Monday, 30 September 2013

The Barefoot Princess.

 On Saturday my middle daughter and her husband celebrated their first anniversary.  I had fun blogging about my fond memories of their special day. And then as mom's do,  I started reminiscing about my oldest daughter's wedding day too.

 I went back through Iphoto and enjoyed pictures of her wedding day.  She celebrated eight years of marriage this summer.  Eight years!  I can hardly believe it. And I can hardly believe I have two married daughters.   Doesn't time seem to roll on so quickly?

  She was married at the end of July and it was a hot, hot day.  

Perfect for bare feet!  She wanted to be comfortable and she was.  

Best friends starting life together.

Young and sweet.  

Choosing love.

You came and opened me
Just like a window pane
You blew right into me

You gave me songs to sing
You gave me dancing feet
You made me come alive

Do You know how I love You so?

You are my summer's day
And sunlight on my skin
Stay here so close to me

Your beauty fills my eyes
So hear me when I say
You're everything to me

Photo credits goes to Renee Skinner,  my beautiful and talented sister.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Our Small Kitchen.

My hubby D and I like to cook together when we get the chance. 

 I dream of the day when we have a roomy, efficient kitchen where we can produce delectable and yummy food with ease.  The funny thing is that we have almost always had a tiny kitchen, except for one.  Our very first kitchen was small, very small.  It was in a post-war house that was barely 800 sq. feet. I remember that we had to hold the tape measure kind of slack so that it would have enough square footage to qualify for a mortgage.

We renovated that kitchen and installed a beautiful tall pantry in one corner. The counter space was limited though with about 18 inches on either side of the sink.  I have good memories of that kitchen.  It's where I learned to cook.

Then my next kitchen was in a single wide mobile home.  It also had a small amount of counter on either side of the sink!  We lived there for 13 years.  We pretty much raised our three children in that small space, while we cleared property and built our beautiful timber frame home.

The kitchen in our timber frame was spacious and efficient.  Weird how I always did the majority of my food prep on one little bit of counter.  Haha! Hard to shake a bad habit I suppose.  Here is a picture of that kitchen.


One person.

That is my oldest sporting the cool, camo apron that my son made in sewing class.

Two people.

Three people.  See, spacious and efficient.  That's me of course, in the corner, working away on small bit of counter.

And room for a large table.  Wow, those were the good old days.

But now, for a variety of reasons we are back to a tiny, one bum kitchen.  If you open the fridge nobody can get in.  If you bend over nobody can get by.  I think you get the point.  It's not actually that fun to cook in.  But we do.  Of course.  Whole, clean food is our goal.  One day my hubby D was dreaming of something Italian.   He decided on this recipe here.  It's not entirely a "whole" food recipe but you could switch it up if you are so inclined.

It could look like this.  Theirs. Professional looking.

Or it could look like this. Ours.  Amateur looking.

Either way, it was delicious.  I recommend you try it!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Richness of a Childhood Space.

"This time in their lives is just a whisper, a brief moment, in which they can enjoy the richness of a childhood space." 
Bev Boss

I saw this Bev Bos comment and it brought up a lot of thoughts for me.  Bev is someone who has put a tremendous amount of thought, work and passion into creating a rich childhood space for the children in her care.

 Last year I was working in the toddler room and as a staff, we remarked more than once how quickly the littles pass through our care and graduate into the 3-5 room.  This year I am working in the infant room and the same thing is happening.  The littles grow and change every day it seems!!  It makes me realize as an Early Childhood Educator that I have a big responsibility.  A responsibility to remember that I have these littles in my care for just a whisper of time.....and what am I doing to create or contribute to a rich and beautiful learning environment?  
Creating a rich childhood space means different things to different people.  

For me, and what I'd like to share on this post today, is that even though the time we spend with the infants and toddlers is limited, it is really important to find a methodical and gentle rhythm that flows with what is happening for them developmentally and for what is happening in their world.  Go s-l-o-w-l-y. I've noticed that sometimes we get so excited about a new season that we bring pumpkins or colored leaves into the classroom before that is even happening outside.  Young children who might be experiencing their first or second fall Ever in their life, don't have a reference point for what they are seeing. 

So I need to look carefully at what is actually happening outside and thoughtfully share that with them. To try and be in the moment, so to speak, and not race ahead to what's coming but not here yet.  

