Craft Room & Office Reorg Leads to Crazy Crafting Mania!!!

Crafting Cupboard OrganizedMy hubby and kids recently went on their annual Algonquin camping trip.  This is really hard core camping… drive for 3 hours and park your car, unload ALL the food and drink and toiletries and clothes you will need for 4 days, pack it all plus the kids into canoes, canoe for a couple hours, portage over a 1km hike with all your goods, canoe again to your campsite of choice, set up shop there, and … enjoy?????

Okay, I did this sort of “roughing it” camping with my hubby many times before kids, and even 2 or 3 times with our young children, but I surrendered last summer.  I wish I could be an “I love doing everything you love doing” kind of mama, but I am a cottage kind of girl, not a “roughing it for days on end amongst the bears” kind of girl.  I wrestled with this for months on end as last summer’s camping trip approached and finally realized two things:

  1. It’s okay (actually it’s downright great stuff!!) for the kids to have something special they share with dad.
  2. The whole gang will have a better camping trip without me there feeling sleepless, nervous, and fussing over how every little thing is done out in the wild.

So what’s a mom to do with 4 days all to herself in her own home?   [Read more...]

A Great Reason to Pack the IPod on Your Next Family Adventure

Anyone who knows me or has spent a bit of time on my blog knows that I will virtually always choose old fashioned fun over technology related activities.  Some of us are just slower to embrace technology, and I am working at a snail’s pace!!

HOWEVER, on a recent day trip to a beach with my kids, (read that post here) I was awakened to an amazing use for technology as a result of something pretty incredible that my daughter created with a fun little App on her IPod…

It seems that with this IMovie App, the kids can take all those video clips they love to capture and turn them into one amazing piece of high-tech art!!! Who would have thought it possible to justify the use of these hand held gadgets on family outings or holidays?  Certainly not me!

But, I stand corrected.  Having watched the little movie trailer that my daughter and her friends thought up, planned, acted out, and then edited, I consider this little movie to be one of the nicest keepsakes of a fun family adventure that I have come across… and it is always at the kids’ fingertips to see for themselves or share with friends.

What a fabulous way to keep happy memories close at hand!!!

An Amazing Discovery for YOUR OWN Kitchen Garden

I would never have believed this if I had not tried it myself and seen it with my own eyes!  Now that I have, I am sharing this awesome news with you… get ready home grown veggie lovers!!!!

A friend told me this spring that she had read about taking the butt end of a romaine lettuce, planting it in the garden, and watching it produce a whole new head of lettuce.  I was doubtful, but I have had easy success in the past with a similar system of regenerating green onions in my own back garden, so I figured I would give it a try.

It actually worked as you can see from the photos I’ve included in this post!  How incredible to purchase a lettuce and then get another one out of it, fresh from the garden and ready to use whenever you feel like a salad!!  Here’s how I did it… [Read more...]

Pick the Perfect Watermelon Every Time!

watermelonMy kids love all kinds of fruit.

When we have a big crowd to feed on a summer day, I always offer watermelon… but how to make sure that the one I bring home will be perfectly ripe inside?

Here is the no-fail tip I received from a woman working the fruit and veggie tray section of my local grocery store.  I haven’t chosen a bad watermelon since I started using this easy test :

Just pick the heaviest one you can find!  That’s it, that’s all.

Usually watermelons are displayed in groups of similar sized melons.  This makes it easy to judge the relative weight of each one by just picking up one after the other.  It’s surprising, but you can actually feel the difference in weight.  Select the heaviest one and you’ve got a winner!!



Napkin Rings, Anyone? A Fun & Useful Craft

IMG_0563I absolutely delight in old fashioned, simple pleasures…. especially ways to make time shared with family or friends feel extra special, and create a mood of unhurried enjoyment.  As a mother of 3 young, preteen children, my days often feel packed to capacity. We’re on the go at warp speed these days!

When I find an idea that brings a little nostalgia to our daily routines, I hold on to it!

Serving meals accompanied by cloth napkins is the most recent simple pleasure that I have stumbled upon, and it is doing my heart a world of good!   I was intrigued by a close friend’s reports about Laura Calder’s latest cookbook, “Paris Express”, so I picked up a copy to help inspire my culinary offerings as my veggie garden grows.  I use the word “cookbook” as a description of Laura’s book, but it really is so, so much more than what one has come to expect in a cook book type publication.  Reading this book just fills my spirit – from her thoughtful introductions included for each recipe to her snipits of thoughtful ramblings that read more like blog posts relating to food, dining, and the presentation of simple, fresh meals shared in the company of friends.  One such snipit pertaining to the warmth of presentation characterized by the use of actual cloth napkins inspired me to purchase some of my own for my family AND to spend an afternoon crafting napkin rings with my 6 year old daughter. [Read more...]

Family Fun in the Veggie Garden PLUS a Free Printable Garden Plan for YOU!

Veggie Garden in JulyI was born to a family of garden lovers.

When I was growing up, my grandparents babysat my sister and I every day after school and on PA Days at their flower shop.  We would help build boxes, listen to stories while my grandfather cleaned thorns off the roses, and watch as my grandmother created beautiful arrangements while humming her favourite old tunes.

For the past 20 years, my own mother has built a showstopper of a garden surrounding her own home.  She adores roses and perennials, and has reaped some bountiful harvests from her veggie gardens.  Over the past 12 years, she has shared all kinds of gardening wisdom with me as I built my own perennial gardens and veggie gardens.  A day in the garden with my mom is truly a delight, and every week when she visits, one of my favourite things to do is accompany her on a garden tour where she points out what she likes and what can be improved (and how so) in my own gardens.

But nothing is sweeter than watching my own children as they pick cherry tomatoes right off the plant and pop them into their mouths!  It can seem like forever before the tomatoes start ripening toward the middle of August, but they are so worth the wait! [Read more...]