Monthly Archives: December 2012

Seasons greetings

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‘Tis the season….and this means holidays!
We are off to where there is no internet, no electricity, just golden beaches and blue seas.  So – no blogging…but think of the photos when we get back!

There are many things I could ruminate on about Christmas -the festival, the way it has manifested in our lives, what it means to us, the much debated commercial aspect….
But, it is Christmas Eve now.  The tree is sitting surrounded in gifts.   We are debating whether to go for a river swim, or have a walk to see the Christmas lights, a game of tennis or maybe  an ice cream…

Some of us may be awake to go to a midnight carol service later.   Stockings will be hung in anticipation tonight, the kids sleeping in the lounge guarding the morning’s booty.  Pancakes have been ordered for a late breakfast, varying delicacies prepared for during the day.

The usual philosophising has gone on; about  the commercialisation of Christmas, changing family traditions,  having a large full family shin-dig or missing the whole celebration altogether and “going bush”…..

The only change this Christmas is that after years of threatening our families have received a “Gift for Life” for a third world country, a goat instead of vouchers.

So Happy Christmas,, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays .
Let’s hope 2013 is full of  many blessings for us all and our planet.

 

 

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Still playing….

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I feel as though I have always appreciated and supported the kids in their imaginative play.  That has always been my intention.  I  have been so amazed over the years at the things they think up, develop and extend in ways I would never dream up in a million years.

They have so much fun and have always been such an inspiration to me – reminding me to have fun and play as much as possible…

I feel now as though we are in the twilight years of imaginative play in our family.  (Twilight as in nearing the end not as in vampires and werewolves….)

I have loved seeing how Hannah and Ollie extended their passions and interests into more concrete activities as they moved into the next phase. Hannah, who still has a vivid imagination, with writing & movie making.  Ollie with making survival kits, and  you tube videos to share his knowledge.

So when I see Charlie “playing” still I so enjoy it.  I just want to stop the clock.  I want to lie down and roll around in  his  delightful, imaginative games.  I want to bottle them.

 

We had the sprinkler on the lawn.  Charlie started to set up bases, made from chairs, old planks of wood.....

We had the sprinkler on the lawn. Charlie started to set up bases, made from chairs, old planks of wood…..He is peeping out from this one.

With his shield, Charlie would shelter before taking on the water (the enemy) in a rush to the next safe base...

With his shield, Charlie would shelter before taking on the water (the enemy) in a rush to the next safe base…

Occasionally Charlie would go right up  and through the sprinkler, mostly to cool off I think!

Occasionally Charlie would go right up and through the sprinkler, mostly to cool off I think!

I just marvel at the way children can transport themselves into another world.
Out walking the other evening, looking at Christmas lights, Charlie had a stick (weapon) and that is all.  But the whole time he was running ahead, hiding, calling out to imaginary comrades, ducking diving, shooting, rolling.  He was just playing and having such a great time.

I know I go on about the value of Play, a lot.
I am also enjoying the older children as they change and grow.  I am loving the conversations, the new knowledge they bring to the family, the new ideas and opinions.  I love seeing them blossom and become so independent.

As much as I loved the years of playing.

100 posts….43 years….

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No it hasn’t taken me that long to write 100 posts!
But what a serendipitous day to reach such a milestone…my birthday!!

So a double celebration.

First the blogging.
Thank you to all those who support me and read, comment on and pass on my blog. It is a strange way to write not knowing who your audience is (although I know many of you).  But for the first time I really have to just write from the heart – I know my kids, my Grandmother, total strangers, old friends, homeschoolers & school goers all read this.

I really enjoy writing it and just know it is the the right thing (or should I say write thing) for me to be doing.

So thanks
And if you know any editors looking for a witty, reliable,  slightly flippant, sometimes sarcastic columnist please pass on my contact….  🙂

My birthday.  Yep.
Plans have changed this week and that means a quiet day, home based.  This is treat in itself after our busy year.
I feel thoroughly spoiled by lovely messages, texts, cards & pressies from friends and family.
I think birthdays are very special and the kids have really picked this idea up and have run with it, much to my satisfaction!
They do a great line in waiting on me, making gorgeous, heartfelt cards and presents & doing all domestic tasks for the day (actually we try to wring at least 3 days out of one birthday – the eve, the actual day and the birthday boxing day!!)
I have watched my favourite  Jane Austen movie while in the bath, had brekkie in bed, been out for dinner &  been gardening.
I usually try to be doing something extraordinary to celebrate…..

