Tuesday, 28 July 2015

That Was Yesterday...Tales from the classroom.

Image Credit

The photograph of my classroom, from yesterday, was a little premature.  I have, with the heaviest of heart, changed the desks around so that they are in rows facing the whiteboard.  I hate the stark, old-fashioned-ness of it.  I hate everything it communicates to my students about education.  But it seems my students are not quite ready for the responsibility that comes with being able to interact with their peers quite so readily.  The hard part is that it's only a large handful of boys that are causing the problems.  But I have this strong belief that everyone has the right to learn, and I need to protect others' rights.

Don't get me wrong, my students are amazing young people, and I adore them.  I just don't adore all of the behaviours I'm seeing.  Like calling out across the room, cutting up erasers and throwing them about, interrupting and not listening to others.  See?  My list of complaints is relatively mild.  But they do need to be handled.

On the positive side I have the most delightfully, hilarious conversation with one of my cherubs straight after lunch today:

Student:  Can I please go to the toilet?
Me:  We just came in from lunch.  Shouldn't you go at lunch time?
Student:  Wellll....yessss.....
Me:  So, tell me why I should let you go?
Student:  Well, actually I left my lunch box outside and I need to get it, but I thought you would think that was a silly reason.  I thought going to the toilet was more sensible.
Me:  Next time how about you just tell me the truth?  Tomorrow, you need to go to the toilet during lunch time, and if you need to get something you left outside, let me know and we'll deal with that?
Student:  OK.  Thank you Mrs --

I'm still giggling to myself.  Which is just as well, because tomorrow morning will begin with a very serious conversation about behaviour.

And tonight dinner occurred without my input, and there were smiles involved.  Lots of smiles.  Mine.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Of working, mothering and teaching

My Classroom

Week One of the term has come and gone and we have all managed to survive successfully.  Me, my students and my family.  We're all still alive!

Best thing?  My students are completely awesome.  My most challenging student gifted me with a two-day honeymoon to get me settled before he began letting me see his real self.  I've managed to get them coming into class in the morning much more quietly and more settled.  They are learning to control their in-class chatter and they have mostly decided I'm not as mean as I tell them I am.  Until I keep them in for talking when they shouldn't.  Then they kinda believe me.  I still can't get them to leave the room in a hurry though.  They want to hang about and chat!

Hardest thing?  Getting all that planning done.  And cooking dinner when I get home.  Miss Sunshine cooked three nights last week.   A beautiful, precious gift for this acts-of-service gal.  We went out the other two.  Bad!  Not sustainable.  I've talked with the kids and explained how hard this full time thing is when it comes to cooking and they are content to be on board with making meals throughout the week.  I get the weekend :)  And I've suggested to Dh that perhaps he needs to learn to cook.  He offered...but when I asked him how many questions I would need to answer he just looked at me.  I was too tired to answer questions!

I'm all set for the coming week.  Hopefully the tech guy will come and sort out things like showing me how the interactive pen for my data projector works, and showing me why I can't print...and getting some of my kids' iPads back on the internet.  And fixing my email signature, which I broke.  Note to self:  trust that it's working and don't fiddle!!!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Second Hand Magazine Gift...and then some

A friend at church handed me a big brown paper last week.

A stack of second hand magazines....all tied in a pretty bow
Biscuits (cookies)
Jarrah coffees
A note telling me to put my feet up

It made me think:  this is exactly 100% how second hand magazines should be handed on.  I was completely blown away by her thoughtfulness and the special added little things that made reading these so much more special.

Especially after my first week of working full time in over 19 years.  There weren't even any students yet and I was completely laid-out-exhausted by Thursday!  In a good kind of way.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

And then it was Production Day

Miss Mischief has been planning a High Tea for her VCE Food & Technology subject for weeks.  And weeks.  And maybe a few more weeks.  There have been production plans coming out of her ears, and searching for recipes all over the place.  She had to have six complex processes (whatever that means), which had her making things from scratch that you would normally just buy.

