Friday, December 31, 2010

Blog move

Hi friends,

I have changed to a different blog name. If you would like to come visit I am over at Some old posts from here may get a bit of spit and polish and be reposted over there but I am also hoping to post fairly regularly this year as a journal. I find looking back over my past is a great way to improve my future.

Best wishes

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Here's the latest!

So for all of those you who know me or have been following for a while you would know we have been trying to find a new home for a while. About 3 weeks ago, after over 6 months of looking, we got to the stage of deciding that maybe where we are isn't so bad. It does have wonky floors, the hallway slopes, the old horsehair plaster walls are falling apart but we fit here, the yard is great and I love this suburb. And as a side bonus the rent is about $100/week cheaper than anywhere else that might sort of suit us.

After making the big decision we then did a big clean out of all that excess furniture we were carrying in case it suited the next house (a big thing when renting all the time) and decluttered all sorts of other stuff. Three big trailer loads later the house is looking a lot tidier. We bought a couple of pieces of furniture and a couple of window air conditioners so that this house will be comfortable for quite some time.

I even braved the garage over 2 weekends and cleared it out. I know have somewhere to store outgrown clothing, our Christmas stuff and hubby's brews.

So for those of you who know where I live, I am still here! Come visit!

Best wishes

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Teaching or Learning?

And here we come to one of the really damaging myths of education, namely, that learning is the result of teaching; that the progress of the child bears a direct relation to methods of instruction and internal relationships of curriculum. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Story of the First Street School
By George Dennison"

This quote is so true. As I "teach" my children and really begin to understand how they learn I have found that most of their learning is not due to my teaching but despite it. As a mother and a homeschool teacher my ego would like me to think that I am Very Important in the process of my children learning but I have learnt that I am here to facilitate, encourage, guide and love only, not to teach. What teaches my children is not inside me but is inately within them. Their strengths, their interests, their view of the world!! All this is a much bigger part of what they learn and how, than what I am as a teacher or the curriculum I use.

Best wishes

Monday, November 8, 2010

Technical Drawing

This is a particular passion of mine. All my boys will be doing at least level one outlined below. I think these skills are just so necessary to be able to communicate to someone what you want or need from an item in three dimensions.

My opinion of what needs to be covered:

First level (and almost essential IMO)
- plane geometry (possibly covered elsewhere if you have a good maths program), things like dividing a line of unknown length in to 5 even segments, or dividing an unknown angle evenly in half, proportionals, polygons, tangents, little tricks for doing things like drawing a line parallel a certain distance from a line you already know
- involutes, archimedian spirals, cycloids, epicycloids, hypocycloids (at least an understanding if not necessarily a strong knowledge)
- orthographic projection - at least first angle, ie plans, elevations, sections and an understanding of the different line styles used to represent hidden parts etc
- understanding of scales, tolerances and fits
- basic architectural drawing (just in case they ever choose to build or extend their home)
- basic isometric drawing (horizontal lines represented as 30 deg to right and left to show a 3D image)
- how to create either orthographic projections from isometric drawings and vice versa
- basic perspective drawing with only straight lines

Second level and beyond
- any of the above that will require circles and curves, could be hard for a fine motor skills challenged kid
- more complex orthographic projections of two solids intersecting and being able to show the shape of the cut into one to fit the other, think gutters intersecting and knowing the shape of the "hole" if the main shape is rolled out flat
- true shapes of truncated simple solids

I am currently looking into what text to use. This may take some research but I will get back to you on this.

Best wishes

PS Aha, found the text I used in a slighter younger version. Check out this one available through Booktopia in Australia.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Project List

I recently updated my list of projects. I use the basic system outlined by Mark in this post.

I realised that it wasn't working as effectively as I would have liked. The main problem was flicking through nine pages of writing to find the odd things still needing work. I did what I call a restart and rewrote all the things still needing work onto fresh pages. I managed to shrink 9 pages down to 2.

This system is working for me again.

I find that is the way with most organisational methods I come across. If it works for me at first then when it stops working it is most likely "I" have created the problem, not the system. Sometimes it takes a restart and a return to the basics of the system for it to flow effectively again.

Best wishes

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homeschool Tip for This Week

If you are having trouble keeping up with all the things you need to read out to your kids because it ties up time you need for dishes or folding washing consider using a recipe book stand to put the text on and sit it on the window sill in front of you while you do dishes or beside you as you fold washing.

I use a perspex one so that the book stays protected from splashes.

Best wishes

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bathroom safety tips!

* never store plugs on the bench or where anyone under the age of 4 can reach (ask how I know not to do this! lol)

* store only bath mats, hand towels and face washers under your sink, avoid nasty and dangerous chemicals down low

* keep all razors up high above the height even an 8 year old can reach (my 8yo has no eyebrows thanks to mum's razor!)

* spread the shower curtain out when finished, don't leave clumped at one side of the shower

* use a small coloured plastic basket per child for their toothbrush, a cup and any other little personal cleaning items; place each on the tiled shelf usually at the end of the bath or next to the shower

* never put fancy soap beside the basin, and definitely not soap with a plunger

* keep benches as clear of clutter as possible as it makes it easier to clean up the inevitable puddles

Best wishes

Menu planning made easy!

Well, easier for me anyway!

I use binders, one for each of 4 weeks. In the front of each I put the weekly menu plan, hopefully including baking and snacks, and in behind it I put the shopping list for that week's plan. In the subsequent sleeves I place a copy of all the recipes I will be using.

I take the whole binder with me to the shop as it is only a very slender one and if I see a bargain I can quickly check which recipe I will skip that week and not get the ingredients for it. It has also helped when an ingredient has not been available and I have been able to ask the butcher or deli assistant for a substitute.

It is suggested here that you both keep your old plans and post the current one in a public spot. I agree with these ideas, especially if you have remembered to date the menu plan so you can remember the time of year that plan was for and the types of meals suitable for the season.

In the last few weeks I have started to get a regular set up for breakfasts and lunches. They don't vary much, but just enough to keep things interesting but memorable. For instance every Monday morning I know I need to cook Apple Muffins and Fridays are Banana or Date muffins depending on how many bananas are left in the fruit bowl and their condition.

Lunches are wraps with meat, sliced or cold chicken, with salad bits. I use tortilla wraps as they last in my bread box much longer than bread and I am trying to keep our simple carbs to a minimum.

