Saturday, May 29

through the keyhole #3 - cooker

real people, real homes

choosing our cooking appliances for this new home was a small ordeal. i tried (with a small child and little sleep) to research eco-friendliness, and due to power cuts we also had to be practical.

so we settled on a wood burning cooker, and a separate gas hob (top). the wood burner serves as a cooking appliance and also a heater. it ought to kick out enough heat to warm the kitchen and dining, and possibly even most of downstairs. we won't know until we experience the depths of winter here. we'll buy the flue before then.

it's only a small range, and metal rather than the ceramic that we oggled. it's supposed to be cream but we swear there's the tiniest pinkish hue there. that's my apron hanging on the right.

the gas hob is black and simply the one we could afford. but having gas, from a canister underneath, means if the power is cut and the generator packs in, we'll always have this.

that's our 'pot', for boiling water. i refuse to own a kettle. some of my herbs and spices in the back. oregano is always the closest one.

although it looks clean, it actually has some oil spatterings. i'm not the most diligent at cleaning it. my m-i-l, whom i love dearly, scrubs hers clean after every cooking.

cooking is a big part of my life. it's my most accessible creative outlet. i'm a spontaneous and erratic cook - i'll whip up a good meal out of nothing much, i don't follow recipes (although can be inspired by them), and i don't cook every day (the idea of a weekly menu plan stirs up feelings of nausea).

so where do you cook?

add your direct post link below. you've got till tuesday. and visit each other!

next week: shower and/or bath

also, i'll be making a month in review some time next week. do join in.

Friday, May 28

saying hi... and bits

just popping in to say hi. i have a post in draft updating the innate hitting issue.... and i'll be here tomorrow with the next keyhole... our cooker.

i do miss blogging more often, but in simplifying my life and putting focus into my passions, well, i'm more likely to choose doing art or reading. and of course, working together around the new house.

like a lot of bloggers are finding, it's not the blogging necessarily, but trying to stay in the loop. i just don't feel right blogging if i don't visit other blogs too. i set aside mondays to do the bulk of my visiting. but if i blogged more i would want to visit more.

and when the wildflower naps, if i choose to get online, i am left unrested, buzzy, scattered.

but i'm still here!

  • our fingers are still crossed in getting hooked up on broadband soonish.
  • we got ourselves a generator, yet to be installed. will sort out all the power cuts we get.
  • our new sofas arrived (you can see one in my header at bohemain shadows - you know i blog there right?)
  • i've re-started Proust's in search of lost time - read the first, swann's way, about a million years ago.
  • frustrated at the lack of art materials, but working on that. husband is searching for wood for me to paint on. otherwise happy doing whatever art i can.
  • trying to help a couple of stray dogs that have been hurt. the local shelter has a vet there but they promised to be here days ago. no way we can get the large and dominant dog into our car. so i just keep feeding them and showing them affection. 
  • i've tidied up my links on the sidebar, do let me know if you have me on your blogroll and i'll reciprocate
  • several tiny stresses, mostly financial, but otherwise, life is good
see you tomorrow...

Handmade Homeschool
Tara is starting up her Unschooling Coaching.
a touching post from Hyacynth about living life with blurry bounderies.

The Good Men Project is seeking essays from 13- to 19-year-old boys that explore the topic: Describe a moment that changed you.
if you've ever felt an incling of disatisfaction with facebook or twitter, or the whole shebang, then find out about diaspora.... very exciting.
books in the home makes for scholarly children

Saturday, May 22

through the keyhole #2 - corner bookshelf

real homes, real people

of the 600+ books i have, only about 30 are on shelves. the rest are on floors, stairs, windowsills...

here is one corner of the only bookshelf, which is actually a Mexican Rack - a kitcheny piece of furniture with shelves, drawers and wine rack. it's made of wood and black wrought iron and has been with us since our first house back in 1996-7. but for through the keyhole, i'm only to share with you the peek of a corner...

as it sits in the kitchen, it holds nature books and herbals, as well as a few jars of herbs. that's 'dream tea' mix at the front that i made up, for calm but vivid dreams. some hibiscus flowers, and journeying tea in the back... you should be able to make out the book titles... the top one is Tulipmania, my favourite of flowers.

add your direct link in the link below... and visit each other!

next week: cooker/stove (your stove/cooker/oven/hob... two pics okay if you have separate oven and stove top)

