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The Good. The Bad. The Ugly And the Kind.

“Sharing some acts of kindness and hoping for more.”

2021 Merritt Flood in British Columbia Canada – The community of Merritt BC Canada, has witnessed devastating forest fires, and floods in the last year. It seems this year, 2021, Merritt, and parts of the Nicola Valley, have gone through a merry-go-round of evacuation alerts, and evacuation orders. Some residence left. Some stayed behind. All have their reasons. The end result is a population in a community who are tired, worn out, confused, scared, or optimistic and, yes, some are angry too.

The 2021 Merritt Flood

During the 2021 Merritt Flood and Forest Fires, tragedy happened on all levels of devastation. There is no ignoring that. There are no benefits in comparing one heartache to another. They all hurt. Some more than others. Some life changing. I wish I could turn back time. Make this all go away. I wish my friends had their homes back. Smiling and laughing again would be another wish. I wish living in Merritt was like it use to be. Unfortunately I am no Genie. No lamp to rub just a water bottle to fill. All I have are big wishes with little answers. But I do have hope.

My Super Power

I take pride in my listening and observation skills. So, let me share my take on that. We are all our own master on what we decide to listen too and observe. We can take it all in, flip it upside down, make what we want of it. Some of us process the positive and spit out the negative or vice-versa. But what you process is up to you. Hence why, with all the sadness, I have decided to share some “warm and fuzzy” stories,  sending out some positive vibes to the community of Merritt, Princeton, Abbotsford and to our First Nation friends. I would like to share some of the kind and positive gestures I witnessed along this ugly road we travelled called the 2021 Merritt Flood in the City of Merritt BC Canada. 

8 Acts of Kindness

Because of the nature of my work online globally, and locally with Experience Nicola Valley, I see the good, the bad and the ugly of the internet. There are many sources online of nasty, negative with a big dose of nasty conversations. We all have a choice of which lens we choose to look through for every situation life presents us. Me? Well… when it comes to the Merritt Flood I choose hope. We need more stories of good people doing good things during these challenging times. Hence, why I am going to focus on the positive stories and share some “acts of kindness” I and my friends experienced during the 2021 Merritt flood.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Aesop

(1) ESS and Red Cross

The evacuation had problems on many levels. Remember, no one saw this coming. Yes, there were warning signs and reports and white papers. But…  no one saw it coming on November 15th, 2021. No meteorologists, engineer, politician or scientist told us to buckle in for a massive rain storm and possible flooding. Many of us went to bed the night before expecting to wake up to another normal Monday. Well that didn’t happen. The evacuation order caught us all by surprise. Therefore people slipped through the cracks. Communication was suspect. Volunteers were stretched at ESS and the  Red Cross.  Should I stay or should I go? Yes, the process was not perfect by any means. News flash! Nothing is perfect in a blender of chaos.  

(2) Volunteers

I know why it is tough to get volunteers at times. Just watch how some people treat them, like it was their fault. All they are doing is following direction or the lack of.  A big thank you to the volunteers for taking care of us with the best tools at their disposal. I know you did your best  and you did not design the system nor the process. I also know you are a volunteer, on your time, to make our challenges as comfortable as possible. So thank you to all the volunteers in Kelowna, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, 100 Mile House, Sicamous, Penticton and those in Merritt helping the community get back on its feet again. And if I missed anybody, my apologies. But thank you again! 

Merritt volunteers

Lining up for ESS. Photo credit: Greg Girard

(3) Let Me See The Light

The 2021 Merritt Flood was a sight I would not wish on anyone. Everything changed in a blink of an eye. Before we knew it, we were evacuated and in a hotel room. Everything was new again including an Optometry Office and a LensCrafters, next door in Orchard Park Mall in Kelowna BC Canada. I needed glasses for the first time and I did not have my prescription with me. But I did have time.  Dr. Keevn Otte heard I was an evacuee from Merritt and booked me in and redid my prescription at no charge! Then Ben, at LensCrafters, set me up with my new lens and frames and he too gave me a break on price, on top of the Black Friday Special. I was seeing with my eyes, the kindness of people. 

(4) Green Plate of Hospitality

Not sure of the back story on this one but it goes something like this. Someone at our hotel, the Kanata, was out in public one day sharing how eating out all the time was getting old. Someone, was listening in. Who we do not know? The next morning 50 trays of vegetables and dip arrived at the lobby in our hotel from an unknown source, someone who did not want to be recognized, but did it out of the goodness of their heart. To that mystery person if you are reading this – thank you for your kind gesture.  Loved the mini tomatoes and green peas.

merritt flood 2021

Vegetable tray surprise. Photo credit: Melvina White

(5) Class is in Session

Have you heard of the story of Ewa Olguin, an early childhood educator in Merritt, BC, Canada? If you have not, Ewa was evacuated from Merritt like many of us. At her hotel she recognized many of the kids were from the “Strong Start” Program back in Merritt. Her place of employment I believe. In seeing the children, away from a regular routine and their homes, Ewa decided to start a 3 hour class every morning with the kids reading, playing and learning.  Thank you Ewa!

