Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hands-On Activities!

Dylan's Rainbow Sponged Handprint

We were inspired a few weeks ago to take down our old display things from our 'school' board and replace them with art, writing and projects that fill our wall with spring time!  Firstly we got rid of our Nativity poster...we thought it about time since is April!  I began to muse about what we could do as a big project...I wanted a bright, colouful artwork; one that everyone could have a 'hand-in' making!...Then it struck me that I had seen a tutorial idea for a giant rainbow made from cardstock hands!

Helping Hands

We assembled all our coloured cardstock and began drawing around everyones hands.  Brians handprints are the colours at the back of the rainbow; as his hands are largest, next are mine and Amy's, then Dylans little hands prints are the red ones at the front!  Although I had some help in the beginning, it took a rather long time to cut all the handprints out!  Finally we had enough 'hands' to construct our rainbow.  Everone was thrilled with the results!  And as a very funny girl said "Its great Mammy, that we did a family project that we all had a hand in making!"  Haha!

Our Colourful Family Rainbow!

The next hands-on project this week was re-planting our tomato seedlings into individual pots.  The day Brian had planned to do them, it was raining incessently, so he decided to do them indoors!  I didn't mind too much as  I thought it would be a fun activity for Dylan, who was planned to be the 'helper'.


Daddy had him sat upon sheets of newspaper and had our little man fill up the new individual pots with handfuls of compost.  Of course our little guy morphed into a 'dig dig' (digger) and his small, but industrious hands went in a out that bag of compost with mechanical precision even making a 'beep beep' reversing sound when pulling his hand out of the bag!  He is a hoot!  After ten minutes or so he got a little bored of Daddys job and decided to make a compost pile on the floor and smush it down into the know just for fun!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our First Needle-Felting Project!

I have been so eager to try needle-felting out and learn a new skill!  Brian and Amy had enquired about needle-felting supplies at a needlecraft store here in Ireland recently; they were going to get me a small kit to try, as a gift for Mothers day...the store owner did not know what needle-felting was!  So I began searching for an online supplier of small kits for Amy and I to try...I ended back at our old reliable; A Toy Garden.  We ordered a little white bunny kit, they were too cute to resist!

Our Corriedale Wool

A little over a week later and they arrived along with a bumper pack of kite paper, as we had run out!  I was raring to go and over-excited as usual...Amy was reserved and preferred to wait for a rainy day!  The following day after Dylan went down for his afternoon nap; Amy and I took out the supplies and read through the instructions carefully.  And we began...

Amy Felting...She Managed Not To Prick Her Fingers...Unlike Me!

At first they (our bunnies) looked kind of odd, but with each additional step completed they began to take shape and look more like we had hoped.  Amy got quite cross when doing the ears as "One was bigger than the other" and "This one is 'pouffier' than that one"...hmmm.  I suggested that she go feed the chickens and put them in the coop for the night and to cool off whilst she was there; so off she went.  Dylan in the meantime had woken and had gone out with Brian to do 'the rounds' on the farm, so I pottered around the kitchen until Amy returned.  A much happier young lady returned to me a quarter hour later!  Phew!  We began to felt once more, although five minutes in Amy's needle point snapped off!  So we had to finish our bunnies one at a time, as we then only had one needle...which wasn't too much of a problem.  Both of us could not help but sing, as we were felting...and what beautiful, melodious song did we sing, I hear you ask?...Why the 'Bunny Song' of course from Veggie Tales - Rack, Shack and Benny!  Lol!  I finshed up the facial features on Amy's bunny as she was finding that part a little tricky and I did also...but I think they turned out very well...much better than either of us had expected!  Not five minutes had passed when Amy asked me what we should make next!  I was thrilled that she has found an interest in a needlecraft.  We had such a wonderful time of togetherness, creating, learning and laughing together. 

Our Lovely White Fluffy Bunnies!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What A Week!

