Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Can't be bothered. CBB sewing, or going out, or cooking, or doing my NEIS work or doing anything much really. The baby has finally won! I've just been lounging around, letting D do everything, watching birth and breastfeeding DVDs that Claire (my midwife) brought over. The homebirth is definitely on now so I think she's trying to catch up on 8 months of visits in four weeks!
The only clash with the lethargy is that we've decided that we want to buy land. Now. I've had enough, we've been talking about an acreage for nearly eight years now, it's time to just do it. So we've also been trekking around the countryside, driving down every little dirt lane there is, traipsing up driveways that have more in common with goat tracks and having encounters with braying donkeys (hilarious! except Holli nearly wet herself in fear). Oh, and all this done in 30+ degree heat, at 37+ weeks pregnant. Yes, i'm stupid. But I figure it'll be easier now than with a newborn.
We're down to one favourite-i'll find out tomorrow if they'll give us the money for it (the shack doesn't have a certificate of occupancy so the bank could decide to factor rent+mortgage into their calculations, which we can't afford) and if we can we'll go back and look again, and D can go out and trek the boundaries. Who knows, we could be giving ourselves a nice little Christmas present of 60 acres and early next year the seven of us can move to a one bedroom shack with minimal solar power. Most people's nightmare, but I can't wait! No neighbours, privacy, fresh air and water, and total peace and quiet.
Friday, November 28, 2008
A fitted (froggy) and cotton PUL outer AIO, made to my pattern. These are S/M-in the first pic the rise is snapped down to newborn, in the second opened to medium. Two red minky/black fleece blankies. The theory is that these can act as nappy covers as well-after all, he'll be a December Queensland baby, nappy and singlet will probably be all he'll wear a lot of the time. So while he's kicking around on the floor, the grass, or in his rocker he can just have a fitted or flat on and be laying on one of these. That's the theory anyway, i'll have to test it-but even if it doesn't work he still has two lush blankies. Sling, to the Karma Baby pattern. I'm kicking myself that I ever bought slings, it literally took under half an hour to make and cost about $4 in fabric. And better yet, it fits-I have a somewhat small but not tiny build and most slings are too big for me. Asha (3.5 years, 13.5 kilos) was more than happy to hop in and try it out for me, it should be more comfortable once I get rid of this big belly! I want to try a mei tai next.
And warning, ick factor for the faint hearted :P! More pads for me, i'm so happy I won't be wearing icky sweaty plastic next to my poor battered bits this time. They're topped with cotton velour, with a few layers of bamboo fleece, then the base is PUL and flannelette. The shape is from the 11inch pattern from shewhorunsintheforest, I meant to make them a bit differently but they had a mind of their own in the end. Not perfect, but hey, no-one will be looking at them :PPlus i've made a pile of bamboo terry wipes and some bamboo terry/needlefelt prefolds-but they're pretty boring looking.
About time I displayed something productive here instead of just blathering on, eh?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tonight, the kids wanted a mint leaf each-the horrible things were still hanging around in the fridge from my birthday cake. So D pulled the bag out and there were three left. 'OK' he said to the kids, sitting them on the bench. 'There's two of us parents and four of you kids-how will we share three mint leaves?' With barely a second's hesitation Gabrielle replied 'Chop them in half and then there'll be six!' I am so impressed-she's two months shy of five years and this is about the fifth example she's given us of being able to work out fractions. She can do basic addition and subtraction, and even added up 8+4 the other day-in her head, no fingers or manipulatives required.
The bit that impresses me the most is that no-one has ever sat down with her and attempted to teach her maths. Never. We do a lot of cooking with all its half and quarter cups, and we talk about maths we encounter (like adding up all the bits of fruit we have, or dividing up items so everyone in the family gets some), but that's about it. But they just seem to absorb everything intuitively, process it all then apply it properly-they don't need to be 'taught' in the conventional way, simply exposing them to lots of different things really does do the trick.
