Friday, July 30, 2010

The Secret Life of a Hoarder

Many moons ago I was a craft-a-holic. I mean serious craft-a-holic. One day I thought "What would I do if I wasn't doing craft". Oh that was apart from raising 6 children (none homeschooled at that time) active church member, aging Great Grandmother, friends,life and husband & kids that I'm totally crazy about. Anyway, not long after that I got very sick, had several strokes and lost a majority of my vision. The stroke effected my fine motor skills, not to mention other things like speech & comprehensive. Anyway I got to learn 'what I would do without craft'. Actually life goes on quite nicely. The sun still rises and the sun still sets.

Well this week I have been trolling through my 'craft' boxes that have been packed away for 4 years while I recovered, looking for... well we all remember the useful box in Playschool don't we!! My friend grownup Lucy was here. Now this woman is identical to my other friend Kim, in that they have zero clutter at their houses. I mean ZERO!!! Every time I emerged from downstairs with more 'useful' items to use to make the wedding place cards, grown up Lucy would just frown and say "and wait there's more". All the while eagerly anticipating the free knife set to pop out of the box.

I preceded to tell her with the eager excitement of a child that all this sudden burst of wedding craft has made me feel all crafty again. That the world of craft has changed in the last 4 years. Did you know that you can get your printer to printout edible stickers for your cookies and cupcakes and things. Oh my gosh edible ink!!! Check out these cookies. I love appliances. Who wouldn't love this. I had no idea!!

Now that was my first discovery of particular changes in the craft world. Now just as earth shaking is a thing called a Silhouette Machine. Now a quick visit to The House of Smith blog and you will see what I mean. Checkout the million uses for the vinyl lettering.

I'm sure my children's schooling experience could be enhanced by the purchase of one or both of these machines. I'm still working on the precise application of this to the furtherance of their education but give me a few more days and I'm sure I could come up with something. But the opportunities for it's use in the wedding are endless. Everyone here is just frowning at me saying paint or chalk will do the job. But don't you agree that the possibilities for owning this vinyl lettering machine is endless. Lucy just kept shaking her head and didn't get it.

Well with the wedding only two weeks away and my friend Kim still has not provided me with a pair of pants that are worn by her son Peet called 'magic money pants'(you know teenager with no cash on hand) I guess I will quietly pack my craft things back up and put it all away UNTIL.... My daughter and her new husband get a Defence Force house and I get her room downstairs as my new CRAFT ROOM!!!!! Mind you I still have very limited vision & dexterity but I can string a sentence together most days now. Luckily I had 5 girls who all enjoy crafty stuff as well. My biggest hiccup is last time I checked the bank account it was all heading to pay for a wedding. You can't blame a girl for dreaming though and I'm only writing this now because my husband has gone to the Temple and can't see what crazy thing has caught my eye now.

Needless to say I will check back into the craft world in another 4 years after the oldest daughter Ashleigh is married and Dan has gone & returned from his mission. Imagine what things they will have come up with by then. Oh but just look at those cookies...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How Long before You Move Into The Classification of Unschooling!!

The last week we have sidelined a bit of the schedule for play. Monday I call them in for the day to begin. No answer? I go looking for them and find Maddie & Lucy engaged in the most wonderful imaginary play in the cubbyhouse. So good that it would be a crime to stop them.

Tuesday, after watching Man v's Wild on video, they had gathered some branch's and palm leaves together to make a ladder. My girls will turn anything like that into action. I'm just so grateful that we don't live in Cairns (far north Queensland) now, or they would be down the river jumping croc's!

The rest of week seem to just follow along like that. By Thursday they were forbidden to reach into their imagination before lunch!! Nor were they allowed to leave the house in fear of their imaginations once again seizing hold of them and my offer of maths and literacy would definitely pale in comparison. It still did, so I had to start with history and science in order to harness their mental faculties for my use.Today they are making movies. Have I ever mentioned that my girls aren't shy and walk to the beat of their own drums.

So how many of these days can we have before we slip into the unschooled category?

We have had to cut the TV again after Lucy watch Joesph King of Dreams one too many times. She was ordering her sister around who wouldn't do what she wanted, so she blew a raspberry and yelled "half brother!" (in an American Accent) If she remembered a little better she would have realised that that landed Joseph down a pit and sold into slavery! Any camel trains going my way?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Peasant Skirts

I'm not sure what teachers get paid in your neck of the woods, but here in Australia the pays not great. As we are, shall we say 'frugal' at our house, the girls needed some new skirts a little while back so I did what all people do that hate patterns. I googled it. I mean how hard can a Peasant Skirt be?
This what I found. PERFECT!!

Peasant Skirt Pattern

I made two and three layered skirts for the girls all made out of bits of fabric I had laying about. They were perfect for Church and play and so easy to make. This site has a built in calculator. You just add the measurements for either yourself or the girls and in no time at all you have a pretty skirt. I love this site. Check it out!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Embracing Your Second Calling

Dale Hanson Bourke author of Embrace Your Second Calling ~Finding Passion & Purpose For The Rest of Your Life

While the reading of this book is a little premature for me, I still very much enjoyed it. The book is aimed at women transitioning from the roles of full time mother and or career centered lives to a different season of their lives. Perhaps your children are all grown and have lives of their own now. Some women feel like they have lost their vitality,sexuality and place in the world as they fall victim to the worlds view of 'whats important'. This book opens your eyes to a different point of view. How if you harness your life experience and place your life in God's hands to use as He would have you live, you would be a might force for serving Him for the greater good of those around you and those you reach out to.

This is by no means a passive book. Each page gives you a highlighted section where the author Dale Hanson Bourke puts ideas to 'reflect' on and things to 'act' on. She encourages you to use this book as a study tool and take time to journal and study the Scriptures while reading and searching. The Author used Ruth & Naomi of the Old testament as a parallel example with her own life and need to find her place in this new season.

It maybe a difficult time for many women, but this book was easy to read and even though I'm not quite at that stage in life with one still in nappies and one getting married, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and found plenty of things for me to reflect on and act on as a women.

Disclaimer~ I received this book free from Book Sneeze to review. This review is my opinion only.

Just a Few More Photo's

I know what you must be thinking, "wait until she has grandchildren." But these photo's are just so beautiful, I just had to share them. Ok, no more until the wedding.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Travel Kits ~ A Simple Way to Bless Others.

We spent our 5 week Christmas holidays on a road trip with 3 three little ones camping in our camper trailer. We stayed in free National Parks which means drop toilet and no showers. Me and my empty softdrink (soda pop)bottle became best friends as I would fill it where ever I could find fresh water and use it to have cold 'showers'. Anyway having this experience still fresh in my mind I read Travel Kits with interest. This E-book is available online from The Old School House Store and is jammed packed with ideas for you to use to put fun 'Travel Kits' together. These can be for either yourself or others hence the title 'A simple way to bless the lives of others'.

It's filled with lots of great ideas to use whether you or someone you know is going on a long vacation or a weekly trip to Grandma's. This book is written more in a conversational context which after 93 pages I found a little arduous to get through, but Donna Rees the Author puts it right up front. She said:

"For those of you who like to “cut to the chase,” here’s an overview of travel kits. You can read it and totally
understand the basic concept. Then, you can just skim the rest of the content, reading the subheadings and
looking at the pictures, and you’ll be ready to get started. Some of us, though, like to read the details, go
back and underline and take notes, and then get started. So, for the fast starters, read this part first and then
explore selectively. Everybody else, start here and then read on to learn a lot more details and hear about a
lot more ideas. But whatever your style is—have fun!"

Before shot

Well fun we did have!! We decided to send a Missionary Care Package to one of the Missionaries in our ward who's serving in the USA. We used the essence of Donna's book which gave us so much to work with. We boxed up lots of little gift's that we added a spiritual thought or just wrote something on it.

We included things like:

glue stick - stick at it.
4 packets of Life Saver lollies - the message you bring will tie families together forever.
Hand wipes - clean hands & pure heart
Block of chocolate- serving a mission will bring you the sweetest rewards.
Extra Chewing Gum- we are always blessed when we go the 'extra' mile.