Dinners are all over the place although over the 4 weeks I do repeat some family favourites such as spaghetti, beef and pumpkin risotto and creamy chicken.

Best wishes

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lots of Laundry

With 6 people in the house there is almost certainly a lot of laundry to do each week. Here is how I do it.

There are washing hampers in both my and dh's bedroom and the boys' bedroom. My 8.5yo boy collects them and any stray items left under desk chairs, near the lounge (dh's socks!!) and the kitchen towels. He dumps it all on the floor of the bathroom/laundry.

I sort the dirty washing into 3 washing hampers along the wall and a basin on the floor. My baskets are darks (navy, lots of it, black and red); lights (green, white and grey, bright and pale blues); hand washing; and the basin is for linens and wet clothes from messes or playing under the hose.

In the morning I put in a light load from the basket. When it comes out it gets either hung out or put in the dryer depending on the weather, my mood and how busy the day will be. Next to go in is a dark load. And it comes out around lunch time to be either hung out or dryed.

Each afternoon the washing is folded from the basket near the dryer, which also happens to be next to the back door, where the big boys put it if they had to bring in washing off the line. I sort the washing into a trug per person, and then 2 extra trugs for kitchen linen and baby linen vs bathroom and bedroom linen. Some days I fold all the trugs, sometimes one or two, and honestly some days none, but at least the kids are only looking thru their own trug for clothes if the cupboards are bare.

In the evening just before going to bed I put a load of linen in. I try to get the kitchen towels in but I sometimes forget. I put them on a long hot cycle so all the nasties are gone. All my linen is dried in the dryer. I just like them soft and fluffy.

Now I can get fussy. I do not put either reds or greens into any other load. They are kept separate. I will mix greys, white and pale blues. I will mix navy and black. I don't like putting a dark load in after the linen as left over lint in the machine may transfer to the darker items.

I wash all of dh's work clothes on one day of the weekend. The lighter work shirts in the morning and his dark shirt, socks and boxers in the afternoon. His shirts are all hung on the shower rail to dry and in the morning he grabs one to iron as he leaves the bathroom. I Do Not Iron. Well, maybe, but not every week, maybe not even every month but certainly not every day.

I have been inspired to share how I do my laundry after reading items here and here.

Best wishes,

How has my week been?

So we started back with school last week. The "new" routine is working much better. I do have a straggler kid and he is finding himself "behind" quite a bit. He has spent a big chunk of the weekend getting all this school work for this week finished. I bet there will be tears tomorrow when it all starts again.

I think G-d has been giving me a hit up the side of the head recently. I have had several people and my own ponderings lead me to the same conclusion, I need to be tougher with my kids, not meaner, just stronger and more immovable once I make a decision on how things are going to happen. It sure is nice to know He knows I need some guidance and sends it to me in various forms.

On the househunting side of things (which we have been doing for well over 6 months) we have decided to stay here although this house is wonky (literally falling apart and sloping/bouncing floors in places). The rent is great and will allow us to clear some debts and even create some savings.

Well, baby wants mama to sit lounge. Off to spend some time with my beloved and a baby.

Best wishes

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Hedge trimming" your children

I have been walking each morning for the last 2 days. I live in an area that has some beautiful manicured gardens and some not quite so manicured yet still beautiful gardens.

I was looking at some hedges around the area and realised something that relates to my calling as mama. The hedges that looked the best were compact and no big gaps in the greenery. Others were shaped but had obviously been left for quite a while before being trimmed back, probably with a trimmer in a "hacking" manner. The end result was that the shape was good in a superficial way but it didn't have a good "body" to it.

Training my kids works in a similar way. If I leave teaching and guiding them until they are "scraggly" and overgrown with bad habits I can "train" them back to the right shape, usually with a bit of "hacking" but they aren't whole with good "body". There will be gaps in our relationship where I have to prune roughly just to get the shape to look right. If I instead prune gently and pay attention to when a "branch" or habit is starting that could lead to a really straggly shape/character, then my "hedge" will have better shape and will look good with strong structure/character under the good looks.

When I have let some bad habits creep in I need to remember to gently prune them away, bit by bit, consistently. If I try to "hack" my kids into shape when I have let things get out of hand I will damage the end result, ending up with a character that is hole-y and not as strong as it could be, even though the shape looks good and our relationship will suffer.

Now to figure out how to stop one child from being bossy and another being a complainer. Ah, the joys of motherhood, one of the hardest jobs on earth, but the rewards are immense.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Changing routines

I have usually schooled my 2 oldest boys one at a time. I would work with ds1 on a topic then send him away to work on his own while I worked with ds2 on some of his work and so on and so forth all day long. And it was long, and my ds3, 5.5yo, was not getting any real time for school. I didn't think he needs it.

But then kids have a way of changing our plans, don't they? Ds3 is zooming along with his letter recognition and his maths skills are improving along with his handwriting. It is time to include him in school.

This requires a change in routines. I am going to be doing one-room school house teaching. In other words all the boys will sit around the table for Language Arts first. I will guide each one on their work at once, going back and forth guiding each student. There will be less "losing" students to the backyard to play and we will work together. After a break we will then move on to Maths, break, Science and History, break and then Music or Art.

It does mean I need to get some more activities to occupy them at the table. I had never been a fan of workbooks, saw them as "busywork" with little value. This old theory of mine seemed to work for my older pencil phobic boys but I am realising that their skills are not as strong due to lack of repetition. Sure, filling in worksheet after worksheet can seem boring and just work to keep them busy but worksheets also fill the purpose of consolidating skills, of practicing and really getting that knowledge to sink in due to repetition. Looks like more than just my routines are needing to change, my attitude too?!

So, here I go, off to our local school supplier to look for workbooks for littles and bigs. And I will search the internet too. I have found some great sites over time. Just where did I put them though?!?

Best wishes
Jen in NSW

Friday, September 3, 2010

Project Progress is being made

I have gotten a few more things done over the last month. Maybe September will be the month I knock a few more off the list.