I was so dismissive of unschooling to begin with. How on earth could simply being give you an education? Don't you need textbooks and tests, rote learning and spelling lists, and experts to tell you what you 'should' be learning at each stage? But since deciding to try unschooling (after all, they're so young that if it all fell apart it wasn't going to put them behind-they're still not supposed to be at school) i've gained a lot of confidence in it. Kids really do just learn massive amounts from being given quality items and experiences and some basic guidance and explanation-and what's better, it's all retained. They want to learn it so they do, and because they're applying the knowledge in a practical way it sticks with them. It's given me lots to think about in relation to my own education, but i'll save that one for another day. For now i'll just continue to wallow in pride at what my kids can do :D
We encountered a moron on our walk tonight. As we walked past one house we could hear a domestic in full force, and a teenaged girl came running out of the house and down the road with an older guy appearing on the steps to scream and swear at her. As is usual in those situations, we ignored it all and carried on. Until he appeared behind me a few houses down, asking if we knew which way she'd gone. He stunk of booze and had a drink in his hand and couldn't speak nor stand properly (at 6pm on a Tuesday, not a bad effort), so I told him I didn't know. So did D-we both did know, but I didn't want to inflict him on her any more. We were very polite about it, and explained that we weren't paying attention to other people when he continued to badger us. So then we were the baddies-I really had to bite my tongue when he started telling me he hoped people looked out for my kids more when they were older. Um, hello, you're the one who lost your kid! Hopefully i'll be looking out for them more myself rather than relying on strangers out for a walk!
We walked off, so he turned around and spied her off on another street, then we copped more abuse-all the really inventive things along the lines of fuckwit and such, and all to do with how stupid we were for not knowing where she was.
Drunks are so entertaining. It reinforces my perception of alcohol as a generally bad thing-i'm always amazed at the attitude that regular drinking is quite acceptable. I know many people who see it as totally normal to drink a 6 pack every night and a slab over a weekend-it's just what blokes do. Not to mention women who down numerous bottles of wine a week. I've been pressured to drink both while pregnant and breastfeeding, and poor D gets nagged mercilessly if he refuses a drink while we're out. Now, neither of us are non-drinkers but neither do we do it on a regular basis. Both of us growing up with idiot alcoholic stepfathers is most likely responsible-when you see adults become blathering idiots who use their clothes drawers as toilets on a regular basis it tends to take the coolness away from it.
So i'll continue to be dumbfounded at the fact that whitegoods stores can run promotions giving away massive amounts of alcohol when you buy a fridge, that you can drink at some school fetes and that the supermarkets in Canberra sold alcohol. Because to me, it all helps to normalise and encourage the behaviour of the idiot above.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Here I was thinking that pregnancy had just totally killed all brain and energy I had and I was doomed to a couple of months of doing not much and only being able to read moronic chick-lit type books-turned out I was just iron deficient. Once I worked that out and started treating it I felt great!
So when I came across the ethics section of the library I stocked up. The Ethics of What we Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason was first up. Many people hate Singer but I find his books quite interesting and thought provoking-the one about Bush's ethics and morals (The President of Good and Evil?) was very good. Ethics of eating is rather relevant to our situation now. Before I fell pregnant I was loving cooking, and we were eating mostly fresh and homegrown food with very little meat. However when morning sickness kicked in I lost all interest in food and cooking-moving interstate didn't help, and even now i'm not particularly into it. So our diet has slid somewhat-some convenience food crept in, meat consumption increased and junk increased. Reading this has given me enough of a guilt trip to pull my socks up.
