Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Crafty

Church was cancelled for the second Sunday in a row, so our cooped in children
needed something to keep them occupied.  
The weather raged outside, and since there was nothing better 
to do we made cinnamon applesauce ornaments.

They are a cinch to make, but maybe a bit too easy.  The older girls
only lasted one ornament.  The little ones held out until we ran out of dough.
They loved it.

Graedon, forever the ham, really went to town on this activity.

He sort of looks like a TV evangelist in this picture.

Eva, poking a pattern into her ornaments.

Pretty, no?  And they smell heavenly!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Eva turns 8!

Our Eva turned 8 in October.
Horse lover, mama trainee and compassionate friend, she is a special gal.
Here's to a wonderful, smart, gentle girl who loves as big as the sky.
My first attempt at fondant...I should have started out with something simpler than horses.  Like a ball.

Work-Away Experience

When Richard and I first found out that this was the summer he would be having his hips replaced, we
signed up for a program called WorkAway.  The idea is to 
host a worker, usually a young person wanting to travel and experience a different culture,
and to trade room and board for a few hours of work every day.

For months, after several dozen requests to interesting participants,
we got nothing.

Summer passed and whadaya know?

We got an e-mail from a Japanese lady who said she could come the next week.

And that's how we met Toni.

We picked her up at the bus stop on a dreary, rainy evening.  She stayed with us for almost a month.
We got a lot done around the house with her help.  It's incredibly motivating to get things done
when you have to fill 3 hours of a workawayer's time with chores.  The bathroom was painted,
the windows washed, the gardens winterized and so much more.

Another plus was that it threw us into tourist mode.  We showed Toni around our little town,
and in so doing, we were able to see our home with new eyes.
Everything was exciting and new to Toni, and we were able to realize that
yes, we do live in a pretty great place, full of beauty and quiet excitement.

We took the time to go biking.

We discovered a waterfall we had never seen before, just minutes from home. 

We feasted, Japanese style. 

We went whale watching. 

The best part?

Getting to know a wonderful young woman who has become a friend to the whole family.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Dreadful Time

My Maddie, she of the independent mind and driven spirit, decided that she wanted dreadlocks.
The sheer commitment of it made me a bit leary.  They are permanent, after all.
Still, there was a part of me that applauded Maddie all the way.
It isn't usual to have such a self-assured 9 year old, one who is confident in her
values and beliefs and hairstyles.
And, so, after a serious talk of how this may impact her life (or hair, at least), and
a proper deciding time period, Maddie took the plunge.
Figuring out sections.
We booked our appointment, meaning we called up friend A and told her
we were comin' avisitin. 

Sectioned and ready to roll, or twist.
Four hours of twisting, ripping and locking, and we were done.

Four hours and hand cramps later.  Dreaded!
It's looking mighty dreadful, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
I am very proud of Maddie for having the confidence to take such a big step
toward independence.  She knows what she wants, and she goes for it.
She has the strong personality I only wish I had.
She is the kind of girl who will go far in life, and it is exciting to watch her develop
into the woman she is becoming. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bed and Breakfast Boy

Graedon is an early riser, and an early breakfaster.  I, on the other hand, am more of a laid back riser.  That is, I prefer to be laid back, sleeping, and forget the rising part.  It takes me a good half hour to really wake up.  The half hour must include a shower and a cup of coffee.  

Just one cup.

Which I refill several times.

Anyway, one morning not too long ago, Graedy was in the kitchen waiting for me.  Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed he was.  Of course, the little man was hungry and proceeded to tell me so in great detail.

"Mom!  Mom!  Can you make me some eggs?"


"I'm really hungry.  I want some eggs."

"Graedon...just...I need...just wait...I'm going to have a bath and...ugh...I can make eggs after."

Frown.  "But, I'm really hungry."

"You can wait just 10 minutes.  I'll be done in *yawn* soon."

So, I took a bath.  In my stupor, I overlooked the clanging and the singing and the drawers slamming.  Once I was properly awake (though still uncaffeinated), I emerged from the bathroom to this:

Fried eggs.

My little guy had hauled out the cast iron frying pans (no easy feat when they weigh as much as you do), turned up the heat to maximum, and cracked those eggs into the heat.  Once I got over the adrenaline rush of finding my 5 year old cooking unsupervised, I was able to appreciate the huge step of independance he had displayed.

