Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's The Simple Things That Count

In today's post I wanted to share some lovely simple things from my week that have made me happy. It seems to have become a bit of a ponderous post for me though after our read-aloud time this morning. So instead of speaking about those lovely simple things, I will pen out my thoughts and pepper this post with pictures of them instead :)

I am reading the book 'Daddy-Long-Legs' by Jean Webster to my girls during our read-aloud time. In today's reading the main character, Judy, writes to Daddy-Long-Legs of her first visit to New York. She writes,

 "I can't imagine any joy in life greater than sitting down in front of a mirror and buying any hat you choose without having first to consider the price! There's no doubt about it, Daddy; New York would rapidly undermine this fine stoical character which the John Grier Home so patiently built up."
Watching my teenage children still enjoying balancing on a beam while on our nature walk
Her very next letter sees her in a more rational frame of mind. Daddy Long-legs evidently sent her a cheque after reading her letter, but she returns the cheque with a note explaining why she cannot accept the money, she writes, 

" I am sorry that I wrote all that silly stuff about the millinery shop; it's just that I had never seen anything like it before."

The first Dandelion Clock I've seen this season. So delicate and pretty
I'm sure we can all find a time in our life when we felt like Judy. It is so easy to get sucked into a world of materialism. I usually try to avoid shopping malls that hold every top brand name, or those streets in London that house the same. It sucks you in and you begin to feel a little like Judy. I know what she means when she says that *New York (*fill in your own city/mall/shopping weakness here) would undermine her stoic character.

I love how our cats seem to love being with us while we do our lessons. They do get in the way sometimes!
Materialism is a terribly enticing and bad master and the truth is that shopping up a storm or adding 'stuff' to your name does not make you a happier person. Unfortunately we spend our lives having advertising companies bombarding us with messages on why we will only ever be happy if we buy x-y or z.

Enjoying the first BBQ of the season with my family, a spur-of-the-moment decision :)
The best way of counteracting this is to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness for what we have and appreciating the simple things in life. 

There are many, many things to be thankful for and appreciate if you just look around you. Here are some of mine this week:

* The good health of everyone in my family

* BBQ's on a warm spring evening

* Nature walks with my children

* New life springing out from all quarters every single day

* A roof over our heads and food in our tummies

* A good job to keep us in above-stated condition :)

* Being able to sit quietly and work in my nature journal

* Good friends to talk to

* Happy memories of family holidays and times together

* Living in England! I love this country and feel blessed to be here

* Seasons - I love the seasons

* Birdsong - how can you not be cheered when you stop to listen to them

* Buzzy bumble-bees and fluttery butterflies - all out in the sunshine

* Washing dancing in the wind as it dries outside on the washing line

* Freshly cut lawn

* Clouds scudding across the blue sky

* Blossoms and blooms - they are everywhere at the moment

* The feel of my fountain pen moving over paper as I write in journal entries

* Reading good books together with my children and for myself. We have many wonderful memories of books read together. I'm so grateful that I have given my children a living-books rich curriculum

* Jumping on the trampoline with my daughter and laughing until our sides hurt

* Eating ice-creams outside in the warm sunshine

* Seeing the Cowslips blooming - they are so sweet, I love them.

Beautiful, delicate little Cowslips are out in force at the moment.
I could go on but I fear I might bore you LOL. But I'm sure that as you read my list you will see that none of the things I have listed as precious and thankful memories and moments have cost very much or anything at all.

In a world that seems to have gone half-crazy on materialism, I'm immensely grateful that its the simple things in life that make me most happy.

A blessed Thursday to you all...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nature Journal Pages

I am very pleased to report that I am doing SIGNIFICANTLY better at making journal entries in my nature journal this year. Last year I think I told you I made exactly one entry.

I'm loving the walks outdoors to spot new developments.

And I'm loving sitting quietly afterwards sketching and painting something that struck me.

I spotted the first swallow on the 10th (April) I was so excited! There's a little English folk saying that goes something like this:

"If swallows are already building on St. Marks Day (4/25) there will be plenty of fodder, grain and calves"

Isn't that lovely :) ?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Simply Spring

It's a simply marvellous day here today! 20 degrees C and just beautiful. It's a struggle to keep our minds on our lessons today. I think I'm going to take a picnic blanket out into the garden and have our read aloud time out there.

We've had such pleasant weather of late that it has dried out the soggy garden and we were able to give the lawn it's first cut of the season. I LOVE the smell of freshly cut grass don't you?

Last week I spotted the seasons first dandelions (love them) and sweet little white daisy-like flowers that always make an appearance in our lawn. Last weeks cut zipped them all away but they are back strong as ever today I see.

Most of my tulips are out and blooming! They are just so pretty, I'm loving seeing them along the front of the house.

As I look to being inspired with our nature study lessons, I have once again pulled out one of my all time favourite books for inspiration.

Honestly, I never tire of reading this book and 'Lessons From Blackberry Inn'. I find them inspiring and soothing to my homeschooling heart :)

And so ends today's post! Now I'm off to grab a small bowl of ice-cream, a picnic blanket, my children and our read aloud book.

