October 31…


It’s that year again where little kids dress up in costumes and go door to door looking for candy…

but not our kids.

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past year, you already know we do not celebrate Halloween.   We’re use to going against the flow of what everyone else calls normal and we are also use to the reactions of people when they find out.  Most people give us that veiled smile, as they say something that sounds like they understand while their eyes cry out “You are causing your kids irreparable damage by withholding this holiday from them!”

It’s the same reaction we get from most people when we tell them we home school.

Here’s the thing…if we were to not celebrate Valentine’s Day people wouldn’t even blink.  If we were to not celebrate Easter a lot of people would just shrug.  If we were to say we don’t celebrate Christmas due to our beliefs, people would be politically correctly intrigued by our differences.  They would wish us “Happy Holidays” while trying not to offend us, but skipping Halloween will apparently insure that our children will need years of counseling.

I get tired of having to explain our choices and quite frankly our children just don’t get why we have to.   They are more than happy to do the activities we do in place of Halloween and the only time they feel left out is when people continue to ask them if they do.


Instead of trick or treating, we checked into the John Carver Inn and spent the day swimming.  The kids went down the big water slide as fast as their little legs could carry them back to the top.   We had the pool to ourselves all day and I was able to relax in the hot tub reading while they played.


Eventually they were hungry and exhausted and we made our way back to the room for pizza, candy and a movie.

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It didn’t take long for everyone to get their energy back and we went back to the pool for a lot more fun!  When we walked in we were surprised to see another family with lots of kids playing in the pool.  It turns out we aren’t the only one who don’t celebrate Halloween.  All the kids were thrilled to meet each other and the other mom and I hung out in the hot tub chatting (they home school too).  We had such a fun evening with them that we swapped emails and plan to meet up again at some point!

Once again, we had a fabulous October 31!

Pin Collecting…

As everyone well knows, I have a few hobbies that I enjoy…mostly quilting, but I’m not the only one in our family with a hobby.

  Big D (yup, still trying to find a nickname for Daddy) has one too – he collects and trades Disney Trading Pins.

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These pins are not for trading.

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Other pins will be traded for pins that will complete these collections.

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The kids collection.

He has well over 100 interesting Disney pins at this point and his collection keeps growing.

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Tick – Tock’s mouth closes.DP 8

His collection started a couple trips back with two pins that caught his eye – Tick Tock Crock eating Captain Hook and Mickey with a Lightsaber.

Some pins he buys online, some he buys or trades for at Disney and some have been gifts from friends.

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This Hoop-Dee-Doo pin was a gift from friends on their Disney trip!

We love it!

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These three were gifts for the kids from another friend of ours.

We have very thoughtful friends!

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The children and I bought these for Big D’s birthday this year.

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He and the kids bought me this one on our last trip…

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…and we bought him this pin album to keep his collection in.  At this rate we may have to buy him another one on his next trip but that’s ok, I enjoy contributing to his Disney pin obsession.

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Some of the pins are really cool, some are really pretty and some are pretty funny!  I can see the appeal they have to him.  I’ve been tempted to collect them myself but I’m pretty busy with my own hobbies so I’ll leave the pins to Big D.

He and the kids also like to trade pins with the Cast Members when we’re at Disney.  The Little Professor is especially talented in this area and can spot a good trade from far away!  I like the social interaction it provides for the kids.  It gives them the chance to approach a safe stranger and begin a conversation with them where they can develop basic social skills, like looking the person in the eyes and speaking clearly – not always easy with people we don’t know.  It helps builds confidence.

 I can just hear my friends and family pointing out my need to turn everything into a learning experience.

Since they are “Disney” trading pins, all the pins have our favourite Disney characters, show a Disney place or Disney item on them which makes it even more exciting.  The kids love to point out what or who each pin represents.  Out of all the pins we have we’ve only been stumped once…

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If you know who this is, please let me know!!!  We just can’t figure it out.  I vaguely recognize the character but I can’t place him.

Happy Pinning!

Bogs and Frogs…

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Last Saturday we had the pleasure of visiting a cranberry farm with our home school co-op.

Not only was it very interesting but it was beautiful!

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We watched as the cranberries were harvested by machine…

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and by hand.

 It was interesting how the bogs were each slightly lower as they went so that once one bog was harvested the water could be drained down into the next allowing that one to be harvested next.

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While on the tour the kids were given trivia questions to answer.  There’s never a lack of volunteers in a group of homeschoolers!

(I just love this picture of the little Professor in his sweater that Nanny knitted.  It’s now way to small for him but he loves it so much he can’t give it up!)

Throughout our whole visit Benson (the yellow lab) followed us from bog to bog demonstrating his frog hunting skills.  Apparently he’s so good at catching and eating them that he’s cleared the bogs of all frogs since he didn’t catch a single one while we were there!

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At the end we were given samples of freshly picked cranberries which the children bravely attempted to eat.  It was quickly followed by some crasins which were much more enjoyable and then followed by some cranberry baked treats and of course cranberry juice.

The baked treats were the favourites!

As it turns out, the farmer’s wife is from Ontario and she moved to the US to marry her husband years ago!

A very familiar story indeed!


