Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Friday, April 27, 2012

A New Banner

We are home after a very eventful and exciting week at homeschool camp (blog posts and pictures to come soon).

After a very late night (some going without sleep at all), we lined up for some photos, and I now have an excellent new photo to use as a Banner:

Loving our new family shot - well, family - minus one, plus one!  :)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Umm.... Oops?

Archery has certainly been a hit at our house:

 But just imagine walking into your dining room to see this:

Yep, he's been at it again.....   Carpenter decided it had been a while since he'd created a gruesome mess, so, today we were ..  er...  'treated' to his wacky imagination - which included a broken arrow, sticky tape, a bandage and red 'goo'.


Pretty cool, huh?  

But of course, that was only the beginning - out came the makeup and various other items, and soon we had a beaten up Lizzie as well:

And as if that wasn't enough, yet another teen arrived on our doorstep this evening!  It seems no matter what, I keep ending up with eight children, including six teens.  Jessica has gone back to her home, and now, there's Peter.  Mind you, the ratio is therefore improving - we now have three boys and 'only' five girls in the house.  :)

I wonder what tomorrow with bring.....


Disclaimer:  All injuries, blood, and general yuckiness in the above photos are fake.  No need to call the ambulance or the authorities - although it's only been a few hours, they are both completely cured!

Egg Drop Day

Every so often, our family observes the illustrious tradition of ‘Egg Drop Day’.

Today was that day.

Everyone was given their assignment – their job was to design, create and build a construction that would protect their egg when it was cruelly dropped off the tallest shed in the back yard. 

The flurry of activity began – with cardboard, padding, plastic bags and even an orange being used to build the egg’s protective casing for it’s fall.



Eventually, the constructions were complete, and it was time for dear hubby Bill to climb the ladder to the roof of the shed.  One by one, the eggs plummeted to the ground – some landed quite gently, but for others, a terrible ‘thud’ sounded as they smashed into the ground.


There were some winners:


But sadly, some results were just plain tragic:


Then, it was back to the house for lunch – eggs, of course.

Egg Drop Day was once again complete.


Friday, April 20, 2012

And the Fun Continues

My children seem to be having the best school holidays ever!  We’re still entertaining Carpenter (or is it the other way around?), and I don’t think there’s been this much action or activity in the house for years!

Computer Time
We are having a more relaxed week from last week, with additional ‘home time’, however, there have still been plenty of opportunities to venture outdoors as well.  And, we have had a birthday party – my Lizzie turned 12 this week, and after some presents and a trip to the movies, we finished up the day with a small celebration at home.

Computers are, of course, always a hit, but the teens often break their screen time with board games, card games, etc., as well as adventuring and geocaching.   


The game of ‘Twister’ proved to be extremely entertaining, with some very er…  ‘interesting’ moves, especially from Daniel and Carpenter:


Twister Continues....

At this point, there was definitely some pain showing on their faces!
After that, we headed off for a visit to ‘Magnetic Hill’, a fascinating optical illusion where you stop, put your car in neutral, and feel it roll uphill.  It's only an illusion, but it's a good one.  We then travelled home via Appila Springs; where, I confess, Carpenter did make my heat skip a beat while running along the top of the cliff, but all was well, and he then decided to scale the cliff face….  (boys!)

Appila Springs

Look Mum, no Hands!

We managed to find three further geocaches in our travels, with Carpenter finding two of them, and the third honour went to Daniel.  I think it’s time for the girls to step up and take charge!  Our GPS also arrived this week, so me thinks geocaching is about to go into full swing.

We found it!

Time to fill in the log book

Finally, it was home for dinner and a movie night. 

The Burn-Off
What I’m really appreciating is that, although it is holidays and they are all having a ball, they are still willing to put games aside and help out where needed, including burning off the grass and working together to keep the place neat and tidy.  Actually, I think having Carpenter in the house is helping keep my place more orderly than usual!  It’s also a joy to have teenagers in the house who will take some time out to play with the younger ones.  In this way, everyone is included, and there’s been no tears from any child who is feeling left out.

It definitely makes you wish that life was always this much fun – I think it will be more difficult than ever to settle back into a normal routine next term.  We’ll certainly miss Carpenter when he leaves, and I think the countdown to our annual NSW trip is about to begin.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our Eventful Week

It's amazing just how much one can pack into one week!  Here's a brief summary of the past few days:

1.   Easter.  This was rather a peaceful occasion – Jessica was singing in the choir for the Easter Vigil Mass and of course, there was Mass on Good Friday, but otherwise, Easter was a quiet affair.  But things were soon to change…

Jessica's Birthday Celebration
2.   Tuesday.  My son’s friend arrived from NSW for a couple of days.  We really love this guy – but it is rather like a tornado hits the house when he arrives – total chaos!  It’s fun having him around, though.  Unfortunately, his visit was short, and all too soon it would be time to take him back to Adelaide so he could begin his journey home.

