How to Love…


I’ve had an idea! A cute one.  Want to see?


We had a family meeting, and I asked everyone to list the things that make them feel loved. My family are very tolerant of my goal-setting, list-making, live-on-purpose crazy ol’ ideas, so they got right down to it.

There were a few surprises in there, and I’m excited that we can display this little list and start consciously checking that we are all doing the things that make others in the family feel loved.

This is not the ACTUAL list, obviously, because I didn’t want a mutiny when I posted everyone’s private stuff on the internet.  But examples of the things I wrote include; being greeted at the door, having cups of tea made for me, being listened to, hearing “thanks” for things done for others, offers to carry things, and .. there’s a thing the Chicklette does when I’m really undone and beyond consolation. She melts dark chocolate and brings it to me in a bowl with a spoon and a mini spatula. I wrote this on the list of things that make me feel loved, and I’m thinking about going over it with one of those fluro highlighters..

I created the doc in Pages, but I’ve put it here as a Word doc as I’m guessing it will be more accessible. If you download it, you should be able to insert names instead of “Child one”, and fill in the proper list of what your people come up with. If you have boys, go up to  “edit” when your file is open, scroll to the bottom of the options, click “emoji and symbols” and choose something that excites them more than a pink flower 🙂 🐲🐳🍭🍕⚾️🎸🎯🎨🚜⚓️

Let me know if you try this with your crew 🙂



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

The Forbidden History of Terrible Taxes

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Here’s a dose of libertarian thought for the common man. Or woman. Or child.  AND it’s Australian (Hello Aussie homeschoolers!! Great resource here!)

If you go to  you can also watch The Forbidden History of Unpopular People: an engaging introduction to the value of free speech.  Now if THIS kind of stuff ever made it to the national curriculum, well… I’d eat my hat. 😛


Enjoy! 😀


P.S… There is, restless readers, a real blog post coming.  But this was too good to not post



Hairdos, History, and St Helena Island


Hello Bloggy friends!

I have much to tell you.  HEAPS to tell you.  But the worst of it is that when we have a lot of adventures, there is little time to blog about them.

Here’s a quick peek at this weekend’s activities..

Off to a ball Friday night…

A couple of hours sleep, and it was time for the Abbey Tournament!  If you haven’t been to a medieval fair….go!  There is jousting, sword fighting, birds of prey, Turkish oil wrestling (yes! 😛 ), and.. and… one of the joys of my life.. a furrier!  I thought that nothing in the world could be softer than the beaver pelt I became attached to last time we went.  But!  When dragging a bunch of friends there today to see why beaver fur is a great passion of mine, one of my friends had the sense to ask the lady stall holder if there is anything softer.

Oh.  Friends.  I want a chinchilla.  I want a warm, live one to love and stroke, and conversely I’d like a bundle of them to wear. 😀

And because history is irresistible fun for us..  we recently went to St Helena Island.  If you are studying Australian History and you live in SE Qld, this is a great excursion.  Truly, this deserves a post all its own, but you may all have finished homeschooling before I get to it.  Have a look at Brisbane Bay Tours.  Brendan (the proprietor)  is very friendly, will transport you to the island,  provide a guided tour and a yummy lunch, and take you back all happy and exhausted.

You’ll see prison ruins..

There were wallabies about the ruins.. cute!

There is also a museum.

And.. one of the extra fun activities was feeding the fish at the end of the jetty before going home. The water is crystal clear, and we saw a couple of stingrays on the walk back to the boat, and some days you can see sharks.

And the good news? Brendan will offer a discount to homeschooling groups/families if you book during the quieter midweek time.  Sweet? Yes! Oh, and I must say: wear comfy shoes for walking. And the kind of clothes that are sensible for getting on and off boats. Just saying…  😉

That’s it for now folks. 😀

Off the Shelf


Hello Bloggy friends!


You’d never, in a million years, guess what I’ve just come from doing.  But… more on that later.

I’ve lost myself in books this last month.

Under the Hawthorn Tree  is a book for children about the Irish potato famine.  


It was not outstanding by any means, though a reasonable and gentle introduction to the Irish plight.  The author cannily avoids alienating half of her perspective readership by giving the Catholic/Protestant issue the very mildest of winks in perhaps one or two sentences.


More informative, and no less readable despite being non-fiction, is Black Potatoes.


Included are accounts of family histories and news reporting of the time.  Generously illustrated, it gave plenty of information about the period, without sacrificing a surprisingly  homey,  story-telling feel.  Possibly the thing I liked best was that it kept us thinking and discussing for some time after finishing it.


Next, and purely for pleasure, though it would easily fit your history program if you are looking for something dashing to read about Edmund Ironside, Alfgar the Dane was no hardship, once you pass the first few pages.


I’ve also whipped through The Lantern Bearers, Dawn Wind, and Frontier Wolf by Rosemary Sutcliff.  Of course they were good.  They cover Rome’s abandonment of Britain, and her sneaky re-entry via religion.  Well worth reading!


And something surprisingly girly for me; no vikings, no sword play, no pirates, or wars…


My delightful friend, Mrs Fivepeas, bought this gorgeous book for me. It has the cutest ideas!  One of my favourites is a flower clock.  NOT one of those clocks of flowers with hands put in the middle to tell the time, but a spankingly clever idea – it lists flowers to plant that open and shut around the clock.  At any time of the day or night, you can tell what the hour is by what flowers are opening and closing. Isn’t that amazing?  Isn’t it more amazing that someone sat up all day and all night to … watch their flowers open and shut?  I was staggered, but impressed.  😀


And this brings me back to what I was doing just before writing to you.

