8 Years…

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The Little Professor turned 8 years old this past weekend and I still have trouble believing it it.

He’s growing up so fast and sometimes I feel if I blink too long he’ll be a grown man standing before me instead of my sweet, gentle little boy.

The Professor has always had a maturity and wisdom about him that exceeds his years.  He is curious about everything and is constantly striving to gain knowledge in a broad range of subjects – from human behavior, to deep sea marine life and even things like…how exactly does the power source Tony Stark created keep him alive.  His ability to comprehend the answers always amazes me.

At the same time my little guy has a very kind and gentleness about him.  He is always watching out for his little brother and sister.  He is quick to help other people and sometimes he doesn’t understand why everyone can’t just be nice to each other.

I don’t ever want him to lose that sweetness about him.  The world has enough tough and hard people in it…it needs people like my little Professor to balance it out.

Someone as wonderful as my little guy deserved an exceptional birthday and since he wanted to go camping we decided to take him somewhere really fun!

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We had been eyeing a campground in NH that has a big pirate ship water slide for a while, so the Professor invited his friend and we made our way to the campground.  It was great!  The pool was awesome and they had make your own sundaes and a huge playground.  The kids had a blast!

Sadly, I hurt my leg on the Saturday and couldn’t do much swimming for the rest of the trip but I enjoyed watching the kids play in the pool while relaxing and reading some magazines.

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The little Monkey even kept me company at times!  He was my mini-me!

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When we returned home, the Professor quietly approached me and hugged me for a bit and said “Thanks mum, that was the best birthday ever!”

I’m not sure how we’ll top that next year!

Carnivorous Creations…

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A while back we bought the kids the Carnivorous Creations.

It was agreed upon by all that it looked really cool – how could plants that eat bugs be anything but?

So finally today we managed to get some time to try it out and this was our experience…

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The kit came with little dehydrated soil discs that the kids placed into the pot.

I thought this was a great idea because it was tidy and easy…two things I’m all for.

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Next came the water…4 cups to hydrate the soil.  The kids worked together well taking turns pouring the water into the pot.  I’m not sure what it is about pouring and measuring but my children love any chance they get to do it.

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The directions say that the discs dissolve quickly but we found it took a little extra patience then we were expecting.  We waited and waited and eventually….

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it slowly started to break down.  With a little jabbing, mashing and stirring it all came together nicely and the kids had a great time playing with the dirt.

Then we opened up the seeds package and this is what we got.

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This too.

At this point, I started to question whether or not we’re actually going to see any plants.  The kids tried to plant the first little batch but we couldn’t be sure they actually made it into the soil or if they just stuck to their hands or fell to the floor.  The seeds were so tiny in their small little hands.  It was at this point I decided to look at the instructions again…

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and I realized this was not going to be as exciting as I had hoped.  At three months they will only be slightly bigger than a penny and 6 months not much bigger, and that’s if the seeds actually made it in.  I think it’s going to take a year before it looks anything like the picture on the box.

Oh, and remember the picture of the seeds in the little baggy?  That one was separate from the tiny seeds and after adding some water to the baggy it needs to go into the fridge to germinate for 6 weeks before it can be planted in the pot.

We continued on and the kids seemed to really enjoy adding the decorative features the most.

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The box says it’s for ages 4+ but I just don’t see it.  I think it’s probably better for older children who can understand that it’s definitely not instant gratification.  They will need to invest months before they will see any results.

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My advice would be…if it’s about planting, and watching things grow I’d stick with beans or catnip.  If it’s about insect eating plants I suggest you look around for an older plant to buy because it’s going to take a long while before these plants eat anything.

Back to School…

We have made a lot of major changes to our home school this year.

The first change we made was with our school curriculum, as I mentioned a couple posts back.  The Little Professor’s curriculum arrived last Monday and we managed to get it all set up and ready to go.  We started back to school full-time last Wednesday.  It may seem early to most, but with all our travelling and field trips throughout the school year we need to start early to get all the mandatory school days in.  Besides, the kids were so excited to get back to school!

