Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dr Jay Wile in Australia

Over the past week, Dr Jay Wile, author of the 'Exploring Creation' series, has been touring around Australia, and on Monday, we were fortunate enough to meet him, and to hear a couple of his talks.

He is an amazing, inspiring speaker, and I'm feeling quite enthused and encouraged regarding our own homeschooling journey.

He spoke on a variety of topics, from primary and high school science, to creation vs evolution, and a wonderful talk about the marvels of creation.

And the best news is that he's currently writing a primary science curriculum! We look foward to seeing it in print.

Thanks to all the organisers who dedicated much of their time and energy into organising the tour, you all did a fantastic job.

God bless,


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Catholic Church, or Roman Catholic Church?

Often, I find myself drawn into theological discussions - sometimes with Catholics, but more often, with anti-Catholics. And usually in those discussions, the anti-Catholic will use the term 'Roman Catholic Church'.

However, did you know that the correct title is not the RCC, but rather, it is simply the 'Catholic Church'. In fact, the term 'Roman Catholic Church' was first introduced by Protestants, in an attempt to portray it as something other than the 'Catholic Church' as professed in the Apostles' Creed.

For a full article on the matter, please see:

How did the Catholic Church get its name? at:


And, remember, the correct title is the 'Catholic Church'. Adding the term 'Roman' seems to create an idea that the Church somehow stems from Ancient Rome, so it is important to use the correct name at all times.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Cursive Writing?

I just saw on a news report:

"You may find this hard to believe, but several schools in the USA no longer teach cursive, or running writing, and teach printing only, stating that cursive is no longer necessary, and that with everything, there simply is not the time to teach it"

- not an exact quote, but that was the gist of it.

So, I wondered, are most homeschoolers teaching cursive writing?

We have, however, we've placed little emphasis on it. Usually my children complete one or two cursive workbooks, and we leave it at that. That way, they have the ability, and can read it, but we don't make much use of it.

Do you teach cursive? Why or why not? Do you feel it is an important skill to have?


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lunar Eclipse

This morning, we all crawled out of bed at 4:00 am to view the lunar eclipse.

There were a few clouds around, but it was mostly clear, and very quiet, and verrryy cold. We watched as the moon disappeared, and slowly, slowly, all became dark.

Around 4:30pm, I heard a 'rumble', and I knew what was coming - yep, an earthquake. Well, by all accounts, one would have to say a 'tiny tremmor' based on recent shakes around the world, but it certainly added to the effect.

And then, just as the moon completely disappeared, an owl began his slow, mournful, hooting - so we were absolutely wrapped! The hooting continued for the entire eclipse.

We wandered in and out of the house several times, being just too cold to stay out for all of it, and eventually headed back to bed around 6am, to try and catch another couple of hours rest.

Definitely worth getting up for, the lunar eclipse was most interesting to watch.


Making the Most of It

Assuming my back would have been fine by now, I have not seen a doctor, but I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't. I'm still have trouble getting up, walking, and I'm still unable to bend to pick things up, so it's been another slow, frustrating week. Although, it certainly is improving, just slowly.

Anyways, as always, I've been making the most of my 'time out', and today, I completed a project I've been working on for several months - a 'Notebook' to go along with 'Australia, the Wide, Brown Land for Me!'.

I've included blank boxes and text boxes, as well as all the maps, colouring pictures and booklets from the text, so there'll now be no more photocopying of the student pages - it's all included in the one notebook. I'm looking forward to using it with my three youngest, but that'll be next year, as we're covering Medieval History this year.

Here's some sample pages:

Another thing to cross 'off the to-do list'!

We'll do a bit of 'fine-tuning', and then add it to the 'Adnil Press' range of books.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

And Then There Were Three.

At the beginning of the year, I had eight children at home.

This week, I'm down to just THREE! All my teenagers are 'elsewhere' this week - leaving me at home with the 12, 11, and 9 year old.

No teenagers for a whole week! One is at TAFE, one is interstate, and three have taken off to go 'a-sailing' on the One & All.

So, that leaves me with three at home - just for this week, but already, it's an adjustment! Cooking dinner tonight was rather interesting, when I calculated the amount we needed to put on, and realised what 'small' amounts we'd be cooking this week.

It'll be a very interesting week, to be sure...


Friday, June 10, 2011

Bread Making

Today, I decided to once again, have a go at using the bread-making machine that I had been given a few weeks ago.

After several previous attempts, I wasn't sure how well it worked - the loaves had turned out quite heavy, and not so well risen as my old bread-maker. So, to ensure I was using everything correctly, I opened up a new bag of bread flour, and opened up a fresh packet of yeast.

4 hours later.....

Ta Daaa!!! The most wonderful, fluffy loaf I've ever acheived in a bread maker!

Usually, I bake using whole wheat flour with seeds, etc., but this was plain, white, bread flour. And, I'm guesssing the yeast I was using was too old; but now, we finally have sucess!

So much for a 'broken' bread machine!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Paper Trimmers

Recently, I decided to purchase a new Paper Trimmer for scrapbooking, crafts, etc.

Now, I am a 'Creative Memories' fan, and I have a few of their punches and such, but I thought I'd do some research before spending a heap of money on a trimmer.

I came across the "Fiskars 12" Paper Trimmer" on ebay:


and thought I'd give it a go - especially since you can also purchase 'scoring blades' as well.

I am so pleased with it! And particularly so because of all the model building we've been doing - the ability to score the lines with the scoring blade has made an amazing difference!

I've purchased a couple of spare blades, so I'm hoping it will keep me going for quite a while.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

St. George & the Dragon

Announcing our coolest model yet! Today, we finished 'St. George & the Dragon' - an easy-to-assemble, moving model by Keith Newstead.

