Friday, September 28, 2012

Full Moon Art

     With the impending full moon looming on our skyline there has been quite a bit of talk about last year's super moon- our kids are sure the super moon is going to come back any time now. It's tough to convince them that there is no super moon but just a regular full moon looming- I remember as a kid every full moon looked gigantic! So with the moon as our inspiration we did some city- scapes.


    To start with draw a moon and stars with oil pastels on a heavy piece of water colour paper- the oil pastels will repel the water tempera paint and create a glowey effect!

    Once the moon and enough stars are drawn take some thinned out tempera paint and do light washes over the entire piece of paper. This effect works best when using light coloured pastels and darker coloured paints. To thin out your tempera blocks simply put about an inch of water into a small container- then load up your brush on the tempera puck- depositing the colour back into the small container of water.

    I find that if I have everything set up first the project is easy and accessible to the kids making the success of the project very high.

   Once the sky has met with the artist's satisfaction you can move onto the next step which is to add some texture into the drawing. I love the transparency that tissue paper achieves when it is glued down and layered up. Torn tissue makes for excellent clouds! I always save tissue from any package or gift we receive.  Use either store bought or home made Mod Podge and a brush- brush on Mod Podge, add cloud, brush more Mod Podge over top to make tissue transparent and sealed.

   Using some salvaged cardboard from yet another package we make the mini city- which Miss Lo decided needed some extra clouds covering low down- it has been quite foggy here at night recently!

  Use a black or grey pastel to draw in stylized windows- no need to be super precise- just enough to give the idea of windows and doors.

 Everyone has a different technique and The Boy used more of a drip style of painting- Miss Lo is much more precise in every thing she does- including her art.

    The finished project- a few easy steps, a fun narrative and an easy way to start a conversation about the cycles of the moon. I find this project can also be used to spark conversations about our surroundings and the seasons- just tweak the colour pallet to suit your "lesson".

 Home Made Mod Podge 

1 cup of water
1/3 cup of PVA glue- school glue
add 2 tsp of water based varnish if you want it glossy
add glitter if you want it sparkly

   Friends I can hardly believe it is Friday again! Wherever you go and whatever you do this weekend- may you have sunshine at your back and hot coffee in your mug!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thrifted Thursday

    I need some new glasses- badly and I have been looking for months for a pair that is unique and interesting but not insanely expensive. So far no luck- then I was rummaging under my bed in my box of accessories and I came across these two beauties. I love the top pair but they really pinch my nose and hurt- but they are pretty so I thought I would share- even if they are not really a contender!

     The second pair is actually a pair of glasses I bought in University- so 90's- I wonder does that count as "Vintage" I don't think so- not yet. When I put these on though I remembered why I love them so much- they fit perfectly and have just enough retro flare to satisfy my inner 50's housewife!

   It's so strange how something like a pair of glasses can change how you feel about yourself- obviously I associate these with my slightly mis spent youth- and I think they make me look just like I looked in 1995! For now at least these are top choice for my " new" glasses! Stay tuned to see what I end up with!

Ps- back in 1995 I borrowed $100- they cost like $360- from my friend Amy to buy these- we both were working at shoe stores in our local mall- I like to refer to these as my time share glasses- thanks Amy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In My Kitchen

        In my kitchen we are not fancy or complicated but we are healthy- most of the time- and we are really all about ease and basic ingredients! I love to cook but the less time spent in the kitchen the better- I would rather be outside and so for all those families thinking about school lunches or snack times ( a first for us around these parts this year) I present to you my really easy friendly granola bar recipe. Now I am not sure why kids are completely obsessed with those tiny pre- packaged cardboard like treats that pass as granola bars but rest assured not only is this a litter free treat ( no wrappers) but it can be tailored to your liking- crunchy or chewy- however you like it!

Easy Peasy Granola Bars

I adapted this recipe from my mom's original granola recipe- plus made it nut free for The Boy's school snacks. You can tailor this to pretty much any combination you want- add slivered almonds, peanuts, walnuts or coconut - as long as it adds up to a cup of nuts and seeds of some sort.

