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dsc00962.jpgdsc00959.jpgdsc00965.jpgdsc00960.jpgWe took some time to tour the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa today.  D-11 has taken quite a shine as of late to collecting coins.  It’s no longer good enough for him to root through my change to see if he can find anything special.  He now wants to purchase uncirculated coins.  I think that is better than wanting to blow all his spending money on candy and junk food.  (Yeah, that’s a real life scenario that we have had to talk about.)

We had a great time going on a guided tour at the Mint.  We manged accidently to arrive one minute before the tour was scheduled to start.  Talk about good timing!!  We found out that the Mint in Ottawa only makes numismatic or commemorative coins.  The Mint in Winnipeg makes the coins for circulation.  It’s quite a different process to produce commemorative coins than it is to make regular coins that we use for change.  The Mint in Ottawa makes 8000 coins a day.  The tour guide had us guess how many coins are made in comparison at the Mint in Winnigpeg.  D-11 had the closest verbally expressed guess at 6 million.  The actual number is 15 million coins a day, many of which are coins for other countries.

The most expensive minted coin that we saw today retails for 3.5 million dollars.  Apparently Canada has developed the way to make the purest gold in the world.  This humungous coin was made of eight bars of gold worth a walloping 2.5 million dollars.  It was made primarily as a showcase piece of the purest gold in the world.  Amazingly, six of these coins have been sold to collectors.  I’m thinking that some people just have way too much money on their hands if they can afford to buy a 3.5 million dollar coin for their collection.

D-11 decided to spend some of his hard-earned cash on a hummingbird quarter that he had previously eyed on e-bay.  He pointed out some other coins he found interesting (such as the Toronto Maple Leaf 2006-2007 collection) and I think that I now have some ideas for him for Christmas.  He is a collector/pack rat at heart.

P-9 was content to borrow a twoonie from D-11 and put it in a machine that made a Royal Canadian Mint token.  He was thrilled to bits with that little momento of the trip.  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the Mint. We had to settle for a number of shots with our faces in giant coins outside the main building.  I was hoping that the boys would get a winning pic of me in profile as the queen of England.  Alas, the sun did not cooperate and there was too much shadow to make the photo post-worthy.  Still, here we all are with our mugs in giant coins.  P-9 and I look pretty handsome as mounties.  D-11 looks cute as a moose (or is it an elk?).  I had to get a shot of the actual building that is the Mint as it is pretty impressive looking.

We were told today that the Mint in Ottawa will be minting all of the medals for the 2010 games.  I think that the boys would like to go back to get a gander at those.  We were impressed to see that the Mint also make medals including the Order of Canada medal that the Governor General hands out.  To think that I have lived in Ottawa now for 17 years and I am only learning now that the Mint is not only about money.  It’s a good thing that I have kids who want to see and learn things or I think I would remain woefully ignorant on many subjects.

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We delivered our last Flyer Force bundles today.  With the house up for sale, I didn’t want potential buyers to have to climb over a mountain of papers just to get in the front door. (The delivery guy tries to pile all of the flyers under the very small overhang above the entrance.)  I also didn’t want them to view our lovely kitchen with 195 flyer bundles stacked by the peninsula.  Those flyers just don’t go with my decor!!

D-11 and P-9 had mixed feelings about ending it with Flyer Force.  On the one hand, they are happy to not have to package and deliver, especially now that it is very hot outside.  On the other hand, they realize that now they will have no income.  They’ve grown used to having money to spend and it will be hard getting used to frugality again.

 I feel like having a “burn the extra flyers” party.  (We always get way more flyers than we need.)  The last few weekend deliveries have been the “break your back” sort.  Last week I broke two of the three delivery carts just trying to heave them in and out of the van.  They were loaded to the max and very heavy.  Fortunately, the damage was nothing that a little duct tape couldn’t fix.  We are nowhere near Red Green’s fabulous duct tape creations but we are definitely inspired by him.  It’s amazing what one can do with a little duct tape…But I digress.  Back to that “burn the extra flyers” party thought.  The idea has merit but I am sure that the condominium has rules against that sort of fun.  Generally anything that sounds like it might be a hoot has been tried here and banned in writing.  Unfortunately for us, there are a number of sticklers for the rules living in our little neck of the woods.  Still, we are planning on moving.  It might be nice to go out with a bang…

house-001.jpgYup.  That’s my little palace with a “for sale” sign on its front piece of hard-packed dirt.  (I was tempted to say lawn but contrary to what you think you see in the photo there is very little grass up front.  Hard-packed dirt is definitely closer to the reality I have been living with for the past five years.)

