Thursday, October 29, 2009


We've been making skeletons today - anatomy lesson Halloween style :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In - Wk 30

Weight loss from last week: 0 g
Total weight loss overall: 5.25 kg
Total cms lost off waist: 11 cm

A bit of a plateau this week - due mainly to some poor food choices. So far this week I've exercised twice -
* 1 x 30min walk
* 10 min workout.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our week of learning - 25th Oct - outer space & plays

I find it fascinating how themes emerge some weeks without being staged. This week had a space theme - on Monday Billy came across a "test tube alien" kit he'd been given at some stage and decided to grow it, on Tuesday we had a trip to the observatory with his Joeys & Cubs group, and some of the school shows this week were about space as well.

Current Readaloud: We've read a few Aussie Bites books together this week and are currently reading "Secret Agent Jack Stalwart: The Mystery of the Mona Lisa". This is the 2nd Jack Stalwart we've read - they're pretty good chapter books for kids this age. They blend facts about the country (in this one France) with a mystery that Jack has to solve.

Jack Stalwart: The Mystery of the Mona Lisa - France

English: Lots of reading (mainly Aussie Bites series) & audio books. He's also been reading a series called "Boyz Rule" which are set out as a 2-person play. He also wrote a very brief script for a play that he and his cousin performed.

Maths: He spent some time on the Mathletics site and finished off the Year 2 curriculum. He was struggling a bit visualising the section on faces, edges & corners of cubes, triangular prisms etc, so I made him some little figures out of modelling clay. That seemed to help make it click and he was able to understand. He's now moved up to the Year 3 level.

Counting corners of a cube!

He also watched a few Cyberchase episodes.

Science & Technology: He played a science board game with his cousins called "Totally Gross".

He went on a trip to a local observatory with his Joeys and Cubs group - they got to look through a $7000 telescope at the moon and the stars. I snuck a peek at the moon, but I'm telescope challenged and couldn't see much!

The school show "For the Juniors" this week was about the moon.

He's also spent time updating his website, and using Pivot (animation software). He had his first programming lesson with his dad using C#.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): He's learning bits about France (a few words and some of the geography) by reading Jack Stalwart.

We went on a picnic with some other homeschoolers to Blackbutt Reserve where we could look at the native animals and feed the emus!

Creative & Practical Arts: He did some woodworking with his grandfather when we went there for a visit. He took photos of the animals at Blackbutt Reserve. His new drama class started this week where they got to read through a script - he was very excited by that! He's also been reading some books called "Boyz Rule" that are set out as plays.

LOTE (Languages other than English): He decided he wanted to put together a poster with how to say hello in different languages. I helped him find a website with some greetings on it, and he did the rest.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Exercises with his dad, scooter riding, time at the playground, walks - he's non-stop! His circus class started back this week as well.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He cooked breakfast of cereal & a cup of tea for me this morning. We made popcorn balls and biscuits. He helped his dad cleaning the BBQ.

School shows: Numbers Count, Being Spanish, For the Juniors (moon), Telling Tales, Count Us In, BTN Special.

Other fun stuff: He grew and has been looking after a "test tube alien" - now I get to say things like "Have you fed your alien today??!" :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

6 week exercise plan - wk 2

I had to push myself to get it done this week, but I did it! It's been a hot week and I was feeling a bit hormonal, so I had to really make an effort.

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - 20 min walk (in the 30+ C temps!)
Wednesday - rest day
Thursday - '10 years thinner' exercises - for the first time I did all the reps of all exercises except the pushups - I can't get more than 15 done!
- Also did the 20 min yoga workout that night (did the Gentle Hatha workout)
Friday - 30 min slow walk
Saturday - '10 years thinner' exercises
Sunday - rest day

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In - Wk 29

Weight loss from last week: 150 g
Total weight loss overall: 5.25 kg
Total cms lost off waist: 11 cm

Exercise hasn't been as good this week for a couple of reasons, hopefully I'll pick it up by the end of the week. So far this week I've done:
* 1 x 20min walk

Sunday, October 18, 2009


While I was writing the "our week of learning" post, I accidentally hit "Publish post" rather than "save" halfway through. So if you're reading on a feed reader and it looks kind of half-finished, you can read the proper one at my blog! Sorry!

Our week of learning - 18th Oct - science, science and more science

It was primarily a week of science this week, but we did manage to fit in lots of other stuff too.

