Thursday, September 30, 2010

So much to tell..

So much to tell you all, and no time to do it in. I thought I would chime in here just long enough to say that we are all still alive and doing well, but just a little too busy for our liking (or for blogging!). We have been working at home, enjoying the lovely fall weather, playing with friends, and having adventures. There was a trip to the Stratford Festival, the years first building co-op, a ground water festival, beautiful sun rise photos, and likely more that I have forgotten. And all of those lovely pictures still sitting on my camera. SIGH. Still, the weekend looks like it may offer up some 'down time', especially if the neighbourhood kids want to play.

Until then, I hope that you are all enjoying adventures of your own !!

Ground Water Festival

This is the first year that the boys and I have made it to a ground water festival, although I have wanted to for a few years now. Here are some miscellaneous pics...

and one silly story. So there we are, 3 parents, and a handful of kids. We are at (now pay attention, this is very important) a Groundwater Festival. There is a very shallow river running through the park. The kids head towards it, as kids will. Ankle deep water, kids 5 years and older, and parents fully supervising. And we are told, in no uncertain terms, that there is to be no playing near the water. I swear, it is true. I think I would have laughed out loud, if it wouldn't have been so obviously rude. Sigh. I guess just in case I needed another reason to home school, it is so that we can explore places like that on our own.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Building Co-op Returns!!

Today was the first day (this year) of our home school group building co-op. Once you call something a co-op it sounds a little more important, but really this is just a group of families who get together every few weeks to...well... build. The general idea is that it is a chance for kids of all ages to come together, surrounded by tons of building toys - LEGO (could you guess?), K'Nex, blocks, Magnetix, and see what wondrous things they can create.

Here was the goal.

The kids started off strong...

But soon drifted off towards...

And then outside to this...

And this...

And a whole lot of this.

Ah well - it's not as if my guys are lacking in LEGO time. In their defense, it was far too beautiful a day to stay inside. The kids (about 10 families worth!) had a great time outside, and it left all the parents time to chat. I guess we can't ask for anything more.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


There really isn't a lot that I like about getting up super-early for work on a Saturday morning. To make it a little more palatable, today I left myself an extra 10 minutes, and took my camera along for the drive. It really did make the whole ordeal a little easier to bear.

I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning. (I know I should believe it, but really.......)
~Jonathan Swift

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stratford Festival

One of the pleasant surpirses that awaited me when we began home schooling is that you really don't have to miss out on too many 'typically school' things (the good ones, anyway!) if you don't want to. Most places and events geared to school children and class trips are open to accomodating homeschoolers, as long as someone is willing to organize it.

A lovely mom in our homeschool group organized for other families from our group to attend a production of Peter Pan at the Stratford Festival. Jim even took the day off work so that we could go as a fmaily, and it was a fabulous trip.

I imagine that I went to Stratford at some point in my childhood, but I can't for the life of me remember it. This show, however, was unforgettable. We all watched entranced - not a new story, obviously, but the acting was convincing and hillrious, the sets, costumes and props were breathtaking, and the whole event was magical. The boys enjoyed the whole play (2 hours of it!) without a word of complaint - not even a request for candy from my purse!!

Having said that, it was an expensive day, and not one that we will likelyu be able to repeat very often. We will all look forward to going back, though, as soon as we can.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Early Fall Hike

I love this time of year. The sun is still warm, but the air is a little cooler. Beautiful fall colors are every where, and the bugs are not. These photos are of the lovely trail that runs through the woods by our place. We were happy to have some friends over to share the afternoon, and to show them around.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.

~George Eliot

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Tim Hortons is like an invasive species.

William (this afternoon, as Mama pulled in to buy a cup of tea.....)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Telling Tales Festival

Today the boys and I headed over to the second annual Telling Tales Festival - a great (and free!) literacy festival held in a heritage village. The village, which is worth a visit any day, is filled with costumed characters from favorite books, readings, demonstrations, and booksellers. There is even a book 'exchange' where kids can bring in books that no longer hold their interest and receive tokens towards the purchase of new books.

They enjoyed exploring the old coal burning train engine and walking the tracks...

Seeing the costumed characters strolling about...

Visiting the heritage buildings...

Petting the police horses...

And best of all, listening to...

A surprise story telling by Robert Munsch, a favorite author in our house.

Needless to day,. bedtime stories will likely be an extended affair tonight!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Ending

Late this afternoon, I heard that unfortunate thunk of a little bird hitting our back window. We have decals pasted all over it to give the sparrows and chickadees fair warning, but every so often some distracted little soul flies right into it. The boys were very concerned, and we went out and found this somewhat stunned goldfinch sitting on our deck. Thankfully, he didn't look to be in terrible shape. After a few minutes of cuddles and encouraging words from the boys, we put him safely under a tree at the back of the yard, and shooed our cat inside. When Charlie and I went out later in the evening to check on him, he flew up and away, seemingly none the worse for wear. Thank goodness for happy endings. I am not sure I would have been up for 'that' conversation tonight.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

LEGO Revisited

I haven't posted any photos of LEGO lately, and well, that is just not representative of our lives. As Charlie has gotten older, he has joined his older brother (and father!!) in their LEGO obsession. These past few weeks, the two friends who live next door have joined in with William and Charlie to act out the ongoing saga of their LEGO figures. It has included the building of forts and houses, ships, planes, and in fact whole landscapes. The toy room is for all intents and purposes closed off to anyone else - it is an exercise in torture to try to step into the room in bare feet. These photos are not great, but they were all I could manage to snap before being shooed out of the room by four fanatical builders.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What we are reading today...

