Wednesday, May 30, 2007

School Today...

I figured we should so something today, so I was up and in the shower before Brian left for work. Not that we don't do anything most days, but I am definitely not 'up and in the shower' at 7:15 most mornings.

I read the news and did my round of blogs before the kids were up. And when they did get up, we got going.

Raiden and I played Set. I read about this game of visual perception this week on the TP Homeschooling board. It's a thinker! We tried out the online game here and here. Kori tried on her own later in the day.

After breakfast, we all worked on our own thing. I finished my knitting project. Raiden spent the hour organizing his hockey cards and Kori was typing madly on a new story.

After Brian's lunch, we had the kids' math lessons. Kori went outside after her lesson to play a bit with the soccer ball while I helped Rai with his lesson. Which was a little short as I don't yet have a balance or scale and that happened to be the lesson of the day. (If that's not the story of my life, I don't know what is.) Rai went out and played with Kori after he was finished. I stayed inside and looked for balances and scales on ebay.

After our lunch, Raiden did his Handwriting and 2 pages of grammar. He read his Lego Club magazine and found a contest he wanted to enter. He was quite happy to print his own contest entry form. If that's not relevant printing practice, I don't know what is.

Kori worked a bit more on her story. She did a couple of pages of grammar: root words, comprehension, subjects and predicates.

Raiden and I did a German lesson. Kori participated for part of it. Sort of. If lying on the couch, mocking phrases and hitting herself over the head counts. I excused her from further attendance.

Throughout the day there was various forms of reading, playing, drawing and helping to clean up. My dad came over for dinner and the kids were quite happy to tidy up and play the happy hosts for Grandpa.

Currently, we're watching the first period of the 2nd game in the Stanley Cup finals. No score, 2 minutes to go in the first. Does that make sense to all you baseball fans? Rai has some reading picked out for the first period break and then it's lights out...until we do it all over again tomorrow. Except that I get to get up even earlier than I did today so I can help Brian take the garbage out. Can't wait.

WIP - Finished Knitting!

I never thought I would finish. But I have! Yea Me!

I ran out of one of the yarns used for this piece. I kept knitting with the other yarn to finish as best I could. Hopefully, once it is sewn together, that last bit won't be noticeable. With the colours and the pattern intact, I'm sure it will look just fine. I might even be able to hide that end in a seam somewhere.

Here I am blocking. Once the two rectangles of knitting were wet, it was pretty easy to pin them to the correct measurements. What a relief!

So, hopefully it will be dry soon and I'll do my best to sew it together properly, the first time. Please see my other knitting blog if you would like to relive the misery of me knitting 3½ of these silly pieces in order to have 2 finished.

Otherwise, stay tuned and after a quick picture, I'll have this puppy sewn up and shipped off asap.

Monday, May 28, 2007


For our GeoClub Project, we decided to try an Egyptian recipe to go with our presentation. I thought it turned out well. After all, it wasn't terribly difficult. Our Egyptian friends attending had nice things to say about our Koshaf - a sweet dessert.

First, I washed and recruited the children. I typed their reports for them, the least they could do was pitch in with this part. After all, this part doesn't involve standing in front of people and speaking. Here they are halving 1 cup of dried apricots. The recipe wasn't clear if we had to chop or not, but the kids weren't getting off with just chucking things in a bowl.

Next, 1 cup pitted prunes. Also halved. If you've never shopped for prunes before, they also come with the pits still in 'em. Try to find the pitted prunes first as the staff may not like you returning the prunes with pits back to the bin.

Not that I'd know.

Then, halve 1 cup of Figs. Measure out 1½ cups of raisins. I used sultana raisins if it matters. I don't think it does.

And here we have it. Set the chopped fruit into a dish that will hold the heat. Measure out 1 cup of sugar. More if you like your koshaf very sweet. Boil 2 - 2½ cups of water.

Spread the sugar over the fruit. Pour the boiling water over the sugar. Cover the dish and let it sit on the counter until cooler. Then put it in the fridge for a bunch of hours - preferable overnight.

