Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Christmas Planning

I loooove Christmas. I also happen to love planning and lists and such. The Organizing Junkie wrote a great post that included a review on an awesome app that I love! Christmas Gift List is a super easy way to keep track of gifts you need to buy, which ones you've already bought and what's already wrapped and you've forgotten about *raises hand*


You can even password it so it's safe from prying eyes ;)

This is now my 2nd year using this app. I even used it for birthday shopping!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Brianna's Moving Out (well, for pretend)

I was reading through one of my Secular Homeschooler group's and was reminded of this great idea I wanted to try when Brianna was older. Real life finances, without the real life hardships.



The basic idea was fairly simple. Start with a part time job, find a place to live, pay bills, etc....

So Brianna and I sat for a few hours last month setting it up. Because of all the time involved in setting it up, I went ultra basic. As the time goes on, there will be more details.

Here's what we did for September:

I had Brianna do some guestimating. I had her guess what she would be spending per month. Her answers - rent ($560), heat ($100), electric ($100), food ($100), extras ($250). Apparently I need to take her to the grocery store more often...

Brianna got a part time job at the local dollar store. Minimum wage at $11.60 per hour, 20 hours per week (for Sept, to keep it simple). I also explained the available gov tax credits that she would be entitled to for being low income (here, Trillium monthly and GST 4 times a year). We went over Lee's pay stub to learn about deductions. I set it up so she started "working" in August so that her Sept bills (rent, in particular) were paid on Sept 1st.

We did an actual house hunt with the local rental companies so she could see what legit rentals offered. She decided on a 1 bdrm apt about 6 blocks from home (and about 1.5 miles from work) that included fridge and stove (not all that common here) and heat. It cost $515 + electric.

We set her other bills at - electric ($40, based on current rates and what I paid almost 20 yrs ago for a 1 bdrm), cell ($45, her existing, real life bill), internet ($57, a real package from our cable company), bus fare ($55, as she currently does not want to walk to work).

She decided to "sell" her bar fridge that she for real owns as her apt came with a fridge so would rather the extra money. She otherwise furnished her appt with the furniture she for real owns (bed, dresser, desk & chair, wall unit, end tables, tv and laptop)

After all her bills we paid, she was left with $128 This month (Oct), we will add "grocery shopping" in detail to the lessons.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Country Study - Thailand

Corresponding with our Universal Yum box, we studied Thailand. We had loads of fun opening our first Yum Box. The girls are super happy that I signed us up for it and can't wait for the next one each month.



Here's some resources that we used:
The Impossible (movie)
Foods of Thailand (book)
Social Studies Explorer: Thailand (book)
Culture in Thailand (book)
The Changing Face of... Thailand (book)
How Tsunamis Work (youtube video)
We also youtubed various videos on actual tsunami footage from 2004.
Tsunami re-creation

Brianna wrote a report on the 2004 tsunami. This was her best researched report in a while, I think she enjoyed putting it together!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Florence Davidson was my Grandmother

My Grandma Flo died this morning. She had a very long battle with bowel cancer that spread to her liver and then lungs. She spent most of the last year fighting it tooth and nail.

I haven't seen her in almost 25 years.

For reasons still unknown to me, I did not even know that she existed until I was about 8 years old. I had been led to believe that my grandpa's 2nd wife was my grandma (by blood. She was still one of my grandmas). Something happened when my father and aunt were small children and they all became estranged.

That year, when I was 8, my father decided to send me to Grandma Flo's for the summer (it did not at all seem strange to me at the time to spend 6 weeks with a woman I had just met. My father said she was grandma, so that was good enough for me). I had the most wonderful time. She was not your typical grandma. She taught me how to roll her cigarettes for her with her tub of tobacco and rolling machine and introduced me to her "pet" raccoons (she lived in downtown Vancouver and there was a rodent problem that she made the best of).

She brought my to the Indian Reserve that we had family on. I didn't know I was Native. I imagine, because I was 8, I was told very little. Grandma Flo said we were Mountain Cree. I never knew the name of the reserve we visited but it was amazing.

