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Winter still going strong… crazy.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately.  I’m sure it’s the weather…  we’ve been breaking records left and right for the cold and snow, records that go back as far as they’ve been recording temperatures here in Saskatchewan – and that’s 120 years of recorded cold and snow levels.

It’s not unheard of to have a freak snowfall in April…  but we’re not talking about an odd, one-off, Spring snow.  We’re talking about a Winter that appears to be never-ending.  We still have over a foot of snow covering most of the yard (and three feet in some corners).

I have seeds awaiting planting.  And I’m dying to be spending time with my hands in the good dark earth.  I need to put on a pair of clam diggers, and get out in the sunshine.  This weather is just making me feel like curling up into a ball and never emerging from my bed.

Normally I spend my birthday outside, having a picnic or bbq.  Heck, on several occasions I’ve spent it on the beach.  Never in my now 36 years have I been kept indoors by snow.

In spite of the weather though, I had the best birthday I’ve had in a very long while.  Lily-Ann insisted that she and her Daddy go to great efforts to make the day special – and I am so grateful that she did.  I love Damon, but he’s never been one to make a fuss or do anything to make someone feel important on their day…  which means I’d gotten rather used to having crummy birthdays.  LOL  If I’d had one of those along with this crummy weather?  I’m not sure I would have gotten out of bed.  😉

My girl really did make me feel so special.  She got her Daddy up in the morning and the two of them made me breakfast in bed – something I’ve never had in my adult life.  Then we all watched a couple episodes of Friendship is Magic before heading out to build-a-bear…  where Lily-Ann and I picked out, and put together, and chose clothing for a Pinkie Pie stuffy.  Whom is now sitting beside my bed being super cute.  On our way home we all got smoothies, then vegged for a while before Supper.

My parents had bought me a gift card for Persephone Theater, and with it I bought tickets for Damon and I to see Ride the Cyclone – a musical about a group of dead teenagers.  It was very well written, and had us laughing all the way through.  Some fabulous performances as well.  It was a great way to wrap up a wonderful birthday.

So.  I’m 36.  I wish it actually looked like Spring, but I had a lovely birthday just the same.  Yep.  That sums it up pretty well.  😉

Where are you Spring?!?!?

Okay.  Yeah.  I’ve been a really bad blogger lately.  Well, maybe not by most standards.  After all, there are MANY bloggers who post once a week or even less frequently.  😉  But for me?  This is bad.

I don’t know if it’s the weather, or just the physical exhaustion after working so hard getting Breaking the Silence up and running then following it up with a very physically demanding photo shoot…  Whatever it is?  It’s kicking my ass.  I’m just done.  So I am VERY grateful that the Easter break is now upon us.  Not having to worry about our regular schedule, and getting the girl off to school, should help a great deal.  And even better?  The next couple of days we’re actually supposed to see plus temperatures!

I am so done with this cold and all this snow.  I am dying for it all to melt away.  I want to cultivate the ground.  This house has a nice big garden space (that was unused for who knows how long) and I’m just itching to get out there and plant something.  I have so many plans for the outdoor space here, and this extended Winter is making me a little itchy…  seriously.  I’m so irritable I’ve definitely got a case of cabin fever…  Spring just cannot get here fast enough.

The Baby Crow

Every year our yard serves as a playground for at least one baby crow (sometimes two, depending on how many eggs the parents hatch).  We have had one die in our yard, which broke our hearts.  Not everyone is as gentle or appreciative of these incredible birds, and some folk will do what we consider to be unspeakable things given the chance.  But generally our encounters with them are positive.  Today, we even got to witness the joy of seeing our current crow baby take one of it’s first successful flights.  It caught me off guard at first – and so I didn’t follow it as easily as I would have, but you can see it soar on the clip I managed to snag.  Once they get started, it doesn’t take them long to master it at all.  Pretty darn cool.  😀

We really do love and respect these beautiful animals.  They’ve always held great significance for me.  And I truly treasure every interaction we are lucky enough to have with them.  We are very blessed that they have chosen our yard to come back to year and year again.

See y’all at the Pride Parade tomorrow!!!  Look for me!  I’ll the one dressed all in yellow on the Avenue Community Center’s float, and you can’t miss the girl!  I’ve done up a rainbow tutu and headpiece for the girl, she says she’s the Rainbow Bride.  😀  Spent the day sewing her stuff and my skirt.  It’s gonna be EPIC!

The girl’s best day! (loaded with photos and videos)

Well, today was another busy one with the girl. And at her insistence I took pictures and videos throughout our afternoon. It was definitely one worth remembering. Heck, as we walked out of the school gym after taking a photo with the guys from Hoja she exclaimed: “BEST DAY EVER!”  So, even though it was bright sunshiny and beautiful when we left to walk to school, and (with no rain in the forecast or grey cloud in the sky when we got there) we gratefully had to borrow Ms. Tracy’s umbrella for the walk home?  It really was a lovely afternoon.

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And in case you’d been wondering, Lily-Ann asked the guys from Hoja what their favourite farm animals are.  Turns out Matt (the fellow with the beard, who was absolutely amazing with the girl… seriously super sweet fellow who couldn’t have been nicer to her) loves cows.  He likes their bells and the silly way they move.  Dave and Jesse both prefer pigs; Jesse (the young kid in the center) thinks they’re cute while Dave (who received gasps from the students when he revealed – shockingly – that he is THIRTY) likes the noises they make.  The girl?  Being swayed by her animal sign likes pigs too.

You can check out Hoja at http://hojaworld.com.

How-to Start a K-cup Starter Garden

A couple of years ago now, the girl and I talked you all through creating a toilet paper tube starter garden.  Now, I’m going to share another little crafty way of reusing some household waste to start your seeds this Spring.

I don’t know about you, but I LURVE my Keurig.  Seriously, freaking, LOVE my Keurig.  We use the reusable filter a great deal of the time, but it can be hard to resist some of those specialty drinks that only come in those wasteful little k-cups.  So this blog post should come as good news!  You can reuse them!  So go ahead and indulge from time to time – and then save your k-cups to make seed starters in the Spring.  😀

How-to Start a DIY K-cup Starter Garden

 

Step 1:  Gather your tools

  • scissors
  • k-cups
  • soil
  • seeds
  • spoon
  • bakery take-away containers

Step 2:  Strip down your kid(s)

Seriously!  Strip them down and put them in an empty bathtub.  They will get dirty, and a contained mess means an easier clean-up, and an easier clean-up means happy parenting.

Step 3:  Start cutting!

Using the scissors, cut a star shape into the top of each of your used k-cups.  Like so:

cutting up the top of a k-cup

Step 4:  Peel away the tops

Now, this really is optional, but it’s a great way for the little one(s) to be involved.  As you finish cutting the top of each k-cup, pass them to the nekkid kid in the tub.  Let them pull off the little metal bits (make sure to tell them NOT to use their teeth).  If they miss some, no biggie.

Step 5:  Dig a hole in the coffee grounds

Be careful with this one, use the back of the spoon or one of those EXTRA small spoons for stirring tea.  Dig out a hole down the center of the coffee grounds.  The grounds do not go all the way to the bottom of the k-cup, there is a hanging coffee filter in there so try not to puncture it or knock it down.  If you do, it’s not the end of the world…  it’s just not as nice for transplanting your seedlings later.

digging a hole in the coffee grounds

Step 6:  add soil

Hand the k-cup back to the kid(s) and let them fill the hole with soil.  Are we starting to appreciate the bathtub and the contained mess?  I thought so.  😉

Step 7:  contain your containers

Just like in the guide for the toilet paper tube starters, we’re going to use some more would-be garbage to hold our little starter garden.  Those crunchy, transparent containers you get whenever you get swayed in at the bakery by the yummy all ready made goodies are perfect little greenhouses!  So pop them in!

Step 8:  add seeds

Another great step to let the kids help out with.  Just add your seeds.  This go-round we’re doing a variety of lettuces so I just let the girl sprinkle them on.  They didn’t even need to be covered over with more dirt.

lettucy goodness - in seed form

Step 9:  water

Ummm..  yeah…  just water them.  😉

Step 10:  bathe kid(s)

Now let the water wash everything in the tub away, and enjoy the thrill of watching your new seeds sprout over the coming days.

The Kaminski Family – a photography preview

As I was working through some of my enhancements, I realized that it’s been a while since I’d posted a preview here.  I’m terrible for that.  LOL  I go in streaks where I’ll share photos on a regular basis, and then nothing for a good long while.  I’ll try to be more regular about it, but feel free to remind me if you haven’t seen anything for a while.  I am shooting, I just don’t always think to share on the blog.

I enjoyed working with the Kaminski’s.  Any chance to work with a family that includes four leggers as well as two leggers is always a good time.  No, working with animals isn’t easy, but it’s a challenge I really enjoy.  I know dogs, I love dogs…  and I’m perfectly content to wait for them to give me exactly what I need.  Hmmm…  clearly I’m too tired to be writing this blog post as I’ve completely lost my train of thought.  It’s just one of those days – and I have a feeling it will be one of those weeks.  Gotta love getting ready (physically and mentally) for an out of town dog show.

