## Fruit Bowl and Zoo Maths

FRUIT BOWL MATH

1. Not too much fruit left in the fruit bowl? – Great!

2. Ask your 4 year old to grab paper and a pen, and to draw the fruit in the fruit bowl using the right colours. They could draw around the fruit or make the shapes themselves.

3. Ask your child to count each type of fruit. How many green apples? 4 Help them to number the green apples. How many bananas? 2 How many red apples? 7 How many naartjies? 2 How many peaches? 2

4. Ask your child to place the fruit onto the correct shapes on their picture  e.g. 4 green apples. Then eat an apple together and ask – how many do we have left? Have fun!

ANIMAL ZOO MATH

1. Ask your 4 year old to find all their small wooden or plastic animals. Tell them you are going to make a zoo! Have them lay out all the animals on a large piece of paper grouping like ones together to go in “cages” in the zoo. Elephants over here, ducks over there, sheep in the middle, etc.

2. Ask your child to draw cages for each group of animals (drawing a circle around each group), or a pond for the ducks, etc.

Visit the zoo! Get out little lego people to represent you and your child or your whole family and have them “walk” around in the zoo and look at each cage of animals. Count how many animals in each cage you pass. 3 elephants in this cage, 4 ducks on the dam, etc. Have fun together!

This post is linked on Works for Me Wednesday. Thanks Kristen at We Are THAT Family!

“The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.” Proverbs 16v21

## Giving Our Children a Sense of Purpose

GIVING OUR CHILDREN A SENSE OF PURPOSE

Hubby and I believe that children need to have a sense of their purpose in life from when they are small.

In this series I would like to talk about (still a work in progress):

A sense of purpose through knowing God and His Word.

A sense of purpose through areas of responsibility.

A sense of purpose through being part of the family vision.

A sense of purpose through learning Biblical character.

A sense of purpose through the Biblical principle of hard work and learning.

I will also refer to great articles by others written on these subjects.

I hope this series is a blessing to you!

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1v3

## Four Wonderful Words!

I want to tell you about four wonderful words that the Lord has taught me. These words have protected me in times of confusion, helped me through difficult conversations and in relationship with extended family and well-meaning friends. These four words are a refuge that God has given to me – a covering and a protection – a place to run to.

Years ago I never would have thought of these words, they wouldn’t have made sense to me. I had never heard them spoken, yet when I began to study the Bible and learn about God’s plan for me as a wife, I learned these words.

As we embark on roads less traveled with our family, and as we come face to face with people who don’t agree with us – I am so blessed to have this provision from God.

Those four wonderful words are:

TALK TO MY HUSBAND!

Question: Why do you (or don’t you) do ___________ that way?

Answer: “Talk to my husband – he’ll explain it.”

Question: Shouldn’t you be concerned about ____________?

Answer: “Talk to my husband. He’ll know”

I love being able to say these words. My hubby is my WARRIOR! He stands in the gap and defends us. God provides for and protects our family through him.

Thats not to say I can’t think for myself or that I don’t have a part in the decision making process. But I love being able to stand behind my husband – as he stands behind each decision and defends it. I am so grateful not to be the one called by God to do that.

I hope you can use these words too.

love, Karyn

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5v23

## The Evidence of Things Not Seen

Something happened a while ago to a family member. It wasn’t too serious – but it could have been. God’s grace was on us.

When it happened we prayed earnestly.. and after that we knew that there was nothing further we could do, nothing at all but trust THE ONE who made us – trust HIM to work.

There was nothing we could do but wait – in FAITH.
It was a struggle; my heart knowing completely that MY GOD is faithful and true, but the fear wanting to creep in and strangle me!

It got me thinking – and praying!

You have to trust HIM when your heart is in your throat and you can hardly breathe!

You have to trust HIM when you can’t see the answer – can’t even see evidence that HE has heard your prayers.

“FAITH is the substance of things HOPED for – the EVIDENCE of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11 v 1

Just like we named our children (their second names) for the way we must stand in FAITH, COURAGE and STRENGTH -  we have seen the GRACE of God that covers us, protects us, helps us and blesses us.

