Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting Inspired for Home Schooling!

Do you ever have those times when you're stuck in a rut? The kids are playing up and you know there's some solution but you can't see it because you're too much in the middle of it? Oh boy. I was praying for some inspiration and then this book came in for me at the library. It is just what I needed! Beautiful toys to make and good ideas for playing with them (for when your imagination needs a bit of help). There's a wealth of inspiration on the net but sometimes the amount can be overwhelming and eye-straining, and you just can't beat lying on the couch with a good book while everyone else is fast asleep. Ahh.

But the most amazing and inspiring pictures I have seen on the internet so far? Just feast your eyes on this spectacular, magical and enchanting playroom:
This belongs to one Ariella of a blog called "Childhood Magic" (more photos here) but to my bitter disappointment, it doesn't seem to be running anymore. Sigh.
I would love to create something like this upstairs. I can dream, can't I?
Anyway, after much thought and consideration, I actually have a plan for our home schooling! Our first theme will be .... ICE-CREAM. Yes, I wanted to get things off to a positive start. Apart from our usual outings, like playgroup and the park with friends etc, we will have a theme around which to base a few activities. For ICE-CREAM, we will make a pretend ice-cream shop, learn some ice-cream songs and rhymes, make real ice-cream and of course, visit the real ice-cream shop. The other dimensions to our schooling will be a weekly value/virtue such as gratitude or generosity, and a home task like folding clothes or using a dustpan and brush. It will all be a pretty loose sort of a set-up, although I'll need to get organised to make sure the activities get an allocated space in the week. I'm looking forward to it. It's so good to have some direction!

Mud, Glorious Mud!

A sunny day after rain....what's something fun and messy to do?

Mud! Mud! Glorious mud!

Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood,

So follow me, follow, down to the hollow,

And there we shall wallow, in glorious mud!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Old Man's a Truckie

Guess who's got a new job?

Matt! Yep, he got sick of building - the erratic work and pay, hot weather and stress - and has now got a new job as a truck driver delivering food to cafes on the south side. This work is very consistent and not too demanding on the grey matter which is just what Matt wanted, at least for a few years. Then he might train to be a TAFE teacher so he can get lots of holidays! (Cause that's why we all go into teaching, right??) The only bad thing is he has to get out of bed at 3.45am to start work at 5.00am. Euuggghhh. But he gets spoilt with iced coffees all day and the only bad thing is the odd grumpy chef. Good on you, Matt; it takes courage to make a change like that when you're the sole breadwinner for the family. Thanks for working hard and earning money so I can spend it. ;0) You're the best! xxxxxxx

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rainy Holiday #2

So, off we went on our second Rainy Holiday, this time to the Lost World. We could barely see the road as we drove there, the rain was pelting down so hard. Most other cars were pulling over with their hazard lights on, but Mum blithely carried on, determined to enjoy our holiday, despite the grim weather forecast: "Rain." One of those dead-cert, don't-get-your-hopes-up kind of forecasts which most people would heed.
When we arrived, it looked hopeful (to us dummies) so we pulled on our gumboots and headed down to check out the creek.
It was really high! It was exciting to see the creek this swollen, but of course my head quickly filled with visions of my children tumbling away at the mercy of the current and the rocks. Swimming was pretty much out of the question.
We pottered around outside for a while so my crazy kids could let off a bit of steam.

At nap time, Jimmy and I curled up in my favourite yellow bedroom....
with a great book! Thank you to my patient and generous Mum for minding Kees.
Rainy weather ain't all bad.

By the last day, we were thinking that the rain wasn't going to stop any time soon, so we packed up and left that morning. Morning! Lucky we did: we would have been stuck there if we'd hung around any longer, because the big floods were on their way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January is Cleaning Month

Ahhh, a New Year's Eve picnic. Christmas was over (sigh of relief) and nothing pressing to do for a while. I couldn't wait to get into January - it has been assigned to getting rid of stuff! The rules: give away as much as possible and start nothing new.
Well, unless sewing something new means helping to clean up. I enjoyed making these little toy bags to organise a few bits and bobs, and now I can hang them on hooks on the back of Kees' door. That definitely counts as cleaning up. Tomorrow, I'm dropping off my third boot-load of stuff to Lifeline and it feels GOOD! I hope someone will get some joy out of our unused things.

I like this quote from a Pamela Allen book:

Happiness is not getting what you want
It's wanting what you've got.

Nice, hey?

How I get anything done around here is a mystery to me.

Rainy Holiday # 1

The reason I was so elated to have a SUNNY beach holiday at Fraser Island, was because all our other holidays this year have been RAINY!! I feel like such a brat, complaining about the rain causing inconvenience to our holidays, while some people's homes have been washed away, but you know when you're so looking forward to a holiday at the beach.....and then it rains torrentially? While we were at Straddie, it rained so much, our chooks at home got flooded and our poor neighbour was beside herself dithering about what to do with them.

Of course we kept our spirits up as best we could, forging ahead to the beach, creeks and lakes with our rain jackets on or between showers, but when we'd had enough of that, playing with chocolate - CHOCOLATE, folks, not poo - in the bath was fun.

There were periods of respite between the rains and we put these to good use, often doing our favourite headland walk. Spot the wallaby?

The kids didn't seem to care about the weather. Funny how they don't put a value on things - if it's raining, it's raining, if it's cold, it's cold - who cares? I think I can learn from this ;0)

I tried a bit of art-making, inspired by Lynne at Sugar City Journal. It was fun. I enjoyed it. Then Jimmy squished it, but that's the ephemeral nature of beach art - all good. Sigh.

Thank goodness for Grandma and Grandpa!

I did force myself to go for one swim, and I tried hard to enjoy it, grimacing words cheerfully through chattering teeth, like "refreshing!" and "bracing!" and "invigorating!" but it was so cold and windy and fraught with bluebottles, that I hurried out after about thirty seconds.

Didn't stop those kids though!

And then, something strange began to happen.....

What? Could that be ? A glimmer of sunlight??


Even the bees were happy.

We really, really enjoyed those one and a half days of sun.
Everything felt right again. But when the rain came back, at least we could console ourselves with ....

Thanks for putting up with this very long and self-indulgent post. xx

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ya Can't Catch Me....

I'm the Gingerbread Man!
Gosh, how I love a good thematically-related set of activities. If I can pull my finger out and get organised for next year's "homeschooling", I'd love to do a whole bunch of themed units. Although, with K's behaviour lately, I'm thinking it's not too late to enrol him in Prep.... Anyway, baking gingerbread, reading the story and playing the game (ie, chasing the "gingerbread man" around the garden) was the theme here. And a bit of romping around, of course!

The finished product. As you can see, baking is not my forte. But I did enjoy making this rude one to hide in a friend's Christmas package. ;0)
I'm the Gingerbread Man!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Flood

Croydon St towards Regatta Hotel

I don't know what to say about the Queensland floods. Only that they are BAD. I guess you would have seen everything on the news, like the tsunami down the main street of Toowoomba, houses being swept away with people in them, Brisbane under water and so on. Where we live did not flood, and most people we know are fine, but many people have lost everything and now floods continue in New South Wales and Victoria. BUT, people are rallying together for the cleanup; in fact, there were so many people who turned up to help, that they were turned away! These sort of times are when we see the best in humanity.

You can watch someone's collection of photos on Youtube here and you can donate to the Premier's Flood Appeal here.

(These photos aren't mine.)