Monday

Presenting "The Most Single Important Thing you can do for your stress".  Here is a video that we watched in Hatha Teacher Training this weekend.  It is really well done and since stress is such a predominant aspect of our lives, I thought I would share it with you. 

Enjoy and remember to breathe and breathe deeply. Breathe deeply with a smile and gratitude for all that you have,for all the people that grace your life and for the experiences that help you learn and go deeper into the workings of life.

Thursday

I hope your lead up to the holidays are easy and stress free.  Above is a Christmas gnome made by the hands of Suzanne Harding.  I love the star as an added touch. I also love when people send me pics of their beautiful work. Thanks for sharing Suzanne!

Tuesday

Birthday Party Ideas


Look at this happy face. It shines with happiness. Happiness for his 8th birthday.  

I cannot believe that my baby is 8!!! Wasn't it just yesterday that I pushed him into this world?  I still remember that day, lying on my living room floor, holding my newborn after 4 hours of hard work.  It was such a special moment that I will forever remember but alas this is not what this blog post is about.  It is about sharing with you what we did to make Owen's special day a success.

In years past we have always invited a slew of kids where they all arrive at the time,  where we go hard for 2 hours and then everybody leaves and it feels like a whirlwind has come through.  You might be familiar with this scenario.   I have found this a little stressful and for Owen a little overwhelming. This year Rob (Owen's dad) is doing the whirlwind party and I am doing a sleep over with 2 of Owen's best buddies.



Birthday Preparations...

 The Cake
 Every year Zoe and Owen ask for a store bought birthday cake.   Every year I bake one myself and tell them that my home made cake comes from my heart.  That I have fond memories of my mother baking me birthday cakes and that one day they will be calling me for my cake recipe :)  Despite the complaints, they do love decorating their cake. We ice it with chocolate icing (of course) , smarties for toppings and hidden in the moist cake are toonies wrapped in wax paper.  They love this added touch. 

I would love to say that my recipe was passed down from my grandmother and her mother and her mother's mother but this cake's lineage starts with me.  
You can find the cake recipe here: The perfect chocolate cake

Games...
 Pass the parcel
 This is a great easy game. Wrap a surprise with lots of lots of different layers of paper.  Have children sit in a circle with music on.  As the music plays children pass the parcel around untill the music stops.  Whoever has the parcel at that moment gets to unwrap one layer.  This goes on until the prize is unveiled.  In our pass the parcel everyone was the winner.  Inside was a small lego set that set me back $7.99/each This prize replaced loot bags.       

Treasure Hunt
For our treasure hunt ,the clues were written onto inflated balloons and then deflated again.  This way when the clue was found the balloon had to be inflated to read the message.  It was a nice little twist to a traditional treasure hunt.  The treasure was a science kit  for us to do together. 




The sleep over went smoothly.  After our lasagna supper we played monopoly, ate popcorn and went to bed by 08:00.  They were sleeping by 09:00.  The best part was Owen's  comment: "This is my best birthday so far".

It all went smoothly until Owen woke up at 05:00 vomiting and shivering but that is a whole other story!

Kids Yoga


  Everyday before quiet time we do yoga.  Here is Samuel doing Baddha Konasana (butterfuly pose).  This posture is a hip opener and increases circulation to the pelvic organs.  You would be surprised at what a young age children start holding tension in their body.  Children are so receptive to yoga and love it.  A children`s class is taught differently than an adults class.  We use our imagination, songs and stories to move through the asanas (postures).  Her in butterfly we are singing a cute song. The lyrics go as such:

Fly like a butterfly
Fly like a butterfly
Fly like a butterfly in the sky

Sleep like a butte fly
Sleep like a butterfly
Sleep like a butterfly in the sky. 

Stretch like a butterfly
 Stretch like a butterfly
 Stretch like a butterfly in the sky


To learn the movements and tune of the song watch the video below.  Enjoy and have fun using yoga with your kids.

