Wednesday, 26 November 2014



Pine Tree Post | Health Page

Hockey Fever - A common affliction to many inhabitants of northern climates, particularly Canadians, where the sport of ice hockey consumes much of their time and energy in the winter months.

The Place Under The Pine has come down with a viralent case of Hockey Fever this winter. It has taken hold of every citizen, young and old. The situation is a shock to many and is being labelled a medical abnormality by researchers. The disease seems to have come out of nowhere and afflicted even the most unlikely candidates (Lolli).
The most frightening aspect of this epidemic is the fact that the PUTP is not a typical breeding ground for this disease. The ideal environment for this disease to blossom and spread is in a 'hockey household', one where parents play (or played) hockey. Even the 'sporty household' is a place where this fever often takes springs up.
The place where this disease is extremely rare is the 'artsy' household. PUTP falls into this category. A place where the parents did not play hockey as kids, they do not self identify as 'sporty', they actively discouraged organized sports and encouraged their young to paint, write, and play music. Only a few short years ago the atmosphere was so anti-sport that sporting equipment such as balls were not kicked and thrown but covered with blankets and turned into 'babies'. Then along came E.
Soon after E was born the dynamic of the PUTP changed. The balls that once sat in cradles were now being kicked around the house. Youtube videos of hockey goals were being viewed on the laptop. Hockey Night In Canada was making a more regular appearance, mostly as a motivating (aka bribe) tool for E.
Then, almost two years ago now, Oskie was born. The addition of another like minded boy (rough and tumble who kicked balls before they could walk kind of boy) shifted the paradigm even more. The 'artsy' label was still as strong as ever, but, another label was slowly being formed as well - the 'sporty' label.

It is believed the PUTP contracted Hockey Fever the day E was signed up for hockey. Before this day hockey was a very small part of life. Other extra curricular sports, such as soccer, were given a backseat. Life was never allowed to be influenced, changed, scheduled by something as useless as a sporting event. E's passion changed all that. It is believed he was the carrier.

From the first day of hockey tryouts, E's joy and happiness radiated through the PUTP. He had found something he really truly loved doing. It was not an easy thing for all the citizens in the PUTP to understand, it was just a sport, but, they did see the happiness, confidence, and passion growing in E every week. That is when the hockey fever went rampant!

Last week the fever peaked:

FRIDAY NIGHT: All of the citizens of the PUTP were at the Kingston Frontenacs game. They all watched, they all cheered, and they all had a great time. Kingston won 5-0.

The horns for cheering were put to good use, even as hats for the toddlers in the crowd.

Oskie sat right through the entire game, cheering louder than many around us.

Jen and Matt have also been infected by the hockey fever.
The cotton candy was one of the highlights of the game for Lolli
In his element.
What kid doesn't like the Zamboni. Oskie waves to them.

The thrill after a goal.

It did get a little rough at the end.


Not only was Elliott at the rink playing hockey, but, Oskie (and even) Lolli were working on their skills too.

Oskie has some mad stickhandling skills

Lolli isn't afraid to dig in those corners

A couple of extra hours were spent at the arena that day. It was picture day, so the entire team lined up to get a shot of them in their uniforms. Practice was scheduled to happen about an hour later, so instead of heading home they all stuck around and played ball hockey in the hall.

A common sight in arenas across the country

Practice is always interesting. It amazes many how fast the kids pick up the skills, they go from constantly falling to skating like pros in only a few weeks. 

There are still a few falls, but, he is right back up and skating hard a second later.

Look for the orange laces. That is how you spot E.

Even after the practice, time is spend hanging out watching the other kids play.

He could sit their all day watching the 7 year old 'All Stars'.
The weekend was completely dominated by hockey. The citizens of the PUTP woke up at a certain time because of it, spent 10-12 hours in an arena watching or playing hockey, and Oskie's vocabulary is now half hockey jargon. This sport has taken over the hearts and minds of this household and they seem to be enjoying it - that is hockey fever at its worst.

#12 scores again!

Kingston | 6:30

Monday, 17 November 2014



Pine Tree Press | Rec & Leisure Page

Last Sunday, amateur miner, treasure hunter, and all round Rockhound - Unkey Al and his assistant Auntie Amber came to the Place Under The Pine with a mystery rock. A chunk of what looked like regular old limestone. The kind you could find near the lake, or on a road cut, or even if you just dig three feet down. But, this rock was from a special quarry - a quarry that mines diamonds, gold, and other shiny things.
The kids were told that if they smashed this rock up there was a good chance they would find some valuable gems. They quickly gathered around and started picking up the tools of the trade.

