Monday, January 30, 2012

First Day of Homeschool 2012

Back to school pictures.

Chicky age 4 starts Aussie Kindy.

Bugsy age 6 starts Aussie Year 1.

Flossy age 7 starts Aussie Year 3.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Look What We Did Today!

We had a massive toy purge and reorganised our main learning space, yay!  Just in time for school to start back on monday.  So here's what it looked like when we emptied EVERYTHING out ...

and here's what it looks like now.

School supplies and curricula are on the Ikea shelving unit.  Dressups are all hung nicely on the clothes rack.  Thanks D for this great idea! 

Some bigger extras that i couldn't find a better home for. 

LOVE the Ikea Trofast frames housing cars, threading 'stuff', trio, little people, playdough 'stuff' and duplo.  Smaller unit to the right housing baby doll clothes, Possum's toys, train set and doll house 'stuff'.  Probably need to move the world map and multiplication charts a bit higher on the wall now. 

Finally the top of this sideboard looks neat.  Mostly taken up with books, the CD player, the mouse house and a ready supply of paper and pencils in the draw units.  The crate with wheels at the end is our new library crate.

Our workboxes all loaded ready to go, science in a nutshell kits to the left and ontop of the Trofast frames are out BUILD materials.

You might be wondering about the desks.  We usually school on the kitchen table which is just on the other side of the half wall where the workboses are.  Although i was talking with Rusty this evening about getting a large table that we can all sit around so that we don't have to pack away at mealtimes.  We will see what happens there.

We are all really looking forward to getting started with school this year.  Just a few more things to finish organising tomorrow and we will be back to our full schedule on Monday!  We have really enjoyed schooling 'lite' over the summer.

Warm wishes

Thursday, January 26, 2012

No Avoiding Converting DVD's :(

We are back from holidays!  Lots of blog posts to come!  Tried to get this out before we left but it didn't happen.  Nevermind, here it is :)

Further to my previous post here I have encountered various issues attempting to transfer DVD files in their native format to GoodPlayer to be played.  I had hoped that GoodPlayer would be the answer, but sadly it isn't :(  It seems there is no choice but to CONVERT the files.

On the up side GoodPlayer does an awesome job of dealing with downloaded content from youTube.

Here are some good links to read through which tell you exactly what to do to get a DVD from the disc onto your iPad.

How to Play DVDs in an iPad, iPhone or iPod

Play DVD on iPad

Essentially their information is the same.  Download an open source program called Handbrake, which is free, download VLC media player, again free, then convert and transfer through iTunes.

I tried it out and it worked like a dream on my Mac.  I've converted several movies now and have them on the iPad and iTouches.  Whilst on holidays i tried it out for my friend on her PC and sadly we couldn't get it to work at all :(

Just so you know, you can now purchase DVD's which have various file formats which don't require conversion.  It will say so on the back of the DVD.

Hope that helps

Friday, January 13, 2012

iPad for your Homeschool

This is brilliant!  Anyone using an iPad to homeschool should check it out.  There are some great ideas!  Just follow the link to the google doc under the picture :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012


A while ago i briefly put this up on my blog to remind me to come back to it for 2012.  Well, i've been busy today and we have BUILD sorted at our place.  If your not sure what i am on about you can look here and here which is where i pinched the idea :-)

So, what will BUILD stand for at our house?

B - Buddy Games
U - Using Manipulatives
I - Independent Work (Logic)
L - Learning About Numbers
D - Developing Strategies

You can see, i have tweaked the titles to work with what i want to cover.  We will still have our normal math sessions each day, the BUILD boxes will be in addition.  We will only be covering 1 box each day cycling through.

BUILD set up ontop of our workboxes.

So, what's in the boxes? (OK they are not actually all boxes yet, but that's the plan)

B - Buddy Games
Dice in boxes, playing cards, UNO, craft sticks, Rightstart skip counting envelopes, playing cards, hand cards, craft stick cards, square cards.

U - Using Manipulatives
Flashmaster, cuisinaire rods, counting bears, Rightstart abacus, fraction cards and tiles, clock cards.

I - Independent Work - Logic
Critical thinking activities, Lollipop Logic, Logic Safari, Analogies for Beginners, 10 minute brain workout, Primary Logic, Logic Countdown.

L - Learning About Numbers
Life of Fred, The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat.

D - Developing Strategies
Sort n Shapes, Castle Logix, Pirates hide & seak,  Lokukus, IQ puzzler, IQ cabin.

