rounding off our homeschool year

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


 on friday, we had our last day of school. it really felt like quite the achievement for all of us, rounding off our first full homeschool year, and with the inclusion of isabel into our formal schooling this year. to celebrate, i made pancakes for breakfast and we spent the day doing fun activity sheets (revision activities). it seemed like the very best way to end the year's formal learning.

we also had a party to celebrate (of course!). 

a few weeks ago, we were talking about how we wanted to end our school year (you know, so we had something to look forward to, to help us get through those last few weeks!). i suggested to alexander, who was struggling to maintain motivation with his recorder playing, that we hold a little concert and party for our friends. he really liked the idea, and chose two songs to practise for the concert (one easy and one more challenging). at the same time, i suggested to the girls that we sing some of the songs we've been learning. at first they were hesitant, but when alexander said he'd join in, they were quite happy. we spent the last couple of weeks practising most days, so we'd be ready.


when friday afternoon came, they changed into their nicest clothes, the outfits they wore last summer at their aunt's wedding. they stood calmly and proudly in front of the people they know best in rwanda (all our colleagues), and sang the five songs we'd practised, complete with the occasional action. when they were finished, it was alexander's turn.


i was initially hesitant to suggest that alexander perform, as i didn't want to put too much pressure on him, but it turned out to be just the right amount of pressure. he chose to play "mary had a little lamb" (with three notes) and "wee son jon" (with five notes). he practised 10 times a day (each piece) for the last two weeks leading up to the performance, and it was such a delight to hear him play confidently and almost flawlessly on the day of the performance.


after their performances, it was time to celebrate!

we made carrot cake muffins and put a single (tiny) strawberry from our garden on each one. they were really yummy, even without the usual cream cheese frosting. we also made some banana bread, drizzled with chocolate icing. 

if there's one recipe that's great to have in rwanda, it's banana bread! 


it was a really great way to round off the year! 
these three were so proud of themselves, and we were too.


they learnt that they could do things they didn't think they could. that they were able to remember what to do, and perform in front of others, even though they were scared.

they learnt that it's fun and important to celebrate the small things in life, 
and that making things beautiful only enhances the joy.

and i learnt that pushing your kids to practise and perform is sometimes the very best thing.

summer plans 2015

Monday, 22 June 2015

today marks the official start of our summer holidays. we rounded off our school year on friday with a party and concert for our friends (more on that later), and are now basking in the delightful knowledge that we have a good, long seven week break before we get back into the school again. 


on saturday night we lit up some charcoal and got the barbeque going. although we don't really have seasons here (only rainy and dry seasons, which are pretty much the same, with the exception of how much and often it rains), there was such a relaxed, summer feel, and i really wanted to make sure we embrace these days as best we can. 

this morning i asked the kids to help me put together a summer list, a summer manifesto if you will. they had lots of great ideas and, after a reminder that we won't necessarily fulfill our entire list, we wrote it all down. our summer plans include a three week trip to denmark to hang out with family and friends, so naturally our list includes all of the awesomeness of summer in denmark too.

here's a closer look at what made its way onto our list:
  • go to the swimming pool
  • go camping in a caravan (we're going to sommercamp!)
  • toast marshmallows over a fire
  • go to the playground (there aren't any here in rwanda, so they are really excited about any kind of playground!)
  • read 3 books together - we have chosen Beezus and Ramona, The Borrowers, and Little House in the Big Woods (back ups are Charlotte's Web and re-reading The Boxcar Children)
  • eat strawberries and cream (in denmark, obviously)
  • eat hot dogs
  • build a lego city (like in the lego movie!)
  • ride bikes
  • play in the sandpit
  • have a tea party with the dollies
  • barbeque
  • eat gammeldagsis (awesome big ice creams with marshmallow topping)
  • sleep in a tent in the backyard
  • go to the beach
  • walk on the walking street (and buy stuff!)
  • feed the ducks at bryggen (in our old home town)
  • go on a date
  • play boardgames (or card games) together
  • make snobrød (bread on a stick) and pølse (sausages) over a fire
  • visit a museum (that one's for me)
  • build a cubby house
  • watch movies
  • have a dance party
  • complete a photo project (note the word complete!)
  • go to legoland
  • spend time with family and friends
  • read outside
  • go to mcdonalds (kids' request)
  • get creative together - sew, paint, bake, make
  • trip to copenhagen (to get my passport renewed)
  • start a sewing project with alexander
  • play outside
  • try some new baking recipes
  • go to the movies
  • walk in the forest 
  • read a book (that one's for me too)
  • make ice cream


after making the list this morning, the unanimous decision was to build a cubby house. we grabbed a couple of large sheets and hung them up on the clotheslines, using rocks to hold them in place. simple and easy! it kept the kids entertained for a while, and the neighbours too, who aren't used to seeing children play (or adults enabling it!).

what are you looking forward to this summer? 
(you can see our previous summer lists for 2012 and 2013)

everyday moments {may 2015}

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Once upon a time, I shared everyday moments from our lives at the end of each week. It was a wonderful way of recaping the beauty that so often escapes our attention in the mundane, daily routine. 