The Goods

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins, or dried cranberries or currents
1 cup nuts and seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg beaten
2/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

The Deal

combine all the dry ingredients together, melt butter or if you are in a pinch you can use olive oil- add to mixture along with beaten egg and vanilla. Combine thoroughly. Press firmly into a greased 15x10 pan. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. If you want a crunchier bar- leave in the oven while keeping a very close eye on things for another 5 or so minutes. Do not take your eyes off your bars otherwise they may burn. Cool and cut into squares or bars- enjoy with a cuppa tea or for the under five set and big glass of milk!

ps- as you can probably tell from the picture above there are chocolate chips in this particular batch- I say if a hand full of good quality dark chocolate chips is going to get your kid to eat this granola bar then go for it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Island Adventure

     Have you ever just wanted to jump in your car or onto a plane or a boat and disappear for awhile? To hide out and pretend your life is something that it is not? Some would refer to this as a vacation or getting away from it all- I refer to it as trying a town on. Similar to trying shoes on I like to go someplace and imagine myself living there- what would I do? Where would the kids go to school? How would my Mr. get to work? Just for a day I like to step out of my own life and into another- this is exactly what we did this past Sunday.

    Bowen Island is a wee little island just off the coast of North Vancouver- in fact from what I can gather it seems to be part of the District of North Vancouver- it is tiny in size only 12 Kilometers long with a fluctuating population of about 3500 in the off season. This place has been on my "Places to Visit" list for years now and for some reason we just never quite got around to going- until some friends mentioned that they went for the day a few weeks ago. The old light bulb clicked on for me and I said to the Mr. " next weekend we are going to Bowen Island"- the plan was made and before we knew it the weekend was here again.
      We parked our car and made the journey as walk on passengers- which was quite exciting in its self to The Littles! It is always a treat for them to take the ferry anywhere let alone being able to walk on and off the boat- over a bridge right out over the water- oh and the buttons and levers and gadgets- I seriously thought The Boy was going to levitate right off the ferry deck when he saw what was going on!

   With a few vague directions from our friends and a recommendation from another to check out the candy shop we hit the island and started out on our adventure. Our goal for the day, if we ever really had one, was to hit the trails in Crippen Regional Park- this was to be The Little's first real hike with no stroller or back pack or carrier ( although we did pack the Ergo just for emergencies but didn't tell them). Both the Mr. and I are super proud at how well these two did- given no option but to walk and with the added promise of that candy store these two kids of ours hiked solo the entire way.

We did a fairly easy trail and it took us a few hours of wandering and exploring, lots of sticks to pick up, feathers, gnarly fungus and even a Stellar Jay or two. We had our lunch at the base of Bridal Falls and talked about the fish ladders that ran beside the falls.

    By the time we climbed the rocks at the Memorial Garden we were all ready for a little break- a few minutes later and we were back in town looking for that candy store!  The Candy store turned out to be adorable and fully stocked with any sort of candy a kid or bigger variety of kid could possibly want! Just the size of a regular walk in closet it is apparently the world's smallest candy store!

    I have to say that if I was ever given the opportunity to get away from my regular city life I would check into this town for good! It is beautiful and everyone we encountered was so nice! Realistically we could make it work as the ferry runs every 25 minutes during commuter times- the Mr. could still work downtown and the kids could go to school. I'm building a fantasy life in my head even as I type this- but that often happens after trying a town on! Until the day comes  where our dreams match up with reality we know it is only a short hop across the water to an afternoon of quiet seaside bliss!

ps- I think one of the best parts of the day for me was encountering the Soylent Green food truck!

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Fall!

    Fall, it seems, decided to enter with a bang the other day- we went to bed and it was muggy, woke up and needed sweaters- yes it's true Fall could not wait to get here fast enough! Even though I love Summer and all it's abundance a part of me is a bit relived to now have an excuse to tuck in with a book or movie and not feel guilty about "missing out" on spectacular weather. With that in mind we did the exact opposite the other day and headed to The Cove to spend the first full day of Fall outside.

