Monday, March 31, 2008

Sorrow.

Can everyone just please go find your husband/partner and tell them that you love them? And then stop and be grateful for the lives that we have. Jackie, I am so sorry for your loss.

OMG. LOL.

This is what happens on the third day of a fast. And in the experience, we discovered that the Addams Family were homeschoolers, and very possibly Waldorf Homeschoolers: they knit, garden, play, learn languages, cook.



Gawd, I love this.
(I recommend continuing on to parts two and three after this one, but I didn't want to embed them all.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Feast and famine

I'm having a bad food day. I notice that since I brought the kids home, I have been gaining weight. Now, I am by no means corpulent, but I am certainly that average American in a size 10-12. What that means is that there's no room for any increase. In addition, I have been extremely tired and moody. All these things point to the food I am eating (or not eating, is more the case) and when I am actually eating.

You see, what normally happens is that I have a cup of coffee for breakfast, some little nibble for snack, I may eat lunch with the girls, some other snack, and then by 3pm, I am tired, grumpy and STARVING. Then, by dinner, I am ravenous, eat way too much and feel ill.

Of course, as a rational human being I would say, "Why do a stupid thing like not eat all day?" Well, as any woman who has raised small children will tell you, "It's easy to run out of time." I get busy, in a hurry. Then the kids are needing me and the next thing I know, the day has gotten away from me. What makes matters worse is that I own a health care clinic! I run an organic co-op! My kids eat the best food in town and if I ate the way I feed them, I would be as healthy as the proverbial equine.

So I am contemplating something drastic: for many months, I have been thinking about Raw. I tried Nourishing Traditions, allowing myself to indulge in the other side of the eating spectrum, but that's really an all-or-nothing way of eating and since I wasn't as all-ish as I should have been, I definitely put on some weight. Plus, its tenets, while probably very good for those with discipline and a closely followed home schedule, were just too antithetical to my natural eating beliefs. But with age, I notice that my body just doesn't like the same things that my taste buds like. I don't think that I could manage a strictly raw lifestyle, but I am thinking that if I can start with just one breakfast smoothie a day (even if it's not green, in the beginning) and wean myself off coffee, then I will be on a better food road. My milk is unpasteurised so I am actually planning on keeping it around for a while.

But first, I shall begin tomorrow with the Master Cleanse. This is the same one that Yarrow recently undertook. It's hard to believe that I only did this in January, but I feel the need for some renewal. Let's try for five to seven days and then, know what, I will feel so healthy and my body energised that food won't even sound good. Really, this Cleanse should be undertaken for a minimum of ten days, but that might be too much to ask right now.

So, anybody want to come along for the ride? Feel free to fast right along with me and we can bemoan our mutual loss of chocolate!

Now I've gotta go pick some lemons for tomorrow morning.

TTFN.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pattern and thanks

First, here's the slipper pattern. Happy crocheting!

Second, big thank you to Yarrow, who gifted me with a lovely award:


Whenever I read Yarrow's blog, I am reminded that hidden in the South are pockets of open-minded, learned (and learning!) individuals. As I am originally from the Deep South (oh, so many years ago), not only am I at liberty to slam it a little, but I have also seen first hand that some free-thinking is sorely needed in them-there parts.
I am supposed to pass on this lovely award, but the choosing gives me a headache. I tho't and I tho't until finally I knew exactly who should receive this award.

My Computer, without whom I would not be a Waldorf homeschooler. It brings into my home friends and family, fellow bloggers, forums, gurus, free books. Had I not had my computer ten years ago when we left America, my marriage may not have survived. And were it not for the wealth of information available, I would not be so lucky as to spend my days teaching my gorgeous daughters. So to each and every blogger who takes the time to share snippets of their day and suggestions from their homes, I say thank you.
(Third, grrr, can anyone tell me why blogger adds line breaks whenever I insert an image??!)
TTFN.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

easter2 002

(Written yesterday....)
We are just wrapping up our Easter, which means that you folks are all up late, stashing those wee eggs into the corners and crevices of your homes so that little children can go a-hunting on Easter morning.

OK. I am not Christian, but I really love Easter. It is a happy, low-key holiday with some great traditions. This year, we made eggs with sorted soup mix:

march 2008 005

We dyed eggs (no photo-ops), we made Easter chickens (thank you Sarah for this amazing link!):
Easter 002

And the Easter Bunny left clues directing the girls to their baskets:
Easter 044

As presents, the girls received these slippers.
easter2 007

Now, the big deal about these (other than the fact that they are made by moi) is that I made them thinking that the girls, especially Biggie, would respond, well, tepidly. I didn't expect much excitement but as we are approaching Winter, and in the new house, the mornings are getting colder...... ANYWAY, much to my surprise, both of the girls, especially Biggie LOVED them. Wonder of wonders.

