Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prince Edward Island : A Virtual Trip for Families & Homeschoolers

I was invited as part of the Canadian Homeschooling Blogging Team to share with you a virtual trip through Prince Edward Island. 

I am very excited to write about our gentle island and to share with you our favourite places. It was difficult to choose only a few places to write about! 

I chose a few of our favourites as a homeschool family, places that are interesting, fun, and easy to do on a budget. I added links to extra information or resources whenever possible. I have loved writing about our adventures on Prince Edward Island since our move here almost three years ago, so I added links to past blog posts throughout. 

If you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables, a visit to Green Gables is a must! You can visit the home and land that inspired L.M. Montgomery to write the story of "Anne with an e". 

Inside Green Gables 
Inside Green Gables 

Walking through the 19th Century home is a great experience. My family enjoyed walking the nature trails even more, especially as they are mentioned in the story, the Haunted Woods and Lovers' Lane. Both these trails are short , Haunted Woods is only 0.9km, and include many interesting signs to read about Green Gables, the nature and history around it. 

To see more photos and story of our visit to Green Gables and trails, check Exploring PEI: Green Gables. 

Haunted Wood Trail at Green Gables 

One of our favourite destinations in the summer, is the Prince Edward Island National Park. We have purchased a seasonal pass every year we have lived here because we go several times a week! We love the beaches here and there are also many beautiful nature trails to explore. 

The PEI National Park includes three locations: CavendishBrackley-Dalvay, and Greenwich

Cavendish Beach 

We have visited Cavendish and had a great time playing on the rocks and with the waves. 

See more photos and the story: Exploring PEI: Cavendish Beach, Orby Head, and a Fox! 

Stanhope Cape Beach 

Brackley-Dalvay is our favourite destination for beaches. There are several to choose from in this area. Soft sand, clean beaches, some with lifeguards and activities, beautiful dunes... Some have full facilities and even playgrounds.

One of our favourite activities is building sand castles. In the past, a sand castle artist held free "workshops" to learn how to build sand sculptures. 

Here are a few posts to visit for more photos and stories: 

Perfectly Awesome Day: Sandcastles Competition, Paddleboarding, Cupcakes and More..

Exploring PEI: Brackley Beach

PEI National Park: Between Cavendish and North Rustico

Exploring PEI: PEI National Park 

Sandcastles and Tide Pools 

A special day trip to Greenwich, which is part of the PEI National Park, is highly recommended if you love nature. There are more beautiful trails and a beach that seemed to go on forever! The parabolic dunes are rare in North America and well worth the visit, in my opinion. 

Greenwich Beach 

Informative signs and a interactive visitor centre help to learn more about these and the nature all around this area. The Tlaqatik Trail along St Peters Bay had many signs telling the history of the area. 

Learn about all different types of dunes at this National Geographic Education article. 

To see more of Greenwich: 

Greenwich Part One: Exploring PEI

Greenwich Part Two: Exploring PEI 

Prince Edward Island also has many provincial parks, and all are free to access. Many have picnic facilities as well as washrooms, and sometimes playgrounds. 

Argyle Shores Provincial Park 

We like to visit Argyle Shores Provincial Park for its beautiful red sand, rocks, and tide pools. We saw our very first starfish there and loved seeing all the little hermit crabs scurrying around. 

I often tell friends and family that visit the island they should visit at least two beaches while here, one on the North Shore (Brackley Beach for example) and one on the Northumberland Strait shore (Argyle Shores). 

See more photos from Argyle Provincial Park here and here. 

A visit to the island should include a day in Charlottetown! For a homeschool family, there is a nice blend of fun and interesting learning opportunities, especially history related. 

Victoria Row, Charlottetown

Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island and the biggest city on the island. It is small by most city standards (a little over 34,000 people) and feels like a community. 

Province House 

A visit to the Province House would be a great way to learn (or review!) Canadian history, specifically the Confederation. Province House is a National Historic Site and known as the Birthplace of Canada. It is also currently where the Legislative Assembly meets. 

Confederation Players

During the summer, the Confederation Players make history come alive with their free reenactments. There is often free live music near the Confederation Centre or on Victoria Row. 

Great George Street 

The Historic Downtown part is a beautiful area to walk around. There are many restaurants and sidewalk cafes to stop and rest for a tasty snack! You could also pack a picnic and relax at one of the parks. Confederation Landing park and Victoria Park are both located near the harbour. Many love the Cows Creamery Ice Cream, and we particularly like the combination of cows chips and raspberry cordial. 

Raspberry Cordial, Cows Ice Cream, and Cows Chips! 

Along with the architecture of the buildings, there are art sculptures to look for while walking around. A fun and free family activity is the mouse hunt! There are little statues of mice hidden all around the historical area of town. 

Mouse Hunt in Charlottetown

Check out these blog posts for more detailed information and photos about Charlottetown:

Exploring PEI: Province House, the Birthplace of Canada. 

A Show and Live Music: Confederation Centre 

Exploring PEI: Cows Creamery and Anne of Green Gables Chocolates

Saturday Mornings: Farmers Market & Bakery

A Mouse Hunt in Charlottetown 

Snapshots from Charlottetown 

Beaconsfield Historic House: Exploring PEI

Covehead Lighthouse, PEI National Park

Two last suggestions are visiting lighthouses found throughout the island, and taking a walk, a bike ride, or even geocaching on the Confederation Trail. 

Lighthouse Light ~ Souris Lighthouse

To see more photos and stories about our adventures at various lighthouses on the island: 

Red Fox at Blockhouse Lighthouse 

Wood Islands Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse and Souris Lighthouse

Panmure Head Lighthouse  

Confederation Trail, West of Winsloe
More posts about the Confederation Trail:

Geocaching Near Berrigans Creek

Confederation Trail: West of Winsloe

Prince Edward Island is a great family destination for a vacation. I think hjmeschoolers and families would enjoy the beautiful nature, the history of the island, and the simpler, slower pace of life. 

This post is part of the monthly series from the Canadian Homeschool Blogger Team. Be sure to visit The Canadian Homeschooler for more virtual trips through Canada! 

You can enter the giveaway, open to Canada only, for 18+. The prizes are really cool! Check it out: 

1) Family/Group Discovery Pass from Parks Canada. Valid for 1 year from date of issue. Value $136.40.
2) Rough Guide: Canada - travel guide book. Value $29.99
3) The Ultimate Guide to Field Trips in Canada ebook. Value: $5.99.

You can enter the giveaway here: 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Magic of Tidying Up in the Bathroom with the KonMari Method

The magic of tidying up continues in our house! 

I have been tackling the Komono list. Mari Kondo explains that komono is "a Japanese term that the dictionary defines variously as small articles, miscellaneous items, accessories, gadgets or small tools, parts, or attachments". 

The first item on the list were DVDs/CDs which went very fast. I personally don't own many DVDs but my husband and children do, so I put in a bin what had not been watched since we moved in our house almost 3 years ago. They will go through this selection when we get ready for our garage sale. 

Skin care products and make up were the next two items on the komono list. I decided to take care of most of the bathroom. 

In our bathroom, each family member has a drawer. My drawer was very quick at tidying. I hardly use any skin care products or make up. I used the KonMari method and got rid of anything I didn't love. 

My makeup fits in one small glass jar, the one with the makeup brush in the photo below. 

I moved on to the family's medicine drawer after that. This is the only spot we keep medicine in. We don't keep a lot of medicine and there aren't any prescription medicines. This is the fullest it is because of cold season! 

I cleaned out any expired medicine and tidied the area by using an organizer box I had available from another cabinet. Getting rid of the bulky first aid box, which was almost empty, freed more space. 

I didn't tidy the drawers that belong to my family. I am choosing to only tidy my own spaces and family-shared spaces. I think this is respectful and if any of my family members want some help with tidying their own spaces, I am available. 

The last area in the bathroom was the cupboard under the sink. This is a shared space and a storage area for extra products. 

An interesting point in the tidying book is to keep all shampoos, conditioners, and soaps out of the shower area. 

Mari Kondo explains in her book that to keep all the shampoos and other bottles in the shower area makes it a bother when you clean the bath. She writes: "Kept on the floor in the shower or on the edge of the bath, they become slimy. To avoid this, some people use a wire basket as a container, but from my own experience, this makes things even worse." 

She goes on to explain that the constant fluctuation in temperatures could affect the quality of the products. She advises to keep all shampoos, shower gels, and conditioners in the cupboard, grab only what you need. Once finished, dry whatever you used in the shower and put it back in the cupboard. 

This is not realistic for my family but I am following the advice for my personal shampoo and enjoying the process. 

The biggest impact was getting rid of boxes from small appliances like hair dryer! I am not sure why we had kept those in the past. There were expired sunscreen and other lotions that no one used. Some items were out of sight in plastic white boxes which meant we did not see them or use them! 

I re-organized what was left so everything can be seen and located quickly. 

Once I finished, I had a bag full of garbage and a nice pile of paper and cardboard boxes to recycle. 

If you would like to read more about the magic of tidying up: 

The Magic of Tidying Up ~ The KonMari Method

Continuing the Magic of Tidying Up ~ Books & More with the KonMari Method

More Magic of Tidying Up ~ Papers

Friday, March 20, 2015

Journey North Mystery Class ~ Longitude Clues

This past week, Celeste and I worked on our Mystery Class charts and we calculated the longitude of each location with the longitude clues. 

We both love this project from Journey North! This was an activity that I shared with Adrienne while she homeschooled, and now each year she joins us for these last few weeks of finding the 10 mystery class locations. 

So far, we have sorted the locations by which hemisphere it is located in:

1. Eastern Southern  
2. Western Northern 
3. Eastern Northern 
4. Eastern Southern 
5. Western Northern
6. Western Northern
7. Eastern Southern
8. Eastern Northern
9. Western Southern 
10. Eastern Northern 

As we worked on the calculations of the longitudes, we also used our wall map to record our findings, keeping the lines above or below the equator. 

This is our 8th year participating and we look forward to this activity every year! Check out Journey North Mystery Class to find out more about this "global game of hide-and-seek. Follow photoperiod clues to search for ten secret sites around the world. Track sunlight to solve a mystery-and discover the reasons for seasons along the way" (Journey North's descriptions in italics). 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Yoga Every Day with Yoga with Adriene and More!

After completing the 30 days of yoga in January, I loved the daily practice so much that I had to keep going, every single day. I also continue to document my daily yoga on my instagram

February 3 to 17

Most days, I continue the rotation of the 30 days of yoga videos

Other days, I choose a different video, always from the Yoga with Adriene channel. All these videos are free by the way. All I have purchased to be able to do yoga at home is a mat! Adriene says you can use a towel if you don't have a mat. Easy! 

I love that she has so many different videos, of different lengths. My back was sore for a few days and the Yoga for Lower Back Pain really helped.  The Yoga for When you are Sick is wonderful too. 

I have done a few of the Foundations of Yoga too. There are so many videos and a new episode is added every Wednesday. I doubt I will ever get bored! 

February 18 to March 5

My husband joined me for a few days to try yoga for himself. It was so nice to share that with him. 

Adriene mentions in her videos to "find what feels good". Yoga feels good to me so I keep at it, yoga every day

At the start of this month of March, my childhood friend Cheyenne suggested I participate in the journey to handstand challenge through instagram. She is currently training to be a yoga teacher. She is writing all about that at "the yoga teacher training experience".  

I could understand why she was doing this challenge, but as a beginner I didn't think I was ready! The challenge is meant for all levels and I am following as much as I can, doing what I can! I am learning so much. I did a handstand for the first time since I was a child, with help from my husband. I also walked up the wall, see in the bottom right of mosaic below! Lots of fun!

March 1 to 12 for journey to handstand!