What’s In A Decade – A Birthday Celebration

What Comes to Mind When You Think of a Decade

When you think of the word ‘decade’, what thoughts come to mind? Do you think of it as just a word, or a phrase, or do you have more of a ‘feeling’ about it than words? I asked myself this question a few days ago and thought about the significance of a decade in a little more detail a couple days ago.

A decade = 10 years = 3,650* days = 87,600 hours = 5,256,000 minutes = 315,360,000 seconds. [*this is an approximate number as I haven’t included the extra leap year days, sorry, but I’m no Mathematician ;)]

That’s how old my middle child, Azkarah, turned a couple days ago. That’s quite an amazing age for such a young one to have reached. My daughter is a decade old. It sounds ancient, sort of, but then I’m more than a decade old so I guess that makes me super duper ancient haha 🙂 Anyway, enough of all of this philosophical soliloquy.

A Busy Week

This week was pretty busy with quite a few events happening and three family members having their birthdays all within the same week. My kids’ cousin had his birthday on 31st October, followed by their aunt’s birthday on 2nd November with my middler’s (middler is probably not a word but I like to think of my middle child as my middler, so it’s a word according to me 😉 ) the next day after, on the 3rd.

Preparation Towards Azkarah’s Birthday

It’s birthday celebration time, yay!!!

This year, Azkarah, asked to have a birthday celebration of sorts. Now I have to tell you that I’m not of the group of moms who faithfully bake or buy a birthday cake every single year, nor am I prone to “celebrate” my kids birthdays flamboyantly. Perhaps because I did not grow up having a birthday party every year, or a cake for that matter – I can only remember having one birthday party in my childhood days, and no, I don’t feel like I missed out in any way – I haven’t felt, and don’t feel the need to celebrate my kids’ birthday every year, but that is not to say that we totally ignore them on their birthdays haha, that would be something.  Mark and I, however, do often forget our own birthdays, and that is hilarious!  We’re a family who are pretty low key when it comes to ‘celebrating’ just about anything.  We believe in being thankful for every day and in celebrating every day that we live to see.  But with Azkarah turning 10 years old, and having not long ago moved to the U.S., I felt that a birthday celebration with her newly made friends would be a good idea and would help her to feel more at home here.

Making a Piñata

So, Azkarah and I set about planning her birthday, with her telling me what she had in mind for that special day, who she wanted to invite, what she wanted to do, etc. One thing she really wanted to have was a piñata. I had never ever heard of a piñata, in all of my several decades of life, until just a month or so ago, so I was quite unprepared when Azkarah said that instead of spending money on buying a piñata, she would much rather we made one. Galee!!! Make one?!? How do you make a piñata? It’s in moments like this when I’m all for buying something if it means avoiding the time and energy and mess that it would take in actually making that thing – yes, that’s pretty ironic considering I’m a home-educating parent; no need to rub it in, I know! To my surprise and delight, making a piñata proved to be a very fun and interesting experience.  I found, and we followed, a really good YouTube video, which showed us step-by-step how to make a Mexican-styled piñata.

Star-Shaped Balloon

Paper Party Hats for the Five Corners of the Balloon

String with Scissors

Also needed is some old newspaper cut into, approximately, 2-inch strips:

Newspaper Stacks


Cutting Stacks of Newspaper into 2-Inch Strips









Water-Flour Mixture


Each 2-inch strip of newspaper is dipped into the flour-water mixture until the strip is completely covered, then with two fingers on either side of the strip, the water-flour mixture is slowly rubbed off and then placed on the balloon starting in the centre and working upwards and downwards.

Wiping off Water-Flour Mixture

Sticking Strip to Balloon


 And the final touches:

Tada! 😉

In Goes The Candy

The Actual Birthday Celebration

The day of Azkarah’s birthday celebration arrived and I spent most of the morning baking grain-free muffins ( cupcakes) and an almond and coconut cake, whiles my girls together with a friend of Azkarah’s, who had spent the night at ours, helped with the final touches of decorating our living room and finishing up the piñata. Azkarah’s girlfriends arrived on time and there followed a couple hours of telling jokes, which none of the girls thought funny, eating, jumping outside on the trampoline, piñata hitting session, blowing out birthday candles and enjoying a slice of Azkarah’s birthday cake, and finally opening all of her presents and expressing her thanks as she opened each present.


