Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Random Shots


Just a few random shots from a trip downtown today.

My creation

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Hardest Thing to Teach


{WARNING: Long post ahead}

There are textbooks that teach Math, Science, History and Spelling....but there is no textbook for one of the most important lessons a child should learn.

Unfortunately our culture sends our children a subliminal message about entitlement. That they deserve...indeed SHOULD have.... the newest cellphone, toy or clothing. They look at the world around them...their friends, their parents, the media and they see it all the time. They see the excesses of consumerism as normal. That buying and having the newest and best things must automatically lead to happiness and fulfillment. If that's what Mom and Dad are striving for then naturally that is what a child sees as the example for their own lives.


Its easy to get caught up in this cycle of wanting, buying and having. We have all done it...but what of the effects on our children and their future. They develop a sense of entitlement that they take into their adult lives and inevitably it leads to financial irresponsibility, rampant consumerism and greater social inequality. When it's all abut "Me", the needs of others become irrelevant. So how do you teach them that buying the newest motorized sccoter is not what life is all about?

I have a couple of theories...( as you might have guessed)

1 - First....say "no".
"No" you don't need those $200 shoes. "No" you don't need a new ipod just because they sell them in pink now. Saying "no" can be powerful. Now I don't mean that you should say "no" all the time and and to everything and I don't mean to just say it to your children. Sometimes you have to say "no" to yourself when it comes to buying that new cell phone. Children learn by example and when they see Mom being OK with last years model cell phone that works perfectly fine, then they will see that owning that new cell phone themselves won't really make their life any better either.

2 - Give them a healthy respect for money.
There are plenty of theories about how you should go about doing this. Each family has their own approach. Our approach is that our children must earn their money. If they don't "work" for it then just giving them pocket money for doing nothing reinforces this whole sense of entitlement...that they deserve it with really earning it. All work has value..including theirs.

3 - Teach them to think of the needs of others first.
This can be practiced as part of your daily family life and in a larger sense as part of your community. Getting your kids involved early in community service is a priceless gift you can give your children that will last them a lifetime.


This year we decided to go global for our community service project. I had heard that a delegation of people including Bishop Skylstad from our local diocese would be going down to Guatemala this November to visit the missions that have been established down there. The people who live in the mountaineous areas of the country are very poor and the missions provide health care and education for those in some of the remotest rural areas of the country. So after many emails back and forward we organised with the groups leader to take some Christmas gifts down to the local children.


The logistics have been a little challenging but everything is finally ready. Well over 120 gifts for the children from toddlers up to teens have been purchased, wrapped and packed. And the most amazing part for me is being able to watch the joy my children have experienced preparing all these gifts...for others. Maybe this entitlement thing isn't quite SO hard to teach after all!

Friday, October 23, 2009

What a Feast


It just makes me laugh.
My brother arrived here for a visit and we out him straight to work.
He wasn't allowed to sit back and relax.
No siree.

He was carving pumpkins, playing monopoly, kicking around a soccer ball...and of course participating in a medieval feast....huh...what?


Well as part of our history study of the Middle Ages we have been learning all about Knights. This week we were studying chivalry and decided to make a knights heraldic shield. guessed it....Pete got to help with that too!


As Pete is leaving tomorrow what could be more appropriate for a send off than a medieval feast...prepared by Ciara.


We had the King and Queen present as well as the court jester. I was apparently the serving wench! ( Mom sounds like a better title but the duties are much the same!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009




Really...crazy lucky.

For so many, many reasons.

Here are just a few that I have been reminded of this week....

1 - That I have a great family....One that will travel the long distances between Australia and the United States to visit us.


2 - That I have children who "GET" how lucky they are and who want to make a difference in the lives of other children who are less fortunate than themselves. (More on this one later)

3 - That despite the fact I am a summer girl I never tire of seeing the constantly changing seasons and enjoying all the fun that goes with them.


4 - That my 40 year old body can still hang together after a bit of exercise....and ...

5 - That I have a nice neighbor who took me for my first ride on my road bike and didn't mind that I slowed him down like a rock.


6 - That there are so many exciting things on the horizon for my family and for me. Even though we are headed toward the end of 2009...( I know...where did it go?)...2010 is going to be GREAT! :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall is in the air


September spoiled me a little.
Lovely Fall weather in the mid 70's was just too good to last.
And sure enough the last week has seen temps starting to dip down to freezing.
Usually I spend all of October in denial about summer being over.
I've decided that I like my weather in the extremes.
I love summer and I love lots of snow in winter....but I'm not a real fan of anything in between.
I have to say though one of the greatest things about this time of year is all the fruit and pumpkin picking that we can do here.


Today I took the kids on a CVA planned field trip to Walter's Fruit Ranch at Green Bluff. They got to ride the "Fruit Loop Express"...(which I think was more in reference to the guy driving us around on the tractor trailer than the fruit itself....he was a little out there!)


They got to pick apples and a pumpkin, saw apple cider being made and tasted it. Delish...( but a little gross to look at)
...and they tasted apple butter which was a lot like apple sauce with cinnamon in it.


Next week my brother Pete will be in town and we have lots of fun things lined up for him.
A wander through the corn maze, pumpkin carving, a trip to the IMax.
We are going to send him home exhausted :-)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kona Ironman 2009

A big shout out to Craig Alexander who yesterday became the 2009 Ironman World Champion. The kids and I watched the race from start to finish ....all 8 hours and 20 minutes....and were so excited to see an Aussie from our home town in Cronulla cross the finish line first. Way to go, Craig! And I thought running 3 miles could be tough!

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Poor Blog


That's what it is.

My poor blog!

Well, it has been neglected for good reason. Living life is getting in the way of my writing about it :-)
We have been getting through plenty of schoolwork. And I'm not going to bore you with details about math or spelling but I wanted to share some of the fun stuff we have been doing this month.
We have just finished an in depth study of the Vikings. To compliment all we have been reading about them we also...


Made viking bread.
Tasted great straight out of the oven and then quickly turned to concrete!
Those Viking were hardy folk!


We made viking weapons to add to the boys collection of medieval weaponry.


For art Ciara and Max had to design and build a viking longboat out of vegetables....and it had to float.
After a few design modifications both made something pretty cool that worked.


Jack made a viking person that he quickly decided was actually more like Matt than a Viking so it became a portrait of Dad.
Obviously Matt has some kind of vision issue that we need to check up on!


More on the creative front...


we did some painting


We made cookie dough and then everyone got to add their own secret ingredients to see who could make the tastiest cookie.
Jack's had sour patch candy, sprinkles and Hershey's kisses that definitely had taste to them.
Ciara went for the more conventional choc chip variety and Max created a banana cookie that was surprisingly popular.


We also joined some friends for a field trip to a hands-on kids science exhibition called " Mobius Labs".


So much fun....
and what a great way to see science in action


So I think I have a pretty good excuse as to why I haven't been blogging.
Throw on top of that working, remodelling and exercise and you'll understand why my house looks like a tornado hit it. cleaning. That might have to be this weekends project!