30 April 2011

Another Wiebe Adventure

So... we're going to Victoria.  That's right. Victoria. Jared got into the University of Victoria for Spring term to take the last exam he has to take, and so we're going. On Tuesday. To Victoria.  Crazy, eh?

Actually, I'm not going the whole time.  I've got commitments, you know. I teach Speech Arts, and I have a mommy who is due at the end of May, so I'll go with him to get him settled in, come back to Calgary for a few weeks, and them join him again after the baby is born.

I've never been to Victoria. I don't know a soul in Victoria. We don't have a place to live in Victoria.  But, we are going to Victoria!

So, now here's where I need advice.  We are planning on renting a very small, furnished place, and I don't plan on being there very much, because I really want to explore. For anyone who's been to Victoria, where do I go, what can't I miss, and what should I do?  Fill me in, people.  At the most I've got 4 weeks, but likely less than that, and I want to see it all!

Victoria, here we come!

23 April 2011

Second Verse, Same as the First...

I've heard that the more a child is exposed to Chicken Pox before they actually get it, the worse of a case they will have.  I'm not sure of the medical evidence of that statement, but antidotally, I have to guess that it is true.  Poor Silas, after being subjected to sharing spit with at least four other people with the chicken pox, has finally come down with a case of his own.  I am so glad that he is really too young to understand just how bad it is, but man, the poor kid is COVERED!

He's even got a few on the inside of his eye lids.  He keeps pointing at them and signing "hurt." I bet they hurt!

So what have I done?  Bathed him lots.  He doesn't seem to notice the itch if he's in the bath.

And let him play outside, sans diaper.  I'm sure glad it's a nice spring day in Calgary, as rare as that is this year.

Oh, the rites of childhood.  Eli keeps telling him, "It's okay, you're going to be really strong after the chicken box go away."  And he's right.  Nothing like natural immunity to strengthen a body.  Still, poor kid. 

And on a philosophical/soap box note: it's funny how something that was once completely normal, in less than 10 years has become so feared.  I have to chalk that one up to pharmaceutical scare tactics.  I have had several people come to me with their unvaccinated children to expose them to my boys.  They all come with a little worry about what others may think of our "Chicken Pox Party."   Even though I have been extremely careful about keeping my boys home while they are contagious, I have been accused of being careless and selfish just for having chicken pox at our house.  Perhaps most other people had far worse experiences having chicken pox than I did, but it seems to me that many people are terrified of something that really isn't a big deal at all.  On the other hand, I have also found this a great opportunity to talk with people about the choices our family makes, and that some people, while they are equally happy about the different choices they have made, are understanding and totally nonjudgmental. Why is it that the rude, condemnatory people stand out more? In any case, I'm glad that my boys have both been able to get chicken pox, that there immunity is stronger for it, and will be for the rest of their lives.  I am also grateful that I do breastfeed my toddlers, because not only have I been able to provide nutrients, I have also been able to give comfort when it has really been needed.  Chicken pox? No big deal!

22 April 2011

Hop along, Easter

With our lack of income and our lack of a home, I have found I definitely lack the drive to create holiday magic for my boys.  I would love to do so much more, and while I know there are ways to do it without spending a great deal, I just haven't been able to find the motivation at all.  Christmas was very low key this year.  I know presents aren't everything, but one day I would like to be able to spoil my kids if I want to.  My boys were spoiled, but not by Jared and I. Valentine's and St. Patrick's Days passed without so much of a notice.  Here Easter is upon us, and while we will make a great deal out of reading about Christ's Resurrection, there will be little partying going on around here this weekend.

This morning, however, in a last minute attempt to do something, however small, we whipped out our creative energies and made a little fun for the boys. 

First of all we decorated some eggs.  Admittedly, I should have gone to the grocery store and bought a cheep pack of white eggs, but we had these great brown eggs in the refrigerator, which we don't eat, with the whole Raw food thing, and I like brown eggs, so get over it! I also could have picked up an actual egg dying kit, but do you really think it would have mattered on my beautiful brown eggs?  Me neither. So, with brown eggs and puff paint we decorated our eggs.  Eli and Silas couldn't have been more delighted, and I avoided the unsightly stain that dying always leaves on the egg whites - who knows what's in that stuff!

