Friday, March 11, 2011

We're going to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida!

It's time for a vacation.  Fred has been working ridonculous hours, and we've been saving up!  Of course there are many places we could go to, but we all agreed that it would be the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida!  (Just for ease of use, from now on I'm going to refer to it as WDW, okay?)

Originally we had planned on going to California this summer, from San Diego to San Francisco and everything in between.  But with Cars-Land opening at the Disneyland Resort in 2012, we decided to postpone that trip.

The last time we travelled to WDW was in December 2008.  It was time we went again.  This time though, we're going to make the drive home part of the adventure.  Wait a minute!  Did you say DRIVE?  Yes, yes I did.  We drive to Florida from Toronto.  It's all part of the adventure.  This time though, instead of driving straight through to go home we're planning on making two stops.  One at Patriot’s Point near Charleston, SC and one on Delaware Bay, somewhere.

Patriot's Point is an aircraft carrier/museum that Fred and I have wanted to visit for while now.  On our way home from Myrtle Beach, SC (a pre-kids trip) we visited Battleship North Carolina and we really enjoyed it.  (This was also the first time I saw a Piggly-Wiggly Store & an Alligator living in the wild).  We thought this is sorta-kinda on the way home, so why not?  Since we're homeschooling now, it seems like a fun field-trip.

The big deal for us though is going to Delaware Bay to help with the census/survey of Horseshoe Crabs.  We watched "Nature" on PBS a while ago and the kids were mesmerized. You can watch the full episode here.  I think I've found the best place to see and help with the horseshoe crabs, and now have to plan our stay.  We're all really excited, and I think it will ease our transition from WDW to home.  I think this is going to be a highlight for the kids too.  We've read so much about the Horseshoe Crabs, and to make it a "real" activity is going to complete one of our homeschool tasks for this year.

Now, where to stay?  I guess I'll be checking out TripAdvisor tonight, while Fred's at work and try to find a great hotel, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  I love planning vacations - wish I could do it more often.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homeschooling. The Beginning.

I've been homeschooling the kids for the last month or so.  One day I'll go into detail about the reasons, but for now I'll say that we're very unhappy with our local school, the administration and many of the children that attend the school.  The administration also refused our request for a transfer to another school.  We can't afford a private school, and I'm not sure that's a solution we would like anyway.

So, we're homeschooling.  It's a decision we didn't take lightly.  This means that I won't be able to work outside the home, and with Fred's travel/work schedule this means very little, if any “me” time. 

I truly think we've make the best decision.  The Padawan is enjoying what we're doing, even if I have to remind him that we're homeSCHOOLING, not just playing video games and building with Lego.  The Princess really liked school, so I have to try a little harder to make it interesting for her.  She also likes that we can do whatever we want to, or not do each day.

I've been browsing many homeschooling websites, and took the advice of many sites to not buy too many things all at once.  I have quite a collection of small workbooks that we've used before, and took advantage of a few websites printable worksheets; but we finally went to an educational store and bought math workbooks and English workbooks comprised of Canadian curriculum.  We've also used the Library and internet for many resources. 

The kids have chosen topics they would like to learn more about.  They've also decided that planting a garden (flowers in the front and veggies in the back) would be a great idea.  We're also going to buy a membership to the Science Centre and use that often.  We’re also going to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in May and plan to include a stop at Delaware Bay on the way back to participate in the Horseshoe crab census/survey, this is something that the kids have wanted to do for a while.  We watched a documentary about the relationship between Horseshoe Crabs and Red Knots (birds) that has stuck in their minds for over a year.  Fred and I are pretty excited about this too!

But getting going in the morning is a challenge.  I have to focus on getting our school-work done in the morning, first thing.  The kids are most productive then, and there's less arguing about what needs to be accomplished.  It seems like we've had so many distractions lately getting in the way.  We took an impromptu trip to Montreal, while Fred was working there.  (We did learn quite a bit, stuff we wouldn't have been able to do if we had been stuck at home)  The weather hasn't been cooperating either.  I was hoping for a few days of snowy perfect weather, to use for animal tracking.  But lately it's been miserable and raining.  We go outside when we can, but I can't wait for Spring. 

Most days I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing!  But the kids are happy, they're learning and we're taking this one day at a time. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Red Velvet Momma Loves, Loves, Loves Quebec Maple Syrup

*** I'll be posting some of my favourite things on my blog.  I haven't received compensation or incentive to review any products.  Some of these goodies are found in the USA, so for my Canadian friends - you'll have to hunt these down!  Some products are uniquely Canadian. ***

It's that time of year again!  Spring!  (Well, almost) Here in Eastern Canada that means Maple Syrup.  Cabane à Sucre.  Sugaring Off.  Sugar Shack.  Whatever you want to call it, it means lots of scrumptious, sweet, Maple Syrup.

I love a great day at a Cabane à Sucre in Quebec.  Where you eat until you have to undo your pants and everything is covered or baked with Maple Syrup.  We're lucky here; the beginning of Spring not only means mud, the smell of dog poop and crocus buds.  But sugary confections baked with Maple Syrup.  I prefer the "real" stuff.  Not "sirop de poteau" (fake syrup - telephone pole syrup!)  

As soon as I see displays of these glorious cans I stock up!  I only buy Quebec Maple Syrup.  The Ontario stuff just doesn't taste the same to me, and yes Vermont has some great Maple Syrup - but it too pales in comparison to sirop d'érable.

So go ahead, make some maple baked goods, pour it on your pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage.  Dip your finger in the liquid gold or pour a little in a shot-glass and enjoy!  Spring only happens once a year . . .