I was shovelling manure.  (Oh! The Glamour!)

Yes, in my leopard print gumboots and a sundress, by floodlight, shovelling manure from the back of a ute, into …. my new vegetable garden!  I’ve been taking pictures as my garden progresses, and you know they’re coming with the story just as soon as it looks pretty enough to share (or even before, if I can’t wait 😛 ). I know you’ll be riveted.

We’re also heading off to another ball in two weeks time so I may inflict a bunch more pics of foofy girl stuff on you.  Will you cope?!


Hope you are all well, Bloggy friends, and enjoying the break if you take school hols!


Ahoy! It’s the HMB Endeavour


I swear, bloggy friends, it’s not just so I could have another post with pirate speak.  Truly!  The HMB Endeavour, a replica owned by the Maritime Museum, is in Brisbane.  If you live nearby RUN to see this before it moves on.  It’s that good.

If you don’t live anywhere near Brisbane, check the website to see if it will be at a port near you.  It’s recommended that you wear closed shoes – I had sandals on and survived, but there is some tricky climbing and the decent from the gangway is steep, so I grant that joggers or something more sturdy than sandals would have been better.  There are no prams or large bags allowed and children must be 90cm tall or over to be admitted.  If you take a camera bag or backpack, you may leave it in a locker and redeem it with a ticket (much the same as you would at the art gallery).

The staff are very friendly and offered to book us as a school group, which meant we could appoint a time to go through.  I recommend you go that route if you have small children, as the wait can be long if you go on a day when the schools are taking classes aboard.

The downloadable pdf self guided tour brochure is worth reading, even if you can’t make it to the ship.  Did you know the expression “Let the cat out of the bag” came from the cat of nine tails? It was kept in a baize bag and, obviously, removed when there was discipline to administer.  So too the expression “No room to swing a cat” came as below deck where the whip was kept was too cramped to apply it, and it had to be done above deck.  You can read these and other gems in the self guided tour brochure.

See how easily Blossy, who is 3, walks through to the Captain’s quarters?  Mr BB, all six-foot two inches of him,  folded up like a hanky to get through this space.  Most of the viewing of the lower deck requires stooping when moving between viewing areas.

The ship is set up to represent conditions during Cook’s voyage, and the rooms contain clothing, toiletries, books and weapons of the era.

If you are studying Australian history this year, this is a must see. If your children read historical fiction with a nautical flavour, this experience will lend flesh to the skeleton that is literary description.  Friends, it’s well worth a visit. 🙂

Just a little off topic..


Hello Bloggy friends 🙂

Hope you’re all well.

It’s a mixed bag today, a little bit of a stroll through the cluttered room that is my mind.

I’ve been reading.

John Buchan’s Castle Gay…..Yawn.  I was seriously disappointed in that one, despite being a John Buchan fan.

The Rebel, by Hester Burton.   A story of a restless English youth with utopian ideas, who finds himself on the wrong side of the French revolution.  I generally like Hester Burtons novels, and this was no exception, though in the words of the Chicklette, it’s hard work reading a story whose main character has a contrary world view to your own (the main character was an atheist).

Today I finished  Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris. (Which, incidentally, you can purchase a hard cover copy of from the Book Depository for less than you will pay for a soft cover with postage from Koorong).

I’m not sure what I think of it yet.

They sound like charming young men, and certainly their blog, Rebolution is worth a wander through.   I am undecided  whether or not the book would hold real worth for my young persons, being that they are not victims of popular culture, and we have (hopefully) instilled in the children our own views on this time of life.

Some of the content, along with free teaching resources, can be viewed/downloaded here.

My only inclination toward caution is that it may perpetuate that Pentecostal mantra, “God has amazing plans for your life”; and possibly the idea that if you are not off doing something amazing, you have somehow missed the boat.

But.. my hesitation; my much less forceful manner of reviewing than usual, is aiming to give the book the benefit of the doubt, despite that pep-talk kind of easy to read motivational flavour.

Why?  Well, it could be that I am still in outrage mode over an article I read this week, in which case I could be prone to judge everything more harshly than necessary.  (Not the John Buchan book – it deserves a very derisory glance!)

I will spare you the rant I have already inflicted on the good folk over at Aussie Homeschool, but here’s a taste of what rankled, from an article on the common mistakes of homeschoolers:

As persuaded as I am of the benefits of homeschooling, I have counseled many wives who have been given permission, by their husband, to homeschool their children, not to do it.

This, if I weren’t so prone to expressing my uncalled for views, would have left me speechless.  But, I’ll resist, I will resist revisiting the subject…

On a much lighter note, have you ever wondered what to do with silverbeet? (That’s chard, for the out of town readers 😉 )  We were given some lovely, fresh, lady-bird laden silverbeet from our farming friends, and I was feeling adventurous.  So… we had lasagne without the pasta.  Yes, it was silverbeet lasagne.  (If Mrs P is reading, I’m sorry to offend your Italian sensibilities! 😛 )

But, it was good.  The family unanimously declared they would eat it again happily, and it is a remarkably inoffensive way to eat so many greens.  If you are brave enough to try it, make all as usual, though with less liquid, and substitute the layers of pasta with layers of green.

On to fun stuff… I’ve been playing with my camera. 😀

And this weekend, I will (God willing) be attending a photography workshop with a very talented and generous soul whom I hope to learn much from, along with meeting a great group of local photographers.  This most serendipitous occasion is the same weekend as the lifeline book fair, which I remind my local readers of with joy.



want to see my new boots?

Don’t they look fun?

And that’s it, folks.  (Well, I could go on, but I’ll stop before this tossed salad becomes a regular dog’s breakfast 😉 )

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