Of course putting everything in boxes and getting organised creates a wish list :-)  On my wish list is -
Geared clock
Wooden fraction tiles
Australian money
Times Tales DVD & flip book
Geoboards & lackies
More 'Smart Games'
More 'living' math books

Hopefully you can use these ideas to change things up in your homeschool.

Amber xxx

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oreo Ice-cream Cake

I created an Oreo ice-cream cake.  I've never made an ice-cream cake before and had a brainwave whilst chatting to Bugsy about what kind of cake he might like.  He loved my suggestion so we went with that.  I've never seen this done before, but I've seen similar concepts, I just winged it :-)

First thing your going to need is a pudding bowl, or a similar plastic bowl.

Now depending on the size of your bowl and the number of people your planning to serve depends on the quantity of ingredients.

2-4 packets of classic Oreo biscuits (I used 2 packets)
2-4L vanilla ice-cream (I used 2L) either make your own or buy a nice creamy one
1 jumbo packet of Maltesers

First off you will need to line the bowl your going to use with glad wrap.  You need to do that do you can get your cake out later.

Put your ice-cream on the bench to soften.

Whilst the ice-cream is softening line the inside of your glad wrapped bowl with Oreo biscuits.

Tip the softened ice-cream into a large mixing bowl and add the jumbo pack of Maltesers.  Mix them through so they are dispersed somewhat evenly.  You don't want the ice-cream to be runny, just soft.

Now carefully put the ice-cream mix into the Oreo lined bowl.  Put a little in at a time and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to squash it down and smooth it off.

Fill the bowl up to the top of the Oreo lining then fold over the glad wrap overhang to completely cover the top and put the entire thing into the freezer.

I recommend leaving the cake to firm up overnight.

When your ready open the glad wrap covering the top, which is going to become the base.  Carefully tip it out onto a plate and remove the rest of the glad wrap.  Leave it to soften  on the bench for a few minutes, probably 20 mins depending how hot the room is. 

Enjoy :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bugsy It's Your Birthday ...


Big Happy 6th Birthday to Bugsy!!  It's also Possum's 1st corrected Birthday :-)

We started the day early at 5.47am.  The rule at our house is no presents until everyone is up.  Rusty had already left for work so the boys and I were waiting on the girls who followed not long after, around 6.15am.

Lucky Bugsy received a Razor Powerwing Scooter, a Lego Stormtrooper watch and 3 Automoblox mini cars.  All greatly received and appreciated.

Everyone is keen to know what's in the parcel, so cute! 

I put the scooter together and there was a bit of frustration from Bugsy working out exactly how to ride on this kind of scooter.  There were a couple of spills but after a while he had the hang of it.

Still in his PJ's but getting the hang of the scooter.

The watch was immediately adjusted and put on.  He's spent most of the day trying to tell the time :-). He's ok if it's on the hour or even half hour, no so great at working out the minutes otherwise.  But that will come with practice.  Now he's got a watch I'm sure he will have it sorted in no time.  I can hear him now, "Mum you said we'd leave at 10.40am, we're late!" LOL

Showing off his new watch.

The hot rods joined the Automoblox cars from Christmas 2010 in various races and crashes during the day.  A giant limo was created at one point.  These really are lovely cars!  Much, much nicer than matchbox cars.

The hot rods.

We had a pretty cruisey day.  Late in the afternoon we all headed out for a walk around the local park.  Flossy on her rollerblades, Bugsy on the powerwing, Chicky on the little scooter and Possum in the buggy.  They had a great time, but it was HOT.

Pizza was on the menu for dinner as per Bugsy's request.  Then came the peace de resistance, the Oreo ice-cream cake, yum!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Plan 9 Jan

We had a few hits and misses last week with the new recipes.

The GF & DF pancakes we tried were, um, unpleasant, texture was fine but they were completely overpowered by the almond extract.  The only person to finish their serve was Rusty and that isn't saying much, he will eat anything!

The Indulgent Granola was a hit!  It was YUM, YUM, YUM!!  Not only did it feature for breakfast with yogurt but Rusty and I snuck some with homemade ice-cream for dessert one night :-)

The GF & DF Blueberry Muffins received mixed reviews.  Flossy, Bugsy & Chicky decided they didn't much care for blueberries after all.  Rusty, Possum and I thoroughly enjoyed them.  I did change the recipe a little to suit us and what i had on hand, switched almond meal for buckwheat flour, backed the sugar off, used rice milk instead of water.

