Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Uke N Play Ukulele for Kids Giveaway

I mentioned back in my blog entry Scripture Study for Little People that we did Ukulele lesson's with the kids. This is such a hoot!

Molly asked...

can't wait for the ukulele post. My husband and I both play a little, but I'd love to teach the kids. We're moving from our home in Hawaii to the mainland and I don't want the kids to loose their local roots! Which book did you find best appropriate for your kids?

Well Molly, we use Mike Jackson Uke'n'play Ukelele for Kids. Amongst other things, I'm musically challenged as well, so Mike Jackson was perfect for us. He uses three basic chords so the kids are playing C chord right away then moving on to F & G7. The play-a-long CD has 25 fun songs on it with the words found in the book. The kids love the song list. We're about to move on to the Uke 'n Play Country Ukulele. That will be interesting!
This week you have the chance to score your very own copy of Mike Jackson's Uke 'n Play Ukulele for Kids for your family.

How to enter the draw. (The list below gives you one entry for each)

1: Leave a comment below

2: Follow this blog (if you already follow just leave an extra comment to say you already follow, as each comment adds an entry into the draw).

3: Blog about our giveaway and leave a link in the comments telling me where you blogged about it.

4: Mention that you are on the TOS Crew and you will get an extra entry as well.

The Mike Jackson Uke'n'play Ukelele for Kids giveaway will have one winner and ends on Saturday July 10,2010. 5pm AEST. The winner will be drawn at random. You will need to check back to see if you have won, then you have 72 hours to contact me with your details. This giveaway is open to International entries. Good Luck!!

Mathletics Giveaway Over at TOS Crew

This week’s giveaway is for a year’s subscription (one child) to Mathletics!
Wander over and leave a comment for your chance to win.

TOS Homeschool Crew Mathletics Giveaway

Good Luck!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

You Can Find Me Guest Blogging At....

Latter-day Homeschooling

Hope you enjoy Maddie's Story...
Maddie is our 7 year old and pure joy for our family. This photo was taken yesterday while she was away camping with Dad & Jess.Up before the crack of dawn to milk the cows. The photos are great. I'll get the girls to write about it. You can read about another Maddie Moment in End of Semester Break.

On The Menu Tonight

One of the Mums from church has 'gone vegan'. Now this particular family is the one that you see on the health food posters and you would have to look long and hard to find anything with an ounce of fat in it at their house. Also her idea of a fun time is a 10km run. They glow with good health this family!! Anyway she told us about a blog called fat free vegan. Of course I just had to go home and check it out.

Well it was a winner right of the bat for me because she has a Pressure Cooker section and refers to her Pressure Cooker often. Though these recipes are not only for Pressure Cookers. I won't get started on my love affair with my Pressure Cooker, or the fact that my one now has a twin! Thanks Mum!

Tonight all the carnivores are out and the omnivores are in, plus Dad who is really a herbivore at heart and only just tolerates meat at the best of times. So this is what we are having for dinner tonight. Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice . I can't wait. The red beans are in the pressure cooker as we speak and my mouth is watering already!! The photo up top belongs to Susan V at fat free vegan blog. Mine won't look nearly as good as hers so you might as well see it from the source. Hop on the link and take a look around her blog. The Plum Cobbler which is today's recipe lets you know you have found the right blog. YUM!!!

**It really didn't look like her's but tasted really good!!!

Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder on Wisdom and Virtues

"Cooperation, helpfulness, and fair dealing are so badly needed in the world, and if they are not learned as children at home, it is difficult for grownups to have a working knowledge of them."

Living in a house full of girls we're mad for all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. This book has five chapters, consisting of short stories, offering advice and giving opinions with honesty and humor and is taken from pieces that she wrote between 1916-1924 on honor, friendship and kindness.
As always, it is beautifully written.
" Sometimes we recognize a special blessing what heretofore we have taken without thought as a matter of course, as when we recover from serious illness; just a breath drawn free from pain is a matter for rejoicing. If we have been crippled and then made whole again, the blessed privilege of walking free and unhindered seems a gift from the "gods." We must be hungry to properly appreciate food, and we never love our friends as we should until they have been taken from us."

This is a three volume series. Volume 2- Life As a Pioneer Women and following this is Writings to Young Women on Laura Ingalls Wilder - Volume Three: As Told By Her Family, Friends, and Neighbors.

This will be a great extension to our Character Studies. We just wrapped up Compassion and are moving on to Responsibility. Laura Ingalls Wilder has one or two things on that subject in this book.

This is definitely a great little read for your girls.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yesterday I received my first two e-books to review as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew.

The first one is Travel Kits. I had the chance to flick through it yesterday and it seems interesting. I'm looking forward to the girls getting back and sharing it with them and getting their ideas on how we can use this one. This is right up my girls ally. Jessica will really get into this.

The second e-book is the June module of The Schoolhouse Planner - Travel the World. We love anything that is a lapbook/notebook unit study. These two curriculum review choices are perfect for us as I have been exploring better ways to incorporate Geography into our week. So stay tuned for the reviews on these two. They will be up in about a month.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Schools Out & Half Time Reflections

Here in Australia we are at the half way mark of the school year and as I look over the last two terms at what has worked and what hasn't I am not really surprised at what I find.

Number 1:
I really like being organised. I spend time every weekend putting together the work for the coming week and writing up in a learning journal exactly what we're doing that week ahead. Any weeks that I haven't done that, I find the whole thing seems to fall apart. Then, anything we don't get through, I just move it along to the next weeks folder. Easy as that.

Number 2: I love our homeschooling room. That has just become the best thing we have done. The girls just love going in there and hanging out, even 'after hours'. They love sitting on the bean bags reading, listening to something on the CD player or drawing at their desks. It has made our school days so much easier. We all love it.

Number 3:
Getting out with others. We really love getting together with other families each week. Weekly Art lessons and Character Studies as well as just fun time at the park with other families each week makes a difference for us. Mind you, Irish dancing is a hit with the girls as well as piano lessons.

So as I look back over the first half of this year these three things would stand out the most in my mind.

Tristan from Our Busy Homeschool wrote a piece Homeschooling a House Full & Living to Tell the Tale. Homeschooling 3 children aged 4 - 9 is not easy I have discovered. That's why I have to be organised. Anyway check out her thoughts on this. I really do take my hat off to you mum's who homeschool with babies.

Anyway I have approximately 30 hours until Dad and girls are home, so Lucy and I are living it up. We had takeaway last night!! Yippy!!

End Of Semester Break!!

I made it to the end of semester one alive. Well just, but that's another story. Officially the 2 week break doesn't start until next week but Daddy has the week off and he is taking the girls camping.

The joy of this news was very short lived as the engaged daughter has found the joys of marrying a Soldier a little overwhelming and has moved the entire wedding from Christmas Eve to the 13th August. Yes 7 short weeks away, while he, the groom,tries to avoid the slow boat to Afghanistan or plane or however they deliver the Army over to the desert so that he can be here to get married. Welcome to the grown up world kids!
Us on the other hand will be waiting for the "windows of heaven to open" because that is a slight hit to the budget? Really relying on those blessings now!!! However after our last attempt at tithing settlement with the Bishop, not so sure if God will be up to it?

This is how it went for us a couple of weeks ago.

As members of our faith believe in being full tithe payers (you give 10% of you earnings to the church) this is something that my husband and I have always taken very seriously and always done and have seen the blessings of this principle in our lives. Well each year you have a meeting with your Bishop and he asks you if you are a full tithe payer. So here we are the kids, husband and myself in the Bishops office and he asks my husband and I if we are full tithe payers. Yes we are. Then he moves on to Jessica and asks her the same question. Well she bursts into tears and says no because she hadn't paid tithing on her last weeks pocket money! We calm her down and he lets her know that that's quite alright and she can take care of that and all is well. He then moves on to Maddie who has been sitting there quietly doing the maths in her head. The Bishops asks her the same question. Maddie are you a full tithe payer and the answer is NO! He then asks would you like to be. Again NO!! Well Mark and I are ready to die, Bishop lets Maddie know all the wonderful things that the money is used for in the Church but still NO!!! I wondering what the heck is going on then it occurred to me that Monday we are going to get the new Beanie Kids that the kids had been saving for and if she pays her tithing for last week that would mean that she would be short for that Beanie Kid. So I have to swing into damage control because Maddie was not going to give that one up. So here I am negotiating a deal with Maddie in front of the Bishop which was coming off like we were one or two lessons short on tithing for Family Home Evening. It really wasn't a good look, but you have to love the honesty of kids.
Monday came, she cleaned the car and got the extra money, put her tithing aside and bought the new Beanie Kid. Then of course Sunday came and she had to actually part with the coins and she comes up with " but my teacher said you only have to pay 10 cents!" Yes Maddie, ten cents for every dollar. No, my teacher said 10 cents!!
Well kids are a work in progress like the rest of us. Looks like a few more lessons on this one. Mean while, this all took place while Lucy cried because she wanted to play with Oakley not the Bishop, even if he is Louisa's daddy. Unless he was about to have Louisa pop out from the cupboard, she wasn't going to stop screaming anytime soon. Always next year.

Anyway looks like I'm going to spend the holidays getting a wedding ready. Wish me luck?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Entomology 101

Today we joined together with a group of Homeschooler's for a Mini Beast guided bug hunt at the Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens. Scores of kids with spades in hand pounced on the poor unsuspecting bugs of Mt Cootha. Well I'm not sure how unsuspecting they were. Different school groups twice a day 5 days a week, I think they knew we were coming and ran for their little lives!

Not only were the bugs out of their depth but right of the bat the Guide made the first of three mistakes! She asked the group what grade they were in? They all sat their staring at each other wondering out loud what she was talking about? The parents then suggested she ask how old they were. This brought out an instant response from all. After establishing this, she made mistake number two. Having warmed them up verbally with the first question, she then asked them what they knew about insects. Now anyone with any experience with a homeschooled child knows that once you start them on a topic they just don't stop! Unlike 'school' children who will give the appropriate automated answer in short, concise, monosylabic sentences, homeschooled children WILL give you the unabridged version with actions if needed.
Well that's what this poor Guide got. Clearly dazed with information over load she pressed on with mistake number three. She asked them to line up!! Line Up!!! What was she thinking? Never mind, she soon learnt this wasn't going to be a regular field guide, so she moved on.

Into the dirt, bugs leaping for their lives, worms trying to slither away, only the crickets stood a chance because the minute they where deposited in to the tray ready for identification they just jumped away.

We then moved from the ground insects to the air. We journeyed into the Arid country. The cactus section which, well didn't grab me that much, but each to their own.(sorry no pun intended with the grab bit) I didn't actually spot any insect myself but (grown-up) Lucy & I discovered that Alo vera came from Yemen. Lucy wonder where Yemen was, so I whipped out my google brain to give Lucy the exact location of Yemen and the fact that it was it's own country. Not know for brilliance, she stared at me with the 'where did that come from look' which wasn't enough and she actually asked the question? I informed her that I had a school friend who was in the Navy and who's ship was stationed off the coast of Yemen. That restored the world back on it's axis and made perfect sense to her why I would know where Yemen was and not that I had a brilliance for Geography. No, wait that was 'A Well Trained Mind' Memory peg!!

We then learned about Australian native bee's and Jessica was chosen as Queen bee. Like her self-esteem needed that. She had to 'fly' around while wiggling her bottom. We spend everyday trying to teach our almost 10 year old with a little bit of attitude not to do. Hence the fact we have a total ban on the likes of Hanna Montana. But off she went, buzzing away with glee.

Too top of the afternoon, they went on to explore water insects. Poking this one poor massive gold fish in the pond. Poor thing but it managed to survive us all as did the Guide and a great afternoon was had by all.
Monday we are off for part two which is a visit to the CSIRO Lab for some more Entomology 101. Can't wait to see what fun that will bring. Stay tuned.

Grown-up Lucy with Michael

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

We have this fantastic The Bug World kit. We picked it up from Aldi ages ago and squirreled it away for just the right time.
It has 31 separate activities to do with number 1 being the Mini Eco System, and you all know how much fun I had with that one.