How effective is it to match the colors that are predominant outside with inside color?
Right now gardens are being harvested and grasses are drying into golden yellows.   The leaves are just beginning to turn.
So what color cloths or silk could I bring into the room? 
How about a vase with some of the dried grasses?  Or a basket with fruit or veggies for the littles to touch and smell....and taste?  And how awesome would it be to visit the garden with them and pick the grasses with them before bringing them in.

It is so nice to experience the outdoors and the embrace the changes of a new season as it happens.

This is my sweet grand-daughter.  Enjoying the richness of a childhood space.

 I would love to have you share your thoughts if you have stopped by for a visit.  Feel welcome to leave a comment.  Cheers!

These two.

These two were married on this day, September 28, last year.  

Today in their city the rain is falling and it's foggy and grey.  Last year on this day, however, the glorious sun was shining down on them.  Like a blessing.  The park where they gathered with friends and family was aglow with autumn color.  

This is one of my favorite pictures.

Some of my best memories:

*being there to say, "Yes! To the Dress!"
*getting hair and nails done with all the girls (a rare treat for me!)
*meeting my son-in-law's family and liking them!
*walking through the park, while having pictures done
*witnessing a lovely and unique wedding service 
*gorgeous fall flowers...bouquets and centerpieces
*incredible food at the reception....the best, really
*laughter and tears listening to toasts and seeing childhood pictures
*fun and crazy dancing

They look so happy, don't they?   

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Leaf has Fallen

I found one of these on the lawn today.  I have to admit that I don't mind the onset of fall weather.  I think overall it's my favorite season.

In our fair city the weather is still hot in the day, especially in the afternoons.   But I am noticing the temperature falling in the mornings and evenings.  

With the ushering in of the fall season, I wanted to show you some little 
needle-felted dollies I made.  I just put these out in the daycare room for the children to play with at will.  

They have little leaf beds to sleep in. 

For the beds I wet-felted some roving together to get the nice variegated colors.  I cut the shape I wanted and sewed the leaf bed together using a blanket stitch. 

Toddlers love to put things in and out, I've noticed, and they can do so independently with these leaf dolls.  

I made the dollies by needling a little batting ball for the head.  Then I covered the head with a larger, square piece of batting that I then gathered at the neck and needled to form the body.  I choose a roving color for the face and clothes and needled into place.
For the hat I sometimes use a piece of pre felt, which I did in this case.  Or wrapping some roving around the head and needling to form a pointed hat works also.

Happy First Day of Fall!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Wet-Felting - A Stump

I had the good fortune of facilitating a wet-felting workshop recently.  I thought I would feature one project, created by one of my co-workers, on my blog today.  She wanted to make a stump and so I explained how she could do that and she rolled up her sleeves (so to speak) and got right to work on it.

 She is needling roving into place.  She is using a foam resist in the center of the stump which will be removed once felted.  Some pieces of foam are inserted between layers to form roots around the stump.


The creating part is so fabulous for me to watch as the facilitator.   I am always amazed by the incredible ideas different people have.


After felting

She took it home and needled some small flowers and also repaired a few spots.

I wonder if some squirrels or a hedgehog are going to come and live in this beautiful stump?

The finished product and I say, "Well done!"


Monday, 16 September 2013

Small World Farm - Before and After

A Small World Farm

A felted play mat with water and rocks for Mama duck and her ducklings.

A sensory mix of rice, lentils and beans for Hen and her chicks and the Sheep family.

A stable for the cows and horse.  Notice the variegated fabric placed on top of the barn as an invitation. 
Some wooden peg people and a wooden pond with sparkly jewels.

This enticing scene has been carefully and thoughtfully arranged inside a long, shallow bin.  

This was the Before look.  The invitation to come and play.

And play she did.  My two and a half yr. old grand-daughter is a Player.
No doubt about it.

Her dad sent me these photos of some of her play.  "The animals have gone to bed....and so has the tractor," she said.

I noticed that the rice and lentils were no longer in the boxes, so I asked her Dad about that.

He sent me this.

The After.  The "well-played with" look.  Not the end.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Best Cod Burger Ever.

