Monday, 30 January 2012

Beach Day

It has been SO HOT here lately, so yesterday was a beach day for hubby, Whirlwind and Legoman. Cuddlepie and I stayed home so he could get some much needed sleep - the heat has not been agreeing with him.

Our Day (Actually For Last Friday!)

I thought I would write a little about how I try to do things. At the moment I am working on rhythm, reading Heaven On Earth and following the Thinking Feeling Willing program by Melisa Nielsen. I only joined recently so I am still on lesson one. But Melisa does recommend taking it slowly to really absorb it.
We are not officially schooling at the moment as we are having summer holidays. So the routine will change next week.
This is what we attempt to do, depending on so many possible factors for variation!

Breakfast by 8, clean up by 8.30.
Morning chores - different each day. Friday is vaccuuming lounge and dining room.
9.30 is circle time. This is very quick and simple and not really a circle! It can be a bit difficult when there is 4 years difference between the two boys.
Last week, I started using a new verse from Thinking Feeling Willing. Thanks, Melisa! Legoman was beginning to get a bit silly about saying our old verse - I think it was a bit young for him, too airy fairy. Whereas the new one is more grounded (if that makes sense; I don't think I am explaining myself very well!) It mentions the earth and standing strong and I think as he has hit 7 now he needs these aspects more. Whenever we say the standing up straight and strong, he stands right up and says the words really loudly.
After the verse, we sing a few songs, do a few 'exercises', play a game, whatever works at the time really. I do plan it out but often change it depending on the mood at the time. I tell a story with candle, then blow out candle and have morning tea.
We normally have a picture book at morning tea time. I know this comes right after the storytelling but I have not found it to interfere with them taking in the story.
Friday's story was Emily and Daisy by Elsa Beskow. I do love the Elsa Beskow books. I have nearly collected them all now! And I was very happy to find on Fishpond the 2011 Elsa Beskow calender for next to nothing so we can have some of the pictures on our wall.
After the story and morning tea, we go and play outside. I try to relate an activity to the story so the boys built a twig house under the oak trees (our wood!)
Whirlwind gave them a tomato and some shells.
We have lunch at about 12-12.30. Nap/quiet time is 2.00. Afternoon tea at 3.00. I try to have dinner by 6, but with daylight savings it is a real struggle to get them into bed before 8.30! In between all that is free play time. Once we start back schooling, there will be more in the day, of course! But I am enjoying the looser structure at the moment.

Heaven On Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer

Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children

This book has been on my wishlist at Fishpond for ages. Why did I not buy it sooner?!
It arrived last week and I have been reading and reading. The first section is on rhythm and I want to implement everything!
So far, I have started with introducing a more formal nap/quiet afternoon time. The book recommends a darkened room, a fan for white noise and as it encourages them to snuggle up which helps with sleep, a chapter book read to them (no picture books as you want them to be lying quietly, listening) and a candle. So far, Whirlwind hasn't actually SLEPT during this time and has continued his normal habit of collapsing and falling asleep at 5 and then needing to be woken up for dinner. But we have only been doing this for a few days so here's hoping. Legoman, of course, does NOT need a nap, but I have told him it is just quiet time for him. When he saw the book I had chosen, he didn't seem too impressed but he has laughed at the stories and I have even heard him singing a song from it (don't tell him though!) We are reading The Teddy Robinson Storybook. I found this list of chapter books for ages 4-10. I already have a lot of them but there were some new to me that I am looking into. Legoman has a chapter book every night and we are always looking for more recommendations.
I will keep reading this wonderful book and I am sure find lots more gems.

I Love Needle Felting!

