Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New Beginnings 💜

Well Hello there,
I'm not sure how it got to be so many moths since posting - again! Frankly I do as we have had so many things happening in our lives. I really do enjoy blogging but also have found that the style of blogs has changed over the years since I first started. The unique interesting family orientated blogs seem to be declining and the mega blog is more prevalent.

One of the most recent is the move we have made to a new property. No we have not sold our Tasmania house :)
We were given notice after 5 years of living at the one place that they were wanting to do major renovations and we had to vacate.
After  much stress and praying we finally were blessed to 'find' a new for us home
We have finally mostly moved in and are settling in to a new lifestyle
It certainly has been an interesting time for us as we have adjusted to a smaller home with very little to none storage space. On the plus side we have more acreage for our animals and some beautiful garden areas. However I still will not plant my many fruit and nut trees and berries until we reach our own place.

Our new place which we call 'The Storybook House' as it is just like one of the houses in an Enid Blyton book or other adventure English book. The house has interesting nooks and crannies and a beautiful gardens with lots of hidey holes for children to play in. The roses are simply magnificent and I have been picking them along with other flowers to dry and add to my herbal stores for medicines and edible delights.
Incredibly we have the most gigantic white mulberry tree and the mulberries are  ripening now. The children have been eating them off the tree and last night I made some white mulberry and rose sugar syrup to add to my pantry stores.

Our animals are settling in and we are about to start, very late in the season, a vegetable patch. These are the activities that bring me joy and fulfillment in my vocation.
We have numerous eggs as our chickens and ducks have settled in and we have hatched some Khaki Campbell chicks out. Our doe, Primrose kidded yesterday too as well as our Cocker Spaniel giving birth to her second litter of pups this year (hmmm we were not expecting her to have pups again so soon). Our sheep should be ready to lamb soon too and we are quite excited about that as well.
The bran cats have also had kittens and we are really hoping they will keep down the snakes that are around here.

Within days of being here we saw a koala that had traveled up the property to be safely picked up and placed in a tree on the opposite side of the road. Some of the younger children had not seen a koala in 'the wild' and so were very excited.

The opportunities for fishing and yabbying are endless as we have both a water channel as our property boundary and the river just behind in the local reserve We have had numerous walks in the NP and some paddling in the river.

As we come to the end of November we have two birthdays and are rapidly planning our Advent Study for this year, which the children are very excited about. We have also suffered great sadness and yet more tribulation. However these are the  days we are given and they again are moving quickly and we are living them to the best of our ability.

" Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things are. Joy is not necessarily what happens when things unfold according to our plans."
Marianne Williamson

Blessings to you and your homes,

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Anzac Day Plans

Each year we celebrate Anzac Day in our home.
Not all years are the same but we do have a few themes we try to do together regardless of what else is happening.
We nearly always attend the Anzac Day march in honour of the fallen who have given their  life for the ideals they held dear.

'Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' John 15:13
I cannot think why anyone would not want to commemorate these brave soldiers and others who have gone to their death to defend the defenseless and protect us from evil.

Traditionally we make Anzac Cookies- really was there any doubt 😏 We have two recipes- this is our trusted and true long time recipe 
1 cup of rolled oats
1 cup plain four
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp of Bicarb Soda (Baking Soda for non Aussies)
2 Tablespoons of boiling water

1. Mix oats, sugar, coconut and flour together
2. Melt syrup and butter together
3. Mix soda with boiling water and add to melted butter and syrup
4. Add to dry ingredients
5. Place tablespoon of mixture on greased baking tray
6. Bake in slow oven 150-160 degrees C for 15 to 20 mins

This is a THM recipe ðŸ˜Š

We also make damper preferably in the camp oven if there is not fire ban.
The children have often dressed up  in their favourite military outfit and played games of tactics and spying for hours.

Naturally we have crossword puzzles, word search  and colouring pages to do while I read bits and pieces of information for them to learn.

We will probably also draw poppies using Art for Kids- which we love for the younger ones and perhaps from a real poppy for the older ones.
We hope also make a felt poppy for decorating the table

Copy work will also be done and this is a lovely piece to print out and have on the wall to memorise as well.
We have a few books to read that we own :
The Poppy – Andrew Plant
The Story of the First World War for Children -John Malam
Lest we Forget – Kerry Brown
Digger - Mike Dumbleton

We also like to watch a movie or two-
We tend to be a  little 'liberal' in our translation of what can be termed an Anzac movie (essentially a war movie as there really aren't any specific to Anzac Day) so for us we have-
War Horse
Five Children and it
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Sound of Music
A Little Princess
Bednobs and Broomsticks
Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
The Railway Children
Battle of Britain

For older viewers-  (definitely parental review)
Breaker Morant
The Lighthorseman

Here is a list of Australian war movies ( I have not previewed any yet but simply sharing)

Naturally we will need to have a game of Two up  ( be warned the video contains in my view a couple of swear words)  and this one with live action is good to see it in action

I have lots of other preparations in my notes for the school year but thought this would be a good thought provoking post for anyone interested in celebrating ANZAC Day.
To finish off here is  the -Ode and Last Post - We will remember them

Blessings to you and your homes,


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Easter in our home 2018

Good Evening again, after a bit of a break 😊
I was planning on writing a lot about our lead up to Easter and especially Holy Week but frankly I think I have done this before and so it is a little like repeating it over and over.
We tend to have the same traditions each year and love to redo these again and again.
So here is a pictorial  of some of our Holy Week and Easter activities 💗 I hope you enjoy them.
Blessings to you and your homes,

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Surprise- It's almost Holy Week

A very Good Evening to you,
Well we are almost in Holy Week and tonight I have written up with the older girls our traditional  'Holy Week Booklet.'
I like to have a booklet as we have so many activities we are completing and liturgical requirements that if I don't have it all written in one place day by day I know I will forget something important 😊
One thing that can be guaranteed in this busy life we have is the regular activities but also those little moments when you have a 'sweetness' moment.
This is Felix the Bunny. He is Arwen's special bunny gifted to her by her siblings on her birth. Felix was named after a book we are very fond of -Letters from Felix  and Arwen's bunny has certainly traveled around.
Since he has journeyed  far and wide he was in need of a little surgery. As I was getting things prepared i left the room and came back to discover that Felix was now all ready to face this gruesome deed. Arwen had placed some eye protection on him so he could see what was happening to him. Sweet little girl, how I love this gentleness in her.
 One of the activities that Trahaearn does everyday is to draw. He has a few particular types of drawings he does.
Viking ships were his very first drawings from his imagination  and he spends ages on them getting them perfect. Did I say perfect? Yes I did, because we have often had a little pile of paper on the floor as they did not meet his standard.
I particularly like this latest Viking ship as it has the ship behind as well as the one coming up at the rear. I think he did an excellent job on making the ship looking realistic with the flags and sails.
 I had a special day in town with Arwen last week. Well not really special but she came with me to run some errands, you know essentials like groceries. The really fun and exciting type of shopping.
Well we did pop into K-mart to check on Winter clothing and walked past the toy section- cause I'm a really nice Mama 😏 and because Arwen has a fascination with all things panda she could not resist this life size panda head.
Now me, I think she is kinda cute but that huge head still 'weirds' me out.
 Isn't he just adorable???
Our grandbaby dumpling came for the day and he has just really learnt to walk most of the time. That sweet - I'm just waddling look- that I love.
He also loves to be outside and runs to the door when it is open and squeals to go outside. He also loves the dogs and seeing all the animals. A very gentle and sweet  little guy he is so happy.
 We have been busy preserving all the stone fruit and this is our no sugar jam we made.
It really is a lovely jam, but I would probably call it a very thick stewed fruit.
I think it is certainly more versatile this way as it can still be used as a stewed fruit in pies or with cream but can also be use as jam on toast.
I'm pretty sure we will continue to do it this way. However it does take a much longer time to cook as you are reducing the liquid as you cook.
You probably also might have guessed by now that I love long hair and all our girls have long hair as well as myself.
Well, mine isn't as long as it used to be but we won't go there.
As I was giving Vellvin's a brush last week I saw this beautiful ringlet at the back and just had to take a photo. Is that strange? Maybe but I love ringlets.
The other interesting fact is that when Rogan saw this photo that he thought it was my hair 😍
Have I mentioned that the children are always offering to make me some sort of drink, mainly a coffee as that is my beverage of choice. Myffy had been offering me her special recipe drink for a few days and I had not really had the time to have it as she usually offered when I wasn't able to enjoy it.
As I was doing my own study she brought me her 'famous Myffy Chocolate drink' her special and secret recipe. Of course then I was able to enjoy the gift of love. Thank you Myff!

And it is here that I say goodnight to you all again. Thank you for catching up with us and I hope you all have a blessed Holy Week.

Blessings to you and your homes,

Monday, March 19, 2018

Popping in again and Autumn Preparations

A very late Good Evening to you 😊
Time passes quickly again and I struggle to share all we are doing.
Suffice to say we are working through our Lenten journey this year with a little more success than our Advent one.
With the last two weeks of Lent to go we are about to enter our very crafty stage of this time and finish up our Lenten readings as well.

