Friday, May 31, 2013

Australian History Resources

As we wrapped up the beginning exploration of Australia I was on the hunt for some more lovely resources. Our library is actually quite full of them, but unfortunately they are at the wrong end of the island in a resource room where one cannot put holds on them or check them out. A little, or a lot, frustrating, but there is another angle to it as well.

Let's face it, there are a lot of wonderful resources out there for Australian History, & it'd be pretty easy to be bogged down with them. That's often the case for just about any topic out there too, & the key to success, at least for our family, is being sure that we limit what resources we use. In this case, if my library has books that I'm not able to access or check out, while it is frustrating, I'm learning to smile & tick them off my list.

My original goal for studying Aussie History was to spend a year going through it with our non-fiction spines & picking a few awesome historical fiction books to let us have a good taste & feel of time period. Here's the thing though, there's just too much for us to study it all in one year, & I'm okay with that now. We've spent 2 years on US history, & we'll spend 2 years on World history, so why not 2 years on Australian history?

I'm not putting a time limit on anything, it's just a goal. Finish Australian History in 2 years. We were moving pretty slowly & my original plans & ideas weren't coming together as well as I had hoped, but slowly as we continue to gather our resources & things come together I'm seeing it all take shape.

We're finally up to The First Fleet! This is pretty exciting because we kinda feel like we've hit land too, at least I do. I figure we'll be in this time frame for several weeks as I have a host of books I'm planning to read with the boys about this time period & I'm really excited about my choices!

It's been an adventure choosing our resources for Australian History simply because, as I said before, there are a vast amount. One has to choose if it's worth purchasing Out Of Print {oop} books or if it's better to go with a newer book that's still easily accessible.

I mentioned a few times that I'd share the lovely resources I found along the way so I thought I'd do a few posts to share the variety of books I've got flagged for use. As for First Fleet, here's my semi sketched out plans:

1. My Australian Story: Voyage To Botany Bay -- This is a story about a young French girl who has lost her memory & happens to be living life on the streets. She only has fleeting memories of her parents which often end with her Pappa telling her to run. Not knowing why she does, but hits her head upon something thus causing her not to remember things. Upon her attempt to avoid another street boy trying to steal her food she hides in a barrel & falls asleep. This barrel is loaded on a ship setting sail for Botany Bay.. And so begins Julienne's story. This book starts in July of 1785, which is perfect for us because The Goat Who Sailed The World left off in 1781.

2. My Story: Surviving Sydney Cove The Diary Of Elizabeth Harvey -- I haven't preread this one yet so I'll share some of the synopsis on the back of the book.  Lizzie Harvey is a convict transported to Sydney Cove. She's starving & overworked with no time to dream let alone write in her diary, but write she does! It's her only hope for reaching what she's lost. This book is set in 1790.

3. Our Australian Girl: Grace's Stories {4 books} -- Grace is living in London with her uncle who has her looking for things on the bottom of the Thames to sell. She's underfed, overworked, & lonely. One day she pinches an apple from the grocer's carts & her punishment is to be sent off as a convict. Grace's story spans over 4 books and takes place in 1808.

4. The Journal Of Watkin Stench -- Another one I haven't preread as I purchased this one from the UK. This is the story of the First Fleet told from the perspective of a rat. Yep, a rat. This book takes place in 1788. I found our copy via ebay.

They all flow, historically speaking, chronologically together. All though Watkin Stench should really be read a little earlier then I have listed it. However, because we have to wait for the books arrival from the UK it'll be at least another week before it arrives. I'm okay with that though because we're also adding in some Australian Classics, & while I don't know that Watkin Stench fits in that category we might read it like that anyway.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Free Book

Spotted this freebie on Amazon earlier & couldn't resist sharing it. I absolutely love Lynn Austin's books, & this is the first in a trilogy of books set during the years of the Civil war. I don't know how long it will be free for, but if you're interested you can snatch it up here.

You can also find the whole trilogy over at Audible if you'd rather listen, but it's not free.

