Monday, August 31, 2009

“I love spinach!”

How many five year olds do you know who think this? Some of you know how lucky we are with Isabelle and food. The only concern we have had since discovering she wasn’t crazy about pureed food is that perhaps she eats too much.

Tonight’s supper was to be steak, potato and a salad except that we didn’t have any lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, or cucumber only carrots, broccoli and spinach. Isabelle said that was fine and as fast as I could put spinach leaves on her plate she gobbled them up, she couldn’t even wait until I got the plate on the table.

So, here is my little Popeye. She got a camera for her birthday so she has had great fun playing with it! Thanks P & S!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Isabelle’s Songs

Here are videos of Isabelle’s French and English songs which were in her cahiers this week.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Premiere Semaine de l’Ecole

Isabelle has just finished her first week at the Bilingual School. She seems to enjoy school, wanting to go everyday with not even a hint of hesitation.

She is in a class of eight – 2 girls and 6 boys. Having that many boys around will be a big change for Isabelle. From our public health group and her first babysitter to Apple Tree Landing and Montessori, girls have always far outnumbered the boys. On Tuesday, I took cupcakes in for her birthday and the teachers, very kindly, took a few pictures for me:P8250078 Last night, there was a school meeting, in French. I followed most of it and Paul was there so he got all of it. One of the things the parents do in the school is help with the library and read with the students in our native language so I have asked to do that.  The challenge will be next week when he is away and I have to go to another meeting with her teachers without him. Luckily, I have a good friend whose daughter is a year ahead of Isabelle who will be there.

Today, she brought home her new cahiers: a small one in French for comptines, chansons, poesies; a small one in English for songs and poems and a large cahier de classe, complete with work! Isabelle is very proud of her decoration of the covers of the smaller books. She sang the two songs to me today but Paul has our good camera so I couldn’t get a video of her singing them. Here are some pictures of  her work this week:

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A Funny Picture of the Playground
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Isabelle and Papa with a flower they saw but didn't pick because it was in the woods. (we talked a lot this summer about leaving flowers where they belong)
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This is a connect the dots exercise.
Colour by numbers – Can you see the picture?
Also, see the assessment of her work on the right.
A story they read this week.
Starting next week Isabelle will be going to the YMCA with the school for Phys Ed. The school does not have a uniform except for Phys Ed when she has to wear the school shirt. They were on sale today, so she was proudly sporting it this afternoon.



Monday, August 24, 2009

Birthday Party at The Glazing Pot

This is a big week for Isabelle. We had her birthday party yesterday, first day of school is today and her birthday is tomorrow, plus she has gymnastics tomorrow. If she doesn’t sleep well with all that going on, we are in big trouble!

After a lot of discussions, we finally settled on a location for a birthday party. On one of our rainy days in Wolfville, Hayley, Mona, Isabelle and I went to the Clayground in Wolfville. Since Isabelle really seemed to enjoy it and there is a similar place pretty close to our house we decided on a “Paint Your Own Pottery” party.

Isabelle had made the invitations with Tante Rhea so all Paul had to do was stick in the details, address the envelopes and put them in the mail. In an effort to keep things simple and healthy, we made veggie trays and fruit trays and, of course, a cake. The specifications for a cake were: chocolate and flowers.

The first try on the cake Paul wanted to make a piggy bank since that was what the girls would be painting at the party. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite figure out the architecture of what he wanted without having to carve it out. Then we decided on a simple two layer round cake but the icing went all funny – it tasted fine, it just looked grainy. The next day, I borrowed a flower-shaped pan from a neighbour and made another cake. We decorated it using some hints from Tante Rhea – but next time we want to do a fancy cake we may have to import her! Good thing I started baking on Friday! Paul took some cake to work today but we still have a whole layer left, which is what wouldn’t fit in the borrowed cake pan. I love this chocolate cake recipe  - it is so easy and yummy – well, it is chocolate! I have tried the icing too but for a kid’s party it seemed like too much chocolate.
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The Glazing Pot was a great place to have the party. We paid a little extra to have them open on Sunday so we could have the place to ourselves and with all the parents and a few siblings in tow it was worth it! The girls painted their pigs for about an hour which left lots of time to eat, have cake, open presents and visit some more. The youngest guests were four and a few were already six, I don’t think it would be good for younger children but I could see older ones working on their project for much longer than these girls did. The staff was great – very helpful and accommodating  - they have definitely done this before which made things easier for us. I hope everyone had fun, Isabelle certainly did!
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Off to School

Today is Isabelle’s first day of school! Last night, Paul and I labeled her school supplies and Isabelle decided what she was going to wear for her first day. Paul had arranged to go to work late so he could come with us, so he woke her up this morning. She was a little groggy but got dressed and ate her cereal and strawberries pretty quickly. This meant we left a little earlier than I had planned. After exploring the neighbourhoods around her school, we arrived. The other children and parents were gathering behind the school, Isabelle and the other children played on the playground until the bell. P8243451The children were then called to their classrooms – higher grades first until all that were left were the Primary (Grande Section) and Grade 1 (Cours PrĂ©paratoire) classes. By my quick count, there are seven in Isabelle’s class – 5 boys and 2 girls – but the children from both classes were bunched together so I may be wrong. Then, they were off and the parents were invited to have coffee to meet some of the other parents. We didn’t stay for long since Paul had to get to work but I expect I will have another chance this afternoon when I pick her up.
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Now, what to do with the rest of my day??

