Meadowland and Woodland Nature Study: Week 1



This year our nature studies will be focused on nearby meadowland and woodland.  We have just begun to go for daily walks once again and so often find ourselves in the glorious countryside which surrounds the area in which we live.  I’m going to enjoy this study.  It will, I think, be focused much more on plant life than our pond study, most of which was animal life.  That said we saw a bird of prey on our first walk!

This is the view of the meadow land from a height:


Once we walk across the meadowland we come to a crossroads.  Here are the photos taken of the land surrounding the crossroads.  This will be the land, alongside the meadow, that we will be exploring during our nature studies.  We will have the choices here of:

  • Going deeper into the wooded area:


  • Going for the walk which runs parellel to the Meadow:


  • Or spending more time at the Meadow.  This path takes us back to the meadow, across a small river (the children are playing poo sticks!):


Here is a picture of the river, which of course opens up the possibility of a lot more wildlife:


We have already chosen the tree we wish to study.  I’ll not give too much away, but I will say it is a huge, 100 year old oak, which is fairly well known around these parts.  I’ll share our first study month’s tree study next week.

We have decided to bring Oscar our dog with us.  He is struggling to come to terms with the death of his partners in crime, George and Lucy, and I think an extra walk with us will help enormously:


Here we all are, ready and enthusiastic:


This week was all about choosing a tree, getting familiar with the area and generally having fun…..

  • Collecting treasures:


And then organising them:

Ribbet collagebbb

Again and again, with excited claims from A7 about becoming a scientist when she grows up:

Ribbet collagebbb

They even created a little nature table display:


Playing around with shadow pictures….how cool is this?


As well taking a few selfies:


This was a fantastic and hugely fun start to our nature studies.  Oh, and we went back via the pond to capture a photo one year on:


It’s looking good, isn’t it?  Happy, happy memories!

Seasons of Joy: Preserving the Beauty of Flowers


Ribbet collageSeasons of Joy

You all know how much I like flowers, roses in particular.  I think Roses are great value for money because they look stunning freshly cut and in a vase and they look just as lovely dried and either in a vase or hanging upside down.  I have always dried flowers ever since I got married and dried my wedding roses.  In our flat we had multiple bunches at various stages of drying hanging around.  When it was just Gary and I, even when we only had £20 a week to spend on food, non food and activities, I would make buying roses a priority.  They help make a house a home and create a lasting beauty.


I thought I would show you all how I dry them, because it is super easy, super fast and requires absolutely no skill at all!


The first thing to decide is what stage of blossom you would like to dry them at.  Most roses can be bought at the budding stage where they are fairly closed.  As time goes by they gently open out to a full flower.  I dry at different stages.  Whatever stage they are at is the stage they will dry. They will not tend to open more as they dry.

The second thing to know is that if you dry them upright, they will dry with the bud/flower gently drooping over.  If you dry them upside down you they will dry dead straight:

Ribbet collageroses

Drying in a vase

Ribbet collagejoy1

  • Cut to the size you want
  • Organise in a vase to your liking
  • And leave

That’s it!  It really is that easy.  I do nothing else and they always dry beautifully.  I have just added some of the roses I got for my birthday to the jug (beautifully made by my lovely friend Nik) of already dried flowers:


I think the mix of dried and not dried is quite pretty, and it will be fun watching the fresh ones dry alongside the already dried ones:


Happy sigh…..so pretty.

Drying Upside Down

This is just as easy.

  • Collect the flowers you wish to dry:


  • Take them out of the water.  Cut to the size you wish them to be.  I usually leave them just as they are.  I have never wiped them down, but I guess it couldn’t hurt if you would prefer no drips:


  • I use ripped cloth, but any type of string or tie would do.  Gently wrap cloth tie around the stalks, tie a knot and leave enough length to allow for hanging:



  • Hang upside down.  I used to hang them from my dresser, but right now I am drying from the banisters in my hallway/office space:


I spend a lot of time here and seeing them hanging up gives me enormous joy:


Happy, happy sigh.  It’s the simple things in life….

Precious Autumn Moments


precious moments2

It’s been the last week of our holidays and I am glad to report we are all ready to return to work.  I wasn’t sure my enthusiasm would return, it was taking so long to recover from the summer.  But just this week, I have begun to feel my customary excitement and I am really looking forward to next Monday.

I will be posting everyone’s schedules next week as I have received a couple of emails asking for them.  It took a long time this year to co-ordinate everyone’s interests, goals and schooling must-haves, but finally this week everything began to fall into place.

The only school we have done this week is one hour of maths and a one hour of nature walk daily.  Next week we will add in all the rest.

