Posted in education, family, grandparents, lorieb.wordpress.com

Photography Lessons, It’s Never Too Early to Learn

As most of you know, I thoroughly enjoy the time I get to spend with my grandchildren, especially the one on one time. Each grandchild has their own unique personality and interests which are becoming quite evident in the oldest three. The two youngest are still babies; their turn will come.

Recently my two and a half year old granddaughter has shown an interest in photography. Since she has been the subject of the oh so many pictures her parents and grandparents have taken on our cell phones since her birth, it is no small wonder she wants to try it herself. She is very independent, and getting more so every day.

I thought I would let her “show me how” to take a picture on my cell phone, and I was amazed at how proficient she is at it. Sometimes. Eventually. When she remembers to keep her fingers off the lens. It is amusing and fascinating (and so cute) to hear her talk herself through the steps.

  • Find the red “camera” button
  • Hold up the phone
  • Look for Grandma (I was her subject)
  • Move my (her) fingers
  • Push the white button

These were her first few attempts at getting the fingers out of the way…

Practice makes perfect; she did get better as she kept trying…

She is definitely a quick learner…as well as very determined and perseverant, all wonderful personality traits.

Posted in grandparents, lorieb.wordpress.com

Button Jars, are they Obsolete?

My grandmothers and mother used to keep a jar full of buttons. I loved their button jars, chock full of miscellaneous sizes and colours of buttons. Of course in those days spare buttons were much more useful, you never knew when you might need one. These days it is more common or acceptable to run out and buy a new piece of clothing from which the buttons are missing. Or at least a new package of buttons. Does the younger generation know how to sew on a button?

This recollection of button jars bubbled to the surface of my memory recently when my two and a half year old granddaughter was “helping” me sort through my sewing drawers.

She loves pulling out each tiny drawer to inspect the contents and is especially fascinated with the buttons. And loved the fact that most of the drawers contained at least one button. An hour later we had all the buttons, from each drawer, scattered on the floor…

Then came the chore of putting all the buttons into two (they would not all fit into just one) drawers and putting them away. That step took a while, she did not want to relinquish those buttons!

A few hours later she asked to go play with the buttons again. I think we’ve discovered her new favourite toy!

Posted in grandkids, grandparents, loreeebee.ca, nature

Fun (and safe) Things to do with Kids During a Pandemic

Are you having a difficult time keeping your kids or grandkids entertained during the pandemic? Luckily for me, my grandchildren love the outdoors and nature, giving us lots of options to choose from.

Last week we took a road trip to my grandparents farm where they could run around outside while I had a socially distanced visit with my aunt and uncle.

This week we stayed in Ottawa, driving a short jaunt to the Log Farm. Pandemic precautions were in place, but fairly inconspicuous for the children.

  • lots of hand sanitizer around the spacious farm yard
  • masks mandatory in the gift shop and indoor bathroom, but not outdoors
  • tickets purchased online to control number of visitors
  • two 90 minute sessions available with farm yard activities cleaned between sessions
  • attractions, activities well spaced out to encourage social distancing
  • outdoor bathrooms available

It was a beautiful fall day, perfect for checking out the animals and exploring the farm yard activities. Check out the pictures!


Another popular outing for us takes advantage of the many groomed woodland trails throughout the Ottawa area. My grandkids love to wander through the forests and across the wetland boardwalks, feeding the birds and looking for frogs, turtles and the like.

Hazeldean Woods is right in my neighbourhood, so readily accessible. Now that kids are allowed back on play structures at the city parks, we can walk to the park and through the woods. And back to Grandma’s house, without encountering the Big Bad Wolf!

When the weather keeps us indoors, baking is always a hit, especially the mixing bowl clean up and taste testing!

By the way, in case you were wondering, the feature picture (top of article) is a reflection of my 3.5 year old grandson and I looking for frogs, lying on our tummies on a boardwalk, along one of the mentioned trails.