(6) Is That To Eat In or To Go?

As we stated at the beginning of this list, the littlest gesture can make a difference. How about just smiling. When you eat at one spot for days on days they get to know you. In our case it was Boston Pizza. It did not take a lot of time for them to recognize our orders and to begin greeting us with smiles, and conversations when we ate in or picked up. Thank you for feeding many of us from the 2021 Merritt flood. 

(7) Experience Nicola Valley Pivot

When people are scared, and living in a mist of confusion, information is the currency of choice. I watched as councillors were inundated daily with phone calls, text and emails numbering in the hundreds asking questions and seeking answers. Being on the front lines of the evacuation, mixed in amongst the local population, every day and hour, your sleeves get tugged on a lot.  And yet, the questions were often 2 steps ahead of the answers available to councillors. They could only share what they knew and as information was being released. But they knew communication is the currency of choice during a disaster. So they stepped up. First to video, Experience Nicola Valley was proud to pivot their platform, so they could bring daily video updates, as need be, from Councillor White, Luck and Etchart. And then… some councillors met with the evacuees in the hotel lobby daily for briefings and updates as well. It took some guts to put their face out there. But they were humble, caring and doing what was right updating us the best they can. Thank you!

(8) Friends, Family and Business Partners

When the news hit all over Canada of the 2021 Merritt Flood, I could not believe the emails that flooded my in-box from people checking in on us from all around the world. Some I have not heard from in years and a few in decades. It was a moment-of-truth to see so many people checking in on my Brother and I.  We are so fortunate to have good people surrounding us and supporting us. Thank you and we are grateful for your kindness, support and friendship. 

brothers of tourism merritt flood

Colin and I on Evacuation Order in Kelowna BC. Photo credit: Greg Girard

Social Media

If social media is your only go-too for information, well then there might be issues with that? Working in that field, I  understand the pros and cons of a platform with little rules and high engagement. It is a platform which makes its rules on the fly based on all sides of human nature, good and bad. And there is good and bad. Do not get me wrong, social media, is a beautiful thing. I have seen lives changed for the better when social media is used positively.  Social media is a treasure for small businesses to get their message out. To me it is an art form. However, at times, it is also a bloody battlefield where communication is won or lost. There is one big caveat to the social media battlefield :

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.”
Tracy Morgan

Together, when we start commenting, and sharing and posting and tagging each other with positive stories, good news will travel faster. It takes a movement, to create a message. 

Winter Adventures coming soon to the Nicola Valley. We are open for winter. 

I Choose Hope

I have witnessed how the community is divided along many lines because of the 2021 Merritt floods and forest fires. A disaster will do that to any community. Emotions will run rampant. Loses are off the map. But I have hope because the overall dominating factor in this conundrum are the people of Merritt. They are my baseline in the equation of building back better. Many are my friends. I have been around Merritonians long enough to know they are a strong and good people. Merritt will be back. I will do everything I can to be part of that re-awakening.  

Stay safe. Be kind. 

#merrittmatters

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

A tasty way to enjoy Halloween Treats!

You are going to feel like the ghostess with the mostest when you try this Halloween Snack Board.

This Halloween snack board is just the thing you need to try. Snack boards are so multi-purpose. I do them for lunches and I do them for birthdays. This board was created last year when Covid hit and we were all in lock down. It was such a somber season for for the entire Nicola Valley and the world.  As a result I decided we would have our own little party.

Halloween Snack Board and Treats in Merritt BC

Halloween Puns Are So Corny. Photo credit: Jennifer Schell.

Halloween Snack Boards are Spooktacular Treats!

 I had never made one for Halloween and wanted to boost the kids spirits. We assembled this easy enough and I am sure you could definitely simplify it by only picking a few elements to recreate. Furthermore, I wanted the kids to be quite hands on with this and have a great experience. Based on the snack board we created as a family for Valentine’s Day, I had some ideas on what I wanted to do. 

Hot Dog Dinner for Halloween

Lets Give Them Pumpkin To Talk About! Photo credit: Jennifer Schell.

Spooky Season is upon us 

Getting spooky like this is easy with a quick trip to Walmart. They always have such a great assortment of cookies and cupcakes seasonally. So putting something like this Halloween snack board can be as easy as 1,2,3! You can make your board a mixture of sweet or savory, like I chose to.  Or you can choose to keep it completely on the sweet side with gummy candy, cookies, and candy bars.  This Halloween snack board has some homemade items and some bought items. Don’t burn yourself out. Let your creative juices flow. Lastly and most importantly have fun and take a lot of photos of your creative eating masterpiece like we did. !

