Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baby Shower Gifts

I don't know about you but I am a sucker for all things baby. Our ward has just had 2 of the cutest baby boys born within a few weeks of each other. I made these cute burp cloths for them & thought I would share it with you because they are so cute & inexpensive to make.
I just buy cute quilting squares of fabric for $2 as you can see in the photo. Any cute fabric scrap you laying around will do.
You also need either chenile or a new soft towel for the otherside. I use chenile because it is SO soft.

Cut 1 rectangle 25cm wide x 40cm long in pattern fabric
Cut 1 rectangle 25cm wide x 40cm long of chenile

Place the front of the chenille and front of the patterned material together and pin {so it looks inside out}.

*Sew all the way around all four sides, leaving appx 6cm un-sewn.

*Use the 6cm hole to flip your fabric right sides out.

*Tuck the rough edges of the hole under, iron, and top stitch around the edge of the rectangle making sure to catch the hole.

Put them together tie with a ribbon and you got an incredibly adorable gift.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tea Any One!!

This Friday my Visiting Teachers came to visit. For those of you who may not know what this is I have included a run down of the program.
Visiting teaching is much more than a visit or sharing a thought with a sister. It is how we connect with one another. We share hearts and souls and extend charity, Visiting teaching brings the love of the Lord to every home and to every sister.
Why do sisters do visiting teaching?
Mosiah describes it this way: "To bear one another's burdens, . . . to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (Mosiah 18:8–9).
The purposes of visiting teaching are to build caring relationships with each sister and to offer support, comfort, and friendship.
Well I have two of the BEST Visiting Teachers. Jesse gave the most wonderful thought from a talk in general Conference by Jeffery R Holland. You can read it in the photo above. She also hand made the cutest tea cups to go with it. Now for those of you who know Jesse this is almost boarder lined crafty, creative, object lesson overdrive. This girl is incredibly beautiful & smart but this sort of thing is way out of her comfort zone. Her mum Kim is my VT companion and if we want a cute thing to go with it, like I did fridge magnets this month, I will need to do it. But check these little tea cups out!!! I love them. Ticktock biscuit, marshmallow, musk lifesaver and freckle on top. They tasted so good too & you all know what we are doing for Family Home Evening on Monday don't you! Thanks Jesse & Cynthia, you are fantastic VT's.

SSSHHHH Don't tell the kids

This week we made a mini Eco System. I am a hoarder at times but this week it paid off because that old aquarium living in the blanket cupboard (I know what you are thinking) came in handy. It was just what we needed for our Eco system.
Firstly we lined the base with gravel, then added a layer of soil. Buried in a medicine measure filled with water as a little lake, added a few plants, a stick with moss on it and there we have our Eco system!
Still one thing was missing... the live creatures, garden worms to be precise. Now this is where my true genius came in. I sent them looking around the front gardens for a few worms but nothing (I knew that) so the only place left that I could guarantee a strike was the veggie garden. Now this veggie garden was, well how can I say it... a little over grown with weeds. We stood around the edge of the garden pondering, no one willing to take a step forward. Me, all the time knowing that my master plan was about to be played out. " Well kids you know what, the best way to find really big worms is to start pulling out all the weeds". Maddie says "Really mum". "Yes Maddie pull up the weeds and as you do watch the soil for those really big earth worms."
Well in they jumped like pigs in the mud. Weeds flying every where and me saying watch the corn & zucchini won't you. After the first quarter of the garden was weeded EUREKA!! Just as I said a really big earth worm. Well that spurred everyone on. Weeds flying out the side and another hit. 2 wasn't enough for our Eco system we needed more. We needed a whole garden weeded more of earth worms. Another strike, weeds flying faster again. Me telling them "you must pull the weeds out by the roots to find those big worms". 3 kids on hands and knees pulling fast & furiously.
By the end of weeding the entire garden we had a mob of earth worms. Now came the crescendo... we really only need a few in the Eco system. You pick 1 each and put the rest back in the garden to keep on working with the veggies. Great idea mum they said.
I also got my seeds planted for scripture study Alma 32:27-43.
Who said homeschooling was hard work. Science and gospel study is sooo good!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Scripture Study For Little People

I look back now at how we approached daily scripture study with the older 3 kids and groan. Every morning we would sit at the table and DO scripture study. Everyone would read 4 verses as quickly as possible (they learnt to read really quickly using this method) followed with family prayer and off we'd go with a tick in the mental box for obligation done. On a good day we might initiate some conversation in regard to that scripture block, then add an extra tick to the mental box as a highly successful morning.
It wasn't that we didn't love the Scriptures or teaching our children it was just other things like the baby #4 needed a nappy change or baby #5 needed feeding or babies 4,5 &6 were, shall we say chasing away the spirit in a way only possible by a screaming... I don't even know what being reverent means type way!!! I know you know what I am saying here.
Well after 21 years of parenting I'm not sure we have mastered it but I have definitely changed our approach. I now look at it the same as I do science, history or language arts. If you just hand your little people a textbook of those subjects and say read it, some might but not mine. I have to make it come alive the same way I do for the other subjects I teach them. Scripture reading is now a totally hands on subject now. It receives equal preparation time on my behalf as the other subjects and has actually moved up in the children's mind as one of the favorites of the day.

