Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Unit Study on China and Japan

We discovered Unit Studies six months into our home educating adventure. As many new to home education do, I had purchased a packaged curriculum - a regimented, fill in the blanks workbook approach and it was soon evident that it was not working for our first son who was a sensory hands on learner... he needed some action!
I found out about Unit Studies on a Alaskan home educator's website. I read her articles with a growing sense of excitement and utilised her Unit Study on the five senses. What a difference it made to my son's learning experience! He loved making a mask with a huge tongue and labeling the different taste areas and playing a ' Guess the smell' game'.To see him so happy and motivated to learn, rather than in tears and expressing boredom and frustration over having to complete yet another page in the workbook was all I needed to ditch the curriculum and we adopted the Unit Study approach without any further hesitation.

Unit Studies are a way of integrating different subjects under a common theme. Activities are hands on and multi- sensorial. Reading, writing and even maths can be incorporated but Unit Studies are particularly suited to science, geography and history topics. Multi- level teaching is possible, as many of the activities can be adapted to suit different age groups and you can upgrade the requirements for older students.

There are many published Unit Studies available to purchase and many are available to download for free on the net but as I had experience in writing teaching plans and objectives (As an occupational therapist I used to run a Lifeskills Programme for people with severe learning disabilities) I was confident I could plan and write my own units for my own children.

Other home educators are usually surprised to find that I plan my own curriculum and write my own Unit Studies but there are so many resources out there to help you put together a teaching plan, so many art and activity books and even everyday household items, that will give you ideas. I start with a theme and initially brainstorm... what do we need to know about China and Japan? Geography, history, culture, food, language. I then go to the books, visit the library, surf the net and begin to write down ideas for reading, writing, art, cooking, and any other activities that I think we may be able to integrate into the unit.

Books and resources I used for our Unit Study on China and Japan


So here it is, our Unit Study on China and Japan. It is divided into two sections...we studied each country separately and then compared what we had learned, what were the similarities and what were the differences both in the past and today. This Unit is from 2005 and in recent years most people will be aware of the growth in China's manufacturing industries.This could be a good research topic for an older student. My children were between the ages of 5 and 12 when we undertook this unit, so it is essentially a primary level unit but could easily be adapted for early high school students too.

You are welcome to use this Unit Study in your own home education programme but I would appreciate it, if you acknowledge me as the author and source ( eightacresofeden.com) and do not copy out the goals for educational review purposes ( if you are required to submit written outcomes to an authority) I have spent a long time writing these units, they are my own work and in the future I may consider adapting them for publication.


Chinese Whispers/I'm turning Japanese


Introduction

During this Unit students simultaneously study China and Japan. Exploring two countries side by side gives them the opportunity to compare and contrast many different aspects of Chinese and Japanese life.... people wear silk and drink tea in both of these countries but everyday life can be very different and the opportunities for Japanese people are far greater.
This is very much a hands on unit, as there are many oriental arts that can be attempted such as origami, creating Chinese paper lanterns, making sushi, learning to use chopsticks. The Chinese Whispers' unit culminates in a Chinese dinner party and the 'I'm turning Japanese!' unit in a traditional style Japanese tea party which the students set up and participate in.

I have included the teaching objectives for the China Unit. Many of these objectives apply for the Japan Unit. Have the student locate Japan on the map, name its islands, etc. Describe its industries and technologies. An added requirement for this unit would be to describe the Japanese tea ceremony and its importance to Japanese culture. You could also examine housing and design, temples and architecture, gardens and traditional flower arranging. The scope for actvities is endless.... think of the activities that will most interest and stimulate your children. One child could try making a kite, another might want to try their hand at Ikebana or bonsai. Younger children may enjoy creating a Japanese garden on a tray...using pebbles and creating patterns, making models of temples and miniature water features...use your imagination!

Teaching Objectives for China

Geography

Locate China on the world map or globe
1. Name at least four neighbouring countries
2. On a blank map, name and locate the four major rivers that flow through China
3. On a blank map, locate and trace the route of the Great Wall of China
4. Describe the flag and explain its symbols

Agriculture, Industry and Technology

1. State at least five different Chinese inventions and for at least two of these, give details of the impact of these inventions on the rest of the world.
2. Name at least two agricultural crops and for one of these, give a brief description of scale of production, land suitablity and environmental impact.

Wildlife

Name at least five animals that are native to China and for at least two of these give a description of the animal, its habitat and status i.e is it a threatened species?

Language

1. Count to ten in Mandarin or Cantonese

2. Write out the Chinese characters for these numbers

3. Learn some simple greetings such as hello, how are you and goodbye.

Politics, Religion and Christianity (for Christian home educators)

1. Name the major political party that rules China, explain the basis it operates on and state some of the implications for the people that must live under its rule.
2. Name two traditional religions practiced in China and give a short description of each.
3. Name two Christian missionaries to China and for one of these give an oral narration of their story.

Culture

1. Describe the typical Chinese dress of a worker, a farmer, school children and the formal wear of dignitaries.
2. Describe Chinese food, making reference to typical foods, cooking methods and regional variations.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST (Having also completed your study of Japan)

Discuss the similiarities and differences in the above mentioned areas. For example, name the inventions that Japan borrowed from China and state how the Japanese developed and improved these inventions.


Teaching Activities

Language arts

Read aloud Visit the library to find books about China to read aloud at the commencement and during the course of the unit.

A good book for younger children is 'Every body Cooks Rice' by Norah Dooley, a Scholastic book which has a short, delightful story about a child who visits his neighbours; it introduces the cultures that eat rice (not just Asian countries) and contains recipes for each of the countries featured.

Christian home educators will want to read aloud stories of missionaries such as Gladys Aylward and Hudson Taylor. The Trailblazers series for children and the Christian Heroes Then and Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge published by Emerald Books and available from most Christian book retailers, both have excellent biographies on different missionaries who went to China and accompanying study questions in the Trailblazer books and separate study units available for some of the Benges books.

Have older children write their own biography of one missionary or person from Chinese history

Try to locate a copy of the movie 'The Inn of Sixth Happiness" starring Ingrid Bergman. It is about the life of Gladys Aylward. Once, all of England knew of Gladys Aylward, today she is virtually unknown, even to Christians.

