Friday, May 31, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} on May 31

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Brought to you by Like Mother, Like Daughter


This is a dresser we pulled out of one of our old, racoon-inhabited sheds! (I'm not sure if it's technically a dresser or a sideboard, or something else.)

Micah had to do some repairs to put it all back together, and it needed a good cleaning. I've treated some of it with Murphy's Oil Soap - you can see I haven't done the doors yet - and I'll probably go over the whole thing again. It's in pretty rough shape, but I rather like it!

I had originally thought of putting it in the upstairs hall to use as linen storage, because this old house is lacking in closets and most of my linens are just in plastic tubs. But then we brought it into the dining room to work on, and it kind of became a sideboard! Now I can't decide what to do with it. It's a little crowded with the current furniture arrangement. I know it's in danger of becoming a stuff collector, but I do like having a place for pretty things or extra serving dishes, etc.


Arden loves to ride on the lawn tractor with Daddy! This was the eve of her third birthday. (Another birthday post to come soon!)

She just sings and sings over the noise of the tractor.

Special times together.


Somebody has decided crayons are good to eat.


It was just a regular, after dinner evening walk by the river. And then, Micah found these in the bullrushes and mud. . .

And then THIS. . .

An old carriage wheel! Those spokes are wood, surprisingly not rotted away, and the hub and wheel itself are metal. Isn't it amazing?

And to finish off today's post, a little girl who fell asleep waiting for Mommy to read her a story. I was getting Jack settled, and she was just too tired to keep her eyes open. . .

Don't worry, I read The Three Bears to her the next night. :)

round button chicken


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ongoing rhythm

We are still working out our rhythm over here. Seasons of the earth and seasons of the children's lives change, and we find different ways to make our family music together. Some days we get carried away by a delightful descant, or a bit lost in improv, and that's ok. Other days we forget our notes altogether and everything seems out of sync and out of tune. But we aim for some kind of steady rhythm to keep us moving on the ancient paths while singing our own new song.

This is the beat that keeps us moving well:

- Being "ready for the day" while the day is still young
- Cleaning up after meals as close as possible to the meal itself
- Having dinners planned in advance
- Lots of time outside (hours, ideally) - gardening, yardwork, biking, playing, walking
   * Kids get tired out, house stays tidier! We all win!
- Story time and book rests in the afternoon
- A clean dining room and kitchen before bed

Repeating patterns:

- Bible reading and prayer time (sometimes with singing) around 10:00 am
- Memory verse at lunch time (new idea!)
- Family Bible reading at supper

Notes to hit every day:

- Music (singing, playing piano or drums, dancing in the kitchen)
- Books
- The Great Outdoors


- Art/crafts (I need to get more organized with ideas, as this does not come naturally to me)
- Games or activities (Again, more organization needed!)
- Playdates and outings

I see how a daily rhythm helps Arden (first we put away the cutlery, then we read the Bible in the living room...), and how it helps me (clear the table first...) to stay on track without having to think about things too much - ah, the power of habit! I want to make sure we are wearing paths in the right direction.


Friday, May 10, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} The beach, the kite, the bear, and the bush!

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Brought to you by Like Mother, Like Daughter

It's been a while, but here we are - right in the middle of spring and all the busyness it brings. We've been experiencing lots of outdoor contentment, good for the soul after a long winter.


When Mom was visiting we took our first trip to the beach this spring! This is up near Dalvay-by-the-Sea (The White Sands Hotel, for those of you familiar with the Anne of Green Gables movies or Road to Avonlea.) How refreshing! We even found some beach glass.

She loves the water

Run, Mommy, run!

Arden wanted us to have a nap on the beach!

Getting the sand out of her boots

Jack was eager to join in the sandy fun

Up the dune

I can't wait for more beach days!


In cleaning out one of the old sheds (more on that later), Micah found an old plastic kite. Arden was so excited - whenever we watch Mary Poppins she wants to fly a kite! It had a hole in it, but with a bit of tape it was made flightworthy again.

Arden is running out to meet Daddy, who is lying down on the kiteflying job!

A perfect spring evening

The camera card filled up just as I started taking the kite pictures. Oh well, I'm sure there will be more to come in days ahead!


My sister, known to Arden as Auntie Jenny, sent us a giant Winnie-the-Pooh bear! He has been made part of the family, as you can see.

