Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Week In Review 16/17: Week 15-16

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Another week has flown by & we've officially crossed the halfway mark of our second term! Pretty amazing because for a while it felt like we were just treading water. We officially wrapped up week 5 & week 6 of our term over the past 2 weeks. Yep, one more "double-up" week in review post so that I can get caught up. Crazy as it sounds, I find I'm putting off my WIR posts when I'm behind because while we do a lot of work in a week {or rather the kids do} I find it harder to recall when I'm in the midst of a new week of happenings.

We celebrated a birthday in week 15, as Morgan turned 16. While most people are in shock that their child is turning 16, & it's not that we weren't, we were more impressed that for the first time in years upon years {or so it seemed} that Valentine's Day did not fall in the exact same week as our son's birthday. Yeah, it caused a bit of a stir in our home!


Morgan officially wrapped up his math book, & is currently awaiting the arrival of his new Algebra book. Exciting times, all though he feels a little stress as he'd hoped to wrap up the previous book a bit sooner then he did. It's all good though, & knowing this child he'll excel with the next book & be fine despite the small hiccup.

Jayden spent 2 weeks on Lesson 27 in his math book. For those looking for tips, Lesson #27 in Epsilon deals with both area & circumference of a circle all in one go. From previous experience I found this to be information overload for a student as they need time to practice each way without concern they are using the wrong method. So for Jayde we split it up over 2 weeks, & it worked really well for us. He's in the home stretch with his math book as well. I told him he can thank his brother for being the guinea pig which has made his own transition through the pre-algebra sections very simple.


Morgan buckled down with his science to get back into the swing of things. I was a little worried for him that having waiting so long to get back to it this term that he might find himself needing to do make-up time with it, but after surveying the schedule & the school calendar he'll be fine. Module 3 of Marine Biology was a tough one, but he did enjoy the information. He also realised he didn't take notes through the module like he normally does & he felt this greatly impacted his retention level. I love that he discovered this without any urging from me, it means he's more likely to apply the knowledge he gained.

Jayden is still humming along with the BkSk science that he's working on. Our goal is to get him through the chemistry portion before term break. We'll see if we meet that goal. Oddly enough all experiments for this entire year are based on Chemistry despite the fact that he'll touch on 2 other topics. We may have to scan our home shelves for experiment books or pull out some kits.


Both boys are still working away at their core work {history.} Morgan is in Volume 5 of HUS & still enjoying things. He has one more volume to finish & a total of 3 books to wrap up before Term Break. It's always fun to see the end in sight & we're all eager for a break!  Jayden has 2 books to wrap up before term break & is hoping to clear MOH 1 off his list before break as well.

We didn't line up MOH & SOTW, it wasn't my objective when we began things. Rather we've just read a chapter or two of MOH each time he sits down & reads from SOTW. I think if your goal is to finish them both at the same time you'd need to do 2-3 chapters of MOH for each chapter of SOTW. If you wanted to match them up there are many sources for that already from Winter Promise's curriculum to schedules over on RedShift.

From doing these 2 cores previously I'm not sure if we'll do all 4 levels of MOH along side it or not. In fairness the first 2 levels of MOH are much lighter in content & the lessons range from 2 minutes to 10 minutes. Where as Levels 3 & 4 have far meatier content.  In an ideal world it would be amazing to do them side by side, but reality tends to be a little different.


There were some major mapping assignments that happened. Morgan needed to map out what certain territories looked like "back in the day" in order to be well versed on that for an upcoming quiz he has. It's been quite interesting to watch the way the land unfolded to be honest! Yes, he uses the Hewitt Tests to go along with the HUS volumes.

Jayden's timeline continues to grow! It's been just as much fun watching that expand each week too. I'm actually a bit concerned about spacing issues by the time he's made it through 2 years of world history, but we're all enjoying seeing things unfolds on the timeline. There was a debate between kids the other day over what event happened first so they ran to the timeline to check it out. I wish Morgan was putting one up of US history to watch it unfold as well, because that would be equally interesting!


Morgan started using the videos over at You ARE an Artist! He's my very artsy child & really shines with things like this. We were delighted to be asked to try out the programme, & Morgan was smitten with his first project. For a child who can't see well on white paper & struggles with hues of red, yellow, & orange the fact that his apple looks like an apple is just so impressive to me! He was a little annoyed his chalk pastels were limited in colour because it meant he had to come up with some unusual colours for the next video or two. I told him if he was able to wait I'd purchase him a new set, which is currently somewhere between here & South Korea. I can't wait for them to arrive to see what he creates next.

