Later this week, we leave for Oaxaca, Mexico and we will be there for a month! We're pretty excited and feeling pretty lucky that we have this opportunity. Homeschool perks for sure! We booked this trip only about 2 months ago and haven't had as much time to prepare for it as we did for Ecuador. After Christmas, I borrowed a bunch of books about Mexico from the library, and we did a bunch of cactus art. The art was so much fun, but my kiddos may be sick of cacti! We made cacti with white glue dyed black, watercolor paint and tissue paper flowers. We made cacti cut from construction paper and drew the prickles on with permanent marker. We made cacti with hand prints and used our fingers to make the flowers (Maeve did this one too!). And lastly, we made cacti with shaving cream and food dye swirled together and then pressed on watercolor paper. The shaving cream one was the favorite, but the black glue one was a close second! I love all this wonderful, vibrant cactus art hanging up at the back table! I can't wait to go to the Botanical Gardens in Oaxaca and see all the plants! We read a couple of great books about the Saguaro Cactus, and while I'm not sure we will see any in person, they are so fascinating! 

We're in the flurry of packing and getting ready for this trip. All the nerves and butterflies and worries about the flight are setting in. We're all pretty excited! One month is going to fly by! 

Maeve was very interested in playing the shaving cream and was pleased to swirl some around on a tray herself, but she doesn't like getting anything on her hands such as shaving cream. Crumbs and yogurt are also included in the list of things she doesn't like on her hands!

Here are the links to the different cactus art projects:
Black Glue Cactus
3D Paper Cactus
Handprint Cactus
Shaving Cream Cactus

Over the weekend, we threw Greta a surprise party! I've never thrown a surprise party for my kids and in the words of Greta, "I want one every year!" So it was a hit! Greta's birthday isn't until the beginning of next month, however her birthday lands right in the middle of our month long trip to Mexico and we were in Ecuador for her birthday last year. I really wanted to make sure she feels loved and remembered.

I invited a bunch of her friends over and we made pizzas and ate cake and the kids played. It was pretty low key and pretty exciting at the same time!

I love you Greta!

We have had so little snow this winter! There has been snow a couple other times here in Spokane, but both those times we were in Calgary. My girls have only been sledding once this winter. It's kind of crazy, but I'm really not complaining about the sun that has been shining this week. Even so, when the snow fell last week, we had to get out and enjoy it. I shoveled the walk (a task I actually like so long as it's not too often) and Maeve laid in the sled completely expressionless while her sisters pulled her around. Holly could spend hours wandering around and playing in the snow. Hopefully we get a little bit more snow later this season!

After hiking and before we drove into the town, we stopped at Two Jack Lake to ice skate. (Maeve stayed in the warm car with grandparents!) My girls were in heaven! They love ice skating, they love their cousins. It was a win-win scenario! And even though it was icy cold and very windy there was absolutely no complaining from my happy kiddos. It was such a great day!

When my Mom was a little girl and playing hooky from school with her Mom, she remembers coming here. Her big Bernese-Border Collie dog, Popsy and her were playing on the ice. Popsy would pounce on the places she heard bubbles and then my Mom would jump on the ice. Well, one time the ice broke and she fell in. She only got wet up to the hip on one leg fortunately (Popsy got out of there quick and didn't help). My Granny warmed Mom up by the fire, but then they had to head into town to warm up in the hot springs. My Mom says she remembers wearing my Granny's rubber boots, which were huge on her, as she walked into the hot springs. 

Isnt' it fun to have shared experiences? But I'm so glad the ice was super thick for us!

This was a really fun day planned by the Larsens! We drove out the Banff, all the Muirheads that were in town, and we hiked around Minnewonka Lake. I always want to make a stop at Banff when we are in Alberta, but it doesn't always pan out. It was very cold and very windy, and so beautiful! So long as we were moving, we stayed warm. When we stopped for lunch everyone got pretty dang cold. Poor Maeve, her hands got really cold. She cried a lot towards the end of the hike, but I'm so grateful she hung in there and I'm so glad we got to do this! Definitely want to do more of this. My big girls hike so well with cousins. They don't complain at all!

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