DVDs for History in Our Homeschool


History DVDs for Home Education ~ An Island Family By Grace

I have talked before about how we study history in our homeschool, and one of those ways is through watching quality history DVDs.

Drive Thru History

I have just recently bought the Ancient History series from Drive Thru History. This includes 4 DVDs with 3 episodes each, covering Rome, Greece, Asia Minor and Turkey. The series is presented by American Dave Stotts, whom my children found quite funny, and covers many aspects of history in each area, including some Biblical history. Dave Stotts visits different historical sites by car (cue some crazy driving), tells stories, and some paintings and historical artifacts are shown too. There are also further series on American history and the Holy and, but we have not tried these yet. These DVDs are quite expensive on Amazon UK, but I ordered them from the US. It is also possible to download digital versions of the DVDs from christianbook.com

Modern News History

Another one we own, which is currently only suitable for our 14 year old son, is the 50 Years of BBC Television News DVD. This was produced by the BBC in 2004, so although it misses out very recent history, is a helpful overview of major news ‘events’ throughout the 20th century, and the beginning of the 21st. It covers such items as rationing, the Vietnam war, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and 9/11 in New York. The DVD is divided into sections for each decade, presented by current and former BBC news readers and reporters, and gives an idea not only of major events in recent history, but also of how reporting of news has changed over this time. The nature of some of the events and/ or their graphic portrayal are really not suitable for younger children, however we felt it was a good way of our eldest son seeing a brief overview of modern history.

Rural History

Currently as a family, we are watching Edwardian Farm for our Saturday night ‘movie’ night. These are hour long documentaries, of course, rather than movies, but our whole family has been enjoying seeing Ruth, Peter and Alex running a farm in Devon, as it would have been done in the early 1900s. Lots of information about how people lived in general is included, not just farm life. We previously really enjoyed Wartime Farm, (for which we also bought the accompanying book), and Tudor Monastery Farm, and this one has been equally as good. In this case we are watching the series on Amazon, rather than DVD, for £1.89 an episode.

Obviously, watching history series and DVDs is only one way in which our family enjoys studying history. However, it is a way in which different periods in history can be brought to life, and we can see places which we may never be to visit personally. If you are interested, you can see 9 other ways in which we use history in our homeschool here.


Does your family have a favourite history series or DVD? Please let me know in a comment!


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

Week 21 Pregnancy Update


21 Weeks #Pregnant - An Island Family By Grace

I am now about 21 and a half weeks pregnant with our 5th baby, and thought I would give a week 21 pregnancy update on how things are going!

I am very thankful to say that I have stopped having the continual nausea now, and have not been sick for about a month! I still feel bad if I let myself get too hungry, but thankfully it’s not too often. I ended up trying several extra things in addition to the pregnancy sickness remedies I had mentioned in my Health Goals post in April, including Sea-Band Mama, however, I found these too tight and sore to wear, despite having no swelling in my wrists. If you are in the UK and would like a free pair of Sea Bands (worn twice!), just let me know in the comments, and I will contact you (your email address won’t be published).

I have definitely begun to feel a little more like my normal self, as I have wanted to do more gardening, particularly with the unusually hot and sunny weather we had last week, and the apple trees, strawberry plants and rhubarb I had ordered for our spring garden arrived, and had to be planted. I have also been managing to do a bit more housework, which has been good, even though the rest of the family has all done a great job of it while I’ve been feeling unwell.

21 Weeks Pregnant - An Island Family By Grace

Please excuse the mess! Would you believe this was AFTER I managed to do some weeding?

I have managed a short walk on a couple of occasions, but I am hoping to get a bit more exercise in when I feel even better. I also bought the new Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook with some birthday money, and am getting back into that way of eating, although with a lot of ‘crossover’ meals (combining fats and carbohydrates), to ward off the hunger, and therefore nausea.

Two weeks ago I had my detailed ultrasound scan on the mainland, which went very well. Baby was moving around a lot, and seems to be growing well for my dates. It was very exciting to see our baby, and made everything all the more real! From now on I will have monthly appointments with my local midwife, until about 34 weeks, when it will be weekly.

