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April 29, 2008 at 9:02 am Leave a comment

War is not good for children and other living things

“It was just hell on earth. The guns never stopped. Shells never stopped, not hardly for a minute. There wasn’t a flat bit of earth anywhere. Craters everywhere. Craters cutting the lips of other craters” BBC Archive                                                              

Yesterday was ANZAC Day in this part of the world. Our war remembrance day  has become more and more popular over the last few years. It is clear that we are not forgetting.

As a history student, the story of the first world war shocked me. The incompetence of the generals. The incredible loss of life. The inhumane attitude towards the  suffering of the troops.  The ‘war fever’ leading up to 1918, and the persecution of those who chose not to fight.

“That whole wood was lined with machine guns from one end to the other. The company went over 230 strong and only 11 privates survived. This was ridiculous. It had never been planned at all” BBC Archive

On ANZAC Day, as we remember those who lost their lives in these terrible wars, I hope that we also remember that war is about suffering.  I hope, while we remember the sacrifice and gallantry of the ‘glorious dead’, that we don’t forget that war is not about glory, its about death. We must remember the mothers that lost sons, wives that losts husbands, children that lost fathers.

I hope while we stand quietly at dawn, rather than pride in our hearts we have sorrow. And a commitment to peace.

“Do they matter? Those dreams from the pit?…

You can drink and forget and be glad,

And people won’t say that you’re mad;

For they’ll know that you’ve fought for your country

And no one will worry a bit.”

                                              Siegfried Sassoon

 

 

 

April 26, 2008 at 2:07 am 1 comment

Food Porn MeMe

PlanningQueen who is the most organised mama in blogland, tagged me for a Food Porn Meme. 

Now, I am delighted to talk about food – I’m a real foodie … I love reading about it, I love shopping for it, I love cooking it, and of course, most of all I love eating it.

So this MeMe has been tonnes of fun.

1. What food do you consider the best “date” food? In other words, what meal or food item do you think is sexiest to eat in the company of someone you would like to look sexy around?


Pizza. Seriously – I know this sounds terribly banal … but I met my husband at 21 so all my dating experiences were in my poor student days. Pizza restaurants, where you can bring your own wine, and eat a large piece of pizza, with your hands, while sitting in a dark corner … in fact, that was my first date with Hubby too.  Red wine and gourmet pizza to me is very sexy.

2. What well-known person would you like to share a meal with—with or without clothing. (saying whether or not clothes are involved is optional).
With clothing … the Dalai Lama. I would feel incredibly honoured to meet this holy man. I always adore reading interviews with him … in fact I posted about my favourite one here.

But this is supposed to be a sexy meme … so I’m going to choose the very sexy, if completely fictional character of Alan Shore from Boston Legal. Its not so much that he is physically attractive – he isn’t – but so smart, so confident, so intense …

3. What does your perfect breakfast-in-bed look like? (Food AND the details, please. Candles? Music? Flowers? Hot tub? Dancing girls?
Waking up at Vida – an eco retreat in the bush and one of my favourite places in the whole world.  Hubby beside me … I know that’s cliched but I adore him. The Sunday papers, a seriously good latte, french toast served crispy with berries and maple syrup. That’s it – that would be serious luxury. Oh, what motherhood does to us.

4. What do you consider the best application of whipped cream to be?
Brandy Snaps. Or scones, freshly baked with home made strawberry jam. Or on top of yorkshire pudding with lashings of golden syrup. Or with chocolate brownie. Or on top of a pavlova.  I’m a bit of a sweet tooth  … so why would I waste whipped cream any other way????

5. Oh-God-No, Biff, the yacht is sinking! You are sent to the galley to retrieve the food. What luxury food items do you snatch first? The champagne? The caviar? Smoked Salmon? Truffles? Chocolate? Or something else? 
I can survive without champagne. I can survive without caviar. I can even survive without chocolate. But should you dare to deny me a cup of seriously strong coffee in the morning, then you are a brave, brave person. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Now it is my turn to tag 5 people (is it just me or is this a bit too much like a chain letter?). As with Planning Queen, I am not 100% sure on the protocol for tagging other bloggers, so if I cross the wrong lines please let me know! And if memes aren’t your thing, that’s cool too.

So …  I have tried to think of bloggers that I know love their food! I tag …  Highway Cottage, (who does amazing things with home grown veg) Anthromama (who I challenge to make scrapple sexy!), TheGoodWitch, (if she can pull herself away from Ravelry), Megan at ParentingStyle (because I haven’t heard from her lately) and Nikki at Satisfying Journey (who might not be able to make Gluten Free Crusts sexy).

April 24, 2008 at 9:13 am 6 comments

Slow down … you move too fast

Over the last three weeks, our playgroup has recently had a few sessions with a woman from the Steiner federation. It has been an amazing experience, but I have struggled to  write about it because it has affected me so personally.  

 

As a mother who rushes around at high speeds, speaks very quickly, spends hours on the internet, schedules activities in for every day, works part time, loves the company of others and gets extremely jittery at the thought of spending time alone …  a lot of what this woman had to say was very hard to hear.  

 

Of course, I am paraphrasing terribly, and I welcome comments from anyone that thinks I have gotten the wrong end of the Steiner stick!

 

We all know the way we speak to our children can be deeply harmful, but we often forget that it can be extremely helpful, and healing. Young children absorb everything they experience into their very being. In that sense, the way we speak to them actually  forms who they are.

 

By being fully present when we speak, by choosing our words consciously, by speaking slowly, calmly, peacefully we help our children develop fully. Beautiful words will have a very positive affect, just as ugly words will harm our children. 

 

Filling our homes with artificial voices – the television, the radio, recorded music – confuses the child and is no substitute for the living voice. It is only the living voice that can be the powerfully positive, healing force that we desire. Children need to hear their mother and father speaking to them, singing to them, telling them stories – and they need to hear this constantly.

 

Children are very sensitive to sense impressions and even a trip to the supermarket, with its bright lights, colours and noises, will be incredibly overwhelming.  It is important to give our children a rich home-life – and that means spending a lot of time at home, just pottering about quietly doing home-making activities.  Children won’t get bored doing this – they will love imitating their mother, playing with a few simple toys, running around the garden. It is the mothers that get bored.  Many mothers are ‘too much in the mind’ with a running commentary going through our heads, thinking about the next thing we need to do, giving off a busy, nervous energy.

 

She commented that when mothers live ‘in their heads’ and rush their children around over-filling them with sense impressions, the children too become manic, over-wraught, excitable.  Homes are filled with so many toys – these can be pared down to just a very very few quality toys that the child can love.

 

What she said has had a big impact on me. Initially –   I wanted to reject everything she  was saying. After all, we don’t watch TV, hardly go to the mall, our activities usually take place outdoors and close to nature. We might be busy, but I really thought that Munchkin likes going out, being busy as much as I do – and I would go crazy spending a day at home. I thought of women of my mothers generation, who suffered from terrible loneliness without the social support networks we have today.

 

But, as I thought about it, the truth of these teachings really hit me. Of course, adopting these teachings doesn’t mean we stop seeing other people. Or that we stop going out. But spending more time at home, not doing anything in particular has made a big difference. Munchkin thrives on this. And surprisingly, I’m really enjoying it too.

April 21, 2008 at 8:03 am 6 comments

Cheap at what cost

 

Its so easy to buy toddler clothes these days isn’t it? Just pop down to your local deparment store and you’ll find a ‘childrenswear’ section jammed packed with the latest fashion for tots.

The prices will be extremely reasonable, the colours will be exceptionally bright, and you’ll have the added bonus of a Barbie, Wiggle, or SpongeBob on every second item.

 Yuck yuck yuck.

I found myself wandering through a few large department stores at a mall the other day,  and came out extremely depressed.

To be fair, I’m a difficult customer to please. I have an obsession with natural fibres. I try to avoid anything made in China. I wont buy clothes with ‘logos’ ‘characters’ or ‘slogans’ – as Anthromama says “If I wanted to look at ads, I’d watch TV”.

So, that means that, with few exceptions, I can’t buy anything at the mall. The only thing I found that was made in New Zealand were some socks and tights made by Columbine – hooray for that.

I know I tend to preach, and I am sorry about that, but the abundance of poorly made, cheap as chips clothing breaks my tree-hugging-heart

 

 

Producing new clothing is incredibly wasteful of natural resources (do you know that it takes at least 2000 litres of water to produce a single cotton tee-shirt), and the sweatshop conditions in clothes factories are something none of us should be comfortable supporting.

As consumers, the power is in our wallets to create change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 19, 2008 at 9:44 am 5 comments

As life changes

My obsession with all things Steiner is causing a few rolled eyes here at Domestically Blissed. Hubby laughed out loud when I read him this excerpt from “Waldorf Education”

‘As mothers develop an understanding of and appreciation for the Waldorf School they being to bring home life in closer harmony with life in the school. The toys start to change. Plastic is out and natural materials are in. Suddenly there are woven baskets in the home filled with pine cones, nuts and stones. The child’s clothing also changes. “Loose” “layered, and “warm” are the watchwords as the child beings to wear more clothing tan ever before. Hats appear for young children thought-out the year and woolen undershirts as well. 

Building a Bridge to Waldorf Fathers – Jack Petrash.

April 18, 2008 at 12:33 am 3 comments

Sweet Pea

Hat

Fortunately, given my own talents in this area, My mother in law is an exceptional knitter. She whipped this pilot cap up while watching the rugby, using Sweet Pea’s cancer fundraising pattern.

 

It reminds me a little bit of WaldorfMama’s gorgeous Waldorf Pilot Caps. WaldorfMama wrote a beautiful post on how important knitted hats are for little ones –

 

I feel very strongly about keeping babies and children warm.  young children do not have a fully developed sense for temperature (their own or that around them) so they are dependent on us to dress them appropriately.  And since the majority of warmth leaves via the head, this means keeping their head covered.  Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education and it’s inherent philosophy, believed that one of the most critical gifts we can give a child is to ensure they have sufficient warmth by keeping their head covered…which ‘keeps the inner soul warm’

 

Sweet Pea’s designed this lovely pattern as a fundraiser when her 5 year old nephew was diagnosed with Leukamia. So, if you are looking for great cause and an excuse to do some knitting – head on over and pick up the pattern.

April 16, 2008 at 4:08 am 2 comments

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