Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I had a post half written which I'm not sure I'm going to post, a real downer :)

Other than that trashed post I've been thinking a lot about the whole gift thing. Santa was good to the kids, their stockings perfectly filled with a nice balance of toothbrushes, cards and pocket knives....and of course HOT WHEELS and POKEMON! (CRINGE!)

They loved their stockings.

It should have stopped there, but my mom dropped off huge gifts, and so did friends, and and and....

I actually didn't give them half the books and gifts I had for them....


I saw a girl at a craft fair with a large knitting loom. Kind of a super huge 'tatting' loom....and August loves stuff like that- he knits, he's cross stitching, plastic canvassing.... I had to get it for him, I stopped and asked her where she got it.....Walmart (my fav store NOT) So in I go and get it for him. I'm so excited. There is 4 of them in graduated sizes. He is going to freak out with excitement. He's not used it. Dilution. I should have bought it for him and given it to him right away and watched him work away at his new hat or whatever.....I was bummed.

See Inside Science? He could hardly wait to read it when it came in, I said "It's for Christmas" He put it down and still hasn't picked it up. Bummer. Should have given it to him then.

The one enduring gift is the pocket knife (Ok in combo with the laser light) which they absolutely love......both in the stockings.....

Ok ok and the flippers, which we went to the pool with to try out (SS if you are reading this THIS is why I didn't return your call again, and I will I keep meaning They love their flippers. And they will be hugely used this summer at the lake.....but the PACKAGING!!!!!! More plastic in the Packaging than in the flippers. And not recyclable.

Something has to be done.

I want to start something.

I want to start a packaging revolution.

In the EU there is some sort of laws that punish the producer. Packaging is all or 95% recyclable. Why can't we do that here. Why NOT?

I want to start a groundswell of activism....It is important for the planet, country, our island our neighborhood and our landfills......


I plan to write my MP asap. He could make a name for himself, and he doesn't even have to reinvent the wheel, the legislation is there.

Can I do this? Why hasn't it been done?? Or has it and failed??

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My lovin' dude!

So my little guy is sitting in the dining room eating his yoghurt and granola and (ducking here) watching "destroyed in seconds" or something equally squibblebiggling (We've been reading BFG so if Roald Dahl can make up words I can too!!!) He calls me "MUMMY! MUMMY!" and again "MUMMY! MUMMY!" and I finally turn around and look. He's facing me from his chair and making the 'I love you' hand signs with both hands up in the air at me. I'm like, what a doughhead mom, I took so long to look, and said, "Oh honey, I love you too!" and he looked confused and said, "No, Mummy, It's ACDC!" That's my boy!
Did I mention ACDC will be in Las Vegas April 9???? I have a sneaking suspicion I may be too......

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Screen time

So sometimes just writing about it makes me think about it more. I've been going over in my mind what Sandra Dodd would say to my post and I know I would have been slammmmmmmmmmed into the ground. I know she would have said something along the lines of "what else do you have going on in the house, what else is there to do, how are they being engaged....outside of the puter?" And as I type this the passwords have been off for a few days and the seem more open to moving on to other things. Farmville is a new passion, which in some weird way seems more worthwhile than prison inmates fighting and pooping/peeing/puking on each other, and I'm not kidding, that was one game they were playing. Reader comments are totally valid and have made their way into my paradigm....I really do not wish to make computers a forbidden fruit and I *do* see them quitting on their own....and setting their own boundaries....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mooing and Clucking

My computer lets out random moos and clucks and oinks these days. Farmville. I know nothing about it. The boys "clicked" on it one day on a sidebar (they'd seen a friend playing so recognized it) and have set up their farm. August is very good at making money!!!! He now has a hen house and chickens....What a neat little game....
So if you see some stuff in facebook - IT'S NOT ME!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Foot in it..

