Month: August 2016

A sticky note message

I have recently returned from the far north where I was delighted to watch the first few steps of my grand daughter, Matilda who is 11 months old. She loves to take my hand and wobble walk along very proud of herself. She entertains me with her finger pointing, funny expressions, grinning cuteness and eating skills. There’s the book reading, the thumb sucking, the pram rides and frustrating crying during the night to unsettle us all. There’s the music time, nappy changes, bath time and THE LIST for me on a sticky note.

It reads – MUM

Couches, blinds, oven, windows.

Now hard work does not phase me, domestic chores that are done to help your daughter are part of being a mother. My main role for the weekend was to look after Matilda and to complete some jobs that needed doing. Vacuuming the dirt from the couches is easy; the cleaning of the blinds and windows, methodical but the oven cleaning, well that’s another story. Oven cleaning takes a good product ( bi-carb soda and vinegar) or a stronger product from the supermarket, muscle power and determination. I was pleased with the results from the first few tasks, however, cleaning the dirty oven was harder especially when in the end I surrendered this job to the husband of the house who really wanted to put it off and do it the next day. When you have to decide on whether to watch a movie after the baby goes to sleep or scrub the oven, which would you choose willingly?

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On the outside their oven looks clean and shiny. To be honest the inside wasn’t that bad, but my daughter insisted that this was a to- do- job she wanted done ( early Spring cleaning) In between reading the instructions on the box, preventing the toxic fumes from escaping, unravelling the plastic bag , washing the grimy racks in the sink , understanding the steps of what to do and some bickering from the mum and dad, I watched the scenario unfold. After an hour of watching Casino Royale with Daniel Craig, the waiting game was over and the grime inside the oven was only slightly better.

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The blinds, however, came up very clean as did the windows like polished diamonds.

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My time with Matilda was fun, in contrast to the cleaning jobs. I guess if you can spring clean and have fun at the same time, then that’s good. Listening to music, smelling the chocolate brownies baking, looking out at the tropical palms swaying, and exercising your body. Are you a fan of cleaning? The after effects are always appreciated. The journey can be sweet if you dance along, sing along or do it with a friend.

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Fortunately for Tilly she can look out this window of the playground cubby full of delight and giggles with no glass panes to smudge or sticky fingerprints to wipe off. What a life!!

And now I’m back home in Mapleton staring at my windows and oven, wondering whether I will squeeze in time for this activity. There are other matters more pressing like reading Country Style magazine to celebrate Spring and enjoying a good coffee – Queensland Blue from up north. PS Do you have a secret formula for cleaning your oven? Do you write your to-do-list on sticky notes? Please tell me.

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A Bump in your Day.

What worries you? Does the worry consume you? Or is it the little niggling worries that pull you down making you feel anxious? At a young age children worry about a lot of things – getting to sleep, monsters under the bed, wetting their beds, mummy leaving them etc.

Sometimes these worries follow you like a creature. So the idea from illustrator Anna Walker developed as she scribbled her worry thoughts onto paper and created a masterpiece, called Mr Huff.

Starting as a black cloud Mr Huff grows into a life sized creature trailing a little boy as he experiences bumps in his day. Bill tries to escape it but Mr Huff grows. This picture story has won a special award for Children’s Book Week and allowed Anna Walker the excitement and recognition that she proudly deserves. Her creative artistic skills shine in her wood block printing, etching, collage and ink with watercolour drawings.

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It is Wellbeing week here at the College as we look out for the needs of others. Choosing to have a conversation, smile or engage with someone who we would not ordinarily do so is the aim of showing kindness and concern. Behind every student face and smile can be worries that torment and weaken confidence and personality. Assignment pressure, getting enough sleep, motivation, anger and so on adds to the picture of the BUMPS in our day. Those small bumps can grow to become gigantic mountains if not acknowledged and supported in love.

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When it comes to worry remember people don’t think about you and what you do as much as you may think.

Also why be in a “huff” or bad mood when you could think about the good side of things, for example, moving to a new school, automatically sends worry thoughts to a child; instead turn it around and consider some of the good things about moving.

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Like it says above, “he had a bad feeling about the day”, instead think and say, “what good can come out of the day?”

Recently I read an article about ” letting kids be kids”. It reflects on the fact that we are in the age of the helicopter gunship parent – someone who hovers near their child to launch pre-emptive strikes against any chance of disappointment. An example of allowing the six year old to be picked on, will he be safe in a camp dorm away from home, will he remember to brush his teeth – niggling worries that rise to the surface with parents about their child.

A three year study of parental fears conducted by VicHealth and La Trobe University – entitled Beyond the Bubble Wrap¬†found that almost 48 % of parents of children aged nine to 15 are worried about their child’s safety when they are not with an adult because a stranger might approach them, and around one third of parents avoid situations where their child goes without an adult, because they are fearful they would be approached by a stranger.

So it seems perhaps that parents don’t allow kids to suffer setbacks. In fact, they try to regulate them against any struggle in their life.

I would like to hear your thoughts about this issue and whether you have some helpful solutions.

 

Pens and personality

Have you ever thought about the type of pen you prefer writing with? Or maybe you like pencils? The art and practice of writing is sadly diminishing or being squashed due to the demands of digital technology. However, I asked a few students at school what they prefer and why. I also thought about their personalities.

