Friday 29 January 2010

How I love...

...the way she looks over her shoulder

...the way she plays peepo behind your back

...the way she pats a chair with a book in her hand waiting for you to read to her

...the way she loves all animals

...the way she dances by stamping her feet

...the way she claps her hands and giggles when you ask her if she "wants a feed"

...the way she plays with her brothers
I wish I could capture every moment, but words will have to do for most. Just hoping I never forget these moments as she grows. And a tinge of regret that I never had much of a record with the boys at the same stage.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Tie dye

Following the Green Parent meet last May, the tie-dye bug hit hard! I have been dyeing many plain fabrics, some like this first t-shirt are for our personal use, others are to jazz up old clothes, with the intention of selling them on. I have put a selection on here to show different techniques I have been using, but am gutted that I cannot find the poppered vest that I had managed to do a heart on! When I find it I will post that too.

If anything interests you, please feel free to ask. Most things are 0-3 months or 3-6 months. But as Sophie grows, more fabrics are available, and I also scour the charity shops looking for clothes for older children or adults too. I have a bin bag full of items waiting to be tie-dyed I just need and excuse to do some more!

Stuart has promised me a website, but it is someway down on the "list". I haven't quite decided on prices, but they will be around the £2 mark (some less, some more)

Monday 25 January 2010

Long time, no see

Well, it has been, embarrasingly, over 2 months since I last went down to the allotment. Christmas, weather and illness all seems to have eaten into allotment time. But that really is no excuse. Fortunately everything seems in good order. We have garlic and onions sending up shoots...

...cabbages ready for harvesting...

... and everything seems to have survived the neglect quite admirably.

Todays tasks were limited to what could be done with bare hands or secateurs, due to me not having my keys for the shed. But I was still able to prune the blackcurrants and redcurrants, as well as the tayberrys and raspberries. Move the carpet mulch to allow birds to feast on grubs lurking there, begin to thin the strawberry plot, begin to build a bonfire, and harvest some spinach and cabbage.

I'm looking forward to this growing season, and later this week hope to start some sowing at home.

Friday 22 January 2010

Alec the evacuee

Alec is learning about WWII at school. This morning he did an assembly with his classmates to share what they have been learning, and parents were invited to watch.

This was the first time in any school performance that he has had a "role", up to this point he has always been in the background, or even worse, on the back row with a taller child stood in front of him. He has been so excited by this play they were putting on, and kept checking that I would be going to see it (as if I wouldn't!)

So this morning we sat straining our ears to try and hear the children, as they were relying on the microphones to allow everyone to hear. Then came Alec's turn, and no microphone was needed! He gave it his all, with all the enthusiasm and excitement that his role called for! I am so proud that this tiny little boy, who many teachers seem to have neglected to really acknowledge, has really done himself proud.

I do wonder whether I was the only one who was trying to hold back the tears when the "evacuees" were waving goodbye to their "mothers". How hard those times must have been. I am so grateful our children have not had to experience that.

Sunday 17 January 2010

My little helper

She does just love to "help". She has been unloading the compost, I've been putting into trugs ready to take down the allotment, with her hands.

She has also been "helping" strip the wall paper from what will be her room, but more often than not, as I have been sat on the floor she has taken the opportunity for a little snack! Good job I can multi-task!

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Recycling plans

Taking a leaf out of Rae's blog, and Sharon's blog I am planning on reducing our waste significantly. We recycle everything possible, but tend to stumble on food waste. All compostable stuff is composted, but sometimes it is not just the peelings, it's food that would have been useable if I had been more organised, and used it earlier. Another issue we have is cooked waste. Sophie is particularly bad for only eating a couple of mouthfuls, but we have other less than excuberant eaters in the family too. I got a couple of Bokashi bins from freecycle a while ago, but have never used them, so I am planning on setting these up and see how we get on with them, although so far it is mainly bread that is going in there. Along with a food plan, I hope to reduce the amount of food waste we create.

I am also conscious of how much stuff we actually recycle. We have had to order a larger recycling bin, as now they have added all sorts of plastic packaging, tetrapak, and thick cardboard to the list of things they will take, there is no-way it will all fit in the standard sized bin. Surely we could cut down on this too? But it may take a while.

