Sunday, December 13, 2009

The after party

All she wanted was a Hello Kitty cake....more than anything. I would just like to thank Lyndsay from Coco Cupcakes for making such awesome cupcakes.

Collage Collage for big birthday Number 5

We spent our morning celebrating my eldest turning 5 at Collage Collage. It was a little chilly that morning but it was still a treat to spend a winter birthday doing something fun while the snow fell outside.

I just wanted to say outright that I am a fan of Erin and her studio art centre. She began the morning with general colouring to get everyone in the mood and doing something while we waited to everyone to arrive.
Next was a story to fully immerse the kids in the task at hand.

The kids made movable bears. These were not ordinary bears. The kids had free play in any amount of glue, buttons, felt, and pastels. Erin encouraged the kids to talk about their bears and embellish them with all the materials available. The little ones, who were in the 2.5 -3 range, went a little nuts with the glue ( freedom not experienced before) and Erin took it all in stride and encouraged their creativity. I was thwarted in my attempts to control the glue and surrendered to the beauty unfolding before me.
We could have had an art project at home... but truthfully no. This space was perfect for freedom of expression and held 9 little ones' attention for a solid hour.

Our inspirational story.

This is my daughter's to-do list that she started that morning and made me bring to the class. I am not sure if you can read her writing at the top which was instructions for me to make a Hello Kitty cake. I did not complete this task, but had Lyndsay from Coco Cupcakes create some lovely treats for to come.

Our bears chillin' together while the kids have a snack.
The best part of the morning was gathering all our snacks back up after taking a break and being ready to leave. We have a lovely art project and a group of kids who played so amazingly well together. Here my brother is reading them a story while we gather up our goodies.
I plan to make a return trip sans children so I can have a look at the great selection of art magazines, books and supplies. Erin also stocks handmade creations from many artisans in Vancouver.
This story was heaven as it appealed to both the kids and us grown ups. We shall definitely be checking out Collage Collage more often.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 5 - 'go for a walk'

Today was not the most smooth in our household. Crankiness reigned supreme and I was a little tired and easily frustrated. We had to drop our kids off in Coquitlam at my mom's for an overnight so I suggested going for a shoreline walk in Port Moody as I love the flats at the end of the inlet.
By the time we headed out the door the sun was setting, but despite the cold which we didn't mind as we were bundled, we were well rewarded as the crows arrived in their numbers and Canada Geese came in waves to settle amid the reeds.
The trip was short but beautiful and we did it together.

One of my most favourite photographic finds is found natural beauty. I love the textures and the colours of these little scenes I randomly encounter and that I am there to witness.

Eldest daughter quite fancied the lovely silvery leaf as well and yanked it off from its resting place. She is also a collector of items.

The sky filled with crows.

The reward at the end of our jaunt was a lovely warm hot cocoa which in itself is becoming a tradition with my youngest. She loves nothing better than 'going to the coffee shop'.

Finding our traditions

Our first proper winter scene table with objects collected on our way to and from school this past week.

Can you see our advent calendar??

I do not remember having any really special traditions that marked the winter, from my childhood. Well, that is not true...I was raised in a religious home and now as an adult and a parent I follow my own path and find myself searching for something to bring light into the darkness of coming winter.

My dear friend who always inspires me discussed with me her family ideas of making this time of year more about celebrating the changing of the season and deflecting the attention off of Christmas itself. I want my kids and us to celebrate this together and marvell at how amazing mother nature is.

I second her notion of finding meaning in the natural world around my family and me. So, as December 1st approached I hurried to establish what shall forever onward be our winter tradition.

It is not solely from my dear friend that I found all my inspiration. The idea began weeks ago with a great posting from yoyomama and a template shown from a very great children's artist, Liz Clay of Cici Art Factory. It was a advent calendar full of silly acts that you can print out and hang as you please. I printed out the lovely 24 days and added a few activities to get us doing more as a family.

So far we have 1.written a letter to Santa, 2. collected items for our winter scene and set it up, 3. baked cookies, 4. make sparkly decorations (a little slow on this one) and 5. go for a walk.

The only problem I had was that I didn't copy out what I wrote so each day is a mystery for me...exciting and terrifying at the same time (hence not being as prepared as I should have for day 4).