Tuesday, February 11, 2014

She's Three

Last week my sweet girl turned three. In some ways, I'm still in shock. Three just seems so different. She had her first real friends and away from home birthday party. She was able to choose her cupcakes and balloon colors. At our family birthday dinner she even put the candles in her own cake. Looking back now it all seems like leaps and bounds ahead of her birthday last year.

It was a relatively simple birthday this year. She spent an afternoon playing with friends, getting facepaint on for the first time and sharing snacks and smiles with the people she loves. She also got another party with her family. We had dinner, cake and she got to open a few gifts from family. I was so pleased that I was able to complete a handmade gift for her just in time. I made her the Neighborly vest using one of her favorite colors. As I did in the days leading up to her birth, I try to always take the time to create something by hand and with love for her birthday.

I'm bursting with pride and admiration over the person she is becoming. She can make me laugh like no other and my heart now knows love like never before. Her birthday is such a special day for us both. The day we first laid eyes on each other. I'm so excited to continue this journey with her. Happy Birthday my darling!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ocean Unit

As with the rock unit, this study unit began with a field trip. We were lucky to have a long weekend with Daddy so we took a trip to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. It's one of our favorite places. As always, the favorite attraction was the touch pool. On this day the "candy cane" anemone was available for tickling. The pool has all kinds of creatures like urchins, sea cucumbers, anemones, starfish, little crustaceans, etc. I saw this trip as my chance to start talking about ocean life and studying it.

I went home and dug out all my ocean books, ocean stickers, ocean treasures and set up an ocean station. We did a match and identify activity for sharks and whales (yes we do have sharks in our coastal waters). We found a wonderful ocean puzzle from Cobble Hill Toys that is great for identification. Though, I'm so pleased at how much April has absorbed so far. She is able to find and identify the shells of muscles, oysters, and shore crabs.

We finished our unit with a few crafts. We used a dilapidated old egg carton and some pipe cleaners to make some anemones. As we were building them we talked about why anemones are bright colors, what they need their tentacles for and what they eat. We also did some ocean painting; octopus, harbour seal, whales. Watercolors were a wonderful way to illustrate the soft colors of the creatures in our sea. It was a fun and interesting unit for us all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Maple Syrup

This weekend we attended the Big Leaf Maple Syrup Festival at the BC Forest Discovery Centre. It wasn't the best weather but it certainly was a interesting afternoon. I've always been interested in tapping maple trees and make your own syrup. However, since we reside on the west coast of Canada, it didn't seem like something within our scope of homesteading. Most maple syrup that you see in stores around here is from eastern Canada. I suppose that this festival was a learning experience for me, more than I expected.

We started our visit with a train ride through the park. We were lucky that they decided to use the open coach cars even though it was chilly. It was beautiful to see all the swans on the lake and deer in the fields. It certainly set the mood for the afternoon. Next we sampled some maple tea, watched the sap boiling process and enjoyed some maple flavored cookies.

For me, the best part was the walking tour through the woods. We looked about for a maple tree worthy of tapping and a volunteer showed us how to tap the tree. We got to look at all the different equipment for collecting the sap. The flow was not good on this particular day though. We haven't have the right weather for maple tapping. Our tour guide claims that we will have a late maple season this year. None-the-less we were able purchase a jar of Saltspring maple syrup.

We don't have maple trees on our property, nor do we have connections with some who does, so tapping maples will be a future endeavor. I feel a bit more confident that if did find a property in the future with maple trees that we could make our own syrup. I love days when I get the chance to absorb new information; especially when those days are spent with my little family.