March 23, 2020
Hike in the woods

We are fully expecting a shelter in place order to be implemented in Ontario soon, so when we saw that the weather was cold and snowy we thought it would be a good day to try visiting the birds again.


This time when we got to the parking lot there was only one other car so we decided it was okay to go for a hike with some bird seed. It was super slippery with the fresh snow on top of ice and Matthew took a hard fall but after that we all were very careful and we had a great time. We did see someone else arrive in the parking lot a few minutes later but once we got on the trail we were completely alone and we didn't see anyone else again.


Elizabeth had great success with birds flocking to her hand but Matthew didn't want to take off his mitt so he only got one or two visitors the whole time. Amelia tried for a few minutes and then got bored and Michael spent the entire time trying to catch the squirrels and chipmunks. We had a really great time, which is good because I'm quite sure that given our experience on Saturday it won't be long before these trails are closed until the virus is under control.


While we were out in the woods I got a call from Spinnewyn to say they had received the last part of our recent order, but were closing for the duration in the next few hours. Then I was glad that I had decided to bring lunch along for the car as we detoured to the optical place. We'd been discussing all week whether getting new glasses was essential or not or if it could wait but my glasses have been repaired twice and sit on a noticeable angle and my prescription has changed. But the clincher was that Matthew accidentally banged his head into my glasses a few days ago and the lens has been loose ever since. I was relieved to discover that I was able to pick them up without coming closer than 2m to anyone else!


Since we were out and about and next to a grocery store, I sent Brendan into the Metro to grab the rest of the things that we had attempted to order online.


The kids have demanded a proper school day tomorrow complete with quiet time. Brendan thinks that there are nefarious reasons behind this sudden interest in quiet time.

20 photos / videos

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March 22, 2020
Winter Feast

One of the last things on our winter list was our long anticipated winter feast. Since technically it is already spring and it is obvious that we are not going to be able to invite anyone to join us, we decided we'd go ahead with it this Laetare Sunday. A joyful Sunday seemed like as good a day as any!


First we had church-at-home and junior church on zoom and again it was really great. This week there was a baptism (Baby! Baby! said Michael) and music! Matthew was super engaged and so cuddly that I wondered if he was coming down with something. Elizabeth was cranky that her other siblings were playing with her kinetic sand.


Then it was time to work on our feast.


Starter (Hors d'oeuvre): Garlic Bread

Potage (Soup): Alphabet or green soup

Fancy Jello

Poisson (Fish): Cucumber, cream cheese and smoked salmon bites

Entrée: Chinese fondue with chicken

Sorbet as palate cleanser

Salades: Rooster salad

Fromage: Cheese platter

Dessert: Triple chocolate mousse bites


I had to substitute chicken noodle for the alphabet soup since the pasta was out of stock and our cheese platter wasn't quite as envisioned but otherwise we actually had everything we needed despite not getting to go grocery shopping for this specifically.


The kids were a bit overexcited but probably not as excited as I was about the jello.  I've been waiting for a chance to play with my birthday present and this seemed like as good a chance as any.  The kids even got to try their hands at it.  More practice is definitely needed but the results were very promising.

35 photos / videos

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March 21, 2020
Online groceries

We thought we'd try getting groceries delivered. Our local Metro is no stranger to deliveries so we figured they'd be able to handle it. I've never ordered groceries online before so I was a bit worried about things like whether they would deliver mushy raspberries.


It turned out that was the least of my worries because due to food shortages we didn't get fruit. Or bread. Or bacon. Only one bag of milk (3 days worth). One bag of apples instead of three. One cream, not two. No yogurt. No alphabet pasta. In short, about half of our order didn't show up. Click and collect at Loblaws and most deliveries in our area are also now about a week out. So basically we need to go shopping again in the next couple of days. Oh well.


