Surf it!


Couchsurfing is a world of fun!!

This, friends, is geography, social studies, LOTE and (ahem!) socialization all in one glorious, rich, natural learner package. And it’s free. No expensive curriculum required. But you do need a.. ah.. couch.

If hospitality is your thing, it’s easy to set up a profile at  There is space to describe skills you have to share and things you’d like to learn.  Someone in your house learning Spanish? Mention it in the skill share space, and you could find yourself with a native speaker to practice with. Have a passion for music? Mention it, and play with musicians from around the world.

After writing a profile, you can either sit back and wait for people to ask to stay with you, or you can browse people who have posted requests to stay in your area.

Here is Max. He spent a long, long time learning all about biology.  He came to stay with us for three days; three very fun days of sharing our culture with a first time visitor to Australia. Did you know Germans don’t eat banana and walnut sandwiches? Or how they feel about the world wars?  We know things now about Germany that you won’t read on Wiki.


Here we are at the Daisy Hill conservation centre: Max is meeting his first koala.





With Juls and Daniel, two German musicians with lots of personality!

juls and daniel



While there ARE baddies out there, there are also a lot of interesting, gifted, generous people in the world.  This is a wonderful way to meet them, and to share a little of the Australian way of life with an international visitor.


Go on.. be daring! 😀



couch surfing



This Kind of Day.. .

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Which kind?

The deliciously girly kind!

There are deep, deep doings in the Bluestocking household, friends.   The Chicklette is having a graduation ball.  Not just any old graduation ball, but a period costume ball.

And what is extra, extra special?  We have wonderful people helping us!

Today we settled on a venue. We went to the nurture-my-need-for-pretty Tea Rooms and discussed Important Ball Details over coffee. We shopped for ball dresses.

Today, friends, was blissful!

bask copy

A Great Big Adventure


Hello Bloggy friends!

You’ll never guess where I’ve been, never!!

Not Scotland. 😀  (Or those poor chaps in the photo wouldn’t be nearly so sunburned… )

Do you give up?

I’ve been farm sitting.

Yes!  A  Very Brave Person left their farm in the hands of the (completely uninitiated and citified) Bluestocking household.

Here’s what we’ve been doing…

Loving Angus.  Isn’t he beautiful?  He’s a mere youngster yet, and we are all smitten.

Feeding the goats and sheep.  Why was Blossy feeding the goat in her pj’s?  Because it was FIVE am.  (Yawn!)

She just couldn’t wait.

Feeding Cows. Cows, friends, are Very Scary Characters.  I may have mentioned here before that I have uncomfortable feelings about cows.

Geese! I want one. Or maybe two.  Aren’t they pretty?  Heidi, though, (yes!  It was Heidi’s farm, but more on that later) said that perhaps something less noisy would suit our very close neighbours.  But… but… geese are so pretty!  And goslings are very, very special indeed.

And because she is such a thoughtful dear…… Seedlings!

No, we didn’t have to feed them, we planted them in Heidi’s vegetable garden.  😀

Doesn’t that sound delicious, Bloggy friends?  It was.  And there’s more.

We went to a Scottish music festival during our time at Heidi’s farm.  And a great bookstore (joy!).  But even more delightful than either of those was the opportunity of meeting up with a lady from the Aussie homeschool board that I have known on line for years.

I didn’t actually get to meet Heidi, but certainly kept in close communication with her over our stay, as farming is trickier than I thought.

Friends, I may have said it before once or twice, but.. I really, really do have the best bloggy friends in the whole world. 😉

Royal Spring Garden Party and Grand Ball



Hello Bloggy friends!

I’ve asserted over and over that I have the best bloggy friends in the world.  That’s indisputable. But I have mentioned that my IRL friends are among the sweetest God ever made?


Two of that number laboured tirelessly (and ceaselessly! and creatively!) for weeks to make this season’s ball spectacular.  Here is a sample of the day…


At 3pm guests arrived at Windermere Estate – five acres of the most beautiful gardens you can imagine, designed by a lady with an eye for the aesthetic.  Afternoon tea, introductions and the distribution of programs followed.


Of course, some poor little girls didn’t have much chance of afternoon tea.  They looked pretty, it was a beautiful garden, and their cousins were there.. so.. circumstances kind of begged me to drag them off for photos…

At 3:30pm the ladies and gentlemen divided company for a talk on etiquette.  We thereafter wore the social restraints of the era as well as the clothes.  😀

4pm found all in preparation for the Royal Tournament, and this involved a waltz. How those two things related is as much a mystery for me as for you, as I was driving my little people  home to Grandma’s and missed this part.  However I came back in time to catch part of the waltz, and I have to share one of my favourite photos of the day with you..

