Tag Archives: tea

Our traditional holiday lies

22 Nov

“I’m worried about the package,” my sister told me when we Skyped on Sunday. “I had to go to a different post office and the clerk gave me trouble.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well, I lied, as always. Instead of saying the package contained tea, I said it contained chocolate. The clerk said it was a violation of Canadian and American law to send chocolate throughout the mail. So I said it was candy. I’m worried she flagged it for inspection.”

I laughed. We are always lying to federal officials on both sides of the border, about what our packages contain. They never contain anything illegal, but we lie just in case.

When I arrived home last night, I mounted the stairs chanting my new apres-knee mantra: “Good foot up, bad foot down”. I can walk unassisted, but am using a cane for security. As I reached the top step, I looked up and saw a small package at my door stoop. Oh, to be able to run or skip! It was, of course, my illicit Advent calendar.


I sent a quick message to my sister then opened this tiny cabinet of wonders.


One tea a day until Christmas! As a naturally curious person, I had to peek at my birthday. What tea would December 23 hold?


Organic Kashmiri Chai! I resisted the temptation to peek at any others. I just have to wait patiently for 8 days, until I can open the first drawer.




Advent Calendars: A Slice of Life Story

24 Nov


Growing up, we didn’t really “do” Advent. The first I heard of it was in Grade 5, after we’d moved to  New Hamburg, Ontario,  population 3,500 and home to about 10 churches, including two Lutheran (which we referred to as the red Lutheran or the white Lutheran) and three Mennonite churches. Everybody went somewhere. We went to Zion United Church and that is where I first heard about the concept of Advent.


My sister and I joined the Junior Choir and soon learned that when we heard the tones of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”  and “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”,  Advent was upon us. Aside from special hymns at church, though,  we did nothing else to mark the season.

It wasn’t until I spent my first Christmas away from home as an exchange student in Denmark that I became acquainted with the Advent calendar. My Danish host parents gave me a home-made fabric calendar that had a little present tied to each of the 24 rings on it, one for each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas. I remember that most of the presents were useful gifts: a thimble, folding scissors, that sort of thing. Every morning my host mother would ask what I got that day as we talked over coffee when I got home from school.

It seemed that after I returned home, I suddenly noticed the appearance of the boxed advent calendars with a little piece of chocolate behind each day’s door.


This year, my sister has outdone herself. She sent me a DAVIDsTEA 24 Days of Tea 2015 advent calendar!It looks like a simple box, but it opens to reveal the beauty and joy within.

!IMG_2121 IMG_2122

Yes, one festive holiday tea for each of the 24 days before Christmas.  I snuck a peek at day 1’s tea,


 a caffeine free blend called sleigh ride that contains the following ingredients: Apple, Beet Root, Candied Papaya, Cinnamon Sticks, Coconut Chips, Hibiscus Blossoms, Natural Flavours, Pineapple, Popped Rice, Raisins, Roasted Almonds. It looks good enough to eat!


For now, I’m just thinking about it. I can wait the week until December 1st. Really, I can. But, I won’t tell you if I don’t.

Nice people

2 Apr

Nobody likes a grouch, except maybe Oscar the Grouch, who is an exception to the rule.  And remember that old saying “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”? Well, two new picture books have two really lovely characters who are as sweet as honey.

In  Brimsby’s Hats by Andrew Prahin, the mains character, Brimsby is a hat maker who is just a very nice person.


I knew I was going to like this book when, on the second page it turns out that Brimsby has a friend who makes wonderful tea and they sit down to it often and have wonderful conversations. Men after my own heart.


When Brimsby’s friend leaves to become a sea captain, Brimsby is full of joy and sorrow. Life becomes too quiet, so he decides he needs to make new friends. When he does, the results are spectacular.

Another very nice person is the eponymous Maple created by Lori Nichols.


Goodreads summary: When Maple is tiny, her parents plant a maple tree in her honor. She and her tree grow up together, and even though a tree doesn’t always make an ideal playmate, it doesn’t mind when Maple is in the mood to be loud—which is often. Then Maple becomes a big sister, and finds that babies have their loud days, too. Fortunately, Maple and her beloved tree know just what the baby needs

Maple is a delight. I wish she were in my class. But it is how she treats her new baby sister that makes this really a wonderful book, because, in the end, something magical happens.




1 Apr



National Poetry Month begins today, and therefore, so does NaPoWriMo (National poetry Writing Month). I am celebrating it with my reading differentiation group. Ideally we would write a poem every school day in April, but OAKS testing has stepped in to confound things. We meet today & tomorrow, then not again for 2 weeks because groups are cancelled for testing. Sigh.

The website for NaPoWriMo offers many things, not the least of which is a prompt a day. Sometimes these are not really 4th grade friendly, but many times they are. Over the years, I’ve collected the best ones and now have an arsenal of poems that 4th graders can begin and do a good job on within the limits of our group time.


Today’s prompt uses the Bibliomancy Oracle. My prompt came from Robert Frost.

Here are your waters and your watering place.

Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.


from “Directive” by Robert Frost

And here is my response:


All day long

I talk, listen, advise, ask.

Sweet bliss

when I get home

to the peace, the quiet

and sit down

to cup of tea

a book

a dog on either side,

I am whole again.


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