Teaching Practicum and lots of crafting

So far over the last three weeks I have come home covered in glitter, glue, fabric dye, food dye and flour. I have certainly had a blast at this kindergarten teaching practicum and I have been lucky enough to be working with an amazing mentor teacher and co-educators. Life has been full on this week with completing an essay for a fourth year uni subject and having to go to work plus keep up with my other two subjects – I have to say I am feeling pretty tired. But tomorrow night I get to go out and have a drink or two with my work mates – yay!!

Oh and the cute bear on the glitter chair is one of the completed bears from the Year 5/6 cohort at my daughters school that I volunteer for, it came out so well.

So the kids have been so busy crafting and the windows are covered in so many Chrissy themed items, I am a bit of a fan of these stained cellophane windows which I had to cut out the other day with a scalpel, one of the joys of teaching! There has been so much glitter everywhere I go that I have had to dust it up and recycle it for another project, the kids go crazy with it!

Also the time we have in the arvo together to reset the class has been fun too. Recently we have been putting on music and getting everything prepped for the next class! I cannot believe I have been on my prac for 3 weeks already and it is nearly over. We were very lucky to have a dragonfly visit our classroom the other day when we were prepping the class, there are so many critters that come be as the creek surrounds the kinder. Across the road from my work, at the lake, is this amazing tree in bloom. It is a Silky Oak and I just love the flowers it produces as the colour is incredible. I had to look it up as I had no idea what it was and the flower reminded me of a grevillea so I did a internet search and finally found its name. Going for lunch by the lake, it is full of life with so many water birds and a perfect place to recharge when I am at the kinder for a full day.

Last Friday I met my friend in the city for a couple of drinks at an old favourite water hole in the city – Hells Kitchen. We used to head over there every week, when we worked in publishing and hang out and drink the night away before heading on the train – feeling quite happy! After our drinks we went across the way to have some delicious dumplings before checking out Federation Square and the Xmas tree and all the cool decorations. Its so good to be back in Australia for a hot Chrissy, though it is not feeling like summer at all with 18 degree celsius days.

And an update on our house, the carpenters have been super busy and have framed most of the house and now the scaffolding is up for the roof. Also there are a couple of windows in place with the curved walls downstairs, it is so close yet so far!! We are so keen to move in πŸ˜€

Working mum/teacher life and cat rewards

Finally taking some time out to write what I have been up to for the last couple of weeks! This is the first time in ages that I have posted intermittently here but life is a little bit busy at the moment. I am nearly half way through my first teaching practicum in Australia and I am just loving it. It is exhausting but the kids are so engaged and enthusiastic about everything, whats not to love! For my lesson with the kids I created a table with books, insects and magnifying glasses for the 5 year old class I am working with. It is called Insect Detective and since introducing it to them on Monday they were engaged in finding insects in the yard. We watched a video (the technology requirement for the AITSL teaching standards) and we were off into the yard with our clipboard, identification sheet and pencil to go out and count the insects in the yard. I have to say it was an astounding success as all the kids participated one way or another and it will create a connection to the natural world that makes you appreciate it that little bit more.

The rest of the time in my prac I have been observing the children, recoding conversations and making christmas crafts. I especially like this craft my mento teacher found where the kids went outside to collect sticks from the playground and then had to sort them in order from smallest to biggest. I love how it has a maths element to it and the kids were really enjoying it too, especially the last part where they get to decorate the tree with sequins and glitter. I have been coming home covered in glue, glitter, paint and dye and I cannot believe that you can be paid to hang out with kids and create! The cool thing is that this experience in early childhood is showing me how important early childhood educators can be for a little human, they are little sponges and the good behaviour that you model as a good citizen these children can replicate and this is where the magic happens. Humanity needs more places that are welcoming and diverse like the kinder I am working at and I am realising the profound impact an educator can have on children in their early years.

I am supposed to be writing an essay at the moment but I wanted a break from the grind and the opportunity to look at my life. Sunday I went to the Cat Lovers Show with the family. I was so excited to see the cats from Catmantoo and there was so much stuff to buy for cats as well. We found a great cat cafe near us in Preston, where we will get out next fur baby. It was a super day out with lots of cats but no pats! Well we could go to the adoption centre and pat some cats but that was a bit dangerous as we would love to adopt more kitties!