21 Weeks #Pregnant - An Island Family By Grace

If you are interested, the skirt I am wearing was from Blooming Marvellous, the cardigan was bought for me by my husband at a charity shop, the scarf was from the visitor centre at Cruachan Hollow Mountain Power Station, the boots were from Amazon, and I don’t remember where I got the black top from.

Having given away almost all of our baby stuff after our youngest daughter was born 7 years ago, we have been really blessed by generous friends, old and new, who have already given or loaned us lots of items for our baby. Our eldest daughter is making an appliqued blanket, and I know that my mum is also knitting for us, although the actual item is a surprise!

I will give a few more updates before I am due in September. In the meantime, please leave a comment if you have any good tips for staying comfortable during a summer pregnancy!

All the photographs in this post were kindly taken by my son.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.

 


This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

 

Book Review of Raising Real Men


Christian Parenting Book Review of Raising Real Men ~ An Island Family By Grace

I had wanted to read Raising Real Men, by Hal and Melanie Young, for a long time, and in January I finally added it to the books I am reading this year.

Having read nothing for a couple of months due to my pregnancy sickness, I am now pleased to say that I can give a book review of Raising Real Men, as I have been well enough to read again- hurray!

Hal and Melanie Young have six sons and two daughters, (some of whom are now adults), and are well known speakers at homeschool conferences in the US. They have a blog at raisingrealmen.com and also a free podcast at the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network, called Making Biblical Family Life Practical, which I find very encouraging.

The subtitle of Raising Real Men is ‘Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys’, and the book covers subjects as diverse as role models, leadership, manners, resisting temptation, and leaving home.

Many of the issues touched on in the book could also apply to girls, but the Youngs explore how these relate to boys specifically, and how we might need to handle things differently with our sons.

Review of Christian Book on Parenting Boys - Raising Real Men - An Island Family By Grace

The only section of the book which I felt was not relevant to our family was the one on safety with real firearms, (handguns are illegal here in the UK, and other guns very rare), but play with toy ‘weapons’ was also discussed, so really it is a book that can be used by parents anywhere in the world.

Raising Real Men also deals with raising boys through the full age range from toddlerhood right up to entering college or the workplace. The Youngs give Biblical reasoning for their ideas on parenting boys, as well as lots of practical examples from their own family life.

I would recommend Raising Real Men to all Christian parents of boys. It is particularly, but not only relevant to home educating families, and would probably be especially encouraging to parenting of younger boys, however I found uplifting and practical advice as the parent of a teenage boy too.

Are you reading any books that you would recommend? Please share them in a comment below.


I bought Raising Real Men myself, and did not receive any compensation for this review. All the opinions are my own.

This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.

Our Spring Garden


Spring #Gardening - An Island Family By Grace

One of my health goals for this year is to grow more food in our garden. Being pregnant has slowed this down a little, but we have still been germinating seedlings and planting them out in our polytunnel. So far in our spring garden, we have peas, bok choi (I think!), and garlic out there, and I have basil, peas, courgette, cabbage and lettuce growing on a window cill in the house.

Spring Gardening ~ An Island Family By Grace

Growing More Food

I was given some money for my birthday, and have used this to order apple trees, rhubarb, and climbing strawberry plants which I will put in the polytunnel, to grow up onto the crop bars. We already have five elder trees in that garden that I planted last year. They have not grown much bigger, and I think it is because I did not keep a clear area of compost around each sapling, free from grass. My husband has also been moving shrubs out of the border in our front garden, so that we will be able to grow food there.

Back to Eden Method

During the winter, we enjoyed watching the free online film Back to Eden, which describes the method of gardening used by Christian man Paul Gautschi, and so we were inspired to start using his method to convert more of our garden for growing food. My husband now has a wood chipper (translation: new toy!), which he has been using to shred up some of the larger waste wood from the garden that was not gathered for kindling by our helpful friends who came and worked in the garden during the Easter holidays! We will use this as mulch over the cardboard and compost that we are putting down where we want to grow food.

Chicken Dramas

All the chicks we hatched last year are now laying, and our son has begun selling the eggs. We have had some excitement with our chickens over recent weeks, although sadly not in a good way. During the Easter holidays when our friends were here, one of our broody mums hatched 12 little chicks. Unfortunately, about 3 days later, all but one of the chicks had disappeared overnight. Both the broody coop and run doors had been bolted shut, so the only wild animal small enough to have fitted through the chicken wire could have been a least weasel. It is disappointing, but thankfully we have had another broody hen who is willing to sit on eggs, which should hatch within the next week or so.

