Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dreaming of gardens and trouble proof computers

Inspired by spring, the question for I Want...Wednesday #75 is "What do you want to grow?"

I would love to have a beautiful flower garden and a productive vegetable garden.  I am not a gardener, but I am a gardener wanna be - very much so.  You would never know it if you were to visit my yard.  Most of my gardening takes place in my  head.  I would love to have a flower garden that bloomed with color in every season and a vegetable garden that provided us with our favorite fresh vegetables in the fall.  Problem is I have a very, very small yard and I very, very "ungreen" thumb.  I keep saying that some day I'm going to fulfill my dream, and maybe I will if there is gardening in heaven.  :)

They also asked "What else do you want this week?"

Well, after the day I had today I want a trouble proof computer, one that would never, ever gave me any trouble.  I was thrilled last year when my mom and sister surprised me with a laptop, but it has caused me much grief in the little over a year that I have owned it.  For some reason I have to totally reformat it every month or so.  I am no computer expert so I have no idea what causes it to do what it does but at least I have discovered how to reformat and it clears up all my problems, at least for a while.  This is fresh on my mind because I had to reformat again today.

post inspired by the March31st - 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

That's what I've been lately, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it!  I've been busy contacting businesses and suppliers about supporting our provincial homeschool conference by sending us information pamphlets and/or catalogs and sample materials for door prizes.  I've sent out over 40 requests!  I've also had some great responses so far.  It's so exciting!  You can check out who has agreed to support us on The CHENL Channel.  I cannot believe how generous some of these people are being!  We are going to have a great display and some great door prizes.  It's so exciting!  I will be updating the list as we get more support.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Our Local Homeschool Heritage Fair

There were a number of interesting presentations in our local homeschool Heritage Fair today.  A primary age student explained a display she had put together about a relative of her's who was a well known midwife.  She spoke clearly and with confidence and was quite interesting.  Another primary age student told us about the birth provinces of his parents and shared memories his father shared with him about growing up in another province.  One junior high student explained his display about the Tsunami of 1929.  Another junior high student clearly explained the proper naming of distant relatives as he pointed out names and pictures from his family tree, which he has traced back many generations.  A couple of senior high students shared their grandfathers' stamp and coin collections and explained how and when stamps and coins first came into use in Newfoundland.

This is the first time we held a heritage fair and it was a learning experience for all of us.  I am fairly certain that we will do it again.  It was a great experience for the children to put together and to do the presentations.  They did a great job.  There were presentations other than the ones I named above but I felt these best embodied what a heritage fair is all about.

I learned about the Heritage Fair program from a fellow homeschooler's blog a year or more ago.  It sounded very interesting so I decided to check it out.  This was the first year that our local homeschool group expressed an interest in participating.  When I went searching for the information again I was disappointed to discover that the Heritage Fair program was going through changes and I had trouble finding information on local fairs and the national fair.  I finally found out that there was not going to be a local heritage fair in our area this year and I'm still not sure if there is going to be a national fair or not, but we decided to go ahead a hold a heritage on our own anyway and I'm really glad we did.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera

A couple of shots I took during a recent walk with my girls.

Inspired by

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Great day!

Mother/Daughter time with eldest daughter

Friday, March 26, 2010

Science Lesson Plans from Robert Bateman

I'm discovering all kinds of great things on the "Get to Know" program website.  On the teacher resources page there are a number of lesson plans which include video introductions and PDF files, all available for free!  As the site says, the lessons are geared for grade 4-6 but are easily adaptable for older or younger students.  They can be used as a springboard for all kinds of fun learning.  Be sure to check them out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Contest for all Canadian children ages 19 and under

Have you heard of the Get to Know Contest?  The contest starts April 22 and ends May 28, but it's never to early to learn all about it and get prepared.  Here's a quote from the site:
"Enter the Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest by submitting art, writing, or photography of your wild neighbors. The goal is to be as creative as possible - so let the natural world inspire you! Go wild with your creation and you could win amazing prizes..." .  
Here are the official rules and information.  Definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CHENL Conference on the Rock 2010

