Sewing

I’ve been teaching my kids to sew for a while, little things & mostly on my sewing machine. Around Christmas I bought a Singer sewing machine for the kidlets (Singer Stylist 7258). It’s not too bad a machine, unfortunately, it came with a faulty sewing foot (C3 error), so I finally called to get it sorted & am now being sent a new sewing foot.

Having fun sewing

Because of the faulty foot, the kidlets now know how to sew without it, which has been a valuable lesson in itself. My youngest loves it so much, she even said “Mummy, sewing is my stress relief.”

She also made the comment that now that we have a boat, she needed to learn how to sew properly, so that she has something to do on the boat, which made me laugh because she loves sailing so much & is part of the reason we got the boat.


To see one of their projects this week, check out this blog post on my twoemu creations page.

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We bought a boat!!!

It’s official! We bought a boat!

What an upgrade! We’ve never really seen ourselves as owning a sailboat of our own, but here we are, (amazing given about a year ago G had his wages cut & we were genuinely concerned about how things might go, but sometimes the stars align (not to diminish the hard work & determination we had to make it work, but sometimes you really need the stars to align too).

We’ve gone from exploring the waters in a 6 metre (20 foot) sea kayak (which G & I used for over a decade doing 100-200km expeditions not that infrequently), to getting a canoe to paddle with the kids, when they were a little too big to sit in the hatches, to a 30 foot sailboat!

Clearly we aren’t water or boat virgins’, having worked up from small watercraft to a sailboat, & it might not be the manner that most take to get a sailboat, but it’s the path that we have taken. We’ve been on a few boats with family & friends, both sail & motorized & loved it, I’m sure it helps that we got to have all the fun without the reality of owning a sailboat.

Before we bought a boat though, we did do a Sail Canada, sailing course, which we highly recommend (especially to any random person who reads this that is on the fence), to get more of a taste for sailing on our own eventually (if we proceeded down this path). It resulted in us receiving our PCOC cards, something that you really want to have before you get a boat of your own anyhow. After getting it & proceeding down the path of boat ownership, you realise just how important that little card is, for insurance too.

Catalina30 Mk II (1991) on the hard.
(mast yet to be re-attached after winter storage)

Looking for boats in the middle of a pandemic, when it’s a safe recreational activity, is a shit though. Normally, the market would be awash with boats for sale, now, they were in short supply & demand was bumping costs up. Here in Canada, you could fairly easily get a boat from the States or even Europe normally, but these days, with all the borders shut between countries, you really are stuck with the local market, there aren’t that many out there.

We started looking a little at the end of the 202o season, but nothing really grabbed us & we really didn’t have the funds to be fair. We did however workout that $10K for a boat, wasn’t what we were looking for, which was beneficial in itself.

After some searching online for a few months through the winter, we started to notice the market pickup again at the end of February (2021). By March, we had looked at a few boats seriously already & put in an offer on one boat that we liked, but fortunately didn’t get put forward to the owners (thank goodness for dodgy boat sales guys, just like other sales people). At the time we were annoyed & disappointed, it was certainly a lesson learnt.

Fortuitously, the boat broker (not affiliated with the dodgy AF guy) that we were dealing with locally, told us about the one we ended up buying that same week & connected us with the broker who was looking after the sale directly.

Our soon to be ours boat, went up for sale on a Friday. We organized to physically see it on the Saturday, put in an offer immediately, which was accepted (conditional on a survey & float test) & the boat purchase process was started. To say that the market is HOT is an understatement.

Official sail boat owners, no longer boat maintenance virgins, but still noobs

The boat is beautiful, it’s a Catalina 30 MkII. The previous owner, Ben, was quite unwell & had to sell it, unfortunately. You can tell he loved the boat though, it has been well cared for & we are so lucky to be it’s current owners. It came with a lot of added extra’s because of the manner in which it was being sold, which suited us perfectly too. Whilst we are going to be using some of our sea kayaking kit on the boat, not that much really crosses over, unfortunately.

