I Will Honour Christmas In My Heart…

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Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, dear readers

Lynn x

Advent Calendars


I thought I would take a little time to show you the many different advent calendars we have in our home.

I am compelled to point out that I have celebrated advent with children for many years now; my eldest will be thirteen years old in a few short days. So our collection has been built up over the years.

In the photo above, you can see the Advent spiral I made many years ago. We used to have a more traditional advent wreath, with five candles, but I made the spiral & prefer to use this instead. This year we have been very blessed my my mother in law, who gave the girls these two Yankee candle calendars, so we will be using the lovely scented tea lights to light our way to Christmas.

Image of Yankee Candle Christmas Advent Calendar 2015 Pink

Image of Yankee Candle Christmas Advent Calendar 2015 Blue

We say this little rhyme as we light our daily candle:

Winter is dark,

Yet each tiny spark

Brightens the way

To Christmas Day

Shine little light

And show us the way

To the bright light

Of Christmas Day.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember where I found this rhyme, so I am not able to give credit to the author. Please let me know in the comments if you do!

 The country diary of an Edwardian Lady advent calendar I bought last year, but for some reason we did not use it, so is new to us this year. Isn’t it beautiful?


Next up, we have two lovely books; Tasha Tudor’s A Book Of Christmas, which is so much more than just an advent calendar. A real treasure!

The Animal’s Advent is a sweet nature-themed calendar.


Here is our Jessie tree


Again, I made the most of the ornaments when the children were very small, we also use a clay Christmas tree ornament, which goes onto the Jessie tree on the last day.


I found the templates for the ornaments free online (the link has been long-forgotten; I printed out the daily readings and such years ago, but there are many links on the internet for you to follow. I customised the daily readings, and now use the ornaments I made with selected readings from The Jesus Story Book Bible

You will notice the nature table has been cleared for December, so we can add our nativity. We add baby Jesus on Christmas eve, before bed-time 🙂


The Wise Men make their way from a shelf in my bedroom, along the landing, down the stairs, as advent progresses, arriving on the nature table on Epiphany.


This is the children’s nativity set. When they were little, they would play for hours with this set.

(Picture of Elianna when she was a wee dot!)


We have this calendar, into which I tuck wee chocolates


This year we have also added the Latin Advent Calendar from Classical Academic Press.


In the kitchen, I have my very own Nativity


I love having this in my window! As I stand washing dishes, or preparing food for my family, its presence gently reminds me to reflect upon Christ.


I bought this set the first Christmas I was married, and in my own home. It is a very treasured possession.

I also have my advent devotional readings, which are a calendar of sorts.


This year I am using Lighted Windows, which I have used in previous years too.

I usually journal during my quiet time; sometimes I add drawings & colour.

This is an excerpt from my Lenten journal this year.


Often I just write 🙂

Each evening, I read this lovely book to Rose: Advent Storybook 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas.  A beautiful tale for young children/

So, as I said at the beginning of this post, we have many different advent calendars in our home! Please share what you use in your home in the comments. I would love to know.

Weather Week ~ Exploring Nature With Children


This week’s theme from Exploring Nature With Children is weather, and this post is rather pitiful I’m afraid.

Rose has been extremely poorly this week with a virus, so we have stayed at home and done very little; though we did get to read a little Lassie.

So Rosie’s virus, combined with working on the Nature-Themed Advent Calendar and daily home educating life has meant Rose & I did not get our nature journals completed this week. (My big-girl did, however, and I forgot to take a photograph. Oops!)

Rose & I made it to the park yesterday. Elianna was feeling a little under the weather, so we left her at home, working on her Latin and maths, while we went to visit the pigeons and pond-dwellers…


They were rather hungry..


As we got ready to leave, Rose emptied the last of her wild bird seed into the water and the ducks had a feeding frenzy, with their little bottoms all up in the air!


We said good-bye, and walked away with Rose looking like the Pied Piper of Hamelin!


It seems the cold and damp weather is having a very strong effect on the wildlife as well as us humans.

I hope you are all well and have managed your nature walk this week, let me know how you are getting on in the comments, or on the FaceBook group; It makes my day to hear from my readers.

I shall be posting a supplies list very soon for the Nature-Themed Advent Calendar, which begins on Tuesday! I love Advent so much; we go from regular lessons to ‘Advent-school’, which is the best part of home educating, in my opinion. I love the waiting, the contemplation…

Anyhow, I shall be back soon with the supplies list. (Don’t worry, as this is a nature-themed calendar, the list will be very short!

Happy Exploring!

A Nature-Themed Advent Calendar

Nature Advent Calendar.jpg

I am really excited to share with you today an upcoming series that will be starting soon right here on Raising Little Shoots: A nature-themed advent calendar!

Beginning on December 1st, through to December 24th, each day there will be a new post; an unfolding of the Christmas Story in scripture, and an activity for the day. The activities will be mostly nature-based, with a few special Christmas activities here and there, to add a little Christmas magic.

Please use the share buttons, and be sure to subscribe to the blog so as not to miss a day!

Week 23 ~ 100 Days Of School


Wednesday was our ‘100th Day Of School’. We always make it a special day; special breakfast, lessons worked around the 100 theme, a little educational gift…but this year I had forgotten all about it until the day before! So, I played it cool & surprised the girls with a trip to a local farm. (Don’t tell them I forgot!)





As a bonus, Elianna got time to photograph the Banana Snake they have there. She was so excited, as this will be useful for her ‘Mythical Creatures’ art project.



In other news, Rose is making the Herman The German Friendship Cake, which is the activity for week three of Lent in the 40 Acts family guide.

Essentially a sourdough cake, she made the ‘starter’ on Monday & each day we have to tend wee Herman..


