Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 homeschooling highlights in pictures

A look back at some of the highlights of 2011.  It's been a year of variety plus the usual weekly activities!


  • Bought a smart globe which has had lots of use learning about other countries (HSIE)
  • Lots of water sports - surfing, swimming, kayaking, water skiing, fishing (PDHPE)


  • February saw a trip to America which (as well as being a lot of fun!) saw learning opportunities about American history, & geography, science and movie making (HSIE, Science & Technology, Creative Arts)
  • Watched a documentary on Stephen Hawking (Science & Technology) 











Bring on 2012!  I have no idea what it will bring, but I'm sure there will be plenty of learning opportunities!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What a Year!

About this time of year, I start to look ahead and make plans for next year.  An email this week reminded me to also look back and celebrate my successes - something I admit I don't do enough of.

So looking back, this year has been an amazing year for me personally. 

On the writing front:

I entered into the Little Gems and STALI contests, and received some valuable feedback.  I didn't place, but it was huge for me to put my work out there to be judged.

I did several writing courses - Understanding Men, What comes after the first 3 chapters, Creating Memorable Characters and The Plotting Wheel.  I took part more regularly in our local RWA writer's group and have made some good friends in it.

I reached my goal of 25,000 words while participating in 50K in 30 days, went to my first RWA conference and came back so energised and recharged.  I changed from trying to write category to writing women's fiction and found 2 wonderful & very valuable critique partners.

I also joined the RWA executive committee.

On the health front:

I bought a wii in March (and actually use it lol).  I've lost 7 kg since March and am probably the fittest I've ever been in my life (not that that is saying a lot - I've never been very fit so I still have quite a way to go before you could call me fit!).  (I'm conveniently ignoring the couple of kgs I'm sure I've put back on over Xmas!)

In April I started Defendo Close Quarters Combat martial arts,

and in Sept had my first grading up to Yellow belt.  Defendo really pushes me out of my comfort zone - not just physically but mentally as well.

I'm also still doing Body Balance most weeks which improves my flexibility and core strength.

I also:

* had a trip to the US and met Suji!

* made time to meet up with friends and family,
* created a better work / life balance and was less stressed,
* and went to see various shows - Tim Minchin, Faustus, Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar

Monday, December 26, 2011

Xmas 2011

We like to spread Xmas out over a couple of days.  We open presents from each other on Xmas Eve.  Billy got to do the honours and hand them out :) 

The flashing Santa hat is mandatory as the gift 'giver-outer'!

What?  Santa's coming?!  Where?!!

The highly-anticipated Minecraft shirt

 I got some books (yay!), Pete got some books, chocolate and computer game, Billy got the Minecraft t-shirt, some computer games and the highlight - video editing software.

The next morning, Santa had indeed paid us all a visit, stuffing our pillowcases with surprises.

Even the cat got his stocking filled with treats and toys.

Note the cup of tea ready at hand - we were a bit bleary eyed!

A Nerf water pistol - cool!

Presents for all...

Angry birds for the PC!  Now I can leave Mum's phone alone :)

Lots of goodies - some treats, some useful.
I got a new shirt, a book, a travel candle, and some toiletries.  Pete got a soft-sided cooler, toiletries, undies and a torch.
Billy got a Nerf water pistol, computer game, swimmers, socks, toiletries, a USB stick and fun stuff like glow sticks, fishing bait, a headlamp, mini water-pistol.
We all got candy canes and chippies to munch on!

My family came to our house for lunch this year.  It was very relaxed but still festive.

And the tree grew yet more presents - its the magic-pudding of Xmas trees.

Lots of unwrapping later, time to peruse presents and have a snooze - before eating a bit more :)

I hope you all had a lovely Xmas - we certainly did here.  And now its Boxing Day - a time to relax, play with your presents and eat leftovers.  And watch the Boxing Day test match (cricket) if you're that way inclined.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Xmas to all..

Thanks to everyone who has read my blog this year, and especially to those who have taken the time to comment.  It makes my day!

Merry Xmas, travel safely and enjoy the time with friends and family.  I hope Santa is good to you all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Carols night

Billy's education was lacking.  He claimed he had never been to a Carols by Candlelight.  I think I have taken him once when he was little, but he obviously can't remember it.

So in order to rectify such a grevious oversight, we met my mum, sister and nieces at a local church run Carols night.  The weather hadn't been kind all day, but in an optimistic spirit, it went ahead outside as planned. 

Waiting to start - the empty spaces soon filled up quickly.

While waiting, we were 'entertained' by a local magician (whose jokes were corny when I first saw him more than 20 years ago - and he's still using the same material lol).  He's a local icon and does a lot of fundraising for charities.

Before the magician could even finish, the heavens opened up, and everyone ran for shelter in the hall / church.  While the organisers and helpers were busy transferring all of the equipment inside and trying to get Plan B underway, we had a surprise visitor with lollies for the kids.

Finally the carols got underway - by this time though, their planned programme had been tossed away and they just did about half a dozen of the more popular kid's ones - Jingle Bells, Rudolph etc. 

And the weather finally cleared enough for their grand finale - a quite spectacular fireworks display.

It was a fun night.  I felt sorry for the organisers that their plans were destroyed but people still seemed to have a good time (if slightly damp lol).  I'm not sure if that qualifies as a proper 'carols by candlelight' for Billy - we'll have to try again next year!

Busy day

Yesterday was a busy day.  We had the family Xmas lunch with Pete's side of the family - lunch for 17 at our place!

Time for fossball

Lots of time for opening lots of presents!

A bit of backyard cricket.

After the Xmas lunch, we had out street Xmas party at a neighbours house (literally straight after - as I was waving family off, I was already heating the oven ready to take a plate of food to it!).  There's about 12 houses in our section of street that get together every year to celebrate Xmas.

Some of the kids went for a swim - it was a mild night, but not warm enough for the pool in my opinion!

Our street party has been going for about 16 years. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Greyhound Gymkhana

On Sunday we went along to a greyhound gymkhana by invitation of my father-in-law.  Now to me, a gymkhana is for ponies and little girls showing what they can do on them, but apparently you can have a greyhound gymkhana as well.  Basically it involved lots of greyhound races but no betting (ie it wasn't an official greyhound meeting).

So we got to watch the dogs in the 'exercise' yard (every second photo I took seemed to have a dog relieving themselves - obviously they get nervous before a race!)

This was our favourite - I'm not a greyhound lover, but it was a beautiful looking dog.

Heading around to the boxes - it was a long walk for the trainers, the dogs seemed to handle it fine :)

And they're off and racing... 

Unfortunately our favourite was just a pretty boy not a runner and came in last...

Catching them at the end of the race.

Since it was a fun event, there were also raffles & chocolate wheels, some fun running races for the kids and even a visit from the big man in the red suit handing out lollies and ice-blocks.

It was certainly an interesting day.  Billy really enjoyed it and wants to know when the next one is on!  (But then, that may have been the free lollies and ice-blocks!)