Every night

“A father’s involvement in their child’s early reading is proven to boost academic success, leading to improved social and emotional well being.”


“Since reading is a social experience, it should always be accompanied by cuddling, talking, joking, and asking and answering questions.”

~Paul Kropp~



In Mom’s Book Basket


Here is where I normally post about what Althea is reading now but, on occasion, I will also take a moment to share what is sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read when Althea naps or when we are having a quiet moment together in the afternoon. So! I have undertaken a crazy endeavour to read more of the classics but I honestly wasn’t sure where to start. I discovered a number of useful sites for reading suggestions but I literally wanted someone to tell me what classic to read when. Enter Penguin Classics’ Literary Makeover! This guy is literally reading the classics from A-Z. I have started his first marathon and am now at B for Bulgakov. Such a politically charged time to be reading Russian literature especially Bulgakov who was born in Kiev (the heart of the current Ukrainian revolution), moved to Moscow and became, for a time, a favourite author of Stalin.  Later, his works were banned from publication by the very same government that had initially endorsed him. This is the copy of The Master and Margarita I have been reading recently. Althea asked me what I was reading and when I told her it was “Bulgakov” she kindly informed me that “No. Dat a cat.” I stand corrected.

In the thicket of it

Thicket3Seeking out and finding small patches of green is becoming harder in my little home town as an expansion of condos is beginning to encroach. The fields I played in as a child discovering groundhogs and grasshoppers have been filled with suburban split levels for at least 25 years now.

Luckily we have moved to a little neighbourhood with big trees and one block from our home is a small woodland space. I don’t know what you would call it. It’s not large enough to be a wood or forest but it’s not small enough to be brush either. I guess it’s kind of a thicket. My understanding is that there used to be a landing strip for airplanes in there and at one time even an orchard. Now nature is reclaiming it and we have a little path on which to disconnect, find animal tracks and listen to the birds.

We come back to our suburban world refreshed and rosy-cheeked.

Ice Ornaments

So for a second there I thought maybe it might be perhaps almost could be spring… ish. Nope! Wrong again! Instead of lamenting I figured we should try to inject a little of the flora we collected during the fall and early winter into our still frozen backyard landscape. Here are the ice ornaments Althea made and hung outside last week and also the chickadee who let us know in no uncertain terms that he disliked them intensely.

Winter2014 019

Winter2014 018

Winter2014 017

Winter2014 016

Books in our Basket

hughes I’ve been trying to track down Shirley Hughes’ “doing words” books published in the early 90s by candlewick press and which are so beautifully illustrated and simply written.  Just the right number of words on each page. So far, we found one at our library called “Hiding” in which two children (a toddler and her baby brother) hide around the house and find things in their world that are hiding like mom behind her book, the moon behind the clouds and sunbathers’ faces under their hats on the beach. Such a wonderful series for toddlers who would like to explore one idea in greater depth and who are curious about the world around them.  Now! We just have to find “Bouncing,” “Chatting,” and “Giving.”

Spark of Bird

winter cardinal 02We have a little solarium at the back of our house. It’s a bit cold at this time of year but when the sun shines in just right Althea and I warm ourselves back there with a “baba” and a hot tea. Watching the squirrels battle it out over our feeder is worth the pain of cleaning up all the sunflower seed shells in the spring. They are fun to watch and on a snowy day it is so neat to see a bright red spark of bird perched in the center of the white backyard.

We were inspired to pull out our book of bird song that comes with audio bird calls yesterday. We flipped through it looking at each bird and listening to its song. As you can imagine, it was a lazy Sunday. If you are inspired to do the same take a peek at the beautiful catalog of calls available free online at the Macaulay Library.