Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Imitating Christ's Humility

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain concet.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
not looking to your own interests but each of you to
the interests of others.  In your relationships with one
another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus..."
~  Philippians 2:3-5 ~

Challenging words.  Words that beg the question:  where is the line between justice, mercy and the mindset of Christ?


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Where Have all the Books Gone?

My nephew has just celebrated his first birthday and christening.  Being a lover of children's picture books, I decided I wanted to get him a really nice picture book.  You know, something from the CBCA winners list from the last year or two.  There have, after all been some great books.  The Terrible Plop, Isabella's Garden, Can I Cuddle the Moon and The Flying Orchestra are the ones that come to mind immediately.  I love the stories.  I love the pictures.  I especially love the ones written in rhyme, because that is my weakness in children's fiction.  Dr Seuss, Lynley Dodd and Mem Fox are always going to give you some good rhyming reading as well as great pictures.

Miss Mischief and I headed off to see what we could find.  What we discovered is that there are no bookshops at all now, at Fountain Gate.  Only Kmart, Target and Big W sell books in any quantity, but children's literature is not high on their list of titles to be up-to-date with.  I was devastated at this discovery.  I ended up buying Baby Wombat's Week ~ the updated version of Diary of a Baby Wombat, which I have on my shelf and adore.  A quirky story about a baby Aussie wombat and infuses some basic literacy and maths concepts in a tangible way for little people to understand.

I wonder though, where does one go to actually look at and feel and buy books like the ones I was after?  If we can't go to a shop anymore, how to you run out the day before a birthday event to pick up the story you had in mind for the special little person in your life?  Do good bookshops exist anymore.

All these questions reminded me of the Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks movie You've Got Mail, where Meg's character owns a children's bookshop.  I want one of those 'just around the corner' from me!  A quirky little shop brimming with beautiful children's books.  Surely that's a peek into Heaven?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Monday menu Plan: Week Beginning 29 August

Look at that ~ a menu planning post on Monday.  It's amazing what a week off Uni can do for a busy girl!  I'm so excited I almost don't know what to do with myself.  I finished a book yesterday.  I even had a delicious thought about getting some stitching time in.  Can you imagine?  I haven't stitched for months!  Inclination seems to escape me whenever I have the time.  You really need both at the same time.  Perhaps this week?!  And maybe some baking?  Well...let's not get our hopes up too far.  It's only a week!

We are eating meals though.  There will be no doubt about that in a family of children who constantly remind me that "it's illegal not to feed your children".  I don't know why they remind me.  I never leave them unfed.  I threaten on days when I feel floppy and unmotivated and tired.  But I always overcome that for the sake of a happy family.  I'm not happy that they've gone from newborns who fed every 4 hours to teens and tweens who eat every two hours.  What happened there?

So...this week it'll be:
Monday:  chicken curry, rice
Tuesday: a stop at Safeway's freezer, m/wave jacket potatoes, frozen vegies
Wednesday:  chicken casserole, potato dauphenoise
Thursday: pasta bolognaise
Friday: Joolz Pasta (Jamie's 30 minute meals p. 30)
Weekend....whatever takes our fancy.

Dh requested meals that yield leftovers for his lunch.  Perhaps we'll have to make sure there's enough for two lunches ;)  Or maybe I just need to get the Prep kids over here to make vegie soup.  We made that this afternoon after having harvested some potatoes last Friday.  They did a magnificent job making a tasty soup.  They all had a taste and most of them loved it.  Amazing!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Sunshine and Rain Clouds

As if to demonstrate Melbourne's reputation for changeable weather, today has turned from sunny with a hint of warmth to grey and rainy with a chill in the air.  Just like that.  I've been sitting at the meal table working away and the scene has change outside the window, unnoticed until my feet got too cold!

Miss Mischief is sharing the day with me today.  I tell the kids Thursday is the day to be sick so they can stay home.  This is the child who most resembles me.  She's quite and content to keep to herself with a good book.  I barely know she's home, really.  We were chatting in the car the other day when she tells me she enjoys spending time together.  I was a bit concerned because we don't actually talk a lot when it's just the two of us.  "That's OK Mum, I'm happy just to sit and be together without talking".  She doesn't find it strange or uncomfortable to be silent.  Ahhhh, child of my heart.

Today I've submitted an assignment that I'm glad to see the back of.  I've listened to a couple of lectures and caught up on some activities I'd  not gotten to yet.  Next week is mid-semester break so I'll spend a little bit of time looking at my next Arts assignment.  Otherwise, this time I'm taking the break.  Life has thrown a fair few stresses lately and I'm feeling a little weary.  After my exam tomorrow night I'm just going to chill out.  Read a book, spend time with extended family, sleep, watch TV without feeling like I should be doing something else.  You know....stop.  Kind of.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Bush, Creeks and Other Natural Things

Monbulk Creek (Dandenong Ranges).  Image credit:

This afternoon my son's class went on a bit of a wander down our school's nature trail.  It was a beautiful example of integrating the study of English, appreciating the environment and faith.  Something I think I'm going to use as an example for my current essay on influences of educational stakeholders and their influence on my personal beliefs about education!