How We Do It
Well our day is structured as we're a family that requires structure. Spontaneity is not what we would be known for so after food, morning chores & hygiene are taken care of the day begins.

Circle Time
We have a special 'circle mat', symbolic really that the school day is beginning. We start with news time, show & tell, funny facts or just anything that you would like to share with the family because you get the floor & our full attention for whatever you like.
This is an important part of our day. We sing, have opening prayer then comes Scripture study. Of course we use the Book of Mormon but as a companion to that we use Scriture Study for Latter-Day Saint Families. This book is by far my favorite. It breaks scripture blocks down into bite size pieces and gives you hands on ideas or opportunities to examine a topic relevant to our everyday life in a way the kids understand. The book gives you enough information for you to extend it further if you want more hands on ideas for a particular topic. It's an amazing book for ALL ages. I just couldn't recommend it enough This is the page we are up to so you can have a look at how it works.
I also use Discover the Scriptures Another fantastic teaching aid. I use the pages from this in the girls workbox's during the day just to re enforce what we have learnt that morning. If you click on the link I have provided, sample pages are available for you to explore yourself.
Both of these programs alone are fantastic but for us the two together has just strengthen our knowledge and our love of the gospel. So gone are the days of "just hurry up and read would you!" We love scripture study now and it's definitely a highlight of our day.
After we finish scripture study we then have Ukulele lessons at home by Mike Jackson. That is a whole other blog, so stay tune for that one. It's a blast!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A True Aussie Hero!!!

This week a 16 year old girl arrived home to a hero's welcome after sailing solo and unassisted around the world. She spent 210 days on a little pink boat doing something that most of us won't even dream of. This article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and was written by the principle of The Kings School, one of the most elite schools in Australia. This was his take on homeschooling and the benefits of it in the success of our children.

Family's perfect conditions for smooth sailing

Did you see the damage? Did you see the brown scabs on the side of Jessica Watson's yacht? The scars on Ella's Pink Lady tell the story of hardship more eloquently than any blog.

No one should doubt the courage of this 16-year-old girl who sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world
Living with the possibility of catastrophe for that long would have crushed most people. This girl is tough - not so much physically as mentally.

Colliding with a 63,000-tonne cargo ship in sea trials a few weeks before setting sail around the world, contending with critics then and now, bobbing back up after being knocked flat four times in 12 hours by huge waves, surviving 210 days in a 10-metre yacht, coping with 75-knot winds and 12-metre seas - that's gritty stuff.

Reflecting on these challenges, Jessica told reporters that she had been pleased with her mental performance. This comment is interesting and suggests where most battles have to be fought - in the mind.

Now the adulation, the publicity, the fame. Jessica is being heralded as the embodiment of positive thinking. This claim has serious credentials to support it. While her positive message has made a big impression around the world, it is possible the message would have been even more potent if things had gone wrong.

What if Ella's Pink Lady had collided with an unknown object or met some other disaster just short of Jessica completing her trip?

Imagine the impact if, after such a disaster, Jessica was able to say: "I don't know what to feel at the moment - stepping off was hard because I've spent the past seven months doing everything to stay on board - I've shown people that it is sometimes not possible to reach your goals despite your very best efforts . . ."

To succeed sometimes requires mental toughness. To fail always requires mental toughness. It is not only success that defines us, it is our failures.

If Jessica's yacht had sunk a few days before completing her odyssey, and if she had still said ''Go out and live your dreams'', it might not have been a prime minister who wanted to be there to hear her say these words - it might only have been a depressed child struggling with their own failures - and it may have transformed them.

About 5 per cent of teenagers are currently experiencing depressive symptoms. Some 20 per cent of teenagers will experience depression to the extent that they require medication prior to reaching adulthood. Would they be more encouraged by heroic success or by heroic failure?

For those parents who wish to build resilience in their offspring, attention could be paid to two initiatives undertaken by Jessica's parents; home schooling and no television.

Lest an exodus of enrolments in schools and a collapse in the sale of flat-screen plasma TVs occur, some elaboration is needed.

What is suggested by these two parenting initiatives is that success in life is rarely available to the child who is allowed to squander significant time on the trivial, the shallow or the soporific.

