A wife of noble character who can find?...She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue...Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:10, 26 & 28

Monday, December 29, 2008

A rare view


This photo was taken the Saturday before Christmas and is one of the rare photos I like of myself. Rose is absolutely gorgeous and is nearly walking on her own, she holds on very lightly. Tim just downloaded Picasa and I've downloaded this photo straight from Picasa to my blog. That is so cool! I've spent the day making Rose's First Birthday Party invitations, using Microsoft Publisher and then Windows Photo Gallery. I had some trouble doing exactly what I wanted to do with it, but thankfully Tim's mum has more experience with Publisher and so together we figured out how to get what I want done. Then when I wanted to print it up we had more difficulties so that's when Tim decided to download Picasa and I was able to print them straight away. There's good news on the internet front, we are finally able to get the internet put on in the house so soon I won't have to worry about the pitiful amount of upload and download limit that we have on the wireless broadband, and the kids can do their stuff that they've been missing out on too.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What I'm thankful for

We have all been sick in this household over the last week or so. Last Saturday I had Josiah feeling very sick, with a temperature, and Rose and Christian had a temperature and a rash. I was worried about it being the measles, over Christmas, but the doctor said it was just a virus. Then on Christmas night, after we had all the family at our place, Tim starting feeling unwell. He still went to the Boxing day Test Match, though. On Boxing Day Rose threw up and by the evening Christian was doing the same and I wasn't feeling so crash hot myself. I hardly had any sleep that night, with Christian throwing up a few times during the night, and the following morning I was feeling exhausted and had a temperature myself. Thankfully Tim was feeling better and was able to look after a vomiting Kahlia and then Elijah. So the only one who hasn't been sick is Daniel. Nobody's thrown up today, thank goodness, we've just been hanging out, lounging around, as we're all really weak. The poor kids got a trampoline for Christmas and we haven't been able to set it up for them and it was Christian's third birthday yesterday and Tim and I didn't even wish him happy birthday. We're going to have his cake and give him his present on Tuesday as I think it would have been pointless doing it yesterday for several reasons. I don't think he would understand that it is his birthday and not more Christmas presents and plus we're all to sick to eat birthday cake. I couldn't even begin to make one in my present state.

We did have a really good Christmas, though. I'm glad we didn't start getting this bug until afterwards.

With the end of the year most people look back over what their year was like and make some New Year resolutions. We've had a really bad year in most respects and I've decided to make a list of what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for:
*my beautiful baby girl, who was born healthy and is such a sweety.
*my children, who hardly complained at all about our circumstances, and seem to have grown out of all that has happened.
*my husband who is a rock. I know he's nowhere near perfect but we just seem to complement each other in every way.
*Our house that is better than any house we have lived in before and is almost everything I want in a home.
*my family, who have been so supportive through the trials of this year with wisdom, finances, food, and shelter.
*Our God, who enabled us to come through this year whole and possibly better people than when we started, who doesn't do anything without a reason, even if we can't see that reason at the time.

There are plenty more reasons for me to be thankful and as I look out of the study window at the backyard with the long grass swaying in the slight breeze I know that where we are right now is where God wants us to be. I think I am most thankful to Him for helping us through this year, even when I wanted to punch someone in the face or break down into tears He stood there with us and went through everything that we went through and more.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Still Here

Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since I've written on my blog, and Christmas is almost here. I apologise for neglecting my blog and not uploading any photos recently, we can get the internet in this house, would you believe it? Telstra hasn't accommodated for the fast rate of growth in the area and the exchange is full. So we are stuck with Tim's wireless internet with it's minuscule 5 gig download and upload limit.

We are doing so well here. Christian's speech is coming along in leaps and bounds, he's still about 9-12 months behind, but be have an appointment with a paediatrician next month. He's so cute! He's finally pointing to body parts when we ask him where they are and he's trying to say his siblings names.

Daniel and Kahlia have started having tennis lessons. When we were looking for a place to live we looked at one house with a tennis court and Daniel expressed an interest in playing tennis. He was so excited about the possibility of living in a house with a tennis court, but unfortunately the house wasn't right for us, but he was still really eager to play so we looked into tennis lessons and now those two have had about 4 lessons and they still love it. They want their own rackets for Christmas and every time we go into the sports shop they show me which one's they want.

Elijah is playing cricket for the Pakenham Cricket Club and finally got a bat last night. He stayed in for 15 of the 40 overs and got 2 runs. I was very proud of him for not getting out easily. He needs a bit more confidence, though, to take the shots.

Rose is walking around the furniture and starting to let go and stand on her own. She claps her hands and  blows raspberries and has starting clicking her tongue this week. She's still a little cutie and sneaks outside whenever one of the other kids doesn't shut the door properly so we have to keep an eye on her. I went out for a little bit last week and when I came home Tim had just found her in the bathroom soaking wet, someone had spilled water all  over the floor and she had a great time playing in it. She also does the actions for Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. She still doesn't have any teeth so I'm thinking of taking bets on whether she's going to get any before her first birthday.

Well that's most of the catch up. I'll be trying to post more often, though I always feel guilty using any of the precious download and upload limit.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We're In!

Well we're in at last and slept here last night. It was sooooo nice sleeping in a real bed and the bed we got off Matt and Meri is sooo much better than our old bed. I didn't want to get up this morning, I felt like I was in heaven. There is a spa bath in the main bathroom and almost all the kids had to have a bath last night, even though it was 10 at night and they knew they couldn't put the bubbles on. I took photos and will post them as soon as I figure out how to transfer them directly from the card to Tim's laptop. The container, with our stuff,  cost us more than we expected so we won't have proper internet for a couple of weeks, just Tim's wireless broadband, on his laptop. The phone gets connected on Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday was practically a full day in the car, getting here at 8 in the morning to wait for the container, unpacking that and then going and picking Tim's dads car up and then the trailer and then the bed, then bringing the bed here, having lunch at some stage during that run then taking the trailer and car back, going to Aunty Lesley's for our bedding and some clothes and food, picking up dinner (Krispy Kremes, how healthy) and finally getting home at about quarter to 10. We didn't even have time to set the kids beds up, they slept on mattresses. But at least they slept in their new home, which they've been begging for since the beginning of the week, even though we hadn't signed the lease and didn't have the keys. they're busy setting up the Wii at the moment, and arguing who gets first go. But as they're dressed and had breakfast I don't mind.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Getting Ready

The lease gets signed on Thursday morning. It's still hard to believe that we've finally gotten a house and sometimes I feel like it might be snatched away from us like the house we were originally supposed to move into. But we met with the agent yesterday, to get a letter for the Dept. of Human Services, and she seemed really nice. The leases are almost finished being drawn up and so we can move in as soon as we have the money from the housing department and WAYSS, although it will take 3 days to get our storage container and we won't be able to pay for that until Thursday. It was funny, yesterday, the kids were begging for us to move in there as soon as possible, even without the container, and I kept coming up with reasons why we couldn't, such as not having any plates to eat from, and they kept coming up with alternatives, like eating from paper plates, until I mentioned that we didn't have a TV with us. That stopped them, imagine being without a TV for a few days, they wouldn't know what to do with themselves, actually it would probably be a good experience for them.

Other good news is that the car gets registered today, exactly 3 mths overdue. If it was tomorrow we'd have to get a roadworthy and pay extra, but this was the earliest appointment I could get, when I finally rang. I was so relieved that it was within the 3 months. We did go in to Vic Roads earlier to get the car registered, and after waiting a really long time we found out that we needed to make an appointment. When Tim rang to make an appointment he listened to the recorded message that said we needed to pay an appointment fee and we didn't have any money in the bank at the time. Well I finally rang and it turned out that we didn't need to pay an appointment fee for that particular appointment (but fancy charging one for any appointment). It will be a load off our minds, not driving an unregistered car.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

At last a Home!

