What We Love: Fall 2019

October 08, 2019

After spotting a beautiful blanket coat in an old issue of Vogue, I made it my mission to find a cozy blanket coat to use this autumn. While on a trip to Winners, I found this lovely gray wool wrap coat from BCBGMAXAZRIA that I knew was a steal of a deal for the quality (c'mon...the seams are protected by fabric), and now looking at the website it was more of a deal than I originally realised. Layered with a fleece jacket and paired with a scarf, this coat will take me through to winter with no problems!

This song from The East Pointers is so much fun and the video is absolutely beautiful. A good beat (as you know I enjoy) with fantastic lyrics and engaging visuals (I love that they have incorporated dance with ASL). 

This beautifully crafted market bag from the shop 26Lentils fits perfectly with my attempt to be more conscious of the items that I am using and throwing away in my life (plus she's local for me!). It's getting so much easier to be aware of how we are affecting the environment, and it's not hard to want to with items as lovely as this. Now I just have to remember my bags when I go to the grocery store.


Behind the Art: Onward and Outward

September 29, 2019

Does anyone remember when "Onward and Upward" was a popular phrase to write on wooden signs, etc? I could never find the source of those words when I created this art print several years ago, and when I write something out I like to credit it to someone (unless I've made it up myself), but I did find a poem by Walt Whitman called Song of Myself, 6 [A child said, What is the grass?], that had the phrase "onward and outward" in it (you can find it right at the end of the poem). 

The full quotation from which I plucked the words says "All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,/And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier." I was pulled to that a lot more than whatever inspired "Onward and Upward" because while the concept of "upward" might mean you are reaching for great heights, "outward" means so much more. You're growing, expanding, exploring! The universe grows outward, not upward.


Sask Expo 2019

September 21, 2019

Sask Expo is one of the highlights of my year! This year, we decided to spend two days at the expo. Since we've been going (check out some other posts related to the expo here), we have only gone for one day and we wanted to have more time to browse the amazing vendors and artists without feeling rushed. It also gave us the opportunity to see the celebrity panels on both days, and so much more cosplay! I was a huge fan of Fat Thor and Rosie from The Jetsons. There was also this amazing portrait of Stan Lee created with frosty Legos.

We wanted the first day to be very relaxed so we attended in what we called our "civilian clothes". It felt odd to not be dressed-up, and will now spend the time to do cosplay both days. This year, I went as Robin from Stranger Things while my friend did her makeup as a zombie and wrote "Don't Open Dead Inside" on her shirt. We invited a friend along that had never attended before and she dressed-up as Dustin from Stranger Things. She really wanted to wear his roast beef shirt and is now hooked on the idea of attending every year.

The celebrity panels were so much fun, insightful, and full of laughter (Marina Sirtis is amazing and incredibly hilarious), and the artists and vendors have so much creativity and love behind the work that they do (like Kirstin of Cutie Pie Amigurumi...check my Instagram to see what I purchased from her shop). They are so inspiring.


California Adventures: The Coast

September 10, 2019

What can be said about the California Coast that showcases it's beauty, diversity, and unparalleled experience. We drove from Los Angeles to McWay Falls along the coastline. We were so lucky that  a few months before our trip they had opened the stretch of highway that had been previously closed because of a mudslide so that we would be able to travel the entire coastal highway. 

Unfortunately, our son got sick in the car and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park was closed due to some heavy rains, but there was a spot reserved along the highway for tourists to stop to take photos of the famous waterfall that drops into the Pacific Ocean (yes...we drove 6 hours just for a waterfall). 

Luckily our son was feeling better during the drive back to Pismo Beach and we were able to stop to see the elephant seals in San Simeon. It was a beautiful, majestic drive full of physical and emotional twists and turns (that it takes 3 hours to travel such a long distance is no joke when you see the road you drive on), and I'm glad that we made the trek. 

But, like sometimes happens on vacation, I wish that we had had the opportunity to explore the park more, as well as some of the attractions along the way. Next time!


World Alzheimer's Month 2019

September 02, 2019

Forget Me Not painting from The Colorful Cat Studio

September 1 marked the beginning of World Alzheimer's Month and the shop's 6th September supporting the Alzheimer's Socitety of Canada.

As with previous years, when you make a purchase in the shop, including at an markets we attend, 15% of your purchase will be donated to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada where they provide support to those who are suffering from the disease and their families, and to promote research.

My family was affected by Alzheimer's many years ago when my Grandma was diagnosed with the disease. It was incredibly difficult to watch not only her suffer through her last few years, but my Grandpa and Dad as well.