Current Readaloud: We've read a few Aussie Bites books together this week.

English: Lots of reading (mainly Aussie Bites series) & audio books.

Maths: He watched more Cyberchase episodes than I kept track of, but some of the topics covered were - volume, negative numbers, Venn diagrams, combinations and 2D - 3D.

Science & Technology: As previously posted, Billy went on a 2 day CSIRO Science workshop this week, and loved it.

We also did the 'celery' experiment to see how water moves through plants. We placed 3 pieces of celery in different jars of water - one coloured with red food colouring, one with blue and one just plain water as the control. I also added an extra one (after I took the photo) that was split and in both the red and blue jars.

Within about 10 minutes you could see the colour moving through the celery and into the leaves - by the next morning the results were quite obvious! The one in both jars had kind of turned purple as I was hoping.

He also watched several episodes of the science show SCOPE, and a video of the science behind water boiling by the Happy Scientist.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): We finished reading "You wouldn't want to travel with Captain Cook", and also read a book which contained the story of Joan of Arc.

You Wouldn't Want to Travel with Captain Cook!: A Voyage You'd Rather Not Make

Creative & Practical Arts: A friend came over on Friday with her boys for a visit and asked if I'd ever done paper-making - "no, but it's been on my to-do list for a while". She had all the equipment in her car in the hope that I wanted to give it a go - she's a TAFE teacher and was wanting to give it a trial run before doing it with her students. So we made paper!

It was a bit of trial and error as she didn't have the instructions for the actual kit, but we ended up with something approximating paper.

It was quite messy and disgusting actually :) But strangely fun. I think it could be addictive!

We were just using newspaper as our base paper, so that's the reason the paper is a greyish colour. Billy painted his with food colouring while it was still wet and came up with some interesting results!

He also did some straw painting with the leftover food colouring mixtures.

LOTE (Languages other than English): Nothing.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Continued with his exercises and weights with his dad. Also did some catching practice with the baseball pitching machine. The "BTN Special" school tv show was about Health & wellbeing. Scooter riding, tips and lots of running around with other kids.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He cooked breakfast of tea & toast for me one morning. He made hot chocolate for himself (boiled milk & melted chocolate) - yum!

He helped with the watering of the garden, and with general washing up & tidying. We had a big tidy up of his toy cupboard over the weekend.

School shows: Telling Tales, Numbers Count, For the Juniors (sun), Count Us In, BTN Special.

Other fun stuff: We had friends over on Friday so lots of time playing. He's also been busy with imaginative play, and finding "new" toys as we cleaned out the toy cupboard. He had his cousin's b'day party through the week.

6 week exercise plan - wk 1

At the end of week 1, I can give myself a big tick.

Monday - 20 min yoga workout (did the Gentle Hatha workout)
Tuesday - 20 min walk (in the blustery winds!)
Wednesday - 20 min walk (again in the blustery winds!)
Thursday - '10 years thinner' exercises
Friday - rest day
Saturday - '10 years thinner' exercises
Sunday - rest day

Feeling quite proud of myself!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Day in Our Life - Oct 15th

I'm planning a slow day today - Billy has finished a 2 day science workshop through the CSIRO, he's exhausted and I'm feeling the same way from being taxi driver, running around doing errands and waiting around.

6ish. Wake up to the alarm, doze & listen to the news (all depressing). Stagger out of bed, pack Pete's lunch and wave him off to work.

Listen to B tell me about some stuff that happened on the science day, check emails while continue to be hassled by Billy talking my ear off. He wanders away to put batteries in a baseball pitching machine.

I get us breakfast - yoghurt & kiwi fruit for Billy, and a poached egg on toast for me. I make a start clearing the 100+ unread emails that I have while helping B with a logic computer game.

Have a shower, do my workout (yeah it would've made more sense to do it before my shower!), put a load of clothes in the washing machine.

Put my headphones on to block out Billy and do an hour's paid work. Billy disapppears into the kitchen to prepare morning tea for us and afterwards does some more on the computer.

I switch to Household CEO mode - answer an email from Pete asking if he's free on a particular day, hang the washing out on the line, check if my tomato and cucumber seedlings have sprouted yet (they haven't) and get the garbage bin in from the footpath.

10am - switch to "school" mode and we watch the ABC school shows together while eating our morning tea. Billy has made us both a ham sandwich, a handful of chips and some sultanas. Today we watch For the Juniors which is about the sun. There is only one primary school show on today so he watches some Cartoon Network after that.

