Monday, April 30, 2012

A Hunting We Will Go ...

With winter looming I am trying to take advantage of the lovely days we have been experiencing by getting the girls outdoors as much as possible during the middle of the day.

Today I searched online for some scavenger hunt ideas and found a great example of one at   I typed a similar copy up for us and printed them off and laminated them. I only laminated them because I am intending to use them with my Pippins/Guides, otherwise I am not sure I would have bothered.

I then handed one each to the girls along with a plastic bag and sent them on their way. They were quite surprised but very enthusiastic.

We live on a small lifestyle block so there are plenty of spots to find natural things, although I did actually hide a couple of pine cones amongst some bushes for them to find though as we had none on the property.

It was a great way to spend today's biology class.

It was interesting to see what items they felt fit the request, IE what they thought was smooth, rough, beautiful, etc.

Friday, April 27, 2012

School Uniforms in our Home

Children love dressing up and my girls are no different.

They are fortunate that because we homeschool that they don't need to wear a uniform.

For this very reason, this is what I sometimes get met with in the mornings ...

Can you imagine roll call; Clown, Spiderman ... present.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Introducing Amelia Earhart

This term the girls wanted to study Amelia Earhart. Always happy to oblige when they actually ask to study someone, I purchased a couple of books for them and did some research on the internet.

The first book I purchased was one of the Young Patriots Series. Both my girls highly recommend these books. They mostly focus on the famous person whilst they were young and are written in a story format, which is easier for the kids to get into. I was able to give this book to the girls to simply read by themselves which made life easier. I get a bit tired with all the read alouds we do.

I also purchased a DK biography aimed at youngsters, which details Amelia's life with lots of charts, photo's and timeline, etc. This in conjunction with information we obtained off the internet has really made us be able to get a good grasp of her life. This book we used to read together, they really are not into non-fiction yet so left to their own devices they'd still be labouring over this.

These are the covers of their lap books. I like the way they decided to open them up a little differently to the normal way.

We have also made a couple of items to go inside ( have a pile of free lap booking things on Amelia Earhart which made life easier) but generally we don't assemble our lap books until we have finished making all the things that we wish to go in them. It makes assembling and fitting things in a lot easier.

This should take until the end of term to complete.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ANZAC Biscuits

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day here in New Zealand and Australia. ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance held every year, on the 25th April, to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli during WW1. These days it serves as a day to commemorate those who lost their lives, and also served and are still serving in military operations for their countries. There are dawn service's held all over both countries and they really are very special to attend.

For today's Home Economics class, we decided to make some ANZAC Bickies*. The story goes, that during WW1, the wives, (and mothers and girlfriends) of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers made these biscuits to send off to their men overseas. Because it took so long for the food to get there the food had to remain edible, even after two months (those old naval vessels were very slow!) and they wanted them to be reasonably nutritional, thus the ANZAC biscuit. These are now sold commercially throughout Aussie and NZ but the homemade ones are so, so, so, so much better!

There are many different versions of the recipe but, essentially they are made with sugar, flour, coconut, rolled oats and golden syrup. Here's the recipe The Fashionista used today.

ANZAC Biscuits

Dry Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups coconut
2 cups rolled oats
3 Tspns baking powder
Melted Ingredients
4 Tbspns water
225 grams butter
2 Tbspns golden syrup

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the middle and stir in the melted ingredients. Mix well. Roll mixture into balls (you can make about 30 regular sized ones), and place on a greased tray and gently press flat. Bake in a moderate oven, 180C for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Wait until they cool a bit before eating them as they are still very crumbly, till they cool and harden a bit. 

The Fashionista also threw a handful of peanuts into the mixture before she rolled her last 12 bickies and they were really scrummy too. You can even add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds to the mix if you wish also.

* Bickies is a shortened version of the word biscuits that is commonly used in Aussie and NZ. i.e. "would you like a bickie with your cuppa?"  Biscuits are the same as a cookie in the US. In our homes we grew up with bickie barrels, not cookie jars.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sewing up a Storm

For Christmas the girls were given a lovely sewing kit each. The Fashionista received a bunny and Agent Smelly an owl.

We haven't really had much time this first term to sew them due to our flitting about so much on holidays (I know it's a hard life for some) but it was a perfect filler during the first term break when they were looking a little bored and shall I say, becoming just a wee bit obsessed with the television!