Art and Craft/Cooking

Some suggestions for suitable creative activities. Again visit the library for books, you will likely find books with ideas for celebrating festivals that may have instructions for making

Kites and Streamers The Chinese are said to have invented kites, many craft books have instructions for simple kites made from paper and bamboo. Paint a dragon on the kite for a more authentic Chinese kite!A traditional style Japanese Carp streamer made by my son from tissue paper. This streamer decorated our family room window for a while! Carp streamers are flown on 'Boys' Day in Japan. The carp swims against the current of a stream and symbolizes strength and perseverance.

Chinese Paper Lanterns made from textured paper, decorated with glitter, a simple but effective activity

Chinese Silhouettes Paper and scissors are all that is required for this activity

Art work ... Wax Relief work. A simple design of fireworks drawn in wax crayon is washed over in watercolours using a sponge. This is very effective, especially when done in shades of red and orange. This is one of my older children's efforts... a tree set against an oriental sunset!

Wax relief art creations by my younger children depicting fireworks
Peg dolls using fabric with an oriental design or scraps of silk create costume dolls for both China and Japan. Use ribbon and braid to trim, black wool for hair and felt pens to draw oriental features for the faces. Old fashioned wooden 'dolly' pegs can be found in most craft stores.

Paper fans Embellish tissue paper with Chinese designs before pleating, glue wooden ice block sticks to alternate folds to create a more elaborate fans.

Origami .. a must do activity for the Japanese unit. We sourced authentic origami papers from Japan for this activity. A clear instruction book is a necessity! My children were better at it than me and this became a favourite rainy day activity for months afterwards (and still is!)





Chinese Calligraphy We used this activity to learn the Chinese numbers and decorated the fans and lanterns that the children created with the characters

Haiku Traditional Japanese poems that have a total of 17 syllables and usually three lines. The first line has 5 syllables, the second 7 and the third 5. The first two lines describe the subject and the third its essence. Nature is a common subject for Haiku. This is a great language arts activity for this unit.

Haiku by my children with an Aussie twist!

The first poem reads
'Goanna climbs high
Up a tree to sun bake
Claw marks leave a trail'

and the second...
'Snake slithers along
river bank traps water rat
down small hole'


Costumes and dress ups. If you decide to have a Chinese meal at the close of the unit involve the children in planning. Will you have costumes.... visit the op shops to find old dressing gowns and even Oriental dresses. Or borrow mum and dad's authentic silk dressing gowns from Japan as my children did!

Cooking Try to include at least one cooking session for each country. Use authentic sauces and spices and ingredients for a stir fry rather than pre- prepared sauces out of a jar! Have a go at making dumplings or perhaps you know a Chinese person in your community who would be prepared to teach a small class. To save you lots of work for a banquet invite friends to a bring and share 'Chinese meal' at your home. Use the artwork you created during the unit to decorate the house. String up paper lanterns and decorate the table in Oriental style. We used a black and red colour scheme... red candles on black oriental style holders, pleated paper napkins to resemble fans and served food in bowls and used chopsticks! Of course for the Japanese unit you should have a go at making sushi... lots of fun for younger children too!

For a traditional style Japanese Tea Ceremony you may wish to research the etiquette and process of taking tea. The 7 principles of 'The Way of Tea' are
1. Make a satisfying bowl of tea
2. Lay the charcoal so the water boils efficiently
3. Provide a sense of warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer
4. Arrange the flowers as though they were in the field
5. Be ready ahead of time
6.Be prepared incase it should rain
7. Act with utmost consideration towards your guests

We took our tea outside... sipping on green tea from small cups with no handles. The girls enjoyed creating 'natural' flower arrangements for the table or rather mat on the ground as we knelt down on cushions for a more authentic feel! This was in the days before blogs so I'm sorry to say I have no photos! Wish I had taken some!

Geography and Social Studies

Colour in printouts of the flags of China and Japan

Label a printout of maps showing provinces, islands, major cities and rivers

Lots of printouts can be found on the web, we subscribed to enchantedlearning.com and this was money well spent as I used lots of their resources for various units.

As you come to the end of your unit on the respective countries begin to assemble project folders to hold the work or make lap books. We made a lapbook and a paper book for each country and arranged the work sheets, maps, and flags . We used pictures from travel brochures and school project books from newsagents to create collages and decorate the lapbooks. Glue in artwork such as the origami creations. I really find it is worth while spending some time to display the child's work in an attractive manner. A lap book or folder will become a useful resource for future reference and you may use the information and ideas again if you have younger children still to commence their formal education.


The Front Cover of the Lap book on Japan


The front cover of our book on Japan. The Japanese kimono figure is one of the book marks we made

Resources
In addition to the books and resources I have mentioned thus far, there are other books which I found indispensable for this unit. Now I am not too fond of the tribal mask on its front cover but setting that aside, this book 120 Great History Projects published by Hermes House contains lots of ideas and step by step instructions with photographs to create all sorts of historical models, costumes, games and culinary dishes. The instructions for the Japanese carp streamer are to be found in this book. It is divided into four sections 'Houses and Homes', 'Fashion Accessories', Science and Technology' and 'Customs, Arts and Entertainment'. I have used many of the ideas from this book in our history units.

A similar book 'The Illustrated History Encyclopedia Great Empires and Discoveries' published by southwater contains more information but also includes creative activity ideas to bring history alive. Incidentally, Hermes House also has a '150 Great Science Experiments' volume which is one of my favourite primary science resources. Love the photographic instructions in these books!

In addition to checking out books from your local library (check publishing dates), you may wish to use Lonely Planet guides for up to date information. Older Reader's Digest and TIME books usually have lots of colour pictures and even if the information is dated you could cut out the pictures for pasting into project books and decorating folders and lapbooks. Look out at garage sales and second hand bookstores for cheap geography books and old editions of 'National Geographic'. Travel agents may be able to give you last years brochures on Asia, if you ask in advance.

And of course there is always the internet! A world wide resource at your fingertips!

I do hope you have found this information about Unit Studies helpful, particularly, if you are planning a Unit on China or Japan. I would love to hear from other home educators too, about the types of activities they have found to be a success when studying other countries. There is so much scope... for other geography units we made salt dough maps and flags on skewers which were a huge hit in this house. My children have never forgotten the names and borders of South American countries and as a result my daughter ( she was about 7 at the time) knew the answer to the $64000 dollar question about neighbouring South American countries on 'Who wants to be a Millionaire' which the poor guy got wrong, she was practically shouting at the screen! Oh if only, geography had been this much fun at school!

