A cast of thousands……

September 7, 2013

Finale at the Opera House! 1000 kids

Finale at the Opera House! 1000 kids.

Last week our 10 year old…. and lots of other public school kids …… made their Opera House debuts. What an exciting night of so many talented kids.

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Embarrassingly I made her get out her cello and pose standing (oh MUM!) in front of the Harbour Bridge.

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Week 2 Advent 2012.

9: Sunday: Catch-up time

Reading: Luke 1: 26-56

Activity: Talk through the different names given to Jesus. Make a Christmas ball  for our tree with the names of Jesus in it. Planned but not done.

Think about someone in our lives that serves us and make them a Christmas ball. (planned but not done)

Charades with lolly pops in our mouths Funny …as always. Made up 2 new categories. “Youtube” and “Theatre” Great fun.

Baked dinner...... potatoes!

Baked dinner…… potatoes!

10: Monday

Reading: Luke 1: 57-66

Activity: Talk through the passage. Eat a baked dinner together. Took advantage of a coolish day to add this one in. I like to have one in December if we can.

After much concentration the village is made.

After much concentration the village is made.

Build a lego village together. Super fun. I lashed out and bought a fabulous Christmas set of lego for the family to enjoy each year. It lights up and makes the cutest village scene. The relevance was tenuous….. but was a nod to the community that Elizabeth and Zechariah were part of when John was born.

Half of our family enjoy written instructions.

Half of our family enjoy written instructions.

Extra Joy: Making got intense….left to me and 14 year old. Tim tool the others for a late night scooter in their PJ’s

11: Tuesday didn’t happen…. too many comings and goings.

12: Wednesday (did Tuesdays)

Reading: Luke 1: 67-80 

Activity: Christmas Ball snakes. We ate a jelly snake (representing sin) each. Talked about how sin often comes in very attractive packaging, and how once forgiven (eaten) we have a fresh start (empty glass ball)

Extra Joy: The girls all started inventing advent calendar ideas, including 24 walks, ‘jenga’ advent, 24 travel days…. and the list went on.

Extra Extra Joy: Lead by 6 year old each of the girls gave us a ‘Tell and Show’ (You must tell before you show) Lots of fun.

13: Thursday didn’t happen

Goodbye Mrs Sinclair.

Goodbye Mrs Sinclair.

14: Friday activities planned but spent the evenings farewelling special friends. Firstly Mrs Sinclair a kinder/Y1 teacher who three of my four girls had….9 year old for 2 years….. She is off to be the Principal at Tempe. Lucky you. Very sad.

Like one big family.

Like one big family.

Then goodbye to our lovely friends Klint and Kirsty. Off back to Brisbane after being an enormous encouragement to us (and others I am sure) being some of the first Joshua Tree members. Sadly our involvement in The Joshua Tree has ended but many fabulous friendships remain. I’m sure we will see you again soon.

I love this photo. Looks like 6 year old is pushing us all over!

15: Saturday again we had activities planned but December got the better of us.

Room make-overing (more on this later), birthday party craft (this too) and Summer Hill Church’s Twilight Markets to raise money for tear.

I sat with the youth kids and wrapped presents (badly) for donations. They made about $40 and had a ball.

Hopefully this coming week we can show a bit more commitment to the cause of advent ….. although giving it up to love and serve our community and each other has great value I think.

How is your advent tracking?

 

 

 

Scallyoop Scoop!

November 26, 2012

Tuxedo Sam (other characters available) USB sticks.

Today I want to tell you all about a fantastic online store.

It’s owned by my fabulous little sister Hayley and a friend… so I am a little bias in my recommendation…. but after I have shown you a small selection of an enormous range of products, I am sure you will agree with me.

Firstly, I will show you some of the items we have enjoyed from Scallyoop and a few reasons why I like them…. and then give you my recommendations for Christmas….. and leave you with a special offer!

Tuxedo Sam (and Friends) USB stick. 14 year old has one and loves it! Once the kids get to high school the USB becomes their best friend. These little guys wont be lost like the boring generic kind…. and are easily recognisable. Even Dad’s and nephew’s would enjoy these.

