Friday, 24 February 2017

Friday Reflections - 44

Celebrations have featured more highly than usual this week, as I visited my Dad to mark his 60th birthday with him last weekend. Michael held the fort at home while I travelled North with my sister for the party.

In addition, it was our 14th wedding anniversary this week. Having discovered recently (!) that neither of us is all that bothered about presents, we keep our celebrations low key. However, Michael had gone to the effort of scanning our wedding photographs and compiling a photo book from them. Since the originals have a habit of falling out of the album in such a way that it makes it hard to look at them, this was a much appreciated gift!

Otherwise, it has been a relatively normal week of work now that we are back after our half term break. An unexpected highlight for the children was watching a house be demolished! We went for a nature walk, but this was clearly the most memorable part.

Half a House

After the roof came down.

It was good to be outdoors, though, and the signs of spring are encouraging.


Although we don't mind getting out in all types of weather, warmer, longer days are eagerly anticipated.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Friday Reflections - 43

We have had a break for half term here, which has meant a quiet few days. Unusually, Michael has had a week with very few church activities, so he has been less busy too. I enjoy the more restful times, and I know that I need weeks like this last one if I am going to be able to keep going in the longer term. However, I also find that I can get a bit anxious that I'm somehow missing something - that there is some responsibility I am neglecting or some chore I have forgotten. It is also easy to feel a false guilt about being able to sit down with a book during the day, or not having to get up quite so early if I want to go for a run. I need to learn to rest well!

I have used the time to read, to finish off one crochet blanket and begin another, and to keep up my running.

A Finished Blanket

The children have filled their free time well over the week. We have had friends here to play, enjoyed some walks out together, and there has been quite a bit of baking.

My 9 year old made raspberry macaroons one day:

Raspberry Macaroons

My daughter made mini gem biscuits:

Grating Lemon Zest


Mini Gem Biscuits

I also took my two older boys to visit my grandparents this week. My 11 year old brought along his box of magic tricks and put on a show, while my 9 year old brought mini Victoria sponges that he'd made. The visit seemed to be enjoyed by all! I will take my younger two to visit next week, and the older boys were telling them how much fun they had, which was good to hear.

Today we had a home education group meeting. It was good to see friends and enjoy some activities together. We were focusing on Cuba, and made some wooden car pencil holders to reflect the interesting cars in Cuba.

Pencil Holder

We went for a muddy walk in the woods earlier in the week, and we are all enjoying the fact that it has been a little warmer.

In the Woods

Posing with some Fungus!

One or two of our bulbs have produced some flowers, and we are looking forward to Spring.

Signs of Spring

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Avid Reader Books (My Choices) - 2017 Christian Reading Challenge

I have just finished all the books I chose for the Light Reader level of the Christian Reading Challenge that we are tackling as a family this year. The rest of the family who are taking part are about half way through. Although the older two boys have each read more books in total than me this year, they have read fewer from the challenge.

My Books

Here are my choices for the Avid Reader level:

1) A book written by a Puritan: Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

2) A book by or about a missionary: My Seventh Monsoon by Naomi Reed

3) A book about Christian living: Maximum Life by Julian Hardyman

4) A commentary on a book of the Bible: Joshua: No Falling Words by Dale Ralph Davis

5) A book about the Reformation: Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves & Tim Chester

6) A book about theology: The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin DeYoung

7) A book recommended by a family member: New York by Edward Rutherfurd

8) A book with a great cover: Openness Unhindered by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

9) A book on the current New York Times list of bestsellers: The Whistler by John Grisham

10) A book about church history: Among God’s Giants by J. I. Packer

11) A book of 100 pages or less: Is God Anti-Gay by Sam Allberry

12) A book of your choice: Call For the Dead by John le Carré

13) A book that won a prize: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Friday, 10 February 2017

Friday Reflections - 42

We've already reached half term - and though it has been a short half term, we will be grateful for a week to rest (the children) and regroup (me)!

This week, my daughter asked if she could make cake with me - chocolate cake in particular. We tried out Mary Berry's easy brownie recipe, and the results were very pleasing.

Greasing the Tin

Cracking Eggs

She and my 9 year old also spent quite a while reading his recipe books together, and have made a joint list of cakes and other treats that they would like to produce. It looks like they will be well occupied during our half term break.

Science has also been popular this week. Michael was teaching the younger two about friction, which involved partially dismantling the coffee table and racing cars down it!

Science Lesson

We also went on a nature walk, and successfully managed to dig up a worm for the children to examine and then draw.

Here they are, listening to E.Nesbit stories on their mp3 players while sitting on a wall in a field of mud, each drawing a worm:

Mud, worms, art, & stories.

An image which in many ways typifies our family life!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Friday Reflections - 41

This week we had a welcome visit from my sister-in-law and her little boy, along with my mum. The children loved seeing their grandma, aunty and cousin for the day. We visited the Horniman Museum together, which is only a short walk from our house.

Animals to see...

...and instruments to play.

Most of the week has been fairly routine. Our days are very full, and I am wondering if we need to do a bit less, at least some of the time - though I can't work out what, if anything, I should cut! I need to think about it, though. I don't want to get rid of the enjoyable but time consuming activities such as reading aloud, or going for walks - these are highlights of the day - but I'm reluctant to reduce the book work too much.

We also had our home education group today - which the children love, and I enjoy too, though it always leaves me feeling a bit frazzled afterwards. The children made North America cookie dough maps as one of their activities. They also drew or made doctor bird (hummingbird) pictures, as this is the national bird of Jamaica (our country this week).

North America Cookie Dough Map

A Hummingbird

I am keeping my head above water with the children's work and marking, and trying to keep up my reading. I don't always feel like picking up a book, but I am glad to be reading more.

Current Books
I also ran 5 miles this morning - so I am feeling a bit weary, a bit achy, and pretty chuffed with myself this evening.