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How To Live Like You’re Dying, Without Dying

Everyone says you need to ‘live like you’re dying’, they say it’s the best way to live. You can’t really understand life unless you’ve faced death. I’m here to say not only can you live without facing death, you can thrive!

Three years ago my doctor called and asked me to come to her office. I held it together the block between our home and the gas station. It’s one of those pay inside only stations. I couldn’t slip away unnoticed. When I walked inside, she took one look at me, came around the counter, wrapped her arms around me and asked what was wrong. This lady that barely knew me, held me while I sobbed. I knew I had cancer. My doctor would never ask me to drive all the way to her office, 45 min from home, for anything other than that kind of news.

The first month after diagnosis held fear, anger, and a belief that I needed help. The second month I realized I could do it. But the third month I decided to live.

No, not really like that. I always planned to live, but I also held the possibility of death. I shared that possibility with Ryan and our children. We cried. Things crumbled. It was hard. If I lived like I was dying, that meant hiding and giving up. Instead I decided to live like I was not only living, but alive!

Think about it.

You’re not just alive, breathing in and out, in and out. Starting each day the same, but actually ALIVE!

Alive can simply mean ‘not dead’, but it can also mean so much more! Vibrant, animated, engaged, connected. Being alive means experiencing life fully.

live like you're dying
alive in a broken world

Do you want to just live, or do you want to be alive?

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit  

Being alive means loving, and accepting love in return. 

To open ourselves to someone else can hurt. It leaves us vulnerable, exposed to possible rejection or worse, disgust. Can you imagine what it’d be like if you loved yourself fully and completely? If you loved yourself, and allowed yourself to be loved without casting doubt about your own worthiness?

You might notice the love handles, but they don’t matter. You know your heart and soul and finally see the magnificent person that you are. You see the way you talked gently to your friend even though you were tired. You saw the way you went out of your way to help that lost dog even though you didn’t have to. You saw your actions, heard your thoughts, and felt your emotions. You weigh and measure your whole self and realize you’re so much more than a number that needs to change. You are enough. And you love yourself enough.


It Can Hurt

Opening yourself to loving yourself can hurt so much. It means you face those darkest fears. You see that lonely child crying on the playground, you comfort her, and let her know it’ll be okay. You see your darkest fears, you face them, and you continuing living. That can be one of the hardest tings to do each day. I have so many fears. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of them, but they don’t hold the same power over me that they once did. I’ve grown to love myself, not because I’m afraid, but inspire of my fear, or maybe because of how I deal with my fear. It’s all mingled together. Everyone has anxiety sometimes. Everyone is worthy of love. And so are you.


In order to fully live, you need to love and accept love from yourself. Once you understand your faults don’t diminish your worth, then you’ll really be living!






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Keep Your Life Balanced Until the End of Summer

Summer’s flying by, faster and faster every moment. It seems like only yesterday I turned the furnace off and now it’s time to pull out the flannel jammies again. Alberta summers never last long enough, but it has been beautiful and full of so much fun! But this summer also pulled us in so many directions. As much fun as it was, we found ourselves off balance. As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, it’s important to remember there’s still a few more fun days left before routines shift back to lessons and winter boots.

Do you have a plan to make sure you keep your life balanced between now and the end of summer?

This week threatened to overwhelm me. My garden desperately needs my attention and my one bathroom hadn’t been cleaned in far longer than it should have been, not to mention all the things we wanted to do and foods we wanted to make. My balanced life quickly teetered as Ella and Agatha decided they wanted to start their math curriculum for the year and Agatha and Cordelia began their English work. Ella wants to learn how to sculpt cakes. And Brom wants homework. Any homework. Well, any homework – as long as it’s electronics, and a game, and features lego and superheros. Hmmm, after we talked that one through, turns out we have different definitions of homework! hahaha

The cooler weather and the never ending pile of stuff to do left me feeling so down about the end of summer. I needed to shift my thinking. Fast! First we watched a little Phineas and Ferb, then I made a plan to have the best day ever, each day, until the end of summer.

