Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society

In an effort to share some of the really great books that are out there for families these days, may I introduce to you:  The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart!!!

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The boys and I first found this series last summer when we listened to the third book in the series, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, on our way up to family camp.  We all loved it, surely a sign of a great book (as opposed to, say, the Magic Tree House Books that the kids occasionally like but I find excruciating).  This series has it all.  Intrigue, mystery, great characters, language that tells the story well without being too dumbed down or too hard to follow, and of course, underdog characters who prevail over the bad guys in the end.

We somehow lost track of the books after we got back from camp, but I remembered them in time to get William the first of the 3 books for Christmas this past year.  We read through it together, promptly got the second book in the series from the library, and devoured that too.  We then, unfortunately, had a bit of a crisis when we remembered that we had already heard the third in the series and where therefore at the end of the story, before coming across the prequel of sorts, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict.

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (The Mysterious Benedict Society)

Since then, we have been reading this last book any chance we get, and I admit that I am as excited to see what comes next as the kids are.

As much as we are enjoying it,  there is a bit of a cloud hanging over us all - that sort of sad, uncomfortable feeling that you get when you get to the end of something really great.  I am not sure what we will read together next, but it had better be good!!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pioneer Games

Friday Friends today went to our local museum and archives to play some pioneer games.  Basically, it was a chance to get together and have fun as we would have done a hundred years ago.  Apart from running around and playing together the kids made dipped candles,

Played some lawn games,

Hand churned butter,

Made biscuits to cook over a fire in a dutch oven,

And went on a scavenger hunt.  The best part (in my books, anyway!) was the treat at the end.  Fresh warm biscuits with churned butter, jam, and fresh squeezed lemonade.  Not bad for a mornings play!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bird Watching

Our Friday Friends group spent the morning at one of the local conservation areas today to learn about birds.  I am always impressed with their programming.  The leaders are exceptional, and obviously enjoy what they are doing.  The kids today explored different bird habitats, spoke about how to identify different birds, played a few games, and too a peek into a bluebird nesting box.  The highlight for everyone was discovering a red winged blackbird nest along the lake.

The other great thing about this place is that, because of how often we are here, the kids are all completely comfortable here.  They run off exploring the forest, the meadow, and the lake, and know exactly where they are going.  It was hilarious to see the instructor pulling out what seemed to be a part of an old trombone, and letting loose with a rather off-key summons to the kids to call them back.  I only wish that we had someplace like this closer to home.  William always asks, within a day or two of visiting here, where he can go to explore and build a fort on his own close to home.  At 9 years old, the concept of how anyone could 'own' a forest just doesn't make sense.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Old Mill Trails

It was a beautiful day today and William, Charlie and I went out to explore some trails around the little town of Ancaster.  We went on some beautiful walks that passed by a number of waterfalls, and had a great time in spite of getting rather lost. Did you know that Hamilton, Ontario is the waterfall capital of the world???  Who would have thunk it.

One of the nicest things about the trip was thinking of my Great Aunt Phyle who lived around here for most of her life and was an avid hiker and photographer.  Although she passed away several years ago (and the boys only remember her as being too frail to get out much), it was wonderful to think about her walking these same trails.  I am sure that she knew them like the back of her hand, and could name most, if not all, of the waterfalls.  I am also sure that we wouldn't have gotten lost if she had been with us, but of course that cannot be helped.  Here's to you Auntie Phyle - we are keeping up the family tradition in your name.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


It is wonderful what the kids find to do when they are "too bored for words"...