31 October 2010

Here we are at the end of the month and the final post for the challenge of Blogtober.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to Cathy at tinniegirl and her 'parnter-in-crime', Curlypops for hosting this fantastic event and prompting me to get into the habit of publishing a post every day.

The challenge to match my postings to the alphabet was a great creativity-stretcher.
Most days the letter was easy to write for.... Creative Cooking! and Jacaranda Joy!.
Other days, I really had to stretch...Linky Loving and Unexpected and Unusual.
Either way it was great fun.

Some nights [hahum...read here, 2 or 3am] as I lay in bed trying to get myself back to sleep, I would run my mind back through the alphabet, trying to remember the title of each days' post.
This is something I would never even consider doing in a 'regular' blogging month, but the structure of the alphabet gave me a neat way to reflect back on all that I'd written.

Now that we are at the end, and I flip back through the pages of this month, there are several highlights for me:

1.  Finding new blogeristas whom I may never have encountered and am enjoying following..

*  Cathy @ tinniegirl
*  Kellie @ 74 Lime Lane
*  Cherrie @ Willy Wagtail
*  Meika and her Little Treasures
*  Moags & Smeet

2.  Hosting my first ever giveaway and in doing so introducing you to the gorgeous Georgina.

3.  Learning that, with a bit of organisation, I could post every day.  Now I don't know if I will be maintaining this post-blogtoberfest, but it was nice to get into the habit.

Perhaps you may have even discovered me via this wonderful carnival and became a follower of this blog, if so thank you!

So, here we are at the final stop on this month-long journey together.
If you're wondering what I might do with myself now, check in tomorrow to find out.

30 October 2010

& then there was an ampersand...

One of my most favourite words that I've discovered in the last couple of years is ampersand.
Having worked in the field of Gifted & Talented education [or G&T] as it was more often abbreviated to, I was always writing or typing this beautiful symbol.

Working with a myriad of educators, parents and students, the opportunity to educate others on what this symbol was called was regularly presented.
This most often occurred when I was sharing the url for our G&T website.
I'd have to make it clear that the joining word between the 'Gand the 'Twas an '&' not 'and' and that the symbol for this can be found on the '7' key.  I'd then get to share that this symbol was known as an ampersand.
Almost always someone would say "Really, I didn't know that it had a name!".

The explanation for what this symbol means and how it came to be is quite fascinating but a bit too long-winded for this post, so I'll do an abbreviated version and if you're interested head on over to Wikipedia for more.

Apparently the word ampersand is a blend of the phrase...

"and per se and"

...meaning "and [the symbol which] by itself [is] and".

It used to be added to the end of the alphabet so as young children sang their way through, they would recite 

"X, Y, Z and per se and."

This eventually became slurred to ampersand and became a commonly used term in 1837.  

So there you have it, the beautiful ampersand...

...isn't this image gorgeous?
You have to indulge me here as I couldn't contain myself to sharing it only once. It was painted by Katie Daisy who has THE most beautiful work for sale in her Etsy store, The Wheatfield.* and you may find that there are some extra ampersands scattered through her work too.

I wonder, are you an ampersand user or do you contain yourself to 'and' & 'an'?

This post is posted as part of Blogtoberfest....
...check in tomorrow for the finale!http://tinniegirl.blogspot.com/

* On a sidenote, I discovered Katie's work at Oh Joy! which is also truly gorgeous place to visit. 

29 October 2010

Q  &A Time

Can you recall the last time that you were asked a really great question?
In our daily lives we ask and answer heaps of questions but generally speaking they are of the sort that could easily fit into a basket labeled 'mundane'.

As a newly-minted, full-time step-mum, I am slowly but surely learning the power of a well-worded and well-timed question.

As an educator I also know the power that is held within type of questions that I ask. I also know that a single word can alter the level of thinking [and hopefully responding] that a learner will make.

For example if you ask a 'Where is...?' question, you are requiring the other person to tell you a fact.

Whereas if you asked the same person 'Where might...?', you are asking them to think at a higher level of reasoning and perhaps take a bit of a risk with their response.

So whether you are a parent, educator or someone who likes to challenge others with your questions, try adding the following to the end of your question sentence and prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the difference in the quality of answers that you receive....







On this note, I'm opening the floor for you to ask me a question in the comments box.

You have probably gathered that I really value creativity so, along with all of the usual topics, I'm not averse to tackling the forbidden 'dinner party closers' of sex, politics and religion.

So, let the fun begin and we'll see where the path may take us.....

Throughout the month of October I am participating in Blogtoberfest by posting-my-way-through-the-alphabet.  To find out more and to see who else is participating, click this icon in my sidebar...

