Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Our little Star...

Its been a while since I wrote a post.
We have been so busy with end of year things, Ballet concerts rehearsals.
Our business has been keeping Dermot busy, so a lot of the house and yard work has fallen back onto me. Thats how marriage works.
Last weekend Brid danced in her end of year concert for her local Dance school.
We discussed the night before amongst ourselves, when we would have to leave, how long it would take for make up and hair to be done. It made for a smooth transition.
So after a nice sleep in, we got into action. We needed 1 hour to drive to the venue. 1 hour to do hair and makeup, so that we were not rushed.
So after showers and having Brids' costumes and assessories at the door, we went to work with putting her hair in a nice full bun, with the sides of her hair twisted back into the bun. We always part her hair on the side, so her hairline looks softer around her face. The twists just add something different and a little interest to her hairline.
our stage makeup
Then its stage makeup. We have learnt over the years to apply liquid andt hen powdered foundation in matt, not gloss. We also adapt our colours to Brids' skin type. She is rather fair, so there is no point putting red lipstick on her lips, or a harsh blush on her cheekline. It just looks terrible. I use a mixture of a pink and a brown, and it really sets her eyes off.
note the twist in her hair and the eyeliner under her eyes
This year we experimented with eye makeup. We used browns with white as the base and brown in the crease, smoothed over with a lighter brown. We use a liquid eyeliner on the eyelid and a pencil eyeliner about 1 mm underneath the eye. It makes her eyes stand out and there is no tears with applying eyeliners like in previous years.
We learnt a trick with mascara, Using a plastic teaspoon as a guide, you apply the mascara and the teaspoon is painted as instead of droping onto her face.
So that all done we were ready to grab drink bottles and food for backstage, her costumes and of we went.
Her classical Ballet costume
An hours drive took us to the venue and arrived in plenty of time for Brid to settle in and get her costumes ready.
She was beautiful and we couldn't have more proud of her.
Mum Dad Dermot And myself sat in the audience waiting for Brids dances. It was lovely. All those weeks of practice, all those classes at her new ballet school made all the difference. Brid you just a star. Our star..

Thursday, 1 November 2012

What a journey......reflecting

I have been reflecting lately, on our homeschool and the choices over the last few years.
We have used various tools and attempted several homeschool styles.
Early on when we had 3 at home, and we were very new to homeschooling, Dermot & I chose ACE. a  ready made Christian complete curriculum. It was OK and helped me over the steep learning curve we were on at the time.
I found many holes in it for us. The one I felt that most affected our teens learning  was its read a passage and  tick the boxes. They were not extended and it quickly turned into get the work done. Where was their love of learning? So different to what we were seeing with Brid.
I quickly found other curricula for them and it wasn't long before we just had Brid to concern ourselves with.
After buying mountains of workbooks for Brid- mind you they were excellent resources, we started using Mater Amabilis. I loved the afternoons just reading to Brid, the drawings that she drew as we read each book. The lapbooks we found and the love and enthusiasm we discovered, even more than before, for our Faith.
This is how we learnt for some years.
We were quite fluid and open to new ideas, curricula, books etc
As Brid got older, she wanted to spend more of her time on one focus area,  so I tailored her subjects to accommodate this, for example, History for a week, or Science for a week. I called it a subject a week. She immersed herself completely in that topic. This was after her mornings maths, faith reader, and English.
It developed into 2 subjects, particularly if they were rather light in there work load.
Brid began saying, "It would be fun to do this or do that", so after much consideration and feeling peace in my heart we had a season of unschooling, not radically, but let the books go. I just strews as I had always done. (I didn't actualy know it had a name until.....)
It was a very peaceful time mostly, I just needed to let go and Trust. Brid did various unit studies on  several Saints, we explored our surroundings more, went on wonderful excursions and just had fun together.
It was also the time that she was seriously considering her pathway in life.
This was also a wonderful time of letting me see how Brid likes to learn. As she has gotten older and able to articulate herself more, she expressed to me, that she likes to thoroughly learn a particular area. Much like myself I suppose.
So with this information, we leapt into our current phase. ........
High school really hasn't been any different. Admittedly, I stressed myself out, and Brid when she officially started ''highschool", until I realised it was just a progression.
So currently we are working through the subjects she needs to. At present she is completing IEW Grammar - a sentence ot two to correct in spelling and grammar, Maths, And Apologia Physical Science. She is a week or 2 away from completing them all for the year. After this she will read various history living books on the lounge or outside in the fresh air. Then most days its off to Ballet rehearsals.

