First Camping Trip of 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We were going camping last Friday, and we didn't have a tent anymore, so we had to go out and buy a new one on Wednesday after the kindergarten graduation. We have a little four-person tent, but those things never fit as many people as they say, plus there are 5 of us, so we splurged on a nice dome tent with a vestibule that we hope will last us for the next 10 -15 years. We used it this weekend and it truly fits 5 comfortably and the vestibule was really handy for keeping the tent clean as well as keeping our clothes in the tent but not underfoot.

The vestibule can be set up with an awning, or the fly can be rolled back so the vestibule's fully exposed, or the fly can be brought right down to the ground for complete protection from rain.
We arrived at the campsite around 7:00 on Friday. We had already set up the tent in the basement, just to make sure everything worked properly and to get an idea of how big it is. It's huge, by the way, and at 27 pounds, it'll definitely only be for car camping trips.

It rained quite a bit on Saturday, but the fly goes down right to the ground, and the floor was dry inside, even if our sleeping bags and pillows were a little damp due to the humidity in the air.

We also ended up in town on Saturday to buy a new sleeping bag for DH since his zipper broke. I ended up buying a double sleeping bag that also separates in two singles. I thought it might be hard to find two compatible sleeping bags otherwise.
We had a great time, and the kids didn't want to leave. We went for a walk after supper on Saturday, and explored the multiple beaches at the campground. We found a great play structure and played for a while, then headed back for a campfire and s'mores. The kids were in bed before 10 both nights, so the adults had time to hang out by the fire for a bit. We left on Sunday in time to get home, throw on some laundry and make it to soccer practice for 6:30.


Strawberries and Graduation

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our veggie garden is thriving. I've only watered it once as it has rained pretty much every day for about three weeks but there's been sun too, so everything's growing. I have green tomatoes, and my pumpkins, cucumbers and corn are all doing well. We had a good feed of strawberries this year. We picked them before the animals wanted to eat them, which meant they had to ripen in the house. Since we only got one berry last year, this worked out much better. The kids loved helping pick the berries and we all enjoyed eating them.
In the last week, there were lots of end-of-year school activities. The highlight was Precious junior kindergarten graduation and Sweet Pea's performance in the Three Little Pigs.

Here's Precious feeling shy.
And later on, after their performance of songs in French and English, she had a snack, then posed with her teachers. Miss Margaret taught her math and science.
And Miss Linda taught her language arts. Both teachers were very sweet, kind and consistent with Precious all year and taught her well. We will miss them next year.Sweet Pea rocked the grade one performance of the Three Little Pigs in the school library. She definitely has rhythm, that one.
Mr. Boy and Sweet Pea finished school on Friday and all three kids started summer swimming lessons today. I am already realizing that we need to find some more activities to keep the kids busy this summer.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

The kids got a hold of a digital camera the other day (our old point and shoot) and took a bunch of pictures when our nanny was home with them. The photos were adorable but what I noticed is how cluttered everything looked, especially the office. I've read time and time again that if you want to decorate a room, you should take a picture of it to help you make decisions.Well, seeing the photo of the office was a wake-up call. It's nowhere near as stylish as I hoped it would be when we got custom bookshelves made for it, painted the walls my favourite colour ever - Buckhorn by Benjamine Moore, got new window treatments and splurged on a modern black glass deck. In fact, it looks like H E double hockey sticks.

What is currently in the room?
two electronic piano keyboards
two desks
three chairs (one broken)
a box of office things I'll bring to work if I ever drive in (I take the bus)
my tripod
an old filing cabinet
papers, papers and more papers
pictures in frames
a wire organizer with school projects and mementos to file
some scrapbook organizers which hold takeout menus, and medical files
a kids' drum set
and don't get me started on the bookshelves, which are about 10 feet wide! They're overflowing with books and magazines, and a few knickknacks.

A few friends were coming over last night, so I pulled out all of the books that I have read but was willing to give away, and managed to find new homes for a few of them. Then another acquaintance came by, and since she had just bought a camping trailer, and was looking for some books to read in the evenings on camping trips, she took the rest of the books!
I have fond memories of most of the books, but the reality is that I don't usually read books more than once, and I can always borrow them from the library if I want to read them again.

I am happy to see the books go. The bookshelf is just the tiniest bit neater. I will be working on making that office neater over the next couple of weeks, and hopefully I will have an 'after' picture to show you sometime this summer!


Toronto Zoo

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The last time we went to the zoo was in 2007. Precious wasn't even walking yet. We stayed at a hotel with an indoor pool, and did a trip to the zoo on the first day, and to Centreville the second day. Centreville was great for the small kids. It's a scaled down amusement park for the under-8-10 set and since we were there opening weekend, it was a pay-one-price bracelet and all the rides you can manage for $20/kid.

This time we drove to Toronto on a Saturday morning, and arrived at the hotel mid-afternoon. We checked in a went for a swim. We ate supper in the hotel bar, then went for another swim. After a good nights' sleep, we went for a swim first thing in the morning, then for breakfast at the hotel buffet. It was convenient and reasonably priced and we could eat whatever we wanted. Yum.

