Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Hit it with a Hammer

Otherwise titled: Lessons with Dad.

I run a playgroup in our community on a Tuesday morning which includes a music session. Bear with me, I know it sounds totally unrelated to the title, but we will get there, I promise. We had been lugging out a big old school sound system thing every week, when I started to bring along our Bose speaker box instead. This was much easier, but I had to remember to take it home again.

Then we were luckily gifted a very similar speaker box, which worked great for about a month before it decided it wouldn't always work. I took it home wondering if we could fix it, but nothing could be done.

So Steve decided to hit it with a hammer. It was his way of showing the girls what was inside, and since it had no outside screws (the casing clipped on), there was no other way of getting inside.

I wish I had taken a before photo.

But the girls did have a great time smashing at it on the front steps. Again, we talked about correct tool use and safety. And found all sorts of interesting things on the inside.

Here they are pulling it apart with screw drivers now that the outer casing was destroyed. 

And here are all the interesting things that were on the inside! The most exciting bit was the magnets around the speakers themselves, but closely followed by the switch Rachel found on that electronic/computer card-y thing there.

Are you wondering what you could learn if you hit something with a hammer right now? So much fun learning in destroying something. Very cool.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Happy Birthday Sophie

We opted not to have a big party again this year, mostly because of the renovations, but also because they are exhausting. Instead, the girls and I hopped on the train on a Friday afternoon.

And went to visit Dad's work.

Honestly, that would have been the party there, the girls were so excited to be at Dad's work. They almost didn't want to leave. But we did, had some take away dinner and caught a City Cat back across the river to South Bank. 

We stopped in the rain forest for a quick bit of birthday cake.

And then went on to the big wheel.

This was also Sophie's birthday present from us. Every time we go to South Bank she asks about going on, and since she has everything a little girl could need and many of the things a little girl could want, it seemed much more sensible to have this be her present, than more stuff to clutter up the house.

She loved it.

We all did. 

We had a stop to play in the playground on the way back to the train station and the girls had a go with their first sparklers.

Still a little young maybe, but they did think it was pretty cool.

It was really nice to just have the time as a family celebrating our girl. The next day we took a batch of cupcakes (decorated by the girls) to Rocks Riverside Park and had a play with some friends. 

Again, nice and low key. The long summer days and the cool water were perfect for loads of playing and tired children at the end of it all.

Happy Birthday big girl. I look at you and know you are ready for the next adventure.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Steve's Turn

You might remember that because this wall in the dining room is about to be removed as part of our renovations, I took the opportunity with the girls to add some creative art work on it. Yesterday was Steve's turn. Oh, so much delight! 

I had been to a professional development seminar back in October that talked about how kids need danger and risks, all of which, I'm totally on board with. One of the things that the speaker said though, was that kids need access to tools, and not just play tools, but real tools. Real, sharp, dangerous cutting tools. Power tools. This is a little trickier when you have the age range that I have, so while I'm on board, I struggle a bit about how to implement it in a safe way.

Enter Steve, a wall that won't be there much longer and a few hours spare on the last day of holidays.

They got the tools out, talked about what to do and how to do it. There was knocking on the wall and listening for the studs (something I find so hard!) and deciding where to put what. 

Steve had them each drill (with assistance) a practice hole first. They screwed into them and then unscrewed as well, for practice with the screw drivers. 

They used the spirit level too, and then screwed a bit of wood to the wall. The girls thing it's a balancing beam from the ladybug to the butterfly in the sky. Here they are checking to see if it can be pulled off, or if it's on tight. 

After that, Steve got them to use the staple gun (again assisted) to staple on some streamers (ripped strips of paper). He talked to them about how it's similar to the nail gun that the builders have been using for the renovation. So perfect. 

The girls were super proud of their work. 

Thanks Steve for having the patience to go through each step with the girls and giving them this opportunity. Love it. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Owie Dolls: Christmas Presents 2018

The girls did get handmade presents this year! I can't remember when, but at least two years ago now, I made an expensive spur of the moment purchase of an Owie Doll Kit from Take and Make. You can't get the kits any more, but Owie Dolls are designed by my fav blogger Leir from Ikat Bag, and you can still get the pattern for the dolls from her website.

Anyway, it was so expensive (shipping to Australia makes me cry every time), that I almost couldn't bring myself to actually make it when it came. It was probably some form of denial that I had actually purchased something so expensive, and then paid even more expensive shipping costs. Sigh. So I put it in the cupboard telling myself I'd wait until the girls were older and make them for Christmas then.

