Thursday 30 October 2008

Power cuts and surprises

We had a 6 hour powercut today, which we were expecting, so were able to prepare for. The boys were not looking forward to it, but I secretly was hoping they would find new ways of playing, rather than turning to tv when they couldn't think of anything else to do. It worked out really well. They had some friends over this morning,and had the most enormous game of hide and seek for about an hour!

For lunch they had beans on toast, which meant toasting the bread over the gas hob. Not the most energy efficient ways of making toast, but interesting none the less. In fact the boys now want to get rid of the toaster and make toast on the gas hob every time! I on the other hand decided to have soup, which was fine until I came to blend it, and then realised I needed electricity for that. It just wasn't the same mashed with the potato masher!

This afternoon was spent playing chess and draughts by candle-light (as it went VERY dark), and playing outside with friends. I was hoping to get some reading done, but it was not to be.

However, Stuart has made my day, month and year, by asking me if I would like some chickens for Christmas. I am so excited, and am looking forward to this new adventure, and learning all about chickens, as well as teaching the children all about them as well.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Too many people, too much stress!

Mum decided to take us out to a local garden centre, as they were doing pumpkin carving there, and she wanted to treat the children. My goodness me, I have never seen so many people at a garden centre, it was heaving! Admittedly it is the gardening world's version of T***o's, but even still, this was ridiculous.

After an hour of queueing we had our carved pumpkins. And the boys were getting hungry, so Mum said she would treat us to lunch. That took another hour (mainly queueing!). By this point Sophie had definitely had enough, and would not be consoled (very unusual for her), so we called it quits. My plans for getting some festive fabric, more wool, some googly eyes for Luke's pom-pom spider, as well as some onion sets and broad bean seeds went completely out of the window. I think I have learned my lesson, and I'll look for these things in independent outlets, where there is no where near as much stress involved! And we are definitely growing pumpkins on the allotment next year, as £4 a pumpkin is a bit steep!

However, one thing that made me laugh was a woman stopped us to ask if Sophie was a little boy (she was in the sling wearing a bright blue jumper), I replied that she was in fact a girl, so this woman then turns to Luke and says "so you must be the big sister!" Poor woman, having to have her assumptions about gender dispelled within 30 seconds!

Another bonus is the boys love their pumkins, and have been carrying them around the house, and using the playnest as a boat for them!

Friday 24 October 2008

Plans for Christmas

I can't believe we are already thinking about Christmas. I am just starting on my list if things to make for people, with some french knitting to make a mobile of flowers and butterflies for Sophie. Also going to be making a couple of sets of bean bags, along with a special bag for Ethan who likes to fill bags with "special" things. For years I have been collecting corks from wine bottles in order to make either a notice board or some heatproof mats, I think the time is now here for me to be making these!

I'm hoping that I will get all of this done, along with the quince jam (which is doing as I type!) and a few coffee mornings etc to sell fairtrade products. What a busy time!

The boys break up from school today, and are in desperate need of half term. I think they find there are just too many things they want to do in too short a time (just like their parents!) so to have a week to do exactly what they want will be much appreciated by all. Hopefully we will fit in a trip to the allotment, along with some pumpkin carving!

Speaking of the allotment, it looks like we have a fantastic crop of parsnips. The foliage had been looking very good, but I had been warned by a fellow allotment holder that the foliage does not necessarily indicate how the root is doing. However, on digging up three parsnips we have some enormous specimens (not particularly pretty ones, as they have forked, but massive none the less!) Just got to convince the boys that they like parsnips! Perhaps some parsnip crisps will do the job!

Friday 17 October 2008

Making clothes more interesting

For quite a while now I had been meaning to try my hand at tie-dying. I meant to do it as an activity with the boys during the summer holidays, but they were always too busy playing with their friends. So I decided to do it as an activity for me. I had kept one of Luke's old school polo shirts, and had some white babygro's given to me for Sophie.

It was lovely unfurling the clothes once they had finished dyeing, and to see what effect I had created. We now have some fantastic tie-dyed clothes, and a friend has asked me to do some as a gift for someone she knows. I can see this becoming rather addictive, and any plain bit of material had better watch out! Luke was rather disappointed that I had not waited for him, so we now have to keep a look out for some clothes for him to have a go at too!

Wednesday 15 October 2008

A trip out

Along with my Mum and Sophie we went on a trip to Birmingham today. My aim was to pay a visit to my favourite shop (Shared Earth) to perhaps do a little Christmas shopping, and to find some birthday presents for Alec to take to parties he has been invited to. It certainly lived up to my hopes, and it also encouraged my dream to possibly, one day open my own Fairtrade shop but with the addition of a Fairtrade Cafe on the premises as well.

A great find amongst the little farmers market that was also being held today was a bag of quinces. Added to my own harvest I am looking forward to making jars of rosy pink quince jam. The kitchen is currently smelling of the sweet ripe aroma of these lovely, often neglected fruit.

We also found some honey comb, which I indulged in so that the boys could taste what it was like. This consolidated some questions Luke had following a viewing of Bear Grylls on tv the other night!


I have eventually taken the plunge and set up a blog, following the inspiration I found from other people's blogs I hope to share a little about our life and experiences, and have some record for us all to look back on.