What Works For Me 30/365 All Ready For Them

First day in a new workplace for me and first day of homework for the boys. Whew!

I arrived home before the boys and dh was cooking dinner (Hooray!) so I sat out on the deck with a coffee and my phone and my homework caddy. The photo was not taken on the deck because now I’m inside and trying to move off my chair as little as possible for a while.  It has been a BIG day.

I’ve tried a number of systems for dealing with homework over the years.  I’ve had the homework box with lid which housed the caddy I am now using but it got lost on the floor somewhere.  Last year I decided that if they were to focus the boys would need to work at a desk each in my office/bedroom.  That one never got off the ground because I never had enough space for them to work in.  They ended up doing homework in a number of different locations and homework and materials were spread all over the place.

So now I have the caddy which can go to wherever we are doing homework and they each have a magazine file in my office to store their homework during the week.  The magazine files aren’t quite ready yet but we’ll get there.


What works for me 29/365 You can do it!

We have worked together this weekend to make a special birthday package for my youngest nephew and one quick side project so I had something else up my sleeve for kindy this week.  I can’t tell you too much yet about the package but what I loved was the way Mr 11 established what the basic technique was, made several suggestions about how the technique could be modified or improved and then successfully carried out his plan.  For me it was reminiscent of the “Design, Make , Appraise” cycle in the technology curriculum.  He ended up with a product that looks different (in a good way) and something he is proud of.

What I also like is that now the boys can help with some resource preparation for Kindy!


What Works For Me 28/365 You have to laugh!

 So we brave the rain and walk up to the local shops and the boys mind Vera outside.  I come out to see this.  Didn’t think I’d be getting dog hair on the inside of my umbrella!


What Works For Me 27/365 Follow That Boy

I went walking with one of my boys last night – the talkative one, that should keep you guessing!  He walked with his spiderman umbrella and talked and talked and talked and I listened and plodded along trying to keep up.

The two take-aways from this are very simple.  I need to walk more and listen more.  I found out:

- why the new teacher is awesome

- lots of specualtion about what spectacuar earth moving equipment might be used for

- hypotheses about why the state school’s broken slide was now close to the shed

- the theory of how one might improve one’s spelling

- the anxiety about whether the house with the really cool letterbox had been “eliminated” because it would then be impossible to visit the really cook letterbox.

- the way a person might cope if the best mate’s soccer mate comes to school and the best friend and the soccer mate want to play soccer all the time

- the fact that metal drain covers are slippery and that I shouldn’t walk on them unless they have some extra cement on top of them in which case it would be fine

- the projected flood levels on the road we were walking down

- the reasons why people might be out driving in their cars at 7:00pm at night

- the reasons why it might not be a good idea to venture into the part to pick long grass for the guniea pigs when it was dark

- the theory as to why the dead bird was on the footpath outside the school and no kids had squashed it yet

- the method by which someone could get a pair of lace up shoes to hang from a power line and bafflement as to why someone would do that. “Because we couldn’t really afford our shoes could we Mum?” (Words to break my heart!)

- loud questions about why some people STILL had their Christmas lights up.  But then maybe they just think they look good.


What Works For Me 25/365 Damper

And no that does not mean it is “damper” than yesterday!  Thanks goodness because I had to chance to drive down to have morning tea with some lovely friends and then the boys and I went for a walk/scooter along the water to the boat harbour and back.

Being Australia Day, and being a bit peckish I thought I’d give damper a go.  I haven’t done this since I was a girl guide cooking mini dampers on the end of the stick held in the fire and today’s (thankfully) was much better.  I used this recipe from the taste.com.au site because whenever I want a recipe for anything I search there and 99% of the time I find something good.

Damper and gold syrup.

Happy Australia Day!


What Works For Me 25/365 It’s Raining! It’s Pouring! Pass Me An Umbrella!

Day 3 stuck inside with up to 24 boisterous 2-4 year olds.  Day 2 had been exhausting and a bit too boisterous so I wanted to do something today that would capture their interest and be an incentive for good behaviour.

On the night before I found this activity that used the rain itself to help create an art work.  Daniel was roped in to being my test subject.  This is something that happens often now but he doesn’t mind at all.  Well there was one bit he minded but he soon got over it.  S.B. used coffee filters for her umbrellas but I only had paper towels so they had to do.  I drew umbrellas on the paper towels with a permanent marker – the fact that it is “permanent” becomes very important later on.  Then I had D colour and draw squiggles and things on the umbrella with normal (water soluble) felt pens.  Then I told him that he was going to stand in the rain with his umbrella to let it get wet.  This is where he became less enthusiastic – something to do with toads!  So we compromised and stood under a drip on the back deck.  We probably ended up with too much water because the ink ran a bit too much but it was enough to give my little people a good idea of what we were doing.

