Sunday, November 28, 2010

Work, work and more work........

Sorry for the long break between posts.

I think most of the teachers at Rhianna's school have hit the wall with exhaustion as I covered a lot of classes last week. I even had the chance to teach Rhianna's class which was interesting (and of course, super exciting for Rhianna).

It's great working at your own childs school as you get the inside track on everything that is happening there :: who's teaching what grades next year, who is taking leave for the year, which teachers are leaving or retiring etc.

And luckily, the school is a nice small one without many behaviour management problems which makes most classes a delight to teach.

Bill decided that as I have been spending so much time with children lately that he would give me a child free day on Sunday. He packed up the MG with Miss Rhianna on Sunday and they took off for the day. They didn't get home till 7pm so it was a fantastically long day for me to have some time to myself. Here they are ready to go.......

The first thing I did after making a cup of tea was to dive into some quality (and not so quality) magazine reading. As I've been working so much these have been piling up unread in the laundry. The large stash of Frankie on the top are a bulk lot I bought off Ebay.
(Such retro bliss.....)

On Saturday we just had a quiet day at home as Rhianna had her Christmas concert through the week and also a Games Day on Friday at school (in horrid heat) and was exhausted. And, as I was working that day in the same horrid heat I was a tad exhausted too.

We started some very simple Chrissy craft - drawing was about about as enthusiastic as I could get. But the pictures of the reindeers turned out quite nicely.

We also started the decorating. One of my favourite parts of Christmas. Thinking we might need a new tree next year as this one had quite an unhealthy lean to it when we put it up.

Well I did tell you that not a lot has been happening here..............

Hope you all have a great week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Homemade Christmas Gift

I haven't been too good lately trying to live the non-consumerist lifestyle. But.... it is leading into Christmas and there are just too many yummy things to look at and to buy. Oh dear....

But here I have some homemade goodness. It's a Christmas present for Rhianna so shh....

Firstly, I bought this multi frame from target. I think I got it around February on sale for $10.

I promised myself no new scrap papers till I had used up existing stock. Unfortunately, the only papers I have left are pretty uninspiring. But it doesn't matter too much for this project and you'll see why later.

Next some clip art downloaded from the internet. Of course I happened to run out of coloured ink right at that moment but I soldiered on, figuring I could colour in the clipart myself.

Then I printed out some titles of activities Rhianna likes to do.

Put it all together to make 5 "vouchers" which are then framed into the ummm...frame!

I've chosen activities that we were likely to do throughout the Christmas Holidays anyway.

When Rhianna wants to use up a "voucher" she can take it out of the frame and give it to me. We then toddle off and do the activity.

Whilst doing the activity...say, bowling I take a lovely photo of the two of us doing that activity. That photo then goes back in the frame in place of the voucher.

When all the vouchers are used up and replaced by photos of the activities, she will have a frame full of Christmas 2010 memories of her and her Mum.

Then hopefully it can be hung up on her bedroom wall.

So, as you can see the actual vouchers don't have to be too fancy as they will get discarded.

I really enjoyed making this gift and it only cost me $10. I know doing the activities will cost me an arm and a leg but like I said earlier, I would have done these activities with Rhianna through the holidays anyway.

I really hope she enjoys this.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Simple Childhood Memories

We headed up to my Mum and Dad's on the weekend. They live on the Central coast of NSW.

Rhianna has recently become the proud owner of a new pink fishing rod and we thought we'd trot off up to the coast to try it out.

Going up to Mum's makes me think about a few different things.

Firstly, I always think about when we used to drive to my Nan's place as a kid. The anticipation of seeing her, the morning teas she used to do, completed with homemade cakes, slices and biscuits. Sitting on my Nan's lap sipping tea from her cup and smelling her sweet crinkly neck when I used to hug her.

Sometimes I wonder what memories my kids will have of their Nan and Pop.

But mostly I think about how wonderful it is that I still have both my parents with me and still in good health and that we have the opportunity to spend time with them.

Anyway, we spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning out at Wyee Point doing some fishing. We tried to warn Rhianna that she may not actually catch any fish.

But guess what - she caught one. Actually more than one - she caught lots.

Unfortunately they were too small and had to go back in but she didn't care - it was the catching that was the highlight. Bill was the designated dehooker and thrower back inner.

Back at Mum's we pottered around the garden in the afternoon sunshine and did some gardening. Mum has a lovely garden - sorry forgot to take a picture. Rhianna spent ages picking out these flowers to make a bouquet to bring home with us.

We had a gorgeous dinner of lamb chops and vegetables and then some TV watching. I was amazed whn Rhianna asked my Mum if she could sit on her lap and then promptly fell asleep - I hope that's one memory she does keep. I know I will.

On Sunday we headed home after breakfast and a quick stop at the flea markets. The weather was glorious and we spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool.

Sometimes life really is all about the simple pleasures.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Magazine Inspiration

Just a quick post this morning as we are heading off for a weekend away. Yah!!!!

As you know I LOVE magazines :: especially at Christmas time with all the colourful loveliness they put on the covers. Here are my current favourites.

Of course, my darling Frankie magazine

So many arty and talented people in the world. I love this idea for a Christmas tree.

Real Living - lots of great ideas for decorating your space this season.

Love this felted ball wreath.

Lots of great holiday activities to do with Rhianna in this months Family Fun magazine.

Of course I love the section on the Eco crafts.

Have a great weekend everybody. I'm looking out the window this morning and the weather looks beautiful - which it needs to be for our weekend away.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bits and Pieces

So far this week has been all about shopping. I'm trying to buy with the budget and the environment in mind but it can be quite hard to put the brakes on the spending with all that Christmas spirit happening out there.

