Archive | July 2011

How Many Grown Men and Computers Can We Fit In Our Basement?

The answer is…. 6! We have truly arrived in our new home now – we have held a LAN PARTY! Men have gamed, beer has been drunk… fun has been had and all in my basement… Tradition has been met! Ken is a happy man and Sean and Ted are even here until tomorrow due to it being a long weekend here in Alberta (and they both have the day off). 

LAN party

Let’s see, back to Saturday… well the guys of course stayed up late Friday night to set up and game… by the end of Friday everyone but Alan was here and ready to game. Saturday morning we had Cousin Veronika here bright and early to play with the kids who were so excited to see her! We are already starting to get spoiled with them wanting here here more and more. Adam didn’t come this time, he was out camping and relaxing with my aunt and uncle’s rv (lucky man!). Apparently there wasn’t even cell phone reception where he was! 

Cousin Veronika with the minions

Later in the morning Karyn came for a pre-Saskatchewan visit (she is gone this weekend and into the week to help her mom downsize clutter and pack for their upcoming move). Once we were all awake, Echo fed and in nap, dressed and played out (well the kids willing to LET cousin Veronika free) we made tracks to the south end of town and Michaels. There were ribbons to be bought. On Veronika’s suggestion we asked Trinity if she wanted to come with us. She was VERY proud and excited to be allowed to “go with the girls.” Ken even installed her carseat in the vehicle we were taking to make it easy for her to go. 

After Michaels there was a quick stop off at Nutter’s so (She) Chris could get chocolate… and while she and I were in there the pet store for Karyn, Veronika and Trinity to get dog food for Combyne and Holli. Then to the bigger of the two malls in town to get a quick lunch (Trinity and I shared a poutine that I was told by my little one was DIRTY fries and a pop that she was SURE she DIDN’T drink most of…yeah right!).

Out with the girls

And then the all important buying of the lipsticks for the bride and maid of honour and bridesmaid. Even though Veronika is going to do our make-up we needed something for touch ups. The final decision was to go with a lip STAIN. I have never used one of those before! I honestly am REALLY looking forward to a few months from now when I may have some spare cash. I want to go out and do some shopping with Veronika and get some decent make-up that she can then show me how to use PROPERLY! As it is I am REALLY looking forward to when she does her lash extension course… I get to be a guinea pig! Ken is all for that – something about my playing with my COUSIN’S toys all I want! 

It was time to get going with the make-up trial for the bride when we got back from our shopping. Veronika was able to use this face to do her last of her 5 faces for her pre-exam work. Great timing. Kristen was over by then too so she could take a look at all the goodies. Trinity was also very interested in what was going on… she loves the feel of the brushes! We made sure to take a bunch of pictures so that (she) Chris can later use them in her scrapbook. 

Make-up trial

(he) Chris had the craving for ice cream cake… once Kristen mentioned it at least so Kristen, (she) Chris and myself went to Dairy Queen to solve the issue. Ice cream cakes are few and far between in this house so it was a super treat for everyone! 

Ice cream!

Veronika hung out for a while after the trial to visit, play with the kids and relax. I am so spoiled with this cousinly time (well sisterly more than anything which is something we both agree on!). Karyn had to leave soon after to go get ready to head east. Veronika and (she) Chris were sweet enough to watch Echo so Kristen and I could make a 7-11 run (where we were quite humourous looking with our large slurpee cups in tow). It was amazing to have so many friends around to spend time with and entertain the kids with. 

We had great intentions to play some boardgames last night, but with the guys gaming on the computers in a way that had them doing long spans of time at a go we found it easier to just sit upstairs and chat. Kristen headed home to sleep in her own bed (smart girl!) and then Chris, Chris and I finished up the seating chart… at least I HOPE we are finished. I have the half sheet of poster board to make the chart for people to find their seats and then I should be free and clear on that one! 

Kristen and Echo

Since I did MOST of the dishes last night and cleaned up as best I could before bed I was able to sleep in this morning. The guys were winding down so there was more sitting upstairs and visiting than gaming going on… (he) Chris got in some super snuggly cuddle time. She actually fell asleep on him for a bit!


Post Echo feeding (she) Chris and I ran BACK out to Michaels with some new coupons in hand to get a few more items for the wedding. She wants to have a scrapbook table for anyone who is interested to sit and make a page or two for their scrapbook. It is a different interpretation on something I saw at my cousin Katie’s wedding. They took photos first, printed them out and then everyone made a page for their photo! My kids LOVED it!

I splurged and with my 40% off coupon grabbed a stick of UHU glue. It is a favourite in the house and for some reason the one I had gotten right before our move went missing!!! I have set aside the receipt to go in our homeschooling folder for the next receipt return date. I am rather proud of myself, this weekend I bought the glue stick as a “splurge”… picked up the budgeted lipstick for 7.00 less than budget and took myself and Trinity out for poutine with the last of my birthday money. Definitely keeping a mind on the fact I should not be spending while still having fun and getting something we need! YAY! 