So the goals now are
Animal cruelty-no more meat. We'll eat what we have and that'll be it. We don't have much, but I did turn to meat products to fix my iron deficiency. So once it's out it's out, and we won't be eating it when we go out anymore either, we've been dithering for years and I think it's time for total vegetarianism. In regards to other animal products, we're dairy fiends so milk, cheese and other dairy products will remain. I've started replacing some cows milk with soy and that'll do until we get settled back into non-meat eating again, reducing it can be my next goal. Eggs-I don't believe any supermarket eggs are ethical to eat. Even 'free-range' hens aren't kept in anywhere near optimal conditions. I put in a request weeks ago to get some chooks but our RE agent is absolutely useless and can't seem to return calls-i'm thinking of getting them anyway, screw them, it's not like i'm asking to get a rottweiler. Until then i'll use the vegan Orgran Egg Replacer for eggs in cooking-we don't eat egg meals anymore because I can't stand the rubbery tasteless things i've been buying after our completely free-range eggs from our chooks. I'd already cut out most other non-necessary animal products a while back (eg Massel vegan stocks) so that's easy to continue. I also need to do more research on the 'hidden' animal products, like rennet.
Environmental-Cutting back on animal products goes a long way towards minimising environmental harm-one thing i've never considered before was disposal of animal waste from factory farming which is hugely polluting. An intriguing part of the book investigated the newish fad of locavores which is basically eating as locally as possible in order to reduce food miles. Their conclusion was that a lot of the time eating locally will produce more pollution if you have to go out of your way to buy it, due to the food making smaller trips from the producer to stores/market then home to you. I'll keep getting vegies from the local markets because they're so much fresher and better quality and it's less than 2kms away. I used to walk there, and will do so again once i'm not so huge. We're getting more organised with the garden now as well and focussing on fast-growing, high yielding foods rather than all our whimsical things (really, I don't need to be growing giant gourds in a rental). Until we buy we're somewhat limited in growing, but producing some part of every meal is my current goal-we're about halfway there.
Health-i'm making much more of an effort to cook from scratch again, I got pretty lazy there for a while. This generally means we eat masses of grains, fruit and veg because that's what I know how to prepare the best. I'll stick to making loaves of bread from scratch but will stop beating myself up about buying other breads like rolls-it can be a future goal when I get a better oven. I also now have a pasta maker which is awesome-how did I live with that terrible bagged stuff?? The snack foods I do buy can generally be bought 'better' so i'm doing that-eg organic, low packaging rice and corn cakes.
Another interesting part was about freegans who obtain all their food for free, mainly by 'dumpster diving'. I've heard of this before and was revolted, I suppose picturing eating from my bin. But the way it was explained here made it look like a much better idea, bringing up how much food supermarkets turf which is still completely packaged and within date. It wouldn't really fit into my lifestyle now, being rather time-intensive (but less so than slaving away at work to pay the supermarket) but I think i'd be open to it if it was just me to feed-i'd definitely go along for a trip.
That's it for the food for now-but I still have the rest of the lifestyle to bring back in line. A book about waste is next on the shelf, should be interesting.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Is both very good and very bad.
I'll get the bad out of the way first. The zucchinis were all going fantastically after their early bout of mildew. Then, just before harvest, they all got end rot, then succumbed to yellow mosaic virus (I think anyway, it's all self-diagnosed). So did the pumpkins, bar one golden nugget, and the squash. So they all went in the bin. The tomatoes were taking ages to ripen for some reason I haven't yet determined, so all got infested with fruit fly. In the bin. I'm still not having much luck in the herb department, I really don't think i'm meant to grow them. And I ended up realising that our ladybugs are the plant eating type, but not before they decimated the potato plants.
In positives, we've got lots of corn and banana capsicums nearing readiness, and are eating quite a bit of silverbeet and shallots. We got a lot of potatoes even though they were attacked, and the garlic is nearly ready. Parsley, basil, stevia and apple mint can all be munched on infrequently. One pumpkin is still going, fingers crossed it'll remain healthy. I've also germinated fenugreek, marjoram, coriander and chives inside and hopefully continuing to have them under my nose will mean they'll survive. There's also a sweet potato on the kitchen bench in a tray of water in dire need of planting, there's tendrils up to the ceiling that are growing over a foot a day-but it's pretty fun to watch and I have nowhere to put it!
