The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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How to Make Pita Breads in Se7en+1 Steps…

January 17th, 2015 · 12 Comments

Earlier this week we posted a photograph of our lunchtime pita breads on instagram and quite a few friends asked for the recipe… so hear it is.

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Pita breads make such a fabulous feast, you can dress them up or dress them down… meatballs and tzatiki, avocado and sliced peppers, pineapples and greated cheese and almost any salad goodness. These are a definite family favourite and like wraps they are ridiculously over priced in the supermarket, especially when you discover how easy they are to make.

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Let’s Meet the Players

  • A packet of yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 a cup of warm water
  • 500g of cake flour + quite a bit more for the table
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of warm water… (yes, you need warm water at both stages of this recipe)
  • oil to grease the bowl

Let’s Play the Game

  1. Pop the yeast, sugar and 1/2 a cup of warm water into a bowl and leave them to bubble, while you get the other ingredients measured and ready.
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  3. In a large bowl measure your cake flour and salt together and make a well in the centre. After about ten minutes of standing time your yeast mixture should be nice and bubbly.
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  5. Pop the yeast mixture, and your extra cup of warm water, into the bowl and then mix it together… it is a softer and stickier dough than most bread doughs.
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  7. Place extra flour on a table and knead the dough for about ten minutes.
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  9. Once the dough is kneaded then leave it to rise in a warm spot, in a covered, greased bowl, until it has doubled in size. While your dough is rising it is a good time to get all your fillings chopped and sorted.
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  11. Gently roll the dough into a long worm… then cut the roll in half and then in half again, and so on, until you have enough pitas to share… we usually make about 16 small pitas per batch.
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  13. Keeping your surface nicely floured, roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave them to rise for a few minutes. At this stage heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
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    And the se7en + 1th step…

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  15. When they are springy to the touch roll them out thinly, bake them on a tray until they are golden brown and puff up.

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They are ready to feast on… and once you have mastered pita breads you won’t ever go back to buying them.

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→ 12 CommentsTags: Monday Munchies

Happy Brilliant Birthday to Hood #7…

January 16th, 2015 · 16 Comments

There is a birthday in the house…

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And our little Hood #7 is se7en…

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This girl knows joy…

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This girl can walk…

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This girl can act…

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This girl can imagine…

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This girl can build…

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This girl can fly…

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This girl can draw…

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This girl can explore…

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This girl can dance…

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Really dance…

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This girl can swing…

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This girl can hike…

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This girl can conquer…

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This girl can try anything…

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Even underwater…


This girl can take a break…


And shoot a smile…


This girl makes a great spy…


This girl loves a good book…


And is clearly from a royal line…


Six Was Superb


Five Was Fantastic


Four was Fabulous


Three was Thrilling


Two was Terrific


One was Wonderful


All the way back to the beginning…


→ 16 CommentsTags: Home Truths · Our Events

Se7en’s 52 Week Challenge #1 – The Big Book Challenge…

January 15th, 2015 · 9 Comments

Last year a number of followers asked us to blog about the sort of things we learnt about for family school. This year, to answer that question, we decided to create a challenge a week. Things we want to learn and create, discover and do, explore and examine. And we are sharing our challenges along the way. In each challenge we will try to include: Somewhere to visit; something to ask; something to learn; something to discover; something to make; something to work on; something to present and so on.

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We are starting off slowly with the things that we know best… and a book challenge seemed like a really good place for us to begin. Our library journey has been a long one, and we have blogged about getting to and fro and curbing the chaos of multiple children and books at the library before. In this challenge we wanted to learn how to find a book in the library. It is not as trivial as you might at first think.

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  1. An Outing to the Library:
  2. A visit to the library is part of our regular routine, but we did a quick explore around the library and found that it had a lot more to offer than the few shelves that we habitually visit each week. A map of the library would have been useful, but we figured out where the non-fiction books were, the school books, not to mention music, movies and even puzzles. While the picture books are not in alphabetical order (I have no idea why not), the beginner readers and chapter books are. Graphic novels are stored separately and so are series… there is a whole shelf of series. It certainly was worth taking a walk around and discovering things that were totally new to us.

