Saturday, September 30, 2006

Refrigerator Strewing

On the fridge this week, for perusal and discussion.

Information on

St Januarius. ( Thanks Fr!)

Amo, amas, amat, etc - Latin. Check out this cool Latin

Poem, chosen by Anthony ~ Matilda by Hillaire Belloc.

The Kumon Honour Roll, with both Jonathon and Alexander on the list. Super!

A multiplication table for Anthony.

And, finally, something extra for me - my current Turbo Jam workout rotation.

Feast of the Archangels

September 29.

Traditionally, I make a Devils' Food Cake on this day - well, when we have time, that is.

You can see the connection can't you? - St Michael fighting the devil.

This year, I looked for a lower fat version of the cake.

I found a recipe for lower fat devil's food muffins, in the
Calorie Queens book.

Here is my adaptation. Makes six muffins but the recipe can be doubled/tripled.

One muffin is definitely enough!

Devil's Food Muffins

2 tablespoons Nutella
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup skim or no fat milk
1/3 - 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180 C. Lightly spray muffin cups with cooking spray.

Cream together the Nutella and sugar. Stir in eggs and beat until smooth.

Stir in the flour. Stir in the milk. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter between the six muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins spring back when pressed.

Serving - two muffins, 240 calories, 6g fat.

But I only had one!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Homeschool learning.

I have been inspired by the blogs of Julie,
Cindy and Maria.

I enjoyed their sharing of homeschool learning.

I thought I'd share our homeschool learning - burned popcorn ! I will try to post some pics.

A chemistry experiment that failed. I burned the microwave popcorn ~ we were experimenting with different methods of cooking popcorn. The effect of heat.

Well , cooking is certainly not my forte ( I haven't found my forte yet).

But - mistakes and burned popcorn are learning experiences.

Homeschool learning.

Julie' s blog describes relaxed homeschooling.

She writes - The chief difference between home education and school is the word “home.” School happens in a building with teachers and dozens of other age-mates who must work through a set curriculum for each subject so that the school system can measure its effectiveness in achieving goals and standards of education. Fair enough.

Home is a whole other animal and that’s why we have such difficulty figuring out if what we’re doing is working, or whether or not we are producing comparable results to school. Let’s just admit right up front: we don’t do a good job of duplicating what school does. In point of fact, we signed up for this homeschool gig in order to not produce all the things school does.

But that admission needs to make us brave, not cowards. If the conditions of education at home are not the same as school, then Pysch Reseach 101 teaches us that the results will be different

Read all of Julie's post. It is a good discussion of what homeschool learning can be. Is.

Then read these other blogs.

Cindy shares her history learning with her sons.

Maria writes about classical unschooling in her home.

And, apart from burning popcorn, what sort of learning experiences are going on here in our home?

The popcorn was inspired by our attendance at Group Learning today. We have been undertaking activities in Chemistry with the other Group Learners ( homeschoolers) this term. Our focus has been kitchen or food chemistry.

Today, I am working with the Juniors ( ages 6-11). The topic is Eggs and Starches.

We are looking at the denaturation of the protein in eggs and making meringues ( which I will probably burn! lol! Typically, my meringues turn out to be shapeless blobs of an alien nature).

We are looking at the moisture content of carbohydrates and making popcorn. The reason for the (burnt) experiments above.

Here are my notes, in case you'd like to try these activities yourself. Hopefully, your food chemistry activities will not set off smoke alarms.

Meringue and the properties of egg whites

*To demonstrate how the protein in egg white can be denatured by mechanical energy.

*Observe the egg white in different stages of preparation, with and without sugar.

4 egg whites
pinch salt
250g. caster sugar
1 1/2 dessertspoons cornflour
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar


1.Pre-heat oven to 130deg.C. Lightly grease biscuit trays and then
dust with cornflour - shake off excess.

