Its been awhile…

Somehow its almost August. I don’t really know what has happened to the year! I have tried to get a blog post out since March. I had some issues with website and then I had some camera issues too. I think I need a new SD card and I am looking for some new photo storage/editing software because I think Aperture isn’t being updated anymore. Anyway, It has been a busy year so far!

I have taken a bit of a break from gardening at home this year so we just have some containers on the deck. We put down some green crop seed to sprout and be turned into the soil for extra nutrients this year. Its been nice to not have to worry as much about getting out to harvest all the time. I have gotten to the strawberry and raspberry patch this year and got lots of jam into the freezer. I also planted a cucumber at the cottage this year. Fingers crossed I can get some mini cucumers for pickling! I have to get a bushel anyway because that is the favourite in our house.

Ava helping pick strawberries

In the beginning of the year Nick and I competed in a fantastic Crossfit competition put on by a local box. We both did very well and we are both looking forward to more in the future. We also spent 9 weeks working on strict olympic lifting and have learned a lot about technique and where our weaknesses are.

Reaching for the stars! photo credit: Ricky Tjandra
Nick throwing around some heavy weight! Photo credit: Ricky Tjandra

The kids had a fantastic year of school. Ava is very excited to start senior Kindergarten this fall and Leah is ready for the challenges that grade 2 will present her. Leah got involved with running club and got to go to her first track and field day and she loved it! Ava has made some many new friends and she has flourished in the school environment. She loves giving a helping hand and has really enjoyed the daily challenges of learning. They both had fantastic birthday parties and I am starting realize why people rent out spaces for that stuff. 7 little girls running around my house don’t really fit well! I love getting to know their friends and watching them form bonds with them that will carry them through to high school and perhaps beyond.

Ava loves the giant unicorn she got this year
Giant stuffed animals were a theme this year. Leah loves her giant Flamingo!

Ava has started Highland Dancing and has taken to it like a fish to water! She also did her very first medal test this year and passed with flying colours! It is so different being the parent rather than the dancer. I spent so many years doing the exams and worrying about it- now I just have to worry for her. This will be an interesting journey for us both.

Ava all set and ready to go!
All the girls warming up and getting ready to go!

Leah competed in her first online Crossfit competition this year and came 7th in her age group! She really liked the challenges and I love being able to support her through some learning curves.

Leah has her game face on as she takes on the first workout!
There’s a happy smile! So thrilled with the tee shirt she one from another on line game from her box- Crossfit Divison!

We opened the cottage in May this year and we haven’t missed many weekends. The water is getting very deep which is great for swimming and boating! The girls are getting so much more comfortable in the water and they go swimming at least 2 times a day. While the kids are playing we always have a few projects on the go. We replaced a window this year so far and we have a few other big projects planned- mostly adding/replacing anchors to the dock (Im so glad Nick and I started Crossfit, makes lifting heavy things a bit easier)

The girls have been enjoying their summer holidays so far. Its the first summer they don’t have to go to daycare every day and so have been sleeping in quite a bit, also staying up late. They have been at their first summer camp this week at Guelph University. They have had a blast and I think Nick appreciated having the house to himself this week.

Ava playing in the sprinkler
The girls enjoying the summer sun
Sent of my Flamingo and Unicorn to their last day of summer camp today!

We are all on count down to our full week of vacation at the cottage in August. I will hopefully remember my camera and get some good shots of the kids and some sunsets(because I clearly don’t have enough of those)

I’m hoping that since I have everything mostly pulled back together again I will be able to do updates a little more often. Thats all for now!

Around the House

The weather has been hard to work with this spring. It was so cold for so long and then bam it was 30 degrees, Which I love and I am not complaining at all, I just feel late getting the garden in.

Crocus popping up through the dusting of snow.

Hyacinth starting to bloom

The daffodils sprouting up, They all came up early and got their tips burned from the ice storm

May was slow to start and it was quite chilly for Ava’s 4th birthday. She had a wonderful day and celebrated over several days, I am sure that is every kid’s dream presents every day for almost a week! I successfully made a cake in the shape of a hedgehog for her birthday. I think its pretty cute, however, I know more than ever that I need to work on the making good icing and cake decorating skills.

Ava celebrating her birthday.

A cake that sort of resembles a hedgehog.


Ava got a Wheelbarrow for her birthday and you can tell with these pictures I used my phone. The image quality is not quite the same, but Ava is still just as cute.

The garden has grown and changed so much since we moved in almost 5 years ago. We have added so many bulbs and flowers, each spring is a surprise. We got some wonderful new tulips that I bought on a whim and they turned out great! We are going to order some more this year and finish putting a border on that garden, They look so cute mixed in with the forget me nots, The blue and yellow match so well.

Honky Tonk tulips and forget me nots looking great. I am going to be getting another case of these.

Honkey tonk tulips.

Double Pam Daffodil

Daffodils

The driveway in full bloom

Cream Primula

Red primula so happy in it’s spot under the lilac tree

The hops have started their ascent, Ginger likes to eat the tips.

The hops about 6 days later. The grow so fast, you can practically watch them.

The tulip garden looking beautiful. It is starting to come together.

We took most of the side garden apart today, and rebuilt it. We have a few new Hydrangeas to put in and some of the lilies and the Anemones needed to be divided. I got all the plants out of our bedroom where they stay warm and safe during the winter. It seems like I regained at least half of the floor space. I got a bunch of leaf litter and sticks from the maples all cleaned up and ready to go to the curb on Thursday (at least I hope its compost week this week) It was so satisfying to get all of the work done. Nick’s mom came to visit today too. She spent most of her time playing with the girls, which gave us a few less interruptions and we got more done today than we have in months. I got the vegetable garden weeded and prepped for plants on Friday. We seeded in beets, beans, peas, and dill. I planted some peppers and tomatoes that we picked up from Colour Paradise (http://www.colourparadise.com) They have an awesome selection and have so many plants that they start early so they are a really good size when you get them home, It is great for when you know little children want to help.

