Monday, July 13, 2009

Finding the Right Currency

The currency my boys trade in is screen time because they love the TV, the Wii and their DSs. So for emptying the rubbish, practicing the piano, do some practice handwriting and tidying the box of DS games E earned himself a cool 40 mins of screen time to add to what he already had and it can be used on school nights once homework is done and before bedtime. It is working like a charm. D isn't as clued into the screen time thing but he's getting there.
At school in my class we have Mrs Mc's Mystery Raffle every Friday. I keep a class checklist and they get a tick when they do something good, bring in a note that has to be returned or are especially well behaved or trying hard at something. They would almost walk over hot coals for raffle tickets. On Friday I draw three prizes from "the murky depths of the jar of mystery" and then three raffle tickets. The prizes are small stationery items - pens, pencils, erasers, glitter glue and so on. I can confidently say it is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in our weekly program. I won't say "the most" because I'm hoping some of my actual lessons are anticipated!
Now it is my turns to earn "tickets". The gym is running an incentive scheme over Winter where you earn tickets that go into the draw for prizes like a coffee maker for example. To earn points and then tickets I need to turn up (That's the first challenge but I did it today!), do a weigh and measure, lose 5cm, do a one on one session with a trainer and a few other things. So I've earned some points today by doing a session and by buying some of their protein shake stuff to have at school in the afternoons. I'll keep you posted on my progess. Next gym visit is Wednesday!

Menu Plan Monday

Ok, I'm giving this another go because we need planned meals so that we consume some vegetables and other healthy stuff so here is the plan for this week:
Monday - Leftover Slow Cooker Curry
Tuesday - Meatloaf with roast tomato, kumara mash and broccolini (Weight Watchers Mag)
Wednesday - Beef and Red Wine Casserole in slow cooker
Thursday - Fend for yourself night - I'll be at Underwater World with my school kids!
Friday - whatever dh cooks or orders because I'll be putting my feet up after a night with very little sleep
Saturday - Maple Mustard Chicken with Roast Potatoes (Weight Watchers Mag)
Sunday - Bacon and Potato Soup (Weight Watchers Site)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back to Routine

School begins for me tomorrow with a Pupil Free Day and it may as well be beginning for the boys because they have to be out the door with me at the same time to be minded by my parents. A and I have had big discussions tonight and one of the topics was the need for a regular routine rather than taking each day as it comes. So I went back to a routine I planned the the start of the year, tweaked it and we'll give it another go. It means I only get one longer afternoon at school which is difficult but I need to get the boys home to do homework regularly - even D is going to have home readers this term so the trade off may have to be some weekend work and sticking rigidly to the early mornings especially when the boys have before school care.
The other big ticket items on my agenda are a regular sleep routine and getting to the gym regularly so we've got gym times in the routine. I'll report back here so people can cheer me on when I get to the gym, and cheer me on even more when I lose weight!
So here's the plan for school weeks in the McNamara household:

Mondays - Before School Care, Drop boys to Grandma and go to gym
Tuesdays - Afternoon tea at the shopping centre and library visit/small grocery shop
Wednesdays - After School Care/Staff Meeting, Gym
Thursdays - A picks up boys, Weight Watchers, Hockey Training (for the boys)
Fridays - Leave school at 3:30pm - good day for play dates!
Saturdays - Hockey at 8:30am (for the boys), Gym

Wish me luck for getting up early in the morning!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Homework Time

