Saturday, 28 July 2012

Jobs to earn pocket money #1

Our move to the country has brought many new opportunities into the lives of our kids. For example, they are now able to walk to school, rather than needing to be driven. One of the best, or the worst of these opportunities - depending on when you ask their opinion - has been the chance to learn to do some significant jobs around the house to earn pocket money.

Over the two weeks of the school holidays, Jeff and I taught the three older kids their new jobs. They took to most of them quickly, though Anna and Abigail will continue to need my supervision or assistance over the next term as they continue to develop the required skills.

Abigail now knows how to use the washing machine. It was funny watching Abi remember the steps to getting the settings correct:

One cause of distress was the broken cold water solenoid which led to a flooded laundry. We learnt to appreciate the benefits of a floor with a (heretofore mysterious) slope. But mostly the washing has been a fun job for Abigail.

She also transfers the washing to the dryer as required and sorts the dry washing into each person's pile before folding her own washing and folding the linen with my help. I have really appreciated Abigail's work for the family, and she has loved earning $2 pocket money each week.

Anna has been tackling jobs in the kitchen, especially baking a loaf of bread each day for the school lunches. There is no regular locally made fresh bread available from the stores here. Although the convenience store does bake some days of the week, these are not predictable. So Anna has been responsible for setting the breadmaker each evening for weekday lunches, and first thing in the morning for warm bread for weekend lunches.

Anna also sets the table, dries the dishes, and helps cook whenever we have time to help her to help us. For these kitchen jobs, Anna has been earning $3 each week, and enjoying the reward of tasty home cooked bread each morning for breakfast as well.

Joshua has the job that requires the most muscles! He splits and stacks the wood for our fire most days, or whenever the firewood stack in the mudroom is getting low. He also cleans the fireplace door each morning before he lights the fire or stokes it up again:

Making sure the wood supply doesn't get too low is an essential task in a town where we have woken up several mornings to frost on the lawn or fog in the air. Joshua earns $4 each week, and we are grateful that he likes to get up early and perform his jobs promptly, often before several other family members have even risen from their beds.

From the time the kids have been old enough to walk carrying something they have been responsible for taking their meal dishes to the sink with scraps in the bin on the way. They've also been responsible for keeping their bedrooms moderately tidy, making their beds each day, taking their dirty clothes to the wash basket, putting their clean folded clothes away, and other personal chores. However, up until this time we have not been paying the children pocket money, although we have paid them for occasional jobs around the house when they have asked to earn some money for a particular purchase. So their first Pay Day was occasion for many smiles!

PS: Samuel has a job as well, which he completes to earn 50c each week. His job did not begin until after the holidays, when we were given a special gift by one of the ladies from our church. More on that in another post.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Storing and Organising Lego

To the astonishment of many, our substantial Lego collection is now sorted.

Yes, the seemingly impossible has now been achieved.

When a Lego collection gets as big as ours, it can be hard to locate that certain piece you want to make a particular creation. Sorting by colour makes the finding process just that little bit easier. We have sorted our Lego by colour for over a year now, but we have recently bought a few new boxes to streamline the process.

I do a major colour sort at the end of each school holiday, about every three months. In between times, Lego is either put away properly by colour or just put into one large Unsorted Box. Sorting this box is the task for the end of the holidays, or earlier if it gets too full too quickly. It takes about a day to sort one 50L tub, with breaks and distractions, unless I have help - which can make the task take longer, if the help consists of diverting the unsorted Lego pieces to unfinished Lego creations!

We have boxes with dividers for individual colours:

We have boxes without dividers for the black, dark grey, light grey and white pieces, since there are so many:

We have a box for the base plates:

We even have a box for all those clear pieces, and another for several hundred Lego people, several dozen horses and all their accoutrements:

Best of all, almost all of the boxes fit neatly under our bed, ready to be brought out on the weekend.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Jeff's induction

Jeff's induction was led by Rev John Campbell on behalf of the Baptist Churches
of Western Australia. (John is the pastor who baptised me.)

Questions to and affirmations from Jeff on his calling to the ministry of the C-F Baptist Church:

Question 1: Do you believe in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour?

Question 2: Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired, trustworthy Word of God and is the authority on all matters of faith and conduct?

Question 3: Do you promise to fulfil your calling with integrity; preaching, leading, pastoring, teaching, doing the work of an evangelist and equipping the Church for ministry and service?

