Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Podcast Interview With...Me

Anybody who knows me knows I love to chat, I'm an extrovert, I become energized by conversation with others; my husband, my children, friends, strangers or even myself ;) I often come away buzzed, thinking, mulling and chatting about our conversation.

So when Pam from Homeschool Snapshots Podcast asked if I would be a guest speaker, explaining all I needed to do was talk, I was in, talk is something I can do. Pam and I chatted away just as if we were sitting together on my verandah, looking over the bush having a cuppa together. We discussed; home education with many of all ages, the importance of good habits (always a work in progress), our favourite family read alouds and how to nurture mama.

Grab a cuppa or a cool glass of water and join us, if nothing else you can laugh at my Aussie accent. I really didn't think I had one but 'blow me down' I can hear it, I have an accent. Pam says I sound a little like 'Crocodile' Dundee and she's right!
After you've joined us Pam has plenty of other podcasts you may also like to check out.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

My Daybook: May 5th, 2015

Outside my window...
the daylight is waning, night falls earlier in autumn

I am thankful...
that we do not have major earthquakes here in Australia. Our thoughts are with the dead, grieving and homeless in Nepal, praying that Nepal receives all the aid they need, and fast

I am thinking...
about the future direction of my blog? You helped by participating in the survey back in January, it was wonderful to hear your voice.  Truthfully though I've continued to feel a bit 'stale' and have done so for some time, eight and a half years is a long time to blog. Whilst I'm committed to continue writing, I am mulling what direction to take from here. Mostly I'm thinking about "What is my talent, my passion, what knowledge can I share, what do I have to offer?"

Learning all the time...
it's now the third week of Term 2 and we have settled into our lesson rhythm. We've tweaked the plans a little here and there, 'axing' an idea or two, changing a resource or three, all par for the course. This is how it's happened for years, I have ideas, the children have ideas, I write a collaboration and then, reality meets dreams and we adapt a little more

Celebrating the liturgical year......
it's all about Sacramental preparation at this stage. Preparing Jem for his First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion and Jack Jack for his Confirmation. The Big Day is in September and we are striving to be well prepared

From the kitchen...
adding a little more variety to our menu, rotating meals on a fortnightly basis instead of a weekly plan. Also applying a few budgeting principles including addressing food wastage and portion size. When Anna Maria and Einstein left home earlier this year our portion needs drastically reduced, we've cut sizing some but we're still over allocating

I am creating...
skirts:)  Turning 'excess skirts into flattering', loving the ease and speed of creating a new skirt, enjoying being slightly creative again, turning something un-useful to the useful. Upcycling, such a cool word:)

I am working on...
yard cleaning. It's curbside pickup in a fortnight's time and we're hauling all sorts of 'junk' down for collection. It's fun seeing what the 'neighbours' have already taken, the bike pile was the first to go

I am going...
to speech lessons with Bass weekly, for at least this Term if not longer.  Working on fricatives to begin with, starting with s and f , he is correcting already, most impressed. Next week he'll begin to put these into sentences

I am hoping...
that my pile of missing books miraculously turn up.  How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking all lost months ago, last noted in a car returning from Sydney.  I worry that somehow they were left behind in a petrol station car park, I just can't imagine how, but missing they are.  I'm just praying them home, it's happened before, I've prayed books home, it could happen again

I am praying...
  • for our niece, she was in a car accident, physically okay but sore, but emotionally not good
  • for our Anna Maria far away in London
  • for our Einstein, that he finds full time work. He has a part time job but needs more hours
  • for our Carpenter, that he finds part time work. Sadly the swim school he was an instructor for has been forced to close and so he is in search of work 
So if any of my Sydney readers know of anything?? 

I am pondering....
how our home education journey has changed from when we began, how it looks so different to what I envisaged and fantasising about how it would look if we only had two children, close in age....

I am reading...
a pile of library reservations, 'books about books', I haven't found any great finds yet, nothing as good as the ones we discussed here, I mean any book compilation that recommends 'The Day My B*m Went Physco' meets my throw pile fast.