All along our studies Brid has been very involved in choosing her books and curricula. She would look with me and we would decide together. Very rarely did I find a program that I didn't use. I have been quite frugal in my purchases, but I am pleased it our resources we chose along the way.
We are drawing our homeschooling to a close over the next few years and its been a wonderful time in our lifes. I wouldn't have changed it for the world.
My only regret is that I didn't find it earlier. I really hated sending my other children off to school, but It was not revealed to me by God until His perfect timimg.
We have loosly mapped out the next few years. I never thought we would ger here...But boy its been a journey..Maybe you may like to share yours...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

A great achievement

Louise Graduated from her University studies recently.
We are ever so proud of her achievements and truly wish her the best in her endeavours in her chosen field of Primary and Early Childhood teaching.
Well done sweetheart ........
After the Graduation Ceremony

So proud of her achievements



Couldn't resist putting up the items cherished from the day. Do you love the teddy

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Off to Venice .......

There was literally hundreds of these little statues over Europe..
This was a destination I never thought I would see again. I was there a very long time ago, on a Contiki tour..!!!! And we stayed outside of Venice. Brid and I had visited Venice in a read aloud book and on google maps.
So to my surprise and delight Dermot and Brid both had desires make this a destination...Yeah !!!is all I could think.
A little ghotto outside the main Basilica
It was a 3 hour drive from Assisi and we stopped into Paduva to the Basilica of San Antonio. The Gps went a bit crazy in this city. Although it directed exactly to the Basilica, it took us down every narrow street that Paduva had to offer, and they were nailbiting NARROW.
I kept saying please God let us get this hire car to the drop off spot without any  scratches on it.
we overrode the commands from the Gps and took a chance. It worked, we were heading toward Venice after a lunch stop.
This was going to be a little tricky as we had acquired a few extra pieces of hand luggage, in the way of food stables.
We found our way to the Vaporetto- water bus-  and stayed on it until our stop.
Just about to enter our apartment. The canal is on the right
After much confusion and a few tears of frustration, we found a lovely manager in a Very Grand hotel who sorted out where we our accomodation was. Our host would be there to meet us at the vaporetto stop, sign of relieve. Once at out apartment we were  in for a treat. it was lovely,right on a canal and beautifully appointed. How did we manage this???
Bridge of sights near San Marco
A view of San marco from the vaporetto coming from Murano
There were so many people in Venice, particularly around San Marco and the grand Canal. It was rather humid as well. It was explained to us, its the amount of water surrounding the city. It makes sense, but it sure was steamy.
Did I tell you that every bridge over every Canal is curved, so there are steps up over the bridge and down the bridge- quite annoying for carrying suitcases -even if they were not heavy.
Brid at Burano Island
We trapsed all over Venice, out to the Islands Murano and Burano where Glass making and Lace works are there main income.
We all loved Venice even though we got a little lost and got our way home to our apartment a new way each time we ventured out.
Dermot & I at the Rialto Bridge

Brid and her Dad at the Rialto Bridge

San Marco can be under water at times, but not when we were there.
The streets are very tiring on your feet and legs as there is no give at all.  I found myself rather tired most days of our trip as we constantly were on the go and on veryy hard cobblestones or paved paths. We found some grass in Murano while we waite for the vaporetto, and we could not resist the temptation to sit and lie on the grass. Pure Bliss. The simple pleasures we take for granted.

Monday, 8 October 2012

My favourite Italian city

A beautiful serene town  sat up on a mountain was our next stop. A 4 hour drive north from Sorrento.  So much too say so I will just leave you a photo or 2 or 3 or .....
Our first glance of Assisi- yeah hope dermot loves it as much as me...

Sunsets are so beautiful here

Brid at sunset in Santa Chiara piazza

the Portiuncola inside the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli

a view from the valley of Santa Francesco Basilica

Brid outside San Damiono - where St Chiara lived.

The inside Garden. This is where St Chiara- or as we call her St Clare until her death

Dermot and I just loving the view and the Spirituality of this city

St Chiara at the Basilica of St Chiara

Dermot was determined to get to this little church called San Stefano- it was a very long complicated treck up many many stairs and steep roads within the Assisi.

