Years ago while camping at my favorite campground, Nehalem Bay near Manzinita Oregon, I saw my first yurt and I was immediately smitten. I adore the simplicity, the round shape, and how they allow you to be protected, off the ground and cozy...yet still very much amidst nature.
When we bought our land to build Birch Hill I did my bestest begging to convince hubbie to let me have a yurt in the woods to live in during the build and then claim as my studio/guest bunkie once we moved into the house. He was not so passionate about yurts and was happy to let the house get built mostly sight unseen...sigh.
When the snow is freshly fallen, or when the woods are bright green with spring, or the summer sun is unbearably hot, or the scent of fall is rich in the air, I head for the forest. Not far from home we have several spots where it's lovely to just sit while the boys play. The bros fort is a huge fallen tree that's hollowed out with rot and perfect for little Ry to tuck into. This is the place where I can see where the deer sleep...it's mossy and cool and magical. Near this place is where my dream yurt would be.
Never heard of a yurt?
Originated by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia, a traditional yurt is a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure that is lightweight and super strong. Modern versions are now manufactured in canvas by a number of US (and Canadian now) companies and shipped all over the world.
They can be year-round structures, insulated, heated and even joined together for great square footage. You choose your yurt by diameter and add-ons, and they can be erected in a matter of hours (but they do require a round platform to be built first). - apartment therapy blog
Now there are endless colour and option possibilities for yurts and many companies that make them. Most can be customized to your liking.
I like the simple cream or beige exterior for the woods. Inside I definitely want a decadent bed to daydream on, cozy sheepskin rugs, an easel, a small table and chairs to share a snack with a friend. Here are a few lovely ideas I pulled off of Pinterest and my new Yurt love....board.
This image shows a smaller yurt with amazing striped bedding and a cleaner, simple look....more me.
At the Glamping Hub you can find yurt rentals all over the world...some as close to my home as Whistler BC, and Vancouver Island. Yurts can be quite luxurious like this one on Vancouver Island,
Now that I've wasted away my evening swooning for yurts I should get back to reality...laundry awaits folding, photos and client orders need attending to and one little doggie is eager for a starlit walk.
They say you need to verbalize what you want to the universe to open up the possibility of making it a reality. This was my intentions statement and I look forward to sharing my little yurt project with you someday in the near future (fingers crossed).
So many times things get tossed simply because we are too lazy to fix them and unfortunately it's almost cheaper sometimes to send them along to the dump and buy a new item. A couple years ago soon after my son got his underwater video camera we had an accident and it fell on the tile. The battery cover cracked and it wasn't covered by the warranty. We never got to test it underwater as the seal was compromised. I saw this Sugru stuff on the Fab page and immediately thought of this repair I had been trying to figure out.
Developed by a team of product designers and material scientists, sugru's patented technology is unique in its combination of hand-formability, self-adhesion and flexibility when cured. It feels like modelling clay, and it's that easy to use too. Once cured, its durable properties mean it's comfortable in extreme environments from the dishwasher to the ocean in Antarctica.
Maybe I'm a big nerd but I think this stuff is awesome and I'm so proud of Jane...read her story. She had a brilliant idea and went with it. Read the Sugru story.
happy weekend friends,
Being billingual has it's perks at times. At Valentine's day a kiddo asked me what their candy love heart said in french and I knew. Not really rocket science but still helpful to a five year old I suppose. Later that same day at the movie theatre the popcorn bag was all in french and my friend wondered what it said. I told her and she seemed a bit shocked...."you know french?" Funny we had been friends for a decade and she didn't know that. It got me thinking at how little my years of french has been of use to me in normal life here in Canada. Actually as I am shy and never actually practiced speaking it much I wouldn't consider myself fluent at all, but I can read it well. And if I really strained my brain I could probably tell you the imparfait tenses of 'to be' or d'etre or another random verb but I'd rather not.
The one thing french has been helpful with oddly enough is Spanish! There are lots of similarities. So many people in the world speak Spanish I am encouraging my boys to go that direction in school. Of course if they want to learn all the languages I would be thrilled, but if it had to be one second language I would choose Spanish. I've taken some lessons here and there and having exchange students from Mexico and Columbia helped some, but I still have a ways to go myself.