I have also very much enjoyed the four day holiday as DH was home and I got to do some crafting. I made my first amigurumi (purple egg in the basket above) and I made a wee playscape, thanks to this terrific internet find.
easter2 005
I hope each and you have had a superb holiday with your family and loved ones.

TTFN.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Heehee

Whaddya get when you take two imaginations, subtract the tv and add Momma's pans?

march 2008 012march 2008 011

Crepe skiing, of course. Alas, the French never imagined that their skillets would come to this.

On the homeschooling front, this week has allowed me to introduce one of my favourite childhood stories, "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes." The kids have enjoyed it and I have been amazed by how much number work is in the story, if we wanted to do that sort of thing. We've done alot of crafting and today the kids were so excited because they got to do "printables"--colouring pages and word searches, mazes and so on. These are a very rare occurrence and only get busted out when Mom is tired (I'm reducing my coffee intake. ugh.)

Also, I have been contemplating another curriculum purchase. I am interested in the Golden Beetle Series by Australian Waldorf-er Alan Whitehead. Normally, I would just jump in and buy all the books, etc., but I am a curriculum hoarder and I am now trying to make better judgements (in other words, I have spent SOOO much money on books that I need to show a little common sense). Has anyone used/read/reviewed these books?

Finally, a great big thank you to Dawn, who inspired me this week to keep going with my rhythm even when I was ready for a break. Yesterday, the girls made dinner (most of it, but I cooked the chicken) and we made an Apple Cake, ala the German book of the same name.

Time to put the computer down and finish my Easter gifts.

TTFN.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The New Survivor

Heck, I might drag the tv out of the storage room for this show!

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.
Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.

There is no fast food. Each man must take care of his 3 kids, keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of "pretend" bills with not enough money. In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time. Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care. He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, and keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed. During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, backaches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting. They will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all ofthe following information: each child's birthday,height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice. If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called Mother!

**just to be fair, I do not do half those things!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yes, we really do homeschool

Well, we have finally reinstituted a bit of routine in our lives and gone back to school. The new house has meant some big -- positive -- changes for mom and girls. First, we are a walking family! Every morning, after breakfast, we walk the two blocks into our little village where we purchase our (organic...yeah!) meat, veggies and bread. I don't yet know what this means for my budget, but at least there is a lot less waste. After our walk, we come home and the girls head directly to the back yard and I meet them downstairs in the school room. I have been playing "Hot Cross Buns" on the recorder to call them in for school, then we do a fairy tale followed by some directed artwork. When I can see that their focus is waning, we wrap it up and they play while I make morning tea. My big coup this past week was then getting a second "learning time" into the afternoon.

My current goal is to simply re-establish a learning schedule and to lengthen the time that they can spend at "lessons." This doesn't really apply to Littlie, as she is only 4, but Biggie is 6 1/2 and has already been in a Class One at Waldorf School, so I know that we will segue into formal lessons soon enough. I am having a hard time keeping Littlie content while Biggie does more "lesson-y" work, but I see that this is directly correlated to how well she slept the night before. This, too, shall pass.

Another wonderful, stupendous, outstanding change for us is that Biggie is rediscovering a love of nature and her sense of wonder. Because of our pre-homeschooling ed choices, she had never really experienced the "go-outside-and-play" childhood that her little sister has enjoyed. But now, she is spending her days in the tree, and she stops on our walks to look at dandelions or cicadas. This was one of my only written goals for Biggie for the year and I am ecstatic to see this improvement.

So what's ahead? Well, I finally found Sculpey in NZ, and I spent way too much money today on Easter decorating stuff. Most of the purchases are for me to make presents for them, but here's what I want to do with the girls (Remember, we are entering Autumn in NZ, so it's Harvest as well as Easter.)
And here's where to see more ideas.

That's all on the homeschooling front today.

TTFN.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Got Laptop?

Not bloggin' tonight because DH and I are having you tube wars. So far, he's gone Barry White and Pavarotti (yeah, 'cuz he's cultur'd). I have gone Lou Rawls, Astrud Gilberto and Tony, Toni Tone (heheheheh).

TTFN.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

And it's flickr for the win

Take two, this time with flickr.

Photos from way back.....

