Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Apple picking at cousin Ian's

Every year for the past few years we have made an annual pilgrimage to cousin Ian's orchard in the hills. We like to combine apple-picking with this reminder of family history."remember boys this was your Nana's father's orchard and his father's before them. I wonder when Nana was a little girl if she picked blackberries here in this gully just like we are now. What kind of apples do you think were her dad's favorite when he was a little boy. Imagine going to sleep with your five brothers in the loft above the barn like he did(his eight sisters slept in the house). How tall do you think these pine trees were then?" We found a rope swing...the best apples to pick today were Fuji and golden delicious. Master T said he likes eating golden delicious just off the tree. They tasted as good to him fresh as his favorite pink lady apples! But lets not forget we were on a quest. Where was the tree of democrat apples? Have you tried these? They are a purply red with a tough-ish skin but are juicy and excellent keepers. They were popular before refrigeration because they were such good keepers. But these days...well just try asking for them at your local fruit and veg! We had just about given up, Master T again had taken the camera and gone exploring while the rest of us lazed...what a great place to just sit an orchard is...when our scout returneth with an apple and behold it was a democrat. Much laughter from cousin Ian when we told him we had photographed the tree so we would know where to find it next time!

our Lenten Journey Day Thirty

St Peter struggled with courage when Jesus was arrested. But through Jesus loving gaze and the grace of God that he could do anything in God’s name he overcame his human failings. Take courage and with the example of St Peter say ”I was not born to be a failure, I am gaining experience all the time, Jesus is always there to pick me up when I stumble or fall, I just need to call on His Holy name and on I go”

 Today we will make a cross using different materials. You might like to use some of the bark we collected down by the river; you might like to use some twigs and bind them with twine, or you could use some of our collage material. Put this cross above your bed…and each night before you sleep thank Jesus for His cross. Remember without the cross there is no resurrection!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A bit of nature study

We have been doing a "bit of nature" study several times each week. Usually this is put on our"if we have time,we'll do it list but I followed this blog to this site and can't help thinking we need to give it greater emphasis in our day.Nothing new just a timely reminder. The bowl is all that remains of our sunflowers until next year. They bloom so "splenderifously" yet are with us for such a short time. Ah well time to prepare the garden for new friends!

our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-Nine

Do you have the courage to follow in Jesus footsteps? Do you have the courage to follow his words: “Love one another as I have loved you?” Look at the above painting ”Crucifixion” by Renaissance artist, Pietro Perugino for a closer look at Jesus tremendous courage, while Mary and several others stood beneath the cross unable to help Him.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

River nature study

This first six pictures we took on a nature excursion to our river are close by home and on our side of the river. The boys also wanted to take a picture of  a bus on our o-bahn track(the walking path we were on crossed over the river and o-bahn.). We spotted a bird playing golf?....and some wattle in bloom. But we were on an expedition; read on!

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-Eight

Forgiveness! Now that is often the hardest work to do.

Malcolm Muggeridge was a journalist. He didn’t think much of Christianity until he met Mother Theresa at which point he said ”ah so that is what Christ is all about”

At his baptism he talked about Good Friday and the crowds and the Roman’s centurion’s comment when the earth opened, the temple curtain was rent and the dead walked the streets of Jerusalem. “Truly this man was the Son of God”.

 If he had been there he said it would not have been any of this that brought him to conversion but instead those powerful words Jesus prayed on the cross: “ Father forgive them; they know not what they are doing”

To forgive those who have wronged us, who have hurt us very badly; that is what we are called to practice. And in forgiving to pray for these same people that God will bless them abundantly through His love.

For how can God forgive us if we are still loath to forgive others? Today meditate on how you can begin to practice this work of faith…remember only through God’s grace (power),ask for that power today.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Just some photos of last Sunday's concert. There were items from flutes,harps,violins and cellos.

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-Seven

Are you an excuse-maker? Do you ever blame others when you make a mistake when you’re working? Watch "the Swiss Family Robinson" for an example of people hard at work under difficult conditions.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-Six

Don't forget that there are other things besides active work in the words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, "Do not give yourself entirely to activity and do not engage in active works all the time. Keep something of your heart and your time for meditation".

