Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Skydiving Adventure

My son turned 18 a few weeks ago but due to excessive rain and wind here in Brisbane we have had to postpone the skydiving adventure. But this Saturday was an absolutely perfect day. The sun was shining and just a gentle breeze for those of us on the ground. But for my husband, son and oldest daughter it was 220km/hr rushing free fall. They jumped at 14000ft (that seems like a lot of 000's) from a tiny plane that only has enough room for you to squeeze into like sardines.

It is so not for me. My husband asked if I wanted to jump??? I'm not sure he meant it. For me it would be a matter of choose your death. Heart rate increases and you have another stroke. Heart rate increases and just goes into arrest. Should I make it through the free fall and land, the impact causes my spine to just give up and I am sitting on the beach like a jelly fish. So no, jumping out of a plane was not on my bucket list. Making my first quilt, now that's a thrill.

The pre-jump training took a whole 5 seconds. 1. hands on the front straps. They make them do that so they don't grab anything in a panic as they exit the plane. That freaked me a little. 2. lean back 3. kick your leg up backwards. Right lets go jump out of a plane. At this point I realized that my husbands insurance policies are now null in-void for the next hour or so. Now that made my heart rate rise right there.

Ashleigh has just returned from a trip around Europe and I will be watching her leap from a plane. I was more nervous for her here then being in Germany for the Oktoberfest. Oh, well maybe not.

Well the person Dan was strapped to was like one of those crazy people. He gave Dan the ride of his life flipping the parachute around and around. It was crazy!!! Husband landed first which I was very pleased about. Dan was next down and totally loved it. Only 7 months until he puts his Mission papers in. No time for a next time I say. Ashleigh was last and said it's freezing up there. Next time she will wear a jumper. NEXT TIME I said!! What next time!!! oh yes for $2500 you to can hurl yourself out of a plane at least 10 times and half of them solo!! today she email through a link to the 'next time'.

It really was so much fun to watch them but I really hope that they don't do it again. Happy 18th Dan.

Wishing Star

Tonight Lucy and I were at the clothsline when she spotted the wishing star. She made her wish of going to the beach and the park tomorrow.Her two most favorite places apart from my bed. She then told me to make my wish.
I said " I wish Lucy would use the toilet and not nappies".
"No she said, that's not a wish, you have to wish for the beach or something. That's not a real wish!"

I am desperate to get her over her toilet phobia. It seems like are real wish to me?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Soli Deo Gloria Resources ~ Map Skills Unity Study

Soli Deo Gloria Resources has a variety of unit studies available for homeschooling families. We had the opportunity to review Map Skills which is geared for the K-3 grade. It has heaps of hands on activities, games and fun ways to create maps and learn about the basics of geography.

They give you a guide to follow that is set out over 2 weeks. Of course as true homeschooling mums we like to 'tweak' these sort of things to suit ourselves.

The girls have covered this introductory subject before but it was something worth reviewing using this product and for $14.00 you can cover all you need with the little ones.

Click here for a sample.

Soli Deo Gloria Resources have a variety of Christ center learning studies available on their website if you're looking for something in that area go to the site and have skip through for yourself.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kids Say The Cutess Thing.

I received a text lastnight from my friend who has two of the most gorgeous boys you could ever imagine. Little angler is 3 and is a real boy. Had to show off his new boy haircut to us yesterday with a look of shear pride.

Well this is how the text went!

We're all sitting around having dinner. Little angler says " a lady danced with me today at a dance-a-long". His dad says "wow that's good. Did you ask her or did she ask you to dance?" Little angler say's "no she asked me". His father says "way to go mate, that's the way!"

Silence for a few seconds.

Then Little Angler says proudly "I was wearing high heals."

Well Mum & Dad if worse comes to worse we can take these with us on the next fishing trip. Might not want to wear them in the inflatable boat perhaps.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Talking Fingers Review

This is by far the our favorite review of the year. Talking Fingers is a Read, Write & Type online program. This program is phonics based, that encourages the kids to say, read & type the words/sounds as they learn.

It really is a fantastic program. Maddie struggles with all things 'phonic' but this program seem to just break through that barrier she had, and resonated with her in such a way that she actually got the hang of the sounds as well as the typing skills.

