Sunday, 26 January 2014

Gratitude Sunday

"Gratitude isn't only a celebration when good things happen.  It's a declaration that God is good no matter what happens"

Thankful for:

Being able to hug a very special friend and to let her know she is loved.

Pip sleeping through on Sunday night and not being sick, prayers answered!

Monday work out on the bike + shower = GREAT!

Pip upstairs with the Brio and Benedict downstairs with the Lego = HAPPY

No celery?  No problem!  Sweet potato and celeriac soup instead!

Christmas poinsettia still brightening my day.

Meditation time ~ fell asleep sitting up!

Morning offering prayer at the kitchen sink.

Being able to laugh at myself when I had a meltdown, whilst rug bashing ~ now I really know how it feels to be three!!

A middle of the night conversation with Pip when she was unexpectedly sick in her sleep ~ such a sweet conversation once she was cleaned up and so many hugs.

Coffee date with Dave at MiaItalia.

Benedict's blood reading at the diabetic clinic, an Hba1c of 7.9 mmol/l  A RECORD!  For the past six years since diagnosis, regardless of all our hard work it has always hovered around 9mmol/l which is not great for his long term health, so this was an unexpected surprise. 

Benedict taking care of me when I was suddenly quite unwell on Friday evening.

Pip working hard and enjoying her art lessons.

A telephone chat with my daughter Kath and my baby grand-daughter trying to wave at me down the phone!  So sweet!

All things permaculture, I'm on a learning journey of my own.

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

Four happy shots from this past week:

 It's amazing what you can find on your phone camera!

 Amaretto Latte just the ticket.

 Just enough heat, chilli chocolate chip cookies, awesome.

Saturday Skyline, the sun put in a welcome brief appearance, after which it was back to rain, wind, rain, wind!

Be Blessed x 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

This Week ...

Social Contact:  We have had friends over for tea, twice, with another visit planned from a different friend tomorrow.  It's been good to have the house full of extra kids and listening to them working out their differences and playing well together.

 From The Kitchen:  Benedict and Pip have both had a baking session this week.  Benedict made chilli chocolate chip cookies, which were awesome! and Pip made ginger snaps with me this morning.  If you're interested the choc chip cookie recipe is as follows:

8oz soft butter
4oz sugar
9oz flour + 1 teaspoon of baking powder
1oz cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves * 
6oz chocolate chips

* we didn't have these and they tasted just fine

Beat butter and sugar until well combined.

Add the flour, cocoa powder and spices and mix into the butter/sugar mixture.

Add the chocolate chips working them into the dough with your hands and bring them together into a ball.

Make walnut sized balls of dough, place them on baking trays which you have greased and squash each ball of dough down a bit with the back of a fork.

Bake for twenty minuted at 160C fan assisted or 180C regular oven.

Allow to cool for a few minuted on the tray before lifting off with a palette knife to cool and crisp on a cooling rack.

I originally found the recipe here and she in turn found it here, two lovely blogs full of inspiration.

The Learning Zone:  Benedict has worked on estimating, measurement, subtraction, spellings and grammar.  He enjoyed his flat Benedict art session as well as the baking afternoon, I need to plan more of these as they are relaxing and uplifting.

I too have been busy gleaning all I can about permaculture.

Permaculture is a design process that can be applied not only to land forms but also every day life and relationships. There are many facets to this process but one of the elements is observing what is going on in your environment, what works and what doesn't and also the flow of energy between one area or task to the next.  Once a pattern has been identified, we can ascertain if it is useful then keep on but if not, what can we do to make the task/energy flow easier.  In short it is a way of working smarter not harder and taking our cue from nature:

" Nature does not waste, it is a complete system in which each element produced by one part of the process is indisputably needed elsewhere as a resource.

Humans work far more than other creatures in nature, setting greater demands for their satisfaction and creating yields for which they have no uses."

Shepherd with attitude lives not too far from us and her site is full of beautiful imagery and knowledge on the subject at hand.  Through her I also found this girl, a brilliant example of using permaculture in building your health. 

 I had actually signed up for a permaculture design course a few years ago but was worried about the practicalities of fitting it in between family commitments and health issues.  If the local course is running again this forthcoming year then I will definitely be adding my name to the list.

Creating:  I have been busy making a gift for a friend who has just recently given birth to a baby girl, I'm hoping to have it finished in time for next week's yarn along.  I have also been in the loft room and I'm part way through making a top for myself using some lovely plaid material that has been sitting around for far too long!

Taking Care of Me:  Since the beginning of January I have implemented various goals, one of which is a regular daily meditation and rest time.  This occurs after lunch and it has made such a difference in how I approach each task throughout the day and how I view life in general.  This is the first January in years that I have not wanted to hibernate or been struck by an awful blackness.  The problems we encounter as a family are still with us but

 the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding ... Philippians 4v7

envelopes me and I know no matter what, I do not walk this journey alone.