Sometimes it takes effort to find time and enthusiasm to pray. Make time today remembering these words of St. Bernard.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-Five

Today is the feast of the Annunciation.

Meditate on the Blessed Virgin Mary's practice of hard work. Like most women of her time, she had to make all of her food from scratch, draw water from a well, and wash her family's clothing by hand. However her primary job was to care for Jesus throughout His life. taught Him to walk, eat, get dressed, say His prayers, etc.. After Jesus died, she took care of His body and made sure that He was cleaned and entombed properly.

Help with your  mother's chores for today .

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-Four

Look at "St Joseph, the Carpenter" by Georges de LaTour  above and the lesser known painting "Christ In The house of His Parents" by John Everest Millais - this painting portrays the child Jesus in his fathers workshop, with his mother and father looking at his wounded hand. (discuss)
make a bookmark as a gift for your father or someone you know who works hard
for you. Using quotes below or ones of  your own choice decorate and present them in
"Labor omni vincit - work conquers all !"
"love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words" St. Ignatius

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-Three

How do your parents encourage you in your work?

Do you encourage others to work to  the best  of their abilities? What distracts you when you're working? How can you fight against this?

Today don't wait to be asked to do a chore or to help out. Do it on your ownand surprise someone in your family.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-Two

There are saints who struggled with people who were not compassionate towards them. Blessed Margaret Castello is one of them. Read about her life and see if you canot help but be compassionate towards her!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty-One

Read about the life of St Martin de Porres of Peru, a very compassionate man who not only loved people but animals as well…he even loved rats!!

Here is a quote from this site about him:

"... often we see Martin pictured in his Dominican habit holding a broom, with a mouse and dog at his feet. There is an interesting anectdote about mice. One time there seemed to be a mouse "convention" in the wardrobe room of the monastery, where they feasted on the finest linen garments and sheets, leaving the old ones untouched. Some of the monks wanted to poison the rodents, but Martin would not hear of it. One day he caught a little mouse and held him gently, and said, "Little brother, why are you and your companions doing so much harm to the things belonging to the sick? Look; I shall not kill you, but you are to assemble all your friends and lead them to the far end of the garden. Everyday I will bring you food if you leave the wardrobe alone," After Martin let go of the mouse, there was scurrying from every nook and cranny and the procession started towards the monastery garden. Martin, tall and slender, with long strides, led the mice to their new home. Everyday he brought them a meal and no mouse ever set claw or tooth in the monastery wardrobe."

Meditate on the painting by El Greco of St Martin and the beggar. Remind yourself today that while we may not do great things we are all called to do “small things with great love”think before you say something, this little act might save you from hurting someone and is a practical way we can practice compassion.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saint Joseph Pt 2

Below is an extract from a friend's magazine on how her family back in Italy celebrate St Joseph's feast day. I hope you enjoy reading it. I love hearing about other people's customs and traditions!

“The Saint most honored in March is Saint Joseph, well, he is in Southern Italy. Behind cobbled walls and shuttered windows, the celebrations and votive offerings the world knows nothing about take place.

 Every year, starting about a week before the feast, altars are erected in homes, and the church square. The official church alter is the most elaborate of them all. The men of the village construct open chapels of wood and metal scaffoldings that are covered with branches of myrtle and laurel and hang oranges and lemons. They set up the altar inside and cover it with a white cloth. A picture of The Holy Family or the familiar portrait of San Giuseppe cradling the Christ child in one arm and holding a lily in his other hand is hung over the altar.

 Meanwhile the mamma’s have been busy baking bread for the altars. This “pani di decorazione”, bread that is not meant to be eaten, is made of special dough that the women mould and cut into shapes based symbols traditionally associated with the Holy family.

 Making these breads is considered an offering to the saint. Working with nimble fingers, sharp knives and pointy scissors, the women create new breads every year. Some bread is very simple and some are truly baroque in style. The bread is glazed and baked until shiny.

 The larger breads are arranged on the altar with a large star or Centre. To one side symbols of Our Lady are placed, a branch of palm representing peace, and a halo. To the other side symbols of St Joseph, his staff sprouting a lily and his carpenter’s tools. Certain symbolic foods are placed on the altar as well: dates(which nourished Our Lady during the flight to Egypt and fava beans and sprouting corn(spring’s first growth.

