29 August 2014

In the Library

I have a fair bit to do with my local library.

If you've read any of my blog posts tagged "books", you may have noticed that many of the books I read are borrowed from there. It also hosted my book launch a few months ago. As there are a few library branches spread across my local council area, I often search the library catalogue for books I want to read, then reserve them to pick up at my local branch.

I also searched the catalogue for something else a little while back - a book I own, a book I know well. Can you guess what it was?

It was very exciting to see that it had been borrowed with a couple of people waiting in line for their turn.

It's the little things :-)

28 August 2014

James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl

Image Source

I don't think I read this book as a child. Well, maybe I did. I read a lot of Roald Dahl as a child but I didn't remember this one. I borrowed it for MissyMoo1 (7) to read.

In New South Wales, school children do what's called the "Premier's Reading Challenge" (PRC). There are looooong reading lists for each stage (K-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-9) and in order to complete the challenge, children are required to read a certain number of books from the relevant list and a few free choice books too. MissyMoo1 is in Year 2 this year, but she decided to do the year 3-4 challenge this year, as those were the types of books she usually reads anyway.

MissyMoo1 borrows books weekly from her school library and I also borrow books for her from our local library. Our town library makes it so easy to select books for PRC, as there is a special PRC section in the library and each PRC book has a sticker on the back indicating which level booklist it is on.

This is how I came to borrow James and the Giant Peach for MissyMoo1.

After she finished reading it, I was looking at it trying to figure out whether I had read it before. This turned into me sitting down, opening it up and starting to read.

This book is classic Roald Dahl: imaginative storyline, exaggerated characters, made-up words and fun! I think I enjoyed it just about as much as MissyMoo1 did.

Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: One of Dahl's shorter kids' novels but not short on enjoyment!

25 August 2014

House Update: It Looks Like a House!

My poor, neglected blog readers! Not since the 10th of July have you been subjected to enlightened by an update on the construction of our new house!

So much has happened! (No, we haven't moved in yet. Not that much has happened.)

On the outside, it now looks like this (just imagine the down-pipes - I took these photos before they went in):

The garage has a roller door so it's called at "lock-up" stage.

The kitchen benches have been installed, waterproofing is done and the wet area tiling is almost complete.

We had a walk through the house during the week and to say I'm excited is an understatement!

Hubby likes my tile colour choice (relief) and the place is starting to look less like a construction site and more like a house we'll be living in at some point.

We had some heavy rain early in the week, which helped us identify an issue with the down-pipes - better now than when we're living in it.

I hope they keep on keeping on and we can move in sooner rather than later!!

21 August 2014

Book Week Costume: Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
Last year, I got creative. This year, we were organised enough to remember a couple of weeks in advance - enough time to order a onesie online. As a bonus, it ended up being quite a cold day, so MissyMoo1 was snug as a bug in a rug in her onesie at school. I had planned to make MissyMoo1 (7) a moon out of cardboard to jump over on the day, but I ended up completely forgetting about it until we were driving to school on the morning of the book week parade at school.
This year was the first year I was able to attend MissyMoo1's school book week celebrations, because in the previous two years they fell on one of my work days. This year, though, I could watch as every student in the school showed off their costumes. Elsa was a popular choice for infants girls and many of the little boys were superheros. As the kids got older, Dr Seuss and chapter book characters became more abundant.
MissyMoo1 was one of the kids from her class chosen to speak about who she was dressed as. It was a very proud mummy moment watching my big girl speak into the microphone confidently and clearly in front of the school and the many parents watching on.
After the parade, I had the opportunity as a parent volunteer to read to a small group of children for story time. Even my little girls listened along with the big school kids. They were a lovely, attentive group of kids and it was so nice to be able to volunteer at school while entertaining MissyMoo2 (5) and MissyMoo3 (2) at the same time. One bonus was that MissyMoo2's friend from playgroup last year (who is in kindy this year) was in the group I read to, so they sat next to one another during group time. MissyMoo2 could almost pretend she was a big school girl (and she was chuffed - she can't wait to go, but that's for another blog post).
We finished off with a yummy parent morning tea. Mmm, coffee and chocolate cake...

