31 August 2012

Spud's Book Review: Amulet Series


Ah, Spud's (8), first book review. It's about one of his favourite graphic novel series: Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi. The 5th one just came out, in our neck of the woods, last week and he's already devoured it, so to speak, twice, at least. Read below to find out what he has to say.

1. The Stonekeeper, 2008
2. The Stonekeeper's Curse, 2009
3. The Cloud Searcher, 2010
4. The Last Council, 2011
5. Prince of the Elves, 2012

"When Emily experiences the death of her father she discovers all sorts of mysterious things and creatures including the Amulet. The elves are taking over and fighting cities. Emily uses the magic of the Amulet to try to stop them. Three words I would use to describe the books are: magic, war, and imaginative. I like the books a lot. No, I love them. They are very interesting. I liked it when Vigo and Emily were making a tribute to the fallen stonekeepers. I also like that Emily has very helpful friends. I think the illustrations are intricate, sad, and full of fantasy. I recommend these books!!! I give them a 10/10."

Thanks Spud! I hope you'll want to do more of these ...

Another entry in our Summer Fun Passport

We took the Summer Bucket List Challenge. Our working list is here.

28 August 2012

My 365 Grateful Project: Week #16

Find Something For Which to Be Grateful. Every Day. Take a Picture of It. Repeat 365 times.

DAY 106: August 20, 2012  | 6 new inhabitants in the fish #365grateful #neontetras #blackphantoms

DAY 107August 21, 2012  |  Spud's invented DIY drink cup hat complete with "furry companions" ... Thanks to the YMCA for putting a smile on our faces #365grateful

DAY 108August 22, 2012  |  Cookie decorating at the library #fun #365grateful

DAY 109August 23, 2012  |  Summer's eve at the PNE #365grateful

DAY 110August 24, 2012  |  Angry Birds activity book over sushi lunch with my boy #365grateful

DAY 111 August 25, 2012 | Street closed to weekend traffic. Love that! #granville #365grateful

DAY 112August 26, 2012  |  Sunday morning cuddles and reading #365grateful

See Week one here.
Check out my original inspiration here and here.

25 August 2012

Blessing Bags


We have truly enjoyed putting together these couple of blessing bags. Spud and I went for a walk downtown today, bringing one with us, in case we came across someone looking like they needed a little protein with a little love. It gave us the opportunity to talk about homelessness and teenage runaways. Today, the right person in the right circumstance just didn't present itself but we will try again this coming week. Our targets? Young people usually found in sleeping bags in the alcoves of store fronts in the early morning. And old guys, grungy and usually found in the throes of who-knows-what mental anguish. Our hope is that they will be received in the spirit they were assembled.

· Flushable wipes
· Tissue pack
· Lip balm
· Hand cream
· Soap
· Toothbrush kit with toothpaste and toothpicks
· Pair of socks
· Nuts
· Granola bars
· Gum
· Root beer sucker
· 4 quarters

We have more room! What would you put inside a Blessing Bag? Things we want to add to either these ones or our next round:
· Pen and mini notepad
· More granola bars
· Apple sauce with spoon
· Juice box

For the winter months:
· Hot pockets
· Fleece gloves / hat

Need more inspiration?
See other Blessing Bags here, here, here and here; all found on Pinterest.

We took the Summer Bucket List Challenge. Our working list is here.

20 August 2012

My 365 Grateful Project: Week #15

Find Something For Which to Be Grateful. Every Day. Take a Picture of It. Repeat 365 times.

DAY 99: August 13, 2012  |  Afternoon porch time with Hubs #365grateful

DAY 100: August 14, 2012  |  Salmon bake on the beach #365grateful

DAY 101: August 15, 2012  |  Waking up at 7 for "giant bubbles off the bridge" tradition #365grateful

DAY 102: August 16, 2012  |  Appreciating some peaceful moments before our play in this gorgeous theatre in the forest begins #365grateful

DAY 103: August 17, 2012  |  Almost home after a crazy-inspiring week at camp. 365grateful #homesweethome

DAY 104: August 18, 2012  |  Keepin' it cool at Coal Harbour #365grateful

DAY 105: August 19, 2012  |  Hot pot for dinner. #365grateful #hotpotvirgins

See Week one here.
Check out my original inspiration here and here.

