Tuesday, January 31, 2012
"Look baby! A precious little flower! It's so pretty. See the beautiful lilac colour with the gentle white stripes coming from the centre. See how the stripes go all the way to the edges? What are the little pieces like inside? Can you see them?"
"Gentle with the flower ... oops."
Babies like to REALLY explore lovely things.
Choose appropriate things for them to explore so their lives aren't full of "Don't Touch!" "Stop!" "Leave it!".
If you happen to have a priceless Ming vase (!) then PUT IT AWAY while your precious ones are little. :o)
Saturday, January 21, 2012
In the blog a few days ago, about "Breathing Space" for Mummies I mentioned playmats.
Just to show that I did NOT make my little boys fancy, clever quilts that might be seen hanging on the wall at the local A&P Show with a FIRST prize ribbon on it - here's a picture!
The green bit is often a hill or a field, the blue is sea or a lake, there's a little jetty going onto the sandy beach ... it changes according to the game being played.
The reason we had our playmats out this day was that everyone seemed to be antagonising everyone else ... well - when I say EVERYONE it was actually only the three youngest little boys, but of course, that made it feel like EVERYONE was being annoying (N.B. Bobby the Pomeranian wasn't being annoying - he never is).
So we hauled out the playmats and separated everyone - each to his own mat - and gave each a share of blocks and a bit of a lecture about being happy with what you have been given because learning to be content is an extremely valuable character quality (they are actually getting the message about that! Praise God!!).
Oh - horrors! Sorry - I've just realised the children were playing with PLASTIC toys this day! Nevermind - that's reality. Some days are beautiful open-ended, imagination-inspiring natural toys, some days are PLASTIC.
Duplo has been part of our lives for 18 years now, so it would seem a little odd if our current batch of little boys didn't play with Duplo trucks, cars, people, fences and animals.
Duplo of course leads on to Lego. And Lego - despite being VERY hard to keep contained in one area, and VERY painful to step on in the dark of night - is BRILLIANT for children's mental development, fine motor skills, play experiences ... oh ... and it's fun.
Friday, January 20, 2012
We are still receiving orders for our very popular double-ended spoon teethers - handcrafted lovingly in our own workshop.
It's great fun to oil them and see the beautiful colours of the wood coming through.
The three above are (from the top): macrocarpa, radiata and rimu.
Just drop me an email (details on our website) if you'd like to order some - we have a PayPal account so you can order them from anywhere in the world!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The following is an excerpt from my booklet "Sunshine And Shower".
I don't know how to do clever PDF download thingies, but if you'd like a copy of the whole booklet just let me know and I'll email you the PDF.
“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their
children when these are overdone, we should have happier
households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would only have
courage to let everyone go when life becomes too tense, and just
take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book,
or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three
pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more
happily for both children and parents.” Charlotte Mason
It may surprise you, but I have found this to be a somewhat
A friend of mine once attended a conference for homeschooling
mummies. She sat next to a very young lady and asked her how
many children she had. The young lady replied that she didn't have
any children of her own, but since her mother's death she had been
homeschooling her younger siblings. My friend expressed surprise
at this task she had undertaken and asked her how she managed to
find time for herself – she tried not to make it sound like she was
asking “How do you have life?”
The young lady said that her mother had taught her that “Me Time”
was very selfish but there was a time and place to learn new things
for personal benefit and the benefit of the family - and a time to rest.
ME TIME as promoted by the world is extreme, selfish and
unsatisfying. Mummy-having-a-little-space-to-herself time is restful
and refreshing. Let's call it “Breathing Space”.
I would suggest that each Mummy finds her own safe, appropriate,
God -honouring activity for herself. Something she can pick up and
do without a lot of organising or equipment when she has her
Some suggestions for Breathing Space are: taking a walk or bike
ride, art, crafts, listening to sermons or music, putting your feet up
and having a cup of herbal tea, reading “how-to”
books/cookbooks/art books/gardening books, playing an instrument
or learning a new one … Did anything come to mind as you read
this? Did some lovely thought jump inside you and want to be
written down before you forgot it? Something that you know you've
always loved to do, but haven't had the time or space to participate in
since you had children? Then write it down.
