Friday, January 17, 2014

A Weekly Recap

Monday was one of those days. Lots of chocolate, books, hiding out in the bedroom.

Tuesday everything was back to normal which was wonderful :-)

English - It has been an easy week full of pronouns and nouns and tests on Friday - which they did well in (Magoo even got 100%). Monkey is flying through her phonics and readers, though she needs some extra help with g, z & w!

Math - Apparently 3 weeks of holidays means that the multiplication tables vanished out of their long term memories so we are re-learning those as well as the usual math. Monkey is learning to count by 5s on top of her 2,10 & 100s.

Science - Space travel, Magoo was very into this. Our first lesson was on the space shuttle program from start to finish, we were able to find a good documentary on this on YouTube which Magoo watched with Mummy. In our car travels this week we finished listening to "Jonathan Park goes to the Amazon" which was good, but in a different format then the others in the series - more of a story with animals featured in it. We attempted the frozen bubble test, but it was too warm at -16C that day, but it was still fun for the girls.

History - We started our lap-book on ancient Greece, beginning with "baby" Greece which was the three city states of Corinth, Athens & Sparta. Discussed the similarities between the myth of Atlantis and the real events on the island of Thera and the fall of the Minoan civilization. For review we are listening to the first vol. of Mystery of History that arrived via post this week and are all enjoying it - even Mummy. Monkey and Baby had fun playing with "living sand" to make a Minoan palace.

Hebrew - They are getting ready for a pretend trip to Israel, learning travel words and geography words as well as the geography of where Israel is located on the globe and the size in comparison to where we live.

P.E. - Lots of sledding, snow fort building, outdoor skating and getting our strength back after the flu went through all the kids.

Family Read Aloud - We are nearly done "The Long Winter" and it has been a perfect read for our -20 to -40C days. For Tapestry of Grace we have a stack of books that they are all sharing during quiet time in the living room.

Bible Study - They are working on a workbook on Peter for a children's gathering latter next month.

sorry for the lack of pictures, I've tried to upload 3 times and blogger doesn't like them - oh well!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Ever so many changes,

Our trip to France provided the perfect opportunity to test drive homeschooling for our wee family and now here we are half way through our first year on this new adventure. Our summer was full of the usual blessings of Bible school, cottage and blissful days spent playing and reading and exploring together. After the monkeys would be tucked into bed Mummy was busy reading homeschooling books, reading curriculum reviews and then taking the plunge and clicking the order button!

We decided a slow and gradual start to this first year. Our first week (which was a week before regular school would start) we began with our family devotion and Bible reading time in the morning, English and math. I think that this suggestion from other moms who have been on this journey for many more years then I was really perfect for us. It meant that the afternoons were still in full summer mode and it helped me to have slower intro to being teacher to three different children, with three different strengths in three different grades! oh and the toddler to boot :-)

Then each week we added a subject, science first and french and then after a mth, and much dithering on my behalf our Tapestry of Grace arrived and we dived straight into history and we love it!

So what are we using;

Monkey is in K5 and because I know it works and have seen it at CHC, we are using Abeka language and phonics for her. Math U See Primer for math - and she is nearly done that for the year already so Alpha was ordered and is sitting on a shelf in the study for when she's is ready to move on. Monkey also joins in with our social studies, science and of course Bible studies. Listening to the lesson and read alouds and then doing an activity for the Lower Grammar age group in Tapestry of Grace (TOG)

Helper is in grade 3 and since I was familiar with Bob Jones Press that is what we choose for her English. It has gone really well, and she is able to work nearly independently in both English and math. She is also using Math U See Gamma and is ahead by 8 weeks - so there is another book waiting for her on the shelf as well - I'm such a mean mom!

Mr Magoo is in grade 5 and also working in Bob Jones Press and Math U See Epsilon. His ability to be an independent worker is amazing, though mummy is always here to help, and he actually suggested it. He is loving the writing aspect of BJP and starting this week is also working on WriteShop with the three year program as he is only in grade 5 and that is the youngest grade they recommend it to start at. Oh and french!

