Tag Archives: children

Christmas, Our way.

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Christmas is over for another year, we are packing away the decorations and the wrapping aper and boxes have successfully been shoved in the recycling bin. Now that it is all over, I just thought I’d share a bit about our day.
It was set to be a fairly quiet Christmas in our house. For the first time ever, my husband and I were the most senior members of the family present, with just our children and and my daughter’s partner joining us for the day. Basically, it was just the people who live in our house and who are with us for almost every meal! This seemed like a fairly boring prospect to me – not that I don’t like eating with these people, just that we do it every day. I couldn’t imagine how we could make it ‘special’, and I was finding it very hard to get enthused.
I had bought a heap of seafood at our local farmer’s market and was trying to think of something cool to do with it, when the idea of making a paella jumped into my head. Closely followed by dreams of a Spanish feast with an assortment of Tapas dishes!
I was feeling a little more enthusiastic about the whole deal with this break away from tradition. The only problem was that when you don’t have a lot of people getting together it can end up being a huge workload for one person to try and make a special meal and I wasn’t looking forward to that.
It was about then that I had my second great idea (even if I do say so myself!). I asked each of the children if they could contribute a Spanish tapas dish to the meal. They needed to do some research on the internet and find a suitable dish to cook, organise the ingredients, and prepare the meal.
This task was approached with great enthusiasm by them all. It only took my youngest about 5 minutes to decide on his recipe, and fortunately for me it was a nice easy one (ie. not too messy!) – marinated mushrooms.
Axel with mushrooms
Next in line was my oldest son with a huge bowl of garlic prawns, complete with crusty bread to soak up the oily garlic sauce.
Jayden 1
Jayden 2
My middle son continued in the seafood theme making fried calamari with a garlic aoli dipping sauce.
Zac cooking
calamari
And finally my daughter and her partner made Spanish meatballs.
Cooking meatballs
They also decided to make a gingerbread house, which wasn’t exactly in keeping with the Spanish theme, but was yummy and fun and a reminder of the gingerbread houses we used to make every year when the children were younger.
Gingerbread house making
gingerbread house
I added to the tapas with crumbed green olives, chorizo and capsicum tarts, and chorizo in apple cider.
My tapas on table
The tapas made a delicious, long, all day lunch. We all took turns in the kitchen and just added our dishes to the table when they were ready. We even had little bell, so when a new dish was on the table the cook could ring the bell to let everyone know.
As you tend to do on Christmas day, for some reason I thought we would need more food!
We had the grand finale, a big seafood paella, and platter of slow cooked lamb shanks at about 9 o’clock that night, followed by Churros con Chocolate for dessert. These were actually a bit of a disaster, especially compared to the ones my beautiful Spanish friend sometimes makes for us, but everyone was too full by then to care anyway.
Paella
(This is not my usual Christmas look lol. We had been for a swim in the afternoon, so I have swimming pool hair and a sarong!)
I have to admit, I did miss having the huge crowd of family around that we used to have, but it was great fun to try something different from the traditional Christmas feast. The best thing was having all the kids involved, cooking together, and making some great Christmas memories.
I hope yours was great too. Sharee x

Here are some of the recipes we used…

Chargrilled Capsicum and Chorizo Tartletts

Fried Green Spanish Olives

Fried Chorizo with Apple Cider

Spanish Paella

Churros con Chocoate

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Fishing and Modified Haiku

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My youngest son is happy now, I finally took him fishing. He loves fishing, but I always put off taking him as long as I can. You see my problem is that I really don’t like killing things. I read that the most humane way to kill a fish is to stab it straight through the top of it’s head, but I just don’t know if I could bring myself to do that. I have visions of the fish still being alive and flapping wildly and me trying to stab it over and over again to get just that right spot in it’s brain that will put it out of it’s misery. We have been fishing quite a few times, and I have been grateful so far that all the fish we have caught have been undersize, so we can watch them in our bucket for a little while then let them go again. But I know the day is going to come when we actually catch a big fish and then I’ll have to do something with it – gulp!

I have a real moral dilemma when it comes to fishing. I hate to hurt things and kill things, but I do love the outdoor family time that we get when we go fishing. I think this is so good for my kids, so I’m willing to sacrifice a few fish in the process (sorry fish).

I do the best I can do to make it as easy on the fish as I can. I have read that you should crimp the barb on your hook by squashing it flat with a pair of pliers, so we always do this. This makes it a lot easier to remove the hook from undersize fish without hurting them, and also makes it more likely that the hook will come out naturally if they happen to take your hook.

The other things that we do are to lift the fish up out of the water with a net as soon as possible, rather than just pulling it up with all it’s weight on the hook, and we try to make sure our hands are wet before handling the fish, or use a damp towel. A pair of pliers is always handy to make sure you can get the hook out as quickly and cleanly as possible.

The boys also had a lot of fun collecting water bugs and little fish to look at while they were waiting for the fish to bite. Is was quite interesting today as we were fishing in a channel in a housing estate. The channel fed from the sea, but also receives fresh water, so there was an interesting mix of salt tolerant water bugs and fresh water tolerant fish.

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The good thing about fishing is that while you are sitting there waiting for the fish to bite, you can always fit in a bit of drawing or writing. It’s a great way to get some schoolwork done in a fun way – the joys of homeschooling.

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We have been writing a few Haiku poems this week, so this fitted in perfectly with our fishing theme.

