immersion

Is French Immersion Worth it?

My French Immersion Experience I have been asked many times in the past 15 years if having my kids in French immersion was a good idea. Here are some of my thoughts:  Both my kids went full immersion, my daughter from senior kindergarten at age 5–6 and my son a bit later halfway through grade 1. We were told that by grade 3 they would be equal with English main stream students in terms of having caught up with lessons.  We decided to enter this program because my son was hugely exceeding expectations for grade 1 in English only school. His principal and teacher thought he'd thrive in the more challenging environment of learning a new language.  My son graduated 2 years ago but in grade 11 had had to go back to English main stream. He wasn't able to earn enough credits in the courses he wanted to graduate with, for a French certificate. He is now going into year 3 of computing at a prestigious university. My daughter has managed to stick with the French until the end and was accepted into a very competitive program for dental hygiene starting next year. They obviously learned how to be successful students.…

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Early Memories

A long time ago - the beginning of time for me anyway, I met an amazing and powerful woman with crazy ideas that filled my head with ways of thinking outside of the box. She had a different way of seeing things that some might call brilliant, odd or creative but I prefer to think of as eclectic. mum Most people call her Lynn, Counsellor Silverton, or if they are really brave, Evelyn. I prefer to call her Mum.  My mum has been many things in her life including an artist, nurse, airline stewardess, x-ray technician, legal secretary, office manager, reporter, member of many service boards, voice of the people. She continues to represent the municipality that is fortunate enough to have her as an elected official and has quite a following with her column in the local paper.  She filled my early childhood with music of all kinds including Anne Murray, The Jackson Five, the BeeGees… We had a stereo with an 8 track so we were pretty modern. I remember slapping those darn 8 tracks into the player and dancing all over the living room floor while singing at the top of our lungs. In times of trouble mum…

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Moving Ants

Here is something I like to repost every year at this time right before these pests get themselves estasblished.  The Ant War We tried building a raised garden bed for herbs and vegetables but after several years of the ant kingdom battles, we surrendered. I drew the line when it came to them getting in my house. The first thing we had was sugar ants coming in around the frame of the kitchen window. These are tiny, annoying and organized little creatures. I spent a small fortune on every spray, powder and trap I could find. Nothing worked. Then in an act of desperation I put vaseline around the window frame. That actually worked and they went away. I've finessed this trick over the years so you can't even see it.  Then the parade began. #eclecticSoapbox #organicSolutions #organic The parade started coming in through our second level sliding doors. Again I tried so many things to keep these little buggers out. Nothing worked. In that case we ended up replacing our sliding doors. Not a cheap solution but it worked. The last two years our battle has moved inside around the front door frame. Streams of these little OCD soldiers…

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Easy Cheesy Potatoes

Cheesy Goodness My sister and I have this cheesy potato recipe from our Dad from many moons ago. We make it all the time and bring it to dinners and potlucks. It's the perfect dish to travel with and if you can make it ahead of time, you only need to heat it up right before serving. Highly sought after, this dish is super easy to make.  But I must warn you, if you make it once, you'll have to make it many more times. It's very easy though so you won't mind. A sure winner at all dinners and get togethers.  The trick is to have all the ingredients measured and ready to go before you start. Here is a quick video to show you how easy it is: https://youtu.be/FZeBl11g7ZU Now watch carefully and you will see the science behind the magic. From this: To this:   All you need is love. And a cheese grater. Well, and this:   See how easy that was? I hope you enjoy it as much as every other person who has ever tried it does.  Enjoy https://youtu.be/X9jB7T3MbJs  

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A Letter to my daughter

Dear Baby Girl: I want to talk to you about high school. Just so you know, it isn't about learning stuff. It isn't about getting good grades or how many friends you have. It's not about remembering a locker combination. School is about learning to deal with the ups and downs of life, with disappointment, with heartache. It's about learning to cope when everything sucks and you can't find an ounce of motivation to write one more useless essay on a subject you don't care about and will never use. It's about learning not to give all your time to the whiners that just want to suck your energy, the bullies who only care to make other people react or the creeps who think they will be better people by being their worst selves around you.  It's about practicing sticking to your commitments, getting up on time, interacting with figures of authority, and making good choices.  “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” - Charles R. Swindoll You need to look ahead of where you are and understand that this isn't your whole life but it is a necessary part of life in our world…