A bright young girl who is spontaneous and has a strong sense of self loves a variety of pens – sparkly, blue and black, good quality uni ball with a fine tip; she sees herself as versatile and I wonder if the pens she uses demonstrate this too. Pens need to be reliable and interesting. “Black is best,” she says.

Another student prefers to write with pencil. Not broken and blunt ones, but finely sharpened. I like to know that I can erase mistakes and I cannot do this with a biro. Sometimes I even write with the chewed ones. I’m a bit of a hoarder and get bored easily.

Pencils are cheaper; if you lose a pen, it becomes frustrating. She goes on to tell me that she is relaxed, a go with the flow girl. Pencils are sharp and neat and I can be messy with them.

Now pens with personality can be bought in shops like TYPO. They are fun, individual and different.

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The artistic souls prefer pens with style and quality, bought from art supplies, pens that glide across the paper, good to grip and can illustrate their drawings in journals. There are roller ball pens, ball point, fountain pens dipped in ink. The latter ones are less used with teenagers and yet they have a distinctive look; they are a piece of art and boast a smoother and easier flow onto the paper.

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Some pens are made from ebony, walnut, maple and zebra wood. Some pens are gripped so tightly like squeezing a lemon that the marks are too intense and untidy. Does this remind you of anyone you know? Others hold their pens with poise and ease, confident in their writing.

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As a teacher I see many styles of hand writing – scribbly, tight, small and loose, flowery and neat – I still marvel at the markings and sense of communication that writing “letters” brings. Birthday cards are a good example. Have a look at your most recent cards and often you can work out who the person was by their hand writing. Do you know your father’s hand writing, or sons? Do you smile when you see a note that’s written just for you?

With the swing towards Mindful colouring in books many people prefer to use colour pencils. They are bright and happy lifting the spirits – perhaps these personalities love to see colour around them. It’s contagious and beautiful.

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To sum up then, when asked about their hand writing students have said, messy, neat, pathetic, amazing! Such a variety of personalities and responses.

Do you have a favourite pen/ pencil? Are you in a hurry to write or slow and careful?

 

 

The delight of tea drinking

When I was growing up my mother loved to make cups of tea for her sisters, the neighbours or even the reluctant person who politely declined; yet she insisted on pouring them a cup. The tea cannisters and freshly brewed pot of tea are reminders to me that we took time to sit down and have a good conversation, sipping those first few sips because we enjoyed them. Even after my first baby was born, I was ready for a hot cup of tea to calm the shivers and shock of childbirth.

Today there are so many health benefits to drinking tea – any internet site will roll them out like a waterfall – it’s a hangover prevention, lower risk of dementia, increased memory focus and concentration, a drop in cholesterol, tea boosts the immune system, helps cancer, and other healing properties. There is less cafferine than coffee. Tea is so versatile with fragrant, herbal teas sold widely. You can grow your own spicy scents, rosemary, lemon, peppermint and enjoy the whiff of the leaves as you work in the garden. Drinking tea reduces stress.

Types of tea are endless. Sencha tea, gunpowder tea ( Chinese) and dragonwell green tea.; anji – a mellow and fresh flavour that soothes the tongue. Kocha black tea in Japan means red tea. So many aromas, so many blends, so many ways to enjoy brewed or loose leaf.

Penguin book called T2 the Book by Maryanne Shearer encourages tea drinkers to take risks and try new flavours. She includes the history of tea, as well as growing, processing and drinking tea. If you want to know how to make the perfect cup of tea, then have a closer look at this popular title.

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A very pleasant drive from Mapleton to Cotton Tree beach reveals a beautiful tea shop called The Silva Spoon, a popular and well regarded cafe specialising in tea lattes – London fog latte ( Earl Grey and Lavender), Tumeric Rooibos Chai Latte, Love Latte ( black tea with strawberries, rose and chocolate, frothed in the jug on milk of your own choice), beetroot Latte ( fresh beetroot and ginger on almond milk), and more.

 

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Visit The Silva Spoon for attention to detail, flavoursome brews and excellent service. There are delicious meals too and displays of tea pots that tempt the purse. I have a friend who has been collecting iodised teapots for a while. She proudly puts them together in colour groups which shows off their shine and sparkle. The wow factor in her kitchen are those magnificent and unique teapots, her passion is obvious and her finds are special.

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Can you see the image of me taking a photo in the middle violet teapot?? How cute!

Tea drinking is also cultural, for example, in the UK, an English breakfast tea is served at most B/B places. In Italy and France, coffee is preferred to tea. Morocco boasts a good mint tea made to perfection and served to guests as part of hospitality. In India, great tea plantations exist with endless hours of hard work.

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Thought I would leave you with a little poem

Tea for two, or tea for three

flavoursome sips for you and me

A welcome break for the tired and weary

refreshing the soul and making you cheery

A simple pleasure in a simple way

to brighten and embellish your day.

 

Add to this a delightful children’s story about Sophie and her extra-ordinary tiger guest who came to tea – this picture book by Judith Kerr is a winner.

 

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Won’t you tell me your tea story, memory or favourite brand of tea?