For History we are so thrilled to have discovered Tapestry of Grace, I will have to do a stand alone post on it. It has been a real blessing in our home and the children and I are loving every minute of it. It is living book based and not textbook which means lots of cuddle time while reading! We recently finished reading Tirzah and I was in tears trying to choke out the last chapter, such a great book and only 3 little issues with it - which made for good discussion with the kids as well.

Answers in Genesis is our Science and the fact that I can teach all the grades up to 8 at the same time makes this a huge time saver in our week. We are currently finishing up the Our Universe book and will go on to either Weather or Our Planet - the kids will decide. The experiments are great and well thought out and everything is literally at home, I have yet to have to buy anything for them! a bonus for sure! Mr Magoo is diligent about reading his extra info and sometime Helper wants to as well.

An Auntie comes every Friday to give the children a 2 hr Hebrew lesson (while I catch up on laundry) and the kids are flying with that. She has had them labeling the house, making flash cards, started small conversation and related so much of it to the scriptures :-)

They have a 2 hour (or more) Revelation class with Gran and Grandad, and Monkey has a K5 Co-op on Thursday mornings at meeting before sisters class. They joined in the swimming with CHC and we plan on doing that again in the spring and skating in February so it is all busy and happy and great!

For gym, as well as the above with CHC, they have taken up long distance running with Daddy and all competed in a 2km fun run in the fall, placing in the top 3 for each of their ages, Mr Magoo was actually the 4th overall out of 40 kids and 2nd in his age group which was great for him. Right now weekly sledding with their cousins and outdoor skating are keeping them active above the usual amazing snow games they make up outside.

Well that's our update for now. Hopefully I will figure out a way to get photos up - we are using a loaner computer right now and still in search of a replacement for our Acer - that dies twice!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Yesterday was a wonderfully blah day :-)

We grocery shopped, went for a walk, clean the apartment and got ready for Grandpa B & Grandma C to visit from Austria for the weekend.

Today I was So SO ever so glad that I had some extra adult hands to keep track of the children! We had our usual homeschooling morning and then they came here for lunch. Which we only just got in on time, Sausage decided to have a morning nap - something she hasn't done in ages - so we had just under 20 minutes to get out (as in, 5 pairs of shoes on, 5 jackets on, baby put in stroller, wait for elevator, go down elevator, pass through 2 sets of button opening locked door ways) and to the bakery and back again. We made it with a couple minutes to spare!

Afterwards we headed out to the Metro to go to Iena for our climb up the Eiffel Tower! By now we are very comfortable with the metro and the kids are great on it. Well except Monkey was in a very hyper mood so those extra hands to watch out for her were much needed. We were nearly under the Tower when it started to rain, so we ducked under the awning of a closed cafe and waited out the storm, and we were so glad of the shelter since it down poured for a good solid 15 minutes.

The good thing was that when it stopped the line up was half gone! So we left the stroller with Grandma C and up the rest of us climbed, with Sausage in her front pouch as well. 347 steps latter we reached the 1st floor and walked around enjoying the view and everyone taking photos. And just an fyi - there is a free clean bathroom on that level :-)

Magoo wanted to go up to the next level, but I really wasn't up for it and neither was anyone else so he was good about it and we all went down. Helper slipped on the final spiral case down but Grandpa was there to catch her so she was alright - shaken but not hurt.

I made the huge mistake of looking down and had to close my eyes for a while but once we were back on the ground my legs stopped shaking, well a few minutes afterwards!

We gave the other Carousel a try this time and then it was back onto the Metro to make our way home. Even though it was earlier, 4:30pm, rush hour had started so I was so glad I wasn't on my own with the four again.

We parted ways at the grocery store so that the children could have a rest. Though I don't think they got the memo! It ended up being a book reading, knitting, bath time, clean up time.

Spaghetti with salad and garlic bread made for a simple yet very filling meal and we used the last of the rice pasta for the children tonight. Yummy desert, coffees, Bible readings and the children are again tucked into their beds.

We've been dealing with some homesickness the last wee bit so the "quiet" time was also used to call some family back in Canada which cheered everyone up a lot! Even Mummy! Monday we will start organizing all this stuff to transport it back to our place of sojourn. Other then some sewing for the girls we have used just about everything that we brought so I was thinking it may be good to post what we brought that was really useful with kids for travelling.

