Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year In Review

A year in review... That's what my hubby Pete likes best about New Years Eve... the flashbacks to the year gone by.

I reckon it can be good to look back at our own year, not for long, but just long enough to appreciate all that has been achieved in the last 365 days.

I can sometimes feel like another year has passed and not much in life has changed or improved. Focus may have been in the wrong place or lots of other, more important things have cropped up.

2009 for our family began quite memorably with Pete saying 'can we leave this conversation for another day, it's almost 4am!!' Now that was a fun night. The year continued with my confirmation of MS and starting on the recommended medication. We've moved house almost twice staying at friends for the 24 hours we had no house, children went with Pete to home ed camp, we had a term of choir, 2 lots of swimming sprints in school holidays, long drawn out settlement finally settled 3 months late losing thousands of dollars, my fathers estate finally sorted, I joined and participated in the local monthly home ed group, Pete and I attended a 2 day home ed seminar in September, Timothy has learned to walk, graduated to a single bed, Melinda can now read and is reading well, we ran and participated in home ed art and craft classes for 6 weeks, went camping for the first time in 6 years, I made half a dozen or more new and wonderful friends, our children have made friends with their children, we changed churches, Melinda has been at Girl's Brigade for 3 terms and Nathaniel at Boys Brigade for the same 3 terms, I had a slipped disc twice (not aiming for that next year!!), We've been researching traditional God given foods and are now drinking raw milk instead of powdered - a massive price difference but worth the benefits, have upped our egg and fat consumption massively and a whole lot more, have started market trips at least fortnightly, 'bought in' to the local community garden and started seedlings for it, experienced a trip to emergency when Melinda came off the scooter and greeted the concrete with her forehead, got a back-log of paperwork done, paid thousands off debt, washed dishes for 10 weeks while we waited for the dishwasher to become installed, started a blog, walked with friends by the local section of Dandenong creek for hours, travelled to Queensland by car for a 2 week family holiday/business conference. Pete and I have enjoyed what may well be our best year of marriage thus far. Friends have had babies, some you wouldn't think could survive but with Gods blessing are thriving, We've cooked meals for families through various house moves, illnesses and busy lives and made dear friends in the process with one family in particular. God is Good!
These are just the things that come to mind as I type, so I'm sure there's a whole bunch more!

When I read this list, instead of wondering where the year went, I am amazed we survived. Oh what a year. I can only imagine what God has in store for us in 2010 and trust that He will continue to provide the strength needed to travel this moment in time that is life on earth.

PS... (Jan 2) There's also been 2 family weddings, Melinda a flower girl at my mothers, a formal girls only dinner party for 10 and reconnecting with many friends from years gone by courtesy of facebook!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's called Christmas with a capital 'C'

Christmas comes and goes in such a flash! Once the 25th of December has passed, Christmas is gone for the year... so unless we 'get into it' earlier, it's always going to disappear this fast!

Christmas is one of those things I find quite interesting among Christian friends... do we, don't we, it's not when Christ was born, it's a pagan festival and so on. As much as Santa and presents have centre stage though, it is the time of year when most around us have some awareness of Christ. Regardless that it's all wrapped in Santa, that still has to be a good thing. So for me this year the summary of my thoughts are:

Nup, it's not the real day that HE was born... but the point is HE was born! Being sure of eternal life, in heaven, is the best gift I didn't have to ask for. Even better though, it's a gift everyone can choose to accept. He was born for you too. Where are you spending eternity?

That aside... Christmas this year may be our best yet. As the children are getting older, traditions are becoming stronger and have more of an impact.
Something that we have done every year since Melinda was 1yo, is to do a 'Pyjama Ride' at Christmas. Usually Christmas Eve... load the kids in the car in their Pyjamas, once it's dark... and go and look at Christmas lights. It's a lot of fun... we look at some we know and seek out other ones in small neighbourhoods. It's fun for all - Even Timothy at almost 20mo loves it... even last year at 8mo he expressed delight at the light displays. This year we'd also done a little Christmas baking and dropped that off to a few friends as we went. Pete had the job of door knocking and surprising people. He really didn't like it till he was done - and then enjoyed the laughter he had brought people. A good experience for 'Mr Scrooge' ;o)

We got together with my extended family the Saturday before Christmas, and Pete takes the children to visit his parents early January (and I get to use that time for home ed planning! - Yay!!)

Christmas day was lovely - the children waking before 7am, excited about their small Christmas stockings and then after our traditional breakfast of pancake wrapped sausages we were off to church, a really lovely service. Back home for a sleep, family lunch and then presents. Just a lovely day really.

And in 2010, I'd just like to start the 'doing' of Christmas at the start of December... we will see!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yoghurt made today!

It's the 4th time I've made yoghurt if I can count! Once a couple of years ago and twice before today from raw milk - today's is from raw milk too.

