Category Archives: Homemaking

Susanna Wesley – A Legacy of Faithful Endurance

Susanna Wesley graphic 1

Susanna Wesley may not be a name you are familiar with, but her sons you may well have heard of. John Wesley and Charles Wesley were significant leaders during a time in England known as ‘The Great Awakening’. John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist Church and Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns, many of which we still sing today. Two of Charles’ sons and his grandson were also well known as musicians.

Susanna was born to Dr Samuel Annesley, a scholar and clergyman, and Mary White in 1769 in Spital Yard, London, and was the youngest of 25 children. She married Samuel Wesley, a minister, and they had 19 children, 9 of whom died as infants. She schooled her children for 20 years, where for an hour each week each child received one-on-one instruction on spiritual matters.

Susanna is said to have spent 2 hours a day in prayer, and would pull her apron over her head, signalling to her children that she was praying and wished to be left alone.

In a time where woman could not preach or even minister to women, she was a theologian in her own right (some of her writings were written primarily to educate her children), and when her husband was away she held meetings in their home where they sung hymns, prayed, and she read her husband’s sermons. These afternoon meetings were at first borne out of concern for her own children, who she believed were not being shepherded well by the replacement minister, and the meetings grew as word spread. The morning meetings at the parish dwindled to just a few, where the afternoon meetings in the Wesley home flourished with hundreds attending at times.

Susanna had a difficult life, a difficult marriage (one time her husband left for a year over a political dispute), and her children also had difficult marriages. She endured poverty and hardship her entire life, house fires, children dying, and more. But her faithful endurance is part of her lasting legacy.

I love this story of one particular day of schooling her children, where her husband Samuel visited the schoolroom. “I wonder at your patience; you have told that child twenty times the same thing.”

“If I had satisfied myself by mentioning it only nineteen times, I should have lost all my labour,” she replied. “It was the twentieth time that crowned it.”

Her sons led tens of thousands to the Lord, and as long as they were alive, continued to be part of the Anglican Church and attend Sunday morning services. There are countless numbers that they influenced either directly or indirectly through the Methodist movement. I’d like to mention just one family story.

A Family who Changed History

James and Betty Taylor, settled in Barnsley in the mid-1700s, and were the founders of the first Methodist society in Barnsley. John Wesley preached in this place at least 20 times, and was known to have stayed in their home when he came to preach. Their eldest son John Taylor was also eventually active in the Methodist church in Barnsley, and his son James Taylor became a Chemist and a Methodist Pastor. James Taylor married the daughter of a Methodist pastor, and although desiring to do missionary work in China, James and Amelia never did. Instead, their son James Hudson Taylor, known as Hudson Taylor, become the answer to their prayers. Before his birth they had prayed: ‘Lord, if you give us a son, grant that he may work for You in China!’

J Hudson Taylor is known as one of the most influential missionaries who has ever lived, and was the founder of the China Inland Mission. He lived a life of faith that was rooted in intimacy with God, with his life’s message being about laying down one’s life and being committed to fulfilling the Great Commission.

To think that one faithful mother’s influence and faith was imparted with care and conviction to her children, which in turn led to generations having been touched by her legacy. Did it ever cross her mind, in the midst of the many difficult trials, or in the daily mundane tasks, and the many years of sowing into her children’s hearts, that beyond her time on earth, her sacrifice would bear so much fruit?

I’m deeply inspired by her life, but I also appreciate this perspective of seeing beyond just my children’s education, to look into a time ahead I can’t see yet. We may never know just how much fruit will come from all we have sown in faith, love and sacrifice into these lives we are stewarding, but let me encourage you that it is worth it!  These precious years with our children are a privilege and blessing, in more ways than we can possibly comprehend. Whatever way you put that ‘apron’ over your head, make sure you carve out those moments to spend time with the Lord, hearing His heart towards you and yours, and taking time to just breathe and be. 

Be blessed and encouraged today,

~ Victoria 

PS. I finally joined Facebook a week or so ago. I have a few writing projects in the pipeline, and will use this Page as a hub for these, and for the other places I write on the web. I’d love to chat with you over there!

Facebook cover

  • Much of this information in this post was sourced out of my head. However, for further reading, you might like to look at the titles that Amazon have on Susanna Wesley by various authors.

Choosing to Stand Tall

Choosing to Stand Tall

It’s taken years to be truly on this path to freedom, but here I am in 2014 finally able to embrace who I am, and whose I am. And I don’t plan on retreating back to where I once was!

