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. 🙂 😛




Today we celebrate Brigid, the goddess of water and fire. It is now about halfway between winter and spring and as the sun is in our skies longer we start to notice the days are longer.

As part of our lessons today, we talked about Brigid (Saint Brigid is her Christian name) and read a story from Circle Round and then made Brigit soup and goldfish crackers. L decided to call the soup Fire Soup as the ingredients are like the colours of the sun and Brigid is the goddess of fire. The crackers, since I didn’t have fish cookie cutters and simply scored them into squares – someone should really make tessellated cookie cutters by the way – are now called Fire Crackers. Cool, right?

…and it was all sooo good!



A busy but good day

Yesterday was a darn cold day. We didn’t go out for the trail walk as planned due to the road conditions outside of the city. We did, however, go to Chapters so that the boys could use some of their holiday money to buy more Lego, Minecraft Lego. But, we had to finish our lessons first and I have to say, it was smooth going!

I happily wore the hat that I just finished knitting the night before. So warm. Love it!


Our lessons include handwork. X is knitting a scarf on needles and L is using one of the loom kits. He is so adept at it. If I can get him to do even 15 minutes a day he will have it finished in no time!

L hat

Xman and I did some time-telling practice with this fun little book I picked up a while ago. The pages are magnetic as are the little pieces so it’s quite fun! Xman is pretty good with telling time but when it comes to analog without the numbers it takes a bit of practice.

clock clock practiceI took some time during their copy work to prepare some kale chips – so good!


And these cookies…oh my goodness you just have to try them – so many good things to be found.

Pixie cookies

Lessons done and off we go to get the Lego. I have to say, Minecraft and Lego really is the perfect combination…

l lego X lego

While the boys Lego’d it up I took a bit of time to check out these new arrivals and put that Dreamscapes book to good use right away!


*if you do get the pattern for the hat here are a couple of corrections:

Row 17: *k5, p6, k5, p1* to end
Row 18: *k3, p10, k3, p1* to end

A busy and fun New Year’s Day!

As I previously posted, yesterday was the first snowfall of the season and we were all very excited as the big flakes floated down and muffled the city sounds. So beautiful indeed!

After lunch, the boys went outside to play a bit while I busied myself indoors – after taking some quick pics of them, of course. The snow was a bit sticky but it made trying out the new slide no less fun!

01Jan2015_NYE Fun_01 01Jan2015_NYE Fun_03Mooooon. 🙂

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After a dinner of home-made pizza (so yum!) I sat down with the boys and they broke out their new felting kit and string art.

Xman had a bit of help from me placing the pins into the cardboard for his string art. It’s a tricky business getting them straight, I know, from my own string art creations when I was a kid! We didn’t get all of the pins in but it was a good start.

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I was quite impressed with L’s determination with the felting, especially this being his (our) first time with needle felting. He became quite good with the needle and by the end I knew I didn’t have to keep a close eye on what he was doing to make sure he didn’t felt his fingers!

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The boys are totally hooked on Kirby since they borrowed a wii game from their friends. L decided to forego making a critter with instructions from the kit and make a Kirby instead. Not bad. Not bad indeed, especially for the first time. I’d say L is pretty pleased! =¬) (face made by L)01Jan2015_NYE Fun_07

And then today, for post-breakfast snack…popcorn! This time with some coconut oil and salt. Oh my goodness!02Jan2015_NYE Fun_08



November Carrots

Now that we have had a couple of frosty nights I decided a take a peek at the carrots and pick a few to taste. The boys were super excited to pick them and I could barely get them to hold still for pics, thus the blurry ones! We were thrilled with what we did pick and if we didn’t already have a bunch of carrots from the market to eat we would have picked them all – the boys really wanted to!
IMG_4703 IMG_4704Of course we can’t supply food for ourselves without filling up the feeders with the last of the homemade suet. I figure they can’t eat frozen suet in the winter so I may as well leave it all out now. The hairy woodpecker and black-capped chickadees love this feeder. Our other two feeders have black sunflower seeds and a mix for the other visiting birds.


Purple carrots!


Just look at how cool that is when you cut it open! I boiled the carrots a bit for the boys (easier to eat with a mouth full of loose teeth!) and the water turned purple!IMG_4709 IMG_4712The boys are eating the carrots  now and loving them. Love that they love their veggies.

I do wish we had a bigger area in our yard for gardening but it’s certainly better than nothing and we love watching the food grow through the season. It’s been a good year for our beans, peas and carrots. Yep, that’s all we can get with our little bit of sunshine in the summer but we still feel blessed by the earth nonetheless. 🙂


Cameras, gardening and automata fun

Just a few days ago, Xman made me a camera because he knew I am without at the moment. It sits on my art desk with pride. Love it. 🙂

Xs CameraXman has been super excited to do some ‘tinkering’ since I got some tinkering books from the library. You may want to check this and this out (literally) if tinkering is a fun project in your home.

We’ve been wanting to make an automaton for a long, long time, like since at least last summer. There was this project in the one book that Xman wanted to do and when he suggested using Lego L was all for it!

Automaton pic

On another creative note, the garden is doing well now that I figured out what little will successfully grow in a yard that gets mostly shade. The peas and beans have been very good to us this season. The boys were in the midst of cleaning out their playroom and brought out a big bin to clean veggies for me. So helpful! (and so fun!)

Bean Cleaning Pean Cleaning

A great day so far! Now off to visit some friends before Momma goes to work (eck). 😉



Summer Solstice

We had a wonderful time celebrating the solstice at a dear friend’s place with some great families. The boys had a super awesome time and the adults got some good chat and chill time too.

