It’s time to ask the big question

What do you do when everything is stripped away from you? The people, things and activities that filled your life are removed indefinitely and your world is reduced to a virtual reality.
 
How do you feel when the fragility of life is laid bare? When death is all around, and you don’t know who will go next. When the data is scary and the prospect of loss is real.
 
There is a tangible feeling of loss and fear gripping the world right now. And there is real tragedy. What we do with these feelings and experiences may well define not just our time in isolation, but our entire future.
 
20190702_203338If ever there was a time to consider what really matters, it’s now. As the death toll climbs we are reminded that this life is ‘but a vapor’. It’s beautiful, yes – but so transient. Everything we hold dear here, even life itself, will come to an end. So now is the time to ask – what is the point of it all? And is there any hope?
 
Let me tell you – yes. There is hope. And it’s found in the God who knows first-hand just how broken this world is.
 
Jesus Christ was a real man. Not only that, he was the flesh-and-blood representation of God. He came to earth and tasted our brokeness. It brought him to tears. It filled him with compassion. And because he wanted to rescue us from this mess, Jesus died. Why? Because someone had to conquer death for us, and he stepped up to the plate. You see, death was our only option, until Jesus came along.

And now death is not the end of the story! Jesus did not stay dead. Countless witnesses confirmed – at great personal cost – that Jesus rose back to life. Now he is our living hope. He is alive, and we can share that life with him.
 
The Bible tells the whole story in a lot more detail, but the crux of it is this: God loves people with an incredible, mind-boggling, crazy deep love.  God loves people so much, that he took the death we should have had, and exchanged it for the gift of eternal life.
 
There is a lot of fear these days.  So let’s face that head on.  Let your fear take you to this essential question: if I die in the coronavirus epidemic, what happens next?
 
Let me tell you – there are two options, and only one is worth having.  Freely offered to you – today – by the living, true God – is an eternal life of more joy than you have ever experienced before. Waiting for you, if you accept it, is a love deeper and more unconditional than any you’ve ever known or imagined. It’s a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card; an offer of hope for something beautifully better to come.
 
But God will not force you. He will let you decide for yourself. Perhaps, though, he wants to catch your attention right now, and remind you that this broken life is not all there is. There is more to come, and it will be better than you can imagine.
 
He’s waiting for you, longing for you. Will you take him up on his offer? Will you give him your all in this life, and reap his all in the next?
 

“For this is how much God loved the world — he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift.

So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.

God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!”

How to homeschool through Coronavirus: words from a seasoned home edder

In 1996, at 11 years old, I left school for good. My family moved and I began my own homeschooling journey, which got me through GCSEs, A levels, and finally graduating with a First Class degree (via the Open University).

In 2006 my son was born. He is 13 now, and has never been to school.
In 2008 my daughter was born. She is 11 now, and has never been to school.

And now, in 2020, the whole world is suddenly forced into joining our fabulous world.

There are so many things I want to tell you all.

Don’t worry. Enjoy it. It’s easier than you think. Don’t replicate school at home. Prioritise. Choose joy. Keep boundaries. Stay active. Read lots.

My list could go on. But the reality is this enforced ‘homeschooling’ cannot and will not be a true reflection of home education in normal life. Because life is not normal right now.

In normal life, home edders meet up regularly in groups to walk, learn, or just hang out together. You don’t have this option. In normal life, home edders do not have the pressure of tests and standards to meet, because going to school in the future is optional. You may not have this luxury. In normal life, home edders have at least one parent who wants to be homeschooling their kids.  You might not want this at all.

Yet here you are. Here we all are. So how can you make this work? Well, the possibilities are almost endless. You could do everything from unschooling to hiring in online tutors for every subject. The following are my suggestions, based on years of experience in child care, tutoring, youth work, fostering and home educating. For ease I have split my advice up by age groups. But one of the huge joys of home education is the ability to tailor it, so take everything here as an idea and a springboard, and mix it up to fit your family.


