One of Andrea’s kids. Trying to entertain you!

Hi all!

Sarah here. turns out I used to post here a few years back (Well, I did a few times at least) so I figured I might as well post here again as my mother is pretty busy with her work. since I know a lot of relatives read this, I’ll make a list of what I’ve been up to. Since there are a lot of people who read this who aren’t related to me, I’ll try to say something funny. At least once.

I’ve already gotten my first graphic design job! One of our neighbors owns a home business, and she came over one day, asking for help. She was talking about some posters she needed done for a womens conference that was coming up. Seeing as I have been jobless for awhile, and this isn’t exactly the most active place in the province (Oh, I think a car might have driven by today. Most exciting thing to happen this week. I speak the truth. Just ask my pet unicorn.) I said that I would be able to do it. It actually only took me 5 hours to make some posters for her, she liked them so much that she cried on my shoulder. Happy customer, I got paid for it, it’s all good.

I also happen to be graduating this year. That really makes me feel old, because in my mind I’m still about 12. I just took the CAT’s a couple weeks ago, which was my first standardized test. I haven’t taken any tests for school since about grade 5, but I still think I did pretty well. My favorite part was when I did the spelling section in three minutes when I had a total of fifteen minutes to do it. Obviously all that time on the computer paid off.

Music wise, I’m still playing guitar. I have two now, an acoustic and an electric. I would say the song that I’m the best at is ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles, which actually took me about a month (!!!) to learn. It’s very fun to play though. My music collection is still.. really big. At last count I had 207 albums, not counting cassettes/compilation albums, plus I’ve picked up a few since then. My three favorite bands are, at current, Matthew Good/Band, The Stills and Radiohead. Most of the music I listen to is Canadian or British, with exceptions for some awesome bands (Queens Of The Stone Age, Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s.) When we drive around in the car I’m usually in charge of the music, so Mom’s been listening to some interesting stuff for sure. For anyone interested, feel free to add me on my

I also finally got myself a flickr account. Mom had been posting a lot of pictures I took on hers, so I figured I might as well get my own. I tend to do a lot of “I’m going to take a picture of everything I do today” memes, which is why there’s so many pictures of sandwiches. There are far too many pictures of sandwiches on that account. This is starting to make me hungry.

To prove to you how serious I am, here is a picture of me wearing Emma’s coat:

Obviously this is going to make people take me seriously. Right? (I must note, this is not the first picture of my wearing Emma’s coat.)

Hopefully this made up for Mom’s lack of updates, I will try and remember to post again soon (Until I see something shiny, that is.) provided I have things to post about it. Even if I don’t, I could probably dig out some ideas for TV shows I’ve had in the past and pitch them to you. The best part is that they’re actually funny.

Not even bulleted lists would cover it

I had my write window open to do an entry, I swear. Maybe that was
Wednesday. At any rate, I’m up entirely too early and figured I’d
better let you know how much I crammed into the last week. Even if some
days I thought I did “nothing”.

Last Friday: Ron had the day off, we went to the bank and the student
job bank. Mom and Carl came to visit, lugging some spare dressers &
shelves with them.

Saturday:  more Mom visits, tea with neighbors across the street. After
lunch, I go to the clubhouse to find I missed most of the fishing
tournament. I then get hassled unmercifully as to why I wasn’t there at
6:30am, 5:30 am or 4:30 AM depending on who I was talking to. I’m
forced to buy a hat.

Saturday night: Sarah and I go to Fredericton for some light shopping,
check out Addison & Kaytlyn’s apartment, and then go see Matthew
in concert. It was awesome. I filled the card on my camera, mostly
with around 700 pictures and one small video of half a song.

We get home at 2am.

Sunday: I sort through photos and upload some in spotty weather. I discover about a third to half of my shots are pretty good. Ron
does coding for me while I wander aimlessly around the house trying to
do something resembling useful. This may have been the day I burnt my
forearm getting dinner from the oven.

Monday thru Thursday: Work work work. And I discover the denuded hedge
of lilac bushes is bouncing back and has flowers budding. I write a
hundred emails.

Thursday evening: we go to one of the libraries and hit up their book
sale. We lug two boxes to the counter and I hand over my usual $20. Two
librarians insist that since I have one box filled with trashy romance
novels, I can and should go get another box full. Which I do. They thank me

Friday: While I’m wandering around the finally sunny yard taking
pictures of apple blossoms and lilac buds, Sarah is on the phone
getting directions to a job interview. The two of us make a hasty trip
to town with Ron after lunch, and we fill the space with errands,
bottle returns and then the interview. I have just enough time to go
back home, check my mail, breathe, and then go get Ron again. After
supper, I have an hour-long work call.

This morning: I get up at 5:30 because my brain won’t shut up. I wonder where the week went.

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The great co-sleeping survey

If you’ve ever co-slept with your children, you might want to go take this really quick survey about co-sleeping.

Seems there’s a hulabaloo going around that co-sleeping is “unsafe”. Unsurprisingly, crib manuvacturers are the biggest detractors…

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How I do it all

I’m sure many people reading along and even the new people I talk to sometimes wonder how I do it all when I am a home educating work at home country frugal back to land kind of mom.

The short answer is I don’t. Or at least not all at once.

The longer answer… well, I’m not sure exactly how to explain it in less than a thousand words, but I can try. It’s a lifestyle we’ve led for a long time – 14 years. I don’t think I ever mentioned specifically too, that the year we started homeschooling was the same time ron quit his governement contract job and I also started up plans for my craft sore. We tended to jump into things back then.

This was when we were also building our house as we lived in it. I had a 5 year old, a three year old, and a baby. In the country with no car. No cable. The closest unrelated neighbours were a ten minute walk (even without the kids).

But anyway, over the years we did our thing as we lived our lives. It’s a part of it.

My neighbours now sometimes ask about coming over and they clearly do not want to interrupt school time or work time. I’ll tell you a secret: there is none. We don’t have a schedule, just a very flexible routine. My days are based on a lot of what I feel like doing, or what I know I can accomplish. On high energy, full mentally-capable days (I have a.d.d too), I can accomplish more than some people can do in a week. The kids are the same – some days are better than others. The key in there though, is we work together.

I’m a mom, but as I have repeated more often than I care to remember, I am nobody’s slave. I am not here to coddle the children to the day they decide to move on. I’m here to whip them into shape so they can be productive adults.

I have two teenage girls still at home, and they do a LOT around here. Well, I sometimes thing they can do more, but compared to many of their peers they do quite a bit. They each have chores they do, including their own laundry.

This frees me up to do other things.

We are also fairly relaxed, so the house, in a word, is messy. Lived in. Comfortable. But things are also out where they can see them. Books are everywhere. “Stuff” is accessable (after a hunt usually) so we can create & explore. Tvs, computers, movies… all these things are educating as well. We don’t have our things seperated into Mommy or Daddy items and kid items – there’s a pile of useable things here, including whatever’s in the craft room – for ALL to use.

And I’m here. We talk. Almost constantly some days. The children see Ron and I working, they see & hear us discuss grown-up things and often they are part of the conversation. We’ve fallen more and more into unschooling and we follow the flow of *all* of our interests. Emma doesn’t just have me to “teach” her, and in reality, she’s such a sponge and we’ve always answered her questions (even did that with the big kids) that some days it’s hard to keep up. The big kids have all taken turns helping out with Emma, showing her cool stuff teaching her new things. (answering “hammer time!” to when they yell “stop!” notwithstanding.)

This ties in to the “not all at once” part. Some days my house IS clean (no really, it happens once in a blue moon), but I probably haven’t done much else. The next day, I may spend a lot of time working. And not much else. Sometimes work takes precidence, but we try and break that up. Even running homeschooljournal does not take all day. Most of the time, it runs itself. I take care of things as they crop up. After that, we may be at the library and do errands. Like today, I’m still catching up on lost sleep from the weekend concert Sarah & I attended, so I wrote this entry this morning instead of other things.

It all flows and we follow or veer as needed. If a neighbour drops by, we invite them in for a bit. It adds to our day, not subtracts. Every thing we do, every person we meet adds to our collective education. I have a to-do list, not a master schedule. Work is always waiting.

Life does not. So we live it.

(Written for the Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival.)

On sewing and cozies

(I honestly thought I had posted this, but I guess I thought about it long enough it my head that it became reality. It happens a LOT.)

My new $5 sewing machine? SEWS LIKE A DREAM.

Yes, that is all-caps worthy. If you were here, I’d really be shouting. It even impressed Ron, who – to be fair – was giving me the old eye-roll when I told him I bought another machine. But he also knows how cranky my regular one is, and he knows how to use a machine, so we set it up together and gave it a whirl.

He says the first hum of the motor is what made him happy. “Good deal, dear.” Then he gave me a thumbs up, I love that man.

The machine is so quiet, especially compared to my two others. And it’s heavy as all get out, I can barely lift it. Although my right arm feels better, I can’t hardly lift a thing with it anymore. Heavy is good, as that means all metal parts, not like the plastic crap produced today. I’m still going to break it down and give it a good oiling, just in case.

I still need to take a picture, but it’s from the early sixties at least, is a Brother with no model number, and does one stitch. Well, it also goes in reverse. But when you think about it, straight stitching is 80-90% of what I’ve been sewing lately. (Hello? And quilts!) Honestly, once I figured out what every button did on my other machine, I hardly use ’em now.

So today I was messing around on the other machine in the craft room. I have yet to move the new one in, that’s why. I was
pondering the problem I’ve been having with the domed traditional tea cozies. I like them lined and I’ve been making them so. If I stack them all and serge the seam, then there’s an ugly serged seam on the inside. So what I’ve been doing is to sew the batting and lining together, then separately sew the two outside together, and then turn the outside layer over top of the inside & batting. Sometimes this is tricky as things don’t line up or get off center. Other times I’ve tried sewing the batting and outsides together, then the lining, but you still have the same turn-slip problem. I’d even been adjusting them properly over a metal tray I have, but it’s fiddly work.

The thing I tried today was just sewing the seam allowances of the lining and outside/batting parts together and then turning in the right spot. I had a total brain wave when I realized DUH I was sewing over two seams I had already sewn. With careful stacking and a turn in the right spot, I can have a fully lined traditional tea cozy with one seam. Faster construction time is *always* better, especially when you plan on selling your work.

Don’t worry if you can’t quite picture it, as in addition to selling the finished ones, I’ll be making a pattern available. The stacking is the real trick. Someday I WILL finish AtypicalShops, I swear. It’s on my list, really.

After the twelve clients I have to take care of first.

Maybe I should have another cup of tea and continue today’s work.

Happy community yard sale day

So it’s the long weekend up here in Canuckistan. Something about Ye Olde Queen Victoria. At any rate, it;s still a work day for me, but with Ron around to lend a hand. (we’ve been working all weekend, actually)

When Sarah got up, pretty early for her, she reminded me we had heard about a big yard sale up the road. WELL. It turned out it was a *community* yard sale and over 40 houses & businesses were involved.

We were gone two hours.

But I bought a sewing machine. This does bring my total count up to three, but it was a great deal and I legitimately needed it. It’s an older machine that is heavy as all get out and it was FIVE BUCKS.

seriously, how could I leave it there?

I also got books (duh), a castle for Emma, a small amount of clothing and I think that was it. Oh, and the Mennonites had a bake sale. Yum!

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