Thursday, July 29, 2010

Houston, We Have Vegetables

Soon to be green bell pepper

Soon to be Tiny Tim tomatoes

Just about a zucchini

Bush beans next week

Nice, as our spinach has now gone to seed, earwigs ate our head lettuce, and we're just about done the leave lettuce.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dealing with too Much Stuff

quite literally.

When I first had children, my goal was to raise them in the most natural way possible. I wanted them to have nice quality toys (handmade, wood toys, etc). I didn't want to get into the whole world of plastic JUNK but over the years we have. We've been to numerous yard sales where the people hand over a box of junk and say "here, take it all for free." Then when were away at the cottage we (yes, WE) purchased Morgaine a large 5 dollar bag of "stuff" as she didn't have much to do and I was huge and very much pregnant. Well, she didn't want to get rid of anything and now I'm overcome with Barbies (gasp), building toys and just stuff in general. They have so much stuff that they don't care about the things they own. They are SPOILED!

For about the last month I've been taking the toys they leave out and putting them in a laundry basket in my room. The plan was that eventually they'd get down to a decent amount of toys that they'd be able to take care of and understand that more isn't always better at which point we could go through the stuff and decide to donate some of it to others with less than we have.

After about a week I'd collected a fair amount

The sad thing is that after a month, I've collected over a laundry basket full of stuff and have started to donate things without their knowledge. They still have more than they know what to do with. I could likely toss the whole basketful without a word from them. I am totally appalled that it has come to this. We don't have any of the nice quality toys that I dreamed of. We've succumb to brand names and cheap toys and as a result the children don't care and actually just want MORE! I'll continue to purge over the months (I have a friend doing a 500 pound purge this year and I'm kicking myself for not joining as I'm sure that we could have reached that goal) and let you know how it goes.

Have any of you managed to go from way too much back to basics? Let me hear your stories!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's Fave Five-July 23rd

I'm loving Friday's Fave Five because I get to share my favorites from the week and that allows me to slow down and appreciate the good moments even when things are hectic or seem to be going all wrong. So take a moment for yourself, and reflect on the good times you've had this week and the things you've enjoyed. Then please join me at Living to Tell the Story and share!

1. Rain. It has been so hot and humid here leading to a clingy baby and a sticky (yes, ewwww) Mama. The rain that we had yesterday brought much relief.

2. Deciding to spend the afternoon together as a family.
My facial/head pain has been pretty bad since I am no longer pregnant and I've been a little short with the family so I was glad to have enough relief to be able to go out with the family and enjoy.

3. Berry-picking. Well the berry picking was challenging but the raspberries were lovely and we managed to get quite a few in the short time we were out. The kids did not see the fun in being up to their knees (or necks) in brambles and the black flies were terrible. Note to self: unless we are going to be sitting in a field of blueberries were the kids can just sit and pick, let Mike do the gathering.

4. Finding a beach, making the berry picking excursion worth it for the children.

5. Feet in water....

....and on sand.

Nothing is more grounding to me than the ocean and I've been reflecting on the fact that since moving back east I don't take the time to just be. I usually only cast the waves a passing glance as I hurry past and it was nice to take the time today to just slow down and enjoy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travel Kits-A Review

Product: Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others by Donna Rus
Company: The Old Schoolhouse
Price: 12.95$US

We spend time in our car. We spend A LOT of time in the car. As spontaneous people, we often decide out of the blue to pack a bag, hop in the car and GO. Instead of taking one family vacation a year we easily take five or six overnight, unplanned weekend trips with our 3 children. We have had to come up with ways to keep the children occupied on these trips because, well, half of the trip is usually spent getting wherever we are going, so the getting there has to be fun as well! Several years ago I started keeping a packed variety bag of books, treats, and small toys in my closet so that when we wanted to hop in the car we'd have something prepared for the kids that would keep them busy. Well, apparently, I'm not the only one who does this and Donna Rus has written an e-book Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others to help others learn how to make traveling kits as well.

This e-book from The Old Schoolhouse explains what a travel kit is, who can use it (just about anyone), and makes lots of suggestions for what kinds of things make good travel ideas. In addition, she talks about way to organize the gifts, which she usually wraps, if you are making a travel kit for more than one child. The book is jam packed with pictures of different, creative travel kits the author has made.

