This lovely video is of a 14-year-old girl artfully cutting circles around a tractor is available thanks to the Cooperative Scythe Network. The sole purpose of that prestigious information organization is to teach people how to use this ancient tool, and to continue its use. The website is incredibly informative and you will find everything you ever wanted to know about purchasing and caring for a scythe. Although they are Canadian, they offer help all over the world, and also sell quality scythes and snaths to everyone. In fact, they believe that peak oil will make this scene a reality everywhere.
We're in the process of signing up for SPUD!, an organic delivery service. I've actually been looking for one of these for a while and I've been lucky enough to find one here that is probably the premium of organic delivery services. The way it works is this... you set a certain budget for your fruit and veggie box (our family is about $30). You do a little thing where you rate the things you like, and you decide whether you want them to try to get local foods over shipped in ones. It saves your preferences, and then it will automatically deliver it to your property at the interval you desire (once a week, twice a month, etc.). You don't have to be home, and you can have them deliver it how you like ("Stick it in the green bin on the back porch!").
We all know that violence in movies is probably not a good thing. I'm not talking about lions eating antelope, real world nature stuff. I'm talking about abstract, human violence, the senseless kind that humans created. We know that watching those things can have an adverse affect on our personalities. But, a researcher did a study in England recently that shows that just watching mean people can be just as bad. There were three groups of people, a Kill Bill group (very violent), a Mean Girls group (very mean) and a group that saw the calm seance scene from What Lies Beneath. Then they were told that they were playing a game with someone online and the loser would get a loud blast of noise, and they could set the volume of it. The ones that saw Kill Bill and Mean Girls both turned the volume up much higher than the ones seeing the calm movie.
Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn. - Thoreau
It's a rainy day, a morning sickness day, a day of playing in cornmeal in baking pans. I have recently been listening to a discussion on an email list about toys... the nature of toys, the result on children, what people used to have. Here are the toys that we have:
1. Playmobile. We love German toys, and Playmobile is not Chinese, nor is it made of a plastic that is harmful. They lend themselves very easily to pretend play. We have the entire Victorian dollhouse and all of the accessories and we collect them because John and I love to play with them.
2. Duplo. These are the big version of Lego. I know that they are supposed to be for preschool, but growing up and having both, I found that I enjoyed Duplo more because you can build big stuff. We have an ENORMOUS bin of them and they are perfect for large projects like castles and cities.
3. Dress up. We have a big box of dress up. None of these items are those shiny princess things from the store, but instead all thrift-store finds like Chinese coats, scarves, belts, purses, weird shirts and other fun stuff.
4. Puppets. The girls aren't really into the puppets yet, but we have many, many animal puppets. We have dinosaurs, badgers, tigers, snow leopards, frogs, moose.... everything. We have used this to help us communicate sometimes and as they get older they are starting to use them more.
5. Board games. The only main-stream game we have for the girls is Candyland. The rest are Cranium games, cooperative German board games (from Ravensburger), the Farming Game, and Jr. Scrabble. The next games I get will be more from Ravensburger.
6. Kitchen supplies. We received a gift of very realistic metal kitchen pots, pans, and utensils. We also have a ceramic tea set. We have some plastic food as well. They build a kitchen out of books or boxes and start cooking.
7. Wooden puzzles. We have numbers, letters and a picture puzzle, but we also have a yet-unused giant wooden puzzle of America with many tiny pieces so it's for when they are older.
8. American Girls dolls. I have three original American Girl's dolls. Two of these are not the same as the dolls sold by Mattel and made in China. The original ones were designed and made by Götz in Germany, which you can distinguish by the white body. Now the dolls have a flesh-colored body. I would still buy more American Girl's dolls though, especially the Kaya doll or Josephina. The girls won't have these until they are 8 probably, and I was originally going to give them individually but I've decided to make this a group item.
9. Basket of Wooden Stuff. We have a big basket of wooden blocks, plus some little cars, rocks painted like bugs, corks, metal ring puzzles, wooden baby trains and cars and ring towers, some miscellaneous musical instruments like bells, whistles and Guatamalan flute, and other fun stuff.
