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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Keepers At Home

Now, this is something I have been looking at for some .time. I will probably tread on toes here, but I would hope every part of our lives should be open to inspection regarding what the bible teaches. If we believe the bible to be the inerrant word of God, as I do, then we will realise that we can't just pick and choose. Oh how different society has gone in the last 30 years. However, this is no pointer for us, as we are not to be conformed to the world. Now, most mothers work full time outside of the home, and sad to say, it isn't due to necessity, but often because they desire a mortgage, or more material things. Then, when they get tempted into all this, they become a slave to mammon/money, and it does become a 'necessity' to them, if they want to keep the same roof over their heads. So where did it all start? In Titus 2, we read that; '' That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.(EMPHASIS MINE) So, what does 'keepers at home' mean? In the Greek, it has the meaning of 'stayers at home' So what does this mean? I would say, it can only mean one thing, and that is our main job is in the home! (is not to say there won't be exceptions to this rule, as there are some, including single mothers who have to go out to work full time.) It also doesn't mean, that we are NEVER to leave the home, as the Proverbs 31 woman pursues her own business, and sells her wares, and buys in the market place. She will make sure she has enough food, and supplies in the home, in case of emergency, and she will also be fit, active, and given to charity! I have to chuckle a little, as I doubt we would match up perfectly to all these qualities! In fact, in Proverbs 31:10, it states; 'Who can find a virtuous woman?'' Yes, that's it, ''Who can find?'' It is in the negative, as if this is a rare phenomenon. However, this should be our starting point, if we are truly serious, about following God's plan for our lives. So, our job is to make sure the home is running well, and is a place of nurture for the children we might be blessed with. How sad, that the home is usually the most empty place, in the day time. I have known of whole streets, where every house is empty, as all are out pursuing work outside the home. How society derides stay at home mums. How can it be, that a mother, or woman only has value when she is looking after other people's children, or working for a boss, other than her husband? I see it as Satan robbing people of their joy. If we are to be working full time outside the home, then we will not be there for our children, and not be there for our husbands, and to keep everything in order. There is a trend now for husbands to do their shareof the housework, as it is accepted it is impossible to do both. However, it is our job. This doesn't mean our husbands should never help, but rather it is our responsibility. A warning here, too, even if we are not working outside the home fulltime. It is possible to make ourselves too busy outside the home, even to the point of idleness.Not to use it for gossiping, and going idly from house to house. The whole point of the proverbs lady, was that she was to be doing good works, and helping, but again, not to the expense of her own family. I will explore this more again, as there is more to say. Feel free to comment.

Friday, 23 November 2012


Now, has to be the busiest time of the year. With Christmas speedily approaching, and by now we have really got into the swing of the new school year. With it can come all sorts of frustrations, some caused by the demands put upon us, and maybe the expectations we set ourselves. One thing is for sure though. We are fully reliant on God, and his providence. My fave verse, is, ''I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.''Phil 4:13 In order for us to do through Christ though, it requires a dependency, and a dependency that it isn't my clever foresight, or physical strength that has caused the success of a particular task, or project, but rather Christ who gives the wisdom, and ability. It is not how self confident I am, or how my children are, rather that is relying on our own strength. Part of that, is accepting that sometimes things don't always go to plan. We may plan to go to a place, or do something, but the Lord has other plans. We may be late, and miss something altogether, but also, God is in that. It is sooo easy to get frustrated, and part of that is often because our plans have had to be cancelled, illness, circumstance, etc, but if we remember the Lord is in it, and all things work for good, for them that love God, then that is part of our trusting him. Not shouting, and stamping, cos we haven't got our way, but trusting in God who is bigger and wiser than use. We will be more relaxed too!! I wish I had learned this lesson earlier, would of saved me a lot of stressing!! These days it is rare to hear someone saying, God willing, or DV (deo volente) However, if we are trusting God's plans, we should always consider this. Good to plan yes, to worry, no, but also to have the mind that if it doesn't go to plan, then there is a good reason why!!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Where did Summer go?!

