Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Merry Christmas to You All

We've been having a lovely Christmas this year. We've had good times with family, with friends, with our church, and here is a picture from the Waterloo family gathering. Hope you all have been enjoying a break from the normal routines, and have had some meaningful reflections on the birth of Christ, our Saviour.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jubal Class Photos

We had our Christmas concert for Jubal Cottage School last week. Jubal is a local homeschooling group focusing on the arts, and I direct the Junior and Senior choirs. All of our children are involved this year. Before the concert we stood the children up on the platform and took some "class photos" - here they are!

The Jubal student body is in this picture as the combined choir.

Junior Drama

Senior Drama

Senior Bell Choir

Senior Choir

Junior 1 Bell Choir

Junior 2 Bell Choir

Junior Choir

Our concert went very well! We had a lot of fun, and are already looking forward to the next semester!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In Which We Hunt the Christmas Tree

We like to cut our own locally grown Christmas tree from a Christmas tree farm. This year I came along, which was the first time for several years. David said it was easier when there weren't six people giving their opinions on which tree would be best! However, we did find a tree, and have a good time.

Off to the hunt!

This tree still has a few years to grow!

We like this one!

Daddy gets cutting!

Carrying the tree back to the van.

David has loaded up plenty of canoes on top, so a tree is no big deal!

The tree gets tied down for its ride home!
Maybe I'll get some pictures up soon of how the tree looks indoors and decorated!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright...

Emmi was invited to a dress-up birthday party this fall. She chose to be a tiger! Daddy had the brilliant idea of using electrical tape on her orange clothes, to give her stripes. I bought the first eyeliner I have purchased since high school, to give her a nose and whiskers. I also bought an orange t-shirt at Goodwill, and Emmi used the serger to make a tail. We had some ears on a hair band from another costume, and she was ready to skulk in the shadows of the jungle.

Don't be frightened! This tiger can be quite friendly too!

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Mayor for Thorold!

David and I have been hanging on to the election results all evening - radio and Internet. I am pretty interested in the Toronto race with a lot of family and friends in that city. But the race that interests me the most is here in Thorold! Our mayor decided not to run again in this election, so like Toronto, we had a pretty interesting race. However, we are hearing that the guy who, out of the three candidates, was pegged as "not a front runner" has won, by 4 votes! Wow!! We'll have to see if he survives a recount! Exciting times for a little city!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quill Pens

We are continuing our study of history - this year focusing on the Middle Ages. One of our recent projects was to make, and use, quill pens. We did this after reading about monasteries and scriptoriums, and one of our books had detailed steps for curing parchment (from animal hides), making quill pens and mixing inks. We skipped the hides (using the more recent invention of paper from trees) and ink (using an old refill for the ink-jet printer!) but tried cutting some quill pens from geese feathers collected in the summer.

One story we read of an apprentice boy in a scriptorium commented that he had spent months learning how to cut the quills, and then more months learning how to use them to make the letters. (This was after he had a mastery of Latin!) So I wasn't too surprised at the mess we made writing, or the difficulty the children had in using the pens. It took a fair bit of concentration to reproduce the alphabet the monks would have used.

Even so, we had an enjoyable time, and returned to the modern world of ball-points, fountain pens and pencils with an appreciation for the monks and others who preserved so many texts in such a labourious way.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Well it seems that September and early October have been pretty busy around here! One big highlight of the past few weeks was a 6 day canoe trip we took in September.

We went to a new (for us) lake system, just off the Pickerel River, between Sudbury and Parry Sound. We had a mix of weather, some great so we could go swimming:

And some really rainy!

We also had the usual fun time hanging out together, and occasionally being a bit goofy.

David and I always appreciate the time away as a family. We see less bickering and arguing the longer we are away - the fact that David was giving us daily readings from Ephesians with appropriate comments helped too! All the children worked very hard - from carrying heavy packs over the portages, to helping set up and take down tents, to dishwashing and filtering water. Of course, it wasn't all work and no play! We had some good times playing, drinking tea with cake (guess who that was!) and reading together.

We worked our way through a gripping read-aloud about convoys in WWII - the children wouldn't let David stop at points!

Our last day was the wettest - with rain that got progressively heavier (and a wind that got stronger, or maybe it was just me feeling tired!) as we got closer and closer to the van. By the time we got there, we were all ready for a dry change of clothes. Once dry, with snacks in our bellies, we had quite a feeling of jubilation at our accomplishments and the fun time we had together.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kite Flying

Grandma and Grandpa came down for a visit this past weekend. They came on a really windy day, and we thought - let's go to the park and fly some kites!

