Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Preparing to celebrate Ayyam-i-Ha (Days of Joy)

The Baha'i festival of Ayyam-i-Ha will be celebrated from 25th-28th February this year. It is a time of gift-giving, celebrations and of service to others. It's the beginning of Feb and I'm getting organised by acquiring some presents and getting ready to make a wall hanger to put them in (an equivalent of stockings). My 4 year old came with me on the train and we had time to stop at a museum on our way. Successful Mummy Day! (Those are rare...)

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Fab February Festival

26-29 Feb 2016 is the Baha'i Festival of Ayyam-i-Ha or 'Days of Joy'. This festival will be celebrated in almost every country in the world as followers of Baha'u'llah (known as Baha'is) get together to exchange gifts, enjoy fellowship and share food.

Sometimes seen as a kind of 'Baha'i Christmas', Ayyam-i-Ha does not actually celebrate a special event. Our more accurate alternative to Christmas is the Birth of Baha'u'llah but on that occasion we generally prefer to keep our celebrations focused on the spiritual nature of the event. Ayyam-i-Ha is not associated with Holy Days and so we are free to give gifts and make merry. We are also encouraged to spend this time in service to others and showing generosity.

So what is it all for then? Well, the Baha'i calendar has 19 months each of 19 days long, which makes 361 days. The Baha'i year starts at the Spring Equinox (20th or 21st March). The last month of the Baha'i year leading up to the new year is a month of fasting, in which adult Baha'is abstain from eating and drinking during the daylight hours. Ayyam-i-Ha is made up of the 4 or 5 extra days in the year, and runs immediately before the fast - a bit like the eating of pancakes before Lent.

Makes sense yet? Ayyam-i-Ha celebrations, period of fasting, New Year celebrations!

For more about the Baha'i beliefs visit

Our family getting decorations ready!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Moanings of a working mum

Most of the time I feel pretty lucky about my work situation. I've re-trained and carved out a business for myself which I do mostly from home around the needs of the children. I also work 2 days in an office which I've managed to negotiate so that I start super early whilst the husband drops off the children, and I finish in time to pick them up from school. Compared to many situations this is the best of both worlds.

Yet at this time of the year there is a huge increase in the number of events and activities in my children's calendar, and my anxiety about not being there for them also increases.

In the coming weeks there is the pre-school nativity play, the school nativity play, the pre-school Christmas party, the school Christmas fair, plus a random inset day and end of term early finish. Aside from the school play which has an evening showing, all of these events occur on one of my two working days of the week. I have no annual leave left, and apparently I didn't have the foresight to save some for these activities. The children will have a mixture of Daddy looking after them and no parents turning up at all. Who knew that children had such hectic schedules?!?

So I ease my guilt with rationalisations. At least I am there to pick them up from school each day. At least I'm there at the weekends to spend time with them. They can see a positive example by having a working mum (not to imply at all that those working very hard running a household each day are offering anything less than a wonderful example too), theoretically we should have more money for holidays and days out (I say theoretically because we never seem to have any spare money!),

I negotiate and deal to get extra hours and days off. If I can wrangle the childcare and work late on this day, could I go in late after I've watched the nativity play? Can I appeal to my boss for yet another child-related activity which needs my attention?

To cheer us up here are 5 of the great things about going to work:
1) I can drink a hot cup of coffee
2) I can go to the toilet alone
3) I can spread out my work all over my desk and focus on a task without interruption
4) There are 7 whole hours when no one yells 'Mummmmmmyyyyyyyyyy'
5) It turns out that underneath all of the foggy, chaotic, mum of three madness there is a person with a brain that still functions. To some extent.

Sending big love to all the mums and dads out there who are working hard at home and in the office to be there for their children xxx

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Easy veggie lasagne

I'm not really much use at all this homely stuff but I do try and get a few vegetables into the children. OK I present vegetables to the children and then wheedle and deal my way into getting them to nibble a bit. This vegetarian lasagne is popular with 2 of my 3, which is as good as it gets around chez Hastie.

To make it I chop up and stir fry 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 courgette, 1 pepper and about 1/4 tin of kidney beans. Sometimes I add brocolli too.

Once the veg is lightly cooked I add in 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and a dash of tomato puree. Then I transfer it all to a mixing bowl and blitz it with a hand blender until it is like the mush you feed to babies, ie no vegetables can be identified!

