Category Archives: Raising children
It’s time for another post by my youngest, PetKid, who we homeschool. We had an amazing offer from the breeder of our dog, Reggie, for a weekly visit and lesson on the newest litter of puppies. Our dog’s breeder, the wonderful Culandubh Kennels run by Laurel Cook and Ross McLaughlin in Clayton, Ontario, raises purebred Labradors, and the latest litter are entirely chocolate labs. This post covers week four.
Look at this puppy war! It’s so cute and fluffy. This week you can see the puppies are much more hyperactive.
When I went to visit the puppies had moved downstairs to an area with a heat lamp and a separate area filled with shavings for toileting. They had three stuffies to play with, as well as me! I sat in a corner with them crawling all over me, chewing on my clothes and snuffling.
I tired them out so much two fell asleep on my lap. The rest fell asleep in other spots.
One of the puppies crashed out on a stuffed animal and another one couldn’t get to sleep and kept bothering the others. He finally went to sleep on top of one of his sisters.
They are so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!
As anyone who follows here knows, I’ve been making room for my youngest to create his own posts here in recent weeks. Not one to go slow at anything, he has steamed ahead on the whole blogging front and created his own blogging space today.
It’s called A Kid’s World, and he’ll be posting about everything from his pets, gardening, baking, activities, interests and studies (he is schooled at home) to anything else that he deems post-worthy. His kick-off post today is about making a model Roman villa.
PetKid would love it if you stopped by and said hello at A Kid’s World.
It’s time for another posting by my youngest, PetKid, who we homeschool. We had an amazing offer from the breeder of our dog, Regimbald (also known as Reggie!), for a weekly visit and lesson on the newest litter of puppies. Our dog’s breeder, the wonderful Culandubh Kennels run by Laurel Cook and Ross McLaughlin in Clayton, Ontario, raises purebred Labradors, and the latest litter are entirely chocolate labs. This post covers weeks two and three.
The puppies were cute, big and fluffy when we went to visit them in week two. They had doubled their weight in a week. They were starting to crawl and some of them were starting to open their eyes. Week two was also their last week of tactile stimulation exercises, so we did them again for the last time.
Laurel puts coloured dots on the puppies’ heads, bums and backs so that she knows who is who. For example, our dog Reggie was ‘Blue Butt’. In the chocolate lab litter, ‘Pink Head’ eats a ton, but she was very small at the start.
Here is a picture of me and Apa, the mama of the puppies.
Apa is eating 14 or 16 cups of food every day and drinking a ton of water so she can produce enough milk for eleven puppies. It’s a big job!
In week three, the puppies weren’t getting enough milk, so Laurel had to bottle-feed some of them. She was also starting to give all of them mush. Here’s a picture of Laurel bottle-feeding one of the pups.
The puppies are getting more agile. Their mama, Apa, sleeps beside their pen and at night some of them were climbing out to get to their mum. Laurel had to put up a cardboard wall to stop them from doing this.
This week the puppies will have moved downstairs to a bigger pen and playspace.
Sunday was a perfect day. Fresh powdery snow, mild temperatures, bright blue skies. Somehow we haven`t really managed to fit skiing into our winter this year. Perhaps the snowshoes that get us around our land so effortlessly have made the preparation required for a ski less attractive, perhaps the really cold days we experienced when we could ski put us off. I`m not sure, but it doesn`t matter.
This past weekend, we made up for it with a wonderful ski outing on a local trail in the most perfect conditions. Our youngest, chronically tired this year, went shooting off ahead of everyone. He tired for the return trip but not before enjoying the peace and quiet of gliding through the woods and a few fun hills along the way. His grumbling disappeared as we finished up our circuit, ready to head home for a well earned snack.
I wrote recently here about comfort food (not my first post on that topic, and definitely not the last), including a brief reference to a cinnamon breakfast loaf. I promised to come back and post the recipe, and today is the day.