Preschoolers: 3-5 years

This one is the easy one. You’ve heard it said that play is children’s work. Now all you need to do is believe it! Encourage play in all its forms:

  • Creative play, like these great No Mess art ideas.00000IMG_00000_BURST20200210121807207_COVER_2
  • Imaginary play – build a fort under the table, play cars, put dollies to sleep
  • Physical play – rough and tumble, roly-poly, skip, dance, jump, tickle, chase and laugh
  • Nature play – walk as often as you can, play in the garden, look for birds, bees, flowers and trees, make use of the National Trust’s generous offer of free entry to many outdoor spaces
  • Music play – get out the intruments or improvise with pots and spoons – get loud and enjoy it
  • Story play – read books like there’s no tomorrow – the more the merrier

Try to keep your patience. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s way more fun than getting stressed. Try to not mind the mess in the day. Clean up at the end and relax while the kids are in bed. Try to keep your boundaries. No means no. Get that clear now and the rest of your days will be so much more peaceful. Try to say yes as much as possible. Live life to the full.


Early primary schooler: 6-8 years

Okay, now we can add in a bit more structure. One of my favourite quotes for homeschooling this age group is “structure time, not content”. Put a loose schedule in place, something like this:

DSC_02527am: Wake and get ready for the day
9am: Go for a walk/play in the garden
10am: Learning time
12pm: Lunch
1pm: Play time
4pm: Screen time
5pm: Dinner
6pm: Reading time
7pm: Bath & bed

You don’t need to set particular learning goals or tasks. During learning time just let them choose something they are interested in, and as long as it has educational value, it will do them good. It could be baking, art tutorials, researching a topic, doing a work book, reading, building, playing with instruments. Don’t forget they still need lots of play time at this age, and lots of time outside is good for every age. Make time to read to them, even if you are working from home. It’s so good for them, and it’s so special for you too.


Older primary schoolers: 9-11 years

Here is where you might start getting nervous. Breathe. You can do this. At this stage my days looked something like this. We had some set work amidst our flexible lifestyle, and here are some great resources we used around that time:

  • Language:  Duolingo is free and fun, and focuses mainly on vocabulary. We also used Michel Thomas and Paul Noble books and audios, which were great for conversational learning. Also check out your DVD collection – many Pixar and Disney films have other audio options, and watching your favourite cartoon in the language you’re learning is a great way get your ears tuned to the language and pick up some vocab too.
  • Maths:  Kahn Academy has some great videos, and is also free to use. Life of Fred is costly, but if you think home ed might be something you’ll do for the longer term then it’s really worth the money.
  • English:  A Kindle is a great way to access free classic books which can be read together or alone. Writing a journal, writing stories and writing letters are great ways to keep English skills going, and about all we did at that stage. There’s also a great website called Brave Writer which offers short courses that could be perfect for short term home edders.
  • History:  Historical fiction is an easy and engaging way to learn about history. Apart from the obvious Horrible History series, other series we have enjoyed include Roman Mysteries and My Story collections.
  • Science:  This is one of the trickier subjects to do at home, without investment. One website we liked at this stage, which offered science amongst other topics, was Education City. They do offer a 21 day free trial, so it’s worth a look. We also liked playing Anatomix.
  • Geography:  Games and story books are great ways to get in some geography. We especially liked Geografunny, The Boy who Biked the World, Around Europe Snap and Atlas Adventures.00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200212152715216_COVER

This age is also a great time to zone in on the subjects your child is really interested in. After all, if they have a love for something particular, chances are they will end up working in that field. So why not give them some extra time to invest in following their passion. We have done this in different ways – sometimes dedicating a whole day each week just to doing the thing they really love. They learn so much, and enjoy it too – bonus!