Our Tomato Seedlings Growing Tall And Strong

We are now upon the end of what has been a very trying week.  For the majority of this week I have been struggling with a jaw strain and resulting headache.  After four days of misery I finally realised what I had been doing to cause the problem...once I had realised this and subsequently stoppped doing it; the pain in my head subsided!  The following day I visited my acupuncturist who agreed that it was indeed a jaw strain and the muscles were still spasmed.  My lovely doctor firstly gave me acupuncture within my jaw muscles, before she continued with my usual treatment.  It was quite uncomfortable at first as my muscles were so tense already, but once she had removed the needles fifteen minutes (she did not wish to leave the needles in my jaw for the whole session) later I felt an immediate slackening of the muscles!  Relief washed over me...and guilt! 

 For four awful days, I had been quite cranky and cross at times with the children, mostly when their noise level rose beyond human tolerance and my headache worsened!  I have since apologised to them for my behavior and asked them to forgive me.  We have since spent the last two days just enjoying each others company again; and allowing the children to have unbridled fun and to make noise!  Oh how I missed the wonderful majestic notes of the piano filling our home! 

 This morning, I was indulged by my wonderful Husband, who let me have extra time in bed, to finish reading 'Jane Eyre', whilst he got breakfast for the children; he even brought a mug of tea to my bedside! Wow, I was very impressed!  Once I was up the children had a wonderful day, helping and playing with Brian and I.  Dylan was out of doors most of the morning, helping Daddy with the farm and such.  Amy and I worked inside the house, de-cluttering, re-organising and cleaning and tidying. We managed to get caught up on most of my household chores, that had not been completed mid-week.  After lunchtime, Dylan went for his lunchtime nap, Brian had a fifteen minute snooze before returning to his outdoor work, whilst Amy and I worked on our first needle-felting project together; we were making white bunnies!  We spent a wonderful time together; I hope to post about our project this week. 

I hope you all had a blessed and productive week!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Papermaking in Thomastown!

Decorating With: Wool, Rayon, Saffron And Oregano

Last Tuesday Amy, Dylan and I were invited to a 'paper-making' workshop in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.  The workshop was organised by some of our homeschooling friends and they had invited a Steiner teacher, to come along, assist and demonstrate to the children how to make handmade paper.  The workshop was being held in a very large function room next to Thomastown library.  Boy was it cold in there...fortunately I had been warned beforehand and we had all worn several layers of warm clothing!  Most of the homeschoolers within our region of Ireland had been meeting there for many weeks over the winter, to allow the children to do craft and simply play together...I had not yet managed to get there, mainly due to being 'busy' and unorganised!

What a wonderful time was had by all;  Amy had taken her roller blades, as had lots of the other children.  There was a large sports hall available just off-side of the room we where in, where the children could rollerblade, skateboard and generally play together!  Some children had brought musical instruments, and could often be seen wandering the room playing violin or sitting in the sports hall playing the electric guitar!  The Steiner teacher started firstly by explaining to the children the process of making paper, and then they began to start the process; each having turns at shredding the paper for the 'pulp'.  The teacher was pleasant to us parents but I thought she came across as rather cranky at times with the children. 

All Of Amy's Handcrafted Paper

Once the children had made their paper and were waiting for it to dry, they all headed in the direction of the sports hall for fun times together!  Dylan and I had the opportunity to catch up with some of the Mama's that I knew and meet lots of new parents too!  We enjoyed a yummy packed lunch that we had brought...although I brought my tea in a flask and it did (as tea tends to do when carried in a flask) taste really yucky!  We had brought some: cottage cheese, carrot sticks, mackerel fish and fruit juice.  