Less than a month from now we'll be heading to Mexico to visit my parents in Nuevo Vallarta where they spend their winters. While there I always like chatting with the pool bartenders as they are as keen to learn english as I am Spanish so we go back and forth...
"How do you say _ _ _ _ _" (them in a cute Spanish accent)
"Como se dice _ _ _ _ _?" (me in a terrible Spanish way)
My words usually revolve around food or yummy drinks and theirs more practical things, but either way it's fun.
As for the boys I just ordered a set of these fun flashcards from The Land of Nod,
It will be a great way for us all to pick up a bit more of the fun language. They are $7.95. Yes I know there are probably oodles of aps to learn spanish but I like our holidays to be as screen-free as possible.
Something else I'm contemplating adding is the cute Spanish bingo game they have,
It's only $15 and Ryan LOVE playing Bingo. The older boys not so keen but if there are prizes involved they get rather enthusiastic about the game. It's a great thing to do by the pool...maybe I'll even convince mes amigos at the pool bar to take a pina colada break and play with me!
I always host a Land of Nod button on Snicks...hop over on the left sidebar and take a browse...it has the best selection of quality kiddo stuff...and swell sales in the clearance section.
Adiós mis amigos,
You can blame it on the blond hair times two, but I'm claiming temporary intoxication due to cold medication, snowmobile fumes and awesome friendship and taking all the blame. I had a fantastic weekend with a long time friend and we decided to end it with a good film. Amy told me the basic story of Silver Linings Playbook and I was in. So after noshing at the Curry Pot (best marsala tea) we got to the theatre and settled in for our movie.
The previews went on and on and our whispered conversation went something like this...
Humm there aren't many people here.
Sweet that guy brought a book.
Wow how many previews are they going to show.
It's been 15 minutes.
Wish I had of bought a coconut water...I'm so thirsty.
How cute look at that group of guys coming to see this movie together.
I think I'll complain to Cineplex it's been over a half an hour of pre-show stuff we are going to be late getting back.
Oh wow, more guys.
Sniff, snort me (nasty head cold!)
Sheesh almost forty minutes of this pre-show stuff.
Oh no more previews.
Then the film started and it was loud and dynamic and not at all what we thought it would be and it clicked...
OMG we are in the wrong theatre....THIS IS DIEHARD!
Sorry for all those we disturbed with our hysterical, giggling bolt but Diehard was not an option for the evening.
We raced out one door and in another and realized we missed a substantial chunk of Silver Linings Playbook. So disappointing, but not disappointing enough to give in. We caught the just of what was going on and were then delightfully whisked away by the movie. So good. Now I need to see it again starting from the beginning.
Thanks Amy for the visit, the friendship and the fun...it was just what I needed. And thanks to Marns and Kym for our day all together on the mountain. Taking my head cold up to bed for the night and showing it I mean business, it needs to go away.
Hope you had a sweet Valentine's day whatever you did. We had a quiet night at home.
I just finished mine with a very long bath with a Sunny Side bubble bath bar from Lush. I found it tucked away with my sweaters. My friend Carmen always spoils me with such luxuries and it was a pleasant surprise to find one I forgot.
This year I let the boys decorate a bit and it was very interesting...
Yes...PSY from Gangnam Style was the focal point. Ryan also made hearts and we hung lots of the little creations they made over the years. Liam's hockey team's theme song is Gangnam so we just went with it. It makes me laugh.
My decorating project with Ryan was the light over the table...
As for projects inspired by Pinterest, last week I did this little craft with the kindies...
Yes it's sort of ridiculous but they were ever so proud wearing their Valentine party pins today and it was easy for them to make. Two layers large cupcake liners, one small liner and a punched paper center. The ribbon is leftovers I had from Christmas and I finished the back with a pin for them with hot glue. Everything else they did with their buddy class helpers. They reminded me of the ribbons we got in horse shows when I was younger. I mentioned that to the boys and they didn't know/forgot I rode. I need to get those boys on horses soon...or at least dig up some of my stuff to show them.