Then we thought maybe we could go for a walk on the greenbelt. It was a nice day, but Sarsparilla trail with the birds is a lesser known destination compared to Jack Pine. Yeah. Let's just say when we arrived, the parking lot was full. We pulled in to assess whether we dared get out of the car. The trail was a ZOO. While we were turning around, three more cars arrived. We drove a loop around all the various entrances to the greenbelt near there. Other places were so busy that cars were parked up and down the highway. It was very discouraging - at this rate the trails will get closed and then no one can enjoy them, but it was obvious that it would be impossible to social distance with that many people so we went home and played in the backyard.


Then the kids had various virtual live lessons all back to back to back. Elizabeth was first with a karate lesson, followed by Amelia and then Matthew with piano. I was pretty pleased with the karate setup as we got sensei Cody a side and front view. Not quite the same as being there but it was pretty good.


Our piano setup needs some work but we managed to figure out a workable solution and it will be even better next week.


In the evening Elizabeth was so tired she fell asleep on the couch while waiting for the other kids to go to sleep. She decided to go to bed early after that!


13 photos / videos

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March 20, 2020
Social Distancing: Day 5

Starting to get into the groove of homeschooling, but Elizabeth has now completed all of the work assigned to her from school so I'll need to start actually planning lessons for her next week. It's still super unclear what the school board is going to do but we are expecting school's out until September at this point. I think the biggest challenge I have at the moment is ensuring the kids are speaking/reading/writing enough french.


This morning I decided to do a little history unit with all the kids about Nellie Bly, which the kids enjoyed very much. We also did some geography naming provinces and capitals and continents. Even Michael participated - I got them to name a province and then if they were right (or in Michael's case repeated correctly) then they got to eat a dried cranberry or raisin. This was very popular.


In the afternoon Douvris had a live karate class on Facebook. All the kids put on their gis - even Amelia who doesn't technically do karate yet but wanted to follow along. (No belt for her though!) Michael wanted to try too but that wouldn't have resulted in Elizabeth having a real class and she REALLY wanted to have a real class so he was banished upstairs. Amelia did really well for the first twenty minutes. Then they transitioned into a sparring class and while she gamely bounced along for a bit when they hit the half hour mark I told her she could go and play since a tykes class is usually only half an hour. Matthew had a horrible time focusing and spent a significant portion of the class flinging himself onto the couch, but he did participate. His problem is that he knows they can't see him. I resorted to filming him and threatening to send the video to his senseis. After the class there was a question and answer time and the kids were super pumped to be able to ask questions and hear them read back.

16 photos / videos

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March 19, 2020
Social Distancing: Day 4

HAHAHA All my photos from today are of kids in front of screens.


One thing that is going reasonably well: keeping the house tidy. We told the kids that they have to tidy the basement and their rooms before free screen time in the evening. It's incentive to tidy as you go and it's probably fair to say that between this and daily "chore time" the house is actually in better shape than it's been in months. In fact we've had time to do a bit of spring cleaning (!)


I did add a couple of extra outdoor playtimes to our schedule today, but we didn't go for a walk because it was obvious that the kids weren't in the mood. Instead we let them pull the scooters out and go up and down the driveway (usually we don't allow kids to do such frivolities until the street sweeper has been by to remove the salt and grit leftover from winter).


During chore time we came across our winter and spring bucket lists. "We can't go to a museum now", Elizabeth sadly noted. Aha! said I. Let's try out some of these virtual tours I've been hearing so much about. So we saw butterflies and mummies and rocks and dinosaurs and skeletons (so many skeletons) at the Smithsonian. I am going to have OPINIONS about virtual tours by the end of this, I can tell that right now. There were fights over the keyboard and frustrations with the mouse. But we did actually learn some stuff, including that all of the kids are grossed out by ancient Egyptian burial customs.


After the museum we introduced them to Mythbusters, via the famous germ episode while I made supper (followed by Do Goldfish have 3 second memories?). They are all fans.


After supper Elizabeth tried out one of the karate video lessons posted recently. It's not the same but it is definitely better than nothing.

5 photos / videos

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