28 September 2013

YouTube, the Italian Language Teacher for Kids

If you have been living under a rock you may not know that I have an interest in the Italian language. What those of you who live out in the sunshine may not know is that I also sporadically attempt to teach this beautiful language to my daughters. Now I'm not a teacher. Nor am I a perfect speaker of my mother's mother tongue. But I do know that at their ages, the MissyMoos are like sponges and I don't want to miss this opportunity to expand their minds and have a bit of fun with something that is part of their heritage.

One of the most effective ways of opening the MissyMoos' ears up to the language of their Nonna is for them to hear it through media they already enjoy - DVDs of cartoons and kids' movies sent over by their Sicilian cousins are the main aids in a home within which English is spoken 99% of the time. CDs in the car are also great because a catchy tune played a few times over is easily remembered by little ones. You might be able to picture the wide smile on my face (and tear in my eye) when the other day, MissyMoo1 (6) started singing along to an Italian pop song on a CD in the car ... and with perfect pronunciation! This is the power of song!

Sometimes I like to mix things up a bit. This is the power of YouTube! Even clips the MissyMoos have on DVD seem more exciting when they're watched on YouTube.

Today I thought I'd share a few of our favourites with you.

"Non lo faccio piu" - this is from a cartoon series called Zecchino d'Oro. We have this on DVD, but they still ask to watch it on the computer:

 
 
"Mi Scappa la Pipì" - this one's a bit cheeky, but perfect humour for little kids:



"Pulcino Pio"- this is too fast for kids to sing along, but interesting with the different ways animal sounds are pronounced. We can also pause the video in parts to go through what each animal is called in Italian.



The other day we hit the jackpot: Peppa Pig! The MissyMoos learned the Italian word for "bubble". See, Peppa Pig is educational.




Bit by bit, they're picking up a word or two ... and having fun in the process!

22 September 2013

Fish-sitting

Meet Rico.

As the Spring school holidays are upon us, I am reminded of a special job we did last holidays (yes, it has taken me this long to blog about it. Bad blogger!)

Friends of ours went away for a week, so we fish-sat Rico. He was a very easy pet to mind and interesting to look at - especially when tricked by a mirror into believing there was another fighter fish on this turf (or in his waters, I suppose would be a more accurate way to say it).

The MissyMoos were very pleased to be able to help out their adored big friends and they were great at feeding the fish every morning. They were also very vigilant about making sure The Fat Cat didn't sneak into the house ;-) I'm happy to report that Rico was returned home to his family alive and well (phew!)

For weeks afterwards, the MissyMoos were begging for a fish of their own. It would be nice. Maybe one day. But for now, they can content themselves with spending some quality time with the pet they actually have.

19 September 2013

Thankful for Thankful Thursday

Francesca Writes Here
 
I've said it before, but I am thankful for Thankful Thursday.
 
Lately I've been doubting whether I'm the right person to host this link up and whether I even want to do it any more. Life's pace recently (who am I kidding - for a while now) has meant that if not for Thankful Thursday, I could probably let weeks slip by without writing a blog post. And I have a hunch that life will only get busier in future. I don't like being forced to blog - it's my hobby. And sometimes on a Wednesday night, when I sit down to write my Thankful Thursday post, I'm tired and clean out of ideas. Sometimes I think I should hand the Thankful Thursday baton onto someone more eager, more creative, more "bloggy" and let myself lapse into occasional blogging.
 
But that is precisely why I am continuing on with Thankful Thursday, why I am clinging to it with an iron grip, why determination sustains my writing.
 
Thankful Thursday gives me the weekly prod I need to snap out of the mundane and think a little differently, to find the good in things around me and to write about it.
 
 
 
I am thankful for my weekly prompt to fuel positivity within me - it's exactly what I need at the tail end of the week.






16 September 2013

The Cuddliest Grocery Shop Ever

Saturday morning capped off a busy week during which I had not yet found the opportunity to do a grocery shop.

The first stop Saturday morning was to the dentist for a check-up. The whole family went along to get checked in one go. I went first, followed by MissyMoo3.

MissyMoo3 had been unwell all week. To describe her as sooky would be an understatement. Prying the little koala off me so the dentist could get a quick look in her mouth (according to the receipt it was a "comprehensive oral exam") was an interesting exercise. Post dentist appointment, I escaped with MissyMoo3 to the supermarket while Hubby stayed with the big MissyMoos for their turns.

