Friday, 31 October 2008

Update on our pumpkins!

Not sure how the pics will turn out tonight, so here are two during the day. The puking one is complete now, and the cute little one "Eek"...


A few pictures from tonight. It was such a great Halloween. The weather was perfect, the kids got lots of candy, and we even found a great haunted house right in our neighborhood!

Balanced, secure, and realistic..

I did this little quiz just for fun, but was surprised by how accurate it turned out!

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

13 Impressionist, -7 Islamic, 0 Ukiyo-e, -6 Cubist, 6 Abstract and -23 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Pumpkin carving for Halloween!

We carved our pumpkins tonight. I had mentioned before here that we wanted to do a couple of the ideas from The kids decided that we would try the Cannibal pumpkin and the Puking pumpkin! Everyone had a job cleaned up the inside of the pumpkins, I drew the designs on them, and Dad carved. We all had a great time!
I added a picture at the end that Fairy took tonight, of Princess and me. A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled on a couple of blogs that mentioned how Moms are rarely in the pictures, and how our children end up with just a few rare photos of us. I am always the one behind the camera, mostly because I do enjoy taking pictures! But, I thought it was true that having me in the picture is quite rare, so I am making an effort now...I guess you might "see me" more often now :)

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

One month report!

Wow! Already one month has gone by since the kids started public school. Time goes by very quickly!
Fairy is still enjoying going to school, but I have started hearing a little bit of comments. Mostly, she says that she gets bored, and that the things they do in class are too easy. Her teacher seems to focus a lot on Math, and not as much on Language Arts. This can easily be fixed at home, where we can pick up our Growing with Grammar and Story Starters, and continue working on these after school. Fairy has already said she would really like that! She also misses Geography and History. I do worry about her being bored at school, so I will keep on checking with her and we will try to cover more of those subjects at home. We had received a letter from the teacher explaining that September and October were for her to evaluate the students and review, so maybe things will get a bit more interesting soon for Fairy.
Dragon came home on Monday with an "informal report card". His teacher had filled out a chart showing the social and interaction levels of Dragon in class. Things like being courteous, polite, resolving conflicts, self-control, participating in class, etc.. He did really well and she even added a note that he seemed to enjoy school and had a great start. Dragon does say that school is easy as well for him, but doesn't complain of boredom. He has signed up to be part of the Eco team at the school, which, from what he tells me, helps with the recycling. He wants to sign up for other groups or teams too, so he is keeping track of that. We are pleased with how he seems to have fit in the public school environment so smoothly.
Finally, Princess. She is doing great too! We were not as worried about her, she is a complete social butterfly and adapts well to almost any situation. She went to a pumpkin patch with her class yesterday and had a great time. Having her at home on Mondays, Wednesdays, and some Fridays has been really special, just the two of us. We have been doing a lot of cooking (she likes to make soup with me), and a little bit of reading, but mostly just spending time together.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Book Sharing Sunday

I saw an idea while reading blogs the other day that I thought I would "steal". Of course I don't have a cute little graphic to go with it, but I thought I could still do it anyway, and if you'd like to join me...that would be even more fun!
I have always a book or two on the go, novels, children literature, or even non-fiction.
The idea is to just open the book you are reading to a random page (or how about the page your bookmark is at?) and choose a sentence or two to share that you like.
You then just need to share that sentence, the title and author of the book. That's all!
Would you like to join me? Every Sunday, I will post mine. If you post one on your blog, just leave me a comment with your link.

Here is my first one:

"The he noticed the hard glint in the women's eyes and realized that while they might hold a babe or be busy tending a scraped arm, their own shields and spears were never far from reach." Eldest, Christopher Paolini.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Night hat? Help!