Well Activity 4 is called A Nice Metamorphosis. We use the observation 'sphere', capture 2 caterpillars and away we go. We've tried this sort of thing before but the the 1 missing ingredient I think was that fact that you gently wet a cotton ball for the caterpillars to drink from. Ah, yes the end result of our previous efforts was not a beautiful butterfly, but we won't get into the whole circle of life moment right now!

Now everyday we have to add new leaves and re-moisten the cotton ball. According to 'the book' soon our caterpillar will enter its metamorphosis process. I quote "It will completely change its shape, eventually turning into a butterfly or moth." Of course if not I will need to dust of Lion King AGAIN!!

Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


We have 2 daughters with Epilepsy. Caitlin 19 and now Lucy 4. Last night Lucy had 1 Tonic Clonic seizure and several Myoclonic seizures. Our girls also suffer Complex Partial Seizures but the handling of that is the same.

After 19 years of managing Epilepsy you tend to take it a little in your stride. A quick squirt up the nose of Midazolam for Lucy at this stage and life long medication for Cailtin. This is except of course when they actually do need CPR but usually we just manage them at home. The Doctors advise seizures lasting more then 3 minutes require Ambulance transportation to the hospital. As parents with experience you tend to become excellent judges of what you can manage & what needs further assistance.

So What Am I Talking About

Tonic Clonic
This type is what most people think of when they hear the word "seizure." An older term for them is "grand mal." As implied by the name, they combine the characteristics of tonic seizures and clonic seizures. The tonic phase comes first: All the muscles stiffen. Air being forced past the vocal cords causes a cry or groan. The person loses consciousness and falls to the floor. The tongue or cheek may be bitten, so bloody saliva may come from the mouth. (Tongue swollowing is an old wives tale and do not try to force anything in to their mouth to hold their tongue) The person may turn a bit blue in the face. After the tonic phase comes the clonic phase: The arms and usually the legs begin to jerk rapidly and rhythmically, bending and relaxing at the elbows, hips, and knees. After a few minutes, the jerking slows and stops. Bladder or bowel control sometimes is lost as the body relaxes. Consciousness returns slowly, and the person may be drowsy, confused, agitated, or depressed. My girls usually just go to sleep.

Myoclonic (MY-o-KLON-ik) seizures are brief, shock-like jerks of a muscle or a group of muscles. "Myo" means muscle and "clonus" (KLOH-nus) means rapidly alternating contraction and relaxation—jerking or twitching—of a muscle.

Even people without epilepsy can experience myoclonus in hiccups or in a sudden jerk that may wake you up as you're just falling asleep. These things are normal.

In epilepsy, myoclonic seizures usually cause abnormal movements on both sides of the body at the same time. They occur in a variety of epilepsy syndromes that have different characteristics.

The list of forms or manifestations of Epilepsy is not narrowed to just these two. This is the two we mainly have to deal with.


First Aid Seizure Poster


* While everyone's experiences with this is different and saving their life is paramount, my experience has been over the almost 20 years that the tune most Doctors are singing now to me is "We Now KNOW".

*We now know that some children are genetically predisposed to Immunization Acquired Epilepsy (please do not email about this topic as I know it is a hairy debate & one I will not enter into in a public forum)and mine are.

* We now know that some of the medications given as standard treatment cause infertility. If you are heading down this road with your young child ASK THIS QUESTION. I didn't 20 years ago and now have to watch my daughters chances of babies seriously slipping away. I didn't make that mistake this time round. I have hindsight on my side with Lucy. Ask this question!! It may seem silly when they are 4 but when they're about to get married and have to face this reality. It was a question I wish I had asked.

* Research your options. There's a lot of research and work going on out there in Medical land. Check it out and don't be afraid to ask the hard or silly or what if questions. I have hindsight, you may not, God willing, get that chance.

Never Let It Be Said That I Don't Take Missionary Preparation Seriously!!!

