Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just the One

There was a very short period of time at the beginning of our marriage when we were DINKs (Dual Income No Kids). Mind you the incomes were pretty small and it was a very short time as we moved twice and I had to look for work but we also didn't have any children.

Since A was born, almost 7 years ago, we've become a single income family and we've had to find a way to make it work. We try not to buy anything unless what we're replacing is really and truly broken and we keep a budget so our spending is deliberate.
However, as I don't add any money to the coffers I feel a special responsibility to guard the coffers as best I can.
I look for clothes at second hand/consignment stores. (These shorts had never been worn!)

I visit ReStore to find things like paint and kitchen light fixtures. And use on-line websites to find things we want, like tree forts.
(The fort had a small catch, we had to disassemble, move and reassemble it.)

Sometimes I can even find things we need for free, like this mulch.
(This had a small catch too, I had to get it all to the backyard where it belonged.)

Whenever possible I try to do any manual labor that I can manage. Though there has been the odd injury and colour choice faux-pas I'm sure I have saved us lots of money in labour costs.

Which brings me to the fences. Our neighbours on both sides want to replace the fences and we are going to be on the hook for our half of the bill ($2400). However, both sides of our property have 10foot tall hedges. So that's 107 linear feet of ten foot tall hedge. (Of course the fence company said they would do it, for several hundred more dollars. Yikes!)
So, for the last month I have been cutting down hedge, putting the greenery in yard bags, bundling the branches and trunks, then putting them out with the recycling. But time is getting short with the installation approaching so I have had to pick up the pace.
Four yard bags of greenery, four yard bags of twigs, this pile of branches and another large pile of trunks not shown is what I have managed since Monday. My hands and back are sore, I have two blood blisters and I'm sick and tired of hedges.
And I'm only just over half way done. Fifty-seven feet done---fifty feet to go.

I have to keep reminding myself that I'm saving us $$ which is like making $$. Right??
Oh ya, and I have a new found respect for people who work this hard physically every day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Idioms

I've been wanting to share an activity from the other week. The boys were given a series of idioms that were incomplete and were asked to complete them. Some they had heard before and others they hadn't. 

Strike while--the pins are still up.
Never underestimate the power of--the Lord.
You can lead a horse to water but--you can't lead a horse to land.
If you lie down with dogs, you'll--fall asleep.
An idle mind is--numb--dumb.
A penny saved is--a penny--a penny lost.
Two's company, three's--better--more.
There are none so blind as--the 3 blind mice.
When the blind lead the blind--they stick together.
A bird in the hand--is soft.

Are there any new ones you haven't heard before?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

RaceDay 2

Here they are coming down the last stretch.

The boys have been tracking their activities for months to ensure that they had completed 41km (or 41 sessions of 30min of activity) prior to the race. Today they ran 1.2 km, bringing them to a completed marathon. Smiles all around.

Good job boys!
(And me, since it was my idea and I did do most of the activities along side them and I did keep them on track when their interest waned. Just sayin')

This is just a gratuitous shot of how handsome E is.

And a bonus shot of awesome A.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

RaceWeekend Saturday

It's Race Weekend here in the capital region. And we had three family members come into town to run with the four of us girls. Two brave ladies did the 5km and the rest of us did the 2km. I think I've got the race bug though. Next year I'd like to do a longer run.

You can't see us in there but that's the starting line. There were 2882 participants in the 2km.

This is just after the finish. And if you click this picture larger you can see four of us.

Yup. There we are with our medals.

Tomorrow, the boys race.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today

We had our monthly chess club meeting today. We learned the 'castling' move and 'en passant'. Any grandparents who want to challenge them might want to brush up on their skills. Eight kids for chess. Seven little siblings in the backyard playing. Lots of fun.


And this evening the boys had their joint cub/beaver BBQ. Can you spot A in this pic?

Aahh, wheelbarrel races.

After we put the kids to bed M did a little bonding with our new pet.