Today was the best day ever!

We stayed home. That’s it.

It was glorious! It was Balanced!

We changed all our plans, stayed home and had a water balloon fight in the backyard, made muffins, ate popsicles, and spent some time reading stories together.

We’ve been so busy all summer that we forgot to relax and enjoy the peace and joy our own home offers. In order to make the most of summer, I took a look at what I needed to shift to bring balance back to our life. We’ve spent so much time with plans and away from home we decided the fastest way to balance our life was to let go of needing to do anything.  If we want to go to the splash park, we will. If we want to go to a play, we will. If we want to stay up all night and watch shooting stars, we will. That’s the glorious thing about not making plans. We have the freedom to chose each day what will keep us balanced!


Balanced Summer Fun

  1. It’s okay to change directions if the direction you’re going brings stress instead of joy.
  2. If you’ve been home too many days in a row, go out. Leave the to-do list and the pile of laundry. They’ll keep. Have a picnic, go to a splash park, do something different.
  3. If you’ve been out everyday, take a break and stay home. You don’t need to have an adventure everyday to have happy fulfilled children. It’s okay to stay home and let them figure out what to do on their own.
  4. If a messy house overwhelms you, pick 3 things that really bug you and deal with those 3, and only those 3. Give yourself permission to let it go for a few days.
  5. Find time to spend with just you and your significant other. Maybe that’s after the children are sleeping, maybe it’s while they’re playing with friends. Maybe you’re really lucky and you have a babysitter and an evening free. However you do it, make time away from errands and chores for each other.

Here’s to a balanced summer!





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The One Trick that Changed Our Life

I have a secret. I love lists! It doesn’t matter whether it’s a shopping list, a to-do list, or some other random  list. I love to write things down!

I discovered a new way to use lists that brought our family closer together and helped accomplish even more every day. Plus it decreased our stress and increased our fun! What could be better than that?

Check out these two lists and how we use them:


Daily List

The daily list is a list of no more than 3 items (except rare cases when something out of the ordinary happens). One item is something we’ll finish that day. The other two items are things we hope to finish, but don’t need to.

Each evening, after supper, we talk about what we accomplished that day. Then the whole family makes plans for the next day. We use ‘Reminders’ on our apple devices so we can all access the list during the day. It’s important for everyone in the family to know what everyone else wants to do, that way we can work together instead of against each other!

Once we check off each item on the daily list, the rest of the day is free. We don’t add to the daily list except at the end of the day.


Weekly List

The weekly list is more flexible than the daily list. We add to it during the day and throughout the week. Anything that pops up, we just add it to the list. If the list gets to be 50 points long, that’s okay. This list isn’t about importance or how quickly something needs to be done. It’s about reminding us of things we wanted to do.

We use this list to help generate the daily list. I usually read this list once a day. It helps me decide what’s most important to do the next day. It also helps me see any patterns develop. For instance if I’m adding a lot of extra cleaning to the list, it lets me know the mess has gotten to me and it allows me to either shift my perspective, or do something about the mess before it overwhelms me.


How These Lists Transform

One of the greatest feelings is checking something off your to-do list. But that pales in comparison to finishing your to-do list! Because our daily list is so short, we finish it everyday. It feels ah-mazing!

Every life success amplifies the way we feel about ourselves and our life. Each small step makes the next step that much easier and more enjoyable.

But the real transformation is on the whole family. Our children learn to set their own goals.  Even Brom makes a goal each day (admittedly his goal is the same every day: Play more video games). Talking about our goals together, increases the connection between us in so many ways. They see what Ryan and I need to finish each day, so they either help us, or give us space so we can get it done quickly. We know what they want to do, so we help them with their goals. Once we’re done our items, we then have a lot of time in the day to do things together as a family, or spend special one-on-one time with the kiddos.

At the end of the day everyone feels more loved and respected and we all feel more peaceful.

