Wednesday, July 31, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Remember how much he loved the sliding doors in Poland? He kept asking for one at home, so wonderful husband made him this. It is a working sliding door taped to our living room table.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Sweet Son started picking out his favorite clothes and laying them out in a row. When I ask what he was doing he told me he's packing so we can go on another vacation. He seemed so let down that we don't have another one planned for a few more months. Yes, my kids are spoiled and I love it!

Here's the plane he made to travel on...


Monday, July 29, 2013

The importance of working memory

As I mentioned in the executive function post, working memory is extremely important. Working memory is the best predictor of school success. It is both academic and social. So, what else do we know about working memory?

High IQ does not equal high working memory. The opposite is also true, high working memory doesn't equal high IQ. While most IQ tests are sensitive to socioeconomic status (SES), working memory is not. For example, one section of most IQ tests for children is on general knowledge. If you ask a child "What is a police officer?" the correct answer would be something along the lines of "someone who helps people." An incorrect answer would be "someone who takes my Daddy away." Clearly this is measuring experience, not intelligence.

There are ways to improve working memory. It all starts with diet and exercise. I've address the importance of exercise on the brain already. So which foods are best to include in your diet? Dairy, berries, herbs, and foods with omega3 and dha have all been proven beneficial specifically for working memory. Foods that will have a negative impact are processed and contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and chemicals. One Organic Mama was kind enough to write a guest post for me on healthy living.

Once you have addressed the diet and exercise components, the other way to improve working memory is through proprioception training. In fact, proprioception training for just one day shows and increase in working memory by 50% and it lasts many months. As with anything, the more you do it the better the results. Proprioception is the ability to sense the position, location, orientation, and movement of the body and its parts. Proprioception training is all about balance and body awareness. It includes things like walking on a balance beam with your eyes closed, jumping to a target with your eyes closed, crawling on a balance beam, and running.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Research on Self-Esteem

If you are reading this blog, I'm sure you already know that telling kids they are smart does more harm than good. So, what else does the research say about self-esteem?

First you should realize that most of us have the wrong definition of self-esteem. Self-esteem is not about feeling good. Self-esteem is simply a set of opinions about yourself. Self-esteem is built though competence and new achievements. There is a balance of the two. Trying a new experience you can't possibly succeed at will not build self-esteem any more than a high level of competence at something you have been doing for years.

Our society need to shift from our current view of children as helpless and needing to be protected. We need to support them through the difficult times, not rescue them. One of my personal pet peeves is hearing parents talk about how they don't want their child to be behind or have to try "too hard" at something. No one is the best in everything and the earlier you learn that the better off you will be. You should not try to get rid of the bumps in the road for your child. Instead, teach them how to handle the bumps. We should not teach our children to give up when it's difficult or they aren't the best. Imagine what that society will look like when they are adults. The goal here is to raise children to be independent, successful adults. You can't always protect them, so learning to deal with the bumps when they are small is crucial.

"Intelligence is what you use when you don't know what to do." Piaget

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day off from Blogging

I decided to take today off from blogging since it's my birthday. (Just don't tell anyone.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Exercise and the Brain

I wrote about this topic more than a year ago, but I wanted to post again with the additional research.

The importance of physical exercise on your neurological health is fascinating to me, so when I'm attending a conference I tend to chose sessions that include this topic when possible. One of my favorite speakers is Dr. Kenneth Kosik. (You may notice I referred to his research in the post linked above also.) He does a lot of research on Alzheimer's and brain health. Here are some of the notes I wrote down from his session.

If you have more education and a more demanding job, it protects you against Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's, heart attack, and stroke have many of the same risk factors.
Vascular blood vessels in the brain would be 500 miles long if stretched out.
Childhood cardiovascular health impacts the blood vessels in the brain.
70% of 40 year olds have affected blood vessels in the USA.
Children should not ever have more than 50g/day of sugar. (A juice box is 25g.)
Travel reduces risk of dementia, as does socializing, knitting, and gardening.
Biking, swimming, and golf don't reduce risk of dementia.
Dancing and playing instruments lowers dementia risk.
Cognitively, it's better to follow than to lead when dancing.

