Weekly Summary & Progress

It certainly wasn’t my intention on writing this post at the end of the night. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy making raffle tickets for Marton Plunket and I am ashamed to admit that it took me the majority of 4 hours to simply add the serial numbers to the tickets and get them printed off. On the upside, I now know what is and isn’t possible and how to get it done – and also that it’s fiddly and a pain in the neck to do. So the 1000 tickets are printed and ready for cutting, perforating and collating tomorrow. Definitely will be doing them in batches so if I don’t get them all done tomorrow we’ll at least have some ready for the first day of selling on Wednesday whilst I feverishly get the rest ready to roll. This is more than likely to happen because we’re headed off to Wanganui tomorrow for a fieldtrip to a Honey Farm.

If you’d visited the site this past week, you may have noticed that there’s an updated NaBloPoMo image/link showing on the lefthand sidebar. Yup, I’ve suckered myself into thinking I can go from 3 blogposts a week (for one week) to 30 blogposts in a month. If nothing else, it’s certainly going to help getting my weekly blogpost goal happening. I feel guilty though, for doing these last minute blogposts when I’m trying to squeeze this extra thing into my day. Not that I don’t slack off.

So this Sunday was not only my usual day for doing Weekly Review, but also for doing a Monthly Review, and a Quarterly Review. And funnily enough, I haven’t got there yet. I’ve finished reviewing the three past reviews (if that makes sense) and now I need to organise the goals for the next Quarter, and from that the next Monthly goals, and from that the usual Weekly Goals.
Since I know I’ll have some downtime while we’re out and about to work on these I’m going to procrastinate this group of tasks tonight and do them tomorrow.

But before I go, let’s compare my goals I set for this past week with my accomplishments.

Let’s see:

  • NUMBER ONE PRIORITY: Home Education Exemption out the door!
    Well, this didn’t happen and although I’ve made some progress and I’m happy with what I have thus far, I’m 8 pages in and probably another 8 to go.
  • Home Education planning/prep under control – need to get this back into a routine.
    Did some work on this but not as much as I’d have liked once again.
  • Get 30 minutes sustained exercise only 1 time this week. 1 time only. I can do only 1 time. Right? RIGHT!
    A big nope on this one. I’m just not comfortable doing exercise in our lounge where the wii is and I can’t get it setup in my office as the connections are only really suitable for a standard TV (and a TV would be about the same as the proper adaptors I’d need which is brilliantly frustrating. Considering a different option til that situation gets resolved.
  • 3 more blogposts this week. It was a breeze this past week and I know I can do it again!
    Yes – with a grand total of 5 blogposts since the last Weekly Summary & Progress post I think we can safely say I have achieved this.
  • More items up for auction and an item given away to a good home.
    Yes – although I got the item to give away ready last week – it left today, and I finally got a bunch on stuff put up on an email list with fixed prices and half of that went out on the courier within an hour!
  • Weekly (Household) Tasks more than 50% of tasks complete – I managed it this week and those ones I procrastinate, they weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they would be – Funny that!
    Nope – Not completely sure how I fell so far behind but knowing we had visitors I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in til they arrived but I wasn’t fast enough.
  • Make progress on a website I’m working on.
    Didn’t even have a chance to cross my mind sadly.
  • Finish inventory of the Laundry – Really this just makes good sense. Cause you know it’s easier to move around in there when the cupboards don’t look like they’re having a good vomit.
    No and the Laundry looks like even more of a disaster zone right now – and I won’t go into any disgusting analogies this time!
  • So I was out/occupied for most of Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday but I’m not really sure how so little got done on those other days. I suspect a certain small computer game that needs to be eradicated from my computer again!
    Just realised I’m going out tomorrow night so I definitely think there’ll be raffle ticket production still happening on Wednesday!

    Alright, time for bed for me now :)


    Oh dear! Daylight savings ended early this morning and it being a Sunday I was hoping to catch up on some missed sleep today. That hasn’t happened so I am incredibly tired and it’s a whole hour before I generally go to bed (two hours if you remember I haven’t adapted yet), yet I can barely keep my eyes awake.
    I’m feeling guilty and a cheat for posting just this but Tomorrow is another day and I can redeem myself then hopefully.

