31 August 2013

Simple Daybook with blackberry yarn, hair cuts, and avoiding cleaning the kitchen

Outside my window the garden is strewn with toys. The children have had painting set up on the raised pallet area, watercolours and an olive jar of grey paint-water. One of the little stools from the living area is out there, upturned. The potatoes and apples are ready to harvest any time now. Calendula is flowering, golden bright in the raised beds.

I am thinking how wonderful it is to be made a hot cup of tea by a sweet daughter. :)

I am thankful for healthy strong children, this husband who really sees me, friends who encourage and share the crazy ups and downs.

In the kitchen... um... this is where others share the fresh bread rising and the plans for dinner, right? My kitchen is strewn with plates (which is my next task for the day, honest!) and there appear to be sweets on the floor. I handed the girls a packet of mints this morning in bribery of the "just eat these and stop whining about there being no more dried mango PLEASE" variety. They didn't eat the sweets so much as tip them out and leave them there. Another job to add to the list.

I am wearing purple and black goth/hippy dress again. Brown/purple/orange headscarf. A bracelet of bright yellow handspun that my six year old tied around my wrist this morning.

I am creating Autumn fairies, tiny stitches in wool felt forming little bodies - a leaf fairy, a blackberry fairy, slowly appearing. I just cast off a baby cardigan, a ribbed beanie, and that gorgeous Low Tide (which I can now finish off with the gorgeous tiny shell buttons the post-person just brought). I just finished plying some blackberry-bush coloured aran weight 2-ply. :)

I am going out for lunch with a dear friend, and without my entourage of small children. This is a rare and precious occurrence. I usually return refreshed and missing the rowdy chaotic little wild ones!

I am wondering when the dear Mister will get back from helping my mum take recycling to the tip. He's been gone a while and I could do with a hand to clear the kitchen up. Of course, right now I am not in fact clearing the kitchen up at all, only writing about it. ;)

I am looking forward to becoming car owners again some time next week, and being able to travel the extra distance to some very favourite historical sites, wilderness, and friends.

Some favourite things: pixie hair on the four year old (even sibling inflicted ones *sigh*), eldest re-reading The Odyssey, frilly dresses and the little people who dance around in them, rainbow candles on the mantle, a handful of hazelnuts, and sharp fresh apples from our tree.

A few plans for the rest of the week: a fourth birthday party to attend, not-back-to-school day, and sending off yarn to an actual real life shop which will be stocking my hand dye. :)

A peek into my day...
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Simple Woman's Daybook

30 August 2013

Sibling Games

The children have "trained" Talia. She loves being allowed to join in their games, and willingly plays the parts assigned to her. Before she could walk, someone only needed to say "sit" and she would transform into puppy-mode, barking, fetching things thrown for her (in her mouth) and pretending to wag her tail. Now she has added baby to the list of roles she is well versed in.
She fake-cries for them to pick her up (which is either disturbing or hilarious, I can't quite decide which). When I voiced that thought, Jenna said, "Mum, it's a great thing. She knows that when babies cry, they get picked up and loved, no matter what."

(Off topic, in the babywearing picture of Jenna and Tali, look at the lovely Waldorf-y toy shelves in the background and you can play a game of spot-the-GUP!)

29 August 2013

Belated Yarn Along - Soul Sisters and Handspun Babies

Low Tide for my dear Soul Sister, Sue. I wish I could photograph this as well as it deserves, the pattern is just perfect (although I didn't knit it up perfectly, I know it's just right for the recipient and will entirely suit her). :) I dyed the yarn just for this project, sea-green with blue flecks.

Needing something instant-satisfaction-y after all that stocking stitch (and all those short rows for the sweet cap sleeves), I took a skein of my handspun art yarn...
And made most of a crazy bright Shrug Bug for a rainbow bean who is still a bump.

I am very much not reading anything this week, unless you count the odd article here and there, too much busy-ness to do. :)

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along.

27 August 2013

Portraits at the Park

Sisters in the sun, on a peaceful afternoon on the park.



Talia decided to do without clothes, and stripped them all off after a few minutes. I really am often struggling with her strong minded-ness these days. These girls of mine, all pulling and pushing, all determined and strong and brave. Sometimes it scares me, loving them all, trying to be with them - kindly, thoughtfully, joyfully, generously. These ages and stages have their perfect, peaceful, beautiful moments, and their trials! I wouldn't trade it for anything. Except maybe all of this plus a full night's sleep. ;)

26 August 2013

On the Walls









There's barely a wall space anywhere in my house that doesn't have art work, photographs, bunting, strings of pretty things. There is colour everywhere. Some by the children, or their friends, some by other lovely artists. This is really a small sample of my collection!

