Saturday, August 31, 2019

R2BC - End Of Summer

I once wrote a blog post about why you have to go away during the summer and how you can do it without spending a fortune. I wrote it when DD was 4 1/2 but it's still relevant for older kids. We were coming to the end of nine weeks of school break for DD and although I've been working steadily on online summer courses and prep for next year (supposedly), we were beginning to feel like we'd done nothing. Because we have a family wedding in London in the autumn, I regarded that as our holiday and didn't organize anything for the summer (apart from some days out). However, re-reading that blog post, I decided to cobble together a summer holiday.

It started out with a trip to my happy place - my friends' kibbutz in the south. We traveled down on the Thursday afternoon for a wedding celebration that evening. On the Friday we hung out at the pool with friends and then we stayed for a full Shabbat of after-celebration, known as the Groom's Shabbat. It involves a lot of eating, drinking, chatting, singing, silly games, and some dancing. And it was all wonderful.

We returned to Jerusalem in time to do our laundry before heading off again in the other direction - to Acre in the north. My friend and her son, whom we often go away with for short breaks (see Independence Day Holiday for example), found a reasonable deal on two nights in a hotel on the beach, with a pool. We've been to Acre before but it was four years ago. The kids were younger and we happened to go on a day that was so hot we couldn't enjoy it as much as we'd have liked to.

This time the weather was perfect. We arrived at midday and the kids spent a couple of hours in the pool. Then we got our rooms, unpacked and rested for a while before heading into Acre. We went on a thrilling motor boat ride, surfing the waves swell and getting thoroughly sprayed. We loved it. We even forgot about the irritatingly loud Jewish wedding music playing the whole time. Seriously, it was motor boat on the Meditteranean Sea, not a Bar Mitzva party. Dinner followed with local fish freshly caught that day and then back to sleep shower, watch tv (the kids) and drink tea (the grown ups) on the balcony overlooking the sea with the harbour lights from Haifa across the bay.

Day two saw us heading into Acre again after a leisurely breakfast. We visited the crusader fortress and the kids did some archaeology where they learned how the ancient ruins of Acre were discovered and unearthed. They did some stone carving and 'went on a dig' discovering their own bits of pottery.

After that we walked through the crusader tunnels. You start off bent double which wasn't so comfortable but I concentrated on not tripping over my shoes. Suddently I heard giggling and saw they were all laughing at me. The ceiling had been a regular height for about 25 metres and I'd not noticed. I was hobbling along with my nose to the ground when there was absolutely no need.

The afternoon was spent back at the pool of course. Two more friends joined us for dinner, each with another child. On the third day the boys wanted to go to an extreme sports park and the girls didn't. The family with the other girl took DD back with them to near Tel Aviv for more days of fun (a pool with a massive slide, a movie, Legoland Tel Aviv and a bike ride) and sleepovers. I took a pleasant ride back to Jerusalem on the train and had two whole days to myself.

DD was delivered home three days later for a grande finale lunch - I bought her favourite caramel cheese cake from Roladin. We were happy to be home together but so pleased that we'd had a lovely summer holiday too.

The Reasons 2B Cheerful linky is with Mich for the last time this summer, over on Mummy from the Heart

Sunday, August 11, 2019

R2BC - Actual Colouring

On Friday I wrote about clearing out DD's bedroom and how one pile of art supplies, artwork, and school books was left to do. Today we tackled it together. And then we went through the list of things she needs for school. Read on, it was a very pleasant experience all round and definitely worthy of Reasons 2B Cheerful.

The linky is with Mich on Mummy from the Heart for the whole of August.

School Supplies
Amazingly, from the long list, we only need to buy a geometry set (compass, two set squares, and a protractor) and a pack of 10 A4 ring bound notebooks. Everything else we have left over from previous years - even school t-shirts that still fit and sticky labels. We agreed that we'd forgo a new school bag and pencil case this year as she'll want to have new ones for Secondary School next year. We also already paid for the full set of textbooks and workbooks that will be given out at school in a couple of weeks. Sorted. 

