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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for January, 2007

Roll Me Over

I haven’t posted much about Bilby. She’s been going great guns. A week ago, Paddington managed to teach her to poke out her tongue, a couple of days ago, she started learning to giggle. And today, she has started to roll over, from her front to her back:-)

Very exciting:-)

WBW 30 announced

It’s on at Winecast and the theme is close to home—New World Syrah/Shiraz. Right up our alley:-) So, February 7th we’ll be joining in!

This Week

Our plans for
Week 3, Block 1
Down at the Station’, ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
Bed in Summer’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
Rumpelstiltzkin’ from The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter (although, given we finished it in one week… I guess we may just retell it, and perhaps draw some pictures?)

Folksong: Go Get the Ax
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Classical/Roccoco)
Work: Piano Concerto 40
Artist: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Work: Hunters in the Snow
Art Activity: Painting
Cooking: Fruit Salad (Kebabs)


Week 2, Block 1
This week has been less productive. We’ve had a lot more ‘social’ learning (we’ve had to deal with a number of meltdowns), but less storytime. I’m not particularly stressed though, I didn’t think we’d aim for rigorous at the moment.

We continued to sing Go Get the Ax, time to work on the next couple of verses! We listened to the Mozart a couple of times, and looked at the painting, but less regularly. Sadly, I only remembered the playdough on Wednesday evening, too late to make it, so we didn’t get around to it:-( The fruit kebabs turned out much better, though, with a wider range of fruits. I still did some preparation (sliced the pineapple and rockmelon, and removed the skin), but he cut them into pieces as well as threading them on the skewers.

As for me, I’ve been a little better with sleep and water. I haven’t got to my reading or piano, but I have continued to help my parents de-clutter. I’ve done a little de-cluttering myself (and a lot more re-organisation), and I think I have my mum hooked on Freecycle (I’ve been freecycling things for her, and she’s amazed at all the stuff that has been going:-) )

Star Gazing

How is it I have never come across this before?

I’ve just downloaded it. It is mac friendly. It gave me a world map to select my location (I was expecting it to be US-centric). It even has a night-time mode, so you can take it outside and not disturb your night vision!

This will go wonderfully with the hammock!

In Praise of Hammocks

My parents are moving. After nearly 30 years, they’re moving to a smaller house (now that my brother and sister have finally left home). As a result, they’re throwing out stuff. The other day they had a garage sale. One of the things that my brother had put out to sell was a self-standing hammock I had given him years ago. It didn’t sell, so I claimed it.

Today I brought it home, and set it up.

Puggle and I sat out and had our afternoon drinks, and looked at the sky and trees. We had a fabulous time:-)

Easy as Pie:-)

This is a cute chart. I’m going to make more pies this year!

This Week

Our plans for
Week 2, Block 1
Boys and Girls Come Out to Play’, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
Farewell to the Farm’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
Cinderella’ from The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (although, given we finished it in one week… I guess we may just retell it, and perhaps draw some pictures?)

Folksong: Go Get the Ax
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Classical/Roccoco)
Work: Piano Concerto 20
Artist: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Work: Children’s Games
Art Activity: Playdough (I guess that means I’d better make some… or I could just do as the Headmistress suggests, and just use bread dough [fourth from the bottom of the post]… has anyone tried colouring bread interesting colours?)
Cooking: Fruit Salad (Kebabs) (again. My idea is that Puggle will become familiar with the task, and be able to do it somewhat independently. I plan to give him a ‘recipe’ for each thing, I may get to doing it before this Friday afternoon.)


Week 1, Block 1
We read and sang the poem and nursery rhymes each day.
We read The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Little Red Riding Hood over four days each. Mostly I narrated back to him what had happened the previous day(s), although Puggle did contribute some details. I’m expecting that will improve over the next couple of months. He would go very excitedly to get the books off the shelf for the reading and singing:-) I wasn’t sure how he’d go with the story from The Blue Fairy Book, because there are no pictures (we’re using an e-text), but he seems quite happy with it.

We’ve been singing Go Get the Ax and he seems to be really enjoying it! He often asks me to sing the “Grandpa’s workshop” song:-)
We’ve been listening to Mozart’s Piano Concerto 20. We mostly just dance to it, and then look at Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Children’s Games and talk about what we can find.

I didn’t do much for the craft activity this week, I’d planned on cutting out, and sure enough he did some… at the moment it’s more just a matter of directing his attention away from things (his mouth, the skipping rope, the table etc.).
Fruit Kebabs

We finished up the week by making Fruit Kebabs. I had forgotten that was on the plan when I did the shopping list, so we didn’t have the range of fruit I intended. As a result, I didn’t get the boy to cut the fruit, I did that and he just threaded it onto the skewers.

