For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

I know, it's late... There were some technical difficulties that wouldn't let me post, but they seem to be fixed now.

I hope you all had a great Christmas. We did our celebrating with a non-traditional Wigilia on Christmas Eve - about the only traditional thing we managed to have this year was the oplatek! *L* Even the turkey was done differently. No tourtierre this year, either. :-( Still need to save up for that mixer we're after. Not even going to *try* a lesser quality one. Not after breaking a brand new machine half way into the second batch of hot water dough! LOL

The kids seem really happy with their gifts. Youngest, our car nut, was so funny to see when she unwrapped the car book she got. I've never seen her so happy over a gift before! Eldest's favourite is the calligraphy set. Me, I got a quill set - with ambidextrous nibs, so I can actually use it. *L* Finding a lefty set seems to be a lot harder than I remember back when I used to do calligraphy a lot.

Christmas Day is when they get their stockings, which went over well, too. I was somewhat concerned about finding the right gifts this year, since we had to put things off so late. The new job and weird pays that have been coming in for the last few weeks left us not knowing what our budget would be until the thursday before Christmas. I've never had it so tight before.

We don't really have plans for New Years right now. Some plans we had were changed, as the people we were going to meet probably won't make in into town after all, due to illness. Most likely, we'll take in the fireworks like we did last year. They were fun. It was nice and mild last year, too, and it looks like it'll be mild again this year. We did have our cold snap, but it's been otherwise extremely warm for this time of year.

The new batch of triops we've started up are doing exceptionally well. We've got nine of them! We only used the one little tank that came with Youngest's kit, so it's looking pretty crowded in there. Amazingly, there's been no cannibalism, even though there's significant size difference between the biggest and smallest. I guess they have enough food that it's not an issue. Gosh, they're active, too. We thought we had less for the longest time, simply because they were moving around too fast to count.

Dh's new job is going well. He's having fun and learning new stuff, which is always good. With the time of year, though, it's been pretty slow. He had both monday and tuesday off, then when his manager commented on how glad she was he had found something to keep busy because she had nothing for him to do, he ended up making her day by going home for the afternoon. She didn't want to actually ask him to take the day off, since he's been there for such a short time. *L* He'll have to make up the time later, but it's not an issue. What a difference being on salary instead of billing! The office has also been pretty empty, since so many others are on holidays. Once New Years is over (he's got another 2 days off for that), things will be back to normal.

While we don't really do much formally for "schooling" in this household, we have taken a bit of a Holiday from some things, like the girls' French. That'll start up again after New Year's, too. We're not quite done with Christmas, though. There's still Three Kings Day to come. After that, the tree and decorations all come down for another year.

Things have been good, and I'm looking forward to 2007.

Wishing you all Happiness, Health and Prosperity in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Library List

Gorgeous day for a trip to the library. Took home too many books, as usual, but at least this time, I remembered to grab both bags to carry them home. *L*

In the video section:

Youngest chose HP: Prisoner of Azkabaan. We used to own the first HP movies, but lent them out before we moved. We never got them back, so we've only got the newest one. The hard part is listening to Eldest saying things like "but that didn't happen in the book!!" LOL
Miracle Planet; Episode 3: New Frontiers and Episode 5: Survival of the Fittest. Couldn't find episode 4. Will have to remember that for next time.
What the Bleep Do We Know. The girls have already seen this one, but I haven't.
Body Atlas; Disc 3: Skin, The Food Machine and Taste and Smell.
The Day the Earth Stood Still: Eldest chose that one.

In the books:
Youngest chose a couple of Calvin and Hobbes books, Revenge of the Babysat and The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, as well as The Far Side, Galler 5.
The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving: beadweaving is something I really enjoy. All you need is needle, thread and beads. No looms or frames or anything else. Some great ideas in this one, from the looks of it.
Digital Photography for Children's and Family Portraiture and Advanced Digital Camera Techniques: I picked those ones mostly for Dh, though I think we'll all get some good use out of them.
The Encyclopedia of Super Heroes: another choice from Eldest.
Latin/English dictionary: a repeat selection for Eldest. We need to buy one for her so she doesn't have to keep returning it to the library.
Jewels: I picked this one as much for the fabulour photography as for the content. *L*
Christmas Family Gatherings; recipes and ideas for celebrating with people you love: one of my picks - pretty self descriptive, there. LOL
Feast! Canadian Native Cuisine for All Seasons: Some very excellent looking recipes in here, as well as some great information, too.
People of The Stone Age; Hunter Gatherers and Early Hunters: my pick. I've long had a great interest in pre-history.