Busy little bee

Checking out what has been happening in my life over the last couple of weeks and it has been full! It has been over a week since I posted what has been happening here and since I had an assignment due last week and then I had to start drafting an essay with my hubby out of town there was a lot going on!

I have been enjoying the volunteering at my daughters school and seeing the progress of the kids felt animals! They came out so well, with each animal having a personality of their own πŸ˜€

Our house has made some incredible progress with the carpenters adding on Level 2 which is the kids rooms. We are so happy to see that there is so much happening on the build and we can start to get a feel for the place now.

This artwork had the best pun by Tinky the artist:-
It was a filthy job, but the rubbish removalists thought it was their best work yet.
Barek artwork on found signage
Sea spirit

Today, which is Sunday Funday, we enjoyed some family time out, before it goes all crazy for the next 20 days when I start work full time on my prac. Today was a lovely 24 degree day and we went out into Collingwood to Off the Kerb gallery to see the Barek exhibition that is showing for a short time. We so wanted to buy another piece of his work but as we have not unpacked what we already have in our art boxes for the gallery space in our house we decided we will go visit him in the studio when we see what space we have to jazz up. We all love his work and especially the pieces on the found signage.

I reckon there will be sporadic times of posting over the next four weeks, as I start my teaching prac for Uni where I have be documenting my experience constantly plus I have an essay to write for another subject and I have this great media unit I am doing at the moment too. So up until Chrissy it will be full on. Gotta get to bed early for my big week this week!

November and all the new things!

I cannot believe it is November already and that Thanksgiving is just around the corner! We will be celebrating in our own way this year and really missing our Thanksgiving get together in Oakland with our good friends. We will have to Facetime with them and share some love.

There were lots of new things happening over the last couple of weeks as my daughter was invited to go ice skating with her class. So, a school friends Dad drove us all to Docklands O’Brien ice rink for the afternoon. It was such a great opportunity to go ice skating! I have roller skated and roller bladed but I have never ice skated. Even when we were in California, we did not get around to it, even though the ice rink was in the next suburb. So my daughter got on the skates and no problem – she was even helping her friends get around. I got on with a very slow start and eventually I felt my balance on the skates and it was so much fun!! We are so looking forward to going ice skating again but at $50 for the two of us, it will only be on special occasions.

I have been volunteering at my daughters primary school to teach sewing to the kids. The art teacher at her school is doing textiles for the last term of school and I am helping out with the kids felt animals. This is what I used to teach the kids when I was in Mountain View California in the parent volunteer led Arts Focus classes. For the kids in years 5/6 we are doing the whole project from scratch where the kids trace their animal onto felt, cut them out, embellish the animal and this week they will be stuffing the animal learning the blanket stitch and whip stitch. It is so good to see how enthusiastic the kids are about the felt animal project. They want to keep the animal for themselves as they did have the option to make them for their prep buddy, instead now that they have practiced their own felt animal they will be given the opportunity to design another smaller one for their buddy.

The other good thing I have been becoming aware of now is the amount of fish that I am not eating. After watching the film Artifishal it has really changed my mind about consuming fish. Not only are fish stocks depleted, the fish farms pollute water, also what I found out on this documentary is that fish hatcheries in America breed fish to be distributed into local rivers where these fish breed with the wild fish. What happens to wild fish is that they become less resilient and disease spreads. This is an interesting site to check out for aquaculture in Australia.

So I have been slowly adding more plant based foods to our meals every day – which means soaking the chick peas, beans and eating lentils – there are so many varieties. There is still goat cheese in my bowls and I am not fully vegan but it is mostly vegetarian we are consuming at the moment. On the left is a couscous BBQ rub baked chick pea bowl with roasted beets and goat cheese. On the right is a deconstructed Japanese hand roll with sushi rice, vegetables, kimchi, and baked Tamari and SMALT BBQ rub tofu topped with Nori and a miso mayo sauce – yummo! Cooking dinner does require a bit of imagination and planning but I am making it work.

