Saturday, May 31, 2014

March in Pictures

The beginning of March we finally got the right snow to make snowmen and Bug was thrilled, she had been gifted a snowman kit earlier in the winter and tried many times to use it but the snow was just not sticky enough.
I am always on the lookout for new games at the thrift shops and found Jenga this time.
Bug started Ju jitsu classes, she loves just about anything to do with martial arts. When the little village we live closest too decided to start these classes I was so happy as it is only a 8 minute drive away. The majority of the activities they want to do are in the nearest city Leduc which is a half hour away.
We bought a fancy new 10 tray dehydrator that is going to save me a lot of work. First thing I made was paleo skittles and OMG YUM!! The Minions LOVED them so much and they are super healthy.
The main ingredient is baked sweet potato, then you add friut, and some coconut butter, puree and dry. We made blueberry vanilla, lemon lime and strawberry raspberry to start with and they were all keepers.
 This is what they look like before they are dried. I am experimenting with different flavors but so far everyone I have made the Minions have loved. Here is where I found the recipe Paleo Skittles

Gridding his Aura sketch
 King Connaher has been working toward his certification as a crystal healer and is a natural. He used the aura sketch he had gotten in the fall to create a healing grid. I thought it was a brilliant idea and showed it to a friend who agreed. I then showed it to the lady who had done the sketch and she thought it was amazing as well and asked to share his idea on her website which is connected to facebook and from there it was shared with our greater community on various facebook sites. We are all so proud of him.
Bug's mosaic bunny
 Bug made another mosaic project this time a bunny to add to our Ostara decorations

The Minions decorated the house for Ostara and his year they noticed how the Sabbats are not lining up with the seasonal shifts like they used too and we dove into learning about climate change. It is a subject that they have heard a lot about but they wanted to take a much deeper look at it this time. Minion lead learning at its best :) Daddy is a weather watcher and Grampa was by trade as part of his job as a Flight services specialist a weather man :) He would have been proud of them. Daddy and the Minions spent many hours watching documentaries and surfing the net looking at various old documents and sites. It is an ongoing quest with some very different ideas and so many sides but they have all decided that we need people to wake up to what is going on in our natural world before it is too late! Their Grampa fought so hard for the environment here in Canada and almost every thing that was put in place to keep it safe is being undone or is already gone. Our vast water resources, animal resources and trees are being destroyed at such an alarming rate that we are worried the tipping point has come and we are going over. Balance needs to be restored and my Minions want to help :D Sustainability needs to become everyones way of life not just some of us and the consumer driven lifestyle we are mostly all guilty of has to change to do that. 
We can and the Minions have learned all about different preserving methods I was gifted a book by my Mom for my birthday a couple years ago called Preserving food with out freezing or canning by Deborah Madison and it is full of time tested preserving methods. In the fall we put down many many jars of crabapples and have enjoyed the fruits of our labors all winter. The more we can grow and wildcraft on our own the less burden on the system we are and those resources can be used on people who really need them. I am a big believer in growing your own food and think that if everyone were responsible for producing even a fraction of their own food we would be in a much better place as a whole.
I added three new statues to my Goddess collection. The bronze cast Maiden, Mother and Crone.
 We decided to tap our Birch trees and make Birch syrup
We searched our woods for trees big enough to tap and found only four. We do have quite a few Birch in our woods but not that many are old. You need them to be at least six inches around so the tree is not hurt.
 Daddy and Bug found one that was just big enough
 Zed used to go out with Grampa and Gramma and tap the maple trees when he was little. Here he is passing on what he learned to Willowtree

Bug amongst the Birch
Bug using a hammer to tap the tap in gently
Bucket on the tap waiting for the sap to flow

We saw a lot of wild rabbit signs in our woods and some deer tracks.

We decorated Ostara eggs three different ways this year, coloring with q-tips, the shaving cream method and just regular dying. The shaving cream method is by far bugs favorite. 
Shaving cream eggs drying
Q-tip colored eggs
Finished eggs
Ostara bunny loot
King Connaher sporting his Ostara crown lol
King Connaher has an amazing sense of humor and is always down for a good laugh. He amuses his little sister greatly and enjoys doing it.

