Sunday, July 7, 2019

mid-winter wonder

Mid-winter is when my favourite treasure bursts into spectacular bloom.
 A Vulcan Magnolia tree. 
Its rich magenta flowers are as big as your open hand. 
The branches are completely bare except for the furry buds and flowers. 
They sure stand out!
 One day there are only bare branches and plump furry buds with a hint of colour. 
Then I wake up and see the glorious surprise of the magnificent flowers.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

cést si bon

It’s been a deliciously damp drizzly Saturday with very welcome wet weather and the cool change at last.
It is more cosy to stay home than to head out the door and into rain. Far better to bake up a storm in the kitchen and potter about.
There is a strong café culture these days. It’s tempting to pop out for a special coffee close by. We have a beautiful café just up the road. I have always declined buying a coffee machine because I'd rather a special treat where really good coffee is an artform.
To actually enjoy being together at home is a lost art I suspect. Families are fragmented every day of the week with everyone going in different directions. It is nice to gather at home in each other’s company with the chance to really relax and save some money by cooking something special at a fraction of the cost of going out. It is wonderful to be sociable, but you don’t necessarily need visitors and extra company to experience those special touches of hospitality.

I love watching some of my children get creative in the kitchen. For two in particular, it is their way of relaxing. The more fiddly the recipe, the more they enjoy the process.
My son relished a slow start to his weekend. It is so different getting up early to catch a school bus and be away each day.  To stay home is luxurious for a schoolboy. Especially on a rainy day.
One of the few souvenirs from Daniel’s travels last year was to bring home an épandeur de crêpe, a wooden tool for spreading crepe batter. It is quite tricky to make a good melt-in-your-mouth French crepe. He certainly mastered them this morning!
Daniel was inspired by the beautiful visual feasts of @_foodstories_ 
 and their recipe for crepes with apple and berry sauce. He adapted the gluten free recipe and used coconut milk. They were soft and delicate, just as a good French crepe should be.
Here’s to home cooked hospitality – food made with love for one another - just because.
                Bon appétit!

Thursday, March 14, 2019


We can find hidden beauty wherever we are.

I discovered these beautiful dahlias growing wild amidst the weeds and grasses down in a ditch. 
The vibrant pink pop of colour was so cheerful, it just made my day!
 I love that their seeds jumped the fence and escaped the confines of a garden to brighten up the roadside.
I spotted them out for a jaunt on a bicycle on a recent visit to Tenterfield. Such a leisurely way to explore a new town! You can go slowly enough to really see things instead of a fleeting glimpse in a car.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Out the back door,
 down the steps, through the hedge, 
behind the shed
Is a pile.
A mucky messy pile.
The scraps of life.
Fragile, broken eggshells, 
squished up, used up peels and pips and dregs. 
Refuse tossed from the kitchen.


All simmering and shrinking imperceptibly into a small pile of delectable new soil.
The hidden ingredient is time.
God’s work takes time too.
He takes the mucky mess, the fragile, broken pieces and uses it all to work things out for good.

God makes all things new in His time

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

a glimpse into our travels

We went to Europe!
We really did.
A great big geography excursion with our youngest two children.
World schooling. History, art, architecture…lessons for real life!
It's weeks since our return to “normal".
The buzz of adventure has faded to a gentle hum.
Our hearts and horizons have expanded.
While we did visit London, Paris and Rome, we really did not enjoy the main tourist attractions so much.
Our favourite experiences were meandering around the back roads, exploring the countryside on bicycles and wandering cobbled streets in little villages.
Visitors, not tourists.

The highlight was meeting local people.
Travelling can be quite lonely coming in as an outsider.
We flit across the surface of a new country for a brief overview. The best times were connecting with local people and experiencing everyday life in a different culture.
An elderly gentleman hanging out his washing in a little stone courtyard. 
He wore a beret. So natural. So French.
An elderly lady hanging out her washing in a tiny garden with a gorgeous clump of dark red peonies blooming their pretty head off in amongst the unmown grass and weeds.
Italian farmers bouncing along the steep ploughed fields on tractors with tracks.
Italian farmhands pruning gnarly old olive trees.
Bicycle riders bearing baguettes in their baskets after morning shopping.
Not always doing something whiz bang.

The simplicity was being there. Waking up in a cottage in the Italian or French countryside. 
Listening to people talking in a foreign language. Shopping for unusual groceries, sipping coffee on a sidewalk café, watching the people around us living their daily lives.
It was marvelous.
I hope you might enjoy a glimpse into some special memories from our travels.

