Natural Learning in Photos: Day 15

 Dylan comes to me and asks, “if I pick 60 raspberries every two days, how many will I have in 5 days?”  

Of course the mathematician in me is cheering, “a real life opportunity to learn basic algebra.” So I proceed to ask,  “well we need to know how many you pick each day.”

He replies with “well, I think it’s 3+3, so 30 in one day”

Then he counted by 30s (he hasn’t done much multiplication yet 😉) to find out how many in five days, but of course that wasn’t enough he had to continue on until he got to 30 days. Lots of motivation since it’s a problem he wanted to figure out that was relevant to him.  

Here is the first page of his work 🙂



Family Vacation: Day 9

Montréal & Home Sweet Home

Usual hotel breakfast and a dip in the pool, which was quite warm, then off for a quick walk to Old Montréal.

Unfortunately, there was some sibling conflict which lead to a minor injury and hurt feelings so we had to return back to the hotel before getting to Old Montréal. 😥

 However, it turned out to be a good thing because minutes after returning it began to pour rain. 😀
So we headed out a bit earlier for home, taking a quick detour to drive by a few sites.  

I guess that means we will have to plan another weekend trip to tour around, have some café and crêpes and enjoy this beautiful city. ☺️

Family Vacation: Day 8

Long drive to Montreal

We decided not to stay to do more exploring and to head out after breakfast.  The kids snuck in a quick game of checkers as we checked out and I took a few pics on the way to the hotel parking lot before we drove up to the admissions center for breakfast. 

Breakfast was good, although the potatoes were a bit salty.  Kyle took a risk and tried the cretons.  After breakfast, we did some shopping at the souvenir shop.  They had a wide variety of merchandise including hand-made toques, mitts, and socks, books, music, wooden shoes, instruments and beautiful quilts. 

Then the adventure began! We headed out to Montreal with just over a quarter tank of gas assuming that there would be places to stop along the way.  We started out along the coast and then continued onto a secondary highway that would take us to St. Quentin.  What we didn’t realize was that it was primarily a logging road that had no civilization for around 135 km.  There was next to no traffic other than the logging trucks and it was a winding, hilly road with many potholes – oh, and I should mention, no cell service.  

The gas light came on around 40 km from St. Quentin so we were quite confident that we could make it without incident.  Of course, there were potty emergencies but those were easier to take care of.    We arrived at a gas station in St. Quentin, a logging town with a huge sawmill, only to find out they were out of gas.  The next gas station along our route was about 45 minutes.  We explained that we wouldn’t be able to make it that far and the young man directed us to a closer station around the corner.  Thank goodness they still had fuel, or we would have been in big trouble.

We arrived in Montreal around 7 pm, found parking in a nearby lot and checked into our hotel, Le Square Phillips Hôtel et Suites.  Our room is huge and well-equipped with a full kitchen.

The rooftop terrace overlooks some churches and an old Hudson’s Bay building, as well some office buildings.

 Hoping for a good night sleep and a leisurely walk around Old Montreal tomorrow, and, of course, a swim in the hotel pool with the littles. 

Family Vacation: Day 7

Village Historique Acadien

Today we opted for a slower pace: we slept in a bit; went for a swim in the hotel pool, then headed out for our stay at the Hotel Chateau Albert at the Village Historique Acadien.  

We took the scenic route along the coast which added about half an hour to the drive but it was much nicer than travelling through the forest dense center of New Brunswick.  

Typing Village Historique Acadien into the GPS was not a good idea as we ended up not where we intended, after entering the actual address we managed to find the place (although not where the GPS was taking us).

The village is pretty casual, you stroll around exploring the different buildings.  We arrived close to closing so some buildings were already closed.  Your admission fee covers two days so we can explore what we missed tomorrow if we feel up to it (long drive tomorrow to Montreal, we may want to just head out).

The littles always enjoy the farm animals and the old-fashioned things; the teens not so much.  They mostly complained about the horseflies and constantly asked how long until we were getting back to the hotel.  

Each building had someone dressed in period costumes to explain their role in the village – all with varying degrees of bilingualism. The tinsmith was quite funny and he made us a whistle while he talked about his trade.  Dylan loved checking out the gardens to see if he could recognize any of the vegetables that were growing.  

At the one farm, the kids enjoyed feeding the sheep and the woman showed us the process of processing the wool: teasing, carding, spinning, dyeing.  It was interesting to learn that the girls began working with the wool at age five and were able to use the spinning wheel at age ten.  She explained that the red and purple wools had to be imported and the other colours were created using plants and other organic a.  However, the boys were needed to create the blue dye – they had to pee in a pail, then a rock purchases at the general store was placed in the urine to break down creating the blue dye, it took a month to make blue wool.  

The hotel was clean and set in the 1900s.  We needed to book two rooms as the maximum capacity for each room is three.  The staff were friendly and helpful, although the older gentleman who was hooking up the air conditioning in the boys’ room was a bit cranky.  

