Tag Archive | origami

My Week of Being Me

With the coming Lunar based celebration and the progression of time marked in the twins being firmly placed in the teen years I decided to take one of my busiest weeks (did I mention Valentine’s Day?) and re-center myself and place my focus more firmly on doing “me”.

Well, it has been a week and what have I learned?

  1. I am a pretty awesome person, and I don’t mean… hey look at me I am so awesome, but more… there is some much potential I can still tap… I have plans and ideas, more hopes and dreams than I really have examined. I don’t know if I inspire awe in others but after a week of letting my mind run unchecked at times and firmly focused on tasks at others I realize I need to be proud of myself.
  2. This week I started my journey in yoga. A special thanks to those who suggested Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. Her beginner video has me confident and ready to continue. It has lead me to realize that I can better silence all the activity in my mind. That I can find time for myself even if it has to be me saying “nope time to stop and do this activity” and ignore the busy house around me.
  3. I am a success even when I fail because I tried. Sometimes I wonder if I am good enough, strong enough, smart enough. Well, I don’t have answers to those wonders but I did realize this week that I AM enough because I give my all. My family is covered in love and good intentions because when I do these things for them that I have done for years I do them with integrity and intention. Maybe to others I need more of this aspect or the other but I know that in my success and failure I am learning and adapting which means I set an example to my children that is positive and strong. They see that I don’t give up or let it get to me, I adapt. Which is what I ask them to do.
  4. I took on a personal challenge… a week of 9 hours per day with 250+ steps per hour. Which sometimes had me hopping around like a lunatic 5 min before the hour when I got caught up in a visit or with crochet (definitely a hobby that leads to a comfortable chair and not a wandering body). But I managed. This showed me that I need to get up and move, because each day by 6pm I felt better. I wandered the house and picked up things I usually would have sent a kid to do or done later. I showed my kids that movement was a positive and that it was okay to break up a moment by moving around. And I celebrated like a silly goose often as I made my steps.Screenshot_2018-02-17-21-25-57
  5. The big thing I didn’t so much learn but had reinforced in my mind is that while my life is hectic and sometimes unconventional and occasionally a little isolating it is amazing. I am blessed and challenged at the same time. Sometimes by my own choosing and others by what life has thrown at me. It isn’t a question of changing anything or wishing I could change anything but a full realization that what I am living right now is utterly unique to me and my family. There is no true equal comparison out there to what we are as a family. There is no need for one. The love of my life is amazing, my children a challenging collection of unique humans who amaze me as they drive me mad. And without them I would not be me. Yes I don’t drive, I homeschool my kids, I am shy in public, scared of more than a few things, but I am also loved… I am strong and decisive… I support my family in so many special ways and hopefully am finding ways to do the same for friends and extended family. I love, am loved and will always find ways to share love… which makes me, my life, and those around me… AMAZING.

So as I ignored ways to compare things, my life, my appearance, my school set up, my parenting choices, my home… I freed myself up a bit. Freed myself from some self doubt, from a few fears, from little niggling obsessions I sometimes have trouble letting go of. (And maybe started the road to being a little more “bendy” as Ken would say)

I took a week of introspection and exploration and realized… why should I stop? Maybe a little less care of my appearance to others and a little more joy is what I need… oh and 3 classes a week of R.I.P.P.E.D. and some amazing documentaries with a good crochet project. Always a good crafting project… cuz creativity soothes this soul… as does making knots, origami, felting… I am branching out. So here I am embarking on a month or more of finding me in my life. Wish me luck!!!IMG_20180214_151346_502

Year of the Monkey

Well, it is that time again… Chinese New Year and our yearly revisit to all things Chinese. This year I decided to go a slightly different route and combine a look at the country with light worksheets with a monkey theme. Instead of doing a notebook like last year (which was a blast HERE), the younger ones voted for a binder like they did for Christmas, and the twins continued their special event book they also began at Christmas. The centerpiece of our unit is a lovely large map of China that Ken created and printed out for us – 9 pieces of printer paper in all. With some star stickers I lucked out and found at the Dollar Tree last year we were well on our way.

