Friday, April 29, 2011


Easter is one of those holidays I used to loathe, mainly because of the chocolate, especially how early the supermarkets are stocked up with it. I like most have a soft spot for chocolate however in years past this has faded especially when it comes to chocolate bunnies. Gone are the times when id polish off some red tulip goodness several times in the lead up to easter but no so much these days.

I can proudly say this year in the lead up to easter I only partook in one bunnie and didn't enjoy it at all. So when easter sunday came around the children were the only ones eating choccies,only having one large white bunny each (they too know that its best in moderation and have all stated their preference for white over brown chocolate).

So after a few days of gorging on all sorts of foods we decided to burn off some of the excess energy wioth a bit of an afternoon hike.

There are some waterfalls close to us that we have planned to explore for months so while en route to our previously selected walking spot we made a detour.

Upon arriving at the carpark the sign stated that the falls were a 3.2km round trip which we knew would be easily doable for all but our youngest two daughters. With Miss H on mamma bares back and miss P on my soldiers (her words) we started on the trek.

It became quickly aparent that the walk was entirely uphill, the fading light made the trail almost tunnel like in places. After several swaps between Miss P and Mr C for prime position on my shoulders we made it to the falls, slightly less spectacular than what we expected but still worth the hike.

Some happy snaps:

After Swapping miss H to my shoulders the walk down the mountain was much easier.

I love living in the mountains.

Until next time......

Monday, April 25, 2011

Home Ed Camp (Slightly Pic Intensive)

How does one some up camp fest 2011??

Firstly you may want to peruse my previous postings on last years camp to get an idea of the sorts of things we got up to. This is the 4th year the awesome camp has been run, we missed year 1 because Miss P was born and year 2 because of Mr C's first round of tissue expansion.

After arriving dead on time for the camps commencement last year we decided to arrive a few days early this year. With Camp starting at midday on the Tuesday we arrived around dinner time on the Saturday prior to soak up some sun and chill before switching things to overdrive. The first thing that greated us was a full lake Hume, last year the water was barely visible but with this last 12 months and the drought breaking rain we were extatic to see water withing 100 metres of our cabin door step.

After settling in and unpacking le boos we decided to hit the pool. This also served as an opportunity to catch up with other home ed families we already knew from regular catchups or last years campfest. I made up a spag bowl for the whole fam and MB went and checking in with Jenni (one of the awesome organisers). Our first night was somewhat rowdy as the children all had excess energy so we stayed up watching movies til we all passed out.

Friends were reunited

The mouse that roared
Green hair washed out pretty quick
Lounging about
Day 1 Sunday started at midday (yes we all slept in) after doing up a batch of porridge, toast and various cereals for the whole fam we headed straight for the pool and spent the majority of the afternoon there. We were invited to a pub meal with some of the other families but as we had already taken meat out to do a BBQ. Instead we teamed up with another family who also have 6 children and did a bit of a BBQ smorgasbord, I made up a batch of rissoles using 4 different kinds of sausage mince which surprisingly turned out fantastic, we also fried up potato "chips" that MB had hand cut earlier. After chatting for ages and cleaning up we ended up at the pool again. The evening included a sleep over whereby miss L swapped with our friends son (aged between B & T). Sunday was Also MB's birthday however the cakes I had planned to bake were a little difficult to cook in our oven that wouldn't light so we settled for a candle in a rissole, only I forgot candles so.... year..... MB was still happy :) Our Home Ed Friends from Adelaide handled out dozens of glow sticks so the evening was spent watching the children from afar in an extra terrestrial light show.

Day 2 Monday Started slightly earlier than the previous had with us all up by 10AM, to be honest I tried to recall what we did this day and for the life of me cannot remember, no doubt it involved swimming, and an attempt at fishing, I was amazed to see the boys catch a small fish on a hook with no bait. MB and got to spend some time chilling by the pool chatting with friends while the children all socialised with their mates. We ended the day with another impromptu BBQ with 4 adults and 12 children, fun was had by all.

Day 3 Tuesday First official Day of Campfest. With the camp officially starting at midday and a compliant stove agreeing to behave I spent the morning making a giant batch of sausage rolls (for lunch and snacks over the comming days). As the day progressed more and more families arrived and we started to get an idea of just how big this year was going to be. We all filled out info sheets and placed them on a central board and made introductions.

