Monday, August 27, 2012

Math Printables

This year for math Jayden has moved back into Teaching Textbooks 4. I really love how easy it is for him to plod along in his day with this programme. I'm very consistent in checking on his scores, what problems he got wrong {if any}, & I make notes if he consistently gets the same problems wrong. One of the things he's been learning of late was how to write the date.

Now, my boys both know how to write the date, we did lots & lots of date writing last year. We covered it so well that we really haven't fussed with it this year so I was a little shocked when I noticed that he was consistently getting these questions wrong on his daily lessons. Yesterday I asked him to let me know when one of those problems came up & he did. I stood back & watched him tackle it. He picked the answer he felt was correct then venomously told the instructor off for telling him he was wrong. I was busy stifling a giggle, Oh yes I was!

You see, my children learned to write the date the British way. Thus, today they would have written 27-8-12  or August 12, 2012. So, when the option comes up with the British version as well as the American version, he will automatically jump on the British version. So, I snagged a printable from the world wide web that allows him to write the date two different ways each day. I'll actually have him write the American way for a while, or maybe I'll let him write it both ways, who knows!

While I was searching around for things, I was reminded that Jayden said he didn't think it was as easy to read an analog clock. I found this a tad suspect from him because they learned on an analog clock first. In fact I didn't even have a digital clock in the same area to be sure they were learning with our analog! However, it seems he's relied heavily on the digitals since learning on the analog, so I made a quick clock for him to practice with each day.

Then, I decided while I was at it I should make a nifty thermometer page because we no longer have an analog thermometer. In fact, I'm not sure we've owned one since the boys have been of an age to be bothered reading it. Instead we have a fancy pants digital weather station which they read daily.

If you're interested in downloading the pages listed above you can find them here: Temperature, Time. Life is crazy right now, but we have some fun pictures/posts to share.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Unexpected Birthday

Last week my mother-in-law was staying with us, she just so happened to be staying with us during her birthday. The boys, not ones to throw tradition to the wind, wanted to deck out the birthday table & be certain to have it just right for when she woke up in the morning. Only, they didn't feel the gifts we had were quite enough!

Morgan & I nipped out late in the afternoon to pick up a few more gifts. We ended up getting her some fantastic books. I love the books by Kate Morton & felt pretty certain she'd enjoy the one entitled The House At Riverton {aka The Shifting Fog}. Earlier this year I watched The Help with my mil, & she loved the movie so I snagged her the book as well. Then we picked her out Downton Abby Seasons 1 & 2. Jayden rang to ask me to get dark chocolate on his behalf, & then Morgan asked if he could pick out some roses & cappuccino mix for her as well. All in all, not a shabby birthday haul when you're feeling miserable, is it?

The boys decorated the school table {which is my favourite table in the entire house} with the party cloth & the wrapped gifts. Then they begged Nana to let them wake her up early because they had a huge surprise for her. They had an awful hard time getting to sleep because they decided it would be great if every time either of their Grandma's had birthdays if they'd spend it with us so they could always surprise them like this.

I'm not sure if Nana was hugely surprised, but she was very grateful & decided being sick to stay with us on her birthday wasn't so bad if you got a good haul like this each year. Of course they were surprised I didn't ask her what her favourite meal was to cook that too. That's been a birthday tradition in my family since I was a child, but considering Nana wasn't eating much we kept with our Friday Night Football tradition of kebabs, sausages, & various salads. A very happy birthday indeed.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


The Tuesday after our car broke down the boys & took it to the shop & then walked back home {this is not our street}. We got home, just beating the rain, to discover we were locked out of the house. Mr S had gone back in & double checked all doors were locked, & then left all the keys with the mechanic. We sent him a txt message declaring we were locked out of the house, only he was in a meeting! Thankfully my mother-in-law's neighbor had popped in to collect something & offered to take me into town to get a spare key from our real estate office. I'm not sure knows it, but that women is an angel in disguise. 

The following day, Wednesday, we got a phone call at lunch time that our car was done & ready for collection. It had been raining earlier in the day, but the sun was out so we decided to hike the hour into town before the rain took a second wind & came back.

Three blocks from the mechanics Jayden told us to check out the rainbow in the sky. He's an absolute master at finding rainbows & pointing them out to us. Not sure if you can see it in the picture or not, but most rainbows in Tasmania have a beautiful & vibrant violet layer as well. This one wasn't as vibrant, but it was there none the less.

Of course, once he spotted the rainbow he suggested we run the last three blocks because it started to sprinkle on us, & if there's one thing you should know about this child he despises rain. No, we didn't actually run the final three blocks, but he sweated it just in case we got caught in a downpour!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Books

A recent package was choked full of goodness when it arrived here, but I have to say it was also a little scary. I mean, look at the title of that top book! It's not just about teaching your teens but about homeschooling through the highschool years. How on earth did we reach this point in our journey?!

Officially we aren't quite there yet. In Tasmania highschool starts in Grade 7, Morgan will only be in Grade 6 next year. I like to be prepared. I also really like to be inspired. The book is very Christian oriented, which suits our family just fine. I like that the authors main goal is helping keep our children's faith foremost as they navigate the turmoil of teenage emotions.

I also picked up a planner for Morgan. Apologia, as well as the author of the book, have a planner out for kids & teens. I picked the lesser of the two, as in the one not dubbed for teens for Morgan. Just one more step in helping him take leadership of his education. He was so excited to know that the planner was actually for himself.  He loved putting it to good use & checking off things all week long.

Despite making my own planners, I was lured in by The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, & wanted to check it out. Mr S always calls it research when I buy a planner. He's right you know, because it has bits or pieces that I like & other bits I don't. It's often where I get the inspiration for making my own planners. There is some really great information inside this planner though in regards to planning & keeping God foremost in your planning. There's also some information in the back for making a four year plan for your highschooler.

Are you seeing a theme here? Yeah, I've been doing highschool planning & researching for a long time now. It's just the first time I've purchased anything on the actual subject matter. It's like that moment you realize your preschooler isn't a toddler anymore. Somehow I blinked & my preschooler is a teenager now. How on earth did that happen?!

Friday, August 17, 2012


A couple of weekends ago my mother-in-law arrived back in Tasmania from her winter sabbatical, we collected her from the airport took her home & fed her, offered lemon cake to her neighbor, & then packed up to head home. The normal 10 minute trip took us 90 minutes.

I opted to take the nifty backroad back home which is one straight road from her house to mine. I crossed the bridge, hit the curve in the road & my car flat lined. I say, semi casually, "Hold on boys, we've got to get out of the middle of the road!" We bring the crazy Blue Beast back to life & I manage to move two car lengths before it flat lines again. This time I don't even bother to tell them to hold on, I just say, "Charming."

I limped off the road & Mr S called RACT, the best Christmas present we've ever been given. Seriously. It's worth every penny you pay. Only, the best part is listening to Mr S attempt to tell them where we are. He's communicating with someone on the southern end of the island. They have no idea what to report to the call out guy, "Don't worry mate, just tell them we're stranded on the back road somewhere between Spreyton & Latrobe. They'll find us."

So we sat & waited.. & waited.. & waited. We talked about all the things we'd be doing if we had to go home. We scoped out all the lovely locations we could nip off to in an effort to relieve our overly full bladders. We discussed how totally awesome it would be if we saw a Tasmanian Tiger, even if no one would believe us. Suddenly no one wanted to check out the scoped out areas of privacy to relieve themselves.

We hummed a few nothings. We pretended to nap. We gave up on being rescued. We decided the rescuer was probably watching the Olympics.. or footy. We wondered what events were playing. We wondered who was winning. We attempted to channel something on the radio, but we were on the back roads & our antenna gave up working a few years ago.

Then we saw the lovely RACT van rolling up. There were cheers from the back seat until he cruised on by us to go turn around. He gave us the okay & followed us home so we didn't have to wait on a tow truck. The boys thanked him profusely, & then after he made out a list of things that could be wrong with our car Mr S thanked him profusely.  It might have been the longest 10 minute car ride of my life.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I found the nutella picture floating around pretty amusing, & then told Mr S that it would be even funnier if it said something like Vegemite or Timtams, I was leaning towards the latter because I don't eat Vegemite. Then, when I stumbled upon this series of photos I couldn't resist taking matters into my own hands. My family found it very amusing.

