Natural Beauty

Our son James would like to share with you his secret for soft, kissable cheeks…

Apple yoghurt facial.

Step One:: Have Mama open the top of the pot; ask for a spoon.

Step Two:: Eat half the yoghurt (it’s delicious)

Step Three:: Put the spoon down and reach one hand deep into the pot; scoop out a handful of yoghurt

Step Four:: Rub hands together to distribute yoghurt evenly; clap hands together if desired. This creates a lovely speckled effect over face, arms (and neighbours).

Step Five:: Rub hands over entire face and squeal with delight.

Step Six:: Wait for Mama or one of your older siblings to come take you for a bath.



I’ve been feeling a little creatively empty lately. No beautiful posts to post, no photos, no inspiration… ¬†Just nothing.

Photo Credit:: Cate

I think that is due in large part to the fact that our life as family is up in the air – and has been for several months. ¬†What I mean is that we are still looking for a new nest. ¬†We’re both, Brian and I, hoping that my juices will start to flow again once we’re settled in a new home. ¬†But we don’t know when – or even WHERE – that will be.

Another possibility for my lack of motivation is my change in activity. ¬†I’m finding new networks to be involved in. ¬†I need that change – but change is so very difficult. ¬†I was feeling that the groups I’d been involved in for many years were adversely affecting me – stealing my joy. ¬†I quit just about everything to give myself the chance to re-evaluate where best to spend my screen time once I’m ready to get back to it. ¬†But the silence has been a challenge to adjust to.

Photo Credit:: Cate

On the other hand, there is a degree of joy in just *being* right now. ¬†School (theirs and ours) has kept us busy. ¬†We’ve been out in the beautiful sunshine planting a big raised-bed garden and dreaming of canning and pickling projects later this summer. ¬†We’ve got about half our garden built and planted – perhaps next week we’ll finish it all up.

Photo Credit:: Cate

Today was a particularly productive one. ¬†Our new online magazine – “Family Centered Living Magazine” has finally gone live. ¬†It’s the culmination of years and years of contemplation and planning. ¬†We’re all really pleased at the results so far. ¬†I have a feeling that my involvement with FCLM and our other online magazines will be a source of renewal for me.

It occurred to me that this dry spell is not so very unlike the dryness we sometimes experience in our prayer lives.  The trick is to persevere.  Keep on plugging away and something will begin to break Рlike new green shoots from dormant seeds beneath the earth.

PUSH – persevere (and pray) until something happens

Rite of Spring:: Re-organizing

It seems that every spring I get the urge to re-organize everything.

My re-organization always begins with schedules and forms for my home management book. ¬†I’ve also been refining the chore system that Brian and I designed for our kids several years back. ¬†I hope that one day, I’ll have all of these things down to a perfect science so that I won’t have to edit or refine anymore. I think that’s an unrealistic expectation. ¬†Our family changes constantly as children grow, our business changes, and our specific wants and needs shift.

I am unable to function in a chaotic environment. We live in a very tiny house – at least, it’s tiny for a family of ten. ¬†I need to be hyper-organized in order to get through each day. ¬†Lately… Actually, since we started packing out to move to the farm we thought we had locked up, our house has been a disaster area. ¬†We still have boxes in the hallway, piles on the desk and floor in our entry-cum-office. ¬†It feels very much like all of our time is spent cleaning up small messes while simultaneously trying to keep looking for a new home and keeping our businesses running. ¬†Not a lot of school-work or fun is being accomplished…

Since I can’t immediately change our living arrangements, I can get us back on a scheduled routine. ¬†If you have read my old blog “Simple Gifts” you’ll remember that our daily schedule is called an “Horarium”, which is a borrowed term from Benedictine monastic tradition. ¬†The times and tasks haven’t changed much from what we’ve always had, but the little poster I hang up for all to see has a new image, new fonts. ¬†Here’s how it turned out::


And here is a link to a blank one that you can fill in::

Blank Horarium

Our laundry days have become a jumble Рsort of catch-as-catch-can affair, and also needed a slight shift from what we had before.  Brian had made a very handy laundry schedule about 18 months ago.  I simple added an image, changed the fonts, and rearranged things a bit::

Laundry Day

And here’s a blank one for you to fill in for your home::

Blank Laundry Day

Because our family learns better with a less regimented “school” schedule, with plenty of field trips, long talks, good books, movies, and audio, I came up with this little reminder poster – bright and cheerful::

Gentle Reminder – Schoolwork

Please help yourself to a blank reminder chart (you can fill it in with anything you want to remind your children of, not just homeschool things).  You can get the same effect I got by using brightly coloured Sharpie markers::

Gentle Reminder – Blank

And finally, I’ve got the chore record for us to either post or keep in our home management book. ¬†Our children receive a lanyard which holds laminated labeled with various chores. ¬†We used to change those out daily, but it became quite a lot of work with such a large bunch. ¬†Our oldest two will have permanent chores, and the younger children will have chores that change weekly or monthly. ¬†When their chores are completed to our satisfaction, we mark the box next to their names for that day. ¬†I still feel like I need some sort of sweet illustration at the top of the sheet, but hadn’t found one I love. ¬†Not yet.::

Chore Record

This will be part of our newest edition chore system, which we will make available when we’ve got an illustrator for the complete project.

All I need to do now is put together Student Planner/Record Books for our kids to use to record what they’ve completed each day. ¬†The older kids will also have project planning sheets for those things they wish to work on. ¬†When I’ve completed the template, I’ll post a blank one for you to print for your child’s binder.

I hope you’ll find the blanks useful in some way. ¬†If you have any questions about how to use them, please go ahead and ask…

Baby update

Such a boring post title. ¬†My apologies…

Our little one measured at 18 weeks today – not uncommon for a grand-multip mama, I’m told. ¬† It’s nice to be grand at something. ¬†Being advanced is also something admirable. ¬†However, being labeled someone who is of “advanced maternal age” is just plan unflattering. ¬†You’d think I’d be over it – this is my fourth baby since becoming ancient and decrepit. ¬†But I’m not. I’m working on it.

And the little one’s heart rate was 140, and that was a tricky reading to get. ¬†We have a little wiggle worm. ¬†But we knew that after the last ultrasound which took 45 minutes of chasing the little darling around the womb. ¬†And I had the bruises next day to prove it.

So we can’t tell anything from the heart rate (boy or girl), not that those things are ever 100% accurate. ¬†Or even 50% accurate. ¬†It’s a crap shoot. ¬†But in 2.5 weeks, we’re due to go for another marathon ultrasound scan. ¬†Maybe, just maybe our wee one will hold still long enough for us to have a chance at determining whether he or she is a he or she. ¬†Certainly, he or she IS a he or she, but we’re hoping to know exactly WHICH of those he or she is.

There’s a family pool going on here. ¬†Only one of us guessed “BOY”, so if baby turns out to be a he, we have an instant winner. ¬†The prize is a bag of M&Ms. ¬†What’s your guess?

You are Cordially Invited.

Join us on The Family Centered Living Network!

Brian and I have created an online community for families who value gentle parenting, natural health, strong faith foundations, and building a life around family, rather than building a family around life. ¬†It’s been a work of our hearts; and something we’ve been dreaming of and planning for since our oldest child was a new baby – almost 18 years ago.

You can set up your own family page, microblog, join a local group to attend family-centered meet-ups and activities, and participate in discussion forums on topics ranging from home education to family travel, working from home, natural health, grandparenting, and much more!

Brian and I hope that you will come along and join us, and invite your like-minded friends to join what we know will be a vibrant, supportive community.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

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