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Master S Starts School January 27, 2016

Posted by graciek in Life in General, Sol.
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Our 2nd child Sol started big school today.  He had an absolute ball and has been super polite and well behaved.  Not an angry eyebrow in sight :)!!  He is loving it and said he was excited about everything.

The build up to today has been coming for 4months.  Back in September he turned 4.  In NSW the cut off for starting school is turning 5 by the end of July in the year you start (though Jan-July birthdays can also opt to defer a year and start the year they turn 6), so S missed the cut off and would have to go to school in 2017.  Last year we were not worried about this because he was not interested in writing, numbers or anything academic (other than he was obsessed with colours and shapes).  Suddenly he turned 4 in September and within a month he was independently copying letters and words he saw written down, he was able to do simple operation maths up to 100, we discovered he could read words!!  At just the same time he suddenly was refusing to go to preschool, even though he had been skipping along happily since January.  He was having momentous tantrums and screaming fits.  Now, having seen a step change in behaviours with his elder sister, we had an inkling for why he was acting up!  He was desperately bored.  He said to us “we don’t do letters, we don’t do numbers, we don’t do ANYTHING!” (in a most melodramatic fashion haha).  So suddenly with 4m to the new school year we had to scrabble about to see if early entry to school was an option.  Thankfully DD’s school are open to early entry and they had one space left.  Mr S had to do a few 1/2 days at school to see how he would behave and if he was ready, and he also had to see the educational psychologist to have a WPSSI (IQ test for 2-7yr olds).  Each hoop and jump was performed and in November we got his offer of enrolment (much to our relief).  All I can say is thank goodness our youngest is a May baby, we will not have to do all that again.

Rubik’s Whizz September 30, 2014

Posted by graciek in Life in General.
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The other morning the kids were sat at their little table in the rumpus, eating breakfast and watching tv. Miss E was fiddling with some toy. I went upstairs to change the baby and when I came down she was still sat there fiddling. I was about to go apes**t on her for not eating brekkie and we were going to be late for school….then I was literally stunned into silence. Miss E was sat there solving Rubik’s cubes! Not just one, but 2 were totally solved!! We have 3 (given as freebies at some point), so I got the third cube and asked her how she did it. She said she didn’t know and when she thought about it she had no idea. Strange it’s like she could solve it but only whilst fiddling with it whilst watching TV. Is there such a thing as latent genius?? I know all the cubes were jumbled up as we’d tried to solve them before. Well….not to be outdone by a 6 year old I looked up on the internet how to solve them whilst she was at school. Man, it took me 45mins to solve one cube (+prob another 45 trying to understand the instructions/algorithms).

Happy 3rd birthday Little Man September 14, 2014

Posted by graciek in Life in General.
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Solly turned 3 today. He’s a big ball of endless energy and fun (with tantrums thrown in). We had a little afternoon tea at our house. Predictably the kids were glued to the wii (having discovered the joys of Disney Infinity).

Another labour of love piece of baking, I asked him what cake he would like. He asked for Spiderman and Lego. Hmmm 2 different things…. Here’s what I ended up with.

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Inside is Orange Madeira cake (polka dotted inside with coloured cake pop balls). Covered in fondant icing. Lego made from dyed white choc.

Was a hit with the kids. Very odd sensation telling kids to put Lego in their mouths!!

Baldy baby August 9, 2014

Posted by graciek in Life in General.
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As with my other cookie cutter kids (hubby used this term as he says I only have one cookie cutter/template as our babies all look the same) little Mr N is coming up to 12 weeks and all his hair is moulting suddenly. So sad, I love his downy soft baby hair. Soon he will be mostly bald (if I recall, the other 2 ended up with a Mohican sort of look). Can’t believe he’s almost 3 months old. Last week he weighed in at 4.11kg. Our middle child was 4.1kg at birth!! mr N is so tiny. Poor thing is being called a runt by some members of the family. He’ll catch up eventually, in his own time.