With love and joy,
Ann



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How Creative Home Learning inspired a love of Asia

My daughter with her favourite geography book in her very special Oriental style dress. Whenever she wears this dress the compliments flow!


When I asked my daughter what she would like for her eleventh birthday her response was swift, 'The Asia Book! You know, the Lonely Planet one, that we saw in Dymocks.' I then asked her how we should celebrate her birthday that year. 'I would like to go out for a meal at a restaurant - maybe Thai or Vietnamese, I would like to taste some different Asian food!'
This may seem to be an unusual request for an eleven year old girl, when most girls her age are obsessed with pop idols such as 'Hannah Montana' and the 'Jonas Brothers' but I was not surprised. For her ninth birthday party she had requested a Chinese theme and she was thrilled to be involved in organizing a Chinese banquet at our home. We invited several other families and enjoyed Chinese food around an Asian inspired table. Even her birthday cake was decorated in Oriental style with red chopsticks and the Chinese character for the number nine embellishing the top.

I recently asked my daughter who were the people who inspired her the most. She named Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lottie Moon, Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward and Eric Lidell. Why Eric Lidell? I asked her; 'Because he gave up the dream of more Olympic gold medals to go to China.' (Remember the movie 'Chariots of Fire?')
Most of my daughter's heroines (and heroes) were ordinary people like herself who had a passion for Asia, and in particular, China, which is the country she finds most fascinating. This special interest was stimulated by a Unit Study we undertook in 2005 when she was eight years old but I was already aware of her interest in other countries three years prior.

The front cover of a home made book on China created for our Unit Study


When she was five we took her to her first missions conference at the church we were attending - together with the rest of our children. We were the only ones who had brought their children along. As we took up our seats, people kept tapping me on the shoulder 'You can take the children out the back if you want' one lady informed me. She seemed very surprised when I told her that the children were there to listen and learn and I wanted them to be 'missions minded' from an early age. I had taken along some books for the children to look at - children 's atlases and picture books on the countries that were to be featured at the conference. As each country and the mission that the church supported was presented, I opened up the maps at the relevant page and whispered explanations from the talks that were being delivered.
My five year old daughter was the one most captivated, she kept staring at the flags of India, Indonesia, Russia and Turkey on the walls, gave her full attention to the slide shows and when she went missing during the lunch break we found her following around one of the missionaries from East Timor! He knew her by name and paid her special attention during the rest of the conference.

From that time onwards, I knew that geography was destined to be her favourite subject but I did not realize just how much she would fall in love with the continent of Asia!
Our home education is highly personalized. I design and write my own unit studies and do not rely on packaged curriculum or workbooks, except for some core subjects such as maths and grammar. I was well aware that interest in a subject leads to a quicker grasp of information and retention of knowledge. The simple unit I assembled on China and Japan which examined the similarities and differences between these two Asian countries would be the spark that lit the flame and start a blazing fire. My daughter's love of all things Asian has never waned and four years later she still remembers many of the facts we learned about these countries. She also, never forgot how to count to ten in Chinese, the only language component I expected at that time, as it was really only designed to be an introduction to Chinese and Japanese culture.



Since that time, my daughter has sought to learn as much as she can about Asian countries, hence her request for 'The Asia Book', and it is her dream to one day travel to Asia, to visit China, Japan and Vietnam. She hopes to meet the people, taste the food and experience the culture.
She loves to listen to and read stories about missionaries who went to China such as Hudson Taylor and Gladys Aylward. Once upon a time everyone in Britain knew who Gladys Aylward was, she was regarded as a national hero. A parlour maid born at the start of the twentieth century, she travelled alone to China with two suitcases, a teapot and a saucepan! She had many adventures but her most daring feat was the rescue of a hundred children from a battle zone in which she led them over a mountain top to safety. My daughter loved this story which we read during the unit and was thrilled when we later watched the movie 'The Inn of Sixth Happiness' starring Ingrid Bergman who played the role of Gladys... it is well worth watching and is available on DVD.

The Unit Study was the most structured part of the learning in which I was involved. Once the flame of learning was lit, I continued to provide fuel - as many resources as I could find, not only history books, story books and atlases but also documentaries, travel shows featuring Asia and Chinese cooking shows (e.g Kylie Kwong's programme) - anything which would further her knowledge and deepen her interest.

I had a strong conviction in my heart that she should learn a Chinese language but now I was stuck. How on earth was I was I going to teach her? The only foreign language I was familiar with, was Spanish having taken this subject at school for five years. We had tried a stint at home at learning Spanish but I could only remember a few phrases and some everyday words and I simply could not roll my R's, no matter how hard I tried!

Which really does prove that you need to apply what you learn in everyday life, i.e speak Spanish to other people on a regular basis, otherwise you learn just for the sake of learning (because a language was mandatory in my case) or to pass the exam and when it is over you can promptly forget what you were taught. This does not just apply to languages, so many topics I covered at high school such as calculus and physics are now mysteries to me, even some of the subjects I had to give presentations on during my training to become an Occupational Therapist, such as the nerve pathways of the arm, I can no longer recall. This is why I carefully consider each topic and determine whether it is going to benefit each individual child in the future, before incorporating it into their studies.

Knowing that a Chinese language could be of great value to my daughter one day as she follows her dream. I began to give consideration to the ways and means in which I could fit this subject into our home learning programme. Then, a most amazing thing happened. We were at the library when she excitedly brought me a leaflet. Mandarin lessons for primary school children!
The classes were being held locally by a Chinese lady who teaches English to Chinese students. I knew I had to ring up and enquire. I discussed this opportunity with my husband and we decided that we would find the money for her to attend. We knew this was not a fleeting interest and as long as she applied herself and was diligent in completing the homework required we would pay for her to go.




She has attended five lessons so far and is loving them. Mandarin is a difficult language to master with so many different tones, its Pin Yin system. For example, the word for mother is 'Ma', pronounce this incorrectly and you could call your mother a horse! It also means flax and scold! To hear my daughter greeting the teacher and saying goodbye in Mandarin is just delightful! She is also learning Chinese calligraphy and the teacher introduces Chinese culture into the lessons too.

I do not know where this interest will take her... perhaps, it will take her across the sea to China. I do hope she receives the opportunity one day to visit the countries she is so enamoured with.
I am certain of one thing- when you give a child the freedom to pursue their interest, (without over indulging them or allowing it to become an unhealthy obsession) they learn to love learning. The further along the journey I go, the more I am convinced that 'delight-directed' learning works. There are no pleas of 'Do we have to do this?', rather it is 'Can I order in some more books from the library?' 'Can we try this type of food sometime?' 'Can we go to that exhibition? (No, it's in Sydney!) and 'Please mum, can I go to Mandarin lessons?' I wish you could have seen my daughter's excitement when we were able to grant her this request!