Wow, it seems Autumn is upon us. How quick the summer has gone. We have had such fun with badminton tournaments, walks, and new lambs that have been born. (Yes, I know it is an odd time for lambs, but since when did we do things normally?)
The girls managed to capture this bird. It flew away, unharmed minutes later. We think it may of been temporarily stunned.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Book Review How to Accomplish twice as much in Half the Time

I recently discovered Don Aslett, thanks to a friend. I am wishing I had found this author earlier on, would of saved me time! Much of the best stuff, I already had figured by the time my 7th child arrived. My hubby gave me some great tips, too! Hmm, so what are the key things which I have learned? 1) Carry spares I have always had spare toilet paper, pet food, pencils etc....Living so far from shops, this has been a life saver. I also like to keep one of everything in key rooms; sellotape, pens, scissors. You will differ in what you need to keep at hand, but it saves plenty of time searching! 2) Work to standards, not schedules. Ditch the home school timetable, and just figure what needs to be done, and do it, and don't be discouraged if you think you haven't enough time to do something. start it, anyway! 3) Never measure your potential by what others are doing. 4) Doing is generally more restful than waiting, weighing, procrastinating....etc. What?!! I hear you say. Lol, that is what I thought, but he makes sense, doing is accomplishing, instead of worrying about doing! 5) Don't say you are having a bad day, don't be negative. Negativity breeds negativity, and pulls others down too. (As if we didn't already know, but need reminding;-) 6) People bond better when working together. Ha, so this is an excuse to get the kids involved, too! It really works, because I have done this. In general, I have found that when we have to do something, it helps if you can do stuff on the way. Take the other day for example, hubby had to visit the bank, and cos the car was parked by the sports shop, I popped in for the shuttlecocks we needed, and on the way out picked up a tesco direct order, some needed milk. Saved a few trips, as otherwise I would of had to made extra trips. Hubby had work to finish up then, so I just read some more of my book, while waiting, and menu planned. You really need to read this book, if you want to glean more idea. Happy reading;)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Book Review- Quivering Daughters

Yep, we have all heard about it, in the homeschool community, so what exactly is it referring to? Basically, the patriarchy movement, and the concept that the father rules in a kind of autocratic manner. Now, are not husbands supposed to run their familes well, and are wives to submit to husbands, and children to obey their parents? Yes! However, we all have our duties that this be done in the manner laid down in the Bible. For example, that husbands should love their wives, as Christ loves the church, and that fathers should not provoke children to anger. How can fathers provoke children to anger? The answer to this, is by using overly harsh discipline, and not necessarily corporal. Some child training books speak of breaking the child's spirit, to get them to see who is boss. That is exactly what will provoke to anger, and there is no biblical mandate for becoming a control freak. Every individual is made in the image of God, and we are all made different. I have ten children, and I can assure you, they are all different, have different personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and it is our duty as parents to guide them, not to force them. There are some matters of discipline which are absolute, such as not crossing the road, until told it is safe, but other areas which are not so. It is very important that our children know we are not perfect, and apologise when we need to. Sadly, the Patriarchal tendency is for the father to set himeself as perfect. I mention the former things, because these are all issues which have deep route in Patriarchal families. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying all are bad, but this book describes what happens when it is taken to extreme. We are treading in dangerous territory when we start prescribing absolutes from convictions, and my belief is that every christian family is unique, and has strengths, and to follow such a prescriptive route can lead to cultic tendencies, and a stifling of that family's creativity and usefulness. In the victorian era, the father's role was very much autocratic, and stifling. Yes, we love the Vicorian values, but unless it is done in a Christlike manner, it can become a problem. remember the husband submits to God, and loves his wife and children. One serious issue I had, is Patriarch movement states the God speaks only through the father. Now, this is unscriptual, as God speaks to all believers in Christ. Anyway, casting that aside, (or I could ramble forever) I did have serious view's on the book's idea of sanctification. Implying that it is immediate and one time only. There is a tendency in the author to error here, when she says that it is all God, and we leave all that to him.Yes, it is all God, but also our ongoing response is needed. Purifying our hearts by faith. We are to keep the heart with due dilligence, and to work out our own salvation with trembling and fear. If we don't take watch, it is highly possible we will as Christians backslide. Although we are not saved by works, our works are an evidence, and we are to be holy, as our Father in heaven is holy, and that part takes conscious effort. I also had an issue with the author's definition of abuse. It is way too broad, and technically every family could be classed as abusers if taken her sense literally! She seems to imply that all conservative families have issues. I think we need to be careful about labelling all the same. We need to examine ourselves, pray, study the bible, and remember, we are free in Christ not bound. If we love Jesus, we will keep his commandments, however, we need to have a very discerning eye to the commandments of God, versus the commandments of men. Each family may have different convictions on issues, and it is not always so clearcut. Now, therein lies the other problem of patriarchy, the idea that they will only associate with families who are in total agreement with their movement. This is where it can become cultish, and unduly seperatist. We are in the world, not of the world. We are not to be conformed to the world, however, we are to be salt and light in it. The salt can't savour the food, unless it somehow gets onto the food. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees! Another issue, is the tendency with some to go back to the 'old way' of doing things. Why is old better? Unless it is Biblically based, it is not. I rather think the idea here is that the old ways will mortify the deeds of the flesh, thus, the idea of denying us of modern comforts. I don't see why we are to deny ourselves in this way, surely we can be more productive if we make use of modern revolutions! It certainly won't necessarily make us any more holy! Are they not just servants to make things easier? (Think of Martha , and Mary, the idea of Martha busying herself.) Denying modern drugs, because of the belief that only natural drugs are God's way. I love to use natural where necessary, but it is quite clear that opiates, antibiotics, and modern cancer drugs etc, can be a real blessing. I could mention many more things, but will leave it there. I would urge everyone to dilligently search the scriptures, and to regulalarly seek God's wisdom for direction in your families. I am glad this book was written, as this is an ongoing issue which needs to be examined.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Walking With our children