A Gifted Child? July 28, 2014

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We always knew Little Miss K was ultra precocious. She has a massive vocabulary and has not stopped speaking since she started around 18months. She knew all her letters, colours and number up to 20 by the time she was 2. She could write her own name before she turned 3. She started primary school last year at the age of 4 years and 6 months, able to read, write and do addition and subtraction. She delighted in telling the principal her fav book to read is George’s Marvellous Medicine in the first week of school. Last year she had a fab time at school. This year she’s had a bumpy start. At her mid year teacher meeting she had gone from top group last year to being basically, average. Not only that but they said she was uncooperative. This sounded nothing like our miss, who was always a bouncy and happy child with a thirst for learning. We noticed that she was getting withdrawn from homework, and seemed depressed. Suddenly she couldn’t do a simple sum like “16-15=” but could do column subtraction or addition of 5 digit numbers easily??? She clammed up or got angry when you asked her to do things she deemed too boring. It was pretty heart breaking to see her so dejected. The teachers didn’t seem to be concerned about her work, but said she was uncooperative and had had a few emotional meltdowns, which they claimed was due to her age immaturity (she is by far the youngest in her class). We said she needs to be challenged to keep stimulated. I asked E what she does if she finishes her work early in class. Apparently she has to come and sit on the mat and do nothing!!! I know, the teacher prob gets every parent declaring their precious child is gifted but surely they can see that she’s suffering. Because her output appears average she has missed out on being in the top group and extension work this year.

We were concerned that the teachers weren’t concerned!! So we sent miss E to see an educational psychologist. E had a ball, said she basically played games for 90mins with the lovely lady. We got the results the same day. Miss E is most definitely gifted. She did a WISC IV test that confirmed our suspicions. She has a General Ability Index (GAI) score of 155 which is basically in the top 99.9 % or something like that. It was a relief to know that we were correct in our inklings, but now it almost feels like a burden not to waste that intelligence. Hubby said, that’s scary high… either genius or psychopath level (gee thanks hubby). More insightful was the psychologist’s observations. Miss E scored v superior in both the VCI and PRI sections (basically topped out scoring 19s) but scored average in the WMI and PSI. She has the intelligence levels of a 12 yr old, but the working brain tools of a 6 yr old. No wonder she’s so frustrated, and appears to be underachieving. An example of the mismatch in her would be if you ask her a question about a topic of interest, she can talk the hind legs off a donkey about it, but when you ask her to write a report about it you’ll get a sentence if you are lucky!! Her performance skills just can’t keep up with what she wants to say and it’s like she hits a bottleneck and just stops.

Have been poring over various websites and books trying to work out how to help her. The first step is talking to her school. I’m really not sure how it’s going to go, I’m hoping they’ll be proactive to working with us. I have no idea on what miss E needs, but I know she’s not the happy she once was 😦 so these next few months I am reading up, researching groups and looking at forums for ideas. It’s pretty daunting. How do you know when you’re doing the best thing for your child? I don’t want to push her too hard, but I don’t like seeing her so frustrated – where is the middle ground and how do you know when you’ve got there?

It’s been a long week July 27, 2014

Posted by graciek in Life in General.
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Phew, this week is always the busiest week in our family’s year. It’s our wedding anniversary on 22nd, my best firend’s birthday on 23rd and Miss K’s birthday on 25th, then her birthday party on 27th. This week has been even longer this year as hubby had to work late on 3 of the 5 weekday (inc our anniversary boohoo). We’ve been so busy this is the first year we haven’t celebrated our anniversary at all. Made me kinda sad (I got him some Chocs and a card). Didn’t really see him all day and he didn’t get home till 10pm.

Introducing Master Noah Tristan Kennedy May 21, 2014

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We’re pleased to announce our third bundle of joy, baby Noah arrived safe and sound today. A respectable 3.04kg, 51cm long. Not bad considering he was delivered at 37weeks gestation. He’s our tiniest baby and sooo cute.

