Friday, July 31, 2009

inside and out

meaningful learning

'As often as possible, we want to leave the work, the interest, the ideas, the solutions, the suggestions, the purpose, the guiding, the questioning, the excitement where it belongs — with the child.'

'They will work energetically to construct knowledge — to add bits of information and knowledge together and make something that is bound together with meaning.'

'But so often, we don’t give them something whole to work with. We give them broken bits and expect them to concentrate, memorize, repeat back — even though those bits don’t have meaning. They don’t make sense. (And I mean that in the deepest sense of the phrase — they do not create real understanding.) And they are swiftly forgotten.'
-inspiring words from Lori at Camp Creek Blog.

And so it was with Jett and his garden.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

the love and determination of a 2 year old

One of our many guinea-pigs Stardust was brought inside recently as she was showing a very ready tummy and needed to be put into the 'birthing centre' as Jasi calls the inside hutch. It was only 2 days of waiting when we discovered  3 little babies joining her. Now I just need to keep them safe from little two year old hands which are desperate to show much love. I had told her when the babies are a little bigger she can hold them but right now they need to be with their Mama.  Two days later Bella declared 'the babies are older now!' which of course was true but not old enough. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

experimenting in the kitchen

Zach had been asking for to do some experimenting and make up his own recipe, so I let him at all those foods we haven't been using in our cooking the last month.

eggs, flour, water...
add LOTS of cocoa....

put in the oven and bake....hmm...'too much cocoa Mama'.

Oh well treats for the chickens, Missy got some too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

a day is...

full of questions-
- I am so tired how on earth am I going to get through to the end
-how am I going to be all they need today
-will I have what it takes to be cleaner, food preparer, dispute settler, negotiator, nurturer, rythym keeper and so on.
full of limitations-
-I haven't even got my feet to the floor and they need wheat free, egg free, sugar free, dairy free everything free breakfast, lunch and dinner and I don't feel like getting my head around it today. - First born son is ungrateful, unhappy with everything and everyone and if I see that snarl on his face one more time I'm going to send him to bed for the day without any books.
-The very thing I so desire to create here - a place of grace and warmth is something I never had and my dreams last night brought back memories of a childhood filled with pain, now I hear the banter between them, it has started early today-'you ugly pig how dare you pinch me!'
Oh Lord how to teach grace when I feel empty.
full of mistakes-
harsh words and lack of patience

a day is... also full of....


his mercies are new every morning.

Friday, July 17, 2009

chickens and three more

I love seeing the chickens wander freely in our backyard and hearing them talk at the back door. I love giving all our scraps to those chickens knowing its not waste but going full circle. I love how Isabella comes to the kitchen with an egg in her hand saying 'look what Lou-lou made for me!'
It makes me feel like a piece of country is right here with us in suburbia.
And so it couldn't have been more perfect when at our weekly art classes the children made chicken baskets out of clay. They painted them in acrylic and we now have three more chickens making themselves at home- dracula , lou lou the 2nd, and silverwing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


We've been reading and talking about homes the last few weeks and it has evolved as these things do when you leave them alone.
One of us, I can't recall who found a book at the library called 'Homes around the world'.  After reading it I left it open on the table and the next few days conversations, constructions and drawings began.
The dream homes were drawn with each person having their best things in their room- animals in the boys rooms, remote-control cars in Dada's, books and tea in mama's.
Conversations erupted as we discussed what we have and don't have, what others have and don't have; what makes a home, and then on to things like being thankful for what we have and giving to others and how in turn this brings happiness into our own hearts. 
Sitting around the dinner table we imagined our dream homes: we'd be living in a tree house in the Amazon forest surrounded by wild birds and animals much like Swiss Family Robinson if sthe  boys had their way. The girls dream of green mountains covered in wildflowers, ocean in front and ancient forests behind, clear water creeks and plenty of wildlife.

Home- where the story of their lives begins and gets written day by day. Not in the wooden walls that surround but within the daily warmth that we extend and share with each other. The tiny seemingly insignificant moments where we smile, caress, listen and stop to connect, laugh, comfort and pray with one another. 

And of course home is with our bestest friends, the ones we feel so completely comfortable with we can lay it all on them and they won't bat an eyelid.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

proof of learning

Sometimes I start to freak out getting worried that stuff isn't getting done. You know stuff- the proof that learning is happening. I'll ask 6yob to get his Letterland workbooks and 8yog to find her copywork and 9yob to show me his book he was working on a few weeks ago. And when I hear groans and complaints I feel irritated that the children aren't happy just to do as I ask, and I end up having a confrontational discussion with my 6yob about how this is not hard and what on earth is wrong!! and he tells me his brain is just not working.

Then I realise that this is just stuff. That's all it is. Its not true learning and its not what I keep my kids home for.
And so I send the 6yo outside and make muffins and tea with the little one. We all have morning tea around a story and they all talk at once telling their excited thing, and 6yob shows his curly leaf with the creature inside and his eyes are all sparkly with wonder and imagination and I see again-the proof that learning is happening...its all in those sparkly eyes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

gratitude on a monday

a good way to start the week I think....

:: the heartfelt prayers said at our morning time
:: some time to read this new book over the weekend
:: a new softening in an old relationship
:: a felt presence of his daily mercies
:: the imperfect and often messy but full to the brim with creative life that is our home
:: an unexpected gift
:: a beautiful nature movie with a beautiful nature-loving boy

Sunday, July 5, 2009

allergy -free cooking

In an effort to figure out some health issues with 9yob we have embarked on a 3-6month period of staying away from foods that his blood test showed highly reactive to. This includes eggs, sugarcane, dairy and gluten and a few others like his much loved oats. We usually have porridge for breakfast most mornings.
To support and perhaps improve over all health ( thinking especially 2yog who still wakes with wind issues a few times a night), we are all doing egg, gluten, sugar and dairy free. And can you believe our chickens only just started laying a few weeks prior to us starting this new eating plan so we will be giving eggs away to friends and neighbours.
The hardest meal to adjust too has been breakfast as everyone liked their milky porridge or muesli and we have yet to come up with a milk substitute we like.
Although hard these changes have been very positive. I feel more organised with our weekly menu, we aren't eating out as much, we are trying a variety of foods and generally eating better.
I've been using Zylotol and Agave syrup for sweeteners in baking and really no one notices the difference. There are so many substitutes available now its just a matter of finding one that works for you and your own needs.

Some favourites have been these morning muffins especially good on these cooler mornings and they are literally gone in minutes. I'm not sure wether it will get easier or harder as we go along but so far the transition hasn't been too difficult and really the kids have adapted so well with few grumblings- I think all the baking goodies helps.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

they notice

Jett- I love you mama
me - I love you too
Jett- I love you
me thinking somethings on his mind
me- i love you too Jetti
jett- When do you think your gonna get some proper sleep? When Bella's three?
me- Sometime soon I'm hoping
Jett- then we could get back to our normal routine and get more stuff done
me- I love you Jett
he kisses me and walks off