Thursday, 13 March 2014

Day 4 - A time for new beginnings (5 Days of Spring Life-lessons}

I don't think a single person can think of spring without thinking about a newness of life. Lambs jumping about in the fields, new bulbs coming up, blossom on the trees, little shoots pushing up through the soil, cute chicks hatching from their shells.

It's a time of new beginnings.

What better time to think about making some changes, or doing something new?

There are many areas in our lives that we can think about new things.

New habits.  New hobbies.  New schedule.  New curriculum.  New books. New fun things to do.

I am going to fire out a few ideas for all of these topics, just to get you started springing into spring!

New habits

I am going out on a limb here, and suggesting EXERCISE and DIET! I briefly mentioned in another post, about doing whole30.  It's a great way to a) lose weight, b) lose inches,, c)work out if certain foods are not suiting your body and digestion, and d) getting you to think more about what you put in your mouth.  Having just finished my 30 days, I find myself being a lot more careful about what I put in my mouth, and when I did it before it helped me work out I had issues with gluten and dairy.

If you looks at these links here, here and here, it will give you enough info to give it a whirl.  It takes determination to get going, but it reaps dividends!

Then, I started, 7 days ago, as part of an effort to also get my body toned back up, a 30 day challenge for squats, and one for abs exercises.  I got these from this website.

These are the schedules I am following.  If you don't know how to do the different elements, you will find helpful videos on youtube, to make sure you are doing it correctly.

I am on day 8 (a rest! *phew*), and am still struggling to imagine how I will do *250* squats on the last day!

Maybe diet and exercise are not the new habit you need kick start - have a think, and I am sure there will be something you can begin!

New hobbies

OK, so there will be no prizes for guessing my suggestion... CROCHET!!!

It is SO simple to do, and you can make some lovely things.  Best part is, you can make things for OTHER PEOPLE!!! It's a really cost effective, yet lovely, way to make gifts for family and friends, and to pretty up your own home.

It's also great for a home-schooling parent - I can sit and crochet whilst supervising the children's school work, because it's easy to pick up and put down.

If you hop over to my crochet page, you will find links for various hints and tips on how to get started.  Again, Youtube is a great place to watch tutorials on how to do the basic stitches.

I recommend you begin with some simple granny squares, and then you can put them together and make a blanket, or a cushion!

It's quite fulfilling to pick up a new hobby, especially one where you have something you make yourself.

New Schedule

Now, this one I don't want to elaborate on too much, because it's getting its own blog post next week. 
Suffice to say I have started a new schedule with schooling.  It involves how to occupy my little tinkers whilst trying to get school work done.  It took some tweaking and adjusting to make it suit us, but when I saw that changes were needed, a new schedule was what we put in place.

Have a look at how your family operates - are there areas that are not working out how you would like in your family?  Maybe you need a new schedule? Chores?  Schooling?  Computer time? LOADS of things can benefit from having a schedule.

New curriculum

I know it's a bit of an odd time of the year to consider new curriculum.  However, I will briefly tell you again about what we went through, to let you see why I am suggesting it.  We were using a curriculum that literally had us in tears nearly every day. YES! EVERY DAY! I realised that we needed to ditch it and do something else.  the problem was, we were in October.  Not the "ideal" time to start something new, really! What I considered more important, though, was the fact that we were all miserable, and things were not working for us. It needed to end, and I needed to find something else, for the sake of our family's sanity! So, we stopped.  Stopped dead.  We went through a couple of months of doing more fun, relaxed learning, whilst I researched what we would use next.  Yes, the children were still learning.  No they didn't get "behind".  In fact, we all benefited greatly, and learnt a lot, by doing things in this way. There were no tears and tantrums, and we all felt so refreshed - especially ME! After some research, I found Tapestry of Grace, and realised it was perfect for us, as well as finding other curriculum for maths and science.

I have also, over those years, changed or added in other elements when it suited our family - and not always at the "obvious" times.

If you need to make changes now, make changes now! It is far better to change at an odd time, and have a happy homeschool, than to wait, and go through stress and agonies just because it's "not the right time".

Be confident enough to know how your family "ticks", and make changes as you need them.

I obviously highly recommend Tapestry of Grace, and if you want to know more about it, just hop on over to their website, or get in touch.

New Books

I don't think I can recommend a book, when we are thinking about the change of seasons, without it being THIS one.  I read this book just over 4 years ago, and it was just the breath of fresh air I needed, when I was going through so many reconsiderations about how we educated. Sally is superb writer, and is brilliant at getting to the heart of the issues in hand.

This is what the overview is for the book..

"Your life as a mom is a whirlwind of changing seasons that can just as easily exhaust as exhilarate you. Sit down, take a few moments, and allow yourself to be refreshed and encouraged by a few stories, insights, and lessons from a friend. Sally Clarkson opens her heart within the pages of this timeless classic, sharing what she has learned as a homeschooling wife and mother -- about herself, her children, and her Lord. Revised and expanded for today's moms, Seasons of a Mother's Heart includes four all-new essays by Sally, one for each season of a family's life, from the renewal of spring and the response of summer to the resolve of fall and the reflection of winter. So step in out of the whirlwind, pour a cup of tea, and take a deep breath of the Spirit with Sally."

You can purchase it at many mainstream retailers, including Amazon.

Your heart will be encouraged and blessed by reading it.

As a quick aside, if you like fiction, and you like a good storyline with a Christian backbone, try Dee Henderson's books.  I LOVE them, and eagerly get my hands on every new book she releases. Her story lines are great, and her characters are engaging.  You can either start with her stand alone stories, or begin with "The Negotiator", which is book 1 in a series.  Do NOT read her three most recent ones before reading the O'Malley series, though! 

New Fun things to Do

There are endless possibilities here, for you and your family.  I am going to share about a new game we have started playing - Carcassone.

We used to play a lot more board type games, as a couple, before children came along. I thought it had been too long since we played regularly, so splashed out on a new game... 2 YEARS ago!! Only the other week did we get round to LEARNING how to play it.

It has quite a few pages of instructions, but the old truth applies - play it, and you will get the hang of it. It's a game of strategy and endless possibilities.  Due to the game working around the placement of tiles, the way that the game will unfold is totally different each time you play it.  It is a game for 2-5 players, although if you buy expansion packs that can go up to 6 players. The expansion packs also increases the game options.

The game simply has little playing pieces, game tiles, and a scoring board.  Simple, yet such fun.

I have played it with my oldest 3 children, and they were able to take part - they are 8, 10 and 12 - although the 8 year old needed some help.  They would perhaps not be able to play with very advanced tactics, but they could pick them up through practice.

I highly recommend it!

So, there we go - a little inspiration of changes and new things you can start.  Please share any new things you may have started, or can suggest to others.  I am always especially open to ideas for games and books!


  1. Oh, how I love Sally Clarkson. I have the old edition of *Seasons of a Mother's Heart*, and it is wonderful. Another great book by Sally is *The Mission of Motherhood*. I bought several copies of that book years ago, and I have been giving them out as gifts for new moms. Check that one out, too, if you haven't read it yet. Thanks for a fun post.

  2. I'm really enjoying this series your doing now. But, I just had to say after reading the bit about crochet that you'd probably be amazed to hear that though I've crocheted for nearly 30 years now (goodness that seems like a long time!) I only just learned how to make granny squares last Nov! LOL I could do all sorts of complicated stitches like the popcorn and puff stitches just to name a few.