Thoughts on Being Home

We all find ourselves at home, due to the need for social isolation right now. For me as a homeschooler, it’s not that different than usual, with the exception of no play dates and extra classes, but it’s still bizarre to not even be able to invite people into my home. Especially since I’m the kind of person who meets someone new almost every time I go out, and who loves to have potlucks. Even my wedding was a potluck, so everyone could come!

So I’ve been thinking about what it really means to be home. Here’s a few things to ponder as we all adjust:

Is our home merely a parking lot–a place we leave our car between activities, or is it a destination in itself?

Is our home merely a hotel, a place we rest before we go off to live during the day, or is it a place we are truly alive, and most able to be ourselves?

Each person is a universe unto themselves. How much we have to explore!

When you can’t go farther, go deeper. During this period of physical limitations, let yourself grow on the inside.

The plants lay hidden under the snow. And the farmer, the owner of the land, observed with satisfaction: ‘Now they are growing on the inside.’

I thought of you: of your forced inactivity…

Tell me: are you too growing ‘on the inside’? St Josemaria, The Way, 294

While it is strange to not be able to go out, do we realize how lucky we are to have homes to be in, unlike so many refugees around the world? Let’s all pray for each other in these difficult times.

If home is where the heart is…how healthy is your heart right now? What can you do to make it better? For a great and timely read, try Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home.

Home is where our children learn to love…can you learn to love being home with them, at least for now?

Children have such a beautiful way of seeing the world. Being home is a chance to re-enter the magic of childhood with them.

“Oh, look, here’s a big bee just tumbled out of an apple blossom. Just think what a lovely place to live–in an apple blossom! Fancy going to sleep in it when the wind was rocking it. If I wasn’t a human girl, I think I’d like to be a bee and live among the flowers.” Anne of Green Gables

How we can extend the warmth of our home to others when we can’t visit with them? A phone call just to check in, a text, meeting on FaceTime or Zoom, a little card or letter, a surprise parcel, a chat over the fence with a neighbour…these little acts of love make everyone happier. My generous eldest nephew really took the cake when he sent my kids a Nintendo Switch to brighten their days at home. Their old Wii had conked out, and this was, in this time of crisis, actually a solvable problem. Hurrah for those kinds!

Are we open to receiving help and love from others, and letting them be the hero for the day? The other day my younger kids made a surprise breakfast with Earl Grey Tea, my favourite.

Love to you all our there, and despite the struggles, may your homes be places of love and laughter.

Sunning the Moon Belly

  

after a morning of spelling 
nursery rhymes
and writing practice
I take a moment’s break by myself
to sit on our garden bench in the sun

a tiny homeschool hiatus 
to sit quietly enough to hear 
the birds chirping and twittering
over the background hum
of city busses and summery lawnmowers
on this warm October morning

sun is supposed to be good
for this third trimester liver thing 
that has crept up on me again
so I expose my round belly
to glow like strange moon
blue veins faintly showing
in the bright sun

a small alien planet 
with the occasional surface ripple 
as the life within stretches and grows
just x-filish enough
to make me grin

The Glories of Butter and Sugar

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This morning my 8 year old woke up before everyone else and whispered enthusiastically: ” Mummy, let’s make muffins while it’s still quiet!” I was so happy she woke up eager to start the day together, and that I didn’t have to go commando mode and rush her off to school. I’m loving the freedom of summer, and the fact that it won’t be taken away in a few weeks, because we have decided she is going to be homeschooling with her younger sister, instead of returning to school. I get the best parts of her again…her eagerness, helpfulness and joy, instead of her exhausted moodiness after a long day away.

We had wanted to bake the day before but were out of too many things, and would have had to substitute almost everything but flour and lemon in the recipe. I’m all for ground flax egg replacer, almond milk instead of cow’s milk, apple sauce instead of oil, brown sugar instead of white, etc, but we were missing even our replacements.

So while my two oldest girls went on an outing to a horse ranch with friends, the three little ones and I went shopping. For once we bought all the stuff actually in the recipe…lovely butter, creamy milk, nice brown eggs. We even used white sugar instead of granulated because friends had given us a big bag of it. Almost a sin in my hippie herbal veggie family… 😉

The result, lovely fluffy muffins that were proclaimed: “The best ever! Just like ones from a restaurant!” And this even with sneaking in a little less sugar and half whole grain with bran and ground flax flour with the white…can’t totally deny my background! We also squeezed in half the lemon juice of the lemon we grated for the peel, and left out the lemon preserve filling. It would likely be super yummy, but would risk being perceived as an actual fruit by my two picky food purists…

Here’s my quick and easy way to share the recipe with you:

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We made a double batch with some plain lemon mini-muffins for my girls who say, “Mmmm, that so plain!” and mean it as a compliment, and some mini-lemon blueberry loaves for the rest of us.

So here’s three cheers to our glorious friends butter and white sugar…and while they might not visit us that often, it’s pretty fun when they do!

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Attack of the Evil Dishwasher!

So I think my dishwasher is haunted….after a busy morning of homeschooling (and ignoring the dishes) the kids and I were trying to get the kitchen cleaned up before my friend Coco came over. One was passing dishes to me to load the dishwasher, others were wiping the counter or moving about kitchen chairs (toddler helping). Anyway, as I held my squirmy baby and tried to load dishes into the open washer, the machine suddenly turned on and starting spinning and squirting hot water all over the kitchen, spraying us all. After several load exclamations, and running to put baby in his bed out of the spray, I closed the evil thing and stopped the impromptu shower. 20140612-173238-63158833.jpg Is that what it takes for me to mop the floor?! That my appliances come alive!? Ok, ok, I take the hint universe…I wiped off the soaking wet table and floor, and left the kitchen shinier. I’d give my evil dishwasher a time out for misbehaving, but sadly that wouldn’t help me any… 20140612-173524-63324646.jpg