Happy New Year | 2017

2017 is upon us and it is time to dust off the laptop and get creative. At the end of November I decided to take time off from the blog in order to regroup and think of how I wanted to present Loft & learn creatively. In between that time and now we have traveled, visited family, and had my world shaken to its core when my beloved 14 year old niece was taken from us due to senseless gun violence. This act sent my family and I  into a tailspin of sadness and disbelief that forced us to reevaluate priorities and relay deeply on our faith and core values to stay afloat and grow stronger.

While attending Destiny’s funeral in Georgia, I had no inclination to post a blog about anything let alone everything. I was already at a crossroads of what to say and what I felt compelled to share. Now after entering the process of grief. Understanding , self-introspection and healing I am moved to just share as always , posts that are of interest or of meaning to us at this time.

Pairing down the loft and learn topics to Human Interest, The Loftus Kitchen, It’s Educational and Building a Life, overly simplify the groupings of where are interests lie at this time. I may not post as often but when I do I want each post to be useful, meaningful, written with love, concern and encouragement. I am reminded in every moment by my beautiful Niece’s Destiny’s passing that Life and how we choose to live it is not promised. Our greatest gift we can give ourselves and others is to be truly present. Treasure our blessings, seize the day and live as our inner child would desire. Live better, Laugh more and Love harder. These are my goals for 2017. I hope you will join me in this journey…

Many blessings,

Malaika

malaika@loftandlearn.com

 

R.I.H. Destiny

 

Fun Times At Gaga’s House a.k.a Grandma Loftus | Family

Ace and Kingston spent a week hanging out with Gaga and Gigi(great grandma)  and had a blast!!

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Fortunately we were also able to visit with Uncle Sean & Aunt Amy and cousins Jack and Dylan.

 

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It was also A real treat when Auntie Mern and Uncle Cleve came to visit! We all went to the Museum of Science and industry and had a blast. I will post about that trip later…

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It was also A real treat when Auntie Mern and Uncle Cleve came to visit! We all went to the Museum of Science and industry and had a blast. I will post about that trip later…

Loftus Land Search***Tennessee | The Journey Of Building Our Home

After looking at property in Kentucky we then headed on to Tennessee where we met the nicest people, Realtor Julia White and her Husband. They had a few different locations to show us and we are so grateful for their hospitality, research and patience.

LLS Tennessee ..LandSearch LLS Tennessee Land Feature loftandlearn

LLS Kenutcky, Eagles Ridge..

LLS Tennessee Sign

LLS Tennessee Realtor

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LLS Tennessee Property..LandSearch

LLS Tennessee Land.

 

 

Our Journey To Building Our Home Has Begun!!! | Land Search

Happy Good Friday!!!

The Journey to Build Our Dream Home.

Dream Home Build Loftandlearn.com
For those who know us personally, you know that we are nomads and love to travel, explore and learn about different places and cultures. Although we love to travel and explore our ultimate dream is to buy land and build our dream home, where we can have our input in everything from the views, landscape design, house build, décor and more. (Even making the majority of our own furniture!)
Our vision is to have a fruit orchard and small wine vineyard as well as a large garden that can support suitable sustainable living. Yikes, we know this is a major task but we are excited and up for the challenge. The thought of providing our sons with an amazing play area of nature and comfort while they grow is essential to us almost as much as including them in on the building process, a true team effort. Go Loftus Crew!
Right now we have the butterflies, anxiety and excitement of beginning our process. The second step for us is locating our ideal location for our creative home building journey. The First step was deciding what type of home we wanted to build and how we wanted to pay for it. We have been saving for the last 8 years and have decided to do a lot of the work outside of the Basement, foundation & Framing work ourselves. It was important for us to know that financially we would have everything in place should we need to take out a small mortgage and due to owning a couple of different business’ over the last 8 years a tight budget will DEFINITELY be in order.
We have lived in Hawaii, The Caribbean, Mexico, Bradenton, Miami, Chicago, New York and Michigan. And although we loved living in Hawaii, it is a bit too far for us from the majority of our family members to live permanently. So while we look to schedule more frequent trips to Hawaii to help with the Coffee Farm (Naturally Kona) we are focused on building a home somewhere within a 12 hour radius from Either Michigan/ Illinois in the north or Florida in the south.
Another item on our checklist for our land search is suitable land for residential building with no restrictions and total ownership of land including all mineral and surface rights. Because of our desire to farm the land as well as sell some of the timber, we have to make sure that our land is suitable for building, has no restrictions and is also affordable to us. With all of those things in mind that seems to leave us focusing on the following states, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Of the utmost importance is a great environment and community to raise and educate our boys, so researching communities and school districts or private schooling is key.
Now that you all know our criteria and thought process here are the states that we will be focusing on in our search and heading out for our cross country spring break adventure to scout land! We currently have a list of land options and realtors working with us and are currently in the midst of a cross country road trip to scout land and get a first hand look at the land and potential environment for our Loftus Estate. Join us as we begin this process and begin the dream of building our home. We welcome any ideas, words of wisdom and expertise, this will be a very long journey and we will keep you posted…
Our next post on the subject will be a progess update on our first scouting expedition. During Ace’s spring break we will be traveling from Idaho to Illinois to Visit Grandma Loftus first and then on to scout land in N.C, Virginia, Kentucky & Tennessee.. Make sure to tune into the new loft & learn page of “Journey To Build Our Dream Home” for more updates as we will try our best to keep you informed each step of the way!

