Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Moments

 Fridays are for getting outside and enjoying the bright blue sky and soaking up the sunshine. For celebrating little things like first swing rides and being able to clamber all over the playground without fear. For hope and birdsong and the fresh smell of spring. For shopping with Mummy and sharing lunch with Daddy. For soaking up all the little, crazy, beautiful moments that make up life. 

Enjoy your weekend, friends, and all the lovely messy bits! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Paper Mache Spring Eggs: A Pinterest Inspired Project

I was inspired by the colors, the hope of spring, and the fact that I could actually make them. I pinned them to my 'spring' board way back in the middle of the winter and last week, on the first day of spring, I made them. In fact, I decided that we would make a tradition of celebrating spring day in some form every year. 
One needs a little party when winter lingers on.
We got a dump of snow the next day and resorted to wearing our winter woolies again but it was springtime inside the house. 
These came together simply and are the perfect activity to keep a toddler and baby busy and occupied. 

What you'll need:

Plastic Eggs
Tissue Paper
Blue and Green Food Coloring
Black Tea Bags
Beans, Rice or other grain to fill the eggs (or not)

I combined a couple different ideas for these eggs. I love the idea of coloring eggs but I also wanted to do something that would last beyond just this spring and would make a good activity to do with Kilmeny.

I followed this fabulous tutorial for the eggs. Because I was dying the eggs, I went with all white tissue paper.
I let the girls play with the eggs and got Kilmeny to fill the eggs with some black beans while I made the paper mache mixture.
I divided the mixture into two bowls, adding 4 tea bags to one bowl and a couple drops of blue and green food coloring to the other bowl. Go easy on the food coloring, a little goes a long ways and you want the eggs to be light-colored. At least I did.
While the mixture cooled, I cut the tissue paper into strips and helped Kilmeny fill the remainder of the eggs. And then we taped those little guys all up.
 I also showed her how very cool it was that the eggs made noise when you shook them.

Then the dipping and covering of the eggs began. I didn't let the eggs dry between layers, I just kept dipping and wrapping and dipping and wrapping until the egg was all covered. I then made sure it was somewhat smooth and put it on a tea towel to start drying.
Once the eggs were all done, I left them on a cooling rack overnight. They took at least that long to fully dry. 

And we cleaned up. You may or may not have beans everywhere when you're done.

The next afternoon we splattered the eggs. I used about a tablespoon of brown craft paint and diluted it with water until I was able to get an even splatter with the toothbrush. You want to avoid too much paint on your brush otherwise it tends to make big spots which is okay if you like that sort of thing.
I let the eggs dry again, overnight, but really just a few hours is all that is needed.

And they were done. I love them. And so does Kilmeny.

Happy Spring!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Project 365 -Week 7

March 18- 25

1. On the first day of spring, we made spring eggs! It was such a fun project to do with the girls, a cheap way to decorate for spring and a great hands on activity.

2. I bought the girls matching sandals at a consignment store. Kilmeny loves wearing them around the house and she also loves to include Khaira in her fun. I can't wait for summer for them to wear them all the time!

3. Lunch was going to be a hurried affair after a morning out but I decided to make it fun for the girls and serve it up picnic style in the living room. They loved it! Kilmo was so cute at sharing her apple slices for Khaira to nosh on.

4. This is probably my favorite picture of the girls this spring. I was trying to get a sister picture at the park with them both looking and smiling but I liked this one the best of all the ones I took. This was Khaira's first real park outing and she loved it!

5. I walked up one day and met Jared for chai at the new Remedy Cafe. Best.Chai. Ever.

6. French braids in Kilmo's hair! And her cute profile.

7. I love shopping at the Italian Centre, this sign made me smile.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March Adventures

:: I've been wanting to hit publish on this post all week but a teething baby and toilet training toddler plus colds that hit all of us kind of took priority and that's what my life looks like right now. =) Enjoy this retrospective look at last week's adventures!::

We had a marvelous set of adventures last week, my little family and I. There were lots of firsts like our first all girl road trip which wasn't as glamorous as it sounds. Perhaps when the girls are out of car seats it'll be a different story but we made memories by stopping and visiting my newest less-then-a-week-old nephew and finding a playground when Khaira needed to be fed and Kilmeny needed to run and meeting my brother at Starbucks when I needed some coffee.

Kilmeny is absolutely enthralled by all the animals my parents have, she's quite happy to visit the cows and chickens multiple times each day. 

There was my first big job of catering an event for 150 people and not having Jared there right at first to calm me. 
There was cousin time and sister time. And copious cups of coffee and tea and sampling of all the baked goods. I was gutsy and tried several new recipes which were a hit. There was hockey watching and immense cheering and I was so proud of my brothers in law for winning the hockey tournament with great sportsmanship.

There was tons of food bought, prepared, and eaten. There were snippets of conversation held between busy kitchen times. 
There was lots of Nana time for my little girl. There were late nights and long days. And more coffee. 

 There was time with family but never enough time. And trying to capture the cuteness of the little ones without all the pictures being blurry.

