You Do Not Name Your Baby 'Hashtag ' !

.....you just don't! For anyone who missed it, there is a report doing the rounds of the interwebs that a Twitter mad American couple have named their daughter " Hashtag ". I sincerely hope I've been duped by a fake news story because, if not, I feel really, really, really bad for that little girl.....

Having just had to name a newborn, I feel like I can be just a little judgemental on this one. I mean its one thing to give your child a name that maybe isn't very common or not quite everyone's cup of tea ( like Milo or Gretchen or Rusty ).... But to give them a name that ISNT EVEN A NAME is just cruel! Of course, children will pick on each other for all kinds of reasons - maybe because they have big ears, or are a bit on the chubby side or they eat boogers - but i don't think you need to contribute to that by giving your child a wackadoo name ( I'm talking to you Jason Lee and your little Pilot Inspektor ). Also, not that anyone really cares - but I am also not a fan of "original " spellings.... Like Jaksyn or Iizak or Aymie. Don't over-complicate things prospective parents! If your child has to spend the rest of their lives saying ' no no.... Its spelt .... Blah blah blah " then you've made things too hard....

For the record, we went with " Tully Maree " because we wanted something that wasn't overly common but wasn't super weird either; we thought it went well with Flynn ( both names are of Irish origin ); I liked the meaning ( its a unisex name but the female form means ' peaceful ' ); and Maree is my mothers middle name. ( Also, as an aside, we had liked the name Tilly but after ' Underbelly: Razor ' last year we decided against it! )

So - is it just me or is naming a kid ' Hashtag ' all kinds of wrong or are you all for freedom of parental expression?


Anchor Chart Crazy

If you've read my blog in the past- you know this about me already... I LOVE me some anchor charts!  I don't care for store-bought items.  Frankly, they become decorations rather than actual learning tools.   I've never been a teddy bear on the wall kind of teacher, anyway.

My journey with chart-making goes back to when I was student teaching (fade into dream/ memory sequence, perhaps some snazzy fog for effect).....

I was in a classroom that had A LOT of decor items, but none of which really spoke to what the children were learning.  Don't get me wrong, she was/is a great teacher, but I often felt a bit claustrophobic with the floor to ceiling store-bought charts.  In a perfect retail world, all charts would come in all decor combinations (at least that wouldn't be so bad).  About the same time, I attended a week-long seminar on Quantum Teaching (click HERE for more info).  I'm a brain-based learning junkie, so I loved the experience.

One of the over-reaching concepts that I learned was that "everything speaks".  This includes the learning environment.  What we put in our rooms and up on the walls speaks to what we value.  The environment should reflect the students and what they are learning (the purpose for the classroom).  We cannot go about this haphazardly.  Another concept is that "everything is on purpose".  I take these two concepts with me in all realms of education.

Flash back to the present (insert Wayne's World music, if so desired!)....

Over the summer, if stumbled upon a FAB.U.LOUS. blog by two great teachers: Chart Chums . Do you know this one?  It will change your teaching life!  They just came out with a new book that I have post-noted, highlighted, and written all over.

Click here for more info
This book can be applied to all subject areas- not just readers and writers workshop.  It's more of a design method, than a book of ideas.  Their work is based on brain-based ideas, along with marketing and design concepts. 

I wanted to see if my students actually noticed the difference.... last week, we had a big discussion on our charts.  They wanted to ditch the ones that I had made (along with them during instruction) and keep the ones with my drawings and/or photos.  That sold me!  I will now only be doing things the "Chart Chums" way.  It speaks to my students and that is what matters!



What A Pretty Girl You .... Aren't?

I read this article on Mamamia.com earlier in the week and its had me pondering the past few days. Basically the crux of the post is that the author does not want to compliment her baby nieces looks as she feels society focuses far too much on a woman's appearance and she'd rather build up her nieces other assets instead. But to never tell your niece, or your daughter, that she's pretty? I can't agree with that.


This is my pretty, beautiful, gorgeous daughter...

I understand that we, as the mothers of daughters, want to instill in our girls that they are worth more than just their looks - but to never say ' Hello there gorgeous girl! ' or ' Look at the pretty girl in her pretty dress! '. No, I don't think that's fair either. I think my job as a mum is to build self-confidence in both my children, and part of self-confidence is being comfortable with your body and having a good body image. How is a girl supposed to grow up loving her body, being confident in her appearance, if the people who love her the most won't pay her a compliment?

