Everybody’s Talking ‘Bout Me…

Who sang that song? Not sure. But it ran through my mind today..
There was a really embarrassing situation at homeschool ice skating . Several of us were sitting at a long conglomeration of tables, talking while kids were skating. Talking in small groups, or in twos and threes. I was perusing another mum’s book on organisation for homeschooling mothers when I overheard a conversation.
Two of the ladies were talking about me. I presume they thought I couldn’t hear. I heard bits about the clothes I wear and the things I say. Not favourable bits.
Hey, here is what I wore today, to mass, to skating, to grocery shopping..Not so weird or immodest….
Anyway, I heard only snippets. I tried not to listen. The ladies concluded that I had different values to their values. Again in a not favourable way.
Oh dear. Oh well.
You can’t please everyone all the time, can you? And if you are friendly, talk to everyone and anyone, an extrovert and one who organises homeschool events, you tend to be a litle more out there than most. And thus more open to criticism.
I tried not to eavesdrop. I pretended I hadn’t heard those snippets that I did hear. I read my book. I talked to a new homeschooler and later to my closer friends.
And talked to the kids tonight about gossip and judging others. Turning this experience into a learning experience.
For us all.

Those Sweet Recipes

For those who asked!

Coconut Ice

Combine 1 can condensed milk, 3 1/3 cups icing sugar, 4 1/4 cups desicated coconut. Mix well. Mixture is dry. Divide the mixture in half. Press half in the base of a small slab tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Colour the rest with a few drops of cochineal or red food colouring. Press the pink mixture over the white slab. Chill until firm. Cut into squares.

My Grandmother’s Toffee

250g butter, 2 cups sugar, 2 cans condensed milk.

Melt butter, add sugar and condensed milk. Boil slowly, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon for about 20 – 25 minutes. Mixture will thicken and turn a golden brown colour. Toffee is ready when it reaches the small ball stage ~ a small amount of mixture is dropped into a glass of cold water, if it forms a ball it is ready. Pour into a slab tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Chill until firm. Cut into squares.

All I can say is YUM!

religion, Unschooling

What do homeschooling mums do at ten p.m.?

At ten p.m.?

Come home from work and a women’s group at church. Eat a bowl of lentil soup from the crockpot for a very late dinner, soup that she put on earlier in the day. Play loud music , dance, text friends re Dr Who ( sob! David Tennant is giving up!). And start making sweets with youngest son. Sweets for All Hallows Eve ( Halloween) tomorrow. Coconut ice and my Grandmother’s Caramel Toffee.

Then blog about it at eleven p.m. All in honour of Halloween. Paper chains included.

Of Saints and Other Things

Saturday was the feast of St Crispin. We read a little of this martyr but what struck us the most ( me the most) was how his name sounds so edible! We went through a list of all the yummy, crispy foods we like- including Nestle Crunch. I am not a big chocolate fan, usually like dark chocolate but I do have a soft spot for the milk chocolate and rice bubbles in Crunch.

Oh, and we were a bit more literate than that! Looked up St Crispin’s Day today, the Battle of Agincourt, and read the St Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Also, today is St Simon and St Jude . Anthony is named after St Jude, Jude of the New Testament – Anthony’s full name is Anthony Michael Jude…

And we are planning some fun for this week’s feast of All Hallow’s Eve ( Halloween), All Saints and All Souls. You can check out the links in our blogs in the sidebar. Homemade sweets and paper chains, orange and black, for Halloween. A special dinner and the Litany of All Saints for Saturday. And Mass.

Mass and prayers for souls, and the De Profundus, and Soul Cakes for Sunday…..

Our centrepiece above is a votive candle, rosary beads, roses from the garden. You can also see the flowers, again from our garden, near our Bible and missals and small icons of Our Lady…and near dh’s ships….and two of our crucifixes, placed on the wall.

I have been hesistant to add items to our wall. We rent. I’ve felt we may move. Then, slowly, gradually, over the last two years, I have added prints. Photographs. And now crucifixes. The longer we stay here * nearly 3 1/2 years now * the longer it looks like we are staying.

Freaky to stay in one house and in one area for such a long time.

A new experience for me.

I don’t really know how to live anywhere long term, how to stay friends long term without having to resort to email and blogs to keep in touch…

That crucifix, by the way, the San Damiano Cross , is the one St. Francis was praying before when he received his commission from the Lord . It is the very first crucifix I ever bought, before I was even Catholic. Pregnant with son number five, Alexander, suffering many health problems, being sent to hospital and bed rest, being told I and the unborn child may die, being told not to have any more children, with all these things heavy on my mind, I called into a little Catholic bookstore on my way to hospital. I spied the San Damiano crucifix – although I didn’t know that was its title. I liked the art, icon-ish. I liked the colours. I bought the crucifix and kept it next to my bedside in hospital.

Alexander is now seventeen, so that crucifix is more than seventeen years old. And it is memory-ridden.


What to do when one is physically tired?

The simple answer is sleep.

Yet it is not a simple answer, really. I have absolutely zero trouble getting to sleep but I darn well cannot STAY asleep. I cannot go back to sleep when I awaken, as I do, during the night, with thoughts swirling in my head.

This makes me so tired.

Today, after a a usual busy day, and a hard weights workout ( high rep low weight – 3kg or 7lbs), well, I find my hamstrings sore and my body tired.

A happy tired, though. It was a run, run, run day but a fun one – Mass, surfing with the kids at Manly, sit in the sun and talk, lots ( lots!) of driving, errands, pick up and drop off, go to the school fete, laundry and cleaning at home, phone calls and emails to make for work and parish and teen group stuff..Many other things on the dreaded To Do List were left untouched… But, not, course, the DVD to watch! Or the homeschool log/blog to do…

A pleasant exhaustion. I love homeschooling, I love my work and my volunteer work, my blogging and technology and connections, my dh, my friends, my life…

Now, if only I can have a good night’s sleep! St Peter Damian, pray for us!

