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Cards for class

Miss e and I have been busy making class Christmas cards. In the past we have created our own cards and she has proudly handed them out, sans any sugary treat. I have always resented the twenty odd candy canes and chocolates she receives with her cards, but this year I took the “if you can’t beat ém then join ém” approach.

We made all her classmates, her two teachers, and her year one buddy a reindeer card, with red M&Ms for the nose.

 

It is tradition at her school to post the cards in a lovely, red, wooden Santa’s mailbox. The year 7s deliver the mail to each class after lunch. Miss e eagerly took them into school today and when I collected her, she told me that the joy she felt on seeing  her classmates’ faces was quickly replaced by a little pang when every one of them ripped apart the card to eat the M&Ms. They took us both hours to make!

I was so proud of the effort she made to write a unique and meaningful message on the back of each card. Here is one example…

(I will excuse her grammatical and spelling errors, after all it is Christmas).

Published author in the house!

As my long term readers will know, 2009 was the year of homme writing his first book. It was finished and at the publisher’s in March, with the publishing date being October.

It was published, and the first run was sold out before it reached Australia! Can you imagine!

Homme has been waiting with baited breath to get a copy in his hands. He has had many, many requests from his clients. Well finally this week, he received his six free copies. And he is chuffed.

I am not a writer. I have no ambition to write anything more than a blog post. But I can see the passion in him and I am so proud for him to have his first book in print. He is very talented in his field of expertise and should feel really chuffed to see his thoughts and ideas on paper.

His publisher has already requested a second book from him and the outline is already with them.

Now if only he had the same confidence to share one of his novels….

Christmas bunting

The Christmas bunting seen in yesterday’s post is gorgeous is it not? I can’t take any of the creative credit for it. Sure, I put it all together, but I attended a craft session and was instructed on how to assemble it. It fits perfectly across our fireplace (Christmas shrine?)

Here is a close up:

It is made entirely from cardstock cut out on the Cricut, with ribbon to attach the sections.

I love me some bunting. I create it for birthday parties and miss e and master x have cloth bunting zig zagging across their bedroom ceiling all year round.

Oh Christmas tree

I love the Christmas tree! I keep the sparkly lights on whenever I am home. As is our tradition we purchase a new ornament each to place on the tree, every year. Our ornaments are ecclectic and loved. Each one triggers a memory and my all time favourites are the paper doily angels my girls made in Kindy. They have a photo face as the head of the angel. They are tatty and gaudy and the girls tried to hide them at the back of the tree this year but I wanted them front and centre.

They don’t bring home hand made trinkets any more, and it makes me sad. Master x starts pre kindy next year so another round will begin.

Speech night. And the winner is….

We attended miss i’s school Speech Night last night. It was held in Winthrop Hall at the University of Western Australia. It is the final farewell for the Year 12s, as well as the awards ceremony for academic and values presentations.

I love a bit of pomp and ceremony which is why I always enjoyed march outs and parades when I was in the Army Reserve. The evening started with a procession of the Year 12s entering the hall, carrying the school flag and House flags. They were followed by the school Principal, Council members and teaching staff. Teachers wore their academic robes which is a tradition they have for the school assembly each week! Very Harry Potter.

Miss i was seated on the stage already. She learned at assembly on Tuesday that she had won the Year 7 English prize for top academic mark. Here she is receiving her book award. What, you can’t see her? She was the absolueley first student called out and I had no idea of the process so I snapped away as she skipped across the stage. Look closely, that is her head directly behind the Principal’s!

I enjoyed the speeches by the Head of Council and the Principal who listed dozens of achievements in all areas, by the students throughout the year. She spoke of a first place in the West Australian Writer’s Award, a second place in the Now and Then writing comp and achievements for the Tournament of Minds and debating teams, all of which miss i was  involved in .

I was interested in the story of the guest speaker, but was not impressed by her style in trying to get her message across. It reeked of motivational speaker trying to sell her own books.

Interestingly, the book miss i won was a book her year 6 teacher had suggested she read. Then this year the author of the book came to visit her creative writing class. And now she owns the book with it’s bookplate.

The orchestra performed, the Barbershop sang and finally the Head Girl gave her speech which was moving and strong and appropriate.

We are so proud of miss i and her achievements this year.

Teacher presents

Last day of high school for miss i today. Here are the gifts she took in for her Year co ordinator and Tutor.

Bikkies in a jar (I struggle with the word cookies) and prunes in port. Jars are from Ikea and perfect size. I made the tags and added ribbon to decorate. The ingredients and instructions for cooking bikkies are on the tag.

