Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Grandma Camp With a Twist

Peirce got to go on a trip to Utah this summer with Grandma and his cousin, Sydney. He had a great time. We're so grateful for Grandma and the special memories they were able to create!

Grandma: The kids had a ball at the Skywalker Haven. All the trampolines you can imagine, ones with basketball hoops so you could slam dunk, a zip line, Dodge ball, foam pits to land in, etc.

At Idaho Falls

Peirce and Sydney's first ride on a train. Utah Trax

100 x 3

July 31, and I just made it over the line! Mid-month I didn't think I was going to make it this month. I had to do a couple days of two-a-days, but not too often.

102: my best month yet! Apparently I don't like to waste too many kms in my pursuit of 100 km/month.

Now I'm wondering if I could do it every month during the school year this year. Hmmmm.....that would definitely push me. June was pretty pathetic. That was the month we got the van. It was too tempting to just take the van instead of walk after a year of having no vehicle for myself. It feels good to get back in the swing!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

RS Friends

Had a lovely time tonight with my RS friends. Love these ladies!

Cammie, Lin and me. I like the black and white!

I really should smile more.

Leah, Rachel, Amy and Mary

Half of Anne-Marie, and Michelle and Pam

Duct Tape Crafting

Peirce is home! And he has learned some new crafts. They had to get right down to business!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Morning View

This is my scenery every morning on my morning walks. It's very good for the soul.

I'm currently at 85 km for this month - so I know I will make 100. I can do 5 km each day Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and I'll be done! It's very exciting to be this close to 100 again and not have to kill myself to reach the mark.

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Tonight for the youth activity they went to the driving range. Jill has never golfed before....but she gave it a go.

You can  tell by the picture, she had a great time. She has a great time no matter what she does!


Here's what I did today

Definitely found spiritual refreshment there.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


I've mentioned before that I hate shopping.

I really hate shopping. I should probably do some self-analysis and figure out why I hate it so much. I figure there isn't much I need. I'm not into walking around to see if I might come across something I might want...I'm definitely lacking in the gathering gene.

Today, however, Jill wanted to go to Value Village. She's a smart cookie. She made sure all her chores were done and then she approached me to go. Sometimes going to Value Village is fun because of the crazy stuff there. We went and had fun...then we had to get out of there (I can only take the chaos of VV for so long!)

We found a bunch of jeans for Jill (they have rows and rows and rows of jeans!), a dress, and a few other things. I even made myself find a couple pairs of pants.

Best of all though was the fur coat we found:

....but we didn't buy it :)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Summer Fun

Today Jill and her gurls went shopping. I was the taxi, which was alright by me. I never (I really mean NEVER) go to malls. I'm really not remotely interested in walking around malls. However, hanging out at Indigo for a couple hours is just fine with me! I found some great new books to read. Thanks to free wifi, I can check the library website while there and decide what to buy and what to put on hold at the library. It's a perfect system!

I love this picture of Jill! Summertime fun is her specialty!

Peirce is gone to Utah with Grandma. Last night they were in Idaho Falls and stayed at a hotel. He is having a great time, by all accounts. So grateful for Facetime and wifi that allows us to talk to him easily wherever he is. Amazing! The highlights he told us about were that they sell bugles in the vending machine in the hotel, and he has his first twinkee. (ugh!)

Grandma said they were loving the hotel and would have liked to have just stayed there forever. That's kind of how vacations go with Peirce. He has a great time all along the way. Every point of the trip he's happy and excited and thinks it's the pinnacle. It's fun to have a kid like that around!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Raw: Royal Crier Announces Birth to Cheers

Raw: Royal Crier Announces Birth to Cheers

Summer Reading Week 4

Last week I read:

How Full is Your Bucket
The Fault in Our Stars
Timmy Failure Mistakes Were Made

....And these picture books:

Reading with Dad
City Dog, Country Frog

I also abandoned The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. I didn't get into it enough to pose an opinion on it. It came due at the library and has holds. I decided though, that I wasn't into it enough to keep accumulating fines on it.