Wednesday

Workshop and Fundraiser

Thailand
Zoe, Owen, Jay and I are going to Thailand this coming January.  It has been a long time dream of mine to bring my children to Thailand. Thailand holds a special place in my heart.  I spent two years there teaching English.  I taught children from to ages of 3-8. It was  a special time in my life and I want to share the specialness of Thailand with Zoe and Owen.  I want them to know how lucky they are and help them realize how much they have.  We are so lucky here in North America.   We have everything available to us, including opportunity.  I believe that bringing my children to Thailand will give them a great experience for life.  I hope to impart gratitude for all that they have.  

We will be spending the majority of our time on Koh Phayam, a small island on the western coast of Thailand.  This island is surrounded by the Andamin sea, is breathtakingly beautiful and is the home to a number of Burmese refugee children.  These children are stateless and in need of help.  We hope to raise $500 for the Phayam Children's Project.   Our aim is to buy supplies and whatever else they need.   

How can you help?  You can help by purchasing a CD from The Funky Mamas. You have a choice of 3 CDS at $20/each.  Each CD sold will bring $5 towards the Phayam Children's Project.

The Funky Mamas  is a group of 4 amazing musicians. They live in Guelph Ontario and play down to earth children`s music that make you want to dance.  These musicians are truly funky, kind and nice. I am blessed to have them as friends. 

Thank you for helping us, help children in need.

 To learn more about these great women click here.
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  Pickin in the Garden- $20 
 
 




 Rollin Along -$20






The Funky Mamas- $20





To order CD's you can contact me Annie Bananie at anniebdr@gmail.com 
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 Felted Faces- Needle Felting WorkshopIn this workshop we will learn how to felt awesome realistic faces.   Let your needle create a character that will bring out your creativity.  Your needle felted face would make a great Christmas Tree decoration for someone you love.  You could even make your character look Christmassy with a red hat and a beard for Santa Claus.

W

When: November 21rst, 2012
Time: 19:00- 21:30
Place: Address will be given upon registration
Cost: $40/ materials, tea and good conversation included.
To register contact: anniebdr@gmail.com
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Needle Felting Kits -$20
Every %100 cotton bag contains hours of fun for everyone.  Your bag of wool contains beautiful wool roving of varying colours, 2 needles and aball felting tutorial.  Needle felting a ball is a great beginner project.  Once you gain confidence you can felt other creations.  With your wool and needle you can get busy felting dolls, food, mushrooms, angels and more.  Your imagination is your playground.   YouTube and Pinterest are great resources with loads of tutorials.
 to order: call: 613-421-0523



The Funky Mamas are dear friends of mine and are wonderful musicians and women. If you are looking for something to do this weekend check them out.  Their new CD is very down to Earth and great for the whole family!  You can buy tickets and CD's on line by clicking right here. As always have a rocking good time!

Monday

 As you might know I jet setted to Newfoundland a couple of weeks ago.  The trip was awesome.  I was there to help Jay at a Coast Guard Auxiliary Conference in Marytown.  The Coast Guard Auxiliary is a group of volunteer fisherman and boat owners who dedicate their time to helping people in need of search and rescue out at sea.  The conference was for volunteers to learn and train on skills they need while saving lives.  It was a beautiful weekend, spent with beautiful people. 

While in Newfoundland I forgot that I was still on Canadian soil. It is  a completely different culture from central Ontario. I imagine it is similar to Ireland with the Irish lilt and even the geography of rolling hills,  crashing ocean waves upon rock and friendly people with stories to tell.  Below are some little clips of my experience.


Sunday morning we had breakfast at Agnes's,a native to Bruin, a small town next to Marytown where the conference was held.  For breakfast we ate toast with homemade partridge berry jam, apple bake jam and and plum jam. It was my first time eating partridge berry and apple bake jam which are native to Newfoundland.  Apple bake are a delicacy and sell at $7/ pound.  They grow on trees which are found in the marshes. In order to harvest you must walk with your bags and boxes as vehicles are prohibited on marsh land.  It is not easy to harvest.

