Grateful for a Handy Husband

Now that my girls are getting older, we decided to get them new beds. The bunk beds were fine for when they were younger but we felt that they now need a more substantial mattress and a more ‘grown-up’ bed. We took a trip to IKEA and decided on a bed that we all liked.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Getting ready to build. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Once the flats had been delivered, my husband set out to build the beds. He used our dining table to set out the things required to join the planks.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Building a drawer. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

We chose beds that have three drawers at the bottom thus giving the girls more space to store their clothing. My husband began with these before building the frame of the bed.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Working together. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My youngest daughter was my husband’s assistant for the day. Not only did she hold planks in place but she learned the task of figuring out how to put the pieces together.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Reading instructions. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My daughter became quite adept at reading the pictorial instructions that IKEA gives to the customers. She also came to enjoy the task of screwing the wooden pieces together.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Screwing the planks together. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I am grateful to have a husband that is handy – and who enjoys doing these tasks around our home. In addition, I am thankful that he is willing to show our daughters how to tackle the task of putting furniture together.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

Thank you for last week’s contributions. I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. 

Gratitude Wednesday: Gunflint Trail, MN

Posted in My Gratitude Project | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Book Review: Confessions from a Coffee Shop by T.B. Markinson

When I heard that TB Markinson was publishing her third novel, I cheered for her. It is a wonderful thing to see a fellow blogger achieving her dreams. To show support for her, I agreed to read her story and write a review.

Markinson, T. B. - Confessions from a Coffee ShopConfessions from a Coffee Shop is a story centered on  Cori Tisdale, a woman who was a basketball star at Harvard and was a promising author with a lucrative book deal. She is, however, unable to finish her novel. In addition, her live-in girlfriend (Kat Finn) has a shopping addiction which leaves her in debt. In order to make ends meet, Cori takes a part-time job at a coffee shop. She meets an an old crush (Samantha Clarke) while working there. Cori’s friendship with her causes tension between herself and Kat. The novel describes how Cori manages the variety of problems that have appeared in her life.

I liked the way the novel began – it drew me right in and made me curious about the characters. I cringed on behalf of Cori and understood her thoughts on the conversation she was having with her mom – and her embarrassment at having someone from her past walking in. My empathy for the main character continued while I was reading the story. The story line itself follows the plot of a typical mainstream romance story – with the exception that Confessions from a Coffee Shop falls under the genre of lesbian romance. The story is a light read that includes conflict between the lovers, love scenes (the love scenes are between two women) and a resolution of the conflict.

I would recommend this novel for readers who enjoy stories of light romance. Personally  I preferred Markinson’s novel, Marionette, as the story delved a little deeper into the main character. In her latest novel, the author does not explore as much the reasons for her main character’s decisions and choice. I kept wishing that she would do so as I felt Markinson did this well in her second novel.

If you wish to get to know TB a little more – or read other reviews of her books – head on over to her blog, Making My Mark, and say hello.

Other blogger reviews on Confessions from a Coffee Shop

My Review of Marionette 

Coming Soon: Confessions from a Coffee Shop

Book 47:Confessions from a Coffee Shop – T.B. Markinson

Confessions from a Coffee Shop by T.B. Markinson

Review of Confessions of a Coffee Shop by T.B. Markinson

A blogger interview:

Confessions … from an American in London

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My Three Favourite Things

Last week on Instagram I was tagged to share three of my favourite things. Three only? I had to think on it a bit as I had to decide which things to leave out!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My three favourite things. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The first that came to mind is my favourite story of all time: the story of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Fantasy fiction is certainly my favorite read – especially if it is well written and has an original storyline. I then thought of my favourite meal. What sprang to mind was the stir-fried noodles that we eat every week. I cook the noodles vegetarian-style with plenty of vegetables. Yummy! And my favourite current activity? That would be crochet. I find using the hook both relaxing and creative.

These, of course, are not my only favourite things but are the ones that first came to mind. The food and crochet activity may change within a year – but the name of my favourite author will not. I read the first of Tolkien’s books when I was 12 years old and have been a fan ever since.

What are your three favourite things?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Posted in Personal Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

A Reflection of Humanity

Young children often play with stuffed toys which may be in the form of people or even animals. I remember my girls playing “school” with their stuffed animals when they were much younger. Each stuffie was given a name; and often they would write on their behalf. They would place their “students” in front of their chalkboard and teach them.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A crowd of stuffed animals. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Now that I am teaching young children, I see once again that children use these toys to reflect what they see in society. A group of girls in my class last year enjoyed playing at tea parties – and the children from the “restaurant” would come and serve them. Observing them, I noticed that they would role play behavior that they themselves had seen and experienced.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Eating at a restaurant. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

While at play, young children reflect the humanity that they see around them everyday. It is interesting to see what they choose to replicate.

What part of humanity do the children in your life duplicate in their play?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge prompt: Humanity)


Posted in Learning and Teaching, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

Ready, Set, Go!

Each time we stand at the beginning of a new experience, we ready ourselves for something new. We talk to ourselves in our heads, making the argument that we will do okay.  We convince ourselves we are ready and often look to others to be our cheerleaders. We stand at the beginning, trembling with excitement and sometimes anxiety,

The gun goes off and we begin.

We put our all into it, doing our best. Sometimes we thrill in the adventure; at times we are disappointed. We finish the race, the experience, and think back on it with either relief, regret or a smile of happiness.

