Self-led learning and making molecules

Self-led learning. More fun and more facts that stick to the noggin.

Even though our homeschool year hasn’t officially begun (we are in Canada where ‘school’ doesn’t start until next month) learning is always happening no matter the time of year.

I have learned through the years that workbook learning and following a traditional school schedule does not entirely work for us. It’s drudgingly boring in our home and not much learning really happens. Some learning, yes, but not that kind that sticks.

Oftentimes when we make our trips to the library we end up taking home more books than planned. This time, my oldest grabbed The Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks, from a display table. It’s formatted much like a graphic novel which I am sure means, for our graphic novel loving family, a more interesting read.

Human Body Theater book

Human Body Theater book

L has taken an interest in biology and graphic-novel-style books have certainly helped. What’s more fun than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich describing to you its travels through the digestive system?

We stayed up for an extra half hour at bedtime talking excitedly about all of the wonderful facts about the human body. I couldn’t believe how much he remembered and he hadn’t even finished the book!

I love biology and had thought seriously about going into medicine so having a child who is as excited as I am about this kind of stuff was just too much to wait until tomorrow to talk about. 🙂

X is now in the process of reading the book and enjoying it just as much.

L is our ‘Finder’.

To explain, whenever we are in a store searching for a specific product or looking for a solution to our quandry, L is almost always the one to find what we are looking for. I call him my ‘Finder’. X, on the other hand, has total parking mojo and often when we need a parking spot in the city we find one just vacated with time still on the meter.

I had been searching for some time for a good molecule building set for the boys. There were many online but either didn’t show exactly what the contents were or were just too pricey for our budget. Not long after the search had begun, L spotted at our local second-hand store just the kind of molecule building set we were after. That’s my Finder!

Today he built the molecular structure of glucose after easily naming it off to me the other night. He’s got a knack for numbers too. They both do, just like their math-loving father. 🙂

IMG_3426 IMG_3428

I have since had the request to put Primates, another of Maris Wiley’s books, on hold at the library.

I have to say that these boys retain information that is of interest to them far more easily than things that are not of interest. This is true for so many of us, of course. It pertains to homeschooling and self-led learning too. The boys are reading and making and creating on their own all of the time.

And for that, they love to learn.

And I love that they love to learn.

My heart smiles and I feel like a good mama.

And I am so happy to have a Finder and a Parking Mojo dude in my family.


Solar Eclipse fun in Nova Scotia!

Solar eclipse photo sharing is the best way to get back to blogging, don’t you think?

I am going to try my darnedest to keep up with two blogs! It’s said it before, I know, but you probably don’t remember (lol) since it’s been so long!

To start things off here is a quick share of our eclipse experience yesterday.

Beginning of partial eclipse viewed with pinhole setup

Beginning of partial eclipse viewed with pinhole setup

Viewing the eclipse with a pinhole box…

We visited a friend’s place where there was a better view of the sun at this time of the day. Our home in the city would probably have had us standing in the road to view the eclipse!

My friend, Dawn, was determined to make some eclipse viewers. I am glad she did as I didn’t have any boxes to bring over that were large enough for us to stick our heads into like a pinhole camera. She found that there were no longer any big boxes at her place either but did a search and found directions using a small box. It worked wonderfully!

Small box eclipse viewing

Small box eclipse viewing

Small box eclipse viewing

Small box eclipse viewing

Small box eclipse viewer

Small box eclipse viewer

Even though we were not in the path of totality (big sad face) we were able to view a partial eclipse. It was very exciting!

Parital solar eclipse in a box

Parital solar eclipse in a box

This was about as much of the eclipse as we were able to see from Nova Scotia. I love that it looks like a crescent moon!


Ending of partial solar eclipse

Ending of partial solar eclipse

It’s at times like these that we can be thankful for such easy access to other people’s photos of the solar eclipse! There are some wonderful ones circulating on Instagram. Some people used a colander to view the eclipse! What a great idea! Instead of seeing full circles of sunshine coming through the holes of the colander you see what looks like half moons. I wish I had thought of that! We also saw pictures, such as at Melissa Wiley’s blog Here in the Bonny Glen, where the shadows of trees looked like so many half moons as well. Just beautiful!!

