Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Warm When Wet

When running outdoor programs for children, educating people on how to dress for the weather is an important role. As a friend of mine that runs an outdoor playgroup in Toronto, ActivekidsClub, always says, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” and on Christmas day, it was brought home to me just how true that Scandinavian proverb is.

A fun game of hockey had left us all exhausted and sleepy, especially from a full tummy of yummy Christmas treats. After a quick power nap, I decided I would enjoy the solace and take a walk by myself and take some photos. I left a note as to where I was going and put on my fleece pants and wool socks, big winter boots that feel like pillows on my feet, my jacket, and headed out into the winter wonderland.

I find some wonderful snow covered objects to take pictures of and I then hear voices behind me. The first people I have seen since I have come up here for the holidays. So I waited for them to catch up, introduce myself and continue walking with them deep in conversation about the holidays, family, cottage life and the lot. New friends were made and I said my farewells when we came upon the local smelt fishing spot. The place where the lake empties into a shallow creek and the vistas are worthy of my novice camera photo shooting.

I see a few things and take pictures, thinking it is really neat how the ice hangs off the end of the plant. As I take my eye away from the camera, I notice mice tracks in the snow. Very cool how they zig zag in the snow and disappear in the subnivean world. As I get up, I see the water seeping up into the snow, and think, I better not walk too much further, and the ice is thin here. From my experience in this creek, I know it isn’t too deep, but don’t take any chances, the water will still be very cold. You never know, there could be a deep spot right below me. So I make my way back.

As I climb up the bank, I look back and notice interesting tracks in the middle of the creek just a bit further up. I can’t make out what it is even looking through my zoom lens and wonder what they are. They look like something is dragging behind it; in-between the paw prints… a beaver, muskrat, and river otter? I had to find out. But looked out and made the call that walking out there was too dangerous.

As I looked around though, I noticed that perhaps if I stayed on the banks, I could get a closer look. So moved myself along the banks of the creek to get a closer look. Concentrating on where the tracks are, I stepped off the bank onto the creek and broke through the ice and fell into the freezing water up to my thigh. The biting cold water filled my boot quickly and soaked through my fleece pants. Not the nicest words came out of my mouth. Not because I fell through, but because I wouldn’t be able to get closer to find out what those tracks were- another day perhaps. But being about 30 minutes away from my cottage, I decided I better not take a chance with being wet and head home.

As I climbed back onto the road my leg becomes extremely cold, but I notice that my feet were ok. Thank goodness I put on my wool socks today, the one thing that is keeping my leg from freezing. So I pull my fleece pants out of my boots, sopping wet with icy cold water, unzip the leg and pull up my wool socks as far as they go and continue to walk. Thinking, my feet are going to be so frigging cold by the time I get back.

As I head down our steep hill to my cottage, I realize that my pant leg and boot are frozen, but my feet are still relatively warm. Wool really does keep you warm even when wet.

As I take my boots off, I give thanks to my wool socks that kept my legs and feet warm on the journey. I dump out the icy cold water and wait for my boots to thaw so that I can take the insoles out to dry.

I will be investing in some wool pants next time I go into town. There is an army surplus store in town that has them.  Today, I am very thankful for wool. It really does keep you warm… even when it is wet. 

To find out more about Nature's Backpack programs for children ages 3-14, please visit our web page

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 14 - Last one!

The last day of the Gratitude Challenge! Wow! It has been a great 2 weeks and I hope you have enjoyed it along with me.

Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 14 (click) - the last one!

In reflection, I have noticed that I give thanks and gratitude more easily and frequently than in the past. Something that I will be taking with me for the rest of my days. It won't stop here. I may not write about it every day for you all, but it definately is now part of my every day routine. 

It has really opened up my awareness as well, to open up to more than just myself and the people immediately in my circle. Perhaps it is because I am outside in nature more consitently that I see more wildlife, and understand it more, I am not sure, but I feel gratitude to the lessons I have learned.

I also find that when I start to feel sad, I can trace it back a little easier, let it flow and start the healing process, or can start to feel grateful for it or something that is in my life and feel a little better. Most of all, I feel happier. 

Thank you for joining me on my Gratitude Challenge for the past 2 weeks. I have really enjoyed sharing my journey with you and hearing about yours. 

Explore with us in 2013 through our various programs for ages 3-14 that will embrace each individual gifts and provide a safe place to express them and learn.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 13

When I first started my Kamana (a home study of the natural world), giving thanks in this way was very new to me. And to incorporate it into your life was something I have heard before, but this took it to a deeper level. For me anyway.

Today, look at the list and give thanks to each one. You have been practicing giving thanks for almost 2 weeks now. It comes easy for me.

Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 13 (click) - enjoy!

