Sunday 20 December 2009

Getting excited!!!

The Christmas spirit is now with us! Everyone has broken up, we can live at our pace now, no more getting up hours before dawn to get everyone packed off to their various locations of day-time occupation! We can see friends, and generally chill out!

The finishing touches are being made to presents, and new ideas already being formed for next Christmas!! And to top it off it has snowed! I don't think I have ever felt this Christmas-sy, perhaps it is to do with making far more gifts this year.

We are heading west for Christmas. Meeting up with Stuart's sister and her family, and staying in a cottage with my parents-in-law, my Mum and her dog. And hopefully by brother will be visiting too. A week on the coast on the Llyn Peninsula. The same cottage we stayed in last year. Although this year, I think there will be far more running about after a certain little somebody who will have a whole new environment to explore. New cupboard, new stairs, a fire, Rayburn, the sea! She'll have a whale of a time!

I hope everyone has a peaceful (in the loosest sense of the word!) Christmas, and enjoy the celebrations.

See you in the New Year.

Monday 14 December 2009


I guess it was bound to happen, what with chickens and an active compost bin. It seems we have some additional garden dwellers at the moment. I noticed something was digging into the bottom of the compost bin, and had in fact tunnelled all the way through it to make a sleeping quarters at the top. I guess it must be rather nice in there for a rat. The warmth of the compost, straw and food being added regularly, and away from the elements.

We were happy to just let it be for the winter, although I was removing the lid of our dalek bin with great trepidation of late, just in case our resident was snoozing! He was doing me a favour too, mixing up the compost, and shovelling out the really well rotted stuff I just coudn't get to through that piddly little hatch of a door at the base of the bin. The chickens were enjoying a bit of a treat too, rummaging through the compost for grubs etc. However, ratty has decided to explore under the hen house now too, and I don't want him (it could be a "her" I haven't investigated that closely!) to interfere with the chickens. So I'm now in search of a humane rat trap, to relocate Mr Ratty to a more suitable place. Although I'm sure he thinks here is quite suitable enough!

There was a fleeting moment where I thought this would be a good excuse to get a cat again, but I know I would be way too anxious having a cat again, where we are. My heart can't take any more losses to that road. Besides, relocating Mr Rat is a far better option, if only I can catch him!

Thursday 10 December 2009

Comfort Zones


It is so easy to get on with my little life, thinking I am making such a difference. Thinking about what we do, trying to be sustainable in some aspects of our life, trying to reduce our waste, bringing up the children to be respectful of our planet, etc.

However, last night I watched a programme by David Attenborough about population growth, and how we are sitting on a time bomb. I realise the irony, a mother of 4 going on about how awful population growth is! But with a projected extra 3 billion people being added to the planet in the next 50 years, how are we going to survive? We need to get everyone to be thinking about this now. With our current level of living in the UK, we would need just over 2 planets to allow everyone to live like us. Something needs to happen, I wonder whether we will just reach crisis point and the world sorts out the problem itself, to return to some equilibrium, or whether human kind really is altruistic enough to save itself.

Depressing thoughts, sorry. If anyone has any ideas as to how an individual can make their voice more loudly heard, please give me some ideas. Emails to governments just don't seem enough.

I would love to return to my little life, but I feel the need for action right now.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Questioning minds

A normal walk to school this morning, chatting about the day ahead, when Alec pipes up "What is fire?"

Where the question came from, goodness knows, but it got us all thinking. My initial response was, when something gets hot it releases energy, and that's what fire is, the release of energy. "But why does one thing burn and one thing melt?",
"Is the sun fire?"
"Why do dome solids burn, like wood, but other things like gases burn?"

All from walking to school! Typical that these questions pop up when we have no way of finding out! I have suggested to them all that they ask their teachers, see if they have any better answers.

This one to go down with the classics I've had in the past such as "why is air invisible?" (Luke aged three!) and "if God is in everything, if I chop down a tree, am I killing God?" (Luke aged 4)

They constantly amaze me with their enquiring minds. I think I must have just taken things for granted as a child, and never questioned why. I certainly can't remember being so inquisitive!

Thursday 3 December 2009


Yesterday evening, we did the advent candle and book, then the boys settled down to play on the Wii for a while, whilst I made blueberry muffins and tea. The fact that all three boys were playing together was in itself lovely. No interruptions from friends calling, the darkness outside wrapping itself around our house like a blanket.

Sophie was beginning to get a little tired as she hadn't had a nap that afternoon, and once again, I was a little late with tea. I felt bad having to call on the boys to try to entertain her whilst I got the pasta bake in the oven, but they rose to the challenge. I had expected just Luke to occupy her, but all three of them decided to turn off the Wii and got the wooden blocks and the farm set out and entertained her well beyond the time I needed. In fact, Sophie decided she'd had enough and the boys carried on playing with her toys.

This is what family life is all about, time, quiet time, working together. This is just to acknowledge that it does work sometimes (not all the time by any stretch of the imagination!), and for that I am grateful!

Tuesday 1 December 2009


Usually we just have some Divine Chocolate advent calendars. So this year I dutifully bought the choccie calendars. Then on the Green Parent forum there were ideas to do for advent, and I loved the idea of a Christmas book per day. So I went around the house collecting Christmas-sy books to find we had 18, so a trip to the library brought our total up to 24.

Combined with the advent candle, we can sit and read a Christmas related story whilst the candle burns. Great reading practice for the boys too!

To top it all off, my aunt turned up with the most gorgeous wooden advent calendar in the shape of a reindeer head, with 24 hooks on the antlers and little hessian sacks to hang from them. She even provided toffees to go in the sacks! 3 toffees will fit in one sack, so Sophie will have to miss out for now, even though she has discovered that she likes them!

This makes so much more of a family tradition to Christmas than your standard advent calendars. I'm hoping a tradition is in the making. So whilst this year there seems to be a bit of a sweetie overload, next year we can dispense with the chocolate and find an alternative to toffees, ie something we can get 4 of in the sacks!!