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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Happiness Project - Week 21

Our Canadian summer
is slowly coming to an end.
But Ethan and I have had a great time.
We made the most of our last weekend
on the continent
and went to Niagara Falls this weekend,
with my cousin
and her family.


We went on the Maid of the Mist.


Got close to the Falls.

Went for a walk
and got wet.


And checked out the
Cave of the Winds
 where we were given matching sandals.


Oh,
and got soaked!



Happiness is
Niagara Falls.












































Monday, July 29, 2013

Family Picnic

I come from a large family.
Or rather, extended family.
Not many people comprehend how large it is.
Let me give you a small sample.
My father is one of 8 siblings.
Now, each sibling is married
and has anywhere between 2-3 children.
There are 19 of us cousins.
From there,
a bunch of us are married with kids.
Let me see...
I think there's about 13 kids from there.

The reason I mention this?
Yesterday Ethan and I attended 
the Jamani Family Picnic.


I told Scott there was almost
200 people there.
His comment:
"There's no way you have 200 people in your family."
I said there was 200 people there.
There's more in the family!!!!


Basically, 
this was a gathering
of my grandfather's family.


This is a picture of my grandfather
(he's the tall one in the white suit)
with his cousins.
The picnic was the children of all these
cousins.

There was even a huge family tree
and a binder which had all the branches.


It was quite the day!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

First Grave on the Right - Darynda Jones

How is it, 
that I'm only reading this book now?
How is it,
I have not read it before now?

This book was great!
How great?
Well...
let me tell you.

Charley Davidson
is a PI who works with the
Albuquerque Police Department.
Her uncle is a cop.
She helps him solve crimes,
mainly murders,
cos she has inside information.
What kind of info
you ask?
Well,
Charley is the Grim Reaper!

Yup that's right.
She helps the dead pass through the light
that is her!

Now,
the best part of Charley
asides from her best friend, 
Cookie.
And no,
it's not the hot skiptracer,
Garrett
(can I add a yum here)
or even the mysterious Reyes
(double yum)
it's her sense of humour.
She named her boobs:
Danger and Will Robinson!
I know!
Who does that?
Charley does,
that's who.
And she's even named her ovaries!
Beam me up and Scotty!
Come on'
you know you'll love her!
I did!



Friday, July 26, 2013

High Five for Friday

We've had a fabulous week.
I cannot believe we only have
one week left of our vacation!
Where has the time gone?

Some of our highlights this week
include:

Swimming with cousins

Toasting marshmallows

Celebrating Grandpa's 75th

A great find at the comic store

Niagara Falls


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Writer's Workshop - Coffee

I'm not a coffee drinker.
I'm a latte drinker.
My father-in-law was asking me,
recently,
what the difference was.
"A latte has a lot of milk?"

So I thought,
I'd use MamaKat's prompt
to learn the difference.

Coffee is brewed by mixing ground 
coffee beans with hot water,
steeping it,
then straining out the coffee grounds. 
It's drunk either black,
with/without some sugar, 
and possibly a small bit of milk
or cream. 


Espresso is also made with the same
coffee beans,
but darker roasts are used
to give a more intense flavour,
and the ground is finer.
Espressos also use an espresso machine. 
It has a more intense flavour than coffee,
which helps explain the teeny weeny
cups.
Oh, and no milk or cream is added!


Cappuccino is made with equal parts
espresso and milk,
where the milk is frothed
which basically doubles the original
volume of the milk.
This foam is then poured
over the espresso. 


Latte is also made with espresso.
This time twice as much milk
as espresso is used.
The milk is heated
using a steam wand.
The hot milk and espresso
are poured together. 
Whatever foam may have been formed
during the steaming process
is poured over the top. 



And now,
I want a latte!












Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Emergency

I have a 7-year old.
This means I can now
Don't judge!
You know what I'm talking about!

Actually,
I should say,
having a 7-year old means
I should be able to pee alone.

Today,
Grandpa's out.
Ethan has showered and is dressed.
He's entertaining himself with the Family Channel,
comic books
and toys.
I tell him I'm going for a shower.
He is not to open the front door
and only answer the phone
if it's Uncle G.

Basis covered,
right?

So,
here I am,
enjoying my shower.
All covered in soap when I hear,
"mama, mama, mama"
thump thump thump
(the thumping is him running up the stairs)
"mama, mama, mama"
thump thump thump
"mama, mama, mama"
thump thump thump

I do what every mom would.
I quickly rinse
(I'm sure there's soap everywhere)
grab my towel,
throw the door open and
ask
"What's a matter?"

"Rasool mama sent you a picture of Hailey!"

This is the big emergency!

Yes England,
you may have a prince,
but Ethan has a new cousin
and she's more important than
anything.
Even more important than mommy's shower!



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Happiness Project - Week 20

It has been years since I last went to the cottage.
If I'm honest,
it was probably the year Scott and I got married.
Yup,
that long ago.
Which means,
Ethan's never been.

Part of the issue
is we are rarely home in the summer.
And for the last 2 years,
the times Scott's dad has gone,
it has not been a time Ethan and I could go.

Until now...

Yes, Ethan had his first cottage experience.

The view from the deck.
Ethan played with bubbles,



went for a swim,



and even went fishing with Grandpa.