I am listening to......
the Read Aloud Revival podcasts, finally.  Michelangelo showed me how to download and transfer to my MP3 (well to PC's), it was all easy and I love, love, love listening to all the passion, knowledge and inspiration

I am hearing...
our children practising their play parts. Our local home education group has hired a drama teacher, who is brilliant, and a passion for all things drama has sprouted

I am struggling...
logistically, trying to juggle the needs of our younger children and our teens. Getting closer though to 'nailing it' time wise, designating two days a week where I focus mainly on the younger three children, another two days where the focus is mostly on the older two, I feel as if I'm finding my 'mojo' again:):)

Clicking around...
Kate shares How to Create Your Own YouTube Channel, brilliant!
Sarah shares Great Booklists for Read Aloud Families, inspirational

Around the house...
over the holidays I de-cluttered big time, every single room:) The house is easier to clean and it's such a wonderful feeling.  Part of the project was to finally deal with the conglomeration of: DVDs, gaming discs, CDs and computer discs. Many were already stored in DVD/CD folder cases but we splurged on a couple of aluminium boxes and PC spent many hours sorting, order is now restored:) The boxes are a little flimsy so not sure that I would recommend them , but we'll see how it goes.

One of my favorite things...
op-shopping (thrift) scores.  Not only did I strike it rich a few weeks back with a pile of skirts and dresses for myself that only needed some alterations to work, but last week and this, I have scored with a pile of clothes for $5 a bag, and let me tell you I'm the Queen of bag filling.  Each week by judicious folding I've managed to squeeze at least 20 articles of clothing in each time, I'm good;) Beautiful jeans, jackets, shirts, pajamas, what a bargain!

A few plans for this week...
off to a book sale this Friday with Princess, a girls' morning out and I'm rather excited:) It's been over a year since I've been to this particular one, so there might be some goodies there, or maybe not, it's always a gamble

A little peek at my day...
  • we managed some lessons this morning, plan was to work a little harder than usual as speech lessons yesterday ate into our time
  • however I then realised Jelly Bean needed to attend the fracture clinic this week, we drove in only to realise I was a day early:( Groundhog day tomorrow, sigh
  • book study this afternoon with my dear friends, we're studying Consider This, we read, we take notes and then we come together and share thoughts. I gain so much wisdom and support from these two dear friends who have been home educating as long as, and longer than I.  I'm blessed indeed. 
  • Tap and Jazz lessons for two of our children

Monday, 4 May 2015

Upcycling: Excess Skirts Become Flattering

I've long been a keen bargain hunter, haunting op-shops (thrift) well before it became trendy to do so. I began my passion because of: financial needs, the fact I rarely find anything I like in the 'regular' shops and shopping centres put me on sensorial overload.  Whilst I've long had a discerning eye for a bargain and am selective in what I bring home, it wasn't until I discovered the world of 'upcycling' that I discovered 'a whole new world'.

No longer do I discard fabrics, prints or outfits I like with a sad sigh because they are: too big, shapeless, fussy, too whatever's. Instead I now stop and assess; can I unpick that ruffle, cut that skirt down, convert that dress to a skirt, snip, tuck here and there, or use the fabric and make a whole new outfit for myself or a child? Fabric is so expensive to purchase and it is far cheaper to search the op-shops for sheets, doona covers or rip apart an outfit and reuse fabric, or make a slight conversion to an outfit.

I can now happily gravitate towards the fabrics I like and happily purchase regardless of overlarge sizing, confident I can convert to the wearable.  This weekend I spent a short but happy time converting a few skirts from the excess to the flattering.  I simply turned the skirt inside out, laid it flat on a table, then placed a favourite skirt on top, using it as a template I marked an outline with a crayon. Pinning the skirt together, matching the stripes, I ran up the seam/s, cut off the excess material, edged and I was all done:)
* Truly I'm much happier than I look, being behind the camera is easier than being in front;)

A similar but shorter version. Ever since I read Dressing Your Truth and found John Kitchener, I realise I gravitate towards cotton and soft fabrics. That has been immensely helpful when assessing clothes for myself, I've also been rather daring and trying stripes and discovering I like them. 

This skirt? It was a spaghetti strap top, a simple snipping off of the straps and we have a young girl's skirt. 

Easy, quick, my kind of projects.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Anzac Day 100 Years

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them."

Today we honour all Australians who served and died in all wars, and the contribution and suffering of those who have served.
We, Australia, thank you.

It's 100 years since Australian and New Zealand troops landed on the beaches of Gallipoli. 
 In our country town we were privileged to see a reenactment of the Light Horse Brigade, local property owners gathered 150 prime horses together, rode in from West of town and joined in the Anzac Day parade. 