Here we go. Easy koshaf in a bowl. Serve it cold. Never having eaten prunes or figs before, I thought it was ok tasting. Very raisin-esque. The amounts I used here makes a medium family-sized serving bowl. I didn't find it terribly sweet, but it's not supposed to be. Egyptians don't eat rich, fattening, sinful things like I do. They also don't use utensils very often. So your guess is as good as mines as to how you are supposed to politely eat this dessert.

Coloured Pasta

This project has been sitting in my pantry since my sister came home from working in Mexico. I'd call her and ask when that was, exactly, but I'd be embarrassed to share the date with you. Then you might believe the procrastination rumours that are swiriling around out there with my name attached. I might add that the rumours are totally unfounded. Yeesh.

Here's What You Need
1. Rubbing Alcohol.
2. Cutie pasta shapes with holes in 'em. Any size, but I'm dealing with tinies today. Adjust your amounts accordingly.
3. Food Colouring. I used the concentrated gel kind.
4. Zippy bags. One for each colour you plan on making.
5. Wax paper or Tin Foil. After doing both, I liked the tin foil best.
6. Egg carton. Or some other such container to contain the little coloured pastas when they're all pretty.
7. Measures - I used a smidgen, 1 tsp., and a 2 tbsp.
8. Toothpicks. Useful so you don't smear the wet colours or dye your fingers...much.

See? Cutie pasta shapes. Sorry about the blurry. I don't have a fancy camera like Ree. Or Karen.

Ok. Here we go. Into a zippy bag, pour in 2 tsp. of the rubbing alcohol. Then scoop about half a smidgen - use a toothpick - of colour gel in and squish it all up. (see? You thought I was trying to be funny. Didn't know 'smidgen' was an actual amount, didja?)

Then we dumped in about 2 tbsp. of cutie pasta. Squish all that up. Take a few minutes and really roll it around. Make sure all the pasta is equally coated.

Pour the coloured pasta onto a sheet of wax paper. Spread it all out fairly thinly with a toothpick.

Every few minutes, go back and stir up the drying pasta. It sticks a little. But not enough to be annoying. Here we have yellow, green, purple and pink drying.

Raiden found it helpful to cram my flip flops onto his sock feet during this process. Apparently it helps to channel your focus to the appropriate task. It also makes your big toe look amazingly long. Every boy is proud of a long big toe.

For the colours red, orange and blue, we used a sheet of tin foil. Personally, I liked this better. I'm not sure it made any difference in the final product. Speaking of which...


We're done. About two hours from start to clean-up, including drying time. Now, before you go stringing the cutie coloured pasta on a string and wearing it in the rain while sweating, I'd probably check how colourfast it's going to be. I am going to look into sealing the colour somehow before I do too much with my cutie pasta. But enjoy the pics. I couldn't find any to explain the process so I made my own.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Gosh, I love watching my kids learn to read.

With Kori it happened so fast that I wasn't aware of the intricate parts of the process. It all seemed pretty amazing. One day she was looking at books. Two week of Montessori and she was reading chapter books.

With Raiden, I'm relishing the process.

Perhaps I should mention that the best method that seems to work with him would be the 'Benign Neglect' way. I'm neglecting him in order to teach him to read. How's that for cutting-edge??

Recently, Rai's been attempting the silent-reading-to-himself. With me purposely neglecting to promptly join him at bedtime (see,that's me ignoring the little hellion) for stories has meant that he finds himself laying there, alone, with books. I save his favorite reads for bedtime, so he's pretty excited to read at that time of day. He finds himself browsing his current selection and he's discovered that this reading thing isn't so hard at all.

Previous to this new development on the Independent Reading spectrum, Rai's been successfully following along as I read aloud. He was excited to learn he could do this, because his first attempts to do so were failing dismally. I said nothing, but I did explain that his brain was learning to read and it could only handle one step at a time. I pointed out that he was making great strides at reading instructions aloud from his workbooks just now, so perhaps his brain was just busy with that and when it wasn't so busy, the following-along-during-read-aloud would fall into place in it's own time.

