Growin Veggies, While the Suns Shine

I’ve gotta special place for a good seed catalogue, the way a high school gal can’t wait to get her hands on a copy of Cosmo. Each page, so provocatively laid out, entices my summer senses. I fantasize about pumpkins, not your average pumpkin, but the huge ones, with deep colour, beautiful skin, and the ability to be mounted. Ahhh how I dream of growing Giant Atlantic Pumpkins large enough for my kids to be able to climb. Yes, I’m referring to pumpkins and only pumpkins.william dam seeds     Every year I struggle to keep my gardening plans realistic. Being a dreamer, I could easily plan where the greenhouse will be, how I’ll recreate the flower gardens that my great-aunt once doted over, and I can already hear the sound of the dump truck backing up to unload my entire savings worth of black gold, and then my loving, careful partner, reminds me of everything else I’ll be tackling, and I remember the issue of the deer, and I float down from my cloud of garden- la-la- land, and begin to make lists instead. Last year’s garden was the smallest I’ve ever taken on, but it was the most enjoyable and the most bountiful, except for that year of 72 tomato plants, although that was more bounty than pleasure.tomatoyearWelcome to the jungle, We’ve got fun and tomatoes. 

This year, I’ll be working with some seeds that I saved from last year’s produce, some that I ‘borrowed’ from places we visited…okay so I occasionally sneak the dead heads off of beautiful flowers from a garden I may be passing (probably not something you should tell my kids), not to mention, the stash that didn’t make it into the soil last May. I’ll need to order some of the staples such as tomatoes, which I think I’ve managed to locate through a local gardening mama. In an age where folks are so hurried and often disconnected, sharing something as simple as a seed is a great reminder that when one of us is prosperous, we can all benefit. It all comes from just one tiny seed,that is, unless it takes three whole packets to sprout a single carrot, but I certainly have never experienced that! Nope, not once.peateepee I’m needing some herbs to replenish what we’ve used for medicine this winter, and I’m currently searching for a recipe to make our own multi-vitamin, so I’ll have to nail that down before I can make our order official. If anyone has any tried and true recipes, this mama would love the advice.bounty

Many more tales of gardening to come,

 

HayMama

xo

February Days

We are in full- February swing, if only February had a swing, or even a sway. A nudge even. We are in full, no, not full. We are getting by in February. It’s cold. It’s snowy. We have cabin fever, and mama is feeling low on the creativity spectrum. I’ve begun half a dozen projects, and I haven’t finished one. The house hasn’t been entirely lost under unwashed laundry, so I’m pretending I’m okay with it. Hopefully I can fool myself. Here’s a glance at some of the things we’ve begun and will someday finish.quiltWildflower’s baby quilt, something I’ve been hoping to accomplish for quite some time now. It’s been a pleasure sorting through her baby clothes, bringing memories of her baby days alive and inviting her to ask more about what she was like five whole years ago. DSCN9617vdaycupcakesWildflower’s Valentine’s Day cupcakes with cinnamon hearts…Valentine nostalgia

janegoodall2A lesson in fierce women: Jane Goodall
janegoodallbuttons2Lil Eagle’s new endeavour: counting and sorting buttons.buttons
With choir practice today, geography club tomorrow, and birthday parties this weekend, we are able to appear to be motivated (we’re very very sneaky….sir), but Willow, she’s come down with an illness. She’s spent the evening resting by the fire being treated with Wildflower’s herbal treatments (there on her bedside table). Hopefully she will be in better spirits tomorrow; with the care that she is receiving, I have no doubts.willowsick

may warmth be with you,

HayMama xo

Growing up Together

I once met a woman who was sending her children off to University after having homeschooled all three of them for the entirety of their school-age days. Of all of the accomplishments they had made together, she was most proud of the relationship her three children had formed. She spoke of how her son’s acceptance to Queens prompted her children to cry. All three of them. They were happy to be moving forward, but they were saddened by the thought of not being together. She spoke about how she doesn’t share this story with just anyone, since the majority of people would think this reaction to be strange, but what is truly mystifying, she said, is that people expect the sibling relationship to be one of contention, that children should grow up to be closer to their peers rather than have their peers be their siblings. What she noticed about her kids, is that when in the midst of a conflict, there was nowhere to run; therefore, they learned to deal with the issue at hand. They learned to stand up to each other and for each other, and they became to be the best of friends.kidstogether      I think of this story often, as I watch my children play and argue and play and argue. There are times when my presence is required, when they need an adult coaching their relationship. Sometimes I help to identify emotions or recall moments from the past in order for them to engage with the present, but there are more times when I need to step back and observe in my quiet mommy way (not always an easy feat). Sometimes it’s not up to me to kick Lil E out of the comfy chair because he stole it from WildFlower. It has to be up to them. Of course, I don’t ignore the situation at hand, but I have several mom-type sayings in my apron pocket to whip out at the emergence of a squabble. You know why don’t you tell him how that made you feel? (something we should be doing more of as adults, despite it being cliché). 
I love to watch them working side by side, each working on something different, but supporting each other along the way. Normally this ‘support’ role is taken on by Wild Flower, and sure sometimes can be translated into ‘bossy’, but that’s an entirely different post.

puddleAnd then there is the relationship they share with their big brother. To them, he’s half-grown up, half kid. The best combo,really, because although he can give out instructions similar to ours, he can also welcome them into his room to pound on the drums or jump on the bed. I can’t wait to see their friendships unfold. I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise each of them.

enmagsWhen Lil Eagle was first born, Wildflower told everyone “this is my little brother. We are going to grow up together”. Every now and again we talk about what it will be like when each of our kiddos venture into the big world. What will they do? Who will they be? We tell ‘what if’ stories. Big Brother’s what-ifs tend to revolve around Porsches and lottery winnings, while Wild Flower’s dreams are related to having one hundred babies, a dream I expect to change in the near future. My favourite stories of all are the ones where we talk about having everyone come home. I hope to have a busy house, even if it involves occasional college laundry. I hope to send them off with home cooked meals and treats in hopes that they will come home a little more often. I dream of grand babies and full-house holiday gatherings. Ahhh the ‘what ifs’. They keep us dreaming, and the dreaming keeps us going.

