Friday, 26 November 2010

Every Picture Tells A Story

Or not as the case may be!  As a result of creepy online behaviour from a previous blog reader I have moved here to blogger.  It has been an interesting learning curve; I have even bigger bags under my eyes as a result of all the extra work and the ironing pile has grown to interesting proportions!  I've discovered grey cells that I did not know existed and my patience and willingness to persevere has been sorely tested.  Grace In The Ordinary?  There has been plenty of opportunity to call on such grace this past week.

Sad to say as a result of the move all the photographs accompanying the blog were erased as a result of the previous site shut down.  My lovely hubby is a techno kid and even he did not realise that each picture had been assigned a specific code for the previous site. So far I've edited 30 posts so only another 150 to go, it's a good job I've never been a daily blogger!

Blessings Sandra  

An Angel To Guide You

If  you are ever in doubt about the presence of an Angel to guide you, then this account might make you think:
After having slept soundly the past two nights, Philippa decided to rouse us all from deep slumber with shouting and hollering at the ungodly hour of  2:00 am.  No chance of burying one’s head under the pillow and pretending it is all but a dream, this gal needed attention and quick!  Dad went in to reassure and calm her and as he was doing so, little man was shouting from his bedroom that, he was having a hypo!  Mum’s turn to be on duty and dispatch jelly babies and assorted snacks to alleviate the situation.  We all finally settled an hour or so later.
Some hours later after having eaten breakfast we had time to ponder on the night times events and it was only then, that we realised how vital it had been that Miss P had actually woken.  After all, if she had slept we all would have slept and instead of sharing breakfast together as we regularly do, we would have been calling the paramedics for sure Little Man would have been unconscious.  Both of the children’s Guardian Angels were working overtime last night and for that I am extremely grateful.
For He will give His angels especial charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways.
Psalm 91 v 11

“Angels are delicate creatures.  You can’t grab hold of them.  They come unexpectedly.  You must lay yourself open to them so that you can meet them.  Angels come soft footed”
Angels of Grace – Anselm Grun.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Storage Solutions

Yesterday we  had a long overdue visit to our favourite Swedish shop, IKEA.  Our list included a decent sized bookcase for our ever increasing collection of children's books,  a shoe rack for the hallway as I was sick of tripping over the piles of shoes, a book basket for Pip's board books and a three tier shelving system for Benedict's Lego.  We managed to come home with the items on our list plus a warm duvet cover set for Mum and Dad, much needed place mats and a star light for Benedict.  Today has been a building day, most of the work has been undertaken by Dave and Benedict with a modicum of help from Pip!

Many hands make light work!

Miss Philippa flying solo.

This makes a great play cupboard Daddy!

 Shoe storage sorted.

All ready to read.

Pip's basket.

For my part in between laundry and general sorting I made two home cooked meals, for lunch we had:

Greens S'ghetti!

Vegetable mix: a large bag of chard, two small onions and three courgettes, all finely chopped and sauteed in a little oil.  To this  I added a home made cheese sauce and mixed thoroughly.

Since we are gluten free due to coeliac problems I used a brown rice spaghetti and cooked in boiling water until al dente. 

Our evening meal was:

Moussaka with a difference!

The meat and vegetable base consisted of:  two onions, one sweet red pepper, two courgettes, 500g of organic beef mince, one box of sieved tomatoes and one beef stock cube dissolved in a little hot water.  On top of this we added a layer of sliced and fried aubergine.

Instead of the ususal souffle type topping I went with a  vegetable and potato mash mix, this consisted of five small white potatoes, two sweet potatoes and 500 grammes of chopped Brussel sprouts.  Once cooked and drained mash the veg mixture and spread on top of the meat.aubergine layer.  Top with a little grated cheese and brown under the grill.

I think we can safely say that the following subjects have been experienced these past two days:

Map reading, safe  handling of large goods, interpretation of written diagrams, wood work and rudimentary mathematics.  Tick VG Bookworm!

In closing Roo raised several smiles today as she announced the following:

" Dad gone, back soon!"  and my favourite, " No! Mine!!"