Thank you to all the people who are in my life, who support me, cheer me up when I need it and give me hugs when they greet me. For their honesty, their mentoring and guidance and to my ancestors who have paved the way for me to be who I am today. To guide me still from the world of mystery between life and death.
Thank you earth, for providing us structure and weather and seasons and day and night. To unify us all together
Thank you Water for quenching our thirst every day, and to bring the lushness to the world when you fall from the sky.
Thank you plants, for providing us with many different kinds of food, flowers to gaze upon and grasses to lay upon.
Thank you animals, for showing us how we can do things better, with grace and honour. And for providing us with food to eat to sustain our own lives.
Thank you Trees for providing us the oxygen we breath, for giving us shade and fun through climbing.
Thank you birds, for your beauty of flight thrills me deep and to hear your songs warms my heart.
Thank you wind, for you spread seeds and bring weather around the world, and allow us to fly kites and bond with our families.
Thank you weather, rain and clouds, for you bring nourishment with you and show us the power in nature
Thank you moon, when you are full you give power and light to those at night. And guide us in the darkness.
Thank you sun, for you warm our earth and bodies, allowing many chemical reactions to occur in all life. You also offer beautiful sunrises and sun sets.
Thank you stars for offing stories from the past, to helping us navigate and to ignite imagination in wishes and dreams.
Thank you to creativity in our lives, without it we would never have music, art, and stories. Through all of this we are individuals that have beautiful things to share.
Thank you to the Universe & The Future Generations, for the world is open to all and that our future generations will carry on our own legacies and hope we do a good job for you. 

Explore with us in 2013 through our various programs for ages 3-14 that will embrace each individual gifts and provide a safe place to express them and learn.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 12

Only two more days after this one of our challenge. What a difference it is making in my life. It is becoming a habit to just stop every once and a while to be thankful.  Today is a reflection on what you have done so far.

Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 12 (Click) - Enjoy.

So today we picked our own way to give thanks, and I wanted to give thanks to people, my ancestors to be exact. You know, a lot is passed down to us through our own history and lineage. Many times our family may do things without knowing the reason why? Or how, in my family, we are artistic in drawing and sculpting. Through looking back at our lineage we found out that our ancestors were glass blowers and carvers. How interesting. 

I also try to connect myself to my ancestors. Even though I am not on the same soil as they are, I can still feel I can connect to them through prayer and fire. I have had many powerful moments in the last few months where I have called upon them to help me or a friend through something and they usually answer. Whether it is through tears you shed, or gratitude and compassion to others, I have felt them.

So I hope to go back to where my ancestors are and learn a little more about them. Have you traced your lineage? Do you have something in your family that has been passed down? A Heirloom or a tradition? I would love to hear it. 

Explore with us in 2013 through our various programs for ages 3-14 that will embrace each individual gifts and provide a safe place to express them and learn. http://www.naturesbackpack.c

Gratitude Challenge Day 11

My friends know that I look for an excuse to go for a walk. It is crisp outside and the wind is picking up, but get bundled up and I am ready to go. Enjoy this day as you walk outside and give thanks. Look for the small things.

Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 11 (Click) - Enjoy!

As I walked to my sit spot, I had to keep reminding myself to stop and give thanks. Did you find the same? But when I did, I found a lot to thank. For starters, the ground was really wet, and I gave thanks to my hiking boots. As old as they are, and even though duct tape is keeping them together at the moment, they kept my feet dry. 

I then found coyote tracks and this time there looked to be more than one track. I always enjoy seeing them and gave thanks for there presence here in a suburban area. They keep our mouse and rabbit population in balance and the rabbit do them. I followed them all the way to the entrance to the forest and then followed the animal trails to my sit spot. 

On my way to my spot, I found another pigeon (I think it is) that was eaten by something. Gave thanks to it as it gave up its life to sustain another and kept a feather to remember it by. It is a white feather with a black tip... looks like it was dipped in black ink. 

As I sat at my sit spot, I gave thanks to the people in my life. The people who I have really connected to in the last few months and how blessed I am to have them. I also gave thanks to my ancestors, who are mostly in England and they answered my prayers for a friend. So thankful for that. 

As I walked back, I realized, that I do indeed have a lot of great things in my life, and a lot to be grateful for. Wow!

Explore with us in 2013 through our various programs for ages 3-14 that will embrace each individual gifts and provide a safe place to express them and learn.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 10

This challenge is I feel difficult, because you have to look inward at yourself. Sometimes that can be scarey. And were we not taught not to me high on ourselves? Well, sometimes I think we need to be more high on ourselves and give ourselves more credit.

So have fun with it, here is Gratitude Challenge Day 10 (click).