Happiness is spending time at the cottage.











































Friday, July 19, 2013

Rethinking Homework - Cathy Vatterott

Part of my rethinking the way 
I do certain things in my classroom
is also to take a look at homework.

During my winter courses, 
I wrote a paper on homework.
I came across an excerpt from
this book
that went through 
the history of homework.
How homework came about
and the never ending debate 
on whether or not
homework benefits children.

There are many books and articles
written on the subject.
There's a lot of research.
And depending on your point-of-view
research will support it.
Research exists for homework
and against.
And Cathy Vatterott
presents them both.

What she does in her book
is relook at why we give homework.
She asks us to rethink why students
don't do it.
She offers way to give homework
if you must,
but asks that you rethink
your methods.

I know a lot of people
see this book as an anti homework book.
And keeping my personal feelings and beliefs aside,
I admire how she presented both cases
and looked at the needs of students.
Not the needs of parents and teachers. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Connected from the Start - Kathy Cassidy

I have a class blog.
One of the teachers I worked with in Dar
got me hooked on classroom blogging.
I love it.
This year,
I really got into it.
But I wanted ways to get my students more involved.
I wanted them to feel ownership.
I wanted it to be their blog.

Our school makes student portfolios.
I'm also keen to make digital portfolios 
for my students.
But am unsure how to get started.

Then I read this book.
Not only do I have more blogging ideas,
I have ideas of different ways to connect
my students to the world.
To use the world to foster
their learning.

Cassidy is a teacher, herself.
She shows ways she uses the internet,
videos,
Skype,
Twitter
and blogging
to facilitate her students learning.

I'm actually excited about the new school year. 


No More "I'm Done" - Jennifer Jacobson

I'm spending part of my summer
re-thinking the way my classroom works.
I'm not saying it's wrong
what I do.
I just want to make it better.
And helping my students
become better writers
is one of my goals.

I loved this book. 
It took things I knew
but sometimes have forgotten.
It broke things down
back to basics
and reminded me
that keeping it simple
is the way to go.

My Writer's Workshop
lacked fun last year.
I've already got some fun coloured paper
to get my year started.

Jacobson tells you her system
and provides some sample mini-lessons.
What I loved the most
were introductions to some great picture books
that I had forgotten about
or never heard of.



The Big Apple

For years,
I've driven from Ottawa to Toronto
and Toronto to Ottawa.
And on the way,
we pass the Big Apple
Would you believe, 
I've never been there!

On the way to the cottage,
Scott's dad thought we could stop there for lunch.
He thought Ethan would enjoy it.
Ethan's mum also had a great time.

How far is it to Lusaka?
Ethan wanted a picture that made him look like
he was holding up the apple. 
These signs crack me up!

If you're ever in Colborne,
you have to go there!

Outlander - Diana Gabaldon

A few weeks ago, 
a mate of mine
posted a lovely picture of
Sam Heughan
with the comment that he's
unofficially,
been signed to play
Jamie Fraser.

Jamie who?
Exactly my thoughts.

Then I was told he was a character
from Diana Gabaldon's
Outlander series.

So, of course,
I had to read the book.

Let me say, 
I am very thankful I read this while at the cottage,
because it is 
long!

Claire Randal
is a former nurse,
living in 1945.
She is reunited with her husband,
after 6 months apart,
due to the war,
and they are enjoying a second honeymoon.

One day she is shown some
ancient stone circles.
Her husband is fascinated 
as he heard there is a covent
that gathers there.
So they go one morning to watch.
Claire sees a plant she's interested it.
Frank, her husband,
wants her to see if there's any signs
of a fire.

As she walks around the stones,
she hears screaming.
She then finds herself
an "outlander"
in war torn Scotland
in 1743!

Is she a witch?
Is she an English spy?
Claire is confused and wants to go back home.
And then she meets Jamie Fraser.
Circumstances force her to marry him.
But she grows to care and love him.
Will she find her way back to her time and Frank?
Or will Jamie be the one to capture her heart?



Writer's Workshop - Currently

It's been awhile, and time to get back to joining MamaKat, and her Writer's Workshop.


Reading:
Rethinking Homework - As I start to think about the new school year, I'm rethinking the way I give homework and what I should or should not do.


Listening to:
Does the lul of the washing machine count? 
We're back from the cottage and I've got laundry to do.

Thinking about:
Summer classes have begun. 
I really should be studying.
 I'm thinking about studying. 
But am currently busy blogging! 

Watching:
Nothing.
At the moment.
Although I do have a video to watch for one of my classes.
 I guess I should do that. 
But then that takes me back to the whole thinking about issue.

Bummed out on:
I would say vacation coming to an end
except going back to Lusaka means being back with Scott.
But Ethan and I are loving it here this summer.
Bummed about leaving and heading for the cold
that awaits us in Lusaka.

Loving:
Have you seen my new shoe collection?
Am loving them!!!







The Happiness Project - Week 19

This weekend,
my cousin, his wife and son,
invited Ethan and I
to join them downtown
for some
salsa!

Ethan had a blast.

We listened to music,


watched some salsa,


met a Smurf,

and got some face painting.



Happiness is a fabulous day
in downtown Toronto.