* less than 10 minutes, $ need to buy something, K can be totally delegated to kids, - will need help to get done

GLUE BOUGHT FINALLY 1. $ * cover boys’ school binders with fabric and plastic
2. * assess what is needed to complete each Christmas stocking
3. * rewrite contact details onto new pages
4. K * wash air mattress with soapy water, dry then put away
5. - clean front fence
6. $ * buy timber plank to use as height marker for boys (we rent so can’t mark a door frame)
DONE 7. create lesson plan in HST for SL PreK
8. enter more into lesson plan in HST for Story of the World 1
9. $ * pay library fines so we can use the library again
DONE 10. K * check and toss pens and crayons that are no longer useable
11. * price vacuum filters and purchase if possible

DONE 1. sort out outgrown clothing pile in my bedroom
DONE 2. * take baby clothes to friend in need
DONE 3. tidy current clothing sizes for boys, put away outgrown clothing and cull current selection down to 4 sets of play clothes and 2 sets of going out clothes

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Science for homeschooling

A science curriculum I intend to check out for boys for fun learning.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just One Thing last list

I had a few slower patches during this challenge but overall I did manage to clear out some tolerances and get a chance to reassess what else I need to do. I was impressed.

There is still another week to go before the end of June so I hope to still get more cleared off the list.

* less than 10 minutes, $ need to buy something, K can be totally delegated to kids, - will need help to get done

1. $ IN PROGRESS 13 JUNE* cover boys’ school binders with fabric and plastic
2. * assess what is needed to complete each Christmas stocking
3. * rewrite contact details onto new pages
4. K * wash air mattress with soapy water, dry then put away
5. - clean front fence
6. $ * buy timber plank to use as height marker for boys (we rent so can’t mark a door frame)
7. create lesson plan in HST for SL PreK
8. enter more into lesson plan in HST for Story of the World 1
9. $ * pay library fines so we can use the library again
10. K * check and toss pens and crayons that are no longer useable
11. * price vacuum filters and purchase if possible

1. sort out outgrown clothing pile in my bedroom
2. * take baby clothes to friend in need
3. tidy current clothing sizes for boys, put away outgrown clothing and cull current selection down to 4 sets of play clothes and 2 sets of going out clothes

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Updated Just One Thing list

* less than 10 minutes, $ need to buy something, K can be totally delegated to kids, - will need help to get done, __ need to be done this month

1. clean roll around in prep for painting
2. * cover boys’ school binders with fabric and plastic
3. * assess what is needed to complete each Christmas stocking
4. $ buy a tide book for 2010 and write dates in diary suitable for fishing
5. * rewrite contact details onto new pages
6. DONE 6 JUNE create chore chart that is more visual for my littler ones
7. K * wash air mattress with soapy water, dry then put away
8. - clean front fence
9. $ * buy timber plank to use as height marker for boys (we rent so can’t mark a door frame)
10. blog post – menu folders
11. blog post – cleaning schedule
12. filing backlog – blue box
13. filing backlog – pink box
14. filing backlog – cardboard box
15. create lesson plan in HST for SL PreK
16. create lesson plan in HST for SL Science 5
17. create lesson plan in HST for SL Core 6
18. enter more into lesson plan in HST for Story of the World 1
19. $ * pay library fines so we can use the library again
20. K * check and toss pens and crayons that are no longer useable
21. * price vacuum filters and purchase if possible

1. separate recipes into types eg breakfast, lunch/small meals, dinner, snacks, treats, baking
2. cull recipes once sorted
3. store recipes in a binder/s
4. $ make an island of fabric for boys so they can play with their pirate ship
5. work on meal plans for whole days (healthy lunches and snacks are hit and miss here)
6. create dividers for Christmas binder and add project pages
7. print pages to fill out BOS folder
8. sort out outgrown clothing pile in my bedroom
9. * take baby clothes to friend in need
10. tidy current clothing sizes for boys, put away outgrown clothing and cull current selection down to 4 sets of play clothes and 2 sets of going out clothes

1. DONE 3 JUNE* contact cover pages for memory activity
2. DONE 4 JUNE create a family tried and true recipe folder for recipes already used and liked
3. DONE 4 JUNE K * reset alarm clock in boys’ bedroom
4. DONE 4 JUNE * re-print monthly chore chart for my binder
5. DONE 5 JUNE - put garden edging along inside of front fence

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just One Thing list after Jenn's ideas for week 1

* less than 10 minutes, $ need to buy something, K can be totally delegated to kids, - will need help to get done

1. DONE 3 JUNE* contact cover pages for memory activity
2. clean roll around in prep for painting
3. create a family tried and true recipe folder for recipes already used and liked
4. * cover boys’ school binders with fabric and plastic
5. * assess what is needed to complete each Christmas stocking
6. $ buy a tide book for 2010 and write dates in diary suitable for fishing
7. * rewrite contact details onto new pages
8. create chore chart that is more visual for my littler ones
9. K * wash air mattress with soapy water, dry then put away
10. - clean front fence
11. $ * buy timber plank to use as height marker for boys (we rent so can’t mark a door frame)
12. blog post – menu folders
13. blog post – cleaning schedule
14. filing backlog – blue box
15. filing backlog – pink box
16. filing backlog – cardboard box
17. create lesson plan in HST for SL PreK
18. create lesson plan in HST for SL Science 5
19. create lesson plan in HST for SL Core 6
20. enter more into lesson plan in HST for Story of the World 1
21. $ * pay library fines so we can use the library again
22. DONE 4 JUNE K * reset alarm clock in boys’ bedroom
23. - put garden edging along inside of front fence
24. K * check and toss pens and crayons that are no longer useable
25. * re-print monthly chore chart for my binder
26. * price vacuum filters and purchase if possible

1. separate recipes into types eg breakfast, lunch/small meals, dinner, snacks, treats, baking
2. cull recipes once sorted
3. store recipes in a binder/s
4. $ make an island of fabric for boys so they can play with their pirate ship
5. work on meal plans for whole days (healthy lunches and snacks are hit and miss here)
6. create dividers for Christmas binder and add project pages
7. print pages to fill out BOS folder
8. sort out outgrown clothing pile in my bedroom
9. * take baby clothes to friend in need
10. tidy current clothing sizes for boys, put away outgrown clothing and cull current selection down to 4 sets of play clothes and 2 sets of going out clothes

This sure made it look a lot smaller and able to be completed.

Best wishes

Salad dressing inspired by Ranch Dressing

This is my own mixed up version of a creamy dressing that both dh and I like, although it is yet to grow on the kids.

1 ctn sour cream (300ml)
1/2 cup Delikatess Mayo
1/4 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsly

Mix together, put in a clean jar and refrigerate for flavours to develop.

Best wishes

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Just One Thing list so far

My starter list for the Just One Thing challenge being run by Jenn of Mom's No Chaos Zone.

