Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Revelations on a Treadmill

I went for a run this morning.  It was whilst trying to maintain my balance on the treadmill and hit buttons on my phone simultaneously that I discovered my entire collection of playlists has disappeared. (I synced my phone with our new computer yesterday and they’ve somehow vanished).

I have had a special list of music called “RUN” that contained lots of upbeat tracks to energise me, motivate me, and try to convince me that sweating it out for half an hour will eventually become addictive. 

So, I hit the only button that looked like it would play some form of music and tried to put my focus one foot in front of the other and whether or not I’m supposed to be running or walking.  What I ended up with was a very interesting collection of tunes – Monster Mash put an extra wiggle in my step, Mary Poppins’ Stay Awake got skipped in spite of my deepest desire to crawl back beneath the sheets and this one is our dance-yourself-silly tune of the month.

The end result of all this pounding the pavement to out-of-the-box music was a profound realisation that it's those deep-seated routines/habits/compulsions that are the reason I’m struggling so much with 2015, when it’s still only January!

I want to change. I want need to eat better, exercise more, sleep more, yell-at-my-kids less, surf-the-web less, covet-my-Instagram-feed-of-so-many-pretty-things less and, as a result of that last one, spend less money. I am nowhere near as close to living as mindfully and healthily as I was aspiring to be this time last year
The reason for this is lack of change. Old habits that haven’t died because I haven’t offered myself an alternative, rather I’ve latched onto these ritualistic conventions for their comforting reassurances without acknowledging that so many of them are contributing factors in my unhappiness, lack of satisfaction and frustrations.

I just love this post from Tsh Oxenrider on The Art of Simple about kaizen. That’s going to be my word of the year. Kaizen: small, continuous change. I need to slowly alter one little thing at a time until I have not so much reached my goals as gotten a little bit closer to the bliss that comes with mindfulness and a sense of achieving my purpose.

Wish me, not luck, but strength.

I’m also wondering - as I celebrate two years of Stay at Home Territory - what I should change on this little blog of mine. Are you enjoying the regular Montessori posts? The photography-rich Ten for Tuesdays. Would you like more activities for kids? Crafts? Recipes? Room makeovers? Information about life in the Territory?

So, I am open to suggestions and also keen to learn a little more about you, my readers. My post on Facebook the other day shows that you are a globally diverse bunch of lovelies! I’d really love it if you would take a moment to introduce yourself and let me know why you're here, if you visit regularly and what changes - be they small or continuous - you think I should make. 

Thank so much for your support and I wish you all the best for a New Year in which we can both try to achieve our best selves.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Ten for Tuesday

A very festive edition of Ten for Tuesday this week with a few more than ten simply because it's Christmas!

1. Christmas pj's and a nightly story of joy, love and hope make for lots of magic memories. | 2. Advent activities have included... Snow shooters, | 3. ...Ice cream baubles, | 4. ...Christmas colouring, | 5. ...Lego Reindeer, | 6. ...Rudolph pancakes, | 7. ...and what was supposed to be Christmas tree painting became Power Rangers Samurai symbol painting instead!  
8. Date night - this guy, a boat and that sunset sky! | 10. Fox in Flats Style Dare continues to be a lot of fun and pretty things. | 11. Homemade gluten free fish and chips - and a mule by the pool! | 12. Preparing the room for eldest son's arrival was fraught with delicious anticipation! So glad he's home! 

12. Learning about insects this month has been a lot of fun. | 13. Counting ladybugs. | 14. Amazing Christmas lights! | 15. Took a photo just like this last year! | 16. Cold Rock Ice-cream after light viewing is essential!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and peaceful Holiday Season. Thanks so much for all your support and kind messages this year xx

Monday, 22 December 2014

Montessori Christmas Activities

I wanted to put together a post of all the amazing Christmas-themed Montessori activities I've seen online.  Then this piece of brilliance popped up on my Facebook feed.

So if, like me, you're keen to put together a few fun but worthwhile activities to keep the little ones entertained - especially while I do nothing but cook for the next few days - head on over to this post.

Rachael has put together a pretty comprehensive collection of activities. Hamish is loving the present wrapping, Rohan is still crazy about playdough and I think Liam is going to love crushing candy canes!

I haven't set up many- as we are a bit too close to Christmas now- but I'm definitely planning on a Christmas themed unit next December!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Wetland Explorers

Living in Darwin means there are a few things on which you can (usually) rely. 

1. It's going to be hot and steamy. This is why I wear sunscreen every day and take a hat and water bottle with me wherever I go.

2. At this time of year it's going to be wet. Especially at school pick up time (why is that?!). This is why I keep umbrellas and shoes that can get wet in my car. 

