Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gadgets & Technology

Where have I been these past couple of days?

Well, in my worst nightmare. Nearly all of my gadgets have gone on the blink at the same time. Thats the trouble with living in a technological world, we become very dependant on our gadgets.

Heres a short summary:

- My media laptop has decided the DVD drive no longer works
- My netbook (what I am currently on) has decided to do the blue screen of death, complete with Kernel dumping
- My Creative Zen (mp3 player) has decided to give up the ghost, and no longer turns on
- My DSI now won't even turn on (just a brief flash of blue)
- My new "broken" iphone is turning out to be harder to fix than I thought (thanks to the previous person jailbreaking it)

So, the only working gadget in my possession is my kindle, although the plastic strap on the cover for it broke off.

The past few days have been spent in geeks glory world, complete with screwdrivers, many many screws, and a whole lot of googling and fiddling with software. Has it fixed anything? Nope, but to look on the bright side, I have so far eliminated many "causes" for each gadget, so if I keep going, eventually I will find the answer for each (I hope).

So whats next?

- A ton of background software fiddling whilst trying again to restore the iphone
- Actually looking further into the Creative Zens problem, and remembering to leave it charging overnight (the one cord does my computer speakers, camera & zen, so its hard to reeber to plug the zen back in)
- The DSI has to be re-opened back up (only the 10th time lol) and the two do-hickeys looked at (I think its L2 & L4) they may need soldering.
- A backup of all items I need on netbook, and figuring out a way to fix the problems without a CD drive
- Same for Media Laptop
- A new cover needed for Kindle

And what does this tell me? That I am sorely close to just mailing everything to my Dad, and letting him fix it all. He's a certified genius and even makes circuit boards from scratch. Unfortunately he does not have the time to be playing with my non-important gadgets.

Moral of the Story - I have a Love/Hate relationship with gadgets. Also I think I always manage to get the cursed Apple products, I've never had an apple product that worked right, but I still refuse to give up, I do love Apple products, just a pity they don't love me.

P.S. As for my hands (for those in the know) - They are going okay, I'm trying to lay off the computer typing for a while (hence why no post till now too) as 'specially with keyboard typing, they do tend to get worse, the shaking has lessened for the moment, but I'm afraid, I did have a bit of an outlashing about it the other night. I was trying to address two packages, and couldn't even get a few letters out without it being illegible. I kinda lost it, and chucked a huge wobbily, which started me to actually look and decide I need a bit of a break from just "trying to get everything done".

Thanks for all your wellwishes


Miss E.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disney Cars Birthday Party - Part 4

Is Everyone excited? Its Part 4 of the long series Cars Party! Yey! lol.

I can't be bothered re-ordering the pics, so I'll go in the order Blogger has chosen.

First up the right side of the snacks table. I used a pack of 4 traffic Cones from Spotlight as table decorations. Theirs Mudcake Cupcakes here, I had run out of time and was tired. The sticker on the top of the Mudcakes pack would not come off, so I cut a bit of checkered paper from the stuff I had printed, and laid it on top, voila, its decorated ROFL. McQueen stuff is a party pack I picked up also from Spotlight.

I made little snack bags, each one contained 3 plastic sandwich bags (1 for M&Ms, 1 for Cheetos, 1 for Coloured Popcorn) in little amounts, these were then put into a paper lunch bag. I used a food label downloaded from internet (see Part 3 for links) and stapled this to the top, and wrote each persons name on it.Next up, Left side of Table. Fillmore's Organic Fuel, became the fruit station. To make the fruit more "fun" they were placed in a sandwich bag, and a lightning Mcqueen bag topper was stapled to the top (the kids got all excited, anything is fun if it looks like its come from Disney licensed stuff!)

I was going to do the stacked tires for the donuts, but just decided to add the Luigi label on top. Sarges Trail Survival Mix, is a party favour box from Spotlight, with a premix of nuts inside.
This is the table as a whole. Behind the table we placed the Builders drop on the wall (again with the help of the stick floor cover, it seemed to hold the drop sheet to the wall as well! Amazing. Banner was meant to say "Happy Birthday DS" but again, I got lazy, so just cut out "Cars" and two character banners, and taped those up. Mcqueen tablecloth is also from spotlight, and is just a very thin plastic. I taped it at the sides to make it look nicer.

This is to the left of the snacks table. Balloons were placed on the fireplace, for DS to pop after party was over, theres 4 black balloons (for his age) and one red balloon "to grow on" or whatever the saying is! Steering wheel place mats I downloaded and printed are on top of the fireplace here, ready for catching the stray crumb. The Mcqueen license was something I found at the supermarket of all places, at the last minute. Its Lenticular? I think its called, so goes from the plate numbers, to Lightning McQueen racing when you move it up/down

Remember when I said, I had NO sticky tape/masking tape, or anything useful? Well I did have electrical tape. I think it adds to the theme, don't you think? LOL. This is a poster on the spare wall (promo poster for Cars 2, downloaded again from the internet!)

