Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Transformation Tuesday

I spent a few hours in my classroom today. This is what my old recess toy bin looked like in the corner:
and this is what that corner looks like now with my new to me bin:

This has been my classroom table set up for the last few years and what my classroom looked like what I left my room last week:

Here is something new I'm trying this year:

My classroom is coming together!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Off to the Show!

The girls and I have attended the outdoor musical for the last 10 years together. We have usually gone for the rush seating night but with the girls work schedules and Kiandra's unpredictable camp life, we missed the discounted tickets and had to buy our tickets for one of the last shows of this performance.

We didn't want to splurge for the more expensive seats...and it looks like no one else did either:

Going at the end of August instead of the beginning of August made for a little bit of a cooler evening and we were glad to have brought our blankets.

It was a great show and a great night with my girls!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Walking and Praying

August always hits me with waves of nostalgia. September is kind of like a New Year and a new beginning. For years September has been a season of new chapters ever since Kiandra started preschool 15 (!!) years ago. It became a new chapter for me when I started back to university 12 (?!) years ago. Now as a teacher September will always be a new beginning as long as I welcome new students each year and begin a new year with them. When Kiandra graduated last year, a chapter closed. For the first time in her life, I didn't (and she didn't) know what the coming year would bring. Kezia is about to enter her last year of high school and when she graduates next June, her chapter will close and who knows what her road will be after that. Kaden is entering Grade 10. So strange to think that he only has two more years of course selections to make before he will graduate. 

This has been a summer of reflection. Conrad bought me a fitbit and I have been walking every day. I have logged over 100 miles this month. I have walked with my kids, with Conrad, and many of the walks have been by myself. I've used the time to pray. Pray for my kids. Pray for Conrad. Pray for my students. Pray for the future. Pray for the spouses of my children. Pray for health. Pray for plans. It's been a good time of walking and praying.

Someone posted this on facebook the other day:

as I realize how independent my kids are, and are becoming, this is so true. While I know that right now there are still times that I am needed, the reality is that my kids are closer to independence. Each day is another day closer. I'm thankful for the people my kids are becoming and I'm thankful that I can still pray (and walk!) for the things that are on my mind.  

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Watermelon and Roll Kuchen

Traditional Mennonite supper this evening....

My one batch got a little dark because my oil was too hot :(

Mennonite Roll Kuchen:


    • 6 cups flour
    • 2 tsp butter
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 cup milk or whipping cream ( add a little more if dough seems dry)


  1. Mix together to form a dough.
  2. (This dough works best if you chill it for an hour or so).
  3. Roll out on floured surface and cut into strips with a knife or pizza cutter.
  4. Cut each strip into rectangles.
  5. Cut a small slit in each rectangle and pull one end through to form a twisted shape.
  6. Fry in hot lard, in small batches (5 or 6 at a time), until golden on each side.
  7. It is hot enough when the dough rises immediately to the surface.
  8. Serve with watermelon.
  9. These freeze well.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday to-do list

Drive Kiandra to her life guard job interview- check!

drop off a bag at the thrift store while Kiandra is at the interview -check!

find this hamper that might work as a recess toy bin in my classroom...think about buying it.....

Pick Kiandra up and head to Starbucks- check!

Use my free drink to buy a caramel waffle cone frap -check!

Shop for school supplies at Staples-check!

Register for a 6 week class that Kiandra and I will take this fall -check!

Pick up Little Caesars pizza for lunch in my classroom-check!

Four hours of classroom prep and Kiandra's help to leave the class looking like this-check!

drop Kiandra off at work-check!

go back to buy that hamper-check!

Turn it into this-check!

Go on a 4 mile walk to end the day-check!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our little Jewelsy

Juilliard is growing....

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shop until you drop

...and we almost did. This was what we unloaded from Janice's car when we got home...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Girls Shopping Trip

My friend Janice was hoping for one last trip to the States before school starts. She invited me and somehow it morphed into my girls coming along for the ride too. We talked, we laughed, we ate:

We shopped.

It wouldn't be a shopping trip in the US if we didn't buy school supplies! This particular load is for my friend Sheralyn....the markers were 97 cents a pack and the red books were 50 cents each. 

My stack was a little larger and the markers I bought were recommended by the kindergarten teacher and these were only 50 cents a pack!

We ate some more:

and then retired to our hotel room where we left Janice to search out some dippin' dots (couldn't find them) and then the girls and I even went into the pool for a bit. It was a great day!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hello Monday

Hello Monday
Hello father and son working together today
Hello updates from Conrad of what Kaden is up to at work

Hello tough decision whether to go to school or not
Hello invitation to the pool
Hello best of both--little bit of school + little bit of pool
Hello (finally!) being added as an administrator for the school Facebook page
Hello putting up the "welcome back" bulletin board
Hello first post as an admin

Hello crossing a few more things off the school "to-do" list
Hello classroom--you are coming together!

Hello pool time!
Hello catching up and getting ready to say goodbye
Hello what might be the last super nice day of summer :(

Hello feeling slightly guilty about lounging by the pool while Conrad works:

Hello  all the customers  who are likely by the pool or at the beach too ;)

Hello 2 more weeks of summer break
Hello Monday

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy Birthday Mom!

It is Conrad's Mom's birthday tomorrow and so after church today we had Mom and Dad over for lunch.