This simple daily activity takes no more than 15 minutes each day, it’s impact on our day is immeasurable!




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5 Steps to Increased Life Satisfaction

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Nathan Hale (1755-1776)


I deeply admire the selflessness and courage of those who serve their country. I think that’s something we all agree on, even when we don’t agree with each other on other things. 

But would you give your children’s life to your country, what about your partner’s life?

Their lives aren’t ours to give, yet so often the choices we make in life aren’t for the well being of our families, but of our country. The saddest part is we don’t even realize what we’ve done!

Ryan and I both entered adulthood with a sense of scarcity. We felt we never had enough, always wanted, always went without. One of us might do okay for a while, but that’s when the other had to buy all the things. We were the perfect target for so many advertisements. When we had our first baby, we bought all the fear, we have the premium priced receipts to prove it! We wanted nothing subpar or dangerous for our perfect darling. We paid dearly for the crib that wouldn’t kill our baby with toxic fumes.

At the time, we believed it was best for our family. In reality, our family paid in more than just dollars for those choices. We paid in happiness and increased fear. We paid in time together and Christmases with no presents. Through our fears and our spending, and the fears and spending of so many other people like us, our country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) grew and grew.

The country got richer, stronger, while our sense of fear increased, and our ability to buy food wasn’t guaranteed. We felt poor, but the news told us the economy soared.

Time to Bloom

We thought it was just us. Turns out it wasn’t.

Over the past several years, we’ve talked to so many people, in person and online, going through something similar.

So many of us experience a quiet dissatisfaction with our lives. It’s nothing sturdy enough to identify, rather a susurrus we catch as we walk into a room or go out with friends. We don’t know if it’s longing, loneliness, or regret. All we know is what we expected when we were 19 is not what we got.

I’ve seen and felt this dissatisfaction. I’ve fallen victim to buying things I couldn’t afford, all in the name of hoping to (finally) be enough.

Then on a day filled with determination, I discovered there’s a different way.

It’s a way I want my children to learn now. A way I want to share with others.

It’s both extremely simple, and so complex all at once.

  1. Rethink what you spend money on. Do you really need it? Is it something that’ll bring you happiness today and next week/year? Will it make it easier to experience life? So many times we hear, “Spend money on experiences, not things.” It’s true. The more life we experience, the better we feel! Maybe that means you buy that coffee, and sit in the coffee shop with a friend. Maybe it means you don’t buy that Dooney & Bourke, but instead take your children to the fair.
  2. Be vulnerable. It’s easy to throw shame at the people around us when we’re anxious or afraid, but if we open up and calmly tell others what we’re worried about, often the result is a deeper connection that brings us closer together instead of driving us apart. You’ve done something that hurt your partner. You could ignore the hurt. You can let your partner know they’re too sensitive. You could find ways to point out how it’s really your partner’s fault. Or you could walk over, let your partner know you see they’re upset and you want to make things right. You can listen and understand why your partner’s upset. Really listen to understand, not to respond, but to connect. You can open yourself to your partner and share in the vulnerability so you’ll both be stronger together.
  3. Feel your fear. Examine it. Don’t push it away. Then do what you’re afraid of and see what happens. (This does not mean putting yourself in dangerous situations, it means making a phone call, asking favours, admitting you don’t know something or trying something new). It’s applying for a job you want, even though it scares you to hand in your resume.
  4. Understand there’s a difference between humility and invisibility. It’s okay to be aware of what you’re good at. It’s even okay to tell others. Being humble is not about hiding your own value, but rather about how you rate your value compared to others. “I’ve worked really hard to learn how to do this. I’m really happy with how it turned out and think I did a great job. It’s professional quality.” vs “My work is so much better than Jim’s. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am and am so happy with how mine is coming along.” One builds you up and allows the other person to decide for themselves what they think. The other statement tears down another person in order to make yourself look better.
  5. Be a leader. Leaders build others up. It doesn’t matter if you’re the boss, a parent, or a friend. Building others up is always better than tearing someone down. In the long run, the results will always be better. This step is the hardest to maintain, especially if you’re used to snarking or had low self esteem. I grew up believing there wasn’t enough love in the world. The only way I could be loved, is if I was the only one receiving love. If someone else received attention, that meant I wasn’t good enough. I constantly tore others down so I could feel a little more worthy. It’s really hard to change that pattern.


