Unplanned Trip to Canada

This is where we are right now. We are halfway to Canada. I had planned to paint the kitchen and do some yard work this weekend but obviously those plans have changed.

As it turns out, a loved one needed our help so we quickly packed some stuff, made some arrangements and loaded the kids in the car.

The kids were super excited to drop everything and go see their grandparents. It’s something they ask to do often but of course it never happens. Both the Princess and the Professor were very helpful in getting ready to go.

I’ve never packed so quickly before. I’m not great at packing under the best of circumstances but I managed to do a fairly good job for everyone but myself. For some reason I only packed my summer clothes – no jacket or sweater and only my flip flops. Not very smart. I have no idea how that happened when I was able to pack warm clothes for everyone else. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

As you’ve probably noticed I’m being extremely vague about who we are going to see and what’s going on. I’m respecting their privacy for now because this all came on so sudden and I have no idea how they would feel about me blogging about the situation. I’m guessing this person would rather I didn’t. I ask anyone who knows anything not to leave a comment with any specific details.

Everything is ok, however we always welcome any prayers. If I get the ok, I’ll add more details another time.

Sent from my iPhone

Flashcards

Flashcards are one of the tools I use often when it comes to teaching the kids.

After spending a lot of time searching for the sight cards I wanted and not finding them, I decided to just make my own.

It took off from there.  I’ve now made hundreds over the past couple of years…

With a little cutting and glue sticking onto index cards,

we can make flashcards for sight words, spelling lists and even cards to practice reading words.

They’re not fancy but they work and they’re cheap and they have definitely served their purpose!

If you want to make your own, I’ve uploaded my template for you.

Flashcard template

What Would Chuck Think?

When it rains it pours!

It’s not my favourite sayings…

it’s a little too cliche for me, however I can’t think of a better one to describe our recent events.

It all started with my sewing machine.  Right before we left for Disney, actually a couple hours before, I was trying to sew something.  The stitches kept dropping and it was very frustrating.  I had a vague memory of the kids knocking over my machine and having it fall to the ground.  I tried turning it on and it worked so I had thought “No problem, disaster averted” but apparently that was incorrect.  I figured I would  put it away and we’d deal with it when we got back from vacation.

Little did I know, Daddy had the same idea with the lawn mower.  Apparently the pull cord had frayed and he decided to set it aside until we got back.  At the moment we are living in a jungle, or at least it feels that way.

I’m sure our neighbors love us at the moment!

Then there’s the computer…

A couple days ago, when Daddy was working from home one of the kids knocked his laptop over and it went crashing to the ground.  The fall shattered his LED screen making it useless until it gets fixed.  Thankfully, he was able to borrow the Professor’s laptop.  Today we brought the broken laptop over to the Geek Squad to get an estimate.  We had already looked up the price for a new LED screen and it was around $90 so we figured it couldn’t be too much more with labor added on.  The Geek Squad quoted us $350 – $400!  I realize they need to be paid for their time but seriously?  $200 – $300 to replace a screen?  I just had major work done on my laptop and the Dell service guy had it done within an hour.

Shame, shame Geek Squad!!  Daddy and I drove away wondering what Chuck Bartowski would think of their ridiculously high prices!  You wouldn’t see the Nerd Herd trying to get away with that.

To top it all off today was the day my hair dryer decided to quit.  I guess it just seemed fitting.

We’re certainly not going to let a few breakdowns get in our way!

We replaced the hair dryer and Daddy’s going to fix his own laptop and the mower.  It’s great having someone so handy around.

As for the sewing machine….I guess I’m just going to have to save up for a new one.

It’ll be rough having to sew on a brand new, fancy sewing machine…

But I’m willing to take one for the team!

Disney Youth Individual Enrollement

A year ago I was searching online for fun and exciting activities to do with our children as part of our homeschooling.  One of the things I came across was the Disney Homeschool Days – a program that Disney provides for kids who homeschool.  We were really excited about this…what could be more cool than going to school at Disney?! Not only did it sound super fun but the discount on the park tickets was pretty awesome too.

When it came time to book our vacation Disney still hadn’t posted their dates for Homeschool days in the fall.  After a little research we came across the Disney Youth Individual Enrollement.  With this program there are even more class options and the park tickets are priced the same as the Homeschool days.  Plus…it’s open to all kids, not just those who homeschool.

