CLICK HERE FOR FREE BLOG LAYOUTS, LINK BUTTONS AND MORE! »

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 21

Ethan and I hopped on a plane
and returned to Lusaka
Thursday morning.
Friday morning,
Scott and I hopped on a plane
to Cape Town
to celebrate Mel's
40th birthday.

Scott & Mel
Friday night,
we went to The Reserve for dinner.
Mel had masks for everyone
and boas for the ladies.

Scott & I

Gary & I

We had a great dinner.
Gary introduced me to
Red Bull & Champagne.

Red Bulls all lined up.
There was good food
and great drinks.

Chocolate infused tequila

My collection
It was Fashion Week in Cape Town,
so we were entertained with a fashion show,



before the dancing began.



Saturday,
we headed for some wine tasting.





Happiness is celebrating a mate's birthday.
















Monday, July 30, 2012

Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie

When I read
Jamie Wasserman's
asides from loving it,
I noticed a bunch of references
to Peter Pan.
So of course,
I had to read it.
Do you know,
I have never read
Peter Pan?
Seriously.
I don't even have the kids version
for Ethan.
I know the story,
just have never read it.
So I owe a one
Mr Wasserman
a huge thank you
for inspiring me to read this book.
I loved it!




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 20

This weekend,
I went to my parents' flat
to sort through some of the stuff I have stored there.
They're moving
and I wanted to sort through things
that they will now need to store in their new place.

It was a trip down memory lane.

I like to deny my age,
however there's no denying my decade 
with this prom dress.


I did decide to go a little sexier
my graduating year.


And what would a trip down memory lane be
without a memory of the first gift Scott ever gave me?

We had just started dating
and hung out one Sunday in downtown Ottawa.
We passed a new shop, Zone
(I wonder if they are still there)
and took a look inside.
I saw a flower vase I thought was pretty.

The next day
one of my courier guys came with a package for me.
Yup, the vase.
A few minutes later,
another guy came me with some flowers.
I knew he was a keeper.



Happiness is a walk down memory lane.





Monday, July 23, 2012

Ethan's First Football Match

Scott loves his sports.
I figured he'd be the one to take Ethan to all kinds of games.
But instead, 
I got to be the first!

Faiza and I 
were the ones to take Ethan to his first ever
baseball game.

Now Rehanna and I got to take him
to his very first football match.

Scott's a Liverpool fan.
Had some mate growing up
that was a fan,
and he then became one too.
So when I learnt 
that there was a "friendly" match
between Liverpool and Toronto FC
I just had to go!


The three of us
along with 33,084 others
attended Ethan's first football match.

Ethan kept telling me
all week that since we were in Toronto
he'd be cheering for Toronto.
Rehanna convinced him to cheer for Liverpool.

That is until Toronto scored.
Then Ethan was all about Toronto.
But when Liverpool scored,
Ethan decided to support them both.


I would never have thought
that Torontonians
could be this worked up over football.
You would have thought we were in Europe!
At one point,
I didn't want anyone to know
we were Liverpool supporters
for fear of getting heckled!

With all the red,
it was hard to tell which were Toronto fans
and which were Liverpool fans.



But we did have fun.



Thanks Rehanna for sharing in one of
Ethan's firsts.





The End of an Era

When my parents immigrated to Canada
they moved to Toronto and bought a condo.
At the time, 5 Parkway Forest Drive
was considered high end.



Almost every member of my
extended family has a memory
of Parkway Forest.

I was born there.
1617 was my home,
even when I no longer lived there.


When my dad's siblings moved to Canada,
each one spent some time in 1617.
One uncle even lived in 1614 for some time.
Another uncle lived in 807 for many years.

When I was an infant
my dad would bundle me up
in the winter,
put me in the stroller
and put me on the balcony.
I needed fresh air,
and there was a view
(and no smog).

The wire was not there back then.
My parents have sold 1617.
In August they will move into a new flat.
This is the end of Parkway Forest.
It is the end of an era.





The Vincent Brothers - Abby Glines

I really enjoyed
So when I learnt
there was another book,
I had to get it.

The Vincent Brothers
picks up six months after
The Vincent Boys.
Ash and Beau are madly in love
and even though Sawyer gave them 
his blessing
it still hurts.

Lana is Ash's cousin.
We met her in the last book.
She's been in love with Sawyer
for as long as she can remember.
She's come to spend the summer with Ash,
to get away from her divorcing parents,
but also in hopes to get Sawyer to notice her.