I'm so happy that Book Week encourages children to think about the stories they read and express their enjoyment of books in a fun way. It might be a pain to think ahead and prepare, but the have so much fun that it's all worth it. These are what memories are made of.
Do your kids dress up for book week, or did you as a child? What's your favourite character?

17 August 2014

He Chose the Nails - Max Lucado

Almost three years ago now, I came across two Max Lucado children's books from two completely different sources within a couple of months of one another. A year later, we bought this one for our God-daughter. I was very impressed by the messages of love and acceptance in those books - they work at face value but can also be taken to a religious or spiritual level with your children if you're that way inclined.

Anyway, the reason for that long-winded introduction is that I later discovered that Max Lucado has also written many books for adults. He Chose the Nails is one of them.

Image source

Every Lent and Easter, when I take the time to reflect on things, I am moved by the stories of Jesus' suffering. But sometimes I wonder if, after reading and hearing about it my whole life, I am possibly becoming desensitised to the enormity of its meaning. For me, it's by reflecting in different ways that I am able to reconnect emotionally and spiritually with the profoundness of the message.

He Chose the Nails was a brand new way for me to reflect. The book is split into chapters based on different events within the Passion, which focus on different symbol each time. In an easy-to-read, informal style of writing, Lucado ties the symbolism to a "take home message", throwing in real-life examples along the way to help the reader find the relevance in modern everyday life of something which happened 2000 years ago.

Book: Paperback. Bought from my local Koorong shop.
Rating: I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: One to keep on the bookshelf - I'll hopefully refer back to this in times of apathy.

15 August 2014

Paper Bag Spiders

Playgroup is a great excuse to get my craft on without feeling the pressure of having to attain anything close to the standard of an adult (you won't see people "pinning" my craft ideas on Pinterest!)

Here's a recent activity we put together. MissyMoo2 (5) actually came up with this one. She's my ideas girl.

All you need is a paper bag, some scrap paper or cotton wool to fill it (depending on how soft you want it to be), a rubber band, some pipe-cleaners for the legs and whatever you want to make the spider face.

Mine - yes, I know what you're thinking. I don't know why I didn't pursue fine arts as a career either.

MissyMoo2's gorgeous creation

MissyMoo3's (2) work - a legless spider

It was a great, easy activity to do - enough stages to interest the older kids, but it wasn't too time-consuming or difficult to lose their attention.

10 August 2014

Francesca's Festa of Favourites: August 2014

Here we are in August 2014!

(Yes, I'm aware that we're already 10 days in but there's still plenty of time left for a festa!)
Francesca Writes Here

"Festa" in Italian means "party" (and, if you look around this blog long enough, you'll see that I'm a fan of throwing Italian words around). This is a place where you can add links to your favourite posts for a given month (this time, it's August 2014), 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 you wish to bookmark, written by you or anybody else.
Have you read or written something moving, funny, informative or otherwise awesome? Then let us know about it.

There are no rules here - it's pretty laid back. There is no obligation to read and comment on all the posts if you link up, but of course you can if you want to.

If you've linked a post or had one of your blog posts linked by someone else, feel free to add the Festa button to your blog and help spread the word :-)

July 2014 Festa Recap

Also, each month I like to choose a post from the previous month's linky party to showcase. I think it's a great way of showing off other bloggers in my own little corner of blogland. Here goes:

Drumroll for the .... Pick of the July bunch (in my humble opinion)

The July Festa Favourite is:
Peeling Back the Layers: The Good, the Bad and the Scarred by Sonia.

Whilst I've only linked to the first post of the series, you should check them all out. Through this series of posts, Sonia shares with us some deep, personal and traumatic events of her past. In doing so, she has expressed her sense of healing, but also demonstrated an enviable strength and determination (as has her husband). I literally had tears in my eyes as I read these posts. Sonia, you are incredible.
Now that I'm fashionably late for my own party, let's get some August posts together. Festeggiamo!

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