Thursday, 28 June 2012

Nature Project: Week Two

Welcome back to Week 2 of our Year Long Nature Project. This weeks activity was called "Antics". As I am sure you can guess it was all about Ants.

We started by reading the chapter together which had some interesting bits of information. Here are a few things that we learned:

-An entomologist is a scientist who studies bugs
-A true bug is an animal that can pierce and suck (mosquito was given as an example)
-Ants are part of the insect family (and NOT a true bug)
-Ants have three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen)
-Ants have six legs

The main activity of this week was observing how ants operate. That proved to be a bit of a challenge. Not in that we couldn't find Ants to observe but if you can picture a bunch of Ants scurrying around? Yeah, that was my kids. You have to sit still to observe.

Nevertheless we still got to see some Ants in action. We crushed up some crackers and placed them outside of the Ant hill in one of my front flower beds. A few Ants came out, gave things a sniff, but then didn't seem very interested. My husband suggested something sweeter so I had some leftover french toast from breaky. They didn't seem to hot on that either.

I was beginning to wonder if maybe we had disturbed their home too much and were more vested in fixing their home than gathering food. BUT then I saw an Ant. He was carrying a dead bug. Then we saw another Ant, also carrying a different dead bug. I think our Ants are on an Antkins (haha, Atkins) diet. They don't like the carbs. They are carnivores.

I was able to snag a picture of an Ant walking over the crackers but none took the bait.

At least we saw an Ant carrying something. 

The Q & A this weeks was asking how Ants smell. We discovered how Ants use two little Antennae to smell with. It was too bad we didn't get to observe much as the main activity outlined was to set out food, and a little enclosed space (with twigs) and watch how the Ants create a scent trail. If the boys were a few years older they probably would have been able to grasp the idea much better.

Overall we had a great time outside. The boys were sure up to their own little Antics :)

Up Next Week: THE SUN!

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Fair, The Farmer's Market, and The Forks

If this weekend was sponsored by anything it would have been brought to us by the "Letter F". It wasn't even planned out that way but just sort of happened.


On Thursday evening Daddy was home from work a little earlier than usual and we decided to head out for a little drive and pick up something for supper. Little did I know that Daddy had a trick up his sleeve. We picked up a few coffees and headed west. It wasn't long until I could see the ferris wheels and roller coasters in the distance. What a wonderful surprise it was that Daddy was taking us to the fair. The boys were simply beside themselves.

We don't go too crazy anytime we go as things are ridiculously expensive there but since the kids' admissions were free (yes, for all three) we didn't mind indulging a bit. This was the first time either of the boys had been on any real rides. They simply had a blast. We also got to have a few fair treats (mini donuts, ribbon cut potatoes and beef on a bun anyone?).

Having some fun in the agriculture exhibit...

Time for some rides...

The sights and sounds kept Evelyn well entertained...


Saturday was a very packed day. We began our afternoon here: 

Well, not in the parking, but you get the idea. We went to the Farmer's Market :) Our plan was to pick up a sweet treat and some fruit to pack with our picnic for later in the day. There wasn't much for fruit yet but we made up for that in extra sweets (kettle corn and sugar cookies). Our local (15 minute drive away) Farmer's Market has a nice variety of things from woodcrafts, knitted or crocheted or sewed items, soaps, baked goods, meats and of course fresh produce. This is really some place I need to go without Daddy (he never lets me buy anything fun, lol) so I was excited when I discovered they are open on Wednesdays too. It will make a great outing for the kids and I. Plus I really want to take a better look at a few things (okay, maybe a lot of things).

Trips to this particular Farmer's Market also kill two birds with one stone as right next door is an outdoor FREE splash park. When we set out for the day the kids were already in their attire for getting wet so on the way to the van we all got to have a great cool off. The day was hot and sunny so it was just what we needed. I wanted lots of great pix but because of the heat it was so busy and keeping an eye on all three kids was priority. There will be many splash pad outings this summer so next time, next time.


We have a place in our city where two rivers connect. This place is called The Forks. It has a lot of historical value. It was a gathering place for the plains Aboriginals, it was a hub during the fur trade and it was really what spread out and eventually grew into our city. Today it still acts as a gathering place. 