I took the plunge, signed the papers today and got the process of moving started.  If anyone chances to read this, please pray for us.  We need to sell this home, choose a home out in Oro-Medonte, move and try to do it all without any lag time between the closing dates.  So glad that I know God for whom all things are possible.

dsc00941.jpgdsc00939.jpgWe got a surprise phone call from friends of ours tonight.  They happened to be at the Longfields water park and were wondering if we could join them for an hour or so of water, sand, and running around.  We were happy to oblige them.  D-11 and P-9 had a great time with their friends A and N.  They got soaked, rolled in the sand, dashed back into the water and then went through the whole process all over again.  In between, they started a mud ball fight and amazingly it didn’t get shut down even though the park was very busy.  In the end, I had two happy, tired and very muddy boys to bring home.  What a great way to end a hot day.

al-fresco-002.jpgal-fresco-001.jpgIt was a hot beautiful day outside and the weather was beckoning me to eat outdoors.  The boys really don’t enjoy this sort of thing.  They get all wimpy about bugs and stuff falling from the trees into their food.  Sometimes I just have to ignore the opposition and go for it anyways.  I for one enjoyed my little backyard meal.

The Hatchling by Kathryn Lasky

Book # 7 of the Guardian of Ga’Hoole series told the story of Nyroc, the owl chick of Nyra and Kludd, the leaders of the Pure Ones.  Nyroc is being groomed to be the new Tyto Alba of the Union of Pure ones and is succeeding at every task better than any other owl.  The only problem with Nyroc is that he doesn’t want to hate; he wants to love and find truth.  He discovers that he has the rare gift of flame reading during his deceased father’s Marking Ceremony.  It is through this gift that he sees how his father really died and realizes that his mum has been lying to him.  The final straw that drives Nyroc away from his mother and the Pure Ones is when Nyra expects Nyroc to kill his best friend Phillip for his Special Ceremony.  Nyroc is horrified and refuses.  Nyra than brutally does the job for him and asks Nyroc to lie and say that he did it.  Nyroc flees and is led by scrooms and a strange rabbit to live out his destiny.  It seems that he must find the legendary ember of Hoole and in doing so to confront dire wolves.  He knows that an owl named Otulissa is to help him.  The story ends with Nyroc deciding to fly off to Beyond the Beyond to carry out this quest.

 D-11 and P-9 are still asking for more of this series.  Lasky skillfully wove into the story an account of the young Nyroc molting.  We learned that barn owls have nineteen feathers on each wing.  The first ten going inward from the tip of their wings are the primaries.  Feathers eleven through nineteen are the secondaries.  We also learned where the covert feathers are and how important they are for landing.  It’s great to have a good story and learn some facts at the same time.

I like camping.  I don’t love camping.  I like that when we are camping the boys can run wild and free and forget for a while that there are electronics in the world.  I like lazing about at the beach and braving the water (which always seems cold when you’ve been lazing about the beach for a while!).  I like that we can now set up the tent completely ourselves without having to borrow a tall person from some other campsite.  What I don’t like is sleeping in a tent at night.  I have feet that turn to ice as soon as the temperature drops.  As long as my feet are cold I will not sleep.  That’s a problem with me.  I’m one of those people who definitely functions better when I sleep.

This year I decided to do something about this problem.  One of our sleeping bags suffered an accident last year.  We think that pizza was dropped into it.  I tried washing it out but I only seemed to have spread the mess around more evenly.  The boys started calling it the “barf bag”.  Of course, neither of them wanted to sleep in it so I would get it.  The problem with the “barf bag” (apart from its unsightly appearance) is that it is very thin – way too thin to do anything for my icy feet.

