Posts in Category: Pictorials

LAST MINUTE DIY HALLOWEEN COSTUME FOR TODDLER SIBLINGS: CANADIAN ICONS JONI MITCHELL & NEIL YOUNG!

DIY Canadian Icon Halloween Costumes

I KNOW. You don’t have to tell me. The pictures say it all and we had a lot of fun, (kids included), pulling this last minute idea and shoot together…

IF YOU WERE WONDERING ABOUT HOW TO APPROPRIATELY DRESS UP AS A NATIVE FOR HALLOWEEN…

In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Elsipogtog First Nation.

You Don’t.

Who am I to be so bossy? Nobody really, just a person entitled to their opinion. Just as those of you who really, really need to don a Pochahottie costume, a Mexican sombrero or geisha garb are free to do so…

WHEN A TRIPOD MAKES ME HAPPY: MILLS’ FAMILY IMPROMPTU PHOTO SHOOT 2013

We clean up fairly well, however we just can’t seem to keep it together. We pulled out the tripod over Thanksgiving weekend and I think we’ll be doing this more often! As much as I’d like to hire a pro seasonally, it just isn’t in the budget.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take those pictures! They may not be perfectly staged and we may not be wearing subtly co-ordinating outfits, but I rather think that these will suit our family just fine in the years to come…

EASY HALLOWE’EN CRAFT: JACK O’LANTERN SUNCATCHERS

Jack O' Lantern Suncatchers Remember when I said that we we’rent putting Wyndham in daycare after-school? Or that TV wasn’t going to be my babysitter every single day? Yea. about that.

It’s been hard, obviously – to keep up with the equivalent of what should be my 8 hour work days as a mom who works from home. So far? So far I’m exhausted in wading through this new shift, yet totally revelling in all of the time I’ve been spending with my guy.

It really does ease the annoyance of working late nights after he and his sister are in bed to make up for lost time. I’m trying not to think about the things I’m missing out on; late evening yoga classes, reading, Netflix or crafting. I think about what I’ve gained when I’m lacking the dedication at 9PM, when after a long day all I want is to curl up next to Trev with a book or a show.

This is my new regular and that’s all there is to it. I’ve gotten back into waking up early some days, like really early…before anyone else in the house is up. It feels like I’ve carved out this secret little compartment of time for myself that allows me to fly through some work in anticipation that I can take back my evening to do some of the other things I enjoy. You know, actually hang-out with my other love, just the two of us.

It’s as if by some odd flash of common sense, that I’ve given myself some time to settle into this new routine before Abby begins staying home with me part-time in the New Year. Originally we were going to take her out of full-time daycare this autumn but then we shook our heads a bit and reassessed.

One thing at a time, one thing at a time.

Which is a really good analogy to follow when I pick up Wyndham from school. The days are so busy, so jam-packed with to-do lists, that if I don’t have a few planned activities mapped out for us for the week, I’m kind of screwed. As chief-in-residence-memory-maker, I want to have fun with my boy, I want to do new things with him and create a space and experiences for him that make his eyes light up with joy and fulfilment. Where I’m not a stress-bag about it.

So I make play-dates with his friends, and make faces out of food and execute craft projects to do together. In being honest, there are also the days that he does indeed hunker down and watch several episodes of his favourite shows on Netflix; wherein I toss him a quick snack of PB&J, screw those fun food plates! Where free play reigns supreme and I had not a planning moment involved in what he does or how he spends his time. This is important too.

Well, this week…this week I really had my shit together. I had sugar and gluten free apple and pumpkin pies leftover from thanksgiving to slice up for snacks. I invited a couple of our neighbours (gorgeously adorable), sons over for a crafting play-date. I’ve kept a reasonably clean and tidy house and only ordered take-out once this week. Success!

As I sit here typing, one of those dang cute Jack O’ Lantern ‘suncatchers’ (as seen below), picks up some chunks of morning light from my deck window to shoot tiny particles of light; dancing specks of dust and shadow across my desk dining room table. Everything in this moment feels in place. Rather good really.

Making crafts with my kids doesn’t have to be a chore, especially for a creative like myself. Clearly I enjoy this sort of thing. I’m going to go out on a limb here and present you this easy craft project for ALL types of parents, (yep, this quick project is glue, paint and glitter-free), even those of you who shiver at the thought of craft-time. The thing is? Kids LOVE it. I could link-up a bunch of research about how creative, sensory activities and making art for little ones is vastly important for their development in a myriad of ways, but I won’t. The bottom line is that it’s good for their little brains; their wild and wanting souls and busy hands. Just as important as sports, academia, music and free-play.