The key element for Maddie was that there was no timer. No count down clock that she had to race against. It just waited for her to say the word or wiggle her fingers around without feeling the pressure of a clock ticking in a corner ready to explode if she couldn't do it in their time frame. Maddie is not competitive at all so programs with that element added lose her every time. Having said that, the certificates that you can print out at the end of each level did appeal to her. She has them proudly displayed in our lounge room. A homeschool kid has got to do what she has to because it's hard to get a certificate from mum. Just doesn't have the same appeal? Anyway she was pretty chuffed at getting one when she made it to the end of each level.

Also it's not a 'busy' screen. If your child has trouble concentrating then this is a program for them. While the animation is very inviting it doesn't have things going on all over the place. The 'virus' that is one of the main characters is a pleasant little green blob and the instructions are given by 2 little 'hands'. We are not a gaming family. We don't own a wii or PlayStation or PSP, so as far as animation is concerned it's perfect for us. I look at my fingers when I type (two finger typist) but this has them looking at the screen where they should and not at their fingers.

click here for a a free demo of the first 8 lessons. I know 8 lessons free to try before you buy. Read here if you want to know more about the company and how they began, or watch the video below and see how it not only can benefit those who like us who are trying to master English as our first language, but how this program can help ESL students as well.

How to purchase this for yourself.

This product is affordable. All subscriptions are valid for 5 years which as you can see from the price list below that is amazing value for the home user.

Read, Write & Type Product Price

Read, Write & Type - Online Edition - 1 user $35.00
Read, Write & Type - Online Edition - 2 users $55.00
Read, Write & Type - Online Edition - 3 users $70.00
Read, Write & Type - Online Edition - 4 users $85.00
Read, Write & Type - Online Edition - 5 users $100.00

Home CD Products

Product Price

Read, Write & Type - CD Home Edition $79.00
Read, Write & Type - CD International Edition(2 program CDs only) $39.00

Talking Fingers HOT NEWS FLASH!!
Want to save 20% off your next order?

Join their mailing list and answer a couple of questions to receive a 20% discount on your order. Your information will NOT be sold to outside parties. We will use it only to send you product updates and an occasional newsletter about our work.

Hop on over to the website to order and see the other programs they have available for you. Like us I'm sure you won't be disappointed with the program.

disclaimer~ I received a complimentary subscription to Talking Fingers and this is my honest opinion about this product.

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

It has been raining non stop here in Brisbane. 201mm fell in just 24 hours in our suburb. We've been on the tight water restrictions for a long while , so strict at one point they had patrols roaming the street to make sure no one was using the water incorrectly. We have an over zealous State Government, but that is a whole other subject?

Needless to say my children see failing rain as an immediate cue to race outside and find the biggest possible mud puddle. Today it was the veggie garden. Fortunate we haven't planted anything in it as yet.

I expected the kids to wake up this morning at least half a metre taller due to the compost rich soil that they 'swam' in. My bathroom was totally trashed by the time they made their way up the stairs , through the back door and made mud prints all the way to the bathroom. Lucy still had it in her ears last night.

This is our favorite park before and after the flooding. Next stop is Wivenhoe Dam as they've opened the flood gates and that is always a fantastic sight.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I have a craft room, homeschooling resource room or just what ever I like room. Can you believe it. Grown-up Lucy you must rush down and see under our house. It's so tidy it echo's!! Caitlin , married to soldier and still had to live with us until they got a Defense Force House HAS MOVED OUT!! Oh wait let me shed a tear, ok that's done. We have room down stairs and I have (had) a spare room for me!!! I've moved in already just in case, Dan 18 year old son, saw it empty and attempted to move his massive drum kit out of his room into what may have seemed like a spare room.

Actually Caitlin has only moved all her earthly belongings over to their two storey, three bedroom, three bathroom, brand spanking new townhouse, five minutes from our home, because James is away on Operation Hamil and won't be back for a few more weeks. Romantic I know. I just keep seeing the scene in Shrek where he carries Fiona across the threshold wiping out half the door way leaving her with a sore head. Ah I'm not very romantic. They want to move in together so she is bunking down in the homeschool room for now on a fold out bed (hard going because they spent thousands on a sleeping on clouds mattress) She dare not complain because James is spending 5 weeks on the ground, eating ration packs missing his new wife while running around playing enemy with a bunch of sweaty men. Hence the fact she isn't complaining about the foldout bed.