Trust in HIM, know HIM, love HIM, obey HIM, be faithful only unto HIM. He is FAITHFUL!

Only HE knows how HE will answer, only HE sees all and only HE loves us more than we know.

with love,

Karyn

## Vegetable Garden Update 2

We live on a small plot – but it suits us perfectly. Just the right amount of garden to manage with our four little ones! We have 7 raised beds and this is our second year of attempting to grow vegetables – we moved house in the middle – so these beds are not yet a year old.

Here’s a garden update:

Bed no 1 – This weekend Hubby did a wonderful job of clearing all the grass that had grown through into the bed. He also pulled out the last large tomato plant – still yielding, but we needed the space!

Bed no 2 – We did  some weeding and then planted lettuce seedlings around the spinach and basil.

Bed no 3 – There are still some potatoes in the ground and one has started growing again. We’d better get the rest of those potatoes out fast! I’m not sure whether to let it grow or not… any advice? We could let the potatoes grow again (not sure how they would yield the second time around – or we could plant brassicas in their place). The second option is probably better in terms of soil health and nutrients.

Bed no 4 – Cabbage, cauliflower and brocolli seedlings are looking good – growing fast, especially the brocolli!

That middle guy in the front is especially happy!

Bed no 5 – Needs some shadecloth I think – the afternoon sun is still a bit harsh and the lettuce and kale is struggling. Also need to add more mulch.

Bed no 7 – Lettuce, spinach and kale seedling are coming along well, basil is still going strong.

There’s that giant comfrey plant again – I just love it!

Echinacea and Tansy are growing like anything!

Now – I MUST sow the carrot and leek seeds into the ground as time is passing too fast!

We had a good summer harvest though not nearly what we hoped for – which is to be expected, I guess.

Here are some highlights:

Mountains of basil,

lots of lettuce,

wonderful spinach…

with giant leaves,

huge carrots,

lots of them!

delicious herbs and edible flowers,

some good gem squash… before the mildew hit,

great tomato bush climbers and good cucumber vine …

which yielded only a few (about 15) healthy cucumbers (the others rotted when they were small – any advice would be appreciated!),

We had hundreds of baby tomatoes (a bowl full per day),

I washed and froze lots of them and then used them for tomato sauces in casseroles, I dried some in the dehydrator, gave some away and ate the rest!) A few larger tomatoes came later but I planted those bushes a bit late.

Hopefully the artichoke plants will start to yield next year!

We had about 4 watermelon that weren’t eaten or rotten – and they were deliciously sweet!

Ever seen a heart shaped watermelon?

There was one GIANT caterpillar,

and a delighted cutworm squisher!!

So now we look forward to the winter harvest!

I love sowing seeds – seeds  are amazing! They are tiny and seemingly so lifeless – and yet the life is there inside them. They have the potential to grow into magnificent, strong, nourishing, life-sustaining plants. God has placed life within each tiny seed, each one is an enormous miracle waiting to happen!

Look at all these wonderful heirloom seeds waiting to be planted!

I am continually blessed by God’s creativity. I love the hidden mysteries of his creation – the way you have to search to find them, the way you have to plant a seed and wait for it to grow to discover its full glory and to see its potential realised.

I love how it speaks of God – mystery and hidden awesomeness and majesty – and of how he wants us to search for him with our whole hearts.

“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29 v 12,13

## Organizing Part 2 – Recipes and Cluttered Surfaces

Its been a very slow de-cluttering week! Stuff that is not put away has been threatening to overwhelm me – but I am getting inspired again after reading more of Organizing Junkie‘s advice and Se7en‘s organizing adventures!

Inspiration breeds inspiration and whenever I start de-cluttering I definitely increase in enthusiasm! We finally got all the childrens clothes sorted – winter clothes out, too small clothes packed away, etc. I am trying to simplify continually as I de-clutter and get rid of as much as possible. “Stuff” is indeed such a burden in our lives. I have spent my whole life with too much “stuff”!! Shameful.

1. RECIPES

Our recipes are in such a mess! I remember when my sister-in-law was visiting in December and she asked for a recipe – we gave her one version, then realised it was wrong and tried the computer version, then realised that actually the one in my head was the only correct one!

