Grateful for all we have

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My exercise and eating well regime have been going really well as my meal plans are simpler now with eating more salads and knowing how to balance it with protein and grains. Tonight’s¬†couscous salad of watercress, raw beets, grated carrots, radish, tomato and my new fave plant protein Beyond Meat “chicken” strips made from soy and pea protein topped with a miso chilli dressing so perfect for a meatless Monday. If I were to go vegan this is a perfect meal, one day I will get there! Still eating seasonal, local and organic adds so much variety to your diet and it is even better to get the vegetables direct from the farm.

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So I went out for Mothers Day celebrations on Saturday rather than Sunday as I am not a fan of crowds or people. I had a study break from my paper and went out for lunch to Terun on California Avenue in Palo Alto and afterwards, I went shoe shopping for my mothers day gift. Oh boy, what a treat to find such comfortable and beautifully made shoes, I saw these on a parent at the school I work at and said, “where do you find them” and she told me! These shoes are handmade in Israel and they are the most comfortable and light shoe to wear, I really had a hard choice choosing so I decided on the blue flats as I am looking for alternative shoes in my shoe collection to take over the Camper shoes that I have loved over the years. I get a feeling that from now on any spare $ I have will be spent on these Jafa shoes, they are the best! I mean the colours of the boots are stunning and that is what I have my eye on in the future ūüėÄ

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I enjoyed this vodka cocktail for lunch with beet gnocchi, eggplant balls, a Neapolitan style pizza with pear and gruyere plus a farro dish with calamari Рwhat an amazing feast!

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At work former students of 2nd grade built this portable see-saw at tinkering, it is super cool and I see the kids hang out at recess or during class time for some air time outside. It sways on a PVC pipe and a chunk of wood – superb design.

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This week after a week of being appreciated it was time to be grateful for the wonderful year I have had. At the end of last summer, I began a temporary substitute teacher assistant role which initially was going to be 6 months but carried on for the school year where I got to meet another two lively cohorts of children in Kinder and 1st. I am truly grateful for this opportunity of working alongside some incredible educators. Today I was notified they don’t have a role for me next year so I only have 19 days left in this role until Summer vacation. After that it is a holiday in Australia¬†to visit family and friends and then back here for one more year of student mama life and organising our move back home, it will surely be exciting!

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I usually go walking every week around the neighbourhood and it has been beautiful lately with all the spring flowers everywhere, I especially love the orange California poppies. This beauty is growing from a succulent and it is super tall and so pink it catches my eye each time I walk past РI managed to capture this in the evening light the other day, early morning would be best I think!

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Oh, and as I was cleaning out the classroom of library books to return I found this inspiring story and did a read aloud to the kinder kids. It is a story of Julia Butterfly Hill who lived in a redwood for over 2 years to see it preserved for all time. It was such an inspiring story inspired from the novel which I have to get my hands on sometime to ready over the summer I think! Which brings me to the Tarkine in Tasmania Рa place where I visited many moons ago with The Wilderness Society. Patagonia has made a film about giving this incredible forest sanctuary for all time World Heritage Protection. Heres to making that happen as I really would love to take my children there when we go home as it is such an experience for them to visit an ancient rainforest where you feel so small.

A lovely birthday week!

It was a quiet week last week as I was busting my free time to write a paper for University plus it was my birthday! It was so fun to go to school and have the kinder kids give me their wishes they had made and present a beautiful bunch of flowers to make my day.

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At my work РVentana School, it was the week of stories, so that gave me a great excuse to wear my owl costume from the Owl Diaries book series РI am a bit of a fan of Eva the owl ever since my daughter bought it home from the library. Since then I have moved onto any book by Raina Telegemeier and the Phoebe and her Unicorn series. You know I need to read the stories to understand what the kids are getting into these days.

Recently I listened to the book The Wild Robot, and I absolutely love it, and as a birthday gift, I bought myself The Wild Robot Escapes, book 2 and it is so good! The audiobook is so well produced and well read I cannot wait until book 2 is out so I can hear the narrators voice again. The story is incredible with the friendship connection from a new being (the robot)  stranded on an island, meeting sea otters :D, combined with the futuristic sci-fi element where the island became an island from the rising sea levels, so all types of animals live there. The characters are lovable, and you feel for the robot as she begins life as an outsider and soon becomes loved Рit is full of such grand adventure! I have not enjoyed a book as much as this for ages. I have a copy at the bookstore so I can add it to my collection for a classroom read aloud (it is recommended for grades 3 to 6).