And thats it, for today's spamming. Stay tuned for more!


Miss E.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Disney Cars Birthday Party - Part 3

Okay, so no picture this post (I can almost hear the collective groan!); I am clearing out my bookmarks and thought I had better link you to all the Cars Party fabulousness before I delete them!

So even though you don't get photos from me, everyone of these sites is jam-packed with colourful, glorious photos!

Let's start Linking!

Disney Cars Birthday Cake Ideas

Purchaseable Cars style Party Printables

Cars Theme Unit - Party Ideas & Printables

Cars Ideas for Party Games etc

Cars Birthday Party by So Wonderful, So Marvellous (And I am So Jealous! lol)

Race Car Party (Including Car Parts & Racing Track)

DIY Toy Gas Pump

DIY Toy Cozy Cone Motel

Race Car Birthday Party on a Budget (Love the ideas!)

Hints & Tips - Race Car Party

Homemade Mini Traffic Signs

Printable Car/Truck Party

Disney Cars Party

Cone Snack Ideas

Cars Themed Food Display Ideas

A google search for image ideas

Outdoor Disney Cars Party

Garage Makeover - Disney Cars Party

Cars Party Photos

Cars themed Pinterest Board Party Ideas

Mostly Homemade Cars themed Birthday

And Last, but not least (actually top-rated!) Is the Lovely Dolly from the Disney Disign boards 4shared folder She has some beautiful downloads available to help out with Cars/Princess and other themed parties. Please respect that she has taken a lot of time to do this and don't abuse the privilege!

Yey! Now I can empty my bookmarks without anyone asking where the links are! :) Next lot of photos from party should be up shortly. I have done all the fingerwork for you, so I imagine your party setup will be absolutely gourgeous!


Miss E.

Disney Cars Birthday Party - Part 2

Here is Part 2!

When doing the party, I was still out of sorts. I didn't start getting the party ready until 7:30pm the night before, I spent 6 hours doing everything (including the cake!) I also had NO sticky tape!!!! Can you imagine???

First up is the general room. We hung a string across from the curtain rod to the Fireplace pole thing-y. I blew up balloons with the handy plastic do-hickey (so technical tonight!), I also purchased a 50 pack of those streamer ribbons with the attached balloon clip. We then hung the balloons from the string and snipped off the excess ribbon.

The floor and one part of the wall is covered with Builders drop sheet, and that edges held down with the cling floor film (see, I had absolutely no tape!)

Next up, I purchased 3 mini compartment tool holders from our local hardware store. They were fully washed, and double rinsed.

Inside is:

- Personalised Drivers License (downloaded from internet and picture & info inserted via MS Paint)
- "Ticket" for Cars Movie
- Selection of Toy Cars from DS's huge car collection (for pretend play throughout day)
- Money, both bills & Coins (Purchased for $1 from clearance rack at toy shop)
- Cars themed Blowhorn things from Spotlight
- "Favor" mini gift from Spotlight (Contains trophy cup, badge, and two stickers)

The toolboxes lined up on the wall. They are in such a place that it would be the first thing the kids saw upon entering the room. Drivers licenses are arranged so that they are see-able from the outside so each child knows whose is whose.

The doorway. I saw this somewhere on the web. Basically putting streamers across the door, so upon awakening, to get out of the room, the child has to "rip" through them, like a finish line. DS got so excited about this when he woke up, he took a practice run on the spot before flying forward through it!
DH had a spare tyre in the garage, I was originally planning to use it for a ban bag game. Since time ran short and I didn't have a chance to scrub it, I just used it as a receiving platform for the gifts.

And thats all for part 2! Stay tuned for further parts!


Miss E.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I love pinterest! Its so easy to bookmark sites "by picture" of your choosing, and you can add a little note.

I have a little bar added to the top of my internet browser, and when searching, if I come across something I like, I can just "pin it" and forget it until I need it.

Its so much better than normal bookmarks, and is easier in the long run too (for instance my bookmark list is about a metre long, no exaggerations here, and thats just from oh...the past month) I've been on Pinterest for a while, mostly browsing, but finally got around to actually putting stuff on it.

I'm guessing after a quick cleanup, my internet bookmarks are going to stay pretty empty (I can hear DH sighing) yep, they are that bad. I go through them about once a month, and find a forum or notepad to dump relevant links, then duly forget about them till the end of time.

Well, no more; PINTEREST to the rescue!

Hopefully this gives you the right link, I'm a "noob" at sharing my Pinterest link! Here you go:

Miss Ed's Pinterest Board

and remember if you are interested in a link of mine, its best to pin it to your own board! I only keep items as they are relevant, if I have used/already planned them, then they get deleted. I'm not one for additional clutter, and since I can't control the clutter in my house due to other family members, I over-zealously cut the clutter with my online stuff.

Good deed for the day - CHECK.