    Easter Egg Stitching Activity

    I saw this easter themed embroidery on Craftzine today, and since Sam is currently a little obsessed with the movie Springtime with Roo (to the point, she’s initiated bouts of Spring Cleaning – not that I’m complaining) and she has enjoyed the small amounts of handsewing we’ve done together, I thought she might be interesting in having a go at stitching the decorations on a outline of an egg on cloth.
    So I had a quick google images search and came up with this picture from Family Stitchery on Artfire as an example of the idea I had. I’m certain our results would be rather more err “freestyle” looking. :)


    Sneaking in a blogpost before the end of day.
    Us Southern Hemisphereians are seriously underrepresented online. Everything seems to be about Spring Cleaning, New Growth and don’t even get me started about the whole Easter fiasco.
    My newsfeed always seems to be 6 months out of whack; I’ve got my heater out and looking regretfully at the summery dresses I didn’t wear nearly enough this season. The garden is winding down for the growing season and soon the only thing growing will be our backyard lawn (since the incoming wet months mean mowing is a sure-fire recipe for mud-mud-mud)

    So here is me, Grinching off for now – but don’t you worry, I’ll be shaking my fists at the internet again in six months when you’ll be complaining about the shortening days, impending snow and generally chilliness and I’ll be down here looking at new growth and looking forward to sunshine and warm days.

    (This blogette-post brought to you by tongue-in-cheek)

    Weekly Photography Challenge – Contrasting Colours

    Click on the image for a closer look.

    This is my first time doing one of these challenges from the Digital Photography School. This week’s challenge was to capture contrasting colours and so I’ve taken a photo of the flowers of our Jerusalem Artichoke plants with the clear blue sky as a backdrop.
    I really like how crisp and clear the spiky parts are and that you can see the detail of the internal parts of the flowers without petals. Colour me weird (and forgetful when it comes to the names of parts of a flower). :)

    101 in 1001 Update

    So a quick update on the items I’ve worked on since identifying what I can do last week:

    54. learn to crochet
    As it turns out, I had already purchased a crochet hook and I had some balls of wool as well, which is always a useful thing when learning to crochet.
    I found some directions in a book I own on how to crochet. Last night I attempted to follow them. Attempting turned out to be the correct word to use because my chain stitch looked odd and then trying to do the next type of stitch resulted in a mess of confusion.
    My next plan of action is following along with some Learn to Crochet videos on the Lion Brand Yarn website. The added complication that I initially thought wouldn’t be one (since I mastered knitting just fine), is that I’m left-handed. The other complication is that I’m pretty sure the crochet hook I purchased is too big compared to the wool I’m using. Wouldn’t hurt to find a smaller one when I’m out and about next.

    94. work up to blogging regularly
    Well I published three blogposts last week and because I didn’t do just one, I’m only challenging myself to publish another three this week. It would be nice to also have some drafts in progress but I’m not going to bust a gut over that for now.
    I’m happy with my progress on this task, especially since I don’t feel stressed in trying to keep up with it. Let’s see whether that changes in the coming weeks.

    22. get a stable vegetable garden going

    So this is our chaotic vegetable garden. It’s been a bit neglected recently, and with the changing weather it’s all over the show. Our vegetable garden is set up as a grid of four gardens. The garden in the foreground is our “main vegetable garden”, simply because it’s the one we got going first. It currently has gherkin plants, aubergine plants, zucchini plants (there was meant to be a variety but only zucchini produced) and along the western boundary bean plants. The gherkin plant is ready to come out and the remaining zucchini, I mean marrow, need to be harvested. The bean plants are having their second wind and I need to harvest what has grown also.
    Here are a couple of close ups from this garden patch.

    Look at how lovely and glossy that Aubergine is. And if you click on the picture below you’ll be able to see a giant “gherkin” growing with the beans. Our gherkins grew too big for the most part (I’m not admitting to being too slow at harvesting), and so we’ve been eating them as cucumbers instead (seeing as they come from the same family).
    So my task for this week is to harvest all the vegetables I can from this garden, remove the plants that are at end of life and then straw over the garden, until we purchase some green manure crops (if we even do this year). I need to also look into whether I need to lay some manure down under the straw if that’s better left til Spring.
    I’d also like to remove the corn plants which are clearly at end of life, tidy up the garden they’re in and also get that one strawed for Winter.
    I’ve got to keep the momentum up in the gardens as the recent rains have drenched the ground and the grass in the area will soon be more mud than grass which will make any work in the garden that much more difficult.
    I have also been through our seed stash and there’s quite a number of options for Autumn sowing that can be done. I need to get out into the garden before I can consider those options further though.

    I realised last night that I have 2 tasks on my list that were meant to be updated on the 26th December 2010! Since I haven’t put any thought into what I could make of these tasks as yet, I don’t want to make a hasty decision and put the first thing that comes into my head. Instead I’m giving myself a week to thoughtfully consider what tasks I’d like to add to the 101 in 1001 list. Any suggestions?

