Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How to be consistent?

I know life would be much easier and I would be so much more productive - if only I were more consistent..

If only I was more consistent with picking up after myself, then the house wouldn't get into such a state (and maybe Billy could learn to pick up after himself too..)

If only I were more consistent with my parenting rules, then I mightn't have to deal with as much arguing and manipulation..

If only I were more consistent about writing down what I spend, then I'd stop wasting as much money...

If only I were more consistent about using up the leftovers, then I wouldn't waste as much food...

If only I were more consistent about doing exercise and / or yoga, then I wouldn't be as stressed..

You get the idea!

I know it works - but I get all gung-ho on something and go great guns for a couple of weeks, only to have it all fall away again. Especially when I get busy.

So tell me - what are your tips for staying consistent? How do you stick to a new habit? Help!!!

In the meantime, I'm dusting off an old blog that a friend and I used to use to keep each other on track (want to join in again HRH?) - - feel free to come on over and give me some motivation!

Monday, October 27, 2008

In the garden

A few recent changes to the garden:

Pete & a mate put up a trellis for the hops - they are straight, it's just that we're on a hill :)

So the hops have now been transplanted to their new home and hopefully they'll like it.

The 'tater patch is looking good and has had a serious mulch.

Much of the vege garden has gone or is going to seed, apart from some tomato plants that have fruited - I'm stuck in a bit of a dilemma at the moment though. We're going away for 3 weeks - I don't really want to start too much now and leave it for someone else to have to look after, but on the other hand I don't want to miss the planting boat... Hmmm...

Our week of Learning - 26 Oct

Last week -

English: Reading Dinosaur Cove (Attack of the Lizard King). A few smaller books read and Pete & Billy are still reading The Hobbit together.

Visit to Newcastle library.

Maths: Leap into Maths Yr 1 workbook - Unit 12.

Science & Technology: We've been taking photos of clouds for the last few weeks, so Billy made a cloud poster with the photos sorted into cumulus, stratus and cirrus clouds.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): Learnt about "Life on Land" (the first plants) and "Fish out of Water" (the first amphibians).

Creative & Practical Arts:
Drama lessons and art gallery. He's also been using the video camera to film absolutely everything - but mainly himself :)

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education):
Swimming lessons.


Well I was able to get some paid work in 3 mornings last week with "minimal" interruptions. That's really helped me get on top of things, work-wise anyway.

I've started up the Flylady emails again to try and get the house under control. It just depends how long I can put up with the "please buy our wonderful products" emails...

Sunday, October 26, 2008


It was my 38th b'day yesterday and I've been feeling quite spoilt.

It started earlier in the week when I received 2 parcels in the mail - the first was a b'day present from my aunt of a cookbook by Lady Flo Bjelke-Peterson (a former Queensland politician famous for her pumpkin scones) called Classic Collection, and a Grass Roots magazine.

The second was a parcel from the wonderful Tin House Lisa as part of the "Pay it Forward" exchange. I know it wasn't for my b'day, but it felt just as special! She sent me 2 handknitted dishcloths (I've already used one and it's great!), a tea-towel, pot-holder, some seeds and a lavender neck heat bag. Plus my Billy she sent a book bag she'd made with a B on it, plus a book, CD & a cloth lizard! We both felt very spoilt!!! Thank you so much Lisa - I love them all! (I will pay it forward when I get some time). (The photo doesn't show Billy's stuff - it disappeared before I could take a photo of it!)

Saturday morning started way too early with Billy having a bad dream at 4am - he did wish me a happy b'day at that time though :) Got him to back to sleep, went back to bed myself, only to be woken again at 7am when he got up for the morning! Pete & Billy gave me a set of DVD lectures on Shakespeare's plays which looks really interesting. Billy then proceeded to make me breakfast in bed - of choc chips & sugar!!