1. contact cover pages for memory activity
2. clean roll around in prep for painting
3. separate recipes into types eg breakfast, lunch/small meals, dinner, snacks, treats, baking
4. cull recipes once sorted
5. store recipes in a binder/s
6. create a family tried and true recipe folder for recipes already used and liked
7. make an island of fabric for boys so they can play with their pirate ship
8. cover boys’ school binders with fabric and plastic
9. assess what is needed to complete each Christmas stocking
10. buy a tide book for 2010 and write dates in diary suitable for fishing
11. rewrite contact details onto new pages
12. create chore chart that is more visual for my littler ones
13. work on meal plans for whole days (healthy lunches and snacks are hit and miss here)
14. tidy current clothing sizes for boys, put away outgrown clothing and cull current selection down to 4 sets of play clothes and 2 sets of going out clothes
15. sort out outgrown clothing pile in my bedroom
16. take baby clothes to friend in need
17. wash air mattress with soapy water, dry then put away
18. create dividers for Christmas binder and add project pages
19. clean front fence
20. buy timber plank to use as height marker for boys (we rent so can’t mark a door frame)
21. blog post – menu folders
22. blog post – cleaning schedule
23. filing backlog – blue box
24. filing backlog – pink box
25. filing backlog – cardboard box
26. print pages to fill out BOS folder
27. create lesson plan in HST for HSIE for 3 books DONE 1ST JUNE U.S. TIME
28. create lesson plan in HST for SL PreK
29. create lesson plan in HST for SL Science 5
30. create lesson plan in HST for SL Core 6
31. enter more into lesson plan in HST for Story of the World 1
32. pay library fines so we can use the library again

My version of Pork Chow Mein

I put 2 packets of 2 minutes noodles in a bowl and covered with boiled water. I then cut up 1/2 capsicum, 4 mushrooms and 2 shallots. In the wok I heated up some oil, fried the noodles after draining off the water. I put the noodles aside, cooked 3 eggs in the wok, sort of lightly scrambled. Put them aside too. Put a little more oil in the wok, added 500g pork mince, 2 teaspoons of ginger from a jar and cooked it until almost all done then added in vegetables, a good slosh of soy sauce and the two packets of seasoning from the noodles. I cooked this until it seemed nicely mixed. Added in the egg, about a 1/4 of cabbage sliced up thinly and chopped into 2 inch lengths, and then a good handful of cashews.

Now, I have never had Pork Chow Mein as far as I remember, so this was just a mix up of recipes using what I had on hand. Dh and the kids liked it enough that I will be repeating it exactly as I did it this time. Sorry to anyone who has googled a recipe and thought they would be getting a genuine one.

Best wishes

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Experimental cooking - Fruit slice

I have a few favourite things I like in a slice so I decided to experiment and make up a recipe myself. Please be aware that this is a work in progress and don't try this at home. lol Well, not unless you like to eat experiments.

Fig and Apricot Slice

Chop up one pack of dried figs and one pack of dried apricots. I used HB apricots. Place in a saucepan with 400ml of apple juice. Boil until the figs have softened nicely. Remove a little juice and add 1 Tbsp of cornflour. Mix to dissolve cornflour then add back to saucepan and cook until juices thicken. Set aside to cool.

Melt 250g butter and remove from stove top. Add 1 1/2 cups SR flour, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 1 cup rolled oats. Mix well. Pat this mixture down well in a 8x13 pan. Was about an inch thick. Then pour fruit mixture over the top and spread out.

Rub 60g butter into 4 Tbsp brown sugar, 6 Tbsp plain flour, 1/4 tsp (too much for my taste, will use less next time) nutmeg. Then add 1/4 cup of chopped pecans. Sprinkle over the top of the fruit.

Back in the oven at 180 C until the top is nicely browned and the bottom firm around the edges.

Result - Sweet and fruity, loved the topping except as noted the excessive nutmeg. The fruit made the bottom quite soft and gooey when it was warm. I refrigerated it and found the bottom firmed up well, all that butter I guess. It was hard to cut after refrigeration but still tasted nice.

I think next time I would try to halve the bottom mixture so it doesn't get so soggy from the fruit and I will cut it up straight away before refrigerating. I have also considered using only apricots and doing 2 packets of them as figs can be rather expensive.

Best wishes

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A new challenge

I like this website, Mom's No Chaos Zone. Does it help that her name is the same as mine? Maybe!

She has a challenge coming up that may be directed at the US but I think I could really do it here to prevent the winter blues kicking in by feeling productive when I usually feel blah. Join me if you like.

Best wishes

Monday, May 24, 2010

Using table linen at our house

I have always wanted to have nice linen for the table but have thought that having little ones would make that hard to do. Well, I bit the bullet and bought myself some lovely machine washable (and dryable) placemats, matching runners and napkins with a couple of neutral tableclothes.

So after washing them and ironing them we gave a runner and the placements their first use. It all looked good, until the baby spilt his drink. We then discovered a very interesting scientific fact. The placements absorbed water, sucked it up nicely, but the water on the runner beaded.

Instead of a nice formal dinner setting I had all my boys (even the biggest one) playing with the water, pushing the drops around so they merged then splitting them then playing more until they would run into a placement and be absorbed. Yup, so much for nice table linen. It was a science experiment instead.

This seems to be the way with boys. Everything, no matter how well planned, turns into something messy or gross. lol

Best wishes

Monday, May 10, 2010

Goals are a modern problem!

I was thinking this morning, as you do, about how I never seem to get caught up on the washing up and the washing in my household of 6 people. It tends to create a continual feeling of angst and resentment towards my family becauase I never reach my goal of finishing. I am not the sort of person who just enjoys the rhythms of life and goes with the flow, finding contentment not in completing a goal, but in doing what needs to be done in each moment.

I am wondering if this is a modern problem. We are taught to set goals, to work out how to achieve them, and to work on them in little steps until we reach them. The problem is that some things in life don't fit this type of thinking. Making a home, building a family, creating relationships... all of these do not sit well with the modern goal approach. Maybe I am missing out on the day to day peace of living in each moment, doing what needs to be done, and not trying to achieve some goal just because I am told I "must" set goals to be a success.

