Mamma’s Hike – February

This past Saturday was our second Mamma’s Hike! The first hike I posted over on my art blog. I may just cross post every time but we shall see.

It was no warmer than the first but again the sky was clear and it was beautiful. This time we went along the green route that took us past Hobson’s Lake, Big Pine, Coyote Bog and back to the parking lot. It was about 3 ¼ hours total and I had been tracking it on my phone but yet again, my phone died from the cold. According to the map we went almost 4 kilometres doing the Hobson’s Lake Loop.Maskwa-trailsI brought along my point and shoot camera and set it on a friend’s backpack, thus the shadow at the bottom. I decided not to bring my DSLR due to the weight I already had in my own backpack. At least my camera didn’t die like my phone! We took this pic on a lake.

21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_01 21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_06Earlier snowshoers made a decent trail ahead of us but there was a good part of the trek where the snow went up to my knees and it became more of a trudge, trudge (I think of the Backyardigan’s song!).21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_07 Bunny tracks were the only sign of wildlife that day.21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_09 Love the fungus!21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_10 21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_11 21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_12 Huge icicles make for photo op time!21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_13I love the way the water ran along this branch and froze.
21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_15Moss!21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_18 21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_21 I was so super pooped after this trek but it was worth it. A beautiful day with a great group of women! 🙂

Hand made hand cream

Say that five times fast! 😉

I’ve been wanting to make hand cream for months and even had all of the ingredients. I just needed to do it. When I finally ran out of store-bought cream and the skin on my hands was like sandpaper, well, that was my motivation to get to it.

I used the recipe that’s been tagged for like forever it seems from Amanda Soule’s The Rhythm of Family Book. I do love her stuff and it calms me to read. I have to make some more felted bowls too. There will always be something to put into felted bowls!

The boys used the marble mortar and pestle that I’d bought eons ago. It looks so pretty sitting there on the shelf above the sink, hanging out with the wine and saké glasses. This is the lavender being bruised and wafting its scent so wonderfully throughout the kitchen.

23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_01 23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_04I showed the boys how to zero out the scale and then measure the ingredients.23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_05 23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_06Xman helped me grate the beeswax. I tried cutting it first but I don’t have a great history with knives and cutting only the things that need cutting, if you know what I mean. I find grating beeswax fairly laborious as far as ingredients go but Xman was determined to do it so I held my hands on the lower end, his on top of the block as we grated. No skin lost. Whew.23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_07Lavender buds steeping like tea.23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_09Melting, melting.
26Feb2015_Making-Hand-Cream_10We ended up with a lot of hand cream. Gotta say the oil mixed rather easily with the water (lavender) even with my cheaply purchased hand mixer. The motor did get a wee bit hot at the end.23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_12I think I am going to have to buy more containers!
23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_11The cream is wonderful and my hands are happy again! Take that, Winter!

Snow day!

It was so good to get outside yesterday and with good friends! We tried a new-to-all-of-us trail. The day was ‘mild’, coming in around -6C – add on windchill but we didn’t really feel it being in the trees. It was fresh and clear. The sky was blue. The kids ran around on the trail and slid on the snow. Xman and I made animal prints and looked for the real ones. We saw an eagle that L spotted which is always so amazing to me. I feel so, so blessed when I see one. We also saw another bird of prey, perhaps an osprey but not sure, followed by a crow. We spotted a beautiful robin all tuffed out, seeming to show of his wonderful red belly. (he was too far away for me to take a pic with my phone. should have brought my actual camera but I wanted to pack light). And F heard the tap tap tap of a woodpecker, once spotted, to be a Downy.


Our hand-made tracks.hand-made-tracksReal tracks. I love them!


Poor dude was so tired by this time, the bundling of clothing is not his favourite feeling. But making animal tracks, finding the real ones, and sliding certainly lifted his spirit. 🙂Xman-and-sunsteam-and-sun

Today, as the snow comes down in droves, it makes me want to relax my shoulders and grab a book, a blanket, and my knitting with my new Furls bowl (eek! love!) and my art. Yes, even on these snow days when I feel I can let things go a bit I still want to create create create! I will throw some yoga in there to balance it all out!


We may watch some videos today on the history of Canada to go along with our studies. But, I think for the most part it will be a Minecraft day and Erector set day (thanks for the goodies, Dawn and kids!) for the boys. I may just be persuaded to play a little MC too. Gotta say I do love it!

I may even get out my macro and take some snowflake pictures! Gee, this day must have more than 24 hours for what I want to fit in. Oh, I do have clothing to fix too… I’m so deluded! 😉


Snow Fun!

