My beautiful I take your hand, and we walk through the garden of life, may I be ever open to seeing the world through your eyes...full of innocent wonder, delight and joy. As you take my hand, and we walk through the garden of life, may you be ever open to seeing the world through my eyes...full of gratitude, wisdom and peace. May we be blessed on our 'ramblings' together. Love, Nana

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa's Busy Elves!

Nana's house has been a very busy place these past few weeks!  Like Santa's workshop...almost!
Aidan's great-grandma 'GG' has a lovely little fabric tree that she made for her home, so I decided to try my hand at making one as well. It's McCall's pattern #3777.  Then I thought it would look cute as an 'advent tree' and so set about making little felt 'balls' and embroidered the days of December up to Christmas Eve, made them into little pockets and filled each one with a chocolate treat...

Aidan's Advent Calendar Tree
In my travels through 'blogland' I found some wonderful projects.  Some fun for Aidan, and some fun for Nana.  From my friend Kimmie at The Serendipity Cafe I found these very cute chocolate cars.  Gathering all the ingredients together, Aidan and I spend a fun afternoon assembling the teddy bear cars...

Decorated by Aidan...of course!
Look yummy, Nana!

We had to have snow...naturally!
 We were both very happy with the results, however it didn't last very long, and teddy's and cars were soon gobbled up!

I did manage to find the time to work on a few sewing projects of my own.

I found the instruction for these fabric bookmarks at 7 Layer Studio and just had to make them for all the kids in Aidan's Kindergarten class...

And for family and friends...

I designed this cushion cover myself from scrap fabrics, and made it (and bookmarks, of course!) for Christina, the Teacher's assistant in Aidan's class...

 I found some great fabric printed with musical notes and bars, and decided to make up a set of men's suspenders, belt and and bowtie (and bookmarks, of course!) for Aidan's teacher, who is also a music teacher, and a set for a friend who is a musician...

Of course, Aidan had to have suspenders, bow ties and belts!  I found a great tutorial posted by Ashley at Make It And Love It  I made a set for both Aidan and his cousin Emmet in Christmas fabric, which they both wore to their school concerts.  I thought they were so cute, I just had to make more (and more, and more...)  All the nephews are getting sets for Christmas this year!

I ran with the bow tie theme and made up several headbands for all the girls...

  And then there was egg painting for the Christmas Egg Roll at the family Christmas party...

More eggs please Nana!
The sewing is all done for this year, and I still have a little more baking to do, but I did take the time to enjoy the wonders of the season through my livingroom window...

And today,we made gingerbread men for Aidan to give to his classmates...

Lots of Naked Gingerbread Men!

These decoration taste good, Nana!
I did it!
 So you see, we have been very busy little elves! 

Aidan and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Deck the Halls!

Well...that part was Nana's job!  Aidan helped decorate the Christmas tree today!  Naturally, all the shiny baubles and balls were placed on the lower two feet of the tree!  (Fear not...the Christmas Fairy will weave her magic in the night!)

Aidan's Christmas Tree
The most fun...for Nana at least...was decorating Aidan's own little tree.  Once the lights, tinsel and garland were in place, Aidan placed the decoration on his very own tree.  And each decoration is special...there are 'grandson' baubles, five in all, purchased each year since he was born (his momma has thirty-four, and counting!)  There are handmade felt decorations I made for his momma when she was a little girl...there are decorations passed down from both his great-great Nana, and his great-grandma.  The tree is topped with a mother-of-pearl 'star' which came from Bethlehem, a gift from a friend many years ago.

It's a lovely tree, filled with little charms, all with special memories.  But the best memories are our time spent together, Nana and Aidan, placing all the decorations on a very special little tree.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Train Wreck!

Well, I had a Martha Stewart moment today!  Thought Aidan and I would have some 'quality time' decorating a gingerbread 'train' for the holidays!  Before the little love of my life arrived, I got everything organized...the base, complete with 'snow', the gingerbread train pieces all lined  up ready to 'glue' together, the various candies and decorations all in their own little bowls.  Ahh...Martha would be so proud!

The base...complete with 'snow'!
On went 'Raffi's Christmas Songs' on the stereo, for that little bit of 'ambience'.  Let the fun begin!  Aidan, perched on a stool at the kitchen counter, and Nana with icing bag at the ready.  It all looked so easy!  And yet...I managed somehow to mix up the gingerbread pieces (the square pieces all look the same, OK!) and proceeded to stress and frazzle over 'gluing' first the 'engine' and then the 'caboose' scraping and wiping beads of icing along the way!