3.   Wednesday.  Before the trip to Adelaide, however, we celebrated Jessica’s birthday with a cake and pressies.  I had a sudden panic attack, thinking I hadn’t bought her anything – until I remembered we’d bought her a car!  She will have her licence soon, and we purchased a Toyota Camry at an auction, which she will use until she decides to upgrade.

4.   Thursday.  We return one teen to Adelaide, only to collect another one – and coincidentally, this was another friend from NSW.  ‘Carpenter’ arrived on the afternoon plane for his first visit to SA, and we were delighted that he’d made the effort to visit us.

5.   Friday.  My Mum had an appointment in Pt Pirie for her eyes, so we packed everyone into the bus, and headed out for the day to show Carpenter our ‘big city’, have a look at the shops, and then go geocaching.  Afterwards, we headed home, and the teens took each other on in ‘Band Hero’, followed by an archery session.

Sing Australia
6.   Saturday.  Our local Folk Fair.  On arrival at the fair, I proceeded to the Art Gallery to ask if any of us had won any prizes in the local ‘literary awards’, which several of us had entered.  Unfortunately, none of us had been successful this time, however, they informed me that I had won the Art Prize for my pastel drawing!  I was quite stunned; and very honoured; it was most unexpected. 

Then it was off to the opening at the main stage, to perform with ‘Sing Australia’; several of our family members were involved, and spent the afternoon performing wonderful classics such as ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘A World of Our Own’. 

Afterwards, we stayed on to enjoy the bush dance and the spectacular fireworks display, which are always a hit.

Bush Dancing

The Fireworks

Clare Valley Concert Band

The Percussion Section
7.   Sunday.  The Folk Fair continued, but today it was concert band.  Several of us are in the band, and we even managed to convince Carpenter to become an honorary member for the day. Some friends from Adelaide also joined us, increasing the number of our percussion section to three, and our homeschooled members to four.  We rattled off our favourites including medleys from Aladdin, Pocahontas and some old-time Comedy Classics, and then packed up to enjoy the rest of the fair.  

Our Homeschooled Band Members

Sunday also brought about one of the main events of the Fair – the annual ‘Ice-Cream Eating Competition’.  Our three youngest girls entered the junior section, and the older teens tackled the task with the seniors.  They did not win, but they all gave it a good shot!

Ice-Cream Competition - The Juniors

Ice-Cream Competition - The Seniors

Fortunately, this coming week is not quite so eventful, but no doubt we’ll be taking off for some more sight-seeing and showing Carpenter all the lovely green vegetation brown landscapes of South Australia.


TTC14 Touch Twin Marker Color Challenge

Challenge Colours:

I recently made this card for a friend, and thought I'd enter in into the 'Touch Twin Marker Color Challenge  - TTC14'.

I used Y35 and YR33, but substituted the others for similar colours that I had in my set.  I drew the picture from a similar one I found on the Internet, and added some lace ribbon and a button, as well as the tag, 'Bitty Blessings'.


Friday, April 13, 2012


After hearing about 'Geocaching' for some time, we finally decided to take a look and see what all the excitement was about.

Last week, we managed to find one in our local area, at the very aptly-named 'kettle corner':

We have corners like this about our town - we still have 'pot corner' and 'saucepan corner' to search (no prizes for guessing what is located at each of these!)

Today we had some appointments in Pt Pirie, so my daughter pulled out her phone complete with GPS locator - and low and behold, we managed to find 2 more caches!  We're most impressed, and I think it'll be a fun activity to do when we're out and about.  Apparently, there are quite a few caches in our local area;  and we hope to use the holidays to locate several more.

For further details, or if you have no idea what I'm talking about, see:   http://www.geocaching.com

I think it's one of those things that when you catch the 'bug', you could become quite addicted...


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Twenty Years Ago...

Twenty years ago today, I awoke to find myself in a little bit a lot of pain - and after a trip to the hospital, the doctors announced that my baby would need to be delievered via an emergency c-section.

An hour later, we were the proud parents of our first baby, a girl, Jessica Rose.  I remember waking up and hearing a distant cry way down the hallway, and commenting, 'Is that her?', to which my husband and parents exclaimed with somewhat strained voices - 'Yes, that's her!'.  She was a rather loud baby, and she did keep us awake at nights!

But now, she is a grown woman - studying at TAFE and beginning to make her way in the world.  She even scored a solo part in the choir at the Easter Mass, and will be performing at our local fair in the near future. She has been tutoring a young lad who has struggled with reading, and she is well on the way to gaining her driver's licence.