The kids were asked to walk silently through the bush and use their senses to notice things like sounds, smells, how the sun felt, how they felt and how it made them feel about God.  They then went and sat down in a less damp area of the school grounds and wrote their own psalm.  They were beautiful, heartfelt expressions of young faith in response to God's creation.  They were so sacred I felt reluctant to correct spelling errors.

As I wandered along, last in the line, I was listening to the creek.  It was bubbling along and sounded like it had plenty of water in it.  It made me think of abundant blessings and the way God's love for us is pure, clean and fresh, just like that creek water.  God's love flows freely.  The only restriction to a normal, healthy creek are the things we build up and put in the way.  It is those things that stop the creek from flowing.  It's very much the same with us and God.  The thing that stops us from experiencing His abundant, freely flowing love for us  More specifically it's the things we put in the way.

Our staff are in for a very precious treat at devotions tomorrow morning and I'm feeling a little sad that I'll miss it.  Many of the children generously offered their psalms to the teacher for her to read to the rest of the teachers in the morning.  How blessed we are to work in a place where God is at the centre of all that is done.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The 'Jamie' Experiment


Miss Mischief and I shared our family's first 'Jamie' experience together.  Don't worry, I'll not be neglecting my love for all things Nigella, but as I said the other day Jamie's 30 Minute Meals is organised in a manner that supports some necessary kitchen management learning required by Miss Mischief.

In under 45 minutes we had gather items, cooked and finished eating.  Not bad, huh. We did it together, so a little of my speed and experience assisted with the timing.  But I wanted to walk her through how to follow this different method of following a handful of recipes at the same time.  I think when she comes to go solo with it she'll be just fine, although it will take her longer than 30 minutes.  Anything less than two hours will be an improvement!

Our meal of mustard chicken, potato dauphinoise and lemony greens was absolutely delicious and was topped off with an affogato (basically, cherries, coffee, chocolate & icecream over crumbled shortbread biscuits).  Everyone was more than happy to polish off their meals and go back for more potato.

A complete success I'd say.  Now to choose another meal for next week!

If you want to try this meal, click here for the recipes and instructions.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Good Day Looks Like:

    Image thanks to a google image search. 
  • Sharing Grandparents & Special Friends Day with my son and my Dad (before heading back to the class I was meant to be in).
  • Reading stories to teary little girls whose special visitors didn't arrive or came later than they were expecting.
  • Teaching my son's class for an afternoon of 'rap' poetry.
  • An assignment and a test completed with a reasonable amount of confidence...kind of.
  • Steak with creamy mushroom & white wine sauce for dinner.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Monday, Menus and Mayhem

The week ahead is one I'm almost inclined to just set aside as too much and too busy.  Mr Busy has two excursions.  Miss Mischief was on one today.  We've Grandparents Day and the annual book fair, where Mr Busy begs me to buy books and I try not to acquiesce!  

On top of all that Mr Busy's teacher told me a woeful story of my poor son accidentally spilling blue paint all over the carpeted floor in his classroom.  And of the pitiful lack of energy the poor boy exhibited in helping to clean it up.  Apparently it took a good hour and they worked well into lunch.  That poor man....and my poor boy.  It was no fault of either one.  Just one of those things.

And we eat.  Miss Sunshine got the ball rolling with honey soy chicken & vegies, tonight.  Then we've all manner of things, like an out-of-the-freezer meal, the steak we didn't get to last week (it's still in the freezer), pasta....and something new and exciting.  I bought "Jamie's 30 Minute Meals", hoping to teach Miss Mischief some cooking and kitchen management skills.  I figure if she takes double the time that it takes me to cook, than an hour in the kitchen is an improvement on her current two-hour dinner sessions.  She's picked her menu and we'll be experimenting on Friday, when I have time to work through it with her.

What I like about this particular book is that it is organised so that you cook an entire meal.  Rather than each recipe and its method being set out individually, the instructions are for what needs to be done next of the three or so recipes so that everything ends up on the table within half an hour.  Ingenious.  And hopefully very helpful for Miss Mischief.

In the meantime, I've submitted an assignment and have an online quiz to do tomorrow night.  And then it will be full steam ahead with another assignment and study for a second online quiz.  I think I prefer writing assignments.  This studying for a quiz thing is not my prefered method of assessment.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A Trip to Ikea

It's been a long time since we have found ourselves in Ikea.  But storage needs got the better of us and so off we went.  Along the way we stopped at a few bathroom showrooms, since our ensuite is scheduled for repair and refurbishment, due to water damage, in the next month.

Mr Busy needed storage for 'stuff' know what boys consider, lego, screws, bits of paper.  I don't know, his room is just full of 'stuff'.  We realised the thing we wanted was too long for the car with us inside it as well, so Dh will have to take his work van in one day to pick it up. 

