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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for Domestic Life

Geography: Format

First Monday: Location. (I’ve found a world map I’ll use, and just set him to find the country in the atlas, and identify it on the map)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language.
First Thursday: Animals.
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing)
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People.
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion)
Second Friday: Art/Craft. (if there’s a related ‘My Family Feast’ episode, we’ll watch it)
Second Saturday: Food.


Target for Hats!

I’m currently gearing up for the new school year… that’s pretty much occupying all my computer related time… But I’m hoping next week to return to more regular blogging—I miss it!

But, just because I had the same issue last year, it’s Target for hats (because I’m trying to avoid excessive branding, and I want hats with decent brims). But hats bought, socks bought, that’s all I’m doing for a schuletute this year:-)


It’s that time of year.
Time to start thinking about your books for the new school year, and for Christmas.
Two years ago, I discovered Book Depository—just after I’d ordered my books for the new year.
Last year, I discovered Booko—just after I’d done my book order for the year (although, given they didn’t include, it wouldn’t have been as useful as it is now!)
I wonder what I’ll discover after I’ve done my orders this year?:-)

But Booko… what’s so good about it?

First of all, it’s Australian, so everything is in $A.
Secondly, they don’t actually sell books, they’re an aggregator. You put in the book you want, and it will find lots of places that sell it (all the big online places, but also Dymocks, Angus and Robertson, Big W, and some of the smaller online stores, Readings, Glee, Mosaic.)
Thirdly, it lists it’s availability in order of price—including shipping costs!
Fourthly, if you are looking for more than one book, you can put them all in your cart, and it will tell you the best place to buy the whole lot… still taking shipping into account!

And you can set up multiple carts, and make them public or not (so you can use them as wishlists…)

So, how do I use it?

I’m in the middle of doing my orders. I’ve made most of the decisions, but that this stage have only ordered the Anzac Day books (I figured the same ones were appropriate for Remembrance Day, so I ordered them for that). As I found books (either using name or ISBN, depending on whether I wanted a particular edition or not, usually though, I work on finding the edition I want first), I added them to a cart. Mostly, the best buy was seeming to be from (as I’d expected), but when I started finding a number that were better from BetterWorld Books, I made a new cart (named appropriately, so I wouldn’t get confused!), and added them to that. I figure with the number I’m ordering, I’m happy to split it over two or three places.
Because the Anzac Day books are all Australian or New Zealand titles, they were unavailable from any of the big online stores. So I set up a cart for those (I didn’t give it a shop specific name though, because I wasn’t sure where I’d be ordering them).
Some of them ended up on multiple lists, because I had already added them to one when I realised it was worth making a new list. So it did mean I needed to be careful to go back and double check that I only had each book once!

You do then need to do another step of going to the specific sites and ordering the books. (If you only have one book in your cart, clicking on the shop link generally takes you to that book in that shop, so you just need to click order… but if you have multiple books it takes you to the homepage for the shop, and you need to go through and order each book separately. If you have a couple of tabs though, you can have booko in one, and the shop in the other and just click on each book in turn in booko which usually gives you the ISBN so you can search in the shop for it and press order. It is a little more work, but given how much it can save you, well worth it!)

(It’s also in beta for DVDs, although I haven’t found that quite as successful yet. The equivalent of ISBNs aren’t as widely used, so it’s harder to identify precisely what you’re after.)

My Inspiration!

The Virtual Quilting Bee is getting closer to the end! I’m nearly the last to send my fabric!sept2010

I finally had it all packaged up in preparation for sending out, when after sealing all the envelopes, I realised I hadn’t actually included any information about why I chose it:-)

I used to do bellydancing. During that time, I fell in love with the Moorish aesthetic found in places like the Alhambra, and the wrought iron work of some of the room dividers (I was also teaching metalwork at the time… so the work involved was really obvious!), and henna.

The two fabrics remind me of those images. The brown one particularly calls to mind henna designs, as well as Alhambran arches. The floral is reminiscent of some of the room dividers (sadly, I can’t find any images of the ones that particularly struck me!)

