Friday, 12 February 2016

Potterings and Paper Play...

Our weekdays are feeling full and frantic at times... between swimming lessons, church group and my tutoring sessions, there are only two weekdays we come home from school and crash. They are needed by all of us. It's lovely to come home and know the evening stretches before us uninterrupted... and there are two little people eager to spend time with their big sister after a day apart...

Ava is our creative little person. She comes home, and wants to pick right up with drawing, writing, creating... she is such an eager little learner, and there's another little lady who follows suit. We have had fun enjoying traditional paper crafts these last couple of weeks. Paper dolls, paper chains and little paper books have been the activity of choice. I am finding them everywhere!

We rediscovered paper-chain dolls after reading "Milly-Molly-Mandy" last year... Ava loves them! A simple chain of paper-dolls can be turned into ballerinas, princesses, cowboys or little families. We have had great fun making all sorts of different designs, and they make the cutest little decorations afterwards! So simple, and cheap, but keep little girls happy for hours!

The other thing the children have been loving this week are little mini books. I folded up some paper into mini books during the children's quiet time on Tuesday and stuck them in a little basket on the side and they have been creating little books ever since! Stories, ABC books, and Ava has even turned one into her spellings book (which has made her super eager to practice them every day!) Heidi has been making a little bible and drawing "Joseph" and "Jesus" and "Angels" and writing the letter "H" all over it!

Ava made this gorgeous little "ABC" book for Jonas... With a letter and a picture on every page... It's beautifully done, she really is turning into quite the little artist. I wanted so much to take some photos, but she has taken that little book into school with her to show her class and it has not come home yet. It's definitely a keeper.

Yesterday she made another little book for her friend who is unwell. She wrote a lovely message in the front and then illustrated the rest of the book with little drawings and decorated it with some pretty stickers. It's nice to see her want to use her artistic skills for others, and it's a great way for her to be practicing her writing with absolutely no coercion on my part at all! I've no doubt more little blank paper books will be appearing on the side at regular intervals!

And that's how we've been whiling away our quieter afternoons...

... Now to stock up on paper!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Blue Skies and Windstorms // #savouringtheseason

On Sunday night, as I was heading to bed, I checked in on the children briefly, as I usually do. Jonas' breathing was measured, his room quiet, with just the steady pitter patter of the rain outside in the background. I tiptoed across the hall to the girls room and was greeted by a full on thunderstorm. The rain was literally pummelling horizontally at their window, the wind whistling around the outside of the house and the rumblings of thunder echoed around the room. A little shadow sat up on the top bunk...

"It's noisy, Mama!"

A couple of days later and I was walking to school in spring-like sunshine... tempted to take off my jacket and having to work hard to persuade these little people of mine to wear coats and hats.

This weather is crazy, I tell you!

But there are little hints of spring beginning to push through. We are counting the daffodils in the neighbours garden every afternoon on our way home from school, we are watching the blossom start to appear on the trees, and little girls are entering their Huette with winter coats on, and appearing in the garden with just long sleeved tops on moments later... insisting they wear them seems to be a no-win.

Pick your battles, right?!

Our week on Instagram has looked a lot like this...

A bit of baking, a bit of costing up over good books, a bit of styling the season, and a bit of outdoor adventuring, complete with scooter, of course!

And we are not the only ones for whom the great outdoors and baking seem to have been on the agenda this week!

I have loved the pops of colour beginning to appear on the Instagram feed... and while the run up to Christmas was filled with indoor images, more recently the feed has been full of outdoor adventures, and it seems this season also puts us in the mood for baking, preserving and cooking up a storm.. a pancake had to feature somewhere this week, right?!

Top L-R: @capturebylucy // @nina_nixon // @becomingasahm
Middle L-R: @alicepaling // @brickdustandglitter // @helliescorner
Bottom L-R: @lovelylollyb // @thelinencloud // @frontfortyfarm 
Gradually, we are all coming out of our winter hibernation! Slowly, but surely, it seems...

And Charly, from PODcast was also in the mood for getting out and about this week... check out the stunning photography in her post about her trip to Box Hill. Don't those photographs just utterly capture this season?

I'd love to see all your seasonal adventures in the linky below... all things winter/spring/valentine and pancake themed are welcome this week... we're going for an eclectic mix!

Here are the rules!

1. Link up your post
2. Pop across to at least two other posts, read and leave a comment

It's that simple!

Savouring the Season is all about celebrating the season we find ourselves in...whether it be recipes, crafts, outdoor adventures or reflections on life, link up and share some comment love! And don't forget to grab a badge! (from the sidebar on the right >>>)

Please make sure you only link up below if you are able to comment on a couple of other entries

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

5 Ways To Pray // A Book Review

Once in a while, a little resource lands in your lap that has the potential to greatly enrich your time with the Lord... and its particularly exciting when that resource happens to have been written by a lovely friend. We have had the privilege of getting to know Rachel in our small group over the past two years, and she has written two wonderfully helpful resources here, pouring her wisdom, thoroughness and rich bible knowledge into them!