After cleaning off a little growth, painting the bottom with VC 17, as per prior years (you can’t switch bottom paints from previous applications)

The sale went through officially at the start of April & we managed to get the bottom coated with VC 17 bottom paint to protect it. There are still a few more things to do, like put on a new anode on the bottom, before it’s refloated (this one really has to be done) plus there is some cleaning of the hull, work on the impeller & an oil change. Getting to where the boat is, is a little challenging given the stay at home orders (lockdown of sorts) though. So, somehow we have to sort out how to do that. It might involve asking someone else to get another anode (we took the one we bought home, as we needed some allen keys to install & wanted to make sure we have the right one to do the job, so unfortunately it’s not with the boat)

The boat was originally due to be launched the first weekend in May, but given current restrictions, it’s been pushed until the end of May. So our big celebrations will be pushed back a little longer, unfortunately. I hope that we can get there then, in theory one of us has to be, for the float test. Even though the boat is ours & we have the bill of sale, we have to make sure there aren’t any engine issues to be sorted (not that we are anticipating any issues, but you can’t be sure either).

At 30 foot it isn’t small, but it it also isn’t too huge either for a family of four, the boat actually sleeps 6. A good boat to learn & improve our skills on, because in the end, our plan is, that this will be our first sailboat, not our last one.

We didn’t get a lot of interior images of our own, but here is an image of the layout that I found online with a link to the original image here that seems to represent our boat

Catalina 30 Mk II layout

Here’s to many more water adventures to come, whenever we can do so 🙂

Posted in Canada, Family, Outdoor, Sailing, Travel | Leave a comment

Science with Soap

Homeschooling is a lot of fun. Here is a fun experiment that we found the other day, that I thought that I would share.

You have to use Ivory soap for this experiment to work. Ivory soap has a large amount of air in it (it gets whipped with big beaters apparently). Air, contains water moisture & microwaves “excite” those water molecules. This experiment shows you the microwaves radiation at work.

In terms of materials, it’s fairly easy. You need a microwave, bar of Ivory soap & plate.

Fluffy

We only zapped our Ivory soap bar for a minute at a time. We found that after one minute it had expanded so much that we had to stop it. Note that when you open the microwave it collapses a little.

There was still a fair amount of the bar left that had not expanded so we put it in for a further minute.

If you really don’t care about your microwave, I guess that you could do it all in one go, but we weren’t quite that game.

When the expanded soap first comes out it is a little rubbery in texture, but that soon changes to being fairly brittle/ flakey. The soap is still usable afterwards too, so you don’t have to throw it out.

SIDE NOTE: I would HIGHLY recommend getting unscented bars. It appears I accidentally bought the scented ones & I have to say that I am NOT a fan. You can’t buy just one bar on it’s own, but thankfully, we have other friends with kids, who are keen to have some.

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Happy Spring

Egg hunt underway

With spring, comes Easter. As 2021 is pretty much just an extension of 2020, we had another really low key Easter celebration, in isolation.

To be fair my use of the word Easter is done so loosely, there is an egg hunt of sorts, but beyond that we don’t do anything else. There isn’t any religious attachment to the event, at all, & we don’t do baskets of gifts or new bikes and other toys, like so many other families tend to do. The kids seem to enjoy the hunt though & it has evolved in difficulty over the years, to keep it interesting for them & us.

Pre pandemic, we used to have a lot of kids over to do a big hunt, and it was fun, but I have to say, these days, a quieter pace is pretty enjoyable too.

Last year, we actually gave away the bulk of the eggs, so in reality the days of big egg hunts are done, even when things settle. We only have an eco shopping bag full of eggs left (about 120, which is still a fair amount (the bag that kidlet2 is holding is actually the bag they are stored in). I think we had about 1500 at one point, so you can imagine just how HUGE & chaotic, the hunts were, they were also a lot of fun though too.