Yep, I am talking about walkies now. Not just a mentoring walk, but as in the physical, getting up and going out for walks in the countryside. One of the best memories of my childhood, were the walks we had. Whenever we went on holiday we would seek out new walks, and at home, too. We have always loved to do this, but easier now I have older children too, and allterrain buggies! Just now is the perfect weather for walks. The evenings are long, the early mornings are light. Weather is good. You can learn so much about nature, too. We have seen foxes, rabbits, squirrels, kestrels, buzzards. We have picked wild apples, blackberries, sloes, elderberries. Watched animals birthing, animals playing, animals feeding. Seen the trees move through the seasons. It for us, is usually a peaceful time, too. A time to talk, with fewer distractions. A time to meditate on God's handiwork. A time for refreshing, and a time for exercise! These all have their place, and sometimes it is nice to just walk with one child, to look at a sunset, and share in their joys, and ideas. So many benefits, and exciting to explore new places too.
Even if we live in the city, there are still places to explore, parks gardens, or even the coast. It is often surprising how quick even the youngest are able to build up stamina/ Our 4 year old can easily walk 4 miles without getting too tired.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Having just read Ann Voskamp's book, 'A thousand gifts', I was inspired to meditate on thankfulness. Here I present some of my reflections. Being thankful is not just a show of good manners, not just mere lip service for the sake of courtesy. Thankfulness, or true thankfulness should come from the heart, and truly is thankful and content. Thankfulness is gratefully accepting what is given, what we receive, even if it isn't what we had hoped for, or expected. The Israelites murmured because they were bored of the manna, they were despising what was given, even though it was more than enough, and it was literally handed to them on a plate. The fact is, their every need was provided for, but they wanted more. Almost as if they were saying to God, ''Is that all we get?'' In the Bible, it says in the last days that people will be unthankful and unholy. Tim 3:2 ''For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,...'' As home educators, one of the most important things we can do, is to teach our children to be thankful. Not just in word, but to be content with what they have, not to be clamouring for more. It certainly does not help a child, when we give into their every whim and want. It does children good to wait, or even not have everything that they may wish for. Of course we need to teach them that material things are not so important, but rather the heart, and helping, and giving to others. Material possessions often compound strife, and it is a good thing if children learn this early on. I myself learned the importance of money, when I had to earn it. I frittered it away, and soon realised it was such a waste. Sadly peer pressure can compound the problem of material possessions, and this is not just limited to children. Peer pressure is now across the ages! Of course some children seem to be naturally generous, and giving, yet others will be so selfish, nothing seems to snap them out of it. Work with the child individually, noting their strengths and weaknesses in this area. Now, perhaps the most important thought of all, if we are not thankful ourselves in our own lives, how can we ever to expect our children to be? Do we constantly complain, and quip, If only we had.....? Are we happy with our lot? Sobre thoughts, and if you have the opportunity to read Ann Voskamps book, I thoroughly recommend it.
Phill 4:11 ''Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.''