2.Beat egg whites and salt until frothy (at the mouth). Gradually add sugar, a spoonful at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated and the granules
have dissolved - test by rubbing a small amount of mixture between thumb
and forefinger. Add cornflour and vinegar and beat to mix in.

3.Using a spoon, place small amounts of mixture
on the prepared trays. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Turn oven off and leave door ajar until the oven is cool.

1. Egg white is made of water and protein.
2. When the egg is whipped, the structure of the protein is changed by the beating.
3. Is it possible for the egg white to return to its non whipped state? No, when protein is denatured, it is a permanent state of change.
4. How else can protein be denatured? By heat – cooking meringues, cooking meat or eggs.

Popcorn and the effect of moisture on seeds.

To determine the effect of moisture content on the ability of popcorn to pop.

1. Observe the difference between wet and dry popcorn.
2. Observe the difference between cooked and uncooked popcorn
3. Why is some popped corn big and some small? It depends on the differences in moisture content in the kernels.
4. What happens to water when you boil it? The liquid will convert to steam and the steam takes up more space than the liquid. So, the liquid or moisture content of the popcorn helps the corn to rise and pop.
5. Moisture inside the seeds affects the size of the popped corn.
6. The application of heat also causes the corn to pop.
7. Carbohydrate in popcorn helps the corn to expand.

½ cup popcorn
A bit less than ¼ cup canola oil
In a mixing bowl, add canola oil and popping corn.
Rest a paper plate on top of bowl (it is fine if it is resting in the bowl on the corn, it will rise up with the popping and keep kernels from going everywhere). NOTE: put the plate right side-up or upside-down depending on how it is resting in/on the bowl. The idea is to avoid dripping oil steam in your microwave if you can.

The tricky bit is how long to microwave. Set it for about 5 minutes ( probably less, in my experience!) and listen for the popping to slow. Add more time if needed. If you go too long then you get some burning. ( Some burning? )

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sharing my reading and thinking.

I am currently reading four books.

One is Scott Hahn's "The Lamb's Supper."

Can I share a quote? I read this during my prayer/reading time this morning.

"We offer ourselves and all that we have. Not because we're so special, but because we know the Lord can take what is temporal and make it eternal, take what is human and make it divine. The Second Vatican Council spoke powerfully of the offering of the laity: "Their work, prayers and apostolic endeavours, their ordinary married and family life, their daily labour, their mental and physical relaxation...all of these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. During the celebration of the Eucharist these sacrifices are most lovingly offerred to the Father along with the Lord's body. Thus as worshippers whose every deed is holy, the lay faithful consecrate the world itself to God." ( Lumen Gentium 34)"

Hahn also writes, with regard to the Mass, that
~ " Homilies don't have to entertain us."

Ouch. Father's homily yesterday, on praying well, was an example of this.

Not entertaining but requiring me to question myself. Another ouch.

Am I praying for God's will or for what I or dh want?

Is my work and life a spiritual sacrifice?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Home is for self expression, not good impressions.

"Home is for self expression, not good impressions."

So says the mother in the 2006 re-make of the film "Yours, Mine and Ours."

I like this comment. Home is where we get to be and to explore - we don't have to try to make a good impression on others. We are ourselves - learning and growing, yes, but ourselves.

Anthony's current exploration at home has been triggered by the movie "Troy."

{ Aside - it is too funny to see how much of our learning is inspired by movies! }

"Troy" is not super movie and it is not historically correct and you may have to FF through some scenes. It, was, however interesting to watch.

Anthony , since watchng "Troy", has been reading re-tellings of "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" by Barbara Leonie Pickard. We have all been discussing Greek myths and legends.

All learning, all tastes of learning and of life, all our expressions and explorations at home are valid learning experiences.

It all counts.

This is not, by the way, a postmodern view that "anything goes" or that all perspectives are societal constructions or even "only" culturally relative.

It is a view of learning as one thing leading to another. It is a support of both pop culture and "high" culture.

I have seen this one thing leading to another in my own home - my sons can read Garfield comics and Shakespeare stories in one day. Can enjoy Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Good Charlotte.

