Tuesday, December 21, 2010

T.V Or Not T.V?

That is the question...

Approximately one year ago my husband and I decided that we should cancel our 'Sky' (cable) subscription, simply because we felt it was an unnecessary expense for our family.  We knew of families who informed us that they would not be having any more children (at just two) because they couldn't 'afford' any more...though they paid €60.00 per month to watch 'Sky' television! Getting back to where I was; we never did cancel it fully but we changed for a subscription that costs us €10.00 per month.  This means that we still are able to view the news and documentary channels.

When I was growing up we very often ate our evening meal from our laps in front of the television watching Australian soap operas (that are still showing today...they have just upped the filth factor!)  Our family would watch one show after another, after another.  This was our 'relax' time as I understood it.  So is it any wonder then as an adult that I chose to spend my relax time after work (before I was married) in front of the television; watching one show, then another, then another?

My husbands family on the other hand did not own a television set for many years as they were not yet a common item to have within the home.  His father did buy one from somewhere and introduced it to their family home.  At this time there were only one or two shows aired per day, in the evening time...however it was not long before my wise father-in-law began to realise that his children were becoming idle and lazy whilst watching the 'box'.  Did he correct them and give consequences?  No he simply got rid of the television; clean and simple!

The result of our differing childhood exposure to television has led Brian to a life of productivity and a disdain for most television use; whilst I have had to 'wean' myself from watching it for hours on end and also certain programmes.  This has been very difficult for me.  Mine and Brian's relationship has strengthened as we spend most of our evenings talking around the kitchen fireside, enjoying true quality time!

The Television - A Poem by Roald Dahl

The most important thing we've learned, 
So far as children are concerned, 
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let 
Them near your television set --

Or better still, just don't install 
The idiotic thing at all. 
In almost every house we've been, 
We've watched them gaping at the screen.

They loll and slop and lounge about, 
And stare until their eyes pop out. 
(Last week in someones place we saw 
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)

They sit and stare and stare and sit 
Until they're hypnotised by it, 
Until they're absolutely drunk 
With all that shocking ghastly junk.

Oh yes, we know it keeps them still, 
They don't climb out the window sill, 
They never fight or kick or punch, 
They leave you free to cook the lunch

And wash the dishes in the sink -- 
But did you ever stop to think, 
To wonder just exactly what 
This does to your beloved tot?



'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say, 
'But if we take the set away, 
What shall we do to entertain 
Our darling children? Please explain!'

We'll answer this by asking you, 
'What used the darling ones to do? 
'How used they keep themselves contented 
Before this monster was invented?'

Have you forgotten? Don't you know? 
We'll say it very loud and slow: 
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ, 
AND READ and READ, and then proceed

To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks! 
One half their lives was reading books! 
The nursery shelves held books galore! 
Books cluttered up the nursery floor! 
And in the bedroom, by the bed, 
More books were waiting to be read! 
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales 
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales

And treasure isles, and distant shores 
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars, 
And pirates wearing purple pants, 
And sailing ships and elephants,

And cannibals crouching 'round the pot, 
Stirring away at something hot. 
(It smells so good, what can it be? 
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)

The younger ones had Beatrix Potter 
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter, 
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland, 
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-

Just How The Camel Got His Hump, 
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump, 
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul, 
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-

Oh, books, what books they used to know, 
Those children living long ago! 
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, 
Go throw your TV set away,

And in its place you can install 
A lovely bookshelf on the wall. 
Then fill the shelves with lots of books, 
Ignoring all the dirty looks,

The screams and yells, the bites and kicks, 
And children hitting you with sticks- 
Fear not, because we promise you 
That, in about a week or two 
Of having nothing else to do,

They'll now begin to feel the need 
Of having something to read. 
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy! 
You watch the slowly growing joy

That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen 
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen 
In that ridiculous machine, 
That nauseating, foul, unclean, 
Repulsive television screen!

And later, each and every kid 
Will love you more for what you did.

You want to know the scariest thing about that poem?...Its true! As I've said before our family are not in the business of judging others; however we must admit that watching television is obviously not the most productive activity for either parent or children. I have compiled the following list to suggest other pastimes or activities that could substitute television watching or video-game playing; however please note that I have not done this to sound patronizing or to make myself sound superior...rather simply because I recognise that when an pastime becomes the norm within a home setting, it can most certainly become difficult to think 'outside of the box' and creatively come up with another activity.

