Friday, 31 August 2012


Is sprung!

We’ve had fireflies about in the forest at night, echidnas, snakes have been seen, and…


My magnolia tree is in spectacular bloom! So despite what the calendar says, spring is already upon us :)

Monday, 27 August 2012

Faerie Mischief

I’m sorry to admit that Littletree has picked up some terrible habits from me. I know, I know! I should have known better than to give her such bad examples; I should have known that she would see me and want to copy.

But I was weak, and I let her see me… baking. Oh the shame! And it wasn’t just once or twice… I made cakes and muffins and cookies and puddings and pies; but I didn’t stop there! Oh no! The horror of it is that I even let Littletree help me some times.

Imagine my dismay to come into the kitchen to find her standing at the oven with a measuring cup and whisk in her hands! I rushed in to stop her, but it was too late… chocolate and butter were already melting on the stove, eggs were cracked, flour sifted.

What could I do? I figured, if she’s going to start experimenting with baking, she should at least do it with me, here in the home, where I can supervise her and answer her questions. Far better that way than to have her out in the streets, trying cakes from unknown bakeries – those places are nefarious with their free samples of sugar-coated pastries that get you hooked.

So I helped her make brownies. Don’t judge! I know there’s a lot of evidence to show brownies are a gateway cake that just leads to gateaux and tortes, but I think we can keep this under control.


And she seems so happy in the kitchen. MMMMM brownies!


Since we’ve been having trouble with pesky pixies lately hiding things about the house, and inspired by The Spiderwick Chronicles, Lady Demelza suggested we make a tea party for the faeries and give them sweet offerings of brownies and other delectable treats.

Littletree loved the idea and set about making a beautiful table setting out in the faerie garden


We made cute little offerings around the garden of brownies for the brownies and honey on crackers for the pixies


And then enjoyed a most luscious afternoon tea – brownies, fairy juice (elderflower cordial), fruit tea, ginger beer, cheese and crackers


Hopefully that will restore some order to the house, so we can get back to baking!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Pottering About

A local homeschool group has been organising great workshops lately – the most recent one being pottery.


The first session, Littletree made a cute little bowl using a technique of building up the walls of the bowl in a mould with little balls of clay and “spaghetti”.


Then smoothing out the inside


And finally decorating it


She had a great time, and got to connect with a few new kids as well.

Now we just have to wait for the creations to be glazed and fired in the kiln – then we get to go back and pick up her new works… and perhaps make some more!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Flying Rainbows

Littletree did a parachute workshop (the kind where kids play games with a parachute, not the kind where they jump out of aeroplanes!)

It was so beautiful, bright rainbow silk in the winter sun, she had a ball!

11 science day sport time

12 science day

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Littletree’s long fascination with science endures on… she asked me if we can do some dissections for a unit on biology, and somehow tying with the recent fad of Zombies – she asked if we can get some brains.

The last time we were shopping at the local organic butcher, when the butcher asked what we’d like, and Littletree piped up with “Braaaaaaains”. Luckily Unfortunately, the organic butcher’s was out of brains that day…

But Littletree didn’t let up, so the next time I went to the supermarket, I looked in the meat section, but couldn’t find any brains. So I went up to the deli counter and asked the woman, “excuse me, do you have any brains?” She looked at me like I was mad, I quickly realised what I’d said and followed up with, “I mean, I looked over in the meat section where the other organ meats are, I could see livers and kidneys and hearts and stuff, but no brains…”

The woman was still looking at me like I was mad and said they don’t keep them in stock any more. I explained, “My daughter is home schooled – we don’t want to eat them, we want to dissect them for biology studies”. This seemed to endear me to the deli-counter woman, who directed me to try out the butcher across from the supermarket.

Off I went to the butcher… The lad working behind the counter asked me what I’d like and I said:

“Do you have any brains?”

He shook his head and said “Sorry, no one in here’s got any brains!”

Gotta love Aussie humour. When I explained that it was for a home-schooling science project, he was very helpful and found some sheep’s brains out in the back freezer. Littletree was most happy.

