Monday, April 26, 2010


This is a feature Ivy wrote on her grandma, Dianne Hiebert, in the spring edition of her family newsletter.

Earth Day

In honour of earth day the girls did a voluntary garbage clean-up in our neighbourhood. They had one bag nearly full when the employee of a local business came by (on his forklift) and offered to dispose of the garbage for us. Then he gave the girls $5 to thank them! It was a fun bonus. A few days later the Sparks and Brownies met to do a group clean-up along Prairie Valley and Giant's Head roads.

Ivy in particular takes environmental issues very seriously and it can keep her up at night. Along with 2 friends she started the "JEB" club and the 3 girls hope to raise money for a variety of causes, with Ivy's first choice being an environmental organization. Here are some posters Ivy's made on this theme.

Ella made some of her own posters too:

The Curious Garden

The Curious Garden is a story about a boy who lived in a bleak grey city.
Then one day while he is exploring an old railway he finds a little garden.
as he takes care of the plants ad the plants get stronger, the plants get restless and
the gaden expands to cover the whole track! by the next spring,it has grown
all the way through the entire city!

Related Links
An interview with the author, Peter Brown is here.

Peter Brown demonstrating his technique.

Pictures of the real Highline Park in New York.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


We are lucky to have an abuela and an abuelo (? did I get that right?) who are willing to spend time teaching the girls Spanish. Ivy and Ella put a lot of effort into a gorgeous sign welcoming them to our home last week (they live in Winnipeg). Grandma Pearl spent most of a morning teaching them the correct pronunciation of common words and short phrases. Very patient!

Money Math

It was girl guide cookie time again over the last month so we've been doing some extra work with "money math".

Ivy used the $4 boxes to practice the 4x tables and did a great job of using subtraction to figure out change. Midway through the selling we reconciled the number of boxes left with the amount of money taken in. It introduced the concept of balancing and we used addition, subtraction, multiplication and money counting to figure it out.

Ella worked on adding 4's to find out how much multiple boxes would cost. She also learned how to write the amounts down and add and subtract it on paper. Today we pulled out a pile of change and made equations with coins. One example was a loonie on one side equals 20 nickels on the other. She counted by 1's, 5's, and 10's. When that project was over she created this wonderful scene with the coins!


Ivy's first fougasse!

This term Ivy has decided to focus some of her energy on baking. She and Ella experimented with making up their own recipes and came up with "Butterfly Biscuits" and "Caramel Whizbangs"! They based their ideas on recipes they were familiar with and baked them independently in the toaster oven. The Caramel Whizbangs were particularly good and got great reviews! Their ability to adapt recipes and achieve not only usable but tasty results was amazing. The ratios they came up with were excellent and they made subtle adjustments in subsequent batches. A third recipe didn't turn out nearly as well but lessons were learned from that too.

The most recent goal has been to bake some good artisan bread. We took a few books out from the library and were most impressed with Richard Bertinet's "Dough". This afternoon we watched the accompanying DVD and made a batch of Fougasse. Ivy was frustrated that her dough was stickier than shown in the video but we talked about the fact that the baker had been doing it for years and this was a first attempt.

These cookies were made to take to a Valentines violin recital. A friend of ours makes the little flowers but the girls baked, iced and decorated the cookies. I help take them out of the oven but that's my main role!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Man Who Planted Trees

Jeremy found this short movie for us to watch that followed our themes of environment, social responsibility and plants. The summary of the 1987 film is this:

"The Man Who Planted Trees tells the story of a solitary sheperd who patiently plants and nurtures a forest of thousands of trees, single-handedly transforming his arid surroundings into a thriving oasis. Undeterred by two World Wars, and without any thought of personal reward, the sheperd tirelessly sows his seeds and acorns with the greatest care. As if by magic, a landscape that seemed condemned grows green again. A film of great beauty and hope, this story is a remarkable parable for all ages and an inspiring testament to the power of one person."