Birthday Traditions

My mother-in-law is currently staying with us as she battles some virus she seems to have contracted upon her arrival back into Tasmania. The boys were delighted to find out that it was going to be her birthday tomorrow & insisted we set up the birthday table. Who am I to argue?

So out came the birthday cloth, a few extra presents, & Morgan picked out some roses from the local shop. Orange ones, have you ever seen orange ones? They had another shade I'd never noticed before either, but Morgan wanted the orange ones. The boys wrapped up gifts & set the table up before going to bed. Then they appeared again to ask Nana if they could wake her in the morning.  Birthdays get an awful lot of attention around here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beach Walks

Last week the boys & I took a jaunt back to our old neighborhood to let the dog run on the beach. While we are close to many beaches, some are particular about permitting dogs to visit. Some are really picky about what times dogs can visit, & some have leash rules. Our old beach, to our knowledge, had none of these.

The dog enjoyed a run while the boys & I enjoyed a walk followed by our own absurd making of the Olympic games which ended in a lot of of laughter & silliness. Then we started singing very crazy Veggie Tale songs, most especially the one in Lyle The Kindly Viking where Larry sings, "I have to go to the baaaaaaaaaaathrrrrooooooooooooooooooooom!" It all started because Morgan asked what would happen if someone in the Olympics needed a time out.

I asked what someone would need a time out for & what sport were we hypothetically considering. He wasn't sure. I said, "Well for instance, in basketball they call timeout if they need a quick meeting, but then there's baseball. You're either playing or you're not." So he says, "Yeah, but what if the basketballer says, "I need a timeout so I can go to the loo!"" Thus it inspired the rendition of the song.

So there we are hiking it back to the car, running every few minutes because Jayden was a little freaked it was getting dark & the tide was coming in. To lighten the mood I bellow out with, "I have to go to the bathrooooooooooooooooooooooom!" Morgan rolls with laughter & give sit a go in opera form. So of course Jayden gives it a go while waving his arms all over & twirling in a circle. The dog had his say on it & we start again.

Then I notice something moving out of the corner of my eye. I think, "Oo, wildlife!" Yeah, only the native kind with two legs, running shoes, & the most horrified look on her face that we were bellowing all about our need for a toilet. I inform the children that we had an audience for a moment there, & Morgan our normally very embaressed child. The same one who requested I hang undergarments on the inmost sections of the hills-hoist, bellows out, hands cupped around his lips, "I don't really need to go to the bathrooooooooooooooooooom!"

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Copywork & Language Arts

This picture pretty much sums up the majority of our Language Arts this year. I had different plans when we started, but things have a way of working themselves out sometimes don't they? So this is where we ended up.

We read The Word Spy in small sections, dividing a chapter up over a week generally, sometimes longer. The boys really love this book which is written with a lot of humor & apparently I do a knock-up job of implying all that humour when I read it because they roll with laughter through most of our lessons.

Jayden is still doing copywork, he's moving slowly, in my opinion, with his handwriting, but he's never been one for sitting still & writing much of anything. He really can write neatly if he chooses, but he tires out quickly which is often evident in the many things he does. So we're working on slowly building up that stamina.

Morgan can write much longer passages & has moved on to regular lined paper. They don't have wide rule & college rule here, so we simply purchase him a spiral notebook & we use it. I flag passages in the books we're reading with my nifty little post-it flags, seriously I have a large fetish for anything post-it, so I can find it again later when we need it.

I copy it into his copywork book & then have Morgan go & copy it over in his own handwriting. I pick quips from the books that really jump out at me & then build a lesson off of it. A previous quote, that you can't see was from Caddie Woodlawn. It was in the chapter where Uncle asks if he can take Nero away with him. It was a little quip about how the children knew that when an adult asked mother a question, they were not to answer it, no matter how interesting it was. I just felt my boys needed to hear that again, but it made for a great jumping point in regards to commas.

