Why Sophie is Glad I’m Her Mother & Other Dusty Week Stories

It’s been a busy, dusty week…

Our son Callum moved out of home a week ago.

“We’ll miss him,” I said as we watched his car roll off the driveway.

“Oh yes,” the girls agreed, “but there’s a good side to everything. We can have his old bedroom!”

So this week everyone sorted out their possessions, moved furniture and claimed new bedrooms. And in the process, a lot of dust was uncovered. This wouldn’t have been a big deal except for the fact all the girls are allergic to dust. So am I but I kept well out of the way. The girls had all the moving under control. Sometimes it’s good not to be needed.

This morning I took the girls shopping and bought them some new things for their rooms: quilt covers and soft mink blankets, and even a couple of rugs. They came home with grins on their faces. They stripped off all the old faded covers from their beds and made them up afresh with the new ones, and then stood back on their new brightly coloured rag rugs and grinned some more.

“Do you like your new rooms?” I asked.

Silly question: “Oh yes!”

I haven’t seen much of the girls since then. They’re still sitting in their rooms, looking around with big smiles on their faces. I haven’t seen my husband Andy either. He’s gone to the ‘resource recovery centre’ to get rid of bags and bags of rubbish. The girls did a lot of sorting out and pruning back before moving rooms.

I’ve been doing some pruning back too. I decided to cull our book collection. I wondered (just for a moment) if I was doing the right thing. Is there really such a thing as too many books? But then I threw caution to the wind, and started making huge piles of no-longer-wanted books. And in the process I found a few books I’d been wanting to read but had lost, such as The Burnt Stick. Oh this is such a heart breaking story. I know there’ll be a lump in my throat when I read it again. But sometimes lumps are worth it. I’m going to read it out loud to the girls… when we get a free moment.

Yes, there weren’t many free moments last week. It’s just as well, we didn’t have any ‘school work’ to do. I imagine if we’d had some of that to do, I’d be a dragon mother by now, yelling, “We’re behind schedule. It’s only the second week of term and you haven’t done half the things on my plan!”

My girls hate the words ‘school work: “School work sounds so boring. It sounds like something awful you have to do. Learning is very interesting. Why do people turn it into school work?”

Sophie isn’t interested in school work, but she is interested in website design, HTML codes and CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. (I just looked that up to see what those letters stand for!) She’s been doing a lot of research and experimenting. The other day when we were walking the dog (that’s a great time to chat) she said, “I’m so glad you’re my mother!”

“You are?” I replied, feeling all warm inside. “Why?”

“Because I don’t think there are many other mothers who’d let me set up an online shop.” 

(I wasn’t expecting this answer.) “I suppose not!” 

Yes, Sophie wants to have a blog design shop.

“Do you think it matters I’m only 13? Maybe no one will want to buy anything off me because they’ll think I’m too young to design anything good.”

“Just because you’re a child doesn’t mean you don’t know a lot. It doesn’t mean you can’t be good at something.”

It’s true. Contrary to what most people might believe children are very talented. Many of them know much more about some things than adults do.

So if you’re looking for a new header or blog button or blog background or even a whole new blog look, watch out! The very capable Techno Maid will be opening an online shop very soon. (She’ll also have some freebies!)

By the way, if you’d like to learn how to code, you could take a look at Codecademy. They have some excellent free lessons.

Now when we do get some free time, Gemma-Rose and I are going to make some notebooks using the covers of some of our discarded hard back books. We might upcycle some of the books into journals. Here’s a Bind a Book-Make a Journal Pinterest board full of ideas, just in case you’d like to make some books too.

I haven’t told you what the older girls have been doing: “Mum, we’ve learnt how to build a castle!”
“You have?”

“Yes, we watched a series called Secrets of a Castle. It’s the same people as the farm series. You put the link in the Evernote planning notebook.”

It seems my unplanning idea is working. My children are browsing my Evernote notebook of ideas. Electronic strewing works.

Well, it’s about time I got to work. I need to make my bedroom as clean and tidy as the girls’ rooms. I have some pruning back to do, some bags to fill, some dust to uncover, some sneezes to deal with… I could be gone quite some time…

So how was your week? Did you discover anything interesting? And what do you think? Can we ever have too many books? 

The Angels of Abbey Creek

Thank you Patrice for reviewing my children’s novel, The Angels of Abbey Creek.

“…This reads like an updated 1950s Catholic story book and it will greatly appeal to those searching for a wholesome read-aloud for the whole family. Children will enjoy learning a bit about life in Australia in the process and parents, especially mothers, will relate to the challenges of raising a family. Things sometimes go wrong and there are some truly laugh out loud funny moments, but things always work out for the good in the end. This is a fun book, set in the present day, but reminiscent of a bygone era…”

The rest of the review can be found on Amazon.