(Not that you need feel obliged to use this information! But given I was attracted to them for a particular reason, I did want to share:-) )

How To Vote

For those who haven’t seen it elsewhere:-) I found this site really useful when preparing to vote in the upcoming Federal election.

It allows you to view the preferences parties have selected, or make your own personalised How-To-Vote card to take along with you.

Even better, it has links to each party’s website and their wikipedia page (or whatever page can be found for those not in a party). In WA, they covered every group, with the exception of one ungrouped candidate. Took a while to go through each of the links, but it’s a great resource for checking out all those little or similar named parties, to be sure you’re voting for!

Choco-Hoto Pots

A number of years ago now, Paddington and I had finished watching whatever we were watching, and as we switched off the TV, we caught siight of Nigella Lawson on Oprah… making some dessert. We detoured a bit, and kept watching. It looked fabulous, so we then searched online until we found this, which seemed to be the right recipe. We decided pretty quickly, that the quantity was excessive. Every time we made it, people extolled its virtues—but could only stomach about half (I think one person in the first half dozen times managed to finish a whole serve:-) ). Since then, we’ve halved the quantity, and made it go further:-)

I haven’t made it in an age, but I took them tonight to our (homeschooling) ‘Mum’s Coffee’ (our monthly “professional development”:-) ). We did dinner, so I volunteered for dessert, so I could do these again:-)

Choco-Hoto Pots by Nigella Lawson
Serving Size: 4

butter, for ramekins
3/4 cup chocolate chips, dark
113 grams butter, unsalted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar, caster
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips, white

Place baking sheet in an oven preheated to 200°C. Butter four 2⁄3-cup ramekins and set aside.
Using a microwave oven or double boiler, melt together the semisweet chocolate and the butter. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar and flour. Add cooled chocolate mixture, and mix until blended. Fold in white chocolate chips.
Divide mixture evenly among ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake until tops are shiny and cracked and chocolate beneath is hot and gooey, about 20 minutes. (12 minutes for smaller serves.) Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve, reminding children (and adults) that the ramekins and chocolate are hot.

Notes: A half quantity, divided into 4/5 is actually a workable serving.

Hit With a Revelation!

Puggle was sad last night, when he realised he didn’t know how to play ‘From the shores of Montezuma’ (The Marines’ Hymn) on the piano, one of our folksongs from last term. It proved very popular (well, after Grandad sang it:-) ).

This morning, I was looking for sheet music to simplify the process:-) (He’s playing around with the piano… he’s worked out how to play a variety of his recorder songs on it, but only looking at the right hand:-) ) My ear is not great, and I’d rather he had a good example to keep coming back to:-) I did my search, and what did I find (or rather, be reminded of)?

The composer was Jacques Offenbach. My kids love their Offenbach:-) We listened to a number of his pieces a couple of years ago (including the Can-Can:-) ), and they were a real hit. And I can guarantee that if any of his pieces come on the radio, my kids will dance in their seats (even though they haven’t heard who it is:-) )

It’s no wonder the song was so popular:-)

Taking Over the World

Puggle has had a plan for a while. He intends (with his friends, the oldest of whom is 8) to re-build the Roman Empire (he was very taken with our studies of Rome last year, Story of the World is wonderful:-) ).

Tonight, I asked him what he’d do when he had the Empire re-built. He told me, “Keep the Barbarians out, obviously… Of course, it might be rather hard, because it’s quite small.”

He then decided that it might be more sensible to take over the whole world. “But then people might try to kill me. I may need to ponder some more on this.”