The boys had a great time outside yesterday. They went out in the morning which was great for the fresh air, stretching those bodies and getting some good movement in, plus the fun!

A couple of weeks ago we had filled up water balloons and added food colouring then put them into the freezer. The weather here has been all over the place, going from freezing to above zero so they never came out for fear of them melting outside. But the last few days have been so cold and with so much snow coming down that it was time. It was so neat to see the bright colours against the snow!

06Feb2015_Snow Fun01

The boys made little snow ‘forts’ for themselves. The back yard didn’t get the drifts of snow made for tunnelling but our front yard is pretty nonexistent so tunnelling so close to the street is not my idea of safety.

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Just enough room to lay down. I called him my snow vampire. 😉

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The boys had a great time and even found some chunks of ice under the layers of snow.

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Xman placed the slab of ice on the outside of his fort as his marker. I couldn’t see it clearly with the camera so he added the frozen water balloons in front.

He’s aiming but didn’t throw until my back was turned. Sneaky bugger. 🙂 Actually, he knew that was better as cameras do not like the snow!

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A little protection from the wind and a snug place to rest. 🙂

06Feb2015_Snow Fun04The boys took to the porch and made a little sliding area. Oh, if only this hill we lived on extended to our back yard! But they had fun nonetheless. I am so happy that they are enjoying the snow so much these days!

06Feb2015_Snow Fun08 06Feb2015_Snow Fun07

wet snow, fun hike

We had a wonderful hike yesterday as the weather warmed up to 2C. It was icy and wet but the kids made the best of it. I’m glad that I purchased some Yaktrax before we went out – they did the job in the slippery conditions!

We fed chickadees as usual, marvelled over the moss and found many a duck print in the snow. At the end, the kids had a snowball fight which ended in us all sliding down the wet hill to get to the parking area. It’s okay to get wet when you are on your way home! The boys took off their snow pants, boots and socks as soon as we were in the car. We were tired and energized at the same time!

water-droplet moss leafxman-eating-ice locke-ice


I’m off to get myself ready for a hike this morning with the ladies! It’s a balmy -13C with -24C windchill. Perfect for a winter hike! Put on your woolies!

A busy but good day

Yesterday was a darn cold day. We didn’t go out for the trail walk as planned due to the road conditions outside of the city. We did, however, go to Chapters so that the boys could use some of their holiday money to buy more Lego, Minecraft Lego. But, we had to finish our lessons first and I have to say, it was smooth going!

I happily wore the hat that I just finished knitting the night before. So warm. Love it!


Our lessons include handwork. X is knitting a scarf on needles and L is using one of the loom kits. He is so adept at it. If I can get him to do even 15 minutes a day he will have it finished in no time!

L hat

Xman and I did some time-telling practice with this fun little book I picked up a while ago. The pages are magnetic as are the little pieces so it’s quite fun! Xman is pretty good with telling time but when it comes to analog without the numbers it takes a bit of practice.

clock clock practiceI took some time during their copy work to prepare some kale chips – so good!


And these cookies…oh my goodness you just have to try them – so many good things to be found.

Pixie cookies

Lessons done and off we go to get the Lego. I have to say, Minecraft and Lego really is the perfect combination…

l lego X lego

While the boys Lego’d it up I took a bit of time to check out these new arrivals and put that Dreamscapes book to good use right away!


*if you do get the pattern for the hat here are a couple of corrections:

Row 17: *k5, p6, k5, p1* to end
Row 18: *k3, p10, k3, p1* to end

Maskwa Trail

The weather around here lately has been mild but very rainy meaning many a day spent inside during this holiday season. I am sure the boys didn’t mind as they got their share of playing Super Smash Bros and Minecraft (along with some cool Minecraft figures for L), reading new books, playing holiday songs on the keyboard (Xman is addicted), practicing new magic tricks and learning to play Forbidden Desert – super awesome game by the way.

Yesterday, winter came without snow but definitely with low temperatures. So we all bundled up in long johns, pants and then snow pants, neck warmers and hats and hoods, oh my! and met some friends for a trail walk in -10C with an even colder windchill. Brrrrr!

Even the boys didn’t complain about bundling up for a walk in the cold – a sure sign of being indoors for too many days!

We met at Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area at a trail opening near the Maskwa aquatic club. Guess I note that for my sake so I can remember the name. Age has it’s not so great parts – too many things zooming around in the brain! 🙂

We had a great time climbing up the steep trail ways, picking icicles (and bringing home the moss-covered ones which, to note, didn’t even melt in the car on the way home!), throwing rocks into the frozen area of the lake, and traversing planked walkways over semi-frozen ponds. As always, there was so much to look at for us all and I stopped a few times to take some quick pics.

