Monday, October 31, 2011

A Frank Update and School Plans

So did anyone notice I never did post more of my Spring Cleaning list?  Well, I did, and the guilt has been weighing heavily.  I really think I bit off more than I can chew at this time of year with that huge list.  I need a reality check - spring is not the time for me to be taking on any major tasks.  I am allergic to 3 biggies that flower/seed at this time of year prolifically, Rye, Bahia Grass and Plantain.  Seeing as I live on the edge of cow farmland (plantain is often used as cow pasture) it is not nice when they all decide to spread their seed.

I am now getting to see a pattern and I will be making sure that next spring does not include any big plans for any thing.  I get huge sinus headaches that last for days, I am tired, lethargic and my eyes water and I sneeze a lot.  I get blocked sinuses, ear aches and sometimes sinus infections.  I know others have worse health issues, I am not whining.  I just need to be realistic about my abilities at this time of year.

So now, guilt over!  Moving on!

I have been printing out maths sheets by the batches for the boys' clipboards.  Thank you to Tracey over at Little Men in My Library for her heads up about Math Resource Studio.  I still need to organise more clipboard activities. 

I am working on a rotating theme of extra pages of maths on Monday, art on Tuesday, language arts on Wednesday, mazes on Thursday, science on Friday.  Most of my ideas for maths, language arts and science are coming from a Morning Message book from Scholastic.    The art pages are another tip from Tracey.  The boys get one page each week to work on from the Drawing Practice Sheets.  I have a ton of mazes printed as they are a favourite for big and small here.  I got mine from KrazyDad

What are these clipboards for?  Well, some days I have to take my dh to work if I am going to be needing the car later.  I put on the boys' clipboards pages that they can work on independently while I am gone.  It also keeps them quiet for a bit on the days I am at home to give me some time to sort myself out before we get on with school.

In addition to their clipboards I am also creating some individual binders (just slim ones) with pages in them of memory work.  As each child is at different stages I am going to work with each one individually on their binder.  Included will be poetry and scripture memorisation to match their curriculum, map pages (ranging in difficulty from Australian states to continents and major cities and land marks around the world) and times tables.  In our individual time we will work on some handwriting too.  I have tried teaching them all at once for handwriting but I just can't give each child the attention they need in a group situation.

I hate how much prep is needed for school.  I find myself worrying about ink cartridge and paper costs even though I have an ample budget for home school supplies.  It is just one of those things though.  If I want to have a half way reasonable home school experience then I need to put in the time and money now.  It will cost me more than those later on if I don't.

So there you go, I am still here, just foggy, over tired and a little depressed.   I think things will get better now, isn't half the solution recognising the problem?

Best wishes
Jen

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Playing for Change

This organisation has a great goal of bringing music to the world. 

Check out their "episodes", songs played by musicians across the world, and so beautifully put together.

Best wishes
Jen

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A lovely holiday! (Part 2)


On Wednesday we went to White Water World, a water park attached to Dreamworld.  Sadly my littlest had a high temperature and spent most of his day sitting mostly slumped in a buggy we were using to keep track of all our towels and our snacks.  He did go down the slides in the baby area but I think if he had been well he would have preferred the Pipeline Plunge area.  It had a large bucket up top that would fill, then start to overflow to ring a bell.  Next thing you know a huge amount of water would be dumped on those below.  My 6 and 9 year old loved this area and my usually dependent 6 year old played there a lot without me being right next to him while I watched his big brothers go on scary rides.

I managed to go on the Hydroflow with my eldest which captured one of the few photos of the park adventures that we liked.  Well, as much as you can like a picture of yourself screaming and white faced.  lol

I just love Mike's hair in this shot, and I was definitely not thinking about smiling for the camera.

Harry in front, a bit scared, Jack behind him and Dh in back.

And this was hubby on the Cyclone roller coaster ride at Dreamworld!  Happy chappy, isn't he?

The water park closed at 4pm so we managed to get one more ride over at Dreamworld next door before they closed at 5.  Dh went on the Cyclone and was as chuffed as can be that he got to go on a "scary" ride.  He was just a little too big in girth to go on any others.

Thursday was my eldest's 13th birthday and was spent doing things he liked such as a huge amount of time on Minecraft.  We did manage to make it out of the house for some time at TimeZone.  The boys loved that despite me thinking they would be overwhelmed by the noise and lights.  Here my youngest got to finally go on a dodgem car ride, after missing out at Dreamworld by 1 cm on the height restriction.  He was so chuffed and by now was feeling better so he could fully appreciate it.

Our last day was not one of my best planning ideas.  Somehow we had to get everything packed out of the house and into the trailer and then get over to Seaworld for joining a school excursion group at 9.30am.  We made it, just, thanks to a huge effort on my dh's part.  I loved Seaworld and would love to plan a full day trip there.  We only stayed until 2 or so as we had to get on the road.  The boys and I enjoyed battling others on a pirate ship ride and we got some fairy floss.  My dh enjoyed the penguins.  Definitely a place to visit more fully.