Speaking of books, we had a Hicklebee’s book fair at school as a fundraiser, and this was a book bought into the classroom. I love the illustrations in this book and by Lemony Snicket. Our family favourite is A Series of Unfortunate Events audiobook series which we listened to on our way down to the Joshua Tree. And now Netflix has a TV series of all the books which we love watching¬†on the weekends.

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So for my birthday, I had a very delicious dinner of a middle eastern salad topped with grilled fish at Dish Dash in Sunnyvale, and over the weekend we enjoyed family time going to the Aquarius cinema in Palo Alto to see Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson. I am a bit of a fan of his films as one of my faves is Fantastic Mr Fox, actually looking at his filmography I really enjoy most of his movies! My husband and I met volunteering at a film gallery so going to the cinema (mainly to see an arthouse film) is a special time for us.

The rest of the weekend was lovely with hanging out at the park in the sunshine after I had done enough writing in the afternoon. On Sunday was a bit of a write off for the ladies enjoying too much wine on the picnic blanket (the picture above says it all!) and singing our afternoon away… I was even thinking of getting out my ukelele?!?

Myths and Legends

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What a lovely collection of books and placing Myths right next to the Orwell book 1984 is pretty funny as 1984 does not really feel like a myth anymore! Still, the legends are the books next door a bunch of Star Wars parody books Рyes more humour is what we need. Now on to last week that went by in a flash! It was a night of teaching double drawstring bags at the library followed by my birthday then a night out to the Arts Focus exhibition, and then Thursday night it was PBL (Project Based Learning) night and Open house at school. Friday night I still had to polish up my science essay so I could submit it this week! Just too much РI think I need to stop and breathe, which is why I went to Yoga on Saturday!

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The double drawstring bag sewing workshop at the library was a hit with a full class of 12 students who were eager to get their bags completed. We have 1.5 hours in the community room – so it is over pretty quickly. A lucky few did get them done, but lucky the library has open hours for sewing over the weekend and during the weekend for the students to complete their bags. The prep for this workshop is just cutting the fabric to size, and lucky my friend gave me a box of fabric I could use for this class that was just perfect.

Myth – I do not like alcohol! I have not been drinking as I need a clear head to write essays and focus on my University work, but it was lovely to have just one cocktail and feel pretty good! A fact I do love food, feeling uninspired by the Bay Area offerings for food locally I opted for a ‘sustainable seafood’ restaurant called Pacific Catch that opened up in the local shopping centre. Ideally, I am wanting one of those fantastic Portland restaurants that serve alcohol and raw vegan, local, organic food, but alas that is not to happen here, it’s more about the beers and the burgers – boring! Anyway, I will be back home in Melbourne soon and the food there is the best. Still, I had a lovely feast at Pacific Catch with some appetisers starting with some Poke – absolutely delicious!¬†The coconut shrimp – very moreish but not too good for someone who doesn’t eat fried food too often. My main was fish tacos served with black beans and creole fries, yummo! Though the fries had to be passed on to my hubby and the kids as they were too much fried goodness for me. Afterwards (as there were no real exciting dessert options at this restaurant) we wandered downtown Mountain View to my fave treat place – Alexanders Patisserie and had a lemon tart and some other incredible mascarpone¬†based deliciousness! Such a lovely evening of eating with the family ūüėÄ

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My friend’s ceramics exhibit
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The beautiful cat quilt – the group work
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The dragon and fire quilt – the other group work

 

Wednesday was another night out with the Arts where I have a job of interviewing the kids for a newsletter article about the joys of the Arts Focus program. A program entirely run by parent volunteers who teach in the classroom for 12 weeks of the year – with an exhibition in between each one. A totally immersive hands-on experience with art that the kids absolutely adore. I am so happy to be a part of the team and teach the kids sewing. This program has inspired me to do my Degree in Teaching for when we return to Australia, though I have less than 4 years or so to completion. I am enjoying the classes, and it is quite exciting to use what I have experienced and bring it to my lessons. I am learning so much new information, and I love it. Now back to writing my World of Maths essay about ‘How Constructivism is the best way to teach math.’