After weeks of planning she had days of cooking.  Things that required freezing to 'preserve' them were done in advance.  Lots of things happened yesterday morning.  In the process we learnt about fixing runny and split mayonnaise, and how to repair split, oily caramel.  That was my job - googling how to fix stuff....

Finally, after all the cooking, and repairing, and mixing and stirring and photo-taking of every. single. step. (thank you Mr Busy, oh photographer extraordinaire!) we got to eat.

Cupcakes, and sponge cakes and profiteroles and sandwiches with all the complex things that went with them.  And tea.  Miss Mischief outdid herself.  Her high tea was a smashing success.

And we left the dishes till this morning.  Because none of us could look at it!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

A Good-Morning Surprise

I walked out my front door the other day and found my otherwise bare trees adorned with these precious little beauties.  Between three trees I counted 11 king parrots just resting and squawking a little.  A nice petite kind of squawk compared to the obnoxious sound that cockatoos make.  It was like they were saying "welcome to the day".  They just made me stop and marvel at how vivid their colours were, especially against the grey skies.  And then I had to take photos!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Best Ever Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding anyone?  Even if you're not a fan (I have one of those in our house) you might just appreciate this one.  Made with chocolate chip brioches, from Aldi, rather than bread and butter.  No butter, no dried fruit, just the brioche all sliced up, laid in a baking dish in layers, and covered with a custard of:

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
cinnamon to taste (about half a tsp)

Whisk the first three ingredients together and then whisk in the milk and cinnamon.  Pour half over the brioche and sit for 10 minutes.  Then pour in the rest and bake for 50 minutes in a water bath in an oven set on 150C.

So, so, so yum.  Not too unhealthy as far as desserts go.  Every time one of the kids comes to Aldi with me we seem to come home with a packet of these little brioche buns along with the promise of dessert.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

When to go to the Doctor: A Mother's Guide

My husband's mother had a reputation of NOT taking her boys to the doctor for broken bones exactly 100% of the times they broke bones.  At least not at first.  Eventually yes, but she required convincing.  Inevitably they were given a hot bath and put to bed and told they'd be fine.

I've tried very hard not to follow in those particular footsteps.

There have been doctors who have doubted my mother's intuition, over the years.  For instance, Mr Busy's chest infections.  As a small babe his cold would turn from snotty to infection in mere hours, and I could tell the difference.  It happens with loads of experience, and he spent his first five winters going from one chest infection to the next.  I remember taking him to the doctor one day, the conversation going something like this:
Dr:  Why didn't you bring him in before now.  He's very sick.
Me:  Because yesterday it was just a cold, it changed overnight.  And now here I am.  Yesterday you would have sent me away and said he'll be fine.

Eventually this Dr trusted my instincts so well she was happy to give me prescriptions for antibiotics before we needed them.  If we were going away and he was on the cusp of another infection she would hand over the script and say "I know you'll know when to use it".

On the flip side I have taken Miss Mischief to the doctor because she stopped eating.  Actually I've done that with all of our kids, because these kids are Eaters.  It's genetic.  The whole of Dh's family are Eaters.  I know they're sick when they stop Eating.  And on this day Miss Mischief had no other symptoms except that she'd stopped eating.  The doctor (different to the one above) looked at me like I was neurotic.  I know he wanted to say "Lady, babies stop eating all the time for unexplained reasons".  But he checked her out and lo and behold she had an ear infection.
Dr:  Are you sure she has no other symptoms?  Pain?  Fever?
Me:  Nope.  She just stopped eating.  That's it.  My kids are very sick when they don't eat.

He was dumbfounded, because she should have had pain AND fever, and been very miserable.  And who ever heard of taking their kids to a doctor "because they stopped eating"?