The highlight of the afternoon, of course, was hitting the piñata which we hung up outside, and all the girls making a grab for all the candy that spilled out once the piñata fell down and was trampled upon by several small feet.

‘Guy Fawkes’ Day’

Our week ended with a bonfire evening in commemoration of ‘Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night’, an English celebration of sorts of the failed attempt to burn down the Houses of Parliament in November 1605.

Kezia, my oldest, had asked a couple weeks ago if we could have a bonfire evening on 5th November and if she could invite over some school friends. We thought that a great idea and found it rather humorous that we were going to celebrate Bonfire Night, something we never ‘celebrated’ when we lived in the UK. We did love to watch the fireworks, though.

Despite warnings of stormy weather later in the day, we went ahead with our ‘celebration’ and started a fire going in our backyard and simultaneously started a fire going indoors, so we could enjoy a blaze if it started to rain, which it did.

In addition to Kezia’s 3 school friends, we had invited over friends and their family, as well as one of our neighbours and their family. All in all, it was a pleasant time. I had made pizza; yes, I make and love to make our own pizza, rather than buying it, although that is not to say that we never buy pizza, just saying 😉 .

I think making the piñata was perhaps the highlight of my week, too! It was a fun project and it afforded me a time with my two older girls, who both enjoyed the project very much. The ‘lowlight’ 😉 of my week are my painful and tired feet from all the standing in the kitchen the last couple days, baking and baking and baking.


Posted in Art, Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night, How To Make a Piñata, YouTube | Tagged | 4 Comments

What Happened To Autumn?

The Four Seasons

The seasons are typically Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, right?






Now, doesn’t the picture to the right vividly underscore what Autumn should look like? Soul-stirring, beautiful fiery colours.  Such amazing colours combined with the fresh, crispiness of the air produce nostalgic feelings and inspire one to curl up under a blanket with a good book drinking a hot cup of chai or chicory tea.



Freezing cold temperatures, thick snow several inches deep, beautiful sunsets…the beauty of all of which one can behold from within one’s home. Lol.




You get my point, right?  By the way,  I didn’t take the pictures above.  They are beautiful though, aren’t they?  I found them here – a website where you can download pictures for free.

Autumn in Ohio

I have no idea what an Autumn in Ohio is/should be like.  We were just getting introduced to Autumn, when it was callously sent packing by Winter.

Anyhow, the little bit of Autumn we got to enjoy for about 2 weeks can be seen in the pictures below that I did take 😉 .  A few precious moments forever captured on screen, thankfully.

View From Our Front Entrance


Such Colours

Enjoying a Cup of Chicory Tea With a Piece of Grain-Free Brownie














Early Winter Snowy Showers

This morning we awoke to this (not too clear, apologies):


Snow Showers

Light rain with fairly heavy snow that didn’t stay on the ground due to the rain.  Azkarah was thrilled and went outside, briefly, to ‘taste’ the snow.

Winter decided that our first meeting with it should be a snowy shower this morning, dropping temperatures to almost 0°Celsius (32° Fahrenheit).  Snow in October, well, that’s the first I’ve heard or seen of it!  I hope it’s not here to stay because it’s too freezing cold, way too early in the year to be enjoyed.  I hope Autumn comes back!

What’s the weather like where you are?  It’s cold in Düsseldorf, Germany, where a family member lives; extremely hot in Accra, Ghana, where other family members are.  What’s the weather like where you are?

To end, I have a question that I need an answer to.  I could ask Google; that’s what everybody does these days, but I’d rather ask you…. What is the difference between a ‘cup‘ and a ‘mug‘?  Would you call the large Ohio drinking vessel (in the picture above) that I shared about in this post, a ‘cup‘ or a ‘mug‘?

Goodnight! 🙂

Posted in Autumn, Ohio, Snow, Winter | 2 Comments

A Glorious Week – Fun All Round

Zoo Trip

Our week started off with a visit to the zoo.  Being a grading day, there was no school for both Kezia and Tirzah on Monday, October 16.  So, together with their cousins, who are home-educated, and their aunt, we all set off for the zoo for a fun afternoon.  It was a lovely sunny day but quite chilly, but just being out of the house for a few precious hours was rejuvenating for all.  My kids and their cousins enjoyed just being together.

