Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Bit of Quiet

Hi friends!

Just letting you know there's going to be a bit of quiet on my blog for a few days. Taking some special family time ...... but will be back again soon!

Praying that the rest of this week will be a time of peace for you and your families.

Saminda xo

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Home Days

This morning it is early, and I am up before the sun. The colours in the sky outside are all pinks and pale blues and purples, and it is beautiful. I've already been up, when the full moon was still casting it's glow across our fields and I was trying not to look, trying to concentrate on getting Will's bottle and getting back to bed and back to sleep. He succeeded, but not I. I have been lying awake, the last of the moon's glow shining on my feet; the light slowly changing from moonlight to dawn light.

I have been chewing over thoughts.

Home Days.

"Mama, is today a home day?" asked a little one yesterday morning. "Yes," I replied. "Nowhere to go today my darling, just home". "Hooray!!" come the chorus of replies. "Did you hear?! It's a home day! A home day!!" Yes, truly. My children rejoice when they discover we have a long, full day ahead of us ....... at home.

This should not be too surprising. For I too love and adore these home days. And I am their mother, and they have my genetics and clearly spend a lot of time in my company. :)

There are days for outings, yes. The groceries need to be gathered for the week. Library books too. And there are friends to visit. And dance lessons to attend. Parks to explore.

But in our family, it is the home days which are treasured most of all. They are slower, more leisurely. There is no rushing. Activities can be brought out, and they can stay out for hours without being packed away. The children have their lessons to do, and I have my chores, but then there is always time. Time. How I love free time!! An excerpt from the book I finished last week:

"Perhaps we adults have lost the fine art of lollygagging but at least most of us mastered it as children. We knew what it was to be bored and to find something on our own to do; we knew what loneliness felt like; and we discovered that there was value in being alone sometimes. Left to our own amusements, we found resources that we didn't know we had. We learned, as Wordsworth wrote, to see through "that inward eye that is the bliss of solitude." These were valuable lessons - and I fear that our own busy, well-entertained children may not ever have the chance to learn them. Inventiveness and self-reliance are being scheduled right out of them." Mitten Strings for God, Katrina Kenison.

And that's it right there. It's what happens when the amount of time at home in our day exceeds our planned activities. Lollygagging. Creative exploration. Endless of hours of play.

There is time. For anything.

Time to listen for His voice, and time to stop and hear the answer.

Time to spend in the garden, weeding or planting or watering or picking off grubs, or just admiring.

Time to say "yes!" to the little ones asking for story after story to be read.

Time to bake cookies.

Time to lie on the grass with my big boy, just watching the sky and talking about God's splendor.

Time to read from the Word at lunch, dawdling over our porridge and chewing on His words for awhile. Time for the children to then ask "Can we get out our Bibles out too?" Forgive me Lord for not doing this more often. They need me to do this daily, and I will, at lunch. We all sit (well, all but Will :)), heads bowed over bibles, reading quietly and reading aloud before heading into rest time.

Time to teach my children a new hymn! Something I hope to start doing more and more. One a day with lunch until I run out of old hymns that I know! For yesterday it was "Open my eyes, Lord; help me to see your face............" To say they loved it would be an understatement. They sang it the rest of the day and my heart swelled with joy every time.

Time to put my feet up, to read, to make another cup of tea and sip it slowly.

Time for messy craft.

Time for baking bread.

Time for cuddles.

Time for music.

Time for longer-than-usual read alouds. Little Men, the huckleberrying chapter, had us all captivated and why stop? We were sprawled out on a rug on the hill under the gum trees, close, sharing this story together. There was time to keep reading. And read we did! We read until Elijah begged for Hide and Seek, and I finally relented.

Time to play Hide and Seek with a patient 4 year old who won't be 4 forever. Actually, he won't be 4 for much longer at all.

Time to play with Papa when he got home. Until Mama calls out "It's nearly dark, and dinner is about to go on the table! Into the bath everyone....." And they stream in, sweaty and grubby and oh so happy. Papa Time will always do that to them. :)

Can you see why we love our home days so much? There is time, to say yes to me and to them and to my God. Home days are precious and preserved in our family. Typically, we spend 3 or 4 days out of every 7 at home. And they have become, without doubt, our favourite days of the week.

Today is not a home day. This morning lessons will be rushed for we are off to do something special, then sell some eggs, then gather groceries, and a few little bits and pieces for Easter. And this afternoon is dance class for the children, so we will be back out again. But that is the wonderful thing. Home day refreshes us, strengthens us, grounds us. It gives us energy and courage and light to then spread forth, have adventures and see friends and do the necessaries in town - before coming home once more, and seeing the twilight and the moonlight and the early morning sunlight.

