Our adventure in Montreal ended yesterday with a very eventful flight home. A little too eventful for me perhaps but nonetheless we are home and settling back into our routines. My perspective shifted while I was away. It changed in ways I couldn’t imagine. I love how travel does that. I am so grateful for the experience we had and the lessons we learned. Things feel so much quieter here now, slower than they were in Montreal. It was good to go away for almost six weeks and discover that things didn’t fall apart while we were gone. I feel a little less anxious about getting things done knowing that if my to-do list is unfinished, life will go on. Imagine that!
I’ve had this idea on my pinterest summer board since last year. We finally got around to building our own water wall. It was a family effort and so much fun to play with. We used things that we had on hand: a pallet (saved for this purpose last summer), some empty milk and water jugs, a pool noodle, a bit of pvc pipe, duct tape, a bit of scrap wood and some screws. I think it will be a welcome addition to our summer backyard!
This past weekend the boys gave me some time to sew and busied themselves with a little daddy craft time. They turned a bit of foam insulation, some paint and some bits left over from daddy’s work into the Jurassic period. It was nice for them to make something without the mommy filter. They created something that was all theirs and exactly what they wanted. And it was nice for daddy to share his talents with them too.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather for Easter. Three days in a row of blessed sunshine and warm weather. Could our late spring be finally here?
The egg hunt was a great success. We enjoyed sharing the day with new friends. It was my first time making pavlova and dare I say it was delicious! And it was wonderful to add a new Polish/Ukraininan custom, the butter lamb, into our Easter traditions. This little guy, hand carved by my ever talented husband, turned out so lovely that we couldn’t bear to eat him come Easter dinner.
We did however, nestle him into a basket full of traditional foods and he led our little procession to the local Polish Catholic church a few blocks away where we had our meal blessed. We saw so many beautiful baskets. The most charming ones were small, simple bamboo bowls filled with natural dyed eggs, a bit of kielbasa, a slice of rye bread, a slice of cheese and a tiny bowl of salt, all festooned with a bit of periwinkle. It was a real treat to be a part of this special tradition and nice to share a bit of family history with the boys.
We are having a little Easter egg hunt at home this year. And as much as I love chocolate it’s not so great for the kids. It’s also getting harder to find affordable sweets without all the glucose fructose, dyes and chemicals. So I’ve made it a little simpler this year.
The plan is to put a little message inside each plastic egg instead of a sugary treat. Everyone needs to find nine eggs. The first egg they find will have a note that tells them which colour to look for next. Once they all have nine eggs (bigger kids helping littler kids) they all get a little bag of goodies with just one chocolate bunny, some stickers, hand made treats, a yummy earth lollipop and a real peanut butter chocolate egg. I hope it will be fun for them. I’m thinking they will still enjoy the thrill of the hunt but without the junk food hangover!
I had thought of making little felt finger puppets but time is running thin and there is a lot going on these days so we’re sticking to paper treats.
Like these simple origami shapes. These guys can open and close their mouths. We found the instructions in Origami for Beginners.
Oh how I love hand made books! You could make them tiny enough to fit inside an egg and add a little golf pencil.
As you can see, I’ve been playing with Picnik a little. I am sad to see it go. I’ll miss the quick and easy photo editing. Guess it’s time to learn Photoshop, unless anyone knows of anything else out there.
We love to make books! The little one has been coming home from pre-school with tiny non-fiction books about things like the parts of the flower. The older one loves these blank comic books. I wanted to bring a sense of importance and permanence to the book making so I created a special space for them in our playroom. I am excited to watch the basket fill up over time. There are lots of great resources for making your own little books. I like this one.
Here’s another piece from my foray into ceramics. A tiny little dish that is the perfectly size for my favourite Billy Would necklace. I like the way the glaze pooled in the middle and the how the tips of the leaves peek out from under the glaze.
Using our camera and a crystal growing kit we did a little science exploration. We took photos every so often to document changes. Then I printed out a contact sheet with the time under each photo so we could see when the changes took place. Then we selected a few photos to write some observations about. The crystal growing and photo taking was fun but recording observations took a little convincing.
But we all really enjoyed making paper models of the brain! The boys had so much fun running around in their “thinking caps” it was hard to get them off their heads before bedtime.
I put together a letter writing box to keep up the printing practice while we wait for our school to open again. I used a box we already had from Regional Assembly of Text and filled it with a date stamp and stamp pad, international and local stamps, blank cards and envelopes, air mail stickers, return address labels and address labels for some of our favourite people. I also printed off some letter writing sheets from Playful Learning on colourful paper. Too bad it only took all of five minutes for him to write his first letter! Thank goodness there are all kinds of great learning activities on the internet. Check out my pinterest kids and summer boards for some of my favourites.
We’ve been struggling a bit with following rules, getting our jobs done and even just getting out the door in the morning! When I saw this great to-do list I thought it just might help us get back on track.
I followed the template pretty closely just changing the size and shape to accommodate the post-its we had on hand. The kids really like it. My structure loving boy especially! I like the flexibility.
My only rule is that I get to put the tasks up there and they can take them off when they are done. We’ve been able to sneak in a few things that we would normally do after school too. Piano practice goes much smoother in the morning when we are all fresh. And the yoga was their idea. Just ten minutes to limber us up for the day (found via Angry Chicken). We change up the tasks as the day progresses. It’s a good bedtime routine reminder too.