Saturday, 31 January 2009

Journey North Mystery Class ~ Starts Monday!

Adrienne and I are looking forward to doing this project again! We did it last year and you can see all the related posts by clicking HERE . Even though she is now attending public school, this is one of the projects that she has been asking for, reminding me since Christmas, wanting to make sure we didn't miss it!

Journey North Mystery Class is a great project that includes many interesting educational activities. We learned about sunlight and the seasons, latitude and longitude, charting our weekly sunrise/sunset data on charts, and calculating daylight hours. Our favourite part was doing research using the interdisciplinary clues towards the end of the project, trying to find out the location of each of the mystery classes. Sometimes the clues were food related, or history, politics, culture...very interesting! All while trying to match up our answers with the latitude and longitude coordinates that we had come up with!

You can visit Journey North website to learn more about the Mystery Class and how to partcipate in this project here. If you are participating, leave a comment at the end of this post. It can be fun comparing notes!

The project starts this Monday, February 2 and ends on May 8 when the Mystery Sites are revealed.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Book Sharing Monday

The Empty Pot by Demi is a wonderful story about honesty. We have read it before but enjoyed it again this morning, before Andre and Adrienne ran off to school. Here is a small part:

"Who would his successor be? And how would the Emperor choose? Because the Emperor loved flowers so much, he decided to let the flowers choose."

We have enjoyed many of Demi's books, I would highly recommend them!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Secret #3 ~ Following your fascinations

This week's secret is so important. Following your fascinations. Taking risks. Realizing what might be holding you back (inner patriarch). This chapter was so inspiring again, and I have to mention that I really find the quotes in the margins as inspiring as the text. My favourite this week was from Dolly Parton (of all people?!):

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

Now for the questions of the week from the book group:

"What helps you be brave? List anything you'd like to draw on when the journey gets tough or scary, including what has worked for you in the past."

What helps me be brave is knowing that my family is there for me, no matter what the outcome is of my adventure. Another thing that helps me is looking back at the challenges that I have gone through in the past.

When things get confusing or stressful, what has helped me in the past is to take a couple of hours by myself and go somewhere. It could be a walk or bike ride by the lake, or a drive in the country, or even spending time in a book store or at the library. Many times I bring my camera with me. I took this photo on a de-stressing walk. I always come back feeling refreshed, fresh air and taking pictures always works for me.

When I have to complete something I have a difficult time with, I tend to think of how good I will feel when it's done. During NaNoWriMo last November, there were many days when it was difficult, but I just kept thinking of how great it would feel to know that I finished, that I wrote 50 000 words!

"This week I'd like to offer you the challenge of taking one brave step towards your dreams"

This week I opened an etsy store, more for me than for profit. I started with a couple of my photographs and will add some fabric creations soon. It is something I have been thinking about for a few months, but finally decided to take the leap this week.
My other brave step that I want to take is to read the book I wrote last November. I did complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, but once I was finished, I didn't want to read what I wrote...not sure why, but now I will take that brave step and see what I wrote!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

My 999 book list ~ a work in progress!

9 books in 9 categories for 2009.

I first saw this idea here in 2008, last summer, and never got around to putting my list together. This year I am more prepared. I am still missing quite a few but I think it is a good start anyway. The list is for the entire year, and mostly for me, besides the one category called "read aloud". I let the kids pick those books, straight from our shelves.

I added the initials of the book clubs next to the selection related to them (SM is for Sound Mind, Sound Mom Club; WRL for the Well-Read Ladies, NC for Next Chapter).

Here are my selections so far:


  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Covey (SM)
  • For Women Only by Feldhahn (SM)
  • Last Child in the Woods by (SM)
  • The Creative Family (SM)
  • Playful Parenting by Cohen (SM)
  • Above All, Be Kind by Weil (SM)
  • Your Money or Your Life by Dominguez (SM)
  • It's All Too Much by Walsh (SM)

  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew


  • Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol
  • 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail Meekin (NC)
  • Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae
  • Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson
  • Amy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
  • Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners by Aimee Ray
  • Amy Butler's Midwest Modern: A Fresh Design Spirit for the Modern Lifestyle

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


  • Dewey by V. Myron
  • Lust for Life by Irving Stone
  • The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed (WRL)

  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear, and Larissa Volokhonsky
  • Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • something by Jodi Picoult (any suggestions?)
  • First Light by C. Baxter
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (WRL)

Read Aloud

  • One Thousand and One Arabian Nights
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • The People of Sparks By Jeanne Duprau

Youth Novels

  • Eldest
  • Brisingr

??? (I haven't decided what other category to pick)

6 days of photos ~ shutter sisters

This week seemed to fly by for me! I have enjoyed the photo assignment of trying to find something colourful, cozy, or that makes me smile every day. Here are the photos from this past week that fit those categories:


Friday, 23 January 2009


When she came home from school today, Adrienne asked me to make something cinnamon-y. I didn't mind, but I didn't want something that had to sit overnight. We searched online and found one that could be done in 90 minutes.
They turned out really really really yummy!