Moving to Rwanda 18 months ago was, simply put, really challenging, and I sadly let this routine slip. I also forgot to keep looking for the beauty and magic in the everyday.

It's time for me to pick up this habit once more, if for nothing else than to look for, and celebrate, the beauty in the everyday.

Here are some beautiful moments from our everyday lives in May.

1. Lucy's first ever story
2. Rainbow
3. Enjoying volume 1 of Project Life 2013 (finally completed and printed!)
4. This little guy scared me when he ran across the curtain
5. Little feet
6. New birthday toys
7. Natural beauty
8. There's even beauty in blackouts
9. Imaginative play in cubbies....my favourite!
10. Alexander's first solo moto ride
11. Playing in the last rain of the rainy season

weekend baking - danish oat cookies

Friday, 5 June 2015

It's been a while since I've shared any baking here on the blog, or even done much baking at all. I've had the brilliant idea to make a family recipe book of 52 of our favourite baked goodies. Obviously, we don't have 52 favourites...yet. It will be an ongoing project of finding, tracking down and trying different recipes until we have 52 that we love as a family.

This week I tracked down a recipe for a classic favourite in our family, Danish oat cookies, or havrekager. I'd never tried these before moving to Denmark, but they are the kind of cookies that are always around on a cake table, or when visiting elderly grandparents. They are simple, yet tasty, thanks to the oats.

These cookies are fast and easy to make, which make them really child friendly, so there's no excuse to not have any ready for afternoon tea!
 Danish Oat Cookies
(makes about 18 small cookies or 9 large cookies)
Recipe adapted from valdemarsro.dk

75g butter
1 tsp vanilla
125g sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbs flour
125g oats

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. 
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Allow to cool briefly before stirring the oats in. Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes.
3. Beat the egg and sugar together until thick. Stir in the flour, baking powder and vanilla. 
4. Stir the oat mixture into the sugar mixture.
5. Spoon the mixture onto a greased/lined baking tray, using a teaspoon for small cookies or a tablespoon for large ones (we made small ones). Make sure there's lots of space between them as they flatten during baking.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the middle of the oven, or until the edges are brown. 
7. Allow the cookies to cool and harden before eating!

Some exciting variations include drizzling the top in melted chocolate, or sandwiching the large cookies with cream (or a combination for an awesome treat!).

Velbekomme! (Enjoy!) 

the everyday moments

Friday, 15 May 2015

it's been quite a while since i've written something in this space. that seems to be the way i roll with blogging. many times i've tried to write something here, to share what's been going on in our corner of the world, and the words just don't come.

life here is challenging, and sometimes it gets to me. at those moments, i just stop.

stop writing, stop sharing, stop creating.

once upon a time i wrote about the small moments in life and beauty in the everyday.

i've forgotten how to do that. i've stopped looking for beauty in the small and mundane, and it's been pulling me down.

at about the same time, my sewing machine suddenly died. it was a devastating moment, realising that it wasn't going to turn back on. i felt like my creativity died along with it. without any everyday beauty, or a handmade creation to share, i felt like i had nothing left to say.

then i got on instagram, and i started sharing our everyday moments. for the first time in a long time, i started to see the beauty in the everyday, mundane, small moments that make up my life.

and it's been wonderful.

and so i wanted to share these moments with you, too.

if you're on instagram, you can find me here.

love, fiona

exploring - nambiti game reserve, south africa {part 2}

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

(this is part two of our trip to nambiti game reserve, south africa. read part one if you missed it)

We woke up early in the morning to head out and see the animals when they're most active. The kids managed the early morning trip well, and we had a long break in the middle of the day at the lodge. We all had a nap and a swim in the pool, then headed out for the afternoon. It turned out to be a fantastic day, in which we saw most of the big animals we had hoped to see, and many varieties of antelope. Even cool weather and spotting rain couldn't dampen our enthusiasm. 

By far the most exciting moment of the day was watching the young male lions, laying about lazily, suddenly stand up and look most intently at the other safari vehicle when they got stuck on the rocks! All the while, whispering to our usually active and noisy 3 year old to sit very still and don't make a sound!

There were so many beautiful animals to see, and I was actually thankful that it was a bit cold and overcast, as I was worried it would be very hot. 
We were so thankful for these lined rain ponchos in the safari car, which kept us all warm and dry. We had our final safari drive early Sunday morning, but we both agreed it was one drive too many for the kids, who just wanted to stay in bed and didn't care to see anymore animals :)

We had a fantastic trip, and I'm really glad we did it. I was a bit worried about how it would be to take young children (3, 5, and 7 years old) on safari trips, where they had to be still and quiet for three hours at a time, but they managed it so well (with a few biscuits and sweets to keep them happy!). It was also great to see the South African wildlife and nature. All in all, a really great time!
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