Ribbet collagepm3

The chickens keep escaping so are in obvious need of a wing clip, which will be on our to do list over the weekend.  We had to retrieve them multiple times over the week, with one even escaping into our neighbour’s garden.  Good job she loves chickens!

Ribbet collagepm4

The collage above shows L12 cooking some lovely spring vegetable soup, and A7 washing up all by herself.  This is one area I have been a bit lax on with the younger ones but this year I will be expecting much more from them.  The lower left photo shows a normal bath time at our house.  The littles soak in a bubble bath whilst Gary practices his songs for leading worship on Sunday!  The older girls have taken up street dancing and have been showing off their ‘skills’ at every opportunity – even on our nature walks in the middle of the meadow!  It is hard to get a photo of them doing it because they move quite quickly.

Ribbet collagepm1

T’s sisters absolutely adore him, especially as he is much more easy-going now his adolescence is passing.  They only have one brother, so T gets a lot of attention.  When I saw them all hugging I knew I had to snap away.  The girls then asked T to give them both a hug at the same time:

Ribbet collagepm2

Gotta love those lovely sibling relationships!

Ribbet collagepm6

The younger girls have spent hours colouring free colouring in sheets.  The picture shows them making some princess crowns to wear.

Ribbet collagepm5

Over the weekend we bought a couple of plants to go over George and Lucy’s grave.  They both flower at this time of year and their beauty will be a lovely reminder of the 18 happy years we had with our two moggies.

Ribbet collagepm9

This is becoming a familiar sight in our house.  Gary tried teaching the three older ones guitar a few years ago, but although they were enthusiastic they found it hard and gave up fairly quickly.  It’s funny how powerful self motivation is, because T is now happily teaching himself and is really getting quite good.  His sisters all love listening to the latest song he has taught himself:

Ribbet collagepm8

I have stripping my garden of all its flowers again.  I just love being surrounded by the beauty of so many blooms:

Ribbet collagepm10

Aren’t they beautiful:

Ribbet collagepm11

Some of these are a mixture of birthday flowers, flowers people have brought round when we have had them for dinner and some from the garden.

The rest I picked from my garden:

Ribbet collagepm12

We had guests on Sunday again and this time I decorated the table using the table runner patchwork C12 made for my Christmas present last year.  It just makes me so happy looking at it:

Ribbet collagepm13

I have also been enjoying some time in the kitchen baking scones (which were scrummy), cinnamon biscuits which are improving all the time (!) and a very chocolate-y chocolate cake:

Ribbet collagepm7

Each day this week we have been out in the nearby countryside getting fresh air and lots of chat (mainly from C12 who talks like there is no tomorrow!):


It has been good to take a deep breath and relax over the past few weeks but next week we will be hard at work again, studying away.  And you know what?  We are quite looking forward to it!

Collage Friday at Homegrown LearnersWeekly Wrap-Up

Frugal Goals: Five in Five


Well, this is my last goal post focussed on the next five weeks.  This one is all about saving a few pennies and learning more skills to save money in the future:

  • To take time each day to explore Moneysavingmom blog.  I used to read Crystal’s blog when she wrote under a different name (Biblicalwomanhood I think), but haven’t spent huge amount of time on her money saving one.  Each day this term I want to spend half an hour per day reading past posts.
  • Search out a tasty, healthy and frugal recipe which can be made from just store cupboard ingredients.  Begin collecting ideas onto a new pinterest board:

  • Design this year’s home made Christmas Card
  • Make one change which will save ten pounds a month if I were to do it regularly enough
  • Design the Christmas angel decorations I want to make as stocking presents this year, out of my granny’s antique lace Christening gown, for an heirloom gift for my children:


So I have set myself twenty goals in total to achieve within the next five weeks.  Is it possible?  I don’t know, but I shall have fun trying!

Homeschooling Goals: Five Healthy Habits to (re)Develop


I am aware that the habits I instill in my children now are probably habits they will keep for life.  As most parents, I have done well in certain areas and not so well in others.  I have also worked hard at certain habits with my older three but have been less diligent with my younger two.

We spent five weeks over the summer focusing all our efforts on Shakespeare during which certain habits were neglected (for example quiet time and dinner at the table) and we have had the past four weeks off.  It has been glorious and very needed but we have now forgotten habits which were second nature a few short weeks ago.  We have also formed some not so healthy habits.  This term is about returning to some old comfortable habits as well as beginning one or two new ones.

