• Archive for April 2011


    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Our weekend was splendid… Sweet friends, six adorable littles, Easter. We all put our goodbyes far from reality and soaked in the pleasure of our friendship. It was perfect…. Except for Lachlan and his non-sleep fiasco!

    Roger booked me and the children summer flights home…one way!

    I am now realising exactly what that means.

    Good bye to Africa and this wild adventure I have claimed mine over these last years.

    Two weeks of whirling busy ~ good-byes and packing, school to finish, babes to raise and feed, and a Continent to ease out of!

    It is slightly overwhelming and I am sure my voice here over these next days will be but a whisper and hint…

    Tis the Long Weekend

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Tis a long weekend! Even longer for us enduring another Nigerian election. Apparently when this country was planning the elections they forgot it was the Easter weekend, and have now bumped voting/no movement day from Saturday until Tuesday!

    I will be watching my poor boy’s nail! Product of an engineer’s son! Enthralled with opening, closing and slamming doors!

    We are going to spend the weekend with Friends. Maybe are last time lounging out with or dearest…

    I will be thinking of you all over this weekend, we will meet again soon after the holiday!


    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Twice yearly, for just a few faint weeks amid seasons of dry and thunderous wet, Lagos blossoms. With brave tenacity a rush of blooms spread ~ rare ~ delightful ~ pleasure over dusty chaotic of Africa’s largest city.

    Patiently I wait, first months of fogging dust giving gingerly way to pelting heat ~ then colour, beauty declaration that the rain is coming to sweep the sands away.

    You come to turn ear carefully for the first ominous claps of storm, sadly rushing to gather what might be salvaged before the hasty whirls crush petals into rivers of mud.

    ~ The last of my african crimson sets stage on my table ~

    Mothering Monday ~ Teaching

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    I believe education is one of the higher responsibilities of parents as we raise our heaven-gifted children.
    I have many an email and questions in regards to this topic. Many know I am easing into making our lifestyle that of educating at home, full time. I feel the need to communicate that I adamantly believe the home is the best place for education to birth and flourish, regardless of choice between formal or unconventional education paths for your children. If learning is to be a passion and thrill for your child, it will always start from home!

    A Love for Learning is a gift I want to give my children. I want to help set a lifestyle of learning for them that will not be completed when they have received their highschool or university diploma. For me to see in my adult children a passion and continuation of learning, will be a great reward.

    For me life is simply too short to waste any precious time on junk! Junk Education!

    There are so many beautiful, alive and uplifting things for our children’s (and our) minds to dwell on!

    Beautiful Music

    Beautiful Art

    Beautiful Words: Poetry, Stories

    Beautiful Thoughts ~ in touch with great minds

    Beautiful books filled with life ~ art ~ poetry ~ stories ~ thoughts

    Beautiful Nature ~ Seasons drenched in wonder

    I have seen growth in children minds and characters when life settles in beauty.

    For your home to emanate peace and learning…

    Turn off the t.v or computer, cancel as many after school lessons as possible.

    ~ Go home ~

    Play music of Vivaldi, Chopin, Holst, (most children’s favourites).

    Pull out books sparked with wonder, adventure and truth. Read to your kids in as much enthusiasm you can muster.

    Take them out in nature. Let them feel her pulse. Have them run with the waters, meadows and mountains of this grand earth. Encourage them as they collect pocketfuls of treasures hunted from out doors. Once home read and explain what leaves and woods, rocks and plants they have collected.

    Filter your home play with a standard of greatness, purity and reality. Play with them.

    Have fewer toys providing more room and time for art supplies.

    A child will feel much surer, encouraged, adventurous and healthy if they are dwelling on wholesome, enlightening and uplifting materials or activities.

    Make learning your life and their life will learn!

    There is a world of ‘educational’ things you could buy and fill your life with that is sadly ‘fluff’, taking precious space of shelves and minds!

    When life boils down to home work and math facts and midwinter house blues remember that all things should be a blessing. Learning the disciplines is so important. Work with your child’s character to be able to manage their ‘harder work’ in a timely fashion and with self-responsibility. Let discipline subjects be interwoven with the lighter more engaging topics. Do not make excuses for their tardiness or lack of discipline. Use wisdom, if math is not working try another program, if that is still not working, work on character, your and your child’s, encourage your child’s mind to think new thoughts of math. Read to them about Galileo, Leonardo da-Vinci, Albert Einstein (or any scientist, inventor or explorer for that matter), let them taste the importance of math. Point out throughout the day when you or they have just used a math skill. Your goal with difficult subjects is to make it as alive and interesting as possible while still having your child learn the subject matter fully.

