Monday, September 27, 2010

The Whole Fam Damily

Family Reuinion 2010

 My sisters and brother
Lyse, Keri, Dana, Tamara, Me and
our brother Michael.

 Again, with my Mom

 And again, after Tamara said
"Everybody suck in."

Learning Notes: Week Four

Another great week. I know there will be times I say otherwise but as for now it is going well. This week:

Counting backwards
Introduction to Money/counting money
Began subtraction

Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading

Lessons 38 to 40
We are finished all of the short vowel sounds. She is reading so well.
I love this method and this book.


Hieroglyphics and cuneiform. Made name plate and pendants with cuneiform lettering.
Mapwork: Egypt and Sumer. Colored in the Nile River and labeled map.


Bird Migration
Picture of Sandhill Cranes
Learned of Autumn Equinox
Made African Harvest Drum


Seeker of Knowledge (The man who deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphics)
The Incredibles, a movie story book
Dot's Pot
The Busy Little Squirrel
By The Light of A Harvest Moon
Honk! Honk!
The Flight of the Snow Geese
Black Sky River

Blackberry Picking
A Cold October Night
Late Fall
Fall's End (began to memorize this one)


Began a copy book.

Athena is a girl.
She has green eyes.
She has a dog.
It is a Golden Retriever.


Listened to Josh Groban on the way to Regina.

On our trip we were lucky enough to come across a migrating flock of Snow Geese. We drove onto a grid and were able to hear their sounds and get a few pictures as they were taking off and landing.

And as luck would have it, on our way back on Sunday she spotted some Sandhill Cranes!! Again, I turned into a farmer's field and we could hear their sounds and see them fly. The pictures are not great but I'll share them here anyway.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

First Day of Fall

Fall is here although it has seemed like fall for weeks already. The weather has been cool and rainy with a few warm days scattered in here and there just to keep us sane I suspect. The cloud cover is enough that it keeps us from viewing the Harvest Moon.

Our schooling is going extremely well. Athena is engaged and we are finding our groove. School work from about 9 until noon and then she goes on to play and I get to my regular household management. Doesn't that sound important? Our week was filled with great art projects as well. Something we lacked last week. We made hippopotamus stand up figures, which tied in with our Ancient Egypt study. Did you know that hippo means horse and potamus means river? So a hippopotamus translates as river horse. No, i didn't know that either.

We also did some cuneiform carving into some clay. She made a name plaque for her bedroom and a pendant for a necklace with the letter A on it. She really enjoyed this project.

And today, on the first day of autumn, we had pumpkin pie with whipping cream for breakfast. Yes, you read that right. (Don't judge me.)

 After lunch we made caramel apples to take to Regina with us tomorrow. We are having a family reunion and I just can't wait.

 Paul left today for a work fishing trip up north and Athena and I are heading south for a couple of days. Shiloh will be staying at a kennel here in town. We'll all be reunited on Sunday.

The dog thing is going well so far. She sleeps all night and half of the day. She plays with Athena a bit but mostly enjoys chasing birds and following Paul around wherever he goes. We went digging through her papers that they gave us at the pound and found her name was Pete. Pete. For a girl. Unfortunately this is the name she responds to. I feel foolish calling her Pete. I feel even more foolish trying to call her Shiloh Pete so she gets used to her name. Ughh.

And in sad news, I found that my bag of birdseed has a small hole chewed in the bottom and there was a small pile of empty shells scattered around it. I keep the seed in the garage which has direct entry to the house. Paul was in the city so I texted him to get a live mouse trap. Of course, being an unsentimental testosterone laden man, he bought kill traps. And this morning it did its job. That little fella was so cute too. Such is life and death in small town Saskatchewan.

So I am off until Monday where I hope to post beautiful pictures of my girls, my grandchildren and my whole family. First time in 5 years that we will all be together. Like I said before, I can't wait!

I leave you with this picture. Paul having secret dealings with three Hutterite men and the end of the driveway. Looks kind of suspicious but I assure you Paul was only trying to take a look at their dugout pump.

Have a great weekend friends. I know I will.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Learning Notes: Week Three

Great week in home education. With every passing hour I spend with this girl home schooling I am more an more convinced that this is the very best educational environment for her. At this stage of the game I cannot even imagine a reason that I would put her back in public school. So this week we accomplished the following:

Ordering, greater than and less than, comparing, on and on. She loves math and actually did three more pages than I planned out this week. This week we move onto subtraction.


The Egyptians. We learned about the Nile Delta, all about the Nile river and its annual flooding ( Now I know how Moses "parted the Red Sea"). We also learned about some of the Egyptian gods and goddesses. She likes the story of Osiris and Set the best. Just began to learn of mummies and sarcophagus. Did some map work as well. Read about how the White crowned King of Upper Egypt fought with the Red crowned King of lower Egypt for dominion over the land and how the white crowned King became the first Double Crowned King of all of Egypt and later became the first Pharaoh. She loves this stuff.
Listened to Egyptian Treasury on CD by Jim Weiss

Language Arts:

Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading Lessons 35 to 38. Good stuff. She is gaining confidence with her reading skills.
Bob Books Set 2 Books 5-8
Spelling: Short vowel words. She loves when I give her the chalk board and chalk and dictate a spelling list.


Collected seed pods and leaves
Did leaf rubbings and leaf classification
Dehydrated seeds and re-hydrated bean seeds
Learned about the Harvest moon
Learned about apple growth and harvest
Did experiment about oxidization using apple slices and lemon juice
Read about Autumnal Equinox
Watched Video: Animal Antics in Fall


Listened to 1 and 1/2 hours classical music (not including supper time classical music)
She has decided her favorite piece so far is Piano Quintet in A Major "The Trout" : Second Movement by Franz Schubert

Decorated an Egyptian Sarcophagus (coffin)
Various fall crafts
Leaf rubbings
Corn Husk Dolls

Field Trips:

Leaf hunt

How do you know its Fall?
Autum Leaves
Let's Look at Fall
The Autum Equinox: Celebrating the Harvest
A Day at the Apple Orchard
Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile
Countdown to Fall

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Open Letter to My Family

Dear Family members,

I have some news that I am about to share with you before our big re-union next weekend.
Feel free to openly judge me, as I know some of you will, and I probably deserve it if history is any indicator.
We got Athena a pet. (I feel your collective eye rolls). I have been wanting her to have a pet for some time now, especially since we started homeschooling. I KNOW that I did not have the time nor the energy nor the inspiration to get her a puppy. Been there, done that. We had Parker, but alas, he has left us. He was last seen on the deck on July 1st.

Anyway, back to my story. Where was I... oh yes, I didn't want to get a puppy so I put an ad on Kijiji asking for an older, fully housebroken, gentle large breed dog. I got email after email from people offering me their dogs. One woman even tried to pass off a "portly Sheltie" as a large breed because she was just that fat! And then I got an email from a worker from the SPCA who informed me that they just got a dog in whose owner just had to move into a retirement home.

So, Jill ran out there for me as the pound was about to close. She saw her and took a picture with Eden petting her. Only problem was, she had a few applications on her already. I should call Monday morning. So I did. Still available but they were checking out the applicants information. Call back Wednesday. So I did. Wednesday she was still available. Did I want to put my name down so the Director could call me? Yes. Wednesday evening the Director calls and tells me that the applicant she is considering looks like it will be approved so she doesn't think we will have a chance. Did I want her to call me if she was still available. They had until 8pm Thursday night. Yes I did.

So... no phone call on Thursday. No phone call on Friday. Oh well, it was not meant to be I supposed. Saturday morning comes and we are all three outside working in the yard. I come in to get a drink of water and there is a message on the machine. "She is still available but we have had much interest so if we want we better come to the city immediately as they open in a half hour. Their policy is first come, first served." So we jump into the truck as we are. Leaves in our hair, burrs on our pants and dirt under our fingernails. The pound is 45 minutes away.

We get there and there are people milling around already. We head straight to her cage and Paul gets a leash. We take her out and immediately we love her. Paul goes back in and Athena and I take her to an off leash area and let her run. And run she did. But when I called her she came right back and sat down.

We put her back in her kennel and we go find out how many days before we know. Two other people are there showing interest and one was going to fill out an application that minute. The Director approved our application on the spot and within minutes she was ours.

She is a 3 year old Purebred Golden Retriever. She is fully housebroken. She can sit, lie down, stay. She needs some work on a leash but we got a Halti and she is under control. She is gentle as can be. This is our second day with her and all is well. She slept in her kennel from 10pm to 7 am with just a whine or two at the beginning. She does her business outside, every time. She loves to play and she is particularly attached to Paul already. Follows him everywhere. She is very affectionate and wants to be pet all day long. Athena just loves her. She is very very sweet and very very good. (Feel free to leave your 'head shaking' comments in the comment section.)

And so, I introduce to you Shiloh.

And now, to my friends, and thank you Jill and Heather for your help and advice,
We got Athena a dog! Yeah!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment}
A Friday ritual.
A (few) photos-no words- capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have written many times before about how I love yoga and how I feel so "me" when I am on the mat. I know I have, but I just have to say it again.
Yoga has been "there" for me over the years in so many ways. I use it as therapy when I am sick, stressed or anxious. I have these sequences written down in a coil notebook. I used to teach them about a hundred years ago when I taught yoga. Actually, more like 3 years ago. I have never done the headache sequence without receiving some sort of relief from the practice. Yes, yoga is that good.
I have used it in times when I needed an energy boost, while searching for clarity, when I had menstrual problems, (back when I had menstrual problems). I practiced when I was tired. I practiced when I felt strong and healthy. Each time I came to my "sacred space" I listened to my body, to my spirit, and adapted the practice to what I needed each day.
Not one time, not once was I ever regretful of the time I spent practicing yoga. Not once. Did I ever have to force myself to do it? Oh yes. Many times. Did I ever find any excuse not to do it? More times than I care to mention.
Yet... I always come back. Yoga is like a true honest friend. It is always there when I need it. It is always quietly whispering to me to come to its truth. And most of all, it never lets me down.
I have been getting back to my practice in a more serious way this past month and it has been good. Really good. I feel strong. I feel fluid. I feel open and flexible. It is a good thing.
In my quest toward balance, (did I just say quest? *rolls eyes*) I have found that my yoga practice is what grounds me in a way that is more beneficial than anything else I have ever found. If you haven't experienced this, I wish you would. If you have then you know all to well of what I speak.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


All is quiet on the home front. I am finishing my glass of wine. Paul is getting things ready for his Regina trip tomorrow. Athena is tucked away in bed. All of a sudden I hear:

"I can't get any sleep in the town!! There are too many dogs barking!"

Try living in a city my little one. Just try it.

Way Too Old

I was speaking with my Granddaughter Eden on the telephone the other day. I was telling her how lucky she was to have a baby sister and now a baby brother too. I went on to tell her that Athena sure wishes she could have a brother or sister and Edie replied,

"Yeah but you're kinda old to have a baby."
I told her that I guess I was and then asked her how old she thinks I am. I love doing this, it always turns out so funny. So she thought about it and said,
"Well Clint is 25. Wait, Clint is 35 (Clint is my daughters partner)
so you must be....ummmm..... 65?"
I tell her that she is close, I am 45. And then the little lady adds,
"You are younger than Clint??!!"
I asked my other Granddaughter Abby how old she thought her parents were. Abby is almost 6 keep in mind. And she said, without hesitation,
"My mom is 17 and my dad is 18"
Oh really? Early start I guess. So if you are ever in need of a chuckle, ask a young child how old she thinks family members are. What a hoot!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Learning Notes: Week Two

The plans I have laid out are going pretty well. We have gone a bit ahead in math and are a bit behind in science. Obviously there is going to be an adjustment period.


Counting by 10s to 100
Counting by 2s to 20
Reading numbers
Making groups of 10 and adding ones

Language Arts:

Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading Lessons 32-34
Spelling (I gave the little lass a chalkboard and had her spell, then erase 10 words)
Bob Books Set 2 Books 1 -5
Copy work: Short sentences and letters I through L


Nomads Become Farmers
Map work : Fertile Crescent
Coloring page: Farm implement Shaduf
Cave Painting
Internet tour of actual cave paintings.
Oral Quiz:What are Nomads?
What do Nomads Eat?
Why do they move?
Why did they settle in the Fertile Crescent?
How did they water their crops?
How did they protect their villages?

(The first week she hid under her desk when I took out the history book. Now she shouts "Yeah! History! The story of the past!")


Read several books about autumn.
Collected seed pods from vegetables and flowers from the back yard.
Helped with the yard clean up to get ready for winter. Pulled annuals, harvested tomatoes and peppers.


