Friday, July 31, 2009

It has arrived!!!


Sweet Laura emailed last week to let me know that a special parcel was on the way. Just a short while ago, Saraya opened the back door to go feed the chickens, and there it was on the back step!


Much excitement ensued, the grabbing of the camera to record the special moment, and the gathering of children from around the place.

Yippee!!!!! Warm shawls in soft wool, knitted by Laura's very own clever hands. A white one for Saraya and a cream one for me.

Perfect in every way.

Elijah loves the dishcloths- though Laura, surely I can't actually use them to wash dishes???!! - and William decided they make a pretty nice hat.


I am still in my pyjamas but Elijah insisted he take a photo of me in my shawl, so here it is. :)


More to come later, once I'm dressed!

THANK YOU Laura, you are so generous and certainly a kindred spirit - and I do hope we can meet in real life someday! Bless you!
Saminda. xo

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Clay Creations

Cathy recently sourced out real pottery clay and we happily accepted half of the 10kg bag. :)

Yesterday afternoon (just before the 'sponge painting' session) our table became one of Clay Creations.




Saraya also worked hard on a very tiny table and four chairs, two teensy bowls, two teensy cups and a teapot, for her little kitten family. Very sweet! All drying now.
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Today I have been struck down with migraines- not pleasant- and have struggled through the day with market shopping, jobs in town, etc. Thankfully a restful afternoon, though the migraine is still hovering. Very helpful children. I appreciate the way they 'step up' when I'm not well!

Hoping to shake the headaches by morning.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Morning Highlights

* Managing a cooked breakfast for my family today! We're all so over cold cereal this week. We had omelettes- a new recipe with creamed corn, grated carrot and grated cheese in them; a bit much 'corn flavour' for the man of the house, but he ate it anyway!- and toast and juice. All the dirties are in the dishwasher now and it really wasn't much extra work.

* Watching my baby standing out on the lawn in the early light, enthralled by all the birds overhead. Finches on the bird feeder, lorikeets darting by, magpies and pee-wees and cockatoos and doves pretty much everywhere. Another bird-watcher coming up, I think!

* Drinking tea from my most favourite china tea-cup. It's pale pink and very vintage. I rarely use it- why is that?!

* Sitting here right now and listening to my children read and chatter on the couch, blanket wrapped around them.

* A warm fire to heat the house.

* Knowing that we'll be spending the rest of the morning with friends. Once I'm dressed, that is! Better hop to it.

Have a great Wednesday. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fostering an Interest

Saraya announced a few months ago that she would like to learn the violin when she is older. We couldn't be happier! I have visions of her standing in our front room, the afternoon sun streaming in as she works through her early scales and finger-work. I know there are moments of frustration in learning an instrument (I've been there!) but feel in this instance that her determination and sensitivity will serve her well. :)

Some steps we're taking:

* Playing string music in our home many times through the week. Our current favourite is "Classical Dreams", recorded by a little group we actually saw play live while we were in London back in 2005. Features favourites such as "Spring" by Vivaldi (Saraya's current favourite composer) and Pachabel's Canon.

* Leaving books on music, orchestras, instrument groups etc. lying around the house. She's taking a keen interest in these, and bringing Elijah with her!

* Speaking of the violin as "her instrument". Letting her feel she already owns it, even though she hasn't begun playing yet. Visiting the violins in the window of the Music Shop in town. Elijah visits the drum kit. :)

* Stopping to hear others play. A blind lady playing violin was busking at the markets last week. She played beautifully, and really impressed the children. After they dropped some money in her case and walked slowly away, Saraya proclaimed that "one day, I WILL play just like that lady!"

* Just encouraging her. And obviously, buying her the violin she is dreaming of. I'm thinking perhaps for her birthday this year. Perhaps. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Books

In my lap this week.

"Learning All the Time" by John Holt.
Totally opening my mind and providing much clarity and inspiration in educating my small ones.

"And the Shofar Blew" by Francine Rivers.
Just started this one.

"Good Wives" by Louisa May Alcott.
My third or fourth reading of these favourite book. Quotes to come!