And then ready ourselves for another. We stand once again at the beginning of a new start and listen for the words: Ready, Set, Go!

Five-Minute-Friday-badgeWhat experience are you currently getting ready for?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Ready)

Posted in Five Minute Friday | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Grateful for Home-Cooked Meals

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I decided to take our girls out for a treat at lunchtime. At the end of the school year in June I had received a gift card to Harvey’s, a burger place, and thought it would be a good opportunity to use it before I left it in the bottom of the drawer and forgot about it. We do not frequent fast food places as a rule and therefore took a while to choose our meal. While we were eating, I could tell my family was not impressed. To be honest, I knew I could create a better burger at home – and be more generous with the toppings! As we left the fast food restaurant, my daughter said words I never thought I would hear from my children. “Mommy, I am grateful that we eat home-cooked meals.” My daughters, who are now both teenagers, have come to appreciate the meals my husband and I cook at home.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A chicken dinner. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My chicken dinners are enjoyed by all as I have learned to roast the chicken so that it is not dry. Having experimented with the herbs and spices, I have figured out exactly how much to use for our tastes.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Home-made vegetable soup. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As the cool days are approaching, I know I will make my vegetable soup often. We also enjoy the taste of lentil soups as well – whether it is brown lentils or red lentils.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Curry and roti. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Stew, and even curry, is a favourite too. When we visit Indiatown and buy some roti or dahl pourri, we are sure to have this for a meal during the week.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Stir-fried noodles. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

And every Friday night we have vegetarian stir-fried noodles. Both my husband and daughters are disappointed if I cook something else.

This week I am grateful for children who enjoy eating food that has been cooked at home. Not only is eating out at a restaurant a treat – but now they are more discerning with which food they want to eat.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

Thank you for last week’s contributions. I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. 

The Gratitude Attitude – A New Home

Gratitude Wednesday: My Life

Animals on the farm: Gratitude Project

Grateful for Nature

Posted in My Gratitude Project | Tagged , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Meet Guest Blogger Colline Kook-Chun


Today Chris has me as a guest on his blog. If you are interested in knowing a bit more about me, head on over.

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

IMG_0628aI began my blog, simply titled“Colline’s Blog”, on 1 January 1992 as part of my new year’s resolution “to write more on any topic that I have chosen”. I had previously written academic essays, product descriptions and blogged for 8 months on a blog that focused on health. I found all these avenues of writing constrictive as I was limited in my subject matter. I wished to write about whatever came to mind – hence the tagline for my blog: “A potpourri of thoughts and experiences”. My aim was to blog about health, share recipes, a photo here and there, and write about anything that inspired me.

During my first year blogging on my new space, I discovered the beauty of writing prompts and what is called free writing. Whenever I had dabbled in creative writing before, I had been discouraged by the expectation of writing…

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Advert with a Difference

This weekend I came across the advert for the IKEA 2014/2015 catalogue. And I loved it! The video clip runs for about 2:30 minutes and is tongue-in-cheek with its many references to modern technology.

The references to sharing and application made me smile – as did the demonstration of how to use a book. And the ending of the advert resonates: “experience the power of a bookbook”. Makes me wonder whether in the future I will have to teach my students how to read a physical book :)

What is your favourite part of the new IKEA catalogue ad?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Posted in A Quick Note | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Kindergarten Whispers

She whispers softly to her mother while clinging to her leg. “What is it sweetie? Don’t be shy.” Parents and children mill in the drop-off area; children cling to mommy or daddy’s hand. Only a few run around the area: those who are used to this school environment because of an older brother or sister. Whispers abound as the kindergartners look around with wide open eyes. Their uncertainly makes them hold back their high spirits and natural curiosity.

Experience has shown me, however, that these early whispers will change. Once the first day jitters are overcome and the children feel comfortable in their environment, the whispers will transform into voices filled with exuberance. Once their confidence grows, the answers given on the carpet in a large group setting will no longer be softly spoken. Instead, answers will be spoken with assurance and sometimes with humour.

It is not often I hear whispers in my classroom. Instead, I need to remind them to use “indoor voices”.

Five-Minute-Friday-badgeWhen do you hear whispers?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt)


Posted in Five Minute Friday, Learning and Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Grateful for a New Classroom

At the end of the last academic year, I was fortunate enough to get transferred to a school within walking distance of where I live. This is the final year in which the TDSB brings the Full Day Kindergarten programme into their schools – and I was hired to be an additional teacher on staff to fulfill this obligation. My classroom has recently been renovated to suit the kindergarten programme and boasts new cupboards, new furniture and new boards.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A newly renovated classroom. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The lack of colour in the classroom suits the new directive from the Early Learning Years department within the TDSB: neutral colours aim at calming the children.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

View of a kindergarten class. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The boards await the contributions of the children to bring them to life – as do the centres.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Waiting for class to begin. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As I sit in my chair looking at my classroom, I acknowledge that it is not yet fully equipped. However, the space is waiting for us to make it our own. I am grateful for the the opportunity, not only to work closer to home, but also to begin a classroom from scratch.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

Thank you for last week’s contributions – there were a record number. I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. 

The Gratitude Attitude: The Summer’s Bounty

Gratitude Wednesday: Morning Coffee

Grateful to go out on rainy & cloudy days

Grateful for Traffic Backup

Swan Lake

Thank You

Sunday Gratitude

Posted in Learning and Teaching, My Gratitude Project | Tagged , , , , , , | 49 Comments