Sunday, April 28, 2013

Writing Workshops


Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing author Catherine McKenzie at two of her workshops in downtown Montreal. She is the author of 3 novels (Spin, Forgotten & Arranged), with a 4th book (Hidden) coming out this June. I have read all her novels, and loved them. Catherine was giving 2 workshops yesterday, one called How to Write Dialogue and the other called How to Find Your Voice. I took Dialogue Writing last year which Catherine hosted with author Shawn Klomparens, and enjoyed it. This year, it was the same outline, but with new faces in the crowd for the workshop, new things were talked about and it was extremely interesting. I have always loved writing, and possibly have some ideas in my head that I might just start to put on paper. The 2nd workshop, on finding your voice was very interesting as well. I learned a bit about the tense that books are written in (first person, third person, present, past tense, etc). According to Catherine, I have to just “DO IT”! I took some notes, I have some ideas, now I just need to get started. Above, Catherine was reading an excerpt from Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl to then ask us about the tense that it was written in.

Friday, April 26, 2013

50th Anniversary


This week my son’s elementary school is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. I was actually a student there when the school celebrated it’s 25th, and I remember celebrating it. I graduated there 20 years ago this June. It’s nice being able to celebrate this with my son being a student there.


Today I got to volunteer to help with the Retired Teacher’s tea/coffee event. A bunch of my former teachers came! Above, I’m standing with my grade 5 French Teacher (next to me) and on the right, a teacher that I had I think for Science (in French), but looking through my report cards right now, I didn’t have her as a main teacher for homeroom. I was in French Immersion back in school.


And this was my Kindergarten teacher! She now (still!) teaches Art (as a specialty) at my son’s school. I only had her for half the year, as she went on maternity leave from January onward. She is retiring this June after 37 years teaching at the same school. My son doesn’t have her as she only teachers grade 2-6. Kindergarten & Grade 1 do a lot of art in class, that they don’t have art as a specialty.


I got a group shot of past & present Principals and Vice-Principals. The man on the right is a general director or something, he popped in to see how our event went this morning. The two gentlemen in the middle were my VP (blue shirt) and my Principal (stripped sweater) when I was a student there. The current VP is on the left hand of the photo and the current Principal is the lady with the long scarf. (Actually the current VP and Principal are both wearing matching scarves, the school green color). The other VPs and Principals I don’t know at all.

It was a huge trip down memory lane this morning and I am so glad to have been able to take part in this. It was nice reminiscing with my former teachers and showing them my little brag book of my family. They were all shocked that I had a child in Kindergarten at the school already and that I was a mom of 3. I’ll definitely never forget this experience. I am very fortunate that I have the opportunity to be so involved in my son’s school. Between volunteering my time in the library weekly and being on governing board (and next year Home & School) and the Parent Participation Organization, all as secretary, and sitting in on the allergy committee (since I am a mom with a child with an allergy at the school). Sean’s teacher also appointed me as Class Mother this past year and I have been helping her out in every way that I can. This past week and a half I was at the school almost every day helping out in Sean’s classroom for the 50th Anniversary. The school held an open house Wednesday and Thursday night this past week and half the classes had live exhibits one night but were open for visits and the other half was the 2nd night. (The school invited the parents of the live exhibits to come on their respective nights) as the school has somewhere between 525 and 550 students (I can’t remember the exact number) and the school cannot accommodate that many students + parents on one night. Sean’s class exhibit was last night, and I had been working hard with his teacher (and another mom on one of the days) to get the exhibit on display.


Sean’s class, worked on Abécédaire, which is French for The Alaphabet, and they displayed it over time. The kids made booklets with things starting with the letters of the alphabet, (which are the white booklets hanging from the wall in the image below). They made their own Alphabet Ebook (which works only in iBooks as it was made with Book Creator, an iPad app) and each kid did a letter or two of the alphabet, they took a picture with the iPad of their page, and said what it was (in French of course) and the class turned it into an ebook. The pages are the ones on the construction paper below hanging). Then, on the table, is displayed from every decade starting in the 1950’s, 16 different ABC books in both French & English. For the night that our class didn’t have a “live” exhibit, Sean’s teacher wanted to display the book covers and not the actual books, as she didn’t want them to go missing, since they belong to some of the students, or even to some the relatives of some of the students (for example, my mom sent in one book). So I went in two weeks ago, photographed each of the 16 books, sent them to Costco to print in 5x7 size and they are on the blue part of the wall, behind the books, as a timeline, which is pretty cool. The kids were impressed on how the images of the ABC books changed over time from the 1950’s to today. It’s really hard for children to understand time – but this was a great way to help them learn.