A few of the evening meals got bumped again as we had things come up.

This week is Bugsy's Birthday!  So he will be choosing what we eat that day.  I'm not going to bother listing what we are eating for lunch, it isn't very exciting, sandwiches, scrolls, leftovers, fruit or some combination of those.  Here is what's cooking this week.

Breakfast - Fruit toast (EDC hot cross buns, but as a loaf) with TMX smoothies
Dinner - GF sausages with roast potatoes and steamed veggies

Tuesday - Bugsy's 6th Birthday
Breakfast - TMX rice porridge
Dinner - Homemade Pizza with homemade garlic bread (TMX pizza dough & bread dough) & Birthday cake

Breakfast - Cold cereal

Breakfast - TMX porridge
Dinner - GF rissoles with TMX GF & DF green potato rosti and steamed veggies
Pantry - Indulgent granola

Breakfast - Cold cereal, heading to the city.
Dinner - Pick something up in the city.

Breakfast - Granola & yogurt
Dinner - Vegetable cous-cous with cabbage noodles

Hitting the road and heading away for a holiday.  Wont be posting a menu plan next week, see you when we get back :)

Amber xxx

Sunday, January 8, 2012

1 Year Ago Possum Came Home

One year ago today I walked out of the big children's hospital with my baby boy.  He was still a tiny baby, just 2.7kg.

This isn't his homecoming pic.  It was taken 2 days before discharge when he was 
transferred between hospitals but shows how tiny he was in the baby capsule.

His 100 day NICU roller coaster was over.  He had made it!  It was a VERY emotional time.  On the drive home I stopped several time and what is a 2 hour trip turned into an almost 4 hour journey.  I didn't have the radio on, i was listening for every little noise he made to reassure me he was OK.

My little Possum had already come such along way.  Born at 25 weeks weighing just 875g with legs skinnier than my index finger and paper thin skin, no one could predict if he would ever make it home.

 This isn't great quality, it's a picture of a picture.  The original was given to me by the nursing staff, taken just 4 hours after Possum was born.  It was the first time i had seen all of him, he was whisked away so quickly after he was born, and i was unable to visit NICU during those first post op hours.  I remember thinking how perfect he was despite all of the wires, probes, tubes etc.  It was a lovely gesture and a picture i have treasured.

What an amazing year we have had with Possum home.  It hasn't been without drama, his heart surgery was another scary time!  Fortunately we escaped the flu season with only one hospital admission, so only two admissions for the year.  Our friends and family have been wonderful in this regard, understanding just how fragile Possum's health is and making sure we cancel gatherings if anyone is unwell.  I believe this has made a significant impact on Possum's ongoing health and strength.

Look at him now!  Who would think such a strong little one had had such a rough start to life.  I am continuously amazed by his strength, determination and courage.

At 15.5m actual, 12m corrected Possum -
has 4 teeth, 2 up, 2 down
can roll, crawl and pull up to stand
can walk holding his trolley (follow the link for a You Tube clip)
babbles LOTS
is still on nocturnal oxygen which will hopefully cease in February
has been cleared of pulmonary hypertension
has no ongoing heart concerns
happily feeds himself finger foods
has just learnt to drink from a sippy cup
still breastfeeds about 6 times in 24 hours
is approx 9kg (will be weighed on the 13th)
loves to splash in the bath

Today, we celebrate!  Where there is life there is hope.

Amber xxx

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Precious Beads for Miracle Baby Mums

I stumbled across Peek-a-boo ICU on Facebook recently.  I'm not even sure how i came across them but i'm glad i did.  After i liked the page one of the first things to pop into my news feed from them was a beautiful bead, you know, like the Pandora ones, but it what a Micro Prem Bead!  I followed the link a little confused and what did i find...

an entire range of beads and bracelets/necklaces dedicated to babies who have been through NICU!  They are just beautiful, each bead representing something different and unique to those who have been there.

I could not help myself, my cart was loaded up quick smart and the order placed.  I must add that i loaded up my wish list too as a few of the beads that i wanted were out of stock.  I'm anxiously awaiting it's arrival, hopefully before i go on holidays at the end of next week so i can post a pic :)  I was too excited to wait until it arrived to share with you.  Mum's of miracle babies, make sure you check them out!

PS - i did have a small glitch checking out but once i e-mailed their customer service it was taken care of quick smart and my parcel posted the following morning.

Friday, January 6, 2012

TMX Green Potato Rosti (GF & DF)

Adapted from EDC.