It’s time to take a stand and do what’s right for you and your family. It’s okay to feel the fear, and not act on it. It’s okay to live in the house you have and be happy with it. It’s okay to have a house with no garden. It’s even okay to not own a house at all. The government makes money every time we buy or sell something, the government wants us to spend money, lots of money. It’s time we all make decisions based on what’s actually best for our families instead of decisions based on the latests commercial or magazine article that tells us we’re not good enough!


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Camping Connection

It’s easy to drift away from those closest to us. Even as we see them every day. We sometimes forget to take a moment to sit and chat about our thoughts, our hopes, our fears. Sometimes we get so caught up in parenting that we forget our children are people too. People with big ideas, brilliant minds, and easily bruised hearts.

I find it’s always a good idea to reconnect in small ways frequently, but sometimes we need more than just a few minutes here and there. We need to spend time focused on our family, with few distractions. It’s in these moments we see the patterns we’ve fallen into, the ones that have us saying ‘no’ more often than we should or lecturing about something that really just needed a hug. Camping, tenting specifically, allows our family the opportunity to connect in ways we can’t at home.

We don’t have appointments and obligations pulling us all over the place. We don’t have cell phones or internet to distract us. We don’t have bedtimes or alarms. What’s left is family.

Catching water falls
Exploring Upper Kananaskis Lake

On our most recent camping trip we found so many times to connect with our children, build them up, and also provide them with extra independence, and a whole lot of pride.

We like to tent at Elkwood in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The site we choose is large, surrounded by trees, and has a small field on one side. It provides the kiddos with tons of space to roam and explore where we can hear them, if not see them, at all times, but also where they can create their own little games, complete with forts. Adults are on hand when needed, but mostly they do their own thing while the adults set up camp, do the dishes, or other camping chores. For children who rarely have access to a forest, or wild nature, it’s a grand adventure!

We can tell by the number of times they come dashing over, faces glowing with pride, calling us to listen to the daring things they’ve done, or to show us what they’ve built, that they’re growing in ways they couldn’t at home. It’s one of the most beautiful things to witness!

On this camping trip we saw each of our children tackle new skills with wild abandon and we saw them settle into the peaceful love of our family. Before we went camping certain things were sure to start fights, other things would certainly cause crying, but during our trip those patterns melted away as our entire family took the time to connect and fill each other’s love cups.

To us, it seems so small. Jumping from stone to stone across a stream, but to a child, it’s a big adventure, filled with the knowledge they might slip. They wonder what might happen if they fall. They might worry about wet feet, a bruised knee, or maybe something else. But it’s a much bigger deal to them than it is to us. It’s so important to allow children the opportunity to make that leap. Even if it means they get wet feet and dirty socks!

 On our camping trip we ran into a couple moments we didn’t expect. On our first full day there, we hiked from the Interlakes day use area, around upper kananaskis lake to a water fall. It was about 7KM one way to Lower Kananaskis falls. On the way there, the kiddos learned how to safely go down steep hills, with loose rocks. The first hill meant Ryan and I each went up and down a couple times as we took turns holding hands, correcting foot placement, and helping them gain confidence. We needed the first aid kit a couple times, but over all everyone did okay. By the end of the hike they all declared themselves pros! hahaha When we arrived at the falls, we were surprised to discover Cordelia was really frightened, she didn’t want to pose for the picture because she felt too close to the rushing water. I snapped the picture as Ryan tried to reposition her, but she clung to the tree. As much as I wanted the picture, we didn’t force her. Instead, we knelt down, found out what she was afraid of (falling in), then I brought her over to where I was standing to take the picture. From there, she could see where everyone else stood was far enough away from the edge that even stumbling would be well away from the water. We talked about how important she was to me, and how I would never ask her to do something I thought would put her in danger. Then I sat and listened to her talk about her concerns for a few moments, then I asked her to look around and tell me whether she thought her fears might come true, we also talked about what she could do if they did.