This is my son Daniel. At home he speaks the native tongue of a teenage boy but can give an awesome 15 minute talk in Church with the opening remarks of "if I asked mum to write this I would have to do chores so writing a 15 minute talk is less painful!!!" Yes, everyone in our house is on the chore list even the 4 year old who thinks that being on dessert is a chore because it's on the Family Home Evening List? So every Sunday when the chore list is rotated and I call out "does everyone know what your on this week?" Lucy always calls out "yes I'm on dessert!"
Anyway back to Dan, even though I know you're all thinking he is not nearly as cute as Lucy when it comes to making a cake. Well, I stand corrected there may be 1 or 2 girls out there who do, but this whole blog today is about 'taste'.
It was Dan's Sunday school's teachers birthday, so much to our surprise he whipped up a chocolate cake using the recipe that I gave you in Friday With D'ouisa. He of course with his teenage brilliance and terribly unbridled sweet
tooth added maltesers to the cake after beaten and added to the baking tin. He then in true teenage style decorated it with M&M's the other staple for a teenagers diet. This is the end result.
At least when he leaves for his Mission next year he can make a great Chocolate Cake.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I always wonder how all you homeschooling parents keep 'it' all under control. Where is your homeschooling command centre? As you saw last week our homeschool room is up and running very successfully. But workboxs have to be loaded and resources stored and lessons prepared. How and where do you do it all?
Well I can tell you where and how I do it and the picture above is only in my dreams.


I use a workbox sort of system for myself. We work on an average of 12 box's a day for the 2 older girls and 4 for Lucy.
We have Gospel Study, Maths, Literacy (which includes phonics, grammar vocab etc) History, Science, Art & Character Studies as our main areas of study. I keep the main framework of that curriculum in this trolley.

I then have these file boxes that hold all the extension resources that supplement the 7 areas of study. This is where the 'fillers' for the other boxes are found. They might be things I have
found and printed off the internet or from other books I have found along the way but aren't used as my main text for that subject. Then there are just resource books and lapbook mastercopies for unit studies etc.
But of course it never ends. There are the games both education & just for fun that are included in workbox's as well. They have taken over, what use to be the

linen press. It does seem like unorganised craziness but I get it, and it works for me. We also have a lot of resources in homeschool room cupboard. But the aim of the room was to make it as clutter free as possible. My girls just can't work when there is clutter, just as well my husband and I can sleep with it.
I lesson plan once a week and have the weeks work planned and filled in a box under my bed separated by days. That way no matter what happens that week I have everything ready and am not stressed that morning or night before wondering what I have on for the day.
Even though sometimes I long for a bedroom like the one at the start, I would never swap it for the one I have. It's more ours then the banks, it's a home of love and safety and learning for us all. All ours is put together on, well, no budget, because money to spend on making things pretty is not on our priority list. Like I said in Room To Homeschool.
If you have ideas on how you do it or you have blogged about it send me the link so I can check it out. To me it seems like the biggest part of homeschooling and once you have this down pat the rest is easier. I'm so open to other methods so let me know!

My daughter Caitlin is engaged to James, the most wonderful young man . James however is a Soldier in the 2nd Combat Engineering Battalion. The two young Australian Soldiers killed this week are from that very Battalion. The reality of Army life has painful hit home this week to our family. I realise, not nearly as painfully as it has to the lives of Sapper Smith and Sapper Moerland family, but the wedding cake and the wedding flowers and dress have lost their gloss and been replaced by the 'holiness' of marriage. The commitment to each other and the reality that without God the true meaning of 'until death do us part' is in fact a reality.
James is not a member of our faith and as much of their courtship has been going on at a distance while he was in training (they have know each other from preschool though)he hasn't had much of an opportunity to hear or experience it.
As of the last few weeks James has been posted to the Base 5 minutes from us and we love having him around. We pray each day for him and that he will be touch by the Gospel. We've the greatest 'Army blokes' in our Ward that can give him the experience to see life is possible as a Soldier and a Latter-Day Saint.
But yesterday he was on duty with his Battalion, bringing back the bodies of the Soldiers and will spend the week attending different services around the State in their Honor, all the while acutely aware that these men must be replaced.
I didn't realise life in the Forces was so difficult. Remember them all in your prayers.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Today Jessica & Maddie have gone on an excursion to Reverse Garbage, Friday is a very important day on Lucy's calendar. Why you may ask, because today is Louisa's day. Friday is the day we go to the park with the Fulcher family and Lucy LOVES Louisa. She will not accept that Louisa or D'ouisa as she is known to us,who is 12,isn't her sister, and goodness knows she does have 4 of her own, but no one is just like Louisa. So in honor of Friday with Louisa, Lucy wanted to bake a cake.