Sure, the eggs were black and crunchy in spots, but they sure did look good to Graedy.
And, his proud smile sure did look good to me.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Back To School 2013

Another summer has passed us by, and here we are
Back to School
Homeschool changes as often and as thoroughly
as our family grows.
What worked last year may need to be tweaked.
Subjects are added, activities are dropped.
This year we welcome a change to a
simpler, funner grammar program.
Math is less formal, and more fun.
I aim to include more crafts and handiwork.
We've also started Cottage School.
A gifted teacher from our church has welcomed several families
under her wing.  Once a week, the children
gather and learn together -
art, drama, history, nature...
A break for mama, and a break for kiddos.
It's been good.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Road Trippin'

You know, when you've just had it and the days are long and your brain is tired and you're just gonna

So you decide to leave the kids with the hubby, get in the van and see where it takes you?

Yeah, I thought you'd know.

I set off on a quest for peace, quiet and think time.
I aimed for a rejuvenation of the spirit.  I also hoped to prove to myself
that I wasn't an old fogie, scared to step out of the box and be wild and adventurous.

I was afraid I'd turned into one of those.

My adventure started out innocently enough, with a drive down Broadway.  
This dog in the window perfectly set the tone for my adventure.  
Carefree, rebellious, devil-may-care.
Remember when they didn't have laws and you could ride all the way to 
Florida sunning yourself in the back window of the car?

Right, never been to Florida. But I've been down Broadway.

Adventures are always more fun with friends.  
I picked up my fellow road tripper on the way.

We saw a Bookmobile!  Very similar to a Batmobile, only so much cooler.

It's filled with books!  That you can borrow!  
Baby A. loves books.  

Beauty and order in unexpected places.

Emu farms, just begging to be discovered.  Emu farmers telling tales.

Wannabe hippies and the stores that fit their needs.  I finally bought myself a pair of
Thai Fisherman pants.

I love.

E. helping herself from the orginal roadstand.  We're so alike.
I've never known anyone else to jam on the brakes of a car
just to get out and collect weeds.
You must collect weeds.  Especially tasty ones.

Only in rural New Brunswick would it be considered safe 
to ask the advice of a burly man in a pick up when lost.
Only in rural New Brunswick would it seem perfectly fine
to follow the washed out cow trail with only the promise
of high tide beaches at the end.

Low and behold.
Burly men in pickups rock.

The ocean.  There's naught like it.

We quickly became beach bums.

Crabs, though delicious, were replaced with pizza for supper.

And crepes for dessert.
Have you had crepes, lately?  No?
Run, run, to the nearest crepe stand.
Or my house.
I can make you crepes.  Oh, yes, I can.

Without E. and the power of friendship and roadtrippin' bravado
I would never have experienced this jaw droppingly beautiful yarn store.

I wish I'd taken pictures of the handmade buttons.

Remember how we brake for weeds?  We brake for this, too.
Artisan Village.
Two words that make my heart go pitter patter,
and my foot to involuntarily smash the brake pedal to the floor.

Seriously.  This belongs in my house.
I only dream of making such beauty.

Last stops to old love nests reveal tiny shops and friendly antiquitaires.
Christmas presents and memories buried in every corner.

Then home, with a lighter spirit and a hopeful heart.

It does a soul good to get away.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

He's Hip. He's Cool.

Gen, Richard and Eva at the hospital.

Here we are, almost a month later, and I still need to post about Richard's brand-spanking new hip.  He had his left hip replaced on July 10th, and spent 5 days in the hospital.  He's doing really well.  He is building up his strength, and every day he seems a bit stronger and more confident in his abilities.  His biggest complaint is that he still doesn't have the go ahead to do his favourite chores, like driving and mowing the lawn.  He is a bit cabin-crazy, but, he's got a new hip.  So. 

The surgeon would like to replace his right hip as soon as the left one heals.  We see him again on the 26th, so we'll know more then.  Until that day, we carry on.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I helped Richard put the chickens away tonight.  I went into the chicken coop and swung the inside door shut, my mind on other things...the garden, putting up the pea fence, making jam.  

I heard the flap of wings, and the squawk.  I knew what it was before I felt it.  I shouldn't have been so scared.  But when that 10 pound chicken landed on my head, and embedded its talons into my messy bun hairdo, well.  Well.  I screamed like I was on fire.  I screamed bloody murder for my husband to save  me. 

He heard me from the green house, shrieking his name.  By the time he made it into the coop, the chicken had disengaged its legs from my hair and flown to safety.  I was standing there with my face in my hands, crying like a little girl.  My chest was heaving, the tears were flooding my face and I couldn't breathe.  I can't remember the last time I bawled so hard.  

What could he do?  He had missed the action, and he couldn't make out what happened through the squeaks and hiccups and sobs.  So he just held me.  And we just stood there.  And I just cried.  