James Paul Gee, in "What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy", discusses a canonical list of books which one must read . He discusses learning and video games and "high" and "low" culture.

Gee writes - Right wingers and left wingers who argue over the canon ( of books) tend to act as if people...will read books realizing and accepting their "inferior station" and either want to emulate their "betters"..or passively accept their inferiority as dupes of the elites in the society.... The Mary Smiths of this world need do no such thing. They already know that they are thinking, worthy beings. They sometimes see in canonical literature examples of who and what they could be ....

But schools have, by and large, tamed the canon ( of books). They have made it into the stuff of tests, of multiple-choice answers, and standardized responses. Everyone, now, finally has access to the canon at a time when schools have rendered it toothless and the left applauds ignoring it as a historical vestige of old, dead, western, aristocratic elites......

I am not pleading for the canon here, least of all, as a list...I am claiming that elites can use anything - canonical literature, the Bible, biology or any other sort of text - to attempt to dupe people by trying to force them to read it in the elite's way. I am claiming, as well, that there are plenty of Mary Smiths who are more than capable of saying 'No, thank you' and reading it both their way and intelligently.

Video games are a new form of art. They will not repace books; they will sit beside them, interact with them, and change them and their role in society in various ways , as, indeed, they are already doing strongly with movies...We have no idea yet how people 'read' video games or what meaning they make from them. Still less do we know how they will 'read' them in the future. It won't do to start this investigation by assuming they are dupes of capitalist marketers - though, of course, some of them very likely will be. But there will always be Mary Smiths out there who use cultural products, whether 'high' or 'low', for good purposes.

The self expression and exploration of learning in our house tends to be such a mix of high or low cultural products. An eclectic mix . A learning mix. Hopefully for good purposes.

From "Troy" to "The Illiad".

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hello from Jonathon!

Hey!!! Jonathon here.
Been a while since I was last posting here, so I thought there's no time like the present!
I'm not doing much right now. Just finished work on a new painting. It's called "Escape". Basically, it shows a kid walking through this field, away from his old life and into his new. I'll see if I can post pictures this week. Sadly, it's too big to scan and I'm currently not on speaking terms with our digital camera. It just doesnt understand me.

Tomorow I have youth band again, which should be fun! The members of the band came 'round on friday night and we all watched Back to the Future. I've been practising Michael J Fox guitar playing ever since....

Anyway, I'd better head off to bed. But first, I just want to say thankyou to mum and dad for being the best parents anyone could ever ask for. I know you're going to read this mum, so thankyou!! ;) I really am lucky.

Goodnight everyone! Hope you had as good a week as I did.


Friday, September 22, 2006

A shopping spree.

Have you seen the film "Clueless" ?

The main character in the film goes shopping when feeling down.

I am avoiding a decision :-) so, while the kids were at a movie this morning with Homeschool Teen Group ( they watched Stormbreaker) ~ well, I went shopping .

At Borders.

Above are two of my finds.

I sat and read , sipping coffee at the Borders coffee shop.

Then met the boys and friends for lunch at the Food Hall.

I think Teen Group is just as much fun for mums and younger siblings.

Shopping therapy is pretty good, too.

Turbo Jam again.

Turbo Jam is my happy workout. Lets me have fun while working out - and I want happy right now. lol!

It also gets results - down 500g this week and a mum at Kumon asked if I'd lost weight - said she really noticed I was looking thinner. WTG!

You can check out the cover of one of the new TJ workouts .

Can I ask for more TJ for Christmas?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Please pray for us this month....

We have some decisions to make.

And I have no idea about discerning the best options.

Do you sometimes feel that you chose the wrong vocation - that maybe this wasn't meant for you at all?

Thanks for prayers and happy thoughts.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


“For it seems to me a fact that, in our struggle to make sense out of life, the things we most need to learn are the things we most want to learn. To put this another way, curiosity is hardly ever idle.” - John Holt in How Children Learn .