Yesterday we found out that our application for a house has been approved. It is a five bedroom house about half an hour away from where we are now. It's in a new estate but there's a park around the corner for the kids to go and play at. We'll be moving in on Thursday, it looks like, so I'll take photos then and upload them for everyone to see. We took the kids out there last night to have a look at. It has wooden venetian blinds, so no verticals, yay! They were shut so we couldn't look in the window and the yard really is enclosed with the garage going all the way to the fence and a small fence on the other side so we couldn't go into the back. They've put in a cute little cottagey garden out the front. There's not a lot of front yard, but that doesn't bother me, it means they've put the house further forward on the block so we have some back yard. That also means that we'll have room for the trampoline that my mum and dad are buying the family for Christmas this year.

I am not very organised for Christmas, because of the whole housing and income situation, but Kmart has a sale on and I laybyed a trampoline for the whole family, one with the mesh around it, and also a scooter for Daniel and a bike for Kahlia, plus I will be getting a bike, hopefully, I put a trailer on layby, one that you can put two children in. I plan on getting a little bit fitter next year and would like for us, as a family, to go bike riding together. It's getting harder and harder to know what to get the kids for Christmas. I don't like getting them random toys, because they get played with for a few weeks and then the kids forget about them. I'm thinking of getting Josiah and Elijah a Nintendo DS each and they can give their gameboys to Kahlia and Christian. It just depends how things go over the next couple of weeks, DS's are a bit expensive, and I still haven't even thought of Rose. Christian's covered, both for Christmas and his birthday, 2 days later. He's still Thomas mad so I've got him lots of Thomas stuff.

I was starting to think we'd still be here for Christmas. I'll be so good to have it in our new house.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

At least there's some good news...

Finally Tim's austudy has come through so we are all set to move into a house and not worry too much about money. I guess the only good thing about not having a house now is that with each pay I might be able to buy a little bit of furniture to make up all the furniture I gave away. Scrap that, I'll have to lay by it as there's no room here and I don't know anyone with the room to store anything. We now have applications for 10 houses in the works and tomorrow I'll fax off another 3 more and go and see another 3 houses. I've driven nearly 200 km since yesterday morning.

And the rejections start rolling in again.

I'm back to looking at houses in full swing again and first thing yesterday morning had applications for 8 houses in the works. By lunch time we had 2 rejections. I hate how they don't give you any explanation, they just say that you weren't successful. There is one nice real estate agent who is rang us to let us know we weren't forgotten and that we were in the running for the house we'd applied for, she even told us that our references from our previous real estate agents weren't that great, which was news to us, we were told that they were. But apparently our houses we live in are a little untidy, which is no news to me but how I keep my house is no business of theirs. Their investment property is clean and well kept and is left in excellent order, that's what should be important. It's because nobody lives in their homes anymore. Both parents go out to work and the kids get stuck in day care, so they're only there to sleep and possible to spend weekends at home. So these young people expect these houses to be kept like display homes and I'm not into that. I like what the mum says in the movie 'Yours, mine and ours': "Homes are for free expression, not for good impressions." I don't really live that quote completely but I don't believe it's healthy for a mum to be so focused on having the house so tidy that the kids don't feel they can do anything. We do need order to have everything running smooth but I like the fact that my daughter can just get her artwork out to do whenever she wants and that the kids can cook cakes when they feel like it. Another point is that the timing of the real estates inspections was fabulous. The 3rd of January this year, straight after Christmas and New Year, plus I was about to pop with Rose, she was born on the 19th January. And then the next one was only a couple of months later. I wore myself out getting the house spotless and the the girl goes and leaves the real estate without filling out a report for the owner so they had to come out less that 2 weeks later. I had a new baby and had worn myself out already for the inspection, so I didn't get the place as tidy, because as I said before, the house was in order, walls were clean and floors were clean, gardens were done, it shouldn't matter to them if I hadn't folded my washing or made the kids beds.

The house that has the nice agent is a 5 bedroom one out in Pakenham. It's really nice and new, not that new really matters to me, but it has some semblance of a backyard and most houses out there don't. They've got these large houses on these small blocks, as I said, nobody lives in their homes so they don't need a yard. But this house has a yard that I can accept and it's under $350 a week. There's also another place out at Monbulk. This one is an older house but has a rumpus room that I can put all the boys in and Tim can have the smallest bedroom as his study and I can have a sewing room. It even has lots of fruit trees and grape vines out the back. It's only $300 a week. It's a bit further out than I really wanted but it's got everything that I want in a house so I can cope with that.

On another front, Christian has asthma yet again. This is the 4th or 5th time since we've been down here. Rose has a cough too, but she doesn't get asthma so it's not so worrying. Kahlia had a great birthday and loved the Hannah Montana roller blades, pads and helmet we bought her and has been using them everyday. Her stick insect died and she was really upset but I think she's too busy to think of it now, with her roller blades.

Well I'm back to bed. It's 5:30 in the morning and I need to be out of here by 8:30 to go and see a house. Hopefully I will get back to sleep. It will be such a relief to be able to sleep properly again, in our own house. Thanks everyone who's praying for us, I know God has it in His hands and we'll get the right house...hopefully soon.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Searching...searching....

We're still looking for a house. I went to 3 house inspections yesterday and all three were fine, so we need to put in the applications. We're going to write an introduction letter to go in with our applications and hopefully we'll get a house soon.

Christian has asthma again. In the 18 months that we were up in NSW he got it twice when we came down to Victoria for holidays and once otherwise. In the 10 weeks we've been here he's gotten it three times. 

The kids aren't happy with me because I'm starting some school work again, just when it's almost school holidays here, and just when we're about to buy them a Wii. They know they won't be able to spend all day on the Wii like they want to. They're starting to develop square eyes from all the tv they watch, or should I say DVD's.

Rose is a little cutie pie. She has curls on the top and sides of her head. Tim says that she needs a little yam aka? Sorry, I don't know how to spell it, but she looks like a little Rabbi, with ringlets down the sides of her head. I've bought a packet of little tiny hair elastics and sometimes put her hair up into little piggie tails. She has such a round face and most of the time she reminds me of Elijah, yet I can also see Kahlia and Josiah in her.

Aunty Lesley had the concreters come last week and make paths in the backyard so we can now hang our washing outside to dry, rather than using the clothes airer or the laundromat, and the kids can go out the back. I don't like them going on the dirt because of all the dog poo, but they can ride on the path.

The kids all had their hair cut at a special pamper day, at the neighbourhood centre, on Friday. Josiah didn't want his hair cut at all but I said that he needed it tidied up a bit, he didn't have to have much length off it, and Christian looks so grown up. He's starting to talk a little bit better, we're starting to be able to understand some words at long last. He's still into Thomas, we got out some of Aunty Lesley's toys last week and found her Thomas train and Annie and Claribel and he played with them and his Percy for around an hour.

When I went to look at the houses yesterday I took Rose, Christian and Daniel and on the way home we stopped at Hungry Jacks for a play and an ice cream. I was feeding Rose some of my ice cream and when I go down to the cone she got impatient with me and grabbed it out of my hand. When I took it off her she cracked it with me so I sucked the rest of the ice cream out and she demolished off the cone. I also gave her some homemade yoghurt this morning. She loves her food and is wanting more and more. It doesn't seem to matter what I give her, she just wants food.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Kahlia's Stick Insect

One of Kahlia's stick insect eggs finally hatched, almost one year after I bought them. I got seven stick insect eggs off ebay for Kahlia for her 9th birthday, last year. I'd given up hope that they'd hatch, but being the hoarder I am we kept them, plus I'd read that they can take a while to hatch, but we were surprised last week that one had actually hatched. She's called it Kimberley. It's so cute and only just over 1cm long. We keep it in a big jar, with air holes in the lid, every second day go and pick some eucalyptus leaves for it.