***warning*** From this point on, the post contains graphic pictures of a scientific nature (extremely squeamish people may like to instead click through to this post about Littletree acting like an extremely cute cat



Littletree eagerly got out her science lab kit, scrubbed up, and set up her equipment, checked a medical text book for tips, and started with the dissection


She was fascinated to see all the quadrants, how it has very clear left and right hemispheres, the lobes and such


Then she decided to make some slides and look at various bits in her microscope


Most importantly, Littletree can see why a brain is called “a noodle”.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The First Sewing Project

Since Littletree got a sewing machine two weeks ago, her awesome goddessmother Lady Demelza has been teaching her how to use it.

They started on a simple project – I’d let Littletree loose in my box of fabric scraps and remnants and she was instantly drawn to a brightly-patterned green fabric and she decided to make a bag out of it for me…


I thought it was interesting that she was so drawn to that particular fabric, I asked her if she recognised it at all and she said she didn’t – it was an off-cut from an old sling I’d made back when she was about two years old, and carried her around in it almost every day until it was replaced when she was about four!

Sequoia sling 2

Anyway, Littletree quickly got the hang of using the machine, and she designed the shape and pattern entirely on her own


Finally, the finished product!


I love it, of course!


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Sk8r Grrl

Not content with just being an awesome roller-blader, ice skater and boogie boarder, Littletree’s newest fad is skateboarding.

She has a few friends who skateboard, so she got the bug, and tried it out a few times, but hadn’t really gotten a good opportunity to learn to skateboard without a board of her own.

After several months of her constantly bugging occasionally reminding me politely that she wants to get a skateboard, I found one in our budget so I bought it for her as a present (lucky Littletree – normally she has to save up herself to buy that sort of thing)!


Starting out slowly at first, she’s getting the hang of it really quick – I’m always amazed because I could never do stuff like that as a kid. But her balance is really good and she’s quick to work out how to do tricks.

We’ve been bringing the board with us to homeschool group so Littletree gets to practice with other kids and learn tips and tricks from them too


So much awesome :)

Friday, 10 August 2012

Stand Back, I’m about to try Science!

Littletree is quite the science-geek. She’s just always been that way inclined – since she was a wee sproglet she was fascinated with biology and astronomy and physics. At four she used to spend hours pouring over medical dictionaries and watching YouTube clips of surgeries, and she never lost interest (nostalgia post HERE).

So when I saw a school holiday science workshop advertised, with “Extract plant DNA, make polymers, experiment with acid/base reactions” on the bill, I signed her up – she’s always wishing we had more lab equipment…

02 science day polymer

The set-up looked very cool to me, loads of equipment and chemicals and a scientist teacher in a lab coat.

05 science day

Littletree got to make some polymers

04 science day polymer

She learned about DNA and extracted some from kiwi fruit

16  science day notes

They made bottle rockets

06 science day bottle rockets

And for fun did the good old “mentos in coke”, with valves so they could control the flow.

09 science day

She was really interested to get a bit more technical details, including the chemical formulas and scientific explanations for what they were doing and how it all worked (we took home stacks of notes that she goes over)

22 science day notes polymer

But at the end of the day when I asked her what she thought of it, Littletree said “well, it was alright, but way too basic for my level. I already knew all that stuff. Can I go to a class that’s not for little kids?” Ummmm that was a class for 8-12 year olds. Okay, back to the lab…

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Little Prince

Littletree has been reading The Little Prince. Aquacat got it out from the library and started reading it to her, but since Aquacat isn’t always here to read it, and Littletree can’t wait to hear the rest of the story, she’s been reading it herself.

little prince cover

It’s one of my all-time favourite books – if you don’t know the book, stop reading this blog post now, and find a copy and read it! I’ll wait here till you get back…

Meanwhile, Littletree is improving in her reading (funny how now and then she’ll struggle on a small word like “once” but then read a big one like “magnificently” without blinking)!


And I’m loving the story, and the wisdom of Le Petit Prince


This is not a hat - Ceci N'est Pas Une Chapeau (bonus points to people who get that reference).