P.S. Yes, I will be getting photos and links for the birthday up shortly, lately, my life seems not to be in my hands at all! I am planning to get photos uploaded tommorrow (both parts)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


That pretty much sums it up!

Roxy (one of our dogs) got back from surgery yesterday 24hours after her actual "surgery", point being she had nothing to make her dopey in her system. That combined with coming home and seeing us again, is not a good mix!

Let me explain....she is a VERY active dog, we needed something that would keep up with our other dog, whom is also active. Since shes still a puppy, that active-ness is essentially doubled. Now I wish she had come home whilst she was still dopey lol.

Instead I essentially have one very active girl, locked in a bathroom. Not my best plan, but she needed somewhere that would be kept clean & sterile (so constantly acessed for cleaning), easily cleanable, and that is separated from all other animals and from the children. This only leaves the bathroom. Whilst its great for its intended purpose (keeping her rested and quiet) when I have to go in to go to the loo, its not so great. Imagine a VERY LARGE, VERY BOUNCY puppy trying to get in your lap and have hugs whilst your trying to use the facilities...yep, not fun. Not only that but she has an eternity of kisses to apparently make up for, so each time I sit down, she's non-stop licking everything accessible, my hands, my jeans, trying to take the Toilet Paper off me. I also have to find a place to stash her for 20 minutes, so I can take a shower, as I desperately need one, and whilst normally I wouldn't care if she was jumping in and out of the shower (not that that would happen normally since shes not normally inside!) she cannot get her stitches wet.

Which also brings more fun when I have to take her outside to pee....cause well....its raining buckets right now. There is no way NOT to get them wet, especially since she wants to pee in the grass, now would be the one time I wouldn't care in she peed under the carport, but no, my girl has a special spot she seems to be fond of right now, right dead center of the lawn, in the pouring rain. And of course, with the rain, there are those innumerable smells that pop up. Which results in her jumping round doing her happy dance flinging herself into the air, like some crazed circus clown.

Luckily her stitches still seem all fine and good, but with this girl, it only seems to be a matter of time before there will be an emergency rush to the vets. The poor thing had her dewclaws removed at the back at the same time too, as the vet deemed them dangerous, they were protruding too much and too "loose", Which means in my spunky dogs term, it was only a matter of time before she got them caught on something and ripped. Whilst they provided info on the desexing, they did not provide any on the Dewclaws, which now have a big sticky bandaid bandage wrapped round them. Off to google more on what to do....

Miss E.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don't you hate it when....

You have finished your curriculum shopping, only to realize that in amidst separating all the items "to get a better deal" you somehow forgot to switch an item over from one site to another? No? Never happened to you?

Well it happened to me! Somewhere between trying to get the best deal for things, an item disappeared off that list. It was only now, when I was double checking received orders, that I went "Where is the Fan-Math Process Skills?" oops. Somehow it didn't make the shopping cart transfer from Christian Book to Book Depository.

Normally I'd be all over it, and already have one coming in the mail. I decided, however, to cut my losses. I have Queen Homeschools "Math Lessons for a living education" listed as a supplement, so I don't don't think I need another supplemental book. Its kind of got me paranoid now, though, that I have forgotten something of more importance! I think a re-go through of my seperate shopping lists for each subject might be in order!

There's been a bit of a delay with getting party photos up. Mainly due to me not getting much sleep, and plugging in the camera and uploading seems like the biggest task in the world, right now. I've also done a temp fix on my DSi, but I still do need to take that apart. What happened to my DSi you may ask? Well, quite a number of months ago, the children took my DS from its hiding place, DH found it, and put it in the backroom. It was only after I could not find it, he told me what happened, so I go to get it (2 days after they played with it) and find it had some sort of sticky substance (probably juice) that had been spilled near the plus control. Thats right, it had leaked into there. The plus control moved all funny, and the screen showed signs of water damage. I had other things going on in my mind, so just left it to "dry out" (with the battery still in it rofl). Fast forward to now when I finally get round to looking at it. Water spots have dried out but are still present, but the control panel works and still the touch screen works (had I known about the put it in a bag of rice trick, that might of saved it all that time ago). Whilst it does work, the water spots have me concerned. And I still seem to have the contact card issues I had before the children played with it. So now I just have to get around to trying to take it apart (I say trying, because although I have a screwdriver that should fit it, I didn't have much luck last time in opening it). So I'll see how I go with that.

I have also given in to the pressure and purchased a phone. WOW! lol. I managed to get a cheap iphone that needs some tinkering with (extremely cheap) so hopefully I can fix it up, and I will finally have a way for DH to contact me whilst I'm at the shops. I have been looking into Apple products for a while, mainly for the app store (sorry androids, your apps don't do it for me), I am hoping the phone will become my virtual command centre.

