Saturday September 26, 2020 L e a n n e   V e r k l e y not logged in

First day of school

This year looks a lot different for back to school than other years.  We did the usual first day of school photos on the front porch and then we had an online pre-recorded meeting for each of the kids classes.  That was the end of day one.  
Day two, the first actual day with teachers, Easton got online and played get-to-know you games for the day to get to know the kids from the other school that he has been merged with.  Hadley and I spent the morning trying to get her online.  After many attempts and messages she was finally online by 1pm.  She has a substitute teacher until the 18th.
We have now figured out that there will be morning announcements once a week.  With a link to listen in.  The kids have this on different days.  Easton has a principal and vice principal that is responsible for the 5/6 campus.  Hadley has a different principal and vice for the 7/8 campus.  All under the DDSB@home umbrella.  
This will be a learning curve for all.  But here we go!

- Leanne Verkley

Staycation - Long Weekend in Japan AKA our house

This weekend we decided to bring Japan to our house.  Sure it's on the other side of the world, but we can't travel there right now, so the kids decided this would be the next fun place to travel to from our living-room.
The day started off with Tamagoyaki.  This is basically an omelette with soy sauce, sugar and salt.  However you cook the egg super thin and roll it.  We did our best but ours didn't look like the picture, however I think it tasted the way it was supposed to.  We all thought it had a maple flavour to it.  Next up... decorations.  We strung lanterns between the living room and kitchen.  Pink, light pink, white, large, medium and small.  While Brian hallowed out the cucumbers, Hadley stuffed them with rice and a carrot matchstick.  This was the kid version of making sushi.  I did a click and collect order at our grocery store and picked up fresh sushi.  Ok, so it isn't the same as restaurant sushi, but it was actually pretty close and was made minutes before I picked it up.  We had all kinds.  Some with salmon, some with crab, some with seaweed on the outside, some with it on the inside, some with sauce, some without and wasabi on the side just for kicks!  We even had some sake wine. We made home made Pocky which was basically breadsticks dipped in milk chocolate.  I had fun putting my hair up in two buns with chopsticks and then later one bun with chop sticks.  Hadley and I had dresses on that we ordered that had a lovely floral print, but unfortunately they were the most unflattering dresses.  Good thing they only cost $6 each... and were shipped from the other side of the world!  We had fun making Origami paper swans and paper planes.  Hadley showed us an anime show that she found online.  Then we learned a new game card game.  Sushi GO!  It took a few minutes to get the hang of it, but once we did, we played a few rounds.  Its a fun quick game.  We watched Japan from Above which was good on Amazon Prime and a History of Japan thing that Brian found online.  We bought nori which we thought was a snack food, but turns out it was just the actual seaweed for making sushi.  We had Japanese watermelon gummy candy and Green Tea KitKat ice cream. For dinner we had Yakisoba which is basically a noodle stir-fry with a Sappuro (Beer) on the side.  This was the best way ever to serve asian noodles.  We also had miso soup and tempura.  This shrimp was so good in the air fryer!  We even put pillows down and ate on the floor around our coffee table.  Earlier in the week Hadley and I spent two days painting Mount Fuji with cherry blossoms swaying in the front of the mountain.  I think I found this more relaxing than she did.   We all tried writing our names in Japanese.  We played Majong online and Pokemon Go and Easton and I completed a Suduko.  
All in all a successful weekend staycation in Japan, aka our living-room.  

- Leanne Verkley

The end of August

Well, my grandma turned 85.  There was no big party, but I did talk with her on the phone.  She has been in the hospital after a fall, so she was just happy to be out for her birthday.  I saw pictures of her with a cake.  Not the same as seeing her in person, but I am glad she celebrated.  

Hadley had an appointment to get her braces adjusted, so that was pretty exciting for her (and me really), as she only goes in the van for this every 8 weeks or so. The appointment is only 15 minutes, and we use sanitizer and masks, but we still come home and shower right away as we don't know if a door handle, or a chair that we sat in at the appointment was contaminated.

Brian is still working from the basement.  Hadley is working on Gatcha character editing online, and discovering new music almost daily.  Easton is playing video games with his friends online, and we all try to exercise, clean, and learn something daily.  I have successfully grown peppers, green onion, potatoes, celery, tomatoes, beats, and one sunflower that was actually a seed from Easton's sunflower from last summer and strawberry leaves.  The strawberry plant is growing but no actual fruit.  I paint when I need to feel creative.  I have found online courses that are free and fun.  I have been working on de-cluttering.  I have tackled the kitchen.  All counters, the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen... and now the counters need more help again since I went through everything and things now need actual homes.  However, I feel like this is an accomplishment.  I did toss a bunch and place a bunch in a donation box to be donated at a later time.

There have been a number of three hour long board trustee meetings online about back to school, nothing will be perfect, we will all learn through this, it will be different.  We will do our best and I am confident that we made the right choice to do online learning at this time as we will be safe, and healthy.  

Hadley did two online courses from the University of Ontario.  They offered two free online coding classes for grade 7/8 girls.  She created a game of air hockey and a flappy bird game, but she changed the bird to a unicorn.  She seemed to have fun with it.  Easton and I worked with chrome music lab to play around with music online, and we had some board game (Settlers) fun while she was doing her courses.  Another fun part is that two kids from her school were online and her friend Rachel from skating.  

I enjoy walking down our road, and every once in a while I convince my kids to join me. I admire the wildflowers around us.  Nature has such beauty.  My allergies think otherwise, but I prepare for the end of August knowing it is just that time of year.

I do miss seeing my family and friends in person, but keep reminding myself that this is a chapter, and how we write it will be how my kids re-tell it for their lifetime.  They will be able to say that we did all we could to keep them safe and our loved ones safe.  I am forever grateful for country living.

- Leanne Verkley

42: THE ANSWER TO LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING!

I am now 42.  This month is having a nice pace.  At the beginning of the month the SpaceX crew returned on Dragon from the international space station.  It was fun to watch them go up, and we were happy to see them arrive home safely.  
I have been busy learning how to paint.  I even got a new paint set with lots of fun colours, papers, canvases, an easel, and new paint brushes and paint palette for my birthday.
There have been many things to read about the back to school plan and we officially decided to do distanced learning with the kids at least until the next term.  So they will be enrolled in virtual school.  
The kids received their Knowledgehook math awards in the mail.  They both worked really hard durning the school year to achieve the mathlete award.  
Easton and I have played a lot of frisbee, water balloon wars, and other fun things in the backyard.  Hadley has been busy learning about gatcha life and gatcha club editing.  She loves it!  It is so fun to see how she mixes her creativity designing characters, and editing their movements to songs that she finds.  Almost daily she introduces us to a few new songs.  
For my birthday we decided that it would be fun to bring travel to our family if we couldn't actually travel.  The kids picked Mexico.  So, for breakfast we had homemade Pan dulces. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/18117/pan-dulces/
This is a sweet bread.  Quite tasty!  
Then lunch was a black bean soup with black bean tortillas.  I have had this recipe from a colleague that I used to work with almost 14 years ago.  It is so delicious!  
We decorated the house with fun Mexican streamers.  Easton made a flip up Q&A game with Mexican facts and Hadley made a gatcha online Mexican Trivia game with ABCD options for answers.  They were both fun!  We ordered a donkey rainbow piņata for the backyard and filled it with Limonada specialty Mexican candy.  We took turns beating away at it with a baseball bat and holding it up on the end of a hockey stick for each other to take a turn.  Hadley officially broke it open.  
We played the game Mexican trains, had special Mexican snacks, some were quite spicy and of course cervezas.  We even bought tequila.  We watched The Book of Life and Roma, two Mexican movies.  We found photobooth pops online and had fun with the signs and took fun pictures with  Cheesy burritos for dinner.  Later we enjoyed some churros and their cinnamon and sugary goodness.  Easton made a cake, and Hadley decorated it with an ice-cream cone on top as she knows I like Dairy Queen ice-cream cake.  However, home-made cake was best this year!  I loved it!  It was quite an eventful birthday celebration!  I am happy!  

- Leanne Verkley

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