Monday, May 30, 2011

Recently I realized my everyday purse had given me a good go for about a year and a half but it was time to retire it.  It had quite a few holes and lost many of the little ornaments that made it look cool…now it just looked ratty.  So C and I went to the store and searched for a great everyday purse.  I don’t usually take the time to accessorize and so I needed a sturdy purse which would go with pretty much anything I wore.  Since I no longer use a diaper bag, it also needed to be large enough to hold all the things a mom would need to take with her.  I also wanted different compartments so that when I get to the checkouts, I don’t need to dig through toys, tissues, and feminine hygiene products to find my wallet.  I set out my requirements and we began our search.  C felt a little hopeless trying to find the right material for a casual purse along with the compartments and colors.  By the third store we were nearly ready to give up when I heard her excitedly shout to me from the next aisle.  We found it!  It was a canvas-type fabric, beige, and had eight compartments varying in size.  Perfect.  When we got home she laughed and taunted at all the things I was dumping out of my old purse to put into my new purse.  “Daddy was right!  You do have everything but the kitchen sink in there!” she giggled.
Yes, yes I do.  I was a Girl Guide and choose to be prepared.  Here are some of the things that are in my purse:  wallet, granola bar, gum, pen, notepad, crayons, playing cards, two cars, kids photo ID with information, wipes, tissues, small first-aid kit, feminine hygiene products, advil, carabineer for shopping bags, sunglasses, small measuring tape, hand sanitizer, halls, and lip balm.
Anything you might add?
Take Care,
D

Friday, May 27, 2011

I received these quick math activities from R’s kindergarten class.  Thought I would share with you.
Counting Fun
Ask R to make equivalent amounts of objects, such as knives, forks, spoons, and napkins when setting the table; or to determine the number of items needed for all family members so everyone gets one.
Finger Play
Hold up some fingers using two hands, but only show them briefly then put them behind your back. Ask R to try to make the same arrangements with his fingers from memory.

Take Care,
D

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Publisher:  Harper Collins
WARNING-SPOILER ALERT
Amazon’s Description
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

In searching for something to read, I decided to look on my recommendations in Amazon.  Divergent had been released only a few weeks ago and it was about a dystopian society.  Hmmm, how similar would it be to “The Hunger Games”?  I mean, no one wants to read a poor copy of another book.  I read the description and thought, well I’ll try it.  This book had very few similarities to “The Hunger Games” and had a very different ‘feel’ to it.  I found myself sighing and gently setting my e-reader aside in the wee hours of the morning.  I would chastise myself that blowing off my one-hour reading rule is going to haunt me in the morning only to do it again the following night.
The extreme conformity to one’s faction, in this book, is bothersome but realistic.  In reality, various cliques form in society and it is apparent that people must conform or be left as an outcast or “factionless”.  Is it so far-fetched that a society might formally create this?  Values play a strong role in determining the faction where one may feel they belong but I do like that the choice is still theirs.  The consequence of that decision, though, may be more than Tris and the other initiates can handle. 

The characters were all very real and I felt like I was plunged back into high school because the scenarios which Tris found herself in were very relatable, but in a more extreme way due to her situation.  My favorite is that Tris can be very sarcastic.  Like when she has her first hamburger.  She doesn’t know what to make of it and some of the initiates from the other factions can’t believe she’s never had it.  

“Stiffs eat plain food,” Four says, nodding at Christina.
“Why?” she asks.
I shrug. “Extravagance is considered self-indulgent and unnecessary.”
She smirks.  “No wonder you left.”
“Yeah,” I say, rolling my eyes.  “It was just because of the food.”
The corner of Four’s mouth twitches.
Although Tris was a fantastic character to follow and experience the book through, I must say there is something fetching about Four.  He has a lot of secrets and sees things differently than most of the characters.   He is a great leader and trainer, when he’s given the chance.  I can see why Eric (being the bully that he is) seems intimidated by Four and does his worst to make Four appear inferior to him.  I am intrigued to see what Four has up his sleeves, how he can enlighten Tris, and what he’ll inspire the others to do as I really think he sees the whole picture.
What I will be taking away from this book is not only a great read but also a lesson in values.  One cannot base their lives on a singular value but a well-balanced set of values.  Any one value can be twisted to suit one’s purpose but the set of values should challenge a person to find the best path.

Monday, May 23, 2011

On Friday we decided that with all the fire bans in the area that we would forgo camping this weekend.  We would not be able to have a fire which would make cooking quite difficult and with the environmental conditions being so dry, we were even afraid to use our ATVs for fear of a spark from our exhaust.  So we stayed home and organized a barbeque instead.  Hubby made his fantastic ribs and our friends brought over amazing snacks, salads, and desserts.  It was a wonderful day.  Then today, my kids actually got along long enough to have some laughs on the trampoline!  I had to get pictures so you could see it since it’s such a rare event.
Hope you had a great long weekend too.
Take Care,
D