My baking older son, pictured here, made the original version of this recipe from the hilarious and tasty cookbook, Bite me. I`m providing the original, very indulgent recipe first, followed by the more nutritious but still deeply delicious version that I concocted last weekend.
Cinnamon Swirl Breakfast Bread, from the cookbook Bite Me
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter
1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2) For the batter cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt just until moistened and the flour has disappeared.
3) For the cinnamon swirl, in a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon.
4) Spoon half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour remaining batter over the top. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar and drizzle with melted butter.
5) Place the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drippings. Bake for 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm.
Healthier Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Breakfast Loaf
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cottage cheese (but sour cream, low-fat yogurt or ricotta would work equally well)
1 cup pumpkin puree (I actually used roasted squash)
2 cups spelt flour (I love spelt for its high fibre content and it`s much less gloopy than plain whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely ground nuts (walnuts are a good choice)
The method is pretty much the same as in the original recipe, but with the additions and changes noted above, which really come down to reducing the butter and sugar, swapping out the plain flour for fibre rich spelt, and adding pumpkin or squash puree, as well as ground nuts to the topping.
I was very interested to see what my older son thought of this version, having first tasted the butter and sugar laden original. I was thrilled when he gave it two very enthusiastic thumbs up, declaring it ‘absolutely delicious’. For our after-ski snack on Sunday I paired slices of it with apples sauteed with cinnamon. Generally, I think this combination – particularly with the sauteed fruit – makes this a much more appealing option for breakfast (empty carbs aren’t really a great idea, as we know) or tea-time.
It’s time for another posting by my youngest, PetKid, who we recently started homeschooling. We had an amazing offer from the breeder of our dog, Regimbald (also known as Reggie!), for a weekly visit and lesson on the newest litter of puppies. Our dog’s breeder, the wonderful Culandubh Kennels run by Laurel Cook and Ross McLaughlin in Clayton, Ontario, raises purebred Labradors, and the latest litter are entirely chocolate labs.
In this picture is one of the reasons why our dog Reggie is so smart. Because Laurel does lots of exercises with the newborn pups to develop their nerves and mental pathways. On our first visit the pups were not even one week old. Before we got to visit with the puppies, Laurel gave us biscuits to feed to Apa, the mummy dog, so that she would be friendly and not threatened by us handling her pups. Then I washed my hands with disinfectant so that I could be near the eleven puppies.
Then Laurel did all of the exercises with the puppies one at a time. Each exercise was only about five seconds. The first was holding the puppy upside down, then lifting it up so its feet dangled in the air, then over on its back in Laurel’s hand. After that she put a Q-tip between each of their claws very gently, and finally she put them gently on a cold towel.
The puppies drank milk from their mummy, Apa, after these exercises. They were tired and thirsty, and after drinking they fell asleep. I gave Apa a hug and told her what a good mother she was.
I’m looking forward today to seeing the puppies and Apa. Bye everyone!
This boy wakes up every morning with his Santa hat on, ready for the day. This morning he was thrilled to see huge, fluffy snowflakes outside the window (this, following days of freezing rain).
Looking outside quietly he suddenly said, “I could watch these all day, but I’m not going to. I might as well go and play!” I need to remember to approach my day this way.
If you’ve been around and reading lately, you’ll have picked up on the fact that I’m feeling my cup is overly full at the moment. I cannot really comfortably complain, we are so fortunate to be in a position where we can decide to homeschool our youngest and take on the extra stress that it will place on our work schedules at home. So don’t catch me complaining, or at least don’t let me try and get away with it.
Interestingly, our older boy is feeling some extra pressure in his own life these days. It’s been a big year starting high school and juggling all of his extracurricular activities, including a job at our local library that has temporarily grown from two to three shifts per week. I was also working at his age, and had other activities and pursuits, but I don’t recall ever feeling quite so busy as he obviously is and feels. We still expect good pitching in at home too, so there isn’t much time for R&R (though his dad and I are good at making sure we get a break together on weekends – we had a movie and Chinese takeout when his little brother was away at camp this past weekend).
