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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for Bilby

Bilby Babble

“Outside our house must be a beach! Because I keep on finding beach shells!”

Disney Princess Recovery

A friend pointed out the Disney Princess Recovery blog. While I don’t think we have too many concerns currently with Bilby (certainly no ‘Rapunzel Syndrome’—see her sidebar, given Bilby’s current hairstyle), I have been finding it a very interesting read!

Bilby Babble

She’s basically talking like a grown up most of the time—and comprehensible to non-parent adults:-) However, she still has a few childhood words left… we’ve been using the air cooler in their room of late, and so she’s taken to asking for the Aircondishnika. Less cutely, she regularly uses ‘at’ for that (as in “I’ll tell Puggle at we’re coming”).
There’s another… but it momentarily escapes me:-(


It occurred to us yesterday, that Cygnet has finally made that transition. He’s walking. He still crawls, but it’s no longer his first thought for locomotion. He prefers to walk—and is really interested in shoes now:-)

Yesterday, we left the kids with their grandparents, Cygnet for a couple of hours and the other two overnight, so we could see a movie for our anniversary (7 years!). I left them with a bag of nappies for Bilby. They were delivered home this morning—with all the nappies still there! She apparently decided to stop wearing them (during the day), and was still without them when she got home! She was even dry during her nap! I’m still not entirely convinced that she’s trained, but she’s delivering a pretty convincing implession of it!

So we go into 2010 with everyone walking, and only one in nappies full time! It is indeed a different year to the last!

2009, the year that was

In spite of the evidence of my blog, it’s actually been a pretty productive year! But it was rather one of those ‘if you’re doing, there’s no time to be writing about it’ years.

I had (as has been the case the last couple of years) resolved to make more music and play more games. Although we sang a little less than we have been (basically in the last couple of months, although, I’m getting better again now), we did do occasional ‘Music Nights’, and I did a lot more recorder with Puggle (and Bilby:-) ) Thanks to Swancon, and their fabulous Gaming Stream, I played a lot more games than usual—sadly, I didn’t really maintain the momentum for the rest of the year…

I hadn’t ‘signed on’ for the Handmade Holidays challenge, but I did kind of decide to attempt it. I did pretty well when it came to kids presents! (I think) I basically made all bar 2—which were both a couple of days after Swancon. Certainly that was the case for other people’s children. I made some stuff for ours, but I’m not making books yet, and lego is still beyond me:-)

I didn’t do so well on regular blogging (obviously:-( ) But I am still thinking about it, so I anticipate returning:-) I took more photos, and managed to upload a number—haven’t managed our usual family photo calendar yet, but I hope to very shortly (it’s a great way to actually use some of the photos:-) )

Aside from the handmade presents, most of my crafting this year has been patchworking. B and M’s wedding quilt got me enthused enough to start a Virtual Quilting Bee. We’re in our fifth month now, although I’m still finishing block 3:-(

All up, it’s been a pretty reasonable year:-) It is of course a constant learning curve with the kids, just as soon as you think you have a handle on where they are, they go and change… but mostly it’s been good:-)

Christmas 2009

A couple of years ago, the Advent season was when I started blogging daily (or nearly so). I maintained it until probably May-ish last year, and then a few times a week for about another 12 months. This year? I think I managed a couple of Food Posts through Advent, and that’s about it.

Mind you, this Advent has been lacking in a lot of my usual preparations! I have Ice Cream Plum Pudding in the house, because that’s essentially what I was doing for our family Christmas dinner. I have Gingerbread Dough in the freezer, because I made a double quantity when we made gingerbread houses at Halloween. I have the makings of Fruit Mince Pies (pre-rolled pastry in the freezer and a bottle of mince). We’ve read a pile of Christmas books. We made an Advent Chain. But that’s about as far as any similarity to previous Christmasses goes.

Before I get too disappointed though, I should point out that we have made quite a few presents this year! There should (I hope!) be several individual posts, once I download photos, but Puggle and I have been woodworking, and Bilby and I have sewn. Puggle made a small wooden boat for Cygnet, and a set of stilts for Bilby (as well as a pair of stilts for his Secret Santa, and he helped to sew an apron for Cygnet’s Secret Santa). Bilby made a woodworking apron for Puggle, five balloon juggling balls and a grab bag for her Secret Santa, and some Chocolate Coated Almonds for her grandparents. Me? I have finally finished the Pink Tower and (almost! still have to put the finish on) the Brown Stair. I’ve made (with some help from Puggle) several sets of Tree Blocks for some of the smaller children of our acquaintance. I have made three Bench Hooks (two to suit western saws, and one for japanese saws). And I’ve made a wooden forest (barring the dye-ing and finishing) (like blocks, but shaped like trees, rather than trees made from tree branches). I’ve sewn bags for the tree blocks (I still have one more to go, and a similar bag for the wooden forest), and three apron/chef’s hat sets… with accompanying bag. I’ve also been painting the IKEA abacus we got for Cygnet, to match the colours of the Right Start one:-) We did also make jam as part of our Christmas preparation.

