Monday, August 31, 2009

Eee is Two!

Wishing you a day full of fun and presents and giggles
and candles and cake for your 2nd birthday
written on the card received from Granny

We enjoyed a delightful day at home yesterday celebrating the birth of dear little Eee. It was special because Daddy was home, unlike last year. Although big sister Ess was feeling unwell, she enjoyed helping me decorate a special little lady bug and her family of four baby beetles as a surprise for our growing baby.

It was small, it was quiet, it was special.

So lovely for us to revel in the delights of our two year old as a family.

Eee looked at us incredulously as we sang Happy Birthday to her on her waking. We have enjoyed a number of birthdays of late and I am certain she could not quite understand that it was finally hers. Upon seeing the bunting freshly hung for her she exclaimed "rainbow" and knew this was indeed a special day.

I made some decorative hangings to add to our birthday collection this year. I decided against the lovely Martha Stewart lanterns which I have seen around and made some origami diamonds. These were also greeted with much enthusiasm and called "rainbow".

For my precious growing toddler,
We love you just so much.
Happy Birthday!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Carrot, Banana and Honey Muffins

A film is just like a muffin. You make it. You put it on the table. One person might say "Oh, I don't like it." Another might say it is the best muffin ever made. One might say it's an awful muffin. It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin." ~ Denzel Washington

Carrot, Banana and Honey Muffins

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 20 mins

Makes 12

2 cups of Spelt flour with ½ tsp bicarb and 1 tsp cream of tartar (or 2 cups self-raising flour)

½ tsp bicarb soda (yes pop some more in)

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

¾ cup light olive oil

¼ cup honey

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 large banana, mashed

1 small carrot, peeled and grated

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Line a 12-hole standard muffin tine with muffin cases. Sift flour, bicarb and nutmeg into a bowl. Add sugar if desired, stir to combine.

2. Put the oil, honey and eggs in a medium jug and whisk with a fork to combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add the banana and carrot, pour in the olive oil mixture and stir with a fork until just combined. Spoon batter into each muffin case, no more than two-thirds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until well risen, golden and firm to touch. Put on a wire rack to cool, dust with icing sugar before serving for a professional touch.

Adapted from a recipe seen in Better Homes and Gardens magazine years ago

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A little Sprinter in our Garden - Freesias blooming already!

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Audra Foveo

Little Eee and I have been enjoying a little Sprinter in our garden of late. Along with many we have experienced warmer than usual temperatures for this time of year, indeed I think the whole of winter has been a warm one. I am still waiting for some chilly nights and frost! I remember how I froze in the middle of the night while standing at the change table with my newborn baby just over two years ago. I wonder whether September will bring us those freezing night temperatures again or if we really have seen the last of Winter this year. I do look forward to the forecast rainy and stormy weather next week, although I fear it will bring no frost.

Last year, Spring sprung in my garden right on time, on the first of September with the blooming of our first freesia. This year we are already enjoying our freesias...

...and I am enjoying photographing them with my new camera with outstanding macro capabilities. I am sure I will learn more as I go and improve the way I capture the beauty in a blossom. I used to wonder why my mother photographed flowers, I preferred to enjoy them in real life. I still do, and so does she, yet I enjoy taking more time with them now.

I sit with the flower absorbing all its beauty as I move the camera exploring different angles. It is much like the way I spend time with my daughters. I sit with them, my agenda is refined, they become my only priority and I observe them from all angles.

In the coming years I will be able to recall with beautiful photography the changing beauty of my daughters. In the coming years I will also enjoy remembering the changing blossoms of the these bulbs as I plant them year by year. My memory fades with rapid change. My girls grow and change month by month, the blossoms come and fade so quickly. Will I remember the delight in my baby as she 'skips' to collect more water for the flowers. Will I remember her busy contentment. Will I remember how many freesia blossoms we enjoyed last year and the way we paused to watch them grow? Will I remember their unique patterns of colours?
So pause to capture, so you'll remember, allow your daughter to linger longer over watering the blossoms, fill the watering can up yet again, allow her busyness in solitude while you remember to nurture your own. Take time...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hippo Drawstring Bag for my Musical Staff

Music is an essential part of everything we do. Like puppetry, music has an abstract quality which speaks to a worldwide audience in a wonderful way that nourishes the soul.” -puppeteer Jim Henson

My very faded plastic Myer bag which was used to store my homemade life-sized musical staff was long since overdue for replacement. When I found some sweet hippopotamus fabric in this Etsy store I knew immediately what I would do with it. The tiny little black hippos with their rounded bodies reminded me beautifully of musical notes and would perfectly suit the admirations of a group of 5 yr olds.