What a wonderful world we inhabit.

Speed Cube

We just recently celebrated yet another birthday – our boys are only 11 days apart as far as birthdates go! This time we celebrated a 10 year old! Yay! Double digits!

We woke early to celebrate Xman coming into our lives at 8:14am. I loved seeing the excitement in this eyes. How dear it is to celebrate these days!

Xman only asked for two things and even though he knew by the wrapping that he had received both he was still very excited.

He has been wanting a speed cube for quite a while. We have watch YouTube videos of people solving the cube in record time and he is so keen to try. I remember spending hours and hours with my Rubik’s Cube as a kid. The Cube is designed with rounded edges for faster turning. It’s pretty smooooooth.17oct2016_xs-bday_27 17oct2016_xs-bday_40Nerf is always a winner in our house. This Stratobow is a powerful dart blaster!17oct2016_xs-bday_32 17oct2016_xs-bday_34The afternoon was all about enjoying the beautiful fall weather and a little Pokémon searching.

Of course, it isn’t a birthday without cake…and our traditional family pictures!
17oct2016_xs-bday_48 17oct2016_xs-bday_56 Haha! 17oct2016_xs-bday_59 17oct2016_xs-bday_71 17oct2016_xs-bday_77

Happy 10 Xman,ya…! 🙂



Being with friends

Our oldest was beyond excited at the idea of turning twelve. He doesn’t want for much when it comes down to it and was so excited to get a new Pokémon Special Edition Pikachu card set. Even though he knew what was behind the wrapping it made him no less excited to open it. I think half the fun of birthdays is watching your children open their presents.

06oct2016_lucas-bday_19 What’s better than one Pikachu card? One small one and one really big one, of course! 06oct2016_lucas-bday_29When asked what he wanted to do for his birthday he said he would like to see a couple of good friends. Since my mother was visiting we thought it a great idea to take advantage of the wonderful weather and show her another bit of our beautiful province while the boys ran around being boys. 🙂06oct2016_lucas-bday_30Creature alert!06oct2016_lucas-bday_33Love this view! It almost looks like a tropical paradise – if it wasn’t for the big rocks (Love them!) and those conifers!
06oct2016_lucas-bday_34 06oct2016_lucas-bday_38My boys. 🙂06oct2016_lucas-bday_41 Rock-jumping-minecraft-terraria-real-life-make-belief-play on huge rocks!06oct2016_lucas-bday_43 I just love this landscape with its tide pools, low ground cover and huge boulders (reminds me of the Moors in Wuthering Heights).06oct2016_lucas-bday_48Somewhere in there are two people…
06oct2016_lucas-bday_51 06oct2016_lucas-bday_52 In the distance you can see beautiful Peggy’s Cove!06oct2016_lucas-bday_54

As evening came we enjoyed cake with both grandmothers and made our traditional family photos.

06oct2016_lucas-bday_66 06oct2016_lucas-bday_91 06oct2016_lucas-bday_89 06oct2016_lucas-bday_82 06oct2016_lucas-bday_81 Happy twelfth birthday, Mr L!06oct2016_lucas-bday_72



Happy 40th!

I’ve been having some grief with uploading images for this post so I am a little late in finishing this one. As it turns out, apostrophes in file names is a bad thing. 🙂

Stephen just recently celebrated his 40th birthday! As tradition with birthdays we had a lovely morning breakfast at Cora’s and then a relaxing day just hanging out. img_0895 Since Stephen had some pretty big plans the next morning he had a simple birthday cupcake to celebrate.blowing-out-candle Each time one of us has a birthday we take a family picture which usually takes quite some time because it’s just a bit of a challenge for us to be serious.16sep2016_steves-40th_20We finally did manage one serious one.

