Sunday, February 28, 2010

Things I Love

* Sleeping all through the night and waking up feeling rested (this is rare!).

* Listening to worship music all morning, and listening to my children sing along.

* Cooking pancakes for breakfast.

* Morning coffee and morning read.

* Having the week planned out, feeling prepared.

* Baking fresh bread.

* Having friends drop in for a casual lunch, coffee and good old chat and play.

* Reading to my children.

* Playing on the floor with William.

* Having an afternoon rest.

* Watching my little ones explore around the dam, and then hearing all about their "facinating insects". :)

* Seeing our car pull up when my husband comes home from netball practice.

* Examining our hollow tree with Will, feeling the bark and talking with him about textures.

* Seeing a late summer storm brewing in the east.

* Picking 3 different kinds of Asian Greens from my garden to add to our dinner.

* Watching Papa and Will mow the lawn together! (this is Will's "big smile").

But mostly I love it when all these things that I love happen on the same day. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Creativity and Enthusiasm

"Enthusiasm is excitement, with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity". Bo Bennet

I love, love, love this quote!! And I wholeheartedly agree with it.

So on that note, the "pinch of creativity" took place yesterday afternoon, after rest time and before a very loooong nature walk (1 hour 15 minutes to be exact! - fun and exhausting!):

I like Saraya's ladybird!

And Elijah's sunset.

I stretched my creativity by tampering a bit with a Jamie Oliver Chicken Curry recipe - and it worked! Just added a few extra veggies, including some chopped pumpkin which gave it a nice texture and extra sweetness.

A picture of me, by Elijah! Love that I'm holding a real flower!

A picture of me, cooking, by Saraya - indeed, I feel like I'm always cooking so it's not surprising she depicts me like this ;) .....

And a banner Saraya and I made for fun the other day.
It's brightened up a bare wall spot in the children's bedroom really nicely!

The children love to get creative, and so do I. Speaking of which, I'm going to go get creative in the kitchen and do some baking while the rest of the family plays / rides bikes at the park! I've already looked through our new Math-U-See curriculum and planned math for the week. And I hope to fit in a little reading too. :) I love having the house all to myself!!

And yes Amanda, I will share shortly the resources we are using for homeschooling this year. :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

A February Picnic

When a cool, windy February day comes along in our sunny Queensland, we can barely keep ourselves from running out of doors! Today the breeze is up, the sky is grey (again), the sun peeks through occasionally, and it's 10 degrees cooler than it was this time last week. Autumn is whispering to us, hinting that it's coming our way. *Sigh*. In short, it is a beautiful day!

The perfect day to take our morning tea and our book outside for a picnic.

We took a ball up into the paddock too, and had a good throwing / catching session. William especially loved that! And we read another chapter of our ever-faithful copy of "Little Men". I think it will just make it through this reading..... it's seriously falling apart. :( Still, it has such lovely illustrations I can't bear to use our other more modern copy! It has no illustrations at all.

Our picnic was so nice I think we'll make it a bi-weekly event, at least.

"The Sense of Beauty comes from early contact with nature". Charlotte Mason

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Bit Grey....

Today was bit grey for me.

I went to sleep feeling grey last night, and woke up feeling grey this morning. I've had lots on my mind, which effects my sleep, which of course means I wake up tired.

I went outside into the cool morning air to see the sky looking......

........... grey. It matched my mood!

Still, as a Mama you don't get to stay feeling this way for long. There is last night's grocery shopping to unpack, breakfasts to make, children to dress, dishes to wash, a husband who needs to be driven to work, children who need to be read to, listened to, and the list goes on.

So, I chose to seek peace. I prayed and I went back to the Psalms I was reading the other night, and we hooked into our day.

"My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken". Psalm 62

I love that line - My soul finds rest in God alone. So, so true for me. Nothing else brings me the peace He does. Nothing. He IS peace!

After lessons, we headed to town to buy some fruit from the market and exchange our books at the library. How nice to have a full basket of new books, for free, to enjoy throughout our afternoon! I love love love the library.

This afternoon I did something I have found to be a lifesaver on a "grey day". I set up activities around the table, so the children can pick and choose what they want to do, cycling around as they complete/finish with an activity. Somehow everything looks so appealing when it's all laid out for you!

Eating bananas as you go is optional ;)

I also set up some coloured water-play on the verandah........

.......... which all the children chose as their first activity.