All up, it was a pretty good start. We didn’t get out and do a nature walk. I think I’ll try and go outside and draw something I find. I’ll take him with me. Even if we don’t get to walk and look, we’ll find something interesting to look at closely, and to talk about.

As for my resolutions…
I’m getting up a little more reliably in the morning, so we’re all getting off to a better start. But I’m not managing to get up earlier than everyone, nor going to bed more successfully (although I am getting earlier). I am pretty regularly drinking a litre of water, usually by lunchtime. Then the rest of the day it kind of falls by the wayside.

I have managed to do my reading on two days this week. I think that four days is achievable, just not necessarily before Puggle wakes up in the morning. I think I will need to use his nap time. Piano hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll get there!

De-cluttering… not so much. I got very excited by Calli‘s Want today, and was planning on doing it. But I spent the day at my parent’s garage sale helping them to get rid of stuff before they move, by the time I got home I felt as though I’d been deciding about my own stuff. And then it was time to get dinner… I’ll get onto it.

Thai Green Fish Curry

I have been meaning to increase the amount of fish in our diet, and also to experiment with green curries. So this evening I had a go. I couldn’t find a recipe that was quite right among our books (one of the things I like about the green curries I’ve had is the inclusion of vegetables) so I searched online. No easy answer there either. So I adapted a recipe from The Naked Chef‘s.

Thai Green Fish Curry based on The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver
Serves 4.

Thai Curry
500 grams white fish (I used Skippy), cut into pieces.
400 ml tin of coconut milk (I used coconut cream, because we had a couple of tins by mistake, that needed using up)
1 red capsicum
2 handfuls sugar snap peas
1 handful of chopped pistachio nuts (I forgot these in the end:-( )
Green curry Paste
6 spring onions, washed and trimmed
4-6 medium green chillies, deseeded (I used 2, and was happy with that)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped (it was probably about twice this)
1 large piece of dried galangal (I failed totally with this. We were looking for fresh and so I treated it the same, it should definitely have been soaked before use:-( )
1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds
freshly ground black pepper
a few kaffir lime leaves (we need to fertilise our tree, they were a little yellow)
2 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped (I didn’t bother chopping it particularly finely, it’s going to be blended anyway!)
2 handfuls basil, on stalks
2 handfuls coriander, on stalks
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 limes, zest and juice

Blend all the curry paste ingredients until you have a green paste. Put half in a bag or bowl with all the fish and allow to marinate for about half an hour (I left it while I chopped the capsicum and sugar snap peas).
Chop the capsicum into 2 centimetre squares, and trim and halve the peas.
Heat a wok, and add the fish in paste to it. Fry for a couple of minutes. Add the remainder of the marinade and the coconut milk. Bring to the boil for about 8 minutes. After about 4, add the capsicum and peas (I would leave the peas until later, another time).
Serve over brown rice, and sprinkle with nuts.

This was good, but not great. Definitely room for some experimentation with different versions of the paste.

Ridiculous Things I Heard Today

These are quite scary, but sadly, very believable.

From Drew

It’s gone:-)

The tree that is (and most of the decorations, they’re still in a box in the hall, where they’ll stay until the weekend. I always wind up finding decorations for a few days)! I finally realised it wasn’t going to happen in the evening, so I might as well get it done in daylight. Didn’t take too long in the end.

Now, all I have to do is to cover with Christmas wrap the box with the Christmas books in it. Hopefully then, I’ll be able to find them easily at the start of next December!


I’ve just seen a reference to Candlemas (2nd February) that says it’s one of two days where it is traditional to take down the Christmas tree… so we’re not too late!

I don’t think I’ll leave it that long though…

Protein for Breakfast

Puggle definitely has a much better day (and therefore, so do we all) when he has protein for breakfast. A soft boiled egg is a good choice—easy to do, quick to do, not very smelly/fatty first thing in the morning, no really messy clean up and it tastes good. But it’s a bit boring for every day!

Paddington suggested kippers. There’s always cold sausages. We could have serves of (home-made) baked beans for breakfast instead of having it as a dinner item. But I feel like I need more ideas. So, I’m after suggestions as to what else we could have.

(If you read this on the feed, please visit the blog and comment there? It means that the comments will be archived for longer than a week or so!)

Children’s Games

I realised this morning while looking at Children’s Games by Pieter Brueghel, that I have no idea what most of them are playing. We identified Hoops, Chasey, Leapfrog and Stilts. There’s something that looks like it could be Blind Man’s Buff, but they’re playing it with a stick (actually, there are a number of sticks waving around—not so surprising when I consider Puggle and sticks…) There’s a couple of children swinging on a beam. There are a few piggy back riders, and some sand play. But there are a number of clusters where they’re obviously doing something, but I can’t identify it (so far… I thought of more as I was listing them here).

(If you read this on the feed, could you possibly visit the blog and comment there? It means that the comments will be archived for longer than a week or so!)

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