Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First official homeschool event

Today was our first official homeschooling event. The local homeschoolers group had a picnic at Maitland park - quite a few families there with a multitude of kids of various ages. Every one seemed quite nice - Billy hit it off with another boy the same age and has a play date organised with him tomorrow! They only live about 5 minutes away too which is handy if they get on.

And now back to the grindstone!

We had a great weekend, very relaxing! It was our belated anniversary weekend away (our anniversary is in Sept, but we put it off until we weren't in the middle of all of the b'day parties!) - we had 3 nights in Sydney by ourselves! Billy stayed with my parents, sister & nieces and had ball.

Our accommodation was great value for money - we stayed at the Holiday Inn in Darling Harbour - Pete used points from his work travel, and then we got a free upgrade because he's a "platinum" member, so we scored a suite for absolutely nothing :) The hotel is right on the edge of Chinatown so we ate "real" Chinese one night, Japanese Teppanyaki BBQ another night and steak & chips at the pub the other night lol. China Town was amazing at night - young Asian ladies were standing outside all of the restaurants to try and get people to come into their restuarant. It was a lot like Lygon St in Melbourne but Asian not Italian lol.

China Town entrance

The view from our room - Paddy's Markets (mostly cheap junk but great fruit & vege markets as well)

The monorail went straight past our hotel - this was taken from our room!

Mostly we relaxed, read, slept, did a bit of shopping (and lots of walking). Saturday was our day of "culture" :) - we saw 2 plays over at the Opera House. Firstly we went to a matinee performance of "The Government Inspector". It was a Bell Shakespeare production adapted from a Russian play about a down-on-his-luck traveller being mistaken for a government inspector by the corrupt town officials and showered with bribes. He plays the con for all it's worth and even sleeps with the mayor's wife - and daughter!! It was absolutely hilarious - normally it has a cast of about 20, but it was done by 2 actors - Darren Gilshennan and William Zappa - with lots of costume changes and voices! It was so cleverly done, lots of slapstick, and a bit Charlie Chaplin-esque in some scenes! I laughed so much my cheeks were aching by the end of it!

That night we saw the Sydney Theatre Company perform the David Williamson play "Don's Party". It was set on Election night 1969 when Labor's Gough Whitlam was expected to win (but didn't) - it wasn't all that political though. "Don" and his wife Kath were throwing a party for his Labor voting friends, throw a liberal voting couple in the mix, and fueled by lots of alcohol, lots of sexual by-play and that's the plot in a nutshell :) It was a lot funnier than I was expecting but quite confronting in a few places. All of the characters were well played but my favourite was Rhys Muldoon playing Cooley - an oversexed, opionated "oaf" - I'm a big fan of his :)

So all in all a good weekend - it was lovely to eat a meal in peace or just sit and relax without having to keep an eye on the munchkin. I couldn't sleep in though - I seem to have lost the ability :(

Back to the grindstone today!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A much better day!

Thank you for all the online hugs I received - they're powerful things :)

I got another website redesign sent live today - it's a new look for the one I recently finished (www.divapromotions.com.au). That leaves me with two more website re-designs, and 2 programming jobs to finish before I can stop work for the year. Yes Lisa - I will be taking time for myself very soon :)

We went out to dinner tonight for my b'day - a new Hog's Breath steakhouse has opened near us, so we went with my parents, sister & nieces. The food was quite nice - I ate too much though! Pete insisted on ordering dessert for me! I was very spoilt and felt very loved.

I'm taking a break until Tuesday so I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

To: GOD.com

I hope this doesn't offend anyone, it's not my intention in any way - I just found this particularly apt with this wonderful online blogging community.

TO: God.com

Dear Lord,
Every single evening
As I'm lying here in bed,
This tiny little Prayer
Keeps running through my head:

God bless all my family
Wherever they may be,
Keep them warm and safe from harm
For they're so close to me.

And God, there is one more thing
I wish that you could do;
Hope you don't mind me asking,
Please bless my computer too.

Now I know that it's unusual
To Bless a motherboard,
But listen just a second
While I explain it to you, Lord.

