Month: March 2012

Alone and inspired

An unexpected gift today πŸ™‚

All four precious treasures are with Grandma and Grandad for the afternoon and hubby is catching up on some work.

So here I am… alone and inspired, resisting the urge to “Autumn clean” and instead PAINT!

I so often get asked what I did before I had children, as if what I did before somehow proved my value and place in society. A career, a profession, some sort of training, a degree… anything to substantiate my existence and allow me to now be nothing but a housewife and mother. I know that those who ask such a question are not thinking necessarily all the above points :)… but it sure feels like it some days!Β 

So what did I do…

I lived πŸ™‚

I loved πŸ™‚

I had many adventures and allowed God to refine me and mould me into the beginnings of a wife and mother that I am still learning to become now πŸ™‚

If you want more concrete details I was a youth worker, a retail assistant, a first year university student majoring in Art History and Anthropology, a singer and an artist πŸ™‚Β 

I loved to draw, to design, to paint and create and it is this part of me (along with others) that I now channel into home education and motherhood.

BUT today has reminded me how much LIFE I receive from letting God work through my heart and hands in paint!

I have been asked to paint panels for the front of a refurbished Tabernacle… and I feel so humbled to be the one decorating Our Lord’s dwelling! I can understand on a very little scale what some of the great Masters must have felt adorning the ceilings, walls and altars of the beautiful cathedrals and churches around the world. Art is life giving, Sacred Art is sanctifying, because it requires you to humble yourself before THE Creator and allow him to fashion you into His image more and more. One cannot paint about God and not allow God to be the painter! πŸ™‚

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So alone (for a little longer πŸ™‚ ) and inspired to pray as I paint… I leave you with this quote

β€œArtistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.” 
― Pope John Paul II

How do you develop your artistic talents?

Blessings

Ruth

“A long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away…”

RESOURCE OF THE DAY: Β (cue the music) Β STAR WARS

Nothing quite sets the imagination alight for little boys (or girls in our house), than an epic battle of good against evil, space ships, light sabers, funny looking aliens, beautiful princesses and SPACE πŸ™‚

Now it wasn’t my plan this morning to spend an entire day of school on Star Wars… but that is what has come to be and OH the fun we have had!

Now before I go any further, our children have watched episode 1, 4, 5 & 6 (episode 2 & 3)are not suitable we think for right now). My hubby and I have always watched them ourselves beforehand to scan for parts that might not be appropriate and then watched them with the kids. I know that this is not some people’s cup of tea, but we have found them to be great family bonding times. The stories have not filled our children’s minds with violence or rubbish but have inspired their creativity and thirst for knowledge about space and science. Sunshine, being her usual deep philosophical self, has made many parallels between the science fiction and our spiritual journey and battle. I love how she finds God in everything!

STAR WARS DAY

Master Luke (now you can all guess where this nickname comes from) is busy from before the sun rises each day creating lego masterpieces, often with a Star Wars theme. Today this extended into character role playing and before I was even ready to get started on school work, Sunshine, Master Luke and Curly Sue were busy at the school table drawing pictures of their favourite characters. Not wanting to stop the flow of creativity, I jumped online and found a great site of colouring in pages so that Curly Sue could join in as well…

http://www.hellokids.com/r_326/coloring/famous-character-coloring-pages/star-wars-coloring-book-pages/

Master Luke then decided that he would make a poster for his room covered in his drawings and colouring in pages. Sunshine chose a colouring in page of Queen Armidala and did a beautiful job. Quite enamoured by her efforts, she then turned it into a cardboard doll by backing the picture with thick cardboard and making her a house. Curly Sue coloured in C3PO and R2D2 and wants to make a poster too! πŸ™‚

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(Master Luke singing the Imperial march while colouring in Death Star, Sunshine with her Queen Armidala Doll and the worksheet I devised for Master Luke)

While they were all busy pottering away on their independent projects, I made a worksheet for Master Luke who is starting to show a great interest in having his own maths work to do. I really liked the ideas as they started to flow, so keep an eye out as I might come up with some more worksheets. (need to work out how to attach a PDF file for you to download).

