Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School!

Today was our first day of school for the 2011/2012 year. We often start a week earlier than the public schools so we can take time off later in the fall without feeling badly or falling behind. We had some here who were very excited and wanting to begin (Emmi) and some who would be happy to wait until November - or later, as long as they didn't need to catch up next spring (Tim). I have made up new schedules, and new lists, and the first day went fairly well. It helps that we are sticking pretty close to what we have done in other years, so the previous year's schedule just needed a little tweaking. It is always daunting to open up the new book (math in particular!) and start lesson 1, of 123 or so! However, I hope the children are learning, as I am learning, that once you begin and work steadily away at something, you get through it. I needed to remind myself of this lesson as I left them to work independently this afternoon, and came out to do house painting!

Friday, August 19, 2011


"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Sometimes it is really hard to keep going! In some ways, I am in that state right now, there's a lot going on. However, we do have the promise from the Bible, and we do see this principle in real life. Emmi and Ben were able to harvest their radishes some weeks ago. They were really yummy! And now we have zucchini, beans and tomatoes coming in (and a few cucumbers). Pip is watching, rather impatiently, a pumpkin on his vine that is starting to turn orange.

The summer has been busy. Lots of good going on, the children have just finished week 5 of 6 weeks of swimming lessons. And our big project is painting the house (exterior). I need to get some photos of that! We are also turning our eyes to the calendar and starting to think about school! It seems to have gone so fast, but I think I say that every year! Stay tuned, and keep on keeping on!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fresh Air Fund

 We've had our visit from our Fresh Air Fund girl, Janelle. This was her third visit with us, and it was a great one! We did a lot with her, some of which doesn't feel important enough to mention, but is the type of thing that the FAF tells us is good for the children like hanging out at home in the back yard and playing in the sprinkler. In the above photo, Emmi and Janelle are rolling out pastry to make pies. Emmi's was blueberry, and Janelle's was sour cherry. Both were excellent!

One highlight of the visit was a trip to Toronto. We went to the Toronto Islands and took a picnic supper. After swimming we ate supper, visited Franklin's Garden and then rode the ferry back across to the city.
The group in front of a large fountain!

Emmi and Janelle waiting for the ferry.

Monday, July 25, 2011

In the meantime...

Hello Friends,
I know it has been a while since I updated! We had a great trip to Maine in June, and we've had a visitor from New York City from the Fresh Air Fund for two weeks, and celebrated my parents' 40th wedding anniversary, and we had Agape Valley Bible Camp (daycamp) for a week, AND we're now in swim lessons and all sorts of summer activities!! Wow!

So, I am hoping to put up some photos from the Maine trip at some point; it was a wonderful vacation. But in the meantime here's a a couple of our friend Janelle (from Queens NY) and our children after some face painting!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flying high at Pearson

Daddy David has been in California on a business trip this week, he came home today! Usually he flies out of Buffalo, but this time he went from Pearson International and we went to pick him up. It was the first time the children had been to Pearson, and it was a pretty exciting adventure!

Pearson seems to have lots of cool things to look at: hanging from the ceiling, on the walls, and like this tank/sculpture, right in the middle of the floor. This nifty tank thing had plastic cubes in it, and jets of water would turn on and off and make the cubes drift around inside the tank. It was also fun to look at it from different sides, and to wave at your siblings through it.

But perhaps the best part about the visit to the airport from the children's perspective was that it was profitable! We found lots of baggage carts that hadn't been returned to the cart kiosks, and for every cart we returned, we made $0.25. After we left, we counted the haul (a large fistful of quarters!) and we had returned 24 carts! So each child has an extra $1.50 in their pockets right now!

Actually the best part (of course) was meeting Daddy again! He almost got knocked down when he appeared by the big sliding doors! We had some fish and chips on the way home, and he is reading stories to them right now. All's right with the world again!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It seems to be recital season here. We had a recital with our homeschool group (called a Showcase) with students playing or singing or reciting. Three of the Marshwiggles played piano pieces, and all did very well.

