AND so it goes …

My intention was always to come back to this Blog!
But alas, life intervenes…

New blogging about to happen on all things design in Home Decor over at: Studio West Designs (aka “the DAY job”) – stay tuned this year for tips on re-decorating your home as I take on our own cluttered mess this year. I’m also working on multiple Interior Design projects (including 3 Penthouses) coming up, so all I learn and see, as well as shops visited in town and on travels (San Fransisco, Vancouver, Paris, Seattle, Portland this year) will be passed on!

New business! My partner, Cindy, and I are into our second year of Joue Design, a Home Decor company based on a combination of our own artwork and textiles. It’s looking like a crazy year ahead already and we’re SO excited to be finalizing our SP/SU line in the next few weeks!! Don’t forget to sign on with your email to receive early sneak peeks of our new line, as well as VIP-only Sale Codes. Our blog can be found on our website, or at Joue Design Blog, and touches on all things design-related. We’re constantly being influenced by everything we see and do.

New – and old – businesses have brought us to journal all the ups and downs of being a startup over at our Shoestring Moguls blog. It’s a light-hearted commentary about starting a new business where we fess up on all the good, bad and ugly. And we also fess up to how much wine may be being consumed in the process…

With grown girls and new homeschool reporting for the boys, The Kent Chronicles and Tt’s (Boo’s) Adventures are no longer running. In their place, Tt (now almost 11) has started his own blog, the Junior Food Dude. He seriously loves his food, and this was a great tool for getting a lazy boy to actually write stuff! He’ll even be posting from Greece this Spring on what new foods he finds, and will definitely document the big Truffle Dinner we’re doing for his #11 Birthday.

AND, being the crazy person I am, a few more things are also in the works for this year, so stay tuned!
Great to still see so many followers here on Kent Chronicles, even after all these absent years 🙂

XO Alison

P.S. While you’re browsing, don’t miss my Joue-partner Cindy’s new blogs, the Vancouverite Blog about all things local and her online vintage shop Handsome + the Duck!

 

Homeschool #017 – Fear of Science…

Have I mentioned in any of my homeschooling posts that I have a fear of all things science?? It was just never my favorite subject. The only part I kind of enjoyed was Physics, but that doesn’t mean I retained and/or understood any of it. I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to handle science over the coming 13 years of K-12. None. Zip.

I’m hoping it will magically come together. Scientifically speaking.

Between trips to places like Science World and the Exploratorium and their gift shops, I’m hoping buying “science kits” and a wack of books will create said magic. We bought an electricity kit from the Exploratorium (San Fran), and Tt was all over it – he LOVED it. He may not understand what a magnetic switch in an electrical loop is, but he can show you how to make one! (And he can show you over and over and over and…)

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Of all places, Fry’s Electronics (US) sells these cute little science kits. We bought one on crystals, and B was excited to help Tt make 3 experiments. Tt LOVES experiments now. “Let’s do an experiment, ok Mom?”.

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Now even mixing homemade lemonade counts as an experiment ;-).

We’ve also been taking 1-hr workshops at Science World on Plants, Float/Sink, Rockets, etc and Tt loves them. Then we pick up some of these small intro kits – we have “magnetism”, and next will buy “light”. At this age, it’s really just a familiarity with something, he doesn’t completely understand it. And neither do I…

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I’m afraid I have a kid who (so far) thinks science is really cool, matched with a Mom who is afraid of science. I’m guessing that as he gets older, he’ll either be so into it he’ll basically be able to teach himself, or I’ll send him to Science classes…

Lord help us!

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10 Things I LOVE : 09.04

1. Spring! When it’s NOT raining. It’s not my FAVORITE season – that’d have to be fall, but I do love the newness and anticipation that Spring brings. I love the starting over. I love knowing that summer is near(ish). I love starting to get outdoors again. I love making all our holiday plans!

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2. Eating from my own garden! There is nothing better than making a recipe and saying “Oh, I have this ingredient down in my garden. I’ll go get it.” Of course, all I’ll have this year are tomatoes and raspberries, so we’ll be eating a LOT of tomato salad and raspberries on French Butter Cake

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3. BLOGGING 😉. I’m 160 posts in, and busy as all heck, and still manage to have things to say just about every day. People are even reading – AND COMMENTING! I love – LOVE – getting comments and answer every single one. It’s validating, sure, but I also enjoy the ongoing conversation of it. The comments always add to the piece, so it’s cool that way. I already have the Poetry of Life poems set up to post twice a month through until OCTOBER. Ooooh, the anticipation !!.

