31 December 2011

'til tomorrow...


Well there it is! Almost... HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'll say it now as by midnight I'll have welcomed owlets home from the fireworks, tucked them in, turned off the fairy lights and ducked off to bed early... I'm hoping 2012 brings only the BEST things for you and your family. May it bring your health, happy days, music, yummy food and creativity. And LOTS of laughs. That's what we're hoping for. And some more sleep. So with that in mind, I'm off for a cuppa and an early one. See you next year!

Lots of love from all of us in the owlet nest to you. xxxxx

30 December 2011

{these moments} :: because I can't pick one...

We've had a good year. A long year. A slow and sickly year. A tough, hard slog, lonely, busy, suddenly social, fun, fast and crazy kind of year.

But it has been filled with joy and delight. Watching our Tiny owlet, our baby, enjoy her baby year. And it has flown by.

Her happiness, the one I felt when she was in the womb, is infectious. We've made sure to enjoy each moment, been more patient with her, tried to pause, savour, remember.

We've photographed her moments LOTS. It is ever so much more fun having a baby when you have older children to enjoy the ride too...

 Tiny ends her year still dancing when she celebrates, grinning that scrunchy nosed four (almost six!) toothed grin. She is WALKING! *gasp* She has been for a little while, although she's been in denial about it, as have the rest of us. But tonight I watched her stand up and take seven steps towards Big Owlet before falling into a puddle of giggles and cuddles. Big Owlet beamed with pride. Tiny danced.


She loves to kiss, open mouthed and then gestures to be taken to the next family member to kiss, and so on until we've all been kissed at least three times.

She climbs. She's fearless. And loves to read.


 She is strong, determined, hilarious. She has a brilliant sense of humour and comedic timing. She understands pretty much everything we are saying to her and can say a word or two, with a wry giggle usually. She's lovely. We are so blessed. It's been a good year.


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by SouleMama.

26 December 2011

festively floating

It seems like all that preparation, all that thought, those days trying to keep our heads above water to get it all done... went in the blink of an eye. Christmas came and has gone and now we are floating in that beautiful no-man's-land between Christmas and New Year. So, as my mind seems to be preoccupied with such things, here's a photographic look at our lovely Christmas. A busy lead up to a beautiful day spent together and with friends in our lovely nest... First preparations, crafting and elving...

Then baking and pausing and anticipating...





christmas table

Setting the table with my paternal grandmother's tablecloth and my maternal grandmother's silverware... before consuming the feast...

christmas twister



Slowing down, admiring, assessing the loot and enjoying the leftovers... Let the floating begin.

I hope you're having wonderful days too, wherever you are and whatever you celebrate. May they be equally festive and floaty and surrounded by love. xoxo

*Thanks to my friend Sarah for taking the shots of the table and twister... two moments I enjoyed but my camera missed!

22 December 2011

the wheels on the bus...



day 17 :: fancy dress dinner
day 18 :: go out for breakfast
day 19 :: put on a christmas play
day 20 :: sing christmas carols
day 21 :: ride on the double decker bus

19 December 2011

unschool monday :: gone unschoolin'


Well, not really. We don't have holidays as such... Regular school-term activities like drama and dancing have stopped for the year, but for the most part our days are the same. Just floatier. We don't put a halt on learning. How can you? In fact, we're probably better at facilitating learning when we have more time... Expect great things from our owlets over the next couple of months!

Things have been busy around here with all the kayaking and crafting to get done. I almost missed tonight's post! What day is it again? No linkup this week because I figure everyone's busy enough this week. But if you'd like to wander back through Unschool Mondays for the past couple of years, you can find them all here.

16 December 2011

feeling festive...

Or trying to, rather... Actually, an alternate title for this post could be "Oh! Christmas Tree!?" For some reason the festive, excited bug hasn't really hit our nest yet and it seems to have snuck up all too quickly. Not sure why... Possibly, like much of this year, the care and attention I'd normally give to things is alluding me. It seems like we're going through the motions a bit. I can feel the dullness and disinterest and dismay at not doing all the things half as well as I'd like, slowly peeling away. I think I just need to stop. Or at least slow down. And so the festive season this year seems more like a finishing line than a time to revel in. Does that make sense? Of course, it doesn't help that Huz is usually begrudgingly festive at this time of year, so the enthusiasm is generated by me and if my stores are low... Well... I'm sure we'll have a lovely time and if I can spare the time to focus on the little details, we'll all perk up enough...