Later, on a sight seeing tour we found partridge berries clinging to their branches.  The plant looked similar to blueberry plants.  We harvested some and popped them right into our mouth.  The taste was sweet and yummy.

During the conference itself I had the experience of learning how to splice rope.  I had about 3 fisherman show me the "ropes".   It was hard to get the hang of it at first but with perseverance I succeeded.

 Coast Guard Auxiliary members had to practice getting into a rescue raft after a boat has capsized.
A paramedic helicopter demonstrated how they evacuate a patient from a boat.
Can you spot the little red guy hanging from the helicopter?  he is being sent down from the helicopter by a rope.
The landscape was beautiful and once again I was reminded how lucky I am to be able to experience different views of life.
Now I am back and more adventures await. This past weekend I started Hatha Teacher training.  I am trained as  a Kundalini yoga teacher  but want to deepen my practice  and my teaching. 

I will say more in my next blog post. There is also more to say like my trip to Thailand this coming winter.  This time we are bringing Zoe and Owen and I am excited and cannot wait!Ciao for now!

Wednesday

Newfoundland

I am off on an adventure.  Tomorrow morning at exactly 7am I will be seated on a  plane ready for takeoff and heading for Newfoundland.  I have never been to this part of Canada and I look forward to explore the far edges of Eastern Canada. From what I hear it is set 50 years back in time which is exactly my kind of place.  I hear people are friendly and that the climate is moody.   My backpack is filled with rain gear and warm clothes.  Apparently there is a constant wind and if we were there in the spring we would be able to see icebergs drift by.  Oh! I wish it was spring!

What brings me there?  Jay my beloved partner is bringing me along to help with a Coast Guard Auxiliary search and rescue games.  We will be selling sweatshirts, coats, hats and more to the women and men who have helped Canadian citizens in search and rescue.  It will be fun and a great learning experience.  I will take loads of photos and bring you back  a glimpse of our great Canadian heritage.  Keep smiling :)

Here's a pic I got off line of St. Marys town where we will be staying. I just love stepping out of my box, going places and feeling alive.

Thursday

Sometimes I wonder who are the faces that read my blog.  Google stats says that on average 40 people a day check  out Annie Bananie and I am always amazed that people even check in! You can find my very first entry here.  What ever possessed me to  begin writing about my personal life and advertising it on the world wide web?  It started with a little encouragement from my sister who also has a blog: The Bou-Lunns.  It continued with an inspiration to create things and a medium in which I could tell people about me and what I do.  It's helped parents find out about my daycare and what I do.  It's helped me find people who like to gather with their community and felt. I have also enjoyed creating headings, pages and learning how blogs link to other blogs and find like minded people in the blogging community.  There is a whole cyber world out there and I love using it as a tool to connect with others. 

Since October is the month of gratitude and we just happen to find ourselves in this very month, I would like to bring gratitude to you my readers.  Thank you for checking in.  It really makes me smile to see that I can bring something to you, whatever that may be. 

Gratitude comes in many forms.  I feel gratitude for all the families that have come through my door.  For the children that I have given birth to and the children that grace me in my daycare family and the children that I see in my everyday life at the store, at the park and walking down the street.  Children are beautiful beings that teach us so much about patience, unconditional love, creativity, spontaneity...and on it goes.  Sometimes in our parenting frustration comes up and it it not the child imposing that frustration on us but us who is feeling powerless in handling the situation.  In this form children teach us to look deep within ourselves, to learn and find our way.  For those times of frustration, I am grateful.

On our registration form for Cubs we were asked what is your religious affiliation?  Well I was born into a Catholic family, had my first communion in grade one, got confirmed in grade 7 and went to church every Sunday.  In grade 7/8 I even read the reading.  I still remember my cheeks getting beet red as I red at the podium in front of the congregation. Although this was my introduction to God, I have found my own way to God that is different from my parents.  

