Category Archives: Journal

Weekly Wrap up: Back to the Grind

In my life this week…

It has been a fairly normal week here. I think the weirdest thing this week was my almost 14 year old teaching my almost 7 year old how to make his own coffee.

Ian Making Coffee
Ian Making Coffee

I also wrote a post this week on a craft that I made for Christmas. It is called quilling and involves rolling paper in a variety of ways. The art form started with nuns making decorations with the trimmings from the edges of gilded books. Anyways I made two TARDISes. (Quilling – TARDIS)

Quilled Tardis
Quilled Tardis

Cleaning…

We are reorganizing our basement. Ian needs a regular size bed. Currently he is still on his toddler mattress, wedged into the corner of the loft bed nest. Unfortunately there isn’t enough room for another bed in there. So they are getting the TV room. That means rearranging everything including moving the wall mounted TV. On the good side the kids actually sorted their toys. We are getting rid of two boxes of toys, five bags of garbage and three bins of recycling. We also have an old DVD player and 5 orphaned remotes going to electronic recycling.

In our homeschool this week…

We have been trying to get caught up on math for both Philip and Margaret. Margaret has succeeded. Philip has until Sunday or he starts losing privileges. He should be able to make it.

Portfolios are coming up so there is a push to finish everything off and get ready. I am feeling confident.

Telescope Disassembly
Telescope Disassembly

We did another of our take it apart Fridays. This week’s item was a telescope that I found at the thrift store for $10. It turned out to not be nearly as exciting as I had hoped. Removing four screw was all it took. Still it worked for Philip doing optics. The kids did play around with the parts, holding them up and seeing what happened when they combined them.

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Merry Christmas

For the first time in years we went to Vancouver and visited with my dad over Christmas. Travel over the passes in winter is always an adventure. On the way down we had to wait in a town called Merritt while they reopened the highway. A semi had lost it on one of the long downhills and hit the concrete barrier, scattering them across the oncoming lanes. Add in several rear-enders as people couldn’t stop. We have these wonderful runaway lanes for when trucks lose their brakes.

Runaway Lane
Runaway Lane

Source TransBC 

We had lunch in Merritt and by the time we finished they had reopened the road. We could smell diesel for about two kilometers as we passed the scene and we saw the truck as we drove past but the road was fine. They had dumped enough sand and gravel that it was practically a gravel road.

Ian Christmas Morning
Ian Christmas Morning

We got down there on the 23rd as we wanted to have an extra day if the roads were too bad. My Dad and stepmom had moved so I had to find their new house and where I was allowed to park. It is convenient to the mall and beach and was walking distance to a church. We had a nice dinner and relaxing evening.

Christmas Eve had us at different churches. They went too a service at their home church which is about 45 minutes away and we went to Mass at a little church within walking distance. We walked home to a Crockpot stew and mashed potatoes. My parents got back later. We tried to make it an early night for everyone and insisted that morning not arrive until 7:30.

Christmas morning was fairly quiet and laid back. My family’s tradition is to open the presents one at a time. That mean everyone see what everyone got and slows everything down. The kids got me tickets to go see the new Star Wars with them. They got my wife a new camping knife. I got her a new Bluetooth speaker and she got me a Dremel. Philip got a microphone as he wants to do Minecraft videos. Margaret got a puzzle game called Gravity Maze. Ian got a game called Qwirkle.

Happy Ian
Happy Ian at the aquarium

On Boxing Day my wife took the kids to the Aquarium. A membership was another gift that they received. Ian has been learning about sea otters and really wanted to see them. It was crowded and raining but they had a great time.

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

We were originally going to head home on the 27th but the highways were a mess so we stayed an extra day. We went for a walk at a local park. It was a cool place that we have been to before. It used to have a really cool play structure but unfortunately in the 10 years since we last visited it has been replaced with a modern, safer but nowhere near as fun structure. The park was donated to the city by a pair of brother who never married and never had children. They were fairly eccentric and lived in a tree house on the land. They also brought in a wide selection of trees. At some point in the last decade people created a fairy village. It was very cool and we kept finding more. As we saw one area suddenly we would realize that there was more and more.

Cool Rock
Cool Rock
Cool Tree
Cool Tree
Fairy Village
Fairy Village
Fairy Village
Fairy Village
Cool Water Fountain
Cool Water Fountain

Our drive home was easier than our drive down and the roads were great for winter conditions. I was still well under the posted speed limit and getting passed by people going way to fast for conditions. I was doing 90km/h (55mph). The speed limit was 120 km/h (75mph) and there were people going that fast. We saw a number of vehicles off the road and three that had turned turtle. We got home safe with no problems other than a small detour.

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Weekly Wrap up: Catching Up

In my life this week…

Well it has been several very busy weeks. To get caught up I am going to cover the highlights.

Philip Pumpkin
Philip Pumpkin

This time period started out with Halloween. I posted our costumes last time. We ended up switching some kids around. Philip went trick or treating with a friend and stayed over at their house. Margaret had a friend sleepover and she went trick or treating with us. Overall it was a fun night. The kids here stayed up way to late but that is what sleepovers are for.

Margaret Pumpkin
Margaret Pumpkin

We forgot to take pictures of the pumpkins this year. When we realized that Philip took out a candle one night and got pictures of all of them all lit. The pumpkins were starting to mold and that is visible in the photos and makes them creepier. Ian’s was supposed to be a Pikachu but the mold it looks more like a deranged, zombie bunny.

Ian Pumpkin
Ian Pumpkin

We had friends over dinner. We had been talking during the summer and the subject of soup came up. That resulted in me putting a reminder in Google calendar to have them over for seafood chowder in the fall. Summer is just to hot for soup. I don’t remember the details of the original conversation, that is why I put it in Google. It was a great night but I got carried away on the cooking. That is not a bad thing as you will see below.

Remembrance day also fell in this time window. This time as a Beaver leader I had a bunch of kids and other leaders and we were in the parade. This year they fixed some problems and we made it in to the center. It meant that the kids could see and they were very well behaved. The legion puts on hot dogs for the kids afterwards.

In our homeschool this week…

We scrambled through the last two weeks to portfolios. Last weekend we presented with all the kids doing well. We need to catch Ian up on reading but he is improving and we should have him caught up by next school year if not sooner. Again he is reading at a grade 1 level which is actually the grade he would be in based on his age. So really all is good.

Philip needs to put more detail into his science reports and in general write more. That is always a battle. Overall this was the most stress free portfolio he has had. I attribute that to Homeschool Tracker.

Using the Homeschool Tracker website is still a bit of a love/hate relationship. I love that we got more accomplished and that we were the most prepared ever for a portfolio. I want to be more unschooling in philosophy however I think the increased productivity out weights that philosophy.

Cooking…

Brownies with Ice Cream
Brownies with Ice Cream

Everything I put on the table for that dinner was made from scratch. I made a cheater version of homemade ice cream that worked very well other than I made one flavor that wasn’t a hit. Live and learn. In case you are wondering the flavors were Chocolate, Coffee and Matcha. I also made homemade chocolate sauce and brownies.

Cookie Monster Branches out to Brownies
Cookie Monster Branches out to Brownies

For the main course I made a Seafood Chowder, a Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup and homemade bread. The bread and the chowder I have made many times. The Sweet Potato Soup was an experiment that worked. I had a recipe that I sort of followed but mostly just winged it.

Video…

I am not sure how I ended up finding this on YouTube but I rediscovered Weird Al Jankovic. This one in particular I found hilarious: “Word Crimes” sung to the tune of “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.

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