In fact I read recently that not everyone who is successful did set goals. In some cases it was more a case of the successful person enjoying what they did so much that they spent a lot of time doing it, learning to better, and by virtue of time they became successful in their area of life. Most of these type of successful people will keep working in their area of interest until they die, or find a new interest. They will never reach their goals, because they know how to enjoy what they are doing with their life. And really isn’t enjoyment of life a much better "goal" than a certain amount of money, or a certain size portfolio, or a certain amount of fame?

Maybe that is something I should consider in those areas of my life that do not fit well with the "goal setting" paradigm. Enjoy what I do, learn to do it better if I am interested, and just keep moving forward.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A winter bedding tip!

I have 2 wrigglers who always seem to wake up in the morning curled in a feotal position trying to be warm while all their blankets dangle off the side of the bed. As a kid I slept in a sleeping bag and thought this may solve the problem of the disappearing blankets. Well, a bedwetter and typically dirty boys if I don't manage to get them all bathed every night means that sleeping bags are out of the question. Just not washable or machine dryable like I need.

Funnily enough at the camping store the guy came up with a great tip. His mum was a foster mum and she had this trick. Bottom sheets are fitted single bed sheets and the top bedding is double bed sheets and blankets that tuck all the way under the mattress, creating a nice snug cocoon that doesn't unravel easily. I don't have double bed linen but for my littler guys I just tucked the single bed top sheet and a thinner blanket the normal way but then tucked a lovely thick single blanket across the top of the sleeping area.

Both boys slept well, and even though my bed wetter still wet his bed, he was happy with the snuggly cocoon bed. And still easy enough to do the washing as it was only my normal linen, just used differently.

Try it, it worked.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Update - Househunting

We have been looking into moving house. No rush! Our lease is up but the owner is not jumping up and down that we must leave. We really can't stay here for much longer. This house is over 100 years old and the lounge and one of the bedrooms still have horsehair plaster walls. Those walls are bulging, cracking and falling off the studs. The carpet is also threadbare in a patch or two.

This house has served us well, a good rental price and a good amount of space. Now we need to find something that is in better condition but hopefully still has a good amount of space at a reasonable price.

So far my search has included modern homes, old homes and even an ancient home. lol We will be putting an application in on the ancient home as it has great living spaces. And it is close to dh's work too. I am also putting an application in on a totally modern home further out but has a great yard and it would be nice to have new carpet and new windows with screens.

Homeschool has fallen off the list as I spend a lot of time just managing home and house inspections. Dh is on his Easter break so there will be another 2 weeks of not much happening, but I am hoping to really get back to real life soon. School will either start up after we move (if we get approved on either of the houses I am applying for) or when dh goes back to work. I think the boys will appreciate that.

Best wishes

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My 11yo does our shopping!

Inspired by a BBC show, Boys and Girls Alone, I allowed my 11.5yo son to do up a menu plan for this week and to do the grocery shopping through an online service while sticking to a budget. He did very well, juggling how many treats and what treats to get for his younger brother's upcoming birthday as well as meeting our family's needs such as TP and tissues in this season of colds and snuffly noses.

I have 4 boys and the long term plan is that by the time they leave home they will be fully confident in cooking at least 5 different types of main meals, 3 desserts, baking of biscuits and cakes and be able to do all that on a budget. I do not want to send my kids off to University (which is likely to be in another town) without these essential skills.

We do our children a great disservice by doing things for them. With our training from a young age they can go through the teenage years and into adulthood with confidence in their ability to look after themselves, and to share in the load of making a home with flat mates and in the future with a wife, and hopefully children.

I do not want them coming home to get their washing done. I do not want to be cooking all day long to feed hungry teenage boys. They are adults in the making and adults should be able to be independant, but that depends a lot on the training I do now.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Our (My?) Favourite Subject

I have been reviewing my homeschool records. I think we may be showing an unusual tendency in the subjects we cover. Admittedly our bias may be due to being an all boys school or it may be due to my personal preferences.

Any day that we sit down and do formal school you can guarantee we will do maths. That is right! Maths! Most people's most dreaded subject, and it is our first choice. Not so that we can get it out of the way, but because we love maths. It really isn't hard.

Maybe that is due to curriculum choice (Singapore Maths 3rd Edition) or maybe it is due to me having a great love of logic and love that maths is so black and white. There are no confusing shades of grey, just beautiful, clear wrong and right answers. I love maths.

My eldest the other day was commenting that he was not looking forward to Algebra. I replied, why not, you have already been doing it? and showed him a question out of his level 2 book written in algebraic terms. Light bulb moment! He is now looking forward to Algebra. lol

I wish I could just sit down with those of you who hate maths and show you the beauty of numbers.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Monday, February 22, 2010

Memory Lane with My Dad

I was just having a great chat with my dad who is now 67.5 years old. He was born in England and was telling me about how on his half day off work he would go into London and go to Piccadilly or Leicester Square to the movies nearly every week. Apparently they would have cartoons on 24 hours a day and you could pay just a small amount of money to go and watch them for as long as you liked. He thinks he may have seen "Ben Hur" and the Rodgers and Hammerstein "South Pacific" there. One of my favourite movies, "Paint Your Wagon", was on there too. He would ride his bike to the train station, then go on the train into the city centre. The train lines weren't underground back then and only went about 5km out of town whereas he lived about 10km out of town. Just before he left England in 196-(?) the train lines had come out further. After the movies he would catch the train back out and ride home.

I just can't imagine doing that these days. I barely walk anywhere of great distance and haven't ridden a bike for several years.

I am really proud of my dad. He is a bit of a loner, apparently just like his dad who was a woodwork teacher and was orphaned. He came out to Australia on a cheap/free ticket back when they were trying to get workers here. He was only really young and he had no family over here. Can you imagine that? Just getting on a boat, going to a totally foreign place, all on your own. I moved from Brisbane to Hamilton Island half way up the Queensland coast when I was about 19 years old. I definitely still wanted to be able to contact my mum, and I was also lucky enough to have family in the area as support. He had a lot of guts.

My dad likes how there is no class divisions here, unlike England where being private school educated could make you a bit of a snob. We really are lucky here to not have such distinct class divisions. I know I live in a really nice suburb, old families, good money. Most people here will still talk to me, even if our car is a bit old and rusty and my kids aren't always dressed in new clothes. Maybe it helps that I do try to teach them to have good manners at all times.

I hope I get lots more chances to talk to my dad about his life. As you get older life seems so fleeting.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Space-challenged Workboxes

I have read a lot of posts about Sue Patrick's Workbox system. I love the idea yet haven't been able to justify the cost or the space requirements when I know I am dealing with 3 kids, possibly 4, with anything I set up.

