Geology 101

Thursday, November 29, 2012

 Just a quick blog today to share some pictures from our program yesterday. The kids were quite excited to be on campus. And a busy day on campus it was. Students everywhere. It was a grey cold day and I have to wonder about all those students' well-being attending a university during the coldest, greyest days of the year surrounded by big grey buildings...

Miller Hall houses the School of Geology, obviously. The kids were very entertained to see classes in action. Upstairs (why, yes, we did explore and poke around before our class...) the kids saw students working independently in large empty classrooms, profs meeting with students and some really old display cases with rocks in them. Miller Hall also houses a very nice museum (including an interactive room complete with sandbox) where we could see lots of rocks; many interesting and unique pieces from our area.

The curator of Miller Museum delivered two programs. The first was a discussion and overview of geology, "An interactive overview of rocks, minerals, fossils and Earth processes illustrated with many touch samples (including a meteorite, a dinosaur bone, examples of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and mineral ores)".

Lapis Lazuli in its natural habitat.
Coral Fossil
Fossilized Shells shown during discussion of early life on earth
Sample of Carbonized Leaves
Lots of hands on time.
A specimen from Canada's fossil forest 1000km above the treeline in NWT. Nothing like fossilized (not petrified!) wood in Canada's north to teach us about Continental drift.

Our second talk was titled The Earth Through Time. "While seated along an 8 meter-long geological time scale graphic, students hear a 50 minute lecture about the major changes in the Earth's geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere since its formation. The talk is illustrated with rocks and fossils spanning the entire 4.6 billion years of Earth history including meteorites, the oldest known terrestrial rocks, the appearance of life and its progression from exclusively single-celled organisms in the beginning to the complex life of the present day." The Curator pulled out some rare samples that were very impressive.

Impressive fossil of a lizard like creature from 250+ million years ago.

Also on the camera were a collection of pictures my kids are becoming known for. Picture after picture of samples of rocks in cases. I have a catalogue of the Gems exhibit at ROM in Toronto as well as a good record of the Smithsonian's rock collection in Washington. I can see us going back to Miller Hall just to hang out when we are in the city.

The Museum is a wonderful mix of 1930's original display cases and more modern methods of imaging and display.

A recently donated collection.

The Boy Child's favourite.

Mrs. A.


Byte Size Blog #4

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Today is Byte Size Blog #4, also known as Blogging Without Photos Is Awkward And Unnatural.

  • Blogging without sharing a photo feels awkward and unnatural. Kind of like you just have to take my work for it. Without evidence.
  • I love my Keurig. Have I mentioned we're on Keurig #2? We wore out the first one. There's also a Mini Keurig on my pantry shelf to be used in case of travelling. We like our Keurig that much. Coffee Pods for the Keurig are a treat, though. Twice a year, we order some from the States and it's a big treat to have fancy flavoured coffee pods come to my door in a big box. Cheaper than take-out coffee, they are pricey compared to regular grocery store ground coffee. BUT. A new personal brewer coffee shop opened not far from my house. They sell even more kinds of flavoured coffee...and tea and cider and hot chocolate...than our online store sells. I'm already a 'Loyal Customer' which comes with a 10% discount, but may need a part time job soon. I feel like I should apply at this new coffee supply store.
  • A cup of grocery store ground coffee costs $.40-$.46 a cup. A Keurig coffee pod cup of coffee costs $.64. A take out coffee at McDonald's is $1.56. (Hydro, gas, milk and sugar not included.) Just so you know.
  • We're off to a local-ish University today for a couple of classes at the School of Geology. I hear they also have a very nice Geological Museum that we'll see while we're there. Since I have a pre-Christmas haircut planned for close to our planned departure time, the kids will be responsible for packing supplies and lunch as well as getting their book work done before we go. I am responsible for some banking, dropping by my parents' place, picking up a display stand and getting my hair cut (it's really a safety issue as my bangs have now reached hazard length).
  • The new $20 bills are a lovely green colour...but I think they seem a little like play money with their clear peekaboo window and their plastic feel. Also, they don't rip. Same category as toddler toys, I tell you.
This concludes the fourth edition of Clip Blog, brought to you by The Kids Aren't Up Yet...Again and 2(3?) More Days 'Till My New Knitting Supplies Arrive!!