I need help! My dear son has been sleeping like this for as long as I can remember...and I have thought many times that he needs a sleeping hat! I asked him the other day if he would wear one, if I sewed him one. He said yes. So I went and searched through my few clothing patterns, nothing there. Searched online, but haven't found much we like. I don't knit, well not very well, and besides, Dragon says the wool would probably make him itchy. I thought of polar fleece, but not sure if that would be too hot...With cotton, an elastic would be needed I imagine, but that wouldn't be comfortable while sleeping...I am not sure what else?
I would love some help on this, and to not worry anymore that my son might tangle himself up too much in his bed sheet. What did boys or men use many years ago? Please leave a comment if you have some help or links for me! Thank you from Dragon and me.

ps. I did sneak and take that sweet picture of him while he was sound asleep...aren't they just so cute when they're sleeping?

An early start on Halloween!

We went to 2 different places today and got an early start on Halloween! First was a stop at a local park where they had some fun games, second was at a shopping plaza where many stores and businesses organized a special trick-or-treat time. The kids could go inside the store, as long as there was a sign in the window, and trick or treat! They received quite a bit of candy, and even one salon had a special little treat bag for moms... This was a great start for all of us!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

I have been getting myself ready for November. Honestly, I have never written anything in my entire life that was longer than a high school essay, and then, even that was in French and I'm sure I did the minimum amount allowed!
I am looking forward to this challenge and I am still positive about it. I think there is a huge difference between being told to write (by a teacher for example) and choosing to write.

I did think I could use some help in getting organized though, so I checked out a couple of books at the local library and I have been writing my notes while reading "Write Away" by Elizabeth George. Learning about designing my characters, thinking about the setting, plot, etc...doing my homework basically! I still don't really have any idea what my novel is going to be about or even what type, but I keep reading also that it's OK! I am leaning towards fantasy because that is what I enjoy the most. I shared my plans with the kids tonight at dinner, and asked them casually what genre they think my novel should be. Fairy said a murder story and Dragon said a horror one! I did mention to them that this challenge was available for them too, the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program , but I didn't get the impression that they wanted to participate. There's still time...

I found a couple of links that might be helpful for this challenge and wanted to share.

The first one is a character analysis worksheet. Also, I have noticed the Snow Flake method mentioned a few times, it is one way of planning out and writing a novel. Finally, the Young Writers site has three great workbooks you can download.
*One more I forgot..."NaNo for the New and the Insane" a free download book by Lazette Gifford.

The last couple things that I will need in November...see below! Good thing I am still running and biking too!!!

Another walk in the woods...We love them!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Catch me if you can

...list seven random factoids about myself...
I thought this sounded interesting when I read Makita's post and I am also looking forward to the responses of the ladies I am about to tag! I do appreciate how Makita left it to our choice if we wanted to participate or not, so I am following her by putting an open invitation!

1. I am completely addicted to running and the fact that I now have Tuesdays and Thursdays to myself has fed that addiction even more...
2. I have only been in Canada since 1990. Before that, I lived in the South of France, in a little country called Monaco. So yes, my first language is French, not English.
3. November is coming really fast, and I am getting a little nervous about the NaNoWriMo challenge I signed up for. Nervous, but very excited.
4. I have very little patience for people that complain, especially that complain about things that they can change.
5. I have always enjoyed reading vampire stories...even before the new Twilight series (I did love those books too).
6. I can't drink anything hot in the morning, just water for me and breakfast. Not a coffee drinker!
7. I didn't like Facebook at first...but now it has proven to be a great way to reconnect with lost childhood friends!

Here are the rules for this "meme" (what does meme mean anyway?):

1.Post the rules on your blog.
2.Write 7 random things about yourself.
3.Tag 7 people at the end of your post.
4.Pass on the tag

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

City of Ember ~ the movie

Yesterday, we all went to see the City of Ember movie. I had just finished reading the book aloud to the kids and we decided to go and enjoy a night out.

