Showing posts from March, 2012

Rate, Time and Distance

In my grade 9 math class we are working on solving word problems with equations. Yesterday we worked on Distance, Rate, and Time questions like this:

Today, I told my students that I would do WHATEVER it takes for them to leave my class and have an understanding of this concept. I would be mortified if they shot THIS video and it went viral.

My students thought the video was hilarious. Hopefully they also had the concept of Rate, Time, and Distance hammered home. How perfect for me that it went viral the week I was teaching the same concept!

Here is the answer to the problem above. . . . in case you wanted to give it a try yourself!

How do you like them apples?

The last few weeks I have been visiting Pinterest everyday (that link will get you to my boards). I can't help myself from admiring all the beautiful clothes and hair, drooling over all the scrumptious food, and having a bit of craft envy on many of the incredible projects people pin.

On the weekend we had some apples that were getting close to losing their crispy edge and since I had received a flat of apples on Thursday from a band fundraiser at our school, the less crispy apples needed to go! I took to Pinterest came across THIS pin and knew it was the one. My mother-in-law is an incredible baker and had sent some pre-made pastry for our freezer few months ago and this was the perfect project to use it with.

These mini-apple pies were delicious. But they weren't quite what I expected. In fact, they tasted more like a tart. Pies to me are a bit more juicy (to use Hugh's word!). After doing a bit of reading I found out some apples are better than others for baking. The Ga…

Good-bye Student Loan!

Hugh and I made a lump sum payment today to free ourselves from the burden of my student loan. I graduated from the U of  S in the summer of 2002, so it has almost been 10 years of payments.

When I first started making payments I was teaching in Brooks, Alberta. In my mind, there was no way I was going to be paying off that dept for 1/3 of my teaching career. When I set up the payment schedule and the loans representative told me what the minimum payment was I upped it.

Two years later I moved back to Saskatchewan. The cost of living was no different that it had been in Brooks. In fact I was even paying more for my apartment in Prince Albert than I had been for my apartment in Brooks. On top of that, I was getting paid less to teach there. Significantly less. Money was so tight that I had to call and have my student loan payments brought down to the minimum. Please keep in mind I WAS NOT a frivolous spender. Even at 23 years old, I had a binder where I recorded my expenses.

By the tim…

8 minutes

I am sitting behind my desk at work deeply immersed in creating a new unit for my Foundations 20 class. The clock says 4:07. Crap. I'm late. I needed to leave at precisely 4:00 to arrive at Calder's daycare by 4:30.

I slam my textbook shut. If I'm lucky I will have remembered to save my work. I flip my laptop closed and grab my coat. I walk at an Olympic speed walker's pace down the hall. I can hear my grade 3 teacher as I do, "swing those hips, you can walk faster!" Once I reach the doors to the parking lot I start running. Fast. For some reason it seems silly to run inside, but once outside it doesn't matter how silly I look.  This girl can motor pretty fast in 2 inch heels.

I fire up the loser cruiser and put it in reverse. I look in my rearview mirror, but don't do any kind of shoulder check. There isn't time.

Traffic is completely an utterly annoying. I am ready to lose. my. mind. I have a death grip on the steering wheel and barely stop myse…

You are my sunshine, Calder

I used to be able to post a list of all the new things Calder was saying, but I can't do it anymore. He is at a point in his language development that I just can't keep up. Case in point:
Hugh had a hockey game on Friday night where his team won the Fort Carlton Hockey League! Can I get a whoop whoop? So on Saturday morning when Calder came into our room I whisked him into the main bathroom for his morning pee so that we wouldn't disturb Hugh. Here's what Calder told me on the way to the bathroom:
"We can turn the bathroom light on in here, because nobody sleeps in here. Only cars sleep in here. . . and monster trucks (referring to the toys he took in the tub the night before that were laying on the bath mat). And the monster trucks crash into the cars and make little tiny pieces. We need to pick them up when Pacecomes to our house."(Pace is Calder's 1 year-old cousin)
It is so cool now that Calder has these language skills to get a little glimpse at what…

Reaching Out

Tonight I am going to sit down a write a letter to a woman I have never met - but in a way I still kind of know her. You see she recently became a member of the dead baby club. I am still clinging to that yucky name - it is such a yucky club. For almost a month I have been thinking about what I am going to say to her. There is so much I want to tell her, but I know none of it will make her feel better. I have been stressing about choosing the right words to express to her how sorry I am for her lost. I just hope she will find some comfort in some snippet of my letter.

