Monday, 31 January 2011

A Tale Dark and Grimm (Adam Gidwitz)

I decided that I must, on weekends, take some time to do things that I really this weekend I finished two books. One was a bore. The other was a delight. Nothing like children getting their head's chopped off, skinning dragons to help those eaten by dragons escape, talking crows, and the rest to warm my soul!!

Seriously, this book is really a delight. The narrator's voice alone makes it worth the read. It's hilarious! It's the stuff kid's imagination is really made of: devils, really bad parents, but nothing that a brother and sister can't conquer if they work together!

Reader: beware!! But if you are brave enough to read this one, you'll love it!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Missing You Dad

This seemed like a good video for a day like today. It was a year ago that the Olympics were happening. It is also a year ago today that my dad slipped away to the other side of the veil. I miss him. I miss so many things about him. But I do believe that we'll see him again one day, and that he is very happy right now. I believe he watches over me and is like my own guardian angel. I am happy that he is with Destiny. I bet they have a wonderful time together.

I believe.
I will continue to stand tall and make him proud.
I believe.
Dad, I believe in the power of you and I.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Three Left Feet

This week Peirce's school had another Artist in Residence program. This group as called Three Left Feet. They took concepts they're learning in class and danced them. And they even spoke French!

It was truly amazing. I'm sure those kids will never forget it!

Peirce's grade studies a few different countries - and India is one. They did a dance that represented life in a busy city in India. It has yoga, moves to represent animals, and a lot of other stuff.

I'm not sure why I'm this way - but whenever I see people do things like this is brings tears to my eyes!! Part of it is seeing my kids perform. Part of it is seeing kids SOOO engaged in learning. I love it! (I'm kind of weird that way)

And, to make it all even better, I think Peirce is really good at that kind of stuff!!

Three Left Feet Promo from Dallis on Vimeo.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Girl From Turtle Mountain

I read this book because Deborah Ellis wrote it. I was disappointed.

The book summary says:

After her mother's death, nine-year-old Keeley and her father need a new start. The frontier town of Frank, Alberta, seems like a good place: in 1901 there are lots of jobs as well as plenty of room for Keeley to breathe, play, and explore. On a dare from a schoolmate, Keeley decides to investigate one of the few laces off limits to children in freewheeling Frank—the coal mine where her father works. But what starts as a game soon becomes a life-threatening adventure...

I was hoping it would talk about the disaster at Frank when Turtle Mountain fell down....but it didn't. There's a little rock slide in a mine....but that's it. I've driven through Frank a ton of times and am fascinated by the idea that there used to be a town there. I guess I'll have to look for great stories about Frank somewhere else.

It's the only book I've read by Deborah Ellis that I've been disappointed with. I wonder why her other books are so gripping, and this one is so.....not gripping. Kids who are into this series would enjoy it, but it doesn't have a lot of oomph.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Our New Pet

Part of my motherhood experience seems to be that I am learning to live with animals. No. Not my children.... their pets!!

Poor Peirce woke up one morning to find his hamster had died. He blogged about it here. His post just makes me laugh: "This is him when he is dead." ....and he took a picture!!

Well, Allen had promised him we'd get a new hamster so off they went to Petland one Saturday. I was fine with that. Only they didn't come home with a hamster.....they came home with a Degu!! Argh!! Oh my shattered nerves!!!!

It was to be no big deal. "He can live in the hamster cage." they said. "And he's really friendly mom! He'll learn to recognize our voice and make cute sounds when he hears us come home!"

Well, apparently not. The guy has very sharp teeth that allow him to get out of all sorts of places. We borrowed a class aquarium from someone after he got out of the hamster cage too much. It had a net for a roof, but it had a hole in it and he could get out of that - so we put some books on top....but he likes to chew books. So finally we went and got a new degu-appropriate cage for him to live in.

He at least now stays in his cage. I still don't really like him though.

What was ever wrong with a hamster??!! Argh!!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Teaching Children to Feel and Recognize the Spirit

I love love love teaching. Often I sit back and can't believe I get the chance again to be a teacher. I love it. I think I love teaching the gospel to kids more though. Primary is the best place to be!
Primary theme for this year is I Know The Scriptures Are True. Today in primary we talked about all the ways we learn. I had something for each of the senses. Each thing was

Sight: binoculars (We looked through the binoculars to see how cool things look)
Smell: vinegar (They thought the vinegar was water...and I said, "Ah yes! But sometimes we need our nose to help us learn" and I had them all smell what looked like water....they were quite surprised to smell the vinegar!)
Touch: Cotton balls
Sound: My cell phone went off!
Taste: I had some oranges in a container and had someone come up and taste it without seeing it and then describe it to everyone (should have had an orange piece for everyone....if I were doing this again I would do that!)