dancing at the falls

By exploring her fear, she was able to overcome it, and when we hiked to different falls a couple days later, she was prepared! She felt confident enough to climb onto the stones, and to dance at the edge of the falls. As adults, we see danger where children don’t, but sometimes we also see safety where children see danger. It can be really hard to take a breath and listen, but it’s always worth it when we do!







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Frozen Summer Fun

Since our last trip to Disney World, a new Frozen ride opened in Epcot, plus there’s For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration in Hollywood Studios. Not to mention character meet & greets. There’re so many opportunities to live the magic of this movie in the parks, but I also want our children to live this magic at home!

While watching this movie, we all joined in singing along, we also tried playing a song or two on the piano (okay Ella did, I did not)! The songs are so fun and catchy to sing, I can hardly wait to sing along in Hollywood Studios!

Winter activities for Frozen are easy to find, but at first I couldn’t think of good summer activities. I even added ice skating to our list at first, until I remembered we did that last time. Then I had a delicious idea!

These Frozen Summer Fun activities are so much fun and so delicious, they’ll have you wanting to watch Frozen all summer long!


Our first two activities were all about the frozen treats! I used to love ice cream cakes when I was younger, but we haven’t been able to have one since going gluten-free 8.5 years ago. I figured it was about time I made one!

I love Neapolitan ice cream, but rarely have it (I’m a vanilla girl at heart), so I decided this cake would be Neapolitan, but really, you could use any flavour you wanted! I made some homemade fudge sauce for on top and used whipped cream to decorate. The bottom layer is made from gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies with the cream scraped off, and the cookies crushed then mixed with the fudge sauce.

We also made homemade frozen drinks. I know they look like Starbucks,


but these ones were made at home. Of course we got the cups from Starbucks because our kiddos like to go there all the time. Since I had the cups on hand, and also had fudge sauce and whipped cream I was able to talk them into staying home for their frozen drinks. Ella also had milk shake recipes in her most recent American Girl magazine, so she decided to make one of those instead – I love watching her discover things on her own and decide to make them!

Our last activity took a bit of advanced presswork. It also involved a LOT of clean-up, but it was well worth it!

The night before I froze some water balloons, I also filled a few larger balloons with water and froze those. The next day we brought those and some washable paint to the driveway and got to work.

There were so many awesome pictures, it was hard to choose just a few! This activity kept everyone busy for a few hours, honestly it could have kept them busy much longer, but I needed to clean everyone up to make supper. You could use any paint, but I don’t like my driveway stained for very long.

The large balloons were the best, they were only partially frozen, so they ended up with ice caverns as they melted. Also because there was a lot of water at once, the colourful rivers running down the driveway were a lot of fun to watch. It was also really neat to see how the paint either slid off the ice, melted into the ice, or highlighted the different features of the ice.





Not only was this activity a lot of fun, but there was also so much to learn from it. A few we talked about include:

  • Colour theory
  • States of matter
  • temperature
  • fractals/ice crystals
  • global warming/polar ice caps


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Off the Path

Children love to go on adventures! There’s nothing greater than spending the day exploring the world, discovering new places, and especially facing fear and danger.

The wonderful thing is that something that is scary to a child, is often seen by the adult as pretty tame. It helps ease parents into watching a life full of adventure.

On our walk with the dogs the other day, we found a little place to cross a stream near our home. It meant we needed to leave the path. It meant we might get dirty. In life we’re often told to stay on the path. Keep to the well marked trails. Sometimes it’s for good reason, but sometimes we need to let go of those reasons.