Posted in family, grandparents, lorieb.wordpress.com

Nail Polish and Granddaughters

Having raised three sons, but no daughters, I am really enjoying the girly activities my two granddaughters currently bring to my life.

Case in point, recently they polished my nails. One granddaughter painted my finger nails. She couldn’t decide between green and purple, so did both, resulting in a camouflaged, bicoloured look. Pretty cool and artistic for a two-and-a-half-year-old…

…and the other painted my toe nails. This granddaughter will be seven very soon, so is much more vigilant and precise with the placement of the polish. Although she too had a hard time sticking to just one colour, so I got pink on one foot and purple on the other, both with a sparkly coating on top:

I love their creativity. Who needs a nail salon? Not me!

Posted in family, grandparents, lorieb.wordpress.com

The Energy of a Two-Year Old Child

I forgot just how energetic a two year old can be.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of the recent opportunity to spend lots of quality time with my granddaughter. Especially as it came during these turbulent times of social distancing, when visits with my grandchildren are limited to seeing them from a distance.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, my son had to remain in the hospital with his wife as they welcomed their son into the world.  There were no in/out privileges or other visitors allowed.  With a two year old at home, this was tricky to manage with current social distancing rules.

Ever since the hospital rules were described to the parents-to-be, my husband and I were committed to keeping ourselves and our home virus-free, so our granddaughter would be safe staying here while her parents were in the hospital.

As mentioned, we were happy to have the honour, although she kept us on our toes…

 

Oh, the energy of a 2-year old,

all whirlwind and endless mess.

Up the stairs, down the stairs,

slamming doors in jest.

Up and down the hills outside

run faster Grandma, faster!

Quiet time means Frozen,

Anna, Elsa, and lots of friends.

5 a.m. comes so early,

even earlier than the sun.

We forgot, it’s been so long,

but so enjoyed the fun!

 

Our house now seems so quiet without the pitter patter of her little feet as well as the sweet chatter, giggles and singing.

Posted in grandparents, lorieb.wordpress.com

Ruckify: Rent Just About Anything

I had heard of Ruckify, but never knew what it was really about. Until recently. I was researching dinosaur themed decorations for my grandson’s third birthday party when an advertisement for a dinosaur costume rental popped up. If you are not yet familiar with Ruckify, it is an online rental marketplace with the slogan “why buy when you can Ruckify?” Anyone can post items for people in their community to rent.

Founded in Ottawa, Canada in 2018 on a foundation of community building, environmentalism, education, and freedom, Ruckify is dedicated to changing the world and curtailing the spread of unsustainable consumerism

Ruckify website


I could have purchased this inflatable T-rex costume from Amazon for sixty bucks, but preferred the Ruckify rental (for one day) for twenty. No storage spot required! In this minimalist and sustainable world we (try to) live in, rentals make much more sense.

My grandson and his friends loved it, although a few younger party goers were a bit shy with the 7 foot T-rex. They got used to him quickly though, as he danced and played with them. The only snag we encountered is the fact that my youngest son was supposed to wear the costume for the party. In fact he was quite looking forward to chasing his nephew and birthday buddies around. When he picked up the costume, he realized at six foot, five inches in height he was too tall to fit into the suit. So, we had to improvise. Before he arrived at the party with the costume, I had coerced a shorter uncle (not one of my sons) to play the role.

Like most other three year old boys, my grandson is obsessed with dinosaurs. He loved this T-Rex and ran around taunting it so it would chasing him, taking refuge under tables or hiding out in the bouncy castle to take a breather. That’s him in the green (you guessed it, dinosaur) outfit that Santa brought him this past Christmas.

I bet he slept well last night, if he didn’t have nightmares!

Posted in baby, business, grandparents, lorieb.wordpress.com, online purchases

Polkadots and Moonbeams, Unique Baby Gifts

Check out this impressive website, owned by my cousin Julie in Missouri, for the unique treasures offered at Polkadots and Moonbeams. These personalized baby gifts are perfect for showers, birthdays, Christmas, baptisms, or your own nursery.