‘V’, Azkarah and Tirzah

Tirzah Posing for the Camera


Tirzah’s Accomplishments

In Sheffield, Tirzah attended a Special Needs Integrated Resource Unit, which was within the mainstream school she attended.  The classroom was created to be a fun and cheery environment for all the kids with varying degrees of special needs.  The difference between school in Sheffield and how it has been here so far is quite big.  Over here, in addition to a class teacher, every special needs child in the Multiple-Disciplinary classroom  has a Para-Professional teacher, who is with that child whenever the child is not with the Multi-Disciplinary Teacher.  In England, the closest definition to a Para, for short, is a Teaching Assistant; however, over here a Para is trained to be with a special needs child, whereas in most cases Teaching Assistants aren’t.

Anyhow, all that aside, since attending school here in the U.S., we have seen much improvement with Tirzah’s learning.  The educational teaching is more fine-tuned over here than it was in the U.K.  She has daily one-on-one sessions with her Multiple-Disciplinary teacher where she’s learning to draw shapes, recognise words with ‘oa‘ in them, spell her name by placing the letters of her name in order, learning about the ‘wh‘ question words such as ‘Why‘, ‘Where‘, ‘What‘, ‘When‘, etc.

I had ordered a printing book for Azkarah to practice writing letters but realised it would be more appropriate for Tirzah at some point, so mid-week I got Tirzah to practice writing out the letter ‘A’.  I had to hold her hand steady, of course.  She went on to colour in with pencil the big letter ‘A’.  I was so impressed with her work that I filmed her.  I’ll try and upload the video as soon as I can.

A Precious Gift

So, a few days ago marked our 6th month anniversary in the U.S.  I posted about that here.  The changes that we have all had to undergo have been monumental, but I will leave that for another more detailed post.  On a lighter note, to help me feel more at home, my beloved husband went out and bought me a special gift, which really did put a smile on my face, and given the size of the gift, it’s so perfect for me 🙂 .

The Perfect Gift

Fall Production

I think the highlight for this week was going to the opening night of Kezia’s school’s Fall Production on Peter Pan.  Kezia had auditioned for a minor role as she hadn’t felt confident enough to audition for a bigger role.  She was part of the Pirate ensemble, and you should have heard her day in, day out practising her songs.  My daughter really has a sweet, melodious voice.  In the past you wouldn’t catch her singing out aloud, but for the past several weeks she sang her lines out loud for all to hear without feeling shy about it.  She would sing to Azkarah until Azkarah was singing along with her, with both girls singing and laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.  Since going to school, Kezia hasn’t had much time to hang out with Azkarah, what with volleyball practice and more recently Fall Pro rehearsals after school, coming home most days around 7pm.  So to hear them singing together, and to see them hanging out together whiles Kezia practised her song lines really warmed my heart.

Pirate Ensemble


Opening night, on Thursday, October 19, saw several of us (family and friends) in attendance at the Peter Pan Production.  I tried to film a couple scenes but the videos turned out too blurry to share with  you, but I did manage to get some really good pictures, as shown.  See if you can spot Kezia! 🙂



Can you spot Kezia?


The cast put on a superb show with really good acting all round. It was a fun, enjoyable night out.





Flexible Tirzah

Our week ended with Tirzah showing how flexible she is.  It runs in the family, you know, well, most definitely on Mark’s side of the family.  There are gymnasts and it seems that Tirzah has the potential to follow in the footsteps of those gone before.  I have to laugh at the things that Tirzah says and does.  She really cracks us up with laughter more often than not.  Did you know that her name, Tirzah, means ‘delightful‘?  And that she is, most delightful! 🙂

To end, I have to share something that Tirzah did this evening.  I stubbed my right little toe on a dining room chair as I walked past.  Of course it hurt like crazy, so of course I yelped in pain, as I bent over to console my little member.  Tirzah asked what the matter was.  Mark replied that “mummy had accidentally kicked the chair and hurt her toe.”  So, what does my precious Tirzah do?  She gets up from the sofa and walks to the offending chair and kicks it, then cries out in ‘fake’ (I hope) pain, as she limps back to the sofa.  She sits on the sofa holding her big toe and says “I hurt my toe.  I need a bandage.”  Mummy’s little toe is all forgotten because Tirzah ‘hurt her big toe kicking the chair.’  My girl cracks me up.

