To Count Or Not To Count?

To Count or not to count? That is the question.

Image result for lose itRemember I told you at the beginning of the year that I was going to count calories using the Lose it! app? I has been a month now that I have been logging every morsel that I eat into my daily record. I have been diligent about the tracking – noting down every drink, every meal, and every snack.

I am sure you are wondering whether tracking my caloric input has affected my weight. I can tell you that it hasn’t. The needle on the scale hasn’t budged and I still weigh the same as I did 5 weeks ago when I began recording the number of calories that I consume.

The tracking has made me think about my food and whether I am ‘allowed’ to eat it or not. Personally I feel that I have become even more focused on my eating – and not always in a good way. I found myself measuring my cereal, the milk I use, and even the butter I spread on my toast. It does take out the joy of preparing a meal. I could get used to measuring my meals – but doing so is not working for me.

Tracking my caloric intake has also been difficult at times. Many of my meals are cooked from scratch and how do I figure out what the calories are of a serving of fried rice? Or homemade vegetable soup? I found this to be a little frustrating.

Tracking calories, however, has reinforced that natural, whole foods do have less calories than the prepackaged foods that are made by bulk in factories. Thus it is better to focus on eating whole fruit and vegetables as opposed to the snacks and foods that are laden with sugar and so easy to enjoy.

To count or not to count? My decision is not to count. After the discipline of tracking for a month (remember that my word of the year is discipline?), I have decided that I need to find another way of changing my eating habits.

On what do you base your eating habits?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: A Stuffy Nose

weekend coffee share logo hosted at parttimemonsterblog.comIf we were having coffee, I would greet you on yet another overcast day. According to the news, in January we had only 16 days of seeing the sun. Very dreary! I am hoping that we get to see more sunshine during the month of February. This morning, however, does not look too promising.

Last weekend I woke up on Saturday sneezing which, unfortunately, turned into a cold. Today I am still dealing with a stuffy nose. I did not feel well enough to go to Zumba on Monday night, and on Thursday I still was carrying tissues around with me. I am hoping that tomorrow I will be able to pick up my exercise routine again. I missed moving to the music – though I did not miss going out into the cold in the evenings!

The last week was quite frigid. The children came in from recess with red cheeks – and I am sure my cheeks were just as cold! I had quite a few children absent during the week due to illness – on one day I had 15 children in my class. It was a very laid back day for me. 🙂

I have to tell you that this week was the second week of my crochet club at school. I still cannot believe how many children have registered. It is hard to say no to any child who wants to join as they are so keen. I saw a couple of the older girls the day before my group sessions at lunchtime and helped them a little with the stitches (sc). It was so nice to see them helping others at the Friday lunchtime session. Soon they will all understand what to do and we will all be crocheting the time away!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the corrections to my report cards have been done – there were just a few typos. Now they need to be signed, copied, and placed in envelopes. I have made appointments to start seeing parents next week. I would like to get the interviews done over the next couple of weeks so that I do not have to stay late on a Thursday night and miss my Zumba class.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am now going to make some crepes for my children for lunch. They have been asking me to make some for a couple of weeks now and I have finally mixed the batter. It has been standing for an hour and is now ready to be cooked. Enjoy your week. Hope it is not too grey!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diane, The Part-Time Monster)

Weekend Coffee Share: Report Cards are Done!

weekend coffee share logo hosted at parttimemonsterblog.comIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile on my face. My report cards are done! Completed on Friday afternoon after school, a week and two weekends before they are due! And I am happy to say that I did not work on them over the weekend at home. Sitting down in front of the computer and focusing helped a lot to get them done this quickly. Now I intend to contact the parents I need to see and spread out the meetings so that they are not all done at once.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that during the past week I had to take a day off as a headache turned into a migraine. I spent the day in my darkened bedroom and slept a little. It was worth taking time off as I felt so much better the next day. (So much better that I finished those report cards 🙂 !)

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I started my crochet club at school. Friday was the first session – and I was surprised at how many children showed up. More children came to sign up during the lunch session, and others asked me for forms. It was quite a challenge helping them learn to cast on and do chain stitches. Luckily my former ECE wants to learn as well and, after quickly showing her, she helped me to help the children. A few of the children ‘got it’ and many realised that it is not as easy as they thought. I encouraged them not to give up. I hope that they do not and that they come to the next session.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday my husband made a lovely dinner for us to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year. My nephew came over to celebrate with us and we had a lovely evening eating and chatting. If you celebrate the start of the lunar calendar, I wish you a wonderful Year of the Rooster.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diane, The Part-Time Monster)

Memories of David Bowie

This week for their Show & Tell, I have asked my students to share with the class their favourite singer and song. I expected the presentation on Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber; the surprise came when one of my students shared a David Bowie album.

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A Bowie album cover. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Looking at the album cover, I was taken back to my adolescence. One of my cousins loved Bowie’s music and would often play his songs and enact his music. We never got to see the musician live, but we spent many hours imagining we were on stage with him.

