Sunday, 30 October 2011

just an update

all is well in house-o-nefotlak - just thought I'd pop in for an overdue update.

teaching prac is going brilliantly - loving the school, my mentor teacher and the kids.  actually the whole school is pretty wonderful - very very lucky with this placement.

this coming week will be my last - and I'll be teaching almost full days all week. lots of planning to do - but as it's loads of flow on from last week - I'm sure all will go well.

I get to finally do some art lessons tomorrow (yay!) - and I'll be teaching 2 classes back to back with the same lesson plan.
year 5/6 are looking at energy this term - so I've planned to do a lesson on the 'Op Art' movement - specifically on the work of Bridget Riley - exploring the use of line to show movement.

here's a couple of Bridget's amazing works from the 60's..... beware - they can make your eyes hurt!!!.....

'Movement in Squares' - 1961 - Bridget Riley

'Intake' - 1964 - Bridget Riley

'Blaze 1' - 1962 - Bridget Riley

in class - we'll look at these and other examples of Bridget's work - discuss using lines to show movement and 3 dimensional shapes on 2D paper - and I'll attempt to work them through making their own Op Art pieces to display in the classroom.

when it's done - I'll be sure to take some photos of the completed display to share the fun.

in other news - my heart goes out to those Aussie families today that lost their soldier husbands/fathers/sons/brothers yesterday in Afghanistan. absolutely heart breaking. let's get all our troops home safely and soon please AUS government. our boys are doing an amazing job - but this war (which is not ours) has gone on far too long.


have a safe week everyone.
cheryl xox.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

lesson planning - electricity

yes - sadly I'm spending my sunny weekend on lesson planning for the week ahead.
my university liason officer is coming out to observe me first thing Monday morning - so I want to make sure things are all organised. eeek!

the classroom I'm currently in has a smartboard (yay!) - so finding great electronic resources to share with the class has become a big priority. (I wish we had such things back when I went to school - I would have been much more engaged with the lessons!)
the class is also looking at electricity this term - so hands-on experiments are also on the plan.

whenever I'm on prac - my own kids want to be involved with what I'm currently teaching at school - especially when they spy a great interactive website that I find for the lessons. (who'd a thought - learning can be fun!!! ha!!)
so - I thought I'd share a couple of good finds here for anyone interested......

off to finish things up - I want to have a swim - the girls just yelled out that the pool has hit 30 degrees c!

YES - things are finally heating up.

cheryl xox.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

my 100th post

I've made it to my 100th post and I'm still here! Very tired from almost a full week of prac - but definitely alive and kicking!!!
YAY me!!
YAY you - for hanging in with me here. Thank you.

goob and i - New Year's Day 2011 - on top of Australia - Mount Kosciuszko

In keeping with my current theme of keeping things real - I thought it was time to share 20 things you may or may not know about me - because I don't think you or I could really cope with here goes.....

1. I was born in Sydney, Australia.

2. I was adopted soon after my birth. I am what is known online as an 'adoptee'.

3. I lived for the first 4 years of my life in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. I remember that we lived in a cul de sac. That's it.

4. My dad died in a helicopter crash just before my 1st birthday.

5. We lived on the North Shore in Sydney for the remainder of my childhood - with my mum, brother and sister. It was a happy life.

6. I studied piano for most of my youth - getting up to the 7th grade level (AMEB). Those exams took all of the fun out of it - I rarely play now.

7. I attended an all-girls Anglican high school. It had it's good and bad moments. I was a troubled teen - but I made it through. (I just don't want my daughters to find out about it.........)

8. I lived near Stockholm in Sweden as a Rotary Exchange Student for 12 months after high school - an amazing experience. I learnt to speak Swedish. I never get to use it!!

9. My mum died from breast cancer when I was 18. I miss her a lot. We were never able to be adults together - she didn't get to meet my amazing husband - nor my awesome kids.

10. I met mr w. when I was 19 and fell completely and madly in love. Every now and then I am petrified that he stays with me only because he perhaps knows that I'd fall to pieces if he left me. Most of the time I know that's nonsense.

11. We married when I was 21 - 6th October 1990 - at HMAS Watson on Sydney's south headland.

12. I worked in the travel industry before we had kids - including ground jobs with Eastwest Airlines and Ansett. Both airlines are sadly no longer with us - perhaps it was something I did..........jokes! :)

13. We had our 1st daughter (goob) when I was 26 - our 2nd (eky) when I was 28 - and our last (triple j) when I was 32 (a surprise natural breech birth - butt first - over 10 pounds of baby - can I just say ouch!!).