What I will say is that because he loves to sketch in his sketch book we found that it might be wiser to cover your chalk pastel paintings with clear contact paper to keep the chalks from rubbing off onto other art work or blank pages. Of course this means I need to go buy some because the timeline has currently used up all we had!


There were, of course, birthday celebrations in our week. Due to gluten & dairy allergies I traditionally make an ice cream pie for birthdays. It's the most simplistic thing to make that everyone can enjoy a small bit of, but I really wanted to make something a bit more this year for the birthday cakes. The boys has been asking for a Black Forest cake for ages, but let's just say it's not a simple task with dairy issues. Over Christmas we'd tried out some lovely coconut whipping cream from our favourite Allergy Friendly shop & as it was a huge hit I decided to stock up on some & really surprised the birthday boy.

I used our normal chocolate cake recipe, but doubled it. Gluten free good don't rise as high as glutenous goods do. This simply means you need to make your pans nearly full when you bake cakes, muffins, & breads of you'll get the typical short gluten free baked goods. I subbed our normal dairy free milk for the milk & used a GF baking mix we buy in bulk. Once the cakes were cooked {this cake is super moist} I frozen the 2 layers until they were firm enough to cut in half with our electric knife. Then I doused them in cherry juice & covered the up for the night. From there it was pretty easy to make as normal. It was a HUGE hit all around & deemed "So delicious we have to have this again!" Mr S was a little bummed he only got two slices of that massive cake. Ha, I think I know what cake he'll get for his birthday.


We spent the afternoon of Morgan's birthday at the pool with the local homeschool group. Morgan opted in on the water slide as well & a grand time was had by all. They came home with massive appetites ready to indulge in the birthday burgers that were on the menu. There are no photos of the burgers, but there were a lot of laughs over them being too big to get into one's mouth.


Spelling has been a minor wash, these kids who don't spell much correctly outside of spelling tests have knocked the last several lists of words out of the park on the first try. Not that I'm complaining, but I did suggest that if they can do so well on the tests they might want to apply that to the notes they leave laying around.  We are on track with our IEW Fix-It grammar lessons which is a delight. We should wrap up the book by the end of our term & then we'll jump right into the next one.

Last week our Daikin was finally, at long last, repaired! This meant we grabbed as much of our work as we could & moved to the kitchen so the repairman wouldn't feel the need to keep quiet with his work. This also meant that the birds could see our every move & were not pleased to be left out of things. They generally join us for our morning basket time & then return to have their breakfast while seat work is accomplished. I find that they are very naughty if they join us for seat work & prefer to eat papers, pencils, & rip keys off the computer.


We hit the beach one weekend because we were suppose to collect some sponge for an upcoming lab Morgan had going on, but in our explorations we totally forgot the sponge. Much is still washing ashore from the floods we had last year & it's quite crazy what you can find along your walk. Of course the dog had to find himself a cow that had washed ashore {yuck!} It was actually at another portion of the beach & moved a few kilometres down, so we weren't expecting it. Crazy dog decided to make himself all gacky smelling & was most disgusted with us when we dragged him into the ocean for a wash. Once we let him go he went back to the shore & sat there barking at us while we had a splash in the waves.

We watched a video on Octopi eggs hatching a while back & when we stumbled upon this on our walk we were trying to decide if they were infertile eggs or not. One child decided to break one open & the contents that came out were thick like the white of an egg. We'll have to seek out someone in the know to find out what they were!

We made a second trip to the beach & actually remembered the sponge, in fact we spotted a person who might have been able to help identify the "eggs", but alas he was in his truck & we felt it wrong to wave him down over a nature question.


I shocked the gang with some cut out cookies for Valentine's Day. Yep, gluten, egg, & dairy free. I even frosted a few of them! I'll have to share the recipe in another post for those who may be interested.


We're still working our way through Anne of Green Gables. In fact, a bit of a funny to share.. someone misspelled anoint the other day because they called out how to spell it I said, "You know it's an + oint!" So the child came back with Anneoint. We had ourselves a great laugh about it in the end! It felt like a bit of a slog at times with our last poet, but our current poet, Emily Dickinson, are very very enjoyable & we're very ahead of the proposed schedule. We're still reading through 2 Chronicles.

