Thursday, December 18, 2008


Monday, November 24, 2008

Delectable Designs

I have discovered the pleasure of knitting dress bodices and then whipping up a simple gathered skirt to make A4's summer wardrobe. The pleasure of knitting, but oh so quick and the chance to use yummy fabric without having the spectre of failed pattern piecing looming over one's head.

Bodice is called Summerlin and shrug is Jane Austen Shrug
Ginger Blossom skirt with stella bamboo in lemon/lime and cleakheaton bamboo in aqua for the bodice and shrug.

Bodice in teal cotton and skirt from $2 rack at Spotlight

Bodice is chocolate brown cotton Pride and Prejudice from Mason Dixon Knitting Off the Edge and skirt is more $2 fabric from Spotlight.

Friday, November 14, 2008


How can you not want to try making something with such a groovy name.

We got the idea from unpluggedkids.

We made a huge mess.

We pretended to be scientists discovering this weird substance.

We discussed how it is a liquid and a solid.

We talked about Issac Newton.

We still haven't cleaned the picnic table two hours later.

Snapshots of our days

In the last couple of weeks...
We have made another vege bed. This one has beetroot, onions, meslun and tonatoes in the kids boxes, zucchinin, and runner beans on the fence, plus the apple tree is getting some leaves.

E2 has dug holes in all of the garden beds with his trusty tonka diggers.

We have collected hail from the front lawn.

Mr E2 has started wearies undies every day...Thomas undies even.All four have enjoyed amateur dramatics with impromptu puppet theatre.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Having a wee break to catch my breath.

Life is super busy here and won't let up until well into the new year.

New vegie garden just put in though, so all is well with the world!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Take one tablecloth map of the world, a whole heap of postcards and two inquisitive boys...and you end up with a fun geography lesson.

O6 and C3 found India, Egypt and Cyprus with ease. Mummy helped with Great Britain and the Shetland Islands. We used the atlas to pinpoint the exact location of Aruba.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


We dug out the old digicamera (well mum's actually...sorry we have had it sooooo long mum!). O6 has claimed it as his own and is happily snapping and videoing the goings on of our days.

He has leanrt not to snap pics of me in my undies, how to delete said pics of me, upload respectable pics and store in his own folder.

Here's a selection...

Monday, October 06, 2008

One Down.....many to go

We have finally finished one room of our interior renovation.

In the dining room we have...

stripped ghastly shiny wallpaper, painted walls warm cream, replaced mustard brown curtains with fresh cream ones, ripped up skanky old carpet and red and grey checkered linoleum tiles, had the floors polished, replaced dirty, stained green velour dining chair covers with bright red vinyl.

From this...

To this....

Monday, September 29, 2008


Probably the most common question home edders get asked is ,

"But what about the kids' socialisation?'
What they really are asking is "How will your kids cope in the 'real world'?" (Read as... they are not spending most of their day with 30 other children within a year of their own age.)

um...doesn't sound much like the "real world" to me. and then we meet up with some other socially maladjusted home ed families. One of the things that reminds me why home ed is a great choice for our family is watching a group of children from 6 to 15 year olds play games together, all having fun and all joining in.

It is rare to see the average teenage boy laughing as he helps a little one play stuck in the mud or to willingly hang out with his siblings on an afternoon. Some might say it is weird, abnormal even.

For me, it is something precious. Our culture values individualism, and we readily split up the family for age segregated programmes and events. Maybe if we spent more time mixing with others outside our immediate peer group we would learn more about ourselves and others.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Style All Her Own

When Miss A4 gets dressed in the morning you never know what she will decide upon.

Today's outift comprises yellow tshirt layer with periwinkle blue jersey, pink beany, brown and orange floral skirt and red and grey leggings.


Just Hanging Around

Spring Fever

Spring has sprung...the garden is not so contrary now.
Pak Choy (or Bok...not sure now) gone to seed, but the flowers are yummy too, so into the salad they go.
"Water, water, water, mummy...water, water"
The salad garden gets dappled sunlight, so hopefully the lettuces won't get too hot and bitter. So far, so good. Also hiding in there are endive, more silverbeet and spincah, lavenadr and angelica cos they are pretty, tomatoes and a soapwort plant in the backc corner.
The raised planter boxes are North, hot, hot there. From near to far...the corner of the box at the bottom of the pic is the Pak Choy, then we have a pea frame, next raised box is more Pak Choy, not gone to seed, a cape gooseberry, strawberries in the third box, garlic and shallots in the next two boxed with some more peas on a frame betwwen them and the spuds in the final two boxes. Marigolds along the front to keep the buggies away and look pretty, room for another pea frame.
The glasshouse is brilliant for seedraising. We have beans of two varieties, more peas, beetroot, zucchini, more tomatoes, lots of onions, sunflowers and marigolds (not doing much yet). Have to hurry up and make some more beds for these to plant out soon.

Not ictured is the thriving the rainbow chard and some leeks that are hanging in there, red and green cabbage that might, maybe be starting to form heads.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I was so surprised and excited to open my door to a smiling, beautiful surprise visitor and her two angel boys.