He had to have a photo outside. We got to the church 10 minutes before closing time. Just in time. Thank You Lord

Our last night looking down on the valley at sunset...again....beautiful view with
 lovely company and meal

Dermot and Brid both loved Assisi. We stayed in a monastery of San Collette. A companion of St Chiara. We drove through the street of Assisi to get to our accomodation. A bit scary. I couldn't believe the pathways !! that we needed to negotiate to get us there.

A little bit of paradise ...

Early on Thursday morning we had a knock at the door. It was our hire care to take us The airport to pick up our car. Why you ask?? I wouldn’t drive in Rome , and as the Apartment offered Hire car to and from the airport we thought why not.
Europcar was excellent. When we arrived at Ciampino airport our Renault Scenic and GPS were waiting to be checked out by us. Yeah....
Then the reality hit....Oh dear, we now have to navigate on the wrong side of the road for the next few weeks. I was quietly panicking....Then Dermot said..”Lets Pray”. We drove out of the dirt car park very cautiously.  It took me a while to work out that we needed to cross a round about going right and Left turns were with the traffic, and not against it..I think the passenger seat panel still has nail marks were I tried to shrink the car to fit the road..
We hit our first toll. There were about 20 or 30 more for us to use yet...
St Maria Gorretti

The Basilica of St Maria Gorretti
We headed south to stop eventually in Sorrento via Nettuno. Why There you ask? Well St Maria Goretti’s incorrupt body is there in a lovely Chapel area below the main church..Wow...She was so small, being only 12. Such deep Faith at her age. Such forgiveness. I  hadn’t discussed her death very much with Brid as I felt she was not ready.
On the way to Nettuno, which is on the coast, we discussed her life, her Death and the conversion of Allessandro. Quite a remarkable story.  We spent a few hours at Nettuno at the Crypt as well as by the shoreline, before heading to our destination for 2 nights.
Sorrento, Iyaly
We drove past Napoli- Naples. The country side was distinctly different. Many Roads through the mountains and buildings with flat roofs. I asked Dermot to view a You tube of the drive to Sorrento from Naples. He didn’t want to, so it was me who was quite nervous negotiating the very very narrow roads, the traffic and the motorbikes just doing there own thing. Not following and rules at all, but they did get out of the way when they needed to...
Sorrento is a town high the mountain tops overlooking the Mediterranean.  It is sprinkled with beautiful Churches and many hotels, restaurants and is known for its seafood. The beaches were roped off and they paid to use the beaches. This gave them the privilege of using their own beach lounge and at another cost an umbrella, on a stony beach- give me our beautiful beaches any day. But the history and the atmosphere was so very different to our own.
St Anne, Sorrento
St Anne is the Patron of Sorrento. She has a little church close to where we stayed, which we dropped into Pray, especialy for Friend.
We ate at a restaurant where the owner, a very sweet Italian Lady, had a deep devotion to Our Lady. She had been to Medjugorje and has miraculous medals in a bowl that she hands out and statues, oh so many of Our Lady. There was a beautiful on at the very end of her restaurant overlooking the sea....She called Brid Marys Angel- bringing the message to everyone who needs to hear it.

Mt Vesuvius
While we were in Sorrento our major interests where to go to Pompeii and just look around. After going through yet another toll on our way to Pompeii we arrived to a rather leafy area, with a dirt car park and not a lot of signs to say where the Scavi- excavations were, but around the corner was the entry. Its quite touristy but a must see for this part of the world. After a morning being  absorbed in the history in the heat with little shade, Dermot announced lets see Mt Vesuvius !! Off we went to in these huge army type massive 4wds buses to almost the summit, then a walk of only 500 metres, but the tail wound around the mountain making it a much longer walk than you would expect. The view from the top was amazing, and too see a volcano that is classed as quite dangerous because it hasn’t erupted for many many years was a little scary.
This was our last evening in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, next was the 4 to 5 hour drive to  Assisi...

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

4 days in Rome....