Treats for Halloween Snacking Board

We’re Here For A Gourd Time! Photo credit: Jennifer Schell.

Mummy Dog How To! 

Interested in making your own mummy hot dogs? They come together easily enough. And can make your own Halloween snack board totally stand out. All you need are your favorite hot dogs. Then some canned crescent roll pastry.  You then simply place the crescent roll pastry on to your cutting board. Cut into strips and then wrap them around your hot dog. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 mins or so at 350 degrees. You can then use mustard to make eyes. Lastly theses were so fun for all of my kids to make. So easy and very tasty! 

Baking and making Halloween treats

Let the Halloween Treats begin. Photo credit: Jennifer Schell.

Halloween Mummy Hotdogs

You Will Win The Award Of “Mummy Of The Year” With These Guys! Photo credit: Jennifer Schell.

Halloween Looks So Beautiful and Yummy

Healthy Snacks for Halloween

Cavities Beware. Photo credit: Jennifer Schell

Hocus pocus its no joke, candy helps me to focus. Lets zero in on some of these spooky treats. For this Halloween snack board we first have an easy addition with red pepper hummus.  Add in some pumpkin type lines and the top of a cucumber and you have an adorable pumpkin. Can you find the black olive spiders? They came together quick and easy. Just slice open 1 black olive lay it flat and with the opposite side make the legs. The peeled oranges and if you take a closer look you will also spy pumpkin deviled eggs. We used some turmeric and mustard to get a more orange hue. Crackers, gummy worms, tiny spooky cupcakes all round this tray out. Lastly make this your own and let your creativity flow. 

 

Healthy Halloween Treats

Life Is Gourd Photo credit: Jennifer Schell.

Have an eek-tastic Halloween

“Fa-boo-lous!

You are going to feel like the ghostess with the mostest when you try this Halloween Snack Board. I promise you it comes together easy enough. There is so much inspiration online. As a busy mom of 8, I can say that we all had so much fun. I had little ones making spiders, snacking and laughing. All gathered around my table.. This was honestly one of our biggest highlights from lockdown, and I’m so thankful I get to be in a space that lets me share our families experiences Being able to share our stories with. Experience Nicola Valley fills my heart with gratitude. In conclusion from my family to you, we wish you a happy and safe fall season. 

Family halloween treats and sweets

#Squadghouls. Photo credit: Jennifer Schell.

And finally, just a teaser, for the next big holiday after Thanksgiving here is a sneak peek into our  Christmas themed snack board. 

Halloween Snack Board in the Nicola Valley

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Desert Hills Ranch

What better way to get your summer bucket list started off right than spending a day with an awesome summer adventure. 

Spending a day at Desert Hills Ranch with family.

A day at Desert Hills Ranch. Seriously hands down this is a hidden gem located in heart of  Ashcroft B.C.  A beautiful slow paced community that has so much charm to offer with old school western desert vibes. Ashcroft has a museum, well stocked grocery store, lovely tourist worthy location for community information. Lastly…  you could also bring your swim suits and check out our community pool to cool off.

desert hills ranch ashcroft bc canada

Goats at Desert Hills Ranch. Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

mexican store ashcroft bc canada

Delish! Mexican Delights! Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

History in Ashcroft BC

Of course my oldest son Logan, age 13, says his favorite thing to see is all of the tractors. He loves to see the historical and ancient farming machines. Secondly if you fancy yourself an avid gardener or aspire to be. The options for making that dream a reality is beyond belief. Think Garden of Eden meets tacos and you have a pretty good idea of what its like on the ranch.

Going Mexican Food in Ashcroft

Speaking of tacos… if you crave Mexican food and fare. This is the place to be for all sorts of chips, beans, hot sauces and salsas. I love stocking up on all the essentials for the best taco Tuesday meal items. In conclusion you do not want to forget to mark on your calendar for salsa weekend if you are keen to make your own.

plants gardening ashcroft bc

Plants!  Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

ashcroft bc family fun

Family fun in Ashcroft BC. Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

Fun Times at Desert Hills Ranch

A day at Desert Hills Ranch is fun for everybody! They have lots to see and do. Children,  I think,  have an especially great time here. As a Mom I appreciate the measures that the ranch takes to allow people to view the animals but also how clean they keep it. Along with the areas  to clean and sanitize hands often, and easy access to use the rest rooms. The barn is such a fun treat to explore every time and it is fun to see all the animal friends inside! Of course feeding the goats is so much fun! 

Fruits and more 

My daughter Amelia age 11 says her favorite thing to enjoy is the food. She loves to buy different fruits each week to try with the family and she loves the ice-cream. I feel zero regret buying ice-cream here for my family of 10! The price is right when it comes time for a cool treat. What a fun and affordable way to make the day that much more memorable! 