Elianna has made more molecule models




Rosie with the white board cloth on her head for maths (it helps!)


Making hydrogen gas with a 9V battery. We used this video.2

The terminal releasing impure oxygen.


Rose is here with the results of her ‘egg in vinegar’ experiment. We discussed what had happened (the egg shell – calcium carbonate & vinegar – acetic acid, reacted which produced carbon dioxide gas – lots of bubbles – & dissolved the shell!


She has now added the ‘naked egg’ to a bowl of coloured water…we shall keep you posted!


Rose dug out our continents jigsaw, which she hasn’t played with for a while…


Rose & I have read quite a bit of poetry this week. I ordered a lovely book which arrived this week, so we read Hiawatha’s Childhood again, this time with this lovely picture book.

I read some more of The Annotated Anne Of Green Gables to Elianna. She wrote a description of her own playhouse, as was suggested in this great Anne Of Green Gables Teacher’s PDF, and we made ice-cream!

She has also been busy drawing & painting this week:


Plus all the usuals – narrations, maths, & English for both girls, Latin for Elianna, Latin & Greek roots for Rose.

And finally…our first frog of the year showed his face in our garden pond!


Some of the books we have been reading this week;


Favourite Poems Old & New – this is my most favourite poetry book, of all that we own!

Hiawatha’s Childhood

D’Aulaire’s book of Greek Myths

Grimm’s Fairy Tales

A Little Garden Calendar For Boys & Girls

Gazzilions of the Usborne Beginners


The Children Of Odin

The Annotated Anne Of Green Gables

Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl

I am finding these ‘teacher guides’ helpful:

A Guide For Using D’allaire’s Greek Myths In The Classroom

Anne Of Green Gables Teacher Guide

Anne Of Green Gables Teacher’s PDF

We are meeting with our home ed groups this afternoon…

Happy Weekend!
















Whitsun is fifty days after Easter Sunday, also known as Pentecost.

Acts 2 tells the story of the original Pentecost:

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.


Spring goeth all in white

Crowned with milk-white may:

In fleecy flocks of light

O’er heaven the white clouds stray.

White butterflies in the air;

White daisies prank the ground;

The cherry and the hoary pear

Scatter their snow around

Robert Bridges

From Festivals, Family & Food:

In Northern Europe the connection is also a natural one, with the blossoming of white May, Hawthorn and Lilac at this time. For children this can be the time to celebrate the blossoms, bringing a few into the home if possible, or finding white daisies to place on a saucer of water for the table or weave into chains.


Last week we harvested lots of Elder flowers to make cordial. Already the tree has replenished!

Elderflower Cordial

~20-25 flower heads rinsed
~ 4 lemons, zested & roughly chopped
~1 KG of sugar
~1.5 litres water
~ 50g citric acid (used as a preservative, so useful, but not essential.
In a large bowl add the 1.5L boiling water to the sugar & citric acid. Stir well.
Allow to cool
Add the flower heads, lemons & zest
Allow to steep for a day or two (two days for a good, rich Elderflower flavour)
Strain through a jam strainer, muslin or an old (clean!) tea towel.
Pour into sterilised bottles.
Dilute & enjoy!



Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the new year in Celtic times.  A time for us to set new intentions, think new ideas and formulate plans…to incubate those ideas over the cold winter months and birth them into the warm sprain time breezes…

Our Hallowe’en moments

: : Carving pumpkins


: : Pumpkin maths

: : Reading our familiar Hallowe’en stories

Mousekin’s golden house


The Pumpkin Blanket

Scary Stories

When my children were younger, we kept away from the ‘scary’ aspect of Hallowe’en and focused on the Autumn aspect – hence the first three lovely, cosy books. Despite being older now, they still love to read these books (and even better, have them read aloud!) They also enjoy a good scary story and I find the last book to be perfect for their appetite.

: : Made ‘Hallowe’en Soup’ (onions, pumpkin, orange peppers, sweet potato, carrots) all served up after dark in a big pumpkin 🙂


: : Created Hallowe’en art

: : Decorated our home


: : Had oodles of fun at our local Book Cycle party


: : Trick or Treating

: : Supper with good friends

Today (November 1st) is All Souls Day. I will be remembering loved ones passed in my prayers today and we are going to visit the cemetery where a loved friend rests. We shall be tidying the graveside and Rose will be leaving a special gift.

Autumnal Equinox


Did you have a good day? We enjoy marking the passing seasons and the Autumnal Equinox with it’s gentle light, morning mist and crisp Autumnal scents is no exception.

This year we have a new member of the family to help us celebrate


We are struggling to name him; so far we have had Dr Kenneth Blackberry, Jinx, Vortigern, Jonty, Roy, Autumn. The list literally goes on and on. Any suggestions?

We kept our celebrations simple.

We discussed how the plants & trees appear to sleep through Autumn and Winter, but how actually there is development under the ground, the rest & rejuvenation that allows the tree to produce flowers and fruit again next year.


We talked about how we too can plant seeds within ourselves; seeds of gentleness, kindness, courage and bravery.


And then we each chose what we wanted to be growing within ourselves over the months ahead


We ended up with two pots, filled with spring time bulbs – filled with gorgeous intent.

We also took good care of our bird friends.



And if any hedgehog friends would like to visit, they are most welcome too.


We walked at dusk in the meadow and along the edge of the woodlands. We came home and read some Equinox classics – The Secret Of Saying Thanks and We Gather Together.

We gave thanks to God for all we are blessed with.

Evening Walk


Earlier in the week we took an evening stroll and were rewarded by the most spectacular sunset.


I find something just so positive about the setting sun. So gentle, but energetic at the same time; inspiring of my creativity.


A time to remember the day; remember and rejoice over the good things that have happened and to seek healing for the not-so-good.