31 July 2011



Dear Little Owlet,

Your birthday this year wasn't quite as we'd expected. There was no ride on a double decker bus because we were too unwell. No friends at the park. So instead, we did the next best thing. We had a pyjama day. You didn't mind. You opened your gifts in the present cubby... books, tights, a toolbox of your own. You took your time to open and appreciate each gift and thanked each of us.... You ate your favourite breakfast and spent two hours in the bath with big owlet, telling stories, imagining... turning into a prune. Five wrinkly fingers.

I didn't bake you a cake this year. The first time I haven't baked for one of my owlets. But you chose your own cake at the shops. Tall, chocolate and fancy, with lollies. You smiled as you blew out all your balloon-shaped candles. Then the gift that we'd hoped would arrive in time did. Just. Your very own washboard. You whooped as you opened it, and danced around the room. Then you sat down in your new tights and your special birthday dress and washed your baby's clothes. And talked on the phone for an hour or so....

You came and snuggled with me in bed and we listened to the song that played when you were born into your daddy's hands, five years ago, in our dining room... Then you went and ate the dinner he cooked for you. Your favourite. And off to bed. A little unwell, but happy, with a belly full of sunshine and a heart full of love.

Happy birthday my little owlet. May all your days be as lovely. Even if they don't turn out as you planned.

Love, Mama. xx

30 July 2011



Just lifting my head for a moment to say hi. We've been well and truly struck down with flu. Well, mostly me, although little owlet and tiny owlet haven't fared too much better. Little owlet's birthday fell in the middle of all this... and I still haven't filled you in on our week in France! Lots of catching up to do. I might try and play catchup tomorrow...


But until then, I'd like to show you this thing. I knitted it! A vest for tiny owlet! It's a version of the lovely Milo. I say a version because I left out the cable (I wanted to finish the thing), there's a colour change in the top part, and I didn't look at the pattern after a while... and there are loads of mistakes. Purls instead of knits, dropped stitches, holes where there shouldn't be holes... I kind of like that though. I figure that's one part of textiles that I really love. Little bumps along the way that let you know things are handmade and with love. This is the first thing beyond a square that I've knitted and there was lots of learning going on. And lots of distraction. LOTS. And the whole journey is mapped out there on her little tum. Keeping it warm.

See you tomorrow. Hope everyone's feeling well in your part of the world. xx

25 July 2011

unschool monday :: sick days


One of my favourite things about unschooling is how it fits in so well with my family's rhythms. There's nothing that we really have to get done, aside from the general running of the household and following the owlets' interests. There's no set curriculum to stick to. So if we miss a day, there's nothing to catch up on.


We can call a pyjama day, cancel a playdate if we need, and wrap ourselves in cotton wool. Slow down. Make a bowl of soup and devour it. Then have a bath and fall asleep on the couch...


Then when we're feeling fully recovered, we can stay up late working on something particularly interesting. And spend the weekend adventuring. Of course, we know that even on a sick day at home, learning happens all the time, so we're not missing anything at all. Incidentally, did you know yesterday was Learn Nothing Day? Ever tried it? I'm pretty sure we wouldn't even last an hour :)


21 July 2011

my creative space...


We've been rearranging everything. Digging our way out of a winter slump. Slowly, with owlets underfoot. It's like a jigsaw puzzle. You add one storage solution and suddenly every cupboard is being emptied and moved and a new streamlined version of our nest emerges.

In the current version, my craft area (the dining table), has taken on a whole new organised look... and I think it's rather lovely. It makes me want to sew. And I can find everything. We've popped the "lady lamp" on the table to watch over proceedings. She was my grandmother's lamp and she's been lighting up a corner here for the longest time. I loved tracing her shape with my tiny fingers when I was little and it's lovely that the owlets are doing the same. And creativity will flow for all of us. We hope.

More spaces here.

20 July 2011

worldly wednesday :: France (part one)


It seems Huz picked up a tummy bug in Guatemala, so he wasn't quite up for much exploring or feasting this week when we arrived in France. Bastille Day passed without fanfare. So we've decided to stay an extra week. I'm a bit glad because we're having fun. On Sunday we had a beautiful petit dejeuner and much chatter in French, putting my school lessons to the test. I think the owlets were impressed (I know I was). I have further plans for the week which I'll detail next Wednesday. Hope you can join us then!


18 July 2011

unschool monday :: hanging at the mall


Last weekend we went on a social exploration excursion. Big owlet has been very keen on teenagers and has been watching and reading all about them. It's become clear to me that to her, they represent conformity and finding identity within a group. I find it utterly fascinating watching her analyse social groups and she spends lots of time doing it. Much of the material she's been researching on teenagers involves visits to "the mall". She wanted to go to one. She had no idea what one was. It was one of those moments where you beam with pride and wonder if you've been sheltering her too much with the whole homeschool thing... So we headed off for the nearest "mall" to hang. Sunnies on head, bag slung over shoulder and gumboots on. "Oh, is that it", she uttered after our first lap. Perhaps not the exciting teen hangout she'd envisaged...


But she knows what one is now. She's fascinated with social groups and interactions between children. School children are seen as a group she doesn't belong to, but might like to. One day. Some days she tells me she'd like to be like everyone else. Usually when she sees a pack of kids walk home from the local school. The last time was on our way home from a friend's place where she'd played ALL DAY. I reminded her how much those kids would probably love to have spent the day leaping around their friend's basement and exploring convict built tunnels. It's complex, finding that balance and helping her understand that how we spend our days is normal for many and that the road less travelled can be lots of fun. It is for her and she plays with so many friends each week. She is not lacking in friendships, that's for sure. Nor quality time to explore them. And when we spend time with friends, it helps us remember just how normal our weeks are. Just like everyone else. Although I'm fairly sure that when they're teenagers, the mall may not be the fave hangout.