I then do 3 layers of veg mush, lasagne sheets and white sauce. There are great recipes for making your own white sauce but I use it from a jar to save time. So: mush, lasagne sheets, white sauce: repeat x 2. It should look a bit like this...

I cook it in a hot oven for approx 40-50 mins. After 30 mins I add some grated cheese to the top. I serve it with garlic bread to bribe the children into eating some of it.

I'd love to hear your quick and easy recipes for getting veggies into children!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

A day for peace

Today marked the celebration of the Birth of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith. He was born in 1817 in Tehran, Persia. Now millions of Baha'is all across the world are celebrating this special day.

Yet as well as waking up to the happiness of my children ready to open their presents, I also woke up to the tragic news of yet more lives lost senselessly. Although many of you might see religion as a key cause of war, I believe it can inspire people to bring about unity, peace and social justice. Below is a quote from 'Abdu'l-Baha, the son of Baha'u'llah. Today more than ever I am trying to follow these words:

"I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of his heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love." 

Wishing you peace and prosperity from this corner of Devon.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Celebrating a new culture

Do we really want to be different? To think different, act different? Sometimes we just want to fit in. So how easy is it to raise children with a set of ideals, principles and teachings that are not the norm? How hard is it to remain consistent when parenting from any perspective?

My husband and I are members of the Baha'i Faith, a new world religion which teaches that world peace is not only possible that it is inevitable. A faith which asks us to overcome our prejudices and begin to see the world as one human family and to put that thought into practice by trying to get along with those around us. A faith that teaches that there is a Creator who is unknowable in his/her/its essence, but that our lives should be spent attaining closeness to that Creator by caring for our fellow men.

We are raising our three children to understand and hopefully embrace those teachings, whilst at the same time encouraging them to think for themselves and to appreciate and respect those of all faiths or of none.

It isn't always easy to go against the norm. One challenge at this time of year is the omnipresence of Christmas. Whilst we absolutely wish to celebrate the birth of Christ (as well as celebrate the Holy Days of other faiths) we do have our own calendar with special Holy Days. Today and tomorrow (13th and 14th November) mark the Twin Holy Days celebrating the births of The Bab and Baha'u'llah the Prophet-Founders of our religion.

Today gives me an opportunity to share the joy usually associated with Christmas with our children. We can share gifts as a family, celebrate together, and share stories from the lives of these two extraordinary figures.

I am really lucky to live in a place where I have friends who support and encourage me even if we share different faiths or perspectives. I hope you do too!

Happy Holy Days xxx

“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”—Bahá’u’lláh

For more info on the Baha'i Faith visit

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Is our patience finite?

Most days I'm an alright mum. Some days I would even venture to say a good mum. My children are happy, healthy, nurtured, nourished. But there are many days like today when I'm all out of patience and any little thing will make me snap.

My melt-down is not unprovoked. It could be the 2 year old who fights for ages before letting me strap him in the car seat, the 3 year old who is determined to only do poos in his pants (and preferably at other people's homes). It could be the 6 year old who sneaks a party dress underneath her school uniform. It could be that the 3 of them have disassembled my hoover and only they know how to put it back together, or that I'm sitting typing at the top of the stairs so I can chase the little ones back into their beds when they pop out.

Whatever pushed me to the brink, I'm here now and seem to be staying. I know that as a human being I can choose how to behave and to a certain extent how to feel. I can choose to show more patience. But sometimes it feels as though I have a cup of patience per day, and today's has been all poured out. So instead of a caring, fun mummy the kids get grouchy, sarcastic mummy who wanders around pleading "don't you want to be helpful to mummy?" (and that was only 8.50am!)

I know I'm not alone. Most people (if not all people) with small children periodically wonder what the heck they are doing. Why am I wiping poo off the bath mat? Why am I picking up pieces of cereal from the lounge floor? Why am I cooking from a selection of only 3 meals (pasta, pasta and pasta) to appease my children? Why are my dishwasher and washing machine on all day every day? What is the meaning of life?

So I'll do what I do most nights: pack them off to bed as soon as possible, eat chocolate in front of the telly, and then look at pictures and videos of them being cute. I'll creep in to check on them before bedtime and think that they are so adorable when they are sleeping that maybe I should have 3 more.

H didn't want to come into the house :-)