Lunch consisted of cheese toasties cut into Death Stars (circles), fighter planes (the bits left over πŸ™‚ ) and stars. Simple, yet fascinating to kids in the zone πŸ™‚

After lunch we piled onto the Millenium Falcon (a.k.a our 10ft trampoline with nets) and we talked about where we are…. trampoline, city, country, world, solar system, orion’s arm, milky way galaxy, local galaxy group… etc. etc. For my hubbies birthday one year, as he is a keen lover of all things astronomical, we bought him UNIVERSE – the definitive visual guide by DK publishers.

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This book is visually stunning!! We have spent many happy hours in wonder and awe pouring over the pages, gazing at nebula, learning about constellations, getting inspired to look up and say “God you are AWESOME!!!”

“Universe is divided into three main sections. The INTRODUCTION is an overview of the basic concepts of astronomy, GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE looks, in turn at the solar system, Milky Way, and the regions of space that lie beyond. Finally, THE NIGHT SKY is a guide to the sky for the amateur skywatcher.” Β  Β (from UNIVERSE pg. 6)

Β Finally πŸ™‚ when I get off this computer… my newly acquired watch is telling me afternoon tea time is almost up… we will be busy at another lovely worksheet provided by CONSIDERING GOD’S CREATION (Mortimer & Smith) – see my post “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date”. The worksheet shows the children their place in the universe and reminds them that God’s love for them is so great.

So from us here at Rebel Base…. May the force be with you… or as we say in our house…. May the Holy Spirit be with you! πŸ™‚

Ruth

“Food glorious food! Hot sausage and mustard…”

Cooking in our household is a creative, messy and finger-licking good experience!

Myself and Sunshine are Gluten Free which means we have to get creative with receipes and be brave with experimenting!

Below are three of our most recent success stories we would love to share with you…

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY COOKIES

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These were better than I could have imagined… though please do NOT count the calories!! πŸ™‚

To make:

Beat together with a wooden spoon, 250g peanut butter (we used smooth but I guess you could go for the crunch factor!) andΒ 75g softened unsalted butter until smooth and creamy. Add 3/4 cup of brown sugar and mix well, followed by a large egg. Mix until all combined and then add 1 1/4 cups of Gluten Free flour, 1 1/2 tsp Gluten Free baking powder and a pinch of salt (sifted together). This should all combine to make a stiff dough.

Line two baking trays with baking paper and place walnut sized balls, evenly spaced onto tray. Press lightly with a fork and put into preheated (180C/350F) oven until just cooked with only a little colour.

Leave to cool and then sandwich together with your favourite jelly (what we call jam in NZ πŸ™‚ )…. YUM YUM YUM!!!

MINI TOAD IN THE HOLES

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Β My mum used to make a big version of this traditional english receipe when I was a kid. With little ones around me all day and hungry learning kids to feed, I needed something quick, fairly substantial and fussy 2 yr old proof. Sausages are mostly always ok for picky eaters and these have an element of fun in name and appearance :). Curly Sue dissects them, but eats them πŸ™‚

To make:

Preheat oven to 220C/425F. We use 6 Gluten Free precooked sausages when in a hurry or you can use normal Gluten Free ones. If using precooked, cut each sausage in half, or if using others, then you will have to press the meat into two sections and twist to make two little sausages. Grease a 12 muffin pan and add 1 half/mini sausage into each hole. Put this into the oven for 5 minutes, or until sausages are sizzling and pan is HOT!

Sift 12 tbsp Gluten Free flour into a large bowl with 1 tsp salt. Make a well in the middle and add 3 gently whisked eggs. Gradually add 12 tbsp milk, beating until you have a smooth batter. When the pan is HOT and ready, pour the mixture into each hole, just covering the sausage. Place back in oven and cook for 15 minutes until risen and golden.