You see, that little metal box
Holds more than odds and ends;
Inside those small compartments
Rest so many of my friends.

I know so much about them
By the kindness that they give,
And this little scrap of metal
Takes me in to where they live.

By faith is how I know them
Much the same as you.
We share in what life brings us
And from that our friendships grew.

Please take an extra minute
From your duties up above,
To bless those in my address book
That's filled with so much love.

Wherever else this prayer may reach
To each and every friend,
Bless each e-mail inbox
And each person who hits "send".

When you update your Heavenly list
On your own Great CD-ROM,
Bless everyone who says this prayer
Sent up to GOD.com


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A bad day at work

I have over 60 blog posts sitting unread in Google Reader and I just haven't had time to read them yet :( I had over 70 yesterday - I got through some last night, I think I was down to around 50, but it's up again!

Thank you so much to all of the people who leave comments on my blog - you have no idea how much it's appreciated. I'm not being very reciprocal atm, but that will change some day I hope!! To those who have given me awards or tagged me for a meme - thank you, and I will get to it, I promise!!

I've been doing well in regards to Muffin - until a letter arrived from the vet yesterday. I opened it, expecting it to just be a receipt for the final payment but it was a condolence card - complete with Muffin's paw print and a small amount of her fur tied with a ribbon. I dissolved again :(

I really must get my BAS done tomorrow before the tax man harrasses me. I always put it off until the last minute; I just hate dealing with tax!

Pete's off to Madrid next month for a quick trip. His mate won a fantasy tennis competition with the winning prize being a trip for 2 to Madrid - flights, 4 nights accommodation, 3 days entry to watch the women's tennis in Madrid, a tour of Madrid, a behind the scenes tour of the venue and to meet one of the top players. And lucky Pete gets to go with him! They'll be exhausted when they get back though - the flights go via London, so will be a minimum of 27hrs. Plus I don't imagine they'll sleep a lot while they're over there lol. We're not sure of dates yet but it's somewhere around the 8th of Nov that they'll leave. Looks like we'll be doing a unit on Spain with school!

We start school "officially" next Tue - we'll be meeting up with some other local homeschoolers for a picnic lunch on the same day, so that's not a bad way to start the school year! I'm still not entirely organised but I know Billy will be waiting eagerly to start at probably 6am that morning - he won't let me put it off :) I've written an integrated unit of work on "Me & my family" as a starting place and have some maths workbooks ready to go, so it won't be total chaos :)

I'm sure I had a point when I started writing, but it's dissolved into ramble - sorry! Too much on my mind, not enough sleep and too much caffeine!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's over!!!

Do I need say more???!!!! Uni is over!!!!
No more dropping Billy at preschool at 7:30am!
No more prep work the night before!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I finally found the CD - this is one of my favourite photos of Muffin, taken about 6 years ago. It's actually quite startling to realise how much she had deteriorated in health from when this was taken. You know how you don't see changes when you are with someone all the time?

She was a Ragdoll cat - pure bred but not "perfect" enough to show so we got to buy her as a pet.

I still miss her & expect to see her at odd times - it still hurts but I've stopped crying..

Friday, October 19, 2007

Relaxing day.

We started back at swimming this morning - he did quite well, and luckily hadn't forgotten it all since we had last term off! Mum & Dad called in to see us while we were there and showed us where she's up to with the logo she's designing for our brewery. It's looking great - I really wish she'd passed some of the artistic genes on to me!!!

After that we headed off to visit with friends for lunch - Gem has been my friend since 2nd class - I worked out this afternoon that that's about 30 years which is pretty scary :) Ewan & Billy are the same age, and play pretty well together - or as well as 5 years olds can! It was good to sit, relax and solve the problems of the world - I hope I didn't take up too much of her day though!

We're making pizza for tea - I'm just about to start making the dough now, and then we'll head off to pick up Pete from the train. I don't know that I'll get much done tonight - I'm exhausted from not doing anything all day!! I have a couple of website redesigns to do, but I'm letting them sit in my subconscious for a while..

