Category: Family Stuff


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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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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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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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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I've just had the pleasure of watching an auditorium full of high school kids turn into Agents of Change. These future leaders came together with their teachers and school administration to donate a couple of dollars each for the pleasure of watching a movie together. Each kid in that audience learned that there are more than 36,000 kids in their region who rely on nutrition programs to eat at school or in community centres daily. toonies4tummies In this post I'm going to give you the chance to donate to this program online three times. This is the first time - click the toonie:  If you live in Canada you probably think that as one of the wealthiest nations in the world our children don't experience many hunger issues. You'd probably be shocked to know that approximately 1.1 million children rely on nutrition programs in school 5 days a week to eat during the school day. Believe it. The more I read the statistics the more shocked I am. Take a look at this infographic: All money raised is distributed to the groups in each area responsible for the programs for them to decide how best to use it. Some places such…

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Shortbread Cookies

I am about to show you how to make the most delicious shortbread cookies you will ever try. This recipe is being posted early so we have time to prepare for any parties or cravings that might sneak up. I'm making them in anticipation of a repeat of last year when I found out the same day that my daughter needed some for school and if they don't end up going there we'll enjoy them at home - they are DELICIOUS.  My favourite shortbread recipe can be found on the back of the Canada Corn Starch box. I've made this so many times over the years for all occasions and I believe this one is the best.  I'm not sure how long this recipe has been around but I do know I've been making it for decades. I've seen and tried many variations of it but I always come back to the original.  You can roll it into a log to slice it as I have here, roll it into balls and press with a fork on the cookies sheet, or cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Lots of options. Plus the decorating choices are endless... Make it like this... I also modify mine by adding…

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Family Bonding with the Toronto Marlies

Toronto Marlies Guest poster Paul Harris, World's greatest Leaf fan and my partner in crime, shares his experiences at a Toronto Marlies game last week: Recently, I had the pleasure of joining my wife and family on another sports adventure. This time we got to see the Toronto Marlies - the farm team of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, play the Devil's from Albany (yes, New Jersey's farm team). Most home games are played at the Ricoh Centre, however this game was played at the Air Canada Centre - home of the Leafs! Like our experience with the Raptors 905, the staff did a great job engaging the fans, with young players having a game during the break, T-shirts thrown into the cheering crowd and other fun games & trivia allowing fans to win prizes. Unfortunately, the home team did not enjoy the same result and instead mimicked their big club's recent efforts, namely losing 3 to 1, despite outshooting their opponents 35 to 25 and thoroughly dominating the second half of the game. There was plenty of excitement, including a disallowed goal (which appeared to go over the goal line and instead of a video review, a penalty shot was…

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Netflixing Through the Holi-daze

What a year 2016 has been. For better, for worse. I think next year will be MUCH BETTER. In the meantime I am fully prepared to shut off my brain and allow the reward chemicals to seep out and gently buffer in the new year.  I've learned a lot about bingeing this year - a sport I am fully prepared to participate in on a moments notice. It turns out bingeing helps release those chemicals that make you feel happy. Makes sense right?  You know that feeling you get when you finish a really good book or show? How you sort of feel like you are left hanging or miss the store so much you grieve a little? I also learned that people, me included, have a fairly predictable habit of going from a series to a movie then back to a new series. According to research, after finishing a series, people take a few days off before committing to a new show. During that break, more than half of us watch a movie. This little video explains this in a cute way: When I first learned about this I was like - OMG that is totally me! Anyway,…

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Dale Chihuly Exhibit at the ROM

Prepare to have your mind blown Last year my brother introduced me to the glass artist known as Dale Chihuly. I saw a few pieces of his work in Gantineau in the lobby of Hotel Lac-Leamy. I always wanted to see it up close and personal and I finally got my chance recently at his exhibit in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum. You can see it too! I was like a little fan girl when I first saw this row boat and my daughter laughed at me for having tears in my eyes when we walked in. I've cyber stalked the work of Dale Chihuly and all his videos for the last 18 months and you just can't imagine the size and impact of these beautiful pieces of glass. I love his row boats and water balls. What a spectacular show it is! Best news ever is that you have until January 8th to see it yourself! Take a trip with the family to experience the amazing display the museum has put on for your viewing pleasure. Better yet, get your family an annual pass to the ROM as the family gift this year.  This little house was very interesting. The teams…

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Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

In an earlier post here, I explained our new idea family plan for this Christmas gift giving to ensure the kids get useful and meaningful gifts that we think will be more appreciated than the old style of 'bulk' gifting. It's all about quality over quantity. In this post I want to explain a few cool ideas for stocking stuffers - for teens and adults too. These items can be purchased all across Canada. PLUS, at the end you will see a very awesome giveaway for some stocking stuffers too.  Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Giveaway! Both of our kids are teens and as such require many toiletries and self care items. I have a great pile of goodies for their stockings and am being mindful of what is actually useful. Some of these products they have used before and some are new including the following:  GRAVOL® Natural Source® Ginger Liquid Gel Capsules, Tablets & Lozenges  This product prevents nausea and vomiting with naturally sourced ginger. It is useful for going on those long drives to family homes for Christmas get togethers. My daughter has long since had travel sickness and what I like about this product is that it is non-drowse. It…

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Only 4 Gifts for Christmas?

These Crazy Days of Christmas Giving Do you ever feel like Christmas gift giving is going over the top? For me it got to the point where I felt like I was buying and buying and buying but it was not satisfying. It felt hollow to just pile on another present that is nice but not really necessary.  Plus, how many gifts do your kids really use after they open them anyway? My son has a bunch of things in a bag from 2 years ago that he hasn't even gone through since he unwrapped them and took them up to his room.  It makes me sad thinking about how it seems the reason for the season isn't as much about spending time with family as it is about spending money. I feel like many businesses are pushing the wrong messages here.  As a family we've thought long and hard about this. Nobody wants to waste money giving gifts that aren't useful or appreciated. That's not what this season should be about. This year we have all agreed that things will be different. We have agreed that there will be a stocking and four gifts each for the kids. The stockings will have useful items…

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Raptors 905 at the Hershey Centre

Guest Contributor! Back again is my husband talking about sports stuff! He was pretty impressed with a couple of games we saw lately and here will tell you what he thinks of the first one and the facility it is in. The Raptors 905 team has only been around since 2015 and this was our first time enjoying one of their games. Check out their website here: Raptors905.  A few short years ago my wife, Carin, made the decision to go back to school. She took a program at Durham College called Internet Applications and Web Development. That experience has led to the creation of this site, where Carin can, and has, expressed her thoughts on life, the universe and everything. One kind of post is where she will try out a product or service and write up her opinion of it. I had the opportunity to join her for one of these, to see the Raptors 905. This court is so shiny and protected - we had to walk a thin line to get to the centre. The Raptors 905 is the farm team to the Toronto Raptors NBA basketball team. As a life-long Toronto Maple Leaf fan, its been hard to stay…

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