Thursday, September 22, 2011

Schools In

We're in week 3 of school.  I've taken pictures here and there, but I realized this morning that I haven't blogged about it.  Since school takes up a good chunk of our time and energy, it only seems right to give it it's due space on the blog.  Here are just a couple photos of what we've done:

We're learning about the sky.  Did you know the atmosphere is hundreds of miles deep, but only the first few miles are breathable air?  Yeah, I didn't know that either.  Here's Maddie testing out air resistance with her bike and a parasol.

Eva discovered that there's a big difference in air resistance when you run with an umbrella versus riding a bike.

We made posters the first day of school.

We covered journals.  The kids write in them daily.  It's been a big hit.

Graedon has a journal, too. 

There's lots more to come this year.  We're only getting started!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Project Recycle Radio Pt. 1

I found this diamond in the rough at the local second hand store.  It's a really old radio.

I know...what would I possibly want with an old radio that doesn't work and, given the disintegrating wires and missing parts, will never work?

You'll find out soon.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Little Boy and the Cookie

*This is mostly a true story, except for the parts I made up.  For ease of reading, I've put the fictionalized part in italics.*

Once upon a time, there was a lady selling her wares at an outdoor market.  Along came a little boy and sat down beside her.  The boy had beautiful golden curls and big blue eyes.  He sighed deeply and turned his sad little face to the vendor lady.

"I'm so-o-o hungry, and my parents don't have any money," sniffled the little boy.  He gazed at the lady with his big puppy dog eyes.  "Do you have anything I can eat?"

The vendor lady felt so sorry for the little boy.  After asking whether he had allergies (safety first!), she asked him if he'd like a cookie.

"Oh, yes!" said the boy, all smiles.

The lady handed him a chocolate chocolate chip cookie, which he popped into his mouth immediately.  His face fell and he began to scowl.  "This cookie is HARD!"

Surprised, the lady said, "Oh, I must have left that batch in a bit too long.  Sorry."

Pouting, the little boy ordered in an angry voice, "Next time, you should make vanilla and chocolate!  Try to remember that for next time!"

And then the vendor lady grabbed that snotty little brat in a head lock, pried his piranha jaws open and took back her chocolate chocolate chip cookie by the fistful.

The End.

Recycling. Blah.

That title got your attention, eh?  My friend recently posted on her blog about how impractical and expensive recycling can be.  I've lived in neighbourhoods where the town arranged pick-up for the recyclables.  All you had to do was dump everything into one bin, and they took care of the rest!  Here, though?  We're on our own!  We're welcome to recycle, but the sorting is up to us, and we have to drive it to several different spots around town and drop it off.

I read A's post and my first thought was, "Oh, fiew!  I'm not the only non-recycler here!"  And, then, the guilt started creeping up.  As a passive recycler (that is - I recycle when there's a bin nearby, and I turn in my bottles for cash), am I single handedly ruining our planet??  Eeep. 

There's a lot of attention brought to recycling.  Personally (and this will bring me many a dirty comment, I'm sure), I think the idea of recycling is a band-aid solution.  We focus on how we can recycle, and yet, we don't stop to think about why we need to recycle in the first place.  Why are we buying so much stuff?  Why is that stuff wrapped in so much packaging?  We are replacing our old appliances for new, "energy-efficient" ones only to replace those ones in 6-7 years because they're cheaply produced and held together with spit and a prayer.  Really?  Is that energy efficient?  Is that better for the environment?  Is that even affordable? 

So, no, I don't put much emphasis on recycling.  Reduce, though?  Ah, yes.  That, I like.  Reuse?  Mmmm-hmmm.  It's as simple as (and these are not all currently being used by me, but they're still great ideas):

*buying second-hand.  Furniture, clothing, and home decor can be bought for cheap.  Because of our disposable culture, most of it is like new anyway!  When you're done with something, advertise it and make some of your money back.  Not underwear, though.  That's gross.  I'm especially talking to the lady with the yard sale at which she'd hung her leopard print nightie/thong set and slapped a $5 price tag on it.  *shudder*

*gardening & canning.  Mason jars are re-usable for years and years and years!