In the afternoon, we went up to visit Pete's mum, and then over to my parents for a BBQ with my family. I got some more gorgeous presents - my mum & dad gave me an Organic Gardening book & a pair of purple gardening gloves!, my sister & nieces gave me a beautiful pendant made from antique porcelain smashed during the Chinese Cultural revolution, a book and some chocolates, and my grandmother gave me an old Allan Seale gardening book and a box of chocolates.

(A rare photo of me - complete with all of my chins lol)

Tonight I continued to get spoilt - my parents looked after Billy while Pete & I went out for dinner at a local restaurant Treehops - by ourselves! Ahhh, peace & quiet! Bliss! I'm sitting here digesting though - I ate too much :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 20th October

Notes on last week's menu:

A bit of 'swapsies' with the menu last week as I didn't feel like what was on offer a couple of times!

To use up this week:
* silverbeet & bokchoy in the garden

Menu Plan this week:

Monday - marinated beef & salad wraps
Tuesday - pasta with sausage & tomato sauce
Wednesday - pork stir fry with rice
Thursday - T-bone steak & veges
Friday - pan friend fish with veges or chips
Saturday - out to dinner for my b'day!
Sunday - Roast beef dinner

For more exciting menu plan ideas, see Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Eating from the garden:
* lettuce
* bok choy
* silverbeet

Planting this week:
* need to mulch the potatoes
* plant out malabar spinach
* plant cucumber seeds

See my "Quick Updates" over on the side to see what I've been up to in the garden lately.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our week of Learning - 19 Oct

Billy's Cafe bag design - cookie, teapot & cafe sign

School term started back this week, so all of our external activities commenced again. I knew this week would be fairly exhausting so we throttled back on formal schoolwork.

Lots of smaller books read - both him reading & us reading to him - and Pete & Billy are still reading The Hobbit together.

Visit to both local libraries.

Maths: Leap into Maths Yr 1 workbook - Unit 11. We did weighing using kitchen scales & a balance that he borrowed from the library. He paid for his own purchase at the pool canteen.

Science & Technology: Nothing formal. Watched Animal Planet a couple of times and is reading a fair bit about dinosaurs atm.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): Nothing formal. He set up a 'coffee shop' to sell bottled water & choc-chip biscuits - made his own menus (and laminated them!), receipts,and bags with his design on them.

Creative & Practical Arts:
Back to drama lessons. Visit to the small art gallery above the library.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education):
Back to swimming lessons, plus swimming with friends. Lots of running around at our homeschool meeting (him, not me!).


I'm going to try rearranging our schedule this week and see if it works. I'm struggling fitting paid work in - I do it at night after Billy has gone to bed, but that's about my most unproductive time in the day. It's hard to be motivated at that hour... So I'm going to try and do an hour's work in the morning - after I have a shower, and before we start school work. I'll send Billy outside to play and run around for an hour - hopefully I can get an hour uninterrupted - although I'm not counting on it! Surely a 6 year old can amuse himself for an hour??! Surely??!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm baaaaack....

I was just in the middle of publishing a post on Wednesday afternoon - and our internet went down... A LOOOOOOONG 48 hours later - we got it back!

While it was down I got a lot done - it's amazing (well probably not really) how much you get done without the distraction of the internet!

It gave me time to work on the backlog of work I have without being hammered by new stuff. And you know what - I'm not a doctor - the work that had to wait a couple of days was not life and death when it comes down to it!

I was also offline for some fights that erupted in a couple of online groups I'm part of - by the time I got online again it was, not resolved as such, but quashed; so I'm glad I missed the stress of that!

I also got things done around the house that I'd been putting off.

So now I'm turning my email off, and going back to doing my tax :(

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Look - I have a Goat in My Bedroom!

Not a real one though :)

Miserly Mum kindly passed this book on to me - it looks great and I can't wait to have a read! Thanks MM! I'll pass it on to the next person when I'm done.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Day in my Life - Oct 14th

It was Tuesday today, and quite frankly, not one of my better days as shown by this morning's post. I'm feeling much better tonight though.