This week I plan to read:

The Red Necklace
Hattie Ever After

...and a few picture books

I'm also still reading:
The Everlasting Meal
And The Mountains Echoed

I'm at 49 km with walking. I wimped out a few days last week because I was so tired from our hike. Perhaps I should do more hiking though. It's an amazing workout!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Sarah's Baptism

Today we got to celebrate Sarah's birthday. She turned 8 in June and today she got baptized. Jill and I didn't get to attend the baptism (we had already committed to work the football game) but we got to attend the pre-baptism party. It's always fun to visit with Sarah because she is so enthusiastic about life. She's clever and and has a great sense of humor. We sure love her!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Un-Birthday Party

Jill's birthday happens while she is away in Edmonton this year, so she was proactive and got a birthday party together prior to her birthday. She decided to introduce all her friends to ice blocking. We made a picnic area at Confederation Park. It was a really great time!

There was lots to do to get ready so I got everyone to work. Jill and I made rainbow cupcakes. Peirce and Jill decorated them and Allen cooked up all the hamburger patties. She had hoped for a fancy beautiful cake like the millions on Pinterest - but reality set in (i.e. that stuff never works out when your mother is involved, Jill!) and we made simple cupcakes.

Jill was so proud of the cupcakes! I thought they were rather delicious myself!

In case you don't know what ice blocking is - you get a block of ice, put a towel over it to try to keep your bum dry (didn't work in our case....too many bums, not enough towels!) and slide down a hill. Loads of fun!

Even Allen got into the action. (We keep the chiropractor on speed dial for nights like these)

Peirce got creative with his sliding. Looked kind of painful to me!

Happy birthday to our great girl!

Time is Flying By!

Ack! It is July 19! That means there is only one month left of my summer.

Must get busy!! Enough sloughing!!

I think I need to become a little more accountable for my time or I won't accomplish all the things I wanted to this summer.

Perhaps it's time to follow Peirce's example and create a summer bucket list!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

BeeHive Camp

In July 2013 we sent Jill off for her first Girl's Camp. More correctly, it was BeeHive Camp. It was so fun to meet at the church, have all these little 12 year old girls chatting away. Soon someone announced: Time to get on the bus!

The chatter from the big swarm of girls moved towards the bus. It got louder and louder as they all got closer and closer - and then they were off.

She had a terrific time. Her leader was a Laurel named Sarah. Sarah, incidently, just got called on a mission to France! Jill loves Sarah. I would guess a lot of that started with the fun they had at BeeHive camp.

This week Jill got to be a BeeHive camp leader. Usually they hold those leader spots for laurels - and Jill is only 14 right now (well, will be 15 next month), and I'm sure the thought was that since she's such a great girl, they decided to ask her to help by being a camp leader. Jill was thrilled!

They grow so quickly :)

Our kooky home teacher was there!

33 Days

I found this great poem on Read, Write, Reflect....a great teaching blog I recently discovered. I only have 33 days left!!


Thirty-four days left of summer.
Time is flying.
Trying to grasp on with both hands,
It slips through my fingers,

You can’t slow time.
You can’t hold on.
You can just

I want it to slow down.
More time in needed.
Where are my endless days?
Where is my down time?
Where is the peace

And yet, I see you.
Marching towards me
With all that you possess.

Class Lists.
The First Day of School.

I do look forward to another year,
Just not yet.
I’m not recovered from the old one.
I still miss my students.

Thirty-four days left of summer.
I’m holding on the best I can.
Trying to savor every day.
Every minute.
Every moment.


This morning I was reading the blog of the Great Hunnisett. Pam is an English teacher at the school I work at, only she is at the high school. She was on a committee with me this year. I loved getting to know her better. While checking out her latest read on I noticed that she had a blog listed in her profile. Of course, I couldn't resist checking it out.