The 'engine' and 'caboose'!
For some strange and wonderful reason, the little love of my life thought all of this was hilarious!  At first I wanted to cry with frustration, but the sight and sound of Aidan roaring with laughter at all the wrecked train pieces scattered about the kitchen counter, soon had me laughing as well!  To top it all off, poor Raffi and his songs were drowned out by the sound of my little grandson singing 'O Canada' at the top of his lungs!  Ahh...the best laid plans of mice and men... or crazy Nana's!

The 'rock' filled 'caboose'!
All was not lost, however!  I am truly amazed at the ability of smarties and jelly tots to cover up a multitude of icing errors!  Once I (more or less) got the 'engine' assembled, and the 'caboose' to (more or less) stay 'glued' together, I went mad with the icing nozzle as Aidan covered the train and the 'landscape' with candies...smarties, jelly tots, chocolate buttons, chocolate 'rocks' for the railway tracks, drunken teddy bear jujubes sprawled along the 'railway track' and chocolate santas and snowmen doing cartwheels in the snow!

A happy little boy and his 'train wreck'!
Not sure yet if this will become an annual tradition!  I guess it's a bit like childbirth...eventually, over time, we forget how painful it was, and do it all over again!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Be The Change!

Several weeks ago the little love of my life brought home a flyer from school, inviting parents (and Nana's!) to an upcoming conference presented by the local school board.  My daughter is already in the habit of showing me, or letting me know about, anything Aidan brings home from school.  This recent flyer was entitled 'Raising Children Who Care - The World Needs Your Kid'.  The 'Parents as Partners' conference, held today, is an annual event, bringing together parents, kids and educators.

Since this is the first year of school for Aidan, it is the first year his momma and I were made aware of these annual events.  For me, attending was not an option, and my daughter, much to my delight, offered to join me.  The keynote speaker was Craig Kielburger, founder of Free The Children and co-founder of Me to We

I don't know where to begin!  I have admired and followed the work of this amazing human being for many years.  Craig first came to my attention in the late '90's.  It was in 1995, at the age of 12, that Craig saw a headline in a Toronto newspaper that read "Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered".  The story was about a young boy named Iqbal Masih, living in Pakistan, who at the age of four (the same age as my little Aidan!) was 'sold' by his parents to a wealthy carpet maker, in exchange for the equivalent of twelve dollars, with the understanding that he could be returned to his family once the 'loan' was repaid, which of course, it never was!  Several years later, with the help of a humanitarian organization, Iqbal was freed from his captor, and went on, at the age of ten, to become an international figurehead for the fight against child labour.  In 1995, at the age of twelve, Iqbal was brutally murdered.

Angered by the newspaper article, Craig took it to school and presented it to his classmates, asking who of them would join him in bringing this injustice to peoples' attention.  Several of his fellow classmates volunteered, forming what would eventually become Free the Children which today has become an international organization in 45 countries; built over 650 schools; implemented many social programs within these developing countries, and is recognized and supported by a long list of celebrities such as the Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, and Desmond Tutu.  In 2008, Craig, along with his brother Marc, co-founded Me to We which organizes camps and overseas trip for volunteer youth, as well as providing products for sale made by third-world country artisans.

At the 'ripe old age' of 28, Craig has become the driving force for young people to realize their potential for making positive change in the world, and practical ways to take action and become part of the solution.  He is truly an inspiration to many people of all ages!  His speech today was empowering, uplifting, and inspirational.  It renewed in me hope for our world, when all around us sometimes seems hopeless.

I can only hope my little Aidan will someday hear the call, and be inspired to reach out and help others so much more less fortunate than he.  I will, over the years, instill in him a strong sense of justice.  He will come to know his voice can and must be heard.  He will learn that by his actions, the world can become a better place for others.

Meeting Craig after the conference was a honour, and the highlight of our day.  My daughter and I both felt we were in the presence of a very special soul.  Such greatness and accomplishment from such humility and kindness! 

Craig was happy to sign the two books I had purchased, inscribing them, as requested, to my little Aidan, for they will be required reading at Nana's house!  "To Aidan...Be The Change!  Craig"

Thank you Craig...may my little grandson aspire to your greatness and passion to help his fellow human beings.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Aidan's Great Adventure!

Got up this morning and had my cup of tea...ahhh!  It was early and still dark outside.  But there was excitement in the air!  Telephoned the little love of my life after breakfast and asked if he'd like the day off school to go on an adventure with Nana and Papa.  Of course the answer was yes!  He didn't know where he was going; he was just happy to be spending the day with us.

Once a year, for two weeks every November, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is held in Toronto.  Farm animals galore!  We thought this would be the year to introduce our little grandson to the fair.  Getting there was also an adventure - it would be Aidan's first time on the train that would take us to the fair...

Aidan's first train ride to the fair!
We went first to the petting zoo, where Aidan got to feed the goats... 

