Monday, June 17, 2013

On Holding Pattern..

It's probably very obvious by now that this blog is losing its momentum - I mean, three posts in three months - yeah, pretty obvious.

Basically, life is a bit 'off' right now and I am not feeling the 'urge' to share much any more.

So, please consider this my goodbye for now. Not forever, just a holding pattern until I feel a desire to either close off completely or continue/start up again.

For now I will be leaving my blog up, as I know that quite a few of my past posts are still getting quite a lot of hits.

May God bless you and keep you all.

And remember - Life is what you make it...so make it one you love!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Not often heard in other houses...


conversations not often heard in other houses...


"If you continue that, you won't be allowed to play with your bloody brain!"


"Where has that other pelvis gone?"


"Kidneys are NOT for throwing at your sister please!"


"Why haven't we got our intestines yet?"


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA




*note - no,  the first wasn't cursing at anyone, we really do have a blood covered brain......

Friday, April 5, 2013

Conversations With Dragonetts

We are currently assisting Dragonett Lad to become toilet aware, so we will usually give him the choice between jocks or nappy. He was positive that he wanted to wear jocks out tonight, so we explained the expectations of that choice.

I *might* have been expressing my opinion a little TOO much, when he pinched the bridge of his nose, squinted his eyes shut and said

"Mumma, shushing is good, my brain needs the thinking time"

LMAO!! Sorry love!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Light Bulb Moment...


We were at violin today and the teacher asks Dragonett Lass to play something she played perfectly a year ago. Dragonett Lass put her violin down and simply said "I don't want to do violin any more, I want to quit" and that was that! Out of the blue!! Didn't want to discuss it, she had said what she wanted, that was that.

So, of course, I wanted to find out what was up. We left our lesson early and while we were in the car getting our usual Saturday After Violin Treat, we talked about what happened.

Now, some background here - I have been more and more convinced that Dragonett Lass has some sort of learning difficulty - she really seems to struggle with retention and recall with her reading and writing.

Well, today.......

We chatted about why the sudden change in violin and the following comment confirmed my thoughts..

"Mumma, I play one song and it's fine, but as soon as I have to play a different one, it gets all swirled in my head and all the notes get jumbled up. Then I don't know where they go! I hate it!"

then I asked if anything else felt like that...

"Yeah, just like when we do homeschool work"

uh huh! Knew it!

Okay, so what now..............................................?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Things you never thought you would say #264537


How many times can one say "Where have you left your brain today?" and actually mean it?




Home made "Coco-Pops"

Home made and healthier version of "Coco-Pops" or "Coco Puffs"

Almond Milk
Raw Honey
Cacao powder
Brown Rice Puffs

Add to taste, mix and serve :)

Yummy and Healthy as well!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Director in Development...

We recently downloaded a new iPad app called Storyrobe for the kids to play with. 

As the link explains, it's an app that helps to create movies and short stories - you take photos, edit and sort and then narrate  - at the end, you have a short stop movie.

Well, it has been a FABULOUS hit here, with both the Dragonetts taking photos on our new iPad and narrating them.

But we never got to a full movie before........ today that is!!

For it's Premier Viewing, we present to you, Dragonett Lass's First solely directed, written, illustrated, filmed, and narrated masterpiece....

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Taking a very short break...

When the Black Dog hunts, I go to ground.

So as my mental health is kicking my butt at the moment, I am logging off and taking a break.

Take care and Bless those you can.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Blog Post Repost - Home Schooling

I'm starting a new section called "Blog Post Repost" where I will repost a blog or blog post that I feel really comments on something I feel is important.

This one is from Authentic Parenting 

No Education? Comment Turned Post

which was a response to this blog post.

Why we Unschool

Very cool reading on yet another home schooler's perspective

Monday, February 25, 2013

Excitement Abounds.....We got a new Microscope!


Our local University has recently upgraded their science department and were selling off their old stock. One of my home schooling friends found out and (thankfully) let us know that they were selling off microscopes!!

Now, we scored a microscope from our Rummage Sale a while back, which Dragonett Lass loves, but it was a dissection microscope, so while really good for looking close up at things like bugs and leaves etc, Dragonett Lass REALLY wanted one that looked at a more deeper level like blood and saliva.

So to find this out was great!! Did some quick research and decided that the $130 was worth it. So put in our order....

Got our new microscope today  - to say that Dragonett Lass was excited would be a massive understatement, lol. We got a compound Binocular Microscope.

So far today, we have looked at blood, sap, saliva, hair, tears and water (thank goodness our old microscope had spare slides) Dragonett Lass is completely fascinated!




But...... (there always seems to be a 'but', doesn't there...lol) Dragonett Lass turns to me after the blood slide and says ...

"How can I see the actual cells up closer?" 

uuuummmmmmmmm, explanation follows, which some how ended up with me promising to look into how we can see even closer to the cellular level.......

lol, the things us home schooling parents do! :D

Dragonett Lass has also asked if we can find her a teacher for Sciences, so we are now going to go on the hunt for a tutor/teacher for biology.

We are certainly powering along here...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Listening to Children Play

It is SO interesting to listen to children playing families. We currently have Dragonett Lass's best friend over for the night and they are playing "Grownups" or "Families" or whatever they are calling it today :D

Dragonett Lass is pretending to be the Mother and her friend is pretending to be a 'grownup teenager" BWAHAHA - is there even such a thing?? LOL

 They are playing in the other room and I hear my daughter saying ...

"I understand that you are feeling XXXX..." 


and 


"I acknowledge that you are saying XXX..." 


and lots of 


"Do you need some time to yourself to organise your thoughts?"

and finally

"Sweetie, sweetie, you are totally allowed to feel that way!"

LMAO!! Do you think she has heard it once or twice in her life?? :D


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Our Day in Pictures



Jigsaws = shapes, colours, problem solving, Geometry, team work, patterns and boundaries


Water Play = cause and effect, volume, mass, engineering, co-operation, team work, temperature



 AAhhh precious sleep = relaxation, recharging for all

Angry Birds = fine motor skills, cause and effect, physics, concentration
 Science experiment = cause and effect, chemical reactions, results, collaboration, hypothesis 

heehee Vintage Mixer = free + sell my nearly new one = more $$ for us and a better mixer LOL

One very busy day, but most of all...

= FUN!!



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Buzz Lightyear Pants.....SUCCESS!!

I'll let the photo speak for itself!! :D




edited to add - link to previous post - An Upcycled Buzz Lightyear

An Upcycled Buzz Lightyear

I recently bought a wicked bargain - a Buzz Lightyear embroidered doona cover (or duvet/quilt cover) from an Op Shop for a total of $3!

Now Dragonett Lad loves Buzz Lightyear and has been "reminding" me about making it into pants for him since he first saw the doona cover!

So tonight, I finally got a chance to try out my new Burda Pattern no 9822 - not incredibly easy as I had NO idea what they were going on about with the cargo pant pocket (ended up doing my own thing LOL) but overall, so far so good! 

One Pant leg became the new home of the embroidered Buzz Lightyear while the backing of the doona cover became the rest of it.

Buzz Lightyear Upcycled size 3T Pants

With heaps left over to make a shirt as well as have some pictures left over for applique!

Having a BLAST sewing right now!! *happy dance*

I haven't tried them on him yet as now it's 4am, but first thing tomorrow and I'll get photos to prove it! LOL!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Busy is the life of the Home Schooler

There are a few questions that are constantly asked of home schoolers and they can be sometimes the most annoying. I can totally understand the questions most times, but it can still be annoying and occasionally, even insulting. 
If you ask out of true and honest curiosity, no home schooler will ever begrudge you a true and often indepth and lengthy (lol) answer. But ask out of ignorance and scorn or mocking and you will get the same back.

The most common one - and I'll stake a $100 meal on this - is...

 "How will they (the kids) be socialised?" 

That question always brings to mind for me, children shut up in a 1800's School Room at the top of a Country House, hidden above the servants, being taught by a Governess, rarely to be seen by 'real' people.... LMAO!!!

and the second is

"Who teaches them?"

