Donald Trump Rocks?

blog 007This past week we were learning about the prehistoric era in art. Part of that exploration included the creation of  rock people as masterpieces since so much of the work of the prehistoric artists involved creative use of stone as canvas.

First, we took a look at the Lascaux caves to get a sense of the way in which rock was used as a surface for creating art. Next, we went on a nature walk and gathered stones that attracted our attention. Finally, we went into the craft cupboard and pulled out yarn, googley eyes and any other materials that seemed relevant.

As you can see, it was really the cotton balls that brought our rock person to the next level. Suddenly one of our rocks was transformed into a particularly hard-headed political figure.  After completing her work, Althea said “Look mama!  It’s ‘Mister  Trunk’!” Is it just us? Do you see the likeness?

 Want to join us on our artistic adventures? Check out the spring semester at



This is What You Do When it Snows in April

What do you do when it snows in the spring? You act like your kid does. You accept it and just be. I snapped this shot  from our back window. My wistful girl having a moment alone in the snow – saying a fond farewell.


Dinos in the Snow

Are we ever happy to be able to explore outside again!!! There was a while there where it was just cruelty to even suggest taking a walk around the block at this house.  Cooping up kids who are used to observing and exploring nature in the great outdoors is so painful. However, even when we were down with colds and the wind howled at our door, we found a fun way to play in the snow: we brought it in!

It’s amazing how, even the most familiar of toys, got new life when they played in the snow. We’ve done this with our avengers, our farm animals and, most recently, our dinosaurs! ROAR!

ROAM-ing in the Spring!

springproductToday is the day! I’m relaunching the new and improved Spring Semester of Artsy Startsy and it is entirely focused around the ROAM curriculum and the feedback I’ve received from stay-at-home parents, caregivers, working parents, and preschool instructors. ROAM stands for Readers, Outdoor Explorers, Artists and Musicians. Why these areas in particular? I truly believe that preschoolers have each of these personas inside of them and they require only a bit of time each day with their caregiver to tap into each of these areas of the liberal arts and the natural world around them.

Also, as a caregiver, I have come to recognize that more than any other time, I most enjoy the moments in our day that are spent together with books, in nature, creatively expressing ourselves with art, and listening to classical music. By bringing these joys into our home I believe that I am creating both a peaceful and adventurous environment for my child and for myself. Quality time with my children is priority number one and this curriculum allows me to focus our days around that!

If you’re like me, you like to plan ahead and get yourself prepared for the season well in advance! For this reason, I am offering a sale on the Spring ROAM curriculum from now until March 31st! I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this sale which offers 20% off the Spring Semester and includes 8 full weeks of lesson plans for you and your little one!

I hope you will join us as we ROAM around learning about all sorts of wonderful subjects this spring! Making nature bracelets as the flowers begin to bloom, listening to Vivaldi, exploring the different sounds that the rain makes, touring the acropolis, keeping track of outdoor explorations with nature journals, sculpting with soap and so much more!!!


When we are not out in the woods near our home, here is where we will be undertaking much of this exploration of the liberal arts together. Our little solarium is where so much learning and quality time together takes place. It is a sacred little space for us! I will share regular updates with you as we undertake the lessons alongside you and your little one this spring.

Spring is right around the corner. So cozy up and start planning the upcoming season with us!


Jackson Pollock: A Study in Ice

Freezing temperatures followed by a little melting and then some serious ice action is a perfect recipe for breaking your neck BUT (and here’s the great thing) it also offers an excellent opportunity to learn about the art of Jackson Pollock. No really! Bear with me here for a sec!

Check it… who knew that ice cube painting can teach your little one about the science of temperature and melting at the same time that it can be used to create works of art to mimic the “drip painting” style that Pollock is so famous for?

We talked a bit about drips falling off a brush and then we watched as drips began to fall from our own ice cube brushes! We used a quality watercolour paper so that we could truly see the full effect of the food colour paint as it dried.

To make your own drip paintings and to learn about melting – have your little one put drops of food colouring into an ice cube tray. Fill with water (carefully) and at the half way frozen mark insert short wooden skewers. In truth, I knew I would forget them as soon as they went into the freezer so I covered the whole tray with saran wrap and then stabbed each cube with the stick. I know there must be a better way  … it will be an evolutionary process – maybe tin foil and popsicle sticks next time.

