Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Ice Cream

     Today it started snowing around 1 o'clock and has not stopped yet, suppose to get up to 8 inches tonight and I think we are getting close!!  The roads are slick and difficult to get up some the hills around here. 

       My mom made snow ice cream for my brothers, sister and I one year when we were young and I have her recipe.  Since have an abundance of snow I found her recipe and thought I would give it a try.  I set a bowl on the balcony and let it fill up with snow.  After dinner I mixed the ingredients added snow until it was thick enough and then we ate!!  Since I am without proper measuring equipment I guessed at the vanilla and it was a little too much, so we just added more snow.  It was a hit and tasted good.  I am sure the kids will be asking for it again.


Sunday, January 19, 2014


    After the Fluvarium we went for a little walk in the park around the lake.  The kids were wearing sneakers which were wet from all the snow still on the ground.  We found a spot that the kids could get to the edge of the water and throw rocks in the lake, the majority of the lake was still frozen over, so most of the rocks hit the ice and just slid.  Two ducks flew to the little spot of water that was not frozen and were looking for food.  I think they thought we had food for them.  It will be a great place to take the kids in the summer.  The kids enjoyed the ducks and throwing rocks in the water.  It was a nice day!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


      What is a Fluvarium you ask, well let me tell you.  The word Fluvarium is derived from the Latin root “fluv” meaning flowing water.  Fluvarium therefore literally means “windows on a stream”, and aptly describes the nine large viewing windows that allow you to look into a natural, freshwater habitat. 

     The kids LOVED it.  The first floor was the museum where they talked about water and had some hands on for the kids to play.  There was a large toy dragonfly that had a basket around it's neck for the kids to throw balls into, and then a little corn-hole board that the kids could toss beanie frogs into.  There was a video (that the kids did not care about) that explained the Rennie River and Quidi Vidi Lake system and the history of it.  The Fluvarium is built next to the river and when you are looking through the viewing windows on the bottom floor you are looking into the river. 

Playing with the Dragonfly

    The bottom floor was a semi circle wall of windows, the  building is a circle, that allow you to look into the river and see the fish that happen to be passing through.  The way it is set up they have built a small pool of water that the river flows into before passing into the lake.  They had about 8 brown trout in there right now and the worker explained that brown trout are the main fish they see, occasionally they will have a juvenile salmon, but they look a lot like the brown trout so it is hard to differentiate between the two.  They will occasionally see a brook trout as well.  The woman that worked there was full of information and was very helpful.  She told us that they have seen a mink in the water "fishing" and once there was a moose that was walking through the pool of water to eat the grasses.  You could only see the Moose's legs, but how neat would that have been. 

    On the third floor they have fish tanks that are fed from the river water.  It is set up so that the water comes in from outside and then travel down the tanks, each tank is lower than the previous one.  The water is maintained naturally.  In the winter they have to add oxygen to the tanks because the river is moving so slowly but that and wiping the walls of the tanks is the only maintenance they do.
in front of one of the viewing windows

brown trout

in front of the 12 year old salmon
Green Frog
 At the Fluvarium they incubate salmon eggs and green frog eggs.  The salmon eggs they will release into the river in the summer and the green frogs they keep some in the Fluvarium others go outside.  They also have programs set up with schools in town where the grade 2 will get the green frog tadpoles and watch them grow.  The salmon eggs have the same set up but they go to grade 4.  We learned the difference between a black duck and a mallard and we learned that a green head mallard goes through a phase called eclipse.  It was nice that we were the only people there and the worker was almost our personal tour guide.    

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Signal Hill and the GEO Center

Signal Hill~
     This morning we drove up to signal hill, which is about half a mile from our house.  It was cold and windy!  Signal Hill overlooks the city of St john's and overlooks the mouth of the inlet to St John's from the Atlantic Ocean.  It is a pretty view and would be MUCH more enjoyable when the weather is better.  Later in the afternoon Paul took Nathan, Kayla and Emily back up there to hike around.  They had a lot of fun and came back in one piece.  There are no rails to keep you from falling into the water and I am told Emily was almost blown over the edge.  SO glad I was not there!



Johnson GEO Center~
   The GEO Center is just down the road from Signal Hill.  The Johnson GEO Centre has a special focus on the geology of Newfoundland and Labrador.  The main display area is built under the ground and there is a wall that is the actual exposed rock from signal hill.  There are exhibits on geoscience, oil & gas exploration, natural resources, space exploration and the Titanic. The center also features a 3D movie theater that showed features on the Monarch butterfly,  the life of a baby whale and one on space (which the kids did not want to see).  The monarch butterfly was the best one and was really interesting to watch.  It explained to life cycle and how they migrate from Canada to Mexico.  Unfortunately the Titanic exhibit was closed, but we were given passes to come when the exhibit is reopened.



 It was a good day.   Nice to take a break from all the work that needs to be done and just have some fun.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First Week

    We have been here in St. John's for a week now and the kids seem to be doing well. They have LOVED playing in the snow.   They built a mini snow man, a tunnel in the snow, have thrown a lot of snow balls, king of the hill on a pile of snow in the back yard, been stuck in the car as Paul and I drive around looking at houses and getting settled in.  St John's is a lot like a town/small city in the USA.  There are a lot of the same restaurants and stores, there are some different ones as well, but all in all very similar.

     We are staying in a 3 story townhouse/row house.  The bottom floor has a half bath, garage, coat closet, washer and dryer and a bedroom.  The second level is the kitchen living space and the 3rd floor has two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  The kids are on the top floor with Kayla, Madeline, and Reagan in one bed and Nathan in the other bed and Emily on the floor in the room with Nathan, she did not want to sleep in the bed with Nathan.  It seems to be working out for the most part, I am ready to find a house and start to feel settled somewhere.  We have looked at about 10 houses and have 2-3 to look at again, but we are trying to find the perfect house and may have to settle for the semi-perfect house.  I know we will find it, just a little more difficult with 5 kids to plan for...

    We have bought a mini van that is 7 years old and in good condition, we picked it up yesterday and after driving the rental car that is new and then going to the 7 year old, there is a difference and I am having second thoughts, it is for only 4 years and not forever.  When we move back to Houston I am getting a good one!  Now we will need to find Paul a car, but he can drive a rental until we find one.  The good news is we have gotten a lot done.

    The kids were suppose to go back to school on Monday the 6th, but with the storms and power outages the city has cancelled school until Thursday the 9th.  As a way to conserve energy so that the city will not black out again.  I am VERY excited about them getting back to school tomorrow, but will miss having a playmate for Reagan.  That is about all from this part of the world.  I hope everyone is happy I am back to at the blog, and is enjoying reading it.  I am going to try to keep at it, but no promises!
Snowman with a fence made of ice sickles

Saturday, January 4, 2014


    Last night, Friday the 3rd, a blizzard came through that delivered around a foot of snow and HIGH winds.  The kids have had a good time in the snow today and were about blown over from the winds.  The power was out from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, that was fun!  It got a little chilly in here, but once the heat came back on, we warmed up and slept well.  There was a lot of making rubber band bracelets, cards, Pictionary, dice and just playing.  Before the lights came on and it was DARK in here the kids made up a game, Elfy!, think elf on the shelf.  Paul had a flashlight and when it was off it was "nighttime" and the kids would find a place to hide, then in the "morning", when Paul turned on the flashlight, he would looked around trying to find the elves.  The kids did a good job coming up with clever places and positions to be in when the light came on.  I think Paul's commentary when looking for and finding the elves was the funniest part.  They did this over and over, I took a nap on the sofa! 

    Everyone we talk to, locals, keep telling us this is very abnormal to have this much snow this early, all I know is that it is great to give the kids something to do and since we are from Houston and do not see snow hardly ever this is great, as long as the roads are kept clear.  2 more months of this!!  We wanted a change and we are getting it!