I'm sure I've forgotten something as we have Cover Story happening, are still reading about a president each week, working in Aussie History,  & other little things, but that's about the sum of it for the past 2 weeks of learning in our home. Pretty full weeks, but it's what makes those weeks off so much more enjoyable, isn't it?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Week In Review 16/17: Week 13-14

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How can I be behind with our WIR posts all ready?! I hate when I fall behind because recalling some of the in-depth things we've done can be harder. Rather than fully back-track I'm going to cover the last 2 weeks for now, I might go back & fill in the missing weeks, but for now I don't want to miss out on what I do remember fully!

Week 13 was a little crazy as we had company here Sunday - Monday, a holiday on Thursday {Australia Day!}, & then attempted to fit in all our studies around everything. Morgan kept the pace, but Jayden faltered a bit & had a little make-up work to do the following week.

Week 14 was much much smoother with no interruptions, all though we did opt to try out our local Homeschool Group. Interesting experience, but we opted to do studies before going to hang out at the park so really not an interruption to our day.


We've had a slightly wobbly start with our book basket this term as we've been waiting for our new Bible books to arrive & deciding how we want to divide up the other stacks we intended to read through. With US History happening for Morgan, we also wanted to include some Australian history. The plan had been to do a year of it solo, but with the possibility of a move looming over us I decided to put those books in our book basket. Rather than attempt to rush through it in a year we'll dedicate one day a week to Australian History so we can delve in as deep as we'd like. We started Stowaway, one of the few books about Captain Cook's voyages we haven't read yet. We're using our normal Aussie spines, Australia, Her First 100 Years & The Ashton Scholastic Australian History book. We tend to read one or the other & a few chapters of our read aloud.


Morgan's covering US Presidents at an awfully fast rate with SL 100, & it's peeked many discussions about the various past leaders so I pulled some president books off the shelf & one day a week we read about 1 president. I was debating acquiring the PBS American Experience DVDs about each President, but it looks like most of the videos are available on YouTube so we may just watch it that way as we don't currently have a DVD player.


One of our new Bible books arrived somewhere in there, Jesus Freaks Vol. II. We finished up I Chronicles & moved into II, we also finally wrapped up Robert Frost in our poetry book & moved into Emily Dickinson. Her poems are much easier to read, especially aloud, & really roll off the tongue so nicely. After much discussion we've jumped into reading Anne Of Green Gables, & after reading a few chapters I was having a pretty rough morning. I declared that I might just be in the "depths of despair.." when one of the boys chuckled & said, "seriously Anne you're so dramatic."


Jayden started in on Archimedes but was quickly in dire straights with this book. I can't blame him, it was not one I enjoyed when Morgan used it, all though Morgan loved it. For Jayden, the bigger problem was that he remembered so much of it & the narrator for this book was so incredibly boring he was really struggling to pay any attention at all. Needless to say, we've put the book back on the shelf & got him going in others.


Jayden wrapped up The Book Of Greek Myths & Black Ships Before Troy, both of which he fully enjoyed. He's crossed the halfway point with Volume 1 of SOTW, which is always exciting. In fact, he's about 2 weeks or less away from finishing that one off! He's still really loves his daily readings in Kingfisher. He's also reading The Silver Branch & Theras & His Town. He much prefers the former over the later.


On his own he's reading An Elephant In The Garden still, while he's only telling us little bits about it, he disappears for large lengths of time to enjoy the book. He's a tough cookie & really doesn't like to show you how much he loves something, he's keen to tell you if he loathes it.. so we look for all the signs that mean he's enjoying something.


Morgan enjoyed The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer over the past 2 weeks. There were many chuckles a few, "Oh dears.." & lots of chatter about Tom & his antics. He really enjoyed this book & the small biography we read about Mark Twain to accompany the book. He can't wait to indulge in Huck's adventure!


Morgan listens to many of his audio books due to his VPD, but there are a few he reads for a variety of reasons. Sequoyah was one of the books he was reading recently from his Core. He's pretty caught up in the tale & enjoying the story too. I managed to snap a shot of him just before he realised I was in the room & decided to tell me a half dozen crazy things he'd just read.


We are still working our way through IEW's Fix-It Grammar, & are on target to finish this book at the end of the term. I'm so glad I snatched up the next few in the series prior to the Australian vendor closing it's doors, should keep us busy for a while! The boys are still enjoying it, but the progress has slowed down to lots of review at this point in the curriculum. Not too bad as we did have a break from our starting point & the review is nice to see how much they remembered from the start of the year.