Now, I will be the first to admit I haven't read her book (can't justify postage to Australia, do you get the idea I am careful with my money?!). If you have and my ideas here don't suit her system I apologise. I am just a mum trying to do my best to help my little school work better.

First of all, a note on scheduling. I have scheduled my day into 3 blocks of school, hopefully about an hour each, but some days are shorter, others longer. The idea of 3 blocks is also so that I can change it up a bit. For instance, if block 3 keeps getting missed then I just make it the first block for a couple of days.

Next, I use Homeschool Tracker Plus to keep track of lesson plans and daily tasks. I love how it has become easier and easier to use as I have child 2 and 3 use lesson plans I have already created and used for child 1. It takes a while to get in your groove with it but it has been worth its purchase price and the discussion group is priceless for help.

Now, down to the workbox system. I have used crates for each boy for a while. Usually though they just end up a mess of loose pages and a ring binder that doesn't get used. I also try to give them each a pencil case with pencils, sharpener and eraser for their crate. Their maths workbook goes in there but basically my crate is stacked full of all the books needed for the week. Not a very easy system for them to see what they need to do, and quite frankly overwhelming for me too.

I am now adding plastic envelopes to each box with a number on the front. Each boy has a different colour envelope set up and different little race cars to match.

Then I have created a page for each school block.

The first column will have either a race car with a number to match the folder number or a picture for an activity like snack, game, play outside etc. If Science, Art, History or Music don't need a folder for any paperwork then I can also put a little card in the appropriate spot so they know what is coming. If there is a colouring page or mapwork etc to be done then I will just use a folder number. The "Mum?" column will indicate if they will need me to help with the activity. And the final column is where the little car ends up when the folder is completed.

The folders are see-through and expand out so I will be able to fit in their heftier books and they can also see what is coming. I won't be putting snacks in them though as can be done with the clear shoe boxes. To be more true to Sue Patrick's system the boys will then put their completed folder into a "Done" box for me to empty out, correct and refill. This is an important part of the visual aspect of seeing the amount of work needing to be done diminishing as folders disappear. The goal for each day is to empty out their crate.

Each child has an appropriate number of folders for the level of work they do. This is a variation on Sue's system. Also my sheets for the school blocks will have much more detail than her system of just cards. I can fill these in from my HST report of daily tasks for each child and just leave the workbooks in their folders.

If a child needs my help I will also clip a card to the folder so it is a visual reminder if they miss it on their sheet.

I hope to let the kids keep track of their block sheets but if the baby gets into them I will put them in a communal magazine binder for them to take out as needed then return.

When I get my digital camera working again I will post more pictures on how this looks in real life.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

A couple of updates

Well, thankfully the car squeak of last week was just the noises of an old car. They greased it and sprayed lubricant into bits needing it. And all for the great price of Nothing! Wasn't that great?

School has had a little pause while I take into account how my children are coping with the way I am doing things. A little assessment every now and then is a good thing. I have realised that my non-readers (8yo and 5yo) still like to have a list of sorts for the day. I have created a similar system to a workbox system and will post more about it in a separate post.

Financially I have been able to not go into my next week's shopping money early. I do hate how I would always be behind before the week even started. I am going to keep working on this. I know some serious menu planning is required to keep me on track. And also keeping up with my prep work so if the baby is upset around dinner time others can handle getting the meal on the table.

Not being prepared and not having a clean kitchen have been my two biggest hurdles for eating physically and financially healthy meals. The other day we spent $40 on Domino's for pizzas and pasta. What a waste! It has definitely inspired me to put together my own fast meals for the freezer. One idea is frozen cooked chicken meat, frozen homemade tomato basil sauce, fresh cooked pasta from the fridge, and some freshly cut vegetables like mushrooms, tomato and capsicum. I am also wondering about cutting vegetables up ahead of time for salads and keeping them separate until meal time.

Well, that is all for now,
Jen in Oz

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spelling tests are challenging for me too!

I use AVKO Sequential Spelling for my 11yo. Today was not "fun". After having my hand held for several tests I am now having to create my own sentences. Ack! What do they think they are asking of a mother of 4 boys who generally has one bouncing around, one sitting in front of the television too much and another using the aforementioned mother as a mobile milk bar while she is trying to administer a test to a child who really would rather be somewhere else?

Needless my poor addled brain could not think of a sentence with "ins"! And a lot of the other sentences were mostly about food (need to go grocery shopping) and misbehaving children.

If anyone can tell me they use the word ins regularly I would love to hear about it.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happenings in Our Home

Well, I hated the dentist visit. I panicked a little when he put the rubber shield around the tooth he needed to work on. I never realised how much I breathe through my mouth. He even had to coach me at one stage to breathe calmly through my nose. I can breathe through my nose, it just feels like I can't because my sinuses are usually fairly clogged up. Afterwards my ribs and my back hurt. Even now on Thursday evening I am having lingering tension in my back.

My next appointment will be towards the end of March and will be 90 minutes so he can get started on two upper teeth needing root canal work. I am really going to have to remember to take my sinus medications and maybe even take my MP3 player. In the past the distractions of movies or music have helped me to stay calm during dental work.

In Brisbane 18 years ago I was lucky to find a dentist in Clayfield who had a TV screen up high on the wall and over the several visits I had to get 3 root canals done I watched Pirates of Penzance several times. In fact I saw the beginning so often I had to ask them to fast forward for my last few appointments so I could see the ending. I don't think you often hear laughter from a dentist's room when root canal treatment is happening. lol

I really wish that I could find a dentist with the same sort of facilities for this next batch of work. Even if I had to pay extra it would be worth it for the decrease in stress. Well, I guess a MP3 player will just have to do.

We did well with school stuff today. We got school block 1 done in good time, then took a break. The boys found a great geology show on the ABC so I let them watch that instead of doing our 2nd block of school. The 3rd block of school disappeared into me watching NCIS. Ack! Really shouldn't watch TV or get on the computer during the day.

This evening I had dramas with boys not wanting to eat what I intended to cook for dinner. I do not appreciate ungratefulness and I blew my top. They had toast and cereal for dinner and straight to bed. One did ask Dad to tell me they were sorry for not saying thank you and for complaining about all the meals. (Guess who, Mum, if you are reading this!)