I first discovered the wonders of contact paper for craft making with kids a few weeks ago via my pal Asia Citro of Fun At Home With Kids. Now that mom has it going on. I was so inspired by how she mothers and was especially appreciative of her Starter Art Kit list. The dollar-store is great for many things. There are a few super-cool things on that list that you can’t find at a dollar-store (including contact paper). (If you’re a nerd-o creative type like me and that list makes you drool a little be forewarned: Discount School Supply doesn’t deliver to Canada and yes, you REALLY DO need those liquid watercolours. They are the bomb-diggs. I ordered mine via Scholar’s Choice.)

Now that we’ve gotten that little digression out of the way, onto the instructions for those cute suncatchers! It’s Hallowe’en time (you all know how much I love Hallowe’en, right?) and these are a pretty great activity to do over the next couple of weeks…

OBLIGATORY PUMPKIN PATCH PHOTOS

It’s all pretty self-explanatory. Gorgeous day, gorgeous kids, gorgeous man. Pumpkins everywheres.

I’m also loving photography pretty hard these days. My favourite subjects are food and fam. That’s my jam. Damn I’m such a nerd. Hope you enjoy a peek at my darlings!

ON SUBURBAN SNOBBERY (MINE), BEING WEIRD & TOUGH CHOICES

End of the summer. That time where you do one last special thing. One last big adventure, BBQ, beach or camping trip.

For us it was our 2nd annual neighbourhood block party. When we moved to this suburban neighbourhood a couple of years ago, we had no idea how lucky we’d be. In fact this city mouse (me), was rather snobbish about it all in thinking that I probably wouldn’t make many friends or have all that much in common with my new neighbours. To be clear, it’s not that I thought (or think), that I was/am too cool for the suburbs. What I speak of is this idea that I have in my brain; that I’m too weird for most people. The damaged one. I’m usually pretty straight up about where I come from and my experiences in my life that have made me who I am today. I have opinions and express myself differently than a lot of the women I meet.

I don’t usually identify or bond with people unless they’ve been through similar experiences to my own. I suppose that much is true for most. There’s just more oddballs in big cities. We gravitate toward the erratic pulse, the ebb and flow of a big city that can swallow us whole; a nomad with no ties – if we so desire it to. I became a city girl myself on the run many years ago and I always considered it home, always found my way back to where no one knew me, only those who I chose to let in gained admittance. We all know living in a small suburb in Northern Canada is the exact opposite of all of that. Sure you can hide a lot behind closed doors, but I’m not much for that. I let my ‘freak flag’ fly as is.

I was right for the most part. If it weren’t my beautiful friends who already lived here, (one of the main reasons we chose this small city), I’d be like so many other lonely mothers who live out in the boonies with partners/husbands who travel a lot for work. Which, as it turns out – isn’t going to be an issue for us anymore.

As some of you may know, the close friends whom I speak of are in fact like family to us. They also happen to be the co-leaders (a husband and wife team), of the band Digging Roots that Trevor plays in. Make that past tense.

I know.

A big shock for many of you who know us or who are regulars here. It still feels a little surreal. Trev played bass with them for nearly six years and that working relationship is a big part of what bonded our families so tightly together. There were many reasons for Trevor’s decision, some personal and not a part of my story to share here and some based on hard realities.

Ones that we couldn’t have for-seen coming. You know, the usual stuff that causes stress for new(ish) parents; finances, job security, wanting benefits, etc. So there’s all that grown-up stuff. There’s also the reality of how much time we were spending apart as a family during these fleeting early years of parenting. It hasn’t been easy and we thought and dreamt of all sorts of ways we could make it work before we were actually doing it. Touring together, combining creative forces on big projects together, sharing a nanny, all sorts of things.

Some of that stuff, as wonderful as it sounds, doesn’t work with babies and toddlers in tow. Or with other careers and deadlines and bills and juggling to keep it all going. How many people with young children do you know with two full-on careers on the go? Music isn’t the only thing Trev has going for him. He’s had his own web development company for years and has worked full time, or more than full-time ever since I’ve known him doing that alone. Imagine touring with a band and trying to record an album and band practices and being a part of the creative/business aspect of being in a career band on top of that? Triple that with the responsibilities (and natural desire to be a present, patient and loving dad), of fatherhood and home? And those are just the reasons I feel comfortable is sharing here. There was/is more to it.