This should last for us this week. :-D

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy Sw. Mikolaj

Happy St. Nicholas Day. I hope you were able to do a little something special for it.

We didn't.

There's a bug that's been going around and we seem to have caught it. Dh has been home from work for the past two days, and Eldest has been hit fairly hard. Youngest and I seem to have escaped it - so far.

The only major accomplishment for the day is that I managed to lug 30 odd pounds of library books back - then lugged a bunch of new ones home. The girls didn't go with me, so they're stuck with my choices. LOL

I picked up some DVD's this time. Two are Miracle Planet, episodes 1 (The Violent Past) & 4 (Extinction and Rebirth). I also found a couple more from the Body Atlas series. Unfortunately, I forgot which ones we'd already borrowed. I knew we hadn't seen disc 1 (The Womb; Glands and Hormones), but the kids tell me we'd already borrowed disc 2 (Muscle and Bone; The Breath of Life). I don't remember it, though. Just for fun, I also picked up the first Superman movie. It is SO hokey by today's standards! Fun, though.

The books.

Metis Legacy: This one looks like it's going to be quite interesting. At least the first half, which is a "historiography." The second half is an annotated bibliography. In between it has a section of photographs. The book seeks to correct some of the rather large historical gaps in Canada's history (and the US) regarding the Metis. On the one hand, the gaps are largely because writers of history tended to be European men, so they recorded what had meaning to themselves. On the other hand, Metis history tended to be an oral tradition which, unfortunately, is easily lost in this day and age. It also seeks to correct some of the very prejudicial views of the few written histories that deal with the Metis, and show those same event from Metis eyes.

Creating Family Newsletters; Producing a First-Class Newsletter and How to Get Published Free and Make Money: Some time ago, I'd started writing a family newsletter. It was well recieved, but getting stories from family to include in it was like pulling teeth. *L* Only one newsletter was ever completed. Anyhow, the interest is still there, and I wouldn't mind doing something like that with the girls. Especially since we're living so far away again. The third book is there more for curiousity, though. Might find something useful in it for Eldest in connection with her online comic.

Gems; The World's Greatest Treasures and their Stories: Some pretty amazing photography in this one, as is the history behind so many stones.

A Celebration of Christmas: This one looks to be a fascinating and useful book. Along with telling the histories behind many Christmas traditions around the world, it has songs, crafts, recipes, games, and so much more. I like the "old time" stuff because they don't rely on mass produced or "convenience" items.

Ethnic Style; History an Fashion: Oh, the things we humans do to ourselves in the name of beauty!!! Skull shaping, foot binding, scarring, tattoos, piercings, neck stretching, tooth shaping, orifice modifying, and so much more. Interesting to read some of the histories behind these modifications.

That's it for this trip. Since the movies are only for 1 week, we can add to the list then, and the kids can laugh at me when I complain about how heavy lugging all those books around. *L*

Monday, December 04, 2006

Catching up

It's been a while since I've posted about our home schooling adventures, so I figured it's about time for me to catch up on things.

Just a few of the things we've been doing lately.

Some of the other parents organized a movie afternoon. One of them has access to non-mainstream movies through his work, which is really cool. I hadn't paid too much attention to the organizing going on, as I figured we couldn't make it - for starters, it was on a wednesday, and we've got a regular "date" with a family on wednesdays, plus it's convoluted to get a but out to where it was being held. The family we get together with, however, were interested in checking it out, so they graciously offerred us a ride. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity. I'm so glad we did! The movies we saw were Microcosmos and Flatworld. They were both really great!

