sexta-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2010

New blog

I've been re-organising my blogs and the time has come to move over to Casa Criativa. Over there I'll post in Finnish and in English about crafting and cooking. Welcome over!

segunda-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2010

Holidays (and lots of school related ramblings...)

I had great plans about topics and themes we’d cover during the holidays with the kids. Well… My sister visited us for some three weeks over Christmas and New Year and my mum is still here with us until the end of January. So instead we’ve simply enjoyed holidays, which, I think hasn’t been that bad at all… We went to visit my sister-in-law in the countryside for a few days, went to a water park for a day and visited the state capital Porto Velho as my sister left. Above pictures from the water park and from Christmas.

December was spent pretty much at school for my part. I had seven students that didn’t pass English and had to take a week of extra classes and then another test. I actually quite enjoyed teaching only seven kids although they were from four different grades. We were able to play a few games and I was able to give lots of individual attention to each of them. It seems to have paid off: they all passed their test at the end of the week. In Brazilian schools teachers have an incredible amount of paperwork to do. There is a diary for each subject (in my case for each class) and you record what you taught and when as well as who was present that day. All grades go into the diary and at the end of the year you calculate the final notes and copy them to several different places inside that one diary. It’s not difficult but very time consuming and I must have spent hours completing all the diaries.

We did some homeschool work right in the beginning of December and just re-started today. I’m hoping to clarify some Finnish spelling to Luana as well as simple maths in Finnish. She’s simply out of practice with numbers in Finnish (although she does know them perfectly well) and she has only learned to write in Portuguese so now it’s time for Finnish. I’m also hoping we’d get back to the Outdoor Hour tasks especially now that the kids got a kids’ microscope for Christmas.

Luana will start English lessons at the same language school I teach in but that’ll be in the beginning of February. The kids have been asking for English lessons at home too so I might take a look into that as well.

The kids will change schools (from private to public) and will for the first time not be together in the same school. Luana will star first grade and Lucas still has two more years of pre-school left. The schools are right next to each other and they will take the same school bus there and back. I’m not worried about them being in different schools as they’re both very outgoing and definitely not shy. They’re both really excited about their new schools and new school uniforms. They will also get new backpacks this year and their old ones will go to kids that don’t have any. I think we might fill the bags with some stationary before passing them on to their new owners.

Today is a rainy day that will be spent indoors decluttering the house. I've already set aside clothes we don't use anymore and will tackle the kids' toys next...

sábado, 19 de dezembro de 2009

More time for the fun stuff

I'm finally finished with my classes. The summer holidays started officially a week ago but those who didn' t pass had to have extra lessons this past week. I had a few students who didn't pass English and I was at the school Mon-Fri giving them extra lessons. I was so relieved when they all passed on Friday! I still have to drop in on Monday and we have a lunch for all the personnell on Tuesday but officially my classes are over. I've talked to the director and he said he'll try to get me a contract for next year so fingers crossed!

We made a finger puppet theatre with the kids. Simply cut off the bottom of a box, added some paint and curtains and there you are. Got to see several funny plays the same day.
Most of my good crafting ideas and other activities are waiting for January as the Christmas and New Year festivities will be over and life will take a more mellow course. We're right now waiting for my sister to arrive (three more nights to go, YAY!) and enjoying my mum who's been with us for already a month.

We're focusing on Christmas now and are reading the whole story little by little from a children's Bible doing some crafting as well. I know I'll enjoy things slowing down a little bit and will throughly enjoy the holidays until the end of January.

Christmas cards

We participated in the Christmas card swap organised by Kidscraftweekly as we did last year. It was such a thrill to receive the cards last year and I'm hoping we'll receive at least a few this year too. So far we haven't been lucky - our mail box has been empty - but I realise mail gets around slowly at Christmas time.

I love the Brazilian air mail envelopes with Brazilian colours!

And these are our cards this year. The kids had a good time making them and didn't need much help from me. I did the writing on the other side and they signed the cards. This year we sent cards to Australia and the US.

segunda-feira, 26 de outubro de 2009

No time for the fun stuff

I started a new teaching job some weeks ago and all of a sudden I have no time for the fun stuff with my kids... I work almost every afternoon and come home when it's almost time for the kids to go to bed. I'm at home in the mornings but that's when they're at school. That leaves us the weekends but as I'm working and we don't have anyone to clean the house and wash the laundry we end up spending a lot of time on Saturdays doing household chores. I'm not very happy about the situation but I realise that it's also good to work and get some experiences from here in my CV. Thankfully summer holiday starts soon enough (end of November for the kids and a little later for me), my mum is soon here as well as my sister and I've already got lots of nice ideas for the long holiday months (two if the kids continue in the same school and three if they go to a public school).

The kids did get to paint their faces and loved it! They got inspired after they saw the paintings my students had made at school (did I mention I get to teach one art class apart from all the English classes and I'm LOVING it!).

We also made loads of bead bracelets for a birthday party that I worked at last weekend. Luana was such a great sport about this; the beads weren't mine and she helped me making the bracelets without getting to keep one for herself. I did promise her we'd buy lots of beads for the holidays...

Here are some of the bracelets we made.
Basically all homeschooling activities are on hold at the moment and we're really looking forward to December when my mum and later on my sister will be over here and we'll have lots more time to spend together.

quinta-feira, 22 de outubro de 2009

In our garden

My husband covered the garden with a fine plastic mesh in order to create some shadow. This also protects the plants from heavy rain (rainy season is just around the corner so this is important).

Our broccoli never really happened. The plants grew very large and produced big leaves but never the actual broccoli. I have no idea what happened as I've never really gardened anything before. My husband's got more experience with gardening but he's never dealt with broccoli so we're clueless with this one... It's a shame though because broccoli is really expensive over here and I was really looking forward to growing our own.

Basil is doing great and that makes me really happy. There's no fresh basil sold here at all and I've really missed that.

We planted some strawberries that my sister brought from Spain. We're hoping this is a variety that tolerates heat well. Fingers crossed!

We also got some strawberries from a friend and they're all doing well. I have no idea when we might get our first strawberries though...

We're going through changes in the garden right now. Rucola and kale produced well and we'll plant them again. On our list we also have parsley, radish, lettuce and agrião (one type of watercress). We'll be eating from our garden by the end of the year again although gardens don't really thrive during the rainy season.

quinta-feira, 15 de outubro de 2009

Teachers' Day

Today was Teachers' Day and the kids had no classes. They had a small celebration at school yesterday and we made these portraits for their teachers Mariana and Edna. Both kids drew themselves with their teachers. Luana also wrote "teacher, I like you." :) I then cut hearts out of EVA and glued them on small magnets and we were done! I especially liked the fact that Lucas drew a halo above his own head. I bet he's a little saint at school! :D