Egg nestled in a tree

With the kids getting older, we actually only filled 16 with treats of some kid (smarties, actual berries (fruit not just treats) and some jellies), whilst the rest contained a story that G quickly wrote & then cut up into over 90 pieces, for the kids to put together. It had moderate success, with the youngest giving up a bit earlier than Kidlet1, though the sorting process, but it did entertain them & it was something different. We managed to get a decent amount done, before the whole printed story was shown & kidlet 1 took it upon himself to sort them & then glue onto a few sheets of paper.

Story being pieced together

At the end of it, they both asked if we could do something like that again, so I would call it a success. It’s quite a fun activity, not much different to the scavenger hunts we have done in the past either, except a lot more reading & problem solving.

I can totally see it resurfacing for Kids Day in July (a tradition that we started last year) and likely for birthdays & Christmas too. It’s a fun, distracting activity from the current reality too, which is a bonus. 🙂

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Family History – Cemeteries Excursion Part 1

Yesterday, was a lovely day, we had a high of 17C & it was SUNNY. The perfect day to go out & do some family tree research in person.

To make things easier, I have made a quick family tree to refer back to, which shows the direct family line & is a bit of a point of reference for the headstones/ monuments we found, below. I only did dates for males on this one, because at the time there was hardly any creativity with names & the repetition of names without any other reference can be confusing.

Please note not everyone mentioned in this post, is in this graph.

Honeywell/ Watson Family Tree

Our first stop was Bells Corners Union Cemetery. We came here to find the graves of James & Anne Watson (McCallum). They were the parents of Lillian Edna Philomela Watson.

The cemetery was quite small, so not having a map of the gravesite/ monument location, wasn’t too bad. I had found a picture online via findagrave.com which helped in locating the gravesite though & we all had fun working out the location from that clue. The pictures previously found online were clearly taken a while ago, as when we saw the monument/ headstone it was definitely showing some weathering.

James & Anne were married on the 9th of January 1873, in the Carlton area, Nepean area.

I am including pictures of the monument, as well as some notes:

On this side it reads;
James Watson
Died Oct 8, 1878
Aged 40 years


Underneath it says
James H Watson
Died Oct 9 1879
Age 1 year 9 months

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is James-Herbert-Watson-Death-647x1024.jpg

There appears to be some writing at the bottom but I was unable to decipher it

James H Watson was Lillian’s little brother. His full name was James Herbert Watson, his cause of death is noted as “not stated” & apparently a certificate was never issued by a physician. The full scanned record (a page), containing the details of his & other deaths can be found here, otherwise you can see the cropped record to the right (or click on the underlined text link, found just above the full page record).

James was born in Nepean, although his parents are actually Irish (more details later on).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20210330_101316-576x1024.jpg

Anne McCallum is noted on another side of the monument & was the wife of James. The inscription pertaining to her states;
Anna McCallum
Wife of James Watson
1842-1932

Some additional information not on the gravestone, is that after James died, she remarried a William Argue (1831 -1915) He is buried at Huntley United Cemetery. William had 3 Spouses Elizabeth Fenton (1837-1871), Margaret Fenton (1838-1881), & Anna McCallum (1842-1932)

Anna is listed on the 1891 Census as the spouse of William Argue. I haven’t yet found a record of when they were married but it would have been some time between 1881 when William’s second wife died (James died in 1878, so she remained a single for a few years) & that census date of 1891. They didn’t have any children together, but she did help in raising his children from previous marriages

Anne was born in Osgoode & her parents are buried in Kars, we haven’t been to their gravesite’s yet, but I will do a post once we have. Going to wait for another nice day out.

Her father, James McCallum (25 Sept 1816 – 14 Oct 1900) is from Glasgow City, Scotland, whilst her mother Penelope Philomena Jones (12 Sept 1820 – 13 June 1864) I am still trying to workout. Some have her as being born around Glengarry (near Cornwall) and other records have her born in Lewiston, Niagra County, New York, USA.

