Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Ice Skating in Wonderland

Yesterday I organised an outing for our Home School group to go Ice Skating.

59 ice skating

Littletree was ecstatic! She’s been begging me to take her ice skating ever since the last time we went (18 months ago) and the time before that (two years ago).

I took Littletree around one circuit,

58 ice skating

and then she was pretty much good to go – she had the hang of skating on her own, more or less.

53 ice skating

She had a ball, going around with various friends

51 ice skating

It was great that a whole group of us were there – it meant I had a load of witnesses for when I went ass-up and fell. It was quite a spectacular; I was pretty much standing still, and somehow managed to slip backwards, got completely airborne and came down hard, flat on my back and head. Ouch! Then I managed to fall over again, trying to get up. It was pretty funny though.

56 ice skating

The cold meant there was a lot of haze in the air that we couldn’t really see, but shows up nicely in the flash. Littletree and her friend, Princess had a hot chai to keep warm, and then a big group of high school kids arrived, so we decided we’d had enough and left.

54 ice skating

Since Littletree had also been begging to go to the big cinema to see the new Alice in Wonderland in 3D, and my main argument against going was that it’s really far to drive to get there (the same argument I use against going ice skating – it’s 90 minutes from our home), I decided to get the most out of our trip, and we went to see the movie after the ice skating.

It was showing in a massive shopping mall – I think the biggest mall I’ve ever been in, times 100! It was scary. Thank goodness I had the foresight to photograph where I’d left the car so we could find it again! We were there a bit early, so we played “spies” around the shops – I would pretend to be shopping and the girls were spying on me.

The two girls LOVED Alice in Wonderland! I have to admit, it was a pretty fun movie. I’m a Tim Burton fan, though I prefer his older stuff, but I also have a thing for Helena Bonham Carter – she makes an excellent Red Queen.

After that, we did the long drive home, exhausted. I’m still aching!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Littletree in the Kitchen

Yesterday was Littletree’s 7th birthday, according to the Hebrew calendar. Normally, we’d celebrate on that day, but as Purple is away in Israel, we decided to wait for her western birthday, which is in 2 weeks.

I can really see that something changed in her lately. Some little growth spurt that has nothing to do with the new mark on the wall where we record her height – 2 cm higher than the last mark made four months ago.

Seven is a big deal; moving into a new phase of life, a new level of maturity.

Two mornings ago, Littletree begged me to let her wash the dishes. How could I refuse?

48 dishes

It definitely wasn’t the fastest dish-washing ever, but any dish-washing that doesn’t involve me is a good one in my book!

Today Littletree cooked her own soup for lunch. I wrote out the recipe for her, and off she went, refusing all offers of help. She wouldn’t even let me hover, and she came up with an inventive way to stop the onions hurting her eyes!

49 cooking

She made a yummy soup, from scratch, using my home made stock, and then ate the whole bowlful

50 cooking  

It seems my strategy of never letting Littletree do any form of chores is starting to pay off. I always said she’s not allowed to do chores, because it’s a special treat for grown ups [evil laugh]. Did I mention she also swept the floor this week, and cleaned her room?

Soon my plan to breed my very own servant will come to fruition! Next step: take over the world! [maniacal laugh]

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Drumming Workshop

This week’s home school group was a tribal drumming workshop.

 37 drumming workshop 

It was a really great workshop, with a great instructor.

39 drumming workshop

The kids all had a great time!

38 drumming workshop

Littletree had been looking forward to it, but the noise of all those drums proved too much for her so she didn’t hang out too long.

Littletre and a few other kids went and played in the big tree outside

41 little tree faerie 

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Littletree got her netbook this week!

I’m so proud of her managing to save up so much :) She’s been so determined and focused. In the end, I was lucky enough to get a 10% off voucher for a store, so we could get a slightly better model than she’d been looking at. It wasn’t pink (seems pink ones are a bit harder to get), but silver was the second best and definitely a good deal.

It came quicker than expected too; just three days after we ordered it. Here’s Littletree collecting the package at the post office:

20 netbook

And once we got home and opened the box

22 netbook

Littletree unpacked the box so reverently, and checked all the pieces.

23 netbook

24 netbook

We sat together and read the manual while the battery was charging and then went through set-up

25 netbook

The first thing Littletree said was “where’s the Firefox button?” So I showed her how to open Explorer to download Firefox. Then she spent an hour personalising Firefox.

She made her email inbox her homepage, saved a bunch of pink, sparkly personas, and bookmarked all her favourite websites. Then we made her a Skype account and she took her computer to her bedroom, and called me on my computer in the living room. We had a long conversation, pretending that she was travelling in India and calling me to say hi (and I thought it would be at least another ten years before I started having that conversation!).

