The next skating dress is done!

Another skating season brings with it another outfit.  I thought that I would switch things up a bit and take you on a journey through the creation of this next costume (the kid better not grow too much).

It started with a simple dress which I found while browsing in a local second hand shop. (Yes, I have sewed before but the largest thing I created was a toddler jumper dress which I had to call my mother in law in to help with so I have not worked up the courage to try to actually sew one of these things).  It may have been simple, but I saw potential.  Plans started to form.

I got the bright idea that I should try something different and instead of gluing the ornamentation onto the outfit, I should hand stitch and bead it.  Wouldn’t that look great?  Use the same gold as in the sleeve trim for the design, keep it simple.  Let the contrast pop.

Originally the design was to be of a twisting style chinese dragon with the head and upper torso on the front.  The body would wind around the outfit so that it continued with the tail on the back.  Unfortunately I forgot to actually double check the finished dimensions of the design before I began to stitch soooo, it ended up looking different that what I had originally seen in my mind.

First I put on the dragon and fire ball which I outlined in red.

Then, I added a faux chengsan style closure at the neck.

Next, I added beads around the bottom of the skirt for that extra bit of sparkle.

Finally, matching beading around the key hole back.

As I said, I started to work on this at the beginning of May and I just finished tonight.  Beading the bottom of the skirt took at least 6 hours (granted, I was also watching the Olympics at the same time).  I am tired yet content with how it looks.  The question now is: Will it sparkle enough when she is out on the ice skating or will it look drab and plain?

Oh, there is one more thing which you can’t see in the above photo.  I hide part of Katrine’s chinese name on her dress.  It is on the back of the neck above the key hole.  A tiny little red Fu.  It means lucky.  Fingers crossed that it brings some luck her way.  Now what to do with her hair……



The last dance competition

Yes, the title says it all.  Katrine’s Highland Dance career drew to a close this past weekend.  She really wants to make a go of figure skating and with an increased level of commitment and focus on that, there will be little or no time left for dance so it had to go.  I am sad because dance has always been my passion.  I even danced at Embro with her one year….well tried to as that was the Canada Day where I managed to break a toe while dancing and more or less end my own career.  As I said, it is my passion not hers.  Rightly so, she is leaving to follow her heart and we are commited to being there supporting her.  I am still sad though.

Katrine has been blessed with a great dance teachers who helped her learn and grow.  To her it was a physical challenge but more importantly fun and interesting.  This past birthday Katrine did not ask for presents.  Instead, she asked that we give her money towards Highland Dance camp, even though she knew that she would not be dancing in the fall.  All because her teacher made it fun and she dances with an awesome group of girls.  I know that at eight she doesn’t really grasp that she won’t really spend time with her dance friends now that she is not dancing; but as parents we know that she has been truly blessed to have danced with this group of girls.

Katrine started dancing fall of 2007 and did her first competition the following summer in June.  She was always jumping and bouncing so it seemed like the perfect fit.

Last summer she left the goodie bags and medals of Primary behind and moved into Beginners.  More competitions, more dances, more prizes followed.  As you know, she has finished Beginners with a bang this summer winning trophies in her last three Beginners competitions.  This past weekend was not only her final competition, it was also her first competition as a Novice dancer.  She brought home her first medal as a Novice taking 5th in the Reel.

Dance competitions have not been all work though.  After the dancing and awards are done, we normally explore.  As this was to be our last for a while, we tried to take in everything.  The bands, heavy events, kids area, clan booths and I got my final can of Iron Bru (ahh, memories of childhood visits to my grandma).

So this is the last dance update ever?  No.  Katrine has already commited to doing another Robbie Burns night show.  Meaning, that you can look forward to one more group of photos in January but other than that, we are done. Sigh, bring on the ice rinks!


Black Creek

(My last up date, I promise that I am now up to date!)

I just like this photo.

Katrine will be studying pioneers in social studies this coming year.  In preparation (yes, I know throughly Heather), we have been reading the first three Little House books (accompanied with ALOT of discussions about how pioneers lived but also how times and views have rightly changed…some pretty heavy discussions have stemmed from these books).  Thought it would be great to provide a text to world connection for Katrine by visiting our local heritage village (wow, I really am a teacher aren’t I?).  So today we packed up ourselves and our Grammy and headed out to spend the day wandering around exploring the world of pioneers.