I learned quite a bit too when I put this activity into practice.  Chubby felt pens were way better for this because they were easier for little hands to hold.  Some little people even needed me to hold the paper towel on the table for them because it was a bit tricky to keep the paper still and the pen moving.  Then, after scoping out the playground again to make sure I could take kids out there without getting them drenched, I took out 3-4 little people at a time with their “umbrellas”.  At times the rain was so light we had to leave the umbrellas outside and come back in for a while and at other times the rain was so torrential that I could just hold the paper towels out for a few seconds to get all the water I needed and more.

Being paper towels they were actually still quite sturdy when wet so I could get them inside on a big sheet of scrap cardboard and lay them all out to dry quite easily.  They were all dry by about 3:00pm in the afternoon and I cut out most of them and handles by the end of the day.  If I had the opportunity to display them I think they would look wonderful on a glass window with the light shining through them.

Lots of learning was going on here.  Children were experimenting – some even did a second umbrella to try different things.  They were following a process and many were very keen to see what came inside each time and they were comparing (in a positive way) their pictures with those of their peers.

This process is formally known as “paper chromatography” and the water makes the ink run and if the ink has more than one colour in it the process helps the colours to separate.  That’s why black felt pen is a good choice for this activity because it produces “surprises”.  In fact if I were to do this activity again I would provide just black felt pens and let the other colours emerge.  We still had the problem of too much ink running and I’m thinking an answer might be to dry them quicker but not sure how to do this.


What Works For Me 24/365 Follow the Recipe

I could say to you that is post is brought to you by Samsung Galaxy but that would be a bit pretentious.  It is because of my wonderful phone and the fact that in the last week I have learned to use its GPS feature that I came up with this post. Today was my third trip to my temporary workplace and I am still using GPS to get there and to get home (mainly because of all the annoying one way streets in the area). Today was the most successful trip because I just did what I was told by the GPS and didn’t try to second guess it or decide that another way was better because I’ve come to realise over the last two days that it isn’t.

Another example of “winging it” that didn’t go so well was my orange coconut cake.  It called for 1 & 3/4 cups of coconut.  I only had 1 so I substituted more flour for the shortfall. Hmmmm. I should have got in the car, gone into Coles and bought more coconut.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty good around almost every type of cake making and I know my way instinctively around most of Brisbane.  But right now when there is so much going on, temporary job, Australia Day, permanent job, boys back at school etc etc I need to just follow the instructions in some instances because maybe there isn’t enough of my brain to go around!


What Works For Me 23/365 Getting my hands dirty

Despite a bit of chaos with new staff and children transitioning to different rooms there were many things that worked for me today on my first day back at work as an Early Childhood Teacher.

I’ve got green paint stuck around my fingernails.

Looking for resources to put out for children was like going through my own personal toy library – amazing gear!

I had cuddles from many little people and even some of the older siblings!

I learned all sorts of things about how a Centre can be run differently and was greeted and welcomed by every member of staff I encountered and there were many!

So glad to be getting my hands dirty again!


What Works For Me 22/365 Do You Believe In Miracles?

This morning my 8.5 year old son VOLUNTEERED to clean the toilet.

I kid you not.

This is how it happened.

I enlisted his help with making an orange cleaning spray.  Back on December 31, we filled a tall glass jar 3/4 full with white vinegar and then every time he ate an orange (which is frequently) I peeled it with a vegetable peeler to avoid the pith and we put the rinds into our jar.  After three weeks it had brewed up nicely so this morning we strained it off, discarded the rinds and diluted it 50/50 with more white vinegar and hey presto! Cleaning spray!

Daniel couldn’t wait to put on the gloves (so that he looked more professional apparently) and tackle the toilet.  I’m already thinking of what other cleaning products we might concoct.

For anyone who is following our process we have our left over concentrate in a another jar under the sink and we’ve started a fresh jar of vinegar for our orange rinds.  We could have made this cleaner with lemons or grapefruit and any other citrus.


What Works For Me 21/365 Getting My Ducks In A Row

Yesterday was the day to get my act together for the week ahead.  I planned meals, wrote a shopping list, did a small grocery shop with boys and  organised clothes.  I did a green chicken curry last night so there was a serve of that left over for one of my lunches and I snagged a couple of spare buttermilk and blueberry pancakes from this morning.  I have few different things to help with scheduling.  On my computer I use iCalendar with colour coded events for every member of the family, meals and Little Athletics.  I print this out and put it up in the kitchen each week.  Because all my technology doesn’t link up I use a paper diary as well and I put some things on my phone if I am on the run.  I think the iCalendar printout is the most useful thing from a family perspective because they are looking at it and seeing what is happening.  It will be even better when I get my little kitchen notice board tidied up but it is all a work in progress.


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