I had forgotten about the magic of hobby horses. This simple toy has really added to the play here in this house, and they were so incredibly easy to make. Perfect for a rainy day. Numala Kinder now has a stable of black beauties ready for a run. Hobby horses are a wonderful way to add movement into children’s dramatic play …. and we have a lot of galloping space here!

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My daughter received a hobby horse for Christmas, one that plays an authentic galloping and whinnying sound when you squeeze the ear. She loves it and fondly named it Ana. When Numala Kinder restarted after the new year Ana was very popular. Amazingly though,  one hobby horse between three four-year-old girls worked out quite well but all the same we decided to make some more lovely ponies. One rainy day this week,  when I just couldn’t coax the children outside (“I have had enough of WET!”) we made a few more.

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Of course sticks are in abundance around here, old socks are never hard to part with,  and I have stashes of emergency craft supplies so I knew I had some wool stuffing,  elastic and just the right buttons for eyes.

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Yes, I did most of the putting together and all of the stitching,  but the children were very engaged in helping to hand-card and stuff the wool into the socks. My 7-year-old made the bridles, which I had forgotten about.

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Joy! They love them! Humble and homemade, these horses don’t even seem to mind that they don’t make sounds like Ana. They have a life of their own.

HOW WE MADE THEM:

1) Gather your bits: old socks, stuffing, elastic, felt scraps, a good strong stick or broom handle, buttons, yarn, needle and thread.

2) Stuff the toe and the base of the sock well. Really well! squeeze and shape with your hands as you go to make a good horsey muzzle. When you reach the heel of the sock, place the pole inside and continue stuffing well around the pole. Secure the end of the sock by tying a piece of elastic tightly around the sock and pole together. Wrap and tie a few times so it is nice and secure.

3) Cut two ears out of some felt. I used some scraps of some strong hand-made felt I had – I imagined the shape of a cathedral door when I cut them out. Fold them in half and stitch onto the horse – along the heel of the sock. I stitched across the bottom of the ears, and then a little way up the sides to encourage them to stand up tall.

4) Make little bundles or tassels of yarn and stitch them between and just behind the ears to create the mane.

5) Choose some cute big round buttons for eyes and stitch them on. You could also glue one some felt circles.

6) My daughter added a bridle by wrapping yarn around the muzzle and attached a rein to hang on to for when those horses want to gallop fast.

This post was originally shared on http://www.numalakinder.wordpress.com

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Lavendilly Storytime: Why the Swamp Hen Has a Red Beak

Autumn Leaf Fairy3We spend a lot of time hanging together down by the creek. We play and we explore there, never really with much of a plan. Our story times often unfold while we sit together doing nothing much more than just watching and listening. We call to the river to tell us a story, and then we look around, and listen carefully to find it. The story then appears in a natural and collaborative way between myself, the children and the place we are in.

A few weeks ago, after a morning of delightful unstructured play and wandering down by the creek with my 4 year old daughter, we sung our Story-calling Song to the river, and then it answered in a most delightful way. One of those rushes of wind came hurtling up the river from a distance and when it blew by us, little leaves swirled all around us. There was a story there, but what was it? It sure wanted to be told. My daughter listened for a moment before saying that it wanted to tell us the story of the swamp hen. We didn’t know what the story was yet, and so we watched the swamp hens nearby so that we could find out.

The swamp hens were stepping carefully with their long toes on the lawn near the bank, and digging with their red beaks in the grass. Stepping and digging, stepping and digging. Their purply and deep blue feathers shone in the sun. Unhurried, peaceful, purposeful. Other hens were paddling in the water, and one dived right under and disappeared for a moment before shooting out of the water again like a rocket. We found this most interesting! And so we started talking about what we saw, and why we thought the swamp hens were doing these things.