Our housing situation hasn't changed, we're still living with Tim's aunty, in her 2 bedroom unit. We've had a break from looking at houses, the last 2 weeks because I got really sick with some tummy bug and then the kids passed their colds on to me. I'm still fighting off the cold, but I'm starting to feel able to get back into the swing of things again. We're hoping that it won't take too much longer to get a place of our own.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trying to find a house

Hi all,

Still busy looking at houses. The houses that we were looking at were just too small so we up the price we're expecting to pay for a rental and have a whole heap to see this weekend. There are a couple of real estates in Frankston that do the old fashion thing and let you pick the keys up for a $50 deposit and go and look at the house so we're hoping to do that this afternoon as well as drop of an application. We looked at a place on Tuesday, it wasn't finished but looked so nice and the rumpus room had doors so Tim suggested that if we get that place we put the boys in the rumpus room and one of the bedrooms can be his office.

Rose is commando crawling, I can't remember if I already blogged about that. She's 6 and a half months and getting around really well. She's also eating breakfast of rice cereal and pureed fruit now and I need to start her on dinner this week I think, because she wants to be fed all the time lately.

It was Josiah's birthday yesterday and Daniels last Tuesday, so we went to a skating rink and the kids went rollerblading and we has some friends and family come and join us. Josiah said that it was the best birtday party ever and I think Daniel had the same sentiments. That the kind of birthday I want to do from now on, even if we only do it as a family. I'd like to take them paintballing or go-carting. Something that we can all do together (except that I miss out because I'm looking after the babies). Daniel is really zippy on his rollerblades. I'd love to buy him his own pair. At the moment we only have 2 pairs that they have to share between them. Christian wanted to get in on the action but he's too little. I might look into getting him a baby pair that fits over his shoes. I'd love to go rollerblading myself. I have skated since I was a teenager and I'd love to get active with the kids, also I want a bike and one of those little trailers that you put the littlies in, that way we can go bike riding to the park or something.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Long Time No Blog

Just a quick blog to let you all know that we arrived in Victoria, safe and sound. We are currently staying with Tim's aunty and are looking for a place to live. Rose is commando crawling at six months and one week, she's so clever, and putting on the charm for all the family who hadn't met her before. It's Dan's birthday today and Josiah's next week. We're hoping to go rollerblading with some friends and family for their birthday's. Christian is still not talking properly, though he is attempting to say more words, even though we still can't understand him. We're taking him to the doctor on Thursday and will find out if he thinks Christian needs to see a specialist. It'll be good to see our family doctor again, it wasn't quite the same, going and seeing a different doctor in Newcastle. Sorry it's been so long between blogs, we don't have the internet on at Tim's aunties so I have to check my emails and everything else when I go over to Tim's mum and dad's house.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's all happening

Well the container came yesterday and the skip came this morning so we have no excuses left, we need to get frantically busy. My computer was the first one to get taken offline and ready to go into the container so I'm using Tim's computer, which meant I had to frantically search everything for my passwords. I have a hopeless memory and couldn't log into my emails or blog. But everything's okay now. I'm here letting you all know how we're doing.

Christian can't decide who his favourite is, The Wiggles or Thomas the Tank Engine. He loves both of them. We bought him a Wiggles guitar which plays bits of their songs and makes funny noises. He was playing with one at church and was really upset that he had to put it back in the cry room. While we don't automatically go out and buy any of our children everything their little hearts desire we did think it might make the transition down to Melbourne just that little bit easier for him. I also found Josiah plastic Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy and Christian is torn between playing with the guitar and the trains. We also bought him some new Thomas rain boots, so he can still play outside even when it's cold and wet.

Rose got some cute little pink baby volleys. It's really mild here and it's okay for Rose to get around in socks, but down there, in Victoria, it's too cold and she'll need more to keep her little feet warm and as KMart has a 20% of footware sale we thought these were too cute to pass up. I can't wait to dress her, this morning, and put them on her. Knowing babies they probably won't stay on long, or Christian will pull them off her feet, he pulls off her head bands and hats.

You'll notice that our weekly menu isn't that healthy or frugal this week. As we need to pack our kitchen up we won't be able to cook anything and on Thursday we'll still be driving down, we probably won't get there until 10 or 11pm, so the kid's get a rare treat of Macca's of KFC, or maybe even Hungry Jacks.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Quote I love

I just found this quote on a blog I've been reading. I think it's pretty spot on.

"The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing; but in our culture, we apply for a curse and reject blessings. Something is wrong with this picture." ~ Doug Phillips


Friday, July 11, 2008

Child Training

Today I've been looking at some websites about child training. It's amazing the differences regarding how families view how children should be raised. I know that when I only had 2 children I viewed child rearing completely differently to how I view it now, with 6. I was very relaxed with 2 and probably let my 2 boys get away with too much. I also worked until I had my 2nd with comes with it's own problems. But when I had my 3rd child I realized that things were going to get out of hand. I think that my boys were good kids but they were very disturbing in church and I wasn't sure how we had gotten in that habit. I resolved that that behaviour had to stop. I'd seen other children behave well in church so I knew it could be done so I put my mind to making the children sit still on their chairs in church, after all they went out with the other kids to creche so it wasn't like they were sitting still for the whole service. I was, I believed at the time, really mean, and it was hard because that wasn't how I wanted to be perceived by my children. I think every mum wants to be seen as a great mum by their children, but my children didn't see me like that at that time. For three long Sundays I consistently made my children sit still with me in church. For three long weeks I wasn't able to enter into worship, or listen to the service, but hey I wasn't able to do that before anyway, as they were mucking up too much and I was constantly trying to shush them (I found it helpful to separate my boys and sit in between them, they still can't sit next to each other after all this time and I also use this technique with my younger ones). Then after 3 weeks I noticed a remarkable improvement. I wasn't needing to keep an eagle eye on them to make them sit still or stop talking, they were actually doing what I wanted them to do and they just sat on their chair. I couldn't believe that I had waited so long to do that! Being mean for 3 weeks was so much better than being stressed and embarrassed for months or even years. I still needed to pull them up but it wasn't hard to do that occasionally and every now and then they'd test the boundaries again just to make sure I meant what I said and I would crack down on them in a second. I was finding that I could be that nice mum again without adding the stressed and embarrassed. I have since used used that technique with all the children and it has been very successful. I just remind myself that it's only a few weeks of harshness compared to the months of my whining and whinging at them. Who listens to a whiner, anyway? I know I certainly don't and it's true with children too, they'll switch off if they're whinged at and it doesn't make for a nice, happy home. But if you instruct your children well to obey you in the first place everything runs much smoother and everyone is a lot happier.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Changes to the Previous Update

I spoke, or in this case wrote, too soon. We're not going to hire the truck for the day, we're getting a container and storing our gear in the container until we get a place to live. It may cost more up front but it is the best way to go in the long run. Then we don't have to worry about how we're going to get our gear from storage, the container will be dropped off for us to unload. It's such a relief to have these details getting sorted out and now all I really need to worry about is being packed on time.

Another Update

Well everything is in full swing here. We've started booking things and with selling the Kia Carnival (which wasn't working) we'll now have enough money to do the move. We still don't have a house but Tim's Aunty has kindly offered her home to us or Tim's brother has offered his tent. Also some family members have offered to have some of the kids for a while. What we're doing is hiring a truck for the day and moving all our stuff into storage up here, where it's cheaper, and hiring an enclosed trailer to take what we really need down with us. Neither of us have ever driven with a trailer on the car so it'll be a really interesting experience. I can still have cleaners come and clean the house, I'm so glad because this house is just too huge for me to clean on my own, even with the kids helping I don't think we could do a good enough job, and the cleaners have offered us a really good deal on steam cleaning the carpets if they do both.