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  3. The Challenge: Where to Find Any Book:
  4. Determine where to find a book on any topic, or a specific title, in the library. The best way to discover how to find something is to figure out how to put it away. All books in a library have a little sticker on the spine, with the books “address” on it. So we began with a question:

    Is the book Fiction or Non-Fiction?

    • Fiction books: Are stored in alphabetical order, so if you know the name of the author… you can head straight for the fiction shelves and work your way through the alphabet.
    • Non-Fiction books: Are stored according to category. The address of a non-fiction book, on the spine, looks a little more complicated with a string of numbers on it. Thsse numbers and categories are a system developed by a man named Melvil Dewey (1851-1931), who gave all categories and subcategories a number, an address say, between zero and a thousand.

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  5. Learn how the Dewey Decimal System Works:
  6. Now Dewey created a decimal system, which means things are divided into ten main sections and each section is divided into ten smaller sub categories and so on. It is not necessary to know every single sub category, but being familiar with the ten broad categories really does make it so much easier to find the book that you are looking for. If you look at the spine of a non-fiction book the first number in the hundred’s column, describes the Main Class of the book, the main category on the Dewey Decimal List. The next number, in the ten’s column describes the sub-class and the units number is the sub-sub class. The numbers after the decimal point, further refine the classification with in the section. Here’s an example:

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    Take a look at the spine address in the photograph above: The J indicates a book from the junior section of the library, the 6 indicates a book in the class of technology books, the 2 indicates in the division of engineering and the 1 indicates the section of engineering… within that section of books you can further divide the books into sub-sections, different materials used for instance, using the numbers after the decimal point. Below the number classification are three alphabetical letters and in the same way that each fiction book is stored in alphabetical order, according to the first three letters of the author’s surname, so non-fiction books are sorted, once they are categorised into their particular sub-category.

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  7. Something to Discover: A Library Scavenger Hunt…
    1. Can you find where the Dr. Seuss books are kept?
    2. Can you find a poem about the weather?
    3. Can you find a book whose author has the same initials as yours?
    4. Can you find a book about a person that you most admire?
    5. Can you find a map showing your favourite place to visit?
    6. Can you find a book about your favourite animal?
    7. Can you find a book that has a photograph of your home town in it?
    8. And the Se7en+1th Question

    9. What is the name of the librarian who checked out your books?

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  8. Make A Library Book Journal:
  9. Just plain old exercise books, and the covers were inspired by our own favourite books.

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  10. Make a Habit of Writing Down What We Have Read:
  11. Maintain a book reading list. This is something that we have done in fits and starts over time. I have always enjoyed looking back to see what I have read, and been really surprised at just how many books get read, slowly but surely. So we have decided to keep lists. If we write down every book we read for a month, and keep it going for a year, then maybe we will be in the habit of writing down books that we have read and enjoyed.

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  12. Something to Present:
  13. Convince us… anyway you like: acting, singing, baking (!), speaking… why we would want to read your favourite book.

    And the Se7en + 1th thing…

  14. The Journal Gallery:
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That’s it, Challenge #1. Next Week’s Challenge is a Kitchen Challenge…

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→ 9 CommentsTags: Se7en at School

The Week That Was #204…

January 13th, 2015 · 4 Comments

And we are bringing back our weekly round up… a new year and a new weather tree.

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It is definitely the season for beach days… morning walks, evening rolls… afternoon swims and plenty of castling…

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We blogged about se7en + 1 things we would like to try each week this year… and we are popping our 52 Weeks progress into our Week that Was post… accountability and all that!!!

