Month: June 2012

The very worst of me

Over the past month I have certainly not been a bastion of strength, a banner bearer of virtue, a mother on the path to sanctity…

I have roared and growled and stamped my feet and all together been the very worst of me!

It might just be me, but there are times when the roles of mother, homemaker, supportive wife and daughter of God pile one on top of each other until I find myself struggling to breathe and not knowing if I am arthur or martha (well NOT Martha Stewart!).

11pm last night I was on my hands and knees scrubbing my kitchen floor. Yes the hour does seem slightly ridiculous, but since we are back in the rental market waiting for news about our property, I had a house inspection today… hence the madness! While scrubbing away at the plethora of substances stuck under the dining room table and highchair, the kind that resist all cleaning products and can only be eradicated by the trusty finger nail… I, had an epiphany!

I had dropped my cross (dare I say crosses) on the side of the road and had been trying to hitch hike with an easier ride,getting more frustrated and impatient with each passing moment as no rides ever came.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples,

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Matthew 16:24

Oh…

hmmm…

Standing twiddling my thumbs on the side of the road… feeling to put it lightly… a little sheepish!

My crosses are not pretty! The on going challenge of getting Sunshine to bed at night without tears, anxieties, screaming, calling out, MULTIPLE good nights is in fact a “GIMUNGUS” (to quote Master Luke) headache of a cross. Being out of my own home and in one with little to NO storage and dark rooms… inconvenient. Having to wait on insurance and the city council to make a decision on our property… frustrating. The constant mountain of housework and my lack of home making ability… demoralising. The daily challenges of teaching and guiding four intelligent, noisy, active children… exhausting.

Jesus taking on the sins of all humanity, through all time, carried on his shoulders and nailed into his flesh………..

THAT is a cross!

Mine…. ?

They are the tools for my sanctification.

They are gifts from above, treasures to bear and rejoice in.

Believe me… I don’t feel like picking them back up. I have grown a little to familiar over the past weeks with my companions of self pity and impatience. Too familiar to  shake off their cold, bony little hands easily…

But I have been here before and I will be running to the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Saturday and diving into the abyss of Divine Mercy.

Today, I will remember this…

” Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; 

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

 1 Thess 5:16-18

Honesty, is the best medicine 🙂

Blessings!

Ruth

 

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Part Two: Master Luke’s 5th Birthday part – Star Wars Jedi Training

After a crazy Saturday making one R2D2 cake, Sunday finally arrived with MUCH excitement! We loaded up the car in a frantic fit as we had to make Mass, then go onto Grandma and Granddad’s house. As we are in our second temporary residence since the big quake in Feb last year, we have VERY little room for hosting a children’s party. My wonderful inlaws were generous enough to offer their home as the site for Jedi Training…. and thank God they did! 🙂 The space was perfect!

SCHEDULE FOR PARTY

(what we proposed… with kids in party mode, things change!)

2pm PARTY GUESTS ARRIVE – Star wars music playing, star wars colouring in sheets to pass time

2:30pm Padawans (Jedi learners) to congregate in the Jedi Training room (garage) for a mystery visitor

Yoda came especially to give the young padawans a lesson on the force and what a Jedi is. 95% of what he said was straight from the movies… but the general audience would have been happy if all he said was “mmmmmm”

2:45pm PADAWANS SPLIT INTO TWO GROUPS

One group was to construct light sabers and the other to undergo a series of Jedi challenges. As we had quite a few younglins under 5, everyone eventually ended up in one group 🙂

LIGHT SABER CONSTRUCTION

– Giant pool noodles cut into 3

– flat glass blue marbles

– black duct tape

– silver sharpie markers

– silver dot stickers

– coloured sticky jewels

The padawans were each given a 3rd of a pool noodle. A hole was made in one end and they inserted the special power crystals (marbles) into their light saber. Black tape was then wound around the hole end and it was time to “bling” their sabers! 🙂 When construction was complete, Gran hot glued a black card circle onto the end to hold in the crystals. A really simple but FUN activity!!! There were lots of busy busy wee hands 🙂

TRAINING CHALLENGES

We had lots of ideas for this, but due to time constraints and everyone in one group we stuck to two. Use the force, feel the balloon and Storm Trooper battle 🙂

The first game was silly and fun! The padawans lined up in two lines, facing each other, holding balloons. They then took turns putting on a welding mask (to replicate the blast helmet Luke skywalker wore episdode 4… just in case you wanted to know! :)) and walking down between the two lines. The other padawans had to throw their balloons at them and they in turn had to “use the force” to fight off the balloons before they hit them. Lots of giggles and enthusiam, was there!

The next game was a HIT!!! On a large piece of black card I had stuck 4 paper towels, each with a basic drawing of a Storm Trooper face. The padawans were then given a less than traditional Jedi weapon, a water blaster (more Han Solo really!) and given 5 shots each to wet the Storm Troopers. The concentration and comradery were awesome!  One by one the padawans shot their blasters until the Storm Troopers were soaked and therefore destroyed! Luckily I had drawn a few extra as a second round was requested! 🙂

3:15pm JEDI GRADUATION

After successfully completing their Light Saber construction and Jedi Challenges, the young Padawans graduated as Jedi Knights. Yoda emerged from a restful slumber and low and behold he had a “friend” ?

Master Luke was stoked to shake Darth Vader’s hand (who had turned to the good side for the day!)

Each newly graduated Jedi Knight received his light saber and a certificate.

3:30pm FIRST MISSION AS JEDI KNIGHTS

The Jedi Knights were then given their first mission…. to destroy the Death Star!

The Death Star maintained it’s strength right until the last attempt and then exploded spectacularly!

DEATH STAR PINATA

– inflated beach ball

– ripped up newspaper and paste

– grey paint, black sharpie and black crayon

There are some great websites out there on how to make a good Pinata :). I read them afterwards… so will do things a little different next time, but the end result did look like the Death Star 🙂

3:45pm GRADUATION FEAST

The Menu:

– Wookie Cookies (Choc chip cookies with a choc W on them)

– Leia Cupcakes (cupcakes iced with faces and oreo cookies stuck on the sides)

– Hoth Snow (popcorn with icing sugar)

– Luke’s Tauntaun (cheerio sausages)

– C3P0 pieces (chicken nibbles)

– Ewok Scroggin (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate raisins etc.)

– Han Sandwiches (ham sammies)

– Darth Vader Licorice

– Fruit Sabers (fruit kebabs)

– Jabba Jelly (green lime jelly)

– Cloud City Clouds (marshmallows)

– Dagobah bugs (jelly lollies lovingly crafted into bugs by Gran)

– Bantha Milk (milk with blue colouring)

– Jawa Juice (fruit juice)

– Yoda Soda (lime icecream with lemondade….YUM!)

– R2D2 cake

Hungry Jedi Knights and parents!

 A fantastic party for a wonderful boy!!!!

A huge thank you to EVERYONE who helped make it such a memorable birthday… I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids or the parents 🙂

Star Wars spans the generations, that’s for sure!

Blessings!

Ruth

Secret Garden…. unlocked!

Today I wanted to share a little realisation and little triumph…

Sunshine has ALWAYS loved books! We have read and read and read to her all her life.

I was so excited when she started school and came home with her little jar of words.

I was even more excited when she started to read sentences and attempt to read our books at home.

I looked forward with great anticipation to the day when she could write down all the FANTASTIC stories that were in her head… a child who is forever being someone or something has an incredible world in their head!

BUT two things happened over that following year… firstly, she would read her homework books but continued to only want to look at pictures of other books. Secondly, her handwriting progressed nicely, but her stories… well they remained at the “I went to Grandma’s house. I had a great time. It was really fun.” Her teachers where at a loss and I felt such disappointment! Where were the stories, where had the imagination gone!

Well after patiently (and not so patiently) continuing the journey of reading and writing at home over the last year, I have made several realisations.

Sunshine does have wonderful stories in her head, and can in fact write beautifully! But it is too much for her yet to write them down on her own with pencil and paper. The simple act of putting words on a page is a mountain she is not quite ready to climb. What if I spell something wrong? What do I start with and what if the starting is wrong? What if I my writing gets messy? What was that song I was singing the other day? Oh look! That tree out there is so pretty! Hello pencil, will you be my friend… oh hello Aayla Secura (from Star Wars) would you like to come play?…

🙂 It is just too tough for a child like mine 🙂

BUT today I asked her to write a book review for our Home schoolers Project Fair. I had the usual panic response, even though I offered to type it on the computer for her. But once we talked about it, read some examples and I said the first magic words… “Mummy in the morning is a book…” she was off!!! Below is what she wrote, and I promise you, I didn’t add a thing 🙂

Mummies in the Morning is a book about two kids called Jack and Annie who go back in time to Ancient Egypt in a magic tree house. The tree house belongs to the mysterious “M”.

When they get to Egypt, they find a mysterious cat who leads them to a huge pyramid. Once inside the pyramid, Jack and Annie meet a strange ghost queen called Hutepi, Queen of the Nile. Hutepi, lost her book of the dead, so Jack and Annie have to help her find it.  She shows them some hieroglyphs that her brother had written so she could find the book of the dead. But Hutepi couldn’t read them herself, so she asks Jack to describe what they look like.

When they worked the meaning out, Hutepi led them to her burial chamber… read the book to find out what happens next!