 

cows farming ranch ashcroft bc

Calf in Ashcroft

An Educational Opportunity 

Machines, where our food comes from, biology and botany are just a few subjects you will encounter on the ranch. As a homeschooling mama this place has educational field trip written all over it. And that is another perfect reason to come check out the ranch. This hasn’t been my first time blogging about my favorite ranch. You can read that post HERE . There is so much to see and do here, it really is a very enriching experience. My son Zach who is 6 absolutely loves that he got to see his favorite animal when he visited the barn. A baby cow was such a adorable treat for him to see so close.

kyle schell ashcroft canada plants

Lots Of Selection To Keep Any Green Thumb Happy

Flowers in Ashcroft BC Canada

This has to be one of my favorite parts of coming to the ranch. I love the huge selection of flowers, shrubs and trees they always have here. It makes adding curb appeal easy with the huge selection that they always have! I love that I can even dabble at pretending I am a homesteader with there great assortment of garden items. Cue the Little House On The Prairie theme song. I am so excited to try making a few different jams this season and give some canning  a try. We love getting our tomatoes and strawberries here. And filling up our garden rows with lots of other goodies as well. Corn, peppers, cauliflower to name a few! 

ashcroft flowers plants

Impeccable Selection Of Many Garden Items

Covid Pregnancy

Delicious Produce Awaits At The Ranch

In Conclusion 

A day at Desert Hills Ranch is never a day wasted. This place is really such a hidden gem. Surrounded by desert mountains. It has beautiful weeping willows to offer shade as you stroll around. They are always so kind and courteous. It truly offers an exceptional summer experience in the heart of British Columbia.

Therefore, if you are looking for more great all year around ideas for what to do in BCs interior. Please follow the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers. And keep your eyes on the Blog for some more great Summer Bucket List ideas! Thanks for reading! Have a great summer and stay safe. 

CONTACT INFO

Desert Hills Ranch

250 Elm Street, Ashcroft, BC

250.453.9876

deserthillsfarmmarket@gmail.com

www.deserthillsranch.com

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Glad To Be Back For Part 2. Home schooling in BC Canada!

Home school family

What grade am I in again?

Home Schooling In BC Canada

Home Schooling in BC Canada – I am so glad to be back for part 2 of Home schooling! As a result, today I am going to go over our favorite field trips or day trips! One thing I  love about homeschooling in BC Canada, is all the amazing places we have to explore right here in our backyard. I wanted to make this into a quick resource post, and just share some of the places we love to take our family too.

Adventures of Home Schooling

In the first blog post about home schooling in BC Canada I wanted to give you a feel for our schedule in PART 1. In today’s post, I wanted to go over our home school favorites! These are a few places I like to use to “fill in the gaps” or gain some inspiration. In addition, go and explore with the kids and experience nature and wonder. Its exciting to see the magic of childhood through my children’s eyes.  Grab yourself a warm cup of whatever makes you happy! And lets dive right in!

Coffee shops in Kamloops B.C.

Warm and cozy vibes.

Logan Lake In Beautiful British Columbia

Things to do in Canada with kids

Simple, slow and lovely days are offered to you in Logan Lake

Home schooling in BC Canada is made easy, when living in Logan Lake BC.  Unquestioningly,  in my view, Logan Lake is the best for fitness! Consequently, it is extremely family friendly and I feel safe walking around it with my 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 3 and 21 month old. All in all we have a great time getting our steps in taking the family for a walk around the lake. The lake has just all the right ingredients for a good nature walk. More importantly, I use it for nature study and having the kids journal about what they seen and observed. Admittedly it has tons of wildlife to observe. We love watching the eagle carry fish across the lake to its nest. All the ducks, and geese we get to watch. We have encountered deer on the trails around the lake. Its rugged and rustic with a paved walkway, just the way this glamper likes to experience the great outdoors.

Mountain Biking in British Columbia

Braving the Logan Lake mountain bike course.

Getting Fit While Home Schooling In BC Canada

If you are feeling adventurous and exceptionally fit and strong, we have successfully taken our double stroller all the way around the lake. There is a more scenic and woodland nature trail along the mountainside. On the highway side they have a very wide and beautiful paved pathway.

More Than Walking In Logan Lake

In addition, if you follow the nature path you can find the Logan Lake Bike Park. Its natural and very impressive and so nicely done! Our kids have a total blast at it. Its great to burn off extra steam and help the kids gain new experiences and reaction skills every time we go. I find the trails very clean and nicely groomed while still being very natural. No need for hiking boots, runners will do just fine. And in addition our 3 year old was able to comfortably walk at her pace with a few seated breaks and a granola bar to keep her going.  Logan Lake has many fun recreational ideas any time of the year. Our family has grown to love our small town that we call home. Its so vibrant, friendly and serene. 

