Baby Shower-“It Takes a Village”

September1

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I was thrilled that the very first items that I prepared in my “almost finished” new kitchen were for the Rawdon Baby’s shower.

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The radiant new Momma.

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It takes many hands to raise a child AND to put on such a gorgeous gathering. Auntie Kristen was responsible for so many of the beautiful touches including these shadow boxes of the parent’s baby things.

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This table (and another one) was bulging with beautiful gifts by the time all of the guests had assembled.

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This image of the baby’s heartbeat graced the room.

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This was such a sweet detail too.

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Simple, yet so thoughfully accomplished.

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Everything was ready for the guests’ arrival. Auntie K and her Bestie spent hours decorating to get everything just so.

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That’s Momma in the top left, can you tell that she is pregnant from behind?

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The food was placed out in advance so that everyone could leisurely partake.

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The bounty!

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The cupcakes (made by the photographer of the event) were exquisite.

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I particularly loved these Portugese pastries and am hoping that I can get the recipe to share.

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Momma, Glamma and Auntie.

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The girl cousins (unfortunately another Momma cousin had to leave with the youngest attendee at the party).

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Momma and Great Grandma-beautiful women, both.

Kath’s quote: “And we have learned that to raise a happy, healthy and hopeful child, it takes a family, it takes teachers, it takes clergy, it takes business people, it takes community leaders, it takes those who protect our health and safety, it takes all of us. Yes, it takes a village.”- Hilary Clinton

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Read the instructions above for another thoughtful touch.

Lake Life-My Peeps!

August28

At the lake, solitude is readily available. I can snuggle back into bed with my book, ride my bike to the beach or escape to the gazebo on a rainy day. I LOVE to be alone. This is when I am most imaginative: dreaming, planning and writing. Even though I am a “chatty Kathy”, I am actually an introvert because I need my alone time to recharge for my wonderful life.

But Lester Beach is where I get to spend the most time with my precious family-sometimes in an intentional way but mostly by poking our heads into each others porches to pass along a detail or some news, meeting on the road as we walk to and fro or accumulating on the beach.

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J1 and J2 hosted the Wee One’s second birthday at the beach and in the yard for a barbeque so we got to see her other “other” Glamma and Poppa, our Goddaughter and members of D’s side of the family. The Wee One’s great grandparents gifted her with her own version of a beach house which Grandpa Harold constructed and carved himself.

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This is my handsome D in the water balloon toss with the Wee One at Lester Beach’s annual Family Fun Days. This event gives us the opportunity to be with family, neighbours and friends alike who share property at one of the province’s loveliest beaches.

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After all that rigourous competition, naps were in order.

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A shared hammock was put to leisurely use by these beautiful cousins.

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I love how the generations fit together seamlessly when we are together at the lake. Since my Dad is in heaven (where he is constantly enjoying lake life), my eldest brother is the patriarch of our compound. This pic was taken at the impromptu boccia tournament that I made reference to in my previous post. Under his arm is one of my great-nieces who proved to be a rising star on the boccia courts.

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We hosted two of our city groups for summer wind ups at Life is Good. I didn’t manage to get any photos of the group assembled the weekend previous to this one, but it was a glorious hot day and we spent the afternoon on the inflatable “party island” where we kept cool with our feet in the water as we floated along. The weekend pictured above was variable with sudden showers. Our young family gang made hay while the sun shone.

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The “big girls” enjoying the beach

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and the boys tucking in at supper.

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I didn’t manage to get a photo of Rudy (another one of the gang), so here’s one of his Mom cradling his new babysister. In fact, since our get together two baby girls have been born to our group! Good thing we have lots of parking at Life is Good.

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As much as we enjoy hanging with the youngsters, we love the time spent with their parents too. We have patiently waited for this time to have the space to invite gangs of people to be with us here. We are blessed with them all in our lives.

Kath’s quote: “Eventually; it’ll all make sense. You’ll realize why you don’t have the same group of friends. You’ll realize why your first love didn’t work out. And you’ll realize that it all happened . . . So you can have something better”. -Ritu Ghatourey

heartmushroom

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

Lake Life-Part 3: The Food!

August27

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Since we have 4 family cottages in the same vicinity, meal times are often communal. These tomatoes along with pounds of apples were dropped off by my nephew who had a surplus of both from his garden. When we make too much salad at supper, we run the remains across or up the street to whatever family hasn’t finished up their dinner. If you are out on your own you will invariably be invited to someone’s place for supper. If you happen to ride your bike by when everyone is eating brunch on the deck, you will be pulling up a chair and digging in, in no time. When Sister #3 has catered an event and has extra dessert around, all the kids will be invited over for make-your-own sundaes. When Sister #2 is making eggs Benedict or anyone has taken a pie out of the oven, word goes around really quickly.

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We typically eat two meals a day: brunch when the guys get home from the tennis or volleyball courts and then dinner. Bacon is a mainstay at many weekend brunches, pictured above with wild blueberry pancakes.

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At “Life is Good” everyone pitches in on the cooking and whomever hasn’t cooked has to help with the dishes. J1 will whip up his fabulous Denvers or Boo and the Frenchman will make everyone waffles (with real maple syrup, of course). The grownups typically can manage until happy hour.

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But the toddlers like the Wee One and her cousin may need a picnic of cheese, crackers and strawberries!

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The surplus apples mentioned above were fantastic with slices of cheddar and fig & kalamata olive crackers. These were placed on an over-turned tree stump between two swinging hammocks one snack time.  Some of the gang bring spring rolls and samosas for communal happy hour. This summer I often put out antipasto, marinated artichokes, olives and feta and loved it each and every time.