25 Alternatives To Television Watching:

  1. Try out a new dinner recipe and allow your children to help.
  2. Allow your children to pick a short story each and read aloud to them.
  3. Read your Bible.
  4. Play a board game with your children.  Even older ones love this!
  5. Compose and send a handwritten letter to someone special.  Children can write to far flung cousins.
  6. Work on an existing craft project.
  7. Run your husband a nice bath once the children are sleeping.
  8. Work on Bible memory with your children.
  9. Write an encouraging note to your husband and hide it in his lunchbag or in his workshirt pocket!
  10. Do some gardening.
  11. Go to the library and check out as many interesting books as you can...and read them!
  12. Teach your children a new craft such as: knitting, crochet, felting, sewing...etc...
  13. Bake something delicious with your children.  (And let them lick the spoons afterward!)
  14. Talk with your husband.
  15. Learn a new skill.
  16. Research an important family topic, such as: health care, education, nutrition...etc...
  17. Begin to learn a new language.
  18. Simply get out the crayons and books and colour pictures with your children.
  19. Play 'hide and seek' in the house!
  20. Clean out your car (Really should take my own advice here!)
  21. Begin a filing system for all your incoming mail.  Even a lever arch file with coloured dividers is great!
  22. Deep clean and organize one specific room.  Be ruthless!
  23. Go for a family walk.  Taking note and discussing nature with your children as you walk.
  24. Give your children jam jars and tell them to go find some insects to collect and study for a day or so.
  25. Do that chore that you have been putting off doing!
I hope that there are a few good ideas there that may be of help to some of you hoping to introduce more productive time into your familys day.  Making changes such as these when you are already in the habit, is difficult as we all well know.  However it can be done; take the time to pray about it and see what areas of your life is the Lord prompting you to address.  Then do something about it! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Ruling...

Blossoming Human Life Is Precious

Several days ago I submitted this post which highlighted that the European human rights court in Strasbourg were to rule on whether Irish law; which states that abortion is illegal except in the case of the mothers life being at risk, violates women's rights.  The ruling was made public later that same day and concluded that our Irish law had indeed violated the human rights of one of the three women represented at that particular hearing.  Although the court went on to say that it upheld the right of Ireland as a country to set its own abortion laws.  Our own Irish politicians have made vague and negligible comments in respect of the issue.

As I researched online later that evening I was surprised to see that the majority of news headlines were critical of the European courts, for not condemning Ireland's abortion laws, which value human life.  Additionally, I was even more surprised to discover that I found it difficult to locate the court ruling information, in online versions of Irish newspapers...it was actually easier to find the information via American newspapers!   In the days since, our newspapers have once again been dominated by news which seems to deflect and diffuse from this important issue.

Recently the Catholic Church have been vocal in stating that all human life is precious and should be protected at all costs, this then prompted those clever individuals in our media to run alarming, horrific and often detailed accounts of Catholic clerical child abuse; thus discrediting anything that the Catholic Church may be validly saying about other topics.  Many of you may know that our family do not feel that Catholicism should be viewed as a Christian faith, as many of their practices and beliefs are not in conjunction with what the Bible says...however it is such a tragedy that the media are using them to discredit a ruling on an important moral issue such as abortion.  I have included a few links to the ruling given by the European court:

Pro-Life Campaign Ireland

New York Times

BBC News

Irish Central

CNN News

If you would like to support Pro Life Campaign Ireland please sign up for their email newsletter or donate funds to aid their important work.

Friday, December 17, 2010

An Siopa Beag (The Small Shop)

Recently at one of our home school meeting in Thomastown, I conversed with a lady about craft projects.  Amy and I had both worn our felt flowers that day and one mother had admired them and asked where we had gotten the materials.  I informed her that we had originally bought the felt in Australia while we lived there for one year in 2006.  However I told her that I had absolutely no idea where I was going to source more from within Ireland

Another mother who had been listening to the two of us; spoke up and told us of a shop in County Cork by the name of An Siopa Beag.  What was even more exciting was the fact that this lovely shop also traded online!

I have since ordered multiple times from An Siopa Beag and have found them a pleasure to deal with.  The 100% woollen felt sheets that they stock are wonderful; the most beautiful colours and the quality is even better than the felt I had bought originally!  I have also ordered Dylan some Stockmar crayons as one of his gifts for Christmas.  I had even requested one time just before Halloween that our order be processed as soon  as possible; as we were hoping to use the felt sheets to craft Amy's costume from...they arrived the very next day at no extra charge!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Strasbourg European Court To Rule Today...

The Strasbourg European Court will today rule over whether Ireland's restrictions on abortion violate women's human rights!

I am so concerned about this ruling, as the implications could very much put into question, our country's position on the legality of all abortions in the future.

I am shocked to see the credentials of two of the three women concerned at this hearing;  a former alcoholic whose four other children had already been removed from her care and another lady who had taken the 'morning-after-pill' and therefore had thought the 'job had been taken care of'.

My heart is saddened today for all women who feel that abortion is their only option and of course for the precious unborn children whom they are aborting.

Please read this article in greater detail here and lets come together and pray over this matter and all individuals concerned.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Salt Dough Christmas Decorations!

 Our Salt-Dough Mix

Festive Shapes!

 Amy Decorating Her Creations

We Pushed Cloves Into A Few Of Our Shapes...Delicious Scent!

 Finally Painting Our Ornaments

 Even Hubby Got Creative...Much To The Delight Of The Children!