It’s been a long week and a half – making sure everything was done perfectly and set up just right. I’m so proud of all their hard work!

Monday, April 22, 2013



Based on the screenplay, WHEREWOLVES, by John Vamvas and Olga Montes this novel kept me on my toes once all the action started - I just couldn't put it down. A group of troubled high school seniors who mainly all come from military backgrounds, along with their teacher, The Sarge, go away on a weekend of survival training and must face their fears. The novel was completely unpredictable - I couldn't believe how it ended, I thought it was something else and I was completely fooled (in a good way). The entire novel was completely realistic as well (the way the teens talked, acted, were, etc). The beginning of the novel, which is really the end, starts with an action scene to grab your attention, and then moves on to build up the story a bit before the action at the end makes you not want to put the book down. The detail in the novel was so "detailed" that I vividly saw everything in my mind, but it wasn't too overwhelming. I am not usually into "werewolves" type novels, but this is not your usual "werewolves" novel either! I absolutely recommend it.

I hope a second novel is written, I want to know more, what happens next? What happens after Dawn leaves the cabin? Please give us more!

I cannot wait for this novel to come out on paperback, as I plan to get a print copy (I read the e-book) and get both Vamvas & Montes to sign it for me. (Is it a bonus that their adorable son is in my son's kindergarten class?) The ebook is currently available on amazon for a great price of around 3$.


A link to author bios, book excerpt (first two chapters), synopsis, and reviews is here,   follow the book on Twitter: @WHEREWOLVESfilm, on Facebook, or on Goodreads.

I was given a copy of Wherewolves in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Island Giveaway Winner


The winner of ISLAND is: @katiemetzroth! Please leave me a comment or email me (knitpurlmama at gmail dot com) to let me know what your Ravelry ID is. Thanks & Congrats! I might have a few more giveaways coming up – so don’t forget to come back!

Friday, April 12, 2013

25 books


Yesterday I read my 25th books read in 2013. That’s 1.66 books a week on average. We’re now in the about to start the 16th week of the year. I’m feeling quite confident that I can reach my pledge this year. So far this year I’ve read: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik, Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, Where’d you go Bernadette by Maria Semple, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall and Sh*t My Dad Says and I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern, Three Good Things by Wendy Francis, Mistaken Identity by Dan & Susie Van Ryan, Colleen Newell, Whitney Cerak and Mark Tabb, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, If You Ask Me by Betty White, I Like You by Amy Sedaris, Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Taught by Jenna Owens, The Mominatrix's Guide To Sex: A No Surrender Advice Book For Naughty Moms by Kristen Chase, Famous, The Birthday, The Angel all 3 by Ashley Barron, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, Holy Crap, I'm Bathing in a Rose by D.J. Paris, Inside by Alix Ohlin, and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.. When I posted my 25th book, the 50 Book Pledge let me know that I was on pace to read 89 books this year. I have posted all my reviews up on Goodreads.

Monday, April 08, 2013


For those of you who use Google Reader to stay up to date with the blogs you read, Google Reader is shutting down in a few months. Thanks to one of my readers/friends in my knitting group, she pointed me in the direction of Bloglovin’ which imports your Google Reader links and is an iPhone app too and I wanted to share it with you – my readers. I’m excited that there’s something out there that will take over so I can stay up to date with the blogs I read. So thank you Monica!