Life in Logan Lake B.C. Canada

Lovely views along the amazing walking path in Logan Lake BC

The BC Wild Life Park 

Spirit Animal

The B.C. Wild Life Park and its adorable Spirit Bear

This is hands down the best local place to get up close and personal with animals. Above all we love to study and draw at home these critters and beasts. It is just so fun at the BC Wildlife Park. We absolutely love to take the kids there. A favorite blast for both Kyle and myself. We have enjoyed going to BC Wildlife Park ever since we were kids. However, its more exciting now as parents to be able to share that with our children.

The B.C. Wild Life Park Always Evolving

Kamloops Wild Life Park

Kamloops Wild Life Park Home Schooling

It is exciting while home schooling in BC Canada to see how the park is always growing and always changing. Also, I love how they educate us and give us a personal natural experience every time. Its always so beautiful there.  In addition to nicely laid out paths and walkways its easy for me to push a stroller and keep up with my active kids. As a Mom I enjoy that they have interesting facts about the animals all over the park. And informing us as to which ones are rescues and their unique back stories.

The Main Attraction of the B.C Wildlife Park

The animals of course are an exciting main attraction. My favorites include the bears, wolves and buffalo. Hubby and I also really enjoy the coffee. There is nothing more romantic to me than enjoying a stroll and a coffee with him. In addition, I think my favorite time to go is in the fall season. It just feels super good to get in one last train ride and enjoy the crunchy leaves. The wild lights tour in the winter months is also fun. Its so beautiful to go, get all bundled up, and then see all the twinkling lights at night time. Lastly, it definitely tops one of my favorite experiences  in the colder months. 

Things to do in Kamloops B.C.

#wildtimesawaityou at Kamloops Wild Life Park

Desert Hills Ranch 

Influencer for Instagram Photo Idea

Cutest little pumpkins at Desert Hills Ranch in Ashcroft B.C. Canada

If you are looking for a fun and family friendly farm, assuredly, Desert Hills has all your social media influencer needs covered. This is definitely the  location to take some amazing fall photos. Never mind all of your garden, canning and pumpkin needs.  When Kyle and I lived in Ashcroft BC we were constantly at our favorite local farm. And that was Desert Hills Ranch . Homeschooling in B.C. Canada got a lot easier with this great location.

Curb Appeal, Animals, Pumpkins & So Much More

Dessert Hills helped with my home’s curb appeal with an amazing selection of lush blooms, trees, plants and pots. In retrospect, I think my favorite time to go was when they had fun sale weekends, such as peaches or salsa making. I always loved going on Mothers Day too when they honestly know how to spoil a gal.

The kids would always enjoy going through the barn to see the  baby animals and the gorgeous horses. The selection of farm tractors and old machines is bar none. Even being able to burn off steam at the park area always brings back happy memories for my kids. The staff are all so friendly, helpful and kind. You wont be disappointed with this trip.

Castle Fun Park 

Things to do in Abbotsford B.C.

This is “framer” for sure!

If you are feeling up for a road trip all the way to Abbotsford BC. For a day full of laughs and entertainment check out Castle Fun Park.  Get some car toys, pack some snacks and wear sensible footwear and you have yourself a mini road trip.

Kids activities in the lower mainland

Smiles for miles at the Castle Fun Park Go-Karts!!!!

Castle Fun Park is a place we have enjoyed coming to off and on over the last 10 years. From mini golf to arcade games this place is fun. However we came here the other day with the go carts in mind. It was such a great family activity. While Kyle zoomed around the laps with our littles. Our older children got to enjoy some driving time. My oldest as well as all the rest were overjoyed!!! Chasing Dad was a huge hit! At $8 for a race I think it is totally family and budget friendly. 

Family activities in British Columbia

The race is on!

Family day in British Columbia Canada

Family day is always the best day.

In conclusion

Home Schooling in B.C. Canada has so many vast opportunities for rich exploration and adventure. What a way to enrich your children’s educations. I hope you enjoyed a brief look into our families favorite field trips and road trips here in beautiful British Columbia. We honestly think we live in a breathtaking area. And we are so happy we are able to share our experiences here with Experience Nicola Valley and all the bloggers. As always with travel with Covid 19 I would advise giving each location a call if you are interested in going and see how they are limiting the spread of Covid 19. Plan for whatever sanitary and safety measures you feel comfortable with, and get excited to have a good and adventurous time.

Canadian Family

The magnificent 7

That is how we do Home Schooling In BC Canada

Adventures and activities in British Columbia Canada

 

Nicola Valley Bloggers, Merritt British Columbia, Canada

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Home Schooling in BC Canada

Part 1 in the series of what it looks like for me! A day in the life of a Mom home schooling in BC.