Ok 4 days in Rome...We celebrated our 25th anniversary while we were there.
A view of the Colosseum you don't normally see. It was ransacked to build other more important buildings over the early Roman years
We walked and bused it all over Rome, including the Colosseum, The Forum, The Trevi Fountain and The Spanish steps. We popped into so many beautiful Churches and saw so many reliquiae it was amazing. S Monica, John Paul II, Padre Pio to name a few
We deliberately did not venture near the Vatican, at first,  as we had Scavi tour tickets. There are only 350 pilgrims allowed access yearly, so when we got the email before we left to say we were granted tickets we were very excited. We met behind St Peters Basilica and Immediately we felt to dampness and the change in air. It is very secure and has many glassed screened doors to keep the area being too exposed to the light and outside and outside environment. We saw the tomb of St Peter and heard so much interesting facts. Brid was keen to carry on a conversation with the Tour guide. She was the youngest on the tour. Infact, she was 6 months too young., but that didn’t stop her asking many quite thought provoking questions. Yeah to Homeschooling and delving into Roman history and the Saints for all these years.
Our tour ended with a viewing of the Papal Catacombs. And then widing up a staircase to be at last inside St Peters. It was Beautiful and what a way to do it. We were so Blessed to have had this experience on this day.
We avoided the MASSIVE queue you can see behind, by doing the Scavi Tour

It was pouring when we finally got ourselves outside several hours later.
There were these street sellers selling, depending on the weather, rain covers, water, hats umbrellas- which they pronouced umbrelli. We had a laugh so often at what they would come out with next, and how much they would reduce there cost for a sale.
We hopped on our Roma bus and got ourselves to our apartment to dry out., via a Gelati shop of course and a look  for somewhere to eat that evening.
The next day was our big day. We had tickets for an audience with Our Holy Father and Vatican Museum tickets. We were all excited and had to be up early to be at the access point by a 9am. As we were still jetlagged and Dermot developed a horrid night cough, we were still quite tired.
Nothing was going to stop this experience from being special. Brid later said being in the same room as our Holy Father was amazing and to be able to understand the many Latin words on the museum exhibits was really wonderful.  To  see the Sistine Chapel with my Family and experience all that Rome had to offer us,  as a family was such a Blessing. God had his hand over us the entire time.
We made use of the waiting time for meals to write postacrds and write up our journal.
We leave Rome with many more places to see an excuse to come back and a sense of excitement but nervousness of our next part of our Journey.. God please take care of us.      

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A science day...or ...two

Today instead of being on holidays Brid began her school work...well only Science really. Everything else is on track...She worked very hard last term to be in that position.
She has not been looking forward to it as she thought it maybe very hard...Maths, numbers , science mixed together = hard to Brid.
It was all she needed to do. So she nuckled in today and began, and nearly completed a whole module. She not only enjoyed it but Dermot and her had a lot of fun discusing various questions.
It gave her enormous confidence, so much so that she sped through and has only a module test to do tomorrow.
It was just lovely seeing and hearing her face and her voice as she gained more and more confidence until finally, "Mum I have finished the study questions". Wow. Well done honey..

Why did I ask her to do this module in the holidays? We missed 3 and a bit weeks of school last term. That was OK, but she has 3 dance/ ballet concerts to rehearse for, so I thought the less subjects she has to do the better.
It also will be lovely to have December free so we can enjoy Advent the build up to Christmas.
Now to put on paper the things we will do throughout Advent. !!!!!


Friday, 28 September 2012

A humble beginning ........

It was 9am and Dermot was determined to get to the airport early. 'Why' I say.?
He has been caught many times in all those Customs and Immigration lines. I knew we had pre-booked plane seats so I was a more layed back...
After a final check and a clean up of the house- I know a women thing to do, we put our 2 suitcases and 3 carry on bags into the hire car and off we drove, down the highway to Sydney international airport, excited and nervous...and yes we went straight through to 'No mans land' after we checked our bags in. We were in a long queue.! I had packed a couple of cut apples and water so we munched on them as we waited our turn- then it was time to dump the water and the fruit in the bins as we are not allowed to take anything on the planes from Australia.....and say Arriverderci to Australia for a few weeks.
Sitting in our seats we settled for our very very long flight to Rome via a 3 and a half hour stop over in  Hong Kong- at 2am Aussie time.!!! Not Fun, but part of international travel. A sleep- haha in the airport was how we spent our time in Hong Kong Airport- in between hearing the various announcements in both Chinese and English.
So a very weiry little family arrived in Rome. I wanted to freshen up, but before I knew it Dermot had navigated us out of Customs, so  before Brid and I knew it we were meeting the driver who would take us to our apartment. He spoke very little English, but that was Ok its all in the fun of it.
Dermot and I booked everything except the Airline tickets using online booking sites. It was stressful but fun, as we ticked off yet another city or town that we had booked..
We arrived at 7am, so by the time we cleared customs etc it was 8.30am. It was time to acclimatise ourselves. Ok Sunday morning, why am I so tired !!!!!. Our driver literally sped us to our accomodation, which we booked near the Piazza Navona. My favourite part of Rome. We looked outside the windows of the car to see the many ruins scattered through the streets of Rome. We said goodbye and thanked our driver, paid him, and as we were far to early to access our accomodation, we had a long breakfast at the local cafe'. Italian coffee, cakes, hot Chocolate and water, YUM...
So tired, but very excited to finally be here..

