Tuesday, 31 May 2011

And the Winner is....

kendra22!!! Yay!

I used the random number generator to select a number, which was number 32.

Congratulations kendra22. I will be sending you an email with your Gift Certificate:)

Thank you to everyone who entered my Giveaway. There will be more in the future so keep your eyes peeled:)

Monday, 30 May 2011

Choosing To Live Outside the Box

This article popped up on the home schoolers hotline the other day: The politics of unschooling: Raising independent trailblazers or lazy free-floaters? Interesting title. There is quite the heated discussion going on in the comments, which I have decided not to participate in. When people have made up their minds about something, whether it is an informed decision or not, there is no changing it. In my experience my mind needs to be open to new information in order to make a proper judgement of it, and from what I am seeing most people that are leaving negative comments, have a closed mind.

I haven't really come up with a label for our style of home schooling, and have often referred to us as unschoolers, mainly because we don't follow a curriculum, and I don't make choices for my children about what they should learn. I'm more comfortable referring to ourselves as life learners though. Often people ask if I am my children's teacher. The answer is no. My children learn from the world around them. I am here mainly to guide them in their search for answers. I provide resources for them to find the answers to the questions they have.

As the mother of three very active boys, it is painfully obvious to me that the school system does not work for everyone. Our decision to pull Jai out of school at the end of grade 2 was for this very reason. He is active and doesn't like to sit still for very long, and this is disruptive in a class room situation. Heck, I find it disruptive when I am trying to read to him! We came up with a solution. I ask Jai to do a cross word puzzle, or draw, color, build something etc while I read so I don't feel distracted while I am reading to him.

Jai is also very easily influenced and I could see that he was being influenced by other children in a negative way. He is also very strong willed and doesn't like being told what to do. Hmmm. Sounds familiar. A lot like me actually. The difference is that I was also very insecure and terrified of authority figures, so I did what I had to do in school out of fear of letting my teacher, parents, and family down. Also, I was afraid of being humiliated and belittled by my teacher for mistakes that I made. You can imagine what I actually learned in school. It wasn't what they were trying teach me. Actually I don't remember most of what was being taught to me. I just remember doing what I was told, for fear of failure.

What I am experiencing with Jai being out of school has been amazing to witness. When he was in school we fought constantly. I thought I was crazy for pulling him out of school and choosing to spend all my time with him. What I have realized is that Jai was carrying all his anxiety and stress from school home, and then taking it out on all of us, because he didn't know how to communicate his frustrations. He also came home with huge wet spots on his shirts from chewing on his shirts all day as well as chewing on his fingernails. All of that has changed. Jai is so much happier and has gained confidence. We still have disagreements, but that's just normal when you spend so much time with any one person.

Jai has so many interests that he is exploring on his own and in a way that fits best with his needs. In school each subject has an alloted time slot and in that time your brain is only allowed to focus on that one topic. Take art, because this is something that would not appeal to Jai in school. How do you command your brain to be creative between 9:45 and 10:30, then having to turn it off and move onto History or Math. What? I feel like I am just getting warmed up in the first half hour, and I can't force myself to paint or draw if I am not in the right head space. This must be what was happening with Jai. In school he did no more than scribble on a coloring sheet that the whole class had the exact same picture of, and usually he used just one color. Now he spends days working on art projects. Sometimes weeks. This amazes me because Jai is an athlete. Sports are his passion and come easily to him. If he was in school he would be the jock. At home it's a big part of his day, but his day also involves building with Lego and Kapla, playing board games, and card games, inventing games, sword fighting, imagination, reading, reading, reading, watching Mythbusters, making food, making comics, going for walks, playing at the park, occasionally sewing, discussing finances, and the war, racism and the list goes on and on. He is learning and most importantly remembering what he has learned, because he was interested.

Maybe this seems far fetched like having a diaper free baby (which by the way we did with our two littles), but it works for us. Why do people feel so offended when others choose to live their lives outside of mainstream society? The way I choose to live my life is my choice, and I choose what works for me. I'm not trying to make a statement and stick it to anyone. I just want to be happy, because we all deserve happiness.

So that is my response to the very offensive, uninformed article that has been written. I like to question the world, which is not something I learned from school. I have always just believed what I was told as truth, and now I have learned to question the world around me. I think that is a good quality to have, and something I hope my children will hold onto. Learning can happen everywhere and anywhere, and is not restricted to a building. I also respect other parents decision to send their kids to school. We all make choices that work for our families and I don't think it is anyones business to criticize, at least not without being well informed first.

Friday, 27 May 2011

J4 to J5

Jasper turned 5 yesterday! 

We decorated

Made him a Flash Kid 5 shirt

and a utility belt

We had a cheesie picnic.