Her parents, Peter Jones (1789-1871) & Anna Eastman Jones (1789-1875) came from the USA. Both her parents & a sibling, Nehemiah Jones (1829-1912) are all buried in Kar’s. She has another sister, Hester who moved to Alberta & is buried with a son there.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20210330_101240-576x1024.jpg

What I didn’t realise at the time, is that we would find James Watson’s parents were also buried there. ** (see note at bottom for even more family found as a result of this)

This side of the monument reads;
Edward Watson
Died Mar 25 1884
Aged 84 Years

Also his wife
Sarah Vincent
Died April 30 1880
aged 88 years

There was a 4th side that remains blank.

Further family tree research shows that Edward Watson was born in Donagal, Ireland in 1800. It appears he moved over to Canada with his parents, who were also born in Ireland.

Sarah Jane Vincent (James Watson’s mum) was born in Chambly, La Vallée-du-Richelieu, Quebec. She’s of Irish/ English decent though with both of her parents born in Ireland.

Sarah’s parents were;
Robert Vincent who was from Coothill, Cavan, Ireland (1783-1844). He was born in Ireland, but his parents were born in England (thus the English decent mix) &
Sarah Jane Malcolmson is from Near Kings Court, Belfast, Ireland, 1781-1881.
I need to research more where Robert is buried, he could be with his wife Sarah, who is
actually buried at Beechwood.

Now, that I have thrown all those names out there here is a bit of a rough graph again, to show relationships, it got a little cramped at the bottom & there are still more to add, but this should give you an idea of where the people I have mentioned fit in. I will include more information on these relations, as I go.

Watson/ McCallum Family Lines (above)

On that note, I will finish up this post here. Part 2 will follow on with our next stop, at Pinecrest.


See note below in reference to earlier comments

** As I was caught off in finding Edward & Sarah’s gravesites, I had to do a little research to confirm the relationship to James (they are of course his parents, as stated above). In doing that research though, I discovered that Annie & James had another son, & his name was Edward (7 Jan 1874 – 25 Sept 1945), he was the older brother of Lillian Edna (g grandmother), a new great uncle to add to the family tree. 🙂

Dr Edward W Watson 7 Jan 1884 – 25 Sept 1945


Dr Edward Wesley Watson & was a dentist in Medford, Wisconsin. Other research revealed that he married a woman called Lucy & had at least 2 children (Eleanor B: 1915 & Harriet B: 1917), was drafted in WWI and died in 1945. Here is an obituary, I happened across for him (it appeared in the Marshfield News-Herald
Marshfield, Wisconsin
26 Sep 1945, Wed  •  Page 11)





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Family History – Daniel Witt


I have been researching my family history on & off for a while, but with homeschooling the kids, it has become a bit of a project for me to do with them. I love it. I did a family history project about 30 years ago in school & found it fascinating & now that I am older & can appreciate it even more, it’s even more exciting. It’s the perfect time to pick up the quest to find more family too, both with COVID & living in the vicinity of so many relatives, something that I know won’t always be the case.

Not all the information I have found is readily & easily accessible to everyone, so I am going to share some of my research here, via my blog to make it easier. So “Hello” to the family reading this, including the blood relations that stalk the page, but don’t like to admit it. Hey there, hope you’re well. 🙂

This week, I came across this gem. This is my gggg grandfather. At this moment I am unclear what his name at birth was. Most of of my German relations changed their names, likely in frustration with others that could not pronounce their names. Although, for some it seems to have occurred due to transcription errors too. Witt changes a few times to Vitt & there are more examples.

Daniel Witt was Married to Sophie Thom (1802-1870)
He was born around 1794 & died 26 Mar 1892. He lived to the age of 98 years, which is pretty good, especially for that time. His death certificate/ record of death is rather interesting though. Have a look, he’s bottom middle.