Happy sunny Tuesday to you all...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Straightening Out Priorities

Oh my goodness - the time is just flying by - AGAIN! How did that happen and what happened to stopping and savouring the moment? The Easter break has been a whirlwind of activity. Things do seem to slow down a bit when the holidays end and we slip back into the routine of lessons. Today is that day :)

My mind has been a chaotic mess of thoughts and distractions of late - I don't do that very well! I need to have space to think and ponder, it's just the way I am. I'm feeling the need to simplify. Nothing drastic, but saying no when I need to say no, not over committing, being able to recognise what is important and what is frivolous.

Fortunately I came down with a wicked cold over the weekend (yes it is fortunate because it MAKES one slow down). I was able to take a bit of time and think through what it was that I wanted to simplify. It's not about making my own cleaning solutions for my home, or canning, stocking the freezer with lots of home baked goodies - those are lovely simple and time-honoured pursuits, but rather in my mind to SIMPLIFY means to realign my priorities. Those things that I say are the most important in my life.

So often we say we have our priorities straight but our daily actions and decisions are telling and often-times tell a different story.

So I had a little think like I said. Things that I have found a distraction lately:

Instagram - for like a whole 3 weeks. I thought I would give it a go and see what all the fuss was about. My conclusion? It's not for me. It's a bit like Facebook was for me, it made me feel awful! I hated that I felt drawn to spending time checking out what people were posting. I deleted my FB account in January and instantly felt a darkness lift from my life. Instagram is the same kind of thing. It got deleted! 

Planner Bits and Bobs - Okay, so you know when you are wanting to revamp something and you do a bit of a google search and find and explosion of people obsessed with the very thing you were looking to revamp? It can be easy to get a little carried away with the mania! I've always been a planner. I love organisation and having all my ducks-in-a-row. My system seemed to have become a little blah! So I did a little Pinterest/google search to see how others planned. OH-MY-GOODNESS!!

The amount of blogs devoted to planners and decorating them, the You tube videos walking viewers through the planner setups, the amount of planners some people have to their name?! I cannot believe that people spend that much money to have various planners lining their shelves. 

I loved the decorated pages and gave it a go for a bit - if I had oodles of time to spend decorating planner pages I so would do it. But really - in the greater scheme of life it's just not that important. My children do not go off to school for hours - I AM the school. I've settled for sticking a sticker or two and some pretty washi tape on my diary insert pages :)

Realigning My Priorities:

* God - my quiet times and prayer life. Time spent studying the Word and applying it into my life. Time spent discipling my children.

* Family - my husband and children deserve the very best I can give them and that means my time and attention.

*  Homeschooling - even though we are in our high school years and there is allot more independent work going on, I need to guard this time so that the work can GET done and make sure that we still are creating precious memories - time is short!

* Home - running a home and making sure that it is a warm, clean, safe haven takes time and attention.

* Others - my extended family and friends are precious to me. I want them to know that they are special enough to warrant time spent with them, a card telling them that I think of them and that they are dear to my heart. Little things :) 

Are you living your priorities? It's easy to let them slip. A little re-jig every-so-often is just what is needed!

Blessings to you all :)

Monday, April 06, 2015

Happy Sunshiny Day

Hello Everyone! Happy April and Happy Easter! I hope that you all had a very blessed Easter with your loved ones. Ours was lovely and busy. Being in the choir we have had lots of services to sing at from Maundy Thursday. Resurrection Sunday saw my eldest daughter and I up with the sparrows as the choir had to sing at the 'Sonrise' 6am service! Eeeep - by midday I was exhausted!

However both services were lovely, it is a blessing to be in the house of the Lord on this most glorious day! Our little country church looked splendid with all the spring daffodils blooming along the pathways. I really am going to miss this church and it's lovely congregation when we move to Plymouth.

Today was just splendid! We had highs of 18 degrees C! What a treat. We decided that we simply could not pass by the opportunity to break out the picnic gear and have our first picnic of 2015.

We headed out to Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, just 17 miles from home. It was lovely but I had forgotten it was a Bank Holiday today and the place was absolutely heaving with people all out enjoying the sunshine.

In the garden spring as definitely arrived. With our move to Plymouth set to happen around July, I know that there will be no veggie garden form me this year. I'm a bit sad about that but while we were down scouting out Plymouth I found a few lovely farm shops so I will make sure that I maximise them to the fullest - and the countryside's bounty of course.

This week we have a few lovely things to look forward to. We are still enjoying our Easter break - back to lessons next Monday. We have a friends birthday party on Wednesday, and a trip to the {indoor} water park on Friday with another set of lovely friends.

I have a bit of lesson planning to do for the new term - more on that later on in the week- and I want to put together a moving cleaning and To Do schedule. Other than that, we fully intend to enjoy the warmer, more settled weather that we are set to enjoy for this whole week - yay!

Hope you had a lovely Easter Monday all - see you back here soon.