M&M Bikkies In a Jar

INGREDIENTS:
• 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/4 cup white sugar
• 1 1/2 cups mini candy-coated chocolates
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line one baking sheet with baking paper.
2. Empty the contents of the jar into a large bowl and mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
3. Using your hands work in 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Beat 1 egg with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Work this into the flour mixture until well combined. Dough will be a little crumbly.
5. Shape dough into 1 inch sized balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove bikkies to a rack to cool. Makes about 2 dozen bikkies.

You just layer the dry ingredients into a 1L jar and add instructions. I made a batch to make sure they work and what do you know? They do!

The prunes in port are simply 2 tbs brown sugar, peel from half a lemon and half an orange, 1 1/2 cups port and a cinnamon stick in a small saucepan which is brought to the boil. Turn heat off and pour over 375g pitted prunes in a bowl. Leave to go cold then remove cinnamon and pour into sterilised jar. Leave for two weeks before consuming with vanilla icecream. Yummy!

By all accounts the teachers loved them.

Christmas, our way

I usually aim to put the tree up on December 1st but I  knew what our week looked like and decided that Sunday 27th was more appropriate. It was Advent Sunday anyway so after taking the Christmas photo for our cards and Advent calendar, we decorated the tree. I love to have Christmas carols playing and everyone gets involved.

As you can see, 2 1/2 year olds are less than impressed with being involved in annual Christmas shoots. There was no way I was getting a santa hat on him.

Beatlemania

Miss e attends a school with an English Principal. David writes a pantomine every second year for the whole school to perform. This year it was titled Jackie and the Beatstalk. Boys play girls, girls play boys, there is a villian with audience prompts to Boo and Hiss and all the songs were based on the Beatles.

Miss e and her year 5 class performed the opening number and were dressed as Mods and Hippies. It was held in the school hall, after an afternoon of picnicking and sausage sizzles on the school lawn.

The pony tail got another workout and miss e looked gorgeous! She looked remarkable like Barbie, as her friends pointed out.

Well this Barbie also played violin as part of the school band supporting the panto.

A year of service

During the first weeks of high school, miss i put her name down to be a Sacristan for her school. Miss i is baptised as a Catholic and attended a Catholic primary school where she completed her Reconcilliation, First holy communion, and her Confirmation. Miss i now attends an Anglican High School and so I was intrigued when she decided to take on this role.

She attended a weekend camp and has been on a roster to serve at school chapel services.

On Sunday night we were invited to attend the school chapel for the Advent Service. Miss i read a Reading and participated in a lovely service. It was not a traditional mass, but a series of hymns sung mostly by the school choir, and readings. The chapel was in darkness except for candles. After each reading, a series of candles were lit, until nearly two dozen candles were glowing. It was very tranquil.

I took a photo of miss i during her reading (the First Reading, so not many candles at this stage).

This is but one of many journeys miss i has taken in her first year of high school.

Why I love entertaining, and drive my family crazy.

I love to invite people over. Bbqs, dinners, pot luck dinners, drinks on the deck, kids’ birthday parties. I like have an event to look forward to, to plan for. I like to have a date in my diary to work household maintenance and chores around.

You see, I am crazy like that. And I make my family crazy. I had a date in the diary for four families to come to ours for a bbq and swim. The date was for the Saturday after dance concert. I made this date while I was still neck deep in concert preparations. Because I like to have an end date for getting stuff done.

I have an ongoing list. This past week, on top of everything outlined in my last post, and generally scrubbing my home, the list included pruning the espaliered olive tree and adding some more support braces. This is a two person job, one of which must be handy with the drill (I am not).

 

The list also included clearing the side verandah of all the tools required to make the ship prop, oiling the deck, mowing and tidying the garden (my usual Friday job), planting white petunias in pots all around the garden and courtyard, weeding and sweeping the pool area and side garden, attending to the rapidly growing passionfruit vine, and assembling new furniture in the studio to store all of my scrapbooking supplies (again a handy husband was required).

My family are well versed on how these things pan out. After breakfast on Saturday, I start to hear, “What needs doing now Mum?” I love it. We all pitch in tidying and attending to tasks in the knowledge that at three o’clock it is “tools down” and we sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labour.

I take pleasure from setting a table with flowery tablecloths and runners, and picking roses from my garden.

I love inviting friends over to share time and food with. I like to serve and serving my friends gives me pleasure. We had a lovely evening catching up with friends who have very recently relocated back to Perth after more than ten years living in the UK, our long-time close friends who just live around the corner, Rachel’s husband and three of their girls, and Simon’s wife and their children. Strangely, every family knew at least one other family. It was a great night.