The quote above was from Shades Of Gray, & jumped out at me because Morgan has been worrying lately about what people might think if they see him doing something normal {all be it silly} or how he looks in a photo. Just typical preteen stuff happening, but I knew this quote would really touch home with him. It led us to a nice chat about quotes, which my boys love using when they are "quoting" someone while speaking aloud.

Sometimes the quotes lined up beautifully with what we are reading from The Word Spy, sometimes they don't. It doesn't really matter. If he doesn't know the grammatical answer to the question we can look it up in the Learning Grammar Through Writing.

We're still doing our Novel writing, but in much smaller doses then Morgan would like. I'm not in as much of a rush as he is, which means I should probably pick up the speed a little before he is no longer interested in the idea. Is that possible?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Orange Cordial

A couple of weekends ago I noticed we seem to have a plethora of oranges that were starting to get soft. I was going to grate the rind & then juice the oranges & put the contents in the freezer. I do this from time to time with citrus fruit that needs using up, but this time I thought I might have a go at making sugar free cordial.

The boys really love it when they go to their Aunty's house & she has homemade cordial, or to Nana's when she has it. My mother-in-law was out of town, but has been making her recipe for so long she knew it by heart. In fact, she knew the recipe so well I got it via a text message. Only problem was that it used a meagre 4 pieces of fruit & a whole lot of sugar. I had 16 oranges that needed using up & a kilo of xylitol to play with.

I ended up finding another recipe online that called for 8 oranges & a kilo of sugar. That meant I had the right amount of oranges, but not quite the right amount of sweetener. I wasn't too worried about it because I find that xylitol is considerably sweet in liquid. There's also the fact that I can usually use less without anyone noticing the difference. I also snatched the rind of a couple of oranges.

I brought 16 cups of water to the boil & then added in the xylitol until it was fully dissolved, or rather until it returned to a boil. Turned it off, dumped in all the juice & rind. Then I was worried the ring might make it a bit tart so I threw in a teaspoon of stevia extract, then I threw the lid on it & left it overnight.

I think, that a half teaspoon of stevia would have been more then enough, I personally think it's overly sweet. The guys don't. I used the pulp that came out with the oranges & blended the juice, pulp, & rind with my immersion blender. It chopped stuff up pretty small.

There's several litres of the stuff in the fridge that needs using up, but I think once it's gone I'll try again with a few differences. I think, next time, I'll peel all the oranges like my mother-in-law does {with a potato peeler, I joke not} & put those peels into the water while it boils. I'll only use 1/4 - 1/2 t of stevia. Once the whole thing has set overnight I'll pull the large lumps of peel out. All though, I'd be willing to wager that leaving a long chunk of peel in each bottle would help keep the orange flavor strong.

Regardless, the guys loved it the way it was. They happily drink it up & when I mention things that could be different with it, they strongly disagree. Here's the original recipe I started with.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back To School Sale

Currclick is currently having a sale with items marked up to 75% off. Our planner, journal, vocabluary pages, & other goodies are currently included in the sale. That makes the planner all of $10.50, our Homeschool Journal $6.00,  & the Nature Game $3.75!  You can find it all here if you're interested. The sale puts t

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Aussie History

For a few years now I've been planning a big Aussie History year. Originally, I wanted to use the Australian Book Traveler put out by Homeschooling Down Under. In fact, it was something I entirely planned to order & do with the boys a year or two ago, but life got in the way & took us down another little path.

Next year is the year though! I am determined that we will have a full-on Aussie history year for the kids next year. We'll be all wrapped up with our two year US history study. We'll have a year before we hit World History, so it's the perfect time for us to focus fully on Australian History. Both boys will be doing some other things, but nothing historically based.

The thing is, I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for out there yet. I really wanted something that had all the lovely books scheduled out for me. Yes, I know that probably sounds entirely lazy, but my family has truly enjoyed the last two years where we've used preplanned school & my attention has been on/with them during the weekends. I've been attempting to pick the brains of many other Aussie home educators, & while I've gotten a lot of great suggestions I'm not sure I've gotten everything I need yet.