Children are naturally curious.

And my children are very rarely ever idle.

Right now, curiousity is leading Anthony to read Horrible History and Horrible Science magazines, to writing scenarios and character descriptions for role playing games, to trampolining, to playing the theme from Never Ending Story on the piano, to learning about the Australian states while enjoying the handwriting book he chose from the bookstore Five Senses.

Thomas is into baking bread ( we have a bread machine on loan from a friend who is away), reading about how yeast works and carbon dioxide, enjoying "The Talisman" by Sir Walter Scott, playing collaborative computer games now that our computers are networked and into fitness - specifically weights from the book Toning for Teens.

Alexander's curiousity is steeping him in Latin ( he works on Latin exercises from a text nearly every day), in music and guitar tutorials online, in playing billiards with our new billiards table, in reading "Lord Have Mercy" by Scott Hahn and arguing with Mr Hahn's writing style. ( lol!)

Jonathon is enjoying his current university course ( Text, Image and Culture) and music and blogs and his artwork.

The things these sons most want to learn *do* appear to be those things that they most need to learn ~ right now. I think John Holt was right - curiousity means learning and is not necesarily idle.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Bangles.

How have we spent part of our "school morning"?

Listening to The Bangles ( record on loan) and watching video clips online of The Bangles and of Bananarama.

The Bangles - Eternal Flame.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I want this t shirt.

It is available here.

Our Parish had a Dinner Dance last night.

Only the older six people in the family attended - and here are some pics before the event.

The dinner dance was fun!

Luke, Greg and Nick were here from Adelaide and they shared a table with Jonathon and some others from our parish Youth Group.

Gerry and I were at a table with some homeschooling couples.

I met these friends last year , when we moved to Sydney and through a local homeschooling group.

Our friends attend an evangelical AOG church and one friend said , while dancing last night ~ " Five years ago, I would never have imagined that we would go to a Catholic Dinner Dance - we just didn't know any Catholics. "

Another laughed and said she could have never imagined dancing with a priest - but she did and thought it was cool.

We all had a super time.

It is so excellent to have a time when friends can share their lives and faith and similarities and differences. While having a night of entertainment.

I had a few too many Bombay Gin and tonics.

And had a fantastic time dancing ( I love to "get my freak on", to quote Chalene Johnson. lol!).

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Peace and self acceptance.

This article by Geneen Roth deals with peace and self acceptance and weight loss.

I think, however, that her words have a direct correlation with unschooling.

"I often hear a variation on this statement: "If I'm not intolerant of my shortcomings, how can I ever expect to change them?" The truth is, real change only happens when you're kind to yourself. "

And ~ "The only way to learn the difference between self-indulgence and self-kindness is to experience what self-kindness feels like. Declare it "Be Kind to Me" day, and get out there and start treating yourself as if you deserve every good thing. Because, in fact, you do. "

It is my belief that a child who grows up with kindness becomes a child and an adult who is kind.

Spare the rod and spoil the child does not seem to work here.

Love and laughter and prayer and sacraments and explanations/discussion, while being authentic, does work in our house. So far.

"Not with blows, but with charity and gentleness must you draw these friends to the path of virtue." St John Bosco

As an aside ~ Last night, my children remembered the times that mum "lost it". What is worse is that they remembered these times in front of a priest!

Now, I *don't* hit my kids but I *have* lost my cool in my mothering years.

So, to be brutally, honest - I don't always live by these words. But they are my goal.

Peace and self acceptance.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Our reading today... an article emailed to us by eldest son, Luke.

The article ( worth a read, btw) is about Al Gore and the film "An Inconvenient Truth". About global warming and the greenhouse theory.

But is global warming caused by industry and CO2 emissions?

Apparently, Mars is also suffering global warming. Some scientists feel it is increased solar activity that is causing the temperature to rise on Mars - and that it is this increased solar activity and not the greenhouse theory that is the cause of the temperature rise on Earth.