That night was the full moon for September. It was a beautifully clear night with just a wisp of cloud. As soon as I took this picture more clouds rolled in as they do in a harbour town and hid the moon. It was so lovely while it lasted and I was happy to get a good shot!
16sep2016_steves-40th_29 Stephen was up early the next morning to run a marathon (thus the cupcake shown earlier). He trained hard for months oftentimes running early in the morning before work and in the evenings after the boys were in bed. Below is a picture that Stephen took when he arrived around 6:30am at the marathon location. When Stephen first showed me this I thought nothing much of it until I realized that was the moon in the sky on that clear and bright marathon morning. marathon-morning

And of course, I forgot my phone at home so I was not able to take a picture of Stephen crossing the finish line. It was quite a memorable moment though. The boys were super excited to see him cross and we were all amazed by anyone who could run that far (or even walk part of it as some did!) and so proud of him for keeping up the training and making it happen! That evening we had celebrated with yummy carrot cake. That is a very tired but happy Stephen!cake


Still here…

I don’t know what changed that made it more challenging to find the time to post. Then again, I’ve been creating a lot more art and sharing more family photos and art on IG these days. This is far easier and faster. 

But I miss the posting and I love reading my favourite blogs too. I miss seeing the great images that go along with those posts, and the great life stories. We have great life stories too. Many I don’t want to forget. 

When the boys are busy playing with friends I think I will try and share my art time with sharing more of our life stories here. If anything, it warms my heart to scroll through and look at the pictures and read the words. They are a keepsake. And my oldest faithfully reads them every time I post. A notification goes straight to his email. He loves to read them and that’s reason enough to take those pics and write life down. 

Solstice Strawberry Moon!

We got together with some friends on Sunday for a Father’s Day/Solstice Strawberry Moon celebration. We had a great fire and great company. The boys played soccer with the dads and the girls sat and chatted and we all laughed a lot. Eventually, it was time to go home.On the way to the car we noticed the moon rising and had to take some photos which, of course, the kids didn’t mind because when pictures start happening they know they have much more time to play!

rising moon at DsAn hour later we were in the car and on our way. But not before I made one more stop to take a quick pic. Thank goodness for phone cameras because it’s better than no camera!

rising moon on water

Our Solstice day was filled with Happy Solstice exclamations throughout the day and when we were leaving the house to visit a friend Xman found a hitchhiker on his shirt.

We let the wee one go wild and free. I just love how much the boys love even the little creatures and respect all life. ?

lacewingLater the evening with the sun still in the sky we continued the slow work of dismantling our deck. Our boys love this kind of work  helping out which thrills me because it feels good to do it together and there is such a good feeling of accomplishment from hard work.

deck workLong after the boys went to bed the moon finally showed herself. The boys were too tired to wait up because of a previous late night. They had gone to bed at 1am because Stephen wanted to play some Minecraft with the boys for Father’s Day. So after some fun playing – I am a slow learner but it’s fun! – they settled into bed at 1am and Stephen and I around 2!

I digress…So long after the boys went to bed the moon finally made her way above our trees. It was now after midnight and I almost didn’t grab my camera but knew I’d regret it since another full moon on Solstice wouldn’t happen for decades. She was as breathtaking as always and at least now I’d have a pic to show the boys. ?

21Jun2016_Solstice Strawberry Moon_01

I have to admit that there were moments on Father’s Day where great sadness entered my heart as I just lost my father in December. Many mixed feelings that will always stay with me and continue to teach me how to live and love. We did get a really nice video chat in with my step-father and mother, wishing him a Happy Father’s Day. ?

I hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day and Solstice!! Many blessings.




Shubie Park – new discoveries on the usual trails

We love Shubie Park! Yes, the location has a lot to do with it as it is less than a ten minute’s drive away. But every time we visit we find ourselves discovering something new. Or maybe the same things but in different ways. We often take the same trails and see the same animals but it always seems like a new experience. I love that after all of these years my boys still enjoy the paths and often veer off of them in search of new discoveries. They have great eyes for the little things and often spot the camouflaged damselfly or the tiniest slug on a rock. They still love racing sticks in the water, seeing them go in one side of a pipe and out the other. Feeding the squirrels is always a thrill and the woodpeckers never go unnoticed!

boys butterfly damselfly dragonfly back dragonfly side ducks hairy woodpecker lady slipper squirrel squirrle and l squirrle and x water


Polly’s Cove, Nova Scotia

We had a great time this weekend visiting Polly’s Cove with some friends. They had been before but for all the years we’ve lived here this was our first visit. We will be back again!

