Often, after hearing or reading about a day in our life, people say, “Wow! That’s a full day.” Sometimes it’s a day that involved a trip to a museum, an all-day city excursion, or a couple back-to-back appointments for the kids. Sometimes it’s a day that included visitors in the morning and a major science experiment in the afternoon. And other times, it’s a day we spent in the woods or on the beach or cleaning the yard—one that ended in sunburned ears and dirty knees and kids falling asleep mere minutes after hitting their pillows.

Just now, with Leila asleep and Zahra reading a Babysitters’ Club novel to Noah, I told Saïd about our day. “Sounds like a full day,” he replied. I laughed. The days are full. Sometimes they’re long, sometimes they’re short, but yes: they’re always full. It feels good.

Even a day with just one word on the calendar gets filled up quickly. Today, for example, we were hanging out at the Nook. But here’s what “hanging out at the Nook” implies:

9:00am We leave the house to mail a letter and pick up coffee before heading to the Nook. Zahra and Noah have grammar and math work that they do in the car while I run in and out. I get a text about the fruit-and-veggie buying club I’m in and have to stop back home to text the list to this week’s shopper.

9:45am We arrive at the Nook and start setting up. Zahra keeps working on her math at the table. Noah finishes his math on the veranda.

full day

accordion10:00am Music & Movement with Kimberley. If we weren’t awake before, we’re certainly awake now! Kimberley has the kids doing body scales: they move up and down and touch different parts of their bodies as they sing a scale. They pick instruments and form a marching band. They take turns being conductors, leading the others to play their instruments loudly or softly. The instrument of the day is the accordion, and Kimberley makes her way around the circle, helping each kid give it a go.

11:00am  We follow Ryan outside for Birdwatching, which is never “just” birdwatching. We find that tree swallows have taken up residence in our birdhouse. They line their nests with feathers, and being on the farm, they have many to choose from. Ryan’s brought a primary feather from a turkey vulture, which he passes around. We continue along the path, with a brief stop at some jack-in-the-pulpits and a lesson on their pollination. Then it’s into the forest, where we listen again to the bird calls. Popping back out of the forest, along the trees’ edge at the field, we learn why this is a favourite spot for wildlife and identify horsetail, wild strawberry and cattail. When Ryan tells us that we can eat cattail, I encourage the kids to gather some. I needed an idea for for dinner tonight.

horsetree swallowtree swallow nestturkey vulturejack-in-the-pulpit birdwatchingcoyote poop























12:00pm  Kids who have been eating all morning are still somehow starved, and it is lunch time. As we head back to the Nook, we have the privilege of seeing coyote poop, sticky strands of hair and all.





1:00pm  Time for creative writing! We talk about character development, and I’m especially impressed by one girl who is known for being a good artist but who is also, as it turns out, talented at creating characters. Her drawings are accompanied by character profiles and statistics. There’s a fascinating story among her pages, just waiting to happen.

healthy minds2:00pm Gotta run around a bit, even though the wind is biting cold today! Then, it’s back inside for Malak’s Healthy Minds workshop. I’ve been waiting for this one for quite awhile. Positive thinking and putting yourself on the right track for success, empowering yourself to see your life in a positive light—that’s what it’s all about. If Noah retains even one-tenth of what he heard this afternoon, it will be good. At-home project to do this week: make gratitude jars. This is a nice, healthy habit to install in all three kids.

3:00pm Back outside on the farm and, surprise, there are sheep in the maze! Magda assures us it’s alright. The kids run around a bit more and then we close up shop.

sheep maze



4:15pm  The kids run in the front door and back out the back. The chickens get some well deserved free range time. I heat up some leftovers for dinner and sort the dozen boxes of fruits and veggies into individual orders. I recalculate totals and research cattail recipes. I choose a rice pilaf. The kids run in and we eat dinner.


6:00pm  We Skype with Grandma and Grandpa G. The kids tell them all about their day, and then Zahra reads some of the story she’s written. When we sign off, it’s time for bed. The kids put on pyjamas and brush their teeth. Zahra reads aloud to Noah. Leila helps me make the cattail rice pilaf. We taste test it. Success. A full day.

cattail soup