Sunday, June 28, 2009

Now That Takes Me Back


It came just once a year.

As children we would wait for it....

plan for it.....

dream about it.

It was just one weekend in June.

The Queens birthday long weekend.

Apart from Christmas it was the most anticipated weekend in the entire year.
It was the ONLY weekend that we were legally allowed to buy and use fireworks.


I have so many wonderful memories from these weekends. It was such a social event...friends, neighbors, communities coming together around a bonfire to "oooohhh" and "aaahhhh" as we worked our way through fireworks gathered and gazed upon...( and in the case of my brothers and most boys their age "re-engineered") ..for weeks on end.
There were plenty of singed eyebrows and burnt fingers but there was also a lot of just plain, simple fun .


At some point, the powers that be deemed fireworks to be too dangerous for the public to have access to. Forget about personal responsibility ..(don't get me started!)...and so this wonderous and exciting institution came to an abrupt and sad end. No more fireworks...except if you want to go down to Sydney Harbour on New Years Eve with 4 million others to enjoy the choreographed display. Not that the Harbour fireworks aren't spectacular...they are. But they lack that personal touch


So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that the county where we own our cabin still allows, even encourages, the purchase and use of fireworks over the July 4th weekend. My husband was positively giddy.
We took the kids to buy some fireworks today in preparation for next weekend

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Homeschool planning


As our remodelling project progresses the kids are getting excited to see their new homeschool materialize. And I have had to start figuring out exactly what they will be studying next year. It sounds like a simple process...math, english, science...but I have discovered..(as most teachers will tell you I'm sure)...that its a little more complicated than that. Who knew that what we used to call "English" is now termed "Language arts" and comprises reading, comprehension, grammar, composition, spelling, vocabulary and penmanship. Sheesh..I felt like I could be in trouble already :(
Science has also been a tough one for me to figure out. But that will be fodder for another blog post. Suffice it to say that there are a LOT of different programs out their with a huge range of different world views.
We are still deciding on whether or not we will go with a government sponsored program like SVLA or CVA or go it alone. There are benefits to both of course. The government sponsored programs will reimburse you for any non-religious curriculum but there are reporting requirements that go along with them. Part of the attraction of homeschooling was that we can really do whatever we want with minimal oversight, so that freedom is a lot to give up.
We will be attending a local homeschool co-op. I think that will be healthy for all of us to spend some time with a group of like minded people. They have asked me to think about what skills I could contribute to the co-op. Hmmm...let me think. What am I good at? Oh...I know...what about a coffee appreciation Blog surfing Housekeeping 101 ! ( I can just visualize my husband choking on his cornflakes as he reads this) that is definitely out. Ye gads...don't tell me I'll have to dust off the business degree and put it to work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's All About Consolidation


It seems by now that blogger has ironed out all the problems that I was experiencing moving my blog to my own website. It was not redirecting readers from my blogger address to my website as it should. Apparently that has all been fixed and so if you enter the old blog address ( you should be redirected here. {fingers crossed}.
Initially I thought it was a good idea to move my blog. When I first started blogging it was really just to share all the photos I had been taking and as a way of staying in touch with family and friends around the world. But after nearly a year it seems that my blogging has become a little more complicated. I had my original photoblog, a personal family blog plus a business one and homeschool one. It was getting a little confusing...keeping tabs on what I had posted to which blog was dizzying.
All this has coincided with a major life shift for us. Pulling our kids out of traditional school and homeschooling is a big change in all our lives. It is going to require a lot of adjustment in what we do and how we do it and in the spirit of change I decided that my blog life needed to be simplified too. I understand that consolidating my blogs may lead to some readers losing interest and no longer coming here for a visit...I know someone who is interested in photography might have zero interest in homeschooling...but in a way these blogs all represent different parts of who I am. A homeschooling, small business owning Mom who loves photography, her family and going just about anywhere on vacation! So just like me...its all just going to be packaged up in the one blog. I hope you can all still find something in here worth reading :-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Under Construction!!!


My blog has now moved to a new and improved website. Hooray for progress. But no move is complete without some my blog is currently having a remodel...much like my house. Hopefully it will all be back up and running soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Busy Doing Nothing


The weekend's over and I'm exhausted.
Exhausted from doing ...well...nothing.
Here's a smapshot of our weekend.