Chris and Chris left for home soon after we got back from the store with errands to run. Fydo had Kristen come and get him before I returned as well… she came with a gift for the kids! Some ADORABLE soap… they were so impressed and had to show me the ladybug on top. How sweet of her!

Thank you!

Alan left not too long after. Which left a VERY empty downstairs, worn out kids and yours truly set up to make ribbon bows… of course ONE of the ribbons is glittery so not only am I making bows but also making a MESS! The glittery ribbon at least, is an upstairs project. Not the fastest process but it isn’t impossible. Of course today is a glue gun free day…  I will face that exercise AFTER I get Echo’s tutu dress done. 

Bows galore

Ken took Emanuel out for a solo walk to the convenience store… he has been feeling rather left out at times and wanted some special one on one time. He was so proud of his special surprise treat bag and had to show Trinity and myself right away. 


With a to of crafting to do, 3 men in the basement and a post party clean up almost done I am definitely having a busy evening but this coming week the mornings are going to be QUIET! Yikes! 5 half days of the boys at VBS! 

Feeding the baby

Running the Week Down to a Semi Relaxing Weekend

The week is coming to an end and the weekend is shaping up to be busy. It is a long weekend here in Alberta but VBS starts on the Monday all the same. With trips to the old house to finish cleaning, running to get Jimmie and Ken needing to get work done that was not completed during the week we have not yet made a service at the new place. The plan is to go the one free Sunday in August – the 21st… Sunday School starts after the long weekend in September which has the boys absolutely bouncing in excitement. A whole new adventure for us all.

THIS weekend has me mainly focused on the August wedding… Saturday afternoon is the bridal make-up trial with my lovely cousin Veronika doing the make-up. Combined with the need to purchase a massive amount of the theme coloured ribbon to finish the centrepieces, the planning of the seating plan/tables positioning and all other general odds and ends to finalize and I am hoping this is our last big push to completion (I know I know I AM a wee bit delusional). Can you tell I am LOVING the closeness  to cousins? I am pretty sure I have made that nearly ANNOYINGLY apparent… but I am! This weekend cousin Elizabeth is moving to a different place so we couldn’t get more family together but she HAS promised to come back often. 

What I did manage last night was to finish all bows I had the ribbon for (lost or miscounted three knots somewhere downstairs though which is a bit upsetting) AND do all the tulle knotting for Echo’s birthday costume. I need to sit down and fuss with the ribbon tie as I cannot see how you can do it with the double layer of tulle, but I may be misreading the instructions (would NOT surprise me!). I used 4 colours – black, grey, light purple and a shimmery brown to make something with a Friday the 13th feel! After the weekend I plan on trying to make a single matching tulle poof to put in her hair… 

I have to brag a little on my kids and their yearning to learn… today all 3 boys WILLINGLY did school work, even though I was not planning on pushing it today with the amount of tidying and such that has to be done for the weekend. Pictures were coloured, ABC’s drawn, math done… even songs sung. All while butterfly princess Trinity ran around and little Echo added her voice to the chorus. In fact, she has started directing her baby babbles in a more conversational manner recently. It is so exciting to see and hear her progress. 


In reflecting back to the beginning of the week and the altercation with beloved people in our lives regarding our choice to homeschool I have to admit there has been some good come of this. I have written/typed up a letter that explains as best I can the why and how of us making this choice. This has forced me to think long and hard really as to the fundamental reasons behind out wish to take this VERY hands on role in our children’s schooling. It has also helped push me forward into meeting more families (granted online only for now) that are local to us and reinforce that there ARE people who think we are doing a good job. That has not decreased the hurt of the naysayers but what it HAS done is remind me how little those people interact with us on a daily or even weekly basis. This is not out of lack of trying REALLY but more so due to distance… so how CAN they know exactly what we are accomplishing here? (beyond what I write here in the blog, but I AM aware that NOT everyone reads it) I have passed through the anger of Monday’s entry and have moved into hope… I HOPE that I can help them to see the benefits to what we are doing but it is not the main focus of our schooling. What IS the main focus will always be the children and their future. And it is a bright and hopeful future indeed! 


Ken and I have made a pact and he is going to readjust his sleep schedule back to “normal people” time or at least an approximation. I know there ARE nights when he needs to work late but he has gotten into the habit of ALWAYS working late… which has left me a little bereft in snuggling time. Now that Echo is almost consistently sleeping through the night (major score) we are able to start moving back from the midnight feeds and start enjoying the morning again.

Oh, the decoration idea – well EACH of the boys has their own 8X10 photo frame that I have put up on the wall. They are allowed to, at any time, do up a NEW picture and we will replace it! And now I have 3 VERY happy boys who are involved in decorating their room WITHOUT damaging walls! 