My cousin loved Space Oddity

But my favourite was Let’s Dance

I have many pleasant memories dancing to David Bowie’s music under the warmth of the South African sun. And my cousin? He is still a fan of Bowie’s music.

What is the name of your favourite David Bowie song?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: A Fruitful Week

weekend coffee share logo hosted at parttimemonsterblog.comIf we were having coffee, I would welcome you in from the wind. We have had lovely weather during the past two days – it has almost been Spring-like. The wind, however, is picking up and I can hear it howling outside of my window. I am sure that the wind will bring with it lower temperatures.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Monday to Thursday we had indoor recess at school. The children could not go out to play because the fields were layered with ice. Keeping children inside for four days in a row is not a fun experience! They need the time to go outside, run around, and breathe in fresh air. As I passed the school this morning, I noticed that the ice had melted. Yipee! The fields may be muddy but at least the children can go out to play.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Friday was a PA day: the children did not go to school; and the teachers had the opportunity to begin working on the report cards. I entered the school at 8:30am and closed the door to my classroom at 4:30pm. The long day was worth it.

Assessing student work. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

The lack of interruptions enabled me to finish my assessment of my students’ work; and to complete 85% of the report cards. I felt a sense of satisfaction as I walked home. Because I completed so much of the work on Friday, my stress level to the approaching deadline is not too high. I know that if a do a little everyday, my work will soon be done.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that on Saturday morning I made my way to Michaels, a craft store that stocks a wide range of yarn (wool). I was armed with a list of names and searched for crochet hooks and yarn to make scarves.

Yarn shopping. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I am to start a crochet club at school next Friday. I have 12 children who have signed up so far, and others who have shown interest. The first project is a scarf which the children will wear with pride when they are done. I am hoping that I can get them to love crochet as much as I do. I am pleased to say that there are some boys who have joined. 🙂

On the way back from Michaels, I stopped off at the library to hand in my books… and I could not resist going in to browse for reading matter. I decided to pick up a few titles of some authors whose books I have previously enjoyed.

This week’s reading selection. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to have a good week. And remember to do something for yourself.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diane, The Part-Time Monster)

Grateful for Winter Break

When 23 December came around, I was exhausted and had been counting the days, then hours, until the Winter break. The final preparations for Christmas were a bit rushed but it all came together nicely. Christmas day dawned and all was quiet in our home. Now that my daughters are teens, the day begins a little later than in the past. I enjoyed the moments of quiet before everyone was awake. I prepared a little brunch and then woke up my family. I enjoyed the sense of togetherness as we all sat around the table, chatting and laughing.

The sense of family continued for the rest of the day and spilled into the next two. Christmas day we exchanged gifts, participated in conversation, shared meals, and watched a movie.

The day after Christmas is traditionally a shopping day – and that we did together. The day after my family continues spending time together to celebrate my birthday. As always, we shared a meal together and then we went to see a movie – Rogue One, the latest Star Wars episode. This was my choice as I am a Star Wars fan – and have been since I saw The Return of the Jedi in the cinema with my great aunt.

The greatest gift to me during this period is the family time we have. I treasure it as I know it will not always be thus. My children will one day have their partners and the family dynamic will change.

After the New year, I visited the library – a must during any break I have. I came home with seven books and plenty to read during some downtime.

The first week of 2017, I spent my mornings sitting on the sofa enjoying the words that had been penned by some of my favourite authors.

During the past two weeks I have been grateful for the Winter break. I had family time, read a lot, and relaxed plenty. I am now ready to tackle the next school term.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for a fresh start

Lavender Ladi was grateful for fuzzy socks

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post so that I know you have participated)

Weekend Coffee Share: Winter Break

weekend coffee share logo hosted at parttimemonsterblog.comGood morning, and welcome. If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the Winter school break has now ended and Monday we will all be back at school. And it will be cold! The weather during the first week of our break was unseasonably warm but Old Man Winter has decided that we should not forget that we are meant to experience cold weather at this time of the year!

If we were having coffee, we would chat about about what we have done during the break. I would tell you that I loved the week of Christmas. This is a time that my family are together and we have some serious downtime. We eat together, laugh together, read together, watch movies together. On Boxing Day, we always go out somewhere to do a little shopping. I avoid the malls as I am not a fan of big crowds. This year we shopped along the main street near our home – and the fellow shoppers were bearable. Bearable in that there were more shoppers than usual, but not too many that it made browsing unpleasant.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my birthday is soon after Christmas – the 27th December. It has become a family tradition that we go and eat a buffet lunch to celebrate my birthday.

I enjoyed our lunch and the time we spent eating together. Now that my children are older, we can have some interesting conversations.

After lunch, we set off for the cinema. As I am a Star Wars fan, we saw a film of my choice: Rogue One.