*cutting back at Christmas and birthdays.  Presents are nice but they don't translate to love.  As a mom, Christmas is one of the most frustrating times of the year.  We're so blessed with gifts, but sometimes it's hard to find a spot for it all.  The best presents are the ones that are useful, compact and of a quality make (nothing worse than having to throw out a gift on boxing day because it broke). 

*passing on books.  Loved that novel?  Send it on to a friend and let them love it, too.

*make your own lunch and use washable containers to carry it. 

*cloth diaper & breastfeed.  Huge money saver if you stick to the basics. 

*be content.  Yes, there's a newer and better model out there, and yes, you want it.  But do you need it?  If your old one is still doing the job, then keep lovin' it.  That goes for spouses, too.  :P

What are your tips for going green? 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Visiting Québec

We try to visit Québec at least every year.  We missed last summer because Gen was due in the middle of August.  Traveling with an extremely pregnant, hormonal mommy who can't tie her own shoes is not advised...unless of course, you're into extreme sports or don't value your life.

The 7 hour trip stretched out to about 10.  We stopped often to pee and run around.  Québec City is about 4 hours into the trip so we usually make a pit stop there to visit the Aquarium.  It cuts up the trip right at that point where the kids feel that they just can't take it anymore.  After looking at fish for 2 hours (BTW, I heard that staring at fish is very calming and soothing), they were ready to get back into the van and drive the rest of the way...asleep :)

Sand sculptures at the Québec Aquarium.

A nice lady offered to take our picture by the bridge at the aquarium.  I fully expected her to tuck the camera under her arm and make a run for it, but no!  We got the camera back safe and sound.

The Pattersons, August 2011

 This summer we decided to try Le Village d'Antan.  For such a touristy attraction, I was disappointed that only a small number of staff spoke English (and then only enough to get by).  I found the historic village very interesting, but Richard and the kids got bored easily since they couldn't understand the stories behind the buildings and characters.

Still, very pretty, and quite different from King's Landing in Fredericton.  Le Village d'Antan tells the history of the Québecois and you can see the strong Catholic influence in the families and buildings.  King's Landing is older, and mostly (if not all) protestant.

Sitting in the one-room schoolhouse.
  No trip would be complete without a bathroom mishap, of course.  This picture was taken moments before I caught a whiff of something foul...and it wasn't the pony ride, either!  Gen had pooped on everything!  Wipes weren't going to do it, so we headed to the bathroom to rinse off in the sink...only to find out that the only running water was freezing cold.  Gen was quite awake after that. :)

"Uh oh!  I have a surprise for you, Mommy!"
The next day we hung around my old stomping grounds.  To my surprise they now have a Farmer's Market.  It's a nice one, too!  If I lived close enough, I'd be a regular. 

This man had the best apple juice and Sunrise apples I'd ever tasted.  Yum!

That night we had a bonfire at my Grandma Blouin's.  It's crazy how the kids seem to grow up so fast when you aren't there to watch them.  My little cousins are adults, and my littler cousins are practically teenagers.  The great thing about our family get togethers is that there's no age limit to singing "Squirrel", complete with the bum-wagging actions.

We met up with my brother, R, his wife, N, and little K!  It was a special treat to have the cousins play together.  K is a bundle of happy energy, running and laughing and generally enjoying life.  I'm hoping we can visit more often than just every other year. 

Asbestos is well-known guessed it!  Asbestos!  Graedon was intent on going to see the great, big truck. 

Great, Big Truck...Tiny Little Kids

We visited with my Grandma Noble.  The kids thought her apartment was pretty sweet - especially the big bag of Cheetos! 


Turns out my baby is a tad Greek.