    Weekly Summary & Progress

    Number one task is the Home Education Exemption that is a requirement in New Zealand. I have a bunch of excuses which are entirely uninteresting and the end result is that we should have had this submitted back in January. And we’re heading into April!
    So by the time I write the followup blogpost in a week’s time, I will have our exemption sealed up tight in an envelope to be able to slip into the Mailbox on the Monday morning.

    This past week has been a time to clear our heads and get back onto the correct page so-to-speak, and I’m looking forward to jumping into this coming week with a vengeance!
    I recently caught up with some local homeschooler’s and I’ve come away thinking that my educational expectations are higher than the average homeschooler and this on top of Sam’s particular needs/considerations is probably why I’ve been feeling more than a little overwhelmed at the fact we appear to be falling behind with all the non-education-related stuff that’s been chewing up our time recently.
    What I need to remind myself is that Sam often exceeds my expectations on the short term level and that we often surpass a 15 minute lesson which is outstanding considering her Autism.
    I get that I need to make some adjustments in terms of the workload but I also need to cut us both some slack in that we’ve been trying to achieve so much more than what I suspect someone with her needs would normally be expected to achieve.
    Getting down to specifics, I’m impressed with her recent requests for words to copy and her ability to then do so. I can just tell that when she finally unlocks the mystery of reading that she’ll be off and away and that makes me want to Squee! with delight. She’s also getting back into drawing and she’s turning into a motor-mouth, although her personal style of grammar is still extremely evident.
    In the past month she discovered she could do more with a computer than simply watch movies and was having a great time navigating sites like Starfall.com which I’ve heard no end of raves about. Unfortunately, it had a disappointing affect for us, in that Sam started connecting particular words to sounds instead of simply recognising they were examples and that made our homeschool language/phonics lessons more difficult. The american style of word pronounciation became overwhelming evident as well and was also not helping with our efforts in the language department. So sadly, Starfall is no longer welcome in our day.
    Luckily, the software we ordered several weeks ago has finally arrived. The application is called Clicker, and it’s a wonderful tool that I know we will use often. In comparison to the oral part of Starfall.com, Clicker comes with a British accent and is able to interpret the pronounciation of words as they are presented to it. And as a bonus, if it get’s it wrong, or if we simply pronounce it differently down under, you can correct it!

    In a completely different part of my life. The domestic goddess *cough* part, that is. I made Sultana Biscuits on Monday, Gingerbread Biscuits and Burger Buns on Thursday, and today Triple Chocolate Muffins (from a box admittedly), and also Apple Pie! That’s an extraordinary feat for someone who aims to bake one thing a week and fails most weeks! :D I guess you could say I cheated with the Gingerbread Biscuits a bit as we made the dough back in early December(!), but I thawed, rolled and cuttered thank you very much!

    From my goals for the past week, I’ve met quite a few of them which include:

  • Yay, 3 blogposts up (if you include this one, which I most certainly do!)
  • Halfway through an inventory of our Laundry cupboards (where I store all our new/excess non-kitchen supplies)
  • Did a great job at keeping up with my weekly housework chores, including doing some that I tend to avoid at all costs.
  • Put some items up for auction (> 20 items at that!)
  • So my plans for the coming week are:

  • NUMBER ONE PRIORITY: Home Education Exemption out the door!
  • Home Education planning/prep under control – need to get this back into a routine.
  • Get 30 minutes sustained exercise only 1 time this week. 1 time only. I can do only 1 time. Right? RIGHT!
  • 3 more blogposts this week. It was a breeze this past week and I know I can do it again!
  • More items up for auction and an item given away to a good home.
  • Weekly (Household) Tasks more than 50% of tasks complete – I managed it this week and those ones I procrastinate, they weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they would be – Funny that!
  • Make progress on a website I’m working on.
  • Finish inventory of the Laundry – Really this just makes good sense. Cause you know it’s easier to move around in there when the cupboards don’t look like they’re having a good vomit.
  • This probably won’t surprise you but this isn’t all I’m working on but just the ones I’d show some insight into or that a bit of public accountability wouldn’t hurt with. Some of the tasks are more defined on my personal Weekly Review page in my planner.

    Wish me luck, and I hope you all have a wonderfully productive week too! :)

    Question of the Week

    So I’ve joined an email group called Question of the Week about Homeschooling and Family, which as you can possibly divine from the name is about the posing of a question which needs to be answered.
    So I thought I’d post my responses on here. This week’s question is:

    What happens if you have bought a product for homeschooling that you thought would be fabulous and it just doesn’t work for you?