I am so looking forward to the Newfoundland provincial homeschool conference!  I love getting together with other homeschoolers.  We are very spread out across our province and I look forward to this annual event when we have the chance to come together for a couple of days.  If you want more information about the conference check out The CHENL Channel.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Treasury of Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman

Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman was a favorite of my first three children.  We read the book often and I had the privilege of sharing it with Little One recently.  She, too, loved it.  On our next visit to the library I came across Jillian Jiggs to the Rescue and couldn't resist bringing it home to share with little one.  What a great book!  We loved it!  I remembered also reading The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs to my first three children so I looked for that the next time we went to the library.  I didn't find it but I was delighted to find A Treasury of Jillian Jiggs in our local library during a recent visit.

The Treasury is a collection of all five of Gilman's books about the Jillian Jigg character - the three mentioned above as well as Jillian Jigg's and the Surprise and the Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow.  Also included is background information on each of the books and clues of things hidden in the books.  It would make a great addition to any book shelf.

Phoebe Gilman moved to Canada in 1972 and married and settled in Canada.  She died August 2002.  She considered herself as more of an artist than a writer and she did the illustrations for all of her books.  Her first book was The Balloon Tree, which I am yet to read, but will definitely be looking for.  She also wrote 5 other books, besides the ones already mentioned here.  We already read The Gypsy Princess but have yet to find and enjoy the other 4 titles.

Phoebe Gilman did a really neat thing.  In each new book that she wrote, she included some kind of pictorial reference to all her previous books.  It is fun to look for those in the books.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I wouldn't want a world without blue

I was struggling with what to write today so I checked out The Daily Meme and discovered the Manic Monday meme.  Each Monday there are three questions posed for you to answer.  I was drawn especially to the second question in today's post Manic Monday #204 and first I was only going to answer that question, but the more I thought about it the more I thought I'd share my thoughts for each question.

What do you value most in other people?
My first reaction to this one is honesty, but then I realized that while I do value honesty, I don't like how brutal some people are in their honesty.  Honesty is very, very important to me, but it must be tempered with humility and respect.

If you could only see black and white except for one color, what color would you choose to see?
Black and white happen to be my favorite colours so my gut reaction to this question was why do you need another colour.  Then I thought about how good it does look at times to have a splash of colour mixed in with black and white and how often the colour I choose to splash in is red, because I really like those three colours, especially together.  Then, however, I started thinking about what it would actually be like if I could really only see black and white and one other colour and I realized that the other colour I would really want is blue.  There is nothing that makes my day like seeing a beautiful blue sky, and I certainly wouldn't want to see nothing but a grey sky, so I would choose to keep the colour blue.

You have a 10 minute speech to give at a high school, what is it about?
I would read Psalm 139 and talk about how God knows them inside and out, and yet still loves them, and is always there for them.  I will tell them that God knew them from the beginning, before they were born, and He  wrote out a plan for them that He is longing for them to fulfill.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hold Your Tongue

When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Proverbs 10:19

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dress rehearsal for dance recital today!

What fun Little One had!  Just two more days before the big event!  She's so excited!

My six words for today is the title of this post:

Dress rehearsal for dance recital today!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dear "News" Reporters

Dear "News" Reporters,

Why do you choose to destroy people's personal and professional lives?  Yes, I know that there are sick people in the world that love a juicy bit of gossip to munch on and share with everyone around them, but why do you feed that sickness.  Yes, I'm sure it drives up your ratings because people love that kind of stuff, but in my mind it also drives down your credibility and professionalism.  Do you even stop to think about how you would feel if it was your family that was being thrown to the dogs?

I have a suggestion.  The next time you get a story about someone, before you actually put together a report look at the story from all angles.  Put yourself in the shoes of the spouse, children, parents, and siblings of the person.  Be sure you consider how your report is going to affect them.  By all means present the facts, but be sure you have all the facts, and present them with respect for all involved.