The movie was good. We all liked seeing the actual city, the old buildings, even the clothes people have worn through generations. As it usually is, the movie is never as good as the book, and we were prepared for that. What we didn't understand is why they had to bring a "monster-size" mole type creature into the movie version, when there wasn't any of that in the book. Same goes for the giant moth! They also changed some of the main parts of the story, such as how the two main characters find the way out, but we all agreed that it was a good alternative anyway.

I am trying not to give away too much of the story, in case you go and see the movie!

I have often thought in the past that maybe if we read the book, we shouldn't bother watching the movie version, but I have now decided that we should keep doing both. We like to read and we like to watch movies, and all the conversations that are started because of the differences and adaptations are a lot of fun!

While I was searching for some pictures to add to my post of the movie, I found this site called City of Ember Underground isn't exactly from the movie, but has a lot of underground photos of many actual places that could remind you of the story. Especially this one from the Japanese storm water drain!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Math Curse ~ A fun picture book full of math problems!

I am not a huge fan of math...but this picture book "Math Curse" by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith was so much fun to read aloud. The kids and I tried to work out most problems as we were going through it.
A couple of quotes from the book that made us laugh:
"English is a word problem: .... #2 Does tunafish + tunafish = fournafish?" I know, I know...pretty cheesy but we loved it!
The other one was :
"Social Studies is a geography problem: The Mississippi River is about 4000 km long. An M&M is about 1 cm long. .... #2 Estimate how many M&Ms you would eat if you had to measure the Mississippi River with M&Ms."

Dragon and Fairy enjoyed this quick picture book. For another Math related book suggestion, that is a little bit longer, we liked reading "The Cat in Numberland" this past spring.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Second week report and a little bit!

The children are all doing well at the public school. We are following the routine of school somewhat, with most mornings going smoothly. No buses have been missed yet!

Tests, field trip, oral presentations, even a little bit of a fight...that's been the last 2 weeks. Dragon was at the receiving end of another boy's fist. I never received a call from the school explaining what happened (Dragon told me that they don't call unless it's serious). I would normally be more upset, but last night Dragon lost his temper and hit someone in our neighborhood. We were not impressed. His issues with his temper are nothing new to us, but we have always been clear about not hitting anyone. Anyway, we're dealing with it and I am against complaining, so let's move on...

Princess enjoys going to school, and wishes she could go every day. At this point, she is not interested in doing much with me at home, besides baking and listening to me reading aloud to her. I think she just enjoys relaxing while she's home, since she's quite busy at school.

Fairy is also doing well at school. She had an oral presentation that went well, a math test which she received perfect score, and a field trip to a conservation area where they tried to catch butterflies and snails. Fairy joined the Girl Guides of Canada in September and was voted to be a Patrol Leader by her peers, after giving a small oral presentation to the group.

We have done some afterschooling, not regularly yet, but it's coming along. Math is being done about 3 out of 5 days a week at this point. A little bit of art too. I have been reading aloud many books on Halloween and Thanksgiving, either in the morning or at night. You can see them on the left side. I have also kept on reading aloud the City of Ember and The Maze of Bones (39 Clues). Tonight we will start The Joy of Spooking.

A few friends and family members have been asking how I am doing with this big change!
Well...It has been a huge change. To go from being with my children all day long to now not having them around for 7 hours every day is a big difference! The first few days were rough, I won't lie, but I slowly saw this as an opportunity to do a few things for myself. I am a runner, not a marathon one yet, but soon I hope...On the days that Princess is at school, or if my husband is at home, I have been running. I ran 10 km again this morning, while Princess had some time with her daddy, and that feels wonderful. I am also working on de-cluttering our home. We only moved this past spring, but with homeschooling, everything was just put out, organized quickly, and that was it. I now have a chance to go through everything, organize properly, and dispose of what is not needed. I also have a pile of unfinished projects (art, quilting, sewing, etc...) that will get tackled this winter. In the month of November, I am going to try a new challenge...*yikes*... writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. You can find all the information on the NaNoWriMo site, and there is a Young Writers version as well here. I have never written anything so this will be interesting! Wish me luck!