Wow, this was hard at first, but then it really flowed. I guess doing this a few times in the last year has taught me how to look inward. So here it goes. 

I am thankful for my tenacity. I do not give up easily and if I believe in something, I will never give up. I keep going until I find the answer/solution or achieve it. I also love my playfulness. It really brings joy to myself, especially now I do not have a problem with looking silly, being silly or acting silly. It is quite freeing. I like that I am complex too, I feel I have a foot in both worlds, the Western and the Natural.  I am also grateful for all the lessons I have learned this year, I have done a lot of growth and love the person I am. And I am thankful for loving people so easily and getting them out into nature and have fun.

Explore with us in 2013 through our various programs for ages 3-14 that will embrace each individual gifts and provide a safe place to express them and learn.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 9

This is an amazing experience. I remember walking through the forest at night, barefoot and blindfolded. What an amazing, character building experience. For today, I really encourage you to give this a try. Your senses will come alive! And really give you a different way of experience gratitude and awareness.

Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 9 (click). Have fun with it!

How did you do? I love using other senses than the dominant sight. It really got me out of my comfort zone. During my 10 minutes of gratitude blindfolded, I decided to do a sense meditation, starting with my sight and then moving into my hearing, smelling, touching and tasting. Then I blindfolded myself. Then gratitude for my sight was overwhelming. I gave thanks to my eyes, that I could see beutiful things, the sunset, the sunrise, the birds and my family. Then as I settled, I started to give thanks for all my other senses. I got up and started to just walk around a bit blindfolded and gave thanks for the earth and the senses in my barefeet as my feet and my sense of touch guided me past pine cones, walnuts and branches that could hurt my feet. It was an experience that always has me feeling different gratitude. 

Explore with us in 2013 through our various programs from ages 3-14 that will embrace each individual gifts and provide a safe place to express them and learn.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 8

Today, take a moment to give thanks for the things in the world. To start from the sky and work your way down to the earth. To give thanks for the birds that fly in the sky, the air you breath down to the ground you walk on that gives nourishment to the food you eat. Take a moment to reflect on the things you have been thankful for so far and track how it is making you feel.

Have a great day of gratitude.

Gratitude Challenge Day 7

Today started as a tough emotional day, but as I think of my gratitude for the day, I am lifted in spirits. We all have those kinds of days and I allow myself to have them as a lot of healing can happen through grief. I am thankful though that it usually doesn't last long as I am finding it easier to find the things to be grateful for each day.

So you ready for day 7? I have been enjoying your emails you have been sharing with me. Keep it up. Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 7 (click).

At first I was hearing a lot of agitation with people and not a lot of thankfulness. I was one of them. But then as I started to change my own feelings and thinking of what I was thankful for, I began to hear it. 

I heard thanks come from friends on social media for sharing ideas, contacts and a joke here and there. I heard a woman giving thanks to a man who held the door open. I heard children saying thanks to each other. And I heard thanks given to teachers, professionals for advice, mentorship. And last night, while meeting new people doing great things, give thanks for the hard work, passing of a business card and giving gratitude for doing what they are doing. Was great to hear it from other people.

Coming in 2013, we have Young Explorers program for 3-5 year olds, After School Program for 5-9 year olds, and Chicks in the Sticks, a girls outdoor club for 9-14 year olds. For more information visit

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 6

Have you started feeling more grateful during the day. To see the great things that are going on around you? It is becoming easier to feel that gratitude isn't it? It is a mild day today, dampness in the air, with a slight breeze that allows the geese to glide into their V-formation. I will look forward to watching the birds dance and sing at my sit spot today.

Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 6 (click). Look forward to getting back together with you all.

Today, I felt humbled as I walked through the fields, mud clinging to my boots and each step getting heavier and heavier. I thought of the animals and how they do it, how do they go through the mud and not get it caked on their paws and hooves. So then I gave thanks to the weather today. Thanks for showing me how easy I have it, that I can stay in my house when the weather isn't nice and stay warm and dry. And that the animals endure the storms, the cold and the rain. 

As I sat under my spruce tree, I was thankful for the full branches as they kept most of the rain off me. Then I watched the geese fly by, appreciating the honking to each other, like they are building each other's spirits to keep going. Then a smaller bird with faster wings flapping sped by and noticed the ducks have migrated in for a stop over to our pond. How do they all fit on this little pond? As I watched them fly faster than the geese, I enjoyed watching them all fly together, like dancing in the sky. 

And one last thanks I would like to share. And that is to the rain. Many people don't appreciate the rain, but I am thankful for it fills our ponds, our aquifers and rivers so that our overwintering friends will be protected during the cold freezing winter months. So thank you. 