I was really excited when I finished this book, Mummies in the Morning. It was such a great book to read. When I finished one chapter, I really wanted to read more!

This is an awesome book to read when you are learning about Ancient Egypt.

From this day on, Mummy is going to back off, chill out and get typing… with a little encouragement and room for Sunshine to dance, we will see screeds of stories I’m sure! 🙂

The other triumph, which has given me so much more joy than I expected, is that Sunshine is finally reading to herself for pleasure! Now when I ask her a question while she is sitting cross legged on the couch, book in hand, all I get is a “hmmph” or a nod or shake. Her eyes don’t leave the page and I hear that gentle murmur of her voice :). I LOVE to read and I feel as if she has finally discovered the key to the secret garden, and like Mary Lennox, will bring life to her future in a whole new way!! YAY!!! 🙂

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Actually… let’s say it is a BIG triumph 🙂

Blessings!!

Ruth

There’s spaghetti in my bath tub!

Curly Sue is my Sensory Seeker extraordinaire…

From sitting precariously on the back of her chair at meal times to licking sweet potato peelings during dinner prep, my sparky 2 year old has to experience life, hands, feet and tongue! 🙂

Over the past two weeks, I have taken a step back to look at many, many areas of my life as wife and mother. Having sick children can put you in a pensive mood and with climbing toddlers and clingy big kids, blogging was not an option 🙂

Curly Sue will be 3 in August, and I am pleased to say, I believe she is moving past the screaming weeblie stage and things are in general, more tranquil. But, there has been no letting up, nor ever will be I imagine, on the intensity of desire to explore and experience life to the fullest! Therefore, after much musing and praying, I am going to intensify life for her, safely and in a controlled manner :).

There is SO much good stuff out there on sensory play and I could get lost among all the wonderful blogs and sites teeming with inspiration. So here is my plan, incorporating some of the ideas I have seen and catering them for my girl…

CURLY SUE’s SENSORY PLAYTIME

– Each morning after our Faith Formation time, I will set up a sensory activity for Curly Sue.

– The activity will be something she can play peacefully with on her own so that I can work on maths and reading with the big kids.

– I will record the experiences and make a scrapbook of memories for her to look at

So…

DAY ONE: Spaghetti Bath

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It is has been snowing and COLD, so a warmed up bathroom and a whole pile of freshly cooked, warm spaghetti was “nice” on the feet! Curly Sue’s face was worth the 90c I spent on cheap spaghetti :). She happily played for close to 45minutes, making birds nests, feeding babies, creating mountains, sliding around the tub…

The result, a subdued, peaceful, content girl for the rest of the day! EUREKA!! This might be a VERY good idea 🙂

Plan for tommorrow: Paint sealed in snaplock bags and taped to the kitchen table

I encourage you to have a look at the below websites for more inspiration:

http://www.childhoodbeckons.com

http://www.growingajeweledrose.com

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com

Blessings!

Ruth

Part One: Master Luke’s 5th Birthday – R2D2 cake

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

… lived a wonderful boy who turned 5 and asked his mummy oh so nicely for a Star Wars party 🙂

Here is part one of what was a fabulous (extremely busy) weekend 🙂

SATURDAY

The making of R2D2

Master Luke has rather high expectations of what I can do. With an artist type mum and an engineer dad, he comes up with grand imaginative schemes and then tells me how to draw up plans 🙂

An upright R2D2 cake was requested and so the two of us did our research and planning. Saturday morning, 10:30am the work began!

I needed to make…

– 4 gluten free choc mudcakes

– double batch of rice krispie and marshmellow slice

– double batch of choc ganache icing

 STEP ONE: Ice cakes and stack

 STEP TWO: Insert 5 halved chopsticks into cakes to hold together

 STEP THREE: Cover cakes in ganache icing, then with rolled out white fondant icing

STEP FOUR: Cut out legs from Rice krispie slice and cover with white fondant icing. Form extra bits with fondant.

STEP FIVE: Use left over Rice krispie slice pieces to mould head. Using a small mixing bowl, line with plastic wrap, snuggly fit pieces in and compress with a cup until they are formed into a solid bowl shape.  Cover with grey tinted fondant icing.

STEP SIX: Attach iced head to the body with more ganache icing.

STEP SEVEN: Colour fondant icing blue, roll out and then get creative making R2D2’s details :). I also used a knife to make markings on his body.

STEP EIGHT:  Put body & attached head onto an upturned shallow cake tin on a big tray. Attach iced legs with chopsticks.

STEP NINE: Polish him off with just damp cloth 🙂

 7 hours of labour!

One happy birthday boy!

STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO:  Jedi Training… the party!

Blessings

Ruth