    I encourage you Dear Mother ~ you are a teacher ~ if you have a babe tucked close to heart, you are their main educator, if anything, teach them of adventures in learning, the glorious wonders of this World.

    My amazing friend and brilliant educator Marion, has some wisdom on teaching she is so generously sharing with us this morning.

    There are so many good ideas for teaching/learning situations. Each Mom/Dad knows their child and knows what sparks their interest and keep them going. I am so blessed when I see the work that home-schoolers do with their own children. I love working alongside some of those parents. It is a great joy!

    Questions to ask?

    Does your child listen well? Will your child copy (actions, etc.) and remember what they have seen shown to them? Does your child like to learn by being shown something? Does your child remember well? Can your child sit for 5 minutes or for 20 minutes?

    The answers to these questions and others like them can help you shape the teaching styles and times in your child's day.

    .....teaching/learning should involve as many senses as possible (seeing, hearing, feeling, even tasting or smelling something).

    .....much teaching involves listening/seeing and should include doing something as well.

    .....be at your child’s level when you’re teaching them something---ie. Sitting at the table alongside them or being on the floor or a low chair for activities at that level.

    .....play games with a purpose....ie. Memory games can build and perfect listening skills if you start out instructing the child to do one thing/two things/three things/etc.; memory games can also increase visual retention if you play a card game with face-down pairs of pictures and takes turns flipping over pairs of them to try and find those matches. Putting together puzzles is a great way of getting children ready to read as it helps them pull out details from a whole array of details on the table (it’s called “figure-ground” and helps a child find letters/words on a page of other words);

    .....READ TO YOUR CHILD----I think we, as parents, can never do this enough. Reading as your child(ren) snuggle around you provides them not only with rich language but also the closeness/safety/pleasure of being YOUR focus. Read books that include words new to them....use these words later to increase your child’s vocabulary. Talk about synonyms and antonyms and homonyms.....about descriptive words (adjectives), action words (verbs). Model good English is your speech around the home. If children say something that isn’t grammatically correct, repeat it back to them correctly (ie...”Sally and me want to play outside” should be repeated, “Sally and I want to play outside”....or “Tommy gave that to Peter and I”...repeat it correctly as “....to Peter and me”)

    .....have your child describe something to you using only words....or only a drawing...or whatever other creative way you decide.....this can come after you’ve demonstrated how to do it together. For instance, put a ripe yellow pear on the table on a plate and start writing down words to describe it....use sight, sound, smell, feel, taste words.

    .....use your child’s BACKboard---I have found that most children have a great message centre to their brain---it’s their back. Try writing numbers or letters (particularly those which a child may write “backward” or inverted) on a child’s back and have them write what you have done on a paper in front of them or trace it on a “sand square” in front of them.....a sand square is a small box filled with a layer of coarse sand/rice/flours/beans/etc. to give your child a tactile (feeling) sensation of what is being written. Another fun way of writing such letters is in chocolate pudding on a heavier type paper....fun and TASTY!

    Some over-riding suggestions:

    Always be positive. In whatever learning activity your child is involved, there is always something. Some days, finding that positive note might provide you needed humor as well (:

    Teach from what your child already knows. For instance, math is not stand-alone bits of knowledge....it is all inter-related and must be built consecutively day by day. Addition/subtraction facts live in families as to multiplication/division facts. Teach these facts to rote memory as this knowledge gives your child the tools they need to build with greater ease the higher levels. Provide more practice in a skill than not enough. Encourage mastery (ie. 80% or better) in this subject.

    If you hit a road-block in learning, leave it for an hour/a day....then return to it and try it “another way”....let your child tell you in words HOW they did something. Listen carefully and you will likely be able to see where they took a wrong-turn. Encourage them; tell them what wrong turn happened; and walk them through the correct pattern. Then allow practice in it and keep up the encouraging words.

    Take breaks.....have a wee snack/run around the yard....then get back to it. Have a finish in mind and congratulate your child on a job well-done.

    Be ready to learn yourself.

    Ladies, my teacher’s hat is off to you, may your week be a wonder, with your child’s hand warmly tucked into yours through your learning adventures.


    Friday Tin

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Fudged delectable ~ whip topped ~ garnishes of mint!

    For all those previously asking for my sisters terribly delightful ‘Caloric Crack’

    Heat oven to 350

    Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil the grease the tinfoil with butter.

    Lay ‘Premium Plus’ crackers flat on the tray.