Until next time…Live, Love, Laugh and Learn

Loft & Learn

Travel Spotlight***Beautiful & Magical Ireland. (Mayo, County) | Loft & Learn, Ireland

 

Travel Spotlight***Beautiful & Magical Ireland

After Graduating from Michigan State University, Colin took an amazing trip to Europe and although he loved all of the countries he was able to visit, to this day he raves about his awesome experience in Ireland. He was able to visit Mayo County where his relatives are from. He speaks so highly of this beautiful country, from the country side in all shades of green, to the magical folklore and the friendly and truly joyful people.

Now Colin’s mother Wendy is heading for the “Green Isle”. In April she will take an amazing trip flying first to Shannon, Ireland. Their package for Western Ireland includes a car allowing them to travel around the ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Mohr, and Dingle Bay. After staying at the Killarney Royal she then heads to Ennis staying at the Temple Gate Hotel. After this she will jump over to London to see Colin’s brother Ryan who has moved overseas for work and loves it! This trip sounds so exciting, I can’t wait to see the pictures!!! (of course I will share…)

Irealnd Castle -Feature loftandlearn

 

The island of Ireland historically consists of 32 counties, of which six, collectively known as Northern Ireland, have remained as part of the United Kingdom since the rest of Ireland gained self government in 1922. The name “Ireland” applies to the island as a whole, but in English is also the official name of the independent state (ie the 26 counties which are not part of the United Kingdom), since 1921.

Celtic tribes settled on the island in the 4th century BC. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian Boru defeated the Danes in 1014. Norman invasions began in the early 12th century and set in place Ireland’s uneasy position within England’s sphere of influence. The Act of Union of 1800 – in which Catholics, 90% of the Irish population, were excluded from Parliament – saw Ireland joining the United Kingdom. In the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century the subject of Irish home rule was a major debate within the British parliament.

After several failed attempts, a Home Rule bill finally passed through parliament in 1914 though the start of the first world war saw its indefinite postponement due to heavily armed unionist opposition. A failed rebellion on Easter Monday in 1916, (after which 15 of the surrendered leaders were shot by firing squad and 1 hanged) showed a hint of things to come with years of war to follow, beginning with the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) and continuing with the Irish Civil War (1922-1923).

Ireland Cliffs

Ireland Map 1
Eventually a somewhat stable situation emerged with the self government of 26 of Ireland’s counties known as the Irish Free State; the remaining six, located in the north of the country comprising two-thirds of the ancient province of Ulster, remained part of the United Kingdom — a status that has continued to the present day. In 1949 the Irish Free State became “Ireland” (a.k.a. the Republic of Ireland) and withdrew from the British Commonwealth of Nations. English is spoken everywhere but Irish (Gaeilge) is the first official language. It is part of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic family of languages.

Most people have some understanding of Irish but it is used as a first language by approximately 170,000 people, most of whom live in rural areas known as the Gaeltachts. About 55% (c. 2,500,000) of people in the Republic claim to understand and speak the language. As the Gaeltachts are generally scenic areas it is likely that visitors will go there. Tourists are not expected to speak Irish, but attempts at speaking Irish with the locals are greatly appreciated. The language will also be noticeable on road signs, etc. For instance, a law was recently passed that changes the name of Dingle, County Kerry to An Daingean, the Irish version. This should not confuse visitors, as almost all recent maps carry placenames in both languages in Gaeltacht districts.