I have been thinking about what my professional development goals should be for next year. I am leaning towards working on providing better feedback. On her blog, I found this little gem:

Format = friendly letter form Dear ______________________,
  1. Encouragement
  2. Praise
  3. Reaction – when positive
(be specific, thoughtful, friendly tone)
  1. Suggestions for improvement
  2. Be specific
  3. Be a helpful and kind tutor
C)   Further the Discussion:
  1. Response to another comment
  2. Enter the conversation about the idea the blogger presented in their post
  3. Provide added value
  4. Offer links that could help to improve or continue the conversation
Sincerely,  ________________________________
*Etiquette is to ALWAYS respond to any comment that was given to you on the blog.  Try to further the conversation!

How timely!! This is a guideline for students giving feedback on other students blog posts. It will be a great little guideline for providing feedback in writing - one of my nemesis!! Yahoo!!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Funnel Cake for Dessert!

Good thing I have more time to walk and ride bikes in the summer - I have to do something to counter act all the good treats we eat!

Today I tried my hand at funnel cake. So easy!! I can't believe they charge you so much for these at the Stampede. They are cheap and easy!

Funnel Cakes

1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour or coconut flour to make gluten free
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
Oil for frying, enough to cover the bottom of the skillet
Powdered sugar for topping

Mix egg and milk. Sift dry ingredients and gradually add to milk mixture, beat until smooth.

Preheat oil in fry pan to 375 degrees F.

Pour batter into hot oil with a funnel with a ½ “ or ¾” hole. Let batter drizzle into hot oil. Spiraling to create a circle.

Cook about 1 minute, flip over, cooking both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with fruit preserves while still warm.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Picnic at Big Hill Springs Park

Allen has some  clients he really enjoys visiting with - the Nymans. I've talked to them on the phone when they're looking for Allen, but hadn't met them until today. They'd talked for years about getting together for a picnic. Today we finally did it.

We headed out to Big Hill Springs Park. I thought it was rather far to go just for a picnic - but it turned out to be well worth the drive.

The springs are unbelievably refreshing and beautiful.

They have some really cool rocks there called 'tufa'. In all the Rocks and Minerals reading I've done for Gr. 3 science I'd never heard of these rocks! They're very cool.

And they look amazing!

We went on a little hike around the park. Unfortunately, I was wearing sandals and so by the end my ankles were KILLING me! Apparently they're not the best shoes for hiking. It was nice to add some more km's to my running total for this month though.

Peirce was sure he wanted to go with us today. He didn't know these people and there wouldn't be any kids there - sounded totally boring. Just like mean parents though, we made him go. ...And surprise! He had a really great time. He got on his bike and went exploring, built dams in the water with other kids there, climbed on rocks, crossed over streams on logs, and had a wonderful time exploring. He couldn't wipe the smile off his face. He was pretty sleepy on the way home though!

Luckily, mosquito bites kept him awake. I think we got about a million bites. We had bug spray but they seem to have some gigantic bug spray proof killer mosquitoes there that like to attack you 3 or 4 at a time. That was what finally drove us to our  vehicle and caused us to drive away. Otherwise we would have stayed a lot longer!

Back In the Saddle?

Today Peirce and I decided to go for a bike ride. He wanted to go to Starbucks and read (I've raised them well!) Since Jill just got a new great bike I thought I'd try it out.

Apparently riding a bike is a little harder than walking.

I think I'm going to die. Oh my quads!!!

....not the bike...but a close facsimile!

Monday, 15 July 2013

It's a baby penguin!!

Cool! This is a penguin at our own Calgary zoo!


Nana and Grandpa stopped by today with a surprise for Jill!  Wowza!!!

Photo: My new bike is cooler than yours.

Summer Reading Week 3

Last week I read:

Wild Boy (Mary Losure)
Hannah's Suitcase (well, sort of)
The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish

This week I plan to read:

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles (Julie Andrews Edwards)
Timmy Failure Mistakes Were Made (Stephan Pastis)
...and a few picture books

I'm also still reading:
The Everlasting Meal
And The Mountains Echoed

I'm a little behind I'd say!