He can summersault better,

run faster,

Jump higher

so can his big brother

and his little brother

He is bigger

We love him!
He may not look like me,

but you can tell he is my son because he wanted chocolate cheesecake for his birthday!

Now that he is 5, he said he is bigger, faster, taller, can jump higher, wear clothes he couldn't wear before, do things he couldn't do before, and now needs to write his name like this: J5 instead of J4.

Time goes so fast with kids! I love them, and miss them when they get bigger. Even though I spend every day with them, I feel like I miss so much. It just goes too fast! Sigh. I love my boys.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Our Garden is Growing

I absolutely love watching my garden grow. It's so exciting and satisfying to see the plants grow and bloom. I am also enjoying having the space to grow what we like. For some odd reason our chard, spinach and lettuce is not growing, which is strange, because they are the easiest to grow. I also ended up purchasing some veggie plants because I was beginning to feel discouraged.

Our strawberries

The ferns. They look so cool!

The chives are so pretty

Our Jasmine is getting a little crispy:(

Our blueberries are starting to bloom!

This is another variety of blueberries

and another blueberry plant


I love lavender

Look how big the peas are getting

Our very un-straight line of peas:)

We also have a small raspberry bush growing in a pot, which we will plant next year. Our plan is to have berry bushes around the perimeter of our garden. This year won't work because we are using the perimeter to grow our veggies. Our lot has yet to be extended. The shape of our lot is like a pencil, and the tip of the pencil still needs to be added. This is where we plan to have our veggies next year. For now I am content with the amount of space we have to grow. It is much more space than we had when we were living in the co-op!

On the weekend I also purchased zucchini, yellow squash, two varieties of cucumbers and two tomato plants which I am just hardening off at the moment. I also plan on adding some kale and pole beans, and attempting to grow the lettuce, chard and spinach again. Hopefully it will take this time. I would also like to grow some more herbs in pots on our balcony, so I can have them close by. 

I love growing our own food. It's so rewarding:)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Our New Neighbors

We were so excited to discover that there were birds in our bird house over the weekend. We sat and watched them for a long while, while the birds flew in and out, checked out the house and then flew away, and then back again.

  Can you see the birds little head sticking out of the house?

I realize this is virtually four identical pictures, but seriously! How ca-ute are these birds!

We aren't familiar with birds, but Rob thinks they may be sparrows. If any one does know what type of bird they are, we would love to be enlightened:)

After the kids went to bed last night I saw one of the deers I haven't seen for a while. I have been wondering what happened and if it was okay. It has this huge white patch of fur, and I was worried it was sick, but out of the corner of my eye I could see it wandering through our neighbours lawn.

This is one of the baby's from last year. Rob thinks the white is from the deer shedding it's winter coat. The other deer don't look like that though, which is why I was worried.

 Rob and I are hoping the deer will consume that broom. We both have hayfever and it is driving us CRAZY!!
And here is another deer that's just cute, so I had to take a picture.

I just love living here. We have plans to make another bird house, so we can have more bird neighbours.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Win Your Discount Wednesday at SVP

Yesterday was "Win Your Discount Wednesday" at Saint Vincent de Paul. My favorite day of the week. I spent most of the morning cleaning our house, so we didn't head out until the afternoon. There is a bin of summer shirts (mostly fun colored t-shirts) for $1.00 each! Inside there was a rack of clothes for $1.00! I was over the moon with excitement.
I had a pretty good haul this week:

There are a couple of wool sweaters in the mix that I plan to felt.

Here are some of my favorites:

These are for me.

I love the color and pattern of these

This is for Rob. He is in need of some color, and if he doesn't want this, I can make it into something fun!

This will make a nice dress

These are going to be made into shorts for my oldest guy

It was a BEAUTIFUL day. The sun was shining, so we went for a walk down to Ed McGregor park.

The kids carried their finds. Jas picked a super bear and Jude picked a Batman puzzle

They searched for jelly fish

and we watched a school of fish. Jude pretended to catch them, cut them up, cook them and eat them.

They love walking on this rock wall

Such a beautiful park.

The sun is out again today, and I received an email that a couple of families are planning to meet up at our favorite park today after lunch. It will be another great day:)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Custom Blue Suede Booties

I haven't made booties in a long while. My sewing machine was being a bit fussy, so I just stopped making booties. Turns out I didn't have the foot pressure strong enough, so it was an easy fix.

Yesterday I had a request for some Blue Suede Booties a 6m-12m size, so I hesitantly approached my machine and made these:

I think they turned out well

all the stitches were even

Isn't this color amazing?

I love booties with a fringe

So now that I have figured out what I was doing wrong, there will be some more booty making happening.
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