Saturday, March 30, 2013

a day without time

Last night I read this:

Imagine the world devoid of human life, inhabited only by plants and animals. would it still have a sense of past and future? Could we still speak of time in any meaningful way? The questions "What is the time?"  or "What's the date today?" - if anyone were to ask it- would be quite meaningless. The oak tree or the eagle would be bemused by such a questions. "What time?" they would ask. "Well, of course it's now. The time is now. What else is there?" 
From Eckhart Tolle, the Power of Now

It struck me how imprisoning time is. I constantly, almost unconsciously, look at the clock. I structure our day around it, eat around it, sleep around it. And the truth is: human time is a myth, we created it, completely. And it can rule our lives. 
So today I decided we would do without it.
I took the clock down from the wall and turned off my radio alarm clock and I made a conscious effort not to look at the time on my phone or computer all day. And without the time; those 12 hours, those 60 minutes, those 60 seconds, today we had all the time in the world and it was glorious.
A day without time:
 we had time to make spelt bread with enough dough left over to make mini pizza's for lunch
Joa claims his was especially good :-)

there was time for knitting outdoors in the spring sunshine

there was time to gaze at the soft clouds in the high blue sky
there was time for chalk drawing on the drive way

there was time to tidy the children's book shelf
there was time for enjoying and slowly cooking dinner
there was time for lounging
there was time for tidying the garden (although I did have help mowing the lawn)
and there was time for 3 loads of washing (which then I took my time to put away)

I still, as I sit here, don't know what time it is. The kids are in bed, Joa sleeping after a bump to the head and Rebe and Benny tucked up together listening to a story on cd. I think there is still a little time in the evening for the easter bunny to hide the tiny chocolate eggs, time for a bit of knitting and time for a bath.

It was lovely, this day without time. You should try it :-)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I've been reflecting this morning on what a creative family we are. Our creativity brings so much joy and connection to our lives and I am so grateful for it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

keepin' it real

I love making dolls and I feel very lucky to have found something that I am good at, that I enjoy and that reaches out to other people. I love handmade things and I would always prefer to be surrounded with things that are made with love and care than things made from plastic in a factory by someone who really would rather not be there. 
But it is all well and good, loving handmade items, being able to afford them is quite another matter! I know the work and time and materials and all the other costs that go into making handmade items. I appreciate that they need to be priced accordingly. But I am always a little dissappointed when I look at the wonderful waldorf dolls for example on etsy and find them so, so highly priced, (even over priced at times). 

I have kept the price of my dolls as low as I feel fair, I do this for two reasons. Firstly, I know what it is like to be in a low income family, to feel that beautiful, handmade items are just way beyond my price range. So I try and keep my prices as affordable as possible. I am also always open to exchange and barter (on that note the dollhouse family and the angel are still in my shop and I open to offers of exchange, please email me
Secondly, I would really like my dolls to be played with and used and loved and taken on muddy, dangerous adventures, and help with baking and be fed 'baby food'. I feel that if my dolls were any more expensive perhaps parents would feel less willing to let the doll go on such adventures. I know that if I payed $200 dollars for a toy, I would be pretty nervous about it being played with.
So on that note I want to announce my first pay-what-you-can doll:
 His name is Eric. He is a gorgeous mocha skin toned, 16 inch waldorf style doll. He has hand embroidered brown eyes, a little mouth and his cheeks are blushed with a little red wax. His hair is made of a cap of very dark brown mohair that is firmly stitched onto his head and brushed out to make it oh so soft and fuzzy.
 He is wearing a handknitted cardigan that closes with a little wooden button. He also has a matching pointed gnome hat and socks. The yarn is 100% pure vintage irish wool and is a really beautiful blue and purple.
 Underneath this he has red dungarees made of upcycled cotton. They are elasticated around the waist so the little wooden elephant buttons are just for show.
 His top is the sweetest little jungle animal print cotton.
As I mentioned Eric is my first pay what you can doll. I really want to be able to help make beautiful, handcrafted toys available to all children, regardless of the family income.
If you think that Eric is just the right wee person for your family, then you can contact me either through private message on my facebook page (have you liked it yet?) or you can email me Please leave details of what you can afford to pay for him (not including p&p) and how I can contact you. Please bare in mind the cost of materials when you quote what you can pay. On Easter Sunday I will randomly choose one person and list Eric reserved for them in my Etsy shop for the agreed price plus p&p. I will contact that person and you would have 24 hours to purchase Eric before he would be offered to the next person.
I hope to be able to offer more dolls this way in the future, so do keep looking at my facebook page for more info.
 I would ask you to really think about what you can pay for a waldorf doll like this. If you sincerely can afford a normal priced doll I would ask you not to try and get him as a 'bargain', but to allow this offer to stay open to a family who genuinely couldn't afford normal waldorf doll prices.
...and do please feel free to share this post with anyone you feel might be interested in Eric :-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