The Hearing Test

Quentin's hearing test went well on Thursday at the Children's Hospital. The tubes he had put in are working efficiently, he can hear perfectly. We did not do a test before the tubes were put in his ears, so we don't have a basis for comparison, unfortunately. So, yes, he has speech delay (they can see from listening to him) but because of his age, and because he can hear now, he's low priority for speech therapy through the Children’s hospital here. They will submit a request, but they warned me there is a TWO (crap!) year waiting list for speech therapy. The lady we had the appointment with did say that maybe because of everything that he's been through with his Laryngomalacia and everything else, that maybe he might go through the system quicker than 2 years, but it's not an urgent need to get him speech therapy, it's more to help he move along/catch up. She told me I could go private, if I had insurance through work (which I don't), or I could check with my local CLSC (health and social service centres) - as some CLSC's have resources like an "in house" speech therapist. I stopped in at the CLSC in my area and they don't have in house, or the girl didn't know what I was talking about, but gave me the phone number to call their social work department, as they might know further info, or might have a good direction to point me in. So I did. And someone called me back on Friday and I picked up a questionnaire to fill out. They would basically only help us if Quentin is behind developmentally in 2 areas or more. After reading over the form/questionnaire, to me, it seems that there is more than one area that Quentin is behind in (for example he cannot walk up stairs, he crawls them, and doesn't do a bunch other things in the gross motor list, so he would fail that section and be behind in that too... as an example). I filled out the questionnaire in full this weekend, some things I had to do activities with Quentin to see what he does, and I have an appointment end of April to meet with them - there was a 2-3 week wait for an appointment, which isn't bad). So we'll see if I get anywhere with the CLSC. Lastly, I can check to see if my daycare coordinator has any resources, because some CPE's ('Centre de Petite Enfance' (Early Childhood Center)) (though we're not a CPE by name and not 7$ a day(7$ daycare is government subsidized completely) (I pay $16.50 per kid per day at our daycare), but we're not private either so I might have access to CPE benefits, like speech therapy, but I have to call the government and see what resources we are entitled to) have resources for speech therapists to come to daycare, to help your child, and it's free. I think I'll try to push to see if that can help me out in any way whatsoever. Worst case, I might take a private appointment, just to get Quentin assessed to see where he's at, and if they can give me some tools to work with him, so that I can do it on my own, and just pay that 300$-400$ for the initial assessment for a speech therapist. It's expensive. Private speech therapy after assessment runs 100$ an hour.

And that's that. I am so glad he's hearing well, and the tubes are working. He is still young enough that he can catch up and not have any effects with his speech, but you never know, and if I can correct it, now would be the time, since he's still very young (28 months, 1 week).

I’m trying to be as pro-active as I can. I am glad this was all caught now, though, we might have been able to avoid all this had our doctor taken my concerns more seriously, and if they were, maybe his adenoids and tubes surgery would have been a year earlier, when he would have been learning to talk, and this all wouldn’t have been an issue at all. Maybe some of this is because he was premature, but who knows. All I know is I will try to do all I can for my son, and that’s all that really matters now.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Holy Crap, I’m Bathing in a Rose


This book was absolutely hysterical. I had not read any past entries from Delfin Paris’ blog, but I got right into the collection of stories and it’s humor sucked me in. I have the same type of sense of humor, so I laughed out loud at most of the book. There are 100 stories/chapters including the Forward which are diary style entries and which are the “best of” stories from his blog. Delfin found 25 readers form his blog to help him edit these stories for his book. Delfin is blunt, honest, and tells you like it is. He doesn’t hold anything back and gives you a look into his life, without sugar coating anything or making it seem like his life is perfect. I like his style of writing his stories, and he makes it fun and easy to read. There are images in the book, which are for the most part hysterical, and I find it adds that little extra something to the book. I liked the rawness to his truths, and feel that if I were in the same city as Delfin, that we’d be friends. After reading his book, I feel like I have known him forever, that’s the sense he gives off. I also loved that I could click on the links in the book and right on my kindle, read more into what he was talking about with a back story to the current story. That was pretty neat, and I’ve never done that before in something I was reading.

If you’re looking for some laughs and maybe a good cry too (but a good one, not in a bad way), then you should definitely pick up a copy of Holy Crap, I’m Bathing in a Rose (though I’m not really sure what the title of the book has to do with anything – please help me understand this one, Delfin!) You can buy Delfin’s book for under 3$ on Amazon here.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Ashley Barron :: Short Story Review

SONY DSC Ashley-Barron-Famous Birthday

I recently received copies of Ashley Barron’s 3 ebooks, The Angel, Famous and The Birthday to read & review.

