Friday, 2 October 2015

A Week with Only Our Littles

Last week was an unusual week due to an unprecedented event, the only children we had at home were our youngest two, who are 4 years & 21 months. Our middle four children were away visiting Grandma and cousins and whilst our adult daughter and nearly adult son were in residence, the focus was on our littles. 

To adjust to the sudden loss of the majority of playmates we added some 'extras' to our week.  We participated in a Lego competition

and enjoyed a morning at a local park in town. 
We slowed down and concentrated on our little ones and experienced rather a relaxed week.

It was a gentle rhythm; we baked cakes, played playdoh and went for walks in the bush. 

In some respects it was 'more work' as I was the 'entertainment committee'. I had to fill the space of several playmates and provide direction in a way I haven't had to do since our first two were little. 

In other ways the older children and I murmured to one another several times in shock; 
"the house is so quiet, it stays clean, cooking for six is a breeze (only 1.5kg of spuds)."
Bass too is an easy child to life with; he focuses on tasks for hours, puts away his toys when finished, happily cleans up when asked, generally is mellow.  A gentle, co-operative, sweet lad.  

It's amazing how much effect personalities have on dynamics. Even our wild, independent lass was much calmer this past week. 
When out and about we were aware we looked like 'older parents'  with our 'pigeon pair,' it was surreal. In some respects if felt similar to when we had just our first two, who were 20 months apart, and in other ways it was vastly different, we have a lot more 'life experience under our belt' now.  

We enjoyed this special time with only our little ones. 
Though we were equally happy to welcome our middle four home again.

Friday, 11 September 2015

This Week in Learning: September 11th, 2015

As I reflect back on this term I'm extremely happy with the progress made; not only in academic skills but lessons learnt about consistently completing tasks.  It's certainly been the best term we've experienced this year.

One week until the holidays, planning a little something different for the week, perhaps quizzes and competitions; a Spelling & Geography Bee, an essay competition etc. Confident the children will enjoy a fun, competitive approach.

Speech Therapy
Remember we were given three weeks of homework instead of weekly lessons, well we're due to go back for a follow up lesson next week and we've done one practice session, yikes, not good.

  • Maths Online -  Michelangelo is making solid progress in his maths studies. Princess worked solidly the first week, not so much the second. Jelly Bean is still struggling to progress past her 'stuck point,' Jack Jack zooms effortlessly through his maths lessons and Jem is determined to gain Platinum level for each of his topic areas.

Michelangelo read Critical Thinking 

Princess making great progress on her Spanish studies and has encouraged Jelly Bean to also join her in learning how to speak Spanish. 

Using passages from Peter Rabbit for copywork. Have returned to using Startwrite as I can quickly prepare passges and the children are finding it helpful to trace the dots and to have starting dots. For Jem in particular Startwrite has been a 'game changer,' he has gone from hating handwriting to enjoying it.

  • Princess tested on 20 words from 'Spelling for Secondary Students' did well. She also completed a couple of Spelling Wisdom lessons. 
  • Michelangelo is still struggling to 'get to' his dictation lessons. Haven't found the 'solution' yet. 
  • JB and JJ have been consistent in completing their dictation lessons using Spelling Wisdom, I'm happy with their progress. 
  • JB and JJ recited poetry pieces from memory and 'filled in' missing emotive words.
  • Have been working on Sentences with the M&Ms. Various types of sentences and how to strengthen our sentences. Working on changing 'loose' sentences to 'periodic' sentences, first having to determine the main idea in each sentence to then be able to change the phrases about. Very effective and our teens can see the difference it makes to change to a periodic sentence. 
Composition/Creative Writing
  • JB and JJ writing short essays weekly, not showing any enthusiasm yet;)  
  • Michelangelo and Princess' Precis Writing exercises are tying in well with their grammar lessons on sentences. We've been focusing on the main sentence and the supporting sentences.  
  • Princess essay writing style is most engaging, she has talent.


