A winter’s day photoessay

I think every family who lives in this area has hundreds of pictures of the kids feeding chickadees.  It is such an endearing activity that it is quite a popular thing to do when one has family or friends visiting.  And so we ventured out on this warm winter’s day, hiked into the forest and waited…

hiking into the woods

We didn’t have to wait long…

chickadee in a tree

chickadee feeding from hand

feeding the chickadeesThe kids were oh so patient…

bird seed on headAnd they tried new tricks to entice the birds…including putting bird seed on your head.

bird callAnd trying out a bird call or two…

bird seed on headApparently putting bird seed on your head works.  But those birds are quick.  Too quick for my camera.

childhood wonderThe experience didn’t disappoint…

using binocularsWho can resist an opportunity to try out the binoculars your aunt and uncle sent you?

IMG_2297The watching and waiting pays off…

child in winterWe hike back…

bullrushes in winterTake in the scenery…

IMG_2312And meet new friends…

running and jumping in winterRun and jump…

ice on picnic tableAnd find new ways to make ice exciting…

ice playCrack it…

stacking iceAnd stack it…

running in winterAnd have a WONDERFUL time.

Hope your winter break has been relaxing and refreshing.  Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

…the fire is burning…

…the fire is burning
the long night draws near
all who need comfort
are welcome by here…


The girls and I spent this evening building snowball lanterns in preparation for Solstice on December 21st

…we’ll dance ‘neath the stars
and toast the past year
for the spirit of solstice
is still living here…


The fire pit now has outdoor lighting. We’ll be dusting off the log stumps for friends to gather round the bonfire to hold back the night.

…we’ll count all our blessings
while the Mother lays down
with snow as her blanket
covering the ground…

We are fortunate enough to have a gorgeous yew tree in the backyard. We'll be decorating this living tree with popcorn strings, pine cone bird feeders and apple ornaments as gifts to our animal friends.

We are fortunate enough to have a gorgeous yew tree in the backyard. We’ll be decorating this living tree with popcorn strings, pine cone bird feeders and apple ornaments as gifts to our animal friends.

…thanks to the Mother
for the life that she brings
she’ll waken to warm us
again in the spring

the poor and the hungry
the sick and the lost
these are our children
no matter the cost…


Every year we make lanterns. This year it is snowball lanterns to line our walk way and welcome our guests. In years past we’ve used glass jars hung from sticks with wire to take with us on our lantern walk.  This year we’ll take apple candle holders with us while we go carolling.



Our decorations are all taken from nature. The snow lanterns require only a tea light and the right kind of snow. We’ve brought fresh greenery, birch bark and berries indoors to decorate our table and mantle.

…come by the fire
the harvest to share

for the spirit of solstice
is still living there

the fire is burning
the long night draws near
all who need comfort
are welcome by here…


Part of the fun of planning which crafts we’ll do and how we’ll decorate is watching the girls add their own bit of magic to our celebration. Our connections are strengthened to the earth and in our community. I love how the girls look forward to Solstice as part of our holiday celebrations.

…we’ll dance ‘neath the stars
and toast the past year

for the spirit of solstice
is still living here
for the spirit of solstice
is still living here…

~ Lyrics to “A Solstice Carole” by the Wyrd Sisters

Snow Day Fun


Yay!  Winter is upon us!  When the snow flies the girls fly out the door.  I have the easiest time on these snowy winter mornings.  They can’t dress and eat breakfast fast enough.  A quick ski around the yard or jumping on the toboggan:

toboggan1But it can’t all be fun when there is work to be done.  Winter blew right into our lovely little playhouse and the girls had some cleaning up to do.

toboggansnowinsideWhich can be fun too!



snowinside3The Missus took care of the porch.

tobogganisweepingDoes this mean we can call the playhouse a four season fort?

toboggangirls inwindow

It was a great morning and we decided afterward that the pictures would be perfect for our annual “Cool Yule” card.  Happy Holidays to all!

Cool Yule 2013

Liebster Awards 2013: Thousand Islands Mama has been nominated!!

I had the most incredible gift in my inbox the other day – a nomination for a Liebster Award from Joan at Nicer Than New.  I am so excited!  Help me thank Joan by visiting her fantastic website.  Thank you Joan, this honour made my day!

What is a Liebster Award?  Good question.  It is basically a fun way to highlight some of the newer/smaller blogs out there.  It helps bloggers find readers and readers find great content.  Here is how it works – fun and simple:

Award Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.
  2. Answer the questions from the nominator; list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  3. Present the Liebster Award to several other bloggers, who have blogs with 200 followers or less, whom you feel deserve to be noticed. Leave a comment on the blogs letting the owners know they have been chosen.
  4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.