Okay, brace yourself for cuteness...
Love them....almost makes me wish I had followed through with concurrent education at Queens...until it's time to do writing and there are twenty little needy minds trying to write sentences although they don't know how to spell. Twenty adorable little mouths making letter sounds and attempting words at the same time. Twenty little hands waving to get our attention and help. It was amazing and hilarious and utterly exhausting to contemplate doing for a six hours , I don't think I'd have it in me everyday with three of my own at home. But I am happy to go and help Ms. Mann with this crew any day.
Happy Valentine's Day friends...since having kiddos I must say it ranks up there as one of my favourite holidays. Ry's been sick all week with a fever and such and I have been using every trick up my sleeve to will him better. Luckily his fever broke yesterday and by the end of the day I had my little rascal back except for a cough. He's been decorating the house like crazy and been so excited for this day. Last night we finished up some cookies for his class...
Once cleaned up I let him have free reign on decorating his class set of cookies. He was rather proud and was a very conscientious baker...no inappropriate licking at all! I always tell folks when it might be risque to eat the things my kids make! Not a single cough graced these cookies. lol
We also finished up the last of his cards. They turned out cute despite a few glitches. Of course my word processing software was acting up....I ended up condensing the message and hand writing all 30 and Ry had written the names on earlier. My fault for leaving things to the last minute but we figured it out....who doesn't love writing the same thing over and over at one in the morning?
I appropriated a candy-free idea I saw on Pinterest using goldfish crackers. I wanted to use up supplies on hand as I'm frugal that way so I used CD sleeves I had bought and rarely use as the fish bowl, a paint pen to doodle the outline of the bowl and some Martha Stewart labels for the message. Later tonight I'll share the step by step as there are a few little things I learned along the way that will save you time and money. It was easy for Ryan to write his messages on the back with a felt before they were filled.
For now I must bolt....I so want a shower after my late night and I'm due at school soon in the lovely pink outfit Ryan picked for me to wear!
We have been trying lots of other ideas from the board here and there when we have time and it's been fun. Also working on an adaptation of an idea I have pinned for class Valentine's but they aren't ready to share yet. Tomorrow.
Anyone want to come clean my kitchen? It's warm and smells great but oh my goodness...I'll give you leftover Greek food from tonight's dinner! Pleeeaaase.
Happy first Family Day British Columbia! Unfortunately it's just a provincial holiday so our Daddio still had to punch in at work....but we brought him some yummy lunch and said hello.
Finally, I am honoring my commitment to share the last Take me TOO segment on Vancouver. As promised, I wanted to tell you about some of the things I think every family should do when visiting downtown Vancouver. Not that they are the only things... but they are some things we never tire of, and all the local families I questioned mentioned as favorites as well.
(need to catch up on the first 3? click over here for Segment 1, 2 & 3)
On our last day we headed out from the Four Seasons Vancouver and headed for the water. The boys had yet to see the Olympic Torch in Vancouver, or the other installations and new buildings that went up for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They were smitten with this pixelated killer whale sculpture by the torch....probably because it looks like Lego. Ry is sitting at it's base to show how large it actually is, it's very cool.
We then followed the Seawall down to Coal Harbour to watch the Sea Planes land and admire the boats. When it's warm this is a perfect spot to grab a gelato and take a snack break...you might need a latte and hot cocoas on any other Vancouver day.
It took another twenty minutes or so to walk to Stanley Park the boys played lots along the way especially on the huge fallen trees just inside the park from a storm years ago.
Once you are at Stanley Park it's not a far walk to the Aquarium. There is a great playground you pass and the miniature train which is always fun to take a ride on, for information on tickets and such refer to the Stanley Park web page.
The Vancouver Aquarium is truly magical. We never tire of the exhibits and amazing animals. This year's new addition of penguins was something we were all excited about. The Spotlight on Penguins show was short but sweet luckily as it was cold and damp outside. They are adorable birds and a family favourite so we weren't disappointed. If you love penguins too, and happen to be near San Diego, the San Diego Zoo has the most awesome penguin habitat. That might have to be a future Take me TOO feature...I LOVE the San Diego Zoo. I think my boys actually liked our day at the zoo there as much, if not more than Disneyland.