Emanuel's collaborative piece

I am trying a new recipe tonight for some of the raspberries I have in the freezer… I will have to share the results in the next entry. OH! That reminds me – Ken had some sad news to report at the old house… apparently the owners chopped those lovely raspberry bushes TO THE GROUND! Wounding I tell you, they were amazing bushes and provided a TON of berries… so sad!

 There is the beginnings of a Kitty buddy on the stocking… I am not going to spill who it is until it is done but I CAN tell you it is NOT Chococat! 

black thread....

With a potential house full of computers and gaming and friends it is going to be an interesting weekend. 

Homemade bread NOMS

If We Lived Our Life As Society Expects Wouldn’t Life Be Boring?

We are basically back to normal here in the Reinsch-Johnson home… well as normal as we get! We are right back into the little organized schooling we do do in the summer – mainly math and sight word work… oh and our illustrations with a couple sentence description for the Summer Folder. It feels good to sit down with the twins at the table and work one on one once again. Zander is finally starting to really grasp some of the more complex (at least more complex than addition and subtraction) mathematical concepts… and Gavin is going hard on his sight word books.

Working together all 3 of us, Zander on math, Gavin sight words and yours truly checking on the new educational website

I have drug out my book What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know to sift through and see how far we have gotten. I need to source out a copy for the 2nd grader level but I do like to have this as a basic (very basic) reference to give me some guidelines as I go along. So far my goals for early in the year are to cover fractions in detail… focus on the months of the year (we have the days pretty well covered) and of course time. Beyond that I want to get the boys through VBS, the wedding, Echo’s birthday party and Nana and Baba visit before we go absolutely gungho on the studying. August is going to be a whirlwind month for this family!

Ken was not able to pick up some of the items we need in the city due to long lines at the dump and a need to take time out half way through the day to do some necessary online work (have to love the ability to take his work with him as long as he can find an internet connection). So we still do NOT have the grade 2 level math books… Gavin is not impressed, though he has yet to complete the grade 1 book. He loves to have things lined up in front of him. I absolutely love the books we bought for the year – they are Canadian based and cover pretty much everything in a way that the boys find very accessible. It is the Complete MathSmart and we were able to purchase them for under 20.00 a piece!

Love this one, Gavin is ALMOST done the whole thing...

I don’t know if I have mentioned it but Emanuel has made up his own little activity to accomplish using a piece of green construction paper, a crayon and the ABC magnets. He likes to sit down, sing the alphabet song until he gets to the letter he needs to write, he then finds the appropriate magnet and sets it down to copy it. He made it to G before I knew he was even doing it as he had chosen to do it at the blue table while I was working with the twins at the kitchen table. He is a very independent learner unlike his brothers who prefer hands on one on one time. It amazes me how different our boys (and girls) really are. 

Emanuel and his ABC page... so proud of his initiative!

I was contacted today by someone connected to a free educational resource site who had come across this blog. So of course I had to run and check it out! I am very glad I did. As always I suggest a membership to EnchantedLearning BUT here is another resource to check out for people who like to have printables… the site is called Here is the actual worksheet link. I will be adding the link to the main site to my links on the blog! 

We had the neighbour boy come over today – unannounced as per usual… and of course arguments, rule breaking, etc ensued. I let it go as long as I could but when he went home and brought back a tennis ball and nerf bat and proceeded to hit the ball OUT of the yard and onto the house I stepped in. And when they wouldn’t STOP playing baseball in our little yard with arguing I called time. I am sure he is a nice boy but for some reason when he is here… it just doesn’t work. Then add to that Emanuel and Gavin having a run in on the way in the door ending with Gavin hurting his knee and I was mentally planning supper and maybe a summer movie before bed. 

A moment of calm at least... note the little chair Trinity is sitting on - Grandma brought it when she came to get Jimmie!

I am determined to have a crafty night… bows, stocking, tutu dress… maybe some scrapbooking. Wedding, Birthday and Christmas all in one night! With some random special event thrown in by the scrapbooking. For some reason that makes me VERY happy! And after the LAN party (LOCAL AREA NETWORK in case people were wondering… I had it pointed out to me that I had never explained that!!) I will make sure my crafting area is photo ready so I can take a picture and show everyone!

Just a bit of black there

I have a new decoration idea for the kids’ room I will share with everyone tomorrow… the twins just have something they have to do first before we can finish up. I still haven’t found the box of photos to go on the walls BUT an idea has been born to help the twins feel like their room is more decorated! 

The boys working on Emanuel's decoration

I really hope I can get some more crafty ideas going… I think I want to make Trinity a wand for Christmas… she is REALLY into them.. I just need to figure out what to make the stick part out of… my dowels here in the house are too short really!

Our resident butterfly and her half dressed sister (you can't see it but the little shorts say CRABBY)

Bitty baby