Question 4: Do you enter, with a willing heart, this ministry for which you have been called? Do you, with God's help, promise to lead and serve the Church with energy – mental, spiritual and physical? Do you commit to enter into the local community, assisting the congregation to effectively live and proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? Do you respect the congregational authority of the Church?

Question 5: Do you commit yourself to the regular searching of the Word of God and to prayer, for your personal spiritual welfare and for your effective ministry in the Church of God?

Questions to, and affirmations from the members of the C-F Baptist Church:

Question 1: Will you the members of the C-F Baptist Church accept as your Pastor Jeff J, for the living and proclaiming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Response: We will.

Question 2: Will you treat with respect and commit to support Jeff as your Pastor? Will you work with him wholeheartedly as God's people, faithfully upholding him in prayer? Will you love, encourage and enable him to effectively minister to the Church of God?
Response: We will.

Commitment to the J family - Questions to and affirmations from the congregation of the C-F Baptist Church:

Question 1: Will you, the congregation of the C-F Baptist Church welcome into your hearts as family Jeff and Sharon, Joshua, Anna, Abigail and Samuel? Will you faithfully love and encourage them as they minister in the family of God?
Response: We will.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Tree Change

We've moved to the country!

Just in case the "Baptist Manse" sign didn't give it away, after two months of unemployment, Jeff has just started as the pastor of his second church, CBC. We are now happy residents of a Great Southern town with a population of 280 - well, 286, now that we've moved in!

Our Tree Change tree:
In Summer, when it has leaves, it will dominate the back yard. Now it provides an excellent climbing tree with the ladder leaned against it to provide access.

Jeff has a huge workshop shed in the back yard, and there is also a smaller gardening shed. Attached to the garden shed is a source of joy for Samuel: a chook run. Some friends from church have offered us a few chickens on the lay, so we will be making use of the run very soon. Out of the picture is my own personal source of joy: a large rotary clothesline. After nine months without one, after our landlord refused to replace the one that rusted through and fell over at our last home, I was overjoyed to see our new line in the back yard when we moved in.

Thank you, God, for blue sky and sunshine.
Thank you, God, for an outside washing line!

Inside, things are starting to take shape. I can't say the rooms are starting to feel like home, though. We felt at home from the first moment we walked through the door! I'm pretty sure the lovely pale yellow walls had something to do with that.

Our family lounge room, with our potbelly fire (and a box of paper and cardboard moving leftovers to help get the fire started each morning):

The dining room, complete with new dining table, which we purchased second hand for $300 from our old neighbours, along with four new chairs (two of which now reside in the lounge room until needed).

Our new kitchen:
This is probably as tidy and clean as it's ever going to be!

Our bedroom, my side:
I have made a decision to restrain myself when it comes to junk and books in the bedroom. If it is paper that needs dealing with or filing, it goes in the tray on the bookshelf, and I have a reminder on my Due app to do filing every second Friday. Magazines and catalogues I want to read go in here as well, until I actually get around to reading them. I have a small dish that I was given for Christmas a year and a half ago by a lovely lady from our previous church that I use to hold jewellery and my watch that I take off at night. The only things I am allowing myself to put on my bed side table are one book that I am presently reading; my small pile of Bible, journal and pencil case; and my iPhone. Library books go in a small pile on the left of the bottom bedside table shelf, with another pile on the right side with my other notebooks (one for home making, one on social skills) and a commentary on the book of the Bible I am presently studying. Nothing else! I am being ruthless. My long term Books to Read pile has become half a shelf of my bedroom bookcase. Now I will have a study with a desk of my own, books I am reading for my theological studies are going in that room.

Our bedroom, Jeff's side:
Jeff has made the biggest change: he now has an entire tall bookshelf with his novels and books he wants to read in the near-ish future, rather than the massive piles of books on his bedside table which had been on the verge of collapsing for the past three years. He also has a "Man Box" with handyman fix-it odds and ends hidden on the bottom shelf, for easy access without visible mess.

I took these photos to remind me how tidy certain rooms can be. However, we have by no means unpacked everything. Jeff's office, now that we have bought five new bookshelves from IKEA, is starting to look like an office instead of a book box collection. But my study, which will also be the toy storage room, is still full of yet-to-be-unpacked boxes and missing a desk, which awaits a few finishing touches in the workshop shed.

Even those rooms that are pretty much unpacked, although not fully ordered and sorted, show the impact of four kids (plus a new friend):

I'll post an update on these rooms when they are looking their best!