Goodnight!  🙂


Posted in Fall Production, Multiple Disciplinary, Ohio, Para-Professional, Peter Pan, Zoo | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our 6 Month Anniversary

It’s Been 6 Months!

Today marks our 6th month in the U.S.  I cannot believe that it’s been 6 months since we moved here.  Wow!  Where did the time go?  There have been so many changes, but first before I give a brief update, I think this calls for some celebration, don’t you?

 I would much rather have preferred to get my family to pose for a silly picture but my kids are camera shy if they have to be goofy too…I wonder why.

And here’s one of my upbeat, favourite songs which helps to bring me into the celebratory mood, as the last 6 months have been a little on the bumpy side.  I love this for the simple reason that it’s got a great beat to groove to….and I love to groove…and it’s native Peruvian music, which I absolutely love.  I have to hide away when I groove ‘cos my kids, especially my two oldest just don’t like to see me dance.  They get all embarrassed which is weird considering the fact that they’re not the ones moving their heads from left to right in rhythm to the beats, 🙂 .  They get embarrassed from just watching me, haahaa.  Azkarah will actually groan out loud to get me to stop.  The only one who will join in to dance with me is Tirzah 😉 .

There’s a much clearer version, musically, by Wayra, but this is the best YouTube version I could find to share with you.

Ok, that’s it on my end…it’s way past my bedtime but I didn’t want this special day to go by without at least making it a point to share about it, albeit briefly.



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One Phone Call Turned Our World Upside Down

So, yet, again a long lull …sigh.  When will I ever be consistent in blogging?  Or will I ever be consistent in posting on here? 😉  That is the question!

Anyhow, this time the lull was caused by one phone call that we received towards the end of January that upended our lives – literally.

One minute we were quietly and unobtrusively cruising through life, well, sort of, and the next we were completely shocked and taken aback with, and frazzled by the sudden if not totally unexpected news about leaving the UK.

You see, over the years, we had spoken about and considered moving to the US, but we (Mark and I) had never really put that thought into any kind of motion, but with Mark’s declining health over the last 3-4 years, and with life becoming increasingly difficult as a result of that, the thought to move became a pressing need.  It simultaneously appealed and repelled each member of our family (minus Tirzah, who with her special needs is totally clueless to the runnings of life with all of its ups and downs, lucky her).  We kind of wanted to move, and ….we kind of didn’t want to move.  We loved living in Sheffield, loved our home, liked our neighbourhood – we just didn’t like how increasingly pressing (in so many different ways) our life was becoming.  So, although the phone call wasn’t totally unexpected it was rather sudden because, you see, only 3 days prior to that phone call we, Mark and I, had been in a Skype call with Mark’s parents discussing a potential move to the US, and the plan was that we would move in the summer of 2017.  We certainly didn’t expect Dad to call 3 days after our Skype conference call and tell us that he’d found a house, and that we should pack up our stuff and move.  Yeah, like moving from the UK to the US was that simple!  So, I repeat, that call upended our lives – literally.

Everything Came to a Standstill

Everything came to a standstill – literally.   I quit going to the gym (and regret that I did), homeschooling went a bit down the drain, well, more than a bit, and all other activities were shoved to the side because suddenly we were faced with the humongous task of preparing for a move to the US.  Mark’s dad’s thought was that we would move towards the end of February.  I couldn’t see that happening.  Notwithstanding the fact that it was just too soon, we had certain commitments that we couldn’t just cancel at such short notice, so many people to notify of our impending move – friends, our landlord, our bank, etc.  We decided mid-April would be a good time to depart, after an annual international conference in London that we have attended over the years and where we would have the opportunity to say bye-bye to so many dear friends of ours.  Once we had decided on our UK departure date, and our last day in Sheffield, we began the enormous task of emptying out our house, and as you can well imagine, or not, that was no small feat.  Looking back I really don’t know how we managed to meet our deadline of being out of our house, leaving Sheffield and finally leaving the UK, but we made it.  I won’t go into all the details of the actual move except to say that it took a lot of time to get rid of stuff most of which we simply gave away to charity shops, others we Freecycled or Freegled, or gave to friends, and yet others we sold on eBay and Facebook.  It was laborious work, I can tell you.  It made me want to choose a simpler life and to not accumulate so much stuff – easier said than done, though!