Spring Gardening - An Island Family By Grace

The second disappointment with the chickens came in the last week, when the remaining chick from the ‘disappeared’ clutch died during the cold snap we had. We had snow and hail for four days running, which sadly seems to have been enough to finish it off, despite it apparently eating and drinking well. And I suppose that although the chick was snuggled under its mum, it did not have the added warmth of its brothers and sisters around it. The children were a bit sad, but hopefully the weather will be a bit warmer for the next batch of chicks. I don’t think we will hatch any so early next year.

Spring Garden - An Island Family By Grace

The view from our kitchen window last Wednesday

 

 

On a slightly happier note, one of our neighbour’s soay sheep has had the first lambs of the year, and more are on the way, so at least we can see some new spring life there.

Spring Gardening - An Island Family By Grace

What are you growing in your spring garden? Have you made any changes to your garden this year? Please tell me about it in a comment.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

Homemade Toiletries- My First Attempts

Homemade Beauty Products - My First Attempts ~ An Island Family By Grace

One of our reasons for moving to the island last year was to become more self-sufficient. It took me a while, but in January this year I finally got round to making more of my own homemade toiletries. Whether this is truly self-sufficient is debatable, since the recipes often contain ingredients such as coconut oil, which obviously does not grow locally in Scotland! However, it also allows me to avoid putting so many petrochemicals onto our skin.

Hand Moisturiser

I started last year by making hand moisturiser, using a modified version of Jill Winger’s recipe from the Prairie Homestead. I add lavender essential oil to the moisturiser, which has a nice fragrance, and is also supposed to be soothing for the skin. I do find coconut oil a but greasy, but adding beeswax does help with this. In January this year, I began trying a slightly different version of the recipe, which includes olive oil, and turns out a bit more like a homemade version of Vaseline.

Homemade Beauty Products

Lip Balm

I have also been making lip balm since last summer, using Wellness Mama’s recipe, which has been quite successful. I have used mint as the flavour, which I like, and adding the beeswax ensures that it does not melt if we have the heating on. Notice that I did not say “If the weather gets too hot”!

DSCF2676

Deodorant

Before the pregnancy sickness kicked in, I tried some new homemade toiletries recipes. The most successful has been homemade deodorant, which I made using this recipe from Joy of Artful Homemaking. I used peppermint essential oil, which I like, and this deodorant is far more effective than the commercial ‘aluminium free’ deodorant that I was buying, and a lot cheaper! Joy warns in her recipe that some people will be sensitive to the bicarbonate of soda in the recipe. I did find that my skin got a bit red and irritated for the first week that I was using it, but after having a break from it for a week, then going back to it, I have not had any further problems, and it is nice and fresh.

Homemade Beauty Recipes - An Island Family By Grace

Toothpaste

Joy from Artful Homemaking also has a mint coconut toothpaste recipe, which I made in January. I am the only person in the family who uses this item. It takes a while to get used to the bicarbonate of soda texture, but I like it, and so far I have remembered not to spit it into the sink, so as not to clog the pipes with the coconut oil! When we visited the dentist about 3 weeks after I had started using it, my dentist said ” keep doing what you’re doing”, which was encouraging!

Shampoo and Conditioner

Finally, and I feel least successfully, I have tried making my own shampoo and conditioner. I had read quite a few posts by other bloggers who had experienced damage or drying out of their hair due to using the bicarbonate of soda ‘no poo’ technique (not a term I like, I have to admit!) I therefore tried recipes for shampoo and conditioner that did not include bicarbonate of soda, and were supposed to be pH balanced, but I did not manage to get past the greasy stage with my hair. Since the nausea starting with me being pregnant, I have gone back to buying an SLS-free shampoo (which I am mixing half and half with water in this foaming pump dispenser, to save money!), and also a shop-bought ‘natural’ conditioner, but when the nausea has gone, I would like to try making my own again, possibly from this No ‘Poo, No Grease recipe by Tiffany from Don’t Eat the Crumbs, as she talks about having the same problem with homemade shampoo causing greasiness.