In order to enter most Irish Universities, it is necessary for Irish citizens to have taken Irish to Leaving Certificate (Examinations taken on leaving secondary or high school) level, and passed. Indeed it is a compulsory language at school in the Republic, although its method of teaching has come under criticism. Nevertheless, although it has come under threat, and some resent being forced to learn the language, others see use of the language as an expression of national pride.

Mayo County Ireland Pre History

Ire Mayo county

Ireland Mayo County Flag
County Mayo has a rich archaeological heritage dating from prehistoric times to the present. (Achaeology is the interpretation of our past from the study of buildings and objects made by human beings. We are dependent on archaeology alone in any attempt to study the prehistoric period and thereafter to complement what is recorded in written sources). According to the present state of archaeological knowledge, the first people arrived in Ireland sometime before 7000 BC during what is called the Mesolithic period. They were nomadic tribes of hunters and fishing people who built no permanent structures such as houses or tombs. The first colonisation of Mayo probably took place during that period.
In the fourth millennium BC, during the Neolithic period, another group of settlers arrived in Ireland, our first farmers, who introduced agriculture and animal husbandry to the country as well as the skills of pottery-making and weaving. They started a custom of burying their dead collectively (usually cremated) in large stone-built chambered tombs known as megalithic tombs, the earliest surviving architectural structures in the country. There are over 1,500 such tombs identified in Ireland with approximately 160 in County Mayo. This fact indicates the importance of the Mayo region during the Neolithic period and into the Bronze Age (c. 2000- 400 BC) when this phase of tomb-building came to an end.

Early Christian Period
The early history of the county is obscure and frequently confusing with various tribes seeking control. Christianity came to Ireland at the start of the fifth century, if not earlier, and brought about many changes, including the introduction of writing and reading. St. Patrick, Ireland’s national apostle, whose floruit was the fifth century, is chiefly credited with the conversion of the pagan Gaels. Recent research indicates that St. Patrick spent considerable time in County Mayo, where according to tradition and some written sources he spent forty days and nights on the summit of Croagh Patrick fasting and praying for the people of Ireland; and had associations with places like Aghagower near Westport, Ballintubber (well-known nowadays for its medieval abbey which has remained in continuous use through all vicissitudes from its foundation in 1216); and Foghill near Killala, which has been identified by some writers with the Silva Vocluti , ‘the wood of Fochluth beside the western sea’ mentioned by Patrick himself in his Confessio.
From the middle of the sixth century onwards, hundreds of small monastic settlements were established around the country, many of which became very important. Some examples of well-known early monastic sites in Mayo include Mayo itself near Balla, Aughagower, Inishmaine, Ballintubber, Errew, Kilmore Erris, Balla, Cong, Killala, Turlough, Moyne near Cross, and island settlements off the Mullet peninsula like Inishkea North, Inishkea South and Duvillaun More.
‘Mayo of the Saxons’
One of the most interesting monastic sites in Co. Mayo was that from which the county derives its name – Maigh Eo. Colmán of Lindisfarne, having been defeated by the ‘Romanist’ party at the synod of Whitby (in Northumbria, in the north-east of England) in 663, withdrew with his followers, via Iona, to Inishbofin off the west coast of Galway. As a result of disagreement between the Irish and the English monks in the little community, the latter moved to the ‘plain of yews’, about sixteen kilometres south-east of the present town of Castlebar. The monastery they established there, known as Mag nÉo na Sachsan (‘of the Saxons’), became renowned as a centre of learning, and continued to attract monks of English birth for a century and more after its foundation.

Vikings

The Vikings or Norsemen first attacked Ireland in 795 and Mayo around the start of the ninth century. On arrival, they started to plunder and loot places of wealth especially monasteries. It was partly in response to those attacks that round towers were later erected in monastic enclosures (most were erected in the 12 century). There are about 65 of these fine structures surviving in Ireland, with five located in County Mayo: Aughagower, Balla, Killala, Turlough and Meelock. The Viking invasion led to the establishment of settlements in a number of locations like Dublin, Cork, Wexford and Waterford which later developed into towns and cities.