In any case! Simple simple and joyful masterpiece that requires everyone to learn the lessons of patience as you wait for the ice to freeze either outside or in the freezer.

Artsy Startsy.CIRCLES ABOVEai

To enjoy more quality time like this with your little Reader, Outdoor Explorer, Artist and Musician check out the ROAM curriculum at

Overcoming Fears in the Garden


Alongside my little garden, I have grown a lot in the past couple of months. The CLSC called and I have been getting some incredible therapy for my postpartum depression. My doctor came through and recommended some drugs that helped put me on an even keel and my friends and family banded together around me to lift me up towards the sun. So much of my pain was connected to a fear of the unknown. What would we be like as this new family of four? Would he ever sleep and stop crying? How much was my despondence damaging my kids? Would Althea’s homeschooling education get back on track? Not all of these questions have been entirely answered in my mind but I have regained a sense of hope and optimism when I try to imagine the outcomes.

Today I was in a friend’s garden with our girls. They came across a spider. My first reaction was fear but I held it together for the children. It is an automatic reaction for me to pull away and crinkle my nose when I encounter spiders. However, a few things are true about coming across fears in the garden and elsewhere:

1. It’s ok to get a bit freaked out. I don’t brand my fear as “silly.” When Althea is nervous I don’t chide her or force her to face her fears. I am compassionate and encourage her to be brave without judgement. I am learning to do the same for myself.

2. There is beauty in vulnerability and there is loveliness in the dirtiest parts of life. Without a bit of shit – flowers can’t grow. Be in the dirt. Get dirty. It helps you improve yourself.

3. How you react to fear directly impacts how your children will. When I saw the spider – I encouraged the girls to touch and examine it with a sense of wonder. By doing so – I also learned to see this creature with new eyes.

Ok. End of self-sermon. All in all, summer is doing me good. Munching away on fresh greens in my friend’s garden today made me feel so joyful. The baby whined and fussed much of the time we were over there and my nerves were on edge occasionally because of him but I wasn’t in despair and I knew that he would likely nap later in the day. I am looking forward to harvesting all the good stuff I am planting in my new life amongst the sun, the shade, the bugs and, yes, even the shit.

Celebrating a Season

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My little outdoor explorer made many valuable discoveries this beautiful Autumn season!

  1. Acorns hurt when they land on your head.
  2. Leaves are most beautiful when the sun shines through them both outdoors and in! (See our beautiful stain glass leaf window inspired by The Artful Parent above).
  3. Many pumpkins in the pumpkin patch look promising from a distance but may actually be smelly and broken when you try to pick them up.
  4. Outdoor picnics can and should continue into the fall. (Gumpy Gump recommends that you always leave your apple core for a local squirrel).
  5. Beaver dams are awesome and beavers will hide in them for a very long time despite you calling out “Helloooooo! Beeeeaaaavers!”

We did have some rare rain days here in the Gatineau Hills. Days where we focused on learning our letters and exploring sensory bins inspired by the Preschool Journey curriculum over at Teaching Mama. Favs included the “Ocean” bin with blue water beads, the “Apples and Acorns” bin and (of course) our “Clouds and Cars” bin with a smash up derby that took place in the cloud dough heavens! We also learned that these are best explored with friends where we learned to take turns, to giggle and to generally enjoy the controlled chaos. (Word to the wise mama – keep close watch on these sensory activities especially when they involve beads or jello… gah!)

Despite the occasional bouts of rain we learned to run in our rubber boots on grassy trails and that a hot cocoa and good book cannot fail to warm the spirits. Al’s Dada installed the cute picture book rails you see above and we promptly filled them with some of our fall selections from both the library and our own collection.

Top Shelf

  1. All for Pie and Pie for All
  2. If I Were an Owl
  3. Angus Lost
  4. Mouse’s First Fall

Middle Shelf

  1. Very Hairy Bear
  2. Who Loves the Fall?
  3. Autumn Leaves

Bottom Shelf

  1. Duck at the Door
  2. The Busy Little Squirrel
  3. Bear says Thanks