We started with the Great Wall of China. I found a video documentary on youTube and some wonderful books. We really lucked out with a series of entertaining and educational books, for the Great Wall we used  For some other helpful books!

  • 20 Fun Facts About the Great Wall of China by Therese Shea HERE
  • Great Wall of China by Elizabeth Raum HERE
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China HERE

One of the activities I came up with for the kids to do was make postcards based on famous landmarks in China. I basically Googled those terms and let the kids scroll through the list and images at the top of the search engine. I love it when they have that freedom to make their own choices. Granted we vetoed The Forbidden City and The Great Wall since we were covering those as a family in detail.

  • Trinity chose the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Their official site HERE is adorable. Trinity got her fact about the beginning point of this amazing place off Wiki HERE. It all began with 6 panda!
  • Emanuel chose Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin. So called for its shape that mimics an elephant with its trunk in the water. We went to a travel site for amazing pictures and some great information HERE. Thanks to China Travel Guide.
  • Gavin chose Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian City. There is a lot about this Buddhist temple and some good history to cover, so he got picked to do a mini report on it as well. But for starters, we went back to the China Travel Guide HERE.
  • Zander chose Mount Sanqin in the Jiangxi Province. One of the top mountains for tourism it was chosen strictly on the amazing google search picture he found next to it HERE. We went back to our travel guide site for help with facts and numbers. Talk about and animal and plant rich mountain! HERE.

We do love our colouring pages and beyond the bounty that is Activity Village, we found some other gems… the twins love the stained glass style year of the monkey page at The Imagination Box HERE.

Sparklebox has some great stuff on their page, we specifically printed out the full list of animals and their Chinese characters HERE.

This year we spent a good week on the Forbidden City. There is so much to see and learn about, I think we could have spent a month. BUT here are the links we used:

We found two amazing books… You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the Forbidden City! by Jacqueline Morley HERE and In the Forbidden City HERE

Guangzhou is a relatively new topic for our family, but important all the same. This is the city that our dear friends and family came from. So this year I figured we needed to know more. And boy is there a lot to know! A massive place there was a wonderful official site to look through HERE. But we used so many more links, all to get a handle on the size… the lifestyle and the amazing uniqueness of a place that must be so different from anywhere we have visited ourselves.

  • Trip Advisor HERE
  • Kidz Search HERE
  • Top China Travel HERE
  • Travel China Guide HERE, HERE
  • Science Kids HERE
  • Wiki HERE
  • Connect the dots with Connect the Dots 101 HERE
  • Maps of World HERE

We covered a few cities in a relatively brief overview… Hong Kong was a rather complex concept with a few helpful links at Crayola.com for a colouring page with information of their flag HERE, Academic Exchange HERE, About Travel HERE, Travelling East HERE, Ducksters HERE, Kidz Search HERE.

One of the kids’ favourite activities this time round was to try out origami… especially once the twins figured out they could make THROWING STARS!

  • Kids Gen has videos HERE
  • Origami with Rachel Katz HERE

As something relatively new to our China unit we covered two people important to the shaping of China – Confucius and Chairman Mao. It was our first foray into this deep of a conversation for the twins and as interesting. Things like Communism and philosophy came up as did the concept of a rather brutal leadership. Here are some links!

  • Kids Philosophy Slam HERE, A China Family Adventure HERE, Biography.com HERE, My Interesting Facts HERE, Ask.com HERE,

General China sites that were helpful:

  • Science Kids HERE
  • Take a peek at language differences though I warn you there is a missing resource with Discovery Education HERE. We contacted our friends who are the true pure resource for this one.
  • Kai-Lan’s official printables thanks to Nick Jr. HERE

Of course we had to look at inventions. This was an exercise in the twins actually choosing inventions and searching for them themselves online to find out things like who, when, where… so I will just link the main ones used.