25 August 2013

Seven Days

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1. Spin and knit
2. Baking with grandma
3. Quirkle with my Morgan
4. Clay
5. Favourite shelf
6. Party hat making
7. Birthday presents and out for dinner

24 August 2013

August Nine-Year-Old Birthdaying

I do have to say just how quickly it comes around, again, and how surprising it feels with this first child to be the mother of a nine year old already....

Favourite present: time turner.

Birthday morning, breakfast table set with rainbow candle and her favourite family photograph.

A party for a whole host of friends. This is the first time she has really specified a themed birthday party, and I got sort of carried away. Just a little bit. But it was amazing (and shockingly organised, for saying I don't usually work well with deadlines). ;)
(The awesome bunting is by Aisling Designs. The painting is the one that usually hangs there, a picture of Alice and her sister reading in the meadow, which Jenna made when she was five.)


Are you *sure* you don't want an olive? Quite sure? (Yes, they face painted each other. All the parents already knew me well enough to expect children to be returned home filthy with a combination of garden potion-making, glittery crafts, face paint, and cake... But still, particular apology must go to Kirsty, whose daughter attended wearing white...)



The penguins have become a tradition. I wasn't allowed to leave them off, even after complaining that they weren't very Alice in Wonderland.

Hand-decorated mad top hats were a (belatedly remembered) hit just before home-time. :)

This was the first birthday Martin has ever had to work in Jenna's life, so the first not spent together as a family. Strange to think that were our children not home educated Jenna would usually be the only one to not have school on her birthday. Anyway, to help with the disappointment of missing Daddy's presence at her celebrations, we carried birthdaying over into today and took her out to spend her birthday money, and all went swimming as a family.

To be entirely honest today was a little stressful, as the children were all extremely tired from partying (especially Talia, who had an incredible hour long screaming fit right in the middle of town, including attempting to strip all her clothes off, and two attempts to bite me). Well, Jenna had a wonderful two-day birthday, anyway, and that was the main aim. The rest of us might just want to sleep all day tomorrow!!

23 August 2013

A Letter to Jenna

These celebration days that wake you with early morning excitement, days which you fill with joy and wonder, they catch me somehow deep in the pit of my stomach, with a deep solemnity and almost a mourning at this merciless passage of time. This day will never come again. You are nine, already, quicker than blinking, and every year I marvel more that I was gifted with getting to know you. And more surprising still, and more dear a responsibility, that you have become my friend.

You are interested, and interesting. Passionate and wild and brave and true. Frustratingly single-minded sometimes, exhaustingly enthusiastic always, creative, articulate, and I really must mention how very tall and athletic you are getting...

This year your desire to fit in has heightened, yet at the same time you have found other passionate enthusiastic misfits to befriend. Drama group and your shows have been wonderful for your confidence in who you are. Right now you love gaming, Doctor Who, Literature, greek myths, Harry Potter, natural history, sewing, painting, and Warehouse 13. My dearest wish for you is that you keep on being proud of your own uniqueness.

You are such a wonderful sister, usually so kind and so willing to give to them - time, attention, the endless small gifts you save up odd pennies for. They follow you, copy you, I *know* they drive you crazy sometimes! Remember how much your words can hurt - and how much they can heal.

Learn, grow, run free. Sing. You are loved more than you can ever know.

Happy birthday, dear, beautiful Jenna.

20 August 2013

Things to Do (to help with the Home-Ed Freak-Out)

A list of inspirations and ideas for things to do, when you're worrying about what you should be doing and how much to offer. Pick one that sounds fun, and gently feel your way in to a more relaxed mindset. Or treat it as a checklist. Don't forget to breathe. ;)

- Learn something *you* always wanted to, yourself, and let your kids see you inspired and interested. Read a book you always wanted to read. Pick up some non-fiction if you usually only read fiction - or vice versa. Fill your own cup with peace, grace, and interesting things to learn about.

- Make a blank poster of questions you genuinely wonder about and attach a pen for the kids to write on it too if they want to - see how long you can all IGNORE the poster for. No, really. Don't make a big deal about it, or turn it into work.