Ah!  Speaking of which!

I’ll be in Regina this weekend.  And I may have time to fit in ONE more photo shoot.  So if you’d like to grab that slot, drop me a line by filling out the booking form at TD Photography (http://photography.tobi-dawne.com/) as soon as possible, and I’ll do my best to work it out.  As I’ll be in Regina already, there will be no additional travel expenses to cover.  Just the regular session fee.  But better be quick!  Like I said, I’ll only have time for ONE additional shoot.

Okay, onto the preview:

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Spring is Here!

Well folks, I think it’s official.  Spring has come early to Saskatchewan.  And well, let’s be honest.  I’m not sure Winter ever fully arrived.  LOL  It was an odd, odd season.

It’s even more wonderful coming outside to discover Spring has arrived when you’ve been cooped up indoors for days on end with a cold.  🙂  So after her first afternoon back at pre-k, the girl took the opportunity to jump, and splash, and just breathe in the awesome Spring air.

I think we have a winner (in the cool two-wheeler category).

I’ve been out sick for the last several days…  so I actually have a legitimate excuse for the lack of blog posts lately.  LOL  It was pretty miserable, so I’m very glad to be on the other side of all that nastiness.

We took the girlie out looking for bikes.  With the snow still covering everything, we aren’t in a big rush.  But I’m full of Spring thoughts and warm weather wishes…  and looking for a two wheeler was a fun springy thing that we could do indoors (where the blowing snow couldn’t get to us).

We visited a couple different stores, and had to have tried out nine or ten different bikes.  But I think we may have found a winner.  😀  Unlike all the others that piqued her interest, this one has no tassels, no pink or purple, no fairies or princesses, no doll bike seat, no basket, no flower vase…  But when she saw it her eyes lit up and she exclaimed:  “Wow!!  It’s just like a car for racing!!!”

The Winner!

 

And, the coolest part?

While I know she’d get the hang of any bike after a little practice, all of them were stop and go.  Push one peddle down, wait, push the other down, wait…  Well, all of them until she tried this one.  She needed a little help to get started, but then took off like a flash!  She went about 40 feet without any hesitation or signs of slowing.  LOL

So I called her Daddy over to help her out so I could pull out my BlackBerry to take a quick video.  😀

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150130011992353

And yes, if I could figure out how to embed a fb video here I would.  LMAO  But, for now you’ll just have to click on the link.

 

 

busy week…

Well…  it’s been a busy week.  Not so much because I had a full schedule, as there should have been plenty of time to get everything done that I normally do…  but it was super busy in that the wee girlie needed me a lot more than she usually does.  I think she may be gearing up for a developmental leap, and just needed a ton of mommy time.  It didn’t seem to matter what we did or where we were, she just craved the one-on-one… and who am I to say no when she needs me?  She wasn’t trying to be bothersome, or just being a pest, she needed mommy time – so I obliged.  I figured everything else would wait.  She’s only going to be my little girl for so long.  Every time I blink she’s a bigger kid who needs me less and less…  one day soon I imagine she’ll be telling us to leave her alone.  LOL  So yeah…  if she needed a bunch of extra mommy time this week, you bet I was going to oblige.  🙂

So…  here are our pictures from the last several days.  I am sorry I didn’t get them posted promptly, but I was busy being mom.

April 14 – We went shopping.  Lily-Ann bought a new pinwheel for the front yard.  This was right after we put it into the ground.  She had to inspect it to make sure it was working well, and looking just as it should.

the wee girlie, closely inspecting her new pinwheel

Inspecting her Pinwheel

April 15 – Have found several of these little bugs hanging out on the wee girlies play center the last few days.  Thought I’d snap a shot of one.  See if anyone can identify it.  It’s an odd looking little thing… probably about 1/2 cm long.  They just sit there.  I’ve never seen one moving.  Any thoughts?

an ugly bug just hanging out

BUG

April 16 – We rode home (me on my bike, Lily-Ann in her trailer) after our collective kitchen group finished up, and realized there wasn’t too long until Daddy would be home.  So figured we’d just stay out in the yard.  We pulled out the bubbles and the sidewalk chalk for the first time this season, about which the wee girlie couldn’t be happier.  She LOVES both.  So here’s her first chalk drawing of the year.  She was writing a message for our neighbours who might happen by during a walk or bike ride.  🙂

first chaulk drawing of the year

Sidewalk Chalk!