This weekend was the Aboriginal Day celebrations so it would only be fitting that it were to be held at The Forks. We took a tour around the grounds and saw all sorts of vendors. It was kind of like the Farmer's Market except aboriginal style. There were dreamcatchers, pottery, moccasins, beaded wares and more. If you had gone back in time a few centuries it would have been a very similar affair. 

After a little walk around we settled down for our little picnic. We brought along our own juice, pork sandwiches, and of course our treats from earlier in the day. Daddy also grabbed some fries from a chip truck to round things out. No fruit though, dang I wish the Farmer's Market had had fruit. 

By this time everyone was beat and had reached our sun quotient. It was time to call it a day. Had we stayed though there would have been live music (traditional and non traditional) and fireworks. While the boys were asleep not long after their heads hit their pillows Daddy and I could still hear the music long into the night.

So that was our busy weekend. The Fair, The Farmer's Market, and The Forks. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Year Long Nature Project

If you read this post you would have seen me mention an upcoming project. It is now the time to reveal. The project is based on this book...

 I purchased i love dirt: 52 activities to help you & your kids discover the wonders of nature last year from amazon and when it arrived I immediately loved it. Too bad it then went into my bookshelf and I sort of half forgot about it. The forward by Richard Louv discusses how many children today spend too much time indoors, between school, after school activities, computer time and television time. At the heart of it is the fact that natural outdoor free play is beneficial to a child both mentally and physically. There has been extensive research into the benefits of natural free play. The introduction speaks the same message as the forward in encouraging and promoting the ease of getting outdoors and interacting with the natural world around us. 

A few weeks ago I was shifting some books around and i love dirt sparked my interest again. I decided that seeing as how the book contains 52 activities (52 weeks in the year, coincidence???) and it is spread over the 4 seasons that it would make a great annual project. A regular thang. Each chapter is a new activity to immerse yourself in nature and to further appreciate it. There are also mini facts and ideas on how to broaden the activity in fun and creative ways. I looked at the calendar and it seemed only perfect to begin this project on the first day of summer, the summer solstice. 

Yesterday the solstice arrived as did our first project. Even though it was a mostly gloomy and rainy day I made it a promise to myself that rain or shine we would get out there and nature it up. So nature it up we did. 
Seeing has how the title of the book is i love dirt it was only fitting that our first activity was all about dirt. The author, Jennifer Ward, tells parents in this chapter all about the importance of getting dirty. She explains that dirt and mud are a great way to be creative and encourages parents to set aside specific outfits for playing in dirt and mud so as not to fear the mess. 

There are suggestions to make hills, walls, holes, shapes etc. She suggests adding water. What happens when you add water to dirt? Of course mud comes next with mud pies and painting with mud. While yesterday may have been our activity day I can see some definite dirt play coming up in the rest of the week. 

So outside we went with some digging tools and toys to play in the dirt...

And what did we find???

We found some roots growing up in the middle of the backyard. 
Obviously from the trees at the side of the yard but still on odd place to spring up. 

We also found an earthworm. We gently picked him up and placed him in another spot. 

This week's fact was about what makes up dirt. We learned (well I already knew but you get my drift) that dirt is a mix of broken rocks and broken down plant matter. I expanded on the fact that some dirt is more clay based and stickier while other dirt is more sand based and drier. Our own back yard is pretty much a black dirt mud hole so it was the perfect place :)

Overall, I would have to say that I forgot how something so simple as digging in the dirt could be so interesting. We also found a bug in there and other bits of things. Vik began imagining digging underground tunnels that he could walk inside and big holes underground. I'm sure those brain seeds were planted last week when we watched Planet Earth: Caves.

Since my plan is for this to be a weekly thing we will be exploring our next chapter next Wednesday then blogging about it on Thursday. Please be sure to check back in for next week's i love dirt activity. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Father's Day Weekend

It is often rare that Daddy gets a day off over the weekend. Whether it be on renovations or band rehearsals Daddy is usually booked up at least one day of the weekend (if not both). This weekend however brought rain to our area which meant he couldn't do his regular work and there were no rehearsals this weekend which meant we had Daddy all to ourselves.

