Snow Ghosts

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After a windless snowfall, the winds picked up creating what my kids like to call “snow ghosts”.

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Skate ’till You Drop

Had a beautiful day yesterday. The -6° C felt balmy but cold enough to keep the ice in good shape. We skated until after dark, knowing the deep freeze was on it’s way again. Soon after we took our skates off for the night, the wind began to howl with the approaching cold front and so did the coyotes. What a wonderful lullaby to sleep to.

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On The Doorstep Of Fall

Just thought I would post a few pictures from yesterday and today. The seasons definitely feel like they are changing. The air is crisper and clearer. The trees are on the brink of changing colour, and the animals are all very busy preparing for the winter.

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Evening and dusk
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Moon setting behind a cloud early this morning

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Crisp, clear evening

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Sunrise reflected on trees with morning fog

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Saw the first otter since spring!

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Heard what I thought was knocking at the door (apparently so did my dog because she started barking). It turned out to be this guy on the tree beside our house!

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Love our bedroom in the fall…

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…and the sparkling reflection of the water from the living room.

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The trees are just on the brink of changing colour.

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One thing about fall I can’t say I am fond of is it also means a rush to be prepared for the long winter ahead. Here are our wood piles in various stages of chopping.

Storms, Dragonflies and Goslings

Two days ago there was sweltering heat and this morning I have the fire on and it snowed again! Here are some photos taken two days ago on May 22nd. What a day!

First there were the storms, then sunshine and goslings followed by a special appearance by hundreds of dragonflies.

In the morning we had a brief but very intense storm. Here are some photos of the approaching storm.
Approaching storm 8:54:19 am

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8:55:57 am

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Rain sweeping across far shore 8:57:31 am

 

Rain moving in 8:58:01 am

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may23_2013_6Holy (insert swearing)! 8:59:02 am


This is about the moment when I realized I am probably one of those people who will end up in a tornado because they are to busy taking photos instead of taking cover!

It seems Daisy knew how to take cover. I found her wedged in the corner of the laundry room.


A few minutes after the storm passed and my nerves settled, I noticed the pea-sized hail remaining on my daughter’s shirt which was left outside in the rain.

Goslings

Later that day you wouldn’t even think it would have been possible to have had such a storm – other than the debris from trees scattered about. The weather turned sunny and steamy from all the rainfall and it was an incredible evening. The geese and their goslings sure seemed to enjoy it.

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dragonflies

A little earlier in the day when I walked outside, I had noticed hundreds of dragonflies flying around and had to be careful where I stepped since they were in the process of transforming from nymph to dragonfly. They had just come out of their exoskeletons and were pumping their wings to prepare for their first flight. I find it a rare occurrence to catch that moment since it only seems to happen for a day or two and I was happy to see so many dragonflies especially since the mosquitos have been wicked lately!

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Picture of dragonflies with their nymph exoskeleton (probably not the accurate term)
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Beautiful wings which have not yet flown.
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We noticed some of the dragonflies were on the ground in places where ants had found them and were trying to eat them, so the girls and I “rescued” as many as we could by gently letting them walk onto our hands and then relocating them to a safer place. may23_2013_13 may23_2013_14 may23_2013_15 may23_2013_16 may23_2013_17 may23_2013_18Gently blowing on its wet wings to help straighten them out.

After “rescuing” upwards of 20 dragonflies, I read this article which made me question if it was wise to let the girls hold them with bare hands. The dragonflies must not have felt threatened since they didn’t bite and I didn’t want to spoil the experience for the girls but perhaps a bite would have ruined it anyway. I would love to hear what you think. Was it the right decision to let them hold the dragonflies?

Have a wonderful weekend and wherever you are this weekend, I wish you no snow!

A Fire a Coyote and Other Stuff

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day. The kids and their dad did a yard cleanup and burned some of the sticks and leaves they raked. The girls were so excited to have a real fire and pretended they were camping. They even got to roast a real marshmallow 🙂

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At dusk, we had a surprise visit from a coyote. By the time I got my camera, it was already too far for a good picture but I thought I would show the best one I took anyway. I posted a few better photos I took a while ago here. It had it’s eyes fixed on some geese on the ice. Needless to say, we kept our dog Daisy in for the night since we don’t want this to happen to her again.
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On another note, I snapped this photo below of a garden the girls made out of their toys. It seems planting the seeds has also inspired them.
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Happy Sunday!

