Monday, May 27, 2013

work and play

Morning games, dressing up

essential items for this character

Benny found this armadillo in our garden..didn't know there were armadillo's in  Ireland, it now lives in an old  fruit tray in the kitchen

watching fairies on the ceiling

car play

a box of beautiful handmade soaps that I got in part exchange for a doll

You can find her shop here: Not So Fancy Soaps. I really can recommend them!!

new jars we found for taking yoghurt to school

a horse in the stable

making biscuits

dear, nutty Joa

decorating biscuits for pudding

amateur shoe repair

Good and busy and happy, that's how I like my days :-)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

garden goddess

Yesterday my dear friend and soul sister Lucy came to visit us with her kids. We played on the beach for most of the day and the kids cooked us soup for dinner.
 They decided to stay over so the four older kids all camped out on the playroom floor while the 2 wee ones were put to bed upstairs. This left Lucy and I deliciously free to talk for hours. I love spending time with Lucy, she is so awesome and creative and so full of colour and energy. I always feel inspired when I am with her. She left this morning as I was taking the kids to Andy and when I came home I really felt I wanted to paint.
 This wall at the end of the garden seemed like it was needing some colour and I had the idea to paint a garden goddess to watch over our garden and all the wonderful and exciting things growing (and playing) in it this year.
The wall overlooks the green house and the whole length of the garden.
 I borrowed the kids poster paints (for want of anything else) and got started.
 I had a break for lunch, paint on my feet. I painted for about 3 hours...

 my garden goddess, a work in progress
 I really enjoyed myself and got lost in time
I may come back and work again on her some more, or I may just wait for the rain to wash her off and see what happens. Either way it was a lovely way to spend the morning and give thanks to and honor the earth mother for our garden and my own creativity.

Friday, May 24, 2013

shopping...putting my money where my mouth is

For such a long time now I have been thinking about how we eat, what we eat and how I shop. In fact I posted about it here, in December 2010, and I have to say that since then not an awful lot has changed until recently. We don't eat badly, I cook every meal from scratch and we would not have many processed foods in our diet, but there are some and we haven't been eating organic foods where we could.
I mentioned previously that I have gone back to being vegetarian again, and the kids are pretty much veggie now too. This means that a big part of my weekly food budget has opened up.
I watched a series of 3 really interesting documentaries of late that have inspired my decision to bite the bullet and put my money where my mouth is.
So, after a fair bit of planning over the past week, armed with a menu plan and a shopping list Joa and I headed off to the farmers market. 
 We bought all the veggies on our list, fresh, organic and where possible all grown very locally.
 We bought locally grown honey and some organic staples there that were on offer. Then we stocked up on the other essentials on our list at the health food store.
 I also spent part of this week's budget on some more plants for the garden. Cucumbers, tomatoes, basil
 and lots of strawberries.
I have found there is a whole food wholesaler within an hour or so drive from here and I am hoping to be able to stock up on our daily use items such a spelt flour, apple cider vinegar, coffee etc once every few months.
Between this and what I am growing in the garden now and hope to be able to preserve I am hoping that my budget will allow us to eat mostly organic whole foods. This all feels right and exciting to me. I am sure that there will be a transition time until I no longer need to think about this too much and it becomes second nature. But I am feeling good to be putting my money where my mouth is! It is an experiment and I will keep you posted on it.

I do have another little item of shopping to show you...

 We found this brilliant spoon for 10c in a charity shop!
 I sort of wished I kept it to give to Joa on his Birthday next month, but I was just too excited and forgot.
My little kitchen alter inspired by this wonderful book : sweet, organic peaches ripening on the window sill. My candle, my own light and a little wooden summer gnome made by the wonderful Melissa (will find the link to her shop for you).

This post is shared at Eco Thrifty Living :-)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

like mother like daughter

 A few weeks ago Rebe starting learning the tin whistle at school. I made her a felt embroidered case to keep her whistle in. Her class mates liked it and Rebe offered to make one for a class mate...
 (sorry about the bad picture) but it is beautiful, so detailed and she stitched the child's initials along the top.
 the following day she came home with this list, everyone in her class wants her to make them a tin whistle case. Like mother, like daughter :-)
 me and the wee man, just because
 Benny's hair cut, he sneaked off while I was helping Rebe with her home work and cut his own hair. He loves it :-)
Joa is really enjoying drawing at the moment, he's filling in the detail here of a wee person I drew.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

sunday bliss

 On Sundays the children go to their dad's house. Often I try to work during this time, but as I approach the end of my custom doll list I find I have more time to do other things.
 I had found time to finish this doll yesterday so I decided to take the day off today, to relax and mess about.
 I found myself out in the garden in glorious spring sunshine (eventually) this morning and thought that I would add some more weaving to the willow/bean/pea den. It was such fun, I really enjoyed weaving the branches in and out of each other, the sun on my back and the sound of bird song and laughter from people walking to the woods in my ears.
 It was playing really, not work
 I am pleased with how it has turned out, no I am very pleased with out it looks and feels
 so pleased that I spent an hour sipping tea and reading in it when I was finished.
Another delightful thing about Sundays is that I can cook and eat very mindfully, not having to keep jumping up and getting something for one of the kids.
 colourful chard grown in the green house that I chopped up with some spinach (also from the green house) and wild garlic from the woods to make into a quiche
Sunday Bliss!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shikamo Babu

When I was 18 I went to Tanzania for 8 months to work as a teacher, teaching English to primary school children in the foot hills of Kilimanjaro. It was the most amazing year of my life, I can't put into words how special and important it was. The project I worked for was the Village Education Project (Kilimanjaro). It is a small NGO that works on a grassroots level and has made enormous achievements and improvements within the villages and schools it works with. It is continuing to grow and develop and it is doing real, tangible good. Please pop over to their website and look at some of the amazing work they do. (Village Education Project Kilimanjaro)  and of course there is a way to make a donation to them on that page too.
Katy and Dilly are the co-ordinators of the project. 
They were the most wonderful friends to me while I was in Tanzania, I spent a lot of time with them and loved their company. I have seen them a few times since my gap year project, in the UK and in Tanzania also, but it has been about 12 years since I have seen Dilly and 7 since seeing Katy last. Imagine how thrilled I was when they said they were coming to visit me here for a week. 
It was just like old times, only better! They arrived very late from the ferry last Saturday, so we had a lovely lazy Sunday strolling in the woods,
having coffee in the owl cafe, catching up and playing.
 There were lots of people they wanted to visit, so during the day while we were doing the school run, homework etc they took themselves off and we met again in the evenings to eat together, play with the kids and then to sit together over wine catching up on a decade of life and stories.

On their last evening with us the kids and I decided to have a Birthday party to show Dilly how we celebrate birthday's here.
 Rebe and Benny gave Katy and Dilly presents they had made,
 we played pass the parcel
 and pin the tail on the donkey
 we had birthday cake with candles and singing, jelly and ice cream
 and we finished the party with a particularly rowdy game of blind man's buff.
 At bedtime Dilly told the kids stories. He told them a wonderfully comic tale of himself as a naughty little 7 year old boy, and another evening he told them about mwewe (vulture) and kuku (hen) in kiswahili and then translated it into English.

 My heart is so full of love and respect and awe of these 2 wonderful people, I feel so lucky and privileged that they came all the way here to stay with us. I hope we will be able to meet them next year at the final gap year reunion and there is also a tiny seed of a dream of taking the kids to visit them in Tanzania...