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Meal Planning

Ah, now this can be boring, you say? Yep, but is a great way of saving time, and also saving money! Ever been in the supermarket procrastinating, and wondering if you have enough meals for the week, and then throwing an extra meal in the trolley? Trouble is, it ends up costing more, and kills creativity. What about using the stuff we have left to make into a meal. Something different, even?
I don't cook the same meals every week. I try to vary it. I think some of us can remember from our childhood, having set meals on set days. Not that it is a bad thing, but it can become a bit predictable, and let's face it 7 meals the same is not exactly exciting!
There are several staples on my shopping list. Apart from the obvious, I always buy pasatta, minced steak, and free range chicken. Pasatta is so versatile. I can use it for tortillas, lasagne, bolognaise, pizza, soup.....the list goes on. As for minced beef steak, I can make at least 5 different meals out of it, and we always have once, or twice a week, rotating the meals.
The mince can be used to make tortillas, cottage pie, bolognaise, chilli con carne, and lasagne. Guess what? I also use pasatta in all of those dishes;0)
So, that is what we have one one, or two days of the week. It will take at least a month before one of those is repeated. One thing we have almost every week, is free range chicken, and I make a stew out of the bits, bobs and bones the next day. Really yummy served with fresh rolls.
That is 3-4 meals sorted. Once, or twice a week we will incorporate a simple meal into the menu. Home made pizza is a favourite, and we often have this weekly. Great, cos you can use anything to go on top. Another simple meal might be pasta bake, home made quiche, or eggs chips, and home made baked beans.
Another choice is fish and chips, home made fishcakes, home made fisherman's pie, or just salmon.
All we have left is a sunday dinner choice, and I like to have my sundays simple. So, often we will have a slow cooked casserole, cottage pie, or just a beef/lamb joint, or lamb chops.
When I have time, I like to experiment with new dishes. If we like them, then I put them in my special book.
I find once you have sorted a week's menu out, the rest falls into place quite nicely. Try making a list of all the possible dishes. I came up with about 30! Always open to new recipes and ideas, so please give yours in the comments.

Are we Making Work for ourselves?

There is a verse in Luke 12:27 '' Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.''
Matthew Henry says, '' Our inordinate cares are owing to the weakness of our faith; for a powerful practical belief of the all-sufficiency of God, his covenant-relation to us as a Father, and especially his precious promises, relating both to this life and that to come, would be mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the strong holds of these disquieting perplexing imaginations.''
Now you may think, what on earth has this to do with making work for ourselves? However, if our expectations of what we actually need are wrong, then it can throw our whole life off kilter. Are we grasping for what the world has, are we looking to the world's standards in what possessions we own? This is one of the areas we can end up making work for ourselves, as we are constantly trying to keep up.
Worry will waste time, and this verse is a good reminder that we don't need to worry, it is infact futility to worry.
So, now we are off on the right foot, can we see ways where we are actually making work for ourselves, or even wasting time.
One thing is for sure, as the mother of ten lively children, it would be futility for me to expect my house to be pristine 24/7. Nothing wrong with a clean, tidy house, but to constantly keep fretting about it will not help!
Worry not only is damaging, but it wastes time, too! Easy to say, not always easy to do. When a worry comes up, I am mindful of the verse to cast all your cares on God.
Are we busying ourselves for the sake of being busy, or is the work we are doing necessary? Some will say facebook, and other networking sites are timewasters, but so is watching idle TV shows and doing jobs that are not even needed. We need to evaluate each thing, as it comes. For example, TV may be a time waster, or it may be edifying. What is definitely wrong, is if we are watching soaps, and unedifying programmes which seek to tear people down. Also, if we are on sites such as Facebook just to gossip. Not just a time waster, but also sinful, and at one time, I think we have all been guilty.
There just isn't enough hours in the day, is there? So I establish a priority for what needs to be done. First, I make sure the washing is done before bed, and if necessary more is put on in the morning. That way I can put it out as soon as possible. Then I make sure the meals are planned for the week. That way, I can do my weekly shop easier, and don't waste time. Then the next goal is cooking the evening meal, and dessert, and making sure the schoolwork is done in between. Chores are done throughout the day, and I have to insist they are done. Getting our priorities will save us from wasting time, and having a routine will give order. For each of us, these will differ. So, we need to look carefully, and ask yourselves, am I doing needless chores, where am I making extra work for myself, and how can I be more efficient, do it quicker. After all this is what all the most sucessful businesses do, and something that constantly needs to be evaluated.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

What about Me?

In the Fall edition of The Old Schoolhouse magazine 2008 Amy Roberts wrote about the ‘Me Time Myth.’ It is the idea that as Mums we need to have time away in order to be able to give. Everywhere you read, in magazines, on television, is the idea of me, me. Put me first they say and the rest will follow. The so called parenting experts will tell us that if we don’t take time out our children will suffer.

