Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Nice Mid-Assignment Surprise

I am in the middle of semester-end assignments again and am only now, as the semester is nearing its end, receiving feedback from assessments completed 4-5 weeks ago.  It feels like 'too little too late' in many ways.  Getting the mid-semester assessment results gives me a bit of a guide as to how I'm going and an opportunity to see how I need to improve or what I need to focus on.  Mental note for assessing my own students in a couple of years time - quick turn-about times are very important!

Anyway, you know that horrible assignment that required semiotic analysis of a printed text compared with its movie counterpart?  The one I was stressing over?  The subject that saw me have a little meltdown as I began the second assessment task with no knowledge of whether I understood anything?  That one?  I got a distinction.  A DISTINCTION!  Really?  I have no idea how.

As I opened the returned document I was just praying that I'd passed.  That's all I really wanted...just not to fail.  And there was - that beautiful little DN sitting at the bottom of the marking table.

You cannot imagine how excited I am.  It feels like the first time I got a High Distinction.  I may as well have for all the anxiety this assignment caused!

I'm thinking something special for breakfast must surely be the first order of a celebratory day!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Frugal Files: Stopping Wastage

Last time I was in Costco I decided to give Dawn dish-washing liquid a go.  I have to say I absolutely love it.  It works well, smells nice, has great suds...what more could a girl want?  Because when it comes to washing up I'm all about the smell and the suds.  If it smells yuck or it doesn't stay sudsy then I try to find ways to get rid of it.  Or I shove it unceremoniously to the back of the cupboard for use in emergencies.

My one problem is that I don't do the dishes all that often because the girls share the task on alternating evenings.  And my how they go through detergent!  A 350ml bottle was lucky to last two weeks.  How on earth do they do that?!  When I began using the Dawn I decided I didn't want that enormous bottle being emptied in the space of but a few weeks so I came up with a plan.  The ultimate "reduce, reuse and recycle" plan....for my little world anyway.  I foraged about in the cupboard beneath the sink and pulled out this pump dispenser that came home with who-knows-what in it (Dh often brings home samples of things).  It had been emptied, cleaned and awaiting some important future task so I filled it with Dawn and put the big bottle away again.

The girls have been happily using the pump dispenser which delivers a metered dose.  The three of us decided 2-3 pumps was plenty for a sink full of water.  Each smaller bottle full lasts a few weeks and we're all happy.

What have you done to "reduce, reuse or recycle" lately?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Bunyips and Other Mysteries

photo credit:

I bought this book the other day.  My Yr1 student has a bit of a 'thing' for bunyips at the moment.  And the Loch Ness Monster.  And Pacman.  And sharks. And Battleships.  And Traffic Rush on my iPad.   Anyway, the day he asked about bunyips we googled a bit to see what they looked like.  When I came across this book I knew it was a 'must have'.  Really....Jackie French and Bruce's going to be good!  I ordered the book and it finally arrived so I took it to school and we read it together during 'silent reading'.  Our reading isn't so silent, since I'm reading out loud.  And the other kids on the table are often listening in and peering over pencil and texta pots to see the pictures. 

Emily was a hit.  The big bad bunyip was super duper.  My student was a happy boy.  I might have even won a few brownie points that day.  That might have also been the day I declared myself to be Steve Irwin and that I needed to wrestle a crocodile off to the safety of the teacher's desk.  I haven't seen the crocodile hat since.  It had been on this boy's head for two solid weeks, apart from when we wrestled it off him during class time.  Thank you Steve Irwin!

Emily and her bunyip have also entertained my nieces, who were here for the day last weekend.'s a great book.  A bit of a Christmas theme runs through it, but none of us really cared!

As for the next two bunyips, emus or crocodiles will cross the threshhold on this side of my picket fence.  We're on holidays.  I have two full, whole, blessed weeks.  To study.   And spend time with the children.  The thing I'm looking forward to most?  Having time to enjoy cooking really yummy and meals that are perhaps time consuming in the preparation.  And I'm looking forward to just being able to take my study at a slightly slower pace.  I'll only have two weeks of the semester left when I go back to work so I might even be able to get a little bit ahead.

The best news of the week came when my boss announced some new teachers joining our Secondary school next year.  One of them is my sister-in-law.  She'll teach Miss Sunshine and Mr Busy.  We're all incredibly excited.  Four months until the beginning of next year seems a long way off!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Cosy Corners

We've been doing a fair amount of furniture moving lately.  Shelves from Dh's office have come home.  Miss Sunshine wangled an old desk along with the shelves.  Her desk was homeless.  A cute little thing, just about my size.  So rather than settling into a comfy lounge chair with my feet on the coffee table this has become my corner.  The shelf houses my Uni paraphernalia and the desk is just the right size for the space.  And it's better for my shoulders.