500g potatoes peeled and cut into quarters, nadine & sweet potato
1/2 onion peeled & quartered
1 clove garlic
Large handful of baby spinach leaves
200g GF flour
1 egg

Place all ingredients into TMX bowl and mix on 6 for 10 sec, scrape down edges, mix on 6 for 15 sec.
Fry tablespoon amounts in hot oil on the stove top.
They are ready when they are golden brown.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More iPad Apps we are LOVING!

For quite some time i have been looking for an app where you could write just like you would in a notebook, you could turn the page and keep on writing, even draw a picture and have it all saved into a neat little notebook.  I stumbled across Penultimate and it is everything i was looking for.  I've now got several notebooks set up, eg, Flossy's Spelling.  In this notebook she can write all her spelling words and sentences and it's all saved there for later.  Previously we had been using Whiteboard Pro for spelling words, but there was no 'neat' way of saving all of the work.  As we are moderated by our state it is important to me to keep a record of the work we are completing.

Last year i tried ripping some DVD's onto the kids iTouches, what a time consuming process, ripping, converting, transferring etc.  I eventually gave up, i think i only did 3!  I was speaking to my sister over the Christmas break and she suggested taking a look at Good Player.  It plays the files in their native format, no converting required!  Brilliant!  I've now downloaded a bunch of Magic School Bus movies from You Tube now to transfer lots of the DVD's we have in our library.

Drawing Box
Want an app that lets you feel like you are drawing on paper?  This is the one, don't skimp, pay the dollars, you wont be disappointed.  It has a wide variety of media to choose from, from paint rollers to calligraphy pens.  Our favourite function is the mirror image feature where it will mirror exactly what you draw.  LOTS of fun and is inspiring lots of creativity on paper too :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Update on Bugsy's reading

We have completed the yellow set of I See Sam readers previously blogged about here, and let me say, WOW!  The change in his reading is spectacular!

It all just seems to be coming together.  His brain is finally clicking and he is no longer sounding out every single sound in every single word.  He's blending well and actually reading some words and phrases fluently!  He is gaining confidence at a rapid rate and picking up other books and wanting to read the titles and sometimes even some of the story.  Yay!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Menu Plan 2 Jan

We had a very busy week last week catching up with friends impromptu so i didn't get to cook much of what was on my list.  Not to worry it will feature on the menu this week :)

If you didn't see the update on Possum his poor tummy is struggling so he is going wheat and dairy free, again.  I will be trying out a bunch of recipes for him and use my TMX where possible.

Breakfast - GF & DF Pancakes - new recipe
Lunch - Pizza scrolls (TMX white bread recipe)
Dinner - BBQ rissoles with TMX mashed potatoes & steamed veggies
Pantry/fridge/freezer - TMX Fruit loaf

Breakfast - Fruit toast with TMX smoothies
Dinner Prep - TMX rice
Lunch - Pick n Mix
Dinner - Chinese style fried rice with spring rolls and sweet & sour sauce
Pantry/fridge/freezer - Indulgent granola - didn't get to try it out last week & TMX GF & DF green potato rosti (recipe to come)

Breakfast - Granola & yogurt
Dinner prep - TMX potatoes & eggs for salad
Lunch - Ham & cheese scrolls (TMX white bread recipe)
Dinner - Home made chicken nuggets with potato salad and GF & DF zucchini fritters
Pantry/fridge/freezer - GF & DF vanilla cupcakes probably do choc icing instead - new recipe

Breakfast - TMX rice porridge
Lunch - Pick n Mix
Dinner - TMX spaghetti & meatballs
Pantry/fridge/freezer - TMX white bread

Breakfast - Cold cereal
Lunch - Sandwiches
Dinner - Home made sausage rolls (TMX filling)
Pantry/fridge/freezer - TMX sorbet

Breakfast - GF & DF Blueberry Muffins - new recipe
Lunch - Pick n Mix
Dinner - Tacos

Breakfast - TMX porridge
Lunch - Pizza scrolls (TMX white bread recipe)
Dinner - BBQ GF sausages & salad

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Proud Mummy Moment

When your told your week old baby has had a brain heamorage you wonder what the outcome will be.  Despite doctors telling you they *think* everything will be ok, they never truly know and neither do you.  You wonder if moments like these will ever come.  I'm a very proud Mummy, my heart is bursting!  I had to share it with the world!

I can't work out how to embed the clip so please follow the link :)

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