Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Little Witches

Dry IceRyan took Brayden on an overnight winter camp for the Young Men at church this weekend. He wanted to do something fun with them while still being 'safe' so a huge explosion was out of the running. He settled on the idea of something to do with dry ice and picked up a brick of it just before leaving.
Today when they got back they still had some of the dry ice left so he let the girls play with it. They each got a small chunk in a bowl of water and pretended to be witches stirring their cauldrons. At one point they asked themselves if they changed the colour of the water, would it change the colour of the steam coming out of the bowl. They got some food colouring and tested out their theory. I think they were a little disappointed to find that the steam was still white, even when the water was green. The disappointment didn't last long and they were back to their game of witches!

Witches

Pill Container Craft Attempt One

BottlesI can remember back in the day when I was in Brownies I had made these broaches out of crayon shavings and pill bottles. I recall them turning out so pretty and I'm not sure if it was because I was 8 or if they really did look amazing. I've wanted to make them with my girls for a while now but didn't really know where to go to find empty prescription pill bottles so it's just been this thought floating around in my brains.
This afternoon the girls and I went to Michaels to walk around and I found these clear plastic containers that are exactly what I've been looking for. I used my 40% off coupon and bought them. In hind sight I should have probably just gone next door to the dollar store and looked there but I'll do that next time!
Anyway, I bought these little containers and sharpened a bunch of crayons to little nubs and decided to test out some oven temperatures. I had googled the craft but came up short of a temperature so I started at 300*. It melted my little crayon shavings and the pill bottle but it took quite a while and I had to get a skewer and mush it up to cover the exposed crayon. I could remember when I had done them with my mom it seemed to warp and take on these funky shapes all on it's own. I thought this was because maybe the oven temperature wasn't high enough but after a second attempt with the girls at 400* it still didn't work out and I was out of containers. I think it's because the plastic was thicker then the prescription containers and so it didn't melt as quickly so I'll have to check out the dollar store and see what they have for options. In the meantime, the ones we made using a wooden skewer to play with the melted plastic looked pretty cool!
meltingFinished

Monday, February 22, 2016

2 Kids Down, 1 To Go

I'm so proud of these two completed their Swim Kids Level 10! It's the highest level which means no more swimming lessons for these two. I am so excited for multiple reasons, all selfish. Firstly, we opted to put the two older kids together in private lessons giving them 2:1 time with an instructor. This cost us more then the normal lesson BUT it allowed them to work through as many badges as their skill allowed instead of just the one level they registered for. They both love swimming and I spoke to their previous instructor to figure out if it would be worth the extra money it would cost and decided that not only would it be worth the money but that it would cut down on my evenings spent poolside watching them. Therefore I'm excited I saved quite a bit of money long term and saved myself a lot of free nights! Plus it just confirmed to me that my kids are amazing little fish swimmers. Now I think I'll just have to wait 3 more years and do the same thing with Maddy, knocking off all the levels in one go.
BraydSyd

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Something New

Naina'sYesterday for date night Ryan wanted to try out this burger place he's heard about named Naina's Diner. He said that from the outside it looks like a dive but a few different people had told him it has the best burgers in Calgary so we took the trip into the city hoping it would be worth it. When we got there I was super nervous to go in for two reasons; 1) It's in a sketchy part of town and 2) It was dead, zero customers. Thankfully the guy working the till was great and explained how the menu worked and before we were finished ordering there was a line up behind us which put me at ease.
Apparently the thing to order is the stuffed burger. I got cheese, onion and bacon stuffed into my patty while Ryan went with macaroni & cheese and bacon. They were huge as you can see from the picture and I was stuffed beyond comfort afterwards. I did have to give my last 3 bites to Ryan, it was just too much meat for little me. The burgers were alright. I'm not sure if it was price we paid or the build up to them being the best in Calgary but for me it was ok lang (just alright). The service was great and the staff super friendly I think I just like my burger more saucy then huge.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