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Our 52 Week Challenge

  1. Walk of the Week: Our intended hike, to the top of the mountain behind our house, had to be canceled because of a raging fire – there is no chance that I am going to take our kids hiking on a mountain that could still flair up at anytime. We replaced it with a wander through the wetlands… no-one counted this as a hike at all and we will have to raise our game a little this week!!!
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  3. Game of the Week: Spot it… a game the entire family can play at once and not in a quiet way!!!
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  5. My Just Because Book: I love this book, but I have never taken the time to actually read it through. I stopped and lingered a lot longer… my kind of inspiration. A book filled with masses of do-able projects from things that are lying around – while I love the projects it is the artwork that really inspired me… it is really a notebook filled with doodles and ideas… gotta say our kids loved having this book lying on my desk and a lot of them stopped by to dig deeper and explore this one. I have a feeling our recycling bin is going to be working over time!!!
  6. Letter of the Week: I hope a postcard counts as a letter, this one is long overdue.
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  8. Organizing Project of the Week: I hope getting the garden under control is an organising project, it was a fairly huge undertaking. We have planted our salad and we are waiting eagerly for results!!!
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  10. Recipe of the Week: We finally have a recipe in our recipe book. The first recipe is in our family recipe book, and it is of course our fave: Chocolate Brownies.
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  12. Our View from the Deck: We’ve made it day by day… I have an impending fear that I may just forget to continue with it!!!
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  14. Our Challenge of the Week: Deserves it’s own post, and it follows this one… It’s a bookish challenge and I am looking forward to posting this one!!!


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There has been helping out…

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Cooking out…

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And pets… of the very temporary kind…

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Friendly chats…

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And late breakfasts…

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Little friends…

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And parkour…

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Breakfast out…

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And sidewalk flowers…

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Beautiful evenings…

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And balloons on the ceilings…

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Dinners outdoors…

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And boys will be boys…

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And so very much music…

The Artwork of the Week
Our new weather tree of course…

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The Book of the Week

And a Snapshot in Time

Hood #1:

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Hood #2:

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Hood #3:

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Hood #4:

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Hood #5:

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Hood #6:

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Hood #7:

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Hood #8:

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That’s us… Hoping you all have the most fantastic week!!!

→ 4 CommentsTags: The Week that Was

Sunday Snippet: When You Pass Through the Waters…

January 12th, 2015 · 2 Comments

We are going to be learning a Bible Verse each week for the year and we thought we would share them with you…

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Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

The flames will not set you ablaze.

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #259…

January 11th, 2015 · 4 Comments

A Fabulous Fun Post… After a busy week in the best sense. Most schools are out on summer break over here, which means lots of visitors and lots of trips to the beach… in between visitors we filled our week with heaps of science and piles of library books. there is a very strong sense of lazy summer days going on over here… and evening ambles on the beach…

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This Week’s Lovely Links

  1. Let’s start right here with Simple Homeschool, tradition has it that January is publish a day in the homeschool life on Simple Home School and it is great reading… all the way through…
  2. I is for Inbox Zero: A-Z of Simple Living… I have no idea how many emails are in my inbox, I am not heading over to look at it (ahem). I have occasionally played with the idea of emptying it out, it is not an idea that I entertain for very long – for fairly obvious and burdensome reasons. Honestly, I don’t really bother about how much mail is in there… but every now and then I see a good post like this one and I think – hmmmm I should probably attend to my mail… because of that I spent an entire evening this week unsubscribing to heaps of things, that I don’t even remember subscribing too.
  3. Marcia linked to Burn the Candles by Shauna and I have to say exactly that: “It’s about believing that you’re worth the good stuff, that someone wanted you to feel loved and seen and known.”
  4. Do you follow the Guardian’s “How to Draw Series?” It is so fun… and there is always someone over here that wants to give it a try.
  5. I am in the mood for a room refresh and I Don’t Know How She Does It… posted some lovely inspiration.
  6. And we can’t let Christmas escape just yet, take a peak at my friend Katherine Marie’s Christmas Love!!!
  7. I promised our instagram followers that I would post our How to Tie-Dye Anything Post… Here it is!!!
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    And the se7en+ 1th link:

    A Blast from the Past

  9. A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years:

That’s us… Hope your weekend is a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you all…

→ 4 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

Se7en + 1 Ways to Stop Racing Ahead and Just Take a Break…

January 8th, 2015 · 12 Comments

We are a week into the New Year and some friends were lamenting the state of their New Year’s Resolutions. All those good intentions, many of them are really good resolutions, are starting to fade. Blogs aren’t being updated and refreshed, exercise classes have been missed, there are only so many cups of green tea a person can drink and those tidy closets look like a storm already – we are only a week in… what is going on? It is really quite simple. We live in a culture that is always striving… we firmly believe that more is better, even though we know this is clearly not the truth, more is often not better at all, but we believe it is. If only we had more stuff, more money, more space, more time… we would all live “happily for ever after…”


Unfortunately, this is not the truth… more is not necessarily better. I am sure we can think of many, many scenarios where more is definitely not better… In fact we don’t actually have to buy into the productivity machine. I often find that in our striving to stay level with “the Jones’s” let alone ahead of them, we quite forget to take care of ourselves. We are so striving to get ahead that we literally fall down exhausted.


I think when your hands are so busy with little people, and believe me little people very quickly become bigger people, we can forget to take care of ourselves. Add in a job, or a blog or both and we are stretched to the limit. Folk the world over are literally exhausted and “never get a moment’s peace…” and yet we sign up for more and more… and those pesky resolutions look like long lists of how to be totally and absolutely perfect at all times. And this is where the striving and “you must be productive during every moment of the day” can get you down… now is definitely my season for lingering a little longer… an extra story, a lazy breakfast… To be honest our home does not need to run like a continuous corporation in order to be a good home. I don’t think our kids really care if the kitchen sink is gleaming when I go to bed, they very much do care if I am late getting going with breakfast.


We live in a world where hard work will get you places, and pushing yourself to the limit and then a bit more is wholly admired. It has got to the stage where if folk weren’t forced to take their annual leave they wouldn’t. It is considered quite normal to work 24/7 and then a bit more. Productivity is the word bouncing around like a great big glorious balloon. There is just one problem, while we were designed to work, we were also designed to rest… not to mention, balloons pop. Study after study shows that folk that play and folk that rest are far more productive than those that don’t… It is time to just slow things down a little, just stop and play folks, even for a moment.


Here’s the thing, it is time to be a little gentler on ourselves and to take better care of ourselves. You don’t need special permission or anyone’s approval to go to bed early or to get outdoors for some fresh air. We are so busy waiting for permission to relax. There are not many people in the world that are ever going to say, “Why don’t you take a break and I will bring in your laundry or do your dishes.” I am not about to pop over and visit and do your laundry, but I am granting permission to anyone that asks… take a break already. I am not talking about languishing for hours while folks bring you tea and chocolates on the couch… For me there is always one more task, one more mess to clean up, one more dish to wash… endless, endless tasks and always that feeling: “better do it now, before it is too late.”