Elijah put on a puppet show for us, and Saraya was let loose in the garden with my camera:

See how big Marigold is now?! She was one of our chicks just a few months ago.

Since then I have had a lovely talk on the phone with my Mum, an easy tea tonight, all three children in bed by 7pm, a glass of red wine, and some time with my husband. I feel a little less grey, and think I might just wake up feeling sunny tomorrow. :) Thank you Lord that each day is a new beginning, a new opportunity and a new start.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thus Far

Today, thus far, has been a good one.

We played a little game called "Directing by the squares" for our PMP (Perceptual Motor Program, not that we follow a program- for us it's basically just a planned physical activity before sitting down to do work :)); then the boys watched Playschool while Saraya and I did her literacy component, read a nature poem together, and read her Australian History lesson for this week.

I hung laundry and checked emails ........ sigh ......... I am loving having the internet back! :)

We had a morning tea break, the boys did some water play and other activities while I helped Saraya do her history follow-up activities. She's doing a great job! I'm really proud of her efforts, especially in writing which until recently was not her favourite thing to do.

I baked a banana cake with Will and Elijah while Saraya worked on a craft - I'll post pictures later. Then the kids have just been playing, riding bikes, etc. I also had them tidy their bedroom. I reorganised their bookcase because it was so messy we couldn't close the door! We had banana cake (!), sliced tomato and carrots for lunch. I also popped some popcorn, just because I felt like it.

Now the two big kids are reading on their beds while William lies in his bed having his bottle. I say 'having his bottle' because I hesitate to believe he'll have a nap these days. :( Unless he's up really early in the morning (like 5:30am), he generally doesn't nap anymore. This morning he slept until 6:30. Nice for me, just no nap today. :)

Our math curriculum finally arrived this morning. I'm happy, as we've been waiting a month for it to come. However, this quote from the Beatrix Potter biography I'm currently reading pretty much sums up how I feel about maths /arithmatic (this is an excerpt from her personal diary):

"The rules of grammer and geography are tiresome, and there is no general word to express the feelings I have always entertained towards arithmetic".

Hmmmm. So yes, arithmatic / maths is not my favourite subject either. I am a little hesitant to begin, I admit. Still, we've bought an excellent math program and will supplement with Mathletics, so I'm hoping my feelings regarding math won't rub off on my children!

When everyone gets up it will be read-aloud time (with iceblocks, on the verandah.... it's hot again today, though not as bad as yesterday) and baths before we head into town. The two older children are going to play with friends while Will and I tackle the grocery shopping.

And So You Think You Can Dance is on tonight, so I have a date with my hubby!! We love to watch it together.

So that's it, my day thus far!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Few Glimpses.....

...... of my evening.

Today was boiling hot. I think it hit 39 degrees, and the humidity was awful too. We homeschooled. Cleaned. Washed nappies. Had friends for lunch. Went to dance class.

And then, the weather cooled (slightly), and my dear hubby came home. And he tried out the new ride-on.

Thank-you so much Petrina and Brad for the loan of yours while we financed our own. And thank-you Dad Fern for helping us with the finance part. :) We appreciate you!!

As you can see, it worked, really really really well. Stuart loves it. And so does Will, yay! Can you just spot him sitting up there with his Papa?

After photographing the mower-men and watering our poor wilted vegetable garden, and chasing the chickens away from aforementioned garden with a broom, I spotted Elijah like this.

Reading his bible in his pyjamas in the sunset. Wow. His sister soon followed suit. Honestly, I could cry when they choose to spend their free time sitting and reading their bibles. I have to say it's happening more and more lately.

I chose to follow their excellent example, and after serving out our dinner I sat here:

This is my most favourite spot in the garden to sit and soak up God's word. It's only cool enough to do so in the evenings in summer though. Oh, I can't wait for autumn!! At the moment, I'm in the Psalms. I have verses to share with you soon. I read, and watched the sun set, and the kids reading, and my biggest and littlest men mowing the grass, and my heart sang. I had been tired and hot and bothered all day until that moment of peacefulness.

And when it was getting dark and the boys came in, we all went inside to eat our dinner.

I made a big pot of vegetable pasta soup yesterday, and I'm glad. It has stretched us quite a few meals! Lunches and dinners. :) So good with ground pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese on the top. Much to Elijah's disappointment, there's still a bit left. It's not his favourite. I'm thinking I'll give it to Stu for lunch tomorrow, and cook something fresh for tea tomorrow night. We also have baking on the agenda for tomorrow. And cleaning out the kids bedroom, top to bottom. I also need to grocery shop, and we may visit some friends in the afternoon too.