This Girl

Smile


Just before Christmas Sydney got a whack load of teeth pulled and braces. She has such a tiny little mouth her teeth were struggling to fit in there so they have to do some rearranging and get things aligned and ready for the next batch of adult teeth so they can grow into the proper spots. She's been a trouper and the only complaint she's made was when the wire was too long and poking into the back of cheeks cutting them up. Once that was sorted out it's been smooth sailing and things have been moving pretty quickly for her. She's still just as pretty as ever with her adorable dimples.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Zoo Enrichment

Happy FamilyThe kids and I went to the Calgary Zoo today. We made it just in time for the penguin march where the Emperor Penguins have the choice to go outside their enclosure and waddle around before being led back into their space and fed. Today on the march 5 1/2 month old baby penguin Nero joined his parents on the march. He's a beast! They explained that in the wild the parents will feed the baby as much as they can to quickly build up a layer of fat to keep the baby warm. Apparently the huge size is normal for a baby and when it looses the fluffy feathers and gets his new waterproof coat he'll be able to swim without getting too cold and start loosing weight from the exercise.
The baby penguin was a hit for me but the rest of the animals we quickly stopped off were pretty active as well. I've only ever been to the zoo in the summer before and we'd try to schedule our trips around feeding times so we would see the animals in action instead of hot and lazy. Going on the cooler day we got to see the bigger furry animals up moving about, the camels humps jiggling with every step. We almost got pee'd on by the Rhino's laser beam urine stream and for the first time ever the snow leopards were up and about.
Not all the animals seemed to enjoy the cooler weather though. The poor Meerkats were huddled together in what seemed to be a desperate attempt to stay warm.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Our First Winter Hike

Sliding DownBeing Canadian I almost feel like a traitor when I talk about how much I dislike winter, especially living in Alberta where we pretty much 9 months of it. The truth is the cold makes me cranky. I like making snowmen, I like tobogganing and ice skating and I enjoy how beautiful and clean it looks the morning after a snowfall. I just don't like any of those things in the cold. I can handle a nice -5*C. What I can't handle is the days of -20*C and colder and that's why I hibernate for those 9 months of winter.
A while back Ryan and I mentioned to some friends that we wanted to find hobbies that we could enjoy during the winter so that we didn't dread it so much. They mentioned one of their favourite winter hikes is kid friendly and includes sliding down frozen waterfalls and they offered to take us. That day finally came and off we went into Kananaskis.
Ryan and I had been looking forward to checking this place out that I sort of ignored the signs that Maddy might still be on the mend from the fever she'd been fighting. Nothing was going to stop me from spending our Family Day in the mountains proving to myself that winter is fun and so I had to coax Maddy step by step bribing her with gum and the promise that made someone feel better but only if they weren't crying. These are the things I do when I act out of desperation, hopefully I'm not the only mother out there bribing their children.
We hiked up a frozen river bed that was nestled in the mountains. It was slippery and the kids had a great time finding mini slides to pass the time while they waited for Maddy and I to catch up. The view was humbling. So beautiful with the ice, trees, mountain rock and fresh air. I just love the mountains.
At one point we reached the source of the river. It was these natural springs coming out of the side of the mountain which had frozen making these patches of ice walls. To the side there was one waterfall that smoothed out into a more gradual decent to the river bed making the perfect ice hill to slide down.

Natural SpringLooking Up
It was a great day. I enjoyed the fresh air, the company with good friends and experiencing something new together with the family. Maybe winter isn't always so bad, at least not when this is your view for the day.
Nature

Friday, October 16, 2015

We Have a Birthday Boy

presentYou know you are a well loved young man when even your cat leaves you a present for your birthday! I can't believe that Brayden is 11 years old. Time flies and I know this may sound sappy but man, I feel like I blinked and BOOM, he was big.
A few things that make Brayden extra amazing are:
*The way he owns his freckles. He knows they make him different and he embraces it.
*He loves his family and still enjoys spending time with us. He's not embarrassed to be around us parents yet.
*Brayden loves science and learning how things work.
*He wants to choose the right and lives his faith each day.
I'm so proud and honoured that Brayden chose me to be his mom and that this is the family he chose to teach him here on earth. He is an amazing person!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Buzzzzing

