Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

There's Good News, and There's Bad News.....

First, the Good News.

1. Whenever someone placed an order through our site, we would copy and past the order onto our business computer, to our database. Therefore, we have a copy of all orders ever placed through the site.

2. As well as putting the products and pricing on our site, we kept a separate price list, which I manually typed up in Word.

3. Most of the blog entries and articles were also typed up and saved in Word before I put them on the site.

4. No delicate information such as credit card details were stored on the site.

5. I have managed to get in and put up a temporary, one-page site - so the inappropriate message on our home page has gone.

Now, the Bad News.

1. Unless my web host can miraculously find a backup of all the files (there is still one, slight glimmer of hope there), the site is gone. The hacker deleting everything.

2. In this case, it means we have no web-site, meaning we will literally have to begin again. That's hundreds of hours of work, gone. I've tried to find the words to describe how I'm feeling about it all - distraught comes to mind, but by no means covers it.

If we do need to start a whole new website, it will take time. One of the reasons we were reducing our stock was because I simply lacked the time to attend to everything. This situation has not changed. If we now need to rebuild and entire site - well, I just do not know when, how, or if this will happen.

Time to take a step back, breathe, and wait a little while.


PS. From now on, I'll be using the Adnil Press blog to update anything on this issue - thereby leaving Pillars of Pine as our family blog.

You can find the Adnil Press blog at:


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Adnil Press has been Hacked - Again....

Please be aware that Adnil Press has been hacked - again, and by the same person. There is a rather rude message on what would normally be the front page to our site, and our entire site is gone.

I'm at a loss, and have no idea how to fix it. I have received a rude email as well, from the person, telling me that because I put in a complaint to Paypal about the recent theft of Paypal funds that he took from us, he has done this deliberately, because I have now 'made him angry'.

Aren't you all glad that we never did go the credit card route, so we have no credit card details on the database?

Having said that, however, as the entire site is built online, if his claims are correct, all the data has been deleted, and even if we can get back into the site, there may not be much of one left.

We do have a copy of all orders that have been recently placed, so we can still send those out, however, if you need payment details, you'll need to email us at: adnilpress@ozemail.com.au - our email address is completely different to our website, so this has not been compromised.

If anyone has any suggestions for how to fix the problem or how to get our site back, please email me - otherwise, for now, Adnil Press is simply 'down and out'.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Speech Boot Camp

Several months ago, I added ‘Speech Boot Camp’ to our ‘to do’ list. Well, thanks to trips away, homeschool camps, and voyages on the sailing ship, our public speaking course was put on the back burner. That is, until this week.

We began on Monday. The first session involved watching a DVD, and then evaluating the sample speeches. As is always the case when watching Andrew Pudewa, we were in stitches! Andrew has such a superb way of presenting the material, so that even an assignment such as preparing and giving a speech comes over as something that is fun to do (very handy for nervous students!).

Three days later, it was time for us all to present our first speech. I decided it would be a good idea for me to join in with the class, and so, one by one we stood up to present our first speech – ‘Self-Introduction’. We even found an old lectern out in the shed, so we were well prepared, and with the addition of a ‘Speech Boot Camp’ sign, the atmosphere was set. Given that we are all from the same family, it was a little strange to introduce ourselves to each other, but despite that, we had some very interesting content, and it was especially interesting to hear about my teenager’s goals for the future.

And I have to say, I was very impressed! I was fairly certain my son would not have a problem with presenting a 4-5 minute talk, but I wasn’t so sure in regards to the confidence of my two teenage daughters. But what a fantastic job they all did. The talks were full of content, were interesting, and were presented in a most enjoyable way. We even learned a thing or two about each other that we didn’t know before.

We completed the lesson by offering feedback to each speaker, based on poise, locution, eye content and persuasion. Fortunately, most of the comments were positive, with just a few pointers where people could improve. The whole session went off remarkably well, and I’m only sorry that I was unable to video the talks. However, I did snap a few photos of our day. There are four talks to complete during the Speech Boot Camp course, so it will be most interesting to see how it all progresses.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Did you know….

Lesson for the day.

