and Territories of Canada, and Toveli will hopefully do something about plants (the bug hasn't hit her yet).  Danaka is actually doing one on some Maths Formulas to help her remember them, and likely something on the Elizabethan period.

If you are interested in checking out Lapbooks, there's loads and loads of stuff online, some free and some not.

Go for it.  We are having a blast.