Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pizza Oven

For father's day we bought Jason a pizza oven attachment for his charcoal barbecue.  Honestly we were out and about and had company so much this summer that we kind of forgot about it.  This weekend we spent a day just going out hiking and enjoying some family time and we decided that homemade pizzas were the perfect activity for dinner.  In the morning we all sat down and chose what toppings we would like on our pizzas and then we went to the grocery store and picked them up.  The kids (and us adults too) had a blast making pizza dough in whatever shape we wanted and with whatever toppings we wanted.  The kids played out in the leaves and on their fort while the pizza cooked.  Let me just say it was absolutely delicious and something we will be doing more often in the next few weeks!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Balance Beam

Earlier this summer we were going through my Pinterest boards and building/making some of the things I had put on my 'to do' list.  A super simple project was the balance beam.  The girls are still pretty young to have good balance so we didn't even lift the board high off the ground yet but all the kids had a good time walking the length of it.  The older boys do harder tricks on it but the young ones have a lot of fun just the same.  We have been working on balance walking forward, backward and sideways.  I think we might sand it down and put it in the garage to store so that on those long winter days when we haven't been outside for awhile, we will just set it up in the family room for a little bit of fun.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Learning about Leaves

Well the fall weather has been around for a few weeks now.  The summer heat is gone but I honestly have to say that the fall colours, smells and views are my favorite.  I love when the leaves have started to change and you are surrounded by greens, yellows, reds, oranges and even browns.  I love fall hikes with the sounds of the crunching leaves, the fall smells and the fresh air that is crisp but not yet cold.  A few weeks ago we went on a family evening walk to collect leaves.  We were on a mission to collect leaves of all different shapes and sizes.  It was just fun watching the kids running through the woods picking out the perfect leaves.

I then laminated the leaves and today the three youngest and I read some leaf books and set up the fall leaf station at their little learning table.  They absolutely loved it!

They looked at the leaves with the magnifying glass and microscope.  We compared the sizes of the leaves, the colors and the shapes.


It surprised me that they came up with the idea of putting the laminated sheets of leaves up against the patio door to looks at the leaves with the sun shining through.  It was a very fun activity that we will leave out for a bit for them to examine on their own.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Our older boys have always loved to play in the sand.  They love to make castles, dig, play tractors and just get dirty.  I remember that little tractors were a permanent fixture in the back of the van for many years (just in case we came across a park with perfect sand :)  ).  I kind of forgot about all the sand playing until this summer when Joshie cannot get enough of sand and tractors.  You can often find him and his brothers trying all to cram into the little sandbox to play tractors and dinosaurs.  At the beginning of the summer we decided that it was time to build a bigger sandbox so they could all climb in together.  We scoured Pinterest and found a design that we liked and set out on a family outing to Lowes to buy all the supplies.  The boys enjoyed helping Jason build the actual sandbox.  Mathew especially showed a lot of interest in the measuring/cutting and actual building.  So much so that he has asked to help with future projects.  "Why yes Mathew, I can come up with more projects that dad can build with you!"  Sweet more Pinterest pinning for me :)

Honestly I just wanted a fun colour of paint and this perfect red was in the 'made by mistake' mixed paint section and only cost $2.50 woohoo!

We filled it with sand are are making a cover for

The kids have gone crazy over this new sandbox!  I can't believe all  the laughter and adventures that occurred in our sandbox this summer :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sensory Table

I have always had a love-hate relationship with sensory bins.  I love that the kids have a great time playing in them but have always hated the amount of work that is involved in the setup and put away of the activity.  A few months ago, a friend of mine was heading to Ikea and I asked her to pick up a child's table for us.  I didn't want to spend a lot on the table because the girls still colour off their pages and I didn't want to have to worry about them ruining the table.  This is where this fantastic find comes in!  Ikea has now come out with a table that has a cover for two sides of the table to give it a solid top but you can open them to store supplies inside.  I decided to turn these containers into sensory bins for the kids.  It's the perfect solution!  When I want them to play with the sensory activity ,we open up the bins and they have a great time; but when the activity is done we just put the lid on and use it as a regular table!  For the past few months the big boys and I have been searching through Pinterest and coming up with great sensory play ideas.  The older boys are actually quite interested in helping with the set up and purchasing of all the items for the different themes.  They also like to play with it first to make sure it's set up right for the little ones :)

Mathew and I changed both bins out this weekend.  We set up a Halloween themed side and an autumn side.

The Halloween side is just a mixture of beans with spiders, pumpkins and measuring spoons that can be used for scooping.


The autumn side has some treasures that Mathew hid amongst the bird seed for the little one's to find.  There are leaves and fall treasures hidden in there as well.  We also decided to put a little pouring pitcher and some additional spoons for scooping.

Joshua has used the new set up for the past few days but it was the first time I let the girls play with it!  They absolutely loved it!  All three littles were laughing and shrieking with excitement and the mess stayed rather contained (we vacuumed up some beans afterwards of course but it was quite minimal).