And one of those days I'm going to get that quilt hanging over the bannister custom-quilted.  I made it a few years ago now and have never managed the time to get it quilted.  One day.

Friday, 14 September 2012


I thought I was back.  I wasn't.  You all know what it's like when life just really gets ahead of you, right?  The last few weeks have been stressful in a variety of ways.  When I get really stressed I get quiet, and so I have been.  Stressed and quiet.  My challenging subject is nearly over - one more week.  I feel like maybe there is light at the end of that tunnel.  Miss Mischief reminded me it's nearly her birthday.  And she needs a haircut.  And she now has no jeans which are still intact.  There is no light at the end of that tunnel!

In the middle of days where it feels hard to breathe and like things are just too hard there are little glimmers of sunshine and calm.  The kids are doing really well at school.  We've just had parent-teacher interviews and heard beautiful things about our children.  Although I've warned a Secondary teacher or two that Mr Busy is not like his sisters in very many ways.  Gorgeous...but perhaps not studious.

And we are now the proud parents of a learner driver.  Miss Sunshine took her test yesterday and came out glowing.  Not only did she pass very, very well - she beat a friend's score.  The victory is all the sweeter for it!  So.  Now we need to give this child of ours 120 hours of varied driving experiences before she turns 18.  I drove home after dropping her off at school and thought "Oh my goodness.  She'll be driving me around VERY soon".  I swear she was just a bubbly little 5yo only yesterday.  When did it happen that I now have a child old enough to legally take control of a motor vehicle???   

I have but four more days with students....and one more day off all by myself.  And then it's school holidays.  Bring it on!  I might just make it that far.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

When Children are a Blessing

My precious niece playing with playdough.  Even little people are amazing.

You know you have amazing kids when they let you have a cry on their shoulder and make you a cup of tea.  And then steer clear of you. 

And when your children organise themselves to supervise the inexperienced one when baking, which is required for homework, and leave you out of it, you know you've got amazing kids.

And when they forgive your unreasonable outbursts quickly and seek to comfort you as their response....yep, they're amazing kids.

I had a little meltdown yesterday as a result of pretty severe study stress.  That semiotic assignment I offered up to anyone interested (and no one took up!!!) has come back to bite.  Now it's a unit of work "showcasing what you have learned".  Uh oh.  Fortunately for me the unit coordinator has taken pity on us and provided an example of what the assignment would look like if she were required to do it.  She had fun.  I am not!  But I am managing to get through it little by little with more hope than I had last week!  For the first time I am thinking perhaps a mere pass would be quite sufficient.  Miraculous even.

And for light relief Miss Sunshine and I have undertaken online IQ tests.  She's looked at them because she's doing Psychology at school this year.  Guess what?  I'm smarter than her.  YES!!!!  According to the test I took I'm pretty smart.  I'm not going to try any others, I like the result from that one.  On weeks like this one a girl needs to reminded that she's no dill.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Returning ... with a little less brain

I'm back.  I've still got a big yucky assignment to complete in the next three weeks as well as a much nicer one just before that.  So I'll probably still be posting very irregularly.  But I am still alive.

In the last week I've made many remarks about the attractiveness of a hotel room that includes room service.  I suspect the tent above might be the reality for one study-weary mother.  I had a student for 18 months who would use this as his brain-space place.  There's a bit to be said for that!

Whilst I've been absent from here I've submitted 2 assignments and an exam, and have nearly finished a 3rd assignment.  I attended a student engagement day in the city last weekend and took Miss Sunshine to visit the Deakin Uni open day.  Wow - what a fantastic place!  If only their course was exactly the same as mine I'd be so tempted to do a subject on-campus  The girls have been magnificent at being thrown curve balls like "I haven't been shopping.  There's mince.  Figure out what to do with it", as an instruction for making dinner one night.  The revelation of the weekend was a comment from one of my fellow students, who suggested that every time you submit an assignment you hand in part of your brain along with it.  Trouble is, the same thing is said to happen whenever you deliver a baby.  I'm in big trouble!

Oh.  And I completed my first hook turn.  Ever.  Successfully.  I tend not to drive in the CBD because it's a little bit overwhelming.  But I had to go in last Saturday when things are quieter and it's much quicker to drive.  Plus, I found parking for a flat rate of $9...cheaper than a train ticket!  I figured I've been driving into Docklands now for over a year all on my own, so I came into the city at that end of Collins Street (the street I had to go to) and getting to the parking venue required a hook turn.  Here's a really funny YouTube clip of how it works.  The girls and I killed ourselves laughing at the lady...but seriously, it's a very weird turn to do - so counter-intuitive.  And for you out-of-towners, here's a google map image of the city.  If you enlarge the picture I you can see the left hand bottom corner is where I entered Collins St.  It's nice and easy down that end of town!

image credit:  google maps

Have you done anything new lately?