Monday, June 30, 2008

Sending Canada Day Greetings

Happy Birthday Canada!!


Click Here (I know....I've already posted a Canada Day post but saw this and thought it was cute)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Canada Day!! Proud to be Canadian!

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As Canada Day is fast approaching, I've been reflecting on why I'm proud to be Canadian and what makes this country of ours, so great.

Many reasons come to mind, but a few off the top of my head....

1) Our universal health care system. I am thankful all Canadians, regardless of their financial situation, are able to go to a Dr. or the emergency room, whenever we need to. No system is perfect and ours does have some problem areas, but generally speaking it's works well. One of the arguments I quite often hear is about our waiting times, but if you compare private care, it may not be as bad as it seems. I recently read an account of a person who had to rely on private health insurance coverage. The battle went on for years as to whether a certain medical procedure was needed. After years of fighting and losing the battle with the insurance company, the person finally opted to pay out-of-pocket. Immediately after the procedure was done, the person had relief, feeling better than they had in years. So while our waiting times may be a few weeks to a few months, it certainly beats years and all the stress of dealing with an insurance company.

2) Our social programs. There are many but one off the top of my head --Maternity/Paternity leaves. They are now one full year for new moms/dads. (My mom told me when I was born, she got about six weeks off. Wow, wonder what she did witha all that time off??)

3) Our overall cultural attitude towards guns. I saw a recent website that was all about guns. It even had a section on how to successfully conceal your gun on your body ---- like at church when somebody tries to give you a hug. So glad this is not an issue for us.

4) The cultural and physical beauty of our country. From east to west and all points in between, all regions are so vastly different.

5) Our role in the helping of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Here is a link to a CBC story and this one reviews of a book written on the topic. I had hoped to link to a CBC documentary I saw, but am unable to find it. While these links speak specifically of Newfoundland's help (all planes in flight had to land here and most of the planes, if not all, were American), the rest of our country's help was astounding throughout the whole tragedy.

5) All of the freedoms we enjoy every day.

Happy Birthday Canada!!!

Eh? ;-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The 'new' guy in our life

The way he has looked for most of the winter....


An in between haircut....


The finished product....


Well....ok....he's not really a 'new' guy....he just looks like one.

Many of Jake's friends have been getting their hair cut (or should I say shaved) for the summer. He'd been trying to decide if he wanted his hair cut and if so, how much. Apparently, not an easy decision.

He finally decided today was the day!

He sat rigidly on the stool as I took the first swipe.

"STOP!!", he yelled.

So, I stopped. He checked in the mirror before giving me the ok to continue. This pattern of "STOP" continued for four or five swipes before he felt comfortable enough for me to finish.

Upon finishing, he checked things over quite thoroughly. He even asked if I'd like him to pay me for the haircut. He was quite pleased with his new 'do'. He immediately headed out to show all the neighbours.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I've won an award!



Becky, over at A Peek Inside Our World, has awarded me with this award.

Thanks, Becky!

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***Start Copy***
Now, here are the rules and regulations, as well as my nominees for the next five deserving winners of the Arte y Pico Award:
1) Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award (http://arteypico.blogspot.com/)
***END COPY***
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Only problem is....I know sooo many great bloggers, I can't narrow it down to just 5. So.....therefore I pass this award on to all of the great blogs I read (and you all know who you are)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Visitors from B.C. -- West meets East!!! (click to enlarge pics)









Woohoo!!

We had visitors here, on our little piece of The Rock ---- and they came all the way from B.C.!!!

A homeschooling family who live in British Columbia on the west side of Canada, paid us a visit on Tuesday evening. They are a family of seven and they've been making their way across Canada in a motor home --- their "Ultimate Canadian Geography Field trip".

We've 'known' them for quite awhile through a Canadian Homeschooling Board which both families belong to. Seeing as we made a similar trip in 2006, we'd been quite interested in their trip. We'd been following their story as they made preparations etc., but lost contact with them once they left their home. Fortunately through the internet, we were able to re-establish contact. By this time though, they'd traveled a lot of the way and were already in Newfoundland.

We eagerly waited for them to drive across the island, hoping they'd have time for a visit with us. The kids were beside themselves with excitement, when the family called to say they were near to us. We were finally going to meet them in real life!

I was a little concerned about the directions I'd given them. Being in a big motor home (27' I believe), I didn't want them to end up on the road to Cape St. Francis. Let's just say, it's not really a road for a 27' motor home. But....all was well, my directions must have been ok because they found us with no problem.

Their five kids and our three hit it off immediately --- almost like they'd been life long buddies. As the kids talked/played downstairs, the adults chatted over tea upstairs. Time flies and before we knew it, the time was past midnight. As Larry had to work the next day and the kids were getting tired, we all decided to call it a night.

