We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY (Tuesday 30 December 2008)...

Outside My Window... a cool, clear, bright morning which is forcasted to become hot and humid again with a chance of thunderstorms.

I am thinking... better get out early with the boys to hang the washing as the UV has been a real killer this year so we need to get our daily running around time before the sun really kicks in (ie before 9am!).

I am thankful for... Munchkin FINALLY sleeping through the night!!! (after weeks of feeding EVERY HOUR!) and Wombat having a week of dry nights :D

From the learning rooms... reading our Christmas books - especially the new one which arrived yesterday - Room for a Little One. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, and I don't think I've read a Martin Waddell book that I haven't liked. He is one of my Wombat's favourite authors (Snow Bears, Can't you sleep, Little Bear?, Owl Babies)

From the kitchen... I wanted to make some more cookies with Wombat - the last batch of Anzac biscuits were pretty good, despite using bicarb instead of baking soda and too much of it, so they had a strange slightly fizzy taste... but it's been too hot to use the oven during the day.

I am wearing... Stripy pjs and bare feet.

I am creating... Softies - for a friend's daughter and for the Toy Society. Will post pics of the ones I made for the boys' Christmas presents in the near future. They are hanging on the washing line at the moment - popular enough to have needed a bath already!

I am going... shopping today, if it's not too hot. Munchkin has outgrown his size 0s! and I need some 'baby clothing' in size 1 as all I have is suited for an older child. Wombat also desperately needs new shoes. The last lot fell apart about a week after buying. Only problem is that Big W is only stocking sandals and thongs for summer which isn't much use when there are funnel web spiders and red-belly black snakes in our yard.

I am reading... Elizabeth Hainstock's 'Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years'. I was also reading Rabelais' Gargantua & Pantagruel on my ebook reader at night while breastfeeding... but the other night it red-screened and died on me ;( I hadn't realized how dependent I had become on having it! (It was a birth present from Munchkin... as soon as Yeti realized he couldn't fix it, he searched eBay and bought me another one - I love that man!)

I am hoping... that I can do a better job of keeping my patience with the boys today.

I am hearing... Wombat running back and forth to show his Cars collection to Daddy and Nanna in the kitchen, and Munchkin gurgling to his toys in the bedroom while he waits for me to come and dress him.

Around the house... chaos and clutter, as usual.

One of my favorite things... "Munchkin's gurgling happy" says Wombat - brotherly love! The first thing Wombat does when he wakes up in the morning is check where Munchkin is and he is always concerned to tell me if Munchkin is crying or poopy... I have had to set up the portacot for Munchkin to play in, though, as he was getting accidentally trodden on occasionally...

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • Chat to MIL about Yeti's cousins so I can work out who is who when I'm sending Christmas cards next year.
  • Finish the bear classification cards for Wombat.
  • Plan a post-Christmas picnic with my mum and brother.
  • Post my brother-in-law's present which has finally arrived.
  • Find photos of Wombat and get my 'family album' blog up to date.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

I want to thank Tricia Rennea for the beautiful bird sillhouettes.

When my brother-in-law's present (a book) hadn't arrived in time for Christmas, I wanted to make a bookmark in a hurry so we had 'a placeholder' to give him. I grabbed some white cardboard (packing from a pack of singlets), traced the birds off the screen onto plain white computer paper and cut them out, cut two small squares of Wombat's favourite Christmas wrapping paper, searched through the old phonebook where Wombat and I press flowers and found some May flowers and buds, a sprig of spring growth from the Cedrella and one of the pretty, small blue flowers that grow as weeds in our grass. (A weed is just a flower in disguise.) Finally, I grabbed an unused Christmas card with an appropriate message and snipped out the words. I used small dabs from a glue stick to hold everything in place, covered it with clear contact and snipped around the edge with pinking shears.

I don't know if BIL liked it - was too busy supervising the boys to watch his expression, but I was really pleased with how it looked and am thinking of making another for Yeti's birthday... and one for myself... and one for my brother... lol :D Thanks for the inspiration, Tricia - I love your blog!

This is my first time joining in with the Simple Woman's Daybook. If you would like to join in too, you will find all the details here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Unplug your kids - curly

This week's Unplug your Kids project theme was "curly". Wombat and I borrowed an idea I had seen on My Montessori Journey for Christmas Tree Spirals and made it our own.

We didn't have any green plates, but we did have a paper plate that Wombat had covered during our painting fun a few days ago.

(We had been painting our salt dough christmas ornaments using a mix of flour, water, glitter and watercolour paint. I buy my Stockmar Watercolour paint from Spiral Garden. How appropriate! LOL!)

This is what we started with. *Note - when drawing the spiral on the back of the plate, don't run the lines too close together! I made that mistake with the second plate - the one where you can see the spiral - and it just didn't work out as nice. Also, note that the top side of the plate - the side you put food on - will be the underside of the spiral. I hadn't realised this, but as you will see, it worked out for the best...

Don't you love the Cars collection watching the work? The wooden tea box is our crayon storage.

After cutting along the spiral lines, turn the plate over and glue small pompoms or other decorations along the outside. Wombat found that he didn't quite have the cutting skills needed to follow the spiral lines, and that the pompoms needed patience to get them to stick properly, so at about this point he wandered off to fill his various trucks up with baby pompoms... I finished the sticky bits, and then looked around for something to hang it with.

Earlier in the day, Wombat had gotten into a big box full of packing peanuts. In an attempt to prevent them being spread all over the floor (yeah, right...) I handed Wombat a big blunt darning needle and some wool, showing him how to thread them. He hadn't been particularly interested in that activity either, but I did have a short strand lying around afterwards. I added a few more packing peanuts, poked a hole in the centre of the plate and voila! A very curly spiral Christmas bell (hanging here in front of my home made nativity scene)!

