Thursday, 27 February 2014

Guest Post // Some Thoughts on Fitness

Firstly I’d like to thank Bonnie for the opportunity to do this guest post.

How fit are you?

I’m someone who really likes playing sports (basically any sport: soccer, cricket, rugby, tennis, etc - but particularly basketball). I’ve found that I need to keep fit to play well and I’m going to tell you on this guest post some of the ways I enjoy (or sometimes don’t enjoy when I’m in the middle of an exercise) keeping fit.

There are a lot of benefits (:P) to keeping fit, such as emergencies where perhaps you might have to run for a while to get help or lift someone out of a burning building. Also it will help with heart health, flexibility, and just overall healthiness in your life.

I have listed several exercises below that I find are really good ways to keep fit. All are easy movements that can be done with minimal equipment (except maybe for the one involving a rope) because all are body-weight exercises.


The squat is one of the exercises I do every day in warming up for basketball. I do it to warm up my knee muscles but it is also good for core strength, flexibility, and balance. You know how you see babies squatting down on their heels? It’s easy for them because they’re flexible but as you get older you can lose this skill and actually find it hard to squat all the way down without losing your balance. They are one of the most useful exercises you can do, and you’ll really appreciate being good at them when you are 80 years old and want to get up off the couch.

Start in a standing position

Squat down until the crease of your hips is level with or lower than the top of your knee. Keep back straight and chest up.

The push-up is not just good for your chest and shoulder muscles but also your torso and some of your leg muscles. A thing I like to do every-now-and-then is check how many I can do in a row without stopping. (My basketball coaches make us do these all the time :P)
Check how many you can do without stopping. J

Start with chest touching or almost touching the ground

Extend your arms until they’re locked out. Keep your back straight

This is a really good exercise that I guess could come in handy in a number of situations. Hold onto a bar, lower yourself until you’re dangling and then try and pull yourself up and get your chin over the bar. This can be quite challenging at first but with a bit of practice it’s not too hard to get five or more in a row. There is also another way you can do pull-ups which is called the Kipping Pull-up. Basically you swing your body and use the momentum to pull yourself upwards. It’s much quicker and less energy consuming this way but it takes a little while to learn to get your timing right.

Start from a hanging position

Pull your body upwards until your chin is over the bar

Rope Climb:
Another really good exercise is the rope climb and this too, I’m sure, could come in handy in emergencies. To climb a rope you need a mixture of both your legs and arms - probably more your legs than arms in fact, if you do it right.
We have plaited together a rope and hung it from a tree and all the kids in our family enjoy climbing (or swinging on) it.
Hannah and Stephen climbing the ropes    J

So there you have four body-weight exercises; all of them will help you get fitter. But the way I most enjoy keeping fit is by playing sport (namely basketball).

Sport is the most fun way of keeping fit, particularly if you are on team (like in basketball). And just practicing whatever sport you play (unless it’s bowling) will really help. Maybe learn to run longer distances, or short distances faster? Maybe you should try out basketball if you’ve never played it before!

Me shooting a jump-shot  J

Also I would like to learn what types of exercises and sports other people do. Thanks for reading this and I hope you have fun keeping fit.

When you’re thinking about exercise though, just remember this too:
“for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).


About the author // Matthew:

I'm 15 years old and the oldest child in a family of 8 kids. I live near Christchurch, New Zealand, and I love being a Christian in the Catholic Church. I enjoy basketball, writing, reading, and a variety of other sports. I am writing a book at the moment. I play basketball for a club called Gators and I really love the game. I am also a homeschooler, and I enjoy being able to spend the whole day with my family.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Stormy Skies

We have Abbie to thank for these amazing photos of a very amazing sky right above our house!!

See the way the cloud lightens over on the right?

This is in the other direction... the difference!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

These are Awesome Instruments

Hello everyone. How are you all this Tuesday?

Well, today I have something a little wacky to show you. I found this accidentally-on-purpose while looking for something else, and after seeing it, decided you might like a laugh today. Or not. Making music is a very serious matter.... isn't it???

Here we go. I proudly present to you... Vienna's Vegetable Orchestra!!!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Thank you very much, Rhoda!!

I told Rhoda I would do a blog post thanking her publicly for her awesome efforts. In case you don't know what she did to deserve such a mention, here is what she did.

Rhoda noticed my button grab box on my sidebar wasn't functioning right. Possessed with the information of how bad I am at doing that sort of thing, she very kindly made a completely new one for me (button with grab box), set it up and everything, and emailed me the code!!

Everyone give Rhoda a big round of applause!

Rhoda, thank you!! I couldn't do it myself!

With Masses Of Appreciation,
Bonnie :)

P.S. If you would like to grab my button, here is the code. It is also in a little grab box under my button on the sidebar to your right.

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Bonnie's Blessings" width="125" height="125" /></a>

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Gift of New Life + Brothers

The gift of new life... a beautiful butterfly in a little green case.

About a third of the way from the right is another one, if you can't see it.

Jacob with his 'invention' of Duplo blocks.

This one is a darker green because it is more mature. We are hoping we will get to see the butterfly come out of it soon!

Caleb with his gun

And the last photo.... two beautiful chrysalises hanging next door to each other. :)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A few (very) old photos

Lydia, now 8

Danella (left) and Sophie in their costumes for a homeschool production.

My costume for said production

Left to right: Danella, Bonnie, Abbie, Sophie. Ben is in front. Weren't we cute back then! Look at little Sophie with her pigtails... awww...

Wow, this was ages ago!!

