Category: Thinking 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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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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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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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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Social Media and Self Esteem

Welcome Guest Poster Emma Harris! Emma and classmates have been working hard on raising awareness for causes affecting not just teens but people of all ages and demographics. These kids mean serious business and have created videos, Twitter campaigns, Instagram galleries and promotional materials to get the word out. I'm very proud and will now step aside... For years now society has been aware of the unrealistic standards set by magazines, movies and fashion shows. There have been women strutting around in close to no clothing, men photoshopped to perfection, and diet pills and gym memberships advertised for even the youngest of kids to see. There have been many attempts to raise awareness for these corrupt messages in today’s world, but the problem remains. Worse yet, it has grown out of control. Now we can’t just close the magazine, change channels or not attend the fashion show to get away from the advertisement. In today’s society everyone uses the internet. They uses laptops, phones, iPads or tablets. With these amazing devices comes a great consequence - we give up our right to being ad free. We’re constantly bombarded with ads. There are also other sources of these unrealistic standards,…

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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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Christmas Memories

Do you remember when you believed in Santa? My bedroom was at the end of the hall directly down from the living room. I remember waking up Christmas Eve after everyone had gone to sleep to hear some rustling noises in the living room - it was quite the 'a clatter'. There was a faint glow coming under my door too. I held my breath and could hear clunky sounds from up on the roof that must have been the reindeer hooves. I was so scared Santa would find out I was awake and then I wouldn't be able to have any presents. I was also worried he wouldn't see the cookies and milk. I hid my head under the blankets and almost passed out from lack of air. I was so excited! I heard the door open. Then the sound of a coat falling to the floor. Then rustle, rustle, crinkle, snap. Tree sounds of paper scratching along the branches. And maybe the tinkling of a bell. Eventually I went back to sleep - passed out most likely. The next morning the living room was full of brightly wrapped packages stacked in four 'even' piles around the tree. (One for each of…

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Whatever Makes You Happy

Happy I read a fantastic post a couple of years ago by Jennifer Powell about celebrating something when YOU want to - not when the calendar says you HAVE to. (Moveable Feast) I really feel like I can do this now without feeling guilty. Happy  My husband and I have rescheduled celebrations in the past because we haven't had a choice and always felt it was a let down to people. Not to mention the resentment it has generated. But, as this blogger points out, the purpose of the celebrations, or special meals, is to celebrate THE PEOPLE. I'm a flexible person and I don't care when these things happen. As a matter of fact, I feel very strongly, perhaps ridiculously and rebelliously so, that it is my purpose in life to reduce the pressure of those around me by NOT doing things when I am 'suppose to.’ So much of it is about commercialism anyway. The 'Marketing people' seem to be the ones calling the shots and capitalizing on them these days. Am I getting more cynical as I get older?  Here are some of the reasons I believe events can be rescheduled pain free: Christmas is a pressure filled time with everyone panicking to get…

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The Crown Cometh

There are so many great shows on Netflix these days I feel like I can't keep up. Especially during the busy times like, well, now. I'm definitely setting time aside for this one coming up November 4th - The Crown. I was fortunate to be able to attend a premiere of the first two episodes and had the chance to ask two of the stars from the show questions. Jared Harris plays King George the VI and Vanessa Kirby plays Princess Margaret.  They were kind enough to answer questions about getting into character, the amazing sets and costumes, and how their perceptions of these real life people have changed.  To get into character Vanessa said she read everything she could find, listened to traditional music and watched recordings of the Royals. I asked what kind of reaction they've had to The Crown from the Royal family itself and this is what they said: Peter Morgan, creator of this series as well as the movie The Queen, (starring Helen Mirren,) takes us on a journey to see the private side of this intensely public family. Claire Foy represents Queen Elizabeth in this television series and she is remarkable. She communicates so much with her face when ironically, she is…

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Insta September

Insta Good September feels like the beginning of things. For most of my life it meant the start of school and it continues to be for the kids. It's a weird time of year with the weather not behaving in a 'traditional' manner and being so hot these days, it makes it feel more like summer than autumn.  I posted my daily flowers again in September and it seems the yellow flower pictures continue to be the most popular ones. Two out of the top three were sunflower images.  Here are the top 5 based on post likes and what I like the best. 1.I didn't really think this was such a special image - I took it at the farmer's market on Sunday. Just a big beautiful bucket of sunflowers for sale and of course we brought some of these beauties home. This was my highest rated image in September and I think that is because they look so cheerful.   It's a lovely Tuesday in the neighbourhood. How about where you are? Make it eclectic! . . . . #flowers #floweroftheday #daily #beautiful #love #instaflower #bloom #instablooms #pretty #cute #colour #color #bright #blessed #loveit #amazing #surprise #plant #fragrant #happy #flowerpower…

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Sweet Enough

I recently found out I have metabolic syndrome and was told to dramatically reduce the carbohydrates I take in. My understanding is that it means I have taken in so much sugar for so long that my body is sort of immune to it now. sweet Considering I am basically a sugar addict I'm finding this challenging.  The good news is that while cutting back on carbs, I actually have to increase protein and fat content. (I'm allowed because my cholesterol levels are great otherwise I don't know what I'd do.) The protein and fat makes me feel fuller longer.  I've always had an up and down relationship with weight gain - ever since I was very young. Until I was 25 I was chronically 'under weight' and couldn't gain if I wanted to. My doctors had me drinking meal nutrition shakes in addition to regular food but it didn't make a difference. I was much more active back then too and lived on my bike until I was in my early twenties. sweet Then I met my husband, had two kids too close together and hopped aboard the depression roller coaster for a while. All that added up. I have too much weight…

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Tow Truck Adventures

Stories from the Tow Away zone... This summer both kids were licensed, working full weeks at their jobs and were on different shifts. My husband and I were both working too. Between juggling taxiing and letting them take the cars, things became quite complicated. Maybe that is what led to the ultimate demise of our BOTH our cars this summer, or maybe it was a coincidence. That will remain a mystery...  In any event, I was involved with a tow truck on three different occasions this summer - all within five weeks.   The first time ...was because my husband's ignition stopped working while we were at a friend's house. The truck took about 35 minutes to arrive and the driver was very nice. He towed it to a local Canadian Tire where it was repaired the next day. The second time ...I was driving home in rush hour on the hottest day of the year from my last day of a contract job 40 minutes from home. The car started slowing down and bunny hopping. I managed to hop into a quiet side street and waited. The truck only took 45 minutes in this case and I thought I was pretty lucky considering…

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