Secondary schoolers: 12-16 years

Things can get a bit more serious now, and people often ask how I can teach my kids things that I don’t know. The truth is, I can’t. But we live in an age where information is at our fingertips. Even if your libraries are closed (sadness!), books and the internet are a great place to learn a lot. Help your kids to filter out the junk and teach them how to search for good information. If you don’t have good books at home, then order some from Amazon. My teenager does several online courses at the moment, but the things he doesn’t learn from them he learns from books, documentaries, conversations, good quality science and history magazines, and the internet. He knows WAY more than I do about most subjects. He also has quite a full schedule of work these days. Unfortunately most of the good quality resources for this age are expensive and/or require long term commitments, so it’s harder to find things that work for a temporary homeschooler. If you’re in this situation, and don’t have enough homework set by your school to see them through, try supplementing with these suggestions:

  • Set a project for your teen to complete, that lines up with their interests. For example, I’d set a project to illustrate a set of Greek myths for my art-loving history-geek son, or a project to create an elaborate wedding cake for my bake-off aspiring daughter.
  • Find or buy a set of documentaries/TV programmes which interest your teen. Simon Reeve does some great travel documentaries that are packed full of geography and culture; David Attenborough, of course, has fantastic nature programmes; even series like MasterChef, Bake Off or The Great Pottery Throw Down can be very informative and inspiring.
  • Teach some life skills. Academics are not the only thing we need for adulthood – try using this break from traditional school to let your teen take more responsibility around the house, and perhaps learn some new skills too. Do they know how to do the laundry? Cook a couple of meals? Wash the dishes thoroughly? Empty the bins and get them out for bin day? Clean the bathroom? Vacuum the house? Wash the car? Make a budget?
  • Invest in some good books on topics your teen is interested in. Amazon delivery may be slower than usual, but there is still so much available. And again, investment in a passion will always pay off, even if you’re only on this homeschool journey for a short while.

00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20191225144017528_COVERRemember, even at this age being outside remains important. Your child may be missing regular sport activities, and keeping active will help keep them fit and healthy. As long as guidelines allow it, try to get outdoor activity in at least three times a week. A long walk, basketball in the garden, kicking a ball on the field.  Do what you can, when you can – it’s really worth it. And another secret – you can still read to your kids, even at this age. I do, and we all love it!

 

 


You can find out more about home education in my older posts. Check here for all my home ed related posts. Here are the ‘days in the life‘ series. Here are some posts about resources. Here are some posts about whys and hows. If you have any questions, please do feel free to comment.

Lastly, try to enjoy this unique gift of time with your children. Many times people have said to me that they could never homeschool, because their kids would drive them crazy. This makes me sad. If that is you, then I urge you to re-evaluate. I think, on reflection and giving it a chance, you’ll find out just how much you not only love your kids, but like them too.

The hidden guilt of foster carers

You may have heard that being a foster carer is rewarding. You may have heard that it is challenging.  You may have heard that there is grief in saying goodbye. You may have heard that there is joy in knowing we were there when it counted.

But have you heard of foster carer guilt?

I hadn’t. In fact, even now that I’ve been fostering for over two years, I’ve still never heard anyone mention it. And to be honest, this is the first time I’ve talked about it, too.

20190518_124027 (1)I have a little love right now. He came to us straight from hospital, at one week old. I remember his perfect little face on the day he came home. Now he’s seven months old. He’s sleeping through the night, rolling everywhere, sitting like a champ and devouring any solid food he can get his cute, chubby little hands on. He is a real smiler, but still a little wary of strangers. Yesterday he woke from a nap to find two people visiting he didn’t know, and he clung a little tighter and tucked his head against my chest. Today I read him a book, and half-way through he turned his face up to check out mine, reminding himself that I was still there. You see, I am his safe place.

In fact, right now I am his everything. My home is the only one he’s ever known. My arms the ones he’s happiest in. My voice is the one that calms him. My family is his family.  He trusts me totally, completely, utterly, unquestionably.

And what shatters my heart is that I know I have to betray his trust.

He is not mine to keep. I know that – but he doesn’t. And now as the assessments draw to a close, and the court date creeps up, the guilt overwhelms me. Because I have to give him away. And as much as that will hurt me, the thing that I can’t bear is how it is going to hurt him. How his little innocent heart, which believes I will protect him from everything, will be so deeply and irreparably hurt by me.