Now, everyone knows the perils of cooking with a four year old, but press on I did.I had planned to read my TOS Crew manual but how can you resist a face like this.

Rest assure Fulcher family she did wash her hands and only licked the bowl AFTER we finished. I'm the house with the Queensland Health 'correct hand washing procedure' poster laminated and hanging above the tap in the bathroom?

As you can't have a cake without candles here is the finished product!!! It was "can I do the fire now Mummy?" that had me a little worried.

1 cup Self-raising flour
1 cup caster sugar (I never add that much)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and beat for 4 minutes. Pour mixture into a well greased tin. bake in a moderate oven (180-200c) for 45 minutes. (we doubled it for this cake)


30g butter
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 cup of soft icing sugar
15ml hot water
6 drops of vanilla essence

Gently melt butter, add cocoa and blend well. Stir in icing sugar. Blend to a spreading consistency with hot water. Add vanilla and spread over cake.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Little Match Girl

I remember seeing this Hans Christian Andersen story as a child and have always kept an eye out for a version of the book that I really liked. Well I have found one. Actually my dear friend and homeschooling mentor Lucy found it. As we're studying Compassion for Character Studies this month The Little Match Girl was one of the stories we read.
You can purchase this book from my favorite book store ever!! The Book Depository This book cost $7.46aud and The Book depository has FREE worldwide delivery and I have never waited more then a week to ten days for my books to arrive. This may be the worst thing that I ever tell you, because more then one friend has fallen prey to the lure of this website. Enter with caution because once you are in you may be like the rest of us and never be able to get out. Of course, unless your husband becomes the Minotaur who you must defeat so as to roam The Book Depository city with freedom. Good Luck my fellow book hoarders!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm Busy Guest Blogging!!

At the moment I'm writing a couple of pieces for Or So She Says.... So stay tuned I will let you know IF and when they get published. I was invited to submit a few pieces last week so I have been putting some things together. It's so much harder when it's for another blog! But check them out anyway. Its a great blog and in fact this week they had a great piece on miscarriage. It was so incredible well written for those who have experienced it and also for those who know and love someone who has. Check them out.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Fevers Are Raging!!!

Don't you love it when the kids are sick. I love the extra cuddliness that you get. Well I don't really love the pain and suffering and the fact that when a raging fever is involved, because anytime it spreads to Lucy the 4 year old it usually required the Emergency Paramedic, with support car , lady on 000 giving CPR instructions over the speaker phone and I do believe the last time the police came just for good measure.(I have 2 epileptic children) But apart from that today we managed to rally some of the troops and head to the library for a full on book-a-thon this afternoon. I bored Jessica to sleep I think with audio Shakespeare. She loves it but the soft even voice of the CD just put her right to sleep. Oh how could I be so silly! It was the soft beautiful newly arranged homeschooling audio center complete with matching blue cosy beanbags that did the trick. Never the less they are all on the mend and tomorrow is another day!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"I have such a beautiful parlor, I declare it's almost too fine to sit in"

Well after all that work today I now join Almanzo's mother. Though it's not fancy the kids love it!! And as for their bedroom ,who say's 3's a crowd


We had so much fun putting this together. We have an audio center with beanbags for them to curl up in and listen to the audio stories or read their books. You can see the workbox in the corner and everyone has a desk full of sharpened pencils and colouring in supplies. I have the poster centre all sorted but I will blog about that during the week.
When we first bought this house 2 years ago my husband planted an apricot tree outside the kids window. No guessing what their favorite song was and still is. Well now it's huge and when it blossoms it really looks like popcorn. He is cute!
Well, we now have our own homeschooling room.