Unlike my MIL I did manage to take Miss Sunshine to the doctor when she broke a toe.  I knew buddy-strapping was the only treatment, but I wasn't going to be reputed with the family "our mother's don't take us to the doctor for broken bones" line.  Yessireee, I put a stop to that one!

Which brings me to our most recent medical event.  This past week Miss Mischief (actually, last Monday) got herself into a spot of bother, due to walking on our gravel driveway, barefooted.  We won't go into the gravel driveway issues and the rubble that spreads everywhere....  She got a stone in her foot and had to dig a little to get it out.  Somehow she was adamant, after a great deal of digging about, that there was still something in there and I was less convinced.  She'd dug pretty deep and nothing could be felt.  I told her our bodies are designed to push foreign objects to the surface and we'd just see what happened.  On Wednesday, after having my mother (who is far more persistent with these things, and who has a magnifying glass lamp thing) dig about they got a bit more out.  While Mum and Miss Mischief were digging about I told her I would take her to a doctor when we got home, if it wasn't out by Sunday.  You know, give the thing a good week to come out on its own, and all that crunchy-mum kinda stuff.  And then on Saturday morning I got a text with the image above.  "In case you're wondering what it is..that's what came out of my foot..." she said.

Maybe I should have taken her before?

But at least it wasn't a broken bone.  And I was right...our bodies push foreign objects out.

Saturday, 4 July 2015


Image Credit
I asked Siri what the temperature in Our Town is.  She tells me it's 6C (42F).  No wonder I've been cold every time I've stepped out of the house.  I feel validated for shivering!

This afternoon?  More crocheting.  Perhaps some planning for school.  Both while sitting under my fleecy blanket.

An afternoon tea cheese platter.

All after a lunch of my very most favourite Greenwell Salad (today's version: cashews instead of walnuts and apple instead of pear).  Cold salads might be counterintuitive on a cold day, but it feels alive and perhaps it has some illness-fighting qualities.  It feels like that.

Off to the couch with the blanket.  I'm sorry Step Counter App.  It's too cold and wet to walk outside today.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Oh A-Crocheting I Go.

We have just returned from a few days with my parents, who live a couple of hours' drive away.  It was the loveliest couple of days.  Lots of yummy food, because despite popular opinion my mother can cook.  She just doesn't enjoy it as much as others seem to.  Feeding my family is entirely satisfying though - they eat everything and tell her how wonderful it was.  You wouldn't think iced chocolate cake was that amazing.  Maybe they're just deprived?

In any case, Mr Busy got apple and rhubarb pie, and lots of boys-only trips of secret-men's-businness with his Dad and Grandpa.  I think they included coffee and cake.  Us girls went Geo Cache-ing.  My aunty got Mum into it, and then Miss Sunshine downloaded an app and we got into it.  And then Miss Sunshine told a couple of friends and now they're into it.  So much fun at no cost.  Glorified orienteering with a GPS that tells you exactly where you should find the cache.

I got back into crocheting.  My mother is the kind of crafter who has all of the paraphernalia required for every craft under the sun.  She was the perfect person to ask about crocheting patterns.  "What do you want to make?" she asked me.  I didn't know, just something.  So she dragged out her pile of pattern magazines and such and I looked through every single one.  The pile was nearly a foot high, but that's half the fun - choosing something.  I found something I loved, went to Spotlight and got my wool and in less than 24 hours I have something significant to show for my time.  I love crocheting - so satisfying!  In between choosing the pattern and getting started, my precious mother figured out the pattern so I could just get on with it.  Because reading the pattern is often the biggest obstacle to crocheting (and knitting).  She had to write DC = TR for me at the top of it so my British-oriented brain could cope with a US pattern.  I guess I just don't speak US when it comes to crochet patterns.  I haven't crocheted for a very long time, but my brain is firmly imprinted with the way I was taught!

At the end of it I will have this vest:
Image Credit

And because crocheting grows so quickly I am already well on my way.  All this since 5pm yesterday - a mere 4 hours of work.