And I can also be found on my Stories of an Unschooling Family Facebook page, YoutubePodbean and iTunes!


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  1. Reply

    I love it when we go through 'purges' and get stuff out of the house. Everything feels fresher and brighter! That Secrets of the Castles looks absolutely fascinating. I really enjoyed this post!

    1. Reply


      You are so right about the house feeling fresher and brighter after we've done a bit of culling! I want to go through the whole house and get rid of more stuff. There is only one problem: Bags and boxes of unwanted things tend to pile up by our front door waiting for someone to take them into town to either the charity shop or the resource centre. I keep tripping over everything and it looks so messy!

      I'm so glad you enjoyed reading my post. I had fun writing it. (It was a change from all the recent deep and serious posts.) I like to read your own review posts. It's good to look back on our week and reflect on the highlights. Thank you so much for your welcome comment!

    2. Reply


      Another thought… Talking of castles, have you read 'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith? Maybe it's the kind of book you would enjoy. (Basing that opinion on the reviews you've written on your blog!)

    3. Reply

      Hi Sue, I have read I Capture the Castle and really enjoyed. I think I would have liked more when I was younger though, but I did like it very much. They made a pretty good movie out of it too, in the not too distant pass.

    4. Reply


      I remember a book I read after you recommended it on your blog. It was called Bab: a Sub-Deb. It was very funny. I Capture the Castle reminded me of Bab but my memory might be bad, and I suppose the two books might have nothing in common, except for the fact I enjoyed both of them!

      I might see if I can find a copy of the Castle movie. It sounds like you enjoyed it.

  2. Reply

    Sue, have you come across instructions on turning hardcover books into purses? That's on my list of things to do. And, now that I checked the bind-a-book page your mentioned, I want to try doing that, too. I've already tried making paper. Once was enough for me. 🙂

    1. Reply


      No, I have never heard about making purses out of hardbacked books. I am now intrigued by this thought. I will have to do some googling!

      I made paper once too. It turned out okay and I meant to make some more but I haven't got around to trying again. I bought a book with loads of handmade paper recipes but never used it. Perhaps I should make some paper and then bind it together into a book using one of my hard covers. Or maybe I should tell Gemma-Rose how to do it and get her to do it for me! She seems to be more capable than me! I wonder what went wrong with your paper making that put you off making any more.

    2. Reply

      My papermaking experience was long ago. I was satisfied with the result and excited that I actually made paper. It was just an activity that didn't interest me enough to do again. I do that a lot with activities, cooking, trying out foods, and such. I'm curious to see if I can do it or like it. So far, so good. 🙂

    3. Reply


      I like trying new things too! Today Gemma-Rose and I tried notebook making. Our first book turned out okay though I think we could do better next time, now we know what we are doing. I think this is probably one activity I wouldn't mind doing again. Perhaps I should make some homemade paper and then bind it into a book. Then again, maybe not. That sounds time consuming. Perhaps Gemma-Rose would like to do that instead of me. I have a few blog posts I'd like to write instead!

    • Wendy
    • February 11, 2015

    Ha! We are mid way through Secrets of the Castle! We love it! We'd love it more if we hadn't lost the disc!!

    Time for more cleaning and purging around here, I suppose. We culled about 1000 books last summer, so, yes, I think there can be too many books. My definition of "too many:" when they over flow your book cases and you can't find the books you want! I have discovered that I can't handle more than 3000 books or so in the house, and still be able to find what I need. Also, 3000 is plenty for the library books to hide in… ;P

    1. Reply


      If you can't find your disc of Secrets of the Castle, you can find the episodes on Youtube. We are still watching the Edwardian Farm series but the castle one is next on our viewing list. I can't wait to watch it!

      Oh yes, we've had the same problem as you: so many books we can't find the ones we want to read! 3000 books? That sounds like plenty to me!

    2. Reply


      My kids are the same when it comes to library books. They come home with towering stacks of books regardless of the fact there's heaps of books on our shelves!

      I'm so sorry you are all unwell. Yes, stay home, snuggle up and watch some interesting videos. Sounds good. I'll pray you all get better very soon. xx

      • Wendy
      • February 12, 2015

      You'd think so, but watching my kids at the library, they look like they must be book starved!

      Thanks for the You Tube tip, I may try that. I have a friend who gives me discs of all the BBC documentaries he thinks we might find interesting. I'm missing the castle one and several more I'm really interested to watch. We have a bad cold and fever going through, so maybe I'll have time to sort through wherever all the discs are going. Then we can snuggle up with large mugs of tea and watch videos. 🙂

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