In an age that witnesses ever higher aspirations in the young, but a lower inclination to work for them, it is as well to be reminded that achievement is seldom won without sacrifice. In Jessica's case, it is undeniable that her parents were a great help.

However, she had to train hard for her voyage and work jobs to help pay for its expenses. It's no good feeling sorry for yourself if you have not done the work to deserve success.

The home-schooling of Jessica hints at another timeless truth. Success in the life of a child is made more likely by a parent who remains actively engaged in their education.

So - well done Jessica. You have delighted a nation, but know that even if you had failed, a few would still have cheered you on your return. And well done Mr and Mrs Watson.

Dr Tim Hawkes is the headmaster of The King's School

Italian Week Art History Talk
The battle of the giants: Tintoretto vs Titian

Presented by Simona Albanese, University of Queensland. Jacopo Tintoretto's artistic identity evolved as a kind of conscious and continual revolution against the model for painting provided by Titian. During the middle decades of the sixteenth-century, Titian was the most influential and admired painter in Venice, and the work of many younger painters was indebted to him. Tintoretto however, worked self- consciously in defiance of the older master. Following Titian's death in 1576, Tintoretto's art developed in a more mature and individualistic manner which had few precursors or followers. This lecture will analyse the Cristo risorgente (The risen Christ) c1555 from the collection of the Queensland Art Gallery, which shows Tintoretto's mature style, and compare it to other relevant Biblical subjects, making reference also to works by Titian.

Where: Australian Cinémathèque,
Gallery of Modern Art, Cinema A (Brisbane)
Getting to the Cinémathèque
When: 12.00pm Wed 2nd June 2010
More Information - Free Event - No Booking Required

**This will be fantastic as an extension to our Artistic Pursuit curriculum!

LDS Penpal Program.

LDS PENPALS program was inspiried by a Latter Day Saint mum in the US who wanted to encourage her son to write. Since the inception of this program it's grown with over 150 kids spread across the world. I just blogged about it myself a few days ago in Operation Procrastination. The program offers service opportunities, competitions, friendship and love. There is even a penpal list for mums. My girls go crazy when I show them the cards I get in the mail. It seems to be along the lines of reaction when they find out that you were young once and need trainer wheels on your bike too!!
At the moment Jaelle is trying to raise some money to use towards securing advertising space in the LDS Living Magazine. Please follow the link above and see how you can join in on the fun while helping out in this great cause.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mormon Messages

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints has short video clips called Mormon Messages that they have available on their website or youtube. Our computer homepage is set to the church website so when the computer is cranked up that's the first place it goes to. I love these messages and look forward to each and every new clip when it arrives. Of course the latest clip My New Life is just so inspirational, but so are they all. These messages have such a impact on my life, my marriage, my motherhood, my womanhood, my strength. There is not one clip that hasn't strengthened me. I love A Father Indeed What a man he is.
Anyway, my kids love to listen to music in the car, or at home when they are doing chores and things so I put together a USB with our favorite music on it but sprinkled in between is Mormon messages. It's like an ad break that they don't even notice because the message is usually accompanied by music so its not like just listening to 'a talk'. It's magical! Having the words of the Prophets,Apostles, General Authorities and faithful saints throughout the world seeping constantly into the hearts and minds of our children is irreplaceable. There is no end to 1 Nephi 3:7...for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. He commands us to teach our children and He provides more ways then we can imagine ourselves but thanks to the guidance of the Holy Ghost we are able to fulfil that command one step at a time.
Ps. If you were like me and wanted to hear the song again that was played in My New Life , it was sung by Mindy Gledhill and was called All about Your Heart. What a truely beautiful song and I am so looking forward to getting her new album mid year