Up at the cabin we were treated to a spectacular water display put on by our local fire department. They were down at the lake testing all their hoses and equipment shooting these great plumes of water a couple of hundred feet up into the air. You can see my kids down on the dock...they said it felt like rain falling on them. I was quite impressed with the eco friendliness of these firemen...what a great idea to pull up at the local lake to do this testing rather than waste hundreds a gallons of water testing somewhere else. Good thinking guys.


After all that excitement we took the kids into town for an ice cream. There's this neat little icecream parlor that is essentially unchanged from the way it was 50 years ago. Owens in Newport. For $2.00 you can get an ice cream nearly as large as a child's head.


This picture was taken AFTER he was half way through.


After polishing off those mammoth ice creams a wander through the tiny little local pet store was in order. Ah yes, hamsters, kittens, a cute little bunny rabbit, a tiger, a puppy...
Hang on, back up there....a TIGER???????
True...this is Lilly. She lives at the pet store after being rescued from a group of animal smugglers. The pet store owners are in the process of trying to raise money to build Lilly an outdoor enclosure that seems far more suitable for such a beautiful creature like Lilly. I must say though my heart skipped a beat when I came face to face with her...she really is a massive animal. AND she was growling...which kind of made me go weak at the knees. I apologize for the quality of the picture but this is about as close as I was going to get to her.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Schools out for Summer....


Finally after much anticipation....its summer.

On the way to school this morning for the last time the kids were singing that Alice Cooper song....

"School's out for summer;
School's out for-ever"

Oh, Mr Cooper you don't know how true your words are...or the words of whoever actually wrote that song.

This is our last official day of formal school. We have 10 lovely weeks of summer in front of us and then our homeschool adventure begins. So right now we are celebrating....and add to that a birthday. Ciara turns 12 today...on the last day of school. oh...and the picture is the view from her bedroom window this morning. Her friends in the neighborhood left her this lovely birthday surprise.

Happy Birthday Chicky!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009



Well if you didn't know that you can graduate from kindergarten, then I can tell you that indeed you can. Jack graduated today....the class of 2009. Only another 12 years to go!


I have to hand it to them though. They are a LOT braver than I was when I was 6. Getting up in front of everyone to speak into the microphone.


The graduate with his sister


....and his best friend.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Lowdown on the VP

A number of my blog readers have asked what all the construction...and VP from my last post is about. Well to give you the full picture I have to take you back 5 years when we first moved to the United States. We were supposed to be here temporarily - 2 years only. But when we were looking for somewhere to live we found that remarkably the mortgage payment to buy a house here was the same as the cost of renting one. So we decided to buy....but where? We had only just moved here....didn't know a good area from a bad one....didn't really know anyone here so we couldn't garner any trusted we just got out a map, marked the map with where the kids school was and where my husbands work was and decided to buy a house somewhere in between those two. Pretty impressive well thought out strategy right?????
In retrospect, I marvel at our blind faith that everything would just work out. And work out it did. We lucked into the most AMAZING neighborhood. A small culdesac with just 6 houses on it. Quiet, kid friendly and with the most wonderful neighbors anyone could ever ask for.
But after 5 years our house started to feel a little cramped. With 3 growing children, a garage full of "things", a home business and the idea of homeschooling all of a sudden we seemed to be outgrowing our home. The logical thing to do was to sell our house and buy something bigger but something about that just did not seem right. When we sat down to talk about our options, the vote (kids included) was unanimous. We would stay put and just make the house we have a little bigger. A couple of extra bedrooms, a bigger garage.
And every day we know we made the absolute right decsion to stay. Here are some pictures of what was happening at my house this weekend. My husband (with the red shirt) is adding a paved patio to the front of our house...and before you know it he had a whole group of helpers. They weren't asked to help they just came over and got to work. These are our wonderful neighbors ...and we just LOVE 'em.




Friday, June 5, 2009


VP..(Visual Progress) the key to a happy wife. Whenever my wonderful husband starts a new project he knows that the number one way to keep me happy is to make sure there is VP. Well there certainly has been VP at our house this week. Here are some "before" and "now" pictures of our renovations. Gotta love VP!
My creation

My creation
....and I just wanted to share this one because it makes me happy.