He does some catching practice with the baseball machine.

We scan in the groceries I'd bought yesterday - Billy does the scanning and entering prices, and I unpack and put away. I enter the grocery receipts into my spreadsheet - I'm attemping to only do the main grocery shop monthly (with weekly fruit & vege shops where needed), so I'm trying to keep track of what I buy. Do some internet banking.

12ish. Time for lunch. I sit and read a book for a while, then snuggle on the lounge with Billy and watch some Tom & Jerry. We watch a couple of episodes of Cyberchase, then I get up to do some stuff while Billy keeps watching.

I go out to get the clothes off the line - the wind is so strong I have to climb the fence to get a shirt out of the neighbour's yard!! (Unexpected exercise for the day lol).

I empty the dishwasher, and start filling it up again with the dirty dishes that have accumulated over our couple of busy days. I clean the water filter out. Billy wanders around the house taking photos of stuff.

He does his exercises with his dad once he gets home, and some more catching practice with the baseball machine.

I sit down with a cup of tea to read some blogs for about 30mins. Back up, this time to start cooking tea - sausages, mashed potatoes, spinach (from the garden), broccoli (from the garden) & carrots.

Eat tea and watch the news.

Wash up and clean the kitchen - again.

Billy is asking questions about Buddha, so Pete decides to put on an episode of Monkey to watch. (Don't ask me why!) Billy watches most of that, and then decides he is tired and ready for bed. Stories from Pete & I, kisses & hugs, then finally he's in bed about 8:45.

I type up this blog post while giving Pete some website design advice. It's now 9:30 and time for me to start getting ready for bed. Night!

(Most photos courtesy of Billy!)

CSIRO science workshops

Billy's been getting the CSIRO's magazine, Scientriffic, for a bit over 12 months. Each holidays they list the science workshops available around the state - but kids have to be at least 7 years of age for our local ones. So he was pretty stoked to realise that *finally* he was old enough to go on one!

The workshops were held on Tuesday and Wednesday at one of the Newcastle high schools - two full days of science fun!

Over the 2 days, they got to do the following:

* Build and program Lego robots,

* Look at various things under the microscope,

* Build a dinosaur using a hot glue gun,

* Make edible fossils - lollies & marshmallows between layers of melted chocolate,

* Work out their name using DNA code and make a keyring spelling it out.

There may have been other stuff too - it tended to get a bit mixed up in the telling! They had worksheets on radiation, but I think they only talked about it because there were so many kids. I know they were going to make rockets as well but it was too windy.

There was also lots of running around, playing tips, riding their scooters and socialising.

He had an absolute ball and thinks he's so clever because they were doing Yr 11 science with the DNA! It did leave him pretty exhausted (and his cousin's b'day party afterwards on the 2nd day was the final straw), but he absolutely loved it and wants to go again. Looks like I need to tweak the budget to include that too!

Wednesday Weigh-In - Wk 28

Weight loss from last week: 100 g
Total weight loss overall: 5.1 kg
Total cms lost off waist: 11 cm

(I did weigh in yesterday, have just been busy and haven't had a chance to post).

I lost a smidgen this week - I'm estimating about 100g since I have old-fashioned scales. The exercise must be having some effect though - I lost another 1cm off my waist and my jeans feel looser about the thighs and bum as well.

So far this week I've done:
* 20min yoga
* 2 x 20-25min walks
* 10min workout (push-ups, situps etc)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our week of learning - 11th Oct - "school holidays"

We took "school holidays" to heart this week - we did very little! For most of the week, we stayed home, lazed around, played on the computer and watched TV. In between that, we did some stuff that I can put into "educationalese"..

Current Readaloud: We've read a few Aussie Bites books together this week.

English: Lots of reading (mainly Aussie Bites series) & audio books.

Maths: We watched a few Cyberchase episodes together, and I think he watched some by himself as well. Topics covered - tessalations, volume, reasoning, codes & symmetry.

Science & Technology: As mentioned earlier, we made blood!

He's been doing more work on his websites - here and here.

He put together a couple more circuits with his circuit board.

He also did an experiment to map the taste buds by putting drops of various solutions around his tongue - he tested solutions of salt (salty), sugar (sweet), lemon juice (sour) and coffee (bitter). He mapped where he could taste the various flavours.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): He watched a DVD on recycling that he'd picked from the library.