14. Since children, I've mostly been home - although I've dabbled in office administration and I was an Enjo consultant for a number of years. I've coached and managed netball teams and I've also stupidly been on many preschool, school and netball committees. (I've finally learned my lesson - I'm currently on none)

15. My bio parents married 6 months after my birth (they are still together living in Queensland) and I have a total of 6 siblings. 1 brother and 1 sister in my adoptive family - and 2 brothers and 2 sisters in my bio family.

16. I have met all of my bio family apart from my father and 1 sister.

17. I finally met my mother in November 2010. I don't think I'll ever see her again. Her choice. Enough said.

18. I absolutely have no regrets with searching and finding my biological family. I now finally have answers.
I know who I look like, have traits like and have the all important family medical history which I didn't have for 35+ years of my life. (I can finally not cringe when the doctor asks me that question). Stuff that is also really important for my kids. It was however an incredibly rough roller coaster ride that consumed me for many, many years.

19. I started blogging in October 2006 - in response to some lectures and tutorials at Uni - and to help me through the journey of searching. That original blog is still around - I just haven't posted there since March 2009. It's under another blogger name - it's a very raw read!! I also set up some other blogs for netball associations and teams.

20. I love to be in front of a classroom - I love kids - but some days I don't know if I still want to teach. However I do have to finish this degree as I already have a HECS bill for it (university fees) - with no pretty framed degree paper to show for it. Maybe I should have looked for one on etsy..........

So that's me - in a nutshell. A little battered and bruised on the inside - but hanging in there and getting on with life.

I share this stuff as it's much of what has shaped the real me.

I've had a heap of therapy through the years - perhaps I'm ready for some more?!?! I've been stewing on this post for a few weeks - and point #17 probably dragged up some stuff I've been avoiding for almost 12 months now. (lucky I'm entitled to free counselling at Uni - that's always a bonus!!!)

Sorry for the heavy post, but it's been good for me to write it all down.
My belief - a full and real life is about acknowledging all the good and all the bad. Sh*t happens - it's no use trying to pretend it doesn't. Putting it out there helps to get me though it.

Thanks for hanging in there if you've made it this far.
And thank you for just 'being there' - whether you comment or not. It feels good to know that I'm not talking/writing to thin air sometimes.

OK - back to the usual programming until post 200! :)

hugz from here.
cheryl xox.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

the going is good!

it's been 2 days down of this 15 day prac - and all is well!
great mentor teacher - wonderful kids (year 5/6) - really lovely school (just 30 minutes out of Canberra in a local country town) - the going is exceptionally good.
I could use more sleep - my brain is racing with lesson ideas - luckily we've planned for very quiet weekends to have loads of downtime ahead.
and my gorgeous triple j and miss molly currently lie beside me on the mat on the floor in our office this evening as I think me up some lesson plans.........


I hope this post finds you all well and happy this fine evening.

hugz from here.
cheryl xox.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

home hair salon - we survived!

It's so useful when the kidlettes grow up so they can help out with things.......including colouring and cutting your hair!!!

Yes - you've read that right - I let one of my girls be a hairdresser on me last night!

* pause for effect *

With money tight - and me in desperate need of some beautifying (especially with starting 3 weeks prac at a local Primary School tomorrow) - drastic measures were taken to help me look my best.

My 15 year old goob was my co-conspirator - and eky and goob also both got the home hair salon treatment in preparation for going back to school for Term 4 this week. (their hair is gorgeous super blonde - and in no need of chemical enhancement. Yes - I'm very very very jealous. I had super blonde hair until hormones got the better of me when I chose to have kids!! You can see their natural hair colour in this post)

Some background - I always do mr. w's hair with clippers - and also have cut the girls hair at various times in the past (no formal training - just trial and error - which there have been some - but not many - errors I mean!!!) - but I've never let any of them touch my hair - so this really was a first.

Here's the result this morning - after a little help from the GHD straightener.......

Not too bad I must say. In fact I'm pretty stoked with how well it turned out!
(it does look a little strawberry blonde in some light - but generally I'm very happy with the outcome)

NOTE: I may or may not have just touched up a little with that wonderful photo editing software picnik - just smoothed out my face perhaps - only a little - but I will use all that is at hand to help with my phobia of taking and seeing my own picture!!! For that I make no apologies! I did not change the colouring of the photo in any way. I promise!

Now back to the hair - no in-progress photos - too busy with worrying if it would all work out ok.
Here's how it was done.........first up we used this to even out my colouring.....

Clairol nice'n easy - ($12.60) - from K-mart yesterday. And it was!

We were extremely nervous - I haven't used a home colour since before I was married!! And goob kept repeating that she was really worried that my hair would turn orange. Yeah - thanks for helping me keep the nerves down beautiful girl....!!

But - in the end - we just followed the instructions and it all worked out well. It has really evened out my colour and my hair looks more natural and healthier than it was. PHEW - part 1 complete.

goob then got to work with these.....(more heart palpitations for me).....