If you notice, taking care of your heart and physical health is obviously one of the most important factors in keeping your brain healthy. Nutrition and exercise reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems and mental problems. Trying things that are new and challenging, especially facing the unexpected (traveling, socializing), should be encouraged at all stages of life. I was disappointed that biking and swimming aren't more helpful since I enjoy those. I will continue to play instruments and encourage my kids to do so. I dance like a white girl with two left feet, so I will avoid that one for now. haha

I also attended a lecture by Dr. John Ratey (Harvard Medical School). He shared how humans are de-evolving. We sit in front of screens hunched over and it's making us much worse off. He is a big proponent of the FitDesk if you have to do computer work. Here are some of my notes from his speech.

It's better to wear out your body and mind than to rust.
Running will get you results in half the time of walking.
To add 3 years to your life run 100 min/week or walk 200 min/week.
Running is the best exercise for neurological health.
The computer offers hypernormal stimuli.
Fitness increases neurons and connectivity in the brain.
Exercise is as good as Zoloft to treat depression.
Exercise is the equivalent of a little Prozac and a little Adderall.
Running increases your endocannabinoids. (like marijuana)
A PE teacher gave grades based on how long students' heart rates were in the target zone and there was an 83% drop in disciplan referrals.
Teachers should offer a time in instead of a time out (run, bike, etc) in order to turn the brain back on.
Improving cardio fitness improves IQ.
Strength training improves physical health, but not mental.

I should note here that I hate running, so hearing that was the best thing I could do for myself mentally was a major disappointment. However, it was also the push I needed. As I write this I'm in week 4 of a couch to 5k program. By the time this is published I hope to have completed it. I still hate running, but after seeing the evidence, I feel the need to run. I would love a FitDesk , but don't have the money or a place to put it. I like the idea of PE grades being based on something that everyone can achieve with effort.

So, has any of this information made you want to start exercising?

Monday, July 22, 2013

The impact of Technology on Attention

Before we get too far, you should probably start by reading my disclaimer. One of my most loved and most hated posts is TV and Computer Time for Babies. Now children not only have screen time from tv and computer, but also from phones and tablets. So, what does the newest research say about all of this screen time?

There seems to be a common belief that kids these days are wired for using technology. It's not a belief based in anything other than convenience. It is easier to set the kids in front of a screen and know they are learning, playing, and happy. This does take a toll that everyone should be aware of.

You may not realize that technology creates more work. Before light handheld irons were common, people would only iron their clothes once a month and the level of acceptable wrinkles was much different. Better technology means we are now ironing more and our standards for wrinkles is much lower. Another example, when I was in elementary through high school and needed to do a research project, I headed to the library. I started at the card catalog - a large box with actual cards representing each book. Teachers would expect 3-5 references. Now everything is digitized and easy to access. Teachers expect more references, higher quality references (not just wikipedia), and more analysis of conflicting research. There are many other examples, but when you really think about it historically, technology has created more work than it has saved.

Kids are being raised on multiple media streams and multi-tasking. 40% of 3 month olds watch 90 minutes of television a day. That goes up to 50% of 8 month olds and 90 percent of 2 year olds. 50% of 8 year olds have their own cell phone. The most commonly requested add on in family cars is a dual screen video player. With all of this early exposure and practice multitasking, how can I say that kids aren't wired for using technology?

It is true that a 22 year old is better at multitasking than a 40 year old. I observe this on an almost daily basis. However, it's not because 22 year olds have more practice, it's because they are 22. Their brains are younger and work faster. Once they are 40, they will be frustrated that they can't multitask as well as most 22 year olds. The more you multitask, the more your long term attention decreases. Distractions start bothering multitaskers much earlier than those who have learned to focus on one thing at a time. Yes, learning to focus on one thing at a time is now something that we should try learning.

Kids spend the first few years of their life playing digital games. Every time they get an answer right there are lights, music, and characters literally dancing in celebration. Then they are placed in school. The human teacher stands at the front. When a student gets the answer correct they may smile and say "that's right" as they continue the lesson. Of course kids see this as being boring. Where's the instant party? Humans are not viewed by the brain as being interesting comparatively. Students get antsy, impulsive, and certainly don't want to do a worksheet.

Stop and think about the goal of education for YOUR child. Is the goal for your child to be entertained? Is the goal for your child to be challenged? Is the goal for your child to learn enough to be successful outside of school? Learning to sit and listen to a human speak and being able to apply what you have just heard is a skill that will be used throughout life. We need to make sure our children are prepared for life, not just playing games on the computer.