I've started to do a brain dump - I've got a lot of little tasks floating around in my head that I need to get down in a list before they send me mad :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

While on the nautical theme...

here are a few photos from our trip to the replica Endeavour last week. For any international visitors, the Endeavour was the boat Captain James Cook sailed in when he discovered Australia.

A few facts I didn't know:

  • the Endeavour was originally a coal ship, so to accommodate all of the crew they needed for Cook's journeys, they had to add an extra floor below decks. It's *very* cramped down there!

  • Cook didn't get the best cabin for the trip! Joseph Banks was a major investor in the trip so he got to have the best cabin - he had a bunk and Cook had to make do with a hammock!

  • the cook only had 1-arm - now that's a challenge!

  • the nautical term for measuring speed "knots" came about because they used to have a rope knotted every 47-odd foot that they threw overboard for 28 secs (counted by a sand-timer). Once the time was up they hauled the rope back in and counted how many "knots" they had travelled to calculate their speed.

Enough facts, sit back and enjoy the photos :)

Cosy sleeping quarters!

The "mess"

Billy and his cousin Ana "steering" the ship

The highlight of Billy's trip - the "toilet" over the side of the ship (left) and the "toilet paper" (right). They used to trail the rope over the side to wash it ready for the next person!

Brain strain

Uggh - talk about small jobs turning into big ones if you don't keep on top of them.. I was in a nice routine of invoicing my clients regularly until the wheels fell off a few months ago - it just took me 2 hours to catch up on invoicing :( On the plus side, I should get a nice amount of money coming in in the next few weeks now!

I feel like I'm going backwards with tasks atm - I cross one thing off the list, check my email and add 3 more on! I'm seeing very brief glimpses of that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel - I'm just hoping it's not a train :)

I was reading something in the last couple of days that has stuck in my mind. It was about how you flip forward in your diary and look longingly at the blank pages coming up so you can take a break, but of course, by the time you get there, the pages are no longer blank. I can't remember if I read it on someone's blog or in an article, or quite where - if you want to take credit for it, let me know - I'd love to acknowledge it! I had November "blocked out" for some time off - I'm still not taking on new jobs until next year but the existing jobs I do have on atm will run into that time. So now December is my time off - let's see how I go with that lol!

I had my penultimate day at uni on Tuesday (I love that word!) - next week is IT! I have also finished my last assignment for my CertIV, I just need to print it and post it off.

On the house front, the new lounge / family room area is slowly taking shape. We have at least finally moved all of the furniture! The new office area is a complete mess though - that's next on my list! We still have stuff piled in unusual places around the house :) We've been taking the opportunity for a good cull while we've been going - I've sent a few things off via Freecycle and there is a huge pile in the shed waiting to go to the dump/recycling bin. Funnily enough, no-one seems to want 15 year old uni computer textbooks!!! The new lounge area is really working well though - it's a great space and has really opened up that part of the house. Once we get organised again I'll be pleased I had the idea :)

Ahoy there me hearties!

This was the result of my "getting told at the 11th hour, Mummy I need to dress up like a pirate for preschool tomorrow" costume design :)

The pants were a pair of old trackpants that were halfway up his legs and already had patches on them! The shirt was one that was getting too small for him. The sash & bandana were made from an old pyjama top in the "rag bag". The patch was from his dress up box, and the tattoo was courtesy of his cousin's b'day party on the weekend.

The pose is entirely his own work :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today is Blog Action Day

Bloggers all over the world will be discussing the environment on their blog today - what a great way to raise awareness!

I'm not the type of person to campaign or demonstrate on a large scale. Instead I'm trying to change my own habits to tread lightly on the earth in the hope that that will make some overall difference. A couple of quotes I've read recently sum it up for me:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” Robert Francis Kennedy

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does” Margaret Mead

I've listed before some of the habits I'm trying to establish to have a positive impact on the environment eg in water & electricity savings. I'm also trying to grow more of our food, cut down on packaging, reduce usage of disposal items like plastic bags, use non-toxic cleaners etc. It's the same sort of things many of you are doing.