“I have taught 4 of my children to read. It’s been thrilling, rewarding, its almost a feeling I can’t describe. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the fruit of all your efforts pay off and them reading.” Jennifer Schell

A day in the life of a home schooling in BC – I’m so excited to be writing this post about my typical day in the life of a home schooling Mom. My name is Jennifer, I am a large family Mama of 7 amazing kids, Ages 12 down to 20 months. I’m a homebody living in Logan Lake BC and I always describe myself as a unlikely home schooling Mom. We can get into that another time,  For now lets go over my day. In the future I can write more posts further about how I keep babies and toddlers busy. Snacks and easy meal ideas for busy families and how I stay on top of the laundry, dishes and keep the house mostly presentable. All that said, I hope you enjoy your peek into our day!

Laundry day home schooling in BC

Meaningful Mornings When Home Schooling in BC

Ordinarily we wake up pretty much the same way every day. For the most part a couple kids have crawled into my Home schooling in BC with a morning coffeebed in the night. I haven’t started setting my alarm clock yet. Due to having recently just had a baby (almost 2 years ago) I usually just let myself sleep as long as possible, Getting those precious and few and far between winks of sleep before our mornings get rolling is important for me right now. I do want to do just a simple post on my daily routine. So for now we will keep this pretty home school focused. As I was saying, after we wake up, eat our breakfast, brush teeth and dress. We start in on our morning!  Please keep in mind I have 2 pretty independent learners. I am able for the most part to have been able to create a simple daily schedule for them to follow. With that in mind, coffee in hand, it’s time to get a jump on my day in the life as a mom home schooling in BC.

A Quick Note For Home Schooling With Toddlers & Babies

Homeschooling with a toddler or a baby. They are delightful little people who love being right in the thick of it. I have home schooled now while having a new born or toddler for the last 6 years. It can be a juggle and even some days a struggle. In reality, I find the best way to set yourself up for success is filling their cups up first. So, first thing in the morning I like to play or read with my little ones. Really make them feel special and “full” of you. Then usually they can get into their independent play a lot easier, or down for a morning nap. We love to use busy bags, Lego, Pre-School TV programs, and we load up on snacks to keep them happy and satisfied. I can go over more of how I do this if it interests you. Let me know? Stay tuned!!

Home schooling Mom in Canada

First Things First

8:30 – In the morning we always start out with  our morning basket or what others call “Circle Time“.  If we are all learning about a subject together we will read on that, then usually break. The older children will go write out an encouraging verse and 3 things they are grateful for, for the day to focus on then draw a picture. This is usually when I’ll start reading to my littles. We read more books about how to handle the issues of life in a right way. We read about our behaviors, our feelings and we might even sing. This is a time to find encouragement and a positive, happy start to our day.

Play and learn when home schooling in BC

A Day In The Life Of A Home School Mom & Math

9:00 – Then we jump right into math for the big kids. I find that helps just because focus is fresh and I like to give ample time to teach and understand new concepts, go over corrections and build mastery. We do use “manipulatives” in our math. I do love the hands on aspect for sure. We do take our time, mastery is my focus, not rushing ahead to each new concept. I want to be able to make sure that they are able to teach the concept back to me. Here’s the link to the math program we have been using from the start.

Math homeschooling in BC Canada

Day In The Life Of A Home School Mom Reading & Writing

I definitely have a more vintage vibe in our literature, reading and writing. We enjoy living books and reading out a Reading and writing home schoolingloud. I tend to get pretty dramatic when I read out loud, with voice deflections and even action moves. The kids also get a huge kick out of it. I think definitely “one room school house” is our learning style. My kids practice reading and writing from there McGuffy readers. I do have the kids practice there cursive every day also. What can I say, call me old fashioned but I do still think its important to be able to read, and write in cursive. With our McGuffys, we read the short story, take a piece to copy in printing then copy a piece in cursive. I then have the kids write out the spelling words. More on spelling in the next paragraph. 

Day in the life Of A Home School Mom & Spelling

In addition to the copy work, this past year we really slowed down our spelling. And really focused on memorization, It was a lot of fun, I used a different take on the old spelling test and would just quiz the kids on what they knew basically, without the context of pass or fail. Keeping it fun. Spelling out loud. Carving out that time for connection and seeing where they are actually at. Spelling “tests” take on a much more like and airy approach. What I am mostly going for here is repetition of writing down the memory words. Subsequently  there’s nothing quite like the feeling of satisfaction of teaching a child to read. During their copy work from Monday to Thursday, they would also just copy out the spelling list one in print and the other in cursive. In addition, the big kids would then buddy up with my emerging readers and they would play flash card games. 

Learning How To Read In 100 Simple Lessons – Pre-K & Kindergarten

I have taught 4 of my children to read. It’s been thrilling, rewarding, its almost a feeling I can’t describe. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the fruit of all your efforts pay off. We have used a few different curriculum in this area. My favorite way to teach a child to read is basically as follows… step 1 – get child, step 2 – snuggle up on the couch step 3- read with child. But if I had to choose one curriculum that is my all time favorite way to teach someone to read, I love using the book How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons. We do the short lesson, read the paragraph and write out the letters. This usually takes 15 minutes, which I find is just the perfect timing for little ones with shorter attention spans and usually suffer from cases of the wiggles.

