January 23, 2021
Winter Feast

Our winter feast has rapidly become one of the highlights of our year, with every course hotly debated. Elizabeth and I spent quite a few sessions flipping through cookbooks and looking up recipes online before coming to conclusions, and this year she helped me make much more of the meal.


Since we're able to hang out with Grandma J in person but no one else is allowed in our house, she was our guest of honour. We all got dressed up. I couldn't believe that Elizabeth still fits into her dress first worn for the winter feast two years ago! Admittedly it was huge then and much shorter now... Some of us even wore dress shoes. Elizabeth and Amelia have sadly outgrown theirs but luckily it was decided shoes did not matter.


The stuffed pepper recipe originally called for mini peppers, but apparently those are not available here right now because I actually went to three different stores and none of them had such things. So I settled for using parts of a pepper. I'm not sure the egg would have fit in a mini pepper.


We couldn't decide on a soup, so we asked Grandma and she suggested an Austrian speciality involving crepe noodles in a clear broth that she used to serve for diplomatic dinners. Unfortunately I didn't get around to making a homemade broth and the gluten free broth box I chose was curiously bland. None of the kids really liked it. We'll have to try again with some homemade broth.


I made half-size mini jellos this year as we'd found the quantity a bit too much last year. They were perhaps not quite as beautiful as last year as it's harder to make the flowers in smaller jello and I let the kids have free rein, but they were great fun to make. Michael especially enjoyed eating his, though his jello table manners require some work...


We were so focussed on all the other dishes that I actually kind of forgot about main course. Consequently I'd say it was the weakest part of the meal. Oh well!


I was surprised by how easy it was to make sorbet even though I don't have a special machine or anything. Hmm. I mostly did so because I couldn't bear to pay $13 for a tiny amount of sorbet and I didn't want a giant box while we're trying to limit sugar and get ready for lent.


The cheese platter last year was appreciated but boring. This year I had way too much fun selecting multi-coloured gluten free crackers. The green ones were RW Garcia kale crackers, the purple ones were Laiki black rice and the yellow ones were Mary's Real Thin Sea salt crackers. I also bought about nine different kinds of cheese. I didn't end up even putting it all out. We had a smoked cheddar and some goat cheese, havarti, gouda, brie and a few random others selected for variety.


We borrowed a beautiful candelabra from our neighbours Lauren and Ronnie and we pulled out special glasses given to us by Auntie Mary.


Starter (Hors d'oeuvre): Egg Stuffed Peppers

Potage (Soup): Frittaten Suppe

Fancy Jello

Poisson (Fish): Salmon Crostini

Entrée: Chicken with roasted veggies and beans

Homemade raspberry lemon Sorbet as palate cleanser

Salades:  Strawberry kiwi feta salad

Fromage: Cheese platter

Dessert: Triple chocolate mousse bites


We finished up our evening with tea or coffee in front of the fire.

19 photos / videos

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January 22, 2021
Virtual School: Week 18

Kindergarten stations this week: Books, paint, float or sink sensory bucket, tangrams, paw patrol figures.


Amelia talked some of her siblings into coming and doing a dance party with her for gym. Amelia's discovered how to operate some of the suggested activities for her class on the iPad without a parent, so she can find stories, virtual geoboard and little videos to amuse herself with.


Michael's class for "grandir ensemble" did a "dress like your Daddy" day.


One of the days I took Matthew and Michael skating at the park in the afternoon. Elizabeth didn't want to miss school so the girls stayed home and played very nicely together outside for recess. Amelia thought "someone should keep Elizabeth company so she doesn't get lonely".


Matthew spent much of the week avoiding his classes and coming to see what Amelia was doing. Admittedly his classes can be extremely boring especially in the afternoon where they are apparently repeating a unit he did last March (telling time). He seems to now have a single supply teacher, but it's one that I don't particularly like.


Elizabeth has a pile of presentations to work on, including making a presentation about something she's passionate about. Eventually she settled on karate, but she wasn't at all sure about whether it was a good idea. "School is school and karate is karate and they shouldn't mix" apparently.


We also spent time this week getting ready for the winter feast.

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January 17, 2021
Invasion of the snowmen

It's the best snowman weather we've had in years.


We went snowshoeing at Commissioner's park and when we arrived we discovered that people had built many, many snowmen - some of them nearly professional quality sculptures. We took a few photos of our favourites and of course we had to add our own.


Matthew and Elizabeth made a snow elephant, Amelia made a snow unicorn and Michael made a blob.


In the afternoon we climbed the snow mountain at Glebe high school, worked on the entrance to our igloo at bit and then Daddy introduced Matthew and Elizabeth to Dungeon Master. Dungeon Master is one of the first role playing video games featuring a pseudo 3D first person perspective, published in 1987. They thought it was interesting but strange. They had some challenges with the user interface, finding it hard to use the mouse and the keyboard at the same time especially with monsters attacking them.

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January 16, 2021
3D Printing

We were looking for an excuse to investigate 3D printing, so when our neighbour got into the business of printing ear protectors for frontline staff with proceeds going to the food bank AND had more orders than he could fill it seemed like the perfect excuse.


We printed a few hundred ear protectors until the neighbour got caught up and then Brendan started experimenting with other things. I wrote about the race cars we made but he's had much too much fun playing.


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January 15, 2021
Virtual School: Week 17

Kindergarten stations this week: Books, Drums, Lego, popup tents and blocks (upstairs). The kids in Amelia's class were building mazes at school this week to roll marbles down. She found this interesting but didn't really have the faintest idea of how to build a maze. She also really enjoyed painting snow outside.


Michael got a flashlight for his birthday and so there's been a fair amount of playing with lights. He especially likes for Elizabeth to come downstairs with him first thing in the morning, then they shine lights on the wall together.


Matthew's friend Nico is in remote school right now along with all the kids of Ontario. He's not enjoying it much as they kept the same breaks as in person school to facilitate transitions and so his sister Bianca doesn't have lunch or recess with him. They live right next to the park, so when we've gone to the park for our own recess, Nico and Matthew have enjoyed playing distantly but together. This week Amelia brought her frisbee and the kids all enjoyed playing monkey the middle for a while.


All the siblings came to pick Matthew up from forest school. We arrived about half an hour before the end of forest school, thinking that we could go tobogganing while waiting for him. Unfortunately they were near the parking lot when we arrived and Matthew spotted us. We did some sledding but it was obvious that Matthew was very distracted by our being there so we ended up going elsewhere and then coming back to do more sledding after school was over. Amelia and Elizabeth are more convinced than ever that "forest school" is too much fun to qualify as school.


We've finally moved bo classes indoors for the winter, after discovering that if we move all the furniture out of the living room Elizabeth has room for all her moves. She's a little worried about hitting things but it's workable for now.

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