For me, the biggest way I'm making a difference is by passing on a responsible attitude & habits to my son. If these sorts of things become second-nature to our children, then hopefully the picture won't be so bleak for their generation. I was explaining Freecycle to Billy this afternoon as a lady was coming to pick up some things I was offering. I explained that just because we didn't have a use for something any more, some one else may be able to make use of it rather than throwing it to the dump - he piped up with "I know - reduce, reuse, recycle"! I was a very proud mum :) (Thanks also go to Bob the Builder for reinforcing that message!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thanks so much everyone

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who left a comment about our cat, it was very comforting.

We put her to sleep yesterday morning. I'm just about cried out by now but still get caught off-guard at times. I keep expecting to see her walking down the hallway, or curled up on our bed - every time I see an open door I think "oh I'd better close that so Muffin doesn't get out".

She had a pretty good life - we got her as a kitten 11 years ago, and she was our baby. Admittedly she got her nose pushed out of joint a bit 5 years ago when the real baby came along but she didn't have to share us for 6 years!

I'll post some photos of her once I can get to wherever the CDs have been put while we're moving stuff around.

She'd lost a lot of weight steadily over the last couple of years - she must've had it for at least that long in hindsight. It was never picked up in normal blood tests and it was only when the vet did a specific blood test for Feline Leukemia on Friday that it was found. It's actually a virus, not a leukemia and statistically speaking, she shouldn't have had it. It's mostly found in young cats up to 6 years old, outdoor cats & cats in multi-cat household. She was much older, never stepped foot outside and we've never had another cat in the house. The only time she could have caught it is at the vets or possibly when she was boarded a couple of times. I'm starting to wonder though if she had it right from a kitten - she was quite sick when we first got her and we thought we'd lose her - possibly she's had it that long and it's only flared up in the last couple of years. Who knows, and it's pointless even wondering..

The vet couldn't tell us how long she'd have left obviously, but did say she'd be in and out of hospital with secondary infections for however long she lasted. It didn't take much to make the decision to spare her that.

It's hard though..

Friday, October 12, 2007

Update on the cat

I just got a call from the vet as I was just about to hit Publish on that last post, so apologies if it doesn't make sense. I didn't have time to proof-read.

He just ran a test for Feline Leukemia and it came back positive. He'll see how she goes through the night, but the kindest thing might be to make the decision to put her down tomorrow. She may have months but I can't imagine it would be a great quality of life for her.

I just spent 10 minutes sobbing after I hung up, composed myself, cried again when I told Pete and Billy, and am having real trouble typing this with more tears streaming down my face..

Disorganised chaos!

I'm not sure if I'm describing the state of the house or my mind, but either way it fits :)

We're hoping to start the swap of the rooms tomorrow. Pete has run and connected 1 tv outlet and is under the house atm running some more cable to transfer the Austar across. We had a mate of Pete's from squash (he's an electrician) come & connect a couple of 4-outlet power points one night through the week, so hopefully the cabling will be ready tonight or tomorrow. Which means we can move the loungeroom furniture in tomorrow, and then start dealing with the rest. It's going to be like one of those square puzzles where you have to move one square into the empty space to be able to move the next one. Stuff is piled everywhere, and the state of the house is really affecting the state of my mind!

We got our tax back - yay! Mine was quite a bit bigger than I was expecting - it must include some child-related payment like child care rebate - I'll have to wait until the official letter arrives before I know for certain. The cat obviously knew that we were "rich" because she decided to get sick and had to go into the "pet hospital" today. The cost was over $400 even before I walked out of there with blood tests, IV drip etc - our vet charges like a wounded bull. He estimated it would be about $700 if she's well enough to go home in a couple of days - that's assuming they don't find anything seriously wrong. It's never a good feeling when the vet starts a sentence by saying "if she pulls through".. :( I rang this afternoon and she was responding to the drip a bit, will ring again in the morning.

Work has been ... challenging (Hi Emma if you're reading lol!), but slowly getting on top of it I think.