We also included a rocket toy (made out of foam) that I could just see the boys aiming it at each other!! Razors, post it notes, pens, Oreo's which is so American I realize. You get the idea. Just lots of little fun & yummy things for him.

Donna Rees has included lots of pictures in her e-book to give you great idea's to make up travel kits. In the final chapters Donna adds things like tourism websites, how to get the car ready and great travel ideas for you to follow if traveling with kids of all ages.

I found though that I had quite different ideas on suitable gifts/items for a travel kit which is probably why we went with the Missionary Care Package. I would never include food. To me, food equals energy. When we traveled we kept the food Low GI and never had lollies. I would hate to have the car full of wrapping paper and lots of little toy parts floating around the floor. Donna Rees adds all those concerns in this book. She reminds you to be mindful of the recipient and their needs. She also brings attention to allergies and suggest that you check with the parents on some things.

This book is available online for US$12.45 and I would recommend it for those looking for something on this topic. My kids enjoyed putting this together and I'm sure you would too.

Click here for a sample of what you can find in the book.

Disclaimer: I received this product free to review as part of The Oldschool House Review Crew.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Engagement Photo's

Take a look at these beautiful photo's Cait & James had taken on the weekend.
Alana Aston is the photographer that they have chosen for the wedding. Cait had narrowed it down to 2 photographers and as it turned out Alana work for them and they are all members of our faith!! She had no idea, just loved the look of their work. Plenty to love I think, don't you!!

Can't wait for the wedding photo's!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Travel The World E-Book

This is the June module in the School House Planner. Once purchased, this e-book is immediately down-loadable which is the beauty of this method of obtaining curriculum. No waiting for books to arrive in the mail which at times are accompanied by large postage cost. Travel The World E-book is $7.95 and has all you need. Once you print it off and decided what works best for your family as far as method of delivery, you are ready to travel the seven continents.

I printed ours out in black ink but used coloured paper to give us variety. I then purchased 2 notebooks (1 each) which I will continue to use for the study of geography. As the formal study of geography is relatively new to us as a set subject this term, Travel the World was a fantastic place to start from. It gives an overview of exactly what 'geography' is and explores the 7 continents and surrounding oceans. It's rather an open ended curriculum and encourages you to explore specific countries that interest you. I particularly liked this aspect of Travel the World. You can take this in whatever direction you'd like.

I still have a problem managing this sort of package that includes the use of hyperlinks so regularly. I don't like to use the computer that much with the kids to 'watch' clips or play games because I find I loose the continuity of the lesson if I need to leave the table to 'see' something on the computer. I have come across this in other e-books and have tried to work my way around them as much as possible. I do the 'sit down' work in one section then do some of the computer work at the end. We loved this song Longitude & Latitude song found on one of the websites. It says you can download these songs on to your mp3 but I'll get back to that. They had a few great songs that will help learning and my kids love a song anytime! I also had fun finding Hannah on the Longitude/latitude game. Maybe it's NOT the kids that get stuck on the computer?

Also included with the E-book information are, hyperlinks, puzzles, quizzes, fun art work of a few of the continents that the kids can colour and name, copy work - both cursive & print. Of course the lapbook element is included. What would a study be without the lapbook! My girls love anything in the lapbook form. However this one hasn't gone over the top with it, so you don't need to go into a lapbook overdrive if you buy this one. I can feel some of you breathing out right now with a very large PHEW!!!

Travel the World really is a practical, user friendly curriculum that would suit all ages. We are using it for the younger crew but it has a highschool extension program in the back that adds to the versatility of the module.

I would recommend this as a stand alone unit study or like we have used it, as a jumping point for the study of geography.

Click here to check out some sample pages

Disclaimer: I received this product free to review as part of The Oldschool House Crew Review.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guest Blogging again at Or So She Says...

You can find us today over at Or So She Says... I have done a post for them on Epilepsy Awareness so go on over and check it out. I've spent last week with a child seizing away most of the days. Lucy now has scrambled egg brains and turns mean after 12pm. Needs a sleep!! It's hard on their little brains so we are looking at moving Lucy up to other medication so as to preserve her little brain. Anyway on we go, pop over, leave a comment and take a look around the site!!
You'll love it. I know I do!!