I’m still anticipating doing our usual family calendar, and I’m hoping we’ll get to the cards—but obviously that won’t be happening by Christmas time!

So, a bit of a hit and miss. I keep reminding myself though, we can’t do everything! And we have been doing a lot of French during this time:-) Reminding me of more posts I have been meaning to write!

Hope your Christmasses were all lovely, and that the rest of your Festive Season is safe and joyous!

Useful Clipart

I’ve been doing a lot of sheets lately, for which I’ve wanted outline images (we’re doing fruits and vegetables for French at the moment). This site has been really great! Most things have had multiple images, so I can choose based on which is most appealling:-)

I like to use outline shapes partly because we have a black and white printer, so colours are a bit of a waste (and the print in greys, which can be a bit distracting), but also Puggle (and to a lesser extent, Bilby) has hit a stage of wanting to colour, so it’s useful for that.

Channelling ET

Bilby is pretty keen on all her stuffed animals (and some of Puggle’s too), and her (Puggle’s) baby doll. Lately, she’s been wanting them all in bed with her—to the point where she’s pretty hard to spot in amongst them all:-)
I’d post a picture, but the flash would wake her (and we don’t show recognisable photos of the kids for all to see…)

Birthday Cake

InspirationBilby is now three. She had been insistent for nearly a year that she wanted a train cake.

A couple of weeks ago though, she decided that she wanted a ‘hammer cake, like Dada’s… and a Humpty’ (I made Paddington a pinata cake for his birthday, and she was quite taken with it, she’d also been looking through some of our cake books, and come across a couple of Humpty cakes).
Humpty cake

I was very pleased with the end result—even if we couldn’t find the hammer! We ended up using a softish mallet, that made no headway on Humpty (until we turned him side on:-) He was much easier to crack through his seam! )
Broken Humpty

It’s Done! (I think…)

Bilby has finally weaned—about a week shy of her third birthday! I had begun to doubt my ability to make that milestone…

In the end, we succeeded by taking advantage of a fluke of circumstances, where she missed nursing three times in a row (in other words, a full day… she was nursing upon waking, before bed, and before nap time). We were at a friend’s place, playing, so she missed her nap time—so she didn’t nurse. That evening, she hardly touched her dinner, and for a while now I haven’t let her nurse before bed if she didn’t eat dinner (otherwise she’d skip the food and nurse for ages. Then bizarrely, she woke in the morning and came and snuggled our knees in bed, instead of coming and asking for a feed as usual!

I took that as a signal she was ready:-) It meant that over the weekend I had to get up and get moving (the next morning she was rather more reluctant to skip the morning feed, but if I wasn’t in bed, it wasn’t such an issue). Evenings have been the easiest, a drink of milk from a cup and a snuggle and she has been happy to settle. Nap times have taken longer, and she continued to ask to nurse until yesterday (although it was only once, then). But today… Today she happily settled with a drink and a snuggle.

Of course, I need to wean her off the drink too, but she has basically been just sipping… so I’m hoping that will be more straightforward!

I have loved nursing her:-) It was easy to start with, and it has been delightful watching the two youngest with each other… and a part of me is still sorry to end it, but overall I’m very happy to move past that stage.

Children Playing

According to the sounds in my lounge room, Jackie French is coming to swancon, and bringing her wombat—who’s going to be dressing up as a robot! And then they’re going rogaining, and then, her wombat is the first wombat going into space! (He’s a remarkably literate wombat, too… spends a portion of the time reading to Jackie French!)

(They’ve been playing ‘Jackie French and Wombat’ for about a week or so… always ‘Jackie French’ to distinguish from the Jackie we know:-) I’m not quite sure why they are so taken with them… we have a number of her books, both gardening and children’s picture book… that includes Diary of a Wombat—which explains why they associate her with Wombat… but still… I didn’t think we’d talked about her that much:-))

Actually, it’s a text book example of improvisation, of offer and acceptanc. They both ‘lead’ the play, and make suggestions, without saying ‘you do this’… it’s very cool to listen to:-)

Five and Standing and Mixing Colours!

