Monday, December 31, 2012

Slice of Life - Hello 2013

It has only been 2013 for an hour. We watched the Dick Clark special - I still remember him from American Bandstand! We toasted in the New Year as the ball dropped in Time Square. 

This past year has sped by. Ups and downs, happy times and sad. I have been looking back through the questions with Reverb 12 and other places. It really does help to look back and then take the best forward.

One of the ways I prepare for the New year is to choose One word that will represent my hopes for this brand new year. Last year I chose "Carpe Diem" - seize the day. I had hoped that as I began my 60's, that I would fill my days with challenge and activity and creativity. Many days were like that, but gradually as the fall came and I dealt with pain and illness and school politics, that passion was missing.

So, I have chosen a new word for 2013, that will continue with being positive and seek the best in people and situations:   J O Y

It is a word with power and positivity. I am looking forward to finding more joy in my life. I want to savour every moment and spend more time with my family and friends. Simple acts of kindness, continuing with my gratitude journal, and looking at everything as a gift - all these will be ways to find that joy.

"Slice of Life" can be found at Two Writing Teachers.

To find out more about One Word, check out "One Word 365". It is building a community to support one another in living the word. 

Happy New Year everyone - may 2013 be filled with joy, peace and love for all.

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

It has been a long while since I have participated in Monday's book sharing. School seems to have overriden many things - even reading. Looking back over the past few months, I found that I hadn't read as much as I would have liked.
The book challenges I took part in for 2012 were partly met - they did push me to read more and to keep a better record of my reading.
I have set new goals for my reading and taken on 4 challenges. Check them out here.

I decided as this was the last day of 2013, that I would list my favourite reads of 2012:

Top 10 Favourite Adult Fiction Books

Jan.  Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Mar.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Mar. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
May  The Island  by Elin Hilderbrand
Jul.  The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright
Aug.  When God was a Rabbit  by Sarah Winman
Sept. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Sept.  The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
Oct. Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson
Dec. A Week of Winter by Maeve Binchy

Top 10 Favourite YA Fiction

Feb.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (read all 3 but the ist was my fav.)
Apr.  WONDER  by R. J. Palacio
May  Bifocal  by Deborah Ellis and Eric Walters
Jun.  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Jul.  Divergent and Insurgent   by Veronica Roth
Jul. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Aug. One for the Murphy's by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Aug. The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
Aug. See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles
Aug. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

As  I looked over my books read,  I realized that I had not read many non-fiction will have to change that in 2013!. Here are my top 5 choices:

Jan. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Apr. Zeitoun by Eggers
Jun. Bite of the Mango byMariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland
Jul. Fatty Legs byChristy Jordan Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Aug. 32 Third Graders and 1 Class Bunny by Philip Done

I read many picture books through the year with my class and reread several chapter books to them as well. My favourites:
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
many books by Patricia Polaccco

There are so many books to read. My lists and my piles to be read keep growing. I am still "hold a book in my hand" reader - I need to feel the pages and be able to highlight and write in it if needed. E-readers just don't get me excited at all. But I do read on-line previews from Stenhouse and did read a number of those last year. I hope to do more this year.

Wishing everyone a  Happy New Year!  May 2013 bring more  awesome books to be read

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday

Along with most of Ontario and the northern states, we finally received snow this week. Christmas was green but we now have a few inches of snow and more is predicted.
I went out yesterday, when the sun was shining to capture shadows in the snow. When the snow is fresh, the shadows are lovely.

To see wonderful shadows from around the world visit here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Challenges

(just one of many shelves)

Book Challenges abound  - there is a challenge for every reader, from Mysteries to historical fiction to romance and everything in between.
Last year I committed to a number of challenges and was fairly successful in most. I definitely read more and read a lot of wonderful books ("Wonder" and "The One and Only Ivan" were 2 of my favourites.)

This year I have  decided to commit to less challenges but focus more on attacking my ToBeRead pile  (or piles to be more exact.)
I cannot resist a bookstore, second hand shop or Costgo. I go in saying "no books, no books" - and I am lucky if I come out with only 1. But books overflow in every bookcase I have and I still have books in boxes.

I keep lists of books I want to read and love getting recommendations. I always have several books on the go. 

I have decided that this year I will not buy books, except if I receive a gift card or am taking a course.  I must read what I have first. (The Double Dog Dare will definitely help!)

Check here for a huge number of book challenges.

These are the challenges I am committing to:



The TBR Dare is back again for a third year; except this time it's much more intense. It's not just a dare, it's a double dog dare. Dakota and I double dog dare you to join in the fun.

But, remember, especailly those of you who do not participate in reading challenges, the TBR Double Dare is not a "reading challenge;" it's a dare.

We dare you, no we double dog dare you to join in the fun.

The rules are extreme, but you can change them to fit your needs. The TBR Double Dog Dare is meant to be fun, so rule number one is--have fun.

The goal of the TBR Double Dog Dare is to reduce the size of your TBR stack, to read those books you've had for years and always meant to get around to reading one day. January 1, 2013 just might be the day.

If you agree to the full Double Dog Dare, then you pledge to read only books in your TBR stack as of January 1, 2013 from the start of the new year until April Fool's Day. Your TBR stack is officially defined as the books you have purchased or have requested from the library as of January 1, 2013. This includes books that have not arrived in the mail or at the store yet. Dakota and I will be making exceptions only for books selelcted by my book club, and possibly not even those depending on what my book club selects. If you're a member of a book club, then you know how that works. You can make whatever exceptions you would like to or need to make.

We understand.

If you don't want to sign up for the full four months, you can sign up for whatever period of time you'd like. We think it's more fun if people spell out the details of their personal Double Dog Dare in a post on their blogs, but you may do as you like.

*You may count any "currently reading" book that you begin prior to January 1--provided that you had 50% or more of the book left to finish in 2013. I will trust you all on that.

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

*Feel free to submit your list in advance (as incentive to really get those books taken care of) or to tally them as you climb.

*A blog and reviews are not necessary to participate..

Feel free to sign up here

I am committing to Pike's Peak (12 books), although I hope to read more of my TBR books. I am not listing them yet, as I have too many to choose from and never know what it is I feel like reading after I finish a book. 

Here are the guidlines:
Challenge Levels
Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s

Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s

Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

And the rules:
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. If you find that you're on a mountain-climbing roll and want to tackle a taller mountain, then you are certainly welcome to upgrade.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2013.

*You may sign up anytime from now until November 30th, 2013.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2013. No ARCs (none), no library books. No rereads. [To clarify--based on a question raised last year--the intention is to reduce the stack of books that you have bought for yourself or received as presents {birthday, Christmas, "just because," etc.}. Audiobooks and E-books may count if they are yours and they are one of your primary sources of backlogged books.]

Check it out here.


 My goal is Dweeb level - 12 books, 6 different categores. I like the idea of reading 1 adult and one children's/young adult books for each level.

Geek: 4-6 books in at least 2-3 different categories
Dork: 7-10 books in at least 4-5 different categories
Dweeb: 11- 14 books in at least 6-7 different categories
Nerd: 15+ books in at least 8+ different categories

* Health, Medicine, Fitness, Wellness
* History- US, World, European, etc.
* Religion, Spirituality, Philosophy
* Technology, Engineering, Computers, etc.
* Business, Finance, Management
* Sports, Adventure
* Food- Cookbooks, Cooks, Vegan Vegetarianism, etc.
* Autobiography, Biography, Memoir
* Art, Photography, Architecture
* Music, Film, TV
* Self Improvement, Self Help, How To
* Home, Garden
* Science-Nature, Weather, Biology, Geology
* Anthropology, Archaeology
* Animals-Insects, Mammals, Dinosaurs, etc.
* Family, Relationships, Parenting, Dating, Love
* Crime, Law
* Poetry, Theatre
* Politics, Government, Current Affairs
* Literary Criticism/Theory
* Cultural Studies
* Travel
* Crafts

* It is not necessary to pick your categories ahead of time, but try not to read more than two books in each category so you can broaden your horizons.
* The categories I listed are just suggestions. If you have a different category you'd like to add, let me know!
* When you write about the challenge or read/review a book, come back here and link up or leave a comment and tell me what you read and what you thought of it.
* If you're participating in a different non-fiction challenge, please feel free to still link up. It's always fun to see what other people have read in the different non-fiction categories.