The huge excitement for our house is that the carpenters have been real busy and getting the framing in place and the house is starting to take shape even putting the second floor floor joists in as well. When we walked down the alleyway to check out house from the back we saw there was even a wall in place where the laundry and pantry will be. To see all this progress is fantastic and we are surely counting down the days until we move in.

The weather has been crazy here we are out on a balmy 25 degree evening flying the drone at the local park, it was beautiful. But today we have a high of 15 degrees and it is super cold. So the winter coat is still hanging at the front door and the beanie is there too for those cold southerly winds. Have a look at that gorgeous sky, its stunning!

Happy halloween

Well the time has come to get back into the study zone after my month of catching up on stuff. While I was free to catch up on stuff, I was investigating vegan makeup options. I found this great brand with a perfect price point in Sydney called MOMMA. So I ordered their samples to check the colours for a BB cream which includes a sunscreen (you need it in Australia) and found the perfect colour. Their lipsticks are just divine, long lasting and super smooth with shea butter. They also have a mineral matt powder to dust all over the place, as you can see in the pic! Anyway it is good to know that I have found a local makeup company to gather my makeup supplies and know that no animals were harmed in the process. Thanks to PETA for the extensive list.

Last week was Halloween and it was hot as at 32 degrees celsius. For me it was very strange to experience a hot Halloween. For the last 12 years it has been autumn in the northern hemisphere. So I ditched my costume and just wore my sundress and became a tourist for the afternoon to take the girls from my daughters school down to the shops for a bit of trick or treat action. Next year when we move into our house, I reckon I will be more festive for Halloween, as all my costumes are boxed up in the garage it was a bit of a mission to dig through it all.

Speaking of the house build, here it is and I am standing on the back deck in the picture on the left looking over to the dining room and lounge. The other pic is I am in the laundry looking towards the hallway and stairs. It is so exciting to see the progress this week but this week it is raining and fingers crossed we can see some more action this week!

Life balance

Being on break I have taken the opportunity to finally go to the hairdresser and cut all my hair off and get a new hairdo! I found this fabulous stylist Chloe at Cherry Bomb hair in Collingwood. I said that I wanted to cut it all off as I have been eyeing off the lovely short styles on women around Melbourne. In my minds eye I saw a pixie cut but as I do have thick and curly hair, Chloe created this lovely hair style and incredible colour. I like to share the before and after pics as it was time for a change. I am loving it as it is so easy to style in the morning and on my travels to the gym and on my bike.

I have been studying for a maths test which is taking up most of my time and it is interesting the amount of stuff I do not use, that kids still learn in Year 9 maths! Lucky for me, the real world including financial maths and ratios is something I do not have to revise. My revision book is getting quite full with all my reminder notes of various formulas I have not used in forever but I will get there. When I am studying, I see how kids these days can call upon Google for all their knowledge and the greatest saviour for me with maths is Khan academy, as I love the videos and explanations to help me with my mathematical understanding.

Over the weekend I enjoyed this wonderful networking event at Swinburne University in Hawthorn which was an hour away by tram and train from home. It started at 10am so I was gone most of the day and the rest of the fam hung out at home and did errands. It was the first time the online contingent of my University got together and we got to meet fellow students and chat to industry professionals. The highlight was the inspiring keynote presentation by Emma Murray who made us all feel the energy to focus on what matters most in our lives and most of all, how to focus on our studies. I left the day with renewed optimism to study and get through my course and see the finish line!

On Sunday, we enjoyed an afternoon of family time and we went into the city to check out a Mexican festival at Flagstaff gardens. It turned out to be long lines for the food trucks and we were not drinking so we were not keen for the crazy margaritas. So we decided to check out the Queen Vic market and it was so good! We basically went there to scout out some food and I found this Sri Lankan street food vendor who made a Kotthu roti, right there in front of me with this incredible array of ingredients including curry leaves and egg, yummo. They added cheese on top which was probably a bit much for me but the yoghurt mint sauce was the absolute best. It was quite a feast, so I shared it with Ash and my hubby. Making the roti was very noisy indeed but well worth it for the food theatre. These guys are part of the restaurant Drums and are a franchise of 5 locations around Melbourne. They are also at the Preston market (just around the corner from our place by bus) where they are open on the weekend serving string hoppers and hoppers, so I have a date in the future to visit them there, yummo!