We headed to the zoo and arrived just after 10. It promised to be a hot day, so we bought tram tickets right away to avoid walking between the different exhibits. Before we even got to the gate, though, we saw the mascot for the zoo and the kids got their picture taken.
Next up was a camel ride for the older two kids. They had a lot of fun and commented that camels don't walk smoothly.

We then headed to Stingray Bay. With Mr. Boy being a shark fanatic, you can imagine how excited he was. You didn't know stingrays were sharks? Well, neither did I until about 4 years ago, when we started reading every shark book ever written.

We made it to the kids' section of the zoo and they enjoyed the tree house. We also saw lots of animals, but you don't really need to see pictures of that.

The new Tundra Trek was cool. The kids weren't as impressed as DH and I at the arctic wolves, but the polar bear was appreciated by all, even if he was brown from rolling in the dirt.

We finally got a snack and found some shade just after noon. To say it was hot was an understatement. In the afternoon, we headed to the splash park. Just being in the vicinity of the water was lovely, but we all got on our bathing suits and played around for about 45 minutes.In the end, we rushed through the Africa section, skipped all the indoor exhibits (too hot) and didn't make it to the Canadian section.

We got in the car to drive home around 5. The kids promptly fell asleep and we woke them up for a fresh supper at Subway at a truck stop. It was the first time we'd had non-fried food for a good 36 hours and I was relieved.

Since it was a long weekend, we still had Monday off. Ron and Mel invited us over and we enjoyed their company, the pool and the food.


June Madness

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why did I think things would ease up in June?
I still need to post pics from the Toronto Zoo from May.
I want to show you some pics I took of my yard.
I have to take some pics of the strawberries we've been picking in the garden. Such an early spring this year - usually they aren't ready until at least the last week of June.
I picked up my knitting again and made Sweet Pea a hat this week. I plan to show you some pics of that and Sweet Pea's soccer.
Soon. I hope.

For now, you'll have to be satisfied with a few pictures from the kids' piano recital which took play on May 30th.

Mr. Boy's rhythm ensemble with his class.
Mr. Boy playing one of two solos
Sweet Pea's rhythm ensemble with her class.
Sweet Pea with her ribbon for participating.
One of two of Sweet Pea's solos.
Mr. Boy with Gramps and Grammy, waiting for his turn to play.What amazes me is that the kids are as cool as cucumbers when they play. Their composure and poise surprise me.


Board Games Galore

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I came home from work and the two older kids (6 years and 8 years) were playing Yahtzee together.

I have a bit of a board game fetish. I decided to see how many we have and I counted no less than 35 board games. I'm sure some are hiding in other locations around the house. We have various versions of some games (ie. regular and deluxe scrabble, regular and travel yahtzee, regular and 80's trivial pursuit), so I'd guess we have at least 30 different board games.
We have all of the usual games - dominoes, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Chess, Operations, Life, etc. and a couple of lesser known games.

Of the lesser known games, Sequence and Rack-O are my favourite. I've already told you about Sequence, but have I told you about Rack-O?
I inherited this game from my grandmother and grandfather, who were affectionately known as Nannie and Poppa. This game was often on the side table in the living room of my grandparent's house, and the great thing about the game is that almost anyone can play it. You can be the youngest player and still do well, since both luck and skill are needed to win.

To win the game, you need to be the first to get to a pre-determined number of points. In each round, you are dealt enough cards for your rack, and you place them in the order in which you got them. You need to get them in order from smallest to biggest, by exchanging any of your cards with the card that you pick up from the pile, and then you discard a card. You can get a 50 point bonus if you have your cards in sequence. It's really as simple as that. Amazon says;

"Rack up big fun as you race to put 10 cards into sequence: low number in the front to high number in the back. Sound simple? It is-with a solid strategy, concentration and a little luck! Whoever yells Racko first ends the round and earns the most points! Other players score points but only for cards they have in sequence. "

The game I inherited is a looking a little shabby. Many of the cards are missing, but my Nannie used old business cards and wrote the missing card numbers on one side. I love seeing her handwriting, and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It's also a good reminder that we needn't throw things away just because it's a little worn, or a piece or two are missing



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

If you ever watch How I Met Your Mother, you'll know all about the gang's doppelgangers.

A couple of years ago, I met a woman named Sandra at a continuing education seminar. We hit it off and discovered that we live in the same neighbourhood. We've exchanged emails, and started carpooling to the seminars. One day, I was out on a bike ride and thought I'd ring her doorbell. I met her youngest son and couldn't believe how much he looked like my daughter. The funny thing is that Sandra's son looks very little like her, and very much like me.

So I found my youngest daughter's doppelganger, even if he is a boy, and slightly shorter than my daughter. Precious is on the far left and Sandra's son is on the far right. Her middle child is the girl in between.
Do you think they look alike?


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