Sunday, May 23, 2010


We finally got down to writing to all our LDS penpals this morning, and have had so much fun doing it. It seemed to be something that I keep putting off for some reason. Well, all you mums know why, its another thing on the already long to-do list but I knew that the girls would reap great benefits from being in the program.
We decided to make Sunday morning (we have afternoon church) the time that we set aside to write letters to our family and friends (penpals). I've had to really change around some of the priorities in our schedule lately but have found it's paying off!!
I've really taken to heart the many talks on motherhood, teaching our children and patterning our home in the Lords way. Not that we didn't before but instead of it feeling like I was going along because that is the way things 'should be' I am making a completely conscience effort to think about every aspect of the day and see how it fits with the Lords way. There were just too many blessings and promises on offer to us if we follow the counsel given in General Conference. I NEED theses tender mercies of the Lord extended to me and a re-evaluation of things was just what I needed. So on to Operation Procrastination Buster!
After careful prayer and study I have been singling out 1 talk at a time and listing thoughts and impressions that I have received from the Spirit while studying that talk and that is what I would be focusing on for that time. No set period because I am a slow learner on some points. But the Lord and his infinite patience is with me. So it may seem like writing letters to our penpals is a small thing but it means more then that to me.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I just received my official 'Congratulations' email from the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew or TOS Homeschool Crew for short. I'm now an official member of the crew for the 2010-2011 year. YIPPEE!!! I'm so looking forward to having the opportunity to review & report on a variety of things that come our way. It will give the girls and I the ability to try things that perhaps we would either never had come across or not given a second thought to, therefore creating a far more enriching homeschooling environment I think. This is going to be exciting!!!
Thanks TOS.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Well TOS Expo is over and what a fantastic time it was. There were women in Bolivia, Germany, Alaska,Sicily, US just to name a few. One lady put in the chat box that the tornado sirens where going off and she had to go. We had news footage of the actual tornado's here in Australia!! Another women in the earlier sessions said
Homeschooling was illegal in her country but here she was joining us for the expo and pressing on with what she believes is true & right! She is in my prayers all the time now.
For us here in Australia TOS Expo meant being on the computer from 11pm. So Wednesday night I stayed up until the allotted time which was hard after a day of homeschooling. I only did a few sessions each night & 2am was my limit.They finished around 10am the next morning so I would then jump on when i woke up for these ones. I loved all the speakers but Susan Wise Bauer was the highlight for me on the first night. Well worth staying up for. My husband had Thursday off for crowd control, still sleep seemed to evade me.
Thursday night I tried sleeping first and setting the alarm. This only made it more difficult but I loved Sue Patrick going over the workboxes. I love using the workboxes & am sure this system makes homeschooling possible for me with the 3 girls. Friday night came and i couldn't get up or stay up. So up early Saturday morning for the finale few sessions and the TOS wrap up which was great.
They are hoping to have another Expo in November which amazed me. These women that made this possible are just incredible!! I expected them to say in a year or two not in a few months.
Those who attended or bought Expo to go tickets will be able to download the speakers sessions on MP3 at the end of the month so we can catch up or re listen to all those fantastic talks again.
Do you know this all cost me $25 and that included a digital subscription to The Old School House magazine. $25!!!!! Can you believe it. You just can't get better value anywhere.
The vendor hall is still open with freebies and discounts for all. I bought Keyboard Pals typing program for $5. Normally priced at $39.95. i can't wait to start that with the kids next week.
This expo was just so worth the money, time, effort. If you're a homeschooler or a parent looking to learn more about education, there was so much to learn from these amazing men & women.
Thank-you TOS, all the speakers & also the parents & grandparents online. This has greatly blessed my life.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Math U See in a Tree

It was such a beautiful morning that the girls wanted to take their maths up the tree. We have a wonderful tree in our front yard that the kids love to climb. Mind you the manipulative's were left behind though as that would be a little tricky to balance. They had a great time. Don't you just love the flexiablity of homeschooling!
I took photos but accidently deleted them trying to transfer them myself without teenage supervision. We'll just have to do it again!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My New Life

I love Mormon Messages but this one story is amazing. Please check it out. Just click the link below to play. Also you can follow the link to Stephanie Nielsen's blog by clicking the button on my sidebar. This women is breath takingly inspirational.

My New Life

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Got It Right!!!

She's back!!! In a previous post I mention how after 6 kids you would think I would have this Tooth Fairy thing down pat. But it seems the opposite to be happening. Last night as Daddy was doing the nightly tuck in, Maddie pops her front tooth right out. I swear it wasn't even loose yesterday & smack bang on bedtime she pops it out!! I, of course, let out the customary squeal of excitement & began the hunt for a $2 coin knowing that this child is sharp and the whole "you must of missed it" its going to fly to often. Particularly at the rate she is loosing teeth. I think she was $2 short of a new Beanie Kid? Sure enough she awoke to a shiny coin in place of the tooth. I slept soundly & today she is the proud owner of a new Fox Beanie Kid!! All is right with the world today.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Well it might only be Autumn here in Australia but all the spring fever I read about up in the Northern Hemisphere has given me the de-clutter bug!
Today I went through my youngest kids room and gave it a major overhaul. I got rid of 12 garbage bags full. Some for the tip & some for charity. It is so nice to go in there tonight to tuck them in and be able to actually sit somewhere. Or to not be risking major injury tripping over the basket load of toys tipped out on the floor & left behind. Ahh it is so nice. We got rid of so much stuff. I would ask Maddie if she wanted to keep things but she would say no, that a poor child would like that. It was so sweet that she was so willing to give it away while it was still good so another child could enjoy it. As long as there was room for her Beanie Kids, the rest could go. I love spring cleaning in Autumn!!!!
Makes me think of Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
I feel renewed!