Top - hair cutting scissors ($8.61) - and bottom - hair thinning scissors ($8.61) Also both from K-mart yesterday. The top scissors weren't as sharp and crisp to cut with as I'd like - but you get what you pay for.
We'll perhaps look at getting them sharpened - or upgrading to better ones in the future. The thinning scissors were great!

All of the girls in this family have incredibly thick hair (very lucky we are) - however with the very dry air in Canberra my hair often ends up looking like a fizzy mop! (I kid you not!) The thinning scissors worked a treat to settle down the boof-look just a little.

I cut my fringe (I don't let many people touch that!) - oh - and yes - I gave up on the growing-out-the-fringe-caper that I talked about here. I've had a fringe my whole life and frankly feel just naked without it so it's come back to stay!!
goob ended up cutting about 10cms/4 inches off my ends and thinned it out a great deal. I was scared - but it's so much lighter (in weight) and sits well.

She also gave eky a cut and I gave goob's hair a trim ("don't take too much off mum - I still want to have mermaid hair!!!" - from the 15 year old. Give me a break!!!!)

I'm so so so so happy with the results - and relieved. (oh - and so are they - super pleased - they just wouldn't allow me to take photos!) It was hard to put that much trust in my daughter - sad but true - but she came through so well and I really shouldn't have doubted in the first place.

What do you think - do I scrub up OK??
Hell of a lot cheaper - under $30 for all three of us - compared to the over $200 it cost just for me at the professional hair salon last visit!!

Now I have my much needed confidence to take on year 5/6 tomorrow!!! I really am looking forward to it.

Hope all's well in your world.
cheryl xox.
p.s. i was paid nothing by nobody for this post - just in case you were wondering! I just thought I'd share what worked for me.

Friday, 14 October 2011


my reflection pool - expensive but oh so peaceful (when it's not summer and screaming kidlettes have taken it over)

I've been thinking a lot about blogging lately (you know - so I don't have to think about studying....) - and there's been a load of posts around blogland that have fed into those reflections.

 '10 reasons why I don't read your blog'- at 'Where's My Glow?'.

 '....Five tips why I won't leave a comment on your blog'- at 'A Beach Cottage'.

'Getting comments on your blog' - at 'And Then There Were Four'.

'Why I DO follow your blog' - at Catharsis.

'People do not follow blogs; They follow other people'- at 'Writing Happiness'.

'A few tips from a blog groupie' - at 'Karen S. Elliott - The Word Shark'.

A lot of interesting and very insightful reads.
The first link really got me thinking - including all the comments that accompanied that post.

Ultimately your blog is your space. Period. But if you are hoping for more people to join you on this bloggy ride - there's a lot of good stuff in there to have a think about. 

My number 1 reason for leaving a blog - when photos take far too long to load. That's just me.
(eeek - I hope my photos don't do that for you...?)
If anyone wants tips on how to make your uploads and reloads of photos better - let me know. I'd love to help if I can.

For this blog, I've decided to give better punctuation a go - sorry if it's been bugging you. When I started this blog I seemed to have an aversion to capitol letters. Did it bug you?????
I do draw the line at nefotlak. and family names - you'll just have to suck it up and deal with those.....
Last night I even went back and fixed up the last two posts - but that's it - I'm not going to fix up the remaining 90+ prior to that. Let's just call it all 'a personal-blogging-growth-spurt' - and be done with it.
No haters - please!

I am a people pleaser generally - but I also thought that I don't really deserve a teaching degree if I can't even punctuate my own blog!

Huge thanks also to Sally over at 'Us+House=Home'- for taking the time to send me an email to let me know that she couldn't leave comments because of my blogger settings. Hopefully it's all good now.

I also feel that I have been hiding behind a lot of fixing and crafting - surface stuff that keeps me busy but doesn't show the real me. There are reasons behind that - I'm working on those. This little growth spurt I'm having has made me see that. I'm going to attempt to be the real me. Cause I'm OK once you get to know me! Promise.

hugz from me.
cheryl xox.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

main bedroom - sneak peek

We spent our first night back in our own bed last night - * bliss * - after bed hopping between the kids beds and the lounges for 3 nights.
We do have a pull out sofa bed in the office, but that was just all too much work!!!

After 3 coats of undercoat and 2 coats of topcoat - here's a little look at how our main bedroom looks this morning.....

ahhhh - so nice!!!
That is just fabric folded over our duna/quilt at the end of the bed. I've had the fabric for a very very long time - waiting for the right moment to come out and show itself!
It will be made into a duna cover sometime this week.
I love how it looks in the room - and thankfully mr w. loves it too. (I was worried he might think it a little too girly - but no - he thinks it all looks great - nice!)

