Cumberland Heritage Village Museum: Village of Lights!

Last weekend we finally got a chance to check out the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum – what a gem! Their village of lights is on for the final weekend THIS weekend, and I really urge you to get out there with your kids!

We debated having an early dinner and then heading to the museum around 5:30pm (it’s open from 3pm – 8pm so that you can experience the beautiful lights when it’s dark out). But given that it was a Saturday and we expected the museum to be busy, we headed there for 3:30 pm. By the time we left at about 5:45 pm the place was packed!

We started off at the giant sled and reindeer, just as the sun was setting.

Village of Lights

My girls have no interest in Santa Clause, but he’s there in one of the buildings if your children want to see him! Instead of Santa, we chose the sleigh ride with these beautiful horses.

Village of lights 2

To warm up, we snuck into the old schoolhouse where staff were handing out gingerbread cookies, icing and sprinkles for the kids to decorate.

Village of lights 3

Hot chocolate and a roaring bonfire finished out the night.

Village of Lights 4

We stayed for two hours, and still hadn’t finished looking in all the buildings. There is TONS to do and see. If you’d rather not purchase drinks or snacks (they do have a little snack bar – be warned, the hot chocolate was deadly sweet), I saw one family bravely eating a picnic dinner outside!

And bonus, that I didn’t even realize – small dogs are allowed on leash! So we could have brought my little pug, but I think she might have been cozier sleeping at home :)

You need to HURRY to catch this wonderful outing – this Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the last weekend for the Village of Lights!

Have you been to the Village of Lights?

Winter Solstice

Do you have religious and non-religious traditions you would like to share with our readers? Email for more information!

If we were to give our family’s beliefs a name, we’d probably fall into the eclectic group of Pagans. We rely on the circular cycles of the rising sun and the ever-changing seasons, we try our best to listen to the earth, and we believe that less really is more. The Earth is our Mother, and we are her children. It is our duty to treat Her and everyone on our journey with the kindness and respect that all creatures deserve, for we know, that everything comes back to us in its own time. Remember that old adage “what you give is what you get”? Well, we say it’s true.

It’s December, and while the earth is cold and barren, we acknowledge that this time is meant to be the quietest part of the year (which may be why some find the hustle and bustle of the season so overwhelming). It’s a time when we turn inwards, into our homes and into ourselves. We reflect. We consider what changes we may wish to make in the coming year, and we create, whether it be soulful foods for our families or gifts to give to celebrate the Solstice, or as we also call it, Yule.

December 21st marks the longest night and the shortest day of the year; together with friends, we will celebrate the return of the sun, the spring! We’ll eat, oh we’ll eat! We’ll offer food to our ancestors by leaving a plate of treats on the back step, and new to this year’s itinerary (and much to our daughter’s excitement), we will decorate a tree outside with dried foods and other edible decorations. Most importantly, we will tell the tales to our children that have been told and retold since the beginning of time. We will be sure to share the wisdom of those who came before us, teaching lessons learned along the way.

Although my husband and I were both raised with plenty of Christmas traditions, we are infusing our family’s celebration with more of the things that represent what is true to our beliefs. So this year for Yule we’ll:

Celebrate with a live Yule tree, bringing our connection with nature indoors.

Solstice 1

Bring as much light as we can to our home on the darkest eve of the year using Christmas lights and candles – perhaps even in the windows (a pagan tradition). And our favourite – lighting the lanterns at the four outside corners of our home from the hearth fire.

solstice 2

We’ll weave in the tradition of the Yule log this year. Although it used to be an entire tree trunk, we will choose a hardwood section to throw onto our fire, sending out our intentions for the coming year. Afterwards, we will collect the coals from the log and save them for next year’s fire, just as our ancestors did. We’ll give as many handmade gifts as we’ve been able to create, since everyone knows, those are the most meaningful.

solstice 2

And of course, we’ll attempt to catch the first crack of dawn on the 21st, the beginning of the New Year.


HayMama is an artiste (pronounced with an ‘eeste’) tackling a multitude of works, mother raising three kiddos, lover of books, seeker of knowledge, consumer of great coffee, follower of nature, lover and friend to her one and only. You can find the beginnings of her work here

Puff Paint Decorations

I am not very good at coming up with ideas for crafts that I can do with my daughter. She’s four now and she’s much better than I am at sitting down with paper and scissors and glue and getting creative. This is why I have created a board on Pinterest called ‘Things to do with the kid’ where I can go for ideas when she wants to do a craft together. It was on Pinterest that I found this idea, that worked out very well and helped to decorate our home for the holidays.

It’s very simple and all you need are puff paints in whatever colours you like, wax paper and copies of designs you want to follow. Put the design under the wax paper and start copying your design with the paint. I taped the wax paper down to make sure everything stayed in place while we were painting.

Once you’re happy with your painting, let everything dry thoroughly.



This might have been the hardest part, it took a full day and the kid was getting rather impatient. When it’s dry, you can peel your design off the wax paper and stick it to your windows.

I was actually really impressed by how well they stuck, though some of our artwork didn’t peel off the wax paper as easily as I had hoped.


We started out with snowflake designs – simple ones and more complicated ones – but you could decorate your window with any number of designs. I even took a shot at doing some freestyle designs that I was very happy with.

This craft was easy for the kid and will brighten up our house a little bit. It was also easy to clean up afterwards. Now that I know this is something that she enjoys doing together, we can decorate our house for different seasons and holidays if we feel like it.