You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.
It used to be that P was a very affectionate kid. As a little tyke, he liked nothing better than to be hugged and cuddled by his doting mama. My, how things have changed! He’s now 10, almost 11, and getting a hug out of him now is well nigh impossible. I still throw my arms around him occasionally, usually to the tune of him squirming and saying something like, “Mom. you’re invading my personal space!”. Today, I had a pleasant surprise. I took off with some neighbours to a salvage store and amongst other purchases, I found a fish aquarium that I thought the boys might like. P had been mentioning that he wanted one to house some frogs. I can’t even describe the delighted look on his face when I came home and showed him the dusty, little aquarium I picked up for 50% off the marked price. He said, “Thanks Mom!” and threw his arms around me to show me that he really meant it. That alone was worth the $10 I spent on the new frog habitat. D and P eagerly invested time in getting it cleaned up and operational. It now looks pretty amazing with it’s rock and water areas and working filter.
I also remember when both D and P wouldn’t be caught dead playing with a girl. My, how things have changed! Today, they invited the girl down the street to go fishing with them and even offered to let her use one of their fishing rods since hers wasn’t all that great. They even wanted me to take a picture of her when she caught a small sunfish. It’s quite amazing to see my once girlphobic boys now happily standing next to a female and even wanting to be in the same photo as her.
Then, there’s the memory of D and P not wanting to touch worms or fish. Even last summer, I had to put the worms on the hook and take the fish off when they managed to catch something. Throw a girl into the mix, and my, how things change! Suddenly, D and P were quite happy to take a sunfish off the hook since the girl in question was afraid to. Guess my little guys are growing up and becoming little men. It makes me chuckle to see them being so chivalrous.
The latest edition of our family newspaper inched off the photocopier this afternoon. I think what we have all learned from this writing venture is that it is very unlikely that D or P will ever become journalists. They have already announced that there is no way that they are writing articles over the summer. They are pretty adamant that June’s edition will be the last one ever.
We visited the local public school and are making plans to have the boys go there this September. Homeschooling’s been fun and challenging but we are all planning on having new fun and challenges next school year. At least I’ll have a few editions of the family newspaper to remind me of the joys and trials of educating my boys at home.
The weather turned on Friday from overcast and rainy to blue skies and sun. It was just the kind of weather that begged me to get outside so I took the boys to the Muskoka Wildlife Centre. We toured the small facility and observed some of the local fauna they have there. Each animal has a story of why it is there and why it can’t survive out in the wild. One of the handlers took out the rat snake for the boys to hold and also let us get up close to an adorable groundhog and a young racoon. There was a lot of info at the Centre and I feel we learned a lot. The boys liked looking at the barn owls since the female was sitting on some eggs. They got sight of them when she repositioned herself. It was also cool to see the male barn owl preening himself, twisting his head all the way around.
We then went on the trails behind the facility to see larger animals that live around here. The boys were thrilled to finally see real wolverines and badgers. We’d read of them in the “Redwall” books but the boys didn’t really have a good picture of what these animals were like. Not many of the animals disappointed us. They were very lively as if they were putting on a show just for us. It was cool to see a lynx and a bobcat in the same environment. I could see the differences between them which I hadn’t really known before. The eagles were pretty impressive and stayed still to let me get a close up shot. Only the wolves were a bit disappointing. They just sat there and stared at us. The bear came right up to the fence, stood on his hind legs and comically scratched himself. This, in my mind, is so much better than looking at things in books. So glad we live close to so many fascinating places to explore and discover.
I wanted to take the boys to the Muskoka Wildlife Centre today but the weather wasn’t cooperating. It’s been rain, rain and more rain lately. Plan B was a drive out to Bracebridge to learn about candlemaking at the Rich Hill Candle and Gift shop. A kind employee gave us a quick tour of the facility and showed us how they make candles there. Another employee gave D and P the rundown on how to dip tapers and shaped candles. The guys had a lot of fun doing this and the results were some very colourful candles that we hope to light over dinner tonight. We were almost the only people there so the boys could dip and experiment at their leisure. They certainly found that a more enjoyable way to spend the afternoon than continuing in the books. I did too.
I’m taking a deep breath even as I begin to type this. We’ve been up to so many things in the last few days that I hardly know where to start. I guess the warmer weather has totally invigorated me and got me doing everything at once.
I’ll start with the photos. D and P have been making (and launching) bottle rockets this week. The one in the picture blasted right over the hydro lines! It blasted with so much force that the boys got totally sprayed with mud. They didn’t let that deter them. They just built a mud barrier. We got a pretty good camera video of the rocket going off but to date we can’t get the video on the blog. Technical difficulties. Sigh.
The next two photos are of hikes we took in some woods we recently discovered. The boys and I thought that the two trees twisting around each other were totally cool. I’ve never seen anything like it before and I’ve walked in the woods a lot. I made them get up on the big rock for a photo op. They complied although not so willingly.
The last photo is of our lovely house. I have been working on the front garden and am quite pleased with how it’s coming along. I’ve moved two trees, planted a clematis and tore up some grass and extended the garden to the driveway. I’m all excited to get some plants for the extension and to make up some containers. I took a container gardening course this week and was totally inspired. I was the youngest and most inexperienced gardener there and just tried to take in all the info like a sponge. I can’t wait to try my hand at actually putting a container together. I bought a couple of hanging baskets for the hooks on the front of the house and think I did a pretty good job selecting. I’ve never really gardened before so this is all new to me.
