Friday, April 30, 2010

Drive Thru Lunch

Fresh from my front yard.

It's nice when you can walk outside and pick up lunch on the way from the mailbox. There is romaine, bok choy and some various lettuces (arugula and something else I think, I can't remember what I planted).

These little guys were ready to go. It's not much but it is a start. The front guy is a teeny zucchini that was getting stunted underneath the rapidly growing plant. The strawberry got gobbled up by Max. The broccoli and tomato will join the greens above. I had hoped for a few snap peas but it's getting too hot and the zucchini is taking over their spot. The other snap peas that are in a pot got dug up by Leeloo. Naughty dog but I still love her.

For those of you that are new to the blog last year was a disaster in the garden. I didn't even get what I harvested today during the entire year. Blight prevailed on everything. Harvesting from my own patch of Earth is more fulfilling that I thought it'd be.
There is something...connective about filling bellies I care about with stuff I grew. It seems much more nourishing and filling. Something just plain out right about it all.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I don't know how they do it

Today, I have no motivation. None whatsoever. It's completely absent from every molecule of my person and my general surrounding area. Someone out there is getting my dose of motivation. I hope they do good with it. I actually got up, took a shower and put on clean jammies after (don't judge) which shows how unmotivated I am.

I think I used up my alloted forward flowing energies over the past two weeks. I've been overcompensating for my lack of outings. Cabin fever has turned into Crystal-going-bananas-in-the-house-and-doing-a-shitload-of-projects-she-shouldn't-even-contemplate-starting in order to forget that I don't have a car or any hope for escape or the ability to get errands done. I know I definately over did it yesterday. Maybe my body is fluxing with the overwork.

Yesterday, was just flat out A Very Busy Day. I'm not used to driving around like a crazy person getting all the things done in one day that I hadn't been able to do for almost two weeks since I am still carless. But, I had to drive Rob to work to get the car to take the kids to their first ever homeschool class at the Science museum. (I thought interspercing my posts on how busy I was with some lovely soothing nature photos I took in the butterfly gardens would help offset my bitching. Is it working?)

Then, I had to get groceries we were getting a little bare. Threw Max down for a ridiculously small nap when we got home before chucking everyone back into the car for this two hour session. (The class was great though, the kids loved it and I'd do it again.) I tossed everyone back into the van after for a trip to go snatch Rob back up.

An hour later (yes, literally an HOUR in the car driving stop-go-stop-go across town) we shoved him in the car only pausing long enough to switch drivers, came hurdling back across the bridge, slapped some gas in the car, grabbed a pizza for dinner, and javelined the kids into bed.

Excuse my odd verbs but that's what it felt like, trying to accomplish all of this in a single day was insanity. I honestly have so much awe of you school driving mammas. I would Lose. My. Mind. doing this day in and out. I don't know how they do it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tools of my Trade

Today, I need to organize the kitchen...again. It feels like I just did this a few months ago and I probably did. It seems the organizing, rearranging and downsizing never ends. The kitchen is one of the worst places as it houses the tools of my trade.

It seems that there is always something missing from my cooking arsenal. I recently asked for an electric griddle so I could make more than one pancake or one grilled cheese at a time. What I have is simple and functional. As inexpensive as I can get and still be quality. I don't use fancy platters or serving trays. I don't have any cake stands. Though I do have a cake carrier (actually, I have two...). The items I have are more for creating than displaying. With seven people to feed, I have a lot of creating to do on a daily basis. Add into that the things I make from scratch and my tools overreach their cabinet confinement.

Now, I have the added task of figuring out what to take with us up to the shabin for when we stay overnight. I'm going to be pulling things out of what I already have to leave up there. I'm starting out with two boxes; one for shabin, one for donations. Ideally, I want to get away from using plastic storage containers and kid sized stuff in our main house. It takes up a lot of room and has little value, though there are pieces I need to hold onto for a while more.

I can't sit in the kitchen all day long sorting out every piece of everything I own so today will be a quick once over to get the basics, start creating my list of what we don't have for the shabin and hopefully organizing things a bit so what I do keep will be easier to access.

I'm sure Max will help.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Monday

Mondays don't bother me like they do some people. Probably because I'm not stuck like a slave in a overworked and underpaid job...oh, wait. Well, anyway, I don't mind Mondays.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I finished a new quilt that I actually started yesterday afternoon using some of the those hundreds of squares I cut on Thursday. It took me about seven hours total.

I'm really pleased with the way the backing and binding came out this time. I've gotten some request from my FaceBook friends to make some quilts for their babies and kids. It's exciting but nerve wracking. I still see all the errors, though few they may be. I'm working up to listing some things on our Etsy store. I ordered some fabric labels which will take a bit to get here so I'm using that as an excuse not to list anything yet. Though I know it's me that's holding myself back. I have a yellow/orange and a green quilt set up to make from those same squares.

I have no escape from the kids am carless again today. Rob's Isuzu is giving him issues so he's been taking mine for all of last week and now this one. I have been drowning myself in sewing in hopes to draw my attention from the fact I'm stuck in the house. Even if I never go anywhere, it's the option -or lack of- that bothers me.

We're not sure if we're going to make it up to the land this weekend like we planned considering he has to go to two weeks of Guard Duty and has to have a car (and not my car). This coming weekened might be another two days of Rob getting his car put back together.

We did manage to get a generator off craigslist for about half the price and it's brand new in the box! Rob set it up and it works just perfect. I used a coupon and picked up two magnolia trees from Home Depot buy one get one free. They also had B1G1F seeds (including organic!) so I stocked up big time. I shouldn't need to ever buy seeds again (unless I can't help myself from picking up those pretty little packages -and find another great deal). The trees will go to the land and start the border from the neighbors.

We had a helluva thunderstorm last night. It was insane. The thunder was a constant rumble and the lighting was striking tens of times a minute. Ask anyone in the Central Florida area, if they were awake at 12am they'll tell you I'm not exaggerating. It woke me up and I had a terrible gut feeling that the bunnies needed me. I've been in ultra paranoia mode since Flora and check on those guys psychotically. I ran downstairs barefoot in my jammies and donned a towel over my head put in place with a clothes line clip, another over my shoulders and a few extra clips to secure a shower curtain to the front of the hutches. Conner hasn't been in a storm before. This was an extreme introduction to hutch life. I worried he'd give himself a tiny heart attack over the craziness. I covered the cages with the shower curtain, cooing to my babies as I went. I came back in and layed in bed, scared to my marrow of the raging storm. A feeling I haven't experienced since I was a child. I finally floated into a disturbing sleep sometime around two.

This morning the world is sighing in pleasure over the raucous night time events. Everything is alive, wet and happy. The birds seem louder, more exhuberant. The leaves and grass are practically neon. The sky is a pure clean sheet of blue. And the rabbits are alive. I couldn't ask for more than that. Today will be a good day, regardless of its place in the week.

So, on with Monday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Teaching Children about Death

The loss of Flora is still being felt though my heart feels more bruised today than hemorrhaging. Loss will happen, as long as I treat the animals with respect and the best care I can give I think I'll be okay with that on a farm. But breaking the news (which somehow got out right before bedtime) to a housefull of young children is a difficult thing.

Their world collapses when there is death.

The almost eight year old understands a bit more than the almost seven, she in turn understands it better than the five, the three year old doesn't get it at all really. Our faith -Unitarian Universalism- is based on the fact that individuals have the unimpeded ability to choose their own belief system. They can choose who and what and how to pray, worship and rejoice. The problem is my kids haven't chosen yet.

My personal belief is that there is something after. I just can't live day to day thinking that when I die there will be nothing left. Death frightens me because I'm old enough to know that might not be true. My understanding of Rob's belief is that there is nothing after. You die, there is no more. I needed to help my kids with their grief, letting them come to their own conclusions but children need the tangible when they're too young to decide for themselves what the intangible is like.

Guiding my kids through their grieving process was a treacherous decision making ordeal rife with emotional and spiritual landmines. I let them take ahold of my belief to fill the void of their own, letting them grasp a Heaven. We talked about Flora and Grampa George (the only other they know that has died) and where they are, what they might be doing and how they are feeling. I taught them how to pray, sending prayers -wishes of our hearts- to those we loved and lost.

I let them guide the small beliefs of mine I gave to them as truths having them decide what things are like in this mysterious place they can't see or feel or touch. It was difficult knowing that the things I said last night could become their reality and shape their religious beliefs more than I wanted. It was harder still to guide them all together, each putting their own spin on the small truths I gave, without them belittling or discouraging another while they walked a parallel but different path. I tried to teach them respect for the beliefs of their siblings. I tried to let them understand there wasn't any other way for Flora except death. I tried to invoke their inner respect and compassion by explaining how hurt Flora was and how keeping her with us was wrong. I tried to be compassionate and tender as I cradled them in their mourning, letting their whole-body wrenching sobs wash over me, comforting me in my own grief. I tried and I hope I succeeded.  