And the excitement in our house is that the steel has been fabricated and is getting in place. I visited over the weekend and found that a lot of action had happened including a brick wall. We are so happy it is moving along and today I chatted to a guy welding away and he told me there was some steel to be put in the front of the house as well. Its so good to see the structure taking shape as I have memorised the whole build πŸ˜€

A Birthday, some city disruption and creative vibes

Last week turned out to be quite a busy week with Ash turning 14 on Friday! We enjoyed “our own birthday” school strike for climate change in the Melbourne CBD with Extinction Rebellion with their Disco Disruption dancing and marching in the streets. It was the best climate action rally I have experienced, with dancing in the streets in the middle of an intersection and then a die in in the middle of Bourke Street mall. I do hope we managed to create an awareness for a lot of the people who were taking video and photos with their phones .

Creating civil disruption works up an appetite so Ash wanted to go to ramen for dinner and we took the tram down to Brunswick to Misoya Sake Bar. I had a vegan ramen which was delish and the rest of the fam had special ramen and chicken broth ramen which they loved!

While we were there we found this beautiful artwork which was drawn on the loo, I love Barek’s style and would love to have some of this art in our house in the future.

Saturday came around and I was volunteering at Peppertree community nursery working at the cafe making coffees and toasties for the locals in the morning. It was very exciting for me as this was the first time for me making coffee and working at a cafe rather than eating there! I really enjoyed hanging out with the community and chatting to the local peeps. Afterwards it was a stunning day, I went for a bike ride – only to be swooped by a magpie at the back of my head and on my back. Luckily there was no blood but I did not want to take any chances as maggies remember the people they have attacked so I took an alternative route home and found the drive in! It is a shame we do not have a car to take there 😦

Then Sunday came around and we hired a rental car and drove to Bendigo. We stopped off at Kyneton for a cuppa and to meet up with our friends and then we drove over to the Bendigo Art Gallery. It was so beautiful to see the churches and heritage buildings in the countryside, and Bendigo is about 1 hour 30 mins away from Melbourne so a perfect drive time for a Sunday day trip. We parked our car at the beautiful Rosalind Park and found these tulips planted amongst the green, then we heard the sounds of flying foxes in the trees, it would be lovely to go back and wander the gardens. I just realised they have a sister city of Los Altos, and is represented with a garden of dry climate plants from California – cool!

The main focus of our Sunday day trip to Bendigo was to see the Balenciaga exhibition from the V&A in London. It was a truly inspirational exhibition for me as I loved his attention to detail and the way he worked was to use the fabric as the inspiration for the designs. The x ray pieces were presented to show how the fabric was in relation to the body. One of his dresses was designed to puff up with air as you walked and the inspiration was from harem pants to puff out a ball gown – he was an absolute genius. Having the combination of tailoring and design Balenciagia created some contemporary silhouettes that truly shaped and inspired fashion throughout time.

This is an item we could play with in the exhibit and it was made from muslin. It was an ingenious piece as it was presented in the collection as a gorgeous skirt. We had the opportunity to work it as a cape or a skirt, I love how clothes can be designed this way to have the ability to be worn various ways. Using inspiration from cultures around the world Balenciagia used fabrics to create bold shapes and designs.

As we were leaving the gallery an exhibition called Desert Lines with a collection of fabric by Australian Indigenous women was on display. I am such a fabric fan but we were in a hurry to go to lunch so I just captured their colour and design as I wandered by and they are absolutely beautiful.

And as I was on my first week of holidays away from Uni work I took a small break and did a little bit of sewing using a Japanese pattern book I found as I had a bolt of stretch fabric my friend gave me to work with – the red top at the end was my fave. But as I was enjoying working with the patterns so much I found some of my vintage fabric and made a summer top from Hawaiian fabric. I also used the eyelet fabric using the Square top pattern from She Wears the Pants – another Japanese sewing book. Now I have a bunch of tops to wear but I need to wait for the weather to get warmer first!