I was rather pleased to see members of our local Indigenous community leading the Brigade. After reading several articles this week on how shamefully Indigenous Australians were treated after the war, it was a good to see their contribution being honoured today.

What a stirring sight, 140 prime horses ridden by excellent horsemen and women. 
A little research (thanks Aunty Eil) and I discovered my Great-great Uncle, Edward McCabe served in the Boer War in one of the original Lighthorse Regiments, in the 5th Imperial Bushmen, known as the Fighting Fifth. 
My friend and distant cousin Karen (her grandmother and my grandfather were first cousins) has researched and shared about another relative, Ernest Jackson, who was in the first landing at Gallipoli and sadly died a week later of wounds sustained three days later. I found this fascinating and yet heartbreaking. 

As I listened to the Service this morning I was brought to tears, 100 years ago our oldest two boys were old enough to fight in the War, and our third son at nearly 16 and 6ft tall could easily have lied about his age to join up with his brothers. Three brothers who are best mates, I can easily image it.  It could have been our boys, those young men who so gaily went off, they were so, so young!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Exploring With "Small Boys"

“It is infinitely well worth of the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather to cherish in them, the love of investigation.” 
Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, pg 71

I can have a tendency to become consumed with the 'busyness of life', the 'to do' lists, the mundane and then forget to make the time to see the world through the eyes of my children

Today I consciously stepped into the world of our younger boys, we headed down to our bush for a ramble and the boys explored whilst I observed

As I watched them investigate their surroundings it was fascinating to note what observations they made and objects they collected

Just a short 'break', an hour at most but most rewarding to immerse in a different pace

I came home renewed and tuned back into the world of our "small boys"

Life is good

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Body Image and The Power of Words

This week I engaged in a conversation with a young lady about body image, specifically her body image, in which I challenged/encouraged her that the words she had heard from childhood were not true. This led to reflection upon my body image, perceptions I have held over from my childhood. It highlighted to me that the words that are said to a young girl/boy linger long into adulthood, in my case decades.  What others say to us help form our thoughts about who we are, how we look, and these images may actually be not true.

Firstly I wish to emphasis that I have a reasonable healthy sense of self, I'm mostly happy with how I look and my body shape is not something I have more that fleeting thoughts about, even as a teenager it wasn't something I agonised about but the words of two pivotal family members (both now deceased) were said and they were believed.  I thought that I was a "big boned girl like my grandmother" that I "was chubby" and had "big thighs" and that I was often "putting on weight". Whilst I didn't allow these comments to overly bother me, nor were they a major focus of my teenage years, I heard them and they were believed.  For decades I had a perception of myself that wasn't true!

The 'story' I believed was, 'I was a chubby child and teen but when I meet my husband to be and fell in love the weight fell off and I became a slim woman', because I was told so. Over 20 years of married life with a man who loves me and my body has been wonderful for my self image, I believe what he has to say about my body. Over time I've given fleeting thoughts to my younger self image and had niggling doubts that I perhaps my perception wasn't correct, particularly as none of our children have body shapes that tallied with my younger self image and surely statistically with ten children they can't all be like their father, some must be 'like me'?  As time passed I came to believe that my bone structure changed, that I once I was 'bigger boned' when a child/teen and then my bone structure changed and became thinner when older. (cause well, yeah your bones can change. eye roll)

I initiated a conversation with my mother on the topic this week and she alternated between being horrified that unbeknownst to her I had held this perception of myself for all these years and the ludicrousness of my younger self image.  "But you were a skinny child and a skinny teenager!" she kept exclaiming.  "Why have we never discussed this?" she wanted to know.
"Because there wasn't anything to say" I answered, "I thought it was just obvious I had big bones and fat thighs". She is torn between being bemused and horrified that this "skinny child" thought she wasn't.

As a teen with my baby brother
The words of others, whether intentional or of a throw away nature have power, a power that lingers. Today my challenge to you is to ask yourself, is the image, past or current that you have of yourself true? Comments that have had a negative effect, that were said about your: hair, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, chin, face shape, arms, shoulders, breasts, hips, waist, thighs, calf, feet etc, are they really true?!

*I wish to clarify I see beauty in all 'shapes and sizes', this post is more in the nature of addressing mis-perceptions of one's image.

