Monday, November 28, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters

1. i had the privilege of spending just over 24 hours with my beautiful sister this past weekend. it's the first time we have spent time together for oh so long. we talked non-stop for hours. we indulged in our shared, but crazy obsession with stationary. we simply enjoyed being sisters.

2. my aformentioned sister finally got me joined up to what i'm predicting will be a wonderfully, inspirational time-waster for me. pinterest. it's been there calling my name for a while now, but i've resisted, just in case it required more time than i was willing to give it. now i'm hooked.

3. it's hot, hot, hot in this part of the world, these days. summer is approaching fast. in fact it's well and truly here, in full force. i'm so thankful for air-conditioned coffee shops and my boy to share a chocolate truffle with.

4. our christmas tree is shining and sparkling in our lounge room. candles on the coffee table and nativity scene on the piano. it's a time of year i enjoy so much. there is something about the traditions and memories which seem to say; take the days a bit slower, enjoy each day and make the time to do things together which we only seem to do once a year.

5. the simple pleasures. big kids with their little toys. a steam train ride through the bushland made for fun for young and old alike.

Friday, November 25, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

---Inspired by SouleMama---



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Solitude


Right now I could hear a pin drop, if it dropped that is. I can hear every droplet of rain that floats down and lands gracefully on our roof. If I still myself even further, I hear some birds chirping in the distance and the gentle, repetitive tick of our clock as it keeps me company on our journey through the day.

It is a rare moment when I get this feeling, absolute solitude. Today solitude has reached out and beckoned to me with open arms. I haven't sought it out but I am ever so thankful it found it's way into my home on this day. Oh, I do enjoy hearing my own thoughts sometimes. There is a certain sense of accomplishment when an idea can take root in my mind and sit there growing and changing as I dwell upon it for more than 5 seconds. It's moments like this that I often feel I should be doing things and getting so much done. I could accomplish much in this time of quietness but instead, today I've taken the opportunity to rediscover a long hidden part of myself. Like opening up a box within my life which is covered in dust and hasn't seen any light for far too long. And I have enjoyed the journey immensely.

Day's drift past all too quickly sometimes (and all too slowly at other times!) and before my head hits the pillow I try to reflect on the day just past. As my eyes are begging to close and my body finally succumbing to relaxation as it melts into the soft mattress below, I bring into my mind's eye things I'm grateful for in the day just past. More often than not, these reflections are 'one-liners'. Just a fleeting thought which is very quickly pushed aside as slumber gains control. Today though, I have had more time than expected to allow my mind to dwell on those things to which I give my gratitude . Even mundane tasks such as folding the washing have become moments of meditative beauty.

So I give my heartfelt thanks to solitude for greeting me mid-morning and remaining my companion till mid-afternoon. I have enjoyed our walk together today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Birthday Girl

Celebrating a special birthday yesterday.



Present surprises all round.




Big brother helping to read some cards sent from family.


Friends, tea party, dancing music and pink cakes.
It all makes for one very special birthday for one very special girl.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celebrating a Birthday

It comes around as regularly as clockwork, exactly 365 (and a quarter) days after the last, the one special day of the year we dedicate to celebrating this special person in our family.


Our little Butterfly turned 6 today and as I sat by her bed tonight, watching her peaceful but exhausted, sleeping body move ever so slightly with each breath, I reflected...

She is:
  • our only daughter
  • the one who lives everyday with a beautiful, contagious smile on her face
  • the one who brings joy, laughter, beauty, pink and all things 'girly' into our family
  • a helper and playmate to her brothers
  • always by my side ready to help with cooking, washing or any other task
  • learning the skills of sewing alongside me
  • a delight to sit and stitch and giggle with over a cup of tea
  • always ready to read to me and getting better each and every day
  • anxious to start a proper handwriting book in Grade 1 next year
  • by my side feeding, changing and looking after her 'baby' as I look after mine
  • ready at any time for a game of princess snap/memory or uno
  • the one who will call me back in to her room for yet another kiss and cuddle every night
  • wanting to be a ballerina and 'Mummy who stays home to look after her children' when she grows up
  • needing to be challenged with books to read and activities to do - nothing babyish or boring for her!
  • my super, special 6 year old princess
I love you, my Holly Girl.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

---Inspired by SouleMama---



My Koala Sleeping in a Tree

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In the Busyness





I caught myself this morning, sitting in a crowded place, drinking coffee, feeding a baby, remembering what I had to buy here, planning the menu for the weekend when I realised that there was free internet here as well. So out came my i-pod and I logged in to look up a web page. I was multi-tasking to the extreme when I heard a noise in the midst of all this. It was just my children talking to each other. Hearing their conversation was enough to drag me back to the present and look at my actions objectively.

I began to think about space and especially mental space. It seems so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the city. Words are floating around waiting to land in someones thoughts, noises crowd out any restfulness, to-do lists seem to appear out of nowhere all claiming to be the most urgent. Whereas watching the waves rhythmic pounding of the shore or listening to the bird songs filling the silence of the rainforest or drinking in a view which reaches to the horizon, those times seem like honey to my soul. When I'm surrounded by God's glorious handiwork it's much easier to rest my mind and replentish my soul.

