Weekend Coffee Share: A New Year

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a Happy New Year wish. A new year has begun and the last few days have rushed by. We have already wished our son well as he flew back to his new home (tears were involved); and we have spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with some lovely friends. My first book of the year has been read, and I have begun my second ( my birthday gift has to be read asap!).

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am not ready to go back to work on Monday. I still feel tired (too many late nights!) and still wish to rest, relax, and read. I know that on Monday I will have to hit the ground running as our report cards are due in a couple of weeks. January is a stressful time of year for me as I will have to test the children during two weeks so that I can place the appropriate grades below their names.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is unseasonably mild outside for this time of year. The days have been very grey and cloudy, yet we have been able to walk outside without a hat. We did have some snow fall overnight but, within a day, the white covering on the surfaces had melted. The weather forecast for the first week back at school is mild. I am wondering whether we will experience a lot of cold this winter.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I put on the usual 2kgs over the Christmas break. The overeating on sugar as well as the sedentary days have led to the weight gain. I know that I will have to work hard to lose what I have gained. The bonus will be getting back into my routine of healthy eating and better food choices. Next year I need to make the decision not to buy store bought cookies and candies – and not binge on cheeses, pastries, and crisps.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you well for the second week of 2019. Make it a good one!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

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A Family Smile

There were so many things that made me smile this week. Besides being Christmas – a holiday during which I spend time with my family – it is also my birthday. The reason for my long-lasting smile this week is my family. Not only did my husband and children spend time with me over Christmas, but they also spent the day with me on my birthday.

Christmas began as it always does: with me spending some time on the sofa reading before my family awakes. I always enjoy this time in front of the Christmas tree. After sending Christmas messages to my family in South Africa, I relaxed a little with my current read. This year I decided to get brunch ready before waking up my husband and children. The kids are older now so they are not impatient to open the gifts. We spent a lovely time at the table chatting and catching up with our son who is visiting for a couple of weeks.

After brunch, we got ready for opening the gifts. We normally spend quite a bit of time doing this as we open the gifts one at a time and discuss what has been given. We always have a number of laughs – and this year was no different. This year I got everyone a couple of Christmas socks. Of course these were pulled on quickly to show a little Christmas spirit. I am sure the socks will be worn during the year and I will be seeing them in the wash. If not, I am sure they will be brought out again in December in the lead-up to Christmas. After gift opening, we relaxed a little and read. No-one was up to playing board games and we decided we would watch a movie after supper. We did so, and it was the end to a perfect day.

My smile continued two days later with my birthday. When I woke up, I read the messages that friends and family had sent me from all over the world. Then, of course, I spend a little time reading. Then it was time to get ready for lunch. As is tradition, my family and I went out to a buffet lunch to celebrate me being a year older. Upon entering, we were impressed with the effort the restaurant had made this year with the decorations.

The food was also delicious this year. Last year we were disappointed as some of the dishes were dry. This year, overcooked meat was not an issue. Eating out with my family and chatting with them was the best gift they could have given me. I really appreciate that they spent the time with me, especially now that they are older.

After lunch, we went to the cinema to watch Mary Poppins Returns. We had to see this show en famille as all three children had watched the movie with Julie Andrews repeatedly when they were young. They knew the songs – and even some lines! The 4pm show was popular and many families were waiting in line to enter the cinema. There were even some older people waiting in line – curious, I am sure, to see what Disney had done in this sequel of a well-loved film.

My day ended perfectly with a gift from my children – a gift w hich shows that they listen to me and know so well what I would enjoy. We watched Crazy Rich Asians togetheron Christmas Eve and I had said I needed to read the stories because I loved the film so much. Et viola! My first reads for 2019 are now waiting for me next to my bed. Today I hope to complete my current read so that I can begin this trilogy soon – though some more family time and smiles are prepared for the next couple of days.