    Melt until a caramel sauce. I had to whisk the butter and sugar together.
    1 cup butter
    1 cup brown sugar

    Pour over crackers. Then bake for five minutes.

    Remove from oven and top with chocolate chips, nuts, and score bits. Put back in oven for a minute or two. Spread around.

    Place in fridge until hard. Then ‘crack’. Store in the freezer! Enjoy!

    Spring Tour ~ Kids Sets

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    I am thinking my little globetrotters will be packing such sweetness...

    Lovely Number ~ 1

    Lovely Number ~ 2

    Lovely Number ~ 3

    {For those who asked ~ We will be travelling in Great Britain, starting in the Cotswolds, Lake District, Scottish highlands, Edinburgh, London.  I am holding my breath with excitement! }

    Spring Tour

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    In a few spring weeks I will be touring Europe.

    I am thinking ahead to what I should bring.

    Dreaming of excursions in nature’s blues and yellows.

    Draped curls and strands of pearly sophistication.

    Mothering Monday ~ Links

    Monday, April 11, 2011


    My second born beauty ~ all wind and whirl ~ fell exhausted into a napping midday oasis ~ such rare tranquillity found my tired and lured me into afternoon rest ~ arresting my free time for today.

    With a quite rush, I leave you some links ~ Mothers of this world that I steal away to from time to time (though my life hardly affords me internet surfing.) I think you may find some creative encouraging thoughts... I certainly have.

    Pleasant View School House (Here)

    A Holy Experience (Here)

    The Stay-at-Home Missionary (this blog was ended but gratefully never deleted, lots of wonderful archived posts) (Here)

    Garden Mama (Here)

    4Little Men and Girly Twins (Here)

    Life Made Lovely (Here)

    Moments with Mother Culture (Here)

    The Handmade Home (Here)

    SouleMama (Here)

    I am sure there are thousands of others I have missed because of busy! If there is a gem blog out among the Mothering blog world, just waiting for the rest of this Mothering community to be encouraged through. Please send the link! I would gladly like to post links here for other busy Mothers to find ~ easier then digging around.

    Have a blessed Mothering Monday!

    Spring Tin

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    My senses are instinctively tense, this northern girl hears a beckoning… Symphonic whirls scattering her marvels on winter’s barren scape. I wish to swing wide my windows and feel the rush of fresh tantalising hope ~ Spring ~

    I know my House of Dreams nestles cool in a forest of white. I still long…deep and passionately for my world of seasons and their yearly fleeting masterpieces.

    Today I shut out the African heat and city bustle, and whisk my heart over seas and lands straining to feel lyrics of spring's poetry.

    I searched for some reminders ~ Strawberries and Whip, escorted gently up from the Cape, souvenirs of civilisation ~ Crimson blossoms, the flare of foreign beauty ~ Gifts laced with bow’s ~ And the weekend…

    Whole Wheat Bread

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    I have been working on tweaking my Mother’s oh-so-easy-staple bread recipe.
    My problem with Whole Wheat is that the bread is so heavy that little kids do not seem to enjoy eating fibered bricks, regardless of how healthy it may be for them!.
    I have thought about using gluten, dough enhancer or xanthum but feel that all these ingredients are unnatural additives. And would rather find my way around using them. I did some googling and found that eggs, molasses and ginger (will not flavour your bread) are all yeast activators. And truly help in the fluffing! I realise that yeast is not the healthiest thing on the block ~ in my humbled opinion so would life be without fresh warm bread ~

    Whole Wheat Bread

    ½ C. Coconut Oil
    ½ C. Honey
    1 TBSP Salt
    1 TSP Powdered Ginger
    1 TSP Molasses
    3 Eggs
    2 ½ TBSP Dry Active Yeast
    Place the above ingredients in a bowl of a mixing machine (this will make four loaves so half this recipe if using a kitchen aid) (or if you are mixing by hand put in a large bowl).

    Then add
    5 C. Warm Water
    Cover the top of your bowl with a cloth or lid until the yeast has fluffed up.

    Now slowly add your flour.
    I start with a 3 cups white flour.
    Then add the rest as Whole Wheat.
    Add one cup at a time
    Once you have added about 10 cups of flour start adding flour by the ¼ or ½ cup. Very slowly. You are looking for the dough to stop sticking to the sides of the bowl. The trick is making sure it is ‘cleaning’ the sides while still keeping the dough sticky. The softer the dough the fluffier the cooked bread.
    Once your dough is to this stage let your mixer kneed the dough for four minutes, this activates your yeast.

