Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monster Hats- or why I haven't been posting lately

Tis the season and once again Jude and I are at the market only this time it's hats, hats, and more hats.  I'm so sorry that I've haven't updated my blog forever, I've been hooking (hee, hee) like mad trying to keep the table supplied with yummy, funky hats.  By far the most popular have been "MonSter HaTs!!!" and really they are quite difficult to resist.  They are so much fun to make and I love giving each one a different personality.

 Some happy customers.

Ideally I want to preview/post new hats before market day (Saturday) and in a perfect world, I would.  Perhaps giving you guys first crack, I'll just have to see if I can get my act together.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Just like "Dirty Dancing" but without Patrick Swayze!!!

Okay, so there was no dirty dancing, 60's music did not play in the background and the only nasty stuff happening in the cabin was my son's dirty socks walking themselves to the dirty laundry pile.  But if you remember the setting of the movie you might get the picture of where I spent the last week.  Beautiful beach, wooden trails, quaint cabins, dining hall, nightly special events, family activities and yes there was some dancing but it was the limbo not the rumba.

It has been very difficult to find an event, place, whatever that worked as a family vacation for the whole family, meaning my kids get to have fun and I get to relax, no cooking and no cleaning.  Sure if I want to blow thousands I guess we could all go on an airplane somewhere to an all inclusive resort but really that's not my kind of holiday.

Camp Crossroads was a very pleasant surprise.  610$ for the entire family (plus grandpa) to camp in a rustic cabin, including food, programs for the kids, activities for the whole family and chapel (with a great speaker I might add), oh did I mention the fully equipped craft hut.  I begged the director to let me help train his staff next year, I know 12 versions of gimp, really I do, all he would have to do is feed my kids.  Might not be worth it on his end though, maybe I should offer him some money too...

This is a little shout out to Rachel, the empress of the land of craft.  I showed her a very simplified version of these, a certain friend of mine wants one for Christmas so I've been trying to figure them out, and she used her God-gifted talent to come up with this design.  I had to admit that I was way out of my league but Rachel being the gracious young woman that she is, patiently showed me her steps and I managed to make these lovely pendants.  So if you are the friend who was giving me puppy dog eyes at Fair November, I've got it covered.  I'm working on a "How to" for you guys so keep tuned.

By the way I'm still on track with the "No Poo" experiment but I am hoping that the transition phrase is over very soon. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

no poo do- loving lemon juice

The egg and lemon mixture worked well enough that I didn't want to shave my head or worse, use shampoo.  My hair is still in transition but I'm finding that if I rinse with lemon juice after the baking soda, it's okay.  I went camping this week with a gaggle of guys (my three and two of their friends) and I have to admit that I broke down and used a bar of handmade soap to try to get the bug spray out of my hair.

What's with boys and spray cans anyway?  They went through 2 bottles of bug spray in three days.  I'm pretty sure they were using it to start the fire when I wasn't watching.

The soap was a horrible mistake, instant grease, so gross I had to wear a bandanna over my head as I didn't want to wreck my hat.  A good scrub with baking soda today and things are somewhat back to normal but I'm going camping again all next week and I'm a little afraid.  I'm not too keen on bringing baking soda with me and I won't have a fridge to store the lemon juice, maybe I'll just scrub my head while I'm swimming and hope for the best.

Speaking of camping there's a totally "boy" story behind this picture.  We're just starting an unit on aboriginal studies and I wanted to take the kids to Petroglyphs Provincial Park, I figured might as well start at the beginning.  It was stunning, I had goose bumps the entire time I was there.  Anyway we stayed at a great campsite, Pilgrim's Rest (I would include the link but Google is acting up) right across from the park.  Behind our site was a beautiful creek with a rapids that dumped into a nice swimming area with a raft for cannonballs.  Heaven, the park didn't have a chance.  The first night we were there the kids swam until dusk and then they discovered the marina.  Unfortunately we didn't bring our fishing rods but fortunately I did bring the tackle.  They quickly "diy"ed some rods and asked the gentleman already fishing at the marina what he was using for bait.  "Frogs", he replied, "I hunt for them with a fly swatter."  "Frogs", my gaggle scream with delight and the hunt is on.  Of course this happens just as my eldest returns with an adorable leopard frog he caught, he quickly runs away to release his baby far from the bloodthirsty hunters.