Haiku poems are great for beginners or reluctant writers because they don’t have many words and they are pretty easy to write.
Traditionally, a Haiku poem is made up of three lines with, the first line has 5 syllables, the second has 7 syllables and the third has 5 syllables. This can be a little daunting for kids though. All that thinking about syllables blocks off their creative brains.

A good way to start with kids is with a modified haiku. In the modified Haiku you have a short line, then a longer line, then another short line, but don’t worry too much about the syllables. If you read lots of Haiku poems to the kids before they start writing you will find that often they pick up the rhythm anyway, so their poems will be pretty close to the correct format without needing to count all the syllables. Even if they’re not correct, they are still being creative and writing so that’s all good.

Here are a couple of poems by Zac

Cheese is nice
Some cheese are supposed to be mouldy
I still like cheese.

Games are fun
I like playing games with my friends
I wish I had more friends

Real Life Writing – Zines

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Have you heard about Zines?
Zines are small, home made, limited run periodicals. A huge range of topics are covered in Zines.
The first Zines started way back in the 1930s as fan magazines for fantasy and science fiction buffs. In the 70s zines were popular within the punk music scene, and in the 90s women’s rights were a popular theme. Over the last two decades the popularity of Zines has grown particularly among alternative thinking young people and there are hundreds of different Zines available today.
For a better description from someone who know much more about Zines than me, have a look at this article

I am always on the lookout for fun ‘real life’ writing experiences for my boys, so I was pretty excited when I discovered Zines. I think that publishing a Zine is a great project for children, adults or as a family.

To get my children inspired, the first thing I did was order about 6 Zines from Sticky Institute which is a Zine Distro (distribution centre). I just ordered mine off the website, but if you are in Melbourne, drop in to Sticky and check them out. I tried to select Zines that would be of interest to my boys – you need to be a little bit careful as some of the Zines would have content that is not suitable for children, but I’m sure the staff at Sticky would be happy to advise if you are not sure.
Here is a link to the Sticky Institute Website. There are other Zine Distros around Australia and you will find a list of these on the Sticky website.

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Our next step was to brainstorm ideas for topics that we could make a Zine about.

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I thought we should start by working on one Zine as a family, but Zac was pretty keen to make his own. We selected our topics, then another brainstorm generated ideas for stories and articles.
Z ac decided to make his Zine about Electronic Game reviews, and Axel and I decided ours would be about Minecraft Tips, Pets and Comics!

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After this we all selected a topic for our first article and got to work.
Hopefully we will have some finished products soon.

If your family get into making some Zines and you would like to sell them, you can send them to a Distro like Sticky where they will put them in their shop for sale. This is a great incentive for my boys and really helps to make this a real life writing experience.

Get creative and have fun with Zines!

All the best,
Sharee

So, this is me

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Believe it or not, I have only just discovered blogs! My friend Kathryn introduced me to them and now I am hooked. I think a blog is a bit like a magazine, lots of short little snippets of information to read that you can go into in more depth if it catches your interest, and of course all the great photos to be inspired by. Just the thing for us busy creative people.
Ok, so now it is time for me to finally start a blog of my own. I think this is something I will be quite good at as I have lots of ideas to share -if only I can keep up a writing schedule. I hope you will enjoy it.

So, I thought I should start with a little bit about me. My name is Sharee and I am 40 something. I have always lived in country South Australia, but our lives are heading down a different path now, as we begin a new life in the city of Brisbane. More about that later.

I have two main passions in my life. The first is homeschooling. My husband Greg and I have 4 beautiful children and I have homeschooled them all using a natural learning approach, with just a little bit of book work thrown in. My oldest son is 19 now and off at Uni, and my daughter at 17 will start Uni next year. That leaves my two youngest, Zac who will be 12 next week and Axel who is 8. I know there are a lot of homeschooling blogs out there with cute little tackers, but this one will have a bit of a different focus with the older children. We love the homeschooling lifestyle, and with our move to Brisbane, I really want to try and devote more of my time and energy to it.

My second passion is my art, and being creative. I am a real ‘Jill of all trades’ when it comes to craft – everything from jewellery making, glass beads, and mosaics to silk painting, knitting and cross stitch, you name it, I’ve probably done it. When I was a student I used to collect a magazine called Creative Hands, and I liked nothing better than pulling out my folder of these magazines and flicking through until I found a new thing to try. Now that I am older, I am trying to move away from the crafty stuff and to create some more unique artistic works. I am leaning towards Printmaking, Artist’s books, and Wearable art as my areas of expertise now (although I would still love to get my hands in some clay as well).
I have decided that in my new life in Brisbane art is going to be a priority for me. I really want to try to make it my job, programming some working hours into my day, and hopefully making a little bit of money to help keep the household budget ticking away. Stay tuned here to see how I go with that won’t you?

So that is what this blog is going to be about I guess. A lot of sharing of our homeschool activities and ideas and just our everyday life. A lot of art and creative stuff and hopefully the story of how I juggle a busy family life with becoming a professional artist. And thrown in with all that I think you will get a little bit of cooking, a little about our adventures exploring Brisbane, and probably a bit about my ongoing struggle to exercise and eat healthy too. I think writing this blog is going to help me be motivated to keep thinking of good ideas and to keep doing fun stuff with my kids. I hope you will join me in this creative journey we call life.
All the best, Sharee.

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