Lest you think I was disappointed in Wombat's lack of interest, I wasn't - because as an unexpected benefit I found that Munchkin LOVED it. He sat underneath and watched it spinning in absolute fascination. Even Wombat stopped loading his trucks to watch for a while. It does make a great mobile...

And it turned out that the painted surface being on the inside of the bell was a good idea too! The pompoms provided enough interest on the top surface, and here is a Munchkin-eye-view of the painted surface underneath.

Thanks to Unplug Your Kids and My Montessori Journey for the inspiration. If you are not familiar with these blogs, check them out! HEAPS of great activities and ideas for kids. Most are a little too advanced for Wombat, but I am reading and learning lots!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Poetry Friday - Cockatoo AU

It's no longer Friday here, but I've been entertaining a rain-bound Wombat all day, so haven't had a chance to polish the poem or post until now. Luckily, it's still early for the rest of the world!

When I began this week, I thought I was writing a ballade, which mutated into a ballad, and finally ended up, of all things, as an acrostic Franken-sonnet* with a trochaic metre!

Cockatoo AU

Cocky wanna rule the world?
Or, perhaps, the universe?
Cocky shrieks a strident curse!
Keen defiance, crest unfurled,
Armaments in claws, tight-curled.
Treetops dance as troops disperse
Overhead, with aim diverse.
Orbit once, then missiles hurled.
Aggravated damage done.
Undefeated! Triumph won!

[Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) on Scotland Island, near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia taken in June 2004 by Arthur Chapman.]

*Franken-sonnet = it's got the abbaabba pattern of an Italian sonnet, combined with the couplet ending of an English sonnet, but it's missing a quatrain, so really doesn't deserve the name at all! Hopefully it won't hunt me down some dark night and demand retribution for its misshapen form!

This week's Poetry Friday is hosted by Wild Rose Reader. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spending Shock

I know I've been spending too much money this Christmas. I've really been carried away by wanting to make it lots of fun for Wombat, and to get nice things for family and friends for once. We've had a couple of unexpected bonuses and I felt like we were in a pretty comfortable position for a change, instead of scraping to make Christmas presents from materials I already had, which is my usual habit.

As usual, pride comes before a fall.

We've been doing most of our shopping on Ebay, using Paypal - not wanting to take Munchkin out into crowded shopping centres. I knew I was getting close to the amount that was actually in my bank account, but said to myself it didn't matter as Paypal had my credit card details to use as an alternative funding source, so everything would be fine. I had been saving up and had plenty of available credit. What I didn't know was that my bank would charge me a $45 dishonour fee for every direct debit transaction that bounced back to the credit card!

There were six transactions that bounced - some were for less than $10. Now each of those gifts has an extra $45 charge attached to it, totalling $270 in bank fees! That means I've paid $400 for $130 worth of Christmas presents. OUCH!!!

I feel pretty stupid, especially since Yeti and I have just been having some slightly heated discussions about my immature spending tendencies. Much as I loathe keeping anything from him, I think cowardice will win and decide discretion is the better part of valour.

Oooook. I just thought I'd see how it averaged out, so I divided $400 by 6. The answer? 66.6 and a whole lot more sixes. The number of the beast? Think it's high time I got back to concentrating on the real meaning of Christmas and let commercialism go its merry way without me.

I've still got some empty spots on my gift list... where's my sewing basket?

PS. just found this in a book my sister gave me last Christmas. Seems like an appropriate way to close this embarrassing entry on a more positive note.

What to do this Christmas
by Pam Baker

Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Apologise if you were wrong.
Be gentle.
Laugh a little.
Laugh a little more.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and
wonder of the earth.
Speak your love.
Speak it again.

(found in Christmas Nativities and Stories by Elisabeth Van Mullekom-Cserep,
Nativity House Publishing, Australia, 1999, p.13.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Unplugged project - fluffy

I have been subscribed to Unplug your Kids for a while, but this is our first attempt at joining in. Read all about the logic behind the Unplugged Projects here.

This week's theme was "fluffy".

I just happened to have a pile of very fluffy feathers and pompoms lying around, with no particular plans for them. I made a quick bird shape out of our home made playdough, handed it to Wombat with a basket of fluffy things, and let him go to work.

I love the creativity of the pink crest - I wasn't expecting that! He told me it was a hen, and sat it on a black pompom egg. I was lucky to get the picture, though, as shortly afterwards the fluffy hen was tromped under a two-year-old's frustrated fist...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Poetry Friday - True Blue

I enjoyed last week's Poetry Friday so much, I am back for more! This week I am adding to my series of poems based on photographs of nature. Previously I had been versifying based on photos taken by my dad, but since they are all locked on my old computer and currently unaccessible, I am going to use a photo I took last month in the bush behind our house.

I also was intrigued by last week's Poetry Friday host, Lisa Chellman, who is working her way through Stephen Fry's poetry book The Ode Less Travelled. I don't have access to that book, so I thought I might cheat and shadow her progress a little. Accordingly, here is my attempt at a rondeau.

True Blue

A flash of blue beneath the trees
my full attention guarantees.
A scrap of sky that's fallen there,
a flaunting colour, rich and rare,
amongst the rust-brown leaves, a tease.

A floating mote that skims the breeze
and flits with soft-winged expertise
an irridescent sheen so fair -
a flash of blue.

It's true, I am not hard to please,
just one of nature's devotees,
delighted by a chance to share
this image as a visual prayer
with thankfulness that thrills to seize
a flash of blue.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Mommy's Favourite Children's Books.