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The surplus tomatoes also mentioned above went into this caprese salad with huge basil leaves that I harvested from home just when our vacay had begun.

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Our favourite dinners are those centered on the grill. D does a great job with squash and mushrooms and peppers. New potatoes were amazing with rosemary & sea salt. Whatever mixed greens had arrived in our garden share were sautéed with garlic and lemon juice.

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One evening we enjoyed a batch of moules et frites (mussels and fries). The former made with wine, garlic, butter and whatever fresh herbs were available and the latter cut thin, blanched and then finished on the barbeque. We dined el fresco on this evening and to our surpize the Wee One loved the mussels as much as the adults. Unfortunately, so did the bears which are plentiful in our area, as the beach house is located in the midst of a provincial forrest. At 5 the next morning, D woke to a sound, looked out of our bedroom window, to see that an absolutely enormous creature had unsecured the clamp down handles on the garbage can, dumped out the mussel shells and lay on his (or her) tummy for their feast! We are not about to accidently forget to secure the garbage can in the shed again any time soon.

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Even though I am not the greatest baker, I make the occasional pie or crumble utilizing the bounty of summer fruit.

The best dinners of all are the random ones that miraculously become delicious times together. The first weekend of our vacation, it was casually mentioned that we were invited for boccia and beer by my eldest nephew. The games attracted more of the family and when it was time to disperse for dinner, he suggested that we all bring what we were preparing that evening and put the finishing touches on together. There were hot dogs, slow roasted chicken, left over monster pork chops, taco salad, kale salad and the sweetest corn on the cob I have tasted this season. There were 17 family members at dinner. I called it a “30 Something” supper. Do you remember that show?

My nephew’s trick with the corn is that he soaks it still in its husk and then places it on the barbeque until the husks burn away. He then throws half cobs into an enormous pot with butter and salt and recruits someone with upper arm strength to jostle the pot around until the cobs are perfectly seasoned-YUM!

Kath’s quote: “Well, I haven’t really anything to eat at home, I began, but then stopped, as I realised that a dreary revelation of the state of one’s larder was hardly the way to respond to an invitation to dinner.” ― Barbara Pym

heartrock

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

Lake Life 2015-Part 2: Life’s a Beach!

August26

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No matter what the weather, the Wee One cannot stay out of the water. Her little feet were frigid early in the season but she insisted on skipping rocks. She is a “noticer” and a “collector” like her Glamma. She loves to gather stones on the beach but even on a gravel road where she will stop dead in her tracks when she spies a good one.

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I love walking the beach and am fascinated with everything that nature has deposited on the sand-the way drift wood accumulates into a cradle and the designs that floating sticks make when washed in by the waves.

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I even love what others would consider trash. If only I could get someone to cart this rusted stove drawyer back to the yard of the beach house. I would strategically place it to display my favourite drift wood and rocks.

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The beach is usually calm and blue but I also love it when it is wavy and grey.

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D and I often lug our chairs and a glass of wine down to the beach to watch the sunset together. I get a little too focused on getting the perfect photo and don’t pay enough attention to the sun itself or the beautiful man sitting next to me, so I try to reserve my photo taking to solo walks.

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Sunsets are my favourite time of day.

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The sky seems impossibly big by the water’s edge.

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All kinds of pretty wild life are found on the shore, like this little pink mouse

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and this pussy cat created by one of our many young guests.

Kath’s quotes: “To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.”-Jeanne Moreau

heartbunch

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Lake Life 2015-Part 1: The Setting-“Life is Good”

August25

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This is our screen door entrance to our beach house “Life is Good” at Lester Beach. The cabin is very small but the longer we own it, we find more and more efficient ways to use the space.

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As everyone living on the Canadian prairies this summer knows, the weather has been “variable”. Even more so than usual. Sometimes it rains in the city with not a drop at the lake and vice versa. One Saturday there was a water spout spotted north of Grand Beach, i.e. exactly where we were. This weather phenomena occurs when a tornado picks up water while crossing an open body of water (i.e. the lake).  Power outages have been frequent. There was another one just this weekend. The photo from one of the early long weekends above, indicates that we have been having them all season. It also shows that we can be resourceful, boiling the kettle for coffee and heating up left over pizza on the wood stove.

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The Wee One often comes out with us on Friday evenings as both J1 and J2 work on Saturdays. This situation absolutely delights D (her Poppa) who gets up with her in the mornings before he leaves to play tennis with a gang of regulars at Grand Beach. Poppa provides constant amusement for both the Wee On and as a result, all of us.

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On very humid days we didn’t venture down to the beach and had to find other ways to pass the afternoon and stay cool at the same time. D hooked a hose up for the Wee One to play with her car mountain. She took the matter into her own hands, put on her boots and doused her head repeatedly with measuring cups full of water.

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Between our extended family, there are seven dogs and a couple of pussy cats, all of whom love the cabin as much as the humans. This photo is also a depiction of one of the best things about lake life-rest. I usually get nine hours of sleep per night, unheard of when I am in the city.

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My two favourite places to read are on the beach and in our cozy bed at night. I typically volunteer to stay home with the Wee One so that the rest of the gang can play cribbage or sit around a bonfire at one of the other family cabins. The Wee One loves to read in bed too.  This weekend we snuggled up and read every single one of her books.

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I can be particularly productive in our gazebo at L is G. Work doesn’t feel like work at all, when you enjoy what you do and love the setting.

Kath’s quote: “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” – Socrates

heartlake

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

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