battling with bad dreams

Bad dreams are one of those big things in childhood I think. They are as real as any life experience. I don't know much behind the meaning of dreams or the why's or wherefores but I do know that they happen and when they happen they can be very upsetting.
In our house Rebe is the one who has most bad dreams, they seem to come in spells, nights on end for perhaps a week and each night there is another bad dream. 
So we do little things, make little rituals to make them manageable. I thought I'd share some of them here:
 Above the beds in both bedrooms are dream catchers. To catch the bad dreams and hold them there til the sunlight melts them away to nothing in the morning.
 We made 'good dream cream'. A very simple salve made with almond oil, lavender essential oil and bees wax. The important part was when it was being mixed in the little pan I whispered in loads of good dreams and kisses and love. This is applied to the temple before bed and also the jar is beside the bed in case they wake up in the night and need a little more.
 A balloon. This idea was suggested by my counselor; giving them a balloon to puff the bad dreams into before sleep. To expel the dreams from inside the body into the balloon which I then take outside and let the puff out (and any bad dream within).

This last idea is the sweetest and the kids came up with this one on their own. They are Benny and Rebe whistles, to call each other in their dreams if they need to.

Rebe had had a dream about a bad dog trying to bite her. When she told us about it the next day, Benny listened very carefully and then told her that if he had been in her dream he would have held onto the dog and put a lead on it and tied it to a washing line so it couldn't bite her. So they came up with a way of calling to each other in their dreams, if the other needed rescuing.
The decorated some pieces of cardboard and I helped them roll them into tubes and sellotape them closed. They are silent, apart from within the land of dreams where they are loud enough to be heard my the rescuer.

Funnily enough since then we've had no more bad dreams!
What techniques do you use in your home to battle bad dreams?

Sunday, March 17, 2013


For those of you who don't know, I am not actually Irish. I am Scottish and moved here about 9 years ago, so I can really appreciate those things that are really 'Irish'. Those parts of culture that are taken for granted here, but for me, as an outsider, bring a smile to my face knowing that I really am in Ireland :-)
A St Patrick's Day card Benny made for me at Pre-school
 The kids practicing hurling

 learning Irish at school

I'm getting better, she tests me every day :-)
Happy St Patrick's Day :-)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

bean cake and treasure

Today, after the success of the chickpea and apple cake, I tried out a kidney bean chocolate recipe:
 It is so good, moist and tasty especially with cream and some strawberries). There is sugar in this one, but I think I will tweak it a bit, add some banana, reduce the sugar and fat. I'll let you know how I get on.
 It was certainly enjoyed by us all.

 Benny is really enjoying his treasure box. Since I gave it to him he has been putting special little things into it.
 With his permission I have taken some pictures of what he has put in it so far.
 Surely it is as good as a portrait, the contents of a four year old's treasure box.
 The most prized possession: one of Jack's whiskers
The contents of Benny's treasure box March 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

a fine, fine day

 Today really was a fine, fine day. I woke early. I try to get up at least half an hour before the kids to have some peace before the day begins.
 The sunrise was so beautiful and I drank it in along with my tea.
 We walked to school along the river, the tide high and the banks alive with bird life. When we got home again Joa and I worked in the kitchen. Him doing the washing up.
 Me making this apple and chickpea cake and also some spelt soda bread.
 It is a very good cake, and not at all naughty, chickpeas, eggs, honey, apples, spices and a pinch of baking powder. The icing on top is cream cheese sweetened with honey and orange. Rebe ate 2 slices after school,
and it's very good with tea :-)

