Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Two Blessings


I thought today that I'd post a little, on the two incredible blessing that we have had the priviledge to parent so far...

Firstly is our eldest and only daughter to date, she is such a huge helper in our home that some days I don't know how I would cope without her!  She is a great big sister, who loves to 'mother' her little brother: putting on his coat and hat, reading to him, playing fun games and even getting him snacks and drinks.   We are confident that our little miss will make an awesome Mama someday!  Our lovely girl loves to talk and would gladly talk all day long, whilst going about her daily chores and activities!  Maturity comes naturally to her and she can say the most profound things at such a tender age.  One of the greatest qualities that my lovely girl posesses is compassion, she has a very tender, nurturing heart and hurts to see another hurting.  At the age of ten (presently) she is embracing our new devotion to Christ by reading Scripture and learning right alongside me, all she can about our Saviour!



Our lovely young lady! Exemplifying  fresh, feminine modesty!




Amy learning to cook with me, whilst displaying the 
beautiful apron she received for Christmas 2009!

Secondly and lastly is our little man!  At the grand old age of two (and a bit) he is every bit like his Daddy, in looks and temperament.  He is showing great diligence and work ethic even at this young age, as he loves to do his 'chores' with Mama and his 'jobs' with Dad!  Working out on the farm, feeding silage to the cows, building a fire or driving in the tractor are his favourite things to do!  He is very loving and loves to shake hands, cuddle and kiss his family members.  Our little man is very much a 'male', having natural abilities for leadership, he often talks in a deep, mans voice when he is giving instructions (even when to the dog!)  He loves to kiss his 'Baby Jesus' at our Nativity Scence (which is still up at this late stage of January!) before he goes to sleep and loves to say his prayers, most of what he prays about is not yet comprehensible, but he always says 'Hankou' (Thank you) to God and says Amen with a big proud smile on his adorable face!



My sleepy little cuddlebug!



Our own budding artist!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Organizing


All week our playroom had been calling me to clean it, every time I passed the door!  Groaning to me from underneath the piles of cars, diggers and bricks that lay strewn on the floor!  Its not really a room that gets too dirty or messy, as the children are quite good and clearing up after themselves, but I hadn't been in, in a number of weeks to thoroughly pick up and organize.  The children had been in there a few nights ago after dinner, having active playtime with Daddy, whilst I ran a bath and they sure made quite a mess!  All the toy containers were emptied out and played with, the bricks, legos and stickle bricks were mixed up and even the dolls house looked as though a bomb had gone off!  So after I posted yesterday and before my little scamp awoke from his nap, I went and tidied and organised our playroom.



Mr. Happy and his blankie, up from his nap came to inspect my work!

Once Dylan awoke from his nap he came down to see what Mama had been up to and exclaimed "Mama good clean-up!"  As soon as I had gotten his seal of approval he set about investigating all the toys that were once again neat and tidy.  Did you notice on the picture above my little monkey's socks?  Thats right! one red and one blue; a family quirk that started when Amy was small. 




Our very 'upmarket' storage containers!

In the above photograph you will see our very versatile storage tubs, which are actually old soup containers, that my Mother brings home for us from the High School she works at.  We have used these tubs for water storage (during the 'Big Freeze'), food storage, freezer food storage, toy storage, and for organizing Brians screws and nails!  And the great thing is, is that we can get tonnes more whenever we need them, as the school just usually throw them away!



My lovely little man sitting to 'read' whilst I finished the vacuuming.

After I had finished the playroom, I had also had the urge to re-organize the pantry which wasn't too bad, but I do like to keep on top of that job.  It used to get quite messy in there between bouts of organizing but since then I had the idea of labelling the shelves and also the areas of each shelf.  That may sound a tad over the top; but seriously it stays much much neater, as every person in our house knows where to put the items back.  It also helps, if like me you have a very helpful Mother who likes to tidy up when she comes and then when she leaves no-one can find anything!



Ta-Da! My clean and orderly pantry!

I love organizing!  I prize my organizing tools: my labeller, my printer, my markers and finally my laminator!  I love my labelled pantry!  I make no excuses for how terribly drab that might make me sound!  On the top shelf we keep breakfast cereals, the cereal in the bags is our 'Homemade Granola' (recipe to come).  On the second shelf are our 'goodies', the naughty cookies and biscuits (My Hubby has a terrible sweet tooth!) and our maple and agave syrups, honey and almond butter.  Next shelf contains: sauces, herbs, spices and condiments.  Fourth shelf contains tinned and jarred foods such as, canned tomatoes, coconut milk, and jarred Indian sauces.  Fifth shelf would have my favourite foods: pasta!, rices: brown, arborio, wild, basmati...etc.  The last shelf would contain: teabags, pet foods and bags of potatoes.  So there you have it, thats how I spent my afternoon yesterday!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Discouraged with Church?


