Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Old Schoolhouse

Summer 2012

I am guest posting over at Kindred today, sharing my thoughts about this lovely place we call home. Join me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yarn Along

The honey cowl is coming along and I am really enjoying the pattern, easy and fun. Leading up to the holidays I was busy knitting smaller, kid size projects, I kinda forgot what it is like to knit a larger project, no instant gratification on this one.

The plan is to keep working away on this, and also cast on another pair of fingerless mitts, a quicker project, just to keep things interesting.

I am back to doula reading most of the time right now, but I did take a study break to read this lovely new magazine over the weekend. It is amazing and filled with so much goodness.

What are you knitting and reading?

Joining in with Ginny and Nicole

P.S. Still time to enter this lovely giveaway.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What If

Reece was giggling in the change room as I tried to wiggle out of my wet swimsuit. We had just finished swimming at the local pool and were enjoying a few jokes and giggles as we bundled ourselves up to head outside into the blustery cold just waiting to wrap its winter arms around us.

I tried to keep him giggling. I didn't want him to hear it. A toddler in the other dressing room, upset, hitting her mother. The mother calmly at first, and then not so calmly, telling her we don't hit. I tried my best to keep the jokes and giggles going, I didn't want him to hear. I could tell things were escalating. Then a loud slap and a crying child.

My. heart. sank.

Reece, now concerned, as the child cried, began to ask questions. I wasn't quite sure what to say. And as I think back I am not even sure what I said. I just gathered up our stuff and left as fast as we could.

This has been on my mind all weekend. And the question I keep asking myself is: What If?

What if...she had felt comfortable enough to ask for help? To allow herself a moment to step away and take a deep breath.

What if...I had felt comfortable enough to knock on the change room door to offer help, so she could take that moment?

What if...our society was more open to helping each other?

What if...I didn't feel afraid to offer help, afraid that I might offend her, or make her feel like I was judging her?

What if...just keeps coming up in my head.

It takes a village doesn't it? At what point did we stop reaching out, or the better question might be, at what point did we close ourselves off so much so that we can't lend a helping hand.

It was obvious to me in the pool that this child was a fun, loving, energetic child. I have no idea what happened earlier in the day, what was going on in their world. What I do know is a message of we don't hit does not get translated when the person giving it reaches out and hits.

I keep thinking about the scenario, wondering what I could have done, or should have done. I wish I had the courage to step in, but the truth is I didn't. I have been asking myself why, and it all comes back to fear. Fear of what I might get myself into, fear of her reaction, fear of her feeling judged...fear.

I will never know what might have happened if I had done something. Maybe she would have said thank you, I could use a minute to gather my thoughts. Or maybe she would have told me it was none of my business.

I will never know. But what I do know is our society has changed. The village we need isn't there. I am working hard to build my village; a village to be there when I need them and to be there when they need me. We can't do this alone, we are not meant to do this alone. No other generation ever has. We need each other.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Our Weekend

This weekend was:

:: a lazy morning
:: a little mama time at the coffee shop with hot tea and my doula books
:: a walk in the woods with Reece
:: the two of us sitting a top the highest point in the conservation area listening and watching a woodpecker
:: homemade pizza for dinner, enjoyed outside by the fire pit
:: a quiet evening, a little reading and some knitting
:: a quiet morning, a little sneaking allowed me to  enjoy a lovely sun rise and the stillness of our home
:: a family walk in the woods tracking bunnies and deer
:: hearing the first calls of the robin, a sure sign spring is on its way
:: picking up my new camera (now I just need to learn how to use it)
:: a visit with my parents
:: time for a sit spot
:: chickadees and nuthatches eating from my hand in our backyard...amazing!
:: chickpea curry for dinner
:: a hot bath and a little reading
:: another quiet evening with knitting needles in hand

Life is pretty darn good.  How was your weekend?