It is a sick world that we live in, but let's all work together to heal the world, not to spread the sickness by presenting bits and pieces of stories without any consideration for how these bits and pieces can destroy lives.

Hungry for reporters with Heart,

Inspired by
Dear So and So...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fancy hair dos

If you have a girl with long hair, or even semi long hair, check out Adopt a 'Do - Cute Girls Hair Styles.  I discovered the site thanks to my friend, Carla, but no, she didn't post about it on her cooking blog.  :)

I love, love, love playing with hair and trying different styles.  Unfortunately, neither one of my girls have ever enjoyed letting me do things with their hair.  I have managed to try some fancy french braids and tied weave looks over the years but not near as often as I'd like to.

Yesterday I was checking out the videos showing how to do some of the hairstyles on the site and Little One wanted to see.  She thought they looked really cute and today she asked me to do her hair for her!  I was thrilled.  We tried the Twist Backs into Side Ponytail and it looked really cute.  It was a little messy because Little One's hair is layered and not that long, and she also was quite wiggly while I was doing it, but we were both fairly please with the results.  I'd never done a twist style before so that's why I decided to give it a try. It was easy and fun to do and I can definitely see doing it again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chocolate Tasting Party

That's what I had at my house tonight, and we  had a great time!  A little while back my sister sent me a link to an article about chocolate tasting parties.  I am a chocoholic and she knew I would love the idea.  Right away I decided that when it was my turn to host the homeschool moms fun night, it was going to be a chocolate tasting party.  Tonight was the night.

Our evening started with a fellow homeschooling friend, who also happens to make and sell her own chocolates, joining us via Windows Messenger.  Linda lives a six hour drive away so it wasn't possible for her to join us in person but this was the next best thing.  With the help of her daughter she demonstrated how to make a chocolate bowl, chocolate lattice, hollow chocolate molds and filled molds.  She also showed us some of her beautiful chocolate creations.  You can check out some of her creations at Candy Box Creations.  Earlier I had made arrangements to purchase some of Linda's creations to share with the moms at the party.  I have pictures which I will post later.

I had asked that each of the moms bring their favorite chocolate bar or treat to the party and be prepared to share why it was a favorite.  As each mom shared, we cut the bar or treat into little pieces so that everyone could get a taste.  We had Lindor dark chocolate, lindor milk chocolate, Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut, Bounty, Snickers, and Cherry Blossom.

To balance out all the chocolate, I decided to end the evening with some fruit.  I had prepared a chocolate fondue for the fruit but by then we all had our full of chocolate so we just munched on some fruit.

It was a very fun evening!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

This is my adaption of this Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs recipe  . It's a favourite at our house and I often make it for potlucks. I have a big slow cooker so I make a big batch.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut 2 big packs of pork ribs into sections.
Put ribs on cookie sheet with sides, or in shallow baking pan.
Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Montreal spice. Put in oven for 15 minutes.
Turn ribs over and season other side. Put in oven for another 15 minutes. Drain fat.

In a medium bowl mix:
3 cups ketchup
3/4 cup BBQ sauce
3/4 cup chili sauce
3 Tbsp vinegar
3 teaspoons oregano
3 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

Place ribs in slow cooker. Pour sauce over ribs. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Every time I send my husband to the grocery store he comes home with at least one pack of ribs.  It's his way of ensuring he gets these often.  :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

In the beginning God created...

So begins the Bible, and so begins the debate.  Creation vs evolution.
I actually struggled with the idea of posting on the topic because it tends to bring out the nasties, and I usually try to avoid conflict but I'm going to take a chance and hope for the best.  :)

I was recently introduced to The Creation Ministries of Ian Juby and had the privilege of meeting Ian and sitting in on a few of his presentations.  If you ever get the chance, don't miss it.  If you don't get the chance to sit in on a presentation, at least take the time to check out his website. He will make you think, no matter what your beliefs are.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Do not take advantage of each other

These words stood out to me today during my Bible reading.