I will use it for all the things my poor forgotten paper binders are for. I'm a paper and pen girl (and possibly notepad on computer girl), but its become a bit of an annoyance when my kids keep taking my todo lists and pens. And honestly, my life is so hectic, I need a personal assistant, slash that, I need something with a reliable, working brain, to keep up with all the appointments, schedules, birthdays, shopping lists and just the stuff I never get around to "organising". Whilst I don't think it will be the be-all, end-all of everything, hopefully it will help me to get more on track, as my mind wanders a lot lately. Even just setting an alarm to remind me about the bins, and to feed the animals during the daytime (I currrently feed them at dinner time) will be a major help. As elsewise, I seem to procrastinate on everything until the last minute. I currently have "emergency brain" where only things that are suddenly of dire urgency pop into my head.

So theres my ramble of an update. The weather has turned here, so I hope everyone is keeping warm.

P.S. Our lil pup Roxy is getting towards being a big girl, she went in for her desexing yesterday! She was supposed to come home yesterday evening, but the poor darl was so tired she had fallen asleep again in her pen by the time DH got there! The vet offered to keep her overnight and feed her, as it wasn't nice to disturb the poor lil bub. She's going to be picked up shortly by DH! yey! I have a nice cosy area inside, near us (but behind the locked screen, so the kids leave her be) for her to schnookle up and get some yummy warm rest. She'll be back to the vets in 10 days to have her stitches removed, until then, we somehow have to keep the bouncy pup settled (I remember how hard that was, from last time with our other dog Lila). And she's upto 18.5kg! at 5 months! So I reckon she'll probably get to that 24-25 kg mark, and will be a big 'un just like her Daddy (who is a Lab x Rottweiler), her mummy is small medium (Border Collie x Kelpie).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Disney Cars Birthday Party - Part 1

AKA - The part with no photos, where mum gets to whinge all she wants.

Disclaimer - I may be extremely whingy sounding, I do not normally sound like this, but I am very tired!!!!

First of all, Happy Birthday to my little man. He ushered in his birthday by ... vomiting all over the bed... he's fine, just a little tummy bug we've been passing round the family. Once his dinner was outsourced...he felt much better.

I on the other hand, seem to have had a different problem for everyday of the week. There was Bad CFS day, Migraine Day, Bite Day, Flu Day, and Tummy Bug Day. It was super fun! So here I was thinking I wouldn't be able to get anything done. But thanks to some crossed fingers and wishes from various people (Thank you!) I felt up to actually setting up the party (although it has been quite downscaled from my original plans!)

Although I have been shopping and printing stuff for 2 weeks, I only started putting everything together and setting everything up at 7:30pm this evening, its now 1:30am and I'm finally finished. 6 Hours of hard work, so I think I'm entitled to have one post to whine a bit ;)

I originally thought the cats would be a problem with the balloons, but they aren't interested in them at all, they are unfortunately, interested in streamers, so because of the special door I put up, they have been quarantined to the bathroom for the rest of the night till the children awake.

This series of party posts will probably be many, I'm thinking about 4-5 posts in all. This will allow me to have my whinge (Part 1), Show the overall setup & cake (Part 2-3) Pics of Kids on the Actual Day (Part 4) And (Part 5) will be supplier lists/links to printables.

My Lil man is 4 today! He's growing up so Fast! Hopefully his poor lil tummy will be settled by morning, but we'll take each second as it comes, and see how we go. After he did it, he was apologizing "Sorry, mummy, made a big mess" aww shhh honey, its okay. He's all schnuggled in Daddy's arms in the kids room, and fast asleep again all happy.

Not sure exactly when I will get each part up but hopefully in a week all parts will be here for you to view! I've made a new category called "Events" so this will be for birthdays & outings, so you can catch all the updates there, 'specially as I have 2 more kiddos B'days before the end of the year to plan!

Every year we just usually have only us, cake & pressies. So now I'm trying to see how I go making "parties" even if its only for the 5 of us. My CFS stops me from doing a full-blown children's birthday with lots of "invitees" as I get tired very very easily round groups. One actual children's party with 15 children or more, could cause me to be bed bound for weeks. Besides we like celebrating their birthdays as a family affair, that way we can choose what we do, when, rather than fitting it all into a 2 hour timeslot ;)

So off to bed I go if I want to be able to wake up for my son's daybreak (which usually occurs when the Rooster down the road goes off just before dawn!)

Stay tuned!

Miss E.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The big long story of Sickness

Today started out like any other day, me wishing I had more sleep, and the kids wishing they could fly.

Not a great start, but I'll take it. The morning flies by, and I go sit on the stoop outside for a couple of minutes to clear my head, then think I will be super sly, put ABC Kids on, and do some more sewing for DS's quiet book.

So I come back inside, making the appropriate calming shushing sounds, bend over to put my laptop down, and ***********. Yes I swore.......REALLY loudly, in front of my kids. They all jump and turn white, meanwhile, I'm still swearing everything I can think of under the sun. Something BIT ME! I reach around and deliver a full throttle smack to the area that stings, then do that mad shake dance you only do when there's some sort of live creature on you, however, I find nothing.