For the past 4 days I have taken part in Deepak and Oprah's 21 day meditation challenge. It was one of those 'meant to be' things. I knew I wanted to find a way to meditate more regularly and I also wanted to connect to myself through ayurveda more deeply once again. And there in my inbox was the invitation to join in, it's free and so far I am really really enjoying it.
You start with a few words from Oprah, then Deepak talks a little about the thought and topic of the day, this so far has related to ayurveda. Then he introduces a mantra and leaves you to meditate for 10 mins (I think). When the time is over there are 3 questions that you answer in a sort of online journal, to help you reflect on what you have learnt about yourself. Anyway, I was doing this today and I have one of those beautiful 'a-ha' moments.
The topic for today was about the wisdom of your body. Deepak said that in actual fact I don't have to look after my body, it looks after me.
Wow, this really makes sense to me.
For me, my body is like my mother. When I was born of my mother and father, at first there was no separation between my body and theirs. They cared for every tiny aspect of my life. Gradually I learnt to eat, to speak, to move, to walk and my body became separate from my mother's body and became a mother herself.
My body is the mother of me. She tells me what I need to do and when. I don't just mean in the physical, daily needs sense, but she is there to guide me through absolutely everything, with that wonderful thing called intuition.
An ancient wisdom that we all have. A wisdom that our bodies carry, a wisdom cell and molecule deep. The same cells and molecules that we share with the rest of creation, with Mother Earth herself.
I carry within my body the wisdom of the whole universe.
 No doctor or friend or book can tell me what I need to do better than my own mothering body can. I just need to tune in and listen. I need to find a space to sit and commune with her, to still the chatter of my mind, to stop misreading or ignoring what she is gently telling me.
I need to trust, I need to close my eyes and believe and know that my body, my mother, is there to love and protect me. To walk me through life and that at all times she has my back!
Of course, I must also respect her, the way I respect my own birth mother. I need to look after and care and nourish and nurture her. I need to keep her comfortable and as pure and clear as possible, so that she can do her job, the precious job of carrying me through my life.
Wow, that was some pretty deep thinking for 6.30 am! I can't wait to see what the next 17 days of the challenge bring :-)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Buddies ~ St Patrick's Day 2013

**In September 2011 6 families got together and started Buddies Home School. Each week we meet in each other's home and follow a simple rhythm: movement and music, craft/ baking, snack time, free play and story time. Each part of the session is led by a different family. We are sharing this week's session with you here...***

It's been so long since I have done a Buddies post. We took a long time to get going this year, there was so much illness in the group (and for me stress) that we didn't manage to start regular meetings until a few weeks ago and then my camera wasn't working. So I am very happy today to share with you our wee St Patrick's Day celebration. 
We started off singing and the Bunny song, so loved by the Buddies (and which us mummies can never manage to sing properly). Revived and revamped...
 lead in particular by Little O, who had brilliant suggestions as to what should be asleep next, crocodiles, get the idea :-)
 We sang 2 of the Irish songs that we learnt last year and then Amanda moved on to crafting with us...
 We made very sweet and simple shamrock wrist bands. While we were crafting Susan and Roisin told us how the shamrock was used in a story by St Patrick to illustrate how the holy trinity can be of three parts, yet a complete whole. I love picking up the bits and pieces of wisdom these mama's share :-)
 We also decorated (and popped) some balloons to which we tied strings to carry on our parade.
 We got all dressed up in our green, white and gold finery
and set off for the woods for our own wee parade

 like 2 wee leprechauns in the woods!
 a slight detour of the parade for a quick play and climb
 and back home again for some brown bread and butter, fruit and a drink.
To end Roisin read us the legend of Oisin in Tir na n-Og, which was really wonderful.
Now we are pretty geared up for Sunday :-)