Monday, November 29, 2010


Today, I showed the kids how to have a good time! Actually I think it was more about gratifying my desire to go mudsliding once I saw that impressive puddle in the yard!  It took a while for Kalea to get the hang of it with lots of demonstrating from myself and Tyger, but she did as you can see. This pic was taken just before Tyger took a header right into the mud puddle! He thought it was hilarious.

It only took 10 minutes of rain for this huge puddle to appear, the rain that hit this afternoon was pretty intense and torrential, we all got drenched and had heaps of fun before heading inside for a hot shower. It was only as we ended our fun that I realised the cop next door had all his cop friends over and they were standing out the back with beers and watching us all. They seemed to think it was amusing! I guess adults don't ordinarily go hooning around in the mud and rain very much, let alone heavily pregnant women hahaha

We were just about finished eating dinner when the power went out. The kids opted for a game of Go Fish by candlelight over watching a dvd on the laptop until the battery ran out. We had loads of fun and then the power came back on so Kalea went off to do some drawing and writing. It is swimming tomorrow so we're all off to bed early!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

One of the "best" days

Kalea proclaimed today as one of the best days of her life. She has quite a few of those! And it was all because she got TWO scoops of icecream, not one, when we stopped at that icecreamery thats in the middle of nowhere, after swimming.

Swimming went well. Tyger was more scared than I thought he would be but he handled it very well and wanted extra time after the class was over. Kalea shivered the whole time, the skinny little thing she is, even with the heated pool as it was cloudy/sprinkling the whole time. Both are looking forward to going back!

On a side note, Tyger found two moths at the pool, and even brought them both in to have ice-cream with him. It was amusing seeing them lined up on the table next  to  spots of icecream!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The rainbow that sparked it all

The kids "found" a rainbow today which sparked a lot of youtube watching on how rainbows are made, light refraction and somehow went off down the bee tangent of what beehives look like and how bees get nectar from flowers. Then finished on an elephant beetle note where they were watching elephant beetles fight each other over food.

Another bee species!

Tyger discovered another bee species in the yard today. I thought it was just a blue blow fly but he kept insisting it was a bee. I wasted 30 minutes looking for pictures of blue flies until Tyger told me more about where he found it, collecting nectar from flowers. Found it within 30 secs of changing the search keyword from fly to bee. Doh!! He does know his stuff!

It is a cuckoo bee. Here is a pic off the net of one; from Aussie Bees

It doesn't build its own nests but lays eggs in other bee species nests usually the blue banded bee. Tyger is in the yard again now, trying to see if he can find other bee species other than the fire tailed resin bee and the one cuckoo bee he found.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Visiting friends

We went and visited homeschooling friends who have a property backing the Clohesy river today. Not much of a river at this time of the year, more like a perfect creek, shallow enough to wade, and deep enough for the kids to do a little swimming and splashing. They all found a bunch of frog eggs in a little shallow depression at the water's edge. Not long after, they found a frog. Not the usual green tree frogs, but some interesting golden/brown frog.

There were a lot of little learning tangents going on. I noticed that Tyger was attempting to copy the older kids who were swimming and floating. It will be great once they are both swimming! Kalea spent some time on the enclosed trampoline, jumping around and also playing in the cubby.

Tyger had a bit of an adventure with his friend, they both took off in the long grass and it took us a while to find them! Everyone was exhausted after coming back to the house, watched a bit of tv, then we left. Both kids were asleep by the time we got home.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kalea's pets

Kalea caught a baby green tree frog, the cutest frog we've seen to date, beautiful colour, including the underbelly.

Instead of keeping it in her plastic aquarium cage, she decided to leave it in the mailbox where she found it, and make the mailbox more frog-friendly so  it would keep coming back to it during the day for shelter. She's been putting wet leaves and foilage in the mail box daily. Thankfully our mail hasn't been TOO soggy!

Here's the pet gecko that Kalea kept for a few days in her cage before letting it go. Its tail dropped off and wriggled all around when she picked it up, much to Tyger's horrified surprise! Kalea also said she saw the gecko change colour too. We think it is an Eastern Dtella (Gehyra dubia) common tree gecko.

The Bee Buzz

Bees have been a big interest these days with both Tyger and Kalea. Tyger especially, has been spending a lot of time watching the bees and following them around. Here are some of the photos they've taken with the iphone;

Those two are of the resin cells the bees have made under a shelf in the carport. You can sort of see one bee going inside its cell.

Tyger also captured a bee. He said he waited until it crawled inside this flower, then he grabbed the flower with his hand, and then put it in a plastic container.  He did this AFTER being told that bees sting!

