The Bluestocking @ Home

Musings and Reflections


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Nurturing Rituals

Relishing and indulging in some cozy moments, and delving into one of my fall reads; these moments are not only an integral part of my self care, but of continual growth and brain food. Before I was a mom, and a homeschooling mom at that, I was a comparative literature major. And even now as a mom and homeschool mom, I am still a writer, a photographer, and a creative.

Years ago when I started my first blog, simply called The Bluestocking, it was because even after finishing my academic career, I still felt the yearning towards academic thought, having rich and deep conversations with people about literature, art, creativity, and also about the ideas and experiences. Later when I became a mom, not surprisingly, those desires didn’t dwindle, rather they grew. And for a season it was so hard to juggle all the things, but it never stopped me from carving out little moments here and there for my loves.

Later when I relaunched my blog, it felt like it was time for a slight revisiting and revisioning of what being a Bluestocking meant to me after kids, as a homeschool mom. The desires were the same but they now existed in a different framework. Most of my days are here at home. Which suites me just fine, because I am such a homebody! And so I write, photograph, create, cook, imagine, ponder, and dream here. And so I became The Bluestocking At Home.

I used to think that wasn’t enough. I used to think that I needed to make my mark somewhere physically outside these walls to be validated. But as it turns out, I don’t want to and I don’t think that I need to. Though that doesn’t mean that I don’t invite all kinds of good and worthy things into this sacred space. It doesn’t even mean that I won’t move into and through different spheres at different times in my life and in different seasons.

But making time to nurture and feed my mind and my spirit, to pursue my art, to hone the writing that I can release to the world, those things are all vital to the work that I do here with my children. The decision to homeschool wasn’t simply about schooling at home, but about this passion I have for seeing our entire lives as opportunities for growth and learning. Those moments aren’t solely defined by certain hours and years, spent in certain buildings, culminating in pieces of papers telling us who we are. Rather, the goal has always been to encourage each of us to see every day as an opportunity to ponder new ideas, be moved by beautiful art, discover new talents, and never lose our sense of wonder.

As a result, I’ve stopped seeing my pursuits of reading and art as extra moments of frivolous self care, but rather vital components and building blocks to helping foster a love of learning and chasing dreams in my own children. These pursuits keep me balanced and centred, and they ultimately enrich our lives as a whole. Making them a regular part of my life also combats feelings of discontent or doubts about vocation. I’m not stuffing my dreams deep down somewhere for “when the kids are grown”, rather I’m choosing to show my children that being a whole parent is possible. That you can love your kids and be a person too. In fact, that moms are very much people with dreams, goals, and ambitions.

And I realize that for those moms who work outside the home, this might be more pronounced and tangible. But for us stay at home, and stay at home, homeschooling moms, those lines can get a little blurry, making it all the more key to allow our kids to see that a mother is just as complex a being as anyone else they might meet.

And so I read, and I write. I run around with my camera and am forever scribbling in notebooks, coming up with crazy new ideas of things I’d like to try out and create.

What about you? How are you feeding your mind and spirit? What nurturing habits breathe life into your dreams?

Warmly,

Magdalena

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Halloween 2018|Part II|Hermione Granger

I know I say this every year but this girl of mine, she is fierce and brave, kind and smart as all get out! So I was thrilled when she asked to be Hermione Granger for Halloween this year. I think she nailed it … sass, bossiness, and spunk included!  I love her spirit, her confidence, and how comfortable she with who she is.

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Hope you all had a lovely Halloween!

Warmly,

Magdalena


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Halloween 2018|Part I|Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Happy Halloween! Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

My son and I had such a wonderful time with this costume this year.  Mr. Rogers was such a influential figure in my own childhood and I have nothing but fond memories of his programs.  My children have only had a taste, but my husband and I have both spent so much time talking about our fond memories of Mr. Rogers and finding old episodes to show our children that they know and appreciate who he was and what he represented as well.

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Last night, when very few people recognized his costume at a party that we attended, Yuri was little disappointed.  We came home and washed away any of those feeling by watching the deeply moving “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” documentary about Mr. Rogers.  Despite this being my second viewing, I bawled my eyes out again.  If you haven’t seen this phenomenal film, I emphatically encourage you to see it. It will move you and inspire you.  It will remind you of the power and simplicity of love, the far reaching effects of empathy, the simple act of kindness and how deeply they can affect a generation … and the generation after that and onward.

 

This boy of mine, he knows how to show empathy, patience and kindness with younger children, and has a heart of gold. If he’s going to emulate anyone, I can’t think of a better role model than the likes of Mr. Rogers. Watching him grow and change and become the wonderful young man that he is today is one of the greatest joys of my life.

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Stay tuned for our Halloween Part II with our sweet girl!

Warmly,

Magdalena


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Fall-ing Away

I’m finally layering in little touches of fall decor around the house, and taking the time to nurture my home and simultaneously a part of my heart again. It feels like it’s been a spell since I truly nurtured my home, but that can happen when your heart feels overwhelmed and overburdened, so I am both physically and emotionally embracing the gentle falling away of the old and a season of preparation and nurturing for the chapters that lay ahead.

I must be on the right track because even my loves are sensing the shift and are loving the return of the little touches around the home and in our daily rhythm that used to flow so naturally from me, but that seemed to be wilted for a time. And while I have berated myself and bemoaned the off feeling that I had for some time, they have never breathed a word. But I can see their excitement and their genuine pleasure at seeing the return and it makes me so happy.