We have an unfortunate cultural trait in our country called ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’. It’s common enough for there to be a name to it. When a person stands taller from the crowd, they are pulled down or cut down with words so they no longer stand tall. It’s sometimes overt and sometimes more subtle, but the outcome is the same – to prevent another person from rising to all they could and should be, so that another feels better about themselves. It’s the opposite than what Heaven intends for our country, which a culture of true honour, comradeship and courage, and a People that will cheer on others in their chosen path.

I have been on the receiving end of this, and without doubt I’ve probably hurt others in this way. I can only repent for where I have partnered with this myself, and pray the Lord keeps me sensitive and humble from walking in it again!

What we want in the Body of Christ is for EVERY PERSON to walk in fullness, and in that way we are all better for it! We can honour the unique voice of one another, and enjoy and celebrate the brilliance that shines from each person.

My Journey in Becoming a ‘Tall Poppy’

For many years, and more so since becoming a mother, I’ve frequently been on the receiving end of jealousy, cutting down, and revilement, because others have desired what I have or have been jealous of what I am capable of. It has caused me to withdraw, be silenced, and isolate myself from others. Sometimes, it’s been shrouded in religious language, or a ‘minor’ reason given instead of the ‘main’ reason that hides what it really is. Other times the responsibility has been put back on me, as though the cause is me – I’m causing insecurities to rise up in others, or intimidating women because I am skilled and gifted in areas that others may not be. I’ve been pressured to hide my light, to be less of myself, to enhance my struggles and shortcomings so that others feel better about themselves.

But do you know that excluding others, cutting off or cutting down someone, or withdrawing your friendship or care of someone because you perceive them to as the source for your discomfort, is really unloving and based on a lie?  And at times, the victorious life they lead might actually be the result of years of perseverance, cost and sacrifice? Or perhaps an outpouring of favour of the Lord they have grown in, to be celebrated and cheered on?

Here’s a snapshot.

I love my husband and children. I very rarely need time away from them. I do need time by myself to re-energise at times, but it’s not because I’m fed up with them. It’s because I’m an introvert that likes to sit and read, listen and think. So I don’t crave the time out of the home without my family that others might. I also love spending time with other families, and I don’t crave women-only get togethers. Rejoice with me that I’m different and what a change the Lord has brought about in my heart – when I first got married I wasn’t sure I wanted children, as I was still hurting from my parents’ divorce. What a transformation God has done in my life!

I don’t believe my way of parenting is the best/only/right way. Truly. I have many convictions about things that are right for our own family, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s the best way for your family. Those decisions that we all have to make about raising children, eating, Church fellowship, homeschooling or public school – they are all things that we can only be responsible for ourselves and not for others! I freely and joyfully love to help others, hence this blog as one example. But if you decide a different way, then go for it and be the best you can! So celebrate with me the victories and the courage it has taken to go against the mainstream, as we have pursued the best plan for our family.

I (usually) have a well-ordered and clean home. My mother set a wonderful example for me. I also learned young how to do this, as from 11 I lived without my mother under the same roof. It became necessary if I wanted clean clothes! Celebrate with me God’s redemptive purpose that has come about, and that he has brought strength and excellence into my life as a homemaker. It’s come at great cost.

I love to be home with my children and am glad for the blessing to homeschool them. I’ve had hard days. Really hard days! But the vast majority of the time we enjoy ourselves and my children are thriving and doing well. But the cost of living off one income is I only get a haircut once a year, we wear our clothes out (except the kids who benefit from a very generous Nanna!), we don’t get out of town to see family often, and a thousand other things we can’t afford to do. Worth it? Yes yes yes! So tell me I’m doing a great job and encourage me. Don’t tear down homeschooling because it offends your worldview or theology, or gossip about me because you see imperfection or you feel inadequate yourself. Be the best ‘you’, and encourage me to do the same!

I love to create a warm and hospitable environment for people to come to. It’s true – before you arrive at my home, I will often whisk around and pick up things that you might trip on, check the toilet for any ‘surprises’ my children may have inadvertently left, and perhaps wipe down the dining room table where you may place your coffee cup on arrival. Enjoy the place I’ve created for you to enter into. Embrace the English cultural background I come from, where you can sit and be served rather than the more common way in our culture of being told to ‘help yourself’ or ‘make yourself at home’( which is fine too). This is how I do hospitality – be blessed by it!

