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Showing posts from June, 2012

Stepping back in parenting (just a little)

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I know that when my kids were little I often felt that I had no power.  The endless tantrums proved this to be true.  But I could basically keep pushing the kids to behave in a way that I deemed appropriate (with varying degrees of success).  A lot of time was (and is still) spent in correction of behaviour.

The question that is now starting to challenge me is how do you start to step back from that approach as they get older?  

I was having a long, painful discussion with my teenager yesterday about what I thought he should do with a project he had to present in class today.  The discussion was getting fraught and we were going around in circles.  In my heart, I just felt that I probably had a pretty good idea of what the teacher was expecting from him, and I didn't want him to get disappointed with the outcome.

As we were talking I decided that I needed to stop hassling him.  He had to work it out for himself, take responsibility for that decision and deal with the disappoint…

Let me show off my craftiness (just briefly)

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Last month the Christian blogger Tim Challies wrote an interesting piece on competitive mothering (in many ways so correct, but just quietly I wondered if it's not all bad if occasionally we celebrate our successes as mothers - not much about what we do is all that noteworthy).  Anyway, in the spirit of sharing my success (of course, incidentally, I guess it will make you all feel like failures - try and overlook this for a moment, it will be short lived), let me brag about my quilt.

It is for my youngest child.  I have made quilts for the other children, but I had totally run out of puff, time, energy, interest by the time it was No. 5's turn.  I do love her.  I don't love so much the standard I set with the older kids (photos albums, scrapbooks, quilts, cross stitch) that I now feel I have to maintain so the younger ones don't feel ripped off.  This is a good contraceptive btw (TMI?? apologies).  The thought of doing all this for more children (who I would of course …

The grey hair challenge begins (ahh, publicly accountable now!)

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Well, who knew that the discussion on hair colour would generate such interest?  Not me, but it must be something that we're thinking about or at least got an opinion on.  

I think I'm going to do it.  I want to let it grow out and see how I look.  I have to be brave and push through.  Everything I've read says that you start to get the wobbles at about the 4 month mark when the stripe becomes really obvious (I'm almost at 3 months since I last coloured it). You can see that mine is looking pretty obvious now but I usually tie my hair back so that hides it pretty well a lot of the time.  I might cut it short depending on how it looks by the end of the year.  But I do like having long hair (predominately because I'm lazy).

I'm inspired by looking at women with grey hair and realise that it's not their hair colour that I look at.  I look at their faces, their smile and if I know them then it's all about their personality.  So I have to keep telling mysel…

Why I sacked my cleaner

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Earlier this year I employed a cleaner to come and clean our house once a fortnight.  I was desperate.  I couldn't get my head around cleaning on top of coping with working four days a week and I was exhausted.  It seemed like an easy solution to a big problem.

But it wasn't the solution.  With seven people in our house there is just so much TIDYING to do.  It could be a full time occupation.  Cleaning proved to be the least of our worries.  Picking up all the stuff is massive.  Cleaning is not so massive.  Picking up all the stuff has to happen every day, or at least more often than once a fortnight.  Otherwise we could not open the front door and leave the house each morning.  Cleaning does not actually take all that much time (once the tidying is done).

So tidying up for the cleaner was proving to be a big stress and on a weekday morning when I was working, it just became a bit nightmarish.  Plus if most of the job is tidying, then the actual cleaning (in theory) could be…

WINNERS! 'Almost Amish' giveaway

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My apologies dear blog fans, it's all been a bit quiet.  Thought I'd better announce the winner of my first (and possibly only) competition.

The winners (randomly picked out of the comments) are 'Catherine' from 'The Picket Fence'  and 'JMS'. Congratulations!


Wet Saturday at my place

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As the day ends I reflect on how many times I have loaded the dishwasher today - 3 times.  What is that about?  I think it's a combination of a wet weekend and the 11yo deciding to bake.  I didn't even cook anything interesting.  Plus washed up a few times.

What else did I do today?  Worked out what we really needed to have washed out of the mountain of unwashed clothing.  And then tried out our new dryer (our old one stopped working just before 10 days of almost solid rain kicked in).  I normally only use it to dry emergency undie/sock/uniform washes.

Took three of the kids shopping for a birthday present (which was thankfully chosen very quickly) and some cardboard for school projects.  One child had netball (she played in the rain and has been very sick for most the week with the flu - not thrilled about her playing) and another had a birthday party.  But my husband generously did all the driving around for that.