  • I have been reading daily, poems from A Child's Book of Verse to the younger children this Term and with consistent increments we have read our way through the entire book!
  • Princess and Michelangelo consistently reading Four Corners, a volume of Australian and English poetry.
Family Read Alouds
John and Nanbaree - Doris Chadwick -  With JB and younger boys, all engrossed.
The Borrowed House - Hilda Van Stockum - Begun reading to our teens.

Science Read Aloud
Under 11s
Benny's Animals and How He Put Them in Order - Millicent Selsam
A First Look At Bird Nests - Millicent Selsam

Geography Picture Books
Lightning Jack - Glenda Millard - Horse fantasy
Hello From Nowhere - Raewyn Caisley - Little girl living on the Nullarbor

Picture Books
Scarecrow's Wedding - Julia Donaldson - Sweet story, true love and bravery
Stuck! - Charlotte Calder - Fun story
The Windy Farm - Doug MacLeod - Excellent story about wind farms!
The Bravest Knight - Mercer Mayer - Simple fun
Let's Go Visiting - Sue Williams - Basic, repetitive story

Read Alones
Michelangelo Read:
The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
The Citadel of God
Science Matters (a few chapters)
A Writer's World: Travels 19-50-2000 by Jan Morris (a few chapters)
Beginning Apologetics Set (a few sections)

Princess Read: 
Seven Little Australians - Ethel Turner
Crystal Snowstorm - Meriol Trevor
Calico Captive - Elizabeth George Speare (half)
Story of the World Vol 4  (a chapter)
Where is That in the Bible? - Patrick Madrid (a chapter)

Jelly Bean Read:
Betsy Tacy (a few chapters)
Little Pete Stories
Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories (couple of stories)
Beastly Tales - DK Reader(half)
Animal Hospital- DK Reader
The Wright Brothers - Quentin Reynolds (several chapters)

Jack Jack Read:
26 Storey Treehouse - Andy Griffiths (a few chapters)
Dodsworth in Paris (a few chapters)

Thursday, 10 September 2015

On the Board Walk

Prior to demolishing our old laundry a few weeks ago, PC began laying piers for a new section of verandah. Thus far we've laid three sections of our verandah; the end, the front (22m/72ft) and the deck. It was now time to complete the section in front of the 'old house,' bringing the total of the front verandah to 40 metres (131ft) in length.

Once the laundry was removed PC could then lay the bearers

and joists. 

With the help of visiting friends, the joists were completed in one weekend.

The children were so excited to begin the task of laying the decking boards and 

thus began a couple of weekends of selecting timber, 

measuring and cutting to size

and spacing and screwing down. 
The first weekend the younger boys as well as the two girls stayed on the task for hours, 

by the second weekend, it was a Dad and girls team only, (with a little help from Mum) 

Six years ago we selectively logged timber from our land, we then milled the timber ourselves (hard, hard work) and sent it to town to be finished. We still have a couple of piles of timber left and a couple of sections of verandah to complete.

We are using Ironbark, a species of hardwood timber which is white ant resistant, a necessity in this area.  

Laying the boards is a four step process; spacing, marking holes, drilling, counter sinking and then screwing. 

By the end of the weekend the boards were all laid and we were racing to beat the sunset.

Just the way PC wanted to spend Father's Day, quality time with his girls, working together, creating memories. These girls of ours, 13 and 11, they worked all weekend and didn't stop until dark

Another section of verandah completed:) 
Next task is to replace the old posts (on left) with new posts to bear the weight of the new roof trusses.

Once the trusses are up the roofline will run continuously and externally it will no longer appear as old house, new house but one house.

*Sharing over at the Builder's Wife

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Our Lads Make Their Sacraments

Yesterday Jack Jack made his Confirmation

 and Jem made his First Holy Communion. 

To receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is such a blessing 

and as our Bishop told the children, in the times ahead they will need to be brave. 
Michelangelo on the right who was fortunate to Serve for this special occasion.