I also needed more bookshelf space.  Not for my beloved fiction this time, but for my Uni books.  After only purchasing two semester's worth of books we can see how much space I am going to need by the end of six more semesters!  The unit we chose will fit cosily in the space, and I have some cute round, white baskets for containing my 'stuff'.  I can't wait to get it put together and into use.

Despite all that fun, I must say I found shopping with three adult-sized children quite a challenge to my need for a large personal space.  Especially with all the other people milling about!  In any case we are now a part of the Ikea family.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Of Grand Things

Our upper primary classes adventured off yesterday morning for a trip to the city.  It was a culmination of an education program we'd participated in with the Victorian Opera.   But really, it was so much more.  Every time I head into the city I feel like I walk around with my awed jaw on the ground ~ Melbourne is such a beautiful, amazing place (though I'm always glad to head home to the bush at the end of the trip!).  Before making our way to visit the Opera we stopped and had morning tea outside the museum, which incidentally is behind the Melbourne Exhibition Building (as oppossed to the Exhibition Centre, otherwise known as Jeff's Shed).  This building and surrounding garden epitomises Melbourne ~ stunning, beautiful archetiture and beautiful, lush gardens....even in winter when the trees are all bare.  So above (thanks to Google Images) is the view I took in as we ate ~ all 59 of us.

And then we went to see the strings, woodwind and operatic voices put all the work together in a short taste of Hansel & Gretel.  It was beautiful, amazing.  It made me wonder what programs the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has.  Once upon a long time ago I believe they used to do performances for free here and there throughout summer.

I came home tired....all that bus noise with 51 exuberant children will do that.  But it was a magnificent day.  And best of all, I shared it with Mr Busy.  Not that he was always close by, but it was still rather special.  As was seeing the school I did placement at, during our morning tea stop!

My final 'grand thing' ~ I think I've finished my society & environment assignment, with just a little polishing remaining.  YAY!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Messed Up Menu Plans

I intended to post yesterday, really I did.  It seems like quite some time since I've posted a proper menu plan and on a Monday.  We're eating, I promise you.  I have the kind of children who just don't let you get away without feeding them because in their words "it's illegal not to feed your kids, Mum".  No one ever said how often you had to feed them!!

Tonight I have an online short-answer test worth 30% of my semester's mark for my Arts subject.  I'm quietly panicking.  I'm as prepared as I can be, but this test seems to be not so much about what I know, but about what reference I can use to support it.  And that makes me cross.  I'm not at Uni to learn how to reference, I'm there to learn the stuff.  So I've spent days, it seems, writing down references for all manner of things in relation to the assessment criteria.  That's a bit of a 'moment' for this pre-service teacher ~ the assessment needs to make sense to me and the student!

Thankfully in the flurry of books, lecture notes and readings saved onto my computer, I've had wonderful children who have pretty much left me to my insanity and cooked for me.  I did warn them yesterday  that "today and tomorrow I'm off-limits".  I am so blessed to have such amazing kids. 

Throughout this week we'll be eating things like baked chicken pieces, chicken stir fry, steak/sausages, the mandatory Thursday night pasta, Nigella's quick chilli with corn chip/cheese stacks....see, we're eating well.  I've just not been posting about it.  And don't get excited about us having steak....we have a freezer full of beef we got at under $10/kg, otherwise we'd not be eating it!

I can't wait until this test is over.  In the midst of it though, I've managed to get my head around 'analysing' a history-based excursion.  Something good has come out of it all.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Being a Real Student

I do all my studying in a comfy lounge chair with my feet up on the coffee table, a cuppa on another table at my elbow and my computer on my lap.  None of that dashing about some enormously overwhelming campus from lectures to tutes, nor fitting in to timetables set by those who must juggle and balance the needs of all those requiring spaces.  And generally I like my version of University.  There is the rare moment when I ponder how much easier some things would be if I were able to engage in a real-time, live discussion in a regular tute group.  But this works better for me, much of the time, though I often don't feel like a 'real' student.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the opportunity to meet with some lecturers and other Victorian based students in a real-time, live, face-to-face way.  These things don't happen often, so I take the opportunities when I can.  I am hoping that some of the students' names will be familiar to me now, in a way they weren't when we attended a Melbourne-based Orientation day at the beginning of the year.  And tomorrow we'll get to have some vital input into some assignment work.

And then I'm going straight to an evening at the movies with some other ladies from church.  Busy?  Yes.  Worthwhile?  Definitely!!

I'm looking forward to an afternoon nap on Sunday.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Seasonally Confused

Photo from Google Images

I have jonquils flowering in my front garden.  In winter.  In the part of winter that is usually the very coldest, we've had spring-like days this week, and today I finally noticed this splash of colour in the front corner of the yard.  

I need to remember all that sunshiny happiness happening in my front yard while I'm descending into my version of....well....unpleasantness.  Shopping.  I've spent much of today feeling quite tense and exhausted.  Not a good way to start the weekly shopping!