We love live music around here. We love concerts and plays and broadway. We love the arts. We play music and sing together as a hobby. And over the past year (maybe a little more) we have been hosting concerts in our basement.

 And we get a lot of the same questions about it…. “Are you scared that the band might steal something or murder your family in their sleep? Ha ha, but really… So how do the artists make money? From grants? Do they sell merchandise and the concert is free? Do you advertise in the local paper or just have friends and family come?” So I was thinking I’d answer a lot of them. And share some pictures of all of the artists who have come (and i made them let me take their picture) and links to their websites and music.
1. “How did you get started doing this?” About a year ago Regan and I attended a concert in Lethbridge of a musician we both really love named Dan Mangan. (And if you haven’t heard of him, you’re welcome for introducing you to him. And go watch and listen to one of my fav songs of his) After the concert Regan was reading Dan’s website and found that he had an organisation where lesser known artists would travel around and do basement concerts in peoples homes. So Regan emailed and signed us up. I was a little unsure about the whole thing at first. But I love it. March 4, 2016  was our first one with The Crackling. And since then we’ve had Jessie Speed, Gabe OlsenBarefoot MovementBen Bedford and this Thursday night we have Sweet Alibi coming. The first two artists were with one company, Gabe is a friend I grew up with and the last three are from an organisation called Home Roots.  We’ve hosted most of them in our basement but a couple we’ve had at the red barn here in Raymond.
 2. “How do the artists make money?” All the ticket money goes to the artists. We don’t keep any. And we provide meals for them and a place to stay. They usually show up in the afternoon the day of the concert and we have supper together. And then after the concert they stay over at our house and we feed them breakfast the next morning before they go on to the next home. They also all have sold CDs and some shirts.
 3. “Do you advertise in the local paper or just have friends and family come?” We have a Facebook group for our concerts. That was a later addition. I post about it on Facebook and for this upcoming one my friend Stewart made posters that I hung up around town.  We are still trying to figure out the best way to get people to know about the concerts. Many, many people say they want to come and support it and then don’t come. I understand that life gets busy, but I also think that if you love live music and you want to see it so up close and personal, there is no better way. I’m thinking of collecting an email list for the older generation that isn’t on Facebook but that would come and support live music.
4. “How do you do this with your kids?Are you scared that the band might steal something or murder your family in their sleep?”
Hahahah. A LOT of people have asked about if it’s weird to have them in our home. The very first time I was nervous – only because we had never done it before and I didn’t know if it’d be strange.  Our kids actually mostly went and stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. But i think it is so good for our kids to be exposed to others and musicians and every single person has been respectful and kind and we have welcomed them into our home and made new friends. A few of them all our kids have been up but lots we’ve just put them to bed first. Our older kids are usually up and listen to it. I am sure that our house is different than pretty much every other house they go to on their tours. No coffee for breakfast, no alcohol or smoking, Lots of kids running around, a blessing on the food before we eat. I’d like to think its a good experience for all of us involved. And never once have I ever felt unsafe doing it. 
 
 Regan and I have talked about it many times, that we’d love to fill the theatre one day with a band. Lots of great music goes to Fort Macleod. Lots of awesome artists go there and it’s For Macleod! I kept meaning to email the people who run it and talk to them. But then we started with Home routes and it arranges one a month. So now that is enough for our family. Maybe in the future we’ll pursue that more, but for now we love that we get to host and enjoy live music and support the arts in Raymond.
 
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Beautiful light + beautiful couple makes for SO MUCH fun taking pictures. These two were just lovely. And man are they cute together! I love love!

These two love birds met on January 1st and got engaged a month after starting dating.

They love going on walks together, road trips, going to concerts and going dancing.

The evening Brant proposed he took Zoe back to the Watertower, where they had had their first date. He had the ring in his truck and he went back to get the ring and accidentally dropped it into the snow. So then he was franticly trying to find it while playing it cool the whole time. Luckily he found it and then dropped down on his knee to propose.

The one word they used to describe themselves was Joy. “Both of us are exploding with happiness that we found each other.” <3

Are they not so sweet?! 🙂

Can’t wait for your wedding guys!!

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So this very very lovely couple are awesome. And we got together on a lovely afternoon before their wedding and captured them together in all their attire. I love a great bridal session. Relaxed and lovely. Holly comes from one of my very favourite families and it’s always awesome to be with any of them. And i love seeing her being loved so much by a great guy. These two were also very accommodating to me, letting me get a fill in (thanks Kinsey!) for their family pictures on the wedding day so I could go and audition for the Great Canadian Bake off. We took all of the bridals at the beginning of the week and all taken care of ahead of time. 

These two are so fun together. I love seeing how couples are with each other and these two, they are goofy and fun together. It’s soooo cute.

SUCH a Beautiful girl. Inside and out.

Beautiful flowers from Holly’s sister Stephanie from Flowers on 9th.