I love to see that all the work you put into raising them and preparing them for life pay's off as they launch out of the nest and spreed their wings and fly into the next exciting stage of their life.

Zoo Keeper For the Day

The 3 little girls all have birthday's with in weeks of each, so this year after my mad clean-a-thon that has been going on at our place, we decide to take the girls to the Australia Zoo to be Zoo Keepers fro the Day in place of toys and things.

They had the BEST time!! Maddie and Jessica meet with a group of ten kids and two zoo keepers early Friday morning and received red "official' hats, matching drink bottles and kiss us goodbye for the next five hours. Mark, Lucy & I headed inside for an adventure of our own.

Lucy is an adventurer so we just followed her lead. We feed the elephants, kangaroo's, petted koala's, watched Bindi sing and dance, saw crocodiles leap out of the water and just had an all round great time. Lucy loved the sheep & the ottar's which swim around like crazy things.

Jessica & Maddie went in behind the scenes. They scrubbed the shells of the Galapagos turtles, which was perfect because we had just been learning about Harriet the Galapagos Turtle the week before. They feed crocodiles and elephants, cleaned the pens and just got up close and personal with the animals. They both come back saying it was the best day ever. I'm sure that they just meant 'that day' because we spent 5 weeks traveling 4 states in the last Christmas holidays seeing more then one amazing site after another.

I think the pony rides were a highlight for Maddie & Lucy as well. Jess was too tall, much to her frustration.

To finish off the day we all had horrendously expensive ice-creams. The kids (and me) slept all the way home. Oh, we live less then an hour from the Australia Zoo so it's not a traveling odyssey or anything. But we did have a fantastic day. That zoo is one well oiled commercial machine, that runs perfectly and looks immaculate. Well worth the visit.

It was our son's 18th last week. A trip to the zoo wasn't his speed so we bought him a 14000ft skydive. That's happening this week-end. Will add photo's of that one next week!!!

Today In A Brisbane Newspaper

Some time ago I wrote a post on Do You Have Your Affairs In Order. Whilst I don't sit around consumed by this subject, last week a dear friend of mine buried a dear friend of her's. This women was a beautiful 39 year old mother of 4 with the youngest just 1 year old. My friend shared a beautiful photo of the husband surround by the Sisters Nuns from the Missionaries of Charity (Saint Mother Teresa) wearing the blue-striped habit of the Order. Her husband was smiling as he and his family were comforted by their faith and assurance brought to us through the Savior.

This article was on the front page of the Courier Mail online website and this morning for our family scripture study we just happen to be reading about the assurances given to us through God's plan of what will happen to us after death.


Have you ever heard anyone’s last words? Not just their last words to you...but their last words ever, to anyone? I have. More times than I want, but it wasn’t me those people wanted to hear their last words. It just comes with my job. I am one of the people who decide what sort of death other people have.

Death is the one thing you can’t complain about later. A good death, a bad death, you get what you’re given and when it’s done there is no avenue for feedback. I am writing this in the hope that some of you will have better deaths.

Especially, this letter is addressed to those of you who are going to die soon, let’s say in the next year. Some of you don’t know you are in this group, so you will stop reading now. This isn’t written for you. When you die it will be unexpected, and tragic, and my team and I will be trying to prevent it with all the knowledge, skills, drugs and equipment at our disposal. You have more life to live. I’m not writing to you.

There are other people reading this who know their time is near. They have an illness which is incurable, despite taking treatment to control the symptoms. It might be cancer, or lung disease, or heart disease, or a lot of other diseases which mean they can’t do what they used to be able to do, wish they still could do, but will never do again. They can’t leave the house; they’re too weak, too short of breath. Or it hurts too much. Most of their friends have died, or moved away and lost touch, or are themselves too sick to get out of the house, the room, the bed. Their children come over as often as they can but...young people have busy lives. They can’t see well enough to read. They don’t enjoy life anymore. They know they are going to die soon and they’re ready to go. This letter is to them.