Wednesday, May 19

tandem journaling

the Wildflower absolutely loves drawing on her magnetic board, and to a lesser extent on her blackboard. she has had a little experience with crayons but was more interested in throwing them about.

she has been seeing me painting and drawing for some weeks. in the last week she has asked to sit on my lap as i journal. and today she said, [Wildflower] draw.

so i gave her a journal and some crayons and she had a blast. and it was fascinating to observe. she concentrated at first on colour discovery and limited herself to circles, dots and lines. she named each colour as she used it.... purple!, drawing red...

later she moved onto drawings - elephants and happy.

and true to her Virgo Moon, this is her, on her own initiative, putting them all back neatly into their box. later of course, she threw them about for fun.

more days of messy arting together? oh i do hope so...

my journal on left


Amusing childspeak of the day:

Upon catching sight of a movie trailer of Christ with thorns on head...
Wildflower: have be careful with spikey.
Good to know the warnings sink in....

Tuesday, May 18

unlearnt hitting

As an ex-student of child psychology, I can recall studying the issue of children hitting. Specifically, we covered aggression. How it can manifest for many reasons - frustration, anger, seeing others hit, being spanked, an illness, and so on. Generally, we covered the extremes of emotional issues - hitting as a symptom of something painful going on.

What we didn't cover was unlearnt hitting in pre-toddlers. That is, hitting that seems innate. And certainly not unlearnt unemotional hitting.

The Wildflower is a very physical child. Actually, that's an understatement. She rarely stops moving. She does have periods of stillness - such as when reading a book. But mostly she moves, even when feeding. She has never been that baby that falls asleep feeding. And before 6 months of age, she was perpetually restless in her sleep.

And she expresses her emotions physically. Once I understood the benefits of allowing her to cry in my loving arms, her night restlessness was reduced.

If she's angry she clenches her fists, stiffens her body, and shouts a definite NO. She hops about when she's extra happy. She's huge on hugs and pretty big on kisses. Frustration at a toy sees it thrown across the room or hitting it. Self-conscious anxiety produces a similar effect. She usually kicks out or rolls about when having a diaper or clothes change. She was almost permanently attached to me until only a few months ago. She watches dvds standing up, and she moves into sleep rather than relaxing into it.


Yes, a highly physical and tactile child.
Me, I can't help but seeing this as typical Aries behaviour.

At first, I found her hitting disappointing. How can my child be a hitter? She has never seen hitting, has never been spanked or handled roughly. She gets tons of attention and love. I let her express her emotions. We have bounderies but otherwise we keep 'no' down to a minimum. Our days are relaxed. My child was going to be the loving peaceful child of a loving peaceful mama... yeah, good luck with that Mon.

I have now accepted it as simply part of her character. She expresses every emotion physically. Hitting out is not 'bad' behaviour. It's one way a small child expresses themselves without our adult tools of control. MAny times it's impulse based. Neither does it have to stem from some deep-rooted anxiety, emotional turmoil, or negligent parenting.

She is physical, willful, often easily frustrated, and prefers her own way on anything. So angry emotions are peppered throughout the day. She hasn't had a full on tantrum yet. I think in part because I know when she needs a big release (through a big cry and thrash out on the bed), because I let her express frustration (never telling her to not cry, or not shout. I do ask her not to whine. And if she is calm enough, to speak nicely if she's shouting), I divert her attention or offer alternatives, I listen to her (98% of the time, the other 2% when I'm going to lose my mind, I walk away). And in large part to the fact that although her temper is quick she's also quick to get over things.

 in daddy's shoes

So this is all well and good. But.... she still hits. And hitting is not pleasant, socially acceptable, and one day she might hurt another child.

She has mostly hit me, and her toys. And I have understood that hitting me is good, in that I am her safe place, so she feels safe to lash out at me. A lot of mothers take it really hard when their child behaves the worst with them, not realising it means the child trusts them the most. A too well-behaved child is a fearful child.... but that's another post for another time.
She has been known to slap her own head and face.

So, a few days ago I saw her lift her hand to slap another child (her 'hitting' is really a slapping). I caught her eye and gave her the 'mama look', you know the one. And although her arm continued on it's way, she held back. The other child was oblivious to it.

I'm not really sure what to do about it. My first solution was to show her that it hurt me and that I was sad. But I think she was too young for that. So then I showed anger (mild), saying 'we don't hit', 'hitting is not nice', 'don't hit'... that sort of thing. Not really working.

