Category Archives: Family Life

Off on an Adventure

You won’t have noticed, because my blogging has been soooo slack this year,

but we’ve been off on a month long adventure.

We hit the road at the beginning of September and only just arrived home.

Where did we go?

Well, my five year old niece told people that we were ‘going around the world’,

however, ‘the world’ was really just the east coast of Australia.

We drove all the way from the Gold Coast in Queensland to Hobart, Tasmania, and then back again.

Our odometer recorded the journey as 6000km.

That’s a lot of sitting in the car.  (Thank goodness for audio stories!)

We went sooo many places and did soooo much that the best place to start is from the very beginning.

First up – Sydney.

Well, actually, the first day was just a whole lot of boring driving.

Nine and a half hours of it.

Thankfully much of it was dual carriageway and 110km/h.

But, still, we arrived in Sydney pretty exhausted


and had to find the oomph to face Sydney traffic.


Thankfully, we arrived on a Sunday afternoon.

I wish I could say that I planned that on purpose, but that would be a lie.

Oh and I’m so thankful that we live in the age of Google Maps,

and that Google Maps knows what to do when people can’t manage to follow her directions correctly.

There was a LOT of rerouting happening to get us to our destination.


And how sweet of Google Maps to take us on the scenic route over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


How did she know we were on holidays and would be delighted by such a trip?!

(And, no, I haven’t checked my etoll invoice yet to see just how much that cost me.

Maybe I don’t want to know.)


In Sydney, we chose to stay at Rydges in the city centre.

I know, pretty swish and costly.

But it wasn’t all that costly because we booked during a sale.

Plus, we compared the expense of staying further out, where it would be cheaper,

and then having to drive into the city each day and park,

or take public transport for four adults.

The hotel in the city came out on top for money value,

although we did have to put our car in the hotel’s valet parking.

(Don’t ask me the cost of that.  It makes me feel faint thinking about it.)

But it was worth it.

We were within walking distance of all the places we wanted to visit.

Circular Quay was literally just down the road from the hotel.

Okay, ‘just down the road’ being a 25 minute walk but it was all flat and interesting.

No, Circular Quay wasn’t necessarily ‘one of the places we wanted to visit’,

but it was the gateway to many of them.

Circular Quay is really just a harbourside transport hub.

Trains on one side, ferries on the other.

021a (Small)

But if you walk one way, you’ll find yourself at the Sydney Opera House,

023a (Small)

and the other, will take you to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

012a (Small)

On a nice sunny day, it can be very picturesque.

However, our first day in Sydney was overcast and showery, turning to rain by the afternoon.


But we made the most of it,

and enjoyed the fact that grey skies meant less people

and cooler daytime temperatures.


Check out the jelly fish in the harbour!

The water, wherever you looked, was absolutely full of them.

043a (Small)

However, we didn’t dally long at Circular Quay, although the jellyfish were mesmerising.

We had to dash off to the Rocks district to meet our guide for a tour.

086a (Medium)


Birthday Cakes

My boys get the best birthday cakes!

No, I don’t bake them or buy them.

We have a 15 year old homeschool friend who bakes them for the boys.

And she is talented.

I even got one for my birthday!

Check them out –

mine was a tea cup.


For Brayden’s birthday,

he got a gravity-defying Skittles cake.


(Brayden turned 15 this year

and Ethan turned 17!!

Where did the time go?!)


And, my favourite cake has to be Ethan’s birthday cake –

the frozen Coke bottle.

It had a little crumbling issue, but, at first, I didn’t even notice

because I couldn’t believe how realistic the cake looked.

Everything on this cake is cake or chocolate,

except for the lid and the label.

Isn’t it clever?!


Don’t be too distracted by the impressive outsides,

the insides are always divine.

This one had multiple layers of cake and chocolate and cream,

as well as a Coke jelly layer.

It was scrumptious!


But soon, Miss 15 will turn 16,

so guess what I’m going to need to make.


I’m really going to need to put my thinking cap on.

Talk about pressure.


1 Comment

Posted by on August 25, 2018 in Bits and Pieces, Family Life


Adelaide and a Wedding

Last month, we went on a little trip south to Adelaide.

We were heading there for my brother’s wedding

but decided to stay a few extra days to check out the city.

Now, first, let me tell you,

that Adelaide truly is the city of churches…at least in the city centre.

My golly gosh!  There were so many!

And it was not uncommon to see a couple of churches in a row.

Yes, side by side!

Oh and they were beautiful churches.