Potato Bug Scam

It's gardening season!  We have our very own potato patch this year, and the potato bugs are just starting to discover it.  The kids are employed as Official Potato Bug Catchers, at a rate of 1 penny per bug.  Doesn't sound like much, but at the height of the season, that's about a candy bar per day!

This morning, Graedon collected all his bugs in a bucket so I could count them.  He watched them for a bit, and a crafty smile came to his face.  "Hey, Mom!  They're mating!  I'm going to let them.  Then, there will be lots and lots of bugs and I'm going to win!"

He's a smart little bug-ger.

Help Wanted

We've had quite a few people ask how they can be of help during Richard's surgery and recovery.  We're not great on-the-spot thinkers, and there's always the temptation to say, "Oh, no!  Don't bother!  We'll be fine."  Truth is, we really could use the help, and we're  more than thankful for the offers.  This isn't the time for pride.  After all, it's more a blessing to give than to receive, and who am I to stand in the way of your blessings?  I take the same stance with Christmas presents.  :)

I also know what it's like to want to help, but then feel at a loss of what to actually help with.  Here's a few ideas:

1)  Pray for us.  Very easy, and super helpful.  We're praying for a safe surgery, no complications, a smooth transition to being home with a new hip, and the kids coping with all the changes.

2)  We'll be housebound for quite a while after Rich gets home, so we'll no doubt get a bit shack-whacky.  If you'd like to come visit and keep us sane and socialized, you're welcome!  Please, call first.  We want to make sure we're dressed :)

3)  Coming to visit?  Give us a call and see if there's anything we need from the grocery store.  Rich can't drive, and my time out will be sporadic.

4)  Meals....always welcome.  And delicious.

5)  Are you more the practical type?  How about mowing some lawn, weed-whacking or weeding the garden patch?  Muchos gracias.

6)  The kids love the park!  They love doing crafts.  They like playing with other kids.  They like eating.  If that sounds like that you love to do, invite them along.  Rich and I might enjoy the rest, and the kids will love the change of pace.

7)  Just be there.  We love you and appreciate you!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Good-bye Cabbage, and Houdini Chickens

We free-range our chickens, just like we free-range our kids.  It's something I really believe in, but I've just found out that they've been eating my little cabbage and broccoli plants from the garden.  The chickens, not the kids.  They've also been laying fewer eggs, which makes no sense since the weather is gorgeous and they're eating like pigs.  Again, the chickens, not the kids.

So, Richard and I came up with a plan of attack.  We wouldn't free-range them anymore, at least not until they quit eating my produce and stepped it up a notch with the egg laying.

Now, our coop is actually an old baby barn.  There's a heavy outside door, and a lighter inside door.  They both shut pretty snugly.  This afternoon I glanced out the window and there the chickens were, pecking away at my plants.  What?!  How?!  Obviously, someone must have let them out.

I rallied up the troops and asked them who had opened the doors to let the chickens out.  Nobody did it.  Wasn't us.  Then how? asked I.

Simple.  According to my eldest, all thirteen chickens huddled together, leaned their collective weight against the barn door and shoved it open.  Just like a scene from Chicken Run.

They did it again today.  Smart chickens.


Summer is here, and I'm tired.  There.  I said it.  I admit that I am not super-mom or super-woman or super-cook or anything else super.  I am behind in school, I am grouchy with the kids and I can't seem to get myself in any gear other than slow.  Maybe it's the fault of lingering on the brink of healthy and sick, or perhaps being back into the swing of lone-parenting that happens on summer weekends.  Perhaps it's attending three births in as many weeks.  It might even just be the normal wear and tear of being the adult in this place.

Richard is cramming as many work hours as possible into the short amount of time left before his surgery.  I'm used to dealing with the kids, but doing it alone at night is a bit more taxing.  I celebrated a successful weekend of single-momness by changing my Facebook status to reflect how we all made it through in one piece.  A real-life single mom took offense, telling me that that was her life day in and day out for the last five years.  In short, shove it, Sister, I don't know how good I have it to be part of a full family with a supportive partner.  Well, yes, I do.  It makes it all the more difficult when the work weekends happen.  I don't think it means I need to feel any less thankful for getting the kids and myself through it without a trip to the ER.  Shove it, Sister, indeed.

Anyway.  Nuff whining.  I am not fit to be around this evening.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It Ain't Pretty....

...but it's borderline acceptable.

With Richard needing extra help around the yard this summer, the job fell on me.
I don't mind.  I just hope he doesn't.

I've never successfully weed-whacked before.  I've never successfully whipper-snipped, either.
So, I think that for a first time, I did okay.

