Friday, June 29, 2012

50K in 30 days - day 29

Day 29 of RWA's 50K in 30 Days and I'm done!  And so close to finishing the first draft of my book that I can taste it!

I couldn't have done it without my fellow sprinting buddies, particularly the regulars.  Thanks guys!!  It's been fun!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

50k in 30 days - day 20

Day 20 of RWA's 50K in 30 Days and I'm 62% complete - still mostly on track to get my 20,000 words written. According to my spreadsheet, I need to write 749 words each day for the next 10 days.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Delightful detour

We had an appointment in Newcastle last week and rather than heading back home after it (via the library) as we usually do, I decided to drive along the coast road and look at the beach.

We stopped first at the Bar Beach car park and got out to have a look.  I used to come and sit here some days in my lunch break when I was working in Newcastle and just needed to get away.  It was overcast, wth storm clouds trying to summon up the energy to roll in.  There weren't many people on the beach - mainly people jogging both on the beach and up the steps leading to the car park.  Luckily I had the little Bloggie camera in my bag, as Billy wanted to take photos.

We stayed there for a little while taking photos, then I decided to drive around to Merewether Beach, one of the next beaches along.  I'd never been there before - but we are definitely going back!  (And with the proper camera this time.)

The beach was littered with shells and rocks - we found some great ones to add to the collection.  I don't know if it's always like that or if it was due to the recent wild storms.

And it was a very pleasant surprise to find rock pools - we spent ages looking in them trying to identify the creatures we saw.

The Ocean baths were closed but we were still able to have a look at them and marvel that people would use them in winter!

And a spot of colour in an otherwise grey-looking day.

It really was a delightful detour - and one we plan to repeat soon.

(All photos taken by Billy - a small collection of the 150+ taken!)

Friday, June 15, 2012

50K in 30 days - day 15

Half way through the month doing RWA's 50K in 30 Days and I'm 51% complete - on track to get my 20,000 words written.  I'm still loving the sprint sessions - I think all of my 10,000 words have been written in sprints so far this month!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A day in my life - 13th June, 2012

I haven't done one of these for ages, so when it popped up in my reminders, I thought it sounded like fun.

I was up at 7:15, fed the cat, made myself a cuppa and drank it while I checked emails, blogs etc.  Billy was already up a bit before me.

After my cuppa, I hung the washing out on the clothes airer on the back verandah - the weather was looking a bit dodgy. 

I made Billy & I some breakfast (sausage & pasta bake for Billy - the non-traditional breakfast eater, and a poached egg and toast for me).

After breakfast, Billy & I did some maths together - we're working through some concepts in the Awesome
Arithmetricks book - today was the Commutative law.

Then I helped him with coding a Minecraft Java plugin - this one is an anti-swear plugin to stop people swearing on his server (it strikes them with lightning if they do!).

I was going to go for a walk after that but it was drizzling again, so I did 20 mins on the mini-tramp while watching a fascinating TED video on brain evolution.

I finally got to have a shower. 

After my shower, I pulled some homemade vege soup out of the freezer and heated it up for our lunch, along with some bread I'd made yesterday.  While that was heating, I packed the dishwasher and washed the rest of the dishes by hand.  We ate lunch while watching an episode of Warehouse 13.

After lunch, I did some paid work for a few hours (interrupted by a mad dash to bring the clothes airer inside as the rain started pelting in sideways) - a quick change to an Access database for a client, and work on a client's new website, as well as updating our business Facebook page.

Footy training was cancelled due to the wet weather - yay :)  I ventured outside to check the mail and bring the garbage back to the house, then cut up some fruit for Billy & I for afternoon tea.  I got a subscription to Super Food Ideas as a gift at Xmas and this month's magazine arrived - I'll save it as a reward for getting my writing done later in the week.

I checked a forum I read for a little while, gathered the library books together to take back tomorrow, then went out to start dinner.  I made a chicken stew & dumplings using the left-over roast chicken from Monday night.  After I'd gotten all of the chicken off the carcess, I put it in the slow cooker with some celery leaves, peppercorns and water to turn into chicken stock.

While the oven was on, I made a chocolate cake (I love this recipe but I do it in the oven, not the slow cooker) - this cake is great stand-by when you're out of butter like I am.

I knew Billy wouldn't eat the stew, so I pulled some chicken schnitzel out of the freezer (made & cooked a few weeks ago), cut some potato wedges to go with it and popped it all in the oven.

We ate dinner, then I joined the RWA chat room and did some writing.  1316 words in 80 mins of sprints! It gets me back on track with my goal - I'm only about 400 words behind now.

Bed time for Billy - which seems to go longer every night!  I helped him practice his lines he's learning for the Peter Pan audition of Sunday.  Two chapters of Rangers Apprentice - it was at an exciting spot so we couldn't leave it at 1.  Chat about the day, talk about what's going on tomorrow.

I switched the dishwasher & washing machines on (after 10pm to take advantage of cheaper power), wrote this blog post up and am about to head to bed.