Joining in with Amanda

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend Links

:: I have been all about cowls lately, I added another one to my list this week

:: so many Valentine craft ideas

:: another one

:: and a whole bunch here

:: Reece and I will be taking a little road trip in March, I was so happy to find these travel tips

:: thinking my little man might like me to make him one of these

:: one day I will knit this

Wishing you a day of love, laughter and adventure.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mothering with Mindfulness Sponsor - Mamma4Earth

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my January sponsors Linda Dawkins of Mamma4Earth.

Tell us a little about your lovely Etsy shop Mamma4Earth.

My little Etsy shop began 4 years ago, a few years after we started homeschooling our children with the Waldorf philosophy. I have always enjoyed knitting and would often try to knit some of the more complicated projects that my mom was knitting when I was little, she would patiently show me how to form the stitches and eventually finish the item I was busy with.

I just loved Waldorf inspired natural toys and the materials they were made with. At first I mostly knitted toy animals and sold farmyards in my shop and later I started selling my animal patterns. I still make custom knits for people when they request it. My Etsy shop has grown tremendously over the years and I have connected with the most wonderful people from all over the world. My business has been life changing especially because of the learning element that developed alongside the running of an Etsy shop. I have learned how to spin, dye yarn and master many different knitting techniques, it is a fantastic journey...

What inspires your creations?

My creations are inspired by Africa and the beautiful and majestic animals that grace our continent. It is such an honour to venture out into the bush and observe them in their natural habitat. I love to watch the fluidity of their movement and their primal instincts come into play. This really helps me while designing and finishing a pattern. It’s one thing to knit a creature but entirely another to finish it off with the shaping that represents the traits of that particular animal.

Do you have secret to share about how you find the time to create while homeschooling four children?

Homeschooling has been the right choice for us as a family and because Jenna and Erin are getting older we decided to hire a tutor last year, to come in and assist us with the more difficult subjects physics, maths and science. Jenna is now in Grade 10 and needs to put together a 3 year portfolio and present it when she completes her schooling in her final year, matric.  At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted a tutor, I always try and do everything myself and I was starting to feel a little burnt out. We decided to go ahead and look for a tutor and found the most wonderful woman, I am very grateful for her.

Are you working on any new patterns? Care to share any of the details?

At the moment I am thinking about a Lemur and a Panda, I like to spend a few weeks of thinking a design into being, looking at plenty of photos of the particular animal and observing them in their natural environment, if I am lucky enough to be able to visit a game farm that is not too far away. Once the thinking and observing period is over, I take out pencil and paper and draw the animal and then the designing of pattern rows begins. It is an exciting process for me and I really enjoy this part of my work. I often look at an animal and through its movement; I can see stitches and rows in my mind and imagine how this observation will translate into a design for a pattern.

What are you currently reading?

At the moment I am reading two lovely books on my Kindle, The Power of Now by Eckhard Tolle and At Knits End, Meditations for Women who Knit Too Much, by Stephanie Pearl Mcphee.

What is your favourite spot in your home?

It’s actually outside, I love to sit on the soft green grass with my knitting and absorb my surroundings, it’s like a meditation...

What is your favourite time of day?

My favourite time of day is right before dusk, just as the sun is setting. I really adore the beautiful colours of green, yellow and orange radiating across the sky. I can feel them in my heart. It’s both energizing and empowering.

What is the highlight of your week?

There are a few, spending quality time with my family, going for a cycle on my mountain bike and visiting my friends for tea (and knitting of course).

You have one hour to yourself, how do you spend it?

I will usually spend it knitting and then I start missing my family.

What is the dream at the top of your bucket list?

I would really love to travel to Alaska with my family.

What is your favourite quote?

At the moment:
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
― Mother Teresa

Thanks so much for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself with us. It was wonderful getting to know you a little better Linda.
You can connect with Linda and Mamma4Earth a few ways:


Linda has generously offered up 8 of her lovely patterns to
one lucky Mothering with Mindfulness follower

To enter today's giveaway, leave a comment, one per person, below. 

