Homeschool Field Trip: The Ontario Science Centre

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I've been MIA

So, I've been missing. 

I know darned well that this usually means death to a blog, but hopefully this is just a small blip in the scheme of things. 

I've been really busy over at The Canadian Homeschooler - trying to keep up and sharing some great resources for homeschoolers. I've just restarted homeschooling the boys too - after our winter break. (That's going to take some time to settle into.)

We've been having some fun adventures - first try skating, a field trip to the Science Centre, reviewing cool homeschool curriculum products, and enjoying time together as a family before J has to head back to work for the spring. 

I can't believe that Jr is already 11 months old. I swear I blinked and he grew up. I really don't remember the boys growing that fast. He's hilarious and cute and I have a whole list of things I never want to forget!

I've been trying to figure out what it is about blogging about family life that's got me kinda - meh. I realized what it is. Back when I started this blog in 2007 - I did it as a way to share life here for my family who lived away from us. And now, we have Facebook. I share all sorts of pictures and comments about our day on there, and it's instant and easy and everyone can see them. It's not quite the same as blogging, but it's pretty good!

Thanks for sticking with me.

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My 2014 Challenge

I've been trying to decide WHAT I'd like to do for the year 2014. I debated diving into a 365 day challenge - but I know myself and that I will easily lose focus and quit. 

Which got me thinking about the idea of breaking down the year into more managable challenges. So, each month I'm going to do a personal challenge for something new. Be that learning something, creating something, accomplishing something, doing something..... each month I'd like to ... well DO something. 

I'm excited to be working with DK Canada for some great books that will help me do my personal challenges. It's like they KNEW what I was thinking.... check out the new boutique they put together for this month!

I'm late already, but for the month of January I'm going to work on my house. It's SUCH a disaster and makes me stressed, overwhelmed, angry. It's sure not helping me get out of my current state of being down. 

So... starting tomorrow, I'm going to work on a 30 (or so) day challenge to get my house organized again. I'm planning to post here my successes/failures and we'll see how it goes. 
I found a couple of resources to use. 

1. Home Storage Solutions 101. The author of this site has made an amazing 52 week Organized Home Challenge and monthly 15 minute-a-day decluttering missions. I'd like to use this for teh whole year. I've printed off the one for January's 15 minute missions. It seems to be focused on the kitchen this month. Thankfully - this one doesn't actually dive into the "big" stuff until next week, so I'm not really too far behind! Yay!

2. A 30 Day House cleaning Challenge from the blog Angela Says. It looks like in January 2012, she decided to put forth a cleaning challenge. I kind of like her challenges, even though I'm afraid some of them might be more time consuming than I can do - but never-the-less - I'm interested!

 Happy New Year to you. :)

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Drowning and Empty

Can you see me? 

No. Me. The Me WAY down here. The Me buried way down here - almost lost and invisible? No, I didn't think so. I can't even see myself. 

I have been feeling like I'm being pulled under the current for a while now. Years maybe.... but I get these moments where I can breathe and I think I'm ok - only to be dragged back down to the bottom when I least expect it. The surface is getting harder and harder to break through. I know it's there somewhere. But maybe it's not worth the effort any more. Maybe it would be better to just give up, give in, sink to the bottom and just drown. 

Who am I, anyway? Do I even know? Do I remember?

All the things that I used to do, to be, to love are gone: my friends, my music, my church, my hobbies, my passions..... replaced with things I always wanted: my husband, my children. So why am I empty? 

An empty, hollow shell. I barely breathe. I barely feel. 

The emptiness is filled with anger, with a hardly controlled level of blinding rage, bursting at the seams and whipping into a wild flame at the smallest spark near the fuse, shooting pinpricks of pain to any nearby - lashing in recklessness to maim and to injure. The look in their eyes is enough. Rage replaced with regret and hopeless sorrow. Sobs and guilt - failure again. 

It's safer at the bottom. No one else gets hurt. No one sees. It's better not to feel. It's better to be dead inside. 

I think that's what I am.

Just a shadow. Watching the world go by like a shadow of myself. It smiles, it laughs, it encourages - but me... I'm down here. Curled up in the corner. Gasping for the surface. Giving in and going down.

Maybe it's just the lack of sleep. Or maybe it's just me. Who am I anyway? What am I doing here? 

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Army vs. Aliens - A Dice Game

My boys love playing battling games, so when I had the chance to check out this new Army vs  Aliens Dice Game series, I was super excited. And they were even MORE excited than that. It was one afternoon when the kids had their cousin over and were getting a tad more energetic than I was wanting to deal with that I pulled them out and let them play. 