Eli packed his own Easter basket to bring to Granny and Grandpa Hudson's house today for the Annual Easter Egg hunt and Egg roll.  

We were also responsible to bring our own treats to contribute to the hunt, so we figured we'd whip something up for that as well.

Luckily my mom made rice crispy squares for her Young Women on Wednesday, and had tons of leftovers, so we made some rice crispy nests with goodies inside them. Who doesn't love being covered in rice crispy goodness?!

All wrapped up and ready to go.

So there you have it, our Wiebe family Easter celebration.  Not very raw, and definitely not elaborate, but celebrated. And for that, I can pat myself on the back.  This year, anyway.

15 April 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!!! - Repurposed Crayon Tutorial

My mom has a Tupperware container stuffed in the craft cupboard full of the remains of eight children's lifetime of crayon collection. 

Eli has an insatiable desire to break things and rip things and melt things.

Put these two factors together, and we came up with the greatest kids craft! Homemade crayons!

While I love to craft myself, I am always looking for crafts that are not parent intensive, but instead kid friendly.  Crafts that Eli can actually do, and that I don't have to take over from him.  This is definitely one of them.

First of all, we dug through all the crayons and picked out any that weren't wrapped - the smaller the better.  Then we started peeling off the wrappers of more crayons.  Eli loved this, as he could pick and rip and peal to his hearts delight.  Then we broke the pealed crayons into smaller pieces, again totally joyous for a three-year-old.  While he snapped them in half, I cut them with some heavy duty kitchen scissors - much less fun, but way more efficient!

Then the boys filled three silicone ice cube trays (Ikea, $1.99!) with the crayon bits.

I wasn't worried about the usefulness of the finished product, so I wasn't worried about one colour going in each mold, but you could make all white, all yellow, all green, etc. crayons.  I liked the way ours turned out just as well.

Then we put the ice cube trays onto a cookie sheet (just in case of spillage!) and put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 250 degrees. Running a hot blow drier over the back of the trays before trying to pop them out made removal much easier.  Especially on the fish and star shapes, which kept breaking.

And voila!  Crayons!

Cute, eh?  And it only cost me the price of the ice cube trays - which I will be able to use again and again.

To be honest, they are cuter than they are functional.  As they melted the pigment settled and the wax rose, so all the colour is on the top of each crayon, and it is pretty messy. I'm not sure how to remedy that in further experiments.  Also, the fish and star molds broke really easily, because they had pretty narrow parts.  The round flowers were fantastic though.  I'd stick with round and more solid shapes if I did it again.

Despite the fact, this was tons of fun, and Eli is so pleased with his crayons. He's been colouring for two days straight, and I love it!

Super Heroes Brush Their Teeth

Lately we have been very interested in the workings of Super Heroes. It's been working out quite well, as we've learned that Super Heroes eat tomatoes, and Super Heroes get lots of sleep, and most importantly, Super Heroes can't have cavities, so Super Heroes brush their teeth!

Just to confirm that last fact, we took Eli to the dentist yesterday to make sure we weren't mistaken.

Turns out we were right, Super Heroes definitely brush their teeth, and floss, every day!

Eli was glad to learn it, because he's a really good tooth brusher. 

And, it also turns out that dad might be a Super Hero (a fact not yet confirmed), because he didn't have any cavities.

Silas played the side-kick in this episode, albeit he slept through the entire adventure...

12 April 2011

No Sweeter Word

Guess what has become my favourite word? (That's right, I have a favourite word.  Get over it.)


It is such a beautiful word, especially when my three-year-old says it as he is giving me a play by play of the exploits of his and his little brother's adventures.

"We are just building stuff."
"We are hiding in the fort."
"We need some water because we are really thirsty."

I love it!  It gives me a glimpse into the future when I hope they are best friends.