 Dylans Finished Products

Festive Colouful Creations!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wonderful Watercolours!

Amy Beginning Her Sketching

Recently the children and I have become interested in learning how to use watercolour paints and paper.  I have been meaning (for a long time) to incorporate more of the nature that surrounds us here, in our schooling mainly in any art and craft work we do.  This in particular we feel will be of benefit to Amy who sometimes struggles with drawing and craft projects.  We want to encourage and inspire her artistic side through nature and as we are lucky enough to be surrounded by the wonderful Irish countryside...what better setting!

Our Beautiful Artist!

We checked out a few books from our local library on how to use watercolours but to be honest they were a little boring and aimed at serious adult painters...not three amateurs!  So we each (Amy and I)  found a photograph of an animal of plant we liked and began to study it, sketch its basic background and finally began to paint!

I really tried hard to not show any of the perfectionist tendencies I normally do..ahem!  But instead to have fun with my own painting and hoped that in doing so it would be a demonstrative lesson for Amy to just paint and have fun!  She really did seem to 'follow my lead' in that area and we had a great time painting and learning about our subjects!

Amy's Basic Backgrounds And Her Subject The Kingfisher

Dylan painted with us for a long time and he had lots of fun though his 'subject' changed like the wind!  One minute his painting was a 'farm', a 'field' next it was a dinosaur and finally a dragon! After he went for his lunchtime nap, Amy and I put on an audio story and continued with our paintings.  Though as it was a Friday we had to put them aside when we went to 'bookclub' at our local library, though I confess I would have much rathered stay at home to finish!

The Majestic Bird...As Captured By Amy!

Amy has finished her painting now (as shown in the photographs) and she definitely feels a sense of achievement for completing a watercolour painting, and is proud that it is a good likeness of her subject!  She was in fact so thrilled about her painting that she wished to give it as a gift to a special someone at Christmas-time...but do not worry the surprise will not be spoilt for that person here on our family blog!  Amy bought a lovely frame with her own well-earned money and I helped her to frame it ready to happily give. 

We Used This Book To Pick Our Subjects - Which 
Was Graciously Given To Me Christmas 2007 By My Late Father-In-Law

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Food Inc...A Health Education

Some time ago my father received a documentary movie named 'Food Inc' free with his Sunday newspaper.  That very evening he and my mother watched it at home...he called my straight afterward and insisted that we watch it as soon as we could fit it in.  The next evening both Brian and myself sat down to watch it after the children had gone to bed.  We were shocked!  I actually cried in some parts; sometimes due to the cruelty and dire conditions the animals for our 'food' were subjected to but also just because I was simply horrified!  Please note that our family is not ignorant to what happens to mass produced or highly processed food...but it was still upsetting nonetheless...

What has become painfully apparent to our family over the last year as we have researched topics (in depth) that effect our family is that; our own government do not have our best interests at heart!  Our government wants to make ALOT of money!

But what are the possible effects of this slow poisoning of ourselves and our children?  Auto-immune diseases, food allergies (I've heard 'professionals' often tout milk intolerance...when could it simply be the process that our milk is subjected to; that then leaves this once natural, wholesome product totally indigestible to certain individuals?), obesity, diabetes,  infertility, developmental changes (such as young age puberty), hyperactivity disorders...etc...

Please watch this movie in its entirety (you can do this by typing food inc movie into YouTube) at your earliest convenience and educate yourself and your family!  It makes a great home school topic for older ones.  As a mother you are responsible for what your children, husband and self put into your mouths!  Homemade food is cheaper that buying processed food; more so if you can grow something for yourself...even if its a window box of fresh herbs!!

I have included several links here to books, companies (non-affiliated) and links that have helped our family:

Orchard Organics - we used to order all of our organic milk and some meat from this company until they stopped selling meat products and their postage rates rose slightly...we have since become aware the importance of buying raw milk for our family.

Homemade Granola - Our families recipe for homemade breakfast cereal.

 - A book that continues to be a fantastic source of nutritional advice for our family.

Top Ten List of Naughty Breakfast Cereals UK/Ireland - News report via the Guardian newspaper.

Please take the time to read or perhaps re-read the following articles and corresponding links, I have posted in relation to: HPV/Cervical Cancer Vaccine and  Raw milk.

 - A book that gave us our basic background and knowledge upon 
the scary topic of vaccines.

Also it still shocks me that most of our population do not know that they are legally allowed to and DO use animal tissues and bloods when producing our vaccines...Would you knowingly inject cow or pig blood into your baby?  Wondering why animal diseases (avian flu, swine flu...) are now becoming transmittable to humans?  Wondering why your baby has reacted to a vaccine?

I hope that some of the information posted here can be of some help to you and your family as you seek to educate yourself about the issue of health and nutrition.  If your family is already concerned with and has researched any of these topics please feel free to share any tidbits of information that you feel would be of benefit to any that read here...including me!