Spring break fun with the kids and the cats

As it was the last week of holidays and I needed a goal to work towards for my Uni assignments, we made a trip to Narre Warren to see the Katena Luminarium. It is an hour away on the freeway from the north side of the city – who knew! Once we hit the Eastlink it was 30km straight across and not very exciting at all in our little Car Next Door. Lucky for us, it was a beautiful sunny day but the Katena Luminarium was one hot little space on a warm day and it felt like we were being depleted of oxygen. Being inside is just like being inside a closed up bounce house. I have to say the inside was incredible to walk into as I have never seen anything like it in my life, the design of the curves and the colour was stunning and made gorgeous pics!

Friday was our first site meeting and the first time we had access to the property and to see the demo was intense, this is what is left of our front rooms! You can see the IKEA light just hanging in there. Our little Edwardian house is so old, as it had lath and plaster on the walls. The plaster needed to be removed as we are insulating the whole house which will be amazing!! It was so fun to walk around on the slab and imagine the kitchen and the living room. The builder was there outlining where the timber frame is going to be.

After our site meeting we took the kids out to the city for a bit of cat cafe action! We were ready but it was a rainy afternoon and the cats were napping so my cat fishing mission was a bit of a failure! Though we did get to travel down a lovely plant filled laneway to find the cat cafe and eat a rainbow toastie before we went in. After we were on a mission to find bubble tea and do a little bit of shopping for the kids and in the end we decided on a Japanese dinner feast with the kids where my hubby and I had our first date. All four of us rolled out, just like the cat bus in the film Totoro πŸ˜€

Saturday was my volunteer day. First at the gate of the farmers market, greeting the locals and meeting the dogs. After the market I went to Peppertree Place, another place where I have had to register to volunteer lately with a police check. So I paid to get that done and it was my first volunteer gig on a Saturday and it was amazing. The whole place was so busy, as there was a food swap where local gardeners bring in their bounty from their garden and swap with their neighbours plus there was some local entertainment with the Thornberries playing ukelele and singing! On this table there is sauerkraut, kombucha scobys, worm tea, flowers, herbs – lots of parsley, lettuces and silver beet. It was such an incredible energy to chat to the local community about what they grow and cook, as I love to cook it was a heavenly gig for me. Meeting the local peeps was so fun! I will be heading back in the future to help out at the cafe, which is something to look forward to.

Holidays, house and assignments done!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur with having to write 3 assignments! I am finally done with the assignments and at my last week of Uni now just wrapping up some readings and I will have a break for a month, yipee!! It is quite an achievement that I worked through 3 units and have come out at the end of the three weeks in one piece and not too frazzled.

Our house has finally moved on from a hole in the ground, to the black membrane which separates the concrete and now finally a massive concrete foundation, better get my skates on and start rollerskating!

As I was in full on study mode it was good to have Sunday brunch with some friends at South Wharf, I had no idea where it was in the city but it was a beautiful morning out. We were right next to the tall ship Polly Woodside – that I will have to take the kiddos out to one day!

It was James birthday week and I organised a little getaway on the Monday before his birthday – again, another study break but oh so worth it. It was the first day of the school holidays for the kiddos too! We all loved it as it was a totally meditative experience as you had to walk really slow so you did not get rained on. The immersive experience of the Rain Room was so cool as walked you stayed dry and even looking around you the rain was there and you were in your protected area with no rain. It was such an amazing experience with fantastic technology and art!

And here is the birthday dude with is cake made by me and decorated by Miss Hol with white chocolate hand drawn cat decorations with Happy Birthday stuck in the cake. Of course for a special dinner, I made a smoked salmon and goat cheese quiche and a pumpkin and cheddar quiche with a beautiful Pinot Noir wine from the Mornington Peninsula.

And to wrap up my week, Grammarly sent me my writing stats and man that is a lot of writing since I started Uni over 1 million! I reckon I looked that that cat by the time the last 12 weeks were over, my eyes bugging out of my head.