Sunday, October 31, 2010

Celebrations I Could Do Without

There are some celebrations I could do without. Really. Not worth the effort to me. Of course I know that this is just a matter of preference. Halloween is my least favorite day of the year.

I must say that on this Halloween the weather was superb. We went to a high of 12 degrees. That is about 55 for my American readers. Warm hey? Our normal high for this time of year is 2 degrees, or 36 Fahrenheit. It was the first time in my memory that my children did not have to wear snowsuits under their costumes!
We spent most of this glorious day outside. We filled all of the bird feeders, shovelled away the remainder of last weeks snow, cleaned the garage so my truck could fit in for the winter and we even sat around the fire in the backyard drinking hot chocolate. Someone had wine but I am NOT naming names. This part of the day was great.

Then it was time for trick or treating. Athena chose to be Mr. Incredible this year. After almost losing the privilege of going out at all, (note the sullen face and attitude!) she got dressed up and off we went. We took Meg with us (who was exceptionally well behaved.). Daddy stayed home to give out treats. After about 10 or 12 houses, she asked if we could just go home. Oh yes my girl! You are getting it.

And so back home we went. She would rather have supper and have a bath. Linguine with clams is much better than Coffee Crisp any day is it not?

The weekend was filled with warmth and joy nonetheless. Chili with Dawn's cornbread recipe. First time I made it in a cast pan. Yummy.

Some reading, some UNO, some puzzles and lots of time in the warm sunshine. Some dog walking, some snow hill climbing and even some long overdue Yoga and Meditation.I guess the day wasn't so bad after all now was it?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winter Person

I am a winter person. No doubt about it. I prefer to have my cheeks rosy with cold than red with heat. I am kind of introverted, prefer to be outside when the bugs are all in hibernation or better yet, dead. I love to sit by the fire with my trusty glass of wine. Love the sparkle of new fallen snow. Dinner by candlelight. All winter things. I especially like the winter birds that frequent our feeders. This purple finch is a daily visitor in Athena's 4H club bird feeder. Chickadees, nuthatches, pine siskins. Love them. (PS Meg, the Golden Retriever also loves birdwatching. The front window is just the right height for her to look out on the feeding area.)

But this is a little much even for me. It is only October! Of course Athena has been out playing for hours. Both yesterday and today. She has been in the yard for 3 solid hours since I typed this.

I am glad that she is a winter person as well.

 PS We have a class pet. This is Abby our Snowy Owl, complete with a Tinker Toy cage.

And would you just look how perfectly those permanent teeth are coming in!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nile Delta

This is little Josie. Our youngest granddaughter.
She just turned 3 last month.
One thing about Josie,
she LOVES her Papa.

This is her Papa.
He just turned 46 last month.
One thing about Papa is
he sure LOVES Josie.

This is a picture that Josie drew.
It is of her and her Papa.
She even wrote the letters by herself.
She said to her Mama,
"Papa just has a triangle for hair right?"
(Must be all she can see from way down there.
He is over 6 feet tall!"

PS When I told Athena the story and showed her the picture
she said that Daddy's hair does look like the
Nile Delta. :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
doorbells and sleigh bells and bright woolen mittens
brown paper packages tied up with strings...
just kidding.

Theses are my real favorite things lately..

My brand new Professional Kitchen Aid.
(thank you Paul)
So far I have made a few loaves of sourdough bread
and some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Athena said we must have done something wrong
because the cookies were too thick.
Finally I made cookies that were not flat!

My wine. 3 litre box of Shiraz.
I usually prefer Cabernet Sauvignon but
that does not come in the handy dandy box.

Lint rollers. I use them all the time but now that
we have a dog (who sheds copious amounts of hair)
I use them even more.
If you have a dog, please tell me how you deal with
all of that hair. I now vacuum every other day
so my work load is exponentially increased.
Yeah me.
I still cannot believe that I have a dog!

My three stones.
They just bring me joy to look at them.
I found them in Summerland BC
which is one beautiful place!
Actually, those are my Peace River AB stones.
Another beautiful place but in a different more rustic way.

Live Clean products.
These are the only body care products I use.
Athena and I both.
Shampoo and body wash in one.
Gentle enough for my face even.
And the baby lotion is my whole body/facial moisturizer.
My skin has never been so good as far as eczema goes.
I don't use anything else!

Lindt Chocolate.
I try to have these bars in the house at all times.
All dark chocolate.
We like the chili, intense pear and intense mint the best.
One square after dinner almost every day.

Full fat dairy products.
I must say, low fat anything tastes just awful.
I am convinced that it is not fat that makes people fat
but trans fats and processed low fat foods.