Facial Moisturiser

The next homemade natural ‘beauty’ recipe I would like to try is for facial moisturiser. I have seen recipes for this which involve aloe vera gel, like this one at Say Not Sweet Anne, which  includes ingredients that I already have. I have bought some aloe vera gel with a voucher I was given for my birthday, in anticipation of making some facial moisturiser of my own!

Homemade Facial Moisturiser ~ An Island Family By Grace

You can also see my Pinterest Homemade Beauty Recipes board here.

 

Do you make your own homemade toiletries or beauty products? Or does it seem like too much hassle for you? If you have a recommendation for a shampoo, conditioner or moisturiser recipe, please let me know in a comment.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.

 


This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

10 Outdoor Homeschool Activities


10 Ideas for Homeschooling Outdoors - An Island Family By Grace

We started our usual homeschooling routine last week after our Easter break, and thankfully I am beginning to feel slightly better, although the pregnancy nausea is still there. We have had much more settled weather recently, and we were even able to do some homeschooling outdoors this past week, so I thought I would write about some of the related resources we like to use.

10 Outdoor Homeschool Activities

  1. Nature Study. One of the things we like to do most when the weather is good (or at least reasonable!), is to study nature. You can see my post with lots of nature study resources here.

    Ladybird for Nature Study - 10 Activities for Homeschooling Outdoors - An Island Family By Grace

    Catching ladybirds for nature study!

  2. Gardening. Over the years our children have enjoyed growing things as simple as sunflowers to the slightly more difficult giant pumpkins we managed to grow a few years ago. We have been given several children’s books on gardening: Gardening with Kids and Starting Gardening (Usborne First Skills), however the best thing is just to get out and start planting, watering and weeding, I think!
  3. Painting. Particularly when our children were younger, I found that the garden was the best place for letting our children paint, as there was no mess to clean up indoors! We had been given an easel from Early Learning Centre as a present, so our 2 younger daughters used either side of that, with our older children using a small table and chairs. I think this would be slightly more difficult here on the island due to the stronger winds, but chalk drawing on our concrete path has been tested and is do-able!
  4. Woodworking. When our son was 10, we gave him his first ‘proper’ tool kit- a wooden set which I got on eBay, which included hammer, chisel, junior hacksaw, pliers and ruler. He has now ‘graduated’ onto more grown up tools, but still enjoys making and fixing things. Our girls have also gone through various phases of using basic tools to create things. Something that is easy for younger children to make is a simple car or vehicle of some description, using a block of wood, onto which you nail 4 metal coke or beer bottle tops near each bottom corner, to serve as ‘wheels’. The vehicle can then be coloured or painted however they like. We found this sort of craft really encouraged our children to want to make more, and our son went on to make bird boxes and bat boxes.
  5. Games. I am not mentioning here the many sports your family could be involved in, but we have over the years invested in equipment such as a badminton set, cricket set, basketball hoop, and even croquet! Particularly when our eldest two were smaller, they enjoyed command type games, such as ‘Traffic Lights’ (give the children instructions such as red, amber, green, then add in ‘road works’, ‘speed bumps’, ’roundabout’ etc.); ‘Port and Starboard’ (tell the children to go to different parts of the ship, i.e. garden, then ‘climb the rigging’, ‘scrub the decks’, ‘walk the plank’ etc.); and ‘Simon Says’. In fact, I must start playing these again with our younger two. I also occasionally give the children scavenger hunts, and if I’m feeling really enthusiastic (!), an obstacle course. We had great fun with our own mini-Olympics in our garden during the 2008 Beijing Games, and our children still enjoy more simple games such as hopscotch.
  6. Reading Rug. If it is warm enough to sit still outside (I may require a fleece for this one!), another favourite outdoor homeschool activity for our family is to take our picnic rug into the garden for reading. Whether this is for our current read aloud book, our history time, or just personal reading, we can enjoy learning, and soaking up some vitamin D at the same time!
  7. Photography. Our son and our 9 year old daughter have been particularly interested in photography, and have bought their own cameras from eBay. Our son’s most recent upgrade has been to a digital SLR camera, which he saved up for with money from his baking and egg-selling business. We have an older photography book, which is good for teaching basic principles of photography, (although not modern technology!), but sadly many of the modern photography books which I have previously borrowed from the library have not been suitable for children. So if you have a recommendation for a child-friendly, but not too basic, photography book, I would like to hear about it! I have also found a couple of photography courses online, including this one run for homeschoolers, which I am keeping in reserve for future birthdays!
  8. Astronomy. My parents gave our son a National Geographic Telescope for his birthday several years ago, which has been of huge interest for all of our children. Particularly now that we have moved to the island, we are able to view the night sky without light pollution, and we are also able to see aurora borealis (the Nothern Lights) at various times of the year. For several years running we bought this Stargazers’ Almanac, allowing us to see in advance which constellations and/ or planets can be seen from each part of the UK throughout the year.Outdoor Homeschooling - An Island Family By Grace
  9. Map Reading. All of our children are interested in maps, although our son in particular went through a phase from about age 7-12 of pouring over maps, and even drawing his own fictional and non-fictional maps. When we started home educating, someone gave me the idea of putting maps under a clear plastic tablecloth on our kitchen table. This led to lots of interesting meal time discussions, and we could swap out the local map of the town we lived in at the time with maps of Scotland, the UK, or the world, which relatives had received free in their newspapers! We have Ordinance Survey maps of our island now, and waterproof map cases for taking them outdoors, along with easy to use compasses. This fits in nicely with our 12 year old daughter’s Exploring Geography in a Changing World book, and our son’s IGCSE Geography course. We have not done orienteering or geocaching as a family, but I think they are activities we would enjoy.
  10. Visiting Historical and Cultural Sites. This obviously takes more time, effort, and sometimes money, than the previous activities, but it is obviously an enjoyable outdoor homeschooling activity in good weather! We often go on trips to these sort of sites for family birthdays, and I try if I can to plan for somewhere that will tie-in with something that we are currently learning about.
10 Outdoor Homeschool Activities - An Island Family By Grace