Surprisingly, we all stayed toasty warm and left feeling energized from being in nature and breathing in the crisp, fresh air. Totally worth the bundling!!

Love love love moss!

30Dec2014_Maskwa Trail_03 This walkway was a bit slippery in one spot and wet clothing is no fun so we were extra careful for our first trek.

30Dec2014_Maskwa Trail_01Good friends make for good company!

30Dec2014_Maskwa Trail_06Love the ice formations on the twigs and rocks!

30Dec2014_Maskwa Trail_0530Dec2014_Maskwa Trail_04Cozy family.

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Frozen mossy-ness. The boys were punching holes through the ice as they walked, watching the water burble up through the holes. 30Dec2014_Maskwa Trail_10

This was a wonderful trail experience and we will definitely be visiting here again come freezing temps or warm, sun-filled days (which will return some day)! Happy trailing!

November Carrots

Now that we have had a couple of frosty nights I decided a take a peek at the carrots and pick a few to taste. The boys were super excited to pick them and I could barely get them to hold still for pics, thus the blurry ones! We were thrilled with what we did pick and if we didn’t already have a bunch of carrots from the market to eat we would have picked them all – the boys really wanted to!
IMG_4703 IMG_4704Of course we can’t supply food for ourselves without filling up the feeders with the last of the homemade suet. I figure they can’t eat frozen suet in the winter so I may as well leave it all out now. The hairy woodpecker and black-capped chickadees love this feeder. Our other two feeders have black sunflower seeds and a mix for the other visiting birds.


Purple carrots!


Just look at how cool that is when you cut it open! I boiled the carrots a bit for the boys (easier to eat with a mouth full of loose teeth!) and the water turned purple!IMG_4709 IMG_4712The boys are eating the carrots  now and loving them. Love that they love their veggies.

I do wish we had a bigger area in our yard for gardening but it’s certainly better than nothing and we love watching the food grow through the season. It’s been a good year for our beans, peas and carrots. Yep, that’s all we can get with our little bit of sunshine in the summer but we still feel blessed by the earth nonetheless. 🙂


Cameras, gardening and automata fun

Just a few days ago, Xman made me a camera because he knew I am without at the moment. It sits on my art desk with pride. Love it. 🙂

Xs CameraXman has been super excited to do some ‘tinkering’ since I got some tinkering books from the library. You may want to check this and this out (literally) if tinkering is a fun project in your home.

We’ve been wanting to make an automaton for a long, long time, like since at least last summer. There was this project in the one book that Xman wanted to do and when he suggested using Lego L was all for it!

Automaton pic

On another creative note, the garden is doing well now that I figured out what little will successfully grow in a yard that gets mostly shade. The peas and beans have been very good to us this season. The boys were in the midst of cleaning out their playroom and brought out a big bin to clean veggies for me. So helpful! (and so fun!)

Bean Cleaning Pean Cleaning

A great day so far! Now off to visit some friends before Momma goes to work (eck). 😉



Scoopin’ Poop!

That’s right. We were scooping’ the poop yesterday and we had such a great time!

A friend of mine introduced me to one of her friends that owns two alpaca and a big pile of poop. Jen needed to get rid of the composted poop and we were more than willing to help knowing that our vegetable gardens would thank us!

We all had a great time learning about the alpaca who are native to South America and related to the camel. See that split front lip? Just like a camel. And their poop looks pretty much like a rabbit’s but bigger.

Both L and Xman had new gloves bought just yesterday as they love helping with the shovelling in the garden and their old ones were no where to be found. This is the worm we found in our yard while digging the day before. It’s a beauty!


With new gloves they were excited to help scoop. L lasted a few minutes then found it of more interest to feed Jack and Carl. Understandable. They are just so cute!


08May2014_Alpaca_05L did eventually come back to help scoop with Xman while I took some pictures. Eventually, I got in trouble by Xman for not holding the bag and scooping. Wow, I never expected him to take this so seriously, he was right into the poop scooping and loving it – he just needed someone to hold open the bag! He scooped until the end! He’s my poop scoop trooper!

08May2014_Alpaca_0208May2014_Alpaca_04From time to time we all got a bit distracted by the newfound red backed salamanders, centipedes and pill bugs. I think the boys found five salamanders. It was hard to get a picture of one as they are pretty wiggly runners!

08May2014_Alpaca_06Here’s Jen with her awesome animals! Thanks Jen! I think in all we packed up 17 bags total and I can say for certain that we all had a great time!

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