Whitsun

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Whitsun is fifty days after Easter Sunday, also known as Pentecost.

Acts 2 tells the story of the original Pentecost:

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

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Spring goeth all in white

Crowned with milk-white may:

In fleecy flocks of light

O’er heaven the white clouds stray.

White butterflies in the air;

White daisies prank the ground;

The cherry and the hoary pear

Scatter their snow around

Robert Bridges

From Festivals, Family & Food:

In Northern Europe the connection is also a natural one, with the blossoming of white May, Hawthorn and Lilac at this time. For children this can be the time to celebrate the blossoms, bringing a few into the home if possible, or finding white daisies to place on a saucer of water for the table or weave into chains.

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Last week we harvested lots of Elder flowers to make cordial. Already the tree has replenished!

Elderflower Cordial

ingredients
~20-25 flower heads rinsed
~ 4 lemons, zested & roughly chopped
~1 KG of sugar
~1.5 litres water
~ 50g citric acid (used as a preservative, so useful, but not essential.
In a large bowl add the 1.5L boiling water to the sugar & citric acid. Stir well.
Allow to cool
Add the flower heads, lemons & zest
Allow to steep for a day or two (two days for a good, rich Elderflower flavour)
Strain through a jam strainer, muslin or an old (clean!) tea towel.
Pour into sterilised bottles.
Dilute & enjoy!
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It’s That Time Of The Year…

 

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Each year in my home I have three decluttering & deep cleaning sessions. Advent, Lent & toward the end of the school year. This week has been the time for the latter. So at a time when the earth exhales, the sun shines and the air is fragrant, I choose to become terribly inverted and stay at home :)

This deep clean & declutter is preceded by planning, for the new upcoming homeschool year (we start afresh in September). Lots of lists, planning sheets and calendar pages are covered in my scribbles and typed notes. This is followed by the urge to clear out any resources and books that we no longer need and order in new supplies! Pencils are sharpened, play dough and paper refreshed. We have a few more weeks to go before we are finished with our current school year ~ and I am already anticipating with great excitement the next year! This is my first year with a high schooler!

I would highly recommend the ebook – Teaching from Rest by Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things. It is a very quick, but deeply meaningful read. Quite perfect!

To continue the theme of deep cleaning – for those who would like to turn inward & do some ‘deep cleaning’ of the mind, read this wonderful post by Carrie at The Parenting Passageway.A super post to help us focus on what we need to parent peacefully.

Remember Remember the 5th of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.

By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

Today has been all about Guy Fawkes. Between our regular maths and grammar lessons, we read stories about him, made acrostics about fireworks and Rose made a smashing firework painting.

For dinner there was Tomato Soup eaten by the firesideImage

Followed by delicious, sticky home made Lancashire Parkin. Which was followed by s’mores :)

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We watched the fireworks from the vantage point of our living room window, whilst I knitted on (what will become) an adorable baby bonnet.

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The girls went out doors and we lit their sparklers…

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Hallowe’en

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Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the new year in Celtic times.  A time for us to set new intentions, think new ideas and formulate plans…to incubate those ideas over the cold winter months and birth them into the warm sprain time breezes…

Our Hallowe’en moments

: : Carving pumpkins

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: : Pumpkin maths

: : Reading our familiar Hallowe’en stories

Mousekin’s golden house

Pumpkin

The Pumpkin Blanket

Scary Stories

When my children were younger, we kept away from the ‘scary’ aspect of Hallowe’en and focused on the Autumn aspect – hence the first three lovely, cosy books. Despite being older now, they still love to read these books (and even better, have them read aloud!) They also enjoy a good scary story and I find the last book to be perfect for their appetite.

: : Made ‘Hallowe’en Soup’ (onions, pumpkin, orange peppers, sweet potato, carrots) all served up after dark in a big pumpkin :)

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: : Created Hallowe’en art

: : Decorated our home

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: : Had oodles of fun at our local Book Cycle party

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: : Trick or Treating

: : Supper with good friends

Today (November 1st) is All Souls Day. I will be remembering loved ones passed in my prayers today and we are going to visit the cemetery where a loved friend rests. We shall be tidying the graveside and Rose will be leaving a special gift.

