Saturday, 23 February 2013

With love...

I have struggled with my identity for a long time. I used to always think of my worth in terms of my career. Who I worked for, how much I was earning and what I did. Well, I've felt kind of lost for some years because I don't "work" anymore. My career is my children and looking after my husband. And quite honestly, I hope to never "work" another day in my life. But who am I now? I would think, "everyone can have children, so that ain't so special.... so really I have no value now that I'm not working." how ridiculous my mind works!!! and totally incongruous with other things I believe like HOW AWESOME MY CHILDREN ARE!! and what a super job I am doing mothering them and teaching them.

Now, I think I am finally believing the value I am adding to my children and my husband's life. Society might tell me that I'm not valuable. But you know what? God thinks I am. Jesus loves me so much that he gave his life up for mine. MINE! (and yours!) I am treasured by God (and so are you!). I am one of his children. ...and I am treasured by my husband. He needs me to achieve all that God has called him to be. And God has chosen me (ME!) to be honoured with mothering 4 awesomely-gorgeous-hunks-of-cuteness children and teach them in his ways. I am the only one that can do it and I want to do the best job I possibly can, but I don't have much time. Their childhood slips away so quickly. Which is where this blog comes into it. Simply put, at the moment, I am struggling to write and do a good job in my home. So many others seem to do it, but it kind of stresses me out. I have so many half-posts in my head on progress of our veggie patch, homeschool endeavours, paleo recipes I like and even a whole lot of stuff on financial management, but I just can't seem to get it in without ignoring my children in some way. Right now I am ignoring Harrison to write this, while the others are up past their bedtime, and I don't want to ignore them anymore.

So, I've decided to sign-off for now. I maybe back one day, but for now, I need to concentrate on my favourite things in life without thinking "I gotta write a post about this" and then feeling bad for not doing it.

Wishing you all the best, reader. Never forget, you are valued by the living God!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Still trying to learn peace

Several weeks ago we were on bushfire alert. My country has a lot of bushfires during the summer and it is not uncommon for them to rip through towns and burn houses and kill people. We live on the edge of suburbia and there was a grass fire headed in our direction and not under control. So I tried to get together some things for each of us, in case it did get to our home and we had to leave, fires move fast and we knew if it came we'd have to leave quickly. It is a funny thing to look around the house and say, "ok, what can not be replaced. What do we essentially need if we had to start all over?". I settled for birth certificates and spare clothes. Kind of pleased with myself for not being too attached to particular items. Happy to just have the memories attached to things rather than being destrought at the thought of losing it.

But I lost my peace. I was stressing, complaining to Westley about having to pack our things. Annoyed that I wasn't sitting on the lounge with my feet up sipping a glass of wine. Yes! I couldn't even have a glass of wine in case we had to leave and drive away. I was thinking about if our insurance really would cover replacing everything, and stressing about that. I was praying too, so not all bad. Sunshine was watching TV. I very delicately asked her to get each child's special toy to pack in case the fire came and we had to leave. She was like "sure, ok" totally not stressed. Totally at peace, calm, did what I asked her to and then went back to watching TV. The thought of a fire coming, didn't phase her. The thought of losing all of her toys except her special one, didn't seem to bother her at all.

Ever noticed how kids don't often get stressed? As long as their parent is around and looks calm in the situation, children are relaxed and at peace. That is how we are called to live, with our Heavenly Father in control and looking after things for us. I need to be more like Sunshine, at peace, totally trusting my Heavenly Father even in the midst of something like preparing for a fire.
Love this scripture which is kind of related:
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Art and craft - flowers

Today we did an art and craft lesson using a flower book we borrowed from the library. I think I have mentioned before how I encourage the girls to get some "grown-up" books to look at the pictures and learn from them. They still love flowers so our most recent trip to the library included more flower and garden books.

I picked a page that had big pictures of gerberas' and we talked about it a little bit first. What they are called, how they are made up of different typed petals, the colour of the centre, etc. Then we tried to make them. I cut out a circle and then they choose the tissue paper colours each person wanted, and got to it. It was fun and even Harrison enjoyed making it. The only thing I learnt from it though was to use runny glue next time as glue sticks made it kind of hard (kept tearing at the paper already stuck).

Sunday, 10 February 2013

This machine is changing me...

Been a while since I posted about coffee ;) It just occured to me that this machine is changing me.

So I have had a pretty-good-for-the-cheap-end coffee machine since Sweet-pea was born. It was the only way I could afford good coffee back then. But honestly it was a lot of work! I would go through peaks and troughs with it. With children running around my feet it would take a good 5-10 mins of standing there while it pumped the milk. The children and I had a little dance we did while I held the milk jug. I actually have an emotional attachment to that machine (which is why it is hidden in a cupboard right now and not in the bin!).

A few years of visiting my in-laws and enjoying the ease of their nespresso-fantastico machine and my eyes were opened to the beauty of good tasting coffee from an automatic machine. I found this year's return home from holidaying at their house particularly hard so I splashed out on the above machine from Aldi and I have not looked back. It is cheap, the capsules are cheap but it is good, well I think so anyway, and I am usually pretty particular about my coffee.

I wake up, turn the machine on and within minutes I have yummy, good, strong coffee. It's great. But that is not why I am writing this. Do you want to know how it is changing me?

...I am totally curving my store bought coffee addiction. It is amazing. I have a coffee or two before I go out and when I enter the shops, walking past Gloria Jeans is a breeze. A BREEZE! No cravings to step inside. So suddenly a trip to the supermarket is really quick. Yipee!! So now I have more time. Before, almost every weekend I would crave to head out on my own for a couple of hours and I would just sit and drink coffee. Seriously, it was very often. But now, no cravings. I now have more time, and I have it at home with our family. I don't feel like I need to be out of home to have time to myself as often as I used to. I am sure I still will get out on my own and from time-to-time have a coffee but I don't feel like I need to like I did before. ...and I like that!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Rice flour pancakes

I tried a new pancake recipe tonight. We normally try to follow a paleo diet but I do like to eat some of our old favourite foods sometimes. Tonight was one such time. If I can, I still try to avoid wheat and cane sugar so finding this recipe was a real bonus because I have tried almond flour pancakes (yuck), and I have tried gluten-free flour pancakes and they were okay but I was not happy with the extra bits in the flour. Rice flour is not very nutritious I know, but at least it is not doing any harm, just empty calories. Here is a link to the original recipe over at the Yummy Supper blog. The only change I made was to remove the sugar and I used 2/3 cup of rice flour instead of 10 tablespoons. I served with lashings of top grade maple syrup (which happens to be priced quite well at Costco) and ice cream. It was really easy to make. They tasted delicious and were surprisingly filling!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Becoming an urban homesteader

About a year ago, I read the blog entry "How to be a (Suburban or Urban) Homesteader" over at The  Prairie Homestead. It got me all excited because our dream is to have a small farm. One where we raise our own meat, and grow our own food. I have dreams of an orchid, a vege patch to feed a huge family, chickens for our own eggs, probably even some other animals for meat (I'm not really an animal person, but I would love meat and would love to know my food had a nice life) and lets not forget a two story house and green rolling fields in every direction. That is our dream. It is currently out of our reach, we don't even own a house, but we are confident our time will come when God blesses our dream and we live this life. That's when I get impatient... when will it be our time? Then I read the above post. It changed how I thought, suddenly I realised all the skills I could be acquiring now that could help in our long term goals. I don't want to finally get our farm and then have to start to learn how to grow veges! Of course, I need to start learning and practising now!

I sometimes say to Westley, "What a great homemaker I would be by now if I had have quit work when we got married and started being a full-time housewife then. That is, before we had children rather than trying to figure it all out now after we have the children. My systems and processes would have been all figured out and then adding children to the equation would have been easier". Well, I can't turn back the time on that issue but I can use it to my advantage now with homesteading. We can learn loads now before our lives depend on what we produce ;)

So that was a year ago, I feel like we've made some pretty good progress, especially considering we have had an extra baby in that time. Westley has done a lot of the hard labour. I hope to share details of our progress in posts to come.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A maths leson out-and-about

I was caught out recently. We needed to go out to the shops which of course then led to a trip to the coffee shop. I usually take a book but we left it in the car by accident. So I was wondering what I could do or talk about to take advantage of the opportunity to be sitting down together with Sunshine's full attention. Then Sunshine and Sweet-pea on their own started counting the tables in the shop, which led me to asking them a string of real-life maths problems for them to solve. Ahah! maths, what a good topic. Across the counter was a row of 21 thermos cups, perfect for adding and subtracting. Here is a list of what I remember asking them.

  • How many tables are free?
  • If some customers came in and sat down at one of the tables, how many would be left?
  • How many thermos cups are lined up on the counter?
  • How many of each colour?
  • If a customer came in and bought 5, how many are left?
  • If another customer came in after that and bought 4, how many are left?
  • Can you count backwards from 20?
  • Can you count just with even numbers?
  • How about counting in 10s, can you count in 10s?

I just love it when I figure out ways of teaching that aren't planned and instead just flow naturally out of our daily life.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Merry Christmas!!

I can't help it, I love Christmas. Following my last post on playing to your strengths, I thought it would be a huge bonus if I could find ways for us to learn around doing things that I love. It's fun!

So, this week, (a bit too excited as it was still October) with Christmas tunes playing, I did mostly a whole days learning from the first Christmas story.

To start we read a the story of the first Christmas (subject: english/reading). Then as a family, we drew the nativity scene, a bit of free drawing, a bit of copying from the book, but most importantly it was a family effort with crayons and textas--2 year old scribble included (subject: art). Then we learnt the first verse of Silent Night and sang it together (subjects: english/memory work and music).

Our family nativity artwork.

It was a bit of fun, we now have our family nativity scene up on the window for all to see who visit us, and it made me so happy when Sunshine and Sweet-pea requested we sing it again yesterday, and then today I heard Sweet-pea talking and say "the first Christmas". Of course she knew the story already, but I'd never heard her refer to it as "the first Christmas" before so that made me smile. They are learning and we are having fun at the same time.

Playing to our strengths

I could make this a really long post. But I don't want to. I just want to say, that I have leant how easy things can be if you have courage to break the mould, and play to your strengths. This was made acute to me recently when my hubby and I were asked to go on the roster for children's church. I have been involved in children's church on and off over the past 12 or so years, but since I had children of my own, I've not really wanted to. The responsibility has been too much to add to our already hectic lives, and being me (one who plays by the rules and does things because that is what is always done) being involved in children's church has almost always felt like a burden to me. But this time is different. This time my hubby is the main one responsible, and I am his trusty assistant. And would you know, being who he is, he thought why do I have to do it the way everyone else does? I don't want to. I'll do it my way.

His way was playing to his strengths. Music. He played the guitar and sang, and started teaching the children some good old Christian songs. He was himself, natural and genuine and I was impressed. Impressed at how naturally he taught, how genuine the experience was, and how joyful it was to just flow with it and not be burdened with trying to replicate what everyone else does just because I was locked into thinking that is what we had to do. It was refreshing and he did a superb job leading and I think I did a pretty good job for someone who can't sing very well!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Ignoring the folding

Last week I bribed myself with a bottle of bubbly (a treat for me!) to fold the washing that had piled up. This week I thought I'd do the same thing, but when I sat down at almost 10pm Friday night to do it, I gave up after 3 or so items. The pile is now sitting next to me and I think I will ignore it again another night.

Sidenote--I have taught my girls how to fold with me, it is a part of their home education to help me with some of the household chores. But lately I have been ignoring it. Things feel so busy even though I've spent practically the whole week at home.

Anyway, I just think that it's ok to have some washing piled up. I mean, we have clean clothes to wear, my children are looked after, the house is mostly clean and in order, and we are getting through each day. I have time to spend with my darlings and that is what matters. I may look back on this period and think yes, I had a lot of washing waiting to be folded, but I will also look back and think of all the fun times we spent watching movies together, playing games, reading books, cooking, breastfeeding, changing nappies, trying to get Flopsy to smile etc., and at the moment that feels like time much better spent than folding the washing :)
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