I cannot believe I have left it so long to try needle felting. I have admired projects and been bookmarking pages for so long and yet it has taken me ages to try it.
Admittedly this butterfly was in the easy section and I am sure shaped objects are harder but I can't wait to do some more.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Nature Activities For Children books

I am really loving these books at the moment. I know they have been around for a while but I do love skimming through them every change of season. I always seem to find something new. And I adore the photographs of the children engaged in so many wonderful activities. I would love to build some of the permanent structures they have in the childrens' garden.
Summer Nature Activities for Children (Nature Activites for Children)
Summer Nature Activities For Children

Autumn Nature Activities for Children (Nature Activites for Children)
Autumn Nature Activities For Children - my favourite season!

Winter Nature Activities for Children (Nature Activites for Children)

Winter Nature Activities For Children

Spring Nature Activities for Children (Nature Activites for Children)
Spring Nature Activities For Children

Thursday, 26 January 2012

That Ugly Yarn

I am starting to like the ugly blue/brown yarn more now that it is rolled into balls. Who knows, maybe I will love it once I start knitting it!

Aren't Playsilks Useful?

Until recently, we did not have playsilks as they were just too expensive. Two weeks ago, I found this post and the penny dropped! I have been dying wool for ages with food colours and knew that I could not dye cotton as it was a plant material and the food dye only works with animal material. Heeelllooo, is not silk an animal material?!!! So I placed an order with Thai Silks and away we went! It was so much fun and we did some great experimenting, ending up with all sorts of tie dye / rainbow effects as well as just the plain colours. I bought some of the 11x11 squares to make a silk rainbow fairy mobile for Cuddlepie and some of the 35x35 for playsilks. I have since found out that Dharma Trading are cheaper (also cheaper shipping to Australia) but they do not have the 11x11.
They have been used for all kinds of things - sea, sand, grass, picnic blankets, but Whirlwind found an especially cute use for them!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I Love Books

OK, I am a bookaholic. I have LOTS of books. If there was a Book Buyers Anonymous, my hubby would sign me up immediately.
Homeschooling allows you to collect books. I really enjoy reading childrens/teen fiction, especially historical.
My first book club meeting of 2012 is next week. We are reading Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. I will admit that I am only a third of the way through - I normally leave it to the last week so it is fresh in my mind. I have been waiting to read this since it came out but knew we were having it at book club. I LOVED Year of Wonders, although the plague is not the most cheerful topic!
I am finding it compelling so far, but I have spoken to others who either did not like the language, finding it stilted and hard to follow, had issues with the religious content or issues with the submissive behaviour of the women. These are, however, fitting with the time period of the novel so I find it adds to the atmosphere and authenticity.
I will see how the rest of it goes.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Quick Craft Discussion

Just a quick post on some crafts I am working on. I try to do something every day, even if it just a few rows of knitting. Definitely helps with my equilibrium.
Last month, our six sheep were shorn so there is a full woolbale out in the shearing shed. Hubby says it is worth about $400 - he just has to get around to organising the sale. I am just taking bits out and using it for myself! I have calculated that if I prepare it myself (wash, card, dye, turn it into roving), it is worth about $3500, based on the prices of dyed roving on eBay. So I will keep squirreling it away and working on it.
So far, I have made two teeny-tiny, skinny rolags, so I will say it is REALLY labour-intensive. But so satisfying.

On my needles at the moment is this little elf hat for Cuddlepie. Last week it was really quite cold here and I get all happy that the cooler weather is coming and some knitting will be justified. Of course, this week it is stinking hot and will be every day until the weekend.
This little hat is from Chic Knits For Stylish Babies, pg 42. I love this book and I am sure to be posting other items made from it for Cuddlepie. 
I also love this yarn. It is called Hot Socks Circus and the colour is 525. I bought it on eBay from a seller in the UK.
Not so sure about this yarn though. Don't think I love IT! I dyed this myself using Bendigo Woollen Mills 4 ply (Frost) and Wiltons Icing Paste. I had seen some variegated yarn in brown and two blues that I really liked and was trying to recreate it (the original was super expensive). I made 2 skeins of 100g each. I used Wiltons Brown, Sky Blue and Royal Blue and there are also a few little splotches of Leaf Green. I am thinking it looks kind of ugly! We will see when I start to knit it up.