Um.... I do? lol

So instead of the usual explanations that I give, I will just share how our week has been going.

So far this week, we have been to Violin class, church, lunch with family, op shopping, normal shopping, playground, Monarto Zoo, Girl Guides, went to a trial class for Calisthenics  played with friends and we will be going to the markets, doing some clothes shopping for a Special Dinner Dress for Dragonett Lass, have some friends over for a playdate, go to evening Friday night church, start dance for the term and then we are back to violin lesson again. Then, on top of that, we did our normal schooling work, violin practice, played outside, did our science experiments, animal care, house care, family care stuff..... and this was a quiet week as well because I had a migraine and was out of commission for two days, so we missed Craftie Day with friends and we also missed going to a new home schooling group with other friends.

It's a struggle to find a time when we are at HOME, let alone avoid any social situations where the kids might be socialised - LOL

Into this, we want to figure out where to fit in language lessons, martial arts, swimming classes, not to mention things for Dragonett Lad as well, also not forgetting all the different homeschooling group activities and catching up with schooling and non-schooling friends - all without overwhelming and burning out the dragonetts. 


lol - a tired little person there

I will say this - I am an Introvert with social anxieties and Prosopagnosia/Face Blindness, so for me, home is safe and comforting and where I want to be. But I have two very extroverted children who thrive in being out and about with friends and people, So yes, the social question DOES have meaning for me. I do worry that I'm not helping the kids get enough social time and adding in the loss of our friend at the beginning of last year, which has done real damage to my kids and me, it all something that can have the potential to keep me up nights.
So I do work hard to make sure that my kids are happy and have friends and social situations and play. It does affect me negatively sometimes and we will have days where we cut all contact off with the outside world and just hunker down and have family time. Because to my thinking, I am just as important to this family as the kids are and MY need for privacy and alone time is just as important as the kids need for social interaction. 

But for the most part, we have a very full and rewarding social life.

And as for the second question - most of which I covered in the top half, all I will say is this - my kids will learn, because they are in a loving and supportive environment with parents who want the very best for their kids, both for now AND in the future.

And for those not on my Facebook - here's a post I did on the way back from spending the day at Monarto Zoo...and yes, they were in the back, playing these after spending the day walking around a MASSIVE plains Zoo (and on a hot day too - whoops, we didn't realise it was going to be over 35! LOL)



QUESTION 1- You have a choice, which would You choose? 

About 40 different games, ranging from mildly educational to Angry Birds to playing with photos....

OR

an interactive app on Mitosis aimed at highschoolers/uni students.

THEN remember that you are 7 years old.....

GO!!!!!!

QUESTION 2 - all the same games and apps of fun 

OR

an app on frog dissection aimed at high schoolers

Then remember you are 3 yrs old

GO!!!

LMAO!!! But remember that by home schooling, I am damaging these kids and they will not be able to function in modern society......... HAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!



LOL! Forgive the last comment, I was told that by someone recently and it made me lol then and now! :D

The iPad Apps that are mentioned above and always in use here are - 






Both are firm favourites!

So next time you meet a homeschooler and those questions are dying to be asked, just remember, they might not even have time to explain what they do!! 

Hahaaha!

Anyway - Here are a few photos of our day at the Zoo!



 



We asked the Dragonetts what their Favourite animals were and Dragonett Lass answered the giraffes of course. Dragonett Lad was silent so we prompted him with some of the animals we saw that we thought he might have liked - rhinos, lions, meerkats, chimps - all the usual kid favourites. He just looked at us like our heads were covered in slime - lol. Very thoughtfully and with great consideration, he finally answered....

The Mongolian Horses!


Aawwww, that's my dragonett!!


In other news this week - a small visitor discovered while tending to the animals...


Can you see it??

What about now?? SO CUTE!! Tiniest Mantis I have ever seen! Very cute!



And it was my FIL's birthday recently and I wanted to do more than just the usual chocies or DVD or wine - so I made a few things. After I made and then hated what I had made (heehee) I then decided to make him things to go with Wine and Chocolates.... 