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4. Dinners. Family dinners, dinner parties – give me 90 minutes in the kitchen, and preferrably an unlimited budge, and I’m in my happy place. Dinners out get harder the better you begin to cook, but if it’s something I woudn’t cook at home, I still enjoy it! Once a year I get two dinner cravings – and only ONCE a year : for a Big Mac and for Chinese Food. Chinese was done last night, so I’m good for another year. We’ll talk about that Big Mac.

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5. My sleep… Oh, I do love my sleep. I miss my sleep, desperately. I love my pillow – I take it with me on every holiday to ward off bad sleeps. I love my warm fuzzy blanket. I love my med-hard bed. So far these two hotels have offered THE ABSOLUTE BEST sleeps : Manteo Resort in Kelowna, BC and the Sofitel at the Heathrow Airport in London. THE best beds in my life.

6. OPI. We have a bit of nailpolish and are ever-collecting, but must say OPI is our fave. Not only great colors, but they go on smoooooth as silk, and aren’t too soupy or gloppy. Are soupy and gloppy words? Who cares. We particularily liked the “France” collection.

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7. Fashion. Love to look at clothes. Always have. Always will. Wish I had money and time to dress half way decent. Always have. Always will. ‘Nuff said. Check out my “wish list” and my “Fashion picks“. I won’t bore you with a photo of how I currently dress. Yawn.

8. Homeschooling. I’m so excited for September to come! To get a teacher-aide, to get fresh new boxes of books, to watch Tt on his first soccer team, to sign up for piano (oh, wait… that will likely be painful…). Ahhhh, it’s hard to wait for Sept when you really don’t even have to ;-). Tt? Not sure I would use the word “excited”. He still thinks that school IN ANY FORM is “optional”. *sigh*.

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9. Thrifty shopping! Guilt-free shopping – who knew? So far the only things I pick up are collared shirts for the boys (mostly Boo – the older ones are too worn or just plain old UG-leee), and kitchen gadgets, but it’s the thrill of the hunt. We’ve about exhausted the thrift stores and will be moving up to “home consignment” stores in the near future. Will keep everyone posted, I’m sure ;-).

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10. Tea. Nothing like beginning the day with a cup of tea while making the boys breakfast, reading our Bible story and talking. And nothing like ending the day with a cup of tea while softly tapping away at my computer (except for that DANGED “I” key which Boo yanked off that never sits quite right and so I BANG it into place and say bad words) visiting people near and far. Ahhhhh, tea. Especially on tuesdays ;-).

Which ones do YOU love too??

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Other posts you might enjoy:
10 Things I LOVE : 09.03 Recipes!
10 Things I LOVE : 09.02
10 Things I LOVE : 09.01

Homeschool #016 – Can’t see the Trees for the Forest

Tt, in our “first year” of homeschooling, has learned many, MANY things. He could name over 20 species of sharks by the time he was just over 2 1/2. He can draw elaborate stories in pictures. He can tell you the names of at least 40 various Star Wars characters – as well as which scenes they were in, and in which of the 6 movies they appeared. He can tell you all about Ancient Egypt, Medieval times and knows the difference between a Gladiator and a Knight. He has travelled to Paris and backpacked through Italy. He can draw our home – accurately – in 3D. He knows what a “striker” and a “keeper” are. In short, he’s seen and learned a huge variety of stuff.

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(trying to  build a pyramid out of sugar cubes, a la PW)

And I’m all thinking we’re up on it, doing well, keeping up with “other kids” – until we happen upon one of these other kids… Then, usually after an hour or so of playing, I look at Tt and realize – whether telling left from right or tying your shoe, there was a little boy who didn’t know what to do!

p4130004(I must admit, it was NOT very structurally sound… maybe it was the glue?!)

In all our adventures in books, walks, playgroups, field trips, etc, we’ve seen many BIG things – and I’ve completely missed and/or forgotten to teach him BASIC things! Many a “D’oh!” moment has occurred.

Now, once in awhile this has been intentional – what adult doesn’t know his left from his right? He’ll learn it when he needs it. I assume he’ll figure it out one day, go back to studying bugs on our walk, and don’t give it another thought. Until “other kids” bring it up again. D’oh!

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I can’t help wondering if not purposely integrating the basics into our teaching will come back to bite him in the butt one day. Maybe. He really doesn’t seem to care, and I’m mostly comfortable with the bigger picture of what we’ve been doing. But for now, we’re looking past the individual tree and just enjoying our meanderings through the entire forest – one step at a time.

Enjoy learning something today!

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Other posts you might enjoy:
Homeschool #015 – For the Record
Homeschool #014 – Where the Wind Blows

Homeschool #013 – Math/Spelling Worksheets

Homeschool #014 – Where the Wind Blows…

I am continually taken by surprise with Homeschooling. Especially when the best days are the least intended.