My daughter had a lot of theories about what these waterbirds were doing. We wondered why they were pecking the grass – she thought they were eating the “moisture” (moys-cha), which, it turns out, she thought was lovely dark dirt. I wondered, if maybe they might be nibbling at some roots or grubs that live in the “moisture”. We wondered how they could swim when they were birds – she thought they must kick with their long toes. We wondered why the swamp hen whooshed out of the water so quickly – she thought the eels might have bitten it on the nose because it had been rude.

AH! That explains why it has a red beak!

And there we found the story. It just came, and we told it while we tried to copy the swamp hen’s movements. Have you stepped like waterbird? Stepping slowly while lifting knees and pointing toes at the same time takes balance! When we got home we looked up swamp hens in our bird book and on the computer and discovered that they DO eat the grasses and soft roots of plants near the river, and they DO sometimes attack eels (known as jurun in Yugambeh Language) – but no one knows why.

Well, we do! Here’s why:

WHY THE SWAMP HEN HAS A RED BEAK

Lavendilly Swamp Hen

Purple Swamp Hen was swimming in the shallow water of the river, looking for some food. It dived down under the water and swam about for a moment, before popping back up for a breath.

It was a beautiful bird with shiny, purply and dark blue feathers, and long, long toes that it could use to pick up food, or to swim for short distances under water. It was a neat bird, a tidy one, and it liked the way its  sleek feathers glimmered in the sunlight. Swamp Hen stepped carefully so that it would never get dirty.

Eel saw Swamp Hen swimming underwater one day. “What are you doing, swimming in my river, bird?”

Swamp Hen replied, “I’m just looking for a little food. There are some delicious delicacies here in this river. Have you tried the snail? What about these little fish? Those are delightful, but you have to be quick to catch them.”

Eel said “Only I am fast enough! This is my river and you cannot fish here! I am Jurun! I am king here.”

Swamp Hen looked Eel up and down, then rudely said, “What are you? You are too slimy to be a fish and too fat to be a snake. You couldn’t possibly be king of the river! Not like I, with my shiny feathers and graceful toes. Perhaps I should be king.”

This boasting from Swamp Hen made Eel so cross, it rushed forward and bit Swamp Hen on the beak. Swamp Hen got such a fright it whooshed straight out of the water like a rocket! Its poor beak was bright red and sore!

And that is why Swamp Hen now much prefers to spend its time stepping carefully and only using its beak to dig in the softer parts of the grasses and plants that grow by the water. Sometimes when its beak is feeling really red and sore, it uses its toes to lift up soft plants and shoots, rather than to bend down and dig. And it never spends long underwater, in case it meets Eel again.

Just down the river (shoo lie loo)

I’m really enjoying the song “Shoo Lie Loo” by Elizabeth Mitchell. It came to me as a gift just this week in the form of her cd Sunny Day. I recommend it as part of your collection of music for children – joyful songs, great rhythms, real music that appeals to a child’s world. The whole cd feels like adults and children alike had fun making it. “Shoo Lie Loo” has everything my children love: a catchy tune that won’t drive you nuts, simple lyrics that can be adapted, a celebration of childhood. I promise you’ll love it. There’s a clip of it at the end of this post, showing the circle game that goes with it.

Autumn Leaf Fairy3My children and I adapted this song yesterday when we went down to the river – it just burst out when we started taking note of all the bird life we have down there. We live on a quiet part of the Nerang river – just about the point where the water turns brackish and is just a little tidal still. It is more like a creek where we are, with mostly low ankle-deep water running over smooth rocks and soft weeds.

It is an interesting environment with SO MANY interesting birds. It is a very exciting event when we spot the pelican that comes to visit every now and then! It is quite odd, seeing a pelican paddling upon our quiet creek. Once my husband watched an eagle fishing, and I’ve been delighted by the flash of brilliant blue from a kingfisher.

Once we started singing, we just kept thinking of more and more birds we have seen in our area and of course we started to make a list. Our next thought is to take a photo of each of the birds and make a poster or a guide-book of our own with them

Our song goes like this:

This cheeky little one landed in our backyard and lived with us for about a month before flying away again.