I loved The Vincent Boys.
I really liked The Vincent Brothers.
When we first met Sawyer,
he was a real, down to earth, good boy.
Ok, so we don't like good boys,
we tend to go for the bad boy,
like Beau,
but I wasn't happy with the way Sawyer changed.
There's bad boy,
then there's dumb ass.
And Sawyer was a dumb ass!
I also didn't like how
Lana let him treat her like dirt
and was so willing to forgive each and every time.

I did love the ending.
A little of Beau's story from the previous book
came back.
And there was a great ending.
The last chapter jumps
four years ahead
where everyone is happy.
Yes mushy.
I'll admit it was a cheesy
happy ending
and I loved it!



Enchantment - Charlotte Abel

I've almost reached my goal 
of reading 50 books this year.
Yay me!

Enchantment was another one
of my wonderful free Kindle books.
It's a story of 16 year old
Channie Kerns.
She's a witch,
and lives a sheltered life 
in her community of witches.
Channie's magical name is
Enchantment,
and just as her name implies
she's able to enchant others.

Her father, magical name Money,
accidentally causes the death of the son
of a powerful witch, 
so the family flees to Colorado.
There, Channie's parents see
the influence their daughter has on boys,
and decide to change her name.
With the help of black magic
her new magic name is Chasity.

Turns out,
it's a curse.
Chasity now zaps any boy that looks at her,
or anytime she is attracted to a boy.

Channie meets Josh
and she's determined to break the curse.
While it's a sweet story
it lacked a lot.
But it is a YA book,
so for your young teen
who's into magic,
she may like it.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Holding Back the Day - Jamie Wasserman

I need to thank Jamie Wasserman.
I read his book Blood and Sunlight
back in May
and was underwhelmed by it.
Somehow
he came across my blog
and took no offense.
Instead he offered me his second book
with no strings attached.
He said if I didn't like it
I should be honest.
Well I really liked it.
He then gave me 
Holding Back the Day
and I was blown away.
I don't even know where to begin.

First off,
whoever wrote the book jacket
did a terrible job.
I'm sorry.
But I got confused by the description.
Is it a story about Claire and her Grandmother?
I'm guessing from the description that Jack is a vampire
but what does Matt have to do with it all?

So let me explain to you
what's fabulous about 
Holding Back the Day.
The story is written in three parts.
Jack and Millie
is part one.
It goes back and forth 
between present day
and 50 years ago
when Jack, a vampire,
meets and falls in love with Millie.
Present day is Claire
and her relationship with her grandmother, 
Millie,
whom she admires so.

Part two
is all about Jack and Matt.
We learn about Jack and how he became a vampire.
We also learn about Matt,
and how he's not so dull
and is crazy about Claire.

Part three is
Claire and Jack.
And what you think will happen
doesn't.
And you're not as disappointed as
you thought you'd be,
And it's not because it's predictable,
because you don't feel the same way 
as you did at the beginning of the book.
Just as Claire grows
and learns about herself,
you do too.

Jack is no Brother
(for all my BDB mates)
but he's just as hot as John Mathew
(because you know he's my favourite)
and just as messed up as Vishious.

So,
Thank you Jamie Wasserman
for letting me into your world.
I can't wait to read more.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Vincent Boys - Abby Glines

This was a really sweet book.
I know that sounds lame coming from me,
but I'm not sure how else to describe it.
There was no gripping storyline.
There are no vamps.
This is not dystopia.
And yet,
I truly loved this story.

The Vincent Boys 
begins with two 10 year old cousins,
Sawyer and Beau,
discussing how their best mate,
Ashton,
is starting to change.
Will her becoming a girl
change their friendship?

Sawyer and Beau Vincent 
are cousins.
Beau's the black heart, bad ass cousin.
Sawyer is the all American.
Fast forward to senior year,
Sawyer and Ashton are an item.
But Beau has always loved her.

Sawyer is away for the summer.
Beau and Ashton haven't spoken in years,
but decide to re-kindle their friendship.
And of course,
they fall in love.

The Vincent Boys
is more than the story
of the love triangle.
Yes, Ashton must choose between them,
but at the same time,
Beau is torn.
He loves Sawyer
and would never do anything to harm him.
But who does he love more?
Sawyer or Ash?

This was a sweet,
innocent story
with an interesting twist.
It was a free Kindle
but I just learnt there's a second book.
And let me tell you,
I have no qualms about buying
the next one.



