Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sport Stacking and the Cobra Weave

It was a chilly day so we spent most of it indoors. We tried two new activities today.

The first activity was "Sport Stacking" (also known as cup stacking, or speed stacking) which I have learned is a very serious sport. There is even a governing body setting the rules. We tried doing this with IKEA kid cups at first, but they were too heavy. I found these red cups which were better than the IKEA cups, but they were still a little too light. I am considering getting some official cups. It is actually quite fun and slightly addicting. I don't think I will get the "stack mat" with the built-in timer, at least not yet!

The kids could have done this all day!

I've noticed that Lauchy sticks out his tongue
when he is concentrating on something. Cute!

We found these vids helpful and a little cheesy!

We also did the "Cobra Weave" today. We tried doing the cobra weave a few years ago, but we lost patience, or had to stop early - I can't quite remember. We had more success with this today. We found it was easier to do on the rug in the living room. When we made the cobra weave in the attic and then tried to release it, it got stuck in the longer carpet fibres.

Here is a short video of the one we made today.

There are tons of videos on-line of some very impressive cobra weaves. We also found this page very helpful. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back Deck Re-Vamp

A few years after buying our house we decided to add a deck to the back of the house. It is a large space and is perfect when we have friends and family over in the summer. However, we find we barely use it ourselves. During the summer it is very hot on that side of the house/yard and the deck is in blazing sun for most of the day. We have talked a lot about different solutions but have had a hard time finding a solution we both like. Jeff wanted to buy a large gazebo for the space but I felt that it would be too big and then not feel like a deck anymore. What I would really love is some kind of pergola where we eventually have a creeping plant growing over to act as natural shade, but that also seems complicated.

One of our goals when we returned to Canada was to make the back deck a more inviting place. Two summers ago we bought an L-shaped couch for our front porch and we use it all the time. We can all fit on it and the porch is in shade for most of the day. We wanted to find furniture for the back deck so that we could use that space more often.

I find it insane how retail stores work here. I would assume that the beginning of July means that we are still in summer mode, but the stores would have it otherwise. I looked in Target in early July and discovered that 90% of their summer things were already gone and they were in the process of putting out "Back To School" supplies. You know how much we are all thinking about school at the beginning of summer vacation! Sheesh! We checked two more stores and they too had put away most of their summer things. Thankfully, we had some luck at good old Canadian Tire.

The deck before just had a table set and a swing that my grandparents bought for us. We have never been a fan of those chairs. They are really heavy and hard for the kids to move and they don't stack, making it challenging to store them during the winter.

I was happy to see that the vine is 
finally starting to cover our eyesore shed.

We found some light, stackable 
chairs in a nice green colour. Yay!

On the advice of my friend, we moved the dining table to the other side and put the seating area closer to the back door. I noticed a few years ago that our friends had an outdoor rug on their deck and I liked how it defined the space and made the space seem cozy. We also decided on a large umbrella for now. We've noticed that while it definitely blocks out the sun, we can still feel the heat coming through. However, it is a much better solution than what we had before, which was nothing!

We still have to power wash the deck and properly anchor the umbrella (it is being held down by bags of bark mulch for now). One day we would like to replace the pressure treated wood with a composite product, but that won't happen until I have been working for at least a few years! We found the wooden bench (and a 2nd matching one) on the curb. What a great find!

Tassie loves the new furniture, too. What else is new!

I didn't take a photo, but we moved the swing to the upper level of the deck and put it near our BBQ. We still like to use the swing, but we've noticed that Lauchy likes to sit there and chatter away to Jeff when Jeff is at the BBQ.

I am so glad that we put the time and money into the back deck. We have already spent so much more time out there. I am looking forward to next summer when I can plant flowers in all of my planters. The flowers make a big difference, too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer Days

Jeff is away on his annual canoe trip. Usually when he is away I get together with my friends and we take the kids on a few adventures. This year is no different and so far we have been to Point Farms Provincial Park, the outdoor pool, had a BBQ with friends, and yesterday we went to the African Lion Safari. It has been busy, but lots of fun spending time with our friends.

The day at the beach was outstanding with perfect weather.

Lauchy loved paddling around in the kayak.

We also went to African Lion Safari. The last time we were there Lauchy was two so he didn't remember any of it. Jeff has the camera so I've been using my iPhone, but the photos haven't been turning out very well.

We were disappointed that none of the baboons came on our car. Maybe that's a good thing - you can see that the baboon below has a piece of a car in his mouth!

The kids waiting for the elephant swim to begin.

Here come the elephants!

This is my favourite part of the day.

The water park is always a hit with the kids.

They love the obstacle course, too.

We also went to the "Parrot Show" and the "Birds of Prey Show". It is certainly not cheap to go to the African Lion Safari, but you definitely get your money's worth when you go. Me and my friend were exhausted by the end of the day and we just sat and watched the kids. I don't know how the kids can just go, go, go all day long! How nice to be young and full of energy!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Lately

I haven't post much lately. I just don't feel that inspired, I guess. This has been a bit of a strange summer as we readjust to life back home. It has been so wonderful to spend time with friends again and for the kids to see their friends, but I really miss England, much more than I thought I would. Maybe I am feeling this way because we haven't done a lot since getting back home. We intentionally planned it that way, wanting to leave time to unpack and enjoy our house and yard. Many of our friends are away on holiday, too, which means there aren't that many friends around for the kids to play with. I suspect once school starts in the fall I will start to feel more at home again.

For now, a few photos of what we have been up to so far:

The kids have enjoyed 
re-discovering what is in the dress-up bins.

We biked to Victoria Park.
All 3 kids are in this photo.

Lauchy finally learned how to play Skip-Bo.

Lauchy also spent a LOT of his own money on this. Thanks to Baba who gave all 3 kids some money before he left England. 50 British pounds equals a lot of Canadian money! Lauchlan has been saving a long time for this Lego set!

It took Lauchy 3 days, but he built this almost entirely by himself!

We also bought a trampoline, something we have been thinking about doing ever since we "babysat" another trampoline a few summers ago.

I think this will be an excellent investment!