Screens do cause attention problems. This has been proven. However the ability to sustain attention is not correlated across tasks, i.e. sustained attention with toys versus videos versus interactive experiments. Video game players do perform better on quick perception tests. The brain is changeable within reason. If you think the computer is saving your work, you don't remember what you just wrote. If you know it's not saving, you will remember what you are typing almost word for word. Multitasking always carries a cost. Having a tv on in the background when you are working is always bad, no matter what task you are completing. (I do feel like a bit of a hypocrite since the tv is on in the background as I write this...) Multitasking causes people to make more mistakes and takes longer for the same task, no matter how much practice you have had or if you are 22. As far as having music in the background, the studies contradict themselves. It's good for some and bad for others.

The most disturbing part of the new research is on the brain multitasking during driving. If you are driving your car and your phone rings, even if you don't answer it (which I'm sure you know better than to even try), your attention is split to a point of making driving mistakes. Just hearing or feeling the phone pulls attention away from the road and any other distractions that might suddenly happen - a child running into the street, a car swerving into your lane, etc.

Limits on screen time are becoming even more crucial as this research comes out. While we didn't do any screen time before 30 months, when we did start they weren't interested. However we did let them watch up to 20 minutes a day for 5 days a week over the Summer. It's too hot to play outside most afternoons, so this seemed like a great solution. Since I keep this blog a year behind, I can tell you that was too much for my kids. Now at almost 4, they are finally up to that amount and able to handle it without behavioral problems.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Motivating Children and Students

There are some things children are motivated about on their own and some things we need to help them find motivation for. So, what are the best ways to motivate using brain research?

First you need to know about the nucleus accumbens. For those that want this simplified, it's known as the reward center of the brain. It's a limbic structure that sends dopamine throughout the brain. This is the specific part of the anatomy that generates and sustains motivation. When you think dopamine you probably think Ritalin and ADHD, so let's start our discussion there.

Volkow (2009) found a disruption in two dopamine reward/motivation pathways among adults with ADHD. The severity of this disruption was related to the severity of inattention. Another study done in Barcelona, found that children with ADHD have a smaller ventral striatum (including the nucleus acumbens), especially on the right side. The volume was correlated with hyperactivity. We know that Ritalin produces significant levels of dopamine in the brain. This increases motivation and makes tasks seem more interesting. When you look at brain wave activity in typical kids versus ADHD kids there is a huge difference. The theta/beta ratio for typical kids is 4:1, while the ratio for ADHD kids is 9:1. For some kids necessary tasks require a Herculean effort.

Typically, our society adds pressure and stress when people are not completing required tasks. It has been proven that when under stress, students work harder, but produce poorer quality work. The more stress you apply, the worse the results. While students are trying and giving it their all, they accomplish less. This also decreases motivation and makes students want to avoid challenges. This becomes even more harmful in the long run.

Sleep also plays a huge part on working memory, attention, and reaction time. Forth and sixth graders were paid to sleep one hour more or less for three consecutive nights. After a loss of 35 minutes each night for 3 nights (most couldn't make it an entire hour less) they lost two years of efficiency in these three areas. We are just starting to understand the impact of sleep and how many areas it impacts. I suspect this area of research to have a huge boom in the near future (3-5 years).

So, how do we motivate our children and students? Students need optimal challenges, feedback from the task (rather than from the teacher), freedom from demeaning evaluations, a sense of autonomy, choices, and self-direction. In other words, they need more meaningful projects and less testing. Good luck getting this in traditional schools. There are certainly teachers out there who are doing exactly this for each of their students, but they are becoming more and more rare.

There is one other thing I feel I should mention here. The brain interprets rewards and punishments as a loss of control, which is demonstrated by the stress hormones being released in the brain. The brain is wired to try to find ways of getting the reward without doing the job/assignment. We should stop fighting this and change the way we are teaching. 80% of education in public schools is competitive. While this is motivating for the top few kids, it's extremely demotivating for the other 95% of students. Why try if you aren't going to win? Stop and think about this - 95% of students are being discouraged 80% of the time in school. In order to address this, our society keeps adding more tests and rankings. We are just making it worse rather than embracing the research and trying to help the students.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dog Sitting

I've written multiple times about the many benefits of kids growing up with dogs and pets in general. After our dog died just before the kids' second birthday, we decided we weren't ready for another mouth to feed and animal to train. So, what's the solution if we still want some of the benefits? We offer to watch the neighbor's dogs!