Our little dolphin was mesmerized by the dolphins, and belugas. How I wish I had of waited for a shot with a dolphin in the glass in front of him but it was busy when we were there and I was lucky enough to get one of Ry alone. Like any tourist spot it's best to hit the Aquarium mid-week if possible and avoid the weekend crowds. Seeing the new 4D show they offer is also a must for any aquarium visit as far as I'm concerned...it's really well done. We went recently so we skipped the show this time.
There are some nice perks to having a family pass at the Aquarium...for our clan it pays for itself in two visits so it was an easy choice. If we don't happen to make it to the city again before it expires we know our dollars went to a good cause supporting an amazing facility.
This is a photo from last summer as it was dark when we went to visit Arty the Jester this past trip. He is unanimous must see everytime we go to the aquarium. He is a busker, and an amazing artist, ask to see his sketch book and he's absolutely hilarious. He makes us laugh and then makes the boys fantastic balloon animals. I am pretty sure he works for tips so do be sure to help our dear Arty out if you stop by. Be sure he does the act where he stands on his head, plays his cuzoo and slaps his flippers together,it's impressive indeed. Look for him outside the main entrance, he'll be around.
Just outside the Aquarium at Christmas time is the Bright Nights fundraiser put on by the B.C. Firefighters to support the burn fund. Over two million lights decorate the area. You can book tickets for the Miniature train to see the whole display...you'll need to be there right when it opens or book ahead of time as it's extremely popular. After a long day already we were happy to take them in a foot and keep moving as it was really cold by then. It's impossible not to get in the Christmas spirit within this beautiful setting.
I'm not going to kid you but it was a long walk back to our hotel...maybe 4o minutes. We contemplated a cab but everyone was happyily chugging along and admiring the city sights so we just did it. Hubbie is wearing Ry's gift from Arty...Elmo riding a motorcycle made from balloons on his head to expedite things a bit. We didn't loose a kid, he's hanging back with me to avoid being in the photo...teenagers are tricky that way!
Back at the hotel we got the boys fed at Yew (remember kids eat free when you stay at the Four Seasons!) then off to game and watch a film in the kids room set up for the holidays just off the lobby. Hubbie and I got some quiet time to eat together. I had some unusual but delicious soup...shrimp chowder with pear. We also got a bread basket or yummy artisan breads so I couldn't even manage dinner after that...my rich, creamy starter was dinner and so worth it.
Everyone was exhausted after our day of walking and exploring...we got Ry to bed. I snuck out for a quick soak in the hot tub and then we all cuddled in for trash reality TV as we don't have cable at home and it's always an interesting treat. We caught a bit of Mountain Men mania! Luckily our suite had two televisions so we could close the bedroom door for the earlier bedtime sleepers and still enjoy ourselves. There was also a PS3 gaming system, and music player with a nice CD collection that we never got around to using but were thoughtful perks.
Some of the things we didn't do this trip but I also would suggest (if it's a good fit for your family) are the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Vancouver Library and taking the Aquabus over to Granville Island where there is a big Kid's Market and lots of other shops and galleries to explore.
Whoa, well that was our four days of city fun in Vancouver. Hope our experiences and my multi-post ramblings help you in planning your next Vancouver family getaway. It is a pretty unique and wondrous city.
Leave me a comment if you have anything to add or suggest for future travellers or if you have any questions...I'll do my best to make suggestions and offer answers.
Watch for the next Take me TOO series in late March on the Riviera Nayarit area of Mexico. I am so looking forward to some sunshine and sand.
Happy Day friends....if you are a snake it's your year...i'm a rat and my hubbie is a Cock! lol
If you want to read more and find your sign read here: http://earthsky.org/human-world/chinese-new-year-2013-rings-in-year-of-the-snake
My final Take me TOO post on Vancouver is almost done...just wanted to pass along these wishes for now.