Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fashion for the 30's

That's temperature in the 30's. The air outside is thick with dust, and we're praying for the rain.

Littlest chicken has a new fashion statement for the day:

Blankie scarf casually draped over the exclusive Pooh Bear peek-a-boo pj's (back to front). Pj's placed cunningly over a light summer dress, which is, in turn, over pink heart swimming pants. This attire is made complete with pink socks and Ug Boots. (Can you tell I have the airconditioning on?)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wildlife in the house

A day of 'raised dust' again today. Only one person in our neighbourhood was crazy enough to hang clothes on the line outside today. Oh, er.. yes, it was me. Never mind, in this 40degC heat it's dry in half an hour. (If only I'd left it there for only half an hour...)

After we found a frog in our bathroom last night, Don and I were pondering the different wildlife we have had in the house since we arrived:
  • Plenty of spiders,
  • a few scorpions,
  • a ridiculous amount of crickets,
  • a huge centipede,
  • the usual troop of ants,
  • a few mice - one for which we re-enacted Rapunzel, but with a rope (ie let a rope down into the exhaust fan so it could climb up and escape), so that we wouldn't have to take the kitchen apart to extract a dead mouse...),
  • the odd frog (one which started hopping around inside our skylight in the middle of the night, and also needed to be rescued...,
  • and a naughty dog.

Not too bad, really. I could have done without the scorpions and white tail spiders..

In other news, the Christmas tree is up, and littlest chicken swallowed a button yesterday. At least she didn't stick it up her nose again. I'll let her body do the removal this time... And speaking of buttons, we have been making Christmas decorations out of buttons. Not quite Martha Stewart, but very useful for replacing the rapidly dwindling decorations on the tree (we've averaged about one a day for breakages...).

Friday, November 27, 2009

A day with the veggies

... For Don, that is. I'm just planting the capsicum and eggplant and getting snap happy! Don is setting up a watering system so that when we're away we can just leave it going on a timer. Every bed is full at the moment - it's lovely! The two weeks of around 40degC weather did seem to stop most things fruiting, except the zucchini - we have three varieties: green, grey and yellow!

Corn, zucchini, potato, pumpkin, carrots, onion, leek, celery, beetroot, eggplant, capsicum, tomato, spinach, chilli, violet bush beans, pak choi, asparagus. Phew!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Wasps nests

This one was found discarded in the back yard. So thin and papery, you would expect it to be quite delicate, but it is surprisingly tough.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Now you see it, now you don't

I discovered a wasp digging mud in the yard. I was interested in how it's hole had a lid, and after it had dug down a little way it started to dig sideways.

I came back after a few minutes, hoping to get a better photo, and discovered it had closed the lid! It took me ages to find it (you can see why).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breathe again

The last fortnight has been uncharacteristically hectic. Thankfully I can relax now. And breathe again!

We have had a few fun moments, though:

Pretending to mow with the dog.

Seeing a certain boy determined to master writing the number 8.

Pondering the different personalities of dogs. (This one is my sister's dog, and he likes everything to be neat and comfortable!)

And enjoying seeing responsibility taken for a mess that was made. I did offer to do it for him for a sum of money, but he remembered when he had to pay me to finish tidying his room, and rather emphatically told me to step away from the wall!! :) [That tip is from 'Loving our kids on purpose' by Danny Silk - a highly recommended book if you want your parenting to be relaxed and fun.]

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's officially hot

35degC. The washing is dry before I've finished hanging out a load. Man, we need our trees to grow quickly, but I've discovered a nasty bug eating some of them... Grrr.

We have been sheltering inside. And my boy has decided to start drawing people. And very cute ones, I think.

Littlest chicken has also decided to start drawing (can't be left behind). Her people are heads with an extraordinary number of legs. V. cute!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dogs, Family and Fashion (in no particular order)

I have neglected to tell you some of our biggest news lately - we have more family in town now! Very exciting. Don's brother and family moved here recently. I can't believe how many cousins the children have to play with now - I had none (within 1200km, that is)!

Ah, we do love our dog, Jack. He is on a chain still due to his leg healing from yet another operation... (ca-ching! $$). There is one thing I don't like, though - the holes he digs. And my question for the day is: what happens to the dirt from the hole?? Why is there a hole there with no sign of dirt to put back in?? It must be sprayed far and wide, I'm telling you.