I was there last week with this post on Using Educational Posters to Teach Children

Thank-you Our Busy Homeschool

This week I received my very first blog award. What made this doubly exciting was that it came from Tristan over at Our Busy Homeschool.

Step 1 You have to thank the person who gave you the award

When I first started homeschooling it was a little overwhelming to say the least. I had a fantastic 'live bodied' mentor in Lucy up the road who made my jump into homeschooling life so much easier. I also found being able to peak in on another Latter Day Saint homeschooling home was fantastic. While finding my feet I 'followed' a lot of Tristan's advice. Investigated a lot of her curriculum choices and found her 'pearls of wisdom' so very helpful. She blog one day about the TOS Homeschool Crew 'try out', so I thought I would give it a go. So here I am sailing along with crew. Anyway, Thank-you Tristan.

Now I have to tell you 7 things about myself

1: I'm a kitchen-appliance-aholic. I love appliances and my friend Kim will testify that I spread that love around. I'm currently in love with my Pressure Cooker which recently multiplied to 2. (large family you know how it is)

2: My side of the bedroom is always messy. My husband & I are like the odd couple (only you older ones will know about that show) and my side is always a mess and his side, which is the half way point down the bed is always perfectly tidy!

3: I love 'kid fun'. I love playing with my kids, games, science stuff, craft, what ever. I love it.

4: I love 'homestorage' stuff. I am a hoarder by nature so the idea of being given the green light to hoard is SO up my ally. Homestorage might be a Mormon term. Click here if you are wondering.
"We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings".

5: I have never read Twilight or Harry Potter. I realize I may be one of the few people on the earth that hasn't but here it is. Tristan may want her award back now.

6: I wear Ugg boots every wear and they should be made legal for church as well because I don't know about your chapel but ours is always freezing.

7: I am madly in love with my husband & kids and am so glad that I will have them for eternity.

Step 3 is to pass this along to blogs I love:
This is the hard part. Of course I would shoot one right back to Our Busy Homeschool. I love these sites all for different reason's.

~ Prepared NOT Scared

~ Being a Mother Who Knows

~ LDS Inspired

~ Books We Loved - or Didn't

~ From Glitter to Gumdrops

~ Smashed peas and carrots

Fat Quarter Bags

I found these over at Dairy of a Quilter. These would make cute little scripture totes for the kids. I think I will make these in the next holidays. (or the ones after that, you know how it is!!) They have the tutorial over there. Sewing is not one of my strong points either so I need the picture tutorials.

Anyway aren't they just the cutest!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wedding Over Drive!!

Well it's 4 weeks today until the Wedding. For anyone who doesn't know my daughter Caitlin is having a 'shot gun wedding'. Well, the one holding the gun is not her father, but someone over in Afghanistan. She is marrying an Australian Soldier and his chance of deployment went up unexpectedly after the death of 2 soldiers from his regiment. So their Christmas wedding is now 4 weeks away.

As the rsvp's start arriving and plane flights are booked we realize how blessed we are to have family and friends who love us. At first I was a little overwhelmed by it all. Family that we haven't seen for years are coming from all over Australia or oversea's. It's not even like they are just coming along for a free meal and drink. They have to go through a lot to get here. Take time off work, book accommodation (our house filled quickly with bookings) book flights and come here at such short notice. I absolutely feel like I have taken my family and friends for granted.

Well this is a great chance to make a change to this and have better contact with my family. I miss them & think about them often but don't do enough to connect with them all. I let the day to day stuff get in the way sometimes. Not that a husband,6 children, homeschooling, church responsibilities, health and fit myself in there is just me letting time flutter by, but I need to make the connections here so this whole 'families are forever' thing will mean more then just a catch phrase to my children. Something that you will get to in the eternities. So they can feel like this is important and has a higher purpose.

Well the wedding is fast approaching and it's hard to believe that my baby girls is getting married. I keep trying to image that moment when her dad walks her down the isle and it overwhelms me now. I'm usually a pretty together person, but this makes me tear up at just at the thought. I'm not sure how I feel on the day . well I guess I will know in 4 weeks.