Monday, 6 August 2012

Plants v Zombies IRL

We’ve been getting into playing Plants v. Zombies lately, of course, zombies are all the rage.

So when Littletree was having a moment of feeling frustrated about something, I came up with an idea so inspired I can’t even take credit for it – must have been a muse: Plants versus Zombies In Real Life.

The premise is simple: I pretend to be a zombie and walk up the length of the garden while Littletree puts obstacles in my path (flowerpots, bricks, sticks, rocks), and rips weeds out of the garden and throws them at me, which is a double bonus, because the garden gets weeded at the same time!


It was great fun, especially pretending to be zombies, and even more especially being out in the winter sun. And most of all – somehow getting Littletree to weed the garden!

Then she got so excited about it, she decided we should make it into a movie… here’s the intro:

Littletree doing the intro to our Plants v Zombies game


Sunday, 5 August 2012

New Neighbours

Littletree and I were going out for a night-time walk to look at the full moon the other night when we heard a rustling in the bushes… a quick flash of the torchlight revealed…

An Echidna! How exciting! It was burrowing into the undergrowth right next to our driveway. Oddly enough, every time it dug a bit, the other side of the bushes rustled simultaneously. I assumed the echidna must be pushing on a vine or root that was pulling on the bush… but when we shone the light over on the other side, there was a second echidna. Somehow, they were burrowing, and pausing in perfect synchronisation with each other.

It was very cool! And naturally led to Littletree asking about nocturnal animals, and a whole discussion on monotremes.


After watching for a while, we left them in peace, and came back in the morning to see quite an extensive burrow going on. So happy to have some nice new neighbours :-)

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Surprise Machine

Since Littletree is incredibly fashion conscious – not in the sense that she’s a fashion victim who follows all the trends, but she has a very strong sense of her own style and is constantly altering clothes to suit exactly how she wants them – the goddessmother of awesomeness Lady Demelza decided that Littletree should have her own sewing machine, and set about finding one that was very basic, simple, easy to use, and cheap.

Lady Demelza was clever enough to find the perfect one online, and ordered it as a surprise, so Littletree was amazed to come home one afternoon to find a large package with her name on it…


She eagerly ripped the package open to discover…


Bubble wrap!!!


Oh, and a sewing machine :-)


Littletree is very much impressed and excited, and Lady Demelza is giving her lessons on how to use it, and they’re embarking on major fashion design projects. More on that to come…

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Bicycle! Bicycle!

Littletree has been hankering for a new bike for aaaaaaages.

She got her previous (first) bicycle when she was four, and has long since grown out of it. A bigger bike was found second hand at an op-shop, but it needed a lot of fixing and really wasn’t worth the effort. So meanwhile, it’s been months and months since Littletree could go cycling with the other neighbourhood scamps, and I’ve been putting her off, saying “oh, we’ll just get that old bike going” or “we can’t afford a new bike right now, you’ll just have to wait”.

Then last week Littletree and I went for a trip to the city with Lady Demelza in search of a new mini-oven for her and Uncle CJ to have in the flat downstairs, and lo! It turns out that one can just buy brand new, shiny bicycles for only $80 in Kmart.

And I thought – what’s wrong with me that I can’t just buy my kid a bicycle – every kid needs a bike, and all the other kids are out riding. It’s not like she wants an xBox or what-have-you (I’m not entirely sure she knows what an xBox is – come to think of it, I’m a bit hazy on that myself).

So we got a brand new bike. Littletree was so excited. The look on her face totally reminded me of when I got my first new bike for my birthday, I think it was my 10th – a real “grown-up” bicycle, it was purple, with gears and everything!

And as with most cheap things these days, the bike needed to be assembled, but thank the goddess, Uncle CJ brought his tool kit with him (because I don’t happen to own any tools at all any more) and he was handy enough to help Littletree put it all together.


Littletree even got to learn about Allen Keys


And the result:



She’s been out riding around the neighbourhood with her friends almost every day this week!