It's been an up and down kinda week his week.  The first part of the week was UP ... Monday we had our group classes for Art, French & Science.   The art classes have been cycling through art from other cultures... some age groups did Mexican suns out of clay, one week Frodo's group did African style masks done by using pastels on black paper, and then scratching patterns into the pastels using a special stick, and this week it was China week.  Frodo did a most EXCELLENT Chinese dragon, which is definitely going to get framed!

And then Tuesday, we had a craft workshop at Kaiser Craft...holy moly, I did NOT need to know this place existed LOL!   It's a woodcraft shop with all those excellent particle board crafty bits, neat papers etc.  I'm SO going back there!   The kids were making the simplest project to start with,  a picture frame.  They had girly ones with pink polka dots, and boyish ones with robots and computer printed paper.  

Frodo got right into it and really enjoyed himself.   I helped with a couple of fiddly bits because he was getting a little annoyed with it.. but mostly I window shopped around he store.  (they have these AWESOME freestanding trees that are as tall as I am.. LOVE!  and shorter, but very ornate, wooden christmas style trees) 
If you ever see those gorgeous craftwood things that have scrapbooking paper applied to one face and it's PERFECT and neat?  Here's how they did it... glue it on... trim it to about half an inch from the edge... and use a heavy duty emery board pulling it in a strong downward motion on the edge of the wood.  It 'cuts' straight through the paper  :)  Very cool & very clever!

Here's Frodo with his paper on, and ribbon edging (hides where you put the back of the frame onto the front peice) in place.. and his blingy bits on (he was SO chomping to get those on lol)   The little robot dude is on 3d sticky pads to add a little more dimension to it.

 Ok, blogger and I are gonna go 'round!  This picture, in MY files.. is upright... for some stupid reason blogger refuses to show it that way and no matter how I save it rotated, it magically appears tipped over like THAT *sigh*.    But there you have it,  the finished product!   We've decided we'd like to make these regular, either monthly or bi-monthly, events... next time we are doing a larger robot that coordinates with the little paper robot on Frodo's frame.

The down side of the week is that Frodo & I had a bit of a blow up... he was not wanting to do anything (except of course on the computer, then he'd try to do as little actual schoolwork on there as possible and then try to go play games).   This resulted in a very crappy couple of days, but we have done some reevaluating of our methods & I think we're going to go with the very laid back distance ed school we were with a few years ago, again next year.   Their reporting requirements are much different, and 'fit' us better.   We'll see how that goes.  But... we're ending the week on a positive come hell or high water!  We have math fun, history pockets and Greek Myths on tap for tomorrow!

We've had a pretty crazy week or so here at the Hobbit household.  Frodo had a particularly awesome science workshop at Bim Bam Boom, which is a terrific toy & craft store.  They have THE best selection of high quality toys & educational fun stuff.. not to mention crafty stuff of every description :D   The lady that runs the workshops is SO wonderful with the kids, and it's especially noticeable with Frodo.  His occasional odd behaviour & silliness doesn't even phase her, and she works so well with him to help him stay engaged & on task.  

First up was building & painting a clay volcano, which was good fun.  Then they did the old bicarb and vinegar eruption trick (three or four times, with different coloured 'lava' hehehe)  Of course, when we arrived home in the afternoon... Merry & Sam just had to be shown how that worked... so we had a very geologically active kitchen counter LOL.    You can see two of the other projects the kids made in front of Frodo ... a plane (that actually flew) made of a drinking straw and 3 strips of paper, and a paper cup 'chicken' lol.  The kids drew a chicken on the cup, then tied a 'matchstick' to a string and stuck it through the bottom of the cup... hold one damp sponge around the string tightly and pull ... I kid you not it sounded like there as a whole flock of chickens in that room hehehe.

The last project really went over surprisingly well with Frodo, as he gets quite annoyed by having 'stuff' on his hands.   The kids made cornflour/cornstarch 'goop'.   They just missed plain old cornflour & a bit of water until it was basically glue... then played with it.  If you keep it moving, it goes SOLID and will literally crumble... but the minute you let it sit still, it reverts to it's previous goopy state!  (ok, *I* was as impressed with this as he was... did NOT know it did that! lol)    The look on his face was pretty awesome... this is not the type of thing that usually gets a smile out of him!   Nice to see Mr. Sensory step outside his comfort zone!

Frodo loves Minecraft and really enjoys playing in creative mode.  He's got a 'thing' for Sonic the Hedgehog games at the moment,  so he had to find a picture of Sonic, then he split his screen and recreated it in Minecraft.  He did a pretty darn good job of it, if I do say so myself.. and was very pleased with himself.  The kid loves drawing, and loves creating digital 'drawings' as well!

The latter part of this week has been pretty slack... we have had Merry & Sam home since Wednesday with a pretty nasty cough, fever, and just general BLAHness.  Sam has actually been quite the over achiever and developed croup *sigh*  so we've visited the doctor and have had oral steroids prescribed. He's still coughing & chesty, but considering how he was so bad that he coughed himself into an epic nosebleed?  I think he's MUCH better.

There has been a lot of this...

going on this week.  As you can see, Smudge the kitty has been snuggling the sickness away :)  This was the boys watching Better Homes & Gardens... Frodo LOVES the cooking segments.  Sam is still looking a bit meh, and I think it shows.  Both he & Merry are still sporting fevers as well... so I think it will be a quiet weekend at home for us.  
Stress...I can haz it, unfortunately.    Long story made short,  DH had his work contract most unceremoniously cancelled.  And I was already not there you have the source of my stress!  Thanks to Australia's pretty good welfare system, we'll squeak through with just a bit of help from our wonderful family until we are cash-flow positive again ;)

We are obviously trying to keep this from stressing the kids, while not lying to them about WHY dad is home.  And amazingly enough, we are both remaining optimistic!  I'm a firm believer that when life closes a door in your face... there is another one open somewhere up the hall... we've just got to find it!

Last week, having DH home (in addition to the usual distraction of my teenager) we discovered how HARD it is to get schoolwork done.  Our home has one big main living area with the kitchen, dining area and lounge all combined.  This is where we *usually* do our schoolwork... but that was pretty hard to get ANYTHING done with DH on the phone 'discussing' the situation with is boss (yeah, discussing is code for cussing him out lol) and on the computer job hunting.  So we had a few days off with regards to formal schoolwork.. we watched a lot of the Olympics, read a couple of books about the games (one about the Ancient games, one about the Modern ones) and Frodo started reading The Adventures of Odysseus & The Tales of Troy (a childrens' adaptation of Homers Epics).   He did a ton of cooking with me (we made banana bread, and zucchini fritters... which he did on his own.. and he helped dad make apple crumble for dessert, YUM!)  But actual paperwork?  Not much of that!

Then I had a moment on Wednesday...we NEED a space where we can work without too much distraction when there are other people at home.  Enter.. the garage!  DH & I spent an hour or so (really, it only took a couple of hours tops!) clearing the garage out.  We had so much crap in there that needed to go to the tip that it wasn't funny.  We have a van that was in there, waiting to be repaired & sold, which is now living on the driveway... I'd rather the neighbors have a slight eyesore (it's not on blocks or anything lol, just doesn't run) sitting out there than have it taking up prime real estate inside!

After we got it all cleared out, we hung a curtain rod on the ceiling an put up curtains we already had as a room divider (mainly because Frodo can't NOT get distracted by visual clutter, and the shelves holding the usual garage type stuff are still out there).  We put down a big area rug we had stored and went scrounging through the house for items we could use out there.  We already had a dining table that was not in use, as well as a small drawing desk... so we're set for table space!  Dad crafted us up a little book shelf to help with storing our books and other bits.  And lastly I put up some cool educational posters on the walls (and have x-rays to put up yet, we start our human body unit this week!)   We really need a decent floor lamp because it's not as light as I'd like in there,  but we can easily just open the roller door half way if needed.  (No, it isn't overly odd to see people out in their garages like that... our neighbors have actually turned theirs into a kick ass play room.. complete with lino & carpet tile flooring)   

Looking from the exterior garage door inward.  Door in upper left is to the interior hallway.   Behind the tan curtains on the right is all the typical garage storage being out of sight :D

 The roller door IS 3/4 of the way up in these pics... otherwise it feels like a cave. Guess we'll have to keep that up as much as possible, and the interior door closed (much to the displeasure of two explorer wanna be kitties)
It doesn't look like much yet, but it's still a work in progress!  Once we have the funds, I'm after some of the awesome (and cheap apparently) carpet tiles our friends got for theirs and I'd like to get a more sturdy shelving setup... those wobble shockingly lol.  Maybe a 2nd hand Expedit unit ..or two ;)

Here is the promised finished product of my 'name' project for our Through the Lens course.  I water coloured the background turquoise (my fave colour other than black) and I love to be outdoors, so I put a happy little tree in there (how I miss Bob Ross!) We also journaled a little about our names .. how we got them, were we named after anyone?, the origins & meaning of our names, and what we like about them.  It was quite fun, and I think even after the course is done, I'll try to keep doing an activity once or twice a month with Frodo because we both are enjoying it!   The 2nd weeks' project is on hands which should be good fun :)  We got started on those pics today.

It's been a bit of an 'off' week for us this week.  DH worked Monday & Tuesday, but ended up with the rest of the week off (not happy about it!  No workies = no pay!) and Frodo has a horrible time focusing when it isn't just the two of us.  

Monday we had his group classes, which went fabulously!  The home school group organizes these classes three out of four terms of the year, and Frodo is in Art, Science with Dr.Joe, and Intro French with the lovely grandmother of one of the group members.  She's a native speaker so it's a really nice opportunity for him to learn from her.  I took a couple of years of French over 20yrs ago in high school, and I find myself remembering a lot of it so that I can practice with him! 