You can earn additional entries by:

                                                                          1) Adding Mamma4Earth to your Etsy favourites
                                                                          2) Liking Mamma4Earth on Facebook
                                                                          3) Following Mamma4Earth on Twitter  

Be sure to come back and leave a comment for each extra entry.

Giveaway is open until Saturday February 2, 2013 at 7pm. 

I will draw a winner after this time and announce it in this post.

Thanks so much Linda!

And the winner is:

Comment #107 from momentsofpeacemama

"My goodness, they are all adorable!"


Friday, January 25, 2013

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Snap! It is so cold our house sings to us in the form of many snaps, as it moves and shifts with the plunging temperatures. We are in the middle of a deep freeze here, as many of you are. It is cold, really cold, the kind of cold that makes you catch your breath when you step outside.

We are Canadian though, which means nothing keeps us inside, nothing. The cold doesn't scare us, we bundle up. There are wool undershirts, wool long johns and many more layers on top of that. We pull on snow pants and coats and hand knit hats and scarves, we take a deep breath and we step outside.

We walk, we run, we giggle and we smile. We feel alive. Full of life. Grateful for winter and all it brings. In the snow we find tracks - deer, bunny and fox. We follow them. We wonder when they were here, what they were doing and where they were going. Reece wonders out loud how they stay warm.

Cheeks get rosy. Eyes sparkle. There is joy in these cold long as you dress for the conditions and look for the magic.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yarn Along

I finished up the fingerless mitts for my friend and managed to cast on and cast off her cowl. I am hoping to drop them off to her later today or tomorrow.

Once I finished up the cowl I promptly cast on a little something for myself. This is an easy and fun knit, and promises to be just what I need to keep me warm on these very cold days we are experiencing right now.

On the reading front I picked up a magazine that has been sitting in the to read pile for two months. I always enjoy reading this one and this time was no different. I am still enjoying Use Your Words and getting back into my doula reading.

What are you knitting and reading?

Joining in with Ginny and Nicole.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


There is nothing quite like cousin love. There is an anticipation to see each other. The shyness of those first few moments, at least for Reece, then a warming and a smile. There is pure joy in their play, as they move into that familiar place.

Reece is in total awe of his cousin Aubry. For weeks he has been asking when he will see her again...refer to this post on persistence. Well Saturday was the day. Reece and I spent the day with my sister in law and niece.

Reece and Aubry play really well together, with six years separating them, this constantly amazes me. Aubry loves him and Reece loves her right back. Together they played, did some drawing, enjoyed a hike in the woods and a little fort building. We went out for lunch and enjoyed dinner back at my sister in laws. It was a full day, but oh. so. good.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stone Soup

We awoke to sunshine and mild temperatures, not the usual January weather we are use to. After morning snuggles, juice was pressed and breakfast was made. We chatted. He giggled, I giggled. He looked out the window, the birds caught his attention. He watched. I grabbed a sweet potato from the shelf and started washing and then chopping. Curious he turned his attention back to me and asked what the potato was for? Stone soup I replied. Stone soup he questioned, looking at me with a little grin. Yes, stone soup.

We arrive at Oaks and Acorns, an outdoor nature program for parents and their children. We sing a welcome song and then take a little walk to our spot. The spot where we gather together to explore, enjoy nature and share stories.

Today is the story of stone soup. Do you know it? As we gather small branches from the forest floor our leader of the day tells the story of stone soup.

A woman in torn clothes carrying a stick with a fabric bag attached and an empty cooking pot comes to a village. She asks the villagers if they would be willing to share some food with her, but they say no, they have nothing to share. She looks at them and in a confident tone tells them that is okay she will head down the the stream and make some stone soup. Once at the stream she gathers twigs to start a fire, fills her pot with water and places a large stone in it. She puts it on the fire and waits. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what she is doing. She tells them she is making stone soup and proceeds to give it a little taste. It tastes wonderful she remarks but it could really use something to bring out the flavour. The villager offers to run home and grab an onion and it gets added to the soup.  Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and she again mentions she is making stone soup which still needs a little something to really bring out the flavour. The villager offers to run home and grab a few carrots. With him returns another villager with some seasoning. The carrots and seasoning are added to the pot. Now, more villagers are walking by, offering to add a little something to the pot. Finally, with the work of the village, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is created and enjoyed by everyone.