And we're looking after Jack's brother, Noah, at the moment while my sister is away. He's a sweet little thing, and boy can he jump! And did I see there...

... Yes, I did. The latest fashion statement. Floral shorts over tracksuit pants. Ah, to be 3 again...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Top grooming tips

We sat in the shade (yes, it's getting rather hot) this afternoon and watched a bee grooming itself on one of the bikes.

The bee spent a great deal of time making sure it's antennae were clean and straight, and also that the fuzz on top of it's head was in order. Next each set of legs was properly rubbed over. Then there was a brief pause ("right, I think I'm ready to go now"), before launching off to the next flower.

On the topic of insects, I have been reading Gerald Durrell's My Family And Other Animals again. I have read some of the stories aloud to the children, too. Good stomach exercise - all that laughing!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A week of camping

We went camping in Coonabarabran this week, and did some great bush walks in the Warrumbungles. We had the entire unpowered tent site to ourselves at the caravan park, so we had a great big space for playing plenty of cricket. We woke up to a chorus of birds in the mornings, and enjoyed looking at the stars in the evening. Just lovely. I did think my own bed was the comfiest place on earth at the end of the week, though...!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A secret island

We managed to squeeze in some fish & chips in the park between rain showers at lunch time. And now I've donated a strip of calico to the children so they can draw a secret island while it's raining outside. At this point there are a lot of secret tunnels, caves and pirate ships... And there are rumours afoot of smugglers and hidden treasure...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perspective shift

Ever feel like you have a shift in perspective and it changes everything? God has certainly been shifting our perspective on things lately. I don't feel I can do it justice here, but our expectations have changed over the last year. Particularly with healing: a change from hoping to expecting.

Mark 9:23. All things are possible to him who believes.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The dust continues

We are stuck inside again today, with more dust passing by. I made some more strawberry shortcake (can't get enough of it!), Don has been getting into a book (with children piled on top of him at various stages), and the children are getting restless. The younger two took it into their heads to do some paper cutting, which was lovely, until I left the room and they decided to start cutting their hair instead. The boy's hair, being the shortest, is the most obviously... er ... re-shaped. Oldest chicken has been working hard writing her new book, with the amazing and gripping title of 'The Hour of Dawn'. I wish I'd thought of a title like that when I was young! I could never think of a title, and all of my stories started with "It was a dark and stormy night..." (can you tell I was a Madeline L'Engle fan?).

Time for some family games...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't bother inhaling

We had a wonderful downpour of rain last night, with winds that tried to blow away everything not tied down, but today all we can see is thick dust in the air. Everything is dusty and dirty. It's disgusting. The children are not allowed to go outside, and I took pity on the dog and let him come in the laundry.

The Bureau of Meteorology calls it 'Areas of raised dust'. The NSW goverment website merely calls it 'Particles', although in it's defence it does use the colour red to describe hazardous air quality. ABC rural weather calls it a 'heavy dust haze', which is rather more meaningful. I think they should say 'Don't even think about stepping outside today, let alone breathing!' I went to get the mail with a scarf tied around my face, and still felt like I needed a shower when I stepped back inside. Yeuuuck.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Say strawberry shortcake!

Strawberries at $1 a punnet + a lazy Sunday afternoon = strawberry shortcake! I can't tell you just how good it was.

And sweet child + playdough = mother's heart warmed. Littlest chicken said "Daddy, I made this heart for I love mummy". Ah, sweet love.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cutting back the spinach

The spinach in the veggie patch has gone completely wild. Probably because I haven't cut it back enough. It's sending out seeds, so if anyone wants to grow spinach (or basil!) let me know and I'll send you some seeds!

We also discovered this empty caterpillar skin on the back of a spinach leaf. Quite amazing that the little creature (moth? butterfly?) managed to squeeze out of such a tiny hole and leave this skin behind.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A double rainbow

You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger,
abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)

O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD,
and your faithfulness surrounds you. (Psalm 89:8)


14degC outside. And plenty of rain - thank you, God!