But here I was multi-tasking magnificently when I stopped it all. Well, I did keep feeding the baby and sipping my coffee, but I brought my mind to where I was and who I was with and away went the electronic device - why do I need interenet everywhere anyway? I remembered these words I wrote a week or so ago. My children and I chatted for a few minutes about this, that and the other and we all walked away with a restfulness which wasn't present moments earlier. Once again I am reminded to live here and now, walk slower as I notice and enjoy this life I am priviledged to live.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Live Intentionally

Live Intentionally. These two words have unassumingly woven themselves into the fabric which is my life. I haven't sought them out or until now, even consciously realized how tightly woven into my very being they have become. They are words I find myself being drawn towards in moments of confusion, procrastination and uncertainty. They seem to show their true beauty in thoughtful, reflective, soul-nourishing moments.



The concept these two simple words encompasses has been thrown into the very forefront of my consciousness and like a deep, repetitive drum beat it reaches right into the very depths of my being. It is as if I have been forced to bring it to the surface of my mind to dwell upon and clarify my thoughts about this whole idea before allowing it to rest once again, woven throughout the background colours of my life's fabric.

Everywhere I turn at the moment brings these two words into my heart. I glance through some journal entries I've made over the past 4 years and find it reaching out to grasp my attention on at least six occasions. When writing a new entry into that very same journal over the weekend I discover these same words written no less than twice in the same amount of pages. I was having a discussion with my husband over a few very mundane issues and yet again this theme crops up. It is reaching out to me even as I chat with some friends about Christmas traditions while watching our children play.



A greater sense of everyday, practical clarity has moulded into my thoughts while reflecting on this discussion about Christmas traditions and what each family does or doesn't do. How much should we 'go with the flow' as we live in our culture and how much should we 'close off' from the common cultural norms surrounding the season as we celebrate Jesus' birth at Christmas time. Most people who were taking part in this particular conversation had very similar views on the matter so it wasn't the most dramatic of discussions I've been privy to. But, it has remained in the forefront of my mind for these past days and I haven't been able to shake the underlying theme. Which was (if you can't guess) Live Intentionally.



Oh, those words were probably not even spoken on that occasion and the other ladies will probably shake their head at wonder as they read this. This wasn't really what we were talking about on the surface level but I sensed it was really what we were meaning with our words, in the deeper levels of our lives. If we didn't have the desire to 'Live Intentionally' in our lives would we even be discussing what are appropriate, good, right and fun Christmas traditions make part of our families? Without this desire to live intentionally, would we just go with what our culture tells us to do? The very fact we were having that discussion indicates our desire to live intentionally in our lives. Ah, how that brings some small portion of rest to my mind as I know I am reaching out to grasp this ideal with others joining me on the journey.





Linking with:

Monday, November 14, 2011

On Our Shelves



Having a shelf (or plastic tubs) set out with a variety of activities for my younger children to choose from has worked really great for us for several years now. I change the activities regularly - depending on the interest and age of the child. Sometimes it's a theme for a month or so, other times it's been different activity books or reading books. At the moment my 4 year old boy is loving hands-on, real-life activites so I'm trying to keep a variety of these types of baskets on his shelf. This is the way I work with the Montessori aproach in our homeschool routine and environment. Having a whole room set aside with a big variety of activities contantly available just isn't practical for us at the moment.

I find that by keeping things simple and having only a few activities to choose from makes it easy for them and they try different activities and skills more readily. For example, by selecting one colour of crayons in different shades leads to a different appreciation and learning about colour than having a full tub of crayons. I just make sure I change them regularly and be constantly watching for learning readiness and interest.

Here is a snapshot of our shelves this week.


Heart shaped crayons we made a while ago and a little note book.
Note: This has been used to draw one person on one page every day for about two weeks now. Alexander's idea of what to do with these resources and he loves the simple repetition each day at the moment.


A multi-coloured pencil and truck stencil.


This ice cube tray fits these circles perfectly. It is quite a challenge to get them in and out without using hands.


Tracing and cutting practice.
I am amazed at how simple this is but how much they love it.



Looking in a cheap shop recently these were chosen by Alexander. At the time I questioned why he wanted me to buy these two packets of beads (I really thought it would be Holly who would choose these). He was adamant that this was what he wanted so I splurged the $2 and bought them. I am so glad I did. He has spent hours and hours threading these with his 'real' tapestry needle


Modeling clay and some clay tools - it makes a change from playdo and the creations are endless.

I'd love you to add a comment with ideas you use for your younger children's activities.





Linking up with:
Montessori Monday

Friday, November 11, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
---Inspired by SouleMama---



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today


Every morning, whether I feel ready or not, light begins to flood the rooms of our home. Little eyes begin to open and with abounding energy those little people jump up ready for whatever adventures the day ahead may hold. Today, though, was one of the days when I really didn't feel ready for the morning to arrive. As I was contemplating the fact that morning was upon me in all it's glory, I heard one set of little feet running up the hallway and felt a little person snuggle in next to me and I knew that, ready-or-not, the day had begun. I still felt the need for at least another 10 hours sleep and although I could hear some family members were full of happy, cheerful, high energy levels, unfortunately I wasn't one of those people.