I love to create nourishing meals for my family and am good at it. I had to learn young, and at 11 I was cooking roasts and making school lunches. God has used those difficult circumstances and turned them into something good, something helpful, a blessing to my family, and also to others that have been on the receiving end of my generosity. Please, rejoice with me at His goodness expressed in my life!

I’m frequenting on the receiving end of the Father’s generosity and our family find ourselves with abundant provision that is beyond logic. Rejoice with me in the goodness of God! It has sometimes come at the cost of many times of enduring faith and hope, tears and prayer, and we ourselves have been generous with all we have in our hands, at times with extraordinary sacrifice.

You probably won’t catch me posting photos on Facebook of my messy lounge, my baking fails, or any other imperfectness – not because I don’t have those days like every other mother, but because I choose to celebrate the victories and strive for the excellence that I know is in me.

I’m not perfect. I fail daily. There is grace daily. I’m utterly dependent on Him.

I am a beautiful, gifted, beloved child of the Father. I love who He’s created me to be, and love my life, and I love growing in who I am in greater measure. Rejoice with me that God has taken brokenness and grief and turned it to wholeness and joy. He’s brought beauty from the ashes. I will no longer hide my light!

And He can do the very same thing with you.

“The church is God’s body, where every member is welcomed, accepted, loved and valued as a contribution. There is room for us to live in Christ while we are learning to be Christlike. This means we make space for the ugly and the beautiful in all of us to grow and change.” From MANIFESTING YOUR SPIRIT (Graham Cooke)

Tall poppy Monet

Introducing Solids to Your Baby

Introducing solids to your baby v2 small

I’ve sure come a long way on introducing solids since I began this parenting gig almost 10 years ago.  By the time my third child came around to this stage, the processed crackers and store-bought biscuits were history, and instead I was making homemade blends of vegetables cooked in stock and taking a careful, considered approach to how and when foods were introduced.

So here are some things I’d like to pass on that I hope will help you as you put together your plan.

Why Organic?

The most important thing for our family is that we choose only organic foods for these reasons:

  • More nutrition
  • No harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic residues.
  • Free from additives and GE-free

If buying organic food is a stretch for feeding your whole family, consider buying organic food just for your baby, as the quantities are small enough that you shouldn’t notice much of a change to your overall grocery bill.  It’s just worth the investment to give your baby a head start to optimum health.

When to Introduce Foods

I introduce single foods and watch for any reaction over a few days before introducing the next one.  I also prefer to cook vegetables in homemade broths/stocks.

Here’s the basic plan I’ve followed, give or take a few compromises here or there.

4m + (minimal solids; ie. 1-2t per day)

  • Egg yolk
  • Mashed banana
  • Avocado

6-8m (single foods to start with, then gradually introduce blends, as well as meat and oil)

  • Cooked vegetables: sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, beetroot
  • Raw pureed fruits: pear, banana, avocado, apple
  • Cooked fruits: apple, dried apricots, peach, plum
  • Meat: Cooked and pureed lamb, beef, chicken
  • Broths: added to meat and vegetable blends
  • Oils: coconut and olive oil

9-12m

  • Homemade casserole/stew
  • Vegetable soups
  • Cooked vegetables: broccoli, peas
  • Dried fruits (small amounts): dates, raisins (soaked and blended in with other fruit)
  • Cooked berries (if tolerated)
  • Slowly introduce tastes such as ginger, garlic, onion, spices
  • A little of the juice from homemade fermented vegetables mixed with food

We introduced certain types of dairy slowly about this stage, such as kefir and yoghurt and a little butter, as our baby appeared intolerant to dairy from when he was a few weeks old (eg. nappy rash, green poop, unsettled when lying flat, reaction would occur about 4 hours after I’d eaten any).  We did a little cheese with him about 11 months.  We don’t do store-bought skim versions of any dairy with all our children.

Avoid until after 12m and then introduce slowly and one at a time:

  • White potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • All grains and legumes (babies do not have enough digestive enzymes to handle them)
  • Citrus fruit and tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Egg whites
  • Raw berries (pectin can upset tummies)

More Information

Bear in mind, this is all just a guide based on what’s worked for us.  You might have a different set of needs to consider for your little one.

Once you have your plan, print it off and keep on the fridge or somewhere handy to refer to easily.

All the best to you as you help give your baby a great start in life!

Victoria

Magazines for the Whole Family

Magazines for the whole family

Here are a handful of my favourite magazines for some whole family reading.  I love to sit down in the quiet with a magazine and flick through short articles on all kinds of different things.  It’s definitely one of my favourite ways to re-charge.