Did you know that, when making payment for products and orders via Paypal, that if you inadvertently enter in an incorrect email address and the payment goes through – ‘too bad, so sad, payment is gone, sorry’.

We’re learned that lesson in a rather painful way. Recently, some lovely person hacked into our website, and managed to change the automatic Paypal address that our payments should have been sent to. So, instead of sending it to our email address, Paypal payments were diverted to a fraudulent address. And, as the payments went straight through, Paypal say they cannot recover those funds, so it is up to us to politely ask for the money to be sent back. Yep – as if some thief is just going to say, ‘Oops – so sorry, of course you may have your money back’.

So, we’re left with the situation where our customers have, in good faith, followed the Paypal links and sent the payment, but, we have never received the funds. Of course, we’ve honoured the orders, but it means we’re out of pocket again (so, what else is new?).

I’m left wondering how often this happens? I can see the mistake happening so easily, and often. And of course, Paypal still take their little cut in fees, so it’s not a problem for them. I’m surprised I’d never heard of it before. We live and learn.

In short, be very careful when sending Paypal payments, especially if you need to type in the email address manually. I had always assumed that if you made a mistake, you could recover the money, but no! Unless the email address you send it to does not exist or does not have a Paypal account, you can say ‘goodbye’ to your money. And then, either you, or your supplier, will be out of pocket, and some thug is made very happy.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Prayer: Matthew 22: 15-22

From our church notice sheet this week:

“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”


did you create the stars,
hurl them to the reaches of the universe;
did you issue rules that keep the planets in place?

Can you make blood course through our veins?
Or craft an otter or a moonflower?

Then keep your coins.
They can’t buy what we need.

It is your face we see
in our world, our very selves, our breath and love.

We owe every single thing to you.

Claim it all. Claim us.
Please take us
as your

— A. Osdieck. Copyright © 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rain, Sunshine, and Hail!

It's been a very interesting day (weather-wise)!

The day began with gloomy skies and rain, but this gave way to bright, sunny skies, and we therefore thought the wet conditions were over. Not so.

About 4pm, we were suddenly 'greeted' with some loud noises on the roof, and discovered we were in the midst of a hail storm! On looking out the windows, the entire yard seemed to be covered with a blanket of hail, and while one could not describe the hail stones as 'huge', they were of quite a size. And yes, my bus was out in thick of it. I'm hoping it has not sustained too much damage, but I've not ventured out to see as yet, as it is now pouring with rain.

Of course, the rain washed away all the hail stones quite rapidly, but we managed to grab a couple of shots before they disappeared.

I'm hoping the weather will clear overnight, as we have a concert band perfomance tomorrow, and I'd much rather play in the sunshine than the rain!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sometimes, you just can't win!

So, today's conversation went something like this:

Mum: OK - E, L, and A, time for science!

L: I can't find my science book.

Mum: Well, look for it!

15 minutes later....

Mum: OK, everyone look for L's science book. We ARE going to do your science today, we've missed out on too many days.

15 minutes later ....

Mum: Well, forget the book. We'll do the lesson, and then you can spend all afternoon looking for it if need be.

(Opens up to today's lesson and reads from text)

'This lesson requires a sunny day. If today is not a sunny day, put off your science lesson until a later date'.

This leads to everyone glancing out at our miserable, cloud-filled sky and bursting into laughter.

End of Science Lesson. Sometimes, it seems, everything is against us, no matter how we try {sigh}.


PS. The science book turned up a couple of hours later - so at least we're ready for next time!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The End of an Era

Feeling a little saddened today. Over the past few days, I've been researching and comparing pricing with the overseas 'super-stores'. The issues we've had is to factor in the high cost of shipping from the US to our store, plus then the shipping to our customers, and of course, we also need to add on the dreaded GST. All this means we're completely at a loss - to list the same products on our site, at a competitive rate, means we'd need to sell products at a loss of around 30%.

When we first began Adnil Press 11 years ago, we were easily able to price our overseas products at the same or less than one could order it direct from overseas. But times have changed. And homeschooling has changed, too. It's just as easy now for a homeschool Mum to order from overseas as it is to order from a local supplier.