We're concentrating now on leafy, heat tolerant plants as the temperature is hovering around 30, so more silverbeet, some leaf lettuces, malabar spinach and shallots, plus some beetroot. I've got a couple of the quickest maturing cherry tomatoes in and plan to hurry them along to avoid more fruit fly. And I couldn't resist melons, but i'm sticking to one of each (water, rock and honey) for now. Plus just one straightneck zucchini, it did the best. Hopefully sticking to small and manageable for now will mean a better success rate!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
And the hospital...........well, suffice to say, they're morons. I went for the second part of my booking-in visit and it's just silly. I got into my 9am ob appointment at 9.45. Took in my blood test results which she looked at but didn't read, or if she did read them didn't think my low iron levels were worth talking to me about. She also didn't read the u/s report I took in, seeing as i'm sure she would have given me a referral for another u/s as recommended (it was only for clearer pics, not issues, so I wouldn't have gone anyway, but should have been picked up on.) She didn't ask me a single question about how I was feeling or how the pregnancy was, just became fixated on the fact that I haven't had a full blood screen done. After going and asking the consultant about it after I told her I didn't need it she came back and gave me my orders, told me that it's hospital policy, you MUST have it done, here's the referral, you HAVE to go and get it done now, it's VERY IMPORTANT. Go STRAIGHT to pathology. So we left, scrunched it up and chucked it in the nearest bin. Hey, I KNOW I don't have syphilis!
I did get an apology from D though. He's never come to many appointments before and was absolutely flabbergasted at how they treat us. Now at least he understands why I loathe the whole process. So that's it for appointments for me, i'll ring and cancel the next one and the next time they see me will be in labour!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
But I got a Bounty Bag. I thought they'd all been discontinued but obviously not. I thought of refusing it by telling her that I don't like disposable or petrochemical based products for babies, but thought i'd probably pissed her off enough by that stage. They have at least taken out the bottles and dummies.
The things I never knew I needed! Like a $790 baby bag. Or a $609 cradle and $1250 cot. Not to mention the $70 feeding set (fork and spoon). Something that rocks your baby to sleep for only $250 (go the arms-length parenting). No wonder there were also books advertised on 'how to afford baby'. Here's my advice for free-don't buy so much CRAP.
Now, some people would say 'But if people can afford it, why shouldn't they buy it? It's their right!' Well, why not buy something decent for a tenth of the price and donate the rest to a charity? Sponsor a child? Or save to buy yourself some solar panels, a fantastic investment in your child's future?
Apparently smearing your child's butt in a petrochemical derived product at every single nappy change is the best way to avoid nappy rash (from those disposables that are apparently clinically proven to reduce nappy rash?) And the hospital grade detergent I got will ensure #5 will never have his poor fragile immune system exposed to any nasties.
I will begrudgingly admit that they did have a one-page spread about cloth nappies-no info, just pictures. And quite a few slings advertised. There was also a token 'eco-mama' section-with organic needless stuff so you can satisfy your need to buy but assuage your conscience at the same time.
The terrible mood I was in when I got home was definitely NOT the best for me to go through this perfect example of rampant consumerism and wastefulness.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
OK, i'm blathering now. But as penance for buying the shirt here are some hemp and needlefelt prefolds I made him this week. I also have a heap of PUL and FOE on the way to complete the baby stash. Not long to go now, if the scan's dates were right and I go a week early like I did with R that's only 7 weeks-eek!
Monday, October 6, 2008
They're a lot bigger than newborn, probably a medium. I haven't used FOE in yonks and forgot it doesn't have anywhere near as much stretch as swimwear elastic. I bound the front edges in suedecloth, eliminating the need to bugger around with overlapping FOE, which nearly always looks messy.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The stripey one was first, and I don't think it was quite wet enough or the dye colour strong enough. I then overcompensated on the splotchy one and made it too wet, so my yellow and blue splotches mixed a bit too much! I also need to find something reusable to replace the Glad Wrap, I went through a disgusting amount to make these.
