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iSonto #68

 Way back in late April we went on a wonderful autumn ramble to the Salmon Ponds! Here are the pictures. We had a rare take away lunch of pies from "The Cheeky Little Place" in New Norfolk which has lovely quality food.

A huge highlight of our visit to the Salmon Ponds was the appearance of a platypus who delighted in swimming up and down by the side of one of the ponds. Incredible! My best ever platypus sighting and we stood and looked at him/her for a long time.

This was the day before negotiations finished on Dave's job offer at the University of Stellenbosch. This was a challenging time for us with lots of decisions to make, so it was a great time to take a few hours off and get some perspective.

 Dave emded up getting an appropriate offer so we are now off to Stellenbosch in South Africa next week, only nine weeks after accepting the offer! Its been a super quick move to organise. This will be my last iSonto from our little house in Southern Tasmania. Our removals occur this week and then we fly out the following week. Interspersed with the following photos are thanksgivings I've jotted down over the past month and more. We have heaps to praise God for as we've already overcome so many hurdles, including visas, air flights, removals date, the sale of our car, and home maintenace.

Pausing longer to look at insects due to my fascinated company!
Lying in sun on our bed
Autumn sunny house bliss
Mercy curled up listening to Curious George on headphones
Perfect way to remember our Kingston home
Weeding sunny garden beds
Raised garden beds
Ability to read
Picking fresh lettuce
Nate compliance with school work today
60 percent of our family have South African citizenship therefore no immigration issues for them!
Dave vacuums for me
Walking the beach at sunrise
A beach driving distance of where we are moving
Relaxing "date" evening with Dave and no interruptions

Mercy and Nate making their own friends
Able to read a long story without sore throat
Old silicon removed from bath tub
Time to do this
Driving amongst autumn colour in sandy bay
Shopping in quiet on my own
Children behaved while I got moving quotes plus helped someone catch our chickens
Happy new home for chickens

Nate adjusting well to gym
Good physio session despite being in lots of pain beforehand
Watching sunrise
Have medical certificates
Money for Canberra flight
iPod to listen to Anne of the island
Gym sooooo much easier than last year!
Mercy playing confidently a whole gym distance away

Moments to calm down
Waves crashing on shore
Positive party for Nate
Managed to shop, prepare cake, wrap pass the parcel, make pin tail on dog game, tidy house 
Dave helped prepare food
Cherished last cousin party before we go
Mercy said children aren't trouble they are a joy they give cuddles and they play, when told robbers didn't want children as they thought they would be trouble!

Greek salad to see me through paper work
Warm restaurant to work in
Slept all night 9/05
Home made muesli
Friends and family  to celebrate with and who carefully select gifts
Nate delighted with remote control car
Broom to clean floor!

Dave cooked beautiful curry dinner 
New perfectly working lock on front door
Warm car to drive in
Early morning cuddles in front of heat pump. 
Mercy recounting our faith stories: You cried out to God for a husband and children and he gave them, I will pray for children when I am a lady
Mild day for party
Hot bath

Children played happily outside for hours!
Sunshine on washing
Nate learning addition from iPod game
Made lunch peacefully
Did washing peacefully
Played balloon ball with both m and e
Seeing war memorial from taxi at least!
Packed my own delicious lunch
Cloakrooms for back pack
Being on parliament roof and seeing Canberra layout
Privilege of exploring old and new Parliament House 
Looking at books, shops and exhibits in my own time!
Wandering to my own pace!
Found Perfect picture books for children as we move
Stack of certified documents and finance documents for visa applications equals incredible privilege
Able to share nibbles for after church
Dave made hommus
Children played well with others after church


iSonto #67

Here are a few pictures of things we have done during April. 

Nate spontaneously began to make letters out of leaves!

We made salt dough creations. Mercy is painting a dinosaur and Nate a mound that we used at Easter to represent Jesus death and resurrection. The mound has a hole in the side of it for the tomb and place for a cross to stand up at the top. We use a little pipe cleaner person to represent Jesus' death and resurrection. The pipe cleaner person remains in the grave from Friday to Sunday but on Sunday morning the grave is empty!

We enjoyed cousin time during the school holidays. One activity we did was alligators with a special paint technique using bubble wrap to make spots. Meanwhile Bill covered himself with paint!!

He gave himself a green eye :).

One day I was happy to discover that Nate had made a 0 -5 block creation. He had found the correct numbers and lined up block creations to demonstrate the numbers. This is what I imagined him doing with the blocks when I bough them a couple of years ago!

Some thankful thoughts I jotted into my ipod this week:

Praying in rain misted car
Seeing sunrise
Warm bed
Promises of God
Knowing my Heavenly Father
Warm shower 
Family Autumn ramble to anticipate! 
Flexibility to do this.
Courteous driver let me in
More courteous drivers!
Glorious sight of a platypus amongst the autumn leaves in the water
Joyful sight of an old neighbor we hadn't seen for years
Reliable car
Tissues and napkins
Perfect opportunity to collect leaves and make notes on their names 
Nate helped up into nooks of Monterey Cypress by Dave
Dave climbing up himself
Clean toilets out and about
Nate wanting to stay at Salmon Ponds as he loves it too much to leave!


iSonto #66

Such happy autumn days! We have had two weeks of school holidays which has been a refreshing change. We visited Grandma and Grandad where the children sat on pumpkins and picked plums. Their garden is glorious and they recently hosted garden tours.