I do admit to being a little disappointed – I expected the story to continue from where the last film left off. (I had deliberately read nothing about the film prior to watching). I found that the film was shot too much in the dark; and that many of the battle scenes were reminiscent of the original Star Wars films.

If were were having coffee, I would tell you that I have relaxed a lot during this past week. After a visit to the library, I have immersed myself in words and enjoyed the stories of many authors. This is something that am able to do only when I am on break. The break is now over and I am spending the weekend putting away the Christmas tree, shopping for the week, and getting ready to go back to school on Monday.

Enjoy your weekend and have a wonderful week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diane, The Part-Time Monster)

Weekend Coffee Share: Winter has Arrived

weekend coffee share logo hosted at parttimemonsterblog.comIf we were having coffee, I would invite you in from the cold. After a lovely stretch of mild weather, winter seems to have arrived with a vengeance. We have woken up to ice, then snow, on the ground. Flurries have fallen from the sky as we have walked outside. Children have found spots of ice in the playground to ‘skate’ on. I have had to knuckle down and wear my hat – something I am not too fond of doing! Children have started wearing their snowpants which means I have to factor in extra time for them to get ready to go out for recess, or to go home.

The arrival of the cold is acknowledged, but we are not too focused on it as we prepare for Christmas. I love seeing the decorations wherever we go. We have our tree up in the school and the beautiful decorations in the office. Slowly parents are sending in decorations for our classroom and this is changing the look inside of the room. In class the conversation buzzes around Santa as the children look forward to Christmas and the moment they open their presents. Those children celebrating Hanukkah are excited as well as they look forward to lighting the menorah and opening their gifts.

I still haven’t caught up on my marking and documentation but it has reached a point where it is more manageable. I am hoping to at least get the filing of my students’ work up to date before the Winter break so that when the parents come in for the class party, they can see most of what we have done in class. I have managed to change one of my documentation panels on the bulletin boards outside my classroom and have got everything ready to do the second on Monday. The panels were due for a change as the last ones were put up about a month ago.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am hoping to complete my shopping for Christmas gifts this weekend. I know exactly what it is I am going to buy so it shouldn’t take too long. It is snowing as I am writing this, so it shouldn’t be too cold outside. Writing of feeling cold makes me think of how cold it has been in our apartment for the last week. Something must be wrong with the heating system as the rooms are still uncomfortable, especially our bedrooms. I am hoping that soon the heating will be sorted out before it gets even colder outside.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to the time over the weekend when my chores are done. I have started book 3 in Neil Shusterman’s Unwind series and it is as good as the previous ones. In addition, I intend to start working on my gift for Secret Santa. The recipient of my gift will be receiving a handmade crocheted scarf. I am making one using a stitch I haven’t done before and I am hoping that I can get it right.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful weekend as you get ready for the upcoming Holidays.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diane, The Part-Time Monster)

A Non-Reading Strategy

A familiar sight in my home is my daughter lying on the sofa in the living room with a book in her hands. Like her mother, she loves reading. She reads books that have been given to her as gifts, books that she has bought herself, books that she borrows from the library, and books that she downloads onto her iPad. She recently began the Unwind series by Neil Shusterman and is so engrossed in the story that she forgets everything else.

Experiencing another world. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

In order to prevent the book from tempting her, she left it in her locker at school. In this way, she could focus on her homework and not pick up the book to read a few pages (which then turns into a few chapters). How is that for a non-reading strategy? It certainly works for her – though she is suffering a little from withdrawal symptoms 🙂

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmileWhat made you smile this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Weekend Coffee Share: A New Month

weekend coffee share logo hosted at parttimemonsterblog.comIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a huge smile. The week has been fruitful and I hope yours has been as well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that October ended pleasantly. As you all know, Halloween was on Monday and I went to school dressed up as a Renaissance princess. This year I had no other princesses in my room – though I did have a queen: Cleopatra. The day was mild and when we went on our parade in the school neighbourhood, the children were able to show off their costumes in all their glory. When we look at the photos that run on our TV in the school hallway, we see smiles and many bright colours showing off in the sunlight. A bonus was that my class was well behaved on the day. I think it helped that the class parents organised healthy snacks for their class party. 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spent the rest of the week preparing my students’ report cards. The grade 1/2 team worked on potential comments last week so it was a lot easier to input the relevant information into each individual report. My colleague showed me how to use the reporting system, and it decreased the amount of time I spent on the work. So much easier than when I was doing reporting for kindergarten!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I completed my report cards late yesterday afternoon. I will let them sit for the weekend and then read them through before I submit them tomorrow. Now I can catch up on the documentation of my student’s learning.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that student documentation is the topic for the next PD session the PORs at my school are presenting to the teachers. My partner and I have been working on our presentation this week as well as the take-away for the teachers. But more about that next week ….

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy next week. Rest well this weekend, and may the forthcoming week be a positive one.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diane, The Part-Time Monster)