Wednesday, July 27, 2011

For Eleanor Violet

Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you. ~Edward Payson Rod

On the day we expected my new niece to be born a couple of seemingly insignificant things happened.

Until I knew the name of my precious new niece I did not make any connection with the fact that:

~ for the first time I noticed this lone violet blooming out my new back door, in a wintry dirt patch surrounded by mysterious bulb shoots, waiting to welcome Spring.

~ for the first time my little Eee picked me a bunch of the violet shade of pansies and violas blooming in our front yard.

They must have been for you,

our precious, dear, Eleanor Violet.

Happy Birthday Eleanor Violet
26 July 2011

With love,
All of us

Friday, July 22, 2011

Little Pear, Chocolate and Brioche Cakes

It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption. ~Edward Bunyard

Googling the ingredients you have in the cupboard can provide you with some wonderful new possibilities I have discovered lately. Do you do that ever? Just google your available ingredients. The other day I knew I wanted to make some soup with some cauliflower and spinach. Not able to find the recipe I thought I owned in my recipe book, and thinking that it had become lost in our move, I decide to simply google those ingredients. I found this lovely nutritious soup which I proceeded to make and enjoy with my husband during this week. It didn't go down so well with my girls (except my baby), but then soup rarely does.

These little cakes however have gone down very well. Although poor little Ess has been unwell this week and found them a bit too rich for her delicate tummy :( Yet again I googled an ingredient - stale brioche. I thought it should be able to make some sort of sweet custardy type dessert like bread and butter pudding. Not that I am a fan of that in any way - but my husband loves it and so, it would seem, does little Eee.

Ess was very enthusiastic to make the little cakes, feeling a little better and always keen to bake something sweet. Thus I declare these a great project to do with children: very easy to prepare and needing very little supervision.

Simply slice the brioche.
Slice the pears - ensuring you leave the stem on and being mindful of the shape you'd like to use as you stack your cakes, vertically.
Slice the dark chocolate.
Prepare one yourself by stacking ingredients in the little pans.
Leave the room and allow your little one free rein in arranging these ingredients.
Upon your return you'll need to mix the custard mixture (the entire recipe can be found here).
Add some to each little cake, allow time to soak in, then bake.

My life is rather busy with my three little cherubs so I was delighted to be able to present these for dessert. Usually I would have just baked or poached the pears but with Ess keen to help, it allowed me time to feed and change my baby, and Ess the opportunity to be creative in the kitchen independently. A skill which I highly value and nurture at every opportunity.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Home Education in Canberra

We have had our challenges in Canberra since moving here in January but one thing has not presented us with any difficulty - our home education. In fact we've had some lovely experiences due to our connections with some lovely networks of home educating families. We have become members of both HENCAST (Home Education Network of Canberra and the Southern Tablelands) and CHEC (Christian Home Education Canberra). I am so thrilled with our choice to home educate which is continually reinforced by numerous experiences - socially, educationally, statistically.

This week we had our home visit from the Non Govt Education Department here in the ACT which followed the provisional registration I gained upon our arrival in this state. All went really well and it should result in two full years of registration which is wonderful. I was really encouraged to hear comments about how the report I wrote was very comprehensive, with much attention paid to detail and all criteria addressed thoroughly. I was also delighted to see the joy in Ess' persona as she shared the work she has completed over the last six months.

I was very pleasantly surprised to hear about what the Government is looking for in these visits. They are not hunting for families who have a relaxed, natural and flexible approach to learning. They are more concerned about families who are very pedantic and perhaps lean towards controlling their children, always telling them what to do, not allowing free play and thus not developing and instilling a sense of independence in their learning. This was definitely a breath of fresh air for me as it was totally opposite to what I, and many others I believe, expect of the Government. Somehow we expect to be told we are not doing enough work. This was certainly contrary to my experience. I heard the comment "you have been doing a lot!".

This year, due to our circumstances, my approach to learning has been very natural. In the suitcases we flew over here with, we had our Singapore Maths books to work through. Yet all other components of learning simply came from the groups we were involved with, literature borrowed from the library and excursions we participated in. I simply didn't pack workbooks and teacher's guides etc. when we anticipated moving straight into a new home. And of course we didn't have internet access so all learning resources and inspirational ideas I gain from blog reading etc. didn't happen.

I am very much looking forward to being more settled, to snuggling up and reading literature relating to our Five in a Row studies, to having paints out for the children to enjoy, to being able to enjoy watching related YouTube videos, to being able to research new places with Google Maps etc. etc.

In the meantime Canberra has welcomed us with excursions, activities, parks and playgrounds, friendships and bright sunny days albeit very cool, very very cool.

I'll be able to share some things more specifically with you nowadays.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Small Planting; A Little Blossom

"Bloom where you are planted."
~The Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

The camelia I see blooming from my bedroom window inspires me each morning
to see the beauty amidst the twigs and sticks of a wintry phase in our lives.

Since last I wrote, dear friends, we are more settled. After seven moves this year, we are finally a little settled in a home - albeit temporarily.

For a little over a month now we have been living with our own things, our personal belongings, our familiar furniture. It does feel like home here. We have been blessed to have been released from the contract we were in, in order to commence a longer term lease than the six weeks we had when last I wrote. We are now leasing a property for six months with the option to extend as we look around to purchase another home - one which is fully legal, with no 'controlled activity' leading to unapproved structures being undertaken by the builder/owner.

Our current home is filled with natural light in a lovely central location which we enjoy very much. It is smaller than our last home but has lots of under-house storage which we are using to keep all the things we probably won't need for six months.

I love hanging out my washing each morning on a lovely big hills hoist to the sound of magpies carolling and watching the sulphur-crested cockatoos and crimson rosellas fly from tree to tree foraging and feeding. I love the way the sun fills this house and greets us each day no matter how cold it is outside and it has been quite freezing at -6deg the other night.

We are starting to bake again, although the oven in my small kitchen is very very basic. We enjoyed my Zucchini and Sultana Muffins the other day.

I have managed to find my lovely crochet blanket but just haven't found the time to sit down and do it. I have actually forgotten the pattern so will need to take time to learn that again. It is hard to believe this as I didn't need to think twice about it all the time I was crocheting this while I was pregnant. My mind has been filled with so much since our move I simply cannot remember that which was so much part of my life previously.

During May we house-sat for some new friends while they holidayed interstate. We are very grateful for this provision. It was fun to explore the northern parts of town and come to realise how much we appreciate being where we are now which is very close to my Generous Gentleman's work.

We moved to this city for his work which he continues to enjoy. This is yet another blessing I am grateful for each day. There are many days when the girls and I pine for the settled creative life we had in Adelaide yet because his work is good, I am happy and they notice this.

We still have not had our deposit for "the dodgy house" refunded and this has led us to having to go to court. The hearing is on 29 July which is only a day after my 40th birthday - great birthday present hey!! I do hope it truly will be. Our solicitor is very confident and doesn't understand how the other side thinks they have a case. So hopefully the judge sees things the same way. We have followed God's promptings in this as well as listened to our solicitor's advice so we are anxiously and nervously confident.

One thing is sure - God will continue to provide for us.

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


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