And, other than some play time with our neighbours before they left for soccer, a quick trip to the BulkBarn and zipping by our vegetable garden to water it after the BBQ, this was all we were up to today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meet Pauly

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says that pets are beneficial to children because
•They can be safe recipients of secrets and private thoughts--children often talk to their pets, like they do their stuffed animals.
•They provide lessons about life; reproduction, birth, illnesses, accidents, death, and bereavement.
•They can help develop responsible behavior in the children who care for them.
•They provide a connection to nature.
•They can teach respect for other living things.
•They provide comfort contact
•They give and receive love, loyalty, and affection

Well far be it from us to stand in the way of such amazing benefits.
The boys have really loved getting to know Grnny's bird. And after bird sitting for a couple of days M got on the bandwagon too. So as a birthday gift to the boys Grnny and Grndad bought them a bird.

Please meet Paul, nicknamed Pauly. Here you can see him from the right and then the left. He has a bluish-green belly and beautifully bright head feathers.

Pauly was hand fed as a baby and as such is super tame. He has been very welcoming to the kids picking him up and carrying him around. The trick today was getting them to put him down often enough to eat, drink and sleep!

It was difficult for the boys to decide on one bird out of the three available. There was an immediate bond with A and Pauly (A said he liked Pauly's personality!).  But E had his eye on a bird with unique markings.
In the end Pauly's personality won E over as well.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2 Down

Is that our fort? Well that's what it used to look like.
.
But with a lot of work by everybody, we made it even better!

Ta Da! Green paint on the outside. Black paint on the deck.

Two happy and hot kids. We worked on the fort yesterday and today we played.

We played NERF in the field. And had a great BBQ. And then we went fishing. A caught a pike.

E caught a sunfish.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Diggin'

'Tis the season for yard work. We have been working on helping the grass recover, finishing the fort and building a garden wall out front. We are very lucky to have no shorter of helpers.
  
Today we went for lunch and I asked the kids to grab us a table. They grabbed a table alright, a table for two! I sat at a different table.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pyrrharctia isabella

You might be a homeschooler if you have a Pyrrharctia isabella in your kitchen.

We have one. E found it at camp a couple of weeks ago and we have been feeding it hoping it would decide to cocoon.

And this morning, Voila! In about a week we should see what emerges.

Today was also A's first appointment with the orthodontist. They put rubber discs in to make room around the tooth. Then next week the metal bands go on in the space created. Then a third appointment for the final installation. Hello Space Maintainer, Good-bye $400.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cloud Nine and Think About It

The other day I was frustrated at something E was doing and I said jokingly and with a laugh, "E, seriously. You're killing me. I am going to lie down right here and die."
And then A said, "Hmm. If E makes you die then when daddy gets home he'll kill E. And then it will only be me and daddy left. And we can just play computer and eat BBQ."
Oh. Ok. So, that's his idea of heaven then is it? BBQ and his dad all to himself.

The kids and I got involved in a discussion today about the value of people versus animals. In an attempt to clarify the issue I posed a question. If you were running into a sinking building knowing you only had time to grab one thing and you saw your brother and your guinea pig, What would you save?
E said, "Probably my brother."
A said, "I'd give E the guinea pig to hold and save them both."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Farmers

The sun came out  and we had our first visit to the community garden. The job today was to turn over the dirt and get ready for planting. Our family's spot stretches from where you see the dark dirt start and extends to the far back where that line of kids are playing.
(There are other families using the spaces around us, including the lady that is lending us our space....thanks Belnda.)

We have big plans and bigger hopes. Having never had a garden before it's really going to be trial and error. We're planting watermelons, pumpkins, peppers, zucchini,s tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, beans and cucumbers.
Something from all that has to grow right??

Here are the farmers. They worked hard today.
(Check out E's hat in the picture above...LOVE it.)

And the goofballs strike again. In preparation for Race Weekend we have been logging exercise time and with the recent rain we moved the exercise indoors. I sent the boys upstairs to get dressed in workout clothes and they came down with their bottoms substantially enhanced. Goofballs.

Christmas Flurry....of Pictures