"No Elspeth. We should go this way."

I must admit that I was a bit concerned about how the day would unfold for Elspeth.  Would she be overwhelmed by the differentness of the place -wooden buildings, animals, people dressed funny? Or, would she take it in stride?  The truth was somewhere between the two.  I spent a good deal of time carrying my little one around thanking my stars that she is so dainty.  From the safety of my arms, she eagerly looked at the carpenter using the table saw, the wheels turning loudly in the mill and the tin smith banging away to create punched squares.  Her favourite parts were watching the horse drawn carriage roll by and exploring in the hands on section (as you can see below).  All in all, she behaved much better than anticipated. 😮


"Look Mama, we build a log cabin and Elspeth can actually fit through the door."

Katrine also had a great time (which I expected as we have been once before when she was quite a bit younger).  What surprised me were the number of connections that she made between what we saw and had read.  I mean, I had hoped she would make a few connections herself but had anticipated that I would spend a great deal of time pointing out said connections.  What a pleasant surprise it was to see her not only making connections independently but also to see the excitement on her face as the books and history can alive inside her mind.

Oh, I think that the highlights of the day were spending time with Grammy (who, having grown up on a farm, without electricity until highschool, had great, first hand insight into a number of things we saw today) and getting a candy stick at the end of the day.

A trip to Marineland and an anniversary

Glenn and I celebrated out 14th wedding anniversary on Wednesday (I am a few days behind so bear with me).  We decided that this year we would spend it doing something as a family.  What to do with an 8 and 2 year old?  It needed to be a fun, family activity.  Hmmm….. Well, we settled on Marineland because well “everyone loves Marineland”.  Turns out that our girls are no exception and we had a wonderful day.

We started the day off early by hitting the kiddie rides.  This worked out well as the line ups for the rides are much shorter first thing in the morning.  In fact, we managed to do a total of  six rides in about an hour.  It was Elspeth’s first foray into rides and it was a hit (both in terms of her enjoying them and us enjoying her smiles).  I think that the ladybug rollercoaster was her absolute favourite which was fine with Katrine and I as this was our favourite ride too.  We dragged Glenn on once but that was it.  Felt sorry for him, sitting in the small car with his legs jammed under the bar.  It is hard being really tall and wanting to enjoy an outing with your kids fully.  Poor guy.

After the rides it was off to see the animals and the show.  Katrine LOVED the show.  Particulary the dolphins (it was pretty cool).  Elspeth’s attention was not really held at all by the show.  The dolphins would jump, she would watch, then it was back to trying to climb on all of us.  That was not so bad except that it was a packed house and everytime that she climbed her feet came with in inches of the heads of those in front of us.  Made it difficult for the rest of us to enjoy.  Her reaction at the whales was easier on all of us; meaning we all got a chance to actually look at them.  In one pool there was a group of Beluga moms and babies.  The babies were adorable!  Elspeth now knows the meaning of the word whale!

Thefocus for both girls at times was poop. Katrine was watching the Beluga whales poop before her eyes.  While Elspeth spent the whole time with the deer pointing out their poop on the ground. Guess all of the time spent reading Everybody Poops to the girls has created an increased awareness of the world of bodily waste.  In Elspeth’s case it came in handy for keeping her from stepping in said poop!

After leaving the park over heated and tired, we headed to Niagara on the Lake for our anniversary dinner.  As you can see in the photos, Elspeth crashed and crashed hard.  The rest of us enjoyed a delicious, totally gluten free dinner at the Irish Tea Room.  Did I mention that we even had dessert!  It was so special to be able to  eat a complete, not to mention delicious, meal like I did 14 years ago with my wonderful hubby and eldest firecracker for company.  We topped dinner off with a splash in the park’s fountain/pool (not sure that we were suppose to but other kids were actually swimming in it so it couldn’t be wrong for us to relax in it’s refreshing waters) and a little playing in the nearby playground before trucking back home.

It was a wonderful anniversary spent with three of the best things in my life.  I am a very lucky wife.

Our two blessings

Elspeth’s Reunion

Can you believe that this time last year we were collecting the last of our paperwork and packing our suitcases for China?  In honour of that event, we spent the past weekend with some of Elspeth’s China family bounding.  We were blessed with great weather, ample food, a whole farm full of activities and wonderful company.  Our family has truly been blessed.  Not only has China given us two precious daughter’s but also two more branches for our family tree full of caring and warm families.  It is a delight to spend time with them.