Overall a good holiday!  The first time I have ever had to plan a holiday of more than a few days and for this many people.  I have learnt that I need to allow more time for packing and unpacking.  My menu planning worked well although I don't think the boys ate as much fruit as they do at home.  And next time I will allow more fun money and time to get home.  We may have driven up in a full day but it was really much easier to split the trip with an overnight stay somewhere.

Best wishes
Jen


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award



My friend, Tracey, over at Little Men in My Library, has given me this award.  As part of the deal I need to reveal 7 things you would most likely not know about me.

I have covered a lot of stuff about me in my About Me tab but here goes.   I will try to think of 7 more unknown bits and pieces.

1.  I am a melancholy person - and when I say that I mean I over think, over plan and am not good in social situations with lots of people.  I might want to be a social butterfly with lots of friends but that just isn't me.  This could explain my strong interest in the library as a teenager and my nickname of Bookworm.

2.  My husband and I met on a train, exchanged phone numbers and chatted for almost a week every night before we met again for our first date to the museum and the botanical gardens.  I then met his parents that evening.  No rush! 

3.  I love opals although I wouldn't actually want to own one.  Don't ask me why!

4.  I love cooking, wait, that isn't unknown, but it something that I am pretty ok at.  I am finally learning to understand the basics of some styles of cooking and am able to wing a meal without a recipe using what I have on hand.  Quite a handy skill, don't you think?

5.  My sister doesn't talk to our family.  I miss the connection of family but she wasn't always an easy person to get along with.  When she is ready to talk to my parents and me I will accept her with her faults and strengths.  After all that is what family is about IMO.

6.  I do not "allow" my boys to fight.  See above for why!  No wrestling, no deals, no competition almost.  With age gaps of 3 years or more I just don't think any type of conflict would be fair to either party.  They are told strongly to work out how to get along.  This is practice for real life with working alongside "annoying" people.  Don't get me wrong, we play board games and card games and we teach good sportsmanship.  Just not unfair competing.

7.  I want to build my own home from recycled materials as much as possible and would adore old wooden floor boards all through my house and some stained glass windows.  I also love the look of patchy rusted sheet iron.

Some others to nominate:

Blue Skies Green Days
House of Bogwitz
Raising Little Rhodies


Some of these blogs are "new" friends so I hope to learn a little more about them by dumping them in it so to speak.

Best wishes
Jen

Friday, October 14, 2011

A lovely holiday! (Part 1)

We had a lovely holiday.  It was a big event for me to organise, a holiday away from the comforts of home for 14 days and all the associated activities for six people.  I will be making notes on what succeeded and what didn't work out so well so I can do better next time.

We spent the first 4-5 days with my parents in their small country town outside Toowoomba in Queensland.  They appreciated being able to see the grand kiddies as we live quite far away and are lucky to get one visit a year.  It was a nice way to start a holiday, just getting used to being away from the comforts and habits of home.

We then drove down to the Gold Coast and stayed at Southport, just over the Broadwater from Seaworld.  We did a day trip up to Brisbane and caught up with my old church.  It was so lovely to be greeted with smiles and hugs.  I could quite happily return to that area if my husband could get work up there.  We also fit in a trip to the Pancake Manor and a ride on the City Cats.

After that long day out we somehow managed to make it to Dreamworld the next day and spent a good chunk of the day waiting in queues for rides.  It was totally worth it as one of my goals for our holiday was for my boys to experience the variety of things outside our small town, to see what a big city is like and to try something scary so they could know scary is not always bad, it can be fun.

My eldest went on a ride called the Buzzsaw as his first ride.  Oops, maybe not the best idea as it was the scariest ride in the park according to other riders.  lol  But he did then go on other less scary rides that he would have otherwise balked at.  We all went on the Rapids, one of my favourite rides, and of course the Log Ride.   They are great "slow" rides for the little ones.

My 9 year old's scary ride was The Giant Drop.  I went on that one too.  Boy, it was cold and windy up the top and I was so glad it stopped when it did because I was out of breath for screaming anymore.  After a teary wait in line Jack came off smiling and so happy he didn't scream.  So much for not liking scary things!

The rest of the day there went well, although we missed seeing a lot of things like the white tigers.  Another year!

The following day was a rest day with a trip to the beach.  They had a great time learning how to body surf.

More to follow,

Best wishes
Jen

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On holidays!

It is great to be on holiday with your family. Over all it has been fun but juggling six people's needs can be tough. While this is a great experience I think I will be organizing staycations for the next few annual holidays. Or go away on my own, can I do that? Smile!

Best wishes
Jen
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