HOMEMAKING

Seasons at Home

This is a great read that seeks to minister to homemakers and their families by providing encouragement for mothers, homemaking tips, DIY projects, homeschooling, recipes, crafts and more.

From Scratch

From-Scratch-April-May-2014-CoverWeb‘From Scratch’ is a free bi-monthly online magazine for the modern homesteader and for living life simply.  You’ll pick up heaps of great ideas for your home on gardening, food, DIY projects, homemade products and more.

HOMESCHOOLING

Answers

Creation scienceAnswers is the Creation Science magazine published by ‘Answers in Genesis’, and reaches 200,000 homes each quarter.  It’s packed full of relevant articles on the latest creation science news while also having an apologetics and theological perspective through which to understand culture.  While I don’t share all of Ken Ham’s theology in its entirety, I so appreciate the solid science and his dedication to defending a creation science worldview through the written word.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

TOSThe Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a free online magazine by The Old Schoolhouse that is packed full of homeschool encouragement and resources.   Read my review here.  They also publish a print version, which for 2014 has over 300 pages of homeschool goodness. I have a copy in my hands which I’m still not finished.  This edition features Deborah Wuehler, Todd Wilson, Heidi St. John, Andrew Pudewa and many other homeschool greats, including my talented online friend Bonnie Rose Hudson who is completely fantastic.

Nature Friend

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Nature Friend is a creation-based children’s nature magazine for the whole family to enjoy.  There is opportunity for your children to submit different contributions as well.  This is one we haven’t gotten ourselves yet but plan to at some stage in future.

FAITH

Voice of the Martyrs

We have joined the mailing list for the NZ branch of ‘Voice of the Martyrs’ and they send out a magazine a few times a year with the latest news and ways to partner with this mission.  I wholeheartedly recommend supporting their ministry if you have a heart for the oppressed and persecuted.  Visit the US website or NZ website for more information.

Relevant

Relevant

Relevant is another magazine that I haven’t physically had in my hands yet but I’ve been enjoyed the articles online for some time, plus some of the worship sessions that have been recorded by Relevant.  The magazine is targeted at the 20 and 30-something age group, and covers topics of ‘faith, culture and intentional living’.  The digital magazine is free to view, and the print version is a very small $6 for 6 months.

FOR CHILDREN

Answers for Kids

kids-answers-092

Answers for Kids is the children’s magazine from Answers in Genesis, and contains just 8 pages that fold out, with a theme each time that fills the pages.

God’s World News

gwnews24We subscribed to this super magazine last year and even with the international postage it’s still incredible value for a monthly magazine for each of my children.  The different editions cater for different age groups, and cover the same content but age appropriately.  This is definitely one of our favourite homeschool resources.

** Update on ‘God’s World News’ – the magazine have decided to halve the number of print editions per year from 10 down to 5, and in the month’s between your child will receive an e-mail instead.  There are less print edition options also.  The cost remains the same.  In my opinion, this is no longer the fantastic value that was offered before so I no longer recommend it, but you might still decide it’s worth it for your family.  **

Do you have any favourites?

Victoria

Our ‘Back to Eden Garden’ Progress – One Year On

 

Back to Eden Garden pin

For the past 12 months, we’ve adopted a method of gardening, sometimes called the ‘no dig’ method, and more recently popularised by the super documentary ‘Back to Eden’, which is free to view online.

With summer just behind us and the cooler months approaching, I thought it would be a good opportunity to pass on how we’ve done over the last 6 months.

In all honesty, the weekends have been so filled with other activity since Christmas that our little garden has been somewhat neglected. We just let the summer months roll by, and enjoyed the produce that came from it, when really we should have continued with the relatively small amount of maintenance that it needed to thrive.

So I’ll pass on some things we’ve learned in this process, and the how we’re moving forward from here.

Soil

Fresh wood chips

Fresh wood chips

It’s all about the covering, right? What we really needed to continue with, was adding cover on top of the existing wood chips. Because we didn’t start from scratch initially, we couldn’t just heap 6 inches of cover on top of our existing plants. So we put down compost first, then added wood chips on the top but not at a thickness that was going to produce the kind of results we wanted. Decomposing just takes time – there’s no rushing nature!

Our wood chips have been decomposing nicely, but we have needed to keep adding fresh wood chips on the top. The other thing the garden could greatly benefit from is some chicken manure or similar.

