Thursday, 25 February 2016

Snow Day Sewing

My sewing machine sits out all the time.  Much of the time it's just part of the furniture and the kids just play around it.  These past couple days have been different though.  Here in eastern Ontario, we are in the "throws" of winter.  It seems very delayed considering it is the end of February and we really haven't had much of a deep winter as we normally do but here it is and as a result, we have had two snow days in a row.  Thus my sewing machine is working hard.

My youngest daughter, 7 years old, wanted to sew this week.  She received this cute box as a birthday gift.  We pulled out all the supplies, read the instructions (some of the worst instructions I have ever read) and went to work.  A few minutes of trying to hand sew and she was done.  I suggested we try the sewing machine because it would be easier and fast... she was game.  Now don't get me wrong, I do think my children need to learn to hand sew but that is for another day and maybe when her little hands are a little more coordinated.

My Pfaff machine is fairly easy to use and before we knew it, she was done!

She made a cute little drawstring bag and has been toting it around ever since!  There are actually quite a few great concepts when learning to make a drawstring bag including sewing with it inside-out and then turning it to the right side... voila!  Also creating a tube for a string and pulling it through with a safety pin was something she found very interesting.  I must do this again with her!

My oldest daughter, 11 years old, is more comfortable with sewing and can sit down at my machine, on her own, and create.  This has come from having many opportunities to learn, cut and sew.  She has had this pile of squares ready to make a rag quilt for quite some time so in the last two days she has made some progress.  Rag quilts are a really good way to learn to sew because they are forgiving (being exact is not necessary) and once complete, they are so nice.  This is her second rag quilt.

Honestly her favourite sewing activity is making quick projects.  We have a few books geared to children's sewing projects and she loves making these little bows.  She made two just this afternoon - one for her and one for her sister. The books we own that specialize in projects for young people are very easy to follow and I find myself looking to those books just to learn. 

Snow days are not always easy.  I work from home so having the kids around can be very stressful, hectic and loud but the best part is that it encourages boredom and therefore they are looking for something to do.  Their time on their devices is limited so when they aren't running around the house they are looking for something creative to do... and I highly encourage that!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Family Vacation 2016

We recently returned from our much-anticipated winter vacation to Florida.  I have blogged about our annual trips to Florida in the past but this time I am just going to share my favourite photos from this year's family vacation.

We traveled the last two weeks of January; we drive from wintery eastern Ontario to sunny central Florida.  This year's trip consisted of some unplanned events such as our van breaking down in Virginia (we spent a lovely day and a half near Richmond while we waited for a tow truck, waited for our van's prognosis and then waited to hear if it could be fixed quickly or not... we then rented a van to take us the rest of the way while our own van was fixed up for our return back to Canada) and then we also experienced cold temperatures and too much rain while we were in Florida.  Despite these challenges we had a blast! Time with our own little family is very meaningful to us and I look forward to our winter vacation all year long.

We are always on a mission to find the cleanest and nicest convenience stores long the way.
We keep track of all of them in our Florida notebook.

At 9 years of age, Alex has discovered an interest in sports cars.
He wanted his photo taken with this beauty!

This is where our adventures takes a turn...
 I was not happy but the kids certainly thought is was fun!
This was their first ride in a tow truck.

It was also our Toyota's first ride in a tow tuck!

The most exciting part of our road trip is finding a hotel for the night with a pool and if we
 are really lucky, we might also get a hot tub.

Getting the chance to play in a pool is a great way to burn off
energy after 10 or more hours of driving.
We drive 23-28 hours all the way to our destinations in Florida each year.

This year Jean couldn't wait to see palm trees.  Our little tree-huggers found this one in  Savannah Georgia.

Some years we stop at the Florida Welcome Centre to enjoy a cup of orange or grapefruit juice.
This year we also bumped into a couple from Arnprior that we know... a few years ago we met this same couple at the resort in Florida we were staying at.  It's a small world!

Finally... our destination at Walt Disney World.

Here are my favourite photos from Walt Disney World:

 Note:  Our kids (especially our oldest daughter, Grace) loved meeting the characters.  Honestly they know each one is an actor but they are soooo good at being in character!

One of our favourite things was just "happening" across a show... this happened quite often.

Jean is a big Minnie Mouse fan!

This photo was taken at Epcot, which was a fantastic day!  I love Epcot.
Just like the previous time we went, it is a much slower pace than Magic Kingdom
which is a welcome change.  This time we knew about Kidcot, a special hunt for the kids
to discover something new in each country in the World Showcase area. 
While searching, we roamed around all of the countries enjoying ice cream, music shows,
 demonstrations, and even beer. 
We also found a few Disney characters including Mary Poppins. 
The kids are each holding their collection of diagrams of the flags from each country. 

This is a picture of the kids with a character from the Hoop Dee Hoo Dinner Show.

It was a chilly morning at Magic Kingdom so it was nice to get a cuddle from Marie (Aristocats).
This might be my favourite photo from our Disney trip... it shows happy faces, the magical castle in the background and I just remember feeling very relaxed and content that day.  We visited Magic Kingdom twice because we wanted to see all of it without feeling overly rushed.
This is a view from part of the the ride "It's a Small World" which the kids totally loved.  This is a display of the Netherlands.

Grace was chosen to learn to be a pirate!

Another favourite ride:  Jean got to drive this time!

We saw a few Disney parades which do not disappoint!

This photo does not do this show justice!  The Lion King show at Animal Kingdom was AMAZING!

Jean (7 years old) took this photo of us.

We made a trip to the Lego Store (3rd time); notice the shopping bags!

Our Disney resort (Art of Animation) had a beautiful pool with music you could hear under the water. 
I found it much too cold to swim but there were kids in the pool most of the time.

The kids loved relaxing in our suite especially after they purchased their lego kits.

Mickey Pretzels

Jean lost a tooth (the second top one, no doubt) so a special Disney Tooth Fairy came for
a visit and brought her a charm bracelet (which she had been wishing for).

Most of our photos show us wearing warm clothing: scarves, sweatshirts, coats, pants... I was disappointed in the weather but it honestly didn't stop us from having fun.  We just bundled up and away we went. 

Next stop was Grandma and Grandpa's, just a two hour drive south of Disney.