And whatdayaknow...shazam. It happened. He's following along for the last month or so with no effort at all. He even picks up where I begin reading again after we stop to discuss a passage.

Then there was a little blip where I had to be careful how long I let him look at books before I arrived to read. He was trying to read to himself, he got all the words, yet he couldn't get the comprehension. He was frustrated. We had a short discussion one night where I explained that he was making leaps and bounds of progress and how proud I was of him. I told him that once his hard-working brain was used to reading the words in his mind, the understanding would come.

And here we are. He is proud to point out to me the parts of books that he's read. To himself. All alone. We were reading a soccer skills book tonight. I was instructed to read the section on 'Goalkeeping Skills'. I'd read and he'd say, "You. That's what it said last night when I read it."

Did I mention that it's so very cool to watch your kids learn to do new stuff...and enjoy it? I'd have another one just to watch him/her learn to read. And walk. I like the learning to walk, too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Preformers and the Preformance

Today was our monthly Geo-Club meeting. We met at the Library to present our first project. Kori and Rai had to present their learnings about the culture of Egypt.

Kori spoke about the people of Egypt and their style of dress. She talked a little about the children in Egypt and their haphazard as it frequently is. She drew cartoon pictures depicting the different peoples of Egypt: the Egyptian Arabs, the Bedouin nomads, the Fellahin (peasant farmers). The pictures were included in a handout for all the children.

Raiden spoke about Islam being the predominant religion and some of the festivals and celebrations families in Egypt celebrate. He listed some of the things that Egyptian children enjoy. Like soccer, tv, KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hutt. He created a word search using words pertaining to the Islamic way of life.

The project was a culmination of a couple of weeks of reading and poking around the internet. When it came time to put something together to present at our meeting, there was a little discourse in our happy home. Both kids thought it was ridiculous to have to produce any sort of concrete material or to have to actually speak to others about what they've learned. I told them otherwise. Then I sent them to bed ('cause it was late, certainly not because I was out of patience) and I typed them each a page to present at the club meeting. Now, this all came together last night. I had gently tried to persuade, had made suggestive comments about coming up with their own ideas, made them aware of timelines. Yeah. That didn't work.

The time for the presentation itself rolled around this morning. They practiced reading their little reports in the car as I extolled the virtues of preparedness and practice. They pulled it off without a hitch.

We spoke over lunch on a picnic table in a park. We talked about what the other kids did to prepare for their presentations. We discovered they recalled more of the other kids' presentations if there was a visual aid and if the spoken portion was clear, easily heard and not being read for what was obviously the first time straight from the book. After the fact, they saw how reading over their presentation helped to prepare them and in hindsight, they agreed that doing so wasn't as 'stupid' as they had assured me the exercise was. They were both glad they had done so.

If that's what they learned from this Geo-Club project...that's good enough for me.

Onward to our afternoon. We caught a play at the local theatre. It was a travelling company called Touring Players Theatre of Canada. We caught 'Charlotte's Web'. The play is why the kids go. I go for an exercise in social behaviour.

I find it utterly fascinating to watch 750 school children cram into the theatre with their teachers. I am amazed at the constant drone of noise. Multitudes of children are rocking in their seats, whispering and trading seats. Teachers are constantly escorting children to the bathroom in twos and threes. For the entire hour long performance. Obviously the theatre troupe expects such a diversion...and turns the sounds system up. It was garishly loud. But necessarily so. I've been to a few of these shows and it gets me every time.