After a half-hour, my legs were unsteady, I was sweating, my
hands shook like jelly and my muscles felt like I'd just bench pressed a water buffalo.
Richard (who has very high standards that he can't keep from enforcing) intentionally
 refused to look my way, which is
exactly what a man who wishes to stay married ought to do.
I'm still waiting for the shaking to stop.

Okay, so the job isn't to professional standards.  Under the trampoline kind of reminds me 
of the time Eva gave herself a haircut.  

Let's be honest, though.  Trimming isn't about pretty.  It's about destroying any potential
breeding grounds for alders and copperhead snakes.  

I think I succeeded at that.

Considering all I had to work with was a gas powered stick and a spinning piece of nylon string, 
I think I did just fine.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Poor June-Bug (wow, Gen hasn't been called that in ages!  That was my mom's pet name for the little rascal.)

Oh, wait.  First a story, while we're on the topic of June bugs.  Months ago, Richard rented a movie for date night.  It was about a girl and a boy and his best friend, and they all go skiing.  Romantic, right?  Well, it was until the boyfriend got eaten by a pack of wolves, and then his friend slides off to the rescue and he gets eaten by a pack of wolves.  Anyway, since that date night I've been scared of going outside by myself after dark.  You know, in case a wolf eats me.

Last night, with Rich gone to Memramcook to work, I realized at 10:30 pm that I forgot to lock the chicken coop.  Next to being eaten by a wolf, having the chickens eaten by a fox or coon or skunk is a pretty real possibility.  I put on my big girl panties and my gum rubbers and left the safety of the house to go take care of the chickens.  My muscles were tense and my eyes scanned the lawn for any signs of carnivores.  And then!  Then, I was viciously attacked by a June bug!  It whammed into my head, got it's sticky legs caught in my hair and met it's death in a flurry of screaming and hands batting.  Now I need to add one more thing to my irrational fears.

Anyway, poor Gen.  She's sick.  I'm sick.  We're all going to get sick.

But at least we're not going to be eaten by wolves.  As long as we stay inside.  Where it's safe.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I've recently gone "back to school" to become a Certified Women's Health Educator.  It's pretty intense, but I love what I'm studying so I don't really mind.  Last week's lesson was on nutrients.  I spent a good 15 hours on the lesson.  Considering that's on top of everything else, it has been somewhat tiring.

I never learned to study properly in high school, and therefore had a very difficult time in CEGEP.  I studied like a mad woman during my electrolysis course, and it paid off big time with a high nineties average.  I was living in Ontario for that, though, with Maddie and Richard in New Brunswick.  There were no distractions!  Maybe I should move out for the year?  Not a chance!

So, just for interest's sake, here's my plan of attack, study-style:

I read the information in the course book, taking notes all the while and highlighting important stuff.  This is difficult, because it's all important and I need to remind myself to use good judgement.  I then answer all the study questions on pen & paper by re-reading.  I review my notes, which usually involves yelling down the stairs, "Hey, Richard!  Did you know your liver can only process 266 mcg of folic acid per day and that any extra can be detrimental to your health and cause cancer?!"  I attend the tele-class, which is again mostly the same info.  I participate in the student forums and discuss points I may not have completely understood.  I then type up my study questions and further cement it in my mind.  Next comes the Applied Learning Project, which takes hours of research and honing.  Then, I happily turn the page and go on to the next lesson.

Lucky for me, SIL K (silk?) has been watching the younguns an afternoon per week, and Richard has promised me some free babysitting.  Schoolwork is so much more effective without the kids underfoot.

My intent is to hold workshops and mini-courses for women's health.  I'm also wanting to fashion a childbirth class that focuses on whole-being natural health.  There is nothing like that in our area, and it is sorely needed.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our House, On The Corner of Our Street (Not Really)

We moved out of our home for a few months.  Not because we wanted to, really, but because
there was no way we could function in the dead of winter with no running water, no kitchen and 
gaping holes in the walls.  Our contractor extraordinaire tore apart our home and 
put it back together.  Correctly.  We've never lived in a correctly
built house before.  It's kind of nice.  I highly recommend it

Here's our new living room!

 Our new rec room in the basement!

Maddie's new room!

 Our bathroom!  Just a note, that tub is so comfortable.  I think we've
had more baths in the last 3 weeks than all year.

Kitchen!!  It's functional!  It works!  Yay!

Our new dining area!

It's not all fun and games, this new house.  We're still getting used to it.  
This morning, in a fog of sleepiness,  I tried to open the blackboard wall to get some 
milk.  That used to be the fridge.  Now it's a black board wall!!  
Yep, it takes some getting used to.  But we're willing to do that.  