Permission to Take a Break

  1. Just go to bed: Reward yourself for your day, and get to bed. And if you can’t sleep then read a book. When you run out of sleep get up. So very refreshing to discover I am awake before everyone and I can write a blog post, have a think, plan the day. For years as soon as our kids were in bed… that meant time for me – to think, blog, whatever… the problem is we have teenagers and they don’t ever seem to go to bed!!! For months I was going to bed later and later and literally dragging up in the morning. My clock is changing, there is no chance of a teen wanting to chat in the early hours of the morning and little folk are well trained in sleeping late around here.
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  3. Savour your Space: Next time you clean your lounge, in the one second that it looks spiffy, sit down and enjoy it. Light that pretty candle that you are saving for a special occasion… let this be the special occasion. Just for moment… pick up the beautiful book on the coffee table or look at the view… enjoy it. The bathroom can actually wait for your attention, while you savour a moment in the one clean room. And dare I say, if you ever get round to cleaning the bathroom then take out that pretty soap you got for Christmas, your closet will be fine without it… and use it.
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  5. Crank open your beautiful notebook: You know the one that you have been saving for years to write down something special in it. Now is the time, open it and write something special in it… we are always waiting for something special. I am just saying that “special could very well be now…” A list of dreams, a list of stuff you love… a little snippet of something beautiful you heard. It doesn’t have to be epic and doesn’t have to take ten hours… Really it takes a moment, next time you find yourself putting away a pen or a marker… head straight for your notebook and write something nice in it. You don’t have to write everyday, you don’t have to write a page… but write something and when the going gets tough and you need a break… write something else. Eventually you will have a pile of special word bites and that beautiful notebook will have lived up to its expectations.
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  7. Get Out Doors Already: I know I am a better person for getting outdoors and you would think it would be easy – but I am just quickly doing this and quickly doing that. If you need an excuse then go and check the mail box, just step out of the door and breathe. Sometime during the day I am going to read to my kids and I try and make that happen outdoors… I get my dose of fresh air and they, well my kids don’t know how lucky they are – but rain or shine, they pretty much live outdoors.
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  9. Put that Music On: We have music, heaps of it, but how often do you think to put it on. Music really is the best mood setter ever and when you just can’t face a day put something funky on. Trust me it helps, and if you need inspiration just to get through breakfast then get inspiration and listen to something lovely. Try it and thank me later.
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  11. Schedule an Afternoon Break Before the Madness: Water the garden in summer… have a cocoa in winter. Sit and doodle while you all have a cup of tea… it doesn’t have to be smart and it doesn’t have to be once a week. Stop and catch your breathe. We want our children to grow up to be well rounded adults, they have to see us rest and take a break, the need that example and they aren’t going to get it anywhere else. Some of our kids are masterful at resting (!!!), they need to see the balance between work and play too. It is all very well to give your teens books on careers and productivity and gasp, money management but they need to learn how to live and our example is key to that training.
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  13. Take a Sabbath: I mean it… I don’t do laundry or cook feasts on Sundays. We literally go to church and return home for an easy lunch and a nap… that’s Sunday. Saturdays are filled with chores and projects and friends over for dinner. Mondays are for catching up. But Sundays are strictly for resting. The reward of a day off and that fresh rested feeling to get going with the week far outweighs the alleged benefits of just slogging through.
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    The se7en + 1th…

  15. As for Blogging: The internet will not die without you, it will not crumble and fall apart… you can actually skip a day when you are tired, a week when you are exhausted, a month when you are on vacation – even if you are vacationing in “Remain-Here.” Let’s face it, we have eight kids… the reality is that I have to blog at night… but I don’t have to blog all night. Somewhere early on, I read a list of things that “our followers need” in order for our blog to be a working entity… stuff like consistent publishing… hello eight homeschooling kids. The only thing consistent in my life is “extremely very totally busy all the time” and that is just the laundry and the dishes. I know I care about the writers behind the blogs that I follow, and over the years I have discovered, in so many astonishing ways, that our readers don’t just read a blog post, they really care about us. They would much rather know that we spent a fab day on the beach playing and a blog post had to wait, than I stayed up all night writing a post, only to be ultra-cranky the next day. It really is time for bloggers to be gentler on themselves. Trust me your followers will continue to follow you, even if you take a leave of absence.

I guess what I am saying is linger a little longer… if a fine morning coffee is your ritual, then enjoy it. I love a fine morning coffee but I live in a “get up and go” house and the morning rush to get the father person off to work and starving inmates breakfasted, meant that I was always left gulping my coffee on the run, or worse leaving it somewhere and forgetting where I left it for hours. I have learnt… to get the rush over and before I wash the dishes and get going with school, I have a little pause and savour my morning coffee – yes I have to wait for it… but it is so worth slowing down and enjoying it!!!

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→ 12 CommentsTags: Thoughtful Thursdays