Just Wanted To Share..

I've shared a lot about Winter Promise & how we really enjoy using their products. This year, for instance, both boys are using Winter Promise Cores & most of the goodies we share have come from those cores. Winter Promise now has their own nifty little blog, which is cool enough all on it's own, but get this they are giving away freebies over there. Not through a drawing, not through some random you've been chosen type way, straight up click on the download button & it's all yours!

I had to share, because if you want a sneak peak inside their cores or other stuff this is a great way to take a peak! Today there's a Pirate Freebie up over there, which I totally snagged, because who doesn't love pirates? I mean, there's even talk like a pirate day so it's obvious that it's not just my boys who think pirates are awesome.

Have a look around though, because there's more then just a pirate freebie, the nifty geography core Morgan is using this year, there's a whole week of that up free over there too! You can learn all about the British Isles & have your own lovely British Tea Party. I just hope your double decker bus driver is a lot more reasonable then ours, because all though they told me the Queen was driving, I'm pretty sure it was the pesky pigeon from Mo Willems books. I digress though.. If you're curious to know more about Winter Promise jump on over & take a look!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Science Extras..

I've shared a few of the projects Morgan has worked on that go along with his Sonlight F science. I've also been asked a few times over where the ideas have come from. I purchased Easy Make & Learn Projects: Human Body from Scholastic a few years ago in one of their $1 sales. It's been the perfect addition to what we've been learning this year & I'm really glad I had the book on hand. Here's the thing though, Scholastic is currently having one of their amazing $1 sales on all their ebooks! This is perfect as an ebook because the whole book is full of reproducible!

You can find the product here if you're interested. This book can be used as a standalone as there are ideas in it to tell you how to teach with the little items you can create in there. We just happen to be doing a biology course with Morgan this year which is why I've chosen to add it to his studies.

While looking through the books this morning at Scholastic I also spotted this awesome looking book entitled The Body Book. It has differing projects then the one above & allows your student to make a model of their own body, layer upon layer. For a dollar I figure we can't go too wrong. Morgan was pretty excited when I showed it to him & explained it, so we'll see how it goes.

You can find the product link for it here if you're interested. I can't vouch for how good or bad this book is as we haven't used it yet, but it looks amazing! You can preview the books there if you want by clicking on the word More under each cover on the Scholastic website. Wait for it to fully load & then you can scroll down to check out the entire book. It looks liks this book might also have notes for teaching with it as it is, but again this will make a nice companion to Morgan's studies this year. Can't wait to give it a go!

And in case you're wondering, the email I received from Scholastic this morning said their sale was good for 5 days, & the $1 applied to all of their ebooks. We've picked up a few others that we'll be using later, including another science based reproducible for Jayden for next year, & a couple of fun science experiment books for the summer. Maybe you'll find something fun too!

Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Week In Review {Week 14}

Wow, another week has passed us by, is it just me or are things flying? Last week was a little odd for us as Morgan was sick for half the week & then I was sick for the second half, which ended up making it feel like an incredibly long week when all any of us wanted to do was get out for a lovely walk in some of the nicest weather we've had here in a while. Alas..

Despite not feeling well we still seem to have accomplished a fair amount, but then one tends to have to be flat out before all school is shelved around here lately.

We did, unfortunately, miss out on an event our local group was participating in last week, but honestly I'm not sure anyone was feeling great enough to feel too distressed about what they were missing out, aside from Jayden. Until it came to choosing between the event or swimming because I wasn't sure those of us recouping would be able to handle doing both events in the day. Swimming won, which didn't truly surprise me much. He's really into his swim days here lately.

Both boys tackled another two lessons in math last week. They'll be keeping that pace until we reach a point where they need to slow down & really absorb what they are learning. At this point, however, one lesson seems to approach something slightly new while the other is more review so the 2 lessons per week pace works for us. They just watch 2 videos on Monday & tackle both A pages. From there things might be mixed up a bit depending on what lesson needs more attention vs which one is newer to them, as well as which pages will have the variety on them I most desire for them to tackle for the week. You'll ignore the ketchup bottle laying on my nasty lounge room floor, right?