We wrapped up several more spelling weeks in our book as well. I find that some weeks are harder & some weeks we should just advance after making sure the kids know what they are spelling. Something I need to keep in mind for future lessons. Yes, my child is in a homemade crocheted snuggly. It's some type of Star Wars ship his Gram made for Christmas, notice the pizza one in the background? We had a few crisp mornings here recently & this kid was hopping all over the house in his spaceship.


Morgan moves past his angst with Mr Schwabauer's distaste for adverbs. There was some serious frustration with that lesson, but it's all good. I've had some fun reading through the journal entries he's made that go with this programme, but I'm still waiting for some meaty writing lessons vs the grammar focused lessons that he's encountered this far.


Jayden's timeline has exploded across the chimney! It's been so much fun to watch his timeline fill in & expand. He's up to two strings worth now & won't be long before he needs to expand to a third string as well. It's hard to get a proper photo of this from a distance, but I did snag a video of it recently just to give an idea of how big it is. You can view it here if you're interested.


We had a small, but fun, BBQ for Australia day & pulled out our Aussie games to go along with desert. We played our own version of Australian Dictionary before the BBQ, in which there are no teams, we rarely keep points beyond someone reaching 5 & we generally find ourselves in hysterics. This year was no different. After dinner, however, we pulled out this lovely trivia game. We picked it up a few years ago & haven't used it much or we may have noticed a few of the questions having wrong answers before this year! It was still good for a lot of laughs & much fun. Poor Nana, she had such a hard time not blurting our answers, & let me tell you guys.. she may struggle to remember the name for a tea kettle or an ear of corn, but this woman's ability to answer Australian Trivia questions is just incredible!


We pulled this book out after our trivia game. It's another lovely second hand book we picked up. A questions came up asking why a woman had been arrested, & the answer was for wearing a 2 piece swim suit. The boys thought it was weird she'd been arrested & so we had a quick chat about the whys behind it, but then I pointed out that it was likely her 2 piece was much more conservative than the underpant & bra version our eyes assaulted with these days. We decided to look in the above book to see if we could find some information or even a photo. The book is a coloberation of newspaper articles & photos from Australia & it spans a few hundred years. We did not find what we were looking for, but we sure had some giggles about other things we found.


Morgan is still working through the BFG, but much more slowly as he had some library holds come in as well as reading the book about Sequoyah. I'm really not that fussed about what he's reading as long as he is reading.


Both boys are still on a roll with math. Morgan wrapped up his current book & moves into the next level of MUS, a bit later {5 weeks} than we'd intended, but better to be solidly firm in his previous knowledge than rush into the new book & find you've not fully cemented previous knowledge.

Jayden is still a few weeks away from moving into his new book. I told him the other day he can thank his brother for that.. & then had to explain that the oldest always end up being the poor guinea pig. I'd made notes of a few lessons Morgan had done where Mr Demme introduces several topics that are nearly identical & managed to cause some confusion, so we had the foresight to seperate those lessons into smaller chunks for the next one in line & it's made the progression so much smoother. Jayden is still not fond of math & got really excited the other day when he realised he could count the remaining math books in the series on one hand. Oh that silly boy!!


Somehow this is the only science photo I have for several weeks worth of science.. Morgan is still working on Marine Biology, but put off returning to things another week. I did express he couldnt' afford to wait much longer or he might find that he would be doing it on the weekends to finish it in time.. Jayden is still working through science 6 with BookShark.

As was the case last time around, we find the experiments a bit flat. I think this is because in previous year when my kids were younger science WAS experiments. We did so many experiments & then disused the whys behind them & thus my children have a lot of experiments under their belts. It's caused a few issues at other times too, including the time we went to the science museum & each time the curator asked what we thought would happen my boys could tell her the what & why. When she got to the very end she had this rocket full of water she was going to send soaring into the air, she snarkily {I'm sure she was frustrated at that point} told my kids they didn't know what that was for. My eldest said, "We do! Our Poppy made us one of these!" & he's right, all though the curator didn't believe him.

I've been flagging experiments as I find them & sending them to Mr S as he's the science professor around here. The one above was simplistic but got a bit of a wow out of the youngest. He drew a stick figure {don't use heavy pressure} on the bottom of a glass pie plate, slowly pour in cold water & the drawing will lift up off the bottom of the pan & you can make it dance.