Please don’t be quick to jump and tell me not to feel guilty. Don’t say it’s not my fault.  Don’t remind me of the good I’ve done and how that will set him up so well. Because in my head I know these things. I know them. But however true they are, they can’t change the facts.

Foster care will always, always be second best. And moving these already broken little people on to yet another home will always, always cause even more trauma. It’s unavoidable. It’s not my fault, yes – but I am still caught up in the process. And it is still me who has to look into those sparkling eyes, so full of trust and love – and know that one day soon I will hand over ‘my’ baby, and leave him.

And he will cry for ME. He will search for ME. He will feel abandoned by ME.

So yes, I am guilty. And I am heartbroken. And so incredibly sad and sorry for the unfairness of this world. But there is hope. And faith. And love. And in the truest, wisest book ever written we are told that love is the greatest.

So I will keep loving as many babies as God brings my way.  I’ll love them fiercely and unreservedly. Because that’s the only – and best – thing I can do.

From loss to hope

Loss.

This one word sums up so much about foster care. First there is the children’s loss: they come to us to so full of it. They’ve lost just about everything by the time they move in – family, home, familiarity, possessions, belonging, security, trust… the list goes on and on. And then there is our loss: the empty hole in our hearts every time we let go of a little one we have loved as our own.

Loss hurts.

20180925_114603Last week we said goodbye to our fifth little love. Letting go just doesn’t get easier. But loss was not a part of God’s orignal plan. In the garden of Eden, there was no place for loss – all was perfect and so, so good. Yet now we live in a world marred by sin, and loss is rife.

But God was not content with loss. Instead, He decided to suffer the biggest loss of all, so that He could win us back and put an end to all loss and pain for good. Jesus Christ, the human personification of God himself, lost his connection to the God-head when he chose to die in our place. Of all the losses this world has seen, none can compare to this.

And now loss is not the end of the story. Jesus rose back to life, conquering death for us all. Now we can exchange loss for gain. We can exchange hurt for hope. We can exchange emptiness for fulfilment. Despite this broken world, God can work all things for good. He can turn the bad on its head.

This doesn’t mean that loss itself is good. No – the loss inflicted on the kids I love is painfully wrong. Desperately unfair. In no way good. But because God IS good, He can turn it around.

When we began this life of foster care we chose to embrace loss. We are priviledged to be co-workers with God, a part of turning bad into good in the lives of the children entrusted to us. And as we feel the pain of our own losses, God steps in and walks alongside us. He turns our tears to joy, gives us peace that passes understanding. As we follow His will, the richness of His presence in our lives makes the sorrow seem small.

Truly, we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us.

The power of one gentle spirit

On Wednesday 28th February my dear Granny Merle went home to heaven. She went gently and gracefully, just the way she had lived here on earth.

It was long before I was born that Granny’s life was reborn. She became a Christian when my dad was just a teenager. Her conviction that Jesus Christ was real changed her life for good, and her life response to this conviction changed generations more lives to come.

Granny had her share of hurt in this world. As a young woman she became a single mother to four children. Later she was forced to leave the homeland she loved to start a new life in a new country. In her last years she was afflicted by a cruel motor neuron disease, which slowly robbed her of all independence and replaced it with constant discomfort and pain. Yet she bore everything she suffered with the most humble and loving spirit; never complaining, always grateful for what she had.  (Philippians 2:14)

Granny’s Christianity was a lived out faith. She was not a passive pew-warmer. Granny knew that the truth she had discovered was something that needed to be shared, and one way she did this was by going around the neighbourhood and inviting anyone who was interested to Bible studies, to learn more about the good news she had found. It just so happened that she knocked on the door of a lady called Margaret, a post-Buddhist agnostic who thought Christianity was a hypocritical fairy tale. However after throwing all her favourite trick questions at these Christians, and finding surprisingly sensible and irrefutable answers, Margaret eventually came to realise that this Jesus of the Bible was indeed real. Because of Granny Merle, Margaret and her children became Christians, too. Later on Margaret’s daughter would marry Merle’s son, and become my parents. What a rich heritage.  (1 Peter 3:15)

A life transformed by Jesus should look like love in action, and this is exactly what Granny Merle’s life was. Unable to find a job once she moved to England, Granny did find herself lots of spare time. She wasted none of it. For a while she became a Betterware representative in order to bring in a small income, and as she delivered catalogues to her neighbours she became aware of many lonely, elderly people in her local area. For years Granny faithfully visited and befriended these isolated folk, caring for them until they passed on, infusing their lives with joy and love.  (James 1:22)

At home Granny was characterised by gentle kindness. It was impossible to visit without her making you feel loved. Her servant-heart, generous nature and always gentle voice were standard, and all too easy to take for granted. But the effect of her constant, daily tender love was profound, and has influenced all her family and friends for the better.  (Ephesians 4:2)

Granny has left a legacy of love which has spread across generations and to people across the world. Her faith in God has poured down to her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. Her gentle spirit has touched the hundreds of people who knew her, no matter how briefly. She was truly a reflection of the love of Jesus, and she made the world a better place.  (Psalm 103:17)

The beauty of Granny’s gentle and quiet spirit will never fade. The power of her humble, gracious love will go on transforming lives. Thank God for Granny Merle.

 

Granny Merle

‘Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.’  1 Peter 3:3-4

 

 

My Homeschool Day in Life with an 8 and 10 year old

Every year Simple Homeschool runs the Day in a Life series. I love how every homeschool life is different, and I am always on the lookout for great ideas to incorporate into our own daily rhythm. I also love taking part in this (even when it’s my only post of the year!) as it is an opportunity for me to reflect on how we grow and change through the years. Some changes are down to finding better ways to do things, some to changing interests and still others to the natural changes that occur as my ‘babies’ are growing up.

7:30 am

My alarm goes off. A combination of the tail end of a cold plus an emotional week has left me more tired that usual, so I hit snooze and catch an extra 15 mins of light sleep. I can hear the happy, soft voices of Prince and Princess in the background – my favourite waking up sounds. At 7:45 I wake fully, and pull open my Bible which lives next to my pillow. Personal time with God is how we all start our weekdays. I am reminded how much I love not having the school rush in the mornings, giving us the freedom to linger and fill ourselves up with the Lord for the day.

Science & snuggles!

8:30

When I’m done upstairs, I come down to find the kids already finished their Bible time and Morning High Five. They have started working; Prince is on the computer doing French on Duolingo, Princess at the table writing in her journal. I drink my water and grab a piece of fruit for breakfast, then potter around tidying the kitchen and sorting out washing. I have learnt over time that I find these kinds of job easiest in the morning, so I never worry about leaving last night’s dishes out. Work is always easiest when you find your personal rhythm, something I try to apply to Prince & Princess when I’m planning our schedule.

9:00

Wednesdays are our day for majoring on subjects we don’t get to every day, so I pull out one of our science books and we snuggle on the sofa to learn about muscles and tendons. We examine some of our own tendons and marvel at their strength. Then I do a quick search and pull up a few videos clips on the same topic for the kids to watch. Learning happens in different ways for different people, and so I like to solidify our understanding of topics through a variety of mediums.

9:45

As in previous years, I like us to have a morning walk at least most days. There is nothing like stretching our legs in nature and fresh air. It’s forecast for rain today, so we get on our wellies and waterproofs and head out to Nymans, my favourite place in all the world. As we walk we talk about nature, and how things are changing in the spring. There are plenty of puddles which provide much delightful splashing, and I feel my spirit soar as I walk through the incredible wonders of creation in the company of these two incredible children.