The day started with a bit of a sleep-in - Pete's away for work so no need to wake up to an alarm. I think my "Billy alarm" got up about 6:50am and I followed not long after.

Read some emails & blogs, loaded the dishwasher, had breakfast & showered.

About 9am I rang the dr to make an appointment to get Billy seen - his eyes have been bloodshot & sore for about a week. The closest appointment I could get was Saturday morning - or if I thought it was really urgent I could go and sit in the waiting room about closing time and he'd squeeze me in - eventually... Actually that's pretty good in terms of timing - it's a husband and wife team, Billy & Pete go to Dr Bob and I go to his wife. She only works a couple of days a week, so you usually wait at least 4 weeks for an appt with her!

In typical style, his eyes appear to have been ok today - he only said they were sore when I asked him about them (he's a hypochondriac!), he wasn't rubbing them and they look a lot clearer. I'll take him in for a check-up anyway, it's been a while.

I also made an appointment for him for a dental check-up. I have a dentist phobia so have been putting that one off for - um - 6 years :(

I got the rest of the dishes washed & a load of washing on, and that's pretty much when the fog descended and I collapsed in a heap. It wasn't a pretty morning (hopefully the neighbours won't call DOCS due to the amount of screaming I was doing!). It had been building for about a week for lots of reasons that I won't go into here.

Anyway, trying to keep upbeat, I eventually wrote the to-do list post, and got all bar one thing done before we left. Reading about Lisa's sister in law really put my pity party into perspective.

We left for Newcastle just before 1pm. I was still in a snappy, snarly, 'don't even look at me' mood when we got to the chiropractors. I'm still amazed, but I came out of there in a completely different mood. My chiro has magic hands - obviously he gives attitude adjustments along with the spinal adjustments!! It was literally like the fog lifted from walking in there to walking back out. I could think clearly again and I felt much more positive. Aren't our bodies amazing things?!

After the chiro we ducked into Coles and bought a few things we needed, then headed into the CBD. We only had time for a quick trip to the library and the small art gallery above the library today - we usually do the big art gallery next door as well on a Tuesday.

I walked Billy to drama, and then went back to the car and read a book - in wonderful peace & quiet - while I waited for his lesson to finish.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig... Nice comfort food (chips, eggs & toast soldiers) for tea. Billy watched some tv while I caught up on some emails.

I put him to bed about 8pm with stories & snuggles, and headed off to bed myself with the laptop. I got some paid work finished and sent off to the client for testing, and wrote this post. It's 10:38 now - time for me to finish up and go to bed as well.

For more "Day in my Life" stories check out Jenny's blog.

To do list - Tue 14th

I have so much to do that I'm paralyzed and can't do any of it. I'm feeling very overwhelmed atm - I feel like there are hands surrounding me and they're all grabbing pieces of me until there is none left. House looks disgusting, work piling up, can't even think about the garden, child constantly arguing with everything I say, and I can't make myself do anything.

Thought I'd try some public accountability.

Before we go out this afternoon I need to:
  • get books together for library
  • get B to tidy his stuff in the loungeroom
  • clean kitchen
  • tidy hallway
  • have lunch
  • ring nephew for his b'day
  • put garbages out
  • change reports for NBS and send back to them

Bugger - just realised it's the 14th & I should be doing A Day in my life..

ETA - I got everything done except for tidying the hallway. Am feeling a lot better tonight.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 13th October

Notes on last week's menu:

I proved with the Plymouth Pie that last time wasn't a fluke - it really is yummy! A few minor changes to the menu as we went but nothing worth noting. Also made a mulberry & apple crumble which went over very well.

To use up this week:
* silverbeet & bokchoy in the garden
* beetroot
* roast pork

Menu Plan this week:

Monday - Pete away - leftovers & chips
Tuesday - Pete away - leftovers or pasta
Wednesday - Pete away - leftovers or pasta
Thursday - roast pork rolls & salad
Friday - grilled fish & salad
Saturday - pork ribs & chips
Sunday - roast beef dinner

For more exciting menu plan ideas, see Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Eating from the garden:
* lettuce
* bok choy
* silverbeet

Planting this week:
* haven't had a chance to do anything

See my "Quick Updates" over on the side to see what I've been up to in the garden lately.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Attack of the pantry moths!

