The pieces of my life's mosaic are many.... family, parenting, unschooling, social justice, community, faith, ethical issues and the environment. This blog will reflect a bit of everything, I imagine, all mushed up together, just like life is. The "glue" in my mosaic is the bit that's not always visible, but definitely holds it all together: the love, joy, peace & faith without which life would pretty much fall apart. The spiral signifies the ebb and flow of life around a central point, which for me is God.

Monday, September 20, 2010

RSPCA Cupcake Day

One of the things that really matters to me is social justice, and making a the world a better place for all to enjoy! I used to be part of a local TEAR group and enjoyed learning about & raising awareness of various issues, but ended up deciding that my time would be better spent doing it with my kids rather than off on my own. I really want to share my passion for this with them, and hope that they'll also choose a life of compassion and advocacy for the poor and disadvantaged.

I figured they'd enjoy it more and have a bigger impact (and more fun!) if they banded with some other kids to do stuff, so our "World Changers" group was formed! It's a small group of home educating families, with parents whose christian faith inspires their passion to help the poor. Our aim is to get together once a month or so to learn about an issue, maybe do some simulation games, and partner with the kids as they brainstorm ideas about what we can do to make a difference!

The first thing we did was my daughter M's idea (she's an avid animal lover!!) and it's more about helping animals than people, but they're part of this world too! We did a fundraiser for the RSPCA called "RSPCA Cupcake Day". All the kids made cupcakes and promotional posters, then we got together to run a stall at a local park after a home ed excursion to a worm farm (definitely no connection between worms and cupcakes!!). We had a lot of fun and raised $130 for the RSPCA!
These are mostly D's creations - every face tells a story!

Miss M enjoyed using LOTS of lollies to decorate hers! :)

Things got a bit silly after awhile! :)

The kids had a lot of fun running their stall at the park. For the younger kids it was like playing shops! Some of the more outgoing kids enjoyed going around to people they didn't know and trying to get them to come and "buy" a cupcake for a donation to the RSPCA.

Donations to the RSPCA Cupcake Day can be made until 3rd October 2010, so if you'd like to make a donation, go to

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No Dig Vegie Patch

We've finally done it! The no dig garden in my imagination for so long has finally become an actual thing in real life! Like most things, I learned a lot by researching on the internet and in books, but I topped off that learning by actually DOING it. I've now realised a few things I'd do differently next time, but like they say - live n learn!
Our good friends Ruth & Maddie putting Melissa's (horse's!) poo on top of the wet newspaper.
We made the edging for the no dig garden out of corrugated iron & hardwood from a local reclaimed building supply centre.
The only new thing is the screws to hold it altogether!
Let the planting begin!
We had bought some bales of hay and straw for Geoff's 40th earlier in the year, and they've been slowly rotting in the backyard ever since, waiting for us to clear the weeds and get our no dig garden ready. They're now nicely gross, ready to decompose further and provide beautiful nutrients for our plants to hopefully thrive in!

The chooks went a wee bit crazy with excitement at the opportunity to consume vast quantities of bugs from under where the bales of hay had been sitting for some months. Woo hoo! Bugs into eggs - can't complain about that!

Let there be a worm farm - in the middle of the garden!
Thanks Toni for paying for a permaculture design course so I could scab some good ideas off you! :)
The idea is that you cover the PVC pipe with a tile so it's nice and dark inside, you place food scraps in the pipe from time to time, and the little wormies crawl through the holes that are under soil level, get the food, and go back into the soil to do their "business", adding the fertiliser right where it's needed, without any need for me - a la worm-a-phobe - to have to actually touch or look at them! :)

Lookin good
Geoff, D & M built a trellis out of bamboo from our friend's backyard, for our sugar snap peas to climb up. 
A work of art :)
Baby sugar snap pea plant, ready to climb up up and away!

Success! (With the addition of some finer plastic trellis attached to the bamboo.)
Lesson learned: it would have been better to put the trellis on the north-facing side of the garden, rather than the east-facing.
Notice how the peas on the northern (right hand) side of the trellis are growing more quickly cuz they get more sunlight?
Live n Learn - it's all good :)
As Albert Einstein said: "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried..."
I thought this was our first red strawberry, but was informed that there HAVE been others.
At least they've been enjoyed! :)

Medieval Fayre plus "Just Macbeth"

Well it didn't happen today, or yesterday. It happened back in July, but better a late blog post than none at all! :)

Winterfest Medieval Fayre

We finally made it to our first ever medieval fayre. It wasn't a full-on re-enactment styled one, but it was a great opportunity to have a bit of a look. We had an awesome time!

They had an exhibition of "birds of prey" and the kids got to have a turn of holding one of the birds on their arm. They were really heavy!