The Aunt that we stayed with lived about a 5 minute walk from the Fraser River and every morning we would walk down there to pull in the nets. HUGE, real salmon! I was totally a city girl. I didn't know fish this big existed! Pacific Salmon were the most often caught, but occasionally there was a Pink Salmon in there. My grandma and Aunt and sometimes others would clean the fish on the kitchen counter or table. Sometimes there were eggs. I had heard of caviar, but never ate it. It was salty but I remember liking it. One of the men would grab some of the cleaned fish to hang in the smoke house next door. (REAL smoke house smoked salmon. Most amazing thing ever. I have never found anything like it in any store). I remember watching in disgusted amazement as my grandmother would eat the fish head.

I remember lots of adult talk of the "white man" accusing them (the natives) of over fishing. I remember siting on the banks of the river when they pulled in the morning fish and across the river on a higher cliff was that "white man" pulling up big nets too. I remember my 8 year old "hatred" of the "white man", forgetting that I, too, was mostly white. But at that moment, all I thought of was my new-found Native Pride.

I saw her only once after that summer. I don't even really remember much from that 2nd visit as it was just one day as my father and I drove through.

My grandma was a bit of a gypsy. She was always packing up and moving here and there. Almost always in the lower mainland of BC, but not always. For a while, I kept up with her as best as I could, sometimes speaking to her on the phone or writing letters, but sometimes not hearing from her for years.

My aunt (my father's sister) contacted me a year ago looking for information to contact my father about his mother. While I haven't talked to my father in 12 years, I did just receive the requested information from my grandpa (who isn't aware that I don't speak to my father, or why) and passed it on. I hadn't seen my aunt since I was 5. Thankfully, she filled me in with as much information as she could.

I'm sad that I hadn't seen my grandma in 25 years, but I am glad that my memories of her are all amazing and full of adventure.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Helloooo?

*taps mic* Anyone still here?

Ok, so I pulled another one of my disappearing acts. I swear my intention is to post regularly! I just swear I see squirrels and rainbows and get distracted lol

I have started Bullet Journalling (more about that later). One of the reasons, is to be less squirrely. One of my goals for May is to get back to blogging regularly. The whole point of this blog is so people can learn about our journey and so me and the kids can have this cool diary of sorts to look back on. I also really enjoy writing!

Teeny up-to-date on us...
Joshua - as of his last speech assessment, he is up to 2.5 years old in speech. This is fantastic as a year ago he had 4 words and relied solely on sign language. He's *finally* starting his 2nd block of speech therapy next week so hopefully we can get that number even higher! We're also waiting on referrals and assessments from the Ottawa Children's Treatment Center for autism, sensory processing disorder and occupational therapy. Joshua also starts soccer this month!

Olivia - in February she joined Brianna in Time4Learning after completing Reading Eggs and Math Seeds. She has already completed Social Studies for Gr. 2 and is 3/4 done science and math in Gr. 2. So we're mostly focusing on English, which has always been her weaker spot, but she's more than half done Gr. 1 there. She loves Brownies and is excited to do her first camp with them this month. She also starts her 3rd year of soccer this month.

Brianna - finally finished all her Gr. 6 work and I swear it's like a light bulb clicked. It took her almost 3 years to finish Gr. 6 yet she's on course to finish Gr. 7 by the end of July! She is absolutely thriving in Pathfinders and graduates to Rangers for next year. She's been working her tail off to sell cookies and fundraise to pay for their trip to England in 2019. She squeezed into her final year of science camp (technically she ages out 5 days before camp but they've allowed to to take part this year). She's been encouraged by the River Institute to volunteer with them next summer (most likely helping with the younger campers group).

Isaac - graduates this year!!! How the hell did that happen! Wasn't it just like, last year, that he started Kindergarten!? He's been accepted into 2 programs at one of the city's best colleges (!!!) and currently plans to do both, double majoring. He's also working with a program there to work over the summer. He may possibly get a couple hours sleep. He has also almost completed a completely drawn by hand, D&D style game with a friend of his. We tested it out this weekend and it was pretty damn fun!

Dylan - has been working full time at the same place Lee is since the fall and has been doing great! While they work for different companies in the same building, he and Lee see each other a couple times a week. Everyone thinks they're brothers lol He had some nerve wracking trips home in the winter due to storms (he has the same anxiety that Lee does and this was his first winter doing any kind of distance driving).