Great for lunch or add vegetables for dinner πŸ™‚

HAM & CHEESE TARTLETS

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Sunshine misses pastry and to be honest… I miss steak and cheese pies! So, there has always been a challenge to recreate the pastry of my Gluten eating days. These are yummy, not quite the same as their Gluten buddies but my hubby prefers them… and that’s something because he ISN’T Gluten Free πŸ™‚

To make pastry:

Sift 2 cups of Gluten Free flour into a large bowl. Grate 125g of very cold butter into the flour. Rub together until it resembles rolled oats in texture. Add 1 cup of grated tasty cheese and toss well. Finally slowly add approx 1/2 cup water (with 2 tsp lemon juice added) to the mix until you have a dough that sticks together when pressed. I chill this for 10-15 minutes in the fridge before using.
To make tarts:
Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Use a 12 muffin pan and line each hole with pastry. I break off a blob and then mould it into the hole with my fingers. Not glamorous, but with Gluten Free you have to do what works :). I then throw in some chopped up deli ham… really depends on how much I have in the fridge πŸ™‚ and some grated cheese. Next I mix 3 eggs, 1/4 cup milk and some salt and pepper to tast. This gets poured in over the ham and cheese, just covering them.
Place in oven and cook for approx 15minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling is set and puffed :). Be creative… there are endless possibilities for fillings! Quick and easy for a lunchtime at home πŸ™‚ or picnic out
Do you have any quick and easy Gluten Free receipes your family enjoys? Please feel free to share them with us πŸ™‚
Blessings!
RuthΒ 

In His footsteps…

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Curly Sue looking at a wedding picture of Mummy and Daddy… “Is that you mummy?”… “Yes and that’s daddy”…”Where is Curly Sue? Am I at home?”…. “No sweetheart, this was before you were around… when you were still a part of God’s beautiful plan for our future”… “I DON’T WANT TO BE WITH GOD! I want to be in your tummy…” πŸ™‚ The logic of a 2 year old!

RESOURCE OF THE DAY: Β IN VESTIGIA JESUS

There is just so much inspiration out there when it comes to ideas for celebrating Holy Week. In our Catholic tradition there is so much beauty and symbolism spread throughout the week, from Palm Sunday to Easter, that we are spoilt for choice when choosing treasures to share with our children.

As my children are still very young, activities need to be kept simple and symbolism clear :). Sunshine is a deep thinker, a real philosopher in the making, so anything and everything we do always goes to another level with her… I don’t have to plan that πŸ™‚

Inspired by several ideas of a Holy Week path (seeΒ http://joyfulmamasplace.blogspot.co.nz/2011/04/holy-week-for-families.html), this is what we have come up with for our family… taking into account we have a 10month old who is cruising furniture and climbing things, so our path is on a wall! πŸ™‚

InΒ vestigia Jesus

(In the footsteps of Jesus)

1. First we made a big long purple strip of cardboard (approx. 30cm wide and just over 1m long)

2. We divided it into 6 portions to represent Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday, Mournday Thursday and Good Friday.

3. We covered Palm Sunday with green card, Mournday Thursday with dark purple, Good Friday with red and at the top attatched a piece of black card shaped like a tomb with a piece of grey card attached as a flap (the stone!)

4. The children then made a donkey and palms, table and chalice/bread, and a cross. These were attached to sticky back velcro so they can put them on the right days as we get to them.

5. Sunshine made me a beautiful Jesus to “walk” up the path and a stunning crucified Lord for the cross and tomb.

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(I have stuck the finished pieces on to show you what they look like… they wouldn’t all be on at the beginning of Holy week… and please excuse the poor quality of photo!)

6. We still have a bit more to do! Holy Monday will be the story of Jesus in the temple “You have made my father’s house into a den of thieves!”, Holy Tuesday will be the annointing of Jesus’ feet with oil, and Holy Wednesday will be Judas and his bag of coins. Our beautiful Jesus will be transfered up the days onto velcro strips and will sit behind the table on Holy Thursday. On Good Friday we will put the crucified Jesus on the cross that Master Luke so lovingly created! Then after the service on Friday we will place him in the tomb…

7. Sunshine came up with a beautiful climax to our Holy Week path… in her words…

“On Easter morning we will go to the tomb… BUT the stone will be open and Jesus will be gone! We will say… where have you taken our Lord?!?! Β AND THEN…. he will pop out over the top of the tomb!!! He will be RISEN!!!!”