Creative & Practical Arts: He's been busy playing this week - lots of creative play with his toys, making up little scenes and stories. He's also been drawing and desiging.

He put together a bird feeder that he got for his b'day (K - I'll take a photo when he gets around to painting it!)

LOTE (Languages other than English): Nothing.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): He's started an exercise program with his dad doing a few stretches and weights. He's made himself up a chart to record it. (Yep, he gets it from me, H!)

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He put himself in charge of cooking dinner on Monday night - he cooked his Dad and himself omelettes, and cooked me scrambled eggs & toast (I don't like omelettes). His kitchen skills and confidence have improved dramatically in the last couple of months!

His cooking repertoire now consists of cups of tea, 2 minutes noodles, toast & omelettes. I was lucky to be able to cook that well when I left home at 20! (And I'm slowly learning not to freak out while he's using the kitchen!)

School shows: None showing due to school holidays.

Other fun stuff: He went to his Ma's place for a sleepover on Thursday night & Friday. From all reports they played lots of games like Go Fish, Snakes & Ladders and Concentration. (Can I just say I love it when someone else plays games with him - I just do not have the patience!!) I took the opportunity to do some Xmas shopping sans child!

6 week exercise plan

One of the local gyms is offering a 6 week trial for $90 atm. I seriously considered doing it, but when I started to look at the logistics of getting there 3 days / week (which they recommend), it all seemed too hard. I'd have to fit it in between DH getting home from work at 5pm and the gym closing at 7pm, and then juggle the time between DH's squash commitments (twice a week) and Billy's "after-school" activities (3 days a week). It was stressing me out just thinking about it!

So I've decided to implement one at home - the child care is easy (and free), and I just need to walk into my bedroom, not drive for 20 mins each way!

You, my lovely readers, will be my accountability buddies.

The 6 week part of it appeals to me - it has a definite end that I can look forward to. I'm aiming for 20 mins exercise, 5 days a week. I'll mix it up - I'm planning on walking for 20 mins on 2 days, doing a 20 min yoga workout 1 day (these downloads are fantastic), and these '10 years thinner' exercises on 2 days.

That's the aim anyway - I may not reach it every week, but as long as I do some exercise, I won't be failing.

I started yesterday with a 40 min walk. Probably not a great idea when I haven't walked in weeks - ouch! Then this morning I attempted the '10 years thinner' exercises. I say attempted - I did half the recommended no of reps for each exercise, without the hand-weights - and my muscles still feel like jelly! I guess I have a way to go :)

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

1st tooth!

Master B has finally lost his first tooth! (He was a late starter..)

Much excitement in the household tonight!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In - Wk 27

Weight loss from last week: 0 kg
Total weight loss overall: 5 kg - Goal loss - 7kg
Total cms lost off waist: 10 cm

Very frustrating - I've got to break past this plateau.. I need to get the motivation to kick up the exercise and watch what I'm eating more closely.

Anyone got any motivation to spare???!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Make your own (drinkable) blood!

Look what we made today - blood!!

The recipe is from the Horrible Science Handbook's "Famously Foul Experiments" by Nick Arnold. Billy picked the grossest experiment from the entire book of course :)

The one on the left is the non-oxygenated blood from the veins, on the right is the oxygenated blood from the arteries.

If you want to do it yourself, here's the recipe:

  • 2 dessertspoons flour
  • 1 dessertspoon golden syrup (or corn syrup)
  • red & green food colouring
  • 100 ml warm water
Mix flour with the warm water and sir until the flour has dissolved. Add the golden syrup and stir well until mixed. Add 1 tablespoon of red food colouring and stir. This is the oxygenated blood.

Pour half the blood into a glass.

Now add a drop of green food colouring to the remainder and pour into a 2nd glass. This is the non-oxygenated blood.


Apparently you are able to "drink the blood" but we declined that portion of the experiment :)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Our week of learning - 4th October - travelling around the world

It was the last week of term this week - we did a lot but still had plenty of time to kick back and relax.

Current Readaloud: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

English: Lots of reading (mainly Aussie Bites series) & audio books.

Maths: He spent some time on the Mathletics site and received his weekly certificate. He has 8 more sections to complete before he goes onto the next level. BTW I don't make him do it - he just does some when he wants to.