This cheeky little one landed in our backyard and lived with us for about a month before flying away again.

Just down the river (shoo lie loo)

To see who lives here (shoo lie loo)

Hey Cockatoo (shoo lie loo)

Fly away over yonder (shoo lie loo)

Our song went on and on with willy wagtail, swamp hen, eagle, magpie, butcher bird, galah, ibis, pelican …. the little ones and I danced in a circle, spinning around with our arms out as we flew away over yonder. So much fun.

New Places in Our Garden

This post, Places in our garden, was from my old home, where I was offering a weekly playgroup. It was a rental home in an estate, and we were quite lucky to be able to play with it, and in it, in such a creative way. Of course it all had to be dismantled and cut back when we left.

We have a new home now – a permanent one. It is a home that came with an established and very beautiful garden full of flowering plants, including a rose garden and lush lawn out the front, flowering natives and seasonal trees out the back. With no back fence, our backyard runs into the common land on our estate, and flows in a gentle grassy slope right down to a quiet creek at the back.

We have put in a vegetable garden, added a tree house and cubby house, and enjoyed the experience of having a deciduous tree in our back yard (FALLEN LEAVES!!! How much fun are LEAVES??)

Now – to create a playscape ….. We want a butterfly garden and a fairy garden and a dinosaur garden. I want a herb garden and more fruit trees …. oh and a native beehive …

I’m not really a gardener, but I am an artist, and the children and I do enjoy creating new spaces. Caring for those spaces is part of the fun.

Lavendilly Story Time: The Ringing Bell

Little Garden FaerieThis is the story of my Little One’s caesarean birth. I wrote this to tell at her 4th birthday party, although I told a simplified version. My Little One sat on her birthday pillow, inside the silk rainbow circle, and I told this story with only a little bell as a prop in the story. At the end I put a rainbow necklace with a bell on it over her head. She felt so special.

THE RINGING BELL

Written by and Copyright to Jennifer McCormack, July 2014

In a little house by a creek there lived a family of fairies. There was Mumma and Daddy fairy, and Brother and Sister fairy. Mumma was a water fairy, Daddy was a wind fairy, Brother was a fire fairy and Sister was a song fairy. They were happy together, each one unique, each one interested in different things, but all living harmoniously together.

One day Mumma thought she heard the jingling of a little bell. It was only faint, but it jingled on and off all day. “Do you hear that?” she asked Daddy. Daddy couldn’t hear it at first, but after a while, if he listened carefully, he could make out the sweet faint jingling sound.

It wasn’t long before Brother and Sister could hear it too, and the sweet jingling, ringing sound grew louder every day. “I know what it is,” said Mumma Fairy, “a new little fairy is going to join our family!”

The whole family heard the jingling sound for many months. Some days it was strong, and some days it was soft. Sometimes they heard it at night, and at other times it woke them up in the morning. “Sweet Little One,” they would say, “when are you coming?”

Day after day the fairy family would make their home ready for their new Little One, and the ringing grew louder and louder! Everyone was very excited.

But one morning Mama Fairy woke up because the jingling sound wasn’t loud. It was very soft, and it didn’t ring very often. As the morning went on, the sound stopped all together. Mumma could feel her Little One in her heart, and deep inside her womb she knew her baby fairy would be coming today, but she couldn’t hear the clear ringing of her Little One’s bell at all! This worried her.

“Oh dear!” thought Mumma Fairy, “I need some help! It’s time for our baby fairy to come, but it seems to have gone away. Come little fairy, come! Wake up Little One!”

They all tried to use their talents to help their Little One come. Mumma the water fairy rocked and danced like the gentle waves of a river. Daddy the wind fairy spoke words of wisdom and bravery, encouraging Little One (and Mumma) to not be afraid. Brother the fire fairy used his fire talent to make their home warm and welcoming. Sister the song fairy sang to their Little One a song of love and joy, calling for the sound of the bell. But no bell could be heard. All was still and quiet.