I could have taken the easy road and given them a hard set of truths about the afterlife, ones that couldn't be questioned or dismantled by the unending curiosity of youth. I could have lied and never told them she had passed, just maybe went to live elsewhere. There are a million things I could have done and probably some mistakes made in the things I did do but I tried to stay true to my religion by not forcing my beliefs onto them but giving them a jumping board to discover their own.

It will be a wonderous thing to experience, when these little ones become adults, to see where their spiritual paths lead them. I know, being a parent and guiding these small beings, takes me further down my own path. And, while it's sad and hard sometimes, it's still a miraculous thing to behold.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

There has been a death

Desperate tears cloud my vision as I write to you today. Two hours ago, Flora, one of the new baby Angora bunnies was put to sleep. I don't understand how things went so wrong so fast. And went so terribly wrong they couldn't be rectified except in death.

So much died with her today. So much more than that tiny pound of fluff we called Flora. So many of my hopes and dreams went with her. She was It. My first doe. The one that I would breed and who would kindle and who's kits would become the official start of our rabbitry. The rabbitry that would help us pay for the bunnies and perhaps put a little money into the farm. The one I was planning to make business cards for, advertising wool and kit sales.

But she was sick. We (the vet and I) don't know what happened or why. They wouldn't do an autopsy, there was no reason to do more tests, she wasn't pulling through. Her heart rate was down terribly low, she had some nasal discharge and a distended belly, the x-ray showed her backed up from her esophogas to her intestines, her temp was low and she wasn't eating, drinking or going to the bathroom. It was time to let her go.

I spent a few minutes saying good bye. I plucked a little of her fur as a rememberance. Maybe someday I'll spin it into a special something. They treated her with respect and compassion and took her away.
I take what I can from her passage. I learned a little more about how rabbits tick so maybe next time I can identify a problem before it becomes fatal. It will take time for me to grieve and get the nerve up to buy another young rabbit. Right now, I'm skittish, checking obsessively on my two bucks with a skeptical, morbid eye. I'm afraid and sad.

It was hard, even knowing her so little a time. I feel the agonizing weight of failure and regret pushing me down with the heartache of her loss. But part of farm life is farm death.

We're not a farm yet, I know. But we will be someday. Animals will get sick or hurt, they will die in birth and of old age. Some will even be chosen to die by our own hands. It's not easy. It's not meant to be. A part of me wants to grow thicker skin, be better able to handle the death of our animals, be professional and sever my feelings cleanly. Having an enlightened sense of the circle of life and our places in the universe.
The rest of me hopes I never do. That I greet each death with my sorrow and tears, giving my offering of grief to the life that is no more. That the sanctity of that life remains close to my heart and felt with each raggedy breath I take as I cry.
Only time will tell which I will become. I don't think one is better than the other, they both just are. As life is. As death will always be.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Around the House

We're busy today. Lots of things going on, getting prepped and finished up. I like days like this. I like it when things actually come to a close and I can look back and say "I did that", "it worked" or "thank God its done!"

I introduced the new babies to Duncan this morning.

Who are these people, mom?

He was good and curious. The two babies just jumped around thankful, I think, for the additional space. Conner doesn't care as long as there is food.

The garden is coming in full swing. Things are sprouting, tomatoes are ripening, growth is happening every second of every day. The ladybugs helped me pass the storm of aphids and it looks like everyone came out unscathed. There are blossoms on just about everything but blossoms don't mean as much to me as they did this time last year. I've grown a bit jaded I suppose, knowing that a bloom doesn't mean fruit. Ants carry away the pollen, other bugs eat them outright, the blazing sun wilts them before polinization. Though they're pretty enough.

It doesn't give me the same excited zing shooting through my blood as these do.

I've been a sewing fool lately. Spurred on by I know not what. Yesterday, I agreed to make Cordelia a rainbow twirly skirt like this one I made almost two years ago for Olivia:

It's a painstakingly annoying skirt but the results are worth if it they don't drive you mad. It made me remember why I only made one.  I decided that cutting just the 81 needed for the skirt wasn't time effective, so I just went on and cut about 400 more to be used as various projects in the upcoming months.

