Weekly Photo Challenge – Comfortable and Cozy

….thanks to Travelling at Wit’s End for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge

When thinking of comfortable and cozy I immediately think of a big puffy blanket or an oversize sweater. It can also be how a place makes you feel when walk into it or an oversized armchair or sofa that you can sink into. What makes you comfortable and cozy?

The Inn in Prince Edward County

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A Fire
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Reading with Papa
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Snuggling with Mom on the Hammock
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Cuddling Some of her Favourite Stuffs
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The Library at WAAC
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Comfort Food – Old Fashion Trifle
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Cozy Chair
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Pyjama Day at School
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“Every thing here looks squally.”

….from the program for 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt

squal·ly
[ˈskwôlē]

ADJECTIVE
squallier (comparative adjective) · squalliest (superlative adjective)
  1. (of weather) characterized by squalls:
    “squally showers”
    synonyms:stormy · gusty · gusting · blustery · blustering · windy · blowy · wild · tempestuous · rough

    The use of the word “squally” in the program described the atmosphere of dissent in the rural areas of Upper Canada in 1837.

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A Busy Week

….when it rains it pours

This past week was the week I dreaded the most because many of the events that I organize and other special events and meetings that I take part in took place in this one week. On Monday the parents organized a very special luncheon for the staff at our school. The library was pretty much closed so that they could decorate, set up the tables and put out the food. As always there was so much food that the staff didn’t have to bring lunch for the next three days.

On Tuesday we had a soccer practice after school and then I drove to the warehouse to pick up an order of paper that I needed for my book making workshop on Thursday. When I got back to school I had dinner with the principle and then we waited together for the parent council meeting to begin at 7:00. I’m the teacher rep for these meetings. Needless to say by the time I got home it was pretty late.

On Wednesday we had another soccer practice after school so I started to set up for my workshop earlier in the day. I cut enough paper for about 60 books and I typed out the names of the 60 students who would be attending the special Forest of Reading Celebration. I placed the lists in the attendance folders so that teachers would know which students needed to be released from class. I would have stayed later and put more things out but I was reminded earlier in the day that I had bought a ticket to see a stage production that one of my former colleagues and dear friend was the stage manager for. I went home to have dinner with my husband and then left shortly after to get to the church on time for the musical extravaganza. It was actually very good.

On Thursday the day started with a bit of a wrinkle in our plans. The photographer for the grade 5 year end photo had to be rescheduled and it happened to fall on the same morning as the Forest of Reading Celebration. Four of the six teachers that were running the workshops that morning also had to be in the photo. Luckily my right hand woman, MC, was able to call down the grade 3s and 4s and read to them for a few minutes and then got them started on the art activity of bookmaking.

After the photo was taken the grade 5s went to the gym where two of my friends and colleagues hosted a drama/dance workshop based on one of the books from the Forest of Reading that I had read to the entire school. The book was The Artist and Me. I wrote about it in an earlier post. I went straight to the library to help MC with the bookmaking. This year I chose three easy designs and the first group mostly chose to make the accordion book.

At lunch the participants in the activity day went to the gym where they were served pizza, juice and ice-cream bars. All the teacher expert readers were invited as well. After the food was devoured the children went outside for lunch recess and the teachers had a bit of a break.

In the afternoon our visiting author, Sue Irwin, arrived with her props and extra copies of her book Safety Stars. She talked about her love of hockey and how she came to write a children’s book about how hockey evolved over the years with new safety equipment. She also tried to talk about the process of writing but the children had questions mostly about hockey which she happily answered. 9781459408470

At the end of the day I handed out special awards to the students who had read the most books. The goal was 12 but the top students had read 30, 39 and 41. Every student who attended the celebration also received a gift bag with a pencil, pen, book mark and stickers and one book of their choice.

After school I had one more soccer practice with the girls before their tournament the following day. On the way home I took the car through the car wash.