Yes...the lovely Michelle drove all the way from Massey to Matamata just to say Hi and bless me with a whole load of groceries and wool and pressies for the kiddoes.

Michelle, you rock! It was awesome to catch up with you and the boys were delightful. My kids loved playing with them...and we will post your robodog up to you soon.

Thanks to B and Janine who I hear sent some of the treats down with Michelle...and anyone else who I don't know about...and to Sarah for her subtle sleuthing..."So whaddya do on Mondays Karen?"

Michelle, I am so thankful and grateful for your love and generosity...I am going to pay it forward this keep your eyes on your mailboxes peeps.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire in thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art?

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand, and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? What dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,

And watered heaven with their tears,

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb, make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake

Astronomist (I know... Astronomer)

O6 worked hard, enlisted some help from Mum and Dad and created a scale model of the solar system as an entry to the Katikati Homeschoolers Science Fair.

We rocked on up, O carefully set up his display, complete with asteroid belt and Kuiper belt, stars and planet facts.

When interviewed by the judges O displayed his love of all things astronomical and his wealth of knowledge about the universe. A question as to the position of the asteroid belt was met with a disdainful look from O as he pointed to the gravel he had positioned to represent the asteroid belt and Mars and Jupiter either side.

Quote of the day:

O answering the question whether he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up...

"Oh, no....I might get pulled into a black hole and be lost forever.


Oh, and another thing. O6 won first place for his age group.

Well done my science guy.

Fabulous Four

Happy Birthday to my amazing A and C.

We have made it through another year of fun and frustration...but mostly lots of joy and wonder as you both grow into such wonderful kiddoes.

C...I have been so blessed to see your generous nature as you offer to share with your siblings and even give up your favourite toys to them on occasion. We love your super happy smile and the way you get so excited about life. You are my snuggly delicious boy.

A...I love your beautiful smile and your silly faces. you are so full of questions and love to organise the rest of us. You have become so keen to help mummy and are a dab hand at all sorts of cleaning. It is so lovely to see you snuggle up on the couch and read E stories, you always look out for him, even though he is a total boofhead.

Mummy and Daddy are so glad you are part of our family.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Month That Was...

So how has your month been? Some highlights of mine include...
  • E turned two and we celebrated with a picnic on the porch. E enjoyed the choccy cake, cheerios and liqourice did I.
  • O6 won the Player of the Day at soccer last week, complete with battered trophy. He was super proud, and so were we, even thoughit was the last week of the season and he was the last player to get picked for it...shhhh, he doesn't know that.
  • We watched lots of Olympic sport, talked briefly with ) about human rights in China and the world and the children noticed that "EVERYTHING is made in China mum."
  • E and I spent a fun filled overnight at Waikato hospital after E decided that child resistant medicine bottle caps were no match for his superior intellect and drank 1/4 of a bottle of Dimetapp. I got the bad mummy lecture from three doctors and lots of sympathy from the nurses who all recounted what they had drunk as littlies.
  • Our vege garden is new and improved, thanks to J's ever expanding diy skills and lots of dirt shovelling, seedling planting, slug bait and frost cover cloth to see us through the last pesky frost filled days.
  • We drew our own versions of Van Gogh's starry night, added more pages to our reading log scrapbook and continued the astronomy craze, reading about galileo and O and J created a Solar System from various balloons for a science fair next week.

No More Baby!

Happy Birthday E2.

We are so glad you are part of our family E2. You are such a bundle of energy and light. We love your cheeky face and your non-stop chatter. You are insistent on getting your own way and determined to make sure everyone knows that you are in charge!

You are our rough and tumble boy - and although you can crash tackle all of your siblings and randomly rumble anyone who dares lie down on the floor, you are beginning to show us your sweet and gentle side too.

E2 and Opa pondering life, love and the meaning of the universe...42 of course.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I heart the Sallies day i decide I want to learn to spin wool, y'know how 'tis.

I was inspired by my lovely friend Lou.

Months later I acquired some unspun, carded wool via the lovely J from the Sallies near her place.

A couple of months further on I found The Ashford Book of Spinning at another Sallies shop.

Just this last week, on our anniversary getaway, I dragged poor J into the Sallies at our holiday spot and Eureka...the elusive spinning wheel.

Unspun fleece $9

How to Book $4

Spinning Wheel in perfect working order $50

Completely cementing my Nana status ...priceless.

Engineering/Transport Planning/Construction

C3-almost-4 made this huge Thomas traintrack today all on his lonesome, with no fussing or throwing things around in frustration. He then set about chasing Thomas with the naughty diesel, narrating the events as they occured. He even let the E2-in-7-days in on the action (add interpersonal skills and negotiation to the list).

Again I marvel at the naturalness (is that even a word?) of learning. I could write an assessment of all of the learning that went on in this play...but we all know that learning is not about ticking little boxes and meeting arbitrary achievement objectives.

Flood Fun

All this rain caused a lake in the lower paddock at the Grandparents.