Our neighbors actually have 3 dogs and we normally only watch Coco - seen above. She is older, great with kids, and doesn't require a ton of work. The kids love playing with her, feeding her, and running around.

Such a wonderful dog to put up with this!

This time we also agreed to watch their puppy - Jasper. I was impressed how well the puppy followed the directions of two year olds. The kids are the ones who got out the blanket and told the dogs to lay down. I wasn't surprised that Coco followed directions. But the puppy? That's impressive!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fuse Beads

When I was a kid I loved making things with fuse beads, so when I saw a cheap set at Ikea I knew I wanted to do this with our kids.

If you have never done this before (like my wonderful husband), it seems really simple. You simply take tiny beads and place them on these plates that have little things sticking up. That's not a great description, but it's the best I can do. Once you have filled your plate, you place a sheet of specialty paper on top and iron the beads together. This makes a something the size of a coaster. The kit I bought came with 4 plates - large square, small square, circle, and heart.

We spent a long time working on this. I'm making a square with various colored stripes. Sweet daughter is working on the circle doing one line at a time and then going around the outside. Sweet son just randomly places the beads anywhere he can.

The most difficult part is if you just barely bump it, many of the beads will fall off. This takes a steady hand and an amazing amount of patience. This ended up lasting about 40 minutes for sweet son and over an hour for sweet daughter. Not bad for two year olds.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Solar Oven

Here's another fun Summer project. We used a pizza box to make a solar oven to reheat our pizza. Simple, fun, and a great Science project.

First place a piece of black paper in the bottom of the box. Then cut the lid as shown below. Cover the lid in aluminum foil to reflect the sun onto the pizza. Cover the opening with plastic wrap to keep the bugs off. Then you just need something to hold the top open and get the right angle to heat the pizza (this is not a photo of the correct angle). 
What have you heated in a solar oven? We are looking for more ideas.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 6

Here we go again. In case you missed them, go back and read the Tale of Two Beds Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. I'm sure you could see this one coming, especially if you read Frustration. We needed to do something to prevent the kids from climbing up the wall and standing on the window sill. They would then try to "help" each other so if they heard one of us coming to check on them they would use their arm to sweep the other one's feet off the ledge. Thus forcing the child standing up there to quickly fall and hit their chin directly on it. While you would think you wouldn't do this more than once, my kids don't give up that easily. Sweet Daughter had giant purple bruises on her chin for weeks. We HAD to do something.

Here is our solution. There is now a slanted board that goes the length of the window. Now there is nothing to stand on and they aren't hurting themselves on this. It doesn't look nice. It looks like we are practically bolting the window shut. It will still open, not that we are letting the kids know that.

But of course, this wouldn't be a full tale with only one issue being posted. (sigh) The kids continue to take apart anything they have access to during nap time and night time. Our newest solution? If they take it apart, they must put it back together before they can come out of their room at the end of nap time. Before you think I'm being cruel, I'm either sitting in the room with them or sitting in the hallway doing something exciting - like folding laundry. After a great deal of complaining and wanting me to do it for them. They finally figured out how to make their own beds. They also stopped taking off their sheets.

The entire process does take longer than one minute, but you get the idea from this video. Yes, he's making her bed and she's making his. I don't care. Since they both took the sheets off, I told them they had to both put both sheets back on.

Did I ever mention I'm ready for this series of posts to be over? Yet, I know this isn't the end. Part 7

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Making Paper

This is one of our favorite art/Science activities. We have done it many times and with many different variations. If you have ever wanted to make paper with your kids, this is how we did it.

First you tear paper into small pieces. This is great for building fine motor and boys tend to really enjoy being told to tear paper. (Yes, we make paper from paper. My husband says I always do things the hard way.) Construction paper is our favorite because of the bright colors, but you can you regular paper, paper towels, tissue paper, etc. In the above photo we were experimenting with what would happen if we mixed red and blue paper.

Add the paper to the blender and pour hot water over it. I do this because of the sharp blades and the temperature of the water. We let it sit for 3-5 minutes depending on our patience that particular day.

Red and blue make purple! You want to blend this until it is extremely runny - thinner than applesauce.

Then you pour the watery mess into a bowl so the kids can scoop it up. (This was making blue paper on the same day.) There are towels down under and around their work area. They scoop some into their hand and then gently push it into the mesh. The mesh is sitting on top of a large jug. It can be over a bowl or anything you have as long as it will catch a lot of water and the mesh won't fall into it. The trick here is to spread the goop out so you don't end up with one large group and nothing else. After all, the goal is paper.