On Friday the girls’ soccer tournament took place. There were only three schools participating on this day. Our team won their first game 7-0 and lost the second game 4-0. It was a really chilly day but I’d rather have that than a day sweltering with heat.  We’re not sure if we’re moving on. If we are it means more practices. I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday. On the way home tonight I went back to the car wash and complained about the dirty water that they used to rinse the car. I didn’t notice the spots all over the car until the next morning. They gave me another voucher for a car wash so I decided to use it right away.

Ah, finally the weekend but there is no rest for the wicked. On Saturday I did three loads of laundry, cleared more things from the basement, started to take out my summer wardrobe and put away more winter items. I cleaned bathrooms, tidied my father’s apartment and vacuumed and de-cluttered the living room. We drove to the mall to get some new keys cut and buy some light bulbs and batteries. I checked out Winners while we were there but it was late in the day so I didn’t have time to try anything on.

Today is grey, cool and it’s pouring down rain at the moment. We went out earlier and picked up some meat from the boys that my husband coaches. It was some kind of fundraiser for one of the many activities that they’re involved in. We spent a couple of hours relaxing over coffee and just talking. Now that we’re back home we’re resting up a bit before we head out again to do more errands, i.e., grocery shopping, garden shopping and checking out fences for our backyard.

Tomorrow is a holiday in Canada, Victoria Day. Traditionally it’s the weekend where  a lot of people head up north to open the cottage. I was hoping to do the same but I knew if it was cold and raining I wouldn’t be making the trip this weekend. Only once did I go up in May when the conditions weren’t optimal and I vowed I’d never do it again. My daughter and I froze and left early. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Perhaps we’ll visit a friend or drive to Hamilton or continue cleaning up around here and maybe we’ll start putting in our garden.

Cheers!

 

The Best of 2016

…..despite the terrible events that took place in 2016 on a personal level it was a wonderful year

Most people would agree that 2016 had to be a terrible year for natural disasters, untimely deaths of beloved celebrities, horrendous terrorist attacks around the world, the Syrian refugee crisis, Brexit and a nasty election campaign in the U.S.

Even on a personal note, 2016 hasn’t been all sunshine and roses but there were many memorable and special moments.

In January our son ended up staying with us for an extra week before heading back to London, England. The circumstances of his extended stay aren’t exactly positive but we did have him with us and for me that was special. By the way, at the end of December of last year, he slipped on the ice and broke his upper arm and he required surgery. The surgery was successful and he was released from the hospital on January 1st. IMG_7188

In February my friend M celebrated her 64th birthday and my niece, S, her 26th.

The biggest event in February was our daughter’s wedding to her first love and partner of 10 years. They met on Feb. 10th so they decided on their 10th anniversary they would make it official and tie the knot. What a special day!

In March while we experienced snow, our future daughter-in-law was sitting in an outdoor caffe in Assisi planning her wedding.

In May we celebrated Mother’s Day with the family in the backyard (a little chilly) and at school we had our Forest of Reading celebration, Jump Rope for Heart and our annual Fun Fair. Winnie also had her first swimming lesson and her Daddy started Go Cart racing. Also A and J and their brother-in-law, G, ran the Sporting Life 10k.

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In June two of my colleagues retired from teaching, my very good friend, A, celebrated her 75th birthday and our son and his love were married in London at City Hall.

Our school choir also sang at a Blue Jays game and we put on our annual outdoor extravaganza at school.

July was the highlight month of the year for our family. We took a trip of a lifetime. My sister and her family from Calgary and my two daughters and their families and my husband and I travelled to Italy to celebrate the union of our son, B, and his beautiful Iranian bride, Az. We travelled for the first 11 days visiting places like Venice, Florence, Bologna and Lucca and then we all met in Assisi where the actual wedding took place. After three days in Assisi we made one more stop in Rome before flying back home.

In August  I was able to open up the cottage and spent about 5 weeks there off and on. My husband and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary and I had another birthday.