So, how true is this claim? It says in Colossions 2:8 "Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

Now, from a non Christian point of view, the world teaches us that we should look after our selves first. Of course a non Christian is not living in view of eternity, so the best they can do, is to make life as comfortable as necessary. On the other hand, we as Christians are not supposed to live for this world, but to look for our blessed hope, in heaven. We were called as servants for Christ, and in serving him we find joy, as we are free indeed. When we homeschool, it is going to take a lot more of our time, and we all have different family need, some having larger families, or sick children, or even may battle with illness themselves. So if we are not able to have time away, then what happens then? Do we feel resentful, or angry. I have been there, years ago, when I had 4 children, 4 and under, and my dh was away long hours. People would say, ooh, you need time to yourself you know. I began to think perhaps that was right as well. If we are not right in our attitude to our husband and children, then we are going to be resentful, if we however seek God first, then we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I find that when we neglect God’s word we suffer. I guess it isn’t the bread of life for nothing! If we don’t eat, likewise, then we get weak.

We can be fulfilled in our calling as home educators, and we can find fulfillment. Think of the souls we are influencing, for God’s kingdom. What joy in heaven to be joined by our children! Jesus served, and humbled himself on earth. He was not born in grand surroundings, he lived in a normal home, and he served others. Oh, that we could have a serving spirit. I have a long way to go, mind you. If we take our burdens to Jesus, then he will refresh us and grant us peace and joy. The road is not always easy, and of course the world will scoff, as they cannot see our reason, they are blinded.

I would welcome any reflections, or thoughts on this. I am not being judgmental, but only seeking to encourage us all to first seek the Bible, and not be turned away. I would also say we all have times where we just need some time out. I had it recently with my youngest, as I had been dealing with teething night after night... I felt refreshed after a date with hubby. If you do not have a baby sitter, then often a walk, or just a hot bath while hubby watcheds the children helps!

Monday, 19 March 2012


Everyone who knows me, knows I am not arty. I haven't an arty bone in my body. So, what I do, is I encourage the children to express themselves, and find their own way. One way which has really encouraged them, is giving them cameras, and of course with digital photography it is really easy to edit and delete. So, when they are around 9, I buy them a camera for Christmas, and when they are about 10, or 11 they get a camcorder. The best camcorders are the tape ones, and sadly you can only get them second hand now. However, you can get a really good one for £50 on ebay.
You would be surprised how it really encourages their creativity, and they will do interesting things, in the name of taking an interesting photo.
Take this one for instance:
Yup, that's right, it really was the face on our cat at the time, and the children decided a caption would be perfect!

Then there is just the plain crazy!
They are learning so much, and are now making their own short films. Cherry the eldest, has been learning about blue screen, and editing for film. She even composes the music, and dubs over. Quite clever really, and when they have their film nights it is quite entertaining.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


In January, we visited Boston, on the South/East Lincolnshire coast. In case you don't know Boston is one of the places where the Pilgrim fathers sailed from. Why did they want to leave? Well, they saw England as more and more ungodly. They were persecuted from the Church of England, and became known as non conformists.

In 1607, a man to become known as Captain John Smith was born, in Willoughby, about 20 miles north east of Boston. He was the leading character, that founded Jamestown. Also, in 1607 a group of seperatists hired a Dutch vessel, to take them across the river Witham. Now, they were in one boat, and their wives in another, and the boat with the wives in became grounded, leading to their capture. They were however allowed to continue to Holland, and in 1620 boarded the Mayflower, and founded the Plymouth plantation.

By 1629, some 10,000 had left!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Population control