A few weeks ago, we laid the “barf bag” to rest.  (That, by the way, looked a lot like pitching it in the trash heap.)  Yesterday we made a trip out to the Scout Shop and I broke the bank and bought a winter mummy bag.  It has a temperature rating of -20 degrees Celcius.  It only went down to about 8 degrees Celcius last night but that was enough to trigger my feet to go into ice mode.  I’m happy to say that they thawed very nicely in my new mummy bag.  I was actually warm while sleeping in a tent which means that I actually slept a bit!  Yeah!  I believe in celebrating firsts!

I am now thinking of adding my mummy bag to my growing arsenal of winter feet problem solvers.  I have a duvet.  I have an electric blanket.  I have big wool socks.  All three of those combined sometimes do not thaw my feet on a winter night.  Last winter I started resorting to getting up in the wee hours of the morning and soaking in a hot bath.  Unless my feet are warm I simply will not sleep.  Now that I have a mummy bag and it actually did the impossible and got me to sleep outside in a tent there is a ray of hope for those long Canadian winter nights. 

p_d_with_pike.jpgI just got a picture of the monster pike I wrote about the other day.  It was begging to be uploaded and displayed.  Get a load of the gorgeous sunset in the background, the happy brothers hugging each other midground and that BIG fish in the foreground.  It doesn’t get any better than that folks. 

Summer is here and I think that things are supposed to slow down right about now.  Since we have decided to move, the pace has picked up dramatically for me.  I suddenly have more adrenaline than I know what to do with and I feel a bit like one of those little balls in a pinball game.  I have a list a mile long of things that should get done and I think that I was shooting to get all of them done yesterday.  It was one of those wonderfully productive days where I had the euphoric high of crossing many things of my to-do list.  Closets were flung open, stuff was sorted into “keep”, “give-away” and “throw-away” piles, boxes were filled and brought to the basement and a load of stuff went out the door to Value Village.  Phone calls were made, e-mails were read and responded to and a lot of cleaning happened.  I don’t think that I went to bed until 3 a.m. this morning!  I was running in the fast lane and I wasn’t running out of steam.

 Today was more of the same except that what I wanted to do was interrupted by getting ready to go camping tomorrow and the delivery of the Flyer Force papers.  I was also disappointed that Food Basics didn’t have any good packing boxes for me this morning.  The nerve of that store!!  I think that I am now jogging in the fast lane.  Hopefully I will be able to get out of the fast lane altogether and enjoy the scenery this weekend while camping.

orillia-018.jpgWell, our trip to Orillia has come and gone and it has left us with many pleasant memories and a few dreams of moving out that way.  We got to view a whopping 24 homes while there and fell in love with a little township called Oro-Medonte.  It is situated about midway between Orillia and Barrie and is mostly countryside and farms.  I felt like my soul had room to breathe out there.

We also had a chance to enjoy the water while visiting.  Any place in and around Orillia is not far from water.  Friends of ours took us out boating, fishing and swimming on the lake.  D-11 and P-9 managed to catch a few fish, one of which was a walloping 29 inches long!!  I was not with them when they landed that one but I have been assured that the evidence is on film and that I will see it soon.

We also had a chance to experience life at a resort courtesy of our friends.  We are definitely not used to such luxury and thoroughly enjoyed it!  The resort had about 15 miles of trails behind it.  That was the part I think I took the most pleasure in.  I loved the abundance of trees, the wind rustling in their tops, the sight and sounds of wild turkeys coming to roost, the silent meanderings of deer and the sheer peacefulness of it all.  D-11 and P-9 probably enjoyed the big T.V. and the indoor/outdoor pool complete with hot tubs the most.  Something for everyone I guess!

Well, no great exodus starts without leaving someplace special.  We are now getting our home ready to go on the market and trusting God that He will have a place ready for us to move to at the right time.  It is all very exciting.  And to think that all that happened in just one week…

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.