With the emphasis on individual needs and aspirations, I am able to focus on what is being achieved. I do not need to sit her down and ask her to take a test to see if she has learned anything. The information is spontaneously shared, I see the progress in real life, as the desire to expand her knowledge and skills becomes ever more apparent.



If you are at the beginning of your home education journey (I prefer the word education to schooling - there is a big difference!) and perplexed at what to teach or how to teach the different subjects, I would encourage you to focus on your child's interests and use them as your tool for motivation. Perhaps your son is fascinated by insects - give him lots of time to observe them in the garden. Is he a reluctant reader? Leave books about critters and nature magazines with bright pictures and text lying around the house. Buy him a bug catcher or assemble a backyard explorer kit. Make 3-D models of insects for a mobile to display in his bedroom. Encourage him to write and practice his drawing skills by making up his own field guide. When he is older his interests may change. This has happened for each of my children -when my 12 year old son became more interested in computers than reptiles ( I was somewhat relieved when he used his savings to buy his own computer rather than a pet snake and tank!) I gave him the permission to pursue his interest and desire to learn how to program, provided that he also kept studying maths and improving his English. I added in the requirement of physics in year 9. Today, he is 16 and is studying for his 'Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer studies via the Open University and he is coping admirably with the demands of academic online learning - full marks so far on his first two assignments. I am so proud of him. What did I do to prepare him for university learning two years early? He was the reluctant reader, the boy who would spend hours watching a stick insect, who I encouraged to build bird tables and record the birds who visited in a nature journal. I never taught him algebra - he taught himself and as for writing academic essays, he researched that just prior to signing up for his degree!

Girls like frogs too! Hands on learning is a huge part of our home education

I never intended this blog to be exclusively for home educators. As my header states, it is all about raising beautiful children in a beautiful place and I will continue to weave in a variety of topics.... including homemaking - designing a family friendly home, sharing organizational ideas - what works for us as a bigger than average family and closer to Christmas lots of creative stuff for those who love to celebrate in style! And of course showing you the delights of living close to nature in a forest setting. But it was embarking on the journey of home education that helped me realize that I was raising beautiful children and by teaching them myself, I was privileged each and every day to see their inner beauty unfold, their abilities growing, their gifts flourishing. We did not require for someone else to inform us of their potential, we were close by to recognize it!
Home education affords me the gift of time - to sow good things into the lives of my children, the seeds of character, friendship, learning, dedication to faith and family and therefore I will, from time to time, be compelled to write about our journey and the type of activities we undertake as a home educating family. God gave me this dream and I am living my dream! He also provided the strength to commit to the journey and for the challenges we would face along the way. He has also granted me the desire to 'finish the race' and inspire others who have also chosen this path. I want to tell them 'It is so worth it! Don't give up! Persevere! High school years ahead? You can do it!'

Learning good things such as making bread starts at a young age!

I'd love to provide some inspiration for home educators and parents who love to see their children undertake creative learning. I have an archive of folders and projects containing work and resources we gathered over the past ten years. There are the unit studies I wrote for different subjects and I would love to share some of those ideas with you, especially if you are coming to the realization that there are alternatives to formal packaged curriculum (which has its role to play sometimes) and the workbook/textbook styles of learning. I hope you can glean inspiration for your own children's learning and even if you are not a home educator, perhaps ideas for school projects and assignments that your children have to undertake at home.

In the next post, I will share with you the Unit Study on China and Japan which inspired my daughter so much. There are written teaching objectives, activity ideas and resources we discovered when we studied these two fascinating countries.
If there is anything you would like to know in regard to creative home learning and designing your own curriculum let me know. I will not be discussing legalities or philosophies as there are plenty of websites that already fulfil this role. And to reassure others, it is not my intention to tell you that you should home educate... I'm just simply sharing from our experience of what has been one great adventure!

'Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.'

William Butler Yeats

With love and joy,
Ann

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Glorious Garage Sales Part 2

Pretty dresses all in a row! All were found at garage sales

This is a follow up to my previous post 'Glorious Garage Sales'. We are up to tip number 11 which is Target affluent suburbs We have found that our best garage sale purchases were found in the more established, wealthier suburbs. I am always looking out for quality children 's clothing and it is in these suburbs that I find the designer labels. I guess parents must update their children 's wardrobes each season and buy far too many clothes - many of the items I find are like new and sometimes even unworn, as some mothers admit to me that 'grandma bought her that dress for Christmas and she didn't like it and refuses to wear it'. These are usually the prettiest of dresses that my girls love to wear and I am more than happy to pay a few dollars for a brand new dress that must have cost grandma a small fortune!
I also buy clothes for the girls which will fit them in a season or two. These lovely skirts will fit them next year. The cord skirts are by 'Seed' a top quality children 's clothing boutique. I usually cannot afford to outfit my girls in clothes from this store.




It is in the more affluent suburbs where I find my clothes; sometimes I am fortunate to come across a sale where there are whole racks of size 8-10 clothes stacked with labels such as 'Sass & Bide', 'Ralph Lauren' and 'Charlie Brown'. As the husband shakes his head and quizzes his wife on why she is 'getting rid' of so many of her clothes, I wonder too but gladly take them off her hands knowing I will wear these outfits for many seasons to come!
I do not find as many boys clothes (boys are so much harder on their clothes!) or clothes suitable for my husband but he does have some NBL baseball shirts which cost him a couple of dollars. They were in perfect condition.

You will also find that homeowners in the more affluent suburbs, not only update their wardrobes regularly but also their home's interior. We have a lovely mirror with a lead light surround in a timber frame which coordinates well with the antique washstand in our en suite bathroom. It was found at a garage sale where the owners obviously tired of the 'country look' were selling most of their home contents and they were not moving! Furniture, rugs, lamps, cushions... everything was top quality and for sale at very reasonable prices.

12. Know your prices and establish what you are willing to pay. After a while you will realize that some sellers (especially older people) over value their goods and have unrealistic price expectations. I arrive at a garage sale and check a few price tags and I know immediately whether or not the items are over-priced. If several items seem expensive, usually the rest will be too. We do not hang around or attempt to barter unless there is something we particularly want. At another sale it is apparent that the sellers were truthful when they advertised bargains and I am more than happy to pay the asking price.