After making it the size you want, place the mesh and paper-to-be on some more towels and use a sponge to push more water out. This is also a great way to build fine motor control.

Next, turn the mesh and paper over so the paper is on the towel and the mesh is on top. Then use a rolling pin to push out more water and flatten it just a bit more. The final step is to let it dry. We just set it outside and let the sun do that part. On a windy day be sure to put something on top or it will blow away and break apart.

We have also made paper with seeds mixed in for planting. Just add the seeds after the blending and before putting it onto the mesh. Once it's dry, you can plant the paper and the seeds will grow and the paper will biodegrade. We usually use wild flowers that are intended to be planted close together. One bit of warning, when setting these outside to dry you need to do something to keep the birds away. I made that the kids' job.

Have you ever made paper with kids? What are some of your favorite materials?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ice Skating

What is one of our favorite activities when it's over 100 outside? Ice skating! We actually decided to try this because sweet daughter was insistent that she wants to be an ice hockey player when she grows up. We figured we should let the kids try skating to see if they actually enjoy it.

Since I don't skate, I took tons of photos of wonderful husband teaching them to skate. They started by just feeling what it's like to be on ice and balancing on skates.

We did put them in pants and even remembered mittens. We didn't think to check the length of her shirt when her hands were up, so her stomach got a little chilly. Oops

Fairly quickly, they were skating while only holding one hand. 

She really thought she could skate by herself... it was a good way to learn how to get back up and try again if nothing else. By the end of our time there, I was approached by one of the ice skating coaches who wanted to recruit sweet daughter to her team. When I pointed out that she was too young, the coach offered to get her a waiver. We turned them down. Right now we just want her ice skating for fun and if she wants to compete later we can wait till she's old enough.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Watering the Lawn

We have trouble keeping our grass green in the Summer. It's too hot and we don't typically water, which certainly doesn't help.

Luckily, now we have kids to do that for us! (Both modeling their Canada shirts.) Some people even prefer to get automatic water sprinklers that go back and forth. We prefer child labor... I mean teaching them responsibility.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Halifax, NS Waterfront

One of our other favorite activities when visiting Halifax is going to the waterfront. Since we don't live near a coastline, this is a reasonably unique experience for our kids.

Here we are on the Dartmouth side getting ready to take the ferry across. You can see the entire Halifax skyline.

Sure, you could sit in one of the plastic chairs. You could sit on the bottom deck and not be in full sun and wind. OR you could stand right against the glass for the closest view possible. You can point out every boat, every wave, and every duck you see. While there was a light rain, if you are shorter than the railing it is angled so you stay dry. However if you are slightly taller, you will get wet from the rain and the spray from the boat. At least the kids loved it.

This awesome playground is right on the Halifax waterfront. My kids are in the photo somewhere, though with so many ways to get up and down and hide on top and inside, we did lose track of them a couple of times. 

Forcing the kids to pose for a photo with us before we feed them lunch. Food is a great motivator... haha 

Look! It's Theodore Tugboat. If you are Canadian this may have some sort of meaning for you. It has been explained to me that this is a popular children's show that was on the air in Canada from 1994-2009 (broadcast network). It appears it was also on in the USA from 1994-2002 and 2007-2009 (cable only), but I had never heard of it. My kids were happy to see a smiling, hat wearing tugboat. Then they were frustrated that it wouldn't talk to them. Ah, the life of a two year old.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

CARES harness

Happy 4th of July! I don't really have a patriotic post for this because we were flying that day.

Our kids fly a lot. Since we always need their car seats at our destination, we have always just used them on the planes. This has made the kids more comfortable. However, those seats are heavy. They are great for the kids, but they are kind of a pain for us. Once they were big enough to use the CARES harness we decided to give them a try.

The CARES harness hooks over the back of the seat making it a 4 point harness and helps hold them in more safely. Though, you do still have to make sure they don't unbuckle the bottom and take it off. Amazingly, they can still sleep while wearing it. It is light, portable and simple to install. I highly recommend using them if you don't need a car seat at your destination.

I'm sure you noticed the one thing I added in the last paragraph. We will take these and use them anytime we are flying somewhere we don't need car seats. However, on this trip we had checked the car seats for the flights home and let the kids use these. It was international (Canada to USA) and we had a connecting flight. We had to do customs between the two flights, so we had to get the seat in between to move them. At that point the car seats were fine. We were able to see them and check and there were no issues. We happily checked them back in for the second flight.