Leviticus 25:17 "Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the LORD your God."

If only we all followed those words of wisdom.  What a wonderful world we would have.

And more wise words along the same lines

Philippians 2: 3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

Yes, what a wonderful world we would have.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Time to Surrender by Sally John and Gary Smalley

I didn't realize when I picked it up from the library, but A Time to Surrender is actually the third book in the Safe Harbor series by Sally John and Gary Smalley.  I really enjoyed the book and will be keeping on eye out for the other two.

This is my first book by Sally John, but I have read other books by Gary Smalley, both ones he wrote on his own and ones he co-authored.  The fact that he co-authored this book was part of the draw for me, but I will also be looking for more books by Sally John in the future.  I enjoyed the writing style, as well as the content.

This book spoke to me on so many levels.  Characters are struggling with their relationships with one another and with God.  I could relate to many of the struggles.  I learned a lot from their struggles.  One interesting point of view is the military wife that is not sure how she feels about being a military wife.  While I can't relate in any way to being a military wive, I do have friends that are military wives and I had never thought before about some of the struggles they way face.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Look Who Lives in the Arctic by Alan Baker

I absolutely love this book!  The design of this book is so great!  Look Who Lives in the Arctic is a great book for a study on the Arctic, specifically arctic animals.  It is engaging enough for a preschooler but can be used to prompt further learning for an elementary student.  One site gives it a reading level of ages 4-8.

Apparently this is one of 4 books in a series of "Look Who Lives In" books, with there being one about the Desert, the Ocean, and the Rainforest.  I will definitely be trying to get my hands on the others.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Winter of Peril: The Newfoundland Diary of Sophie Loveridge by Jan Andrews

I picked this book to read because I needed a book with the word "winter" in the title for the 2010 Reading Through the Seasons Challenge.  I wasn't far into the book before I remembered that I had read it before, I think as a read aloud to the kids.

Winter of Peril is part of the Dear Canada Historical Fiction series which was written specifically to interest young girls in the history of their country.  It is, as the subtitle indicates, written in the format of a diary and tells the story of the beginning of a settlement in Newfoundland in 1721.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

February Reading Round Up

I only managed to read 4 books for myself in February, and even 2 of them were juvenile books.  I'm finding it a little hard to fit in time for my reading, but I am keeping up with challenge of reading 100 books a month to Little One.  I started a blog to record the books I read with her.  You can go there to check out the titles of the 95 library books and 5 of our own books that we Read in February.

All of the books I read for myself this time came from the library.  Clicking on the titles will bring you to my posts about the books.

Made in Canada by Mary Graham Bonner
On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Eyewitness Weather by Brian Cosgrove

I actually posted reviews on my blog of some of the books that I read to Little One because they counted towards some of the 2010 reading challenges that I'm working on.

Perfect Snow by Barbara Reid
One is Canada by Maxine Trottier
What Will the Weather Be by Linda DeWitt
Young Author's Day at Pokeweed School by John Bianchi

Post inspired by 

Monday, March 08, 2010

On letting kids go

Love this quote from A Time to Surrender by Sally John and Gary Smalley:

"Claire smiled.  When she told Max she hoped the "boomerangs" would never leave for good, she only half teased.  Yes, the kids needed to spread their wings and fly, but the thing was, her mama's heart sang whenever one of them paid a visit to the nest.  Arias resounded if they stayed overnight.  Entire operas poured forth if all of them were there together at the same time."

I can relate to Claire.  I only have one that has officially flown the nest yet.  Another was gone for a while but is back and forth right now.  Another will be spreading her wings in a year or so.  I love watching them spread their wings and fly, but I also love when they decide to fly back to the nest for a visit, and there's nothing better than having them all here together at the same time.  I don't think that will ever change.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Do what you are supposed to do

Every once in a while I'm in the middle of saying something to one of my children when I have this "ding, ding, ding" moment. It's in those moments that the lights go on as God teaches me a lesson.

