Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nest Watch 2010!




I thought I would post this topic in hope that it would be of some interest to you all and maybe serve as an inspiration to your homeschooling!  Recently I was kindly told about 'Nest Watch' which is being hosted through RTE radio here in Ireland; they are running live feed footage of two nests; one of a robin and her chicks and the other of a blue-tit and her soon to be hatched chicks!  

How exciting!  I have tuned in several time this evening to watch the chicks and mama robin and boy are they sweet!  There are also factsheets available on each species of bird.  We plan to keep a daily journal over the coming week detailing the activities of each nest.  Perhaps we might draw pictures of these species of birds and maybe make do a lapbook type presentation of what we have learned through research and observing them!

So if you have avid birdlovers in your home, or you wish to whip up a home school lesson or just simply take a peep then click here to view the robins nest and here to view the blue-tits nest. (please note that there have been some technical difficulties on this site and sometime the cameras are offline...patience is a virtue!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We Are Expecting!




Yes you guessed it, we are indeed expecting again!  We are currently entering our sixth week of pregnancy and I am feeling strong and healthy!  I can hardly believe it!  We are so thankful!  Praise the Lord for this blessing!


Guess What?...




Our Eventful Week!




Woohoo! After two and a half years in our home we were lucky enough to be sowing the grass seed last week that will give us a beautiful green lawn to play on!  We started this project last year and due to unforseen circumstances we had to abandon it just after we had gotten started.  We did manage to get a small patch done...and then those naughty cows escaped again, and ate a little of the sweet new grass and stomped on some too...but the damage was actually quite minimal.


So this year, now that the weather is starting to warm a little we have re-embarked on this project.  My husband was planning on rotovating the land with a little rotovator...but the machine just wasn't heavy enough and it was back-breaking work so we called in a contractor, who is friend of ours to help...he has a digger and a  great big tractor with a rotovating attachment!  What would have taken Brian several days; took our friend and his machinery a few hours!  He was even kind enough to let Dylan ride with him on the tractor for a while and our little boy was so, so happy!


The guys came back the following day to rake out the top soil and finally sow the grass seed.  And all we have to do now is watch it spring from the soil and grow.  I know we will be out there everyday, Brian, Amy, Dylan and I, watching and discussing the progress!  I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful things in our lives but I am most thankful for the little things; such as watching the grass grow!

Other other large project that has been happening this last week has been, digging out the rock from the back of our other property to 'air' the cottage out as it get very damp.  This extra space available around the cottage is enabling us to be able to think about other projects we would like to do to increase to appeal of our lovely hide-away...but those things will probably have to wait for a little while longer.


So things around 'Plumfield' have been very exciting lately and we have been kept very busy.  Yesterday and today, I have been catching up with my household chores and lots of laundry that fell by the wayside while Dylan and I were sick.  We are now free of that awful vomiting virus and my poor sickly looking boy of two days ago is now eating (and keeping it down), sleeping and looking rosy cheeked once more! 

We have also had more things happening but they will have to wait for now...


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Urgh!




If you have been wondering why I have not been posting here lately, it is because my son and I are ill with an awful virus.  Its a nasty one...one we usually would be lucky enough to avoid altogether.  It has been a very eventful week and I will fill you in on all the details as soon as my son and I are recovered and have my home back in order.

I hope you all are in good health and spirits.

God Bless


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Early To Bed, Early To Rise...




For a while now the Lord has been showing me that I needed to be more organised in the morning times within my home.  To train my children by example.  For me that definitely mean't getting up earlier.  Before the change I was usually waking at 8- 8:30am with my children and having to start the day running as I was already behind!  I was also not having any quiet-time with the Lord, which I was very much regretting.

So a few weeks ago I began setting my alarm clock and rising at 7am,  I would then go out to the garage and excercise for fifteen minutes (I was not exersising at all before this new routine!) I was immediately amazed by how much could be accomplished at that hour of the day!  Once I had stretched out afterward I would fix breakfast for myself, watch the news headlines, take a shower and iron all that days clothes and dress and prepare myself...all before my children are even out of bed!