It's been all about the food for D and I this week-end.  Our youngest is away for the week-end playing ball.  D and I took Friday off from work and have enjoyed some much needed down time.  We were going to go away but in the end decided to save the money, stay home and enjoy eating out a bit instead.  In my previous post I jumped right to Saturday morning, going out for delicious tea for me, coffee for him.  And I should wheat-free pumpkin raison muffin and one wild berry spelt muffin.  But this post is not about Saturday morning anymore.  No, I'm backing up to Friday evening.   Dinner out.  I think about it and start salivating. Really.  It was that good.

Someone, somewhere said confession is good for the soul. So here goes. I am sharing a deep, dark secret. I think I am addicted to Cod Burgers.  Not just any Cod Burgers but this one.

See how the cod oozes out the sides, it's because the bun, which is soft and fresh, is small.  I like that.  It means then that it's all about the cod and I can eat it all.  And the coleslaw that is on the burger is a yummy feature.  It's the best Cod Burger I have ever had.  So moist! I think I have had one a month for four months.  When I go out to this restaurant I don't even look at the menu, I already know what I want.  And.....AND, I look at the waitress and say, don't even ask me if I want salad, I want fries!  And hurry up about it.  Well, maybe I don't say it quite like that.

I decided not to put up a picture of the fries because you would all start salivating too and want to race out and get fries and we all know fries are not good for us.

My soul is feeling really good right now, thank you for your understanding.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

One Saturday Morning.

Today was one of those relaxed Saturday mornings.  My hubby D and I decided to head downtown to one of our favorite coffee shops.  He got his usual double Espresso with a little hot water on top (aka an Italiano) and I got my usual Chaii tea latte with soy.  We sat outside and soaked up the warm September sun and just talked about our kids, and about life, and about memories and dreams.  For us, taking time this way, is essential to re-charge our batteries, replenish our souls, and re-group after a busy work week.  The three R's.
                          Then we headed up to the local Farmer's Market.

We met one of our favorite young adult friends and chatted with her for a while.  She was waiting for her sister who was dressed as a tomato, advertising the 
up- coming Tomato Festival.  I love that we usually meet someone we know even though we live in a city of 90 K.  

There is the tomato girl!!

We bought a big bag of organic veggies and some fruit.

Squash, Potatoes, Kale, Chard, Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Pears and Peaches.
I love buying local.  I feel good about that.  It is one small thing I can do to make the world a better place.

And today at the Farmer's Market, there was a book sale.  I found some treasures that I am pretty excited about.  

Five Ezra Jack Keats books.  Published in the 60's he features Peter, a 
young boy, with real life little boy issues.  I love the illustrations where Keats strives to reveal the beauties of New York (his words).  I love the splashes of bright color, the water color effect and the torn paper art style he uses so effectively.

And I also found a couple of Astrid Lindgren books, also written in the 60's, with gorgeous illustrations that draw you into the story.  You feel the cold of the winter night and the cozy, warmth of the farmhouse kitchen.   I think this one of the Tompten and the Fox would make a fun wet-felted story mat.  

Christmas in the Stable is a gentle introduction to a Christian Christmas.  It is about a Mother telling her daughter about a Christmas that happened long ago and far away but as if it were happening in their own stable.  I am so happy to have found this gem.

All in all a great morning!

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Tale of the Little, Little Old Woman - A Flannel Story

 This little, little story is based on the charming book, "The Tale of the Little, little Old Woman", by Elsa Beskow.  I believe it is out of print now, but back in the day when I worked in a toy/book library (best job Ever!) I came across it and adapted it some what and use it in this form.  Over the last two years I have told this story to many, many, little, little two year olds, who are delighted with it.  Maybe you will enjoy it too.

Once upon a time there was a little, little old woman.  She lived in a little, little house.

She had a little, little table.

And a little, little chair.

And a little, little stool.

And she had a cow.

And a cat.

One day the little, little old woman took her pail and went to milk her cow.  And the milk went squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt.

She put the pail of milk onto the little, little table and she went to do her other chores.

Just then, into the house came the cat.  He jumped onto the little, little stool.

And onto the little, little chair.

And onto the little, little table.  And he drank up all the milk.  And he went slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp.

Just then, into the house came the little, little old woman.  And she said, "Scat, you cat!"  (I clap my hands)

The cat jumped down onto the little, little chair.

And onto the little, little stool.  And he ran out of the little, little house.  And he didn't come back......until the very next day.  (Thank-you Fred Penner, Elsa's ending is a little, little less friendly)