When I was around a year old my parents had me baptised in the 'Church of England' Protestant faith, even though they were non-believers.  I am told they chose to baptise me simply because my Grandmother wished it and it was the done thing!  Both my parents were and still are, non-believers.

My husband on the other hand was baptised and raised a Catholic.  He certainly is aquainted with a few Bible stories and even served Mass as he grew older.  Although one could argue that the Catholic faith certainly has areas of tradition and methods that are not biblical.  In my Mother-In-Law's home there is, (as in many Irish homes) a picture of the 'Sacred Heart' set up high on the kitchen wall to watch over the family.

When I joyfully accepted the Lord into my heart last year, I expressed a wish to my Husband that we begin to attend church services, with this he wholeheartedly agreed!  He had been trying to tell me since we first became a family that these were his wishes, but I was as stubborn as a mule and refused to teach my children anything that might be deemed 'religious'!  I was such a fool.

So we began to attend my Beloved's childhood Catholic church, where some of his family, friends and old neighbours attend.  From the very first service we were disheartened,  we were astonished at how wordly the church congregation and indeed the church itself had become!  Everyone there seemed to be able to recite the prayers and responses, sit down, stand and kneel at the right parts and pretend to listen the the Priest read from the Bible.  The fact was no-one could actually hear what the Priest was reading, as he raced and rambled through the verses, even missing out a word or two from time to time!  It was painfully obvious to us that, although it appeared that the congregation were worshipping the Lord, they did not know Him in their hearts.

After a few services we began to discuss how sad and disheartened we were.  We wanted our family to rejoice in the Lord and joyfully attend service, to have fellowship and encouragement with other believers.  We decided that we could not have clear Christian consciences and still attend that particular church's services.  Over the last few months we have not attended church, but are instead looking into branches of Christianity that wholeheartedly adhere to the truths in the Holy Word of God.  We have prayed about this and are waiting for the Lord to show us which church He will have for us.  We can't wait to see where He will direct us!

They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable,
disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Titus 1:16

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God






How my faith, attitude, marriage and family has turned around since reading this wonderful book approximately one year ago!  This  book was instrumental in pulling the cover from my worldly eyes and focusing it back on where it should be...on God!  I was not raised with any religion at home, although I did attend a Catholic primary school, simply because it was the 'best' school around.  I wish I had known the wisdom contained withing these pages before I had married and therefore wouldn't have had to learn everything the hard way and burden my Husband!  This book exposes the lies that are thrust upon modern day women and shows us how to learn and grow from Gods unchanging Word.

Reading the scripture contained within this book strongly impressed upon me to buy myself a Bible and read the vital truths for myself; which I did! Wow, who could have foretold what wonderful things would come of it!  I am so thankful to Stacy McDonald and Jennie Chancey for leading me, strongly but gently to Gods Word.  I feel as though I have new life, a new outlook and new sense of purpose!  Praise the Lord!  

 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tractor Ted





Tractor Ted DVD's are available here

For Christmas this year my young son received this movie as one of his gifts.  After the Christmas morning buzz was starting to calm and us adults went to the kitchen to make tea and clean up after breakfast, my little man asked to put his 'Tractor Ted' movie on.  I set the player on and let him watch while I made the tea for ourselves and my parents.  Five minutes later I popped back in to check on him, only to find he hadn't moved!  I sat down next to him and he started to chatter to me about what he was watching.  I was amazed, the programme has actual footage all the way through and is very informative about farming methods, machinery and farm animals.  It it packed with educational qualities and I think there is even things featured in our programme that I didn't know!   Our little farmer sat transfixed until the whole show (half an hour) was finished!



"I love tractors so much I think I'd like to be one when I grow up!"


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Country Pursuits



Our farming and outdoor activities have been numerous of late.  A lot of fixing up had to be done on our laneways, to mend the damage caused by the frost and the following flooding.  My Beloved is usually out for a few hours a day trying to put something to rights.  Right now he is starting to tinker with my water supply so that next year we will hopefully not be as severely affected by the frosty weather.

As I type I can hear the heartbreaking song of one of our girls, (Aberdeen Angus Cow) who is mourning the separation of herself and her last calf.  We are weaning him from her and boy, she is not happy!  Usually the mother cow calls for approximately two to three days and very rarely the calf calls back (usually in the morning when he decides a 'sup' of milk would be nice) and then all is calm and quiet again.  It does not make for peaceful sleeping in our home for those two or three days, but we are used to it at this stage.

Amys new chicken run is now complete, so we are now collecting a few eggs again here and there.  This new run has a strong mesh enclosure overhead to prevent those pesky magpies from stealing our eggs and chicken feed.  Those birds sure get up early to make sure they get a nice breakfast of chicken and duck eggs.  I think that one of the hens was uncooperative when the rest of the group were moved into their new enclosure, so she is still roaming the orchard with the ducks!