I've had window shopping withdrawals lately because with the cost of fuel I've only been making trips that were absolutely necessary. But on Sunday I did get to go to Kmart. I only got to look at the toys because I took Daniel to pick out something for his birthday and I wanted to get a part of Christians birthday present. Christian's birthday is 2 days after Christmas so I have to think of it now or else I'd be buying it at the same time I'm trying to buy Christmas presents and I probably wouldn't have as much to spend at that time. I know that it's probably not a good time to buy stuff right before we move but by the time we get down to Victoria the toy sale will be over and at the moment the items I wanted are half price. I'm hanging out to go to Fantastic Furniture though. I don't get their catalogue and it's not quite the same looking at the catalogue online. I'm one of those people who is able to get enjoyment from reading junk mail and planning what I would like to get in the future, it's not often I look and get upset that I can't get the stuff I want now. But Fantastic Furniture is on the other side of Maitland, about 25 mins away so I haven't been able to. Maybe when we go down to Victoria as I'm going to have to buy a new bed. I'm still getting rid of this bed so that I can get a new one. I've been waiting for a new one for 7 years and I'm finally going to get it. And I also need to replace the furniture I've given away as we're not going to be able to use the furniture we were going to when we were going to live in that house. I'll enjoy making a list of furniture to replace and then finding out how much it'll cost and then budgeting it. I know I'm sick but it's a little bit of order in this chaotic life.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Update on the move

Hi,

Just wanted to update you all on our situation here. We are still moving but some of the circumstances with the move have changed. I'll start from the beginning....

Originally Tim's sister, Sam, rang with an idea to use our tax money to move back down, without removalists, Just Tim and his dad and a maybe a friend driving a few trucks down. We knew it would be too expensive but decided to look into it anyway so we had the facts when we spoke to her. We were right. It was going to cost us somewhere between $5000 and $6000 plus bond for another house. We just don't have that kind of money and the tax benefit wouldn't cover it either. We were resigned to staying and were about to sign a 12 month lease on this house. That day we had a phone call from a lady that we knew from church down in Victoria, who was giving Tim some web design work. She said that her and her husband had been removalists and could get a good deal on a truck and her husband would help us with the move. They used their contacts and found a truck for $1200. This truck was a lot smaller than the one that brought us up here so we needed to get rid of a lot of furniture, that we probably wouldn't have wanted to get rid of under other circumstances, but these people were also buying themselves new furniture and offered us their old stuff until we could buy our own new stuff. We were astounded and decided to take them up on their offer. We still needed to wait for tax time, but they came back with an offer to lend us the money so we could move down sooner and we could pay them back when our tax money came through. We were a bit unsure and said that we were happy to wait for tax time but they insisted. We organised with Tim's aunty for us to stay with her until we found a house. It's not an ideal situation as she lives in a 2 bedroom unit but she loves having us stay with her and she offered. But this couple from church told us that they wanted to buy a rental property and wanted us to live in it. It sounded perfect but we told them that we didn't expect them to do that. They insisted that they were being blessed by God and wanted to bless us.

The houses that they were looking at were very expensive and Tim let them know that we really couldn't afford any more than we were paying at this house. She said that they would never expect any more. Then they earned a windfall and were able to buy their house and a house for us to live in straight out. We got a phone call saying that they didn't want us to pay rent ever! Wow! And they wanted to put in a pool and a Macca's style playground! What a blessing, but they could afford it now, I guessed. Then a couple of days later they rang back and said that they would need to charge us some rent as the house was going under the business name, but it wouldn't be a lot. We could accept that, that was fair enough, as long as they realized we couldn't pay more that $350 a week. Yep, they said. Then the contracts were being signed and we were being told to hand in our notice on the house. We wanted to wait until everything was through as our whole housing situation was in their hands but under their urging we handed in our notice. We were now 100 per cent committed and had to move or we else we had nowhere to live. The next day we were asked to extend that notice buy 2 weeks just in case everything was not through.

Then a couple of days later we were told that they had to talk to someone who had concerns about their dealings, these people were trying to 'bless' quite a few people and going overboard. They had a meeting with the church leaders as what they were doing was affecting the leadership and they were told to put everything on hold. They rang us and wrongly said they'd had their meeting and couldn't help us at all. You can imagine our surprise as this whole move was happening because of them and we'd made decisions that we normally wouldn't have made under their urging. Tim's dad said they were having another meeting and hopefully this would all be sorted out, although he wouldn't be in this one.

Last night we had another phone call. They could help us move but only after the 19th of July, as we have to hand in our keys on the 21st and have already organised for the cleaners to come in on the 19th that's not going to work for us as our stuff has to be out of here. That means we have to hire a truck that we can drive and take our gear to storage and then have nowhere to sleep while waiting for them to get here. Also, as they're going to hire the truck from Victoria, it's going to be more expensive and her husband will need to charge us for his help now. They would still lend us the money to move and we would need to pay them back at $100 a week, rather that waiting for tax time. Regarding the house, they would still rent it to us at $300 a week on a 3 month lease, after that if we still wanted to stay we would have to pay $550 a week, plus the $100 for the move that comes to $650 a week. That's almost double what we are paying now!

Also they were not going to give Tim the web design work that they had promised, so how we are meant to pay any rent I don't know! Anyway we are still planning on moving but without their help. These people change their minds like they change underwear so we've decided not to have anything else to do with them. Tim won't even bill them for the time already spent on one website, he just won't give it to them. We're thinking of moving our stuff to storage and buying a trailer to take what we really need down. Tim's aunty's offer is still there. We are good tenants so are hoping that it won't take too long to find a house to live in, we'll see anyway.

Yes I am still angry with these people, but what goes around comes around and they'll need to sleep at night with their actions, I can rest easily with mine. We believe that everything will turn out alright in the end, they've just forced us to do something we wanted to do, before we wanted to do it, that's all.

Rebecca

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Morning Musings

It's been a while since I posted but we've been busy packing and the two littlies and myself have had a cold. Now Tim has it. We have just over 2 weeks before we are moving so things are happening fast around here. It's hard to believe that a month ago we hadn't seriously considered moving but in next to no time we will be. We've kind of had to bribe the kids with some pets and new bikes and things like that for them to be as excited as we are. Even though we've only been here for less that 18 months they've grown quite attached to the place. They haven't really made many friends so I would have thought they'd be happy to go back to their old friends, I know their friends and family down in Victoria are so excited for them to be back.

Kahlia decided to make some library bags to sell on the homeschool board for some pocket money and a kind lady has sent her some material to use. She was so excited that she wanted to start sewing straight away, but as I've already packed all my sewing gear she'll have to wait until after we've settled in to our new place. She made a great little one for Christian which I've put some books in for the the car ride down to Victoria.

Christian is right into Thomas the Tank Engine at the moment. He discovered a book first and absolutely loved it, so I found another book and he picked out the Thomas toys out of the toy box and as I was packing most of the videos I found a Thomas video. He's actually trying to say the names of the trains, which is an improvement, he doesn't normally try and say anything useful, it's always gibberish. For Christmas I'm going to try and buy him one of those tables and wooden train sets with some Thomas trains. We have one wooden Lady train somewhere and a figure 8 railroad but it'd be good to have a set place for it on a table. As his birthday is 2 days after Christmas I might buy lots of Thomas stuff for him and give him half for Christmas and half for his birthday. He's also getting into Dora the Explorer. I'm wondering if it'll be easier to teach him to speak Spanish rather than English at the rate he's going.

Kahlia finished netball on Saturday. The next 2 Saturdays there aren't any games on and the Saturday after that is the weekend we'll be moving and her team has a bye so we said goodbye to her teammates. I asked Kahlia if she wanted to go to practice one last time but she said 'no'. Now I'll have to find her a team to play in down in Victoria. I'm not really sporty so I don't know if netball is as big down there as it is here but I want to encourage her to continue. Daniel wants to play basketball and as Elijah was bugging me a couple of years ago to play basketball I'll have a look and see if I can find somewhere for them to play.

Dan's also suggested that we get a drum kit and put it in the garage. I have to laugh at his plans. But if it gets him excited about the move I'll let him dream. I'll look into it but I'm not promising anything. Tim had already lined some drum lessons up before we moved up here so I guess they're hoping to still be able to do that. I'm just looking forward to seeing my friends and Tim's family again.