    Now turn your dough onto floured surface and round into one large ball. Cut into four equal parts and form into loaf shape. Place gently into greased bread pan (or tray for buns or pizza crust) Now let your dough rise until double in height. Preheat oven to 350 when placing your dough into the oven be very gentle, by shaking your loaf you risk having your dough go flat. Then you will need to let it rise again.

    Bake until it is browning and the top sounds hallowed if you were to ‘knock’ on it.



    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    To my new friend H,

    I am thrilled you wrote me this morning with your questions, kindly join in on this constant discussion of managing home life with littles! I have been talking with so many mothers on this very topic. Grab a coffee and settle in…this is a long post!

    When I was young I saw a ‘Priorities’ example. I am a very visual person and this example has stuck with me through out life.

    The teacher had three rocks (I will use lemons) and thousands of grains of rice (sesame seeds) and an empty glass jar. She said that the rocks represented your life’s priorities, the rice, millions of little time consumers, the jar your life. She first poured the rice into the jar and tried to cram the three main priorities around the millions of distraction, those three did not fit on top of all the others. She then removed the rice, and first added priorities after allowing the rice to settle and shift around the three mains. Amazingly it all fit! Later in life I read Steven Covers 7Habits and came across this teaching again. I will never forget that visual teaching. I have adapted that principle to almost every planning I do in my life.

    I now use this system daily. I know for my self (and most other Mothers of young children) three projects in three hours. I make my day’s list, with only three things per section. Knowing that if I put my most importance at the top all the other little things will settle into place.

    While my baby is awake my older (4 - 7) girls are playing with something the baby can be part of. Or they colour – paint something they can do with out the baby interfering. I try to accomplish light tasks around the home while all three kids are awake. When my youngest naps in the morning we do home-school. When he naps in the afternoon the girls are also in bed for an hour of that nap time, after an hour they can come out of their room and can accomplish something that is more difficult to do while the baby is awake. In the one kid free hour of my day I accomplish things I can not do while the kids are awake. The girls do stay well occupied in the afternoon while the baby is sleeping because they want to play while they can. So I can still manage to get a lot of things done.

    I would suggest that you write out a schedule for you and your kids on the days you are home. First write all the things you need to accomplish on one blank sheet of paper, then write the things you would like to be doing, like going to the park or library with the kids, maybe a weekly craft time with your little guys.

    On another paper list all the toys and activities your children have and can play with. List them under ‘lots’, ‘little’ or ‘no’ supervision needed.

    Now make a rough schedule of the ‘block’ of time your life affords. Such as pre-breakfast, 8 a.m – 12.noon lunch hour, 1 – 4, 5-8, 9 –10.

    I have found that I can only fit three things into each block of time. My morning block might read: House clean up (dishes, beds, floors) school (that is all for me)

    Afternoon block gets three priorities. Maybe: make dinner, mop floors and wash bathrooms, do a craft with kids.

    Now if I get the three priorities done in my allotted time with some to spare I can look at my master list and add a few more things.

    At least I am steadily accomplished my highest priorities.

    If you have more then three things planned for these times you will always feel overwhelmed.

    A mother can not expect to have a morning work out, play group, make cookies with the kids and wash all the windows in three hours. It is unrealistic.

    I struggled for a while because on paper it seemed I would never get everything on my ‘master list’ done in a week. Thankfully it has helped me prioritise and lets me feel on top of things. If by the end of the day I have accomplished twelve projects then I have done well. It allows my kids to enjoy their day and rarely do we scramble to find things for children to do.

    It has also encouraged me to say no! Some things sound like an amazing opportunity, once brought to the schedule you can see that to add one more thing makes you have to remove another, you can weigh what is of more value to you and your families life.
    An example would be ~ karate has opened up down the road and you think it would be amazing for the boys to get some energy out on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Being realistic with the time frame and the effort it takes to gather snacks, sippy cups, coats and shoes, your commute, lesson time and your return commute might take up a fair bit of your afternoon’s block. So in organising you will see that washing the house and making dinner has to be dropped. Weigh what is most important. It might be karate, knowing that on Tuesdays and Thursdays you will have leftovers or take out, rescheduling your evening block to cleaning the house. Or you might say, well I have something that I do not want to drop on those nights so I can not switch my three things around and against my other priorities karate does not rank high enough the investment of those time blocks.

    You might find that most days have similar priorities. My day always gets –exercise, devotion, home-school, dinner, out door time, and devotions. These are always my priorities, on my list every day! But then there are some rotations. If on Monday I realise a friend is coming over and I will need to make a snack for serving I will reassign my Monday afternoon ‘window washing’ for making a snack and my Tuesday ‘closet cleaning’ time to visit with my friend.