They needed some more help. Daddy called a Healer Fairy to come and help them call their Little One in.

The Healer Fairy listened to Mumma’s story, and listened carefully for the bell. She put her hands on Mumma Fairy’s belly and gently called out to the Little One:

“Baby Fairy ring your bell, 

Jingle, tinkle, ring it well!

Your birthing day has begun

Come join your family, Little One”

All was still, even their house was quiet, as everyone listened carefully for the ringing, jingling sound. Still the baby fairy’s bell remained silent. The Healer Fairy told Mumma and Daddy that she would need some more help, and they would need to visit the Great Healing Hall because the magic was powerful there, where lots of healer fairies worked together.

Many fairies were already waiting at the Great Healing Hall. They were singing and chanting together, songs of love and birth and healing and the music entered the Healing Hall on sweet drifting strands. Mumma and Daddy Fairy heard their friends sing and felt strong, brave and loved. The many voices making music together was part of the healing magic. The healer fairies gathered around Mumma and Daddy and called to the Little One to ring her bell … and … after a while:

A faint, sweet jingling. There it was! They could all hear it!

The healing fairies rested their wands on Mumma Fairy’s brow and asked her “Are you ready for your Little One to come?” Mumma held Daddy’s hand. She was ready. They were all ready.  It was time and they could hardly wait.

The healing fairies rested their wands upon Mumma Fairy’s heart and asked her “Are you ready to receive your Little One with love and openness, however your Little One arrives?” Mumma Fairy was ready. Her heart was now bursting with the sound of her Little One’s bell. A soft feeling, almost like sleep swept over her as she relaxed, ready to receive.

The healing fairies rested their wands at Mumma Fairy’s womb and asked her “Are you ready to open the door, to help your Little One come through?” Mumma Fairy was ready. She put her hands on her womb and listened for the ringing, jingling bell. She could hear it and feel it growing stronger. She whispered the Healing Fairy’s special words to the Little One over and over:

“Baby Fairy ring your bell, 

Jingle, tinkle, ring it well!

Your birthing day has begun

Come join your family, Little One”

The fairies outside the Great Healing Hall kept singing and chanting. Daddy Fairy and Mumma Fairy held each other, and held their breath with anticipation. They could hardly wait to meet their Little One. The healing fairies drew a line with fairy magic across Mumma Fairy’s womb with their wands, and a door opened. From this door came a bridge of rainbow light – and a loud clear ringing sound filled the room as a little baby Rainbow fairy came through the door, lifted over the bridge of coloured light, helped by the healing fairies, landing snuggly in Mumma Fairy’s arms. Their Little One was perfectly well, perfect in every way, and slept in Mumma’s arms safe and sound, ringing gently as she breathed.

The healing fairies waved their wands again and as the door in Mumma’s womb was magically closed, the bridge of rainbow light disappeared. All was still, all was quiet, and cloaked in peace. Only the sound of singing from the fairies outside of the Great Healing Hall drifted in through the windows. Everyone smiled.

Brother and Sister Fairy were delighted to meet their sister, Little Rainbow Fairy , and they took turns holding her and talking to her. Brother Fairy warmed her and Sister Fairy sang to her.

“You silly little fairy,” crooned Mumma,” We were worried about you, and here you are, perfect in every way. If this is the way you come into our family, I can see that you will have plenty more adventures, and come out of them just fine every time.”

And do you know, that’s exactly what happened. Four years have passed, and the Little Rainbow Fairy still wakes up every day, ringing and jingling happily, finding adventure every where she looks.

* * *

She was a plannedLittle One's Birthday Ceremony. LH home birth, but it seems our Little One had something else in mind. In the end we went to hospital because our baby was very quiet and still, with a faint heart beat. It just so happened that on this same day many of my friends and community were outside the hospital attending a rally in support of the re-opening of the Gold Coast Hospital Birth Centre. They were singing and chanting together and I could hear them from my room. It gave me great comfort to know they were outside while I was inside with my husband and our two wonderful midwives, who were really looking after me. Caesarean was exactly what we were trying to avoid, but in this case I felt supported in the decision to go ahead.