Then I told them that we can also learn with our heart. We read Morni 10:3-5 and talked about how we feel the spirit. I told them that that is probably the most important way that we learn. We talked about how the spirit feels and I told them that when I was in primary I learned that if I was reverent and did my best to sing the songs well and listen to what people were teaching I felt the spirit and that they could do that too. I told them that the Holy Ghost only has one job (unlike all of us!) and that is to testify of truth. Whenever we hear things that are true He will confirm it for us. Someone asked how he does that and I told them I didn't know how - but it is probably like the sun. We can all see the sun and there's only one sun - but many people can feel the warmth from the at the same time, and the Holy Ghost somehow can do that too.

One wonderful little boy said, "I can feel it right now!"

I told him I could too and probably other people could - and that we could feel it every week at church and other places too if we do the things we need to.

It was so great!!

Yup. I love teaching primary.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Saturday is Not For Wimps

Most people look forward to the weekend. For me, I always have to take a deep breath and be ready for what seems like a marathon. On Friday Jill was telling me how excited she was for tomorrow. Made me think I should change my Saturday attitude. I'll try.
Here was our schedule today:

Up at 7 am to do a bit of housework and preparing for the day, then off we went to a Stake Primary Choir rehearsal. Peirce is singing in a choir for Stake Conference. Meanwhile Jill got picked up by the car pool (thank goodness for Saturday car pools!) for swim practise. Once choir was over Peirce and I headed off to the church for Bitty Ball (which is basketball for kids). He had a hoot. While he was at basketball I went over to Superstore and got a few things (I even ordered a HUGE back for split peas for our food storage. So excited about that!)

We went home for lunch. Telus called and sucked me into talking about our account - so we made some changes to that so we are getting the best deal we can. I made some split pea soup while talking to the Telus lady, then quickly ran off to the Stake RS Party. I was pleasantly surprised there. It was a lot of fun! (Relief Society tends to not do "parties" and everything tends to be rather serious and somber when it comes to Relief Society....but not today!)

The evening was the swim club's Winter Warm Up. Allen was off getting our so-called hamster (the story on that is here), and I decided to go out to Cross Iron Mills to exchange a skirt I got for Christmas that was too big. After some quick shopping I headed over to the party. I enjoyed visiting and meeting some new people and watched my kids dance up a storm while the adults visited.

By the end of all this I was beat. However, I needed to pull out the primary stuff and make sure I had an idea of what to do for primary the next day because I had a meeting at 7 am, and it's just go go go after that. I find after a day at church I'm exhausted. Primary is a great place to serve....but it isn't or wimps either!

Ever wonder why I love Mondays??!! Weekends just wear me out!!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Family Literacy Day

Family Literacy Day takes place annually on January 27 to celebrate adults and children reading and learning together, and to encourage Canadians to spend at least 15 minutes enjoying a learning activity as a family every day. We celebrated Family Literacy today in my classroom by reading books by Chris Van Allsburg. It was so fun. One of my favorite things about teaching is sharing books with kids and helping them learn to love reading. My goal is to have a class of kids that are obsessive readers!

I told them previously that Cornelia Funke was one of my favorite authors. Today when I introduced the books and told them Chris Van Allsburg was one of my favorite authors a few of them called me on it. They said, "You said Inkheart was your favorite?!" I told them I have a new favorite every week.

It was so fun to tell them about some of the books and see them get excited about them. It is truly one of the best things about teaching! He wrote The Polar Express and Jumanji....most people know about those two. There are so many more though!! I love his books!!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Peirce's Assembly

One of the great things about my new teaching position is that Peirce's school is across the street. After school he usually comes over instead of taking the bus. He sharpens pencils, tidies up the classroom library, and a few other jobs each day, while I get ready for the next day. It's been really great. He enjoys it, I enjoy it, and it relieves a lot of mother guilt to be able to have him around.

Today I was especially grateful that his school is across the street. He announced this morning that he had an assembly at 10 am and wanted to know if I could come. I told him I probably couldn't, but I'd see what I could do. Well as it turned out my class had music from 9:50 - 10:20, so after I sent them off to music I scooted across the street. Lucky! Even luckier, his class was first on the agenda for the assembly!! I was so glad to be able to be there.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Catching up

Cell Phone Camera!! I could go back and back-blog but to keep life simpler I thought I'd just upload some of my recent cell phone camera pictures in one post.