Remember how Paul suggests you put in a garden? Newspaper first, then compost, wood chips and manure on the top. Have a read and watch of this on the Back to Eden website on covering.

Our plan is to source some wood chips locally (we had bought them in from out of town) and keep a supply elsewhere in our back yard. This way, we can keep the garden replenished. We also want to make use of living on the coast and collect up some seaweed from the beach to use on the garden. I’ve been told by a local veteran gardener that it’s the trick to the hugest and juiciest strawberries. Here’s a great write-up on why to use seaweed.

In the meantime, last weekend we put some fresh mulch on top of our existing wood chips, and will keep doing this through the winter months.

Weeds

Our weeds have definitely decreased significantly. But as we slackened on the cover, there are patches in our garden where there is little cover and some weeds have come up. Because we’ve had the wood chips and it has lessened the weeds, it probably lulled us into a false sense of security as we didn’t feel the need to tend to the garden!  We’re paying for it now, as we’re having to put some work in. But we’re happy with getting through a long hot summer with not too much that’s sprouted.

Plant Health

You can see from this photo, we have way too much clay and not enough decomposed wood chips underneath.

You can see from this photo, we have way too much clay and not enough decomposed wood chips underneath.

Again, because our soil health has needed some attention, namely some manure and/or nutrients, some of our leafy greens were a little woody instead of being juicy with water. The outside leaves particularly, and that is where we had some problems with insects or clusters of insect eggs. The inner, juicy leaves were insect free, even those exposed to the air. It just goes to show that the principles do work if you actually use them.

Harvest

We enjoyed plenty of summer harvest through the warm months, including different varieties of tomatoes, spinach, squash, and towards the end, pumpkins and butternuts. Next year, we’ll be better at preparing for the upcoming season and planning ahead. We still have time to get seedlings in for the winter, but it will be from seedlings we purchase from the garden store and not our own seeds.

Lessons Learned from Our First Year

Our little garden with the remains of summer's growth

Our little garden with the remains of summer’s growth

  • The soil is a living organism. We need to remember to continue to replenish the cover and check that the soil underneath is damp and rich.
  • While transitioning our garden to this method, we need to still water sometimes through dryer periods until there is adequate nourished soil underneath our wood chips.
  • Healthy soil makes for healthy plants, and less weed and insect problems.
  • Manure and sea weed are great for ongoing soil health!

In 6 months time, I hope to tell you that we’ve found a rhythm to keeping our garden maintained and healthy!

Finally, whether you’ve watched Back to Eden or not just yet, have a read of this great article on ‘How to Grow a ‘Back to Eden’ Garden’. Tell me what you think!

You might also be interested in my other posts on No-Dig Gardening.

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures {April 2014}

Tips, Treats etc, monthly round up April 2014

The last month has flown by again, and we’re feeling like our family is in a relatively good rhythm going into the winter.  We have enough commitments outside our family life for now, and the kids are settled into some good routines.  Here’s hoping we can cruise a bit for a while, after a couple of months of some really stretching circumstances.  Love the outcome of faith having grown, but do not love the process as much. 🙂

In the Kitchen

Take a break from your gluten-free living and enjoy these simple Cornish pasties from Jamie Oliver.  I can’t imagine how a Cornish pastie would taste with gluten-free pastry, but if you have a recipe feel free to prove me wrong. 🙂

A simple recipe of melted blueberries with mandarin orange and ginger.  And let’s not forget the whipped cream with it.

What I’m Reading and Watching

Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson.

Praying Circles around Your Children by Mark Batterson

Trim Healthy Mama – it’s taken me a while to get hold of my own copy, but I’ve decided to give this a read and see what all the fuss is about.  So many people I know are using this eating plan.  I’ll let you know in the coming months what I think.  So far, I like the emphasis on increasing healthy fats in your diet.

New Discoveries

Here’s an informative article on agave nectar that I encourage you to read.

Last month I linked up a post at Wellness Mama on how to re-mineralise your teeth.  Here’s another well written post on oil pulling.

On the Homeschool Front

I’m going to be adding ‘Life of Fred’ Math to our homeschool curriculum soon.  I’ve only ever heard great things about these books, but we’re going to supplement our existing Math-U-See rather than replace it.  This series of books bring Math alive to children through stories.

We have switched things around a bit for a month (in case you missed it, read Mix it up May).  So far, all is going well and our learning times feel like they’ve freshened up a bit.  I recommend doing this if you’re children start to drag their feet behind them!