I'm super good at putting my foot in it. I'm aware of my propensity for verbal gaffs so try my utmost to avoid moving my foot towards my mouth while out in public (you can dress me up....) so of course it moves there faster.....never fails me.
So out we go tonight to have drinks with friends.....When I was handed red wine I should have just zipped it right there and listened....Couldn't do it. When I started yakking and gesticulating excitedly and Don notsosubtly made sure I put my wine glass down so I didn't redecorate their beige carpet/walls/sofa (a story all by itself.....), I should have zipped it. Nope. So when the question comes out about the boys and school - as it always does - and I start talking homeschooling I can't help but spew out my opinions. Which of course are pretty out there for a lot of people whose kids are in school. Like the two little girls sitting right there. I really tried hard to modify and tone it down, really hard. (Believe it or not but 2 years ago I DID THE SAME THING WITH THE SAME PEOPLE - Yes, that's how bad I am!!!) Apparently I failed. They are now convinced we are wacko organic hippie farmer homeschoolers. Especially as this conversation followed stories of crazy strawberry pickers and escaping pigs roaming around our farm....chasing me down the driveway.....ah well, can't impress everyone....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Screen time and Creative Play

Hmmmm, as an 'unschooler' I try my best allow the kids screen time at their will with distraction used as a tool to move them on to other more interesting/active things.....
It got a bit out of hand here with the TV and "Destroyed in Seconds" when Holdy was sick for a month and TV addiction was threatening. Then you take the kids to the cabin with no TV and they forget about it and play play play and get along. When I have to drag them inside for dinner or at bedtime....(which is firm but flexible....)...I am a happy momma, and boy bedtime is smoother when they are exhausted.....
Then computer time and the "free" games at miniclip and related sites come along and the boys are totally fixated on the computer - won't come for meals, don't hear me, don't want to do anything else, fighting and no physical activity....having not moved from the puter all day....
What to do? what to do?
I guess I'm not an unschooler cuz I don't like it. At all. Period new paragraph.
So after repeated requests to get off the computer a password was put on the computers.
And there is a return to creative play, and peace, and building stuff, and playing outside, and reading, and helping Daddy renovate.
It really is an immediate obvious transformation.
I've read all the pro-gaming stuff, pro-computer stuff and I'm not for making screen time the "forbidden fruit" at all and prefer it if they self regulate. But these games are designed to keep them at the screen. They do eventually move away from the computer but there are literally HUNDREDS of games to choose from, new all the time, multilevel.
The free play games they make up - shopping, moving, hotwheels stories you name it are so so cool and cooperative. I have to think that they are better for them, physcially, emotionally, and mentally. Maybe some of the critical thinking games are good for their brains and hand eye coordination, but really most are driving tanks and bikes over obstacles.....(Can you tell I'm not a gamer at all??? Sometimes I have to haul all 4 of my boys off the puter.....)
They still have lots of computer time and I realize that I use the computer for 3 or so hours a day (after they're in bed) and that computers are and will be a huge part of their lives, but at this point in their lives, they need to learn that there are lots of other cool things to do......

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rubber chicken....

On Friday night we had the luxury of going out for dinner, just the two of us...such an usual event.....And if we don't feel like suschi, our usual watering hole, deciding where to go is always a problem. We decided on a local kind of grill pub place we'd never been to. It was kinda weird for me as the restaurant is in my town's old Mickdonald's building and I spent some my teenage years (ducking furiously) in there....They've done a nice job with the decor and you'd never know it unless you are going out for dinner in the town you grew up in.....I digress.
We both ordered and agreed to split, and we both ordered chicken dishes. The place was hopping, the mood great, the servers on the ball, the crowd boisterous and our meal came. It was presented beautifully, had great flavour but we are forever jaded. Can we never go out? The chicken was factory raised, over processed, plumped up with some sort of injections after death chicken breast and it was like chewing rubber. At home we only eat local farm raised chickens - and now we are ruined forever for going out. The difference is starkly clear......I guess our only option now is the local "Locals" restaurant (that serves our strawberries btw!)....that buys locally raised pasture chickens....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Scare Crows....