    For your kids play times schedule three to six activities a block.

    Morning might look like:

    Tomas the Train 30minutes
    Playdough 30minutes
    Activity with Mom (washing windows, baking or anything allowing them to join you in your work.) 45 minutes
    Snack 15minutes
    Wooden Blocks 30minutes
    Colouring Books 30minute



    Nap 1 ½ hour
    Snack and cuddle 30minutes
    Books 30minutes
    Activity with Mom (painting, crafts anything your child would fancy you playing with them.)

    Late Afternoon: 5-8

    Out-Door activity 1hour
    Free time 20 minutes
    Dinner 1 hour
    Bath 15 minutes
    Devotions 15 minutes

    I highly advise you to teach your children to clean up after them selves. Make this easy with buckets and baskets. Just give a bit of encouragement at the toy changes, “please clean up you trains while Mommy puts out your playdough”.

    As you can see it is rather simple, simple enough for me! I have never done well under-pressure, and need to have a system that allows me to feel that I am on top of things while having flexibility to change my priorities. Easily saying No or Yes when new things arise.

    I pray this will help. May you be blessed in your Mothering of your two boys! If you have any more questions please fire away!

    Here are a few links that may help with time/home management

    This is a wonderful family ministry built to help organise the family. Look through this web site for other families schedules.

    Tsh from Simply Organized. I highly recomend her book and website www.simplemom.net

    Mothering Monday ~ Youth

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Mother’s I grace plea, my day drifted steadily away from these pages, the mooned hour of this day is finally affording me hushed peace.

    ~ Quiet enough to meet you ~

    There has been a weekly growing Mothering voice, looming awkward with the uncertainty of parenting a Teenager.

    You know and I know I am not the experienced voice. And am very aware of my ignorance on this topic, and fear anything I write today may arise tangibly in the future to haunt my parenting of teenagers!

    May I proceed humbly, requesting Grace?


    I think on these years of my recent adolescents, and shutter at the knowing intensity of youth ~ forming, trepid voice,thoughts and hormones. It is a pregnancy like journey ~ a stretching slow growth of daily experiences birthing maturity. Deadly deep passageway fit to make capable the weight of adulthood. A time when everything hinges on the past and present colliding into a hoped future. It is a waiting game of challenges.

    And requires the utmost Grace from Heaven Gifted Parents.

    When your teenager was a puking -pooping darling baby growing oh so sweetly into a messy challenging two-year-old, and you were years behind on sleep, showering and sanity. What gave you the incredible capacity to love that little demanding tyrant?

    I have come to know deep with in the sad rebellious tears of lost youth ~ they all alike ~ crave and require MORE tangible Love then in their baby years.

    They need brilliant lighthouse beams of Love cutting the fog of adolescents ~ a deafening, constant, guiding warmth ~ Love ~ Love ~ Love.

    Some teens will be sweet crowned glory of the last years under your mothering wings, others rip the core of your pride. But both need the same amount of Grace heaped Love barricading the fragility of these years.

    They need your eyes sparkling unconditional ~ Love ~ They need your heart every Mothering beat ~ Love ~ They need those weighted words your lyrics of ~ Love ~ They need your humbled honest humanity ~ Love ~ They need your silent prayers every desperate cry ~ Love ~ they need your time a most precious exchange of ~ Love.

    They need to know what makes them ~ them ~ while they are yet still piecing all their uncertainties together. And they need you to WANT to do this, humbly and wisely ~ Graced Love ~

    They need your life mannerisms to shout I LOVE YOU!

    When it seems there is no point and they turn their shrugged, cool, defiant shoulder at your Love ~ Love them again. When they fly through their tests of adolescent initiations ~ Love ~ when dark ugly prevails and loss is gripping tight ~ Love.

    Love is the only way!

    Love will lead you straight into the heart of your changing babes.

    Love ~ come sun or storm.

    And for the nuggets ~ pebbles if I may…

    Keep your teens fulfilled at home ~ ethos of pure lovely fun ~ a crave for home is safest for youth.

    Keep your youths day purposeful. Let them experience maturity. Work teaches value of time. Accomplishment births satisfaction, satisfaction a safety net of confidence.

    Keep compassion hot under these cool selfish years, that poverty is more real then hollywood, let less preach gratefulness. Serve along side them.

    Earn your respect. Your youth can see right through you, Each parent needs Grace returned. This is the season for their eyes of insight to parallel yours ~ frightfully exposing I know ~ Respect gains Respect.

    Above all flavour every encounter with your fleeting babe ~ generously in Love!