I've Fallen...

Monday, November 26, 2012

I've fallen in the virtual yarn shop and I may have dropped my credit card. But I must say, it was a great way to start Christmas shopping.

At least, it was great after I had a glass of water and my heart rate returned to normal. It seems I need practice shopping with the masses, virtual or not.

While I was recovering, Mr.A did his own damage shopping for The Boy Child's Christmas gifts at Amazon and the juggling shop.

The Girl Child is proving to be somewhat more difficult to shop for. Having a part time job and a healthy fashion-conscious enthusiasm, she has developed a Christmas liswot hat reads like an airport bookstore fantasy novel.

I'm looking forward to finishing the bulk of our shopping this week. We're having a very streamlined holiday this year which goes right along with my positive, confident approach to the holiday.

We've all decided to have very few gifts under the tree in order to enjoy a family gift this year. We'll be setting up a family membership at a local gym instead.

Ordering much of our shopping online, Christmas or otherwise, means more fun for me. Instead of shipping packages to our door, I have many of them shipped to a receiver in the States, 20 minutes from home. I cross the border, enjoy an afternoon Stateside, and return home with my treasures.

Now, hopefully we've shopped carefully enough that there is only one pick-up trip required. Goodness knows I can't afford to fall down and drop my credit card too many more times this season...

Mrs. A


Homeschoolers' Street Faire Preparations

Later this week the kids and I will head out to our day of homeschooling activities. Part of the day will include a Street Faire. A Street Faire is a new idea for our homeschooling group. A hall has been rented and tables have been booked. Some people are crafting, some people are selling services and some are hoping to sell their used books and supplies. Buskers have been scheduled - any homeschooler can have a 20minute block of time to entertain any way they please.

I'm encouraging my kids to take part and the process has been not unlike molasses so far. I suggested we make Christmas ornaments to sell. It's something we do every year for family (except we don't charge family members for the Christmas ornaments they receive from us, of course) so it wasn't a big leap to start a bit early this year and have a load of ornaments ready for the Street Faire. We thought of a few ideas and talked around costs for materials. We planned the set up for our table and agreed that presentation and a 'nice looking table' was important. We got our materials and I suggested a schedule so our supplies would be ready in time.

I encouraged the kids to think of something they liked or enjoyed to share at the Street Faire. The Boy will be selling cups of warm apple cider. Cider was a hit at the homeschoolers' Thanksgiving Pot-Luck so he is hoping that is a sign that it will be popular at the Street Faire. The Girl thought about baking her gingersnap Christmas cookies but then decided against it. I've been knitting up wee gnomes in spare moments to go with our 'ornaments' theme. Not sure if they'll sell or not, but some of the homeschooling mamas that have seen them in progress seem pretty excited about them.

Knitted Gnomes

The ornaments we decided to make are a crafty Gingerbread man and snowflakes. In the photo are the puzzle piece ornaments I made for family in 2007. The ones we're making this year are a tiny bit different and I haven't come across them on Pinterest yet. I think I'll keep them hidden for another couple of days. I don't have a good photo of them yet as their 'icing' is freshly finished and still drying.

Ornaments in Progress

I'm very pleased with the snowflakes we've made. They're made of hot glue then sparkle-ified to be festive. I got a little worried that the 'suggested schedule' was not inspiring enough motivation for the kids, so I spent the weekend exhausting my hot glue sticks. The kids popped in and out, helping with Modge Podge and sparkles and string.

Finished Sparkly Snowflakes
We now have a full inventory of Sparkly Snowflakes (71.5 snowflakes and two numb fingertips can be had for three small packages of Dollar Store glue sticks) and Puzzle Piece Gingerbread Men (42 of these little guys as that's how many of the little head pieces I could afford to buy at Home Depot).