I'm doing okay with walking though.....should be past 50 km by mid-week, I think!

Sunday, 14 July 2013


Our topic this month in Sunday School is covenants. Today we got into the discussion by first reading Mosiah 18:

 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye areadesirous to come into the bfold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
 Yea, and are awilling to mourn with those that bmourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand ascwitnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the dfirst resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being abaptised in the bname of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a ccovenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

We talked about our experiences in High River. I told them how what they were doing when they volunteer there is simply keeping the covenants they made when they were baptised.


They really got it. My heart was just burning when we were talking about this. I told them so too. It was a beautiful spirit filled moment.

Then we read the Bible Dictionary.

Sometimes denotes an agreement between persons (1 Sam. 23:18) or nations (1 Sam. 11:1); more often between God and man; but in this latter case it is important to notice that the two parties to the agreement do not stand in the relation of independent and equal contractors. God in His good pleasure fixes the terms, which man accepts. The same word is sometimes rendered “testament.”

We discussed pretty much each sentence (What does latter mean? What are some agreements people make together? What kinds of things do nations agree on?) It got interesting when we got to the last sentence. We tried to figure out how covenants is the same as testament. Finally, Tanner came up with something beautiful. He said, "When you testify you are exclaiming something you believe...and when you make a covenant it's like you're acting on or exclaiming about something you believe."

Another: "Whoa!"

I love teaching these kids. They're brilliant!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Stampeding, Working Out, and Wonderful Baptisms

Today was our annual Stampede Breakfast at the church. I volunteered to help and so we were there bright and early. However, they ended up moving it inside because it was raining and cold. As a result, they didn't need quite as many helpers so I ended up just visiting with people. It was a great time!

In the afternoon we headed out to Airdrie. We decided to go work out at the Airdrie Rec Center. Peirce went swimming and the rest of us went to the fitness area. Jill wanted to see how much she could bench press. Looks like she can do just around 100 pounds. She beat me! We did the circuit and then did some cardio. It was totally exhausting. After we filled up at Five Guys.

The real reason for going to Airdrie was to attend a baptism. A boy in our ward, Nick, was baptized. He is such a great kid. He's 14 and was invited by his neighbor, who was also recently baptized. Brandon, my cousin's foster son, was also baptized. The meeting was so emotional for me. I love both those boys and was so proud to see them both finally be baptized. They're wonderful boys!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Calgary Temple

I spent the afternoon at the temple. It sure is a wonderful way to end the week and start the weekend. I hope to do that a lot more this summer!

Thursday, 11 July 2013



I spent the day in High River today. The province asked the church if they would canvas every house. They were concerned that there may be people who have been missed and may need help. It was quite an experience. Right off the bat, the first doors we knocked on, we talked with people whose eyes would quickly fill with tears. They were just so exhausted, overwhelmed, and grateful to have someone checking on them. It was quite humbling. We shared plenty of tears and plenty of hugs.

One of the houses we went to early in the day had this wedding dress hanging on their fence:


So heartbreaking.

You can see on these fences how high the water was:


By the end of the day I was totally exhausted physically and emotionally. There is a pervasive poo smell in High River. The mess left to clean up is absolutely overwhelming. We found a few people who definitely need help. Some didn't realize that they needed to take out their drywall. One lady hadn't done anything - she was waiting for her insurance company to respond. We let her know she must take action and her insurance policy will end up being void if she doesn't. Some houses had  clearly been abandoned and still had stuff tossed everywhere in the basement, and mud that was at least knee deep.

I'm so grateful to be able to help in some way.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

My Carpe Diem Girl

One thing about Jill that is readily apparent is that she knows how to make everything fun.

Case in point: you're at the Stampede and want to watch Family Feud live. Only thing is it is Senior's Day and they are letting all the seniors in first. No problem! Make friends with some old people in line, and off you go!!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

So Proud to be a Calgarian!

I've follow lots of blogs, and pictures of people helping out in the aftermath of these floods have been absolutely overwhelming.

It's always nice when a crisis brings people together. That is sure what has happened here.

Here are some of the still shots of the crazy things happening over the past couple of weeks here. This gives me chills:

The church has been very organized too. Here's a great story on that:

Monday, 8 July 2013

Summer Reading Week 2

I've really been enjoying reading with Peirce yesterday and today. He has a goal to read all the Harry Potter books this summer and is just finishing the first book.

This past week I met a wonderful woman (again). I met her before at the International Reading Association meeting that I went to. She is a huge fan of picture books and really stirred up in me a new desire to find lots of great picture books to use whenever I'm teaching. Luckily, while I was marking PATs this week, I got a chance to read a number of picture books. People kept bringing picture books to put on the tables in the foyer. Now and then I'd take a break and go read one or two. It was great. So this week I read quite a few:

  • The Three Little Pigs, an Architectural Story
  • Hey! Wake Up!
  • Little Black Book of Colors
  • The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish
  • Snoring Beauty
  • Great Estimations
  • Greater Estimations
  • My Grandmother's Clock
  • Reading With Dad
  • City Dog, Country Frog
I also finished Sunwing. Another great read! You can read all about those great books on my book blog.

Along with some more great picture books, here is my list of what I hope to read this week:

Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of AveyronFirewing (Silverwing, #3)Darkwing (Silverwing, #4) The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

Hana's Suitcase

I was going to write about this in my book blog, but I haven't actually read it, so I decided to blog about it here.

In school, Peirce started reading Hannah's Suitcase, a holocaust story. He has talked about it endlessly. He was really taken by the whole story.  He didn't get to finish the story in school because of the floods. He had actually borrowed a video from the public library for his class to watch. They only watched the first few minutes if it, so today he and I watched the video together. Wow. I can see why he was so taken by it. It is an amazing story.

The story was uncovered by a Japanese woman who worked in a museum. They wanted to teach Japanese children about the holocaust and so they asked some holocaust museums if they could have some artifacts they sent a suitcase that had belonged to young girl who was killed in the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Through a series of events this woman was able to uncover the story of Hana, the owner of the suitcase. This story made me feel very emotional. I'm continually amazed and saddened by what humans will do to each other. We can be so good, and so terrible. We really must never forget.

Strange Idea of a Good Time?

I just had the most amazing week. I went to Edmonton to mark provincial exams. It was a great PD experience!

The first day was training and I lucked into being in a group with a great woman named Joan. I remembered her from the IRA meeting I went to in June. Turns out she has just retired from teaching and loves books and reading and children's writing. She was a real inspiration. She really took the time to talk through the process and we marked a number of stories together. It was a great experience. Just working with her set me up with an air of respect and love for what these children had written.

It wasn't all roses and birds singing. It was actually a real exercise in self-discipline. I've never done such focused marking for such a long period of time in my life. By the end I was getting a little stir crazy - but I made it. The people at my table were a lot of fun though. I was glad to get to know them.. We had a lot of good laughs.


The story this year had a picture prompt with two children going into a castle. There were some rats running around and some guards in amour along the hallway. We read lots of stories about Jack and Annie, Jack and Lilly (must have been the Asian version) or Jack and Shreya (the Indian version?). It was pretty comical to see how often Jack was the character in the story. Also, lots of portals. Kids were often on a field trip, often would get separated from their group or would go into a portal. Minecraft be damned!!!

Jill also had provincials during this week. Every morning, bright and early, we'd park at the pool and I'd walk to where the marking was happening. It was a great walk. Luckily on the way there, it was uphill. I'd rather do that in the morning than at the end of the day. I got to cross this amazing bridge every day. Loved the walk!

This is the road I walked up. It was only about 5 blocks - but almost all of it was uphill! The way up was a great hamstring workout - and the way down was an equally good quad workout.

And here is the bridge. There is something about water and walking that brings great serenity to my life.