BUT it still really stings! And its on the area at the bottom of my ribs on the right hand side, not easily viewable. I'm muttering and biting my lips to refrain from scaring the kids any further. I gently lift up my top, and ask my daughter "What do you see?" Her:"Its pink" Me: "But is there anything else? Blood? A sharp looking thing? Something the size of Mt Everest crawling on me?" Her: "Its pink, mummy" Oh. Great. Thanks for the help.

I think I have found a solution! I drag one of the kitchen chairs into the bathroom, stand on it, and attempt to have a look at it....well it IS pink, very red pink, and looks swollen, but thats all I can tell, I can't see close enough to see what caused it.

I give DH a call, let him know I really need him to come home, even if he goes back to work afterwards, he says he can't. Well....poo. I have 3 hours till DH arrives home. And I can't see it, shouldn't touch it. I have no idea what caused it.

Now is the moment where I start to panic, I have no idea WHAT bit me. I know it wasn't an ant, wasn't a bee or wasp, that only leaves some sort of bug or spider.....then I remind myself we're overdue to get the spider man in to spray. oohhhhh dear....the main reason he comes is for White Spiders, theres also any number of other spiders round this area. My heart goes into overdrive.

Suddenly, I ain't feeling so good. I sit down, and aim the heater at me. Long story short, but I started to go into what was basically shakes/slight convulsions, suddenly I NEED that heater, I cannot live without it. I'm shaking and the only thing keeping me together is that heater.

Then, I felt something.....crawling up my back. I deliver the hardest smack possible (honestly, surprised I did not knock myself unconscious), and I shake my top but nothing falls out...okay back to the heater. Then my darling daughter chimes in to say "Mummy, whats that on your jumper?" I knock whatever it is off, then spin round to examine it....forgetting how nauseous I was. I see the form of something splattered into about a 5c piece, furry looking grey and black thing.....then I vomit onto it.

My littlest helped me clean up, and she dutifully took the dead whatever-it-was into the toilet and flushed it.

And their I spent the next 2 hours till DH got home when I was amidst another shaking episode, this time I couldn't breathe well. DH demanded I go to the hospital, and I (lets just say I was delirious lol) absolutely refused, because that would require washing my hair and having a shower.

DH looked at said item on back, which he said the swelling had gone down a bit (by now the skin surrounding that area was numb, I couldn't feel it, also anytime my top touched it, it would set off another burst of pain through my body).

DH said it looked similar to a pimple but with a funny yellow head, he asked me if maybe it wasn't just a pimple (of which nearly got him a smack to the head....if I had had any energy to do it). By then I was in too much pain, I almost passed out from choking on water I was trying to sip. I just told DH to squeeze whatever it was, as it couldn't do any more damage. Well, surprise, surprise, it could. I screamed blue murder, I think the people back in town must of heard me, it also scared the kids silly. All that came out was blood. I then directed him to squeeze a little more (this time I almost put my foot through the wall) then use the antiseptic on it.

It did get better over the course of the evening, but after I got bitten, I seemed to suddenly come down with a bad flu (hence the shakes and needing of warmth) my back is burning, but I have DH checking it every now and again (which unfortunately means I can't wear anything over it to protect it) and he said although its getting more and more tender looking, its also starting to look healthier. I guess I'll never know what bit me, or why I so suddenly came down with flu (in a very violent, quick way), but it does go to show their are coincidences. Hear I was worrying that the flu-like symptom was part of the spider bit, and that the reason I couldn't feel my back was because my skin was falling off (yes, I know, very funny, but scared me at the time) and in these circumstances, its best not to google, as what you find can end up setting off google-chondria!

So I'm here, alive, but at the same time, feeling REALLY awful, and its always my luck to come down with these things when I need to be at my best (hopefully I will be recovered enough on Saturday to start setting up DS's b'day!)

P.S. Don't delay getting your pest man out. This has taught me a good lesson!


Miss E

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lit/Books List

I would of posted much sooner, but I have been moving stuff around (I currently have multiple projects going on) and I can't find where I put my camera! There's a wonderful lot of photos just waiting to be made into more posts, but until I find which basket/drawer I had it in, I cannot do anything!

I just finished skimming back out literature list, so this is a good a post as any :) I was originally going for 1 picture book & 1 chapter of a long book per day, but when "fleshing" out the rest of our stuff, I figured we have enough books in place (DH also reads to them of a night).

Our new plan is 1 Picture Book & Related activity a week, and a couple of chapters of one longer book. If I don't have time/kids aren't in mood for it, then I'll either scrap the activity or do it on the weekend, and insert the book as one of DH's nightly books.

So, here's the final List! (Sorry no links, I'm too lazy today!)