It is up now, the sun. Shining golden across the fields out the front of our home. The wood ducks are passing the house, chortling as they do, and the lorikeets are screeching as they fly past my window. The world is waking up. My husband and all the little ones are still sleeping in their beds ....... and I am going to sneek outside for a few moments with Jesus before heading into the day.

I am so thankful for this place, this journal of mine, this blogging world. The thoughts churning in my head for hours are now out! They are churned into print and I can process them. I can share them. They make sense now.

Yes, home days are wonderful and home days, for me, are essential.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Homemade Tomato Soup

As requested, here is the recipe for the homemade tomato soup I made over the weekend.
The recipe is from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food cookbook (which I love, and yes Jane I'll give it back soon!!)

Peel and roughly slice 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 2 onions and 2 cloves of garlic (as usual, I doubled the garlic content for extra power!).

Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your sliced vegetables and cook for around 10 minutes with lid askew, moving around occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add 1.8 litres of boiling stock (I just spooned in the powder and added 1.8 litres boiling water from the kettle). Stir to dissolve stock.

Add 800g tin of whole tomatoes and 6 large ripe tomatoes (whole).

Stir and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid on.

Remove from the heat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and add a handful of fresh basil leaves. Mmmmmm. Use a liquidizer or transfer in batches to a blender and pulse until smooth.

Season again before dividing between your serving bowls.

I topped the soup with some torn thyme and oregano leaves from the garden.

This is a great recipe - quick, easy and full of nutrients. Happy cooking!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Special Sabbath

As I rose this morning there was a quiet expectancy in the air. For today is not only the sabbath, it is also Palm Sunday. Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The beginning of the Easter week. A Special Sabbath. :)

I cooked pancakes for breakfast, the children set the outdoor table, adding leaves and flowers and place cards, and Stuart read these words to us as we ate:

"As Jesus went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'

Some of the Pharisees from the multitude said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" He answered them, "I tell you that if these were silent, the stones would cry out". Luke 19

We talked about what it would have been like, Jesus arriving among the villagers who had heard all about Him ...... the miracles .......... the rumours of who He really was.......... the excitement they would have felt .......... their voices wafting in the air, the children, the grown-ups, all straining to see Him........

I love these talks with the children. Their imaginings, their ideas, are all so valuable to me.

After breakfast and clean-ups, Elijah asked for the paints, so everyone got into some creative work at the table. Even Will insists on joining in with these artistic pursuits these days!

Chubby hands at work. Love it. :)

We lunched on the verandah. Homemade tomato soup (made it's debut last night, will now be a family favourite! will post the recipe if anyone's interested....) and yesterday's bread....

Will prefers his tomatoes fresh. He is downing cherry tomatoes at last! Just as they ripen on the plants in the garden. Wonderful.

And passionfruits for dessert.

I caught this moment as Stuart read William his favourite book - Peepo - yet again. My precious man and one of my precious boys.

Then I heard the giggles and had to run back for another photo! This boy has the best laugh.

The children all took off after lunch, into a game of sorts down in what we affectionately call our "jungle" - a double hedge of bushy Australian natives, perfect for exploration and adventure. :)

I walked with my coffee in the orchard. The bees were busy and the sunflowers spectacular. Tomatoes in flower. Oregano spreading. Capsicums overloading their small bush. Passionfruits hanging from the vine.

There was beauty everywhere in this small little area I call my orchard.

I marveled at the new growth on the apple trees I planted in the summer.

And I marveled at this week stretching ahead of all of us, full of opportunities to reflect and talk to Him and thank Him for the immeasurable gift offered to us on the cross. I intend to take time to be quiet this week. I have activities planned for the children, and we'll have our classes and trips to town and house chores to do ............ but I yearn for the quiet. I always do during this Easter week, every year is the same.

Quiet. Solitude. His Word. Prayer. Thanksgiving. Thankfulness. In everything.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I am thinking through ways to make our Easter celebrations special and meaningful for the coming week.

Would you share with me your ideas / family traditions / things you loved or remember from your own childhoods? I need some ideas, friends!

A Bittersweet Transition

I am grappling to get my head around a bittersweet transition little William has decided to impose on me this week.

He has decided to start using the toilet.

Yes, my sweet 22 month old is requesting to use the toilet. A poo yesterday afternoon and a wee this morning. What a clever boy he is!! He has decided his reward for a successful toilet trip is that I read him 'Peepo' - his current favourite peek-a-boo picture book. I'm happy with that!

Goodbye fluffy nappy bottoms and hello toddler training pants. *Sigh*. Am I ready for my littlest babe to be doing this?!? He is growing up way too fast.


Photos: William sleeping in the sling.
And my bigger Will, joining in with craft at the table last week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Parcel!

Thank you Sarah, your sweet parcel arrived in the mail today!