Strolling down the Lime avenue at Nymans

11:00

After a deliciously beautiful (and dry!) walk drinking up the spring beauty we get back in the car and head over to Little Crafter’s Pottery to pick up the ceramics we painted at a half-term family outing. This was a fabulously fun activity, and we are all delighted with the finished products. In the car we listen to our history CD, Story of the World. This is one we’ve used for a long time, and done several reviews of, but we all love it so much that the kids beg for more and I am only too happy to oblige.

11:45

Once we get home again the kids head upstairs to play while I prepare lunch: scrambled eggs and veggies, a staple quick fix at our house. When lunch is ready I set mine aside and while the kids eat I pull out the Kindle and read the next chapter of our current read-aloud. We are working through the Anne of Green Gables series and we’re in book two, Anne of Avonlea. I love the wonderful use of language, which stretches both our imagination and our vocabulary. After reading a chapter I turn on BBC iPlayer and let the kids watch the next episode of The Big Painting Challenge. The series is meant just for fun, but it includes some great art tips for my budding artists, and I know it will fire them up with enthusiasm. While they watch I eat my own lunch, check Facebook and do some more pottering around.

1:30

Predictably inspired, the kids pull out the painting supplies after the show and get to work on some masterpieces.While they delve into the world of acrylics I use the time to have a deep clean of Prince’s bedroom. Although they both tidy their own rooms regularly, every once in a while I like to do a major sort out. Feeling focused I plow through it and feel very satisfied with the end result. I always have high ambitions it will stay this way, but experience tells me it never does…

3:15

By now the room is tidy and the painters have packed up, so we return to some of our daily work – music practice. Prince has recently decided to try out the flute instead of drums, and is enjoying it so far. I help him with this, as I have been progressing well with flute myself. I’m considering doing a grade five exam this year. After flute Princess gets out the violin. She’s still doing keyboard (taught by her lovely older cousin), but has been wanting to do violin for a while as well. She is blessed to have an aunt who plays wonderfully, so we have picked up some tips and she is starting to learn the basics.

3:45

While I do my own flute practice the kids get on with some geography games I’ve set for them. Then we pull out our geography book and snuggle back on the sofa to read about the core of the earth. Prince remembers a model he made several years ago and runs to get it for a visual aide while we read. Princess colours in a card she made for one of her cousins while she listens.

4:30

Tae Kwon Do buddies

We eat early on Wednesdays, as the kids and I have Tae Kwon Do, so I work on dinner while the kids do some tidying. Daddy comes home just as I’m serving up – perfect timing! I love it when we eat together at the table.

5:30

We start getting ready for Tae Kwon Do. This is something the kids and I all enjoy very much. The three of us don our doboks and belts and we all head out the door. The kids train from 6-7 while Ben and I enjoy watching and chatting. Then my hero husband takes the kids home, where he reads them some of their bedtime read-aloud, Lord of the Rings. In the mean time I get to enjoy an hour and a half of Tae Kwon Do. I’m so thankful for a husband who helps me do the things I love.

8:45

Prince is still awake when I get home, and greets me with a big hug at the top of the stairs. He’s nearly as tall as me now, but I love that he still wants to cuddle. After kissing him goodnight, Ben and I enjoy the rest of our evening close together, chatting and watching things together.

We are in a phase of life where each of our days are different, but they have a common, comfortable rhythm. We are flexible, and fallible. Some days don’t work out as planned. But we have fun. We learn. We love. There is so much beauty in our homeschool lives. Thanks, God.

Blogiversary: a little reminiscing

Wordpress kindly shows me where all my readers have come from over the past two years.

WordPress kindly shows me where all my readers have come from over the past two years.

This month marks my second anniversary of blogging here at Writing on the Doorposts. Over these 24 months I’ve been so blessed to be able to share what’s on my heart with people worldwide – from here in the UK to Zimbabwe, Canada, Nepal and more! I want to thank my ‘followers’ and those who have ‘shared’ my blog for their support. I also want to thank those who have written comments, for their encouragement, helpful suggestions and ideas.

