Thursday, January 14, 2016

a spoonful of sugar

That a spoonful of sugar
Helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way!
--Mary Poppins


As a child I loved the magic of Mary Poppins - if only I could snap my finger and my room would clean itself or slide down (or up!) the banisters in my house....or jump into chalk paintings.

...but now as a mom, I'm beginning of appreciate the wisdom of that super nanny! 

A spoonful of sugar ... The element of fun ... In what I need or want my kids to do.

Finish supper? Maybe a train or an airplane or even just a funny face "ahhh" achieves far better results than nagging.

Clean-up toys? Let's see how fast we can do it! Or... Race against each other... Or a quick basketball game using the toy box as our net...

My kids LOVE it when I play games with them and when it comes to the mundane - like bum changes, hair washing and eating veggies... The more I can play, the better!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

of mysteries and the English countryside

I wanted to be Nancy Drew when I grew up in my pre-teen years.

Carolyn Keene hooked me on reading and taught me to love a good mystery. I'm not into the gruesome or overly "scary" mysteries, but a good plot with a few twists, one that leaves me mulling over the clues while washing the dishes, or changing diapers! They also can't be predictable - my tastes have come a long way since those early days, yet I am forever grateful for the trajectory her novels provided.

Fast-forward a decade and enter Kate Morton's books.

I first read The Forgotten Garden on a trip to Phoenix a few years ago. After a drought of reading (reading for school frequently left me NOT reading for pleasure) I fell in love with Morton's writing - her mysteries laced with romance, set in the English countryside, in houses of long ago. The romantic in me who fantasizes life in castles (without the paparazzi) devours these sorts of stories.

I've since read The Forgotten Garden again, and also her other books - though I felt disappointed by some of them, I did thoroughly enjoy the twists and turns of The Secret Keeper and it became my #2 favourite of hers, until this week when my name was up for her latest, The Lake House, from our local library.

Oh it's good. So very good. I love how brilliantly self-aware the novel is too - as an English teacher, who LOVED giving my students meta-cognitive pieces, telling them to THINK about their THINKING.  I love how the characters themselves delve into the how-tos of a mystery, as the mystery novel unfolds.

Before I even started reading the endpapers pulled me in:

Exquisite.  They make the book feel even more luxurious as it whisks me away to Cornwall in the 1930s.... 

I'm having a tough time putting it down.  And I'm constantly craving a good cup of English tea accompanied by some scones and jam. mmm.