The composition is not ideal – it was shoot it where I was standing when I saw it or miss out, but I love the light, and the expression on the Chicklette’s face.

Next – The Royal Tournament.  See the squares on the ground in the photo above?  I can’t explain the rules of the game, but it was in part a game of Living Chess.  It involved a great deal of sword play and hilarity, the result of which was Mr BB being put to the sword (see below), and a young Knight winning the hand of the Chicklette, and the two of them being crowned as a result.

At 6pm it was time for high tea.  We sang the Selkirk grace in rounds, no less! (did I mention the MC of the evening was a conductor?)

As evening fell, it was.. freezing.  At this time of year one might expect to have been perishingly hot in formal evening wear. But it could easily have passed for August:  the wind was sufficiently gusty to blow over the marquees! Picnic blankets, spare jumpers, and rugs began to appear..

Have you ever read the Ukrainian folk tale, “The Mitten”?  I couldn’t help thinking of it when two girls huddled under a picnic blanket, and then they admitted another, and another, and another…

It was easier to bear the cold when the dancing began.


Supper was served at 9pm, followed by more dancing, and at midnight a Finale March, and then all gathered to sing a farewell anthem.


Friends, it was enormous fun.  Imagine having darling friends who would work so hard to produce such an evening for you.  I am blessed indeed.


So Much Beautiful


Bloggy friends!


I have things to tell you!  😀


I can’t help sharing this story, because, because.. because it’s been such a delightful week, and I know that God loves me, and the world is full of good and beautiful things, and better, good and lovely people.


Last week we attended a regency garden party, and that, friends, is serious girl fun:  hair curled in rags (more on that later), gloves, fan, reticule, lace and ribbons… and all with very dear friends.  What more could a girl ask for?

(Please pardon my lens flare. : P )


Such an event would be quite sufficient to satisfy our need for ‘pretty’ for some time.  However, Friday found us seated in a country tea room in particularly dainty surrounds. A long-established florist shop, the Laidley Florist has diversified.  What could be sweeter than morning tea surrounded by beautifully arranged roses, jonquils, and orchids, with soft classical music and collected items designed to please the eye of the history lover?

Here, I confess that I was in almost mortal dread at the thought of confessing to Mr BB what the outing for six amounted to.  There were no prices anywhere (always a bad sign when you are paying for six.. ) and my  apprehension increased when the owner attempted to steer the younger children, in what I thought was an act of mercy, away from the fancier confections, and toward the gingerbread and scones.

Little did she know that Blossy, when faced with a dessert cabinet, is not steered by mere gentle suggestion.  Here is what she chose:

(Again, apologies for the photo: this and the tea room picture are from my phone)

When we made our selection, took our seats, and began cake and coffee, my Mama, sweetie that she is, tried to secret a fifty dollar note across to me, and claim it was her treat.  After some back and forthing (have I ever mentioned my Mama is persistent?!) I thanked her, and mentally considered it would go aways toward softening the reckoning.

Friends, you’d never guess?  I have no idea whether the proprietress desired to treat us, or whether perhaps that the Tea Room is so reasonable because the florist side of the establishment is the primary focus, but either way the bill amounted to twenty-six dollars.  Yes! For six very delicious desserts, four hot chocolates, and two coffees.  Staggering, yes?  If you live anywhere around the Lockyer Valley region, go post-haste into Laidley and visit the new tea room.  🙂

Two such lovely outings in a seven-day period is enough to keep anyone happy.  And it did.  But today I was at a garage sale with my Mama and sister, and was merrily hunting through fine china (don’t you love garage sales!? I am not, no, not even a bit, going to derail this story by telling you about the Royal Dolton cups I purchased for a dollar each) when I got chatting with the lady who owned the cups, and the sweet little rose butter dish I had to have.

We were comparing notes on china, moved on to garden parties, came to the belated Queen’s birthday high tea she was holding that afternoon, found we were both Christian, both homeschoolers (though this dear lady has finished schooling her twelve {!} children) and before I knew it I was not merely invited, but warmly encouraged to return that afternoon and attend the high tea.  Just imagine!