Be Blessed x 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Self Esteem

At the start of this year, I did an unusual, yet in retrospect totally obvious thing ... I asked God for guidance in our home school journey!  Yes, me of a faith and love of God had neglected to ask Him for help in this journey, doh!! This does not mean that I can sit back and do nothing but knowing He is their to guide me is such a reassurance.

With this in mind I thought it would be useful to start afresh and where better but Psalm 139, a reminder of our worth and God's hand in our lives from pre- conception and beyond.  You see I was acutely aware that both mine and Benedict's self esteem had taken a battering this past year; him as the student, in never quite getting it right and me as the supposed teacher, lacking in patience and feeling helpless to inspire.  We read the whole psalm together and I did my best to explain how we are precious in God's eyes, that we are unique, that God loves us as we are and that he knew of our being even before time began.  I then asked Benedict to lie down on some spare wall paper and drew around his outline.  We then worked together in making another Benedict:

 Busy Floor.


 Bigger than me!

 Flat Benedict as opposed to Stanley!

 Me and My Shadow.

In our next session, I am hoping for us both to list all of Benedict's attributes not just in abilities but also character and these will be printed on lables and stuck on the "mini - me" who is currently blu tacked to our bedroom door, hope I don't mistake him for an intruder in a half sleep!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Gratitude Sunday

"Gratitude isn't only a celebration when good things happen.  It's a declaration that God is good no matter what happens"

There have been times this week when looking for the gifts has been hard, but once I put pen to paper the list kept on growing and a peace fell upon my soul:

3 startling graces of God ~ ever patient, ever loving and ever merciful

Bird song and chatter in the garden.

Winter sun making its appearance.

Another good day in the learning zone ~ Innuit Tribes ~ you tube documentary, narrative recall, penmanship and art.

A morning on my own listening to a talk on Ignatian spirituality whilst knitting.

A gift bringing quiet, prayer ~ much needed loft time, meditation, sleep.

Dave playing a Happy Families game with Pip.

Doorstep food delivery.

For being able to offer words of encouragement to another mum across the miles ~ the wonders of face book and one of its many positive uses.

Fireside knitting and peace.

A sparkling clean cooker!

Make and Cake friends ~ a time to switch off, relax, laugh, share, eat and craft.

Saturday Skyline and the sun playing peek a boo through the clouds.

For Pip saying, "I love you mummy"

For Benedict asking for a good night kiss and a hug.

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

Four happy shots of this past week:

 "Yay, there was enough wool!"

 Evidence of happy play.

 Yummy, home made gluten free bread.

Saturday Skyline.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Yarn Along :: Grandad's Birthday

My knitting mojo has returned, yay!  Since December I have knit one pair of socks for me, a Bohmeme for Pip and my ta-da moment an Aestlight Shawl!

 Busy Making.

 All finished.

 If you look closely you'll see that I'm wearing another hand knit, a Kate Davis design, Owls, they just need eyes adding so at the minute they are asleep!

Pip's Boheme.

On my needles is a knitted bunny for a friend's baby girl and then after that I will cast on a birthday crown for another friend.  Dave's mum has also asked for an Aestlight shawl in similar colours to mine, so I think I can happily say that my needles will be busy for some time.  As for reading I am plodding my way through Understanding Exposure 3rd Edition it is proving to be a very easy and informative read.

It was Grandad H's birthday yesterday so they came to spend a day with us and share a tea time birthday treat, as well as bring other useful items from Uncle Bernard's house.  This lovely man was a serious hoarder and the house clearing will take several more weeks to complete, but so many people have benefited from his tendencies that the positives out way the negative.  One of the treasured items from today's visit was a set of dish ware from Aunty Monica (UB and Grandad's sister) to her mum and dad:

 Aunty Monica lived in the states for several years and we think these beautiful dishes were from that time.

Birthday Boy.

 Nanna helping Benedict with his motorbike model.

Using those grey cells!

 Playing "Go Fish"

Pip looking tired, it has been a busy and happy day.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014


Benedict is minecraft crazy and just loves building houses and villages.  So far he has built me a castle complete with sewing room, a garden balcony and a huge library complete with comfy chairs and a roaring fire!  With this in mind I decided to resurrect the uncompleted Waldorf curriculum from last year and today at his choosing we watched a you tube documentary from 1949 on the Innuit Tribe and afterwards he wrote about what he had learnt and decorated the front cover of his book:

We have shifted our learning zone into the front room which also doubles as a playroom.  I borrowed the fold down table from the caravan and it sits neatly under the bay window.  Benedict sits on a dining room chair and I use the nursing chair nearby!  This chair no longer rocks as it is in a permanent fixed position.  It is a very comfortable chair and for that I am grateful as I have injured my back, I have know idea how, but moving around is rather challenging at the moment.