As I was familiar with this part of Rome after staying here in 05, with a group of teens and young adults from World Youth Day 05, I convinced Dermot it was OK to take our bags and have a look around. So 2 minutes walk away was The Piazza and I was finally taking my Sweetheart Dermot and our Brid to see it. I was excited to be doing this as a family.  

The gasp from Dermot was worth it all as we turned the corner. A huge square made of cobble stones, a fountain and the people just getting ready for the day, setting up stalls. A church or 2 in view. We took our bags with us and found out when the Sunday Mass times were. The Deacon was a little concerned about our bags but we reassured him and the Priest that  there was not a bomb in our bags and we were staying for Mass. This was there main concern.
Although Mass was in Italian, you know where the pauses are, where to respond- most of time. Where to say Our Father etc, etc.
We thanked the Priest and Deacon for letting us keep our bags in our view, and walked back to gain access to our apartment, along the cobble  stones and dodging the various motorbikes and cars along the way. It was now 12.30.
Now we could relax, have showers and put our feet up for a couple of hours.  

Thursday, 27 September 2012

So proud

As you are aware we have been away in Europe.. We had been gearing up to this for some time. Every time we came across a Saint or a new city we would put it on our list of areas to visit.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised when our sweet Brid started sharing different snip its of information with us on each place we visited.
It wasn't just the population is this or something boringly similar, but interesting little bits of trivia. My highlight was when we were  in Pompeii  telling her Dad all about what happened and when we were at the Lourve, she came bursting up to me "Mum its the Paintings from "Art through Faith and the Seton Press books". Interacting quite confidently with The tour Guide to the not so well known Scarvi Tour- underneath the Vatican.
It is such a thrill to give Brid the books, internet sites and watch her absorb all that knowledge and reall it. This trip has only deepened her understanding and knowledge of our world.
Sorry to boast everyone,
The Louvre precint area
               BUT I am quite a proud Mummy. Isn't homeschooling great. No pressure she delved and learnt herself without exams or tests or deadlines

Friday, 21 September 2012


This has been a long awaited part of our journey for Brid. She wanted to see it more than Dermot & I, I will leave my opinion til we get home but these are part of what we will be seeing...We really have ended our Pilgrimage and are just sight seeing, apart from Notre Dame and possibly St Bernadette

The most famous site in the world -Eiffel Tower

The Paris Opera House - where the world famous Paris Ballet perform

Arc de Triomphe

Our visit would not be complete without Mass at Notre Dame ...

Saturday, 15 September 2012


As we prepared for our Holiday/ pilgrimage, we asked various Priests and friends where they would go in France and Italy.
We were a blank canvas at first..We build our trip arround these recommendations, inspired by the Holy Spirit to guide us.
We have been well guided.
A lovely Priest Friend, suggested we don't forget Lourdes. So we are there this weekend...
We don't know what to expect, but have been suggested to just go with the flow...Not plan it, so thats our plan to just be guided.

photos will follow.......


Friday, 14 September 2012

St Therese

Brids Confirmation Saint is St Therese and as we have been learning and discussing Saints we have been looking at where they lived and fiding them on google earth, reading there story and finally Brid will get to see where Therese lived.
We have been in contact with the family house, so I am hoping we get to view it today after Mass.

We drove in from Orly airport, the other side of was an interesting drive so say the least. More about that when we get home....

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Goodbye Italy...

We have been driving all the way around Italy from Rome to Sorrento to Assisi, dropping into various places for a short visit and are about to hand in our car in favour of a Gondola..!!!! Its been an experience, but a journey and an adventure.

So next post we leave Italy and head to France...on a connecting airplane and our Pilgrimage continues...


Sunday, 9 September 2012


When I was on WYD 05 pilgrimage with one of our children, we visited Assisi...I loved it and couldn't wait to take Dermot back...

                                     So we will be seeing These 2 sights of many others.

Brid has her clothing organised as the clothing requirements are quite strict and in some places they ask for head coverings..
She will have no trouble with her style of modesty..