Well it is off to bed. Tomorrow will be another adventure filled day!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Yesterday was fun, we headed out for the Museum of Natural history. We managed the Metro fine and all that. Followed the map and started noticing that there were not that many people out and about. Fine, we figured, all the more for us - school must be back after Easter break :-) and so we marched through le Jardin des Plantes and up towards the museum, and noticed something a wee bit concerning. The lights were off. Opps. Right-o I guess that I should have double checked that it wasn't one of the museums that close on a tuesday. What made it slightly funny is that I had texted Hubby while we were on the way to say that I was hoping it was open because I hadn't checked it all out.

But it all worked out. A security guard pointed out that even though the website says that the zoo (opened during the French Revolution!!!) was closed for a year as they made changes to actual fact IT was open. So rip off prices aside, we chopped off an arm and a leg and paid the entrance fees and spent a very enjoyable day making friends with baboons, gazelles, camels, jaguars and the such like.

On our way back to the Metro we sat under a large tree that after getting home and looking in the guide book discovered it was the Cedar of Lebanon tree that we had been looking for, did the labyrinth in the garden and informed the children that Mummy was simply too worn out to try to find the arena from the Roman time period of the city Lucetia. So we headed through the gate and towards le Metro and voila, was that a sign for a street called Les Arenas (I don't know why it is plural but it is), so after checking the guide book we headed down the winding street and found a lovely playground and steps that went up to, lo and behold the Roman Arena! Magoo was thrilled to say the least.

Today we headed off to Ile de la cite to make a very important purchase. Helper has been inspecting all the music boxes around town and decided that she wanted one from there because it would save her 2 Euros and would remind her of the Marche des Fleurs (since it is in the flower market). So we did that as she chose one that plays Claire de la lune. Then we headed into Notre Dame and after instructing the kids on silence and that I would explain and answer everything AFTER we were out (really didn't want to be dealing with "wicked catholic church" comments IN the actual thing as security was tight - and those who understand our beliefs will understand that comment) and so the kids really got an educational experience as they were having Mass - watched for about 2 minutes and then had some really good chats out in the garden behind it while we had our snack. We were still hungry so we got 2 Crouque Monsiuer to share (hotdog in a baguette with cheese melted on top) and sat on the steps of Hotel Dieu to finish off our lunch. Walking back was very hot so we were glad we were in summer clothing. Thankfully we remembered that we had to pre-purchase our tickets for the Louvre and so since Sausage was asleep we headed inside. After waiting in line for the terminals and discovering they only sold today's tickets and then waiting in line at the ticket office to only find out the same. We went to the information booth where the lady didn't speak english! But we managed alright and headed down into the maze of shops under ground there to find the shop that sold them (a tobacco shop - does that make sense to anyone!?). Found and bought, we headed up and out for the Tulleries for the playground. Now you know it was really to hot when the children decided that it was simply too hot so we headed home with a stop at the grocery store for ice cream.

Homeschooling, ice cream and relaxing on the patio finished up our day :-) Tomorrow we are going to be getting ready for Grandpa B & Grandma C to arrive and see what we have time for afterwards, either the Palais Royal or the Jewish history museum.

Until next time

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Welcome Back :-)

What a wonderful week we had in England. So wonderful that there were many tears when we left! Shared love around multitudes of cups of tea, watching the twinkling come back into the children's eyes as they played with Aunties, Uncles & long cherished friends. Introducing Magoo to a real life castle, sharing tea & cream scones for dinner in Stratford. Fellowship around God's word. Memorial, Bible class and a study day. Playgrounds, walks, parks. Magoo's first symphany with Daddy & a special Uncle. Second hand book shopping! Double decker bus and train riding, Birmingham town hall organ concert (with all four monkeys)......

Yes, we had a wonderful and much needed break in the middle of our time here alone in France. Now that we are back though, the list of things we would like to see and do before we leave in only 12 days is jam packed!