September brought a new school year and my last first day of school. My husband had  been coaching a small group of boys from our extended family to get them ready for this year’s cross country team and they were all entered into the Railpath Community Run. In fact there were 11 of us from the family that ran that day. I was happy to do 5k without stopping in 45 minutes. At least I wasn’t the slowest person on the course. The boys did really well and some of them walked away with some prizes.

October was another busy month with a lot of milestone birthdays. My husband turned 65, my dad 90, my son-in-law 40 and Winnie celebrated her 1st birthday. I also organized and ran my last book fair school. We raised the largest sum of money ever. I now I have the fun job of buying books and supplies for the library and classrooms.

In November my oldest daughter, A, celebrated her 37th birthday. Where has the time gone? My younger daughter, Winnie and I attended the Royal Winter Fair and I, along with five other teachers took 59 students on a three day overnight winter camp in the Kawarthas.

In December my Dad moved from his apartment to the retirement home across the road. We held our annual craft night at school, held a Christmas concert and had our staff party at a local restaurant. Christmas was a three day affair; one day in Hamilton, another in Toronto and the third in Oshawa. On the 30th of the month we celebrated the birthdays of our twins who are now 35. As my principal and friend M would say ‘Carol you’re old!’

So as you can see there were lots of bright moments in 2016 for me and the Cormier family. Wishing you all a bright, happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Cheers!

Pinterest is a Teacher’s Best Friend

….for art lessons, teaching math, classroom rules, class management and Christmas crafts

Last week we hosted our annual Craft Night at our school. It’s an event that the community of parents and students loves to attend. For weeks in advance the teachers pair up with a colleague (some go solo) and scour the internet for craft ideas that small children and their parents can successfully complete in 10 to 15 minutes or less.

The parent council funds the evening and each teacher is given a set amount of money  to purchase supplies. It works out to approximately $1.00 per craft. This year some of the crafts included bees wax candles, decorating glass ornaments, making bath salts,  and decorating cookies.

I went straight to Pinterest for inspiration and came across these beautiful paper trees mounted on a disc of spruce wood. Lyckoslanten is a Finnish blogger who posted this simple craft over at Lyckoslanten. I didn’t discover the translation button till much later but I easily figured out how to recreate this craft.

The tricky part was figuring out how to get the wood. At first I thought I could pick up branches from camp but that didn’t happen. Then I thought I could use the cut-offs from Christmas trees but we didn’t get our tree until after Craft Night.

into intoA week before  the event I went to a Winter Market in the Junction. While there I saw a couple of vendors who used birch wood to create some of their crafts. I also saw some beautiful trees made from birch wood. I asked them where they got their wood. One of the vendors offered to cut all the discs for me but at a price of course and it would have used up most of my budget. In hindsight it might have been worth it. The other vendor suggested that I buy the birch logs from a garden centre and use a chop saw to cut them up. A much cheaper option.

I went with the cheaper option and spent two evening cutting up two twelve foot birch branches into about 180 discs. I couldn’t belief the amount of sawdust it created. I spent almost as much time cleaning up as I did cutting. After I cut the discs I also had to drill holes into each disc for the skewers to fit. My friend L photocopied Christmas sheet music onto 150 sheets of photocopy paper. We tried heavier card stock but it was more difficult to fold.

On the night of the event we set up the tables at the back of the library with all the supplies that people needed to complete the trees. We added some tiny gift boxes that could be added to the base and some stars and snowflakes that could be glued onto the paper.

The entire evening took only an hour but it was extremely busy and I spent most of my time punching holes into the pleated paper so that the skewers could go through the middle. By the way, the best tool for this turned out to be an awl and a hammer. All in all it was a very successful night and everyone loved their trees.

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Share Your World 2016 – Week 45

….thanks Cee for hosting Share Your World

Describe your own outlook on life in seven words or less. (NOTE: does not have to be a sentence.)

Make the most of it. Enjoy it.

Where do you like to vacation?

I like to vacation at the cottage but when travelling abroad I enjoy going to Ireland, the Netherlands and Italy. I’d like to take a trip to Iceland, England and Germany in the near future.

