Friday, October 17, 2014

Harvest Festival at The Joseph Sneider Haus

 Fall Festival at the Museum

A few home schooling families joined together for a trip to Kitchener's Joseph Schneider Haus, built by the Pennsylvania-German Mennonite (Mr. Schneider) in 1816
Felt Art

Local artist Sue Firkster has her fabrics showcased in the exhibit room. Each year a new local artist is nominated for the honours of displaying their craft.
On hand were tapestry, framed pieces and bowls all designed by wool felting.

Hanging Herbs

We noticed running around the walls of the entire residence were hooks for hanging. In each room these hooks served as places to keep clothes, herbs, bags and other objects off of the cold floor.
Water Faucet!

None of the children passed this water tap in the hallway without stopping to try it out. Not coincidentally, they placed several tin pans under the bench for filling.

Three in Bed

Our hostess gave us a good examination of the Schneider bedding; the underside roped across to hold the straw 'mattress', the linen-flax mix top sheet and the gigantic goose down duvet. She emphasized that by using straw and goose down/feathers, nothing went to waste; purpose was given to all 'cast-off's'. The beds were built high to avoid the floor draft while root veggies could be stored under the beds to be kept cold. She brought out a chamber pot and threatened that the last person up, would have the chore of emptying it!!
The children even had a turn to try out the sleeping space.

Spinning Yarn

Besides the kitchen, the only room hosting a wood stove was the spinning room, as so much time was spent there by the girls and women.
There was a small  loom, large enough to weave belts, in the bedroom, where our host gave each of the children a try.
Sheep's Wool
Loom Practice
Garden Tour
(here O is asking if they have any pigs!)


A lot of these older ways of life are making a comeback in the form of 'homesteading' or 'sustainable living. Cold-framing is a simple practice to extend your gardening year into the cold months by making a small 'greenhouse' with old frames. 
When we had our windows replaced in the summertime, we saved a few of the old so we can create cold framing gardens this winter.
Cider Press

Last but absolutely not least, we did some cider pressing on the front porch. A whole lot of work for a little bit of juice!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

H20 Science

 Slice the Ice

We worked on three of the five experiments using water.
I always appreciate projects that only require simple tools from around the house.

Slice the Ice
This one was not successful for us.
We started by using dental floss (instead of the suggested fishing line) and two large beads.
When this wasn't working, we subbed in some thin thread.
Ice was melting but not slicing.
We decided we would try heavier weights next time.

 Pencil Poke

Pencil Poke
This was a huge success and deemed everyone's favourite experiment of the three.
The laws of polymer science in action.
I love the pictures of O's first and second attempts.
Her facial expressions sum it up; wonder & excitement versus confidence!
This experiment reminded me of a video we watched about How to Make Hot Air Balloons
More specifically, the fabric engineered to accommodate pesky punctures.

Water Harmonica

Water Harmonica
An oldie but goodie, this experiment was also a hit (no pun intended!)
A mini lesson in sound waves and vibrations.

Daily Doodle: Contemporary Nest


I love the fact that our chalkboard drawings are not permanent artwork.
On a daily basis, we change up our sketches, games, lists, notes and quotes, so it is an ever-evolving contemporary piece reflecting moments in our lives.
But I'm also saddened when something is up there that is difficult to erase.

O's work today was of two nests, stacked on one another.
She used the side of her chalk to work on the upper piece and added a handful of miniature eggs to the bottom piece. 

She loved licking her finger in an 'extraction' process to further develop her work.
Then she leaned into me and whispered, "The chalk is very yummy." with a smile and a nudge;)

Then she came over to my work and exclaimed,
"WOW, DID SOMEONE HELP YOU WITH THIS? I don't believe it!"
All the while, transforming my letter "A" with her 'lick technique'!
"Look Mom! It's pants now!"

Contemporary indeed!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Seamingly Blank Canvas: Wax Resist

Blank Canvas?

When O hit this blank piece of paper, she wasn't aware that it was actually not a blank piece at all.
Once the watercolour hit the page, a surprise was revealed!

Wax resist paintings are simple and sweet. Done before many times over, but never the same twice!

 Name Revealed

When O realized her name was appearing on the page, she attempted writing over it, with no luck!

Then she took a go at her own wax resist creation.

Surprise Message. Children who are able to read will enjoy a surprise message or riddle. You can expand this further by providing clues to a scavenger hunt.

Fake Food. We often watch video's from 'The Kids Should See This". Last week we chanced upon the making of wax food. Having lived in Asia for several years and seen our share of 'fake food' displayed in restaurant lobbies, this was especially interesting. The technique and art is stunning!

Sore Throats Season: Candied Ginger

 Sticky, spicy & sweet
We actually enjoy candied ginger and particularly when sore throats (or morning sickness!) are running rampant. The former of which is going around the house this week.
We've always purchased it, but we opted to make our own this morning, thanks to Healthy Green Kitchen

We used turbinado sugar (3 cups fresh ginger slices to 1 & 1/2 cups sugar).

The results were not as candy-like as commercial brands, but definitely sweet and undoubtedly potent!
We even saved the remaining syrup for cough and colds!
It was really good mixed into Quinoa Rice Pudding!

Vegan Bites: (Nearly) Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin & Spice

Now it's been a while since I've eaten Pumpkin Pie and though I love it, had no intention to try a vegan recipe, until our lovely neighbours gifted us with a huge pie that O could not try (did you know pumpkin pie is full of cream cheese and butter? Doesn't that make it pumpkin cheesecake?)

So came the hunt for a vegan equivalent.
We did find one and it did not taste anything like I remember pumpkin pie tasting!
But it was very yummy and full of warm, rich spices and some amazing local pumpkin!


 Community Carving

Our neighbours gifted O and C last week with two pumpkins on our porch and a promise to carve together on Thanksgiving weekend.
Mr. A came over to drop off lantern-making tools, suggesting maybe the weather was too rotten to carve, but before he could finish his sentence, O had returned in her raincoat and was pulling him out the front door!

 Stoop Siblings

O was raring to use the safe carving tool while they gifted Baby C with Mr. Potato Head-like accessories to poke into her pumpkin.

Baby C was mostly interested in getting her hands dirty!

Before we all headed back to our respective nests, Mr. A dug out his son's old tricycle for O to zip up and down the street!