I'm tucked into bed next to Sausage with a cappuchino waiting for the monkeys to rise. They are still on UK time and me thinks that is a good thing as with them sleeping til 10 (and not going to be until the same at night) they are half way back to Ontario time :-) So even though I am itching to wake them so that we can start our day have have longer at the Natural history isn't worth it really.

Yesterday we slept in, even Mummy! Which meant a frantic race to the grocery store for some necessities and pastries before our luggage was dropped off. Since the pastry place across the road was out of Pain au Chocolait, the children had banana chocolate ones and I had a raisin one - so yummy. Yes cappuchino pods for the nescafe machine were on the list of eccential supplies!

Everyone joined in and unpacked our jumbled up suitcases. Jumbled up because we had a frantic time repacking at the Birmingham airport. We had patted ourselves on the back because we had packed and weighed everything the night before and were just under the limit for the 2 large suitcases we took to the UK (yes, 2 lrg suitcases for 6 people, plus a tiny roll on for books) and so we thought we had loads of time to get a cafe and rest at the airport but once again - non!

The bright orange case was 5 kg over and the black one 2kg over so there was frantic rushing around the airport (with 6 monkeys in tow) to buy another bag (at 30 pounds - rip off) and then frantic emptying out of the large suitcases and literally stuffing the books, shoes, kitbags, all the heavy stuff into the new bag. Then security and such, thankfully we have found the in the EU they are wonderful with helping out families. We get pulled out of every line and put at the front (which is the only way we made our flight to the UK!) so we did end up with 15 min spare before loading began. We flew "Fly BE" to the UK and back and they left an empty seat by us, which was great as it meant that once the seatbelt sign was off Sausage could have somewhere to play and it made the hour long flight very enjoyable.

After unpacking we had some pizza for lunch and headed down below the city to make our way to the Arc De Triumph, for the third time. The first half of our journey went very smoothly and easily, and though the second half went fine.....managing 4 children down escalator after escalator with a diaper bag and stroller on your back and baby in a front pouch, and gripping the 4 yr old that always falls on them otherwise, is a bit hair raising. I don't know how deep we went to get on the RER (commuter line) for our 2nd half of the journey, but it was at least 8 stories below the regular metro line!

The wonderfulness of popping out of the rabbit hole at the base of the Arc was wonderful! No line up for the tickets (children were free again!!!) and then after we got onto the literal base finding out that we could go up the lift instead of climpbing up the stairs was blissful. We were already dripping with sweat as we hadn't dressed light enough and it was 19C!

The views at the top were well worth the trip Helper decided, since she was the one that wasn't bothered. The children played Eye-Spy for ages up there, until grumbling began and we headed down. At the base we had another history lesson - but ofcourse!

Because of the heat, ice cream was in store so we picked up milkshakes and drinks and enjoyed them before jumping back onto the Metro to get home.

Opps. By then it was 5pm. Welcome to rush hour! This was one thing that everyone we talked to said "DO NOT GO ON THE METRO WITH FOUR KIDS AT RUSH HOUR" so we let the first train, stuffed with people pass, and laughed at the lady posing and taking fashion photos infront of the train. Then the second train came, just as jam packed and we went for it. Monkey fell while getting on, thankfully a kind man grabbed her before she hit the ground, Helper looked down right petrified and I turned back to see Magoo still on the platform - instinctively I grabbed his coat and dragged him on. He said that there hadn't been enough room - so we had a lesson on forgetting manners on the metro and shoving in - quite the art ;-)

So the plan today is to head home around 4 instead! but all in all a wonderful day. Until tomorrow A Bietnot!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Well this post comes to you from the bathroom floor!

The reality is that Sausage has been having tummy troubles since Friday morning. We have gone through more diapers then I can keep track of and are down to our last 2 wet wipes. We had a medical issue 24 hrs before we left that required us all to take a strong pill to kill it as a precaution and then again 2 weeks latter. Well that was Thursday at dinner and since then she has had such a messed up plumbing system. But I thought it would be out of her by now, so who knows it could be teeth, it could be the change in diet (though that has been minimal) so who knows. Maybe she just wants to make sure that the trip abroad is memorable for every possible reason ;-)

So we have been sticking a bit closer to home. Tuesday we headed out to go to the underground archaeological site of the Roman city of Paris on Ile de la Cite, right in front of Notre Dame. Now usually this would take about 13 min total, including walking to and from the Metro stops. But (you KNEW there had to be a but didn't you!) they have started to redo a major metro stop called Straspol and all the metro stops that we have nearby go through there for transfers. So the best the ratp site could recommend was to walk 10 min in the wrong direction, to go one stop, and then to walk 22 minutes after that. Um No.