We decided to try out the local homeschool group this year. Many changes have taken place & the kids were keen to give it a go.. or one was, the other wasn't at all as his previous experience was quite ugly. We did our morning work & showed up around 11:45 & by 12:45 we were sitting at a picnic table.. alone. Everyone else had left for the day. So, we had a grand conversation all to ourselves about a few things, enjoyed our picnic lunch, chatted with Mr S on his lunch break, who was utterly shocked we were sitting there alone, & then proceeded to check out the library. We tend to avoid it when the local kids are out of school.

All in all a few busy weeks for our family.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Week In Review 16/17: Week 11

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This week was back to school around here. Yes, it's early compared to the local schools, & yes it's still summer here but we don't keep to the local schedule. By starting back early it allows us plenty of time to ease back into our routine as well as the advantage to take camping trips while it's still warm & the rest of the state is back to normal business. Not only that, we're still working on transitioning to a different school scheduled based on an impending move our family is anticipating making.

While this was our first week back in 2017 it's actually our 11th week of this particular school year. Crazy, I know, but it gets a little clearer as we move along. We have a 7th & 9th grader, both high schoolers in our state which is crazy weird, but there you have it. I shared about our curriculum on another post last year, but things have changed a bit for our 7th grader so I might write about that in another post.

The biggest hurdle, in our home, for getting back into a routine is the wake-up time. We have one who likes to be a night owl, & I can relate because I so use to deal with the same thing! However, we prefer him to be up by a specific time. I know there are countless discussions on this topic, but we do what we feel is best for our home. We have told him that as he reaches pure independence this year he's welcome to set his own schedule in that regard, so we'll see what happens.


We kicked off Monday with a light version of our book basket: Bible, poetry, & a theology book. We're still working through our lovely copy of  A Treasury Of Poetry For Young People, & the current poet is Robert Frost. While Frost has written a few poems we've really enjoyed & are familiar with, we're not as fond as some of his other works. One thing we're really enjoying about this poetry book is that it has a biography of each poet before you spend time reading their poems, & then on a few of the poems there are definitions of unusual words or explanations of some of the poems.

We're currently reading through I Chronicles, all though again following a little guide we've put together. It's been fun rereading about the life of Saul & David as last year we listened to the AIO Darien's Rise which is a modern day telling of this very story. It was one of those awesome stories that had us returning to the passages to verify the truth behind the stories

We started reading God's Will, God's Best For Your Life this week & by the time we got to the end of the first chapter decided the book isn't for us. I'm often very hesitant to state why I won't use a book when it comes to matters of faith as I know not everyone believes the same. It is never my intention to bash another faith or to be a stumbling block for a fellow believer. However, we felt this book was scripturally wrong in many instances, & perhaps that's our interpretation in how we've read into the book & it's likely the author didn't mean to portray facts in such a manner. Either way, we've opted to lay the book aside. We spent much of last term reading a theology book that was uninspiring, dry, & had a whole lot of, to us, nonsense in it. Rather then spend time doing that again this term, we decided to order some books I knew we'd enjoy. We shall anxiously await their arrival & I'll share about them when they arrive.


There was no long break with math, as the boys worked on with math right up until Christmas holidays. Then it was laid aside for 2 weeks until we started back up. Having the two weeks off we opted to do a few review pages to make sure everyone was up to snuff. I have no hand in Morgan's math these days, he & Mr S do their own thing. This has been a great thing for Morgan who likes to "talk math" & do far more with numbers than I do. Mr S has taken it all in stride & goes over a lesson on the weekends & corrects the math each evening when he gets home. The only downside is that Mr S likes to skip around when teaching a lesson & verify that all previous material is still cemented in & that all new material is grasped enough to practice throughout the week. This means that sometimes Morgan is sometimes confused as to what pages he should do in his book because he'll often have done something on every page in his lesson time with Mr S. It's a minor thing, really, but it really made me chuckle when Morgan expressed his concern about not knowing what to do.


Jayden is still lacking the confidence I'd like to see him have with math. He is a logical person & becomes frustrated with some of the steps he needs to take in order to show his math. However, he also loves to argue, so I often tell him to, ".. think of it as proving you are right. Not just writing an answer, but proving beyond a doubt that you are right." He still has a few lessons to wrap up in his current math book & I suspect that it may take us the majority of the term to cover as there are some pretty deep concepts coming up. Mind you, this kid does not stumble at the lessons I anticipate.. ever. It's always the simplistic ones, & that always makes me chuckle.

