February 28, 2021
Plowden 2021

Elizabeth was not amused to discover that there was another karate competition on her birthday weekend and this year it was actually ON her birthday! "Why do people do this!??" she moaned. "I'm going to have the WORST BIRTHDAY EVER!"


We pointed out numerous times that she did not actually have to do a karate tournament on her birthday. She insisted that she wanted to despite the fact that it would totally "ruin" her birthday because she would be too nervous to celebrate. She even double checked to make sure I'd signed her up.


Spoiler: it did not ruin her birthday.


We rearranged the living room and had two different music setups ready in case music sharing was not enabled.


In the morning we gained an hour of practice time when we discovered the tournament was happening in CST and not EST. Elizabeth spent it practicing over zoom with Erika.


The other kids and I were all banished upstairs to watch our makeshift livestream as well as the official other channels to cheer on the rest of the team. Elizabeth's ring was one that wasn't being broadcast live.


Her first event was hard style forms. We were a little surprised that she placed in the bottom set. Brendan got Elizabeth to switch katas for classical forms and it paid off as the judges seemed to like that one better. It was almost as chaotic as a real tournament with teammates  competing in three different rings at the same time at one point. Elizabeth was still being scored when Erika was competing, so she took advantage of it being recorded and watched after.


Then we had a break before the weapons categories. She put down two very solid performances for the first two divisions, duly frightening her mother and all our friends and relatives. We were kind of hoping for fourth or better in extreme (there would have been some amusement value in having the complete set). Unfortunately Elizabeth drew third for extreme weapons and first for creative so she had about 30 seconds between divisions. We wondered if she could have asked for a moment because she was exhausted by then and made quite a few errors. Oh well! She was happy with the rest of her results.


Final results?

Hard style forms: Genkaku 5th out of 8 competitors.

Classical forms: Nipaipo 3rd out of 10 competitors.

Traditional weapons: 1st out of 2 competitors.

Extreme weapons: 2nd out of 3 competitors.

Creative weapons: 7th out of 7 competitors.

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12th birthday at Gorilla Munch

For her twelfth birthday Elizabeth asked for an egg "like at Tim Horton's" for breakfast.


She had pizza for lunch, with TWELVE candles because she told me they probably wouldn't fit. I used banana to avoid serving excessive amounts of wax with her pizza.


We invited Grandma to come join us for supper. At first we were thinking that Elizabeth's restaurant should have a jungle theme. "What would I eat if it was a jungle? Octopus?" said Elizabeth, thus proving perhaps that geography has not been a priority here. She was surprised to find out that we could indeed serve octopus. Ultimately we decided on a greek restaurant (plus taquitos and garlic bread because she just likes them) and to forget about trying to match the menu too closely to the name and decor.


Matthew and I were the "staff" for this particular restaurant. As usual Matthew and Elizabeth wanted to try "everything". Elizabeth put out the flames on the saganaki for the first time.

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February Food

Here's what we ate in February. We never got around to buying eggplant, so we never had ratatouille. Boo! The falafel waffles were also a bit of a disaster - interesting enough to eat but they did not really work in my waffle maker causing a sticky mess. I actually ended up turning most of them into pancakes. The boys pretty much only ate the chicken and beet part. Lent started in February, so in theory we had simpler meals with less meat. However, two birthdays and valentine's in February meant we had plenty of fancy as well :)

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1000 hours Outside

In February only Elizabeth managed to better her hours, and mostly because she is feeling competitive.


Everyone managed to complete 100 hours and I think we are on track to success!

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February 27, 2021
Elizabeth party

We had a family zoom to celebrate Elizabeth's twelfth birthday. We opened presents, sang happy birthday and ate triple chocolate mousse cake.

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February 26, 2021
Virtual School: Week 23

Our neighbour was throwing a frisbee with Rafale and accidentally hit our igloo in such a way that made it look like a monster. The kids thought this was hilarious and used some yellow ice blocks we'd frozen (hoping to make an ice castle) as eyes. We got a big dump of packing snow and used it to build a big entrance to see if we could improve how warm it was inside (marginally). Naturally we had to redo the face. They made some snowmen too.