We had nice weather for our trip to Loch Leven Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots was held prisoner

These are some of the outdoor homeschool activities that our family enjoys in good weather. If of course you do not currently have good weather (as I type this it has actually been snowing on and off all day!), you can also see my post on Frugal, Screen Free, Bad Weather Activities!

Are there any other outdoor homeschool activities which your family enjoys? Please share them in a comment.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

 

This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

Health Goals 2016 April Update

Healthy Living Goals- How I'm Doing ~ An Island Family By Gracr

As I said in my special announcement last week, my husband and I are currently expecting our 5th baby. I am 15 weeks pregnant, and still feeling very nauseated, but I thought I would give an update on how I have been getting on with my health goals for 2016.

Obviously with being pregnant, my health goals have changed somewhat! However, I still want to aim for a healthy pregnancy and beyond, and I do believe that looking after my health is part of honouring God with my body. Although I do not want to let health or fitness become an idol in my life, looking after them will allow me to live out God’s calling for my life, however long I am around for!

‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Weight

Well, obviously my weight-loss goals are out the window for the time being! My total weight loss after ‘getting back on the healthy eating wagon’ last summer stayed at around 14 pounds, until my nausea began. Since then I have found that eating every hour to two hours has helped to reduce the nausea a wee bit, so I have steadily been putting on weight, which is fine as long as I do not continue eating quite so much once the nausea has passed.

I hope to get back to eating along the lines of the Trim Healthy Mama plan as soon as the nausea stops, but for the moment, quite frankly, I am eating whatever I can, whenever I feel hungry. I have pinned some helpful articles on pregnancy sickness and a ‘Trim Healthy Mama Pregnancy’ on my Pinterest pregnancy board:

Follow Gwen AnIslandFamilyByGrace’s board Pregnancy on Pinterest.

Exercise

Similarly, as I have been feeling so unwell for the last two months, my exercise goals have gone by the wayside. However, I will be getting back to walking with the children and doing my Core Programme and T-Tapp books (that I mentioned in my Making Time for Fitness post), once I no longer have the nausea. February and March have been much sunnier and drier here this year, so I am keen to get out and appreciate our beautiful surroundings very soon!

Essential Oils and Herbs

I have not done any further learning on essential oils and herbs since January, however I am looking ahead to the Essential Oils Revolution Summit from 22nd to 29th August 2016, which I found very helpful and informative last year. We have also been continuing to use essential oils in homemade fabric conditioner, as an air freshener, and in my oil burner. In January I had my first attempt at making homemade toiletries using essential oils, which I will perhaps write a post about in the future.