Ben has just finished his first piano book, so he played the last piece in the book. The piece is also written as a duet, so I went up to play with him. I think it helped his nerves having me beside him softly singing along with the piece.

Emmi has been preparing for her Grade 3 Royal Conservatory exam, so this was a good opportunity for her to try out one of her pieces. She played a study called "Arabesque" that is quite dramatic and ends with a lovely decending crescendo to a final chord. A crowd pleaser!

Tim has been making progress this year with piano, and has started playing pieces that require movement in his hands (from position to position). He played a piece called "The Galway Piper" and pulled it off nicely.

The other students did well also, and we had a time of snacks in the church basement after - always welcome after the stress of performing!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Orthodontics Have Arrived!

Tim has been seeing the orthodontist for quite a while now, but I don't think anyone else would notice. In April he had a nifty gizmo (a palate expander) put in place that I get to wind up every night to widen his top jaw. Well the orthodontist thought we'd wound him up enough, so he decided to put braces on. Here's Tim before the visit (above) and after (below).

Keep an eye on him and you may see the front gap get smaller!

Monday, May 30, 2011


We took a trip to Marineland last week with our local homeschool group and had a great time!

Emmi set herself a goal to ride every single ride at Marineland - and she suceeded! (A little disclaimer - one ride was closed, so she didn't ride that one, but she rode every other one, some multiple times!) As you can see, she enjoys rides!

Tim was able to hang out with a good friend who has similar tastes in rides, they did crazy things like ride certain spinny rides 6 times back-to-back-to-back-to ... whoops - got a little disoriented there!

However, it is Ben who gets the award for most multiple trips on a single ride. He and a friend (pictured below) rode this Orca Screamer (a smaller version of the Sky Screamer) 30 times! Then Ben came back and did it twice more by himself! 32 rides! Each ride drops you down 10 times - 320 drops! I am fortunate that his scrambled brains still seem able to handle his math!

This is what you see from the ground once the Orca Screamer gets going. Then it drops them down, lifts up and spins, and repeats, nine more times.

Pip had a lovely time riding with all sorts of friends and relations. He tried the grown-up roller coaster, but found this kiddie coaster to be more his speed!

We have seasons passes now, so we will be heading back at some point. I'm not sure if the records we set will stand, or if there will be some work to break them!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

She's a good one to have in the family

I was pretty proud of my girl recently - she baked her first pie! She made the pastry, rolled it out, stirred up the filling, put it all together and baked it. The only things I did were help peel and cut the apples, and give general advice from time to time. (The photo above shows a detail where she cut her name into the crust as steam vents. It's hard to see - but I thought it was neat, signing your work like an artist!)

The pie smelled great in the oven, and it tasted pretty wonderful. The boys were impressed. They know having a sister is good, but it might be great.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Paradise for Boys (and a Girl)

"There is nothing--absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows, Ch. 1

We spent a great afternoon with some friends! Our friends are a family of 4 boys, about the same ages as our children, their parents, auntie and grandparents. The grandparents live on a large piece of land with a creek running through it, and the boys built a raft.

Here is the raft waiting to go in the creek:

Almost there!

The crowd waiting for the first trip of the raft to the bridge.

Emmi is a monkey!

The afternoon was warm, and this is what ended up happening to the boots:

What's she got in her hands?

Look closely - can you see the frog?