Jacob, he's 3 now!

Guess who this cute wee chap is. Johnny! His hair was so white! Now it's more brown than blonde!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Let your Light Shine

(Just before I begin, I think this is really cool. My favourites are #8 and #26. Check it out. I don't have a mac computer, but if I did, guess what I would be doing. :P )

I'm sure you have seen the moon on occasion, right? Whether it was a full moon or even just a tiny sliver of translucent pearl, what did you notice about it?

One thing that I love about the moon is that it shines. 

It shines!!


Well, the moon (as you probably know) does not have any shine-iness to it's name. It is actually perfectly dull and dim and dark. Yet it shines. It gives forth a glow.

Job 25:5 says: "If even the moon does not shine..."

The moon does not actually shine with it's own strength. It shines with the strength of another, namely, the sun.

From this page (emphasis added):
The Moon gives off no light of its own but reflects sunlight from its rocky surface. What we call moonshine is actually sunshine reflected by the Moon.

The moon reflects the sun's shine!

Can you see what I am getting at?

As the moon reflects the sun's shine, so we should reflect Jesus's light. We can't shine on our own. Just as the moon has to let the sun shine through it, so we should let the Son shine through us.

Letting your light shine is letting Jesus shine through you. We are not aiming to get the glory, but we are aiming to shine in such a way that our Father gets the glory.

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV):

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

Let your light shine!!


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Assorted photographs

Danella in the canoe

Ben's turn

Lake Ellesmere

Our most recent puzzle. This one was interesting. You did the crossword, then made up the puzzle (which is of the answers) to see if you were right. We were right. :)

Wee Jana


Mum and Grandad in the kitchen on Valentine's Day. See all the apricot preserves some of us made that morning.

A few of the decorations

This is from way back here, when we did our bike trip. I am in front, then Danella, then Caleb, then Laura. Dad is between me and Danella.

We're off! Dad (behind us) only went a little of the way, that's why he doesn't have any panniers.

Proud big brother

Monday, 17 February 2014

My Reading Habits

So, I found this little Reading Habits Q and A a million years ago, and I saved it in a draft post. I've only just come across it when scrolling through my post list..... hence why I have no idea where I originally found it!!

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:
Oh yes. I love eating nuts, fruit (peaches and nectarines and apples... mmm) and anything I can get my hands on, really! I like to eat while I read. Definitely. I try not to get it on the book, of course.

What is your favorite drink while reading?
Milkshakes!! Chocolate or banana. I don't have them very often though.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
NO WAY! I could never do that to a book!! Oh well, actually, I have marked a book once or twice. But there was a reason! If there is profanity/swearing/cursing/taking the Lord's name in vain, then I definitely scribble that part out/whiteout it/black it out immediately. Not that the books I read have profanity in them very often, but I've done it once or twice when it was necessary. (And I wouldn't do it to a library book, needless to say!)

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
I am ashamed to say that I am a 'laying the book flat open' person. I should really use bookmarks, but there never seems to be a bookmark on hand where I am reading! Sometimes I use a scrap of paper to keep my place, but usually I lay it flat open or memorize the page number and shut it. (And I'm very careful not to lay it flat open if it doesn't belong to me!)

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
I can stop anywhere. I prefer to wait until the end of an exciting bit, but if I am called away urgently I often don't really get to choose!

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
No, I can't say I actually have ever done that. Nor do I want to.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
I do. I like to further my vocabulary, and I like to know the meaning of words I read!

What are you currently reading?
The Elsie Dinsmore series. I'm on book #18, Elsie at Viamede. Oh, and I am also currently reading Volcano Adventure by Willard Price. Just for fun. :)

What is the last book you bought?
Personally or family? My family last bought the last few books in the Elsie Dinsmore series, but I can't remember the last book I bought personally! We tend to buy them together or get given them as gifts. I got given some of the Chuck Black Kingdom books for Christmas, which was awesome.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
I can easily read more than one.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
Yes - anytime! I like reading stretched out on my bed or curled up on the couch. It's quieter in my room though.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alone?
Series books are cool because you've got the continuation of the story... but stand-alones are nice too because you know the outcome of the plot once you've finished one book! They both have their disadvantages and advantages, but I probably enjoy reading series books more on the whole.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Frank Peretti. I love his books.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)
We try to sort them by author. But our shelves get kind of messed up, so often it's just random books anywhere. That is NOT a good way to have your shelves organized, but that's how it ends up. Until I go through and tidy it all up again. :)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Any excuse will do....

In our family, we use any excuse to have a party!! On Valentine's Day we all got dressed up, decorated the house and ate a special tea (including a cake which Danella baked). I do have photos of the decorations which I will hopefully post soon.

We see Valentine's Day as a day to show each other how much we appreciate and love each and every member of our family, and celebrate it with a party! :) It was an awesome evening. The following photos were taken after tea.

All the girls are in pink and the guys are dressed up, too!

Grandma and Grandad with the grandchildren.

Caleb, Danella, Johnny, Sophie and Ben just before tea. If you look carefully you can see some Valentine's decorations in the background.

Grandma and Grandad with Jana

Mummy holding Jana. Note Mummy's cute Valentine's Day necklace. :)

Did you do anything to celebrate the occasion?

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Me and My Twin

That's right - you didn't know I have a twin, did you?!?

The twins... only 14 months apart... that's twinnish enough for me!

Sisters (twins) for ever!

Just horsin' around!

Ignore that completely dumb expression on my face, please!

The tough one for the experts... Which is which? Is Danella on the left or right? Am I on the left or right?