Every year we've lived here, however, we've had a lot of variety in terms of the amount of rain in the wet season. (You can learn a bit about our seasons here.)  
So far, this year has seemed a bit drier than "normal", though we have had a couple of big storms to cool things off a bit. 
And it's not just me who likes the rain. Bird species from all over the world fly here at this time of year to revel in the wetlands that form as a result of all this precipitation. 

Just down the track a bit from Darwin on the road to Kakadu National Park is Window on the Wetlands- an interactive information centre with almost 360' views out over the wetlands.  Hence the name.

As part of our mission to introduce some fun, family, quality time on weekends we have taken a few trips out to the Window on "Adventure Sunday". 

We admire the views. 
We always dress the part of intrepid explorers (how little is he here?!?)
We compare the amount of water from our last visit - and try to spot buffalo wallowing in the mud
Then we drive over Fogg Dam in order to get a closer look at some of the bird life. 

We spot egrets and kites...
Snake-necked darts sunning themselves... ducks cruising...

lapwings and more egrets...
The water lilies are stunning too...

There's a viewing platform at the end where you can hop out of the car. We were lucky enough to spot this beauty too.

And we always keep our eyes peeled for those elusive saltwater crocodiles. 
The Territory sure has it's moments.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ten for Tuesday - An Elf on the Shelf Special Edition

Our special little elf visitor has been having a lot of fun at our house so far this month, so today's Ten for Tuesday is an Elf on the Shelf Special Edition...

1. Camping and toasting marshmallows in a sock sleeping bag. | 2. The amazing Hot Chocolate Station he made for us! | 3. Quietly reading his favourite Christmas story. | 4. Reindeer riding.
5. He brought the boys some Christmas pyjamas. | 6. Hamish loves his!
7. Scout likes the Woolies animal cards too. | 8. He found the letters for our Typo Lightbox. | 9. Hanging around waiting for big bro to come home for Christmas! | 10. Playing Noughts and Crosses North Pole style.

Do you have an elf? I'd love to see what yours has been up too! You can follow Scout's adventures on Instagram - #sahtelf

Monday, 15 December 2014

Chrsitmas Craft Ideas

We've been doing a few simple Christmas crafts as part of our Advent Activities Calendar and I thought I'd share in case you're on school holidays too and looking for something to keep your monkeys busy.

These were super easy and able to be done by the kids. We made our salt dough using 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 cup of plain flour. After rolling and cutting the shapes we used some Christmas stamps to leave imprints and a straw to put a hole in each one. Then we baked them at 120'C for just over two hours (this will depending on the size of your shape and the thickness of the dough - you may need three hours).

We used a cute little paw print to make a special ornament for the newest member of our family too!

Cinnamon stick ornaments look and smell amazing and were really easy to make. Just cut your sticks to graduated lengths, hot glue together, then hot glue a long stick along the back. We also glued on a star anise and some red ribbon for a festive touch and to hang on the tree.

Depending on the age of your kids they might need to watch this one.  I cut and hot glued, they helped me line up the sticks and told me where to position the stars.

Christmas tree stained glass pictures were fun too.

I folded and cut out trees using the template here, then cut a piece of clear Contact paper to size and placed the tree shape on it- sticky side up, obviously!

I then gave the kids a variety of pre-cut tissue paper, ribbon, foam shapes and sequins and let them stick away. It was fun to watch how each kid approached this task differently - one had a plan, one got bored and the other had to be told he'd probably run out of room to stick any more!  
Then we lifted them carefully and stuck them on the windows.

We made these cute little kits for Rohan's kindy friends and the spare ones have been a real hit here at home!

Whip up a batch of green playdough and gather together little stars, sequins, tinsel and garlands to decorate your tree. We've been having hours of fun with the dough everyday.

Here's the link to the dough and printable labels.

How do you entertain your kids over the festive holidays?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Ten for Tuesday

1. Super proud of this guy who got two awards from school this year - for Science & Physical Education. | 2. This guy is (mostly) the most delightful creature. I adore spending my days teaching and learning with him. | 3. Award ceremony selfie that actually turned out alright! | 4. Between storm trampolining with Daddy. | 5. We've been doing heaps of festive crafts - might have to do a post on them. | 6. Pizza movie nights are now all about Christmas films. We've introduced a couple of new ones this year.
7. Rohan & I made little presents for our Kindy friends. (You can get full instructions and the printable here.) | 8. Don't you love it when you find a great series to read devour! | 9. Fox in Flats Style Dare is back for #DAREcember - having lots of fun 'playing dress-ups'. | 10. In the final planning stages for Rohan's birthday party. The invites have turned out so great!
 How's your week been?