Coming in 2013, we have Young Explorers program for 3-5 year olds, After School Program for 5-9 year olds, and Chicks in the Sticks, a girls outdoor club for 9-14 year olds. For more information visit

Monday, 3 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 5

Today will be an interesting one. Giving gratitude to people in your life. In the past year, I have learned how to communicate better with the people in my life, to be forthright and honest, and accept people where they are in their own life. The biggest lesson I have learned is to be open to other's opinions, that it is ok to disagree and most times a lot of knowledge and learning comes from it. The biggest gift I have been given though, is the gift of friendship... that I treasure dearly.

I look forward to hearing about your gratitude for the people in your life today. Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 5 (click). Have fun

I am very blessed when it comes to people in my corner. The people who are always there for me, no matter what, my family. I remember going through a tough crisis and my dad flew all the way from England to be with me and help me through it. So grateful for that. I also remember my freinds always being there for me when I need that shoulder to cry on, or someone to tell me straight what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. I am grateful for their honesty and love. And to the strangers who have helped me as well. To a couple with the same names as myself and my husband, who found my purse and returned it, money and all. To the stranger on the highway that told us our wheel was smoking on our trailer and we pulled over just in time before our wheel fell off. They are all around us, supporting and helping us. For that I give thanks. I hope you can all join me in that.

Coming in 2013, we have Young Explorers program for 3-5 year olds, After School Program for 5-9 year olds, and Chicks in the Sticks, a girls outdoor club for 9-14 year olds. For more information visit

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge Day 4

How is it going? Are you feeling good? I am always surprised by some of the feelings that are provoked when I sit and give thanks to various things. Yesterday was a surprise for me. For today, take 10 minutes and enjoy today Gratitude Challenge (click). Enjoy.

Today on my way to my sit spot, I noticed new holes from an animal. I wondered who made them and looked for tracks. Gave thanks to my eyes for observing it and look forward to figuring out the hole mystery. As I walked closer to my sit spot. I felt a sudden urge of excitement. A feeling of giddy and joy welled up inside of me. Not sure where it came from, but I acknowledged it and let it flow through me. It was a wonderful feeling. As I scanned the forest before I walked in as I always do, there was a scent in the air that was new. It smelled musty and I thought perhaps the coyote is near by, or was earlier today. It made my senses sharper as I tried to see what other scents I could smell, but that was the most powerful one. 

As I settled in to my spot under a spruce tree, I closed my eyes. I could hear the geese honking away and flying. I heard the jay with their "jay, jay" call and in the far distance to the NW of me, I could faintly hear the red tailed hawk. I kept my eyes closed and gave thanks for all I could sense, feel, smell and hear. Then I fell asleep. 

When I awoke, I decided to take a different way back out of my forest sit spot. Looking for a walnut shell that the flying squirrels leave behind. They make a great conversation piece and wanted one for my friend. Instead I found 100s of white and a few black feathers. A bird had been eaten and found part of its carcass. I then gave thanks to this bird, for it gave up its life to sustain another. Sang a short song for it to rest in peace.  A great day that was filled with a lot of gratitude and thanks. 

Coming in 2013, we have Young Explorers program for 3-5 year olds, After School Program for 5-9 year olds, and Chicks in the Sticks, a girls outdoor club for 9-14 year olds. For more information visit

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Gratitude Challenge 3

We got about an inch of snow last night. The first snowball fight of the year started when my husband opened the door, grabbed a hand-full of snow and threw the first one at me. Yes it was inside! That was it, we all grabbed our coats, boots, hats and mitts and ran outside for the traditional snowball fight kickoff. Was so much fun! Feeling thankful for that snow right now.

We are on day 3 of our challenge, how is it going? Here is Gratitude Challenge Day 3 (click). Keep sharing.

Today was a mix feeling day, as I thought of family members and friends. I was giving thanks to my family, as spread out across the globe as we are, we are still family and we will always support and love each other. The feelings were of gratitude, thankful and sadness. Sadness? Why was I feeling sad at being grateful for my family? Perhaps because we are so far apart and when I look at other families, I see how lucky they are to live so close together.  I embraced this sadness and gave thanks to it. It allowed me to inner track my feelings and where it was coming from. 

Then I turned my thoughts to my friends. To the ones that are no longer part of my life and to the ones who have stayed with me and to the new friends I have made in the last year. Thinking about them, I realized that they all have taught me one thing or another and gave thanks for their support, their arguments and their love. And as I look at the people whom I met online and have yet to meet, I give thanks to them and for the opportunity to meet them in the future. 

What kind of feelings were provoked for you? I was surprised by a lot of my feelings, were you?

Coming in 2013, we have Young Explorers program for 3-5 year olds, After School Program for 5-9 year olds, and  Chicks in the Sticks, a girls outdoor club for 9-14 year olds.  For more information, visit