"These Happy Golden Years" by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Reading this one with Saraya. I have so enjoyed reading the Little House series with her (my first time too) - what a journey. We're almost at the end and are sure Almanzo will propose marriage to Laura any day now! Much excitement there!
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I just love to escape into a good book. Or, as of today, into my other little sanctuary- the laundry.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

And, Sunday.

We decided to skip church service this morning (again...) and enjoy some togetherness and the peace of home instead. Time at home when we're all together is rare and precious and we've all been a bit down with *something* this week so the extra rest did us all good.

My day began with my tea and my bible.


And cuddles and stories with the little ones. Playtime and general pottering. Making Dinosaur Land with the Mega-blocks was on the agenda for some of the family.

I found this little green gingham bag in a drawer and decided it would make a perfect egg-collecting bag, now that the chickens are laying such quantities of eggs! It can be hard for little hands to carry 5 (or more) eggs successfully at once.

Hoping that hanging it by the door here will remind Saraya to grab it as she heads outside.

Lunch was pumpkin soup. Naptime followed.

I don't normally do such work on a Sunday, but enthusiasm to attack my long-neglected and shameful laundry came from somewhere...... so I seized it!!

Just an hour or so later, some help from Stuart and Saraya, and jackpot! It's a nice place to be once more. Delightfully clean and tidy, and smelling sweetly of lavender and lemon oils. Peeling paint off the concrete floor means it doesn't exactly look clean, but it is.

Half-way through cleaning the windows Saraya said, "It's looking marvellous Mama! Can I please do the sweeping bit yet? And the mopping?" Really, she did! This girl has inherited my love of getting dirty areas clean again.

Old-fashioned nightie for Saraya courtesy of Mum. :) She LOVES to wear this nightdress!

And Elijah loves to wear this medievil piece from the dress-up basket. And pretend to be an Animal Warrior, saving the koalas in our backyard.

Left-over pizza from last night with scrambled eggs and tomato slices for tea. And custard with bananas. :) Oh, we also put a pineapple, some ginger, a grapefruit and about 10 oranges through the juicer to make some juice to have with our tea. Anything to keep us healthy through these final weeks of winter. It's the second time we've used the juicer this week.

Stuart and I are about to finish watching "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", then it's off to bed for me and into a brand new week tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Late Saturday night.....

I got that nap, just a little 20 minute one but oh so good. There's just something wonderful about climbing into bed in the day-time isn't there?!

After the troupe returned I planted carrot seeds in the garden, had a cup of tea with a friend, spent time with my little ones, took a long walk with William to buy tomatoes at the road-side stall near town, and worked on some homemade pizzas for tea (Elijah's order). The dough rose nicely though was a little thick. I'll need to make a bit less dough for the bases next time!

After settling the small people I headed over to Cathy's home with a couple of other ladies for a night of prayer and fellowship in preparation for her impending birth! Only a few more weeks to go now. It is getting exciting. Lots of good conversation, pampering of Cathy, cuddles with baby Hannah and the eating of chocolate-coated strawberries......... a very good night. :)

I know Cathy would appreciate your prayers in the coming weeks........ I'm just so looking forward to holding this new baby!
And now, off to bed for me.

Saturday mornings

Saturday mornings have lately become a sacred time for me.

We have fallen into a happy routine of Stuart and the children heading out on some grand adventure while the house and I spend some rather quiet time together.

I miss the activity, their chatter and cuddles and conversation........ but this time in my week is quickly becoming precious! I move more slowly, can think clearly- and stay in my pyjamas if I want to. Today I have pampered my little home and changed some bed sheets, washed some laundry and loaded it into the dryer as it is threatening rain outside. I have done some reading, tidied some toys, made a few phone calls.

And I *was* going to mop the floors. As satisfying as that would be, I think I may instead go and nap between my fresh, clean bedsheets for awhile. Also satisfying. :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

A New Approach

We have abandoned the bookwork these past three days and have pursued life with enthusiasm, purpose, peace, meaning and togetherness. The results?

Many, many books read and enjoyed.
Great ideas observed, discussed, researched and recorded.
Bibles poured over.
Soup made. Brownies mixed. Bread-dough kneaded.
Warm eggs collected.
Much loving Saraya-Nanna correspondance made.
Backyard birds watched, fed and checked in the bird book.
Friends visited.
Lively conversation and money-handling learnt, courtesy of the friendly stallholders at the markets.
Casual ball games played.
Gardens weeded and watered. Vegies harvested.
Play-dough made and moulded.