So yesterday, I sent Bilby to go and get three nappies to put in the nappy bag before we headed out. She came back to put them in, but told me she could only find two. I asked to see them and there were actually two! I quizzed her on a couple of other numbers, and she knows her numbers up to five… and most of her shapes (although, she hasn’t picked up ‘quadrilateral’ from Puggle’s maths:-) That got him a few raised eyebrows the other night at dinner:-) ). She has also apparently got most of her colours sorted—all except for black and brown, which Puggle still confuses…

Cygnet has decided in the last day or so that he’s ready to try standing! He’ll randomly let go of things, and although at first he sat pretty much immediately, now he’s letting go and grabbing hold again:-) Then he gets a look of such delight:-) Of course, it usually earns applause from his siblings, which requires even more grins:-)

Puggle has been colouring in and painting. He’s getting much better at staying between the lines. Today, he decided to use the watercolours to paint his History pictures, so I had a delightfully rendered Spartan Warrior—with carefully mixed purple (‘that’s the colour they get from snail shells’), after he collected the colour wheel to help him with his proportions (they are quite fond of the purples, so they’ve used up all that was on the tray:-) )

This Week

Our plans for
Week 5, Block 6, Dorothea Term (Break Week)

With the end of this term, I had planned that Puggle would have finished a couple of books, so we can move on to something else… we’re not quite there, so we’ll read a couple more Aesop’s Fables over the week, and another chapter of The Orchard Book of Roman Myths.

He’s also (I think?) at a bit of a cusp with his maths work, so we’ll do a couple of lessons (probably Tuesday and Thursday) just to keep it in his mind. For the same reason, I’ll get him to read something each day.

He has already said he still wants his boxes, even though it’s Break Week! (My task for Break Week is going to be to get the ‘structural’ aspects of his boxes set up. I still need to laminate his numbers, and then attach all the velcro dots.)


Week 4, Block 6, Dorothea Term

This has been a bit of a mixed week. Puggle’s done his boxes most days… but Bilby has missed Mat Time most days. Puggle has experimented with clay—and interesting progression from his beeswax work.

His reading is coming along in leaps and bounds. This week he was reading some of the Edward Lear limericks he’s only heard once. I can ask him to tell me things from recipes (although, I generally need to tell him where to look if I need the answer quickly!) He’s choosing to read a lot more often.

He’s making use of his timer (and I’ve got times listed for the first 4 things) so once he actually starts, he progresses through them quite steadily.

This Week

Our plans for
Week 4, Block 6, Dorothea Term

Chapter 20 ‘The Face’ from Song School Latin by Amy Rehn
‘The Guardian Geese’ from The Orchard Book of Roman Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean
”The Ass in the Lion’s Skin’, ‘The Bees and Wasps, and the Hornet, ‘The Lark and her Young Ones’ from Aesop’s Fables for Children Illustrated by Milo Winter
The Muddle-headed Wombat by Ruth Park
‘The Three Musicians’ from Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
‘Limericks’ The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense by Edward Lear
Copywork: ‘ay’, ‘ai’
RightStart B

‘Out West’ from European Word Book by Richard Scarry
‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, ‘Mrs Mason Bought a Basin’ from My Very First Mother Goose Iona Opie
‘North West Passage’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Story of Sigurd’ from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Pigling Bland by Beatrix Potter (I’ve borrowed a number of these on CD, and have found that’s helped a lot with reading them this time around!)
Hieronyme de Carmot et ses droles d’animaux/Hieronymus Betts and His Unusual Pets by M. P. Robertson

Minimus araneus compluvium ascendit
Lente! (Slowly!)
J’ai des rubans sur mes souliers
Arrete! (Stop!)
Folksong: The Fair Janet
Composer: Franz Liszt
Work: Mephisto Waltz
Artist: Caspar David Friedrich
Work: Woman at a Window
Music: Accent (p. 25 The Kodaly Method I)
Rise Sally Rize
Art: Wax Crayons
Sheep on a Hill (p. 172 The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas)
‘Mouth’, ‘Ocean’, ‘Ocean Ridge’ from Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton
‘Babylon Takes Over Again’, ‘Life in Early Crete’ from The Story of the World: Ancient Times by Susan Wise Bauer
Recorder ‘Hot Cross Ending’ from Black Belt Recorder 1

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