It has been 3 months. I read somewhere never to apologize for a lapse in blogging just to start right up where you left off. However, I have felt overwhelmed each time I consider writing and always choose to do something else (mostly read) whenever I get a spare moment. I have felt like I don't know where to begin, I don't know what to share or how transparent to be. There is too much to do, including updating my format and picture at the top. There are even written posts, unpublished because I don't know if I want to share that part of my life.
So I will apologize: sorry to all of you faithful readers out there who have probably stopped checking for updates ages ago!
What has been going on around here?
Southern Exposure Construction's first Passive House is complete! This is not our house, it is Tim's parents house and he has been busy with a few different open houses, promoting the house at the Home Show and also, his first article in the press. It is exciting for us, a dream in the making for years and Tim has put countless hours of research into this house. It all started with the Passive House conference he attended in Toronto a year and a half ago. Basically, the house uses design, super insulated walls and solar gains to heat itself and should run about $10 per month (or less) to heat. There are no solar panels or expensive mechanical systems involved. This is pretty exciting for us, and Tim is really paving the way, setting high standards for future Passive House building in Canada. (If you are friends and family reading this, you already know all about the house, so forgive my shameless plug!)
We finished our homeschool preschool year this year by observing Painted Lady larvae grow into caterpillars, make their chrysalises and emerge as beautiful butterflies! It was fascinating and such a fun science experiment. We ordered the larvae with our local homeschool co-op through this site. We were thrilled to be able to release 8 beautiful butterflies!
As for our homeschool preschool year... it ended up looking more like living life together than a typical preschool. We read and enjoyed all the books in the Sonlight P 3/4 package although we skipped a lot of the activities. I found that they didn't often work for us, or just took a quick second to ask a question or sing a song. Really, we just loved the fabulous books and some became quick favorites. We go to the library often (at least 2-3 times a month) and now Charlotte is really into reading chapter books. (Anyone know the Rainbow Fairy books? Well... let's say I've read a lot of them! They aren't high quality literature, but I feel like it's a phase we are in and it will slow down, and then we will read something else. I've decided not to squash the love of reading chapter books, and get through the Rainbow Fairy phase!) Fairy books definitely are the favorite, although we have read a Littles book and I've started a Little House chapter book with her. The librarian at our local library was so helpful in suggesting alternative chapter books for read alouds and these were her suggestions for Charlotte's age:
The Littles series
Stuart Little, other E.B. White books (Charlotte's Web!)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle and other Beverly Cleary books
The Little House Chapter books
The Boxcar Children series (I'm previewing book 1 right now!)
Enid Blyton books (for a bit older)
In the fall, we have chosen to homeschool preschool for another year, and I will be supplementing our everyday activities, reading, baking, chores, outdoor play with a little bit more structure. I am really considering the All About Reading level Pre-1 for reading, phonics etc. The program focuses on the Five Big Skills for learning to read. I also plan to have activities/curriculum for writing, math and science, but my intention was not to write all about homeschooling in preschool... just about life lately!
A big huge part of our life lately has been the change in our diet. Lila and I have eliminated all dairy, wheat and most gluten from our diet and it has made an incredible difference in her skin. We still have set backs, but generally, it has been an amazing journey to see the healing in her skin. It has taken a lot of time, researching recipes and researching a gluten free diet in general. There is a lot to learn about nutrition (and a lot of differing opinions out there!) and it has become a huge interest of mine. I'm still finding my menu planning and budgeting groove in this, dairy replacements are not cheap, and GF (gluten free) options are usually very expensive too. I try to lean toward cooking whole food, but I find I need that loaf of GF bread in the freezer for a back up lunch some days. I think that studying nutrition could become a huge interest of mine, had I the time to invest!
Here are some photos of our last trip to the cottage! That has been another busy part of our life, getting the camp ready, keeping the lawn mowed etc. It is a part that I cherish, although it does leave our home duties a bit neglected at times!
I will be back soon... promise!