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For me it has to be in the great outdoors, connecting with nature somehow.  The week long beach camp up North didn’t happen, the weekend away on the coast hasn’t, even the sunset at the beach is too much tonight (45 min drive) so I think it is me and the kids out at our local domain, rugs, chocolate, glow in the dark poi and some serious star gazing.  There is supposed to be the end of an asteroid shower visible even!

Charlie just told  me he is so proud of me reaching 100 posts.
I guess I am too, although writing this is as easy and enjoyable as eating a king size bar of dark chocolate….

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thanks,
Jane

Ollie’s car survival kit

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Ollie just made a car survival kit.  He was so inspired and is so knowledgeable.  It was all made with things he has already – his room is like an out doors store.

He has done a video on it for his you tube channel too but I thought I would just share an example of what he does here for those who haven’t yet been over to see Flintstriker 48….

Contained in an old bullet box,
( which I remember he got for his 5th birthday), he packed the following….

 

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Hi-visibility vest
Muesli bars x 3
Small backpack
Glow sticks x 4
Pencil
Craft knife
Bungy cord
Parachute chord
First aid kit – incl water purifying tablets, tape
Pad, tin foil in a plastic bag
Survival card tool
Duct tape
Fire lighting kit – matches, inner tube, solid fuel tablet, cotton wool
Emergency poncho
Toilet paper
Two large rubbish bags – for water collection, shelter, emergency rain jacket etc…

 

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Ollie is very into being prepared for any emergency.
He has discovered a whole world of “preppers” – those who stockpile supplies in case of a big disaster.  He even spends his own money on basic and long lasting grocery items then invents creative ways to store them, mostly in his bedroom.

I just love learning things from my kids.   Seeing them so totally passionate about something,  so engaged and learning so much is extremely rewarding.  Hearing Ollie talk with so much conviction and so much knowledge fills me with wonder and pride.  Not for anything that I have done, but for just being a part of his life and being able to support him.  Plus I get to learn about something I would never research on my own…..
And of course in the event of an emergency he is going to be the best person to be around!

A weekend…

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Some would say this was a typical weekend at our place. And many things about it were typical, it is just that they all happened at once and there was a definite feeling of going out with a bang, the end of year buzz and that lovely feeling of belonging you get from such  community based activities…

We kicked off with a bang on Friday night.  Straight after school, boys arrived and into town we went.  Four of my music pupils – plus Charlie have been playing in a band this term so this was their grand finale – a busking session…to buy dinner! There were only 4 of them in the end and they were just great!

They attracted a  lot of positive attention outside the Library

They attracted a lot of positive attention outside the library

They made just enough for dinner so we met parents and siblings at a Turkish restaurant for Kebabs.   Very cool.
They did so well, really rose to the challenge and managed it themselves, without me trying to organise them….A good reminder for me to stand back sometimes.

Back to the library for the totally fantastic alt.shift.craft market they run there…

http://altshiftcraft.tumblr.com/

Our ukulele group was performing there, the perfect backdrop to such a gorgeous event.  The market is held at the bottom of the library which has a very  open plan design so music drifts up through the levels.  The library  was open so the kids were mostly roaming up there.

Hard to rustle up a full quota of memebers at this time of year, but we always have such run and sound pretty good too....!

Hard to rustle up a full quota of members at this time of year, but we always have such fun and sound pretty good too….!

Always a great market and caught up with many friends.

This weekend has been even more special as we have had our big kids here.  Having Kim and Dane home enhanced things and we did find moments to catch up.  They were here to be with their dying Grandfather, so it has been tinged with some sadness too.
I am just glad that they were with us, just having the whole family together is a great feeling.

Hannah and Kim

Hannah and Kim

We also found time to install a Christmas tree too this weekend.Charlie still gets picked up!

We also found time to install a Christmas tree this weekend. Although still un-decorated.
Charlie still gets picked up!

As Dane said we were the ones who got him a Ukulele so we shouldn't complain!

As Dane said we were the ones who got him a Ukulele so we shouldn’t complain!

So Saturday morning we divided and conquered! Thank goodness Kim and Dane could step in!

Wayne had his cricket team’s last game.

I went with Hannah to her drama production.

Hannah had developed a very convincing New York accent for her role as Duchess, the bar owner..  It was set in the 1920's and they all looked amazing!

Hannah had developed a very convincing New York accent for her role as Duchess, the bar owner.  The play was set in the 1920’s and they all looked amazing!

Hannah just loves drama and she certainly seemed at home on the stage...

Hannah just loves drama and she certainly seemed at home on the stage…

IMG_3774I was so proud!

Meanwhile, back at home Ollie and Charlie, with older siblings to help had our great Christmas parade.  For a small village we certainly put a   grand event.  The boys were marching with the Scout and Cub packs and had gear to organise, uniforms to iron.

Ollie as flag bearer!

Ollie as flag bearer!

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They carried packs and billies.

Charlie leading Red Six ad Henry leading Blue.

Charlie leading Red Six and Henry leading Blue.

Hannah and I got there just after it ended but still soaked up the post parade carnival atmosphere with the Church fair and other stalls still going.  Such a strong sense of community is priceless.

So that was Saturday.  We had a free afternoon and evening!   Very relaxing… Charlie organised two friends to come and play Monopoly.

Sunday saw Ollie off early to watch all the Tae Kwon Do grading.  Wayne and I took Charlie to a local town where he had a couple of slots performing on stage as part of their Christmas parade festival.

Charlie has a new Banjolele which was given its debut performance!

Charlie has a new Banjolele which was given its debut performance!

He was so cool in every sense of the word, playing and singing to a large crowd.

He was so cool in every sense of the word, playing and singing to a large crowd.

Aforementioned large crowd.

Aforementioned large crowd.

We literally had to run as soon as he finished and go straight back to his Tae Kwon Do grading.  He is a plucky little fellow too.  When we arrived we realised that Ollie had graded, Wayne wasn’t grading because of an injury so it would be just him.  A room full of parents watching, all the others who had graded and the examiner.

He wobbled a bit when he realised this, then bravely took the floor and blew me away.  He hardly ever practices at home, unlike Ollie who never moves unless it is with a punch or kick, so I had no idea how good he was.

So to see Charlie up there giving it his all and so confidently and so strongly – the examiner kindly said they had saved the best for last!

Charlie does his pattern...

Charlie does his pattern…

drops...

His drops… (with such lovely, supportive black belts looking on)

Then Ollie gets up to pair with him for pre-arranged sparing

Then Ollie gets up to pair with him for pre-arranged sparring.

He is a tough little cookie and must feel so proud of himself, we certainly are.

He is a tough little cookie and must feel so proud of himself, we certainly are.

The next hour ( and we are nearly there…promise) was a laze at home books, cuppa etc…)

To cap off this super dooper weekend we sat in the sun and played ukuleles.  Our community carols on the lawn, with a free BBQ was just down the road and accompanied by Ukebox – our last gig for the year!

We get some shade while playing Carols

We get some shade while playing Carols

Ollie and Dane watched, um, I mean sang along!  Charlie was off playing and Hannah came down and played the uke with us all for a while

Ollie and Dane watched, um, I mean sang along! Charlie was off playing and Hannah came down and played the uke with us all for a while.

It was a beautiful summers day, a Sunday and the end of nearly everything for us!  (by that I mean Tae kwon Do, music, drama…)

I went and wiped our large blackboard clean ready for inspirational summer holiday messages instead of all the places we have to be and what time….

Aaaaaaahhhhhhh!  ( big sigh out.)
I feel so ready to just stop and BE for a while.

Not so for Charlie though.  Henry came to stay the night and it was just the most perfect ending to such a wild weekend….They had a big mattress on the snug floor and ALL the teddies in there with them….

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They were very happy and excited.

But very happy to tuck and read a Star Wars book together

But very happy to tuck in and read a Star Wars book together.

I feel so totally blessed to have such a wonderful life full of family, friends, community, music, children, love and good food.

Happy holidays…..

Born to Learn

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This is an intelligent look at how we learn.  The little animations make the message very clear and easy to understand – and kids enjoy them!   Some  interesting thought provoking stuff…..

http://www.born-to-learn.org/

Then their new website – Responsible Subversives is here.

I like the quote – we are born to learn , not born to be taught

http://www.21learn.org/

It inspires me to know that others on the planet are questioning the status quo and really pushing for a change in how we do things, especially how we raise our children – one of my favourite topics!