A Good Home, Joyful Moments, Lakeside living, Nature, Nature Photography

Canoe on Sugar Lake

 

Hamlin Grange — my esteemed blog photographer– has many fans in my blogging community. So today I’m sharing a few of my favourites from his photo collection. I hope you will enjoy them.

Blog Photo - HG Canoe on Sugar Lake
“Canoe on Sugar Lake” by Hamlin Grange – (copyright protected)

Blog Photo - HG photo of Red Poppy

Blog Photo - HG photo of seagull and lake

Congrats, Hamlin, and thanks for allowing me to share these beautiful images on my blog.

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N.B. Please be sure to get Hamlin’s permission before using his images.

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A Good Home, Canadian Homes, Home, Keeping House

Housekeeping Wisdom and Foolishness

Lately, I’ve been going through my journals. As you can imagine, it’s not all pleasant reading. But some of it is funny, and even wise. Sharing:

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I’m known for my cooking. How I wish that were not so. My cooking skills are legendary for all the wrong reasons. 

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Of course I believe in miracles! I say that every time something I bake turns out well.

Blog Photo - Cake 2

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If I could, I’d have all-white furniture in my living room, and admire it from afar. I’d have to. There’d be no real living going on in that room, I tell you.

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How do they do it, those people in the magazines?  Their sofas and chairs are spotless, their kitchens – their entire homes and gardens — are immaculate. There are no books or magazines left behind on a comfy chair, no cushions fallen from the sofa to the floor, no threadbare old carpets, no signs of daily catastrophes in any of their rooms.

How do they do it?

“They don’t,” says my friend. “It’s just for the photos.”

“Then I wish they’d stop,” I replied. “They’ve given me an inferiority complex.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - dogs on old rug

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A house can be a showplace, I suppose. But my home – now that’s something else. Though I am all for making a comfortable nest for my family and self, mine is a dwelling that shows the marks of living. By that I mean that items are often out of place, forgotten in one room on the way to another, left there till they become fixtures in their new location.

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Blog Photo - Kitchen Pies on Table

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I’ve assigned a virtue to my brand of housekeeping. I call it the “lived in” look.  Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. My home looks and feels lived in, with books, blankets and cushions comfortably misplaced and eyeglasses and notebooks in any room but the one where I most need them.

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An interior decorator told me there’s a big difference between “storage” and “display”. My dining room cupboard was meant for display purposes, he said.

Oh dear.

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Blog Photo - Journals

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One thing the catastrophes of recent years have done for me: I have shed most of my false pride and pretense. And I’m trying to stamp out the rest.

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I don’t worry about impressing anyone. As long as the house is clean, as long as there are fresh sheets and flowers from my garden in the guest room, and people have enough to eat, I’m content. But this attitude of mine didn’t happen overnight. It took years. 

Blog Photo - flowers white daisies in vase

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The wisdom that age brings is knowing that we don’t always have to accept what others think, or what they do…especially when we have experience of our own and some commonsense too.

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I hope your new year is off to a  good start!

 

 

A Good Home, Courtice North Public School, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, Myrtle The Purple Turtle in the Schools, Young readers

A Great Morning with Young Readers

I spent a recent morning with dozens of young people at Courtice North Public School in Ontario.

Their teachers had included Myrtle the Purple Turtle in their recent studies. Principal Peter Bischoff invited me to visit.

Blog Photo - School Cynthia holds book and talks to students

I was nervous!

Writing for your readers is one thing. Hearing them talk about your book — and answering their questions — is quite another.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle

And though I’d won awards and acclaim for my children’s TV programs in earlier years, it’s been a long time since I visited a classroom.

The first thing I noticed was that Mrs. Murphy, the teacher who introduced me, treated the students with great respect, addressing them as “Ladies and gentlemen”.

When you are nine or ten years old and are addressed as “Ladies and gentlemen”, what do you do? You live up to it, of course.

Blog Photo - School students 1

Wow. What a smart, polite and thoughtful group. Their observations about the book’s key messages about difference, the role of friends, and accepting oneself and others, were sharp and eloquent.

We talked together about why “the mean turtle” behaved so badly toward Myrtle and whether that turtle might have herself been bullied and considered it normal to be mean.

That led us to talk about a sequel.

Myrtle Picture - Thud

“We followed Myrtle through her day and saw what happened before she met the other turtle,” one astute young woman noted.

“But we didn’t follow the other turtle before she and Myrtle met. Maybe the sequel could tell us more about what happened before to make her so mean.”

“But the story is about Myrtle the Purple Turtle, so if you (focus on) the other turtle, you’d have to change the title of that book to ‘The Mean Green Turtle'”, a young man observed. 

Blog Photo - School student writes

As you can imagine, the discussion was intensive and fabulous. Mrs. Murphy had asked me to talk a bit about the writing process. Discussing the characters and story development for the sequel was one practical way of doing so.

Blog Photo - School Cynthia holds book and talks to students

My great thanks to each and all of the students.

To principal Peter Bischoff, and the teachers of Grades 4, 5 and 6  — Mrs. Fedewicz, Mrs. Posteraro, Mrs. Durst and Mrs. Murphy: 

Thank you for using my book as a learning tool and thanks for your warm welcome.  You made my week!

Thanks to Jennifer Pym-Murphy for the photos. 

A Good Home, Purple, Snow

Snow Time

 

I thought we had a lot of snow!

Blog Photo - Snow on bench 1

But then came more….

Blog Photo - Snow on bench 2

And more…

Blog Photo - Snow on wall

At least the temperatures here in our little valley are a bit milder today, but it’s still cold.  Of course, scenes like the one above are pretty to look at — from indoors.

And if one must venture outside, I have a gift from Angie and my friends at BOAA (who held the huge book signing in November for Myrtle).

So mittens, in purple and snow-white — and a card with purple iris — are very fitting, wouldn’t you say?

Blog Photo - Purple Gloves

A gift to warm the hands and heart…

Blog Photo - Purple Iris and Gloves

… No matter how cold it gets outside. Thank you, Angie and BOAA.

Hope your new year is off to a good start. And if you live in the frozen north, stay warm — or bundle up when outdoors!