Now to stick some fold-over elastic around them and see whether i've drafted up a decent pattern! It's also inspired me to dye up some yarn in nice, strong boys colours.........one day.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
This one's obvious-scrummy strawberries.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
This one is a cotton/viscose outer, two bodies of flannelette with a hidden bamboo/needlefelt booster, plus a snap-in booster of two layers of bamboo shaped like the one above. Much better turned!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I started a pair of pants for #5 the other day though and I think I may stick with them. I had an idea a while back on how to make pants with minimal sewing (because I loathe extensive stitching pieces together). It's acrylic as I simply *don't* handwash so don't really use longies.
And after venturing to the shops to buy the girls more summer clothes the other day and swooning in shock (once they hit size 3 everything seems to double in price-$22 for a cotton dress with three needing at least two dresses each? I think not) I decided making is really the only option. So I bought this awesome Japanese print cotton to go with some brown cotton I already had for a pinny. I think it's Holli's turn to get something-they keep track for me anyway :P
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I'm really not enjoying this pregnancy. I think that more than anything else makes me determined that this will be my last baby.
First up I copped nine weeks of horrible sickness and exhaustion, to the point where I was barely capable of supervising the kids, let alone doing things like cooking and housework. This was right at the time we were preparing to move as well, so poor D copped all the renos as well as a lot of the housework.
The next part was OK, I started feeling human again at about 14 weeks. My hips started to ache at about 12 weeks and the lurking varicose veins from the last pregnancies all started to swell again. But nothing too bad. People started asking me when I was due, assuming soon, but i'm used to that. I have no decent stomach muscles to hold my belly in firmly.
See what I mean? 26 weeks.
It took until about 23 weeks until my hips and pelvis really started playing up. Now at 27 weeks they hurt constantly, I can't sit/stand/walk or do anything for too long. I can't roll myself over in bed without waking up and doing it in a precise sequence. My pelvis hasn't started coming out of alignment yet, but i'm sure that excruciating little treat is only a few weeks away. That will then mean I can't roll myself over or get out of bed at all-welcome to interrupted sleep for D too as he becomes more like my carer than my husband. My stomach muscles have split apart again and I once again have the very freaky looking herniated belly button. No more stretch marks even though I look full term-then again, there's not much skin left for them to cover after the twins. And my feet are starting to puff up and look like pillows again. I feel so attractive.
The decision on where to give birth has also caused some stress-D wants me to go to the hospital although he's happy to support a homebirth, and I don't know what the hell I want. So apart from a visit to a doctor to get an ultrasound referral I haven't had any pregnancy care. Over the last week i've started to think it's really about time I started to see someone.
I feel sorry for the poor boy i'm carrying-all I do is complain about carting him around. I am looking forward to actually having him and holding him though-I can't wait for that bit. What I can't wait for the most is getting fit and healthy again though. I'm still only about 67 kilos so won't have much to worry about on the weight loss side, but i'm more interested in getting strong and able again. I feel like a useless, breathless lump ATM and i'm totally over it. I think after I have him it will be time to boot camp myself-as i'm the laziest person out it will be hard, but if it's not going to be wrecked by having more kids I think i'll have the motivation.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
After all the nappies I was craving making something simple. I've always used reusable breastpads, just the Tommee Tippee ones you get from the supermarket-I didn't know about the rest then. They're not too bad actually, once my boobs have settled down.
Fairly simple-two pairs of 3 layers of bamboo fleece, and three pairs of two layers. These are mainly for later on, I leak like a tap for the first few weeks and usually resort to a flat nappy under a tight singlet (for home anyway, would be a bit interesting to go out like that!)