These two little books are little gems... so simple in their layout, easy to access and yet concentrated in their form. They have focussed my prayer times and helped me to think carefully about what exactly I am praying for for friends, family, colleagues, neighbours and my wider church family. They helpfully give direction and provide space for you to pray for specific people...

A baby, a spouse, a neighbour, a colleague, a loved one on their birthday... Rachel really has thought of everyone, and even inspired me to pray for people I wouldn't normally think of... and I think that's what is most exciting about these books. They take prayer, which so many of us find tricky at times, and make it look so simple, and so inviting... these books have inspired me to want to pray more...

Rachel has worked hard to produce books which are God-focussed and biblically founded. Each of the "5 things" begins with a bible verse... what better way to pray than to be inspired straight from the Word of God?

I genuinely cannot recommend these books highly enough... if you're looking for something to aid and enrich your quiet times... if you find it hard to stay focussed in prayer, or know what to pray for, or simply need something to help you to be motivated to pray, then look no further...

"5 Things to Pray for the People You Love" and "5 Things to pray for Your Church" are available to purchase on the Good Book Company Website, or on Amazon for £2.99 each (although the Good Book Company are currently selling them for £2.69!)... enjoy!

Disclaimer: We received a free copy of each of these books for the purposes of this review. All opinions are our own honest thoughts about the product!

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Home Life Project // February

Another little Saturday swung around for February's "Home Life Project"... A photo project documenting everyday life, and recording those ordinary moments that you don't usually think to capture on camera... Dave and I played tag-team for most of the day (which is why he doesn't feature in any of this Saturday's photographs!) He had the children in the morning while I tutored and did my big shop (oh the excitement!) and then he headed off to a football match in the afternoon, so the littles and I spent the afternoon pottering, and playing and just doing what we do best!

We've all been a little under the weather this weekend... Nothing too major; just coughs and colds, sniffles and headaches and the poor boy has had sticky eyes, so I've gone through about three kettle fulls of cooled boiled water and have pretty much exhausted my supply of cotton wool pads and will be stocking up again today. Conjunctivitis is never a fun one, bless him... But he's so patient and easy going, you really wouldn't know, except that his little eyes are a little red and gloopy!

So here's a little insight into an average Saturday in February round our house!

07:40 - Happy Chappy! Regardless of the fact his eyes were pretty gunky when he woke up, he never ceases to provide a grin! This kid is basically always happy... And when he's not, you know somethings seriously up. Our little ray of sunshine!

08:10 - Breakfast Shennanigans...always eventful! Whether it's an upturned bowl of cereal, little girls with the giggles or Jonas showing off his dance moves, breakfast is never boring! Excuse the laundry in the background... This is real life right here... None of this staged malarkey!

08:36 - Lego Love... Is there anything better for little people than Lego? Seriously, I still maintain you can have no toys in your whole house excepting a box of Lego, and you'll have happy children for hours! The girls got this general box from my brother and sister for Christmas... It's been one of the best gifts ever... No instructions, no kit... Just a whole tonne of bricks and a bit of imagination!

12:27 - Cookie Monster - lunch at my parents is always a hit... Especially if Nanny's freshly baked oat and raisin cookies are on the menu!

14:33 - Bake Day - the boy is napping and the girls are having their "quiet time" which, let's be honest, is not always exactly "quiet" when they're having it together! Time for me to rustle up some chocolate brownies ready for Sunday pudding! (Can't ever go wrong with brownies and ice cream, can you?!)

15:00 - Weekly Planning - the childrens quiet time is coming to an end, but not before I've had a bit of time to look over the diary for the week and figure out the logistics. Who needs to be where at what time, meal planning and generally just getting my head around how everything will pan out. It's also a chance to brain dump everything I'm holding in my head on my master to-do list... Then I can figure out how to work through it throughout the week. People often ask how I cope with 3 under 5 and I think this is a bit of the answer... Trying to keep on top of organisation, teamed up with a lot of relying on God! 

17:12 - Our Little Man - sitting and pretty stable now, but I'm not ready to withdraw those cushions just yet! He needs them in case one of his sisters decide to bundle him! Oh, for a peaceful life!

17:42 - Two Beauties afraid of the Beast... These girls love their Disney movies... Ava got Beauty and the Beast for Christmas, and while they love it, sometimes it gets a little bit scary. I love that I caught this moment of Heidi throwing herself across her big sister... Two peas in a pod, these two.