The only issue we had was they forgot to put the folding bed in our rooms for the littles to sleep on.  When I went down to ask about it the woman at the front desk only knew a few words of English and my French isn’t great so we had a bit of a struggle communicating.  Apparently the young man that had helped us with our bags was supposed to take care of it before he left, so we had to search the rooms to find one and then carry it up two flights of stairs to our room.  This was not an easy task given the pioneer-style, full length dress the woman was wearing.  At least we were able to laugh as she exclaims, “ah, ma robe!” and tries her best not to trip over it.   

The village closed at six so we had lots of time for baths and to relax before heading to bed.

Family Vacation: Day 6

Joggins Fossil Cliffs & Fundy Geological Museum

Today we headed out to Nova Scotia for some geology.  We all enjoy exploring rocks and fossils, so it was a great pick for our family.  Also, they aren’t busy tourist spots, so it was nice to be amongst a handful of visitors.

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are quite amazing.  This area of Nova Scotia used to be located at the equator and was a tropical jungle before Pangea broke apart. We learned a lot about the history of this region where the fossils are from the Carboniferous Period … before the dinosaurs.  We were shown a fossilized tree from that time period that was fossilized “in situe”, as it was when it was living which I found to be quite fascinating.  We were then shown a fossilized root with the rootlets fossilized with it.  Pretty cool.   The guide was a university student and was extremely knowledgeable and patient with the children’s constant request for him to “check this out, is this something?”

This region has a very high density of  fossils and we were able to find quite a few on our own, mostly fossils of tree back from 300 million years ago. The Interpretive centre has excellent displays and was quite interesting to explore.   
 When planning a visit here remember to check the daily tour schedule as you can only explore the cliffs during low tide and remember to bring a jacket, it is cold by the ocean.  

 After exploring the fossil cliffs, we travelled to the nearby (about an hour) town of Parrsboro to visit the Fundy Geological Museum.   

 The museum, although relatively small, had excellent displays of rocks, minerals and fossils.  It even had a scaled model of an ancient millipede that was about a foot wide and a metre in length.  It connected nicely to the fossil cliffs where we had previously seen fossilized tracks of this huge bug.

The children really enjoyed this museum as it had dinosaur fossils and displays.


Family Vacation: Day 5

Saint Andrews for Whale Watching

Last night’s dinner date was a lot of fun.  We went to the Japenese restaurant across the street from the hotel for our first experience with teppanyaki.  Our chef was very entertaining and friendly.  It gave us a chance to laugh and eat quietly.  The portions were very large, neither one of us could finish.  


After an early breakfast, we headed out to Saint Andrews. After a 2 1/2 hour drive along the southern coast of New Brunswick we arrived at the picturesque town of St. Andrews.  A cute little down that reminded me of Port Dover with the cute shops and restaurants along the main road and a long wharf to walk along. We stopped for lunch at the Harbourside Restaurant which provided your standard fare: fish, burgers, chicken strips.   

Then off to the Jolly Breeze to check-in for our whale watching trip.   

They add some interest for the youngsters and some adults by providing a variety of pirate costumes. Evelyn was the only one interested in dressing up, which was no surprise.  

The sailboat trip out into the Bay of Fundy was beautiful and very relaxing. Although we weren’t able to spot any whales, we did see some seals and porpoises.  On board, they have a touch tank with a few different sea creatures that the children were able to touch and examine, while the crew member taught them about the different creatures.  Evelyn loved the sea cucumbers.  

By the end of the trip, we were all pretty tired.  Three and a half hours out on the water has a way of doing that to you.

Family Vacation: Day 4

Prince Edward Island

Today we headed out to the quaint, little island of Prince Edward Island (PEI).  We took the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick and I have to say it way amazing.  The engineering to design such an amazing bridge and the maintenance that must be required to keep it operational is unspeakable.  Going over for the first time was a bit nerve-wracking.  I definitely need to learn more about the construction of this bridge, it truly is unbelievable.  

The Confederation Bridge is the world’s longest bridge over ice-covered waters.  There was obviously no ice there now and I’m not sure if I would be comfortable crossing if it was.  

We didn’t do a lot of sight seeing in PEI.  The countryside was nice and we saw lots of red dirt – although we did pass on the ever-popular “dirt shirt.”  We went to Spinnakers Landing, in Summerside, for some shopping and lunch. We had to sit outside as the inside was full.  It was a nice view but very windy.  We then went to the College of Piping and Celtic Music where we learned about step dancing, highland dancing, the bagpipes and the drum as well as some interesting information about the college.  We then enjoyed a short demonstration of each of the four disciplines filled by some small group performances.  The mini concerts are very relaxed, if you attend a mini concert you get a discount off of the larger evening performance which I’ve heard is very good.  Unfortunately, it was not something we could stay for.  

Lastly, we went on a short coastal drive and saw a few lighthouses.  We went in the one located at Victoria-by-the-Sea, the kids were a bit nervous going up and down the ladder, even though it was relatively small.  Admission was by voluntary donation.  The lower level provided some some displays about the lighthouses history and how lighthouses work.


All the children have been fed, thankful for the guest laundry at the hotel while I await my dinner date with dad when he gets back from swimming with the kids.  He is amazing taking them when I know he’s tired and could really use some piece & quiet.  Hopefully dinner will be enough of a break to provide some sanity and allow us to recharge our batteries.