I spent the better part of today cleaning out the pantry. It's a fun life I tell you! We were invaded by pantry moths so I had to take everything out, transfer everything from plastic bags or cardboard packaging into glass or plastic containers, wipe all of the shelves and put everything back in..

I had to invest in some more plastic containers through the week as a lack of sufficient containers was the reason the stuff was just stuffed in there in the first place.

It was a job well & truly overdue - and boy, was it a big job! While I was doing it I decided to label my jars, rearrange a few of the shelves to be easier to use, and re-home some of the stuff that was in there. I had to throw out some out-of-date stuff, and a few things the moths had got into, some empty packets (?) and clean up a few messy containers. I'm still perplexed as to why there was plastic mug filled with rocks in there though!!

I was quite pleased with how the spice 'corner' worked out - I made a few 'steps' out of different size boxes so that I could see what I had a lot easier.

So that was my fun Sunday - how was yours?

Our week of Learning - 12 Oct

Picture of Chimidyue & the monkeys from the rainforest story

Finished reading Charlie & the Chocolate Factory together. Billy drew a picture & wrote what his favourite scene from the book was (Mike TeaVee flying through the air in little pieces!), and also designed his own chocolate bar - "it tickles your throat when you eat it"!

Lots of smaller books read - both him reading & us reading to him - and Pete & Billy are still reading The Hobbit together.

Maths: Leap into Maths Yr 1 workbook - Units 9 & 10. Lots of impromptu telling time and working out how long things take.

Science & Technology: Weather unit - Made a comparison chart of how many sunny, rainy & mixed days we had through September. Learnt about the forms of precipitation - rain, hail, snow & sleet.

He made a "torch" out of a battery, light globe and wires - hopefully we don't have any power outages in the near future as he dismantled the real torch to do it!

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment):
Hunter Wetlands trip that I blogged about earlier. Read a North American folk tale about Paul Bunyan, and a South American folk tale called "The Wings of the Butterfly". It was set in the Amazonian rainforest which tied in quite well as he'd been watching something earlier in the day on Animal Planet about Amazonian snakes. (Notice I said *he'd* been watching it - snakes give me the heeby-jeebs!)

In history, we learnt about "The Crowded Seas" and "The First Fish" in the Ordovician Period.

Creative & Practical Arts:
Made snowflakes by folding paper & cutting. Took part in a print-making workshop. Lots of drawing.

He also made a 'supercomputer' out of boxes & junk. (Don't ask me why!)

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education):
Canoeing, playgrounds, swimming at neighbours, playing some ball game with his cousins.


No TV through the day is working out quite well, even though he still whinges about it every morning. I did let him watch TV on Monday at lunchtime though as it was a public holiday and Pete & I were watching Midsomer Murder on tape. It's been close to 5pm each afternoon before it's gone back on - he has to have tidied up everything he's been working on before it's allowed on, so that stretches the time out further! I've noticed that he's also choosing different things to watch (ie Animal Planet channel) rather than just staring at the same stuff every day. So far so good anyway..

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Print-making workshop

Billy took part in a print-making workshop today with local artist Bernie Meyers (who is also a homeschooling mum). I was expecting they'd make prints in a typical kid's way - slap some paint on a leaf and press it down onto paper, but this was full-on with an etching press!

What a fantastic experience for them - they weren't treated as kids, but rather as people who could be trusted using proper (expensive) equipment! To be honest, I'd never even seen an etching press before, let alone used one - I now have a new appreciation for the work (and patience!) involved in making prints!