A simple drawstring bag was all I needed to house my five black rope lines to be laid out on the floor for the staff. The main part of the bag is made from a white curtain remnant which is quite sturdy so I didn't line the entire the bag, rather just the top few inches with some of the hippo fabric as a feature.

A ribbon threaded through a casing provides ample fastening for a soft bag with its soft contents. A little clear pony bead helps to hold the opening closed.

The musical staff would have to be one of my most favourite music education tools as it brings to life that rather abstract notion of musical notation. Once grasped it is very simple, however it can be quite daunting when one does not understand the relationship between all those dots, lines and spaces on the page. I use discs made of card covered in black contact which children can place between lines in the spaces and also around the lines to represent notes on the lines. (see how complicated it can become!) What is more fun however is when children actually jump and run through the lines and have swimming races and perform balancing acts on top of the lines in order to familiarise themselves with the notions of line and space. I love to play the 'Musical Machine' game whereby children actually physically become musical notes by standing on the lines and in spaces. I crank up the machine and hope for the best when I tap each 'note' on the head encouraging the children to sing the note they represent (with guidance from me where needed). I am always amazed at the results. Sometimes the machine doesn't work so well, it plays incorrect notes (on purpose ;) ) and leaves gaps of silences. It is simply a matter of cranking up the machine again and we are off creating musical melodies with our voices. All due to the inspiration of a simple musical staff on the floor.

Due credit must be given to the authors of Kindermusk for the Young Child for the inspiration of aspects of these wonderful games.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Warm Day ~ Cool Day

The Day Before ~
warmth radiating from the concrete floor beneath my feet
heat warming me through the screen of my car window

I turn to see the sweet, calm face of my sleeping baby
the sun's rays shine on her face
my heart is warmed
my day lifted

The Day ~
greets us with the freshness of a cool morning
no sun, no warmth
winds blow and the cool remains

I cuddle my baby clad with jumpers and jackets
we tickle, she giggles
my heart is warmed
my day lifted
fun and enjoyment

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The French Horn

The discovery of song and the creation of musical instruments both owed their origin to a human impulse which lies much deeper than conscious intention: the need for rhythm in life… the need is a deep one, transcending thought, and disregarded at our peril. ~Richard Baker

It had been a while since since we had seen Grandad so we took the scenic route to visit him at his house. I am certain there was some enticement by a comment conveyed to us through my Generous Gentleman: "Apparently he has something for us all, he won't say what it is, but he wants us all to visit." I too had been gently nudged by the remark, "it's been a while since you've visited me", last time he phoned. It's true, time had flown. It's been winter and hanging out at Grandad's is best done outside which is not so enjoyable during winter, as you might imagine.

We collected oranges from the orange tree, lemons from the lemon tree, observed his Gouldian Finches and had fun exploring sticks and twigs, gumnuts and goldfish. All the delights of a grandparent's home.

At some stage during our visit, a French Horn appeared. I was very bewildered as I know Grandad, my father-in-law, as a guitar/banjo cum harmonica player. Never had I imagined that he might own a French Horn. 'Twas a pity as it would have been useful last semester when my Kindermusik for the Young Child class and I were exploring brass instruments. The thought crossed my mind to ask whether I could borrow it for a week, yet not knowing the origins of this horn and how precious it might be, I left my thoughts awhile.

Grandad decided that we simply had to listen to Beethoven's Romanzen via LP, yes an old record, on his brand new record player, with wonderful surround sound speakers. So we all sat and enjoyed this marvellous work sounding very rich and full and with those lovely old scratchy sounds a record makes.

Upon our departure I noticed that the French Horn was coming with us. All of a sudden I made the connection between the horn and the comments about us needing to visit him, and his having something we all needed to be there to receive. I am not sure why the giving was very understated, yet there are some things we just don't understand about our fathers-in-law and some things we just don't ask ;) Especially after I asked where it came from, to which I received the reply "Nanna's dead boyfriend's brother!" Goodness only knows!

So now we are in possession of a very old French Horn. I would love to know exactly how old it is. It certainly needs a polish. However that has not taken the shine off the enthusiasm of my precious Ess who enjoys playing it as often as she can. Each evening she enjoys playing Lucy Locket and Bell Horses and other wondrous explorations on her glockenspiel for Daddy. Now we endure, rather enjoy, the dulcet tones of French Horn playing. Perhaps this little video tutorial will come in handy for her at some stage. Do let me know if you have any wonderful French Horn resources at the tip of your tongue. Come on, I know you all do! ;) I'd personally love to be able to understand all the meaning lying behind the symbols of the trademark. I'd love to be able to play a tune or two, but with all those overtones, it is very challenging.

Meanwhile in order to nurture my children's creativity, I can see I am about to develop a passion for the French Horn.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beachfront Bicycling

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. ~John F. Kennedy

On an unseasonably warm and windy day on Saturday we packed up our bicycles and headed to the beach for another dose of beachfront bicycling, something we all love. Although we just happened to hear a little cry from a pink 5 yr old on a pink bicycle about how she needed a rest just as another playground was approaching. There are at least 5 playgrounds within easy cycling distance of each other along the Semaphore Foreshore. We were often stopping :)

Another little lady was keen for some "dig, dig, digging" time so Dad bribed her to get back into her bicycle seat on his bike for a quick ride down the path to where our friends were kite flying. There was sure to be opportunity for sand play and grass tumbling with them.

I meanwhile, enjoying the serenity and solitude the bicycle affords me, rode a little further on towards Largs Bay. Breathing in the salty, seaside air, absorbing the soothing sounds of the gently crashing waves and lapping waters, I took a wee break from my family to nurture myself. My Generous Gentleman bid me take my time as he rode off in the opposite direction with my two little treasures, yet somehow, quite quickly, I was drawn to be right back with them again. Even he commented he was surprised I had ridden all the way up to Largs in the time I had taken. Yes I do need my space, but my sense of obligation to my family as well as my desire to be with them overrides that so often.

I rode past the Semaphore Jetty which still has a big piece broken from the centre of it. The pale sky and rich blue ocean contrasts beautifully with the yellow ocean in the foreground created by the numerous soursobs. Blue, green and yellow blending to create such calm.

I enjoyed the vivid, almost fluroescent yellow of the soursobs (oxalis), a persistent weed which brings such delightful bright colour in the wake of winter. I explored the zoom on my new Pentax Optio X70, belated birthday present, camera and am very pleased with the results. I wonder if Blogger will let you see their best here.

The zoom lens is very effective as well. This sailing ship was but a dot on the horizon to the naked eye. It speaks of such serenity in this image here. I absolutely adore watching a lowering sun over the waters of the Gulf of St Vincent. Growing up on the east coast of Australia meant the sun rose over coastal waters. Seeing the sun setting over the Gulf here is magic.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I teach a fun music program!

“A child sings before it speaks, dances almost before it walks. Music is with us from the beginning.”-writer Pamela Brown

Along with my numerous creative pursuits we enjoy lots of music in our home. I think the most wonderful parenting education for me prior to having my children was being a Kindermusik Educator. I learnt so much about how children learn through music and movement and of course, I implement all I learnt into our daily routines in our home. Singing accompanies almost every activity we do from hanging out the washing to tapping our fingers newly clad with plastic game markers which fit perfectly on a toddler's tiny fingers.

Currently my primary focus is on teaching my own children and ensuring they have all of me that they need and love, however I am still teaching one of my favourite curricula - Kindermusik for the Young Child for children aged 5 - 7 years. We are currently loving exploring our glockenspiels and delighting in the fact that the songs we sing can be played on our glockenspiel using the notes we are learning to read, create and 'be' with our whole bodies. C, D and A is all you need to know to be able to fluently and efficiently play Lucy Locket. However I am not seeking fluency and efficiency, I am seeking a specific process. I desire that each child explores creatively and makes connections across all key learning areas which are being stimulated. We play, read, write, sing, move, explore, listen and more. You are certainly most welcome to join us or another local Kindermusik educator in your area. Whether you have a baby or a young child, Kindermusik will enhance your life. And if you are past that stage, or not quite there, then perhaps you'd like to become a Kindermusik Educator.