  • China Whisper had a list of top 20 HERE
  • Wiki has their own list HERE
  • Did you know toilet paper was first used by the Chinese??? Today I Found Out explains HERE

And Chinese New Year itself:

  • Asian Holidays by Faith Winchester HERE
  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! HERE


  • Stone Soup… and other stories from the Asian Tradition HERE
  • Beijing Travel Guide DVD 2002/2004
  • Food With Friends! (Dora) HERE

Additional Books:

  • A Gift by Yong Chen HERE
  • China by Michael Dahl HERE
  • Beijing and Shanghai HERE
  • China by Christine Juarez HERE
  • China a Question and Answer Book by Nathan Olson HERE
  • Ancient Civilizations China by Valerie Bodden HERE
  • China phrasebook by Lonely Planet HERE
  • The Magical East HERE
  • D is For Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine HERE
  • Wonders of the World by Colin Dibben HERE
  • Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim HERE
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Alice K. Flanagan HERE
  • The Runaway Ricecake by Ying Chang Compestine HERE

Two books I am dying to add to our collection:

  • Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing by Guo Yue HERE
  • And a family favourite… The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine HERE

To add to our unit we focused on monkeys that live in China. I won’t link all the pages we used, but I had the kids check out the list on Wiki and then we did our research online. We had the Slow Loris, Golden Snub Nosed, Black Crested Gibbon and. It is always fun to add an animal connection to a unit.

I am sure I could continue on with more and more links. We really went ALL OUT on this unit this year. But I figure I will just add those to the random resource post I plan on adding to the site later in May. I would suggest, if you have not looked into China as a homeschool or personal research project, do so! The culture, the people and the country itself is AMAZING! We are so blessed to have friends who are family who are directly from there. They have opened our eyes and our hearts to an amazing new world! 

Our Special Snack Platter with the newest addition to our decorations..  lucky orange tree!

Our Special Snack Platter with the newest addition to our decorations.. lucky orange tree!

January, a Month on Reflection

Well I have to say it didn’t take reflection to realize that THIS January was a much easier month for the adults and disappointing for the kids. Of course, I am talking about the weather, no Arctic chill, but also not much in the way of truly useful (for play) substantial snow! At least getting to “Jesus School” on Sundays was much easier on the family. Frigid rides in the van in the early morning is never a blast.IMAG1127

But I get ahead of myself – We ran in the new year (well partied until the evening) with Renee’s family and friends at her folks’ hobby farm. There was kids to play with, amazing snacks to munch on and entertaining adult company. Absolutely no complaints here! Though we did not make midnight. It may be another year or two before Miss Echo can handle being out and about and HAPPY at midnight.IMAG0999



IMAG0994Our first weekend AFTER New Years was of course Home Depot… Echo starts up after August if you believe it! If you have NOT checked into this free activity (on both sides of the border no less) please do! Ages for this one are suggested 5-12. Such cute little sleds!



We had visitors in our new year… notably Cousin Robbie who is always willing for a quick game with the kids before settling down to playing adults only.102_0235

Enjoyed our gingerbread houses as decoration well past season…102_0236

Crafted and drew for fun and all…102_0238

102_0251And found the time to learn something about the world through Little Passports!



And a Wild Kratts!

Under the Frozen Pond!

Under the Frozen Pond!

I think 2015 was well begun with creativity on all sides!

by Emanuel

by Emanuel

Cross stitch by Gavin for his God Mommy back home!

Cross stitch by Gavin for his God Mommy back home!

With January also came our revisit of all things China and Chinese New Year. You can see our China resource page for this year’s studies HERE. I am going to have to think this through to really find a way to make a whole new unit for next year!!!102_0258

We had origami…102_0264

And costume time…102_0266

And a book completion for our littlest learner!102_0271And FIVE perfect sets of teeth!IMAG1194

IMAG1079Swimming continues to entertain all!IMAG1139

IMAG1246Definitely a different winter from last year when we had mountains of snow followed by biting cold!!IMAG1182

Yup fast forward through January… onto February… but first… check out the picture over flow HERE for this month with more silly goodness.IMAG0988