Daniel Witt – Death

His profession of Farmer was pretty standard at the time, so many were farmers (look at all the other’s on the page) His cause of death is rather interesting though:

effects of La Grippe – one month

This is where knowing how to read cursive is a great skill, but I admit that it still took a while & several google searches to figure out it was La Grippe which was also known as the Russian Flu or Asiatic Flu. I actually tried several spellings & then added “cause of death 1892” to actually bring up anything of use, as La Grippe, on it’s own was absolutely useless.

So what was La Grippe/ Russian Flu? It was apparently the first recorded global influenza pandemic, something which I found interesting given our current state of affairs with COVID. The next major pandemic was be in 1918, the Spanish Flu. For more information about La Grippe see The Canadian Encyclopedia.

For my gggg grandfather to have died from La Grippe, is unfortunate, but given his age, probably not that surprising.

Then there was this;

Fought under Blorisher (sp?) at Waterloo

This last bit of information, at the bottom of his death certificate, was a huge bonus. I can understand why they wrote it too, it would have been very rare to find someone who had fought in the battle of Waterloo here in Canada. Something that I am very grateful that they noted, because I’m not sure that I would have found this otherwise.

I couldn’t find anything under what looked like Blorisher, but a search of the Battle of Waterloo & the Commanders/ Generals revealed a Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher with his Prussian army that defeated Napoleon & I know that was him.

How did I know that? Well, in researching your family history & sifting through hundreds of documents & reference materials, you become aware of how often names were sounded out & then transcribed with errors, so it isn’t hard to see how Blücher became Blorisher. Then there is the fact that so many of the documents I have for my family (including his children) list Prussia as their place of birth/ area of residence for a time, so it isn’t hard to see how my gggg grandfather did indeed join his fellow countrymen in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Finding pieces of history that you can link your family back to, certainly makes teaching the kids about those historic events a little more interesting. For those interested in a little more information about the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, here is a video that we watched, which depicts how the battle played out.

I am not 100% sure where he was laid to rest. Most of the Witt family has gravesites in Alice township, Renfrew/ Pembroke area, which is where they settled & the area that he died.

There are a couple of issues in finding headstones of people from so far back. One is that many of them sink over time, the other is that it’s harder it is to find records that remain from that far back. I may never find his exact grave, but I will certainly try to see what else I can find.

Posted in Family, Family History, Witt | 3 Comments

Celebrations

We looked at different celebrations that are celebrated by various cultures the other week & I have been meaning to document some of our resources to refer back to, so voila another blog post.

Some of our favourite clips were from BTN (Behind the News), which is an Australian kids educational program that I remember watching when I was in school a few decades ago. I remember how fun it was to tune into their latest episode, so I am hoping to include more of their programming into our homeschooling schedule.

Getting back to the task at hand, we looked at 4 different cultural celebrations, here are some of the video’s they particularly enjoyed;
Eid al-Fitr – What is Eid al-Fitr?
They loved the idea of the mountains of sweets that come with celebrating Eid, as every kid likely does.

Hanukkah – What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah, they had a vague interest in, given connections with others that are Jewish.

Lunar New Year – Chinese New Year History?
We researched the birth signs for each of us & the meaning behind them in relation to lunar new year.

Powwow’s – What’s a powwow?
This video they loved & one day I hope that I can take them to one, they’re of a good age to remember too

I am hopeful that we can travel or just generally go out again, they will have more opportunities to experience & appreciate more of the celebrations that exist in the world. I think it’s important to accept others & their differences. It makes the world a much happier place.

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Open Letter to a friend

This letter is for a specific friend, who is terminal, but in respecting their wishes when I was told the news by a mutual connection, about a week ago, I am not directly reaching out to them. I wasn’t sure how to convey some of things that I want to say & time is slipping by the more I wait. I finally settled on an open letter on my blog, because it can still be anonymous (I have tried to leave out too many personal details). I don’t expect a response, and I may never know that they read this, & that’s ok, but I will have done more than sitting idly by & missing any opportunity that I did have to say anything.