Hmm, it seems governments are making no secrets of their policies, now. Read this
In particular this point:‎''The Obama administration has issued a regulation, set to take effect on Aug. 1, that will require all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations, artificial contraceptives and abortifacients without any fees or co-pay. Many American religious leaders, including all of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops, have denounced the regulation as an attack on religious liberty because it will force many Americans to act against their consciences and the teachings of their faith.''
So, in other words, they are spending time giving negative representations of large families. So, in time no one in their right mind would want a large family, and those who do, are considered mentally unstable. Already a fact in Germany.
There are negatives about any family, that much is true, and of course large families are not exempt. However using all these controls is the devil's work to kill, steal, and destroy. Satan hates new life, especially born to Christian parents.
It is my conviction that children are a blessing from God, and that to murder through abortion, or an abortifacient birth control, is against God. Birth control was hailed as liberating to women, but has it really? By limiting families to one, or two, has it really given women freedom and power to do their thing? It was Eve's sin to want what she didn't have, and surely it is also discontentment, and being unthankful.
So let's look at the positives. If we are raising a large family for the Lord, then nothing can be more important. It can also be extremely fulfilling, too. The key is, we are servants, and this is what we have to remember. We are not here to serve ourselves, but to serve others. There is a joy in that.
In my 17 years of raising 10 children I have noticed several things:
1)They actually get more attention. As they get attention from siblings too, and there is always someone to play with/
2)Lots of conflict resolution is a positive thing, especially when it is done in a biblical, and loving way.
3) Good for the environment, believe it or not, as we utilise our resources well, hand down, and do not waste!
4) Less selfish, and learn that they have to work as a team, and that everybody's input is important.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pancake Day!

For a quick and easy pancake recipe, mix one cup of plain wholemeal flour, 1 cup of milk, and 1 free range egg. Mix, and then fry. This much will make 3 or 4 large pancakes. So, just alter accordingly!

Saturday, 18 February 2012


A while ago, while reading the Above Rubies magazine, I read about Kefir. Actually, my mum had also heard about it some years back, and was keen to try it, also.
Anyway, I was able to obtain some kefir grains for just £2, so thought I would give it go.
Before I carry on, some may wonder, (like I did) what on earth is kefir?
Basically, it is a fermented milk drink, a bit like a runny yoghurt in consistency, tastes similar to yoghurt, but almost sparkling, with a very refreshing zing.
It dates back to the shepherds, of the Caucasus mountains, who carried milk in leather pouches, where it would ferment into fizzy sour yoghurt. It is basically like cauliflour pieces, and is a mix of yeasts and microflora. Not a harmful yeast, but beneficial, and especially good in treating fungal ailments.
Why drink it?
Well, it has great health giving properties, it has probiotics in it, and as I just mentioned, great for anyone suffering with thrush, or even a stomach ulcer.
Once you have obtained the grains, they keep going, and going and going.
It is so simple, just put the grains in a clean jar, add milk (about 300 ml to 2 TBS). Give it a shake, and then leave on the countertop for 12-24 hours. You will see the grains first float to the top, and then when it is ready, when you give it a little shake, you will find it has thickened. Then you need to strain it, with a plastic strainer, and drink! You repeat the process with the grains, over, and over again.
Just make sure you use a thoroughly cleansed jar each time!

Monday, 6 February 2012


Did I say trifle? Who knew I was going to post a recipe?
You American folk just have to try this. It seems you don't have custard over there, well, vanilla pudding might be a good sub, or you could simply make custard by heating some milk, then mixing a little cold milk with cornflour, sugar, vanilla flavour, and mixing in with boiled milk, then returning to the heat. It will gradually thicken. About 2-3 TBS of cornflour to every pint.
I have err, rather a lot of custard, erm 15 kilos at least, and it is the stuff you miz with milk, too! Slight mistake, as I thought I was ordering instant.

First, the day before, you need to bake the sponge, and when cooled, put in the fridge for the next day.
Just mix 2 eggs, with 100g caster, very fine sugar, till you can see the eggs turning white, then add 25g cornflour,1 teaspoon baking powder, and 45 g plain flour. Bake in a cake pan for about 30 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.

The day after, just break up the cake you made, and add some fresh, or tinned fruit, some jelly, or a layer of jam, then add some fresh cooled custard. (could use ready made) Add onto that a layer of whipped cream, and some flaked almonds. Chill!
This can serve 12 easily, depending obviously on how much you make. I use 1 cake base, some jelly, 4 pints of custard, and 300ml whipped cream, and that serves 12!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Castille Soap!

Wow, if there was just one cleaning item I could have in my cupboard, it would be Dr Bronner's castille soap. I was recommended this by a friend, (thanks, Rachel!) and will never go back, having tried it, and no, I am not being paid to write this!
Basically, you can get it in the largest bottle, about a litre for around £10. Did I hear a shout? Yes, it does seem expensive, but you have to remember, it is super concentrated, so you have to dilute! Just a little in the bottom is enough, and then fill with water to top, for handwash, and for shampoo, I put a little in bottle, and top with a little hot water, then use immediately on bath nights.
You can also use it for washing floors, sinks...the list is endless. No nast chemicals, and makes lovely lather, too! Just ignore the funny writing on the bottle. The large size lasts an age, even for our family. Plus, there are loads of different varieties, including tea tree, peppermint, lavender, rose.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Yummy Cheesecake in Fifteen minutes!

