Welcome to our world of 4 boys, Autism, Homeschooling and life in general.

Hi I'm Angie, busy Homeschooling Mum of 4 young boys aged between 4 and 11 yrs.

Bailey (11) is a huge car enthusiast, particularly classic cars, VW 'Herbie' beetles and VW Combi vans. Bailey lives with Autism (ASD) and Epilepsy but does very well coping with everyday life these days since we made the change to homeschooling back in 2010.

Dane (8) enjoys playing guitar, building Lego masterpieces and all things superhero! Dane also lives with a form of Autism (Aspergers) and a Language developmental delay (Apraxia of speech).

Ehren (5) is our gentle 'giant' and is a keen student in our Homeschool classroom. He enjoys both physical and mental pursuits and has a clear interest in currency!

Fraser (aged 4) is our little pocket rocket. He's a confident, head-strong little boy who never stops talking, singing or dancing!

Follow us on our journey as we learn about the world around us in our own unique way!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


A friend has asked me to give her some ideas for what to do whilst staying up here these holidays. We love to travel and do exciting things and quite often find lots of fun stuff in and around Brisbane. We take day trips as far North as Bribie Island, out west to places like Ipswich and Toowoomba and love visiting the Gold Coast and it's hinterland. Here are my top 10 picks for a day trip with low cost but maximum thrills.

I recommend keeping a kit in your car for all these day trips including Water (Aldi water dispenser only $3.99 great for filling bottles), Insect repellent (Bushman is great), Hats, Sunscreen, good walking shoes, camera, spare light shirt or jacket for warm months or heavy jacket/trackpants in Winter. You could even pack a small first aid kit and add a few extra bandaids for those little trips kids often have.

1) NATURAL ARCH: Also known as Natural Bridge, this is located within the Springbrook National Park. It is approximately 1 hour drive from Burleigh Heads or about 1 1/2 hours from Brisbane. Take a short, easy bushwalk (approx 10 mins each way) to a magnificent cave made of basalt rock. Inside you will see the amazing waterfall and at night the added treat of cave bats and glow worms on the walk to and from the cave and on the wall of the cave itself. This is a real treat for kids and adults alike. Take along your insect repellent, good walking shoes and water. I recommend visiting a little before sundown to get the cave just on sunset and enjoy the amazement of nature at it's finest! WEB http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/index.html

2) BEST OF ALL LOOKOUT: This lookout would be the perfect place to visit earlier in the day before you head to Natural Arch. It is in close proximity to the cave and there are quite a few nice little country cafes to eat lunch at on your journey. Follow your way along Springbrook Rd, towards Springbrook National Park and take the Repeater Station Rd along til you follow the signs to Best of All Lookout. This will give you amazing views across to New South Wales and of Byron Bay. Did you know Byron Bay is the southernmost tip of mainland Australia?

3) THE WORKSHOPS RAIL MUSEUM: Located on North St, Ipswich this place is an absolute winner for all kids in love with trains but if you child is not then rest assured they will be once they have visited this place! Plenty to see and do, you'll need to allow at least 2 hours but we've had days where have spent at least 4 hrs, especially during special events. Their biggest event of the year is the Day Out with Thomas and it commences this coming Boxing Day and on til 29 January 2012. The cost for entry to the Museum are fairly reasonable considering how much fun you'll all have and you can bring along a picnic lunch to eat somewhere on the shady grounds to cut your costs down even more. Otherwise if you like there is a cafe on site with very nice meals, sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Day entry is $57 Family (2A,up to 4C) $19 per adults, $11 per child (3-15) and free for under 3s. You can also purchase Annual passes for equivalent cost to 2 visits, which is great value as they have special events on all year round. WEB http://www.theworkshops.qm.qld.gov.au/

