Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Day of School 2015

For the first time ever all my children are at school. Sniff Sniff.
After 14 years - what will I do with myself?

Miss A received a camera for Christmas and using a tripod took care of all our back to school photos!
What a champ. She did a great job.

I had a first time highschooler and a first time Preppy.
I'm not sure who was more nervous!

Exciting times!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Back to School Dinner 2015

It was hot and I was tired and feeling a bit unwell
but the kids and The Mr pulled off our annual back to school dinner.

It's so nice when the kids get on board and excited and do your traditions for you!

Miss K even got up and offered to make dessert.
None of my kids love cooking or food prep so this made me so so happy.
Plus the crème Brulee was delish.

I read out the list of ideas I had for themes here and the girls decided that the first one sounded best.


So they set off to work making little signs and I made some tiny banners that read

He that seeketh findeth {Matt 7:8}

They chose blue and green tablecloths which represent their school colours.

We got out the crystal goblets.

We had some old school books of mine to look through.

We discussed our favourite and not so favourite things about school, memories, teachers, playground games.

Each girl received a Fathers Blessing and we encouraged them in their education for this year.

It was fun and relaxed evening. It was great to reminisce about my school and to hear my kids speak about theirs. We talked about being lucky to have free education, that school is an option.

We are blessed.

And everything is better with drinks umbrella's.

{thanks grandma - Miss G's item she took from Grandmas put to great use}

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Myth: Kids at school= Clean House?

After 14 years of parenting, ALL my children will finally be off to school next week. All of them!
 I might cry, I might click my heels together in joy skipping out the school gate.....
While I gather my thoughts, here's some past back to school posts...

Back in 2008 I wrote this:

So this post is for all you mums at home with small children - I will be squashing your dreams that once they are at school you will have a clean house - it is a Complete Fallacy!

Okay so all those times at home with 3 young children - dreaming of the far off day when they will be out of your house and off to school. Dreams of sparkling counter tops in the kitchen, pristine floors, made beds, dinner on time, clean clothes, morning teas with friends, baking dainty treats, trips to the movies - ALONE, catching up on TV, participating in crafts, doing SOMETHING/ANYTHING for yourself!

Then the day finally happens. The new school year rolls around, you drop them off at their room, pretending to be sad, but clicking your heels as you bound out the school gate - HOORAY! The first week I barely accomplish anything - Actually with all this running around and coaxing little ones to get dressed, pack your bag, put your shoes on, chasing them around the house to get them to sit still long enough to do their hair (lucky if you have sons!) leaves the house more dishevelled than ever.

I go through the weeks telling myself, it is a new thing for us, we are just getting used to our schedule - once we get used to it, there will be plenty of time for ME and stuff that I want to do - but for now- there are breakfast to be had, lunch to make, there are 6 people in this house, so of course the kitchen will be in a HUGE mess after all this.

We are also on a no TV before school rule now. They actually didn't protest as much as I thought they would. It was a good idea - for their young little brains - (though I am sure the 7 hours perday of tv they were watching before 5 years old has taken most of it ) but now we have another problem - Children that rise at 6am and PLAY for two hours!! They have done painting, doll houses, animals, cutting, pasting, and today - playdough!! Generally they leave a bit of a mess even if I ordered them to clean it, I still have to clean the cleanup.

Then I return home from our one hour walk (there and back for me) to that mentioned above. I clean the kitchen, loungeroom, bedrooms, varandah, backyard from the mornings "activities". Once the kitchen is presentable I mess it up by cooking dinner. Gabrielle has a sleep where I collapse in a heap and watch some Dr Phil or Oprah (usually while folding, washing, cooking, general cleaning) and then it is time for the walk back to school.

B.S (Before School) we visited friends and family - we had no need to rush back or leave at 1:30- in time to get back for school. We walked to Southbank and went swimming at 8am - we didn't have to be anywhere by 9am. Sleepover at Grandmas on weekdays, holidays whenever we pleased. Life was quite simple back then.

Now we are run by the calendar - it actually means something now. Volunteering at school, things to make/bake/take/fake. Gabrielle will grow up in a different atmosphere - no tv, constant trips to school, a timetable, without her sisters for 6 hours a day, and with her mummy seemingly consumed with cleaning - I don't recall having this much to do before!

School = Clean House and more leisure time - Myth BUSTED!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

FHE Lesson {Back to School}

It's one week till the kiddies are back at school. We've held back to school dinners for a few years now ( 2013 2012  2011 2010 ) and I thought this tradition might make a good activity for FHE.

Opening Song:

Opening Prayer:


We usually start with a special dinner. Feel free to include this or not :)

Choose a theme for your Back to School Dinner.
We usually print out the theme and place on the table.
Here are some of our past ideas:

I will go and do....
I thought this a lovely theme for our schooling year. Go and Do! Go and Do!
scripture: 1 Nephi 3:7
Choose the Right
We spoke about how this could be applied at school. We talked of many situations. 