The recipe can be found at It is called Ninety Minute Cinnamon Rolls. Ours don't look that pretty, but they are delicious!
~We didn't add a glaze on top, just smeared some of the extra filling we had on the top...they were sweet enough! ~

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wish Wednesday

The idea for this comes from Jamie at Starshyne Productions. Making wishes shouldn't just be for children! I decided to participate by making a collage. I find them fun and even a bit relaxing...
The question today was:

What do you wish for your space?

My wish is to make our space our own.

We moved in our current house last spring. The house is only 3 years old and the previous owners didn't do any painting or decorating, no curtains on the windows, nothing in the backyard, etc...which suits me just fine. I rather have a blank palette to work with than having to destroy someone's else work. But I do feel the need to make this house our own home. Choosing paint colours has been on my mind lately!

I chose words for the collage, words that represent what a home means to me. My husband looked at it and told me that we already have all that, being together, relaxing at home, a small home...and he reminded me that I always do my own thing!

Warm in the kitchen...on a cold winter day

Celeste and I were so cold this morning, coming back from our walk to the library, we decided to do some baking. If you are a regular here, or know Celeste, you might already know that she loves to participate in whatever cooking I am doing.

We started by making banana bread. Same that we made before , but this time without the chocolate chips.

Then, we moved on to making croutons. Following the simple instructions from the More with Less cookbook, I cut up some Italian style bread that was going stale into chunks and sprinkle some olive oil on them, then added a bit of garlic powder and parsley. Place that in the oven at about 325, for around 30 mn or so. They are delicious! I am not crazy over croutons, not like my son is, but these are so good. I have a feeling these will become a staple in this house. They will be perfect with salad or in soup.

Finally I made some stewed tomatoes from canned peeled tomatoes. A few recipes that I have been wanting to try call for stewed tomatoes, but I don't have any. What I do have is a few cans of peeled whole tomatoes, so I put those in the pot, added a bit of olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper and let it simmered for around 30 mn.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Secret # 2 ~ Honouring your inspirations

Wow! The podcast this past Friday was perfect. Suzie Ridler calls herself an accidental domestic diva and her interview was very inspiring.

The questions this week, to go along with the second secret are :

"What have you always loved? What inspired you? Catches your eye? Makes your heart sing?"

I thought about this most of the afternoon, after listening to the podcast this morning. I had never really given any thought to it before...What inspires me?

For as long as I can remember, I have been attracted to beautiful things. What I think is beautiful that is. I think I am a visual person.
I was given a camera in my teens, and loved taking pictures. My father used to have his camera with him almost everywhere he went. His passion was taking pictures of people. Me, I preferred taking photos of places that we visited, or nature.
I have always loved being surrounded by nature. I have come to realize that being in a natural environment helps me "recharge my batteries". It doesn't matter if I am by the ocean, or the lake, on a farm, or walking in the woods, as long as I am surrounded by nature. I still get amazed at the wonders of nature. How intricate or simple a plant can be, how powerful a tree seems to me, even the weather still amazes me, especially storms. Seeing the birds at my neighbour's bird feeder always puts a smile on my face, no matter what mood I was in before!

Nature inspires me. Patterns created by nature, its colours, things that might not get noticed by others, all those tend to catch my eye. So often, I have been asked "why are you taking a picture of that?" or "what exactly are you taking a picture of?"... I usually answer with a smile and depending who is asking, I take the time to show them what I see.

I have posted this photo on my blog before, but I thought I would share it again, because it illustrates what I am saying. This is a photo of dirt, with snow. I just had to take a picture of the patterns the wind, the dirt, and the snow created together. Isn't nature amazing?

Another important and inspiring activity for me is sewing or quilting. Playing with the fabrics, seeing what colours and patterns go well together, trying a new project and seeing it all come together...all these make my heart sing.


She is trying to write her name and I just love her backward "e"...

