Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tot School - Pumpkins

Linking up with 1+1+1=1

I haven't linked up in quite some time, mostly because Olivia hasn't been terribly interested in anything "schooly", but also because I'm been horrible at documenting what she HAS done. Now that's she's 3 I plan on encouraging/offering "schooly" stuff at least once a day, rather than waiting for her to ask for it as I did in the past.

For some things, we use Typical Course of Study through World Book as a guideline for what Olivia "needs" to know to "complete" Pre-K. Here's a current list of what we've got to work on...

Matches shaped or objects based on size
Completes incomplete sentence with proper word (really never tried this)
Prints own first name (currently working on tracing it)
Understands top, bottom, middle
Knows age and birthday (we've got age down, working on birthday)
Repeats a sequence of orally given numbers (if they're in order, sure. We're working on mixed up numbers)
Is able to stand on one foot for 5-10 seconds
Able to button a garment
Cuts simple shapes
Handles scissors well (just started with scissors)
Takes care of toilet needs independently (fighting  through this right now *sigh*)
Crosses residential street safely (working on it)
Knows home phone number (working on it)

She loves to practice cutting but refuses my help in showing her how to hold the scissors so she can make more than one cut *sigh*

She's loving these pumpkin pages I found at 1+1+1=1!

We did some yard work this week, Olivia had a blast in the leave

She also wanted to help Daddy dig up the spent plants in the veggie garden :)

Olivia grabbed this foam magnet picture frame, wrapped it around her LeapFrog toy and declared it a hexagon!

Emergency Preparedness

With Hurricane Sandy coming, I am seeing posts all over my facebook about needing to buy this and that, not knowing where (or if) certain supplies exist in their house, how crazy the store are, and so on.

I am amazed to see all of these people who live in "prone" areas who are not prepared. I can understand needing some stuff cause you ran out, or needing to buy new food items to replace old ones (a lot of food items should be replaced every year). But people will admit to not even having flashlights or candles.

People NEED to have at least a basic emergency kit in their house and car. If you don't want to, or can't afford to go all out, that's understandable. But everyone should have at least the basics. We are missing MANY things that I really WANT in our emergency kits, but we usuall have everything we would NEED for 3 days with no way to get help or even get to a store.

I always had something super simple, but when Brianna came home to homeschool I made it part of our curriculum so to say. Each fall, before winter has a chance of starting, we check through our kits, bringing into the kitchen anything that is with in a year of expiry to be used in everyday life and replaced in the kit, making sure anything we may have had to use over the year has been replaced or is on the next grocery list, and generally checking over everything and adding as needed.

Brianna and I spent Sunday going through our house and car kits. There are many things missing as we used a bunch of it last year when we moved, so I have a list of items on a Need-To-Buy list.

Brianna sorting through our emergency kits
Here's a general list of what everyone should have in their house kit:
- water, minimum 2 litres or 1/2 a gallon per person per day, the more the better
- non perishable foods (canned, dried, ect... get foods your family will actually eat)
- flashlights, batteries, candles and matches
- first aid kit (even if you have a general first aid kit in your house, you should have one in a waterproof container or gallon ziplock bag IN your kit)
- daily medicines for everyone in the house (you can include things like Tylenol in this or your first aid kit)
- baby items if this applies to your house, diapers (in current size, each time your baby moves up a size, switch the diapers, you really don't want to be caught with a 1 year old in an emergency with size 2 diapers lol), wipes, formula, ect...
- cash (ATMs don't work if there's no power. $20 in fives/tens per person is a good amount)
- socks and gloves (ideally a full set of clothing is best, but at least socks and gloves will help protect the body parts most likely to be affected by cold first)
- toilet paper
- dishes and utensils (a plastic picnic kit is great for this)
- garbage bags (for transport and you can also put holes in them and wear them for extra insulation)
- basic tools
- fuel operated stove and fuel (think camping stove)
- whistle
- duct tape
- pet supplies if this applies in your house, food, bowl, medications needed
- sanitary pads (tampons get torn and crushed too easily, plus pads can be used in first aid)
- photocopies of ID, insurance papers, and any other important documents
- backup eye glasses, contacts, contact solution
- pocket knife
- disposable razor (can be broken and razor blades used)
- unscented bleach or water purification tablets
- emergency blankets (these look similar to tinfoil but keep body heat in quite well)
- cardboard and tinfoil (can be used to melt snow for water)
- bags (those reusable grocery bags are better than plastic as they're stronger)