Getting the planters ready to go.

Nick fertilizing everything.

All the little basils ready to grow.

Tomatos all planted

The yard all cleaned up after a day of work.

So much work to do so little time. I am hoping to get a some house work done over the weekend, but I know that I will probably just play outside instead-the kids have more fun anyway.

May Days

I finally put my office back together after having it torn apart for the better part of a month to redo the flooring. It is much easier to use my computer when I have a desk to work at, being home helps too. I was away for the first 3 weekends in May. I got to attend a fantastic Symposium for Animal Health in Quebec City. I learned so much and had some awesome networking opportunities. I also learned that I really need to go back there and eat more food and tour around a bit more. We went to visit Nick’s relatives in Kingston the following weekend. It one of my favourite cities to visit for the food and time with family. We always stop in at Pan Chancho’s and I finally got to eat at Wooden Heads (http://woodenheads.com) The pizza was awesome, and some of the conversations we overheard were very entertaining.

We finally made it to the opening weekend of the cottage, with a new boat in tow. That drive up with the boat attached is one of the most nerve wracking things to me. Which is why we make Nick drive the truck up. It was one of the most smooth launches we have ever had. The trailer handles really well. We had been itching to get to the cottage since we closed it. Friday afternoon the weather was perfect! We got the water all hooked up, the composting toilet set up, and we discovered a family of mice had moved in for the winter. I spent most of the rainy day on Saturday cleaning up. I was glad that it was raining because at least I didn’t feel bad about wasting the sunshine being inside.

Saturday morning was spent getting the garden cleaned up and planting in the potatoes, they grow so well in the compost we have. As the weather gets warmer we will be taking up some tomatoes, and some herbs for cooking. The girls were so desperate to go swimming that I finally agreed to take them. The ice had only been out for maybe a week or so and the water was at most 60 degrees. Leah hopped in a refused to admit she was freezing until a boat went by and splashed her. She was in cottage by the fire in no time after that. Ava managed to get her toes wet and said that was enough until the water warms up.  There was a power outage while we were there. I am so happy that we use the BBQ for most meals and we have some beautiful cast iron pans that we use on the wood stove to make breakfast. Bacon cooked in a heap in a pan is so delicious and it makes the cottage smell so good.

breakfast cooked on the wood stove! So yummy.

First toe in the river, She was so brave. I probably won’t get in until end of June.

Ava followed suit and was chasing her sister in.

Getting the compost turned into the garden and planting the potatoes

On Sunday it was sunny but cold. We got the smoker up and running we made a great chicken, we brined it and then did a dry rub and smoked for a couple of hours. It was so tender and flavourful. I definitely want to give that a go again. It was great to catch up with everyone after the winter and relax in the fresh air. The Beavers were busy in the swamp this winter, building lots of new dams and creating quite the large mosquito breeding ground.

Our smoker all ready for the chicken!

Wood all chopped and ready to use, mostly Maple and Birch.

The weather is always the best on the day we have to leave. The girls had their bikes out and we enjoyed several cups of coffee on the deck watching them play and the river lazily flowing by. We took the boat out into the bay for a few minutes. The wind was just a bit too cold to last long, I found myself wishing for a toque. Then we came home and slowly ate our lunch, and then packed with a mad dash after noticing the time. We seemed to lead a bit of a mass exodus from the river. I’m guessing everyone does the same thing. At least the drive wasn’t overly long either way this time. As summer progresses the traffic will get worse. One day I would love to just stay there for the summer,I guess that is for when I can retire.

Fist sunset of the season, there will be plenty more to come!

The cottage box is starting to build up in the front hall again. I sense another trip soon!

 

Spring time.

I am getting a bit more free time in my days now that the puppies have gone home, so hopefully I will be able to write more again. It is a very peaceful afternoon, the dogs are all asleep in the spots of sun that come through the windows, Ava is away with Oma, and Leah is sick on the couch having a nap. I am having a cup of tea and writing, in between hanging laundry on the line and reading some stories to Leah when she is awake. Looks like she will be home from school tomorrow.

We have been carefully watching for signs of spring since probably February. We had that lovely thaw a few weeks ago and I was sure that was going to be spring! We noticed how the the trees buds were starting to swell and the bulbs were pushing up through the soil.

Two girls sitting on a log in the woods.
Leah and Ava watching for spring

Heading into the wood by Leah’s school

Dropping Leah off for a fun day at school.

Moss in the woods.

Ava loves “mommy and me days”

We had a lovely Easter weekend, spending time with all our family. The girls love the annual egg hunt at my parents house. My mom carefully lays out all the eggs and then the girls take all of maybe 5 minutes to find them all. This year we were a bit late arriving and my mom had to fend off a squirrel who liked the look of the brightly coloured eggs, and maybe has a bit of a sweet tooth.

Easter egg hunt

They gathered all the eggs and only had to fend off one squirrel who thought he should have the eggs too.

Comparing numbers.

Now I think we have finally made it through to spring. I got the front garden all cleaned up and the bulbs are starting to flower. I have a few crocus, hyacinths, and iris coming up. The daffodils are shooting out of the ground as fast as they can, with the tulips following quickly behind them. I love this time of year, watching everything erupt with the heat of the sun.

Leah Loving the warm weather, good for chalk drawings and bubbles!

Ava checking on the flowers in the garden.

We ripped the carpet out of the office a couple of weeks ago, and now that the warm weather is here. I have a feeling that we won’t finish that project until October. There are more fun things to do outside, like getting the garden going, and Cottage Opening should be just around the corner. If the ice would get out of the river!