Friday, February 26, 2016

Winter Days

We have kept ourselves busy and winter is rushing by. We are warming up and the garden is on our minds. Already we are starting to spend hours on end outside and the kids are getting dirty again and needing a bath every single night. We have spent a good part of our winter this year pairing down what we own. We live in a very small house compared to what other people might think appropriate for a family of five. I am coming to understand that I can be happier in my home if I have less stuff. Not only does it give me more time as I don't have to maintain so much but my closets look clean and I feel less overwhelmed. I have been contemplating becoming a minimalist. When I really look at the way we live and have lived we are almost there anyway. We are not big consumers and we don't spend much money on possessions. We rarely buy new clothing for ourselves and if I need to shop for clothes I have taken to the local thrift store because they have some amazing stuff (we can thank the limited number of second hand stores in our wealthy neighborhoods for that). I bought most of our Christmas gifts second hand if they were not homemade and we don't own much stuff in order to survive our close quarters. Recently I have found a couple of articles to be very inspiring to me and they got me started on making hard decisions about some of our possessions in the past few weeks. You can see them here and here. I guess all that I need to do now is except that I am going to be a minimalist and move on forward with it.

As I scroll through these pictures I can see that we already have very carefully chosen the items in our home and most of what is left after my de-cluttering makes my heart sing. You can see that my kids have stayed busy and they are often creating beautiful messes. I took some photos of my kids room. They all share it and today I went through and put all of their clothes into that one dresser. My boy's clothes were in cubes in the small closet and I thought I would have to get rid of a lot to fit it all into one drawer per child. I was pleasantly surprised when almost everything fit with room to spare.

I love it when my kids are helpers and I am trying to relax and just let them do what they want to help. I was busy with something else in the house and they got interested in dishes. When I came into the kitchen I found them on chairs and in their underpants washing away. They did a good job and they soaked the floor.

My boy is into pirates from time to time and he recently decided he was going to build a pirate ship. He rounded up the supplies and cut some of it out. He made the mast all by himself and tried to make the ship. When he found it very hard for his little hands and muscles to cut the cardboard he came to me and asked me to help. He told me what shapes to cut and where to put the tape. Honestly I had no idea what I was building I just followed his requests and when it was all done I was a little shocked to see the perfectly formed pirate ship. He had visualized the ship in space and converted it into two dimensions in his head in order to give me the instructions to cut and tape, and put it into 3D. What a guy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


As the snow was melting outside we were hoping for more. We decided to celebrate Winter by cutting out snowflakes.

We have done this before but this year my kids were interested and able to help. One thing we did discover, is that kid scissors are not fun. My kids get really frustrated and really struggle when cutting and I think the kid scissors are the culprit. They are dull and hard to maneuver. As soon as I let my boy use my scissors he was a cutting machine. He was so happy to be able to create awesome snowflakes. 

I would draw the patterns on for him and then color them in so he didn't get confused on which lines to cut. That method seemed to work pretty well.

We made a huge pile together. They look so pretty in our windows. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Winter Gardens

This is the back yard under the clothesline.

Over by the chicken coop. We got a new one can you tell?

By the back door.

This is middle of the back yard.

A view out front.

It always amazes me the contrast of summer and winter in my gardens. The snow is melting in these photos so I wanted to capture it before it was gone. It looks like a new and different world. I had a hard time identifying what some of these photos were of. I didn't clean it up much in the fall. We did the important stuff like leaves off the fruit trees, but I like to let most of the leaves from the maple trees gather around the perennials for extra winter protection. Normally we rake the front as there is a lot of leaves out there in the Autumn but the wind storm came and cleaned up our yard before it snowed. I can't believe that by the end of February we will be out working in yard moving dirt, building compost and getting ready to plant early spring greens. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Birthday Bonanza

On the heels of the New Year we have another birthday. This time it was the youngest turning 3. She is learning all about the birthday spirit from her older sister, who has been obsessed with her own birthday from the time she was 2. 

After all the Holiday extravaganzas we played it simple with some cupcakes. She requested them and normally I would have gone to the fancy cupcake shop down the street but I was feeling tired so I just bought some from the grocery store. 

The birthday table is always fascinating. This girl is going to be my gift spoiler for sure. She already knew what was in some of the presents because she went snooping in my room and found them early. She also snuck into some of them on the table and peeked into the wrapping. She just can't contain her excitement I guess. 

We went to Target to spend some gift cards that Auntie sent us. The girls were so excited to pick out what they wanted. They picked out these boats, which were not in the toy section but in the home decor section. At first I was happy, then surprised, then unsure as I didn't know if they would be safe for kids as toys. After a close inspection I decided that they were built well enough ans let them get them.

She wanted macaroni and cheese for her birthday but I was still in lazy mode after the Holidays so we just went out to a kid friendly restaurant and had fun. I didn't even offer her the party option as I just wanted it to be an easy birthday. She had a great time and got just what she wanted to eat. 

Cotton candy birthday fun. 

Back home for the most important part of the, cupcakes, and ice cream

I got her a dolly too. She needed a soft stuffed doll as her sister has two. 

Her special time before the cake. Her birthday story is the shortest as she is the youngest. 

It can get serious around here fast.

What a honey.

She got some wonderful gifts. 

We had a very happy 3rd birthday for our wild child. She is silly, spunky, animated, intense, loud, wiggly, and smart with an amazing memory. Happy Birthday to my littlest one!

Monday, February 15, 2016

New Years Boat Race

Every year we celebrate the new year by folding some origami boats and setting them free in the local river. We each pick a color and cheer our boats on as we follow them along the shore. We had a rough New Years day so we did our family activity a day late. The kids didn't know the difference. It was super cold out and the world was still a paradise of ice. 

After the race we went to warm up at a local book store. While we were there we got some hot chocolate from our favorite restaurant which is adjoining the bookstore. They sell the best hot chocolate in town. My youngest spilled hers in the book store on the information counter. Go figure, let there never be a dull moment.