 After Mass, and the altars are blessed and after everyone has looked at all the beautiful work displayed there is a huge banquet in the church square! The exact dishes vary from family to family, but pasta with olive oil, home-baked bread, rolled lamb, and luscious cakes are sure to be on the table. The unique sugared pasta will be eaten with the hands, symbolizing St Joseph’s work with his hands. With each dish there are shouts of “evviva San Giuseppe!”(Long live Saint Joseph). At the end of the meal each family is given a big piece of consecrated loaf to keep in the house until next San Giuseppe’s Day. It is to bless and symbolize fruitfulness throughout the coming year.” Extract from "Catholic Mothering and More" Volume 1 Issue 1 copywright Anna Hackett of Fountain Resources.

The Feast of St Joseph

Our St Joseph celebrations began with ds(7) and his dad bringing home a bunch of half a dozen red roses; great perfect for the altar. I took my lead from a suggestion on this forum and chose sloppy joes for the main course and cream puffs for dessert. Ds(11)'s middle name is Joseph and has always had a special devotion to the head of the Holy family so it was a special family celebration!

Our "Sloppy Joes" recipie
Fry sliced onion then brown 1 kg . lean mince meat in a deep frying pan .Drain meat  Add 1  large can tomatoes blended,2 tbs tom sauce, 1 cup tomato puree 4 tbs soya sauce  2 sliced red and green pepper, five sliced mushrooms add sliced onion cooked plus as much garlic as your family like(!). Season with garlic and pepper and a little chille powder. Cover pan and let cook on low f for about twenty minutes. Serve piping hot in crusty, thick rolls, or serve over rice as a main dish. Also makes great taco filling.

Our Lenten Journey Day Twenty

The word compassion comes from the Latin”to suffer with”. St Joseph not only shared joys in life with Mary and Jesus he suffered with them in those times that were most difficult. Today we will watch the movie”Little Women” for an example of a compassionate family life

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How we came to homeschool Pt 2

Our first year in Australia we homeschooled again. This time it was not our decision but more that we couldn’t get master 5 into the school we had chosen.

Why were we even considering school? Well we came to Adelaide with an 8 week old baby a 2 y.o, 3 y.o and not quite 5 y.o. The baby was a “high needs” infant who would these days fit snuggly in the aspergers spectrum and demanded 90% of my attention and…we were tired out/exhausted!

Still as I said we homeschooled that year!... I used all my old Price Milburn readers to teach reading we read all our favourite books (baby listened too!) and mostly coped!!

At the end of the year we found a Christian school and the two oldest began there the next year. Second son followed the following year. We adjusted to kindy and a new baby and then came time for our 4th child to start school.

By now we were getting pretty strong messages that this possibly wasn’t the right school for the older three. The school had recommended we enroll them in “the gifted and talented” association for children and were supplying said association with tests/records etc when came our interview for Master Four to start school.

We were quite sure that the schools policy of starting children at 4 ½ would not work with this child and were about to suggest waiting a year when the principal suggested homeschooling!! Actually he suggested we homeschool this child and gradually withdraw the others, but he wasn’t exactly reluctant when we committed to starting with all four!(lol)

I think our reasons for homeschooling have changed over the years as our family dynamics have altered likewise. Initially it was probably for academic reasons but I think family life was important too.(It was so nice not having to do the kindy/school pick-up run).

We have used a variety of methods too; workbooks such as Alpha Omega’s lifepacs, unit studies(Konos and Fiveinarow being two favourites!) plus reading so much literature together and using Charlotte Mason’s proven methods of narration, copybook and studied dictation in our language arts. The children have memories of attending a Dutch Master’s exibition at our local art gallery and dressing up in Sunday best to attend a performance of the Mikado just to name a few.

I think I have become a lot more relaxed in my homeschooling. Today for instance because the house was really “bugging me “we had a free day. Master 7 says “I know that we’ll still do our violin and piano practice but do you think if we have enough time I could possibly do some maths”!!
I hope that this answers one of my followers queries as to why we homeschool.

Please feel free to ask away if you want more specifics…sometimes I have all the words in my head but some of them may get lost somewhere before they reach a post!!