There will also be 2 pillow covers made out of the same fabric - and a long scatter cushion (similar style to the one made for goob here) made out of my huge stash of red fabrics.

On the other side of the room - we have a cabinet that needs painting - and eventually we'll get a comfortable chair.
I need to work on some curtains - and some artwork - painting various picture frames - it's all moving forward slowly but surely.
mr w. is the main room painter (job well done!) - while I work on all the other bits and pieces. Great teamwork really!!
We're absolutely loving the open and airy feel of our new room! (We've been in this house since 2003 - but the room feels bright and new now!)

Ultimately - new carpet would also be our dream - but that's way off the cards for now - so dreary blue it must stay.

Here's a quick before and after -

Posts may be a little slow around here for awhile. I know - sad - I'll miss you all too!!
I have loads of uni work I really need to sink my teeth into - plus I go on 3 weeks prac in a local primary school next week.

Wish me luck.
This time next year I should be all completed and be a real life qualified teacher!

Hugz from here.
cheryl xox.

Linking here.....

Monday, 10 October 2011

I'm still here

I have been a little absent.
We have been in the midst of school holidays here. triple j heads back to school today (she's now had 2 weeks holidays) - while eky and goob still have a week to go.
Last week was the cross-over week and we've been spending loads of time together - just being a family.
It's been really nice. (even mr w. and I had a break from uni and work - super nice!)
We also visited questacon here in Canberra - which was heaps of fun. If you have never been - make sure you add it to your list of things to do in Canberra if you ever head down this way. It's a hoot!!

In other very exciting news - this started over the weekend.....

3 undercoats of white over my dark dark blue bedroom walls!
YES - we're finally brightening up our main bedroom - and I'm so so so so happy to be doing so.
Here's a reminder of what we've had for the last I-don't-know-how-long.....

We originally wanted a dark cave effect - but I think it ended up depressing my entire being!!

We're going white and bright - and I couldn't be happier.

Promise to post photos when it's all done. Final coats will hopefully go on today - yes - I can hear the swish of the paintbrush just starting as I type!!
It's another public holiday down here for those that work and go to school in Canberra - poor triple j goes to school over the border in NSW!! (however she's happy to be showing off her new pierced ears - and she has b'day cupcakes to share at school!)

Hope all is well in your world.
hugz from here.
cheryl xox.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

a special day

The 6th of October is a very special day in our household.

On this day 21 years ago - mr w. and i became husband and wife. (that's half my life ago - wow!!!) We were wed at the little chapel at h.m.a.s. watson - looking over the beautiful city of sydney on one side - and out to sea on the other.
An amazing day surrounded by all our family and friends.

Then on this day 13 years ago - our gorgeous eky arrived into our world - with a beautiful head of blonde hair, a huge loving heart and creativeness oozing from her very being. (we now officially have 2 teenagers in the house - aarrrrggghhhh!!!)

Today - that same gorgeous eky presented us with this precious hand-made gift to commemorate this anniversary.........

.....and goob cooked us up an amazing breakfast of french toast with maple syrup.....

.....while little miss triple j showered us with cuddles, kisses and a lovely handmade card!!

This house is full of love today.
I hope you are having a great day.

cheryl xox.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

guest post - holly from 'life as a thrifter'

so excited to have the lovely holly here today from life as a thrifter. we've done a blog post trade (my first!).
holly was once a teacher before becoming a mum - (well - once a teacher always a teacher - i say!!) - it's no wonder i like her!!!!

Hello! My name is Holly, and I blog over at Life as a Thrifter. I am most thrilled to be guest posting today on Nefotlak! My blog is all about repurposing a great find, so I thought I'd share a cheap and easy project from a past thrifting hunt. I hope this fall monogram project brings you a bit of inspiration!

I found this large embroidery hoop at a thrift store for $1.
Next, using a Word Doc. stencil (much like I did in THIS project), I traced our monogram on a piece of burlap . . .
. . . then painted it with black fabric paint.
And, finally, simply put the burlap in the hoop.
So easy, y'all!

Happy hunting, everyone!!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

happy 9th b'day triple j

my gorgeous triple j turned 9 this week!

she finally got her ears pierced for her b'day - and her and i went out for a shopping and sushi date - just her and i. (we both love sushi!)

triple j was on school holidays for this past week - while her big sisters still had 1 week left of school. (that's what happens when your kids go to school in two different states - triple j goes to school in nsw - the other 2 are in the act.)

we had a very fun day.

triple j has her daddy's amazing chocolate brown eyes. and an adorable, cheeky smile.

love you like crazy gorgeous girl! you'll always be my baby!

(all photos taken with my iphone - and played with in picnik - just fyi)

we're off to the canberra handmade markets today tomorrow.
hope you have a fabulous weekend.

cheryl xox.

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