Picture Books:

The Golden Kangaroo - Valentine
Fraser Dingo - Jill Morris
Wombat Stew - Marcia Vaughn
The Kangaroo played his Didgeridoo - Nigel Gray
Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
Guess how much I love you
Warren & the Great Carrot Race
The tale of Tom Kitten & Jemima Puddleduck
Farmer Schulz's Ducks - Colin Thiele
The Bunyip in the Billycan - Mavis Scott
Moving on - Penny Matthews
The Big Book of Love - Trace Moroney
Red Tractor - Sue Graves
Burke & Wills - Roland Harvey
The Willy-Willy and the Ant - Cecilia Egan
The Secret Garden
Firefighters (eyewitness readers)
Bright Star - Gary Crew
Tom Tom - Rosemary Sullivan
The Whalers - Bronwyn Bancroft
The Rainbow - Felicia Law
The Great round-the-world Balloon Race - Sue Scullard
Ottoline at the British Museum - Sally Craddock
Possum Magic - Mem Fox
Commotion in the Ocean - Giles Andreae
A Bad Case of Stripes - David Shannon
Imagine a Day - Sarah L Thomson
Imagine a Night - Sarah L Thomson
Grandad's Prayers of the Earth - Douglas Wood
Flat Stanley
Love you Forever - Robert Munsch
All About Ping
Where the Wild things Are - Maurice Sendak

Chapter Books:

Alice in Wonderland - 12
Through the Looking Glass - 12
Charlottes Web - 22
The BFG - 23
Wizard of Oz - 12
The Magic Faraway Tree - 26
The Hundred Dresses - Eleanor Estes - 7

All books are ones we already have, I collect books whenever we go into our nearest town, since at that particular Charity Shop, most of the books are 99c each. I think the only ones I have purchased new from that list are Roald Dahl Books (we have a couple more of them) which I get every now and again from Kmart. I managed to pick up Dr Suess and a couple of Roald Dahl's from Charity too!

As you can see the list is a little higgledy-piggledy. I have to include a wide age range (Grade 1 - Toddler) We are mostly focusing on Australian Stories & Childrens Classics, but there are a few silly, fun ones there too. Two of these books are re-told versions. Wizard of Oz is a re-told picture Chapter for under 8yrs. Secret Garden is a summarised Picture book.


Miss E.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Handwriting Without Tears - Cheap DIY Alternatives

I looked into this program and LOVED it. However the price for everything was a killer, and for me, at least, the main reason I would get it, would be to get "all the extras".

Now, whilst I am normally an advocate, that for most people, simple IS better, this program, the great thing about it is the tactile extras. It uses multi-sensory techniques to teach the child, and help them remember, the letters. But in all honesty, who wants to spend $300+ dollars on a handwriting program? Especially with my 3, there would be no sharing, and I would have to triple up on many of these extras. We're talking major dollars.

Since I already have a few workbooks from various places here, I just couldn't justify getting HWOT. But if you already have a simple workbook for handwriting, but like the idea of the HWOT program, whats to stop you doing a little research, and making your own version? Well with this post, now there's not a lot to stop you, I am doing all the fingerwork for you.

Workbooks - So I already have some workbooks to use, but if you don't? Not a problem. There's various workbooks you can use, Zaner Bloser, Queen, even HWOT student books. as long as your just getting the student books, these programs are quite cheap. Another option is Startwrite, which is your own handwriting software, to make your own custom handwriting sheets. Also, take a long, hard look at your current curriculum. Most curriculum's nowadays, have enough copywork and letter formation in them, that there is no point getting extra workbooks just for handwriting. If your child is having a problem on a specific letter, then just concentrate on her practicing on that letter everyday, and circling her "best" letter of the day.

Letter Shapes - Obviously the main extra of the HWOT program is the wooden curves and straights used to form letters. These are $30.95 US direct from HWT or upto $60-100 in Aus! An alternative for these is making your own from foam, confused about where to start? Well, Tired, Need Sleep has templates you can download to help you make the foam pieces set. TA DA! Foam is cheap, simple to cut, and if it gets dirty, you can have extra foam set aside to make another one, or depending upon the type of foam, you can just wash it!

Mat - Oh, this is SO simple! Have a letter ready to make (an E is fine) this will give you this size you need for the "mat". You can make this mat out of foam as well, or felt, cardboard or anything else you have handy. These mats also have a smiley in the top left hand corner (to remind the child of where to start), so depending on your skills and the Mat you have made you could just get Smiley stickers or make your own smiley on felt/paper etc.

Roll a Dough Letters & Tray - Another simple one. for the "tray" I would recommend a baking/cookie sheet, and for the Letter Mats, there are a few options. for any of them I recommend printing out on cardstock, and hot laminating (cold is fine, but I always find hot seem to make it more robust in my household). One option is Letter Printables from these are printables for each letter. BUT on the 4th page (usually) of the PDF downloads is one I have found I love for Playdough rolling. Another option is Homeschool Creations Playdough Mats. Playdough of course, you can make yourself, there is plenty of recipes online, usually of two variety's, the simple one (easier to make, but harder to play with) or the cooking version (a bit more complex/time consuming, but usually results in a much better dough). Also remember to use other sensory activities for creating the letters, fill the tray up (without playdough mat in it) and get them to make the letters in rice, flour, shaving cream, or whatever else you have handy. Another mess-free version (depending on your child of course) is to put some paint in a ziplock bag and get them to make the letter in the paint.