19 August 2012

Multi-generational Overnight Camp


Our first overnight camp. As a family or otherwise. It was centered around art ... more specifically performance art. Anyone who knows me would say, wuh?! A performance camp? Really? But Spud's aunt is on the board of the organization behind this camp and she was VERY persuasive. And we are all grateful for that.

Imagine one week, 40ish people from babes to seniors, coming together to perform an original play, including singing and dancing ... all original music ... building a full-on set ... in just 6 days! Sounds impossible. But it's not! It was a brilliant, no pressure, purely inspiring week that we hope we can do again next year.

Our Highlights:
· The theatre! In the woods. Incredible setting. Built in the 1920s. Jaw dropping.
· Meals, "Free Time" and "Social Hour" spent with interesting and incredibly talented people
· 7 am polar bear swim
· 7 am giant bubble blowing off the bridge
· Kids improv and comedy night
· Making masks
· Salmon bake on the beach
· Trying to learn how to read music to sing in harmony!
· Watching the kid take risks, at his own pace
· The kid and Hubs being a part of the band
· Candy store runs

Another entry in our Summer Fun Passport

We took the Summer Bucket List Challenge. Our working list is here.

18 August 2012

Banana, Strawberry and Blueberry Popsicles


1. Chocolate Monkey
Add banana slices to the popsicle forms. Blend a 3:1 ratio of chocolate milk to nut butter and pour over banana slices.

2. Lemon Mint Strawberry
Add strawberry slices to the popsicle forms. Blend lemonade and fresh mint together and pour through a strainer over strawberry slices.

3. Blueberry Cheesecake
Blend the blueberry and cheesecake parts of the popsicle separately and layer in popsicle forms.

The Cheesecake Part:
1 C. yogurt
1 oz. cream cheese
1/8 C. honey
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. vanilla

The Blueberry Part:
1 C. blueberries
1 T. honey
2 t. lemon juice

Another entry in our Summer Fun Passport.

We took the Summer Bucket List Challenge. Our working list is here.

17 August 2012

My 365 Grateful Project: Week #14

Find Something For Which to Be Grateful. Every Day. Take a Picture of It. Repeat 365 times.

Back from a week away at camp with the family. Tons of things to be grateful for. A little late but here's a roundup of last week.

DAY 92: August 6, 2012  |  I've got a wee backgammon opponent. #365grateful

DAY 93: August 7, 2012  |  Finding a gem of a kids book; both gorgeously written (albeit devastatingly sad) AND illustrated. #365grateful #Harvey

DAY 94: August 8, 2012  |  Personal trainer session #2 equals ouch plus sleepy plus awesome. #365grateful

DAY 95: August 9, 2012  |  Shhh. Don't tell Spud. He's about to get the pet fish he always wanted. Thanks to 2 generous friends! #365grateful

DAY 96: August 10, 2012  |  Enjoying some biltong from friends. #365grateful #iheartsouthafrica

DAY 97: August 11, 2012  |  Jamiesons in a Dixie cup for a night cap. #365grateful #notaurinesample

DAY 98: August 12, 2012  |  Finding great coffee in far out places #365grateful

See Week one here.
Check out my original inspiration here and here.

14 August 2012

Picnic Food: S'more Squares

We were going on a picnic with a few camping friends and thought, hey, let's bring a variation on the s'more to share. You can't have too many s'mores, right? Meet s'more squares:

9 C. Honey Graham Cereal
¾ C. Honey
3 T. Butter
11.5 oz Chocolate Chips
1 t. Vanilla
3 C. Mini Marshmallows

Grease a cookie sheet with butter. Measure 9 cups of graham cereal into a large mixing bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, butter and chocolate chips stirring constantly until melted and combined together. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal and stir quickly until cereal is coated with chocolate mixture. Stir in marshmallows. Press mixture into shallow baking dish and using a slightly damp hand. Chill until set. Serve the same day.

