30 June 2011

my creative space :: inspiration


It's been a while since I last read a magazine, or for that matter, a book. I keep trying, but I fall asleep after the first sentence...


And my waking hours are full of owlets with questions and wriggles and so, I don't read much...


I can manage hours worth of picture books though. So I've been making sure on our library visits we bring home books with pictures so beautiful, they inspire us all, or remind me of my own childhood when they were first read to me.


I'm loving the return to colour and simplicity and the detail. I'm snaffling away some ideas for our upcoming "arternoons". Big owlet has asked me to "teach" her everything I know... And so at least one afternoon per week will be set aside for art and passing on knowledge. Sharing my happy place with her.


But first, some reading. Who doesn't love a book about an owl on a knitting extravaganza?!


We've been playing with paper dolls too, bringing some old illustrations to life. I remember having this exact same paper doll when I was an owlet.


And now the owlets are loving her all over again. Yes, it is possible to sleep and eat with a paper doll. Just in case you were wondering.

More spaces here.

29 June 2011

worldly wednesday :: Cambodia


Another short trip this week. Actually, I felt like a week off cooking the feast, to be honest... and that's ok. Each week is an overview and if the owlets show extra enthusiasm, we do more. It helps lots if we can personalise the experience. Like if we know someone in the country we are looking at, or if there's a movie we can watch together...


Anyhow, this week we went to Cambodia. And thankfully, surprisingly, there's a Cambodian restaurant in town. So we went along for a cheap and cheerful meal. And it was great! Curries and leafy salads, chicken satay and rice. Yum.


Everyone enjoyed it.


Then home to watch some youtube clips on Cambodian Ballet and shadow puppets. Followed by a quick discussion on the country's history, as much as an owlet could absorb of it anyhow... and a chat about what some people we know are doing there and what it might be like for a child living in Cambodia.

It's quite interesting how common themes in handicrafts are occurring in our travels. It gives us a chance to really look at them and have a go if we can. I'm looking forward to this week and throwing ourselves into it with a bit more revived enthusiasm!

Starting this week, I've decided to make Worldly Wednesday a linkup. I thought it could be a great way to share information learned, and make a great postcard from one family to another.

26 June 2011

unschool monday :: eating out


Our owlets love to eat out. We do it whenever we can and have done since they were all tiny babies. Little owlet loves it in particular. They love the food, the company, being in a different place, people watching. Big owlet reads the menu. Little owlet reads it upside down. They look at how much things cost, learn about choices, think about nutrition, try new flavours, learn to wait, share food... It's a great life learning experience. Something my parents did with us whenever possible, growing up. Fun for all of us.


Tiny owlet's first food meal was at a restaurant. She knows the drill now and loves it too.


I'm often asked if I'm worried about whether the owlets will have access to the "real world" if they are unschooled. The simple answer is that they are already living in it.


A couple of weeks ago, I was at a cafe with little owlet and tiny owlet, just doing our thing. Having some milk shakes, waiting for big owlet and Huz to finish kung fu... Little owlet got up and walked around the table a couple of times, singing. She's always singing. I quietly said "Remember, when we're in a restaurant, we sit at the table". She said "Oh, that's right", and sat down to finish her milkshake. You forget when you are four. Your body takes over sometimes. A little reminder helps... A woman at the next table came over to "congratulate" me for "teaching my children how to behave in public." (This happens quite a bit when we're out, although the owlets are no angels). "You don't see it often these days", she went on. "They should teach it in schools."


My first thought was that kids in school probably do enough sitting still and being quiet... But still, it was a reminder of how important it is that we just spend time with our kids, in all sorts of social situations. "Real life" situations. And that they feel comfortable in said situations, just by spending time in them.

flea market finds :: chairs


We went wandering today... To some of our favourite places, in search of some bits and pieces for the kitchen. Alas, the second-hand-shop gods were not looking out for us where the kitchen was concerned, but we did see this chair. That curve. Eames. LCW. Yes. Well, it's reproduction, of course, but the design is brilliant and the quality amazing and it was an absolute bargain. Tight budget* or no, we had to have it for our mid-century home which, although eclectic, is now housing a few mid-century bits and pieces.


Like the pair of Douglas Snelling chairs we picked up off a nature strip before hard waste collection a while ago. Actually, when Huz brought them home, we didn't know who designed them, but we did so love their shape. That curve. Then I saw a post here... and there it was. Looking a little more taken care of than our pair which are just ok for sitting. Just. A little project for the future... Along with finding more corners to put all these lovely chairs in.

More finds here

* Actually, we can probably count it as home educating expenses because we're all learning about design and history and have a comfy spot on which to perch to learn about such things, no?

25 June 2011

our classrooms

our classrooms

As natural learners we understand that the whole world is our classroom. Here are some of the owlets' learning spaces from the past month...