Once the childrens first papers had dried, they got a chance to make another type of paper using dried herbs and dyed rayon to decorate it!  The teacher instructed them on how to do this and then she dried them very quickly with the use of a fan heater!  We were having so much fun that we did not realise that the day had slipped away on us and we had been there for about five hours!  Once we were all ready to go I packed up my worn out kiddo's and drove home...poor Dylan (who had missed his afternoon nap) was asleep before we had even left Thomastown!  All in all we had a great day, we learned lots about how to make our own paper; talked to other parents, met new seasoned homeschoolers and generally had a fun time! 

Amy's Write Up And Display Of Her Papermaking Workshop
(write up is missing due to printer malfunction!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Little Rest

You may have noticed that I have been absent from the blogging world over the last few days (I logged on last night to read a few of your posts though).  At present it seems as though I either have a neck strain, jaw strain or virus that is causing a constant moderate headache with constant tension in my jaw!  Not pleasant; and as with any headache, noise has become the enemy!  Painkillers help, but do not seem to be able to get rid of the headache altogether.  I am trying very hard to be patient and kind to the children...though I have to admit that I seem to be constantly telling them to "Be Quiet!".

Tomorrow I have an acupuncture appointment; which I am hoping may be able to help me.  If not then I may just have to schedule a doctors appointment; I would much prefer not to do that as (1) It costs €50 per visit and (2) think of all those sick people in the waiting room, coughing and spluttering all over the place...its enough to make anyone really ill! Lol!

So I hope that within a few days I will be back to full health!  In the meantime I will do whatever the medics advise me, and I will try and rest as much as possible.  I actually had a lovely rest this afternoon; I went to bed as soon as Dylan went down for his nap and I read a few articles of the lastest Above Rubies magazine and then I slept for a whole hour!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Homemade Granola


10 Cups Porridge Oats
1 Cup Wheatgerm
1/2 Cup Milled Flaxseed
2 Cups Shredded Coconut
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Chopped Nuts
1 Cup Dried Fruit (craisins add lovely colour!)
1/2 - 1 Cup Walnut or Coconut Oil
1/2 - 1 Cup Maple Syrup
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients together in the order given, in a large roasting pan.  Spread mixture out evenly, once it is mixed well.  Toast at 275 fahrenheit/135 centigrade for thirty minutes stirring occasionally.  Once toasted, leave the delicious Granola to sit for another thirty minutes to cool thoroughly before transferring to a airtight conatiner. 

This breakfast is so nutritious and delicious that it has become a firm family favourite since we first tried it out several months ago!  I usually get one or both of my children to help prepare it, as it is so easy to make!  As you can see our little guy loves to stir it with his hands (lots of it ends up on the floor) and he is quite good at making some of the fruit disappear also!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patricks Day!

Top Of The Morning To You!

Today here in Ireland we celebrated 'St.Patricks Day', the day we remember our patron saint, who most notably brought Christianity to our nation.

Our morning started rather slowly with us all rising at around 9am!, we had of course been awake for some time but we sat in bed eating chocolates, drinking tea, talking, playing and laughing!  Amy had no official 'school' for today, although she did music practice and watched a David Attenborough DVD;  I also had her clean her bedroom which was rather untidy!    I then dusted and hoovered (vacuumed) all upstairs, being 'assisted' by a busy two year old, who kept insisting "Mee's hewlp".   We had lunch and I laid Dylan down for his afternoon nap and Brian stayed home while I went to Tesco to get groceries for dinner.

Later in the afternoon, I cleaned and picked up around the house and prepared dinner for ourselves and my parents and brother.  I cooked the one and only true Irish dinnner; Bacon and Cabbage!  Now don't be mistaken in thinking that, bacon is bacon rashers or that there is simply only those two things on the menu!  Let me elaborate...firstly bacon is what a pale ham (pork) fillet is called here in Ireland and to cook it, it is simply boiled until cooked then sliced to serve.  Secondly, the cabbage (usually Savoy variety, but today we had White) is sliced and boiled until cooked in salted water.  Lastly a great big helping of mashed potatoes;  peeled, boiled potatoes and mashed with lashings of cream (naughty!), butter (naughty again!) and salt (Oh my!), we actually had some sauteed spring onions mixed in also today.  Then serve them all together with extra butter and english mustard as condiments!  I would also like to add that we don't usually use cream to make up our mashed potatoes, we usually use milk, but today being a special occasion I thought we would have something extra special.

We had a nice relaxing time after dinner, were we talked whilst Amy played piano.  My parents left for home shortly after and Amy and I cleared up the dinner plates.  My lovely Hubby put our bouncing bundle of boy energy to bed so I could get finished with my chores.  All in all we had a lovely relaxed but productive day!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona
(Happy Saint Patricks Day)

A Lewd Affair At Tesco - The Outcome

A few weeks ago I posted the following articles A Lewd Affair At Tesco and A Lewd Affair At Tesco -Update.  As you will know from reading both these posts is that I have been in regular contact with my local Tesco store to have the pornographic magazine moved to a different area of the store to avoid exposing these materials to children.

I am very pleased to announce that I have just received a call from the store manager who has confirmed to me that the pornographic materials have been moved!  Though he did point out that they have not yet received authorisation to make this a nationwide change, so they just went ahead and amended their own this space!

I thank the Lord for putting this issue on my heart and for often prompting me about it, until I finally did something!  I have been so encouraged by this outcome, that I would urge you all, to speak out, if something is morally wrong.  We must challenge our modern society and work together to awaken desensitized morals!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Sweet Mothers Day Gifts

A Thoughtful Card And A Lovely Potted Plant

My Mothers Day Breakfast:
A 'Double Yolker' From Amy's Hens
And Tea In One Of My Beautiful New Tea Mug Set!

Sweet Smelling Florals

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mothers Day

Mothers Day in our location of the world is today!  What a wonderful day to celebrate our Mothers, other Mothers, Mothers-in-Law, our Grandmothers and also for praising the Lord, who made me a Mother!

Oh, thank you Lord,
For making me a Mother,
For blessing me with beautiful children,
For guiding me as I train and nurture them,
I embrace my calling Lord,
In Jesus' name. AMEN

My Mother 

Who fed me from her gentle breast,
And hushed me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses pressed?
My Mother.

When sleep forshook my open eye,
Who was it sung sweet lullaby,
And rocked me that I should not cry?
My Mother.

When pains and sickness made my cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
My Mother.

Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the part to make me well?
My Mother.

Who taught my infant lips to pray,
To love God's Holy Word and day,
And walk in wisdom's pleasant way?
My Mother.

 - Jane Taylor

Where did you come from, Baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.
What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.
Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.
What makes your forehead so smooth and so high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.
What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.
Whence that three-corner'd smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.
Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke and it came out to hear.
Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.
Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs wings.
How did they all come just to be you?
God thought of me, and so I grew.
God thought of you, and so I am here.

 - George MacDonald

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Playful Silks

Multicoloured, Buttery Soft, Wool Roving

'Superboy' Creating With Lego's

A few weeks ago I visited The Forest Room, where I learned about a wonderful play material called Playsilks!  I was very impressed by their bright colours and simplicity.  I may have mentioned this before about other products (lol) but we were unable to find a supplier of playsilks within the whole of Europe!  I'm sure I've said that before...right?

Colourful, Creative, Lego's

'Swooshing' With Playsilks...
And Yes He Does Have His Daddy's Boots On!

I finally ordered a set of beautiful, brightly coloured silks from A Toy Garden and also some 'Kite Paper' for making 'Waldorf Window Stars'  The very same day I had also purchased Wool Roving from a shop at inspired by Childhood Magic.  They arrived so fast; which was great as I had been chomping at the bit to receive them.  But I did not expect them to all arrive on the very same day!

A Wonderful Rainbow Of Colours...
'Superboy' Was Still Wearing The Red One!

