Flashback: Falling for Fall

This post was originally published on my personal blog – three years ago! We still love the Orleans Fruit Farm, and yes, I still love that kale salad :)

 

Although we officially have five more days to go, I’m going to jump the gun and call it: Autumn is Here. The nights are cold, the mornings are chilly (and in many parts of this world, frosty!), and the days are clear and bright. As Stuart McLean said on the Vinyl Cafe, the sky is a different kind of blue now than it is in July and August.

What better way to kick off our first fall weekend than with a visit to the local apple orchard:

The sunflowers welcomed us as though we were royalty

Her Highness was all too willing to oblige

The bees were busy this weekend – they know the end is near

A curious little elf hid amongst the towering flowers…

But emerged to bite into every apple she could find – whether they be on the ground or in the trees

“How do you like them apples!?”

 

 A warm dinner of curried carrot soup – thanks to the sweet roots we had growing in our garden this year

And freshly baked whole wheat bread, with flour from Castor River Farm

To finish off, a salad with garden tomatoes and local purple kale

Tonight I’m hoping for dreams as vivid as the fall colours….

Pinterest: Or, Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

So I’m planning my daughter’s birthday party….can you guess what theme she wants? That’s right – Frozen!! My daughter jumped on the Frozen bandwagon a little late, as she was quite young when the movie was first released. I eventually took her to see it at a small theatre months later, and she loved it. We now hear “Let It Go” on repeat, and she’s bouncing off the walls in anticipation of her birthday party on Sunday.

It’s hard to plan a birthday party for a 5 year-old. I never know if I’m doing too much, or too little. She started off asking to go to the movie theatre, but the helpful sales person at Cineplex suggested that 5 might be too young. I then checked out gymnastics centres, but given our strict budget, I can’t afford $160-$175 for a party.

So, we took the easy (hard?) way out. We’re hosting the party at our house! And what better way to plan a party than to look at ideas on Pinterest?

But Pinterest is dangerous. First I coo over the adorable glasses of frosted blue jello. Then I giggle at the Olaf party favour bags. Soon I’m yelling to my husband that we need giant blue drapes, fake snow for the walls, and twinkly lights. By the end of one hour on Pinterest, I’m frantically writing lists. Panic is making my heart beat louder than the sound of picks on ice.

But no. No, no, no. I’m not Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart is not even a distant cousin of mine. And so I calm down (thanks to my practical husband), and I decide on a few special things:

1) The twinkly lights we have in Christmas boxes are pretty accessible. And they’ll make a lovely backdrop to our movie-themed party (the kids are watching Frozen, and will be served popcorn in their own individual buckets).

2) Pin the Nose on Olaf is a great game for a group of 5 year-olds. And bonus that a friend gave us an Olaf poster after throwing her own Frozen birthday party.

3) Frozen grapes and Olaf noses as snacks

4) If there’s time, the party favour bags are pretty cute, no?

5) As much as I’d love to make my own pinata, I think I’ll head to Bulk Barn and get something simple, filled with a few snacks, stickers and pencils.

Easy peasy, right? Hmmm, talk to me on Monday ;)

 

Flashback: Taking the mourning out of mornings

I just came across this post written by Carly a couple of  years ago. I need these reminders now that we’re back in school routines!

With the possible and occasional exception of my husband, we’re not morning people around here.  I think I’ve mentioned that a time or ten in the past.  And now that the Little Man is back to being on the school bus every morning at 7:40 am, not to mention being gone for a whole day and therefore needing more crap stuff, I knew I needed to get my bum in gear so that mornings wouldn’t be a nightmare.

I’ve got two and half months before my maternity leave ends and I’m back to work full time.  That means two and half months where my only task in the morning (is it terrible that I shudder a wee bit inside every time I type the word “morning”?) is to get just the Little Man out the door and on the bus, clothed, fed and watered.  Come mid-November I’ll have to add myself and the Baby Man into that mix.

Knowing this, I started planning ahead for that eventuality.  I may have a hate-hate relationship with mornings (shudder), but I love me some organizing.  Here’s what we’re doing . . .

1. Must-Do Posters
Inspired by a similar poster designed by Kids in the Capital mom, Kim-Anh, I made these:

They’re on the wall between the kitchen and the powder room and the Little Man loves checking them every morning and afternoon to ensure he’s crossed his “must-do’s” off his daily list.  My personal favourite on this list?  Choosing his clothes for the next day the night before!

2. “Make” Breakfast the Night Before
We’ve all heard of making lunches the night before, which we do around here too, but Mr. Tree was quick to point out how much easier it would be for the Little Man if we set out everything he needs for breakfast before going to bed every night.

Since the Baby Man wakes up at the same time as the Little Man, and still needs a grown-up to feed him, I put out what Jake will need for his breakfast the night before.  Thankfully Jake loves a good, big breakfast but dragging stools or chairs to the necessary cupboard to get everything he needs out in the morning is time consuming and leaves us tripping all over each other.  So his bowl, spoon, cereal and honey are put on the table for him, and the milk is left easily accessible in the fridge.  Whenever possible, I get his fruit and yogurt ready to go as well.

3. Making use of the Powder Room
Like most kids, Jake is an easily distracted dawdler.  Imaginary friends can suddenly and unexpectedly pop out of anywhere, urgently needing his attention.  Sending him upstairs to floss and brush his teeth every morning was taking anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes.  So we put a second toothbrush (for everyone in the family), toothpaste and flossers in the powder room on the main floor.  Amid the hustle and bustle of everyone in the family getting ready, Jake finds it easier to stay focused on the task at hand.

No running back upstairs (to get dressed or brush his teeth) also ensures he doesn’t get sidetracked by the ALL! THE! AWESOME! LEGO! in his room.

4. No TV in the Morning
This was a tough one for Jake, as there’s nothing he loves more than chilling on the couch first thing in the morning watching a fifteen minute episode of pretty much anything on Treehouse or Disney Junior.  Like a lot of children (and adults), the Little Man has a hard time focusing on more than one thing at a time.  Even having the news on while he eats is distracting so we’re working on limiting TV even for the grown-ups to the first 10-15 minutes after the hour or half hour . . . to catch the weather and traffic.

5. No Dishes in the Morning
If it doesn’t go in the dishwasher (we prefer to wash some of our kid-friendly dishes by hand), it gets left neatly in the sink to be washed later.  Right now I’m doing those dishes once Jake is on the bus, but I plan on teaching my recovering perfectionist self to just leave them there until I get home from work.  Sure it’s not always fun to walk in the door to a sink full of dirty dishes, but since mornings and I already struggle to get along, this works for me.

And one of the very important reasons I’m choosing not to do dishes is because I want us to have . . .

6. Ten Minutes to Hang as a Family
As I write this we’re only on the second day of school and so we’re still working on this one.  I’m trying to make sure we’re setting aside ten minutes in the morning to just touch base as a family.  Ten minutes for Jake to sit on the floor and be goofy with Noah.  Ten minutes to read a short story.  Ten minutes to express our hopes for the day ahead or just talk about a crazy dream we had last night.

I’m a night owl at heart so I’m always interested in what works for other families.  What do you do to make mornings less mournful?

Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match.  She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband, and her sons Jacob and Noah.  Probably in reverse order.