09 April 2011

Oh Bed! Oh Bed! Delicious Bed!

You know those people in the world that you can't help but love?  Well, my sister-in-law Renee and her daughter Rhiannon are two of those kinds of people. We love them!

This week Rhiannon turned FIVE, and today was her birthday. Because we love her so much, and because she deserves to be spoiled more than most five-year-olds, and because I don't have a little girl to make girly things for, Rhiannon got the spoils of my crafty labours this month.

Working late into the night last night to get it finished, this is what we brought to her party (and when I say "we" I actually mean "I", due to the pox and all):

Could you please all fall over right now with awe?!?!  Seriously, I MADE that!!!  I don't believe it myself, I promise.  But, I have proof:

Okay, that's not proof at all, it's just a picture of me holding wood while Jared's dad is doing stuff and then a finished product, but let me assure you that I did, in fact, with a little help from my father-in-law, make this bed from scratch.  And it only cost me $17 (and two finger tips, which I sanded off on the belt sander.)

All right, that also proves nothing except that I'm really good at putting bandaids on, but I didn't want to gross anyone out with my lack of finger nails. Just trust me on this one people, it was gross.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that Rhiannon is amazing and I hope that her fifth birthday was awesome, and that her next trip around the sun is even more incredible than the last.  And the other moral is that I made that bed.  I did.

The plans for the bed came from Ana White and were awesome.  I'm never going to buy another piece of furniture again, I'm just going to make it all.

07 April 2011

On my Needles this week

Just in case you were wondering what I've been knitting this week...

A few newborn sweaters out of extra yarn in my stash.  This one I knit for a designer.  It was so fast and super cute.  If only I had a newborn girl to try it on!

Another sweet sweater I made to use up the yarn from the sweater and hat set that I made for Silas.  

And this darling hat I made for Adrienne, who bought me the yarn and told me to knit her something pretty.  I think it's pretty.  I've never worked a fair isle pattern before, so it was a learning experience.

There you have it.  Just in case you were wondering.

Don't wake a sleeping baby

I don't know why, but Silas has been a miserable sleeper lately, being sick and all, so when he manages to fall asleep, I don't mess with the magic.  I love my Si-Guy. 

This one's my favourite.

06 April 2011

Chicken Box Party!

I've been searching for 4 years, and finally I found it: the Chicken Pox have finally infected my children. For three weeks we've been talking about it, we've gone to two different houses to ensure exposure, sucked on suckers and popsicles, chowed down on cookies and traded pajamas.  It's really been quite fun.

Until the spots showed up...

That's him trying to be sad.  He really was, but he's too much like me to not smile prettily for the camera. 

Once the thrill of actually having the pox wore off he began begging for a "Chicken Box Party" of his own so that he could give the pox away.  Even in his misery he is so cute!

So, we did what any good parents would do, we threw him a party to celebrate his Chicken Box, with something that hasn't been in our house for over 3 months: macaroni!!!!  (Don't worry, it was organic... in case you were wondering.)  I'm not sure what Eli was more excited for, the macaroni, or the idea that we weren't "doing a raw diet" anymore.  He was really excited.

Although Silas wasn't really sure why we were spoiling him so, he was pretty pleased as well.   

They were both just as excited about the raw chocolate dessert as they were about the macaroni.

I remember when I got the chicken pox my Aunt Liz brought over a felt story book.   I don't remember the misery of it, although I'm sure it was miserable, but I do remember that book.  Maybe tomorrow I need to sneak out of this sick house and buy Eli something special, even more special than the macaroni!

05 April 2011

Mayhem at our House

I love my family.  I love that all of Eli's cousins live near.  On Sunday night Shannon and her five kids stopped by on their way home from Hillspring, and for a few hours our hows was absolutely crazy.  With my two, Alice's four and the five Evans', it made for a full house. They played outside for a long time, and then they brought the madness inside. It was so loud, and I AWESOME!

Even Silas and Nixon were in on the action. 

I can't get enough of watching my boys play with their cousins.  And I'm so glad they come to play as often as they do.
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