Fridays We Take A Different Approach

Let me just say I love Friday! Its the day where we take different approach to school and educate in a different way. Instead of working on our McGuffy readers. We Nature Journal  . If it’s cool out. We usually use Home schooling art at homeencyclopedias and spend a good hour or more writing out facts, drawing our study subject and maybe even water color painting. If its warm outside we take our books outside and hunt for our subjects. After that, we spend maybe a good hour in Science. Either finishing up loose ends from our book work or doing a science experiment. This sometimes gives us enough time to get baking. We like to bake something quick as a group. And gear up for poetry tea time or carve out a larger chunk of our read a loud. I can’t make everyday look like Friday. But between watercolor and baking banana bread and cuddles and snuggles while learning is my absolute favorite! I love the pure, simple down to earth flow of our Fridays.
Stories for kids

Afternoon Activities

After we break for lunch, the kids and I will do a quick tidy up of our chores. In the afternoon homeschooling takes a more quiet and independent learning approach. The children all get a break and get to do quiet time. It’s honestly so lovely because they can decompress and play with their special toys. Catch up on independent reading. Work on writing stories. For my older kids, this is when they usually work on there Science note books. Or maybe they get creative and work on some fun crafts, or projects such as making the best slime, or setting up sensory play spaces for the little kids. I like to rest and then make time for outside play. Small nature walks and especially make time for reading out loud. It can be on the couch or in the van while you wait for appointments.

In Closing

If this was something that you want to see or learn more about, Follow me on Instagam @Jen.Schell.7 and you can see in my Instagram stories more of my day in the life as a home schooling mom. I post our activities in real time, how I feed the family an all the rest of the stuff that Kyle Schell and I get into with our mega crew! If you or someone you know is planning on homeschooling don’t hesitate to reach out and connect! And if you think this post would be helpful to someone please share! 

Jen Schell Instagram Page

A day in the life of a home schooling Mom

 

Home Schooling in Logan Lake BC

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Nicola Valley Home Schooling

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Culture and Art Show for Children

Merritt artists create inspiring art for children in our new Gallery Show!

“Out of inspiration comes curiosity, motivation, desire, and the creative process.”

Art for children in Merritt BC is thriving! We asked our local artists to bring in, or create new art that would inspire children’s ideas and imaginations. And we have had a wonderful response with over 25 artists participating in our five week-long show. It’s up! It’s fun and colourful! And it’s on until 4pm, Saturday, March 14, 2020. Come on by!

Art for Children

Children in Art, Art for Children

How did we get so many artists to contribute to a show about art for children?

First, we put a call out to artists in the fall, through our membership newsletter, our local papers, and social media.

Then an email went out directly to most of the artists who have participated in our shows in the past, and a few we would love to gather into our active arts and culture community.

Lastly,  were our personal reach outs to those who popped in to see us at the Gallery, or who called in for questions, or met at events like Open Mic, and on the street! We did our best to reach out to as much of the Nicola Valley community as we could!

Art horses

Miriam Loken’s “A Moment with Max”

What’s in our Art for Children show?

Of course, we have children in the art…

  • Miriam Loken’s A Moment with Max features a child and a horse
  • Nancy Ellingsen’s grandchildren’s portraits, Ember and Logan
  • Bruce Walter’s photo A Teachable Moment, children in nature
  • Jean Kiegerl’s Reborn with a father and his baby girl
  • Judy Young’s amusing Shopping with Dad
  • Robert Moretti’s Camping Branch Swinging 
  • Joel Reid’s large graffiti 3 Candles
Art for Children

Artists Michael Behrens and Joel Reid Paintings

Art can inspire.

But a lot of the art in the show is meant to inspire children, of all ages- from babies to teens. We have paintings – watercolour, acrylic, and pastel…. depicting a variety of subjects like butterflies, undersea creatures, fanciful trees and mountains by artists Joel Reid, Fran McMurchy, Karen Otway, Michael Behrens, Shirley Reynolds, and Herta Klassen, Gale Simpson, and Diane Wandler.

Paintings, 3D pieces, mixed media…

We have 3D pieces, like Pius Chong’s monkey and Amanda Pryzner-Dunn’s folded steam engine (protected in a glass case). Kelly Reid brought in two magical fairy gardens made from a mix of materials, like a path of pennies, and a tiny tea cup.

painting in merritt

Tina Barlow’s Love, Laugh

There are mixed media pieces like Lin Butler Buchanan’s stunning dark Sunflowers at Night, and Tina Barlow’s The Laugh Love Tree. There are cloth and fibre art pieces like Cindy Trent’s Circus quilt and Vickie Strom’s bright woven wall hanging.