Here is a guide to what I expect to pay for clothing. Prices are in Aussie dollars.

For ladies clothing $1 to $5 per item. I have paid more for designer jeans but once again you should compare prices. I paid $10 for 'Morrisey' jeans and at another sale found the seller was asking $80 for designer label jeans. Although the jeans retail for a lot more, this was a garage sale, not a recycled label store. And then there are the absolute bargains.... my 'Thomas Cook' (an Australian country clothing range) velvet jean jacket which cost me 50 cents and I used to have a gorgeous 'Allanah Hill' lambswool cardigan which I managed to splash with ink.... I was so annoyed but never mind, it only cost me a dollar!


For baby and children 's clothes from 50 cents an item up to $5 for designer label dresses. I know my chain store labels. At one sale a seller may be asking $3 per item for 'BIG W' clothing (I believe this is like Wal Mart) and then at the next sale you will find 'Pumpkin Patch' and 'Osh Kosh' for the same price. Some sellers will allow you to make bulk buys and pay less if they have a lot to sell. There is no harm in asking. When I was pregnant with the twins and informed sellers I was offered multiple items for reduced prices... I did really well!

13. Check for faults - stains and rips in clothing and linen, hairline cracks in china and pots, scratches on DVDs. Ask to plug appliances in. My current toaster and iron both top quality brands came from garage sales. I even found an ironing board to replace my old rickety, rusty one!

14. Buy for baby but beware. When we found out we were expecting twins we had given away all of our baby items... donated to the church creche before we moved to Australia! We found most of our nursery furniture at 'The Tender Centre' a second hand store where you submit written tenders. If your price is the highest and meets the sellers reserve you win the item and are obliged to buy it. We tendered on a solid cot and change table both newly painted and paid a lot less than we would for new furniture. We did buy a new mattress however.
Baby goods are one of the most popular items I see for sale at garage sales. Cots, prams, highchairs and much more. It pays to exercise caution, as not all equipment will conform to current safety standards. If you are considering buying a cot, check the base boards, distance between rails and the latch mechanism. Check its age, older painted furniture may have lead based paint. Beware of antique cots with fancy high rails that a child's clothing could become caught on, posing a strangulation risk. Best to buy these style of cots for displaying your antique doll collection rather than for baby! The same applies to high chairs and prams. Check the fold down mechanisms, brakes and straps. If you are vigilant and know your brands it will make shopping a lot easier.
I am not an advocate of baby swings, walkers (dangerous!) and other plastic contraptions to confine babies (safety gates would be the exception) I see all these 'added extra' nursery items at many garage sales and consider them to be an unnecessary expense... it's all about saving money, so don't be tempted into buying stuff that you will only use for a very short time which will clutter up your home.
At garage sales I did find a change bag (as new for $2) and a baby sling for 50 cents! I went on the net to check its price and found it was an $80 sling... what a bargain!

15. Toys can cause turmoil! I truly believe parents buy too many toys for their children and I have not fallen into the trap of buying up cheap toys from the garage sales. I do not buy soft toys which need to be washed frequently and can cause problems for children with allergies or asthma. I am wary of plastic toys in regard to the recent recalls of toys made in China, which included so called reputable brands.
But there are some toys we have found at garage sales.... bikes (check brakes and tyres) and skateboards in excellent condition. We also look out for games, puzzles and of course books! I am on the search for wooden dolls house furniture for the big beautiful dolls house complete with shingles and veranda, we were given by a neighbour.
If you are wanting outdoor play equipment, it may be worth taking a trip around the garage sales. I often see good quality outdoor toys ( ' Little Tikes slides and cars, for example) at very reasonable prices.


Books and puzzles I found at garage sales. I paid no more than $3 per item.

I also find books for me....craft, gardening and cook books too. I usually pay around $1 to 3 for books


16. Factor in the time of year and weather conditions. If it is wet on the day and there is no undercover area, some sellers will postpone but if they do have shelter and have paid for advertising they may still go ahead. You will find less buyers and hopefully more bargains.
If is wet in the lead up to the weekend there is a likelihood of less sales.
Spring is a good season for sales when many people do heir traditional spring clean and clear out their clutter. After Christmas (remember it is summer down under!) this is when people get rid of their unwanted Christmas gifts. We bought a brand new hammock for $10, an unwanted gift, it was a $100 hammock.

17. Look out for unusual hobby items that people have grown tired of and given up. I have seen lead lighting kits, woodworking equipment and complete craft room clear outs.... sewing machines, fabric, lace, scrap booking items. If you are considering taking up a hobby consider checking out the garage sales for the equipment and materials you require. We are hoping to keep bees in the near future and found a beekeepers helmet, jacket and smoker at the same garage sale where I fitted out my craft cupboard (see my post from earlier this year 'The Craft Cupboard' to see the goodies I found.) Obviously, both husband and wife were giving up their hobbies!
One of the more unusual items we found was a set of archery bows and arrows. The main bow was wooden, my husband insisted that they are very expensive to buy. The second bow was more suitable for the children and they were all excited as we debated whether to buy them. The seller then knocked $20 off his asking price and my husband and children have enjoyed practising their archer's skills in the paddock! (into a straw bale in the paddock, do not have a target yet.)

18. And finally 5 items you will always find at garage sales and should never buy new!

* foot spas... when I was pregnant with the twins and my ankles became very swollen towards the end of the pregnancy, a foot spa (purchased at a garage sale) was very soothing. However, I haven't used it since that time! They are one of those novelty electric items I am certain people only ever use once!

*Bread making machines

* Fondue sets

* Exercise and gym equipment and all manner of ab-saucers and ab-flexers purchased on the home shopping channels!

*Doughnut makers, pie makers and other gimmicky kitchen appliances. Must add here though, if you do find a slow cooker and you do not have one they are a real asset to your kitchen! I have only recently purchased one (brand new from the tender centre.... came with brand new juicer and steamer for $50) I wish I had bought one years ago!

So always remember the golden rule when you head off to the garage sales... 'Do I really need this?' Is this going to save me money? Do my children need any more toys? Does my home need any more clutter?'