While I did like some of her suggestions, I would not be willing to pay 12.95$US for this product. I went to our local dollar store, as suggested in the book, to purchase some items to make a travel kit of our own and I honestly could not imagine buying them more stuff. Many of the items suggested for the travel kits are things that I would not be willing to buy my children so they were not particularly useful. Many of the things that I use in my travel kits are old toys that my children have not seen in a while or books we haven't read and they are happy with those. I don't feel the need to contribute to consumerism by buying them more things that they don't need. If I had the money to buy quality items that would be useful after the trip I might have been more willing to buy new things, but with our numerous mini vacations a year, that is not the case. Another thing that I found was that most of her example travel kits were HUGE. With three big car seats in the back of our small car there would never be room for such large travel kits (though, they do give a lot of suggestions for smaller items as well. While I definitely think that this book could be useful for people that have never packed travel bags for their children, I think that a lot of the information is common sense. As I have been packing fun bags for my children for years, I did not find a lot of the information new to me and therefor would not be interested in purchasing the book myself at 12.95$US.

To find out more about Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others please check out The Old Schoolhouse Store here. To find out what other people thought of this product please visit The Homeschool Crew website.

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Old School House Monthly Modules

Product: Travel the World-June 2010 Old Schoolhouse Planner Module
Company: The Old Schoolhouse
Price: 7.95$US

Last year I was given the opportunity to review the 2009-2010 The Old Schoolhouse Planner (you can read the review here). I was quite impressed with the product and mentioned that in addition to the planner The Old Schoolhouse also sold monthly modules to accompany the planner but that I hadn't seen them myself. I am pleased to say that this year the first product up for review as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew was the June 2010 Monthly Module-Travel the World.

My son has been very interested in learning world geography but, I haven't taken a lot of time beyond answering his questions to explore the topic. Despite repeatedly talking to him about the different continents, the information just wasn't sinking in for him. I'd get asked the same questions on a daily basis, most often when out and about in the car where we do not have a world map handy (maybe we should as I spend a fair amount of time sitting in the car nursing our youngest one). Upon arriving home, we'd move on to something else and I'd never pull out the map to clarify my answers. Thankfully, this review has allowed me to sit down with my son and study the topic further.

The TOS monthly modules allow you to sit down and learn with your children without having to do the research and find the material yourself. The June Module entitled Travel the World includes 56 pages of material introducing your child to world geography from a Christian perspective. Included are lapbook pages, colouring sheets, copy work and games (crosswords, word searches, etc). As your child reads about the continents and other geographical terms, they can click on various links in the PDF to allow them to visit websites that expand on the information and allow your child to test their knowledge through quizzes and other interactive games.

With a variety of materials for multiple age ranges this unit study not only provides an introduction to young children but can be easily used as a review with your older children who should find the e-book easy enough to use on their own. For 7.95$us, this book provides a wealth of information that I would happily pay for. With a very young child at home I am finding that I have less time to actually look for information and create unit studies myself so this book was very welcomed. The Old Schoolhouse publishes a new e-book planner module each month and I will be checking back to see what new topics are being covered. Some previous topics, still available for purchase, include the presidents of the United States, the universe, staying safe, world wonders and many more. These modules are jam packed and cover a variety of age ranges and I would happily purchase them again especially considering the number of links included to well presented informative websites, which I currently don't have the time to hunt down myself. Well worth the cost!

For more information on this product and to purchase it click here. For more reviews of this product be sure to check out the TOS Homeschool Crew website here.

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stitching, Sketching and Scrapping Sunday-July 18th

brought to you this week by my lovely husband and the traditional craft of loom knitting!

We are still in the hat business here and Mike has knit up several on the round knitting loom we purchased for the kids. He has enjoyed it a good deal and is enjoying trying out different combination of stitches to get different results.

Here are just a couple of his creations.

The red, ribbed, real wool hat:

Feltied pink hat:

Reversible baby yarn hat:

This may be the last week for Stitching, Sketching, Scrapping Sunday until the fall. I'm thinking that most people are out enjoying the summer and not working on too many projects. If you have been crafting this week be sure to let us know by signing the Mr. Linky below.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday's Fave Five- July 16th

I hope that your all had a lovely week. What were your favorite moments, things, places this week? Please join me at Living to Tell the Story and share!