Grandpa was consistenly called on to untangle lines, give advice and generally help everyone get their kite in the air.

Pip enjoying the afternoon!

Grandpa works with Ben in this photo to get his kite up!

Sometimes kite flying can take a lot of concentration.

Grandma had a turn flying kites too! We came home windblown and ready for tea!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Gladiators and the Lion

A week or so ago, David and I were enjoying after supper hot drinks in our dining room, and occasionally glancing at each other at the loud crashing sounds coming from overhead (the boys rooms). Suddenly there were loud cries and wails. Here came trouble...

It was Ben, he had been bitten by Pip, and it was a pretty good bite too. Not quite breaking the skin, but leaving a nasty mark. While I cuddled Ben, David asked Tim (in a stern Daddy voice) just what was going on.

"Well," said Tim thoughtfully, "we were playing gladiators, and that was going very nicely."
"Yes?" said David, drawing out the yes, and still in stern Daddy voice, though I could tell from his eyes that he was already finding this amusing.
"And then Pip bit Ben!"
Ben by this point had stopped crying, so I got up to go have my stern Mummy talk with Pip. Just as I was leaving the room, I heard Tim explaining to David why Pip had bitten Ben.
"You see," said Tim very matter-of-factly, "Pip was a lion."

When I got upstairs, there was a very penitent lion waiting for me. It was hard not to laugh looking into his big, brown eyes, listening to him explain earnestly how in future he would just roar at Ben, and not bite.

So the evening ended well, with hugs all round, and forgiveness sought and received, and a resolution that I hope is upheld not to let oneself get carried away when one becomes a fierce creature.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Canoe Trip

Well, we've had a little time off from canoe trips, but this summer we are hoping to get back to it! We had our first trip of the year last weekend, and it was a good time! Last summer, we didn't do any, and it is amazing what two years will do to the children - they are all better paddlers, better campers and better portagers!

Canoe trips are great for just being together!

And for having times of quiet reflection.

The gang is getting good enough at canoeing that we sent a boatload of them out together to practice - they had to canoe to a nearby island, go around (getting out to explore first if desired - it was!) and then come back. We had a second canoe back at the campsite to come to the rescue if needed, but we weren't needed at all.

Here are the canoes loaded up after a portage. We were gone for 3 days, two nights, had a lot of rain - but kept the important stuff dry (food, sleeping gear, tents), did a 1600 m portage (and many others!), saw a bunch of loons (including some human ones related to me!!) and had a great time!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Track and Field

We joined a local track and field club this spring, Niagara Regional Athletics, and have been learning, and practicing, track and field events. It is a lot of fun, and really good for keeping us fit! I get to practice alongside the children, so I am getting some "keeping fit" benefits too!

In July, we went to our first track meet. It was the MTA Championships (Minor Track Association, which is for children under 14), which meant that there were track clubs from all across Ontario there! It was quite overwhelming at times for us - noise, people, heat!! (It was a very hot day!) Here are a couple of pictures of Emmi's javelin throws.

All the Marshwiggles competed, and had good attitude, though we did not do so well in terms of results! Pip won a 5th place ribbon for his long jump, and Ben scooped a silver medal (from a field of two) in shotput, so that was encouraging for the younger boys. Emmi and Tim tried hard in their events - but no medals or ribbons for them. Here is Emmi doing a long jump.

And here is Emmi on a very determined final stretch of the 200m. I love the way her braids were swinging about!

Pip ran in the 100m. He and this little boy had difficulty staying in their lanes, but seemed pretty pleased with themselves at the finish line!

Tim's favourite events are the throws. Here he is doing the shotput.

Here is Ben in his silver medal performance for shotput (in his age category). Go Ben!

We learned a lot at this meet, for example, I thought I had brought WAAY too much water, but we used almost all of it! And I should bring a golf umbrella next time to give some shade to the eager spectators! We watched a little of the recent Canadian and World Junior track and field championships that were held in Moncton NB, and my guys were so much more interested having had their own experiences in track and field.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Fruitful Season

It is a wonderful time to live in Niagara! The array of fruits and veggies in the markets is fantastic! On Saturday, there were baskets of tomatoes for sale at the farmers market, but I walked right by them knowing what was in the back garden! Here are a few of the beauties we've been enjoying! I did come home Saturday with corn, blueberries, peaches, and plums to name a few items that we don't grow. I am so grateful to be living in such a wonderful part of the world right now!