And for the school room. This week's story is The Little Gingerbread Man. So I made the little old woman and the little old man. Of course they are generic so will be used for lots of other stories as well.

They are made using these little bodies (10 cm) and the clothes are from Feltcraft by Petra Berger. The pattern for the man's clothes were in the book and I just adapted the dress and apron. I felt she had to have a little embroidery as well - I would! Also, I painted their feet with Raw Sienna acrylic paint. The faces are just drawn on with normal markers - those ones with a thick and a thin end. The hair is this great roving I got from Bendigo Woollen Mills ages ago. If you can get there, they have a shop with great bargains and lots of stuff not on their website. Maybe they are test items, I'm not sure. This roving is about three shades of grey with some grey-blue mixed in.

Introducing the Cast of Characters

I have decided to start this blog to record our daily lives with Steiner/Waldorf homechooling, my crafts, the farm and just life in general.
I am a stay at home mum of 5. This, believe it or not, is the most recent photo I have of all 5 together.

Miss Butterfly is the oldest at 16. She is my sanguine - floaty, airy fairy, vague, but such a lot of fun. But watch out, this butterfly sometimes has teeth!
Miss Ballerina is 14. She does ballet and is extremely talented (if I do say so myself!) Also has the temperament of a ballerina!
Legoman is 7. I think the name says it all - he is a self-confessed Lego addict. The name comes from one time when he told me he was a Lego maniac!
Whirlwind is 3. He is the one who is currently making it very difficult to write this post as he is climbing all over me, shutting the blinds in the room as he wants it to be night and many other activities. He races from one thing to the next, like a, well, a whirlwind.
Cuddlepie is now 7 months old (see how old the photo above is!) What can I say about him except all babies at that age are the cutest, sweetest things ever. He giggles and smiles all the time and is so cuddly I never want to put him down, especially as I think he is the last. I would have a million if I could!

We live on a small farm in country Victoria. Just 8 acres. We seem to have a long list of animals though!
Pepper - the crazy part fox terrier, part Blue Heeler and whatever other bits. No photo of her as she never stays still.
Jemima and Sugar are the newest additions. They are only 10 weeks old. We went to visit friends and came home with two of their four new kittens. They are supposed to be mousers when they get older, but they are being so spoilt we may find they are no good at it.

Trinny is our pony. She belonged to Miss Ballerina when she was going through her pony phase. She was a really good rider and I really thought she would stick with it. But she ended up enjoying ballet more. So Trinny is just relaxing in our paddocks.
Izzy is my beautiful girl - my Jersey cow. She is SO gorgeous. I am not milking at the moment as I was pregnant with Cuddlepie when she had her last calf and couldn't do the bending over! But when I was milking with the calf before, the milk was so delicious. We had so much; she is a great producer. She is such a sweetie.
Cocoa is her latest calf - she is 14 months old. Izzy has had 3 calves and they have all been heifers. I really would love to breed her with a pure Jersey bull, but I bet she would have a boy calf!

Then we have six sheep, only two of which have names. Lambie (which is not really an appropriate name anymore as they are all due to be bred soon!) was the first lamb the children bottle reared. She is extremely bossy. Rosie was the second bottle reared lamb. The other four are ewes that my hubby bought from a sheep farmer he knows.
We also have chickens - six hens and four roosters. I know, the ratio of roosters to hens is out of whack, but the roosters are all pure-breds. I bought them young and was assured all the ones I bought were pullets. Well, six were and four were not! I just can't bring myself to get rid of pure-bred roosters but I think a friend wants one to breed with.
And I think that is all! Of course, there is hubby and myself as well. I look forward to keeping this record of our lives. I am such a blog voyeur so thought it was about time I joined in. And it will be lovely to look back and re-read all the things you forget in the round of daily living. We seem to be so busy racing through life sometimes that we forget what we are living for.

P.S. We don't really live in a toadstool, but I found the cutest free toadstool cottage pattern that I am dying to make.