Dec 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I posted the following on a homeschooling forum today - and I thought, hey, what a good thing to pop on my poor neglected blog. It's a short and sweet wrap up of our year that was - hope your year went well too. xoxo

"Well, so long 2010, it's been nice knowing ya, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

This year has been, well, just another year, really. It's our second year of 'proper' homeschooling, and I feel like I both found my stride and lost my way a little - I think we've got a good routine going, and I'm happy with my overall curriculum choices, but I think now that Miss6 is almost 7 I need to be introducing a bit more work that requires her focussed attention and I'm not totally sure what direction that will take us. The down side is that as the year progressed, I've been letting the laptop draw my attention away from the kids during the day and consequently I've been 'reactively' parenting - putting out fires, yelling and generally not being on top of my game. I need to be more disciplined in this and not turn the computer on during the day, and also start the day in prayer and be mindful about what we're doing that day as a family with each member's needs in mind (including my own!)

In non-educational spheres it has been the year when my (probably last) baby turned into a toddler, my toddler turned into a little girl and my little girl turned into a big one! I am both sad and happy about all of those things. Merl got made redundant and started a new job, and we bought a second car to accomodate that, with all it's accompanying repairs and expenses. I've also finally decided to get rid of my saggy tummy and get some real exercise on a more than sporadic basis.

At the end of this year, I am thankful for my Saviour, my wonderful family, my good marriage, and the freedom to homeschool! :heartshape:

So how has 2010 been for you? Good, bad, scary, challenging, indifferent?... Here's your chance to say goodbye to it all, and no matter how your year has been, what is something you are thankful for?


Jul 31, 2010

Nope, we're not dead

That's right - still in the land of the living. Life is pretty full around here and blogging has taken a back seat (which, with a people mover, is a loooong way back).

Some of the things taking my attention and energy at the moment are

the kids
Of course. Beautiful, smart, funny, engaging, energetic, hilarious and infuriating by turns, my babies take up by far the most of my time. And most days I love it. At the moment I'm using a more 'Classical' approach to the education bit, and it is working well - it satisfies my own need for actually feeling like we are 'doing something', but because it is very literature based it's not boring worksheets or make-work and the kids like it. Miss6 is still the only one I really require to do any work, but Miss3 hates to be left out and begs to do maths too... so what's a Mum to do, except bring out the flash cards for her too? MrBaby will be Mr1 next month. Boy has the last year flown by!

If you mosey over to this blog you'll find our local home education support group. I've been neglecting this blog in order to look after that one.

And I recently somehow found myself on the committee for the National Council of Home Educators. Which has been kinda busy this last couple of weeks with lots of adminy type stuff.

And that's about it, really.

See you next time!

Apr 17, 2010

A spot of gardening - sowing winter veg

Well howdy folks, long time no see!

Our little MrBaby slept ALL NIGHT last night! (perhaps to make up for not sleeping at all - okay, perhaps for an hour or so - the night before!). Even so, I have a little bit of headspace to be blogging.

Aren't you lucky?

I thought I'd do an update on our garden.

Having completely neglected my veggie patch (and all the rest of the garden) in order to pour my energy into the baby and his sisters for the last 7+ months, I had the urge to get my hands dirty a couple of days ago.

So while Miss6 sat inside reading a book and MrBaby had a wee sleep, Miss3 and I sallied forth.
First, we took a couple of days to double-dig the small garden patch, incorporating the manured straw from the chicken's coop into the top-soil. If I was tougher and more dedicated it could have been done in one day, but I'm not. Big deal.

Meanwhile, I looked up the gardening book to see what would grow as a winter crop in our climate. The answer? silverbeet, cabbage and cauliflower. Excellent. I have seeds for a variation on that theme, so I set them aside and went back to readying the patch.

Once the soil was well dug and raked out to a (relatively) fine tilth (not anally retentively fine - but not too lumpy either), I marked it out into square-feet.

I'm using the 'square-foot' approach instead of the 'rows' approach. The idea is to plant out the veg into little blocks of plants. You can fit more into the patch, and it's better for soil health and weed control than having great stretches of bare earth open to the weather. Anyhow, I've never quite managed it before, so I figured it was worth a crack.

The patch is about 12 square feet, so I planted out 6 this week and will plant the other half in a couple of weeks to give a bit of a succession for the winter, instead of a glut (I hope).

So far I have 2 types of silverbeet (swiss chard), red cabbage, green cabbage, pak choi and kale

Now all I need to do is remember to keep it moist.

And find some way of keeping the chickens off it.

Feb 6, 2010

Radio interview with Haami Sam Tutu Chapman

While folding my epic pile of laundry this morning (5 days' worth = lots and lots), I was listening to the Waitangi Day broadcast on National Radio. Kim Hill was hosting the show from a tent in Waitangi and her interview lineup was particularly interesting this morning.

Her interview with Sam Chapman was remarkable - not just because of what he had to say, but because Kim (who can be frightfully abrasive and intolerant of views that clash with her own) was a gracious host who let him express himself without talking over him.

Haami (Sam) Tutu Chapman is a youth and community worker based in Otara, Auckland. Earlier this week in the New Zealander of the Year Awards, he won the Local Hero category. This interview contains one of the clearest pictures of the gospel of grace that I have ever heard. I wish I had the courage to follow his example more closely.

The morning's lineup can be found on the Radio New Zealand National/Saturday page - just make sure you're looking at Saturday, 06 February 2010

I'm not sure if this will work, but I'll put the Sam Chapman interview mp3 link here. Hopefully you'll be able to download the podcast directly. Yes, it is 43 minutes long, but you'll be left with a warm glow inside.

Now, I know that they only keep some interviews on their site for a couple of weeks, so if you want to listen to it, get in quick :~)

Feb 1, 2010

Welcome to 2010

Things are kinda crazy around here - not sure how much blogging will get done as I try to work out my new routines with home educating a 6 year old and a 3 year old while dealing with the ever-changing routines of a 5month+ teething baby!

For those who know me IRL, I still keep up with facebook. For those who only know me here then do feel free to keep checking back in every so often - I'll try to post something at least monthly (but no promises!)

have a lovely year!


Dec 19, 2009

pik n mix

I thought I'd do a quick catch up on the last month's events - how the baby is doing, happenings in the land of home education, what actually happened to our Jesse tree...

Okay, so, the previous post was all about how I was going to be super-mum and bake cinnamon ornaments every week for our Jesse tree. Yeah, well. It turns out that super mum doesn't actually live here after all! Who'd a thunk it?

So instead I printed off the ornaments and readings from this site, laminated them for future use, drew an outline on a big bit of paper and voila - this year's Jesse tree. Not too shabby, and a whole lot less stressful. The plan is that by next year I'll have a fabric tree with velcro dots all ready and waiting. But we'll just see how that goes, won't we?

Here's our wee fella. Just too cute for words. I'm starting to wean him off sleeping in the front pack. My body is too decrepit to carry him around 24/7 and my knees have been protesting for a week or so, and now my left hip is giving me gyp about it, so it's time that he learnt to sleep in the bassinet during the day and not just at night. Sadly, he doesn't think so! Yesterday worked out well, with him even resettling himself for one sleep - an hour and a half! But today he thinks he should be asleep on ME and is very indignant about being put down in another room. He'll get over it. I'm surprised at how much more energy I have from not carrying 6.5kg of baby around all the time. But I'm also a bit sad that our snuggly newborn has moved onto his next phase already.

Here are his big sisters reading him stories while he couldn't care less cos he's in his Jolly Jumper! I must remember to pack it for when we are up north these holidays. Miss5-and-almost-6 had the idea to read to him first, and deliberately chose a babies' story about animals so that he would find the experience educational. Miss2-and-almost-3 is 'reading' aloud her favourite Hairy McLary book for him, because anything her sister can do, she can do too!

Which brings me to the next photo. Miss5-and-almost-6 found that the grapes we had bought at the supermarket had seeds in them, and wanted to plant them. So she carefully spat out the seeds, got some potting mix and little pottles and planted them all nicely somewhere outside. Miss2-and-almost-3 clearly couldn't see the point in messing around with potting mix and little pottles... or even in removing the seeds from the grapes. And she figured she'd try it with tomatoes too.

Our last stop on our photo tour of the month is the not-class photo of the home educators group that I belong to. We got together at one of the local parks for a picnic and mess-around, and to take a photo of everyone who made it that day.

If they look a little droopy and bedraggled it's because they are. It poured with rain the whole time, just clearing for about 2 minutes during the photo-taking before bucketing down again. It wasn't terribly cold - just very very wet. Thankfully there are little shelters with roofs and seats for us mums to sit in and keep ourselves, the food, the bags, jackets and shoes, and MrBaby dry. The kids loved it. It's not often they get to play outside and get soaked to the skin, warmish rain being very unusual here.


Nov 27, 2009

jesse tree

Advent is nearly upon us and in place of the standard store-bought Disney-branded advent calendar we're going to do a Jesse tree again.

We did this last year too, but it would appear that I completely didn't blog about it! How about that.

From one of the numerous sites about Jesse trees
The Jesse Tree is a centuries-old family Advent devotion that has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in recent years. It has particular value since it helps both kids and adults alike to locate Jesus, the Messiah, within the lineage of the shepherd boy who became King of Israel--David, son of Jesse.

The whole idea of the Jesse Tree comes right out of a classic Advent passage from the prophet Isaiah: "A shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit" (Isaiah 11:1). The Jesse Tree is hung with ornaments representing Old Testament people and events and lead up to Jesus. The traditional symbols hung on the tree are based on the genealogy of Jesus as reccounted by the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.
A selection of sites about Jesse trees, including some where you can just download and print out the various symbols:
Jesse Tree-an Advent Tradition
Download Jesse Tree Ornaments
Jesse Tree Advent Custom
Jesse Tree Instructions
Making a Jesse Tree

We're planning to bake our ornaments out of gingerbread-man dough and hang them on a branch. Only time will tell if we're actually organised enough to do this! :) The first baking day will be tomorrow, and we'll do a week's worth each Saturday. Worth a shot.

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