Friday, May 29, 2009

Frog Frolic

Buckets...check. Nets...check. Magnifying glasses...check. Friends...check.
All that you need for a great afternoon!!! This afternoon (well, the whole day, really) I have been in a foul mood. Not sure why, exactly, but my poor children have been suffering because of it. So this afternoon, rather than staying at home and hoping that the neighbours don't hear my decidedly unhappy yelling, we grabbed our gear, called up some great friends, and headed for the stream to catch frogs. There really isn't a better way to spend an afternoon. Not only did I feel better, but the kids had a great time too. It is great to see how interested children are in nature - their natural curiosity, their wonder at the world around them, and their complete un-concern at getting wet feet.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Science North

Well, here they are.....a million pictures of our mini-vacation to Science North in Sudbury. So, let me start by saying that unless you are a close family member (who will no doubt be grilled by William and Charlie on the minutiae of their trip and a million "did you see the picture of....." questions), feel free to skip through these if you need to. I am the first to admit that it can become a little tedious looking at other people's vacation photos. Still, we did have a great time. It is well worth the trip if you have young kids (or even not so young ones) and I hope that we can do it again next year!! We spent a total of 12 hours there over 2 days, and could have gone back again. So take a look at the pictures (or not!) and I promise to blog about something different tomorrow!
Exploring erosion...
Learning about anglerfish...
Learning what to look our for on a hike (Massassauga rattler)...
Daddy and Charlie love...
Getting up close to a polar bear...
Learning about lapidary...
Making friends with a frog...
Meet Quillan...
Dominos rule...
A pilot in training...
Butterfly on a mirror...
Making a vortex with Stephanie...
Playing detective with skulls...
Meeting a friend of Chippy's...
Petting a cockroach...
Taking in the view after rock climbing...
Learning about a prehistoric fish...
Taking in a 3D IMAX movie...
Building a race car out of K'NEX...
What a great think these pictures were bad, you should see the dozens of others that didn't make the rather generous cut!!! You really could spend multiple days here and never run out of things to do. Thanks for humoring me!!

The Big Nickle

Welcome to the Big Nickle!!!!! We are home from Sudbury, and we all had a blast. Our first stop was to Dynamic Earth, a science and geology centre that includes a tour of a mine 7 stories below ground. William and Charlie had a great time playing in the 'pretend' mine, as well as exploring the real one.

The climbing is always fun.......

What six-year-old doesn't like setting explosives underground?

This is a section of the mine from the early years - the mine is set up in different time periods so that you can see how the industry has changed over the years.

more climbing...

and panning for gold!!
More photos to come of Science North, but I do need to take a little break - you know how it is....needing a vacation after your vacation?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

We're off (Goodbye for a few days...)

Well, as of 7am sharp tomorrow morning, we are off on a mini-vacation to the wonderful metropolis of Sudbury, Ontario!!! I know, I know - try to curb your enthusiasm. Actually, this is a second year on a row that we have headed for the near north. Why you may ask? SCIENCE NORTH!!!! What more could a homeschooling mom want that a 4 level building (shaped like a snow flake, no less!) full to the brim with hands-on science for the kids to explore, and dozens of 'blue coats' (university students ,I would guess) who roam around answering questions, showing everything to the kids, and lighting balls of gas on fire (really!!). There is an IMAX theatre, a butterfly conservatory, a whole room full of LEGO (!!!) and K'NEX, a table to search for fossils, a porcupine in residence, animal bones to play with, hissing cockroaches, a water / erosion table, dozens of get the picture. Needless to say, I will be post-free until we get back towards the end of the week, but never fear - you will be inundated with more pictures of Science North than you could possible every want to see. Have a great week,
Jo and boys

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yeah Me!!!!!

OK, so this may not look like much to you, but to me it is wondrous. What you are looking at, dear reader, are my very own seedlings, tucked into a beautifully weed-free raised bed (I won't even tell you how long it took me to get it weed-free...)mulched with straw from a friends farm (thanks Jenn and David!!!) and ready for the summer. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know a little bit about my challenges with gardening - mostly that I am not all that good at it. But for the first time ever, I have managed to keep my seedlings alive long enough to move them out into the great outdoors, and even hardened them off suitable that they have not died of dislocation. We planted 2 types of tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, green and yellow beans, and even some marigolds. Add this to the cabbage, carrots, peas, spinach and lettuce that made it into the ground earlier in the spring, and we are in great shape!! If you have any helpful gardening tips, I would love to hear from you. Hopefully my gardening 'luck' will hold on until the harvest....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Come See

Mom - come see the lovely flowers in your garden - there are six! They are so beautiful it pops out my heart!
Charlie (3 yrs old)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

There is only one time...

There is only one time that is important - Now! It is that most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life.