I have a functional kitchen!!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

And, Blink, a Month Has Passed

Forrest Gump said, "Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're gonna get."  So true. 

Personally, I think life is more like those crazy rollercoasters.  You get in, coast along uphill thinking it's not nearly as scary as they say.  Then, WHAM! Suddenly you're dropping at the speed of light, turning sharp to the left, to the right, fake left, right some more.  Your little car rattles and heaves and just barely makes the loop-de-loop.  Luckily the power of inertia keeps the loose bolts pressed against the floor.  You slow down to a stop and you pray thanks to God that you made it in one piece, only to have the ride flung into reverse.  Finally, the ride ends and you step out on shaky legs, unsure of where your lunch landed but definetly sure that you never want to sit in those sticky seats again.

Yes, so, a month has passed since my last blog post and life has been good.  Really. 

We underwent some major renovations to the house, and after a 2 month stint in a rental house, we are back home.  It was rather nice not to have internet, a car or even regular phone service. I missed surprisingly little on Facebook, as it turns out. 

The house is awesome.  I will post pics.

I attended a beautiful homebirth in early February.  A handsome baby boy, born in the wee hours of the morning, following a crazy snowstorm.  The birth team almost didn't make it.

Weasels ate our rabbits.  The rooster is plotting to kill me.  My bees made it through the winter!  The garden is shaping up in my head.  Homesteading is going great.

Maddie and Richard both turned a year older. 

I have enrolled in courses to become a Certified Women's Health Educator.  I can't wait to start.  It's been almost 15 years since I've been in school, so it will be tough to get back into the swing of things.  The online courses will give some freedom, but will require a lot more discipline.  We'll figure it out.

Richard is awaiting surgery.  He'll be getting brand-spanking new hips.  I've decided that I can't ever top a birthday gift like that, so he'll be getting ties from now on.

There's more, I'm sure, but right now I'm white-knuckled on the roller car's safety bar. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Doula Emilie

Wanna check out my new website?  Here it is:  Enjoy, and pass it on!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another Homeschool Update

Learning about the different parts of a plant.

Learning about the Jewish people in our history program.  That lesson was on Joseph.
I don`t have any pictures of this, but we`ve also been diagramming sentences.  Predicate nominatives, adverbs and all that jazz.  Yawn.  Seriously.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Graedon's Fifth Birthday Party

Turning 5 is a big deal at our house.  That's the magic age when you get to
invite your buddies over for a Friend Party!  A Friend Party is well
worth capitalizing, let me tell you.
Graedon had a car themed party.  Here's his race track cake:
We decorated in construction theme colours.

There was even a car wash!  It didn't last very long, sadly.  The kid thought it was a punching ball activity.

The much anticipated gift opening...

The kids all had a rowdy good time.
I am very excited for bedtime, personally.  That's when I'll break out
Graedon's new Lego sets! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Home Remedies

I'm considering taking a 2 year course in Family Health Education.  I'm not close to my final decision, but if it happens, I'm hoping to start in the fall. 

A big part of the course is homeopathy.  We do a fair bit already.  Here are a few examples:

Graedon got a nosebleed yesterday.  I made a yarrow compress for his nostril.  The bleeding stopped almost immediately.

Maddie stepped on a bee this summer.  I removed the stinger and applied some crushed plantain leaves.  The burning got better very quickly.

I was recently at a birth where the mother used grapefruit and lavender essential oils for aromatherapy.  I've also used peppermint as a pick-me-up.

During cold season I make up a jar of honey based cough syrup.  It smells like Christmas, and tastes pretty darn good.  The great thing is that kids under 6 (but over 1) can take it.  I searched high and low for pharmaceutical cough syrup that was approved for kids under 6, with no success.

Stomach problems?  We use peppermint tea.

Nausea?  Wood sorrel does the trick.

Now, obviously, those are pretty common cures for pretty common ailments.  It is nice to see them work on my own family, and even better to know that they are treating their issues without having to deal with chemical side effects. 

And, really, honey cough syrup just goes down so much easier than Buckleys!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Baby Belly Caster

My little shadow!  I've been doing quite a bit of belly casting lately, and it seems little Gen has decided to try her hand at it.  I've seen some beautiful bellies, but I think this one might be my favourite.  Who can resist?  I'm a bit biased, of course.
I'm working on a couple right now.  I'm reinforcing the casts, then will be sanding and painting them.  I'll post some picture once they're all done. 
You won't belly-ve how they've turned out!