Room To Home School

Although the choice location for my girls to do their work is in the tree, this isn't always practical given the fact that the 'teacher' is tree climbing challenged(is that politically correct enough). As Jessica was having sleepovers every night in Maddie & Lucy's room we thought she should just move in and turn her room into a homeschooling room. Oh before you go "oh how cute they love each other that much" stop, it's just her room was so messy that she didn't like sleeping in it and the other girls room is beautifully tidy thanks to my chuck-a-thon.
Anyway I had a lot of ideas floating around my mind as to what a perfect homeschool room would look like but as tree climbing isn't my only disability I thought I would take a walk through my next best friend, oh no, my third best friend google. In case you are wondering who or what are numbers 1 and 2 and given the fact that it's Saturday which is his pancake making day and given the fact that number 1 will read this when he gets up, my husband is number 1, but he himself has come to realise that he is close to being over taken by number 2 which is fast becoming my one true love, my Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker.Every homeschooling mother should have one!
Anyway back to google. Yes I recently took a trip around google for homeschooling room ideas. OH MY GOSH!!! Have you seen some of these rooms! There is no way the mothers who put these rooms together would ever let a 'child' in there. It reminds me of the chapter 'Keeping House'in Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder when Almanzo goes into the parlor while his parents are way for a few days. Now this parlour is beautiful and is only entered when they 'have company'. I quote Mrs Web the visitor says to Almanzo's mother "You have such a beautiful parlor, I declare it's almost too fine to sit in." Well this is what these homeschooling rooms looked like.
I won't add any of the picture here in case one just happens to be yours, though I doubt it because if it was you won't be reading my blog because my blog page lacks symmetry which would be a must for these mothers who may or may not, I will not judge have a little OCD.
Off I go now back to the chuck-a-thon in Jessica's room and by Monday we will have our very own homeschooling room. I will post you a photo of that because it will leave you all feeling like your doing OK with what you've got too.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Lord Just Answers Prayers Right When We Need It

This is a very personal entry but one I wanted to share with you because we've all felt this at different times in our lives and as our daughters are growing and maturing in this world today I think the pressure to be beautiful in the worlds eyes is even greater.
I have 5 girls and people always comment on how beautiful they are. They are in the worlds view attractive girls. Maddie 7,is so cute but different perhaps to the others. She is not stick thin like the others, particularly Jessie, the next sister up who is 9 and the one she would be closest too. She doesn't have long flowing hair that flounces in the breeze and possess the ability to just wear anything and have it look perfect. Sport isn't her thing but piano is and she is not a 4 year old packed full of cuteness. Maddie would look in the mirror and see glasses and freckles and the boys in primary would pick on her for no particular reason other then it seemed fun. She struggles with school work and would rather be sitting in her room reading a book or just riding her bike in yard. The fact that every adult that came in contact with her would absolutely fall in love with her and different places we would go was the same, because of her gorgeous personality. Her beautiful smile meant nothing to her while she could still look in the mirror and see freckles and nothing that she liked. It was breaking my heart. I could see so much that she just wasn't seeing and I desperately wanted to get that through to her but just wasn't. Sometimes a mothers endless love just isn't enough. I prayed for divine guidance and it came when I least expected it. I recently blogged on Mormon Messages and how I use them in my home. Well this clip by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf retells the story of the ugly duckling and urges us to reflect on who we really are—sons and daughters of a glorious Heavenly Father. Well this changed her precious little life. She now has spring in her step. She has started wearing headbands that pulls her hair back from her face. She takes care in her appearance. She wants to help and serve all in the home and out. Maddie has a shine in her countenance that can only come from one place and that is from knowing who she really is. She said to me just after hearing this message. "Mummy I looked in the mirror today". I held my breath because usually what follows is " why am I not pretty or why do I have freckles" but not this time she said " I looked in the mirror and saw a swan." Tears came to my eyes and I held her and said I was so glad. I didn't want to elaborate we just wanted to just feel the moment and the warmth of the Holy Ghost.
Take a few minutes to watch this clip regardless of your faith or belief and see how you feel after it.