Time spent with the "Smart Globe". (If you want to get your kids interested in geography, get one of these- they are wonderful!)

Book towers built, and photographed.

A house cleaned today.

And a long, long nature walk this morning when we were amazed to view six White-Bellied Sea-Eagles gliding above us. A magical moment!

On the way home the ponies in the field nearby were petted and fed by my animal-loving daughter. ;)

And two tired, happy and non-squabbling children are tucked up in bed. Happy. They are happy. They are free and learning more than I could think to teach them if I had planned every minute of it myself.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I invite you....

I've been thrilled to have some new commenters lately. It's a joy to share life in this way!
If you are a new reader and would like to "follow" me, please click into my friends spot in my right side-bar and select "follow". It's a great way to see who's out there and for us all to find other like-minded friends. :)
Blessings,
Saminda.

Some sleep and a letter

William slept through last night for the first time in weeks. Cutting six teeth all at once has made sleep hard for him, poor baby. I have been a bit of a walking zombie lately so am so thankful for some good sleep last night!

Hence I am up early, having some quiet time before everyone gets up.

I had a few hard moments with Saraya and Elijah yesterday. It seems they've really got an issue with squabbling lately. Just little niggles. All. Day. Long.

It's not often this happens to this degree between them, and it's taking all the patience in the world not to curl up on the floor and just leave them to sort it out (should try that actually, maybe they'd do better.....). As always when I'm tired, I didn't handle things too well yesterday and that simply aggravated them further. Sigh.

Today will be better! I have slept decently, and had a good long chat with my friend Jane last night (also a homeschooling Mum) and I do feel better, inspired to keep going!

These verses are going to sit in my kitchen today where I can see them. They had all jumped out at me on Sunday while I was drenching myself in God's word. :)

"I do not concern myself with great matters,
But I have stilled and quieted my soul". Psalm 131

"A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension,
but a patient man calms a quarrel". Proverbs 15:18

"A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger". Pr 15:1

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones". Pr 15:30
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All appropriate? Oh, yes.
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The highlight of yesterday was the mail that arrived for Saraya. A little background for you.
On Sunday we all went to visit some friends to help celebrate their son Lachlan's 4th birthday. They live on some land out of town, and have numerous animals. Saraya being the animal lover that she is spent virtually the whole time in the paddock, trying to convince the sheep to come eat out of her hand (they never obliged), catching and cuddling chickens, etc. etc. She also developed a friendship with a pint-sized little one year old girl named Edith, whom she carried around "on one hip, Mama, with only one arm! She's SO much lighter than William!!" - aha, about 4 kilos lighter. Hmmmm.
Anyway, the gorgeous just-finding-his-crow rooster (quite a big one, actually) decided to have a go at Saraya, after hours of all the kids playing in there..... perhaps he'd had enough. He tried to "attack"(Saraya's words) her for about a minute, him going for her legs (long denim dress saved them), her screaming out to Stuart, and holding little Edith as high in the air as she could the whole time - what a brave girl!! The rooster owner ran in, grabbed him and whisked him off to the run whilst we all ran in to save the two crying, screaming girls from their fright. Quite an experience and one I know she'll never forget.


So when this letter arrived yesterday from Edith's Mum, we were all very excited. It contained a sheet of stickers, and reads.......

"Dear Saraya, warrior princess,
Thank you for saving little Eedie from the chickens. She wouldn't have done very well without your help. Your Mama and Papa must be very proud of you. I think you are a very special little girl.
Your friend, Fiona"

This woman's generosity in writing this card is so appreciated- what a simple act of kindness, and one which has inspired me to do more of these little things! It was a special moment for Saraya, and for me too. :) Saraya was quick to write a card back, including the words "I love Eedie, and wish I had one just like her". :)

Well, my Elijah is up for the day so I'm going to go make him breakfast.

I'll leave you with these pictures of sweet Will last night, enjoying the library books! Oh, and that piece of paper on the floor here is not a ripped page, it's the library books receipt!


Have a great Wednesday everyone.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wow!