    We don’t buy many brand new items as money has to go a long way and spending it on items that we end up not using is a real concern.
    I try to mitigate this by researching items I think we could/should be using extensively, getting a gut feeling from people’s testimonies/feedbacks and hopefully garnering a peek at what the content is like. Then, and this is the bit of my process that really agitates me but is super worth it, I put my final decision(s) on a wishlist and let it sit. Often when I’m next getting a hankering for purchasing materials, I have another look at this wishlist and am able to edit it further, leaving just the items that we really can utilise.
    This has worked well for us and I have few regrets over the items we’ve purchased online as a result of this.
    But buying online isn’t our main source of homeschooling materials. The big booksales in the region are my primary source for books and despite my overpurchasing tendency I still have few regrets with the purchases we’ve made.
    This probably has much to do with the fact we’re only in the early stages of homeschooling (our daughter being 6) and it is easy to say “well, she’s not really ready for this lot of materials right now and we can find out how useful they will really be when she is ready” and stick them on the shelf ready for that glorious day.
    With the items that are found to be unsuitable for whatever reason, we return them to the booksale for some other person to discover or sell them online via Trademe, Sella or a homeschool sales email group.
    Getting back to the original question though, there hasn’t been a product I was absolutely certain would be ideal for us that hasn’t turned out that way (as yet, it’s early days). Definitely we’ve had to switch courses to better meet our daughter’s needs but since we haven’t yet spent a great deal on a single item, it hasn’t been a huge burden to change tack after purchase. With the alternative materials we do have we will pass on once she’s grown out of their use ensuring that we don’t dispose of them before we’re certain we have no futher use for them.
    I guess our situation is easier also as we have just the one child and so don’t have to consider the future needs of her siblings in the years to come. On the other side of the coin though, we don’t get the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) decreases that come with a product that is reusable with multiple children and this factor matches up to why we consider hard how suitable a sizeable purchase is for our child.

    101 in 1001

    So the following is the result of a recent brainstorm I had wanting to move forward with my 101 in 1001 list, with the result being a random 8 items I can move forward on. Coming up with a concrete identifier of what constitutes a WIN is really hard work and even now I’m not completely assured that I have done so.

    5. be familiar with the location of the countries of the world
    Work continent by continent
    Find websites to help concrete information
    Regularly doing quizzes
    WIN = 80% accuracy in locating countries on a global rather than continental basis

    11. create a recipe binder and/or book
    Use my existing book as a starter
    Regularly add recipes to existing book
    WIN = Book filled with recipes I’m comfortable with, to the point I refer to it before other books.

    19. finish cross-stitch and frame it
    Regularly work on cross-stitch until complete
    Purchase frame. Prep and frame cross-stitch.
    WIN = Finished cross-stitch project hanging on wall

    22. get a stable vegetable garden going
    Harvest ripe vegetables and remove end of life plants
    Empty beds covered in straw or sown with mustard seed.
    Check out seed stash for possible winter growing options
    WIN = regular planting and maintenance occuring for duration of 101 in 1001.

    45. grow some mushrooms
    Buy mushroom kit ($35 from Bunnings)
    Setup and maintain.
    WIN = Mushrooms grown

    54. learn to crochet
    Buy crochet hook (double check haven’t already)
    Find directions on learning and a project I’d like to complete
    Practise regularly until basic stitches are ingrained
    Work on basic project
    WIN = able to complete basic project

    79. relearn calligraphy
    Practise regularly
    Work on calligraphy project regularly until complete
    WIN = Calligraphy project complete

    94. work up to blogging regularly
    Start with writing drafts regularly
    Move onto 1 blogpost per week and as successful adding 1 to the weekly goal, and subtracting 1 from the weekly goal each time I fail.
    WIN = Steady at 4 blogposts a week for 3 months relatively sustained.

    So the next step now that I’m happy with these goals is putting them into practise. Piece of cake! ;)

    Biscuit Cutters

    It’s been another long day and I’ve spent the last two hours trying to relax by watching TV and almost relaxed too much and missed the deadline.

    I visited Rosebowl Bakery & Cafe today and if you’re relatively local to Feilding they have an awesome range of cookie cutters (and heaps of cake decorating supplies!). Though I have to admit I didn’t see anything like the ones shown below, which are totally cool! They’re designed by Mizuguchi Gami and whilst I couldn’t find them for sale anyway (perhaps they’re just a proof of concept as she seems to be more of a designer than a manufacturer :) you can see her work here. Found via Craft.