We came home pretty muddy, but thankful for good friends, and the chance to enjoy and explore God's exciting creation.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Marshwiggle Minifigs

For those of you not so immersed in Lego as we are, the term Minifig is short for mini-figure, and it refers to the small (mini) men (figures) made by Lego. They make all sorts! Some are from movies, like the Star Wars series, and some are more generic, like policemen or knights. While David was away, he was able to visit a extensive Lego store. At the store he was able to construct his own minifigs - so he decided to make a set of Marshwiggles. He was a little limited in what he could choose, so he did the best he could, and this is what he came up with:

On the left is the Daddy minifig wearing a bowtie and wielding a sword to illustrate his position in the family. The Mummy minifig is next, with glasses and long hair (a braid down the back). She is wearing an astronaut on her shirt to show her engineering background, and has binoculars to keep an eye on everyone. The Emmi minifig is wearing overalls, has long hair and has an axe to symbolize her interest in gardening. Tim's minifig is wearing a top hat because he likes to take charge, he also has a sword because he likes swordfighting. The Ben minifig is similar to a policeman, a group that Ben likes to collect in Playmobil. The last minifig is Pip who is in an orange construction suit because he like to build things. This minifig also has a determined look on his face, because Pip is a pretty determined person.

We've had a lot of fun playing with the new set of minifigs. I don't know if the Mummy minifig has taken on any storm-troopers yet, but I look forward to hearing about it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Democratic Marshwiggles

All you Canadians out there know we have just had a federal election. The Marshwiggles have been very interested in this election! We all watched the leader's debates on the computer, and Tim and Emmi went to our local All Candidates Meeting with David, and they all had opinions on who we should for for. Poor Tim was quite crushed to think how long he had to wait to vote!
Election Day here was cool and rainy. Our poll was very local, so we could walk to it. We took a "shortcut" on the way there that leads over a little stream. In the background you can see the ruins of the second Welland Canal.

We found an egg:

And we arrived at the Community Centre! The daffodils were out (you can see some in the background of the picture) in many gardens!

Here's a front view of our Community Centre. It's also where we come for our library.

Well, I cast my vote! The children weren't allowed to come round and watch the actual act of my marking the "x" but there were very keen to witness all the other parts of voting: handing in the voter's card, showing my ID, putting the ballot in the box, etc. etc. They were allowed to see and handle the ballot before I marked it, and go round to see the voting desk after I was done, and the little yellow pencil that was used - pretty neat stuff. We knew the polling clerk and deputy returning officer, so it was a pretty chummy time too.

We returned home the way we had come, pausing at the second Welland Canal to re-enact the battle of some Orcs with the men of Minas Tirith (Lord of the Rings).

Unfortunately, the children had to wait 'til the next day to find out who won, they went to bed before the polls closed. But I think we will have some pretty engaged voters in about 10-15 years from now!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Daddy's French Fries

Daddy is away right now on business, but we looked through some old (last month!) photos and thought you might enjoy seeing one evening we had when he made his famous french fries!

Daddy starts with fresh potatoes. He recruited some Marshwiggles to peel them:

Then he parboils them:

Next the potatoes are drained -steamy!

Then they have to soak a bit in cool water:

Next they are deep fried in hot oil. We like to use the wok for this. This is a Daddy only job, the Marshlings are told to keep well back!

Finally, they are golden and crispy! Daddy takes them out to drain.

YUMMY!! YUMMY! They just need a little salt - they are so good, no ketchup or vinegar required!

Everyone loves their french fries! Two big toes and two thumbs up from all Marshwiggles!

So, what are you doing when you get home from your business trip Daddy??

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

31 Days to Clean

This sounds intriguing - how to clean your house in 31 days, a practical side (the Martha side for those of you familiar with the biblical account) and a spiritual or motivational side (the Mary side). And until the end of today this woman is offering a free ebook about it here:

31 Days to Clean

I think I'll have to try it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hamilton War Plane Museum

We had a visit to the Hamilton War Plane Museum with Grandma and Grandpa. Old war planes are one of Grandpa's favourite things to visit! The boys are pretty interested too - it's more interesting when you're with a Grandpa who knows lots of neat things about them! It's not just all facts at the War Plane Museum - some of the planes you can get inside! Pip making mid-air flight adjustments: Ben is Tim's copilot: Wow - they look all grown up now don't they?