Tim's brother's wife and kids came to visit us the day before yesterday and it was so great to see them. My little nephew has grown so much and we miss out on all that being so far away from everyone. Plus their girls are close to Kahlia's age and Kahlia really needs some friends that don't make her feel like crap, like her main 'friend' (and I use that term loosely) does. Since moving up here she has picked up a nervous cough and a funny way of making her teeth look like buck teeth. It's hard to see such changes happen and I hope that the move back helps her to get past these.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Need A Break?

I realised last night that I have not had more than a half an hour break from kids for the last 5 months. Rose is 5 months old and the most time I've had on my own is in the bath, but because I can still hear everything that still goes on in the house I don't really count that, and when I've ducked up the shop to get some bread and milk. I left Rose at home once when I took Kahlia to netball practice and 10 mins before netball practice finished I had a phone call with a screaming baby in the background and I needed to rush back home. I think I need to go and see if they still sell those boxes with individual sachets of formula powder and leave her with a bottle and go to the movies on my own. Or go and visit a friend on my own. I'll probably wait until after we've moved to do this though and perhaps organise a girls night out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gone Fishing

Tim went fishing at the beach yesterday afternoon and evening and caught a whole lot of Australian salmon. I think he said they caught the bag limit each. Which meant today I had to cook all that fish. At least the rule is that whoever catches it cleans it, because I'd hate to have to do that. Apparently it took the guys two hours to clean, gut and fillet all the fish they caught. I had so much to cook that I made a quadruple lot of one fish curry and a double lot of a really hot fish curry. I'm giving some of the less hot one to a friend from church and freezing all the rest. I don't know if it freezes well but it won't get eaten in a hurry in this house.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tim's Birthday

It was Tim's birthday yesterday. Because we are so close to moving and are pretty much destitute at the moment he only got a birthday card and a cake. I don't think he was even expecting the card and it was a great one with fish on it, because he is fishing mad. On second thoughts he got to go fishing with the older 3 boys and I think that's a pretty good birthday present and today he's going fishing on the beach with his friend, for his birthday. But by way of actual presents he hasn't received anything yet.

The cake I made for Tim turned out really well. I have this thing for making chocolate curls at the moment and every cake I get to make is an excuse to practice this skill some more. Just before I went to ice it I watched an episode of 'Oliver's Twist' and watched Jamie cook a delicious chocolate cake for Jules which inspired me to do something other than a plain butter icing for Tim's cake. I cut the vanilla cake, that the kids made, in half and put some cream that I'd whipped with icing sugar in the middle and made a white chocolate icing from white chocolate (of course), butter, icing sugar and milk, melted on low in the microwave. Poured that over the top and made some chocolate curls from milk chocolate melted and poured over my marble lazy susan (it's the only reason I keep the lazy susan, I don't use it for anything else). I wait for the chocolate to be slightly hard then use one of the kids plastic ruler to scrape the curls. If you wait too long and the chocolate's too hard then it's harder to make the curls. Then I piled the curls in the middle of the cake and some of the smaller ones were spread around the cake. What a way to transform an ordinary cake mix cake. Everyone wanted seconds, I think I need to start making 2 cakes just for our family if they keep coming back for more.

Here's a photo of the cake I made.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have to tell this funny story. Yesterday Daniel (7) came up to me and within Tim's earshot told me that he didn't talk to his dad as much as he talks to me as he doesn't love his dad as much as he loves me. Poor boy shouldn't have said it where his dad could hear it as he won't let Daniel live that down. He does the funniest things, that boy, and makes me laugh so much sometimes.

Well, even though Tim'll be paying out on the child for the rest of his life, at least we can see that Daniel needs to spend some more time with his dad. They had some good bonding time last night, play fighting with Thing and Hulk hands. I might get Dan to read to his dad sometimes as well.

We aren't doing any formal school work at the moment. We may be moving sooner than we thought so I need to get cracking with the packing. I'm a poet and didn't know it. Anyway the kids loved it when I packed there books yesterday, I'm writing 'school books' on the box so it will be one of the first ones unpacked. The walls are looking bare as I take down the posters and I've managed to pick 5 boxes worth of books to give away (and I haven't even gone through the children's books yet. For the people who know me you know how hard it is for me to get rid of books, the last time I thought I need to cull some books I only found 2 that I was prepared to part with. But I'm trying to be really ruthless and trusting that if I ever want to read these books again I'll be in a position to buy them again. During the packing I found some of my favourite books that I thought I must have lost, my favourite poetry book by A.A. Milne 'When We Were Very Young' and our Tom Clancy Novels. I was so happy. It's worth parting with 5 boxed of books that I haven't read or won't read again to find a handful of ones that are much loved.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Teaching a teenage boy to cook

I'm finding it difficult to adjust to having Josiah (14) cook dinner every night. I thought it would make life a little easier for me, I could bath Christian (2) and Rose (5mths) while someone else does dinner, but the recipes are up in my head so he needs me to tell him how to make whatever's on the menu. I think that after we move I'll have to sit down and write them all out for him. I am impressed, though, it was his idea for him to start cooking dinner regularly in the first place. How many 14 year old boys do that?

I don't mind packing the dishwasher much, but I am finding it difficult to find the time to wash the left over dishes of a night because Christian needs me to sit outside his bedroom door for an hour while he is supposed to be going to sleep. At least he's normally asleep by 9:30pm, Daniel (7) wouldn't drop until 11:30pm when he was 2, and he is slowly getting to sleep quicker. I just use that quiet time to read my book and when he pokes his head out the door I put him back into bed without talking to him. I also find that as soon as I get Christian off to sleep Rose wakes up for a little feed before settling properly for the night, so it's around 9:30 - 10pm before I get to come back downstairs and then I'm falling asleep so I don't feel like doing the dishes or anything else.

I'd forgotten how time-consuming a couple of little ones are. But I wouldn't change it for the world, especially when they grow up like Josiah.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Midnight Ramblings

I'm going to be sad to leave my veggie garden. After all this time I finally have one and I'm going to have to leave it behind. At least I've had a clothes line the whole time we've been here, mind you these last few weeks it's rained so much I haven't had a chance to use it. The last house we rented didn't have a clothes line until the last month we were living there. I've always liked using a dryer but when you have no choice in the matter it changes your feelings. I now use my dryer sparingly, well more sparingly than I used to. That's one thing I haven't made sure of.... that the new house has a clothes line.

At least it's fully fenced. The last three houses we've lived in didn't have a side fence! We've ended up buying star pickets and chicken wire to block the side off and stop little ones from escaping. But think of the vegetable garden I can have on one and a half acres, plus chickens and a dog. I've always said no dogs, mainly because Tim wants a big one and I have enough children to look after without a big dog, but we're getting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (if that's how you spell it). That'll be an experience, I'm not really a dog person so we'll see how it goes. I'm really looking forward to the chickens though. During normal times we go through about 3 dozen eggs in a fortnight. It'll be nice to have some fresh one's from animals that you know are looked after properly and fed the right stuff. I think I'll be so excited that I probably won't even let the kids collect the eggs, and being on an acre and a half I might even be able to have a rooster, so have baby chickens.

So you can see that we're praying hard that everything works out well and that we get this house. The kids are really excited and are even prepared to get rid of some of their junk. It's about time too.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tuna Bake

A friend has asked me to put together all my favourite 'frugal' recipes and this is one that we use all the time in our house. It's my mums recipe for the most part.

2 cups cooked rice
1 large tin of tuna, drained
1 pkt french onion soup mix
1/2 bag frozen vegetable
3/4 cup milk
mashed potato
grated cheese

Mix together rice, tuna, soup mix, milk and frozen vegetables. Spread over the bottom of a lasagne dish. Top with mashed potato and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Cook 180 degrees for 15 mins or until cheese is melted.

I use 3 cups of rice now that the kids are older, to make this go just that little bit further.