Realizing that he can feel the pressure at this tender age is eye opening and helpful, and it makes me all the more grateful that he willingly accompanied me on the jaunt to view our otter/fisher the other morning. He got into the spirit in his own way, choosing to bring along his air rifle. Not to take aim at the poor creature, but to use the sight to improve what he could see of it!
This time last year I wrote a post called Remembering through role play, which was as much – if not more – about brotherly dynamics as a nod to Remembrance Day. This year was a big step forward for our family, as our youngest, until this year only a spectator at Remembrance Day events, carried a flag for the local Scout troupe in the parade that followed our town’s ceremonies. He has seen his big brother take part in this and other public ceremonies for the past five years, and it was very special to see him stepping up for his turn.
In truth, he was a wet rag when it was all over, and in need of hiding away from the world when we brought him home. The previous 24 hours had been spent at his first ever sleep-away camp with the Cubs, and it was a big deal for him. It’s the sort of rite of passage that will be appreciated anew from a distance; right now, he is exhausted from the effort of doing so much that is new, and taking on a new level of responsibility. So very different from his big brother, but thank goodness we understand him (mostly).
Tomorrow we officially start homeschooling this boy; grade four has been a big transition and one that, in the end, we feel hasn’t worked for him. Homeschooling is really something that I believe we have been working towards all along with this boy, and now is the time. I’m both daunted and exhilarated, and very grateful for the very generous homeschoolers in our community with whom we’ve already connected (and family who have vowed to pitch in).
A quite lovely reminder of what today is about can be found on the blog Sailors Small Farm.
My own father was a baby during WWII, but my husband’s father was stationed in North Africa and spent the war servicing Lancaster bombers. Our boys are very fortunate to have a grandfather who returned home largely unscathed (at least outwardly) by the war, and who survived into their early childhood. He left us a few years ago, but Grandad Roy is remembered as an amazingly resourceful man who could fix or make anything with his bare hands and ingenuity.
I remember all too well the elderly man who spent hours upon hours pottering in his workshed at the bottom of the garden, a cigarette pinched between his lips as he concentrated on the workings of something or other, but love to imagine the stories that live on of him as a young man, a person I never knew. Always restless and full of focused energy, Roy was known in wartime for foregoing essential daytime naps under the hot African sun in favour of hunting. I can imagine how popular he must have been, showing up with some fresh meat for a meal, after endless rations of bully beef.
Remembering one individual in this way is, for me, a tremendous reminder of all of the unique and individual lives cut short by war. Lives that might have been.
I love it when blogging bleeds into real life even more than usual. This morning my youngest and I spent a few minutes together reading 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought the Puppy over at The Scrumptious Pumpkin. He was instantly attracted when he saw adorable Calvin in my reader.
We spent those minutes nodding along and laughing, having been through much the same journey ourselves with Reggie, our seven-month old black labrador retriever.
My son also decided that perhaps I hadn’t posted any photos on my blog that really show just how unbelievably cute and wonderful Reggie is. This boy deals in superlatives, and is constantly applying them to his dog. Reggie also enjoys the over-the-top nicknames bestowed on him by this nine-year old, such as “The Puffle-ator” (which is a play on the original “Sweet Puff”).
Granted, Reggie is capable of being pretty adorable, and was even more so when he was little.
But I’d contend that he wasn’t at his most photogenic when youngest son insisted on the mini photo shoot that resulted in the photo at the top of this post.
Dear Reggie spent much of yesterday in thrall with a new rawhide bone that resulted in a creamy moustache above his nose and two white streaks down the front of his legs. I only noticed these enhancements to his visage when I walked him to school to meet youngest son yesterday afternoon, and had to laugh. Reggie was thrilled to have proved just how obsessive a lab can be about chewing, and the signs of this obsession had almost nearly rubbed off in time for his close-up this morning. Almost.
With thanks to The Scrumptious Pumpkin for the inspiration for this post!