I had one such moment recently. Little One wanted to do something that I was doing, she always does, but this particular time there were a couple of reasons why I wouldn't let her: 1) she wasn't really ready to take on the task - it was beyond her abilities at the moment 2) I had asked her to do something else but she hadn't bothered to do what I asked . I was in the middle of saying to her "If you were obedient in doing what you were supposed to do you might be more likely to get to do what you want to do, but you have to do what you are supposed to do first." Ding! The lights went on for me. I felt like God was telling me the same thing.

Lord help me to be faithful in doing what is before me to do - to be a good wife and a good mother - and to not keep asking to do things that are beyond me at the moment. Help me to realize what is truly important

Luke 16:10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Being a Mom is Hard Work

Earlier this week, on a particularly rough day, I posted on my facebook status that being a mom is hard.  I got a lot of agreement from a lot of moms.  I also got a couple of comments that I thought were pretty neat.  One friend said "My mom keeps telling me that the good Lord would not give us more than we could handle! I tell ya, he got more faith in me than I do!" and another said "My Pop says if parenting is easy, you're not doing it right... and that is so true!"
Later in the week I changed my status to "Being a Mom is hard, but I wouldn't trade it for all the world. I love my children with all my heart and I can't imagine life without them."

Today was another tough day so my six words this Saturday are:

Being a Mom is hard work!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Iditarod 2010 starts in the morning!

I'm so excited!  In case you don't know what the Iditarod is I'll tell you in brief - it is an annual 1150 mile dogsled race in Alaska.  It starts the first weekend in March and runs about 10 to 17 days.  This year is the 38th year for the race. You can learn more about the history of the Iditarod at the official Iditarod website.  There are a few mushers that have caught my eye this year. I'll tell you more about them in a minute.

I first learned about the Iditarod two years ago and wrote Following the Iditarod, in which I shared how I learned about it, and Still Enjoying the Iditarod, in which I shared some things I found interesting in learning about the Iditarod.  I now that I was working on posts about last years race but I don't think I ever actually posted them.

I love following this race!  There are always so many great stories that come out of it.  There's also a lot of opportunities for fun learning around the Iditarod.  Walter McKenzie has developed The EIditarod Project to help educators make the most of learning opportunities.  One of the things that Walter suggests is to get to know the mushers and pick one in particular to claim as your musher as you follow the race.  I can never manage to narrow it down to just one musher to watch.

Every year I like to keep track of the Canadians that are involved in the race.  This year there are 8 Canadians, 2 of which are rookies and 2 of which are females. Clicking on the names will bring you to the biographies.  Last year's second place winner, Sebastian Schnuelle (39) is one of the Canadians involved this year.  The Canadian females include veteran Karen Ramstead (45) and rookie Michelle Phillips.  The other rookie is Hank Debruin (47) and he's joined by veterans Hans Gatt (51), Gerry Willomitzer (39), Warren Palfrey (34), and Ross Adam (57).

I also like to follow mushers that have a homeschooling connection.  In an acceptance speach for an award a couple of years ago veteran Ramey Smyth (34) mentioned that he was homeschooled by his mom, who was also a musher.  I assume his brother, veteran Cim Smyth (33), was also homeschooled.  Veteran Mitch Seavey (49) and his wife Janine homeschooled their children.  Dallas Seavey (22) is one of their children and is classed as a veteran because this is not his first time running the Iditarod.

Another musher that catches my eye each year is female veteran DeeDee Jonrowe (56).  It just amazes me that she's still participating.  I think she is one brave, tough lady.

This year there's another musher that has caught my eye - rookie Newton Marshall (26) is from Jamaica!

I'm really looking foward to following the race over the next couple of weeks and see how these mushers do.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Advice to Newly Weds

Dear Head Over Heals in Love,

Get a nice piece of paper and something comfortable to write with.  Sit down in a comfortable place to write.  Write out what you love about your spouse and why you wanted to marry.  Fold the note carefully and store it in a safe, easily accessible place.  

