Saturday, 26 August 2017

A power beyond that of a king

"Womanhood is a wonderful thing. In womankind we find the mothers of the race.There is no man so great, nor none sunk so low, but once he lay a helpless, innocent babe in a woman's arms and was dependent on her love and care for his existence. It is woman who rocks the cradle of the world and holds the first affections of mankind. She possesses a power beyond that of a king on his throne."

Mabel Hale, Beautiful Girlhood.

Listen here for free!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Colouring the morning

There is a lot of winter-sniffly-sickness in our home at the moment so our days have taken on a much slower and sleepier pace than usual. The children aren't interested in rugging up to go outside, especially since it is so windy. So, they keep themselves busy creating, colouring and asking to bake the odd cake. Poor things. Happily, I think they are on the mend now.

I was very pleased to find this colouring book in our local bookstore. Eve (6) is enthralled with the Chronicles of Narnia at the moment and this is a good occupation to keep hands busy while listening to her books. She has listened to all 7 books through once and is almost fully through all 7 again, happily explaining the books and characters to anyone who will take an interest. So much is her present love for these books that my husband jokingly commented "I used to like having a daughter named Eve, before she moved to Narnia"

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Simple birthdays

I'm sure we all want our children to feel special on their birthday - and rightly so! Is it possible to create lasting memories with our children in a way that is purposefully simple? I think so! Here are some of my ideas for meaningful ways to mark special days.

Traditions over gifts:

In our family we have a few traditions we repeat each and every birthday. Some are special items such as the birthday crown (a handmade felt crown gifted on their first birthday) and the wooden birthday ring (a tradition which is German in origin. We simply use ours as a candle holder for birthday meals and a table decoration) Some are verses and songs and some are little activities (such as helping siblings make the birthday child a gift, making birthday candles and getting out newborn baby photos) of course there is also the birthday cake!

You can start a new tradition anytime! They don't need to be fancy and they don't need to be the same as ours. They do need to be simple enough to be sustainable (don't have too many to prepare for each year or they will become burdensome)

Consistency from year to year is important when building traditions - children come to rely on these predictable, comforting rhythms in their lives.

A verse for a child the night before their birthday;

When I have said my evening prayer,

And my clothes are folded on the chair, 
And mother switches off the light,
I'll still be (5) years old tonight. 

But from the very break of day, 

Before the children rise and play, 
Before the darkness turns to gold, 
Tomorrow, I'll be (6) years old
(6) kisses when I wake, (6) candles on my cake.... 

A Montessori birthday song (to the tune of the farmer in the Dell)

The Earth goes around the sun,
The Earth goes around the sun,
It takes a full year to go around,

And then (child) was 1!

Sing each verse changing the last line until you reach the age of your child. In a Montessori classroom each verse is sung as the child walks around the "sun" (candle) holding a globe of the earth. This simple celebration gives a concrete understanding of each year to a child who is only beginning to understand the concept of time.

Keeping gift giving simple:

Although our special traditions are the main "treat" on their birthdays we do still like to give the children a special gift to mark the occasion.

It's important to us to avoid fads and gifts that cause clutter, to choose gifts wisely and with intention (What values does this toy convey? Is it a passing fad? Will it cause clutter in our home? Does it allow our children to use their imaginations, practice a skill, further a special interest? Will it withstand the play of several children over the years? Is it ethically produced?) and to prioritise giving the gift of time together over things where possible (ie. a trip to a special place, a special activity or class, an experience of some sort to share with friends)

Old-fashioned birthday parties:

Remember birthday parties when you were a child? Think pin the tail on the donkey and sitting around your friends dining table perched on a phonebook and wearing a party hat. Consider playing those old fashioned, low cost party games if any (most children simply want to play with their friends)

If you want to do something more extravagant one year why not combine it with your child's birthday gift? We hired a pony for rides around our backyard as a clutter-free gift for our 5 year old one year!

It's not worth going to too much trouble with the food since (in my experience) excited, playing children scarcely have time to eat. My thoughts? Just serve up some real food for snacks and let the birthday cake be the sweet treat.

Keeping perspective:

At the end of the day the things we as a family want our children to take to heart are: knowing that they are a valuable and loved addition to our family, learning to accept gifts graciously, striving to be good stewards of their toys and belongings, being willing to practice hospitality, enjoying spending time with others, and to value giving over receiving.

I truly believe that if we keep these objectives in mind we will experience freedom from any guilt associated with simplifying ours and our children's lives - and birthdays!

Do you have any special birthday traditions in your family? I would love to hear about them!

Shared at Arabah JoyWise woman link upSaturday sparksMaking a homearound the home & homestead

Monday, 26 June 2017

Meal plan Monday & Lunch at the Yellow Deli

Monday - Tacos with chipotle pork filling

(We like these tortillas. Lettuce, raw cheese, fermented mango pickle, fermented beetroot pickle, hot sauce etc.)

& Patatas bravas.

Tuesday - Roast chicken, balsamic roasted brussels sprouts & caesar salad with kefir dressing.

Wednesday - Chicken noodle soup (buckwheat noodles)

Thursday - Breakfast for dinner! Soaked oatmeal pancakes (frugavore) Greek yoghurt & blueberry sauce. Kefir smoothie.

Friday - Dinner out

Saturday - Grilled salmon, sprouted brown rice and broccoli, wasabi mayonnaise.

Sunday - Leftovers

Saturday, 24 June 2017

All things bright and beautiful

A day enjoying the company of animals is a day well spent in my opinion! and this day at calmsley hill city farm was no exception.

Link ups: SYC

Friday, 16 June 2017

Meal plan Monday and a recipe for sprouted hummus

Monday - Bacon & egg pie (using the oatmeal pastry from frugavore)
Tuesday - Potato, nettle & nutmeg omelet (adapted from frugavore, I added nettles since I found a nice looking bunch at my local co-op) and homemade baked beans (nourishing traditions)
Wednesday - Taco soup with toppings: crumbled up tortilla chips, avocado, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, etc.
Thursday - My birthday, I didn't prepare one single meal! We had a delicious pear & ginger cake from Hominy Bakery.
Friday - Thai style pumpkin & coconut soup, sourdough & butter
Saturday - Roast chicken caesar salad with kefir dressing, raw parmesan and boiled eggs.
Sunday - Leftovers

I have been using plan to eat for years to plan meals and generate shopping lists and I highly recommend it.

Sprouted Hummus

1/2 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
garlic, to taste
good squeeze fresh lemon juice
unrefined sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chickpeas do need to be properly prepared to nourish our bodies so if you decide not to sprout them please do soak them for at least 24 hours! 

To sprout: Rinse the chickpeas well and soak in warm water overnight. The next day put into a jar with a sprouting lid or a fine strainer. Rinse and drain the beans 2-3 times a day for a couple of days until the sprout just barely begins to emerge.

Rinse well and cook. I like to cook mine in a mini-crockpot since I find beans benefit from long, slow cooking. However, you can cook them anyway you like - on the stove, etc. I've even had great success cooking beans in a rice cooker!

Once cooked, combine ingredients except oil in a food processor. Once well combined, slowly add olive oil in a stream until emulsified.

A power beyond that of a king