Today I want to share with you some of the old posts which have been enjoyed by readers over my short blogging life. If you’re a new reader I hope you also enjoy them. If you’ve read them before feel free to yawn and pass them over! In any case I pray you will be blessed today by the awesome God of all the earth.

Now without further ado, ten popular past posts (yes, I’m feeling a little poetic today 😉

  • Random things I’ve learnt as a mom-of-two:  10 things I’ve learned as a mother
  • A summary of the main reasons our family has chosen home education:  Why we homeschool
  • How we eat a veggie-focused diet on a small income: Five a day: part two, on a budget
  • Why and how I prioritise being a stay-at-home mother: The beauty of homemaking
    [
    note: I am no longer doing Usborne as I found it did not generate a proper income.  However, we are still blessed by God to be able to manage very well on one salary – something I thank God for daily.]
  • A look at 1 Corinthians 4:5-7, and my mother’s yummy cooking: Seasoned with salt – lessons from my Mom’s roast dinners
  • We can always find the blessings of parenthood if we try: Taking joy
  • A reminder that parenthood is about placing our children before ourselves:  Selfless mothering
  • Ideas to incorporate prayer into family life:  Ten ways to pray with your children
    [note: in the 1 1/2 years that has passed since I wrote this post, my children’s prayer life has grown beyond what I had ever dreamed it could. I am continually humbled and blessed to hear how they pray from their hearts, and focus on things of eternal importance. Praise God!]
  • A look at what we can learn from Gary Chapman’s ‘love languages’: Speaking of love
  • Encouragement that we all get it wrong, but we have grace and we can persevere:  Pressing on

Vege-table

Here’s a tidbit of info about me: I love vegetables! And I love it when my dinner table is a vege-table.

Princess helping prepare our favourite fish salad.

Princess helping prepare our favourite fish salad.

Being a homemaker, I delight in cooking tasty, healthy food for my family, especially when I can do this on a budget. Vegetables are great in summer and winter, and I enjoy soups and salads all year round. Everyone knows they’re full of vitamins and minerals, but it’s not always easy to find yummy, easy recipes to incorporate them into your diet. So – here are two of my FAVOURITE vegetable recipes, which can be easily added to your repertoire of delicious vegetable meals.

I hope you enjoy using them to turn your table into a vege-table too 🙂

~

Super Quick and Easy Tomato Soup

INGREDIENTS:
1 Onion
6-8 Cloves of garlic
4 tins chopped tomatoes
Handful fresh rosemary (or about 2 tbsp dried)
Salt & pepper to taste

METHOD:
Chop onion and garlic. Fry onions in a large pot. Add salt, pepper and chopped tomatoes, bring to boil and let it simmer for about 10-15 mins. Turn off heat. Wash and finely chop rosemary. Add garlic and rosemary to pot. Blend with a hand blender. Serve and enjoy!

~

My Granny’s Best Fish Salad

INGREDIENTS:
Large tin salmon or other fish
Canned beans (optional)
1 small onion (red is sweeter, though I personally prefer white)
3-4 small/medium potatoes
Various salad vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, sprouts, cucumber, apple, etc.)
Mayonnaise and natural yoghurt
Vinegar (red wine is my favourite)
Olive oil
Piri-piri sauce or shake (optional for extra heat!)
Salt & pepper to taste

METHOD:
Chop potatoes into large bite-size chunks and boil (or cook whole and chop afterwards). Meanwhile, dice or slice the onion and put into a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and add two or three tablespoons of vinegar. Next, chop and add your vegetables except tomatoes (and tinned beans, if using) to the bowl. Add the tinned fish, drained, and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup (in total) of mayonnaise and yoghurt, (also add your piri-piri if using). Mix this all together. Now add the potatoes and tomatoes, sprinkle again with salt, and with pepper, and pour over about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Mix again. Lastly, cut up leafy vegetables (fresh spinach and rocket is a favourite here) and add to the bowl. Don’t mix them in until ready to serve, then toss and serve.

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