I (bravely, because have I mentioned before that I am a chicken?) returned in the afternoon, and was welcomed much as one might a favourite niece, or in this case, a sister in Christ one feels an immediate sense of kinship with.  The table was laden with all manner of delicacies, and four tea pots with different varieties of tea, and the room was decorated beautifully.  We sampled the fare, had a quiz on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth (in which I felt I poorly represented homeschooling, dates being something I never can remember!) and some history shared, some scripture read, we toasted the queen, and went home.  😀

What a lot of fun.  I just had to share. 😀




The Echidna Has Landed


At least, it could have been an echidna.

Remember some time back my assertion that I have the best bloggy friends in the world?  Ah huh.  I do.

BUT, some of your number are as cheeky as monkeys.  You may remember Heidi?  (Are we there yet? 😀 )  She sent me a parcel in the mail.  Now, folks, I love to get parcels in the mail.  And Heidi knows that: yes, she does.

So to add to the enjoyment, that dear friend told me only that something was coming, then dribbled information by the nanometer.  Cheeky, yes?

I was told that my “something” weighs three kilos, and has hundreds of hard, pointy bits.  It had to be an echidna.  I won’t even mention the concerns of  my sweet bloggy friend, who, on confirming my sagacious guess, worried if my soon-to-be-homeschooled echidna would be socialized enough?  (Saucy baggage!!)

Would you, in a million years, have guessed that my “something” that weighs three kilos and has hundreds of hard, pointy bits, was a huge post pack brimming with straight-off-the-tree pecan nuts sent for the Chicklette’s pecan pie! 😀

Bloggy friends – sweet, funny, thoughtful and resourceful.   (And  cheeky 😛 )

Shiver Me Timbers!


The Chicklettes’s growing up.

Bloggy friends, folk warned me: they did!  They said to treasure the time while my children are little, because it is over so soon.  At the time, buried under mountains of washing, changing nappies, pureeing vegetables, and teaching ABC’s, it was hard not to look forward to when I’d see a little more independence.

Those same dear folk were just as likely to mutter dark sayings about, “If you think this stage is hard, wait until you have teenagers – then you’ll know what hard is!”  Which, I might add, is about as constructive and encouraging as those who share horror birth stories with you in the last week of your pregnancy.  (And what’s more, I so far maintain that it is not true.  Little children are hard work.  Big children are hard work.  Parenting is hard work!  But each stage has its joys. 🙂 )

What has been on my mind lately is how to make the most of the sunset of childhood for my eldest girl. Opportunities for memories I want her to have of childhood that are yet unfulfilled, need to happen in a twinkling.  🙂   I am a goal setting, list writing sort of character, and early on, aimed to create a firm sense of family, and to provide some of the experiences that I loved as a child. We’ve camped, explored creeks, been to the beach, holidayed on farms, walked the rain forests, held baby animals, planted edibles, been canoeing, read glorious books together, and had spontaneous adventures.  It’s been a lot of fun, and we are blessed to have  had family and friends who are  keen to share these experiences with the girls.

As I witness the beautiful thing that is dawning womanhood in my first born, I still long to cram in any last experience that childhood thrills to.  So… we went to the rock pools last weekend,  and this week we bought a couple of up-in-an-instant little tents.  We have a serious, heavy duty  monster one, but it makes me shudder to think of the effort to deal with it, particularly as it always seems to rain on the day we pack up and it has to be pulled out and dried at home – no mean feat.  And just as we have the new facilities for more spontaneous happenings, we find ourselves invited out this weekend for a bonfire and camp out.  Just the thing! 🙂

There is of course the obligatory stuff that needs to be accomplished before I launch her out in the world – education, domestic management, character: and all those things are important.  But it’s the delight in simple, natural things; the things that we no longer make time for when the cares and distractions of adulthood press in, those are what I want to do while I wring the last vestiges of opportunity from this period.

Here’s my list to accomplish in the next 12 months.  There are other activities I would like to do, but these I think are most likely to happen, and some have plans already in the making:

Two short camping trips


Vegetable garden.   Vegetable garden?  Yes, the Chicklette loves to grow things, and so far we have been reluctant to plough up the lawn (we have established trees all around the perimeter of the yard and only the very middle gets any sun) leaving her to garden only in pots.  But what’s a bit of lawn, yes?



Medieval fair and museum

Heritage festival

Period ball

At least one trip to visit our dear friends at Marigold Cottage

When I asked the Chicklette what she thought should be added to this list, her response was instantaneous: “Bake a pecan pie!”   (Insert bemused mother face here.)  She has not long had braces removed, but who would have thought that a two year deprivation of sweet, sticky things would still be so fresh in her mind?  Stay tuned for reports of our next adventures, and .. ah.. pecan pie.

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