Highlights of the weekend?  On Saturday morning the group went to a local zoo/playground/minature village.  The kids spent a lot of time in the playground section and had an absolute blast!  Along with traditional playground equipment there were also trampolines and a splash zone.  Peer pressure is a wonderful thing when it encourages your nervous child to actually venture into the water at the splash park.  That’s right, Elspeth actually went into the water at a splashpark!!!  We have not had a chance to visit another one since then so it might just be a one time thing but still a step in the right direction.  As you can see from the photos, both girls had quite a bit of fun bouncing on the trampolines.  Can you believe that in April Elspeth couldn’t jump?


Once we were back at the farm the fun continued.  The kids played on the swings, splashed in the wading pool and mixed up “cement” under the direction of Katrine (mud, water, stones and a toy dump truck – in case you want to make your own).  The parents managed to secure a few minutes for our own refreshments and relaxation.

After a scrumptious dinner, it was time to give the kids pony rides.  They were thrilled.  I think that if they had not been promised dessert and loot bags we may not have been able to get them away from the ponies quite as easily.

We are already looking forward to more reunions.  It is always great to see how the kids are growing and to share the successes and challenges of the previous year. Soon we will be able to wish each other a happy one year anniversary…about two more weeks.

First weekend in July

Not a very interesting title but it has been a long and fun weekend so that is the best I can do!

My two girls chilling on our boat ride with friends around the harbour in Midland.  I thought that they may not enjoy themselves but I was surprised that both had fun.

Afterwards we went fishing.  Katrine caught the fish while Elspeth caught only worms and weeds.  She was disappointed but she will never catch anything if she keeps reeling in her line 20 miles an hour while singing Baa baa black sheep at the top of her lungs.

Then it was off to Saint Marie among the Hurons.  Here is Katrine pretending to be the doctor whipping up herbal medicine.

Don’t you just love the pure joy on this face?  All because Grandma was emptying the sand from her shoes.  Absolutely love this photo.

Here is a photo that Katrine took of me.  Don’t usually get that many flattering photos of me so I simply had to post this exception to the rule.

Happy Canada Day

It was Elspeth’s first Canada Day yesterday and we tried to make the most of it.  She had some fun decorating the front garden with Katrine.  I was able to get lots of little flags and they poked them into the garden randomly.  I had wanted to get red and white foil garlands for the tress but the only ones I could find were horribly overpriced so none this year.  That said, once Katrine is at dance camp tomorrow morning, little miss and I will be stopping to see what is on sale.


After breakfast, we headed off to the zoo to see the one section which we rarely visit – the Canada section.  Now, we rarely visit this section as it is off the beaten track at the bottom of a large hill.  Imagine if you will, a large hill and small child.  Can you see where this is going?  Yep, hill one. Elspeth’s knees zero.  (We are considering getting her tiny knee pads because her knees are perpetually scrapped or in some stage of healing)  Aside from that it was fun.  The highlight for Elspeth was seeing a real live moose while Katrine was excited to fine a black smooth pebble (Did I ever mention that the older one likes to collect things?).  After a visit to Africa so that Glenn could finally see the white lions, a zoomobile ride and picnic lunch it was off to the splashzone.  This meant lots of cool water play for Katrine and standing in a luke warm puddle off to the side for Elspeth and one of us.  Once everyone, aside from Katrine, was over heated it was time to head home to cool off and enjoy a delicious dinner.

As an aside, our garden is going like crazy.  We harvested our first two cucumbers this weekend and they are pretty darn yummy.  Anxiously waiting for the tomatoes.  I feel some salsa coming on.

Okay, back to Canada Day.  After dinner, we headed over to our town’s Canada Day celebrations.  Good thing that we went with friends and that it was held at a place with a park because otherwise we would not have lasted until the fireworks. And what a show.  Katrine has seen these before so knew what to expect, as did we, but we were blown away.  It was a fabulous show.  Elspeth has never seen fireworks before so she was nervous and unsure which meant that she needed her Baba.  Once she was in Glenn’s arms it was all good and she enjoyed the “firetrucks” until they “went to sleep”!

Happy Canada Day everyone!