Leo Tolstoy
The Three Questions

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

In the aftermath of our Mozambique table at the World Expo last week, we found ourselves with a whole lot of fresh pineapple in the fridge. And so....pineapple upside down cake!!! We actually did cupcakes rather than a big cake so that we could share with the neighbours more easily. Of course, nothing makes William happier than being trusted with making deliveries up and down the street on his own. I am so grateful that we live in a neighbourhood where I feel comfortable sending him out on his own (having a kitchen window that allows me to watch him most of the way helps, too...) Anyway, in case you ever find yourself with a fridge full of pineapple, here is the recipe - Yum!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
fresh or canned pineapple slices
maraschino cherries
1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a 9 inch round cake pan. Stir in brown sugar and 1 tbsp water. Arrange pineapple and cherries in the pan. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder and cinnamon. Add milk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixers on low speed until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Carefully pour into the pan on top of the pineapple, and bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, before loosening the sides and turning upside down out of the pan onto a serving plate. Serve warm.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Don't you just hate it when people don't publish regularly on their blogs? I do. Especially the ones that I read every day, the ones that always give me a pick-me-up, or an idea, or a laugh..... Well, I have no real excuse besides that this week has been on the hectic side, and although I did manage to snap a few pictures, they never did make it onto the blog. So here you go - I have gotten all caught up, my drafts box is empty, and I fell much better. I hope you enjoy them,

Music to My Ears

The south side of the road...

And the north side of the road.
I have a confession to make - please don't think that I'm crazy. Here we go - this little waterfall flows under a country dirt road just south of our place, and I cannot drive over the bridge without stopping the car, rolling down the windows, and listening to the sound of the water. Beautiful. There are a lot of us out there who recognize the beauty of scenic vista, who smell the flowers, but really, nature is at its best when we use all of our senses. We need to let our eyes take in everything - the light, the shadows, the color, and movements. We need to smell the earth, the air just before it rains, the breeze off of the lake. We need to feel the sun on our skin, and the bark of a tree under our fingers. And we need to listen. Not only to the birds, but to the wind, and the rain, and the waterfalls. And the best part? Now the boys ask to stop and listen to the waterfall, too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

2009 World Expo

Today was the World Expo hosted by our homeschool group. We had about 25 families hosting tables, each showcasing a different country. What a wonderful afternoon! The kids even got 'Passports' to take around to the different tables and get stamped. Ya know my favorite part? See that picture above? The one with my boy showing everyone the project that he worked so hard on??? I almost cried. Honestly. Now I know I can be a bit of a sap, but it is so nice to see the kids being so proud of what they have put together. Some of the tables were incredibly detailed, well put together, high get the idea. Others were very simple, a little less than neat, done by 6 year olds instead of 16 year olds. But each and every child there could tell you a whole lot about the country that they studied, and they all had huge smiles on their faces. That is what it is all about, isn't it? And, to top it all off, even though you can't really see it here our table cloth (see our our post from Monday) worked out. Yeah!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Something Pretty

In spite of their name (Bleeding Hearts) these little blooms sure are pretty! Hope they brighten up your day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meet Nitro

It was an open house event at the local police station, and William and Charlie had a great time checking everything out and meeting Nitro, the police dog. Nitro, of course, was the highlight. Not only does this dog obey far better than my children do, but he can also sniff out explosives, track down a missing person, and apprehend a 'suspect'. The only thing I can say is "poor Jack" (our golden retriever). He's not going to know what hit him - William thinks that Jack should be able to learn a few new tricks.....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Clay Dying

You know what I like best about homeschooling? You can get dirty, and call it education. Really!! We have been learning about Mozambique lately as our part in a World Expo with our homeschool group (we are soooooo excited!!) So today we tried to dye a table cloth with clay. Not sure if it will work yet, but it was a hell of a lot of fun making it. We mixed up the clay with soy milk (heard that the protein in the soy milk helps the color to stick...) and stamped it onto a cotton sheet. In the process we got covered up to our elbows in clay, and came dangerously close to sharing our 'chocolate pudding' with a few unsuspecting friends...We'll see how it turns out, and you can bet that there will be pictures from the Expo to come.
Have a great (and messy) day, everyone!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

The boys were so happy to make up these poems and frames for their Grammy - thought that we would share them (you can click on the picture to enlarge it).

As for me, here is what I am thinking this Mother's Day:

I love......
*waking up with two warm little bodies cuddled up next to me
*watching William and Charlie play with each other
*when they ask me to read them a story
*seeing a mountain of running shoes inside the door when all of the neighborhood kids come over the play
*baking chocolate chip cookies together
*how their skin smells like sunshine after they have been outside playing all day
*that my 6-year-old still loves to cuddle
*the bond that I feel with other mothers all around the world
*that my children (and grandchildren ?) are my legacy
*watching them touch everything
*that sneaky look in their eyes when they are up to trouble and don't think that I know
*that Charlie calls me a flower
*watching them learn something new each and every day
*the stories and poems that they write
*how gentle they are with animals
I guess I could go on and on, but really, what I love most is hearing :Mama, I love you.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!!