I loved the Wine Bottle Jacket and will be making more of those, but I wasn't that thrilled with the Car Caddy, but I hope that FIL does :D




Dragonett Lass's knitted violin bag finally gave up the ghost and unravelled, so at 11pm (who am I kidding, that's my NORMAL start-to-sew time LOL) I decided to whip her up a new bag for her books... came out lovely!!


And finally - I have FINALLY gotten photos of my latest Freecycle gift of my Fowlers Jars - Over 200!!



All I need now is some more sized 14s and a bunch of 3s and I'll be set!! YAY!!

Until next time - stay safe, stay happy and stay blissed and bless those you can!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Greenhills Adventure Park

It was the First Day Of School here today, with everyone heading off to their different classes, tears and nervousness for the youngies and anticipation for the experienced schoolies. School holidays had ended and now it was time to go back to books and classrooms and learning.....

NOT HERE IT WASN'T!! 

LOL

Nope, we headed off to the local amusement park - Greenhills Adventure Park - one of the parents in my homeschooling group had organised a day there.

We had a BLAST!! I haven't been there since I was a little girl myself, Dragonett Lass has been with the Grand-dragons once before and Dragonett Lad, DragonPapa and of course Hatchling had never been.




The Dragonetts have made us promise that we will go back again soon - I told them as soon as I can walk without collapsing! (Lots of stairs and paddle boats and stairs and walking and stairs and did I mention the stairs? LMAO)

Now THAT is how we spend OUR First Day Back At School!! YAY!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Zipper Monsters So Far.....

I have managed to make three zipper monsters so far - One for Hatchling, one for Dragonett Lad and one for Dragonett Lass.


So much fun to make - will now make some for the Dolly Drive - People who are making dolls and toys for hospital children's wards - TSL Dolly Drive 2013

Online tutorial and printable pattern shapes from /hill.yeah/ - Tutorial: Munster

They are really easy to make and for me, they were my first zipper AND my first slippery stretch sewing as well. 

The stripy one was my first try and both the Dragonetts argued over who was getting it.... so I suggested that I could make them their own - and off it went! lol


Dragonett Lad requested two eyes and arms - I had some space fabric left over from his tote bag that made a fantastic monster!



Dragonett Lass requested wings instead of arms on hers



Not only that, but they are fantastic scrap users and the very best bit??

The Dragonetts LOVE them!!!

So WIN all round! :D


Back in the Swing

We are finally getting back on track with everything.

After the horrid horrid past couple of years we had recently, we are getting our feet back under us and moving in the right direction for our family. 

We have changed from a totally Natural learning family to a little more of a school at home type now. Last year, we really fell behind the 8 ball - what with everything that was going on - so now, we have some catching up to do.

We have started by working in book work - Dragonett Lass now has worksheets that we do every day which covers reading/writing and math. We will be expanding that to cover more topics as she gets used to the routine.

We have also implemented back into our lives more science experiments - we have really missed those!!

We are also looking more at documenting everything more as well as part of our projects - loving project books at the moment.

But for our First Official Science Experiment, we chose to do Borax Crystals from Club Chica Circle






Can't wait to see how it turns out!!

After just a few hours, we can already see something happening. 

And as we were watching, we could actually see the borax bubbling up and moving up then sinking back down.




As an experiment in our experiment - we tapped the side of the Pink star to shake up the sediment - we want to see what happens if we interfere.

Looking forward to tomorrow!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A New Crafter Has Been Born...

Dragonett Lass has been requesting to sew on my sewing machine. 

She has been practicing her hand sewing, but like everyone, wants to play with the big toys :D 

So I have been keeping an eye on Ebay and Gumtree and Freecycle for a simple sewing machine for her to use, but no luck :( 

So it was with great excitement last week, when I went to my local Spotlight and saw that they had Elna Mini's reduced down to $59!! 

I grabbed the mag (for the $10 discount) and raced on up, only to find they were sold out. 