A busy and blessed day, thank you Lord.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Homeschool Daze

That was us this morning!  I'd been up in the night twice with Pip and once with Benedict, certainly makes for a tired and grumpy mama!  Add to this chronic back pain,  Dave wobbly with MS symptoms and Benedict with high blood sugars and you have an interesting mix!

Despite the shaky start we managed to complete two rounds of laundry, general tidying of rooms, two home cooked meals and a run in the play park before it got dark.  Benedict's behaviour has been challenging today as a result of the blood sugars and I know I have responded less than favourably myself, so we've both done a heap of aplogising, ah well.

In order to prevent anarchy reigning during such difficulties, I've had to instigate an actions and consequences chart and the final result will determine whether or not he makes it over to Olen's at the weekend.  Currently he has redeemed himself and is working quietly in the lounge, so here's hoping and praying for a reasonably quiet week!  Well, I can dream can't I?!!

The ultimate antidote to difficult days is a quick, nutritious and very tasty evening treat:

Cheesy Baked Potato; Chorizo, Butter Bean and Onion  Salad and Green Beans.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Applied Maths and Martinmas

Dave was acting teacher for this morning whilst Pip and I attended sing and play.  The schools box of Lego Technic was brought into play and Benedict made a model of a wind turbine, with a crank reciprocating piston and several variants of lifting equipment.  The latter demonstrating mechanical advantage through the use of pulleys:

Our resident Wallace in action!

Just checking to make sure it works!

Lego bricks road testing the next piece of machinery.

Making some minor adjustments.

Concentrating hard!

The morning was a resounding success and Dave being an excellent teacher, even managed to incorporate some times table counting into the whole process.

After lunch we played catch up with a variety of chores and I checked the web for Martinmas songs and the story behind the feast.  This is a relatively new celebration for us as a family and as always everything was last minute!  It was Pip's turn this year to make a lantern and she had great fun with Daddy sticking gold stars onto an old jam jar.  The candle was lit during our evening meal and I shared with the others the story of St Martin.  I also found a lantern song which I sung to Pip whilst she had her bedtime feed.  Here is a version in English:

 I go outside with my lantern,

My lantern goes with me.

Above the stars are shining bright,

Down here on Earth shine we.

The cock does crow, the cat meows,

Rabimmel, rabammel, raboom,

Neath Heaven's dome til we go home,

Rabimmel, rabammel, raboom.

I go outside with my lantern,

My lantern goes with me.

Above the stars are shining bright,

Down here on Earth shine we.

So shine your light through the still dark night,

Rabimmel, rabammel, raboom,

Neath Heaven's dome til we go home,

Rabimmel, rabammel, raboom.

And a shorter version in German:

Ich geh mit meiner Laterne,

Und meine Laterne mit mir,

Dort oben leuchten die Sterne,

Und unten leuchten wir.

Meine licht ist aus

Ich geh nach Haus

Rabimmel, rabammel, raboom.

My rusty high school German stood me in good stead and I was able to sing both versions! 

There was no lantern walk around our bounds since we have been experiencing gale force winds and driving rain since tea time, any candle flame would have been extinguished immediately. The image of the flickering vulnerable candle flame reminded me that, we each carry the Christ light within us and like the small flame of a candle, we need to nurture it and protect it from the buffeting winds and storms of life.  How we do this depends on our own personal background but coming from a Catholic heritage, I'm reminded of my own weapons of defence:

Holy Mass, Rosary, Bible, Confession and Eucharistic Adoration.

I do not manage them all by any means but they are worthy signposts on this pilgrim journey.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Faith Matters

We've been using our faith as a vehicle for learning this week and so far we have been progressing nicely.  Yesterday we worked from this book:

We read the above chapter and then answered the accompanying questions.  Benedict gave some very thoughtful answers and I acted as scribe:

The above posting was based on questions you might like to ask God.  I thought it interesting that, Benedict's primary question was the whole issue of Heaven and Hell, who gets in and who doesn't!  I remember thinking that same thought as a child, "Why does God send people to Hell?"  Of course as an adult I know that, this is not the case!  God wants us all to be with him, but some folks choose to ignore him completely and are masters of their ultimate destiny.  It's that whole area of free will and God who is Love without measure, loving us enough to allow us to make choices good or bad.