12 July 2011

worldly wednesday :: Guatemala


We went to Guatemala this week. Actually, it felt like Guatemala came to us. While it snowed outside, I pulled out a box I had in the cupboard, full of beautiful textiles and threads. A friend, who lives in Guatemala, had sent them to us years ago and I've had them tucked away for a rainy (or snowy) day.


A selection of huipiles and some glittery thread, as used in the adornment and weaving of said huipiles. The owlets chose one each and flung it on for the remainder of the day.


While making worry dolls.


Dinner was a simple affair. Not the usual banquet, but a plate piled high with nachos... Blackbeans, corn chips, guacamole, corn salsa, cheese and chicken. Bottled water to drink. The owlets were taken aback at the thought of unclean water. How fortunate we are...


Then Flan de Leche Condensada (or creme caramel), for dessert.


While listening to some marimba and looking a photos of lakes, volcanoes, ruins, trees and wondering how any place so beautiful could be so violent. This world tour of ours is certainly opening our world just a little bit more each week...

How are things in your world? Do you have a weekly International food night too? Maybe look at other cultures sometimes during your week? Would you like to add your link below so we can all journey together? I hope you do. It's loads of fun!



Did you forget that aside from spending my days hanging with my three lovely owlets, I sometimes make things?


I almost did... With the latest bout of illnesses in our nest, and my days consumed with Tiny Owlet Watch (now that she's standing up and rather accident prone), there's been no time to sit behind the machine and sew things. Nights see me flopping on the couch, knitting if I can muster the energy. Catching my breath before the next full on day... Weekends mean catching up with Huz and having adventures. I find it hard to drag myself away just to sew (he's rather handsome, I think)...


And the projects are piling up. A couple of custom orders are sitting, waiting to be sewn. I will get to them. And I'll love sewing them. And feel so excited to pull them off the machine and admire them before mailing them off to their new homes. Imagining other people's owlets loving them...


Maybe you might happen to wander over to my Etsy shop and find something you love? I hope so. Or maybe you can think of something else you'd like? A different colour, a different size? Please feel free to ask... It may take just a little while, but I'm always happy to make things for owlets. xx

11 July 2011

unschol monday :: science vs art


When I was at school, the kids that were good at science, weren't supposed to be arty. And vice versa. I was arty.


But I loved science. Particularly biology. I was ok at science. Almost as good as I was at art...


And to me, the two were always connected. I loved observation and experimenting with textures and colour. Staring at things and wondering about them.


The owlets love that too (who doesn't!), and I'm rather grateful we can spend afternoons indulging in texture and colour...


Making science experiments, playing with potions and turning them into art later. Or just appreciating them as they are. Our potions almost always end up on paper somehow. As art.


And our art almost always turns into a potion or science experiment of some sort. Even if it's just an observation as it swirls down the plug hole.


I love that unschooling means that science and art forever intertwine and that learning just happens through observation, experimentation and immersion.


No labels. No restrictions. Just experience, enjoyment and wonderment...

10 July 2011

snowy sunday


It snowed at our place today. We live near the beach. This never happens. It was worth tap dancing about.


And snuggling.


And celebrating with beautiful baked goods and a posh afternoon tea. Oh my, they were lovely.


Even Tiny Owlet agreed... You should have seen the look on her face when Huz handed her some pear. "You have to be kidding". She was rather fond of the quinoa and apple cupcake. Hope your Sunday was wonderful too. xx

8 July 2011

{this moment} :: standing alone


{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.

6 July 2011

(un) worldly wednesday


Sadly, we didn't travel to our chosen country this week. Not because of the volcanic ash cloud, although it could have had something to do with it. It was one of those weeks. We've all been unwell. Not one, but two different illnesses loitering around our nest. At the same time.


It could have been horrid. If not for the cute. We decided to go for a long drive one day, just so everyone would sleep (particularly the person pictured).


It worked. And proved to be a lovely way to pass the time and make a bad weekend bearable. The rest of the time, we snuggled and stayed very much close to home. We spent the time productively, tidying up, cooking soup, nurturing...


Looking for things under the fridge...


And fashioning charming hats for ourselves to wear while we danced on the coffee table.

Next week we're off to Guatemala. A place we've often talked of visiting in real life because we have friends living there. Hope you'll join us and perhaps join in with our new weekly worldly wednesday linkup. Unless you have one of those weeks too, in which case, we completely understand.

4 July 2011

unschool monday :: lessons


We seem to have introduced some formal learning time into our week. It has happened completely organically and almost without noticing... First up, Big Owlet has asked for some worksheets which she keeps for Fridays when Huz works from home. She puts on a tie (not sure why, cos he never does), and sets up a desk on the dining table next to him and begins work. We help her with learning new concepts as she comes across them, but often they seem like lessons. On weekends, she has asked him to help her make a film, something he loves to do. She has asked me for art lessons. She wants me to teach her what I know, so we do that when we can...

Then yesterday, she went and grabbed two recorders and a book and asked me to "teach" her recorder. We've tried before, but she wasn't ready, she seemed to need a reason to learn. It was too hard. She wants me to teach her flute, but knows recorder is the best place to start and this time it seems easier. Her friend is learning flute and she'd like to learn too. So I'm teaching her to read music and find the notes and so far so good!

I love that she is deciding what she'd like to learn for herself and finding who she'd like to mentor her. I also love that it often happens to be me ;) I don't often take a teaching approach. Usually things just crop up and we deal with them, but she seems to be needing more of a concentrated effort on my behalf to guide her through a few things. Or perhaps she just likes one on one time with me... Either way, she is learning all sorts of things and it's fun for her. The beauty of it is that if it stops being fun, we'll just move onto something else.