Hot? Cold? Make your mind up! October 14, 2013

Posted by graciek in Life in General.
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Yesterday was baking hot and we were in the pool. It was about 35deg mid afternoon. Today we woke up to a chilly feeling 21deg! Now back in the UK 21 would be a pleasant Summer’s day, here, after 35deg it feels soooo cold. long sleeves out again. Even the kids wouldn’t get out of bed it was so chilly. Heck even the dog was still asleep when I finally coaxed the kids downstairs.

Cleaning White on Kid’s School Uniform September 4, 2013

Posted by graciek in Evie.
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We’re now into Term 3 of Evie’s first year at school. For Winter her school uniform has a white cotton blouse and over the weeks they were getting more and more grey and stained (especially the collars and outside seams. I don’t know how she gets them so black (maybe rubs her wrists on the floor? Who knows?). Also her sport polo shirt is mostly navy but with white side panels that were coming out greyer every time I washed them. And the sports trainers too. After trying soaking the clothes in napisan/oxiaction overnight, this got some of the food stains out but the grubby greyness was still there , tried boil wash cycle, still grey, I was so disappointed each time. As usual consulting the Internet gives all sorts of remedies… after trying out a few here are the solutions that worked for me.

White cotton blouse – soak in napisan overnight, then using a brush (I use an old plastic dish washing brush) brush the black edges. Like magic the black scuffs come off just with some vigorous brushing! Why didn’t someone tell me about this earlier? It makes sense, if all safe-chemical methods have failed, something mechanical is required!

White panels on dark polo shirt – Evie’s school sport polo is made from a stretchy air tech type material so you can’t use the brush on it as the bristles would get snagged. The white bits looked like a foggy October UK sky – grey grey grey and very dirty looking. It’s as if the material is straining the dirty water out of the washing machine yuck! Soaked in napisan and there was no change. The solution I have found that finally works for me is Sard Wonder Soap! Get the shirt properly wet, and wet the bar. Rub the bar all over the white panels of fabric. Unfortunately the brush is too rough but I rubbed the material against itself between my knuckles. At first it doesn’t appear to be whitening quickly, but the darker patches are evening out. There’s bits of grimy soap scum all over it and it looks nasty, but persevere. When you’re done scrubbing it against itself, rinse in hot water. Taadaa! The grimy soap washes away and you have white panels again. Woohoo!

White trainers – run the soles under the tap (carefully not to fill the inside with water) and brush debris off. Let dry. White leather or synthetic leather seems to get very grubby looking quickly. I found if there isn’t too much mud or other unsavoury stuff on it, you can rub a baby wipe over the white leather and it makes it clean and shiny again, it also seems to stop them getting as grubby as quickly too. If the shoes are extremely dirty (muddy puddle jumping escapades etc) and the weather’s going to be good I brush off any debris I can then pop the shoes into an old pillow case or with towels (remove laces and open up any Velcro straps), then open up the shoe as much as possible by pulling up the tongues, and put out to dry thoroughly in the hot sun. I like to do this after a few weeks anyway as it will kill off any nasties (and dubious smell) inside the shoe too.

Princess Rapunzel Cake July 26, 2013

Posted by graciek in Evie.
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Evie’s 5th birthday party was today at Funhouse (www.funhouse.com.au). As with every year she requested that I make her cake for her. Handmade cakes are so expensive and over the last few years I’ve been experimenting making them for my family and friends. This year she asked for a Rapunzel tower cake. Yikes! This has disaster written all over it! After much pain (and 6 cakes baked and experimented with) and about 2 days of work I finished it.

Evie's 5th Birthday Tangled theme Cake

Evie’s 5th Birthday Tangled theme Cake

I borrowed Evie Rapunzel doll and the tower middle is made from a fondant covered Pringles tube (I was making it from RCT but it kept going all Tower of Pisa on me!), the rest is all edible! Rainbow swirled orange cake for her skirt, chocolate cake tower base and room. RCT roof. All covered in fondant (MMF) and buttercream. Buttercream grass.