As a women who suffered from incredibly low self-esteem during her formative years, I can tell you a lot of that anxiety came from not feeling pretty enough.... And that was even WITH being told I was ' Daddy's beautiful girl '. I cannot imagine how much worse that 
feeling would have been had I not heard ' yes darling, you're pretty ' from my parents. Hell, even now, when my husband tells me I'm beautiful or that I look gorgeous in a particular outfit, I find it hard to believe that he could possibly be sincere.

So I will tell Tully that she's pretty. I will continue greeting her in the morning with " Good morning gorgeous girl ", just as Flynn gets a " hey handsome boy ". I will also tell them both that they are smart, funny, sweet, strong and that I love them ' so, so much ' ( as Flynn is want to say ). I make no apologies for that, and I guess only time will tell whether my ' compliments all round " approach will help or hinder my daughter when she tries to make her way in the world.

How about you? Do you hold back the physical compliments from your daughter, or do you acknowledge that her physical attributes are part of her overall make-up as a person?

OMG - My First Ever Refashion Post!

So you remember so I mentioned in my last post that I'd had a super sewing fail and in was hoping to be able to take that disaster and turn it into something else? Well - I totally did! And just because I love you guys and I actually remembered to take photos as I went along, I'm going to show you what I did! ( And please excuse the atrocious selfies! )

My original attempt was supposed to be an elastic waisted shirt dress. Pretty simple if you can shirr ( which I am yet to attempt ) or if you sew one line of thin elastic through the middle of the dress. The problem was, though, that I mis-measured the width of the dress and I couldn't stretch my elastic enough to make the dress fabric gather enough to fit me. So, after unpicking the elastic three.bloody. times. This is what I ended up with:


Yes, that is me in a giant freaking mu-mu. That's what I had made myself .... A mu-mu. But because I'm a cheapskate and I didn't want to just waste the money I had spent on the fabric ( a whopping $6 ) I decided to have a do-over. I started by chopping the mu-mu through the middle so that it was a knee length. I then took that bad boy in a good 6cms on each side because, let's face it, it was ginormous!
I then took a plain $4 tank top from Big W ....


... And cut it through just below my natural waist. I now had two halves for one new dress! Next step was to set my sewing machine to the longest stitch length and run a basting stitch the entire way around the top of my skirt. By leaving the tails of my thread long after sewing, I then pulled the top thread which gathered the fabric. The trick is to go slowly and gently until the waist of the skirt is the same width as the singlet. Then you slip the singlet inside the skirt, right sides together , waist to waist:


Then you sew together! I set my machine back to a regular sized stitch and straight stitched around the entire waist, making sure to stitch outside the line of the basting stitch, so it wouldn't show through on the front of the dress. When you've finished sewing, and you flip the skirt back down and right side out, this is what you get:


Kind of cute huh? And way better than the giant shapeless sack I'd started out with. Hell, it even looks cute with a wide belt:


And there you be, my first official refashion of a garment. Its not entirely perfect, and its not exactly what I was aiming for in the beginning, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out in the end!








Happy Thanksgiving and a BIG Sale!

I am thankful for so many things this year!  Both of my boys are healthy and growing into sweet young men (don't tell them I said that!).  My sweet husband continues to support me and my efforts in teaching my little first grade friends.  He really is just the best!

We are spending a long weekend at my brother and sister-in-law's house.  My parents also join us, along with family friends.  It's quite a party with 12 people in one house (plus 2 dogs and 2 guinea pigs).  You would think that we wouldn't need to spend the night..... we only live 5 miles away, but it's our time with family.  I've spent most of the day today on the couch, reading with my little niece.  She's only two, but LOVES her books.
 
I just wanted to stop by and say that I am still here, just crazy busy with work and my family.  I haven't forgotten the blog and have a long list of things to share (including an upcoming writers workshop lab, similar to the readers from last year).
 
There is also a big sale gong on at Teachers Pay Teachers this Monday.  It's time to empty out that cart and wish list! :)

 
All of my items will be listed at 20% off!
Click HERE to visit my store front.
 
You can find more great sellers by checking out the blog lonky party over at Blog Hoppin .
Until next time,
 








Home Alone? Really?

As we roll into the weekend, I'm feeling a little worn out. Not that I've had an overly stressful week, but it has been a bit busier than usual, and after having Flynn home with me today when he is usually at daycare I'm a bit in need of a wine and a sleep in tomorrow morning.

Home alone? What will
I do with myself?