Then she emailed Purple, and Googled images of “fire ants”, did some Reading Eggs, and set up a network to transfer .avi files from my computer to hers so she can watch her favourite movies (the netbook doesn’t have an optical drive).

My goodness! I’ve created a geek!

I had expected that once Littletree got the computer, she’d be absorbed in it and I wouldn’t see her much for a while, but she’s still doing all the creative, fun stuff she was doing before (reading, drawing, make-believe games, dancing, playing in the garden, doing her “homework book” playing with the neighbourhood kids, riding bike). She does spend a fair bit of time on her computer, but not anywhere near as much time as I spend on mine *blush*.

And a huge thanks to the people who helped her get it :)

Littletree got her pocket money today, the first one in months that hasn’t gone straight into her savings account. She went and treated herself to an ice block at the shop, and then put the rest aside, saying she wants to start saving up for a telescope!

Friday, 19 March 2010


I was inspired to get myself a pair of good gumboots after the World Rainbow Gathering in New Zealand – it was so perpetually wet and muddy and cold, and I find keeping my feet warm and dry has become a priority since I keep getting chest infections.

When we were at the gathering, I sent Purple to town to get me some gumboots (or Wellies, as they call them over there), only they weren’t as easy to come by as he’d expected, and could only get me a pair that were not only 3 sizes too big, but blue! (Which is NOT as green as it could be)

14 ela crop

Still, I wore them anyway, being the practical girl that I am, and I was grateful for them. But I vowed to get myself a good pair of green ones when we got home. (Those ones I gave away to someone else at the Rainbow gathering when we left).

Having kept my eye out for a while for green boots, and not having any luck (why on earth wouldn’t anyone want to have green gumboots, I’d like to know?), I spotted these in town the other day

26 boots

At first I thought I couldn’t get them, because they were $50, but after looking around, I realised that’s a kind of reasonable price for them. I’m just out of touch, having spent less than that on all my shoes put together in the last 5 years at least.

I went back in and tried them on

30 boots

And I got them! yay! I love them so much!

Here’s a detail of the pattern:

28 boots

Cute, huh! It’s so nice to treat myself once in a while :)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Education Dissemination

My last post was about school. And more to the point, my being against it.

I’m glad, in the end, that I didn’t just jump up and enrol Littletree in school the minute she said she wanted to go. It didn’t take her long to change her mind about that.

For the record, I would like to point out that the OOSH (after-school care) at our village school is awesome. There’s quite a few kids who go regularly of their own accord. Homeschooled kids, kids from other schools, kids who have parents at home and no reason to stay after school, but they like it because the OOSH is great. The have huge amounts of resources available to the kids, they have some optional activities (last term they had weekly circus skills workshops, this term it’s creative dance), they have a huge room full of games and toys and art supplies. They get healthy snacks. I realise that not all schools have such a nice OOSH as we have – apparently the one in town is basically a shelter shed that the kids sit under, with nothing much to do.

Anyway, I’ve come to a point where I do believe school is damaging. I believe the main purpose for institutionalised education is the homogenising and dumbing down of minds. Children are taught to be bored, to be obedient, that they can’t learn on their own, and most of all, that learning is a chore to be endured. Children’s inherent thirst for learning and creative thinking processes are quashed.

I offer this article as a brief explanation, this as a very long, deep read, and this book which you can read entirely free online, as insights into my philosophy, just for starters.

19 batI don’t for a second go around judging people whose kids are in school. I don’t look at school kids and think their parents are abusive. Though for some reason, that’s how some people take it when I say I don’t want my kid at school.

I’m doing what I believe is best for my family. I don’t trust the government for a single second to uphold the integrity of my child’s emotional and mental wellbeing. And they’re not even pretending to try.

Meanwhile, we’ve been learning a lot about local fruitbats, since they’re hanging around our place a lot :)

Friday, 12 March 2010

Swim School

Littletree announced two weeks ago that she wanted to go to school.

It was a huge deal for me; I’ve always said she’s free to choose if she wants to, but lately, I got more and more on the side of wanting her to not go to school.

We talked about why she wanted to go, we talked about the pros and cons. She didn’t have any reason that she could articulate. We talked about having to get up early, to go every day, to have to do what she’s told, to eat and drink only when she’s allowed to, etc. She just wanted to try it.

I figure she wouldn’t last more than a day or two, especially with the early mornings, but I didn’t want to go through the bureaucracy of enrolling her just for a day or two, and I feel that she’s too young to try it out.