Feeding the goats!
Then off to see the cows, pigs, sheep and horses.  We discovered our little guy loves horses!  Was thrilled at the show jumping...but not too sure about petting them!

Petting the horses...maybe!
There were giant pumpkins...

Momma, Aidan & the Giant Pumpkin!

A very large green pumpkin!
...and tractors, clowns and chocolate ice cream.  It was a long day, but Momma, Nana, Papa and Aidan had a great time at the fair!   Soon it was time to make the journey home.  Yet another adventure ...

Waiting to take the train home!

One tired, but happy little boy!
It is late, and one tired little boy is fast asleep in bed, no doubt dreaming of trains and farm animals!  And a very tired Nana and Papa are off to bed, thrilled and blessed to have made our little grandson so happy all day long.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!  What a busy day it has been!  First off to school, dressed in our halloween costume, to partake in a party with classmates.  Then a  parade around the school to visit all the other classes, and show off our costumes.
Already it is time to say goodbye to our friends, grab our loot bags and head for home, and hopefully an afternoon nap before the evening festivities begin.

Aidan's Scary Pumpkin
 After a quick nap, (Nana had one too!) it was off to Nana's house to carve the pumpkin!  
Great Pumpkin, Nana!
 Before heading home to go 'trick or treat' ing, a photo with Nana... 

Aidan and his 'Witchy Nana'!
Then back home, and into this year's costume - dressed as Papa, the construction worker!  Nana made the tool belt and suspenders.
'Construction Worker' Aidan

The weather was perfect.  A beautiful crescent moon shone in a clear sky, and the temperature was warm for the time of year.   Daddy and Papa stayed home to shell out the treats, while Momma, Nana and Aidan set off to 'trick or treat' not knowing how far we would go, or how many houses we would visit, this being the first real year Aidan has engaged in the Halloween festivities!  Well...there was no holding him back!  An hour and a half later, we arrived back home, with a tool box full of treats!

Let's go 'Trick or Treat'
 One tired Momma and Nana, and one tired little boy, with a belly full of treats.  What a fun time we all had!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Day of First's!

The 'little love of my life' greeted me at the door at 8 a.m this morning, with a big kiss and hug for his Nana!  What a way to start the day!  He is usually in great spirits every morning, but today was special, and excitement was in the air!

Waiting for the big yellow school bus!
Off we went to school, where a big yellow school bus was waiting to take all the kindergarten kids to the pumpkin farm!  Aidan's first time on a school bus!  His first time to a pumpkin farm!  His first time in a barn full of cows, pigs, horses and chickens!  What a day!  Such excitement! 

Riding to the Pumpkin Farm!
I went along as a 'teacher's helper' with some other mums and Nana's.  A bumpy ride on the bus, but all the more fun the bumpier it was, judging by the squeals of delight from thirty little four and five year olds.  The day started cold and grey, with rain clouds rolling across the sky, but somehow the sun managed to come out and light up the autumn leaves and the hundreds of bright orange pumpkins dotted around the farm.

'I found a Pumpkin, Nana!'
After touring the barn and learning about all the farm animals, it was off to the pumpkin patch to pick our very own pumpkin!  And what a lovely pumpkin was chosen!

One Happy Little Boy!
The morning ended with a walk through the corn maze, then it was back on the bus and back to school.  What an adventure, and what stories we were told for the rest of the day.

I know a little boy who will be dreaming about pumpkins tonight!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is 'Thanksgiving' here in Canada!  A day to reflect...and acknowledge the abundance we are fortunate to be blessed with.  Though I do take time throughout the year for such reflection and gratitude, it is today that we 'celebrate' and give thanks in a tangible way.

The turkey is in the oven filling the house with it's wonderful aroma.  The potatoes and carrots we grew in the garden this year are in their pots and ready to cook.  Home-made pumpkin and apple pies grace the sideboard in the dining room.  Outside the leaves are a mass of red, gold, orange and green, falling ever so slowly to the ground...the cloudless sky an intense blue on this sunny, warm day.  Unusual weather for this time of year to be sure, but we'll take it -it won't be long before the first snows of winter blow across the land! 

I await the arrival of my little family - my dear husband, my beautiful daughter, her husband, and the little love of my life.  Together we will sit down to a wonderful meal...and give thanks!

On this day I give thanks for my health, my husband, my home, and my family.  Good health is a true blessing we only miss when we don't have it.  My home is small, but it is all I need, filled with treasures gathered over the years.  My family grace my days and fill me with joy, pride and love. 

Some of the things I am especially thankful for...

...the Lake and Autumn leaves at my sister's cottage!

...Autumn Leaves in the rain!

...Home-made Pumpkin Pie!

  And most of all... adorable, wonderful, beautiful, funny Aidan!

Abundant Blessings!