Unique Gifts for New Beginnings

These beautiful works of art are hand crafted in home based studios, each one made to order, never mass produced. Custom designs are created with the details (colours, names etc) that you specify upon ordering. Orders are received in Rolla Missouri, items are crafted by individual, independent artisans throughout the USA, then shipped to your door. The concept itself is unique and very creative!

Currently, the only items available for international shipping (outside USA) are the silver pacifier clips, but Julie is working on changing that. So, be sure to check back often to see her progress! Because these unique items are made and shipped by different individuals, items ordered together may ship separately.  Please see individual product page for availability times. Your purchases can be delivered directly to your recipient too. If you wish to order several items to be shipped to different recipients, order each item separately.

If you cannot decide which item is perfect for the baby you are shopping for, Polkadots & Moonbeams gift cards are available. They have no extra processing fees and are delivered by email with instructions on how to redeem them.

Let Polkadots & Moonbeams help you celebrate the new beginnings in your life with a unique, customized, hand-crafted gift! Check out the website for further details on all the gift options and company policies.

Posted in family, gardening, grandparents, lorieb.com

Rabbit ears, why are they so long?

Why are rabbit ears so long? If you asked my granddaughter, she would tell you that long rabbit ears make good handles. At least the ones on the (resin) rabbit in my back garden do. Don’t worry, no rabbits were injured in this story.

I had positioned this rabbit in my garden in mid-May so it appeared he was peeking out from his hiding spot amongst the hosta leaves…

peek-a-boo rabbit

My granddaughter loves to check out my gardens, stopping to admire the flowers…

She also loves critters of any kind, except for dogs. For some reason she is afraid of dogs. Birds, bugs, and other (small) animals are like magnets though, so when she spotted the rabbit in my back yard, she made a bee-line for it..

Her memory is very good. The next time she was over she headed straight to the back yard to rescue her new buddy again. The hostas had grown considerably, so the rabbit was trickier to find, but she grabbed him by the ears, and took him for a stroller ride…

rabbit ears
taking bunny for a ride

Another favourite critter at Grandma’s is the pink pig watering can her cousin Carter loves to take on his adventures…

Posted in family, grandparents, humor, parenting

Patience and Cheerios

I have to admit patience is a virtue I do not possess, but I’m working on it. That’s because I’m learning that grandchildren are great teachers, but require unlimited patience.

This morning was another lesson learned in the patience department. My two year old grandson and five year old granddaughter slept over last night and although she slept well, he did not. He was up several times during the night and then up for good, bouncing around with a seemingly endless supply of energy at 6am.

“Grumble, grumble, ok Grandma is up, but I won’t be dancing with Elmo or to Baby Shark within the next few hours, at least until I have a cup of coffee.”

Checking out his choices for breakfast, this (always adorable) grandson grabbed a box of Cheerios and promptly dumped (most of) its contents onto the kitchen floor. Luckily the box was not full. After I grabbed the broom and swept up the mess (with him helping of course) he repeated the process. Dump, scatter, sweep….at least five more times. After the second sequence, I realized he was having fun. No real harm done, and other than relocating breakable objects within the swinging radius of the broom handle as he “tidied up,” it was fun to watch his concentration. The cheerios were going in the garbage anyway; each time I threw some out (without him noticing of course) so there were fewer to clean up each time.

Posted in family, grandparents, lifestyle, loreeebee.ca

My Grandparents’ Farm House

The following article was written in the Seaway News:

Howard Beaudette may have chosen to be an accountant for his career, but his second calling was to be a gentleman farmer, or by his description, a farmer wannabe.

Howard, his wife Noreen, and their daughter Suzanne have lived on their 150 acre “hobby farm” on Pleasant Valley Road near Ingleside since 2007. The house is located on a 50 acre tract with adjoining outbuildings, combines with another 100 acre parcel used to grow cash crops and raise cattle.