I spend alot of this time in prayer with the Lord and I very much appreciate being able to have this time, as it allows me to pray and listen without constant interuptions.  At the moment I am taking my daughters Ipod out to exercise with me, and I am listening to classical music along with Evangeline Johnsons teaching audio downloads...she is so enthusiastic about loving Jesus that she really gets my faith pumping!  

My husband has been very supportive, and loves to be met in the kitchen by a fresh, energetic, spiritually contented wife in the morning, who is already 'on top' of things!  It hasn't all been plain sailing all day every day but I find that my mood is more consistent through the day, as I am not plagued by tiredness at certain times and I am finding it easier to mind my frustrations and control my tongue.  At night-time now I am actually tired by a reasonable hour, so no more late nights on the whole, which then has a 'knock-on' effect to the next day!  I am so thankful that the Lord continued to lay this issue on me, as now my family are reaping the rewards.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Trip To Kennedy Park




Last Tuesday, the children and I had planned to attend our regular homeschool meeting in Thomastown.  However given the glorious weather we had been having, many of the mama's decided to do something 'outdoorsy' up in County Wicklow.  I decided to take the children to Kennedy Park, which is only a fifteen minute drive from our home.   Kennedy Park has a fantastic playarea for the children, and as we arrived there very early in the morning the play equipment was totally vacant!  My guys played for a while and then we decided to try our chances in the natural labyrinth, which was alot of fun, although I'm not sure Dylan liked it!


After we found our way out of the labyrinth, we fetched Dylans tricycle and Amy's rollerblades from the car and proceeded for a wonderful ealr morning walk around the grounds...well at least I was walking!  Kennedy Park covers approximately 600 acres of land, they have a magnificent array of trees, flowers and shrubery and they also in the summer months operate a miniature railway!  Our walk was very long and Dylan got so tired toward the end that he sat on his tricycle with his legs hoisted up, so I could just push the parents handle without him having to put forth any effort!  My poor boy was exhausted!  Amy went very well skating most of the way though she switched back to her trainers on the way back!  As we arrived back at the visitors centre the children and I went into the cafe to eat some of the delicious food that is offered there, boy was I hungry after all that walking!  We had another very short walk after our food and we proceeded to drive home.  We had a very enjoyable morning at Kennedy Park!



Monday, April 19, 2010

My First Handspun Yarn!




My dear reader, you may have read this through the week.  Thats right, it was my first attempt at spinning wool on a drop spindle...and I thought I had made quite a mess of things, until...


I popped by Childhood Magic a few days ago, and watched the tutorials that were kindly posted, (ALL the way through!) and I learned that my wool was not complete simply because I had spun it.  No, I must set the twist in it!  So I persisited with my yarn and wound, wet and set it as demonstrated here.


Once my yarn had dried and I examined it, I was rather happy with my first effort at spinning!  Although I think I still over-spun my yarn a little, it was still workable.  After much deliberating I decided to make a small bag for my lovely friend Sally, as it was her birthday last weekend (she wouldn't tell me when it was till it had past!)  As it was a milestone birthday for Sally, I had decided to make her up a special basket, of things I know she would enjoy, so; I have ordered a Bolga basket, playsilks and finger puppets, from A Toy Garden and will also add my crocheted creation and some incense sticks to it...I think she will like her gift! 



Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Brothers 17th Birthday!



My Lovely Brother Thomas

Yesterday was my brothers 17th birthday! All through my early childhood I wished and hoped for a brother or sister; at one stage I even tried to talk my Mother into adopting a sibling for me on the bus!  But unknown to me at the time my parents stuggled with infertility after my birth.  When I was twelve years old...my Mother told me that she was expecting!  I was so delighted that I danced around our dining room, shouting and whooping for joy!  Nine months later my darling brother was born, and I remember very clearly the first time I saw him at the hospital.  I thought he was wonderful!  Indeed I loved having a brother no matter how much younger than myself!