After just requiring a little advice on how to sew the eyes and beak on, Agent Smelly did the most beautiful blanket stitch around her owl without any help.

The Fashionista did a simple over stitch on hers and of course required, nor would accept (wink), any help or advice. Hers was a little harder with the ears as they not only need to be sewn around but also across the bottom so that the stuffing didn't fall back out of the ears but, she didn't have the face to sew, just a flower and button onto the body.

Here are the finished products. I highly recommend them as everything is included although I did give the girls my needles to use as the plastic ones included were not very useful.

Both girls loved making these so much that they asked me to look out for more of them. They really are very cute and are proudly sitting on shelves in their respective bedrooms. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Joseph Epstein Quote

We do not choose to be born.
We do not choose our parents.
We do not choose our historical epoch, or the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing.
We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death.

But within all this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live:
courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or adrift.
We decide what is important and what is trivial in life.
We decide that what makes us significant is either what we do or what we refuse to do.

But no matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make.
We decide. 
We choose.
And as we decide and choose, so are our lives formed.
In the end, forming our own destiny is what ambition is about.

Joseph Epstein

Saturday, April 14, 2012

One Tree Hill

Today we had a lovely picnic at One Tree Hill in Auckland, in celebration of a friend of The Pig's, 50th birthday.

It was a beautiful day; gorgeous weather and lovely company. I had forgotten how lovely "the big city" could be.

Here are the girls at the top of One Tree Hill overlooking Auckland.

Another view from the top, looking in the opposite direction.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Fashionista turns 10!

My first born turned 10 today, yes double digits! Those of you with children will know what I mean when I say the years have flown by.

I can clearly see her in my mind the day we brought her home from hospital, not quite a week old. She was so very tiny, like a wee doll, that she hardly fit in her car seat and had to wear premmie clothes. Her Daddy, very carefully carried her down to the car and then drove home so slowly that I thought we'd never get home. We stopped along the way, at a cafe, as I was dying for "real food" and before we knew it half the cafe was over poking their head into her capsule to see the tiny, little baby.

I don't have any of her baby pics on my lap top but here's one of her on her first birthday. I may be biased but she had beautiful eyes. Eldelry people used to comment on her eyes when we were out and she was terribly shy and used to really scowl at them ... I used to be so embarrassed.

These days she is a very smiley and friendly young lady. So very sociable and could talk the ears off a deaf man! These days I am more likely to ask her not to talk so much to the elderly people that we meet on our travels.

I love you my Little Princess.  We hope you enjoyed your special 10th party. xxxxx

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Birthday Cake and Cupcakes

For the first time ever, I ordered a birthday cake. It was the best money I ever spent!

It was a white chocolate mud cake which is Little Misses favourite chocolate and made in the shape of a Matryoshka doll. The Fashionista was simply thrilled with it, as were all the little girls at the party.

But did I stop there, oh no I didn't, I placed my trust in Rachel and she didn't disappoint. She made us a mixture of chocolate muffins filled with raspberries and also vanilla cupcakes and popped them in some Matryoshka cupcake holders that I had purchased from Aussie. The triple layer cake stand looks gorgeous with all the cakes on it but, unfortunately I only remembered at the last minute to grab a photo, but you get the picture (oh dear bad pun!)

Rachel is a local lady, and you will find more of her cakes on Facebook under "Cakes By Me". She is so helpful and accommodating and quite affordable and I can highly recommend her.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Homeschooling Domination in the US

I received a copy of this wee chart this morning from Eclectic Homeschooling, who sourced it from College at Home.

I found it to be quite rewarding for those of us who homeschool and have the occasional doubts now and then whether things are going to be alright, especially after all those constant "well-meaning" comments from family and friends.

I am wondering if the figures could be a little shall we say "biased" considering some of the sources but never-the-less this little chart is going on my fridge ... wink

""><img src="" alt="Homeschool Domination" width="500" border="0" /></a><br />Created by: <a href="">College At Home</a>

Monday, April 9, 2012

April; Card Making Number 4

This month we made the following cards at our card club:

The frosting on the cupcake is made with a vanilla scented embossing powder.

Isn't the flower stamp lovely on this one?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Easter Egg Hunt at Night

This year, because the Papa had two very early morning starts (4am!) over the Saturday, Sunday and Monday we couldn't have an early morning Easter hunt ... the Papa loves them as much as the girls do me thinks!