Healthy Foods, Cooking and Gardening

I have been trying to broaden the range (and amount!) of fresh fruit and vegetables that our family has been eating, although with my nausea, I have personally been sticking to what I can stomach!

We have continued to make sourdough bread (with the able assistance of my son and eldest daughter!), and buttermilk. Although I have not learned to make any additional traditional foods myself, I have been buying kefir from the supermarket, as increasing probiotics is one of the recommendations for reducing nausea and hyperemesis gravidarum in this post from Zsuzsanna of Yes, They Are All Ours! Hopefully when the nausea and tired stage passes, I will be able to get hold of some kefir grains, and make it myself!

Gardening - 2016 Health Goals Update - A Island Family By Grace

A small number of the seeds I started on our windowsill in January actually germinated, and they have now been potted by our 12 year old daughter, and are out in the polytunnel. Surprisingly, the garlic which I planted in the polytunnel towards the end of last year seems to have survived the polytunnel getting flooded with the heavy rains in January, so I hope to add plenty more vegetables as the temperatures continue to increase. This year, however, I will be under no illusions as to the ‘unlikelihood’ of hail and snow on the island in June!

So as you can see, I have definitely not been a ‘superwoman’ with my healthy living goals since becoming pregnant! However, the nausea is all for an extremely good reason, so I will be focusing instead on having as healthy a pregnancy as possible, and looking forward to our lovely baby.

Did you set any health goals or resolutions this year? Or have you just recently decided that you want to make some changes? If so, how are you getting on, and are you feeling the benefit? Please let me know in a comment.


 

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May be linked up at The Life of this Mother, Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

 

This post contains some affiliate links. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

A Special Announcement!


A Special Announcement from An Island Family By Grace

I might as well ‘cut to the chase’ with my special announcement! My husband and I are expecting our 5th child! We are really pleased, and the children are all very excited! Our youngest daughter, who is 7 years old, actually jumped up and down the day we told the children, shouting “I won’t be the youngest any more, I won’t be the youngest any more!”

After 7 years of not having any more babies, some things are quite different, such as what is recommended/ not recommended during pregnancy, and we also noticed at my ultrasound scan that the equipment was a lot more modern. However, after all the different things we have been through as a family during these years, we are just so happy to be looking forward to the new addition to our family!

I am currently 14 weeks pregnant, and the baby is due towards the end of September. I am thanking God that I have not been quite as ill as I was with all our other children, when I had hyperemesis gravidarum (severe pregnancy sickness), although I have still had strong nausea and some vomiting this time (sorry!). I am still feeling very sick at the moment, but am hoping it will not last for too much longer, as with each pregnancy it has lasted for progressively less time. With our youngest daughter it stopped at about 15 weeks, so here’s hoping!

Special Announcement from An Island Family By Grace

So there is the explanation as to why there have not been many personal photos, or any outdoor photos in my posts over the last couple of months! I have jealously watched the children doing nature study outside, and I have missed being with our church fellowship for such a long time, but it is a temporary rest for a very good reason! It has been a huge blessing that we have had much better weather this February and March, so my husband and the children have been able to enjoy fresh air and exercise. And I have been able to enjoy the view!

We have continued homeschooling as usual, and the rest of the family has been very helpful in temporarily taking on extra housework tasks. I have also really been appreciating the half hour of ‘quiet activity time’ that I have mentioned before, as it has allowed me to have a wee nap after lunch!

I think that I may do an update on my healthy living goals for 2016 next week (don’t laugh too much!), but suffice it to say that they have changed! With regards to what I’m reading this year, I have slowed to a stop, other than the devotional book Praying the Names of God, which has been a real blessing in terms of keeping me in the routine of reading the Bible and praying every day. The children and I have continued with our read aloud books after Bible time each morning, which is the time of day that I feel best, anyway.

I have been pinning some pregnancy articles that I like to my Pregnancy board on Pinterest, including quite a few on ‘morning’ sickness!

Follow Gwen AnIslandFamilyByGrace’s board Pregnancy on Pinterest.

So, I will let you know how I am getting on periodically, and I would appreciate any advice from anyone else who has had a baby much later than their older children!