Very interesting.

But, as son Greg, second eldest , said in email - "I'd rather believe it was Martian industry. " lol!

Imagine the science fiction novel we could write about that!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Picture Perfect Homeschoolers.

Sometimes I have a yearning for our family to be picture perfect homeschoolers.

You know the ones I am talking about.

The children look neat and clean and conservative. So does the mother!

Everyone studies Latin and higher Mathematics and Sciences. They know their faith and theology so well that they can recite whole sections of the CCC and quote saints and Bible verses.

That kind of poster Catholic homeschooling family.

Why do I (sometimes ) yearn for this image?

Well, I get tired of humility! lol!

It can get kind of embarrassing to see the reactions of others upon knowing our family.

"Oh, your kids don't know xyz ? Our kids have studied Latin and Greek roots since age three. And our oldest son is going to be a priest."

Or - from a non homeschooler, waxing lyrical about another homeschool family - " These other homeschoolers are truly Catholic.Their children are so well behaved and are aways reading Saints stories. The oldest produced his own play . His sister won the art competition."

And - "You let your child read that? Listen to that music? Watch that movie? Wear that shirt? "

Meanwhile, my kids can tell you all about role playing games, music, bands, books, poetry, movies, skate boarding, surfing, our parish, friends, art, computer and video games, cooking, politics and the Liberal party.

Not your usual Catholic homeshool topics.

I take heart in the fact that these sons are certainly interested in life and in learning - even if they never match the picture perfect homeschool children. I take heart ( sometimes) in my older sons and their choices and conversation and study - all three are homeschool graduates.

So~ all this keeps me humble.

I ponder. How can I help others homeschool when I am still on the journey myself?

Perhaps I can share my imperfections and my journey - what I have learned and what I am still learning.

I can acknowledge that my kids are on a journey, too.

Homeschooling is a journey, not a race or a production line.

I can share that Gerry and I are not perfect home school parents but we do aim to homeschool with gentleness.

I say this prayer every morning ~

Loving God, may I always use my tongue as St Anthony did, to praise your hallowed name and make you known among those I meet. Help me to avoid all cursing, lies and unkind words. Give me a tongue to speak in ways that will encourage others and show love for them. Amen.

Can you believe it?

We recently celebrated Father's Day.

My dh ( Gerry) LOVES trifle. It is his absolute ultimate dessert.

And I just about never make trifle - it is unhealthy, it is fiddly. So the litany goes.

I promised Gerry that he would have trifle on Father's Day.

In the busyness of playing mini golf as a family and giving gifts and making curry and acompaniments for dinner - I forgot to make the trifle.

Can you believe it?

Oh, well, thank heaven for an understanding dh.

Now you know he didn't marry me for my cooking ( hah!).

P.S. I *am* making trifle this weekend. Don't worry!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Christian Unschooling.

What is Christian Unschooling? provides a description of homeschooling and living and learning.

How does this fit into our Catholic home? Why and how do we justify our use of some materials?

Willa kindly provided me with this quote below. If Christian Unschooling provides, in part, a description of our unschooling, then this quote describes why we use everything, all of life, with prayer and discussion and caution, and with reference to Church teaching ~ but not just Catholic books ~ in our education.

This is from Newman's Idea of a University and is in defense of using pagan and Protestant sources according to the mind of the Church.

".....If this be in any measure the state of the case, there is certainly so far a reason for availing ourselves of the investigations and experience of those who are not Catholics, when we have to address ourselves to the subject of Liberal Education.