I simply took one step after the other and in a non-thinking state began the routine morning tasks. On my way to the kitchen I stopped by the computer for 5 minutes to hopefully find some encouragement and inspiration for my day ahead. I logged onto Sally's blog and wafted in her contagious joy and decided then and there that my day was going to be fantastic. Somehow, I just wasn't sure how, but I knew I could turn it into a fantastic day one way or another. So I planted a smile on my face, formed some loving, encouraging words in my mind and greeted my family.

Now I am very encouraged as I reflect on the day which has just passed.

Today I:
Read many stories to my little ones.
Discussed all sorts of topics which floated into our minds.
Listened to the sounds of birds chirping in the distance.
Discovered a green grasshopper with my son.
Savoured a steaming hot cup of coffee or maybe it was more than just one. . .
Sang a bedtime lullaby to my butterfly.
Wondered at the beauty found in a single leaf.
Delighted in the joy found by children playing for hours in a sandpit.
Smiled at the fact that I get to live my life.
Dreamed those soul enlarging dreams.
Loved the entire day through.

Beauty and Joy filled my day today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Make a Paper Parachute

How to make a parachute:
You will need:
A small piece of cardboard or construction paper
1 piece of paper towel
4 pieces of string approx. 30 cm long
Stickytape
Blue tack
What to do:
1. Draw a man on cardboard or construction paper and cut out.
2. Tape a piece of string onto each corner of the paper towel.
3. Bring all four pieces of string together and tape to the cardboard man.
4. Add a bit of Blue tack to the man, if needed to give extra weight.
5. Drop from a high place and discuss the many science principles at work here.





Sunday, November 6, 2011

Homeschool Happenings

{ This Week }


Tuesday rolled around just like any other day but as the morning tasks and music practices were being completed lots of whispered conversations were taking place. Finally when all the normal morning 'jobs' were finished the three children launched into a frenzy of creative activity. I watched this going on and as they were cutting and gluing and choosing colours, I casually asked what the big occasion was? After all it was the time we would normally be doing math and reading activities.
With uncertainty in their eyes, further whispered discussions ensued. Finally, I was informed that it was a very big secret but I could be told. I felt rather privileged and prompted them further on what this secret actually was. . . . 'Lean down so I can whisper,' were the instructions.  In a barely audible voice my little butterfly informed me that, 'It is Charlotte's (the doll) birthday today.' Oh, I understood just how important these occasions are. Leaving them to their preparations I just pottered about in the kitchen and laundry keeping an eye on proceedings. I was rather impressed with the amount of creativity, fun, laughter and learning which happening in the following hour or so.
My butterfly loves paper almost as much as me, I think, and she spent ever so long making a pretty paper chain for the decorations. Cutting each piece separately and working out what colour comes next to keep the same pattern. Then making sure she didn't cut the pieces too big so she had the same amount of links in each colour. It was a really great math activity (but don't tell her that, she thinks it was all for fun!!)


The boys were found searching through the pages of some old craft books. Oh, the simplicity of crafts found in these black and white books from 30 years ago. It was a hard decision but the party game was decided upon. "Drop the parachute." I don't think any rules were invented but that didn't matter because is was so much fun making the parachute.

And testing the parachute.


And testing the second parachute.



And getting to stand on the kitchen bench all the while. WOW!
Finally the party was planned and organized and the guests all dressed for the occasion, a princess, a farmer and a 'boy'. Then the interest was focused in other areas and our little Charlotte dolly never actually got her party. But I'm sure she enjoyed all the preparations as much as the children.




Friday, November 4, 2011

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
---Inspired by SouleMama---






Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Making a Terrarium

A glass cookie jar with a smiley face moulded into the glass was given to us by a neighbour some time back. It really was a cute jar and seemed a good size for . . . something. . . . . Several uses have been suggested but despite all the ideas it's home remained on the kitchen windowsill - empty and gathering dust. 

It was while on holiday, in one of those quiet moments browsing through the pile of books I'd added to my bag, that the glass jar found a use. It was The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake Soule which inspired my gardening creativity this time. Showing the idea to the family was met with a positive response, so the page was marked and put aside until we were at home and able to put the glass jar to use.



The past weekend saw us all treck off to the garden centre armed with the book in question and a list of materials we needed. The littler people were on a mission and worked hard at keeping us bigger people remain 'on task'. We were prone to be a little distracted as we saw this, that and the other which wasn't on our list. Our purchases made, we returned home just in time before the summer (well really spring) storm arrived in full. So the project was put on hold till another time when the weather was kinder.

Yesterday afternoon the time was right, the weather was right and everyone was present and ready to get some hands dirty (or in the case of one little person, watch while munching on an apple).








We now have a garden sitting on our kitchen bench instead of an empty jar and will enjoy the process of watching it's own little ecosystem.