Morgan moved right back into his normal schedule of taking his workload off on his own to complete & reporting back in at the end of each day. He worked through Week 10 with Sonlight Core 100. He's still very much loving this Core & having absolutely no issue keeping the pace. I was a little nervous as I've heard so many complaints about this core, but that's not an issue for our boy. In fact, this crazy kid is ahead in the literature portion of the Core. I told him if he keeps that pace he'll wrap up that side of things early & I can provide him with another stack of books he might enjoy. I think he actually took that as a challenge!


Jayden is working through BookShark Level 6 History which is the first half of world history. We've made it to the Greeks, & he's spent time this week reading over various Greek Myths as well as Black Ships Before Troy. Yep, we change things up a little, & this was one of the notes I made when the last child went through this particular Core. We also use a different Greek Myths book because it's what we own & it works just as well.



This crazy boy absolutely LOVES reading through the Kingfisher which is required with his history core. He will read the assigned pages & then close his eyes & open to random pages & read those too. He cracks me up because each time I ask him what he read he has some crazy thing to tell me which has no relation to what he's learned. The other day he shocked me by running in & actually telling me information that related to his history lesson!



There were several timelines to colour & pin up this week too. We love our timeline figures & we're using the HSITW timeline figures. While BkSk does sell timeline figures with their cores I didn't think to order 2 sets & rather than pay international shipping for a second set I just printed from our HSITW cd, the upside is that we have more timeline figures for things that we'd normally just put a notation about in our timeline. 

A little mapping from both this week. It's always so fun to watch our maps fill in each year. Morgan has the bottom map for the first time in ages, & Jayden has the top map. His E's are in reference to everything he marked while studying Egypt. He's now labeling things with G for what he's marking while learning about the Greeks. He tends to have more to mark in a week than Morgan as much of what Morgan maps right now is related to the Origional Colonies & all that was mapped out a while back.



Both boys are enjoying reading through books they received for Christmas from their American Grandmother. For Jayde this was super awesome because he'd wrapped up his last assigned book & I didn't realise that! He's enjoying, An Elephant In The Garden, which is the book he chose out of his large stash of Michael Morpurgo books; he really loves Morpurgo's books.


Morgan, on the other hand received a stash of Roald Dahl books which was exciting for him as Dahl is one of Mr S' favourite authors. Morgan loves knowing what books others love & trying them out to see how he feels about them so this was a lovely surprise for him. He hasn't actually finished his assigned book, but it was no where to be seen so he grabbed his copy of The BFG & ran off to indulge for a while each day. He's not impressed that the book came with a pair of BFG ears because, "There is no way I'm cutting up my book to gain the ears!" ha!


We jumped right back in with our IEW Fix-It Grammar. The boys have really fallen in love with Fix-It, & admittedly it's so painless to teach I'm glad they love it. Thankfully it was a review week because they were both a tad rusty after taking 8 weeks off. One of the lovely things about Fix-It is that each student gets a copy of grammar cards, they are encouraged in each lesson to use those cards as needed. After discovering that both kids cards were scattered all over we quickly printed out a new set, laminated them & set to work.



We use Fix-It a little bit differently, on the advice of a Fix-It pro, & our boys type up their rewrites. This allows some typing practice as well as grammar practice. Last year Morgan was very thorough in his typing where as I didn't require it of Jayden, but this year it's a requirement. Interestingly enough Jayden was not only delighted to be required to do this, but has some crazy mad typing skills considering this is the kid who has never done any formal typing in his life. Ignore the medical necklace in his mouth, at least he's wearing it, right?

We also jumped right back in with spelling, yes we still do spelling. It's quick, simple & to the point. Spelling takes us about 10-15 minutes a day & as my boys only got their visual spectral tints after the age one would normally concentrate on spelling it's a requirement for now.



The boys helped Mr S patch his bike tire, & yes that's in the middle of my lounge room. Mr S goes through bike tires at such a crazy rate {road bikes to work daily} that I've told him we should really consider some road side assistance for him. Ha! To hold him over until he could get to the bike shop, the guys patched it instead. Mr S needed help because he didn't put his glasses on before he got his hands all covered in grease & he couldn't find the hole. Why in the lounge room? We were watching cricket..

