Mama Chameleon

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lilli P (hi there! waving at you!), to answer your question, I have not done any more book clubs. At present my sanity cannot handle it. One person still has not paid me for the last book, so it was costly, especially up front. As well, good baby sitters were expensive, and I paid the extra so it made it more feasible for the others (though they would have happily paid the extra, so that is my problem not theirs. Also the organization and discussion was very much enhanced by my partner in crime, Rachel, who has left. So no more book club at present. If we start up again, it will be in the evening.
OK. Back to my post:

Grading those maths tests took a lot longer than I anticipated. I mean, they are only in Grade 2! It took me about an hour and a half! Then I did the spelling tests marking, and initialed and dated all their addition and subtraction worksheets, reading worksheets, before beginning preparations for next week.

That was tonight though, after a nice day.

After seeing the inside of a certain blogger friend's fridge, my subconscious called out for me to do the same so I toiled away this morning till every mouldy item in my fridge was banished, and every surface shone! Such a good feeling.

After Topsy woke up from his nap, we drove in for the last hour of Life Fest. The first ten minutes we wandered around, going, 'where do you want to go?' The though of splitting up was not an option was not going to be a possibility with the massive crowd.

Spindles suggested looking for the the free cotton candy. We couldn't find it, so decided to ask the next person we saw with cotton candy, where they got it from. The hapless girl we saw next, happened to be lost and weeping, so after we took her to the information counter, she pointed us in the direction of cotton candy. The line was huge, and took about 20 minutes for us to reach our glorious sticks of cotton candy.

Then of course we wasted 5 minutes looking for more water to put in our water bottles, 'cause the cotton candy made the kids SO thirsty.

The finale was a release of white doves, which they were giving to kids to hold till the appointed time. That was a high point for Roly and Diva.Quite a few birds got away early as you can imagine , but Diva's was especially quiet, and Roly probably just had his in a tight grip.

oh I forgot to say that this morning, I saw a big labrador out on the road, looking lost. i knew it was Funny Farm's run away, so i calle out "Reilly! Reilly!"

Well, he bounded joyfully over. I brought him in so he wouldn't get any further from his home, and dialled up Funny Farm.

'No, hold on' No, I can see Reilly, he's not missing', she assured me.

LOL! The imposter in the house wagged his tail happily.

The dog pound was closed, so I locked the dog up in our yard, and put all our pets in the house, while we went to Life Fest, in case he would fight with our dog. I thought I would keep the dog till Monday and then call the dog pound.

Then this evening, a friend walked by, and said, 'Hey, I think that dog's picture is on a wanted sign in the local store.

I raced over, and sure enough it was.

Whan I got home and dialled the number, I realized by the child doing a rap as the answering message is one of my kid's club kids.

He called back tonight in paroxisms of joy that his beloved Chester is found! chester will be going home tomorrow!

The boys are on a sleepover. The mother is a bit of a dragon I think. Military folk, and there son is the perfect guest, so of course I used every meal and interaction with my boys these last two days as last minute practise of 'Our Best Manners'!

Fingers Crossed!

As I left them, they were already in a bit of trouble for talking in the house. the baby was sleeping!

Posted by michelle :: 10:52 pm :: 8 comments links to this post

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Yeah for the weekend!

I had today planned quite well, teaching wise. It was to be a trouble free day really with both numeracy and literacy classses having to take assessment tests to see how they are taking in the material we are teaching them!

Numeracy went really well, but after recess, and after the literacy got done their spelling test, and I had them all on the floor at my feet looking up at me expectantly, I realized that in all the mass of tests on my desk (I mark all the Grade two tests in all the classes not just mine), I could not find more than 5 copies of the worksheet to go along with what I wanted to get across to my kids.

If this had happened last week, I would have coped so badly. As it was, I felt a hot flush creeping up me. I looked at the time and realized with a bit of joy, that I only had twenty minutes left. So after a little time of summarizing our week's accomplishments, I handed out some 'under the sea' coloring sheets (they have been doing sea creatures in their home rooms) and read them

And it worked a treat. I think their little heads were so full from the stress of the tests and also it being the end of the week, they just settled down quietly and colored like crazy while I read Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave by Quentin Blake. The effect was like rocking a crying baby. They loved being read to. I think I will do it every Friday from now on!

Tomorrow the kids and I ( Hubby is away) will be going to Life Fest. It is an event with entertainment, food, games, animals rides- all free, thrown by the combined churches in our district. I will try to get some pics of our time there to show you. Then the boys are going for a sleepover to a relatively new friend's house.