Book Sharing Monday

Spending a total of 8 hours in the car this past weekend reminded me of a picture book that used to be a necessity a few years ago whenever we went on a long road trip. It was Adrienne and Andre's favourite story to listen to in the car. There were a few others too, but this is the one I am choosing to share today... It is the adventure of a young boy, and his teddy bear, who set out to help the forest animals on a stormy night.

This picture book is called "Adventure on Klickitat Island" written by Hilary Horder Hippely and illustrated by Barbara Upton.

"We heard a few sniffles, then somebody sneezed, and a rabbit hopped out from under the trees. He waved one big paw, so we ran to his side. Such a pitiful sight! We both almost cried."

As a side note, my children are obviously getting older...we listened to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (audio book)this trip! Celeste slept most of the way, but she still didn't mind listening to it when she was awake.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

A beautiful weekend

My dancing girl!

An award...for me!

I came back from our weekend away tonight to a very nice surprise! I have been given an award! This is my first award for my blog! Thank you Makita.
It is such a kind and thoughtful award too...Here is the description:

About the award : This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Pass the award to 3 folks who make up part of your extended blogging family.
I think I might have blushed while reading that! It is true though, that when I created my blog last year, I was not in search of prizes or awards, but wanted to connect with other homeschooling families, and thought it would be nice place to share ideas, interesting projects, or even use the blog as a tool to keep track of what we did. It was an easy and quick way for family and friends to see what we were up to as well. My blog has since evolved into something a little different, it might be a little more focused on me now, but ultimately it still is about the adventures of my family.
Connecting to other homeschooling families, and other women in this blog world has been a wonderful experience. I enjoy reading about others, and their adventures...and I really appreciate reading your comments on this blog too :)
Now I need to pass on the award to 3 blogs (hard to limit to 3...). Ready? Here we go:

5 days of creativity ~ first week!

Monday ~ not sure if baking counts as being creative...but that is what I did on Monday! Adrienne was home from school because she had 6 teeth pulled out first thing in the morning. She did really well and was back to being able to eat a few hours later. We made this "palmiers" which I used to eat when I was little back in France, delicieux !

Tuesday ~ I tried a new little pattern from the Bend the Rules Sewing book, a cute little pouch and I had so much fun making it! I just need to find a big button and it will be complete.

Wednesday ~ I wasn't as creative today, with Celeste home with me, but we had a lovely day together. Actually Andre was home as well, his class was going on a field trip to see the Tale of Desperaux and we have already seen it together. So, not much creativity today, but lots of fun times with my children :)

Thursday ~ After seeing the black pouch that I made, Adrienne asked me if I would make her 2 pouches for her. One for her camera and one for her ipod. Again, I am missing buttons, but they turned out really cute. She picked the fabrics from my stash. The print one is the lining in the purple bigger pouch for her camera, and vice-versa for the smaller pouch...I did it that way because she couldn't decide which fabric she wanted on the outside of her pouches, so now she has one of each!

Friday ~ this day was spent packing for the weekend. We all attended a wedding out of town, and I packed for everyone, since I was home. I did find the time to start cutting fabric for a small quilt, that used charm packs fabrics. I didn't take a photo, but I will share that little project soon...

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Family Literacy Day ~ World Record Attempt

The kids and I will be attending this event on January 24, at one of the branches of our local library.
Here are some details from the website:
ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation and Official FLD World Record Attempt Sponsor Oxford Learning are asking Canadians of all ages to help us break the Guinness World Record™ for “Most Children Reading With an Adult, Multiple Locations.”
Please visit the site if you are in Canada, to read about it more and to find out a location near you!
Canada Family Literacy Day ~ World Record Attempt

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

When the cat is away...

Well...not the kitty cat, I am meaning the Daddy of this house. He works retail hours, and when he does work a "close", the kids and I have the evening just for us.
Because it doesn't happen all the time, we tend to break the evening routine. We do things like have a breakfast dinner, or have a picnic in the basement, or do some painting/colouring together. Lately we have been catching up on this TV series. The Daddy can't stand this show, but the kids and I love it. It used to be one of my favourites growing up, and I am so glad they enjoy it too. Just plain old silly stuff!

She makes me smile

Monday, 12 January 2009

Orange Marmalade

I made orange marmalade for the first time over this past weekend. It was so easy and it turned out perfect. I loved the colours and the smell was wonderful. I thought I would be the only one eating this, but Adrienne loves it too.
ps. the top picture is my colourful photo of the day!

Book Sharing Monday

I lost track on how many times I have read this book aloud to Celeste. She loves it! Adrienne also really enjoyed the story and ended up creating some dots of her own.
The book is called "The Dot" by Peter H. Reynolds, and here is my favourite quote from it:
"Just make a mark and see where it takes you."

Make sure to visit the links on the left of my blog, to see the other participants of Book Sharing Monday!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Now what do I do?

I made this quilt top yesterday. It follows a pattern called "Around the World", I was so excited to try something new, and to use fabric that has been in my stash for the last decade, that I never measured how much fabric I really had. I thought I had enough, but halfway through I realized that I didn't! I was already past a lot of the cutting and stripping, so I decided to still go for it, on a smaller scale. Now I have to figure out if I want to add some fabric to the edges, but it might look a little funny, or try to finish it as a table runner. I have a little bit left of 2 of the fabrics I already used (on the left side of the quilt top).
The quilt top currently measures 24 x 57 inches.
Any ideas or suggestions???

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Kitchen chair cushions...finished!

January homework for me

I now have three book clubs online that I am participating in, and I am looking forward to all of them. The Well Read Ladies starts next month, but I have already started the Sound Mind, Sound Mom reading selection. The first book is called Your Money or Your Life by J. Dominguez.
I am looking forward to reading the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, hopefully the library will call on Monday or Tuesday.
Today, through my Google Reader I read a great post at Shutter Sisters. By the way, Google Reader is a great way to read blogs. I could never read as many blogs as I do without it!
Paige Balcer talks about inspiration and creative action. I could relate to her when she said "believe me, I am inspired daily by what I see on Flickr or while reading blogs. But being inspired by others is only half the battle, actively participating is the other". She suggests giving ourselves a January homework assignment. The first part is taking one photo everyday until the end of the month. The photo needs to be colourful, cozy, cheerful, or make you smile. The second part is to do something creative with your hands 5 days a week. Here she stresses that it should not involve the camera or computer.
This should really get my productivity going! I have a long list of projects, so as long as I can keep up, I might be able to cross off a few this month.
Here is my January homework so far:
  • daily photo on An ocean apart, shared with Rachel ~ I am loving this, seeing her photo everyday gives me a little window on her life, even if she is so far away.
  • daily photo (colourful, cozy, cheerful, funny)
  • weekly reading assignment for the Sound Mind, Sound Mom book club
  • weekly reading assignment for the 12 Secrets book blogging group
  • doing something creative five days a week (sewing, painting, quilting, writing, drawing...)
  • exercise daily, with a walk outside when weather allows
  • finish putting together my 999 book list, 9 books in 9 categories for 2009 (idea from here)
I remember sitting here in the fall, after my kids starting school, feeling sorry for myself and wishing that I had something to do just for me...well I think my wish has been granted!

It's amazing...

My new favourite song, for the lyrics...well the music is not bad either :)

Friday, 9 January 2009

Comfy cat

Clara now has a very comfortable little basket to sit in, and she couldn't wait to try it out...

I followed the directions in Amy Karol's book "bend-the-rules sewing". You can see many of the projects from the book, completed by a lot of talented people at this flickr group (like a show and tell!). Clara is now in that group too :)

Thinking ahead...Christmas 2009!

I could I already? Well, I can relate completely to this post at Craft Apple. I wanted to make an advent calendar this past Christmas, but never got around to it. It is on my list of things to sew for this year, and I thought being part of this sew along would help me stay on track! These little stockings are so adorable, that I changed my mind on what I was planning on making...or maybe I'll end up with two advent calendars(one to give as a gift would be perfect). I did promise myself that this coming Christmas would be a lot more homemade... word for 2009

I mentioned taking the two days that Celeste is in school to focus on creative projects here. My intuition and "gut feeling" is telling me that it is what I need to do. And funny how I just happen to stumble onto this site which is an online book blogging group that will explore for the next 12 weeks the book "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" by Gail McMeekin.

I considered first just following the blog, but after listening to the pod cast, I knew I would do more than just follow, I would participate by posting once a week about my journey. I was completely certain once I searched and found the book at my local library's website!
The first secret is acknowledging your creative self. and the first post is supposed to be about where you are on the journey to your creative self.

I feel that I am at the doorstep, at the boarding gate, just putting my shoes on, or just starting the other words, I feel like I am at the beginning. Some people in my life would argue that I am already a creative person. It is true that I have done quite a few projects and enjoyed all of them. Scrapbooking, quilting, sewing different useful things for my children or for the house. Even during our busy homeschool years, I used to enjoy doing lapbooks with the children, or taking a few hours together to paint, experimenting with different medias. I also love playing with my camera, taking photos of everything and anything. This past November, I spent the month writing my first novel, challenging myself with the help of NaNoWriMo.
But I feel that I am only at the beginning because I have so much still to learn. I would love to explore more, trying to find and focus maybe on one particular creative outlet for myself.

