Saturday, September 29, 2012

Headed Home

A view of our home from the 'backyard' - Sept. 2011
It seems like moments ago I was journalling about how much I was looking forward to our road trip, and now we're on our way home. Sometimes I wonder if it was ever worth leaving home at all. Thinking back over the last couple of days, the scenery, our first real road trip with our children, feeling nostalgic because this how we started our marriage, (roadtrips), it wasn't only worth it, it was necessary. Giving the kids the experince of travel is a source of education you just cannot replicate in the classroom. Enjoying my husband's company without all the demands of work and home has been so refreshing. Giving myself a different perspective, and taking a break from the everyday routine of being a housewife has been very nourishing. My own bed, my creative space, my pets and time to myself are all good reasons to go home and get resettled. Not to mention all the wonderful photos I now have of the Jasper scenery and of my family with gorgeous backdrops and beautiful, big smiles. This scrapbook is going to be fun to do.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Autumn Adventure

As we are leaving Edson, AB. this afternoon on our way to Jasper, the landscape takes on a different look and my little guy says, "Wow, I can see mountains! I have an awesome feeling.". I do love the honesty of young children. Before they learn to stop and think if what they are about to say is cool or not. Not that this is always a good thing. There are many situations we have been in where my child's honesty was not appreciated. But I digress. We have taken the children out of school for half the week in order to enjoy the fall weather. Why go camping in the much cooler weather you ask? Well for one thing, the campfire is that much more practical and enjoyable. The stars come out far earlier and are way brighter this time of year. And of course, nothing beats Mother Nature's autumn display, making the drive a "nothing but a good feeling" time. We left Theodore yesterday, and drove to Lloydminster, where we set up our tent trailer at a friends place and then enjoyed our first campfire of the trip. We will stop there again on our way back, and I hope the sky is as clear as it was last night, because I believe the moon should be full by then. It has been so big and bright lately. It is so nice to have good friends to visit along the way. The kids are getting very excited as they have never been to the mountains before. Well, actually my oldest was only 9 months old the last time we visited, but she has no memory of it. We took the camper my dear Husband built, got lots of interesting looks from fellow travelers and almost suffocated overnight. But that is a whole other story. We are in the foothills now, and the kids have put their headphones and games away, trading up for the unusual, spectacular views. Their excitement reminds me of the first time I traveled here and reveled in the feelings that such fabulous scenery gives. Then, it was my Husbands turn to give me the gift of travel. Now we share in giving it to our children, and I'm reminded of a quote I recently read - "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." St. Augustine

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


When you look around, what do you see?  Things as they are?  Or things as they could be?  If you would like to see change, do you think of ways you could do it yourself, or do you hope someone else will do it eventually?  Does uncertainty keep you from starting?  And if so, how does that make you feel?  Can you recall a time when you were not sure where to start, but started anyway, and eventually found yourself very impressed with the results?  Do we need to know the outcome before we start something?  If we constantly let fear stop us where we stand, can we live happily in stagnation?  What scares us anyway?  The fear of rejection, or worse, perhaps no reaction at all from our fellow creators?  Do we need constant reassurance from the people in our lives in order to go ahead with things?  If that is the case, won't it become nearly impossible to get out of bed in the morning?  When we do accomplish something and receive positive feedback, is it then finished?  Does this lead you to happiness?  Or just searching for the next big thing? 
 Imagination is to blame for it all.  We imagine there is something scary out there to stop us or hurt us.  We imagine we are not strong or smart enough to do things by ourself.  We imagine there is something we have to do in order to be satisfied.  We let our imaginations run away with us, leaving our body helpess while it indulges  itself in all kinds of fantasies.  When we are not busy blaming our imagination, we are giving it credit for all the wonderful ideas it comes up with.  There are countless ways in which to both love and hate our imaginations.  As much as we are gifted, so we are cursed. 
Spending too much time in our imaginations is dangerous and unhealthy.  We have to remember to pull out every now and again and allow ourselves to experience life as it is without allowing input from that (very loud) voice in our head.  
Never forget that your imagination is responsible for everything in your life.  From the beautiful piece of work you still feel so proud of, to that so called ugly body you carry around with you.  Even when it seems to be doing wonderful things don't put too much weight into it, or you risk going quite crazy.  Take it from one who is constantly accused of having a fabulous imagination.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Set the Mood