It is absolutely teeming down rain this morning, but my resolute Saraya wanted to go up our long driveway to check the mail anyway. Soon I could hear screams of "MAMA!! MAMA!!!! It's a parcel from AMERICA!!!" as she came running back towards the house, fair hair flying. I'm sure our neighbours could hear her too!

So thank you. I can't wait to get into both the book and the coffee. xo

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Classroom

Life is good!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Great Outdoors

I have taken a leaf out of Charlotte Mason's writings (literally!) and made it a family goal this season to spend at least 5 hours a day out of doors. This means we'll eat and read and write and draw and learn and run and play and garden and explore - all outside, whenever possible!

This morning after dropping Stuart to work the children and I headed to the park...... fruit, water, history book, nature notebook, pencils, cuddly toys, dress-ups and balls in hand! We had a great time and plan to do this once a week from now on. It would be nice to have some friends join us from time to time too. As always, photo opportunities presented themselves. Here's a few glimpses of our morning in the great outdoors.

"To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug." Helen Keller

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Autumn Celebration

Today we had quite an autumn celebration in our home. Not really planned, the day just sort-of unfolded that way and I went with it.

Firstly we completed our eggy project which was ....... little beeswax egg-shaped candles! I had never tried candle-making before, so it was a new thing for me. Inspiration found here and tutorial found here if you wish to try it yourself!

I learnt a lot this morning - mostly that when beeswax melts the quantity tends to "shrink". Even after 3 separate wax meltings I still ended up with not quite enough wax. Which meant our candles weren't quite egg-shaped as the wax didn't reach the top of the eggshells. But that's okay! They still worked. And I would like to try them again next week.

Melting our slithers of beeswax

Using a funnel to pour it into our eggshells

Leaving to harden

We cleaned and tidied the living rooms this morning and I emptied the vase of withered roses and replaced them with these warm-coloured grasses, cut from the hedging down the side of the verandah.

The children went on an autumn nature hunt and used their discoveries to make this table centrepiece, an autumn inspired table wreath.

Saraya happily peeled away at the shells once the candles had hardened

And the table centrepiece made the perfect frame for our home made candle, which we lit at dinner time. Very special!

Saraya read us all a poem we found called "Autumn Song" - welcoming the falling leaves and cooler weather. We dined on pumpkin soup and wholemeal rolls, then apple and raspberry puff and home made vanilla ice-cream. Yum!!

It was a good, long, productive day. I am tired tonight but I know my children enjoyed this spontaneous seasonal celebration, and so did I. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hands-On Fun

A few things we've been doing recently.....

We made corn cobs from coloured paper and popping corn to stick up on our autumn wall.

Everyone had fun making these, even Will!

Our corn cobs drying before we added their "leaves".

Saraya and I studied the history of the Sumerian civilization (facinating!), and Saraya made her own cuneiform tablet from clay.

Carving in letter symbols. There were apparently 600 symbols in the Sumerian alphabet!

The finished product! We let it dry and harden and it's now sitting proudly in her bedroom.

She went on making a few other clay objects while we had it out. This was a cute little bird.

We had another butterfly hatch this week, much to our amazement! This one from quite a large, pretty caterpillar we found devouring the leaves on our orange tree. It formed a cocoon in the box Saraya prepared for it - but we were a little sad when it hatched out as it's wings were all folded and bent. I'm not sure what went wrong. Perhaps it made it's cocoon too tight, or stayed in too long? The children still thought she was beautiful and we took lots of photos and examined her colourings. She spent most of the day in my pot of herbs on the verandah before disappearing. I'm hoping she got those wings sorted and managed to fly away!

The children have spent most of the past couple of weeks playing outside, no prompting from me. This makes me a very happy Mama, and makes for happy kids who sleep well too! Through the summer is was just too hot for them to be out of doors between about 9am and 6pm! :( So we're all enjoying the cooler autumn weather very much.

Today we blew eggs for an easter activity! Our first time egg blowing, and it actually worked really well. I'll reveal what we do with them in the next couple of days!

Scrambled eggs for lunch, and a tray of drying eggshells. :)

Hands-on learning is great!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Late in the afternoon yesterday, Stuart and Saraya were mowing the grass and William and I were spending some time outside together, walking and chatting, looking at the flowers and kicking the ball etc. Elijah had asked if he could take some photos with my camera (something he and Saraya both enjoy) - so he was pottering around indoors and out, capturing the beautiful and whimsical from his own perspective.

When we came inside for baths and dinner, I uploaded them onto the computer for him to look at. There were about 90 photos there! I was just amazed with some of them. This boy is only 4, and I just love his arty perspective on things! I thought I'd put up some of my favourites. Hope you enjoy them too. Our place through Elijah's eyes. :)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin