just life…

This term and last I’ve continued teaching two homeschooled girls two mornings a week, after they came back from Thailand for four months over the summer.  I have enjoyed it so much.  Two weeks ago, I took a week of to have a break from the prep work, and that really rejuvenated my creative and curiosity juices – these girls inspire me to ask questions, and go find out answers!  It’s so easy to say, ‘I should find out about that’, but it’s another thing to pull out the atlas, or type a question into Bing*, or ask someone a question, or go and try the experiment, even though these things really don’t take that long to do.


Catching tadpoles – cane toads, rather.  Who’d thought I’d have them catch and raise cane toads of all things?!

Sharks and rays

Learning about sharks and sting rays.

Papier mache

Papier Mache

Papier mache-ing bowls, which was lots of fun.  And you can see the little lighthouse we made earlier as part of our study on “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge”.  This week we are attempting papier mache animals!  I don’t really call myself artistic, but I teach art!  I’ve done alright so far, but I found this inspiring and comprehensive website, Art for Small Hands, which I am looking forward to using with the girls, starting with the animals this week.HenriettaSpeaking of creative pursuits, meet Henrietta.  I made her a few weeks ago, and though this photo doesn’t do her justice, I’ve deemed her downright cute!  She was a bit of a challenge, which was good, because I am getting so familiar in sewing, I need the creative challenges of trying different techniques; in this case, I embroidered the eyes and mouth, and used felt to make the hair.  I wasn’t going to follow the instructions for the hair because I didn’t have the right felt (I was going to glue curly hair onto her instead), but then I realised that the felt hair was actually doable (with a bit of tweaking).  I had already moved ahead of the hair steps, so I had to improvise in stitching the hair on, but I’m glad I found a way to do it because it adds a lot of character to her.

Last week, Mum went away for a week to go to the Mum Heart Conference in New Castle, NSW, and then to visit her parents.  It went surprisingly well on our end – I normally get an emotional wreck when Mum’s away but life just went on nearly like normal this time, and we had a lot of fun.  I think a few things that made a difference was that Dad was home for most of the week, we kept busy, and I just stopped being so bossy with my siblings!  In the past I’ve been a lot more uptight but this time, it was just us four kids being ourselves.  It meant the house wasn’t super tidy, it meant we changed plans, it meant I let others make choices for themselves, and I think it meant we had a more enjoyable and relaxed time. 🙂

On the Saturday Mum was away, Dad, Nomi, and I went to the Kimberley Moon, an annual concert as part of the Ord Valley Muster.  This year Guy Sebastian was the main act, and despite the thumping in your chest from the loud noise,  he had a very buoyant charisma on stage and it was fun to watch and sing along to!

A few days after that, I took my practical driving assessment.  I’ve been learning to drive for the last nine months or so, and having a driving academy in town made all the difference.  They did such a good job stepping me through the different processes and calming my nerves before the assessment!  The assessor seemed reluctant to let me pass by the way he spoke, but Grandad reassured me that they always do that, and looking at all the ticks in the boxes, I think I did OK – the main thing is that I passed!  Now that I’ve taken the PDA, I have to log 25 hours of driving over a period of six months before I can get my P plates and I’m on my own (a daunting but exciting prospect!)

I’ve realised that goal setting actually really works.  I know, it’s obvious, but for some reason, I don’t like committing myself to a specific, tangible goal, especially with a deadline.  I’d rather be self-paced and I can be vague in my desired outcome.  A few months ago, I signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh award (yep, you guessed it, it’s all about commitment!)  An aspect to Duke of Ed is doing something physical for a week, so I’ve set myself the goal of running five kilometers, and I signed up for a training program with RunKeeper.  Two weeks down and I am surprisingly enjoying it, both the challenge of the run, and the actively working towards the goal.  It’s really made me think about goal setting and it’s benefits to actually getting somewhere.

And in other news, our latest music find is The After’s Life is Beautiful and Nomi and I listen to it every day (as we do with every new album, for that matter, but anyway).  The songs are great musically, and the whole album has a great message about enjoying life and all it’s good things right now.  We are especially excited about owning the song ‘Life is Beautiful’ after hearing it on the movie October Baby.  If you haven’t seen it yet – go do it!  You will love it.

*OK, so you want to hear about my conspiracy theory?  I have a conspiracy theory that Apple, Google, and Amazon are all connected, or will be one day, and will rule the world.  Don’t tell anyone.  I’m too busy to take the time to be interrogated by any of the aforementioned companies.

And even if my conspiracy theory turns out to be a figment of the imagination, Bing finds everything I want and at the moment it doesn’t record my searches.  Not that I won’t use Google, I just like Bing over it.


15 thoughts on “just life…

  1. I hope to watch October Baby some day. We acctually got to hear the lady speak who inspired the storyline of the movie. She was at a homeschool conference. What an amazing story!!! That’s so exciting that you passed your assessment. I’ve just started driving in the past 3 months and had to take an eight hour drivers education class the other day. I am nervous about my driving test this fall. (I think it’s similar to your assessment.) I really enjoy reading your blog. You’re such a great example to those coming behind you!

    1. October Baby was so good, Ellen, though emotional. I’ve heard of the lady before, and heard her a little bit in some of the behind-the-scenes features. She is so exuberant about life!

      An eight-hours drivers education class? Phew – that’s a long time! I’m sure you’ll do fine (when Megan comes over, make sure she doesn’t make you drive on the wrong side of the road! :D) I’m sure you’ll do fine, Ellen; you have a good head on your shoulders!

      I’m glad you enjoy my blog, too – thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Great post Jess – you’ve been busy!! I love the photo of the doll – great backdrop!! Seeing it in the photo (not that I haven’t seen it IRL) made me see how well the fabric of the dress, the red of the boots and the felt hair all work together to give a particular style – it looks great.

    1. Thanks Mum – she was fun to make and I like the look; she’s different to the other country dolls I’ve made, in that she’s more ‘farm girl’ opposed to ‘country’.

  3. Go Bing! I always use Bing, and I love the different pictures it has everyday. Good job passing your driving test! I think in Sydney you have to log 120 hours before you can go for your Ps. Ugh!
    I’d like to see October Baby too, but I’m not sure it will be happening very soon! My parents have seen it, and they said it’s good.

    1. YES! What do you think of my conspiracy theory, Meg? 🙂

      120 hours -wow! You’ll have to go on a road trip to get the hours up.

      October Baby is so good, Meg, though it’s rated M because of the emotional themes. If you watch it, have a box of tissues ready.

      1. It might happen! Though, considering my Dad works at Microsoft (though he resigns tomorrow) I prefer to think that it will be Windows products!! 🙂
        I’m not sure how I am going to get hours driving around Australia cause you can’t pull a caravan on your Ls… I guess I’ll just have to see what happens.
        October Baby sounds really good but sad! I never cry during movies (except for Courageous) but this one might be an exception too!
        6 days to go!!!!!!

        1. Yes, first Apple, then Microsoft. 😀

          I’m not sure what the limitations are on a NSW’s L permit, but I’m not allowed to drive in another state until I get my P’s. But don’t let people pressure you into getting your license AS soon as possible, Meg – going at the pace I did was the best thing for me, and being pressured is just plain not fun.

          Six days – yay!

          Well, I don’t think I even cried for Courageous, though I might have teared up. But again; I cried on the inside! 🙂

  4. Congratulations on passing your drivers test!!! Woo hoo! I love your whole explanation about using Bing…made me smile 😀
    We loved October Baby and you are right about it being emotional….I cried and cried (and cried and cried again when I watched it again) 😀

    1. Thanks Jessica! And yes, I’m convinced that Apple and Google are going to join forces some day, and Amazon holds the trump card and will buy them all out. Then it will spread further, into Ebay, and Woolworths, and … 🙂

      I didn’t actually cry, but I felt like I had cried on the inside! My family thinks I’m a hard-hearted soul; I normally don’t cry in movies! But if there were tissues available for the soul (not to sound poetic or anything), I’d have wanted a bucket load of them.

  5. It was really good to read about your life, Jess 🙂

    And I like Henrietta. It’s too late at night for me to think of the right word for her, but whatever that word is, she’s it! Well done with the hair too.

    And your 25 hours of driving is great for getting to know your way around town. Explore the back-streets. Take the long way everywhere. And if you really need hours, go on a road trip and come visit me! 🙂

    1. Thanks Hayley – I know what you mean… she’s just … it!

      Thanks for the tips, too – I have already improved my town geography! Visiting you… hmmm! Sounds inticing!

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