The rest of the boys fan out in search of a victim, I mean bait.  The frogs are pretty quick, until one of them remembers he has a stick.  The frog didn't have a chance.  The boy screams, whacks the frog and calls me over.  I'll spare you the details, the frog became bait and did eventually participate in the circle of life.  Needless to say, next time I go camping with the boys, I'm bringing rods and worms.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

egg on my face!

Actually it's on my hair right now and it smells weird.  Not weird in a happy way like Gonzo from The Muppets but weird as in gross with a capital "G"!  I'm a week into my "no poo" experiment and while my hair is doing alright it just feels wrong to me so I did some more research. 

According to an article from Life Hackery
I needed an egg and some lemon juice to "put an end to your greasy-locks dilemma."  No mention of how much lemon juice to add of course so I'll just wing it, I figure a couple of dollops ought to do it.  I also like their reminder to not use hot water to rinse it out as it might cook said egg. 

I need to keep this stuff on my hair for an hour, yuck.
While I'm waiting and coping with drips down my neck as I'm typing I thought I would share a snippet of a conversation I had today with a friend. 

I love it when I have opportunities to pretend I'm funny, especially if my excuse is to cheer up a friend.

Me:  You know we always hear about God's perfect love, His perfect mercy, His perfect grace and so on, what about His perfect sense of humour?  I believe God must have a perfect sense of humour, just look at the platypus.  Try to picture this scene. 

God's is walking around the new world He created and He starts to giggle.  He calls over Jesus, "Okay Son, you're going to love this.  Check out this little guy!"  A small furry creature appears.  "He's got fur, a duck bill, his mate is going to lay eggs but, wait for it, she's going to nurse them not from nipples but tufts of hair.  Can't wait to see the evolutionists explain this one." 
Jesus replies, "Dad you gotta make him poisonous !!!"   God reaches over and ruffles Jesus' hair, "why didn't I think of that, poisonous spur coming right up."

I can't wait for Friday night stand up with God, the stars as His backdrop and the sun His spotlight, it will truly be awesome.

Try reading Job 38, God is telling off Job after listening to his whining for quite a while, pay special attention to verse 21, God is being sarcastic or at least that's how I'm going to interpret it.  (Not that I was really looking for an excuse for my sarcastic nature or anything.)

The hair is kind of crusty now and it's been about an hour....
Well it's off, I used cold water, hey, egg on my face is one thing, dried, cooked little bits stuck in my hair is another.
I think it feels a little less oily but I won't know for sure until it's dry and since I don't own a hair dryer that means tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is "No Poo Do"!!!!???

Have to admit, when my friend sent me this link, I was more than a little confused.  I might have admitted to her that I had some problems down there but that didn't mean I want to read about it.  Good Grief!!!

But once I read the website, I was intrigued.  "No Poo" refers to shampoo, what a relief, friendship intact.  I'd actually heard about this sometime last year from the anarchist commune across the street.  (Seriously, they're anarachists, not the Nazi type rather more like hippies but don't tell them I said that.  They are super sweet and I love them dearly, and honestly how cool is it to have anarchists for neighbours.)  Anyway, I commented on my neighbours hair one day and he informed me that he doesn't use shampoo (none of them do ) and hasn't for quite a while.  Ever since then whenever we talked I would find myself checking out his hair, it never looked dirty.  I couldn't figure it out, now I get it.