Our neighbouring farmer still has a few sheep in the field close to our home and yesterday those rogues escaped again! They are breaking into our fields and often get their fleece tightly caught on our barbed wire fencing, often they just keep tugging and eventually they get free.  However last night when Brian returned home from a late night visit to my s.i.l's he spotted a naughty little ram well and truly caught up in the fencing by his fleece. Brian then had to go out in the dead of night with a knife to cut him free!  Today they back at it again...but it is funny to be sitting enjoying a hot cup of tea and chatter in the kitchen with family, when you see a little herd of stowaway sheep amble past the patio doors!


The Great Escape!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Grandma's Feather Bed by John Denver





John Denver and the Muppets sing 'Grandma's Feather Bed'

I just had to post this!  In our home we just love John Denver!  Though I have a terrible confession to make...up till a year ago I had never even heard of the very talented Mr. Denver!  What an atrocity I hear you cry!...but sadly this is true!

My Beloved came home one day from work and as he sat in his chair in the kitchen we discussed each of our days events..."Oooh" says I, "I found a lovely song on the music system, called 'My Old Guitar' and its just beautiful; by a guy named John Denver, have you heard of him?"  At that point my Hubby began to giggle, "Erm...yeah, he's kind of a country music legend" he replied with a hint of sarcasm!  Well blow me away, why did no-one tell me about his music sooner, I had been missing out!

In a time when it is not uncommon to hear four year old children in the supermarket, singing along to  crude pop music lyrics, it is very refreshing to find an artist who did release some fun, family friendly records.  Thank you Mr. Denver, we salute you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Childrens Bible Songs





'50 Bible Songs for Kids' Available at Amazon

A few months ago, my Beloved suggested that I research and purchase a Bible songs music CD for the children to listen to at home and in the car.  What a wonderful idea!  We are constantly on the look out for ways to fill our home with materials that will encourage our family in our faith in Jesus Christ.  When the CD arrived I immediately loaded it onto our music system and placed the disc's then in the car for future use.  At first we were unsure of the teaching qualities in some songs, as all of them are sung by small children it can be hard to make out the words; we have since learned to listen carefully!  Also some of the songs are quite silly and we were not sure if that was the best route to encourage each other in faith.

Since then...I am amazed at how often we listen to them!  Even our ten year old asks to put them on! We have learned many songs off by heart and hearing some have made Amy ask to hear particular Bible stories so she can understand what is being sung about.  We all love being able to have fun whilst learning and growing as Christians.  Even my Beloved can often be heard humming or singing one of these fun little songs when he thinks no-one is listening!  Some of our favourites include: I am H.A.P.P.Y, You can't get to heaven on rollerskates, I am C.H.R.I.S.T.I.A.N.  The latter in that list is my particular favourite, we always listen to it several times in a row on the drive over to Amy's piano lesson on Saturday mornings, each repetition gets faster so you really have to be on the ball with your spelling!  It makes for great fun and we love seeing who can be the first to get through one repetition without making a mistake!

What about you?  Does your family have any advice to share on what materials help you weave your love for Jesus Christ into your daily lives?


Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Fathers 50th Birthday




Dylan, my Mother, my Father, my Brother Thomas and Amy.
As some of you may be aware on 28th December 2009, my dear Father celebrated his 50th birthday!  We celebrated his special day by cooking him an Indian Banquet! We served up this feast at our home, even though unfortunately Brian was called into work for a while.  My Mother had this fantastic idea a few weeks earlier, as he just loves spicy foods!  So over the weeks leading up to Christmas, we secretly prepared food and froze what we could ahead of time.  Unfortunately I neglected to photograph any of this food...but we made a selection of dishes we knew he would like; Coriander (Cilantro) Naan Breads, Spiced Potato Bites, Fresh Onion Bhaji's, Tomato and Cucumber Salad, Spiced Lamb with Butterbeans, Dahi Murghi (Creamy Spiced Chicken) Cardamom Rice, Semolina and Almond Halva and a traditional drink Nimbu Pani.


 

My Fathers surprise 50th birthday cake!

Not to sound biased...but the dishes were delectable!  I found one or two of the foods a little too spicy for my tastes..but they suited my Fathers palate perfectly!  It was my idea to have a traditional Indian drink served at the dinner...however I forgot to taste the drink before I served it over ice.  Yuck faces were pulled all around!  Eww, it tasted like sea-water!  Feeling slightly embarassed I quickly made up a lovely chilled lemonade with lemon slices and sprigs of mint. That will teach me to not taste food or drink before I serve it!

 

Happy Birthday To You...!