I don't know if there will ever be a cure, or even a solid way to prevent Alzheimer's and dementia, but I do know that I will continue to support ALZ Canada as long as the shop is open in the hopes that your contribution through purchasing something for your own family or friends will help someone else's.


Behind the Art: Welcome Little One

August 30, 2019

Welcome Little One card

The idea for this card came from the realization that not all "baby" cards are needed for people that are having babies. Sometimes people need them for friends and family that adopt a child that is a bit older, and I wanted a card to reflect that, without being blatantly baby. I wanted to create an image that had a smaller being, but there wasn't a stroller or swaddling involved, so hopefully people would see the card as a possibility for the celebration of adoption.


Waskesiu 2019

August 29, 2019

This year's trip to Waskesiu was littered with rain, so we took advantage of any time that the sun made an appearance, and that means that we had less time on the beach this year. We took advantage of one moment in the evening before heading back to camp to make supper before it started to rain once more.

We decided to hike Treebeard Trail again, because it was our favourite trail last year, and we enjoy the view from the top, as well as the change in flora and fauna because of the forest fire that went through there about 200 years ago. The lower part of the hike is all of the new vegetation that has grown as part of the new forest, and the foliage that you see at the top of the hike is from the old part of the forest, the part that didn't burn in the fire and has continued to grow (as well as die per the cycle of life in the forest).

Back at the campsite, I was able to keep the fire going long enough to warm up some water to make hot chocolate, until the rain started up again and we retired to our OTentik and played games (Spot It is our favourite) until it was time to get ready for bed.

In the morning, we had the opportunity to explore a bit more of Waskesiu before we had to leave the park (there was also one more chance to make hot chocolate), and luckily there was a lot to explore in the Nature Centre as we were trapped by a couple of downpours. That's the thing about camping, you don't have control over the weather, so you've got to be prepared for anything and take advantage of the time that you do have without the rain.


What is an Early Childhood Educator?

August 20, 2019

An Early Childhood Educator (ECE) works with children during their earliest years, usually between the ages of 0-6. An ECE can be found in several settings, including early learning centres, preschools, Kindergartens and into the first few grades of school, and has received either a university degree in education, or a college diploma (a 2-year program) with an emphasis on child guidance and planning/implementing age appropriate programming. 

The main goal of an Early Childhood Educator is to guide the development of children during their first few years of life and typically follows a holistic approach, meaning they help grow a child's intellectual, emotional, social, physical, creative and spiritual potentials.

As an ECE continues to work, there are many opportunities for growth and development. A quality educator will take part in educational experiences through conferences and courses, and read books to learn more about the changes in early childhood education and development, as well as any approaches they may be interested in working with (read more about the different approaches here). 

An Early Childhood Educator should always be wanting to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to work with children, and how to continue to enrich the child's environment and their development, as well as work with families to make sure they are all working towards the same goals. They understand what goals are developmentally appropriate for each child (as individuals, as an ECE knows that each child learns differently), and set proper limits and expectations to help a child achieve those goals.

ECEs are so much more than a glorified babysitter. Besides taking care of the basic needs of your child, they understand that child development involves knowledge about how to observe each individual child so that programs may be tailored specifically for a group of children, and not just provide blanketed themes like Winter and Fall. 

They also know how important it is to learn about what you value at home and in the community so that it can be applied at the early learning centre your child is attending. As well, they understand that knowledge about child development is crucial in providing quality care because it is how an ECE knows when your child needs their hearing tested for delays in speaking, or needs some extra support to help them reach the same level of development as their peers (while completely aware that your child may never reach that level, but being compassionate and doing everything they can to help anyway).

An Early Childhood Educator is a teacher that helps children question the world around them and come up with their own answers. They are a source of comfort away from home, a social/emotional guide, and so much more!


The Camping List: My Camping Essentials

August 06, 2019

My Mom, my son and I recently completed our annual mother-daughter-grandson camping trip to Waskesiu and after forgetting a couple of essentials behind, I thought it would be a good idea to make up a list of camping gear that needs to be packed for our future trips. The following are a few of my favourite items that I brought along (and a couple that I forgot).

I wanted a cooler small enough to be able to fit in the trunk of my car without taking too much space away from all the other things that you need for a camping trip, but large enough to fit all of the food that we were taking with us. We didn't need much for the length of our trip, but, for the amount that we ended up packing, we were quite surprised that there was a lot of space left for more! This cooler has thin walls that helps it have more space, but it still keeps food items cold.

I had been looking for a new flashlight that could give off a lot more light than the lanterns and flashlights we had been using in the past for a while, when I found this one on sale. I was excited that it has an incredibly strong beam of light...I was disappointed that I left it behind on this camping trip.