So whilst the girls and the Papa were down planting a new tree in the orchard, this Mama ran outside and quickly hid 20 eggs and left their Easter baskets and torches on the front porch waiting for them. It was just getting dark early now which made it easier.

We can't hide our eggs too early as one year we found them we little mice nibbles in them (that's what you get on a farm block) so in her haste the "Easter Bunny" wasn't very clever at hiding some of them and they were slightly obvious.

They still had a great time walking around with their torches hunting out the eggs. There was one egg that they couldn't find so the Papa even went and got his big industrial torch and started helping them.

And as you can see they were rather happy with their "loot".

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Hand Puppets

As part of our Easter activities the girls made hand puppets today.

I gave them each a paper stencil, along with some felt, fabric glue, scissors, wobbly eyes and basically left them to it.

All Agent Smelly had to cut out was the feet, beak and chicken shape and she was set.

The Fashionista really impressed me because all she had was an outline of the bunny, so she added the paws, nose and cheeks (hard to see in the pic) and insides of the ears herself.

The only problem was the bodies of the stencils could have been a little bit bigger, they were a bit of a tight fit over their little paws ... despite them apparently being designed for children. Maybe they were meant for toddlers.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Cards

The girls made Easter cards today, we probably haven't any time to get them off due to being away on holidays for the week but they wanted to make them anyway.

They took a white cardboard card, placed some tape on the cover, in the shape of a cross and simply dabbed some paint markers all over the cover.

Once dried, we removed the tape and VOILA!  Don't they turn out well and wouldn't they be great for toddlers to make too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Resurrection Eggs

I have been interested in doing Resurrection Eggs for the past couple of years and finally got around to making them this year.

For those of you who aren't familiar with them, each egg represents something that happened leading up to Jesus' crucifixion and the last egg which is empty, signifys Jesus' empty tomb. Each egg is numbered from 1-12 so you open them in order, and read the Bible verse and find a small item that relates to the reading.

The girls really loved opening the eggs and reading the verses, and have already done them a few times. I think part of it is the "tiny" little item inside the eggs that appeals, but I can assure you this has really helped them remember and understand more of the resurrection than anything else I have tried with them.

If you are interested in making them yourself, please check out Jenny of Planner Perfects site  which is what I used to make mine.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Our New School Uniform

Whilst we were away our new homeschool t-shirts arrived from the U.S.

Here are the girls each proudly wearing one of them.

They have declared that they will be their new school uniform ... they are such nerds!  \
I was thinking that we could wear them when we were out and about so they don't have to say "we are homeschooled" when asked if they are having a day off school. Am sure other homschooling families know what I mean by that!

We purchased them from Great Products and they were just so lovely and helpful.
I'll try and post pics of the other tops (they chose different ones this time), soon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Matryoshka Invitations

In our house, we do not give our children a big birthday party every year but simply celebrate what we consider to be special birthdays, IE their first birthdays, fifth, 10th (double digits), etc. Well this month the Fashionista turns 10 and so she is going to have a good old fashioned birthday party with lots of friends.

In her typical way she chose a theme that has been a little challenging, you see she loves Matryoshka dolls. You know those little Russian nesting dolls; she collects them. So I basically started scouring Trade Me (NZ's EBay) and E-Bay Aussie and Europe for whatever I could find in the way of Matryoshka party goods and let me tell you there was not a lot out there.  I bet there will be after the party ... does that happen to anyone else?

I ended up purchasing an expensive Matryoshka stamp set and stamped and water-painted and cut about 20 invites by hand!

The colours we were going to use were red, pink and blue based on some cupcake holders that I had sourced from Aussie but little Miss didn't like the strong colours for her invites so chose a very soft pink.  I placed some scrap booking paper down the centre of each card, FINALLY found some ribbon that nearly matched and hung our little Matryoshka paintings with the brad. They weren't exactly how we had planned them but we couldn't find a "You're Invited" stamp of all things and so we simply had to redesign and redesign until we were happy with them.

This is how they turned out ...

We printed the wording on white paper and stuck the inserts into the cards which looked pretty classy I thought.

Next job is to order a cake. I usually make them myself but with such a large group I don't want to place any extra stress on myself.
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