Monday, April 28, 2014

So excited...

With the warm Spring weather finally arriving I have been pretty quiet here on the blog. Instead of crafting and making things inside we have been outside riding bikes, raking leaves, enjoying some walks, having fun on the trampoline, sitting around camp fires with friends and just enjoying being back outside.

Today I was taking a few minutes to catch up on reading some of my favourite blogs and I found THIS peg doll swap ... over at We Bloom Here.

I have admired all the creations that were part of her past swaps many times (click HERE  to see some photos from past swaps) and they are always such sweet creations by everyone. I happened to see this swap while it was still open for entrants and I couldn't be more excited to be able to participate (you can too if you enter by May 5th).

She has a book for those of you who don't know what peg dolls are or want some inspiration. It looks like it's filled with lots of ideas.
So excited... I have to start thinking about what I will create! Time to go look through my peg, bendy and other people pals pinterest board   for inspiration.

Friday, April 25, 2014

What have we learned lately?

I read an article the other day...a very inspiring can (and should) read it HERE.

From it I fell in love with the first quote in it and paired it with this cactus picture I took in Sedona (It's mine, just copywritten to our facebook page). This quote sums up our belief in life learning and this picture of a heart shaped cactus full of love and goodness and covered with a prickly lesson; just fit the quote perfectly. Learning come from many different places and does not have to be limited to the walls of a school. Not that I believe schools are bad as I don't. I just believe in allowing everyone a chance to learn in a way that suits their individual needs.

So where has our life learning taken us?

We got a freak snowfall on April 15th...and not just a few flurries... more like 5 to 6 inches which for April is a lot (and the forcast is calling for more tomorrow).

We made the best of it by going outside and creating our Egg Artscapes. You can see more pictures and how it turned out HERE.

The girls have enjoyed riding on our neighbours electric quad on a couple of occasions and there has been a lot of trampoline bouncing, playing tag and hide and seek outside as we all break loose from our hibernation.

The animals are starting to wake up as well. The deer are being seen more often.
There are many ducks every day and Canada Geese and this group of Cormorants has been hanging around across the river for over a week now.

We have seen the beaver once only so far this Spring but wasn't able to get a picture. I did get a picture of this little hawk before he took flight though.

It took some research but I think we have found out what he was. I believe he is a Sharp Shinned hawk. The horizontal and vertical streaking on his breast was my clue to solve the mystery. All the hawks in the books I was looking through had one or the other; not a combination of both as this photo shows. I did a google search for a 'hawk with vertical and horizontal beast streaking' and was led HERE. I posted my photo on their facebook page as well as my personal facebook page and it was confirmed that yes in fact it is a Sharp Shinned hawk by a couple different people. Which, by the way, are apparently tricky to spot so I'm happy now with my blurry photo :)

We also spotted this family of deer on the side of the road which led to a great discussion about camouflage. At first you could barley see them...until they started to move.

"Our challenge isn't so much to teach children about the natural world, but to find ways to nurture and sustain the instinctive connections they already carry" 
-Terry Krautwurst

As well as spotting some wildlife friends the girls have both had friends over visiting (but I failed to get pictures). Sierra had Matthias over one afternoon and she went to his house as well. Their favourite activities are jumping on the trampoline and playing Minecraft.

Both girls went to visit a couple other sister friends (Sierra and Dakota) from when they went to school and Aayla also had a play date with Amber from her old school. Spring is affecting everyone I guess as we all want to get out and re-connect!

 Although some days are still pretty cool, Spring has finally arrived. The sun is showing her warm face more often then not, and we are enjoying our time outdoors again.

"It was one of those March (April) days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade" 
-Charles Dickens.

Playing with Loki when she comes to visit.

 Playing Soccer...

Learning to aim when kicking the ball, as well as kicking the ball while it is still in motion. These are huge accomplishments for Aayla this year.

We have also been raking lots of leaves. Every day we rake a few more piles (some can be seen in the above pictures), fill the truck bed to haul them away to landfill so they can become compost. Trust me with our yard we provide a lot of leaves for compost! We raked in the fall believe it or not, and we still have lots of raking to do yet this spring. It's good physical work that feeds my soul and I actually enjoy raking the leaves...much like I enjoy piling wood... strange I know.

The bikes have found their way out of the shed and the girls have had a lot of fun riding them around the yard. Sierra's helmet is too small this year so Aayla will inherit it and we will hopefully go this weekend to get Sierra a new one. We always allow our girls to choose to wear a helmet or not in the yard. If we venture out of the yard it's on a condition to wear a helmet. We feel the choice empowers them to govern their own bodies. Then they can choose to go for a ride on the road with a helmet or stay in the yard without one. They can chose which activity is most important to them in the moment.