Today, I'll finish the skirt, clean the house, homeschool the kids, work on some reusable zippy bags for a friend and get the kids ready to go out to dinner to celebrate Rob's National Guard promotion to Captain. I can't wait to go to Kobe and get my hands on their white sauce.

So, here is to good days around the house. Enjoy today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

Today is the recognized celebration of Earth Day. That photo up there our slice of the Earth. It's funny to think back ten, fifteen, twenty years at the person I was and how far my conscious has travelled the cosmos since. Even five years ago I wasn't who I am now. When we bought our current house, which is a fixer-upper, I won't lie and say that those cookie cutter houses didn't look appealing. They did. Though somewhere in my essence I knew that it wasn't what I wanted. We wanted trees, quirk and history.

Ten years ago I didn't think there was anything grander than a HOA. Fifteen years ago I loved apartment living. Stacked and bordered, gated and secured. Funny how all that changes.

As we research and develop our ideas out on paper and through discussion, more than not our conculsions take us into the realm of what is considered Earth Friendly. Off-grid water, rain collection, recycled building, renewable energy. All those things that people come out to support on Earth Day will be our home Every Day. There will probably be more work but it will be honest, fulfilling. The rewards that much sweeter tainted with our blood and sweat.

It's not for everyone, the life we're planning out, but our little slice of Earth is calling to us. I hear it from all these miles away, beconing for me to come, treat it right and learn what how we can work together.

Happy Earth Day to you, my friends. Celebrate and cherish it well.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Easy add-on Pockets (or how to make a 5 year old deliriously happy)

You might remember this dress from our beach side photo shoot a few weeks ago.

It's a cute plain knit dress that cost under $10 new. I usually don't go for matchy stuff for the kids (since it's just about impossible to find five things in all their sizes that go together) but for the sake of nice pictures I do my best. My issue with matchy-matchy clothes is that it really boggs down the individual personalities of each kid and makes it a pain to get them dressed since 9 out of 10 someone's something that goes with it is lost/dirty/stained. (This is purely my opinion and yes, I do think matched outfits are cute).

So, Cordelia donned her plain yellow dress and I frowned. Uhmph, I thought, she needs more oopmh. So, we went down to the sewing area and picked out some fabric to make pockets. Every little kid needs pockets to hold their "stuff".

She chose mermaids with honey comb insides. I actually already had these cut for a quilt so it knocked time off preping the fabric.

Cut 4 squares 1/2' larger than the desired finished size. They can be all the same but Cordi wanted the honey combs too. I think it's cute.

Pin them right sides together and sew a 1/4" around THREE SIDES leaving a 1/4" space from the end of the unsewn end.

Snip off the edges and turn inside out, use a pencil to poke out the edges to make sharp corners.

It's nice to have a little help too.

We also embellished them a bit with some blue large ricrac to make it look like waves. Cordelia was really excited about this little addition. (sorry for the crummy lighting).

Fold in the tops using a ruler to make sure they come out the same size. Pin in place and sew across the open top (and across the ricrac of you add it).

Since we're dealing with a knit, we had to really make sure to pin these down well so the fabric didn't shift or pucker when we sewn the cotton pockets on.

Sew around three sides making sure to reinforce where the top of the pocket meets the dress. These will get a lot of wear and you want to make sure it doesn't rip.

What a difference some easy 15 minute pockets make! Cordelia -who liked the dress well enough to begin with - LOVES her "new" mermaid pocket dress. And no one else will have one like it.

Drinking Herbs

This is the start of my herb drinking collection. From left to right there is spearmint, lemon balm and chamomile. It's pretty much insane how much we spend on drinks. There's Starbucks, making my own coffee, juices, milk, soda, gatorade, Emergen-C, tea, hot coco, water, instant breakfast, almond milk (for Max since he's lactose sensitive), italian soda, and that's just whats in the house right now.

Though each seems to have a place and purpose so much of our bulk in groceries and space for storage, could be cut down if we changed our drinking habits. I think our general health overall would improve too. A few years ago I joined Jenny Craig. They told me that so many calories are ingested through drinks that are high in sugar but people don't realize it. After I took a real good look at that Venti mocha Frappucchino, I realized they were right. I've been better since then about balancing high calorie drinks with low calorie meals but I think I can be even better.

Cutting out the soda, gatorade and italian sodas would help my budget but also help lessen the need for supermarket stops and unneeded calories. We don't drink them that often (and the kids never get soda) but they are still expensive and nutritionally lacking. Harvesting our own ingredients is one more step to getting ourselves self-sufficient.

I bought some plants in hopes to create a stash of herbs for making teas and flavored waters to satisfy the desire for something other than water and also give us a supply of antioxdants and other vitamins. We have some lemon and lime trees in the front yard, lemon grass and balm, spearmint, chamomile and china black or green tea. It's not a lot, but its a begining. I'm hoping to find some good information on brewing your own teas and start experimenting when my dried stash gets a little larger.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh. My. God. (ever see a baby bunny tongue?)

I got a lot of feedback that you guys love the bunnies. So, here are a ton of shamlessly cute photos. You have to click to enlarge.

Oh. My. God. baby bunny tongue.

Oh, my. teeny feets.

Oh fuzzy baby!


Oh m'god. Baby nom nom nom's.

If anyone ever questioned why I love rabbits in the homestead, I think I just answered you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I have a confession

I used to not like tomato plants. At all. I know, I know! What was wrong with me?? It was that sharp earthy aroma that had me crinkling my nose in distaste. I couldn't stand it. It would permeate my hands and just UGH. Really, though, as much as I love eating tomatoes (and I seriously do love them), I can't fathom why I didn't care for the smell of the actual plant they come from. It was odd.

But now? Now, it's like a sweet perfume. A balm to all my garden woes. Perhaps, it's because last year I didn't harvest anything really except tomatoes. Maybe it's because I finally, finally, figured out how to actually grow something. And not completely obliterate it. And even get it to harvest.

These photos are of my three tomato plants. There is a cherry, a beefsteak and...another one. All three have blossoms. Every day I come out and they have exploded with more new itty ripening 'matoes. The smell doesn't bother me anymore, I love it dearly now. I would probably wear it as perfume if it was available (ooh, tomato vine essential oil?) I love those little guys so much I'm planning on getting a tomato blossom tattooed on my person.

Yeah, it's that kind of crazy love.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crappy, Busy, Rainy Day

My day started at 12:15am when Max finally went to sleep for the night. I grabbed a couple hours between getting up with a kid to pee, making Max another bottle and having a bad dream. Then all the kids got  me up by 6:45. Ugh. Such limited and terrible sleep lends to a cranky mommy.

I got up and made my coffee just to find myself pouring chunks of milk into it. Nice. Let's try that again. The kids were in rare form, yelling and picking at each other. Nothing was good enough and everyone needed everything this exact second or they'd start whining. With the kids sat down in front of the TV with food, I headed to my laptop to find the internet conked out. It's raining, something I usually like, but not when it keeps flicking off the power making me constantly resetting the wireless hardware and listening to the kids groan when the DVR has to reboot.

I actually did get in the shower. Amazing, that.

We were scheduled to go pick up a new bunny -which multiplied into two - but with my internet down I couldn't get on to get her address/phone or anything else. So I took my Ipod Touch over to Starbucks. On the way I needed gas and wouldn't you know the first one I stopped at was broken. Back in the car to find another pump. At Starbucks I'm supposed to get 2 hrs free WiFi being a gold card member but for some reason it wouldn't let me do it. $3.99 later I find out my Safari app on the Touch is kinked and wont' work. Oh, and Rob stole my GPS for the weekend so the saved address I needed wasn't in the car. Thankfully, the mail app did work and I got her number and called her for directions.

Now, we're thirty minutes late and it's practically a monsoon on the highway. At least I had my coffee and music. But the kids were raring to go, yelling, laughing, picking at each other and complaining driving me up a wall.

Ten minutes before we arrive I hear the dreaded  "I really have to go potty." from the backseat. For those of you that think flooring it to our destination would have worked, I'm not sure you realize what that means when it comes out of a five year old. "I really have to go potty." translates into "I should have told you fifteen minutes ago that I was squirming in my seat but I continued to drink my vanilla milk and now my bladder is exploding."

After a pitstop on the side of the road, we made it and picked up a new set of bunnies.

EEEK! They're so stinkin' cute. They do make my day just a bit better :) I also was able to finish up two quilt tops today.

I've been trying to get projects done by taking it piece by piece. I'll cut everything out working with just one fabric at a time so I don't loose my place if I get interrupted. Then piece them all. Sew at once. Iron at once. Sew again. Etc. until the thing is done. It's amazing how much you can get done and how quickly when you set small goals for yourself. I have to top stitch these to the batting and gather the materials for the backs and binding and I'll be ready to schedule that binding class.