Unfortunately, the one class that was provided for the Princess’ age was already booked up, so she was not able to attend.  However, the Professor had a couple options available to him and in the end he went with Wild by Nature at Animal Kingdom and Synergy in Science at Epcot.

Since Daddy and I each attended a class with him, our tickets were discounted also.  Instead of paying $400, our tickets were $220.  I just don’t see a downside to it!

The classes were awesome!

The Professor and I went to the Wild by Nature together and we had so much fun.  Josh was our tour guide/teacher and he was animated and informative…he captivated us with his knowledge and humor and kept us laughing for the 3 hours.  He engaged all the children into discussions about the various animals and explained how preditors and prey naturally balance each other out.  He went into great detail about how animals survive in nature through games and hands on examples.  He explained how humans and animals can live on the earth together and survive as long as we are willing to respect the earth.

Babysitting the Cottontop Tamarin

If you are heading to Disney, I truly recommend signing up your child for one of the Individual Enrollment classes!

Disney Youth Individual Enrollment

Disney Homeschool Days


On Our Way Home…

This morning as I was packing up the trailer I found this little guy in our bathtub! I was reaching for the shampoo to pack it away for the drive when the frog jumped right in front of me.

I was surprisingly calm about it. Probably because he was so tiny – or she…I’m not really up on my frog anatomy. Also, I knew if I didn’t act fast we’d be chasing a tiny frog throughout the trailer rather than checking out on time. The bathroom door is about 6 inches off the floor, plenty of room for a frog to slip under.

I quickly grabbed a towel and gently placed it in top of our unwanted guest and then called for Daddy. My calm bravery only went so far.

Of course Daddy was our hero and saved us from the frog or rather saved the nickel sized frog from us. More specifically from the Princess who wanted to see it, hold it and I’m pretty sure squeeze it. If she was younger she probably would have eaten it too.

Sent from my iPhone

Disney Quest

Today was the day when I realized we were just not going to be able to do everything we had planned to on this trip.  We’ve been pushing ourselves past our limits up until this point hoping to achieve all our goals.  We have walked miles and miles daily.  We have blisters, and sniffles, sore feet and sun burns.  We have woken up early and stayed up late at night just so we could eat dinner while watching fireworks.  However, the thing about Disney World is that we could stay here for a whole year and still not be able to see all it has to offer.

One thing we did get to do, which actually wasn’t on our list was Disney Quest.  Since we added the Water Park Fun and More option to our tickets we were able to check out the Disney Quest.  We were so focused on the “Water Park” part of it, that we really didn’t look into the other parts to it.

I think Disney Quest is probably one of the most misunderstood and under estimated part of Walt Disney World!  I myself had always thought the ticket just covered the entry fee to the virtual park.  I had it in my head that once we got through the gate we would then have to dole out tons of money for tokens just to play a game or two.  Boy, was I ever wrong!  I was more than pleasantly surprised at all the “Free Play”s blinking on the numerous game screens.  Being gamers, Daddy and I of course spawned three little gamers in training who ran from game to game shooting dinosaurs and racing motorcycles!

Since this was a Disney arcade, the games were not your average games.  Disney does things on a whole other level.  Disney’s big or go home attitude was evident in Disney Quest.  The first game we played was a river rafting ride.  The Little Professor and the Princess ran ahead to the ride and were informed that an adult had to accompany them on the ride due to it’s extreme nature.  We climbed into a raft that was on the floor.  The water inflated around us and we were off.  I was posed to get nice photos of the ride but quickly realized it was more important to hold on instead!  We were tossed and turned as we went down the rapids and eventually fell down the falls.

Even the Milk Monkey had fun riding various virtual rides of race cars and fire engines.  I myself, left our group in search of Cyberspace Mountain.  With the help of Bill Nye, I created my own personal roller coaster with the scariness of 3 out of 5 riders would not ride it.  It was Roller Coaster Tycoon on a whole new level.

Excited I waited to test it out only to be terribly disappointed.  Yawn!  I was determined to get a 5 out of 5 and went back to the drawing board.  The second time around I managed a 4 and after talking to a cast member I was told that in order to have a 5 I had to use only red buttons and I had to have them in the right order.  Two times was more than enough for me.  My attention span isn’t long enough to try for a third and even if I had managed to reach a 5, I knew it would never be as good as the real thing.  I was definitely unimpressed!!  Thankfully I was more than impressed with the rest of Disney Quest!!  It’s definitely a place we’ll make more time for on our next visit!!