My Ostara gift from the minions, cute eh! We celebrated Ostara with an indoor egg hunt as we have three feet of snow still. Had a wonderful brunch and then went in to the city and spent the day with our community just hanging out and having fun.
Bugs birthday is in the beginning of April,  this year she got something very special for her birthday and she got it early. Meet Finnigan, Finn for short he is her new long haired miniature Dachshund puppy. Now King Connaher, Willowtree and Bug all have their own puppy and we are full up!! No more dogs in this house!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Our Imbolc Birthday celebrations started as they usually do with a candle making session. Zed had a pretty low key birthday choosing to just have family, his girlfriend and his best friend there, we had Whiskey cake and a great meal.
Zed and his girlfriend making candles

13 layer spell candle
Bug has graduated this year from doing gel candle and rolling beeswax sheets to melt and pours. She has been watching us since she was born and actively participating since she was about four so she has a lot of experience under her little belt. She did a great job pouring eight candles all by herself. She learned about dying of the wax and did her own color combos. 

We made cookies on a stick and decorated them for Lupercalia and had the annual learning session on Valentines and why we do not celebrate it but instead the much older and deeper custom of Lupercalia. 
Bug continues to explore alternative energy and plays with her snap circuits kit at least once a month making new creations every time. 
We took some special family time to remember Grampa on his birthday and the first born was home for a visit and told us all about his job on the oil rigs, we had a debate on fracking. 
The first born brought a gift for Grampa
Apple turnovers made by Willowtree
Willowtree made lunch for our homeschooling liaison when we went for our mid year reviews. A very tasty pasta salad, two kinds of deviled egg and apple turnovers for dessert. She was very impressed with her cooking :)
Bug doing bookwork.
Zed's favorite snack, a fried egg

My handsome little man Zeddicus Zool Zorander

January in Pictures

As per tradition in our home we made Pot Stickers for our New Year's feast and brought in the New Year with the Scottish custom of First Footing. The camera finally died so I have been using Mom's for now which means even less pictures because I have to run downstairs to get it when I need it and that interrupts our learning. Hopefully we will have a new one soon but it is pretty far down on the list of things we really need to spend money on right now.
Bug in her new Nerdy bunny sweater
 Bug is growing so fast and growing out of all of her clothes again. I rarely by brand new but stumbled upon a clearance sale and found this adorable sweater for four dollars and could not resist.
I picked this kit up in the fall for something to do on cold winters days. We hit our January cold snap and i think -42 C qualifies for a cold winter day.
There were six different gem grade sandpapers
It took a lot longer than Bug thought it should but she stuck to it and sanded her Amber down so it was clear enough that she could see the plant matter inside.

She thought it was neat how the sandpapers are water proof so that you can sand under the water. None of the Minions realized the work behind making the crystals and gems they love so much look as pretty as they do.
Her finished Amber
Bug and Daddy built an igloo

Bug started to learn to play the recorder and mastered Mary had a little lamb
We did an experiment to see if bubbles would freeze in -40 C weather. It was very cool lol and YES they freeze.
Frozen bubble
We learned all about keeping warm when our boiler quit and we had to wait a week for a new one during our January cold snap.We were so thankful for our fireplace but it was not designed to keep our whole house warm. We got by with space heaters and lots of layers. It sparked a lot of discussion and learning about pioneer life and how they kept warm when they first came to Canada and how the natives kept warm that lived here before we came. We watched a documentary called First Winter on Canada's history focusing on a family of Irish immigrants trying to survive there first winter here.
Geology like the human body is a subject we have on going lessons in and using another kit I picked up in the fall at Scholar's choice we did some experiments on the florescence of minerals using a UV lamp. The Minions then used the UV lamp to see how clean the house really is, they had a lot of fun with this and spent the majority of an afternoon checking things out under the UV light.
Bug did some color mixing experiments and is always fascinated in how two colors mix together to create all new colors.
Keeping in touch with our ancestry we celebrated Robbie Burns night with traditional foods made vegetarian and a dramatic poetry reading of "A Red Red Rose" by King Connaher.
Oat biscuits, Vegetarian haggis with a whiskey sauce, neeps and tatties.
As I have mentioned before we eat about 90% vegetarian and the only time we eat meat is usually at Sabbats or special occasions. Haggis is a very particular recipe and you cannot legally buy the proper ingredients where we live and we do not raise sheep (yet) so i decided to make a vegetarian version. It was a big hit and will be part of our permanent Robbie Burns night menu from now on. The trickiest part was trying to find a way to cook it. I wanted to boil it to keep as close to tradition as possible so I wrapped the oat, barley, herb,egg mash I created in saran wrap, secured the ends and boiled it....I thought it was pretty genius