I hope you enjoyed your Holidays as much as I did. It was definitely something to smile about!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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

Weekend Coffee Share: A Sickly End

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would whisper my greeting to you. The school term ended with me feeling absolutely exhausted, and my voice all croaky. I was fighting illness for the entire week as I pushed through the days to get all that I needed to do done. There were so many little things that I wanted to complete before we broke off for Winter break so that I could start afresh on 7 January when school begins again in the new year. I was happy when on Friday I closed the door to my classroom and and set off for home with my goal achieved.

If we were having coffee, I would excuse myself for coughing. I cannot believe that I am sick when Christmas, and my birthday, are so near. I am hoping that the aching throat will not linger. I believe rest will be the key to my healing quickly. I have not gone to my exercise classes since Monday and I think my body will be grateful for the break. I just need to be careful, though, that I do not overeat and thus put on all the weight that I have fought so hard to lose during the year.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that all my gifts are bought and wrapped, and that tomorrow morning – early – I will do the last of my grocery shopping for the big day. Tomorrow I will also clean our home and the children will put the tree up in the afternoon as well. Yes, the tree is not yet up! My daughters were waiting for their brother to arrive so that they could put the tree up together. They love the fun of putting decorating the living area and, now that they are all older, the time when they are all together is more difficult to achieve.

If were were having coffee, I would tell you that I have a number of books to review so in the next few days you will see reviews of some excellent books in my feed. Two of them will be released at the end of this year. Keep a lookout for them – especially if you enjoy historical fiction, or psychological thrillers.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful time with your family over the next few days – whether you celebrate Christmas or not. We will be spending it together en famille – it is definitely a day that I look forward to.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Desire to Recharge

Join us for some coffee time!

If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a tired smile. I am looking forward to the winter break for then I can rest and recharge my batteries. This is an exciting time of year for the children and their constant energy tires me a little. Most children in my class are looking forward to Santa depositing gifts at the Christmas tree; and all children are looking forward to two weeks at home with no school. Yes, two more weeks and we can all have a little break.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have bought all my gifts for the great day – and that most of what I can put in the freezer has been stored. Now I need to buy wrapping paper and tape and then spend time getting the gifts ready for everyone. I bought all of the gifts within walking distance of my home so I did not need to get on buses and spend time travelling to buy what I wanted. I was so pleased when I  found what I was looking for at the stores nearby.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week looks to be a busy one at work. On Tuesday, the entire school is going out for the annual movie day to see The Grinch. As can be expected, my class is looking forward to it. When we get back, we will all have lunch and then we will spend the rest of the afternoon working on our Holiday door. Previous experience has shown me that I cannot do anything too academic as the children are all hyper from the field trip.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Wednesday after school is our staff Holiday party. We will be celebrating at a local restaurant. And eating Mexican food. I will tell you next week all about the food. We don’t get much chance to socialise with colleagues so it will quite a social event.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I blogged a little more this week – and even managed to write a flash fiction which I haven’t done in a while (titled Approaching Change) I have missed writing and need to make an effort to get back to it. I will try to write another piece this week – my creative writing muscles need to be flexed!

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful week. Mine will be chilly as we have had snowfall and it feels like winter.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: It’s Been a While

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, you would be wondering why we haven’t spoken for so long. The period after Halloween was busy with parent interviews, and then with trying to catch up my work. I also hurt my back and sitting in front of a computer to post was not a pleasant past-time for me.

My back healed with time.  It was frustrating for me not to be able to go to my Zumba and Shab’am classes! Resting was worth it though as 2 weeks after the initial back pain, I was back dancing. I learned that while I was away one of the Zumba time slots had been cancelled – as well as the Shab’am class. So annoying! I have now had to change my schedule and go to a later class – which is what I did this past week. I will see if I can keep up attending the later class at another location as I did feel tired yesterday in the afternoon.

