A sunshine birthday.

Ivy’s party was so much fun!  The girls were so excited from the moment they got up in the morning.  Scarlett drew Ivy some happy birthday wishes on the chalk board, they got dressed up and then undressed given how long they had to wait before the party started, then dressed again in something different, and on it went until our guests arrived.  Auntie T arrived with the fantastic Sunshine Cake.  Family and good friends arrived.  I had covered a few kid’s tables in paper and so the kids drew sunshine pictures on the paper and decorated their loot bags (that they would fill with the loot from the piñata later).  Some of the kids just played in the backroom while the adults enjoyed catching up with one another.

Then came the piñata…I was so nervous as I was making it.  Was it too thin?  How many layers was I supposed to put on anyways.  The internet was consulted again.  And again.  I read that three layers was minimum standard…phew!  That was all I had time for.  Terrified that it would collapse the moment it was suspended, I waited until the very last-minute to do so.  I shouldn’t have worried.  Look at the pictures!  13 children of various ages and abilities whacked, hit, and smashed that thing each taking three turns!  It fell.  We put it back up.  It was dented, dinged, cracks formed. But it would. not. break.  Darn it!  Everyone reassured me that it was the spongy bat the kids were using and not my piñata making skills. It was still fun to watch the kids have at ‘er and ripping it open and letting the contents fly was very satisfying I must say.  Oh, and I think it looked pretty darned pretty.  Don’t you think?

Then when the pulled pork, corn and black bean salad, veggie and fruit trays, cheese and crackers and of course the cake, were eaten. When the presents were all opened.  It was time to say good-bye.  We sent our guests off with loot bags full of piñata treats, sunshine play dough, and homemade acorn necklaces and hopefully some very happy memories.

 

The Coven Summon

I love Hallowe’en!  Ttrick or treating with the kids is great but so is celebrating with adults…who also love Hallowe’en.  And so I was thrilled to receive this summons in the mail…

The event is being held in the oldest house in the area (built in 1800) which makes it even spookier!  Too bad it isn’t open to the public – but then maybe it will inspire someone to host a similar party?

What are you doing for Hallowe’en?

Sunshine you can take home…

I think Ivy’s sunshine theme for her birthday is just the sweetest.  I mean, who wouldn’t want a little bit of sunshine on their birthday?  It is definitely a more creative idea than my go-to “fall themed” birthday plans (ie Hallowe’en, pumpkins, apples, coloured-leaves).

In fact I think a sunshine birthday is truly inspirational and wanted to find a way for our guests to take some sunshine goodness home with them.  I’ve always wanted to make homemade play dough but I’ve never taken the plunge.  It was actually a lot of fun to make and they do really look like little balls of sun!  I was inspired by this post at http://www.mommyfootprint.com.  You’ll find my tweaked recipe at the top of this post, by clicking here, or by looking in the sidebar on the right under “Tutorials”.  I found the picture in the post is quite small and hard to read but if you click on it it gets bigger and you no longer need the magnifying glass.

The recipe is super easy and can be whipped up in under 10 minutes with ingredients you’ll likely have on hand.  I think I’d like to try to colour it with turmeric or something next time to see what happens…maybe I’d mix the turmeric in with the dry ingredients? Hmmm.  Next time.

Nothing like sending guests home with a little something to brighten their day!

Harvest time!

Earlier this month we visited our favourite apple orchard, Waddell Apples.

Apparently we came right after a huge rush and the “pick your own” was almost picked over.  So we formed teams.  One adult + one child = ability to reach the highest apples.

Of course there was plenty of time for goofing around…and sampling.

Grandpa definitely put us all to shame…this is what 50 lbs of apples looks like!   We took home 30 lbs ourselves.  We may have added a few other varieties from the on-site store, like these Macouns and the most delicious apples I have ever tasted, the Honeycrisp.  You simply must try them!

I would love to have an apple cider press like this.  I think it would be the perfect addition to our Autumn Equinox celebrations.  I found this do-it-yourself blueprint in Mother Earth News.  Maybe we’ll work on it over the winter, spring and summer.  We should have it done by fall ; ).

For now I’ll settle on making some applesauce and apple jellies and fresh out the basket apples as well.

Three

Three years ago today we welcomed Ivy into this world…
What a gift it was to settle in on my couch with my baby, wrapped up with a blanket my grandma had knit and surrounded by those I love most…

How incredible to witness to the beginnings of sisterly love…

Photo by Brandy Jackson at http://www.stonewallphotography.com

I can’t remember what our world was like without her…Happy Birthday little one!

Salmanders, Worms and Frogs, oh my!

frog pond …
a leaf falls in
without a sound 

~
Bernard Lionel Einbond

We are extraordinarily lucky to live right in the middle of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  There are plenty of animals and little critters sharing this natural paradise.  The number of jars with holey lids that litter my kitchen are testament to the number of woodland and wetland friends who are brought home for a closer look.

These little guys live in our favourite frog pond at Grammie and Grampa’s.

Ivy’s prince-to-be is a green frog.  Learn more about him here and if you’d like you can become a Frog Watcher and send your frog filled info to the scientists tracking them here.

The resources through the Toronto Zoo “adopt a pond” program are really incredible.  The perfect resource for our little Worm Watchers:

Our favourites are our backyard salamanders though.  We think these are Eastern Redback Salamanders:

We starting to talk about where all of these friends will be spending the winter.  These facts sheets or Nature Notes (dating back to 1984) from my new favourite naturalist resource, ON Nature Magazine, are just the thing to get us started.

 

Of acorns and birthdays…

The girl’s birthdays are coming up which means we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about how we should celebrate, where we should celebrate and most importantly, there has been much discussion about what we should put in the loot bags.

Suggestions have included everything from “treats” (a very broad category), to larger and more impractical items such as “painting easels” and then to vague ideas of “fun surprises” and  “crafts we make”.

Crafts?  Gosh I love these girls.  I can do that!

We got straight to work thinking of crafty ideas.  I stumbled across these acorn necklaces from the Fall 2011 edition of Rhythm of the Home. Perfect.

First we needed to gather some acorns…

then we had daddy help drill two holes in the top of each acorn hat…

we had a blast making wool balls from a left over wool roving stash…

and once the balls were dry, we matched them with the appropriately sized hat…

the next bit took a bit more mama power to thread the string through the hats and to help little hands use a hot glue gun hence the lack of pictures (please do check out the tutorial on the Rhythm of the Home website…it is super easy to follow with much better pictures)…

Et voilà!  Our first hand crafted loot bag item.  Not to mention a green loot bag option as well!

Giving thanks…

This was possibly the best Thanksgiving weekend I’ve ever experienced.  The most perfect weather, time with family, a lovely birth, a tasty dinner…so much to be grateful for…

…for an on call day quiet enough for a paddle on the St. Lawrence

…for time spent with those I love

…for the last few days of being two

…for the last flower in bloom in the garden

…for a husband who knows what a Jerusalem artichoke is, how to grow it, harvest it and best of all, cook it!

…for this feast

…for the usual treats

…and for the unexpected ones that make you feel extra special

…for best cousins

…for walks down quiet country roads

…and for moments like these.

I hope you and yours had a weekend as wonderful as we did!