Josiah, who's nearly 15 made this all by himself the other night, and didn't do a bad job either. I just forgot to tell him that the rice needed to go in boiling water. Other than that everything was great.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Homeward Bound





Well it's official. We are moving back to Victoria. We don't know quite when but probably in the next 2 months. I'm so excited that I'm prepared to get rid of just about everything and start totally afresh when we get down there.

It's quite amazing the way God works. A friend of ours was looking at buying a rental property a few months ago and asked if we were considering moving down, they would like to rent it to us. But at the time we weren't interested in moving down. Since then our circumstances have changed dramatically and after several months of practically no income last week we started talking about what was keeping us up here and how much easier it would be surrounded by the network of family and friends we had built up over the last 11 years. We still didn't feel that it was really an option to move back down but still looked into how much it would cost.

The cost of moving interstate again was quite horrendous and discouraged me totally but then we were talking to these friends again and they used to be removalists and can help us move down for way less than we could on our own, plus they're still looking at buying a rental property and still want to rent to us, so we'll have a place to live and won't have to go through all the hoops that we went through up here to rent a house (for some reason all homeowners think large families are feral).

While I will be sad to leave the friends that I've made up here I'm quite excited to be going 'home' again and so are the children. They had some really close buddies that have been missing them so much and can't wait to have them home again. Daniel's little friends cries everytime he sees Dan or talks to him on the phone. I still believe that God brought us up here for a reason but I knew that it was only going to be a season (I just wasn't sure how long that season was going to be). We have grown so much as individuals, as a couple and as a family. Starting our homeschool journey in a new state probably made it easier not to quit when troubles came up, going through the miscarriage and realising that my faith in God was just as strong as ever and that's just for starters. Now we have another beautiful baby girl that I just can't wait to show off, in real life, to everyone, instead of emailing photos every week or using the webcam.

Tim has lots of work coming up in Victoria, on top of his Web Design work, so you can see that it really looks like we're meant to be back home. As I said, it's so amazing the way God directs our lives.

I'm also posting some photos of baby Rose. It's about time I managed to capture her beautiful smile.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Homeschooling

I'll now tell you my highschoolers timetable, as I left that out last time.

Daily
Independent reading - Currently 'Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle' by Jim Rohn
Family Reading - Terrestria Chronicles
Copywork - Poem of the week

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Maths (Math u See, 3 pages)
English (Rod and Staff)
Science (Apologia General Science)

Tuesday, Thursday
Zoology (Apologia)
History - Australian
Typing (Online typing program)

Monday
Poem of the Week - (Australian Poets)

Tuesday
Archery
Nature Study - Wonderland of Nature

Wednesday
Arts and Crafts (sewing)

Thursday
French Day (where we try and talk in French as much as possible)

Friday
Catch up (whatever gets missed during the week is caught up on this day)

In his own time he is also teaching himself how to design web pages using CSS and how to set up a Linux Operating System on his Computer. He's doing really well and has some Vista like features working on his old computer, even though it couldn't possibly cope with the actual Windows Vista.

All the kids also have a CHARACTER TRAIT to practice each week
(speaking nicely to the others in the family, this week) as well as a LIFE SKILL which at the moment is cooking.

I use charts that I bought from Currclick to keep track of what the children are doing.

I have to say that even ds14 does copywork as his handwriting is atrocious. Both he and ds11 write really badly and I have put that down to the hopeless style of teaching handwriting that the Victorian Education Department use. Dd9's handwriting was heading in that direction but it appears that I've gotten there in time to save it and her writing is starting to look a lot neater. I'm teaching ds7 the plain old ball and stick method and even after just one year of schooling it's hard to break him out of the style of writing he was learning at school. When he remembers to write the letters the way I've shown him his writing (what little I can get him to do) looks quite neat. I'm looking forward to teaching ds2 how to write, I know I've got a long way to go yet, but it will be interesting to see if he has neater handwriting that his siblings.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Decluttering

Tim asked me to write a list of all the stuff I've gotten rid of this week so here it is:

Cooking Magazines
Puzzles
TV unit
Fan
Evaporative cooler
More puzzles
Blanket box
High Chair
Change table
Old golf clubs
Stereo Speakers
Turntable
Bedside tables
Amplifier
2 Small bookshelves
some baby girl clothes
some baby boy clothes
some boys size 4 winter clothes
about 1/2 my baby toys

I've had interest in :
Dishwasher
Washing Machine
TV
a single bed matress
Children's chalkboard/easel
more bookcases
bikes

and there's still more to come as I go through each room and see just what we really need to keep.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My little cuties






I know I've already posted but I just have to add some gorgeous photos.

Clutter

This week we have done hardly any bookwork but we have done some major decluttering. Flylady (I love Flylady) tells us to break it into zones or rooms but I'm afraid I just jumped in and offered a whole heap of stuff on Freecycle. Most of it had stuff in it which I now have no homes for but it's amazing how much stuff we have collected over time, from even before we were married.

I've been contemplating why we've been hoarding, I have a real problem just getting rid of stuff. I always think to myself that we might need it someday and in some cases we do, but in the majority we don't. I think our hoarding problems come from FEAR! Fear that we'll go without, Fear that we won't be able to replace what we get rid of. I mean my 7 year olds drawers were breaking with all the clothes he had in them (they're mostly handmedowns) and yet I found it really hard to cull his clothes. Even now after one culling and getting rid of three really huge bags of clothes after the baby was born I need to do more. I have clothes in my cupboard that I absolutely hate, but I'm AFRAID that if I dispose of what I don't really want my wardrobe will be bare. I have furniture that is falling apart or is really old that I don't get rid of because it was mine when I was growing up, but it is past it's usefulness. I'm still keeping some clothes that my children will grow into, but I'm being very select and only keeping 6 of each item, that allows a little room for new clothes. Whatever I can't give away on freecycle with go in the skip in a couple of months or, if it's still good, will donate to the Salvo's. We need to deal with this fear and realise that God is providing all our needs, as He tells us in His Word.

I've also come to realise that with 6 children I can't keep going the way I've been going with our routines, basically there are no routines (well we do have some, like lunchtime and morning tea and afternoon tea. Didn't you know that children's internal clocks go by how empty their little tummies are?) Bathtimes are sporadic, when I remember, or they're just plain dirty. I can't remember the last time I told them to brush their teeth, and we know they won't do it without being reminded. They go to bed at a set time but as to whether they get their pj's on after dinner or just before bed, well who knows from one day to the next? I'm tempted to only cook slow cooker meals so that our dinners are at a decent time and our oldest doesn't need to grab a sandwich before he heads out the door to youth on a Thursday or Friday night (plus he might actually get the dishes done, or at least the dishwasher packed). I know my mum probably had a good routine when I was growing up, she had 5 children and I don't remember it being as chaotic as my house is now, but I seem to be a 'learn by your own mistakes' kind of person. I am more organised now than I was when I was younger but I've still got a long way to go.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

On Men (particularly my husband)

I believe I have some serious spiritual issues with men, because my dad walked out on us when I was something like 5 years old. I'm constantly amazed that I actually found someone I trusted enough to marry. (Actually I don't think I really trusted him until we'd been married a few years, but once I said yes I couldn't go back on my word :) ) I look around at my friends husbands and wonder what they see in the guy. I may get on with them and perhaps even be friends with them, but marry? I was extremely blessed by the fact that my mum ended up remarrying when I was 12 and the man brought me up just as he would his own daughter.

I've been thinking about my dh. I think he's a really nice guy. Not so good on the housework side of things, but very caring and a great dad. We've got six kids and he's not afraid to take all five of the older one's out all by himself. Because of his outward demeanor most people, especially employers, think he doesn't care. He has a really dry sense of humour that even after 10 years of marriage I couldn't tell if he was joking or not (I'm not so easy to trick now), but I think that carefree demeanor is covering the fact that he cares too much.

And to top it all off God has given me four great boys.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Recipe for cinnamon scrolls

I've been hankering for some cinnamon scrolls and so looked online for some recipes. I've run out of eggs once again, as it's 2 days to payday, but everything I read needed eggs, so I decided to adapt all the recipes and make my own.