Candy factories (sweets or treats including chocolate) of the entire world have become one and will now be making only one kind of candy. Which kind, if you were calling the shots?

It would have to be dark chocolate with marzipan or nuts.

Complete this sentence: Something that anyone can do that will guarantee my smile is…

….show me a photo of my granddaughter.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for a wonderful weekend with my daughters. On Saturday I went to the Royal  Winter Fair with both my girls and my granddaughter. I hadn’t been to the fair since I was a little girl. I loved seeing Winnie’s reaction to all the animals. I forgot how massive this fair is, especially if you go back into the barns where all the farm animals are kept.

On Sunday we had the whole family at the house to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 37th birthday. She wanted a pizza making party so my husband made the dough from scratch and we cut up a variety of toppings for people to choose from so that they could design their own pizza creation.

This week I’m looking forward to unpacking all the books that I purchased at the book vendor’s fair today and attending a party for a good friend. I’m also hoping to finish reading The Nest and starting on some art projects for myself.

Cheers!

WPC – Transmogrify

…..this week’s WPC theme is transmogrify which literally means “to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.”

What a perfect theme for Hallowe’en week when young and old change their appearances for a few hours to collect treats and attend parties. On Friday, the parents at our school hosted a Hallowe’en party for the children and all last week the library was transformed into a book store for the annual book fair.

The strangest and probably creepiest transformation had to be achieved by this mask:

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Art Heist – Copying From the Masters

….what are grade 1s, 2s, and 3s capable of?

Back in April my friend, colleague and our school’s music teacher asked me if my students could paint large copies of some famous Canadian paintings that could be used to decorate the back of the stage for our outdoor concert in June. At first I was a little hesitant and reminded her that my students were only 6 to 8 years old. I thought about it for awhile, found a book in the library of Canadian art and then asked my students which paintings they would like to copy. I tried to steer them towards art that had large shapes and simple lines.

My grade two class loved Lawren Harris’ iceberg art and insisted that they could do it. The first grade one class chose Emily Carr’s totem pole and the other grade one class were highly influenced by me and chose the Jack Bush abstract art. My older students, the grade 3s were asked to choose something from the North and they agreed to paint a Ted Harrison piece.

Normally I would encourage students to paint in an artist’s style but for this project we wanted the paintings to be recognizable. I cut out large pieces of heavy paper and taped them to the wall outside each classroom. I made a few marks on the mural paper as a guideline for the students so that they could draw the foreground, middle ground and background. With the Jack Bush painting I divided the paper into sections and the students took turns drawing the lines as I held the ruler. They then labelled each section with the colour and the student who would be filling it in.

The grade 3s impressed me the most with the Ted Harrison painting that they chose. I gave  them the least amount of assistance and they drew all the detail, including the whale without any help from me. It was also the first painting to be finished so I used some of the students from this class to assist the younger students with their paintings.

All four paintings were finished with no time to spare. We reinforced the back with duct tape and then taped them to the stage wall. They were perfect and fit the entire back wall. It was encouraging to hear parents actually naming the pieces or the the painters as they walked down the hall while the students were painting. They even recognized the Jack Bush piece because they had just come back from a field trip where his paintings were being featured. No, the names were not above the paintings during the painting process!

Here they are. You can getter a better idea of the size from the last photo where they are on display at the back of the stage.

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Share Your World 2016 – Week 19

….thank you Cee  for some very unusual questions this week

You win a pet monkey but this isn’t just any old monkey. It can do one trick for you whenever you want from getting a pop out of the fridge to washing your hair. What would be the trick?

When I saw this question I couldn’t help but think about the Ikea monkey and all the grief the owner went through for owning a monkey. Washing my hair? Never! I’ll think I’ll pass on this question. I could never own a monkey regardless of the talent it may have.
What caring thing are you going to do for yourself today?