MissyMoo3 did not want to let go of me in the supermarket. Freaked out by the scary man in the mask trying to look in her mouth as well as being quite tired from all her crying, she refused to sit in the trolley. So, with an almost 2-year-old on my hip, I proceeded to do the grocery shop one-handed. It was a little awkward and slow-going -pushing the trolley with one hand as it got fuller and heavier was a little challenging. MissyMoo3 must have been comfortable, though, as she fell asleep with her head on my shoulder. I got a lot of smiles from old ladies. Despite my tiring arm, I was pretty chuffed about it too.

Having perpetually inhabited baby/toddler land for almost seven years now, I thought I had done it all, or at least most of it. But that is the first time I've literally single-handedly done a grocery shop with a sleeping toddler koala :)

13 September 2013

That'd Be Right

One of the downsides of hosting Thankful Thursday is that I run the risk of coming across as one of those overly positive, find the good in everything, isn't life wonderful people.

You know the type. They're the ones you just want to punch in the face when you're having a bad day (not that I've ever punched anyone in the face - but in my mind, I have done it plenty).



Well, this post should put those concerns to rest.

I have recently become rather fed up at stuff which I don't seem to be able to do smoothly. Stuff that everyone else seems capable of managing but which just has to be the opposite of plain sailing for me.

Common cold

 

Do you remember how I recently had the most slowly progressing sore throat / cold in the history of the universe? Most people get a cold, take some tablets and then they're right as rain within a few days. Not me. I react to the good stuff in all that medication, so I have to see it through the old-fashioned way. Now, nearly three weeks after it began, my voice is just about normal. Great, considering I was sliding around a scale ranging from no voice, to foghorn, to sounding like a drag queen for about a week there. Now MissyMoo3 is sick (again), I've had a sleepless night and I'm chugging down vitamins and veggie juice like there's no tomorrow in the desperate hope of avoiding a repeat performance.

Pregnancy
Bleeds. Scary as hell, particularly after having been through a miscarriage.
Gestational diabetes. Pain in the rear end. Pain in the fingers too with all that blood sugar testing.

Birth
One stuck with severe shoulder dystocia and first apgar score of zero.
One had a "show" at 35 weeks with the warning from the midwife that I could go into labour at any time. Cue walking on eggshells for three weeks waiting for the non-event until she was induced at 38 weeks.
One born in an ambulance.

Newborns
Hips. No swaddling, no bath for the hell of it. Legs splayed out. Weekly baths at the physio.



Working mum
You go to work and send your kids to daycare, right? Right, unless you're me and you've had the winter from hell, when your youngest child seems to need only look at another child from a distance of 100m to come down with whatever germ infestation said child is playing host to. Yes, it's Spring, but our winter from hell ain't over yet.

So yes, I'm feeling a bit flat today and having a bit of a whinge. I could go on, but I'll spare you.



I know plenty of people have it worse (in my personal life and out in blogland) and there's plenty of good stuff going on my life too. But it's not Thankful Thursday today, so I'm allowing myself not to look for a positive spin on the crap life throws at us.

12 September 2013

Thankful for Little Things


The other day, I got home from work and none of the MissyMoos were arguing. Everyone was calm, just doing their thing. Hubby cooked a delicious dinner, everyone ate it (even the fussy one didn't put up too much of a fight) and bathtime went fairly smoothly. The evening routine's success actually meant there was some time for play before bed! Aah...

Francesca Writes Here

I'm thankful for being able to play piggy backs and pretending to be a horsey.
 
I'm thankful for tummy tickles and raspberries on my neck.
 
I'm thankful for cuddles and wet, sloppy kisses.
 
I'm thankful I get to hear "I love you" and "You're the best mum ever" countless times each day.
 
I'm thankful that I have my voice back and can once again belt out a tune in the car with the best of them!








10 September 2013

Francesca's Festa of Favourites - September 2013




Welcome another edition of 




Background
 
For anyone who's new to the link-up, here's some background: "Festa" in Italian means a celebration, a party. This link-up is a place where you can place links to your favourite posts in a given month, but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written (although they can be). You can link to any post for the month that, for you, has been a must-read, that you're proud of, or that you think is entertaining.

I add some of the posts, from blogs I read regularly, so you might see the same bloggers cropping up over the months. I make no apology for that - I love being able to use this space to bookmark my favourite blog posts for the month.

