Tinker Crate for March – Hydraulics

This month’s Tinker Crate is all about hydraulics! Is that not super-cool or what? The boys certainly think so and I have to agree. They have had a great timing making some cool stuff. The Tinkerzine shows a bunch of cool links and ideas, plus some background on hydraulics.

Here’s a glimpse…

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These monthly kits from Tinker Crate are so wonderful and they are something that gets the boys completely absorbed in a project where there is no planning or help needed on my part. Perfect! and a break for me. ;) Plus, I love watching and listening to them problem solving together and learning the coolness of tinkering.

Mamma’s Hike – February

This past Saturday was our second Mamma’s Hike! The first hike I posted over on my art blog. I may just cross post every time but we shall see.

It was no warmer than the first but again the sky was clear and it was beautiful. This time we went along the green route that took us past Hobson’s Lake, Big Pine, Coyote Bog and back to the parking lot. It was about 3 ¼ hours total and I had been tracking it on my phone but yet again, my phone died from the cold. According to the map we went almost 4 kilometres doing the Hobson’s Lake Loop.Maskwa-trailsI brought along my point and shoot camera and set it on a friend’s backpack, thus the shadow at the bottom. I decided not to bring my DSLR due to the weight I already had in my own backpack. At least my camera didn’t die like my phone! We took this pic on a lake.

21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_01 21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_06Earlier snowshoers made a decent trail ahead of us but there was a good part of the trek where the snow went up to my knees and it became more of a trudge, trudge (I think of the Backyardigan’s song!).21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_07 Bunny tracks were the only sign of wildlife that day.21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_09 Love the fungus!21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_10 21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_11 21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_12 Huge icicles make for photo op time!21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_13I love the way the water ran along this branch and froze.
21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_15Moss!21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_18 21Feb2015_Mamma Hike_21 I was so super pooped after this trek but it was worth it. A beautiful day with a great group of women! :)

Hand made hand cream

Say that five times fast! ;)

I’ve been wanting to make hand cream for months and even had all of the ingredients. I just needed to do it. When I finally ran out of store-bought cream and the skin on my hands was like sandpaper, well, that was my motivation to get to it.

I used the recipe that’s been tagged for like forever it seems from Amanda Soule’s The Rhythm of Family Book. I do love her stuff and it calms me to read. I have to make some more felted bowls too. There will always be something to put into felted bowls!

The boys used the marble mortar and pestle that I’d bought eons ago. It looks so pretty sitting there on the shelf above the sink, hanging out with the wine and saké glasses. This is the lavender being bruised and wafting its scent so wonderfully throughout the kitchen.

23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_01 23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_04I showed the boys how to zero out the scale and then measure the ingredients.23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_05 23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_06Xman helped me grate the beeswax. I tried cutting it first but I don’t have a great history with knives and cutting only the things that need cutting, if you know what I mean. I find grating beeswax fairly laborious as far as ingredients go but Xman was determined to do it so I held my hands on the lower end, his on top of the block as we grated. No skin lost. Whew.23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_07Lavender buds steeping like tea.23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_09Melting, melting.
26Feb2015_Making-Hand-Cream_10We ended up with a lot of hand cream. Gotta say the oil mixed rather easily with the water (lavender) even with my cheaply purchased hand mixer. The motor did get a wee bit hot at the end.23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_12I think I am going to have to buy more containers!
23Feb2015_Making Hand Cream_11The cream is wonderful and my hands are happy again! Take that, Winter!

Snow day!

It was so good to get outside yesterday and with good friends! We tried a new-to-all-of-us trail. The day was ‘mild’, coming in around -6C – add on windchill but we didn’t really feel it being in the trees. It was fresh and clear. The sky was blue. The kids ran around on the trail and slid on the snow. Xman and I made animal prints and looked for the real ones. We saw an eagle that L spotted which is always so amazing to me. I feel so, so blessed when I see one. We also saw another bird of prey, perhaps an osprey but not sure, followed by a crow. We spotted a beautiful robin all tuffed out, seeming to show of his wonderful red belly. (he was too far away for me to take a pic with my phone. should have brought my actual camera but I wanted to pack light). And F heard the tap tap tap of a woodpecker, once spotted, to be a Downy.


Our hand-made tracks.hand-made-tracksReal tracks. I love them!


Poor dude was so tired by this time, the bundling of clothing is not his favourite feeling. But making animal tracks, finding the real ones, and sliding certainly lifted his spirit. :) Xman-and-sunsteam-and-sun

Today, as the snow comes down in droves, it makes me want to relax my shoulders and grab a book, a blanket, and my knitting with my new Furls bowl (eek! love!) and my art. Yes, even on these snow days when I feel I can let things go a bit I still want to create create create! I will throw some yoga in there to balance it all out!