BeesEver since we got out sheep Ryan has been talking about getting some bee hives. I was hesitant because winter is coming and it seemed like a gamble to get hives right before they go into their hibernation period. What if the winter is really long and very cold? Would they all die and would we have just wasted our money?
Ryan spent a lot of time educating himself on the different types of hives out there and the pros and cons that go along with the different models. He found someone who was willing to take Ryan out to his hives and show Ryan how he extracts the honey and stores his hives. He shared how to properly winterize the hives and care for the bees throughout the winter so that they don't get sick and all die off.
Not only did Ryan think he needed one bee hive but he was convinced that you need to get two hives. That way you can watch the hives and if one seems to get sick or is struggling you'll be able to compare it to a healthy hive and pin point the problem more quickly. The logic was there but I was reluctant to spend that extra money on something I had no idea would make it through the winter. We compromised and with the sale of our sheep he was able to get his second hive.
I guess I am now officially married to a bee keeper! Hopefully they survive the winter.

HivesNew Outfit

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I Know It. I Live It. I Love It.

Mormon
Every time we go to Cardston we have to drive by the temple. I love that my kids want to see it or get out and walk around the property. This is the temple that Ryan and I were sealed in and I love this temple. It makes me so happy when my children talk about getting married to their future husband or wife in the temple so that they can have an eternal family of their own. It's so beautiful inside and out and I'm grateful for it and the peace it brings into our lives.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bikin'

BikerIn this house we don't let our kids learn how to ride the dirt bike until they master a two wheel pedal bike. Well, for Madison that time has finally come. She has learned how to balance on her peddle bike, use her legs and manage steering. Today we took out the kids dirt bikes and let them go out for a little drive. This was Maddy's first time on the bike and she took to it quite quickly. It's always fun watching the kids as they try to figure it out and as they grow with confidence pick up the speed a little bit. Maddy still has to master the stopping part of dirt biking but she's been good managing her speeds. I'm not sure yet if she's going to love it like Brayden does or be more like Sydney and not to concerned about it either way.
One thing is for sure, she's dang cute on that little bike!
video

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Love HATE Sheep

I want to start out by saying that sheep are the most annoying creature on this planet. No, I am not exaggerating. They are not my friends. In fact I think they are my arch nemesis. Let me tell you why:
A truck arrives at our house where Ryan proceeds to choose three little lambs to call our own. They are all super cute and we name them Buddy 1, 2 and 3. The cute little lambs are scared of us and Banks seems to absolutely terrify them which is not surprising. Buddy 1, 2 and 3 get fenced into their little section and off Ryan goes leaving me with the sheep. All is well until my neighbour calls me to let me know the sheep are loose. Out I go and sure enough there they are wandering around like they own the place. Thankfully between my neighbour and I we are able to herd the sheep back into their little area and away I go to call Ryan and tell him to get back here so he can secure this fence before our money walks off the property and becomes road kill.
Ryan comes back with re-enforcements and they secure the fencing so the sheep can't escape and off he goes back to what he was doing before. I get this strange text from Ryan saying to watch the dog. I have no idea what this means so I put the phone down on the counter and as soon as I do I hear this "BAAAAA ... Baaaa!"
I look out the window to the side of the house and sure enough I see this lamb darting across the yard chased by the dog. Out I go and here I am chasing the dog who is chasing a lamb around and around in circles between the vehicles parked in the back section of the property. OH, I'm ticked and not having any fun at all. I'm calling Ryan telling him these sheep have got to go! I finally catch the dog and lock him up in the garage and start herding this rouge lamb when I hear this loud clatter from the garage and out busts the dog from his doggie door escaping the barricade I've set up and off goes the frightened lamb and we start the chase all over again. By the time I go to bed that night I am praying I will never see another lamb as long as I live.
Let's skip ahead a couple of days. Ryan and I head down to Lethbridge for a funeral leaving the sheep tucked safely away in their enclosure. We get home late in the afternoon to find an empty sheep enclosure and no livestock to be found. Ryan and I are scouring the property looking in every corner, combing through the tall grass, looking for signs or hints of where they could be but nothing. All I can think is that we just had $400 walk down our driveway never to be seen again. I leave Ryan searching the property and I head next door to care for the neighbours animals while they are out of town. I turn the corner of their driveway and look up at their door and there they are. Buddy 1, 2 and 3 just standing there on the door step as if this is a normal thing for lambs to do.
Did I mention I hate them?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Behind The Scenes At Best In Show

