Tag Archive | Mars rover

Long Weekend-ish

The brilliant part about homeschooling is the ability to take on or not take on a long weekend. In this case we decided to forego the Labour Day weekend and start our school year officially on the 3rd. But first… Sunday…

After the excitement of the Abundant Harvest and our exploration of the grounds in front of the Walker museum there was a lot to accomplish here at home. I am still attempting my homeschool organization with limited space for stuff to actually stay out. Our corner with Grandpa’s desk is completed, laptop and netbook and all. I am quite happy with the corner that we have set up. Now the boys can have their time there and do a little bit of fun time on the computer. After all, now that we are in the US we can actually properly use PBSkids.org.



We did take some time out to run errands. Target for school supplies (gotta replace those pens with the spirograph) and dental supplies (where does that toothpaste go?) and then to Home Depot to attempt to replace a broken wheel on Ken’s desk chair. Apparently Staples chairs are not a simple match and instead we got our non soil stuff for the herb garden AND some new duct tape for under 4.00… now to have TIME to work on it! 

That left the rest of the day for naps (Echo) and playing (the rest) and for yours truly to take the yarn in the house and take it from skeins to balls. I definitely do not want to have knots to deal with when I do eventually get good enough for more complicated projects. And there IS something lovely about a stack of tidy ball of yarn put away. 

Boys up a tree… can you see both?

I am so glad that the kids are starting to realize that doing school together full force is not only necessary but could be fun too. They are getting excited about working on their observation journals. I think our herb garden will help as well… and then there is the Wonder Box on its way and Emanuel’s surprise. I am getting excited about all of this as well. I have started my own journal, well sort of. At Target I picked up a cheap scribbler to record what I think we will get done each day, to plan a day or two ahead (after the first week’s trial go) and to have visible progression for myself. That way I can alter lists, carry on things that we don’t get to… make notes. There is something absolutely wonderful about writing stuff down to me. 

Waiting for their mail

Sunday night was prep night. So Ken and I assembled the banner the kids had previously coloured and cut out… you can find it HERE. And of course printed out our back to school booklet (sadly I cannot find an active link for the file I use). 

Our banner

So our first day of the “new” school year and our first school year down in Minnesota… how mean are we to skip the long weekend? The best way to start… colouring our interpretation of the signs I have seen all over the internet for the first day pictures. I made up one for each of the 3 little kids (I especially like Echo’s) and then one for the twins to share… handed the kids crayons and said GO NUTS! I love personalizing things! 

Colouring the signs!

Finished sheets!

With them all dressed and hair brushed it was time to go into the front yard and take some photos. Echo was determined to include the baby doll, stroller AND her paper! 

Our girls

1st Grade


After that, back inside for breakfast and then time with Daddy finishing the Mars book while I snuck in my bath. They discussed how massive the sun must be and the colours things are… lots of gluing and chatter and best of all – time with their Daddy! 

Gavin’s Mars Rover!

We had each of the kids draw a picture with something they would like to learn about this year… we have to add in cats, platypuses and of course Emanuel’s favourite… DINOSAURS! I think we can work on ALL of those over the year! And then, of course, there was the books for the 3 boys… I love this booklet, it includes a goal for the year, things about them… the family… I hope we can do these EACH year!


With lunch approaching and a beautiful day outside we put Echo down for her nap and took the rest outside to start our indoor herb garden! We all helped! I am REALLY hoping this thing grows!!!! We have to water it every second day so I had Ken print out a September calendar page and have marked it with a W for the days to water. 

Herb garden

Add in some extra pictures, a room to clean (and 5 min to lose each boy from their computer time for the day for not doing it nicely) and of course that much wished for computer time… I think we did rather well! And we ENDED our day with popcorn and watching the Labour Day Marathon on Animal Planet – Call of the Wildman.

Popcorn and tv

Yours truly has been busy winding yarn onto balls, working on her… crochet… thing… and hunting for further how to steps… Ok I think I may need a person to show me, (hint hint Shandai) but I have joined Ravelry (as Ayjah) and started doing some YouTube vid hunting (did you know that the UK has different names for stitches!!!)… progress and increased difficulty will be accomplished… eventually! 

All 5 in a row

3 Days of Making USA Our Home

The road to Canada was smooth as silk, the time to pack amazingly SHORT… We followed their saga via texts and then correspondence with the people they saw in Canada. Thank you so much Kristen, Fydo, Chris, Chris and of course Karyn… for putting up with Ken, for holding stuff for us, for keeping track of the guys. A major part of me wishes I could have been there, an even larger part was glad not to be confined to a vehicle for that length of time. Nana figured that it was a much easier drive on the guys due to its 2 hour planning time. No time to focus on the length of the drive.