We tend to be hoarders, as well as completely disorganised which makes for masses of things not being sorted through until we have a blitz. There is literally years worth of paperwork, sat in the study. Items that are no longer needed, but cannot bring myself to sort out as it would either mean it going to landfill, or waiting for one of those days when it "might" just come in handy! Therefore, more use of freecycle will be happening, more organisation with household things as well as food, and trying to repurpose things when I can, but admit defeat sometimes and either find someone who can use it, or bite the bullet and recycle it!

For example, I have found a use for our old recycling buckets, new carrot growing beds for the lottie. Perfect height to deter carrot fly, and we can control the soil more easily. But I also have some broken scales, and a broken hand-blender, I really don't think they can be repurposed into anything, so I'll have to find the appropriate place at the local waste site.

Monday 11 January 2010

What do you do...?

...when you can't get out the house for a week due to the snow? Well, the snow hasn't been that bad, but it is just completely impossible to manage Sophie in the snow, she's too small to walk any distance without getting frozen, I daren't risk the sling, and the pushchair is a non-starter.

The boys have had time off school, and not much of it has been spent in the snow, rather they have been playing with friends in the warm, building things, playing with Christmas presents, and helping strip the wall paper from what will eventually be Sophie's room.

We have decided she needs her own space for her things, and a bed (whether she sleeps in it is yet to be seen, but the option will be there for her). So currently we have a landing full of boxes, book cases, and stuff. We have stripped paint and paper walked all over the house (I've got to the point of wondering whether it is better to just have one massive clear up once the stripping has finished!) Sophie has really enjoyed it too, although I'm glad we are going to paint her walls rather than paper them, as she has developed a liking of stripping wall-paper!

There is something very satisfying about stripping wall-paper, alone with your thoughts, or chatting away to Stuart as we work as a team. Reminiscent of pre-child days, and working on projects together.

I have been feeling very sorry for the chickens in this weather, they have a treat of warm food in the afternoon, and I have been having to break their water every couple of hours on the coldest of days. As soon as the back door is open, they are in. They must be so cold, walking through all that snow. By the way, we have had them for a whole year now, and what a joy they have been. A lovely introduction to keeping your own livestock.

Talking of birds, we have also made some fat/seed feeders for the wild birds. We had some half coconut shells, and some left over bird seed, so mixed with some lard, we have filled the coconuts and left them hanging in some of the trees in the garden.

I must admit though, I am looking forward to a thaw now, and things warming up so I can start some seed sowing in the next month or so.

Sunday 3 January 2010

New Year thoughts

What a wonderful time we had over Christmas. Spending our time together with extended family in the remoteness of the Llyn Peninsula. Once again, trying to work out how we could afford to move there and live there. This wasn't helped by the house we were staying in being up for sale, it has a dairy barn that could easily be turned into a granny flat, an acre of land with an orchard, so space for a veg garden, chooks, and perhaps a pig or goat. Even locals that we spoke to were saying "put a silly offer in, their desperate for the money!" It is a stone's throw from the sea, in fact you can see the sea from nearly every upstairs window. It's about as far west as you can get in North Wales, and Luke would even be in the same class at school as his cousin! You can see I have spent alot of time thinking about it! It's good to have dreams. Stuart doesn't have enough work coming in to maintain us in a working from home set-up, so at the moment it is a no-go, but if the house is still for sale next year, who knows?

What all this dreaming has shown me though, is that our life where we are is not too bad (apart from being so close to other houses!), we have our family around us, we have the allotment, we have the chickens, and the children are able to play out unsupervised. I have to be grateful for what we have, and to enjoy each moment with family, as these times will not last forever. This is my main thought for the New Year, live in the moment with your children and cherish them dearly.

Other goals for the New Year are to be more organised (yeah, yeah, that's always on my list!), learn to crochet, learn to needle felt, and do more down the allotment with more emphasis on preserving produce.

Wishing you all a wonderful new year, full of blessings, joy, friendship and fun.