So, it's sell-out time! We're keeping a few items, as we have a printing contract with IEW, we're able now to focus on those products, as well as our own. We are also organising to become affiliates of the larger stores, so as each title sells out, we shall put up a link to these other sites, from where you can find the products needed for your homeschool.

And, as I stated, some items are here to stay. All products from 'The Institute of Excellence in Writing' will STAY. This includes associated products such as All About Spelling and Teaching the Classics. Of course, we'll also continue to stock our own resources (including 'Australia, the Wide Brown Land for Me!'), our other Australian resources, and there will no doubt be a few smaller suppliers as well - such as Times Tales, Life of Fred, etc.

For the rest, as of this moment, everything else is on 'sell-out' status. This includes God's Design, Story of the World, Memoria Press and even Apologia Science. We are very saddened to have to take these steps, but unfortunately, we are simply unable to compete in the pricing wars, and we understand the need to purchase products at the best pricing possible. We hope you will support us by using the affiliate links that will be appearing on our site as our stocks run out.

We thankyou for your support, and hope that somehow, the reduction of our business and our stock will open doors elsewhere and in all, work towards the greater good.

God bless,


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Our Holiday to NSW

Recently, we took some time out to attend a homeschool camp in NSW and to spend some time with friends. We spent nearly three weeks away from home. Our first stop was to visit with our good friends, Lynn and her family. Then, it was off to the camp for a week, and finally, we travelled back down the coast to spend the third week with some more special friends. We had an absolute blast! It’s so difficult to capture the highlights in one blog post, but, we shall try!

We arrived on the Thursday night at Lynn’s home, where we spent several nights. Lynn has 12 children, so it truly felt like we’d walked right into the movie set for ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’! During our stay, we rode horses, played with frogs, cats and dogs, and even took a visit to the local dolphin pool, where we were ‘kissed’ by the dolphins and the seals! During the evenings, we were privileged to join in with the family’s prayer time, and what a blessing it was, to see families joined together in prayer, with little ones, teenagers, and adults sharing time together. We also managed to fill up the church seats quite well on Sunday! After that, we all set about packing, ready to leave for camp on Monday morning.

The camp was so full of activities, it’s difficult to summarize! There was kite-flying on the beach, a visit to the rock pools, a sports day, concert, dancing, singing, and of course, daily prayers and daily Latin Mass. We caught up with many friends that we’d met last year, and met several new ones as well. Fr. Rizzo was a delight, and it was wonderful to see a priest who could connect so well with all the age groups, but especially the teens. The final night was bonfire night, and the teens headed off to the beach, while the younger children had their own bonfire at the camping ground. I spent the evening with the younger ones, and we had a merry time telling jokes, singing songs and chatting. But, all too soon, the camp was at an end, and once again, it was time to pack up, and move on.

So down the coast we went, and began our week-long stay with Erin & family. I can’t say that all went to plan – at midnight on the 1st night, the vomiting began, and over the week, most of our family and theirs came down with some sort of bug But fortunately, it only hit each person for 1-2 days, so we were still able to make the most of the holiday. Our days included a trip to the local soccer grand final, walks around the property, lots of chatting, a birthday party, LAN computer games, and many hours out on the dune buggy! Even Bill and I took a ride. The children are all such great friends, that it was very difficult to pack and leave, but again, time catches up with us in the end, and it was time to come home.

The return trip saw one blown tyre, but otherwise, we returned home safely. Mind you, I did learn an important lesson about saying ‘yes’ when the GPS asks if it’s OK to take the dirt roads – more like fire tracks! Here is one of the ‘roads’ it took us on in NSW – for over an hour, we travelled through the middle of a forrest, with no fences, houses, or other signs of life, along dirt tracks, through deep creek beds and slippery, sandy pathways. Some of the roads looked like they’d not been used in years – and yes, that is a tree growing up right in the middle of the road! At one point, it was quite like an obstacle course, with dear hubby darting to the left and then to the right to dodge whatever trees were in the way!