Yesterday I headed down to Castle Hill (Northwest Sydney) to catch up with a girlfriend at the big shopping centre there. I was in the carpark by 9.30am and I tell you, I was lucky to find a car space -it was that crowded. I told my girlfriend that is the last catch up till after the silly season.

Back home and as the weather has been so lovely we've been outside a lot.

And what did I spy in amongst my supposed "potted colour" - a rogue lettuce. This picture explains why I will never be a gardener. The potted colour is on its last legs and the lettuce which I've paid no attention to is going great guns. In fact I hate to admit this but for about a week there I actually thought the lettuce was a small hibiscus.

One thing I can do quite well is bake. Here is a recipe I actually made up :: banana, choc chip and sultana muffins. I wanted to use up the overripe bananas, the last of the choc chips and about a handful of sultanas lying in the bottom of the container. They were so yummy - especially straight out of the oven.

Bill and I are going to do the final push this summer with the backyard. It really is just sheer laziness on our part that it is not already finished. This is the nice view of what we have done.

Now, I know it's not going to be featured in Better Homes and Gardens anytime soon but it's plain and practical which is what we were trying to achieve.

And this is the dog's breakfast end.

Obviously all that rubbish has to be carted away. On the right of the pic you can see where the old tin shed starts. We'll put in a nice little cottage looking wooden one and then put down some floating timber decking. Sounds easy right?

Other than that I'm just trying to get the last of the Xmas presents purchased.

I think I have 4 to go. I've just had a last minute acceptance for my Chrissy party so I'll have to add another couple of kids presents to the list but nothing major.

I hope to have it all done by 30th November.

How are your Christmas plans coming along?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sculptures by the Sea

Today we headed off to Bondi Beach for the annual Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. Apart from being very hot and very crowded the exhibition was amazing.

Giant sculptures lining the walk from Bondi to Tamarama.

Here is Rhianna ready to go -

Some of the sculptures were obvious - like this giant grater.

This was an amazing sculpture :: a long, colourful pathway running across Tamarama beach.

A close up reveals that the whole thing is made from bottle caps and red cable ties. I can't even begin to imagine how long this would have taken to complete.
But you've gotta love the eco angle.....

Some of the sculptures were confronting...

and then.... a giant there's something you don't see on the beach very often....

I love this Rubanesque bathing beauty made from sandstone boulders.

And this amusing dining setting gave us a laugh while walking along the clifftop.

Can't wait to go again next year.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Higgelty Piggelty Weekend

After quite a busy week for our family we decided to spend the start of this weekend just hanging around the house. Rhianna got off to an early morning start.....

We needed a few art and craft supplies so we showered and dressed to head out. Miss R decided to wear her dad's trilby to the shops - oh, she's a fashion leader this one.....(Ahem)

I was quite pleased with this first skirt I've ever managed to make. I only had a printed out pattern and it actually fits my daughter and it cost me nothing as the material is a scrap. Can you tell how proud I am? I'll be knocking up a sequined wedding dress next.....or not.

Then onto the business end of the day - craft, craft and more craft. First a swim in the pool as it's 35 degrees out there today and then onto Rhianna's choice of crafts - paper boxes. Here's how it looked in the book.....

And here is our efforts. Not too shabby.

A close up. This is how the box is supposed to look. It doesn't have a "lid" as such. We are thinking we might get some double sided Xmas paper and make some goody boxes for our Christmas party this year as we have quite a few kids coming (Lord help me) and it's nice to give them something a little personal when they go home.

And finally Rhianna did a bit of craft on her (mostly) own. She set up a vet store in the loungeroom complete with a cage where the patients wait their turn for medical treatment.

We even had a latch so the little furries couldn't get away while they were waiting. Kept her occupied for 2 hours and didn't cost a cent.

Well today might have been the frugal day but I'm thinking tomorrow is going to be the all expenses day as we head out to the city for some culture - pics and story tomorrow.
Stay Happy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas Folder

I would love to take credit for this fabulous idea but I have to admit that I stole it from Libby at Life is a Journey not a Destination. I loved it so much I made myself one straight away.

Here is the front cover - made from recycled brown paper and some old Christmas ribbon I had. I was going to buy a folder and then I found a perfectly good one in the cupboard.

First couple of pages in the folder have the next three months in calendar form so I can plan activities, shopping assaults and social activities.

I popped January 2011 in here as well so I can start to plan some holiday activities for Rhianna and hopefully some holidays too.

One of the sections I have tabbed is a home made gift section. I had this stuff floating all over the house so its good to collate it all in the one place. This is also where I am compiling the Xmas gift list for my family and friends.

Next section is the Christmas craft section. Now as I am a teacher I have oodles of this stuff so I just put in a few things that Rhianna and I might actually get to. And we'll be using up all the craft stuff we already have.

More craft

Next section is the Christmas food and menus section. We are having Christmas with Bill's family this year and I am bringing a salad, ham and a dessert so plenty of scope to be creative there.

Then we are having Boxing day at home (Hoorah :: our first year at home in this house) so we will be doing plenty of seafood as we'll do a BBQ by the pool.

I've included a section of low to no cost holiday activities for January. I'll be going up to Mum and Dad's on the coast for a couple of weeks to have a bit of a beach holiday with Rhianna but the rest of the time I'll be looking for cheap activities to keep boredom at bay.

And that's it. A lot of organisation for a grand total of $0. Hopefully the folder will keep my head screwed on the right way this Christmas crazy season. Thanks Libby.