A good day for a tidy up inside. Starting with the activity shelves. These are sooo useful for pre-school / kindergarten aged children. The shelves currently have:
  • some simple puzzles
  • dominoes
  • craft punches
  • a photo albumn
  • colourful wooden blocks
  • coloured dice (they love this one - don't ask me why!)
  • matchsticks to feed through a hole in a box
  • playdough with a few accessories (the one most played with)
  • a box of cheap toy cars
  • shells
  • buttons
  • beads
  • rock collections
  • bottles and a dropper to transfer liquid from one container to another
  • seed pod collections
  • magnetic pictures and letters (with board)
  • a small blackboard (mostly used for water painting)
  • a good supply of messy mats

We also have an activity box outside, as that's where they play most of the time. It has chalk, dirt trucks, and gardening/digging tools.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A bird's nest

The little zebra finches are nesting in our shed!

They're very messy in their nest making! Brings new meaning to the phrase about things looking like a birds nest.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gardening in style!

Happy Birthday, Jane Ann. Hope you enjoy gardening in your new apron! xx

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A tidy study!

I tidied up the study today, so now I'm free to get creative again. I forced myself to stitch another row on littlest chicken's quilt (sigh),

finished off a bag for a friend,

and experimented with some complementary materials. I'm thinking the platypus might be a bit too subtle on this one... Hmmm. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A good read

I have been avoiding my sewing machine a bit lately. Littlest chicken's quilt is still hanging over me... but I'm not overly inspired to sew any more of it at the moment. I did make a bag, however, which was a bit of fun.

Mostly around here it's been reading, reading, reading. My own reading has been along the lines of Jack Deere, Bill Johnson, Mark Virkler. Very inspiring. Oldest chicken has been lured away from Famous Five periodically to read something else - Misty of Chincoteauge by Marguerite Henry was declared to be just as good as Famous Five - high praise!! I'm amazed by how often she re-reads books. She has gone for her second round of The Secret Garden, and various Patricia St John books lately. I personally like to leave a few years gap between re-readings, but maybe it's a childhood thing to do something over and over again? Chicken no. 2 is enjoying reading his 3 letter words from Hop on Pop, and littlest chicken likes to point at numbers excitedly and give them some random value (eg point to a 6 and say "it's a 2, mummy, it's a 2!").

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A hint of Spring

The calendar hasn't quite taken us into Spring yet, but the trees are certainly showing signs of it. It's a balmy 20degC, with a clear blue sky, and the children can't get enough of being outside! Just perfect weather for me to sit dozing in the sunshine as I recover from the flu.

Today's to do list:
a Sit in sunshine.
a Watch the bees.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Going on about caterpillars again

The children were quite intrigued by the caterpillars today. They have all decided to start digging holes. A very time consuming task when you have to dig out each bit of dirt with your mouth.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A storm passing

We took advantage of the stormy weather this morning to make up some storm poetry and use the water colours.

Here is chicken no.2's poem:
The thunder is like drums
It sounds like rocks cracking apart
The lightning is like the sun in space
The rain sounds like loud things, like hail
The rain makes it look foggy outside
The leaves on the trees are coming off
The branches on the trees are blowing
I'm glad I'm inside

Here is chicken no.1's poem called 'Grass is whispering':

Grass whispers
Rain is running around
Thunder is fighting the rain
Lightning is playing
Wind howls
Trees are whispering just like the grass.

And mine:

Leaves whirl and dance
Wind howls
Rain applauds the show
As the storm brothers chase each other across the sky
One, impulsive, eager and dramatic
The other, cumbersome, yawns and grumbles
Then, gathering energy, bellows and roars after the other

Monday, August 10, 2009

Counting caterpillars

There's quite a number of caterpillars drifting past the house at the moment. Nice of them to drop by so I can practice my macro photography and the boy can practice his counting! Their colours are just stunning.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jack in plaster

Little pup is in plaster this week. Poor little thing has a broken leg. (I could make a joke here about how his leg might not be the only thing that's broke by the end of the week....$$!).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Joan of Art

Our hands were covered in oil pastels and chalk today. We were getting right into the water colour, and trying out a Joan Miro style painting. It's funny, because in general I really can't appreciate modern art when it's up on the Art gallery wall, but gee it's fun to paint!

We also looked up pictures of different types of body cells under magnification. Chicken no. 1 was rather grossed out by some of them, but the boy couldn't get enough of pictures of the brain and other slimey things!