To My Dear Friend,

I am sorry that, we never managed to get the opportunity to meet face to face, I know I thought we had more time. I didn’t realise that this past year with COVID, would be the last opportunity & I am sorry for that. Even though we didn’t get to meet face to face though, I have treasured our friendship. I am glad that our mutual connection introduced us. My life has certainly been richer for having you in it, even for the time we’ve had.

You have incredible talents & I have always appreciated your encouragement to do better, to be true to oneself & to phuquemol. You possess a huge heart, and I know your presence will be missed by many. Your friendship is something that I will always carry. Don’t think that you haven’t had an impact on the world, just because you might not see it, because YOU most certainly have.

In the end though, even bright sparks in the world get tired & weary of the fight. It’s more than ok to be done. I hope that you can still find some joy in your time left, as your body succumbs to this awful disease. Rest is coming, just a little bit longer…..

Much Love,

Eva

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Homeschool Musings

I know it’s unheard of at the moment, for me to write a second post for the month, but here we are. I’m going to try (yet again) to take more time out to write. Clearly, we must be getting back into the groove of things, for me to actual even consider committing myself to writing more.

Homeschooling is going pretty well at the moment. I still have my moments of “holy crap” am I actually doing enough? Which appears to be normal, not only as a parent, but as a teacher. Then there are the moments of are they getting it, please get it this time, please, please get it, I am running out of ideas as to how I can actually convey this any differently & then inevitably a lightbulb moment happens for them or me & a sigh of relief fills the room.

I think I may have mentioned on here that I have always liked the idea of homeschooling (if not, it would be buried in one of my yet to be published, likely never will be finished & published posts & if I have mentioned it, clearly you can tell I don’t really go back & read what I write). At the same time, I also found it easier to go with the path of least resistance in terms of schooling. I mean WHO WAS I to want to educate my own kids? I didn’t study to be a teacher, sure I did some early childhood studies, but after a week placement at a childcare centre, I soon decided to trash that idea, so really, was I equipped to teach my kids, beyond the normal parenting teaching that happens when you shuffle them off to be someone else’s responsibility? For year I didn’t think so.

Then COVID hit & decisions had to be made & changes had to occur. There really wasn’t any viable option for our family other than homeschooling. I admit that I was a little “salty” about the whole situation, because it meant another thing fell on my shoulders & I knew that this was a huge undertaking, at first it seemed almost impossible to do it well. It didn’t help that G was not set on the idea at all, but after a while he came around. We are both grateful that we don’t have to deal with any of the issues we see others having, when there is a reliance on others to teach your kids (issues with access to the web, not receiving offline distanced learning packages, school closures etc). It’s actually incredibly rewarding to not only share your knowledge with your kids, but learn alongside them too.

We actually started doing homeschooling in July/August, so that I could wrap my head around this new change & to show G that this could work, before school started back in September. It was hard though. One of the hardest things about homeschooling is letting go of the idea that we all have in our heads about what homeschooling is, what it should look like & how it should come together. At the start I was also trying to do too much. I was trying to fulfill orders and do school work around it/ at the same time, whilst we were transitioning, but it really didn’t go well. Whilst the kids were learning, I feel that it wasn’t much fun.

Then over Christmas we had a forced break from homeschooling. G was starting his new job & it made sense for him to move into the kids space, for the kids to move into the space that I used as my creative space, & for our homeschooling area & my creative space to move into a larger space downstairs. The move involved some reno’s & took 10 days to get everyone into their spaces. It was hard going, but so worth it.

