On dominoes and blogging

Last night, T found our old dominoes set. A looked up the rules and variations in Hoyle’s Book of Games. The T wanted us to play a game.

It was late – ten p.m. I was tired . But I am glad that I got on the rug to play, as we had a fun game, full of conversation and connections. A nice way to spend time together before bed.

We put the dominoes on the breakfast bar in order to play more games today. After folding the newspapers for the boys’ newspaper round.

Playing dominoes with some of the kids made me feel less tired.

In a way, I thought that spending time with the dominoes game was a lot like blogging our family’s homeschooling – it is in blogging that I sometimes see the learning and family relationships. Playing dominoes gave me joy and energy. Blogging our days allows me to see the big picture.

There is a tendency in blogging to write only about the good times, the not tired or cross times. It is interesting to me that this seems to happens simply because those are the times I remember – the frustrating times pass.

How do we turn around a day of irritation and crossness? For me, it often becomes an act of will. I remember the educator Charlotte Mason and her motto – ‘I am, I can, I ought, I will.”

I will myself to change the day around, my attitude around. I explain this to my children and encourage them to do the same.

A good way for us to get over the doldrums or crossness or frustration is to do something completely different. Either in the home or out.

Perhaps a picnic on the sitting room floor. Have a light sabre championship or play croquet or other sport.Turn the trampoline upside down and play games on it. Go for a walk. Cook something fun. Go to the shops or to a museum or a park or the library. Grab a snack or meal out. Bring down some old toys or cratfs to play and build. Buy some new toys or games or paints or pencils. Dance to music. Sing and play an instrument. Watch a video. Play Tekken on the Playstation.


Later, perhaps, we can work on the source of the problem but the immediate solution, for us, is to break the cross mould!



Anny and T have become quite interested in weather and weather patterns.

This interest began with discussions about the local drought. A homeschool mother also shared stories of floods in our area, floods that happened over ten years ago. I must admit that the thought of floods had us all pondering escape routes!

Then the news of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita spurred more discussion and interest – and we borrowed a book from the library titled “Howling Hurricanes”.

I noticed some unusual cloud formations and A and I talked about clouds – cirro-cumulus, cirrus, cumuls, cumulo-nimbus. We remembered reading about this an old Ladybird book called ‘The Story of Weather”.

A dug this book out from our “Ladybird bookshelves” ( in Anny’s room) and the book is now on display for perusal in the kitchen.

At the shopping centre yesterday G spotted a Smithsonian weather station science kit. It was on special, so we bought it, to further ignite the weather interest. T and Anny set it up today and G printed some weather charts from the internet.

We began our recordings and observations today.

For me, all this has a feeling of deja vu. I remember the older boys – L, G, N – having a weather station and keeping a record chart. Was that when we lived in Wembley?

Lots of helpful charts here, including a weather chart –


The educational exchange between parents and children

From Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II –

All members of the family, each according to his or her own gift, have the grace and responsibility of building, day by day, the communion of persons, making the family “a school of deeper humanity”(59): this happens where there is care and love for the little ones, the sick, the aged; where there is mutual service every day; when there is a sharing of goods, of joys and of sorrows.

A fundamental opportunity for building such a communion is constituted by the educational exchange between parents and children,(60) in which each gives and receives.

Family communion can only be preserved and perfected through a great spirit of sacrifice. It requires, in fact, a ready and generous openness of each and all to understanding, to forbearance, to pardon, to reconciliation. There is no family that does not know how selfishness, discord, tension and conflict violently attack and at times mortally wound its own communion: hence there arise the many and varied forms of division in family life. But, at the same time, every family is called by the God of peace to have the joyous and renewing experience of “reconciliation,” that is, communion reestablished, unity restored.


NOT Three Men in a Boat.

We love the book Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. It is quite humorous.

There is also an old film version available.

Well, last night we did not have three men in a boat. But we did have three priests over for dinner – and it was an enjoyable evening, with much humour. It was the laughter that prompted me to remember Jerome’s book.

The three priests were two Franciscans – one from our parish and newly ordained – and a priest friend from interstate.

A friend recently posted a quote from Pope John Paul II on her blog. It was ” “Families, be who you are!”

I guess that we are who we are, like it or not – but sometimes I do wonder – who are we as individuals and as a family?


My photographs…..

Hey all, I’m back!

Thought I’d just let you in on what’s happening lately.
First of all, you might remember a few posts back when I said I was thinking of setting up
my clothing company? Well, it’s slowly taking shape…..I’ve got a few good designs, including one
with some text saying “FEUD” which I like. My first step at the moment is to put together a
design sheet which will display the shirts. For that, I’m going to need to take some photographs
of myself or someone else, and modify them in photoshop, just to kind of model the clothes.

So today we were all at group learning, the last one of the term! Just finishing off our design projects that we’ve been working on, like Alexander’s logo and my shirt, and Thomas’ lunch box. At the end, we had a man whose career has actually been design, mainly in lighting, talk to us about how he’s done things and his design process….pretty interesting actually!

And on to the final section of my posts, the “What I’m Into” section.

I’ve been reading “Because of Winn Dixie”, a book about a preacher’s daughter named Opal and her foundling pet dog. The book follows the summer of when Opal found the dog and named him Winn Dixie, and all the good things that happen because of him.

The art I like right now is a lot of stuff by the cartoonist John Kovalic, a really funny guy.
His work always makes me laugh, no matter what. I’m also into art by Billy Martin, he draws a lot of stuff reminiscent of the art in Dr. Seuss. Sounds strange, but it’s actually really good.
Wish I could post a link, but unfortunately his website isn’t finished yet. Maybe next month though.

I’m getting back into the band “Mest” now. I picked up one of their records a while ago, but now it’s finally growing on me, especially the tracks “Shell of Myself” and “Lost and Confused”.
Their new album “Photographs” comes out next month, so I’m looking forward to that.
I’m also really enjoying a lot of jazz, especially Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck. Brubeck’s album “Take 5” is really a masterpiece of 50’s “cool jazz”, as they call it. Very laid back and relaxed.
Music to go to sleep to. When the slow lilting piano on Take 5 gives way to the soft gentle drum solo in the middle, you really want to just listen to it forever. Very good.

Well, it’s getting late where I am right now, time to head off to bed. I love this hour of night, when everything seems so still and silent, and you look out at the night sky….after a good day, the stars shine so bright….it’s just totally peaceful……

Well, good night all.




I was asked to do the “lollipop” learning station at group learning today – the theme was inventions and inventors.

The boys and I had a practice run last night, after teen group and a visit from friends. We found some interesting history about the word lollipop and the first lollipop machines. We also learned about the crystalline structure of lollipops – it is amorphous and thus similar to glass, a non orderly arrangement of atoms. This means that the candy will not shatter into many pieces when one takes a bite.

We also adapted the lollipop recipe and made it simpler. Basically, we eliminated the corn syrup and the cream of tartar – it still worked fine, with and without moulds.

We made red and green lollipops, with lemon essence.

The history of lollipops –

The original lollipop recipe, before our adaptations –