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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

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Location: Jonesborough, Tennessee, United States

I was born and raised in the far north of Fairbanks Alaska where the moose trample your garden, northern lights dance and darkness rules the winter. I adore raspberries, tea, body painting, lazy nights watching movies and drinking wine, hiking, gardening, beekeeping, writing, creating art and traveling. I live with my husband Keith (the brilliant human behind Keith Dixon Studios) and the five children we brought into our relationship. My current career is in makeup artistry/body painting where I get to meet interesting people and paint diverse faces and bodies.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Out of My Mind

As if you didn't already know that right? ;)

Actually, it's the name of my imaginary band, utilizing the latest cool meme I saw at both Kelli and Mary's blogs. I really have no skills (or programs) for doing this one very well, but I did what I could.

Here's the meme, you design the cover of your band's album using these links:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/ The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. You then take the pic and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your pic.





My Band? Out of My Mind, with it's new release "Perfection is God's business".

I love that the image was a BEE! Getting my beehives started this spring has been a focus around here. Too funny. They are perfection in it's finest form though. Oh yes.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas in no particular order...


It's hard enough to get pics up here these days, so I'm not going to put them in chronological order or anything organized like that. Sierra loves capturing the essence of life in pictures, so she immortalized Christmas 2007 with a few shots of the tree, stockings and various decorations. The above is our useless "fireplace" which is really a glorified candle holder. I plan to install a woodstove someday if we decide to stay in this house long term.




Then there's the glorious mess of wrapping paper and gifts and squeals of delight.

Three tired teens.....



Sometimes the boxes are a bit stubborn and Dad needs to help finagle a nerf gun out of it's container.



Then there's the bread. Ah, the bread. I personally can't imagine baking without my stoneware pans. When I finally get my Nutrimill grain mill, the bread will even be more wholesome than it is now. I love baking a fresh loaf of bread with the from-the-farm buttermilk, eggs and butter (though the chickens aren't laying right now, so organic store bought will have to do).





On Christmas eve we rolled sushi with our good friend Mary, who lives just minutes away.


Jalen enjoys the making more than the eating. Everyone decided this would be our new tradition...sushi on Christmas eve.

There was a lot of gaming this season. Mary bought the kids a new version of the old "Life" game and they had a ball playing it, complete with same sex marriages. Damn liberals.;)




Our good friend's Rachel, Jake and Alice left a Christmas gift when they visited the week before. It was two gingerbread kits that the kids had a ball decorating.


It was a free-for-all that ended with sticky chairs, candy strewn, happy faces and two adorable gingerbread creations that didn't last the week. But that's another story.


How can we write about the holidays without mentioning two other family members? Our adorable cats who entertain, snuggle and decorate our house. Or undecorate it in some cases....Sephira discovered how to climb the Christmas tree and I've got two smashed vases to show for their delightful antics.



Having cats is a lot like raising kids. Rather than expecting them to not follow their natural inclinations, you just try to build an environment that accomodates their needs. Let's just say they remind us that we need to put the butter away when we're done, rather than leave it out on the counter.

Speaking of butter, the house was a chilly 62 degrees this morning (the basement was probably around 57 when I woke up. Thank goodness for down comforters) so the butter was a bit on the hard side.:) It sure tasted good with homemade bread from yesterday and mountain honey collected from hives just up the road.

The best part about the second day of 2008?? It's SNOWING! Yep, we finally got a decent snow and Jalen started his day all bundled up trying to sled. There wasn't enough first thing this morning, but it has kept falling as we drank tea, fed the birds and surfed the net. Sierra and Jalen just bundled up to go sled, as there is finally enough to make a decent ride down the back hill. The cardinals look amazingly bright today, perched on the feeders against the white background of clouds and snow.

I love this time of year....dreaming of plants unfurling from the earth, purchasing seeds and planning for spring. This dormant and cold time of year is a time of dreaming, of resting, of staying close to home and sipping hot drinks.

If you're as confused as I am about where 2007 is, don't ask me because I can't find it.:) It was just here, I swear it was. Maybe I left it with all those unfinished plans somewhere.....

Off to look just one more time.


Merry winter everyone! Hope your holidays were beautiful, warm and full of connections.