Actually, there were lots of beautiful historic buildings.

Hats off to Adelaide and their foresight and determination to protect their heritage buildings.

With all of their beautiful buildings, mixed with plenty of green spaces, Adelaide was a really pretty place to visit.

001 (Small)

We had only one complaint about Adelaide and it’s a major one.

Adelaidians can not drive!

Or, at the very least, the drivers we experienced in Adelaide had little regard for others on the road.

They just changed lanes without checking if anyone was beside them, many of them without even bothering to indicate!

Even buses did it!  (We also saw a city bus, full of passengers, go straight through a red light!)

Driving in Adelaide, for us, was a nerve racking experience,

The whole time, we drove expecting that, at any moment, the car beside us would change into us.

So, for us, Adelaide was a stressful place to visit.

242 (Small)

Now, back to the nice parts of Adelaide.

Their museum was gorgeous. Clearly a lot of money has been spent…well spent.

(Hear that Brisbane Museum, yet another museum that is nicer than you!  But I digress…)

007 (Small)

The museum makes use of a number of buildings, one of which is a gorgeous heritage building.

It was lovely and a piece of history on display as much as the artifacts in the cabinets.

064 (Small)

The old display cabinets haven’t been tossed aside in favour of ‘new but not beautiful’ cabinets.

Adelaidians know how to preserve history.

042 (Small)

Our only complain about the museum was the almost total unrepresentation of colonial history.

There was a huge focus on Pacific and Aboriginal cultures,

but very little on South Australia’s colonial history.

We’d wanted to learn more about how South Australia, the colony, came to be,

but, we went home none the wiser.

Come to think of it, the Brisbane Museum is the same.

In Australian museums, where is the British heritage that makes up a part of our history.

038 (Small)

However, we did enjoy the Pacific cultures exhibits.

There’s a lot of beauty in their artifacts.

Cultures that value beauty enough to include it in even their practical implements are to be esteemed.

048 (Small)

I have to say though.  Even beauty isn’t going to make this ‘pillow’ comfortable.

Thank you to whoever come up with the idea of soft fluffy pillows.

055 (Small)

Our favourite displays from the Aboriginal exhibits are always the dot paintings.

But, just recently, I found out that dot paintings, as we see them, aren’t ‘traditional’ art,

but, instead, only begin in the 1970s.

Yes, seriously.  Google it.  I was shocked too.

079 (Small)

Speaking of things I like, look at these squirrels.

I loooove squirrels.

Sadly, Australia has none.  😦

Squirrels are much more interesting to watch than koalas, who simply sleep all day.

Yes, I’d swap for them.

017 (Small)

In Adelaide Museum, there was a whole taxidermy exhibit displaying animals from different regions.

We hadn’t even heard of some of the animals,

but we’re not animal people so that doesn’t really surprise me.

030 (Small)

The discovery room is always a popular museum location.

They keep all the creepy yet cool stuff there.

Check this out – a shingleback lizard with twins!


091 (Small)

Even dead, this shark is fearsome-looking.

095 (Small)

Yes, son, he could probably swallow you whole, although he prefers to nibble or chew.

099 (Small)

The exhibit I was most looking forward to was the Douglas Mawson exhibit.

123 (Small)

We’d read up about him and his fateful expedition, before heading to Adelaide

(and we are keen to see the hut replica in Hobart).

109 (Small)

I can’t even imagine what it is truly like in Antarctica.

Yes, it’s cold, obviously, but it’s also windy.

The average wind speed is 69km/h!

114 (Small)

Hubby’s favourite exhibits are always to be found in rooms related to Ancient History

so he was excited to find that Adelaide has a room dedicated solely to Ancient Egypt.

174 (Small)

The museum has two complete mummies and the sarcophagus for one of them.

167 (Small)

At first I thought some of the artifacts must be replicas.

I mean, how would South Australia have received such artifacts to keep.

But, on closer inspection, I found that just about everything was authentic.

So I had to find out more.

I discovered that, in 1890, the South Australia governor commissioned Reverend William Roby Fletcher

to acquire ancient artifacts from London and Cairo.