I am a doctor, and work in an emergency department. I am one of the few people you still meet, because you don’t get out much these days. In fact it’s been a few months since you left the house. Friends and relatives come from time to time but you aren’t well enough to do anything or go anywhere with them. Sometimes you get sick enough to need admission to hospital, and that’s when we meet. I do my best to assess your condition and treat your disease and we both pretend that this can go on forever; that we will keep patching things up and you will get back home to wait for the next time. One of these times it won’t work. You won’t respond to my treatment, and I’ll hear your last words. I don’t mean to, and I don’t know for certain that they are your last words until later. And they are usually mundane, something about what drug I am about to give you or where I am going to insert a drip. This time you don’t get better as planned. You die.

We are all going to die. Modern medicine can delay death, but cannot prevent it. Sometimes we can delay it for decades, and that’s why I get out of bed in the mornings. Sometimes for months, and that lets people get their affairs in order. Sometimes only for days or weeks, and that’s why I’m writing this.

Medicine is an art which dates back to antiquity. More recently it has become a science. Unfortunately, for most of the time since antiquity, doctors have lacked the ability to do anything about the conditions they diagnosed with increasing accuracy. Modern surgery has only developed since anaesthesia was invented in the late nineteenth century. Antibiotics have only been available since the Second World War. It is only very recently in human history that doctors have had the power to effectively treat many diseases. Now that we have that power, it is tempting to use it wherever possible.

But for some of you who have incurable and life threatening disease, who have no quality in your life, treating your disease is just extending your torture. You develop pneumonia, or a urinary tract infection, or cellulitis. You have another heart attack, another stroke. When I meet you in the emergency department your pain, your shortness of breath, the overwhelming panic of being on death’s door is written on your face. You don’t know what you want, except not to feel like this. I am one of a chain of people you meet who work to treat your disease. Ambulance officers, emergency department doctors and nurses, clinicians working on the wards: all work towards your treatment as if you could be cured. Often that means we can’t give you a treatment which would just make you feel better, because it might make you die sooner.

We struggle through, you and I. You’re pretty scared, but I can’t give you anything for that because it might affect your breathing. It’s the same for pain relief, a balance between treatment and harm. You need to have an oxygen mask strapped to your face, have drips in your arms, plastic tubes in your stomach and bladder. Drugs, fluids, more drips, surgery sometimes. Treatment usually works for at least a while and after a few days or weeks in hospital you go home; it’s over until next time. Over and over during your final 12 months or so we will replay this crisis. One of those admissions to hospital will start out like all the others, but will turn out to be your last. That’s when I’ll hear your last words.

It doesn’t have to be this way for you. You can already choose a different death. No legislation needs to be passed. All patients are required to give informed consent to any treatment offered by a health professional. Patients can choose to decline any treatment too. The first and most common choice is to have full treatment of your disease, with whatever indignities and pain that entails. That’s what we offer as the default now. We assume that when you arrive at our emergency department you want to have your condition diagnosed and treated. The needles, the masks, the tubes, the drugs, the machines, whatever it takes. Because you’re so sick, it’s not the time for me to start a conversation about the relative benefits of treatments, your prognosis, and the likelihood of leaving hospital. That’s Option A: full resuscitation and treatment.

There are other options. You will need to choose them in advance though, before you become acutely sick and need to come to the emergency department. Option B can be whatever you want it to be: all treatments except mechanical life support, or surgery. This will depend on your own wishes as much as advice and recommendations from your treating doctors.

The option I want you to know about is Option C: Comfort measures only. Nothing happens that isn’t done for your comfort. All medications which might make you feel better are able to be given. You are kept clean and warm. You can have the chance for your family to gather round, to be pain-free and calm. You can say your last words to someone other than me.

This option has always been available. It is very infrequently requested. That’s because it must be requested before you come to the emergency department, when you are well enough to discuss it. I can’t offer comfort measures only if you haven’t talked about it with your loved ones: your spouse, your sons and daughters, your friends. They need to hear from you that you have thought about your death, and how you want it to be. No-one likes that conversation. Most never have that conversation, and go on pretending their death will never come.

Apart from it being your wish, I can only offer Option C if you do have an incapacitating and incurable disease. And of course you must be ‘of sound mind’. If all of these apply, then I can offer Option C and hopefully a good death. A death at a time of your choosing, with your loved ones gathered around you, as most of us hope it will be.