Today our faith trail led us on a patchwork discovery of prayers and hopefully by the end Benedict will have his own personal prayer journal as a result.  We used this book as our resource:

His first chapter was entitled "All About Me" and here are his thoughts:

A drawing of himself and his two best friends.

Something seemed to "click" this morning and the writing process came easily and naturally.  Benedict wrote with purpose and enthusiasm and was keen to display his spelling abilities!  He was justifiably pleased with his work.  We finished this morning's session with some shared reading and then it was time for lunch.

  Not to be out done Pip is making good progress with her jigsaw and shape sorting skills and  her language continues to blossom.   Her latest words are:

cot, all gone, oh dear, gee(for Jesus!) and her favourite, Amen!

Her understanding of language far exceeds her spoken abilities and she is more than capable of following a complex series of requests.  Like all children she loves praise and yet she  is also quite happy to applaud her own efforts for a job well done.

During our afternoon work time we have been concentrating on Practical Skills.  Both yesterday and today we have slowly been putting the garden to bed, no Sara to help this time!  Yesterday we cleared the leaves and branch cuttings from the tree pruning session that occurred a few weeks ago.  Today we cleared and tidied the greenhouse.  It was great to be out in the fresh air and the exercise helped enormously with blood sugar management!

Yes, he is wearing shorts!  Good job the rest of him is wrapped up warmly!

Leaves, leaves everywhere, all gathered and ready for the compost bin.

Since todays garden job was a fairly small task we also had time to complete one household chore before tea preparation.  The chosen activity was window cleaning and between us both we cleaned all the upstairs windows, six in all.

Working hard.

Benedict grabbed the camera and took this rather blurry picture of me!

Tomorrow we will hopefully be celebrating the feast of Martinmas, in theory there should be lantern making and some yummy food for tea; whether or not it transpires into practice remains to be seen!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


November 1990

December 2009

No scheme or plan

Could ever stem the power of Your hand

You chose me from before time began

And now secure in Christ I stand

Nathan Fellingham

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Our Family of Saints

Here is the first part of our November liturgical craft:

Each of these beautiful icons represents a family member.

The top two icons Saint Alexandra and Saint David are mine and Dave's patron Saints.  The middle three give you a chance to meet our older girls, so here they are :

St Emilia

St Sarah

Icons for these two gals:

Sara on the left soon to be 21 years and Sr Emma Maria aged 24 years.

St Catherine.

Our very own Katy Beth also 24 years old, taller than her twin but younger by fifteen minutes!

The last two icons are representative of Benedict and Philippa Josephine.  Since Pip is named after her Grandfathers we always knew that her patron Saints would be St Philip and St Joseph, we could not find an icon for St Philip so her other namesake was called in as the reserve!

In other news we have had a fairly low key day, Benedict's blood sugars have been very erratic and as always this leads to poor concentration and fatigue.  This morning we pottered around with household chores and reading some of our library books.  After lunch of homemade broccoli soup and the pumpkin pie which was very yummy, we cleared the table and spent an hour in free form art:

After the art session Benedict helped prepare the vegetables for our evening meal, a good all round family favourite, Cottage Pie.

Another good day despite wacky blood readings, this is only due to the fact that, for the time being we have abandoned a structured curriculum.  If we had been following a curriculum it would have been a very different story, by ten o'clock I would have been red in the face with frustration and Benedict would have been thoroughly miserable, not good!  Thank you Lord for guiding us!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

All Souls Pray For Us

We attended Mass this morning and I was taught a lesson in patience!  In between attempting to follow the service, I was preventing Pip from climbing up the pews and at the same time giving Benedict answers to his continuous questioning!  I should make it clear that, I'm not an authority on Church Catechises and at times my replies were quite lame!  However God smiled on us later in the day when during our family EWTN time, Fr Antoine of The Community of St John, explained the Mass to children and in this case the parents too!  I still reckon some extra reading from the Catechism would not be amiss.

