Monday, August 27, 2012

Gold Fever

Summer has almost come to an end... I have actually already started work. I started back on Thursday for orientation and to meet some new coworkers. Information overload, to say the least!! Then today, I got to meet all the staff as it was the first official day back for everyone. After a morning jam packed full of meetings, the Principal surprised everyone by saying we were going to go play laser tag and then to DQ for blizzards. I love this school already!!

Before my summer ended, we wanted to take a little family holiday, and Steve was able to take a bit of time off work so we could get away. He will stay off until the kids start school, because then they will just be coming to school with me.

We decided to head north for a few days... way up to Gold Rush territory! We visited the historic town of Barkerville, BC, and spent 2 days exploring there. I went there a couple times when I was a kid and have great memories from that place. It was such a great experience for our kids. Here are a few of our photos from Barkerville. I will do the rest of the trip in a different post.

St. Saviour's Anglican church

I have a bit of a fascination with cemeteries, so when it was time for the walking tour to Barkerville Cemetery, of course I dragged my kids and Steve up the hill behind the priest to go hear stories about who was buried there!! So very interesting.

People came from all over the world during the gold rush days.

Yes, we had ice cream on both days!

Steve and the kids are standing at the original end of the town, close to Richfield. Now, the Barkerville tour starts on the other end of town because that is how the road leads to town in our present day.

Scott got to be helper for the talk on the history of Barkerville.

Barkerville's Chinatown was very interesting, too. It is the oldest Chinatown in BC.

We even got to go to school on our holiday! Here's Elise waiting for the teacher.

The teacher goes to the centre of town a few minutes before class and rings the bell over and over... and never cracks a smile!!

Our teacher was Mr. Mandel. I hope I don't scare my students like this when they come back to school next week!

The kids (Todd, especially) really wanted to pan for gold. This young man was very patient with them and we came away with 4 small flecks of gold. Not enough to retire on, but definitely enough to make the kids feel like successful prospectors!

Todd didn't really need to see the town to feel like he had been there... most of the 2 days he had his head in the map. I often had to stop and wait for him to catch up to us, but he was so intent on not missing any buildings, and he kept a checklist in his head of all the ones we had seen the first day and made sure we went to the other ones the next day. It actually came in pretty handy for me that he was keeping track of this information!!

The Town tour was so good that we went on both days.

This is Miss Kate... we saw her over the 2 days in several different costumes. She led some dancing lessons, played the Hertie Gertie for us, and stopped to chat later in the day after she had changed to a different dress. The funny thing is that at the end of the 2nd day, once we had returned to the nearby town of Wells where we were spending the night, I ran into her in the General store buying ice cream with her boyfriend. I said, "good day" and it was really quite awkward after seeing her in character for 2 days to see her in jeans and a t-shirt and in real life 2012... It must be hard for these actors to live the life of the 1860's for 5 months of the year and then have to step back to present day.

Mr Grimsby is quite a character. He does the waterwheel show and was such a great actor. Apparently he's been there for around 20 years... and someone said he's had the same hat all those years, too!!

Barkerville even had a town library.

At the saloon... now a restaurant where we had lunch.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

How I Contribute to my Family...

Last year, I tried the whole "chore chart" thing. I guess it worked... gave the kids a place to look at a list of things to do, etc. But I found it was using up a lot of paper.

This year, I am going to try this idea that I found on Pinterest. It is originally from a blog called Sutton Grace. Instead of calling them "chores" you call them Family Contributions. I like this so much better. When I ask my kids to do something, they usually say yes. But, there are times when they ask why??? My all-the-time answer is, "Because you are privileged to be part of this family, and with that privilege comes the responsibility to contribute."

Hmmm, maybe my long answer is the reason they usually say yes!! I wouldn't want to hear that all the time, either!

Last year with the chore chart, I found that we really only used it at the start of the school year, until around October or November. It really wasn't necessary to continue on throughout the year because the kids seemed to do their jobs without needing to be reminded after awhile.