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Where to start??

We had a great summer – lots of time in Nova Scotia visiting with friends and family – and even though the weather was pretty lousy it didn’t matter.

We started with a mad dash from Greenville to Connecticut. A 14 hour drive which Isabelle handled like a pro – we couldn’t have asked for an easier drive. The aim was to be able to spend some time with Rhea, Jon and cousin Sam and it was well worth it. Besides having a good visit, Tante Rhea and Isabelle made birthday invites and Isabelle entertained Sam.

From CT, we drove to Portland, ME (with a quick side trip to see July 4th in Freeport) to catch the ferry to Yarmouth. This was our 4th trip on the Cat and I have to say it is great for us - a whole day of driving is cut off and Isabelle is entertained the whole way. I have heard lots of stories of people being seasick but we have never had a problem.

We had a couple of nights in Saulnierville complete with walks on the beach, a bonfire and steamed clams and some shopping at Frenchy’s. The tables at all the Frenchy’s were a little bare, I wonder if the sources are drying up because of the recession?

Then it was off to the Valley for a few nights with friends – thanks to Mona and Graham for having us and for letting us invite a few more friends for dinner! While Paul put in some time in Waterville, Isabelle, Maggie and I hung out, enjoyed the view of the valley and went to the library and playground just like the old days!
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After the Valley we went to Halifax to visit with Mum and Dad. Paul got in a paddling trip while I hit the farmers’ market (101 vendors, how about that Greenville??) and some of my favorite old haunts – JWD, Woozles, Bookmark (I had to save Schooner for another day) and, of course, Point Pleasant Park.

We put Paul on a plane back to SC and went to Cape Breton – see my previous blog entry.

After Cape Breton, we were back in Halifax and Chester. We had a beautiful day in Chester – thanks to L & G for letting us land on you, the BBQ was great! Also, thanks to S & J for taking Isabelle to her 2nd parade of the vacation. Also, by the time we got back from CB, Stephanie was home from England. Have I mentioned – Happiness is…Aunt Stephanie!
Next was three nights at Milford House. Year 36 for me, year 8 for Maggie and year 5 for Isabelle. It was quieter than last year with just the three of us in ‘Little’ cabin but Taryn arrived for two nights which gave us a good chance to visit. The water was really high, every year I try to take a picture of the same rock and after several years of being mostly above water at the beginning of July, this year it was almost under water at the beginning of August.
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I think the best time to take pictures at Milford is early in the morning. On our last morning I got up early to sit on the dock with my camera and Maggie decided to join me. After a while, there was a flurry of activity around the point and out came six mergansers. With her poor hearing and sight, Maggie didn’t really pay much attention which was probably better for everyone!
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As always it was hard to leave Milford but I had to meet Paul’s parents in Joggin Bridge (near Digby) since Isabelle was going to stay with them for a week. I meandered back along the #1 stopping here and there before dropping Maggie off with Ella at Happy Valley Kennels. I have to say it again – Ella is wonderful, she is one of the main things we miss from home. Especially now with Maggie’s arthritis and separation anxiety, it is good to know that there is someone around day and night.

Leaving Maggie at Ella’s meant that when I picked Paul up the next morning we were on our own for the weekend. As you can read in his blog, it gave us the chance to tromp around Halifax and browse in stores rather than be rushed by Isabelle or knowing Maggie was in the car. We also got to fly kites at Citadel Hall…Stephanie bought one for Paul and we bought one for Dad the the third is an old one of Dad’s. Stephanie managed to catch all three in flight - the orange one is only about 3 inches tall! Paul had meetings in Waterville so I tagged along to pick up Maggie, visit friends, browse at The Odd Book, and generally try to relax before the big trip home. Taryn had us over for dinner which, as usual, was perfect.


Wednesday morning we headed back to Saulnierville. Isabelle had spent the night with her cousins in Carlton so we didn’t rush along leaving us time to check out a few more Frenchy’s on the way. Dinner that night was at Chez Christophe – scallops and fish for me. I should be growing gills after all the seafood I ate in Nova Scotia! While she was in Saulnierville, it was the Festival de Clare so she got to see another parade (for those of you counting that was #3) as well go to the church picnic where, after getting a hole in one, she won her newest favorite companion – a stuffed dog. Looks like Peter may have a golfing partner!


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On Friday we spent some time in Carleton and then caught the ferry to Portland. For the first time in my experience, the ferry was packed, lots of kids and they ran out of of some food but we had brought our own picnic of maple smoked salmon, crackers and cheese.

The trip home wasn’t as easy as the trip up, We were all tired and there was a lot of traffic on the roads especially in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. We had a night in Portland, ME and another in Harrisburg, PA but I think next time we will try not to travel on a weekend. It was definitely good to get home on Sunday night.