They did the ropes challenge

Day 4 Wednesday Campfest Day 2 Our first full day of camp started with activities, we completed the low ropes cousre first followed by a hike to the top of one of the nearby hills, this was somewhat of a challenge for me as I was left to carry Miss P & Mr C up. Once at the top we were all allowed to paint our names on a water tank. The night Saw the Trivia night and I have to say as somewhat of a trivia boffin I found at least three quarters of the questions a little on the difficult side. Inspired by this Mr B went on to organise a Kids Trivia" More on that later.

After walking up the hill we painted our names on the water tower
Miss P had the easy ride down
Stopping to pose of course
T waited for us so he could take turns piggy backing his little sister
Miss H was very content to watch from the pram

Electronics (Making an electric motor)

C was very impressed with Air hockey
He and I swam the most hands down
His swimming improved so much in the first few days
One of our friends injured herself and had to spend a night in at Albury so we joined our tables for dinner, 10 kids with 2 adults
Mmmmm a mouthful of sand

Day 5 Thursday Campfest Day 3 Our second full day of camp started off with more low ropes followed by boomerang throwing. As dinner arrived Mr B who had been somewhat dismayed by the level of difficulty of the Wednesday trivia went on to organise a kids trivia night. He recruited some friends to sign up teams, he rallied prizes for every team he recruiter myself and one of the other dads to jot down some questions. He then went on to run the whole night s the quizz master, I scored and despite the "adults" table winning by a narrow margin they were promptly disqualified (which brought emense cheers from the kids). I was so proud of B, to see a ten year old step up, organise the whole thing from scratch including prizes then go on to read all the questions it was amazing. It brought tears to my eyes. They also abseiled again.

B Off the tower
C was a little nervous

Boomerang throwing (DUCK!!)
The kids found some great climing trees and swinging ropes
More ropes
B helping his little sister
Everyone chipping in to help the little ones
Its MY platform!

Face plant smiles
I helped with some of the meals
Chess masters
Before noticing mum with the camera
MB helped out with an impromptu swing display
Miss H was clearly Bored
I have a bit of a confession.................... I love to bead
B running the kids trivia night
Day 6 Archery

Too cool for school
Day 7 Obstacle Course
War paint

End of day 7 talent show, miss L and one of her friends did a dance
Miss H getting down with her boogy

Slightly sun burnt, Very tired
yeah it was hard getting a shot without shaking the camera as I cracked up laughing

- Diversity is awesome, we had so many families from the country, the city, from diferent countries, different nationalities, different religions it all added up to a brilliant group, parents and children alike.
- You cant beat socialisation, most non home ed peeps say "what about socialisation?" as soon as you tell them you home school. The best part about a socialising amongst other home schooled children is that they all get alone (more or less) there aren't the cliques or the other negative factors you find in a school playground.
- Footwear. Our biggest challenge was that the activities scheduled each day required closed toe footwear but with the amount of swimming our children where doing thongs were there preference so there was more than one occasion where we had to go searching for a pair of Miss P or Mr C's thongs. It was also just as chaotic finding socks for each child as they would take their shoes off to go swimming and leave them everywhere. Next year there will be one pair of closed toe sandals for each child to avoid constant swapping and lost socks. On a positive I wore my trusty Merrels and never pulled up sore despite hours on my feet.
- I Said it last year and we never got around to doing it but Walkie Talkies are a must for next year.
- Its hard work wrangling a large family spread over a place as big as camp fest, next year we may look at inviting MB's parents
- Cool down. With Camp finishing on the Sunday and me returning to work monday I'm pretty tired now, next year I think we shall take 3 days either side.
Awesome things I saw:
One of the highlights for me was hearing my 9 year old son Mr T and his mate (also 9) discussing creation theory vs evolution theory then digressing to covering greek mythology and how certain things crossed over to the bible. EG. Hercules was a demi-god who had a father who was a god and a mother who was mortal, does that make Jesus a demi god?"

Thats my memory dump of camp, there are heaps of parts i've missed, if you want to know more I suggest you sign up for 2012

We stopped at the Etamogah pub on the drive home, it was kind of lame

The look on MB's face tells what the condition of the place was like

Maids day off?
Le Boos

Well earned kips on the drive home