Sad to Leave

On some level we (perhaps excluding Tirzah) were all sad to leave.  I know both Kezia and Azkarah were.  Kezia took the news of our move the hardest.  She didn’t want to move, understandably.  She had joined the Sea Cadets in the past year and loved going to the bi-weekly sessions.  She had just passed out as a Marine after being a Cadet for several months, and had been looking forward to participating in some Marine activities.  My heart broke for my dear daughter, knowing that she was hurting and hating this impending move and, yet, I didn’t have any words of consolation for her that I felt could adequately penetrate her being and comfort her heart.

Likewise with Azkarah, who was fine with our plan to move, perhaps not realising what things she would be giving up.  It didn’t hit home to her until after her last home-ed Drama club session.  She and her Drama club friends would often go to a park close by after their Drama session to hang out together, and just like other days they headed out to the park, and I went along for the first and last time.  We had spent our last night in Sheffield with a dear home-ed family we had gotten to know intimately in the past year.  The mother had become a very dear friend to me, and her older daughter had become firm friends with Azkarah.

As it was nearing time to leave for the train station to catch our train to Nottingham, where we would be joining the rest of the family, Azkarah suddenly broke down in tears and a few of her home-ed friends joined ranks with her in crying, and soon after the adults began to shed a tear or two.  It was finally hitting home to Azkarah that she was indeed leaving the UK, and suddenly the move didn’t appear as exciting as she had previously thought, not when it meant cutting ties with her UK friends.  My heart broke some more ;(

Surely, as a mother, I should be able to comfort my daughters, right?  Well, I think I was in shock and numb, and more than likely on autopilot, outwardly going through the motions of getting ourselves ready for our move, but inwardly quite detached from it all.  Does that make sense?  It didn’t quite hit that we were moving until we actually arrived in the US, and even then it took about a week or two after our arrival for it all to sink in.

Now we are adjusting to our new life here in the US, and there is so much more to share.  Will I ever run out of stuff to share?

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Geography – A Child’s Introduction to the World

Whiles Kezia is home watching Nature’s Great Events, Azkarah is at Science club.  Her Mondays have filled up – Science, from 9:30am-11:30am at Discovery Science then Drama, from 1pm-2pm.  Aside from the few Science experiments that Azkarah watched Kezia carry out with assistance from daddy and/or mummy, this is her first proper exposure to Science.  Discovery Science offers hands-on Science to the Home-ed community in Sheffield in 5-6 week block sessions, giving children a chance to experience Science live, as opposed to mere or only book knowledge.  As Azkarah is a visual learner for the most part, I felt that these sessions would be of interest and benefit to her, and I was right.  She’s loving them.  I’ll devote a post to her science sessions and upload photos of her ‘projects’.

After Drama, Azkarah usually hangs out with her friends at a library local to the venue where Drama takes place or goes over to a friend’s home for the rest of the afternoon.

My title post, ‘A Child’s Introduction to the World‘, is the title of a Geography book that Azkarah and I are going through, with Kezia occasionally joining us.  I think my title post is quite applicable to home-education.  Home-educated children tend to be more in tune with the world surrounding them than most system-schooled kids. By being exposed to an education that is diverse and ever changing, our children are constantly learning, constantly trying out new things, engaging in diverse activities and growing in ways that never cease to amaze me.

In ‘A Child’s Introduction to the World’, we’ve learnt about our universe, earth, the planets, latitude and longitude, and will continue to learn more new things in the days, weeks ahead.  And, to make our read-aloud moments more precious and enjoyable I found some really cool videos on YouTube for us to watch, which made learning such otherwise tough topics more fun especially for Azkarah and for me too, who found Geography a dry, boring subject at school but that may have been down to how it was presented and the teacher who taught it.  I’m glad to revisit this subject again in a way that is way more appealing than from my school days.