All the recipes I use regularly are out on the kitchen counter – many scruffy pieces of paper stained with food stains! The rest are in a file but not well sorted. SO…

I started by clearing the space well, putting the recipes in a holding box and am typing up one each day. We have started laminating them after our 7 year old daughter illustrates them. Then they will be filed in alphabetical tabs and filed.

The area (below) has been clear now for a week except for the recipe we happen to be using – which then goes back in the box after we are done. The recipe book holder is waiting for my recipe file to take its grand place here – soon I hope!

2. SIDEBOARD

We have a sideboard next to the table where lots of school time happens. It got piled – really piled high – with junk; crafts, drawings, pastels, files, clipboards, cards, gifts we had made – anything that was cleared off the table was placed on the sideboard. It got bad!

We cleared it off and now have art boxes (underneath the sideboard) for each childs artwork, a display table for other artwork and a file cabinet for all school preparation stuff.

Here we have a halfway sorted photo,

… and an after photo. I placed some photo frames, our vase of craft flowers and a few draws of supplies on the surface to prevent clutter collecting there again as its hard to break the habit!

I also cleared the kitchen counter around the front of our fruitbowl and spice rack where all kinds of junk had accumulated. It has stayed clear for a week now!

I have a “goodbye box” nearby which we put things in that we can’t find a place for immediately, then we empty it each week using the put 10 things away game (each child chooses an item and runs as fast as they can to put it in its place, then comes back for the next until they have done 10 things – great fun is had by all!)

Let’s hope I can keep the lovely clear counter clear of junk!

This post is linked to Organizing Junkie. Have a look there for some inspiring organizing advice!

My Organizing Journey so far:

Part 1 – Organizing!

Part 3 – First Set of Drawers

Part 4 – Crafts and Art Folders

Part 5 – The Fireplace

Part 6 – Puzzles and Activity Boxes

Part 7 – Recipes into the File

Part 8 – Hubby’s Desk Drawers

Part 9 – The Whole Office!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51v10

## Quick and Easy Vegetable Pies

These pies are delicious and really quick to make (if you buy the pastry!), and they are usually good for fussy eaters – yes, I have one!!

1. For the filling (do this early in the day so its cooled down and ready when you want to make the pies):

I usually do a simple combination of 3 vegetables.

Here we have equal quantities of :

plus 1 leek finely chopped

2. Chop vegetables into small cubes and toss into a pot with a vegetable stock cube or 2T veg stock powder.

• I LOVE this yellow pot of mine. My mom-in-law gave it to me. Its real enamel and about 40 years old with a good heavy base!

3. Fill with water till vegetables are not quite covered, bring to the boil and simmer with lid half on for about 1/2 hour until the vegetables are soft.

• You can drain out extra water afterwards using a sieve if necessary.
• The filling shouldn’t have extra water as it will make the pies soggy.

4. Allow filling to cool.

• Bought pastry can be rolled out a bit flatter than it is in the package

• Look out for a post on homemade spelt pastry.
• This time we used bought pastry – shortcrust and puff pastry both work well.

6. Cut circles of pastry, brush around the edges of each circle with some beaten egg, put your filling in the centre and close the pies by pressing alternate spots in opposite directions around the edge.

• I like to stand them up like the pie on the left above – I find its easier to seal them well.

7. Bake at 190C for about 30 minutes.

• Yummy – you can even add some simple grated cheese instead of the vegetables for the really fussy eaters. Enjoy!

“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Cor 1v9

 God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

## Creating a Family Schedule

SCHEDULING! What is it?

For me, its creating a schedule that helps in a hundred different ways:

• It helps us fit everything into our day that we’d like to get done.
• It helps us to spend special time with each of our children.
• It helps our children to have special time with each other.
• It helps to keep the ball rolling on a bad day.
• It helps us all to know what we can and should be doing.
• It helps us to plan and keep track of each other.
• It helps us keep our priorities straight.
• It helps give purpose to our children’s days.

Scheduling can be such a blessing. I am not easily a scheduled person and I don’t easily stick to a schedule, but the days that I do stick to it are a whole lot better than the days that I don’t! I find we are all a lot more productive and we enjoy time together so much more on the days we follow the schedule. I love how a schedule makes my life purposeful, handleable, effective.

Opposite to what you might think – the schedule does not make one regimented and busy each moment, but rather allows one to relax into it and enjoy the moment. You know there is enough time for everything and you are not already thinking of the what else needs doing so you can focus fully on the task at hand and put your all into it.

So – how do we begin to create a schedule that works for the unique needs of our family?

To me, scheduling is a bit like birthing (though not as hectic!) – its a long process that comes slowly and the most work and the hardest push is usually just before its complete.

Creating an effective schedule is far from simple and requires vision, much perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness.

Teri Maxwell’s book – Managers of Their Homes is, in my opinion, the key to unlocking an effective family schedule.

Here are 8 steps towards creating an effective schedule

1. Think and pray for a few days as you think about things you have been struggling to get done, areas your family needs to improve on, what you’d like to make time for, what is not working, etc. Make simple, point form notes as you think of things. I’ve found the praying part has made the biggest difference to my schedule – it actually worked well after I did that.

2. Take an A4 page for each family member. Write their name at the top of the page and divide it into 2 columns. In the left column, write absolutely everything you can think of that that person would like to be doing (except dad unless he wants to be included). In the right column, write how long you think you will need for each item (per day or per week).

If you’re like me you’ll want a full week schedule with takes up just about a full wall -with each day slightly different! I’ve got days across the top, time slots down the side – and one colour sticker for each family member to show what they are doing in that time slot.

- but usually a daily schedule will suffice – family members names across the top (columns) and time slots down the side (rows) and activities in the blocks.

3. Think and pray with your hubby to see what you might have left out or what is unnecessary and spend a few days updating your lists.

• Brainstorm ideas for little tots time – sometimes their time is rather empty and yours rather full – but with a bit of creativity you’ll be surprised how quickly their time can be filled. Often you will find the planned time can just be a backup and they are happy to just hang out with you whatever you are doing. The purpose of scheduling with little ones is not to prevent them playing or exploring but to have an activity ready when needed.

• Some of the pieces of our schedule for little ones include: nap time,  story time, playing time with older sibling, tub time (sitting in empty sandpit tub with beads or beans or some raw pasta and a few pouring devices), hang out with Mommy time (just being with Mommy and others whatever you are doing – washing dishes, reading to others, doing schoolwork, etc.)

4. Think about the most effective form of schedule for you and your family members to easily be able to read and follow: a handwritten one or a computer version, handwritten on paper or on sticker squares of different colours, what size, where to stick it up, which is the easiest kind to update, etc.

5. Create a blank template like a grid – 1 column for each family member – and 1 rows for each time slots (1/2 hr or 1 hour time slots). Then start to fill in the blocks in pencil (good for editing) and slowly build your schedule. This is the painstaking part – but also when it suddenly starts to come together. Start by filling in your fixed activities and the things which are priorities to you or most important (the big rocks). Then build up your schedule bit by bit by matching who will be doing stuff with who at what time, etc. Little rocks will fit in last.

6. Once your schedule is complete prepare your children. Talk about the value of the schedule and the purpose for it, how it will help your family. Pray together and help everyone to see that it will take time to get used to but will be worthwhile.

7. Begin to follow your schedule! The first day is always tough but exciting as everyone learns the ropes. Remember each day is a fresh start.

8. Make notes the first week and adjust / improve it that weekend for the following week. Update it every 3 months or when needed. Most of all, enjoy the process – have fun doing it!

• I find that having a schedule is wonderful if we decide to spontaneously go on an outing or do something different. We have a quick look at the schedule to see what we’ll be missing – and either I’ll know that its fine to miss those things or quickly re-alocate them to another time slot and then out we go!
• I will post more at a later stage on the details and content of our schedule, and also on the “focus” of each day.