Jem was so excited to receive our Blessed Lord for the first time

and is keen to receive Him again soon.

Our Bishop has now Confirmed seven of our children. 
Yesterday was the Birthday of Our Blessed Mother, hence blue vestments, not the usual red for Confirmation. 

Anna Maria is godmother to both the boys, so it was extra special she was able to be with them for the big day. Sadly their big brothers were not able to make it home for the event, though they were there in Spirit. Carpenter who is Jem's godfather is keen to see these pics, as is Einstein:)

Jack Jack took Pius (Pius X) as his Confirmation name, big shoes to emulate.  
What an incredible Saint he is!
JJ is looking happy and relaxed however he was incredibly nervous beforehand, thankfully we made it through.

Jem's pics cause me to smile, this wild larrikin was so serious in all his photos. 
He received Our Blessed Lord most reverently and I'm assuming it was still serious business afterwards. 

All together minus our two oldest lads, who were there in Spirit. 
Most disappointed to realise I didn't get photos of just PC & I with our Sacramental boys.
Just love Bella in her party dress and boots. 

May the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Graces of Our Blessed Lord 
strengthen our lads in their walk with Him.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Instagram Tour: Australian Outback and Out West

I'd love you to join me for an instagram tour a follow on from our blog tours, it's time today to have a visual fest. Whilst I read/follow a variety of blogs and instagrams I'm particularly drawn to some more than others, which I'm certain is the same for most of us, why some blogs and instagram accounts strike a cord more than others I can't say, but that's just how it is. Join me today as we visit with Aussie mamas who live in the Australian Outback and Out West.

From The Verandah

Ainsley at From the Verandah lives in Central Queensland with her husband and six children on their family Station where they run cattle. Due to their remoteness Ainsley is homeschooling her children via distance education. I just love seeing pictures of the children working the cattle and riding their horses, living in surrounds quite different to mine. Yet we share similarities too, belief in family working together and commitment and love for our families.  Ainsley shares extra glimpses of their life on instagram at McArthur Team

Katrina Keough
Katarina at Katarina Keough lives in Central Queensland with her husband and four children on their cattle Station. They live remotely and therefore homeschool their children via Distance Ed. I love seeing pictures of Katrina's family working together with the cattle, kids on motor bikes and Katrina's stunning close up shots.

Blue Mountain Life
Mel at Blue Mountain Life lives in rural Queensland with her husband and four children on a cattle Station where they breed waygus. They too ride horses and work hard as a family together.

The Shady Baker

Jane at The Shady Baker farms in Outback New South Wales with her husband and two children. She chats about outback living, baking sourdough bread, cooking, growing veggies and teaching her children via distance education. I also love her photos which she shares on instagram.

Ravendale Park
Lisa at Ravendale Park and her family farm on their family's sheep property in the Riverina, NSW. Lisa's photography is delightful and I particularly love her nearly daily sunsets.

Journey Tribe
Rachel at Journey Tribe lives with her husband and five children on their sheep property in North West NSW. I just love Rachel's photography, always such a diverse range of pictures, her eye sees 'things' that I'm sure I'd miss, so creative.

Sophie Isobel Asher

Sophie writes at Sophie Isobel Asher and shares further pics on her instagram account, Sophie Isobel Asher. Sophie lives with her husband and daughter in Mildura on the Murray River, NSW. She writes about growing her own veggies, baking bread and upcylcing. She also conveys her pleasure for the simple delights in nature and life that are to be found if we only look.

Em & The Wild Things
Em at Em and the Wild Things lives with her husband and two children in the central west of NSW. Emily's photography is totally captivating and inspiring. Children, grass, flowers, she captures the everyday in a way I hadn't thought of before.

Eight amazing women, do pop over for a visit.
Do you follow these ladies? Do you have any other Outback, Out West instagram accounts and blogs to recommend?