I used a basic scone recipe (from my mother's old Commonsense Cookery Book) and rolled out the dough into a rectangle shape about 7-8mm thick. I poured a couple of tablespoons of melted butter over it and brushed it all over the dough, then sprinkled sugar and cinnamon. Then roll the dough up and cut into 1-1.5 cm slices, laying them flat on a greased tray. Cook in a hot oven 220 degrees Celsius for about 12 mins or until golden brown on top. Top with runny icing made with icing sugar and boiling water and eat while still warm. They turned out fantastic.

I made a quadruple batch and used half to make pizza scrolls, well cheesy scrolls as I just use tomato paste, some herbs and grated cheese and cook the same way as the cinnamon scrolls.

I just want to tell you a funny story about my recipe book, which is very old and worn. I used to use this at home all the time while I was growing up and when I was in high school they brought out a new version. I bought this for my mum for Mother's Day, thinking that my mum's book was worn and old and that the new one would have even better recipes. My mum then let me have the old one and we put it away for when I moved out of home. I have to tell you, I hated the new book! The recipes just did not turn out the same as the old, tried and true ones. I think I got the best end of the deal and I still use this book the most. If I had to get rid of all my recipe books and keep two they would be the Commonsense Cookery Book and the Women's Weekly The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits.

Recipe for Red Spaghetti

This is almost like the tinned spaghetti you can buy, except nicer and also because I have such a large family those tins just don't go far enough. I use double the ingredients and have some left over for toasted sandwiches.

1 packet of spaghetti, cooked according to instructions
1 440ml tin of tomato soup
2 tbsp condensed milk

mix all together in a large saucepan on medium heat until warmed through.

How easy is that. My ds14 made it tonight all by himself, he just needed help draining the spaghetti.

Growing Challenge

I haven't done much in my garden so far this week, but my little peas are growing. I was a bit worried because they're in the shade pretty much, so we'll see whether they actually fruit (or in this case vegetable). My seeds are starting to sprout. Each day I go out and check to see just how much they've grown. It's amazing how excited I am over some vegetable seeds, but I've been aching to start this garden and now that I have I just want them to grow so fast. I have parsley growing in a styrofoam box but I never remember to use any in my cooking, that is my next goal. To actually use what I'm growing.

Now about my wooden palette garden bed. I've been given about a dozen wooden palettes, the kind that come with deliveries in factories, and I think I used 3 of them for 1 garden bed. I knocked the palettes apart using a hammer and actually used a circular saw to saw the thicker pieces of wood about the length of the width of 3 pieces of timber (if you can understand that). These are what I used in the corners and in the middle of each side. The ends are the length of one piece of timber from the palette and 3 pieces high. The sides are the length of 2 pieces and 3 pieces high. I was also going to recycle the nails and reuse them but I found them a bit too blunt and as I'm a weakling it was easier to use brand new nails. This was the first time I'd used a power tool other than a drill and I think it took me about 15 mins to get the guts to make the first cut :) but it was exciting.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Why I Homeschool (well, one reason)

A reporter questioned why people felt the need to homeschool and I commented on her blog and thought I'd include my comment here.

You wrote “On the surface home schoolers have admirable goals. But are these children getting a realistic picture of how society works and what will be required when they are adults and have to study, work, follow a routine, be punctual, cope when things don’t go their way and deal with many different personalities?”. I would like to tell you of my child’s picture of how society works from his experiences with school. Right from the word go, at every single parent teacher meeting the teachers would say the same thing, that he struggled to concentrate, seemed immature and lacked focus. This was said about a five year old who picked up reading and ran with it and raced to the head of the class in 2 weeks. In 3rd grade his teacher moaned and groaned about how he would have to repeat if he couldn’t concentrate and knuckle down and do his work. By the end of that year he started being very depressed and yet I felt the only option was school and encouraged him every day to do what he could. In grades 5 and 6 nothing changed, his teachers had the same comments to make and no-one could come up with any strategies to help with the situation.

Then came high school. From the very first day he had problems. He was the smallest kid in the class and was made to feel it. Every day he came home with a new story of how the other kids hated him and bullied him. His locker was broken into and he was constantly being threatened with violence. If this was in the real world we would go to the police and charge someone but at school the only recourse is the teacher whose hands are tied. We had the usual parent teacher meetings in which the teacher encouraged him to join clubs to get to know the students but these were the same students who bullied him. It was getting to the point that he was constantly sick with fear and missing a lot of days, then he was talking about mental institutions and suicide. There was only one way this was heading and that was downhill. I now knew how those kids that you hear of committing suicide or killing their class mates felt, the same way my son felt. It was heartbreaking and something needed to be done. The day he talked to us about suicide was his last day of school. We tell battered wives to get out of their marriages, why do we let our children stay in school when it could be just as abusive an institution as marriage can be?

I have since brought all my children home from school and the difference in all of them is amazing. The others were never in the same situation as my eldest and seemed happy at school but at home they have just blossomed. In regards to what they study each school teaches differently and the government can’t seem to make up it’s mind what curriculum they want taught anyway. I know because I’ve had 4 children at school and not one has learned the same thing in the same grade. The work I expect is of a high quality and I teach my children a love of doing their best, not just enough to pass a test. We do have a routine. I think every family with children at home has to have one otherwise our home life would fall to pieces. As to being punctual I can’t say that school ever taught me to be punctual, that is something I need to relearn with each child I have. And coping with things not going their way and dealing with people with other personalities are basics that are taught in any well balanced family and not taught in school where we are taught to conform and go with the status quo.

Our days are filled with things that we love doing and people we love to spend time with. Isn’t that the best environment to learn in?

On children

I just wanted to get this off my chest so bear with me while I rant a little.

The other night I was chatting to someone I know. There's no need for names, I still love this person but boy did she get to me. I was asked if I was going to have more children. I hear this all the time and most of the time I say: 'We'll see.' It's just the easiest answer I've found, something so noncommittal seems to appease everyone and as I get asked this over and over again and it's really no-one else's business....Anyway, I said that this time and instead of backing off this person, with only 2 children, says: 'Are you serious?'. I said I was and told her a few of the main reasons why....

When I only had 4 children I viewed my children pretty much the same way as the world sees them, you need to have some but your real life is with work, husband and friends and you try and make your children fit into that. They can be a real pain in the neck, I used to think and even though I knew that the bible said they are a blessing I never really felt it in my heart. When number 4 was about 4 years old God started to speak into my heart and I felt that we were doing our children a disservice and I started to see them for the blessings they really were. But something else, I realised just how precious our children are in Gods eyes and that He made us to have lots, yes He did. He doesn't get things wrong. There was no "Oops, I forgot to make their bodies so that they only have 3 kids!", there was no "Oh, no, I wonder how they're going to fit on this planet in..... generations?". He said: Go forth and multiply.

Another thing is that we stand in church, crying out for God's blessings but reject the ones he wants to give us by limiting the amount of children we have. Now I know this is controversial and I don't have the answers for if you risk your life in childbirth or you can't have kids, but I'm not trying to force my opinions on anyone else but myself. But if I'm asked what I believe then I will tell that person. She said, "Don't be offended, but....." along the lines of that we need to be responsible and make sure that we can feed and clothe our children and provide for them properly, without the aid of Centrelink. She works 35 hours a week and has 2 jobs, which I don't have a problem with. But thinking that I could possibly have my say seeing as I let her have hers I said that I wasn't offended but I thought differently. Yes we need to be responsible but our society has been set up with the destruction of the family at the very heart and that it was a crime that she had to go out to work at 2 jobs to make ends meet. (I didn't say she was committing a crime). I also said that I felt that I was neglecting the well being of my family by going out to work. I didn't say she was neglecting her family, and I'm not just speaking out my arse (pardon the slang), I've been there and tried to work with 4 children and had a breakdown because I felt guilty the whole 7 weeks I was there. Well that was it, she got offended at me! I wasn't allowed to get offended when she basically called me irresponsible but she was allowed to get offended at me when I tried to have my say too.