Two half hour sessions of listening to classical music.


Cave Paintings
Plasticine: made all sorts of dinosaurs and played with them for several hours.


Ra, The Shining One
The Wanderings of Isis
Dragon Kite of the Autumn Moon
One Small Blue Bead
Every Autumn Comes the Bear
I Know Its Autumn
Little Grunt and the Big Egg

Field Trips:


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Seeker of Balance

As you may or may not have noticed, I have changed my profile description to read "Seeker of Balance". Now more than ever I feel a deep need for it.

Maybe its because in the past six months we have begun home schooling. Maybe its my age and all the hormonal changes associated with it. Maybe its none of those things. Whatever it is it is calling to me in a real palpable way.

My husband bought me a hand made leather bound blank unlined journal when we were in Victoria in the spring. The pages are rough enough for charcoal or watercolor art yet smooth enough for journaling as well. It remained unused on my bookshelf until just the other night.

After I had my evening shower and slipped into my bed I took it out and began to write. In large letters, right in the middle, without premeditation, I wrote the word Balance. It kind of took me by surprise. I decided to go with it. I began brainstorming. What did balance feel like to me? And sure enough, I started to write words. All kinds of words in different styles of writing.















I am on a personal journey. I long for all of these things in my life. Some I have. Some I don't. Some are elusive. Some come and go.

Then I asked myself, "What do I need to do to move toward balance?"

My very first response was to dedicate myself more fully to my yoga practice. I know I have said it a million times before and now I say it again, I am never more myself than when I am on my mat. Never. And I have been there, more than ever. I have been practicing almost every day and I love it. I grounds me. I makes me feel fully alive. Fully me.

A few months ago I went into a Fair Trade import shop in the city. I looked around at all of the wares. Beautiful handcrafted items. Coffee and tea. Chocolate too. Instruments, baskets, purses and jewellery. I am not one for jewellery but a particular bracelet caught my eye. It was make of wood beads, 6 different strands. I picked it up and slipped it on my wrist. I knew I had to have it. It made me feel... balanced. I was pleased to learn it only cost $14. Every morning after I wash my face, brush my teeth and dress, I put my bracelet on and I smile. Like I said, it grounds me. It is a simple, organic reminder of who I am meant to be.

I put it on and I carry on. Just a small thing that keeps me balanced.

And so as my journey toward balance begins, I have to learn to put myself on my priority list. I have to care for and nurture my soul. I have to become the woman I was meant to be for myself, for my husband, for my children, for my family and for the (Universe, Great Creator, God, Shiva or whatever your name for that which is greater than you.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Long Weekend

What a great weekend! The last warm long weekend of the year. Partially warm. Today was rainy and cold. Perfect for staying indoors, knitting and reading around the fire

We had a long "to-do" list, which happily got completed with ease.

Take down the canopy

Cut the lawn

Clean the garage

Give Paul a haircut. (I have been cutting his hair FOREVER!)

Fix leaky taps in bathroom

Go to a movie! (Me. I went. With Jill, my daughter.) More on that later.


Go to Pike Lake canoeing

Stack firewood for winter. Chop wood for kindling.
Make lasagna, bake cookies, grill shrimp.

Yes, it was a good weekend. What a contrast in weather though. Almost unbelievable. On Friday it was warm in the morning and by the time we got to Pike Lake with the canoe shortly after noon, it was really warm. We didn't bring Athena's swim suit so after our 1 1/2 hour canoe trip I stripped her down and sent her off into the lake.

What fun she had. Catching minnows and snails. Swimming and running along the beach.

And in typical "only child/ home schooled" fashion, she has trouble with socialization skills, as you can plainly see.

The weather is turning cool very quickly. I feel the chill of an early fall. Still, we ate dinner outside 3 of the 4 nights. Who cares if we had to don a sweater to do so. We do what we do. And to reiterate one of my favorite quotes: "There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes."

Back to school tomorrow. Despite the rain forecast (oh the poor farmers) this week is going to be wonderful!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Around Town: Delisle, Saskatchewan, Canada.

This is our little town. Population: just under 1000 I think. Situated 41km southwest of Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada. We have lived here 4 years and 3 1/2 months. Although there are some family feuds that sharply divide the people here, we have grown to like our town. Not love it, just like... for now. Here is a small sampling of where we live in Delisle, SK.