 Name on the wait list and today..... *drum roll please* 

 WE GOT THE CALL!!






She has already had a play with fabric she chose and purchased herself (very pretty too I might add!) and she even did her practice sheets.

We will be doing daily practice until she 'passes' and earns a certificate of completion! We are going to make a big deal and invite my parents and do a proper graduation ceremony - LOL - should be a BLAST!!

Can't wait to see what Dragonett Lass' creates in the coming future! :D


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Budgets and Money

I love working out Budgets - not that I stick to them all that well - LOL, but I do like working them out.
Since I posted a snapshot of my budget so long ago, I have had repeated requests to explain it in more detail. I have also done quite a few friends budgets on this spreadsheet as well. Recently, I had a friend ask me for a copy of it for her own budgetting uses, so it was the push I needed to finally finish it off and post here.

Budget Page 1

Budget Page 2


Keep in mind that I have not covered every bill possible. This is simply an example of a budget. You need to think about every single thing you need to pay for in an entire year...

health, cars/transportation, household bills, credit cards, loans, pets, kids sports, haircuts, clothing, rates, study, work related, grandma's loan - everything and anything!! It is better to be prepared than to get that shocker surprise bill or struggle each week wondering why it's not working!!

and write it all down!!

Work out what dates the regular bills/expenses are due - is it a particular day? Week? Month?

Then enter them all in a spreadsheet page with their due dates and amounts - I like to put down HOW they are paid as well.



Bills Dates Due
Rent Fortnightly $50.00 BANK
Car Loan Fortnightly $50.00 BPAY
Personal Debt Fortnightly $50.00 TRANSFER
Internet 1st $50.00 DDR
Cable/Pay TV 1st $50.00 BPAY
Lawnmower Guy 1st $50.00 Transfer
Other Loan 1st $50.00 Transfer
Home & Contents Ins 9th $50.00 DDR
Income/Health Ins 13th $50.00 DDR
Mobile/Cell Phone 19th $50.00 TRANSFER
Home phone 25th $50.00 BPAY
Credit card 28th $50.00 TRANSFER
Car Insurance 28th $50.00
Power Quarterly (10th) $50.00 BPAY
Car Rego Quarterly (11th) $50.00 BPAY
Drivers Licences Annually $50.00 CC
Pet rego and Licences Annually $50.00



Then work out when your pay comes in (finish the day BEFORE your next pay – ie – you get paid next on the 15th, so your pay cycle finished on the 14th)

01/01/2013 (to 14/01/13)

Then work out in a spread sheet what bills will be coming in during that pay cycle – example – Home and Contents is due on the 9th of each month, so it goes in there.


01/01/2013 (to 14/01/13)
Rent $ 50.00
Car Loan $ 50.00
Personal Debt $ 50.00
Quarterly Bills $ 50.00
Internet $ 50.00
Cable/Pay TV $ 50.00
Lawnmower Guy $ 50.00
Other Loan $ 50.00
Home & Contents Ins $ 50.00
Income/Health Ins $ 50.00  

I also work out what my quarterly and annual bills are and break them down into weekly/fortnightly/whatever cycle you have, payments and put that in, so that I have the money available when that bill is due (stashed away in a bank account or under the mattress, whatever)

Then on page two of my spreadsheet, I work out how much money I get per pay - this is where you can put in one or two or three or however many incomes you receive, so if you are an dual income household or have income from different areas, this is simple to add or remove

Normal Pay
Hour Rate Hours Days Total
$10.00 8 10 $800.00
$800.00 $20,800.00 gross
Tax
$35.00 $765.00 $19,890.00 net
$ 100.00 Extra Income
$865.00
Normal Spreadsheet math here, but quickly for those who are unfamiliar -

On your Totals section, place an = and then select your hourly rate, place a * for multiplication, select your hours worked, place a *, then how many days worked and place another * then enter.