No matter how much he wanted to do both, something just had to change. So hard decisions have been made because two of the biggest reasons are the two little kids who were missing their dad an awful lot, much of the time.

Will this affect our friendship? No. Although making the decision and knowing how much work would be involved for our dear friends in getting a bass player – that was hard. They’ve been so patient, kind and inspiring to Trev’s journey as a bassist. A big commitment from them too. So there is heartbreak on both sides. We’ll have to find new ways to be together and nurture one another as we move forward into this new stage of our relationships. We still live down the street from each-other after all. Rave and Sho are still sponsors to our children and I love theirs like they were my own nephews. Our kids are tight, theirs being quite a bit older than ours. They are role models to Wyndham and Abby. Sho’s son Skye is one of Abby’s sponsors. She calls him, ‘my Kye.’ They and we know each-other deep down; all the grand and dark bits like not many friends or even family do. (Or can.) ShoShona and I have built a sister-hood. <<< If you watch that video and happen to be a softie in a badass shell like me then you might tear up a bit. I myself just watched it and am ugly crying, so. Our extended families have become close, I’m now a sponsor to ShoShona’s niece and developing awesome friendships with her sisters. Sho’s mom is a guiding light in my life; as an elder, a survivor, and an honest, kick-my-ass-when-I-need-it-mentor.

Trev not being in the band isn’t going to wash all of that away. We plan on laughing about all of the beautiful and crazy times we’ve had when we’re grey and curmudgeonly. What does this all really mean? It means that Trev has decided to begin the search to take a senior position with a big firm in the big city. In mourning his departure from music for a while he cut off all of his beautiful hair and shaved his beard. (Almost. I had a few ways to convince him from going completely straight. Sheesh.) It means that if he can’t work from home and has to commute everyday, we may (MAY) decide to avoid that by downsizing and moving back to the city. Of course, we really want to avoid that because look at all we’ve built here! Our own little community. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, we wrapped up the summer together with some other friends, family and our neighbours. All pictures courtesy the exquisitely talented Ratul Debnath of Image Pros (Photography).

HUMBLE STEPS: ON LEARNING TO MAKE POW WOW REGALIA & BECOMING A SPONSOR

It began years ago, this far-off, forbidden dream that I would live a life steeped in the ways of my people. Now, as I scroll through image after image from this past weekend, a continued awakening rises from a deep, dark place of confusion and hurt that I had buried (unsuccessfully), of so long.

A new kind of happiness has centred itself into my life; one that can only come from living the good life and the realization that finally, finally I am on that road. 

Plant a Seed: Pictorial Progress of My 1st Big Gardening Adventure

I skipped over most of the veggie aisles last night at the market, (except for tomatoes, which are bursting but not yet ripe in our garden.) It felt a little surreal (not sure why), and absolutely wonderful. When I started this whole affair back in March, I had little knowledge about gardening outside of building upon and maintaing our perennial english and cottage style gardens. I knew I wanted to start from heirloom seeds.

I knew that we had to have raised beds built in our front yard because our backyard is happily and beautifully dominated by maple, cedar and birch trees. And patio. Shade friendly perennial gardens. Putting my worries aside on what the neighbours might think, (yep it’s a reality – especially in small towns) even though I totally got approached with wonder by many of them and ignorant sarcasm by but one. No need to get into detailing that. So putting all of that aside, because we sure weren’t going to let ‘neighbourly’ reactions dictate whether we grow food for our family or not, we entered into a trade agreement with some good friends to help us design and built it all, who know way more about all of this stuff that we do…

Easy DIY: Repurposed Plant Table

Easy DIY: Repurposed Plant Table

It’s taken 2 years, 2 spring, summer and fall seasons; to actually USE our second floor balcony. There are 2 reasons for this. One, being that I was a tad bit over-protective in letting my little ones actually step foot out there.

I read far too many headlines about babies and toddlers falling to death or serious injury. That such a thing could happen in the blink of an eye. In the presence of any of us, not just neglectful parents. Which is how I rationalized my irrational fears about our balcony.

Then I grew up as a parent a little bit. As in I’m slowly becoming a less obnoxious helicopter parent as the years go on. So this year? This year we’re actually enjoying this space. I’m just not letting them out there by themselves…

Pictorial: A Work In Progress, From Seed To (Hopefully) Table

Organic Heirloom Gardening

Earlier this morning this arrived…

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