Today I went to see a chiropractor. In the last two weeks I’ve had chronic pain in my upper thigh and the side of my hip. It all started on the day that I walked 18 000 steps. I thought it would go away on it’s own but the pain persisted. I discovered that I have bursitis in my hip as a direct result of that long walk. I was tugged at, pushed and pulled. It hurt! The good news is that it felt better when I was done. My homework is to do some exercises, apply ice and not start any new exercise program. No running or long walks. With a few more visits my hip should be ‘all cleaned up’ before I go to Italy in July.
What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?

Believe it or not I love wearing bright colours like royal blue and red. I also like white, peach and periwinkle.
Complete this sentence: When I travel I love to….

….check out quaint little shops, markets and art galleries. I love outdoor cafes and restaurants that the locals eat at.
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend. I drove to the finish line for the Sporting Life 10k Run that my oldest daughter, her partner and her brother-in-law participated in. All three finished in great times.

We then drove to Hamilton where we met up with my husband and our youngest daughter and her little family. We had a great time playing with the baby and enjoyed a wonderful meal together.

It’s been a great week at school. The children did really well at the West Conference track and field meet and many of them are moving on to the city finals. All the plans for our Forest of Reading book club celebration are now in place and the silent auction contributions from the classes have been completed by the students and are ready to be fired. Here is the platter that my grade 3 class designed and painted. I did the black lines. I can’t wait to see what it looks like after it’s been fired. IMG_8139

The other thing that I’m grateful for was the amazing lunch that the parents put on for the staff for ‘Teacher Appreciation Day’. They really go all out. They used the library and came in the night before to set it up and decorate it. The food was over the top and there was so much left over that we had a second meal the next day. I also appreciated the fact that there were lots of things  that I could eat and still stay on my ‘diet’.

I’m looking forward to a great day on Friday when the students who earned their 12 reading credits come to our Forest of Reading Celebration. We have an author coming to talk to the students, a drama workshop and a hands on journal making workshop plus a pizza lunch for the successful students and the staff who participated as expert readers.

I’m also looking forward to creating more paintings. I’ll write more about that in another post in the next few days.

Cheers!

 

Share Your World 2015 – Week 49

….thanks to Cee for coming up with four more interesting questions

What would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

I love birthdays and I love to be surrounded by family and friends on my birthday. My ideal present would be a big party with all the important people in my life present

What colour would you like your bedroom to be?

I’ve had grey in my bedroom for years and I’ve hated it. I recently bought a neutral cream colour which I think I’ll much prefer.

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why?

I like snow but I also like it when it melts away in March. Last winter it hung around way too long.

Would you rather go a week without bathing, but be able to change your clothes, or a week without a change of clothes, but be able to bathe?

I think I would prefer to bath every day and wear the same clothes. At least the clothes won’t get as dirty if I start out clean every day. I would probably hand wash my underwear every night.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I was grateful for a very mild weekend. I managed to get out on Saturday for a walk with the dog and then meet up with my daughters and their families at the Junction Christmas Market. All in all I walked 16 000 steps that day. I also got to spend some time with Miss Winnie. She’s starting to smile more and when I changed her diaper she gave me a huge smile. She makes my heart melt.

Last week, the girls’ basketball team played in their first tournament. They won all three games and have moved on to the West Conference Finals.

Yesterday we hosted our annual Craft Night at the school. We invite the students to bring their parents back to school in the evening and go from room to room and make whatever craft is being featured. This year we had numerous crafts that included golf ball snowmen, melted snowman ornaments, Minion ornaments, cookie decorating and paper crafts. I usually don’t have time to go around and take photos of the different activities but this year I did manage to go to a few rooms close to the library before we became busy. Here are a few of the great things that the children made. It was all over in an hour. It’s almost like preparing a big Christmas dinner where you spend hours and hours cooking and making preparations and then it’s all over in 20 minutes.

For the rest of the week I’m looking forward to having dinner with a group of friends. On the weekend my husband and I are planning on driving to the countryside with our daughters to cut down a Christmas tree. This will be my youngest daughter’s first Christmas tree in her new home. Ideally it would be nice to have some fresh snow but the temperatures are suppose to remain well above freezing so that’s very unlikely.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Till next time.

Carol