Djeco Art Nouveau Workshop.

Djeco make fabulous product. They provide great structured art projects which are vital for building skills. Over the years we have enjoyed many of these craft boxes. They are beautiful indeed.

Covering crafts from colouring, collage, puppet making, folding and knitting these sets ….made for boys as well as girls are highly recommended.

Made by the same company (and often included in the kits) are these felt painting textas and oil pastels. Be warned however….once you buy a child these beautiful textas they will never want normal ones. They make truly beautiful marks and last and last. Well worth the investment.

The oil pastels are also lovely to create art with. you will want to sit alongside your child and draw with them. I think they are better for older children ….. maybe 8+ as they can be a little messy (like oil pastels are)

Felt paint textas.

Oil Pastels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ni Hao Noodle Bowl. Now $19.95

The Ni Hao Noodle bowl is a fun way to introduce chopsticks to your children. The set comes with a noodle bowl, a patterned plate and a cute set of ‘kid friendly’ chopsticks. The little rubber man holds the chopsticks together making the pinching action that much easier! ….almost like holding a pencil and squeezing. A great gift for 6+ noodle lovers.

 

Roll-up chalk placemat.

We have enjoyed our chalk placement outside and inside. The girls use it to make signs on the cubby house and I sometimes use it to write a list of jobs for them to do…. It’s so much more fun to rub a job off with your hand after doing it!

Alice in Wonderland necklace or brooch.

What is not to love about this sweet Alice in Wonderland necklace (also available as a brooch)? Wood cut and light. Beautiful. You can also get other Alice in Wonderland characters.

Ride on Lady Bug.

The ride on bug.… yes, sadly we are past this, but have many fond memories of the girls zooming around on these. Stylistically so much more beautiful than the plastic ride on…and great for imaginary play.

Skwish classic.

Past this one too but loved it when the girls were very little. I loved the lightness of the elastic and wood….didn’t hurt when it inevitably hit them in the face! Skish Classic.

Throwing Game Klop.

I think my all time favourite gift from Scallyoop is Klop. A fantastic park game. It plays like a cross between bowls and boules with a twist or two.

Our family regularly take Klop to the park just with us or with friends and play across generations. The game is well weighted so adult or child can win….. but it’s not all luck. Brilliant!

Now….. my picks for this Christmas and beyond.

Ziggy Platter….. How groovy!

This one is for me! Yes there are gifts for adults too!

Balsam wood postcard…… can think of a few granddads who would like one of these.

Love this idea! …..and Balsam wood Plane Card just $7.95

Kokeshis Paper Dolls…. great holiday fun.

Another Djeco kit! Un-tricky origami Only $12.50

Beautiful wooden 3 layer puzzle.

How about this exquisite wooden puzzle? Lovely.

Make-a-do. Reusable connective pieces for creating straight from the recycling box.

I have loved these for a while. Such a great idea for the ‘construction kids’. Make-a-do kits.

There you have it!

Some of the best gifts you will find…. and you don’t need to go to the shops! Yay.

The site has soooo many more things to love….. and if you get in quick (before Dec 9) adding the code scallyoop10 will give you $10 off if you spend over $30 and put you into the draw for a $150 scallyoop shopping spree.

Why are you still here?

 

 

Rocks for advent? all the details by clicking on the photo.

Some of you may have noticed a new page below my header…. and not a moment too soon. (like everything I do).

I have collated our advent calendar activities, readings and adventures for you to share and use.

We went with the ‘December is very busy’ approach and although we had a parcel for each day in December we planned from the start to open more than one each day and include some of our communities activities within the calendar.

It worked pretty well…..and included NO LOLLIES but ROCKS!

More advent ideas can be found here if this one doesn’t float your boat.

Yes! This is the week to be finalising your advent plans, if you haven’t already.

Painted rocks for advent.

Spring Fair Photos

November 12, 2012

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A quick slideshow of photos in case you missed our fabulous school fete.

Art meets Maths.

November 7, 2012

Photo from inside the dome looking towards the sky by 9 year old.