My cast iron frying pans.
The big one is only a month old but seasoned okay.
The small one belonged to my Grandmother and has the
best seasoning. I can't imagine not cooking with cast.
Once you try it for yourself, you'll never go back.
Just scrape out the food residue, rinse under hot water
wipe with a cloth and let dry.
Season with oil and put it away until next time.

These are just a small sampling of things that make my life
run that much more smoothly.
And please, comments welcome about the dog hair. :0

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Learning Notes: Weeks 7-8

Good weeks all around, except for that one day. You know the day. I scrapped the DK math program. It is getting ridiculous. Moving around here and there, not really hammering down a concept. In stead we have a list of goals to acheive by the end of the school year. I think it will work much better.


Counting from 1-100
Counting backwards from 10-1
Adding up to 10 using dried kidney beans of all things. We also are using the abacus a lot. Thanks Jen.
Telling time. So far she knows the hours and half hours. We started 15s(quarter after) and 45 (quarter too).
She is catching on very quickly. She also has her first watch but Daddy needs to punch another hole in the band to fit her tiny wrist.
We also played war (card game)and Uno, and used the crib board to peg numbers. She loves this of course.

We started a regular Personal Care morning program. She has always gone to the bathroom of course but now after breakfast she brushes her teeth, combs her hair and washes her face. Turns out she loves splashing warm water on her face as she often comments "this is my best part".

Language Arts:

Still working on Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.  Again, this is a great resource.
Bob Books. Set Three.
Flash Cards. Another thing she loves.

Athena wrote letters to her three cousins this week. She dictated and then copied the letter. She stamped them and mailed them at the post office. The cousins liked getting letters in the mail too!
We have begun to write her "problem words" 5 times on the chalkboard, which is a great way for her to remember.


Started a unit on birds. We have completed  the Black-capped Chickadee and the Great Horned Owl.
She has to know the size, song, nesting habits and how many eggs they lay and what they eat. She is fascinated by owl pellets so we might buy a few online. Too gross for me but maybe Daddy can take them apart with her?


Athena learned to blanket stitch when we made these owl toys. She made the blue one entirely by herself!


Mummies and pyramids. She thinks the word "embalming" is creepy, even before she knew its meaning.
Made a replica of The Great Pyramid with sugar cubes.
She also, on her own, found an Egyptian coffin of King Tut and a picture of the Sphinx in her National Geographic Kids magazine. Very exciting.

Music Study:

She checked out a Little Einstiens video from the library and has been humming this song, by Edvard Grieg all week. It is her favorite. And get a load how profound this statement of hers is : "You know why I like classical music so much Mom? Because the words don't get in the way of the music." 
We studies Beethoven and decided that she likes the 9th Symphony the best and I like the 6th. She found it incredible that he wrote the 9th Symphony after he was completely deaf and found it horrible that his father would wake him up and make him practice piano all night long. But this was the funnies part:
Mommy: Beethoven was born in 1770 and named Ludwig von Beethoven.
Athena:  Ooooh. Bad name.
She cracks me up.


Mummies Made in Egypt
Egyptians: Usborne Beginners
Birds: A Guide for Children
Hallowe'en : A History
M is for Masterpiece: An Art Alphabet
J is for Jack o'Lantern : A Hallowe'en Alphabet

Extra curricular:
Baked cookies
Athena also worked on Dog Training with her dog (now named Meg)
Attended her first 4H project meeting and made a wildlife mobile and a bird feeder.
More about 4H in a later post but let me say that I think it will be right up her alley.
Swimming Lessons.
Worked her first 100 piece puzzle on her own.

(As you can see, she loves her dog.
She is still coughing and I hope it has nothing to do with allergies.
It has been 3 weeks of a cough for her, the longest ever.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


3 decades.
30 years.
1564 weeks.
10950 days.

It was 30 years since my boyfriend
"made it official".
We were going steady. (remember that phrase?)
I was 15 years old.
He had just turned 16.
I am glad he asked.
I am glad I said yes.

Not once has he ever forgotten to mark the day.
These lilies were the gift this year.

He is my gift, every year!

Friday, October 15, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo-no words -capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to
pause, savor and remember.  Amanda Soule

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Homeschool Frustrations

It is no secret that home education has its share of challenges. Some days it is hard not to think of how it would be like to send my child to public school. I would have 6 long hours to practice yoga, read, go for long walks, try new recipes, knit...heck anything I wanted to do. But like you, we have made the decision that this is the route best suited to our children and to our families. (insert looooooong sigh)

Today, for instance, little miss A has decided that she only wants to read 2 sentences. That is enough for anyone to read in a day. So consequently she has been sitting at her desk for 30 minutes stubbornly refusing to finish the paragraph in today's lesson. And I am in the kitchen, on the computer typing this blog post.