Here is what Joan wanted to know:

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging? I started blogging when I was living in a gorgeous forest near the shores of a beautiful river…amazing but isolating.  I knew there were others in my region craving connection and so I started blogging about what my family was doing locally.  I made great connections locally and then to my amazement in the bigger world as well.  I rediscovered my love of writing and creating, a part of myself I had long ignored and so I continued.
  2. What is your most memorable vacation destination?  Hands down, Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland.  This past summer we travelled and explored the amazing Newfoundland landscape by car, ferry, and on foot.  Incredible vistas, whales, puffins, moose and the cutest little vole.  The people – so friendly!  The food – scrumptious!  The kids ask to go back almost weekly.  Here are my favourite NFLD pics :

    Caribou and Fjords. The entrance to Western Brook Pond

    Amazing beaches; the kids could run forever!

    Amazing beaches; the kids could run forever!

    It felt like we had the place all to ourselves.  Shallow Bay Beach.

    It felt like we had the place all to ourselves. Shallow Bay Beach.

    No wonder they want to go back

    No wonder they want to go back

  3. What is your favourite quick go-to recipe?  Oh that’s easy.  Sharon’s Chocolate Cake of course!  I am not at liberty to share this recipe however.  It is a carefully guarded secret.
  4. Choose a movie or record album you like and tell us why?  Hmmm, that is a hard one…I have really varied tastes.  I’m listening to a lot of Sarah Slean lately.  Mostly because my daughter is an aspiring singer/songwriter and she loves listening to the piano and lyrics in Sarah’s songs.  This one is favourite:
  5. What is your favourite blog post you have completed to date?  This one.  I am an avid thrifter and crafter.  I would describe my decor style as “found style”.  This $16 shelving unit redo is one of my best finds.
  6. If you were dropped off on a deserted island and you could only have three items with you what would they be and why?  A water purifier, a super warm blanket and an “Edible Berries” guide.  I guess I’m more practical than I thought.
  7. What is your most prized possession?  My great-grandmother’s apron.  It is clearly handmade and the colours inspired my kitchen reno (post to come).
  8. If you were reborn as an animal, what would it be and why?  A black bear.  They get to spend their days in the forest, running through the trees, splashing in the streams…plus they love getting cozy in the winter.  Oh and no one messes with them.  I think I might actually BE a bear now that I think about it…
  9. What is the best book you have read in the past 5 years and why?  Ugh, I have to pick one?!  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time.  Seeing the world through the eyes of the main character, a 15 year-old boy with autism was incredible.  I found the book fascinating.
  10. If weight was a non issue, what’s one thing you would eat every day?   Soulemama’s Peppermint Bark.  I made this last Christmas and I could eat it all day long.
  11. What are your future plans or goals for blogging?  My life and career is full of extremely busy times and slow, quiet times…the problem is it is never consistent.  My blog reflects that, posts come in fits and bursts when I have the time.  My goal for 2014 is to write often when I have the chance and parcel the posts out in a more consistent timeframe for readers.  My second goal is to chronicle my family’s commitment to sustainable urban living.  We are giving up the car and biking and walk as much as we can (yes, even in the winter).  Reaching out to others doing the same in the blogosphere helps create community which makes these kind of goals more achievable.

The required “random things about me”:

1. I didn’t eat cheese unless it was melted or fake (think cheese whiz, Velveeta – bleh!) until I was 20 years old.
2. I hate coconut with an unnatural passion. Until recently I had a hard time understanding people who liked coconut…not the milk or real stuff, just the dried horribleness that feels like toe nails in your mouth – that stuff!
3. I love old 80s shows. I have watched all seasons of Dallas. I am currently watching season one of Remmington Steele.
4.. I was once on MTV sports when I was into ice climbing.
5. I used to want to be an astronaut and made a presentation to my parents to let me go to Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama when I was 11…I delivered A LOT of flyers to pay for that one.
6. The first birth I attended brought me to my knees it was so incredible.
7. I am one of those truly fortunate people who love what they do and wouldn’t quit it if I won the lottery.
8. Toys that require batteries are not allowed in my house (okay maybe one or two slipped in).
9. In high school I was voted most likely to be on SNL.
10. I miss my grandmother terribly and still tear up instantly when I think of her.

Some blogs I think you should check out!!

La Gang A Nat
North Story
The Happy Space Project
Sketchy Styles
Heart Heather
If People Mattered
Love on Sunday
The Uncommon Common Law

Oh right and some questions for the new nominees to answer:

  1. Why did you start blogging and what keeps you going?
  2. If you could meet up with a blogging celebrity, who would it be?
  3. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
  4. What are you passionate about?
  5. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
  6. What are you blogging goals for 2014?
  7. Where do you find inspiration?
  8. Do you have a favourite food blog?  I’m asking because I want to find a great food blog.  Totally selfish.
  9. What is your favourite blog post you’ve completed to date?
  10. Stealing this one from Joan cuz I love it so much:  If you were reborn as an animal, which animal would you be?

Ah….that feels good.  I hope you enjoy the blogs I’ve highlighted as much as I do.  Gotta love getting and giving some bloglovin’.  Don’t forget to check out Nicer than New!