Thank you so much Karyn for the bag of special stuff too!

That kept us close to home for another day to the great unhappiness of the boys. I, however, managed to write TWO letters in one. I really need to practice my penmanship. After the first page it gets a lot more sloppy than I would like. So more incentive on MY end to add to the letters… again if you are not on our pen pal list… please send me your name and info or email so we can exchange addresses. 

Of course we had time for some photos. She loves this dress and every time she wears it wants to take pictures

Anyway Saturday was nice and quiet and sunny and … lonely. It is amazing how much we miss our menfolk while they are gone. We did get ANOTHER pen pal letter in the mail today though! I honestly am loving the mail on Saturdays. A nice surprise on a weekend. The excitement in regards to our mail has already started. So on Monday we drafted a response!

Saturday night Arby’s picnic in the basement.

Pretty much Saturday, Sunday and then today (Monday) were all at home days. Sunday just after lunch the menfolk made their way here. They actually made the round trip in less than 3 days! That included sleep, two border crossings (both of which went well) and filling the trailer. We rushed right into the U-Haul when they got here and got it emptied well in time to avoid paying for 4 days as well!

Welcome home Daddy and Baba courtesy of Gavin (I had to write it out for him but we worked together on the spelling of welcome)

Waiting for the guys

Time to work

So Sunday was basically, get the U-Haul empty, return it, empty the Envoy and.. NAP! I think we were all worn out. But wow, the guys did an amazing job getting everything to fit in the space they had AND on top of that, it takes up so much LESS space in the garage. I am slightly afraid of when we are able to get our own place… exactly what are we going to have to fill it??? 

All the way from Canada in one piece, my Shandai Kurylo original!

Trying on a find

We did find quite a bit of what we were sure we needed immediately Sunday night… Ken’s second monitor… clothes for everyone… and after a tearful late night search – my dress from Chris and Chris’ wedding to wear to the Renaissance Fair! My friend Shandai works it and is getting us tickets. I am not sure if we will all go or just Ken and myself but I am so excited!! All I need to do is hunt down my hair things or come up with a style to do myself. 

Not THE dress, but the OTHER dress

Anyway… while we did not go far or do much, the kids were over the moon to see Daddy and Baba. And their toys… clothes and whatever we have unearthed so far. Everyone is officially well clothed again… options!!! And the boys have their precious trains and Legos! 

Today was a little more organized though schooling except our pen pal response was put on hold while I worked on opening and labeling buckets. I managed to complete 18 buckets and dismantle one of the few cardboard boxes before running out of steam and having to face that there is stuff in our room that requires sorting first. I am trying to figure out creative ways to keep stuff packed away but available as school and life must go on and I know that it will be some time before we can get into our own place. 

We had another first since getting here… Ken had his very first interview! He thinks it went well and now has code to do. On top of that on recommendation of my friend Shandai’s boyfriend he has applied at another company for 3 different positions. I have to say THAT company would be a perfect fit for him. So here’s hoping either the interview or this new company pans out and moves us along on our goals to getting our own place and starting to get our feet under us once again! 

The only big negative today was sadly related to my eyes. For some reason this year after years of relief I am getting back into the hay fever issues. I think I got some dust in my eye and then with them being so dry from some random plant that apparently I do not agree with it has NOT been a fun day. So tomorrow I am hoping we can get some over the counter remedies from Target. I am not sure what there is here in the states as I know it is different than in Canada where they all are. I was hoping to avoid the medications but I miss my contact lenses… oh and breathing better… 

The plan for the rest of the week… dig out the math books I know are there, find our supplies, educate on the butterflies and Mars rover before the interest fades… Oh and find those toys and other objects of interest that the kids are SURE are there. I still have to hunt down the tv remote for one of Ken’s favourite possessions – our personal tv.

I am hoping to squeeze some sewing in on that list but with the garage full of unlabeled buckets and our bedroom a stack of randoms… well I have my mission and 5 kids to balance so we shall see how it goes! Wish me luck! One more tie to Canada cut and one more root put down here in the USA!

Mobbing the Daddy and Baba

Winding Down the Week

Winding down the week had us with one busy day (Thursday) and one rather laid back one (today). So let’s start with Thursday and our accelerated morning of schooling… with good reason! We had plans with Gavin’s god-daddy (Cory) to go walking and enjoying the park. We went back to the same park we went to with Nana, Baba and the cousins. This time without suits with the intention to  go for a walk and then heading to the park to play before a picnic. 