We may watch some videos today on the history of Canada to go along with our studies. But, I think for the most part it will be a Minecraft day and Erector set day (thanks for the goodies, Dawn and kids!) for the boys. I may just be persuaded to play a little MC too. Gotta say I do love it!

I may even get out my macro and take some snowflake pictures! Gee, this day must have more than 24 hours for what I want to fit in. Oh, I do have clothing to fix too… I’m so deluded! ;)


A little Mad Science and the joy of cleaning (when someone else does it)

Yesterday the boys were invited to a Mad Science birthday party. It was awesome! They had a great time learning about dry ice and carbon dioxide in different forms.
09Feb2015_Snow Fun0209Feb2015_Snow Fun04 09Feb2015_Snow Fun06They also got to make their own bouncy balls! Here is Xman getting some help from the fabulous Mad Science teacher. She is pouring crystals into a ball mold.
09Feb2015_Snow Fun07Next was the wait while the crystals soaked up the water to make…

09Feb2015_Snow Fun08…a bouncy ball! They really bounce too!
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Today, the boys decided to clean all of our apples once they realized that they float. I had to tell them about the whole ‘bobbing for apples’ challenge and why it’s so tough to get an apple. I’ve never bobbed for apples myself as I’d be sure to lose. I know, I’m no fun!10Feb2015_apple washing_01 10Feb2015_apple washing_02 10Feb2015_apple washing_03 10Feb2015_apple washing_04After the apple washing – which included cleaning the drawer for the fridge – the boys were so geared up to keep cleaning that they proceeded to mop and dry the floors, and dust. I vacuumed first and let them do the rest.

They loved it. And so did I. :) :P



The Truth About Nature Book

I can’t help myself. I have to tell you about this book because we are loving it!

It’s called The Truth About Nature by Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer. Their other books include The Outdoor Adventure Book, We Love Nature, and Project Garden.


The boys ask to look at The Truth About Nature every day. They could easily read it themselves but this book is much more fun to go through together. It’s kind of an interactive book.

The book is broken down into four sections on the seasons. In each section there are ‘Myths Debunked’. These myths are graded on a scale of 1-3 depending on their amount of truth, scale 3 being a total myth with no truth to it. The boys love me to read these to them and they guess the myth scale of each such as:

•Porcupines can’t throw their quills. (Myth scale of 1, 2 or 3?)

•The sun is yellow.

•Owls can spin their heads all the way around.

•Deserts are always hot.

You’d be surprised at how many of these myths I believed growing up! Not only do they debunk the myths but they introduce you to the half-truths and real truths of nature. They also add some additional interesting facts such as …

“Scientists estimate that only 20% of all deserts in the world are covered with sand.”


Cool, right? Actually, yes, it is cool because deserts can get pretty cold at night. ;)


Other features include:

•Stranger thank Fiction, forty amazing facts about nature

•Luck Legends, cultures with superstitions on what to do for good luck

•Weather legends, theories on predicting weather

•Be a Scientist, activities and experiments where you bust some myths by doing your own testing (we did the water balloon experiment where you freeze water in balloons to see if the water expands when frozen)


Cool again, right?


This is surely a book to keep us guessing and learning all year long. Find it at your local library or just pick yourself up a copy!




Snow Fun!

The boys had a great time outside yesterday. They went out in the morning which was great for the fresh air, stretching those bodies and getting some good movement in, plus the fun!

A couple of weeks ago we had filled up water balloons and added food colouring then put them into the freezer. The weather here has been all over the place, going from freezing to above zero so they never came out for fear of them melting outside. But the last few days have been so cold and with so much snow coming down that it was time. It was so neat to see the bright colours against the snow!

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The boys made little snow ‘forts’ for themselves. The back yard didn’t get the drifts of snow made for tunnelling but our front yard is pretty nonexistent so tunnelling so close to the street is not my idea of safety.

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Just enough room to lay down. I called him my snow vampire. ;)

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The boys had a great time and even found some chunks of ice under the layers of snow.

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Xman placed the slab of ice on the outside of his fort as his marker. I couldn’t see it clearly with the camera so he added the frozen water balloons in front.

He’s aiming but didn’t throw until my back was turned. Sneaky bugger. :) Actually, he knew that was better as cameras do not like the snow!

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A little protection from the wind and a snug place to rest. :)

06Feb2015_Snow Fun04The boys took to the porch and made a little sliding area. Oh, if only this hill we lived on extended to our back yard! But they had fun nonetheless. I am so happy that they are enjoying the snow so much these days!

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