I now have to come up with a storage idea to store the contents of the sensory bins that we have rotated out hahaha.

Love this picture of their little feet trying to go up as high on their tip toes that they can to reach better :)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sleeping RV

We love camping.  We love the adventures, the hiking, exploring, biking, fishing, campfires etc... Despite all the fun stuff, I have to say, one of my favorite times camping is when the RV is just starting to wake up.  When only some of us are awake and we are being quiet to let the others sleep.  That's when you see moments like this :)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Kenai River Float

I honestly never thought our family, with young very children, would be able to participate in a Kenai river float. After a little research and with family in town, we made it happen.

We are now officially starting our last year in Alaska so we have been working on making sure that we are getting out, exploring and not missing anything that we really wanted to do while living here.

I am glad our family will have the memories of the 9 of us hopping on the raft with the guide and we learned about the Kenai area of Alaska and just got to enjoy each other's company in the beautiful scenery that Alaska has to offer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer's of the Midnight Sun

Side note:  I wrote this post in June but got caught up in the summer adventures so I didn't get to publish it until now.

My favorite time of the year is here in Alaska.  After the shortest day of daylight in December (the winter solstice) we have slowly been gaining more daylight every single day.  We gained so much that by the summer solstice at the end of June, the days are almost completely bright with sunlight 24/7.  The days feel so incredibly long and enjoyable when the sun is out for 20+ hours a day.  Many evenings we are outside playing and totally loose track of time and realize that it's 9 or 10 o'clock but the sun is still high in the sky.  Last night we got to take extra advantage of this.  When the day was coming to an end, after all the daily outings and kids activities were coming to an end, after watching two soccer games last night, after tucking the 5 littles into bed, Jason, my father in law and myself were able to head out hiking while my mother in law stayed home with the kids.  At 9:50 we set out on a hike up a mountain.  We were gone for only a couple of hours but we got to enjoy the peace that comes when you can relax after climbing the mountain and getting to just have your breath taken away as you look around at the scenery and get to enjoy the beautiful views as the day starts to come to a close and the sun starts to set.  It sure did my soul good to just get out and climb the mountain, enjoy some laughs and good company.  In the pictures it was approximately 11ish at night and you can see that the sun is starting to set.  The Alaskan midnight sun is something that your mind can conceive when described but honestly, it play tricks on your mind as you loose all sense of time.  It kinda reminds me of being a kid and having the feeling of days that last forever when you have all the time in the world.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Yep I am the mom of twins, yep I have my hands full; but not this time hahahaha

Twingo carrier for the win!

 So although I am busy, my hands are free to grab the three year old who may or may not be running away on me!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lazy Days

The lazy days of summer have arrived!  The boys are done school and we are fully enjoying each other's company.  It's nice to just be able to do outings/crafts/activities whenever we want!  Last week our house had the plague.....not an illness or the flu....I mean full out plague that knocked us all out for almost a week!  So this week we are just taking it easy and lazing around starting out the summer and trying to catch up on stuff I intended to do last week.  This morning during girls nap the older boys were doing experiments from their amazing science kit while little Joshie watched carefully.  Here's to some great memory making in the upcoming summer!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Moments that melt your heart

I was just responding to  a message a friend had send me about how quickly the first year goes by for kids.  Contemplating my response, I realized that it honestly doesn't seem to slow down.  Some days are long but the years just keep slipping by.  I still vividly remember the big boys being a year old and toddling around.  I have enjoyed every stage so far with the kids but I am in awe of how quickly they keep flying by.  As we have more kids, I think that the years keep passing through the stages for each of them even quicker.  I think it might just be that you realize the second, third or fourth time through a stage that it is just that, a stage.  A stage that will soon be over so you might as well jump into the moment and enjoy because you can't have a do-over.  So today, a normal everyday type of day, I realized just how many times my heart melts with little ones around as I just enjoy the moments.  I am lucky in that every day, I am able to enjoy little moments that honestly are priceless.

Here are just a few pictures from today that make me smile and make my heart feel just happy to see my little ones.

Sister Cuddling

This boy loves his sandbox

Emma busting a gut laughing!  

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Feeling of Home

Day 3 Photo Challenge:

I am sure that when everyone enters their house they feel at "home".  Over the last decade of marriage, Jason and I have purchased souvenirs from different travels that have slowly become our sole source of home decor.  If anyone else where to enter our house, I am sure that these items appear the same as any other but to us, they hold the memories of the fun times, trips and special occasions that they were purchased on.

The photos I chose for today are from one of our last vacations that we took while living in Europe. We spent three weeks touring the Tuscan country side and being able to enjoy that area of Italy as a family.  The photos that I looked at brought back a flow of memories of laughing while eating gelato, wine tasting during baby nap times, the boys learning to walk on the grass in front of the tower of Pisa and more.