- Cultivate your sense of playfulness about things. Wonder. Talk out loud about the things that interest you, no lecturing, just sharing. Ask your child's opinion and thoughts at least as often as you share your own.

- Next time you do food shopping, get just one thing you haven't tried before. Pick a weird-looking fruit or vegetable and find out how to eat it. Pick out a recipe that you'd never thought to try before when making dinner, or pick something totally different from the menu in a restaurant.

- Ask the kids where they'd like to go/visit and write everything down (even the impossible-sounding answers like Peru - or Mars). Visit somewhere you never went before. Stop in a new cafe or shop. Explore something, even something mundane-sounding.

- Go for a walk and see if you can get lost in your own neighbourhood. Walk down a street you never walked down before. Name the flowers in the gardens, look for simple machines (like latches, wheelbarrows, levers, pruning sheers). Look for berries growing wild and pick the ones you know are edible. Pull out a map or a list of local attractions and remind yourself what is nearby for visiting and exploring. Go somewhere you haven't been for weeks, months, or years!

- Buy stickers for no reason or turn the whole of downstairs into a masking tape roadway for toy cars. Plan to surprise your children with fun and unexpected things. Do something sweet for them.

- Set yourself a challenge to Spring Clean your home, especially the toys, craft supplies, books, and unschool supplies. When the children get distracted by something newly discovered in the tidying, just smile, find another area to clean. Move things around, and rearrange to make supplies more accessible and useable. Everything doesn't have to be out all at once - is there a way you can rotate things, make a new display for art work, or create a new area?

- Browse Pinterest, together if you like, give them their own boards of potential interesting things. Get out an open-ended craft and start work on it yourself. Ask if they'd like to plan and make tea by themselves. Make some mess. Collect ideas for later, for just in case, for another day.

- Buy books that interest you, or that might interest them. Queue up their favourite things on Netflix or borrow some new video games to leave lying around for them to find.

- Say yes to something you wouldn't previously have considered saying yes to, and see what happens.

- Try not to jump on their new interests with your ideas or an attempt to teach them something. A fair bit of deschooling is figuring out the dance of when to offer and support, and when to get out of their way. Many of us still have some deschooling to do. Measure your child only against themselves, and really look at them, are they healthy, interested, growing? Breathe.

19 August 2013

Daybook, when frazzled and tired

Outside my window the sky is grey but the air is warm. This week has felt decidedly more Autumnal, but today we are back to summery albeit overcast. The garden is a mess, and the potato plants are looking straggly and unloved, they will be ready for harvesting in just another week or so.

I am feeling exhausted. Talia has been having a rough day - ie crying and asking to be picked up, then trying to fling herself out of my arms kicking and screaming, then crying again when I put her down. Getting to sling meet and back made me just a little crazy. It took four attempts to back wrap her to head home.

I am thankful that we all got home safely. I am thankful for a comfortable safe colourful home nest to retreat to. I am thankful for redcurrants in the veg box and storm-grey spinning. I am thankful for the kind lady in the shop who chatted to Talia sweetly and petted her while she raged at the check out.

In the kitchen I have enchilada ingredients waiting for me to prepare tea. I *love* enchiladas.

I am wearing a purple and black swirly goth-y dress, teal cardigan, and turquoise charm bracelet.

I am creating: more handspun, I'm carding blue and turquoise together to spin and ply with the storm grey. I'm still knitting away on the straight section of the Low Tide cardi, which is coming on beautifully. I'm sewing some little felt season table fairies. And basically taking on tons of projects at once as usual. :)

I am reading some random paperback crime novels my mum left for me. Mostly James Patterson, that sort of thing. The kind of books I get half way through before realising I already read them.

I am hoping Talia starts to want to actually walk in the same direction as the rest of us some time soon. It's very frazzling. :S

I am looking forward to Jenna's birthday and Mad Hatter's Tea Party on Friday. :)

I am learning lots about plying a balanced yarn, though I have yet to actually achieve that!

Around the house there are the usual piles of laundry. The large map of the world poster refuses to stay stuck to the wall in the living room. At least the bulk of the chores I was evading last week were done over the weekend!

Some of my favourite things: fresh lavender from the garden, stripy rainbow straws, home made pink milk, glass beads, little girls in hand made skirts and cardigans, a cup of hot chamomile tea, painted pebbles.

A peek into my day: