The Christmas season is finally here! We have decked the halls, and trimmed the tree. It is all looking rather festive, perhaps a bit cluttered…
Getting the tree up and decorated is probably the most exciting part of getting ready for Christmas for the kids. We get the tree and it sits in the stand for a few days to relax the branches and get a good drink, and then we get the big boxes out of the basement and the girls just can’t wait to see the lights and hang the decorations. We usually sing Christmas carols and have sugar cookies. By the time it’s up and decorated, the girls are wired and it’s way past bedtime, but that is most fun.
The girls are having so much fun with the snow that is ever so slightly starting to accumulate. Tobogganing is great this year as Ava is finally able to get around in her snow suit without too much help and they can stay outside for much longer periods of time. As much as I complain about driving in it, I love the excuse to go out and play in the snow! Building forts and sledding are some of my favourite things to do. This year we have started making some small ramps on the hill to make us go a little further into the yard. I am so happy that we have such a good hill in our own backyard.
We have started doing so Christmas prep around the house, some baking, and some handmade Christmas cards. I had some friends over last weekend and we made some beautiful gingerbread houses, as well as some sugar cookies. The girls really enjoyed building the houses and are slowly eating their way through houses. I fear some of the gingerbread boys and girls only have one leg or one arm.
I finally got around to taking some Christmas photos of the girls. I am going to share one of the not so great ones as it is kind of funny and show that pictures I share are usually one of 50 or 100 that just didn’t turn out as well.
We have been busy as always since the last time I was able to check in. We made a family trip to the Toronto Zoo with my mom and dad. Going back as a guest was kind of strange after having spent many summers working with the pony ride, that appears to no longer be there. It was also so much fun watching the kids see all the animals for the first time.We packed a large picnic lunch and spent the whole day and saw pretty much everything. I forgot how big the zoo really was. Leah’s favourite animal turned out be the flamingos. She also really liked seeing the giraffes and the tigers. Ava’s favourite was the gorillas. It was a cool wet day and many of the animals were very close and active. I am looking forward to taking the kids again maybe in the summer when it is a bit warmer.
Halloween was also a a bunch of fun. The girls enjoyed dressing up, Leah was Elsa again and Ava was a genie.
Nick and I finally got most of the fall clean up done in the last week or so. It seems just in time to get the yard waste bags out for the last pick up. Also just in time as the first snow was upon us that evening. The girls were so excited about the snow they woke up early so that they could play outside before Leah went to school. Ava enjoyed the first sled run of the season.
Christmas is coming! Having kids of a certain age has really made me enjoy celebrating the season a bit earlier. We got the lights up on the house outside and my dad came and built our winter planter. It is looking very festive. Our Christmas tree has also made an appearance. It will have to wait a few days until we can put any decorations on it and with that, the Christmas season is upon us. I have been busy making lists and planning various Christmas cooking expeditions for dad and I to embark on. The LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine always has so many fun and different recipes to try and play with. It is time to stock up on things before the mad rush at the end. I got some beautiful alpaca wool today, I have some projects in mind for that. Well, off to check out some cyber Monday deals. I’m sure it will be just as successful as black Friday i.e. nothing purchased.
October is coming to a close and I’m finally finding some time to catch up on the many things that have happened since the last time I posted.
We enjoyed a beautiful weekend at the cottage. It was the last one of the season for the girls and myself. With such perfect weather it is really hard to close up and say goodbye for winter. We enjoyed a morning in the bush picking cranberries, and hiking around the swamp.
We stopped for a snack on the top of one of my favourite rocks and actually took a family photo for once. (see, we do things together)
After our hike, Leah and I tested the water, it was still pretty warm being the last day of September, however it was still chilly and the swim turned into more of a quick dip. However that is something that can go on the calendar as the latest swim of the season.
Back home we got our apple picking done (look – another family photo! We are getting better at using the timer on the camera) and made several batches of apple sauce, a bunch of apple pies in the freezer and a couple apple crisps for the freezer too. I also made 11 jars of poached pears. I can’t wait to try them! The garden is finally producing some beautiful tomatoes and I grew enough tomatillos to make a jar of salsa verde properly rather than making it with mostly green tomatoes.
This weekend I got most of the spring bulbs planted. I think this is the best weather I have had for planting. Im usually out in mitts and a hat, hoping that its still warm enough for the bulbs to settle in for the winter before frost sets in.
Im hoping that the weather holds out for a few more days so I can get the last 120 bulbs in. The girls are getting excited for Halloween, They have their costumes ready and I will hopefully get some pumpkins this week. Pinterest has some new and great ideas (as always) that I am excited to try. Off to bed now, school in the morning.
Where did September go? It feels like the summer slipped through my fingers faster than ever.
September started off pretty miserably, We went for the first week to the cottage and it rained for the weekend, and then it was cold for most of the week. We did get some much needed cottage maintenance completed though. I also got to harvest a very full crop of fingerling potatoes. They grew very well in our compost and beaver muck mix. I tried to change things up a bit and worked on getting some sunrises rather than the typical sunset. It is a bit easier this time of year as the sun gets up at 6:30ish rather than the typical 4:30/5 that happens earlier in the summer.
Boys will be boys they say. Well these two enjoy mucking in their unintentional cottage uniform.
On our second last day we visited Piney Island, It was a great hike even though the kids weren’t all that thrilled by the end.
With the return from our holiday, so began Leah’s elementary school career! So far she has been having a ball! She has made so many new friends and enjoys most of her time there. It was a bit of an adjustment period, but we are working out the kinks and she comes home with so many happy funny stories everyday.
It also seemed that with the return of school came a hot, beautiful Indian summer! The last couple weekends at the cottage have been spectacular. I have swam more in the past two weeks than I have all summer.
We are heading back for a weekend or two more before close up, hard to believe that time of year is upon us. I already bought one Christmas present and the crafts are starting to get planned out! Off to the kitchen there is salsa to make!
We have spent most of August up at the cottage this year. We only missed one weekend. It is wonderful to spend the time there, our northern garden seems to be much happier than its counterpart in the south.
We started off august with a full week at the cottage. It really helps everyone unwind and enjoy life at a slightly slower pace. One of my favourite things is watching the kids play in muddy puddles and splash in the river.
My grandmother had a wonderful old washtub at the cottage. It has served as a bathtub for the youngsters for the last few summers. They are realizing that they both don’t really fit anymore. Amazing how much difference a year makes.
This photo isn’t the best, but it is a view from the kitchen sink. This may sound very housewifely but it just warms my heart to watch the kids play outside while I wash the dishes. I love watching them find fun new games and things to do without really being in their way.
We had a great reunion of a family that used to own our cottage. It was great to share stories about our time up there. Most of the things haven’t changed, Even most of the furniture is the same.
Out cottage is home to a somewhat rare lizard called the 5 lined Skink. They have established a viable colony under our cottage and we see them running through our garden and on the rocks. This year we were there for some hatchlings! They have a vibrant blue tail that stands out on the rocks. We also have had numerous sandhill cranes move into the swamp. They have a very interesting call, I think it sounds like what a pterodactyl would sound like.
Blueberries were fantastic this year. We had many breakfasts of blueberry pancakes. We also picked lots for the freezer. There is nothing like a hint of summer in the dead of winter.
We had so many great sunsets. I will only share a few… I need to go through my photos and edit/delete some. One night I took 200 photos. The sun and sky change so fast every picture feels like its better than the last.
We went out into the Bay with our friends for the last night and the water was perfectly calm. One of the most beautiful nights this year. Leah loves to drive the boat. She’s learned all about the markers and what they mean.
We are heading back for another week at the summer house tomorrow. It will probably be the last long stretch of time for the summer. The mornings are cooler and the days are shorter. I guess that time of year is upon us. Leah starts school in a week, and we will be able to get back to a good routine soon, I hope.
Leah celebrated her birthday recently with a trip to the Cambridge Butterfly conservatory. She took one of her best friend, and they had a blast!