They were using leaves for their prints, so firstly they had to come up with a design, then ink each individual leaf with the roller. They put their design back together on the press, put the paper on top, the myriad of blankets and protection on top of that, and then turned the wheel on the press. Uncover it all to discover the unique print they'd made!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Exploring our local area: Hunter Wetlands

We spent the day with friends today at the Hunter Wetlands - a 45 hectare wetlands site in Newcastle. A great day - but I am exhausted!

We hired a couple of canoes and paddled around the 2km canoe trail to the Rainforest shelter - and then had to paddle the 2kms back! They were 2 man canoes, with single blade paddles - which is great when you have 2 equally strong people paddling - but not so great with one adult paddling and a 6 year old "helping"! So I'd have to paddle 2 strokes on one side, swap over to the other side and correct our course, and then repeat! We basically 'tacked' our way up the trail lol. Luckily there weren't many other people around :)

Fortunately we managed to stay in the canoe - I was worried enough about falling out before the canoe guy told us there were snakes in the water! (And yes there were - we saw them!!)

When we got back we had lunch, the kids had a play on the excellent playground and then we went for a walk along one of the trails - seeing lots of bird life, and hearing lots of rustling in the reeds..

There was lots we didn't get around to seeing, but we ran out of time. I'm considering buying an annual membership so we can call in anytime.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 6th October

Notes on last week's menu:

Quesadillas were great for a quick, light meal. Will definitely do them again. A few changes to some of the other meals - I forgot we didn't have honey so just had the pork chops plain, the fried rice turned into 'cardboard fish' and chips, and we had dinner at my parents place on Saturday night.

To use up this week:
* silverbeet & bokchoy in the garden
* beetroot
* mulberries from our neighbour

Menu Plan this week:

Monday - sausages with caramelised onions
Tuesday - bacon & egg quiche
Wednesday - plymouth pie
Thursday - blade steak & grilled veges with coucous
Friday - fried rice
Saturday - Pete not home - probably eggs
Sunday - roast pork

For more exciting menu plan ideas, see Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Eating from the garden:
* various herbs
* lettuce
* bok choy
* silverbeet
* beetroot

Planting this week:
* planted out lots of seedlings

See my "Quick Updates" over on the side to see what I've been up to in the garden lately.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Encouragement from Roald Dahl

We finally finished reading "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and in light of my tv ban, I thought this was a particularly apt song from the Oompa Loompas! (about Mike Teavee)

"The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set–
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all the shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink–
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY...USED...TO...READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic takes
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy–Winkle and–
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How The Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole–
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks–
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start–oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hears. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.
P.S. Regarding Mike Teavee,
We very much regret that we
Shall simply have to wait and see
If we can get him back his height.
But if we can't–it serves him right."

Our week of Learning - 5 Oct

It was an interesting week this week - it's school holidays so our normal activities are stopped. We continued 'lessons' though as we're taking time off in November. We got through some of what we had planned, but I had a migraine most of the week, so I was at a slower pace - I got through Tuesday & Wednesday with the help of Nurofen, spent most of Thursday curled up whimpering on the lounge (my friend Nurofen was not helping!), and got through Friday with more Nurofen.. Better now though.

Almost finished Charlie & the Chocolate Factory together, interspersed with other smaller books from the library. Pete & Billy are still reading The Hobbit together once a week.

Maths: Leap into Maths Yr 1 workbook - Unit 8

Science & Technology: Weather unit - Finished filling out a daily weather chart (just the basics - ie sunny, rainy, cloudy). Created a poster of what clothes to wear when it is hot, cold & rainy. Watched 'Scope' about poisons and toxins.

He has been creating pictures using KidPix, updating his blog and sending emails.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment):
Read a European folk story (the Bremen Town musicians) and made a picture about it using KidPix. Read about the "The Beginning of Life" (early blue-green algae & pre-cambrian creatures) and the "Shells & Skeletons" (Cambrian creatures such as arthropods).

Creative & Practical Arts:
We watched a play at the Civic Theatre called 'Emily loves to bounce' - excellent! We also visited the art gallery.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education):
Swimming for fun with friends.