The kids had a ball splashing about.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quite Contrary

Yep...that's how my garden is growing right now.

The winter veges are on a super go slow. So far we have been living off spinach and silverbeet, but even they have slowed right down to a new leaf every now and then. Pak Choy has been a winner, well the ones that I bought as seedlings from the garden centre. All of my lovingly tended grown from seed brassicas are still teeny, weeny, but they are hanging on.

In the garden now...

Leeks, teeny
Brocolli, five with little heads growing and more still coming along.
Peas, flowering but I'm not expecting to see any fruit.
Carrots, teeny...and I have accidently weeded quite a few
Red cabbage, no sign of any heads yet
Kale, has disappeared, very strange
Brussel Sprouts, a couple of teeny plants grown from seed that may or may not come away, still hopeful.
Silverbeet, ordinary and rainbow varieties- enough to harvest for dinner most nights, but not flourishing.
Spinach, success. I plan to increase the number of plants as it grows so well, kids and I love it, J tolerates it.
New Zealand Spinach, starting to settle in.
Garlic, sprouted almost overnight
Shallots, ditto garlic

Sage, looking a bit worse for wear
Rosemary, groundcover, flowering and very pretty

Cranberries, newly planted, trying different spots and when I find a good one will buy more plants
Meyer lemon, holding in there through the frosts, planted a month or so agao
Tahitian Lime, ditto lemon tree
Strawberries, bare crowns now have first leaves, only seven plants, hopefully will flourish and I can divide for next season

To do List for August
Frame up and fill raised beds around greenhouse - lavendar and chamomile bushes
Frame up raised bed on North side of house, start building up for summer planting around existing planter boxes.
Move camellia and put in apple tree to espalier on fence - still decidng on variety
Put in three-five feijoa trees to grow as a screeinign hedge on NorthEast fence.
Dig out dead and old trees on driveway garden and ponder what to plant instead.

I am also very excited because my wonderful mum gave me a subscription to NZ Gardener for my birthday. Thanks mum!

10 years on

Dear J,
Today is our 10th wedding anniversary. What a wonderful journey it has been together so far.

We have travelled to four continents together. You didn't get angry when I piked out of visitng Tijuana. You came to a lyriad of museums and art galleries with me even though you were bored silly. We walked up the Eiffel tower cos it was cheaper and took a 1 pound flight from Amsterdam to London. We rode rollercoasters, and you threw up. We walked and talked and laughed and made memories.

We have made four amazingly beautiful kiddoes together...despite us, they are truly gorgeously spunky. You are the most wonderful daddy. You keep us all sane. You willingly change hideously foul nappies You let me have weekends off and keep the washing up todate while I'm gone. You make wooden models with our sons...and daughter. You persevere in affection with Miss A even when she screams at you to go away. You have done many, many night shifts while I have stayed asleep and warm in bed. You didn't leave when I went psycho after the twins were born.

We have moved from a place of security and comfort to a new town and life together , and it has been such a wonderful move for us. We have both faced challenges and stresses, but I am glad to have taken the risk and make this step of faith. You let me buy a little old rundown character house and never roll your eyes (in my presence anyaway) when I greet you after you get home from work with another list of jobs for you to do around the house.

We have tolerated each others annoying habits and quirks. You are much more patient than I am in this area. At least when I am knitting I can't slurp on my fingers eh?

We truly enjoy being together... when we get the chance to just be! I am so looking forward to our little retreat next week, sleeping in, being able to hold your hand rather than two little kids for a couple of days, talking about other stuff beside who threw what tantrum and who learned which new or naughty word.

I love you...more.

Monday, July 21, 2008

At the Library, the library...

there are lots of books from A to Z.

Everytime we go to the library we sing this song courtesy of Richard Scarry on DVD.

Today was an extra special library day because J was home and so we all went together. Extra special because I was actually able to get some books out for myself at leisure. Usually I spend most of the time corraling E23 months and shushing A and C.

My bounty of books today:

Keep Chickens - Barbara Kilarski Preparation for self sufficiency step the vege garden, next the chickadees.
The Chook Book - Jackie French ditto above
The Homeschooling Handbook - Mary Griffith Looks a bit American and schooly, but we'll see.
Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons - Travels in Sicily on a Vespa - Matthew Fort Travel and history with lots of italian slow food recipes thrown in...bellissimo!
The Therapeutic Garden - Donald Norfolk "The history of horticulutre and the ancient wisdom of the poets and philosophers."
Cow Parade New York - This one I got so the kids and I can peruse the (family friendly) bovines and then have a go at decorating out own cows...starting with black outlines on paper and ending up with papier mache models.
Softies - Therese Laskey I have had this on my Amazon wishlist forever, so grabbed it when I spied it on the library shelf. Now I can grab the good ideas without spending my $$$.
So Simple Slipcovers - Gail Abbott I want to try and slipcover my lounge suite without it looking like something from a student flat.

Marshmallow Models

We made marshmallow creatures.

Can you guess what they are?

And how long it took us to gobble them up?