I would love to hear about your garage sale adventures and your best-ever bargains and city girls, how on earth do you choose from so many sales? At least you will not have the experience of being hopelessly lost on a road which leads up a mountain and hopefully you will not back over and flatten a rural mailbox as my husband did once (drawbacks of vans) - I am so pleased it was not me in the driver's seat! We could have sped away, no witnesses but we were very honest and went and told the owners or should I say I sent my husband to do this as I knew they would have suspected the wife of being the culprit! We promised to buy them a new mailbox and went to Bunnings to find a replacement, thankfully, it was a very basic mailbox. We returned with the new mailbox and the people were very surprised and appreciative but that was the end of the garage sales for us that day!

I do believe there are blogs dedicated to the subject of treasure finding and rummaging at garage sales, markets and op shops, so I'm off to check a few out!

Until next time.

With love and joy,
Ann

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Glorious Garage Sales!

Just a few of my glorious garage sale finds!


My favourite item of clothing in my wardrobe is a skirt, it is a 'Lisa Ho' design (a renowned Australian designer), it is long and black, beautifully cut, it falls in tiers trimmed with cream antique style lace - I love it and wear it often. I have lost count of the number of compliments that I have received when wearing this skirt, I have been stopped on the street by other women and asked where I bought my skirt! When I tell them it's a Lisa Ho, they say 'I thought it looked designer but I can't afford labelled clothing, I tell them the truth 'I bought it at a garage sale and it cost me $5!'

Garage sale glamour!
Most of my clothes are designer label and/or vintage
found at garage sales, recycled clothing stores and market stalls.
I love
to wear dresses and pretty feminine clothing.
I do wear jeans! I paid $30 for this pair by Georgio Armani. The designer jeans are always so well cut

Brocade and Lace
The ethnic dress coat is from Pakistan. I wear it over dark 'Country Road' pants which have a gold fleck through the fabric. The 'pretty in pink' top looks great with blue jeans. It is by 'Ashley Wilson'. Bot
h were found at garage sales.


We began to shop at garage sales on a regular basis about five years ago when we had to travel into our regional city centre each Saturday morning for ice skating and surf lessons. Of course, most garage sales are held on Saturdays. We soon discovered that it was not just bric-a-brac being offered for sale, people sell all kinds of stuff at garage sales - books, plants, furniture, homewares, camping gear, tools, craft materials and of course clothing even designer label clothing. It soon became a favourite family activity and it didn't take long for me to become addicted!
Garage sales should save you money and it is here I must send a warning. If you are prone to hoarding or have a weakness for collecting certain items you will find the object of your desire at garage sales be it fabric or tea cups! Garage sales could be your downfall - emptying your wallet before you even realize it. It pays to take a set amount of cash with you (you do not have to spend it all either!) and when that is exhausted do not be tempted to go to the ATM, even if you are only halfway through your itinerary.

We have saved money by shopping at garage sales. Thanks to people who are prepared to sell their unused, unwanted and unloved items for a fraction of what they originally paid, I can

*dress myself and my children in designer labels and quality clothing

*furnish my home with unique vintage pieces

*add to our extensive home library

*stock up the craft cupboard

*bring greenery into my home with potted plants

These are just some of the benefits of garage sales. It makes sense in this economic climate when family finances are being tightly squeezed to get the best value for money, you are also helping the planet by recycling, it is true that something regarded as junk by one person can become treasure to another.



Some garage sale essentials.. for me anyway!
The mobile comes in handy when I have to ring home to let my husband know I'm going to stop at a few garage sales on the way home from town!




Here are my tips and advice if you are planning a morning shopping at the garage or yard sales.

1. Go early! Most sellers will advertise an 8am start but some of the best sales start earlier at 7am or even 6am onwards! You will soon notice the regulars - the 'hoarder buyers', the second-hand dealers and those who buy to resell on ebay, they are always there first and some will buy up well-priced items in bulk before you even have a look-see!

2. Go late! It is sometimes worthwhile to visit a few garage sales around lunch time. People who are desperate to clear out their clutter or are moving and do not want to pack up their surplus will often slash their prices. We bought our current desktop computer at a garage sale, we had seen it earlier in the day (it was up and running so we knew it worked) and returned after lunch and found it unsold, we put in an offer and instead of having to pay around $1000 for a new computer to replace our laptop that had died, we paid only $150 for an 18 month year old computer with an LCD screen. It has never had a problem either!

3. Buy the newspaper and use highlighter pens to mark the sales you want to go to. Cross out the ones too far out or those that sound meagre. Combined households are usually worth visiting. Map out a route so you are not driving all over town and backtracking.

4. Take a street map or use your GPS. You will always come across a street name you don't know and some suburbs and estates are like rabbit warrens!

5. Have someone navigate! That is usually me and my husband still does not believe that I gained my map reader badge at Girl Guides! With my eldest daughter navigating last weekend, I managed to miss a turn- off on the highway. I pulled over and checked the map, it showed an alternate route from the next exit but what the map didn't indicate, was that this was a private road or that it was a narrow winding mountain road. As we climbed higher and higher, it wasn't the spectacular views of the coast that made my heart miss a beat, rather, it was the drop off on the side. Knowing that we would soon be hopelessly lost, I was fortunate to find a small patch of dirt where I was able to turn around the van ( had to do a 50 point turn mind you!) We eventually found the garage sale via the conventional road and it was truly pathetic!

So tip 6 is: Be prepared to get lost sometimes and tip 7. Be prepared to be disappointed sometimes!

8. Take plenty of change and small denominations of notes As I mentioned earlier, have a budget for your garage sale spending and do not go over it.

9. Do not buy what you do not need or cannot accommodate in your home. Another person's clutter could be yours too! I love pretty china, the English girl in me swoons when I see tea cups and sometimes complete dinner sets strewn with roses, often at very reasonable prices but I do not have a dresser to display china and my buffet unit stores our everyday tableware and my special dinner set, an anniversary gift from my husband (The Apple Bee range from the Royal Horticulture Society of England). This is the china I will choose to display on the dresser I dream of owning one day. So it is with some reluctance that I leave behind the china tea cups for someone else. Occasionally, I break my own rule of 'no china' when I find something so pretty at a price so low it would be crazy to not buy them... I will find somewhere special for these cups and I will use them for any future 'girly' events such as afternoon teas that I hold in my home.


These pretty sets were $2 each. I love the lily of the valley design


The same rule applies to furniture. My home has full length glass doors in the family/dining room and a limited number of walls to set furniture against. We always buy quality pieces, sturdy furniture that will not need replacing for many years and therefore, there are very few items of furniture that we need but when we did need to buy beds for our twin girls, we scoured the garage sales and found a matching pair of vintage iron beds in need of restoration. They cost only $15 but a lot of sanding and painting was required to restore them to their former glory. We purchased new mattresses for the girls as I am not happy to use second-hand mattresses for cots or children's beds.