In the mean time, our pile of books is growing favourably as we continue to collect books for this topic next year. Our one & only book store {the one I was boycotting had to close up shop. Apparently I wasn't the only one digusted with their service..} in town recently moved to a larger shop & boy is it so much easier to find stuff in there now. Just before they moved I picked up a couple of books for next year due to their moving sale. Then I popped into the new shop & couldn't resist another purchase that will also go well for next year.

I still need to go over a few lists I have & finish finding books for specific time periods. Consider what our library has that I can use, & then flesh it all out into a schedule. I'm prayerful that I'll be done by the time we start our 2013 school year. Laugh, I know it's many months away, but it's amazing how quickly time can fly isn't it?!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pioneer Food

After reading Shades Of Gray with the boys last week, we decided we should really have a pioneer dinner what with all the talk of cornbread, stew, & pie. There was also a whole lot of talk about turnip greens too, but I didn't hear anyone clambering for those. Friday evening I took the kids to the store so we could get our stew meat, because I wasn't totally up for a squirrel hunt, not that we would have found any had we gone hunting for them anyway! You do know there are no squirrels in Australia, right?

I made our customary herbed beef stew, using the last of the various frozen veggies I had in the freezer. Little did the kids know that I served it on turnip mash which was mixed with the last lowly white potato I found hidden in the pantry. No one knew the difference!

I also made cornbread, which is actually entitled corn muffins or something like that in my cookbook, but the kids usually scarf them down so I knew I couldn't go wrong with them. I did sub coconut milk for the regular milk in them, but aside from that I left the recipe alone. The kids didn't seem to notice that difference either.

I was all for making a cherry or apple pie, but the boys were dead set on chocolate, so chocolate it was! I used this chocolate pudding recipe for the pie. I've made it before without adding chocolate to it & just upping the sweetener a bit via stevia & that works too. We made a paleo friendly almond crust which no one, including my nut hater, noticed. I was the only one who thought the crust was a tad cookie like instead of flaky. We don't eat pie very often around here, so I figure when we do the crust should indeed be an appropriate oil based flaky proper American crust. Or at least what I'm use to making, thus why I dub it an American crust. Aside from my complaint about the crust, the men folk scarfed that down too.

It's not a wonder pioneer women spend so much time in the kitchen! It appears if you make cornbread, strew, & chocolate pie they just gobble it all up & leave you with the dishes to clean up. Well, actually they didn't because Mr S did the dishes for me & then took the leftovers to work the next day. Clearly the pioneer ladies should have been fixing much less desirable dishes so they wouldn't have had to spend quite so much time in the kitchen!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cherry Lime Popsicles

I spotted a yummy looking cheery lime popsicle recipe last week & decided to give it a go. Cherries are abundant in the shop lately & at a decent price to boot, so the boys & I stopped by the grocery to pick up 500g of cherries & a couple of limes.

We followed the recipe as it was except that we added the lime peel to our recipe & swapped the sugar for coconut sugar. I really wanted to use a stevia/honey or stevia/maple syrup or stevia/coconut sugar combo, but the boys were getting a little worried when I started to swerve from the original recipe. Apparently they are unaware that I do that on a regular basis.

I didn't bother to let it cool before blending it up with my immersion blender. Then I poured it through the fine sieve as the recipe instructed, but I put a bit of cheese cloth in my sieve first. That way I could help squeeze out the extra juices. I saved the pulp & mixed it & some stevia into a bucket of greek yogurt that was in the fridge. No waste.

We froze our popsicles in the Zoku & enjoyed eating them during the Opening Ceremony replay. We only watched some of the ceremony live considering it meant yanking people out of bed at 530 am. Ha, so we caught what we missed on the replay. The popsicles were delicious, & I'm sure they'll make a few more appearances when the local cherries are in season.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday Night Laughs..

Wednesday evening Jayden started mixing up hamburgers & when he couldn't find an ingredient I found him with his head on the counter like this. Only, Mr S didn't know Jayden was doing this, & flumped his head down on the counter because he had a headache. I looked up & started chuckling & told Mr S not to move while I ran around the other side to snap their photo. You can just make out Morgan's arm on the right there, he saw what was going on & jumped in as I was clicking the button.. He was the only one of the guys not in the depths of dispair. A guy can totally be in the depths of dispair even if it's a famous line from a girl, right?