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One of the other big changes we made this year was assigning a designated space to act as a full-time classroom.  This was not an easy feat in our house because we’ve already completely outgrown our space as a family, never mind as a homeschooling family.  In order to make this happen, big sacrifices had to be made – specifically, all my sweet, little children had to agree to share a bedroom.  I wasn’t sure how they would react to this but I was pleasantly surprised when they all shouted for joy at the idea.  The fact that they were so agreeable made it easier but the actual logistics of the plan is a little more complicated and we’re still working them out each day.

In the meantime, the class room is set up and it is working out well.  I have been slowly fixing it up since the weekend and today we took a little trip to Ikea to purchase a few remaining things to make the classroom complete.

Since we left early for Ikea (so that it didn’t take up our whole day) we arrived before store hours, so we decided to stop in and have breakfast in their cafe first.  I have to say, that place is amazing!  Our family of 5 had breakfast for $12…where else can you purchase breakfast for that price and their coffee is so good!

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The kids sat in a special little area designated just for them and watched Cars 2 while they ate breakfast.

After we ate we quickly made our purchases and returned home to assemble our furniture and start our day.

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The Monkey enjoyed colouring on the empty boxes while I built the desk and rearranged the room.  Sure enough, the moment I became absorbed with my task the littlest quickly took advantage of it and left his mark on the new furniture.

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This is normal, everyday stuff in our house.  I gave birth to a multitude of Pen Pirates!

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I have to say, I’m so pleased with our new classroom but not anywhere near as pleased as the Professor and Princess!  They have both expressed their gratitude for a special place to learn.  The Professor and I had a big, one on one chat today and he thinks having a room dedicated to school will help him concentrate more and I completely agree.

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We named our school and hung some maps, posters and charts.

Not only do the kids have their individual desks but…

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we also have this big desk that will do double duty as my desk and the lab/art table.

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All we need now are a few more art supplies and for our science equipment to arrive!

I can’t begin to express how happy and excited I am for this school year.  The curriculum has far above passed any expectations I had and the new room has changed the whole atmosphere of our schooling.

This is going to be our best year yet, I just know it!

Comic Com…Yeah!

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Today we took the two older children to Comic Con for the first time.

They loved it!

In fact, they might have even enjoyed it a little more than Daddy and I – and that says something.

They really liked the variety of costumes others were wearing and would fill me in on the details of each character, assuming I was a novice on the subject.

After all…what do mother’s know about Superheros?

We took a lot of pictures of the kids posing with other costume-clad people.  The Princess would very boldly go up to anyone in a outfit she appreciated and ask if they would take a picture with her.  Of course everyone agreed.

The Professor on the other hand wanted to have his picture with certain characters but wouldn’t ask, so I would ask for him.

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He was glad about most of my selections….

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but some – not so much!  He was definitely not impressed with my choice of Venom, nor was he impressed that Venom picked him up, but I couldn’t stop laughing.

My all time favourite costume today were the two Weeping Angels.

Best episode ever!

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The Princess was more than happy to pose with them.  The Professor was about to until I told him “Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink.”  He quickly distance himself after that and he’s never even seen it! It’s just that creepy!

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We met with Mark Bagley and he signed some posters for the kids.  He was a nice guy and I couldn’t believe he had a grandson the same age as the Professor.  How cool would it be if your Grandfather worked for Marvel as a comic book artist?

“Yeah, my grandpa draws Spider-man!”

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Then there was the purchasing of comics.  We gave each of the kids an amount of money they could spend.  It wasn’t a lot so they had to make some good decisions.  The Professor took his time and did a lot of browsing, he made good use of the deals that were available and weighed each decision.

The Princess on the other hand knew ahead of time which comic she wanted – My Little Pony.  They were more expensive, even with the discount for the second day and she only had enough for one but she really wanted two.  After walking around for a while and not seeing anything else she decided she wanted to go back and buy the other one.  I reminded her that she was short on cash for a second one and she replied that maybe the guy would “drop the price” for her.

