Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Adventures and Halloween fun!

I have been meaning to write a post about all the fantastic activities there are in the fall for kids, but doing all of these activities, working at A Gym Tale and two kids who lately refuse to sleep in the evenings have really left me with no free time - or I have been choosing to sleep during this time!

Over the past few weeks we have taken advantage of the warm weather to go apple picking at Mountain Orchards and then eating more apples then is probably good for you. We have also been taking lots of walks through nearby trails and exploring and collecting as we go. We now have an impressive collection of acorns and rocks! Quick note - if your child has begun collecting acorns, they will get maggots if kept inside, so outside is definitely the better choice!

Ewan's favourite activity so far has been choosing our pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. This was a very, very long process as he needed just the right pumpkin. This weekend we are aiming to try and carve the pumpkins and Ewan has been trying to decide on the kind of face he wants all week. To do this he has been using markers to practice on the pumpkin itself and then simply wiping it away to try another idea. This is the first time that Ewan is really excited and anticipating a holiday so I am really trying to play it up with some rituals that we can do each year. In addition to pumpkin picking, we have been making decorations (candle holders, ghosts to hang in the trees, and spiders), reading lots of Halloween books from the library, making a Halloween countdown banner, and regularly wearing his costume. I also made a display with little halloween themed picture frames of all the costumes Ewan has worn over the past three years for him to look at.

I am also planning a big Halloween breakfast on the morning of Halloween to make the day extra special and memorable. After reading the Happiness at Home book by Gretchen Rubin I have been inspired to try and plan more 'memorable' moments for the kids. The book highlights that it is the special little things out of the ordinary that people remember and lead to the most happiness, not necessarily big events. We just tried a fantastic pancake recipe that makes them look like Jack O Lanterns (recipe below) which I will make for Halloween morning along with orange juice and bat shaped toast all on Halloween themed plates. This will also all take place at 6:30am so that I can be at A Gym Tale for 7am to begin the Before School Halloween party, followed by the Nursery School costume party - I will sleep well that night!

I would love to hear all about your Halloween traditions!

Jack O Lantern Pancake recipe (found in the Artful Year - ebook -

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2tbsp sugar (I used 1 tbsp honey instead)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cups pumpkin
1 egg
2tbsp melted butter
banana and chocolate chips to make face

mix everything together - the batter is stiff enough that I was able to shape it into a pumpkin (somewhat) and then Ewan decorated the faces on them before I flipped them. These were really delicious pancakes and the banana eyes looked really great!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Giving Thanks

With the approaching Thanksgiving weekend, I have been talking with the kids all week about Fall traditions and the things that we are thankful for in our lives. Some of the answers ranged from marshmallows, to mommies and daddies, and obviously horses! I personally am very grateful for my health and my family, both immediate and extended. I know I am very lucky to have such a large extended family who is so very helpful and involved in our lives. I am also thankful that my business allows for the possibility to have my children with me and not have to deal with shortage of quality child care available. I am again so very thankful for my family members who offer to take my children every so often to give me a work day without children - and oh, do I appreciate those days! I am also thankful my career and my husbands career can be considered relatively stable in the current time of economic uncertainty being felt by so many in a government city. Furthermore, I am thankful for our friends, who are oh so patient and understanding of our crazy work schedule and still take the time to try and connect. We have really tried this past year making friendships and family relationships more of a priority as opposed to getting lost in our work and it has been wonderful creating a more balanced lifestyle. 

On the topic of balance, A Gym Tale will be closed this Thanksgiving Sunday and Monday. I know not typical of indoor playgrounds, but I feel it is important for us to take some time to really reconnect with family and friends. As a small business owner, a wife and a mother to two young children, it is becoming more essential to find time to really focus in on only my family and not split my attention between them and work. I am so looking forward to doing this over Sunday and Monday this weekend.

Another hard decision that Alan and I have recently made is to not hold the New Year's Eve Sleepover this year. Alan and I have run this event each year for the past 6 years. Yes, it is true, I have slept on the yellow crash mat the past 6 years on New Year's Eve, even very pregnant and with a baby, while Alan worked all night at the desk. Although we very much enjoyed spending the evening with your children, for this year we have decided to spend it with our family. This is not to say, that we will never run the event again, just not for this year. I cannot tell you how excited I am to not have to whisper 'Happy New Year' to Alan because twenty children are sleeping in the forest!

I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend and is able to find a moment to relax and feel thankful for whatever it is, big or small, that is making your life amazing right now.

My new favourite picture below, once again taken by the ever so talented Elizabeth Fulton Photography.