31 January 2015

Pennies for Hitler - Jackie French

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This is a children's book written by Australian author, Jackie French, but it is definitely worth reading for adults too.

Georg is a German boy living a happy life with his loving parents in 1939. His father is an English academic, but Georg had lived his whole life in Germany with the occasional visit to England. It turns out his father had a Jewish grandparent, which quickly sets in motion tragedy for his little family. He is smuggled to England to live with his aunt, where he must be "George", an English boy. Then, during the Blitz, "George" is evacuated ... to Australia.

This book is an interesting look at the circumstances of WWII through the eyes of a German boy as he adjusts to a new life with those who he had been taught at school were the "enemy". It articulates the young boy's struggle to live a lie as he is forced to suddenly leave the life he knows, knowing that the impression others have of him could either condemn or save him.

The language is simple, but the themes are complex, and this is a story which stays with you after the book is finished.


Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: A book for children, but I loved it just the same.


29 January 2015

52 Weeks of Memories - Week 4: Together

We love having The Fat Cat back. After almost a year of visiting at Nonna and Par's place while we were living in the pet unfriendly Rented House (thanks again Nonna and Par for looking after her for us), it's wonderful to see The Fat Cat settling back into life in our family. Sure, there have been a few interesting moments - errant builders' dogs from adjacent building sites wandering by and spooking her, a retrieval from a nearby friend's house when she spent a couple of days working out if that family was better company than ours - but she seems pretty well settled now.

MissyMoo1 (8), in particular, is re-bonding beautifully with The Fat Cat. It's her job to feed the cat each day so, naturally, as The Fat Cat loves her food, she by extension loves the bearer of that food.




This photo was taken of them "together" on a lazy Sunday morning. It was beautiful to see them just enjoying one another's company on one of the few remaining school holiday mornings without a schedule to keep.



Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories

25 January 2015

Milestone Madness Ahead

In the space of eight days, we will have all three MissyMoos experiencing milestones in varying degrees.



First up is MissyMoo1 (8) on Wednesday who will be commencing Year 3 at school. Not a huge milestone in itself, but for her a bit of a new stage - her school uniform will alter slightly and her classroom will be located in a different area of the school. No longer "infants", she'll feel bigger in the "primary" part of school.

The next day, MissyMoo3 (3) will start preschool. Yes. I don't know what to say except "wow". She's so excited. Sometimes she doesn't seem big enough and at other times she seems so completely big enough! The milestone which goes along with this is that she is not longer in nappies. This happened some time ago and was supposed to be a big blogging event in itself but then it, you know, wasn't. I may blog about the triumph that is toilet training the third and final child some other time.

The following Wednesday, MissyMoo2 (5) will start school - we call it Kindergarten here in NSW. When I started this blog she was just a baby and now, school. Where have the years gone? She is excited. I hope she enjoys it. I am both excited and nervous for her. I think I'm more nervous for her than I was for her big sister, even though she'll have an excited gaggle of Year 3 girls looking out for her in addition to her Year 6 buddy.

Exciting times ahead☺

21 January 2015

52 Weeks of Memories - Week 3: Sky



What a beautiful world we live in. All we need do is look up.
 
 
 


Finding Myself Young

20 January 2015

The Mystery of Mercy Close - Marian Keyes

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I am becoming a Marian Keyes fan :-)

This one was a little different to what I expected. It was a mystery - not in the Agatha Christie sense, but still, there was something to be solved.

It had all the fun and cheekiness I would expect in a Marian Keyes book. But it also had much more. The protagonist had depression, and Keyes very cleverly lets the reader into her mindset. I actually think I got into it a little too much, as when I finished reading the book, I found myself thinking in ways and exhibiting behaviours that weren't really me. I had to shake it off and snap out of it, to be Francesca again, instead of being engrossed in the book's world.


Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Clever Marian. I liked this book very much.






17 January 2015

52 Weeks of Memories - Week 2: Happy



HAPPY

Having our non-essential items out of boxes;
Discovering our coffee table is the perfect size to hold a 1000 piece puzzle;
Different family members - adults and kids - stopping at the table to put bits of the puzzle together;
A central drawing point;
A common hobby.



Finding Myself Young

16 January 2015

Beethoven - Phillip Autexier

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Occasionally, I wander over to the non-fiction section of my local library. Sometimes I feel like expanding my knowledge with a little non-fiction. I've always liked Beethoven. My favourite piece of his would have to be the Moonlight Sonata - it's just beautiful to listen to. I thought it might be nice to find out a little more about the man behind the music.

This book was fairly short and included illustrations. Design-wise, it was a little confusing, as there were snippets of information all over the place. Obviously written by someone with appreciation and knowledge of Beethoven's compositions, Autexier combines information about the man and the music very well. Overall, I liked it and I closed the book feeling more knowledgeable about Beethoven and his work.


Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Sound, short non-fiction piece about Beethoven's life and music. Informative.


14 January 2015

The Best Kitchen Tap Ever

Last year's house build had the blogger in me motivated to step you all through the process. That all went out the window when the reality set in of juggling building in with the already tricky balance of working and having a young family.

So much so that I have neglected to introduce you to my kitchen tap!


This is not something I would have chosen and paid extra for - but it came as standard as part of the kitchen packaged upgrade and now it's our little luxury. I'm so glad we have it.

It has a normal tap function, but when you press a button on the side, the water comes out a bit like a shower head. You can also remove it from the bracket and move it around - great for rinsing out big pots or chopping boards, or for hosing down the kids if they don't do as they're told (Kidding! I haven't actually done this - although, the option's there...)