On Friday I implemented a 'no-tv through the weekday' ban.. This is one of those decisions that will be as hard on me as it is on Billy - not because I watch TV but because I use it as a babysitter too much :(

I've never really had a problem with how much TV he watched as he mainly watched Nick Jr and Playhouse Disney. All of the shows on those channels are either educational or morally 'nice' so I didn't have a problem with it. Now though, he's declared himself too old for most of the shows on there, and has discovered Nickolodeon and Disney channel. I consider the majority of the shows on there to be utter cr@p! It amazes me how it goes from nice educational shows for preschoolers, and then suddenly once they go to school, the shows are just rubbish. Not only do I think the shows are too old for him in the main, they are pure 'entertainment' with very little redeeming values! Anyway rant over..

He's really addicted to the TV to the point that it's interfering with normal life - he's constantly watching the clock to see when the next show is on, wanting to hurry up and finish school work so he can watch something, wants to plan his activities around the TV schedule :( No more! I've decided the TV goes off at 9am on weekdays and is not to come back on until at least 3pm - unless I give him special permission. I was going to say he can watch educational DVDs, documentaries etc, but I've decided he just has to go cold-turkey.

We have friends who put the TV away on Sunday night and don't get it out again until the next Friday - but the other male in the house couldn't handle that either!! I'd be happy to never watch it again!

Gardening HELP!

I planted one lots of seeds in toilet rolls in the mini-greenhouse - and they're all covered in a white mold and have fungi growing in with them!!

Do I ditch the lot and start again or will they be ok to plant out?? What did I do wrong? Not enough drainage holes in the bottom of the container maybe?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Remember the Milk - organising tool

I have to admit, I love a good organising tool! I've tried lots of different methods over the years - diaries, paper lists, Outlook tasks, Flylady, specialised organising software - and usually end up chopping and changing. Diaries and paper lists usually win out though!

For the last couple of weeks, I've been trying a tool I heard about called Remember the Milk - it's essentially a 'to-do' website. You can enter tasks - split them into your own categories (eg work, personal, garden etc), add your own tags, give them due dates, repeat tasks etc etc etc. It stores them on their server, so they can be accessed anywhere from a web browser, but there is also an off-line version that synchronises automatically for when you're not online.

All that is pretty standard with other software but the best thing I've found about RTM is the integration. You can integrate it with iGoogle, Twitter, GMail, Google Calendar, iPhone and heaps more. So it's working for me because I use iGoogle as my home page and all my tasks show up on the iGoogle RTM widget - right there on my home page. That's where most other things have fallen down for me - if I have to remember to load up separate software, it just doesn't happen!

You can also add tasks via email (and by phone too apparently) - so when I get an email from a client, I can just forward it to my special RTM address with some keywords up the top to say what list I want it to go in, and the due date, and it's added straight away.

I haven't tried all of the features - like getting reminders via email or SMS - but it's really working for me so far. Oh and even better - it's Australian!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Kid Pix

Earlier in the week, we were in Officeworks and I spotted a bargain bin of computer games - $5 each. I picked out a couple for Billy (Arthur's Maths Games & Arthur's Thinking Games) and then spotted another one called Kid Pix. It's a kid's drawing program, and since he likes using Paint so much I thought he might enjoy it.

He's been playing around with it for the last few days and it's great. It comes with heaps of different backgrounds, "stickers" you can use to put on the screen, resize & rotate etc, plus the usual drawing tools. You can also create a slideshow using your created pictures, so we were able to make a "movie" of people running around an athletics track (thus investigating perspective ie people appearing smaller as they got further away). Some of the backgrounds include country & world maps, and stickers include world flags so we'll be able to use it for some geographical lessons.

The version we got is Kid Pix Deluxe 3 - there is a newer version available now (which is why this one was in the bargain bin I guess!) - I'm not sure how much difference there is in the versions, but 3 seems good enough for us.

It seems like it's used by a lot of schools world-wide - you can find heaps of examples of how to integrate it into your curriculum - but more than that, it's just fun!