Aside from classes, our big excitement for the week is our photo journaling class at Playful Learning!  It's an e-course that we're enjoying a lot so far.  This weeks' activity is names in photographs... so I won't be able to share Frodo's as he is using his real first name for his project.  I will share MY finished project though, as I don't care since you yahoo's already know my real name lol!   I'll share some of his later projects though!

We had to go out taking photos of the letters of our name to use in our project... conveniently, one of Frodo's letters was found in the Puckles family bake house lol.  So we shared an eclair, with REAL cream (none of this mock cream business tyvm!) Good thing we shared it, as it would have made either of us sick if we'd have tried to eat the whole thing on our own!

We jumped ahead in History Odyssey so that we could study the Ancient Greeks along with the Olympics (GO Aussies!) We managed to get a few lessons worth of it done this week, along with some extra reading.  He & hubby spent the better part of a morning watching Horrible Histories on dvd... omg there was MUCH laughter!  And I was stoked with how much Frodo remembered from some of the Horrible Histories books he has read.

I also got my reporting packet from the Home Education Unit this week... EEK!!!!  It's not due until November, but still @@.    So, a-sample gathering I will go!

*totally not a typical week for us!

I'm going to start with a brief back story for people who haven't been reading my little blog for a while.  Last year my son Frodo went to public school for the first time ever.  He was 9 and in grade 4.  He tried and tried, and was miserable and bullied for the better part of the year.  The school was no help, and in fact made things worse.  You see, Frodo has ADHD, and I strongly suspect hovers on the Aspergers' end of the spectrum.  School was a major struggle for him and they gave lip service to being supportive. In November (our school year runs from the end of January to mid December) I finally said enough and withdrew him.  He was thrilled to return to home schooling but his brothers both love school and really wanted to stay, so that's our family dynamic.

We live a mere 200m from the school, so every morning I take the younger two up to school and Frodo has stayed home and worked on skwirk or read a book.  On those occasions where we were heading straight out to an activity or to run errands after the drop off, he would insist on rolling the windows down and waiting in the car for the few minutes it took to walk the others o class.  No way, no how, was he going onto that school campus where he was so ostracized and traumatized.  And honestly?  I couldn't blame him.

A few weeks ago Sam (who is in grade 2) mentioned that a boy who was in Frodo's class asks how he's doing fairly often and how he likes home schooling.  I didn't think much of it at the time,  but a few days later as the other two put their school shoes on and got ready to head out the door, Frodo said I think I'll go with you.  Colour me surprised, but of course he was welcome to come.  I figured he would want to sit in the car, play my iphone, and then try to sweet talk me into going to the coffee shop for an iced chocolate ;)  But when we pulled into the carpark... he actually started to get OUT of the car!  I tried to hide my surprise, and he said he was hoping to see Chad (not his real name :) to say hi to him.  Well, ok!  So we all walked onto campus and he came with me to drop Merry at his class... and he seemed bummed because we didn't see Chad.  However on the way back to the car, he started waving and saying hi Chad! and stopped & had a chat briefly :)  

I was SO proud of him... and when we got to the car I gave him a hug and told him just that, that I was SO impressed that he walked onto that campus with his head held high despite how much trouble the place had been for him.   And yeah, even though I hadn't planned to go out.. there was definitely an iced chocolate and gingerbread cookie to be had... Courage deserves to be rewarded!

A few days later, he came with us again... and this time he wandered off with Sam towards his class, instead of staying with me.  I called out to him to meet me at Merrys' class when the bell sounded and was a little nervous that he might not find the experience any better than last year, but I had to let him try.  He apparently ran into another boy he knew, and walked to class with him and came running back at the sound of the bell with a big smile :)  Time really does heal wounds I guess.

 As we walked from Merrys' class we saw one of the staff who said hello to him.  I didn't know her, but he did.  She said it was lovely to see him and asked where he's been... he told her and she said she knew a LOT of people that homeschooled and asked how he likes it?  He told her it's great and that we were off to French in the park after drop off.  Part of me hopes that makes it back to the Principal (whom we did not have good experiences with AT all) so she knows what an exceptional little boy she lost at her school.  We haven't actually seen her, but as Frodo has taken to going with me much more often, I'm sure we will.  So I'm working with him on how to respond to her politely  when she approaches him.. because I know she will.  I remind him that people think home schoolers never go out, so to share whatever exciting thing we have going on that week with the home school group ;)

I'm sure when the day comes that he is ready to face her, I'll be able to step back and encourage him to have confidence ... but also let him know I am *always* there to have his back.  Just like I had his back when I stepped up to the principal and said enough.  However, if he isn't ready to deal with that..that's ok.  I will not let her diminish the confidence & courage that he is rediscovering.