Tonight we decorated our tiny tree. It's small enough to fit on the table out of reach of Tiny's hands until Christmas morning. It's also soft and fluffy enough so she can touch it without much problem when it is within reach. And a native, so we can plant it in the garden when the festive season is behind us. We placed last year's handmade ornaments with this year's needle felted toadstools and Big Owlet's felted star. On top of the tree is the beaded dragonfly given to us by a friend to top Big Owlet's first tree, which was similarly tiny. Here's hoping that along with the street party and neighbourhood santa truck tomorrow, we wake up feeling festive and excited about the week ahead. I am actually equal parts excited and daunted at the Christmas craftapalooza awaiting me and the time promised to work on it... Wish me luck!

Day 14 :: Breakfast for dinner
Day 15 :: Go for a family walk
Day 16 :: Decorate the tree

13 December 2011

summer lovin'

Berry picking with the natural learners co-op #unschooling #summer #friends

We've had mixed weather, but for the most part the heater is off... Where we live, that means summer! We've been berry picking with friends, eating berries, shopping, puddling and pottering and wasting days, as I suppose you do when summer is stretched out before you...


Making: Wreaths. While listening to Aretha. Like we always do. The owlets still don't really get the joke. I've also been making more fungi and procrastinating on the ever growing pile of christmas sewing doom.


Eating: Banana cake. Bananas are cheap again and we're taking them for granted enough to have cake and smoothies... Life is good.

Listening: To Laura Viers children's album Tumble Bee. Even if you don't have owlets of your own, this is just beautiful. Each owlet has a favourite song and we sing it loud. With the windows down.  It's on high rotation here after we gave it to Tiny Owlet for her birthday. Tiny is also right into dancing and has a particular favourite. Robot Rock by Daft Punk is her song of choice. "Rock Rock", which kind of sounds like she is quacking, lets us know she wants to dance.

Reading: Awesome kids e-zines. We've downloaded and printed a bunch of Action Pack and Alphabet Glue magazines and I leave them around for Big Owlet to discover on a lazy day. So many craft/reading/outdoor/science/fun activities there! I highly recommend them.

Planning: Camping trips on our beautiful island. I think a couple of days away would do us all the world of good. I can feel the inspiration and motivation returning to nurture my owlets, Huz and myself... But still, a few days to shake it up and get some perspective would be lovely.

Activity Advent...
* have pancakes (with berries) for dinner
* put up fairy lights in the lounge room
* play mini golf
* go to the movies
* make decorations
* giving day
* write a christmas song
* watch a christmas movie together
* make a wreath

12 December 2011

unschool monday :: money + giving

The concept of giving to others has been a tricky one for our owlets to grasp. They generally have everything they need or want. And when there's something they feel they need, we try to help them get it. They are very fortunate. On the occasion where we can't find a way to provide what they feel they need, there have been tears. And a need for perspective. And slowly, slowly their consciousness of the world outside theirs is growing... They are beginning to understand the importance of caring for others, sharing and giving.

They understand well how to give to family and friends. They enjoy watching the surprise or happy face of a friend or family member opening a gift, or card they've worked on. But days in town tend to turn my happy owlets into a pair of Veruca Salts. I have a choice to either avoid town altogether, max out the credit card, or maintain an open dialogue about money and spending and budgets and, when they are dismayed about it or lamenting a lack of money, discussing with them the reality of poverty while empowering them to be responsible for their own financial situation.

In our nest, we have a formula for pocket money that applies to each of us, even me and Huz. We receive our age in dollars, minus one dollar per week. That dollar is placed (theoretically) aside for the end of the year when we donate it to a charity of our choice. This year we did it properly for the first time and I think the owlets are understanding the concept of giving to others, and what you can do with money when you save it.