Some of our household kit
Stuff that's nice to add but you won't die without it:
- travel ponchos
- pencil and note pad
- playing cards
- chap stick
- expandable wash cloths (ya know, those little tablet things that when you add water they become a full sized wash cloth)
- light sticks (find them in the camping section, they usually last 4-8 hours)
- kid kit (kid entertainment, couple matchbox cars, coloring book and crayons, ect...)
- toiletries
- generator

Here's a general list of what everyone should have in their car kit:
- water (at least one bottle per seat, even if you only have 3 people in your family, if your car is a 5 seater you could a some point have up to 5 people in your car)
- food (things that won't be affected by heat/cold, granola bars and the like)
- blanket (both regular and an emergency one is a good idea)
- socks and gloves
- first aid kit
- seat belt cutter
- small shovel
- scraper/snowbrush
- candles (preferably in a deep tin), matches and flashlight
- whistle
- basic maps
- non-clumping cat litter
- jumper/booster cables
- basic tools
- cardboard and tinfoil
- something reflective or flares

Part of our car kit
Some good ideas for the car:
- travel ponchos
- expandable wash cloths
- hand warmer packets
- light sticks
- kid kit
- garbage bags

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Brianna started her new Gr. 5 math book this week (sorry no link, my previous link for this book appears to be dead and I can't find another one). As with every time that we start a new workbook, she is amazed how simple the beginnings of the books are. I reminded her again, that most kids don't do any school work over the summer break so they need to spend the first while doing review. We school year round, so Brianna doesn't need review, but she loves getting some easy work for a while :)

We're starting to actually *read* sheet music. The beginning of the flute book that we're using (my flute book from high school, the link is of the current version) has the letters written within the notes, now the letters stop and it's regular sheet music. Brianna's having some issues learning it, not surprisingly, but she's slowly picking it up.

Brianna and Olivia also helped in doing some fall clean up in the yard. We got some Halloween bags filled with leaves, more of the garden pulled and some spring bulbs planted. A beautiful day to be outside!


Tanya will not be homeschooling with us from now on. I disagree with the decision, but hey, it's not my kid, so obviously I don't get a say.

5 Question Friday

Linking up with My Little Life

1. Who wakes up in the morning with the kids, you or hubby? Technically hubby, but he doesn't get up with them, he just gets home (he works nights). It works perfectly because I'm an insomniac and once I finally get to sleep (sometimes as late as 4-5am) it's nice to be able to sleep past 7am!

2. Do you watch the World Series even if your team isn't in it? Nope. Hubby does, but I skip it unless the Blue Jays are playing (which they suck the last few years, so....)

3. What is the best compliment you have received? "I love you for being you" Simple, I know, but I think it's great :)

4. Do/did you dress up to take your kids trick or treating? I do sometimes, but most of the time no

5. Do you have a favorite bible verse? What is it and why? No, I'm not religious. I do *have* a bible though and my sisters are religious so I am familiar with a lot of them, and a lot of them do have secular meaning to me, but I don't have a specific favorite.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Day After a SPD/Aspergers Meltdown

As is usual, Brianna's day today is a complete 180 from yesterday. I don't know if her meltdowns are cause buy a build up of *everything* and the meltdown releases it all and lets her be human again, but 99% of the time, the day after a meltdown is heavenly!

Brianna woke up this morning wide eyed and bushy tailed and full of high spirits. She snuggled Olivia on the couch for some morning cartoons, did her math work with no complaints, was all full of love-you-mommys. When she left to go to my sister's for French, she remembered on her own that she had forgotten her French book and ran back home to get it.