We left the path behind us. We stepped into the dirt, we pushed through the bushes (okay, there were only two bushes, but we pretended we were in a forest), we came to the river (okay, barely a trickle, but our imaginations told us it was a rushing river).

The first time we crossed, Brom was pretty nervous, he needed to hold my hand. At one point he slipped and his foot got stuck between two rocks. He wasn’t hurt. We crossed that stream maybe a dozen times after that moment. By the time we left, he was crossing on his own, and very proud of himself.

I wasn’t worried, I knew if he slipped the worst that would happen is I’d have laundry and he’d need a shower. The rocks were small, I knew I could easily lift any of them if they shifted. I also knew none of them were very heavy so wouldn’t seriously hurt anyone. In other words, the risk was very small. But to Brom it was the greatest adventure!

Sometimes we lose sight of what it means to go on an adventure. To us, we sometimes think children need grand outings, we think they need to go far or do big things, but often they just need us to let them explore off the path.




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Teasing to Connect With Children

A Great Big Beautiful is about creating more love, joy, happiness and magic in our lives, and hopefully inspiring others to bring a bit of that home too. This week we ran into a problem in our home that stopped the magic in it’s tracks! We had to explore the situations and figured out what happened, and made a plan to prevent it from happing in the future.


Ryan loves to tease. It’s a fun, easy way to connect with the children after a long day at work. Most of the time this works, everyone laughs, and they feel more loved and closer to their Daddy. Twice in the last week it resulted in hurt feelings. Ryan quickly apologized, but he was at a loss as to why some teasing was good, and some was bad.

Once we stopped and I repeated his words back to him, it was obvious where the problem was. But it took a little bit more digging to figure out why other teasing is okay. I won’t get into specifics used for our children, but I’ll talk about similar examples I’ve seen other people use.

Some people use easy subjects to tease a child, “Oh that looks like a nice toy! Maybe I should have it!” if this works, the child giggles and says something like, “No, you’re too big for this toy.” Or something like that. If it doesn’t work, the child cries and instead of creating connection, the child forms a bit of distrust toward that person. Further teasing results in greater distrust.

Teasing that would leave a child feeling sad or angry in normal circumstances (toy taken away, favourite treat gone, hair cut off, not allowed to play with a friend etc) should never be done. An adult may realize they don’t mean it, but a child often doesn’t understand the adult’s meaning at first. Once the child does understand the adults meaning, it lets the child know that adult is not trustworthy. It leaves the child trying to guess when the adult means what they say and when they’re teasing – or lying (from the child’s point of view). For more information google teasing and children – so many articles about why you shouldn’t tease, ever.

Ryan and I’ve read many of those articles and we both agree with them, but there’s one small problem. Teasing is a way of showing and sharing love. Yes, people can learn knew ways of showing love, but taking away a person’s primary method of loving can be hard and cause damage to a relationship as well. Ryan loves to tease, but he loves his children more. So he’s careful when he teases. Yet something still went wrong this week.

After carefully looking at the ways that created feelings of happiness and love as well as the ones that created feelings of anger and sadness we realized there are two ways to tease.

One is to pretend to take away or prevent a person from having something they want. Teasing about a situation that would normally illicit feelings of sadness or anger. This type of teasing should never happen to anyone, especially  children.

The other way to tease is about something the child is good at or proud of. Teasing in a situation that would normally leave a child happy and/or proud. “Wow, you’re getting so fast, did you just run round the yard faster than the dog?” Whether the child agrees they were faster than the dog or not, it reinforces positive feelings about themselves.

Along with teasing there is a crucial second step. It’s important to stop and let the child know you’re teasing, let the child know you’re trying to make them laugh, and let the child know that you will stop if they want you to. In our home we don’t always stop to ask after everything we say, but at least every couple of days I stop and double check that the child I’m talking to understands and is okay with teasing. Also, if a facial expression, or body language makes me thing something is wrong, I also stop and ask.

