Minimalist living


OK, nothing much happened last week as I was writing an essay and drinking lots of tea to complete it. The essay was about Indigenous Australians and their contributions to society which was fascinating as I focussed on Stephen Page the Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre. While I was writing Bangarra had just premiered their new show which a friend of mine got to see in Canberra and she loved it! I miss those days of watching the arts freely and seeing Bangarra and spending time with arts at the theatre. Which leads me to some very exciting news!

We are leaving the USA in January 2019! We discussed the move with our family in Australia, between each other and decided it is time for the kids and myself to go back. The idea being the kids can start the Australian school year in our local school where our house is. And my hubby will live in two countries by travelling every 3 months. So there is a lot to do and organise in between studies. I understand my daughter will not graduate from our beloved elementary school which is sad but there are sacrifices we need to make to actually reach our goal of being back in Melbourne.

I was looking at the trip very reflectively when we were back in Australia and I just have to follow my heart. I felt when I was back home it was so grounding to be with family and friends who are like family and it made me feel so happy. Coming back to California was hard this time as I know this has been home for 12 years but it is time to go back to our roots and have the children experience life from a different perspective. The Bay Area is a place that will always hold terrific memories for me but now the time has come to say farewell.

Next job is to clean out the garage and get rid of stuff and then its back in the house to move along stuff that is ready to go as it is time to live a minimalist lifestyle. To be honest our house in Melbourne will not be housing the huge amount of stuff we have here, simply because we will not have a garage. Step 1 – Love it and let it go, time to go minimalist.

School is almost over…


I am counting down the days of my work as my kids are already on summer holidays as they finished for the next 11 weeks – yep 11 weeks holiday! And in just 19 days we will be spending over 4 of those weeks in Australia, I am getting excited!!! I will be finishing my work gig as it was a substitute position for the school year and next year I will be spending more time at my daughter’s school as it is her last year there and we will be moving back home to Australia, so it is going to be BIG!!


Last week was the culmination of our Bee Play for the Kinder class where the kids made their wings out of a coat hanger, tulle and sewed the lines/veins with black yarn. We attached them to their body like a backpack with a crossover back with elastic and put felt around the elastic and the joined coathanger to make it smooth. It was quite a fun little project to work with the kids – they all enjoyed the sewing part! I would have to say the tricky part was stapling the tulle onto the wire coathangers which took up a fair amount of time after school! The kids dyed their white t-shirts with our art teacher and later painted black stripes on them.

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Here is the play on the chapel stage complete with a backdrop the kids painted – I was switching out the backdrop from the meadow to the hive and the sun was stuck on there when it stopped raining. It was a super fun production! There is a farmer in the hat and the beekeeper is somewhere on stage too.


I am enjoying the last few times I will be visiting the church at Ventana – it is just beautiful inside, the stained glass is spectacular.

The 1st-grade kids I work with were weaving with sticks to make these really cool art pieces with our super art teacher Jess. She has these really long yarn needles and the kids made a warp tension across the sticks and then weaved in some coloured yarn, I will have to try some of these over the summer holidays as I have yarn and we can go in search for some interesting sticks when we go for bike rides.

There was a lot of fun with yarn too with the Kinders and the kids played this game of throwing a yarn ball across the closing circle to make a star. Afterwards, they had to roll the yarn back up remembering who they had sent it too, tricky but it was super cool fun.


Thursday I went out with my friends for an early summer birthday to Amber India which was so good to catch up. We had some delicious cocktails and the dinner was tasty with okra and roti and many curries. We will catch up again after summer to share our summer adventure stories.


Summer is here on an off and I did an early Saturday ride and it was so beautiful and still, I captured Hangar 1 in reflection and saw some beautiful bunnies on the trail and here is my amazing dinner from Friday of okonomiyaki with fresh basil, tomatoes and salad – yummy!