  Thanks to Eva and her post and links to a chore chart site, Benedict has his own pack of activities: Morning, Lunchtime and Evening.  He has been such a great help these past few days and even undertook some extra chores today to help ease the burden on both Dave and myself.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Gratitude Sunday

After having read Ann's book several times, I have finally put pen to paper and I am keeping a 1000 gifts log.  Her commentary regarding Gratitude rings true:

"Gratitude isn't only a celebration when good things happen.  It's a declaration that God is good no matter what happens"

So here are some of my jottings from this week:

A morning meditation time, Come Lord Jesus!

Craft time ~ valentine hearts in the making.

Benedict making the evening meal on his own.

For the sound of the rain on the loft roof windows, it is oddly comforting.

For Dave's strength of character and his perseverance in daily challenges, always uncomplaining and patient.

For slowly working my way through the linen basket, I can almost see the bottom!

A big hug between me and Benedict.

Pip coming home from school with a big smile on her face.

Skype time with Eva!

For 2014 a year full of HOPE.

A Saturday afternoon food shop on my own.

Capturing a beautiful shot of the sun against a sky enveloped by dark clouds.

I managed to salvage the burnt cabbage for Sunday lunch so all that fine chopping was not in vain!

Tea visits and chats with two good friends.

A major blitz on the downstairs rooms, we now have a desk in the learning zone!

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

Four happy  shots of this past week:

 Craft Time.

 Sun and Sky.

 Squeaky Clean.

Wii Fit Yoga.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, a young man declared his love and an engagement was sealed with a rubber band!  Fast forward ten days and this was swapped for a white gold and single diamond beauty:

And here are some pictures of the happy couple:

Needless to say both families are very pleased ~ Tom is a very special young man and we are blessed to know not just him but his family too.  They are looking towards autumn 2015 as a proposed wedding date, so there is plenty of time to plan and prepare.

On the ninth day of Christmas we received a special parcel from our dear friends in the West Village, Manhattan, New York:

 Always lovely to receive surprise packages in the mail.


 Local News

 Pip opening her parcel tied up with string ~ one of her very favourite things, a DVD of The Nutcracker!  Not just any old DVD but one where we get to see Chanda dance, boy that girl is very talented!  Here you can see her getting ready for her turn as Mary in the show.   

 Ah, thinks mum, I know what this is!

 One happy Harry Potter fan ...

 ... spinning a little magic!

 Oak and Dragonsclaw, 16 1/2"

 This tea is the best ever!  I wonder if I could get an import licence for this stuff, it 
is seriously good.  Our almost son-in-law is a tea and coffee snob (his mum's words not mine!) and he was really taken with this brew.

 Not a terribly flattering picture of me wearing my lovely earwarmer/headband, which I wore as a neck warmer!!  Dorina's email this morning put me straight, either way it is gorgeous and just my colour too.  Pip also received one of these in a lovely pink.

Thanks guys for thinking of us and sending such a lovely, thoughtful box of goodies.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A Song For All Seasons

"Oh the January man
he walks abroad in woollen coat and boots of leather":

Building a bookcase with Dad.




"The February man still wipes the snow from off his hair 
And blows his hand"

Park Fun


"The man of March he sees the Spring 
and wonders what the year will bring
And hopes for better weather":

Leighton Moss



"Through April rain the man goes down to watch the birds come in
to share the summer":

Say Cheese!

Garden Time


Windy Beach Day

"The man of May stands very still 
watching the children dance away the day":




Mary - Grace

Rainbow Hands

Clitheroe Castle

"In June the man inside the man 
is young and wants to lend a hand
And grins at each new comer":




"And in July the man in cotton shirts 
he sits and thinks on being idle":

Hexham Abbey

Beadnell Beach

School Taster Day


"The August man in thousands take the road 
To watch the sea and find the sun":

Strid Wood




"September man is standing near 
to saddle up and lead the year
And Autumn is his bridle":

Fairy Hunting


Defending the Faith



"The man of new October takes the reins
and early frost 
is on his shoulder":

Weston Park Museum

Blackberry Cottage

In The Frame

Silver Wedding

"The poor November man sees fire and wind 
and mist and rain 
And winter air":


Clown Cat



"December man looks through the snow 
to let eleven brothers know
They're all a little older":





Birthday Girl

"And the January man comes round again 
In woollen coat 
and boots of leather

To take another turn 
and walk along the icy road 
he knows so well

Oh the January man is here 
for starting each and every year

Along the road
for ever"

January Man ~ Traditional folk arrangement by Dave Goulder,
We first heard and liked it on Snow on Snow by the Albion Christmas Band

but you can listen to this version on YouTube.