I'm pretty happy as today's 'set' in just 3 hours - it's usually taken 3-4 times that long! I changed the way I kept it warm and also made sure it was warm right to the top. It obviously makes a good difference which is a relief.

It's in the fridge now and I'll be making another jar...hmm, maybe while camping? That could be a bit too much fussing - so I think it will either be the day before or once we're back.

I'm making yoghurt in a similar way to the recipe below. I'm only making about 500ml and I'm making it thick by adding 2tb of powdered full cream milk to the other milk as it's heated. So not as pure as it could be, but sure works for me and costs about $1.75 for half a kilo and a bit extra if I want it flavoured. That's 1/2 the price of what I'd pay for good yoghurt from the supermarket.

Speaking of flavoured; that's the interesting bit...
The first of the recent batches, I made plain and then stirred in honey once done. Tasted great for those that like honey. The second one I mixed pureed raspberries into it before it was set. Again, it tasted good but the problem was that all the seeds fell to the bottom and the last centimetre was thick with seeds - not so fun! So... this time, I am going to pour pureed fruit ON TOP of the yoghurt now that it's set, with the idea being that each time you serve some yoghurt that you're also getting some of the fruit for flavour!

Best go and do that now and then maybe I'll have some pictures to show.

Yoghurt Recipe

By Joanne Hay

You need:

  • 1 litre (2-1/4 pints) of full-fat milk (raw is best)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons yogurt (room temperature) mixed with a few tablespoons of milk
  • thermometer

Bring milk to just under boiling point and then pour the milk into a glass or earthenware dish. Let the milk cool to about 42°C/104°F. Pour the yogurt/milk mixture into the milk carefully without disturbing the skin that may have formed on the surface of the milk. Cover with a cloth, place in a warm, draft-free place for 8 to 12 hours or overnight, and do not disturb it until the yoghurt thickens. Drain any excess liquid and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

To make a “thick” yoghurt, remove the skin on the surface of the yoghurt just made and pour the yoghurt into a muslin bag. Hang the bag over a bowl and let drain for about 2 hours or until the desired thickness is obtained

Planning 2010

Our calendar is full and I feel like 2009 is pretty much over. We're going to be taking some time over our 'break' to plan the new year. The 'what we want it to look like', knowing full well that much deviation will occur.

I need to plan the children's education; academic, physical, spiritual and life skills
I need to make financial plans
Business plans
Spiritual growth and fellowship plans
Home management plans
Health management - physical and food
and plans for time structure

Okay, that's some good brainstorming... that list gives me something to work with

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interesting food changes

Over recent years I've looked at food/diet from time to time and more recently God has led me to some strongly convicted people who eat very differently from mainstream society. I've watched, I've asked questions, I've read and I've sought what God wants me to learn from each of them.

Bit by bit I am piecing it all together. I'll never be able to explain it all here - you're best to do some googling and reading of some detailed books.

We're far from done in changing our diet but here's what we're doing after research shows how powerful these things are

  • We've switched to raw milk - wow... what amazing health advantages God gave us with raw organic cow milk. From stronger immune systems to reduced tooth decay and more
  • We're eating more fat. Lots of it. Real fat, animal fat, virgin coconut oil. Unprocessed fats.
  • We're eating loads more eggs
  • Significant protein at every meal
  • Very reduced grain intake
  • Back to white breads and pasta as a short term measure before we head to soaking and grinding Spelt grains to make our own flour for bread, baking etc
So what, hey? Well in short, I have noticed immediate benefits. In 3 weeks I have lost 5kg and I am soooo not hungry. Short and simple yet HUGE results.

We'll keep investigating and keep making changes. It's all about going back to the food God gave us, and preparing it the way it was a couple of thousand years ago.

Google & read: Nourishing Traditions, Eat Fat Lose Fat; Real Milk, Weston A Price Foundation

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Paper Update!

Well, the paper thing never happened as planned... and I've not 'been here' in almost a month... so as you can imagine... the paper is still piled.

The good news, however is that we've done some major work on it. I mean MAJOR work on it. A long overdue tax return has been completed. It only took 2 nights till 4am to complete it but hey, it's DONE.
That is some serious paperwork pressure GONE!

So while not all is perfect, we're on our way to excellence and that has got to be good!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paper Week - Day One

When thinking about a week of 'Paper', yesterday... I thought 30mins a day - no problem!
Well, it's gone 7pm and I'm yet to do my half hour *blush*
I guess that's why it's a problem!

I will get my 30minutes done before I go to bed tonight!

What will I work on?

The pile to the right of the computer - on the blue drawers... should only take 10mins?
The pile to my left, under my open diary... yes, probably another 10 minutes?
Then the remaining minutes will be about setting up some sort of paper system to help prevent this sort of madness in the future!

I will be back to report :o)
**Back - Got it 1/2 done! Blue drawers done and some setting up of systems i.e. organising the paper that needs to be kept.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I don't have a clutter problem, I have a paper problem

What is it with paper that causes it to breed so?