A blue kettle kind of day

Our kettle broke. Our lovely red kettle.
A mini catastrophe.

Teatime is a hub of our family culture and we don’t live near town. Visitors were coming any minute.
Instead of scurrying off to buy a new one, I remembered we had a kettle we hadn’t christened.

A beautiful blue enamel kettle.

I’d been longing to take it camping for steaming mugs of tea in the bush.
We often stress and scramble when we could choose to be more resourceful.
The blue kettle has stayed and actually makes a pretty picture in the kitchen.
It turns an ordinary routine into a moment of beauty. 
I feel cheerful just looking at it.
It is also very sketchable.
I sketched it one morning last week. 
Something I want to make more time for. 
To just do instead of making excuses.
To capture the simple beauty of an ordinary moment.

                         What is it you keep jotting down on your                      want-to-make-time-for list?
What do you keep writing and just not getting to?
It is really satisfying to actually do. that. thing. 
It can be so simple.
To go for a walk. To read aloud to my children.
To sketch something.
To tidy that hideous cupboard.
Today I did and felt quite pleased with myself.
It also gave momentum.
Once that was behind me, I felt liberated to keep going with another tough task.
Or keep sketching!

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Some dreams are too poignant and precious to put into words. Like delicate bubbles, they are fragile. To expose them to the light of day too soon might threaten to burst the exquisite sense of anticipation. Of possibility.
To talk about personal ideas publicly threatens to belittle them. Unuttered, they are like hidden treasure, buried safely away where words cannot express something too deep for words.
I have held a dream in my heart that God has tucked safely away for decades. Until now, it has not been the right season. Like a bulb, buried in the earth, the dream is about to burst forth and blossom.
It is hard to comprehend. Now it is finally time.  I am about to embark on something so wonderful I can hardly speak of it and put it ‘out there’.
But the motivation behind sharing is to inspire you to dream of your own adventure and put the hard work in to make it a reality.

Flowers can transport you. In my case, they really are taking me places. Flowers have bought my ticket to travel. Well, actually, my husband’s ticket.
I have longed to go to Europe since before I met Andrew. He said we would go together one day.
Now we are –  35 years later.
It became my catchcry. Andrew is not as keen to travel as I am, but I said if I bought his ticket, he couldn’t say no!
That has been the reason behind growing hundreds of flowers to sell these past two years.
To take him to Italy.
How can a full-time, home schooling mother of eight children living in a rural area make some money to contemplate the possibility of travelling? How can I earn some funds to explore this big wide beautiful world?
Do what you can with what you’ve got where you are.
That’s my motto.
I live in an area with deliciously rich soil, plenty of water and I love gardening.
So I grew flowers!
Commit your plans to the Lord and He shall bring them to pass.
I did and He has.
He is the caretaker of the deepest desires of our hearts. If something is meant to be, those hopes and dreams are safe with Him. He sifts and sorts our plans and ideas as we walk with Him and follow His lead. God is never in a hurry. He has work to accomplish in the preparation. Those three words….In The Meantime. Oh!! Those loooonnnnggg meantimes. The waiting. The wondering. The doubts, the questions. The chaffing as He polishes us and refines the very essence of our character. The lessons in trust and patience.
The peace that can only come when we trust God’s perfect timing.       
I do not want to wait until my children are grown and leave home to fulfil the longing for adventure. It will be awhile off yet! Eight children, roughly two years apart.
I actually want to have some fun with them along the way! We can explore together and share the journey!
I like their company. And I hope they don’t mind mine. I don’t think they will say no to Paris, London or Rome.
Even writing those words is surreal.
I am pinching myself. Paris? London? Rome?
Europe? Moi?
This time tomorrow, the four of us will be winging our way across to the other side of this great big beautiful world to explore together.
My husband and me with our two youngest children as a grand hurrah to homeschooling for 25 years.
Home educating is multi faceted. It is not one dimensional. Books and pages and words.
Education can be so much more. Experiences bring learning to life. To travel is to open up a whole new world.
I am excited not to be a tourist. I just want to absorb other cultures. To listen and touch and smell and taste and see that the Lord is good over there too. To watch people live their lives in another culture. Italians. French. To revisit the Scottish and the English and introduce my children to places that seem so familiar because we have read about them together since they were babies.
Visiting Britain was like walking into books I’d grown up with and then shared with my children. I am looking forward to sharing those familiar places, especially Arthur Ransome’s Lake District. We shall definitely be messing about in boats.
Au revoir!

Photos by Briony Scotton