As a little guy he was very happy, content and smiley!  He adored playing with trucks, diggers and dumpers.  His main love that I remember, was acting our elaborate war scenarios with his toy soldiers; building Lego military bases and suchlike!

Now older he is still very laid-back and good natured.  At present he is just about to start his final school exams before leaving for good.  It is his wish to join the Army and pursue mechanics, which saddens me a bit; but it is what he wants to do.  So at his present stage of life he is preparing to make his own way and find some independance.  My only wish for my brother, is that the Lord will direct him according to His will and that He will keep him safe as he enters this uncertain time for any child who is quickly becoming a young man.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal that evening, in honour of my brothers birthday.  My parents had prepared dinner for all of us; they made spicy meatballs in an indian style sauce accompanied by some freshly cooked basmati rice! Mmmm!  Followed by a large chocolate birthday cake of course!  Dylan had been practising singing  the 'Happy Birthday' song all day, so even though at age seventeen Thomas may have been a little old for it; we sang it anyway!  We ate and enjoyed each others company at our home, simply because there is much more room here.  Unfortunately, even though I had the camera handy, the evening went so fast I neglected to take any recent photographs, so the one I have included is a shot I got of Thomas at Christmas time (sorry).  Brian was not home till 7pm so he missed the actual meal but was able to enjoy his lovingly prepared meal later on.  A late evening was enjoyed by all and we were all glad that we could celebrate Thomas's special day with him!


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Audiobook




The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is available here (Europe) and here (U.S)

As I have indicated before, our family simply adores audio books!  We listen to them almost everyday, I often have one playing as I potter about my kitchen; loading the dishwasher, wiping and setting things to rights.  Amy is usually wandering close by, listening to the same story as I, or she may be sketching an elaborate picture whilst listening intently to some epic story, or she may curl up with our cat, and snuggle into her bed during quiet-time. 

We don't own very many and are simply adding to our collection bit by bit.  I think audio books, particularly un-abridged versions are a must have for a home educating family...well for any family at that matter!   The only downside to audiobooks, in my opinion would be a poor choice of narrator.  Our family have a few favourite narrators...though we have also come across some stinkers!  I won't name them here, as they are simply our personal preferences, but my advice would be to try and borrow a copy from the library or friend before you go out and buy one for your collection.

The last audio book we borrowed from the library was 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S Lewis.  At first we were unsure about the narrator but as the story progressed we had grown to like the gentlemans unique way.  I think the main reasons for our reservation to liking the story-teller, were simply because we had all read the story at one time or another and had all watched the small screen and large screen adaptations and therefore, each of us already had our own firm ideas on what the charcters should have sounded like.  

This wonderful, beautiful story comes alive when retold on audio.  From the coming of Aslan, to the slaying of the great lion and the final defeat of the witch...when this story is told to us we can really close our eyes and imagine!  Narnia can really come alive!  This story allowed my children and I, to have many discussions on the biblical references mentioned by C.S Lewis and to look beyond the story.

So gather your children on the your comfiest sofa or bed, turn on this wonderful story on audio and enjoy a great classic together!

"And Aslan stood up and when he opened his mouth to roar, his
face became so terrible, that they did not dare to look at it.  And they saw
all the tree's in front of him bend before the blast of his roaring, as grass
bends in a meadow before the wind" 

 - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S Lewis

 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Wonderful Day In Photographs!




Early Sunshine Peaking Through The Tree's


My Happy Girl


Our Khaki Campbell Ducks


Amazing New Growth


A Run-Away Pyjama Clad Boy!


Our Majestic 'Welsummer' Rooster...Isn't He Beautiful!


The View To The Right Of Our Home


A Busy Little Bee...Bzz Bzz Bzz!

We hope you and your family had a blessed day also!

Spinning Troubleshooting




My Beautiful New Merino Roving

I thought I would just post a little on how my spinning has been going.  As you know I had ordered a bottom-whorl drop-spindle for our family to learn the art of spinning!  I then bought some beautful roving from a SpinningAwesomeGood at Etsy.  I was very eager to begin to spin...so while I waited, I watched a few tutorials on YouTube...to learn what to do once my products arrived!  I must add that the tutorials on YouTube very quite difficult to watch as (1) The video tutorial was split into segements which made it tricky trying to find the next clip and (2) the video quality on some of the bottom whorl tutorials was quite poor and hard to see.