While I absolutely hate the meltdowns, the next day is so pleasant that it almost makes up for the cruddy day before. It's so nice to have happy Brianna back again. Hopefully since it was over a year since the last one, that maybe it will just never happen again! *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SPD/Aspergers Meltdown

Today Brianna had a meltdown. It started as something insignificant (even to her if she were to think about it tomorrow) and snowballed. Brianna doesn't handle being upset well and it usually quickly gets much worse and she sometimes can't settle on her own. Between having a total freak out in which she thrashes her own body around (risking hurting herself) and often throws/smashes items (risking hurting others' belongings) and needing a lot of pressure to feel comfortable and able to relax due to her SPD, I have often relied on full body restraint in these times. This involves me sitting on her hips (the strongest part of her body so my weight doesn't hurt her) and holding her legs with mine and her arms with mine to apply the most pressure. This both gives her the pressure she needs to be more aware of herself but still restraining her to prevent her from hurting herself or others' property.

Thankfully as she ages, these meltdowns happen less and less often. In fact, before tonight, the last one was over a year ago. She also settles a lot faster than she used to. Within 1 minute of applying a full body restraint she visibly calmed down and was able to hear me coaching her in relaxation techniques (slow deep breathing and so on).

I'll admit I'm a yeller. I yell too much. But thankfully, I'm also aware that in a meltdown I NEED to keep a calm, almost soft voice. Yes, I will raise the volume a bit so she can (hopefully) hear me over her own screaming, but I make sure to keep it calm. When she first started these major meltdowns around 6 years old, I just yelled and screamed back at her. One day I actually sent myself into an anxiety attack because I was so over frustrated with her and why nothing would work to calm her down. Since then I've learned that the meltdowns are most often out of her control and yelling just makes them worse as now, not only does she feel out of control, but there's no one there to help her get back into control.

Tonight was short lived, thankfully. The meltdown itself only lasted about 30 minutes and calming techniques only took about 15. They have taken as long as 6 hours. Brianna crawled into bed afterwards and took a short nap and felt and looked a million times better when she came down for supper. If it runs as it normally does, tomorrow will be a perfectly happy day where there is little memory of tonight's meltdown. I don't know if it's ignoring what happened or she really doesn't remember much of the meltdown, but at least it's not dragged on for days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Brianna and Tanya's First Duet!

It's simple music, but I think it's pretty great since it's only their third week playing!

Siblings Sharing a Room

I was reading a blog post today that inspired me to write one of my own. Now I don't have as many kids as that blogger does, but I still get questioned often about Brianna and Olivia sharing a room.

Brianna and Olivia are 7 years apart, so really, I'm not surprised too much by the questions. However, when I was pregnant with Olivia, without being aware of our plans to have the girls share a room, Brianna BEGGED us to let Olivia sleep in her room. Seeing as this was our plan anyway, we of course agreed. We lived in a 3 bedroom, but we had been discussing my mom moving in with us. We figured she probably wouldn't be as excited once Olivia got here and Brianna realized that babies can cry. A lot.

Once Olivia was born, we had her in our room because I was nursing and it was easier to have her near me. We told Brianna that as long as Olivia was waking on a regular basis during the night that we'd keep her in our room so she didn't wake up to the baby crying all the time. Almost every morning Brianna would ask if Olivia slept through the night.

Finally, Olivia was sleeping through the night most nights and we moved her into Brianna room. You'd think we had hung the moon! Olivia was a much earlier riser than Brianna (still is *sigh*), but Brianna didn't care. We even got them a bunk bed last summer when Olivia broke out of her crib.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years and we moved into a 4 bedroom house. A LOT of people assumed Brianna and Olivia would get their own room. Nope, even with an annoying toddler sister (lol) first thing Brianna said when finding out we were buying a 4 bedroom was "now you can have a craft room mommy!" Not even a single thought to getting her own room. (and yes, I got my craft room lol)

Also in this house is a much more usable basement that all ready had a little 6x12 area almost completely walled off. We thought it would be a great place for Brianna to have away from Olivia since she was going to be 10 this summer and had some fancier stuff like her science kits to keep away from little fingers. Again, Brianna's first thoughts were to making this space a play area.