Just a warning – these things can easily become a little too important
to a mother. She can begin to begrudge the time that her children
“use up” and “take her away from” her activity. How do I know
this? Because its happened to me!
Imagine the mummy who enjoys quilt making – she decides to make
a “play quilt” for her child. How lovely! She enjoys the planning,
the purchasing of fabrics and starting the quilt.
But then, for several weeks due to unforseen events, there is no spare
time to return to the project. During those weeks she feels a little sad
about the fact that she “never has any time to herself”, she “can't
even sew a stich because she's too busy” etc.
These thoughts can breed discontent and dissatisfaction in our calling as a Mummy.
I did actually make two fabric playmats for two of our little boys –
they were not a “project” - nothing to be treasured for years – they
are rather rough and unfinished, but as a very wise man once said:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose
under the heaven:
and this season is not conducive to neatly-finished, beautifully
produced quilts when I would rather be using my “Breathing Space”
to do some art, reading or writing. The pleasure our little boys get
from those quilts is surely a reward and confirmation to me that the
job I did on them is totally acceptable!
Something interesting and rather concerning I've experienced and
heard from others is that the more time we spend away from our
children the harder it can be to deal with, love and train them when
we return. This subsequently leads to stress - which makes one feel
like one must have more time away, which makes it harder to deal
with the children... and on it goes.
Charlotte Mason's phrase “... when life becomes too tense...” leads
me to implore that we must be in prayer about when GOD would
have us step away for a time. We must not rely solely on our
feelings and our judgements.
However, we must not DENY the fact that at various stages of our
lives, we need various amounts of breathing space – peace, quiet,
relaxing and unwinding without constant demands from the children.
This time will be different for every woman depending on the ages
and stages and numbers of children; her husband's job and the hours
he works; an elderly relative to care for; a large vegetable garden to
As a last word on this subject – do not feel that you have to
JUSTIFY yourself to others. Your own personal breathing space is
between your husband, yourself and God. Only these three know
fully what is going on in your own specific family.
I had just enough time to complete some sewing projects over the holidays.
A darling little dolly for a darling little friend who has named her Millie.
Some odd rabbits that are very popular with our children.
(check out that crazy blue and green paisley fabric - my mother-in-law gave it to me some years back and I KNEW I would use it for something special!).
I had a go at an odd giraffe - the EXQUISITE fabric was from a sundress that my Nana used to wear in the 60's. I inherited the dress, unpicked it carefully and have used it on very precious projects.
It kind of worked!
Our little guy calls this "Mamma's Ning" (for some reason he calls giraffes "nings").
But Daddy is back at work now, and the sewing machine has been packed away for a while - unless I decide to start adding vintage fabric Softies to our Willow Cottage range! I could be persuaded if the market was there, but realistically it takes too much time.
The children love it when we have a daytrip that starts before sunrise.
Last week we had one of those trips. Lots of memories made - it was a precious day.
We stopped at the beach above at breakfast time, and the little boys got out of their pjyamas and into their clothes.
This was part of a long, long, long walk we did (the signpost was missing where we should have turned off towards the beach).
But we finally arrived at the beach. However - it wasn't THE beach that we thought we were going to! This was a little bay and we had the whole place to ourselves as a reward for the long, long, long walk!
We pretended we were settlers arriving in New Zealand, being rowed ashore from the ship with our case of belongings and having to walk up the beach towards the inlet. What was it like back then? What amazing courage those settlers had.
I don't think the hands of man could ever make anything this beautiful.
I had to take a photo of this flower because the colours amazed me! The front of the flower was beautiful, but the back was absolutely GORGEOUS!!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
A great songwriter, a wonderful song and a subject worthy of praise.
Let our praise to You be as incense
Let our praise to You be as pillars of Your throne
Let our praise to You be as incense
As we come before You and worship You alone.
As we see You in Your splendor As we gaze upon Your majesty
As we join the host of angels And proclaim together Your holiness
Holy, Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord Holy,
Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord
By Brent Chambers © 1979
Scripture in Song.
ARR. ICS. UBPO
(Admin. By Maranatha! Music)