We’ve picked up our ‘All About Spelling’ again after an extended break.  This really is a great spelling program and I find my daughter instantly picks up the rules.  Here’s an article from All about Spelling on learning spelling logically: Spelling Can Be Easy When It’s Logical

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

Chareen has some great resource lists for free homeschooling.  My favourite is her Free Fine Arts Resources.

Have a read of this one: 5 Overlooked Cultural Sins Threatening the Church.

A Few of my Favourite Things

We were blessed to listen to Loren Cunningham twice yesterday, who is currently on tour with his wife Darlene in New Zealand.  He has a fresh challenge for us seeing a bible in every home, in every nation.  Listen in here.

You’ll enjoy this personality test – it totally summed me up perfectly which these tests rarely do.

All Sons and Daughters have released a new self-titled album.  Listen to the whole thing here at Relevant.

Quote of the Month

‘To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today’. – Unknown

I’ve got some posts tucked away and ready to go for this month on our ‘Back to Eden’ garden, Maestro Classics, Story of the World for Christian families, some of our favourite magazine reads, plus a few other things.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Victoria

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures (March 2014)

Tips, Treats etc, monthly round up March 2014 We are currently enjoying the cool of autumn’s arrival, after a long, beautiful hot summer. March is my favourite month of the year.  Last weekend’s berry picking left us with just a small bag of berries, as the last of the summer berries have finished.  Soon will be root vegetables and casseroles coming out of the kitchen.

On that note, here are a couple of recipes that I’ll be trying soon.

In the Kitchen

I really like the sound of these sweet and sour meatballs from the talented Danielle Walker (Against All Grain).  

And same website for these gorgeous 7 layer bars .  Don’t be scared off by the many layers – most have just a couple of ingredients each.  Yum!

What I’m Reading and Watching

Have a watch of this music video where the singer is photo-shopped in real time.  You’ll never look at magazine images the same again!

I’ve been wanting to read this book the moment I read the Amazon preview.  The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by christian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi.

And this one: Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothin.  Read the Amazon preview on this one too!

An article on ADHD that you’ll find interesting.  I’ve been reading this for years, and read a particularly great book by Phillip Day that said similar things.  

New Discoveries and Great Ideas

Food Matters TV is here!  Head over to their site and watch over 300 health and wellness videos on demand.  

How to Remineralise Your Teeth Naturally (an article at Wellness Mama):    And if this interests you, purchase Ramiel Nagel’s book ‘Cure Tooth Decay’ for extensive guidance on healing your teeth naturally.

On the Homeschool Front

We’re enjoying Supercharged Science at the moment, and I’ll be posting a review next week.  This week has been about minerals and genetics.  We love our Apologia Science. But I’ve found Supercharged Science has given us a fresh boost of inspiration and new knowledge and perspective that has breathed life into our homeschool.  Perhaps we’ll keep doing both for a while!

I found this a really great read from All About Spelling (the spelling curriculum we use) on Why Copywork Doesn’t Always Work’.    They also have this free ‘Phonogram Sound App’ for all 72 sounds taught in their spelling and reading programs.

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

I love what Heather has written about learning the Word with her children, and also putting their efforts towards bible translation work: End Bible Poverty

A great read on what really matters: When You Can’t Give Your Kids Disneyland 

A few of my favourite things

I enjoyed this really neat music video of a couple’s bump to baby progress.  It had over a million views in 2 days.

This month I’ve been enjoying worship from the fantastic Josh and Amberley Klinkenburg, and All Sons and Daughters.  Josh and Ambs have released an EP called ‘Our Love’, which you can pick up on i-tunes.   And All Sons and Daughters have released a live album available on their site.

Have a listen – you’ll be blessed.

Quote of the Month

And finally, some brilliance from Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding:

“When our passion for God fails to find its expression in joy, it will often find expression in legalism.” Bill Johnson 

I hope you find some great things to read, watch and eat on this post.

Have a great week friends!

Victoria

PS. Due to when the Review Crew due dates fall, you’ll be getting 3 days of nature study posts from me between 7th and 9th, then a science review on the 10th.  But then your inbox will have a 6 day break until the 16th.  I hope you don’t feel swamped!

This post contains affiliate links.

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures {February 2014}

Tips, Treats Topics, Treasures

I can hardly believe that the month of February is already gone!  We finished our summer holidays and have been back to homeschool in full swing.  You might remember last month that I wrote that we are changing the pace of life in our family, and being intentional about what we say yes to.  It’s been such a good thing so far and I would love to encourage you again to consider how this might look in your own family.

So on that note, here’s some things to pass on that have caught my attention this past month.

In the Kitchen

A round-up of the most gorgeous ‘real food and allergy friendly’ Valentine treats, but enjoy them year-round.

An easy and yummy version of Paleo Butter Chicken that I’ll be trying this week.

‘Food Matters’ recipe book – this is such a great resource to help you create simple, clean food for your health.

What I’m Reading and Watching

‘Emma – BBC version online (5 parts).  Or at the very least, watch this lovely dance scene.

A beautiful and much loved little boy who lived for 10 days, and how his family captured his life in photos.

I love this version of ‘The Prayer’ with Josh Groban and Celine Dion.

New Discoveries and Good Ideas

Seasons at Home is a stunning print magazine with topics for the whole family, and includes articles on whole food cooking, homemaking, homeschooling, and projects for the home.

‘Take Them a Meal‘ is a great way of organising a meal roster for someone special.  I’ve been part of these many times.  You can see what others are planning, which helps to avoid 7 nights in a row of lasagne. 🙂

Fun Ideas for your Backyard – I love the idea of growing sunflowers in a circle and creating a space for your kids to play.  Gorgeous!

I cannot tell you how incredibly excited I am about having the opportunity to watch and review this documentary called ‘Captivated’ very soon!  Please take a look at the short clips here and I’ll let you know soon where you can get hold of a copy for yourself.

On the Homeschool Front

Candace inspired me with this neat art project, so we did this one around 14 Feb. 

We have this art curriculum, See the Light Shine, coming to our homeschool very soon!  It teaches art techniques and integrates art history and a biblical approach.  I can’t wait for us to get started.

We are continuing through ‘Story of the World’ and really enjoying it.  Don’t forget to visit the SOTW Blog Roll for lots of great ideas from other bloggers for making it memorable and fun.

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

‘Envision a Positive Future’ – an outstanding post on speaking life into your child from Marcy at ‘Ben and Me’

Cultivating Faithfulness in Homeschooling – a great read at Proverbial Homemaker that you’ll find tremendously encouraging.

7 Faith Considerations When Raising Introverted Kids – I so appreciated this one.  Make sure you bookmark this!

A Few of my Favourite Things

The 51 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever.

Celebrating Woman – my Pinterest Board with some fabulous photos of woman around the world.

Quote of the Month

When you articulate your boundaries to people, they have the opportunity to respect your needs and virtues and protect your relationship with them. And when they value and protect the things that are important to you, the relationship flourishes. This is the process that builds trust between you and others. – from ‘The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness’ by Kris Vallotton

Have a great week,

Victoria

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{Shared at The Road to 31, Good Tips Tuesday, Hearts for Home,  Growing Homemakers}

Changing the Pace – taking steps to live a more simple life

Changing the Pace

There’s a flood of e-books, articles and information online these days, giving us insight into how to balance every aspect of our lives, particularly for us mothers that are at home and sometimes also homeschooling our children.  Although there are varying voices on the subject, the loudest one appears to be that we woman can have it all, make a few compromises and take some short-cuts, but still manage to juggle all these balls that are thrown our way.

I’ve felt caught up into the frenzy myself at times, with a mix of worthy goals and some less worthy – to nurture my marriage, successfully raise and teach my children, be actively involved in the lives of others, have some sort of public face so I don’t fade into obscurity, manage a home well, give out of what the Lord has placed in my hands, have Mum time with others outside my home, meetings and functions, write in this space here while ticking all the necessary boxes that I knew nothing about 12 months ago (eg. SEO keywords, pinnable images, and social media promotion)… and so forth.

And then there’s the deepest desire within me to connect more closely with my Creator, the source of all things good in my life.  He has so much he wants to share with me, and yet my own fears of perhaps falling off someone’s radar or not feeling fully satisfied with how things are arranged in my life, has frequently kept me from being still and moving out of the fast pace of modern life to hear His voice.

I love the picture that we have been given in creation, of bees, birds and insects, living out their purpose, but not in a hurry.  There’s a natural rhythm to things, cycles and seasons that continue without toil.  Fruit comes forth from a healthy tree of its own accord, and doesn’t strain or labour to appear.  Aren’t we, those created in the image of God, so much more capable of finding this sort of purpose and peace in our own lives?  To align ourselves with a rhythm and purpose that has peace, sustained rest, and fullness of life?

So I’m at the point now of saying yes more to the things that matter, which inevitably means saying no to other things at times.

  • Yes to more time with Jesus, so no to things that use my time unwisely or that can simply wait.
  • Yes to more time just enjoying the sun with my children, feet in the grass, and breathing fresh air, so no to always managing our day according to the clock.
  • Yes to making our home as our ‘centre’, so no to lots of activity through the week outside the home.
  • Yes to the natural rhythm and pace that my family is best wired to, so no to hurrying my children up all the time.
  • Yes to the ‘hidden’ things that take place out of sight from others: enjoying my children, loving my husband, and cultivating a healthy environment in my home.  So no to excessive social media time, ‘me’ time with friends, blogging things, or putting aside the ministry in my home to do ministry in other places.  [Of course I still want to spend time with my friends and serve the Lord in other places besides my home, but those things need to find their place in this season of my life where my home is where my heart is].

I’m anticipating that in deciding to focus primarily on these hidden years with my children, I might fall off the social scene somewhat, not always make it to events and functions, and perhaps even become forgotten by some if I lose my visibility in their lives.  But I’m choosing to focus on what God is giving me, not what I am losing. I’m going after what He is giving me instead!

I’m finding I’m looking forward to waking up each day, having the kids jump into my lap, homeschooling them (even though daily there are still challenges to overcome), and the end of the day I can’t wait to spend time with Jesus.

I’m off the treadmill and have my feet on the ground.   I’m planning to enjoy my years with my children.  I don’t want a single regret from this point forward.

Will you join me?

Victoria

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures {January 2014}

monthly round up January 2014

Beginning this month, I’m going to do a round up at the end of each month of things that have grabbed my attention over the course of the month – things to make in the kitchen, things I’m reading or watching, something I’ve read or discovered in health and natural living, and perhaps something we’ve been doing in homeschooling that’s been a great experience or fun part of the journey.

I simply want to pass on things that have caught my interest and been of benefit to my journey, in the hope that you might also find something useful or inspiring too.

So here goes…

In the Kitchen

What I’m Reading and Watching

  • Crafted Prayer (e-book) by Graham Cooke
  • Why Stomach Acid is Good for you: Natural Relief from Heartburn Indigestion, Reflux and GERD – by Wright and Lenard
  • I’ve been enjoying Dr Caroline Leaf’s material for the last couple of years on the brain and faith connection, and strongly recommend you listen in.  She has a series online at the moment on TBN.  Here is the first episode.
  • Compelled by Love – the inspiring story of Heidi Baker.
  • Rend Collective: 10,000 reasons – Love this! Intimate, honest, inclusive worship in a community of kindred people.  Love the Irish folksy sound, and love the heart of these people to honour one another and honour their King.
  • I am really looking forward to watching this one coming out this year: ‘Heaven is for Real

New Discoveries

  • iHerb.com – a great place to get over 35,000 supplements, health and beauty products at great prices.  Best of all, they ship to NZ for just $4, and only $8 for 2-day delivery (on average).   I’ve already put through 2 orders – love cheap international postage!
  • See the Light Shine Art DVD series – just got bumped up my homeschool wishlist.  We can’t wait to get started next month!
  • PureSante –spend months or years trying to get to the bottom of your health issues (like I have!), or consult with someone like the amazing Rachael who can help lead you into greater health. For folks in the Bay of Plenty, give this fantastic gal a call – she is amazing!

On the Homeschool Front

Online Treasures (great reads on the web)

  • I participated in a blog hop with my friends at the TOS Review Crew on the ‘Homeschool Essentials’.  Here’s a few I enjoyed:
  1. Wildflower Ramblings Content with my Role as Mother
  2. Delightful LearningMy Children’s Essentials
  3. FinchnWrenLove
  4. Every Bed of Roses Art and Music Appreciation Resources
  5. At Home: Where Life HappensPaperbacks

A Few of my Favourite Things

Quote of the Month

“When the key element of your identity comes from a negative, then your experiences will always be negative. When you see yourself as a sinner, then you will be preoccupied with sin. When you know that you are a saint, then you will be occupied with righteousness because a saint is one of the holy ones. You were a sinner that has been saved by grace to become a saint. You are a child of light beloved of God walking in newness of life. That makes you a completely different person!”

From MIND OF A SAINT – Graham Cooke

Have a great month!

Victoria

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