We came up with an idea for a trial; she would go to OOSH (the after-school care) *every* day, without fail and do some work in her homework book every day, for a month. If she still wanted to go to school after that, we would talk about it then.

After two days of going to OOSH, Litteltree announced that she’s changed her mind; she doesn’t want to go to school, she just wants swimming lessons.

So I enrolled her in swimming lessons. There was even a class that was in the middle of the day, with other homeschooled kids in it. We arrived on the first day, and I had a little chat with the teacher, and explained about how Littletree is growing out of a fear of water.

Littletree responded by diving in and dog paddling around the pool!

14 swimming

I guess her water aversion is completely over! yay! She picked up kicking pretty quickly, and was working on side-breathing.

13 swimming

Littletree LOVED the swimming lesson, she’s been talking about little else since.

15 swimming

So I guess I’m officially not an “unschooler” any more – I’ve said no to my kid about something I think is damaging to her. Whatever.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


We went to the birthday party of one of Littletree’s friends on the weekend, and the kids all received little jars of bubble liquid. Here’s some eye-candy:

04 bubbles

09 bubbles

07 bubbles

08 bubbles  

Life has been pretty hectic in the last week, with Purple away in Israel!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Left Hand of the Goddess

To update on my latest Life Drawings; I’ve been working last week on drawing only with my left hand.

And I’m not left-handed.

37 life drawing 100215

It’s so liberating – somehow, since I have less control of the charcoal the pictures come out much freer, and the effect is great.

40 life drawing 100215

You can see more Left-handed drawings here (just trying out the new “album” feature in blogger):


And this week I worked on not looking at the page while I was drawing. 

42 life drawing 10023

It’s a totally different style than the left-handed thing, but also really great results.

43 life drawing 10023

I’m enjoying drawing so much! It’s giving me a completely different way of looking at things as well.

Here’s my final piece for this week – the model sat for 45 minutes for this one; the longest pose I’ve worked on. I love it because the style is so vastly different from my instinctive drawing, which is very timid. This is so bold and confident.

44 life drawing 10023

Monday, 1 March 2010

On a Shoestring

Having grown somewhat, Littletree was in need of new running shoes. Really, I blame myself. I *knew* I shouldn’t have been feeding her all that nourishing food. Ah well, live and learn.

Thus we found ourselves in the store of a purveyor of children’s shoes, perusing the aisles.

Until now, I’ve always gotten her shoes with velcro fastenings (well, to be really honest, I’ve mostly avoided getting her shoes, preferring to wait for other doting family members to take on that happy task). Besides, she hardly ever wears them anyway!

I remember when she was younger, I briefly considered buying her shoes with laces, but quickly realised that would mean spending the next few months chasing her around, bent-double to tie them up for her until she either worked out how to do it herself or grew out of them. And the idea of teaching a small child to tie laces while you’re running late to get somewhere (which I perpetually am) sounds like a special brand of nightmare.

I decided that I would support my child to grow up till adulthood without knowing how to tie laces, when it would become her problem, and not mine. Thus, she’s always had velcro shoes.

Only in this particular store, the most aesthetically-pleasing (to Littletree) and least-plasticky (to me) running shoes had laces. They were also conveniently half price. I was entirely reluctant, despite massive savings; images of going mad and strangling myself with a shoelace flitted through my mind.

I subtly (or not so much) tried to steer her interest towards a similar pair with velcro, but she preferred the others. Eventually, I got her convinced, but a little voice in my mind reminded me that we were buying *Littletree* shoes to be her very own, and really, she should get the ones she wanted. I put both pairs on the floor in front of her, and said “you get the ones you really want.”

I found myself a few minutes later, dazed, at the checkout handing over my credit card, and walking away with a small pair of lace-up running shoes.

We got home, and Littletree promptly put the new shoes on, I gave her a 2-minute demonstration on how to tie laces. Which she repeated just fine. Again and again.

47 shoelaces

Walking home the next day, she said to me,

Mama, I think my spirit told me to get the shoes with laces now, because my spirit knew I was ready to learn how to tie them. That’s how I learned to do it so easily. If we got shoes with laces before I was ready, it would have been really hard to learn”

48 shoelaces

What can I say? Who can argue with that; spirits know best!

In other news, this:

46 excited

was the look on Littletree’s face when I told her a few people had donated her money towards her new computer. She’s been so excited, and wants to send out a huge THANK YOU!

And, her foot is now fine, thanks to everyone who send their well-wishes. :)