Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Fabulous Frangipanis. 2017.19.

Fabulous Frangipanis. 2017.19.

I declare that I love frangipanis ….on the tree.

They are delightful, smell sweetly and look a treat.

Then they fall…their fabulousness decays…and they become rubbish and need to be swept away before someone slips and falls. Life with frangipanis!

We used to live in a hotter area of Sydney around 45 minutes drive from the coast. We did end up buying and nurturing a frangipani back in 2011 when I renewed my love for them. It remained small but it did produce the lovely flowers. Not many but enough.

In my family’s house on the coast, Dad ended up with several frangipanis which ‘took off’ and were from cuttings from an old friend’s tree in Wollongong. So, it appears, in the right setting and climate they thrive!

We moved to this house on the NSW Central Coast late 2015. It has a HUGE old frangipani tree in the back garden. I am not sure, but it could be two trees in one. What I do know is that we had to cut in back a bit to enjoy what plants were hidden underneath! We took some of those cuttings and they’re in pots and in other garden spots now.

This summer I have notice more frangipanis that are different to ours around this local area.

I went for a walk for the purposes of this post to photograph them. The colour and size differences were interesting.

What was the same, however, was the mess they leave when they fall.

Frangipanis! Beauties which give and give while they’re on the trees.

They give me the reason to exercise when it’s time to sweep them up after they’ve fallen.

What’s your view about frangipanis?

Do you have them where you live?

Have you ever grown one?



I hope my photography friends enjoy these: Link ups are here:

Trish, Sue, Steph and Jen.

On the weekend I link up with Sammie and friends for the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here.


Do YOU Give a Gonski? 366/63.

Do YOU Give a Gonski? 366/63.

This is a semi-political post but also a social and educational one. It is for families of kids of school age..or soon to be at school for all over Australia. Even though it is education-centred,  I am posting  this under Thursday’s meme: Stories from Life Experiences because EVERYONE deserves the best education possible!

Check out

before you read further:

We are in election year in Australia.

Federal Governments are the ones which commit to funding the states and territories for education.

The current coalition government has continued the implementation of  much needed and used Gonski funding model which enable flexibility for schools to match the needs of the students.

Businessman David Gonski conducted a review of how government money is spent on schools (public and private). The Gonski review found that money was not being allocated fairly nor equitably. Kids were missing out. The ‘I give a Gonski” campaign is to change the way money is allocated to schools as recommended in the report which followed the review. Why do we need to ‘keep giving a Gonski?’ So there will be extra funding for all local schools, there will be more support and that no school loses funding.

Adapted from: brochure: I Give a Gonski


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I know already there are school where speech pathologists are employed to give kids the best start and there are additional teaching support roles.

Here is a summary from Needs Based School Funding in my local area of Dobell.

Some of the things Gonski needs based school funding has been able to do is:

We have been able to employ an additional Learning and Support teacher to aid students at risk of not achieving grade expectations.

We’ve been able to employ more school learning and support officers (teacher’s aides) to help meet individual learning needs.

The introduction of L3 (language, literacy and learning) and Focus on Reading programs have led to higher reading levels being achieved and students being more focused on independent learning tasks.

We have engaged a speech therapist to screen all students. If students struggle with speech, they struggle to participate in class and to learn. The speech therapist has trained teacher’s aides to develop targeted programs with groups of students and conduct professional learning with the entire staff.

We have been able to employ an Aboriginal Liaison / Education Officer to establish and maintain positive relationships between the school and community.

Employed a community partnership worker to work with parents / carers and whole families to support students’ home lives. This is improving students’ attendance, wellbeing, behaviour and academic growth.

We have established an Aboriginal Resource Room and introduced leadership days that have allowed students to increase cultural connections. We’ve been able to improve student aspiration.

We’ve been able to provide improved technology in classrooms to ensure all students, no matter what their background, are able to access learning materials in a 21st century learning environment.

