🎶 Fish and Chips and Vinegar, vinegar, vinegar. Fish and Chips and Vinegar. Pepper, pepper, pepper salt. One bottle pop, two bottle pop, three bottle pop, four bottle pop, five bottle pop, six bottle pop, seven bottle pop, pop. Don’t throw your junk in my backyard, my backyard, my backyard. Don’t throw your junk in my backyard cause my backyard’s filled. 🎶
Anyone else remember this song? It came to mind today as I took a 75 kilometre (46.6 mile) bike ride around our beautiful valley this morning. I also pondered a few things about our beautiful, healing planet.
What would happen if every person in the world resolved never to buy a container that was composed of water or was water itself? Shampoo, lotion, laundry soap, cleaning products, juice, chicken broth are a few that come to mind. Imagine if products ONLY came in concentrated pacs or bars or granules and then we added the water to that product once we purchased it. I have no idea how this would work, as I sit here on a Sunday night, but I wonder how much money would be save in transporting costs and how would the world we live in change?
What would happen if everything that a manufacturer churned out, they also had to dispose of on their own property? How would our personal spending habits change if we had to dispose of every single product that we acquired in our own backyard? (Yes, now you see the connection to the song I was singing at the top. HAHA!) How would the cycle of consumerism profoundly change with these two patterns?
What would happen if every plastic product on earth was banned? I am not a scientist, but I have heard rumblings that recycling is the greatest myth of my generation. Plastics are mostly petroleum based and there are some scientists that believe that they are never destroyed, but simply get smaller… and smaller… and smaller…. (Yes, you can see what I am throwing out there!)
And that’s all for this Sunday night folks. Keep thinking, hugging and loving what you do.
What does this radical sabbatical actually look like and is Sexy Neck working? Are we divorced? Where are you? What are we doing? These have been the pervasive questions over the last month as we have lived this radical sabbatical. Some people have been inspired, some people have thought we are crazy and others have just looked at us with wide eyes as we explain how we are living.
Yes, Sexy Neck and I are 100% in this together. (And not divorced)
900 square feet.
On the top of a mountain.
At a ski hill.
With the cows.
Travelling to Europe and Asia.
Not volunteering for anything.
Taking a radical sabbatical from the life we previously knew in the city.
What does this radical sabbatical actually look like for our family of five?
The boys do formal schooling Monday thru Friday from 9:00am to Noon. This formal schooling involves the 3 R’s – reading, writing and math! And I am hitting them hard. Going over basic facts, teaching them grammar and helping them understand the basics of the english language. They are writing in a journal, writing stories and doing research. Our 12 year old is researching Ancient Rome and Tesla. Our 10 year old is immersed in simple/complex machines and robots. Our 8 year old learned everything he could about Bobcats. Did you know they pee in the water so that they don’t leave a scent? Previously, the boys have been in French immersion, so the older boys have been doing their math in french and our youngest continues to write in french. But, I haven’t been stressed about it. If we decide to dive back into french next year, we will do a bootcamp in the summer to help them get back up to speed. This year is all about filling in some educational gaps that I see and having fun learning about what they are interested in.
Now, to talk about Sexy Neck! Right now, he is in Mexico City sitting at a fair, promoting his school district to families considering international education. And he LOVES it! Sexy Neck isn’t taking a radical sabbatical this year, but we are one hour closer to his work, so he does have a shorter commute! We are looking forward to joining him on a few trips that he is going to be taking for work. Sexy Neck LOVES his job and couldn’t imagine leaving it. It is truly what he was meant to be doing: a combination of education, business, travel and working with people. His dream life! We are happy that our radical sabbatical works alongside his dreams and brings him freedom from his commute and a more relaxed mountain life. He also loves backcountry skiing, which he can do every day after work in the winter. Truly his dream life!
Everyone who knows us, knows our backgrounds in Kinesiology and our love for physical literacy. All of our boys have done gymnastics from very young to eight years old. After eight they could choose to continue in gymnastics and our two older boys have. They love the community of boys, their coach and being able to achieve their personal goals through gymnastics. Thus, our radical sabbatical involves two days per week commuting one and a half hours each way back to the city so that the boys can practice with their team. Other than gymnastics, our sporting life will involve exploring the ski hill we are living on and embracing every day of winter. The boys have a goal of skiing every single day of the ski season. We know it will be “Canntastic”!
Lots of people have been wondering about our daily routines. To recap, here are a few of our routines that we have established for this radical sabbatical:
The 3R’s Monday thru Friday from 9:00am to Noon. And yes the boys say it is hard. And yes, we do have a lot of fun and flexibility. The boys take a recess break when they choose and they also choose where they work within our 900 square feet. Sometimes it’s on the floor, on our bed, at the kitchen table and often it’s at their desk. Sexy Neck is teaching them guitar and I am doing the rest with their teacher and our friend, Michelle, from Traditional Learning Academy.