Overheard from the kitchen.....
Gabi (formerly with us in May as a WWOOF from Germany, now returned and staying with us and working at the ski hill) was playing "farmville" on her laptop on Facebook. Other wwoofs have also played this game so my boys are quite familiar with it.....The three boys were crowded around Gabi and they were buying squash and pumpkin seeds, looking for strawberry plants to buy and generally taking care of Gabi's farm. A notice came up that she was losing a lot of her crops to crows and she need to do something. The boys right away said she had to make a scarecrow. She didn't understand what they meant and Holdy said "You know, you get a coat, a hat and some straw, and you make a man and then you put the stick up his butt...." Ok, coming from a 4 year old it was pretty funny, and after a mild look of surprise, Gabi understood EXACTLY what a "SCARECROW" was!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


We just watched a food network special on pork rinds, which is a particularly sensitive topic around here as our quirky butcher left the rinds on our bacon. (It's delicious but.....)
Apparently after drying, chipping, spicing and multilayer packaging we can purchase pork rinds which can be put in the microwave and puffed up. It wasn't so much the use of the rinds that bothered me, but the unbelieveable amount of packaging involved.
It's out of control.
It's not recyclable.
Head out to Canadian tire or Walmart, buy something and throw more away than you get to keep. It drives me up the wall. Why are there not laws that A) Packaging must be recyclable and B) Packaging is discouraged and taxed C) Packaging is TAXED at the packager!!! Why is there not a groundswell of people writing letters and lobbying for the latter? Where are our politicians? Too scared of big biz and China?
Apparently in Europe the laws are so.
Our landfills are bursting out all over, soon to be filled again with Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas - Don't the PILES of PALLETS of TOYS at the big stores = All multilayered packaged plastic crap from China - disgust you?? Don't people realize they are bound straight for the landfills after 3 or 4 weeks of play?? Do people feel duty bound to buy a gift just because. CRAP CRAP CRAP.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Great Taste No Packaging!

I made homemade granola bars today. I saved the landfill from a pile of rubbish. I saved my pocketbook (maybe....I should work this out) and saved my kids'from ingesting golly knows what chemicals.....

3 cups oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 coconut (don't want to look at that label)
1 cup chocolate chips (chocolate NEVER counts in the 'wrong food to eat' category!)
3 T butter
1 can condensed milk. I made it with sweetened condensed milk (ok ok I read the label it said liquid sugar, which I assume is HFCS....I'm going to try the recipe with unsweetened condensed milk if there is such a thing?)
We did find them a bit on the sweet side.....

Press into greased cookie sheet
325 25 minutes

EASY (easier than cookies)
LOTS (picture the box you guy with 6 bars .....and multiply by oh 8, minimum and NO PUFFED RICE taking up volume....)

options: chopped nuts substituted in for something above, raisons ditto

I'll update on the condensed milk options.

Seriously worth trying!

Update: I mixed my recipe with a friend's and replaced the condensed milk with honey.....and it's awesome! Such a different and deeper flavour! Still sweet, will used unsweetened coconut next time....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Number Nuts

How can you get anywhere in math if you don't have basic number facts. And are some brains just wired that way and others not? As someone who never had a problem with numbers I just don't get those who don't get numbers. In fact, I tend to think it's their fears about failing and pressure (a la John Holt) that causes people to fail at numbers....
My kids get numbers. They seem to figure out the "rules" by themselves, without much from us...
We recently taught August the card game 99, and then had a schooled kid(s) join us. Older kids. Ok, teachers of the world listen up. Why aren't these kids able to add. They've done HOW MANY WORKSHEETS? They've sat thru HOW MANY MATH CLASSES? They've been to school for HOW MANY YEARS? August who has done very little written math (I tried and gave up...TRUST right?) was figuring out "rules" as we went along (ie. 8 + 9 = 17 therefore 28 + 9 = 37) It was so cool. So why the heck isn't 99 on the curriculum??? Apparently schooled kids can't add. And it wasn't just one was 2 separate kids. Really scarey.
I really really don't get this. No wonder these kids fall through the cracks at algebra, if they can't add 7 + 8 or multiply 7 X 8 how in the world are they going to figure out basic algebra??? They're going to be so concerned about the numbers they won't even be able to think about the x's and y's. Can you imagine the stress and pressure. How children fail.