I just love this photo.

I love photos taken by children with little training in what they are supposed to find visually pleasing.

9 year old enjoys maths, music and structure. She loves all things organised. It’s not surprising that these were some of her favourite photos from ‘Sculptures by the Sea’.

Her favourite sculpture was the one below. I’m not sure of it’s actual name…. but she calls it ‘Cube made of cubes’.

9 year olds favourite sculpture. “cube made of cubes’.

Unfortunately, ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ has come and gone for another year without me getting to see it. I am thankful that our primary school takes the children to see it.

Did you see it? What did I miss?

 

The Pop-Up Lollie Shop.

November 5, 2012

Lolly Shop at the school fete.

This year I took on the somewhat scary task of ‘stall coordinator’ at the school fete.

The idea for a lolly shop first came up a couple of years ago when chatting to my friend Belinda. At the time we both had preschool age and younger children, and so the idea just sat.

Saturday was our first fete. 10 hours of set-up and selling many, many lollies and chocolates later, my very helpful family (and 2 other families) ate dinner together and celebrated a job well done. A successful execution of a little idea.

I wanted to share a few photos of the fun!

Working together.

Selling….

Kindy mums, book-club mums, church mums and dads, 9 year old and her buddy Eve and 5 fantastic high schoolers worked hard not just on Saturday but in the weeks leading up to it.

I really want to say thanks to them for their cheeriness and energy while working really, really hard! A big thank you to Sue….. my sidekick for her fabulousness.

The kids couldn’t get enough of these pick and choose lollies.

It’s a pretty easy business model. If you want to do one for your school or church or organisation, I am happy to talk you through the process.

Just email me.

 

 

Facebook Friday.

October 26, 2012

Some of you may have noticed that for a while now I have worn goggles on facebook in support of free swimming lessons, because for a while now I have felt quite passionate about kids learning to swim.

Swimming is the ONLY extra curricular activity we insist our girls do, because it’s about safety not about having elite athletes.

I’m not looking for gold medalists, I’m looking for them to be competent strong swimmers….and we have watched the fun follow.

Fortunately, we  have been able to fund this desire, but many are not…. or don’t realise the importance until it is too late.

‘Royal Life Saving’s earlier estimates that 1 in 5 kids are unable to swim 50 metres may be overly optimistic and it is now believed that more than 1 in 5 may not be able to swim at all. Today, an estimated 600,000 young adults are at risk; tomorrow and in the next decade we fear this figure will double.

Royal Life Saving believes that the rapid increase in drowning in young adults aged 15-24 years is undeniably linked to a fall in the swimming and water safety skills of children in Australia over the past 10 years.’

from the petition site.

Here is the most alarming bit!

‘The National Drowning Report, released by the Royal Life Saving Society last month, found 45 drowning deaths in 2011-12 among 15- to 24-year-olds, a 25 per cent increase on the five-year average. More than 600,000 young adults in that age group are at ”extreme risk” of drowning, the society says.

More teenagers are drowning despite overall figures remaining flat over the past decade, with about 300 Australians drowning every year.

from smh.

The Royal Life Saving Society have decided to petition Government organisations to make learning to swim compulsory in Australian Primary Schools.Please sign this petition.

I’m really enjoying watching this girl in her happy place.

This weekend 14 year old has been putting the final touches on her year 8 major art project.

Part of being at a school that focuses on the visual arts is that the school can indulge in a few quirky assessments.

For this project students from year 8 to year 10 are given about 8 months  to complete an HSC style  ‘self directed’ piece of art. The time frame and the open-endedness of the project means the students learn lots of things about time management, focus, and exploration.

Having one idea that develops over months is very confronting for a generation used to instant-ness, but she has done so well.

I remember how stressful it was doing 2 major works for the HSC (all those years ago), especially for my Mum….

….I am hoping that the 3 years of practise prior to the real deal will all be as enjoyable for both of us.

More photos to follow.

School Art Show.

September 18, 2012

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Our schools annual art show happened again this last week.

I am always astonished and delighted by what primary school children can create.

I find it extremely inspiring……I hope you do too.