161 (Small)

I also found this quote written by Fletcher in 1892 in “Egyptian Sketches”

(which I may have to read in its entirety as the snippets I read were fascinating!),

“This body snatching is a curious business. It is an odd sensation to stand on a mound of rubbish and see bits of dirty sponge-like stuff, and shreds of cerements and human bones lying all about.  You pick up one of these spongy bits and find that it is fibrous muscular tissue.  You get interested and poke into the sand, and then, turning around, see a youngster holding a head in his hands, which he wants to sell you for 10 or 20 piastres, or the hand of some nameless beauty torn from her mummy…Somehow one gets over the awkwardness of one’s feelings, and is quite ready to pocket a rare scarab, or an amulet, or a papyrus roll if fortunate enough to get one…”

This extract may explain why there were ‘bits’ of mummies’ bodies also on display.

Can you see the mummified hands and feet in the photo?

There are also mummified cats next to them.

165 (Small)

Despite it’s macabre origin, we still loved the Egyptian room.

It was totally fascinating.

156 (Small)

Of course, we didn’t spend our whole holiday at the museum.

We also visited the Mall’s Balls.

All of the tourist sites said it was a must see.

Ummm…peoples.  Why?!

This is not an attraction.

It’s just a sculpture.

We snapped the obligatory photo and moved on

191 (Small)

…to the real attraction on the mall – the bookstore!

The Dymocks in Rundle Mall is to die for.

The children’s section goes on and on.


But the fun didn’t end there!

This bookstore had TWO storeys.


I was so overwhelmed with glee that I found it hard to focus on what I wanted to buy.

But I found this treasure and was delighted.

It was a good read.


While in Adelaide, we also visited the zoo.

The meerkats were at the top of our must see creatures.

107 (Small)

Adelaide Zoo has a meerkat that is losing her colouring and turning white.

There is a sign at the exhibit that explains that she turned white over only a few months,

but that no one knows why.

082 (Small)

Apparently, in all other regards, she seems healthy enough.

How interesting.

094 (Small)

The monkeys also impressed us.

Who doesn’t love the monkeys?!

These fellows were swinging from branch to branch and tree to tree,

putting on quite a display.

125 (Small)

Birds don’t ordinarily impress me but this Golden Pheasant really caught my attention.

What a beautifully coloured bird!

150 (Small)

Of course, you can’t visit Adelaide Zoo without checking out Australia’s only pandas.

They are only on loan to Adelaide for ten years, which means that their time here is almost up.

(They arrived in 2009).

165 (Small)

When we arrived at the exhibit, Wang Wang and Fu Ni were waiting in their glass enclosures

for their keepers to do whatever they were doing in their outdoor enclosures.

187 (Small)

But, we didn’t have to wait long for them to be released.

Don’t they look so cute and cuddly.

194 (Small)

Yes, we have to remind ourselves that they are bears, with big teeth and big claws.

195 (Small)

Okay, enough tourist stuff.

Onto the wedding, the whole purpose for our visit to South Australia.

It was held out in wine country at this gorgeous old church.

027 (Small)

This church is the only one in Australia that has a crypt built beneath it.

055 (Small)

Don’t my ‘not so little’ men scrub up well.

What you can’t see is that one of these boys,

who will remain nameless,

didn’t realise that there was cardboard under the collar of his new shirt

and so he spent the whole day and night wearing cardboard around his neck.

196 (Medium)

You see, I wasn’t there to inspect their appearance before leaving the cottage.

I’d dashed off to help my brother-in-law dress and care for his three daughters

(as my sister was in the bridal party).

My nieces are, of course, adorable.

006 (2) (Medium)

I mean, check out this sweetie.

316 (2) (Medium)

The same sweetie who fell fast asleep during the ceremony in a matter of two minutes.

I left her to go and do a reading for the service and came back to sleeping beauty.

Yes, in this exact position.

111 (Medium)

The service continued nicely while she slept and my brother married my new sister.

099 (Small)

And, at the end of this holiday,

I had another married sibling

and I had visited another Australian capital city.



Posted by on August 12, 2018 in Family Events, Family Life, Field Trips, Geography


Term Two Review

Oh how I am failing at blogging this year.

I have no good excuses.

Blogging just hasn’t been happening.

So what have we been doing this past term?

Well, first of all, we’ve been sneaking in as many visits of my new niece as possible.

Isn’t she cute?

These are a handful of the hundreds of shots I took of her.
125 (2) (Medium)

This is one of my favourites.

She wasn’t a keen model.

She just wanted to sleep and her mother and I just wanted to pose and photograph her.

215 (Medium)

Then she woke up and gave us some more cute shots.

270 (Medium)

She was only a couple of weeks old in these shots

so this isn’t a ‘real’ smile but boy does it look like it.

344 (Medium)

She’s now about three months old

and coming out of that newborn fog

079 (Medium)

and interacting more with the people around her.