Modified from Real Mom Kitchen recipe.

07 August 2012

Two UNO Math Games


We wanted to learn some new math games, not unlike this fun one I posted about earlier, so we put it on our Summer Fun Passport list. I found these two math-ish games using UNO cards and pinned them both on my "Playful Learning"Pinterest board.


How to: This is a little like the game War but with much larger numbers!
a. Remove all the "special" cards from a deck of UNO cards.

b. Split the remaining deck evenly between the number of players.

c. Decide which place value you are going to work with. We started with 100s and quickly went to ten thousands which we found to be more strategic.

d. Each person flips over one card at a time from their deck, laying them out in a way that will get them the biggest number. You can see in the above shot Spud's 3rd card was a 1 which he smartly placed in the "ones column" and not the "hundreds column". No need to take turns, just work independently until you have your number. The person with the biggest number collects all the played cards of that turn and slips them in the bottom of their deck.

e. The game's over when someone has all the cards.

We like this game because it makes working with 10s fun. And knowing how to make tens or recognize tens quickly just makes all other math work that much easier.

How to: This is like the traditional Memory Game only with making 10s instead of pairs.
a. Take out all the special cards AND the zeros from a deck of UNO.

b. Layout a 5 x 4 grid of cards.

c. The first person starts by flipping over 2 cards. If they add up to 10 they keep them and replace the 2 spots with cards from the top of the deck of leftover cards. If they do not make 10 they flip them back over and let the next person take their turn.

d. Play until there are no more cards.

Another entry in our Summer Fun Passport

We took the Summer Bucket List Challenge. Our working list is here.

06 August 2012

My 365 Grateful Project: Week #13

Find Something For Which to Be Grateful. Every Day. Take a Picture of It. Repeat 365 times.

DAY 85: July 30, 2012  |  Fun times with a couple of favourite people. #365grateful 

DAY 86: July 31, 2012  |  Oh Olympics. How I love you so. #365grateful #icry

DAY 87August 1, 2012  |  Fun evening with fun people, yummy boerewors, music in the park, and a parting gift of a giant sprig of fennel! #365grateful

DAY 88August 2, 2012  |  Shopping for magic tricks online. For the love of magic. #365grateful

DAY 89: August 3, 2012  |  Frappuccinos with my little Bub. #365grateful

DAY 90: August 4, 2012  |  Thank you air conditioning. #365grateful

DAY 91: August 5, 2012  |  Glorious evening on the beach. #365grateful

See Week one here.
Check out my original inspiration here and here.

05 August 2012

Playful Learning eCourse: Through the Lens

Spud has been taking a lot of photos lately!

I feel like I'm having a secret peek into the future ... the future of learning online. Spud and I signed up for an eCourse through Playful Learning ... a photo journaling class ... and it's been an amazing experience. It's surprising how connected we are feeling to the virtual classroom. The course uses online tools that allow us to share our assignments with the other students, using voice over and photos/video, and in turn we get aural comments and feedback from the facilitator and other students ... from around the world!

We are not even half way through the self-paced course material yet but each assignment had been so fun and inspiring! Playful Learning Ecademy has a slew of courses to choose from. And here's an offer for you to get 30% off any of them. Simply click on the Playful Learning button on my sidebar and enter the user code above. Before August 10th. And let me know how it goes!

04 August 2012

Opus: Spud's First Art Exhibition

A shout out to Opus Art Supplies who is hosting this kid art exhibition. They gave out free 10" x 10" art boards early in July to anyone under 16 who wanted enter and look at the response!

Here's Spud's entry: watercolour + Sharpie.

If you are in the area, you can go see it at the Granville Island location near Emily Carr College. Hopefully this is an annual event!