Amy Learning How To 'Wet Felt'

I had great plans this morning to do a thorough clean of my kitchen, which was in a terrible mess, whilst Amy was doing school.  Then the postman arrived with two mysterious packages addressed to me, from the plans were dashed!

My Caped Crusader Concentrating Very Hard!

My Wet Felted Woollen Playball

There was swishing, swooshing, flicking, floating, swooping, dancing and twirling with the beautiful silken colours!  Amy was a blue monster and Dylan and I vanquished her with our silken swords!  We tied a red 'cape' around Superboy and tied pink and violet together to make 'fairywings' for Amy.  I don't know about the children but I had a fantasic time!

Lots Of Imaginative Role Playing

Pretty, Pretty!

So just before our little guy awoke from his lunchtime nap, I went to  actually, clean my kitchen...but please note that at that I only cleaned it so we could play!  We all had a wonderful afternoon filled with woollen beads, waldorf windows stars, lego building and imaginative play!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Praying, Watching, Waiting...

This past week has been an odd one within our household; largely due to many opportunity's, mental challenges and possibilities that have come our way, leaving us somewhat perplexed.  I feel that at present the Lord is speaking very clearly to me, about what He wants me to do and in what direction He is going to guide our family.  My husband and I were joking yesterday; that we can't wait to see what the Lord will have instore for us this year, as just when we get a little comfortable He springs another idea on us!

The first area that I'm feeling a nudging over is, the issue of our family joing a church fellowship.  I have done much research on the different Christian congregations within driving distance from our home.  We have found three different churches that we feel we would like to be a part of...and thats as far as we have gotten!  It is a little frustrating as I feel as though the Lord is showing us that our choice of church is not to be made if we are waiting for something else to happen first?  

One of the other areas I am feeling  the Lord pressing on my heart is our homeschooling.  It seems to be always fantastically evolving since we began almost one year ago.  It has been quite a journey so far and it has taken this long for us to settle with our new way of family education.  Amy is really enjoying herself now and although it is not all plain sailing, it is much more efficient, yet relaxed and happy.  Though recently I am aware that we need to concentrate more on our creativity. This would be beneficial for the children as well as myself!

Another area that the Lord is impressing on me alot, is a family home business.  We have been blessed with a fantastic idea for this...however I am having doubts.  It is not like me to be pessimistic or negative, especially about an idea that I put forward after prayerful consideration.  But since then I have questioned the Lords direction "Are you sure this is the right time Lord?" "We are already lead busy and full lives; is there room for more responsibilities?""What if I take on too much and burnout?"...Hmmm sounds like I need to have some one on one time with the Lord, asap!  My doubts seem totally unfounded when I logically conclude, that God would not have given this instruction to me unless He thought that I could manage or that this would be the best thing for our family.  We will allow Him to direct and work through us.

So at the moment we are happy to pray, wait and see, pray and finally do, whatever instruction He lays on us.  It certainly is a time for great anticipation...although it is somehow inexplicably so.  I know the Lord has something exciting planned for us! this space...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Our Piano!

Last night our eagerly awaited delivery arrived!  At around nine thirty the owner of The Piano Gallery called my husband to ask directions to our home, as we live rurally.  Within minutes he had pulled his white van up outside.  I telephoned my brother (16) to come over in case the guy needed help bringing the piano in (as Brians back is terribly sore); and he also wanted to be part of our happy occasion!

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: 
I will sing unto thee among the nations. 
Psalms 57:7-9

The moving in was relatively easy, and within ten minutes they had brought in the most beautiful piano I have ever seen, into our hallway!  Dylan was in bed, and I hoped that he wouldn't awaken due to the noise of excited talking and chattering!  Amy and I were practically jumping up and down!  Thankfully he slept soundly through all the noise and piano playing!

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 
Ephesians 5:19-21

We asked Mr Jackson if he would care to stay for tea; he declined, so we sent him off with a large jar of homemade raspberry jam that I had made the week earlier.  We then all moved our chairs into the hallway with cups of tea and cocoa, to look at it! 