We got to watch some jousting & cheer for our own "knight in shining armour"! Oh, and I have to say the female riders did awesomely well!
It was fun to watch grown men playin with swords & shields in the fighting re-enactment. They had to re-do the scene multiple times because it was being filmed, so it was interesting to see that process too!

Scary Lookin' Dude!

Another scary lookin' dude!
Dude-ess! Also scary looking! :)

Finally - an opportunity to hit one's sister with a real sword!

And the mighty come-back!

"Just Macbeth" by Andy Griffiths (blood red font, of course)

The day after the Medieval Fayre, we had another awesome treat. A trip to The Opera House to see a performance of "Just Macbeth" by Andy Griffiths. A great way to introduce Shakespeare to kids! And equally entertaining for adults. We laughed so hard - it was absolutely hysterical. Absolute silliness in true Andy Griffiths style, complete with a brief flash of.... nudity! :)


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our "Rainbow Bay" Holiday

We've just returned from such an amazing, wonderful adventure! First, we enjoyed a MUCH needed holiday break at beautiful Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast. The people who were in the unit we'd booked prior to our arrival had requested to stay an extra few days, so we were moved to a different unit from the one we'd booked. As we walked in to the unit, we just kept walking.... and walking.... and walking! There were absolutely massive, beautiful living spaces including two kitchens, plus there were 4 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms, and all up there was pretty much 360 degree views since we had the entire floor to ourselves!!! We quickly checked to make sure that we were in the right unit, and were delighted to find out we were - for no extra cost! What a blessing! After having so much stress & busyness over the past few months, with Geoff working multiple jobs and studying his masters at the same time, it was such a blessing to be upgraded to such a beautiful place. And for no extra money!

Inside looking out:

I'm so cool, man! :)
How cool is the sky in the background - it's in two halves, and top bit looks like ripples in the sand!

A progression of photos showing about half of the view of the ocean from different windows in the unit (beautiful!). I wish I could have taken a video from one side all the way around to the back of the unit - a full 360 degrees!

On most days, I was treated to a bit of a performance by whales on their journey south.

One day Geoff took D & M to Australia Zoo, mostly because of M's absolute passion for all things "animal" and also because of the hero status she ascribes to Bindi Irwin:

Our other big day out was when we all went to Movie World (half price tickets made it even more awesome!).
Miss M got to pose for a photo with the gang from Scooby Doo, which was a huge buzz for her:
And she was QUITE the daredevil on the dodgems!

We had some fun trying to get the camera working in the dimly lit "big kid" dodgem ride, with the bright lights on the cars. We tried adjusting the shutter speed, using the flash & no flash, and adjusting the ISO, but in the end decided there is still lots to learn about our new 2nd hand digital SLR camera! Regardless, we all decided the photos were actually pretty cool! This is Mr T - obviously going WAY too fast for the camera LOL.

"I'm SOOOOO tired, PLEEEEASE can you carry me??" :) (Such lovely big brothers)

D got to go up the front and be a volunteer in making a film at the "Hollywood Stunt Driver" show
(He's on the left towards the back, with the black, red and white shirt on)

It was such an entertaining, funny show - we all had an absolute blast. Check out the car split into 2 halves by the bike!
Here, the funny character in the show proves that he actually CAN drive a car (probably the best stunt driver there!) when he ended up driving over the top of the rooves, and into a building, which immediately burst into flames!
And in the end it all went off with a big bang! The kids all had different favourite rides, which, of course, had to be ridden over and over and over again! I'm sure I got queasy before anyone else - and I only went on the little kid stuff LOL!


Miss M having fun on a playground ride at the caravan park at Nambucca Heads. Look at that HEAD of hair!!

T learning some tricks on the Z-Flex:

Skater Chick!

What a handsome lad - otherwise known as the one who seems to hate having his photo taken (hence why there's not very many photos of him on here!)

Words cannot possibly express the fun that was had this night!!....... :)

One of the big reasons we discovered beautiful Rainbow Bay was because T & B knew it was a great spot to surf, with about 3 or 4 awesome breaks all within easy walking distance (and all VERY close to our awesome unit!). But alas, the swell was not our friend, and for our ENTIRE holiday of 2 weeks there was barely a wave in sight. Seriously, on most days it was like Pacific Lake, not Pacific Ocean! Anyway, out of sheer determination, the boys did attempt to catch a few little waves on most days. Here they are at D-Bar (see the HUGE waves!!):
Synchronised Surfing :)
Did you see those HUGE waves??

So there you have a very LONG blog post outlining a little bit of our holiday to the Gold Coast, and some of the fun we had along the way. We felt very blessed and privileged to have such a wonderful holiday in such a gorgeous part of the world.
A fantastic opportunity to reconnect as a family in the midst of a hectic crazy year!

Stay tuned for the 2nd installment, about our trip to Tallebudgera for the inaugural Australian Unschooling Conference!