083 (Medium)

Her big sister, Miss Two, is also growing.

Growing in personality and attitude.

I love this age.

(And she loved the kidney beans activity I set up for her.)
035 (Medium)

These girls love my boys

and my boys idolise these little girls.

147 (Medium)

Moment like these (below) just melt my heart. 

 075 (Medium)

The other day I had my first school experience.

I took my eldest niece to her first sports carnival.

Watching her run her little race made my eyes well up with tears of pride.


My own not-so-little munchkins have also been hard at work.

We’ve been digging into trigonometry this term.

I like it a whole lot more than I did when I was at school.


The boys (one in particular) are loving their graphing calculator.

I still feel faint at the cost…of two of them!


Of course, it wouldn’t be my house if we weren’t reading.

002 (Medium)

We read lots of books this term (as always) but a highlight was this book about the Lebensborn program.

If you don’t know anything about it, “Hitler’s Forgotten Children” is an informative read.


We also read about Eva Mozes and Dr Mengele.

You have to watch her dvd “Forgiving Dr Mengele”.

It was fantastic.


We also read “Gulliver’s Travels”.

It was our dud read of the term.

I had been really looking forward to it, but, now that we’ve read it, I don’t recommend it to others.

I totally understand why the book has been abridged for children.

Not a fan and I had really wanted to be.


We also read the whole Egyptian Mummies souvenir guide from the museum.

No, we haven’t been to the exhibit yet.

We just always read the guides before we visit.

I know.  We’re weird.

Hopefully we’ll get to the exhibition during the holidays,

which are quickly filling to the brim.


My favourite documentary this term was “How the States Got Their Shapes”.

It was fascinating.

I learned so many new things.


Oh and I read this delightful little junior fiction novel to myself.

I totally loved it.

Reading bugs, lots of great book references and a library to save – what’s not to love!!

Hubby is going to read it to his grade two class next term.


Actually, there’s been lots of book action this term.

I’ve been book culling, cleaning and shuffling again.

I got rid of a whole pile of junior non-fiction that the boys had grown out of

and that I didn’t love enough to keep in the house.

Don’t panic, only one of those six empty shelves were left totally empty by the time I was finished.

I haven’t totally lost my mind.


Of course, a book decluttering means that there are spaces to fill

so of course I have been to the Lifeline Bookfest.


I didn’t buy a huge amount though.

I bought a bag full for my nieces

and this tidy little pile for our own shelves.


I don’t tend to buy much at the Lifeline sales anymore.

I prefer to buy exactly what I want from online bookstores.

For instance, these Richard Maybury books that complete my collection of his books.


Or this lovely new book from Living Books Press.

I just love how they present their books in brown paper, twine and a wax seal.


Or any one of these glorious books that are in my ‘to read’ pile.


Oh I have to recommend this title – “In the Land of the Blue Burqas”.

I just finished reading it last week (and another of the author’s books, “Farewell, Four Waters”).

I had to rush out and buy a paperback copy of it to read to my boys next term.

It’s brilliant.

It’s about a Christian aid worker who goes to Afghanistan and her interactions with her Muslim neighbours.

If you want to be reminded of how good our God is, read this book.


This term I’ve also been busy with schole for the mumma.

Yes, the homeschooling mother should also be learning and stretching her mind.

I’m almost finished “Saving Leonardo”.

I highly highly recommend this book to fellow Christians.


Check out the view from where I sometimes meet with friends to discuss books.

How distracting is that view!


The boys have also been to more QUT Stem workshops.

This last workshop was on robotic arms.

The boys loved it.

We have several more of these workshops in coming months.


Plenty of technology has been happening in our home this term.

The boys have been steadily working through Arduino tasks.

Ethan does the programming and Brayden does the electronics.

006 (Medium)

Yes, yes, I let my homeschooled kids out of the house sometimes too.  🙂

I let them mow the backyard at least fortnightly!!  🙂

018 (Medium)

And we head to different parks to let them run wild with friends every week.

The other day we were at this park (below) for six hours!!

It’s just trees and space to run and play but we love it.

I had a dear U.S. friend visit and we sat at this park and talked and talked until the sun was on the way down

and we were concerned that our husbands might send out search parties.


Ah, it’s been a very good term.

And next term is going to be huge.

We have more travel planned.

Nothing overseas this time

…unless you count the Bass Strait as ‘overseas’.





Posted by on June 30, 2018 in Family Life, Homeschooling Days