I stopped doing my own creative projects for a while to focus on homeschooling entirely, which is what I needed to do at the start, but didn’t feel I could. I was literally drowning. So the change in rooms & setup, & the reset it brought, was a welcome relief. It doesn’t mean we don’t have bumpy days, but that’s life in general, you can’t just blame it on something like homeschooling. It feels good to be able to include more creativity for myself into my days now, but I doubt I will get back to where I was for a while, at least until the kidlets are more independent with their learning.

I’m enjoying the extra reading of late, mostly it focuses around homeschooling techniques & then of course subjects for us to cover/ discuss. All this research leads to a lot of work to plan how to include it into their schooling, but it’s become quite a fun challenge.

In terms of curriculum books, I currently use Scholastic & The Canadian Curriculum mostly for worksheets, BUT, they are just a foundation to build upon. I also printed out the Ontario curriculum to refer back to, but honestly it’s just a guideline, a massive long winded checklist that gives you screw all resources, so mostly I just lament the trees that are now bound within a book that sits on a shelf taking up valuable space.

I really do love the freedom that homeschooling affords us, in part because I know what they are learning, so less time is wasted trying to get my head around what they are learning on any given day, like I was with their online distanced learning last year, not to mention the issues with technology that we were having. The planning & research (I am always trying to improve how I homeschool to adapt to the kids, not to try to fit a round & a square peg into a triangular hole) is definitely more work, but because I am constantly trying to adapt & improve, it also means the experience gets easier as we go. We can be carried away onto other topics that they wouldn’t necessarily cover in school, which is incredibly fun. For over a month now, we have branched out into studying mythology, which has lead us down the paths of the origin of some words, Roman numerals etc. all of which lends to making their learning experience a little more interesting. A topic that we will be covering for many years…

Then there’s the art. I have always tried to do art with the kids when they were in a traditional school setting, but life, the kids being too tired and other things that cropped up into our schedule often pushed art to the side, but not these days & it’s awesome. At the moment we are doing paper mache art & it’s so much fun. Kidlet1 loves sculpture, the 2nd one, is more into drawing, but we’re working on that.

So, whilst homeschooling might mean a little more work, overall, I am loving it. I feel a greater connection with the kids than before (which logically happens when they are glued to you 24×7 too). I love that I can actually understand the half conversations that stem from our learning adventures & am now able to fill in the gaps. This knowledge alone means way less frustration from the kids, and us, so that’s a huge win. Plus, the kids seem to enjoy it, which is even better!

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Monthly Check-in

It seems I have no real inclination, or is it time, either reason fits, to do more than a post a month, so here I am checking in for February & giving a summary of the last month +.

A lot has happened & yet not so much really. Normally, we would be either getting ready to go on a trip or most likely getting back from one. It’s become (or maybe I should say it was) a tradition to escape to warmer weather most winter’s, but you know, COVID’s a thing, so that’s not really an option. Now, we pretty much stay home & tick the days of the year off the calendar, without any real direction, stuck in a weird no man’s land, a stark contrast to pre-covid times.

January was pretty good for us to get into the rhythm of homeschooling. G now has his office in the kids old room upstairs, the kids are in my previous creative space & the kids & I have taken over the basement.

The basement setup is pretty nice to be honest. We have computers permanently setup, the climbing wall is here of course, with the futon that was in another room pulled out so that it can be used easily (we often all sit on it as I read), there’s a coffee table to do puzzles & play games & then there is an art space for the kids & of course my creative space in the main area. It works well overall. The kids & I mostly stay downstairs though the day M-F & we try to co-ordinate times to have lunch with G each day, something that he wasn’t really able to do in his previous job.

After months of homeschooling, this move to a new bigger space, has been good for all of us, which I am sure has helped to contribute to the groove we are in. That & the fact that we are all embracing the idea that homeschooling is here to stay for a while, at least, in our house. I tried to juggle homeschooling around everything else, but now, I am accepting the fact that homeschooling comes first & everything else has to be balanced around it. Some days are still a little bit of a struggle, but not as much as they have been before. The kids & I are really in a partnership to learn together.