Amelia's class investigated what materials protect against water the best. I'm not sure we or Amelia quite understood the purpose of the experiment but Amelia made an umbrella out of a paper plate to keep her object from getting wet. Michael wanted to play in the water too so he spent some time puddling in the tub. In math they are working on the concept of using drawings to represent word problems. Mme Martine tried hard to convey the concept that you do not need to draw an entire horse if you are counting horses. Instead, a dot will do. The kindergarten class was clearly having none of this.


The class is going to have a visit from an underwater diver to talk about his Nunavut photos, so they are continuing their unit on the arctic. Amelia worked on her narwhal project this week. She did a pile of research, created her slides and painted a picture of a narwhal based on instructions I gave her from a "how to paint a cute narwhal" tutorial online. I think it is pretty great for a five year old.


Matthew's class is learning about states of matter and family trees. They are (still) doing a time unit, to his great disgust. We're still waiting to hear on our request to switch to asynchronous without doing math.


Matthew and I saw a skunk in broad daylight waddling down the street when I dropped him off for forest school this week! I wanted him to go take a photo but he was too scared of getting sprayed. Probably not a bad thing.


Elizabeth made (and shared) some slime this week.


In art class Elizabeth did "graffiti writing". She is certainly enjoying herself. It's a good thing that she's highly motivated to log in independently because by the time I remembered to check whether she'd gotten into class it was nearly over. She also spent a lot of time drawing pokemon this week. Everyone got a chance to pick their favourite and she added it into the mix.

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River Oak

Lac des loups is out of the question this year because it requires interprovincial travel which is "not recommended" and technically brings a 14-day quarantine with it upon re-entry to Ontario (though this is widely ignored). So with the closure of the canal we decided to give River Oak another chance.


Temperatures were rising and sun shining brightly so we pulled the kids out of school, picked up Grandma Margaret and off we went!


The ice quality was better than expected, at least at first. By the time we left there were many places that were a little on the treacherous side due to the softening of the ice. Matthew went down the big hill once but by the time they looped around ready to do it again "some bad skaters went down and fell and cuz they were adults they messed up the ice". Elizabeth went up and down about six more times. Brendan found the changes in elevation very disconcerting but by the end he figured he was getting used to it. None of us adults braved the big hill given the conditions. I probably would have avoided the little hill too, but Amelia decided she needed someone to hold onto... Michael did quite a lot of skating as well. I was glad that Amelia is happy to skate by herself for the most part. My back is looking forward to the day that Michael can do the same!


Great fun was had by all and we will probably be back next year.

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February 23, 2021
Night Ski

After the kids were in bed, I went for a late night ski with my friend Dianne in the forest. We skied around the pond at Bruce Pit.

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February 22, 2021

The canal closed today after only 26 days open, and Elizabeth and I successfully completed our "skate every day on the canal" challenge. It was an unusual year in that we put our skates on outdoors (something I'd always felt was too cold), didn't eat a single beavertail and rarely skated in daylight. In order to avoid crowds, we were usually on the canal before or after sunrise. I'm not sure I'd ever seen the sunrise on the canal before!


We also completely redefined our sense of good skating conditions as we skated regardless of whether it was freezing, raining, snowing or melting. Figuring out glasses, skating and masks was challenging and I skated blind (aka without my glasses) quite often.


Elizabeth's favourite day was probably the day with the worst conditions; skating in a foot of snow well over the top of our skates was hilariously absurd. Just getting to the canal was very challenging and I really wished we'd brought our snowshoes. I don't know that I could pick my favourite as easily, but likely one of the sunrises over Dow's lake on a day without too much wind.


We had some glorious ice and some terrible ice and some ice that squeaked like a pig when you moved your skates just so. We met up with Erika, and Grandma J a few times, and dragged the rest of the family out with us a few times (Matthew more often than the others because he's fast enough that we don't have to wait for him all the time). We saw both ends of the canal, but never the same day - we never had enough time to do the full length on a day that wasn't insanely busy. Elizabeth discovered quite a few climbing trees. We learned to use hand warmers.


Overall it was really fun and I'm super glad we did it. Elizabeth swears she is not going to do it again next year but a few days after the canal closed she was already less sure so we'll have to see.

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