One of the neat things I noticed was just how much everyone got into the movies. There were a wide range of ages represented among the children, from "preschoolers" through teens. No one made any announcement that the movie was starting. The lights were already out while a couple of people wrangled with the projector, and they just started playing it. Within half a minute, everyone quieted down, found their seats and started watching. While there were kids moving about - going to the washroom, getting snacks or drinks of water, etc., they did so quietly without even being asked. Mostly, all we heard were a lot of oooo's, aaahhh's, Oh's! and Eeeewwww's!! LOL Microcosmos was absolutely fascinating, and I found myself constantly wondering just *how* they managed to film it. Flatworld was considerably noiser, since so many of us were laughing out loud. It was such a hoot! Absolutely great. As the group of us were leaving, we all agreed that if they have another one of these movie afternoons, we definately want to be there - and perhaps take part in the planning/organizing of it next time, too. That would be such fun.

Eldest has been able to got to another writing club, thanks to the kindness of the mom who was hosting it for coming to our place to give her a ride. We didn't even know it was on until her usual ride called to say their son was ill and wasn't going to make it, or where it was until their daughter emailed mine to ask if she was coming out. Eldest is talking to other members on MSN more often, though, so I'm pretty sure that sort of miscommunication won't happen again. On top of that, the teens in the writing club discovered that they all are into drawing as well, so they spontaneously started a drawing club, too. First meeting is this friday. With more things going on with Eldest, I made a point of getting a key card for her when we paid the rent this month, so she doesn't have to borrow mine. We've been meaning to for a while, but didn't have as much reason to until now. I'm glad she's getting involved with these. I like that we can give her a bit more freedom to go out on her own. Well, not really on her own, since she's usually with so many other people, including adults, but without me or her sister tagging along all the time.

Youngest isn't as involved with outside stuff like that, but at 10, I don't really expect her to quite yet. We've got enough going on to meet her getting-out-of-the-apartment needs for now. *L* Especially our wednesday get togethers, which she eagerly looks forward to. Meanwhile, Dh picked up some new darts the other night (we'd had a full board and darts set that got garage-sale'd before we moved, but there's a dart board available in our building). Youngest really enjoys darts, so they've been taking full advantage of that.

Dh has been trying to put together a digital photography group. One of the other parents had offerred to teach it, but when everyone got together, nothing happened. We're still not sure why, as she was there, but it just never came up. Dh and a couple others just started talking cameras and pictures on their own. He tried to organise another get together, sending out emails with three possible dates to see which would work best for people. Only one person answered to say they all were good days. The others that we weren't sure about never responded, including the person that had offerred to teach. So Dh just sent out an email saying it was going to happen during park day tomorrow. Either they show up, or they don't. We'll be there with our cameras, and we know for sure about one other person, but for the rest - other than one that is going to be out of town, we don't even know how if they're interested anymore due to the total lack of response. We'll see how that works out. Dh is getting pretty serious about photography again, and really wants to learn more, so any chance to get together with others and "talk shop" is welcome to him.

Other than that, things are on the quiet side. Dh is finished his project at work and just marking time for his last 2 weeks before starting the new job. Other than our usual get togethers, we become major home-bodies in the time before Christmas. I'm no lover of shopping in the first place, but as Christmas draws near, we try to avoid going out in general, but to any stores or malls in particular, as much as possible. Nothing kills the Christmas spirit for me faster than wrestling my way through crowds bad tempered people, and *everyone* seems to be bad tempered in stores this time of year. I feel for my sister, who works at a Walmart. It's going to be hell for her.

We've got plenty to keep us busy anyways, though. Sometime in the next while, we have to figure out when/how we'll be making tourtierre (I don't think we'll be getting the Artisan Mixer we want in time, which means we won't make as much as we normally would), Sw. Mikolaj is coming up, and of course, we have to prepare for Wigilia and Christmas itself. Unfortunately, we haven't done any of the Christmas shopping at all. With the job transition, we won't know what our budget it until he actually gets his next paycheck, since we're not sure what it'll come out to.

Ah, well. We'll figure it out.