Well, I'm off to do the dishes and have a cuppa and a read.

What are your plans for tomorrow?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shalom, friends!

Shalom indeed. Greetings. Peace. Very, very happy day! Our internet is baaaaack!!

It is fairly late at night already, so I think tonight I'll just upload lots of the photos I've taken in the last 4 weeks - many of them of my favourite subject, the children of course :) - and catch up on the more literary posts I have sitting in my head in the coming days.

4 weeks ago the summer holidays ended, and the school / work year began.

First lesson for 2010! My sweet second-grader.

Heading out for nature study, 3 students with 3 clipboards in hand.
The two boys ditched theirs fairly quickly, but Saraya completed her discovery sheet and we all had fun searching for cicadas in the trees around the dam.

This is the children quite a way away from the house (that's our side neighbour in the distance); I am standing on the verandah and have the camera fully zoomed in. What are they doing? Working on our fun "mud patch" of course!!! Shovels, diggers, buckets, lots of little tiny toys, teapots, saucepans, bore water running ...... and MUD.

And this was how they looked an hour or so later. I had to clean the bath after I had cleaned them!

I still think they're adorable, even covered in mud.
But they're not allowed to paint themselves in mud again without asking first. :|

Saraya's history course required her to try making Adam and Eve out of playdough - to see how difficult it is to make people from scratch. And of course these ones don't even breathe, or have skin or hair or internal organs. She found it amusing that she had to take a bit of Adam's rib out to make Eve!

This is a really tricky puzzle - which Elijah completed independently during his rest time. He was SO excited he came rushing into my bedroom to tell me!!

We made a musical hopscotch to help learn the names of the notes on the piano.

We learned about octaves. And what comes before / after any given note.

The children really liked this activity. They keep asking to do it again.

I have started teaching both the older children piano. This is absolutely delightful fun - when William isn't trying to "help". Which he most often does. I'm thinking we may do piano lessons on weekends.

We've baked cookies (and numerous other things....)

The horse and two ponies who live in the paddock behind our house have been coming up to the fence, much to the children's excitement! It's good. It's like having horses without actually having to look after them. :)

Something new we're discovering about Will - he loves anything with a motor. He wanders out at random times and just sits on the ride-on mower, pretending to drive it. Complete with sound effects.

We've had fun doing some hands-on learning as well as book work ...... this picture is our little ice-creation after learning about the Ice Age. We were learning how the ice created bridges between some countries / islands. The lego men were explorers!

We made a mini greenhouse to demonstrate evaporation / condensation.

Can you see Saraya? In the distance? On her bike? In her undies?
Yep, that's her. And if you come visit you're bound to find her, just like that at some point on any given day. She's loving riding her bike!!! Such freedom!

William has taken a real interest in duplo play lately. Here he and Elijah are working on a construction together.

Sitting in the car on our way to the children's first dance class for 2010. So nice they can dance in the same class!! It's going well so far.

We found an idea for handmade bookmarks in one of Saraya's craft books. Both the older children made one for my Mum as a birthday gift. I was really proud of their efforts!

I did help Elijah a little bit drawing his whale. But the colouring is all his own.

As is her want, Saraya used all her free time for the remainder of that day to continue making bookmarks ....... lots and lots of them. Most of them she's planning as gifts for various friends. Oh boy that girl loves to craft!

We baked a cake for Mum's birthday - and had a great weekend away by the way!

Elijah has taken a real interest in letters / word formation recently. Here he is building words with our duplo letter blocks. Fun!

This is often how our table looks by lunchtime during the week. Hmmm. There's always lots going on. Great that with 3 of us tidying up it only takes a few minutes even though it looks bad!

I found this sweet boy sitting in my laundry basket after I had just loaded the laundry into the machine. Yes, he still loves his bottle. Very, very much....

And that is it. Phew!! I forgot how long it takes to blog. Wow. I just wanted to upload and caption some photos and I've been sitting here for an hour and a half!

I also notice that I've written a very homeschooling-focused post. I promise I've got lots of other things I want to share - it just so happens that most (okay, all..) of my photos are of the children doing something. So nice to be able to blog again. To share, to write again! Can't wait to catch up on all that lost time!!

Blessings! xx


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