Easter Holidays and Beyond

Well, the Easter holidays have been and gone

and I’ve been totally slack with my blogging…again.

But I do have some ‘what-I-think-are’ valid excuses.

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On Easter day, we spent the day with family,

in particular, my little nieces Miss Aria, 5, and Miss Evie 2.

Their mother was in hospital overnight for her pregnancy to be monitored

so we made sure these little people had a lovely day.

Isn’t Miss Evie a cherub?

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I could just eat her up, she’s so cute.

I love the two year old attitude.

There’s nothing ‘terrible’ about it.

The twos are terrific.

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It’s when their little characters start showing themselves.

(Evie got annoyed with my picture taking

so she decided to snap a picture of me in return.)

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Then, at lunch, the girls’ daddy arrived to see them

and tell them that they got something extra special for Easter –

a new baby sister

(just a smidge undercooked at 33 weeks).

Her name is Isla (the ‘s’ is silent)

and she was 2.5 kg (which is 5lbs 8oz)

(She’s actually only 4 ozs smaller than Ethan was at birth.

They are the same length, although her head is a centimetre bigger,

but she is uncooked and Ethan’s cooking timer was complete.)


So I spent the beginning of my holidays hunting for 00000 outfits for little Isla.

That was fun!!

I used to fret that I’d never get to buy sweet little girl things since I had boys,

but, with three nieces to spoil, I can have all the pink and purple fun that I want.


We also spent a chunk of time over the holidays,

helping babysit the two bigger girls

while their parents spent their days and night with little Isla.

(This is why you need to live close to family if you can.)


We took the girls to the Ipswich Art Gallery for their holiday program

but it was terrible this time around.

It’s the only ‘bad’ thing we’ve attended there.

There was hardly anything to do

and a really long wait for the main event


…a disco climbing web.

which Miss Aria didn’t even want to climb in once she saw it.

‘Her boys’, as she calls my Little Men, weren’t allowed on due to age restrictions

and she wasn’t going on by herself

so that hour of waiting was a total bust.

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To redeem the day, we went for ice-cream

and a little play in the shopping centre playground.

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It always amazes me what these little people can get my teenage boys to do.

How many 16 year old boys would climb into a playground boat with a two year old?

He was helping her climb around in the boat

and taking whatever orders Miss Evie dished out.

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Secretly, I think Brayden enjoys the opportunity to play as a little kid again.

He really gets into the girls’ imaginative games.

Here they’re checking for ‘cocodills’ (Evie’s word) in the water

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Anyone who walked through the playground,

Evie would warn them about the dangerous cocodills.

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During the holidays, we also had the Commonwealth Games.

It was pretty much a non-event in regards to all the hassle they’d warned us about.

The Coast resembled a ghost town and driving places was a pleasure.

Hubby even went with a friend to a couple of events.

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Over the holidays, we also drove out to Goondiwindi,

a 4.5 hour drive from our place.

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We drove out there to visit Hubby’s Grandmother, the boys Great Grandmother,

who is almost 98 now.

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Hubby spent a lot of time in Goondiwindi growing up

as his grandmother had a massive sheep farm just outside of town in New South Wales.

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If you didn’t know already, Goondiwindi is on the Queensland and New South Wales border.

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The border is the Macintyre River

and this old bridge takes you across to New South Wales.

Yes, our trip included a trip to New South Wales.

We always drive across and back

just so we can say that we took an interstate holiday.  🙂

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The motel we stayed in was a dump though.

(I won’t name names as that’s just mean.  Perhaps they are doing their best.)

No, it wasn’t our first choice; the better places were full for some reason.


I actually liked the layout of the rooms.

The family room had two decent rooms, each with a tv, and a bathroom.

I just didn’t like the condition of the rooms.

Our air conditioner could very well have come off Noah’s Ark.


The furnishings were in desperate need of repair.


And my personal ‘favourite’ was the bedside lamp they expected me to sleep next to all night.

(I didn’t, by the way.  I put it on the floor.)

Check out the dust on that thing.

Yes, both were as bad as each other.

But, we survived.


On the way back home,

(Why are the return trips the longest and most boring?!)

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we stopped in at Toowoomba to check out the Da Vinci Machines exhibition

at the Cobb and Co Museum.

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We’ve been to this exhibition before when the boys were much younger

and to be honest that presentation of it was much better.

The Cobb and Co Museum didn’t seem to have the ideal space for the exhibition.

There were a few dedicated corners of Da Vinci exhibits

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but a number of the exhibits were scattered all through the museum,

making it somewhat like a hunt.

But we enjoyed our time there anyway.

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The exhibition wasn’t focused on Da Vinci’s artworks,

although there were a few key reproductions included.

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It was focused on his ingenious inventions

which have been built as models for this exhibition.