It was impossible for him to get a clear photo of the bee as it was pretty pissed off! I had to delete over 100 photos variants of this photo:

And here is the dead bee that I photographed. The kids found a couple of dead bees in the dirt, one was half eaten by ants and this one was still whole - enough to identify it with Tyger's help as he has seen a lot of them alive and buzzing about!

Tyger and I went looking on the internet to see if we could identify it and agreed on it belonging to the Megachile family. Narrowed it down to the Fire-tailed Resin Bee (Megachile mystacea) with the help of a fact sheet here, the Brisbane Insects website and a photo gallery here on Australian native bees.

We've also been reading a book that Kalea found at the library called "What's the Buzz?: The secret life of bees" by Margery Facklam which has photos and loads of interesting information. The kids also liked "Bush Secrets" by Tricia Oktober, which is a gorgeously illustrated book talking about native bush animals to Australia. Bees also feature in it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Neighbourhood socialisation

We also had neighbourhood kids visit today. I'm not sure how many there were, at least 5 or 6, and I was surprised to see that a couple of older toddlers still in nappies were accompanying them as the oldest can't of been any older than Kalea.

They had a really kid-friendly dog that joined in the play, walking around wagging its tail and not jumping. They had fun playing with the street chalk outside, and Kalea bought out work books and colouring in stuff and they all gathered to colour in - even Tyger!

Everyone had a good time, even the 3 girls next door who came to their side of the fence to chat and play ball across the fence.  Once it started to get dark, goodbyes were said all around and off everyone went, home for dinner, completely unprompted!

More animals

Tyger found the moth, and was quite attached to the moth. He kept it as a pet in a cupboard, in a closed room, and in a box that he "furnished" with leaves and flowers for a few days, til it disappeared.

It was quite a striking moth too, with beautiful colours.

And here is a photo of Kalea's grasshopper. She managed to get it in the house, but then it got away from her and was un-catchable after that!

Gathering food

It all started with this weird fruit resembling a strange looking kumquat in appearance and size, only with black, jelly like pulp inside. Tyger had already sampled it prior to my knowing. He insisted it was blueberries when I explained about not knowing what the fruit was and to not eat it til we knew. Kalea and I both said it was definitely not blueberries!

Turns out he was closer to the truth than we knew! The fruit was finally identified as a "Blackberry Jam Fruit" tree, also known as Randia formosia, a rare tropical fruit.  And it DOES taste like blackberry jam without the sugar!

This sparked a lot of interest in both Kalea and Tyger. They spent a couple of hours in the yard, examining the trees. They discovered the world's tiniest strawberry on our strawberry plant (at long last we get a strawberry!). Tyger got to eat it after they agreed Kalea would have the next one.

They also found a lemonade tree (incorrectly identifying it as a lemon tree cos of the smell) with heaps of unripe lemonade fruits. I am in heaven and cant wait to eat them!!! They discovered an unknown fruit tree and agreed to not touch it until we identify it. They also bought me a coconut from the coconut palm to open up for coconut milk and coconut. It took a good 20 minutes of hacking away at it to get it open! I also saw there were banana trees in the yard and mentioned it to the kids who then recognised the tree sans fruit as we had a banana tree with fruit at a previous house.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Ginger Horde

Kids have been at me for ages to do gingerbread people, so we ended up doing that today.

Kalea's Ginger

Tyger's Ginger

After making their gingerbread above, they promptly went off to eat them. As you can see in Kalea's photo, she couldn't even wait for the photo before taking a chomp! Tyger went overboard with the smarties so he could have more smarties. Guess that was smart of him! 

The Ginger Horde

Thursday, November 4, 2010

DIY Pets

It all started this morning with Tyger's nimble capture of a garden lizard / skink. He put it in a jar and I showed him how to make breathing holes for it. A few minutes later he came back asking what they eat, so we looked it up on the net.

He had Kalea's attention by this time so they both went out to dig for worms, catch ants, flies and other small insects. They didn't have much luck as they were digging where the ground was hard so I explained about worms liking moist earth. Then Kalea came in to ask how one would catch ants without squishing them!

Eventually they upgraded to a cardboard shoe box for the skink's home, and then decided to let it go when they couldn't catch it any food.

Four homeschooling friends came over and a lovely huge rainstorm hit. The kids had a ball outside getting wet and found a green frog which jumped inside and under the couch to get away from them I presume! They caught it and Tyger was asking what food the frog would eat and Kalea wanted to know how to keep the shoe box wet without breaking it for the frog. 

Such a cute frog. Here are 4 of the kids above, watching the frog swim in the gutter. They seemed a bit surprised it could swim!

Now Kalea wants to know what she can use to catch a bird with. I just laughed at that. I can see that one being successful... not!