In the morning we had a breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, muffins, juice and of course coffee. Larry was not too impressed he had to head off to work....but what can you do? After breakfast, Dennis headed into 'town' to have the oil changed in the motor home. Sandra and I did dishes and chatted, while the dc hung out.

Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been all that great here in NL this spring. After coming all this way, they'd wanted to see at least one iceberg. With all the fog/cloud/rain.....they hadn't had any success. They even visited iceberg alley...but the fog was just too thick. I hoped things could be different for them on this side of the island. I so wanted them to see an iceberg, even one (I was beginning to think a bergy bit would be better than nothing) .....they're just so impressive to see.

Wednesday morning didn't look any more promising. When we awoke, it was drizzling and the fog was so thick, we couldn't even see the ocean from our house. But...as the morning went on....the fog started to lift and before we knew it, the sun was out and the skies were blue!!!

We went out back to the look out and then down to the lower look out before deciding to venture out on a trail. About a week ago there had been an iceberg along that trail and I was hoping it would still be there, at least some of it.

As we made our way along the trail, I sent the boys ahead up over the rocks. As they approached the top, I could tell by the "Woohoos" and the "WOWs" the iceberg must still be there --- although it did enter my head there wasn't actually anything there and they were just playing a joke on us. Thankfully, they weren't. Not only was it still there, but it had moved in closer to shore and even though we were up quite high, we still had a front row view! Off in the distance, we even spotted what we believe were some whales --- Bonus!!!

After seeing Nature's travelling art show, we headed back for our house. They had other destinations to get to and needed to move on. It was sad seeing them go --- Jake cried and had a long face for a big part of the afternoon, he really missed them. It was great meeting fellow Canadian homeschoolers and sharing our iceberg excitement with them.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day (click to enlarge pics)

On our way to lunch, (Larry with his new T Shirt on)






My Dad (the Grandpa we called), my step-mom and Jake (taken a year ago on Jake's birthday)

We like to celebrate holidays here. Father's Day is no exception. The kids are always buzzing with excitement as the day approaches --- making cards for Dad, deciding what gifts they can get or make, deciding where we will take him for lunch, generally just brainstorming ideas on what things they can do for Dad.

We started the day off with presents. Brittney made the coffee and Larry had a cup while he sat back in his favourite chair to open his presents. Jake made a gift basket for Larry, full of chips and various chocolates. Brittney bought him a t shirt. Tyler gave him a red baseball cap that says CANADA on it. I gave him a gift certificate for his favourite restaurant. The kids each made him a card.

The gift opening was followed by breakfast -- a fruit tray, danishes (apple, cherry and lemon), muffins (berry medley and wholewheat raspberry), juice and of course, more coffee. After breakfast was over, Tyler washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen while he sent Larry to relax with another cup of coffee.

After breakfast was over and the kitchen cleaned, a phone call to Grandpa in Ontario was made. The kids had been watching the clock as they were eager to call and talk to him. Ontario is 1.5 hours behind us and we have to be careful to not phone too early. Once 8:30 our time arrived, up went the phone and the call was made. Everyone had a chat with Grandpa and wished him a good day.

The rest of the morning was spent doing various activities. Brittney had her 'job' of feeding/playing with the neighbour's cats to do. Jake...well he was busy being Jake. Tyler and Larry had a couple of things to take care of.

We finished off our celebration with a late lunch. Larry picked the restaurant and we all headed off for there. On the way home we stopped for some ice cream.

All in all, I think he had a good day.

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Another one gone...

Tyler receiving his diploma




Brittney receiving her diploma



Jake mid-flight after receiving his grade 4 diploma



It's hard to believe that, not only has another year gone but also our first year here on The Rock.

Tyler has been finished his bookwork for some time now. Brittney finished it all on Thursday. Jake....well let's just say we're hopeful he'll finish in time to start the next grade come September (well ok, it's not *that* bad....but I'd hoped to have all the formal bookwork part done by the end of May. Oh well...maybe next year).

Friday night was the end-of-year homeschooling ceremony, which is hosted by our local homeschooling support group.

The evening started with a program --- those who wanted to perform could. Some children played the piano, some read stories they had written, some read stories from books, some sang, one girl performed a ballet dance, there was a Judo demonstration, one girl played the flute. The performance part of the evening ended with two girls singing a duet -- Ode to Newfoundland.

Tyler, Brittney and Jake had all signed up to play the piano. Upon our arrival, we noticed it was actually a keyboard instead of a piano. This caused a bit of panic among all of them for a few reasons. First of all, they have never really played a keyboard and were concerned about the differences in touch, sound etc.

Then, Tyler noticed there was no real place to set his music up on, only a single music stand which had been pushed up against it. This would create a problem as he had four pages of music. On a regular piano, there is ample room to accommodate all music pages....not so on the stand. After a bit of discussion, it was decided Larry would act as his official page turner. This worked fairly well, although Tyler had to nod a few times before Larry got the page turned. The emcee commented on Larry's great page-turning skills and he also thanked Tyler for playing.