This year Sierra is learning to ride her new to her bike without training wheels ($12.99-30% at the thrift store-SCORE! We got it in the winter though and we will need to make some seat and handlebar adjustments but she likes the low heights for learning). We have never pushed her to remove her training wheels. We have always encouraged her to just ride her bike how she feels suits her best so she can gain confidence in her abilities.

This week after playing at a friends house she came home and said she wanted to take off her training wheels. She tried riding her friends bike and she was ready to take hers off. So we did! She needs helps to stabilize herself as she takes off but she has mastered a short ride and how to stop herself with out falling.

We've enjoyed blowing bubbles and trying to pop them before they float away in the wind. A simple yet such a complex activity for someone with processing issues. Blowing bubbles is something Aayla has mastered this spring and it is wonderful practice for her as she learns to train her brain to process all the little details it needs to do to actually blow out wind instead of inhaling, and then try to pop, pop, pop the bubbles. It is an OT task we have been working on for a couple of years and although she has completed this task in the past...she now has mastered it. You can see the concentration on her face though, of an act we all take for granted that anyone can her this is work, this is learning, this is a huge achievement.

They have found a new activity to do while Kodey's older brothers are at school...they borrow the boys skateboards and have wild rides down the ramp.

With the spring weather we can finally get out for some walks. One of the walks that is always first to be requested is walking to Macs to get a Slushie...a sure sign Spring has arrived.

On this trip they also got to chose 50 cents worth of candies. That meant choosing 2 bigger candies for .25 each or a bag of 10 little .05 candies. They both chose the later because well... having more means getting more...right? Each choice is a careful calculation and sometimes the counting has to begin over once or twice.

Do you remember in the beginning of March when Aayla was so proud of her accomplishment to build her own unique card house? She couldn't make them with single cards like Sierra did and had to use small stacks of cards to get them to stand?
Picture from March 2014
Well that is the case no longer. Now she has learned to make her house with individual cards. 
"The world's greatest achievers have been those who have always stayed focused on their goals and have been consistent in their efforts" -Roopleen

One thing about Aayla is she never gives up trying. She is full of determination and statements like, "I do it all by myself" with anything she tries. She takes each experience and conquers it in time. She isn't afraid of failure. This is an area that she teaches me in... learning to have courage and not be afraid to fail  (not only do we teach our children, but our children teach us as well). What Aayla taught herself, and me, through learning to stack these card houses... is that everyone makes mistakes and that the learning really comes from what we do with each little failure. How we choose to let those little failures either bury us deeper in fear of failure, or how we use these little failures to gain success and push forward through anything difficult we are faced with in life.

"Courage doesn't always roar, sometimes it's the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering 'I will try again tomorrow" -Mary Anne Radmacher

Aayla continues to love to build with her blocks, always building something different then before. A new creation almost daily.

One day she created a ramp all by herself for her trains so they could race down the mountain like they do in her favourite movie Blue Mountain Mysteries.

Another day Aayla was playing with her petshops and she called one of them "Kitty Conundrum" and the other one "Whiskers" as she played. We thought 'conundrum' was a pretty big word for her and couldn't remember ever saying it around her ourselves. We knew she had to have learned it from somewhere. So back to Google it was for another search and sure enough Kitty conundrum is the title of a Caillou video. Aayla is learning to guide herself around Netflix and YouTube and as you can see the learning comes from everywhere!

UNO is still a family favourite to play nearly every day...on the floor, at the table, in our bed.
But there's a new game in town. One that is beating out might be hard to tell from this picture as the game moves fast and this was the only non blurry picture I could get but this is the newest favourite game...the I can steal your nose game!

Yes the object is to steal the other persons nose. The fun begins by not only trying to steal the other persons nose but once you get their nose...what do you do with it? Do you stick it on your own nose? Do you stick it on someone else's nose? Do you throw it away? Do you try to eat it? Every time you make a choice of what to do with the nose it causes a reaction for the other players to try and decide what to do themselves. Do they try to get their nose back? Do they just talk funny (because they have no nose) and try to get someone else's nose? This game is funny, and full of laughter and the more people playing, the funnier it becomes. It's a game that can last for quite some time and there is never a dull moment in it. It's no wonder it's becoming a family favourite...just make sure everyone's fingernails are clipped to avoid accidental injury.

Sierra was tickled pink with the purchase of her new purse at the thrift store recently.
It matches her favourite boots her Grammy Sue bought her and is the perfect size to hold all the money she is making from selling her old toys on Kijiji plus a few 'essentials' like a lip gloss and a favourite pet shop. She feels so grown up when she grabs it to go shopping as pictured here trying to decide which type of treats to buy to put in our cookies we were going to bake together. In the end she decided on the peanut butter M&M's again.

Then it was home to make the cookies. The girls always help with the measuring, mixing and each aspect of baking cookies.

We haven't been doing a lot of creating lately as we have been too busy playing outside. We did make some sculptures by reusing packaging noodles for an Earth Day craft.