  And there was a drive home again, fueled by coffee, music, and good conversation. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Mattter of Perspective

It hit me the other day just how much our perspective on life changes how we live our lives. Let me elaborate.  I read a number of blogs, I have a decent amount of friends on facebook, and I follow a good many people on Pinterest. It's so easy to become disenchanted with the life I have because it doesn't seem as good as someone else's happy status. The reality of this came to me a couple weekends ago. We were sitting in the sun, eating hotdogs from a sidewalk stand and watching all the people walk by. The stroller held fresh veggies and flour from the farmer's market. Life was good. I could have posted a status about it all but I didn't. I just soaked it all up and cherished the 'perfect' moment. We ran some errands, came home and the girls napped. So did Jared. I took advantage of the quiet and read on the couch, marveling at the afternoon sun. My littlest girl woke up and played happily while I read. 

The rest of the day proceeded as normal- dishes, meals, planning for the week ahead, busy little family. And I stopped and realized just how lovely it all was. Yes, the living room was cluttered by the evidences of life. Yes, there were dishes in the draining rack and more dirty dishes to be done. There was probably a diaper or two on the floor in the girls' room. And I'm fairly certain the dirty laundry was piled high. 

I read an email earlier that day, one of those emails that no one wants to read, from a friend who is walking down a difficult path with health struggles. Life isn't always happy. Or easy. Or good. But there are always beautiful moments when we choose to see them.  

And I chose to see the beauty in the chaos that day. My husband and I don't always agree, in fact, just that morning before our idealistic market excursion we had had a major disagreement. We weren't that happy couple. I let my flesh rule me and I got mad. Past the slightly cute Irish temper mad. I am grateful for grace and forgiveness and for the convicting comments my little toddler makes about Mummy being happy again. 

It's so easy to want more then what I have but I'm choosing to water my grass to make it greener. To live right here in my imperfect, dishes-need-to-be-done house and love my little family.

What moments are you embracing?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Project 365- Week 6

March 10 -17
This was the week of prep for Weekend in the Word. A busy, crazy, adventurous week! 

1. Kilmo chowing down breakfast on the road. The scones that I had baked for the trip down got put on the roof of the van and so I just ordered some muffins with my morning coffee from Starbucks and we were both happy. 

2. Khaira is picking things up now and showing lots of expression and emotion in her play. It is so fun to sit back and observe her! 

3. A little reading in the Saturday afternoon sunlight, I am loving utilizing the library again and finding all sorts of lovely books to read. 

4. One of Kilmeny's favorite parts about visiting Papa and Nana: the cows! I love this picture of her, so innocent and iconic of her right now. 

5. Khaira was my little accompanist in all the shopping errands we did for Weekend in the Word. This is her first time in a shopping buggy and she loved it! 

6. Mr. and Mrs. Kembel were also staying at Mom and Dad's during WitW which made me happy. They were playing with Khaira, reading her stories and making her laugh with their antics. I just love them. The whole family is very special to me. 

7. The one and only picture I have of any of the food that I did at WitW. Friday night snacks. I took it to show Jared since he was driving down that night after work, and I was missing him. A lot. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Project 365- Week 5

1. It was really special having Dad and the boys up for a quick overnight visit. Kilmeny warmed right up to Dad this time which was very special for him.

2. The boys went sledding and took Kilmeny with them so of course I made them hot chocolate when they came inside. 

3. Dad took us out for supper and ice-cream one night. Jared and I shared a banana split, so yum! 

4. Our latest way to teach Kilmeny and keep her focus, trace the alphabet on her hand. She loves it and retains the knowledge so well. This was at Starbucks after one of our famous long walks. 

5. Kilmeny was absolutely glued to the screen of the first few minutes of Eat, Pray, Love. And she kept munching popcorn. So cute. She's not being one for kids' movies at all, but this one kept her attention. 

6. Kilmeny loves to snuggle with Khaira in the mornings and Khaira loves it too! 

7. Khaira at the midwife moms' get together. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Snow Days: A Mostly Pictorial Post


Winter days are made much better by playing in the snow when uncles come to visit. Or when it's just been a long day inside and really, the sledding hill is just across the road and the delight it gives my little girl is worth all the trouble and fuss of snowsuits and two girlies and one mummy. They're made much better when you stop and take deep breaths of the cold crisp air, feel the rush of the wind as you zip down the hill and then trudge up through the snow to do it all over again. There's moments of quiet reflection at the sun sparkles on the snow and peeps through the trees and there's moments of wild laughter and fun as we all piled on the big sled. 

And of course there is piping hot cocoa and marshmallows to finish off the day.

How do you enjoy snow days?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Peaches and Cream and Enjoying the Simple Things

Sometimes when we go away it's all about the food. We take ingredients to make some of our favorite special meals, we plan out menus complete with appetizers and desserts. We make time to create delicious food and memories together. And then sometimes we don't. We eat simply, we nibble throughout the day, and we make do with what we have. 