Littlie received this for Christmas,
pico

and I made this to go with it. I really love wool.
pico

Biggie received this sewing kit, made with much love by moi.
sewing kit

sewing kit

And these were the pressies for my mom and step-dad. My finest needle-felting yet, imho :-)
needlefelted momma
momma and stepdad

Now for the new house, a few of my favourite things
new house
new house
new house
new house
new house

And just for a bit of humour, take me to your leader! When kid imagination meets the IAMS gift with purchase.
take me to your leader

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bread and bitching

First, my bread recipe, which I am hoping will assist my fellow Waldorf Mom Jackie:

(all ingredients approximate, as you will learn how the bread should feel)

1 3/4 c room temp water
4 tbsp raw sugar (or whatever sweetener your family prefers)
1 1/2 tsp yeast (I use active dry yeast or frozen live yeast, whichever is available. if using frozen live yeast, just ask your baker what serving sizes he provides...I know nothing about this on my own!)
4 c. flour (I use Spelt and mix whatever proportions of white/wholemeal as I have in the fridge at the time)

Put the water and sugar in a bowl and give it a little stir. Sprinkle yeast on water and let it proof. Once nice and yeasty smelling (10-15 minutes), start adding flour at approx 1/2 c at a time, mixing, adding, mixing, adding.....my uber-waldorf friend has convinced me to mix in a figure-eight as it does not diminish the life force of the yeast.....that one is up to you, but I say, "no harm trying!"

Continue mixing (with a wooden spoon!) until it just gets too hard to continue stirring, then dump it onto a nice clean countertop or tabletop, on which you have sprinkled flour. Now, I assume that anyone reading this has made bread, so go for the kneading. You know your bread is kneaded enough when a finger impression in the dough pops right back out.

Divide the dough into two portions and place it into well-oiled loaf pans. (While they don't produce perfectly shaped loaves, I heartily recommend glass loaf pans.) Press dough down with fingers and then flip it over, coating both sides with oil. Let it rise ONCE, to approx double the original size, then bake in a preheated 180-ish (Celcius) degree oven for approx 30 minutes. Lower the temp a bit, if using a fan-forced oven. Better to err on the overcooking side in the beginning, because nothing is more disheartening than cutting into raw bread! (I know, I've done it!)

Remove bread from pans, let cool (as long as possible, which is never very long in our house) and serve to those starving munchkins.

Good luck and let me know how yours turns out. Sorry if the directions are wishy-washy, but breadmaking is something I have spent many years working on and so much of this, for me, is by feel.
Oh, and watch the waistline :-)


Now, onto the Bitching:

Thank you ladies for your comments about this book, Everyday Blessings. I see that there is so much useful guidance in these pages, and am definitely gaining some good insights from my reading. HOWEVER, really, this book just makes me feel worse for all the decisions I have opted against! So far, I have read (not perhaps the authors' intent, but what my brain has absorbed) that I maybe could have prevented my breach c-section if I had been more positive (I was sooo positive, btw!), I should have tried harder before giving up breastfeeding (don't get me started on this topic!), I should have co-slept (they were right next to me, for heaven's sake!), I shouldn't have encouraged their independence (I started life as a Montessori mom, and my kids knew how to blow their noses when other kids were covered in snot!)....the list goes on.

You know, where is the book written for parents who have NO SUPPORT WHATSOEVER. (Can you tell I feel strongly about this?) DH and I started a business when I was three months pregnant with Biggie -- it was that or return home to America. We had no aunties or uncles, no grandparents; we had no free babysitters. In fact, the first night I ever spent away from my oldest daughter was when I went to the hospital to have my youngest daughter! The authors of this book present a lovely image of the self-sacrificing parent. While we were better than the average bear, there was simply no way that we could have done everything that they ask for. Such as, not demanding that little children behave in restaurants. Well, when the only time that you don't have to make a meal is when you go out with your husband, and when a babysitter costs you $15 bucks an hour, yes, it is perfectly acceptable in my world to ask the children to sit nicely while we finish our meal.

I am reading that it isn't okay to place our needs upon our children. Yes, I realise that there are extreme versions of this; but for the four of us, with no one else to rely on, I have taught my children that we are a team and that we all need to work together. It's part of the ex-pat life, or it's a mom whose pissed, grey-haired and hysterical. This is our family dynamic, and it's just how it must be.

I see that my post is turning a bit rant-y, so I will start to wrap it up. Yes, I see the importance of being mindful and not engaging in old patterns just because they are comfortable. I am working so diligently on my moods, my responses, my inner work (and inner strength), and I know that I have gleaned some encouraging words from this book. Ultimately, I think it's going to be one of those books that I have to read, initially, and get past my personal biases, and then return to it in a couple of months with a fresh outlook on their ideals.

Feel free to chime in, and go ahead and blast me in the combox if you want. It takes alot to offend, and more importantly, I may actually learn something very important from what you have to add to this rant. Thanks for listenin'.

TTFN.