"No Poo" followers still wash their hair, just not with shampoo.  Usually they use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to rinse, lemon juice also seems to be popular, with an occasional scalp scrub down using brown sugar.  I'm very intrigued.

There are many reasons for not using shampoo, the harsh and often toxic chemicals being pretty high on the list.  You can check out nature moms for lists of popular chemicals.  I already use organic shampoos, so this wouldn't be my motivation.

I'm going to give it a shot for three reasons,
  1. It's cheap, those organic shampoos cost a bundle
  2. I have very oily hair, straight, fine, hair.  If there's a chance that my hair will look great without having to wash it every blasted day, I'm going for it.  
  3. Why not, sounds like fun.  
So far I'm on day 2, I'm going to try my first baking soda wash tonight and see how it goes. 

Wish me luck!!

Lorraine Massey- woman who coined the phrase

How to go "No Poo"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Read This Book!!!

Occasionally, sometime between cleaning, teaching, working, and doing all the other things that moms do, especially homeschool moms, I get a chance to read a book just for me.  I can't remember if I found "3 Cups of Tea" at a garage sale, thrift store, or in a Freecycle mystery bag but from the moment I sat down and cracked it open, I was hooked.  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Treasure Hunts- 7 cheap tips

Let me start by saying I hate shopping, well at least traditional shopping away.  I'm the first one in line at garage sales, rummage sales, thrift stores and swaps.  If you shop at conventional stores, you just don't know what you're missing.  It's the suspense of the hunt, the thrill of the find and the bragging rights whenever someone drools over a twenty-five cent item.  Of course friends occasionally get upset when you thrust said item in their face while exclaiming how much you paid for said item, not like that ever happens to me.

I have to admit I get a big kick out of spending as little money as possible, yes I've been know to rescue items from garage bags, dumpsters and of course the side of the road.  In fact last week I was checking out some lovely bookshelves in front of someone's house.  Solid wood, no damage, nice depth, I was in the process of seeing whether I could carry both of them home when a young lady rushed out of the house and declared that she was in the process of moving and could I please not take her bookcase.  Was I embarrassed??  Heck no, side of the road is fair game, even her new roommate backed me up.  In fact I gave her a quick lecture on being more careful with her furniture.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why do they have to grow up??

I love these pictures of my youngest.  First piece of watermelon and first face painting.  He's at my dad's house for four nights starting tonight.  No bedtime cuddle, no coming down (repeatedly) looking for a last hug.  I miss him and his brothers when they're not here.  There's a lot of reasons why I homeschool my kids but I would be lying if I denied that part of it was quite simply because I love having them around.  There I've said, I actually like my kids and enjoy their company, go figure.  A friend once commented on how she couldn't wait to see the backs of her kids heads, I'm hoping she was kidding.  Don't get me wrong there are times when I'm done and I need a break from my kids, they can quite a handful but they are wonderful, beautiful, creative, and sometimes crazy little monkey butts that I love with every inch of my being and thank God for on a daily basis. 
My youngest is eight this month and quite a challenge, he's mouthy, independent and very strong-willed (he comes by it honestly I'm afraid) but no matter what life has in store for us, he'll always be my little baby. 

Monkey Butt and his special scooter.