 Can't celebrate Robbie Burns night without some good Scotch
We have celebrated Robbie Burns night in our family since before I can remember. In our home we still celebrate it but we also use it as an opportunity to remember and celebrate the Ancestors.

December in Pictures

We started December with a puppet show! Bug designed and made two different sets and preformed a puppet show about the changing of the seasons and....aliens LOL
Bug making sets for her puppet show

Winter set in the middle of its creation
 Our cat Meeka had a kitten. It's a boy and we named him Oliver Cat Pants
Oliver Cat Pants
Sadly four days after Oliver was born the neighbors dog killed Meeka :( We were devastated and got the dog catcher involved becuse this was not the first time thier dog has killed one of our cats. After everything nothing was done. Very typical of small town favoritism as our neighbors are part of a family that has been in the area for generations :( Willowtree took Oliver under her caring wing and bottle fed him every four hours, taught him to eat and use the litter box. He has grown big and strong and is the sweetest cat. Willow now has a dog and a cat.
The puppies looks are changing alot now
Chubbs Magoo

Brewski Bear
Spicy Nuts & Bolts

We made a bunch of snack foods to give as Yule gifts to friends and family.  Three kinds of nuts and bolts, peppermints, fudge, banana bread, candied orange peel, candied almonds and cookies.

Half spicy half regular in a nice winter themed plastic to give away at Yule
 Bug loves to sculpt and does it often. This time she made a Dalek. She gave it to me at Yule :) I do love The Doctor!!!

We made melt and pour soap and some lotion bars. I forgot to take pictures. I am having a lot of issues with our camera and we need a new one, it is a pain in the butt to use so a lot of the time we get doing something and are so engrossed in what we are doing that I totally forget to take pics. Sorry
We did a week long focus on the inner workings of the human body doing experiments on hinge and ball joints, synovial fluids, the lungs and diaphragm, the heart, balance and the inner ear and how sugars and starches react in the body. For Bug we used The Magic School Bus Human Body experiment Kit and the older Minions are working in The Neilson Biology textbook.
After learning about the Fukashima disaster and the plight of the Pacific seafood Bug asked if she could try Lobster as she might not have another chance. So we went all out and bought everyone in the family a live lobster and cooked them for our Yule dinner.

 I am a huge Doctor Who fan, actually we are all pretty big fans in our house. I saw a weeping angel tree topper craft online and had to do it!! So off to the second hand store I went to find the perfect angel to rip apart and create this!! I love it and have decided next year to do a Doctor themed tree  :)
Weeping angel tree topper I made
 Our small bathroom off our bedroom needs to be redone and I think i am going to do it Dr. Who themed.
We celebrated Yule. All the minions except the oldest were home for the holidays and our nephew came to stay as well.
The oldest called us on Yule to wish us a Merry Yule and give us some very big news! His girlfriend is expecting in June!! The Minions are very excited to be aunts and uncles.
We have yet to have our cold snap so the Minions have been going out almost every day to toboggan and build snow forts etc. They have built a complex of tunnels and rooms all over the front yard under the snow.
At the end of December my older sister had a stroke :( The Minions spent a few days learning about stroke and the causes and effects of them.
We are ready to take on 2014!!