I don't know that I can count on a sleep in, but I'm pretty sure I'll get a little time to myself tomorrow. See, Flynn and i went on a 'date' on Wednesday, out to the shops to buy Daddy name Christmas present and have a 'special lunch ' together.... And tomorrow is Daddy's turn to take him to get a present for me. Tully? Well no, she'll be staying home.... There is no WAY Daddy is ready to take two of them out all by himself! Mick hasnt even tackled the task of being at home alone with two of them, let alone out in a public place where all manner of hijinks can ensue!

But I'm okay with that - if Tully can have her usual two hour nap after lunch than I am happy to include that as Mick making an effort to give me some 'me' time. What do I plan to do with it? Well, let's just say I started a little sewing project for myself this week that turned into a bit of a sewing fail, so I'm going to salvage what I can of that little disaster and turn it into something else ( which I may or may not document later on this blog ) and then get started on a little dress for Tully to wear at Daddy's birthday BBQ next Friday night.

I also desperately need to vacuum the living areas but that can wait til 'me' time is over and done with!

Muse Wars - Round Four

 'Muse Wars' is a flash fiction/short story game that is hosted by the beautiful Lori over at RRSAHM. The object is write something inspired by the posted image. This month it was:




She was running. She may not be wearing the fancy brand name sneakers or exercise gear, but running was sure as hell what she was doing. What she always did - anytime something went wrong, someone said something that hurt her or just when life got in the way, got too hard. She thought if she could run far enough, fast enough....well, maybe it just wouldn't hurt anymore.

But she was wrong. Of course she was. She thought if she just stayed home, stayed away, then she wouldn't run into them and she could pretend she wasn't now an outsider where once she was such a vital link in the chain. She hadn't counted on the impact of social media, of being confronted by them not in person, but in words and pictures.

It was the pictures that upset her the most. When she was feeling thoroughly alone there were always the photos of them, out and about, photos of them making memories she wouldn't be a part of. Photos of them dressed to the nines, laughing, partying, playing the silly games that groups of 'best girlfriends ever! ' are want to play. Things that not only did she not get to do with them anymore, but that she did not do with anyone at all anymore. She hadn't found anyone to replace them, of course - for weren't 'best girlfriends forever ' irreplaceable?

And why? Why was she missing from those new memories, those Facebook photos and Twitter statuses that always gave her a slight pang ( not that she would admit it to anyone but herself )? Because when she should have stayed, and fought and spoke up for herself... Well, she'd run. And she'd continue to run, even though she knew where she was running to wasn't any better, any less hurtful, than where she'd run from.....

Zen and Quantum Physics

Banker returns with tales of the Dhasam-Bul monestary.


#43 Bonus: Zen and Quantum Physics - The Dragon's Sleep

#44 Bonus: Zen and Quantum Physics - The Door of Comprehension

#45 Bonus: Zen and Quantum Physics - Mystic Aphorism

#46 Bonus: Zen and Quantum Physics - Reeds in the Wind

#47 Bonus: Zen and Quantum Physics - The Flying Syllable

Dear Tully, 3 Months Old

My gorgeous girl,
I can't believe you are 3 months old already! I know it sounds clich├ęd, but I really can't believe how quickly the time has flown - it seems like only a week or two ago I was willing you out of there, and now here you are, my 3 month old chunky monkey pumpkin.



You are already such a beautiful girl... Not just pretty ( although those gorgeous long eyelashes do win you lots of compliments ) but you have a beautiful temperament. You are such a cruisy little poppet, usually quite content to lie back in your swing or on your play mat, watching the world go by. Actually, its more like people watching - you are such a people person and a MAJOR snuggle bunny. If someone is happy to have you on their lap, you are happy to snuggle in for a cuddle or a snooze.

Speaking of snoozing, you are a much better sleeper than your brother was at this age, and for that I am extremely grateful. Our feeding is going well now after a bit of a rocky start, and even though people say you don't get the same connection when bottle feeding, I really enjoy the one bottle a day you have - looking down at you and having you looking back at me. I also enjoy sewing clothes for you, and having you wear all the cute things I'm attempting to make for you!

And so - happy 3 months! I can't wait to see what you start doing next - finding your hands ( you're already fascinated with your feet ), rolling, reaching out to touch things, sitting up on your own and first words. Love you my gorgeous baby girl,

Love your Mama

Off the Air



Welcome to another installment of Banker's Bonus Stories! This week: Off the Air.


 All of them!

The One I Hate

I'll admit it - I am not the neatest of freaks. My house is quite thoroughly lived in, and though do try and clean some part of it everyday it retains that air of ' recent tornado ' that only a 3 yr old boy can provide. So even though I do my best there one job I just hate doing.... and that's cleaning the bathroom.

Maybe if I had a bathroom like this I might enjoy cleaning it...

The problem is that the bathroom isn't one of those jobs you can put off forever. You know, like folding the washing - you can put that off until you've cultivated yourself quite a nice Mt Washing-ton and it doesn't really matter. But if you put cleaning the bathroom off for too long and you start cultivating yourself a nice batch of mould.... which is really not that nice at all is it?

So I nominated Tuesdays as ' clean the bathroom day '.... and its now Wednesday night and I haven't done it yet. ( Drafting a pattern and sewing Tully a pretty dress has been way more important ). I'm not sure exactly what it is that irks me so much about cleaning the bathroom - maybe the chemical smells, maybe the myriad of surfaces that have to be scrubbed, maybe the fact I'm the only one who does it - but I know that now that i 've already misuse my cleaning day by one day, I have to get to it tomorrow. Or Friday, at the latest.

So what about you - which domestic delight do you find less than delightful?


Back To The Future

Do any of you remember when this blog used to have some substance? And by that, I mean do you remember when I used to write about stuff, about things that were happening out in the world beyond my front door? I do... and I so want to get back to that place. Don't get me wrong - I love my kids and my husband and the particulars of my life right now, but I'm tired of writing exclusively about them. And I'm pretty sure you guys are tired of reading about them, which is why my comments have dropped in the last 6 months or so.

This blog needs a resurgence.... it needs a bit of an injection. Not so much a makeover, just more of a changed up in content. I miss things like the Polly Dolly posts ( so sad that Danimezza discontinued them, and I'm not a big enough clothing size to play along with her new blog hop ) and Flip Off Friday, memes that assured I had motivation to post.

I miss reading a news article and getting my ranty pants on on here, miss sharing links and reviewing books and films.

So I'm making a converted effort. I'm still going to write about my family of course, and I'd love to blog more about my new found love for sewing ( hell, I may even attempt a tutorial at some point! ) .... alls I know is that things need a bit of a shake up around here!

MMMM #2 - Estrelita


MMMM #2 - Estrelita



A new translator has entered the ring! Thanks to translator Timbeano the Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine rolls on. Awesome!

Sewing For The Boy

First off, this is so NOT a tutorial post - I will leave that to the awesome sewing bloggers I've found through Pinterest ( oh yea, I'm on Pinterest now! ). This is more of a hey! Look what I can do post, with a few pictures along the way. See, since acquiring myself a sewing machine my interest in sewing and creating has really taken off, but it occurred to me that I'd only made things for Tully, and my gorgeous boy was kind of missing out on Mummy's creative attention. One day he asked me to make him a bunting for his room, similar to the next I had done for Tully. So this is what Flynn got:

                                         

His verdict? ' Mum, that's amazing! '.... pretty high praise indeed. So I decided I wanted to make something else for him. I'd been making Tully some cute skirts and have pinned a whole heap of gorgeous dresses for her, but there isn't a lot out there for boys. But the one thing I was pretty sure I could do, and he actually need? Pyjamas! So I Googled and searched Pinterest, read some tutorials and got to it!


I traced around a pair of shorts that fit him ( folded in half ) to make a basic pattern on some newspaper. Then I pinned on my folded fabric and cut so I had four pieces. Technically the two back pieces should be slightly bigger than the front - to accommodate the booty! - but he's a toddler.... he doesn't have a big bottom, so I just made each piece the same. I was aiming to make them roomy anyway so he could be comfy while he slept. It was basically sew front to front and back to back at inner seam, new front piece to back piece at crotch and then sew up the sides, creating an elastic waistband to finish. This is what I ended up with:

I cut a rectangular patch of the same material an sewed on the front of a $3 T-shirt from Big W so that he'd have a matching top for his new jammies, then when it was bath and bedtime he got his little present from Mum. What do you think?






One Whole Year

Happy first anniversary to me and my gorgeous husband! One year ago today I was beautifying myself, playing down my nerves and then walking down the aisle to marry the love of my life and the father of my beautiful children. This was us then:


An this was us on Saturday night, when we scored a babysitting session from the grandparents and took the opportunity to go out on a " Happy Anniversary ! " date:



Aside from my hairstyle I don't think we've changed that much - or at least I don't think the being married part has changed us. Starting our business, and having a new baby might have changed us as individuals, but the being married part has only enhanced what was already a solid, supportive, loving relationship. Sometimes we argue ( and when we do its pretty much over the next day ) but it think that's healthy. What's important is that even when we are arguing, we still love each other.