POST LINKED TO WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAY and

“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” Titus 1v5

Dear Heidi-Mari
Thanks so much for thinking of me with your versatile blog award.
I am honoured!
Here are 7 things about me:

1. I am more fulfilled being a wife and mother than in anything else.

2. I love homeschooling!

3. I LOVE artichokes. They are my absolute favourite food – stranded on a desert island with only artichokes type of thing! My second favourite food is olives!

4. I take things very much to heart – everything affects me deeply. I love inspiring words from the Bible or from people’s hearts and I ‘feel’ everything – I know God made me this way to help me to pray for people more effectively but sometimes I don’t handle it very well.

5. At the same time I can very easily remove myself from what doesn’t affect me and be uncaring – I need God to give me His heart for people.

6. I love order but easily slip into chaos – I am learning to push back the chaos and keep more order – slowly but surely!!

7. I have a burden to see people believe the Bible as the inspired word of God.

Blogs that inspire me:
The Maxwells from Titus2.com at http://www.titus2.com/blog
Kelly – Generation Cedar at http://www.generationcedar.com
Linnie – Back to Ancient Ways http://www.backtoancientways.blogspot.com
Se7en at http://www.se7en.org.za
love, Karyn

## A Four Year Old Does Science and Geography – the Fun Way!

But he’s only four, you say! Well, we’re not talking boring old usual run-of-the-mill science & geography here. This is just plain fascination with life – fascination with the world and the way God made it; the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the creatures of the water -  with trips to the zoo in between!

Our brave boy #1 is almost 5 and he loves LOVES animals. Kitties, doggies and bunnies are good but what he talks about ALL the time are the WILD BEASTS! He loves elephants, hippos, birds of pray, snakes and all he wants to know is: what eats what, where do they live and which will make good pets!  – elephants? hippos? anteaters? (because they’d eat all the ants…)

Recent conversations between us:

“Mommy, could an elephant fit in our house?” Nope, he couldn’t fit through the door. “But could he fit in this room?” Maybe but he couldn’t move around much. (pause)… “Could he fit in the garden…”

“Mommy, is a hippo a good pet to have?” Nope, because he’d need a great big water hole to wallow in. “As big as our garden?” Yes, but he’d probably trample on our vegetables.

“How about ducks – could we keep ducks?” Yes, ducks are good – although they might fly over the fence and swim in the neighbours pool.

“If I had bunnies as a pet, I shouldn’t have a hawk as a hawk would eat them!”

We are doing Sonlight Pre-K with him this year and its wonderful!!! Sonlight is a huge blessing to our family – but more about that another time.

Here we have Ernie the Elephant made from pattern blocks.

The Pre-K year is not very demanding – which is a good thing! – mainly books to read and we do lots of that. We just wanted to a little something extra to give a focus to his days.

We have a wonderful book called “The Zoo Guide” which gives biological information about each animal but is Biblically correct. It speaks of “KINDS” where listing Genus and Species,

and mentions of the “original diet” of each animal before the fall, and then their current diet.

It also mentions “created on day 6″ (or 5 or 4) for each animal.

We have another amazing book which has maps of each country showing which animals you find in those countries.

Each day we look at one double page together and I read all the bits of information about that country, – what its like there and what animals you find there.

He already knows lots of the animals from studying the book himself whenever he has the chance (some unusual ones like the silky anteater or the 3-toed sloth).

We look at the world map together.

We find the country, talk about whether its hot or cold there at this time of year and what continent its on, etc. This part is pretty much led by his questions and what he wants to know.

Then we take the zoo guide and read in detail about one animal.

He loves to absorb the facts about them – how God created them uniquely for their environment…

Today we did the camel.

Did you know:

• The camel has two sets of eyelashes to help protect its eyes from the sand
• Can close its nostrils to keep out the sand
• Has special pads on its feet so they don’t burn in the sand
• Can keep its body temperature at around 40 degrees C so it doesn’t use or need too much water to keep its body temperature down
• Stores fat in its hump / s for use when there is a shortage of food.

He then cuts out 10 animals each day and sticks them into his creation notebook.

We have divided the pages by kinds – different classes of mammals, etc

We figure out where to stick each animal as we go.

He is learning so much and having so much fun.

And so am I!

This post has been submitted to Helpful Homeschool Hints.

“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.” Genesis 1v25