Sunday, February 24, 2008

Need some navel-contemplating time!

We have had a very busy week and I'm sorely in need of some time to sit and re-gather. The week has involved drama class, storytime, catching up with friends, another planning meeting about the short film Billy's in, swimming carnival, as well as work every night for me. Then we decided to christen our van with a trip down to Sydney this weekend to watch the Swans play in a (free!) trial match (AFL or Aussie Rules for the uninitiated). No major hiccups with the van - a big sigh of relief to get down there and back - I hate driving in Sydney at the best of times! Despite harping to go and see the Swannies play, Billy was bored after about 5 minutes lol, so we ended up leaving at 3/4 time - they were in front by 60-odd points at that stage anyway. Obviously my jinx doesn't extend to unimportant matches!

And for a change of pace, photos from the guesthouse we stayed at last weekend (sans Billy):

View from the balcony & our room

Sydney Harbour from the Ferry Terminal

Space and a race..

Catching up on a couple of school things:

We found a great craft kit you could buy to create a solar system model (by Shamrock Craft Products - we bought it at Eckersleys but I've heard Spotlight has it as well). It has all of the planets (including the maligned Pluto who has lost it's planet status!) as relative sized styrofoam balls, and a roll of wire to be cut into the appropriate lengths (stated on the instructions!) We pulled the Space book out and painted the planets in something resembling correct colours, and then stuck & glued it all together. Heaps of fun!

Friday was our district Home Ed swimming carnival. There was a great turnout - I think over 100 kids were there which was fantastic. Billy's not a confident swimmer and it was his first experience of any sort of competition, so we had tears, but he also had a great time once the trauma of his races were out of the way! He was very pleased with himself for getting to the end of The Scrambler though (a long inflatable thing with hills & dales - they had to crawl on from one end to the other). Finally some co-operation from the weather too!

Monday, February 18, 2008

We have a pair!

I thought we only had one blue tongue but I just looked outside a few minutes ago and had a pleasant surprise - apparently we have a pair! How exciting!

Time for an update

I haven't posted a decent update in weeks. For some of that time I've been busy, for some of it I've been quite down so I just couldn't post. I'm not sure why - maybe it's SAD from all of the wet weather.

We picked our A-Van up a couple of weekends ago (photos to come) and drove it home successfully (in the rain!). We've had it up once and had a good look through it all but haven't done much more than that with it yet. We need to save some money to go away somewhere!

We had a wonderful weekend away in Sydney for the weekend just gone. Billy stayed with his aunt & cousins for the day and his grandparents overnight. We stayed at an old guesthouse in Cremorne - a northern suburb of Sydney - a RICH northern suburb of Sydney! I decided I could quite happily live in Sydney if I could live there - I'd have to win a very big lotto first though!! The guesthouse ( was lovely - the room was small but very comfortable. It was a 2-3 minute walk to the ferry, and then a 10 min ferry ride across to Circular Quay. We caught the ferry across, walked to the Opera House and watched Bell Shakespeare's "As you like it". I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then we caught the ferry back and walked around the point to the Mosman Rowing Club for a relaxing dinner. It was a great walk - the point has a reserve the entire way around with a walking track - beautiful gardens along the edge. We even felt safe walking back along at night.

Garden: I have a watermelon vine going rampant atm (at least I think that's what I planted there lol!) - lots of flowers but no fruit yet, and a pumpkin vine just starting. Oh and some potatoes that must have been left in the garden from a previous season - I noticed a couple of plants flowering the other day. That's about it atm :( I planted some snow peas, greenfeast peas and pak choy last week, and I'm trying to get up the courage to try and raise the rest of the seeds I bought as seedlings - I currently either buy seedlings or plant direct - if planting direct doesn't work then tough! So my challenge is to try raising seedlings. I've set myself an even bigger challenge as well - by this time next year I want to be growing the majority of our fruit & veges. The fruit & vege portion of most of our meals will come from the garden - either fresh or stored in some way. It's a big challenge but I want to aim high!

Work: I got a website finally sent live - still a bit of tidy up stuff to do but at least it's live! I'm trying to wrap up a few other projects that have been dragging on - one I started in May last year and for various reasons it's dragged on. I'm really looking forward to getting paid for that one!! My plan to only work a couple of nights / week isn't working atm - too many people needing things "ASAP" :( I have to stop being so nice!

School: I've been posting our special projects as we go but other than that we've been working through the maths workbook and lots of reading, as well as drama class, library visits, art gallery visits etc. We went to the regional show with some homeschooling friends on Friday which was good. We've been taking part in planning for the short film he's going to be in and he has a Home Ed Swimming Carnival on Friday. It looks like the school shows are back on ABC starting today - I have to remember to tape them.