Poorly Little Person

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The Land of Counterpane by Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was sick and lay a-bed, I had two pillows at my head, And all my toys beside me lay, To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills, Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets All up and down among the sheets; Or brought my trees and houses out, And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still That sits upon the pillow-hill, And sees before him, dale and plain,

The pleasant land of counterpane.

We have had a week of it here :)

A poorly mummy and a very poorly little person. A mystery virus which swept into our home bringing headaches, sickness and temperatures, then disappeared as quickly as it came.

At it’s worst, there was much sleeping. But on that ‘inbetween’ day, I brought out our ‘Poorly People Bucket’. This is a large tub which only comes out when someone is sick. We have had it for several years and it always helps to occupy those small people who have been relegated to bed, or a cosy bed made up on the sofa. It contains playdough, colouring books, puzzle books, a little box containing lots of die cut paper shapes to make tangrams, a small pair of scissors and a stick of glue and, of course, our most favourite story to read when some one is poorly: When Vera Was Sick (there is nothing like reading about someone who is more poorly that you are to lift the spirits!)

We also have ‘Poorly Peter’, a softie I made when the girls were tiny. He is made from the most wonderful, soft, plant dyed wool felt and again, he only makes an appearance when someone is unwell.

I always try to support my children through illness, rather than rushing them to get better. I do not use homeopathy, but have salways found encouragement in this article by Donna Simmons : Practical suggestions for Sick Children

Happy Healing!

Michaelmas

Brave Saint Michael is my guide

As free and fearless forth I ride

With courage of Saint George of old

I dare to face fierce dragons bold

Did you have a lovely Michaelmas? It was such beautiful autumn weather here – blue, blue skies with a light breeze. We enjoyed a late afternoon stroll in our local park before returning to a feast of beef stew, Dragon bread and blackberry jam tarts. (Remember – no more blackberry picking from now on; the old legend says that when Michael cast the Devil out of heaven, the Devil landed in a blackberry patch and promptly spat on them!)

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The girls and I have also begun to prepare our ‘Courage Balm’ – a home made balm to rub on to any wee cuts or grazes, stings or rashes. We shall be giving this as Christmas gifts and also keeping a supply for ourselves – it is wonderful stuff!

Firstly we have to soak the herbs for a few weeks to make an infused oil – the recipe is very fluid to allow for what you have on hand from your garden. But make sure to dry your herbs first, or the oil may go bad with the presence of the moisture.

We have used lavender and calendula from our garden, plus some organic chamomile that I purchased. The herbs we covered with Organic olive oil and will be left in a sunny spot for a few weeks, then we shall make the balm.

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We had a couple of recitations of the poem we have been learning this month ‘Brave Saint Michael’ along with stories of our brave Saint. (Stories, always stories!)

The inner work of this time of year is always challenging – taking stock, what needs to be left behind and finding the strength to face my own dragons….

Saint Michael has helped our family in a very personal way, however. Do you remember how we struggled to find a name for our new kitten?

He has now been named Michael. Our very own fierce and fearless warrior!

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Autumnal Equinox

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Did you have a good day? We enjoy marking the passing seasons and the Autumnal Equinox with it’s gentle light, morning mist and crisp Autumnal scents is no exception.

This year we have a new member of the family to help us celebrate

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We are struggling to name him; so far we have had Dr Kenneth Blackberry, Jinx, Vortigern, Jonty, Roy, Autumn. The list literally goes on and on. Any suggestions?

We kept our celebrations simple.

We discussed how the plants & trees appear to sleep through Autumn and Winter, but how actually there is development under the ground, the rest & rejuvenation that allows the tree to produce flowers and fruit again next year.

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We talked about how we too can plant seeds within ourselves; seeds of gentleness, kindness, courage and bravery.

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And then we each chose what we wanted to be growing within ourselves over the months ahead

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We ended up with two pots, filled with spring time bulbs – filled with gorgeous intent.

We also took good care of our bird friends.

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And if any hedgehog friends would like to visit, they are most welcome too.

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We walked at dusk in the meadow and along the edge of the woodlands. We came home and read some Equinox classics – The Secret Of Saying Thanks and We Gather Together.

We gave thanks to God for all we are blessed with.