Personal computers creating a paperless world is obviously just a myth, or wishful thinking on part of the trees.

Once I conquer paper organisation, I will be so much better equipped to handle all else that life throws my way. Paper clutter, clutters the mind; takes up head space that could be put to much better us.

But what to do about it? Stop procrastinating I think. Maybe? *grin* Yes!!

So - and join me if you will - The week ahead is a Paper Week.
30 minutes EVERY day
More done, doesn't count towards the next day... that'd be cheating
The key here is consistency
Why not 15minutes?
Because it takes almost that to get your head in the right place to deal with the paper!!!

Menu Plan

Life goes so much more smoothly when I plan ahead!

Our dinners for the rest of this week will be:
Tuesday ~ Meatball creole and a double for a friend
Wednesday ~ Tuna Bake
Thursday ~ Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne and a double for a friend
Friday ~ Fish n Vegies
Saturday ~ Plannedovers
Sunday ~ Corned Beef n Vegies

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nathaniel's 6th Birthday Cake

I've never seen a child as excited about a birthday as Nathaniel was this year! This is his 3 eyed monster cake... to match his T shirt (that picture won't load at the moment, I'll try again later.

oh - and this is so not in order lol, his party was on October 23rd but his birthday the 13th and I'm only posting now :o)

Real Stock

Real chicken stock is the sort you do yourself... simmer for hours and get every bit of goodness into it that you can. Real chicken stock is about health first, not flavour first.

Something I found out about stock recently... when you put a bit of vinegar into the stock and let it sit for 30mins before heating, you get more goodies out of the bones! And no, you can't taste the vinegar once done!!!

I cooked the chicken stock all night and woke to the aroma drifting through the house - delish.
My stock above is cooling for freezing, the fat is starting to come to the top... tomorrow I'll start to cook with it. I got about 6 litres after reducing from about 9.

Recipe: 4 chicken frames, 3 carrots, 2 large onions, 1/4c vinegar into the large pot and fill with water. Sit for 30mins then heat to a simmer then keep heat on a super low simmer all night.
Strain (Not down the sink!! I've seen that done!!) and then continue to cook at a boil to reduce and concentrate the stock. Use as a soup, in risottos - anything you want stock for. Some like to include it in almost every meal as it aids digestion among other things!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time flies

Wow - 3mo since I have been here!! Procrastination is my middle name lol, thought if I didn't pop in here now, it may never happen.

What am I up to? Lots!
God has blessed me with a family to cook for.... the story being that I have been greatly frustrated by the systems that are required in large churches (and most are large by my count nowadays). The systems of put your name on the list of you can cook a meal for someone that needs it. The system of if you need a meal, call us and someone on the list will do a meal for you. Yeah right - I am so stressed/ill/work out/depressed that I need a meal from someone else... I can almost guarantee it's still easier to cook my own meal!!!!
Anyway... with this I decided I would use my gift of cooking/hospitality outside the systems and prayed that God would bring the people to me that needed to be fed. And He has.
I am humbled, grateful and blessed.
It is such a joy to be able to serve God in this most basic of ways. *teary*

Home education... is such an inspiring journey!
We experienced a great home education conference in October and it was lovely to also have the opportunity to meet with like minded people there. Looking forward to another next year already!
The children have been finishing up a number of curriculum's and moving on to the next ones. They love doing this and I enjoy seeing the progress they've made.
We'll be starting memory verse lapbooks this week, inspired by a new dear friend sharing her idea on facebook and I am gradually becoming more disciplined in doing/starting the home ed day with bible and prayer - which is so important but so easy to not do!

Nathaniel asked God to live in his heart this last month - only days after I had read about keeping note of when it happens so that you can reinforce it over the years... anyone else out there not be 100% sure if you did it, did it properly and thus repeated the same thing a number of times? This shouldn't be!
Anyway, it was in the middle of a home ed lesson and he noticed the letter 't' looked like the cross that Jesus died on... the conversation went from there and I immediately wrote it down and the prayer he prayed. Such an exciting step in his faith journey.

On the home front... I get better and worse with my homemaking every week, *sigh*
I need to force myself back to flylady and get the routines in action again. I love that Pete is home and works from home but it is so hard to have the strict routines that work best for me when that same drive isn't in the other person. Not to mention that the MS makes focus so much harder. Ah well... I continue to grow.
Speaking of which... family breakfast time right about now and if I don't get up and get doing, the day will be undone!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Loving the bills!

On arriving home from holidays there was the inevitable pile of mail to go through, including 2 bills.

I am thrilled to announce that neither were scary and one was a YIPPEE

Phone bill (includes home, 2 x mobile and internet) just as budgeted for... I aim for it to be $16__'something' and it was $167.93.
This represents a savings of about $50 a month on our old plans.