But, we got here in the end. We have arrived home exhausted but relaxed, enthused, and encouraged. It was a long trip, but worth it to know that when the opportunity presents itself next time, we have wonderful friends who we will be visiting once again. In the meantime, we’ll no doubt be making use of blogs and emails to keep in touch. And not surprisingly, the countdown to next year has already begun…


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Treasured Moments

Do you find yourself falling into a pattern of daily grind, skipping the 'fun' activities because you don't have time or lack energy?
Do creative arts, nature walks, drama, read alouds or spontaneous acts seem only a distant dream in your life?

Yet these Treasured Moments shared with loved ones uplift us, nurture our soul, remind us of the beauty and joy in our lives.

We want Treasured Moments for ourselves, for our children, for our families but how can we make it happen?

... Commitment ... Encouragement ... Support ... Ideas ... Plans.

I invite you to join us every Saturday and share your plans and ideas, your targets and goals and your stories ... your 'Treasured Moments'. In this way we may inspire one another, encourage ourselves and start achieving our dreams.

Our holidays, including a homeschool camp, and time with our friends, Lynn B and Erin at Seven Little Australians - we've returned home refreshed, encouraged and full of enthusiasm - thankyou so much!

Discovering All About Spelling - it's been some time since I've found myself excited by a new curriculum - I think this one will suit our needs very well.

Finally, my son has been 'cleared' to apply for a driver's licence. It's been several years since he last had an episode, and having spent the past year medication-free, he is now no longer classed as epileptic.

Our new car. Dear hubby purchased a little Ford Fiesta on Sunday at the local auction. It is the one Daniel will use once he has his learner's.

All my children are at home! This week, we have Jessica and Rebekah home for a visit, so all our children are under one roof once again. It certainly becomes more difficult as they are growing older!

Our local show is on Monday! We have 126 entries in the art, craft and cooking section, and we will be performing with our concert band.

We begin term 4 this week - probably Wednesday.

Please join us for more Treasured Moments, hosted by Erin at: Seven Little Australians

My Book Love

My good friend Erin from Seven Litte Australians has tagged me for a Meme. This one is to share some of my favourite books - from childhood, as well as my favourite novels and read-alouds.

There are so many to choose from! As a child, I loved to read, however, as an adult, I find my reading patterns changed from novels to 'how to homeschool' books, and more factual readings.

Fortunately, though, in recent years I have once again discovered the fascinating world of fiction. Although my time is limited, I have managed to re-discover old friends, and find some new ones in the past couple of years. Here are some of my favourites:

Favourite Books of My Childhood
Magic Faraway Tree & sequels - Enid Blyton
The Wishing Chair & sequel - Enid Blyton
Heidi - Johanna Spyri
Little Women- Louisa May Alcott
Little House on the Prairie (and other books in the series) - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Seven Little Australians - Ethel Turner

Picture Books:
The Poky Little Puppy
The Saggy, Baggy Elephant
The Easter Bunny (or something like that - can't quite remember the exact title!)

Favourite Books I Have Read Aloud to My Children

John of the Sirius and of Sydney Cove - Doris Chadwick
Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter
Winnie-the-Pooh - AA Milne
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
The Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingall Wilder
The Restless Flame - Louis de Wohl
Adam of the Road - Elizabeth Janet Gray
The Door in the Wall - Marguerite de Angeli
St Patrick's Summer - Marigold Hunt
And, many of the picture books from the 'Catholic Mosaic' booklist - in particular,
The Little Catepillar who Came to Church,
Pascual and the Kitchen Angels, and
The Squire and the Scroll.
Also anything else by Tomie dePaola!

Books I'm Reading Aloud at the Moment
The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis.
This year, we have completed 5 of the 7 books. It is our goal to read all 7 books before the year is out.

Favourite Novels I have Read
Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
Eragon - Christopher Paolini
Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Novels I have Recently Enjoyed
Inheritance Cycle - Christopher Paolini

Novels I am Currently Reading
The Two Towers (I'm determined - I WILL make it through all of Lord of the Rings ONE DAY!)

Novels I'd Like to Read
The rest of The Lord of the Rings,
The Once and Future King - T H White
and I'm very much looking forward to the final instalment of The Inheritance Cycle.

Naturally, there are many more that could be added to the list!

Thanks, Erin!