I was so happy to see Saturday as it was time to get into my final draft of my last paper for University on Contemporary Perspectives of Learning and Development for Early Childhood. It was a reflection, an education philosophy with the idea of writing this for a potential employer about what educational approaches I am interested in. Of course, it is Reggio, PBL and Waldorf-Steiner – all hands on with a focus on community.


Finally, Saturday afternoon came, after a day of editing my paper I got out to the park to the ice cream social with the neighbourhood. The fire truck sprayed water on the crowd on a 33-degree day which was super cooling. While I was enjoying a nice vodka cocktail with my friends. The kids were getting painted by my friend Susan (who was also my ceramics teacher), she was kept super busy for her time there and Missy wanted a bobcat and it looks amazing.

Some good times are ahead this summer!!


Mixing it up!


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.


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.

What the … ?


Ahh yeah, just let me kick you in the nuts!


This week was back to everything including my study which I had not really paid attention to for the last couple of weeks while we were away in Washington State. The time there with the family was just so perfect 😀 and so well needed the shock of coming back to reality is rough!

Anyway, I have been hibernating with my assessments and heater in my sewing room most of the last week as I have 3 assessments due in the next 2 weeks. One I have been fully focussing on is an oral assignment, recorded in Soundcloud and submitted as a link. I love how online courses embrace the technology for assessments so we truly learn something new as we are studying – the challenge is exhilarating!

Another assessment is in Prezi – a program I have played with the kids recording their voices for presentations though this one is a huge presentation on Learning Theories and to top it off it is a group assignment. Our group has me in California, 1 member in Sydney and 2 members in Melbourne and we are nearly complete in our presentation though I need to write a reflective essay of the process to go with it – whew!

The kids enjoy seeing mum study though any excuse for them to get on their machines and watch YouTube – yes I do watch YouTube videos in my course but only for educational purposes only 😉 Still balancing life and study is tricky and I am finding it challenging it will make it all worth it, positive education for all is truly a priority for the future.

  A #pussyhat – one of the many I have been knitting this week! 

Back to the What the…? I have to not look at the news and mostly Facebook as it does not do me any good looking at what is happening here in the US. It is truly depressing stuff to see the madness that is happening but the light is that I am working on knitting up some pussyhats for the Women’s March here in San Jose in between my University studies and hanging out with the kiddos and family. A friend of mine asked me if I would like to go with her and a bunch of other ladies in a carpool to the march – and of course, I said HELL YEAH! So I then agreed to knit up some hats for the march here and I also got some thicker yarn to send away toWashington for the huge women’s march on the 21st January. We will be wearing our #pussyhats here in San Jose on the same day in solidarity with our sisters!

Lately I have had this Marvin Gaye song in my head for some reason…

Talkin’, talkin’ to the people
Tryin’ to get them to go your way
Tellin’ lies, not to worry
That we won’t be led astray

So blind, unsignified
Your opponents always lying
Think about the mistakes you make
I believe America’s at stake

You know, busin’, busin’ is the issue
If you have a plan wager
If you have a plan
If you’ve got a master plan

Got to vote for you
Hey hey, got to vote for you
You’re the man
We don’t want to hear no more lies

About how you planned a compromise
We want our dollar value increased
Employment to rise
The nation’s taxation

Is causin’ all, all this inflation
Don’t give us no V sign
Turn around and rob the people blind
Economics is the issue

Do you have a plan wager?
‘Cause if you’ve got a master plan
Got to vote for you
You’re the man

(8 times, over scat singing):
Don’t you understand?
There’s misery in the land
(One version fades out during this; read further for a longer version)
People marching on Washington
Better hear what they have to say
‘Cause the tables just might turn against you, brother
Set around Election Day
Politics and hypocrites
Is turning us all into lunatics
Can you take the guns from our sons?
Right all the wrongs this administration has done?
Peace and freedom is the issue
Do you have a plan wager?
If you’ve got a plan
If you’ve got a master plan
Got to vote for you
Hey hey, got to vote for you
‘Cause you’re the man
(repeat and fade):
Got to vote for you

Read more: Marvin Gaye – You’re The Man Lyrics | MetroLyrics