I ended the conversation pretty quick after that. It was late and I was tired and didn't want to get into it, but it has been bugging me. I know people don't agree with what I believe and I don't agree with what they believe but common decency says that if you're allowed to have your say isn't it fair to let the other person have theirs too?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Growing Challenge


I found this great blog that encourages people to grow their own vegetables from seed, even if it's just one to start with. As this is very close to my own heart I'm joining in and will blog about my garden at least once a week.

Last weekend I planted out my pea seedlings which I grew from seed in fizzy drink bottles as well as planted carrot, parsnip, lettuce and silverbeet seeds into my veggie garden. I've also planted onion seeds in the drink bottles. This week I hope to plant some broccoli seeds. Hopefully I'll be more successful this season as in spring I had a lot of seeds come up but they didn't survive to be big productive plants. I need to keep ds2 away from them, he absolutely loves playing in the dirt with my seedlings. Some of the seeds that I planted last week are starting to come up already. I was a bit worried because in winter this garden doesn't get much sun. Next week I'll take some photos of my garden with things growing in it. as well as my pots with my apple trees and rosemary, parsley, strawberries, lemon tree, boysenberry, chillies and mint.

I hope to have 2 or 3 more garden beds like the one in the photo soon. It's made from old palettes that were given to me by a friend as well as sheep manure and straw. I have only bought soil for the top half of it so I can plant seeds such as carrots and parsnip which need to be planted straight into the ground.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weekend Musings

Our first week of our new schedule worked out really well. Unfortunately I was sick on Thursday so we didn't have our first French Day. I was looking forward to that as well. Ds7 says that he doesn't want to learn French and won't speak it but I told him that I was going to speak it to him anyway so he would need to learn it to understand me. He's a funny boy. Dd9 knows the first stanza of My Country just from using it as our 'Poem of the Week' and copying it for copywork. I was very impressed.

I've had kids doing bookwork at 5:30 in the afternoon this week. I normally have them finishing up at around 2pm whether they've done their work or not but I've decided that it's not my problem if they muck around all day because they really only have a couple of hours of book work to do a day (if that).

Ds14 has cooked dinner a couple of times this week. He complained that he was sick of finding my hair in the food I've been cooking. It really is falling out at an alarming rate, probably because of the financial stress we've been under since the beginning of the year. So I told him that if it was such a problem then he could do the cooking and so that's the way it's been most of this week.

I made 'Surprise Golden Syrup Dumplings' for dessert last night. The surprise is a piece of chocolate in the middle of the dumplings, in this case white chocolate. Yum!!

Our little girl, who is 4 and a half months old, is starting to roll over, though she hasn't done it while I am around. She lifts her head off the ground all the time though, as though she's trying to sit up. She must have a strong neck. To all those soon to be mums that are contemplating a sling or wrap to carry their baby in I encourage you to do it. For Ds7 and Ds2 I wanted a sling but just never got around to getting one but for this dd I bought a ring sling off Ebay and it's great. I wish that I had gotten one right from the very first child I had. And the wrap is just a 5 metre piece of stretchy material cut in half lengthways. I love them both, they are both useful in different situations. I use the wrap when there's a lot of walking involved, like going shopping but the sling is good when there's a lot of standing or sitting, like dd9's netball game. I get so excited whenever someone tells me they're pregnant and I tell them that they've got to get one.

I'm thinking of putting dd4mths cot in with dd9 so she can sleep there during the day and early evening so I might actually be able to watch tv of a night in my room and have the portacot in my room for during the night. She's getting too big for the bassinet that she's in now. They grow so fast, but we wouldn't have it any other way. It's amazing how that even with a sixth baby everything they do is so new and you just never get over how much they grow and learn.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mid Week Catchup

Well we've started our History subject yesterday and it went well. I've had to scrap our reward system because the kids took advantage of it. I had initially said that for every subject that the kids did they got 15mins of computer or TV time and if they got everything on their timetable done then they could have unlimited time in the afternoon. But as usual it worked for a little while and then somehow two 5 minute subjects turned into half an hour of computer time and then the half and hour of computer turned into the rest of the day....so now they will work until they've finished.

As I've also cut down how much of a particular subject they're doing throughout the week it seem to have refreshed everyones outlook towards their book work. I'm still concerned about ds14 and the fact that he gets sidetracked so easily and ends up getting nothing done. I may have to put a desk in his room and make him stay in there to do his book work alone. I don't like doing that, I like the fact that we're around each other as a family. We'll see how he goes with the rearranging of him timetable this week.

I couldn't believe that yesterday I did read-alouds for about an hour and a half! Somehow Tuesdays have ended up being our reading day, with Astronomy, History, Family Reading and Nature Study all on the one day. Next week I'll need to remember to do half the reading before archery so I'm not doing it all in one hit. Not only is it a bit hard for the children to sit there that long but it's a bit much for my throat, to keep reading aloud.

I've bought a schedule organiser from CurrClick called 'Joyful Steward' and it has sheets to print up for the children that includes what subjects they are to do each day and what jobs and also their reading schedule for the week. It's our first week using it and I love it already. Now if only I could get myself more organised, though I must admit that if I was as organised as I am now when I only had one child life would have been so much easier then.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Our New Timetable


Well tomorrow we have our first sewing lesson with someone from the homeschool community. Sewing lessons were meant to start 2 weeks ago but I was sick and then last week we both forgot. The children couldn't wait for me to start lessons with other homeschoolers and have already made a few items. Dd9 has picked it up and run with it, as usual, she is such a joy to teach anything. She makes an honest effort at anything she tries, unlike the boys. But even my boys wanted to learn sewing and have made little pillows each. Next we'll try a small bag, if I can get my act together. Plus it's hard to sew with ds2 around, climbing on you or the chair you're sitting on. Actually it's hard to do anything with ds2 around, he's always after something, a cuddle, food, drink, drawing on the kids school books....

I've been doing some reading and have decided that I need to keep a journal of what the kids do each day, including incidental learning, to practice educationalese. We're not currently registered, but just in case I need to get registered in a hurry I need to be able to say what we learn each day besides our subject checklist. My problem is that I'm just not consistent and with 4 children to write about it's not a quick thing to do. I'm also cutting down the amount of work that we do each day, because there's so much I want to do and I just don't have the time to do it with the workload we already have. So instead of Rod and Staff English everyday it will be 3 days a week, Apologia Science will be cut down to 2 days a week. Maths will be 3 days a week but 2 sheets each day instead of one. This will open up some room for our 'Poem of the Week' and copywork. So our timetable will look something like this:

Everyday

Family reading (Terrestria Chronicles)
Individual reading (1 chapter of individual book)
Music practice
Copywork of 'Poem of the Week'

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
English (Rod and Staff)
Maths (Math u See, 2 pages a day)

Tuesday, Thursday
Science (Apologia, Exploring Creation with Astronomy)
History (Our Sunburnt Country)

Monday
Poem of the Week (Banjo Patterson)

Tuesday
Nature Study (Wonderland of Nature)

Wednesday
Arts and Craft (sewing)

Thursday
French Day (We try to say what we know in French)

Friday
Music Lesson

I still need to incorporate a writing program, at the moment I'm favouring 'Writing Strands' though I haven't bought anything yet, and I'm thinking about adding 'Wordly Wise' to my ds14's timetable. The above timetable doesn't include him as I'm still trying to sort out his workload.

P.S. I forgot to include that we've been doing a Language program for French but I'm not happy with how we've been learning, or not learning it so I'm thinking of having a 'French Day' with which the children learn some of their favourite questions, like "Can I have something to eat?" and "What time is it", and use them throughout the day. I'll need to remember what the answers are, it's been a long time since I learnt French, but they'll also learn things like please, thankyou, their numbers, yes, no as well as how to tell someone their name and ask how they are.

Orange means it's been amended