Check here.for more information and to sign up.

and finally,


Choosing 12 books by words will be a crossover to the other 3 challenges. 


* The title you choose can be a variation on one of the key words. For example- your title could include the word 'snowing' or 'snowflake' even though the key word is 'snow.'

*Key words can be tweaked. For example- You could read "Cinder" or "Ashes" for the key word 'Fire' and that would be just fine. If the key word is 'family' then your title could include the word 'sister' or 'mother.'If the key word is 'food' then your title could include the word 'cake.'

Monthly Key Words:


Check here for more info and to sign up.


I am looking forward to these challenges - not too many and a chance to read what I already have.
Join in the fun and check out the challenges.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday and Merry Christmas!

The Saturday before Christmas! December has flown by. Yesterday was our last day before a two week break and I think we were all feeling the need for a holiday. It has been such a stressful month.
This past week most schools in Ontario held a one day protest strike against our illustrious provincial government.

All week I have been following the news from Newtown. What an unbelievable tragedy. As a teacher, I can only imagine what those teachers and students were feeling. I have joined my prayers daily,  with the millions around the world who have watched in anguish.

There have been two responses to this tragedy that I have commited to:

Ann Curry, correspondent from NBC news has begun 26 Acts of Kindness for each of lose lost at Sandy Hook.

Erin of "Treasures Found" has just started "Operation S.A.N.T.A.", as a way to spread niceness all year long.

By positive acts we can extend that ripple of kindness  all around the world. Please join in.

Shadow Shot Sunday
Here are my shadows for the day, of a little Charlie Brown tree I received from a student yesterday. I love it. Come spring, I will plant it outside.

Wishing everyone a Blessed Christmas and every happiness in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 on 12-12-12

Today will be the last one of these for at least 89 years! 12-12-12 is for some a very magical day. Weddings are very popular today.
In my class today we held 12-12-12 day and had fun rewriting 12 days of Christmas (4 versions which we all performed) and writing about the future in 100 years (very interesting viewpoints from 7 and 8 year olds!)

While visiting Erin at "Treasures Found" , she shared a wonderful idea (from Brandie):
share a 12 posts from the year, one from each month. As she said:
"I think it is a good thing to go back and revisit where you have been. Not to get stuck in the past but to see with clearer vision where you have come from to assess where you would like to be going in the future."

So as a challenge, I decided to look back over the year and choose a post that had meaning for me for each month  (except for December - I have chosen 2 from May instead), that challenged or helped me along this year.

So here are my Top 12 of 2012, with thanks to Brandi  and  Erin for the concept!

January: Sunday Weekly Wrap-up - the first of the new year
February: another Sunday Weekly Wrap-up with some favourite ATCs

March: After an absence - in Mexico!

         Happy Mother's Day

June: Slice of Life Tuesday - My Dad

July: Slice of Life Tuesday - Decisions (| keep referring back to this!)

August: 10 for 10 - 10 of my Favourite Picture Books for starting the year

November: Full Frost Moon Dreamboard - looking ahead

It was a bit more of a challenge than I thought. I tried to have a variety, from some of the challenges I have done, as well as a focus on the art.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Slice of Life

 Two Writing Teachers hosts "The Slice of Life" each week. I have participated several times and enjoy visiting other blogs to catch up on others' slices.
This week I needed to unburden. I have been weighed down by a tragedy that I am still finding difficult to comprehend.

Saturday was my dear daughter's 28th birthday. While my husband and I were not able to attend her party on Saturday, we did get together on Sunday and had a lovely lunch .  After lunch though , my daughter had very sad news.

 A close friend's 23 year old son was was killed in the early morning hours on Dec. 1st.,  as the result of a mistake of a 20 year old woman who's car crossed into his path and killed him.   It was senseless; he  had no chance.

My children grew up with T-Mo and we were always at each other's houses while my children were growing up. He was always positive, always smiling and had a bright future.

We love you T-Mo. We miss you already. The world has lost a shining star..

Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. I cannot imagine how the parents and his siblings and grandparents are dealing with this horrific death.

My own children have really been shaken by his death. We will all be attending the service on Saturday.

Prayers do help. But,  it does make one want to hold on tighter to those we love. We never know when the end may come. We need to live life fully and with kindness. Loving well is the only defense.