Science & Technology: I mentor a homeschooled teen in web programming, and this week while I was tutoring her, her mum did some science experiments with Billy! They made an acid-base indicator using red cabbage. I'm not sure exactly what things they tested, but I'm pretty sure bi-carb and vinegar featured in there somewhere.

We also had a discussion of how the earth and moon rotated to make night & day and the seasons, and looked at several animations.

He spent some time investigating the BBC ScienceClips website.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): We started learning about Captain Cook by reading "You wouldn't want to travel with Captain Cook!"

You are a 16-year-old boy in the 18th Century. Your well-to-do parents have convinced your cousin, James Cook, to take you on his ship as a cabin boy. Cooks mission is to plot the course of the planet Venus in the skies of Tahiti. He's also looking for a new continent. It sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it? You will spend three years living on this ship. You will eat biscuits filled with worms, watch 41 of your shipmates die of disease and be attacked by islanders. By the end of this voyage you may have decided that, given the opportunity again, You Wouldn't Want to Travel With Captain Cook!"

You Wouldn't Want to Travel with Captain Cook!: A Voyage You'd Rather Not Make

He played some of a Magic Schoolbus Dinosaurs PC game.

He completed (twice!) a PC game called Pink Panther's Passport to Peril - a problem solving game where he had to visit and find clues in England, Bhutan, India, China, Egypt and Australia. It taught bits and pieces about each of the cultures as part of the game.

Creative & Practical Arts: His last drama class of the term.

We visited the Maitland art gallery today at Billy's request to go on a tour with exhibiting sculptor Jon Pryer. Jon explained to us the motivation behind his work, how he made it etc. It was quite cool.

Jon Pryer also mentioned another sculptor that had inspired him - Theo Jansen - who makes the most amazing walking sculptures. We had to come home and look him up - check out the videos - they are amazing!

LOTE (Languages other than English): Nothing.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Circus class. Time at the playground.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He helped with tidying and helped me make some muffins. He also cooked 2 minute noodles by himself for the first time - in fact last Sunday night when it was just the two of us home, he banished me from the kitchen and prepared dinner for us all by himself! Leftover corned meat, noodles, lettuce and pineapple - oh, and a walnut?! All beautifully presented! At least I know he will never starve now he can master noodles!

School shows: None showing due to school holidays.

Other fun stuff: He built a cubby house with blankets and chairs and we sat in there for a picnic one afternoon. He was busy playing with magnetix, lego creator on the pc, computer games, and imaginative play with his toys. He played with friends.

His Joey's group went to the movies on Thursday night to see Up! (I tagged along too). What a lovely movie. It was Billy's first movie experience - poor 'deprived' boy has been to a dozen or so live plays in his 7 years, but never to a movie before!

Friday, October 02, 2009

What's in your reading pile? October 2009

Currently reading:

  • Never Tell me Never by Janine Shepherd - an Australian autobiography of an athlete who was hit by a car and made a partial paraplegic
  • The Betrayal of Arthur by Sara Douglass - still going through this one slowly - it's non-fiction so I need to be in the right mood!
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart - Merlin's story
  • Camelot: the once and future king by T.H. White - I have to admit I'm struggling to get into this. The writing style just isn't grabbing me.
Still to come:
Oh, and plus anything I pick up at the library at the time that looks interesting!

So tell me, what's in your reading pile this month?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In - Wk 26

Yes I know it's Thursday.. I think my subconscious didn't want me to remember to weigh in yesterday - it was not a good week! No exercise other than playing in the park once with Billy - too much take-away and we made chocolate-chip cookies which begged and called to me until I ate one (or two... or maybe a few more...!)

Somehow though I have maintained my weight from last week. No loss, but very surprisingly - no gain either!!

Weight loss from last week: 0 kg
Total weight loss overall: 5 kg
Total cms lost off waist: 10 cm

Book #7 - 1984 by George Orwell


This has taken me all month to read. I'd pick it up, read a chapter, get too depressed and put it down again. I cannot believe they made us read this in high school! Yes it's a classic, and in some ways I love it, but geez it's depressing :(

I'm sure most people are familiar with the story line - the year is 1984 and everything is controlled by the government. Everything you say and do is watched by telescreens. Records of the past are constantly changed to bring it into line with the current reality. Children are turned against their parents, no one has friends or lovers. Winston Smith (the hero) commits the crime of taking a lover and thinking thoughts against Big Brother. He's captured, tortured and left a broken shell of a man.

As I said, it's really depressing.. I think I need to read something a lot lighter now!!