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6 Reasons Why

This April we were introduced to a new show on Netflix that has stirred many passionate responses from people across the country. We have heard of youth facilities that have actually banned this show from their lineup concerned about how it will be perceived by youth. This response surprises myself, my husband who works with youth and my daughter who is an 18 year old teen. She was actually motivated to write this post to share her thoughts on why she thinks we should all watch 13 Reasons Why, get into it on a personal level, and talk.  My reasons why we should all watch this show: One - Watching shows that evoke emotions is a good thing. It allows you to experience the ups or downs of life without actually having to do whatever you need to do to experience it. The show did a great job showing the ups and downs of high school. Yes, it may seem a bit extreme and I hope for the sake of any teen, tween or child that this is unfamiliar behaviour to them. But the truth is, some kids do feel this way. It’s important for that to be known. Two - Good people don’t…

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She’s on her way

I knew this day would come eventually but I never thought it would happen so fast. Especially after going through all the motions (and emotions) with my son a couple of years ago I didn't think this experience would be so hard this time. But it is. In five months baby girl will be packed up and moved into residence at her choice of college.  As a mother I feel her hardships as if they were my own. When she turns a certain way or gets a look in her eye I am transported back to when we first saw each other. Her eyes were so bright and curious and shocked by the brightness of the world. As a toddler she was always on the go, checking out 'all the things' and meeting everyone.  She's grown up so much this last year at highschool. I've seen her go from a teen who is not sure about what direction to take for her life, to one who made a decision, acted with intention and is now moving with determination in a direction she chose. That is a very tall order in today's world. Most adults don't realize how hard it is…

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Retro Memories

I was just thinking about how when I was a kid, we used a phone that was chunky, had a dial, and was permanently attached to a wall in my house. If it rang, you had to get to it before it stopped and you stood there while talking. A couple of years ago I took my kids to an antique shop in Orono, Ontario and they found a yellow rotary dial phone. They asked me, full of the innocence of childhood, how to use it. I told them the tricky part was getting the numbers right because if you slipped or got one wrong you had to start all over again. That meant going around the dial with your finger in the hole with each number again. Life was so hard back then. I loved a show back then called 'I Dream of Genie.' The genie could turn anything into whatever she wanted. That's what I wanted to be when I grew up. But now I realize I have that power already. With just a tap of my finger I can turn a small flat device, the size of a deck of cards, into a phone and call anywhere in the world.…

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5 Tips for a Flawless “She Shave”

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette Venus. All opinions are 100% mine. Do you remember the first time you decided to shave your legs? I do. I ended up slicing a big chunk of skin off my ankle bone. It bled like crazy! I thought it would make me more grown up to shave but I really had no idea what I was doing. After that fun first experience I decided to wait a bit longer. Apparently 89% of girls attempt shaving for the first time without permission. shave I remember thinking that after the first time, I would never be able to stop because my hair would grow back in darker and thicker. I didn't realize this was a myth. Now I know that shaving changes the shape at the tip so it might seem to be different but the only thing that determines the kind of hair you have growing out of your legs is your DNA. With so many shaving myths out there, it can be hard to know fact vs. fiction. Check out more advice at www.gillettevenus.ca. In highschool I worked with the men's department of an international beauty company and was trained to shave men in public as…

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Spring Ribbon Wreath

For a few years now I've had BINS of ribbon lying around waiting for some brilliant and beautiful reason to use them. They were mostly from my scrapbooking days. Every now and then the kids would get into my stash and do a few things but it's mostly still a BIG HUGE PILE.  Because Easter is later this year I actually had time to make up this cute little wreath. Let me tell you how: First Grab as many things that are seasonal as you can find. This picture shows I didn't use everything I thought I would and I actually needed to add more ribbon as I went along. I liked how the greens and purples went together - you can use this as a spring wreath too if you take the eggs off.    Second The styrofoam wreath I used was flaking all over the place so I ended up putting tape all over it. I cut the ribbon about 14" long and tied 4 of each kind around the wreath. It is pretty small which is why I used only 4 of each colour - plus some of my ribbon is very thick.  I tried to layer them…