As we are now into the Autumn season we are anticipating a relief to this hot summer weather that seems to still lingering. However we are starting to prepare for colder weather ahead.

One of the preparations is for our more frost susceptible plants to be placed in our greenhouse or in a home made poly tunnel we have yet to construct.
We lost a few of our more rain forest Australian bush-foods last year in our frosts, it being the worst year for frost in many years. I had locals telling me that they also had lost plants that they had never had a problem with before. My scented geraniums even suffered and they are very hardy plants.
Reading a beautiful Bunny themed Golden Book
We still have not put our autumn crop of vegetables in and so I am thinking we will have to get seedlings rather than starting from seeds this season.

As this is a very changeable time of year here with weather I had anticipated that I would need to stock up on my cold and flu preparations and start our Immunity Tea so we could have more protection when the 'seasonal illness' start.
True to form though I was only part way organised when a couple of the kids got a sore throat. So I responded a little slowly with some of the preparations we had on hand we had pretty good success rate but poor Moran has been much slower responding with getting her voice back. Yes, that's right she is virtually mute much to her annoyance.

On Friday night, just in time for the weekend, Stephen came home after a strenuous afternoon of strenuous activity with a cough, sore throat and feeling generally blah!! This time I was on it right away and although he isn't 100% recovered on Sunday afternoon he was quite significantly improved. The coughing which he tells me was about to settle on his chest on Saturday night has gone and I am very confident in saying it was the result of our home Herbal remedies.
Home made Elder flower Wine
We have also been quite busy with making more probiotic and  fermented drinks to keep our immune system healthy. Sadly I have not done as much as I would like but Autumn has started to take this on as a new passion.
As we reach the end of season for stone fruit we have also been cooking up apples butter, making plum jam without added sugar and dehydrating any fruit we don't want to cook. My favourites are apples and plums which I am certain the children love just as much as I do.

Warm clothing is also an item to check as we  have a fairly hard to heat house and the bedrooms are extra hard. In an effort to not use as much electricity, and money this year we are not planning on heating any of the bedrooms with electric heating so we are investigating thermals  for everyday use and hot water bottles to take to bed. This is a first for us as we have taken 'hot packs' in the past but I am told by a reliable source that hot water bottles last better, so we will see how we go😏

Naturally we will be engaging in some firewood gathering and cutting activities in the next few weeks and it would be nice to have our firewood all prepared before the wet and cold winter arrives.

I can't wait to sit around the fire with our family snuggled up reading together with some knitting and craft projects on hand and just enjoying the season I feel brings us together.
Having Tea Time as part of our Learning Week
So much more has happened in our lives the last couple of weeks and this is but a tip of what we have done and our planning but it is late and I need some sleep before the new week of learning so I will have to tell more tales of whats happening here as soon as I can.

Blessings to you and your homes,

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Changes and Reflections

I had thought as the new year, yes the start of 2018, would be a wonderful time to reconnect here with this space.
I had thought that somehow this year it would be different, that someway I would be able to carve out a time a few times a week to share as I have in years long past.
Only this evening as I was working on my study programme for one of the online courses I have been completing that I accepted that my life is so incredible different to what it was a few years ago.
In many ways it is the same and yet in many subtle ways it creates a different lifestyle that has changed who I am and what I can do - and tonight I am finally able to accept that and move on.

So what is new and what is old in my home and  in my heart?
Well lets begin with what is not changed- the essence of who I am and how I live my life.

Firstly I am still blessed and will be blessed all the days of my life to be married to my childhood sweetheart and the mother of our 12 beautiful children here on earth and our two precious souls who we did not get to have live with us.

I have been able to live my vocation of wife and mother at home for most of my mother hood. We have had the privilege to have our children learn from birth to 'graduation' from our Home Education programme and become better and stronger as a family because of that, it is essentially our lifestyle......our very LIFE!

Within that though there has been change. We have 'graduated' from our Home Learning 7 students to higher education and the workforce. This only leaves me 5 students at home which was a very heart wrenching experience for me as I prepared the 'new school year' supplies and I only made 5 small piles of those supplies.

In the last 5 years we have moved from our 'perfect home' on 5 acres we built 95% of  with our own hands, learning many skills we had never thought we would need, to a rented home we live in, while we try to sell that outgrown (not in size but lifestyle and dreams)  house so we can put down fresh roots in this place we now call home.

Here though on this rented property we have done more of the 'dream' life than we did while on our own home territory.
Which brings me to the change of circumstances we now live with.
Our children are older and let me tell you that in itself means VERY LITTLE time for alone time.
I think it is something that many an older parent probably has said to those with lots of little children running underfoot through the ages, and those younger parents probably believed it little.