Have a super weekend, all!

Posted by michelle :: 8:25 pm :: 1 comments links to this post

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Just in case you forgot: this is what our munchkins look like! (plus baby cousin Reuben)
Bring on the weekend! I am so ready for it to be here! And I am not really one to long for the future too much. This has been a really good week. The teaching thing is starting to feel natural. The kids are actually learning the concepts I am teaching them *gasp*. That was a huge happy surprise for me! LOL! And because of the nature of the job, I actually come home invigorated and still full of energy. very different to the last casual teaching job I had!!! I barely had the strength to rise off the couch to fetch myself a glass of water then, let alone fend for my family! Morale has a huge lot to do with the difference!

Roly was home two days with a really bad asthmatic cough brought on by his cold. Topsytook his spacer machine and stashed it somewhere, and I stubbornly refused to get a new one, because I knew the minute I did, we would find the old one. So I taught roly to use his Ventolin like an adult.

He went back to school today and when they got home from school, he and Spindles were bursting to tell me about the Refugee simulation game they played at school today following the African theme.

The teachers combined a simulation game I gave them and added some really cool ideas of their own, and the students had a ball. They really learn from the hands on stuff!

Last week, the class had to make a miniature African village using sticks and real cow manure!!! Hilarious. But it came up really well.

Diva and all the kids actually are enjoying coming up to give me cuddles at recess. I am sort of glad I am not her teacher, so I don't have that responsibility, but it is fun seeing her so much through the day.

Topsy is recovering from a cold. He is just the cutest thing you ever saw at night church, where he stands very quietly next to his Daddy (just while Hubby leads the songs and the kid's activities), and then dances for all he is worth to the songs. We have a couple of folk who raise up their hands when singing, and when he sees that he drops his maracas and lifts up his hands too!

He is also getting much more clear in his speech, trying every word we throw at him.

Well my dears, that is us, short and sweet. Hope to get in some pics over this weekend and maybe get in another quick post!

Posted by michelle :: 8:10 pm :: 2 comments links to this post

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Hi guys!

Still having fun at work. Most evenings I can be found marking the kids' work and planning for the rest of the week, laminating games and spelling words, and photocopying worksheets.

We are onto the months of the year and calendar part of 'time'. Today I taught my kids the 'Montherena', saying the moths of the year, while doing the Macarena actions! quite a hit, with most of the stage learning it from their friends and having a go during recess.

And with my literacy kids we are learning about procedures, as in, how to write one. Like writing a recipe or a simple how to.....

It should be lots of fun!

Topsy is doing really well with my friend Funny Farm. She has taught him some signs which are really cool. I have also implemented them at home, so he says the word and signs consecutively. At present he can do "help please', 'finished', 'more please', and 'finished'.

Most of our family are soldiering through a very mild cold. Roly has tried to drag his cold out into some deadly virus, coughing and spluttering hopefully the moment he woke up today, in the hopes of staying home.

No such luck! Haha! Once bitten (by the fake sickness bug!) twice shy!

I wish life were slightly more interesting so that I might tantalize you with some amazing tale, but alas no!

I leave with pics of my 2 year old helping to make pancakes. He is great with mixing up batter, and also with putting chopped up veggies into the saucepan to boil.

Posted by michelle :: 9:03 pm :: 4 comments links to this post

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hi Guys!! !*waves wildly*

This will be a pathetic skeleton of a post, but hey, I am putting pen to paper at least (well, not really, but you know what I mean!)

It has all begun, the teaching that is, and boy, are the days speeding by already!

In numeracy, the main concept I am teaching my class is to tell the time, which we will focus on for the next fortnight. And in literacy we are beginning poetry.
The biggest flub up I have done so far is try to teach the little ones 'a quarter past' and 'a qurter to' way too soon. So i am going back to getting them sound on the o'clock and half past first.

It has been full on, but i am enjoying the mental stimulation of having to plan ahead and be flexible when things don't go right.

Tomorow is the day Topsy stays home with Hubby instead of going in to Funny Farm's place.
Tomorrow is also my shortest day, as I do not have any lunch duty.

Okaley Dokaley, better go get ready for tomorrow!

Talk soon.

Posted by michelle :: 9:47 pm :: 4 comments links to this post

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

*Big sigh of relief*!
The Africa presentation is over!!!