We ended Saturday with our usual Saturday night treat of dinner in front of the TV. We're big on meals around tables round here; an opportunity to chat, catch up on our day and teach the children basic manners and etiquette, but once a week we break the rules and the girls eat at the bench on their little chairs and I'm not going to lie... They love it!

Home Life Photography Project

Friday, 5 February 2016

January in Books // One for Them and One for Me

January was a busy little month, and yet, it was a month which was perfect for reading. As the cold blustery wind whistles past the children's bedroom window, somehow it calls for cosying up together with a good book... and that's exactly what we've done...

One for Them...

The children have been adoring "Children of the Northlights" by Ingri and Edgar Parin D'aulaire... it feels quite "Laura Ingalls Wilder" in style, but it's beautiful illustrations, and wonderful descriptions make it an accessible read for our two-year-old too, despite the fact it was first published in the 1930s! The children have been fascinated by the lives of the Sami people in Lapland, and it has inspired much of their play the last couple of weeks (more on that here!) The wonderful world of snow and sledges, reindeer racing and bundled up babies being pushed down a mountain (!) has been fascinating for them. They have wanted to read it over and over, and its one of those beautiful books that I have most definitely appreciated as much as they have. A MUST buy for your little people... I promise you will not regret it! (Meanwhile I am off to check out all their other titles!)

One for Me...

I have been immersing myself in the stunningly descriptive writing of Anthony Doerr these past few weeks. I had seen a lot of people recommending this one, and it certainly has not disappointed. "All The Light We Cannot See" tells the parallel stories of blind French girl Marie-Laure and German orphan Werner. The novel follows their lives in the run-up to World War II, and sees them drawn together in a hauntingly beautiful way.  

Its one of those books you want to read in slow motion... to soak up and savour every single word. And then go back and read the sentence again...

So that's what we've been reading this month! What have you been reading? I'm after some new books for February!                                                                                              

Don't forget to pop over and check out my co-hosts Carie and Katie and see what they've been reading too! And leave some comment love for those who take part!


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Mid-Season // Savouring the Season

This week I haven't quite known where I am... sun shining, tiny heads of spring life poking through, icy mornings and blue tinged fingers. Rain showers in abundance. Wind that whistles around the house. Beaming sun rays.

This week has been eclectic, to say the least.

And this little linky is suffering for it. Because it seems when seasons are uncertain, no-one quite knows how to savour them! The instagram hash tag has been very quiet this week!

On my own part I have struggled to savour this season... it is not the crisp cool of winter, nor the excitement and early joy of spring.

Somewhere in between. Undecided. Uncertain. Changeable...

So I suppose its about savouring the moment. Watching nature in wonder and seeking to appreciate the eclectic mix of mid-season confusion that surrounds us...

Savouring each second.

Clockwise from top left... @clarina1985 // BADGE // @mumturnedmom // @memeandharri // @ninamarika_ // @capturebylucy

My favourite post this week was this gorgeous snow post from Mum turned Mom... it looks stunning! Pop over and take a look!

Don't forget to link up any outdoor adventures, crafty ideas, seasonal reflections or any other suitable posts this week!

Here are the rules!

1. Link up your post
2. Pop across to at least two other posts, read and leave a comment

It's that simple!

Savouring the Season is all about celebrating the season we find ourselves in...whether it be recipes, crafts, outdoor adventures or reflections on life, link up and share some comment love! And don't forget to grab a badge! (from the sidebar on the right >>>)

Please make sure you only link up below if you are able to comment on a couple of other entries

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Homegrown Thoughts...

Since Ava started school, we seem to have entered some kind of world where time runs by on a conveyor belt. Gone are the long, quiet, home days. I miss them. I do. I won't lie...

I miss no pressure breakfasts... I miss being able to leave the house without raising my voice to some little person who's not following instructions. There are pressure points in our day now where there never used to be. And that takes a little getting used to.

So many people told me to enjoy the little days when it was just me and them... And I did, I really did... But they just weren't long enough. Four short years. Gone. Just like that.

And now time races.

Our days are bookended by school runs. Out the door at 8.30am... By the time we're home it's gone nine and then we have six hours... Six hours which sound like an eternity but feel like a sprint. And then I'm bundling my babies back in the buggy to pick up their big sister again.

As I've reflected on time, this week, I've been reminded how precious it is. How short. How fleeting. How it seems to speed up and speed up with every passing year.

And how, therefore, I need to make the most of every moment. Every second. Every minute. And make sure each moment and second and minute is lived as it should be lived...

Spending my life; sacrificing, serving and running the 'conveyor belt' of time to the glory of the one who made me. And being thankful. Always. Even in the pressure points. Even when I've failed again... Raised my voice again... Been impatient again... 

Thankfulness and God-glorifying. In every. single. moment.

What a calling.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:17 -