We picked up an ice cream cake for dessert and had Mom blow out the candle:

The kids have been using snap chat to send messages more than they use facebook (which Mom uses). We had an iPad that has not been used much since the kids all have phones now and so the girls thought it would be awesome to get Mom on snapchat so that she could see their updates:

Mom was pretty excited for this new way to connect with her grandkids. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

It's not nothing

A friend shared this article on facebook and it really resonated with me. As I am just on the edges of this new stage of parenting adult children it is becoming very clear to me that these are veryK new waters that I am treading. There is something so predictable when kids are young and in school. They are dependent and needy but it's familiar and predictable. You get a wee taste of your new life when they get their driver's licenses (2 down, 1 starting the process in a few weeks *ack*) because they don't need you the same way and you don't always know exactly where they are. You pray, and pray some more, and know that this is exactly what you desire for your kids during all your parenting years. Kiandra has given us a real glimpse of what life will be like when all our kids are adults. She has prepared us for what life will be like when a bedroom sits empty when she spent 3 months in France and various last minute trips to camp this summer. Her new credit card has meant that I no longer order her things online and then have her pay me back. Packages arrive that I have not ordered. It's a strange feeling to be the mother of an adult with growing independence. Kezia will jet off to Ottawa next month on a trip through school that we had little to do with in regards to planning. She applied, paid for, and chose which session to attend on her own. She will begin her final year of high school in just a few days and who knows what roads she will journey on after that. New waters. Kaden is speaking in church tomorrow and has invited a special friend to come and watch him speak. She will join us for Conrad's mom's birthday lunch after. New waters. I'm not sure if I'm ready for these new waters that I am wading into. So far it has been a slow and relatively easy entry but it is, at the same time, kind of scary. It's not nothing to raise kids to adulthood and to survive everything to that point. They take little steps away from you (and that's good!) but it's not nothing as this author writes:

"It's not a death. And it's not a tragedy. But it's not nothing,  either..." I feel like this little boy walked out the door today, not the fine young man we've raised. Today is hard. Very hard.

"I wasn't wrong about their leaving. My husband kept telling me I was. That it wasn't the end of the world when first one child, then another , and then the last packed their bags and left for college.

But it was the end of something. ``Can you pick me up, Mom?" ``What's for dinner?" ``What do you think?"

I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, non stop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.

And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.

And then they were gone, one after the other.

``They'll be back," my husband said. And he was right. They came back. But he was wrong, too, because they came back for intervals -- not for always, not planets anymore, making their predictable orbits, but unpredictable, like shooting stars.

Always is what you miss. Always knowing where they are. At school. At play practice. At a ballgame. At a friend's. Always looking at the clock mid day and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug. ``How was school?" answered for years in too much detail. ``And then he said . . . and then I said to him. . . ." Then hardly answered at all.

Always, knowing his friends.

Her favorite show.

What he had for breakfast.

What she wore to school.

What he thinks.

How she feels.

My friend Beth's twin girls left for Roger Williams yesterday. They are her fourth and fifth children. She's been down this road three times before. You'd think it would get easier.

``I don't know what I'm going to do without them," she has said every day for months.

And I have said nothing, because, really, what is there to say?

A chapter ends. Another chapter begins. One door closes and another door opens. The best thing a parent can give their child is wings. I read all these things when my children left home and thought then what I think now: What do these words mean?

Eighteen years isn't a chapter in anyone's life. It's a whole book, and that book is ending and what comes next is connected to, but different from, everything that has gone before.

Before was an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager. Before was feeding and changing and teaching and comforting and guiding and disciplining, everything hands -on. Now?

Now the kids are young adults and on their own and the parents are on the periphery, and it's not just a chapter change. It's a sea change.

As for a door closing? Would that you could close a door and forget for even a minute your children and your love for them and your fear for them, too. And would that they occupied just a single room in your head. But they're in every room in your head and in your heart.

As for the wings analogy? It's sweet. But children are not birds. Parents don't let them go and build another nest and have all new offspring next year.

Saying goodbye to your children and their childhood is much harder than all the pithy sayings make it seem. Because that's what going to college is. It's goodbye.

It's not a death. And it's not a tragedy.

But it's not nothing, either.

To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts.

To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time.

The drive home alone without them is the worst. And the first few days. But then it gets better. The kids call, come home, bring their friends, fill the house with their energy again.

Life does go on.

``Can you give me a ride to the mall?" ``Mom, make him stop!" I don't miss this part of parenting, playing chauffeur and referee. But I miss them, still, all these years later, the children they were, at the dinner table, beside me on the couch, talking on the phone, sleeping in their rooms, safe, home, mine...."

- Beverly Beckham

It's not nothing but I'm thankful that today all my kids are home (well sort of, between working!) but for now they are all sleeping in their rooms and I am still able to savour this time.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday 5

Here are 5 of my latest favourites:

1. Perkins' French Silk Pie...not so good for the waist but so good....Conrad and I *may* have had a piece of this pie 3 times in the last few months. *gasp*

2. Banana Boat after sun lotion. This lotion totally rocks! We bought it in Vegas after getting a wee bit crispy when sitting around the pool and this was what the bottle looked like after 5 days. It's a great cream to use to keep in your tan colour and it's not greasy at all when you apply it. I will be looking for this when I head down to the States this week.

3. Aveeno tinted moisturizer: Speaking of skin care, my friend Sheralyn recommended this moisturizer and I really love it. It has become a morning staple for me.

4. I totally fell for this chocolate bar  on our trip to Vegas this summer. I am glad it's not available here although it probably could be duplicated as a homemade snack....

5. Lemon and Lime Gelato. Yum. *Almost* equal to my love of Menchie's....almost. 

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