There are times when teasing shouldn’t happen at all. If a child is really upset about something, don’t tease them, not even in a positive way. There are other ways to connect with your child in that moment. If a child has been going through something that leaves them really upset frequently (for instance sick parent, new baby in the house, new school etc), don’t tease. If a child doesn’t like teasing, don’t tease. If the child is younger than three, don’t tease.

Teasing, when done respectfully, can bring people closer together. The key is respect. Understanding the other person’s point of view. And understanding that a child’s point of view is not capable of being the same as an adult’s.





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Peter Pan Activities

Peter Pan offers so many opportunities for activities. There’s pirates, fairies, adventure, flying and of course storytelling. This time we focused on the elements that are important for this movie and relate to the ride.

Our first activity was learning more about Big Ben and telling time. Telling time went a IMG_5735lot better than I expected! Well for the big girls anyhow 😂 Brom may have just ran around screaming random numbers, Cordelia used the digital clock, not that I blame her, I avoid analog at all costs! hahaha Though we do have a beautiful clock that was gifted to us for our wedding, this is the one we used, and even better: It plays the Westminster Chimes!

After playing with time for a while, we decided to learn more about Big Ben. We had so much fun watching different videos about the giant bell inside the clock tower. First, I had no idea the Bell is “Big Ben” I always assumed it was the clock tower. It turns out the tower is “Elizabeth Tower”.

We also learned that the clock is kept in time with pennies! How neat is that!?! And there are four faces with 312 pieces of glass each. There are 399 stairs to get to the top of the tower, but only 334 to the belfry. hahaha

Next on our list of fun things to do was to think of wonderful thoughts. We sang “You can Fly” and then giggled about the happy thoughts we have. Everyone agreed: Going to Disney World is the happiest thought. We’ve spent a bit of time looking at old Disney trip pictures and also dreaming about the next Disney trip. Whenever that will be.

With Peter Pan as a theme, we had to have a duel: Adults vs Children. The weapon? Pool noodles!


I’m not ashamed to say, the children won. Soundly. Just look at Brom go! He disarmed me, then went in noodles flaying!

Unfortunately, Ryan was at work for this activity, so you’ll have to thank the children for their amazing camera skills!


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Thor Movie Activities

Normally we stick to movies that relate to Disney World, but our kiddos HAD to watch Thor, so we made an exception. I’m so glad we did!

First, they loved the movie. I was a little hesitant to show them super hero movies, at first. They tend to be more graphic and violent, I was worried our kiddos (ages 3.5, 6, 8.5, and 10) would be afraid or overwhelmed by the more realistic content, but over all it seemed okay. We pause movies when they get intense, we talk about themes, and we discuss their feelings while they watch. We had to pause and re-watch Thor getting run over a few times. They had to watch it over and over because they thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. I’m not sure what that says about my kiddos lol

The great thing about the activities for this movie is that they were all really quick and easy to set up and execute, but packed with fun for the kiddos, and us too!

For our first activity, we created viking helmets with supplies found around the house. They all decided on paper and tape:

After they were done making helmets, we decorate cupcakes to resemble Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir (or like they call it ‘Meow-Meow’). The kiddos wanted red frosting, but with natural food colouring it’s really difficult to get red. So just imagine the pink frosting is read 😉

I used sesame snacks for the handle (straight pretzels would also work), dipped them in chocolate, and used the melted chocolate to paint designs on marshmallows. There were a lot of smiles and tons of giggles. I’d call it a win over all!

Our last activity was the absolute winner. We used a rubber floor mallet and practiced hammer throwing, just like Thor. We started by throwing for distance, then we tried to hit the bin and get the hammer in the bin. Ella and Agatha are the only two that actually got the hammer in the bin from any real distance, Ryan threw the farthest, but Ella was pretty close – a fact she won’t let us forget hahaha

Everyone had so much fun with this movie, they all decided they’re Gods of Thunder now – so beware!