  

September 11th at Disney

Today I woke up feeling torn since it’s 9/11 and we’re at Disney.

Personally, it just didn’t feel right being in the happiest place on earth when so many people are still mourning the day.

Like everyone else, I remember the details of that day clearly.

So even though we were at a Disney Park, my thoughts were on the events that took place 11 years ago.

I watched as my children laughed and enjoyed themselves and it lightened my heart to see their innocence.

It also got me thinking that maybe by being at Disney, we were doing the exact opposite of the goals of those who committed such horrific acts a little over a decade ago.  Instead of living our life in fear, which was obviously their goal, we were enjoying our day as a family.  We were in a place that is the epitome of the United States of America, we were happy, we knew we were safe and no one could rob us of our security.

We ended up having a good time at Animal Kingdom.  The Little Professor rode Mt. Everest for the first time and loved it.

The Milk Monkey has not been feeling well for the last couple days.  He broke out in hives a little while back and they have blistered and scabbed over.  We have gotten a lot of dirty looks and comments about him having so many “bug bites” and getting over “chicken pox”.  We’ve patiently explained to those that they are hives and not contagious.  In the meantime he’s also come down with a bit of a cold.  We go from cold air conditioning to super hot and humid heat continuously through out the day..  It’s not helping the little guy.

Tonight he threw up all over me.  I was so thankful that we have a bathroom in our trailer…one that has a nice sized shower.  I can’t imagine having to deal with all that in a tent or a trailer without a bathroom.

We are certainly blessed!

Earlier, this evening, we went for a swim.  The Milk Monkey enoyed the cool water but evenutally it got to be a little too cold for him and he started to shiver.  We wrapped him in a towel.  I just happened to look up and notice the Princess’ life jacket by the side of the pool and not on her.  I jumped up and started to frantically search for her just in time to see her coming down the slide and out into the current.  She can swim but she’s not strong enough to do it alone.  Panicked, I started to hand the baby off to a stranger next to me just as the life guard caught my eye and saw the alarm in my face.  She spotted the Princess immediately and jumped in and saved my sweet little girl.

Thank you, thank you, thank you whoever you are!!!  I can’t express my appreciation to you.  Especially since it was the last 10 minutes of your  shift and you were still so alert!!  I will definitely be calling tomorrow and letting management know you are amazing at what you do!

First Love…

Since we arrived at Disney we’ve had a lot of interaction with Disney Characters.

We’ve waited in lines to do a Meet and Greet, today we went to Chef Mickey’s for a character breakfast and we’ve even spent time playing with Chip and Dale at the campfire in the campgrounds.

The Princess and the Professor love the character interaction.  They are old pro’s at it.  They remember it from our last visit and they’re excited to spend time with their beloved characters from their favourite movies.

For the Milk Monkey this is all new.

The first time he actually saw one of the characters was at the campground campfire.

He had just woken from a deep sleep to the extra large furry chipmunks.  He was petrified at first.  Every time the Princess or the Professor got close to one, he would scream in fear for them.  After a while he began to realize they were not going to hurt his dear siblings and really, they seemed to be having a lot of fun.

Eventually he wanted to get down and play along with them.

Even still, throughout our days here, his caution of each new character has won out over his joy of meeting these new and exciting characters in his life.

That is…

until today, when he met Cinderella!

My youngest son fell instantly in love.

He practically ran to her, he took her hand, he hugged her and I’m pretty sure he was even ogling her!

There was definitely some flirting

and when it was time to go he kicked and screamed as we pulled him from her grasp!

It was definitely love at first sight!

Cinderella…forget Prince Charming…the Milk Monkey is where it’s at!!!

PS…Do you babysit??!!

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue

Last night we went to the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue and it was definitely a night to remember.

The food was delicious, the show was hilarious and the whole dinner was really loud which was great

because it drowned out the Milk Monkey’s shrieks.  I was able to relax!

We ate, we laughed, we sang along.

The Little Professor was completely captivated by the performance.

He was laughing so hard that he was cracking up the cast members.  They got a real kick out of his enjoyment.

When it came time to pick some people in the audience, one of the female performers made a beeline straight to our Professor.

He played the Texas Ranger and did a fabulous job!

 

He even got a kiss on the cheek from the blond girl which he promptly wiped off…eliciting laughter from the audience.

Thankfully I had my iphone with me and managed to record it all….