Late in high school I stopped going to church and was surprised that my parents did not press me towards attendance.  In my early twenties I read the book "Living, Love and Learning" by Leo Buscaglia.  This book was the catalyst for the beginning of my spiritual journey.  He spoke of love in a way that made me step out of myself and realize that life does not revolve around me.  From that book I began to devour books on different spiritual beliefs and concepts.  When Zoe turned 1 year old I took Kundalini yoga teacher training and within my practice I found for me a way to feel that space within me that is bigger than life, that is connected to all that is.  For me spirituality is living from my heart.  Living from my heart signifies acceptance of myself and others, kindness and generosity, respect and forgiveness.  Spirituality is that space within me that reminds me that I am but a spec in this universe, that together we create individuals, families, friends, communities, cities, countries, the planet and beyond.  So in this month of gratitude I am grateful for my breath which brings me closer to that space of connectedness.  For yoga which heightens my body and breath awareness and brings me closer to living from my heart.  I am grateful for walks in the woods, swaying trees, a gentle breeze, coloured leaves, rocks and plant life.   Do you know what I replied to the religious affiliation question? I replied: "Mother Earth."

I am grateful for so many things and could keep going but life outside of cyber space awaits me.  I leave you now with some photos of a walk in the woods but a few weeks ago.  May you walk in gratitude with your breath and an open heart.  Happy Thanksgiving :)

 
 

 

Monday

Pizza Fridays

 With the end of summer vacation and the beginning of school, September can be a big transition for many of us.  Here at Singing Tree we have had to say goodbye to some friends and greet new ones.  The transition has been smooth and wonderful.  Children walked in the door as though they had always been part of the family.  Of course there has been some crying as parents drop off  their loved ones for their days work but that is normal.  After a few tears and snuggles all balanced out just fine. 

Although we have had some new friends we have kept some old rituals like pizza Fridays.   We watch the yeast bubble like a volcano, pour flour, oil, salt in our mixture and kneed.  Children just love playing with the dough and being part of creating their meal.  For our pizza dough recipe and pics from the past click here. I just love looking at old pictures. Don't you? 

 
 
 
 
One of the best parts of pizza day is sitting by the glow of candle light to say our prayer and then eat our pizza efforts all up!

Sunday

Phew! It's me coming up for air.  I have been a like a little seed embedded in the earth waiting for spring.  Yes, I have been hiding out from blogging and it's been a nice break.  I come back with many new and exciting things.  Don't you love that word EXCITING?  I love that word because sometimes life can seem so mundane and routine like. 

What's all the excitement about?  Well for one thing tomorrow night is Monday, and Zoe, Owen and I's, first Cub pack meeting.   Just but a few hours ago I finished the requirement to become a leader and to me that is very exciting.  What is so exciting about become a cub leader?  As a leader I will be planning fun and challenging adventures for children between the ages of 8-10.  Adventures like camping, water sports, games, and fun activities that will help them in their confidence, self-reliance and leadership skills.  Also,  I truly believe that it takes a village to raise a child and this is my way of helping, giving back to my community.

With the motto "Do your best" cubs will be fun, engaging and challenging for us a family.  All 3 of us are really excited.  Owen has been wearing his grey cub shirt all weekend.  I must admit that Zoe is less enamored with the shirt since it doesn't say "Joshua Perets" in big flashy colours but alas she is excited.  Her badge poster is posted on her wall and ready to go. I look forward to sharing this experience together.

Excitement #2
Will have to wait as all the plans are yet to be finalized.  I will let you know on Wednesday when I meet with a very special lady to iron out the details.  Let's just say it will bring me deeper into myself. 

This weekend we went for a walk in the Gatineau woods.  It was a great afternoon.  The trail led from Lac O'brien's parking lot in Chelsea and brought us to a pretty waterfall and some ruins. we hiked about 2.5 km to get to pretty waterfall and a place surrounded by trees that made me feel like we had traveled thousands of miles. We were joined by friends and it was a great way to connect, get exercise and be in nature. There is nothing like  a walk amongst trees to ease stress and remind myself that I am just a spec in this very huge universe. 