My parents purchased a set of portable cutlery for both my son and I this past Christmas. Not only is each piece solid, but they are also fantastic quality...and I like that they have a pouch to store them in.

The sleeping bag that I use is from my childhood, but I feel like this one is pretty close to the same, and probably has better technologies for keeping you warm.

Normally I have to put a blanket in my sleeping bag to add some extra warmth, but to save some space in the trunk this time I brought along my Sugoi fleece-lined leggings to be able to sleep in. They are my new favourite thing for camping and I will be bringing them on all trips for forever. I even loved them in the cool morning while having some breakfast by the fire.

Like my sleeping bag, my hikers (winter boots, in fact) are from my childhood, but these ones look very similar and make me want to upgrade. I like having hikers on my camping trips because we enjoy going on hikes, and I noticed a huge difference after wearing them on a hike where I had to piggy-back my son through a muddy zone. It was a much better situation than if I had been wearing my sandals. I'm also less likely to hurt myself on roots, and have a lot more control when going down hills.

Not included in the detailed area (as you can find them most anywhere), but still essential to bring along are marshmallows, waterproof matches, a bbq lighter (a back up form of getting fire when the matches don't cut it), extendable fork (for roasting the marshmallows), and my favourite cookies for making s'mores (the chocolate is built in and tastes incredibly delicious).


Behind the Art: Balloons

July 30, 2019

On a whim, I ordered some beautiful wooden bezels from a shop called ArtBase that makes them in their studio in Florida. I initially only bought a few, and made one into a brooch in memory of a little dog name Morran as part of an art project. I submitted it along with another piece of artwork for the Morran Book Project. The other piece of artwork won a place in the book, but my interest in doing more work with the bezels was piqued. 

This little cluster of balloons was one of my first brooches, and is one of my favourites. I can tell you that I was most definitely thinking of the house from the movie UP when I drew it (yes, it is hand-drawn), but I like to imagine other things attached to the bottom of the balloons. What do you think is beyond the bezel?


California Adventures: Disneyland

July 28, 2019

Half way through our trip in California we met up with part of my husband's family to take in the wonders of Disneyland. I have only ever been to Walt Disney World so it was a lot of fun to have the OG Disney experience (though it did make me yearn to go to Disney World and see the things that aren't in Disneyland).

We really enjoyed the new ride experience, like sitting at the front of the Incredicoaster, Mission Breakout (my son is not a fan of the spookyness that is The Tower of Terror, but looooved going on Mission Breakout), and Mater's tractor ride, as well as going on some of our favourites that are in both Disneyland and Disney World (teacups anyone?!).

Because we were traveling with people who have had their own Disney experiences, we also tried out some rides that are in both places that we personally haven't had any interest in but some family members wanted to see, like the Enchanted Tiki Room (which I currently have going through my head as I'm writing this).

There was also a bit of nostalgia involved for myself on this trip, as my Dad grew up in California and spoke a bit about his visits to Disneyland with his family while he lived there. The last time they went my Great Gram really wanted to go on the submarine ride, but it was closed for maintenance. I wanted to make sure that I went on that specific ride in her memory, and I thought a lot about the people that are no longer with my family that would have walked where I was currently walking.

Overall, we had a great time (I don't think our family can go wrong with a Disney trip), and we are eager to start planning our next one.


What We Love: Summer 2019

July 25, 2019

These shorts from Old Navy have quickly become my favourite pair to wear this summer. To be honest, they are one of those items of clothing that I didn't really like when trying them on, but have grown to love over time (I will be sorely dissapointed when they wear out).

When I heard this song from Chaka Khan on the radio I instantly knew that that it must be added to my playlist. I dare you to listen to it and not feel the urge to move your body. I dare you!

I first saw this painting called Snoresnacks from the shop Rawry and Pohly at the Sask Entertainment Expo last year, and have been thinking about it ever since (hopefully it will be there again this year). It is such a fun piece of artwork, and I love how smooth the surface is for working with acrylic paint.


The Summer List 2019

July 14, 2019

I started the Summer List back in 2012 after reading Meg + Andy's Summer List on their blog that same year. And while I haven't shared our list every year here on the blog, it started off simple with just five things to do like "go for a walk by the river" and "go to three different parks" as my son was not even a year and a half old at that point (woah!), and has evolved into the photo above where he helps come up with some ideas and has even added more since I took this photo (one of my favourites that he added was "go to our favourite places and take pictures"). 

I am grateful for what we have, and that we are at a point in our life where we can make a list of things that we wish to do in the summer. I also love the adventures that we are able to do because of this Summer List, and because it's written in a prominent place in the house (on his art chalkboard in the kitchen), we are more aware of it and can remind ourselves of the things that we want to do this summer.

What's on your Summer List this year?

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