The beds have matching ends.
They are an unusual size... wider than a single but shorter.
I will turn them into day beds if the girls grow too tall!
The vintage style quilt covers were found on sale at the Sheridan factory outlet.
I believe in buying quality bed linen in
classic styles...no Dora or Barbie!


10. Take a tape measure with you especially if you are searching for furniture, blinds or drapes. Write down your home's dimensions in a notebook, so if you do come across the perfect set of bookshelves, you can measure them to be sure that they will fit in your alcove. We are renovating our home having built a new extension. I knew exactly what window treatments I wanted ... a cedar blind for the bathroom and floral drapes to match the living room ones for the French doors in our new hallway. However, the budget was spent, I would have to wait but guess what, at a garage sale I found a brand new cedar blind still in its packaging. My husband was home so I called him up on the mobile and checked the window measurement. It would be a perfect fit and it only cost me $10! On the same morning at a different sale I found two sets of drapes with pencil pleats in the exact pattern for the french doors ... cost $4 a pair.



My favourite floral curtains. These are a classic rose design by Gainsborough that Spotlight has stocked for many years. I have the same drapes in the living room and hope to have the same ones on the master bedroom window. I have the matching bedlinen. I like to have the same window treatments throughout the house, as I believe it adds to the design flow and gives a sense of continuity to a home. Knowing your sense of style and what look, whether it is country, modern, ethnic or classic, will best suit your home can really help you to avoid design mistakes and save you money!

Coming soon, in my next post ' Glorious Garage Sales Part Two' - more tips and advice for getting the most out of garage sales, including ' Buying for baby - beware!' -practical advice for furnishing a nursery, a price guide for buying at garage sales and more pictures of my best buys.

Hope this has helped you so far!

With love and joy,
Ann
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Rhubarb Cake - The Way to a Man's Heart

When my dear husband suggested that we should grow some rhubarb plants in our food gardens, my response was less than enthusiastic. 'Rhubarb? Are you sure?' ' Yeah, love rhubarb!' he responded. I was not fond of rhubarb, as my memories of rhubarb went back to English school dinners. The 'dinner ladies' would serve up stewed rhubarb and custard for pudding at lunchtime, it had been boiled for so long it resembled a pink mush and tasted awful!
However, because I know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, I bought two plants and of course they grew wonderfully! My husband then suggested that I should harvest the rhubarb and make a dessert, perhaps a crumble.... memories of English school stewed rhubarb came to mind, I had to find an alternative recipe. And I did at Deb's blog - homespunliving.blogspot - a recipe for a rhubarb cake which did not require the rhubarb to be stewed first. You will have to head over to her blog for the recipe, it's ' Dorothy's Rhubarb Cake' and I can tell you it is delicious, ever so moist and will be devoured, as it was in our house. Yes, I loved it too and I have changed my mind about rhubarb! I made a second cake for morning tea today and substituted rapadura for the sugar. It turned out perfectly. I used my silicone cake pan to bake it in, makes turning out so easy.

I had some rhubarb left over and decided to add this to a batch of muffins. As the muffins take less time to bake, I decided to lightly stew the rhubarb first. They turned out beautifully, very moist and I'm pleased I used silicone muffin pans for baking them in. Here is the recipe.

Rhubarb and Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups plain or wholemeal flour
(I used my freshly milled wheat flour)
1/2 cup raw sugar or rapadura
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup coconut oil or melted butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup milk
1 cup lightly stewed rhubarb
A few tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon for topping

1. Preheat oven to 180 c

2. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix, do not over beat or your muffins will grow peaks as they bake.

3. Pour the batter into greased muffin tins or silicone pans... no greasing needed!
I have found I have better results if the mixture is runnier
- just add more milk if your batter seems too dry.

4. Top each muffin with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden brown

6. Leave to cool for a while before turning out
(muffins are very moist so take care!)

7. Sprinkle with icing sugar if you wish or just enjoy the cinnamon topping.


I have now harvested most of the stalks from my two rhubarb plants, there are enough left for one more cake and as we have decided rhubarb cake and muffins should be regular fare for morning teas, I'm going to buy more plants and have a rhubarb patch!


With love and joy,

Ann
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One Perfect Day



Mother's Day 2009 and sunshine was streaming in through the windows, a perfect day to go to the beach. We may live in a forest but we also live close to some beautiful beaches... we can choose from so many idyllic spots, it is sometimes hard to decide! As it was a special day we decided to drive further down the coast to a beach we had not yet visited. Everyone was excited, even my eldest son, as he knew this was a good surf beach. The surf boards were strapped onto the roof of the van, a picnic lunch prepared, but before we could head off a Mother's Day tradition had to be honoured! Breakfast in bed for mum of course. I enjoyed a plunger of my favourite chocolate macadamia coffee and crusty toasted sourdough bread with apricot preserves and delighted in the gifts and handmade cards my children brought to my room. My eldest daughter knows my taste well and my love of beautiful home wares. She bought me this gorgeous set of herb planters which coordinate so well with my Willow Tree Angels. I will pot up some herbs to place in them soon.



And there's more.... my gifts all came packed in a new handbag in my favourite colour green. A music CD from my son and my favourite sweet treat, a Terry's Chocolate Orange. My husband also bought me some gorgeous body lotions scented with frangipani and coconut oil. I was thoroughly spoilt! As I considered the blessings of my life.... my loving family who overwhelmed me with such generosity, I realized that God has bestowed upon me so many blessings and He thoroughly spoils me too! He has surrounded me with my favourite colour - green, the most restful of all the colours! We live in a valley which is always green; from every window, every doorway of my home I look out onto green. I will share some more photos at the end of this post of the views I enjoy every day!

On this day we were to be treated to some more glorious scenery from God' s portfolio. This is one view of the beach we arrived at. The surfers were already waiting to catch the waves.



My eldest daughter also loves to surf, both she and her brother have had quite a number of lessons from a former World Pro surfer. This has given them a lot of confidence in the water, helped them to understand the conditions and also given me an added sense of security. The waves were not too big on this day but they relished the opportunity to get out.





The younger children also took to the waves closer to the beach of course and they had a wonderful time. The twins love to take out their boards and try to copy their sister by attempting to surf!