I spent hours every night since last Friday searching for the right pictures to go with the information I was doing with my power point presentation. I wanted it to be a very interactive and different kind of thing, so they weren't just sitting back being entertained. I really wanted the information to be tangible, so they could almost imagine how different life would be if they were in a child's shoes who lives in either Kenya, Ethiopia or Somalia.
And then I practised my hour- long presentation at least 5 times. *croaky voice*
And then I had to start preparing the food.
The menu I decided on with my Mom's help was
-Somali sambuzis (like an Indian meat samosa)
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-Zeinab's Pilaf (savour lamb pilaf)

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-chai (milky sugary tea that has all been boiled together)
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The preparation for this began on Saturday night when I transformed 7 kg of mince spices and leeks into the sambuzi filling.
Then on Sunday night, 7kg of lamb, plus spices and garlic became a stew as the initial stage of the pilaf.
Then I began deep frying the sambuzis (that went till 2:30 in the morning I might add!)

SO yesterday after making the pilaf, I went in to school at the kids' lunch break to heat up all the food, and make the chai.
There were 6 big trays of food and plastic plates and cups that needed to be transferred over to the other side of school.

I tottered over with the first one in my high heel, fully expecting that the two male teachers would come back and assist me.
That is when it all started to spiral downhill.
The new male teacher (Roly's) was flustered, I could tell from 10 paces away.
He told me that the head teacher (Spindle's) who is very strict, was a way sick, and that that class was wild and high as kites!
And he also said that the 3rd teacher in that stge (years 5/6) had heard about the talk and was hoping to join us. No longer 61 students, but 92 (including the 3 teachers)!
And he was so panicky, I knew that I could not ask him to help me transport everything over. So I rallied up some other assistance to get the food there.
And he had not been lying about wild.
The kids were yelling, pushing, running around the classroom, and the poor sub was going out of her mind!
The real teacher runs such a tight ship, that I never knew half the kids could behave in such a way! I should say that my two were NOT involved in this chaos!

I couldn't believe that I was to waste the product of hours of blood, sweat and tears on these little monkeys who weren't going to listen anyway!

Then Roly's teacher said, "Give me five minutes to calm them down. Close your ears, this won't be pretty!"
He is such a gentle guy, but after getting both his class and Spindles class to push the chairs and desks aside to make space in the centre of the room and then sit on the floor, the level of hysteria lessened considerably.
The third class filed in and sat down as well.
Then Roly's teacher introduced the 'very special guest, who has a fantastic and exciting afternoon planned!"
95 faces gazed at me with skeptical faces, and after that huge intro, I felt my own heart sink. :(
Thankfully Roly's teacher added. 'We have not behaved even close to how we should treat a guest. If there is any talking while Mrs Taylor is doing her presentation, you will go straight out of this room, and there will be no coming back!"

And so I began, launching into the first slide. Because I had practised so many times, and I am so passionate about what I was talking about, I found that my notes were unnessessary. The interactive parts worked too, and the creative minds those kids possess surprised me. They listened so well.

Tons of kids had hands up to ask questions at different times in the talk, and I said there would be time at the end to address them, but then after the talk, I totally forgot about the questions, as we were running short of time for the food.
And this was another surprise.
THe kids loved the food.
I mean, LOVED the food. And they loved the chai too.
They are the age where being able to drink a cup of tea or coffee is very cool and grown up, so that helped too.
Everyone got a plate with pilaf and a sambuzi, which they had to eat with their fingers. And there was enough for most of the boys to have seconds of the pilaf.

I had lots of requests for the recipes to be sent to mums.
I was so excited that these kids were not afraid to have a go at trying something new.
So it went well.

And today?

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Well, we are celerating Topsy's 2nd birthday, as tomorrow, his real birthday, is the only day I can go into the classroom before my 6 week stint with the school commences! You can't imagine the guilt doing this has caused me but then I thought "Hey, dummy! There are tons of kids who never get a birthday. Build a bridge and get over it!'

So we surprised him with the birthday song and cake for breakfast. He much preferred the 30 balloons around the living room to his presents for a while.
What did we get our 2 year old? Ebay bargains, that's what! After the excitement wers off, I plan to rotate them so that each day he gets something different to focus on!

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Oh and guess what! I have been eating smaller portions the last few weeks (eg 1 sandwich not 2 at lunch) and I so far have lost 6 kg. Food has always been an issue for me, so I am very proud of myself for not obsessing about it at all, (being consumed about dieting is just as unhealthy as obsessing about what to gobble down next really isn't it. I have really been praying that I only give food the priority it deserves, which is not a great deal!) and that by just cutting portions back a little (having been the queen of second helpings!) I am getting results.

Posted by michelle :: 11:03 am :: 9 comments links to this post

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