Somewhere between harvesting and processing the last of the corn off the garden, and cooking a chicken dinner for supper, I managed to put out my fall decorations.
The pussy willows in the tall, green tin have been there since early spring, but I just love them too much to throw them out, so I just added a few fall picks to the arrangement, and Voila!  I think it works quite nicely.
The black, primitive kitty is new this year.  I fell in love with him and I know I won't be packing him away at the end of the season. 
I also changed the picture in the scrapbooking frame.  It's of Halloween 5 years ago, so the kids are just cute as buttons, and it makes me smile and shake my head at the same time.  How the time is flying!
That handsome owl was originally bought to be an outdoor ornament, but I set him there in the early spring, and there he stayed.

This antique wash stand is always a breeze to decorate, and it is probably my favourite thing to change up throughout the seasons.  All I did this year was put down a cute pumpkin placemat, add a candle and this really neat twine holder (complete with a pair of scissors)  I found recently.  On the floor is another antique, a crock pot that I filled full of chrysanthemums.  I love the way it turned out.

Another easy piece to decorate for the Autumn season, is this antique replica desk from the 70's.  A little colour on the floor lamp, and in the background vase.  A few rustic grapevine pumpkins and it looks all put together.  Now it will be so much more enjoyable to bake more of those fall cookies, and cook those wholesome, warm meals.  When the kids came from school, they explored every little thing I had put out, and my little 7 year old guy said, "Mommy, we have such a beautiful home."  And right there, it was all worth it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Sweetest Time of the Year

The fall, is for me, the best season.  I know I'm not alone here.  When in one season, I always enjoy it and find myself looking forward to what the next one will bring.  But I would love to stretch Autumn out by several months.  The cooler weather, and harvesting my garden.  Enjoying cooking again because I'm not busy trying to cool off.  I enjoy being at home and in my yard more.  This is when I tend to do the most home improving, nesting for the winter I suppose.  In the winter, I find myself in the city more often, wandering the mall and other shops.  In the summer, it's the beach, and road trips, (I hate winter driving).  The spring is my next favourite season, but because it leaves me with very little choice (yardwork, yardwork, yardwork), I still prefer the fall.  There is a little bit of everything in this season for me, and I find I feel more balanced now than at any other time of year.
On a fun note, here are some cookies I made yesterday.  They will cheer up those school lunchbags I'm now packing every morning again.  Acorns, oak leaves, and owls (not shown), made from a simple sugar cookie dough, and decorated quickly with royal icing in three shades, orange, green and brown.  I think those squiggles look really cute, and like I said, they were quick.  I did 2 cookie sheets, lined up tightly in about 20 minutes.  I also like that the cookies aren't overwhelmed with the very sweet royal icing.
I hope you are enjoying the season as much as I am.  Happy Harvest!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Promising Harvest


Harvest in my garden this year not only promises to be bountiful, but also very interesting.  A few of the gourds here look just as pictured on their seed package, but thanks to cross polination, we have some very unique specimens as well.  Every time we take a walk through the patch we get another surprise, which usually leads to discussing how we are going to use the new find in our Halloween display.  We just can't wait to pull out all the little creepy crawlies and create a spooky but fun display with everything we pull out of the patch.                  


I also grew a few other interesting plants for the first time in the garden this year.  To give you an idea of the size of this plant, I called my 100 lb puppy over (he's not quite a year old yet).  This is a little plant I found in the greenhouse in the late spring, and it was just too different to pass up.  It's called cardoon, and although it is edible, I just grew it as a feature plant.  I understand it is a perrenial, but I doubt it will survive our climate.

From seed, 8 seeds to be precise, I also grew flowering kale. Out of the 8, only 3 came up, but they did very well. Everyone who comes to check out the garden stops to admire them.

These are zinnias that I directly sowed into the ground as well.  Not only are they a wonderful mix of colours, but they are wonderful as a cut flower as well.  They seem to last forver.  I've collected seed from this patch, and intend to grow a much larger patch next year.  
This is Scottish kale, and directly sown once again, it came thickly and quickly overtook its part of the garden growing to be 3 feet high.  It even covered up its neighbor and cousin, flowering kale.  I love the hedge it has created and have plans to do something more creative with it in years to come.                                                                                             This is the first large garden I've had, and planning it should prove to be fun over the long, cold winter.