Writing that first paragraph made me think back to THIS post from last March. It is about I letter I got from a mom whose baby had died 23 years before. I read the post and cried. . .

I actually sent a letter in January to a woman who had lost her baby and included a Willow Tree Angel in the package. I went to high school with her and because of this didn't feel pressure to write anything profound or inspiring. I jus…

Christmas Kindness #3

Wednesday, 7:43 pm

Calder's daycare provider gave me this gift at Christmas. She doesn't normally get gifts for parents, but had been thinking of us and our first Christmas without Tripp.

It took me FOREVER to get a picture small enough to fit in it. You can't tell the scale of the snow globe from the picture I took, but the globe magnifies the picture. This means the picture is even smaller than it looks.

I have been thinking a lot about Tripp today. In fact, the snow globe caught my eye this morning when I grabbed my socks out of my top dresser drawer. I read the caption and took a moment to remember the moment.

That picture was taken the first time I EVER got to cradle Tripp. It makes me sad to think the first time I held him was to say good-bye, but the smile on my face is not fake. I was so happy to finally get to hold my baby and to be able to comfort him and take care of him. This photo captures one of the happiest moments of my life.

That moment was definitely a ha…

Kicked out of Adsense

Or to use their words, "we've determined that your AdSense account poses a risk of generating invalid activity"

I read their Terms and Conditions thoroughly. I followed these rules to the best of my knowledge. I could list a bunch of examples, but that seems kind of boring.

What I didn't completely follow was Google's Program Policies for Adsense. Unfortunately, I didn't even know these existed until my account was disabled. It was here I read that publishers may not "compensate users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behaviour." I totally did this. I said that I was going to donate the money to charity. The program policy also says that "clicks on Google ads must result from genuine user interest. Any method that artificially generates clicks or impressions on your Google ads is strictly prohibited. These prohibited methods include, but are not limited to, repeated manual clicks . . . "…

Are you prepared?

The power was off in Martensville for a large part of the day yesterday. It felt like an adventure when I got home. I ran around the house and opened blinds to let what was left of the sun shine in. I lit dozens of candles for light as well as warmth (our house was only 17 degrees celsius). I called Hugh to pick up some food on his way home. We could have had a sandwiches and salad, but if felt like we were having a serious adventure and we needed some fun food to go with it.
My mind started spinning the "what ifs". What if the power was off all night? I need to save the batter on my cell - our house line doesn't work without power. What will I do during that time? I could still key an exam for school, but there would be no blogging. I could live without TV, but I just finished my book on the weekend. . . hmmm. . . could always pull out Harry Potter! What if the power was still off tomorrow? We could cook on the BBQ, but we will need to really limit going in and out of t…

Right Where I Am

I still think, "What if Tripp were here?" 

I wonder if I would have went to Hugh's hockey game this weekend if I had him, I wonder if I would be managing back at work with two kids, and I wonder what kind of brother Calder would be.
I still get sad. Lots. 
I just live with it. I blink back tears in conversations and save them for another time. I light candles and candles and more candles.
I still feel lonely.
I can be around dozens of people or just Hugh and Calder and I can feel like I am all by myself. Periods of loneliness are part of my grief.

I still think, "I can't believe Tripp died."

There are lots and LOTS of positive things in my life. I just don't feel like writing about them today. I just feel like wallowing. So that's what I'm doing.


It's 8:32 am. I am sitting my classroom basking in the silence. Usually my classroom is already buzzing with students dropping of books and stopping in to get some extra help. We have professional development this morning, so students have the day off. Parent teacher interviews were last night and we have another set this afternoon. It feels good to sit in my classroom without the rush of getting started. Yesterday, I when I was trying to figure out how to squeeze a few minutes out of my day to write, my thoughts moved to today and there was a sense of calm. Time to write. Time to think. Time to breathe.

