Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

I hope that your holidays are filled with family, friends, peace, and happiness.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbread houses

I have posted our favorite recipe for gingerbread houses before here, but I had to share the photos from this years master creations.  The boys spent the afternoon baking (and nibbling), building (and nibbling), designing (and nibbling), decorating (and nibbling) get the idea.  I was with-it enough this year to fill them up with a healthy lunch before we started, but who am I kidding?  There was significantly more candy and icing that went into the boys than onto the house.  Here are the final products:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

First Snow

Today was the first 'real' snow of the winter.  I am pretty sure it won't last, but we enjoyed playing it in it while we could.  Lessons put aside, the boys and I went for a walk in the white (which was made even  more special by seeing the boys both reach for their mama-made hats to keep their heads warm).

Happy winter!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Craft Sale

Our homeschool group has put on a wonderful craft sale for the past few years, giving the kids a chance to sell their wares to earn some cash, do a bit of their holiday shopping in a place where they can be free to go shop without a mommy or a daddy looking over their shoulder, and to trade with their friends for the goodies that they most like.

We have gone to do some shopping in the past, but this year William and Charlie wanted to take part.  Together we made soap, beaded bracelets, chocolate snowflakes, Christmas ornaments, and candy cane brownies.  They had such a great time making everything, strategizing what would sell the most, designing the display, and then being shop keepers on the actual night.  They took turns heading off with their earnings in hand, and coming back to the table with little holidays surprises hidden in their pockets. 

Even more fun than the actual sale was watching them scurry around when we got home, insisting on wrapping up their gifts for the people they love before the surprise could be spoiled.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Santa Clause Parade

For the first time since we moved to town, the boys decided to be involved in the Santa Clause Parade rather than watching it.  Apparently the draw of people walking by throwing candy canes at you is just far more appealing than riding along on the float.  Today, though, they decided that riding along with their friends on the Beavers / Cubs float was in order.  They had a great time, loved waving to everyone they saw, and were glad that there were some candy canes waiting for them at the end of the parade.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I love that by homeschooling, the boys can study what they are really interested in rather than what is deemed 'most important' by a teacher or a set curriculum.  For Charlie right now, what is most important to him is sturgeon.  He was enthralled to hear a snippet of Hiawatha about the great fish and to learn how sturgeon have become threatened on Ontario (and most of Canada), and also what is being done to try to help the population to grow again (at science north, of course!)  Since then, he has been all about sturgeon. 

When our Friday Friends group decided to have the kids present projects about endangered animals, Charlie didn't miss a beat.  He grabbed some FIMO and made models of sturgeon, had me find some photos on the Internet, and got to work on his presentation. He was feeling a bit too shy to present it much to his friends, but sure loved working on it. 

The kids also wrote letters to congress asking for a stronger conservation policy about woodland caribou.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Playing with GPS

Our Friday Friends group got together today at the local conservation area to play games with their GPS units.  After a quick lesson on how GPSs work and how to set and read coordinates, the kids went out searching for and solving clues that eventually led them to a prize bucket.  They then divided up into teams, hid little stuffed animals in the woods and, saved their locations in the GPS.  The teams traded GPS units and set out to 'rescue' the animals that the other team had hid.  This was a bit of an intro to Geocashing - soemthing the boys and I would like to take up in the spring.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Cake

This is the kind of cake that really only appeals to kids, isn't it?  We all sure had fun making it, though, and the neighbourhood kids were happy to share it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Erin Fall Fair

I could go on and on about our local Fall Fair, but really, there is no need.  Each year the kids (OK, all of us!!) start counting down the days in early September, and reserve the whole weekend to spend at the fair grounds.  We plan our days cooking and crafting our little hearts out to have things to enter into the home crafts competitions, save our pennies to buy ride tickets, and gather whoever we can to come along with us.  We eat and visit our way through the fair from one side to the other, and then turn around and do it again. It has become such a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend tradition.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Worms, Glorious Worms

We have been thoroughly enjoying getting together with some other homeschooling friends most Friday mornings - we go to the local conservation area, volunteer at the food bank or the greenhouse, go on field trips, or work on projects together.  Today, as part of our Roots and Shoots program, we got together to learn about worms.  The moms who put everything together did a wonderful job.  We started out by reading a bit about worms life and life cycle.  Then the real fun began!

The kids all helped to make a vermiculture box,

took a look at how they move,

used a computer-linked microscope to learn about worm body parts,

made their own worm nurseries to take home,

and of course finished everything off with a snack of chocolate pudding topped with oreo crumb 'dirt' and gummy worms.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

French River

This trip north to Sudbury, we managed to leave in enough time to stop at French River for a quick rest and a short hike on the way  home.  I am in such awe of places like this.  There are really no words to describe how beautiful it is.  The boys and I explored the woods, the rocks and the cliff side - not doing a whole lot of talking, just enjoying the space together.  I gripe sometimes that I don`t have much time for myself, but really, who am I to complain?  I can suggest to my boys that we spend some time in the woods, and they are all for it.  We can wander together through someplace as spectacular as this, and they are in no more rush to leave than I am. What more could a mother ask for?