The Angel :: I am not sure how I feel yet about the after-life and about angels if they really exist or not. The writing in this short story flows and has made me question getting old and what I believe happens when one passes on. Do angels really exist? Do they help us with crossing over to the "next part" of our existence? Is there a next part to our existence? This could stir up a whole lot of debate. I normally don't pick up books on the subject of after-life but was curious about this story since II had already read the other 2  short stories by Ashley Barron and like her style of writing.

Famous :: This short story is about a woman whose father has either dementia or Alzheimer's, it's never really said in the story but both dementia and Alzheimer's is mentioned at the end of the story. My grandmother has Alzheimer's right now at a pretty late stage. I felt like I knew exactly what the main character was going through by not wanting to visit (because it is too hard to face). I know my grandmother still loves me even though half the time she mixes me or my kids up with someone else. I like the way the author writes, it's all very real. I like it when I read something that is true rather than far fetched.

The Birthday :: This was a really heart-warming short story. Being a mother and wife myself, the words that were written felt real to me. Her son acted the way my eldest would when trying to get what he wanted. The way she saw her family rang true. I wish I could have read more about the rest of the birthday evening. Did they end up at the theatre? Was there a surprise birthday in the end? I can't wait to read more by Ashley Barron.

I gave all 3 short stories a 4 star rating on Goodreads.

I was given copies of The Angel, Famous & The Birthday in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, April 05, 2013

ISLAND :: Review & Giveaway


I have the opportunity to share with you Jane Richmond’s newest collection of patterns in an ebook (or book!) called ISLAND. I have to say that the ebook is really well put together & the patterns are just stunning.


My favourite pattern in this book is the Arbutus Cowl. It’s very cute (my style!) and even the yarn/color is just stunning/a great choice. (I ♥ madelinetosh tosh dk!)

ISLAND Grace Collage ISLAND Rathtrevor CollageISLAND Renfrew ISLAND Strathcona Collage

There are 4 other patterns in the book as well, Strathcona (bottom right), Renfrew (bottom left), Rathtrevor (top right), Grace (top left). The patterns are just amazing, and look at the photography of them… they are gorgeous. The photographer happens to be Jane’s own brother, Nicholas Kupiak.

The book layout is very well though out and put together.  I caught on that the book had one sweater pattern, with 4 accessories to go with it – not sure if this was intentional or not? There’s a pair of fingerless mitts, a hat, a scarf and that fave cowl of mine. How genius! And the stunning photos taken on Vancouver Island, are breathtaking… I can’t express how much I mean this. The entire ebook shows that a lot of work was put into it.

I’ve always been a fan of Jane’s work. While I actually own several of her patterns, I haven’t yet knit any of them… I know, I know… But so many that I do want to make of hers. Jane’s designs come out so fast, that I don’t have enough time to knit them fast enough. (Especially since the current sweater I’m working on, has been in progress since last June, sigh). I’m off to go figure out which of Jane’s patterns I will start next. It will be my next project. (If my husband doesn’t notice that I’ve been neglecting his 2nd Sock…owed from Xmas 2009… oops, shhh!)

If you want to get your hands on a copy of ISLAND, you can get print copies through, or at your local yarn shop. You can pick-up a copy of the ebook on Ravelry here.

Would you like a chance to WIN your own copy of the ebook? Jane has generously given me a ebook to give away to one of my lucky readers!

-The giveaway is open to everyone since it’s a digital file sent to you from Jane herself
- The giveaway ends one week from now, so Friday, April 12th, 2013 at 12:00 midnight EST.
- All comments must include either a valid email address, Ravelry ID, or some way that I can contact you.
- Winner will be chosen via random number generator and will be contacted within 24 hours after giveaway ends/announced on my blog.


Leave a comment telling me which of these 5 patterns you want to knit & tell me what yarn you'd like to knit it in! For an extra entry, tweet about the giveaway, and leave me a secondary comment with the link to your tweet. For another extra entry, follow me on twitter @knitpurlmama & come back and let me know that you follow me (and what your username is!)

All photos in this post are © Nicholas Kupiak.