The YIPPEE award goes to the GAS BILL.
We've been extra careful here with heating and this bill came in at an average of $3.42 per day. I wasn't overly thrilled with that till I dug out a bill for the same period in another year. When we were averaging $6.02 PER DAY for gas.
On this one bill that's a savings of $158.00 and there will be one more in the same season... so we're looking at saving over $300 in the year on our gas bill alone.

This little chickadee is happy to have the heating off at night and put up with cooler days if that's what it turns into!

On those two bills alone, we are $900 tax free dollars ahead each year! That's like getting a $1200 pay rise. Gotta love when simplifying life has such measurable results.

(Having said that, the warmer weather in Qld was wonderful and I am going to have to force myself to wear extra clothes and keep the heating low tomorrow!!)

Stay Tuned for Photo's

We arrived back from our holiday this afternoon - it was a wonderful time away. Stay tuned for photo's, the camera is yet to be unpacked.

The children are all bathed... I'm going to be locking myself in the bathroom before bed... and now they're in bed. A little excited as it's Melinda's 7th birthday tomorrow which seems to be more than enough to take the sting off the end of the holiday!

We spent a day at Dreamworld - a picture perfect day at that as we all behaved beautifully and just had a lovely lovely day enjoying the entertainment, the weather and each other.
Timothy was hilarious. Looking really suspicious when Pete took him on the first ride (slow flying blues clues) but hey - he loved it and burst into tears when it was time to get off!
That was followed by the merry go round (my turn), spinning tea cups (pete again) and then onto rides for older kids. Melinda and Nj did love the toddler rides though.
Pete and Nj took a 'dodgem car' for a spin - what are the called nowadays?
Then it was the sponge-bob square pants flying ride. Melinda and Nj needed persuading for this one but once convinced loved it enough to ride twice in a row.
We got to the log ride and I got soaked, then the river rapids ride twice (Nj calls this the wippet wappits ride *grin*)
A train ride, a couple of food stops and I can't remember what else... and then Pete took M & Nj back the next day while I stayed at the appartment with Timothy.

We then had a couple of days to play in the pool etc, lunch with friends and then it was into seminar which Pete and I thoroughly enjoyed. We were blessed to have Pete's parents on the Gold Coast for their annual trip and they looked after the kids for 1/2 the seminar, reducing our need for paid babysitters.

Now it's time to get back into real life and I feel relaxed, refreshed and more focused than I have in a long time.

Pete is now working hard at assembling a bike for Melinda's birthday in the morning, so he's back into it all too. He does love an excuse to get the tools out, I must say!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I love this quote

I Work For a King

"I work for a King. He has put me in charge of his home. When He comes to see how I have managed His possessions and His children, I do not want to be found wanting. I want to do my best. Everything I have is on loan from Him. I have room and board and a job to do, but it is all for Him. Therefore I want to dress my best and do my best in all my work. I also want to be creative, for this is a sincere attempt to glorify Him and His beautiful creation. How I manage my home is a form of worship to Him." --Lydia Sherman

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Sheets

I can hear the washing machine doing it's job - how wonderful to have a machine do it for me!!
It's got new sheets inside, which makes it even more exciting LOL

There's nothing quite so nice as sliding between fresh new sheets at night.

Well there is actually, just one thing...

...sliding between fresh new sheets with hair free legs and just exfoliated and moisturised feet. And I mean *just* exfoliated. Within the few hours before bed, and that's a bed made with fresh sheets.

Pure Bliss!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What does your week look like?

I don't mean your schedule, events etc. What do I mean though? I guess I mean your sanity, your motivation, your sense of order and organisation.

I have a theory... based on what happens here, what I read of other people and just because. Just because it makes sense. To me.

Monday - The start of a new week. Planned, focused and organised
Tuesday - Because Monday was good we think we have it under control and Tuesday seems to just cruise
Wednesday - Because we let Tuesday cruise, there's a whole bunch of stuff that didn't get done. Add that to Wednesday's tasks and it's overwhelming, so not too much gets done
Thursday - We realise the week is almost over, so we get focused on some key tasks
Friday - Our last chance so we either spend the day as headless chooks to cram before the weekend or we throw up our hands with a 'why bother' because it's just not going to all get done.

Please tell me it's not just me...

The key day for me is Tuesday
Tuesday is the tipping point
Do Tuesday right and I can hold the week together
Don't do it right and the whole week can unravel

What day is your undoing?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Full steam ahead!

This may be the only life anyone sees from us in the next week. We leave in 7 x 24 hours + 8 hours to drive to Queensland for our family holiday and NM seminar.

Between now and then we need to
-get the cat to mums
-get 2 new tyres on the car
-paint a friend's son's room
-hold the final art class of the series
-design & fill 2 newsletters
-complete a mail out for 200
-wash the car and add water
-have my birthday celebrations
-Pete to men's night at church on Sunday
-Run a final BBB class
-3 customer appointments
-have our floors inspected by *6* people all at once (they're faulty) (the floor boards, not the people... that will be decided after we meet them *grin*)
-M to Girls Brigade
-Nj to Boys Brigade
-did I say *PACK*... there is sooo much to be organised!!!
-Training here
-Prep for that training!
-buy sparkly silver top hat
-make sparkly silver cape
-Organise M's birthday party for a couple of days after we return... she's turning *7*
-and then all the normal things like meals, eating, cleaning, washing & tidying here!!!

I really think I need to work on the packing list some more tonight - there are quite a few things that can't be packed till 3am next Saturday and I need to make sure I know what they are!

PS - and I have a hair appointment

I am NOW going to sit with the calendar, diary and some pens to get this sorted!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Wonderfully dreadful.

We are now implementing our cash plan.

If we stick to it, life will be great. If we don't, we'll dig a hole.

I suppose that's how it is anyway... we're just focusing on it!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fabulous Dinner

Last night we had some new friends join us for dinner and it was really lovely. We'd never met the hubby before and it was the first 'real' opportunity to get to know the wife.
The most inspiring thing for me was that they were really seeking Gods will in their lives. They were saying 'Lord, where you lead we will follow' instead of the typical world-washed christian who lives a life that says 'Lord, where I lead, I want you to be there'.
I pray God blesses them as they follow His lead, and I feel blessed by them having shared a part of their journey with us.
Asides from that - they were just a really lovely family anyway!! Bonus *grin*

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Homeschool Graduate

I found this blog entry to be a really encouraging read.
When every second person you meet thinks you're a fruit loop for home educating or that we're abusing our kids by doing so (all this without them having done research into any schooling system, just the assumption that if the majority do something, it must be best, mind you!!!)... end of rant.... it's nice to be able to read of the successful journeys of others and be reminded of all the reasons we do what we do.

I've checked out the book she recommends and now need to add it to my wish list!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Arrived at last!

The computer has arrived - my life is complete - well... on it's way to being less hassled LOL
It's a lot faster than the desk top too - most noticeable so far with this blog.

There's a lot of setting up that needs to be done but it will have to wait. It's after 3pm so I need to get on with dinner, some bookwork with the kids and whatever today's cleaning is!!!! Time is passing very quickly today!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Worn Out - and Celebrating!

Hubby's pants have gone to the bin. 2 pairs - and we're thrilled.
We have vowed in our efforts to simplify that no more clothes will go to the op shop. We will own few enough that they WEAR out.
So with 2 to the bin, another will be repaired with material from a bin pair - and that pair then continues to be his 'yucky-work' pants. We bought a new best pair and he has 2 nice looking but older pants, for every day.
We will win this war!

Art & Craft Class

We had a lot of fun making these finger puppets. I've put Melinda's and Nj's aside for the car trip to Queensland... something easy to play with in the car.

The computer isn't arriving till Monday

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Waiting Waiting

It's like being due for a baby LOL

Our new baby is a laptop, and it's due today!
We're keeping everything crossed that it does arrive, and unfortunately unlike having a baby, there's not a long list of things we can try to speed it's arrival!! hehe

Saturday, June 27, 2009

3 Months In and Counting

It's been 3 months this weekend since we moved in here.
It's amazing how much can change in that time, and change many times at that!

I finally have a business routine happening - which is the most stressful, when it's not happening.

Homemaking is okay - it has it's ups and downs. We've just added a work table to the loungeroom for the children and hubby and I can already see the benefits. Being a work at home, home education family means we are pretty much all here, all the time. We need to not drive each other crazy LOL.
Well, the loungeroom wasn't getting used much - maybe 30mins a day for TV and once a fortnight when having friends over. Not much considering it's about 25% of our floor space and 50% of our living space!
I believe this addition will help me be more organised but only time will tell. More organised means more than one spotless room at any one time LOL

While I decided more than 7 years ago to home educate, this is our first 'real year' as dd is 6, almost 7 (school year here is same as calender year) so we've been finding out what works and what doesn't. I'm settling in to being happy with our chosen curriculum and knowing what to add and what not to add. I have worked out that my best business time is morning, and so home education is about to be an afternoon thing - we're taking a couple of weeks off at the moment, to prepare business for while we are away.
I feel that we're ready for more consistency once we're done with this break and I look forward to it.

Meal planning & shopping - is wonderful. We are all eating more fresh foods. I do need to sit down and write a meal planning list as there are so many more options that I keep forgetting about. As I type I can smell a chicken roasting in the oven... I am determined to do it myself for $6/chicken instead of $11 when cooked by the supermarket. Roast chicken tonight, chicken pie tomorrow and then chicken n corn soup on Monday.... LOVE roast chook!
The cost of 5mins to do a roast chook for a savings of $5 is like getting paid $60tax free an hour!

Exercise - I need to get back into it. I was walking 3 x a week for a month but with the colder weather, it has dropped off. I need to focus on this.

Water - am drinking lots but need to keep my focus on it as it's easy to stop doing!

Money - we are doing so much better with this, however there is still room for improvement. I need to take a look at next month's finances and work out what cash we need. We're slowly moving to cash shopping etc. This month petrol has been cash and it's working well.

Goals other than mentioned above....
I want to have the kitchen, dining & lounge all tidy asides from what is being used at the time.
This year, maybe for Christmas, maybe sooner? I'd like to buy a sewing machine so I can better care for my family.
Debt. I'd like to halve our debt between now and Christmas.

Hmm... yes.... all is good in the House of Bogwitz :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Countdown for Queensland

The children are getting very excited as we're preparing for our holiday at the end of July.
We've booked accommodation, organised Dreamworld passes, lined up babysitting for the part Pete and I are at seminar and it's all coming together quite well.
I haven't been to Dreamworld with children before, so there will be a whole bunch of rides we do that I've never bothered with before - like rides in tea cups LOL
A favourite of mine for nearly 20 years is the log ride - I just love that rush at the end :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The days fly by

We're keeping busy here and they days are just disappearing! They're disappearing in a good way though. There's a fine line. When you're thinking 'Where did that time go?' then I reckon you're not achieving enough! On the other hand, when you look back and think 'that only seems like yesterday' or something else to that effect, ie not alarmed in any way, then you're more likely to be doing things productively!
Thankfully it's the latter for us.
This week I spent a day helping a friend with meals and cleaning. That's a serious % of my available time gone, that would normally be used for other things.
We also had the 3rd of 7 art'n'craft classes for kids here - they're having a ball.
PLUS dh and I are putting big efforts into our business at the moment.
Today is a good example of our craziness at the moment - I have a client appointment this morning, a business to do list of some significance that must be done today, I'm attending a linen party at a friends place this afternoon and then have some girlfriends here this evening for some Anne of Green Gables and foot pampering! All good but pretty packed. oh, and I just remembered... the family has asked for cooked breakfast today and I'd love to take the children to the park!
Thankfully it's not yet 6am so I've time to pull this day off. I'm off to get organised!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We're a bunch of Wusses'!

The heating on at night annoys us as it starts by blowing cold air and then barely gets warm before switching off again - this is because we had it set at just 13 degrees. This as a house temperature is quite fine at night but annoying with the heating functioning the way it does.

So, we cured it. The last 2 nights we just switched it OFF

Can I tell you, it gets mighty cold! Just 1-2 degrees colder makes a huge difference when making the bathroom dash in the morning!

I am reminded though of when I was growing up. We didn't have air conditioning till I was about 13 and then it was reserved for the lounge/dining/kitchen as it was all one room. Heating was pretty much the same! Doors closed so the heat didn't go up to bedrooms or the bathroom.
It was not uncommon either, to arrive home from school to find dad airing the house - in the middle of winter!!! No heating anywhere!

And this was just life as we knew it.

I won't go back to that but from now on the heating will be off at night. Why pay an extra couple if hundred dollars each year just to have a warm bathroom dash in the mornings. When I think about it, that is an obscene waste of our money and it can be put to a more productive use elsewhere.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Winter has Arrived!

Forecast for Tuesday

Cloudy. Isolated showers during the morning, becoming more widespread during the day. The chance of thunderstorms with hail from midday. Possible snow about the nearby hills at night. Winds northwesterly averaging up to 30 km/h increasing to 30 to 40 km/h during the morning then tending west to southwesterly around midday.
Showers increasing. Windy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Food Choices

God has been leading me to less processed foods, reducing additives etc that we eat and increasing fresh food volume in our diet.

We've been talking about it a bit her for the last couple of months and I've come to realise I need to sit down and have a serious planning session to make it work!

Some things are easy - cut out 'diet' products as they have artificial sweeteners in them, and so on.

The trickier thing, since we're so used to eating everything cooked, is to find interesting raw/salad recipes that we can eat without scaring ourselves too much IYKWIM LOL.

There's a few I've come up with - but even searching for vegetarian recipes, most are cooked - and I know some good cooked ones already!

Another thing I am noticing is that most snacks we eat are processed, so when I sit down and plan I need to make a list of snacks that fit our new food choices.

So many products are labeled with 'no artifical colours' etc but still have things in it that you don't want to be eating - there's quite a maze to go through and the food companies don't want to help you, just themselves!

What are you eating that God wants you to eat? How much are you eating that is not fit for His temple?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Good bye door bell

In our effort to simplify, our doorbell is going. No - we didn't look to do that LOL
When the batteries etc died again and it looks like the whole thing needs replacing - it is about 9 years old... I said: 'duh' doorbells are a modern inconvenience!
We may well get a 'knocker' but in the meantime, a note that says 'please knock' will suffice.
In my work, I go to too many homes where the doorbell doesn't work. Very frustrating... I politely ring it and wait, then ring again, pressing a little harder. After a good 5 minutes in the cold I decide it's not working, knock on the door and voila!, someone comes to the door!
So... by no door bell, we don't have to think about whether or not it's working and we don't have to keep paying for batteries.
I love a simplified life!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Say NO to Gadget Clutter!

In my endeavours to be clutter free PLUS create a warm and welcoming home for my family - all at the same time, I am finding that while I am getting rid of boxes of 'stuff' to the op shop - there are still items I am considering on adding to our home!

I am being careful though and am discovering that there are some gadgets that IMO are just not worth having take up space! Our society has become gadget and 'stuff-a-holics' and we're easily conned into buying what we don't need.

2 in particular come to mind at the moment... a sushi maker and a bread machine.

I'd never made sushi but then watched a friend make it - with a gadget that helped get it right... a lot simpler than the one I've pictured here. I thought of course 'ooh, I want one'... but decided to give it a go the traditional way first. What can I say... it was faster and simpler and a whole lot less cleaning up without the gadget! Yay - I can keep the empty shelf space and the cash!

Bread machines... have been all the rage. Most people I know use it a few times then it gets sent to the cupboard for the odd time they use it - or loan it out to friends or sell it on ebay LOL

Well, I have been experiementing with bread recently and can't think WHY I would want to clutter up my home and deplete by cash just to have a bread machine!
I have a recipe that takes no more than 10mins hands on for baking. It only needs less than a minute of kneading and you can make it any shape you like!

Why oh why would I want a bread machine that requires storage, dusting and an initial investment when I can make 2 loaves for $1 in less than 10mins hands on???

A harmonious and productive home is uncluttered.... pass the sushi maker on!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday's at Home

I am really looking forward to today - even though we've had a change of plans. We were to be going to Geelong so I could attend a friend's baby shower but my back is still not good enough from last week to handle the 1.5-2hours in the car each way :(

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade

And so with that, it's on with our day!

Church this morning - leaving here in about an hour. I am really enjoying this church.
Then this afternoon I have a fun craft activity to do with the children, I will start baking some sourdough bread and I am going to deal with the paperwork 'hot spot' that is growing.
Lunch is leftovers and dinner will be Irish stew with dumplings... a great 'comfort' meal.
Pete's going to clear out some of the gutters and do a bit more sorting in the garage.

Well, I must be off - need to check that the kitchen is done before we head off for church!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nathaniel's Lego creations are getting better and better every time he plays. I am so glad we've stayed away from kit Lego and instead left it to the children's imaginations, the way Lego was, when I was a child! Children are given too much 'ready to do' things these days and it drives me NUTS! LOL
This one here that you can see, is not yet finished - I don't have the latest photo of it... it now has a roof and on a safe shelf (ie out of Timothy's reach) so that he can add to it again and again.
We're going to add to the Lego collection in a big way once our house settlement loosens finances... and the more I see him work with the small collection he has, the more I am excited about this!

I've been blessed this week with a walking partner and new friend all in the one lovely lady. We went twice this week for an hour and next week are aiming for 3 times. It felt so good to get out in the fresh air and so wonderful to talk with another christian interested in what the bible says about life, instead of making the bible fit a pre-chosen lifestyle.

My back is up and down since the episode last Sunday... praying it heals quickly and I'm hoping the walking will contribute to that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Live Purposefully

"So much attention is paid to the aggressive sins, such as violence and cruelty and greed with all their tragic effects, that too little attention is paid to the passive sins, such as apathy and laziness, which in the long run can have a more devastating effect." Eleanor Roosevelt

"Look carefully then how you walk!
Live purposefully and worthily and accurately
, not as the unwise and witless, but
as wise - sensible, intelligent people; making the very most of the time - buying up each opportunity
- because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-17

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Music Gets It Done!

I've found 'our' CD at last... one we had but hadn't used for this purpose.

Let me rewind...

There's a lot of home making jobs to be done at our place... more than the average family. Because we actually live here LOL
We educate here and we work from home. And contrary to popular opinion, having hubby working from home does NOT decrease the workload for me, it increases it. Somethings are definitely more manageable but over all, it is an increase in work to be done. Same as having the children at home with me versus at an institute for education. They make their mess here, not there LOL.

My aim as a parent is to raise godly children that are a blessing to others and that can manage their own homes with excellence, once that day arrives.

To this end, the children are a part of the daily home making jobs. I have a 1yo... a little too young still, but not for long. My 5 & 6yo's are plenty old enough though!

We start the day with our jobs and this is where the CD comes in: Today I added in a CD - and when the CD is done, we're done.
We used Andre Rieu 'Fiesta'. One I bought by recommendation of flylady, so I should have known long ago that it would be great for this purpose!

In the hour the CD was playing (nice and loud!) we got a lot of things done.... table cleared and wiped, floor wiped and swept, DW emptied from last night and re stacked with breakfast, all beds made and rooms tidied, dirty wash collected and a load put on, yesterday's washing all folded and put away, benches wiped, the cat food area cleaned up, carrots peeled and then dinner 1/2 cooked, curtains and blinds opened, rubbish bin emptied and re-lined. Our whole list and a little more. When the CD stopped, we stopped.

So as of now - this is our home making jobs CD!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Sunday at Home - asides from a slipped disc that has kept me bed ridden much of the day was spent doing this ... a productive evening is better than nothing!


After (duh!):

Saturday, May 9, 2009

This weeks menu

This is what we will be eating this week

Mother's day - made to order...
Breakfast: Eggs Benedict in bed with hot coffee
Lunch: Beef casserole with rice and carrots
Dinner: Left overs
Breakfast: Porridge
Dinner: Roast chicken & vegies
Breakfast: Tex Mex Grits
Dinner: Spaghetti
Breakfast: Porridge
Dinner: Savoury mince Pancakes
Breakfast: Beans on toast
Dinner: Tuna casserole
Breakfast: Porridge
Dinner:Hot dogs n vegies
Breakfast: Eggs on toast
Dinner: Vegie rice

Browsing blogs... such a fun time waster

I've started my mother's day early LOL... have just been reading a bunch of blogs I've been given links to.

I love this article on obedient children. I've had quite a few conversations about such things recently... and not all good! I'm looking forward to reading their dating/courtship section as well.

And then I've also been looking at home decorating. Check this out - I'd need someone else to come in and clean if I wanted to live like this PLUS have a life LOL

This site has a lot of good stuff but my favourite right now is this, the most gorgeous little girl singing a song. There's lots of good reading here on the girl talk site, so grab a cuppa

Another easy recipe - Cheese Muffins

I don't have a picture of these because they all umm... got eaten?

These are ideal fresh... they don't really hold up all that well once cooled.

They are GREAT when needed at short notice... to add to a meal, for unexpected guests, or for hungry children at morning tea or breakfast. It makes about 6 big muffins.

1 cup flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2tsp of a salty seasoning
mix these together
add 1 cup of grated cheese and mix in
Add 3/4c milk and mix again

Spoon into greased muffin pans and bake in a hot oven till golden... 5-10mins


And if you love them lots, it's easy to double the batch... just don't do the extras for storage :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Coconut Cookies

I have succumbed - I will now call them cookies and get over it!

About 55 cookies for less than $3 - plus they are delicious! How does that sound?

One home brand butter cake mix 85c
One cup of coconut 50c
1/2 cup olive oil 70c (veg oil would be cheaper)
1tsp coconut essence 5c?
3 eggs 70c (free range would be more costly)

Mix it all together, spoon onto baking trays (teaspoons) and bake for 10-12 minutes, till golden.
Cool on baking tray for 5mins before moving to cooling rack

I think from now on the children can make this one - it's sooo easy

PS: Now that I am munching on them, I will be doubling the coconut essence next time around

Windmill... calling my name

aah, one of the greatest joys of home education: supply shopping!

I'm organising a group of 8 children for a 7 week craft class... all just so I get to buy the supplies!
haha... not really, but it's a fun part of it.

Art & craft is messy and if you're just doing it for a couple of children, quite expensive as decent supplies come in bulk packs :(
To get over that hurdle I am organising a group to meet at our place each week to do a variety of activities... magnets, painting, pop up cards, puppets and so on.
The other parents LOVE the idea because it's cheaper than enrolling them in one of the professional classes available but pretty much the same on offer PLUS it's not them having to get crafty and organised and then cleaned up after!!

oh - and the windmill reference... one of my favourite supply shops.
I hear Zart art is good... I am yet to investigate - I promise I will though!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just 'be'

I was reading Melissa's blog earlier today - The Vintage Homemaker, and read her Sundays at home post.
I love this idea and will work towards it myself. I have been craving having my Sunday's back and made a decision to keep all work off them and to just BE at home about 2-3 weeks ago - but would you know it... this month I have a baby shower, a bridal fair AND mothers day all on different Sunday's LOL

We do a pretty good job here of keeping up with the house, so it's not so much that. It's the chance to do the extras, the special touches. For me it's the chance to bake... because there's time to clean up. Time for craft - again, time to clean up after. To get things done without the phone ringing. To play with the children without watching the clock.
Mostly though, it's the chance to just be.

That's what I love... the time to 'Just, be'.

And so it begins

Things change. I thought I'd never do a blog. And I thought that again only last week.

I want somewhere to keep everyone updated with what's happening in the family - without having to chase them and shove photo's down their throat!

I'll be posting our home education adventures here along with forms and activities I create by pdf rather than emailing them to everyone that asks.

Nothing to say right now, other than Welcome to our corner of the WWW

Horror of the day: Cadbury have downsized their family blocks to 200g