So, I've been doing fairly bitsy peicey science with Frodo this year... we had Dr. Joe's awesome classes in term 1 (and will have them again starting next week, for 5 weeks!) and we did a bit of a mini astronomy unit leading up to the Transit of Venus and the eclipse just before it.  But I was still on the fence about an actual *program* for us to use between all that other 'real life' science. I had found one I liked, only to find out through research that the authors' intent was to plant seeds about Intelligent Design in the minds of the youngsters using it.  I was not impressed.  It's not my business what other home schooling parents teach their kids (although being perfectly honest, I don't think teaching ID or creationism sets them up particularly well for future studies or careers that are influenced by science) but I think selling something that is glossed over to make it *look* like actual secular science, when it is in fact not, is just dirty pool.   So... I scrapped that idea and commenced to testing other programs!

We tried Mr. Q's chemistry by downloading the free chapter, and it's good, and we like it. Frodo loves the silly cartoon captions :)  But it feels a little 'worksheet' heavy to me.  It's something we may end up going back to next year though, as it IS thorough, and the company I'm going to use doesn't have a middle school program up yet!   

Pandia Press is winning out for the rest of the year.  We're using the trial (substantial free trial that it is!), until I have the money in the budget to order the full ebook, of their level 1 Life science.  I really like the brief, fun, notebook pages for the kids to print out, and like that it's pretty hands on.  Ok,  I DON'T like the extra work that makes for me lol, but I'll get over it!    The program is *technically* written for grades 1-4.. but I'm beefing it up for Frodo by choosing extra reading from the library that's a bit more advanced so he gets a little more depth.  

Last week (when I was *clearly* too busy to post... that's my story & I'm stickin' to it!) we did the 'what's alive' activities and learned about the characteristics of all living things.  Pretty basic stuff :)    This week we've learned about cells!  

Cells had two experiment/lab activities... so off we went to the lab... err, kitchen :)   One of the activities was making cell models out of jelly & fruit.  We like a lab where we get dessert as well as learning lol!  Here's Frodo showing off his 'cells', while impatiently asking if we can EAT THEM YET!!?!?! hehehe (sadly no, I made him wait till his brothers were home so they could check them out and have some with us)

 Both cells have a nice strawberry for the nucleus :)   The rectangular one is a plant cell, with it's cell wall keeping it nice and blocky...and it's many chloroplasts (aka melon balls of honeydew lol) which are what make the plant green.  The animal cell, which is all blobby & round, only gets a nucleus (although we did discuss a bit about some of the other parts as well)  and is yummy mango jelly :)  (which is jello for American readers!)
Here's an up close.  
 The other experiment involved looking up close at a cell we're all pretty familiar with, especially at breakfast time,  the good old chicken egg!   We cracked one into a bowl and used a hand magnifying glass to check out the blastodisc (basically the nucleus of a chicken egg) and than discussed which parts are actually cell parts, and which parts are there to protect the cell itself.

I'm also finding the activity based nature of it really working much better for him with his ADHD issues as well... almost no time in his seat listening to me prattle on, just getting straight to it!  We do MOST of it at the kitchen bench, so he can stand, lean, perch on one foot or whatever he needs to do.

Completing lab sheets!

A sample of the really good lab sheets that come with the program.
Frodo announced that it looked more like an avocado than an egg after he coloured it... methinks lunch was looming in his mind?? lol
After this, it's on to the human body systems... awesome.. I get to pull out my many excellent x-rays for this heh heh.

In other news, we've been booking it to get through the first 'unit' of history odyssey so that next week we can skip ahead and do the (rather huge) unit on the ancient Greeks... to coincide with the Olympics!   And Frodo has learned how to find the area of a triangle in math :P  Funny thing, the boy really enjoys math that involves formulae as opposed to computations!    We also did a spot of gardening and planted up some strawberries, capsicum and some herbs to revitalize the potted veggie 'patch' a bit :)
Grow my little pretties, grow!  (we won't discuss the horrid state of the 'garden' on the other side of that fence.. it's at a 50degree angle and impossible to maintain *sigh*  not that the real estate agents care!)

You know,  having these amazing days with all three of my boys home is really making me remember why I love homeschooling.  It will be a little sad to pack Merry & Sam off to school again next week, despite the fact that they both love it.    Some days I wish they didn't love it so much, so we could be having more time like this.  But, I remind myself that it's all about doing what is right for the child in question... and for those two, at least right now... school seems to make them very happy.

We have actually had two weeks of fun... Art gallery visits (see previous post!),  a train trip into the city with Nana to see Ice Age 4 and wander South Bank.

Oh hello there city!

Mum and the boys under the bouganvillea covered promenade.

This was an AMAZING tree!   We had to google to find out what it was when we got home... it's a Banyan tree.. it throws out extra trunks from it's branches to support them apparently.  The boys thought that was just bizarre & very cool.