Don't you love a good bargain? I've had 2 this week - firstly I went to one of the chain stores on Tuesday to order a TV unit and asked for their "best price for cash". He gave it to me for $50 off + the $50 it was already on special - I was trying to look cool, calm and collected as if I did that sort of thing all the time, but was doing a little Snoopy dance on the inside! Yesterday I was in KMart getting a present for my nephew's b'day and spotted something that we'd already decided to buy for Xmas for someone else - at almost half price! Needless to say, I snapped it up!

I still need to blog about our trip to see the replica Endeavour on Monday but haven't had a chance to get to it. We'll probably fall in a heap tomorrow night, and have my nephew's birthday party on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My course finished the face-to-face section today - now I just have to write a report about today's assessment task and it's all finished!!! We have about 4 weeks to hand everything in, so I should find out how I've gone overall in about 6 weeks. Hopefully then I'll be fully qualified in Cert IV in Training and Assessment!

It was bittersweet - the class has been together since about Feb, so we've formed some good friendships. As much as I'm relieved it's over, it's also a bit sad to know I'll probably lose touch with most of those people now.

No of days left to teach at uni - 2
No of face-to-face days left at my course - 0
No of assignment tasks to do to finish off my course - 1
No of days I have left to get Billy to preschool by 8am so I can drive an hour to Newcastle for uni or my course - 2

Friday, October 05, 2007

OK who does NOT find this addictive?!

Apologies for so many posts tonight, I promise this will be the last one, but I just found this http://play.blogger.com/. It's a page by Blogger to show all of the images being uploaded to blogger all over the world - you can click on it to go to the blog if it looks interesting..

I've been sitting here for a few minutes watching it - yes, I'm pathetic :)

Dealing with cheekiness - advice please!

Any advice on what to do to combat cheekiness and name-calling? I've never had to deal with it like this before - I think a certain problem child at preschool is setting an example that Billy is emulating because it's only started since this boy arrived...

He's name calling, being cheeky, and out and out rude to me & Pete at times. We've tried ignoring, punishing with loss of tv priveleges, no treats etc, smacking (yes, call DOCS, we smack our child at times...) - nothing seems to be getting through, he just smirks which makes us even madder. It's even worse atm because I let him have a couple of flavoured ice-creams the other day and he's flying high from the colours :(

Like tonight - he was being silly at bedtime and not asking for his water properly (just pointing and saying Drink, drink). I refused to pass it to him until he asked properly - he finally did, I passed the drink, and he muttered something of which I caught the words "You're a P", I suspect the bit I missed was "poo-poo head" which seems to be a favourite :( The rest of his bedtime routine was immediately terminated and I left with him in tears. Tomorrow it will be as if he was never punished for it though..

Is it a 5 year old phase??! Any ideas from the seasoned mums?

Getting back to normality

A day of running around today - we had to go down to Newcastle so made the most of the trip.

After dropping Pete at work, we went to Officeworks for printer paper - and go me, we only walked out with printer paper :) Officeworks is a very tempting place for me, I just love all that stationery!

Then off to the chiropractor (the reason for the trip down) - he has restored my "natural healing powers" (in his words) and I'm set for another 6 weeks. He noticed I had a bad cold and gave my back a bit of a pounding massage - it was bizarre, I could feel it in my sinuses. Boy it loosened the gunk though, and it's been much better this afternoon. I love my chiro - I've had others when he's been away, but he just seems to know what to do to make me feel good. Not surprising I guess when I've been going to him for about 7 years. I'd run away with him if we both weren't happily married lol.

Then to Jaycar for cable to rewire the tv stuff in preparation for moving rooms around. Speaking of places where I could happily wander for days - yes folks, I admit it, I'm a nerd!! Hopefully Billy will be similarly corrupted so I have an excuse lol. We had a discussion on laser beams and how the doorbell was triggered by people walking through the beam, while we waited to get served.

Off to the shop outside the fish markets for fish, calamari & chips for lunch, then inside the fish markets to buy some fish. Finished the day off at Aldi to do a monthly shopping. Boy it was busy in there - I don't usually shop on Fridays so I don't know if it's normally like that, or if it was because of school holidays, or why. The lady behind me at the checkout remarked that it looked like I was feeding the scouts - rather than explain that I was shopping for a month (while busy throwing things onto the conveyor to keep up!), I just smiled and said "Yes, it feels like it too" :) So she probably thinks I have a horde of kids now lol.

