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The Genial Hearth
I’ve just put the kettle on, join me for a cuppa and a chat.

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:-)

Bilby Babble

“Outside our house must be a beach! Because I keep on finding beach shells!”

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:-)

The Road to Gundagai

There’s sheet music and a collection of .mp3s here (although, it only seems to include the chorus… you can here the whole thing here and here.)

The Road To Gundagai
There’s a scene that lingers in my memory –
Of an old bush home and friends I long to see –
That’s why I am yearning
Just to be returning
Along the road to Gundagai –

There’s a track winding back
To an old-fashioned shack
Along the road to Gundagai –
Where the blue gums are growing
And the Murrumbidgee’s flowing
Beneath that sunny sky –
Where my daddy and mother
Are waiting for me
And the pals of my childhood
Once more I will see.
Then no more will I roam,
When I’m heading right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.

When I get back there I’ll be a kid again –
Oh! I’ll never have a thought of grief or pain –
Once more I’ll be playing
Where the gums are swaying
Along the road to Gundagai –

Disney Princess Recovery

A friend pointed out the Disney Princess Recovery blog. While I don’t think we have too many concerns currently with Bilby (certainly no ‘Rapunzel Syndrome’—see her sidebar, given Bilby’s current hairstyle), I have been finding it a very interesting read!

Tam Lin

You’ll find the sheet music, melody only here and the .mp3 here.

Tam Lin
O I forbid you, maidens a’
That wear gowd on your hair
To come or gae by Carterhaugh
For young Tam-lin is there.

There’s nane that gaes by Carterhaugh
But they leave him a wad;
Either their rings or green mantles
Or else their maidenhead.

Janet has kilted her green kirtle,
A little aboon her knee;
And she’s broded up her yellow hair
A little aboon her bree;
And she’s awa’ to Carterhaugh
As fast as she can hie.

When she cam to Carterhaugh
Tam-lin was at the well
And there she fand his steed standing
But away was himsel.

She had na’ pu’d a double rose
A rose but only tway,
Till up then started young Tam-a-lin,
Says, Lady, thou’s pu’ nae mae.

Why pu’s thou the rose, Janet
And breaks thou the wand?
Or why comes thou to Carterhaugh
Withoutten my command?

Carterhaugh it is my ain,
My daddie gave it me;
I’ll come and gang by Carterhaugh
And ask nae leave at thee.

Janet has kilted her green kirtle
A little aboon her knee,
And she has snooded her yellow hair,
A little aboon her bree,
And she is to her father’s ha
As fast as she can hie.

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the ba’
And out then cam the fair Janet,
Ance the flower amang them a’

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the chess,
And out then cam the fair Janet,
As green as onie glass.

The Marines’ Hymn

There’s a midi file and information here. There’s an .mp3 here, although it only has the first and second verses (and according to wikipedia, the last line of the first verse is wrong). There are many instrumental recordings with enough verses, but I haven’t found a vocal with all three. You can see sheet music here.

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli,
We will fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean.
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Our flag’s unfurl’d to ev’ry breeze
From dawn to setting sun
We have fought in ev’ry clime and place
Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far off northern lands,
And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job—
The United States Marines.

Here’s health to you and to our corps,
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life,
And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

Composer Study, Dorothea Term 2010

This term’s composer(s) are Edvard Grieg and Jean Sibelius.

I have made some playlists. Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 (weeks 1 and 2), Grieg’s other pieces and Sibelius’ Finlandia (weeks 3-9), and Sibelius’ Symphony 1 and 2—from which we’ll choose one (weeks 11-14).

There are child-sized biographies found at the Classics for Kids site (Grieg and Sibelius). There are podcasts (six minutes each) available covering Grieg, Peer Gynt (and associated worksheet), incidental music (including Peer Gynt), Scandanavian Composers (including both of them), and Halloween music (apparently includes Grieg, but I haven’t listened to it yet).

This is what I’ve found so far, but I’ll come back and add a couple more bits (I hope!) before the end of the term:-)

(Feel free to add any links you have in the comments!)


I just wanted to put in a plug for the AOCopywork list. If you’re doing copywork, and are reading any of the Ambleside Online book suggestions, you’ll find copywork already selected (there may still be a couple of books not done). (You will need to join to be able to access the copywork.) There are generally a couple of possible examples from each chapter (the examples are selected within fairly strict parametres… so if you’re reading it at a different level to the AO suggestion, it may not be as helpful… but if you are, they should be an appropriate length, and use appropriate grammar and vocabulary).
I joined a couple of years ago, and selected copywork for a couple of books (Swallows and Amazons, and Anne of Green Gables), thinking it was a way of contributing back to the homeschooling community who had already provided me with much food for thought:-) But until now, I haven’t used any… But Puggle has reached the stage where he’s got a grip on his letters, and is ready for something a bit more meaty—and we’ve just finished ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ (and he’s loved it!) which is one of the Year One suggestions:-) A perfect match:-)

Classics for Kids

This is one of those sites that keeps turning up in my reading. And I keep clicking over, meaning to explore…

Well, today I did! And they have Composer biographies! (Hitting the main points, but not too long for my little kids, not going into details I don’t want to explain yet!) And little podcasts (6 minutes) on composer related topics! Of course, the topics are not on our current composer, but I’ve subscribed, and eventually, we’ll end up with something useful:-) And in the meantime, we can listen out of order:-)

There’s more to see, but it’s definitely worth a visit:-)

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:-)

Six Years On

Six years ago this evening, I was having a fabulous dinner with friends. I felt a bit out of it, but figured it was tiredness. The next day, Puggle was born.

I can’t believe he’s about to be six!

It’s been an un-missable six years. Puggle is a source of great joy:-)

Now I have a (small) stack of presents, and a felt menhir on his birthday flag (I wasn’t going to attempt to do Asterix and Obelix in felt!)

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