Horsing Around

horsingaround

After thinking this day would never come, we finally ended up back at horse riding again!! The weather was….. well, not very accommodating, and we thought the horses might be a bit silly like they can tend to be in that kind of weather, but all was good.

C..c..c..cold!!!
The moment of reuniting with Selwyn was really lovely
But it wasn’t long before the effects of the wind gusts had the sawdust blowing up into eyeballs, which was far from pleasant. Even “nerf” goggles borrowed from a friend didn’t really solve the problem. In view of the cost of the lesson and the fact that she’d been so looking forward to coming back, it was tempting to try to convince her to just put up with it “like the other kids”, assuming that she would end up coping and having a good time. But I chose instead to honour her discomfort and respect her desire to sit out for awhile. Before the lesson ended, she decided completely on her own to bravely face it once again (see below!) and I was so glad that I’d listened to her.
Learning to remove the saddle is all part of the experience
There’s always time for some nature appreciation on the way back to the car, enjoying a peaceful moment before an afternoon filled with friends, friends and more fun….

Horsey Heaven

horseyheaven

Molly has a desperate desire to live on a farm. It may have something to do with having been birthed during our “Bourke Days” (when we were living in the Australian Outback) but for whatever reason, farm life is in her blood. She dreams of living in the country, owning a horse, a ute, and at least one dog. Our current living situation has us living near great friends in a lovely beachside city, and at this time it isn’t going to work for us to move to the country, so I seek ways to fulfil her love of animals and farming by taking her to places where she gets to experience some farming thrills. We recently went for a visit to a great little place near us called Oakvale Farm, taking the opportunity to make the most of some cheap vouchers we’d bought. One of Molly’s friends came with us, and they had the best time playing with all the animals, especially the baby goats. So I guess I could say the kids really enjoyed the kids? 🙂

Fun at Oakvale Farm

But today was the ultimate experience: HORSE RIDING LESSONS!

Together with about 30 other home ed kids, we descended on a local equestrian centre and had us some horsey fun! Molly was grinning from ear to ear the whole time, and she is already dreaming about next Friday. She didn’t get to ride the horse she had really wanted to ride, but she fell in love with her designated steed nonetheless. His name is Selwyn and I believe he has definitely won his way into Molly’s heart. She had to wait quite awhile until it was her turn to ride, but it was still interesting to watch the other group while we waited. The instructor could have been better in some ways, but I’m fairly confident she did a much better job than I could have done! 🙂

Finally it was Molly’s turn and it was UP…..
….. UP…..
…. and AWAY!!!
It brought a big smile to MY face to see her enjoying this moment so much!
Just another example of all that “lack of socialising” those poor home ed kids have to put up with 🙂
It was fun to ride in the open air, after being in the big shed for the lesson
Home again, home again, jiggety jig
Feeding and unsaddling the horse in the stable was almost as much fun as riding!
Goodbye until next time Selwyn!

Shark and Ray Centre

We recently had the awesome privilege of visiting a Shark and Ray Centre with a large number of home educating families. It was amazing to see the initial hesitation in the children as they first put their fingers in the water, and then their toes, and finally their whole bodies. The longer we were there, the more their confidence grew, and soon they were literally swimming around with the sharks and rays. It was such an incredible, sensory, intriguing experience for us all, and definitely one that we want to repeat!

At first the idea of being so close to sharks (even babies) was quite intimidating, and the children were hesitant to put even their fingers in the water.
At first the idea of being so close to sharks (even babies) was quite intimidating, and the children were hesitant to put even their fingers in the water.
Once their confidence increased, the toes went cautiously in…..
As their confidence increased, the toes went cautiously in…..
Gradually they immersed themselves into the pool. It felt weird at first, knowing that there really were sharks in the water!
Gradually they immersed themselves into the pool. It felt weird at first, knowing that there really were sharks in the water!
Safety in numbers!
Safety in numbers!
Hey, this is actually kinda fun! Yet still a wee bit creepy....
Hey, this is actually kinda fun! Yet still a wee bit creepy….
Hmmmm these sharks are getting friendly!
Hmmmm these sharks are getting friendly!
Maybe a little TOO friendly? :)
Maybe a little TOO friendly? 🙂
Maybe some (non human) food might be a good idea? And food on a stick is a very helpful way of keeping fingers out of their mouths! Especially for those who had decided they wanted to keep bodies out of the water at this stage!
Maybe some (non human) food might be a good idea? And food on a stick is a very helpful way of keeping fingers out of their mouths! Especially for those who had decided they wanted to keep bodies out of the water at this stage!
Hey, let me have some! Manta Rays get hungry too, ya know? Don't let the sharks have all the fun!
Hey, let me have some! Manta Rays get hungry too, ya know? Don’t let the sharks have all the fun!
It’s hard to see in the photo, but this is actually a manta ray that is about 3 times bigger than it looks here, coming up for a cuddle!
It’s hard to see in the photo, but this is actually a manta ray that is about 3 times bigger than it looks here, coming up for a cuddle!
I think this warrants a closer look....
I think this warrants a closer look….
A MUCH closer look!
A MUCH closer look!
060
Now this one’s more my size!
Coooool!
Coooool!
Ummmmm these are definitely de-barbed aren’t they?
Ummmmm these are definitely de-barbed aren’t they?
Trapped!
Trapped!
Maybe not!
Maybe not!
That looks like fun!
That looks like fun!
It IS fun!
It IS fun!
Up close and personal!
Up close and personal!
comingthrough
Coming throoooough!
011
Wanna play?
097
Fine then, I’ll just play with the goggles! 🙂
052
That was fun! Let’s come back again sometime!

Boys’ Bush Adventure

Late last year, Declan had the awesome privilege of attending a “Boys’ Bush Adventure”. It was a 5 day camp for boys, in the bush, learning survival skills, building wooden things using only hand tools, finding and making food, etc. It was organised by our good mate and home educating dad, Tim Schloss. They all got dirty, muddy, smelly, and exhausted. They also built and created things, bonded over shared challenges and adventures, created their own bases in the bush to sleep in, and basically just had a fantastic time. It was such a wonderful experience! Some of the mums, girls and younger children went up at the end to check it out and say g’day.

They were a motley crew, but totally in their element. Who doesn't love a camp fire, getting dirty and making stuff?
They were a motley crew, but totally in their element. Who doesn’t love a camp fire, getting dirty and making stuff?
Tim makes amazing wooden items from swords to furniture and toys, and really enjoyed showing the boys how to create great things out of basic timber and a few simple tools.
Tim makes amazing wooden items from swords to furniture and toys, and really enjoyed showing the boys how to create great things out of basic timber and a few simple tools.
They made some individual projects (Declan came home with a hand crafted wooden spoon!) and they also worked in teams to make some bush furniture – pretty cool huh!
They made some individual projects (Declan came home with a hand crafted wooden spoon!) and they also worked in teams to make some bush furniture – pretty cool huh!
Part of the adventure was learning some survival skills, too, which they really enjoyed!
Part of the adventure was learning some survival skills, too, which they really enjoyed!
Each team with their leader had to make their own base, prepare their own food with limited supplies, and basically "survive"!
Each team with their leader had to make their own base, prepare their own food with limited supplies, and basically “survive”!
It was great to see the various techniques they used to create their bush bases.
It was great to see the various techniques they used to create their bush bases.
I love the way they used what they could find in the bush to create their structures
I love the way they used what they could find in the bush to create their structures
The weather provided a few challenges
The weather provided a few challenges
A fire always helps though. As does a pit toilet! ;)
A fire always helps though. As does a pit toilet! 😉
One of the team challenges was to create a special meal for the leaders, using only certain foods coupled with a lot of creativity. Apparently it mostly tasted okay!
One of the team challenges was to create a special meal for the leaders, using only certain foods coupled with a lot of creativity. Apparently it mostly tasted okay!
Team work was an essential part of the whole experience
Team work was an essential part of the whole experience
It's not always easy, putting your trust in your team mates!
It’s not always easy, putting your trust in your team mates!
Sometimes they need to put their trust in you!
Sometimes they need to put their trust in you!
Even the leaders took a turn at trusting the kids, which is great I think!
Even the leaders took a turn at trusting the kids, which is great I think!
The place where the camp was held was so perfect for it. Plenty of bush (can’t have a boys’ BUSH adventure without that!), rocky outcrops, and even this cool wooden shed that was used for cooking and shelter (and yes, that's a girl in the picture, but I promise she wasn't there the whole time!)
The place where the camp was held was so perfect for it. Plenty of bush (can’t have a boys’ BUSH adventure without that!), rocky outcrops, and even this cool wooden shed that was used for cooking and shelter (and yes, that’s a girl in the picture, but I promise she wasn’t there the whole time!)
The bush shed in context
The bush shed in context
Tim explaining a few things to the boys
Tim explaining a few things to the boys
This was taken at the end of the camp – it was amazing to see the way the boys listened to Tim. Absolute concentration. Either that, or absolute exhaustion!
This was taken at the end of the camp – it was amazing to see the way the boys listened to Tim. Absolute concentration. Either that, or absolute exhaustion!
Driving home from camp we came upon fields of flowers in the bush. Native irises perhaps? And some others. What was amazing was that they hadn’t been blooming the day before when some people had driven up to camp, and they weren’t blooming the day after we saw them, when some people returned to camp to get some forgotten items. It seems we were there at JUST the right time! It was so beautiful……
Driving home from camp we came upon fields of flowers in the bush. Native irises perhaps? And some others. What was amazing was that they hadn’t been blooming the day before when some people had driven up to camp, and they weren’t blooming the day after we saw them, when some people returned to camp to get some forgotten items. It seems we were there at JUST the right time! It was so beautiful……
The photos don’t even come close to capturing the beauty of what we experienced. We knew we were part of a special, transient moment.
The photos don’t even come close to capturing the beauty of what we experienced. We knew we were part of a special, transient moment.
Beauty in the Bush
Beauty in the Bush
Joy on the journey
Joy on the journey
At the bottom of the mountain on our way home, we had to do a creek crossing in the 12 seater bus. Part of the rocky platform that is normally driven across easily had been washed away in heavy rain, and the water level had risen, so we were stuck there for awhile, putting rocks into the gaps so we could safely drive across.
At the bottom of the mountain on our way home, we had to do a creek crossing in the 12 seater bus. Part of the rocky platform that is normally driven across easily had been washed away in heavy rain, and the water level had risen, so we were stuck there for awhile, putting rocks into the gaps so we could safely drive across.
It was such a beautiful, picturesque place to be “stuck”
It was such a beautiful, picturesque place to be “stuck”
Plenty of time for a game of footy (how on earth they had any energy left at all was beyond me!)
Plenty of time for a game of footy (how on earth they had any energy left at all was beyond me!)
Some had less energy than others, having expended so much to create such an amazing adventure for the boys
Some had less energy than others, having expended so much to create such an amazing adventure for the boys
Time for reflection
Time for reflection
Time to play
Time to play
Time to take off those not-so-white socks!
Time to take off those not-so-white socks!
Oh dear ;)
Oh dear 😉
Time to attempt the crossing of the creek
Time to attempt the crossing of the creek
Faster and “funner” in a 4WD!
Faster and “funner” in a 4WD!
Time to bid farewell to the mountain
Time to bid farewell to the mountain

Purple Pear Organic Farm Tour

Last year (catching up on blogging!) we had the opportunity to do a tour with a bunch of home ed families to an awesome place called Purple Pear Organic  Farm. It’s an amazing place that provides food to about 40 families every week, as well as feeding themselves of course. The provide work for WOOFers, and also run permaculture courses. The vibe was so amazingly friendly and informative, and I was amazed at the attentiveness of the kids. They soaked it up, mud puddles and all. 🙂

It was especially exciting for Molly, who dreams of living on a farm one day!
It was especially exciting for Molly, who dreams of living on a farm one day!
The owner of the farm doing "the talk" and pointing out their motto.
The owner of the farm doing “the talk” and pointing out their motto.
He provided such helpful information and was able to answer everyone's queries, and his passion for what he does was obvious. He also seemed to accept that the children would sometimes listen... and sometimes not. And that was ok.
He provided such helpful information and was able to answer everyone’s queries, and his passion for what he does was obvious. He also seemed to accept that the children would sometimes listen… and sometimes not. And that was ok.
Sometimes we all just wanted to explore the beautiful environment
Sometimes we all just wanted to explore the beautiful environment
The kids enjoyed learning about the farm animals the most
The kids enjoyed learning about the farm animals the most
Especially ones as cute and cuddly as this!!! I think he had a VERY full tummy once the kids had finished with him. It was fascinating to see the way they used the guinea pigs on the farm. They had constructed cages/runs that were the width of the pathways in the areas where there were straight garden beds. They would move the cage along, so that the guinea pigs would keep the grass short. They obviously still had room left over for the consumption of flowers!
Especially ones as cute and cuddly as this!!! I think he had a VERY full tummy once the kids had finished with him. It was fascinating to see the way they used the guinea pigs on the farm. They had constructed cages/runs that were the width of the pathways in the areas where there were straight garden beds. They would move the cage along, so that the guinea pigs would keep the grass short. They obviously still had room left over for the consumption of flowers!
I don't think the dog was quite so interested in eating the flowers!
I don’t think the dog was quite so interested in eating the flowers!
.... but Declan certainly was!
…. but Declan certainly was!
YUMMO!
YUMMO!
One of the main features of the Purple Pear farm is the use of chook domes in the mandala garden. I imagine they would only be suitable for a temperate climate, though!
One of the main features of the Purple Pear farm is the use of chook domes in the mandala garden. I imagine they would only be suitable for a temperate climate, though!
Here is one of the circle gardens in the mandala system. It's been harvested, and is about to have a chook dome placed over it, so the chooks can eat up whatever is left plus any bugs & other insects that might cause a problem for the next crop (and turn it all into lovely eggs and fertiliser of course)
Here is one of the circle gardens in the mandala system. It’s been harvested, and is about to have a chook dome placed over it, so the chooks can eat up whatever is left plus any bugs & other insects that might cause a problem for the next crop (and turn it all into lovely eggs and fertiliser of course)
This chook dome (they have many) is being used to turn a patch of grass into a brand new veggie bed. It's such an awesome interaction of the elements, and a system that seems to work brilliantly. I love how the chooks in particular are such an essential part of the system, and seem to bring it all together somehow. They seem to have an intrinsic role in many of the elements of the farm.
This chook dome (they have many) is being used to turn a patch of grass into a brand new veggie bed. It’s such an awesome interaction of the elements, and a system that seems to work brilliantly. I love how the chooks in particular are such an essential part of the system, and seem to bring it all together somehow. They seem to have an intrinsic role in many of the elements of the farm.
I feel so incredibly blessed that we get to go to such interesting places with such great friends - both kids AND parents. Just another example of that "non-socialising" that home ed families are accused of. :)
I feel so incredibly blessed that we get to go to such interesting places with such great friends – both kids AND parents. Just another example of that “non-socialising” that home ed families are accused of. 🙂

Timbertown

I have some blogging to catch up on!!

Last year we went on a trip with some other home ed families to Timbertown, a few hours north of where we live. We had heaps of fun exploring an historical village with all the trimmings.

It was fun walking around the streets of the village and imagining ourselves living in a time gone by. Until someone’s mobile phone would jerk us back to the present moment!
It was fun walking around the streets of the village and imagining ourselves living in a time gone by. Until someone’s mobile phone would jerk us back to the present moment!
Molly really enjoyed looking through all the old houses
Molly really enjoyed looking through all the old houses

One of the things that really stood out to me was how many of the people who worked there are incredibly passionate about what they do. It was a great reminder of how the children’s interests, now matter how seemingly abstract, can become a source of income. For instance, when I was walking back to the car to get something, I stopped to chat to the man who was working on the steam train we’d previously ridden on. I ended up standing there for about 20 or 30 minutes while he raved … and raved … and raved about the train, how he cleans it, the work involved, the methods he uses, etc. Even though it’s not something I’m personally interested in, I was enthralled by his level of passion for the train! 🙂

We got to ride on this working steam train
We got to ride on this working steam train

The guy working with the draft horses and carriage was equally passionate about his field of expertise and kept us thoroughly informed and entertained as we did our little trip around the town behind his prized horses. He seemed to have the perfect ability to inform us without talking for too long, which I was relieved about, since we were a captive audience! And…. he had a whip! 🙂  Molly was quite concerned about his use of the whip, being very compassionate towards animals, and he didn’t belittle her or talk down to her about it. He patiently explained his use of the whip, the purpose behind it, and the fact that he wasn’t actually touching the horse with it. Then he went the extra mile, stopping the cart and letting the kids have a turn of the whip!

The horse drawn carriage was a huge hit
The horse drawn carriage was a huge hit
The kids loved the opportunity to pat the horses
The kids loved the opportunity to pat the horses
Declan, Molly and I got our very own turn on the horse drawn carriage, by ourselves.
Declan, Molly and I got our very own turn on the horse drawn carriage, by ourselves.

The kids enjoyed the hands on opportunities!

The working water pump in the front yard of one of the old houses was a HUGE hit!
The working water pump in the front yard of one of the old houses was a HUGE hit!
Declan having a go at whip cracking. He’s done it once before but had forgotten how hard it was!
Declan having a go at whip cracking. He’s done it once before but had forgotten how hard it was!
I’m not sure what Molly liked most – the whip or the goggles!
I’m not sure what Molly liked most – the whip or the goggles!
The after effects of whip cracking! It hurt!
The after effects of whip cracking! It hurt!

All in all it was a really fun day with friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in an historical village, and absorbing some of the enthusiasm of the workers there.

After Timbertown we all went back to our accommodation, and then that evening we were treated to a talk at The Observatory, and got to look through the enormous telescope, with the sky clear enough to allow a viewing of the rings of Saturn. Obviously, I was unable to get a photo of that!

Next time we head up to this beautiful part of the world, we’re really hoping that the Bago Maze is operational!

No Dig Vegie Patch

We’ve finally done it! The no dig garden that has lived only 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!
Our good friends Ruth and 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 and hardwood from a local reclaimed building supply centre. The only new thing is the screws to hold it altogether!
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! Turning bugs into eggs – can’t complain about that!
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! Turning bugs into eggs – can’t complain about that!
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!
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!
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! :)
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! 🙂
Geoff, Declan & Molly built a trellis out of bamboo from our friend’s backyard, for our sugar snap peas to climb up
Geoff, Declan & Molly built a trellis out of bamboo from our friend’s backyard, for our sugar snap peas to climb up
The plants are starting to grow!! I thought this was our first red strawberry, but was informed that there HAVE been others. At least they’ve been enjoyed! 🙂
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 side. 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…”
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 side. 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…”

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!

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 we were treated to a performance by whales on their journey south.
rainbowbayview
I love the sky and the lighting in this photo from our balcony! Not as much as I love my firstborn dude though. :)
I love the sky and the lighting in this photo from our balcony! Not as much as I love my firstborn dude though. 🙂
AUSTRALIA ZOO
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. She didn’t get to meet her, but hopes to be able to one day!
australiazoo2010013
australiazoo2010019
australiazoo2010112
australiazoo2010215
MOVIE WORLD
Our other big day out was when we all went to Movie World (half price tickets made it even more awesome!).
Molly got to pose for a photo with "The Gang" from Scooby Doo, which was a huge buzz for her because it's currently one of her favourite shows!
Molly got to pose for a photo with “The Gang” from Scooby Doo, which was a huge buzz for her because it’s currently one of her favourite shows!
She was too short to go on the main thrill rides with her big bros, so while they were off having an awesome time on all the roller coasters, she burned some rubber in the dodgems!
She was too short to go on the main thrill rides with her big bros, so while they were off having an awesome time on all the roller coasters, she burned some rubber on the dodgem circuit!
We had some fun trying to get the camera working in the dimly lit “big kid” dodgem ride area, 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 Travis – obviously going WAY too fast for the camera LOL.
We had some fun trying to get the camera working in the dimly lit “big kid” dodgem ride area, 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 Travis – obviously going WAY too fast for the camera LOL.
Molly was officially tall enough to go on the scary Scooby Doo roller coaster, but after the boys tried it out, they thought it would be too scary for her. She was not to be perturbed though and decided to have a go. She was obviously WAY too tired to walk though! ;) Oh, and for the record, she thoroughly loved the ride! It certainly helped having her big bros try it out for her first so they could explain what it was like.
Molly was officially tall enough to go on the scary Scooby Doo roller coaster, but after the boys tried it out, they thought it would be too frightening for her. She was not to be perturbed, however, and ended up absolutely loving it! It certainly helped having her big bros try it out for her first so they could explain what it was like. She was obviously WAY too tired to walk though! 😉
Declan 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)
Declan 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 two halves by the bike!
It was such an entertaining, funny show – we all had an absolute blast. Check out the car split into two halves by the bike!
I think my older boys were just about salivating at the thought of being able to drive like that one day!
I think my older boys were just about salivating at the thought of being able to drive like that one day!
Here, the funny character in the show proved at the end of the show 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!
The funny, clown-type character in the show proved at the end of the show that he actually CAN drive a car (in fact he was probably the best stunt driver there!) when he ended up stealing a car, driving over the top of the roof, and into a building, which immediately burst into flames!
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!
FUN ON THE ROAD
Life is about the journey, right? We love road trips! We often listen to audio books together, and just enjoy the time, stopping at various places to discover new things and enjoy some fun together. Not that it’s perfect of course. Life never is!
Molly having fun on a playground ride at the caravan park at Nambucca Heads where we stopped overnight. Look at that HAIR!!
Molly having fun on a playground ride at the caravan park at Nambucca Heads where we stopped overnight. Look at that HAIR!!
Travis learning some tricks on the Z-Flex, during a break for lunch
Travis learning some tricks on the Z-Flex, during a break for lunch
Skater Chick!
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!)
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!)
I have no words! ;)
I have no words! 😉
SURFING
One of the big reasons we discovered beautiful Rainbow Bay was because Travis and Brady knew it was a great spot to surf, with about three or four 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 two 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?
surfingdbar071
surfingdbar077
surfingdbar235
surfingdbar237
surfingdbar238
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.  It was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect as a family in the midst of a hectic crazy year!

We have….. FIGS!

To our delight, we have discovered that the the little green figs on our figtree have become large-ish, more colourful, soft, ripe fruit! Yum…… 🙂

figs1
Beautiful delicious figs from our tree!
mollyfig
Out of the whole family, Miss M likes the figs the best…..

Of course, the trick was getting to them before the birds. Mind you, I’m figuring that the ones the birds get to first are at least going to a worthy cause! However, in an effort to try to keep at least SOME figs for ourselves (I know – how incredibly selfish of us!), my good friend Melissa came to the rescue again, this time with some bird netting. Unfortunately, there isn’t quite enough of it, so the birds still get under it and eat all the blessed fruit they like! At least they manage to get back out again, rather than getting stuck. Me thinks the bird netting might as well come down, and next time we’ll get a larger piece!

helpfulfriend
P.S. Thanks to the neighbour’s visiting tradies for the loan of the ute. They were paid with free figs, of course!
Whoopsies
Whoopsies

Some new additions to the fam… :)

So…. today was the day we bit the bullet, went for a beautiful country drive, and bought ourselves 6 little day-old chicks! SUCH an exciting moment. We’re really nowhere near ready for them, but my friend Melissa was going out to this great breeder to buy some ducklings and suggested I come with her and get started on our chicken adventure! Nothing like a bit of pressure to get those weeds & asbestos removed, and a chook house built! At least for now they can live in our laundry at night and in a spare rabbit hutch during the warm summer days! They’re SOOOOOO cute. We got one for each membe of the fam, although at this stage T & B are insisting they’re not at all interested. But I’m sure the girls will win them over with their charms.

And I have to say it’s also a little bit exciting to have the power balance change in the female direction, in this formerly-testosterone-fuelled household! Molly’s been wishing for a sister for a long time, so now she gets SIX!! That makes eight girls in the family now, in a funny kind of way. Actually, twelve if you count the mice. But then I suppose we’d have to count the male rabbit & dog, but I still think the girls win. Hang on while I add it up…… YES! Girls:12  Boys: 6  🙂

mollychicken
Two gorgeous girls
sleepingchicken
No, it’s not dead; it’s asleep!! I walked in to the laundry and Molly was singing the “Hush, Little Baby” lullaby to her chicken. Looks like it worked!
declanchicken
It’s amazing how the myth of boys always being “rough and tumble” can blown out of the water by the observation of a boy being super sweet and gentle with a baby chicken
cosychickens
A nice warm, cozy home (We learned a LOT about the needs of baby chickens, having never done this before!)