(He’s also very taken with Asterix. He was asking earlier whether Julia Gillard would be carried around on a shield like Chief Vitalstatistix. When we said we didn’t really think so, he suggested Kevin Rudd probably would have… He seemed kind of disappointed that we didn’t think that was very likely either:-) )

ETA. Paddington has just told me the reason he intends to re-build the Roman Empire is so that Susan Wise Bauer [the author of the series] will write more books:-)

Parmesan Biscuits

A bit late for D, and no photos… but here they are:-)

A few years ago I did an afternoon tea course, and one of the recipes was this. It’s blissfully easy, is frozen as part of the process, and is unbelievably good (I don’t think I’ve ever made them without someone asking for the recipe:-) )

You need three ingredients. Parmesan cheese, butter and plain flour. You work on equal quantities by weight (I usually do 500 grams of each… because I try to always have some in the freezer).
Start by grating the parmesan directly into the food processor. Add the butter and plain flour. Pulse until it just comes together a bit. Lay out a piece of gladwrap, put some of the mixture on it, and form a sausage (the diameter will be the size of your biscuits). Fold the gladwrap over the sausage, and roll tightly. Hold the ends of the wrap and spin the sausage to sort of seal the ends. When you’ve done this to all the dough, place in the freezer.
When you want some biscuits, slice off as many as you need, lay on a tray and bake at 190˚C for 10 to 15 minutes. They should be golden brown, and they’ll smell great:-)
For variety, you can roll the sausage in chopped rosemary, cracked black pepper, or cayenne pepper.
I’ve included a couple of rolls of these along with a couple of similar rolls of sweet biscuits (I’ve made similar sausages of my usual biscuit recipes) as a baby shower gift. It means you can have a mixed plate of freshly cooked biscuits within 15 minutes of guests arriving:-) Delicious:-)

Singing Updated

I’ve just gone through the Songs We Sing page, and added in the last few (8? 9?) months worth of songs:-( That was a little overdue!

I’ve also retconned the list. We didn’t do Battle of the Boyne, because I could find nothing to help me learn it! So I’ve replaced it with The British Grenadiers (which is along a similar line, and a tune we already know!) I had in mind it was one of the Ambleside songs, so I was keen not to swap it out, but I was mistaken:-)

Paper Dolls

The new topic we’re doing for French is clothing. So I thought it would be a fun idea to find paper dolls for the kids to dress. Ideally, I wanted some they could colour themselves. I found I was rather overwhelmed with options! Eventually though, I found this collection which seemed to work:-) I collected them together on a couple of sheets, and we gave them to the kids.

They loved them! We were quite surprised at just how much they did:-) (I knew Puggle was looking forward to working with them, because we recently started reading Little House in the Big Woods, and in the chapter we read just recently, Ma Ingalls had made paper dolls for Laura and Mary. And Bilby too, just because of the doll aspect, I think.) The bigger kids kept working with them for most of the rest of the afternoon, and Puggle got them out again as soon as we got home:-) All together, they were a great success. I plan to print out some more blanks for them, just to have around:-)


A friend mentioned recently that she and her children were going to the regular Monday preschoolers’ session at Environment House, were we interested in joining them…

This morning was the time, and it was delightful! It was a really relaxed session, just a few families (and it turned out no big problem that we were a little late, they’d started, but we were able to just join in, because it was so informal).

We started by making seedballs out of clay. There were a selection of seeds to include. Some of the little ones had difficulty in rolling the balls, but they got to play with clay, so they were happy:-) Then some garlic chives were pulled up to be potted on. First of all though, the kids were shown how to get the seeds out of their dried flowers. They then potted them up. So we came away with garlic chives in a pot, and a collection of seed balls of a variety of types (and sizes:-) ) Puggle also got to play in the worm farm, and pull out the manure to spread on the garden (“Mama, do youknow what manure means?”)

We followed the session with a wander through the garden and a browse through their shelves (there’s a shop inside the house). There are about 5 well established fruit trees already on the site, and they’re adding a number more, espaliered at one end of the garden. There’s a massive compost heap down the back, and 4 or 5 keyhole garden beds. The guy was really great with the kids, encouraging them to smell, then taste the leaves of the various (edible) plants to identify them. They also got to eat some peas—and then I couldn’t resist getting some pea seeds:-) They got to eat lots of mandarins, and got shown how to choose a ripe pomegranate from the tree (most timely:-) Although, it will be quite a while before Puggle’s birthday tree is that big!)