Looks like this – (remember that your numbers and letters will be for YOUR spreadsheet data, these are simply an example)

=D7*E7*F7

On your main page (see below), you have a section for the total amount due (in red) and a section for what’s left over – or in our case, our living on money (food, petrol, clothes, etc- in yellow

We worked out that we needed $300 (as an example) for a paycycle for food and petrol and entertainment, etc, BUT many people prefer to have these actually budgeted into their budget, so go with what YOU feel is best.

We went this way because that amount was flexible for us – if we got a smaller pay, we felt that our bills were more important than having money for entertainment or doing a full shop – those things could be negotiated, but you can’t really negotiate your car insurance LOL. 

So make sure that EVERYTHING you feel is needed is budgeted for. 


01/01/2013 (to 14/01/13) Notes
Rent $ 50.00 Paid
Car Loan $ 50.00 Paid
Personal Debt $ 50.00
Quarterly Bills $ 50.00
Internet $ 50.00
Cable/Pay TV $ 50.00 $ 565.00
Lawnmower Guy $ 50.00
Other Loan $ 50.00
Home & Contents Ins $ 50.00 $300.00
Income/Health Ins $ 50.00


To work this out, you need to know how to use a spread sheet – assuming you might not, I’ll explain briefly

For the Total bills section (in red) you can either...

place a = sign and then manually select the fields you want to include (simply click on the one you want to add up) and place a + between each one.

It will look like this - –(remember that your numbers and letters will be for YOUR spreadsheet data, these are simply an example)

=C5+C6+C7+C8+C9+C10+C11+C12+C13+C14

then simply press enter.

or you can use the Auto Sum. I find mine at the top right of my action bars. Looks like a letter M on it’s side.

it will then look like this -

=SUM(C5:C14)

either way, whatever works best for you.

For working out the Living Allowance/Left Over Amount Section (in yellow) - 

place a = then go to page two, select/click on the Total Amount section ($865) and place a minus sign – then go back to page one and select the Total Bills section (in red) and press enter

It will look like this

=Sheet2!H18-Sheet1!F10

That then will give you your Living allowance/left over amount and will automatically change if you need to alter any of the bills in the future (say if a bill is higher or lower or even a once off payment needed, etc) and will also change if you need to alter how much money you receive as well.

Then, simply go to the next paycycle and start again (you can cut and paste a lot of it, so experiment)
.
01/01/2013 (to 14/01/13) Notes
Rent $ 50.00 Paid
Car Loan $ 50.00 Paid
Personal Debt $ 50.00
Quarterly Bills $ 50.00
Internet $ 50.00
Cable/Pay TV $ 50.00 $ 565.00
Lawnmower Guy $ 50.00
Other Loan $ 50.00
Home & Contents Ins $ 50.00 $300.00
Income/Health Ins $ 50.00
Surplus $ 35.00
Dedicated Savings $ 10.00
Savings (moving, xmas, annual, car, kids, edu) $ 10.00
Left Over (savings/debts?etc) $ 10.00
15/01/2013 (to 28/01/13)
Rent $ 50.00
Car Loan $ 50.00
Personal Debt $ 50.00
Quarterly Bills $ 50.00 $ 565.00
Mobile/Cell Phone $ 50.00
Home phone $ 50.00
Credit card $ 50.00 $300.00
Car Insurance $ 50.00
Surplus $ 135.00
Dedicated Savings $ 10.00
Savings (moving, xmas, annual, car, kids, edu) $ 10.00
Left Over (savings/debts?etc) $ 10.00

Now see how my Surplus amount (in BLUE on my bills list) is different from the previous paycycle? 

In our budget, the Living Allowance/Left Over Amount stays at $300 (as an example), as that is our set Living Allowance. 

Anytime that increases (due to there being less bills due or less money needed that paycycle), we put the extra in a Surplus account for those paycycles when money might be a little tight, or when cars need emergency repairs or dental work needs paying for – that sort of thing. 

It’s our “wiggle Room” amount. If you adjust that amount, it will alter your end results (in yellow).

Then, simply work your way down the page and budget for as long as you think you want to. I generally have about a year budgeted for at any one time.

I hope that all makes sense!! If it doesn’t, feel free to let me know, okay!