The boys also did lots of dinner prep this week, including some solo work when I went to find Mr S & his flat tire & bring him home. When we got in the kids had mixed up the burgers, sliced all the veggies & were debating starting the grill. They are pretty handy in the kitchen most days.


We took a trip to the park this week, it was still crawling with many many people as school is out, tourist season is upon us, & all that hoopla. After a bit of fun in the sun Jayde asked if we could stop off on the way home to see the local Greek god. Ha! Truthfully we don't have a Greek god, but we do have a ridiculous nude statue that is suppose to be the Spirit Of The Sea & is as likely to seeing a Greek statue as we'll get this year, thus I was very happy to oblige.

Next week we'll be adding in science & hopefully some art! We'll also be meeting up with friends {hooray!}, &, hopefully, having an interruption free week. We had quite the revolving door as we worked our way through our first week back, including a half day holiday, & a repair man who attempted to fix our reverse cycle heat pump & blew it up instead. Yep, complete with a pop, bang, a bit of smoke, & then the power turning off at the box.

Monday, January 9, 2017

52 Weeks Through The Bible

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Last year I was working my way through the Bible & decided to make some simple stickers to use in my planner to remind me of where I was each day. Last year I decided to use the "Variety Method" as I dubbed it. I'm certain it goes by other names, but what it is escapes me!

Instead of reading one book from start to finish you move around reading from various books each week. While it may be harder to determine how much of the Bible you've read at a given time, I really enjoyed this method because it broke down some of the books of Law into more manageable readings. Also, no endless days of begats, which was a delight too.

It also means you'll find some days are shorter reads where some days are longer. While I did type out the schedule into little boxes I could tick off I won't say I followed it top to bottom each day. I worked through each one each week in whatever way worked for me that week.

If you'd like to snag a set feel free to grab them here. I printed mine on full sheet label paper & just cut them out as I needed them. Mine were sized specifically for my Plum Paper planner sidebar, but I'm sure will fit in a variety of different planners if you're so inclined. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Planners

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It's that time of year again when the new planners are coming out, again I opted to purchase one instead of making a new one.  It's not that the homemade planners weren't working for me, but more of a time issue. They do take a great deal of time to make, & so I opted to purchase from Plum Paper again.

They've made a few cosmetic changes to the interior of their planners for the coming year, & added a few new sections one can choose to order if they want. They even had a sale earlier this year when they came out with larger sizes of some of their planners & I snagged all our school planners at that time. I debated the idea of saving money & using the school planner for a personal planner as well, but as the months ticked by & I was adding more & more to my personal planner that using one for school & personal just wasn't going to cut it.

While they did have another sale after Thanksgiving, I ordered earlier in order to get my planner prior to the end of year. I'm so glad I did too. Oddly, I have nearly identical covers on both planners! The one on the left is larger & I actually removed the cover it came with & pulled out a spare one I had with a more educational/family theme to it. I do so love that grey cover, but it seemed a little silly to have my name on the school planner.

I've been slowly adding information to both planners to have them ready come Sunday. It's hard to imagine an entire year has flown by, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cinnamon Memories

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When our eldest was 2 I found a fun little recipe in a copy of a borrowed magazine for Cinnamon ornaments. The recipe was super simple & cost very little to make using only cinnamon, glue, & applesauce. We were young & broke but ready to celebrate the holidays to whatever extent we could that year.

This recipe gave me the idea to use our little one's handprint. Something he could even help with. Mind you it was very very time consuming to cut so many little handprints for Grandmas & Grandpas, Aunts & Uncles, but he loved poking the holes with the straw to make room for string. We etched the first letter of his name & worked the year on the front as well. They take a few days to dry & I end up turning them sometimes to prevent curling which can happen. The house always smells amazing from the cinnamon while they are drying too!

The ornaments were cherished around the world, relatives who couldn't be near for holidays loved having the ornaments. In fact, we got please from others who didn't get one that they wanted one too, & the best part is, should they unfortunately break in the mail there's no harm adding a little more glue!

When we moved to Australia in 2006 it was a bit more trying to make these ornaments. Elmer's glue isn't a staple in the shop, & typical clag isn't the right make for this recipe! Cinnamon is far more dear then fifty-cents or a dollar a bottle as well, not to mention we now had two children who's hands were ever growing & resulting in the need for a double batch of our cinnamon mixture.