So in my words :)… we will remove Jesus on Holy Saturday night and place the other Jesus behind the top of the tomb with a sign saying “Christ has Risen! Alleluia!”

All in all a very busy day of preparation and children who are now VERY excited about next week!

I am sure we will come up with more ideas (including a Christian Seder Meal!!) but we will keep you posted πŸ™‚

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: Lighting our fire for the first time and reading our morning bible story on a rug in front of it!!! πŸ™‚

CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: Keeping my cool with Sunshine as she chose to have an ignore mummy day… we are getting there πŸ™‚ but this will continue to be a battle as she is a daydreamer and very rarely one to move fast!

How do you deal with daydreamers?

Blessings!

Ruth

“Patience is a virtue, Virtue is a grace and Grace is a little girl who didn’t wash her face”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: When being hassled by big brother about how she said milk… Curly Sue “I CAN’T say moollk but I CAN say millenium falcon!”

RESOURCE OF THE DAY: A watch!! (see yesterday’s post) Β I might be a little behind the times… BUT what a difference to my day! πŸ™‚ I do believe I am part mule when it comes to some things. Now to find a smaller, more comfortable one πŸ™‚

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HIGHLIGHT, CHALLENGE AND THOUGHT FOR THE DAY…

“Hurry up or we will be late!”

“I am getting really cross! I have every right to get cross with you!!”

“NO! I have told you how many times?”

Β “Why aren’t you ready?!?!?! We need to go!!”

etc. etc. etc.

Have you said any of these?

I sure have and could probably think of plenty more…

As I ponder and mull, pray and reflect on my role and vocation as Mother, I find myself looking more at my behaviour than my children’s. I find all paths of thought leading back to a crux which is ME…

Hence today I thought I would share some of these insights. They are just my ponderings and very much the beginnings of thoughts… BUT I felt that they should be shared…. so bear with me πŸ™‚

My children are wonderful creatures! Creative, imaginative, smart, energetic, talkative, enthusiastic, intense, emotional, joyful and generally speaking… well behaved. But being around them all the time can be exhausting and at times down right hard. I find myself displaying all the hideous faces of Harry Potter like horrors… impatience, anger, frustration, emotional blackmail, indifference, and the list goes on. What makes these Ogre like qualities even more repulsive, is that I excuse them so often as justified behaviours…

For example… I am rounding up the troup to go out the door, time is precious and THEN… someone can’t find their shoes. We go on a frantic shoe hunt… under beds, behind doors, under couches, room after room…. we ask St Anthony to help us but he can’t as my heart is closed due to frustration. The kids are feeling pressured and I am starting to loose my cool… “Where did you put them?”….”Why can’t you remember?”…. “You should have put them on the shoe rack!!”….”Now we are running late and it is your fault….”…. ALARM BELL!!! ALARM BELL!!

“… it is your fault….”

This is where that great and glorious but VERY painful light of God’s love comes glaring into my heart!

Who’s fault was it? Maybe a Mummy who doesn’t put her shoes away and doesn’t lead by example? Maybe a Mummy who lost track of time and started getting everyone ready too late? Maybe a mummy who should not loose her cool but stay calm and collected and turn to God in times of crisis?

Today with these things on my heart I have gone about humbled, aware of my weaknesses and leaning VERY heavily on the grace of God. Now I have certainly had a few ugly moments… but there has been a transformation, an ever so slight change for the better…and surprise surprise… happier kids πŸ™‚

I pray that God may put a guard on my tongue so that my words are gentle…

I pray that God may give me wisdom so that my actions bear good fruit…

And I pray that God may forgive me for the times I fail and grant me the grace to get up, brush it off and try again!

If this rings a bell for you or you have any wisdom to share please feel free to leave a comment πŸ™‚

Blessings!

Ruth

“I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Curly Sue eating her piece of cheese this morning “It’s a mummy piece of cheese (big)….it has boobs…giggle giggle…” Mummy says…”Oh! Does it?”…..Curly Sue “Noooo… you can’t see dem…. they are pop up boobs…. GIGGLE GIGGLE!” Sometimes I wonder how the kids see me πŸ™‚

RESOURCE OF THE DAY:

Considering God’s Creation – A creative biblical approach to natural science

by Mortimer and Smith (Eagle’s Wings)

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When we started out last year I had the great fortune of borrowing a large number of resources from a wonderful family. This science curriculum was just one of the fantastic resources I sunk my teeth into!