Life in a school is busy. Every moment of every day is busy. I so love days like today where I get to reflect on what I do. To think about how I teach and how I can do it better. This last year I have fell in love with the writing process which I think is primarily due to the reflecting I do as I write. I spend so much time working (marking, planning, and creating) that it feels l…

Super Mom Mess Up

About 5 minutes after my "Super Mom" revelation on Tuesday I pulled up to Calder's day home to pick him up. As I approached the door I noticed that it looked fairly dark inside, but didn't think anything of it. The doors was locked. Strange. Maybe they are in the back yard. I peer through the fence boards and had a good listen. Nothing. Hmmmm. . . I head to the van to check my phone. I figure Hugh must have picked Calder up and I was left out of the loop. This could have easily happened because of the way I misuse my cell phone. You see I usually don't have it charged, let alone with me. I get to the van and toss things around until I find my phone. I flip it open and see two texts from Calder's daycare provider (DP).

Oh. Crap.

It was Tuesday. This meant it was 4 pm pick up day. It was 4:23 pm. UGH.

I call DP and profusely apologize. I then head into the city to pick up Calder. When there was no one to pick him up at 4 pm, poor DP was forced to take him to the…

Where are you Super Mom?

Yesterday was about inspiration.

I was feeling bogged down by all of the tasks in front of me. I was feeling discouraged about the lack of thoughtful writing I had been doing.

On the way home from work I thought. And thought. And I realized that I needed "Super Mom" back. That woman was full of positive thinking and could get any number of tasks completed. It has only been a couple of weeks since I summoned her (read HERE), but somewhere along the line she had already gotten lost.

This morning I realized that I am NOT a natural "Super Mom." You know how you say that some people are just natural piano players, natural dancers, natural hockey players, natural (INSERT any activity you could possibly think of HERE), etc. These people have talent and their gifts come second nature to them. They were born to be piano players, dancers, and hockey players.

Then there are other people like me.  We can work really, really hard at something, but it never feels quite natural. …

Winter's Last Day

I figure I better get this post up. With a high of +15 degrees celsius today, our snow might be gone by the time we get home. In fact yesterday's high of +6 did quite a number on Saturday's fun already!

 Hugh and Calder traded toques!
 Grandpa Fritshaw hung around to help us build! Our neighbours might think we are quite the boozers. Check out Frosty's eyes and nose.
 Calder decided we needed a fort. So we built a fort.

 Kids in the neighbourhood were slowly creeping by our house to get a look at Calder's "cozy house." (his words :-)

I don't like the cold, but I do like winter. It feels incredible on days like this to be outside. I hate to complain, but I wish we had had a bit more snow this winter and a few more -10 days to enjoy playing in it.
But there is no looking back. I think spring may be here.

The Party

Things that were a hit:

Helium balloons. Apparently you can get balloons filled at the Dollar store for $0.50 a balloon, but Grandma Fritshaw bought a helium tank from Costco (approximately $25) which is supposed to fill 50 balloons. THEY WERE AWESOME. The kids played and played with them and then each got to take a couple home.
Cake Pops. Bake cake. Crumble. Mix with tub of frosting. Roll into balls. Chill/freeze. Cover in chocolate. They take some time. But everyone LOVES them! (bottom right hand corner of this picture)
PiƱata. Uncle Luke and Auntie Brittany bought one for Calder and Hugh filled it to the brim with candy. I am fairly confident that there were some annoyed parents when they left our house because their child was taking a grocery bag full of candy with them. Hugh begs to differ with me. His exact words were "we didn't get enough candy."
Baileys. I didn't take a picture. But you know what I am talking about! Coffee goes great with it. Here is the closest …

Getting ready to cut a cheque!



alright. enough yelling. but I seriously am pumped!