The original 200 acre property ( Lot 28, Concession 5, of the former Osnabruck Township) was granted by Crown Patent to Louis Gautier in 1797. It came into Howard’s mother’s family – the Hodgins – in 1852. Howard’s great-great grandfather was a stonemason, and he was the one who built the original home in the 1850’s. Constructed with stones quarried locally, it had two sections, with the summer kitchen without a basement being a later addition.

Windmill Construction began the building of a modern addition to the original home in 2006 and the family moved into it in 2007. Only the most discerning eye would know that it wasn’t part and parcel of the original structure where Howard grew up with is farming parents and seven brothers and sisters. Although the original house was built using stone from the area with mortar produced from a lime kiln located on the property, stone from Quebec was used for the new structure.

The summer kitchen is now the dining room with new pine flooring over the original wooden floor beams. All the paneling is made from butternut, and the 22 inch thick walls make for deep window sills. In keeping with the history of the house, the room is decorated with antiques, including an old wooden ice box that has been converted to a liquor cabinet.

A narrow door in the dining room opens to an equally narrow staircase that leads to a guest bedroom, the only other part of the original farmhouse that is currently being used. TheBeaudette’s have yet to decide when, or how, to renovate the interior of the remainder.

When Howard bought the family farm from his siblings in 1984, he had all the stone work repointed. He first rented the old farm house while he and his family lived in Ingleside, putting in long hours to upgrade lawns and farm buildings. When they made the decision to move back to the country, they hired an architectural designer, Charlene Zanbelt, to draw up plans for their new home. The design came as a result of many discussions with Howard and Noreen as to what they wanted in their new home. They wanted lots of light, lots of room and lots of storage space. Noreen insisted that the bathroom on the upper level have a window, and she got one. It actually looks down into the great room/sitting room, but the window is indeed there.

The home is filled with character, with all the modern conveniences blending in with the old country look. One of the walls in the new kitchen is the outside wall of the old summer kitchen.

The new addition is an open concept post and beam construction, with the two main centre posts measuring 25 feet in height. The combination great room/sitting room, kitchen, eating area, laundry room, bathroom and storage area complete the main floor layout. All the cabinetry in the house – the dining table, hutch, benches, built-in spice cabinet, coffee table, etc. were designed and built by Dave Fougere, Cabinetmaker. The original design called for a fireplace to the ceiling but the Beaudettes chose to install a propane unit which is surrounded by a stone wall and hearth, built from stones from the area, so that the corner beam remained exposed.

The barn on the property is newly constructed from materials taken from a century old 80 foot bank barn from the MacGregor family farm, near Martintown. However, it blends in like it’s been there forever. There is also a grapevine covered stone wall, which has been restored by Howard.

Noreen, who worked as a hairdresser for 20 years, showcases her decorating talents throughout the house, and has certainly made the house a “home”. Noting that she learned a great deal about country living from Howard’s mother, she enjoys some of the “old time” skills, such as pickling, preserving and making bread and pies.

The Beaudettes have 20 head of Scottish Highland cattle and a few pigs and chickens on their so called “hobby” farm. They also plant a forty acre plus cash crop which varies from year to year, and maintain large vegetable gardens and apple trees.

Moving back to the country just came naturally to the Beaudettes. It was just like “going home”

My mother was Howard Beaudette’s sister.  She grew up on that farm, and although she couldn’t wait to move to the city of Cornwall as a teenager, we (my parents, siblings and I) went to visit my grandparents there often and have many fond memories of the farm.  I am certain my love of gardening and the appreciation of the beauty I see in nature came from this portion of my family history.  After my grandfather died in 1984, I went there often to visit my grandmother and to take her to run her errands. Her commentary as we drove by the local landmarks is still very fresh in my mind.   I went back to the farm for a quick visit this past weekend, which was Thanksgiving here in Canada.  Although many things have changed, the memories came flooding back.  My mother’s name is still hand written in the cement doorstep outside of the barn; I guess she wanted to leave her mark there after all…