13 February, 2014

Christmas Traditions

Last Christmas we tried out a few new delicious seasonal treats.
Here's a bit of a rundown on them:

Bethany's first Christmas Cake
With an egg allergy in the house, we've put off making our own Christmas cake until last year, when Beth tried out Annabel Langbein's 3 Ingredient Christmas Cake.  The recipe looked incredibly easy, so she gave it a go.
It turned out beautifully, although it didn't lend itself to being iced, because of all the moisture from the milk.  It's not a cake to be kept for too long either.

Gingerbread House
We were also inspired by friends to try making a gingerbread house.  We have a delicious gingerbread recipe, so we used that for the house itself.  The icing however, was a mission.  Again, because of the egg allergy we couldn't use the traditional icing with egg whites, so we made a lemon and icing sugar mix instead.  The house was tricky to hold together, but once the icing dried it stuck well.  It was delicious to eat too!  

We even had enough gingerbread left over for Lucas' first "birthday cake".

Yule Log
And for our Christmas dessert, we made a delicious Yule Log.  Check out Jessica Fisher's version at Life as Mom.  The process is a little bit tricky.  We baked the chocolate sponge in baking paper and wrapped it in a tea towel while still hot, then filled it once it had cooled. We iced it with chocolate cream cheese icing - mmmm!

Did you try any new delicious treats for Christmas last year?

12 February, 2014

Morning Time Schedule

It has been a looooong time between posts for me!  But here's to a new year and a new plan to start each day.
I've been reading Cindy's blog Ordo Amoris for a couple of years now and always wanted to begin our own Morning Time.  With my older children getting older and having a new baby in the house last year, our days were getting pretty fractured.  So this year we're making a fresh start with Morning Time each day.

Here's what we've been doing:

1. Prayer - we are working through a list of family members, our church member list, and other prayer needs for those outside of church and family life.  I am trying to remind the children to include thanks and praise in their prayers, along with the many petitions.
2. Bible - we decided to read through Acts as our pastor will be preaching through Acts this year.
3. Bible memory - The Books of the Old Testament, to get the younger ones up to speed.
4. Sing - we are singing our way through our church's Psalm book, and will add in the new Psalter Hymnal when it arrives.
5. Read-aloud - we are alternating between Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit and King Alfred's English: A history of the language we speak and why we should be glad we do by Laurie J. White.
6. Poem memorisation - currently The Whole Duty of Children by Robert Louis Stevenson
7. Other memory work - currently the grammar memory work in First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise- definitions of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs etc

All the children, aged 5 to 15 are enjoying morning time so far, long may it continue.
To read more about how Cindy has structured Morning Time over the years read her series: 31 Days to Morning Time.  It was a great help to me!

22 July, 2013

Checking In

We finally took that picture of all six children:

14 May, 2013

A Whole Year has Gone By!

Wow, it's been a whole year since I posted on my blog!  We have been busy with the newest little (big) member of our family.  Lucas was born between Christmas and New Year's Eve, on 29th December last year.  He weighed a healthy 9 lb 3 oz.  He is a delightful little chap, and keeps me very busy, along with his big brother and sisters.  

We have still yet to take a picture of all six children together :-/  
- and Lucas is nearly 5 months old!


03 May, 2012

What to do with Little Ones ~ Nature Study

Well, what a long time it has been between posts!  I am determined, however to continue my series on What to do with the Little Ones.  I've been reminded lately to be more intentional with my time with my little ones.  My youngest daughter is 6, and my son is fast approaching 4, and is eager to learn and "do school." 
One of the first things we did when the big girls were about 4 and 5 was to go on nature walks.  We would go for a walk around the block, or to the local park, and pick up different leaves or cones to bring home for identification.  We would also try to identify trees by their leaves, or the birds and insects at the park and in our backyard.  If you have access to a good beach, go and look at shells and try to identify them. Sometimes we would draw our finds in our nature books, but almost always we would look them up in our nature books. 
Here are some helpful New Zealand nature books for identification of New Zealand flora and fauna:

This is just one of a series of pocket guides to New Zealand wildlife. We own this one, as well as one on native trees and shrubs, and one on New Zealand birds.  They are great for identifying common species, not just natives.

This book is from another GREAT series by Andrew Crowe.  They include life-size photos of common species in New Zealand, and you can get books on insects, native trees, birds, sea-life, wild-flowers, or for ease of use, some of them come in a plastic-covered fold-up pocket guide, for while you are at the park or the beach.  These books are readily available from your local bookstore or you can buy online at Fishpond.

Dave Gunson also has a great series of books on NZ nature.  I recently picked up the above book on sale at our local bookstore for $10.00.  This book not only has lovely illustrations of shore life, but also includes information about each species, and its location within the different tidal zones. 

We have many more books on NZ nature, many of which I have picked up at library book sales for just a few dollars.

So get out there and enjoy the beautiful natural world that God has given us here in New Zealand!  Your children will love it, and I believe, they will have a life-long love and interest in God's creation.

05 March, 2012


Have you ever heard of the word, "tintinnabulation"?  Neither had we, until we learned this first verse from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe:

The Bells

Hear the sledges with the bells---
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation, that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells---
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

We memorised the first verse as part of a lesson in First Language Lessons Level Three, by Susan Wise Bauer. 
Tintinnabulation simply means the sounds of ringing bells.

The poem continues with a further three verses, read it here or enjoy listening to the poem here.

Perhaps we will memorise the remaining verses one day.

15 February, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Although we are now well into the new year, I thought I'd share a couple of things I have determined to improve this year.  I have started various Bible reading plans, but I never seem to get to the end of them.  I start out well, but get slack as time goes by.  I tell myself that I'm a busy Mum with five children, but really, there is no excuse for neglecting God's Word.  So this year I have chosen a plan, and I intend to stick with it. 
I have been following Tim Challies' blog for a while now.  I enjoy reading his articles written from a Reformed perspective.  This year he challenged his readers to use Professor Grant Horner's Bible reading plan.  You can read all about it here.  The plan splits the Bible into ten reading lists, each list is a different length from all the others, the idea being that you will be reading a chapter from ten different parts of the Bible each day, but never reading the same combination again.  I challenged my husband to do the reading plan with me.  We began on 1st January and we have stuck with it so far.  I am really enjoying reading a variety of genres each day, and I really feel like I am being saturated in God's Word.  I am excited that it will enable me to get to know the Bible more thoroughly as time goes by.  There is a facebook group for those following the plan here.

Another challenge I have taken up this month, is to memorise the book of Titus.  Doctrines in the Kitchen is a facebook group set up to encourage mothers at home to be interested in, and to study doctrine.  Last year a group of ladies memorised Philippians, and this year they are memorising Titus.  I thought I would give it a go.  So far, I have Titus 1:1-5 memorised.  I am writing out the verses each morning and night, and reciting them to myself throughout the day.  The simple act of writing them out daily helps to store them my brain, and I find it is reasonably effortless to memorise the verses with this method.
You can find the Doctrines in the Kitchen facebook group here, and the Memorise Titus blogpost here.
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