Saturday, December 29, 2012

Vacation Grammar Game Show/Jeu de Grammaire des Vacances

...get set, ready, conjugate! translate!

Gathered around the fun table (where we paint, craft and eat pizza on family  night), with chips, sausage and blue Mountain Dew (I know, I know), we prepared for our very own French contest. In a country where there are more than 400 sorts of cheese and regions too numerous to mention, each with their own traditions, brins of language and roots, French grammar is a unifying force.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rhythm's Rewards/Les Gains d'un Rhythme Regulier

Setting a pace and a mood for one's home means continually adapting to the changes in family dynamics while remaining mindful of the need for certain parts to remain the same. When my first two children were small, it was so easy; we ate, we played, we slept, we started all over. The trouble is, I did not know it was easy, it seemed to take all of my strength and then some.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks and No Thanks: Black Friday Blues

It is our traditional day in the United States to gather with family and friends and give thanks as we feast on a fabulous meal. Or it used to be, until the big stores decided to make the horror that is Black Friday even worse by extending it into Thanksgiving Day. I will have to miss my sister and her entire family today, because rampant consumerism has pushed out even the one holiday most Americans agree on in order to declare it a huge day of SHOPPING. 

She has had to work at increasingly odd hours the past few years as the giant retail store she works for engages in an arms race to see who can open the earliest on Black Friday. Now the deal is sealed; she has to work on Thanksgiving Day. 

As for our family; we will be sitting out both days in the good old tradition of "National Buy Nothing Day" in which we peacefully and passively protest the need to shop while enjoying Thanksgiving and then afternoons in front of the fireplace, eating popcorn and playing games.

I wish you were here, Amy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knitting Purse Essentials/ Les Necessaires du Tricot Pour le Sac a Main

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This is it; when I have on my person the items pictured above, I can withstand being stranded for just about any amount of hours in complete harmony with the world, (but a cup of coffee does wonders for the mix): one or two sets of 9" Hiya-hiya circulars, one set of 4"DPNs in Harmony wood, from KnitPicks and yarn, any yarn. If there is no yarn, I might unravel a hospital sheet or my own sweater and make up a new pair of socks, a hat, a mini mochi mochi dinosaur or cupcake or some fingerless mitts. The Mini Mochi Mochi are all done with the double-pointed needles. The KnitPicks set has six different sizes; sufficient for any weight of yarn that would work for a tiny project. The hat in progress is on a 9"circular, it will be completed with the DPNs.
Le voici; quand j'ai avec moi le materiel ci-dessus, je peux rester en attente des heures entieres si il le faut, en toute tranquilité, (bon, une tasse de cafe, ca peut rajoutter a l'experience): une paire ou deux d'aiguilles circulaires de 23cm de chez Hiya Hiya, des aiguilles a double-point de 10cm en Harmony bois de chez Knitpicks et de la laine. Si la laine vient en manque, je pourrais toujours defaire un drap de l'hopital ou mon propre pull pour en fabriquer une paire de chaussettes, un bonnet, un dinosaur ou gateau mini mochi mochi ou bien des gants sans doigts. Les mini animaux, etc, sont tous fait avec les aiguilles .Le bonnet en progres est sur une aiguille circulaire de 23cm. Je le terminerai avec les aiguilles a double-points.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Autumn is Fading/ L'autonme se Fane

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Tractors Get Ready to Roll/ Les Tracteurs Preparent le Depart

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...Home/ pour le Retour

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Pumpkin Soup is in the Air/ La Soupe a la Citrouille se Prepare

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Piles are Raked/ Des Piles Sont Fabriqués

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Our Hideouts Loose Their Leaves/ Nos Cachettes Perdent Leurs Feuilles

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The Harvest is Preserved/ La Recolte est Preservé

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The Herbs are Hung with Care/ On Fait Secher Soigneusement les Herbes

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We Put on our Fall Colors/ On S'habille en Couleurs d'Automme

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We go Swimming in our Clothes/ On se Baigne Tout Habillé

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Keep Calm and Read On/ Gardez son Sang-Froid, Avancez avec la Lecture

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Charle's First Read-Aloud: The Hobbit/ Premiere Lecture pour Charles: Le Hobbit

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Reading with Daddy/ La Lecture avec Papa

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A Favorite Spot to Read/ Un Endroit pour Lire Preferé

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Inspiring through Indulging: Reading/ L'inspiration par l'indulgence: la Lecture

Not indulging my child, quite the contrary, I'm speaking of myself. In the past week I have thoroughly enjoyed two excellent novels. I had forgotten how lovely it is to so lose yourself in a book that you forget or ignore all sorts of other things, like making the bed or dusting. For way too long my reading material has included a few half-finished non-fiction books, and even that gave me a guilty conscience; there are so many real things that need doing! My fun reading was only done in the car via a book on CD, that I would not even take the time to properly download on my i-pod so that I could maybe listen to it in an alone moment at home. No more!

Je ne parle pas d'indulger un enfant, tout à fait le contraire; je parle de moi. Depuis une semaine, j'éprouvé un plaisir immense à bouquiner deux livres geniaux. J'avais oublié combien c'est bon à se perdre dans un livre à un tel point ou on oublie toutes sortes de choses: comme de faire le lit ou la poussiére. Depuis bien trop longtemps, ma lecture s'est limité à des livres de non fiction a moitié lu. Meme ça me laissait l'esprit troublé par la culpabilié, il y a tellement de choses à faire! La seule lecture pour le plaisir que je me permettais se passait dans la voiture avec des livres sur CD. Je ne prenais meme pas le temps de les transferer sur mon i-pod pour pouvoir y écouter dans la maison dans un moment de solitude. Jamais plus. 