In between all that, the boys and I have read a number of books that I’ve neglected to blog about (“The Slave Dancer” was my favourite!), I’ve been making headway with my bellydancing classes (finished class four this week and finally managed to shimmy and walk at the same time. For me, that’s quite an accomplishment!), got a new pair of glasses (I was able to get adult frames this time so I went for a totally different look than my normal children’s frame look. They’re a little big but I totally love them!) and went shopping for an engagement ring with my sweetie. (He now knows my ring size and what I like. Can’t wait to see what he does with that info!) Oh yeah, I’m also repainting my bedroom, repairing holes in the walls of my downstairs closet (hoping to get a closet organizer for that one and then transforming the room from a school room to a spare bedroom) and getting the other extra room ready to have a new floor. (My sweetie and I picked out black and white stick on tiles for this room. Our aim is to do the room together. It will be our first reno together. Hopefully, that won’t make him think twice about the engagement ring!) There’s probably more that I’ve done in the last few days but those are the highlights.
I took D and P out back to show them the raccoon and crow footprints I had found in the mud. While back there, we also spotted evidence that deer had visited. I was so busy looking in the mud that I would have missed altogether a really neat discovery if it hadn’t of been for the boys. They called me over to the large puddles of water to show me what they had found. There are thousands of tiny tadpoles growing in the water just behind our house. We’ve been hearing the frogs singing and I guess they have been busy. I hope that we get some rain soon so that the poor little pollywogs have enough of the wet stuff to survive. It will be so cool to watch them grow and change. This is a homeschooler’s dream. Of course, we’ve learned about the amazing life cycle of the lowly frog but how much better to see it unfold before our very eyes.
I saw an ad in the paper a couple of weeks ago for a “Mother Earth Day” event and decided that I would like to go check it out as a mother’s day gift to myself. The event didn’t cost very much and all the proceeds went to the Couchiching Conservancy. D, P and I had a great time participating in the various things there were to do at the event. Amongst other things we:
1. Played with husky dogs. D got to brush one and we learned how husky fur is mixed with sheep’s wool, carded, spun into yarn and then made into various things. We saw one woman using the yarn on a loom. It was all very interesting for me. D and P just wanted to play with the huskies. I don’t think that the dogs minded the attention.
2. Got to see and touch some animals from the Muskoka Wildlife Centre. D petted a skunk who had been poisoned when young. She was the only one of her litter to survive and to this day she is very small for an adult skunk. She wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild so she is cared for at the Centre and used as a teaching aid. Another injured animal on display was a great horned owl. I missed the story on what happened to her but did catch the ending that her eye was irreparably damaged. Since we are reading the Guardian of Ga’hoole series (books about owls), I asked for the man holding the owl to show us the different types of feathers. We got to see primary, secondary, tertiary and covert feathers. We also learned that this owl, named Dr. Who, is famous. She’s been on the T.V. show “Zaboomafu”. She too is used for teaching kids about local wildlife. The final kiosk from the Centre showed various local reptiles. D and P were totally unafraid to hold a corn snake and were amazed how tightly it held on to them. There was also a very large rat snake to be held but there were a lot of younger kids clamboring to see that one. Stretched out it was about 6 feet long. D and P didn’t get to have it draped over their shoulders but they did touch it and find it fascinating.
3. Got to try out making bannock. Bannock is a type of bread that was invented by Native peoples. The demonstrator had small balls of dough for the boys to roll out and then wrap around a stick. They then roasted the dough very much like you would roast a marshmallow. We all tried some and really liked it. I got the recipe and we intend to bring along some prepared dough the next time we go camping.
4. Went for a walk in the woods. We went on a short trail that showed us how various plant species were used by Native peoples as medicines. The weather was perfect for being outdoors and the woods were absolutely stunning. I could have spent a long time wandering down other trails but D and P had rumbling tummies.
5. Ate hamburgers, hotdogs, cake and pop. This event was a fundraiser for the Conservancy and what fundraiser doesn’t sell food? Of course, the food was less than healthful – white bread, store donated cake with lots of icing and only pop for drinks. It’s just the kind of food D and P love!
6. Got to go on a bus. We parked our car at the free parking place and took the shuttle bus to Grant’s Woods where everything was happening. It was a free ride on a school bus. Since D and P don’t normally ride a bus, they were very enthusiastic passengers. They happily made their way to the back seats and enjoyed the bumpiness of riding in a school bus. I suppose it would be old hat for a lot of school aged children but my homeschooled guys found it fun.
Now that I know where Grant’s Woods is, I think we will make our way back there to try out some of the other trails. Apparently the Conservancy owns land in Washago as well and there are trails there too. I got lots of pamphlets and memorabilia today. Surely there’s a map in there somewhere showing the location of these other trails. We’re also making plans to visit the Muskoka Wildlife Centre which opens up in a few weeks. I really couldn’t have had a better mother’s day gift than hanging around with my two boys exploring the wonders of creation. Happy Mother’s Day to me.