    Some members of our little family still feel it is Summer and therefor refuse to put on a sweater of long sleeve shirt- he also may have wanted to go swimming but as a responsible parent one has to draw the line somewhere- and so it was drawn there in the sand- yes to short sleeves- no to swimming!

    We love exploring Deep Cove and every time we head to the shore there is something new to check out- this time of year are the giant maple leaves. Of course no trip to the Cove is complete with out a stop at Honey's Donuts- OK and I admit- I may have stopped in at Room 6 as well!

   Some may accuse me of trying to wax poetic when I say that the trees look like someone came in and painted them in the night- but it is true! I don't remember all this colour from Friday- now Hello! Bonjour! Red, Gold, Orange and still plenty of Green- Fall is just ramping up for the main show I know but this preview is not to be missed!

ps. - of course lets not forget the sweaters and boots- oh how excited am I to see them again!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oh Summer I Love You Still

     Oh Summer I do so love you- please don't leave me- I will change- I will be the Summer girl you want me to be! I will paint my toe nails and wear sandals, I will bare my shoulders with out the use of sunscreen, I will drink beer on the beach and coffee at the park, I will pack endless buckets of sand bound by fate to become sand castles.  I will do all this and more if only you stay!

   Please don't leave- we still have holes to dig and kites to fly! There is so much I feel like I missed out on this Summer- I want to go camping just one more time- to sit around the fire eating smores and listening to the frogs peeping. I have so many more hikes planned that didn't get hiked. I want to shop for my groceries outside with food grown only a few miles from where it is sold! Oh Summer please don't leave!

      Oh Summer if you need to go away please return as soon as possible- I am not sure how long I will last with out you. I have no desire to layer on protective rain gear and boots- I prefer to be barefoot and bare shouldered- my summer clothes are so much more comfortable than my winter ones- less confining- less itchy. 

     Please summer I will only ask one more time for you to stay- I have my pride after all- if you must leave than just know I will be here - waiting for you still in eight months- right where you left me on the beach. XOX

P.S.- Friends today as you well know is Friday! May you have a sunny and summer filled weekend wherever you may be- I hope you soak it all up and store all that summer goodness away!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thrifted Thursday

          I have been think a lot lately  about moving and the different ways we move physically through the world- patterns if you will- about ancestors and travelling and migration or immigration more specifically- because no one really migrates any more these days do they? My family's story is the classic Canadian story told by a pile of trunks stashed in my parents basement- the only real physical tie we have to our family's origins- evidence of the great migration to the promised land of Canada. Four different nationalities brought together into two people- my sister and I.

   This idea of the migration of families has always intrigued me and I myself have always been a bit transient in my own life- after a very stable childhood I moved about every six months through out University and after- travelling, camping, moving- the idea of starting fresh has always appealed to me. Even now I get the itch to pack up and "try out" a different area of the city or a new town all together- much to my Mr.'s relief a road trip usually cures any desire to move.

   Perhaps it was all those years of pseudo living out of suitcases that draws me to collect them today- some have come down through my family like the little faux wicker number which originally held my Great Grand Mother's belongings when she made the journey from Minnesota to Alberta. Others like the sturdy black suitcase, lined in royal purple, I have purchased at thrift stores. I have a few trunks of my own but I am saving those to share with you another day.

   All my suitcase's hold something special- fabric scraps, vintage linens, knitting, with even the smallest- like these below- storing seeds and thread. They all hold something - some the story of my ancestors and some choose to keep the secrets of their journey.  These are vessels of new beginnings, the promise of something fresh and new- be it in the past or in my own future.

     I would like to add that yesterday would have been my Grandpa Henry's 102 birthday- It was a conversation with my mom yesterday that inspired this Thrifted Thursday and got me thinking about all those pioneers who made the journey so I could be here today.