And yesterday I cleaned the house so today I have a sore b…

Books for kids: City of Ember series

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And I continue reading (well outside my preferred comfort genres) through the dystopian world in a desperate bid to tap into the momentum created by 'The Hunger Games' obsession at the moment.  I've been trying to find dystopian books for children in upper primary.  Kids who might like 'The Hunger Games', but it is not entirely suitable for them (although I do have to say that many of the Year 6 kids I teach who are good readers, have read the series).

A colleague got me onto this series by Jeanne DuPrau.  I have enjoyed them a lot and it so great to finally get a series of books that I can confidently recommend to strong readers (from age 10 up) knowing that they are both interesting and suitable.


In the City of Ember the generator lights the city, but beyond the city limits are the Unknown Lands, in complete darkness that never ends.  It is only in the city that the light can be found, but the generator is failing and the city has no candles or matches.  The c…

Kid's book review: Fly Guy

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My sister got me on to the 'Fly Guy' series.  This series is perfect for your early reader (age 4-8) who wants to feel like they are reading a chapter book but isn't quite there yet.  And even more perfect for boys.  Fly Guy is Buzz's pet and Fly Guy is great because he can actually SAY Buzz's name - 'B u z z z z'.  Doesn't every little boy feel attracted to the idea of capturing something like a fly/snail/caterpillar as a pet at some point?

Pictures are great - very funny, slightly gross (of course, attractive to little boys).  Covers shiny and bright. Exciting to find something else to attract boys to reading.

Book review: Sarah's key

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'Sarah's key' by Tatiana de Rosnay, tells two parallel stories.  One is set in modern Paris, where American journalist Julia Jarmond (married to a Frenchman) has been set the task of investigating the Vel d'Hiv roundup in July 1942.  The other story is that of Sarah Sarzynski, a young Jewish girl, who is taken with her parents during the Vel d'Hiv roundup.  In her desperation Sarah locks her little brother in a hidden cupboard, thinking that she'll return to get him later - thus the title of the story.

The Vel d'Hiv was a velodrome in suburban Paris where thousands of French Jewish families were held for days without water, food or toilets in the middle of summer.  They were then transported to German concentration camps and eventually to their deaths.  The scandal of the Vel d'Hiv roundup was that it was undertaken by the French police under orders of the Germans.

This book is a page turner and an easy read (although as with anything to do with Holoc…

Going grey at 40

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I have written about this before, but after broaching the subject on facebook a few weeks ago I've been thinking a lot about the whole colouring your hair deal.  On facebook I asked when having natural coloured hair was going to become trendy like other old fashioned things like quilting and growing your veges?  I am quite tired of how time consuming colouring my hair is and how expensive it is.

A very interesting conversation resulted with a huge variety of opinions.  Many of the women said they would be going natural, but of course they aren't gray now (and are my age) so I don't think that really counts.  Until you ACTUALLY start going seriously gray/white you can't see how it impacts on the way you look.  I think it is different to be almost white (like myself) at age 40 and agreeing in principle to going natural when it happens to you in the future (when you will be a lot older than I am now!).

Just quietly, I'll believe it when I see it (let me throw down …

Star Wars books for boys

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Ok - so girls might like Star Wars books too, but so far I haven't experienced the mass rush to the Star Wars section of the library by girls.  It is the boys in Years 1- 3 (ages 6-9).  They LOVE Star Wars.  Even though Star Wars has been around for most of my life, I don't particularly get the attraction, but there is this age group that seem to really like it (and hey, I'm not a boy in years 1-3 at school!).


I have had great fun buying books on Star Wars for work.  This week we got a lovely new set of DK readers from the Book Depository.  Including the literary masterpieces 'What is a Wookiee?' and 'The secret life of droids' ('Do Droids have best friends?', 'Could YOU help a droid in need?', says the back cover ... love it).  There are readers from the basic level to the higher, more independent levels.  The few copies I do have in the library are permanently on loan so these new books will be a great addition.

What spurred me on to think …

Almost Amish (and a giveaway)

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Comparatively (to some, but not most of the world's population) I might live 'simply' - one car, lots of kids in a normal sized house, cook lots, second hand clothes, cut my kid's hair etc.   But in reality - it's not much.  I could always do more.  Sew my own clothes, grow our own veges, have no car, no TV, no dryer, no dishwasher - the list is endless.  So I have to admit that I am drawn to books about the 'simple' life.  I would like to keep working at paring back our life, to simplify it.  I like to keep being challenged to think about it.


Thus I read 'Almost Amish' by Nancy Sleeth.  I really wanted to like this book.  I liked the sentiment of the book - what can we learn from the Amish that we can apply to our own lives?  And the research she had done about the Amish was quite interesting - their emphasis on time together with families, having Sundays as truly a day of rest (doing all your cooking/cleaning the day before), reducing the amount …