It was a wonderful morning, and most inspiring:-) They obviously have a range of activities, as they were encouraging us to come back every week:-) That hour of the morning, that far from home is probably not do-able each week, but we’ll definitely go back again! And I’d love to check out some of their weekend sessions as well:-)

Geography: France

First Monday: Location. (I’ve found a world map I’ll use, and just set him to find the country in the atlas, and identify it on the map)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language (I’m not sure what we’ll do here, because we’re already doing French every week).
First Thursday: Famous People (we’ll read from Claude Monet, A Picture Book of Louis Braille, Louis Braille.
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing and ‘culture’) Frére Jacques, Boules, Citron Presse, Croque Monsieur. The Marseillaise
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Animals.
Second Wednesday: Language (Once again, not sure what we’ll do here).
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion) More Boules:-)
Second Friday: Art/Craft. We’ll probably try painting in the style of one of the French schools.
Second Saturday: Food (will possibly be shifted around a bit as there’s a party in the way:-) ).

I’ll update the books once we work out which ones have actually been useful.

Anzac Day

For a file folder swap, I’ve done up a collection of Anzac Day activities and information. I thought I might as well share my links here so that other people can make use of it:-)

Most of this is aimed at younger children. And it’s basically from an Australian perspective.

For starters, there’s a great (young kids) introduction. It covers the Anzac Connection, War, (with a detour to a re-telling of Simpson and his Donkey), the Defence Forces and Anzac Day.
(I need to include some information about books… still to come. In the meantime, there’s a useful looking post here!)

You might want to explore flags. Firstly, a bit about the Parts of a Flag, then Australian and New Zealand flags to colour, and a little about flag protocol.

Next, words and music are a fairly important feature of Anzac Day.

First up, the texts of ‘In Flanders Fields’, ‘Ode of Remembrance’ (where we get “They shall not grow old”) and ‘Recessional’ (source of “Lest we forget”… which is often sung to the tune of Eternal Father, Strong to Save). These may be useful for copywork or memorisation (or just so that they’re known for Anzac services).

There’s the lyrics to some of the songs I associate with Anzac Day. Two Little Boys, God Bless Australia, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, I Was Only Nineteen, and Mothers, Daughters, Wives.

Of course, the cornet/trumpet calls are a key feature. The most important is The Last Post (music here), (although, if you have smaller children who might want to learn to play things, Taps might be a easier choice! It is used locally, although not in the military.) We commonly refer to Reveille (as mentioned yesterday, be sure it’s the Commonwealth version, here it starts at 1:20! Music at the same link as above). But we usually hear Rouse, because it’s shorter (here it starts at 1:30, once again, music at the same link). This page which contains audio files of The Last Post, Reveille (Commonwealth version) and Rouse. (The same friend that pointed me at that also linked to this page, which has US bugle calls! How cool! There’s one for school! And meals! And mail! Not really Anzac Day… but interesting all the same—and I’d like to be able to find it again!)

There’s instructions on how to make a bugle, and how to play it. (And if you want to add some science, try this video explanation of how to make your brass instrument:-) )

I’ve made a playlist of all (or almost all) the music I included.

For the smaller kids, some activities that might be of interest include a dot-to-dot soldier, a numbered dot-to-dot soldier, a maze (helping Simpson and his donkey find their way to the medical tent), some poppies, a Digger’s Rising Sun (I enlarged it, to fill a page), a WW1 Digger and nurse, making (or colouring) a wreath, and instructions to make tissue paper flowers.
(You can also find some online activities.)

Finally, I included some activities for slightly older children. There’s some teacher’s notes for Memorial. There’s a range of activities here (they’re probably mostly for high school aged kids). Some that seemed appropriate for primary (maybe?) aged kids, include Investigating the Spirit of Anzac and Their Spirit, Our History. There’s also a list of suggested activities here, for a range of primary ages.

Reveille or Rousse

I’ve been assembling a collection of ANZAC Day resources, and discovered a number of things. I wanted to note here, that what we (in Commonwealth countries) know as Reveille is not the same as folks in the US… But then again, what we know as Reveille, might actually be Rouse. You can check it out by comparing what you’re listening to, to the music here!

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