Vases for Mom; Glass Painting

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I found the idea in a pioneer crafting book and right away I knew it would make a great gift for Mother’s Day. I found the glass paints and vases at Michael’s craft... READ MORE

Cardboard Challenge

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The school that I teach at decided to hold a school-wide “Cardboard Challenge“, inspired by the youtube video “Caine’s Arcade“. There were many reasons why we decided to take on this challenge, but... READ MORE

Hands-on Inspiration

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It seems like an old concept, “hands-on” learning; but isn’t that what the new curriculum in British Columbia is really all about?  I always feel inspired by the local “Hyde Creek Salmon Festival”.... READ MORE

Weekend Away

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I enjoy a fall weekend away, just to relax, spend time together and to notice the changes of the season. Fall walks are my favourite kinds of walks.  Through the woods, or even along... READ MORE

Cloudy summer day? Bake a pie.

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 We’ve had plenty of days like this lately, but in my opinion, it’s the best weather for berry-picking.   We have farms like these a few blocks from our house, which makes it convenient.  And... READ MORE

First Days of Summer…

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  We’ve been starting our summer out right with all of our favourite beginning of summer activities.  This is the Point Roberts Marina.  I’ve been getting more time to run.  Here’s my favourite route... READ MORE

Explorer Art: Northwest Passage

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          My students have been beyond excited to learn about the first Canadian Explorers, especially the stories, the risk and the adventure.  I came upon this book, called Northwest... READ MORE

Spool Knitting or Tube Knitting

posted in: Crafts for Kids | 0

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This summer, the kids really got into tube knitting after trying it out at a the Maritime Festival in the summertime.

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What fascinated me is that the artist used a home-made knitting tool, that she had created from coloured card-stock, popsicle sticks and patterned tape.

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We discovered some patterned duct tape at Walmart and used that when we made our own at home.  It’s great to have home-made ones because you can use them with a large group and even have older kids make their own tubes.

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The knitting itself is very easy.  You just tie the wool on (we discovered you have to use regular wool, not thick wool), loop the wool around each one of the popcicle sticks, then put the wool on top of the loop and lift the loop over the line of wool.  Some very clear instructions about how to do the knitting can be found here at Craftinsanity.com.

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Keep doing that over and over, pulling tight until all the wool is used up.  My only question is, what to do with the knitted tube when finished?

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I think my favourite idea so far is to make a knitted cactus!:)

Building Bridges

posted in: Lesson Plans | 0

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During the month of April the students completed the “bridge challenge” which was a summary of all of our learning about Structures.

IMG666They made a plan to design their own bridge, based on some samples of bridges that we had discussed in class, such as a suspension bridge.

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The bridges had to span at least 30cm and hold the weight of two cars.

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The students were provide with some materials and were also asked to bring in some materials from home if they chose to.

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Many of them worked with their parents on the projects at home.  The final bridges were on display for our student-led conferences.

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The students were very proud and excited about what they had designed and created.  All of them met the criteria too!

Decorating for a Snowflake Ball

posted in: Events | 0

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I admit, I haven’t had time lately to post here, with the business of work, kids’ activities etc, still enjoy it when I have a moment.  Our annual Snowflake Ball was a pleasure to help organize, and it was fun being part of the planning commitee this year.  We brainstormed some new ideas for decorations, including tulle, LED lights and “poofs”, which are easily made, following these directions.  Thanks to a friend of mine that prepared the poofs and had the vision for them:

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 This year we had an ice cream bar!

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Many moms donated amazing cake pops and cupcakes for the event.

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The table centerpieces:  bowls filled with lights, ornaments and plastic snowflakes.

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 A magical evening for dads and daughters.

Summer Projects

posted in: Home Projects | 0

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It has been a productive summer of various projects, especially at our beach house in Pt. Roberts.  _MG_2824Among those activities, we took down a dead tree in our backyard, which was chopped into some much-needed firewood.

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_MG_2432_MG_2955Mark also took out a window that looked out onto our back patio and replaced it with french doors that now lead right to the porch.  We picked up the doors second-hand and I refinished them by using a heat gun to remove the old paint.  Then I sanded and repainted them.

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So here is the before…point roberts august 078and the after:

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Mark and I might not have been the only ones with a few projects up our sleeves this summer!_MG_2825

How to Make Pop Can Candy Bouquetes

posted in: Crafts for Kids | 0

_MG_2650I was fascinated to discover pictures of these candy bouquets on pinterest, my daughter wanted to have her friends make them at her birthday party, I but found it difficult to find instructions to make them.  After doing some research, I thought I’d post the instructions that I ended up following.

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First, cut some styrofoam balls in half and glue them on the top of the pop can with a glue gun.  Each girl chose a “curly” straw to start out and pushed the straw into the styrofoam.  The best way to add the candy to the styrofoam ball was with toothpicks.