4) SOUTHBANK PARKLANDS: Located in South Brisbane, opposite the city these parklands have it all. Great for weekend markets, swimming in the man-made beach/lagoons, strolling along the riverside, catching a ferry across to town or stopping for a delicious lunch or dinner, you'll find everything here to keep the family entertained. I can recommend grabbing some fish and chips and sitting on a blanket on a nice shady tree or dining in at Amicis for some yummy Italian inspired food. Take a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane (costs involved), treat yourself to a yummy dessert at Max Brenners or take a walk over one of the bridges to get to town. I can recommend parking in the Convention Centre parking (one block over from Southbank) as there are always plenty of parking and it is usually cheaper if staying for more than an hour or two. WEB http://www.visitsouthbank.com.au/

5) BRISBANE MUSEUM PRECINCT: Located in South Brisbane, just a few minutes walk north of Southbank we have the QLD Museum, The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and the Qld Art Gallery. The Museum itself was partially damaged by floodwater earlier this year so it is due to reopen in January 2012 after extensive refurbishments. Both the Museum and GOMA are free to enter with only special events payable. My boys love GOMA as there are usually totally unique exhibitions to interest the children and keep them amused for at least an hour or two. The Museum also has the ScienceCentre operate from it's premises. There is a cost to enter but it is quite reasonable as you can expect to spend at least an hour or more learning and interacting with cool exhibits.

6) BRIBIE ISLAND: Unlike many of Queensland's islands this island is accessible via a bridge. It is located about an hour drive North of Brisbane or just under 2 hours from the Gold Coast by heading towards the Sunshine Coast on the Bruce Highway. Follow the highway and take the Bribie Island Rd exit just north of BurpengaryWoorim beach. There is plenty of space for you to find your own piece of the beach and take a dip or sit back and relax. If you head North enough you will see the city of Caloundra. Towards the top end there is also a back access point so you can head back around direct to the front part of the island. This is particularly handy if you get stuck with the tides or washouts that sometimes run across the sand. Bribie is one place Clif and I love and have been visiting many times a year even before we had the kids.

7) MOUNT GRAVATT LOOKOUT: Located on Shire Rd, Mount Gravatt this is a great vantage point to see beautiful sights of Brisbane and out into Moreton Bay. There is a small children's playground at the top and a Cafe-Restaurant that serves Australian cuisine. We often grab some Red Rooster which is at the bottom of the mountain and eat it up at the top whilst overlooking the city before giving the kids a run around to burn off some energy. It's a nice spot and usually nowhere near as busy as Mt Cootha Lookout, which is also a lovely place to see Brisbane in all it's glory.

8) MALENY CHEESE FACTORY: Located at 1 Clifford St, Maleny. We often take a drive to Maleny to have a delicious cheese platter lunch at the factory, followed by a stop in Maleny town centre for a browse through the shops, buying of some candy from the candy shop and then grabbing some wine on the way out (right side when exiting, just look for the big wine barrel). It's also a nice spot to take a drive as there are really lovely country views of the hills and farmland. It will take you just over an hour drive from Brisbane or closer to two hours from the Gold Coast. There is a really nice park on the way in/out located on the corner of Caloundra St and Steve Irwin Way that we often let the kids stretch their legs at on the way home. WEB http://www.malenycheese.com.au/

9) JACOBS WELL: This quiet little town sits along the ocean's edge tucked neatly behind several small islands so it's a great spot to take young children for a swim in the 'ocean' as the water is gentle and there is a small netted enclosure to swim. It has some small shade sails right on the sand so you can sit right with the children whilst they build sandcastles and splash at the water's edge. The town itself has a few stores, take-away places and a pub so you can take along your picnic lunch or grab a bite to eat whilst there. It is an easy drive from Brisbane or Gold Coast with the exit off the M1 (Pacific Motorway) at Yatala (opposite side to Yatala Pies). There is also a Drive-Inn located at Yatala so if you wanted to make a whole day of it you could grab a movie at the end of the day. Make sure you line your car up early though as it can get quite busy on weekends and peak holiday periods. WEB: http://www.yataladriveintheatre.com.au/         http://www.yatalapies.com.au/