The kids are still driving me nuts, they just won't leave the bunnies alone! But I'm glad they're excited about it. I'm thinking tonight will be an easy dinner and maybe cupcakes are going to get made. I'm not sure I want the mess but a cupcake will do me good after the kids go to bed and I can relax with an ibuprofen and my current read.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My shoddy Rabbit shaving job

It was time. I had put it off long enough. Made excuses as to why I couldn't get to it but honestly, with the eighty degree temps we've been consistently having, there was need. Duncan got a shave. If there was ever a testament as to how green a homesteader I am, it is the terribly sad looking bunny in my backyard hutch.

Before (and add about 2 more months of winter coat growth to that)

What a pretty bunny! So soft and fluffy! Angora coats can get really long and need much attention. So, true to my nature, I had to screw up and let him get matted. My homesteading skills don't just happen overnight, I have to overcome myself before I can learn anything.



And he's still not done. He also looks a lot skinnier now too.  And you can see his back feets.

I still have some more to do (obviously). Tomorrow, I'll work on him again and then put him in the baby gate yard thing to play while I clean out his cage. The clippers that I have didn't work really at all other than to freak him out. So, I used my fingers as a guard against his skin and some 2" scissors to clip him. It was quite a process and thirty minutes later we have the very unattractive looking bunny above.

Another thing I've learned through this process...

Bunny wool gets everywhere. (click to enlarge).

It somehow made it to the front yard, the livingroom and I even found a tuft upstairs.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hearty Breakfast

There are days when I get in a snit about my uberskinny kids and feel that they need a big hearty breakfast. Today was one of those days.

I made the kids eggs in a nest with a side of bacon. I try and use great, quality ingredients but honestly, I can't wait to pull out my own.  Handmade butter from the churn, the eggs from the coop the same morning, hand kneeded loaves of sprouted grain bread and local farmer supported bacon. Add a cup of fresh squeezed juice from our land and my God my heart would just sing.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I've been so very wrong

Almost three decades have gone by and I have been ignorant. Raised on a notion that what I believed was true was actually false, misleading. Whether those responsible knew of their misconceptions, I know not. But the damage has been done. My eyes are open now and I can't wait to explore this new realization.

This is the truth I held, that this image below was the only thing to be called a Macaroon.

And now I find that this is also a Macaroon*.

Oh, dear Confectionary Gods I am down on my knees repentant! I have been blinded by my ignorance! I should have known there was more than one way to make a macaroon and as penance for my lack of faith in your sugary all reaching power, I will now go on a pilgrimage to find these rainbow sandwich macaroons and consume them in thy name. Let no man call me a disbeliever.

*thank you Wiki for the photos and just to let everyone know the green one is really called a Macaron but it seems the terms are interchangable in America. At least among us lay-people.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Homeschool and Haircuts

I cut his hair.

This morning we've accomplished quite a bit. Three loads of laundry have been sorted, the boys clothes are put away as are mine and Rob's. I changed the sheets on my bed. Another load of laundry is washing and yet another is out on the line. Most of the girls homeschool is done and Alex is finishing up the last of today. I've also been dressed, put out recycling, fed some animals, played fetch with Leeloo, tended the garden and tidied the livingroom. Oh, and the boys also got haircuts. Not bad for 10:24am.

One thing I do quite love about homeschooling is the flexibility. I did all that but didn't get dressed until 8:30. I didn't bother taking my hair down until ten. I'm still in my slippers. The ability to do something that needs to be done, like empty the dishwasher, can be combined with something else, like listening to Alex read aloud while one girl gets dressed and makes her bed, another works on handwriting while the baby eats breakfast. It's a glorious thing when it comes together.

Sometimes it's frustrating. Those kids don't necessarily want to do the things set out before them. The baby might be cranky and clingy, as he is today. Someone might need a diaper changed while I'm working on Math with an older kid. I might get a phone call or there might be a spill that needs immediate cleaning. It's not all fun and games having every kid here every minute of every day. Then there are days like today.

Its a wonderous dance on these days where needs and wants gently collide into completion.  I have to remember to appreciate the fact that I can do laundry while my kids are learning, can give them a break by taking them out the back door to shave their hair, then send them back to work while I finish moving loads.

The waltz of a homeschool mom is a demanding and quick. We might stumble over steps or forget them all together but on days like this you can verily hear the notes in the air as we glide gracefully to the music of our lives.