The other morning, the advent activity was Giving Day. The owlets excitedly prepared to be given to. Faces dropped when we told them that wasn't happening. They were the ones doing the giving. It didn't compute. We issued each owlet with a token for their saved amount, which they could spend on the charity of their choice. Then we discussed some options with them. They were both taken with the Oxfam Unwrapped catalogue*, Big Owlet choosing a family of chickens and Little Owlet choosing a piglet for families in Laos. With the left over money, they decided to go and purchase a gift to place under the ABC giving tree, to be redistributed to families in time for Christmas. This was particularly difficult for Little Owlet, who would have dearly loved to keep what she chose. But when the ABC helpers removed the gifts shortly after we placed them there, she was thrilled. And so excited for the child who would receive that gift on Christmas morning. The one she chose for them. She made a difference to someone's day, and that felt good.

*Huz and I also chose a gift from the catalogue. Helping  create Aboriginal women's circles. Something close to my heart, having witnessed the healing power of women's circles and extending that to people within our community who could really benefit from them.

9 December 2011

{this moment} :: dimples & squish

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by SouleMama.

8 December 2011

my creative space

Tiny toadstools

I'm making some tiny toadstools for our tiny tree. Big Owlet is joining in and needle felting a star or two. I think it's going to look rather lovely and festive. And gosh I'm enjoying making things again! I've whipped up a couple of custom orders before I get stuck into gifts for family and friends. Lots to do! Happy days!


more spaces here.

5 December 2011

unschool monday :: blythe...

True love

Otherwise known as numeracy, literacy, craft, information technology, history, planning... life learning.... Big Owlet first spied Blythe over my shoulder on a blog one day and was immediately besotted... Then after some research and thought found you can make really rather awesome doll houses for these dolls. And perhaps she's not too old for dolls after all.


So she sat down with ebay and watched auctions and lamented the fact that Blythe comes at such a high price. Her weekly allocation of pocket money meant she'd be waiting for aaages if she saved. But she began saving. And longing, pining. Researching some more and working out just how long until she owned Blythe. Then discussion of credit cards came in... Currently Big Owlet is paying off a substantial credit debt. We helped her pay for the doll, seeing it as an excellent excercise in all of the subjects listed above. And helping her follow her passions.

So now Blythe is here. Her name is Sophie. And she's sitting in Big Owlet's room, waiting for friends. Hmmm... Now comes the part where I set aside time to indulge Big Owlet in some crafting. She suddenly needs to learn to sew and crochet and have someone to share that with, and this doll seems to be the catalyst. Off we go!!

Have you wandered around last week's unschool monday links yet? So many beautiful posts on families exploring nature... and iPhones!Just about my most useful parenting/unschooling tool :)

4 December 2011

basket case

This is part of our garage sale haul over the past two weeks... Suddenly my world is filled with awesome (and useful) vintage baskets.... Can one ever have enough baskets? Huz says yes. Between garage sales and an opshop visit mid-week, we've also managed a ballet costume, a vintage sheet, books, a zen garden...

A vintage cowgirl outfit...

Festive spoon

And a festive teaspoon! Who could live without that? Nothing beats a treasure hunt when you're on holiday time...

I'm joining in with Flea Market Finds over at Her Library Adventures.

3 December 2011

my place and yours :: advent

Our activity advent has begun! Big Owlet took the initiative of folding little origami cups again this year and we have been placing a little note with a suggestion for an activity inside each day. We've done this for a few years now and it is starting to get a little ho-hum, so I'm thinking we might try and spice it up a little... maybe introduce an element of surprise for us and some more exciting activities, if I get organised to think about it sooner than bedtime the night before... I just can't believe we're here, in December already!! Amazing! I'm very much looking forward to a relaxing Christmas with good friends and my lovely Huz and our owlets. So blessed!

Advent activities so far... 
* have a treasure hunt
* buy a christmas tree
* paint everyone's toenails

See other peeps getting festive over at Punky & Me.