And while I am on the topic of homeschooling, there is the socialization thing. My little girl is not shy at all. She will talk to and with anyone, young or old. No problems there. She is registered in swim class and also in 4H club so she has opportunity to be with other children several times a week. This is my dilemma. She has a group of 3 girls that comes to call on her almost every day after school. These little girls are the girls in the neighborhood whose parents take less than great care of them, to be polite. They are basically left to do their own thing for hours in a day. Trouble is, they always end up over here. They are not the best of children and have a somewhat negative influence on my girl so I don't let them come over all the time. Once a week at best and at that time I have to be constantly on guard, listening in, watching. I don't feel like I have to let her play with them most days, but then some days I do. What do you think? Do you let your kids play with whomever, whenever?

And thirdly, the math program I chose is becoming ridiculous. I have scrapped it for now in favor of this. I don't know where I found it. Perhaps off of one of your blogs. I think I have been making things a bit more complicated than need be.

Anyways, the little one is finally ready to read so I am off. Thank you for allowing this little rant. M

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.
I had the foresight this year to go for pictures early in the afternoon.
Sometimes they just don't get taken otherwise.
The weather was abnormally warm and beautiful.
The food was great! A Hutterite turkey just butchered days before.
Stuffing, potatoes, brussel sprouts, roasted squash.
Macaroni and cheese, cabbage rolls.
My only problem is with logistics.
How to get all the food hot and ready at once.
Not a huge success in that department.
Good thing there is gravy to heat everything back up!

 On our way to the picture site. Down the back alley.

 Me with my daughter and 3 granddaughters, arranging a pose.

 Abby, Josie, Eden and Athena


 Josie found a lady bug.

 My daughter Jill, Eden and her man Clint.

 My oldest daughter Jen, Jordan, Abby and Josie.

 Me, Paul and Athena.

And last but not least, on the way back home.
Me and my youngest Granddaughter
Josephine Lauren.
Love this one!

Our other daughter Jess and her man Dann only showed up later
otherwise they would have been included.
Despite my best intentions,
family pictures never turn out just the way you want them.

As you can see, I have very much to be thankful for each and every day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Learning Notes: Weeks Five and Six

As I predicted, there will be weeks that are not so stellar. These past few were those. Week 5, the weather was just too nice. Plus we had to go to the city for Athena's eye exam*.Week 6, the flu*. A sick dog*. Oh, and company and Thanksgiving. Anyway, here we go.

Telling time
2D and 3D shapes
Writing numbers
Counting by 2s
Most and least
Counting by 10s
Counting forward and backward
Reading numbers
Groups of tens and ones.

She also played Shut the Box a few times. Fun game.

Language Arts

Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading
Lessons 41 to 44.
Read Bob books Set 2 Books 1 to 10


Thanksgiving History in Canada


Finished up Fall study.
Created an indoor moss garden.

Planted fall spinach and radish.
Nature hike. Collected some wasp nurseries and old bird nests.

She wanted to do a real science experiment to we dissolved salt in water, hung a nail by a string inside the glass jar. Still waiting on the salt crystals to appear.

While we were out in the yard, this huge flock of Sandhill Cranes flew directly over our yard. It was breathtaking...and very loud. Craaaakarr.


What Happens in the Autumn
All About Animals in the Fall
Canadian Holidays : Thanksgiving
Warm as Wool
Strega Nona's Harvest
Harvest Song
A Thanksgiving Wish
Various Thanksgiving inspired poetry

(I told you it was nice out. Eating Shrimp Creole on the
deck in Saskatchewan... in one's pajamas?
Unheard of.)


Athena wrote and sent two thank-you notes to her Auntie and Cousin for gifts given. And then of course, since the weather was so nice, we just HAD to walk to the post office to mail it. This was the first time that I remained outside (with the dog) and she took the mail key and found our box and got the mail herself. She was pretty proud of herself.

Lots of modeling clay work. This theme was dinosaurs.

* No glasses for Athena yet. Optometrist says likely next year
*Flu for Athena. Started with a headache on Wednesday last and she is still sick 6 days later. It is mostly just a cough now. Was it H1N1? Maybe.
*The dog we just adopted has lost 8lbs since we got her. She has a bladder infection and is being treated for Tapeworm. $228 later, I hope all is well.