I have to drop the car into a mechanic tomorrow to be checked over. Seems we have a squeak in our suspension. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a big drama.

Well, it is past 10pm so it had better be bed time for me.

Jen in Oz

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Planning for Better Days

I have been trying to figure out why my days don't go to plan. I have worked hard over the years to figure out a loose sort of routine/schedule/flow to my days that would cover everything being done regularly yet still have freedom to follow bunny trails with the kids.

Tonight as I was putting the kids to bed an hour later than I really would like them to be in bed (as usual) I was considering all the things that conspire to the boys going to sleep later than is healthy for them and me and my marriage. A scene from the movie Cool Runnings popped into my head where the leader of the team was studying a set of photos the night before the last race. He was sitting on the floor looking at each photo and moving his body to match what he should do at that curve.

I have read many books about motivation in my life (love Og Mandino especially) and one common theme is that to make changes in our lives it first needs to happen in our minds before it can happen in our physical world. It is not enough that I have made these great plans and I have even prayed over them many times to fine tune them. The reason I have not implemented them successfully is this: I have not been imagining (picturing myself) successfully implementing them. If anything when I look at my schedule I feel weighed down and feel that I will never manage to do it all.

The idea is to imagine it happening, picture each event happening in good order and feel the peace that comes from having a plan. If I add emotion to my imaginings it engages more parts of the brain and it wants to recreate the good feeling so it makes the visualised events happen in reality so that the good feeling can be experienced again.

I am going to sit down with my schedule and nightly go through it, just like the leader in Cool Runnings, picturing in my mind's eye the work I will do and feeling the attitude of busy-ness yet peace I will have when my days run to (or at least close to) my plan. I will also visualise myself reacting calmly to interuptions side-tracks and bunny trails, and will remind myself that I can get back on track again. I will remind myself that I am at home to serve my family in God's way, not to serve my home in my way.

Where's the Reset button?

I wish life had a reset button. It seems that everything just piles up like crazy when I have Mama MIA days.

Today I would love to just get on with a "normal" Monday but the dishes piled up over the weekend and while I did manage to get last week's washing folded and put away, there is still a good basketful of dirty washing needing to be done. I also had a 2 hour "cat nap" on Sunday afternoon due to too many late nights. Argh! This whole idea of doing what I want without thought to the "need to's" of life bites me where it hurts later.

It looks like it will be a day of just getting everything back to rights. I have a big list of things to do. I know each doesn't take much time, but just doing it will make things flow much easier for the rest of the week. The "troops" can help.

I am a little annoyed though because I knew this week was going to be a 4 day week as it was because I have a dental appointment on Wednesday afternoon and that morning was already going to be busy. Now I will just have to adjust to the idea of it being a 3 1/2 day week.

Oh well, life rolls on.

Best wishes

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Mama MIA" real school days

I have been inspired after reading a friend's post about a "real" day homeschooling to describe my day to this point.

I woke up a little late with a headache and just haven't been able to kick it. Despite wanting to just hide in my room and watch NCIS and NCIS LA all day I am sitting here planning our next few weeks in HST+. So far today I have asked my eldest to do his maths, but oh no, apparently talking to his dad on the computer has been more important. I think he did do some of the worksheet but I am not up for cajoling (nagging leading to yelling) with this headache so it will probably still be unfinished until tomorrow.

Luckily for me meals here can be pretty self sufficient, especially when we have lots of leftovers. I always recommend having fruit, yoghurt, milk (for bowls of cereal) and bread in the house. Those, along with cold cooked pasta, seem to keep us going on those days when Mama is off with the fairies for whatever reason.

The weather here alternates between muggy and rain so I can't send the boys out to play. Normally they play lots in the dirt and on the trampoline on "Mama MIA" days. Today instead they are watching way too much TV. Thankfully it is a non-commercial station, but still I do feel guilty on these days.

I have in the past felt guilty for these "Mama MIA" days but we have been doing really well lately and I am sure we will get back on track again. It seems to me that being conscious of having a bad day and just rolling with it helps to make sure they don't linger into weeks.

Hoping your bad days don't turn into weeks,
Jen in Oz

PS One big bit of advice - be nice! It isn't the kids' fault your mood is not good. If you are nice they are actually more likely to give you more of the peace and quiet you need.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Living with lists

Homeschooling 2 and 1/2 children in a formal way requires so much more organisation than unschooling 1, occasionally 2, children. I have to admit to not having a great habit of remembering all the things I need to do in the areas of home maintenance and in organising our school days. I am in the process of making myself lots of check lists. To make them more visual I am even adding pictures. My addled brain needs the promptings on bad days.

I have one child who remembers routines and rules after only a couple of repetitions. The others of us just live each day, sometimes even each moment, as it comes and we don't always achieve much beyond minimum survival. I don't like living this way so it is off to create another list and laminate it to stick up somewhere.

Just for fun here is our bathroom list.

I have more. lol The homeschool scheduling list is 3 pages. I may just include a page for fun too.

See, fun, huh? But it seems that is the only way I can make sure I get as much done as possible. It isn't always everything, but it sure covers a lot more than I remember on my own.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Work before play will pay!

School is starting to roll along nicely. I am finding it a challenge in a nice way to juggle all the boys' needs. So far play dough is working well for keeping my toddler occupied. lol

Today we lost 2 hours to a doctor's visit but still managed to get a decent amount of maths done. Tomorrow I hope to get both maths and language arts done.

Mike, my eldest at 11yo, is struggling with understanding why he must buckle down and get some serious work done this year in all areas. These past few years it has been easy enough to only do what school the boys have felt like doing. I have let it go on the basis that we were unschooling (not my first choice) while we dealt with other life issues, but I am seeing that while my boys are still learning and gaining skills I do not see much enthusiasm in them for some of the vital skills they will need to give them options for their future.

I am learning for myself that life is not always about what we feel like doing, or what we like to do. I am learning the hard way that life is more about working to provide for our families (be it as an income earner, or working as a mother providing meals and clean clothes etc due to her home duties). Entertainment, doing what we feel like, even eating what we feel like is not the main goal here. If anything I have found that there ends up being a cost to pursuing these without thoughts to our work first. The cost is both in moral fibre (character/self discipline/sense of duty) and in our physical lives through bad health, bad financial situations and lack of self control.