We have a large closet with a window in our house that we have named "The Schoolroom" because it is where all school bags, gym bags, coats and hoodies get put after school on hooks. This is where the job lists are hanging, too. Instead of laminating these, which isn't very expensive, but does make the papers non-recyclable, I put my job lists in clear plastic sleeves which can still be wiped off at the end of each week if you use an overhead projector pen, or dry erase marker, but can be used again if we change the kids' jobs. All the kids have the same basic jobs like cleaning their rooms and practicing piano. But, then they are also given additional jobs that suit their ages.

Scott is 9 years old, and quite thorough in his work, so his jobs include vacuuming and getting the mail. He can take a sibling with him for the mail, but he is responsible for the key and making sure all the mail gets brought home.

Todd is 8. He does best with repetitive things that don't take a lot of problem solving, so dusting and taking out the garbage should be perfect jobs for him.

Elise is 6. She loves helping out wherever one of her parents are working, so when I told her that setting the table would be one of her jobs, she gave me a big smile!

I love the idea of contributing to your family so much more than doing chores and getting money. We do not give our kids an allowance, or pay them for completing chores. They sometimes get rewards, but usually that is in the form of a family reward, such as a family movie night, or going out for an ice cream treat.

Another resource, thanks to Pinterest, is from the Happy Housewife blog where there is a great list of family job ideas for every age group. Find it at this link.

Monday, August 06, 2012

A Day at the Fair

Summer doesn't seem complete without a trip to the country fair. We spent 5 hours in the 34 degree weather yesterday at the Agrifair, and here are a few of the highlights...

We got there in time for the worship service. The Youth Band was playing and a couple local pastors gave the message. A neat experience to be in the middle of the fair having a worship time.

Our friend, Sarah, was playing the keyboard with the band.

Next we went indoors for a beekeeping demonstration. This was so cool, and something that I would love to try one day. This man was covered in hundreds of bees. I've seen this done on TV before, but never live. The man in white just stood perfectly still, and the man in yellow said that the chances of him getting stung were slim to none because he was not doing anything that would make the bees feel threatened. It was the announcer that said that he, himself, was more at risk for getting stung, but that didn't happen.

After the bees we had some pizza for lunch and sat to watch the guys on skateboards. I was so impressed with what these guys could do on their skateboards. There were two 16 year old guys, and then a man that didn't say his age, but did say that he's been skateboarding for 36 years... and he still had it! He was doing spins and tricks that had "broken hip" written all over them!

16 year old, Andy, jumping over 6 skateboards and his buddy, Ryan! That's a trusting friend :)

Here are some pictures from the Lord Strathcona Mounted Troop show. These horses were beautiful, and they performed perfectly in the heat. We stayed for more than half the show, but the kids started wilting so I said we had to get in some shade for a bit.

At the end of the school year, the gym teacher organized for a portable rock climbing wall to visit the school. Only kids in grades 2 - 5 were allowed to participate for various reasons. Elise was totally ripped off that she didn't get to try it because she was only in Kindergarten. Well, at the fair, she spotted this climbing wall and she was more than determined to try this out! We headed over to the wall and she was the first to sign up!

Steve and Scott had a race...

Steve won :)

This is the only picture I got of Todd on the wall... oops! But when they were at the school with the wall, I took about 100 of him then, so it's all good!!

Still climbing! She tried all 3 sides, several times each.

The firemen are always so good with kids at these fairs. There was a fireman relay, and the first round Todd and Elise were against each other. Then the 2nd race was Scott vs. the fireman on the ground. At the end, the one in the white shirt (sorry I cut your head off in the picture) said, "ok, now drop and do 10 pushups both of you!" Scott got down beside the fireman and started his pushups, then the one in white picked Scott up and put him on the other guy's back. The one on the ground kept going!! Scott loved it!!

Sunflower picture - the mama made them do this, but they seem to have it figured out that if they cooperate with the pictures I ask of them, then it only takes one or 2 shots, not 25!!

The kids and Steve saw these trampoline acrobats last year, but I was in Norway during the Agrifair, so this was my first time seeing these people perform. WOW! I couldn't believe the tricks these 3 could do with a trampoline and a wall.

A good day at the fair, despite the heat. Even ran into some old friends that we haven't seen in quite awhile. Good place to catch up... at a country fair!