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Roses of InspirationTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Sitting Among Friends Blog HopHearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Faithful at Home FridaysFellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

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There is Always Hope


Christian Hope for Hopelessness - An Island Family By Grace

Are you feeling hopeless today? I want to encourage you that in Jesus Christ, there is always hope.

Recently I have read several things that express hopelessness- that nothing in a situation could possibly change, or that there could never be an improvement on an issue. It left me thinking how ‘big’ is our God, and do we really trust Him beyond what we can see? And if we are Christians, do we really believe that there is always hope in Jesus Christ?

Our circumstances will not always change, but…

Now, I am not saying that all things that happen that we do not like will change. I am also not suggesting that if we just have a little more faith, or just try a bit harder, everything will work out the way we want it to. Anyone who has lost a loved one ‘before their time’, in human terms, has to accept that they are gone for good, sooner or later.  However, as believers in Jesus Christ, even in this circumstance we have hope, in light of eternity. If we have put our faith in Him as our Lord and Saviour, one day we will always be in His presence, and

‘ “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” ‘ Revelation 21:4

What we cannot see

In other circumstances however, things which may very much appear dead or hopeless to our human understanding, may indeed be revived or even resurrected by God. My husband and I would see our own marriage relationship as one example of this. To each of us at the time, and to many others around us, there was no way that things could possibly be changed, because of what we could see. However, ‘faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see’ (Hebrews 11:1), and thankfully there were a small handful of Christians who stood with me for the reconciliation of our marriage, and to help me have hope, against all appearances.

A Christian singer songwriter whom I came across at that time, whose songs I found very encouraging, was Sarah Groves. Her song ‘It Might Be Hope’ conveys well what I am trying in faltering words to express here:

‘It’s hard to recall what put out the flame, it’s been dark here since you can remember, you talk it all through to find it a name, as days go on without number, you’ve been here for a long long time..

But hope has a way of turning it’s face to you, just when you least expect it. You walk in a room, you look out a window and something there leaves you breathless. You say to yourself, it’s been a while since I felt this, but it feels like it might be hope.’

 

‘It Might Be Hope’

 

2nd verse and chorus, © 2007 Sarah Groves Music

Her songs ‘Love Is Still A Worthy Cause’ and ‘It’s Going to Be Alright’ were also poignant for me, particularly as the latter speaks about someone being upheld in prayer and faith by other believers, which was definitely what I experienced.

So, my point is that these changes and encouragements do not come when we are expecting them- we can ‘see’ them only by trusting the Lord and who He is, not by looking at our circumstances with human eyes, and disappointment with what human attempts have been able to achieve in their own power.

Jesus - Hope for the Hopeless ~ An Island Family By Grace

Remember Who God is

Finally, as I have just hinted, we need to remember if we are Christians, Who it is that we worship.

When Abraham’s wife Sarah laughed that she would have a child in her old age, ‘Then the LORD said to Abraham “Why did Sarah laugh and say ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:13-14, emphasis added).

Later in the Old Testament, Jeremiah prays, ‘ “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” ‘ (Jeremiah 32:17, emphasis added), and Paul says that ‘On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers’ (2 Corinthians 1:10-11).

The letter to the Romans refers to Him as ‘the God of hope’, and asks that they be filled ‘with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13, emphasis added).

So if you are feeling hopeless today, start to focus on Who God is, and the hope He brings. Search out Scriptures that will help you to put your trust in Almighty God, and your eyes will be fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), rather than the impossible circumstances you are in.

As many Christians around the world will be celebrating Jesus conquering sin and death on the cross, and His resurrection from death this week, remember that he is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8), and in Him, there is always hope for us too, no matter what our circumstances.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Roses of InspirationTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Faithful at Home FridaysFellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


Shakespeare Week Activities


Shakespeare Week Activities ~ An Island Family By Grace

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust publicises Shakespeare Week each year in March, and in 2016 it runs from 14th to 20th March. We first found out about this from Sarah of Delivering Grace, and it has been something that the children and I really enjoyed taking part in. Although this is the ‘official’ Shakespeare week, these activities could of course be done at any time of the year, and the Shakespeare Week website resources are available all year round.