I haven't posted a book list for a while, so here is a glimpse at the books that are on the bedside table (well, to be honest they are in a pile on the floor beside the bed) right now....

Galore By: Michael Crummey - I am really enjoying this novel, set in Newfoundland and filled with a cast of characters both lovable and loathable. It tells a story where, as the cover says, the line between the real and the otherworldly is impossible to distinguish. As an added bonus, it is Canadian, which is always a good thing.

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community By: Robert Putnam - I am only a few pages into this, but I am really looking forward to delving deeper. Much of the work that I do outside the home (and inside it, too!) relates to helping people become more a part of their communities. I will try to post a review when I finish it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows By: J.K.Rowling (read aloud)- This is, of course, the last in the Harry Potter series that we have been working our way through for most of the past year. I know that some people object to the subject matter, but in my thinking, any story that not only gets a 7 year old boy excited about reading 700 pages, but also puts a smile on Mamas face, is just fine by me.

Animal Antics By Literacy Ladder - William still struggles with any leveled readers. Somehow if he sees any sort of notation that it is at a set level, or says beginning reader or any such thing on it, it is not a 'real book' in his eyes. We have had good luck with some of the kids fiction written in the 1950 - 1970s, but this newer book made it through his screening because of the animal content.

The King At The Door By: Brock Cole - this is a favorite that gets pulled off the shelf every few months and takes the place of honour in bedtime reading for a few days in a row. It is a take on The Boy Who Cried Wolf, but turned around. The boy in this tale tells the truth and is not believed, with hilarious and heartwarming results. (Gee, I could write the cover notes, couldn't I?)

Stanley's Wild Ride By: Linda Bailey - the Stanley books are another favorite of the whole family. They follow the life of Stanley,a family dog, who tends to get into trouble when his people are away. The kids also like Stanley's Party, and Stanley's Beauty Contest.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Last year the boys and I began a postcard collection as a way of connecting with other people, and learning a little bit about the world around us. We have enjoyed getting postcards from friends and family as well as strangers, and the kids look forward to checking the mail box each afternoon. At the start, we connected with a few yahoo groups and a home school group in the USA that offered a postcard exchange. We enjoyed it, but soon discovered that most of the other families involved were from the USA, and were mostly interested in collecting state postcards instead of international ones. Things kind of fizzled, until a few months ago when I discovered Postcrossing. To say that things took off then would be a vast understatement. Here is how it works: to get started, you register (free) and request an address to send a postcard to. On the postcard, as well as your note, you write a tracking number. As soon as your card is received, the person who got it logs on to postcrossing, enters the tracking number, and you go to the top of the list to get the next card sent out. At the beginning you can have up to 5 cards travelling at a time, and you are allowed more as you develop a positive track record. Here is the best part - it is international. The most recent cards that we have received are from Russia, Malaysia, Great Britain, Germany, China, Japan, Thailand, and Poland. The cards that we have received have all included lovely notes from the sender telling us about the card, themselves, or the country where they live. When you register the card as received you can also see their personal profile, the distance in km that the card travelled to reach you, and have a chance to e-mail them a thank you note. The only problem that I can figure is that this could become very, very addictive...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Butterfly Days

Most summers we spend at least a few afternoons at The Naturium, a local garden centre and butterfly 'place'. They have a greenhouse full of tropical butterflies, a butterfly garden, a huge display room full of specimens from around the world, and many educational programs related to butterflies and insects. This weekend we went over with some friends to explore Butterfly Days - a series of weekends in September dedicated to tagging and releasing Monarch butterflies for their autumn migration to Mexico. The kids were thrilled to watch a butterfly being tagged (small stickers put on the underside of a wing that contains tracking information)and released. Later on they spotted one that had already been tagged relaxing on some flowers and likely preparing for the long trip ahead. We even say a female monarch laying eggs on some milkweed plants in the greenhouse.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Family Soccer Night

Our not-back-to-school party yesterday had me reflecting on what a great home school group we belong to....and the fact that some of them were part of a fabulous family soccer league this year.....which had its end of season family soccer night a few weeks ago....whose pictures are still stitting my camera. Sigh. I never can understand how time slips away like that. Anyway, here are the pictures (although somewhat late) of a great last night of soccer this year. Thanks so much to everyone who helped to make it happen!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Not-Back-To-School Party 2010

I love this first full week in September. Crisp fall air, but still a bright sun in the sky. We can take part in the flurry of buying new school supplies, that sense of new beginnings, without the stress of actually going to school. The best part, of course, is our annual Not-Back-To-School party. This event has become a tradition - a day in the first 'school week' of September spent at the park or the beach with friends from our home school group, new and old. There was kite flying, baseball, jungle gym, interesting insects, woods to explore, rockets to set off, osprey nests to admire, and lots of good food. This beats desk work and homework assignments any day!