Along the path

We are still learning to judge the weather here… so it was a bit of a surprise when the weather turned out to be MUCH warmer than we expected. The kids were not entirely enamoured with the idea of having to go for the walk in the first place. Especially since you park right in front of the PLAY PARK. But we adults persevered and we went around a portion of the walking loop. Emanuel ran to check each sign we passed (I think a grand total of two) and we even had a discussion about how weeds  that are not stopped by being pulled out or poisoned grow to be HUGE. There was a patch of what they at first assumed to be sunflowers that were quite impressive. 

With Mommy

By the time we got to the park it was very clear that the day was nice and warm. So off Ken went to head BACK to the house to collect our swimsuits. I really need to keep those in the van… leaving Cory and myself to supervise the fab 5. While playing in the sand they found a bucket and digging tool. I was so proud of them, since there was no other kids there and no one to claim the toys I said they COULD play with them until someone came to claim them or we left. When that DID occur they were so swift to give it back I didn’t even have to pressure them and Zander said he was GLAD the boy had gotten back his toys. He figured he would have been sad to have lost them. 

The park

By the time Ken returned with the suits everyone was hot and sweaty and ready for water. A quick change into suits later and into the water they went with Cory, myself and Echo standing watch in the wake. 

So serious!

Floating kids

We were just winding down on the play in the water when it started to sprinkle and then POUR! We quickly packed up and made it to the enclosure for lunch – cheese and crackers and meat with grapes and pretzels and juice pouches… yum! And that is where yours truly got her first experience with a (very small in hindsight) leech… on my toe… yes I DID freak… Seriously I am not too enthused about going back to that particular body of water any time soon. I HATE bugs. But I am proud of myself, I managed to keep my freak out mildly quiet and Cory was able to help me get it off my toe but EWWWWWW and thankfully NEITHER of the guys laughed at me… seriously totally NOT funny. 

In out of the rain

Anyway… once we ate, got changed and the kids did some running around at the park we were more than ready to head home. Not surprisingly Echo, Trinity, Ken, Cory and myself all ended up having naps. A great pick me up so that we were all ready for our next planned event… a bbq with Nana, Baba, Ann and Gary (family friends), Cory and his girlfriend Karen (not with a y). The kids ate early and watched movies and we visited well into the evening. It was a GREAT day!

Getting to know Karen, spinning the rubber jacks

Everyone was well worn out and I think we all woke up a little later than our norms. Not a bad thing at all! So today I had the boys look at a great FREE app I found while looking for an app on the Mars rover Curiosity. It is called Spacecraft 3D. There are two vehicles you can try out but we only got around to Curiosity. You have a sheet you need to print out that your camera focuses on and PRESTO you can play with Curiosity! I cannot wait until they add MORE vehicles. 

VERY cool

Another fun app we have on our iPad is the Skyview Free which superimposes the stars on what you see through your camera… and Starlight. This one is doubly neat as you can click on the planets or stars and read a blurb about them as well! Starlight is 99 cents (I think I got it on a free day) but Skyview is as it says… free. I love hunting for free apps… there are some real hidden gems. 

What else is there to do on a Friday with all our friends busy or at work? Well pack the family up into the van and do a little shopping. First a garage sale with a boardgame find and 5 matchbox cars. 3.50, so a good deal for all. Then off to Michaels to pick up some more of the needed list. AND to check the clearance section and find a hidden gem… a Dr. Seuss themed educational felt board set. 3.99 instead of 12.99. Then Walmart to get Echo’s birthday dress (3.00 photos to be taken on Monday!!)… a dress for Trinity (3.00) a movie (5.00) and erasers (50 cents)… there is a pair of jeggings (seriously!) for Echo BUT we realized halfway from home we got charged full price on something that was marked 1.00. Ken will go back for that later. 

Trinity trying the letters out

So I think we bought ONE thing for full price today – a squishy football that Echo fell in love with at Michaels… price… 1.00! Not bad not bad! It is time for a very quiet evening with Nana and Baba off to a movie. I am not sure what all the weekend will hold but there IS a meteor shower in the making I am told and the kids are begging for another lake visit… maybe a different lake to sooth mommy’s bug fearing soul??? Next thing to plan… celebrating Echo’s birth!!! 

I love this picture of Gavin and Cory