Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Growing Up and Facing Fears

I am super proud that in the last few days my kiddoes have surprised me by making in roads into facing two of the Nicholls' chillun's biggest fears...well E3 doesn't really fear anything much so he wasn't so surprising.

O7 and C5 went biscuiting withe daddy today at Lake Karapiro...and both LOVED it. E was happy to go for lots of rides in the boat and went for a wee biscuit paddle in the shallows. Now we just need to get the heads under the water more frequently without screaming and we'll really be on the way.
They must have been spurred on by their fear gfacing last weekend when all four of the rascals willingly patted uncle D and Aunty L's doggies...not just any wussy little things but two fully grown Bull Mastiffs and bouncy Golden Lab.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Random Thoughts

I was at a children's event with the kids two weeks back and it hit me...the whole thing was about control.

The kids were playing ball games in the hall, and everytime they changed the rules or were spontaneous or inventive they were subtly and not so subtly brought back into the "game". Then they had to sit in age groups and were praised for sitting so quietly and still, and then they had to walk in lines to another room for another activity. Once again, praise was given for being "so quiet and good". Prizes were given to the kids who sat up nicely and answered the questions with succint and desirable answers. Then it was craft time, which was well planned and lovingly organised...but everything was precut and pre painted and the kids just had to stick on the odd bit of fluff or googly eyes.

Afterwards I got chatting with another mum who began with, "You are the lady that homeschools eh". Turns out she is thinking of pulling her 5 year old out of school...and the reason?
"ECE is about the child, school is all about the system".


Books I have read this week and recommend:

All This and a Bookshop Too - autobiography by Dorothy Butler
Adventures of the little Wooden Horse - Ursula Moray Williams
Tashi (beginning chapter books) - Anna Feinberg
Green Knowe books
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznik
Beatrix Potter - A Life in Nature - Linda Lear
Food INC - companion guide to the movie - series of essays - some better than others

Where do 17 year old boys who work at McDonalds part time get enough $$ to buy noisy turbo cars and then waste all their petrol revving them outside my bedroom window???

What is up with the weather???? Last week I was seriously thinking of putting the fire on and this week there is a freakin' heatwave.

A- final grade for History of the World. Learnt heaps...shouldn't care about the grade but I do...

Almost got the 2010 ch-ch-ch-ch-changes this space...nothing startling really.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Anyone who knows me well knows that patience is not one of my defining characteristics, neither are spontaneity and risk taking

However, at the moment J and I are in a period where potential changes loom upon the horizon.

It is hard to balance being sensible and wise with taking chances and my mind the sensible always wins out...but should it?

Cryptic we, don't we...where is God and faith in all of this?

Is now the time or should we hang in a bit longer with the status quo.

What will remain...our commitment to home seeking to push against the tide of understanding that there is One who goes before us, beckoning us to follow.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Gift of Time

As I read this post today at The Elephant's Child, I was reminded once again of one of the primary reasons we have chosen to home educate the rapscallious rascals. a hurried world filled with endless amusements, distractons, activities and busyness, homeschooling allows our children time...

Time to just BE...time to read a novel for hours on end...time to dig in the garden...time to sit quietly and think...time to negotiate and form strong relationships with siblings...time to look at an earthworm burrowing...TIME...

I love this quote from RL Stevenson...

Happy hearts and happy faces, Happy play in grassy places--
That was how in ancient ages, Children grew to kings and sages.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Six month check in

Wow...I realised I hadn't blogged for ages but it's been six months...

Notable mentions:

We have had 5 birthdays... I am officially nearer 40 than thirty, and J is straddling the middle line...A and C are now delicious 5 year olds...can't believe we have made it...and our lovely, rascally E is now three. We are out of the baby stage and almost out of nappies...yeeha.

We have completed the hallway and spare room of our house...I just have to hang the curtains and door of the spare room. Lounge is also completed, bar new carpet which we can't afford yet...and thought it prudent to wait until E is totally accident free in the toileting department.

Educating at home is a blessing for our family as the kids grow up together and learn together. O has been studying Ancient Egypt and knows waaay more than the rest of us about pharoahs and mummies and egyptian gods. He is a maths whizz and is persevering with spelling and writing, in between heaps of real life adventures and challenges. A and C are remaining at afternoon preschool two days a week with E for the remainder of the year. E is settling in well at preschool and is full of beans.

J and I are busy preparing for History exams in a month...and I still have an essay on the American civil war to prepare. Jamie now knows all about plagues and pestilence and my knowledge of world history is becoming more organised. Next year I am thinking of studying medieval history and Jamie is tossing up further History, English or Pscychology. I am studying purely for interest and to try and keep a wee bit ahead of O's voracious learning appetite, and J is working to complete his long neglected Arts degree.

I have joined the gym in an attempt to get more physical strength and stamina, have some me time and help maintain my mental health as marginally sane. I am really enjoying the weight training and combat, pumpo and balance classes...runningon the treadmill and the cross trainer...not so much fun.

I have been reading a strange mixture of books...including Chrysalis by Alan Jamieson, and The Shack by some guy...followed up with Why we Are Not Emergent...By Two guys Who Should two guys who should be. I am enjoying the continual rethink and stretching of my mind about religion and faith. I am one of those strange Christians who has a conservative theology but struggles with the evangelical church and its outworking of faith.

I highly recommend two autobiographies I have recently read. Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Scott, and Kate Adie-The Autobiography-The Kindness of Strangers.

I would add some pictures...but to my horror it appears we haven't taken any for months either...must remedy that.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rainbow Sweater

Quick Knit Sweater for Miss A4
Pattern is here

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Anzac Day

We read "Why We Wear the Poppy" and I cried when I thought of Mrs Mackensie learning of her boy Jock's death. I tried to explain to my boys how hard it was to think of them going to war.

We read about Sir Charles upham and C4 asked me "Were the Germans the bad guys mummy?" So I tried to explain how in World War II the Germans had a leader who was a very bad man and that not all Germas were baddies.

We watched a movie about the River Plate and the children asked "Why are they blowing up the ships?" and "Did the people on the ships die?"

O7 read about WWI in his Horrible Histories and learnt about the events leading up to the Great War, and he was confused by it all. I tried to explain about why people start wars and fight each other...but it was too difficult.

My boys love their army men and often stage battles. I hope they never have to be involved in the "real thing"...but if they do, that they would be brave and honourable defenders.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blog Catch Up #84

I seem to be all feast and famine on the blogging front. It is really because I really can't be bothered continually uploading and fiddling with digipics all of the irritates me immensely. So every now and then I bite the bullet and realise I have 300 pics on the camera. Then I look at them all and realise that I have to share some of them...or lots of them as the case may be.

Seeing as this blog is our only current photo album and record of our day to day cominfgs and goings I do want to keep u0pdating it...however sporadically.

So once again here is an influx of new posts. See you again in a month or two




It's a Bugs Life

Shoes and Socks

I do love Mary Jane's and handknitted socks. Makes me think of Amelie.

Can you put these on the blog Mum?

Why, but of course I can put these on the blog!


When the Cat's Away

What does everyone do when mummy's swanning around the Capital with her mind-twin?
They make crazy straws, and "the cross that Jesus died on" and rumble on the couch.

Monet Masterpieces

I hve always loved fine art and studied art history at university. I want the children to grow up with an appreciation of art and artists. Periodically we create our own copies of famous artworks following the model of art students in times past.


E2 has a complete adoration of anything that moves or moos. Take one sunshiny summer day, four eager kiddoes and begrudgingly include some overpriced animal feed and voila...a fun day had by all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Still here

I'm still here.

Life is busy and hectic asusual. Kids are great, J is great, I'm getting there.

Notables of late:
Winter vege garden is in, hoping it's even half as prolific as the summer one.
Kids are checking monarch caterpillars every day for chrysalis, swan plants are almost stripped bare, hope they turn before the frosts come.
Spent a fabbo four days in Welly with one of my besties...cafes, craft stores, Monet exhibition, cafes and no kiddoes.
Homeschool hols right now, gearing up for the winter hunker down, sorting out the craft boxes, making the winter novel pile, double lining the curtains and piling up the firewood.

Quote of the day

Everyday your children need:
Someone or something to love
Something to do
Something to think about
-Karen Andreola.

Simple huh? Sounds likem y kind of educational philosophy.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Playdough Cookies

Fun to make, and fun to eat. Just don't think about all of that artificial food colouring

Linkity-link here


Satisfaction is cooking up a summer meal where 90% of the ingredients are freshly picked by the children, from our very own garden, that we have lovingly tended...ahem...let grow wild and hacked through to find the bounty.

Voila...pumpkin, courgette and garlice stuffed capsicums with rice and vine ripened tomatoes.
The only "imported" ingredients being the cheese and the rice.

Taranaki Dreaming

We have had such a wonderful time over the summer holidaying with the cuzzies from Chicago. It was really sad to say Goodbye last week knowing that it is unlikely we will see each other agin for a couple of years. The kids all got on so well with hardly a niggle, the sil's talked and talked about books and politics and philosophy and everything really while the brothers reminded each other of all of the quirks and memories of growing up together.

We all travelled to New Plymouth for a week away together. Auntie B has all of the best pics on her camera...disc please B! But here are a few little reminders of a special holiday.

Narrow Gauge Train at Pioneer Village - Stratford

Brooklyn Park Zoo

Pioneer Village Fire Station
Pumping Water
It's school, kids...but not as we know it!

Say Cheese!


Now that we are almost out of nappies we have also graduated from Playdough to Plasticine clay. I am looking forward to the day that I let everyone loose on real clay. It is so therapeutic to mould and knead and create...and it gives mummy a wee bit of quiet internet time too.
P.S. Can you spot some our favourite movie characters?

Slimy Science

As dictated by O7...
Yesterday I wanted to do some science experiments. I made a volcano. I had to put vinegar and baking soda and tomato sauce in the volcano. When all of that was put in, it erupted.
I made a floating eyeball. I drew an eyeball on afresh egg. I dropped it into a jam jar of water, stirred salt in it and the eyeball began to float.
I made a magic icecube. I laid some sewing thread on the top of the ice cube, carefully put slat on the top, wiated for about 30 seconds and then I pulled the sewing thread and the cube came too. The salt made the sewing thread stick to the cube by melting the ice a little bit.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy Birthday O7

Today you officially exited from the little cute boy stage into the gangly, handsome, getting a bit hesitant of too many cuddles stage.

We love you so very much O7. You are such a cool kid. We love your quirky sense of hunour, your amazing insights and knowledge, your growing empathy and concern for others and your awesomest jokes.

Grow strong and steadfast O.