Believe it or not there will probably be days when you will wonder what you ever saw in your spouse and why you ever wanted to get married.  On those days it will be good to be able to pull out your note and remind yourself of how you feel today.

inspired by the March the 4th cue at 

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Perfect Snow by Barbara Reid and our plasticine pictures

The Golden Goose is the first book by Barbara Reid that I read and noticed her amazing plasticine illustrations.  That sent me on a search for more books by her.  The search eventually led me to Perfect Snow, a book little one and I really enjoyed.  The illustrations in the book are amazing!

While talking to Little One about how amazing the illustrations were and the fact that they were made with plasticine, which is something like playdough, I thought that it would be fun to try our hand at making pictures with playdough.  I decided to try to find out more about Barbara Reid and her illustrations and a google search lead me to Barbara Reid's website - what a great find!  I was thrilled to discover that she had videos showing how to make plasticine pictures.  The girls and I watched the videos and were even more excited about trying it for ourselves.

I didn't have any plasticine so I decided to make playdough, using this cooked playdoh recipe from a friend, and try it with that.  Here's what we created:

Little One's creation (age 4)

Mom's creation 

Sis's creation (age 17)

We had fun and were pretty pleased with our creations but we wanted to give plasticine a try so we made a trip to the local dollar store and got some Crayola Modeling Clay.  The modeling clay was much better to work with.  Here's what we created with it:

I printed off the picture and Little One filled it in with plasticine.  We only had four colors but I did some mixing to get other colors.

Little One drew a picture of her doll and then filled it in with plasticine

Sis did this beautiful scenery from her head.  It's a row boat in the water on a sunset evening and there's a moose almost up on the shore.

I pointed out the Barbara Reid books to our librarian and suggested doing a Barbara Reid themed story hour and having the children make plasticine pictures.  It went over quite well!  Here's what Little One made at the event:

I see many more hours spent enjoying Barbara Reid books and playing with plasticine in our house in the future.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894 by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Found this book while perusing the shelves at our local library and thought it might make an interesting read.  I can't decide if I was right or not.  It was kind of interesting, but kind of boring too.  It is classed as a children's book and is a good example of diary entries.  I could see using it to introduce children to the idea of keeping diaries.

I thought it was going to be interesting because I had been a fan Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series but I should have known that it wasn't going to be the same.  There's quite a difference in novel writing and diary writing.  It was kind of interesting to read about what life was like for them in the 1894 during their travels but there really wasn't anything exciting about it.  Then again, it is a diary, not a novel.

So, I did kind of enjoy On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894 by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but it's not a book I would likely recommend to anyone looking for an interesting book to read.

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Brand New Month - time to evaluate

At the beginning of each month I tend to slip into this evaluating mode.  I take some time to look at the past  month - what I've done, what I wish I'd done differently, etc.  Then I look ahead to the coming month and think about things I'd like to change and things I'd like to accomplish in the coming month.  I always find there's lots of room for improvement.  :0)

One thing I have to work on soon is a new look for my blog.  We didn't get much snow yet this winter but DH informed me that there is snow in the forecast for the next few days so maybe I'm safe in leaving the snowy look on my blog for another little while, but I will be working on a new spring look in the next couple of weeks.

Something I started working on last month but will be working on more this month is a new blog - Anna's Adventures. Antics, and Activities.  Today I actually finally published what I've done there so far.  In the Blog Plan and Explanation post I shared that I created the blog specifically to keep track of, and share, the books Little One and I read together for the 100 Books a Month Challenge, but I may throw in additional posts from time to time.  I'm thinking it may end up being where I record Little One's learning journey.  We'll see.

So, that's some of my thinking today.  There's lots more that I'm not sharing but some of it may come up in future posts. How about you?  Do you find yourself evaluating a planning at the beginning of the month?