This day we were at breakfast, at the kitchen island as always, just me and my two homeys.
Tt sees one of his craft cases nearby, opens it and proceeds to make a knight puppet with a popsicle stick.

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Then another.
Then we find a few knight-related crafts, like where you cut out the body and insert your fingers for legs.
Puppets!

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So then, thinks Momma, we should make a puppet theatre.

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And, naturally, it should be adapted for “Castle”, then easily changed for another day when we’re, say, in the mood for an “Ocean” adventure.

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And on it goes…

Another day he asked if he could use a silver pen and black paper so he could put some star stickers in a “sky”. We ended up talking satellites, planets, shooting stars, tiny + far vs. bigger + close, etc.

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Somehow that ran into stickers on frogs and their habitats and what they eat, then snakes.
Then that ran into Egyptian Hieroglyphics of all things, with discussions on Mummies, cats, cobras and pyramids.

I absolutely could not have planned a space-to-frogs-to-snake-to-ancient-egypt learning moment. Although I did, I suppose, plant the seeds with what we read and by having collections of books and stickers and art supplies all handy. (Gotta give myself – and Hubby’s pocketbook – SOME credit!!).
Isn’t the young mind just a wonder?

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Homeschool #013 – Math / Spelling Worksheets

Math worksheets was such a hit, here’s more!
My niece apparently used them to add – 3 blue + 5 green = 8 aqua starfighters…
So, this time I’ve left room for “answers”.

Also, for your learning pleasure, I started some reading/spelling worksheets.
Can you say FUN!? Lol.
You can either fill in the word except the first letter for “What does this start with?”, or leave out the Vowels, or leave out the word completely.

As my chicken-scratch is not always clear (…), I’ve written out what the pictures actually are below each one.
Et voila!

math-scooby(Scoob’s nose and Shag’s cheek might be kinda small for smaller kids, but they can color too!)

misc-luau(in honor of Maui this summer! hut, palm or tree, sun, boy, surf, pig (I didn’t want to draw him all roasted up!), boat, lei, girl, sand (?!), toe, hula) (hey, I did my best – don’t laugh!)

misc-foods(egg, jam, milk, pan or pot, ham, tea, apple (yes, it’s more than 3 or 4 letters…), oven, pie, fork, bowl, pea)

misc-spelling(pen, star, cat, moon, fish, bike, car, bug (sorry! silly-looking bug!), bed, hat or cap, book, one).

There you have it!
Enjoy!

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Homeschool #012 – Symphony for 5yr olds

Today Tt + I went to a concert of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for Elementary School-aged kids.  There were quite a few homeschool groups on the list – they almost couldn’t find our particular one, and we almost turned back and just hung out at Starbucks together for an hour.

Really, I wouldn’t have minded one bit.

However, they found us and in we went.
A room full of 5-10 yr olds… at a “serious” concert.
I brought candy to bribe my kid to be QUIET. I’m a bad, bad mother.

The first two songs we sat as still as possible, no talking, no moving. He was hating it, and I could tell. By song two he was already asking if it was going to be much longer… All you could hear were angry parents spitting “SHHHHH” to various wiggly children. FUN. Not.

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So, for the next song which featured cute and plucky violins, we started tapping. We danced with our fingers on each others laps. Then I started to tell a story (in whispers) – “this sounds like cute little fluffy mice playing in a field, doesn’t it?”. Tt caught on quick (in not-so-quiet whispers) “YA! and now they’re playing in the bushes, around some raspberries that have no pointy things” and on we went (much to the person in front of us’s HORROR I’m sure). Good thing it wasn’t full and there weren’t many people around us.

The next song sounded like a big parade, with Knights and Nobles and Kings and Queens “and 50 pigs and 80 horses and…” passing by.

The next one was spooky, and we were walking through dark castle hallways. We started running faster and faster towards a lit up room as the music got quicker and louder. “The light is getting bigger!!” Whew! We just made it!!

At the end I asked Tt if he enjoyed the concert. He said “It was pretty good, but the beginning was really bad”. The beginning was boring to him – no moving, no stories, no imagination.

And I’m left wondering… WHY does classical music HAVE to be enjoyed only in silence and complete stillness of bottoms? Why can’t we get up and move around to it? Why can’t we imagine stories together as it plays? Why can’t it be treated more like a rock concert? WHY can’t it be more fun?

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Whispering during Symphony concerts is widely deemed as HORRID, RUDE behaviour. But, Tt almost walked away with a lifelong distaste for the wonderful instruments and tunes of Classical music. We broke the rules, whispered away, and he left thinking it was all great.

It was a nice date (ending in, what else, Starbucks), and I’m going to buy some vibrant classical CD’s for the car – or better yet DVD’s for the surround sound plasma – where we can imagine to our hearts content, as loudly and as actively as we please.

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