Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Two little dicky birds

 I have to say, as packages of bird seed, coconut husks and buggy nibbles! were arriving at the door in large quantities I was skeptical about what M was up to now. A few weeks on and I am in love with the little birds that gather round the bird feeder for their breakfast as I stand stirring the porridge pot. MJ did comment that he thinks we are feeding all the birds in our town... that is how it feels as we fill up the feeders almost every other day...they are hungry little things.

We have been inspired to learn to recognise each type and have been using the RSPB bird count to help us. I also came across a book that my Mum received as a Sunday School Prize many years ago, maybe 50 or so years ago. It has a beautiful way of describing the birds, their song and their nests.

I treated myself to this beautiful book '20 ways to draw a tree' by Eloise Renouf to help me get sketching again and it is giving me the confidence to try to draw the little birds I see. This is a sympathy card I made last night.


Ideally I would love to be doing beautiful artwork of birds like these of Illustrator, Kate Slater and artist Madeleine Floyd. I find their work stunning.

All this thought of little birds has reminded me of the words in the bible. 

'Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.' Matthew 10:29-31

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.' Matthew 6: 25-34

Wise words in this stress filled life to think about and thank God we have these beautiful little birds to watch and remind us of His ultimate care for us.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Spending our Easter money!

 The Easter holidays are drawing to a close which we are all feeling quite sad about! Today we popped over to our local craft and stationery shop so the kids could spend their Easter money. Lj choose red glitter glue, a roll of red corrugated paper and some stamps. Once home she whipped up a quick card for our neighbours.

MJ had been hoping to buy a Lego city kit, such as a fire engine, police helicopter or boat but the range was limited, so he settled for a large, grey Lego board to extend his city. He has spent part of each day of his holidays building Lego and still seems to have as much or more energy for it as when the holidays began.

I didn't receive any Easter money but I couldn't resist purchasing a few little bits and bobs to keep me amused!

It is interesting the idea of giving and receiving Easter eggs. When I think back to Easter when I was a child I will always remember my Grandmother, Lily. She was an extremely generous women spending v little on herself but delighting in giving to her 23 grandchildren. At Easter she would give us all a large chocolate egg, one with two full sized chocolate bars. For me, a chocolate lover from an early age it was a good as Christmas. I distinctly remember the year she gave me a Turkish delight Easter egg. Turkish delight is about the only chocolate bar which I do not like...but the year after when she gave me a Mint Aero Egg, well that made up for it and more! These days my children probably eat chocolate of some sort just about every day so I don't know if receiving an egg means quite the same thing to them as it did to me. So it was nice today to take them to the craft shop and let them spend their own Easter money, which they had received from close family in lieu of an egg! ...and then this afternoon we visited friends and had a second Easter egg hunt and came home with fist fulls of chocolate which they seemed pretty happy about too!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

He has risen!

This year  I have been touched at how MJ and Lj have grasped the seriousness and the excitement of the resurrection story. A number of weeks ago when I read a kids version of the life of Christ to Lj she got upset when she realised that Jesus had been put on a cross and left to die...she couldn't understand why people would do it to him when all she knew was of Jesus the baby born in Bethlehem, Jesus the man who healed the blind, Jesus who said 'Let the little children come to me'. Thankfully I was able to keep reading to her and tell her how he didn't stay dead, but is alive just like he said he would and that His death was a necessity for us to have a relationship with God.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Hide 'n' seek

As M dug in the allotment and started planting out his little beetroots and Brussels sprout plants, the kids played hide 'n' seek. Poor Lj was at a slight disadvantage wearing her bright orange coat but she found some good hiding places none the less. It reminded me again of the simple games which children can initiate and enjoy without adult interference.

There has been a lot in the news recently about starting children younger at school, increasing the length of the school day and reducing the number of holidays. Over the past two weeks we have been enjoying our Easter holidays and I have witnessed how MJ and Lj started the two weeks asking if they could watch television every morning to not even bothering with it if it is turned on. I have witnessed them playing with an empty cardboard box for an hour in the garden and spending hours trying to dig a mine. Lj has spent a long time every day making cards, splat bugs (with pva glue), a spider from wool, drawing, writing and sticking. MJ has spent hours on end building police stations, fire engines, spaces buggies and jeeps from Lego. We launched rockets using a bottle, bung and bicycle pump, went swimming, played tennis, played in the park and rode our bikes.

Now, I am very thankful that my children have a good school to attend and I'm grateful that while they are at school I have kid free time to get some things sorted. I also appreciate that it is good for them to learn the discipline of having to be somewhere at a certain time, having to sit quietly and listen to instructions and learning all sorts of things which I would never think to teach them. But equally I feel so sad when I think that if the school day is lengthened and the holidays are shortened, when do our children get to learn life experiences for themselves and at their own pace? When do they feel relaxed enough to lie on the grass and watch the stars. When do they find a tree, climb it and start a 'club' with a real password?

Soon enough they will be working hard to support their own family and will have 4 days off for Easter but spend most of it recovering from long commutes and stressful jobs. While they are young and carefree, lets let them play!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

An ordinary day

Today started simply. We had few plans made, it was just an average day but somehow it became a beautiful day.

I never intended to paint the kitchen wall but as I tidied up after breakfast I decided it was time it had a fresh lick of paint. As I went about prepping the wall and covering the floor the kids ran in and out through the back door enjoying the warmer air temperature. Then as I was painting the wall I noted a hum of activity around me. It wasn't frantic but it was concentrated. It wasn't loud but it was busy. This is what was going on...

Lj was making a butterfly from paper plates, selotape, pipe cleaners and the stapler

MJ was rethinking his Hornby railway layout.

Nothing special was going on but I knew I had to stop what I was doing and take a moment to photograph the simple yet complex processes which were going on in the minds of these little ones. They were so engrossed in their thoughts that they didn't even look up when I appeared with my camera.

Love the simple days.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Have you seen the Easter bunny?

 As it is Lj's last day at nursery before the Easter break we have had an Easter inspired morning. We made an Easter card using colourful washi tape for her Nursery teachers. I love washi tape as it is so clean and easy to use giving a great vivid pattern to almost anything.

As it is tradition for the Nursery class to go on an Easter parade/ hop around the older children's classrooms we were asked to dress our little ones in bunny colours. I was so pleased when I realised that Lj's reversible pinafore made by Nana had a pale yellow side. We made a large pom pom and attached a brooch pin so we could add a removable bunny tail to her pinafore. Then with a little face paint we were set to go. The children looked so cute in their outfits as they queued to go into their class and I spotted a number of pom pom bunny tails. As ever, Lj is a good sport and loved thinking about what to wear and getting ready. She did have a minor 'Mummy hold my hand' moment when the grown ups started noticing her tail and pointing but within minutes she was off handing her home made card proudly to one of her teachers.