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. 
Psalms 92:1-3

One by one we all had a 'tinker' on it!  It was wonderful...its majestic sound filling our home with beautiful music.  My brother stayed for quite a while and then decided to walk back home (they live in the cottage across the field).  Brian and I watched and listened to Amy play for quite a while longer; when at last I asked her to go get into bed.

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. 
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. Psalms 95:1-2

First thing this morning we were all downstairs rather quickly to behold our lovely family piano!  Amy played for us all some more and then we all had another turn.  We feel so blessed beyond measure to have been able to purchase such a wonderful addition to our home.  It is our hope that this wonderful instrument will serve our children, grandchildren and perhaps beyond!  Praise the Lord for His gracious gift of music!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Creatively Crafting

This week I was creatively inspired by Sarah at The Forest Room, to make windows decorations that capture the sun's glorious rays!  I had a little think about what I would like to do with the children and also what craft materials we had in stock (we have since ordered some kite paper so we can create 'waldorf stars' also).

Lots Of Beautiful Coloured Wrappers

The Right Side Of One Of Our Creations

I came up with the idea to create cardstock cut out templates with geometrical shapes cut within.  I then gathered my kiddo's and we set about a large box of chocolates left over from Christmas...we pulled the coloured transparent wrappers, off lots of them and of course we naughtily ate a few too!


Amy Neatly Trimming Her Design

Our Creative, Colourful Windows

Whilst we got on with the rest of our day and Amy completed her school work I placed the wrappers under a heavy fruit bowl and left them to flatten down a bit.  I began to cut out the shapes I had drawn using my craft knife...this took about a half hour.  Once Amy was finished school we decided to wait until after lunch time rests and Dylans nap to begin our craft work.

Wonderous Spectrum Of Colour! 
(this effect is made by hanging a crystal pendant in our window which catches the sun's rays)

A Rapturous Reflection

Once our sleepy little man was awake we began, first by each choosing a few designs we liked and then picking a selection of coloured wrappers.  Dylan loved holding them up to his eyes so he could see through them in all the different colours!  All that we needed to do was cut the wrappers roughly to the right shape and stick them down with a glue stick.  Amy struggled at the start with this craft activity; she gets frustrated a little when we do crafts as she often wants her creation to be picture perfect and a slight glue smudge or pencil slip can bring out a cross attitude, but I gently reminded her that, that art is about creating not perfectionism, and she calmed down quickly.  We let them dry upon the counter for a while.  Once the children were in bed I stuck their designs on the kitchen doors and windows (once I had cleaned them...yuk!)  and in the morning when we all came downstairs our kitchen was like a beautiful kaleidoscope of wonderful colours and shapes!

A Beautiful Striped Butterfly!

Monday, March 1, 2010

One Year On...

Not many of you know, that one year ago this month, we suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage.  I was only 6-7 weeks along, but our long awaited baby was cherished from before conception and therefore very much wanted and loved.

I had a very tough three months following this awful event, due to medical complications and severe pain caused by the miscarriage.  I was broken-hearted.  I prayed alot during that time and truly felt like I was being 'carried through the sand'.  There were also other times when I felt totally helpless and broken, wondering how I could ever get over the feelings of 'emptiness' in my womb.  My wonderful husband who was also hurting was a tremendous support and source of comfort to me at that time.  My parents visited regularly to help with the children and to 'just talk'.

Now and then my heart feels heavy when I think back to that time; but ultimately I know that we will have more children; but it is in this area I find it hard to be patient with the Lord and am always praying and asking Him "When Lord, when will we be blessed again?" "How much longer must we wait?". 

Now one year on I pray that the Lord will bless us in His timing and until then, that He will allow me cling to Him when I am afraid, impatient and saddened.  Thank you for allowing me to share this story...