The kids and I are still disagreeing about the selling price of the ornaments. I say $0.50 and they say a full $1. The Knitted Gnomes are to be priced for more, perhaps $3 each or 2 for $5. I'm discovering that I'm not very good at asking for money for our crafts. I'm feeling a bit of stress. Even though the event planned is expected to be a place where money will be exchanged. I suppose we'll get it all sorted out one way or the other. Mr. A will be very upset with me, though, if I give these things away for free!

Check back at the end of the week and hopefully I'll have happy stories to tell about our very first Homeschoolers' Street Faire!

Mrs. A.


Byte Size Blog #3

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guess where the puppy was laying?
Today, I bring you Byte Size Blog #3 aka 10 Minutes Until I Should Be Waking Up The Teenagers , sponsored, again, by Point Form.

  • The Puppies (dogs, really) are good. Above photo was snapped earlier this month when the Blue-Eyed Bandit was lying in the leaves on the patio stones in the backyard. The Brown-Eyed Beast continues to be jealous, needing constant confirmation that she is 'first'. The Blue-Eyed Bandit gets her treats stolen a lot. And she seems to have grown an extra large pad on her right back foot. (Cristina, there might be something to your theory, after all!!)
  • Homeschooling today will consist of helping my very good (blogless) friend move house. As the new house has been available for a month, things have been moved as time permits; decorating, cleaning and updating has also been coming along. However, Friday is the last moving day and there is still much to be done. I believe my kidlets and I will be using our car to help move their school room, friend and I will be unpacking and organizing the new kitchen and the kidlets (mine and hers) will be moving a mountain of packed things into the appropriate rooms. Fun times.
  • My proactive approach to planning my Christmas this year has resulted in 4 Christmas parties to attend in 7 days. All will require creative and festive food contributions except one, the dress-up party, which requires an extensive overhaul of my self so I look dressed-up and socially acceptable. I may need to re-examine my enthusiasm.
This concludes the third edition of Clip Blog, brought to you by My Coffee's Done and The Kids Aren't Up Yet And We Have To Get Moving (literally!) Today.

Mrs. A.


Byte Size Blog #2

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Almond Tree Sprout
To prove that I have not fallen off the face of the blogosphere, I bring you Byte Size Blog #2 aka Some Current Thoughts Since Catching Up Will Take Far Too Long, sponsored by Point Form.

  • The above almond sprouted after being wrapped in a damp papertowel and left in a zippy bag in the French cube of the school shelf, forgotten for a month. Leaning to the foreground you can see the first shoot (top killed off due to my black thumb) which was quickly replaced by the second shoot. Almond Sprout seems determined to like it hear as evidenced by the lovely leaves it is showing off. Rumour says (ok, the front page of a Google search) that almonds coming to Canada are pasteurized, so exactly what sort of genetically mutant specimen I have growing in my living area I'm not sure.
  • Christmas has begun to be planned without undue amounts of teeth-gnashing and marital strife. (Mr. A. has the patience of a saint.) It has been decreed that this will be a cash-Christmas. My family has agreed to forgo the usual pile of presents under the tree in favour of a family gym membership. This is an experimental project relying on everyone's willingness and Mr. A's ability to stick to a commitment. I have displayed some measure of grown-up-ness by proactively planning our Christmas season calender instead of employing my usual reactionary approach of cramming in things at the last minute after repeated calls and emails from concerned family members who believe my children would not have a proper Canadian holiday without their efforts. Yay me.
  • The Boy Child has a Man Cold. I have to believe there is an actual concern about the genetic mutation of certain germs since the common cold that The Girl Child had last week has somehow morphed during its trek from bedroom to bedroom across the upstairs hallway. I know it's a Man Cold by its symptoms: moaning before and after coughing, inability to speak 2 sentences without mentioning one's 'illness' and a marked lack of energy for everything except one's screen time and Hallowe'en candy.
This concludes the second edition of Clip Blog, brought to you by Blogger's Guilt and Early Riser's Opportunity.

Hoping to make it back here again this week,

Mrs. A


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