Camping With The Tribe

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I think it would be safe to say that Allie and I are both just about recovered from an amazing camping trip this past weekend. Going to sleep at 8 p.m. last night was a huge help for me.

The weather didn’t exactly cooperate, despite a week long of forecasts promising sunshiny heat. I was all “BEACH!!” leading up to it. While we did make it to the beach, it was mostly overcast and windy. The kids managed bathing suits. My husband and son actually went into the lake. Brave souls. I wore a fleece and thoroughly enjoyed the goings on.

Then there were the campsites. We chose two across the road from one another. They basically became one site. Constant toddler and small child car vigilance was required. They had their part (looking both ways and announcing “No cars!” before crossing. We had our part: constant vigilance. The recently world cup feverish small children (all four of them) were pretty excited by the ball and pylons we brought along. Awesome. And our sites weren’t level. Not so awesome for small child soccer play, what with the whole road business.

There were two potty training, two year olds requiring additional vigilance. Enough said. Each one had moments of insistence on accomplishing tasks him and herself. Not at all efficient, and more than a bit endearing. Also, they were having conversations with each other.

“You have a ball!”

“Yeah. I kick a ball”

“No, I kick the ball.”

“Your mom is Allie”

“Yeah”

Hilarious. The last time we did this together, those littles were 3 and 4 months old respectively. And it was freezing.

This time, the droplets started post beach. The weather gods don’t super, duper smile on us in the camping weather department. Anyway, we had enough time to build a shelter under which to eat our dinner. Fast forward to the middle off the night when a torrential downpour was all but beating down our tent and I’m lying there  listening to it, thinking this:

When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with glad cries of “Me, too!” be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe.

It was an awesome weekend with part of my tribe and I love my weirdos — all of them!

p.s. Quotation by Sweatpants & Coffee via The Mind Unleashed.

p.p.s. This post is dedicated to the leaky tent that didn’t make the trip home.

 

 

What We’re Reading :: The Giving Tree

 

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Truth be told I don’t read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein too often because it fills me with guilt and I end up crying. You know the story – once there was a tree…and she loved a boy. And the boy uses the tree and the tree is happy. And the boy uses the tree some more, and the tree is even happier. The boy is not very nice, and the tree loves the boy. My husband bought me this book for Christmas one year, because I had never read Silverstein as a kid, and I sat there and read it and cried.

It’s about the love we have for our kids, and it’s about growing up and realizing what out parents meant to us. It’s also the first book that really made me emotional about being the mother of a little boy. I don’t think it’s a book you really get until you’re an adult. And maybe that’s good.

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Recipe :: Chocolate Cinnamon Popcorn

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I don’t eat popcorn very often, but when I do I try to keep it interesting and healthy(ish). One of my favourite ways to have it is with olive oil and Himalayan pink salts. The other day, though, I was having a hankering for something sweet so I tried out some chocolate and cinnamon and boy did it work out. If you love popcorn (like I do), this easy recipe will be a treat.

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What You Will Need
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life Mini Chips – they are free of milk, peanuts,tree nuts, soy, gluten and a bunch of other allergens)
1 cup popcorn kernels (this makes for a very generous serving to share)
1 tsp cinnamon
A stovetop popcorn popper (ours is one of the best housewarming gifts we’ve ever received, find a similar one here).

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What You Will Do
Melt the coconut oil and chocolate chips in the popper pot at a medium heat, stirring constantly. Add the cinnamon and stir. You’ll notice I had an assistant — not because it’s tricky, more because he loves to help in the kitchen. Once the mixture has reached a liquid consistency, pour out what you can and set it aside. Don’t worry, that yummy chocolatey goodness won’t go to waste. You’ll notice that the bottom of the pot has a layer of the mixture. Throw the kernels in, put the lid on and start turning that crank! That’s a job that is better left to an older child or grown up. You want to keep the heat and the crank motion consistent, otherwise you risk burning the corn. Once the popping sounds slow down, remove the pot from the heat and carefully open the lid. Put it in a bowl, drizzle it with the melted chocolate mixture, give it a mix and presto!  So tasty. You can thank me later. Ha!

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Happy popcorn popping!

gabie

 

DIY :: Stay Cool in Style — Easy Fan Update (in Neon!)

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Perhaps you’re like us and don’t have air conditioning and end up roasting and sweating in your own home unless you place a fan every couple of feet. And perhaps if you are like us, you know stores are filled with cute, coloured fans that not only cost money, but usually cost more money than any other fan simply because they are cute and coloured. So let’s make our own and update a fan we already have.

What You Will Need

For this easy fan update, you need just the minimal amount of supplies. First: a fan. I suggest getting one that’s collecting dust in your parents’ basement. That’s where I got mine.

Next: spray paint in your colour of choice. I chose a bright neon pink, the colour of my kitchen doorknob. Pay attention to the material your fan is made of and buy paint that’s appropriate. And that’s it! I didn’t even change into my paint clothes.

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What You Will Do

1. Cover your painting area (best to do this outside).

2. Take apart your fan. You’re probably going to want paint the grill and the blades to complete the effect. And depending on how your fan goes back together, you may want to paint the large plastic screw that holds the fan together too.

3. Paint!

4. Put that baby back together and plug ‘er in! Stay cool in style!

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Picking Our Own Dessert :: A Homeschool Year-End Review

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It’s almost exactly a year since I posted about picking strawberries and making memories in the rain. While so much has changed, we’re also still exactly in the same place. Is it the strawberries that bring out the sentimentality in me? Or is it just because it’s natural for me to feel a sense of nostalgia for the year that has passed at the end of the traditional school year, when normally students say goodbye to their friends for the summer and reflect on what they’ve learned. Either way, I’ll tell ya, it’s been a great year. But I don’t know about any of you other homeschooling folk, but my #homeschool manual still hasn’t arrived. This year we’ve learned a lot, and as the summer arrives in full, we are fortunate enough not to have to say goodbye to our friends and, in fact, we get to keep learning right through the summer.

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So where are we now?

We’re a year further into our homeschool adventure, we’ve cultivated a little community and grown our group of friends. I’ve watched Samson and Edmund grow and, for lack of a better word, deepen as not-so-wee-anymore beings. Contrary to what homeschooler-naysayers fear most, Samson has been able to take risks in the areas he needs the challenge the most–socialization and his “shyness”. He willingly strikes up conversations with new people now, and, I think, has even found a place in our group as a teacher and mother hen. And he got to do all this on his own time, in a close knit group, without judgement and with love. I have been challenged too and through that I’ve figured out what’s most important to me, and I’ve learned to trust that I know what my kids need and what will and will not work for them. And most of all, I’ve learned to trust myself and my kids. Oh and I’ve been able to watch them thrive and play and learn and live.

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On our last trip to Organics Family Farm (we went twice), the older kids started an impromptu spelling bee, and then there was a great game of hide and seek. It warmed my cockles to see Samson getting right into the games, willingly  enthusiastically (!)participating in a way I was always afraid to. My little introvert, opening up, because he’s surrounded by love and support. It’s a beautiful thing.

Oh and before I talk your ear off and make myself cry, gosh darn it, we also picked a lot of strawberries. And I made some delicious treats.

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