We’ve established learning support programs to remove or lower barriers to learning. Early identification of learning needs has allowed us to put support mechanisms improving learning outcomes for students.

This is a bipartisan campaign to secure funding for the full 6 years from all political parties. It is also sector blind. The funding model treats students equally whether they are in the public or private system.


There have been amazing success stories. Look at the site for more here.AEU_Gonski_Every_Single_Child_Graphic_v02_(2)

What is not so good is that there is no commitment from the current Federal government to continue the last 2 years of Gonski funding. Already the current NSW Premier and Minister for Education (from the same political party as its Federal colleagues) have put forward the evidence the Gonski is working. They’ve asked for commitment.

However, the current PM, Malcolm Turnbull so write to him here

The Education Minister Simon Birmingham needs to hear from us too.

What can we do?

Write to your local Federal member.

Here’s the website where you can find email (and mail) addresses for Ministers and Local Members.

Join the ‘i give a gonski’ site and get regular updates.

The education of our children at ALL levels of education, private and public, needs the Gonski funding plan to continue. This table reveals the funding for all NSW Public Schools since the implementation of Gonski. There is more on the Gonski site too.


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Joining these links because it is a very important issue:





“Last” Kids Starting School. 366/33.

“Last” Kids Starting School. 366/33.

The “last” of children in a family starting  school is an interesting phenomenon because it signals a beginning and an end. I was curious to find out more.

I put out a call to friends where I knew their ‘last’ child was about to start school. So much attention is given to ‘first’ child starting, I wanted to find out how it was for a ‘last’ to start! My lovely friends responded and I hope you enjoy the read.


Joining in with Jess at EssentiallyJess for I Blog On Tuesdays over here.


My “last” child is starting school in 2016. Who is this child?

A is girl who 5 and a half. Her Mum’s responses begin in red.

L is a girl who is 5. Her Mum’s responses begin in green.

H is a boy who is 5. His Mum’s responses begin in blue.

A is a girl who will be 6 in April. Her Mum’s responses begin in purple.

H is a girl who is 5. Her Mum’s responses begin in brown.


How many times have you done this ‘starting school’ routine now?

This will be the fourth.

This is my fourth time we have done the starting routine.

3 times

3, all in primary school (grades K, 5 & 6)

This is my fourth time.


Does it get any easier? Or has it been more challenging? Tell me a bit more.

It’s different for each child. The first time there was a lot of excitement because it was all new. There’s a different excitement now, because we’ve hit a milestone. But as for easier or more challenging… it’s easier because I know what to expect, and she knows what to expect. School is familiar to her, she goes there all the time, and she has siblings she knows will look out for her. But it’s also more challenging because she is a different personality, and has always been more of a ‘mummy’s girl.’

To be honest, it is a million times easier this time around. It also helps that I have a very happy and independent little person, and there has been no anxiety or separation issues. It helps because the youngest child often grows up having to do the school run each day for their older siblings, so school is seen as somewhere fun where they get to play with their friends. I’m also now far more confident in understanding the school routine so I am assured that they have fun and are loved and valued by their teachers.

I don’t think it’s really changed for me between kids it’s just different they’re different personalities so getting prepared was a lot different for each of them. It’s been hard to walk out that gate on their first day. I feel like this time I know more and I know what to expect because I only did this with our middle child last year. But this is our last baby so it seems so final like all those goodbyes on the first day of school come down to this final one.

This will be my third and last time. My first child started school way back in 2010 with my second following in 2011. So it’s been a little while for me, so it feels almost like a first time again! In some ways it gets easier as you know the school, the teachers and how everything works so you don’t have that worry on top of your natural anxiety for your child. But the last time is hard too because it is the last time. Heading to school is an important milestone in any child’s life and seeing my youngest reach this milestone signals the end of her early childhood which is a little sad…

I think it gets easier for me and possibly even for the child as they can     watch the older ones and have more information about what is coming. I have a big age gap between #2 and #3 so it felt like starting over again with the smaller two. #1 and #3 were more difficult starts with worries but #2 and #4 were much smoother.