Last week I had the chance to Dance 4 Kids at a charity event (see my blog post here). It was such fun and I loved it! The three hours went by so quickly and I did not notice the time passing. We had such a pleasurable time and it felt like a party. I wish there were more of these events that we could attend. There are always runs being organised for charity and I would love there yo be more dance marathons for us dancers.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I won a ticket to go to the Read For The Cure event in Toronto. It was a pleasurable evening and I got the chance to hear two more writers speak. I am currently preparing a post about the event and will speak more about it then.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have read a number of books lately that I have enjoyed. The pile of books to be reviewed is growing and I think it is time for me to get to work and review them. I enjoy coming home each day after work and reading a little – especially when the stories are so good. By goal for this weekend is to have the posts ready so that I can share them with you during the week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that blogging in the past week has escaped me as I have been going to work early to meet parents. Hopefully in the coming week I can get back to my usual schedule and spend more time in the blogosphere. Looking at the time, I see that is is almost time for me to leave for my class. Enjoy the upcoming week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

A Dancathon 4 Kids

On Saturday I attended an event that I have been looking forward to for about a month – the Spin 4 Kids dancathon organised every year by Goodlife Fitness. For three hours, we dance with our favourite instructors for Zumba, Shab’am, and Body Jam. The music was energetic, the room filled with enthusiasm, and the time passed quickly. Every 20 minutes a different instructor led the dancing while the other teachers spread themselves around the room to dance with us. The organiser had added flashing lights and, with the overhead lights off, it truly felt like a party. Prizes were drawn every hour and I could not help but smile when I won a $50 gift card to the New  Balance store.

But what really made my day, was to see the amount of steps my body took. As a result of doing the laundry, walking to the supermarket to do grocery shopping, walking to the subway to attend the dancathon, dancing, and then going out for dinner, I managed to do the most steps my Fitbit has recorded in the last year and a half.

Now that is definitely something to smile about 🙂

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmileHave you danced for three hours with no break?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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

Weekend Coffee Share: A Halloween Week

Join us for some coffee time!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am not enjoying the dreary weather that we have been having this week. Grey skies and rain has been in the forecast. Mid-week, we had a break with some costume fun (and luckily the rain stopped for a while for the kids to go out trick or treating).

Speaking about Halloween. Did you dress up? I did, of course, as it is a fun event to participate in – and the kids love it. No-one really got my costume but that is okay – my family enjoyed the memories it brought back of our time in Paris. If you want to see what I looked like dressed as a server at an upscale restaurant in Paris, visit my Halloween post here.

On the night of Halloween I came home exhausted. Not only did I have excited kids in my classroom, but I also had an Open Classroom so that the parents could come in and have a look at their children’s work. It was an enjoyable time and it was good to chat to have the chance to chat to them. The children also enjoyed showing their moms and dads what they had done in class.

The day after Halloween was just as tiring for me. The children were cranky from their late night and also running high on sugar. The sugar rush seems to have continued over into Friday. Hopefully by Monday they will have calmed down – until they get all excited about Christmas! 😀

I almost forgot to tell you. Last weekend, my cousin and I attended two more events at the Toronto International Festival of Authors. On Friday we listened to a panel featuring Linward Barclay, Joy Fielding, and Shari Lapena. The discussion was so interesting that I did not want it to stop. One hour is definitely not enough! On Saturday we went to listen to Esi Edugyan and Meg Wolitzer. This was also an interesting discussion. Esi Edugyan read a piece from her novel. What a beautiful voice! She should be reading her own audio books!

This weekend I do not have any plans to go out anywhere. Instead I am doing the usual: housework, laundry, exercise dance classes, and reading. This afternoon I found a TV show on Netflix that I am enjoying – Lethal Weapon. I have been trying a few recently that haven’t kept my attention but this one will as it has some humour in it.

Have you seen the show? The pilot was really well done. I will watch a little more and see how it goes.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to have a wonderful week. It is almost time for supper, and time to head into the kitchen.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Week Filled with Authorly Things

Join us for some coffee time!

If we were having coffee, I would apologise for the late meet-up. This week has been crazy busy. I am happy to say, though, that it was not at all work related.  🙂  My work has suffered a lot as I have left school soon after the bell rang for the end of the day. Even though I will spend this week trying to catch up on my marking, the events I attended were all worth it. There are times when you have to do things for yourself – and the past week was one of those times.