Hello 2018. Busiest year we've had yet, just when I thought nothing could top 2017 and the Big Travels we had then. This year, we've been to Bundaberg seven times total, talked to builders, planners and who knows who else to start a renovation on our house, went camping for a long weekend with friends, celebrated 10 years of marriage (with a trip to Cairns!), Steve went to San Francisco for work, Sophie lost five teeth, Rachel got our first pets and I started looking after even more children. I feel a little bit like this doll after all of that.

Christmas rolls around and we are ready for a break. And of course, three weeks before Christmas I decide that this is the year to make the girls their Owie Dolls. Never before have I felt the time pressure of a deadline, even when I made these Bags from Santa two days before Christmas in 2014. Obviously they were much less involved. Owie Dolls were an entirely new level of sewing, even if I did have some soft toy sewing experience up my sleeve.

Finish them I did though, thanks in part to my parents who took the girls for half a day so I could finish all of the extra bits. Whew.

These dolls have short hair, because I couldn't be bothered making long hair, and I also wanted some gender diversity in the dolls we have. Their heads/faces seem a little wonky to me, probably because I can't sew straight even after all these years, but the girls don't mind a bit. They love them. Especially the bandaids, that they can Velcro on and off to their hearts content.

They have leg and arm bandages, an arm sling, head bandage, eye patch, reversible hospital outfits (including modesty pants), and slippers. So far they have been in numerous accidents and needed lots of care and attention and it looks like they will be getting loads more. I'm glad the expensive purchase was worth it in the end.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


After we moved the garden bed in August, I planted a heap of seeds, most of which, didn't bother growing at all. But, luckily, a whole heap of unintentionally planted seeds did. Mostly tomatoes. There were some late season snow peas that decided to make an appearance too, but given the heat, they died off a lot sooner. 

The tomatoes however, have been going strong, despite my neglect of them; I didn't bother to try to stake any of them up at all really. The lucky plants at the back used the fence for support, but everything else just grew on top of whatever was next to it.

Rachel is ever helpful in the garden, always the first to suggest she jump into the actual garden bed to reach the ones at the back.

So many delicious red tomatoes. We lost maybe a quarter to bugs, but the rest have been so fantastic. Rachel took a box to kindy for show and share, and it came back empty. Satisfaction right there.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Belated Christmas

Merry Christmas from us to you!

It was a lot warmer this year, compared to last, but it is the same Jesus we celebrate, no matter where we are.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Reading 2018

With our increased library visits this year, I've been lucky enough to pick up some books for my self. Oh the joys of reading! I always miss it when it's been a while.

After forgetting the names of a few that I had read, I went back to the library website to see if my "borrowed history" existed somewhere, but alas, it does not. So I made sure that I wrote down the rest of them, so I wouldn't have to rely on my somewhat faulty memory if I needed to.

Here's what I've read:

Wonder at the Edge of the World by Nicole Helget
Crown of Three by J. D. Rinehart
Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore
The Lost Property Office by James R Hannibal
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Tales from a Tall Forest by Shaun Micallef
Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief by Catherine Jinks
Theophilus Grey and the Traitor's Mask by Catherine Jinks
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
Crow's Revenge by Marcus Alexander
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The House of Months and Years by Emma Trevayne
I Was a Rat or The Scarlet Slippers by Philip Pullman
The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

I did read one other with the word star in the title as well, about I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. It was about the constellations and was very cool, but no idea what it was called. Oh, and one more, right back at the start, but I can't even remember what it was about because I went from that (which I'm sure was set in a Steam Punk Elizabethan England era) straight to Wonder at the Edge of the World, which was set in a farm in Mississippi or Alabama or somewhere, and was just worlds apart.

I have to say that reading books by authors that I read as a teenager myself makes me super happy, because these authors are still doing what they love and doing it really well. The Philip Pullman, Cynthia Voigt and Catherine Jinks books are all fantastic. Read them!

What not to read on this list is absolutely without a doubt Crow's Revenge by Marcus Alexander. I do not know how this book could have possibly ever been published because it was terrible from start to finish. And yes, despite hating it from chapter one, I did finish it. Steve kept telling me that I didn't need to, and at first I told him I was sure it could get better, but when I was a third of the way in, I had well and truly realized that it was, in fact, not going to get better. Then I just kept reading it because I'm too task oriented for my own good and I couldn't not finish it. It was awful. Completely. Never read this book, ever.

A couple of these books were the first in a duo, trio or series, which I wouldn't mind finishing but so far have had no luck picking up the next books. Steve has encouraged me to use the order system on the library website to get them on hold, but I'm not sure I want to commit just yet. Picking up a book or two each time we happen to be in the library feels a lot more manageable than actually asking for a book. That feels like I'm going to need to read it, no matter how busy I am.