 
  
Ian and Avery my niece and nephew stayed with us for the weekend and joined us on our walk.  I love these 2 pics.  Above Ian is giving Avery a piggy back.  Below Avery is walking the trail bare footed as she let one of shoes fall into the rushing water of the falls.  Oops! Sorry Mad, new shoes for Avery.  I love how the light touches her face and that expression, just beautiful.
 

There is a very big part of my life that I have not mentioned in this post and that is daycare.  It is September and we have integrated some new families.  You will have to check later on in the week for that update.  Just to say I love my daycare family!  I love that I love my job.

Now it's time for me to curl under the covers and read the 3rd book from the series "A Game of Thrones" by George R. R. Martin.  Wherever you are and whatever time it is for you; Have a good one :)

Thursday

There is just no time to transmit my thoughts onto this blog.  There have been many great personal moments, family moments and daycare moments which leaves little time in front of this screen.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here are some pics.  Today is less about words and more about snapshots of moments. Let your imagination make the story.

 



Wednesday


  Summer Vacation
     Summer has swept us into sunny, hot days and we are loving it.  Canadian summers are awesome and we have been lapping it up with lots of free play and adventures.  I love this time of year where we can move away from the structure of our school schedule and move into a space of freedom to play outdoors with lots of swimming, biking, and creative play. 

As we spend our days together I notice that discipline is at a minimum.  It seems to solidify my theory that when we spend concentrated time with our children, when we invest in their ideas and interests we give them a sense of security.  They get the message that they are important and valued.  
     There was an article in the Ottawa Citizen a while back asking children what they most wanted from their parents and the answer was their time.  Although children are influenced by our consumer society and often ask for "things" what they really want is time spent with us in a supportive, giving atmosphere. 
 
Adventure
Ottawa is a beautiful city and one does not need to go far to find green space to play in.  Today we walked to Dow's Lake,  spread a blanket in the shade of a big tree and played.   We specifically chose that spot for a little thicket of cedars that are great climbing trees. The branches are the perfect height for little climbers. As the children enjoyed the trees a young woman in her early 20's approached me saying that she didn't think that it was unsafe for the children to be climbing trees.  I was surprised by the comment and replied: " I think it's wonderful that they are climbing trees".  The conversation did not go any further than that but I was truly surprised to have someone think that climbing trees is unsafe.  I must add here that the children were not climbing to great heights.  It was about the same height you would find in a playground.  I believe that it is healthy for children to take healthy risks like climbing trees.  Healthy risk taking enables children to to learn new skills and tests their physical and mental limits.  Taking risks allows them to fulfill their full potential and gain confidence.  

Yes, sometimes risks are taken and met with unfavored results. Disappointments and hurts are all part of life and sheltering our children from their hurts only does them a disfavor.   If they are never faced with negative outcomes how are they ever going to deal with them as adults? 




 Surprise
 Whle at Dow's lake and after the tree climbing comment a great, wonderful surprise occurred.  The sprinklers came on and it was magic. We hadn't expected to be playing in water so  we didn't have any bathing suits but that did not stop us. As soon as the sprinklers came on a cry of surprise was heard and without skipping a beat little legs ran across the field right into the spraying water.   It was magic to see and people biking and walking by could not help but smile and laugh at the beautiful sight of children in spontaneous play.




Activity-Volcano Fun

Here is an activity that we did on the first day of summer vacation. With our water hose we created a puddle of water in our back yard.  The children made mountains of sand with and dug a hole down the middle.  The exciting part was pouring vinegar and baking soda in the  mountain hole and watched it erupt.  This kept the kids busy for a couple of hours.  I love letting my kids get right in there with the mud.  It washes off and they just love playing with mother nature's treasures.

White House
Things are moving along at the White House.  We are painting window frames.  Yes, they will be a wonderful proud to be Canadian red.  Shingles are being installed and paint is being scrape.  All in all working on the White House is so much fun! More later.