I get a sense of peace while looking at pictures that remind me of those evenings sitting on the porch overlooking the Tuscan country side while enjoying a cappuccino and a nice glass of wine.

The boys getting out and exploring.

The picture below looks like any regular street you can find from Italy but to me, this is a picture of the store where we purchased a decorative plate that hangs in our dining room.  The plate itself is full of bright colors and a beautiful scene and every time I look at it, I'm brought back to this little shop on a side street in the town of San Gimignano.  

On our next adventure out, I hope to find some more meaningful items that will invoke memories or fun and joy from the adventures we acquire them on.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Zen Place

Day two of the photo challenge:

My Zen place

We have all been in those classes or presentations where they tell you to close your eyes and picture your zen place.  Where the heck should I go?  What the heck does this even mean? Yet every time I actually sit and search through memories to find that place where everything was just at peace, I go back to our Mediterranean cruise.  The entire cruise was amazing but there is this one snippet of time that is my zen place to go to.  Our ship had stopped in Santorini Greece and friends had joined us for a donkey ride, scooter rides and then just a walk around.  It was breath taking but there is one particular part that always stands out for me.  We were sitting on one balcony that hung over the Med, enjoying our cappuccino's and a slice of cake with friends.  The weather was warn, the breeze was amazing, the white houses with their blue doors and roofs made the perfect backdrop.  The sun was shining down on us, the salt water was shimmering and I just remember this sense of calmness that came over me.  So this is my place that I escape to every time someone tells me to close my eyes and think of any place in the world I would like to go.  The funny part was between the four of us on that balcony, we had not found a bank machine yet on the island so we had like 10 euros to share. We each could only get one cappuccino and we shared a piece of cake.  It reminds me that a lot of money is not required to just enjoy a moment.  Those laughs and that sensation will be in my memory forever.

This is the spot.  Until I did this challenge and actually went back through some photo's looking for Santorini, I didn't even know I had this picture.  I have a picture of my actual favorite spot in the world.  On a side note, I was shocked when I found this picture because I know that sometimes our memory plays tricks on us and we remember things slightly different then they were.  Sometimes that's reality but not this time.  In my memory this spot looked exactly like this picture!

I would love to hear of all of your "go to" places ?

One day I want to go back with all the kids and actually stay on this island for awhile!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I was recently challenged by a family member to do a 7 day photo challenge.  I started scouring through photos to choose but then decided I would put them on my blog instead because then I can add text and give more of an explanation of why I chose the photos.

This weekend I was at the store picking out some flowers for our home for Easter.  Flowers are my happy place.  I love to have flowers outside and cut flowers in the house.  It just changes the whole atmosphere to have some pretty flowers as a backdrop.  I have to admit, that my husband spoils me with flowers.  Every since we have been married he brings them home as a surprise.  Now when I look back through different fantastic moments of my life, flowers have been in the background in some manner.

So this weekend I was just quickly picking up a few things at the grocery store and saw some beautiful spring colored roses.  I had added them to my cart and was turning the corner when hundreds of fresh cut tulips caught my eye and for a moment my breath.  It's kind of like my last blog on the dining room table, a totally inanimate object that has the possibility to trigger so many memories. Of course tulips are gorgeous, of course they smell and look pretty but it triggers memories of traveling through the tulip fields.

When we lived in Ottawa we would attend the tulip festival.  Now this isn't a history lesson so I will quickly just go over a few things.  The Netherlands gave 300,000 tulips to Canada after their liberation in WWII.  The tradition has continued and the Netherlands sends over tulip bulbs every year to bloom in Canada's capital.  It has turned into a big festival in Ottawa and there are hundreds of thousands of tulips there yearly now, not all of them from Holland, but the historical significance is still there.

When we lived in Germany one of my favorite times of the year was driving down country roads in the spring during tulip season.  It is hard to describe just how breath taking row after row of tulips are to look at.  The Dutch town of Keukenhoff has the most amazing huge park that features tulips and bulbs from around the world.  Since 1950, the park has represented that best spring garden in the world.  It showcases more then 7 million flowers, yes SEVEN MILLION.  They even have a parade where most of the floats are covered in tulips.  We have been to these gardens many times with different visitors and the thought of them just makes me smile.  Here are pictures from two different trips to the gardens.

So as I turned the corner and saw the gorgeous tulips, you can bet I was smiling and felt just a sense of peace.  So I put back the roses and placed the tulips in the cart.  They were a part of our Easter again and remind me of all the adventures they played a part in.

On a side note:  The first picture of my grandmother, my mom and myself made me smile extra big because I think it may be the last picture of when my grandmother actually came and stayed over at our house.  She was able to visit for a few hours when we lived in north bay on rare occasions but never stayed for the weekend like she did in the picture above.

To my surprise yesterday a sweet friend surprised me and brought me some flowers for my birthday!  They make my heart smile and I think of her every time I pass them in the entrance of our home :)