Posted in A Child's Introduction to the World, Earth, Geography, The Solar System | 1 Comment

Organic Homeschooling – Being Flexible

It’s Monday morning….the first day of another home-school week. As I type away, my oldest is watching Nature’s Great Events.  After working on her Maths this morning and completing an entire chapter, Kezia expressed reluctance in going on to the next subject – Grammar followed by Poetry and Art.  My girl asked if she could take a break from Grammar for a week.  A week?!?!  I thought perhaps a day or two but a week?!  This becomes a test for me when there is a change to our routine.  Yes, I honestly admit that I’m not quite at the point of being flexible enough to make what I consider too many adjustments to what I think is already a flexible routine. Haha!  I realise that there is still too much of ‘school’ or the ‘system of school’ in my being, which every now and then rears up its head in protest to even more changes to our already flexible routine but then my inner rumblings and mumblings are stopped with the reminder that learning isn’t about always sitting down and studiously reading through a chapter on a particular topic.  I look at my daughter’s face and see a yearning within her, a yearning prompted by nostalgic feelings, to return to a time when watching nature documentaries was once her favourite pastime and passion, and I have a moment to decide on my response to this longing:  foster this very rare moment of my daughter’s initiative to revisit a favourite pastime and learn afresh in the process or stick to my routine of what I like our Mondays to look like.  A test.  A moment to make or break.

I choose the organic option.  I say, “What nature programme would you like to watch?”  She runs upstairs to her bedroom and returns with DVD sets of David Attenborough, whiles I log unto my Amazon account and browse nature documentaries.  I find quite a few of interest for our family documentary night for a later date and suggest a couple for viewing this morning but Kezia has set her heart on Nature’s Great Events.   I acquiesce and let my daughter choose what she wants to watch. She’s happy and having been flexible, I’m content 😉  Really, I am, believe me.  This is the joy of home-educating.  A constant reminder that it’s not just about getting ‘work’ done but about the joy of learning, by whichever means.

Posted in David Attenborough, Earth, Geography, Nature's Great Events, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Between Us – A Mother/Daughter Relationship

The highlight of my day today is ‘just between us‘.  I’ll explain in a bit but first today was one of those normal, life gets-in-the-way busy days of doing one thing to the next and when I look back on the day, I wonder how I had the energy to do all that I did without crashing at any time considering the fact that I had a night of interrupted sleep, which meant less sleep last night.

Azkarah had a fun-busy day today.  Sports Club was back on after a few weeks off, and Azkarah enjoyed getting back into Sports with her fellow home-ed friends.  After Sports Club, she had an hour and a half play-date with a friend of hers, whose mum I give piano lessons to.  She and her friend hadn’t seen each other for a quite a few weeks, so they were really happy to get some time together this afternoon.

Owing to my unavailability this morning, my oldest, on the other hand, knuckled down to some independent work starting off with Conquer Maths, then Geography followed by a German lesson via a Skykpe video call with a teacher from italki.  She has 2 German native speakers with whom she has ongoing Skype video calls.  She then went on to do her Creative Writing Gamed Academy class.

Following my piano lesson and the play-date, I rushed off to keep an appointment with my personal trainer at our local gym.  There I endured an hour of pure torture!  Well, no, it wasn’t really torture.  It was a workout, as my PT was quick to remind me, a W-O-R-K-O-U-T.  He asked me what the point of training was if not to strengthen and build up one’s muscles.  Good question 😉  It was good, all good…well…erm..except for the treadmill where the torture really did happen….for 20 solid minutes.  But, I digress…I’m supposed to be sharing about our learning journey not about the joys and pains of life at the gym.

Just Between Us
My oldest is going through puberty and all that comes with it.  You would think that having gone through puberty myself I would understand my daughter’s highs and lows, and feel a strong sense of kinship with her but to be honest, I think I can honestly admit that I’m clueless most, if not all, of the time.  Pathetically sad, right?  Well, maybe.
It’s always been my dream and wish that I would have a close and intimate relationship with my girls, and that there wouldn’t be any distance between us.