While it's really sad, for this Mamma & the various relatives who cherished the handmade gift, to not make them anymore, every December we pull out those cute little hands & relish how long ago it seems that we made them, how much children have grown, & how much we wish, at times, we could slow time down.

This year I managed to convince my 13 year old to hold still so I could snap a photo of just how much his sweet little hands had grown over the past 10 years, & while he obliged he doubted, a whole lot really, that those were ever really his hands. I'm not so convinced he was in denial about ownership, as much as the fact that his hands had grown so much.

If you're keen to make the lovely ornaments I do highly recommend Elmer's Glue or something very similar, clag just won't cut it. I have no idea if homemade white glue would work either, all though I was tempted to try the first year I couldn't get my hands on white glue. The recipe we use all those years doesn't seem to be readily available online, so I'll share below:

Cinnamon Handprints

1 c Cinnamon {we've used normal & dutch over the years}
1/2 c AppleSauce {not chunky}
1/2 c White Glue {we've used off brand & name brand Elmmers, no clag!}

We mix the glue & sauce together & then mix that into the cinnamon. Roll out on baking paper sprinkled with cinnamon, or a well dusted counter {cinnamon}. Cut as desired & lay on a baking sheet or cooling rack to air dry. If you want to hang them up you'll need to put a hole through the ornament with a drinking straw before setting them out to dry. If you prefer a slimmer hole you could use a toothpick, but keep in mind the size of the hole & how you'll get the string or yarn through it.

When we did handprints I simply copied my child's hand on paper, cut that out, laid it atop the dough, & then used a knife to trace cut it out rounding any rough edges as I went. Keep in mind that the thicker you roll this out the sturdy the ornament, but also the longer it dries. The thinner the more fragile the ornament & the more likely it will curl as it dries. We tend to to roll these out as thick as you would a cut-out cookie, about 1/4".

Please keep in mind that this is not an edible recipe. As another side note, over the years as we made these we started marking small cubes or beads with holes in them. Grandparents were making a garland out of the handprints & this allowed them matching spacers. Yes, the beads or cubes take longer to dry, but they were well cherished.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Historical Walk

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The same day we checked out Highfield House we opted to check out the Historical Walk that was in town too. We'd stumbled upon it the evening before while out for a little jaunt down by the wharf. The idea is that you start at location one & follow the signs around town.

The catch is you kinda need a smartphone or tablet in order to get the most out of this tour. While the plaques at each location have a little quip on them, if you scan the QR code you'll hear a more in-depth speech about the location you're standing at. You'll also get a map to help you find your way around, because there's large spans between some, & smaller gaps between others.

If you enjoy geocaching & history it's likely to be as much of a win for your family as it was for ours! The information provided stated the walk would be a leisurely 60 minute, but somehow it managed to take us  3 hours! We're still chuckling about that because we find that the time offered up on signs around here is rather generous, indeed, & to find we'd taken that much extra time really blew us away.

Perhaps our extra time came, in part, due to the stop-off the guys made at the local chocolate shop where they each bought themselves some sugar laden treat & indulged in it while we debated if the object hanging in the shop across the street was an owl or a bear. It was an owl, if you're curious.


We also spend a large portion of time in the burial grounds, which are open to the public. It was one of the few places that was open to the public. Many of the historical homes are now privately owned or required you to search our a persons in order to obtain keys to gain entry. We didn't take the time to do that, but rather admired what we could from the outside, looking for the various locations that one was suppose to be able to see from where we stood.

One location told us that Matthew Flinders referred to the nut as a Christmas Pudding, & as we stood there gazing up the only words uttered were, "How much brandy was in his pudding?" In fairness it was likely much more dense with brush & trees than it is now, but considering he didn't have an ariel view of it we're still mystified by this comment.

The walk is suppose to loop you back around to your starting point, which it does, but we felt it was a little flawed as we had to walk back past a few key points & our caravan in order to locate our car & starting point. We stopped along the path back at some picnic tables & indulged in the bananas & water we'd packed "just incase", & would you know the same tourists we'd help chased down their map at Highfield house spotted us & came over to say hello again.


By the time we finally got back to our caravan, uploaded photos before we lost more, recharged devices so we could snap more photos & people refueled themselves everyone was a little listless & we decided to hit the beach. The guys had all gone down the day before, but I'd had to sit in the cabin & ice my knees after our hike on The Nut. After walking around the water front someone decided his feet were about to fall off & laid down for the night, we agreed & headed back to our caravan for the night.