I thought of doing them fancy-putting minky or something on them. But I need the absorbency without bulk, so decided just bamboo will do just fine. Not sure how they'll go without any waterproofing but just figure i'll make more and change more often-can't bear the thought of plastic over leaky nipples in a Queensland summer. I'm planning on making some bigger ones too-these ones are only small.
Monday, September 15, 2008
These have been my background project for a few weeks now-when I haven't had anything much else to do, or when i've wanted something that doesn't require much brainpower i've continued on. However, I got a bit sick of the stack sitting there and hammered away at them last weekend so I could shove them in the stock box and stop looking at them!
RIP Basic Fitteds! They're up on the site in bulk packs, however I need more stock. D starts work this week so i'll have less time, but some money to buy more fabric will be fantastic!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Oh, and it wicks if left on beyond mild dampness. I was pretty sure it would, but you never really know until you try these things. I'll stick with rolled edges methinks.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Well, so much for the market idea. I'll still go, but it's definitely not worth the odd trip. The casual fees are astronomical, there's a novels worth of paperwork to fill out, you need ridiculous amounts of PLI and they don't supply shade or tables. So i'll wait until i'm not pregnant and slowly accumulate all I need by then-unless I hit the jackpot it'll take me weeks to recoup the setup costs.
So many ideas ditched simply because they're bad *sigh*
Monday, September 1, 2008
People who know me will know i'm a hopeless perfectionist. Everything must be done just so. And when it comes to my business my perfectionist tendencies tend to go into overdrive. I had in my head that to start doing the 'serious' markets up here I needed to achieve about 1001 things first, and probably wouldn't go do my first until after the babe is born.
Well. D gave me a talking to tonight. Along the lines of 'you have stock, you know what you're doing, just bloody GO already!' And I had to admit he's right. I'm sure most people won't care that I don't have demos totally organised, or fancy advertising, or that there's still some things that irritate me about the site. Best just to go and wing it, especially after last weeks positive.
Last weeks positive-taking some nappies to show a stallholder at the market i'd been chatting to. She bought two and has requested at least two more. While going over it with her a random person stopped at her stall, saw the nappies and bought one. So three sold and two ordered in under five minutes.
After that, I think I just need to bite the bullet. But i'm still crapping myself-taking stuff you have spent endless hours designing and making is always nerve-wracking. Deep breaths...........argh!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Bought a Jaboticaba (yummy-black berries with bitter skin, but the flesh tastes a lot like a lychee)
Gotta love the $2.80 plants at the market.
The kids ate one not-quite-ready strawberry today! There's lots more becoming ready, i'm not a great fan by everyone else is.
Repotted the rather ill-looking medlar (oh alright, I stuck it in a juice container) and it's now rewarded me with green shoots. I didn't want it to die, at $24 it's the most expensive things we have! Also planted echinacea, comfrey and borage in a polystyrene box, and planted four zucchinis out in a trench garden. Trench garden=digging a trench, chucking half-rotted compost in, topping up with clover from the lawn, then dirt, then newspaper as weed mat, then lots of mulch raked up from under the mango. We left it to stew for a few days then poked a hole in the newspaper and stuck the seedlings in. I've never done it before, so i'll see how they fare. The Nimbas are doing far better than the Lebanese ATM, the transplant didn't worry them.
I think i'm definitely going to end up with a garden of things people have never heard of! I love odd foods, I want to start getting into Australian bush foods next. It really makes you realise supermarkets are woeful-there's so much more out there, most of it better tasting, more pest-resistant and more plentiful.
I'm impressed so far-nice and trim but very absorbent, OSFM, easy to use and easy to make (very important to me after making lots of complicated things!) Even the husband likes it, and he's a terrible critic. It's had a few weeks wear now with no issues-I was smart enough this time to make a few mock-ups first!
Friday, August 22, 2008
We've decided that this baby will be our 'homemade baby'-we won't be buying anything new for him, it will all be homemade or secondhand. Being number 5 makes it a bit easier, we have truckloads of stuff. However, my nanna isn't in on the challenge, so sent us this package the other day. There's not really a nice way to ask relatives not to buy you presents, so we won't!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Clap for me!