52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 19

Growing up in Ottawa,
meant summer vacations 
usually meant going to Toronto
to visit family.
I have a huge family.
Lots of cousins.
And I enjoyed seeing them.
Over the years,
we grew apart.
And then we started getting married.
And then we started having children.


And so now our kids
are growing up knowing each other.


I love 
how Ethan looks forward 
to visits to Toronto
because it means he'll get to see his cousins.


I hope they continue
to be friends
as they grow.


Happiness is hanging out with your cousins.







Monday, July 16, 2012

Guitar or Piano

Ethan wants to learn the guitar.
I want him to learn the piano.
This weekend,
we went to visit my brother-in-law's studio.
Ethan picked up a guitar
and began strumming.
Not banging,
actual strumming.






So I'm thinking,
maybe he should take up the guitar.
It also means,
I need to buy him a guitar.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Angel Moon - Jamie Wasserman

Back in May
and was less than blown away.
Jamie Wasserman
offered me the second book in the series
with the thought that maybe
he'd get me to like the series
a bit better.
And who am I to turn down a free book?
Especially one with vampires!

 So...
you're probably wondering,
was this more my type of book.

Hell yes!!!!

Blood and Sunlight ended with the death of
Lucas (the wannabe vampire slayer) and his dad.
Lucas' younger sister, Kirsten,
was hiding in the closet.
Melanie and Keenan take a liking to her.
They want to protect her.
They visit her every night
and read her bed time stories.
To Kirsten,
they are
Angel Melanie and Angel Keenan.

Here's what I loved.
The story introduces Kirsten
and quickly jumps 10 years ahead.
She is now in college and obsessed with angels.
It's interesting to read
because you know they are vampires
but she sees them as angels.
Melanie and Keenan stopped visiting her 10 years ago.

At the end of each chapter
Wasserman goes back into the past
and shows us Melanie's growth.
What kind of vampire she has become.
How her love for this child made her make
some unwise choices.

As Kirsten tries to learn more about angels
and her angels,
those close to her end up dead.
Their bodies drained of blood.
Will she learn about her angels?
How will she react?
Will she accept them for what they really are?
And can Keenan accept Melanie?
Full of flaws and all?

Apparently the last 2 questions
will only be answered in the next book
due.....
when?




The Ultimate Guided Reading How-to-Book - Gail Saunders-Smith

I feel with my recent books 
I've been reading
people are going to think 
I'm a horrible teacher
since I'm reading all these 
"how-to-books".

I loved the last two books I read.
They gave me some new ideas 
and insights.
And since
Guided Reading is one of those
things every teacher 
teaches differently,
I thought I'd see some other options.

Last year,
the school I worked at 
was very strict with the way they wanted
guided reading done.
This year,
I met a teacher who doesn't do groups.
Instead she sits with each child
and they read what they are reading.

Children develop reading skills 
at different rates.
The idea of guided reading
is for the teacher to work with small groups of children
to target their specific needs and strengths.

Some of the points looked at are:
* Getting to know your students as readers
* Making the most of group instruction time
* Organising groups by readiness levels
* Selecting text appropriate for the abilities of the students in each group




Commercials

I don't think I've ever realised
the power of advertising
until this trip home.

Ethan's not usually exposed to
tons of adverts.
He's been bombarded by them now.
Some aren't too bad,
others....
yikes!

I went to give Ethan his breakfast this morning.
He was having Cheerios.
"Wait!" he yells.
He needs to check the box before he eats.
Why?
Well, the advert says you need 
oat fibre
and he wants to check the box to make sure it has
oat fibre.

Yes, my son is concerned about his cholesterol.

"Mama, do you have a Gold Mastercard?"
I beg your pardon?
Well, it would seem
if you get a Mastercard Gold
from the Bank of Montreal
you can travel.
Now!
For free!
Well, at least according to the advert.

When you sign up, you get 1,000 free miles.

Then there's McDonalds.
Ethan gets one trip to McDonalds
and one to Burger King
each visit.
That's it.
We're home for a month,
we're not here to eat fast food.
Ah,
but the advert makes you think we should go there everyday.
Thanks alot McDs!!!!


My son loves to dance.
He's got great confidence
as he believes he's a much better dancer than he really is.
He loves watching breakdance as well.
In comes Coke.
They have some advert
about sponsoring a dance camp or something.
Am not sure exactly what it's all about.
What I do know,
is a kid drinks some coke
and he breakdances.
So, of course,
Ethan now thinks he should be allowed to drink Coke
because it will make him a better dancer!


Just another week and a half left
and then we return to the land
of non-commercialism.
I think I will make it!