Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympics 2012

Little B is fascinated by the Olympics at the moment. Since hearing about them at swimming, he has been innately curious as to what it’s all about. And since he has DCD, we are also keen for him to see male role models doing a variety of different sports (especially swimming) that aren’t solely based on football, basketball or cricket (which whilst dominant in Australian culture, are things that are not so feasible for Little B sport-wise).

So yesterday, we set about doing a little Olympics crafting before we sat down as a family to watch the opening ceremony.

We made Olympic rings with

Toilet rolls (found here)

And a little hand painting never goes astray (found here)

 Then we made our own Olympic torch (found here)

Using a cheese grater for the pattern in the foil was great. We also watched some footage on youtube so Little B could get the concept of the torch relay. Of course our own relay in the house was then obligatory :-)

Then we sat down to watch the Olympic opening ceremony which we taped. And??? Little B loved it – though it did take a lot of explaining (who Daniel Craig & Mr Bean were, industrialism, the history of music in the UK - you know light topics for a Sunday afternoon LOL).

Now if Little B was a little older (say by the next Olympics), I would also get him to watch Gruen Sweat so he can understand the commerciality of the games as well as the athletics side. I loved the first episode last week and look forward to what else they have to say this week.

We also intend to show him the London 2012 Paralympics at the end of the mainstream games, as I think it’s important for him to understand all facets of sports. There tagline this year is "Inspire a Generation" and I want him to see the amazingness of all abilities and the things that all people can achieve.

In the meantime, we are randomly taping different sports for Little B to watch snippets of – so far it’s been some swimming archery, cycling and rowing. And I cant wait to see what he thinks!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Home Again

Well we are home again. Little B has spent the last few days in hospital having surgery on his mouth. Last year, he cracked a tooth on a Saturday night, so we saw an emergency dentist. Unbeknownst to us said dentist had very little experience in paediatrics and rather than fixing the tooth, end up damaging the tooth and all its nerves. Recently we discovered his tooth was dead as a result when he started suffering tooth abscesses and massive infections in his mouth (it's been a roundabout 3 weeks in and out of hospitals and on subsequent rounds of antibiotics).

The great news is that it’s all fixed now and oh so lovely to be home.

We are spending our days listening to The Water Horse and Paddington: Here & Now on audiobook, eating lovely fruit jellies, fruit smoothies and heavenly mashed potatoes (with lots of butter, milk and in Little B’s case cheese).

Our experience was a good one, the hospital staff were great and Little B came home with a bravery “award” for just hopping up onto the bed, lying down and breathing in the anaesthetic without any fuss. Helped that it was chocolate “flavour” :-)

But I also want to say a big thank you to friends and family who gave us some wonderful support – we had offers of ipads to watch movies in hospital (Mary Poppins was a great distraction), people come and make up beds so I could sleep with Little B now we are home till he is 100% recovered, offers to do our food shopping, our librarian got us the above said audiobooks at really short notice and kinder has even held off the yearly photos so he can be in the group shot. You are all great and we love you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rethinking Education

This is the most amazing TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson about schools killing creativity.

Little B wants to be an inventor and absolutely loves to craft. He fundamentally believes that he can and will build robots and "do science".

And what I draw from this talk is that we are right when we have embraced and supported his "gift of the human imagination". I've been holding off on putting Little B in a theatre class (which he also really wants) but can now see that it is just one step in the education of his whole being...

I also truly believe as Ken Robinson says that how can schools possibly educate children when we dont know what the world will look like in 5 years time, let alone 50.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bill Shock

Picture courtesy of here

Our gas meter was changed over recently and because of this we received an interim bill….and to be honest we were completely blown away by the cost of heating this house.

As you can see here, we have made a concerted effort not to use our ducted heating that much – ensuring that we either keep the temperature quite low or off during the day. Mainly because we have been burnt before when moving into a new house.

Well our interim bill showed that it is costing $8 per day to heat the house (or 545 MJ). This is more than some buildings use at one of the hospitals Mr B works at. Now this would be ok (not really) if our house is warm but its not!!

The first thing we did was get a gas plumber out to check all our gas appliances. We were pretty sure it was the heater. Turns out all our appliances are fine and yes, it is the gas heater BUT there’s nothing apparently wrong with said heater other than being inefficient obviously. Though there could be heat loss from our actual ducting.

By my calculations, if we had kept going as we were we would have been looking at a $600 gas bill (which to me has felt a bit like paying for the privilege to freeze my butt off LOL).

We are waiting on tenterhooks for our next gas bill (the following 40 days of our bill cycle) as we have turned down the heat even more. In the evenings we have continued to use our rugs and blankies if we are sitting in the lounge and as a super cold kinda gal, I now sit in a sleeping bag and am toasty warm as I crochet or read.

Now in this instance, we are lucky as we can pay said bill when it arrives. But I read in the paper today that not everyone is so lucky. And with our provider increasing the price of gas as of 1 July, I’m sure it’s going to become a more regular occurrence for some.

In the meantime, Mr B and I have spent many weekends doing yet more gap proofing (I so thought I’d never have to see another tube of no more gaps after our efforts when renovating) and are intending to put in underfloor insulation which we have used with great success at previous houses. Finally on my agenda this week is to investigate blow in insulation for our walls!!

On his work trip to Adelaide last week, Mr B also managed to pick up the rest of our solar panels, so our solar tracker should be in action soon enough in all it’s glory. This will mean we will move to electric heating as we can obviously generate power and offset the cost until we are able to put in a wood heater (but that wont be till next year).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

School Holidays Part Deux

We’ve had a much more mellow second week of the school hols.

:: After seeing a Magic Punch & Judy show at the library, Little B has been putting on Alien & Robot puppet shows galore.

:: We’ve discovered buttermilk scones make a great breakfast, especially when you add in a banana smoothie

:: I made Spaghettini with baby spinach, garlic, potato & olives (from Annie Smithers – Annie’s Garden to Table). It tastes as great as it looks!! Mr B went back for 2nds and 3rds...Yum!!

:: Lots of painting – gardens, flowers, bees…you name it….I think Little B is looking forward to spring :-)

:: Playdates with my bestie and her kiddies (our boys birthdays are 3 days apart and this week they decided they should be triplets – strangely enough neither mummy was keen on having the trio *giggle*)

:: I’ve been immersing myself in the 1960’s – Mr B is away for work in Adelaide, so I’ve been reading The Help and watching back to back episodes of Mad Men (Season 3) – yay for the library.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Six Degrees of Separation

We’re having a lovely time this school holidays. After a rather hectic term of preschool and with transition for primary school beginning in the 2nd week of next term, it’s been nice to relax and hang out together without time frames.

Our local library is always a high point of our school holidays. The librarian there, Sue, runs two sessions each week that are based on stories, craft or just really interesting things to do. She first came and spoke at my mothers group when our little ones were 5 months old. We continued our mothers groups there in a cosy corner until our bubbas could walk.

I’ve discovered as Little B grows up that Sue has had a profound connection and experience with so many mums and bubs in the community. We call it the six degrees of separation of Sue. I’ve made new friends at swimming which is not that close to home (who have been to Sue’s storytime); I’ve met people at doctors surgeries (who have been to school holiday sessions with Sue); and I’ve met adults in strange and various places (who borrow books from Sue).

She is the most gorgeous lovely lady who has helped us nourish Little B’s insatiable curiosity and love of books.

So our out days this week have been to see Sue. Earlier this week we got to see an intuitive storyteller from Curious Legends, who kept the kids enthralled with old Japanese folk tales, poetry, rhymes and a game when the “sparkles in their hands and feets” meant they were all getting a bit bottom wiggly.

