Saturday, February 28, 2009

Found the perfect backpack

I thought it would be impossible to find a children's backpack without some sort of licensed character (probably disney) plastered on it! We were in MEC a few weekends ago in Ottawa and came across this beaut. It looks big but keep in mind that it's on a child who is only 33 lbs! It was $14 and came in a few different colours. Perfect for primary aged children. I love a good find.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Penpal for Mickey

In one of the blogs I read daily, the writer, a mom, often shows pictures of her twin girls and the activities they do as a family. The twin girls reminded me so much Mickey. I took a chance and emailed the writer to ask if there was any chance of her girls wanting to be penpals with Mickey. She said "yes". I can't tell you how excited I was. Each family has written twice. They live in California and will be homeschooling in the fall. I think that this will be a very meaningful experience for all of us. The kids are learning about another country and a specific region. They're practicing their printing and composing skills. They're practicing patience while waiting for the mail and Mickey is learning about distance and measurement. California is a long way away and she cannot visit them anytime soon! Although I think Heinrich secretly hopes there's a Californian vacation in our future!

In Mickey's recent package from the girls, was a colouring book their mom had designed with a selection of nursery rhymes. She's incredibly talented. Mickey's been working on it over the past few days. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Amazing Chicken Recipe

Found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman. Love her blog. Made the recipe that night and fell in love. It is fantastic. Definitely a winner. Don't omit the sun-dried tomatoes or cayenne pepper. Again, trust me!

Ooey, gooey, brownies - SOOOO GOOD!

So, a number of people have requested the recipe for the brownies that I've been making a LOT lately. I think everyone I know has tried them. When I find a recipe I love I tend to make it often. Especially when it's gluten free. This recipe comes from gluten free girl. Even if you don't typically eat gluten free, you'll love these brownies - trust me! If you don't know where to buy the flours, best place would be the Bulk Barn or the health food section of your grocery store. Here it is:

8 tbsp unsalted butter (I use salted and omit the salt later on in the recipe)
4 oz bittersweet chocolate (I use semi-sweet - still tastes great)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Chop the chocolate into small slivers. Slice the butter into one-inch pieces. Combine the two flours together. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer. Place a large metal bowl over the top of the saucepan. Put the chocolate and butter into the metal bowl and stir, occasionally, as they both begin to melt. As they come to a full melt, stir and stir, vigorously, until you have a cohesive mixture. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and eggs, whisking vigorously until they are creamed together, with a silky consistency. Add the vanilla extract and salt and stir well. Add in the flours and stir. Finally, pour in the melted chocolate-butter mixture and stir, carefully until the mixture becomes smooth.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. As the brownies are baking fill the sink with ice cubes and 1 inch of water. When the brownies are finished baking, remove the pan from the oven and place it immediately into the ice-water bath. Watch you don't get water into the pan. Leave them there until they have cooled completely. Put in fridge. They are best eaten the next day when the top is crunchy and the insides chewy. That is if you can wait that long.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Measurement Lesson

Today we met with some friends to explore measurement. First we looked at a variety of measuring devices and asked the kids what they thought they would measure. There's a lot that we could have covered. Here's what we did discuss.

Using lego towers, the kids compared heights and widths. Then they had to add or subtract blocks to make their tower the same size as their friends.

Then they practiced measuring them with a ruler. They had to remember to position their tower at the zero mark. 

The kids had a sheet for recording their own measurements. They took turns measuring each other (in inches) and recording their results on their pages. This was a lot of fun and the kids were able to compare sizes and discuss.

Next we tried some measuring with a triple beam balance. It always amazes me how quickly kids catch on to using this type of scale. It's also excellent practice for reading numbers and adding two and three digit facts.

We then did a little comparative study. The kids measured out a room using their feet and plotted their findings on a piece of graph paper. Next we held the drawings up side by side and compared the sizes. The purpose of this was to prove that not all feet are the same size and that there has to be a standard of 12".
It was a great introduction to measurement and kids love to play with this tools. It's also a fun idea to just set out the measuring tools (and a clipboard too perhaps) and have them play with them in their own way. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Mii played Wii

For Christmas last year we had considered buying a Wii but I just couldn't justify the expense and didn't think that I would like it or that the kids would be able to do it. I'm a little anti-video game. So while we were staying in Ottawa our friends brought out the Wii for some evening fun while the kids were in bed. The most hilarious part was designing our miis. Some had a remarkable resemblance and others not so much! I could only hope! So we tried some bowling, boxing, and some Mario cart. The kids tried the next day and they took to it more quickly than I had imagined. It's quite kinesthetic, some games more than others. If I were to purchase any video game, this would be it. I love the variety of games that are available and the options within each game. Very cool.

Casey showing Heinrich the ropes.

There's Brad's Mii playing bowling.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The first day of our visit, Winterlude didn't open until 1:00 pm because of the warmer temperatures the week previous. We decided to go to Jacques Cartier park on the Quebec side. It worked out great because it's a short walk from the Museum of Civilization. So we spent the morning at the museum and headed to winterlude after. It was crowded but manageable. Gorgeous day. 

We couldn't visit Ottawa without trying out Beaver Tails. Grannie had prepared the kids prior for the mouth watering sugarary, cinnamon goodness. Mason fell in love! I now have the daunting task of trying to replicate them at home! Could I possibly make a gluten free version. Highly doubtful!

There were three ice slides and one with individual shutes. Heinrich tried this one on his own and had a blast.

Here's Heinrich and the kids sliding down with Karin and her gang. Mickey usually ended up in some kind of heap with her hat half off. 

Here's a few of the snow sculptures which were entries from the provincial teams.

Here's our little friend Chase and our friend (his Dad) Brad. Look at that face. What a cutie!

There's Brad, Casey and Chase trying the run. I think Chase is in there somewhere!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 we come!

It was Family Day yesterday which made it a long weekend. What a great idea for the middle of February. We went up to Ottawa, again! We go a lot because two of my best friends live there. It just happened that Winterlude was on as well. Although the weather was warm and rainy last week it didn't affect our Winterlude plans at all. On Saturday morning we spent some time at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec until just after lunch when Winterlude opened. Most of our time was spent in the Children's Museum which was FABULOUS! I'm already planning our next trip which will be a learning one with lots of focus. These photos were taken in the Children's Museum. Mason's favourite exhibit was the model freight ship with working cranes and loads to be picked up and unloaded. We did some origami and each child was given a passport which they could stamp at each country's activity. So much fun! These are our friends in these photos. I'll post tomorrow with pictures of Winterlude.

Home from Germany

Welcome home Oma and Opa!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Who has time for the February blues!

This has been our busiest month this year. Just plain crazy. Beside the fact that the month is ending with report cards being due, we have had something on every day. I'm a planner. No where in the "Mother styles" book on personality types does it mention the planner! Oh well.

Mickey has a new pen pal which I will write about soon. Check this out!

Mason's penpal is a friend in Ottawa. They're having so much fun with this.

After a mom's crafting night tonight and work tomorrow, we're off to a wonderful weekend in Ottawa with best friends and a visit to some Winterlude activities.

Happy Family Day weekend everyone.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009