With our branches, a little fire is started, a pot of water is added and one by one we walk up to the pot and add our ingredients. Each family bringing something to add. We filled the pot with carrots, sweet potato, celery, raisins, cranberries, quinoa, seasoning and miso, and yes a stone was added. Children ran in the woods, adults tended the fire. Children climbed trees, adults gathered in conversation. In the middle of it all our pot of stone soup.

One by one we reached into the pot to fill our mugs with stone soup. A soup filled will good food, love and community. It was delicious, enjoyed by adults and children around the fire, the sun shining and good conversation filling the air.

Friday, January 18, 2013

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Inner Happiness

I mentioned briefly last week a new course I have started. The 8 Gifts From Nature is a journey of reflection, sharing, learning, growing and changing. It is meant not only to serve as a path for my own personal growth, but also to help me better support and guide Reece on his path connecting to nature and this earth.

This journey is being shared with a very inspiring group of people in a community like setting. After our first insightful discussion I left with feelings of happiness, fullness and contentment. The first gift of nature we are reflecting on is Inner Happiness, or to be more precise, tuning into the happiness of a child that is inside all of us.

Happiness is one of those things which is very individual. What makes me happy, may not make you happy and while I might be happy today, I might not be happy tomorrow. This course, though forces one to look past "surface" happiness, to a deeper, more innate happiness, in a sense, to return to that childlike state of happiness. Do you remember it? The magic, the glow, the pure joy of being a child at play. Running, jumping, climbing, singing, exploring without a care in the world. Yes...that happiness.

It is a beautiful place, isn't it? The happiness of a child. I see it everyday, and if I am lucky, most days I get to dive in and enjoy it, if I allow myself to be swept away. And therein lies the difficulty; moving past my adult world and sinking into the world of my child.

There has been a lot of reflection since our first night together, and also a lot of action. I have been reflecting on my emotional health, connecting more to the activities and things that bring me peace and happiness and opening my heart to express gratitude every day.

My homework encourages me to explore Children's Universal Passions, something Reece and usually do, but now it is with a deeper level of awareness. This awareness brings me so much joy in these moments with Reece and in return, so much joy for him.

My journey of personal growth with The 8 Gifts of Nature is going to be so very fulfilling on so many levels, not only for me, but also for Reece. While I will grow and change on this journey, I will also develop my mentoring skills, which will guide me in better supporting Reece on his journey.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yarn Along

I had a friend request fingerless mitts and a cowl last week. Can you guess my response? YES, of course. I love knitting for people who will appreciate the time and effort of handmades as well as the joy I get from creating them. So the fingerless mitts are on the needles, one is done, just finishing up the second one. The lovely purple is for the cowl.

On the reading front, I am working my way through Use Your Words, and really enjoying it. The doula reading will start back up again this week after a little break. It was just the break I needed and now I am ready to get back at it.

What are you knitting and reading this week?

Joining in with Ginny and Nicole

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The dark of the morning is quiet and still. I wake early each day with the desire to get a few things done before I hear the pitter patter of little feet across the pine floor.

Before my little man, mornings were my time. I was an early bird, up before the sun and well on my way to a great day before many people thought about getting out of bed. But with a little man who enjoyed cluster feeding and snuggles in the morning, my early mornings were a thing of the past...until a few weeks ago.

I have been sneaking, and I mean sneaking, out of bed in the early morning hours trying to get my time back. I have seen 5am, 5:30am, 6am...the little man, I have discovered, is quite the light sleeper from 5 to 6am, so the sneak factor is high to get out before 6am.

Once up my first stop is the kitchen, in the glow of a little lamp the kettle goes on for hot water and a squeeze of half lemon. Then off to get dressed followed by a bit of time catching up on my writing, reading, or crafting...whatever I feel like.