Easter Decorating on the Cheep….er, Cheap!

Since our house is on the small side, I find that although I love to decorate for holidays like Easter, I don’t want to have a tonne of decorations I have to store for the other 360+ days of the year. I also don’t want to have to buy new decorations every year since that can be expensive so we try to come up with creative things that are cheap, or even better, free! Here are a bunch of pics of this year’s collection of decorations.pics of decorations1

The kids dyed some eggs using a wax crayon to draw on them first.

We put the eggs in a glass vase and added a couple of stuffed bunnies the kids had as toys.

The pussy willows were out just in time this year so we went for a hike to pick some.

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I had these dogwood branches still hanging up from Christmas (I am embarrassed to say) and just as I was about to take them down, realized I could hang some eggs on them so there they stay.

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The egg garland we made here and the tablecloth I bought for my daughter’s birthday from the fabric section at Ikea for $6/m.
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The nest/branches in the vase I actually bought at the dollar store and the eggs in the bowl we collected from the cousin’s hens.
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Total cost for this year’s decorations:
All branches = free
Kid’s paper egg garland = free
Nest/branch = $1.50
Eggs/dye = $3
Hanging eggs from passed year.
Total: $4.50

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The final pic shows more eggs my daughter made and put in her window to decorate her room and a deer came to visit in the morning. 🙂

I wish everyone a wonderful weekend and a Happy Easter!!

Best Cookie Recipe for Baking With Young Kids

I have been making this recipe since my kids were toddlers because it is about the simplest cookie recipe possible and it has some fun “hands-on” steps the kids love. Oh yeah, AND the cookies are delicious!

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Thumbprint Jelly Cookies

1 Egg yolk
1/2 Cup white sugar
2 Cups flour (I used half white and half whole wheat)
1 Cup butter melted
jelly or jam

1) Preheat oven to 350F (177C).
2) Mix all ingredients except jelly and form into a big ball.
3) Break off small, meatball-sized pieces.
4) Have child roll piece into ball, then flatten ball with palm of hand.
5) Ask child to show you his/her thumb by sticking it into the air, then push thumb into centre of each cookie.
6) Fill each thumbprint with jelly or have child do this depending on how old he/she is.
7) Bake for about 10-15 minutes. That’s it, have fun!

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“Ok Daisy, lets do a puzzle while the cookies bake.”

“At Noontide on a Winter’s Day”

I know it is not winter any more and most people don’t even want to think of winter now, but I found and thought I would share these two photos which I feel capture the joy of winter on the lake. If I don’t post them now, I may forget later when it is winter again! Also, to follow is an excerpt from a Lucy Maud Montgomery poem I love entitled “A Winter Day”.

Life hath a jollity and zest,
A poignancy made manifest;
Laughter and courage have their way
At noontide of a winter’s day.
Lucy Maud Montgomery

The kids skating on seemingly endless ice.

Windsurfing

We have had a number of windy days lately and although it is bitterly cold, it has made me dream of when windsurfing used to be a big part of my life. Since having kids, I have gotten out of shape and all my time has been focused on house, kids, jobs, etc.. Every now and then I have windsurfing dreams which, for me, are always the ultimate in happy dreams. There is no feeling like flying over the water with nothing but the wind as your wings and feeling the board dancing under your feet. So (sigh), I have vowed to get back in shape so I am able to once again live this experience.

My husband also windsurfs and this was one of the factors that brought us together in the first place. We both grew up on the Great Lakes where big winds and open waters abound, so the little lake we live on takes some getting used to. Unfortunately a good day windsurfing on the lake is a very rare occurrence. Here are some pictures of my husband a few years ago and some of me at the end.

The girls helping daddy prepare.

And he is off.

Wet hugs for a job well done.

And finally some pics of me a few years back. Not nearly as impressive but when I look at them they inspire me and remind me of what I used to do and strive to do again. 
Carpe Diem!