In our own autumn garden we have more apples. We have found espaliers to be highly productive as well as space-saving.

Bill likes to creep under the net to get an apple or two!

So cute and pleased with himself!

More thankful things:

Dave home safely after a week away, field work completed
Warm days
"School" starts again tomorrow
Bill's love of puzzles
Happy visits with friends
Re-reading "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges and getting even more out of it this time
Craft materials being used spontaneously and creatively


iSonto #65

Hello from the Drew Patch! Bill was very pleased when he got to have a go with kid-safe scissiors.

We had a train play time with chairs lined up as the train, thanks to our Sonlight P 3/4 Richard Scarry reading. This was the suggested accompanying activity! Mercy is joining in with Nate's Sonlight Core A studies but I am also incorporating some of the preschool fun she may have been too young for when I did it with Nate.

We are also pressing repeat on some crafts, at their request. We did this one last a couple of years ago now. I love my "Crafty Ideas A-Z" book so I'm happy to do it as many times as everyone is happy! This time we not only made the ants but also an ant hill. We painted the ant hill and ants this time, which appeased my home school mummy guilt about not painting as much as might be good!

Mercy is "reading" our Curious George story book to their monkey. He was formerly called Luca, but is now George for obvious reasons!

Nate is showing the number book we are putting together. The rice in the dish in the backgrond was an attempt at tactile help for letters like lower case a and h which are difficult to write correctly when you first start. The idea is that you form the letter with your finger in the rice, and therefore feel the way it is formed.

Our biggest achievement though was our terrarium! It has taken me some weeks to get all the materials together. A jar from the reject shop, appropriate ferns from a garden centre, potting mix and peat moss from Grandad, charcoal and pebbles from our garden.

These are they types of things that seem oh so daunting when I read about them in the curriculum. Where am I going to get the time to organise all those extra bits and pieces I think to myself??? Yet when it is eventually done we learn a lot, have a lot of joy, and it is all worth it.


iSonto #64

We have had lots of good times with the "I See Sam" books available for free download from

You can print them out and colour them in and most importantly, read them!

We are really pleased with Nate's reading progress so far this year.

Our schooling was a bit more challenging to get to when road works visited our cul-de-sac for nearly an entire week! "Dozy" (Bill's word for the digger), and compacter that jumped up and down on the soil, and the vibrator to smooth the soil were all much more interesting than the school books!

Bill has begun to use chalks. So sweet!

We had a fun family apple harvesting time.

It is surprising how much fruit our little tress can give. We have dwarf and espailier trees. There are lots of apples still ripening on the other trees!

Dave took the two older children on a road trip to see the steam fest at Sheffield.

More thankful moments:

  • Cuddling with Bill as he excitedly and loudly names words in picture books. 
  • His satisfied nuzzle when I acknowledge his contributions!
  • Reading books to all three children together
  • A chance to tidy the garden on a warm afternoon under the expanse of the sky
  • Reading 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die for Easter
  • Reading The Wilderness Family aloud with Dave
  • Phone to keep in touch 


iSonto #63

 This week we had some pyjama schooling! Dave is in charge of science experiments and they are done as "family play" after dinner. This week we were learning about hot air rising.

It was delightful to see this experiment. The children cut out snakes from a spiral drawn in a circle. When the "snake" was hung from a thread and placed over warm air rising from the heater, it would twirl. This experiment is part of our Sonlight Science A curricula. I was initially concerned about adding science to our list of subjects so early, but it is turning out really well. Nate has a great interest in sientific subjects, perhaps inherited form his Daddy. Mercy is enjoying the experiments as well.

Bill is looking more and more like a little boy instead of a baby! He loves to say cheese to the camera. We are having "tot school" as part of our school day where we do puzzles or other activities appropriate for Bill. He has also begun to enjoy playdough and painting. His favourite thing at the moment is to tackle his siblings to the ground and climb on them.

Bill is enjoying longer stories now, so all there can enjoy listening together.

We also have a lot of new stories for the older two that are part of their Sonlight Core A. I am reading a lot of them after dinner now, instead of in our morning "school" time, because Elnathan is in Prep now and needs to be doing more reading, writing and maths in the mornings. This is a big change for us and we are still getting used to it.

More things to be thankful about . . .
  • A new pastor at church
  • Dave whipping up beautiful food in the kitchen and loving to do so! 
  • Time out at a cafe on Saturday morning looking at ideas on Pinterest! 
  • Mum making amazing seasonal paintings with the children, just what I wanted them to do.
  • Making playdough wells and remembering the story of Isaac and the wells. 
  • Sonlight instructor's guides which offer good questions and vocabulary explanations for the books we are reading together. 
  • Nate's question: at what time did the knights wear slavery? which made us laugh
  • A string of sunny days


iSonto #62

Mercy opening her presents on her birthday morning last Friday.

Mercy's pancake birthday stack.

Fun building with Daddy.

Mercy's birthday party. Esther gave her a music box and Nate is dancing in the background.

Mercy's birthday cake.

The next day we enjoyed decorating our little Christmas tree.

More happy happenings:

Mercy and bill laughing and chasing each other
Making sock puppets
Mercy and Nate sitting side by side at swimming class, smiling
Mercy singing "Make me Wise"
Nate making a collage for Mercy's birthday
Nate wanting to use stick on letters and numbers
Cloths to clean up spilled milk :)
Music to fill our home
Mercy saying "thank you Mum" for her birthday presents


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