April 17 – The wee girlie had a sleep over with her Grams on Friday night, so I snapped this picture with my blackberry when we picked her up on Saturday.  She has her very own playground.  LOL  Years and years ago my mom ran a daycare, and still has the kid-friendly yard to prove it.  It was designed for a half a dozen kids to all be able to share… lots of space, lots of things to do… but now, it’s all for one.  🙂

my parent's extensive play area

Her very own playground.

April 18 (today) – We took our bikes out (Damon’s, mine, and the wee girlie’s bike trailer) and headed to the grocery store.  First day with t-shirts and shorts.  It felt great.  On the way back we took a detour and hit the park.  We stayed for quite a while, and a few different families came and went while we played.  We even pulled out some of the groceries and had an impromptu picnic… nothing fancy, just some raw veggies, fruit, and other yummies.  🙂  It was a really nice afternoon.  And I’m glad it was one we got to share with our whole family (rather than just Lily-Ann and myself).  It’s always nice to have Daddy home for outings that don’t always start off special, but end up that way because we’re together.  😀

little girl with a gleam in her eye... obviously up to something.

Up to Something.

10 Steps to a Toilet Paper Tube Starter Garden

Today we’re going to do things a little different.  Instead of just sharing a photo with you, I’ve got ten.  And the wee girlie and I, will share our steps to making your own starter garden.  No need to have a greenhouse, when you have reusable items laying around the house.

Step One:

Gather all your materials!  Lily-Ann says you’ll need “toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls.  And things to put in the toilet paper rolls: DIRT!”  But you’ll also need clear containers, scissors, and seeds.

Gather Your Materials

Step Two:

Cut the tubes!”  Roughly in half is perfect.

Cut the Tubes

Step Three:

Show off your tubes!  Okay.  LOL  You caught us.  It’s not really a step…  but the wee girlie wanted to show off the tubes she helped cut.  LOL

Show Off Your Halved Tubes

Step Four:

Lily-Ann, we can’t keep calling these steps if you’re just wanting to share pictures of what you’ve done.  Folks are going to stop reading.  We need to tell them what to do so they can plant seeds inside too.  “Okay momma.  Uno mas?”  Okay, Kid Kid, one more.

Lily's Pile of Halved Toilet Tubes

Step Five:

Snip, snip, snip the tubes.

That’s right, cut (or snip) several slits into the side of each tube half.  Cut about half way up the side, and put between four and six slits in each one.

Snip Each Halved Tube Several Times

Step Six:

Now like this…”  Lily-Ann demonstrates in the air how to fold the tubes.  “See?

A Half Tube With the Cut End Folded In

Step Seven:

I don’t remember…  You tell me Mother?”  hehehe…  Next you put the soil – “DIRT!” – yes, dirt, into each tube.  Do this AS you are folding tubes.  You need the moisture and weight of the dirt to hold the folded bottoms together.  They will just keep popping open otherwise.  Trust me, we tried folding a bunch first.  LOL  It didn’t work.

The Wee Girlie Scoops Dirt Into a Folded Tube

Step Eight:

We’re almost done.  “Now Seeds!!!”  That’s right.  Open a package of seeds, and pick out a seed.

Lily-Ann's Chosen Seeds - Sweet Peas!

Step Nine:

Put it right in the middle with dirt all around.”  Got that?  Pop a seed into the middle of each toilet paper tube starter.  Just leave it sitting out on the top.  As you’ll see from our picture, it doesn’t have to be RIGHT in the middle.  A toddlers estimation of “middle” is perfect.  🙂  And honestly?  I’m sure if one or two get stuck right on the edge of the roll they’d sprout just fine.

A Seed in Each Starter Tube

Step Ten:

Cover the seeds (if required) with a thin layer of soil, then close the containers and “Go play upstairs!

Okay, so the process is a little long to hold the rapt attention of a two and a half year old for it’s entirety.  But I thought she did pretty good.  She helped every step of the way – including uploading my photos AND writing this post.  Her exclamation of Go Play was the end though, with it, she lept off the chair and ran off to entertain herself elsewhere.

All Done!

Hope this gives you the courage to try a little repurposing of your own.  🙂  It’s super easy to take household garbage and give it a new life.  Even in a project as easy as this one.  Toilet paper rolls would have made it into our compost (where the plants would have gotten them eventually anyway) and the flimsy bakery plastic that one occasionally brings home on a whim would have ended up in a landfill.  So hold onto them next time and you’ll have a mini-greenhouse for your toilet paper tube starters.  Your own little counter top garden.

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