In the end our Little One was perfectly fine, the little cheeky little thing. A picture of perfect baby health. We have just celebrated her fourth birthday and she has grown into a bright, cheery and chatty little thing – always ready for the adventure each day brings.

I thought that I had already processed her birth, and found myself ok with how it unfolded, despite our worry about her at the time, and my very ordinary recovery after surgery … but writing this story brought me more joy on another level, and I found a new kind of acceptance and peace with my experience. I hope, if you have experienced an unplanned cesarean, that you find some solace and beauty in my story too.

You may be interested to read more about my reflections of this experience:

A Mother Blessed – a poem about my unplanned caesarean birth (this one!)

Cold Birth: Reclaiming my Labour – my immediate reflections about this birth and my thoughts about what it was like to give birth without labour.

xx Jennifer

Recipe: Apple and Cinnamon Paleo Pancakes

apple cinnamon paleo pancakesI really love the taste of paleo pancakes but I’m not really fond of cooked banana, and after I eat a paleo pancake I find myself reacting to the almond meal. One of the draw-backs to going grain-free is the increase in the amount of nuts that are eaten – and now I find myself sensitive to those too.  I do eat spelt flour pancakes when the family occasionally make them at home, which is not grain-free at all, but then I do find myself with indigestion for a few hours afterwards. Sometimes its a sacrifice I’m willing to make! It’s really tricky to find the balance, and every now and then I want a breakfast that is simple and fun!

This morning I thought I’d try something different. Instead of banana I peeled two small green apples and blended them to a pulp, and mixed them with egg, almond meal and pepita meal, cinnamon and vanilla. They turned out pretty good! Served with fruit and homemade yogurt, I only needed two to fill me up this morning. Although I didn’t have the same trouble swallowing them as I do with the other pancakes, I am still noticing the effects of almond meal. Still, half the amount was better than usual, and I suppose it could be replaced entirely by pepita meal (I just thought that might be a bit bitter). Here’s the recipe:

APPLE AND CINNAMON PALEO PANCAKES

1/2 cup pepitas

1/2 cup almonds

2 small green apples

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

METHOD

Grind the pepitas and almonds into a fine meal. Add the chopped and peeled apples and pulp them in the blender with the almonds. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Heat up a skillet and once hot, turn down to a medium heat. Add a little butter or coconut oil, adding spoonfuls of the mixture and dabbing it gently to spread it out. The mixture cooks quickly (burns!) on the bottom if the pan is too hot. Flip and cook the other side.

Serve as you like to have your pancakes – we like ours with fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, and cooked blueberries.

It’s Ok to be a Princess

I was working as a family day care provider when our first daughter was born. Caring for many different children plus two of my own meant that I had collected a great variety of playthings, so my girls entered our family with a good collection of playthings all ready for them. Of course I had some toys the boys were more attracted to, and some the girls gravitated towards, but there was something for everyone and you could choose what you were interested in, and mix it up if you wanted to. It was cool for boys or girls to take a baby/teddy/dinosaur/alien for a walk/drive/run in the pram/wheelbarrow/truck/baby carrier wearing a tutu/tool belt/helmet/crown at the same time. And they did.

dress-ups

I’m not big on stereotypes for girls or boys. Archetypes are more my thing – general ideas of qualities we can all embrace.

We talk a lot about faery folk and story archetypes in our family story times and during our seasonal celebrations but I’ve never really given them form. My characters tend to be formless because I don’t know about you .. but I’ve never seen a fairy or a fairytale prince … although I have felt their presence. Princes and knights and superheros DO have a different energy to fairies and princesses. Doesn’t mean our children can’t make their own interpretations and representations.

It’s OUR interpretations that do the damage, I think. I don’t mean to pay out on Disney because we do enjoy many of their movies, but they do now have the image of being the big bad wolf when it comes to perpetuating inappropriate gender stereotypes these days … and I must say that I prefer the original versions of traditional fairy tales to the movie versions.