When we have another baby, that baby too, will share a room with Brianna and Olivia once it's sleeping through the night. Their room in this house is roughly twice the size of their old room and will easily fit their bunk bed and a crib. Lee and I have discussed that once the baby would be old/big enough to move to a twin that Olivia would be old enough to move to the top bunk and we'll probably turn the basement room into a bedroom for an at least 13 year old Brianna.

But for now, our set up works for us. In today's age, it may be unusual, especially given the age difference. But other than the occasional complaint from Brianna about Olivia trying to crawl into bed with her lol everyone is happy

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

The girls were happy to try out the French Dictionary of the review books we got. Right now my sister and I are using that book and the Living Languages set that we picked up earlier this year (which we had to start over as we ended up needing to take too long of a hiatus from it).

Music is becoming so much of a big part of our schooling that next week we'll actually be having Tanya come over on Tuesday (normally comes over Mon, Wed, Fri for school and the girls do French at her house on Tues and Thurs) for a special music class.

Olivia likes to "help" Brianna practice

I'm very concerned about Tanya's cadets right now. The cadet take part in the Santa Clause parade every year. I thought it would be cool for Tanya to be in it next year... no, she'll be in THIS year! This is a kid who never touched a flute before, can not read sheet music what so ever, and she's excepted to play the music in the picture below NEXT MONTH!

This (below) is the music Tanya and Brianna can actually do right now (actually this is their weekend assignment lol). As you can see, super simple, shows the fingerings, has the note letters written right on the notes. I played flute for 2 years and I don't think *I* could easily play the music above!

Friday, October 19, 2012

5 Question Friday

Linking up with My Little Life!

1. Where do you hide junk when people come over? If you're a close friend or family, no where lol For actual company, in the laundry room. It's the size of a small bedroom so it can fit a lot of crap lol

2. Do political ads help you decide who you are going to vote for? Hell no!

3. What's your favorite holiday party to host? Christmas, mainly cause it's the biggest one with all the fixings :D

4. You go to an island with your husband and can only take one personal item. What is it? That would depend how long we'd be there....

5. If you found out your spouse was a Dexter style serial killer (only kills people to save others) would you rat? Hmm... that's a hard one! I mean, murder is wrong... but some of the people he kills we'd be stuck with in the justice system forever then they'd get to live way too good of a life in prison...

Review Books Are In!

I'm so excited! We got our first package of books from DK Canada to review! We got:

Complete Guitar Manual

DK First French Picture Dictionary

Help Your Kids With Math

Math Dictionary

Hopefully we'll have a review to post here soon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

5 Question Friday

Linking up with My Little Life

1. Did you have any homecoming traditions? None what so ever as we have nothing to do with homecoming lol

2. Do you ask your spouse before spending money? Nope. For that matter, I'm the one who handles the finances anyways :)

3. If you could be famous for something what would it be? Is there fame in coffee drinking? Um.... maybe to be a published author

4. Have you ever seriously thought you were going crazy? About 3am when my colic-y daughter was about 4 mths old...

5. How do you eat your steak? Burger? (as in, well done, medium, still moo-ing...) Steak, medium, burger, well done.

Weekly Wrap Up

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

This week was quite the musical week! On Tuesday we were gifted a guitar by one of the moms of the girls who teach our homeschool art class. It's an older, child-sized guitar, but perfect sized for Brianna. She has actually mentioned several times over the last few years about wanting to learn how to play guitar, so this was perfect!

Tanya joined air cadets a couple weeks ago and decided she wanted to learn how to play the flute for cadet band. This works out great as I had always planned to encourage the girls to learn the flute seeing as how I own one.

This week, Tanya brought her flute home from cadets, Brianna got very excited. When I told her I had planned on teaching them to play, you'd think I had just hung the moon!

My flute and ooooold high school music book
Today we had our first music class. Tanya had learned the C and B notes in her cadet class yesterday, but we'll be following my old high school music book and did the F and E notes. Now of course, to help her with her cadets stuff, any sheet music she needs to learn there, we'll be doing the exact same thing here as a tune as simple as Jingle Bells can have 16 different variations of sheet music.