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a love for reading. I believe this and have always believed it. Reading has been my window into so many fabulous worlds and new ideas my whole life, I knew I wanted to share that with my children. There is no doubt about it: reading aloud and having your kids see you read your own books are the two best ways to instill a love of the written word. All the phonics lessons and assigned reading in the world cannot give a person a passion for reading. 

Un des meilleurs cadeaux que l'on puisse offrir à un enfant c'est l'amour de la lecture. Je le crois et je l'ai toujours cru. La lecture fut, tout au longue de ma vie, ma fenetre dans tellement de mondes fabuleux et vers de nouvelles idées. Je savais que je voulais partager ceci avec mes enfants. Il n'y a pas de doute: leur lire a haute voix et permettre aux enfants de vous voir en train de lire vos propres livres sont les deux façons d'inspirer un amour du mot écrit. Toutes les leçons de phonetique et des devoirs a faire du monde entier ne peuvent donner la passion pour la lecture. 

Up until a few years ago, I always had a nursing baby or a sleepy child on my lap. It was the perfect excuse to read for hours and hours, both alone and to the other kids. I had not realized how much this part of my life had changed until last night when a friend who is in the same place in life as I, mentioned how little time there was in her life for reading now. This is a friend who has always inspired me through her reading choices. She read so much on such a vast array of topics that I would often feel like the kid sister tagging along, hoping to catch up. She's not reading? Ice cream is melting in freezers all over America, the apocalypse is near. Oh, I realized, neither am I, dang. 

Jusqu'au il y a quelques années, j'avais toujours un bebe que j'allaitais ou un enfant qui dormait sur les genoux. Cela fut l'excuse parfait à lire pendant des heures entiéres, ou bien seule ou aux enfants. Je ne me suis pas rendu compte combien cela a changé jusqu'à hier au soir lorsque une amie qui se trouve dans la meme stade de la vie que moi mentionne qu'elle a si peu de temps dans sa vie pour lire maintenant. Il s'agit d'une amie qui m'a toujours inspiré par ses choix de lecture. Elle a tellement lu sur tant de suject que je me sentais comme la petite soeur qui cherchait a la ratrapper. Elle ne lit pas? La glace se fond dans les congelateurs partout aux Etats-Unis, l'apocolypse s'approche. Oh, moi non plus, mince. 

This week I had a great excuse to read; I began a library book that my daughter, Cate, had checked out and kept threatening to take back. She has neither car keys nor license, but she is extremely gifted in the art of ending up at the library with great frequency. The book was so compelling that I just had to get through it before she made good on that promise. It was really good writing, and the story was so awful and so beautiful and so full of intrigue that I just got caught up in it in a way that has not happened for a long time. That was "Bitterblue" by Kristen Cashore.* Then, my book club was meeting on Sunday and I didn't even have a copy of the book on Wednesday. I was in luck; there was a used copy avaliable online, that arrived Friday. Another good read; "Practical Magic," by Alice Hoffman. Another day and a half of reading, this time obligatory. It doesn't do to show up at book club having never opened the book, even if we do never get around to discussing it a whole lot. 

Cette semaine m'a donné un tres bonne excuse pour lire; j'ai commencé un livre de la bibliotheque que ma fille, Cate avait emprunté. Elle menacait sans cesse de le rammener. Elle n'a pas les clefs de la voiture ni le permis encore, mais elle a un don incroyable pour nous faire passer très souvent à la bibliotheque. Je trouvais le livre si captivant qu'il fallait que je le finisse avant qu'elle livre sa promesse. C'etait vraiment bien écrit, et l'histoire fut si horrible, si beau et si plein d'intrigue que je me suis retrouvé dedans comme cela ne s'est pas passé depuis longtemps. Le livre: "Bitterblue" de Kristen Cashore. Puis, mon club de lecture devait se reunir dimanche et je n'avais meme pas une copie du livre mercredi. J'ai eu de la chance; il y avait une copie d'ocassion disponible sur l'internet et il est arrivé vendredi. Un autre bon bouquin; "Les Ensorceleuses," de Alice Hoffman. Un autre jour et demi de lecture, cette fois obligatoire. Ce ne se fait pas d'arriver a son club de lecture sans avoir ouvert le livre, meme si on n'en discute pas beaucoup. 

Then I remembered; this is what it used to be like, not so long ago, I would read just for me and the kids would see me reading as they played or worked. I was the big, bad inspiration, the one who could ignore you for a few minutes while she finished her chapter. I could tell you hush for a second, even though you were truly angry about your brother stealing your bounce on the trampoline, or wanted a push on the swing RIGHT NOW and you know I am the sort of mother who helps you all play fairly and  pushes you right now, but not just this minute, sorry. Reading is that much fun.

Puis, je me suis rappellé; c'etait comme ca, il n'y a pas si longtemps. Je lisais rien que pour moi et les enfants me verreaint en train de lire alors qu'ils jouaint ou travaillaient. C'etait moi, l'inspiration du jour, celle qui pouvait t'ignorer quelques minutes pendant qu'elle terminait son chapitre. Je pourrais te dire "ssshhhh, minute," meme si tu te fachais vraiment parce que ton frère a volé ton impetus sur le trampoline, ou tu voulais que je te pousse sur le balancoire TOUT DE SUITE. Tu sais que je suis la sorte de maman qui vous aide a jouer gentilment ensemble et qui te pousse tout de suite, mais pas pour l'instant, desolée. La lecture est vraiment si amusant que tout ça.