Leah really enjoyed not taking her sister along for the trip. The girls liked the waterfall and the fish pond.
Last week we went berry picking. I have always gone to Marcy’s Berries. On Valens road and 97. Close to Freelton. It is a family owned and operated business that produce some of the best strawberries around, Their raspberries and other fruits are awesome too.
We managed to pick a flat and a half of strawberries and raspberries. The girls had lots of fun, although it was a bit “hard, and boring” for them.
Once we got home, we got to do all the hard work of prepping the strawberries and making jam. I usually just make freezer jam so its a bit easier, Leah likes mashing the fruit the best. We ended up making 28 jars of jam for the winter.
The garden is calling, I have more plants to go in the vegetable garden, and the weeds are starting to take over the flower beds. It seems like I picked a rather hot day to get that project going… Perhaps a book and a drink on the deck is what will actually happen.
We have been to the cottage a lot so far this summer and it has been awesome!
We found a Spotted Turtle. I love showing the girls all about the plants and animals in the world around them. It is a great opportunity to learn about the type of turtle, where they live and what they eat.
A first of many beautiful sunsets.
For Canada Day, We got all dressed up and decorated our neighbour’s boat and joined in the Canada Day boat Parade on the river. It was a great social event. It was fun to see so many people out on the water and we had a great fireworks display to end the evening.
Having a cottage isn’t always about having fun. There’s lots of work to do around the place. One of our current projects is getting a better water system in place.
The cottage air, and being outside most of the day tires a little girl out.
The river was warm enough for me to get in last weekend. It is fun being able to get out an enjoy the water with the kids.
As we are installing the new water system. We need to drill some holes for tie down points.
Rising early means, fresh blueberries for pancakes.
I can’t wait to head back north. It has been so awesome to get up to the cottage so many times this summer.
So many projects, so little time. In the last month or so I have completed two bigger projects that have been waiting longer than they should have, but they are done now.
The first is I completed building the sandbox! However, there isn’t any sand in it yet. It will come soon. I purchased a bunch of 8ft mini ties and made slots in each piece, then drilled them together, the kids are enjoying the space as is right now but I can’t wait to see the sand projects that will come from this. I also realized that one can never have enough tools.
The other project I finished was the Crossfit box jump. It has three different heights to jump on. We used a sheet of 1″ plywood that was 4′ x 8′.
The kids got to work on their own project. They got to excavate a dinosaur skeleton! I got a kit from Costco called Discover Dinosaurs. It has a great activity book, poster, wooden build your own skeleton and a fossil excavation kit. It is a well put together kit that kept the girls busy for about an hour digging, washing and building their new dinosaur.
The warm weather is back and it is proving hard to keep up with my blog!
The girls enjoyed getting back to some of their favourite things. Today they did some painting on the deck. Leah is starting to get much more creative with her paintings, today she was working on “self-portraits”
The vegetable garden is starting to show signs of life! Leah, Ava and I spent some time last weekend doing some weeding and seeding.
The seeds we planted have started to come up – we have little potatoes, beets, carrots, peas, and lettuces.
The peonies are looking like they are going to put on a good show this year! Our first Itoh Hybrid Peony is in flower, and it is stunning. The bleeding hearts, and primulas were beautiful last week, so were the last of our tulips. They need deadheading now.
We also had visitor in the garden today from Mr. Toad. He likes to hide under the peonies in the front garden.
Our deck is getting its summer look. The hops are shooting out of the ground a mile a minute, and our planters are getting some basil, parsley, cilantro into them soon. I have some morning glories starting to sprout up and the fig has leafed out beautifully. I love sitting on the deck in the evenings and soaking up the final rays of sun from the day with a good book.
I was out getting some lumber today for a couple new projects. Leah is getting a sandbox for her birthday! I will starting building it tomorrow and the sand will arrive when I get around to purchasing that part, hopefully before her actual birthday. I also have a box jump to build for our home gym, the bale of pro-mix soil just isn’t holding up anymore.
There are dishes in the sink that have my name on them, then hopefully a little bit quiet time on the deck before bed.