Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Happy words

Lady Demelza has a passion for all things linguistic, which includes a penchant for crosswords puzzles. Littletree was most interested – interested enough to put aside her progress on the altered book she’s renewed interest in since Lady Demelza is about. I’ve introduced her to doing crosswords and sudokus and the like whenever we fly in aeroplanes, because flights are boring and there’s always puzzles in the in-flight magazine.

But this was the first time she sat down and really worked on one in earnest.


It was great to see how much her reading and writing picks up when she’s really motivated to do something interesting and the two of them whiled away much of a morning working out the crossword… only, as Littletree pointed out – they’re not cross, because it’s fun – they should be called happywords.

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Giant’s Causeway

Since the ever-wonderous godmother Lady Demelza is visiting, we incorporated a local geological excursion into our educational outings this week, and went to Fingal Head.

Demelza, being something of a world-traveller akin to myself, has been to the big, famous Giant’s Causeway in Ireland and was all excited about it, and being the awesome Demelza that she is, she’d also been to the lesser (but equally awesome) Giant’s Causeway in Fingal Head, NSW. So off we went, to the beach!


Funnily, I’ve been living in this area for about 5 years now and I had no idea this was here, but there you go. Even I got to learn something.

We had a picnic lunch and clambered up to the top to admire the view.


Lady Demelza, having recently seen a documentary on the subject, gave us an in-depth explanation about how the hexagonal shapes form in the basalt as it cools, and we marvelled that the lava had, at some point, flowed all the way from Wollumbin – Mt Warning, which is quite some distance away from Fingal Head, but once covered the whole area.


Of course the intrepid Littletree and I clambered down to explore the rocks out on the headland – Littletree was fascinated to note how the rocks are indeed hexagonal, but not all perfectly so. We debated the possibility that the rocks here in Australia formed larger and less-perfect hexagons because they might have cooled slower in a warmer climate than those in Ireland


So a new interest in geology is following close on the heels of Littletree’s recent obsessions with microbiology, physics and astronomy.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


Homeschool group meets regularly at the local roller rink, but since I’ve never roller bladed and only ever roller skated twice when I was a kid and both times managed to injure myself. I always sit with the other parents on the sidelines, saying that I prefer to maintain the integrity of my limbs.

But I can ice skate… well, at a very limited level – I can keep myself upright and going around the rink without falling over, remember, we’ve been a bunch of times before (no one pay too close attention to my choice of attire, that I only now notice is due for an update).

So I decided it’s time to try it out, and I gave my very first attempt at roller-blading a burl.

I started out a bit wobbly – being used to ice skating it took a circuit to get out of the habit of trying to push off and brake with my toes, and LIttletree gave me some tips


I did at least manage to keep my balance, and after one circuit hugging the guard rail, I was off and whizzing around


I had an awesome time, and got to do a few rounds with Littletree as well. Heaps of other homeschooling families showed up this week, including several new families, so that was great to have more kids on the rink as well.


I can’t wait to go again!!! Maybe I’ll practice a bit and join the local roller derby league…


Thursday, 21 June 2012

The darkest day of the year

Happy Solstice to all! Here, where the world is upside down and we live in the future, it’s the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year. Or the longest night of the year, depending on how you look at it.

We rugged up warm – it’s about as freezing as I can bear it! Only 21°C (69.8F) today! We lit the fire, and we prepared a special feast – fresh fish, prawns, hand-cut potato wedges and a big salad.



Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Since we saw the movie Brave (which I blogged about HERE), Littletree has decided she wants to have curly hair again like she did when she was little (actually, she was talking about it for the last few weeks, but now she’s extra-motivated).

So we’ve gone for the good-old-fashioned rags. Yay for low-tech!

And we’ve been blessed with a visit from the awesomest godmother; the ever-beautiful Lady Demelza (check out her blog).

Littletree is totally rapt wrapped.



Monday, 18 June 2012


We took Littletree to see the new Disney movie Brave last week, and I have to say, I’ve finally encountered a Disney princess I can get behind.

Littletree loved the movie; well, I probably enjoyed it just as much. Most definitely the first time I’ve sat through a Disney Princess movie and not been cringing at all the princessy messages they drill into girls.

Basically, Princess Merida is set up, like every other princess, with a bunch of princes competing for her hand in marriage. And then she gets up, grabs her bow and quiver of arrows, and announces that she will be competing for her own hand. Awesome.

And of course she’s a gorgeous redhead full of strength and determination and entirely un-girly.


But most of all, she reminds me so much of how Littletree looked when she was about three years old, before she got dreadlocks. Especially in the opening scene which shows Merida when she was about that age.

seq peacock

Oh how I miss Littletree’s wild, flowing red curls! And it turns out she misses her curly red hair now too. So funny, after she so determinedly convinced her hair to grow straight – the day Littletree decided that she wasn’t going to have curly red ringlets any more, she said she was going to have “princess hair”. Which is apparently light brown and straight with a little wave in it.

I rolled my eyes and thought, ‘Yeah, right. Kid, your hair is ginger and in corkscrew ringlets, and that’s how it is, you can’t change it’, but Littletree sat in front of the mirror for hours, with a hairbrush and a look of fierce determination on her face, brushing and brushing, all the time chanting “straight hair, brown hair, straight hair…”

And lo! Before my very eyes over the next few months, her hair started growing in straight. But now she wants it curly again!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Transit of Venus

Home school group this week met up with the Starry Night people (we’ve had group activities with them before) to watch the Transit of Venus.

Littletree was super-excited, we did a lot of reading about Venus and the transit when it passes between the Earth and the Sun.

When we arrived there was quite a crowd, lining up to take turns looking through high-power binoculars with special safety filters.

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Littletree was amazed when she got to have a look, and really see the tiny black dot passing in front of the sun

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They also had their big, fancy, computer-controlled telescope set up so people could view the sun on a screen.

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And little hand-held filters for safe viewing.

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Of course after they got a good look at Venus, the kids all ran off to climb trees.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Home Again

Now we’re settled in back at home, and all unpacked and laundered and organised, Littletree is pining for our island home. We sit and look through the photos nostalgically, remembering how warm it was on the beach – especially now that we’ve landed into winter weather!

We miss the amazing Indonesian food, and Mamatia, who lived next door to us and made us local food from her own kitchen. We miss the beautiful beach, and watching the storms that would hit Lombok, just a kilometer away, while we were still in the sunshine, untouched.

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We miss the geckos,

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The awesome spiders

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Lying on the beach all day

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Littletree misses like crazy the four kittens that were born at our homestay


The beautiful offerings and temples every day in Bali

66 morning offerings

67 morning offerings

And just hanging out with Littletree – I actually got my first ever proper Mothers’ Day presents!

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Gili Air, we miss you! Hopefully, we’ll be back again next year – you know, because it’s educational!