It's been a productive and busy day.

Friday, June 08, 2012

50K in 30 Days - day 8

Just over a quarter of the way through the month doing RWA's 50K in 30 Days and I'm on track to get my 20,000 words written.  The only way I've managed to get any words written is in the chat rooms at night, where I sprint with fellow 50Kin30Day-ers.  The motivation of trying to get as many words done as you can in 20 minutes, and then reporting back to your fellow sprinters, really makes the words flow.  A couple of days I'm convinced I wrote nothing but drivel, but hopefully there's some unpolished gems in there when I go back to edit :)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Transit of Venus

A long but exciting day yesterday.  We were up early (too early) to drive down to Sydney Observatory for the Transit of Venus.

They had 3 sessions - we were booked into the middle one going from 10 - 12:30pm.  We actually arrived a bit early and after being wristbanded and given our special souvenir solar glasses were allowed straight in to the Observatory grounds. 

Private astronomers and observatory staff had their own telescopes out, set around the grounds and were letting people look through them.

We were lucky - being in the changeover time, the numbers of people were down a bit, the clouds weren't too bad and we were able to line up and see the transit from about 3 different telescopes straight away (as well as with our solar specs).

After that, the clouds closed in again.  We took a snack break, watched a bit of the live feed being streamed from Hawaii then headed inside the observatory to see the displays they had set up.  We were going to line up to look through the big telescope in the tower (we did that a few years ago when we did a night-time tour there), but the line was too long so we headed back outside.

In time to head into a lecture on solar spots - we were also able to see solar spots on the surface of the sun through the telescopes.  Most of it went over my head, so Billy was a little bored (and tired!) but he's been to his first uni lecture now :)  We then heard a short explanation on how they historically used the Transit of Venus to work out the distance from Earth to the Sun.  Some of which I understood :)

It was still intermittently showering at this stage, so most of the telescopes were covered over.  We lined up for a 3D talk on the transit - which was awesome.  I'd love to know what software was used to create the 3D presentation!

After buying a couple of postcards, we looked through another telescope (between clouds again) and decided to head off as our time was almost up.

It was an exhausting day but definitely a 'once-in-a-lifetime' event!  I'm very glad we went down to it.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Homeschooling Monthly Memories - May 2012

I've had an incredibly busy month, so I didn't think we'd actually done much in the way of 'school' this month.  Once again, when I look back through the diary, and the photos I've taken, I'm pleasantly surprised.

Cubs 'Curriculum':
'Codes and signals' themed cub camp - learning morse code, semaphore, braille, phonetic alphabet etc

Aboriginal and folk stories from around the world

First aid, healthy eating (planning a healthy weekend menu) and road safety

Intentional Learning:

  • Learnt about Ancient Roman life - gladiators, the Colosseum, day-to-day life in a Villa. 
  • We used:
    •  a kit called Treasure Trove of an Ancient Roman Child to read about the life of a roman child.
    • Google Earth to look at the inside of the Colosseum now
    • a minecraft map that Billy downloaded to explore a Roman Villa, identifiying the uses of each room, and the Colosseum.
  • We watched an amusing BBC video by Terry Jones (ex Monty Python) to learn how gladiators trained and fought.

  • Billy's been continuing to create plugins and mods for Minecraft using Java.  
  • He's made a Minecraft music video using various video editing software like Corel VideoStudio, and music editing software Audacity.
  • He's finally filmed the first episode of a YouTube series that's been in the planning phase for months.  This has involved writing the script, rehearsing, filming using Fraps, editing using VideoStudio and finding Creative Rights music.


Murderous Maths - Awesome Arithmetricks

  • Working through the Murderous Maths book 'Awesome Arithmetricks' 
  • Multi-column addition with carrying
  • Learning some times tables tricks (3 times & 7 times tables) from the Right Brain Maths site.  

Waterwatch homeschool excursion
Viewing of the 'super moon' by telescope

  • Finished Peter Pan 
  • Started reading Book 1 of the Rangers Apprentice series - The Ruins of Gorlan.
  • Listening to the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

As well as the usual:
  • martial arts, circus, archery and AFL
  • time spent hanging out with friends
  • drama & recording movies with friends (some of which make it to his YouTube channel)

%&^@# Feedburner!

I apologise if you subscribe to my blog using the Feedburner feed (ie in Google Reader or similar).  It appears that it hasn't updated since February!

I've resynched it - hopefully you will receive proper updates now. 

In the meantime, you may wish to click through to my blog and catch up on all that you've missed.  :)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Stage Combat workshop

Billy took part in a 6hr Stage Combat workshop today with Blake Wells from the Sydney Stage Combat school.  From the reports I've heard back, they did things like fake slapping, punching, pushing etc and they got to do the really cool stuff (in my opinion lol) and learn some basic sword skills :)

It looked like a great day - he really enjoyed it.  Thanks to Blake and Upstage Youth Theatre for organising it.