Pants for Gabrielle, all of her choice. She realised the other day that she'd outgrown everything i'd made and so had no 'good clothes'. Darling girl.
They're widewale cord with drill pockets. Cord was new, pockets were craps-total cost about $4. I'm pretty happy with them, I realised I have finally gotten to the point where I can make a professional looking pair of pants without having to think about it. Compared to the first pair of cords I made yonks ago with the nap running in different directions on each leg, it's an achievement! It's a four piece pattern, a modification of one I have from the seventies. The waist is fully elasticised but flatter at the front by stitching in the ditch down the side seams.
One small niggle-the top pockets should have been swapped. They're the same part of the print on one leg, with a different part of the print on the other leg. It'll irritate me, but no-one else will ever notice.
I want some for myself-once this baby is out i'm going to make some stuff for ME!
Rentals and pot gardening is challenging so far, to say the least. Especially from the POV of wanting to produce as much of our food as we can-I think most people who pot garden are happy to grow a few things, but I want it all! But nowhere near as challenging as heavy frosts from March-November, Tassie was rather discouraging.
Not very inspiring so far-but we've only had a few weeks and very limited cash. The list of things we have is more impressive, here goes. Numbers refer to varieties, not number of plants.
2 potatoes (chitting on the side there)
strawberry and chilean guavas
2 spring onions
2 bulb onions
Plus the masses of bulbs we can't seem to identify yet, the happy plant cuttings and the kids' cacti and succulents.
Most are seedlings, obviously. I'm getting D to dig a trench for the ramblers as advised by Jackie French in her pumpkin book. We're trying to get polystyrene boxes, but so far can't find anyone who doesn't charge for them-ludicrous! I also have piles more seeds to plant, and a list longer than this one of things to get. Note also that i'm only the brains behind all this-I have a black thumb, i'm too forgetful to be trusted with food production. Luckily D could potter around all day outside so I do the research and he's the grunt, it works extremely well. We're also keeping a detailed garden journal now so we can work out the best times and varieties to plant. The theory is we can get as much garden as possible set up here and do as much learning as possible (neither of us have gardened in sub-tropics before) so then when we do buy land we'll only have to concentrate on the other incidentals-like building ourselves somewhere to live :P
Next on the list-a tip trip to try and find stuff to build another chook tractor and a worm farm. I'm trying to find Australorps now but can only seem to find bantams, I may have to change my mind on the breed I want. Then a hive of native bees-they're stingless so we can get them in suburbia. And hopefully along the way a decent acreage will come up that we can afford-there seems to be a lot available around here so i'm positive.
Woohoo! We've talked about this for over seven years now, and can finally do it!
Like most people, when first faced with homeschooling I thought eek! Why would you want to do that!? But after a few more years parenting and a lot of reading i'm sold on the idea.
The biggest thing so far has been the mindshift needed-and I think even a lot of homeschoolers don't make that mindshift. Namely, homeschool doesn't have to be anything like school, and that's the beauty of it. I like to be prepared, so even when my eldest was three I was looking around, trying to work out what people were doing with their kids, what curriculum to use, what they 'had' to learn by each age by going to the state education websites.
And one day it clicked-I want to homeschool to provide my children with a different education. I think most schools fall far short of what they could achieve in terms of depth and breadth of education, simply because they are limited by how they are set up. We don't have those limits, so why impose them on ourselves? Why give ourselves the same goals of say, Australian history in Grade 4? Homeschooling allows us the total freedom to introduce whatever concepts and areas we and the kids want at the time we want in the way we want. We don't have to work to a strict schedule, we can take advantage of times of interest and teachable moments and build on it. I can introduce things that schools just don't really-good quality literature is the best example.