Love One Another
Showing love to siblings, teachers, students at school.
John 13:34  Mosiah 4:15

This year I have bookmarked scriptures to do with education. See a list HERE
Here are some I'm leaning to for our Theme for 2015

He that seeketh findeth: Matt. 7:8 .
Learn wisdom in thy youth: Alma 37:35 .
Seek learning, even by study and also by faith: D&C 88:118 .
Wise man will hear, and will increase learning: Prov. 1:5
Take fast hold of instruction: Prov. 4:13 .

Whatever your theme of choice discuss how this has to do with education.
Share how proud you are of the children's desire for learning.
State even though it can be hard it is worth it.

We have each child receive a Fathers Blessing.
Discuss what a Fathers Blessing is (SEE HERE )
why you want to help them in this new year, and in this new schooling year.
That you desire the best for them and you want to spirit of the Lord behind them too.

Closing Song:

Closing Prayer:

Treat: Maybe a special back to school gift {new pencils, erasers, pencil case.. anything}

Monday, January 5, 2015

FHE Lesson {Family Mission Statement}

Opening Song:
Opening Prayer:
Scripture: Proverbs 29:18
The New year is a good time to write a family mission statement.
If you have one already spend sometime reviewing it.
Example on how to write a Family Mission Statement HERE
:: Use a big piece of paper to make a banner that represents your family.
Children can draw things that make your family unique and describe your family
{how many people, where you live, school, temple, church, scriptures, extended family, favourite foods, talents, things you like to do, faith in Jesus, favourite things - flowers, weather etc}

 :: Families with older children could sit and write out a family mission statement.
{Or revisit it if you already have one}  Ours {below} is now 10 years old!!
You could print it out nice and laminate it and display in a central area {ours is on top the piano}
Love at Home

Follow Christ * Humbly Pray * Actively Listen * Seek Knowledge
Encourage Others * Respect Self * Search Scriptures
Speak Softly * Have Fun * Find Humour
Seek Wisdom * Accept Responsiblity
Do Good * Speak Kindly
It can be as long or short or simple as your family decides. It can be funny, or serious or sweet.
Give examples of what you would like included, but ensure the kids get a say too.
Explain your family is the most important thing to you, and uniting our family together creates strong bonds. Our family mission  statement will remind us what is most important to us. Let's read it often!
Closing Song:
Closing Prayer:

Monday, December 29, 2014

FHE Lesson {New Year/Resolutions/Planning}

One of our favourite FHE lessons. We've done this for a few years now.

Opening Song:

Opening Prayer:


Talk about the year in review.
Ask children to mention some of their favourite things of 2014.
Here is a Year in Review Questionaire for older kids so inclined to fill in answers
(and you can keep them over the years)

Get children to list things they would like to DO this coming year 2015

eg my kids come up with {last year} :

Visit Planetarium
Visit favourite Parks
mentioned a few of their favourite family traditions

We decided that we had enough activities for half a year and will designate one saturday a month to check off the above activities.

Via design mom I heard about these fun questions to ask your children, fill out as a questionnaire.
{and keep their replies to look back on over the years}

This year:

Something I want to do
Something I want to read
Somewhere I want to go
something I want to be better at
Something I want

Maybe you can also include:
spiritual goals: {prayers, scripture reading, holding regular FHE etc}
physical goals: {games to play with kids, daily walks together etc}
Places to go:
Mental health/organizational goals: {kids helping with chores}

Write goals on a Calendar or large piece of paper to keep in view.

 Have fun planning out an awesome year! I find written down goals seem to happen more and better!


We have little voice snippets/video segments of our children saying "Hi my name is ____ I am ____ years old. My favourite thing is ____ . I go to______ school. I love to do______ . It is so fun to look back on the old ones and how they used to sound. Our 7 year old was mimicking her 4 year old voice after we did this activity. She was surprised at how 'babyish' she sounded.

Since we only have a couple of these random snippets we thought it might be a nice thing to record each year. Around New Years would be a good day for it?
We said our names, ages, where we live, what we like to do, favourite things.
Each segment lasted about 30secs to 1min.
This is one of our kids favourite things and they have asked about them, saying where is that video about me from when I was ..... old?

Make a family time capsule to store all your comments/questionnaires in for the year and the coming years.

Closing Song:

Closing Prayer:

Treat: Have a mini new year party with sparkling drink and sparklers

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Is.. {or was..}

While the kids eagerly await the big day, I tell them my favourite parts of Christmas are before the 25th. The whole month is my favourite really.

Christmas Is.....

^^ Putting up our tree and a yearly photo
 ^^ Advent Calendars from Germany! My gift to me this year! Loved them.

 ^^Names of Christ Tree

^^Nightly reading of Christmas Books - see our beloved stacks!