I was floored!

I asked her where she’d heard that before and she just shrugged.  We went back to the booth and she asked and sure enough the guy “dropped the price” for her.  He had a good laugh about it and said he couldn’t say no…he didn’t want to be the mean guy that made the cute, little girl sad.  I was pretty impressed with my daughter, I wouldn’t have even thought to ask.

It was a great day today, definitely one we will repeat next year.

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Daddy bought me this print of Rose and The Doctor that I absolutely fell in love with!  Sara Richards drew it and I thought it was fabulous! She was even there to sign it for me.  One day we’ll have it framed and hang it in our future game room.  I was happy to go home with it along with some old Archie and Richie Rich comics that I had when I was little.

We left Comic Com today with some new treasures and some old ones too!

I personally learned a few important things today…

  • It doesn’t matter how old or how young someone is – there will always be those who want to dress up and pretend they are much cooler than they really are. (I might be one of them)
  • There are actually girls out there that can make a Tardis costume look sexy. Who knew, right?
  • Never say “Oh look, Todd McFarlane” even while pointing to a label on a section of comics at a Comic Con convention.  It could seriously cause chaos!
  • Being old is a good thing when a bunch of young guys close by are looking at a $10 comic to buy and Daddy declares “Oh I have 20 copies of that one and one of them is signed by Todd McFarlane.

Ha!  Don’t you wish you were 40!

Best Laid Plans…

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This morning I woke up earlier than normal with hopes of getting a head start on my day.

Today was a Nana J day – where all three children go with Nana J for the day and have lots and lots of fun.  On these days I get about 4 times the amount of things done then I do on any other day.  My plans were to get all my work done, then house work, then dinner ready and then hopefully some quilting!

There’s nothing like quilting to motivate me.

One thing I’ve learned as a mummy is that plans can change in an instant…

As I headed downstairs for coffee, I was met by Daddy and the kids…

and a freshly washed couch.

The Monkey had just thrown up and he didn’t look good at all.

 Suddenly all my plans just evaporated and I found myself cradling my sweet little boy, trying to sooth him through his tears.

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Sadly, there was very little sleep but he did get moments here and there.

Thankfully, Daddy was able to work from home.  It would have been very hard to have taken care of the little guy alone.

He must have thrown up 6-8 times in the first two hours alone and then there was the inconsolable crying that went on and on, going back and forth between Daddy and I hoping one of us could relieve his pain.

Eventually towards the late afternoon things started to look up for the little guy and he began to smile again.  He was able to keep some liquids down starting with ice chips and working his way up to chicken noodle soup and crackers.

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  I was so happy to see him feeling better.  I hope it carries on throughout the night and he wakes up feeling well again tomorrow.

On a more positive note, the Princess’s new curriculum arrived today and it looks great!  I couldn’t be more thrilled with it.  We switched curriculum this year, more so for the Professor than the Princess but went ahead and switched for her too.  We decided to go with Switched on Schoolhouse for the Professor which is a computer based curriculum but since it only starts from Grade 3 on we went with the LifePac for the Princess.

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I love it!  It’s perfect – I especially love the Science curriculum.  There are so many hands on experiments even in Grade 2.  There’s a lot of thinking involved and reflecting on what is being taught and not just memorizing.  I also like that she will be learning cursive writing by the end of the year.

I can’t wait until the Professor’s curriculum arrives…along with the regular subjects of Math, Language Arts, Bible, Science, Geography and History he will be learning Spanish, French, Health and Basic Drawing.  It’ll be a full work load this year but he’s excited about it.

In with the shipped curriculum was a card with a website where we can buy a corresponding science kit that has all the materials and equipment to recreate all the experiments.  Naturally I looked it up to see what we would need and instantly decided we will be making many, many orders with the company.  They have a large selection of hands-on science resources at great prices.  If you’re interested in checking it out it’s www.hometrainingtools.com.