Stamp & see screen - i don't count this as a necessity, but if you like it, you could purchase their version or use a magna-doodle you have lying around. If you want it stamp- able like the HWOT version, an option is to get a magnetic sheet and cut a Big & little Line, Big & Little curve to make them stamps, if they seem too floppy you could use some extra foam glued on it, or something else to give it a bit of rigidity (is that a word? must check after finishing this post!).

Slate Chalkboard - Well theres plenty of these around, just add the smiley to the wooden/plastic frame as per HWOT site. Theres other options too. I couldn't find a slate chalkboard (what is the world coming too?) But did manage to find a little circle table that's blackboard topped (new modern blackboard feel too, so slippery & soft, none of that blackboard scrap sound *shudder*) when practising, I just plan to "rule" a little rectangle on the table with chalk for each child, adding a smiley to the top corner :)

Blackboard with double lines- Obviously, is if its temporary use chalk to make the lines, for permanent, theres probably a few white markers out there that would do the job, permanent, possibly whiteboard, probably best to google about this!

Flip crayons - Another one I think is not a necessity. But, these are now available, even on ebay with Disney wrappers, just search for two/double/dual ended crayons" crayola also has a crayon maker out for those bits and pieces, this supposedly does dual ended crayons. You could also just melt them yourself in the microwave, and pour into a mould of your choice. If you can melt them, then there is the possibility of getting two small crayons and just melting the ends and tacking them together to dry, not sure how well this would work though.

Little Chalk - Easy, just snap up your normal chalk into little bits ;) LOL. if they don't snap nicely, I'm sure you could do something like using a very fine grit sandpaper lightly on it.

Sponges - these are just cut up bits of sponge. find a nice sponge you like the feel/squish ability of in your supermarket and go at it with scissors.

Prek Wall Cards- Why not get some A4 Cardstock and try making these yourself (perfect for those time when you need to relax) try using a medium like black crayon, or charcoal for a similar effect to their pages.

Mat Man Hands - Well, obviously you can make these easy. follow "Mat" directions above.

Capital Letter Cards for Wood Pieces - Use the same site as the Tired, Need Sleep link for Templates, she just makes the letters herself on a piece of card, and outlines them with marker, voila, sheets done.

Sentence/Name Strips - Are pretty easy to make yourself.

Grey Block Paper - Homeschool Creations has HWOT Practice paper you can print.

Pencils - And finally, pencils for little hands are just golf pencils (the ones used for score cards) so you can pick these up from a lot of places, or just save your own pencils that have gotten too short for you. if you manage to pick up a bulk lot of cheap pencils another option (although I haven't tried this so test first) is to use hubby's work tools to saw, or buzzcut or whatever the various useful tools he has (maybe ask him for best option) cut pencils in half, then sharpen the back end of the pencil, thus 1 pencil can become two perfect sized ones.

If you have the money, its a lot easier, yes to just purchase the packages from HWOT, but hopefully this will help those on a budget. You could possibly purchase the Student, and for maximum effect, the Teachers handbooks, and make the extras yourself quite cheap, or for people like me, whom already have numerous workbooks in the house, this can hopefully help your child "understand" and have fun with handwriting.

Was almost going to miss out on blogging today, so don't you feel lucky now that I did decide to grace you with my presence ;) he he he..

Good Luck!


Miss E.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Explode the Code Wallchart

We finally received this a little while ago. The one we purchased also comes with an activities book.

I want to use this now, and in the future for the ETC Primers for each child.

The kids love it. I have let them spend a few times just getting introduced to it. the only problem have found so far, is that a few of the plushies are un-recognizable (naughty mum either doesn't know what they are, or its something that could have two different names (eg. lift vs elevator, not that there a lift plushie lol). so its a process of elimination for those.

Heres a few pics:

(She was very excited that the duck has her eggs next to her. Note that these pics were taken before the cleaning of my lens, hence they are still blurry, sorry about that!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How much longer?

Yep two posts in one day, going for the record. I would of just posted one, but I need separate posts for this.

Since I have given you all the details of our next curriculum lot, some of you are probably wondering....when are we starting it?

The answer is as soon as we finish our current workbooks. Also, just because I have given our curriculum, doesn't mean we're fully organised as of yet. I have certificates to make up, progress charts, finishing printing some stuff, and adding it to our plan folders, theres still a lot of planning thats going on behind the scenes.

Anyway here's how much bookwork we have left to do:

- 1 1/2 books of ETC Primers
- 2 1/2 books of Singapore Math
- 1/2 book of Social Studies
- 2 1/2 books on Developing the Early Learner.