So, we made it through the performance of Charlotte's Web. We visited with a few friends afterward. Raiden ended up cutting his arm while swinging around a light standard so we made our way home. It was a long day for us and we all enjoyed a little quiet recharge time after we'd arrived home.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

80 Years in the Making!

Go Red Go!!!
Our God who art in Scotiabank Place, Senators be thy name.
Thy puck come, Thy save be done in the air as it is on ice.
Give us this day our Stanley Cup and forgive us our slashing,
As we send out Neil for those who slash against us.
And lead us not into golfing, but deliver us from injury.
For the Senators are the team, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever,

So, for those of you who may not be lucid, we are now entering the most exciting part of the North American hockey season. I know, in most places North of the Equator, this is not the time to be dwelling on ice...unless it involves those cute little paper umbrellas decoratively floating next to it. However, we Canuks get a little revved up when the most coveted trophy of the year is up for grabs. Especially by a Canadian team and even more so when said team was the first team ever to win Lord Stanley's cup and has not done so since - a period of 80 years. Well, 'first' aside from the years spanning the meandering beginnings leading up to the formation of the NHL as we know it today. But I digress...

In the coming days, please do not become alarmed when you see various Canadians painted red, running in the streets dressed as Gladiators (because they look a tad bit more fierce than actual Senators...something about men in shiny chest plates, tin skirts and sandals with bare legs, me thinks). Of course, there are also the team flags that are cropping up on all manner of vehicles and the much-coveted shiny, red pom-poms cropping up in all manner of fists. All in all, the Senators + the Stanley Cup playoffs = a great excuse to be festive.

Please stay tuned to your favorite Canadian blog...whichever one it may be. Any Canuk worth their passport is going to be watching the Sens with rapt attention, blind faith and their toes permanently crossed for good luck.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Long Weekend By The River

The weather has been so nice the last few days. We've made sure to be out and about with the kids. We especially like to head down to the river.

Here we are, yesterday, discussing the depth of our waterfront and just how quickly hypothermia would set in if one were to fall in while wearing corduroy pants and a sweater. That's Northern New York State there in the background.

Here are the little miscreants themselves. Now, the preparatory speech to the children before disembarking the car was, "kids, we're out for a quiet walk before going home to bed. Let's walk the boardwalk and enjoy the fresh air." Of course, my visions of a family stroll were quickly dashed due to the lure of the greenery strategically placed at the sides of the walking path. They came out of the 'jungle' pretty quickly once Brain and I began discussing bats and how they start to wake up in their 'jungle' homes just about this time of day.

I suppose this little detour could be construed as part of the boardwalk. This spot greens up very nicely throughout the summer season. It's one of the kids' favorite spots.

See? Doesn't it look nicer all greened up with the water is on? This is a pic from Canada Day 2006.

Here we are this evening a little further west of the previous pictures. Again, State-Side on the far side of the river. That wee outcropping of sunny rock and trees above the heads of the fisher-boys is one of the many 1000 Islands.

I used to climb these rocks when I was a kid. So did Brian. Of course, they were much bigger and it took a great deal of daring and bravery to climb them then. Certainly, we are taking a huge risk with the very lives of our children by letting them run around up here.

Brian thinks he's found an ok fishing spot for the kids. Thanks to the zebra mussels that are now prolific in the area, we can clearly see the bottom of the river. It's rocky, and weedy, and the kids won't drown if they fall in. That's not really Brian's idea of 'good fishing', but it's good enough for me. I think Brian's idea includes an aluminum boat and a bucket of worms somewhere near the middle of the river.

So, perhaps a trip to the local Canadian Tire to purchase a fishing licence for Brian tomorrow. After all, he can't not fish if the kids are going to.

In other news, Raiden is looking forward to Day #2 of Soccer Camp tomorrow morning. He also may be sleeping over with Nanny and Grandpa tomorrow night. Kori's having a relaxing weekend - a favorite pastime of hers - made especially enjoyable because of the Sens' win this afternoon. Brian managed to conjure up a spectacular helicopter crash in the backyard this afternoon, smashing up his last pair of rotor blades. I don't think he was terribly impressed, but it was pretty exciting to watch. He's tinkering away tonight, trying to get a heli ready to fly in case the wind dies off anytime this weekend. And to wrap up the current events, Nuk managed to make a friend tonight. After a Houdini-like escape out the front door as we returned home from our outing, she was saved from the dangers of the road by a 'Levi', a Golden Retriever from the neighbourhood. She occupied herself with much sniffing of nice, well-behaved Levi before she had to go back in the house. Poor Nanuk. For all you dog lovers out there, I promise I'll be a better dog mom. I've got a good book reserved at the library so I can brush up on some training basics. That should make for interesting blog-fodder.

