Wednesday, December 30, 2009
However, I'm always sad to put away the Christmas stories, but I do it. It makes them more special the next year.
So, today, I say good-bye to our beautifully illustrated The Nativity by Julie Vivas. The Angel Gabriel descends on wispy, watercolour wings to give the message to Mary...and he's wearing work boots. There's a page with the sequence of Mary's belly growing, much to her surprise. My favourite illustration is when Mary (being GREAT with child) is trying to steer the donkey down a steep hill with a big smile on her face. This book makes the story of Mary and Joseph so human. The baby Jesus looks like a real baby in both his posture and his expression. Kieran is also fascinated by his anatomical accuracy. Love it.
Then, there's bear. We love Karma Wilson's bear stories in our house. And I love the fact that she breaks the publishing house rules of having both rhyming text and anthropomorphic animals. Perhaps it's because she does this so well, there's not much room for less skillful approaches. I also appreciate Jane Chapman's illustrations of the animals. They look like real animals but have convincing emotional expression.
Poor Bear slept through the previous Christmas. This year, his friends make sure he stays awake. As they make their Christmas preparations, Bear keeps falling back into hibernation. Finally, he's the only one awake when a special visitor arrives. Kieran enjoys all the little gifts the animals make for each other. Go back to sleep until next year, Bear.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Then, as Stella grows up, the world is no longer as daunting--she gains mastery over it. Her imagination doesn't disappear, it changes. Yet, when her little brother, Sam, comes along, she's able to share her wonder with him. It's a good story for cuddling and admiring the beautiful artwork.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Here's one of our favourites, published by Annick Press...
Kieran loves this story because he loves animals, especially cute, mischievous ones. I love this book because of the eternal optimism of these two little moles. Everything is an adventure and obstacles provide opportunity. There is a subtle celebration of nature whether the sisters befriend a piece of moss or go roaming through a field of wheat. There are four little illustrations per page and the text is poetic in its economy. Even though the protagonists are feminine, I think the story appeals to both boys and girls because of the sense of adventure. These girls are resilient and resourceful. Lovely...
Oh...and each story takes about two minutes to read so you can read FIVE WHOLE STORIES in ten minutes...not that time matters for a tired parent trying to negotiate bedtime...
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Merry Christmas everyone!~
I'll be back in a few days...
Must make merry!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
So...I won't write about gluten-free cooking/baking in this blog as much.
Make sure you also check The Brockville Voice link to the left for my Christmas column.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Shari also taught me how to make these little snowflakes from rolled paper (not rolling paper, although that might work too). Just cut the paper into strips (or use a shredder) and roll the paper around a skewer. Glue the end to form a little spiral. Then, glue them all together in any shape that looks snowflakey.
Kieran painted coloured paper with glitter. Then, I cut out shapes and made this card. I also used his finger paintings to make snowflake cards. Maybe if I start now, I'll have enough for next year.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
These photos are a few weeks old but I've been having camera trouble.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Some days we're moving in different directions. We often have different goals. For instance, I want Kieran to use the potty, and he clearly can't because of his language barrier, being Spanish and all. I toil all morning making gluten-free, sugar-free chocolate chips cookies (for which the ingredients cost more than the sweater I'd love to buy) only so he can eat the first two out of the oven and shun the rest. So--as Jackie so eloquently said--Kieran enjoys the view while I slog away uphill.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Things have changed.
Now, I wait in joyous anticipation as the radio lists off the bus cancellations. Do I love my job any less? No. I just accept the gift of snow days more graciously. Actually, I've come to my senses.
I no longer worry about the curriculum. Maybe that's because I teach drama and no one but me knows (or cares!) what the curriculum covers. But even in an academic course, a day off for the students now and then can boost everyone's energy. Now, I see snow days as a chance to get all those little things done that keep piling up. I feel refreshed and organized when the kids come back.
Because teachers still go to school on snow days.
However, there's a different energy in the air. Since we're all in separate classrooms most of the day and then fly to extra-curriculars at lunch and after school, there's little time to chat. Staff rooms on snow day mornings are magical places. People linger and laugh with coffee. Love it.
And I like to imagine the kids at home: sleeping in, watching soaps, going sledding. It's all good.
C'mon Mother Nature--one more before Christmas!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
"You poor things, having to go out in that. Try not to make noise on your way out the door."
I used to find it especially frustrating when Findley would wake us at 6:00am with persistent purrs and kitty kneads only to be back asleep on his chair by seven, just as we left for work.
But life is not all tuna fish and cat nip for our kitty. Poor Findley's life has changed. He was my baby before Kieran came along. While I still adore him, he knows his status has changed. He has to sleep in the basement now. Sometimes, we run out of soft food. We forgot to unpack his Christmas stocking this year. I would say he's accepted these changes with grace and dignity. In those rare moments, when Kieran is occupied and I sit down to read a book, Findley is right there, willing to take whatever love he can scavenge.
Or, maybe he never really cared, which is more likely. As long as he's fed, has a place to sleep, a clean litter, and the odd scratch behind the ear, he'll stick around. And we're glad he's here.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Peter: Hello? Andrea Cameron?
Andrea: Oh great, a telemarketer. Yes...
Peter: Hi, this is Peter ______ from the annual ______ Literary Contest.
Andrea: Hi. Why is he calling? Am I shortlisted? Did I win? Oh, I must have won. Of course!
Peter: I'm calling regarding your submission.
Andrea: Oh... I'm shortlisted! I knew it! I'm a literary genius and now the world will know! I will become part of the canon of Canadian literature alongside Alice Munro, Timothy Findley, and Margaret Atwood. Yes, my name would look lovely in that list.
Peter: Well, actually, it's about your payment. Oh no, I think she thinks I'm calling to tell her some good news.
Andrea: Is something wrong? Oops. Maybe I'm not a genius.
Peter: Actually, your cheque was returned to us...This is so awkward.
Andrea: That's strange. Insufficient funds? Identity theft? A joke?
Peter: You dated it 2010. Loser.
Andrea: I see. Can I still send another? I am such a loser.
I was having such a good hair day. I should have known it would end like this.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I feel like shouting this news from the rooftops! I just made a delicious gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate chip cookie. Kieran and I both ate one and stared at each other in disbelief. We are both accustomed to my creations turning out a little...dry...crumbly...chick pea-tasting...blah. Now, we rejoice.
What they heck was in them then? you ask. Bob's GF flour, coconut oil, vanilla, applesauce, ground flax seed, xanthan gum, salt, evaporated cane juice...nothing too strange or difficult to find. I found the recipe from--you guessed it--Baby Cakes. I'd love to include the recipe here but I didn't create it so then it might be an intellectual property sort of issue.
Honestly, I'm not working for them or anything. It's just the best darn cookbook I've found for my boy's food issues.
Sue's Christmas Pottery Sale
Saturday, December 5th, 11am-5pm
293 Albert St., Kingston, ON
*some of Sue's early work
*pots from a personal collection
*sale items/end of line selections
***a portion of the profits go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation
Sue is a dear friend of mine and an amazing potter. She was my first pottery teacher. If you're in the area, going would be worthwhile.