Nathan and Holly’s friend Carmen Struyk made them this cutest embroidery as a wedding present.

Huge huge huge congrats to Holly and Nathan.

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  • March 29, 2017 - 10:34 am

    KRISTIN - Hey friend:
    Happy tears from me. You got their personalities in these pictures. Thanks for being so good to my family – you have a generous heart and I appreciate all you do.
    These are beautiful!

  • March 29, 2017 - 2:17 pm

    Carmen - Just lovely, its so nice looking at such beautiful pictures.

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So a few weeks ago I started getting people messaging or sending me links to applications to a reality TV show called the Great Canadian Bake off.

And my first reaction was like uh, no thanks.  I mean i obviously love baking. If you’ve read my site for a while at ALL  or spent any time with me you’d know i love baking a lot. It’s one of the things I do a lot and I’m quite passionate about. I love baking. Well my oldest two kids saw the link and asked me if I was applying and I was like no! why?! And they were both like, oh come on! It’d be so cool. I’ve never seen the show or any of the other ones (British, American, Australian) And they were very excited about it. So one night on a whim I filled out the application. Now I must say I was a tiny bit sarcastic in my application. Like under my signature item I wrote: Bread (everyone is always ragging on gluten but I think it’s marvellous.) HA. So when they called for a phone interview I was a tad bit surprised. And I even told the lady on the phone that.

But she told me I had a strong application and asked me lots of baking questions, and then that they’d love to have me come to an in person interview in Calgary. So after getting all that arranged I went. I didn’t know what to make at first. I considered donuts since a lot of people know me for that. And it’s a family tradition but I think they don’t travel well and really I kept coming back to my love of bread. It’s easier to travel to Calgary with and it’s bread! I love bread. And I love baking bread. And I love to talk about bread and eat it and share it. So that decided it for me.

But I love making so many kinds of bread that I couldn’t decide what kind to make either. So on Friday I made a lot to help myself decide. 8 loaves of french bread, 2 different white sour doughs (from two different starters), a whole wheat sour dough, two braided cinnamon raisin breads, 2 boules, and 1 batard. I made a couple at least of each kind for one to try and maybe one to take. But ended up putting one formed sour dough in the fridge and getting up at 6 with my kids and baking it in the morning before I went. This is a picture of my loaf I ended up taking. Along with some sharp cheese and balsamic vinegar + oil.

It turned out really good. I was totally proud of my bread. Which made me happy. My lovely friend Lonnie drove me up and I was very very happy to have her with me to distract me (I was getting a bit nervous the closer we got) and chat with me. When we got there at noon I sat around and waited. Then at about 1:15. Then we went into the kitchens. We had to plate the food and they took pictures of it. There was only four bakers in our group, which was way less than the earlier two groups, (both of the had 11). Me, Leslie, Kaylee and Jim. We are introduced to everyone – their team, the Judge Chef Rose. They showed us where everything was and talked about the show and the applicants.  And all of this was getting filmed. It was really relaxed and not stressful at all. Everyone was so kind and nice.

Then they did a little count down and showed us our recipes we all had to bake. It was scones, and we were supposed to flavour them any way we wanted too. I did blueberry and lemon. The filming around and in our faces quite a bit. (It was weird and I’m sure I answered them funny, haha.)

I talked a lot about my kids and how I bake for them. And I was happy to say “I’m a mom!” Then the Judge Chef, came around to each one of us to explain our dish we brought. So I talked a lot about bread and sour dough and the cycles of bread. (To my hearts content 😏) then she wrote down and made notes, and tasted and told me it was really really really great bread. 😁 and told me that I obviously knew a lot about bread. Hahahahaha I was the only contestant from Alberta to make bread. So Im assuming it stood out. Then we all tasted each other’s. Which was awesome. Super yummy stuff. Macaroons, lemon tart and small cream cheese tarts with french meringue with blue berries on top.
Then they collected a scone from each of us. And then we waited around again and I enjoyed talking to the other contestents. Then I had my on camera interview and that was funny too. It was a total ramble, but lovely Meredith told me that was what editing was for. 😉 I think I was myself. Jim, one of the contestants was telling me everyone needs a roll and I need to remember mine is farm girl. HA.

It was fun and I realized that I might know a lot about baking. It was a funny realization. I guess. They were talking about different doughs and stuff and how hard they were and I was thinking… it is??  So maybe that was a good outcome of the day too.

They didn’t tell me when I’ll hear anything. They still have to go to Winnipeg, Toronto, Halifax and St Johns. They did tell me they give the people who got the on camera interviews baking homework. And mine was to watch the tv show. So I’ll try and do that soon.
I have no idea if it’s going to even be realistic to go and do the rest of the show. It’ll be in Toronto. And I have 5 kids. They fly you there and they pay for your to stay. And that just seems to impractical. And I’m not sure even why I’m doing it. Except that my kids wanted me too and i love baking. I’m really passionate about it really. And I want them to see me do hard things. To try for things. Why not. I do want to keep going. It’s a bit terrifying to me to be on tv. Not really something I have ever even had in my head, EVER. But it’s a challenge and I’d love to just see how I’d do.