We had a fun filled weekend that included, video games, long walks at the park, river drives, supper at Boston Pizza with my Dad and many other little things that we just plainly enjoy doing.

I also got made Daddy the perfect gift. It started with a pin on pinterest (like so many of my great ideas do). It was super easy.

It was a MAN BOUQUET!!!!!

If you search in pinterest or on mother google for the term "man bouquet" you will find a plethora of pix and blog posts on these so I won't take any credit for the idea. Nor do I know where the idea originated to give credit where it is due. Nevertheless it was simple to make and in many way practical yet still fun.

To start you will need: tape, a package or skewers, and some scissors. You will also need a small sized flower pot or planter, some fake greenery, and a piece of foam. Then the fun part is picking out the fun stuff you are going to put into your man bouquet.

Step 1: Put foam in planter
Step 2: Put greenery in planter over foam
Step 3: Tape your items to the skewers
Step 4: Stick skewers in the foam
Step 5: Say Voila! and present it to your man, and prepare for him to be wowed!

I had a lot of fun picking out the things for Daddy. There were the obvious choices like a few of his favourite treats...

...and a few little mini bottles...

...I thought I had a pretty good idea to put a couple of lotto tickets in (one even won $20!!)...

...and Daddy likes these mini cigars as a rare treat..

...Lastly the BEST PART was the stuff I got from the music store...

Daddy loved his gift and I think I should do it every Father's Day. Make it a thing. Change it up a little every year. It's like a Christmas stocking in June, how awesome is THAT!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Weigh In Day (Shred Style)

Every Friday I weigh myself as soon as I get up. I then inform the record keeper of our biggest loser group who adds it to the spreadsheet. If I had a good week I anxiously await to see where I am in the rankings. I love the accountability the biggest loser group gives me. Since I don't formally attend Weight Watchers meetings the camaraderie among the losers is invaluable to me.

This week I did well. Very well actually. It is a loss that I have been working on for the last few weeks...

About 3 weeks ago I began to do the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and the Jillian Michaels Shred It with Weights DVDs. The last month (and 10 lobs) prior to starting I was having difficulty breaking through both a physical and mental (aka becoming complacent) plateau. Up a bit, down a bit, repeat. I often have slips but this was different. Adding regular exercise was the obvious no brainer.

I must admit I felt some frustration while exercising because while my diet was still pretty much trudging alone as per normal I wasn't noticing much difference on the scale. BUT after a bit of time something started to happen. I started noticing the difference in my body. I began to see the muscles forming. Things are feeling tighter, feeling stronger. I dare say I am even getting addicted to my morning work out. I have only had a few days in the past 3 weeks where I haven't run through a video and on those days I walked, A LOT. Actually on many days where I do Shred we have a big family walk as well (like last night for example). It's the endorphin high man.

Since I mentioned it I do also want to expand on the Jillian Michaels workout DVDs. First off, she kicks your behind. In a major way. The workouts are quick though. About 25-30 minutes including the warmup and cool down. There are modified moves for beginners and what is neat is that you work your way up through levels, such as three in the 30 Day Shred or two in the Shred It with Weights. A trademark of Michaels' is what she calls a 3-2-1 system. Three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, and one minute of abs. Two days ago I moved up to level three of the 30 Day and today I moved to level two of the Weights. I feel it. And it feels goooooooooooooooood.

I encourage anyone looking to start a regular workout to snatch up these DVDs. I also have Michaels' Ripped in 30 Days and Yoga Meltdown DVDs which I haven't started yet but will soon. I really suggest having more that one on hand because I really liked being able to add that variety between the days. Monotony and getting bored can kill your drive to exercise. Your muscles like the variety too and will thank you. Some days I like more focus on the weights and others I feel like cardio is more in order. Either way, I sweat, I make that fat cry.

So seriously dude, go, buy the DVDs. Feel awesome about yourself. They're short too. I am a mum of three with a lot on my plate. If I can fit in the exercise you can to. The boys are used to Mamma doing her workout and they for the most part entertain themselves and sometimes even join in (they love jumping jacks and pushups, go figure). It is vital I do the workout either before baby E wakes up for the day or during her nap. Working out with Evelyn in tow is like some ridiculous multi word oxymoron.