^^ Advent Calendars. LaLa Loopsy Mini's were a hit!
 ^^Early Morning and Nightly playing under the tree.
I Loved how the tree became a magnet, a new place to play
 ^^Sunday Night Christmas Devotionals

^^Grandparents Christmas Dinner

 ^^ Gingerbread houses to take to school

 ^^ Beautiful LollyLand
 ^^Aussie Snowman and beach holiday
^^Carols night and Facepainting. She sung in the choir

^^ Creative play and photo by Miss G with Felt decorations she sewed
(she aimed to make for her whole class but only got to about 8, so we kept them!)
^^Live Nativity and Carols night at my church
^^City Tree

 ^^ Christmas Parade. I go for the Camels (and this year there were REAL reindeer!)
^^Myer Windows

^^City Hall Lights

^^Sleeping Under the Tree

^^Presents out and Waiting for Christmas Morning.
Merry Christmas and Goodnight all!

Monday, December 22, 2014

FHE Lesson {A bit of Christmas Everyday}

This lesson inspired by A bit of Christmas Everyday December 2014 Friend Magazine

Opening Song: Favourite Christmas Carol

Opening Prayer: Child


Why do we give gifts at Christmas?
{three wise men bought gifts for baby Jesus, the celebrate his birth}

Just as we love giving and getting presents at Christmas we should also remember to give a gift to Jesus.

Read Mosiah 2:17
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

How do we give a gift to Jesus and God?

When we serve others we are serving God and Jesus. It can be our gift to Jesus.

Everyone in our family already gives gifts of service to God.

Read out some 'gifts' and have children guess who is giving that gift

This person does their Home Teaching

This person pays tithing

This person looks after little children who wouldn't survive if alone

This person helps others if they fall down

This person loves to give hugs

This person is friendly to others

This person gives money to the poor

{Insert service qualities that match your family members}

By Serving Others and Jesus it can be like having a bit of Christmas Everyday.


Use these Gift Printable and write a gift you will give to Jesus this Christmas.

Write out all the gifts you have already done and put them in a stocking. Add to the stocking as the days go on and then read out all the gifts you have given to Jesus on Christmas Eve {or the first gift Christmas Morning}

Closing Song: Christmas Carol

Closing Prayer: Child

Treat: Gift box of chocolates - to SHARE!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday {Surfers Paradise}

We just got back from a wonderful start to our Christmas holidays.
I so enjoyed last years Pre Christmas getaway that I searched Discover Queensland again and again to find another half price hotel. I was very happy with our 3 bedroom at Towers of Chevron Renaissance  Surfers Paradise. Parts of the suite were a bit tired looking (dirty windows and marred walls, broken shower door) but views amazing, pools fantastic, beds comfy and it was very quiet and had all the amenities, walking distance to grocery stores, restaurants and fun stuff.
I wish it was a few more days as the kids had us go going in water non stop I could have done with a bit more rest. It was bliss for me to live in a climate controlled cool environment and no cooking!

^^ First night on the beach and the kids were being photographed. I let the man do his thing for quite a while before I sidled up and asked if he got any good shots. He apologised for not asking for permission first but kids change demeanour if asked first {I've heard this from several photographers so that's why I left him be} turns out he was from Turkey on a working holiday for a travel magazine/website. We exchange info and he sent me through a few pictures at 1am that night. This was actually his last day in a month long trip to Australia. So if you see us in a Turkish review......
 ^^ view 17 Floors up

 ^^ view other side

 ^^ pool
 ^^ Aussie Santa

^^ view down ~ Graffiti wall~ Paradise 

 ^^ Sunrise ~ darn Soul Building blocked the sunrise I woke up at 4:30 to see
 ^^Aussie Snowman

 ^^ Beach Armchairs
 ^^ Miniature Snowman
 ^^ Meditating
 ^^ Pool 5 Stories up
 ^^ Daily Spa Time
 ^^ Everyone bought Sunglasses ~ Summer necessity
 ^^ Loved the light fixtures
 ^^ Three times daily indoor pool swim
 ^^ Aussie Santa - pulled by surfing Kangaroos. He had shorts and thongs on. Might be our only Santa Photo this year. He was Free and really nice. Miss G wanted to visit him several times.

 ^^ Water was soo clear. I haven't been to Surfers since I was a teenager. The beach is very nice and water clear. Only sad bit - no shells or anything! I love beach combing and missed it.

 ^^ We had perfect weather.

 ^^ Koala Santa

 ^^ More shots from Sinan our Turkish editor

This was only our 2nd/3rd hotel stay ever and sometimes I'm sad that it took us so long, but it's $$$ for large families whom they force to book 2 suites or the large ones. However the kids are pretty perfect in their behaviour now and don't require as much attention and can all swim unaided and are  quiet so maybe its a good thing to have waited.

Now to attempt to cut down the amount of hours they spend in water.
7am beach > showers>hotel indoor pool> spa> outdoor pool>spa>beach>showers>indoor pool>spa
and repeat daily was wearing me out! I'm amazed at how well they swim in waves for hours.

Merry Christmas to our family. A great present to start the season. Perfect end to a happy year.

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