Sexy Neck is fully involved in his work as a Principal of International Programs. He continues to embrace his role working with his students, the homestay families, his amazing staff and of course travelling to promote his program.
The boys are continuing with gymnastics and loving every minute of it. It is very motivating and they love the goals they have set: our ten year old wants to do an 8 second handstand and our twelve year old wants to do a giant on the high bar all by himself. WOW!
Outside of these routines, I have been personally surprised by four different pieces of this radical sabbatical:
1. Our garbage and recycling has reduced significantly. From one large black bin of garbage per week, to one medium-sized black bag. To one large blue recycling bin every two weeks, to one medium blue Tupperware per week that I will sort at the recycling depot in about five minutes. This surprise feels pretty amazing.
2. It’s outstanding to see the people who have stepped up to support us on this journey. We know that it truly does take a village to educate our children. Not only did we take the boys to Barkerville, a town from the 1800’s to kick off the school year, we took them to Science World and the boys got a welding lesson from their beloved Papa in his beautiful garage. The two older boys learned to weld, drill, grind, sand, paint and create a rebar coat hook with their initial on it. This was really incredible to see!
3. Living in a condo with no balcony and no private outside space, I was worried about what our outside time would look like. If you know us, we spend a ton of time outside during a day, even when the boys were in brick and mortar school. The boys and I have LOVED the mountain life. We love the exploring on foot and by bike. We love the terrain. Sexy Neck has loved climbing to the top of the ski hill. Bring on the snow! I cannot wait to see what that life will be like covered in white!
4. As the daughter of a teacher and a teacher myself, believe it or not, schooling has always been a thoughtful, somewhat worrysome process. The interesting thing about homeschooling is that I am being more intuitive: watching the boys learn, seeing what lights them up and letting them lead. No yearly plans, just living in the moment and finding resources as I need them. No stress of the September startup: Wondering which friends they would be with and which teacher they would have. Throughout the boys schooling, I known the importance of a teacher and their influence on their students. We have been fortunate to have incredible teachers and we have grown through some excruciatingly inflexible and mediocre ones. I am incredibly proud and honoured to be my boys’ teacher this year for grades three, five and seven. We don’t know if we will continue homeschooling next year, but for this month, it has been magical. I have learned that my boys LOVE to learn. They have embraced all the new skills I have thrown their way, including making a meal (spaghetti and meatballs), taking them to my health and wellness conference (anyone need more energy, want to sleep better, perform better or get rid of your fluffy tummy I am your girl) and learning to sew (curtains for their triple bunk!) alongside those 3 R’s that I talked about. I have seen where my boys have gaps in their learning and I have been able to fill them: capitalization, divisibility rules, number patterns, phonics, oh my! My heart is full. And only two pencils have been thrown in the process by my ten year old! A boy after my own heart with his emotions right at the forefront. I feel very grateful for this time together. I am not surprised at how much I truly LOVE being their teacher.
On September 26th, we celebrate our youngest’s eighth birthday.
We celebrate one month of this radical sabbatical.
We sit atop this peaceful mountain and ponder the adventure to Europe in November.
The projects that we want to learn about and where our questions will take us.
I have always believed that the beginning of all knowledge is asking a question.
And I wonder where this radical sabbatical will take our family.
How about angel cookies to enjoy on this sixth day of advent?
These are super simple to make. If you are going to try making a Christmas cookie with your kids I would try these. The boys love making the dough into triangles and sticking in the pretzels.
We made these on the weekend then decorated them at Nana and Papa’s. These are yummy in our tummy kinda cookies. We decided to use the icing in the recipe book and banana chips for a head. Mom checked out the action from her chair.
Instead of the usual hard tacos, I decided to get some rice wraps and try quesadillas.
It was so simple: cast iron frying pan, throw down a rice wrap, cheese, leftover chili and wrap on low heat and voila dinner was on the table. (Here is the chili recipe I made yesterday in the slow cooker.)
To add to the quesadillas while they were heating up, I cut up two avocados and added a bit of salt, paprika and garlic powder and mashed it all together. We also had some sour cream kicking around in the fridge to add on top of the avocado.
We got home from gymnastics at 5:20 and dinner was on the table fifteen minutes later. And it tasted GOOD!
And keep in mind, I ain’t no foodie. Just check out this blog for a real foodie!
4 cups oats
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup coconut
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup walnuts
Put all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
And when warm add
1/2 tsp vanilla
Then immediately stir into the dry ingredients. Put on a tray. Bake at 350 for 20 mins. Stir halfway.
I put the dry ingredients in the bowl the night before. I also didn’t put in the coconut this time. Also I prefer pecans and will sometimes substitute them for the walnuts. I also add chia seeds or wheat germ sometime instead of the sesame seeds.
My foodie friend Diana has helped me become freer in changing the recipes.
This is definitely a recipe to play with and make it your own.