Fall is a good time of year to let things go, and prepare the ground for something new. What are you letting go? What are you making room for? Is there anything that you are returning to that your heart has really missed? Or is it time for new pursuits all together?

Warmly and With Love,

Magdalena


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Dancing with Daffodils

With all the blooming happening out of doors, it seems the polite and neighbourly thing to do to invite Spring indoors as well!

Some glimpses of the daffodils and spring decor currently brightening things up inside our home!

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

The afternoon light pours into my dining room in the most beautiful ways! I love my kitchen and back patio in the mornings and my dining room in the afternoons. Always chasing the light, I suppose! And in the glow of the afternoon sun the daffodils really shine.

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She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,

She wore her greenest gown;

She turned to the south wind

And curtsied up and down.

She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbor:

“Winter is dead.

A.A. Milne

And yes, what can I say, I love lace and old fashioned linens and dark woods and gold gilded frames! Traditional yet eclectic probably describes my style best. But it makes me happy and feels cozy, and I love cozy best of all!

Happy Spring!

With love,

Magdalena


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Weekend Spring Brunch

Well hello there, March!! Goodness we are glad to see you!

Here in our neck of the woods, visions of spring are bursting everywhere these days! And we are hopeful that our “monsoon” season has passed!

With such beauty and warmth calling our names, and beckoning us to come out and soak it all in, it seemed that an outdoor spring brunch was called for!

It was truly a rare Saturday, where my husband and I were childless and commitment free for the morning and after running some errands we decided that the day called for a real brunch and some slowing down and savouring of the beauty of the day.

Some time ago we discovered a Gordon Ramsey recipe for scrambled eggs, which has since been deemed by the children to be the finest and most delicious way to enjoy a scrambled egg. In fact, on most mornings the request for Ramsey eggs is now par for the course! And of course, I am in full agreement! I’m already an egg lover but these Ramsey eggs have raised the bar!

We paired the eggs with a lovely smoked salmon and probably one of the most flavourful blue cheeses I’ve had in ages, a Kerrygold Cashel Blue. On the side some of my “famous” (at least in this house) Polish potato salad and strawberries. And of course, coffee … in the French Press naturally! I mean if you’re going to go for it, go for it!

So we savoured and talked and laughed and soaked in every minute. And it reminded me of how beautiful it is to watch one season give way to one another. How winter bows out to make way for spring and how much life there is in these simple transitions.

How much joy comes from the savouring of the little changes! The first blossoms and blooms spotted, the first day when windows can be flung open, the first spring walk, where closed toe shoes are optional! Just as in the fall, when we delight in the subtle ways that Autumn begins to paint her vibrant red and gold strokes across the landscape and when Winter blankets us with the glow and sparkle of her first snow, so all these small changes are the beautiful dance, that when savoured, allows us to experience change and growth and loss and release in such profoundly beautiful ways.

And it also reminded me of the Omar Khayyam quote that I love so dearly:

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”

I hope that if Spring hasn’t yet sprung where you are that you will be basking in the warmth and sunshine soon! And in the meantime, may we all savour the moment in front of us so that when the time comes we are able to make room for the next season with joy and grace and open arms!

With Love,

Magdalena


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Snow Day!

Snow Days, real honest to goodness snow days, with heaps of snow and air so cold you can see your breath, and most of the city shut down (perhaps even most of the State in our case) don’t happen here often.  So when they do, we celebrate them!  And take lots of photos.  In fact, when we weren’t playing outside ourselves, we were relishing and soaking in the photos of all of our friends and loved ones also playing in the snow around town and around Texas.  And indeed, in all the other parts of the South where snow comes knocking only occasionally and is thus met with shouts of rejoicing and the clamoring of children to throw on their coats and boots and hats as quickly as possible at the risk of missing their chance to build snowmen and throw snowballs.

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Snow in Texas has been on the wishlist of probably half the children I know for months and today a good number of them got their wish.  Our two munchkins were no exception!  The anticipation of the snow kept everyone awake way past any decent bedtime, so I let them sleep in and spent some time on my own quietly relishing the beauty of freshly fallen snow on a January morning.  It was absolutely what a snow loving, Texas dwelling Northerner needed today!

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And with this deep arctic chill that we seem to be caught in this year, for the first time that I can remember in my nearly thirteen years in Texas, the snow did not melt away by noon or end of day!  The mercury was decidedly set on not rising above freezing all day and it’s no exaggeration to say, baby it’s cold outside, with temperatures hovering at the 15F (-12C) mark!  Brrrr!!

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This snow day has now manifest into a second “snow day.”  Though without more snow accumulation, it is simply a chance for Texans to let the mess on the streets clear.  With weather events like this one coming rarely, we lack the proper infrastructure for clearing roads like they do in other parts of the country where snow and ice are dealt with swiftly and cold temperatures are no excuse for missing school or work.

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And maybe that’s why we love our snow days so much, because they allow us the room to pause, to play, to relish and soak in the beauty of it all while we can … because believe me by February we will all be plotting out our Spring gardens and no doubt,  back in flipflops and shorts.  Just kidding, there will likely be shorts as of the weekend, short sleeves at the very least!

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In the meantime, snuggle up friends, stay warm, drink hot chocolate or warm tea, eat warm soup or chili or chowder or stew, read good books, play games and cherish the moment!

Warmly,

Magdalena