So my home schooling must-have habits to retrieve over the next five weeks are as follows:

  • Morning Meeting – this is the time we all come together.  We have our snack, work our way through our Bible curriculum as well as discuss any issues which need resolving.  It’s also a time for read aloud and is generally a time enjoyed by everyone.
  • Quiet Time – this traditionally happens after lunch for us and is the time we all separate and have a break from each other.  This is essential to maintain healthy relationships as well as an opportunity to explore interests, read just one more chapter of a book or simply lie back and dream.  Whatever we choose to do, this has always been an essential part of our home school day.
  • Nature Walk – Whilst we were doing our one year pond study we spent time outdoors on a near daily basis.  Since that has stopped we haven’t been so good at gathering for time in nature.  This year we have decided to abandon the garden study which was going nowhere fast and carry out a meadow and woodland study.
  • Dinner at the table – During the Shakespeare summer we didn’t have a table (it was moved next door to mum’s to make room for our stage) so we got into the really bad habit of settee dinners.  No more!  We now have our table back and need to start sitting at it more regularly!  This is important because it is when the children are able to chat about their day and share with Daddy what they are learning.
  • To stay more up to date with current affairs.  I purposefully choose not to listen or read the news.  I know vaguely what is going on in the world through Gary but really, I avoid too many details.  I have good reasons for this.  I am a naturally upbeat person, but I have a brain which never seems to stop working.  If I allowed myself too much exposure of the horrors which go on, it would not be healthy for my mind.  My children are different, as is Gary, and I think in the main would benefit from knowing about the current affairs of our world.  I have been searching for the right type of news to give them.  By that I mean a slightly diluted version.  To this end I have found two such avenues.  The first is a weekly newspaper for children age 7-14 which costs a little over a pound a week and is delivered to your door for free each Friday.  The second is Newsround, a bbc television news program for children.  We can’t access it through our TV (we only watch DVD’s not broadcast telly) but we can access it and many other news videos for children via the computer.  This year I want us to watch the daily news on newsround as well as have the children read the weekly newspaper

What essentials do you ensure happen every day?

Personal Goals: Five in Five



This post is all about me!  Yes, I know – how incredibly self obsessed is that?!  No matter, I shall doggedly continue without guilt, because I think homeschooling mums can get a bit lost among all the, well, homeschooling.  In my quest to still be interesting to people other than fellow homeschooling mums, I am attempting to ensure a small part of me is developing away from my children’s education.  So here are my personal goals for this forthcoming five week term (because five weeks really does sound a very sensible amount of time to plans goals for, don’t you think?):

  • I want to lose the next ten pounds (as well as a few I may or may not have put on over the past few weeks.  I get the feeling this will be a life long battle….)  I want to be at 15 stone 9Ib or less by the end of the term.


  • Finish the hospitality book I am currently reading.  I adore having people round and we do it multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day.  Books about improving one’s hospitality skills are always fun to read!  Tip for the future: Never, and I do mean never, lend me a book.  I will take it in the bath with me (the only time I get two minutes of quiet to concentrate) and instead of looking only a week old it ends up looking like it’s been hanging around for generations (ahem):


  • For everyone’s benefit, I want to start actually going for these daily one hour nature walks, instead of just talking about them!


  • Make more of an effort to create a beautiful quiet time with God.  Right now I read God’s word at my computer or in my bed last thing at night.  I would like it to be a more anticipated, special time.


  • Finish chapter six and seven of the book I am attempting to write.

These goals are exciting because for me they are going to be hard goals to reach.  I am looking forward to seeing how well (or badly) I will do.

Home Making Goals – Five in Five



I feel I need to apologise for all my posts in the coming week.  They will likely be boring for most of you to read.  I want to write some goals down for the forthcoming term.  I have in the past always written my schooling goals down but no others.  This term I want to try to attain in other areas apart from home school.  In other words I would like my life to be a bit more balanced away from just home school, so this week I will be sharing goals from home making goals to personal goals to frugal goals.  Today I am focusing on my home making goals because, not being a complete natural in this area, it tends to get neglected somewhat.  So here are my five goals which I hope to achieve in the next five weeks:


  • Hand stitch some kitchen curtains, as well as make some squares up in the same material to staple behind the wall dresser windows.  I will be using material I had hanging in our first flat to hide the washing machine in our kitchen.  I have always loved the cottage look even when we lived in a very modern flat, so I love this material as much now as I did all those almost 20 odd years ago:


  • Clear away everything around the dresser in the living room and swap the chest of drawers with T’s smaller chest.
  • Attach a piece of wood behind the taps in the kitchen to stop stuff falling down the back.


  • Buy hooks for the rest of our mugs and get them attached to the spice cabinet, so all our cups are hanging instead of taking up space in the cupboards.

Ribbet collageox8

  • Repair fridge door (the door shelf for the milk has broken and needs to be replaced)

So there are my five in five.  And even if I don’t do them all, I will undoubtably do more than I would with no goals at all.

Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 358 other followers

%d bloggers like this: