Saturday, May 31, 2014

Homefront Update May 2014

Just a teaser for the 'real' falls!

One week down already with only 10 more to go .

Well this update comes from a rural town in the Niagara Region! Being rural is quite funny as I've never lived in a rural setting before. Although I'm not sure strictly speaking it is that rural. We were talking with some church members on Sunday who told us that they lived quite rural and I asked them whether they had electricity? HAHA. I think of very rural NZ like being in the 'wop wops'! (ie no electrity, running water, no neighbor for miles (kms!). So I suppose since some of the main towns are about 20-30 minutes drive, this could be called semi-rural! Interesting though that back in Lansing were we live to get anywhere it would take you at least 15-20 minutes drive, ok the distance might not be much but the volume of traffic combined with lots and lots of traffic lights lengthens your trip! So here the distance is longer but the traffic a lot less. Not having many traffic lights is a very nice bonus, not a huge fan of those.

It is quite surreal to drive over the border and be in a complete different country and culture. This is even more surreal when we visited the Niagara Falls last week as we could see the USA very clearly! So technically Albert could take me for a date to another country, how cool is that?

As per my other photo post we were very warmly welcomed! Our house was fully furnished with everything that you need for 11 weeks and more! From bug repellents, to craft sets for the girls (which they LOVED!), baking, groceries in the fridge, pantry and freezer (we promise to share the icecream with the girls if anyone from Wellandport is reading this!), some outdoor toys (skipping rope, chalk etc) for the girls, nice fluffy towels (I know we appreciate the small things being students ), brochures about the area, beautiful flowers (my reputation to keeping them alive is not great but I've got Grace on the job, hopefully she does a better job than me!), TV and DVD player all hooked up and if that wasn't enough a makeshift 'office' was 'made' for Albert in our bedroom! The committee organised a desk, chair, extension cords and lamp so that Albert can have an 'office' at home. We are truly blessed very undeserving so especially when we know people who are under going trials  at the moment, a baby girl in our home church in the USA with breathing/feeding problems, a one year old just recently diagnosed with cancer back in NZ. Although we covet your prayers (couldn't do it without those) I would encourage you to think about those close to you who are under going trials and pray for them.

I'm pleased to report that by lots of prayer, hard work and huge support from Albert, the girls have finished their second year of homeschooling! Phew, it was a struggle towards the end, which I'm sure is very common. I finished about a week before we left and so that gave me about a week to clean and pack. The girls started their new year last Monday. It is a blessing to have something for the girls to do as the Canadian school year does not finish until the end of June. I have also enjoyed the slower paced homeschooling, ie just doing one day at the time instead of cramming three weeks into two weeks and also playing catch up. I'm hoping to finish by April and we are on track so far. Zara is also doing some science this year since she reading. Kate is very excited to start 'big' girl maths ie using the computer programe to do maths instead of textbooks. She is flying ahead and has already completed quite a few lessons, thankfully I've got the next installment of Maths so that Kate can do maths until her heart's content! Albert will continue with teaching the girls Language Arts which is a great way to spend some 'forced' dad time .

Well this is non-existent at this stage. Running is not an option as the road we live on is a very busy thorough fare. We are looking at a few options. There is a YMCA but very pricy, we hope to talk to the director to see if they can't help us. Last year the YMCA was VERY nice to us with FREE membership, I don't think that will happen but you never know until you ask . The public pools don't open until the middle of June and so we might have to make a visit or two once that opens.

I like grocery shopping so this is worth a mention! For those of you who don't know we have a Costco membership which is basically a big (nice) warehouse where they sell all sorts of things, mainly groceries. The reason why we got a membership because they have a great optical department. Since the girls and I all wear glasses this is a worthwhile investment. The grocery part is just a bonus. Last time we went the girls had a go-gurt each, yummy fish, cheese/crackers, chocolates etc. So for students like us, it is like girls this is your lunch! I do have manners I promise . Anyway using my USA membership was no problem and I was able to get a good number of essentials (ok popcorn chips aren't an essential, I'm blaming those taste testers!) for a very reasonable price. YAH! Especially since another country, has different prices for things and it takes a while to know what a 'bargain' is! Interesting though is that even though the Niagara Valley is a dairy country, the dairy prices are high especially compared with the USA. Sound familiar, NZ?

The Niagara Valley is primarily a farming community which is very fascinating. I knew this before we came to Ontario but I was puzzled where all the animals were. This is the city girl talking . After inquiring I discovered that all those barns that we see dotted around the country side either have chickens in them or cows. Very interesting! Most of the cows never see the daylight and are few grain which the farmer sows in the fields. I'm hoping to learn lots more about this farming community. (I do have to thank Steffen and Jant for enlightening me years ago on the facts of how a cow produces milk, I know it's straight forward I just had never thought about it before until it was explained to me. So thanks to you, I'm not completely ignorant and I even know that cream rises to the top of the milk!) We have been blessed already by some of the products of the farming with a steady supply of eggs (thank you! I'm making a Pav as thank you, very appropriate don't you think NZders?) and a box of beef (Thank you!, you made Albert a very happy man!). 

THE Falls!
I know that we've already been to Balls Falls but on Friday on Albert's day off we ventured out to see THE mighty Niagara Falls. WOW! They are as spectacular as people say. It was a rainy day and we were too Dutch to pay for parking (I know it's very touristy), so we only saw them briefly. I'll post the photo's of that day in another post. We also that night had the opportunity to visit/catch up with a Mid America Graduate from last year. It was great to see the Lord work in this family and their prospects are exciting although I'm sure challenging. Great to catch up with excellent food! We got home way too late but it was worth catching up with them!

That's about all from me for now, I'm going to try and upload photo's etc to the blog once a week. So if you haven't seen a post in a week, please text me, call me, send smoke signals and bug me! 

The small things in life are the best!

First Day Off In Ontario - 23/5/14

Ok, so here is our day off/exploring in pics. Enjoy :)

Canadian Falls
(notice the boat?)
American Falls
(This is so surreal, seeing another country across the river!)
The girls with the Canadian Falls in the back ground
Girls with the American Falls in the background
Closer up view of the Canadian Falls, very impressive!

What a lovely couple!
We stopped at a tourist 'mall' as there were ladies (ok maybe me!) who needed to use the restroom. I'm glad we stopped as we were able to watch a glass blowing demonstration! Very impressive!
The start of a vase
It's getting bigger
Add some decorations, awesome team work
Firing oven
Creating a opening of the vase
Inside the tent, see below
another tourist opportunity

Having lunch, chocolate spread on crackers, YUM
Further down the Niagara River - Whirlpool
Albert and girls :)
For dinner we caught up with a graduate of MARS and his family.
It was very nice to catch up.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Balls Falls Ontario

Monday was a holiday and so a family from the church invited us to go with them to Balls Falls, Ontario. It was great to go for a bushwalk and see some of the Canadian landscape! Here are some photo's :). 

My girls with their new found friends 
An old mill site
Sorry wrong way :( here is the mill info :)
Upper Falls
It was hard to get a photo with people in it.
Notice the ledge on the left, a couple was sitting there
but finally they left and so hence this photo 
Inside an old church onsite
Interesting, 'The Coopers'
Papa was thinking of you :)
This is how they got out tree stumps.
The contraption was 'turned' by a horse
The old water wheel
Lower falls at Balls Falls
Apparently this is a 'true' waterfall as the height and
the width are the same size, I didn't know that did you?
Proof that Albert, Zara and Kate were there.

Enjoying a 'sour' lollypop.
Kids enjoyed it, adults not so much

Friday, May 23, 2014

iPad mini random photos

Here are some random photos that I've taken with my iPad. I haven't figured out yet how to download photos and videos from my iPad to our main laptop. In the meantime this will have to do. 
Kate and Clifford at the library
Phew Oma has finally arrived!
Oma is leaving :(
Beautiful Christmas light next door. The neighbor put them on especially for the girls.
Wolves in a Christmas tree. How cool is that?
New Year celebratations with Izaak, Janneke, Esther, Aaron and Audra. Lots of fun!
My card wall. Every card I receive I hang on the wall. It's it pretty :)
Finally making sushi! 
Looking after a very cute girl, Hillary! Not sure who enjoys the company more Hillary or my girls!
Hillary is used to studying theology :)
Homeschool books unpacked.
Ah it's all nearly stacked on the shelf :)
Look it got to 85F that day. I can't believe the changes in temperatures from one day to the next. Last week it snowed in some parts of Chicago? Huh it's May? 
Oh look this is what girls do on a rainy day, plenty of crafts!