Still reviewing our previously learned hymns, which we'll continue to do this month. The boys were sort of annoyed by that & wanted to move onto a new one, but I thought a time of review was a good idea. I guess time will tell.. Jayden boycotted the whole idea the day I took the photo.

We've been working away at our All About Spelling, which thus far has surprised me at which child needed review with what items. I had originally planned to use it with them at the same time, but I'm afraid my boys are rather competitive. It's not so bad with some things where they encourage each other on, but there are other times when it's best to keep them intentionally separate so we don't have to deal with the backlash from it. Which is why I should probably cut the tags out of the clothes, because Jayden is tall enough to need a larger size then his big brother. I digress.. We've picked back up our Return of The Word Spy this term & are as equally delighted with it as we were to it's prequel. The boys don't feel at all intimidated to jump right in & try to crack those codes at the end of the chapters! 

Handwriting was on tap which is always a point of contention with that little boy. He's accepted that it's a normal part of life, & for now his daily school duties too, but doing it happily is another story. We had one day where he was utterly convinced I'd erased his work just to ".. be a bully!" Ahh, yes, well not exactly, but it took a while to calm him down & explain that he'd proceeded to make a few letters backwards. Morgan, on the other hand, is content to do his handwriting, but we've heard the occasional squeal & squall from him as he he tries to accept that he is not capable of making a perfect-o letter like the computer can. All that aside, they do enjoy these books. In hindsight I think I should have gotten them both the same book, but then again there's that whole nifty competition thing which would not have been fun to deal with. Jayden was really excited one day last week because he thought he had sign-language. I mean, over the moon excited, & what a let down it was for him to discover it wasn't. Poor boy. Yes, my children know some sign-language & generally interpert for Mr S when we're standing on opposite sides of a room & I'm trying to communicate without shouting. It's actually quite comical when he says, "Boys, quick, your mother is saying something again or else there's a fly in her face!" 

Despite all the craziness with Jayden & the handwriting he gleefully wrote his Gram a letter last week & then informed me it needed to be mailed: NOW. Never mind it was 9pm & there wasn't going to be a post office open to accept an international piece of mail. Which was okay because apparently he needed an envelope & when I said where they were he came back with one we'd received mail in recently. {And, before any one panics about the return address on the envelope, no our children are all in beautiful health. Our home business simply donate to St Jude's monthly.} Jayden's theory was there were all ready stamps on it so he wouldn't need to pay for one. Then, while cleaning the house on Saturday he discovered a quarter from our trip to the states & decided to chuck it in his envelope so she could buy something for herself. Good luck Mom, perhaps a bouncy ball calls your name?

Morgan labeled his map of Ireland & had a grand time, when feeling well, tromping through Ireland. He really only had one day to finish up & a few odd things to do, but it felt like a lot more considering how uncomfortable he was with a stomach ache most of the week. The pieces on the map are from Winter Promise's Travel With Me Maps & Figures.

Despite the way he looks in the picture, he was actually feeling good by this time in the week. We started a new book in our Sonlight Science last week entitled: Genes & DNA. It's a lovely little Usborne book, all though the first pages we read last week had a mummy on it & Morgan couldn't tollerate the photo. No biggie, I just covered it up while we read. The books are internet linked, as are a few of the other Usborne books we're using this year for a few things. We've been a bit lax in checking out the links, but I set up shortcuts for him to do it on his own, which is exactly what he was doing in the photo above. He was learning how sheep are cloned after we'd read about cloning last week.

We officially wrapped up Cook's discovery/voyage/landing of Australia. Oh my goodness, the book was just delightful! The Goat Who Sailed The World lived up to the awesomeness we've come to expect of Jackie French's brilliant Historical novels. You absolutely must read the Historical Notes at the end of the book! Did you know that goat was granted a pension? It was approved 2 days before she died, which left us wondering what they did with the pension thereafter. And what bout the silver collar she was given for her duties? Was she buried with it or is it on display somewhere? We're moving onward with the First Fleet for the next few weeks as we have a stack of, what we hope will be, delightful books to read for that time period now.

