Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beautiful music and lovely ladies


I love this lady's voice. Another person who is inspirational is another Brit. Where were you if you missed this lady and this performance?



And at 47 she hadn't given up on her dream. What about you? Are you letting your age take away your dreams?

Best wishes
Jen

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Random parenting bits

Some idle thoughts:

* Never buy a snack or treat for your child that you wouldn't eat yourself as they will probably want to swap or share.

* Even if you never use cloth nappies on a bottom they are still a very useful item to buy at least one dozen of.

* Train your kids to drink water and only water when you are out and about.

* In the car store spoons and plastic cups so that if you do need to stop for a snack you can buy a tub of yoghurt or icecream and share it around.

* Give your child responsibility from a very young age for at least one part of their wardrobe so that you have one less thing to find and put on before leaving the house. In my case it is shoes and jackets.

* Train your children that when you are out shopping it is their job to keep up with and follow you, not your responsibility to follow them and make sure they are all with you at all times. Of course, I still look out for all my little duckies, but I make sure they realise I will not slow down to allow little people to dawdle. It is up to them to keep up with me.

* Never go grocery shopping with the expectation of only taking a set amount of time. Be relaxed and enjoy your children, don't scream at them all the way through the aisles.

* If they bring you something say Wow, or something suitably positive and then very firmly say Put it back. Don't accept anything else except obedience. Put it back is learnt in my family by 12 months old. It makes life a lot easier.

* Buy cutlery and crockery from restaurant supply stores. Buy pieces that will not go out of style for a long time. I don't panic about broken plates, or bent spoons, because I know a replacement is easily bought. Admittedly I am one of those people who loves the "calm" of matching crockery. If you like a mixture of pieces in a few styles then ignore this bit of advice.

* If a dish gets broken always remember to smile at your child first. Tell them they are ok and that we all make mistakes. Then teach them how to clean up, even if it is only to go put on shoes and collect the dust pan and brush. You are allowed to be sad, but don't be angry.

I am a great believer in teaching by example how to deal with problems in life. In my experience it is not much point in getting overly emotional. Sure, life gets my goat sometimes, but if there is something I can do then I do it and do it now! And cleaning up is much more effective in the long run than a whole bunch of tears or yelling. I would hope that my children will see that accidents are a reason for action, not for being emotional and getting "stuck" in the moment. We need to take responsibility for what we can control and do what we can. Let the rest take care of itself.


I offer this advice because this is the stuff I usually get right. There is an awful lot more that I don't get "right". Maybe there should be another list of what not to do in my experience. lol Keep your eyes out!

Best wishes
Jen

Education - is it useful?



Something to ponder... especially if you homeschool.

Best wishes
Jen

Friday, June 17, 2011

Home learning rant

I hate with all amount of gusto when parents say that they are learning more now than they did in school because they are homeschooling their kids. OK, I hear you, some people didn't do well in school, didn't retain it, didn't get taught it in the first place... I don't know. But I do remember all this stuff and I just can't get excited about it again.

Is it because we are doing Ancient History and I did that in high school? Is it because the level of science I am teaching my kids is so boring compared to the physics and chemistry I was doing in high school? Do I need to just move on to the Medieval times and get over it? Just do a different branch of science or something?

Does anyone else feel like they are in some homeschooling version of Ground Hog Day, forever destined to be teaching Ancient Times and basic Arithmetic while nagging boys about their handwriting?


Best wishes
Jen
going slightly bonkers

Friday, June 10, 2011

A winter bedding tip!

I have 2 wrigglers who always seem to wake up in the morning curled in a feotal position trying to be warm while all their blankets dangle off the side of the bed. As a kid I slept in a sleeping bag and thought this may solve the problem of the disappearing blankets. Well, due to having a bedwetter and typically dirty boys if baths are missed means that sleeping bags are out of the question. Just not washable or machine dryable like I need.

Funnily enough at the camping store the guy came up with a great tip. His mum was a foster mum and she had this trick. Bottom sheets are fitted single bed sheets and the top bedding is double bed sheets and blankets that tuck all the way under the mattress, creating a nice snug cocoon that doesn't unravel easily. I don't have double bed linen but for my littler guys I just tucked the single bed top sheet and a thinner blanket the normal way but then tucked a lovely thick single blanket across the top of the sleeping area.

Both boys slept well, and even though my bed wetter still wet his bed, he was happy with the snuggly cocoon bed. And still easy enough to do the washing as it was only my normal linen, just used differently.

Try it, it worked.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Making change easier on your family

I am looking around a lot at ways to make changes in my family.  I am not happy with some of the habits we have such as late bed times, irregular meals, and general lack of order.  In the past I have been overwhelmed by the resistance I get when I try to change things around here so I thought it was time to learn how to best to implement changes successfully.  

Most of my searching is coming up with corporate solutions but then I realised that the dynamics in a family can be quite similar.

This quote below I found in an article on a business site about the resistance that we get from subordinates when we try to change things and how to implement major changes more effectively.

Anytime we are interesting in introducing any major change, there are three things we must do:
    1. Solicit support from the people who will be affected by the change thereby getting them "on board."
   2. Train them effectively (in terms the staff will understand).
   3.  Follow-up and support the people until the change becomes a natural part of the culture. 
 By doing so, we set at ease concerns people have about the merit of the change. If this is not done, people will either ignore the change, or even worse, deliberately sabotage it.
 Implement as much change as the people affected can assimilate. Too much change may be too difficult for people to cope with. In this event, stage your changes over times. Always remember, "You eat elephants one spoonful at a time."
   