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For those of you who have not yet heard, Nanny (my grandmother) passed away last Friday.   It was quick but peaceful and now she’s in Heaven with our Lord.  I don’t say that lightly either, I know she is there and I will see her again one day.

I had a hard time deciding on whether or not to write a post about this.  I wasn’t sure if this was something I wanted to share but every time I tried to write about something else, I just couldn’t.  It didn’t seem right.  So I’ll keep it simple and tell you a little about my beautiful Nanny…

Nanny was dignified.  She never went anywhere without having her hair fixed nicely and her make up on.  She was stylish and her outfits were well thought out.  She was independent and smart and had a really good, dry sense of humour.  She always made me laugh.  She didn’t put up with nonsense from strangers but she had all the patience in the world for her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She was kind and thoughtful and never forgot a birthday.  She still sent me birthday cards every year with money in them, to this day.  She always wrote “buy yourself something nice” and underlined it with little curvy lines.  Nanny appreciated nice things.  She would always serve tea and biscuits or cheese and crackers whenever we visited and she would do it on fancy plates with beautiful napkins.  She would also send tea and biscuits and beautiful napkins for me with whomever was coming to visit us – every single time – and she would also send the children treats too.  Nanny was one of a kind!

I love her and I will miss her but I am comforted knowing where she is.  When we came across her bible, she had Revelations 21:4 underlined and it really spoke to me.  I know, without a doubt I will see Nanny again and even though I miss her now, there will come a day when we will be together once more.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

90 Years…



Today I had the honor of celebrating my Grandfather’s 90th birthday with him.  I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my Grandpa these days now that we live so far apart, so it was extra special to be able to be with him for such a great milestone.

Even though today was his actual birthday we had already celebrated previously this weekend with all of our extended family congregating in Cincinnati Ohio – where my grandpa lives – to throw a big party for him.  It was wonderful to get together with everyone and spend the time.  It was more than just a birthday party, it was a much needed family reunion.

Sadly, everyone else left at the end of the weekend.  The campground became quieter and quieter while we waved to each car load of loved ones as they drove off.  The Professor and the Princess would tell us how much they missed each person a few minutes after the car was out of site.  They especially enjoyed hanging out with their cousins and even though they were sad to say good bye, they were glad we were staying a couple more days.

As a child I never really appreciated my grandpa like I do now.  Back then I didn’t seem to have time to listen to all he had to say, but now I cherish every word he speaks.  He is full of wisdom and experience and stories of the past.  He is kind and thoughtful and he has a wonderful sense of humour.  He is also extremely talented when it comes to playing the piano.  I have fond memories of listening to him play for us and tonight it was like stepping back in time as I listened to him play once again.

I would love to be able to do it all again next year!


The Sweetest Place on Earth…

It has been 2 weeks since I posted last.  We’ve been busy!

We arrived in Hershey PA on Saturday and stayed at the Hershey Park Camping Resort.   We had planned to get a good nights sleep since we were all so exhausted from the long drive but instead found ourselves in possession of “preview passes” to Hershey Park.  We couldn’t possibly pass up an opportunity to have two and a half extra hours of park time.

Staying at a Hershey Resort offered a lot of the same benefits as staying at a Disney Resort – free transportation to the park, a guest only extra park hour and various discounts.

At the bus stop there was a sign that assigned us a chocolate name according to our height and every ride at Hershey Park had a similar sign in front of it indicating which group of “chocolates” are permitted to ride.

The Monkey was a Miniatures…


the Princess was a Reese…

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and the Professor was a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate.HP 3

There were a lot of rides all three could go on, but the Professor found himself pretty bored on most of those.  Still he was willing to take his little brother on them so that he could enjoy himself too.  I was so proud of how kind and thoughtful he was!

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The spinning cups made for a good lesson in cooperation, something I made sure to point out to my little ones.  The Princess and the Professor realized that if they wanted to spin fast, they had to agree on the direction to turn the wheel – not an easy thing when both are so strong willed.  If that wasn’t enough, Daddy went on to explain a little physics to them.

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The preview hours flew by fast but we weren’t too disappointed since we knew we’d be back first thing in the morning.

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We made it back the next morning bright and early and we all had rides picked out that we couldn’t wait to get on.

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For Daddy it was Skyrush…

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for the Princess it was the Sooper Dooper Looper, which was her first upside down roller coaster.   It was a first for the Professor also.  I think it was harder for me to let them do it, than it was for them to go on.  They were so excited but I was very apprehensive.  Sometimes it’s hard to let go and let my little ones grow up but I’m glad I did because they both loved it.  In fact, the Professor decided to take it a step further and tackle an upside down roller coaster that went forwards and then backwards.  He didn’t like that one as much, but I’m glad he was brave enough to try it.

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The Princess cried and cried as she watched her brother walk down the queue.  She was so upset he was tall enough to ride but she wasn’t.  It just wasn’t fair!

She wasn’t the only one upset about not being able to ride the more intense rides…

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The Monkey was pretty disappointed everyone else got to ride the bigger rides while he had to wait in his stroller!  Again, it just wasn’t fair!

There’s always next year!

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.

Comic Com…Yeah!



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.


He was glad about most of my selections….


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!


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!


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!”


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.


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!