Here's us getting festive with our advent calendar in 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010. You can wander around the month of december for each year and see a bunch of fun stuff we've been up to. xx

30 November 2011

cake days


There's a certain calm that falls upon the owlet nest when the scent of a cake baking in the oven wafts through the air... Everything is ok. What it really means is that mama has time and space to stop and bake. Just because. Or maybe for a special occasion, which is a good thing too. Its a sign that all is right with the world... On Wednesday I baked because Huz officially began his long, long break. And because Nannie came to visit and cake is always great for visitors... But this post isn't about Wednesday's's cake at all. Its about passing on the recipes for two cakes I've blogged recently and you've asked for...

Banana and Maple Syrup First Birthday Cake

We've made this cake for Little Owlet and Tiny Owlet for their first birthdays*. A surefire winner.

125g butter
1/2 cup rapadura
drizzle of maple syrup
2 eggs
2 large bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
Maple Cream Icing
1 cup cream
1/4 cup maple syrup, or to taste.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place butter and rapadura in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add eggs and maple syrup and beat well. Mix bananas, flour and milk into the butter mixture. Pour mixture into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in tin.
To make the icing, whip cream until thick and add maple syrup to taste. Spread over cooled cake and decorate with a sprinkling of rapadura, flowers or berries. And maybe a candle.


Apple Berry Spice Cake

We ate this cake when we celebrated Beltane. It's deliciously moist and fruity. Perfect with a cuppa on a late spring/early summer's day.

2 apples cored and sliced
1 cup berries
2 cups wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
Drizzly topping
1 tbsp butter
1tsp honey
1tbsp orange juice

Preheat oven to 180°C. Keep a few berries and apple rings aside for decorating the top of the cake. Put apples and berries in a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup flour and spices and mix lightly to coat the fruit. In a separate bowl, blend eggs, milk, honey and butter. Add the rest of the flour and baking powder to the apples and berries. Fold egg mixture in gently. Spoon into greased and lined 20cm cake tin. Decorate the top with the remaining berries and apple rings. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in tin for 10 mins then turn onto rack and drizzle with drizzly topping. Serve warm or cool, however long you can wait!

* Tiny's other cake was made entirely from fruit. It took 1 watermelon, 1 rockmelon, 1/2 pineapple, 3 punnets strawberries, 3 kiwifruit, 1/2 punnet blueberries, 2 apples and a bag of grapes. I put fruit on bamboo skewers, sliced and stacked. Simple as that!

28 November 2011

unschool monday :: colouring


Now we've considered ourselves unschoolers for a while... Let go of the school mindset that held our thoughts on what was educational and kept us focused on that... We've come to regard what we do as living. Learning is just one of the natural benefits of living. So we look for ways to enjoy our time together. Then sometimes we marvel at what we've learnt in the process, just as we marvel when Tiny Owlet acquires a new skill... Sometimes we just marvel at how much fun we've had together, following our owlets ideas and our own.


Over the last few rainy days, we've been colouring. Just for fun. As a way of spending time together. We coloured our favourite colouring book, but then Little Owlet came up with an even better idea. Each of us drew a picture. Then we swapped and coloured in another's picture. The owlets are loving playing with colour and loving that their colouring skills (and patience!) are improving... They loved seeing how each of us has a different drawing style. They loved that we could each take a picture and colour it and the picture they could see in their head may be different to the one now on paper. The transformation when a different person added colour was amazing to us all. Best of all, they loved the respect we had for their artwork as we coloured carefully. And they showed our artwork the same respect, so that we were all artists together. And of course, the conversation flowed on a number of interesting and random topics...


What did we learn? Perhaps patience, tolerance, art appreciation, flexibility to change, colour theory, collaboration... And a million other things related to those random conversations we had along the way...

25 November 2011

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by

23 November 2011

ten years...


Once upon a time, I woke up next to my love, knowing that a great party, a beautiful long holiday and the rest of our lives together as a family of our own was about to begin...


Ten years, three children and a significant sleep debt later, Huz and I are looking forward to the second long holiday and the rest of our lives with our beautiful family, living in the place we honeymooned.


Something happened that day ten years ago, under that golden sky and the beautiful rainbow...


We were surrounded by well wishes and love and we were truly blessed. Rainbows have followed us ever since...


Happy anniversary, my love. Thank you for the adventures, smiles, children and rainbows and a beautiful beginning to our tale. xxxx