Not sure! This video will show you what it can truly be like in class for both parents and children.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Little One's Fun with Finger Knitting

I like making a piece of string into something I can wear. ~Author Unknown

Fingerknitting is the perfect way for a little one to learn how to ravel a piece of string into knots to form a piece of material of some use. Ess has enjoyed this very much and can often be found with a ball of wool in one hand and stitches wound around her fingers in the other. That is, when there are no books in sight, of course ;)

She has completed a lovely scarf for her doll Anna using this simple tutorial. We watched it together, I tried it, I cast onto Ess' fingers and we were away or should I say she was away. She is now halfway through a scarf for her other precious doll, seen in my header pic above.

You might notice also that the pants I was knitting for Baby Anna are now successfully completed and fit her beautifully. I am really stoked at their success with a pattern of my own creation. This is not something I have ever really done before.

Have a happy creative weekend. We're planning to squeeze in some beachfront bike riding as the weather is forecast to be warm, albeit quite windy. Perhaps I'll find a minute to create something as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grandma's Bedsocks

A garden of Love grows in a Grandmother's heart. ~Author Unknown

Where, oh where, has winter gone? We are seeing Signs of Spring already - warmer nights, inviting sunny days, flowers almost bursting into bloom. It has been a warm winter, yet I have no doubt there is some more "weather" due to arrive here. Usually it is coldest after our birthdays ;)

I knitted these lovely red bedsocks early on during winter to ensure my feet would be kept warm during the cooler parts of this season. I have not needed them yet, preferring my old pink threadbare ones, the last ones Grandma knitted for me, which I have continued to darn and mend over and over. Perhaps we have had warmer nights, or perhaps I have just not had to endure the absence of my warm husband this winter as we have done the last few years.

My Grandma has knitted bedsocks for me and others in my family for many years. In recent times I gave Grandma wool for her to knit some for me but this year, at 89 years of age, I think that she is past knitting. I didn't feel right asking her to knit for me anymore, especially when I am sure I can do it myself. So after some searching and asking various relatives, I managed to receive the pattern for the socks from my Aunty who no doubt wants to keep the family tradition going along with me.

This is the first pair I have made and I am quite proud of them.

Grandma started knitting these particular socks for her grandchildren's cold wintry toes as the pattern was a particularly easy one for socks she remembers. No knitting in the round, just a pair of needles. I can vouch for its' simplicity. The pattern is very easy to follow, although I still managed to make a couple of errors in my haste. Bet you can't spot them! Now there's a challenge for you.

If you are interested in the pattern, be sure to let me know. I am sure Grandma won't mind my sharing it with you.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Simple Sewing: A Child's Fabric Bookmark Tutorial

TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book. ~Author Unknown

To say my daughter is an avid reader I would consider a gross understatement. One must admire her selection of books. We can never leave our library without literally bags full of books. One or two for me, perhaps half a dozen for little Eee, and about 40 for Ess.

She has an interesting way of reading her books. Some are read from cover to cover in one sitting, some are treasured and to be shared with Mum and Dad in the evening. Chapter books are often read as a collection. Ess states she reads chapter one from each book before moving on. Interestingly I recall myself making a decision in my teens that I should really complete reading one book before commencing another and another which interested me. Ess must certainly be "her mother's daughter".

Thus we have a requirement for numerous bookmarks in our house. Often fabric scraps are used. Ess has another of my unfortunate traits and likes to hoard the little pieces of prettyness which appear when I cut fabric for some of my many creations. I notice that some of the blue fabric I used for Zet the Monster has been inserted into some of Ess' books in the above collection. I managed to gather some scraps she had earmarked while I was cutting my Jane Market Bag from Alicia Paulson to sew a prettier bookmark for her. Here is a little tutorial to make it simple for you.

Fabric Bookmark

Gather the materials needed: fabric scraps, scissors, pins, ribbon cut to desired length to decorate, your iron and a sewing machine.

Most of the work in finishing the bookmark is in folding and pressing your fabric so take your time at the ironing board. If you need to join two or more scraps of fabric to make the desired length for your book mark (as in the above picture), sew fabric right sides together with a 5mm seam allowance and iron flat. Iron the bookmark in half lenthways and open out to make it easier to fold in half later. Then mitre your corners, I find it makes a much neater finish and is not too difficult.