My week began as every other week. On Wednesday, however, it deviated from the norm. I had won tickets to see The Wife as well as the book written by Meg Wolitzer (you can see my review here). My husband was not interested in seeing the film once I had told him the synopsis. Instead I asked a colleague of mine to go watch the film with me. We left school as soon as we could after the last bell had rung so that we could see the early show. The film adaptation of the book was excellent. And what was perfect is that I felt the same emotions I had experienced when reading the book. We both loved the film and were still talking about it on Thursday.

On Thursday, I went to another author event held by Harper Collins Publishing. At the event I had the opportunity to listen to two debut authors speak about their psychological thrillers which will be coming out next year. Their answers to the questions posed to them suggests that their novels will be filled with twists and surprises. I look forward to reading them (we received copies of the ARCS at the event) as I do love twisty thrillers.

On Friday the Toronto International Festival of Authors began. My husband is not interested in going to author events but my cousin was willing to keep me company. On Friday we went to hear Miriam Toews speak; and yesterday we heard a panel of authors speak: Kelley Armstrong, Michael Robotham, and Amy Stuart. We have loved the talks so far and look forward to the others we intend to listen to next weekend. The events are continuing during the week but we decided to attend only those that are occurring over the days when we don’t have to get up early to go to work the next day.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I need to finish getting ready for work. Sorry once again for the late catch up. Hopefully this week will be less busy and I will have more time to do some blogging. Have a wonderful week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: Commencement and Thanksgiving

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we have had a dreary week. Even as I am writing this, it is drizzling outside. The grey clouds have been with us since Monday and the wet has lingered for just as long. I look forward to seeing blue skies again. The sun peeked out a little yesterday but then decided to continue hiding behind the clouds.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even though the weather has not been pleasant, the week was not too bad. The children in my class worked well and took on the additions to my classroom routine with enthusiasm. Friday was a PA day and therefore the children did not go to school. Teachers attended a staff meeting and did compliance training. It is always weird hearing the bell echoing in the empty hallways as we continue with the work that we have to do.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Friday was also the day that my eldest daughter graduated from high school. The ceremony was very pleasant and had moments in which we, the parents, felt very proud. My daughter received her school leaving certificate as well as the Ontario Scholar certificate because she had above 80% in at least one of her subjects. In addition, she received two awards: one for visual arts, and one for citizenship. She was so happy to see her friends again – though she says she prefers where she is learning now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada and, as per our agreement, my husband will be cooking the dinner (my part of the agreement is to cook Christmas dinner). He has gone off to Chinatown to buy barbecue pork and some vegetables. He always makes a tasty meal and I am looking forward to it. There will be a person missing at our table tonight as we celebrate – our son has moved to Vancouver. We will connect via Skype – and see him for Christmas.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you Happy Thanksgiving if you were Canadian. If not, I wish you a wonderful week ahead.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: An Event-Filled Week

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would offer you a warm drink out of the cold. The temperature has dropped overnight and we have gone from hot and humid to chilly breezes. The constant fluctuations in temperature make it difficult to know what to wear – and have caused a number of people to get sick (myself included). Today it is starting to feel like Fall – coincidentally today  is the official start of the new season.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had quite a busy week. On Monday after school I went to an author event organised by Harper Collins Canada. I heard A. J. Finn speak about his debut novel The Woman in the Window as well as Mary Kubica on When The Lights Go Out. Both of these novels are psychological thrillers and it was interesting to hear how different their writing process is for the same genre of novel.

On Thursday night it was Open House at our school. On this evening, the parents have the opportunity to come in and visit our classrooms. I had the chance to meet some of the parents, and book a follow-up meeting with each of them. The sense I got from each parent I met was positive and I am hoping we can work well together this year in order to create a good learning experience for their child.

The next day I was exhausted, as I always am when I am at school for 12 hours straight. I came home early after school on Friday, just missing the big storm that damaged a number of trees in our neighbourhood. Today I am resting in the afternoon to be ready to get back into the swing of things on Monday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my weekend read is A. J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window. So far it is thrilling and it is sure to keep me reading the entire weekend. I am sure that I will not want to watch too much TV this weekend.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)