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We woke up this morning to the smell of smoke.  There are forest fires blazing nearby and the shift in the wind has caused the smoke to come into town.  When I dropped the children off at school, the announcement on the PA was that due to poor air quality, they will be having indoor recesses today.  I know the fires are a fair ways away still and that there is no need to panic but I also remember that last Sunday the people of Slave Lake were given 15 minutes notice to evacuate their homes.  People who did not have enough fuel to get them to Athabasca or High Prairie (roughly 115-150 kms), were loaded onto a bus.
My mother experienced a house fire about 13 years ago.  The people in the home got out ok but a pet and the entire contents were lost.  My mother is not a material person but she did have some very sentimental things which she misses most.  Things like her mother and grandmother’s recipes, some homemade furniture, but mostly – her pictures.  There are very few pictures of me and my brother as babies left in this world.  My mother had meticulously recorded our lives in photo albums which did not survive.
Please have an evacuation plan and emergency kit available for your family.  Here are some ideas from the Canadian Red Cross  on Emergency Preparedness and  an emergency kit.  I also encourage you to think of things that comfort your children, for example: a stuffed animal, toy, or blanket, etc.  They may not understand what is going on but they will likely be afraid.  Some comforts from home might help them out.  Baby Wipes are an invaluable tool for keeping clean when showers and water are inaccessible and if you have babies, don’t forget the diapers!  Another idea from a friend of mine is to keep your important documents (passports, birth certificates, CD backups of her pictures, etc.) in a small fire-proof safe which you could just grab and go.
Today, I will be preparing the Motorhome for our weekend camping trip but am also going to have some clothes and non-perishable foods left in there in case we need to evacuate quickly.  There is only one road in and out of our little city so it pays to be prepared for a long drive in heavy traffic.  I will also be scanning in our old non-digital photos and backing up important files on the internet.  We already have basic emergency kits which we created with C’s 4-H group last year in case we need to take cover in place, and today, we will also have an evacuation plan with supplies in place.
Is there anything I forgot to mention?  What things does your family do for Emergency Preparedness?

There are a number of activities you can do with your children when it comes to camping.  We try to include our children in all activities from setting up camp, to maintaining it, to take down at the end as well as some fun stuff in-between.  When I was a little girl we went camping regularly but I was never included in the set-up or take down (which suited me fine I just wanted to play anyway) but when I began camping on my own, I had no idea what needed to be done for set-up, hook-ups or any other part of it.  So, although I get eye-rolling and, “Aw…Mom” from them, they will know how to take care of their camp when they’re adults.
From C's Rock Garden
Some of the fun stuff we do are sitting around the campfire telling stories both fictional and factual, paint rocks with non-toxic water paint, trail rides, geo-caching, scavenger hunts, play in the mud, and so much more.  The kids still have some independent time reading, listening to music, or just playing with toys and we still have some quiet adult time after the kids are tucked in for the night sitting around the campfire.  We love this family time and tend to spend most of our time camping during the warm season.

What does your family like to do during the warm season?

Take Care,
D

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The devestation world-wide has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. Especially since the fires in Slave Lake because that is hitting pretty close to home for us. When I saw this post from


Tales of a Ranting Ginger
I wanted to spread the word.
Tales of a Ranting Ginger: The Canadian Red Cross in Your Community: "While watching the news last night I realized that our country and our community is in need more than ever. Devastation has hit many reg..."

Monday, May 16, 2011

This coming weekend is the May long weekend celebrating Victoria Day.  This weekend in our climate signals the first weekend where you “should” be safe to plant your gardens and there usually is no frost from the nights.  Many people also make it the beginning of the camping season. 
This weekend, we will be taking the family out camping.  It's time to stock and prepare our RV for boondocking.  Boondocking is camping amongst nature without the use of designated campgrounds or hook-ups.  It can also be known as “dry camping”.  In our case, as my husband puts it, “rough it smoothly”.  Although we have a number of beautiful campsites nearby, we cannot take our ATVs.  We have a solar panel on our RV to charge our batteries and we bring everything we might need with us to the site including a portable fire pit.  We feel it is important not to impact the environment with our activities so we ensure that nothing is changed or affected and that we bring back everything we took out.
What does your family do for the beginning of the warm season?  How do you plan to spend your long weekend?
Take Care,
D

Monday, May 9, 2011

The kids and I sorted and returned all of our beverage containers.  We have a deal in our home that if the children help to sort and return the containers that they can split the money and we will not take a share.  If the children want something that is over and above their basic needs, they need to purchase those items with their own money.  Bottle recycling along with their bi-weekly allowence is how they currently choose to earn that money.  Some of the major items the children have bought are C’s iPhone and R’s used dirt bike.  We’re hoping that this will teach them how to save and be responsible with their money.
What kinds of things do you do with your children to learn about money or finance?
Take Care,
D

Friday, May 6, 2011

All moms who are dedicated to do right by their children and to do the best with what they have deserve a gold star.  Most of us are pretty hard on ourselves and find faults in our parenting or think of all the “should haves”.
Take a minute to think about your children.  What do you love most about your children?  I guarantee, if you had not done such a good job at parenting them, they wouldn’t be the way they are.  So pat yourself on the back for a job well done and remember what Oprah says.... we “do the best with what we have” and really, who could ask for anything more.  Good Job Mom!

Take Care,
D

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My favourite Mother’s Day activity was the year we made Salt-dough Handprints.  It’s been a fabulous memory.  I hung it on my wall and every time I walk by it I think about what it was like when the kids were that small.  Click HERE for instructions on how Preschool Rock advises and vary as your family sees fit.  Have fun!

Take Care,
D

Monday, May 2, 2011

Me & My Mom
With Mother’s Day around the corner, I have been thinking about my Mom a lot lately.  She is a spectacular woman and I know I would not be the person I am without her influences throughout my life…even when I was a bratty teen who thought she was soooo mature and knew everything and parents were soooo dumb.  Well I now see the err of my ways.  Becoming a mother and now having a teen-aged daughter enlightens me in ways I never imagined when I was a teenager myself.  I get why I had to call to tell mom where I’d be and why I got grounded for being a smart-mouth and why respect was so important.  I must say, I see myself in my daughter and my mother in myself as I have now begun this phase in my own life.  I hope to parent half as well as my mother did and get through all the parenting phases as well as she has.  I also would like to formally apologize to my Mom for everything I put her through as a child, mostly a teen, because, I get it now.  I love you and thank you for making me, well, me.
Take Care,
D

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