I like cheesecake......but, I don't like the ones in the shops, too sweet and sickly. Here is a great recipe that can be made while the dinner is cooking!
Ingredients: Serves 10
1 tub of value soft cheese (250g)
1 300 ml tub double cream
2 Capfulls of real lemon flavour. (the type in tiny bottles)
300g of value digestives
100g butter/marg
100g caster sugar
1 can of custard (or make up about 400ml and pre chill)

First melt butter, then take of heat. In a food processor, blend the biscuit crumbs (alternatively stick in freezer bag, and use rolling pin)
Add the crumbs to the melted butter, and stir.
press out into a large flat dish. (I use the lasagne type ones)
Chill in fridge.
Now, mix the soft cheese, sugar, custard, and half of the cream. pour onto biscuit base.
whip up the other half of the cream, till soft peaks, and then spread over the top.
Now you are done, and can add some fruit if you wish!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Making the most of our Money in a Difficult Economy

No one will deny that the current economic situation poses tough challenges, and even more so for home educators, as we are very often cruising along on one wage, not two. However, don't ever underestimate the blessings we receive, of having invested in our children, especially from a Christian standpoint. It is easy to be tricked into thinking our job is not important. However, don't be fooled. A godly home and upbringing is the best thing we can give our children. Material possessions don't make children happy, a loving family, and happy home, where parents truly love the Lord, does.
So, how can we manage our money better, how can we save? I am really interested to hear others' tips so please comment!!
In the meantime, I will share some of mine.
1) Where ever possible buy used. I look on ebay for the best deals, and you will often find clothes going for silly prices, clothes that have only been worn a handful of times, or even brand new! You can do this for clothes, toys,, just about anything!
2) Whenever I want to buy an item new, I still check ebay, and amazon first, and put it on watch list, and then click to look for similar items. I have saved money that way!
3) Go onto uswitch, and see if there is a better electric deal out there, and do this every year. I have saved £400 this way. Likewise, checkout boilerjuice website, if you get home heating oil.
4) For food shopping, use It really does help, and will suggest cheaper, and even mention products on offer, you may of missed. Bulk buy stuff which is cheaper at one supermarket, than another. I have been buying minced frozen steak at asda for just £2 a pound, it is 0.89p more at tesco!
I also bulk buy at approved food's website, they are an outdated food retailer, and will often sell job lots at crazy prices. Yes, it is safe to eat food past the best before, all that may be affected, is taste. Tis is confirmed on the NHS' s own website.
5) According to statistics, we throw out a third of the food we buy. Don't add to that. Use any left overs for lunch the next day, and odd bits are fab on a home made pizza. Also remember, even if the food is past best before, don't throw it out! As long as it looks and smells fine, it will be ok. I was only just reading about food in tins years old, and it was tested, and showed no signs of any microbial, or bacterial growth, despite its age.
6) Bulk buy where you can. potatoes by the sack, free range eggs by the tray. If you live near farms, chances are they will be cheaper, and I find so much better quality.
6) With homeschool curriculum, shop around. You can often look 'inside' the book at, but check with amazon for the best price. I even managed to buy some used curriculum, which was still as good as new, but the difference was the price!
7) Home bargains, and The Works are great places to get pens, paper, and craft activities for the children, even workbooks. Plus they sell a whole range of other stuff super cheap.
Over the next few weeks, I as usual will be posting some great recipes, and as always very economical.
8) Don't forget Swagbucks, available here, in UK, and beyond, get points for searching the internet!! You can exchange for amazon vouchers.
9) Err, almost forgetting real nappies! I save a fortune on those, not to mention cloth wipes, and cloth san pro for ladies. Buy at, or fillyourpants!
10) soapnuts!!! check out the nuttiest clean on face book, and the website For just a few pence a wash, and no chemicals!!!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Homeschooling encourages Healthy bonds

Last week there was an article in the Telegraph, suggesting that schools should open Saturdays, and increase their hours. For example, they should be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30p.m at night. You can read the article,
One quote that stuck out from the article, was this: ''Nothing matters more than the quality of the time a child spends interacting with a gifted adult.''
Hmm, teachers are gifted adults, and nothing mattters more? I agree, there are many gifted teachers out there, but, you don't need a degree to teach. What is most important, is a love of learning, a love for the children you are teaching, and a little patience! One thing that home educators do extremely well, on the most part. Yes, there are bad examples, but so are there bad teachers.
Having addressed that main point, the thing that disturbs me most about what Michael Gove is saying, is that ''nothing matters more.'' It is hardly encouraging parent child relationships, is it? If a child spends 10 hours away from home, and just maybe 2 hours in the evening (if that! ) with their family.
The relationship we have with our family lasts a lifetime, and school is for just 12 years or so of a person's life. For me, it is just another reason for home educating!!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Storm Damage

Just over a week ago, we had some really high winds, and I guess it was just too much for the hundred year, or more old pear tree! Unfortunately, it fell bang smack on the trampoline, crushing it. Good job it was quite old. We have had about 8 years out of it. Still plenty of wood for the woodburner.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Quick and easy Rice Pudding!

Have you ever thought about rice pudding, and just dismissed the idea, as it takes too long? I have. Two hours in the oven, and constant checking is enough to put anyone off! However, there is a quick way, very quick, in fact can be done in under 30 minutes with a pressure cooker.
Don't worry, the modern pressure cookers are not like the older style ones, which occasionally blew up! (something not good with rice pudding!) They have safety locks, so they don't do that.
So, all you need is some pudding rice, milk, cream, or evaporated milk, for the extra zing, some caster sugar, and cinnamon, and nutmeg for flavour.
First, you need to weigh out about 50g pudding rice per person (less for young children).
Then, put into pressure cooker, with water enough to cover, and plenty spare.
Cook like this, and bring to pressure, then cook for 15 minutes. Release pressure, then remove lid. Drain any excess, and then add milk, and cream, sugar, spices. Make sure there is extra to cover, then do the same for another 10-15 minutes.
Release steam, and enjoy!!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

Now, I am aware I haven't posted since last year! (gulps) Been very busy, as it always is this time of year. I haven't done the porch for ages, and was prompted by Homeschooling on the Croft's post.

How often do you wear a skirt or dress?
Every day I wear a skirt. I like longer colourful ones in the winter. Shorter ones in the summer, but always slightly below the knee. Not that I am obsessively modest, though!
Did you feel unmotivated after Christmas and New Years?
No, I am ready to go, and hopefully, to a healthier year. My motivation, will be better health. That is always worth it!
What was the last thing that made you say "Wow"?
Err, I say it quite often, but something the children did. Can't quite remember. My memory fails me these days! I can remember saying wow at a sunset though, quite remarkable it was. We had a red sky in the morning the next day, and then....our pear tree blew down, but that is for tomorrow's story! Oh, I also said wow, then! There, I said it, I say wow quite often!
Do you shop with a list, or do you "wing it"?
A bit of both. I buy what we can't do without, and I also shop for bargains, and offers!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Cooking for a Large Family, and Home Education

Now, cooking for 12 needn't be any more difficult than cooking for 2. The noticeable difference being the amount of food needed. Now, from a home education point of view, cooking can become a curriculum subject;0) In my opinion, the best skills children will learn in home education, are those which enable them to save money, and look after themselves.
After teaching basic food safety, (this can be found on the food standards website, or there are even dedicated books on it) and let's face it, with the food poisoning figures running into the millions, in Britain alone every year. This is something which CAN be prevented, and before you think dodgy Chinese retaurant, most cases are found in the home.
If you are not a confident cook yourself, you could take time to learn along with the children! I have taught myself over the years, but due to time, and lack of expertise I like simple!!
There are plenty of ways to save money, by cooking from scratch, especially in a large family. For example, cakes, soups, sauces, and puddings, just to name a few. Google is your friend, when it comes to looking for recipes online, and trying new things. I will be posting a few of our favourite recipes, and of course all of them economical, and easy to make.
Here are a few things it will help you to keep stocked in the cupboard, so you don't have to go rushing out to the shops:
herbs, such as sage, thyme, basil, and oregano.
stock cubes.
pepper, chilli, and curry powder.
vanilla, almond, natural flavour.
Cocoa powder.
Custard powder.
Plain flour, bread flour, and s. raising flour.
baking powder, and biacarbonate of soda.
Dried fruit.
caster sugar.
icing sugar.
You will find that with just these few ingredients, you can make pies, cakes, pastries, stews...etc.