The boys did make it to all their swim practices & their lesson last week despite all the craziness with people not feeling well that we had going on. Not sure where Jayden is in that photo, but Morgan's in the yellow swim cap. They were learning to carry a buddy out of the water, but I'm not so sure it went exactly as it should have. Lots of laughs though which is always good.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Spelling Box

All About Spelling comes with a whole lot of cards used in a very similar fashion as our lovely Memory Box. The problem is that there are too many cards, even for one level, to have in a normal index card box. Or at least the kind I had no hand. AAS sells a nifty box that's suppose to be just the right size for the cards, but overseas shipping for a cardboard box is kinda silly, not to mention pricey. So, I made my own.

I worked with the dimensions mentioned on the AAS website for the nifty boxes that go with the cards, & picked up a piece of corrugated plastic from the local warehouse hardware style store. We use to have excess of the stuff on hand, but it appears we've since used it up. It took me longer to sort out the cards which were a bit of a mess then it did to actually make the box & lid.

I cut out the corners where the box folds because it was adding too much bulk inside the box & the dividers weren't fitting as flatly as they should have. It wasn't a big deal to remove them because I was only using packing tape to hold the corners closed. I made a lid to go on top too because honestly I don't want to worry about dusting the inside of the box or the kids spilling them either.

The box isn't big enough for all 7 levels of cards, but if the dimensions on the website are correct then I don't think the box they sell would be either. It said the box was 8 inches long, mine came out 8.5 inches long by the time all was said & done. I can barely fit in 3 levels of cards. In fact, I think some of the level 3 green cards are still in their ziplock bag. I'm not fussed by it, once cards are mastered they can come out to make room for new ones anyway. I might make another box to store the mastered cards in so that we can keep moving in the new cards as we go along. I'm curious how many cards one can store in the box AAS sells though...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Term Notebook

Remember our term notebook? I used my proclick to whip it up & was pretty content with it. Problem was I only have small proclick spines & have been struggling to find larger, non-spiral, spines. The beauty of a click spine is that you can easily open & close them to add & subtract things or simply move them around.

That's what I need with my term notebook, but because my proclick spine was too small I had to move everything into a 3-ring binder. I don't mind that, but my favourite 3-ring binder, ever, would have to be the Mead Hybrid FlexBinder. And trust me, I've used a lot of binders over the years. I actually own a couple & they hold a variety of lovely curriculum in them. My reason for loving the Hybrid Flex is that it works like a 3-ring binder in regards to adding & taking away, but it moves like a spiral bound. Kinda like my pro-click.. Oh to find bigger clicking spines for A4 paper!

So why didn't I use one for my term notebook? Oh how I wanted to. I have a few friends who've heard me lament the inability to have the perfect notebook. The problem is the Flex Hybrid is only made with US paper in mind. US sized paper is wider & shorter then Australian paper. US notebooks also have wider rings on them, wide enough that when I use my nifty Aussie hole punch it's not big enough. Weird, huh? So, until someone can make them wide enough for US paper, tall enough for Aussie paper, & with the smaller width flex rings I'll have to settle for average! In the mean time I'll show you why my crazy notebook is so full.

Each week I print out a planning sheet, or as it's known in our houe an IG. I make it up in Numbers {excel for you lovely window users}, which is a combination of all the different Teacher Manuals, Cores, & Instructors Guides I use to make our curriculum. This year we have a fair few we are combining due to the boys using different Cores. I also add in what we're reading in each book & other lessons we are doing. It's nice to have it all written out. I cross things off as they are accomplished & move them into my planner. Things that aren't accomplished go onto next week's planning sheet. This week we have a lot that's being moved to next week thanks to sickies in the house.

