Mixing it up!

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It was a busy mixed up week last week with lots of prep for our Publishing Party and Savory Stories celebration on Friday which meant getting out the glitter and preparing the class for a Thanksgiving celebration. On top of all the celebrations, I was busy making tutorials for the Arts Focus class on Thursday where I volunteer to teach sewing. We had a new project we were bringing into the class – Felt Emoji Keyrings, which the children loved! It went well, and we know some tweaks we can work on for next time we run the lesson.

The 2nd-grade class where I work got busy collecting and decorating leaves for our publishing party which was Friday. The kids write a story on whatever they like in a class called Story Workshop and go through the process of inspiration (using manipulatives such as animals, logs, rocks, nature pieces etc), draft writing, editing, writing and publishing. The kids really enjoy the whole process and when tweaking the stories with the kids it is interesting to see what they create. The added bonus for the kids is that they get so excited to share their stories with their parents and their classmates.

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Part of our glitter party was to make some table decorations, and this glitter filled wreath is ready to party! After our glitter explosion in class, we had such a fun time in Science building our props for the weather play the kids have conceived. I was helping with drilling holes for a rainstick, and other children were cutting out the mailvan that will be a full-size car for a child to wheel on stage. Such a fun day at school/work made me feel that I am finishing this degree as this is where I want to be in life! Glitter and power drills and creating with kids has won me over 😀

In the middle of the week, I gave the kids a tutorial on making pipe cleaner dolls for their project of creating supplies for community dramatic play at our school. Initially, they were not interested in making dolls, and once they started making them and realising they could customise them with personality it was “Can I make another one?” That has always been the response when we do them for the Arts Focus class at my daughter’s school, the kids love them! So many fun dolls were made, and I am looking forward to the response from the school kids when their dramatic play bits and pieces are ready.

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So Friday evening came around, and it was time for a well-earned rest after such a busy week. I think the rain on Thursday added craziness to the mix as it turns out being on the road in the rain is very scary as people around here have no idea on how to drive in normal conditions let alone in the rain! Still, I was happy to be home and in my room on the weekend safely writing a 1500 word essay for my University class Understanding and Supporting Behaviour, with all the experience I am getting from this long-term substitute teacher job I am gathering so much information for my studies and I have plenty to write about.

Feeling the love

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The week of thanksgiving just went by in at such a slow pace and it was so luxurious to stay up late and watch ‘Outlander’ and then sleep in on the rainy mornings – oh so divine! The week was full of essay writing for my first academic essay for my course and it was due on Monday plus I had a quiz for my other unit! It was great to hibernate and study which I am doing mostly these days – I don’t mind it at all. The Education course is fascinating and I am learning a lot each week, the content is so relevant to this day and age and I am quite excited about it all!

When we returned to school on Monday my daughter’s teacher had found a little baggie with this super cute stegosaurus button inside it (sewn on the coat above). It was distributed by the Humboldt Art Abandonment Project, such a treat to pass this onto my coat which needed a fun little button. It just had a note that said TAKE ME HOME PLEASE – YOU HAVE JUST BEEN BLESSED by Humboldt Art Abandonment Project. And yes I am so happy to join you in your quest to share art with the community, these peeps are speaking my language.

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As I was watching Outlander I have been inspired to knit again as there is plenty of knitwear to be worn in the Scottish Highlands! While I have been knitting I have been sharing the couch with my little Love cats!

The Friday after Thanksgiving we went hiking to Hidden Villa for #GreenFriday I would love #GreenEveryday! Still, it was an excellent opportunity to catch up with our friends and go for a low key wander in amongst the green. It was all wet from the rain and cool but still so lovely to be out and about at the farm enjoying the day. My friend and I are both studying Education at the moment so we shared our challenges and class experiences on our walk, it is a good thing to get together every so often and the kids loved checking out the creek.

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Which way to the chickens – there are plenty of chickens at Hidden Villa in Los Altos and running free everywhere, it was so good to be with them. So many breeds 🙂

 

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Here is the door to the villa – such a charming place to visit, it is open certain days of the week so you can check it out. The surrounding garden is just beautiful with lots of succulents – they are my favourite.