The game comes with 18 dice - 9 a side. The team you choose depends on the package you get. There's Army and Aliens, Dinosaurs and Robots, Zombies and Wrestlers, or Ninjas and Pirates. On the dice are different "levels" within your team. You roll your dice (using your special cup) and then sort them out according to rank - then it's battle time. 

Thankfully, the game comes with cheat sheet cards that you can combine with any of the opposing team's cards to see what on their dice is comparable or beatable with your own army. The idea is to use the various dice to eventually capture all of your opponent's dice in order to win. 

It's a fun, quick game that appeals to the gamer and the warrior side of my boys. The only complaint was the noise from the rolling cups. ;) 

I love that when the game is over, there's a small lid that you can put on the cup and then snap the opposite cup on the other side of the lid to stack them together - keeping the dice and the game safe until the next war.

What did the boys love the best? The fact that they could combine every set and have an "epic battle!" I admit, this was fun, if a little confusing. I think they managed to figure it all out faster and more intuitively than I did. 

And, the other thing? This game is PTPA Approved! That means that other families like me have tested it out and given it a big thumbs up. 

To find out more about the game, visit the company's website:

In exciting news, one of my readers will win all four game titles in the Army Vs. Aliens series. A $60 value to one lucky winner! Open to the US and CAN. Ends December 30th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Reposted on PTPA's blog!

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The Gift of Books - from DK Canada

Well, the countdown is on until Christmas. Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? If not, I highly recommend checking out DK Canada's holiday gift boutique. There are a lot of fantastic books on sale that can be terrific gifts for just about anyone on your list! 

(I'm going to divulge some of the gifts I'm giving this year through this post, so hopefully they don't check my blog until after they get their gift!)

Middle loves LEGO - it's a passion of his. So, I was really excited to check out the LEGO Minifigures Year-by-Year book.  This book explains the history of the iconic LEGO minifigure from the early designs to today's characters. Did you know that they originally toyed around with the idea of having girl mini-figs legs be different than that of their male counterparts? Also - that not every figure that's LEGO is considered a mini-figure?

The book is THICK and includes 3 bonus minifigures to add to your collection. As usual for a LEGO book - witty comments abound. Large, brightly coloured photography offset with excellent information make this book a keeper! I think he's going to love it.

Now, there's someone in my family who is a total geek. (Wait. Most of us are..... so phew! that will help me not draw attention to anyone in particular....). When I saw these two books on the holiday sales page, I knew they were instant gifts. 

First off, let me say that BOTH of these books are works of art. They are GORGEOUS. Both of them came in their own protective  box sleeve. The DC comics book has a special pocket inside the front cover with 2 art samples that you can frame or save. Inside these books you will be absolutely blown away by the quality of workmanship and information about everything to do with the history of these two comic industry icons. 

Who is on your list still? 

The boutique has something for art & music lovers, science enthusiasts, craft crazies, Whovians and Jedis, and kids of all ages. Check it out. Save 30% off all these titles

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My Top Three Faves for the 2013 Review Crew

Over the last year, I've been very privileged to have been part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew. Our family got to test out lots of fantastic products and share them with you. Now that the year is all finished and we're looking back at everything we've done, the crew have all voted and come up with their list of favourite products/companies. 

 I'd like to give my opinion on my top three Crew Review products for 2013. We had a lot of great products, and are still using many of them in our school and day-to-day life, but these three in particular were outstanding for us.

#1. Bible Study Guide. I love, love, LOVE this curriculum. It's exactly what I need for my boys. I'm looking forward to continuing with it. They love that it's cartoony and interactive. I love that it's done in bit-sized pieces, each story dug in deep and they are learning about the Bible! 

#2. Chess House. This has been a blast to play together. chess is a great game for logical thinking and just for straight out fun. I hope that Big and I can continue to keep playing together. Maybe I'll even be able to convince J to challenge the boy soon. 

#3. Picaboo Yearbooks. I can't ooze enough about my yearbook. In fact, I made another one! I seriously considered applying to be part of the sales team because I felt so passionately excited about this product. Beautiful, creative, fun to make, easy to use, and something anyone could find a reason for. 

I'm excited to announce that I will be on the crew again for 2014 - but this time, you will find all my reviews over at my other site - The Canadian Homeschooler. I felt it was appropriate to do the reviews there. 

 Looking forward to a new year with the crew and sharing some great products with you! 

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