Last Sunday was the first Sunday of our new theme in primary: I Know The Scriptures Are True. This is our singing lady with the new scriptures her husband gave her for Christmas!! LOL It was a big hit in primary. So fun!

Over the holidays we went to quite a few movies: Yogi Bear, Tron, and Tangled (we really need to go to an adult movie now and then I think!) Here is a picture of Jill and Peirce in the hurricane simulator. Hilarious!

Peirce and his good friend Lucy. We went rollerskating at Lloyd's. I love going there. Talk about stepping back in time! It hasn't changed a bit there since I used to go every Saturday when I was 11.

Cousins! This was taken on Jordan's birthday at Aunt Colleen's. Happy Birthday Jordan!! A teenager now. Eeeek!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Happy Birthday Jeni!

I thinking I'm going to change the song: Friday is a special day. It's the day I go on a daaaate!

Tonight we went to Jeni's birthday party. She is one of my favorite people. Great Time! I ran into some old friends and enjoyed visiting with them. I enjoyed visiting with some people I often see. And most of all I enjoyed hanging out with Allen! And just like Jeni's style, she provided a great venue for our first date of 2011.

One of the great things about our life right now is our kids are old enough that we can just walk out. They were both busy doing things. Peirce had just bought a coloring poster on Thursday (you know the kind...the ones with velvet....he loves those!) and he was content to sit for hours and work on it. Jill was uploading music to her phone. So we just did the 'be good!' and off we went. I love that!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Day 3....and life is good

Today was day 3. I have to say: I'm really really really loving my new teaching job. The teacher I'm replacing is amazing and very organized - and it seems like, at times, this class practically runs itself! It's truly amazing. She's a live lesson on how the things the school asks us to do really do work and make life easier. As long as I can get over the kids bossing me around, it's all going to be great.

How do they boss me around? Well, the routines are so deeply engrained, they are always telling me now you're supposed to do this, or now you're supposed to do that. LOL At first I paid careful attention, then it seemed a little irritating - but then I decided I'd be patient with it all because they really do have some great suggestions.

Best of all, I've started reading The Invention of Hugo Cabaret with them, and they're loving it!

I got a note today from a parent saying her child hasn't done any home reading for two weeks and to make her do it (???). I've done a lot of thinking about that. There's no way I can MAKE any kid do anything, let alone home reading where parents are the real influencers. But then again, maybe influence is the key. I decided I'm going to try to infuse my love of reading into all of them. My goal is to have reading-obsessive kids by the end of the year!!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011's in the family

Peirce is a blogger! He wanted me to tell all my be sure to check out his blog. He would love some comments! Click here.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

I Love the Library

I love libraries. I always have. I remember going to the library as a little girl and being content to spend hours. I still feel that way. Sometimes when I'm visiting another city or town I even try to visit their libraries. I just love libraries! Both of my kids are pretty happy to do the same too. It's really a way of life for them. It's just part of our life.

Jill came home one day and said, "Mom, do you know I have a friend whose mom won't let her have a library card? She never goes to the library. Can you imagine? How does someone live without the library?!"

The other day we were at a family party and one person was engrossed in a book. Some were giving her a hard time, and she said, "I have to finish this! It's due tomorrow!" We laughed and said we totally understood, but that sometimes we have to suck it up and just keep a book when it's overdue and pay the fines." There were two people in the room that said, "The library makes you pay if you return a book late?"

*World stops*

*Slowly turn your heard toward that person in amazement*

This means one of two things:

  • You never return a book late

  • You have never been to the library.

Both are shocking to me and my children. LOL

Monday, 3 January 2011


Today was the first day of school....well sort of. Thankfully it was a PD Day. I needed that gentle slide into the new reality of a daily work schedule after such a relaxing holiday!

The school brought someone in for a Kagan workshop. It was really great. I attended a Kagan workshop at the end of August but really haven't used it a lot. A refresher was just what I needed.

When I attend workshops like that I find myself thinking about primary. There were so many things I learned today that would be great in primary. The trick is figuring out how to transfer the knowledge to everyone else. Hmmmmm.....

I have a few ideas for how to use this in primary. Can't wait!!

Oh. And I'll be sure to use it in my classroom too! Honest. :)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Predicting the future

What will 2011 bring? Better relationships, less debt, less fat, and happiness!

Maybe we should ask AT&T. Here are some ads from 1993 that predict that will happen in the future. They're amazingly accurate - except no one uses a phone booth anymore.