To start this creative journey, I put together a Dreamboard, inspired by an idea I saw on StarShyne Productions blog. I haven't done many collages before, only a couple with my kids, but they are fun.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Out with the funny names...and a quick intro of my children

I have been using alias names for my children on this blog, for privacy reasons when we homeschooled. But now, since this blog is leaning more towards me, I am questioning that practice. I also find myself putting their real names in my posts and having to correct it. For visitors to this blog that actually know me, how can they quickly figure out who is who?? So...out with the secrecy...and in with their real names.
I am not planning on going to all the old posts, so f you are reading those, you will still see their old names.

Now for the quick introduction of my children:

Princess is the baby of the family. She is 4 and a half, full of life, laughter, always a smile for you, and very kind hearted. She is a princess in the sense that she is very special. She will be the type to get you a blanket if you mention that you are a little cold, or get you a drink if you start coughing...just pure sweetness. She also has this weird thing about her past lives, she started this since she has been able to talk almost. She has a few different stories, but you can hear her talking about when she used to be with a different mom, living in China or Japan and her friends there...and she has an amazing memory, about little things that we have done together (in this life, lol). My Princess is Celeste.

Dragon is my one and only boy. Dragons is something he has been interested in for the last year or so. And Dragon is also what he used to turn into sometimes...He can have a bad temper, but he is also the most affectionate boy I know. He is a day dreamer, and a bit of a clown. He also has a need to be extremely precise, and for others to be that way as well. He is very helpful around the house, but only if I am very detailed in my requests! At the moment, he is into paper airplanes. He is trying to master the best paper airplane design. He has designed a few, with "options" as he calls them! My Dragon is Andre, he will be 10 next month.

Finally, Fairy is my first baby. Eleven years ago, already, I became a mother. What a wonderful adventure! She is the more "responsible" one of the three, being the oldest I suppose. She was a huge help when Celeste was born, having such a gap in age. She is much more quiet than Andre or Celeste, but can shine just as much. She is the more artistic one, interested in art, photography, and a bit of sewing too. She loves to bake, and makes delicious cookies and bars. She is already planning on baking her brother's birthday cake next month. I had picked the name Fairy, because she loves fairy stories, but also because she reminds me of a fairy, delicate, quiet, shy, but so wonderful. My Fairy is Adrienne.

Kitchen chair cushions...and a spoiled cat!

I am almost finished making these chair cushions for our kitchen chairs. All I have left are to hand sew the ties to five cushions! I am pleased with how these turned out, thanks to my aunt who showed me how to quilt the top and bottom layers before inserting the foam, and how to make my own piping. We will all be more comfortable during our meals now!

About that spoiled cat...The next on my sewing to do list is a cushion for a basket that the cat has claimed as her own. Fairy has picked up some soft fabric and has requested that I make her a cushion to fit that basket.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Book Sharing Monday

With Fairy and Dragon back at school this morning, Princess and I are enjoying our day together, just the two of us.

I am sharing today one of her favourite stories. She has loved this story for the past two years (she is now 4 and 1/2). It is one of those stories that she never seems to get tired of, and enjoys both the story and the illustrations. We always stop at the page of the City of Geoppolis map (the first photo) and find where all the buildings are.
The book is " Katy and the Big Snow" written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton.
Here is a small part:
"When winter came
they put snow plows
on the big trucks
and changed Katy's bulldozer
for her snow plow.
But Katy was so big and strong
she had to stay home,
because there was not enough snow for her to plow."

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Participating in Book Sharing Monday ~ Graphics

** Click on the graphic, it will open in a new window, then you will be able to save the picture on your computer. Thank you!**

Here are two little graphics (one above and one below) that you are welcome to use and add to your blog and link back to this post if you are participating in the Book Sharing Monday. I would like to add your site to the list on the left as well, all you need to do is leave me a comment at the end of this post, and when you are doing your Book Sharing, make sure to add "Book Sharing Monday" to the tags.

I am looking forward to reading all your posts and discovering new books to share with my kids!

A short but lovely walk

A year in pictures...2008

2008 was a busy year for us here, filled with changes. With a job transfer that saw us moving four hours away, a huge change with the children starting public school, new activities, new friends, re-kindled relationships with family, and long distance relationships with others...
Here are a few photos from the year, one per month, taken from the pages of this blog. You can click on each photo and it will take you to that post.












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