The landscape was so different from our back yard city-space so there was much to explore. S’mores and other foods were eaten over a very cool fire pit (darn, didn’t take that picture!).

The kids were deeply invested in a Nerf gun game when it was time to go so thankfully everyone left at the same time. I always say a mass exodus is the best plan when you must bring the fun to an end.

I am very thankful to have such amazing friends with which to share and celebrate the longest day of the year.

Feeling blessed.

Hope you had a wonderful solstice as well!

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The beauty of film

Last year (ya, that’s right) I took out my twin-lens Mamiya, bought some xp2. I was itching to shoot some film and shortly after I purchased a couple of rolls we had a lovely snowfall so I brought my camera outside while the boys enjoyed the weather. Later that week the boys and I went to a fellow homeschooler’s home where we were invited to partake in maple syrup making! We had so much fun and the boys were so thrilled experiencing the process, watching the sap drip so quickly into the buckets from the life-bearing trees. It was a wonderful experience, one they would like to do again, they told me as they saw me finally editing these images. Better late than never!

There really is something amazing about film. I love it. It’s totally different than digital and once I accepted that I was able to accept digital. I got my photography degree (BFA with major) using film. Yep, it does date me but that’s okay. I learned to create images from scratch, by hand, if you will. There is a real connection to the images, the moments you create when you use film and I think only those who have experienced this can relate.

What took  my sooo long to share? I scanned the images soon after they were processed but it took me until yesterday, so that’s almost a year, before post-processing – as in getting rid of the dust. That part of film I don’t miss! 🙂

XP2001 XP2002 XP2005 XP2006 XP2007 XP2011XP2010 XP2008 XP2012


This weekend was one of very few that I have off entirely. I usually work Sundays so this was a treat. Down side, Stephen had a lot of work to do which made it easier with me off to hang with the boys. We got out briefly to be a part of a very important demonstration walk in downtown. The boys chanted and carried signs. It was important that they see people standing up for what they believe in. It’s one think to tell them about it and another to be a part of it. I think it makes it real.

16Nov13_Climate change01

16Nov13_Climate change04 16Nov13_Climate change05It felt good to be a part of something significant. Hope to do it again.

We went for some much needed sustenance after all that walking. The past few times the boys have had their program at the art gallery we’ve passed Tim’s and they’ve asked for ice cream. It was only 7C outside but I couldn’t say no. 🙂

16Nov13_Climate change06Then we went for a walk along the harbour. Beautiful.

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The boys learned about this NSCAD couple’s work during their visit to the gallery this week so it was a must to see this in person.
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On our way up to MEC for winter mitts (which ended in purchasing winter gloves) for the boys (and almost snowshoes!!) we spotted some sea creatures!

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It was a lovely Saturday, however, by the time we arrived home Stephen had a killer migraine (the chanting probably didn’t help). It was a very lay low evening.

Today,  I was invited with a friend to an artisan’s show and sale. Oh my how fun and wonderful to see and talk with other artists! So inspiring!

After lunch I went outside to fix the piece of glass I installed and caulked on my cold frame. The caulking didn’t take probably due to dampness. Ugh. I doubt it will take this time either. I may have to bring the top into the basement to let it set tomorrow.

Meanwhile, to my delight, the boys came outside and raked into a huge pile as high as X (no kidding!) all the leaves in our yard and then proceeded to jump into them. They had a great time!

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While they did this, and in-between my picture taking and video recording I mended some clothing while sipping tea and snacking. It was nice, yes, it was very, very nice.

17Nov13_Leaf fun_07For more weekending fun go this way!


Homeschool Adventure Week 9

This past week we sent out our nature box to Latvia! We loved being a part of the nature exchange! These are some of the finding we have left over. Hmmm…now where to put them all?

The boys helped as we identified some of our findings. It was hard work and a lot of research and picture comparing but it was a great learning experience. Here are some of the sites we used for our identification:

Rock Identification Guide

Acorn Identification Guide which brought us to this

Oak Leaf Identification Guide

and along the way we found an animal scat guide for all those times you run into something other than dog poo (yay) on the trail.

We found this one for moss and lichen in our area

and this for seaweed.

All packaged up and off it went with one of the leaf prints we made earlier this year and a feather for an added touch.


This week the boys and I made some yummy vegan rice crispy squares! We had found some vegan marshmallows at a local shop (oh so gooood!) and added a few of these even though they weren’t part of the recipe. I did add more dates and almond butter to make it all stick together more – I guess peanut butter must be stickier… Then we put dairy-free chocolate chips melted with a little almond milk on top. So good!


The boys are on their way to painting their five element stones. None of the paint stuck well except for the white so now they are painting them all white and then adding the colours on top. We shall see how it goes!


We watched this super cool video using a VW Beetle for instrumental sounds – watch all three versions, it’s very cool!

I made this super yummy soup originally posted by Dawn on FB but didn’t have enough garlic so we added powdered garlic later and oh, wow, maybe not the freshest thing but still did the job. The boys now love it on noodles too!

By the end of the week, we started to learn about space, again. It often comes back to space and I gotta say, it’s always very cool.

This is a great book and we have borrowed it from the library a multitude of times and really should purchase it at this point. We started from the beginning instead of jumping to where our question would be answered and found out exactly what light years really are and how to pronounce this number: 9,500,000,000,000. Not a good thing to do just before bed though, as there were a ton of questions swimming around in their heads!

I think we need to have a weekly question box blog post. We have a question box for those things that we can’t get to answering right away but somehow never get to it. Yes, a question box weekly blog post should do. 🙂

Today, we will be learning more about the weather, thanks to Mud Puddles ladies Dawn and Annie! Can’t wait!

What did you do last week? Anything cool and interesting that you’ve learned lately?