So after chatting with the kidlets we walked the half hour there and back. It was lovely and sunny and a warm 8C when we left and enjoyed our walk. We have noticed a heavy army and police presence since the weekend at all the major sites. Probably to do with the Al Quida bomb threat at the Eiffel Tower on the night we were planning on taking the kids to see the lights (Friday) - yup our angel kept us from that as well. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself that the kids were to tired to do that and then we had a call from Mum & Dad B asking if we were okay because it had been breaking news that they were evacuating it. Providence - seriously.

Anyways, so the traffic was non existent for half the small island because of the new security measures so we enjoyed the walk and found the site very easily. I don't know how we didn't notice it before. The kids all enjoyed it, even Sausage as they could walk around and pear through the glass at the ruins. They had many of the 3D holographic videos playing so that you knew what everything looked like and it was very well done. Certainly worth the 5Euros! By the time we emerged from beneath the ground it was a lot colder out. The sun had disappeared and the wind picked up. So we headed behind Notre Dame to have a picnic snack of cheese, nuts & juice. It saves so much money to plan ahead and bring snacks! I do also wish I had packed the travel mug I had planned on bringing as the cappuchinos are so expensive. The children enjoyed playing in a mini playground and twirling around like crazies on this disk thing. I took pics with my phone but can't get them up on here but they are on our facebook.

Then we headed home, there was a band setting up to play but not until 4m and we were all very cold. Half way home we decided that we had, simply HAD to warm up so we headed to the McCafe for macaroons & cafe and the warmth. Then we headed home via the grocery store for dinner provisions.

All in all a good day. Today we are at home, packing up for the UK and packing up the rest of it for storing at a work college of Hubby's.

well, the girls need out of the bath so off I run.

Next time we will probably be writing from across the Channel :-)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


I couldn't really write great weekend, and I couldn't really write weekend blues. SO we'll just call this the uninspiring title of "weekend". Saturday after lunch we headed down into the metro and towards the Musee d"Armee to see their stuff. We were excited because a special exhibit on how Napoleon changed the face of Europe had opened just the day before - Revelation class here we come. Now bare in mind that everyone says "buy your tickets ahead of time online" so we did, we bought our tickets ahead of time online. For the Napoleon exhibit there was a time limit - you had to get into the exhibit during the 45 min time slot that was printed on your ticket. So we had to get in between 1pm & 1:45, no problem - we left the house by 12:20 and were laughing. Until we got off the metro and promptly walked in a giant circle. Google maps is great....when it actually makes sense! Finally we got there, a few minutes late but we were still "okay".

Now bare in mind that we thought we had to be through the exhibit in that time period, not just get in - so you can place that stress behind the rest of this paragraph. So for those who haven't been - this place is HUGE. giant. mega-city of a building, and we are looking for the special exhibit, following signs that point both to the left and straight ahead! oy - frustration much. We're now 20 min late by the time we drag the kids up the 4 floors (no elevator) to the exhibit. So they scan our 2 adult tickets and ask for the kids passes. The kids are free, I explain...and they say yes BUT YOU HAVE TO PICK UP THEIR FREE PASSES AT THE TICKET COUNTER. You have GOT to be kidding, they are obviously under 18. There was no option to get the kids tickets online (which I also explain) and now we have to go back to the entrance (which will take about 10 min) and then wait in line with the other fifty or so sorry people that never purchased their tickets online! Yeah I was mad. So Magoo and Helper and I ran there while Daddy brought the 2 littlest girls, and Magoo got in line while I got to use my french and beg the lady at the information booth to help us.

