Wednesday, 30 May 2018

PLANTS IN TEACUPS

THE CREATIVE GREENTHUMB

The number of indoor plants found in the Place Under The Pine has always been pitifully low. From the years 2009 to 2017 there was only one solitary christmas cactus (a gift from the minister who performed Jen and Matt's wedding ceremony). Recently, that number has increased to almost double digits.
Why?
One citizen has taken an interest in plants. Cactus, spider plants, aloe vera...the classic indoor house plants are beginning to take root in Olivia's room. They are taking root in unconventional ways; teapots, teacups, and jars are replacing traditional flowerpots. But, what would one expect from such a creative mind?

Teacup spider plant

Flower pot spider plant

cup and pot planters

Saturday, 12 May 2018

CACTUS THEMED BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR OUR 12 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER

CACTUS IS THE HOT TREND WITH TWEENS

Our oldest turned 12 (already!) and requested a cactus themed birthday party. Jen came up with some great ideas, found some awesome cactus decor, and hand made a few items.


Cactus hugs leave a mark
Apparently, cactus and holographic go together like peas and carrots. Therefore, cactus shaped holographic cupcake toppers are a go:


Holographic paper in cactus shapes - a hit!
And old pot, some pebbles, and a sink-scrubbing-sponge cut into the shape of a cactus make an ideal centrepiece for the party's table.


Cactus - scrubbing sponge style



Michael's is on trend with cactus shaped cups. Fill with 'catus juice' (aka lemonade) and thrill the tastebuds of your party goers.


Cactus shaped cups
If you have some skills in the baking department then sugar cookies - cactus shaped of course - are the way to go. Green icing and some spikes to top them off. Watch your tongue!


Cactus cookies with spikes!
Loot bags are easy with this theme, and can potentially last a lifetime. Real cacti are inexpensive and they really wow guests. It's like giving a pet - a totally unexpected surprise!


Give plants. The gift that keeps growing.


The party took place at the darkly named Boiler Room. No, there was no boiling going on, but, there was some hardcore rock climbing.






Tuesday, 8 May 2018

THE GARDEN HAS COME ALIVE AGAIN

THE GARDEN IS STARTING TO GROW

Last weekend was the first really warm and sunny weekend of the spring. We were drawn outside by the weather (at least on the Sunday...Saturday we were in an arena watching Elli play hockey). We did our traditional cleaning up of the yard and the garden. It is amazing how much garbage and random bits & bobs get buried in the snow over the winter!
The exciting part of all this clean up was the green. Yes, the green! Green leaves shooting from the ground, from the raspberry canes, from the trees...

Here come the raspberry leaves again!

The parsnips we left in the ground over the winter are still alive and growing!

This day had me thinking about last year's garden. I had a few pictures uploaded onto the blog, but, never really got around to posting them. Last year we tried a few new plants, had success with some old favourites, and completely forgot about digging up the parsnips!

The maple tree - transplanted from garden two years ago

FIRST CHERRY EVER!

First time we did corn, and it grew taller than Elliott!

Can never get enough raspberries around here

A few zucchini grew

The corn was fun to watch grow

Peas, the plant that never made it into the house - eaten by roving children

Too many cherry tomatoes!

A new member of the garden community - the Blueberry bush

Raspberries with a side of green bean




Saturday, 5 May 2018

NEW ROAD HOCKEY BLOCKER AND TRAPPER

UPGRADED GOALIE BLOCKER AND TRAPPER - VAUGHN DELUXE!

Elliott has spent hours (probably days at this point) playing mini sticks, knee hockey, or road hockey clad in his old street goalie equipment. A set that had taken millions of hits with balls, pucks, pinecones, and countless other random things found on the ground that are just the right size to hit with a hockey stick. The old set had done a great job, but, it was starting to fall apart. An upgrade was needed.

Elliott had been saving his money for awhile, planning and debating what to spend it on. His list was pretty short; goalie equipment, rollerblades, lacrosse stick. After mutiple trips to Sports stores, Canadian Tire, Toys R Us (the comparing between stores seemed endless...but, he did a thorough job really narrowing down the best deal and best product he could buy), he finally decided on a new goalie blocker and trapper.
He went with the Vaughn DELUXE Blocker and Trapper. It was big enough, quality built, and on sale 50% off (good shopper bonus!)...and fabric was pretty cool too!


But, how did the new equipment perform?

Great!

Elliott got on the new blockie and trappie and I took a few shots on him. Here is a quick product review video we made.





Wednesday, 25 October 2017

SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS - VIDEO SERIES #2

SCHOOL LUNCH VIDEO SERIES #2

The Food and Nutrition Committee of the Place Under The Pine has put together a series of videos documenting the School Lunch program. The general policy around food in the PUTP has always been focused on moderation, variation, and holistic nutrition. The school lunch program has tried to incorporate these values, but, there are challenges.

Finding the right container system is a challenge. The citizens of the PUTP have big appetites, and therefore, need big containers. Starting this school year, the lunch program began using a bento box style container - the GoGreen Lunchbox. The compartment system made it very easy to divide and conquer. The deep compartments also allowed for plenty of food to be packed away. Having only one box kept it simple.



Leftovers have been incorporated into lunches more often this year. There are plenty of benefits to leftovers - They are already made. They add variety to lunch. They are often healthy as well.



With three little citizens now requiring lunches daily, a production system to put everything together needs to be efficient. Watch the lunch making process in action.



There is also a need to ensure the food that is sent is enjoyed by the young citizens. That the correct amount of food is being sent. And, feedback documented and future lunches adjusted accordingly.


Research into improving lunches is a never ending task. There are plenty of resources on the web to inspire you. The PUTP has put together a youtube playlist of various school lunch ideas - everything from rainbow bread sandwiches to shaped cheese. Click the LINK to watch some of the best youtube school lunch ideas.

PREVIOUS SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS VIDEO SERIES - CLICK HERE

Thursday, 19 October 2017

RELIVING THE LIFE OF 150 YEARS AGO

A VISIT TO THE PAST AT UPPER CANADA VILLAGE

The faint aroma of fire, fresh cut lumber, manure - primitive smells...smells that bring you back to a simpler time.

The buzz of people is loud, but, interestly not disturbing at all. It must be the lack of cars, wireless internet, smart phone chirps...modern noises...that make things feel natural, peaceful.

Even though there is excitement, running, and lots of activity...things feel slow. Not an annoying slow like a traffic jam, but, a slowing down of life.

It was a great experience to take a day off of the modern world. And, a great way to realize you need a little slowness, a little back to basics, a little less technology, in our life.

 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

NEW LIFE TO THE OLD PIANO

SENTIMENTAL PIANO PIECE NOW HOLDS HATS & KEYS...AND MEMORIES


Earlier this year the citizens of the Place Under The Pine removed the ol' piano. That big wooden box with the white keys that sat in a long line of family living rooms - for 60 years - had worn down and become somewhat of a burden. But, that doesn't mean it didn't have any value. No! It had mitt-loads of sentimental value. Which is why when the citizens broke the piano apart they carefully removed and put aside some of the special, in a visual sense, pieces. One such piece was the sheet holder. This is the part on the piano that held the sheet music. This was one of the main focal points of the piano, so the sight of it instantly reminds you of the old piano. Which is why repurposing it is such a great idea.

The sheet holder
It was not a big project, the citizens added some hooks and hung it on a wall. But, it has a big effect.
Hooks for hat or bags

Small hooks for keys

Even though the piano is gone, the memories are brought to life everytime a pair of keys are hung, or a hat is tossed over one of the hooks.

I can still hear Hot Cross Buns!

Here is a quick video of the process to help you along.