~The picture up top is like the cake topper. I love it!!

Can't wait to post some wedding photo's though!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Does It Takes A Village To Raise a Child?

I've been thinking about this African Proverb lately and was going to write a blog entry on my feeling about the subject. Then I found this and it said it all!!! Nothing more to say.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do YOU Have Your Affairs In Order

Do you have your affairs in order. In Australia it's Tax time and it gives you a great opportunity to take a look at not only where you stand financially over the last year but where you would stand if something was to happen to you or your spouse.

At the age of 38 I had the opportunity to walk through 'the valley of the shadow of death'. It was not a brief walk but fortunately for me I was able to return. Although we are still unsure of what the future will hold as far as my health is concerned, I have a totally different perspective on death. At the time, I was very fit , healthy & just had baby number 6. I caught a virus that turned our world upside down. Four years on, several strokes and a daily battle with health issues later,I have of course a very different perspective on life.

Death is no longer a frightening thing. I didn't realise just how thin the veil was. There is no Grim Reaper but Ministering Angels who bring comfort and warmth. Armed with this knowledge we were able to make decisions on things that before I wouldn't even entertained. Like what would happen to the children if we died. Would their be enough money to provide for the little ones until they where of age. Missions, marriages. Letters to tell them things I would want them to know.

Where to Start

Do you have a Living Will

A living will is a voluntary statement outlining the types and conditions of medical care that a person would prefer in a given situation prior to requiring care. A person may also nominate one or a number of substitute decision-makers (Power of Attorney) to make decisions of their own behalf. A living will sets out your wishes in relation to treatment decisions in advance.

Living wills identify

* when, and under what conditions, the agreement or Power of Attorney should take effect
* who is to have responsibility for substitute decision-making and for what decisions
* what cross-consultation is to occur and
* the circumstances when revocation may be possible.

A living will may also cover financial, personal and medical decisions concurrently.

For me, I have strong ideas on what medical care should be made available to me should I be incapacitated. This document is used when you are still alive but not able to make decisions your self. People often overlook this one, but it's just as important.

Your Will


A Will is a legal statement by which you name the people you want to receive your
property and possessions when you die.


• Making a Will is the surest way anyone has of providing for others after their
death. You may think that you are not wealthy enough. But stop to add up the
value of your house, car, savings, insurance policies - the total is probably more
than you realised.
• A Will is particularly important for anyone with a family or other dependants,
especially if you are a separated or unmarried parent.
• A Will enables you to ensure that the people to whom you give your property
receive it promptly and in a manner which will render your estate liable to no, or relatively little,additional income tax through capital gains tax.Capital gains tax liabilities may be postponed rather than provoked by appropriate provisions in
your will.
• A Will enables you to choose your executor, ie the person who will manage and
distribute your property.
• All too often, leaving no Will creates yet another worry for your family at the time of bereavement and disruption at home. Making a Will is a way of making life easier for them.

Life Insurance / Superannuation

With the Financial crisis hitting these two things hard, it might be worth just casting your eyes over your policies to see where you stand now. What may have been adequate before, may have taken a hit and you need to look at additional policies.

Funeral Plan
I went as far as planning my actual funeral up to a point. Discuss things like burial or cremation. Open casket and viewings. I didn't go too far because in someway I thought that they might like to choose songs that reflect their feelings and plan the goodbye the way they want to.

Before I became sick all this just seemed too overwhelming to think of, but you really never know when your world is going to be turned upside down. You don't want the kids to end up with someone that would make you 'turn over in your grave' or 'over your dead body', because that is just what might happen.

So while you have all your paperwork out doing the tax, take sometime to put these things in order as well. It really brings a peace of mind.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Holidays Are Over

Well we are off and running this term. We've had two things to review for TOS and they are coming along nicely.

Subjects We'll Cover This Term

Maths U See - Jessica is plowing through Beta & Maddie through Alpha. It's still just revision for Jess but I wanted her to cover all the basics again to ensure we haven't missed anything

LEM Maddie and Lucy are doing well using this program. We went back to the start with this one and it is paying off with Maddie getting a better grasp on her phonics. The LEM program is rules based and my kids seem to need the rules.