I enjoy an animated movie as much as the rest of us, but I do think that as soon as you animate stories, you begin to lose the quality of dreamy imagination and embodiment that comes when we listen to and play out our favourite characters. Once they are animated that image of the character, plus their voice, behaviour and role then becomes fixed and if the children have enjoyed the movie then they want to be like their favourite characters. And Disney (and many other companies and manufacturers) are happy to perpetuate stereotypes through mass merchandise, which children want because they love to surround themselves with reminders of their heros. It’s something I curse each time I go to buy my children pyjamas.

inside play children's art

My daughter made this gorgeous felt wallhanging when she was four. Guess which movie she had seen just before she chose her colours?

And if we are going to be critical even the traditional fairy tales themselves, before they were ever animated, tend to lean towards rather gender-specific roles that many parents object to. During my uni years my fellow student teachers and I looked for modern versions of traditional tales to tell our students so as not to perpetuate the idea of gender bias. “The Paperbag Princess” by Robert Munsch was a popular one at the time (and I still love it). We’d bend over backwards to be inclusive and encourage children to bust gender stereotypes. 

I’ve said all that so you know where I’m at with stereotypes, media and play, because once I became a parent, despite my best efforts not to go there (and even with all our gender-neutral, non-violent, natural and handmade toys), our little boy loved building, climbing, playing with trucks and shooting guns. And our girls LOVE being princesses and faeries!

linden in stone spiral

I don’t quite remember when the fairy and princess dresses arrived in our house. I have bought only one that I can think of, and yet since we’ve had both our girls there seems to be an endless supply of fluffy, frilly bunches of tulle and cheap satin in our playroom. I’ve culled the collection a few times but I’m pretty sure the princess and fairy dresses self-propagate from torn pieces of tulle at night time.

And I am happy to let them play princesses if they want to because THIS is what I notice when they play being beautiful princesses:

  • my girls walk taller and straighter and with great elegance and dignity (they are NOT dainty, simpering or oozing sexuality)
  • they speak clearly and pronounce their words beautifully (they are assertive!)
  • they play with respectful manners and practice kindness with each other (they are NOT helpless)
  • they set up beautiful spaces around them and play carefully with their toys (they are in control of their environment)

RosellaisaknightLHWhen my girls play princesses and faeries they don’t feel helpless – they FEEL beautiful, powerful and important and very special. I remember that feeling when playing as a child, and letting it fill me up. I don’t have a problem with them playing princesses if it helps them access these feelings! Today my girls began playing princesses and then one decided to be a knight instead. Off went the dress and on went the sword belt and cape, and a new persona emerged: confident, protective, bold, brave, decisive. She can do it all.

I don’t think that they are going to be limited in their career options because they play princesses. I’m pretty sure they are not going to grow up with antiquated ideas about what girls can and cannot (or should and should not) do because they are surrounded in enough positive energy at home and at school to feel good about themselves. They also have enough positive role models in our community to let them know anything is possible.

It’s all in being open to possibility I think. If my children grow up feeling open to possibilities I will be very happy.

Family Christmas Viewing

Each year I search for some of the lovely old shows I used to watch as a child at Christmas time. Christmas and the summer holidays were always a magical time in my childhood memory … heat and humidity, summer storms, playing in the sprinkler, drinking ice cream spiders, swimming, riding bikes, great food, friends … and lolling about on the couch with a lemonade and popcorn watching movies …

I’ve found some of the movies I really enjoyed as a child, and a few more. Do you know why I value these now? It isn’t just because I enjoyed them as a child, but now as a parent I have different values. I like these movies because they are simple and yet still exciting and magical. They are not over-exciting, do not have over-the-top sound or visual effects, or sarcastic double-sided humour (which appeals to children on one level and gives another message to adults that children suspect must be funny – but aren’t really sure why).