What an amazing reception I've had regarding the shopping. Thanks so much for sharing all your great ideas! They are all so different and varied but all helpful in varying ways.

I've been thinking lots about it, have spoken to Stu about what he thinks will best suit our family at this time, and I've decided to stick with Woolies and the markets. I'll be shopping on Monday evenings, straight after dinner- and taking Saraya with me. Today was the test drive. The children and I sat down this afternoon and they helped me plan the meals for the coming week. We then looked at a few recipes and put together a shopping list. And my sweet helper tonight was in her element- all Mama's attention, out at night time, chatting her little heart out. :) It was good, good time with her. We talked about many things, naturally and incidentally covering such topics as buying in bulk, comparing products in dollars per kilogram, aisle contents, brand comparison, organic foods, what brand of yoghurt we buy and why (Janla, by the way), etc. etc. AND she wanted to help me bring it all in and unpack it when we got home. Which was by 7:30pm. She was in bed and asleep by 8pm. And Stu put the boys to bed (a nice time for them too, apparently), and cleaned up from dinner. All in all? I think it's going to work beautifullly! The shops were quiet, the children were involved (though the littler ones didn't have to come), it didn't eat into our daytime routine or William's nap time, and I had help with the unpacking.
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This past weekend was great. Friday had been a long, emotional and tiring day for me- I sang at a funeral for a man from our church who we were quite close to; Stu was unable to come so I was there with all 3 children on my own which had some challenges. Thankfully my beautiful friend Desiree (my dance teacher extraordinaire) cared for Will while I sang and generally just helped me out when I needed it. A sad morning.

So when Stuart took the children out for 4 hours on Saturday, doing wonderfully fun things including shopping for new shoes for Will (that boy is growing fast!), pine-cone collecting for the fireplace, lunch in town, a big run and some "fun maths" at Woocoo (the wildlife reserve just out of town)... I was SO happy. :) I cleaned the house from top to bottom (now a Saturday job, just trialing that change), did a few loads of washing, had a nap, read, planned, gardened and pondered. Wonderful.

I am grateful to have such a dedicated husband and father to our children. He has also been getting more involved in the homeschooling which I really appreciate..... hence the "fun maths" after some tears from Saraya during the week over her math work! He's stepping in more which is good for all of us. So good.
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Today we have launched into a new week, and with it some basic changes to our routines. I can't believe how much I learnt during last week about what works and what doesn't! When we're a bit more settled into it, I'll post more about that. Day one Week two went smoothly. :)


Yesterday Stuart did a few things in the yard, including weeding what we affectionately term our "roof garden" (in other words, cleaning out the gutters.....) and cutting back the offending trees overhanging them. This pile of branches was the result, and Stu hauled them all into the middle of the yard for a temporary tree cubby for the children. They had a great time in it today!


I hope everyone's had a nice Monday.

Thanks again for your responses to my last post, I really appreciate it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Some advice required!

Well my friends, I need some advice. Nothing too deep and troublesome, I promise!
I've just been spending time this morning revising our routines and things after learning a lot during our first homeschool week. And I have one thing that I just can't seem to find a good time to slot in.

The grocery shopping.

We've been doing the groceries on Tuesday afternoons after Saraya's dance class, at about 4 o'clock. However, this late in the afternoon is always VERY busy and the children are tired and hungry- not a good time to be doing it. Mornings are tricky now due to schooling, but we do pop out and about as part of our week so it could be possible.

I'm just wondering.......... when do you all find is the best time to do your grocery shopping? (please don't tell me there is no 'best time'- I'm already fearing this may be the case!!). Also, where do you do your shopping? I get all our fresh fruit and vegies from our local markets- it's well-priced and beautiful produce, most of it locally grown, and well worth the effort of going. I'm a Woolworths shopper for our pantry/fridge goods, but just so desperate to cut down what I've been spending that I'm willing to try anything! Buying organic meat in bulk straight from a farmer was mentioned by a friend recently, and I'm looking into this- cheaper and fresher, and no middle man! Has anyone got a positive / negative opinion of Aldi? We've got one in town, but I also like to buy Australian and wonder if a lot of their groceries are imported???

Thanks in advance, I value your input!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just wanted to share.....

video

A little bit of joy in my day today!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The perfect spot


The most natural place for the bread to rise today?


Next to the warm crock-pot of stew.

The perfect spot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My sweet little disciplinarian


Lately the chickens have been a bit overexcited when we go in to feed them...... I guess all that egg-production makes them hungry!

It is Saraya's job to feed them their grain in the mornings, take them scraps, check their water and collect the eggs.

She came in earlier and I asked if the chickens were jumping up at the feed bin again, making it tricky for her.

"Oh no Mama", she replied with a shake of her head, "The chickens don't do that anymore. I've trained them out of it."

"Oh. I see." I was a little curious. "How, Saraya? They've really stopped?"

"Yes," she said. "It was easy Mama. I'm just quite firm with them when they do it. They've learnt not to, because they don't like me talking firmly with them."

See what I mean? That girl is one of a kind. :)

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This photo was from a while ago, when the chickens were littler. Still, they're cuddled and carried more than I'd think possible for their size!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A peaceful Sabbath

Today was a restful, peaceful, family-and-friends filled Sunday! A wonderful way to finish off the winter holidays.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast (tell me, how is it possible we keep getting 6 eggs a day from 5 chickens?? Seriously!), books and board games and outside play through the morning. Lots of warm tea and coffee (for me :)). We baked a chocolate slice. I read my Bible and the book I'm working through this week.

We had a picnic at the park for lunch- it was a perfect winter sky up there! So clear and blue, and so warm today. We just couldn't stay indoors.

Sandwiches and oranges, dried apple rings and roasted almonds, and chocolate slice to eat.


Ball games with Papa.


Lots of tickling, lots of giggling.


A happy baby with a mouth full enjoying the sunshine.

(this pic is for you Michael- remember when you bought this shirt for Saraya?! ;))

Peter Rabbit, dressed up for an outing. Do you like Elijah's choice combination here?


A hide and seek game with the walky-talkies around the park.

Nice long rests for the children this afternoon.

And friends for tea! I made a meat pie (again- I'm kind-of stuck on experimenting with these...), little potatoes, bread rolls and salad. Warm custard (thanks Petrina!) and chocolate slice for dessert. A nice play for all the little people- and then there was this sweet little poppet.

Baby Hannah. Red haired, beautiful, and adored by all. Oh how we love newborn babies around here!! Interestingly, Will put on quite a show when Stuart had a cuddle with Hannah. He didn't seem to mind when I held her, but he really didn't like Stu holding her! He just wanted his Papa. I think Stuart secretly quite enjoyed that feeling. :)

All in all, a good day. I have clothes laid out for tomorrow, and I'm about to sort out the kitchen and get books ready for tomorrow morning. Bring on Term 3!

By our front steps


To me, these potted daisies speak only one word.



"Welcome!"

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Photo: William and I enjoying the last of the sunset last night. He's lately taken to sitting on any set of steps he can find! Quite a challenge for him, but he is determined. Our own little garden gnome. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Holidays winding down.......


Doing lots and lots and lots of reading.......
Accomplished.


Watching and looking up the birds who visit our bird feeder...............
Accomplished.

(too tiny to see- there were 12 of them on here!!)

A better view of them (from our bird book!) - 'Double banded finches' if you're interested

Mama / Papa "dates" with the big two kids (their choices)...............
Accomplished.

(Mama and Saraya had a movie night watching "Little Women" (again :)) by the fire.

Mama and Elijah made a trip to a cafe and had a play in the park with his tiny puppy family :).


Papa and Saraya went birdwatching at the wetlands as the sun rose, then breakfast at a cafe.


Papa and Elijah made the purchase of a new kite, followed by kite flying at the park (inspired by Mary Poppins, of course :)). )
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The potting and planting of daisies, broccoli, peas, lettuces, strawberries, spring onions and capsicums..........
Accomplished.

The sorting/ purging/ planning/ purchasing of new resources for homeschool..........
Accomplished.

The drinking of many cups of tea/ coffee/ milo with my husband...............
Accomplished.

Regular late nights and sleep-ins in the cold mornings............
Accomplished. I'll miss this one.

Having friends to visit, and visiting friends..........
Accomplished.

Watching many movies late into the night..........
Accomplished.

Yep, the holidays are winding down. I've enjoyed every minute. Now onwards to term three we go!

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