28 October 2010

adding some zing!

If you are a regular reader of my posts, you would know that I am an avid exclaimer.
By this I mean, you will find exclamation marks regularly peppered throughout my writing.

This is one of my favourite punctuation marks because it truly helps the writer to communicate to the reader that what comes before this '!' is to be read with expression, enthusiasm, energy and vim.

When teaching young children and introducing this mark into their expressive reading and writing repertoire it is not unusual to see this symbol popping up at the end of almost every sentence that they write, eg:

Today we ate breakfast!
I had some vegemite on toast!
My brother spilt his juice!

At this time, I love having kids read their writing back to me or reading along with them putting huge amounts of expression and excitement into my voice... they sometimes look at you like you've completely lost the plot but you know that they really love it!

A fun strategy to help early writers learn that correct use of the punctuation marks '?', '.', and '!' is to have three students wear a sandwiche board with one symbol on each...

You can do so much with this, but my favourite is the following.

You read a sentence out and have them decide if it is a question, statement or exclamation. 
If they think that it's their symbol that belongs at the end of the sentence then they jump up.
I love reading out something like

"What were you thinking?!?"

and seeing two of them jump up at the same time and then look at each other as if to say 'Hang on a minute, that was my gig!'.
So, next time that you're reading through one of my posts and you see one of these !  [or perhaps a few clustered together], know that it was added deliberately because I wanted to share a bit of extra zing with you....I won't ask you to jump up....well, not unless you really want to!

Throughout the month of October I am participating in Blogtoberfest by posting-my-way-through-the-alphabet.  To find out more and to see who else is participating, click this icon in my sidebar...

27 October 2010

@ the moment, this is where I'm @!

So you thought my blogtoberfesting would stop at Z didn't you?

Well, there you go.
You've learnt something new about me....once I commit to something, and by that I mean truly commit, I'm in 'til the end. Blogtoberfest is about posting each and every day and as October comes to a close the alphabet will be morphing into symbols which we use almost as much as the letters in our lexicon.

And so it is that we arrive at @.
How many times would you type, write, push the button for this symbol, including it as part of an email or weblink each day?
I'd be guessing your answer, if you are at all connected to the web, would be "A lot!"

Prior to its use for emailing, it was a symbol used to represent the cost or weight of something, eg: 4 pineapples @ $1.50 each.

Unusually, this symbol doesn't have an official, universal name.
But there are lots of interesting dialectical descriptions linking back to nature from all around the globe.

For instance, in Dutch it is apenstaartje or monkey's tail...

Norwegians say grisehale, or pigs tail....

If you are in Hungary, perhaps you would say kukac, or worm...

in Korea, they refer to it as dalphaengi or snail...

I'm surprised that a nation doesn't call it the web...

 the chameleon's tail...

or the fern....

I suppose we are all too enlightened for that...

and prefer to just call it 'at'.

If you know a different name for the @ symbol, I'm sure we'd all love to learn it, so please be sure to leave a message and teach us something new.

More! I hear you say.  

Well if you're really into the etymology of this symbol click on the 'more' link and you will find yourself @ a site with loads of interesting facts.

Throughout the month of October I am participating in Blogtoberfest by posting-my-way-through-the-alphabet.  To find out more and to see who else is participating, click this icon in my sidebar...

26 October 2010

Z Z Z. . .

Sleep, glorious sleep!

or... counting the sheep, bountiful sheep!

Quality sleep is one of the most valued gifts in my world.
To be able to lay my head down and wake refreshed and energised is something that I definitely don't take for granted.

There has been a significant period in my life recently where this wasn't guaranteed and I'm sure you can relate to the lethargy and fuzzy-brain syndrome which occurs when regular, rejuvinating sleep has eluded you.

Having a good quality pillow and an ipod loaded with heaps of great podcasts downloaded from ABC Radio National has meant that I am no longer at the mercy of insomnia.
There's really nothing better than waking naturally [vs to an alarm] knowing that you are 'reloaded' for the day....the fact that the weather has warmed up has also made it easier for me to bounce vs drag myself out of bed!

Do you have any great tips for guaranteeing a good night's sleep?

Throughout the month of October I am participating in Blogtoberfest by posting-my-way-through-the-alphabet.  To find out more and to see who else is participating, click this icon in my sidebar...

25 October 2010


There are SO many ways that blogging has enriched my world, but meeting new people just like you has definitely been THE most wonderful.

To the people who follow... thank you for seeing something in my blog that you like enough to keep coming back, it is very gratifying that what I post is resonating with you.