Monday, 6 October 2008

A walk in the woods

Clara likes water!

I thought cats didn't like water??? well...this one does, as soon as she hears the bath water

going, she jumps over the bath tub edge and goes right in!

Friday, 3 October 2008

My dark side....comes out at Halloween!

I have a confession to make...our favourite holiday is Halloween! We love decorating the house, dressing up, carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds, and everything about Halloween (the candies don't hurt either, lol). Carving pumpkins is always a fun family activity and even the times that we didn't take the time to carve them, the kids ended up drawing on them or decorating them anyway.

I came across this book at the library, while searching for more Halloween stories to read aloud. It isn't a "cute" pumpkin carving guide...but Halloween isn't supposed to be "cute", right?!
The book is based on a website called, and shows you how to make these scary pumpkins, even gives you the recipe to make fake blood! You can visit the website for pictures of pumpkin carving ideas. So far, our favourites from the book are the drowning-in-a-bag pumpkin, the roadkill-eating pumpkin, and the puking pumpkin. Those names should give you an idea of this fun book...

Books, books, books!

I thought I would share with you a couple of book-related links that I found interesting over the last few days.
One is from Cay Gibson (the creator of Author Fiesta) on her Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks blog. Her post is called Autumn Treasures and Pumpkin Recipes and highlights a few fall theme picture books that include recipes. I have put on hold most of these titles at our local library and we are looking forward to reading them and trying new recipes.

The second link I want to share with you is a blog created by a mother and bookseller. Children's Books: What, When & How to Read Them reviews children's books. You can search book titles by alphabetical order. I also like how she includes the number of pages and reading level of each book. The last review I read from this blog was for The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and I appreciate how she included suggestions for extra reading on Greek mythology. This is one book that Dragon has asked me to read aloud to him and I am looking forward to it. We have a list of read aloud books that just keeps growing! We are almost finished the City of Ember, and I imagined that the children will want to continue with the People of Sparks, the second title in the Books of Ember series. Dragon has also requested that I read Kringle next. So many books, so little time!

One last link brings you to Jim Trelease's website. I have read (a few times!) his Read-Aloud Handbook and would highly recommend it. On his website you can read parts of his book, including parts of his treasury of read-alouds. His book explains why it is important to read aloud to your children, no matter what age they are, from infants to teenagers and how to do it. He even has a chapter on the do's and don'ts of read aloud, which you can see some of it on the website here.

Music in the air!

The first week is almost finished and I am happy to report that all 3 children are doing very well with their transition to public school. They all have made new friends and are getting used to the routine quite fast. They even seem to enjoy it! Fairy and Dragon have both started to learn a musical instrument. Dragon is learning a song on the recorder. He practiced all evening, only stopping for dinner, and the next morning I woke up to the sound of the recorder being played in the basement! Fairy is learning to play the flute and is also trying really hard. Just making a sound come out of that flute is difficult, she has to position her lips just the right way...I ended up searching on Youtube for her, because I am not a musical person myself and couldn't help her out. I found a series of videos that show a few basic techniques.

Princess is doing well too, she loves taking the bus, and has made new friends too!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Having fun and doing art together ~ "work in progress"

The kids and I took some time after dinner last night to "catch up" with each other. We put some music on and did art together. I had found some neat art books at the library in the afternoon. Dragon and I decided to try to draw an Aboriginal Rainbow Serpent, following the instructions from "Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book". According to this book, this serpent has been used as a symbol that bridges Australian Aboriginal people's Dreamtime and the real physical world. It connects earth to the heavens and the past to the future.

Fairy chose to continue on with her birds colour by number picture, choosing her own colours since we can't find the legend sheet! Princess spent most of the time singing, talking, and trying to write letters! Our serpents are not finished yet, but we will work on them again soon and I will share our colourful finished work.


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