I have allowed Google AdSense to place ads on my site which is how I have made the money. "The commission you receive per click depends on how much advertisers are paying Google for the particular ad. You will earn a share of that amount.  I've heard of earnings anywhere from 2 cents to $15 per click." (

Since my total AdSense earnings are now $162.60 all-time it means GOOGLE IS SENDING ME A CHEQUE! (They don't send one until you earn over $100)

I can hardly wait. I believe they mail out cheques on the 15th, so hopefully by the start of April I will be making a cheque for $162.60 to the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.


Thank-you to everyone who comes here!

I will leave you with some picture of our 3 year-old taken on his birthday yesterday.

Check out the n…

Happy Birthday, Calder!

Here is a look back . . .

3 years ago:

2 years ago:

1 year ago:

Calder, I love your independence, your sense of humour and how kind you can be. I can't wait to see all of the things you do when you are 3! But I am going to miss your heavy metal rock'n roll when people ask you how old you are!

Where's the ladder?

Last night I wanted to throw our Mac off our roof. I was making thank-you cards for Calder's birthday and I needed to add text to a photo. I have used other programs before, but since we just got the new Mac desktop, I thought now was as good a time as any to get the most out of our computer. I only searched for a couple of minutes to figure it out. I then went to work on all of this elaborate text - different fonts, sizes and colours.

The program froze.

No problem.

Macs automatically save what you are working on. I re-open the program and there is my photo with only about a minutes worth of editing lost. But wait. I can't alter any of the editing I have already done. Not only that, the font sizes I was using are no longer available.

After a 1/2 of googling solutions, I decide to restart my computer to see if that will fix it. It does. Although I still can't edit the text, I can get the font size I want. So, I start from scratch. And after 20 minutes of editing, it happens…

Girl's Night Out - Tisdale Style

I should have taken a picture of super. It was divine.

Two of my dearest friends growing up live in Saskatoon and the three of us try to get together for a girl's night out once a month. Twyla and her husband are getting close to completing an addition and a pile of renovations to their house and so Twyla agreed to host (we usually eat out. . . who wants to cook ;-). I was excited to see their new and improved digs. Let me just say it is gorgeous. I am not sure why I didn't take any pictures of their house! Let's just say the largest island in the kitchen I have EVER seen, not to mention the most cupboard space! And for all the men - there is a TV in their master bathroom!

Our change in venue suited Delayne just fine as well. . . but for other reasons. Twyla makes KILLER cakes and after a bit of whining Twyla agreed to make one for Delayne whose 29th birthday is on March 9th!


Ketchup Chip Dreams

We had a crazy, fun weekend that was filled with TONS of company and activity. It was exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. 
I didn't sleep well this weekend, but it didn't stop me from go-go-go. There wasn't time to stop, let alone slow down. I don't always function well in these conditions, but with a bit of help from our company, I even got caught up on our laundry! I have finally learned how to release some of the control and let people help when they ask, "what can I do?" I also had the recent TED Talk I watched on my mind and was continually reminding myself that yes, I was SUPER-Mom.
This afternoon as our company slowly started to disperse and we got some quiet time, Calder and I sat on the couch with some chips. I needed a moment to veg and Calder having just fallen down from a chair at the table and bit his tongue (it looks like raw meat in two spots where his teeth punctured) did not hesitate to get on board. Calder decided to watch mon…

Calder's Family Album

When Calder was a few months old I started a "scrapbook" for him. The reason scrapbook is in quotations is because Calder's book isn't one of those typical fancy looking books where putting it together is a full-time job and major coin is needed to purchase all the fancy paper and stickers.

Calder's book was meant to be drooled on. It was meant to have fingerprint smears and pages bent. It was meant to be used by a child.

I thought it would be neat for Calder to stare at pictures of himself with all of his family when he had the much dreaded tummy time. I thought he might be a bit less shy with those family members who lived far away if he saw their faces a bit more often. I thought he would learn about letters and words if he could see a name and picture together.

I can't say for sure if any of those things happened, but I do know Calder has ALWAYS loved looking at this book. I think it was most fun when he was just learning to talk. He would point to every …