We also had sadness this week as our 10.5 year old cat, Timmy died. Timmy grew up with Brianna as he was born in my bedroom less than 2 months before she was born. We do have our new kitten Bacon (that Brianna got for her birthday over the summer) to keep us smiling though.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Today my husband discovered that our cat, Timmy, had died overnight.

Hiding in mom's Snuggie
Timmy was born in my bedroom 2 months before Brianna was born. Timmy and Brianna grew up together.

His favorite place to be at our old house was the enclosed porch
Today has been a quiet day. School is the last thing on our mind. Tanya came over for her usual school day and she's been hanging out talking with Brianna.
Trying to bite open the elastics that held his food cupboard shut
Olivia, thankfully, is too young to really understand.
Trying to ignore the new little person (Olivia)
We've buried him behind our house and Brianna is planning to make a marker for him.
Guarding Olivia as she slept
Brianna loved putting little hats on him
He always wanted to get into Lee's beer cases
His favorite way to sleep, with his face pressed into a wall
When we got our new cat, Bacon, he tolerated her enough to let her sleep in the same room
And occasionally he'd just sleep ON her

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We Got a Guitar!

Today we were gifted a guitar by another homeschool family who's children outgrew it. Brianna is just tickled pink! She's talked about wanting to learn how to play a guitar for a few years now, but it's just never been in our budget to buy one.

So now we've got this guitar... problem is, I don't know how to play. My sister can play some chords, but outside of learning the notes, Brianna doesn't want to just play chords, she wants to play MUSIC!

She also thinks she can just pick it up and play by ear (and yes, I know this is *possible* but I've heard her, it's not for her lol)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Current Scheduling

Over the summer I introduced Tanya to a way of scheduling Brianna and I had done before. Essentially, I list out the girls' work for the week and they choose what to do when, so long as it's all complete by the end of the week.

Sorry for the poor picture

Brianna was very excited to go back to this schedule. Tanya figured she had discovered a way to get lots of days off. Unfortunately for her, as she discovered since July, choosing to not do a lot of work through the week means a hard, long scramble to get everything done on Friday! But, it's a great lesson in time management, so, as long as they get the work done by Friday night, I'm leaving them in their semi-scramble. Eventually they'll learn to even out the work through-out the week better :)

Another Running Season Over

The girls last official race was Labour Day, but, as otherwise mentioned they also ran 10K for Terry Fox. Overall, the girls ran 27.5 kilometers in races. They also did many, many miles in training.

Now we're in winter training mode. The girls are alternating weeks with cardio workouts and yoga on top of doing 2 miles each week on the treadmill. We'll up it to "in-season" training again in April.

The girls showed so much improvement this year! When they first started running July 2011, they couldn't even make it around my block (.25km) without walking. Now they can run more than a mile without walking!

(Tanya in pink)
 Their 5K personal bests are:
Brianna - 5K, 38m 16s and 1 mile, 9m 11s
Tanya - 5K, 36m 55s and 1 mile, 9m 31s

Friday, October 5, 2012

In Memory of Terry Fox

Last month we learned about and raised money for Terry Fox. The girls were officially done their running season, but I suggested one last race. A 10K. They book looked at me like I had grown an extra head but I reminded them of the fact that Terry Fox ran over 5000 kilometers on an artificial leg!

The girls worked as a team and in only one week, raised their goal of $500! That amazing feat in such a short time attracted enough attention that they ended up in the local newspaper twice! (here, with their picture, and here)

After learning about Terry Fox, Tanya Dussiaume and Brianna Mallette raised $500 in just one week for the Terry Fox Run. KATHRYN BURNHAM/CORNWALL STANDARD-FREEHOLDER/QMI AGENCY

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I was asked to do some reviews with DK Canada! I'm so freaking excited! I've always wanted to review books and stuff with the girls for school but never knew how to go about starting. Apparently you've just got to wait for them to come to you!

So I guess that means I'm officially coming out of blogging hiatus! Companies that have people review from them want blogs that actually blog, right? Yeah, I've been a bad blogger for the last few months, but I promise to actually be around for people to have something to read!