Nor is there surely any thing derogatory to the position of a Catholic in such a proceeding. The Church has ever appealed and deferred to witnesses and authorities external to herself, in those matters in which she thought they had means of forming a judgment: and that on the principle, Cuique in arte sua credendum*. She has even used unbelievers and pagans in evidence of her truth, as far as their testimony went. She avails herself of scholars, critics, and antiquarians, who are not of her communion. She has worded her theological teaching in the phraseology of Aristotle; Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, Origen, Eusebius, and Apollinaris, all more or less heterodox, have supplied materials for primitive exegetics. St. Cyprian called Tertullian his master; St. Augustine refers to Ticonius; Bossuet, in modern times, complimented the labours of the Anglican Bull; the Benedictine editors of the Fathers are familiar with the labours of Fell, Ussher, Pearson, and Beveridge. Pope Benedict XIV. cites according to the occasion the works of Protestants without reserve, and the late French collection of Christian Apologists contains the writings of Locke, Burnet, Tillotson, and Paley. If, then, I come forward in any degree as borrowing the views of certain Protestant schools on the point which is to be discussed, I do so, Gentlemen, as believing, first, that the Catholic Church has ever, in the plenitude of her divine illumination, made use of whatever truth or wisdom she has found in their teaching or their measures; and next, that in particular places or times her children are likely to profit from external suggestions or lessons, which have not been provided for them by herself."

What ,then, about Catholic Unschooling?

Suzie Andres has written "Homeschooling With Gentleness: A Catholic Discovers Unschooling."

She shares ~ "Unschooling came to refer more specifically to child led education. ...Some of the principles that underlie this theory are: children (in fact all of us) are natural learners; learning can happen at any age; a person will be most motivated to learn when he needs to know or use what he’s learning; and fear is a bad incentive for learning, while love is the best incentive of all. I saw these ideas in John Holt’s writing, and I had seen them before in Catholic philosophy and theology. Since grace builds on nature, what is true in nature provides a firm foundation for our life as Catholics. In a nutshell, I argue in the book that unschooling is an option for Catholics"

Andres likens Catholic Unschooling to St Therese's "Little Way" - it can be the simple method, the Little Way of homeschooling.

And it can be intense.

But worth the while, worth the time, worth the commitment. The joy.

*Each man in his own art must be given credit

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Someone very kindly loaned my teens a set of record albums from the 1980s.

Alexander has a record player - he asked for one for Christmas last year. These record players are being produced again, in attractive cases, since there is a surge of interest in LPs.

Jonathon is very much into the 80s - 80s music, fashion, movies.

The Eurythmics album 1984 is amongst the collection on loan.

Listening to the song 1984 on Friday night has encouraged discussion this weekend, especially with Anthony ( youngest).

We have talked about the novel 1984 - the premise behind the novel, the plot, digressing to our own thoughts on government and controls and media and Big Brother. And all this is strangely related to the new Dr Who episodes that we watch most Saturday nights.

Plus Good. Double Plus Good. Un-good.

Language and its uses and connotations have been under discussion,too.

I suggested to Anthony that he read 1984 when he is a bit older. While currently listening to some of the LP of the same name.

A mix of music and literature and discussion.

Healthy eating and healthy habits.

"I believe that every body is the ideal body. To be told by anyone that our essential shape or size is wrong or bad is abusive to our soul and damaging to our well-being. It is a cultural disgrace that so much of our media propagandizes against all but a narrow spectrum of body types." -- Todd Walton, Open Yoga

The kids and I have been talking about healthy eating habits. About the food pyramid and adaptations. About fitness and workouts. About body image.

I try not to diet .

I try to keep my diet demons away by healthy eating and working out because, as a young mother in my teens and 20s, I suffered with eating disorders . I was thin. Punk rock thin. Model thin. Unhealthy habits thin. Over workout thin.

I am now in my 40s.

My new fitness journey began in August 2001. After yet another miscarriage and DVT in my legs ( as a result of my genetic blood disorder), I decided I needed to lose weight. I began walking and eating low fat.

In January 2003 I tried Taebo Get Ripped Basic and was hooked.

I kept on working out through more hospital stays, more surgeries, more miscarriages.

In 2005 I had surgery yet again .

I then bought the Taebo Total Body Blast and Bootcamp 1 workouts and the Bootcamp infomercial set - and eventually lots more Taebo and Turbo Jam!

And I re-committed to Taebo and healthy eating in Sept 2005.

I do a lot of different workouts but Taebo is my mainstay. And healthy eating - no dieting.

Taebo has changed me and my family - we are all more into fitness as a result.

Thus our recent discussions.

Don't you love how our lives and homeschooling are one? The kids learn from me and my "issues", from my dh, from life - and I learn from them all.


We were in Canberra this week.

We went ostensibly to see artefacts from Captain Cook's journeys in the Pacific, currently on exhibition at the
National Museum.

Most intriguing - as were all the exhibits and interactive displays at the Museum.

We also managed to catch up with son number two, Gregory. He was in Canberra for work, as Parliament is sitting. We had dinner with Greg on two nights.

And we also enjoyed the War Museum and Questacon yet again.

We were in Canberra last year and it is always worth a visit to Australia's capital. Very educational. Very fun. With our individual journal entries to hold our memories - writing, collage, postcards, drawings.

The weather was cool . Our morning walks showed us some of the natural beauties of the area.

I love trips away from home.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Elegant Simplicity and Bedrooms.

The new Loveliness Fair is set to go.

Elegance. Simplicity. Bedrooms.

Elegant - one dictionary has this definition ~ "satisfyingly and often ingeniously neat, simple, or concise".

I like things relatively neat and simple. While making allowances for the many varied personalities in our home.

Simplicity - "lack of complexity, complication, or difficulty".

Ah, this sounds more and more like my ideal home and life.

Not that I achieve these in all areas. But there *is* a goal.

Above is an example of how I (currently) envisage elegant simplicity in the main bedroom - via bright, smiley, pick-me-up colours.

Elegant simplicity in the bedrooms of children?

I guess so. I think that happy, cheerful, uncluttered rooms make everyone feel good - even if the rooms are only clean and tidy after a Saturday morning "room fairy" visit.

Here is a teddy box - keeps all those teddies in one place.

We use cupboard space for more bookshelves and for toy boxes. Gives more space in the bedroom for play - and makes the rooms look less cluttered.

A school box.

I hate the terminology but it has stuck over the years. Each child has a box in their rooms in which we keep notebooks, artwork, file folders, current portfolio. Makes it easy at homeschool registration time.

Most of the time, in our years of homeschooling, we have kept these boxes in bedrooms - away from prying hands of little ones. And while we don't have little ones now, the principle is the same - the boxes with "proof of learning" for the state stay away from the hands of our visiting little ones.

Here is the "Ladybird" bookshelf, in the youngest's bedroom - holds Ladybird books and current books of interest.

I find it is helpful to attempt to shelve books in like categories or by series - and we have been collecting these Ladybird books for years. We are all fans!

There is a simplicity here - by having certain categories of books on shelves in children's rooms we can, subtly and by gentle strewing, encourage the reading and perusal of select books - simply by the proximity of the books.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Margarita party.

Definition of a margarita - "a cocktail made with tequila, lemon or lime juice, and an orange-flavored liqueur, typically served in a chilled glass whose rim has been dipped into salt"

Last night, seven other homeschool mums and I met for a margarita party.

My friend hosted the party. She provided the food ( fajitas) and we supplied the margarita components. I brought tequila - isn't that bottle just too cute, with its Mexican hat? The kids and I nicknamed the bottle Jack.

The hostess is originally from Texas and this was a temporary farewell party - she returns to Texas for seven months, to see to family issues.

Was the party a success? Well, I arrived home at 1.30 a.m., so that may give you a clue. And, no, I didn't drive - not after sampling all those different flavoured margaritas.

Did we talk homeschooling? Some of the time.

Our conversation was varied. Warm and friendly. With lots of laughter. And music. And scrumptious food and delish margaritas.

Thank God for friends.

And for margaritas.

Father's Day.

And a game of mini golf ( putt-putt).

Happy Father's Day!

May St Joseph intercede for all fathers.