The school holidays are drawing to a close which means that for me, life gets very busy again very soon. One of the things we've found difficult over the past 2.5 years that E has been getting homework is the organising of the supplies.
Even though I preach to parents at school about the need for a good consistent daily homework routine I don't always achieve that with E. Part of the reason is that he is coping very well with his school work and can race through his homework fairly easily at this stage so it is pretty easy to just do the written stuff on a Monday and then hurriedly finish filling out the reading log on a Thursday night. E doesn't read to us at night anymore because he's well and truly into chapter books. Now that I've done the First Steps Reading In-Service at school I can see a need for him to read more complex texts to me and that is something else I am going to work on. Another reason that we dont stop and do table top tasks every day is the actual table. A few years ago we hada table that seated four and always stayed fairly clear because it had to. Now we have a table that seats six and one end is always covered with "stuff" including stray pens, pencils, erasers, scissors and all the things possibly needed for homework.
One of the points raised in the parent teacher interview for D was that he needs to practice forming his numbers and letters before he needs to put more of his thinking on paper when he starts Year 1 next year. I though being able to find a pencil and an eraser wasa good start!
So I wanted all the supplies in one spot and I wanted plenty of them. I already had a basket but it was in great disarray with everything everywhere so I dumped it all out and started again with some extra supplies we bought with our groceries today.
The final photo is a closer peek into our basket where we've got good supplies of glue, sticky tape and scissors and a laminated card with Queensland Beginners Alphabet for D and a Macquarie personal dictionary which E used at school in year 1 and 2 and I continue to use with him now at home.
So we're all organised and will now have to work on our weekly routine so that there is a bit of time spent around the homework table every night if possible.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A New Year of Sorts

No doubt the title of this post will send Ms F off to check her calendar again but I'm talking financial years here. The boys have had a sleepover with my parents tonight so like the exciting couple that we are, we took the opportunity to pull out all our receipts and bank statements etc ready to file our tax return. I've slackened off in this department big time since I started working pre-marriage and pre-children of my own. I used to have an exercise book for each financial year and I would religiously glue in my payslip for each fortnight and any receipts for work related expenses. I remembered to check my odometer every time I went to an in-service away from school and wrote down all my kilometres travelled. My accountant loved me!
Things have changed in that the payslips and PAYG statements are now all available on-line but I've resorted to tossing receipts into a drawer when I thought of it and often forgetting about it altogether. I still use the same accountant but both he and A have hankered for the old days where I kept everything more methodically. So I've made a little notebook for this financial year which will have a page for each fortnight as before. I've glued in my first receipt from a wonderful "child free" visit to the "teacher's shop" today and written down the totals of pay, long service leave and sick leave for this fortnight. I aim to keep doing this so I have a rough idea of how much sick leave I have at any given time.
The photo shows my cleared desk, my new notebook and my shiny new Mac (not really new but I still feel like it is!) My desktop is the 12 Key Zen Habits from here . "Goddess Leonie" was inspired by this blog which is one of my all time favourite reads. The cleared desk is one of the 12 habits and I'd like to work on the rest!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Stitching Kind of Update

Hmm, I think I need better lighting for my photos. I'll try to do them in daylight next time. The top photo is my progress on a birth record I'm stitching for a good friend of mine. I thought I'd put it up there so she knows she hasn't been forgotten about. It is actually on pure white aida even though it doesn't appear that way in the photo!
The second one is my June ornament for the Xsers 2009 Christmas Ornament SAL challenge. I'm a bit late finishing it as today is the 5th of July but I've been busy people!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Down on the Farm

We spent Monday and Tuesday nights at the Cedar Glen Farm Stay south of Beaudesert. It is something I've always wanted to do with the boys and they really enjoyed it. I relished the peace and quiet and having three square meals provided on each day of our stay. Lunch was a picnic both days and Daniel used that chance to do some creek exploring. He and Eric fell into the icy creek on both days and Anthony fell in on the second day as he was telling them to be careful. The intrepid Dan wasn't going to let a bit of cold water stop him from exploring.
Both boys fed the pigs, chooks, ducks, turkeys and sheep which was a new experience and a bit daunting for them at first but by the second night they were striding out in their gumboots like old hands ready to give it a go. Eric also had a go at milking the cow. Both boys went for a 20 minute horse ride which quite sufficient given that their previous experience consists of riding around a ring at the Ekka.
We made good use of the heaters and electric blankets at night and enjoyed dinner by an open fire. I was pleased that the boys ate some things they wouldn't normally eat but would like to have them try more different things. And you really just how good (or otherwise) your child's table manners are when they are sitting up at a properly set table with serviettes etc. Some work is needed in that department!
I think the best part for me was sitting on the verandah, with a coffee and a good book and not needing to be anywhere or do anything - there should be more of it.