Today, she had a lovely session based on the concept of Community and the people who help within. The children got to play “community” heads, hear stories about what these people do and then make their own garbage trucks, trains and SES trucks. Needless to say we have set up towns this afternoon for the trains and garbage men to go through.

Our days so far have been a mish mash of slow starts, crafting & building robots, space hopping, playing coits and blowing bubbles when the rain has chased us inside.  Little B has also been keen on making mud pies, “hiding” in the fog (even though it was 5 degrees out there…brrr!!), and swimming of all things.

I hope you’re enjoying this holiday break just as much as we are xx

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Slow Living Diary June 2012

Once again, I am joining in with Christine from Slow Living Essentials for a monthly reflection of slow living…

NOURISH: I’ve been experimenting a lot with vegetarian meals from cookbooks. We’ve tried Cauliflower Soup, Chickpea & Cauliflower curry and a Ketchup Chilli. My favourite has been experimenting with quick and easy veggie burgers – Little B’s favourite is kidney bean and sweet potato. I’ve also been making a Caramel flavour icecream – Little B is on soft foods due to a tooth problem so this bulked up some smoothies to fill his tummy. It’s at times like these I wish he could eat yoghurt.

PREPARE: I’ve been preparing and freezing things we use a lot for Little B – freezing chicken lentil pasta sauce in ice cube trays, making up batches of fruit bread for breakfast, so I just need to pop it into the toaster during the week.

After quite a few blackouts in the bad weather, we’ve been rethinking our emergency preps as well. We’ve borrowed (for now) some great lanterns and sleeping bags (gets mighty cold with no heating at night) – and we will update with our own as finances permit.

REDUCE: This is a photo of our weekly garbage bin. I’m so proud that we have reduced our rubbish to about 1/3rd of the bin. Our main thing in there is actually cat litter. I’ve tried a worm farm and a compost bin for it before but it never seems to work. I’ve wondered about those in the ground dog loos and whether we could scoop out the poo into there and compost the cat litter (which is shredded pelleted old phone books)??

GREEN: This month I’ve focused mainly on our cleaning. I’m trying out a new routine I found online to keep on top of the cleaning & clutter and it’s working well so far. I’ve knitted a few more cleaning cloths, and am keeping the shower pristine by keeping a container of castile soap, a cloth and a squedgee in the bottom of the shower. This way I can give it a quick once over when I’m in there :-)

GROW: Our bare rooted plants arrived on Friday from Yalca Fruit Trees, so I planted out our Bon Chretien pear tree and our Williamette & Chilliwack raspberries. The raspberries are in a temporary home in a vegie bed until we get our half wine barrels for them (they came a bit earlier than I expected).

CREATE: I’ve started crocheting some hot water bottle covers. I’m having second thoughts about the black though as its really hard to see the stitches sometimes.

I also made a bunch of flannel handkerchiefs for me. I kept stealing Little B’s then thought I should make some for me…how cute are the little bicycles?? $4.50 worth of material made me 20 hankies...frugal as well as useful!!

DISCOVER:  I’ve been reading a few vegetarian cookbooks and experimenting with their recipes. I’m a bit naughty in that I don’t like to follow recipes to the letter. Instead I like to read a recipe, re-interpret it and then cook.

Little B and I have also been reading Mr Popper’s Penguins. For fun I’ve read Ape House by Sara Gruen (absolutely great read!!) and The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen.

I’m also really gotten into watching different documentaries (helped by ABC2 screening lots of different things every Sunday). Last week was about eco-terrorism….you know I never understood the violence in the protests at G20 summits but after watching this, now I do.

ENHANCE: This month we joined in the lantern parade our community has for Winter Solstice.

ENJOY: Grandparents Day at kindy was pretty fun but so was the lantern parade. I love meeting up with likeminded people and watching Little B’s excitement at the fire twirlers. Plus I get my jollies watching my old bellydance troupe perform.