To everyone who leaves a comment... thank you for taking the time to respond.
Your notes are always read with appreciation and if you are a new person, I really enjoy following you back to your own space.

To the many bloggeristas whom I follow.... thank you for the very many ways in which you inspire, encourage, motivate and enliven me...you really do brighten my day.

Some of you  are truly special because you fall into all three of the categories mentioned... thank you!

Throughout the month of October I am participating in Blogtoberfest by posting-my-way-through-the-alphabet.  To find out more and to see who else is participating, click this icon in my sidebar...

24 October 2010


Have you ever wondered why we write an 'x' when we want to signify a kiss in text?
As someone who often adds an 'x' to my name when signing off, I thought that it might be a good idea to find out what this symbol is all about.

There are a few different explanations rolling around the ether.
Firstly there is the mathematical theory [snore], which takes the view that X can signify zero or '[an] infinity [of delight]'.  It can also 'multiply' love and joy = less 'snorey' + more 'cutesy'.

Second theory =  The X represents the stylised picture of two mouths touching each other...whichever way you look at it!

History though suggests that, most early illiterates signed their documents with a cross which symbolised a 'promise of truth'.  Then, to further confirm the veracity of what had been endorsed the author would kiss his signature, which was something that he or she was probably used to doing with a holy book or document. 1

The modern day use of an X to symbolise a kiss at the end of a letter or note dates back to 1765 2 and probably is a blend of each of these suggestions.

So there you have it....I hope that there are lots of heartfelt X's in your day today.

If you would like to create your own 'X'-worthy artwork and don a gorgeous new persona ala the hit TV show 'Mad Men' as I have below, head on over to this fun space!  

Thank you to Objects of Whimsy for letting me know about this.., pop on over to view who she became. If you decide to do a little 'Mad Men' remodeling yourself, I'd love to see your look.  Come back and let me know if you post about it!

Throughout the month of October I am participating in Blogtoberfest by posting-my-way-through-the-alphabet.  To find out more and to see who else is participating, click this icon in my sidebar...

1. http://www.trivia-library.com
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugs_and_kisses

23 October 2010

wise 'w's

I keep six honest serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;

But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,

As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.

But different folk have different views; 
I know a person small-

She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs,

From the second she opens her eyes-

One million Hows, two million Wheres,

And seven million Whys! 

                            Rudyard Kipling

Whether you are a parent, teacher, student or just a plain inquisitive person, I believe this is a poem that has a message to serve you well throughout your days.

Is there a 'Y?' person in your world?
Perhaps it's you, always inquisitive, searching, asking...perhaps it's a two year old, a 22 year old or a 122 year old!

I'd love to know what the best "Why?" question you've been asked has been....

Throughout the month of October I am participating in Blogtoberfest by posting-my-way-through-the-alphabet.  To find out more and to see who else is participating, click this icon in my sidebar...

Gathering Gratefuls

It's Saturday so it's time to reflect on some of the things that I'm grateful for inspired by my clever and thoughtful friend Maxabella.  Each week I will reflect upon five things that I am truly grateful for.
Five little gifts of gratitude symbolised by the blue eggs in the Robins' Nest above.

*  Energy - As someone who has been learning to manage their body whilst living with chronic fatigue,  it has been wonderful to have had some great injections of energy this week.  

* Working with enthusiastic people - On Wednesday I ran a parent session on positive advocacy at a local primary school and loved the receptive response of not only all who were present but the brilliant principal who hosted the event.

* Bright kids and dedicated teachers - Earlier in the year I wrote a program to enrich gifted kids titled 'The World At Your Feet'.  On Wednesday it 'came to life' through the energy and enthusiasm of some truly wonderful and totally dedicated educators and of course the fantastic input of the kids themselves.
If you have ever been in a space where a group of people are doing something that they truly enjoy, there is an energy that is created that has been known to give me goosebumps!

* The terrific high school that Captain V's eldest child is attending and his second is getting ready to go to.  On Friday the school held their annual orientation day for the students who will be entering as Year 8's in 2011.  I was volunteering in the school's student cafe and was privy to lots of excited tweens laughing, singing, clapping and cheering.  It is with great delight that we hand over the children to this school for their final years of school-based education.

*  New shoes.  I bought a pair of snappy green shoes last weekend and have been LOVING wearing them ever since.  They are of the brand Nordic Fusion and have been not only super comfy but have added a little splash of happy to my walk.  I know the colour won't be everyone's cup of tea but I have seem to have a lot of 'apple' green in my robe, so....

I'm sure that there are many things that you're grateful for too, why not head over to Maxabella's place and join in the fun....