I have to admit I am a great fan of reproducibles. Yes, I love creating my own worksheets, but the time involved, especially with 3 under 5, is sometimes not there! This curriculum has a WONDERFUL book of reproducible science worksheets on subjects ranging from the Solar System to Human Anatomy. It’s adaptability for preschool age children up to your 10-12yr olds makes it a stand out resource in our home. We use it to make lapbooks, projects, posters and anything else in between. While my 2yr old colours in the illustrations in crayon and my 4yr old practices his cutting and pasting, my 7yr old learns the more meatier science facts… all in together this frosty weather! The teachers manual is a good read in itself and gives you very clearly structured lesson plans if that’s your thing and plenty of extra links and suggestions.

Last thing… it has beautiful scripture references to God’s creation in each chapter πŸ™‚ Can’t fault that!

We were blessed enough to pick up our copy at a curriculum fair second hand but check out…

http://www.eagleswingsed.com/products/cgc.html

http://www.christianbook.com β€ΊΒ HomeschoolΒ β€ΊΒ Science

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY:

Watching Sunshine add, subtract, multiply and divide like it was second nature! We truly can do ALL things through Christ…. because I am not a whizz at maths or a maths teacher… but I am a Mum… and God is blessing my instincts πŸ™‚

CHALLENGE AND MUMMY THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Do you keep track of time?

Do you own a watch?

My answer to those two questions…. No!

Am I always late?…. No πŸ™‚ … sometimes I am, but that’s usually for reasons outside of time keeping! (eg. dirty naps)

Well I have been trying to schedule my days in an attempt to bring order and peace (see post “Mission Impossible?”) Β  to our home and life. So far there has been much more peace and overall JOY in our house… but order? structure? sticking to schedule? Something is amiss…

Thanks to one of those “morning shower revelations”, I think the problem is… I don’t wear a watch πŸ™‚ (cue the “I have been trying to tell you that for years!” from hubby)

I don’t like wearing things on my wrists or fingers (except my wedding rings) and have rebelled against wearing a watch for sometime. Time keeping has not been impossible, as I have my cellphone, the oven, the microwave, the lovely wooden clock (which is no longer on the wall due to its desire to constantly fly off and wallop me with every tremor of the earth), and the clock in the car. BUT there is something to be said about seeing the time regularly and being able to say “only 5 more minutes on that worksheet”… or know that dinner really must be started in 10minutes (like right now!! :))

Today I am wearing a rather large sports watch and I am disliking it very much… BUT I have had a much better grasp of my schedule and I can see the fruit already! (“Bother!” she says)

Plan of attack… find a smaller less obtrusive watch and offer up the inconvenience for the PEACE and ORDER of my home! πŸ™‚ A small thing I know… but for me a lesson that must be learnt πŸ™‚

Are you a white rabbit? πŸ™‚

Blessings

Ruth

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…

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As I drove past our precious Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament today, once again I mourned for the loss of such a magnificent and sacred building. In February of 2011 our city was hit by a magnitude 6.3 aftershock (the most destructive and fatal since the initial September 11th 2010). Our city crumbled, lives were lost and so many lost their homes and way of life. A large number of churches all throughout the city are now unable to use their buildings and are having to come together to worship in halls, homes, schools etc.

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was a testament to the prayers, labour and love of the Catholic community in Christchurch. It was a truly beautiful basilica and I have many precious memories of it….

But today I got thinking….

As beautiful as our Churches and Cathedrals are… God also humbles himself to dwell within our very hearts!

Maybe as we lead up to Easter, it is time to look at the “building” of our heart… do we put as much care and attention to detail into preparing for Our Lord in the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist? Do we decorate our hearts with the art of charity and good will? Do we make our hearts a place of stillness, quiet and prayer?

I certainly felt a nudge in the direction of confession πŸ™‚

How about you?

Blessings

Ruth