 

xo

HayMama

Just a Regular Day

After a busy week of new activities, appointments, and catching up with friends, it was refreshing to have a relatively boring day today. Here’s a boring ole peak…

A local homeschooling mom organized a Valentine exchange via snail mail, so we’ve been preoccupied with proper printing, with mom jumping in to somewhat legibly scrawl the addresses onto envelopes. All in all, it was an enjoyable activity for us, although, next time, like most of my holiday undertakings, we’ll begin sooner. writinglettersIn case you aren’t local, it’s been snowing and snowing and snowing. For the past seven days we’ve seen snow. Today we saw the sun for the first time since… I’m not sure when. We spread our snacks out on our blanket in front of the patio doors and sat in the sun for the short while it lasted. We merged into play dough, which was gifted to us at Christmas. I tucked it away during the holiday bustle for quiet these February afternoons. PlaydoughPlay dough and a handful of buttons allowed me to make dinner uninterrupted, almost.
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Lucky for them, the fairies will be receiving a new home in our terrarium. More on that to come!sunnydayThank goodness for little rays of sun that peak through…

Hope there are many regular days in front of you!

HayMama

Graphing Data

Since we’ve spent a lot of time laying around on the couch these past few days, or weeks, (that’s how long it has taken this flu to circulate through the house) I had to find something schoolish that didn’t involve a lot of effort, on anyone’s part. We can only watch Frozen so many times, at least that’s what the grown ups think. Bring on those plastic bottle lids Mama’s been saving since September. 
capsOne might not realize how much joy can be found in some bits of plastic garbage, but I can confirm it.lidstackForty minutes of sweet, sweet quiet this gave me. Both kids played, dividing them into stacks of different colours, shapes, sizes, and marble-fun capabilities (can you make the marble circle around the inside of the lid over and over?). Of course, it all ended abruptly with an argument over whose lids were whose, but I before that point, I was convinced I was a genius. This is something that worried me about homeschooling, not my quantity of genius-like moments ;), but those little things that I remember about my primary years that made the experience enjoyable. For me, those little whispers of joy came from jars of bread tags, colourful paperclips, baskets of pinecones, sparkles, and other things we could use to create some magic, something we could become artists with, or even use to make math more colourful. And that is exactly what we used them for today. Drawing inspiration from something I saw here, we took a crack it this…

Graphing Data

     You will need: Counters

                     Graph paper

                     Markers or Crayons for Colouring

Start by asking your child how she could divide the counters into groups. She may need some prompting and you can suggest dividing by size, colour, etc., but she may surprise you and suggest her own ways: frozen colours, ugly colours, and pink. Let her run with it; it will help to keep her interested.lidIf your counters are small enough, have your child actually place the bits in each square so that she can visualize which column is larger. We also tried this project with beans from our garden.beangraphOne column at a time, start colouring, explaining that each square represents one bean. Once your chart is coloured, teach your child to label and title their graph. Take some time to talk about your discoveries together. Which kind of bean do we have the most of? Do we have more big lids or small lids?beangraph2The possibilities are endless…Next. we’ll discuss each block representing several beans/sparkles/ice cubes…you name it.

happy graphing,

HayMama

Peace and Valentines

Sometimes it can be difficult to create inspiration and this week, it seems, I couldn’t feel farther from it. It could be the residual effects of last week’s illness, and it could be the waning moon who’s fullness kept us awake several nights this weekend. It could be the fact that we are destined for many more weeks of cold and snow, but there is something else too.colouring1

There are times when the radio in the morning is what motivates me, and there are times, like this week, when my protective bubble, my layer of the- world- is- falling- to- pieces repellent has worn too thin to protect my rose -coloured heart. I normally follow my ‘no news’ rule of thumb; it drags me away from the peaceful life I am trying to create for my family. I know that there is plenty to worry about without needing to hear it on repeat: every. half. hour. This week, I’ve made that mistake. I’ve listened, and I haven’t like what I’ve heard.colouring2

The way that grown people speak to each other, mainly via social media, makes me sick. We preach messages of tolerance and peace to our children, but we behave wretchedly. We whisper sweet nothings in the ears of our babes as they fall asleep each night, reminding them of their magic. We do our best to model kindness in our everyday actions, but there is something about a glowing screen that makes us lose our connection with who we are and what we are striving for. We crucify each other for the ways they differ from us. We don’t tolerate. We don’t seek peace. We just shout from our timelines our secret beliefs and why our friends should feel the same. We don’t reach for growth. It saddens me. It saddens me that this is the way of the world.

colouring4

I can imagine our grandparents were all too familiar with this feeling. This ‘what is this world coming to’ line that we keep on repeat is something I’m supposed to say when I’m old, but I feel it everyday. Why can’t we believe in good. Why can’t we create good. Why can’t we show kindness and love. Why can’t we know freedom the way we know the months of the year. It’s something that everyone is entitled to, but very few can truly say they have.colouring3What about you? Do you know freedom?

xo

HayMama