I tried using positive words. 'be gentle', 'nicely, nicely' (which she understands as caresses), 'tell mama what you want', 'do you want a hug?'... and others. Sometimes works.

I tried ignoring it. Sometimes worked, sometimes made her hit harder.
I've redirected her to hitting a pillow. Sometimes works, sometimes gets her angrier.

I have moved her hands away, and stood up and walked away to create a physical boundary. Works for the moment.

I'm not willing to try time out.

I give lots of encourgement for desirable behaviour, such as when she hugs or caresses me, another person, or a toy.

Telling her things like, 'I understand you're angry', has no affect.

I have given her hitting things, like a xylophone, piano, and drum. Doesn't really have an affect.

Often, her source of frustration isn't obvious. Otherwise I would deal with that. Many times the source is something really simple, like being self-conscious if I look at her while she was doing something non-descript. So many times she doesn't even appear frustrated, just does it. In fact, her hitting rarely follows an angry outburst. Except for a frustrated reaction to a 'no' or uncooperative toy, it's often done much more matter-of-factly. Occassionaly it has been part of a game she's made up. I understand that sometimes she's experimenting with her physical world. Still not an okay behaviour for me.

So for me, the hitting issue is stopping the behaviour, and secondly, understanding why she hits out when seemly feeling fine. To be clear, I'm not freaking out about this, I'm pretty relaxed about early years stuff. But I have decided I'm not okay with this continuing or escalating.

For many children, hitting can be a phase that passes. But if a child hits from some innate need to express physically, then I feel it needs guidance.

I understand that at two years old she has weak impulse control, and that she's only just barely entering an empathic stage. She may just grow out of it. But now that she's raised her hand to another child, I want to step in more.

Hitting in a non-chalant way is, I believe, part of testing her physical bounderies.
I want to help her understand that another person has the right to be touched as they find appropriate, and subsequently, she too has the right to tell someone, no, don't hit me.

I'm about to turn to the books for the first time over a 'discipline' issue! Thought I would turn to you guys first.

I've decided to retry ignoring most of it and saying a simple, 'we don't hit', when I feel the need to. I do feel she's a little older and might be ready.

Sunday, May 16

what is the dark moon

Every phase of the moon is powerful, useful, and has it's particular force or energy. However, the Dark Moon offers us the most powerful time for soul diving.

It is a time of psychic death. While the New Moon is new beginnings and the Full Moon is the climax and fullest clarity, the Dark Moon is a dying, a letting go.

It is also a time of self-reflection, introspection, of going into the cave of the mind and soul. A time to be alone, still, and to listen.

When we are seeking to know ourselves, to uncover what has been murky, hidden, or an understanding just out of reach, we connect to the Dark Moon.

The Dark Moon corresponds to woman's monthly cycle, her moontime. During our moontime, we feel our best when we find quiet and solitude. This is because we are every sensitive to external energy. The Dark moon is this same time, but out there in nature.

The ensitivity of the Dark Moon means that if we do not take time to ourselves as much as possible, or at the very least minimise environmental and mental clutter, we will feel the consequences. We will feel more overwhelmed.

So we can use the sensitivity. We can tune in, connect, from our deepest selves to nature's darkest void, to find answers to our questions. Not the clarity from confusion that we can seek during the Full Moon, but rather, hidden motives, deeper desires, unconscious wishes, denied fears.

As I mentioned, it's also a time of letting go. Releasing fears, burdens, what is no longer of use to us. Everything has its time, and everything must journey through the cycle of death.

Dark Moon reflections

So we have just come out of the dark moon. All DMs are about, amongst other things, letting go, and looking into what was hidden.

This one's particular energies have been very fluid indeed. Unlike concrete Capricon, this moon asks us to contempalte the dreams and wishes behind our practical endeavours. The motivations behind our longings.

We often get caught up in what Needs to be Done, and find ourselves in a life that propels as forward by some unknown and unwanted need. Did I ask for this? Is this choice leading me towards what I truly want and need? What might be a better choice?

As I am living my dream, and moving towards more of that, I had to look deep indeed. I found that my enthusiasm for learning and community and helping, had ceated a 200+ feed reader, time spent online without anything specific to do simply because it had become a habit. For me, online time is crucial - it's an educational source, a friendship source, a creative source, and more. But it isn't everything. And when a mother has only a couple of hours a day to herself...... Time to let go.