Many of these movies use real children’s voices and frame by frame they move slower than the movies that are popular today. You can breathe easily during these movies – it IS possible to enjoy a movie without having an adrenalin rush 🙂

These movies are not trying to be a smash hit, to prove anything or hit any kind of moral chord. They are are a collection of great stories for children that make you feel good. The themes in these movies are also full of wonder and delight in the precious time of childhood where anything is possible and imagination was celebrated.

The bonus is that they are all available on YouTube so they are free. I hope you enjoy them too.

Movies for the Little Ones

Frosty the Snowman – I’m sure you’ve all seen this one! Simple and happy and has catchy music. The 70s really did produce some delightfully daggy stuff. This is one of my favourites.

The Snowman – Oh delight! Raymond Brigg’s book is created anew in more or less a silent film about a boy and the snowman he creates with the first winter snow. The magic that occurs between them still gives me tingles even years after. My favourite part of this movie is the music. I just love it. Father Christmas makes a joyful appearance as a kind and generous man who loves children. And David Bowie is a bonus.

A Year Without Santa Claus – An animation with puppets. This is a show for children, appealing to what interests children. Santa needs a break! The bad guys look like the old troll dolls with their fluffy vertical hair – and they are elementals rather than human. They are humorously cranky bad guys – and I love Mrs Claus’s involvement. Firm and loving all at once just like you imagine Mrs Claus to be – and she solves the problem by going right to the top – to Mother Nature! Mrs Claus and Mother Nature chat about the problem over a cup of tea and she exerts her parental influence over those cheeky and childish elemental children of hers. There is music interspersed with the story line and it is a very enjoyable 50 mins.

Santa’s Surprise – Children from all over the world decide to visit Santa at his workshop and give him some support. It’s old … so there are some cultural stereotypes in here that we wouldn’t see any more … but at least it appears to be equally appalling over ALL races … if you can let this go by acknowledging that we know better now, than when it was made in 1947, then it is a cute little cartoon (8 minutes).

Movies for the Middle Ones (early primary and older)

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – a very simple animation in a very 70s way. Real children’s voices. The death of Aslan is a little emotionally tense but represented tactfully by a thunderbolt at the point of death – no gruesome images of war and injury, but focuses on the journey of the children.

The Yearling – this is cartoon version. Set in the time after the American Civil War, this is the story about a little boy who befriends a young deer. The deer of course grows older faster than the boy does and he has to make a few decisions.A little bit more instantly satisfying than the film version for little people. I think this might have been one of my first experiences of  the Japanese animation style,and it was the joyful simplicity of this cartoon that stayed with me for many years. This one is the start of a series of cartoons. You’ll be able to find the rest on YouTube.

Movies for the older children (10+)

It’s a Wonderful Life – Black and White! An old classic starring James Stewart, and a beautiful story about a business man considering ending his life is shown by an angel-in-training what life would be like if he had never existed. I love a movie that affirms our purpose in this life. We affect so many people in so many different ways and it is a opportunity to count the ways that we do bless those around us.

The Yearling –  This is the 1946 film. It’s a great film about American frontier life. It’s a pretty slow going, and he doesn’t find the deer until the second half when his dad (Gregory Peck) gets sick. It is a bit sad in parts (and has a bit of fist fighting) but still a beautiful story. This is part one, but part two is easy to find on YouTube.

Kiora has a new home

The raffle for little Kiora, our newborn doll, was drawn today. She has a new home to go to, with lots of snuggles and cuddles from her new family on the Gold Coast. She will be going to the home of Sarah, Yuii, Mae and Saffron. Congratulations!

Kiora plays in the sun

The raffle raised $330 for Treena’s breast cancer treatment. I will be making the donation early next week and will post the receipt once the donation has been made. I thank you so much for your ticket purchases and your good will, and to all those who shared the doll raffle so that others could find out and buy tickets too.

I will be doing another doll raffle in early 2014, so you will have another opportunity to be in the draw for a sweet Lavendilly Doll friend.

Kiora