When everyone finally came out of the water it was lunchtime and we sat down together to enjoy a picnic - croissants, salad, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, organic orange juice and for dessert, peppermint cheesecake made by my daughter for a Mother's Day treat. She also cooked dinner that evening. As we finished our picnic the clouds were starting to form and it was getting chilly. This was not a summer's day but late autumn! We would never had considered a day at the beach at this time of year when we lived in New Zealand. Australia has so many bonuses!
On the way home we stopped at a nursery and found very reasonably priced plants. We bought a pink dragonfruit, we already have a yellow one. This has to be one of the ugliest plants in my garden, resembles a deformed cactus but I have tasted the fruit and cannot wait for ours to start bearing its luscious fruit.

We had left behind the blue and the gold of the coast and half an hour later we were home. My heart always skips a beat when we reach our section of road, the road narrows and fields of green are replaced by trees and ferns. And on this forested section of road is our home tucked away among the trees, our eight acres of eden. My sanctuary, the place I love more than any other. This is the view from the kitchen door.




Of course, green is always a perfect backdrop for another photo to commemorate Mother's Day!
I hope that your Mother's Day was as perfect as mine.
Until next time,
With love and joy,
Ann



Saturday, May 9, 2009

'Her Hour of Need' - A Poem for Mother's Day


The desire to mother, protect and nurture is there from the start!
This is one of my favourite photos, one of my twins with her twins!


This is a poem I wrote a number of years ago for a Mother's Day church service. The mother in the poem is not a real person but many of the incidents were real - they happened to me and I'm sure many mothers will relate and remember - the toddler who treks in mud over the clean kitchen floor, the one you cleaned only an hour earlier! The people on your doorstep or the charity on the telephone who only want a' minute of your time'! I do apologize to those who have to knock on stranger's doors but as a new mum in a small town I found, the door to door salesmen and JWs did the rounds on a frequent basis and they always called at the most inconvenient times!

One day, I encountered a lady JW and her daughter who was very insistent (and persistent!) that I engage with her in conversation about the state of the world. I was only concerned at that stage about the state of my kitchen and my baby's nappy! Despite my interjections ' Look I have to go...' she would respond 'Oh I won't take much more of your time'. I could hear my son crying, she obviously could not but my mother's ear was well-tuned in and finally I lost my cool and told her in no uncertain terms to leave the doorstep of my home or I would call the police! It worked! She stuffed her publications back into her bag and turned on her heel with a 'How rude!' retort. Now, I do not usually respond to people in this manner, I'm usually very patient and diplomatic but on that day my strongest instincts were to just 'mother' and not give of my precious time to spend with my baby, to anyone else!


Finally - a picture of me with just one of my blessings. By the way I'm a hat girl...
I love to wear hats whenever I can!



During this same phase of my life, the days which I have to say I found harder, when it was all so new and I sometimes felt overwhelmed (People still do not believe me when I say that life is easier with six and that includes life with young twins, than when it was when I had just two... it is just that I now have experience on my side and we have trained our children to be helpful and competent in all the aspects of running a home) another caller came to my door - a vacuum cleaner salesman, he would have been no older than 17. He looked me up and down and asked 'Is your mother in?' I didn't know whether to hit him or hug him! ( What a compliment! I felt a very youthful 25 year old on that day!) My response was short and sweet as I stood on my tiptoes, folded my arms, looked him in the eye and stated emphatically 'I AM MOTHER!'

Yes, I like that title 'Mother'. So without further ado, here it is, a simple reminder to mothers to find time in their day to pray and an exhortation to us all to give mothers the honour they deserve and when appropriate, a helping hand.

Her Hour of Need

The toddler 's just walked mud on the floor
The Jehovah's Witnesses are at the door
The baby is crying, he wants his feed
This is a mum in her hour of need!

She hoped today, would simply run smooth
Because she's trying so hard to prove
That she's good at this job, her vocation, her life
A wonderful mother and loving wife

But dad just left an hour ago
In a bad mood, I'll have you know
The milk had run out, tea was black, Weetbix was dry
He didn't mean to make her cry
Drying her tears she thought
'I won't stress'
But then looked around and saw all the mess
Beds still to make, dishes to do
Jobs added up as she ran to the loo

But before she got there
A RAT A TAT TAT
'Oh no' she thought ' Who is that?'
'Good morning' they said
'I'm John, this is Fay'
'What do you think of the world's state today'
The mother smiled back at them
Her response could not wait
'Couldn't be better, marvelous, just great!'
Dejected, rejected they put Watchtowers away
And the mother returned to her stressful day

She picked up the baby and gave him his feed
Called over the toddler and started to read
All about Tigger and Winnie the Pooh
Piglet and Eeyore, Rabbit and Roo
The toddler enthralled, shouted
'Please mummy more!'
Then she remembered the mud on the floor!
Winnie the Pooh won this time around
And very soon there wasn't a sound
Two sleeping children were on her knee!

'Yipee!' the mum almost roared
Instead she whispered 'Thank you Lord'
And took some time out from her day
To talk with her God and quietly pray
For these two precious lives
Gifts from above
Hers to nurture, cherish and love
She prayed for strength, courage
These sort of things
To face the demands that motherhood brings
That God would lead her in His way
And fill her home with His peace that day

And God spoke to her spirit these words of life
You are a blessed mother and capable wife
Worth far above rubies which are precious and rare
My daughter I love you and deeply care
I sent you my Son to give you new life
And it is He who bears your pain and your strife
All your anxiety, the woes of each day
I can in this instant take away
Just cast them on Him
For He Cares for you
And right at this moment, start anew

The mother lifted her head, her heart filled with joy
Then she tenderly kissed each little boy
Tucked safe in their beds, she mopped up the floor
Till it was clean and sparkling once more
She finished her housework with time still to spare
So the evening meal she began to prepare

And into the garden, the Lord led her feet
To pick lovely freesias, their fragrance so sweet
Beauty and order had returned to her day
Because she had taken time to pray

So let's honour mothers
They are the hope for our nation
To raise a Godly generation
Encourage, support them, show that you care
Especially if you know, dad isn't there
Practically help a mum, do a kind deed
It may well be her hour of need



Dedicated to all mothers everywhere especially those celebrating today, down under!



My eldest daughter holding her baby sister.. don't forget to pray for the next generation of mothers too! And below my favourite place to be... home surrounded by my family

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY - Have a wonderful day!
With love and Joy,
Ann
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