We are having a lot of fun, not only are we doing core subjects like language arts & mathematics & finding fun & creative ways to learn/ teach it, but we have expanded onto other interesting topics. The kidlet’s favourite subject at the moment is mythology/ history. In the last month, I have lost count of the number of times they have come up to me excited to relate that something they read made so much more sense, because of their mythology knowledge & honestly we have barely scratched the surface. My youngest who despised math, is now excited by it as well, which is a huge step forward. It’s beautiful to see their excitement & enthusiasm to learn.

I’m also trying to spend more time with them creatively, we do cooking every day, but I try to include other creativity. We do journaling, have done some 3D cardboard art & some sewing, but we are going to get into some paper mache & more too.

Besides homeschooling, I have been trying to keep up with orders & managing delivery issues with the postal system (mostly timeframes for things to arrive) with COVID outbreaks in some areas, that are causing longer, than what has become the normal, COVID delays. I do love my creative time, which is mostly spent sewing though, fibre art is my thing, at this point. The open space is a little weird though & I am considering if I should try to hem myself into a corner like I was before. but hopefully, I will get used to it soon enough.

G loves his new job & although he has some pretty weird hours sometimes, he doesn’t seem to mind at the moment which is good. He’s so much happier than he was. Sometimes, you just need shit from a different horse, to mix things up a bit. It really is good to see him happier.

As much as we have found our groove, social isolation, lockdowns & the general reason why we stay away from everyone, have made some moments a little harder to deal with though.

Kidlet 2 burned themselves with boiling water a couple of weeks ago, but is now healing up well. Having to decide which hospital to take them to in terms of least risk of COVID, is not a decision that I wish on anyone though.

Early in January, a beautiful soul, Belinda, died of ALS, which was hard. I knew her through the jousting community & medieval events. I loved the time that I did have, to get to know her & our signed conversations (she used ASL). It won’t be the same to attend some events & not see her there. It’s also weird not to have gotten the chance to say goodbye.

In the last week, I found out another friend is terminal too (not ALS). I regret never getting the chance to meet face to face. If they happen to read this, I hope that they realise that they are an amazing talented individual, that I admire greatly. They have a heart of gold & the spark of joy that they bring to the world is one of a kind. Enjoy the time that you have with your close family & friends.

In other more uplifting news, I have also become an aunt again, this time to a blood relation on my side, which is both exciting & bittersweet, due to distance of said relations. There clearly isn’t, nor can there be any timeframe to actually see & meet this new family member, so for the moment, I am trying to savour the little messages I get & not get too discouraged by the reality that it will be years before we see them. On the brightside, our absence is being filled by so many others, which I am trying to see as a good thing, especially everytime well meaning people tell me that lovely tidbit of reality to make me feel better (it actually doesn’t make it better though). However, I am finding, if you keep smiling through it all, “everything’s swell”.

This month, February, see’s G’s late mum’s birthday happening on the 15th, she would have been 72. Normally, we would go to see the butterfly exhibit at the Museum of Nature, because they were her favourite thing, in her memory, but clearly that can’t happen this year. I am thinking perhaps we will work on a butterfly project we have been working on for a while in her memory, but that could change. It’s weird to break our butterflies at the museum tradition, after so many years. She passed away in 2004.

This is also my birthday month. With COVID, my birthday has suddenly become more exciting than normal, mostly I think because it’s something to look forward to. Kidlet2 has taken on the planning of the “event” which is really quite sweet (I have been teaching them the skill of planning for events as part of homeschooling studies) so I am looking forward to what she has planned.

And on that note & hopefully ending with some cheer & hope, instead of misery, which was where it seemed this post was heading for a little bit, I will sign off. Perhaps I will add some pictures later, to break things up, or I will call it quits & say, if you are family & friends that I am actually in touch with, you know where to see pictures that relate to some of my write up in this post.

Posted in Art & Design, COVID times, Family, Home Schooling | Leave a comment