We're not restricted to skimming over piles of subjects to give children a 'taste' of everything, with no time to stop and explore more-if they like it, they can immerse themselves in it. If they're loving something, they don't have to stop just because the bell rings, and if they're really hating something, we can put it aside for another day when the mood is better. On a larger scale, they're not limited to a few weeks of one area, the same as they're not forced to do anything they're not ready for. I do think this will avoid the typical 'hates'-'I hate maths' usually translates to 'I had a lot of trouble/needed more help/was behind so i've learnt maths is nothing but a chore'. And education isn't something that you just do at school-it's lifelong and fun.
It's working beautifully so far-we don't push anything but they have such a thirst for knowledge that we don't have to. They want to learn about everything, even at their young ages. Even after only about a year of making a conscious effort to provide a rich environment for them and put lots of educational things in their path for them to take up if they like, ignore if they like, they have learnt so much.
Friday, August 8, 2008
The mass creation thing? Slack I know, the blog isn't living up to it's byline. But i've been sewing, getting something out of my head that i've been planning and unable to do for months due to sickness and moving. It's been a hectic year. And now I can start making things for this baby-no making any cutesy pink stuff dammit, there was definitely something swinging between the legs there!
Monday, June 23, 2008
It’s amazing what a night away can do. After staying away for a night, going out for dinner and generally having a good time, we thought screw this. Let’s go. So as soon as I got home I booked the tickets and i’m now doing the last of the packing.
We’re nothing if not fickle.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
So time for a change. We're renting the house out and taking off ASAP. The only time-critical thing is getting a bloody electrician, you'd never guess it was us paying them, it's like pulling bloody teeth. I'll get one in though, even if I have to do it at gunpoint.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
You can buy gumboots with Dora, Bratz, Fairies, Ninja Turtles, Wiggles and oodles of other brands on them. You wouldn’t think unbranded would be so damned hard to find. Kmart? In a whole rack there was one pair in an unbranded design, in the wrong size. Oh, and two pairs of camo ones, but we try to avoid camo, it’s a small doses only thing. Target? Snort, same again. Best & Less? They don’t believe in gumboots. Impractical shoes certainly, but not gumboots. I finally remembered where a Payless was and lo and behold! Tucked away with the Bob the Builder ones, Aussie Gumboots with no idiotic branding! One pink pair and one yellow pair later we exited the shop having paid less than we would have for one Dora the Explorer pair at Kmart.
Why on earth is it getting so hard to find anything for kids that isn’t licensed? We had the same problem with backpacks and ended up finding some at Anaconda. You really have to search to find anything targeted at children that isn’t merchandised. Most people don’t care but my children are not walking advertisements, nor are they mindless clones. Nor are they precocious little tarts, a la Bratz style, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant. Is there actually that much demand for it? Do parents really think it’s fantastic to have everything their child owns plastered with Dora the Explorer? Or do people just buy what’s available? Because of branding power are these products undercutting and eventually killing the unbranded items and getting them removed from stores?
And, on a tangent, do some parents let their kids do the bossing? I’ve heard a few parents say things along the lines of “He won’t brush his teeth without a Shrek toothbrush”, or “She throws a tantrum unless she has a Wiggles nappy”. Amazing, here I was thinking they did these things because that’s what’s expected of them. Whatever did our grandparents do with their plain white nappies and boring toothbrushes? There must have been soooo many tantrums :P
Enough ranting from me for now, I need to start planning my full days shopping adventure to find my kids some boring t-shirts.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
After threatening the chooks numerous times with the axe (which the kids were slavering to use on them, the little barbarians), they relented and began laying. Poor girls, the first few were all covered with blood and you could hear a mighty clucking from the nesting box, but the two that are laying seem to be used to it now. So we are now self-sufficient in eggs! Once the other two start laying we’ll have eggs galore, and I want to get another four chooks to make a decent chicken tractor, so we can start producing something to barter. Next door is always throwing us his excess vegetables from the garden, he loves that the kid will eat raw broad beans and carrots, so it’ll be great to give them something back.
And our girls