Happy Birthday, Jess!  We are so pround of you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Homeschool Freebie of the Day

Nature Study, anyone?

Homeschool Freebie of the Day is offering 'The Big Handbook of Nature Study' all this week!  Part 1 is available today:




Tonight on ABC's Q & A

Tonight on the ABC programme, Q & A, Cardinal George Pell - Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, we be on the panel with none other thatn Richard Dawkins - Outspoken British atheist:

I heard a little of what will be discussed - mainly the origins of the universe, including evolution.

Personally, I'd really like to see Richard Dawkins go up against someone like Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis, but, Cardinal Pell it is!  I would not be surprised to see biased attacks against Christianity and the Catholic Church tonight. I do hope it does not degenerate into attacks on the church on their stance on such topics as homosexuality and abortion.

Please pray for Cardinal Pell, that he may be able to answer all questions and follow the command given in 1 Peter 3:15 - "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

You can watch it on ABC 1, at 9.35pm tonight.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Death of Easter Bunny.....

The news reports have been confirmed.  Sadly, as the Easter Bunny was making his deliveries last night, he was spotted by Blackie, who, after years on the hunt, finally had his kill....

Children all over the world are devastated.  Whether or not a replacement Bunny can be found is yet to be determined.  Stay tuned.....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Divine Mercy Novena 2012

The Divine Mercy prayer has always been very special to me;  I feel that the world needs His mercy now more than ever before.  Everywhere we look, we see the effects of our modern lifestyle - money, riches, fame - and things such as television, computer games and the Internet - all pulling more and more people away from God.

Starting on Good Friday, I am joining more than 10,000 Catholics to pray a Divine Mercy Novena!

I’m also trying to help this online prayer community  (PrayMoreNovenas.com) to get 20,000 people praying this novena for God’s Mercy.

If you wish, you too can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/divine-mercy-novena

After you sign up, you can also choose to help spread the word regarding this sepecial prayer.. God’s Mercy is abundant and overflowing, let’s share it!



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled
Let not your soul be sad
Easter is a time of joy
When all hearts should be glad,
Glad to know that Jesus Christ
Made it possible for men
To have their sins forgiven
And, like Him, to live again . . .
So at this joyous season
May the wondrous Easter Story
Renew our Faith so we may be
Partakers of "His Glory!"

~ Helen Steiner Rice ~
May your Days be full of Joy and Gladness - I pray you all Have a very Blessed Easter!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Understanding the Scriptures

Last week, we completed 'Understanding the Scriptures', a Catholic text, which is part of the Didache Series.

This particular book is written by Dr. Scott Hahn, which always indicates that it will be a good read.  I completed this text with my son, 17, and my 16 year old daughter.  As it was written by Dr. Hahn, I was a little concerned it may be over our heads, but I was pleasantly surprised.  There were questions to get you thinking of course, but I found it to be an excellent text, and at just the right level for us. 

The course took us right through salvation history, and shows the importance of the scriptures, and explains the various books of the Bible.  Earlier in the year, we completed Jeff Cavin's 'The Great Adventure' DVDs, and it turned out that 'Understanding the Scriptures' was a great extension and a wonderful follow-on from that series.

We're now beginning on 'Catholic Morality', the next book in the series.  The teacher manual for this book is very detailed, and I think it may be quite a challenge, but I believe it is, once again, perfect for my teens at this stage.

Isn't it great when all those hours of curriculum planning actually work out? 


TTC14 Touch Twin Marker Color Challenge

It may be a little early to begin thinking of Christmas, but I purchased a 2nd hand set of stamps from Stampin' Up - The City of David stamp set.  These really are gorgeous, and I couldn't help trying them out.

I did a Google search to see if there were any sample cards, ideas, etc posted online for using the set, and I came across a message board at 'Split Coast Stampers', where I found, to my utter amazement, a whole section dedicated to the City of David Stamp Set, with over 500 cards posted!  

So I have no shortage of ideas.  This is based on one of the cards I found on the post:

Along with the stamp set, I embossed the Bethlehem picture with gold, so it glitters.  The circle is actually cut out, leaving the picture of the city inside.  I coloured the pictures with my twin touch markers, using pale blue, lemon yellow, mellon yellow and pale green along with some browns and greys.

I am entering this card into the 'Twin Touch Marker Challenge - TTC14'.

Also in the collection of cards, someone had very cleverly used the stamp to create an Easter card.  Given that we are much closer to Easter than Christmas, I used her ideas to create this card as well:

Stamping / Card Making is certainly proving to be a fun, relaxing activity - however, I'm afraid it'll have to be put aside over the next week or two - it's time to once again tackle all the GST paperwork - not something I look forward to, but, it must be done!