Thursday, August 30, 2007

An Irony

I spoke the other day of the books I had ordered to celebrate the seasons and festivals of the year. So far I have received three of them, with a couple more on the way.
The three I have so far are:

All Year Round by Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, and Marije Rowling.
Festivals, Family and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large
The Children's Year by Stephanie Cooper, Christine Fynes-Clinton and Marije Rowling

You can imagine my surprise and amusement (and indeed a little homesickness to boot) when I discovered that all three were written in England, and although not all the authors are English, they all live there.

The festivals commemorated are the familiar ones from my childhood, many of the songs ones I sang as a little girl. The games and foods, activities and rhymes are familiar faces I have not seen in a good many years, and I wondered if indeed I had forgotten my own heritage when it came to the seasonal celebrations.

Indeed not, a few have managed to stay within my heart and home. Christmas crackers adorn my Christmas table, and I never forget the feasts upon Guy Fawkes, Mayday and Boxing Day... I just never get to celebrate them because there are little to no resources for me to do the familiar thing.

What a blessing these books are... they have reconnected me with ideas and traditions from my own youth and heritage, WITH formulas and recipes to aid in the making and carrying out of those same traditions.

These books are ideal for the Anglophile as well as the British persons overseas. Full of crafty ideas and recipes that I am sure you will recognise some of them as being the ones you admired on other peoples blogs, or the recipe or rhyme you liked the look of... I know I did!

In the end though, I think I found some of what I was missing... a little taste of home (and I do not mean the very excellent cookery magazine!).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Homemade Toys

While my husband worked on the yard work this weekend, I was busy inside with my sewing machine, and some fabric I had left lying around.
And I made this:

Our very own doorway theatre only, not from Magic Cabin!
You can also see the puppets in action... No, I did not make the rabbit. My parents sent that one to me from England.
The other one, (which my husband tells me bears an unfortunate resemblance to Boy George), I made for M'Lady.
I had the intention of taking my time making it, but someone decided she could not sleep without the darned thing, so I stayed up really late making this puppet, and rushed it too much! Oh well, maybe next time.
AS to the puppet theatre, well, it is merely rectangles. ALL of it. Sewn into tubes to make it reversible so Rebel might have a less pink side to use ;) There are dowels placed through it at the top to hold it, and 1/2 way up to keep it straight. It hangs in the doorway readily whenever needed, or folds up in a VERY small bundle to be placed away in a corner when not needed!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Spiderman watch out!

You're a Spider!
It seems like you have eyes in the back of your head sometimes, and
you have an uncanny knack for creeping people out with that ability. You really
enjoy eating wraps, though you like them even more if you made them yourself. You
work tirelessly so that you can eat, but are good at getting rid of annoyances for
other people. There's always just a little more drama than necessary when you're
around. Oh, what tangled webs you weave!

Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

HT: A Lee in the Woods.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Making the Toys

It seems odd that this would come up now... after all, I am involved in a foray into the Waldorfian world... which includes toymaking. But there we are, all scared to death over these recalls from toy manufacturers with toys made in China, and everyone worrying... and quite frankly I am fed up of it all.
So far I have not appreciated the quality of toys from China. The have a tendency to lose paint and parts like nobody's business.
And I told my husband the other day, that I'd had enough. One or two toys, of GOOD quality, is more than sufficient, I said. Our kids can have some of those.
Then I saw this post by Alice Cantrell. And I notice that she is holding a handmade toy fair at her blog too.
Put the word out... Christmas gift ideas are on their way!

Meanwhile, my kids are occupied in making Alice's spoon saints. In our case, they are puppets, but the same rules apply ;)

More on the planner

People want to know where I got the pages.
I started out with pages from Donna Young and initially I used the monthly block calendars from there. Unfortunately no-one had my weekly pages, so I made them up myself.
Then I decided to make a block page too so I just had the one file to print from, and since it is a word doc, you can alter the dates ;)
It was a fiddly process. I used word to make tables in the document, and then used one of my favourite fonts (Vivaldi) to write the days and dates.