So it was fun and who knows where it will go from here.

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  • March 29, 2017 - 10:40 am

    ME AGAIN - hahahaha.
    I’m commenting on all your posts.
    What an opportunity and I’m so glad you were able to go. For setting the example for your kids of trying new things – for sharing your talents.
    I’ll help out with your littles if you end up on the show!

  • March 29, 2017 - 2:23 pm

    Carmen - Thanks for sharing your experience. I can’t wait to see the outcome. Even if it doesn’t work for you to go on the show, because like you said 5 kids and gone etc (because I think you will be a winning contestant!) then it will still be neat knowing you tried something hard, won and had that experience. If you do, I’d be happy to help watch kids or whatever to make it possible!

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I grew up with a very loving mother. In fact, I remember being little and thinking sometimes that my mother was smothering me with love. Ha! It was a daily given in my life for as long as I can remember back. Her love has always been something that has been the strength to my foundation for every thing in life. No matter what has happened or what I have chosen I know my mother loves me and there is nothing more valuable than that.

When I was a young adult and dating and even when Regan and I were first married, I was actually quite afraid to have kids. I wanted it badly but it was also absolutely terrifying to me. I had seen my own mother and how hard it was to parent and the heartache she had survived through as her children made choices that she took personally. Regan and I talked a lot about it and I always knew that I wanted kids. It was all I wanted to be when I grew up, but it was still totally and completely scary to me.

I still remember first finding out that I was pregnant with Alden. And I remember the hours I spent barfing. Out my car door, in the garbage by my desk at work, grocery store bathrooms. I barfed constantly and everywhere. And I was still so excited about the idea of being a mom.

In the weeks leading up to his delivery and becoming a mom, I was randomly calm about the whole thing. I had received peace about my role as a mother and how I KNEW that God would help me. I knew that I wouldn’t be perfect at it. In fact, I knew i’d make mistakes. But I also had faith and trust that God would make up where I lack.

The relief and experience of delivering a baby is almost hard to describe. But I’ll never forget the physical relief as well as emotional from hearing the voices of the doctor as Alden was born. “It’s a boy” “Holy cow, this is a huge baby”. “You did it Rhonda.” So many words of support and love coming at me. And then them handing me my firstborn. Locking eyes with Regan and feeling the power of love in our little family unit was eternal and indescribable. This was what I was called to do. And nothing that I wanted more.

Since then we have added 4 more kids to our family. And each one has been a challenge and a joy. Motherhood is no joke. It is physically tiring and exhausting. NOTHING pushes and challenges me more. And nothing competes with the joy I feel with it. Regan and I LOVE being parents. We love our children. I have so many many moments when I am completely at a loss of what to do. I actually have no idea how to be a mother. But I am trying every single day. And trying to put my very best into doing it. My children are the world to me and I am so very grateful that I get the opportunity to be involved in raising them. I get to spend my time nurturing them.

Motherhood is something that affects every living human. Whether you birthed them, adopted them, buried them, lost them, – our children are always a part of us.

Motherhood is something to be celebrated and supported and encouraged in every culture and country. Physically supported. Monetarily supported. Emotionally Supported. Love is not a burden, it is the reason behind everything. The power and strength of a country and even humanity comes back to the cradle and the homes where the babies are raised.



There is a United Nations town hall meeting today with the UN Secretary General that will be full of people who are hostile to the family and working against it on all fronts. Their voices are heard above the voices of parents, and we’d like to give you a chance to help our voices be heard and, even better, the Ambassadors and delegates will hopefully take notice of it!

Here is our initiative that we need urgent help with starting now and going over the weekend. We’re focusing on one thing at a time and tomorrow this is the goal: to testify about motherhood NOT being a burden.”

I am proud to be a mother. So very proud. I love these humans with my whole heart.

 

Please, please, please share the love you feel for being a mother, for your own mother, for motherhood, for your desire to be a mother. Even if you feel like this won’t affect you, more voices add power. Every voice of support is needed. For more info go go to: http://unitedfamilies.org/motherhood-2/motherhood-not-burden/

And we need it today.

#MomStory#EmpowerMothers#LoveIsNotABurden#CSW61

 

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  • March 17, 2017 - 9:03 am

    A. - I don’t know you but want to sincerely thank you for this post. You are amazing.

  • March 18, 2017 - 9:46 pm

    Mary-Rose McMullin - So well-written. Your love for your kids shines so brightly!

  • March 29, 2017 - 10:38 am

    KRISTIN - I just read this on my computer (wow – do people do that anymore?!) and it made me cry. So beautifully written and relatable.
    I just love you!!

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