Left to right, from the top... The car, the dining table, night time nature walks around the neighbourhood, the kitchen floor, the coffee table, a picnic table, the toy basket, the Salmon Ponds, a ride at a mall in town, the museum, a walk around the block...

Inspired by Unschooling Sarahs

24 June 2011

{this moment} :: babywearing


{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

23 June 2011

my creative space...

I made something! I've been meaning to make daytime/night time reversible bags for the owlets for ages now. I thought they might make the process of getting ready for things a smidge easier.

Now little owlet is going through, umm... a phase. It takes her hours to get ready for bed, or to go out. She spends a great deal of time singing, humming, playing and everything else. It takes an average of 10 reminders for her to start the getting ready process. She just forgets. Completely away with the faeries... She's so much like me. *sigh*

So big owlet loves me making stuff for her. Its her favourite form of nurture and connection with me. She asked me to make these yesterday and when tiny owlet napped for longer than usual, we stopped to make them out of some old sheets and scraps of left over skirts. I have the sewing machine in position for such emergency craft situations. Big owlet was thrilled to have a go each step of the way and it's so lovely working with her. I'm hoping we get more windows of time to work on things together, as we did when it was just us all those years ago...

More creative spaces here

22 June 2011

worldly wednesday :: Fiji


Bula! Well I must say it was quite a leap from Finland to Fiji! This week we had a go at masi decorating to adorn the wall during our feast and the owlets danced (and posed awkwardly) in grass skirts.


Our feast was a little tricky to prepare... not a great deal of tropical food available in winter in Hobart, but still, bellies were full of curry, sweet potato and pineapple bake, rice and roti...


I had a bit of an incident preparing the coconut pudding for dessert, so we made do with icecream, pineapple, banana and tinned guava... hmmm... not the finest of banquets, but for a Tuesday night, it fit the bill.


What I'm loving about our banquets is the concept that we get, of the flavours in each country. Each, so far, has been quite distinctive, even though mostly prepared using ingredients that we usually cook with. Interesting!

So after bidding farewell to Fiji with a rendition of Isa Lei, we hopped on random.org to choose next week's country... Cambodia here we come!

21 June 2011

mini fashionistas :: watching the detectives


This is big owlet's outfit for when she's being a detective:

mama made brown cords
brown boots
mama made mushie top
brown op-shopped jumper
second-hand black fedora
magnifying glass in her pocket

Apparently detectives wear brown. She's a detective quite a bit. Little owlet told us she was an explorer in her outfit, but really, she just likes wearing the hat. Little owlet wears:

hand-me-down jeans
hand-me-down jacket
her new black mary-janes
Huz's old tweed hat.

20 June 2011

unschool monday :: what's in a name?


Big owlet's just understood what unschooling is all about. She understands that there are all different types of home based education. She gets now that some kids go to school, some kids do school at home and some unschool.


I explained it to her about a week ago and asked her the other day what her understanding of unschooling was. She said "Its when you learn what you want, in your undies!" Not far off actually, for most days around our nest...


A little later, I heard her explain to a colleague of Huz's, "I don't go to school... No, I don't homeschool either. I'm unschooled!" Her definition of it is now "when you do what you want to, and you learn all about it". So, yeah, she gets it now.


The term "unschooling" was coined in the 1970's by John Holt. We're actually not that enamoured with the term, because what we do is not necessarily the opposite of school. It seems a little reactionary and not descriptive of our approach to learning... which is just living, I suppose. Actually, it's kind of family learning, because we all learn LOTS. It is also child led, and natural learning and life learning... Anyhoo, we use unschooling to describe it because that seems to be what the majority of people who adopt this approach to learning tend to call it. It makes things easier.


Discussing our approach with big owlet, and giving it a label, seems to have helped her understand what it is that we do just a little better. She understands just how lucky she is to learn in her own time, in her own way and indulge in her interests... in her undies, if she chooses.

19 June 2011



happy baby
spontaneous country drive
antique shops




feeding fish


big fish


snuggly baby


yule log
mulled wine
chicken soup


happy mama

Hope your weekend was beautiful too, and happy Winter Solstice! xx

*thanks for the pics, Huz!

16 June 2011

baby led


Do you ever look at old photos and think "oh, how far we've come!"? I blush a little when I think back to how we did things when big owlet was tiny. We were very concerned about doing things just right. We spent lots of time setting up some sort of family rhythm that centred around her and adjusting to a complete change of lifestyle. And then another baby came along, and another, and those babies just seemed to fit into the rhythm. Everything got busier, louder, and somehow it became easier to hear what the baby needed and respond to it, rather than what the rhythm dictated. The rhythm, and our entire approach became flexible.