The view north, just down the block and around the bend from our place.
This way to the big city.

As the flag says, our town was established in 1908. We celebrated the Centennial
with them just a few years back.

Our History.

We are right between a lovely Provincial Park and
another small town.

Town Office
(or did you figure that out on your own?)

RCMP Office

Local car wash with local cowboy.

The water tower. Or as some like to call it
"a golf ball on a tee."

Post Office where Athena and I walk to almost every day.

Two Antique shops, side by side.

Law Office

View of golf course, just a few houses down our street.

Likely the most famous locals. Brothers Garth and Dale,
who upon seeing us taking pictures, stopped their car
to ask if I'd take their picture.

And last but not least, our house.
The most favorite house I have ever lived in.
Not the newest, not the fanciest but the best house for us.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Learning Notes: Week 1

As a way to document our learning this year, I unabashedly borrow this idea from Sarah. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery is it not? Plus, it is a great way to keep a record of what we have accomplished so I plan to post at the end of every learning week.


Tracing numbers, counting to 15, placing missing numbers in order and addition up to 10 using manipulatives and an abacus.


Read Bob Books Set 2 Books 1,2 and 7. Why 7? It is Sox the Fox and cousin Abby taught her to read this over the summer.

Lessons 28 - 31 in Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading using magnetic letters as an additional practice.


Letters A through H in D'nealean script.


Introduction: What is history? What is an Archaeologist? Made Athena's Family Tree. Used Usborne Internet Linked Guide to History. Went on several websites to see short videos and play games related to archaeology. Narrated her summary of what is history and what does an archaeologist do and drew a picture of an archaeological dig with found artifacts. Added to history notebook. Went into the sandbox to find the 12 Matchbox cars that Mama hid, imitating an archaeological dig.


Began the study of Fall. Went for a walk looking for signs of fall. Searched for different mushrooms around the town. Read about Pumpkins, the way they are pollinated, grow and are harvested. Learned different types of pumpkins and the curcubite family. Added a picture of the pumpkin patch to nature journal.


Made family tree. Pumpkin patch pictures using watercolor pencils. Picture of Rapunzel in the tower. Made picture of Archaeological dig and King Tut's tomb.


Non -fiction

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch
I Can Be an Archaeologist
Me and My Family Tree

Fairy Tales

Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Little Red Riding Hood

Field Trips:

Walk around town taking pictures of the buildings and reading the history of each one
One fantastic afternoon of canoeing with Mom and Dad (I'll be sore tomorrow!)
Playing in the lake catching minnows and snails
Camp out in the back yard with Daddy

The week started out on shaky ground but finished in a most wonderful way.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Much Better

Day three homeschooling. Things are much better. Athena would agree. Things we have changed:

Scrapped the Science program and began to study Fall. Today we read A Day in the Pumpkin Patch. Learned about pollination, types of pumpkins and their uses, related curcubites, tendrils and harvest. Read Cinderella aloud while she drew a picture of a pumpkin patch. Much better.

Used manipulatives for math. Popsicle sticks and an abacus. The "making tens" lesson just clicked this way. Much better.

Did the copy work (D'nealean script) early in the day. She hates this but obviously needs to work on handwriting. Much better.

Used the Staples Easy Button for each time she completed an assignment. "That Was Easy". Much better.

Did about an hour of work, took a break. Did an hour of work, took a break. Etc... Much better.

Postponed the Ancient History segment for now. Just until we are into a groove. Much better.

Spent more time outside. We searched for signs of fall. We looked for mushrooms. We did a visual history of our town. Post to come. Lots of fun. Lots of learning. Much better.

I have begun to do the art lessons along side of her. Everything I assign her, I do as well. Good for me, good for her. Much better.

Lowered my expectations a bit. I revisited my reasons for home schooling in the first place and realized that I was trying to recreate a school room atmosphere at home. Was it not what I was trying to avoid in the first place? Of course it was. (silently chides herself) Much better.

And these past two days have been much better. More learning. Less frustration. More joy. Thank you for your encouraging comments on my last post. They helped a lot.

PS Paul came home from the city and brought me a small block of my favorite St. Agur blue chees and a baguette for lunch. Of course I had to add a teeny tiny glass of Chardonnay. I promise it was a teeny tiny glass.

PSS My sweater is coming along nicely. :)