Tintoretto vs Titian

What a wonderful day we had. We joined the Robinson & Treanor families at the Gallery of Modern Art for a lecture presented by Simona Albanese of the University of Queensland.
Between us in our group we had 4 adults 8 children ranging in age from 3-9. When we entered the darkened lecture theater you could feel all eyes on us as the average age of those in attendance would have been well... 70 years old. I know they thought we had taken the wrong turn and the children's section was at the other end of the gallery. But no, through peering glares over half glasses we pressed on to find our seats. Which I might add where the ones that fold up and down and squeak, causing instant concern for me because all I could see was the 3 and 4 year olds playing with them the whole lecture.
A gentleman introduced Simona Albanese and she proceeded with the most wonderful lecture on the comparisons of the work between Tintoretto vs Titian.
You have no idea how much you are able to learn from the Artistic Pursuit Curriculum Book 2 because the children understood almost everything she said (well her strong beautiful Italian accent was a slight barrier for them at times).
From the symbolism used in art work to the different ways Renaissance artist have changed the expression, for example, of the halo around Saints or The Virgin Mary from the more grand expression uses in the 13th & 14th century art work produced by Cimabue or Giotto for example to small glows in these particular artist cases.
The children even understood how the use of blue was important in the work given the expense of such a colour in the day.
The children just sat there in their sets perfectly well behaved, attentively listening to Simona Albanese's lecture.
We spoke with her afterward and of course scored a photo opportunity with her and the children which I will add when Ricio learns how to download the photos from the camera. Renaissance art is easier to understand then Cannon camera's sometimes don't you think?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sue Patrick Workbox System

I'm a fan of this method by Sue Patrick. I just don't think I could homeschool the girls without it. But one aspect that I loved but have struggled to get up and running is the posters centres. But this week was the week!
Aldi had the most amazing educational resources on sale this week and one of those was posters. So I bought 2 of each of the ones that suited our needs, like solar system, colours,numbers, map & flags of the world. I kept 1 as is and cut up the other. Using Velcro dots the kids get to use the posters as interactive centres. They match the flags to either the flags or when they get a little better to the actual country. Lucy can match the colours & numbers to 20.
So all you need is 2 identical posters, Velcro dots from the cheap shop and a pair of scissors.
For the posters I have tried in the past, the kids have really loved this as an activity.
As you can see Aldi had a few other really great resources for great prices. The games in the picture below are awesome. The Build a Sentence game is worth it's own blog entry. So if you can get into an Aldi check them out and give the posters ago.
I have included the link above to Sue Patrick if you have no idea what I'm taking about in regard to the workbox system.


It's winter here in Australia! Now while you have the sewing machine out making those cute baby burp cloths, you can make winter warmers for the kids.

* cute fabric. I just bought a package of pre cut squares, but you use any fabric and cut your own.


*Sewing Machine

*Bag of Whole Feed Corn {size depending on how full you want your corn pack}

*Velcro {optional}

Corn stays warm for longer than any other filler but you can use wheat if you prefer. Sprinkled with a few drops of lavender if desired.


*Cut fabric 25cm by 40cm or size according to your choice.

*Fold in half with right sides together & sew leaving a gap at end to fill your bag.

*Turn inside out (so right side is facing out)

*Iron - taking care to tuck the open side under so its easy to sew after filling.

*fill with corn or wheat being careful not to over fill. It should just lie reasonably flat.

*Now add corn or wheat

*Sew up the side with opening. I top stitched around the whole bag but that is up to you.

How to use this Winter Warmer corn pack:

1. To Heat: Microwave for 2-4 min {depending on the amount of corn} It will retain heat for 1-3 hours.

2. To Chill: Place in a Ziploc type bag and throw it in the freezer for 1 hour. It will stay cold for about 30 min.

These are great for stress, tension, muscle aches and pains. They make a great cold compression as well. But for me.. they serve their purpose best for warming my kids when they are curled up in bed or snuggled up with their blankets during book reading.
They are easy enough for the kids to make as a sewing project as well.