The day shortly arrived that I had both the drop-spindle and roving in hand, ready to begin!  I spun, and spun, and spun...but at some point I began to wonder had I done something wrong as when taken away from the spindle my wool curled back on itself and got all 'wiggly'!  I have since briefly consulted a lady, who has spun before and she thinks that I must have 'over-spun' my yarn.  I was rather hoping that some of you talented ladies, could advise me of whether or not I can correct the mistake I have made, on my already spun yarn; and also kindly advise me on how to avoid this problem in the future?  I would be very appreciative of any helpful information or comments.  Thank you all in advance!


My First Attempt At Spinning...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Time To Sow...And A Time To Run!




A beautiful day was had by all today!  Though it started like this...

The children and I awoke early, with the sun shining through the gaps in the curtains and the birds singing in the glorious spring morning.  We went down for breakfast and to begin to get ready for our day.  I had first planned for us to visit the garden centre to purchase some plants, to re-plant our hanging baskets.  I telephoned my mother to ask to borrow their step ladder (to take the hanging baskets down) and to invite her to come with us. 


 A few minutes into our call, Amy who had been feeding her chickens came flying in the door and said I must come quickly!  I hung up on my mother and raced out the door...leaving Dylan inside.  Amy explained on the way, that two chickens had escaped out of the run as she had entered, and were now cornered by the cows who were trying to trample them!  I (in my nightdress and ugg boots) wielding a long handled mop (lol, what a funny sight I must have been!) moved the cows back out of the corner and held them at bay whilst Amy 'hushed' the hens to safety.  


We then (feeling safe again) crossed the width of walled garden  to collect the step ladder from my mother who was now waiting at the other side for us.  *Our house and my parents cottage is separated by a two acre stone-walled garden*  At this point the cows took a funny notion to my mothers ducks, who were on the other side of the fence and came charging at Amy and myself!  To say we were scared would be a large understatement!  We were about to exit the gate to enter my parents garden when we realised that the gate had been tied shut from the other side!  My knees felt like jelly as I screamed and hollered at the oncoming cattle whilst waving my mop around like a crazy woman!  My mother dropped the ladder and sprinted down the garden to come and untie the gate so we could escape!  

Now I will explain that the cattle had been put into the walled garden, simply because they are 'bulling' at the moment and our usually quiet, docile girls are gone wild with hormones!  When they are like this they will break out through almost any fence, so my Hubby puts them in the walled garden to keep them together and to prevent them from causing any mischief!  Hmmm...


Once safely on the other side of the fence, I instructed Amy to run home (the long way) so Dylan was not alone any longer than he had already been, and my mother and I walked to our home carrying the step ladder and my mop!  Once home we had a well deserved cup of tea.  

Once ready and recovered we drove out to the garden centre and purchased a few pretty flowers to re-plant in our hanging baskets.  I also bought an indoor hanging basket filled with a beautiful plant that has delicate white flowers and green and white leaves with striking purple stems! and a lovelt purple'ish 'Hebe' shrub for our garden.  We piled back into the car and visited a few places before enjoying lunch all together in our supermarkets cafe.


We then spent the late afternoon planting our new plants into their hanging baskets and garden.  Once my hard-working Beloved arrived home, we spent an enjoyable hour outdoors, watching the children play, re-potting our tomato seedlings, enjoying the pink sunset and sipping on hot tea.


...Phew!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Irish Language Workshop at Thomastown


Last Tuesday, our family were invited to another, Thomastown homeschoolers meeting.  A sweet lady had organised for the children to have an Irish language workshop with a wonderful, friendly and energetic Irish speaker!  This lady was young and fresh and seemed to really 'get' home education; she spoke openly and chatted with adult and child alike and took a real interest in the children.

