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.

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.

Friday, November 5, 2010


He wears this outfit almost every day now, and sleeps in it whenever its clean. 

The horse beds down somewhere else, but he wants to sleep and even dine with his hat on.

This is the cutest cowboy around, and steals my heart......and always will unless his horse starts dropping messes around here, then I'll send them both out to pasture.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Owners

This table and set of 4 chairs have found some very delighted new owners.  We found this down at the Sally Ann and it fits quite nicely in our kitchen nook.

The children are thrilled to have a place to sit up at, particularly to work on maps and math, I think even more than for eating at .  Its somewheres to lay their stuff out at and work at an appropriate level with a hard surface.  (You'll recall that the dc were using Rubbermaids for eating off of)

I know it will be a good place for sewing at as the girls and I anticipate sewing a quilt (joint effort) this winter.  But I know it will also be a place for us to.....break bread together. 

 Not enough seats yet, but with our 2 stools we can now sit 6 out of 9 of us.  Not a bad start.....and I'll keep an eye open on freecycle to get some other wooden chairs.

I enjoy these simple things in life, that add some comfort to our lives.  I like living with less, but somethings are simply nice to have for comfort and convenience and functionality.  I think the table and chairs fits in there.

PS....several of the children weren't wanting us to get table and chairs, because they love to have the space to play around in, and work on projects on the floor.  But now that we have the table, they all really like it.  After all, there's still the dining room that's mostly empty.  (I personally think that's a waste of space, to have both a kitchen and a dining eating area.....but that's just my opinion)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Paper Bag Princess

way to spend an evening........
But its better when.........

Did you ever wonder how the paper bag survived the dragon's fiery breath??