The Great Famine

Early in the nineteenth century, there were a number of famines in Ireland, culminating in the Great Famine of 1845 – ’49, when about a million people died and a further million went into exile. The population increased from an estimated figure of four and a half million in 1800 to over eight million by 1841. The pressure of this vast increase exacerbated the fragile subsistence economy of the period, as land became subdivided into smaller and smaller plots. Destitution was already a fact of life for many and evictions became regular occurrences in the Irish countryside. Most of the impoverished population depended on the potato as their staple food product. Disaster struck in August 1845, when a killer fungus (later diagnosed as Phytophthora infestans ) started to destroy the potato crop.

The green stalks of potato ridges became blighted and within a short time the rotting crop was producing a terrible stench. About a third of the national potato crop was destroyed that year, and an almost complete failure the following year led to a catastrophe for the remainder of the decade. By ‘black forty-seven’, people were dying in their thousands from starvation-related diseases. The workhouses, built in the early 1840s to relieve appalling poverty, were unable to cope with the numbers seeking admission. Various parsimonious relief measures were inadequate to deal with the scale of the crisis.

The number of evictions increased. This process of ‘clearance’ (as it was called) was aided by the ‘quarter-acre clause’ (the infamous Gregory clause, called after its proposer, Sir William Gregory MP of Coole Park, Co. Galway) in the Poor Law Extension Act 1847 which excluded from relief anyone who had more than a quarter acre of land. Any such unfortunate person who was starving had to abandon his holding and go to the workhouse if he and his family wanted a chance to survive. Conditions became worse in 1848 and 1849, with various reports at the time recording dead bodies everywhere.

The catastrophe was particularly bad in County Mayo, where nearly ninety per cent of the population were dependent on the potato. By 1848, Mayo was a county of total misery and despair, with any attempts at alleviating measures in complete disarray. People were dying and emigrating in their thousands. We will never know how many died in the county during those terrible years. The ‘official’ statistics for the county show that the population dropped from 388,887 in 1841 to 274,499 in 1851, but it is accepted that the actual figure in 1841 was far higher than the official census return. It can safely be said that over 100,000 died in Mayo from the famine epidemic and emigration began on a big scale (there was some emigration before the Great Famine). Most emigrants from the county went to the USA, Canada, England and Scotland, to become part of the big Irish diaspora scattered throughout the world.

Ire Mayo county People

Irealand Matt Malloys  Irish Wishes--Happy St. Patricks Day

Irish stew and a pint of Guinness

Irish Stew and Guiness
Irish cuisine can charitably be described as hearty: virtually all traditional meals involve meat (especially lamb and pork), potatoes, and cabbage. Long cooking times are the norm and spices are limited to salt and pepper.

Classic Irish dishes include:

• Boxty, potato pancakes
• Champ, mashed potatoes with spring onions
• Coddle, a stew of potatoes, pork sausages and bacon; a speciality of Dublin
• Colcannon, mashed potatoes and cabbage
• Irish breakfast, a famously filling spread of bacon, eggs, sausages and white and/or black pudding, a type of pork sausage made with blood (black) or without (white). Irish Breakfast is often just refered to as a “fry”, and is usually available well past normal breakfast times in restaurants.
• Mixed Grill. Similar to the Irish Breakfast, but with added lamb chop, chips, and peas.
• Irish stew, a stew of potatoes and lamb (not beef!), with carrots, celery and onions in a watery broth full of flavour
• Bacon and Cabbage, popular and traditional meal in rural Ireland, found on many menus
• Seafood Pie, a traditional dish of chunky fish pieces topped with mashed potato and melted cheese

 

3 Tips To Help A Teething Toddler! | Parenting Tips

3 Tips to Help A Teething Toddler!

  • A raw carrot, cucumber or celery stick straight from the fridge. Stay with him when he is eating it, to make sure he doesn’t choke on any pieces he bites off.
  • A cold, wet flannel.
  • A chilled teething ring. Solid teething rings are recommended over gel or liquid-filled rings, which could leak. Never dip a teething ring in honey or anything sweet beforehand.

Your toddler may lose his appetite while he’s teething. Chilled foods such as yogurt may soothe his gums and be more appealing.

Drinking from a cup may be easier for him, and cool water can be soothing too.

Teething Toddler Tips loftandlearn