First Language Lessons For the Well trained Mind Level 1&2. This is a fantastic companion to our Phonics program. This covers the Grammar side of things and we love it. The Well Trained Mind has a lot of resources and info on the website. Worth a look.

Handwriting We are using the LEM print & Cursive method at the moment.

The Story of The World. We love this curriculum the best of all. I'm not sure if it's because history is one of the kids favorite subjects or this is such a well put together curriculum.

Zoology Science
We had put this on the side burner for a while and just played with science. I think we will pick it up again this term but still have our science play on the side.

Geography We will take this more in a unit study approach I think. The TOS review has been great to give us an over view, but more on that later. I'm also looking at how to incorporate Operation World- Pray Today . I really love the idea behind this and am looking at ways to use it daily as a gospel centered study of geography.

Artistic Pursuits
This term we are going to go back to book 1. we started on book 2 because that was all we had at the time. The children's art work has come on so much this year that giving them the basic skills will be a real benefit.

Character Studies This month it's Responsibility. We have really enjoyed this program. If you haven't looked it over I would recommend that you do. You can pick up The Book of Virtues from Amazon at a reasonable price and the lapbook printable's are free. We do this together with art on a Wednesday afternoon together with 2 other homeschooling families.

We will be of course still using the workboxes. I love this method because it's so hard to keep track of the day otherwise. You can see them in the corner of the room.
Well that's what's ahead for us this term. I will be looking forward to the surprise reviews we get to do with TOS as they will give us variety and experiences with things I would probably not have come across myself.
Have a great term everyone!

Find Me Over at Or So She Says......

Today you can find me guest blogging over at a really cool blog Or So She Says.... Come on over and check it out. Teaching Kids Using Educational Posters.

School holidays are over so it's back to the books today. We've had a great break though.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Introducing Ashleigh & Matt

I have an older daughter Ashleigh. Always the quiet one but very much a favorite with her siblings and her parents of course!! A visit to Ashleigh & Matt's house is equal to a trip to the Australian Zoo!

Let me introduce their little family:

2 dogs Missy & Vader. This is Missy, a stray that they took in after searching and advertised far and wide for her parents, but to no avail, so Missy is now Missy Woods-Thompson.
Vader is a hard shot but Missy keeps him well under control. They both sleep on the bed with Ashleigh, and Matt has to fit in where he can.

Next we have 2 Shingleback Lizards

I know what you are thinking. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I can tell you the kids love them!! Me, I admire them from the other side of the glass enclosure.

Then there is the Rats. No photo required . No offense honey, I know you love them but....

Last but not least is the I think 7 snakes. All kinds and sizes. Matt makes the most beautiful enclosures for them and there is a couple in every room.

When they are not playing Zoo life at home they're on VW runs with the car club. This is Matt's handy work, but we won't bring up the 'small' scratch on the roof that happened while Ash was driving. He restored this himself. He is so clever & yes he does have the longer hair out of the two of them.

They live on 10 acres and have kangaroo's down the back paddock. So Matt loads the kids up & off they go Kangaroo spotting. You can see why they love a visit to Ashleigh's & Matt's

They're off to Europe in about 2 months for a holiday with friends and are so looking forward to it. Matt's mum will be on duty to run the zoo while they're gone as I have a zoo of my own over here. I could never do it. Feeding snakes is so not my thing.

Well this is everyone now. You have meet all the kids one by one on the blog. I'm just madly in love with them all. But when you live away from home like Ash does, you can get a little over looked but never forgotten and always missed.
It's tax time so she'll be around for dinner really soon. I'm the family tax agent.
When Ash & Matt come to dinner it's equal to the arrival of the Royal Family. The house is cleaned to the "are we getting visitors Mum?" standard and I always cook a feast for a king. I love to feed them all up and send them home with a ton of left overs. Dan likes it when they come because I never feed Ashleigh lentils, only meat!

You raise them to be independent and prepared for the adult world but you never stop wanting them to just curl up on your lap and scratch their backs or brush their hair. She had her wisdom teeth out recently and I got to play mummy for a night again. I MISS MY ASHLEIGH.