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Although the boys were much younger when they first visited this exhibition,

it surprised me that they remembered a number of the exhibits.

This Archimedes Screw was one of their favourites, then and now.

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Not all of the exhibits were hands on,

but quite a number of them were

so it’s a great exhibition for both young and old.

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We’d never been to the Cobb and Co Museum in Toowoomba before

so we took a little time to check out their displays.

I was really astounded at the sheer height of the coaches.

This picture doesn’t do it justice.

Suffice it to say that, standing next to this coach, I could not see inside it.

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They say that EIGHT people fit inside this coach.

From what I could see, you’d only comfortable fit two people on each of the two seats inside,

but I think they must have squeezed three on each.

Imagine that with your great big dresses with all its layers.

Oh and two passengers would have to travel up with the driver.

That would have been the best view but I suspect you’d end up rather dusty.

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Oh and my favourite thing at the museum was these energy dome things.

There were three of them and I wanted to take them all back to the Brisbane Science Centre.

They were so cool.

Much better than the plasma ball they have at the Science Centre.

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Before we left the museum, I had to take a picture of the tree in the car park.

It was huge.

(Why do photos never show extreme sizes very well?

Am I just taking the photos wrong?!

I’ve actually been working on my photography

and have only used the manual settings all holidays.

I’m pretty impressed with myself.)

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Back home, we got on with the mundane stuff.

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Yes, there were book parcels received during these holidays.

I mean, of course!!  🙂


We also received daily photo updates of Miss Isla.


Baby Isla was kept in hospital for a couple of weeks

until she was breathing well on her own

and feeding properly.

Then she went home to her sisters.


And Aunty Tracey went for a visit too

…and a cuddle of course.

Baby Isla is perfect.

(I love this photo I took of her.

It’s my favourite.)

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She just needs to do some growing to fill in all her old lady wrinkles of skin.

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The day we visited, Miss Evie was delighted to have her boys come and play with her.

Not sure the boys felt the same way about spending all day with a two year old,

but they survived and it’s good future dad training for them.

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Somehow Miss Evie even got the boys playing dolls in the doll house!

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Oh I haven’t shown you the doll house, have I?

My dad made it for Aria’s 5th birthday.

Yes, that’s a solar panel on the roof

…I mean, of course.

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The solar panel runs all the lights inside the doll house.

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Those drawers at the bottom pull out

to reveal additional spaces.

One is a backyard pool area and the other is for storage.

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Oh and most of the furniture and trinkets in the house

were 3D printed especially for the house by my brother.

My mum made all the soft furnishings and did the wallpapering.

(Yes, that’s Frozen on the Samsung tv.)

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Check out the 3D printed bathroom.

Yes, even the toilet and the toilet paper.

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Um, yes, I might also have spent some time playing in this doll house with Evie.

And, no, I might not have been doing it for her enjoyment.

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Anyway, now the holidays are over and we are already two weeks into the new term.

We started the term with two full days of STEM workshops at QUT.

The first day the boys did a wind power energy workshop

and the second day they did a bionic arm workshop.


Sadly, I don’t have many photos of the workshops.

The mums don’t get to go inside with them,

which is a good ‘classroom’ experience for the teens,

but it means we have to rely on the photos the teens take for us.


Both days, the boys also participated in different Cube activities.

(The Cube is a giant two storey touchscreen interactive experience).


Anyway, that brings me up-to-date with now.

And, on that note, I better go and do some planning for the week ahead.



Another Fortnight

Two more weeks have flown past and now it’s the holidays.

As usual, we have been doing school.

(Yes, our ‘school’ photos are usually of Math.

That’s when they look the most studious and when I think to take a photo.)

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Check out this groovy little stand I got from Ikea.

I absolutely love it.

It cost less than two bucks.

We’ve been using it for everything.

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Brace yourself – this is year eleven Math.

Doesn’t it make your head hurt just looking at it.

Mine too.

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We’ve been on a bit of a Winston Churchill spree recently.

These are only a couple of the books and dvds we’ve used.

What a fascinating man.

If you haven’t learned about him, you should.

I learned absolutely nothing about him when I was at school.

I wonder if learning about Churchill is scheduled in the Australian National Curriculum.

I doubt it.

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As I’ve read aloud to the boys,

Brayden has been dabbling with the Fractiles.

These are just a few of his creations.


This is my favourite.

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One of my nieces turned 5 this past fortnight.

Gosh little people grow fast.

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She was delighted with the size of our gift.

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It wasn’t full to the brim…it simply had a lot of little gifts at the bottom

and they happened to arrive in the post in this giant box.

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Last week we spent two mornings at the World Science Festival.

The first morning we attended the “Cool Jobs” lecture

and the second morning we attended “MathMagic” by Dr Arthur Benjamin.

MathMagic was excellent.