Behind that I have our proposed Term 2 schedule, which is outdated because it didn't work & we went back to our older schedule from last year which works like a well oiled machine. Behind those {which is why I have a paperclip there} are the books & amounts within each one I hope we can tackle in Term 2. If we don't, no biggie, but for things like Australian History where I'm pulling resources off the shelf it helps me stay on target without too much panic when we finish one time frame & move into another. The gold stars were found recently at a local cheap shop & Jayden was smitten with them. You'd be amazed  how much more effort is put into handwriting when one has a gold star on the line, or three.

Next comes the spelling & handwriting section. I keep HWOT paper in there so I can grab a sheet out to keep things moving. I also have a pdf from the AAS website about how to move quickly through the first 16 steps of AAS Level 1. This has been nice for us so we don't dwell on things we don't need to for too long. There's also the boys AAS Charts in there, they get a sticker, or in some way mark off, each step as we move along. I like to keep them where I can see them & know where they are. It also means if one child is ahead of another they have no idea because I just open up to each child's sheet when it's their turn to work with me.

Next up is Morgan's section, or that's what I call it anyway. It's where I store his upcoming notebooking pages that go with his World Travel's Diary. The flags are kept in the pocket there as well as other images that he'll need over the week. The nifty pocket holds small booklets that went with one of the nifty Passport To studies that we used with his study on Ireland. I also keep the current Cultural Gathering page in there so I can hand it all to him, or he can grab it all, & work on it each day. These dividers came with my flex notebooks & I'm using them because I love the pockets on them & because they can hold US sized paper which is what I needed, at least for this particular section.

Next is science. Morgan is using Sonlight's Science F this year which is all about the human body. This nifty science curriculum came with worksheets which we use at the end of each day's reading. I keep all the notes & pages in this section so I know where they are when we go to work on science for the day. At the end of the term I just put the notes back in their notebook & bring in the next section. As Morgan completes the science text pages we put them in his notebook.

Next up I have Jayden's section. Jayden's main core this year, Animal Worlds, is heavy with zoology so he only has the one section in my notebook right now. This holds his little notebooking pages that he fills out as we study each animal & then he files it into his lovely Zoo notebook. I like keeping them here before he does them so I make sure he fills them out. We do a lot with this lovely core, but I really want him to have something to show at the end of the year for it.

Next is a section for notes, which mainly means lots of blank paper so I can scribble things down as I stumble upon them. Titles of books, ideas for our history, science experiments that tie in, etc. However, I also printed out my Winter Promise Animal Worlds Pinterest board. A while back I was doing something on the computer & Mr S pointed out I could save things as pdf's instead of printing them out all whacky. Then I can open them in my pdf programme & sort them out from there before printing if I want. I didn't sort these plans out, just printed them! I like the visual of all the crafts I flagged for him. Most of them were only flagged for that exact purpose! See the paper sticking up too high on the left? That's how much taller A4 paper is then US paper. Who's idea was it to have different sized commonly used paper anyway?!

The next two sections are in this photo. The section on the left are just completed IG pages. I originally made them going in landscape, but it took up 4 pieces of paper. By changing my layout to Portrait & reducing the size to 85% or something like that I was able to get my plans onto 2 pages. Or one if I print front & back. Much better! I suppose I don't need to save them, but I tend to save all my plans until after our home monitor comes, every other year, & then I feel comfortable moving them out. The photo on the right is for timeline stuff. Sometimes we combine timeline pieces from various resources, but this year Morgan is using ones from Sonlight's Core F. All though we could really use a few more for other things we're covering that one doesn't generally cover in that core! I should also have some Aussie History notes in there, but truthfully they need their own section, all though for that I'm going to have to get a bigger notebook!


At the end of the week my notebook is often closed up on the school table like this. I need to put something in the front cover because even though it's not closed much I hate the blank white space. My kindle & the boys timers are generally close by as well. During the week though, this crazy thing looks a lot more like the first photo, minus the tv remove & chocolate.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

2013 Week In Review: Week 13

Last week was a busy week for us, & an extremely wet one to boot! Between balancing laundry in the unending rain {we don't own a dryer} & getting Mr S to & from work in the rain I was beginning to feel like we might never dry out.