So, there's another wee picture into our little piece of this rock we're all riding on. Don't be shy - I see all you voyeurs peeking in - leave a comment. I'm somewhat curious about you South American surfers. And I know there's a set of spying eyes over there in Oregon. Nice to see you stopping by. And those of you in the UK and otherwise European set, thanks for stopping in. My Scottish/Irish/English roots are itching to hear from you as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is It Just My Kids?!

It must be Spring Fever or some such affliction. The sillies have infiltrated our household. They've been here for days. And they are manifesting themselves in various forms of toilet humour, spastic outbursts of physical energy, ear piercing, neighbour disturbing noise and utterly ridiculous things that should never go on under a civilized roof.

I'm really trying to be patient. I'm really trying to remember they're only kids once and they don't have to be quiet and serious and occupied 24/7. But, Lord help me they just don't know when to stop.

Today after lunch I declared a one hour quiet time. I think it was the 7 year old coming up with a strip-tease in the living room to 'I'm too Sexy For My Shirt' that put me over the edge. Who puts that song into a children's movie?!

We all retired to our respective bedrooms with some afternoon reading. I was basking in the peace and tranquility...or at least the first 30 seconds of what I thought was going to be peace and tranquility. That's when I heard it. A beeping noise. A little electronic blip. The little heathens had pirated the 2-way radios into their rooms and were whispering sweet nothings to each other across the airwaves. And giggling.

Is there no reprieve for the weary?!? Really, just a few minutes of seriousness?! Of something other than armpit farts and finding it hilariously funny to hide the money from the coin cup we need for our math lesson? Something besides eating fallen crumbs off the dog and using up the tape to make sticky-balls to thow at each other? I suppose I could count the I'm-Too-Sexy Strip Tease as Dramatic Arts or Creative Expression. But I really don't want to. I know no man is an island, but I swear, if Brian so much as smirks at a single thing these children pulled today, I'm going to pack up my books, my duvet and some form of chocolate and move to one of the uninhabited 1000 Islands just to prove good ol' John Donne wrong.

Our Well-Planned, Not-Going-To-Take-All-Day Outing

So, I wonder if someone could explain this to me. Yesterday, we have to go out. I have to go to the library, mail a parcel and hit the grocery store. 4 HOURS later, we get home. 4. Hours. Why can I not be efficient and quick about these things??

Contrary to my intentions, we did not get to our bookwork before we left the house yesterday morning. I thought it might be prudent to prepare for our outing instead. So I signed into the online library website and checked my account. Due to past experiences with library fines, I thought renewing books I wasn't going to return would also be prudent. (Look, hun, I just saved us another $17!!) Just to outdo myself, I also took a few minutes to look through the flyers and make a grocery store list. So, we were ready to go. Easy-peasy, right?

Our Well-Planned, Not-Going-To-Take-All-Day Outing.

