Thursday, 28 May 2009
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
We invited a lovely couple from our church to tea and the boys explained to them how we had tracked down the places. We had food to represent each location, although some of the links were a little tenuous.
Here, alongside our graph of each class's photoperiod, are green cupcakes to resemble Adelaide's famous frog cakes and yellow cupcakes in place of Thailand's suncakes. There is cornbread for Iowa; avocado and tomato salad, which was a recipe from Mozambique we found on the internet; and pineapple and melon, tropical fruits to represent the Pacific Island of Palau.
Below, you can see the sandwiches, to remind us of Bird Island which is part of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, filled with Swiss Cheese; a jug of tropical fruit juice for Thailand and, in the background, a bowl of seaweed crackers. These were for Homer, Alaska, the halibut fishing capital of the world. I wanted fish shaped crackers but we couldn't find any in the supermarket so we opted for seaweed, to represent the sea and all things fishy! We also served hot chocolate for the cocoa producing Cameroon.
Monday, 25 May 2009
Saturday, 23 May 2009
And to cap it all, we found a whole nest's worth of baby spiders on the outside table:
Friday, 22 May 2009
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
So often, in many areas of my life, I settle for what will do, not what is best or even what I really want. Take clothes buying. For years I have bought dull coloured items which just about fit, because they will do, they are ok and I really don't want to spend any more money or time trying things on. Two years ago I discovered Allison, the personal fashion advisor at John Lewis. She is an angel, truly. Now, when I have saved my pennies or my mum has been very generous at Christmas, I go and spend two hours with Allison. She encourages me to buy clothes that suit me and fit me. She is not the slightest bit pushy but she won't let me say, "Oh, this will do." As a result I have some clothes in my wardrobe that I really love and if anyone ever says to me, "I like your top/skirt/trousers," you can bet it's something that Allison helped me pick out.
So last night, as I thought about writing, I could think of lots of ideas that will do but I had to listen very carefully to hear that voice telling me what really excites me, what I most want explore. And it turns out that what I want to write about would involve a lot of research in order to build up the frame I want to hang my story on, the investment of time and effort, believing that I will produce something of worth at the end of it and that it won't just fizzle out, another thing that I never saw through. It turns out that if I really want to write, I will have to believe in myself and not just settle for something that will do.
Monday, 18 May 2009
Saturday, 16 May 2009
I would love a machine that made lattes and someone to do my gardening and the occasional night in a fancy hotel. I don't think that my house really suits chandeliers and I don't have a moat that would need cleaning. I wonder it would cover a loft conversion so my boys could have separate rooms and a Summer house, with electric power, to serve as a writing shed?
Friday, 15 May 2009
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
My daughter, initially excited at having the lyrics to a High School Musical song to copy-write yesterday, found the word "together" too long and too much repeated and tearfully floundered, needing letter by letter encouragement and she completed one verse.
I have tried to increase our read-aloud time by having two books on the go at the same time. We are currently trying to read "The Hobbit" and "Little Women" and I, for one, am actually finding it hard going. I was struck by inspiration, and yesterday we picked up "Little Women" on cassette from the library. We put it on and started a jigsaw, and I got to play too. My mistake was to listen to both chapters which we have already read and then a new one. Attention spans weren't quite that long. However, later in the day we had our part-chapter from "The Hobbit" and the children all asked for more when I stopped.
The trap I most often fall into is expecting too much: of myself, of the children, of the time available. There is the insidious voice of the imaginary Local Authority Inspector whispering in my ear, "You aren't doing enough" and I feel driven to do more.
I spoke to a headteacher friend at church this week and mentioned that we were slowing right down now that summer is approaching, much of my Grand Plan of September laid aside. She nodded along and then added, "Of course, there's really a lot of weeks left to go and you could get a lot done before the summer break." I agreed and took on more of the message that I don't do enough. But on reflection, I believe it is a fallacy to artificially segment our children's lives: time to work and learn, time to play and kick back. It's not a few weeks to go until it's time to stop learning for the year, they have the rest of their lives both to learn and to have fun.
Now, if only I could get that inspector to pipe down, I could get on with enjoying it!
Monday, 11 May 2009
The plot was straightforward, if a little predictable and cheesy, and the music excellent - of course, this is all obvious from the style and success of the film. My daughter was enchanted, although high school, basketball, scholastic decathlons and auditions took some explaining. My sons laughed at plenty and were keen to inform daddy of the upcoming funny bits during Sunday's reprise. I have had the tunes in my head all night and have just printed off the lyrics on "We're all in this together' for my daughter's weekly copywriting.
What I loved most of all was the message of the film: who you are is more that what other people see, or how you may have been labelled. As I chatted with my boys about this, expanding on the idea by my suggestions that it was possible to be a artist footballer or a race-car driving ballet dancer, they seemed to think this was obvious. And I was happy that they know that they can be who they want to be!
Thursday, 7 May 2009
When something is growing (a garden, children, my sense of self) it can be hard to see the progress. It is easy to compare the current state of things with how I would like things to be and to feel discouraged. Looking back and seeing where I have come from is what brings to my attention the strides that have been made:
Late Summer 2006
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Last week, my friend bought me a lovely book full of inspiration; the photos are art in themselves. I found in this book, a quotation from Mrs Beeton, which appealed to me so much that I shared it with the children. My little girl chose it as her copy-writing this morning:
Monday, 4 May 2009
5) I will refer back to my action plan when I am feeling overwhelmed.
And here are the pictures from our Bank Holiday day out to the Tower of London. There's even one of me!
Friday, 1 May 2009
(No pictures, I was too worried about taking my hands off the lead and losing him! Once I am more confident the neighbour's dog won't disappear on my watch, I'll take some snaps.)