In my family my boys (and I) need to learn to focus on disciplining ourselves to do what we need to do first before we do what we want to do. By exercising our mental muscles we will have more options to experience fun things later in life, and we will have the pleasure of good character, knowing we have done our best, rather than the weight of guilt of not doing what is needed.

My health is improving recently due to some major dental surgery. I have a plan in place with my GP to further improve my physical and mental health. This is my time, now, to make a difference in both my own life and that of my children. It won't be easy, but then, from what I read, easy is not always the best way anyway.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Plan for School Days

My school year started this last week. We spent some time tidying up our binders and school boxes. I haven't always dated art work, big regret! But at least it is now in a box ready to be sorted and culled at the end of the year.

I have sat down with my two older boys, 11yo and almost 8yo, and explained my goals for them for the year. My eldest, M, was shocked at first that I expected him to get thru Singapore Maths 3A, 3B, 4A and 4B this year, but he was really quite pleased with the challenge of doing 7 lessons a week. I know he knows most of the work in these books.

I try to teach my kids maths principles a lot as we come across them in real life. I love maths! (Yup, loved chemistry, physics and accounting too, but wasn't always great at those like I was at Trig, Calc and Algebra.) He may not have "seen" this maths before but I am sure he will do quite well with the goals I have set.

This semester the goals have been decided by me but I am hoping that as the year develops that M will start to set his own goals to work towards.

Another "fun" thing I have done this week with regards to school is to work out a rotation for our subjects, making sure each covers the basics in the order best for them, and with breaks between "tough" subjects.

I like the Classical method so most of my curriculum is from Peace Hill Press. FLL is First Language Lessons Lvl 1 and 2. I use Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading for phonics and have added Sequential Spelling Level 1 and Writing With Ease for my eldest.

Seeing as he taught himself to read and really didn't take to phonics, spelling and composition are going to be interesting subjects this year.

Here is our second page.

I hope these images can be viewed clearly once I publish this. For now they at least give an idea of how I spent well over 4 hours. lol

This whole organising caper is really very full on - what with being a home manager and a home schooling mum. Some days it feels like my head is spinning but it does seem to be coming together. I really hope this year turns out as well as I would like.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Friday, January 22, 2010

Extremely hot!

It has been very hot here the last few days. I managed to keep all my flowers alive, and surprisingly, my new lettuce seedlings survived too. The kids and I have been living in the 2 air-conditioned rooms during the day. Lucky dh works in air-con so he has just been working late. lol

It is days like these that I appreciate the owner of this house planting many trees in the backyard. It has been cool enough for the boys to go out and play for short periods and I don't have to worry about sunburn.

Well, it is time to go get dinner. There is no way I am cooking.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My views on some books I am reading.

I am currently reading a couple of books in tandem. I can't seem to just read one at a time.

I am slowly reading my way thoroughly through Raising Godly Tomatoes by L. Elizabeth Krueger. I have read her ideas for quite some time but haven't really felt confident I could implement them. Now I have reached the point in my life where I have realised that I really need to study those who are further along in this journey of parenting. Doing it on my own, my way, is not going so well. (wry grin!)

I am quite an introvert and the thought of having 4 children right under my feet as I "tomato stake" them was overwhelming. Now though I am realising that I do myself and them a disservice by not training them and I need to be near them at all times to really train them well. The things that bug me as an introvert could also be the things that will hold them back socially in the future so I am trying to teach them to not endlessly and mindlessly chatter. I am training them to not interupt each other and to also think though what they want to say before they say it so their communication is clear. It is only early days but I am hopeful.

Check out here to read more on Elizabeth's ideas.

Another book I am reading is How to be Comfy by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming. This is an Australian publication and while I thought it would be great to read something more local I am finding it just doesn't have much guts.

I have a couple of other books I have read on making a house a home. My favourite would be Designing Your Home on a Budget by Emilie Barnes and Yoli Brogger. There are some great designing tips in there and I have enjoyed gradually changing my home from functional to functional and pretty. Smart Organising by Sandra Felton (at time of posting was only US$2.99, $10 off RRP) was a big help too in changing from clutter to more functional. Home Sweeter Home by Jann Mitchell was more about creating a home that was filled with spirit. It was my first book and I have kept it despite buying it many years ago and since reading many more books in the same vein.

Anything by Emilie Barnes is good for those starting out but as a Type A personality there just wasn't much in her books that I haven't already implemented on my own with personal inspiration.

While on the topic of making a house a home, it seems to me that once we are comfortable within our space we will hopefully be more comfortable inviting others in to share that space. A Life That Says Welcome by Karen Ehman is an awesome book on how to be confident in being hospitable. Her book really makes me feel that I don't have to have it all designer magazine perfect, but comfort and the spirit of hospitality is more important. A great read!

By the way, most of the above books were purchased from ChristianBook, although not are available there now. That place is dangerous, in a good way, for those of us who love books. Their shipping prices to Australia are good, and they have always delivered quite quickly too. They carry loads of great books, even homeschool curriculum. Ahh, yes, a dangerous place!! lol

Best wishes

This year so far!

To date this has been a particularly productive year.

I have
* defrosted my monster of an old chest freezer (the boys loved the "snow"),
* pulled some of the virulent weeds in my large backyard (still need to do some more),
* organised a more efficient way of checking blogs,
* made some new friends,
* learnt more about getting a place of our own (which we can't, so a-renting we will go, hi ho the merry-o for another year or two),
* set some goals with my weight and health,
* started to work on the above goals,
*started the baby steps of getting my boys into a routine that will help school go more smoothly when we start back in 1.5 weeks.

I still need to do some tweaking in HST+ for maths but most of our other subjects should be just ready to schedule and go. Hmm, that is something I need to check on soon. I also would like to do a bulk chicken purchase (gotta refill that freezer) and look into a hindquarter of beef too.

I hope your year is going just as well.

Best wishes

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Today's Mission

Today I have decided my mission is to get the little things off my rolling to do list that have been lingering way too long. Most times it seems just normal life just takes up all my time, but with some pondering, I am realising my normal life doesn't have to take up all my awake hours. I just let it.

I am slowly working my way through a long list of projects. Just knocking them on the head! The good feeling I get from finishing some items is motivating me to work on my normal jobs more quickly so I can "finish" another thing from the list.

I use a system called AutoFocus to keep track of my endless ideas and projects. It helps to catch those someday project ideas. And now I am working faster on the mundane so I can get to those projects.

Maybe you can check it out for your projects this year!

Best wishes
Jen in Oz