_MG_2634Some instructions suggested using a glue-gun to glue the candy on, but this is not practical, or as safe for a larger group.  I instructed the kids to use scotch tape to tape the candies to the toothpicks and then insert the toothpicks into the styrofoam ball.  As the girls worked on their bouquets, they discovered different ways to attach the candy, such as sticking a two-sided toothpick straight into the candy, or making them dangle down off the toothpick.  Suckers are of course easy to just stick in without the help of a toothpick._MG_2644

The girls really enjoyed creating the bouquets.  There was lots of discussion about their designs and of course plenty of sampling.  We started with a 3kg bag of candy and most of it was gone by the end.

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_MG_2636The kids seemed thrilled with the results of their work and we tied some ribbon around the base of the can at the end and curled it with scissors.

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A great idea for any kind of party.  Enjoy!

Canning Antipasto

posted in: Recipes | 0

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There’s not a better way to spend a rainy weekend afternoon than to make antipasto with the whole family, grandma and grandpa included.  We used the recipe that Granny Barb has been using for years, and everyone joined in.

There was chopping, processing and boiling galore.

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It was the first time that I had ever canned anything, sealing the jars by boiling.

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Now we each have a dozen jars to enjoy for some time to come!

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Antipasto

2lbs each of:  green beans, cauliflower, green peppers, red peppers and dill cukes

3lbs onions

2 (14oz) tins black olives, pitted

2 (10oz) tins mushrooms (stems and pieces with juice)

2(14oz) tins stuffed green olives

1 small tin anchovies

4 tins tuna, solid or chunk

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1 gal ketchup

Cut beans small, boil and drain.  Chop all other vegetables small or use food processor to pulse.  Put ketchup, oil and vinegar into a very large pot.  Add veggies and beans and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, then add remaining ingredients which have been cut small.  Heat through well and ladle into sterilized pint sized jars to withing 1/2 inch of rim.  Run knife around inside edge of jar to release air bubbles and wipe rim of jar.  Put sterilized lids and rings on jars and place in canner.  Add room temperature water to over and process 15 to 20 minutes from time water reaches a full boil.  Revmove from canner and let sit undisturbed for a few hours until lids seal.  Refrigerate any jars that do not seal and use soon.  Makes approximately 34 to 40 pints.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!!

Summer Outings

posted in: West Coast | 0

We’ve had lots of different outings close to home, enjoying West Coast beauty: 20140816_141303 We rode our bikes from our homes to Crystal Falls and did a bit of mountain biking to get there.  The kids LOVED it!! 20140822_152358 20140822_154542   

It always amazes me when we visit a place of great beauty in Vancouver that we are seeing for the first time.  This time it was Whytte Cliff park in North Vancouver._MG_2727

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Angel Ornament

posted in: Crafts for Kids | 0

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I’m not one to encourage division of gender, but I am noticing a trend around our house lately.  The “ladies” are inside making Christmas crafts, while the “men” are outside building and digging.

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  Each year the girls and I choose a craft to make and give as gifts.  I’ll post some of our crafts from this year soon, but I especially loved this angel ornament craft that we made last year.

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I got the idea from one of my most favourite books ever, which I’ve mentioned before, and it’s in my sidebar. The girls painted the wooden heads and the tiny terracotta pots with silver paint.

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This one was painted by Megan when she was three.  The raffia wings are twisted and tied; then they are secured by wrapping a sparkly pipe cleaner around them and the neck, ending in the shape of a halo.  And what a wonderful coincidence.  Just today, Miranda brought this terracotta bell ornament home from her school craft fair.

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 Her school had a Christmas craft fair where parents and kids donated numerous crafts and also had crafting nights and afternoons.  Then today, the students had the opportunity to purchase the crafts as special gifts for their parents, friends and siblings.  Isn’t that a great idea?  Miranda was so excited about it, but she was not actually as excited about the craft fair as she was about the ladybug that she proudly carried home in a “bugbottle” lent to her by her teacher.  Apparently, she and a couple of friends in her class caught it at lunch.  Now she’s doing a report on ladybugs in class as well.  Anyways, back to terracotta ornaments.

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They are cute, easy for kids, fun and lovely on the tree.  Enjoy your own Christmas crafting!

Beloved Sock Bunnies

Beloved Sock Bunnies

posted in: Crafts for Kids | 0

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I truly believe in hands-on learning.  I believe that more is learned when a child is interested, engaged and creating.  One day after school, one of my students brought in a young grade one friend to show him some of her class projects.  He looked at me and said, “I think you do more crafts here than work!”  Well, that just might be true, and today the shape of the day was a favourite Easter craft: “sock bunnies.”

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Yes, socks.  They are what I dread most about laundry.  Lost, mismatched and perfect for a sock bunny project!

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I’ve since lost the original instructions for making the bunnies, but it is simple.  Stuff the sock up to and including the heel of the sock, then stitch across the sock just above the heel.

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From the toe of the sock, stitch a vertical line to create two “legs”.  Then stitch a diagonal line on either side of the sock to create the “arms”.  We finished them off with a ribbon around the “neck” of the bunny, wool whiskers, button nose, googly eyes and a pom-pom tail.  Cut the top part of the sock straight down the middle to create “ears”.

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There were sewing circles forming around the classroom.  The kids were really excited about their sock bunnies.  Each one had it’s own personality.

Hope you are looking forward to Easter!

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