Down to the last pencil
Reader, we organized DD's room down to the last pencil. Everything now has a home and all the rubbish has been thrown out. She hasn't said it, but I can see that DD is enjoying being in her room now. I caught her just sitting on the bed and looking around appreciatively. Later she came and asked if she could have a rug. It was very sweet. 

We also dealt with all the pens, pencils, highlighters, and felt tips that were in a hundred different pencil cases and boxes. They're still in several cases and boxes but are now more consolidated. We also found a book of cards and envelopes to colour. DD got it as a present and used it once. It's lots of fun. You colour the card and the corresponding envelope (which you fold yourself ) and there is a matching sticker to seal each one. 

I'm going to a birthday dinner and a wedding this week. At the wedding I'll see my friend's daughter who has just had a baby. And in January I did a Paying it Forward game on Facebook. The first five people to reply to the announcement could expect a surprise at some time during the year. Well it's pay-forward time and three of my recipients will be getting their surprise within the next two weeks. So that's six cards and envelopes to colour and make. I did three of them today. It kept me out of the fridge so win-win. (Incidently, it happens to be a fast day in the Jewish calendar today. It's a full 24 hours, sunset to sunset, when we remember the destruction of the Temples and the beginning of the exile from Jerusalem. I started late but I'm going to finish late too so all's good.)

Have a good week y'all.  

Friday, August 9, 2019

Coloured Pencils

I can't believe I put DD's name on every  pencil she took to 1st Grade.
As she goes up to 6th grade, we have finally come to the end of some of them.
Where did that eternal (well nine weeks)  summer holiday go? We only have three weeks left! How did that happen? In my defense, my teaching assignments never really ended.

The grande finale involved a surprise intensive course last week. I taught for six hours a day, spent my evenings  grading and preparing the next day, forgot about the diet completely (there's only so much intensity you can take without pizza for supper, and cold for lunch the next day) and I let DD watch tv all day and half the night (whilst eating said pizza). And of course there was no blogging. But we got through it and the extra money will be welcome.

On Thursday afternoon it finished. I came home to an apartment in a state of chaos, and not clean. Overflowing laundry baskets and no food in the fridge, freezer or cupboards. It was time to take back control, big time!

On Thursday evening I reorganized DD's bedroom. I'd already culled a load of books the last time I did a big sort out about two years ago. Since then her bedroom has degenerated into low-grade tidy and less tidy mode. There was lots of confusion as to what each drawer was designated for and a mish-mash of 'stuff' in a number of storage boxes.

All the books went onto the bed and I did a real Conmari on DD's behalf. Some books were siphoned off for my school library, some to pass on to friends with younger grandchildren (yes I am that age), others to my teaching resources, and a few to throw away. (Yes you can throw away books.) It's strange how books that we absolutely had to keep only a couple of years ago, don't interest us at all now.

The storage boxes now contain 1. Lego (because it's just too expensive to give away), 2. Art supplies, and 3. empty to be decided. The games are all in the living room sideboard. Also culled - we no longer need "Who Am I?" or 300 piece jigsaw puzzles. DD's clothes were already organized so nothing to do there.

The big problem area is years of accumulated colouring pencils and felt tip pens. We never throw them out, of course, and every year there are new sets received as gifts or just to start off the academic year with pristine supplies. There are now boxes and numerous pencil cases filled with perfectly good coloured pencils but just not in sets.

I take one pencil case-full for teaching and I regularly top it up from the supply of orphan pencils. Sometimes you get a pencil that won't sharpen because the lead is broken all the way through. Those do get chucked. And very occasionally a pencil will be absolutely finished down to the quick. These are also lovingly chucked into the bin.

I had to get the room tidy as one of DD's friends turned up for an impromptu sleep-over. This turned out to be an amazing incentive not to just leave half of it for the next day. There's one pile of colours, school supplies and artwork left to sort out but I told DD she'd have to do that herself over the weekend.