Friday, 10 April 2015

My Daybook: April 10th, 2015

Outside my window...
the sky is lightening as the day 'grows older', the children are beginning to awaken

I am thankful...
  • to have had five precious days with our boys and Carpenter's girlfriend home.  Always a busy time when our lads are home, creating many memories within a short period of time
  • to have been able to celebrate our Einstein's 18th birthday, all together
  • that Jelly Bean's injuries weren't worse than they were! They could have been very easily. Praise the Lord they weren't!

I am thinking...
my brain is always revolving, many thoughts swirl about, today's include:
  • household projects, plans and possibilities
  • lesson direction for Term 2
  • photography dreams
  • thoughts of Anna Maria far from home in England

Learning all the time...
Easter holidays here, we have a 2 week break.  I was considering only taking one as the end of term was rather disrupted but... there are many household projects that that could do with attention

Celebrating the liturgical year......
we survived the Easter Triduum, always a huge week for us, with four Masses/services in three days, including serving practices for our boys, and this year the practice for the enacting of the Station of the Cross on Good Friday, plus the organising of costumes

From the kitchen...
multiple pavlovas and cheesecakes have been on the menu, with salads and cold meats and chocolate, way too much chocolate

I am creating...
all about upcycling clothes still. I really scored at the opshops this week for myself, altering larger stretch knit skirts and dresses into smaller sizes for myself, easy project

I am working on...
turning my house 'upside down' well that is when I settle on a plan.  I want to move the 'toyroom' to a different location, but which room to switch about... the games room? the learning room? perhaps even the library or study?? Ah the luxury of having multiple rooms, I'm blessed indeed

I am going...
to my brother's engagement party tomorrow, dress code is cocktail, needing to google what 'cocktail' looks like for PC and the children

I am hoping...
for a hugely productive Term 2. It just feels as if the 'years are running away', already we have graduated three children and I'm highly conscious that Michelangelo will be 16 in three months and he'll be graduating before I know it too

I am praying...
for our beloved daughter far from home in England, praying she is creating marvelous memories

I am pondering....
body image, a discussion, led to a realisation, more thoughts on that coming soon

I am reading...
recently read A Spoonful of Sugar - Brenda Ashford
Written by a 91 year old lady who was a nanny in Britain for 62 years!!!! Absolutely fascinating and interesting

I am listening to......
downloads of Read Aloud Revival podcasts on reading, needing to rejuvenate our commitment to quality literature here, sadly we've slipped into too much twaddle

I am hearing...
as I type I have youtubes of '..Got Talent' shows running as background music. I enjoy listening to beautiful singing voices as they are 'discovered'

I am struggling...
with motivation, not sure if it's energy or self-discipline that's the problem

Clicking around...
I've discovered Instagram!! Oh Instagram love, I'm drawn to photos of children, providing me with plenty of inspiration and ideas for improvement

Around the house...
house extension work has drawn to a halt, we're needing to plan the next step, my choice is to lay floorboards over the floor sheeting in a few more rooms, PC is thinking packing piers to prepare for the new decking section in preparation for laying a new roof over the 'old section', stay tuned, to see which direction

One of my favorite things...
family, always family:)
Not only did we have 5 days with our two oldest lads and special lass, but PC's mother and some of my siblings were able to join us for Einstein's birthday.  My two sisters and our two youngest brothers, it's not often all three of 'us girls' are together and with just the youngest two boys it was a different dynamic.  Though the other three 'boys' were missed

A few plans for this week...
  • engagement party tomorrow
  • massive shed clean up too, PC has requested help to clean his shed, oh be still my heart! I love restoring order up there:)
  • restore regular routine to our household and catch up on sleep. With the boys home there have been way too many late nights, partying 24/7
  • returning all children to their bedrooms, 8 family members staying over for differing lengths of time during the past five days has meant revolving children in and out of their beds, it's time for order to be returned

A little peek at my day...
  • our boys left at 6am this morning, praying throughout the day for their safety on the road
  • beginning some of my holiday projects, first up is creating tags for the toyboxes
  • fixing my sewing machine, if I can, it seized up last night whilst I was altering a skirt 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Happy 18th Einstein!!!

Happy 18th Einstein:):) xxxxx
What a special day to share with our impressive young man

You are unfailingly patient with your siblings
a wonderful trait you apply to all you interact with

Blessed to have a few extended family members (26 for lunch) 
join us to help celebrate your birthday, which we celebrated on Easter Monday

We miss you greatly far away in the Big Smoke but feel privileged to see you grow in your new independence

You and this bro, best mates, living together again

We are so proud of the young man you are
We love you immensely Son, Happy Birthday xxx