I don't want to ramble much more but I also wanted to say that for the last week and half I have also switched myself over the newest version of the Weight Watchers program. I needed to. I was getting bored and having too many slips. I needed something that required my attention again. Plus I was intrigued by the idea of 0 point fruit. I am very much enjoying my post workout smoothie. HOLD THE  PHONE...did I just say "post workout smoothie". Some kind of planets must be aligning.

A few final thoughts: still drinking tea, lots, and water, lots. Two point fruit/yogurt smoothies are AWESOME. Soup is the ultimate diet lunch, so many veggies, and so few calories. Steel cut oats for breakfast rocks.

You want to know what made me really happy today? Seeing myself back under 190. 188.6 to be exact, which also means a 3.8 lb loss this week. I worked hard for it. I deserved that loss. I know I am still a ways from my goals but this past year (almost!) has been an incredible weight loss experience. I am keeping an image of a 2 piece swimsuit in my mind too (modified of course, I'm thinking shorts and a tankini type top, but still TWO PIECE).

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Whole Lotta Random

Good Day! And indeed it is a good day. While my thoughts have been abducted by some family drama as of recent and interrupting some blogging I also have many things going on. Busy doesn't begin.

I do have a fun project coming up that I am really looking forward to blogging about. It involves nature, 52 weeks, and 4 seasons. All will be revealed shortly (as in only several more days until the summer solstice shortly).

There are a few things I promised to blog about in the past that I just wasn't able to get to it. Some of those things now even seem redundant or irrelevent to post on now (Easter anyone?). Some of those things, like the Brtiax B Ready stroller are still very deserving of a post and still pending. I hope to get rolling on some of those very soon. I'm thinking some videos demos and reviews are also in order.

So here is a short update:

Things were quite busy around home the last few weeks. For one, Daddy was away for 9 days on a renovation job out of town. Yup, just me, three kidlets, the dog and the cat in our small abode. It had some ups and downs but we felt is was a great experience. It was also great practice for those times when Daddy has to go away to rock and we stay home. We had some great routines and patterns and I gained A LOT of confidence in myself. Dare I say I look forward to a few more occasions where I can dig in my heels and be both parents (but not in a long term sort of way). There is a definite dynamic shift when Daddy is gone and in short doses I like it. Don't get me wrong though. WE MISSED DADDY SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!

A big development around here is Max is potty trained. Max is what I would figure to be a later potty trainer. He is almost 3 1/2 and we didn't give it a good go until the last few weeks and I ran out of pull ups and refused to buy more. There have been many pee accidents and many poo accidents but we are currently hitting 80% success right now. I'm pretty trained myself now to watch the clock and every 3 to 4 hours get him to the potty. This past week though he has taken some initiative to go on his own, only had a few dribble accidents, wakes dry every morning, returns home from outings dry and has even had some pees out and about.

Other than that it is pretty much business as usual. Daddy is back from out of town and back to regular band rehearsals and long hard work days. While he is busy working I am busy taking care of the home front and every single thing that implies (finances, homeschool, kids, cleaning, cooking......). I did happen upon a very intriguing blog while Daddy was away which I have to admit gave me some great insight into the splitting of responsibilities we do have. Take a moment and pop over to If you have a penchant for the 1950 husband/wife dynamic, like to homeschool and love the Lord then you will love this blog.

On the band front...they had their video footage shooting almost a month ago now and hopefully in a few weeks the video will be ready and be sent to the booking agencies (I am crossing EVERYTHING!). I am using every piece of The Secret I know to make this happen. That band does their part and I do mine. We are dreaming every day (and night) about international travel, flying with the kids, exposing our to the world, new tastes and new sounds.

Well there it is for now. Sorry for the shwack load of random thoughts. I just wanted to quickly write something out. Make sure people don't think I have forgotten them. In fact I guiltily think about how I should write more ALL THE TIME! I even have lots of good ideas. Getting the time? That is the ticket.

Thanks for stopping in today. Have a happy day :)