Monday, May 17, 2010

barbie lego

Alright I have to admit I'm a little bit of a control freak (I'm told that's common for first borns).  I like things neat, tidy, and especially organized.  Lego is not neat, tidy and it's bloody impossible to keep organized.  Oh I try, drawers of car parts, technic, classic lego and then there's the bucket of mini-figs and their oh so important accessories.  Accessories???  My kids were determined to get the new Prince of Persia set, or should I say sets.  It was all they talked about, dreamed about, drew pictures about, searched the internet for, it was ridiculous.
So of course when they were gifted some Star Wars (I believe this stupidity started with Star Wars)  lego, they trading it in.  Squeals of delight, love was bought, built, and played with.  Now we come back to that word again "accessories."  The Prince of Persia, want, need, must have, was all about a set of wolverine claws that one of the mini-figs came with.  Okay I'm not against barbie, hey you want your daughter to play with an over-sexed doll whose body proportions are so out of whack that she would break if she were real, be my guess but accessories for lego?  What happened to structures built out of pure imagination and some plastic?  When did lego become all about the mini-figs and all these crazy pieces that can't be used for any other set but the one they came with?  I refuse to have a drawer dedicated to plastic pieces that my kids can't use without instructions.  These days I think lego promotes fear and consumerism rather than imagination and engineering.  Kids are terrified to take apart sets because if they lose one piece, just one piece, they're screwed, they'll never be able to build that set again.  Sets become models and models house their mini-figs (barbies) and accessories.  God forbid a friend comes over and wants to play with that set, in fact it's not uncommon for hoarding to occur.  The kid is looking through their buckets of lego see a piece they find interesting and hide it away so their brothers, friend, whoever can't use it.
Now what, well for starters no more licensed lego products, concentrate on imagination and engineering, less focus on mini-figs (for the record imaginative play with mini-figs is great but there has to be a balance).   We're going back to the basics, except for Mindstorm of course.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Once upon a Birthday

Once there was a little boy who wanted a scooter for his birthday, little did he know that another little boy on the other side of Canada wanted the same thing.  They were both turning eight.
The little boy had a big brother who wanted to get him something special for his birthday, he wanted to get him that scooter but he had no money.  His mom suggested trying Freecycle, hoping that something would turn up.
The other little boy's aunt knew he wanted a scooter, she bought him one hoping to send it to him in time.
The boy's brother posted his request and crossed his fingers.  His mom even posted some more information just in case.
The aunt got some really sad news the night before.  Her little nephew, the one who wanted the scooter, passed away.  He had cancer, he had been battling it for a long time.
The boy's brother got a reply from Freecycle.  There was a scooter available, brand new, still in the box.
The aunt had seen the post and thought about it long and hard.  She could return the scooter and donate the money to cancer research or the like.  She called her sister.  Her little boy would have rather made another little boy happy.
The mom and brother went to pick up the scooter.  The aunt told them about her wonderful, generous nephew and how special the scooter was.
The next day the little brother found a clumsily wrapped present with a handwritten card, the card said the present was from his brother and Joshua.
His brother told him about the special scooter and how it was a gift from him and a little boy on the other side of Canada, a little boy named Joshua.

Thank you Joshua for your gift, he loves it.  I know you are sitting on Jesus' knee right now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Trade Shows and Kids

I love trade shows and I have to admit that initially I hesitated from taking my three sons to them but my frugality overtook my sense of embarrassment.  Where else can you entertain (and sometimes feed) three boys for under 15$; there are usually workshops, show specials, entertainment, then of course there's always the swag (free stuff).  Now please understand that I don't allow my children to run amok at trade shows and I don't let them pig out on samples, they have been taught to be very polite and not to take samples from places they wouldn't consider buying something from.  They each have a budget that they are allowed to spend and mommy certainly stocks up on the plethora of good deals.   We have our favourite trade shows and are always on the look out for more.

Top Seven Reasons to Bring Your Kids to Trade Shows
1. They're Cheap, Sometimes even FREE!!!
2. They teach your children to be polite- a smile and a "may I" go a long way in the world
3. They expand your children's world
4. They provide learning opportunities- most venders love opportunities to answer questions
5. Trade Show specials from food to sewing machines
6. Budgeting and Money Sense
7. Bottom line- fun

Websites that List Trade Shows
Show Smart
Biz Trade Shows
Ontario Trade Shows

Our Favourite Trade Shows so Far
Good Food Festival - April 23rd to 25th
Guelph Organic Conference

There are a bunch more that we've wanted to go to like The Green Living Show and The London Children's Festival
We're planning on going to the Mining Expo next week-end, I'll have to let you know if it's any good.

I know there are many more and I would love it if you shared your favourites too.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Note to Self!

Don't encourage dog to chase geese when she is on the leash and I'm riding my bike.  I'm pretty sure I heard something pop when I landed in the mud in front of a very nice Rastafarian and his girlfriend.  Here's hoping I can get out of bed tomorrow.  No crafting tonight just a hot bath and lots of prayer.

P.S.  I know it's my own fault so you don't have to rub it in just enjoy the laugh!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where to find books cheap!!

From the time I can remember I've loved books.  Supposedly I started reading at age 3 though now that I've met a few 3 year olds, I'm thinking my mother may have been proudly exaggerating. 

My problem has always been reading books too fast, I just don't the money to pay for new books especially when I average 3 to 4 a week.  Libraries are great but I'm a tad forgetful and with three boys I can't always guarantee they'll take care of them.  Honestly I would rather just buy them. Good ones, the books I know I'll read again or want to pass on to my kids, I keep, the mediocre I sell or give away.  We go through a lot of books, especially since my hubby and three boys all love books too.  On average I bring home a box of books a week, so where do I find books cheap enough to fill many, many bookshelves and still have boxes in the basement waiting to be processed??  I thought I would share!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How to burn calories while Crafting???

Well I guess you could try to crochet on a treadmill.  How about painting while jogging?  I know, beading and yoga.  Why not there's chocolate yoga, hot yoga (I'm not sure if this means temperature or sexy), I'd be willing to bet there's even naked yoga out there somewhere.  What's with yoga anyway?  I've tried it, I can't say that I find it too relaxing, I think I worry too much about the falling over and looking stupid part.

I digress.  Calories and crafting, there's only one solution that I've found thus far.  You have to go back to a time when crafting wasn't crafting it was plain survival.  If mom didn't card, spin and weave that wool, you wouldn't make it through the next winter and mom pretty much had to card, spin and weave all the time in order to clothe her charges.  I spent Saturday with the SCA (Society for Creative Anarchism), an interesting group of people who research traditional dress, customs, and activities of the medieval period (about 600BC to 1600BC) then take on a character from that period and play the role as historically correct as possible.  The kids and I took a few courses, watched a few fights and learned plenty.  

I tried my hand at fibre preparation, or in other words, carding/combing wool, basically taking washed wool and separating the hairs so they can be spun.  After just 30minutes of desperately trying my hands were aching and I had the beginning of a blister, never mind a healthy respect for anyone trying to wield those devices.  They look like something that Wolverine would have popping out of his knuckles.
I was happy that I still had all my fingers at the end.

Next it was learning how to use a drop spindle.   There's lots of easy instructions on how to make one, they're cheap and you can make a decent yarn on them, people have been doing so (and still are) for centuries.  My son is pretty taken with the whole process and would like everyone to know that he'll be selling skeins in no time though the one in the picture is not available, it's for his friend (I want to say girlfriend but he'll kill me if I did).

Personally I've been playing with a spinning wheel.  After months of searching I finally found one for a decent price.  It only took me 24 hours to break it (not quite a record), I didn't realize the fishing line attached to it was important, I just didn't think the fabulous "Scotch Tension" my machine boasted about was just a piece of fishing line so I cut it off, luckily hubby was able to fix it for me. 

Spinning takes a lot of work, I now understand why those novelty yarns I've been wanting cost 30$.  You have to pump your leg forever and  time that pumping action with your hands.  Forget about yoga, you want to learn balance and get a good workout try spinning.  I'm too embarrassed to show you the first couple "yarns" (barely) that came out of my spinning wheel, this one was the third and fourth.  I then spun together making them into one, super thick but cute yarn.  I have to crochet it with a size 12 hook, which is pretty honking big, and I don't have enough to make a hat, or scarf so I think it's going to have to sit there until I figure out what to make with it.  At least I got a good workout while making it.