10) HONEYWORLD GOLD COAST: Located on 35 Tomewin St, Currumbin, directly opposite CURRUMBIN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY. This is a great place to take the kids for a taste test of a variety of honey products and for a small fee you can take the children through the back and learn all about bees and how they make the honey. My big boys loved this place and sat listening so well for the 30 min session. You move from room to room and get to see how honeycomb is spun and taste super fresh honey. You can start your day off here then move across the Wildlife park for a full day visit or FREE to simply feed the lorikeets. Check with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for feeding times. WEB http://www.superbeetourism.com.au/maps.htm          http://www.cws.org.au/

So here are just 10 of our favourite places to visit! I can think of another 10 just off the top of my head so keep your eyes pealed for part two soon! Have fun in the great outdoors!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


What a year 2011 has been. It's the first year in the last 3 that I haven't had a baby but strangely it has been one of the most fulfilling. I have felt this year more than ever like a brilliant new butterfly emerging from it's cocoon. For the first time in probably my whole life I feel like I have a perfect balance between being there for family and friends but also making sure I make time for myself.

I've made many new wonderful friends this year, the kind of friends some people search for their whole lives and still never find. I'm also very lucky to have made contact with old friends this year too. I've had such little time these last few years that I hadn't had a chance to see my close friends nearly often enough. Those of you reading this will know who you are. I thank you for your love, support, friendship, company and excitement.

I made a pact with myself this year that once I was fully recovered from my Hysterectomy I would take better care of myself. It's not that I've lived a ridiculously unhealthy life before but just I'd lost touch with the old Angie, the one who loved exercise, being in the sunshine outdoors and eating really good, fresh, healthy food. It wasn't a new years resolution, it was a promise to myself to ensure I had the energy to live a full life with my children, husband, family and friends.

After recovering, around February I embarked on this mission. Now almost a year later I am down 3 dress sizes and feeling fit and fabulous. I didn't need to join a gym or a weight loss program, I just needed to get my zest back for life. I haven't felt this good since I fell pregnant with Bailey 9 years ago.

This year I decided to officially homeschool the second of our boys, Dane. He was due for Prep, but I decided not to send him and see how we went at home. I probably would've gone crazy if it wasn't for meeting a local Homeschooling group for regular playdates, learning days, sports and excursions. The boys have all made some great friends with other homeschooling families. It's so nice to see them so happy to see all their friends each and every week. Dane has come a long way since schooling at home. He has just started to read basic early readers and is increasingly impressing me with his writing, which is almost as neat as his brother. Bailey has mastered addition and subtraction, his spelling has improved dramatically and is counting money with very little assistance. He's also come a lot more out of his shell this year. He's better able to manage stressful situations without totally falling apart and even tries to push himself out of his comfort zone from time to time.

Ehren has been talking up a storm this year. It's so nice to know he won't be needing speech therapy like his two older brothers. At 2 1/2 yrs he doesn't seem to have any developmental delays and is constantly surprising me with his conversational skills. He's a real gem to have in the family, always using his manners and thinking about his other family members.

Fraser turned one this year. He has started walking, talking and voicing his very strong opinion on things. He is very outgoing and seems to strive to keep up with his big brothers. Out of all the boys he's probably the one with the personality most like my own. Even though I know that means he'll be high energy and a chatterbox I'm happy to know he'll be full of life and character!

I'm very lucky to have this wonderful life. I'm so happy that I married a man that I'm in total love with and who loves me regardless of my faults. He amazes me all the time with how well he copes with four children in the house, let alone two born so close together.

So after such a great year how on Earth will I top it next year? Well, I have some crazy ideas rolling around in my head. I have a few friends turning 40 in 2012 and we have some big plans to celebrate, perhaps even involving a sky-dive! I'm sure you'll all be the first to hear about it ;)

Thanks for reading in 2011
Stay tuned for 2012