But, more importantly, I love seeing what everyone else likes reading and it makes me smile till my cheeks hurt when other people add their favourites to this festa. So feel free to link up as many of your favourite posts as you like during the course of the month.

(Let me know in the comments if you have trouble with the link and I'll try to fix it.)


Pick of the August bunch (in my humble opinion)

As has been my "tradition" over the past few months, I have chosen one post from the previous month's linked posts to showcase here and I'm continuing this month as I think it's a great way of showing off other bloggers in my own little corner of blogland. As always, as all the linked posts from August were great, and you should check them all out here.

Francesca's August Festa Favourite is:
 
 Apologies in Advance for This One by Robomum.

Robomum Blog

Now, there are many blog posts out there which are extremely deep and which cover many important topics in the world today.
As a person interested in linguistics, this is arguably one of them.  If you're not so much into linguistics, you may choose to respectfully disagree.

To be honest, I chose this post because it made me laugh and sometimes we just need to be a bit silly. Thanks for the Greek giggles, Robomum!
 

Now, let's see what September sensations we can bring to Francesca's Festa of Favourites. Happy linking!







Speaking of linking, today I'm linking up with Jess for ibot)


06 September 2013

Scribble Edit

Last week, I mentioned that I had completed a "scribble edit" of my manuscript (yes, that's super-professional author-speak, I know).

What is a scribble edit? Oh, I thought you'd never ask! Here, let me tell you a story:


Once upon a time there was an over-enthusiastic, slightly crazy woman who wrote a fiction novel. She was not what you would call a "professional" writer. It took a while, as it had to be done in scraps of time she could wrangle between being a wife, mother of three little ones, and a part-time corporate person. Writing also had to compete with her propensity to blog and do the ironing at night. But write it she did, and when the first draft was complete, she shouted it from the rooftops.

After feedback from her bookclub, an edit, submitting the manuscript to a publisher and then another edit, this interesting character was getting a little tired of limbo and wanted to hold a physical book in her hot little hands. She wanted to see what it could look like and have it sitting on her bookshelf. So she got a copy of it printed (and bound for good measure). I won't go into detail about the name of the printer who stuffed up her order not once, but twice, putting a huge dampener on the experience of seeing her work in (amateur) print for the very first time. What I will tell you is that the extra, wrong-sized copy served its purpose in the end in allowing her to perform what she affectionately calls a "scribble edit".

It is amazing how different reading something on a screen can be to reading something on paper whilst holding a red pen in your hand. Not only that, but also the convenience of editing on the go! Our time poor friend was now able to scribble and jot down tweaks in bed at night, during her lunch break at work, or when sitting in the school carpark in the afternoon waiting to pick up her eldest child.


Now, I am happy to say that my scribbling is done. I am an hour or two away from finishing to convert those scribbles to changes to the Word document. After that, I think I'll send it to another publisher. If nothing comes of that, I will self-publish. There's still a long road ahead, but in the words of Bobby Brown: "Every little step I take, you will be there." Thanks for taking an interest, blog readers and for sharing in this long, slow and arduous journey with me!

As a reward for your patience and your continuing interest, I will now reveal the title to you:


 Stay tuned!

05 September 2013

Springy Spring Spring

Check this out:


Did you see that? BUDS! On my tree!

This can only mean one thing: Spring has arrived!

I took this photo last week, which is exciting, as it means our tree was budding even before the calendar's page had flipped over to September. Now those buds have become (little) leaves. Less exciting is the fact that my Spring experience so far has been overshadowed by the most slowly progressing sore throat / cold in the history of the universe (I'm conjuring up in my mind a separate blog post on that one). But it's Thankful Thursday, so I mustn't complain.

In my neck of the woods, the weather hasn't disappointed either. Beautiful warm days, sunshine and not-cold-enough-to-require-a-heater-to-remain-thawed nights. It is even warmer than it was on our recent weekend away. Remember my excitement at having been at the beach and pool in August? (Incidentally, this was immediately followed by the most slowly progressing sore throat / cold in the history of the universe.) Well, there's probably good reason people in the southern hemisphere don't go swimming at the beach and pool in August, actually. Cough, cough. Lesson learned.

You may take away my voice, but you can't take away my enthusiasm!

If you haven't already guessed, this Thankful Thursday, I'm thankful for Spring.

Francesca Writes Here






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