The boys loved jumping across the huge rocks and finding hiding spots, of which there were many.

I too, loved the rocks, always love rocks (!) but I also enjoyed seeing the different kings of plants that manage to grow in such a rough terrain. It’s just beautiful!

04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_01Pitcher plants!

04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_04 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_06 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_0904Jun2016_Pollys Cove_41 Look at that quartz! Wish I could take it home.04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_10 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_16Finding hiding spots!
04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_17 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_19It took some work but the boys managed to place this big piece of quartz (size is deceiving for the weight of rocks!) up onto this nice flat spot. They wanted to bring it home but I was not trekking up over rocks and slopes of brush to bring it home…would have been pretty cool though…so we took a picture instead!
04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_21 The trek back to the car. 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_22 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_25 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_26The lighthouse in the distance is Peggy’s Cove. Beautiful spot and great view!
04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_29 A forrest of fiddleheads!04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_31 The beach of Polly’s Cove.04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_32 So many different types of plants growing in this rocky terrain. Love it!04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_35 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_39 04Jun2016_Pollys Cove_4004Jun2016_Pollys Cove_42The boys found a caterpillar trying to cross the road on our way back to the car. We put it on a stick – no touching fuzzy caterpillars unless you know they are the non-stinging kind! – and put him/her back in the shrubs. I think this one liked seeing everything from a higher vantage point!



Wintery things

This winter has been rather mild for us here in Nova Scotia and although I am not complaining it does worry me. This is not regular winter weather for Canada. But yes, it has been cold enough to still wear our winter gear – and that’s my niece in the middle of this poster! My sister and family live across the ocean from us so this is as close as I get to my niece for now. 🙂 The boys thought it was pretty cool too. gap The days are getting longer and with the recent time change it is still light outside at 6:30. I try to not think about it actually being 5:30 ‘old time’. Hey, if this is the way for us to get up with the light and still have it light before bedtime I am all for it!

shadows We haven’t had nearly the snow of last winter (of which I dreaded would happen again!) but we have had a few snowstorms and school closures and the like. This picture shows the clouds descending upon the harbour and the beginning of a storm. Gotta say that although I am not a fan of travel in this weather, I do love the way it looks. It’s my favourite thing about winter. snowstorm coming I know the boys love all of the big flakes too! But they are also big fans of playing in the snow. After a storm they dug a hole just big enough to fit them both so they could hide from cars going by. They had initially been helping me shovel but the snow was heavy and digging in the snow was much more fun for them! And there is our huge front lawn! Ha! That’s what you get when you buy a house that is 100 years old this year: no front yard and no sidewalks – but a great view of the Halifax waterfront!snowAnd of course, with winter comes colds. We have been relatively lucky in the winter as the boys may be get a cold but nothing really bad. Below is what they like to call Ember Cidre. It’s like the Fire Cidre that I make based on Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe which is a sickness kicker for sure but is far too strong for the young ones. This recipe is similar and can be made same day. So, it not as hot as fire but it’s hot enough, thus the name Ember Cidre. 😉 Cute. It’s yummy too, with just a little kick!ember ciderWe never got sick of spotting green as the snow melted after each storm. We love our walks and spotting moss, licken and other various nature gifts is always a treat and a blessing for us. mossOne of our favourite sites in winter is the Queen Anne’s Lace and the way it folds into itself as it prepares to overwinter and then seed. queen anne seedsSquirrels! We love the squirrels at our local park and trail area. Always bringing nuts for them and seeds for the chickadees. Makes our walks that much more enjoyable too!squirrleAs for now, Monday shall bring a whopping snowstorm! I see tobogganing in our near future – that is, if we don’t get snowed in! Ha!