The house is a bit of a mess so I guess that's my job for this morning!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy (Belated) Chinese New Year

This has taken us a few sessions but here he is - finally! The dragon's head is made from cardboard, boxes & toilet rolls, taped together and then papier mached over. After it dried (ie a couple of days later when we got back to it!), we painted him up, and then glued an old sheet to the back which Billy then decorated.
I think he's pretty cool personally!!!
We had a meeting with some other homeschoolers today - the local Art Gallery is putting on a short film and asked for kids to be involved in it. Naturally Billy wanted to be involved - they'll be doing a battle scene - we'll be making the costumes & sets over the next couple of weeks as a group. It should be fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Calendar of Events

Whether you homeschool or not, this calendar is really interesting. My sister found it and sent me the link - It shows significant events & holidays for each day of the year - it's fairly American-centric but still useful for the rest of us :)

It fits in well with how I'm planning that we'll work this year - we're working on 3 major themes throughout the year - Australia (history, Aboriginal culture, animals etc), Space & Law & Order, and filling in the rest of the time with other activities (as well as worksheets etc). So this week we'll finish off our dragon for Chinese New Year, make some stuff for Valentines Day, and make a solar system model for Galileo's b'day.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy Waitangi Day!

Kia Ora! Happy Waitangi Day!

According to Wikipedia, Waitangi Day "is the national day of New Zealand. It is a public holiday held each year on February 6 to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document, on that date in 1840". I imagine it's similar to our Australia Day.

So today we learnt a bit about Waitangi Day and made a Maori doll in "traditional" clothes. Billy knows where New Zealand is and can show you on the map as we have friends that live in Auckland. He also has a friend who is part Maori so we've discussed the Maori race before - in his words "they're the aborigines that live in New Zealand".

We went on a nature walk around the neighbourhood first to find feathers to use for the cape, and gathered up some hay (from the mulch) to use for the skirt (both stuck on fabric to make life easier for us!). A cardboard tube provided the body, ice-cream sticks for the arms and black fabric for the hair. I think he looks more American Indian than Maori, but anyway :)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bugger :(

I'd just left from picking Billy up from his drama class this afternoon, went down the road a bit, went to change lanes - ooops, where did that car come from?! :( My fault entirely - luckily just a minor bingle & no-one was hurt. My driver's front panel is slightly scraped, the other car's passenger side back door & back panel is scraped. Nothing serious but still an incovenience for us both in getting them repaired - not to mention $500 excess down the drain.. Geez it shook me up though. I've only had 4 car accidents in 20+ years of driving - and this was the first one that was my fault - and also the one with the least amount of damage. My first accident someone stopped on a wet slippery road a few cars ahead of me, which caused a pile-up behind them - I managed to avoid that by steering off the road - only to get walloped by the (uninsured) ute behind me. The 2nd was a stupid woman who suddenly turned right across 2 lanes of oncoming traffic (of which I was one) and I slammed into her (I can say she was stupid - she got out of her car all distraught "my husband will kill me, this is the 3rd accident this week" or something as scary!) The 3rd was only in the last couple of years - a guy in a 4WD did exactly what I did today and changed lanes on top of me - only he caused considerably more damage!

Oh well, cest la vie and all that. I'm still shaky though - was fine until I was on the phone to Pete (he's in Sydney for work) and then my mum - and I fell to pieces. 37 years old and still need my mum! Billy was cute though - he went and put a couple of his stuffed toys in my bed in case I think about the accident & get frightened through the night, I can cuddle them.. Such a sweetie at times.

So no work for me tonight (sorry Korina if you're reading!) - I'm having a restorative cuppa, maybe even break out some chocolate from the kid-proof hiding place, a read of my book and an early night - or as early as it can be given that it's now 9:45pm!

Edited because I can't count!

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

Well if you weren't at our house this morning, you would have missed an explanation of Pancake Tuesday, including a quick discussion of Jesus & how old he was when he died, and sidetracking into a discussion on how Daddy Pig got his pancake stuck to the ceiling when he flipped his (for the uninitiated, Daddy Pig is the daddy of Peppa Pig!)

You would have also missed making playdough pancakes and the general hilarity of trying to flip those from a plastic plate and catching them again. Followed of course by a yummy lunch of pikelets (sue me, I prefer pikelets to pancakes lol), with lashings of butter (real) and maple syrup (fake)... Mmmmm!

Not to mention the kindergarten maths lesson prior to all that (so if you need to bone up on straight vs curved lines, matching related objects and an exercise in more / enough, then I suggest you'd best go and do it before next lesson!)

So there you have a morning's work - maths (worksheets & measuring), movement (hand-eye co-ordination), culture, religion, art/craft & cooking :) Now we'd better go & get ready to go to drama.. (with a stop at the bank to sign the loan papers that were *supposed* to be ready yesterday but weren't - but that's another post!)