31 December 2014

Introducing Flying Lightbulb Blog

Our son just launched his own tween blog, Flying Lightbulb, where he will post all his creative pursuits and interests. His first stop motion movie is up, check it out!

24 December 2014

Printable: Holiday Coupons

Merry Christmas!

Grab the pdf here. You will find it under "HOLIDAYS". Have fun!

17 December 2014

Holiday Math: Snowflakes, Starflakes, and Swirlflakes

We are big Vi Hart fans over here so this fun little video on making unusual paper snowflakes make us very happy this holiday season.

16 December 2014

Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Coffee filters make the best snowflakes. They are already round and symmetrical. Simply fold in half, then in thirds, and then in half again. And I like their translucent nature.

The only downside is you really have to figure out a way to flatten them. You could iron them I suppose. We pressed them between our heaviest books overnight. That seemed to do the trick.

06 December 2014

St. Nicholas Day 2014

Spud wasn't keeping track so this year's St. Nicholas day was a big surprise! St. Nick must have grabbed his shoes for him. This morning he found them filled with goodies outside his bedroom door.

02 December 2014

Our First Time Lapse: Niagara Falls, Lit Up


We propped up our little iPhone on the window sill of our hotel around 4 pm and let it shoot periodically, using a time lapse app, until the lights went out at midnight. We ended up with 4 minutes of moving mist and colour. Looking forward to making more time lapse movies with the kid!

21 October 2014

A Paper Weaving Morning

Paper weaving. Classic paper craft that for some reason, Spud and I have never done together before. I used to love this kind of activity when I was his age.

Practiced skills: fine motor, creative decision making, patience, focus on details, and accepting imperfections in your work.

I'm sure there are million different ways to go about it. First we cut our paper into strips. Then taped down our vertical rhythm to hold it still while we slid on the horizontal bits. Finally we folded back the ends and taped them down. Spud decided to tape it on his IKEA square storage unit — livens it up quite a bit!

28 September 2014

Summer Fun Passport: The Fun Run Train

Twelve weeks of walk / run interval training! Over 750 minutes of just running. Ending with a bang: the 5K Neon Run. It was a blast finding new and interesting places to run in our city. We also really proved something to ourselves. And we learned a lot:

1. We don't like running. We do not feel like we are "running people". But now that it's over, we are wondering if we should stick with it.

2. It was gruelling at times, especially those afternoon runs in the summer heat, but we did it anyway, with minimal complaints. Spud showed some serious grit. So proud of him.

3. The gradual approach to training works!

4. We really like glow-y, blinky things with loud pumping music. And we want to do it again.

We're not finished with summer yet so we are continuing with our summer bucket list. Check out our working Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

15 September 2014

Summer Bucket List: Growing Grapes. Making Jam.

So this hits two of our bucket list items: Grow something and Make Freezer Jam. Well it turns out we were growing a LOT of wee grapes in our front yard, to our surprise (as new owners to our house/yard). It's hard to say that "we" grew them unless turning on the watering system periodically (maybe not even often enough) counts as having grown something. But I can safely say we made jam out of the harvest. It was a lot of work; washing, de-stemming, washing again, cooking down, straining out the seeds and skins, cooking down again ... but SO worth it! Full of grape-y flavour and not too sweet. Yum.

We're not finished with summer yet so we are continuing with our summer bucket list for the month of September. Check out our working Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

13 September 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Drawing Castles

Lazy days of drawing and learning new skills — that's what Summer days are made of. Some might think that summer is over, now that school is back. But, here, the weather has been perpetually blissful and we're not back in school yet! Most of the province is not back, due to our teacher's strike/lockout situation but the real reason we're not back in school is that we are homeschooling this year! A very big decision. But we are up for the challenge. Here's hoping there will be more days like these.

Since we are not finished with summer yet, we are continuing with our summer bucket list for the month of September. Check out our working Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

07 September 2014

DIY TV Dinner!

Where have you been all my life you adorable, heavy-duty, Stoneware TV Dinner Tray? Seriously. I love you.

TV Dinners are a memorable part of my childhood. Not because we ate them all that much. But because I wanted to! Each food neatly contained in its own compartment. Come on, how perfect is that? Especially when you're a kid. And, without fail, you could count on dessert. Again. Important.

But I understand that the legendary TV Dinner is not necessarily in a 10 year old's lexicon today. Tonight I said, "I'm going to make you a homemade TV Dinner!" to Spud. I was pretty excited. He promptly cocked his head and said, "A what? A TB Dinner?". Turns out he had no idea what I was talking about. Let's just call that a good thing, shall we? As I remember, while they were cool, they lacked nutritionally speaking.

He's a convert now though. And I'm so excited that I'm able to introduce the idea to him with "real food" ... um ... for the most part.

So what was in Spud's TV dinner? Peas and carrots. Of course! With a pat of butter that melted in the oven. Baked pasta with a browned cheesy top. Elk meatballs. You weren't expecting that, were you? And half a mini apple pie, which, just to be clear, we did not make, we bought. The diehards will note that the dessert was not in the centre compartment in the top row ... I had a hard time with that too. I'm over it now. I expect you will be soon too.

Did he eat it in front of the TV? Why, yes he did. Note to self: find a nice set of TV tables.

Want a pair of these dishes for yourself? I found them at Uncommon Goods where I also found approximately a million other unique, fun items to covet. Check it out.