Amanda submitted paper cuts depicting three fairy tales. Can you guess them? Visit the show and see!

And we are displaying whimsical pieces like a Vicki’s felt mouse, Barb Sayles’ vintage dolls, and Pam Clark’s adorable knit bunnies and chicks.

And My Topsy Turvy Circus Diorama

I jumped in myself for this show and created a five foot Circus diorama, populated with several dolls and puppets from my collection. They are dressed as jesters, clowns, mimes, trapeze artists, and horse trainers for the occasion. My favourite wooden Czech Marionette hangs high up in the Topsy Turvy Circus, attracting children to see the three ring performances. All in the imagination, of course. And I tried my hand at doll faceups, including a mime face on a Berenguer doll. Fun!

Children artists in merritt

Jano Howarth’s Mime Face Up

Art for children is one way to reach out to children.

As a life long educator, with over 30 years of interaction with children of all ages, I have realized how important inspiration is to the process of creativity and life itself. Out of inspiration comes curiosity, motivation, desire, and the creative process. Art is a very effective way to reach children! There are so many forms of artistic creativity that can appeal to children’s natural interests and help them identify their own passions and life directions.

When I put the call out to artists I said:

“This show is about children and how we inspire them to take their own path- maybe art, maybe another passion. Think of Cindy Trent’s quilt depicting the layers in the earth. Inspiration for quilting? painting? sculpture? photography? geography? zoology? ecology? writing? Art that stimulates the imagination. And not necessarily kids stuff.”

children art

Art Bud’s Renee Hartwig

And that’s what we got! One gentleman was expecting art by children, or at least childlike art. And we certainly have on display some very cute art, and art that is appealing to the child in all of us! Our Art Buds teacher, Renee Hartwig, brought in her Bunny on a Hill painting that brings out the oohs and aahs in children and adults alike. 

“Interesting, beautiful, quirky, or socially conscious art”

But we have some sophisticated pieces that can stimulate great ideas for parents, grandparents, etc. on how to look for and choose art for a child’s room. Or art for a living room or dining room (or waiting room, or educator’s office) where children can be exposed to interesting, beautiful, quirky, or socially conscious art.

children and art in merritt

Art to Inspire Children

 
Even some of our local artists were challenged by the idea for this show! But it didn’t take long, in this community of creative artists, to bring together over forty-five pieces of inspiring art for children. I am very excited and pleased with the wonderful responses, from the artists, and from the visitors, local and out-of-towners, who have come by the show already. 

We have art that stimulates, amuses, and soothes.

Art for Children

Vicki Strom’s Felt Mouse

We had a great Reception the other night, complete with marshmallow squares, of course! But with chocolate, whipped cream and fresh orange toppings! Thanks, Diane! And thanks to Lin, Joel, and all the volunteers who helped put this show together!

Now that the show is up, the people are coming by with and without children. Thursday to Saturday, 12-6pm.

We have invited teachers to bring classes. (Just let me know! nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com or Jano 250-315-3437)

Art for Children in Merritt, BC… Alive and Well! 

For more info on this show, or upcoming shows at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery at the old Courthouse on Nicola Avenue contact me at 250-315-3437 or email nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Director and community supporter!

Art Things To Do in Merritt, BC

Check out some of our past Arts Gallery Shows

  •  Open Mic Weekly! Friday nights 7-9 pm at Kekuli Cafe
  • Gallery Shows every five weeks or less! At the the old Courthouse Arts Gallery, 1840 Nicola Avenue, Merritt BC. Thursday to Saturday, 12-6 pm
  • Gallery Shop all year round, and yearly popular Artisan Winter Show
  • Arts Classes, course and workshops- visit our website for info
  • Special Arts Events: Mayor’s Gala, Jazz in the Attic, Art in the Park

Join the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council! Tax receipt for Memberships and Donations! Online or pop in to the Gallery.

Jano’s

Interested in doll characters and photo stories?

  • Website: Hiya Dolly
  • Facebook and Instagram Hiya Dolly

More on the Art for Children Show…

Bev Veale contributed an in-progress piece designed for a child’s involvement… Come in and find all the animals!

Bev has been painting the flora and fauna of the Nicola Valley for decades. And she continues to contribute her support and show submissions! Anyone interested in an original Bev Veale, contact me!

NVCAC Vice President Karen Otway’s colourful painting is both our cover photo, and our show poster. Thanks Karen!

And getting ready for the Topsy Turvy Circus kept me happily busy for days!

art and culture in merritt

Topsy Turvy Circus by Jano Howarth

Get inspired with your children! Get a hold of a canvas, a fun item to paint, and get busy!

Art for Children

Inspired!

Art for Children in Merritt British Columbia Canada

Nicola Valley Arts Council

 

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