What do you need to do to make this happen for you? It’s easy. First, we need evidence of your disease. That isn’t too difficult for most of you because you have been in and out of hospital for months. If you’ve been to my hospital for treatment, it will be there in your file.

Secondly, you need to have discussed with your treating doctors your wish not to go through the whole diagnosis and treatment process again, that next time you want Option C: comfort measures only. Talk to them while you are in hospital. They won’t be shocked. There are forms to fill, they know which ones. But most importantly, tell those closest to you. They are the people who will be with you during that last illness, and need to understand that you have decided not to go through it any more. Talk to them today. Show them this letter if it helps.

They are the people who deserve to hear your last words. Not me.

- an anonymous doctor working in the emergency department of a Queensland Health hospital.

While we live in a society where end-of-life wishes was often taboo in our ``death-denying society'' so most people ignored the issue. But as homeschooling mothers, what would happen to your family. You have made sacrifices to stay home with you children that go above and beyond what society expects. More often then not we are a 'societal freak show'. We have more then the national quota of children, which I think in Australia might be 1.5 now. We are stay home mums, quite often religious we actually sacrifice the things of the 'world' for the sake of having this glorious privilege of teaching our children.

Last week Jessica, our 10 year old, started at regular school. She loves it which makes me a little sad. I don't have the strength required to homeschool 3 lively children. I am sick, and while I still believe in and have faith for healing it may not come in the time frame I need or want. To be able to homeschool at all is a miracle. After several strokes, lost vision and walking along the corridors of death in the last few years I now except my limitations and will work within them. I don't have a youthful candle that has a wick at both ends. My one sole wick is not that strong anymore either.

Do you have a plan in place if you should become like my friends, friend. That women did. She was surround by her family & friends and Ministers of her faith until the very last breath. She took comfort in knowing that her affairs both spiritually and temporally where in order.

Don't leave it for tomorrow because your tomorrow might just be today.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Digital Frog Field trip Series

Our latest review has been the interactive, educational DVD The Digital Field Trip Series 2.5 from Digital Frog that lets you explore The Wet Lands, The Rainforest & The Desert. The disk also includes an electronic versions of material for both the teacher and the student. The workbook materials are located on the disc in each Field trip folder.

So what is The Digital Field Trip to the Wetlands?

This Digital Field Trip uses virtual reality technology to allow students to visit a bog in Ontario without getting their feet wet! It is a truly interactive CD-ROM incorporating animations, narration, games, text, full color photographs and a comprehensive workbook in one easy-to-use package.

The Digital Field Trip to The Wetlands makes learning biology an enjoyable experience; students have fun and are able to learn independently through exploration and discovery.

The Digital Field Trip to The Wetlands teaches the principles of wetlands ecology and encourages an awareness of the importance of wetlands conservation.

The beauty of this disc is the easy installation instructions that just "run". I love anything that doesn't take an IT degree to install or that comes with an instruction manual so thick it's practically a thesis. No this one you just pop in the disc and follow the prompts.

Once Installed What will I Find?

Once in the main menu you can can go off and 'explore' whatever you like. As we're not doing any unit studies in this area at the moment, I just let the kids loose with it. They had a ball. The favorite was taking a closer look at pond life. Water, mud and fascinating creatures is right up my kids alley.

You will be able to take a journey in any of the three ecosystems for a close up view of life. Using your mouse move over & click on anything that takes your fancy. This is totally interactive. The photography is great, but perhaps not National Geographic style. The myriad of creatures available for you to explore with in the three ecosystems is amazing.

So Now The Big Question ~ Price

Like all homeschooling families value for money is at the end of the day the over riding question. While all the three ecosystems are available individually at a price of US$60, we received the set of three all included on the one disk. This is valued at US$125 and is available online. This is a saving of around 20% when purchased this way. (got to love the Australian dollar at the moment, my palpay account is almost in melt down)

So What Did We Thing?

I would give this an 8/10 for its content. At the end of the day for us here in Australia, I would rather narrow the study down and head out with buckets, magnifying glasses and field study guides. But for a sit at the computer style of educational experience this has all you need and more.

Disclaimer~ I received a complementary copy of
The Digital Field Trip Series to review as part of my association with TOS Homeschool Curriculum Review Crew.