It feels good.

Good to be up in the dark stillness of our home. Good to get a few things done. Good to have just a few moments to myself before the day begins. Good to just be.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Determined and Persistent

Determined and Persistent

We are in the midst of gaining a lovely understanding of these two words in our home. 
And while it does cause us moments of frustration,
we are choosing to take a deep breath and reminding ourselves 
how well these two qualities will serve him in the years to come.

Linking up with Lydia, my newest sponsor, for Mindful Mothering Mondays

Friday, January 11, 2013

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

No Guarantees

Parenting provides no guarantees.

It has been just over four years since Reece came into my life and made me a Mother. That moment changed me forever. The journey, to this point, has been filled with many decisions, some harder than others and some met with more judgement than others, but we (Justin and I) have made them. A lot of our decisions are based on gut feelings, our instinct (more my instinct), sometimes from research and gaining more information and always with Reece's best interest in our minds and in our hearts. We make informed decisions, and for the most part, there have been very few decisions we have regretted.

But still, there are no guarantees on this journey. No way of knowing if the decisions we have made are really the best in the long term. At least that is what I thought.

Friends in Reece's life have consisted of the children of moms with whom I hang out with. There is no daycare, preschool or kindergarten in our plans, so the time we spend with my friends and their little ones is the opportunity Reece gets to make friends. In the last month of so I have noticed a shift in how Reece communicates and plays with these children. I listen carefully to these kid conversations, Reece's warm welcoming heart inviting these friends over to his home to play. He is excited to share his home, his toys and his space with these friends. To be so open, so welcoming, well, it feels wonderful to hear these words from my little man. I have also noticed after our play dates he spends a lot of time talking about his "friends". What they did, how they played, and when he will see them again. This makes my heart swell, watching these relationships, these friendships develop and grow. It is pretty amazing.

On Saturday morning, Reece and I both up early, did some baking. Mini muffins were being made and while we were making them Reece informed me that a few of these were for Ben. I said really, and he informed me that yes, he was making some for Ben. He told me he wanted to share some with him the next time he saw him. Well lucky for Reece he saw Ben the next day and he proudly handed over three Reece made muffins to his friend.

As we drove the next day, on the way to Ben's house, I chatted with Reece about a few things. This visit was actually about a course I was taking with a wonderful, inspiring group of people. We are split into two groups, the first group goes behind closed doors for the course while the second group hangs with all the kiddos. Then we switch. Most of the kiddos have both parents participating, and have a parent in each group so one is always available to them. Justin isn't taking the course so while I am behind closed doors Reece is in the hands of the other adults. I have complete faith and trust in this community, but this was to be the first time Reece stayed with anyone that wasn't me, Justin or my parents. I really had no idea how it would turn out.

Our chat in the car gave Reece the rundown of the afternoon. I let him know that while I was in the course Ben's mom would be with him so she could help him if he needed anything. I also wanted to check in to see how he would handle situations if they occurred. So I asked a few questions, let him decide how he might handle things and then we talked. The last question I asked was what he would do if someone hit him, you know how kiddos can be, and I wanted to make sure Reece wouldn't slug anyone back if it happened. What came from my little man's mouth brought a smile to my face. "Mom," he said, "I would say, we don't hit."

When I came down from my course, Reece was running around and playing with the others. He didn't notice I had even come back. He was laughing and having a great time. I stood back. I watched him. He is growing, he is gaining confidence, he is stepping out of his comfort zone and he is thriving. I see in him kindness, trust, and independence. I see a little man taking some pretty big steps out into the world around him and enjoying every minute of it.

Yes, there are no guarantees on this journey we are on, but there are clues, little hints along the way that we are on the right path. It is these little hints I am holding close right now as I watch my little man explore his world a little further away from me, developing friendships and opening his heart and soul to others. I am grateful for this Mothering journey I started four years ago and I am grateful I have the confidence to trust my gut and do what feels right, even if it is a little different from the norm.