Drive Brian to work after his lunch break.
Cross town to Library.
Allow Kori to arrange for the parking pass.
Walk a block to the bank.
Get some grocery money.
Take the 'secret passage' back to the library, much to the amusement of the children.
Help kids find books.
Chat briefly with an acquaintance and her little guy.
Find a few books for me.
Drop books at the car.
Retrieve package and cross parking lot to the post office to mail said package.
Load into the car.
Attempt to call Brian and get stuck on the cell-phone for 5 minutes with the Bell Mobility operator.
Resist urge to pitch phone in the river.
Cross town. Admire all the pretty red lights.
Detour to Timmy's as it's now noon. Yes, NOON.
Grab a coffee and TimBits to placate children into an obedient grocery shop.
Call Brian from a sticky payphone at the grocery store so he doesn't send out search parties for me.
We shop. We pay. We load the car.
The kids grab a yogurt drink. That just bought me another 30 minutes, minimum.
Kids shriek about seeing Grandpa's truck at his new workplace.
We have to stop in.
Finally find my dad.
He comes to the car as it is essential he pull toonies (that's a $2 coin, Cristina, my State-Side friend) from my children's ears.
He steals the last of the TimBits and runs back to work.
Raiden reminds me we have no tennis balls at home.
Detour to the Dollar Store. It looks busy.
Kids decide to stay in the car, reading their newly selected library books.
I park directly in front of the store and run in only to eventually be caught in the line-up from hell.
30 minutes later I return to the car $15.96 poorer.
We drive home.
My sister is blocking the driveway looking for me.
Her cell phone doesn't work either. Thank goodness she caught me.
We invite her in to use the phone.
She leaves, we juggle the cars around.
I unload the car.
It's 2.22pm.
So much for bookwork.

So that's it. Our outing in a nutshell. After we got home, I had to put the groceries away and feed the kids. We managed a quick tidy-up and then had to dash off and pick Brian up at work. See how easily a day just disappears? But hey, at least we can eat. And we can play hockey in the basement because, thank goodness, we remembered tennis balls!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I feel a little silly blogging today. I don't have anything profound or witty to tell you about.

Mother's Day went off without a hitch. The whole fam had a great day. The kids were tired by bedtime, that's for sure. We spent lots of time outside: got the kids' bikes out, went kite flying, took the kids to the park by the river, walked the dog, played basketball at the local schoolyard. We fit in a wee bit of shopping too. I bought some new dirt. That's fun. I also picked out a few herbs and Brian didn't even remind me about my black thumb, he just went along willingly as though me buying plants was the most regular, common sense thing to do in Spring.

I've started my new book I won from Lindsey. I think instead of racing through it, I'm going to read it slowly and see what sticks. I'll have to blog about it sometime. I've just finished chapter one and a lot of it is making a lot of sense. It's my first dive in a long time into a book centered around Christian principles. So, between the subject matter and the Christian content, I should have something to say that will get a rise out of someone.

The kids and I have begun some reading for our GeoClub Egypt project. Generally, I think Egypt is overdone, but this time we're studying modern Egypt. I think focusing on Egypt today will give the kids some balance to the overwhelming amount of Ancient Egypt there is strewing their path. Our assignment is to present the Culture of Egypt to our group. After we read up, we'll talk about our favorite parts and then come up with a creative way to present that information to our group.

My dad is firmly entrenched in the daily grind of corporate customer service again. He is hurried and harried. He is doing a job that he was doing when I was my kids' ages. It's a weird dejavu thing for me. I wonder if he notices it? Personally, I think that he may be a little old for the same crap he used to deal with 20 - 25 years ago: pissy employees, negative attitudes, lazy work ethics, commissions and quotas. But, it's a job and he's good at it. He also has the opportunity to retain his entire customer load from the old shop. Which is a good case he ever decides to go independent again.

My mom also got a job. She never thought she would get this job in particular. In fact, she's not sure she wants the job at all. It was supposed to be a 'job interview practice session'. However, the lady interviewing suddenly decided to hire her. Mom started working on Monday. I haven't yet heard how it's going. Let's see how vague I can be: Mom's working for a well-known local lady's family business. Mom is doing the books in the office as well as learning sales in the showroom. And she's not selling cars. It being a small, successful, family-based business should be right up Mom's alley.

Brian bathed the dog last night. She looks better. Not so greyish about the head and legs. But the bathroom smells funny. She smells...different. Brian says she smells doggie shampoo. I guess I'm not too big on the doggie shampoo smell. I do agree that her smell has much improved. Since she's a wuss-dog, we have to skip the hair dryer and let her dry au natural. She's still damp this morning. Then she went to stand out in the pouring rain first thing this morning. I can't wait for her to dry out completely so I don't have to smell clean dog anymore.