So to my husband, on our first anniversary: thank you for loving me, and letting me love you. Thank you for making beautiful children with me, and supporting me as a wife and mother. Thank you for encouraging when I've needed it, and being constructively critical when I needed that too. Even though sometimes I'd like to punch you in the guts ( I think we've all been there haven't we? ) I love you with my entire heart. And, just for you honey, with all my farts.... you're ( super awesome, most wonderful, very beautiful ) wife....


Post-Halloween Crazieness & WTW Video Clips

I seriously believe that Halloween should only be celebrated on Fridays... we only do Thanksgiving on Thursdays, right?  Our little are just so tired (not to mention coming down from a major sugar high!).

My morning started out great yesterday.... I was being observed by other district teachers and training them on Words Their Way.  My littles were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!  They spoke in hushed tones as they sorted and sounded out the spelling/ sound patterns.  They used the language of word study and were explaining to partners what the spelling pattern was for the sort.  Sigh.  The teachers were so impressed with them.  Truth be told, I spent the first month of school working on transitions and work expectations.  You can see them in action here on a few different days (and me teaching- please don't judge!):

Day 1- Open Sort
Day 1-2 Small Group Instruction
Day 4+ Buddy & Speed Sorts

The afternoon, was not so great.  I had a different bunch of teacher in for the second session.  Needless to say, the tiredness took over and they became little pod people.  I didn't recognize them.. They were sassy to my guest teacher and even to me.  They were rude to each other and there even some tears (all within 15 minutes of our word study portion).  Keep in mind, there were 10 extra pairs of eyes on them.  Hello?  I was mortified.  These were NOT my kids.

I apologized profusely to the other teachers, but they just said "We've seen it before- no problem".  However, I felt like they were silently judging me.  My Literacy Consultant said that they weren't bad considering the day, but I could just feel the cringing from my fellow teachers around the room.

What was I thinking when I agreed to an observation lab the day after Halloween?  Two weeks ago, the kids were fine.  Heck- they were super stars just that morning.

I was a disaster all last night and barely slept.  Apparently, I also looked like it because one of my littles asked if I was sick because my eyes weren't "done pretty".  Kid- sometimes no amount of concealer will work!

I had a heart to heart with my little friends first thing.  I shared with them my feelings about what I saw happening around the room, starting with the great work that they did in the morning and the awesome report from the guest teacher (I love how they say the class was great, even when they weren't!).  I then went on to share my feelings about the afternoon and how it broke my heart to see them treat each other that way.  I also felt sad because they were disrespecting me by being sassy and talking back when I was giving directions.  I cried a little.  That's right, I openly wept in front of my students.  They let me down and I wanted them to know that it DOES matter to me.  Many of them cried right along with me. 

Right or wrong, I was honest and transparent with them.  PMS?  Maybe.  However, we grew closer by sharing our feelings as a classroom family.  They were wonderful the rest of the day.  I think the weekend will give us a chance for the hearts to grow fonder :)

That Time Of The Month

No, no, not THAT time of the month. I'm talking about my least favourite time of each month, the last day of one transitioning into the first day of the next.... which means doing the invoices/statements for our business. Booooooo!

Yes, I know they have to be done if we want to get paid, but its just so tedious. Even though I elect to print them alphabetically from our accounting software, they still come out of the printer in order of how overdue the account is; then I have to sort them back into alphabetical order; then I have to sort out the individual con-notes for each individual delivery we've done that month ( just as a reminder, we own a courier business, so every package we delivery has its own paperwork ); then I have to match them, staple them, fold them, envelope them and stamp them.

If I was lucky, I used to be ale to get all that done in two days whilst looking after Flynn. Now that I have Tully it takes twice that long because I have to breastfeed/nappy change/settle most of the day and the invoicing gets done in between. Double booooooo!

So guess what I was doing today? And will do some more of tomorrow? And hopefully finish tomorrow? You guessed it - triple booooo!

The Return of Angus Tales


Angus Tales - Unannounced Visits

Maaaan, this little gem has been waiting down in the comments for a WEEK before I noticed it. Apologies, and big thanks to Banker.

The last bonus story to ever grace a PKNA comic was a return to classics: One last Angus Tale to round it all off. Enjoy.

Oh, and Banker doesn't wanna touch Trip's Strip, so I figure maybe I'll have a go at them at some point. I haven't been doing any real work since PKNA #11, so it's probably about time I start chipping in again.