For Oskie - a strainer (the least dangerous thing)

For E - a sharp rock hammer (the most dangerous thing)

For Lolli - the sledgehammer

Chisels, brushes and knee pads are part of the job too.

Once everyone had on their safety goggles the smashing began.
Using a chisel and a hammer Lolli bashed away at the rock. E had many swings as well. However, the rock would just not break. This hard old rock needed the power of a professional - Uncle Al had to use his mighty swing to bust the rock.

Don't miss Lolli!

After what would have seemed like a lifetime to someone with a headache, the really loud banging stopped and the fine work of extracting the shiny stuff started. This tedious, but interesting work, captured the minds of the children and they worked away without complaint looking for hidden treasures.

In the end, two containers of high quality gems were collected, making the Place Under the Pine that much richer.

Once the gems were locked away in the safe, and the smashed rock bits were cleaned up, Uncle Al brought out his rock collection. Now we know that many young citizens of the PUTP have their own rock collections - bits of gravel they have picked up along the road, but, Uncle Al's was different. His collection was full of colourful rocks, crystally looking rocks, pieces of metals like copper, fossils, and even some gold dust! The children were captivated. They wanted to know the names and histories of every piece. They wanted to hold and inspect every inch of every rock. Their enthusiasm for geology was surprising, but, not unexpected.

One of many containers full of rocks.

Oskie was just as interested as the other children.

The light up magnifying glass was well used.
According to Uncle Al the mystery rock did not yield as many gems as usual. It was suggested that another rock be found and the rock smashing be tried again. So, there may be more treasure hunting in the future.

Kingston | 12:12:12

Monday, 10 November 2014



Pine Tree Post | Food Page

Over the years many outside sources have commented on the food eaten by the citizens of the Place Under the Pine. Most of the feedback has been of unabashed envy mixed with hints of health conscious confusion. Meaning a lot of comments such as, "wow!" or "...and your kids eat that?" or "how healthy of you, Mr & Mrs Green Giant from Organic Mountain!"
There have even been reports from school of the teachers gathering around Lolli's lunch and applauding...or that is how far the tale has grown.
If you ask any of the citizens about their lunch or dinner they will respond with something along the lines of - that's how we have always eaten and we are blessed to have such a great cook in the house (who can even make brussels sprouts mouth watering while keeping them healthy!).

In response to all of the inquires from the public, about what is eaten behind closed doors, this special food related post will give a glimpse into the kitchen of the PUTP.
A camera was kept handy, and all cookers and eaters were asked to randomly take pictures of their food for a week. Here are the results.
"The Tuesday Night Workhorse" - Fish on roasted vegetables, Risotto, Squash

Sole, carrots, zucchini


Oskie's plate - squished acorn squash, roasted vegetables, risotto, fish. Yes, he ate every bite.

Wednesday's Lunch - A new recipe for Taco Tarts was tried out and given rave reviews!

E's lunch - snack bowl (muffin, raspberries, trail mix), apples, pears, taco tarts, apple sauce

Taco meat in a tortilla baked in a muffin tray (sour cream on the side)

Matt's Lunch - banana, homemade salad dressing, salad, pita with peanut butter, muffin, grapes

Halloween treats for the classroom - One eyed purple people eater cupcakes (approx 60)

Even the eye is edible...mmm
Leftover cupcakes for home - Matt liked the lemon cupcakes with homemade purple buttercream icing! He wanted an eye though - poor Matt.
A Friday Lunch - the dreaded "please-don't-judge-me-it's-friday-lunch"

Pasta, pears, oranges, apple sauce (again), grapes raspberries, homebaked muffin

Matt's Friday Lunch - leftover chicken taco soup (must have had that for dinner the night before), olive bun, iceberg lettuce

Beef stew with dumplings - a classic with a twist (parsnips)

This is the stew heating up the next day for lunch - double meal **ARM PUMP**

"A weekend in Paris lunch" - Jen whipped up a quick brie on Saturday for lunch.

Brie with walnuts. Baguette to dip.

Daddy even did some cooking - twice!

First up - Classic Grilled Cheese

Oat and Honey bread with plain ol' cheddar - ketchup was added to plate seconds later.