DISCLOSURE: I sometimes get a freebie when I review a product or a service but I'm here to tell you that I will not enter into any agreement with a company that I do not believe in. To be clear, I don't gush about things that are not gushable. Just so you know.

29 August 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Play Board Games on a Rainy Day

We didn't have a lot of rainy days this summer. But there was one. And that's when we played Monopoly. Spud's choice. Totally fun. But thank goodness for the new short version.

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

26 August 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Go Kayaking

Deep Cove is a beautiful place to rent a kayak. Aside from cute little islands to explore and beautiful scenery, the boys got right up close to some seals too!

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list 
here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

21 August 2014

Friday Night Short: You Can Learn Anything

Look what showed up in my inbox yesterday, from Khan Academy, that amazing, free math website that we love so much. Its timing is impeccable too ... being well-themed with what we are learning in the Stanford University online math courses we are taking.

If you are in the market for helping anyone learn math, this course is well worth it. If you know a little person who could benefit from the positive messages above and learn some new strategies in learning math, then check this one out.

(via The Khan Academy)

>>Friday night is movie night in our house and we like to start with a good short or two. To see others we recommend, see previous posts here.

20 August 2014

Make Fantastic Mistakes Poster

So, I am taking this course called "How to Learn Math" through Stanford University's online offerings and it's been, well, a little life-changing. Not only is it helping with ways to guide Spud through his interactions with math but it's changing my relationship with it as well!

This poster is one of my assignments for the lesson focussing on the miracle of making errors and what wonderful things it does to brain growth and development. I'm sure we will be referring to this regularly throughout the upcoming school year.

15 August 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Go to a Gelateria


We have loads of gelaterias in our town. Loads. Good ones too. But we really wanted to take Spud to the crazy one boasting 218 flavours, aptly named La Casa Gelato. It has been so long since we've been he doesn't even remember it! One rule: when sampling the different flavours prior to making your decision ... try at least one out of your comfort zone. At least one. This is what happened:

Spud: Maple Bacon. Turned out to be a good choice. He liked it!
Me: Garlic. I'm not kidding. Very bad choice. I thought it might have a hint of garlic but oh no! It was full-on. I walked over to Hubs to tell him about my terrible mistake and he said "oh my, I can smell it". Be warned.
Hubs: Seaweed. And then vegemite. He didn't mind either but neither made the final cut.

But there was durian and wasabi and kimchi also ... to name a few. How brave would you be?

Final Gelato flavour decisions = very safe:
Spud: Ferrero Roche + Blood Orange
Me: Pear + Peanut Butter Chocolate (with an unwanted, slight hint of garlic)
Hubs: Passion Fruit Chocolate + Maple Walnut

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

14 August 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Learning Morse Code

I found 2 fun sites that Spud used to learn some Morse code here and here. After he played around and practiced for a few days I busted out some physical Dahs and Dits — beads in dots and dashes. He wanted to make a necklace and a bracelet each with a message. He pondered over it for a few days finally landing on "Happy" and "SJTM" (his initials).

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

11 August 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Spend a Day at the Pool

Lucky to have summer babies as friends! Happy birthday N! This year's outdoor pool day was full of games and other fun with friends AND cake! Lucky boy. Sounds like one of the highlights was playing with the dads.

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

08 August 2014

07 August 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Take an After Dark Walk

After dark in the summer, in our neck of the woods, is very late for our little Spud to be up and about ... so I thought this little neighbourhood trundle would be a little treat — Potato the pup enjoyed it too. 

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

02 August 2014

01 August 2014

29 July 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Make a Kiwi Crate Project

It's always so exciting to see what surprises are inside the Kiwi Crate. For example, a star hole punch! That's a keeper! And a free (adorable) deck of cards. Not to mention the cool projects inside. Spud had a great time making this lantern yesterday. The star stickers glow in the dark. The tea light shimmers through the coloured vellum nicely. And we learned a bit about constellations.

We've posted about Kiwi Crate before ... here and here.

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

28 July 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Watch the Sunset

This year's sunset viewing got paired up with seeing/hearing Stanley Park's 9 o'clock gun go off. Not only did we get to see the sunset and the cannon boom into the evening, but we also saw a blue heron (or 2) and a few harbour seals, including a babe with its mom. I love my city.

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

13 July 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Go to an Outdoor Concert

This has been on my wish list for years! Finally, we got to see the VSO outside, in the park, and free! It was a treat building summer time memories on a lovely evening, with good people, on an exceptionally warm evening, in the park. Love my city.

And a little Vine video that sums it up in 6 seconds.

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.

11 July 2014

Summer Fun Passport: Reading Club

Summer Reading Club at our library is something we look forward to each year — this is our 5th year running. I love how each year a new illustrator is featured. And a new theme is explored with games and activities at the local branches. And weekly contests! Spud has won something every year. Lucky bum. 

At the end of the summer, when you've got 50 days of reading done, you have a little booklet with all the books you've read, as a keepsake ... then they present you with a medal (so cute!) AND you get to go "shopping" at a shelving truck stocked full of a wide range of new books.

I'm not sure what the future holds for libraries. I worry about them. It makes me particularly happy when I see them finding clever, well put together ways to connect with the community. I heart our library. 

I would love to know what sort of summer reading programs other libraries do!

Check out this year's Summer Bucket list here and all our past Summer Fun entries here.
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