Friday, June 27, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
History - Australian
Typing (Online typing program)
Poem of the Week - (Australian Poets)
Nature Study - Wonderland of Nature
Arts and Crafts (sewing)
French Day (where we try and talk in French as much as possible)
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
Old golf clubs
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 :
a single bed matress
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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
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.