What kind of preparation did your “last” child need for starting school? Was it any different to your older children?

 Lots of chatting about how fun it’s going to be and what to look forward to, as well as reassuring her that feeling nervous is ok. This process has been different because we changed states. My other kids started school in the NT and went to Preschool in a classroom at the school they would go to. This hasn’t been an option this time around. Also the process of transition days in South Australia is quite different from the NT, so it’s been new for all of us.

My daughter attended the school Kindy in the year before she began Prep at the same school, so they managed the transition and preparation, including visits to the Prep classrooms and meeting the teachers. I really didn’t do much at all! It was much different to my older child where I didn’t really know what to expect and the preparation was as much for me as it was for her. My youngest is in the classroom next to the room in which I used to breastfeed her sometimes as a newborn, as my eldest daughter was in that room. So she really has “grown up” at school in many ways.

I found it much harder to get him to write his name or count or do the alphabet where as the girls just picked it up and wanted to learn. He is more like our first child socially so we sent him one day a week to preschool just to make friends and interact with other kids his age.

My two older children are on the autism spectrum so they needed much more preparation and assistance. This time around, my daughter has attended the normal orientation sessions and already has a friend in her class who she has known pretty much since she was a toddler. She also seems to be more confident and assured and has definitely appreciated the fact she has been coming to the school for pickup and drop off from a very young age.

H didn’t need a lot of preparation, she had been watching her big brother and counting down to her turn for 2 years. #3 needed a lot of preparation and still had trouble letting go of Mum so sending H was a breeze compared to that.


kids tch kids


How has it affected you? What will you be doing that is different, if anything, in 2016?

 It’s a little sad, because it’s the end of an era. I’ve been a SAHM mum while my kids were at home, so in effect a good portion of my job responsibilities have ended. As for what I’ll do, I’m planning a year of full time study to get some qualifications that will help me going forward. It will also free me up to be a little more available to help her with this transition. Ideally I’ll still be helping out the in classroom as much as I can. I think it’s important to be a part of the school community if you can.

I haven’t had a full week to myself yet so I’m not sure how I will feel after that, but so far so good. It’s just a natural part of their journey and one we know is coming so there is always plenty of time to prepare. This year I am looking forward to being available to work 5 days per week! It’s the first time in 11 years that this has been the case, so I am excited at the prospect of re-entering the workforce in a much deeper capacity, and being a double-income household again! I will also be volunteering in the kids’ classrooms most days which is something I always found tricky to do with a baby and toddler at my heel. I may even go to the movies myself one day! Oh the possibilities!!

For me this is it. This is the year that my life changes forever. I’ve been at home for 9 years with them. I’ve always had a child here with me and to not have that anymore is going to be a big adjustment. That feeling that I need to get a job now and still find that balance so I can still be here for the kids is weighing heavily on me. For the time being I get to help out in the school and I’m going to do reading groups that’s something I’ve never been able to do with always having a child or two with me. Im excited for my youngest but at the same time I’m so sad that one stage of my life is coming to an end and a whole new one is starting.

I’m a little emotional as she is my baby but she is more than ready for the challenge of school! We held her back a year to make sure she was ready so she is itching to go and I think she will love it. Meanwhile I can’t deny that I will appreciate a little more peace and quiet around here, although I suspect I will miss her more than I think I will.I’ll still be at home but I have big plans for my blog and my online business in 2016. Knowing that I have 6 hours, 5 days a week, to devote to these activities is great – I may actually achieve my goals this year now that I have some time freed up to give them a real go.

I am taking this opportunity to do something for me and will be studying again after many years. I wasn’t able to do this before when I still had kids at home.

hold hands


Do you have a “last” child starting school, or a “first” or someone in between. Tell me your story. Big thank you to the sharers of “their stories” today.

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