1. That time of year again! Last year I was known (hopefully affectionately) as "that crazy lady from Quebec eating maggoty cherries." Well, the season is staring again! I'm shocked that (most) people here don't eat what we've been freely given. I have no problems doing so.

2. Having things start moving on the TOS Homeschool Crew again.
Things have been slow on my blog as I haven't had much motivation to post. Hopefully, with reviewing starting up (two reviews to be posted next week), I'll get back into the swing of things!

3. Baby exploring the world. I guess I don't have to tell you I LOVE the baby stage. If I could figure out 4 year olds I would have a dozen children!

4. Guacamole:
Needs no further explanation!

5. Sitting outside with my big kids!
I love summertime for homeschooling. We somehow seem to get a lot more accomplished, and while sitting out under our big oak trees, at that.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stitching, Sketching, Scrapping Sundays-July 11th

Hello there,

It's time to share what you've been up to this week. If you are anything like me, and have had heat and humidity like we've had, perhaps you haven't done much. Or perhaps, you took the time to camp out by your air conditioner and work on some projects.

I have difficulties knitting or crocheting in the heat (my fingers tend to feel funky as the wool runs through them and I tend to drop my needles/hook). I've had to put down those projects for the week and pick up some pencil crayons instead. I've been working on Kaplan Medical's Anatomy colouring book this week while working my way through Marieb's Human Anatomy and Physiology but that's not very crafty or artsy so I won't bother sharing. I'll instead share a picture I'm working on.

It has been YEARS since I've tried to draw so this is actually a kit from Walmart, cheating probably, but still fun. It's taking me FOREVER to get anywhere on it so it's still work. I'm hoping to eventually get back into really drawing and maybe painting but while working through my creative block this will have to do!

What have you been up to? Sign Mr. Linky and let us know!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Fave Five-July 9th

I'm back! We've had a somewhat stressful week and a bit. Tension were running a tad high and we needed to just take some time away and regroup but I am happy to be back and posting, and just in time for Friday Faves at that! What were your favorite moments, things, places this week. Please join me at Living to Tell the Story and share!

This is like to be very baby focused this week!

1. Skin to skin in the shower. I hadn't tried to shower with Ruadhán until about a week ago. It is WONDERFUL! He is full of smiles and even though he isn't newborn holding him right next to me feels so nice. It has also been very welcomed the last day or two because it is HOT here!

2. Nursing in public and people's reactions. Which have surprisingly been very positive. People seem much more opposed to my using a carrier to take babe out and about and I was expecting to get negative comments about nursing.

3. Ruahdán reaction to our facial expressions. He is getting expressive now and loves to copy what we are doing. Much fun!

4.Finally choosing a colour for our house that covers well (and the fact that Home Depot let us return 13 cans of red paint we purchased over a year ago).
The house is going to look soooooooo good! (will post pictures when we (okay Mike) has the painting finished...I assume it will take a week or two)

5. Enjoying the summer in the sprinkler!
I don't love the heat but a run through the sprinkler is always fun!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What is WRONG with my Garden Wednesday

Help! There's something wrong with my garden. One of our 4 x 4 square foot above ground containers seems to have come down with something and it is even jumping the container and heading towards my spinach in the next box over! It appears to have started in the swiss chard with just a few leaves looking dried

and then spread from there.....

to my bean bush, and like I said, seems to have jumped the container to the first couple leaves of spinach nearby.

I'm not a gardener so I'm looking for answers from those of you that know more than I do. The problem started in the container that has sweet corn and I know that they are known for having diseases so I am wondering if that might be the problem. Also, in case it'll help diagnose the problem, it's been pretty wet here.

I'd love some advice. I'm going to go out there and take off all the affected leaves and hope that helps.

Help me....


Sunday, July 4, 2010

No Meme This Week

I haven't picked up a crochet hook or knitting needle all week and with Independance Day in the US and people away for the Canadian long weekend I figure I wouldn't get many links anyways. If you do stop in with something to share feel free to add it to last week's Mr. Linky. It is still open.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone!