Saturday, December 28, 2013

Here we are as olden days...

For all the stress of the build up, all the planning, the cleaning, the shopping, the wrapping, the decorating, the cleaning (again), the prepping, the chopping, stirring, cooking...

...breathe out...

...we do it all, so we can share a bit of magic with family. For us, this year, it was all about the Grandma. She so desperately wanted to share Christmas with us, so we moved heaven and earth (and furniture) to make it magic. 

I think we did alright:



It was so lovely to have Grandma here for Christmas - we had lots of magical moments that I wouldn't swap for the world. And I know she reads this blog, so Mum - thank you so much for coming to visit and I hope you like the photos!

I sometimes get "tsked" because I have my camera or my phone out a lot, taking photos, connecting with people. Well, this blog is my version of this video - I loved it (even thought it was an ad for Apple). I hope you all had yourselves a Merry little Christmas:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Deck those halls! Jingle those bells!

Oh God. Less than one week until Christmas. Is it just me, or has the build-up to this day-of-days been longer and more intense than ever before? It feels like everyone has been posting up Christmas pics and posts on Facebook forever! I posted this photo querying Christmas on sale already on Facebook on 24 SEPTEMBER - yes, it has been a while coming, this Christmas business!

I was so ready to be all "bah-freaking-humbug" this year. I'm sooooo tired. To a not-really-a-believer, like me, who is also feeling a bit jaded and over consumerism (see above photo - SEPTEMBER!), I am finding it harder and harder to find my Christmas spirit. It seems like a lot of fuss for one day. I was even tempted just to book a local restaurant for Christmas lunch (my dreams of sailing or flying away are always thwarted by owning a retail business that needs Christmas to survive the rest of the year).

*Did anyone else notice the irony there - a large percentage of our family income relies on rampant consumerism, and yet, it bugs the hell out of me!

Plus (and I'm sure there is more than one mum out there who feels this as well), Christmas largely falls to ME. The present-buying and wrapping, the food selection, the shopping and the cooking, the decorating, the tidying, the general bloody organising of the thing. More crap to do on top of all the other crap I do.

Have I cheered you up yet?

Anyhoo. This year, my lovely mother-in-law will be here (and my lovely sister-in-law too). She's 89 and getting a bit "long in the tooth" and she is so desperately looking forward to spending time with her son and only grandchildren. How can I deny her some Christmas magic???

So, I bought some new, flashing Christmas earrings, got my Michael Buble Christmas album playing and finally got the tree out of the garage (where it sat in it's box in my loungeroom for a couple of weeks):

and got my Christmas shit together...

Teenage boy legs optional

Woodwick candles - they are amaze-balls! They "crackle" as you burn them, just like your own little miniature fireplace, except without the heat, which in an Aussie summer, is a good thing...

Ham's in the fridge, all's right with the world!

I even made really-truly, from-scratch, turkey stock (for the gravy next week)!


OK! Let's do this, shall we???!!!

Are you in the festive spirit yet? 
Have half a dead animal and bottles of wine in your fridge yet?
Own any Woodwick candles or do you have an actual crackly fireplace?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013 - A homeschool year in review!

Well, we've just about finished up our "formal" schooling for the year (remember vast overseas readership that Australian school years follow the calendar - eminently sensible and easy-to-remember). My two are "officially" in Year 8, but as for all other years, in reality are all over the shop. And that also wraps up our 3rd year of homeschooling - how the time flies! I feel a bit "experienced" now!

So, what were our highlights?

Planning and taking our big trip to China!
A great opportunity to take the 'world's best excursion' (kids explanation to fellow-cruisers who queried why they weren't in school) and do some learning too:

And a great opportunity to look through pics of our trip again!

Getting out and about:
Not that we did HEAPS of this, but we always feel better when we do (and I'm sure there are lots of outcomes I can tick of in retrospect).

Learning about...


...the human body (post on this in draft form!): and craft stuff:

Experiencing live music and live theatre:

Researching and building a super-duper, ultra-high powered gaming PC:

Looking pretty pleased with himself!!!

We've also done a LOT of "bookwork" this year (more so than in previous years). There are a number of reasons for this:

  • The kids are getting older and I'm conscious of getting them eased into a more "tertiary" form of learning (that's my main excuse, and I'm sticking to it!).
  • I've been working at least 0.5 full-time, so I leave work they can do without the constant supervision and input of mum.
  • I've been freaking out just the tiniest bit about the changes to the Board of Studies (NSW) requirements and making sure we just tick a few more "boxes" academically speaking.
That doesn't make for very interesting photos, but I may yet get my act together and do a post of the good things they've accomplished in their workbooks, lapbooks, worksheets and computer.

And of course, we acknowledge not only the traditional owners of the land on which we homeschool, but the wonderful natural learning that I am able to translate into "outcomes" that is infinitely superior to anything they might experience in a classroom:

Please note Wombat Girl doing "something" scientific with the mortar and pestle...

I will post about the year in general closer to the New Year (hope that's non-committal enough for you!), but as I look back at our homeschooling year, and watch the Facebook posts of kids getting certificates for "attitude" "application" and "citizenship", I'm again thankful that we are able to live this life, learning and loving together (most of the time!).

Embroidery Project - Blue Butterfly

I downloaded this pattern as a PDF from Hoop Embroidery Co on Esty as my first attempt at the technique known as "thread painting"...