Firstly fold in the corner to the centre, ensuring all raw edges are perpendicular, ie standing at right angles.

Fold in the edges, top and side to make a neat sharp point on the corner.

Press your corners and pin them securely. Then fold your bookmark in half and pin all the way around.

Insert a couple of pieces of ribbon at the top of your bookmark for some pretty decoration, any decoration along the length of it is likely to create too much bulk, even for a child's book.

Now sew all the way around the outside edge of your bookmark and you will have a very professional finish.

There. So easy, even your daughter could sew it.

Enjoy your reading...and hers as well!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shell Treasures

Bashams Beach offered us many delights as we watched whales frolicking out to sea.

Glimpses of light just above the horizon as a misty cloudy sky turned to dusk.

Stray pieces of driftwood now resting calmly on the sand.

Beckoning rocks inlaid with shiny silver puddles of water, reflecting light, containing creatures to be discovered.

And shells...oh the shells...

Myriads of sea shells lying around the water's edge. Little Eee and I immediately sat down to explore such beauty, while Ess and Dad climbed rocks and found sea stars in rock pools. We sorted, sifted, shared with each in amazement, pocketing some to bring home for our collection.

The colours and patterns are so vivid, so striking. Each shell resembling its mate yet each one's pattern being unique, its own fingerprint.

These ones we dubbed toffee apple shells. Can you see the green hue on the parts of shell where the vivid red has worn away?

I can tell you these little shells have been sorted and rearranged by little fingers (and big ones as well) over and over.

Such simple discoveries serving to delight and nourish our soul and bring fond memories of wonderful times shared.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wee Whale Watchers

Okay, he either said, "move to the back of the throat," or he "wants a root beer float"." ~ Dory, Finding Nemo

Seaweed ball on Bashams Beach, South Australia

Nearly 13 years ago my sister and I packed up our camping gear and drove.  We headed north from Brisbane to Hervey Bay, Queensland's whale watching mecca.  We drove for 5 hours, endured an overnight storm (yes in our tent!), paid for a boat to take us out into the bay to enjoy whale watching.  All to no avail.  The company even offered us a credit for a return journey.  We never made it back!

Today we drove a couple of hours south of Adelaide to Basham's Beach and spent most of the day enjoying watching a mother whale gracefully swim up and down the beach caring for her playful calf.

The Southern Right Whales have been sighted each day over the last week so if you are in Adelaide, head down to take a peek.  You will be well rewarded.  The SA Whale Centre has a useful resource tracking daily sightings.

Look at that enormous rounded body, such gentle graceful curves.

Photos just cannot do justice to the experience we shared.  The whales were very close to shore, perhaps 100m away, just past the breakers and easily visible from where we played on the beach.  It was absolutely awe-inspiring to be observers of these magnificent creatures of the deep.

Little Eee loved to sit and dig in the sand, not yet understanding the enormity of what she was seeing - both in the size of the whale and calf and in the experience of being able to spend some time with them.

Ess however, is now old enough to love and appreciate the whales and sat for many moments on the dunes watching the mother and her calf, seeing them pec and tail slapping, spyhopping, playing and swimming up and down the beach.

There were more whales further out to see.  In the above picture you can see its waterspout.

After all these years, I've been whale watching for free with such little effort.  Indeed so many beautiful things in South Australia are quite understated, perhaps one could say underrated, and have not yet been capitalised upon.  I do find it very easy to live simply in this lovely state which I have come to adore.

Bashams Beach is a beautiful place to explore in itself.

Indeed it is a shell-lover's haven.

I confess, I collected a few shells too and have brought them home and sorted and arranged them on little Eee's windowsill.  Showing you can wait until another day if you are interested.  Oh there are so many that are just so pretty, so colourful, so unique.

A wonderful day drew to a beautiful close with a very pretty rainbow stretching out across the Southern Ocean.

A very fitting way to celebrate the birthday of my very dear husband, and my own as well as Tuesday was a very busy day here.

Happy Birthday my dear Generous Gentleman.

Oh and when we finally arrived home after 7pm, would you believe they were screening Finding Nemo.  We all got a big laugh out of the scene where Dory imitates whale :)

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


Blog Widget by LinkWithin