This dark moon helped me reflect upon these things. Upon my deeper needs. So the declutteing I began this month took on some gentle fire. I closed up blogs and focused my blogging energies. I culled feeds. I realised that I cannot learn or share about all the subjects that interest me, especially those that are time-consuming, such as eco/green issues. I let others do it, who already do it so well.

Friday, May 14

through the keyhole #1

as you know, we've recently moved into our new home. one thing i have been asked for is photos and more photos. and one thing i love to see is into other people's homes. most of us share pics of our kids and our crafty projects, but the glimpses into our homes are rare. i'm hoping lots of you will join me in this home peeking, by sharing your homes with me.

it's not about beautiful homes, it's about real homes - piles of laundry, sink full of dishes, mess of toys... it's about sharing our real lives.

so each week i'll post the latest peek and the theme for the upcoming week (do offer suggestions!). we share a photo of this area and leave it at that, or we share a snippet of info - do you like it, wish it were different? is there a story attached to the area/object.... the idea is to keep it intimate, so not a view of a whole room, but a close up of the area/objects.

this week's theme is sink view - what you look at when you wash the pots-n-pans. is it a brick wall, a spice rack, a window into the neighbour's garden?

i wish i had a photo of the sink view at the old apartment, it was the wall. now i look out into a portion of our backyard, our back field, and the mountains stretching all around the back of our home. luuuurve it.
you can just make out a white stone wall in the background, that's the back border. after that is just woods. the photo doesn't do it justice. it's so overgrown, we have since strimmed the backyard, much to the distaste of the snakes....

next week: corner bookshelf (just a small portion of one corner of a bookshelf)
i'm doing these for Saturdays.

direct link to your post please :)

Monday, May 3

april in review

Your reader's may have missed out on some content this month, you have new or occassional readers, or you didn't post much. Consider a Month in Review post. I know I can't keep up with all the wonderful blogs out there. Just copy & paste the headings below and add your responses.
Here's a tip, set a post up in draft form and add to it throughout the month before you forget by the end of the month!

A thought...
i'm not okay with scorpions inside my house

A sound...
buzz buzz, tweet tweet.... only bees and birds in the mornings...

A taste...
toasting the new house with the local tipple and our close friends

An image...
our daily ritual...

A scent...
that new house smell

A word...
inspired.... lots of art happening
'spiky' - the Wildflower's fave thing to pick outdoors

A touch...
underfloor heating, in the modern vernacular, totally rocks

A gift for me...
getting things off my chest

A post you may have missed...
the Wildflower turned two and we moved into our new home... yes, quiet month...

Did you do a review? Let me know.

Lisa @ My World Edenwild
Joxy @ Free Range Family

Saturday, May 1

taking it easy

Well, we're still settling in over here. Husband has been back at the apartment cleaning and repainting. So ironically, now that we're up here, he's down there. But he should be done today.

Every day on his return home he finds another picture or cloth on the wall, another box unpacked..... it's feeling like home now.

We've had a hassle with the water pump, but it seems ok since they broke apart a large rock that was lifting the main pipe up too high. Hopefully we won't need to move the whole pump then.

Every morning the Wildflower and I go for a walk down the main 'road'. I'm showing her it's best to leave alone flowers that are few and infrequent, and better to pick common ones. Fortunately, she's in love with 'spiky', which is the deflowered, deseeded dandelion! She can have as many of those as she likes.

And of course, the stone obsession.... she'll grow up an archeologist or stone mason...

Mama is sitting outside with her laptop, blogging, drinking in the free vitamin D.

The local dogs have taken to sleeping by our house - they're not stupid. Loyalty my flea-bitten behind, I would go where there is affection and meat as well. Now the ants, that's another thing altogether.

Our closest friends popped round yesterday as our first visitors. There was hugging, and food, and laughter, and three kids running about with tons of space.

I'm over the moon to be here. I'm creatively inspired, breathing in unpolluted green every day, listening only to bird song in the mornings...

 my first painting in almost 20 yrs
View from Zlijebi, mixed media, 12"x16"

Have a fab weekend everyone!

Alexis shares 10 great parenting tips that could apply to all children.
new blog, a lifelong unschooler - Life Without College

why fewer toys will benefit your kids
Audio books at
Elmo encourages eating veg over candy/sweets