I wanted to make this globe lantern but I broke the container so we couldn' year.
We got back our ceramics this week that we made at our home school trip to Creative Cafe. I think they turned out just beautiful!
Of course Easter was celebrated this past week and you can see all our our Easter fun HERE. Our outdoor egg hunt is always a favourite.

Easter Sunday was also Ian's 35th birthday. The girls made him this canvas which says, "Dad, you are just plane awesome" as he started flight school this week. I can only begin to imagine how much learning he is doing everyday as he reads manuals, uses the flight simulator program on the computer, watches YouTube flight videos and goes to his actual flight school each day...taking the first steps towards a life long dream.
They also made these Easter themed cupcakes for his birthday.

Another year has flown by for him and this year is flying by for the rest of us as well. The calendar is starting to fill up with outings. April and May are still pretty quiet with only an occasional activity booked in so far. In May we will go see a play with the home school group, but June we have lots of home school events like Canada's Wonderland, visiting Wye marsh, an end of the year home school group fun day plus more to look forward to. Sierra also has a Brownie camp in June. Not to mention just getting together with old friends, meeting new friends and discovering new parks and places to explore.

Ian has a guys weekend planned for June too where he and a couple friends will spend a survival weekend in the woods. Taking only what they can carry and only bare necessities. As well just 1 cup of rice each is permitted as an essential item in case they can't catch their own food. This is especially important for Ian being diabetic to have some form of nourishment. He will have to start to research some items to forage!

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better" -Albert Einstein

I have my own women's event I really want to attend! The timing is bad as it occurs on Sierra's birthday weekend which I think is also Brownie camp but I hope to make it work as it is full of new activities and experiences that I find myself craving for right now. I have never attended anything like this before but it is really calling to me.  Here are the course choices for the weekend... doesn't it sound like fun!

I almost forgot I wanted to share this with you.

I also learned this week that it pays to speak up and ask for things when you think there has been a mistake made. When Walmart scanned an item and charged me too much I went to customer service to get it fixed. The lady attempted to give me back $1.13 as shown on the top of this receipt above. I questioned her and said, "I thought you had a scanning policy". She said, "OK I can do that" and gave me back $11.27! It pays to ask, to enquire, to research for an answer... it literally pays some days. After posting this on facebook I learned every store that scans has a similar policy so always check your receipts for mistakes to get your item for free (up to $10 in most cases).

"Life it'self is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning" -Bruce Lee

I always start out these recap posts wondering how on earth I will fill up a post? What did we actually learn? Wondering will people really believe we are learning? Or will they think we are crazy? Then I start writing, start adding pictures and I know we are doing the right thing for our children. They are learning at their own individual pace, following their own individual desires...when they are ready to learn it. We don't focus a lot on academics any more. We focus on life learning so we can all grow as individuals to each of our own unique individual potentials.
I've been making a few of these quote pictures in the last couple of days. You can see more of them HERE on my other travel blog as the pictures were taken from our Maiden Voyage.
So tell me, what have you been learning lately?

Got Egg Cartons? Try these egg-cellent ideas

With Easter over and Earth Day still on my mind it's only logical that I am thinking about reusing egg cartons left over from all of our Easter egg making...right?
This weeks Got? Series post is Got Egg cartons? Try these egg-cellent ideas. As with every Got? Series post just click on the picture to be taken to the source of the idea and the full DIY.

I LoVe these flowers with buttons and beads 

A beautiful Spring wreath is top on my list of must do's

Make a checkers game

Helicopters!!! Say what?

I know the perfect little girl who will love this train

I like these ones with beads in the centre too

The muffin liners added are a neat touch on these flowers

Egg cups from egg cartons

These roses are so beautiful it's hard to believe they are made from egg cartons

A very Hungry caterpiller

Make angry birds (scroll to end of post)

Flower garlands...not a full DIY but a basic description

Flower bouquet

These chicks are so cute

A marionette


Goggles...perfect for exploring

Make a treasure box

How about a pirate ship

Be-careful you don't have to walk the plank...
 as you might just find this crocodile waiting in the waters for you

These are super sweet lights

Animal noses

Angel ornament

These fairy headbands and bracelets are adorable and this site has a linky party at the bottom with all kinds of egg carton ideas.

Make a toy camera...this one was covered in felt but it could be done using the whole mini carton and paint.

I love the poppy's on this wreath

Christmas Amaryllis Ornaments 
(in case you want to get ahead start on your Christmas crafting)

This wreath we made for Christmas a few years back

This angry birds game with egg cartons came from a broken pin so I don't know it's source and therefore isn't a DIY but you can figure this one out from the picture. If anyone recognizes this picture please let me know where it came from so I can give proper credit.

So did you save your egg cartons left over from all your Easter egg making? What will you make with them first?