We arrived around midday and luckily, the later meeting time mean't that the room was slightly warmer, as the heating had been on for longer...but I am glad that I planned ahead still and brought several layers for us all!  We had brought with us a packed lunch, toys (small cars and a tricycle for Dylan and roller blades for Amy) and my crocheting  project (which is nearly complete!).  The lady was not quite ready to start when we first arrived, so Amy went off to play on her skates with the other children and Dylan and I chatted to the other Mama's and little ones.  Dylan told me he was hungry pretty soon, so he began munching on his lunch of sandwiches and a banana; he threw his banana skin back into the bag without me realising and all our other items got all gooey with little bits of soggy banana!

A little while later the workshop began, at first the lady gathered all the children (and some Mama's) who wanted to participate around a large table, and asked each to introduce themselves in Irish.  The Irish language is not one of my more knowledgable areas, so as she got to our end of the room I tried to shrink back out of view...but she saw me, and I had to give my introduction, in probably the most awful attempt at Gaelige anyone has ever heard!

After the vocabulary part of the workshop was over, the lady brought everyone (whoever wanted to participate) into a large circle and she proceeded to teach poems and songs in Irish, complete with silly dances and actions!  What fun the children had...clapping, singing, dancing and jumping like Kangaroo's!  To me one of the great aspects of home education that I observed that day, was that all the children had great fun and were not afraid to participate; for there was no fear of being mocked and laughed at, as sometimes happens within a school enviroment.

We greatfully received our worksheets to take home, covering some of the vocabulary the speaker had used with the children and also each of us was kindly given two CD's, each containing various songs and poems all recorded in Irish...there was no charge!  Wow!  Around four o'clock, we were ready to leave, I was tired, Amy was tired and Dylan was really tired!  So we packed up and said our goodbyes. Once on the road home again, Amy and I listened to 'The Wind In The Willows' audio disc, whilst Dylan napped.  We had a great day and are very much looking forward to our next meeting!

Please note, that I probably will not submit any photographs to supplement the posts on our visits to Thomastown, as I do not feel right taking photographs within a group setting, of other children and then posting them on the internet without the parents permission...just feels a little inappropriate to me?...


Friday, April 2, 2010

Daffodils




Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud,
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a croud,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine,
And twinkle on the milky way,
They strech in never-ending line,
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


The waves beside them danced, but they,
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such jocund company!
I gazed-and gazed-but little thought,
What wealth the show to me had brought.


For oft, when on my couch I lie,
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

- William Wordsworth


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ladies Against Feminism Re-Launch




Admittedly, most of you may already know about the exciting re-launch over at 'Ladies Against Femininsm'.  Even so I thought I would mention it, just in case some of you hadn't.  This website actually is very special to me and I'll tell you why...

In November 2005, Brian, Amy and I moved to Brisbane, Australia for a one year 'holiday'.  We were also to marry there the coming February.  We were all very excited for our 'big' move.  However once we had arrived Amy (then six years old) began to misbehave.  At most she was being rather disrespectful and defiant; most days I was 'awful' and she was going to go and live with our neighbours ..."who is a far nicer Mama than you!"  I understood that she was 'acting out' because of the changes that had happened so suddenly in her life; but all the same I felt I could not and would not tolerate bad behaviour.  I began to search the internet for help with my mothering and wifely duties...

You guessed it I happened upon 'Ladies Against Femininsm'!  Hoorah!  Just to note that Amy's behaviour dissapated after 2-3 weeks and she no longer wanted to go and live with the neighbours!  ...At first I would just go on and extract all the information I could on what a wife's duties were and how I should be mothering and as for all that 'religious stuff'...I just waded past and ignored all of that.  But the Lords scripture, referenced at LAF began to hide in my heart.  Soon I began to read more and more about biblical womanhood, printing off the articles and saving them in a file (and yes I still have them)...and so began my relationship with the Lord!

So you see, my Christian journey began at LAF, and for that reason they are very special to me as I can see the great works they are doing...for it happened to me!  Pop over and visit...