About three weeks before hand my Mother had visited 'Bridgets Sweet Boutique', to order my Fathers cake, she had wanted to incorporate either of his two hobbies; diving or shooting.  They had eventually decided that the 'shooting' one would look the best, and as you can see from the photographs they were right!  Just after everyone announced they were stuffed to the limit, my Mother sneakily snuck off to retrieve and light the candles on my Fathers cake!  We all then sung a hearty rendition of  'Happy Birthday' and a happy looking man then blew out his candles!  Bridget not only outdone herself with the amazing decorating on the cake but inside was the most fluffy delicate sponge filled with lemon cream...Mmmm!  Brian arrived home from work shortly after we had finished up eating and he then filled his plate high with all the lovely dishes available and ate heartily!  For the rest of the evening we got the children ready for bed and cleaned up the kitchen and dining area.  Once the little ones were tucked into bed we settled on sofas in the sitting room for informative and stimulating conversation.  I think everyone, particularly my Father had a splendid evening filled with love and good food!



My Father now keeps his little hunter and stag in the kitchen!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas Eve 2009


We celebrated Christmas Eve this year with a late night visit to Grannies house.  We thought we weren't going to make it as we battled up our lane against the icy ground...but we made it, though just barely!  My Beloved and I were thrilled that we had made the effort to go, as Granny was home alone and she seemed very happy to see us all!



Granny proudly displaying her handmade necklace!

We had brought gifts for Granny that the children had made (cards, a painting and a necklace) and a small locally made pottery bowl, and she seemed delighted with them all.  The necklace was made by both the children, they painted individual pieces of dried pasta and rolled them in glitter, before drying and threading them onto a length of wool!  Amy also brought some yummy sweets for Granny to eat, although she ended up sharing most of them with us!  Our little man dressed up as a shepherd (complete with a lamb and staff) and he looked as cute as a button.



A mischievous looking shepherd with his lamb

It takes so little to bring joy into the daily life of an elderly relative, we should all make the effort as often as we can.  Helping them with laundry, chores, bringing home baked goods or simply coming to visit will help that person feel loved and an appreciated member of the family or community.  Children also should be encouraged to help care for the elderly members of the family, this will not only bless the person they are helping to care for, but also to provide your children with great life skills and a good attitude towards caring for the elderly.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Our Irish Winter Wonderland



Yesterday all four of us went for a beautiful walk around our home to enjoy the snowy fields and frosted trees!  What spectacular sights to behold!  We took time to study the different animal tracks in the snow, placed bird-seed around and of course held contests to see who could slide the best on the ice! I assure you that I took no part is such games...ahem!  Amy also decided to see if she could freeze her face to a tree! We stopped to look at huge icicles (by Irish standards) hanging next to the deralict gate-keepers cottage, when a little 'robin red-breast' landed close to us!  The children were so excited and could not believe that the little bird was so brave as to hop and flutter around us so closely!  We tried numerous times to get a wonderful shot of him, but each time we clicked the shutter he popped out of the picture!




The winter sun through the frosted branches.



  The camera shy little Robin, whom we finally got a picture of.

 

Our largest Beech tree looked ornately beautiful.

 

"When I grow up I want to be just like my Dad"


Monday, January 4, 2010

Monthly Character Qualities


 

Today as my wonderful Husband went about his errands in town he blessed me by taking our busy little toddler out with him, thus freeing me up to do those jobs that never seem to get done!  Our daughter was keeping herself  busy also with various unfinished chores and activities.  Mmm, whats a lady to do? I decided to take the time to finish off the 'Christlike Character Qualities' posters I have been working on for a while now, and they are at last finished.  

When we first started home schooling I just winged it in the 'preparation' department and simply drew out the posters by hand which actually took about 15 minutes or so each!  And then of course once we changed the posters they often got lost or damaged, so I had the idea of laying them out on the computer and printing and laminating them all, thus saving much time in the future.  However at that very moment our lives seemed to be on fast-forward and I never seemed to get a  spare minute to do them on the computer either! Though today thanks to my Honey I was able to finish the task. Phew!

As I sat here printing off my hours work I had a brainwave; Why don't I make them available to other busy Mama's too and that way they will save even more time than I have! Wow!

A gift from our home to yours:

 I have been made aware that the formatting changes slightly once uploaded to Scribd, just note to check the layout of each page before you print the sheets out.



Friday, January 1, 2010

Home Educating Photographs


I thought that for this post I would include some of our family photographs that detail some aspects of our home education, as exactly 'what we do' is a source of curiosity for some.  Its not often that I remember to reach for the camera so really great pictures are hard to come by, but I think some of these are great!



 
A beautiful walk and picnic at Johnstown Castle Gardens with 3 other HE families.




Amy, Dylan and I reading aloud 'Anne of Green Gables' one sunny Irish afternoon.




A late night congregation catching, looking at and releasing a little frog!




We all attended a 'Pottery Class' in July and it was so much fun!




What do you mean? Surely everyone knows that hands make the best spoons!