Playing AroundOver the weekend my moms dog had been strutting his stuff at the Dog Show down in Spruce Meadows on the agility course. He was doing great and had received enough qualifying times to advance into the immediate category. Today was the final day of the show and so we went down there to cheer him on and show our support. I've only been to one other dog show before and at that show he was just being shown, not jumping and weaving. I didn't really know what to expect but what I saw was not what I had pictured. I was seeing more "Best In Show" in my mind and although there seemed to be those crazy dog show people around, it was set up a lot nicer then I imagined.

BackstagePrep
We were shuttled from the parking lot to the agility rings where we met up with Mom and Brian. The dog had his spot set up in the shade and beside a doggy pool and they sat under the tent while they waited for the agility course to be prepared. Once the course was ready all these people came out and started running the course without the dogs. The first time we saw this Ryan and I laughed to ourselves until Brian stepped out and started doing his thing. He had to familiarize himself with the course so that he could successfully lead the dog through the obstacles in the correct order.

First JumpOnce we watched everyone run through the obstacles with their imaginary dogs it was time to get started. Kael was the first dog to go out and attempt the course. In the beginning he was pretty excited and sniffing around but once he got going he was going. There were all these jumps, three tunnels and a set of 8 weaves and they were set up in an order where you just didn't go in a circle but you had to circle around and go back the opposite way over a jump. I'm not clear on how the points work but you loose points for being on the wrong side of some obstacles and if you do them in the wrong order you get disqualified and you don't get to complete the course. Kael successfully completed the course which I decided was a pretty big deal when we watched dog after dog get disqualified after him. If agility wasn't an individual competition then Kael would have kicked butt but you don't compete against the other dogs. There isn't a first, second, third but you just earn points and those points go towards your next level and each level opens up a more challenging course with more obstacles.

TunnelSecond Jump

Dog Show CrazyI hope that my next few comments don't offend anyone but to be honest there are all sorts at these dog shows. We saw women in the ring yelling at their dogs, calling them silly pet names, men clapping at their imaginary dogs during the pre-run through and then the guy with the picture of his dogs on his trailer. Now that's hard core. Not only was he parked right up to the ring but he had everything set up so he would be comfy all day long. I'm pretty sure that Brian was the most sane man in the joint!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Our Third Inglewood Sunfest

My folks came up to Calgary today for a dog show this weekend and so we met up with them at the Inglewood Sunfest after our morning of garage sales. I thought this would be perfect because we could spend some time outside, dogs are allowed and my kids love gathering all the free stuff they can get their hands on.
We took Banks and of course he got a lot attention as usual but he was so well behaved. We briefly stopped to watch a few different street performers and weaved our way through the people. Not only did we meet up with Mom, Brian and their dog sporting this awesome 'cooling jacket' but we ran into Kait and Matthew as well. Talk about family fun day.
CrowdsFire
It was a fun afternoon, nice to walk around and people watch. Banks was happy to have smelled so many doggy bums and thankfully this year he saved us the embarrassment of peeing in the middle of the festival street (in his defence, last year he was still a puppy)! Favourite thing was probably the dude who put the drill up his nose ... that takes talent.
Sword SwallowingDrill Up The Nose