Thanksgiving we drove over to the East Bay to see our friends for the day it was a chilled out day with some delicious food. My friends hubby made the turkey with yummy vegetarian sides with a sweet potato recipe by his mum. The vegetarians, myself and my friend had all the sides with Quorn and mushroom gravy. I made this goat cheese butternut squash salad and vegan lime pies, a perfect addition to the table. The kids were announcing themselves as the United Kids of America with the sign they made as they heard the adults vent about the election results. As friends, it is important to share perspectives and we all feel the same so it was such a great feeling to talk about what the future holds. It looks like we will be having a lot of visitors back home in Australia in the future 🙂

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After our Thanksgiving feast and a few glasses of wine we went to check out the view from the top of the hill – here you can see the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate is way down the back. It was great exercise up and down the hill in the cold and we headed back had some dessert played Dragonwood (a kids card game) that went on forever and headed on back home in the dark. It was a peaceful week full of well-needed rest, aaaah!

Giving Thanks!

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In these times of despair, it may be hard to focus on the positive. This time of year with Thanksgiving it is a time of giving thanks to the many aspects of your life or even your year to propel you towards 2017 full of positive vibes. Seriously, we as a group of people who care need to stand together in spite of all the barriers that we see ahead and believe that we can do this. I have even made a calendar of positive affirmations for each month to get us through the coming year ahead and I believe that if you focus on the positive good things will happen.

Of course, I give thanks to the amazing family of mine that consist of our unit of four with the 2 cats. It is grounding in my life to know that whatever happens we have each other living in peace together. So much turmoil around in my circle of friends means that the relationships you do have that work give you focus on cherishing your own relationships. And in the analogy of tending to a garden – give it lots love and attention and your garden will blossom.

We have some good friends here who are like family to me and we are lucky to have each other and I am thankful that we have known each other for over 10 years and have grown with our children who still love to spend the time with each other. We enjoy camping adventures together and hiking and of course eating so we will be spending thanksgiving together relaxing, playing games and catching up.

So there are many things that I give thanks for this year? The community seems to be up there for me with having the support of a group makes a heck of a difference in your day to day life. The school my daughter attends are my people. We are all on the same page about the involvement of education for our children and the future they will have with the approach of hands-on learning. Everyone works together to make it work. And we are there for each other, from my experience living here with no family you create your family from your community around you.

This is why I choose to give back to the community at the local library and teach sewing skills to a group of people who have come to the classes since they began last year. I am so happy that the program at the library we started last August has become really successful with wait lists for the programs as they fill up fast. We had 9 people at the infinity scarf program last Tuesday – the bonus is that we have 8 sewing machines now so there is less waiting around. Next month the program is making holiday decor out of felt with lots of hand sewing and experimentation with fabric. I am loving this opportunity to inspire people in the community and those who want to try something new and instilling the confidence in that they can make something and be creative.

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The opportunity to go home over the summer and spend time with family and friends has been an incredible experience for me. In a sense, it has been a literal “homecoming” for my life and where I want to be in the future. I am thankful for the family I have in Australia and how loving, caring and genuine they are – being so far away AND for so long it was hard to grasp and remember the love. But going home to be with my family was the best thing I have done for myself, my family and the future. The knowing that we can go back every year now until we leave will be something that I look forward to every year. I truly miss my family and it is really hard to be so far away but thank goodness for FaceTime we are just a phone call away which makes it so much easier.

Seeing our friends when we went home was a homecoming in a similar way – again our friends we have known for years and will be friends for as long as we live. We have had many experiences in our past together before kids and now most of our friends have kids we are like one big family together again living away from our families whether they are in another country or another state in Australia – it is still not that far away for them. The time we spent together is something that I will remember – as having close friends means that even though we spend time together when we meet up it feels just like yesterday when we saw each other. Thankful for having friendships like these means a lot to me.

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One final thing I am thankful for this year is the opportunity to study – thanks to a good friend of mine who planted the seed in my mind I decided to attempt a degree in education. And now I am on my third week of the course and it is intense and very exciting at the same time. It is incredible how inspiring a degree can be especially if it is something you do at a semi-professional level. Learning the background and studying online is another experience in my life that I feel has aligned at the right time and even though this is challenging with everything else in my life I do find the time to study! It will be a long journey ahead but oh so worth it for the future – education is something that everyone needs and it should be a necessity of the population, not a commodity (I will not open this kettle of fish here now – this has to be a positive post!)