And that's it for toys. We also have some educational items that we don't really consider 'toys' but are fun anyway... felts, stacking/nesting boxes with numbers, different forms of rock (including a floating rock), tangrams, a chalkboard and canvas art mat, and tons of art supplies. Plus the computer. It feels like a lot of stuff in the very small space that we live in, but it's really not in comparison to how many toys the average child has. The average American child receives 70 (yes that's SEVENTY) new toys every year.
I was just reading an article on Time magazine's site about a guy nicknamed 'Sustainable Dave' who still makes trash but just doesn't throw anything away... he wants to see how much garbage he makes and so he's piling it up neatly in his basement.
2. Loppings of trees; bruised canes, &c. In the West Indies,the decayed leaves and stems of canes are called field-trash; the bruised or macerated rind of canes is called cane-trash; and both are called trash.
3. Fruit or other matter improper for food, but eaten by children, &c. It is used particularly of unripe fruits.
4. A worthless person. [Not proper.]
5. A piece of leather or other thing fastened to a dog's neck to retard his speed.
RUB'BISH, n. [from rub; properly, that which is rubbed off; but not now used in this limited sense.]
1. Fragments of buildings; broken or imperfect pieces of any structure; ruins.
He saw the towns one half in rubbish lie.
2. Waste or rejected matter; any thing worthless.
3. Mingled mass; confusion.
CONSUMER, n. One who consumes, spends, wastes or destroys; that which consumes.
you may give them your love but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which we cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make
them like you. - Kahlil Gibran on children
I found a really neat art project called the Farm Fountain yesterday and I'm trying to find a way to embed the movie here, but it won't. BUT, please check out the website, especially the step-by-step photo instructions on how to make one.
I was going to continue my post from earlier about Zen and parenting, and add a bit about my own Christian philosophy mixed in. Then we got busy and I had this terrible, terrible craving for meat which needed to be taken care of.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. - John 14:27
I have been practicing meditation for many years, although its not something I really talk about with people. There is not a large Buddhist community here, and I wouldn't really say I'm a Buddhist. Just like our eclectic homeschooling approach, our approach to spirituality is very eclectic as well. I also wouldn't say I have a great routine, and it goes up and down but I can say now that my meditation practice has really benefited me and helps me to internalize things I want to change about myself, and the way I feel about things that are happening around me. I think my way is more of a Zen approach. For a quick introduction to Zen, check out this site:
To have read the greatest works of any great poet, to have beheld or heard the greatest works of any great painter or musician, is a possession added to the best things in life. - Algernon Charles Swinburne (an incredibly controversial poet of the Victorian era)
Autumn's Favorites (she's almost 3):
Symphony No. 25 in G Minor (a great version is from the Amadeus soundtrack)
I don't post politics... partly because I am currently an expatriate American living in Canada which gives me a odd perspective on things, and because nothing is ever black and white. That being said, I know many people who are closet Ron Paul supporters, so here's a bit of relief for them...the ReLOVEution continues!
I haven't posted very much because the morning-afternoon-night sickness came down on me quite suddenly. It seems as though with my girls whatever I could eat during pregnancy is what they ended up liking to eat when they started solid foods. With my oldest it was garlic, and she loves all kinds of seasoned foods, and with my other one it was bland things like oatmeal, and now she only would eat oatmeal and peanut butter if she could.
Look at me
Just called to say that it's good to be
In such a small world
All curled up with a book to read
I can make money open up a thrift store
I can make a living off a magazine
I can design an engine sixty four
Miles to a gallon of gasoline
I can make new antibiotics
I can make computers survive aquatic conditions
I know how to run a business
And I can make you wanna buy a product
Movers shakers and producers
Me and my friends understand the future
I see the strings that control the systems
I can do anything with no assistance
I can lead a nation with a microphone
With a microphone
With a microphone
I can split the atoms of a molecule
Of a molecule
Of a molecule
I am pregnant, which is not something we really officially announce around here... we just send quick emails to people before it blurts out because we can't keep secrets. I am 6 weeks according to my baby ticker at the side of the blog lol.
I just read that Merrill Lynch was 'bought' by Bank of America at the risk of its complete failure. I also read today that of all the world's countries, America has the largest deficit. It's a whopping $700 billion +.
I found this surprising quote from Temple Grandin, a smart lady with Asperger's who has been a very vocal advocate for autism. It surprised me... I don't know why it did, but it made me look at our culture today a little differently:
Has it been this long? And yet we are all still hurting...
We've finally worked ourselves into our school year rhythm. I don't like to call it a routine or a schedule, because it doesn't depend on time or a task list at all. It revolves around the seasons, how much sleep we need, and the current needs of everyone in the family. It is imperfect (I wish I could help meet everyone's needs every day!) but with practice it's getting better to tune in.
Last night our free date was really fun. We found a very dramatic song (in our case, it was Don't Give Up by Josh Groban), put the lyrics on the screen, and used Apple Photobooth to film ourselves lipsyncing to it.
I am not posting our video, lol.
Floor Unwinding - Watch more amazing videos here
Some of my favorite alternative and natural homes:
We are beginning a journey as a family to help Dad go back to school. We both have interesting educational records... he left public school in 10th grade and was unschooled. In that time he started companies and learned everything any high school student would know, and more.
- A good score on the ACT. I didn't study (and I wish I had), but I was in the 90th percentile. The ACT is way better than the SAT and accepted by all universities, although the top ones like Harvard and Stanford want you to take three SAT Subject Tests also.
- A homeschool transcript. This is just like a high school transcript but has subjective grades based on what your parents think you did. You can add any extracurriculars you want, and your GPA is simply compared to the national scale. Some universities have a special application so that you don't need to make an extra transcript, but it's nice to have it written out to keep it standard. If they ask for a separate one, have your parent take it to a notary and get it notarized, which holds extra weight for legitimacy.
- A good essay. The essays are probably the most important part of the application process. Write out a really good essay about yourself, something original but not cute, something that tells how you stand out but not boastful. Keep this essay so you can modify it for each university or scholarship you apply for. There are many examples online.
Available at TheLittleTravelers.com :
I've been reading a great deal lately, as always, struggling to do what's best for my kids and work out where the issues come from.
As parents we started out as Attachment Parents. I breastfed for a year, they slept in our room for a year, we carried them in a sling and held them most of the time. Then we became Continuum Concept people and tried to correct all the child-centered mistakes we made as AP people.
I finished reading the book Our Babies Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small a while ago, but I am still thinking about it. It made an impact on me because it helped to clarify some of what is in the Continuum Concept. I had huge feelings of guilt after reading the CC book because I felt as though I really had followed my instincts, and yet my firstborn was not 'innately social' or happy the way a CC child could be. I must have done something wrong I thought.
I've decided to finally face the facts and admit fully that Annie truly has autism. I'm not sure where she is on the autistic spectrum... somewhere high functioning, probably Aspergers, with Sensitivity Integration problems. She has not been diagnosed with anything except the Sensitivity Integration, because she was so high functioning that she would not qualify for other services.
Outside My Window... the great big dark.
I am thinking... about Harvard, autism, homeschooling, and jumping through hoops at institutions and political systems.
I am thankful for... my husband who helped me today when I had simple day surgery.
From the kitchen... the empty clean of an unused kitchen, lol.
I am wearing... a gray tank top and jeans and socks. I have a dressing on my back and arm and I don't want anything to touch it.
I am creating... a winter hat, a homeschool notebook for the year, a homeschool resource list, a blog post.
I am going... to knit some soakers too. And do an oil painting soon. And listen to lots of stuff on iTunes U.
I am reading... Birthing From Within, The Message, and Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul.
I am hoping... that my back and arm won't hurt so much tomorrow.
I am hearing... YouTube and podcasts on autism.
Around the house... more laundry, more dishes, more tidying up.
One of my favorite things... notebooks. I don't know what is, but I love blank books.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Rest and feel better, eat healthy, learn more about autism.
In the US most people have already started school, but here in Canada the first day is Tuesday, right after Labor Day. On the Yahoo! homeschool groups I am a member of, there has been a number of panicked messages from many homeschool moms (new and veteran alike), with the same theme: "What have I done?! The first day of school was horrific! My children are animals!"
Sin arises when things that are a minor good are pursued as though they were the most important goals in life. If money or affection or power are sought in disproportionate, obsessive ways, then sin occurs. And that sin is magnified when, for these lesser goals, we fail to pursue the highest good and the finest goals. So when we ask ourselves why, in a given situation, we committed a sin, the answer is usually one of two things. Either we wanted to obtain something we didn’t have, or we feared losing something we had.