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Fresh as a Flower

As the days grow longer certain nasty truths are being revealed in my house - like patches of yuck here and there, a behind the toilet no-touchy zone that needs some major TLC, and fuzzy dust things sticking out from the wall in the corner. It's time to get some spring cleaning started. fresh I'm not fond of housecleaning - not even a little bit. But, recently I was given a bottle of Spring Blossom Pine-Sol and figured now would be as good a time as any to "get my clean on". I dislike chemical smells so luckily this stuff smells great. I have many memories from growing up of my Dad whipping out the pine scented Pine-Sol to get some serious cleaning done and for me, that piney scent is a comfort thing. But that is really more of a winter smell in my opinion.  Now that it's spring it's nice to have the fresh smell of Jasmine, Orange Blossom and Magnolia scent the air as the spring breezes circulate through the house. I love to fling open the windows to blow away the winter blues - make everything fresh as a flower.  One of the busiest rooms in the house is the powder room…

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Look Deep

I just sat and stared into my husband's eyes for 4 whole minutes. It was worth the look. I was surprised that I went through a range of feelings from being uncomfortable, happy, sad, bored, laughing, crying, strange. How bizarre that was.  I thought how handsome he was, how serious looking, this man who usually can't sit still for that long. I was embarrassed that I was crying. I wondered how much longer we had to go. It felt like forever. I wanted to hold his hand. I marvelled that his eyes were able to hold mine for so long. I wanted to talk about our plans for the week, and the banking and our daughter's math test. I wanted to check the timer. I wanted to let the dog out and go sort the laundry.   I thought about how I used to stare at him for long periods when we were first together, always thinking there was so much depth and mystery in his deep brown eyes.  After being together for 25 years we don't really look at each other very much anymore. When the timer went off I was surprised it was over so fast. And oddly disappointed. It had…

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Watching Strong Women

Then When I was a kid I found lots of heroes who were women on tv. Most of my life lessons occurred on the small screen while I was desperately attempting to ignore the chaos around me created by my siblings. It was the only escape as I fantasized about being a "grown up".  There wasn't a more obvious option than Wonder Woman with her truth lasso. Charlie's Angels had skills I admired and it seemed to me that if you were to combine these three women you would have the perfect human. They were what I envisioned as the "Modern Woman" - able to take care of themselves yet still be beautiful and loving. women The Bionic Woman was my ultimate goal since I didn't like the idea of being a secretary like Diana Prince but it concerned me as a child that she was never allowed to be true to herself.  I always thought Marianne from Gilligan's Island was underestimated and if they had just listened to her they'd have gotten home a lot sooner. Wilma Flintstone was incredibly patient but I never wanted to have her "gift" of patience if it meant being stuck with an inconsiderate husband like Fred. women Mrs. Brady…

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Smoothie Smorgasbord

In case you are wondering, a "smorgasbord" is a Swedish buffet. Growing up we used to refer to a large quantity of yummy food as a smorgasbord and now it's a pretty good way to refer to these smoothie recipes.  Do you eat all the fruits and veggies you are suppose to every day? I know I don't. As a matter of fact, I feel like I'm in so much of a hurry most days that getting the good stuff in my diet is not very realistic.  According to the Canada Food Guide,  If you are a woman between the ages of 19 to 50 years of age you should aim to have the following daily: 7-8 servings of vegetables and fruit 6-7 grain products 2 milk and alternatives 2 meat and alternatives 30 - 45 mL (2 to 3 Tbsp) of healthy oils and fats In the last few months I have begun the process of changing my lifestyle. With help from people like the folks at Bulletproof, my family now has a greater understanding of what eating with purpose really means. It is almost as if this knowledge came to us at the perfect time when we were absolutely ready to absorb it.  And then I decided to hop on…

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Fairy Dust

It's true that with teens in this house there isn't as big an audience for this amazing craft as there used to be. Now I have to count on nieces, nephews and littles who visit to appreciate these tricks. I don't mind since I consider it part of staying in shape for future grandkids - this kind of craft will blow away their little imaginative minds and they'll be so enthralled!  First you have to realize that it's the simple things that have the most impact on littles. I've always believed that less is more with young kids and if you keep things simple they will appreciate the experience that much better. Kid's work is PLAY. The more they can use their imaginations, the more fun they will have and the better developed their brains will be. I love this craft - I think the possibilities are endless for storytelling, adventures, and creating cause and effect scenarios. I've wanted to share the idea for a long time and luckily I had all the bits and pieces I needed in my stash for this month's craft challenge.  The list of items you need for this: Glue - either glue gun or stick depending on…

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