I have decided that we will look at the Merchant of Venice as a family this time, after doing the Tempest last year. Here are some of the resources and activities we will be using and doing:

Online Broadcasts

There are some special resources on offer this week due to the celebrations. We will be starting the week with a digital tour of the Shakespeare Birthplace Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon, which is open to schools or home educators who register on the Shakespeare Week site. The Royal Shakespeare Company is offering live online streaming of their performance of Othello to UK schools and homeschoolers. However, I have decided to wait for their screening of the Merchant of Venice in April, as I don’t feel our children are ready for some of the more violent scenes in Othello, although the RSC does also give a teachers’ guide which gives the timing of scenes within the broadcast which they may wish to miss out for younger children.

Online Audiobooks and Videos

We already have an audiobook of Charles and Mary Lamb’s children’s book Tales from Shakespeare on cassette tape (I know, old school!), but it does not include their version of the Merchant of Venice, so I have downloaded the Merchant of Venice audio chapter of  Tales from Shakespeare from Librivox. All their audiobooks are in the public domain, and are therefore free. You can also get the ‘print’ version of Tales from Shakespeare free for Kindle, on Amazon. We are going on a trip one day this week, and will listen to the audiobook in the car. Librivox also offer Edith Nesbit’s The Children’s Shakespeare to stream or download.

I also hope to watch a video of how the Globe Theatre building was reconstructed and to end of the week, we will watch the BBC worldwide film of the Merchant of Venice. From Friday 18th March 2016, BBC Schools Radio will have a retelling of the Merchant of Venice available, but I am not sure if we will use this yet- I will probably preview it first- although there is a set of teachers’ notes to go along with all the plays that they have made retold versions of, written by well-known authors.

Printable Resources

We will be using the free printable ‘Passports to Shakespeare’ booklets from the Shakespeare Week, and also building these printable paper models of the Globe Theatre in London, after we have watched the video on the building of the reconstructed Globe Theatre that I mentioned above.

Shakespeare Activities on An Island Family By Grace

Along with the audiobook of the Merchant of Venice that we listen to in the car, we will be taking along Merchant of Venice wordsearches from the Shakespeare Week site. There really is a wealth of resources on there for learning about Shakespeare, and we used some of them last year, for example to learn about common idioms currently used in the English language, which were actually ‘invented’ by Shakespeare himself.

Reading the Original Text

I have read some authors who do not agree with using any adapted versions of Shakespeare’s works, but our children have really enjoyed and been able to understand Charles and Mary Lamb’s retellings, and they have not stopped our oldest two from going on to read the original plays, such as when they each studied Much Ado About Nothing as part of Learning Language Arts Through Literature Green. However, we will be reading some of the original text of the Merchant of Venice this week, and I hope the children will enjoy and appreciate how it sounds, as it was written to be heard.

Activities for Shakespeare Week on An Island Family By Grace

Performance

Towards the end of the week, I hope to have the children act out their own shortened version of the Merchant of Venice. One of the girls was given a Moulin Roty Shadow Puppet Theatre and extra shadow puppets for Christmas, so we may use those, or just get them to dress up and enjoy it!

Further Discussion

Obviously as part of our study this week, we will be discussing some of the issues that the Merchant of Venice raises, such as how some of the characters are treated, and how this relates to how we should treat others. It is only one week of course, so we won’t necessarily be going into great depth at this time, but it will be a bit more than just looking at the surface of the story. I also hope to talk a bit about iambic pentameter, and other literary forms in Shakespeare’s work, which our older two have touched on a wee bit so far.

General Resources for Learning about Shakespeare at Home

BBC Primary History has a William Shakespeare page, which in addition to information about the man and his plays, also includes related portraits and photographs, as well as an online quiz and game.

Tara of This Sweet Life has a Shakespeare for Kids post with lots of recommendations for children’s books on Shakespeare, and links to Shakepeare unit studies, and Claire from Angelic Scalliwags has a great series of posts on her family’s amazing Shakespeare unit study throughout summer last year.

Finally, Sarah MacKenzie of the Read Aloud Revival podcast recently did an interesting interview with Ken Ludwig, author of How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. I even found the readers’ comments below the podcast an extra help.

So, it looks like it will be a fun Shakespeare Week for us! Has your family studied Shakespeare together? If so, what did you enjoy most about it? Or have you stayed away from learning about Shakespeare so far? Please leave a comment and let me know.


 

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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Roses of InspirationTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Faithful at Home FridaysFellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

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