We also made it down to Sea World one last time before our annual passes expired.  The weather had been just abysmal and rainy, so we had to postpone the trip two different days... but the day before the passes expired the sun came out and it was spectacular :)    The kids REALLY wanted to check out the new dinosaur island exhibits, and they were not disappointed!

From L to R:  Frodo, Sam, and Merry.  Merry is being sneaked up upon by a very crafty velociraptor lol (ok, so it's not actually going anywhere... but the pic of him nearly getting eaten Ala Jurassic Park was just too funny to resist.  I'm a bad bad mummy lol)

There were about a dozen dino's on the island.. they were anima-tronic and some oven had control panels where the kids could actually give commands to the creatures to make them move, grab, or make noise.   The boys had to have a go at lol.  

We also saw the Imagine Dolphin show, which was terrific. The last couple of times we've been to Sea World, we got there too late for the morning show, and the boys were exhausted by the afternoon show lol.  So they were stoked to finally get to see it.  I don't think it's possible not to be amazed by the dolphins... they are just so gorgeous and graceful, and seem to have a real rapport with their handlers.   Merry OOOH'd and AAAH'd at their antics and the other two were just mesmerized by them.

Here are a couple of dolphins with their trainer, waving goodbye :)

We also explored a cool park I spotted a while back.. it has a wicked flying fox that the boys could NOT get enough of!  The younger two spend 20minutes flying back & forth.

May have to organize a homeschool park meet up here, it has something for everyone! 

Frodo found himself a perch way up high.

And we also made a trip to the library where Merry, who is mastering the basics of reading, applied for his very own library card :)  Ok,  I actually did the applying, he did the selecting of a pile of books hehehe.  I think we brought home about 40books between the 3 of us!  Frodo & I are going back next week to pick up some more books relating to his schoolwork, but this stash has kept them all going for bedtime reading :)  Should cause some interesting dreams... Sam picked out books on the solar system  and Star Wars.. I forsee spacey dreams.)

And, would you believe all of THAT has been done in the past 7 days!?!?!  Plus there was some baking of treats (peanut butter slice, Frodo made the list, did the shopping & bought the ingredients, all the kids did  the measuring and mixing and most importantly, eating!!!) and crafting with boxes (still finding cardboard bits everywhere lol) playing with kitties, and making bunk bed forts.  

Disclaimer:  This is what our lives would be like if ALL of my boys were homeschooling.. while we do a bit of 'bookwork' I love natural learning and getting out in the world so they can be part OF it! 

Monday started 2 weeks of school holidays, so I have all three of my hobbits home and wanted to do some fun stuff.  In my last post I shared a few things I have planned, today was to be Sea World.  And then, last night,  the weather turned dicey.. and this morning ... the sky fell. It's still falling.  It's actually predicted to keep falling and finally start letting up on Thursday.  So, mother nature is officially off my christmas card list this year!  

This morning we all got geared up, packed a few snacks and while it had been cloudy all morning,  the rain started almost the minute we got into the car.  So we detoured to the local coffee shop where we had coffee (ok, hot choccies & minicino's for the kids ;) and discussed alternatives.  We could try to book into the planetarium, but that is iffy without trying to book in advance.. or we could head out to the Ipswich Art Gallery for their Wild Thing exhibit and workshops.  The art gallery won out  :)

Amazingly we got a parking spot just out front, which was great as it was really raining now lol.  They had a rock climbing wall set up .. outside.. lol.  We took a pass on climbing up the wet rock wall, but the cupcake decorating workshop was pretty popular with the boys!   Then we went in and managed to score spots in the balloon animal workshop.. we made dogs hehehe.  The boys were a bit meh! that we didn't get into the one after.. THEY made pirate cutlasses!  *sigh*  Such is life.

 Merry showing off his creation.
Merry's mini 'wild thing' hehehe

Balloon animals!

It was a fairly popular activity, which I'm sure the rain helped with ;) so we actually had to wait about 10minutes before going upstairs to the children's gallery because they were at capacity.  They had a great 'hill' built in on big corner of the room where the kids could climb, roll down, bounce on these big squishy things, wear costume bits & pieces etc.  Then they got to make their own mini 'wild things' out of paper cups, straws, crepe paper streamers and all sorts of things.

After we got home, some baking was in order so Merry helped me make corndog muffins.. which are entirely gone less than 6hours later!  The weather is supposed to continue along this dreary vein for at least another whole day, so I'm planning a day at home tomorrow.  There may be fort building, movie watching, and popcorn making :)  And probably a bit of mom looking longingly at the wine cabinet before the day is over LOL!
So it's been a fairly quiet week or so on the home schooling front.  I had my Uni exams last Friday & Monday, and am pretty sure I thoroughly rocked both of them.. but I particularly owned the math ;)  Feelin' great about it, so I can't wait to get my results!   Study for all of that took up a fair chunk of time, so if Frodo wasn't doing schoolwork, *I* was!  

Frodo has done a lot of work on he's thrilled because he is up to over 500 points :) He's been  learning about rain-forests and electricity, among other things.  In math he's been working on improper fractions & mixed fractions on skwirk, and division with MUS Delta.  We've continued on with a bit of space investigation, since Frodo was so impressed with the Transit of Venus earlier this month.  Comets and Meteroids and Galaxies, oh my! ;)   

Frodo also learned abit about how light reacts to water and spent one of his mornings up every couple of minutes to do a new experiment lol.  The old spoon in a glass of water, to show how water distorts how things appear when you view them through water.  Here he is doing another one... he was to put a coin in a clear, flat bottomed bowl and then back away until he couldn't see the coin.  Then his trusty lab assistant (me ;) was to pour a cup or so of water into the bowl to see how it affected his view of the coin.  He had a good time testing all the different things the site told him about.

He also got the urge to cook something new, so he got out the kids' cookbook and decided zucchini fritters was the go!  He made his own grocery list (and I made mine for the week lol, might as well kill two birds with one stone!)  When we got to the store, he was in charge of getting his ingredients & ticking them off the list.  Once home in the kitchen, he grated all the zucchini & cheese, mixed in the other items and cooked them himself.  I had to help flip them, some of them were tricky little suckers and he flipped a couple out onto the stove hehehe.    They were QUITE tasty little snacks indeed.

We also did some rice crispy treats, but no pics of those.. they weren't around long enough lol.  

The younger boys started school holidays today, so it's two weeks of freedom :)  I'm looking at a visit to the Ipswich Art Gallery, for their Wild Things children's exhibit.  They've got some fun activities on that the boys should enjoy.  And I'm planning to book in at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium for one of their cool kids shows, and since it is located at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens we'll make it a day and wander the Childrens' Hide & Seek Trail and maybe pack a picnic.   There also has to be a Sea World trip, probably this weekend!, as the Dino Adventure has opened and we must see it before our VIP passes expire on the 30th!  LOL  Hopefully there will be a day or two of down time in there as well!

Last week was pretty awesome... and nobody lost any teeth even lol.   Monday & Tuesday were pretty typical days at home.  Would you look what I found under my desk? Two little piles of cute!

Frodo & I worked on the usual stuff... he's gotten into fractions so we dug out our little bucket 'o fraction circles to have a look at equivalent fractions and how to reduce/simply fractions.  He seems to have caught on pretty well although I think he had a handle on the basics of what fractions are etc from real life math activities. (ie, Frodo you may have 1/4th of the yummy little garlic aioli pizza bread.  and that type of thing :)

He also worked on every morning for a while.. he is motivated by the fact that he can earn points, and after having a certain number of points, he can 'buy' an actual toy that they will mail to him.  Bribery! hehe   He likes to do one or two activities from each section... his favourite this week was the tail end of the unit on Gold.  It had lots of interesting info on the Gold fields of Australia, how they mine the gold (both then & now) and what it can be used for etc.   There was a unit on the safety of the mines and disasters that have happened like the Beaconsfield mine collapse.  One of his assignments was to pretend he was a safety inspector at a mine and to write up the types of things HE would look for.  He also thought they should have sent the trapped miners down some sort of video game to keep them entertained for the 2 weeks they were underground lol.  

Wednesday is when the OUT of this world part started... we ALL went to see the Transit of Venus :D  Sam & Merry stayed home from school to go with us, this is a once in a lifetime chance for them to see it so no way was I having them miss out! Merry was utterly enamored of the giant LEGO telescope.  Pete at AstroPete's Cafe said he brings it, and other telescopes out on their Friday & Saturday night Astronomy nights, so we're definitely going to go over one night and see what's out there.    We got some of the Solar glasses so the boys could safely look up at the sun to view the transit, but the best part was getting to look through the telescopes of the people who set up outside for a really good look!  (Thanks Angie :)   Here's Sam showing off his very cool Transit of Venus collectors card (which his oh so very fashionable solar glasses on his head hehe)   It made for a really fun and interesting day and lots of questions... so we had to hit Professor Google when we got home to get some answers!

 Frodo & I had to do a bit of shopping on Thursday, so we popped out for a cuppa (and hot chocolate) and he asked if he could go browsing at EB.  So, off down the hall he went feeling pretty independent hehehe...It's not that far, and I can see the entrance, so I didn't have a nutty about it lol.
See him way down there?

Nothing like the bright red banners of an EB SALE!!! to draw in a little computer geek in the making (and I mean that geek in a good way!)

 We also finished up our unit of History Odyssey on the Ancient Egyptians.  Frodo has enjoyed them, as he really does think all things Egypt are pretty cool, but I think it'll be nice to move on to something else now!  We made a little file folder game of Senet, which ancient Egyptians used to play.  Each person has 5 pieces and you throw the sticks and move depending on how many marked sides are up.  We added a bit of fun by using marshmallows lol (we didn't have black & white beans as suggested).... and when you hopped off the board, you got to eat your piece hehehe.  Whoever won, got to eat ALL the remaining pieces. We elected to put them in a cup of hot chocolate though.