I've been slack for the last couple of months and have just been grabbing stuff without doing a "proper" shop - I haven't been keeping track of finances either so I have no idea how much it has cost me. I made myself sit down last night and make up a menu plan for the month, grocery list and now hopefully that will do for October's shopping.

So here's my now full "stash" shelf in my pantry (or part of it anyway, you can't see the rice, pasta etc), and the freezer above Pete's beer fridge (filled with flour & bread!). I still need to buy a couple of roasts, but other than that, total has been:

* $41 on fish
* $112 at ALdi
* $14 at IGA yesterday

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tax is done!!

I started about 10 this morning, worked right through and finished around 3pm. I had to do our 2 partnership returns and then our 2 individual returns - boy I'm tired!!!

We will be getting some money back though which is good after all of that!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Simple Savings lunch & Mattara

I forgot to mention our day out on Sunday.

We firstly met some ladies & their kids from the Simple Savings website at Jesmond Park for a picnic lunch. I'd never met any of them before so it was good to meet some like-minded people in real-life! We all took something along to share for lunch, we chatted and the kids played on the playground. (Except for mine who sat on my lap for most of it, but to be fair, he did run a temperature that night so obviously wasn't feeling the best).

We left about 1:15pm and went over to the Mattara Festival at Newcastle Foreshore. Mattara is a festival held annually in Newcastle since 1961 - I haven't been for years but the highlight for us used to be the market day where they blocked one of the major streets off and it was filled with craft stalls etc. Since we were in Newcastle anyway, I decided the take Billy to Mattara to see what it was like now. Can you say money-making event??! I was expecting a reasonable amount of free activities, but other than the Rural Fire Service display, everything else had a charge - even the face-painting! There were a few market stalls mainly selling beads & jewellery, a kid's activity table where they could do pirate or princess activities (for a cost!), food stalls and the rest were all showground rides. Obviously not what I was expecting, but hey, it was a day out!

I let Billy pick 2 rides to go on - he picked the giant slide (2 coupons / $2 for ONE go - I was a bit flabbergasted at that!) and a really cool jumping castle which had an inflatable "rock wall" in it (5 coupons / $5 for about 10 mins). He also wanted to take part in the treasure hunt for $2 - the money was going to Camp Quality for that so I didn't mind that one. He had to go and find a coloured paddle-pop stick around the park which he got to trade in for the "treasure" - a sticker & "gold coin" lol.

I just could not believe the prices of the rides - I must hang out at the wrong places! The slide was the cheapest at 2 coupons, a couple of rides at 4 coupons, the jumping castle at 5, and then the majority of them at 6! It was $1 / coupon, or the "bargain" of 30 coupons for $27. Or you could get the wristband for unlimited rides for $35!! The lady in front of me bought 3 x wristbands - $105 for rides!!! Not exactly a cheap day out - and this was the start of the school holidays!

Oh, we then stopped at McDonalds on the way home for a 50c ice-cream and a play on the free playground :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Productive day

Despite a shocking night's sleep because Billy has a bad cold & had a restless night, I did get another site live today (www.divapromotions.com.au). Still 1 or 2 things to finish off tomorrow at the back end but it's up there! A lovely site for the lovely Emma :)

As I said Billy has a bad cold, and is running a bit of a temp, so he's alternated between sleeping, being clingy and running around as if he's fine! I'll probably keep him home from preschool tomorrow to be on the safe side.

We inherited some desks recently from my sister, so we rearranged Billy's room today and put one in there. He's so excited - wants to start doing his schoolwork there straight away! If he's at home tomorrow, I'll print out some worksheets just so he can get to do something :)

Tonight has been the first Monday night in 10 weeks that I haven't had to prep for my uni tute the next day - it's been very nice!!

I think that's it - tired, not making sense, off to bed :)