N.B. St Peter Damian is often invoked for insomnia. He was a Benedictine, a Doctor of the Church, and his health suffered at one time, due to lack of sleep. He often replaced sleep with prayer.

ETA ~ Friday night, last night, I managed nearly a full six hours of sleep! Woo hoo! I feel like a new woman!

A Few of Our Morning Things…

Anthony’s lego creations, all over the sitting room…

The same sitting room, now tidy, with teaset out, for the Women’s Group this evening. Got everything neat before work this afternoon…

The THINK Challenge ~ Place the following materials on the table: 12 straws 30 cm of tape scissors (these may not be used in the solution) an egg (raw or hard-boiled although raw is more fun). The challenge is to build a structure that will support the egg and keep it at least 3 cm above the surface of the table. You may not tape anything to the table or the egg. You may not use any materials besides those listed above.
Me ~ in the kitchen, organising a litany of things-to-do before we leave for work and after a typically busy morning..Thomas snapped the pic – bossy Mum in action!


Daybook Again

As suggested by Peggy. Want to participate, too?
I know I hardly am a simple woman or lead a simple life, but I like the idea of a daybook, occasionally, as a scrapbook of memories , a litany of what is happening.
Outside my Window… Rain. Isn’t it lovely – we really need this rain! I loved hearing the rain during the night and now I love seeing the rain on the leaves of the plants outside the dining room window.
I am thinking… Thinking about watching what I eat and getting back into a regular routine of healthy meals. No mindless eating. No emotional eating. Less alcohol.
From the learning rooms…I’ve just made Thomas unhappy by asking him to do some Maths. “We are doing schoolwork today?” he asked, incredulously.. Yes. I am failing at unschooling…
I am thankful workouts. They keep me sane, they keep me fit, they help me learn about myself, they make me happy. As Billy Blanks says, in one of his Taebo workouts, Learn something about yourself. Squeeze your butt! That line always cracks me up.
From the kitchen..Alexander just made me toast and Vegemite for breakfast. And Anthony just brought me a cup of tea with skim milk. Aren’t they sweet? And we’ve been cooking ~ on Monday Thomas and Anthony did some baking; for dinner after work I made pasta and tomato sauce. Last night I made pea soup. Today, I’m cooking lunch – maybe some homemade quiches and homemade sausage rolls. Just call me Martha Stewart from now on!
I am wearing.. workout clothes. My standard morning apparel.
I am reading..Run by Ann Patchett; The Do-able Diet by Barbara Wimhurst; Secrets of a Former Fat Girl by Lisa Delaney.
I am hoping.. that everything goes well for Luke, as he moves back to Adelaide. Relationships suck sometimes, don’t they?
I am creating..Memories , I hope. For the youngest four sons in any case. …Freedom and flexibility within the natural boundaries of our life. It’s like the whole world is open to us and we pick and choose from the buffet. …Like yesterday. After French class at our house, the kids played with foam dart guns and we mums talked and talked. And then ended up at Mc Donalds for lunch altogether. So, French class becomes French day – from 9.30 – 2.30 when we had to go our separate ways for different activities/have tos.If we were more structured, we wouldn’t feel the freedom to just drop everything and hang out, as we did yesterday. Yet, I see a real value in the kids building connections together and in creating memories and in valuing the freedom of childhood and of the teen years.
I am hearing.. Jonathon playing the guitar in the sitting room, playing and singing a song he wrote..And the hum of the dryer from the laundry..And Anthony’s pen scratching on paper while he works on Kumon Maths ( Thomas hasn’t started Maths. He’s on the computer, playing games).
Around the house… We cleaned for the house inspection last week but have had many visitors ( as usual) so spend our time cleaning up, making messes, cleaning up! lol! I’m caught up on laundry. But need to vacuum again.
One of my favourite things…Today? The smell of toast cooking on a cool morning. Yum! And having people, a friar and one of the kids’ friends, over today for lunch – I love having people over or catching up with people. I’m a social animal.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…Kumon work, as always. Phone women re change of venue for the womens’ group at church – it’s gonna be here, at my house. Surfing for the kids on Friday. Finish off the tax stuff. Clean the cars. A farewell lunch for Luke . Watch Alias and The Brady Bunch Movie!!

Bad Parent?

An unschooling article.

Bad Parent – Unschooling ~ Why My Kid Won’t Attend School This Fall – Or Maybe Ever

The flexibility and freedom described in this article is why unschooling fits my educational philosophy. My life. Our life. Why I choose to be a small business owner, run a Kumon Education centre instead of going back to teaching, to fixed hours, while homeschooling my kids.

Spontaneity. A choose-your-own schedule. Having freedom to do many things, if we choose, not have our lives tailored by school and work schedules. Learning suited to the learner.

As we talk, I realize that Benny is not at “real” kindergarten today, because it is what suits my family at this moment. I’m not against school. Not by any means. After all, Brad and I fared pretty nicely after a regular school education. With two PhDs between us and a couple of published books, our desire to learn clearly wasn’t quashed.

But un-kindergarten for us means Benny can sleep late so I can write. It means we don’t have to worry about bedtimes and can go out on the town with friends any night of the week. We can go to Europe and visit my family when the flights are cheap. Un-kindergarten also means we can pick and choose how we spend our days and who we spend them with. Benny can go to free classes at the Metropolitan Museum in the week when it’s less crowded. He can read a book on sharks when he feels like it. He can experiment with bungee cords while eating his breakfast at noon.

So, is unschooling bad parenting? Or is it really, really good parenting, providing a good education, a good life?
What Makes A Good or Bad Parent?