However, to have an intimate relationship [with anyone] (a) takes time, (b) needs to be nurtured, (c) requires a level of trust, honesty and openness without which there really is no foundation for a relationship.
In my desire to have an intimate and close relationship with my oldest, in addition to the points above, I overlooked one very important thing:  PUBERTY.  Yep!  For those of us for whom puberty and all that it entails is a distant memory in the far off past, it can be quite challenging understanding what exactly our kids are going through, especially in this day and age where they are exposed to too many ‘things’ too young, too early and don’t quite yet have the emotional and mental maturity to deal with everything that comes their way.  They feel misunderstood, not listened to, isolated, insecure, embarrassed, ashamed, etc.
I’ve felt a distance between my daughter and me for some months now and haven’t quite known how to bridge the gap between us.  I am conscious that she has a need but I often misread her needs and am prone to “give a long sermon” rather than to simply listen to her, really listen to what she says to me….well, when she uses words….because some of the time she speaks through her eyes but I never quite did learn the art of eye-reading 😉

So, in sudden desperation, towards the end of last year, I was inspired to inspire my daughter to write me a letter as a way to communicate with me, as she seemed to find it difficult to open up to me face-to-face.  I explained to her how in the beginning of her dad’s and my relationship with each other, we had communicated a lot by email and our hearts really were knit together in a way that probably wouldn’t have happened had we been face to face.  I, personally, find it easier to communicate by letter/email than face-to-face, as I’m more able to express my feelings in a more thorough way.
My daughter took my suggestion on board and indicated that a letter would be forthcoming before the end of the year, and when there was no sign of it, I tried (so hard, I really did) not to prod or push or drop hints in a questioning manner about when to expect her letter.  I’m afraid I did fail on those counts!

Anyhow, last week I happened upon a book on Amazon whiles doing a search for a different themed book altogether, and the idea of the book appealed to me very much, as it was along the lines of letter-writing.  The title of the book really grabbed my attention so much so that I ordered it – Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms – written by a mother-daughter team.
The book arrived today and just before sitting down to share this post, Kezia and I read through the introductory word from both the daughter, who was in Grade 8 (Year 9) at the time of the writing and publishing of the book,  and from the mother – 2 perspectives on the reason for the journal, and how after about 5 years of journaling the relationship between mother and daughter has strengthened in its intimacy and communication.
I was choked up with emotion as I read out loud the introductory word, and felt that this was finally the answer to prayer as well as an answer to my deepest heart’s desire to really get to know my daughter, to understand her, to be there for her, to make time to connect with her and so much more.

The journal is laid out in a way that enables both mother and daughter to begin their journey of building a relationship that is based on trust and honesty, and that is nurtured with time.
There are some printed suggestions – questions for both mother and daughter to answer, or statements to make, there are blank pages for both mother and daughter to write about whatever they each feel compelled to write about.

I believe this begins a journey of mother-daughter exploration, one that both Kezia and I are excited about.  May the Lord truly bless this journey!

P.S.  Kezia’s letter to me was delivered to my bed last night, and I read it just before falling asleep.  Talk about timely!

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New Beginnings!

It’s a new year, with new beginnings!  Yes, it has been ages since I last blogged and as much as I am tempted to moan about that fact and have a whinge on here, I’m not going to give in to that temptation.  Life always gets in the way of one’s best intentions.  The most important thing is to keep running the race (of life, of home-schooling, etc) and not to look back with regrets, not think about all the things that could have been done and weren’t done at such and such a time.  Just as there are the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn (Fall) and Winter, so also there are the seasons of life.  Life has its cycles.  The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible sums up very well about there being a time for different things and this is a good reminder to me, that there is a time for everything, and as much as I would have loved to have blogged these past 2 years, it just wasn’t possible but I can blog today.  I can share about my day today, and not allow myself to have regrets about my inability to blog in the past.


So, today was our first day back to a somewhat structured routine.  Last year, and specifically last term was a full on term for my oldest, who was enrolled in several online classes on CurrClick.com, making for more independent study and leaving me free to pursue other interests.  But, in the midst of what was becoming a busy lifestyle there was always that longing to be more involved with my kids’ learning but I honestly didn’t know how to juggle everything in a way that allowed me to be involved with their learning, so currclick and other online resources took over and took my place, and home-ed activities happily occupied my middle daughter’s time as well as several play-dates, and as much as my girls have enjoyed their online classes and extra/home-ed curricular, all these other things really couldn’t and can’t take the place of an involved parent, not to mention the fact that my oldest daughter was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of studying and assignments involved with her online studying.