The advice I am finding is helping me to know how to go about changing things in my family.  Sure, it won't be easy, but if I can get the older ones to "buy into" the vision I have for my family and how much better it will be for all of us then I will be happy.

Best wishes
Jen

 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Technical Drawing

This is a particular passion of mine. All my boys will be doing at least level one outlined below. I think these skills are just so necessary to be able to communicate to someone what you want or need from an item in three dimensions.

My opinion of what needs to be covered:

First level (and almost essential IMO)
- plane geometry (possibly covered elsewhere if you have a good maths program), things like dividing a line of unknown length in to 5 even segments, or dividing an unknown angle evenly in half, proportionals, polygons, tangents, little tricks for doing things like drawing a line parallel a certain distance from a line you already know
- involutes, archimedian spirals, cycloids, epicycloids, hypocycloids (at least an understanding if not necessarily a strong knowledge)
- orthographic projection - at least first angle, ie plans, elevations, sections and an understanding of the different line styles used to represent hidden parts etc
- understanding of scales, tolerances and fits
- basic architectural drawing (just in case they ever choose to build or extend their home)
- basic isometric drawing (horizontal lines represented as 30 deg to right and left to show a 3D image)
- how to create either orthographic projections from isometric drawings and vice versa
- basic perspective drawing with only straight lines

Second level and beyond
- any of the above that will require circles and curves, could be hard for a fine motor skills challenged kid
- more complex orthographic projections of two solids intersecting and being able to show the shape of the cut into one to fit the other, think gutters intersecting and knowing the shape of the "hole" if the main shape is rolled out flat
- true shapes of truncated simple solids

I am currently looking into what text to use. This may take some research but I will get back to you on this.

Best wishes
Jen

PS Aha, found the text I used in a slighter younger version. Check out this one available through Booktopia in Australia.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Not Being You denies God His Plans for You

I was flicking through a journal I started a while ago and came across two quotes I had written from 2 very different books.

The first is from "The Hidden Art of Homemaking" by Edith Schaeffer.

If you stop putting off 'homemaking' until your hope of marriage develops into a reality, and start to develop an interesting home right now, it seems to me two things will happen:  first you will develop into the person you could be, as you surround yourself with things that express your own tastes and ideas; and second, as you relax and become interested in areas of creativity, you will develop into a more interesting person to be with, and other people will very likely find that they will enjoy being with you more!

The second is from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran.

You are good when you are one with yourself.
Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil. 
In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness: and that longing is in all of you. 
But in some of you that longing is a torrent rushing with might to the sea, carrying the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forest.
And in others it is a flat stream that loses itself in angles and bends and lingers before it reaches the shore.
But let not him who longs much say to him who longs little, "Wherefore are you slow and halting?"
For the truly good ask not the naked, "Where is your garment?" nor the houseless, "What has befallen your house?"

We went out today and I grabbed this book off my shelves in case I got time to just sit and read.  In the front invitation it says this.

Do you ever wonder what the purpose of your life is? And do you ever feel like life is piling up on you faster than you can push your way forward? That your days are doomed before dawn? That you'll never get it all done?  That there has to be more to life than this?
Well, we can both thank God that there is hope for our hearts and answers to our heart-cries. Our lives were created by God.. and He knows what His purposes for us are and how He wants us to live them out. 

The thoughts that gelled together in my mind were that God created me, He has a plan for me, a purpose for my life.  To deny that I am a person with longings and dreams and to not work on those longings and towards those dreams is to deny God the opportunity to use my life for the purpose I am created for.

When I ignore those little niggles to do something, to create a home, to share my strengths, to work on my weaknesses, when I hide from God I am denying my purpose.  And I don't know what that purpose is, and maybe I never will, but I don't have the right to ignore those promptings, my righteous longings.  God knows me and my life purpose and I should just get on with living this life, living my life with passion, and with heart.  Be who I am meant to be because that is what He intends for me, wishes for me, for my own good.

Are you living the life God intends for you?  Or do you just get too busy to listen when He tries to prompt you and prod you on the path He intends for you?

Something to think about,
Jen

Friday, June 3, 2011

Playdough colours

Aren't these beautiful?


Of course it isn't long before all we have is a big lump of "brown"!  lol

Best wishes
Jen

A boy place in my backyard

Last weekend my dh pruned a lot of the trees in our backyard.  Considering that we live on a 1/4 acre block and have 2 orange trees, 2 mango trees, a jacaranda, 2 crepe myrtles, a pecan tree, a lilly pilly, a crabapple? tree, a maple of some sort and an orange blossom bush there are definitely a lot of trees to prune.  Needless to say my backyard is a pile of branches, large and small, that will be taken to our green waste disposal over the next few weeks in a multitude of trips with a large trailer.

The crabapple? tree had a prime place in it for a tree house and this morning my eldest and I manouvered a pallet collected from a roadside over a branch in the middle and pushed it down to create a mostly level platform.  Instant tree house!



We still need to tie down one edge to stop it tipping but my eldest is very impressed.  He looks forward to hiding out there with a game.  Yup, when told to go out to get fresh air and exercise he takes an electronic game.  Not quite meeting my goal of exercise.  Oh well!

Best wishes
Jen
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