Can I just say it's also really weird to go swimming in the rain. Not that we haven't had a swim at the beach when it's been sprinkling out, but goodness me it was an experience to swim indoors during a torrential downpour!

We ended up wrapping up our week schooling at our local library, kinda, while our car was in the shop. The dash lights had gone out & despite thinking it was just a fuse a mechanic I am not. Mr S can fix your broken computers, but don't ask him to touch the car or he might hyperventilate. He so didn't want me to test fuses, so we booked it in for a service & a quick fuse fix.

Morgan's still working on Sonlight's Core F science. He's not as pleased with it this year because we don't have weekly experiments. Wait, I should clarify.. There are some experiments listed in one of the books we use, but most of them are things he's all ready done or things I'm not keen to dabble with. I did agree to see if I could scour up some hands on things to make it more appealing for him.

He also put together a world puzzle we had on the shelf. He was so excited to finally get to put it together, he'd been waiting ages to get to it. That was until he put it together. Notice a small problem with Australia? I'm not referring to it's shape either.. Apparently Tasmania is no longer on the map!

Jayden wrapped up week 7 with his Animal Worlds Core. Yes, we've moved a little slow with it, but he's enjoyed it all the same. Ereth was a really fun read & he absolutely cherished our time with it. The book was pretty funny, & he just begged for more no matter how much or little I read. Ereth is quite the cranky porcupine who eventually finds his softer side. My only complaint about the book is that Ereth likes to shout really silly things, but it's often called swearing in the book. I could have lived without that reference.

Both boys started All About Spelling last week. I hadn't intended to switch spelling this year with Morgan as I was reasonably pleased with the results from Sequential Spelling. Jayden is so-so with spelling, once he knows how he's fine, but he doesn't always guess right. I was debating what to use with him when, for the hundredth time, All About Spelling came up. Someone in Australia was parting with hers so we decided to pick it up. I decided I'd give it a go with Morgan too. Despite the ages they suggest that each student start at Level 1.  Morgan's moving through Level one pretty quickly so I'm really glad I have Level 2 as well! Jayden is moving a little more slowly, but that's okay too.

The boys had more swim practice & lessons this week. There was lots of stroke practice this week. They are still working on mastering breast stroke. The boys really enjoy their swim time & it's nice to have a winter activity that doesn't require me standing in the icy rain cheering someone on from the sidelines.

The boys managed 2 math lessons this week. The boys are learning some new things, but it's mixed in with some review due to the way MUS works. In order to excellerate them to a point where they are learning 100% new material I've decided we'll balance a couple of lessons a week each until we are where we need to be. They took their tests in the library this week, which was all we did there because our library was so noisy it was insane! The only quiet area was the kids section where the only other person in it was a preschooler who was whispering to us about his movie. After our lovely chat with him we decided to pack up & head out.

Instead we took our books back to the car & walked farther into town. The boys had money in their pockets that they were eager to spend. Yes, Morgan has a lego head face on his bum. It's actually the hood of his jacket, but after hauling that heavy bag of books back to our car we were quite warm.

Morgan suffered through Jayden trying on jumpers & watching Jayden make the excruciating choice on which playmobile figure to spend his money on. So while we sat in the middle of the mall & waited for Mr S to meet up with us for lunch he started running around this pole, which eventually lead to some funky dance moves in the middle of the open space behind him. Jayden & I pretended not to know him & he got quite a few good stares, we were wondering if anyone would throw coins at him.

Morgan also covered Ireland last week, all though I didn't take many photos because he worked a lot on his own. He didn't quite finish it up due to skipping out on our study time at the library. He'll finish it up next week though.  Sadly no writing happened last week, Morgan has a big project he needs to wrap up there. Both boys tackled their handwriting too which is coming along nicely. It was a pretty full week for us despite all our running around!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Weekend Hike: Arboretum

We were crossing over that bridge to go check out a tree the boys helped plant 5 years ago, when we spotted some things down in the water that caused us to back track & go check them out.

Check out the size of the leaf we found growing down there. It's what distracted us from our original objective.

Jayden was suppose to be inspecting the bark of the tree when he got distracted & decided to climb it. Needless to say his brother joined him. They debated going to the top while Mr S was chatting with our neighbor.

Beautiful colours. There was a gorgeous red behind it, but we were determined, at this point, to get to the pond & look for the platy!

We walked the long way round because it's not a trip to the Arbo without a visit to the Black Swans. They are incredibly personal & generally come up carrying on looking to see if you have anything for them.

There's a new playtpus & water bird hide, or new since we were last in which has been a while, so we stopped there to spot out the platy. We spotted him several times over & then cleared out for another family who was eager to spot what the boys were talking about. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

British Tea

Remember Morgan's lovely tea cup invitations  That was for his lovely British Tea to wrap up his time in the British Isles. It's one of his favourite things about school this year, the end of week activities he prepares for us. He wasn't too sure about making tarts, I think the name scared him off, so I suggested mini chocolate pies. So we did! The topping is not cream, no milk here, it's meringue that we dusted with a bit of cocoa powder.

The invites told us to meet in the school room at 4pm. Only, we had a small delay. We decided for our weekend hike to go to our local Arboretium as it'd been a while since our last visit. While there we ran into a lovely fellow who lives a few houses down from us & we ended up having a lovely long chat, followed by a view of the many carved cups before we even got to our tradition of finding the platypus that lives in the pond. Because we were out at 4pm I suggested we meet at 445 instead. Not that it really mattered, but Morgan was a bit worried about our delay in getting home, this appeased him. Thankfully we'd made the treats before heading out for the day.

He decorated the room while the rest of us trooped off to get dressed up. He found the party plates & placemates, as well as some funky patterned corell we picked up for $1 years ago when we first moved to Tassie. The bottle on the left is a milk jug {plastic} that came from a set we picked up for $2 a while back for just such events. Unfortunately Mr S didn't think about how they were cheap & plastic & melted four of them in the dishwasher. We had a grand laugh about it afterwards.

On our way to the door we ran into Duke Sebastian who was quite keen to get in for the treats. He was also hoping our host wouldn't notice that he was wearing a fancy jacket & hat with a pair of "comfy" pants. He managed to shoot up enough that he was too tall for his dress pants. Seriously, this kid outgrew all his winter jumpers this month too, I had to get him 3 sizes bigger!! I'm not convinced that will leave him with much growing room either. At least when he's done he can pass them down to his older brother.

Our host was busy trying to control his wild dog, which turned out to be an importaed Tasmanian Tiger, so we guests decided to be silly with the camera. Sir Albert got a little carried away with that moustache, & I had to explain my sleeveless dress with "the wind was so blustery it blew my sleeves away, I do believe I may have to fire my seamstress when I get back home. Don't let me forget that will you Albert?"

Sir Albert agahast that Duke Sebastian didn't believe half his old war stories. I think the whole "orange juice in the trenches" was what did it. Apparently Duke Sebastian has read much on life in the trenches & no-man's land & never once heard of a single soldier boasting of the glories of mango orange juice infused with plenty of pulp to keep you going all day.

Once the host got over the horror of my missing sleeves poured us all some lovely tea & told us the horrors of once seeing the Queen swimming in her bathers which were less then modest apparently. Thankfully it was a fleeting glimpse & we were able to climb aboard an awaiting Double Decker bus for a quick tour of London via YouTube. All though we were nearly chucked out of West Minister Abby for the obsessive giggling when Albert kept poking all of us & nodding knowingly as if everything we saw had to do with his orange juice & war stories. I, of course, bawled for them over the marriage of Will & Kate, Albert did too until his moustache fell off. Dear me, what an adventure! A lovely way to spend an afternoon!