I made sure Pooh Bear had some toast as well, though I insisted he did not need jam!

Thanks Auntie Jenny! (You can check out her new blog home, Chickadee Manor!)


Lots of work being done on the properties these days! We rented a chipper on Wednesday, and between Micah and I working together in the morning, and Micah and our neighbour all afternoon (and well into the evening), we got rid of many brush piles. Hooray! They also cleared out a LOT of deadfall and other trees from the hill and did some major pruning of old apple trees.

I kind of forgot to take before pictures . . . but these aren't exactly after pictures either! Just a lot of in-between at the moment, but it's definitely progress!

First, the backyard:

Off to the right near that old "parts" tractor was our biggest pile of brush, gathered last year. 

What's left is stuff too big for the chipper, some boards and other garbage. 

Wood to be chopped for burning. You can kind of see the big brown patch where the pile used to be. 

I moved the wood chips into a neat pile at the back - future compost!

Arden's apple tree is about to bloom!
Once we get the rest of the stuff cleaned up, I can actually start plotting my veggie garden!

Now for the other property:

Come on down the steps and have a look...

Another stone has been added to even out the spacing, and a board on top
of the pallet bridge so we don't fall through. :)

The rest of the wood chips. Piled here to keep them dry so we can use them for . . . 

. . . the chickens!!
Oh yes, did I tell you we now have chickens?? Right now we are looking after the laying hens of some friends of ours. They've got an insulated part of that shed with a little outdoor run.

It looks a huge mess right now, which it is, but it's a good mess! Micah and our neighbour pulled ALL the rotting, wretched, raccoon-infested stuff (including a decomposing raccoon - maybe a source of the stench??) out of the shed and have been taking it away! They also dug up the sagging floor and now have plans and supplies to replace rotting boards, level it out and basically make a new foundation! And all of this because we are planning to go together on some meat chickens over the summer, and this will be their new home.

The view from another angle. The side of that hillside has been cleared out. Brush piles in progress. 

And now some more hillside to show you. Not as effective without the before pictures, but for those of you who've seen it, hopefully you will notice the difference. :)

Apple trees have been trimmed off to the left. 

Hillside just to the right of the stone steps.  
Hillside below the evergreens. 

Close up of hillside. You can now see the old red fenceposts. 

The view from the road.
It feels so great to be getting this stuff done! Arden has been enjoying watching all the work in progress too.

Finding the first of the spring flowers. 


Hope you are enjoying spring wherever you are! (At least in the northern hemisphere!)

round button chicken


Friday, May 3, 2013

Library Finds: "Going to Sleep on the Farm"

I have decided to start a new feature - Library Finds! We've been making good use of our public library lately. It's a small branch, but there are a good number of picture books and I can make requests for anything in the system. Some of the picture books we bring home are just ok, but then there are the ones that we all like reading again and again. So whenever I find a really great book, I will post about it here!

Without further ado, our first instalment:

Going to Sleep on the Farm
by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
illustrated by Juan Wijngaard

With rhythmic, gentle text and lovely, illuminated artwork, this is a wonderful book both for listening and looking. The text is a conversation between father and son at bedtime. It opens, 

How does a cow go to sleep, tell me how?
How does a cow go to sleep?

A full spread illustration follows with the father's description of the cow settling down for the night. Different farm animals follow in turn, till the sun has set and everyone is asleep. 

The rhythm is just right in this book, as is the rhyming. The artwork captures the light of the setting sun perfectly. And I love that it's a book with a daddy in it! 

Here is a sample page:

It's not currently in print, though second-hand copies can be obtained online. I think I'll put it on my wish list!


Easter 2013

We are in catch up mode around here! For the sake of faraway family and friends, here's a snapshot of our Easter celebrations.


Jesus is alive!

Easter treats

Chocolate for breakfast, of course!

Arden had the idea (I think from a Veggie Tales movie?) that she wanted eggs in a hat!

New Easter hat from Granny!

fresh roasted coffee

Our family Easter portrait! 

Lighting the candles for dinner

Ham with maple glaze - our own Manitoba Maple syrup

Perfect potatoes

Dinner with Granny!

Dyeing Easter eggs

Many colours... I had no picture of the finished product though!! But Arden had fun making these.

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