June 19, 2020
Spring Tea Pool Party

It's the last day of spring and the first day of summer holidays so we thought we'd better finally have our long anticipated "spring tea party" before it was too late for the second year in a row.


We invited Erika and Maria to come over with their bathing suits and we pumped up two of our paddling pools.


Then we brought out our tea. We had dolmades, cheese and regular gf buns, chopped veggies, a cheese platter, a meat platter, cake, cookies and of course tea. I made a fruity tea (cranberry orange), Earl grey and Mint.


It's 36.7C outside in the shade according to our garage, so the pool and shade was quite appreciated. I put all the food out on ice packs.


Michael splashed around, ate and then curled up and went to sleep on the porch just like a little cat. He's been pretending to be a cat rather a lot lately so I'm not sure this wasn't deliberate.


Auntie Yukiko and Grandma came by as well, so after a quick "swim" Brendan and I went back inside to do some actual work while the partying continued on outside.

18 photos / videos

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June 18, 2020
Homeschool wk june 15-18

Last week of school! We declared Friday a holiday and will give the kids a whole week off before starting up our summer homeschool. Well, off except for summer journalling and physical exercise because it would never do to be TOO lax.


Elizabeth had mostly completed all assigned work so when I found out about a magic class offered by CPF Ontario I asked her if she'd like to do it. She spent an hour learning some magic tricks in french and she had a really great time. They are going to repeat these every week for the next few weeks! Most of the rest of her week was spent working on her Rube Goldberg machine, though she did go for a fairly ambitious bike ride with Grandma, Erika and Auntie Yukiko. She's decided she likes biking after all and they want to ride to Aylmer Marina sometime this summer.


Matthew and I did a loop down across the new footbridge and back across Pretoria bridge, while Amelia tried taking her two wheeler down to the end of the block and back. Matthew wants to go on his own adventure with Grandma sometime soon.


Karate started up some in-person classes for tournament team. Elizabeth and Erika have been walking home to Erika's after class and hanging out there which is extremely popular.


Matthew and Elizabeth did some more JJK art, which turned out to be water colour painting. Of course Amelia wanted to join in too! Michael wasn't particularly into art this week, unless you count snipping Amelia with scissors. Related: Michael is not allowed to use scissors unsupervised...


Matthew didn't otherwise have much in the way of schoolwork to complete. He made a father's day craft and enjoyed reading a story about a siege in a castle complete with secret passage and a pet pig. He's always building forts and other things and recently got interested in how to make concrete and bricks. He tried making a brick out of mud so it will be interesting to see how that turns out. More concerning was his idea that if matches aren't allowed as part of his continuing quest to make fire maybe he could make his own. Luckily we do not live on or near a sulfur mine, but I did amuse myself by suggesting he look for smelly rocks.


Amelia didn't have too much in the way of real school this week, though we did manage to join the last combined class of the year after missing the last small group and she also made the father's day craft suggested by her teachers. We also tried to join the little party to celebrate the end of the school but there were insurmountable technical problems so it kind of fizzled out. She didn't mind because we were playing board games while waiting. There were a few games and puzzles this week. We also watched the end of year videos later as we got them by email. Amelia had submitted a piano piece as a "talent to show" and got a nice encouraging note from her teacher :)


Amelia and Michael's zoom with Grandir Ensemble did the pepper experiment. Amelia was explaining she already did it at school but I kind of liked the Grandir Ensemble tie-in better; they were using the pepper as germs and had the kids put their fingers in without soap to show how the germs stick to you. Then when you put the soap on your fingers the "germs" flee! Michael thought this was quite amusing.


Everyone did some weeding this week; some more enthusiastically than others. It was a VERY hot week, but we still managed to have fun outdoors. Michael discovered the hose. I suspect his siblings will be sorry they taught him how to spray him long before he is tired of doing so...

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June 17, 2020
Happy Birthday Auntie Heather!

Auntie Heather was excited about turning 48 as it's the last time that she will have one digit be the double of the other for a while.


She organized a potluck dinner of the same foods in each different virtual location and then we had a zoom dinner together.

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Robin Nest

We were kind of chagrined but also excited when a pair of robins decided to build a nest on our front porch. It's a fairly high traffic area, so they were constantly being annoyed by the mail, delivery people and kids running in and out.


We quickly put up a sign and stopped using the front door, and settled in to watch Mama bird.


Originally, the birds started building two nests but one was quickly abandoned and fell to pieces. The final nest only contained one egg (we snuck a look with our camera one day when mama bird was off getting breakfast).


Unfortunately a few days later there was a ruckus and then the birds never came back. Eventually we took another look in the nest and the egg was gone! We suspect a squirrel :(


The robins are still around, so we hope mama managed to build a safer nest somewhere else.

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June 16, 2020
Rube Goldberg

Elizabeth's teacher gave them an assignment to imagine a Rube Goldberg machine a few weeks ago for science. Elizabeth completed it last week, but forgot to upload it to Google Classroom. This, coupled with no new assignment tasks for the last week of school presented an opportunity to take the assignment a bit further and actually try it out "for real life" as Amelia would say...


Although it took a good eight hours, I do feel this was time well spent as Elizabeth took more interest in the actual simple machine part when there was a practical application. She might even finally understand the difference between friction and traction (but if she mixes them up I get to yank on her arms and rub her feet. I might find this more fun than she does).


She wished she'd taken the time to write out a script and wanted us to help her set everything up again so she could do that part "better" but Brendan and I decided there was value in not giving into perfectionist tendencies. We did agree to chop one thing out of the video for her.


Anyway, it was very amusing and we all had great fun. Brendan is relieved that she managed to complete this without water damage to the floor or ceiling below! Matthew is already plotting his own version involving my mixer and various other power tools. I told him he can do this in grade 5...

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June 15, 2020
Happy birthday Uncle Chris!

Elizabeth went to Sunnyside to celebrate Uncle Chris' birthday along with Grandma Margaret. They had homemade tacos for supper! Elizabeth says she had the biggest slice of cake she's ever had in her life because there weren't as many people as usual.


Elizabeth says "I tried to mow the lawn but I had to use scissors. Then I tried on Erika's old clothes and took home the ones that fit!"


We had tacos and cake too at Clemow but stayed apart to respect the ten person gathering limit.

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In person Karate

In person karate has started up for tournament team only.


Elizabeth and Erika's group of up to 10 kids is on Monday at 2pm, Wednesday at 3pm and Sunday at 10am (Elizabeth's probably not going to this one in person as it interferes with church).


We were a bit hesitant about returning - karate is a fairly high risk activity in our opinion - but the classes are size limited (and the same kids), all 45 minutes or less, there are 15 minutes between classes, they have increased cleaning procedures.

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