On our recent trip to the mountains, it was all about simplicity. Even the kitchen was simple, outfitted with the very basic of dishes and utensils. There was a kettle and pretty plates and two mugs, the perfect shape for wrapping our hands around after a brisk walk. 

Time was our friend and so we decided to have a leisurely brunch of pancakes, freshly whipped cream, peaches and eggs. And coffee, of course. 
 The pancakes came together quickly with the homemade mix.
The peaches came from a jar, sealed in the heat of summer and tasting of the sunshine that we will see again, soon, I hope. 
And the cream, it was whipped by hand by my awesome husband. He's the kind of guy who believes that there is a solution to every problem. You just might have to work a little harder and dig a little deeper but the answer is always there. I flipped pancakes, set the table, and ground coffee while he whipped cream. It was worth it. Totally worth it. 

Tips for  creating your own special breakfast:
Work with what you have- use a big pot to mix up pancake batter if there's only one bowl.

Make it a good experience  for everyone- let the toddler nibble on pancake while you bustle around making everything else. Especially when she's already been awake for several hours.
Enjoy the details- fresh coffee in mismatched mugs, tiny table crowded with good food, sunlight streaming in through windows that give an incredible view of the mountains.

Make it pretty- take a few extra minutes to plate the food or sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee.

 A simple breakfast but made so much more enjoyable but slowing down, enjoying the whole process and savoring each bit.

What do you do to make meal time special?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Project 365 - Week 4

The Lovely Ordinary. Simple Beauty. Moments Captured. 

1. Khaira is such a sparkly baby, her big eyes are full of light and sparkles when she's happy which is most of the time. I feel blessed. 

2. I took some time to finally make Kilmeny's deepest wish (on that day) come true. We went sledding on the perfect sledding hill just across the street. She was delighted. 

3. Authors, the game of choice when my younger sisters in law come over. They baby sat for us on the weekend and spent the night so we could have some girl time of shopping, a tea party at which we ate tons of scones and giggled, and played Authors. It was a good day. 

4. Jared's brother had a birthday and we got to share in the cake and well wishes. A late night but totally worth it. 

5. An unexpected gift-time at Starbucks without my girls. I had to deliver a food order and a friend was watching my sleeping girlies. I was early for the delivery and got to enjoy a salted caramel mocha and people watch. Lovely. 

6. Middle of the winter blahs are made much better by fun food. 

7. Khaira is definitely sitting up now, by herself and very happy to be doing so.

 Enjoy your weekend, friends! All the lovely, messy, and unexpected moments.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

If I Just Have Today

I snuggled her a little closer, savoring the way her body still fit in my arms. I rocked and I sang, watching her little chest breathe. In and out. Her breathing slowed, she sighed. Contentment. Peace. I kissed her little cheek, so soft and round, whispered in her ear, 'I love you, my little Khaira Tatiana Monique'. She stirred just a bit as I laid her down in the cradle made of wood, made with love by her Grandpa. 

Moments earlier I had covered her older sister up, all cozy with blankets and dolls, whispered 'I love you' as I closed the door. 

 I want to remember these moments. These ones that everyone tells me go so fast. I don't want to blink and miss it all. 

If I just have today, I want to hold my baby and just drink her all of the little details about her. She's almost 7 months, where did that time go? If I just have today, I want to tickle my toddler and watch her as she giggles, mouth wide open, eyes all crinkled. I want to hear her say ' 'ix it, Mummy' when I still can, when all that is broken is a little toy easily put together again. I won't always be able to fix it, I won't be able to always just kiss away all her owies and right her little world again. 

There are no guarantees.

Children hoped for but still the cradle sits empty and the heart aches with grief and questions. Death, sudden and totally unexpected. He was so young, my brother's age, living a life full of possibility and now, he's gone. A grandma, called a queen by all those who knew her, tall and stately has said goodbye to her husband, leaving him to walk alone with his memories of a lifelong love.

We hope for fullness of life, we wish it for others, we sometimes take it too much for granted.

I watched parents cuddle their little son earlier this week, laughing together in the way parents do until their laughter was interrupted by the doctor. And the reality that they live with every day hit me. I heard the gentle rocking and whispering of a mother soothing her little one and was amazed to see all the tubes hooked up to such a little body. I watched two sisters chatting with each other, sharing another one of life's moments and deepening their friendship. The older leaning on the younger for support. I saw a beautiful girl just on the brink of womanhood, eyes still hopeful and bright but with a battle ahead of her as her body fights and her soul trusts. 

And so I take time. I lie on the floor, making direct eye contact with my baby and ignore the fact that the carpet desperately needs vacuuming. We make funny faces and take pictures. Our laughter fills the room. All that they say about having floor time with your toddler is true, it really is one of the most important things to do each day. 

I feel the fear subside. I breathe. Asking for peace for myself and for others. 

It comes. 

Heartache doesn't vanish overnight. 
Gut-wrenching grief isn't just wiped away. 

But there's a promise of peace in the valley, a light in the darkness, and God's presence to hold onto in the rocky storm. 


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