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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for Season

Pile of Books

For a number of years, I’ve read of the idea of wrapping up a pile of Christmas books for Advent. This year, I realised we had enough books to do it ourselves!
Pile of Books

It occurred to me that I didn’t ever get to Cygnet’s Advent calendar last year. So last night, before hanging the others’, I did some work on his. I finished it today:-)
Advent Calendars

Preparing for French

prepping french
My task today was to prepare for French. We’ve been doing it with another family, but we haven’t returned to it since our trip. It was about time:-) Initially, we’ll re-do a number of activities (we’ll certainly re-do the topics!) So today, I simply had to print some sheets, find the animals, and print the words for a new carol:-)

Advent (December) Chain

I’ve been a bit hit and miss around here of late… I’m hoping that this next month will see me start to post more regularly again:-)

Anyway, I’ve just been prepping our Advent Chains, and thought I might as well upload the file here for other people to use:-) I print the first page on one colour, and the remaining two on another. Each child gets their own (I let them choose their favourite two colours), and they will make them over the next few days:-) (Depending on their age, I cut them with the paper trimmer.)

Enjoy!

Anzac Day

For a file folder swap, I’ve done up a collection of Anzac Day activities and information. I thought I might as well share my links here so that other people can make use of it:-)

Most of this is aimed at younger children. And it’s basically from an Australian perspective.

For starters, there’s a great (young kids) introduction. It covers the Anzac Connection, War, (with a detour to a re-telling of Simpson and his Donkey), the Defence Forces and Anzac Day.
(I need to include some information about books… still to come. In the meantime, there’s a useful looking post here!)

You might want to explore flags. Firstly, a bit about the Parts of a Flag, then Australian and New Zealand flags to colour, and a little about flag protocol.

Next, words and music are a fairly important feature of Anzac Day.

First up, the texts of ‘In Flanders Fields’, ‘Ode of Remembrance’ (where we get “They shall not grow old”) and ‘Recessional’ (source of “Lest we forget”… which is often sung to the tune of Eternal Father, Strong to Save). These may be useful for copywork or memorisation (or just so that they’re known for Anzac services).

There’s the lyrics to some of the songs I associate with Anzac Day. Two Little Boys, God Bless Australia, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, I Was Only Nineteen, and Mothers, Daughters, Wives.

Of course, the cornet/trumpet calls are a key feature. The most important is The Last Post (music here), (although, if you have smaller children who might want to learn to play things, Taps might be a easier choice! It is used locally, although not in the military.) We commonly refer to Reveille (as mentioned yesterday, be sure it’s the Commonwealth version, here it starts at 1:20! Music at the same link as above). But we usually hear Rouse, because it’s shorter (here it starts at 1:30, once again, music at the same link). This page which contains audio files of The Last Post, Reveille (Commonwealth version) and Rouse. (The same friend that pointed me at that also linked to this page, which has US bugle calls! How cool! There’s one for school! And meals! And mail! Not really Anzac Day… but interesting all the same—and I’d like to be able to find it again!)

There’s instructions on how to make a bugle, and how to play it. (And if you want to add some science, try this video explanation of how to make your brass instrument:-) )

I’ve made a playlist of all (or almost all) the music I included.

For the smaller kids, some activities that might be of interest include a dot-to-dot soldier, a numbered dot-to-dot soldier, a maze (helping Simpson and his donkey find their way to the medical tent), some poppies, a Digger’s Rising Sun (I enlarged it, to fill a page), a WW1 Digger and nurse, making (or colouring) a wreath, and instructions to make tissue paper flowers.
(You can also find some online activities.)

Finally, I included some activities for slightly older children. There’s some teacher’s notes for Memorial. There’s a range of activities here (they’re probably mostly for high school aged kids). Some that seemed appropriate for primary (maybe?) aged kids, include Investigating the Spirit of Anzac and Their Spirit, Our History. There’s also a list of suggested activities here, for a range of primary ages.

Reveille or Rousse

I’ve been assembling a collection of ANZAC Day resources, and discovered a number of things. I wanted to note here, that what we (in Commonwealth countries) know as Reveille is not the same as folks in the US… But then again, what we know as Reveille, might actually be Rouse. You can check it out by comparing what you’re listening to, to the music here!

Pancake numbers

14 adults and 16 kids. 10 batches of pancakes, and 1 of chocolate pancakes (choc milk instead of milk). 2 batches of crepes left for sometime this week, and 1 batch of chocolate pancakes sent home with someone:-)

2010, I resolve…

I’m sticking quite close to the resolutions of the past couple of years. They haven’t been resounding successes (probably because they’re not SMART:-) ), but I am still referencing them.

So, in 2010, I plan to Make More Music, and Play More Games. In some ways, these both get easier as the kids get older:-)

I plan to add Make More (interesting) Bread. (I do a couple of loaves a week, but they’re a pretty standard loaf. I have a few specialist loaves I’ve been meaning to experiment with, so i reckon one every couple of months would be a good effort. Turkish Bread, Ciabatta, Naan, Pita… I have a feeling there was another I was considering [Paddington has suggested Parathas:-) ]. Basically though, if I can master the first two, I’ll count it as a successful year:-) )

I need to Drink More Water, and I really do need to do something to get more fit (hmm… I didn’t even deign to capitalise that… that says a lot!)

I’m hoping to start reading (well, if we’re doing Don Quixote, I’ll be listening!) through some Great Books with another Home Schooling mum:-) We’ve been talking about it… but maybe it’s a good time to start:-)

That’s quite a bit! So a good place to stop:-)

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!

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

Smiley + Scar

smiley with scar
Days later, and another birthday cake is required. Cygnet’s had been so succesful, I thought I’d repeat it—just with an extra touch to match the recipient! (The staples were the only fiddly bit:-) )

First Birthday

Smiley
We don’t do much for first birthdays, we keep it simple. But there is always cake:-)
Cygnet is generally a smiley fellow (although, not so much today:-( ) So we figured this was an appropriate choice!
I’m not a fan of licorice as a flavour—but it is invaluable in decorating cakes:-)

Pinata Cake

For Paddington’s birthday.
pinata cake
broken pinata cakeIt was surprisingly straightforward—and a real hit!:-)

Birthday Blaze

To celebrate being a year older, I’m planning to sit around a campfire for a couple of hours.

So, Friday night, you’re all welcome to come by from about 8ish onwards. Our kids will (hopefully!) be in bed, but kids are welcome. We’ll have a fire, some spiced apple juice and mulled wine, and some marshmallows. Bring anything else you’d like to eat or drink, and maybe something on which to sit. Dress warmly, I think they’re forecasting about 3˚C that night!

I anticipate being there until either we run out of fire, or until the cold/rain (none forecast for that day, but the days each side might be wet) gets to us.

I’d love to see some of you… but there’s no need to rsvp (although, if you feel inclined I’m happy to hear from you:-) ) Email me (the address is in About Me) for the address if you need it.

Wedding Napkin Rings

knitting-wireThis

became these.
bm-napkin-rings

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