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Moana!

Spoilers!!

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I warned you!! 😉

We had no doubt we’d love ‘Moana’. After all, our puppy’s named Moana. But we had no idea how much we’d love this movie! First, best line EVER!! (may be misquoted) “You’re a girl, on an adventure, with an animal sidekick. You’re a princess.” 😀

First, the closest I’ve ever been to Hawaii/Samoa/Polynesian Islands is Disney’s Polynesian Village. Second, I’m white. So I can’t really comment on the accuracy of the movie, but I loved seeing this culture, I loved hearing the language used through the songs. It was very powerful, and really made me want to learn more about the people and culture.

The songs were so catchy, we’ve been singing them non-stop since we left the theatre (Okay, we may have began singing right there in the theatre)! “You’re Welcome”!

My children loved this movie because it brought to the screen a larger than life DemiGod, a hilarious chicken (suspiciously like Becky from Finding Dory), a cameo of Sven, and a young girl who followed her heart, who used her brain, who used her muscles, who used her heart. Moana is everything they want to be when they grow up. Moana is everything they want to be now!

There were two big themes that stood out for me, culture and love. Ironic given that this movie doesn’t have a love story intertwined at all.

 

Many people have specific ways of doing specific things that have been passed down from one generation to another. These traditions shape their days, weeks, months, years. It shapes how they meet people, get married, and even name their children. It guides them in difficult times, but it also constrains them, preventing them from finding out who they are, who they could be. Shackling them and preventing them from soaring.

In ‘Moana’, we see the beauty of tradition and culture, but we also see how having the mindset, “This is how we do things” can limit and hurt people at the same time it helps others.

I loved watching Moana’s ancestors sailing the sea, working together, rejoicing together in their accomplishments. Together. Not one person, but everyone.

That, I believe, is why so many people see something from a culture and try it on. They see the connection and want a piece of that. Instead of being lost in a sea of strangers, people want connection. But now many families are scattered from one corner of the world to another. They’ve lost the connection to their people, to the land. And they’re unable to get it back.

That connection is why, I think, so many people stick with tradition, even when it goes against what they think and believe. The fear of losing that connection is huge.

In ‘Moana’, she leaves her island home, she breaks with tradition, but she’s still able to return. There’s always a home waiting. It doesn’t matter that she did what her father forbid her to do. It doesn’t matter that she did what her people said should never be done. She was welcomed home.

She was loved. Unconditionally.

All people, even DemiGods, search for that level of love and acceptance. Doing everything they can, sometimes even messing things up royally in the process, trying to find a way to make others love and accept them for who they are, not who they should be, or what they do or believe, but just them.

In Moana, we learn that Maui was thrown to the sea by his parents. We discover Maui’s done all his amazing deeds as a way of searching for the love his parents never gave him. We see how he’s unable to really be himself for the majority of the movie. It wasn’t until he regained his confidence that he was able to shape shift again. It wasn’t until he felt worthy that he was able to help Moana succeed in her quest.

One can see the similarities between Maui and each of us in our low points. Acting out, being brash, egotistical, putting up walls to protect ourselves so we don’t get hurt more. It’s easy to only see the obnoxious behaviour, but when he tells his story we can see the deeper hurt. It wasn’t until Maui was vulnerable in sharing his story that he was able to grow and become his charismatic self in all his glory again. (Though I love that Moana was still the one that saved the day and completed her quest).

Love and connection. It’s what we all want so deeply it hurts.  Disney showed us this in a beautiful piece of art that our family will watch over and over again.

 

 

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A Great Advent Calendar Idea

Advent is a special time of year for our family. We mark the coming of Christ each evening with the lighting of a candle and a blessing. But as important as those family traditions are, there’s a less religious tradition our children look forward to all year long: The advent calendar!!

Each day they open a small gift and count down the days to Christmas. It makes the wait to open the gifts under the tree a bit more bearable for the younger children, and increases the excitement of the whole family. There’s something truly magical about Advent!

But we’ve run into a coupe problems with advent countdowns in the past. The biggest problem is that few remade calendars exist. There are lego and playmobil, but this is the first year we’ve been able to find either suited to children 3 and under. Most of the time we can only find the big kid sets. The other problem is the cost. At $40 a set, it gets pretty pricey the more children you have. And then we’d be faced with duplicate sets. If your children are anything like mine, that would not go over well.

Last year we wrapped books instead. One book a day for 4 kiddos to share. 24 books total. This idea sounded great in theory, but when I began putting it together I quickly discovered one small problem. The cost!

Books are so expensive! Especially since we needed a few board books as well.  So we couldn’t choose good books, but rather whatever cheap things we could find on sale or at second hand stores. We did manage one or two nice books, but most of them are already passed onto someone else because we didn’t like them enough to re-read them.

 

This year I wanted to try something a little different. We bought a large lego set, and divided it into 4 builds, then divided those builds into 24 days worth of smaller builds. 😀

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It was really brilliant actually – and the set we got worked perfectly! (Yay for VIP points that nocked this price way down!)

We also added on a smaller build to make sure all 4 kiddos received a minifig.  (excuse the poor pic quality, we were hiding in the worst room possible for pictures lol).

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Ryan and I went through both sets and wrapped a few steps worth of each build for each kiddo per day. The castle is built in stages, where the top floor and the bottom floor could mostly be built simultaneously with only one small issue – a small cliff over hang connects the upper and lower floors – and that could easily be built last.

It also has a separate area that worked perfectly as another separate build, combined with the mini set we were able to give each kiddo something for each day. We rearranged the build order a few times to work with advent. We wanted to give something like a minifig or animal every week. When we did that, we labeled the bag a little differently to remind us what part of the build the pieces belong in.

Because of how we divided the builds up, we were easily able to cut the build steps out of the instruction booklet. The instructions are double sided, one set works for a couple days in many cases. If you’re someone who can’t cut the instruction booklets apart, never fear, all instructions are available online, you could easily print the specific instructions you need for the day. I didn’t want to take the time to do that though lol.

All total it took us about 2 hours to divide all the lego up and make sure each day and each child received a decent build or minifig.

It was so much fun to plan and I can hardly wait to see them start building! This will be their first ‘blind’ build – the first time they’ll build without knowing what they’re building. We did save the box, just in case lol.

 

 

Do you do anything different as an Advent calendar/countdown? Have you tried anything you loved, or something that really didn’t work for your family? I’d love to hear more ideas!

 

 

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It’s a Colourful World

A couple times a year I order a giant amount of craft supplies from Crayola. We usually get economy sized paint, plus a few items we normally wouldn’t buy.

Today our order arrived and we have had so much fun playing with all the new colours!

Ella was super excited to get ‘grown-up’ pencil crayons, including watercolour crayons and metallic pencil crayons, as well as a beautiful colouring book.

Agatha received a smaller package of grown-up pencil crayons and the two girls received an animation studio to share (but really Agatha will use it more).

Brom and Cordelia received a paint maker kit that’s tons of fun, and includes a good upper body workout for free! Cordelia also received a large pack of pencil crayons to share with Agatha. And Brom received a Millennium Falcon filled with a bunch of different craft supplies. He was angry the pencil sharpener wasn’t a magnet and refused to use anything in the set hahaha. Though he did love the paint. 🙂

The Paint Maker kit was the biggest success. Everyone had to have a turn shaking the paint and making new colours. Though Brom and Cordelia and very firm, they’re the only ones who get to choose what colour to make! 😉 It comes with little paint ‘chips’ of dye that is added to the white paint base. Then you turn a hand crank and shake the paint to mix it.

We determined it’s best if you add a bit of base, then the colour, then a bit more base. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then begin shaking it. The first few we tried didn’t mix very well until we let them sit while we ate dinner. After dinner they mixed beautifully.

 

Cordelia can hardly wait to paint something with her new personally made paints.

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It's a Colourful World

A couple times a year I order a giant amount of craft supplies from Crayola. We usually get economy sized paint, plus a few items we normally wouldn’t buy.

Today our order arrived and we have had so much fun playing with all the new colours!

Ella was super excited to get ‘grown-up’ pencil crayons, including watercolour crayons and metallic pencil crayons, as well as a beautiful colouring book.

Agatha received a smaller package of grown-up pencil crayons and the two girls received an animation studio to share (but really Agatha will use it more).

Brom and Cordelia received a paint maker kit that’s tons of fun, and includes a good upper body workout for free! Cordelia also received a large pack of pencil crayons to share with Agatha. And Brom received a Millennium Falcon filled with a bunch of different craft supplies. He was angry the pencil sharpener wasn’t a magnet and refused to use anything in the set hahaha. Though he did love the paint. 🙂

The Paint Maker kit was the biggest success. Everyone had to have a turn shaking the paint and making new colours. Though Brom and Cordelia and very firm, they’re the only ones who get to choose what colour to make! 😉 It comes with little paint ‘chips’ of dye that is added to the white paint base. Then you turn a hand crank and shake the paint to mix it.

We determined it’s best if you add a bit of base, then the colour, then a bit more base. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then begin shaking it. The first few we tried didn’t mix very well until we let them sit while we ate dinner. After dinner they mixed beautifully.

 

Cordelia can hardly wait to paint something with her new personally made paints.

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I’m the Angry Mom Yelling at Your Kid on the Bus

TRIGGER WARNING: Hints of sexual assault, rape culture

Today something happened while we rode the bus, something that hurt my heart and my head so deeply it took me almost 20minutes to stop shaking.

We got on the bus near a high school, just as school ended. Several high school students piled onto the bus, jumping, falling, climbing all over each other like giant puppies. It was kind of sweet to see what my own children will become one day. Every second word was a curse while they tried on being big and brave and grown up. My daughters looked at me with wide eyes, but they know the words, and no harm was meant by them. Though several of the students looked over at us with apologetic looks on their faces. No one actually told the boy cursing to stop.

Though after a couple blocks another boy began laughing and talking – the cursing stopped. Something much more sinister and disgusting filled the space where mere words used to be.

The boy that spoke laughed and laughed about a man, a bodybuilder in Texas, who removed a picture of his daughter from social media because of this boy’s comments on the picture. (turns out he was only blocked, the picture was not removed)

I won’t quote directly, it was too difficult to listen to, this boy proudly repeated what he’d written on the girl’s picture. He talked about how he wanted to sexually assault her. Him and his buddies laughed when one of the guys pointed out that the girl’s father had said she was only 11. He boasted, “She looks 15, that’s good enough for me.” He then made further comments of what he intended to do.

Honestly the whole thing is a little hazy, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe that not a single other person there told him that wasn’t okay. I was so busy worrying about what my daughters, my 10 year old, were hearing.

One girl did tell him to stop. Him and his buddies laughed. That’s when I snapped. First I thanked the girl for standing up for others, then I turned to the boy.

I was a little emotional, far from eloquent, and missed so many points as to what exactly was problematic about his comments, my words were mostly about how appalled and disgusted I was and how he should be setting examples for younger children not terrifying them. I wish I’d said things differently, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. In the face of someone actually saying these things, I couldn’t form a coherent thought.

My 10 yr old hid her head as I yelled at the boy. But I couldn’t let it go.

This is a boy that goes to a school my children walk passed several times a week. This is a boy talking about sexually assaulting a little girl that looked so similar to my own little girl. This is a boy laughing about rape and a bus full of teens who laughed along with him. This is rape culture and it knocked on my door.

This is rape culture and now my girls are afraid. He wanted to hurt a little girl. Or an older girl. It could have been any girl. Any girl.

A person that a bus full of teens stripped of her personhood and diminished to a piece of flesh to be taken and used. Abused.

I am disgusted.

I am sad.

 

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I'm the Angry Mom Yelling at Your Kid on the Bus

TRIGGER WARNING: Hints of sexual assault, rape culture

Today something happened while we rode the bus, something that hurt my heart and my head so deeply it took me almost 20minutes to stop shaking.

We got on the bus near a high school, just as school ended. Several high school students piled onto the bus, jumping, falling, climbing all over each other like giant puppies. It was kind of sweet to see what my own children will become one day. Every second word was a curse while they tried on being big and brave and grown up. My daughters looked at me with wide eyes, but they know the words, and no harm was meant by them. Though several of the students looked over at us with apologetic looks on their faces. No one actually told the boy cursing to stop.

Though after a couple blocks another boy began laughing and talking – the cursing stopped. Something much more sinister and disgusting filled the space where mere words used to be.

The boy that spoke laughed and laughed about a man, a bodybuilder in Texas, who removed a picture of his daughter from social media because of this boy’s comments on the picture. (turns out he was only blocked, the picture was not removed)

I won’t quote directly, it was too difficult to listen to, this boy proudly repeated what he’d written on the girl’s picture. He talked about how he wanted to sexually assault her. Him and his buddies laughed when one of the guys pointed out that the girl’s father had said she was only 11. He boasted, “She looks 15, that’s good enough for me.” He then made further comments of what he intended to do.

Honestly the whole thing is a little hazy, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe that not a single other person there told him that wasn’t okay. I was so busy worrying about what my daughters, my 10 year old, were hearing.

One girl did tell him to stop. Him and his buddies laughed. That’s when I snapped. First I thanked the girl for standing up for others, then I turned to the boy.

I was a little emotional, far from eloquent, and missed so many points as to what exactly was problematic about his comments, my words were mostly about how appalled and disgusted I was and how he should be setting examples for younger children not terrifying them. I wish I’d said things differently, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. In the face of someone actually saying these things, I couldn’t form a coherent thought.

My 10 yr old hid her head as I yelled at the boy. But I couldn’t let it go.

This is a boy that goes to a school my children walk passed several times a week. This is a boy talking about sexually assaulting a little girl that looked so similar to my own little girl. This is a boy laughing about rape and a bus full of teens who laughed along with him. This is rape culture and it knocked on my door.

This is rape culture and now my girls are afraid. He wanted to hurt a little girl. Or an older girl. It could have been any girl. Any girl.

A person that a bus full of teens stripped of her personhood and diminished to a piece of flesh to be taken and used. Abused.

I am disgusted.

I am sad.

 

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The Reason My Daughter is Afraid of Milk

We’ve been reading the most amazing series together as a family, “The Incorrigible Children” by Maryrose Wood. If you haven’t picked up these books before, please do! They’re so much fun to read, and very educational!

Just last night we discovered you can use milk to write secret messages to each other! Of course today we had to try it for our selves.

 

We tried a few other ways of writing a secret message, including lemon juice, white crayon (on white paper), and baking soda paste. The white crayon was easy to use and easy to reveal. But was also the least secret, followed closely by the baking soda paste. Both methods used water colour paints to reveal the secret.

Both milk and lemon juice required fire.


Sounded easy enough when we read it in the book. Gently heat the secret message over a small flame and watch the message appear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We discovered milk catches fire faster than lemon juice. Agatha decided milk is much too dangerous to drink anymore. “Who knows when it might go up in flames!” (She said in all seriousness).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You don’t Know What You’ve Been Missing

Oh Boy! I didn’t realize what I’d been missing! And my children had no idea because 2 of the 4 had never had it, and the other two were too young to remember the last time they had popcorn.

For a few months now Ella had been reacting to something, but we had no idea what. We guessed she was eating something while out with friends and reacting to that. The most obvious culprit (we thought) was corn. So, knowing full well we could come to regret the decision, we decided to do a  test of corn (after removing other possible culprits like dairy) to see how she reacted. Of course it’s difficult to eat something in front of a three year old and not have him eat it too. So the whole family began eating corn regularly! 😮

Part of me is still really nervous about it, I feel guilty every time I willingly, knowingly, give my family something with corn of any type in it. But another part of me is jumping for joy that I can eat popcorn again! I used to live of the stuff once upon a time, but it’s been years since I finally gave away our hotter popcorn popper, and many more years since I used it last.

We’ve determined none of our children react to corn anymore. At least not obviously (this part scares me a little, but for now we’re taking it one step at a time).

So what does Ella react to? Xanthan gum. When she was eating out with friends, the buns she ate had xanthan gum in them. Salad dressings at restaurants had it. She reacted.

We’re not willing to do a full test to see how any of the kiddos handle xanthan gum, for now we’re continuing as if Cordelia and Brom still can’t eat it, and now Ella as well. But that’s okay because I’m eating skittles and popcorn with my children. Life is good!

 

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You don't Know What You've Been Missing

Oh Boy! I didn’t realize what I’d been missing! And my children had no idea because 2 of the 4 had never had it, and the other two were too young to remember the last time they had popcorn.

For a few months now Ella had been reacting to something, but we had no idea what. We guessed she was eating something while out with friends and reacting to that. The most obvious culprit (we thought) was corn. So, knowing full well we could come to regret the decision, we decided to do a  test of corn (after removing other possible culprits like dairy) to see how she reacted. Of course it’s difficult to eat something in front of a three year old and not have him eat it too. So the whole family began eating corn regularly! 😮

Part of me is still really nervous about it, I feel guilty every time I willingly, knowingly, give my family something with corn of any type in it. But another part of me is jumping for joy that I can eat popcorn again! I used to live of the stuff once upon a time, but it’s been years since I finally gave away our hotter popcorn popper, and many more years since I used it last.

We’ve determined none of our children react to corn anymore. At least not obviously (this part scares me a little, but for now we’re taking it one step at a time).

So what does Ella react to? Xanthan gum. When she was eating out with friends, the buns she ate had xanthan gum in them. Salad dressings at restaurants had it. She reacted.

We’re not willing to do a full test to see how any of the kiddos handle xanthan gum, for now we’re continuing as if Cordelia and Brom still can’t eat it, and now Ella as well. But that’s okay because I’m eating skittles and popcorn with my children. Life is good!

 

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Different Sides to the Same Coin

We homeschool our children, we try to unschool them. I say ‘try’ because sometimes I get a little nervous and pushy. But, over all we follow our children’s lead. Sometimes that means workbooks and learning apps, sometimes that means hours on pinterest or reading books. Over the past few days it was so much time spent playing Disney TsumTsums. I’m not sure what they were learning, but they had fun. (Often we don’t know what our children learn until well after the fact. That’s okay).

Last week we received a phone call from the Minister of Education’s office letting us know the school board our children register with has been discredited and defunded. In other words, our children were no longer ‘in school’. We needed to find a new board, reregister, resubmit our education plan, and possibly change our plan.

It was weird and very disconcerting.

The worst part has been reading the views of other homeschoolers directly affected by this event. So many of them view the government as attacking us homeschoolers, trying to take away our right to school our children. So many homeschoolers believe there’s a massive conspiracy that’ll start here and end with all our children enrolled in public school.

There’s a huge report that goes over all the concerns the government had with the board, but this letter sums it up fairly well.

From the government’s perspective, they stepped in to be sure all the students received their funding, and to protect our ability to homeschool. The minister said this decision shouldn’t have effected us too greatly, after all, we school at home, so it’s not like we’d need to stop. 😮

I’m unhappy with timing, I’m unhappy with how this happened, but if even a portion of the accusations are true, then it seems that closure was the only action available.

So now I research new school boards, and I carry on schooling my children as I did last week. Because really, nothing has changed that much.

Though now I read the words of people who claim to follow the lord. I read words of anger and hate. I see memes of our premier being compared to Delores Umbridge. I see people sharing things their (young) children have said about what’s happened, and I know their children have heard words of anger, fear, and hate on this subject, possibly many subjects.

The school board has asked parents to remain registered with them, to wait, to stand with them. They say they’ll fight (and win) against the government. They say many things. But mostly I see so much hate and anger from the other families.

Our family may or may not have stood with Wisdom, but now we know these are definitely not our people. I do not want to hear these words of hate and anger and risk internalizing them. We search for a new board, with greater diversity. We’d rather have fewer freedoms in our homeschooling than to stand with people who will not listening, who spread so much hate.