Although it is made from only cardboard and glue, it is amazingly strong - much more sturdy than other models we've tried, and, it works! By turning the lever, St George's horse rears up, and our hero thrusts down his sword towards the, er, 'dragon', who snaps his jaws at the oncoming attackers.

I'm not sure how 'authentic' that little dragon is, but hey, he's cute, and we're having a heap of fun playing around with this one!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A New Appreciation

I've discovered that hurting one's back can certainly lead to a new appreciation of life.

It's amazing how difficult simple tasks become - getting out of bed, dressing, and simply walking from one room to another. And as for putting on shoes..... forget it!

I thought I might be down for a day or so, but it seems I've done more damage than that. I've taken to sleeping on the couch, as it is easier for me to pull myself up and off it than out of bed. It was easier this morning than yesterday, but it still hurt - however, I'm very thankful for my wheat bags, let me tell ya.

So for now, I literally 'potter' along, taking each day at a time. One more benefit of homeschooling - we adjust according to the circumstances, and the children are home to help me out when I need it. I'm certainly zooming through my book - but I'm loooking forward to being able to head out for a walk very soon.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Taking the Good with the Bad

Sometimes, a 'bad' thing can be used for good.

Today, I awoke to discover that I had pulled all the muscles in my lower back - meaning walking was quite a challenge, let alone any other physical activity.

So, Sunday became a day of definite rest! But not being one to sit and do nothing all day, I spent the day reading, watching a DVD, and turning my attention to painting.

I am reading the 'Inheritance Cycle', by Christopher Paolini. I'm up to book 3 - 'Brisingr', and managed to read quite a few chapters today, before my eyes begged me to stop. Keeping up with the theme of it all, I then watched the Eragon DVD, and at the same time, began a painting which was based on a photo from my online art forum, 'Old Abandoned Stuff'. This photo was of a ticket booth at an old train station.

Usually, I'm constantly interrupted with many things that need to be done, but because of my back, I was confined to my chair, unable to take part. So while my husband and children cooked, cleaned, and did whatever else they did for the day, I happily painted away the day. And here is the result.

Although I did enjoy my restful Sunday, I am hoping that tomorrow will involve a little less pain - no doubt it'll only be a few days before I'm back to my old self once more.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Centripetal Force

This week, I opened up the Noeo Science Text to discover we were going to learn about 'Centripetal Force'. "Aha!" Says I, "I know a good experiment for that one!"

So, out came the bucket, the rope, and of course, the water, and we all trotted outside to 'spin the bucket'.

We all had fun twirling the bucket, and stayed dry for the most part - except on the odd occasion where it hit the ground, or a head. :-/

Naturally, I now need a new bucket, thanks the crack in the bottom - but oh well, we had fun!


Quote of the Day

I was describing to my 12 and 11 year olds how their new History Books will work - what we'll do, etc. We've just finished the Ancient Times and are about to move onto the Middle Ages, with more narrations and such.

I'd just finished explaining it all and had turned to leave, when I heard my 12 yo say, '{sigh} I think I'm going to need some more vodka' - and put a bottle (of water!) to her lips.

And I, just kept walking......

Adelaide - and Home Again

Today, it was my Dad's 90th birthday!

As he is still in an Adelaide hospital, we took a drive (3 hours each way) to visit him, and to speak with his doctor.

The doctor said that it was the very top of the leg bone - basically, his hip, that broke. When she operated, she noticed that his bones were like 'cheese'. Very soft, in other words; not good. She put in a long 'nail', with several pins holding this to the bone. Unfortunately, he did lose quite a bit of blood during the operation, so he needed a blood transfusion - which has now finished, and he was feeling a bit brighter today.

However, he was obviously still very down, and in fact, it was only after we had spoken to him for a little while that he said, 'oh, so I am going to get better, then? I am going home?' We assured him, yes, that he would be home again very soon.

He thought he was going to die. :-(

It's amazing how much good it can do simply to visit someone. All my Dad needed to perk him up was just to hear my Mum's voice - to hold her hand, and say hello. Of course, he was pleased to know we were there as well, and said hello to each of the children, as well as us, and had a nice chat. But Mum is his rock. To know she was there, especially on his birthday, meant the world the him, and I'm so very glad we took the time to visit.

I was a bit sad that we did not have a present for him, but as he is blind and almost deaf, presents are a little difficult. However, as we walked into the hospital, I noticed a gift store, and on the spur of the moment, ducked in an bought a cute, cuddly teddy bear. We gave it to him, and he was thrilled. When we left, I looked back to see him clutching on to the bear - almost like it was a symbol that he was loved, and that all would be OK.

After leaving the hospital, it was time to head on out to Port Adelaide - Daniel has once again been rostered on the 'One and All' Sailing Ship, so we stopped for dinner at KFC, and then dropped him off - this time, he is off for two weeks. I cannot tell you how much Daniel is loving the work onboard the ship. It's become like his second home. Here he is just after he boarded tonight.

And speaking of the One & All, my next two girls are to head off on their first training voyage the week after next - which means, I will have a total of THREE children at home for those few days. At the beginning of the year, I had eight at home - it seems they are all growing up..... FAST!

Here's a picture I took of the ship tonight - it looked fabulous with the lights - I've only ever seen it in daylight before. It really took on the look of a 'pirate shp' in the dark!

And that was our day. We arrived home around 10pm, so we are all tired, but are looking forward to tomorrow, as my youngest turns nine years old. Better get cooking, I guess - no doubt she'll be wanting chocolate cake!