ETC - I refuse to do more than one letter a day, but we are moving quicker than SL suggestion which is 1 letter a week, but we may not do this everyday, on days we don't I review the letter with various games (I spy, 3 things beginning with...., rhyming etc) she'll also get a review of her letters in the next curriculum lot.

Singapore - She moves through this sometimes with startling speeds, and other times only does a page or two. This is mostly because the younger two seem to know when its math time and play up to the max. Although I have plenty of activities for next time to keep them amused, right now I'm running on empty. And E (our youngest) is never amused with an activity for more than 5 minutes, which only gives me time to half explain things! But this will pass, its just a matter of finding the "right tools for the job" as Handy Manny says ;)

Social Studies - we only do this every so often, since we do a section at a time, the book only has 18 sections all up, we take it slow, and do extra activities on top of this for review.

Developing the Early Learner - This tends (so far) to use the same activities over and over, in different contexts (listening same/different, find the hidden animals/cars/planes etc) DD flies through this with sparkling colours. This is done at odd hours (just before Daddy gets home, of a weekend etc).

I think it will be another 3 months before we begin our new "term". We've just been in the middle of purchasing a house, and also every appointment/visit under the sun is all due/overdue.

Heres a little list of things that have happened and stuff we still have to do:

- Need to change address with companies/people/bank
- Need to get council registration for animals for new district
- Need to cancel registration for old district
- Took dogs to vets (vaccs, heartworm injection etc)
- Need to take cats to vets
- Puppy due for desexing in two weeks
- Appointment with A's medical team/doctor
- Need to make appointment with local doctor to "assign" team (red tape)
- Appointment with OT for kids
- Younger two need referral from doctor
- Need to organise refunds for various house stuff
- Getting stuff for forum swap
- Plus a whole lot of other drama

So aside from getting stuck into our workbooks, we also need to do all these various other things within business hours. Its seems every time we get one thing done, 3 more crop up. Such is life.

With re-organising the house, getting our to do list one, finishing workbooks, I reckon 3 months looks about right.

The rest of our posts will mostly be about current activities we're doing, links to other resources, photos of curriculum and the like. Round near when we begin the next term, I'll put up our 2011-2012 curriculum plans with "spines" we're using, and a link back to the previous posts for those that want more details.

I may be behind a bit in when "stuff" happened, as I only upload my camera every now and again, so next updates will start from stuff two weeks ago.

Tally Ho!


Miss E.

Practical Life

Yey! I've managed to write today (although it is quite early in the day, so this maybe another option for me on days I know will be hectic :)

I've had a look around and since there is so much stuff on various sites, I have decided to do this the same way as our crafts. I'll just put a slot in for it, and link to the activity we did that week on our blog.

Montessori has lots of neat ideas for practical life, so even if you do not like Montessori for the main areas, I would suggest googling practical life, as these are easy activities (mostly) to setup, and hold a lot of importance in many areas. Some activities even move more over into the kitchen area (such as peeling carrots and cutting vegetables)

Your best bet for startup is to go to your local charity shop after researching, and pick up a few basic items to get you started (for instance I picked up stuff like mixing bowls, a colander with handle, some trays, ice cube trays, compartalised stuff, an a whole bunch of various other tools.

Montessori is big on glass, but unless I want to be holding under jugs, bowls etc, this was not an option for us. Everything we purchased is plastic, not as pretty, but less "mummy is having a heart attack" moments.

Also, try googling "continent boxes" these are great starters for geography.


Miss E.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Not much done today, just one letter/section of ETC Phonics.

Now that the overhaul of the schoolroom is done, I have been spending most of my time re-organising toys, school supplies, and other assorted paraphernalia.

Since C's birthday is in just less than two weeks, I have also been working on a quiet book for him, although I feel, soon, another trip to Spotlight is warranted to get some more felt. For some reason (presumably because my mind was a jumble) I got 4 pieces of pink felt and a classic girly kitty print that are definitely not needed for this project. I may use it for part of the dollhouse makeover, but for now the felt is useless.

I just joined a Art/Craft swap, so may utilise my time in Spotlight to pick up a few other odds & ends. Honestly, I love spotlight, the sections I look in (craft aisles) change all the time, theres always new products and sales to enjoy, many spark the creative impulse in me.

We're about due for another craft activity, so keep an eye out for the link for that.

I'm still deciding on Life Skills activities, most will be Montessori based, but I haven't had time as yet to sit down and organise it.

Theres also a little appointment I have with DH tonight, for another weekly "where are you upto" jobwise. Honestly I am the man's constant to do list. But I love the scatter-brained cutie.

I do try to get one blog post up a day (part of my new financial years resolution to keep on track of myself, to write, and to share resources) but things here are honestly so hectic, I'm not sure if I'll get any writing done tomorrow. Also, I may not have anything new to add, so for a little bit, my posts maybe late and random, but rest assured, I am still here, life is just making itself felt.


Miss E.