Thursday we had to bake cupcakes... little brother Merry had his 6th birthday! and we took treats in to his class.  Frodo is getting pretty good in the kitchen if I do say so myself!  Nan & Grandpa came out on the weekend to celebrate... and Mum made a cracker of a castle jelly mold!  Hidden in the jelly here & there... were little lego 'dudes'  which were a huge hit all around.  Actually... I think we olds enjoyed the jelly as much as the kids did ;)

Isn't that just cool as???

Off to enjoy the crisp winter afternoon & pick the schoolies up!

Last week was a pretty busy week at the Hobbit house.  DH happened to score Monday off work, so we did a stealth trip down the coast to Movie World for a family day :D  The day was pretty good, not much int he way of crowds at all, which was nice!  There was drama, which I'll get to in a moment, but we had a pretty good time.   Here are me & Strider with my all time favourite cartoon hero, Marvin the Martian hehe. The kids were not interested in walking over to get a photo with the characters soooo..

A very rare photo of me & Strider ;)  Go me, just a smidge under 10kilo's gone! and 7 for Strider!

The characters came to them ;)  Despite his misgivings about people in large headed costumes, Merry got over his hesitance to smile for the camera... sort of lol. 

We had to wander a good bit into the park to get cash for a locker, as the 'banks' atm was out of service... this was probably a good thing (drama reference) as Sam got to check out the Batmobile & Batbikes,  as well as ride the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster!!!  Hubby said it was very full on, but Sam was just thrilled with it and had a blast.  

Before going to get a locker for our sneaked in lunch ;) we stopped and had a go on the grown up roller coasters... everyone got to drive their own except Merry, who was quite happy to ride with one of us.  

THEN *it* happened.  Sam has an absolute fascination of all things small and his favourite souvenir ever is the pressed penny.   So we said YES at about 1115 that he could have a bloody penny, so he'd stop nagging us.  Oi vey, was that a bad call.  The pressing of the penny went well enough... but when the penny dropped into the chute Sam hopped down to grab it... and gravity took over.  The crank handle for these things is some type of cast iron, so heavy as... the penny drops out when the handle is at the top of it's turn (bad bad bad!) so just as soon as Sam got his hand in the chute to get the penny, the iron handle swung down and slammed him right in the side of the mouth!  OMG the blood... Frodo came unglued,as he does at the sight  of blood, and I had to pull him up short as he was frantic!   A security guard helped us get to the first aid building where they cleaned him up, gave him panadol at our request, and an ice pack to help with the pain.  After about half an hour, we were on our way... Sam did NOT want to leave despite the bash.  We thought a bit of quiet time was in order so he could gather his wits and recover a bit so we went to eat lunch.  It was then that I discovered his tooth appeared to be sheared completely in two from side to side *sigh*  Called, made dental appt for the next morning but he STILL wanted to stay a while longer so we soldiered on.

Carousels were ridden :D  Even by hubby & I ... Merry was having nothing to do with getting on top of a wile E. Coyote so we rode in the carriages.

After a circuit through Looney Toons kids world, we decided that was about enough.  Here is Sam after his altercation with the Press a Penny machine.  He was upset that he had to miss a 2nd day of school to go to the dentist... but as she HAD to pull that tooth it was non negotiable.  Since the poor kid already went through the trauma of the numbing (and so did I @@) I had her pull the front tooth with the root canal that just would.not.let.go!    He did about as well as an 8yr old having multiple needles stuck in his mouth is going to do I think.  Half an hour later, he was fine and talking about the LOOT the tooth fairy (mum, he knows but likes to pretend hehe) was going to bring him for those two teeth lol.  Thankfully our dentist rocks, and the whole thing only cost me 30bucks... would have been 150 even after the insurance, but they discount regular customers heavily.  Yeah, they know how to inspire customer loyalty!

Amazingly Mr. snaggletooth was ready to go back to school Wednesday! I really thought he should take another day, but he insisted, so I sneaked to chat with his teacher to let her know to call me if he was at ALL 'off'.  But he did fine... which is good since we would have had to miss James & the Giant Peach!

Frodo & I went in to see a theatre production with our home schooling group... I really enjoyed it, but Frodo was a little distressed by all the LOUD bits unfortunately.  So he spent a lot of the show with fingers in ears muffling the noise.. but he still managed to laugh a bit ;)   I now know to get some noise muffling earplugs for future events like this!  For keeping calm, even when I could tell he was having trouble, I rewarded him on the way home with an iced chocolate from Gloria Jeans, and a sushi roll lunch.  