Second 'Meal' - Pasta with alfredo sauce

Cook pasta, add sauce, serve - if Matt can do it you can too!
A couple of Banana bread loaves - one with nuts

The one on the left has the nuts

More Lunches - Looks like that banana bread (nutless of course) has some cream cheese on it. The sandwich (ham on croissant) is E's. The quesadilla (cheese) on the right is about to be cut up and put in Lolli's lunchbox. The yogurt has frozen mango pieces in it.

This is done the night before school. In the morning Jen will add even more food (cheesestrings or granola bars) as the kid's eat a lot - a whole lot!

Another Lunch - Left side is Lolli's. Outside of the picture is a tub of hummus, she had cut up pita and carrots to dip in it. The green thing is an avocado (fun fact, only 1 kid in E's class knewswhat an avocado is...scary, but, true). The snack bowl had mini muffins (homemade cranberry and lemon) and fruit.
Right side is E's Lunch. Apples and peaches. Cheese and crackers. Turkey pepperette things (from Costco) and a similar snack bowl to Lolli's.

Lunchtime is funtime.

Stuffed Pepper - when peppers go on sale this is one way to use them.

Stuffed peppers with roasted green beans in the background.

If you do not believe any of this report, here is actual proof - a verified picture of a child eating one of them strange, trendy, health foods - this one is an avocado (plain, no salt, no nothing...not even hot sauce!)
He is saying, "Yum"

*Not pictured in blog - bag of Cheetos.


The Food Board is interested in what other people are eating around the world. They are always looking for new food ideas. They encourage you to keep a camera handy and take pictures. Submit pictures (or links to pictures) in the comment section, via twitter, or on Matt or Jen's facebook page.
If you would like recipes on any of the foods pictured above comment below and Jen will be contacted - except for the grilled cheese recipe :)

Friday, 7 November 2014



Pine Tree Press | Sports and Rec Page

The game started off friendly enough.

It started out simple enough, Father told the children to have a card game, maybe two depending on how fast the games went, then it was bedtime.

A quick score sheet was drawn up, SCORZ and WINER

Then the games began.

As epic card battles like this typically begin, it was all fun and games...

until someone lost (not an eye, just lost a close game).

A few minutes later E was back with a win of his own.

Tied up at one game apiece, with the clock ticking down towards Bedtime, that was when things got serious.

Minutes before the infamous 'cheat call'

E was up first. He started fast, taking it to the deck hard with a colour changer! What a strategy! Then there was a rapid exchange of pinks, back and forth, both throwing them down with gusto. Numbers matched and colours rotated, it was like a math rainbow tower building up to the heavens. It was a very tight match through the first ten cards, then a major surprise happened.
A 4 card pick up colour changer was played!
Then another, back to back! An almost unheard of play left E with eight extra cards in his hand. One of which was another 4 card pick up colour changer.
This game had turned into an all out war at this point, a no holds barred event, so E played the card.
Lolli was forced to pick up twelve! An almost unheard of number. What a heartbreaking stack of cards to end up in her hands. After those surprise plays this game changed from a sprint into a marathon.
E, who was in a slightly better position, made great progression through his cards and was soon one away from yelling 'UNO' when O frantically played a pick-up-two. It saved her, as E was held up and eventually became mired in a collage of colourful cards.
The next dozen turns were uneventful until O, still weighted down with a boatload of pink cards, finally hit for a colour changer - and she ran with it! She pushed forward with pink after pink until she only had two cards left...then a controversial move happened.
The Official stopped the game on a cheating call. O seemed to have reinterpreted her own modified rules which were agreed upon at the beginning of the night. Rules around using colour changing cards near the end of the game. She broke her own rules and her play was called back. Her momentum was stopped.
E took the chance and rallied back, burning through cards until he was left with only two in his hand.
Both players looked at each other, both had only two cards in their hand's, and both had the eye of the may have even been growling...this game was intense!
Both played a card and were down to one.
The tension was palatable in the living room when all of the sudden 'UNO' was called!
A squabble ensued about the timing of the yell and the timing of the card played.
The official had to call it - E WINS!

After the hard fought game it was no surprise that O was a little disappointed. She did not cry, but, you could tell by the tone of her 'oh darn' that she was hurting. But, being the great sportsman/woman she is, she congratulated her little brother and shook hands...and only complained about the officiating in low mumbles as she headed off to bed.

Kingston | 8:01