A good friend of mine has major tap envy. In fact, she has openly expressed her desire to steal it from me and has put her hand up as the main suspect should I ever wake one morning to find my kitchen tap is missing. At least I know where she lives :-)

Pretty cool, hey :-)

12 January 2015

Book Review: The Green Ambulance Caper




JoJo Publishing provided me with a free copy of this book for my review. All opinions are my own.

The Green Ambulance Caper
Written by Alan Horsfield and illustrated by Jan D'Silva.
Published by JoJo Publishing
RRP $12.99

Although it has some big words in it, this book would be a good one for newly independent readers, perhaps Grade 1 or 2 in school. It's just under 50 pages of large-ish print suitable for that age reader.

Bindi and Dusty Thorn have a green ambulance and they get around town looking after plants in need of TLC. They get upset when plants' names are misused and they are looking to solve a mystery. With Tiffany's help, can they figure around what the Topiary Twins, Nettle and Thistle, are up to?

This is a quirky, funny book with a little bit of mystery. It's a little bit silly, a little bit zany, but just the kind of thing a young kid could get a giggle from.


10 January 2015

MissyMoo2's First Visit From the Tooth Fairy!



My fly-under-the-radar middle child has done it again! She has surprised me once more with how grown up she is (I should really stop being so surprised). Yes MissyMoo2 (5) has gone and lost her first tooth!

It had been a little wobbly for a while, but I actually thought that she would make it to school with all her baby teeth in tact. And as her school has in past years had its school photos done right at the start of the year, I actually thought that she would have all her milk teeth for her kindy photo.

I thought wrong.

Little miss will have a gap for the photo - which is also really, really cute!

She put her tooth in a little cardboard pouch on her bedside table before going to bed and was so excited when the tooth fairy had taken the tooth away and left a coin in its place the next morning.

She now likes to growl at me like a monster, thinking she looks scary ... but she's adorable. I get around the house singing to her ♪...because I'm gappy...♪

Kids really are amazing, aren't they?!


09 January 2015

Francesca's Festa of Favourites: January 2015


You may recall that after just under two years of the linky, late last year I pressed the pause button on Francesca's Festa of Favourites. (Thanks so much for your kind comments and words of support in response to that blog post, you know who you are xx)

Lately I've been thinking about trying it again. I'm not sure why I'm doing this. It's not because I have more time (I don't). It's not because I'm reading heaps of blogs (I'm not). Maybe it's because I'm not reading heaps of blogs and I'd like you guys to direct me to your favourites. Maybe it's because I've missed having a blog linky all of my own. Maybe it's because I'd like to see the font of the "Francesca's Festa of Favourites" tag on the blog's right hand side get a little bigger (it gets bigger the more the tag is used).

Whatever the reason, let's bring it back!
Francesca Writes Here

Background 

"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 January 2015, 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 from January 2015, 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, it would be great if you could add the Festa button to your blog and help spread the word ☺ Also, I'm getting into the hashtag thing, use #frafesta to join in when sharing on social media.



 







08 January 2015

52 Weeks of Memories - Week 1: Summer

Toni over at Finding Myself Young is running a photo challenge this year called 52 Weeks of Memories. She has set out prompts for each week of the year. I thought I'd give it a try :-)

Week 1's prompt is "Summer".



Santa left a packet of these little beauties in each of the MissyMoos' stockings this Christmas.

There's nothing quite like the squeals and giggles of little ones brought on by a big splash of water from a water bomb. The only problem is that their poor mum can't keep up with filling them! What a good problem to have! I'm loving summer right now :-)


Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories

06 January 2015

La Befana



Today is the day of la Befana. La Befana is an old woman who visits Italian children on the eve of the epiphany. When my mother was a child, they didn't receive presents from Babbo Natale (Father Christmas), rather, they waited until the feast of the epiphany for a visit from la Befana. She would bring a toy to the good children, but watch out! If you were a naughty child, you would receive a lump of coal!

These days Babbo Natale comes to the Italian kids at Christmas. But the Befana is still celebrated throughout Italy.

Ten years ago, I was in Verona at this time of the year. There was a huge straw Befana being built in one of the main streets. It was enormous, and very awesome!

04 January 2015

Here's to Holidays

I'm back at work next week after a couple of weeks off, so here's a last hurrah to the holidays.




Cheers, big ears!!

01 January 2015

New Year's Resolution 2015

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2015 has been kind to you so far.

I've been thinking recently (as you do) about whether I should make a few resolutions for the new year and if so, what they should be. I came up with the usual: eat better, rouse at the kids less, be more organised - all valid and worthy resolutions, but all pretty much what I try to do day-to-day (sometimes well, sometimes not so well).

For a new year, well, I think I can do better than that.

In the lead-up to Christmas my friend Gina had us and a couple of other families with young kids over for a morning of decorating biscuits. We all had an amazing morning - lots of fun (and sugar). One of the women there commented that the house was a real "home". It reflects the kindness and love of the family living in it.

That comment really stuck with me.

We've had the roller-coaster year of selling, renting, building and moving. Now we're in our new house. We want to feel settled again. So my new year's resolution for 2015 is to make this house feel like "home".


There are a few key elements a house needs to make a home. The first is love - we're well on our way already.

Here are a few more.



My overall goal for this year begins now.

To make this house radiate with the warmth of the people inhabiting it.

To make this house a place in which family and friends can feel comfortable.

To enshrine kindness as the native language.
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