(Check out Dr Arthur Benjamin on youtube.)


During the festival, the Science Centre

(what remains open of it during their renovations)

was free so we also popped in there for a quick visit.


All in all, it has been a very busy fortnight.

But, now, it’s the Easter holidays.

Happy Easter everyone.

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Posted by on April 1, 2018 in Homeschooling Days


More School Updates

We have had some rather busy weeks here.

Our biggest event was our termite inspection.

Our guy likes all the furniture pulled away from walls

and all the stuff pulled out of cupboards to expose the skirting boards.

It’s a huge job but it’s a great opportunity to do some decluttering.

So that’s where a huge chunk of our last fortnight went.

(Thankfully, he found no termites.  Whoohoo!)


Of course, school has happened around all this mess.

Every morning we spent a few hours on Math.

Year 11 Math takes a long time.

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And an expensive calculator!!

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After Math we did some grammar, Latin, spelling and worked on our current essay.

We always have an essay on the go.

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By then the postie has usually been so it’s reading time.

Okay, he doesn’t come every day (that’s a shame!)

and he rarely brings big piles like this,

but, when he does, it’s lovely.


In the past fortnight, the postie bought this lovely book on Abel Tasman.

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I bought it primarily for the illustrations.

Just look at them.

It was a good read too.

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We also got this little Anzac title.

I’m always adding to our Anzac book collection.

This book also become the subject matter for their most recent essay.

Picture books aren’t just for the little guys!

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We also read this lovely newly published book, “The Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes”.

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And a lovely friend sent me several book gifts –

“Twelve Kinds of Ice”, “Roxaboxen” and “Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile”.

My book friend knows my tastes so well.


And from the library, we read “Ten Pound Pom”.


I highly recommend this book.

It’s an interesting historical read.


As you can tell, I’m very partial to children’s picture books.

But never fret, they are always additions to our school reading.

The core of our reading is always big people books.

Here’s our current reading basket.

(Actually, we’ve already finished that Louisiana Purchase book.

I need to move it back to the bookshelves.)


In the evenings, our documentaries have had a Russian flavour.

We’ve been working through the “Peter the Great” miniseries.

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And, yes, we pulled out a picture book from our shelves for a quick review of Peter the Great.

Picture books are much lovelier than a paragraph from a dull textbook.

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We also watched “The Way Back” which is about a group of people escaping a Russian gulag.

It’s based on a true story and quite inspiring.

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Recently, we’ve been watching a little family of curlews.

The mother and father bird nested in a friend’s front yard

so each week, when we’ve visited, we’ve checked up on the little bird family.

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Check out the way the curlew bird sits.

Their ‘knees’ bend forwards when they sit!

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But, our whole life isn’t bookwork, books and birds.

Recently, we headed to a friend’s place for a computer processing workshop.


My computer boy was in techie heaven.


Actually, all of the boys loved the workshop.


Dr Karstan Schulz presented the workshop

to demonstrate his product, the B4 Learning System.


We were all, parents included, incredibly impressed with the product,

the presentation and Dr Schulz.


I’m very very tempted to purchase further kits to work through.

Hmmm…whose birthday is next?


This past week, we also headed to the orchestra to hear some Mendelssohn and Brucker.


And almost every week ends up in a park somewhere.

This week we explored a new park and I believe it may become a new favourite.


Outside of school hours and playing mum’s taxi,

I’ve been busying reading, “Saving Leonardo” and “How Should We Then Live”.

“How Should We Then Live” is touted as an excellent read

but, to be honest, “Saving Leonardo” is so much better.

Toss Schaeffer and keep Pearcey, I say.

You must read “Saving Leonardo”!

It’s all about worldviews and it’s brilliant.


Speaking of books and book spaces,

(Do I ever speak of anything else?!),

I bought myself a new little bookshelf recently.

We have all of these delicious books that we want to read

 sitting on my desk cluttering up our work space.

I didn’t want to put them away in the bigger bookshelves

because they’d be forgotten and overlooked before we got a chance to read them,

so I bought them their own little shelf.

I suppose you could call it the ‘to be read’ shelf.

Yes, some people have a pile, but we have a whole shelf.


Finally, we had a some birthday cake with friends this week.

Lauren, Miss 15, baked this cake for me.

She bakes me something every year.

Yes, she’s that sweet.

And this was her birthday surprise this year – a cupcake.

It tasted as good as it looks.


Tomorrow, for my actual birthday, I have a dishwasher installer man

coming to bring me my birthday present – a new dishwasher.

I haven’t had a dishwasher in years and years.

So, for my birthday, you now know what I won’t be doing…

washing dishes,

ever ever again!


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Posted by on March 11, 2018 in Homeschooling Days


Been One of Those Days


Is it Friday yet?

What?!  It’s only Monday?!


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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in Bits and Pieces, Family Life