By the time we made it home one of the seats was broken. A large chunk of the corner had come off. You know the corner that give the seat it's stability when it's installed? The one that would dig into the seat? This was not a cheap plastic car seat. This was a steal framed seat. (For those outside the U.S., not all of the approved seats here are steal framed.) We spent a ton on these seats because they met my many requirements - they are not only approved for use in the U.S., they are approved by the FAA for plane travel, and they are approved in other countries (Canada, most of Europe) where we travel. Canada and Europe both have much higher standards for car seat safety.

So at the airport at home we had to try tracking down someone to file a damage report. We found tons of people from American Airlines, but we flew on Canada Air. They had apparently left the airport already. It took more than an hour, with us paging people in the airport as well as being on the phone with customer service in Canada before we were able to file a report. In the end, we did get a settlement check from them. Canada Air is one of the few airlines that will pay for damage to a car seat. For most airlines if you check a car seat you agree they are not responsible for any damage and they will not pay. The entire process took more than a month and tons of inconvenience.

So, I would highly recommend the CARES harness if you don't need to travel with a car seat. We have used them since this trip and will continue to do so anytime we are traveling somewhere we only need public transportation. The only down side is checking the car seat, which certainly isn't CARES fault.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Halifax, NS beach

During our trip to Halifax, we went with friends and family to the beach. My kids have been to the beach before. My kids have been in the ocean before - in Mexico. We tried explaining that this was the same ocean, but it would be a little cooler since it's much farther from the equator.

Walking down the path to the beach. Three toddlers and four doting parents, with the fathers both taking photos. I should note that these two fathers have been best friends for years. Even living almost a full continent apart hasn't changed their friendship. This was the first time getting their kids together to play, so they were both excited.

This is a photo of both kids screaming and crying because the water is too cold. They were so happy to go in, then the water hit their feet. For the record, I also only got my feet in because it was so cold. In fact, I wanted to go back to the car for my jacket, but they wouldn't let me.

This was their first time building sand castles. This was the warmest activity at the beach.

The kids play together mostly oblivious to the cameras, but clearly the adults all notice.

Getting buried in the sand is a requirement at the beach, right? At least it slowed them down for a few minutes. haha

She is so proud of her sand castle.

The only thing better than being buried in the sand? Finding your cousin buried in the sand. My kids kept walking around him like sharks getting ready to go in for the kill... Overall it was a great day at the beach, but would have been better if the water was warmer. The next time we went to a warm beach we really had to convince the kids to try it again because they were afraid it would be cold like in Canada.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

As promised, this post is about another way we celebrated Canada Day. We went to the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. I had never heard of this before visiting, but it was an incredible amount of fun.

We sat in a luxury box, which gave the kids room to move around and not bother others.

So what exactly is it? "The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is a week-long event held every year in Nova Scotia. The two-and-a-half hour family show is fast-paced – every scene only lasts about 3-6 minutes, so there is always something new to see and experience. Looking for a taste of true Nova Scotia? There’s bagpipes, highland dancers, la culture de l’acadie and military traditions. Hoping for something more modern? The Tattoo also features innovative acrobatic acts, modern music, contemporary dancing, trampoline routines and cutting-edge videos."

For the finale, all of the acts came out together.

 There were some loud parts (cannons being fired) that our kids didn't like, but that was fairly easy to anticipate and cover their ears. There was music, dancing, acrobats, and even a race to disassemble, carry through obstacles, and reassemble large pieces of artillery. It really did have something for every one. As promised, it was fast moving and kept the kids attention much better than I had expected.

Our group of family and friends together after the Tattoo.

If you find yourself in Halifax the first week of July, I highly suggest attending this show. While it's not a kids' show, they will be entertained.

Happy Canada Day!

I'm sure you are all aware that today is Canada Day! A day celebrated far and wide... at least in Canada. We went to the ever popular Canada Day parade in Halifax, NS.

Waving patriotic flags waiting for the parade to go by!

I admit this was my first time seeing a maple leaf zombie.

This was the kids favorite part of the parade. Sweet Son said, "That silly dog is driving a truck!" Sweet Daughter replied, "Dogs are only allowed to drive in Canada, not in America." 

This afternoon I will post another way we celebrated. How are you celebrating today?