He now wants to read the book (yeah, bad home ed. mum... I should have gotten it before the show but I did not :P) 

Of course, that wasn't ALL that happened in our week.  I have tendonitis in my ankle/foot according to my doctor (how does one get tennis elbow in their FOOT!?!?! lol)  Too much driving and having foot in one position apparently!  I had a massive incident at work which culminated in me going in Friday and putting in my two weeks notice... so OH you bet I'll be hitting the frugal mama blog scene for ideas to stretch the budget!  and on top of all that... my birthday was Thursday :)  Happy birthday to me!  I was given a lovely coffee gift bag my hubby made up,  MIL brought cheesecake, macaroons (OMG YUM), and Lindt ball chocolates (one day off the healthy eating plan won't kill me, right??? ;)  as well as a cool hand-knit scarf that I love, an adorable pewter owl necklace (I lurve owls), and some gorgeous tiny blown glass perfume bottles with lovely essential oil perfumes in them!  Plus cash... cash is always a fun birthday pressie lol (never the wrong size! might get a new pair of jeans for myself since all mine are too big now ;)

So.. it was a mad crazy eventful week for us!  (oh, I forgot to mention the TWO uni assignments that were due!  one being submitted even as we speak... which are the reasons I didn't make it in Friday to post lol) This week will be just as crazy busy... Wednesday is the Transit of Venus... so we're all about science until then, googling, video watching, learning all sorts of cool stuff about Venus and why this is such a rare phenomenon!   Wednesday I think we might be playing hooky from school ;)  so that the other two boys can go with us to the Astronomy cafe to view the Transit through filtered telescopes.. it's a once in a lifetime event ... too good to pass up for school if you ask me!

However, for now?  I have a mild case of the flu that is somewhat kicking my backside... so now that Frodo is all done with schoolwork... to bed with me.
So after having tried to get to SeaWorld for several weekends... I said screw it!  Thursday the 2 school-goers got a free day off and the four of us road tripped to the Gold Coast for a day of fun :)   The weather was spectacular and made for a gorgeous day.  The first thing we did was take a  (round trip, the park was quiet) ride on the Sky lift to get a look at the place.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea??

Sponge-Bob square pants!

 Here are Frodo & Sam enjoying the ride & the view.  I was really proud of Frodo, he's usually a nervous boy about these kinds of things, but he was pretty adventurous!  While up there, we got a great look at the dolphin nursery where the baby dolphins were playing with their handlers.
We were quite lucky,because the park was sooo quiet they were offering a lot of things that usually have additional costs... for FREE!  So we got a free peddle boat hire!  Here are my little conquering seamen all geared up and excited.  The ride was great.. but ye gods, my thighs were destroyed.. we all know who got to do MOST of the peddling lol 

Then we went into the Arctic Penguin exhibit, which was terrific!  Merry just adored the 'happy feet' as he dubbed them.. and was a bit amazed that they were nearly his size lol.   This was the ground level viewing area, and they also had an underwater viewing area where the penguins swam around  and, at times, appeared as interested in us as we were in them!

 Then we did some rides!  If hubby had been able to come along Sam would have totally ridden the log flume and other coaster.. but he was pretty happy with the ones in the nickelodeon section.  He did the beach ball bounce... this thing below that I can't remember what it was called.  You had to pull yourself up to the top using the rope and then hold onto the handles as you fall!
 Frodo & Sam rode the airplanes (which was again something for Frodo, he does NOT usually like things that leave the ground.. but this was ok because he got to control when it went up and down. Doesn't he look  like Joe Cool here? lol

Then we had to break for what was arguable the priciest lunch I've ever bought lol... not allowed to bring food into the park sadly so they have you by the short & curlies!  The boys enjoyed the splurge though.. and even here, Sam chose a big ole fruit salad and I shared my chips with him.

After lunch was filled with a play at Castaway Bay, which is the biggest play structure I've ever seen... all piratey themed, of course!  There are rope bridges and plank walkways and tunnels and all sorts of fun things.  We also hit the battle boats where we got absolutely DRENCHED lol... it was great fun though.  I had a change of clothes & towels... for everyone but me lol.. I cheated & wrapped a towel around myself before we got going so I was in reasonable shape.  

We also went to see the polar bears, who were doing nothing very entertaining lol... and to Shark Bay.  The sharks were terrific.. the pool was huge and there's gorgeous coral and a zillion types of fish.  I managed to snap a pic, sans flash since it's not allowed for the health of the animals, of a mamma and baby shark swimming just past us!

We also go to watch the 'Little Penguins' get fed before we finished up for the day.  They were adorable little things.   I wanted to wait for the Dolphin show... but the kids were just DONE by 3pm!  So we got our massive cup of lemonade refilled, picked up a show bag each for the kids.. and hit the road!   

I feel like I get the mom of the year... ok, week at least :) ... award for this day out.  It's not often I brave taking all 3 out to something major like sanity wanes long before the outing is over usually lol.  But a brilliant day was had by all!
Farewell from the Baggins' boys Seaworld!  We may see you again in a month... the Dinosaur adventure is supposed to open mid June!!!!