No, Non, No! No they will not print out the kids free FREE passes for us there, yes we have to wait in line, no they will not extend the time limit on our exhibition passes. Yes we will have to purchase new ones if the time runs out on them to the tune of 8.50 Euros ($12) each. So we all are now in line and I admit I am not feeling rather Christlike or Christ minded at all. So we are deciding what we are going to write to them on their website and such. So not impressed. So by now we only have about 15 min left on our passes, and there are at least 30 more people still in front of us, as the museum only has 2 ticket booths open. OPEN ON THE BUISIEST WEEKEND IN PARIS. So the information lady must have been watching us and our slow progression, so she then pulled us out of line, and got the lady at one of the booths to print out the kids tickets. We were thrilled, and off we literally ran up the flights of stairs (with a stroller, diaper bag, and everything else since the elevator was only for disabled and not for mothers with strollers) and we just made it in with about 5 minutes to spare.

Impressed with the service - Non
Impressed with the exhibit - Oui

At the door I asked and they said that since we made it in we could take as long as we would like. Which was great, cause we were wondering what we would see in a grand total of 300 seconds otherwise.

What helped the kids enjoy the exhibit was that they had special pamphlets for kids and though only in French, they could still do the seek and find one on the last page. There was so much to see! And in relation to the prophecies we had great chats about how God used Napoleon to punish and get rid of the Holy Roman Empire.

So then after that we walked through rooms and rooms of swords and guns and uniforms. Magoo was thrilled (which we great because this was instead of Parc Astrix-long story there). Unfortunately we couldn't go through the WW2 section as we had already been 3.5 hrs and the girls were exhausted and bored. So we went to the cafe for coffee and snacks. SO glad that I packed snacks as just to get 2 cappuchinos (coffee is not an option most places) and a small brownie was 12 euros! nearly 20$! so the kids had a great snack of tucs smothered in nutella and pineapple juice instead :-)

Sunday we stayed at home and got ready for Meeting. which involves processing four rather dirty children! I will spare you the details. But the one funny thing was that over a week ago I had purchased knee highs (since it is so cold here right now) for Sunday Meeting and literally a couple minutes before we left - in other words the kids were all getting their coast and shoes on, I went to put them on only to discover that they were nylons made for someone only about 4 ft tall! So Mummy had seconds to change her outfit......ahh the joys of a second language - oh well Helper now has some genuine French nylons to wear :-) We left about an hour before it was to start since we had a transfer to make on the Metro and some lines were closing as of today for repairs.

We got there in time, and it was lovely to meet with other brethren and sisters, from mainly the UK, France, and the USA. We sung the hymns in French and one reading was also in French, but the rest was in I should have been able to follow it but by the time we started Sausage needed her nap and so we kept having to leave and walk her around and around.

They had prepared refreshments for afterwards - what a spread! and it was great on a the practical side of things since we ended up not getting home til 7:20pm. We visited and chatted with just about everybody, and Mummy play translator between our oldest three and 2 young girls that had come with their grandfather.

Monday was finally a warm day - nearly 8C. we had no plans so the day started as usual, but I must admit that I had a bit of a fall apart attack. The loneliness is really hard some days and keeping these kids happy and out of trouble is harder work then at home. What tipped it off was that Sausage almost grabbed a bowl of boiling soup off the table (she can reach the dinning room table here because it is so low) and I just about had a heart attack. Anyways that's over with. we went out around 3 and had a lovely walk along the river all the way to the fancy bridge (Pont Alexander) with the golden statues....and they had set up a antique market so of course we had to have a boo and in the end we enjoyed the experience but all we bought was a bag of carmel corn to share and we walked back stopping at the Louvre for the bookshop (since we can send books home with Dad & Mum B this weekend) but ended up with just 2 wee things, 1 for when we go around it and 1 for homeschooling - a paper 3D model of the house where Leonardo DaVinci lived and worked.

Cafe and pre-packed snacks (such a money saver) and we headed for home around 6pm. All in all we walked just over 5km, and the children didn't complain - it was great. On the way home I realized that I had forgotten to pop the roast in before we left so instead we had frozen pizza.

Well today is the start of a new week. Jobs to do, Adventures to be planned....

Until next time
(for those linked with us on facebook - there are more pics up there under mobile uploads as our camera is out of juice!)