Lee - after a round of (fairly low) winter blues, his anxiety appears to be doing much better. He's in his happy little world at work in wash bay without anyone breathing down his neck. There's a possibility of promotion to days wash bay late in the summer due to someone's retirement that he's really excited about, so we've all got our fingers crossed for that one!

Me - I fell into a food-happy slump over the winter and gained 9 of my hard-earned 40lb loss back. However, now that the weather is nice again, I've been getting out for multiple mile walks a few times a week. My business is slow, as it always is in spring and summer but I'm happy with that as it gives me time to selfish sew! My goal is to have 75% of the family's summer clothes be mama made this year.

So that's us for now. I hope to have a LOT more frequent postings, including a pile of the drafts I was working on last fall. How's everyone else doing in blog land?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up/Tot School - 11/18/16

Life is kinda back to normal now. My big show is over. It's still my busy season, but I have time to breathe and not spending 36 hours a day in my office is nice. I still have another show to do before the holidays but it's a much smaller scale show and I can get everything I need ready in a day. So my office time has been spent catching up on our family's "needs for winter" clothing list and gifts.

The girls have been doing well in their online schooling (Time4Learning and Reading Eggs/Math Seeds) so we'll be continuing doing mostly that for the rest of the year. We do really need to finish our Thailand Country Study though! Joshua has been doing a lot of the same school activities (his favorites) so not too many pics of his schoolwork, but he is loving independence learning too!

My booth at my big show. I had record sales so all the hard work was worth it!


Olivia and Joshua have a huge set of wooden blocks in their room. Olivia has taken to making elaborate stories to go with towns she's built


Boxes are a kids favorite toys. Joshua and Olivia like to color them too


Joshua loves to help with the laundry


Safety is very important in construction. No one needs to know it's just a bike helmet!


Joshua loves to "circle the correct answer." Here he's finding all the red items


The girls and I took part in the local Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph. Olivia wanted to leave her poppy for the soldiers.


Brianna and Olivia did a lot of baking for various Guiding activities. Here, Brianna's teaching Olivia how to grate orange zest.


And here, Olivia taught Joshua how to roll out cookie dough with the rolling pin.


Brianna worked with her Pathfinder group, putting on a spaghetti dinner for the public to raise funds for their England trip. The girls did everything from busing tables to dishes and clean up afterward.


Making music is one of Joshua's favorite things.


Two of Olivia's friends (2nd and 3rd here) are going to be living in Australia for the winter. Olivia is very sad that her friends will be gone, but they plan to penpal so at least they can keep in touch!


Joshua keeps stealing Tupperware lids to make "pizza"


Most of Joshua's shape tracing end up looking like circles, but you've got to start somewhere!


The girls had their Enrolment Night for Guides and got a bunch of new badges!



Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, 1+1+1=1, Practical Mom, Hip Homeschool Mom and Homeschool Creations





Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Girl Guides of Canada Enrolment Night

First off, let me say... that's not a spelling mistake in the title. All over the kids Guiding books it is spelled Enrolment. My computer wants me to add an L but I'll leave it out as that's how Guides spells it. I will have to ask why....

Tonight was Enrolment Night which all Branches take part in. For Olivia, it was welcoming her officially to the Guiding world. For Brianna, it was for her to reaffirm her Promise to Guides (because she was in Sparks before and once a Guide, always a Guide).

Olivia, to the right of the Guider in the white sweater

Each Branch showed off their stuff with songs and parades and most importantly, the Promise. Then each Branch was called up to receive their new year pins (Year 1 for Olivia, Year 3 for Brianna) and any earned badges. Olivia also got a certificate welcoming her to Brownies.

Brianna, 6th from the left

Also at the Enrolment Night was a bake sale and jumble auction to raise more money for the Pathfinders/Rangers England trip. Both girls baked cookies for the sale, I donated some LoveBugs items for the auction and Brianna helped run the auction.

Olivia, on the far right

The girls are super thrilled with their new badges/pins and are now more excited about learning how to earn more. Brianna is on her last year of Pathfinders but Olivia has a 2nd year of Brownies after this one, so loads of time to earn oodles of badges!