Brittney played her piece well. Being able to see under the keyboard, I was surprised at how long her legs are. She's come a long way since her first year at piano, where her feet didn't even reach the floor.

Then there was Jake's performance. Past experience has taught me to get nervous when Jake leaves my side to go up in front of a crowd. This is his arena --- he's in his element and there's always this thought in my head, we may not get him down. He has never disappointed me and this time was no exception....he played his piece not once, not twice, but three times. Over and over....and I was starting to wonder how we were going to get him to stop. Thankfully, he stopped on his own and I don't think anyone caught on.

After the program part there was a slide presentation. We submitted various photos taken over the year showing our 'homeschoolers in action'. These were all put together in the form of a slide show.

The last part of the evening was to hand out diplomas. They were all called up on stage, according to grade. Most students, after receiving their diploma walked down the stairs, all except for Jake. That would be too easy....so he took a run and then jumped off the stage over four steps.

The evening ended with food and a time for socializing. It was a great end to our formal learning year.

Learning happens here in the summer, but in a different format than bookwork. It's all hands on and traditionally, we've travelled in the summer. We've visited all the provinces in this great country of ours. The last several years our travelling stint has ended with an extended stay in Newfoundland. This year will be somewhat different....as we now live here. Also, the dynamics of our family are starting to change...they are getting older...wanting to find jobs etc. We will travel around our new provincial home a bit --- we have a lot to learn about 'home'. Aside from that, I know we'll still be learning.....in ways we've yet to discover.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hangin' out with Mom

up at the lookout



Can you see Jake?


It was a beautiful day on here on The Rock the other day. I thought I'd take advantage of it by spending some time out back by the ocean. Jake thought that would be kind of a cool thing to do, so he asked if he could come with me.
I was pleased...not too sure how many other 10 year old boys want to hang out with Mom....but he seemed more than happy to come along.

We went to the look out point which is quite high up. We sat on the bench, chatted, played several games of Rock, Paper, Scissors and of course watched the ocean.

After a bit we decided to head down to the lower point. We also sat on that bench too and played the same games. Then, Jake showed me how he could climb a tree.....hmmmm....oh my....not sure where he learned that.

After awhile there, we headed back to the house. I had supper to prepare, he had other things to take care of.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Piano Recital Day

Tyler with his piano teacher



Brittney with her piano teacher



Jake with his piano teacher


VIDEOS
click on arrow button in lower left hand screen to hear them

Tyler

video

Brittney,

video

Jake
video

(Sorry about the quality of these videos, there were windows all behind them and the light really drowns the kids out. Also, I'm not sure why the whole video won't upload to the computer. Tyler's piece was over 3 minutes long and Brittney's was over a minute, but only 42 seconds would upload. Oh well...)

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It's hard to believe another year has come and gone.

It's been such a year of transition that none of us were quite as focused as we have been in past years. Nevertheless, they did work hard over the year.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Guess what we saw more of today?? (click to enlarge)





We hadn't seen any icebergs for a few weeks, but today when we woke up....there was another huge one anchored outside our window.

I still find them amazing!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Opening Day pics, Cookie-Selling Season 2008

What could be better....selling cookies, by the ocean on a beautiful spring day....


Enlisting the sisters......


Customers came in cars.....


Customers came on foot.....

Opening Day, Cookie-Selling Season 2008

video

Jake had decided that cookie-selling season should now be open. He asked his friend if he'd like to join the company as a partner to which the friend agreed. There was some concern on Jake's part if the friend would show up on time to bake the cookies --- Jake takes his job very serious. After some tense moments on Jake's part and a few phone calls to remind, remind and remind his friend some more, the friend showed up at the agreed upon time. Using his top secret cookie recipe, they baked cookies --- chocolate, chocolate chip and regular chocolate chip. After baking and cooling, came the packaging, complete with a pretty ribbon to make it look nice.

Ahhh...yes...Pouch Cove Cookie Company was born.

We loaded up the car with the cookies, a makeshift table to put the cookies on, a large platter to display the cookies, the sign...of course...., two lawn chairs for the salesmen to sit on, some change and of course a lot of enthusiasm.

We went right to the down town core, where they immediately set up shop and got right to work. And.....work they did. As each car passed by they jumped, waved their sign, waved their arms and yelled. At one point, they brought their sisters into the fold to hold the sign, while they climbed higher in order to obtain more attention. They had customers come on foot, drive-up in cars and on four-wheelers.

After a couple of hours, they decided they'd had enough. We packed up and came home to count the day's earnings. I decided to donate the cost of the ingredients back to them, so there were no expenses for them to pay. They made a total of $12.00 for the day...which meant $6.00 each. Not bad for a first day and before tourist season has really arrived.

Not exactly Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or the Queen's financial status..well not yet anyway. Stay tuned though.