The mass was quite beautiful with a small selection of appropriate hymns and at the end Father prayed the special prayers usually reserved for reading at the graveside.  The founder of our Church and her family members are buried in a square patch of ground just in front of the church doors, ideally we would have gathered there for prayers but it was teeming with rain, so Father said it was perfectly legit to pray the prayers indoors!  It was also a special day for Dave too as the mass was offered in memory of his Nanna H she would have been 100 years old yesterday.  We are hoping to make a Saints and Souls Wall, as a visual aid to our prayers, for deceased family members during the month of November.

After Mass we ran errands and then it was time for lunch.  The plan for the afternoon whilst I was at an acupuncture appointment was for Benedict to read more of his book entitled "Fighter Pilot" and also draw a picture of the Spitfire Plane on the front cover of the book.  He worked hard and both him and I were pleased with the result.

As part of our evening meal we made use of the pumpkin flesh from our jack-o-lantern and made a  Pumpkin Pie.  Here in the UK we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, the nearest we get to it  is a Harvest Festival!  Needless to say pumpkin pie recipes are non existent, so when you need a good recipe who do you go to?  Good old Martha of course and naturally there were over 70 recipes to choose from.  In the end I settled for a traditional recipe and I must say it looks and smells good.  The advice was to leave it in the fridge overnight ,so we will have to wait for our taste test until tomorrow.

Thanks be to God another happy and productive day.

Benedict's Spitfire Drawing.

Flowers for Our Lady

Our aim for the month of October was to rise to the following challenge:

In an effort to do little things with the love and cheerfulness as St Therese would have done, we are offering our efforts as a spiritual bouquet for our Blessed Mother.   Each time we manage to complete our tasks without grumbling, bear a suffering quietly without complaining and make extra special efforts to be truly kind to one another, then we will place a flower on the following picture:

Day One.

Day 31.

So, Our Lady got her garden after all; all credit goes to the littlest family members, Mummy and Daddy still have a lot of learning to do in this area!

Monday, 1 November 2010

A Happy Feast Day

We have had a blessed Saints Day and I thank God for that.  Benedict helped with food preparation this morning and as a result we had chicken soup for lunch and vegetable curry with mushroom rice for tea.  It was nice for me to have an extra pair of hands in the kitchen and Benedict really enjoyed learning new skills.

After lunch we packed ourselves in the car and paid a long overdue trip to the library.  Dave had errands to run first so Benedict, Pip and I made part of our journey on foot.  It was only a short walk but it was a lovely piece of uninterrupted talking and listening time with Benedict.  Pip was very happy to watch the traffic going by from the comfort of her pushchair!

We brought home a variety of books and during our snack and tea time there was a moment of absolute peace in the house as we all sat reading.  It was good to share that time together.  Our jolly jack-o-lantern finally got an airing during an our evening meal, an appropriate smiley face at the end of a very happy day!

Ready to tuck in!

Happy Feast Day.

Mid Term Round Up

We took a break from our regular activites this week.  We abandoned the workbooks, spelling tests and maths rhymes and spent time with our friends near and far.  It was good for us all to be out of the house, enjoying the sunshine in the brief snatches when it appeared.  Our local park provides a welcome chance to charge around, leap and climb, a much needed boost to flagging spirits and the chance for mum to make the tea uninterupted at home!

Growing up quickly, a soon-to-be two year old, ack!

  I'm having to rethink our home school schedule yet again!  I think there is an underlying math dyslexia, that is hampering Benedict's progress in this area.  To clarify and give advice I've booked a meeting with a specially trained teacher and we meet on Friday.  At the moment we are in ever decreasing circles and that is not good for his self esteem or my sanity!

Since today is the feast of All Hallow's Eve Benedict and I baked some treats for our Sunday afternoon tea:

Mixing and Stirring.

A cheeky Miss Philippa.