When we started big owlet on solids, we did it, like everything else, by the book. Starting just short of her 6mth birthday (the book said that was ok at the time). The first time we fed her, my hand shook as I placed the spoon in her mouth (more nerves than tremor back then). We have it on video. We fed her carefully prepared purees. Off a spoon. She gobbled them up and any slight mess or spill, we'd wipe immediately as we sat gazing and feeding her.


When little owlet came along, we waited until she was exactly 6mths old. I prepared congee, aimed the spoon in her direction and... she grabbed it right out of my hand and fed herself.


Tiny owlet told us when she was ready to start eating solids. She reached over and grabbed a fistful of little owlet's jam sandwich and swallowed some of it. Oops. Fortunately by #3, we're down with the whole baby led solids thing. Just as well, cos I can't imagine spending time cooking up purees and freezing them in tiny ice block trays. Or worse, preparing them fresh daily! So tiny owlet eats what we eat at every meal. She loves her food. As you can probably tell, I'm sure. It's messy. And lots of fun.


I'm fairly sure that when I look back over this blog and the beginnings of our unschool journey with big owlet, I may blush again. First kids are for practice though, right? You live and learn.


15 June 2011

worldly wednesday :: Finland


Over the long weekend, we went to Finland. It's somewhere that none of us knew much about and interestingly, the internet didn't know a great deal about it either. We did find out that it's purportedly the happiest country on earth. And the food is not really for all the members of the family. I'd probably do well there though, so a solo mama trip somewhere in the future might be possible.


Kippis! The challenge for our family and food right now is that I'm the only one who eats red meat and seafood with any confidence. Actually, I'll eat just about anything. But sadly I'm alone in my adventurous appetite, sadly, so our worldly wednesday escapades require a great deal of planning and research. I'm loving that the owlets will try new things.


They tried everything on this platter. Including herring in aspic, pickles, rye bread and graavilohi... Amazing stuff! They did very well. That's what I'm loving about our travels. They are willing to try so many new things in the spirit of adventure.


But, because I knew we'd need full bellies at some stage, and we all felt like some comfort food after a long day driving though the country, dessert was the main event. Crepes and berries, much to everyone's delight. We dined off a table decorated with a length of finnish fabric, talked about marimekko (see top picture) and forests and saunas... Then tumbled into bed after a hot steamy shower to fall asleep listening to some Finnish Folk and fairy tales. Bliss.

14 June 2011

mini fashionistas


This is what they felt like wearing today. Clothes that make them happy. The owlets love colour. They collect clothes from all over the place and they have quite a bit of luck with thrifting. Little bowerbirds.

big owlet:
rainbow tights
yellow polka dot sneakers
yellow skirt that she made herself
orange stripy top under white floral t-shirt - both garage sale finds.
pink beaded Hello Kitty necklace
red floral headband
pink sunglasses
hand-me-down raffia bag

little owlet:
blue mary-jane sneakers
hand-me-down jeans
mama made garden skirt
stripy t-shirt
jacket made by Maree (my Mum)
beanie made by a friend
library bag made by big owlet
tip shop handbag

We try to give our kids free reign with clothing. We generally support their fashion choices. Even if we wouldn't have chosen that outfit for them. Usually we ask them to grab an extra layer or two because it's cold where we live. Mini fashionistas is all about kids choosing whatever they want to wear, and wearing it with style. It's a celebration of kid style and freedom of expression. I'd love to see what your kids choose to wear, whether at home or out and about...

13 June 2011

unschool monday :: milestones


We knew it was coming. Just when we'd become used to a baby who was frustrated at not being able to move from her spot on the floor, or use the force to bring things to her. She demanded to be carried... Until... First came the flump. Kind of like the caterpillar, but with a leg outstretched, resulting in a flumping action across the room. Yesterday, after a bumper long nap in the car, we arrived home and put her on the floor, and there it was. The crawl!!


Little owlet reached her own milestone two nights ago when she happily said goodnight, told Huz he could go and drifted off to sleep in her own time. This is huge for her and at first, she didn't realise she'd done it. Until this morning when she figured it out and was so proud. And we're all so delighted for her. She did it in her own time. And slept sooo well.


Big owlet isn't reaching quite so many developmental milestones at the moment. She's hoping to master bike riding, but most of her milestones come in tiny increments. A new word read, a question answered or a sum worked out. A new piece of her world understood. She reaches mini milestones everyday and strives for independence. Walking the dog was important for her. She tells us next on the list is mowing the lawn and making a film. She's got the determination to do them too. Today. Her current obsession is teenagers. She can't wait to be one, pimples and all. *sigh* Soon enough. So we note her tiny milestones and encourage her to relish them too and hope to avoid bruises and bumps along the way.

I'd love to see how learning happens at your place. We believe it happens all the time, so please add your link and show us unschooling in your part of the world. You could be unschooling yourself, your owlets while they are on school holidays, or on the weekend... Me, I'm about to teach myself the scary world of overlockers... Please feel free to join in and we can all come and visit. xx