So, this term the decision has been to free up my mornings, and to be available to learn alongside my girls as well as to facilitate their learning, and for my other commitments (like going to the gym, working on my online business, housework) to be met outside of those times.  And today started off to a good start.
Kezia and I sat down to get back into our study of Poetry.  We’re using a wonderful book by Gervase Phinn titled ‘Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom’, and have been working our way through this book for a little over a year now.  But, we both got distracted when Kezia was reviewing all the poems she’s written in the last year, and as she shared with me a more recent one she’d written on cats, she longingly expressed how she wished she could learn how to draw a cat properly because all her recent attempts have fallen short of her own expectations.  She then went on to say how she would love to study English Language with Art at university so then I replied that she could start taking online classes geared towards advanced students and recommended Coursera, so we browsed their online catalogue to see what we could find.  Our searches veered off more towards “Art Drawings”, “Art Skills”, “Learning to draw”, etc but nothing came up that matched her interest.  I then suggested we do a search on Khan Academy.  By this time, it was clear that what Kezia was really interested in was on how to draw a cat.  But despite several searches on Khan Academy we couldn’t find how to draw a cat 🙂 or anything else for that matter, so finally I suggested good old and reliable YouTube.  Ping!  We hit the jackpot!  A simple search of “How to draw a cat” brought up several results, and we picked this one: How To Draw a Cat, and our home-schooling took an unexpected and impromptu turn.  I told Kezia to get her sketch pad, and follow the tutorial.  She was surprised at my suggestion as she thought we had to be getting into Poetry study, and that for me is the joy of home-educating without a fixed schedule.  I followed and facilitated my child’s learning this morning, and she had a fun time drawing a cat, although being such a perfectionist, she wasn’t impressed with her drawing whiles the rest of her family ooohed and aaahed at her it.  After about 40-50 minutes (with interruptions – the video is 34 minutes long), Kezia was done with her pencil drawing of a cat….voila!

A Cat

We carried on with our Poetry, and learned about ‘Riddle Poems‘, and here are a couple out of 5 that Kezia created:

I come in different colours.
I help you use your computers and laptops.
Sometimes I need a tail and sometimes I do not.
Laptops do not always need me, but computers do.
What am I?

I sit on your tables.
I do not bathe.
I give your mouth many tastes.
I live in cool places.
And when left out too long
I send out overwhelming smells,
Attracting small critters to me.
What am I?

After Poetry, Kezia did some independent self-motivated studying and then rounded up her learning with her first week of session 3 of Creative Writing: A World of Imagination on Gamed Academy.  Gamed Academy is a fun way of learning for Minecraft lovers, and we were introduced to it the beginning of 2016.

With Azkarah, we took a more slow approach as she is getting over a bad bout of the flu, which she caught last week and which totally wiped her out.  She missed her Home-ed Science and Drama sessions today, but that’s ok.  She had a much needed lie-in.  Once she was up and awake, we covered a lesson from ‘First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind‘, Level 1, whiles Kezia worked on her ‘cat’ 😉 and I read aloud to her the first chapter from ‘A Child’s Introduction to the World‘.  This is a book I purchased a long while ago but never got into it with either of my girls but felt that today was the right time to begin our journey in this book.  It is so appropriate for Azkarah, as the chapters are all short and sweet with lots of pictures, and I look forward to our journey through this book.

It is late…I must head on to bed as tomorrow is yet another day with more servings waiting to be dished out.
I end with the portion about ‘A time for everything’ from Ecclesiastes as a reminder to myself and to you, that everything is as it should be, and to have no regrets but to take each day at a time at a pace that is comfortable to each of us.

There is no rush. Just be, breathe, live, love, laugh, be happy, overcome, dance, twirl, skip,…….

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, verses 1 – 8

1 For everything there is a season, And a time for every purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to seek, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away;

7 A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to be silent, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.

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2013 US Trip – Part 2

Wisconsin Winter Family Time


Getting ready for winter ‘cuzzies’ photo-shoot.


Come on, cuzzies!




One more lick






Kezia’s 10th birthday celebration with her cousins. What a real treat that was for her!


Say ‘cheese’.


Hmmm…delicious cupcakes


Thanks to Grandma for the beautiful, big and delicious cake!










Girl cousins


Boy cousins


Last night together 🙁


All together!

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Last day in Wisconsin.  A picture of Mark next to the outdoor thermometer showing just how cold it was!!


Time to head back home to England. Tirzah leading the way 😉

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