When we had just young children, when everyone was under the age of 12- 13 we lived a much simpler life! We lived a lifestyle revolving around our family, learning and our home. We had 'control and order' in our day because, I believe we had all we needed in those simple lives.

However the wheel of time turns whether we like it or not and we all age, parents and children alike. Children leave the nest and start their own lives and some fly a long way away to the delight and sadness of those left behind.

The reality of the children becoming young adults means that there comes added changes and responsibilities for both parent and child. These change the WHOLE structure of the family, it changed the whole way of life of our family, one in which the older children do not see in the same way.

Older kids and young adults have entirely different needs and  desires that take much more time from you as a parent that can not be understood until it is experienced. This of course can not be structured into the day but is often a late night event or overlapping some other crisis in life.

Now do not think for one moment that this is a whinge or a whine. I LOVE my 'big kids.' I love the relationships I have had develop with them. They are truly the people I love to spend lots of my time with. Life is different is all because of the 'time travel' of our family.

Other changes in our family have been the 'homesteading' and preparing for a more 'self sustaining' life style.
We have started here in this home that is not ours, the makings of our future self sustaining lifestyle.
We have been growing in many ways as we follow this long awaited dream, a dream that even now is evolving as we grow in this lifestyle.

We have been growing our homestead from our very first arrival of 2 chickens that were a gift from friends to where we are now with a very nice beginning for our future plans.

Are you interested in our little homestead and what we do here? Well I am going to share anyway. I am really proud of where we are now as well as where we are heading. Our children at home are a huge help in keeping this going and some are very active in wanting to utilize the space we have to the maximum out put of what we can have here.
So our little homestead has:
* Chickens- we have gold lace wyndottes, buff orpingtons, an australop rooster we are crossing with Isa Browns to produce a chicken that lays 'everyday' for its life time.
* We have Pilgrim Geese- 7 geese and 3 ganders (one will be our Michaelmas dinner this year)
* Peking Ducks- 1 drake and 5 ducks and two Saxony ducks ( 2 little ducklings)
* Turkeys- 2 Toms and 6 hens with 4 new hatched chicks
* Quail
* Budgies
* Doves
We have Anglo Nubian goats that we breed for milk and meat if we don't sell the offspring. We have yet to actually eat one of our goats, but that's the plan if they don't sell!
We started with 2 does and 2 bucks for breeding and had a successful birth of triplets from one of our does. The other one, my favourite, has yet to produce a kid yet.
We plan to milk our does but we were unable to do so with our first-time mum of triplets, and plan on making cheeses and soap from our own goat milk.
These are a new addition ( we have raised potty lambs before for meat) but these are Suffolk Sheep that we have for breeding. We will raise the lambs for meat at this stage as we don't have room to increase our herd here. We also plan on milking the sheep and making cheese from the milk.
Pigs-  We have again a breeding pair. These are Large Blacks an old heritage breed that are fairly docile and sweet.
Meat Rabbits -
Dogs- a cocker spaniel as a family dog and our two older boys (at home) have a border collie pup each they bought
Cats- we have some lovely barn cats that have been very excellent at keeping snakes away this year.
Guinea Pigs- a couple of girls and a boy

Our other main part of our homesteading is growing as much food as we can in a temporary state.
We have quite a few fruit trees and 'Aussie bush foods' and I try to grow edible weeds and flowers to add to our supply.
At the moment I grow these in large pots and try to establish the trees so that when we move to our own home again we can plant these straight away. We did this year have some successful fruiting from our trees and of course our various berries.

This past Spring and Summer we have attempted our first major vegetable growing season. We planted three 'trampoline gardens'- again we have had to do this in a temporary  way as we cant invest in the major requirements of a permanent garden.

We have just started to re-prepare for our winter gardens :)

As we try to treat our illnesses and injuries naturally I am increasing our herbal plants to add to our dried stocks for medicinal teas and home made cleaners and body care products.

In our growing knowledge and skills of this lifestyle ( I do teach our children that REAL Learning happens your whole life not just in school or even school hours) I have been following an education programme as well, which again does not allow a lot of free time.
I have completed a short Homeopathy course and a Family Herbalist Course.
Currently I am working on a Foraging Course, Medicine Making Course,  The Art and Science of Plant Medicine Making Course, Confident Family Herbalist Course and a Permaculture Course.
So as you can see our lives have very much evolved and we have added much more to our Home Learning Lifestyle which is very much a full and rewarding life.

Blessings to you and your homes,


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