The kids activities are winding down. Raiden has his last Beavers (Boy Scouts) to-do tonight. He'll 'graduate' from Beavers and 'swim up' to Wolf Cubs. Kori is finished with her Girl Guides regular meetings. The girls are getting ready for a weekend camping trip that Kori doesn't want to go on. However, I'm going to make her go....that's a whole other blog for another time. Soccer stars this weekend with a two day soccer camp. That's Rai's summer thing. Kori has asked to swim all summer, so as the summer session approached, we'll add in some extra swimming to the schedule. Otherwise, I'm trying to avoid the moms I run onto who are all about the 'What day camps/programs/activities/sports/educational pursuits/tutoring are your kids in for the summer?' I love it when they launch into their kids' micro-managed nine weeks of summer stimulation. I love it especially when they feel the need to find something, anything for my kids to do in the summer. Because, certainly, I have dropped the ball by not joining the mass stampede to the sign-up counter. Isn't it unfortunate that my kids won't have anything to do this summer?

And today is errand day. I'm off to drag Kori out of bed. Then it's the library, the grocery store and whatever else we can cram in so I don't have to run around town all week. And just for fun, I think I'll have the kids do their bookwork before we go out. They'll love that.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Weekend Work-In-Progress

I thought I would pop in and show you how far I have progressed. The large rectangle piece is completed, although it needs to be blocked to it's final measurements. On the needle is the second rectangle that I've been working away at - much to the detriment of our paper-and-pencil schoolwork. It is about half the length it needs to be.

After all the ripping and tearing out, the starting over, the mental math and then resulting confusion I have concluded two things. First, I think I will be happy to get this piece sewn up and given to it's rightful owner: my mom. Mom, having tried for two years to get this thing knitted up, who kept running into problems and delays, will really, really appreciate the finished product. And I know she'll like it...after all, she did buy pick it out for herself. Second, I'm not wired to understand the intricate dance of knitting pattern design. I have much to learn. I wonder if there are patterns out there for visual people like me?

I figure I've got about 8 hours of knitting to finish. Any predictions as to how long it will take me to finish the knitting? I'm averaging about 8 minutes a row. There are 4 rows to the pattern. I figure I have about 15 repeats of the pattern to complete. And I wonder how many times I'll have to sew the finished product up? Isn't this a cliff hanger? I'll bet the suspense is going to pull in the readers. Just watch...and tell your friends.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

It's Really Spring.

Really. Know how I can tell? The tulips are up. Streets have been swept. And the bike made it's maiden voyage of the season.

That's all today folks. Must unearth the kitchen sink, read to my kidlets and go outside. And knit. I have a lot of knitting to do.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sunny Tuesday

It's very sunny and warm today. I think it may be warmer outside than it is inside. That's always a turning point in seasons for me.

Our tulips are up. I have to figure out how to divide them and spread them out without killing them. They're kind of clump-ish. In the 8 years I've lived here, noone has ever done anything with them. I suppose I should say that we pay for complete grounds keeping services and I have a brown thumb which is why I've left their care to others. So people come regularly and are supposed to take care of these things. However, with the continual changes in management over the last few years, not much is actually happening. In fact, the 'regular' visits from the people who take care of the flower beds are almost non-exsistent. And the poor tulips suffer.

We're sick. There's a nasty cold running through our house. I've been making tea and passing out pills for a few days now. A week ago, Raiden turned up with a sore throat. It went away after a day or so and I thought that was it. Then Brian got it. When Brian gets a germ, it usually hits him like a train. True to form, he had a pretty tough weekend. Then my throat got sore. By Sunday night, I couldn't swallow. I stocked up on Breathe Easy and Cold Stop teas. Began overdosing (not really) on Cold Fx. I even had to gargle with salt water. On Monday, I felt better, but I didn't let that fool me. Tea every 4 hours and rest and vitamins and Cold Fx. I think I've managed to stall this cold for myself, but today Raiden is all stuffed up. I wish he'd have some tea, but the second coming is likely to happen first. I tried to give him some kiddy decongestant, but that was a useless effort. I think they just put sugar syrup in a bottle and add a pretty colour. Kori, as usual, isn't feeling too badly. She did over-sleep today, which may be a sign that she's fighting a wee germ. 3+ years of breast feeding gave that one the immune system of a tank. Oh, well. This too shall pass. Hopefully by the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend. I have a date. Now I just have to find a babysitter.

So, that's all that's been happening here. I've not had any energy to be creating interesting and captivating blog entries. I've been reading at my regular haunts. I was getting worried in a few spots, having not seen any new entries in a while. But just as I was about to send out search parties, new happy entries appeared giving me fresh new fodder for my time-wasting! I'm especially excited about Cristina's new and upcoming comics. What's better than a new virtual baby!?

I'm off for a few days. I'm going to have myself a knitting marathon. So hopefully, when I'm back, I'll be able to show off the project I'm trying to complete for my mom. She's off to New York City this weekend, and I'm sure she'd love to be able to wear her fancy silk/chenille lacy poncho thing. She started it 2+ years ago and then passed it to me to finish for her. It is knitted in two parts. She had one part half finished. I finished it. It looked wonky - but usable. I knit up the second part. Ran out of yarn. Ripped out the first part to be able to finish the second part. Now I'm re-knitting the first part. Properly.

See you soon.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Science Tab Book

Here's our creation. It is a Stick Book/Tab Book as described in Cyndy Regeling's book The Ultimate Lapbook Handbook.

Kori labeled the tabs with the names of the branches of science we had talked about. Raiden painted the letters on the cover. I punched two holes and there's a rubber band and a popsicle stick holding the pages all together. I love the simplicity of such a binding. It is suited to step-by-step projects.

Inside, we stuck pictures and words that remind us of the various topics covered in that branch of science. I printed off a slew of free clip art images I found at The kids coloured as we discussed and categorized. They had to dig through our new science encyclopedia to look for where to place a particular picture or word at times. How else to get comfortable flipping through such a big book? Of course, we found many more interesting and wonderful things that wouldn't fit into our book, but that's ok. The whole ideas behind the book project was to make them think and explore.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Family Happens...

Our place has become the Do Drop Inn. I love it. Dad has started a new job just down the road from my house. So after his day, most days this week he's popped in for a chat. Tonight, we gave him dinner. I think he liked that. My brother, M. is home from university for the week. We had invited him for dinner tonight (BBQ and a lovely fresh fruit bowl) and we are firmly involved in the first period of a very exciting hockey game as I type. He usually zips home for a day and then rushes back to school. So it's been nice to see him. My other brother, B. - being unemployed since the business closed - has been more visible around here as well. My mother, the embodiment of perpetual motion, actually come to my house, took off her coat, sat down and visited long enough to have a whole cup of tea. Even my computer has proven useful as they are having internet connection problems out at the farm house. We have been enjoying all the activity and visiting very much. Although, it doesn't leave me much time for blogging.

Thanks to Doc, the kids and I have started some activities for Astronomy Week. It actually fits in nicely as we've just been discussing different branches of science and where everything in our world fits in. The kids are interested in space and all things galactic. I'll put some pictures of our home-made book up tomorrow. We have been gravitating to the 'EnglishSmart' workbooks lately. Rai working in the #1 and Kori in the #4. The Saxon Math has been on the shelf lately. I'm not worried, though...we'll get back to it. I like how I'm getting more flexible in my old age.

We managed to get some of the much-required socializing in today. I wish I had my camera. We were in the grocery store in the middle of the day (read: old men in hats pushing carts behind old ladies with lists at an average speed of .0067 mph). We ran into a couple of boys and their dad- also homeschoolers. So the four kids caught up on kid-ly things. Mainly face making, creepy stares and bodily contortions. It was great. Love it when my kids get to 'socialize'.

I'm off to join the rest of the fam for the watching of the hockey game. Raiden made sure we purchased 'Lay's, the official chip of the NHL' today at the store. I made onion dip, so we're all set. Hope everyone is having a great week.