If I were to make a recommendation, I would suggest that you print out your own weekly calendar (you can get my version as a blank week spread here... word doc file and PDF file here), and use the Donna Young month. Print everything double sided (i.e. print 4 copies of my weekly one, then one month block).
Make a pretty cover and spiral bind.

P.S. I hasten to add the little pictures were downloaded from Catholic Culture and cut and pasted in the old fashioned way ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

School in our house today

This is the image of school in our house today:

In case you wondered, M'lady is eating some of this:

A yummy cheese bread from the Taste of Home magazine (an essential for homeschoolers ;))

But I digress... yes today, the kids decided they wanted to dress up. Rebel has been wearing his 'cape' for the last few days (even sleeping in it at one point). I am beginning to think I really need to hem it!
M'Lady wanted her butterfly/fairy costume. The wings can be rather cumbersome though!

Exciting news... in the mail yesterday came my The Children's Year seasonal book... more on that later.
And from another blog or group (and right now I forget which, so please forgive me) , there comes this interesting link for seasonal things. Do take it with a pinch of salt, as some of the stuff is a little over the top, but the stories and dates there are worthwhile. More about seasonal stuff later... I have some reading to catch up on :)

Today we got Elementary Greek... this latter surprised me with the vehemence that Rebel and M'lady were asking to start it with. I hope it lasts!
It looks like a great program, and it comes highly recommended (plus it was really made with homeschoolers in mind!)
So why are we beginning Greek? Rebel is already well into the latter of the two Latina Christiana books, and is really doing well with Latin. This will be his second year of Latin... traditionally the time to begin Greek. And there you go!

Friday, August 17, 2007


Some times these things just make me laugh:

Your Birthdate: October 5

You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.
Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.
Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.
Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.

Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower

Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom

Your power color: Tangerine

Your power symbol: Ace

Your power month: May

Distractions, Distractions...

In order to prevent this:

From distracting Rebel, I set M'Lady to this:

Do you think Swiffers might come in child sizes?

In case you are wondering, the jar of water is Rebel's design of "Making a Tornado" with a spoon to create a mini-whirlpool in the jar. Apparently this fascinating thing is enough to occupy two kids an entire morning... and M'Lady for TWO entire mornings. Shame it makes so much racket...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Planner

I am not the best lesson planner in the world. In fact, I tend to give up on the whole 'planning' thing after a while, because, well, I'm a perfectionist... and I try to do too much.
There is this strange competitive streak in me, that I blame entirely on going to public schools... oh, AND being the eldest of a relatively large family. Somehow, I just have to try and do it all.
THAT is an attitude I am trying to stop. So, with that aim in mind, I made myself a planner.

It is very simple... just three months long (so I don't waste too much paper). I borrowed heavily from Dawn's idea, but figured out how I wanted MINE to look. It is definitely personalised.
The front is scrapbook paper. I pasted pretty printouts on the cover.
Next, is a yearly calendar.

I have noted particular dates on here. Eventually it will be a quick overview... special dates, appointments and such.
Then I have the monthly calendar for August.
I decorated THAT with some printouts of images from the Catholic Culture Liturgical Calendar site. I wanted it to look pretty. I added in the dates of interest (both liturgical and personal) and colour coded the days according to the liturgical use. And on the side is my colour code guide. Just in case I forget.
After the monthly calendar, there are weekly calendars, interspersed with the monthly calendars at the end of each month/beginning of the next month.

Each of these are designed for lesson planning notes. I have already gone through and picked ONE feast/saint per week to study. My aim is to have a weekly tea (again like Dawn) with an activity, food and book related to the day in question. This one shows Michaelmas, which is on a Saturday. This particular week, I set the Friday as the day for 'tea', and I have written in ideas for activities and things to do, as well as any recommended books (usually from Catholic Mosaic).

The plan is to get my planner spiral bound and then try to use it to plan out the schoolwork and liturgical year activities :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It is that time of year again

It seems that those who are not yet back to school are busy planning, while those who are back, are trying to figure out their 'new stuff'.
And then there was the 4Real Learning Conference which I was not able to attend... but lucky me, Dawn, Meredith and Jennifer have ALL put their talks online THANK YOU ladies!
I of course, am no exception to the planning rule! AND I also promised you an update.

Last week, some of our new curriculum came in... and it has definitely been a hit. While Rebel was thus occupied with school work (some of which required much Mother-Input), M'lady was working on a few things.

Ever ready to learn, we started on a pouring exercise. Yes, I know the measuring jug is large, but it is what we had to work with!

She did not seem to mind very much!

And while Rebel was working on his Tornado project...
M'Lady could be found, sorting some glittery pom-poms into an egg carton. Apparently this was a fascinating task. She took her time playing with it.
And then, when all else fails, my ultimate occupying the little one suggestion is.... (wait for it)...

BATHTIME!!! This never fails to work... EVER. She will sit in the bath and occupy herself for a VERY LONG TIME. It's all good...

In the meantime, Rebel, who is supposed to be cleaning up his mess, is instead...
DISTRACTED by the mess. There in the hallway, he suddenly decides that he can't wait to read the book he just pulled off of his shelf.

And like I said, so many others are planning too...
Elizabeth shares and inspirational photo.
Katherine shares one of the most beautiful learning rooms I have ever seen.... and if you enjoyed that, then perhaps you'd also like a sneak peek at Elizabeth's room too!
Theresa shares her math centres, and her three part card holders.
Dawn, that planning maven, has her plans and themes for September up.
Kristine allows us to peak at her notebooks while Jennifer shares her first day back.
Dy shares how her new school year is going!
Since Kim is hosting the Loveliness of Back to School carnival, I'll leave it there so you can check in with her next week and see what everyone else is doing!

I Agree!!

Your Brain is Orange

Of all the brain types, yours is the quickest.
You are usually thinking a mile a minute, and you could be thinking about anything at all.
Your thoughts are often scattered and random - but they're also a lot of fun!

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about esoteric subjects, the meaning of life, and pop culture.

This is me ;) HT to Home Spun Juggling

Friday, August 10, 2007

I have plans

Plans to buy some things to make for M'Lady this weekend. Of course, all plans are subject to change...
But I will keep you posted! In the meantime, here is a site I think you might have fun with!

My Live Signature

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What to do with a Disruptive 3 year old

Maybe that should really read "What should I do with a disruptive 3 year old?".

If the truth is told, she is really not that disruptive. She can be loud. And yes, she does play with Rebel's toys, but she should not be the cause of Rebel being unable to do his schoolwork, and yet, she IS. I mean, how distracting is reading the yellow pages?
Not very, but Rebel really finds anything she does distracting!
So off to the bookstore and home library I went. In search of my Montessori books. I love Montessori for preschoolers. They have so many different activities that we can do with them. I made a few for M'Lady... I have beads to string, small shape puzzles, items to sort... but apparently good old fashioned Cuisinaire Rods are great for sorting ;)

Then there was the Target $1 spot. Definitely worth looking at, although I can tell you that it must have been picked over because mine had no small globes :(
Oh well... I will keep you posted on my search for entertaining activities for small children!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Not every day is good

Nor even every week for that matter.
Take for instance, this week.
Monday: 4 questions done... for Mathematics only.
Tuesday: NO questions done... for ANYTHING.
Wednesday: Slight improvement... DADDY helped last night. It took ALL morning, but he did his two pages of math and line of handwriting. Latin was shelved since we missed two days...

And the culprit? Apparently M'Lady proves to be too distracting. In reality, I think Rebel just wants to play like her... while she wants to school like him!