Sunday 28 March 2010

An active Saturday

Lots of things happening again, all in the course of a day! My kitchen cupboard raided for bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, to try to make a fountain. Half a bottle of vinegar and bicarb later, this is what we got. Then other combinations were tried, coke and bicarb doesn't work, neither does coke and refreshers!

I had been feeling rather down first thing, so we went for a walk to lift my spirits, and get us all a bit of fresh air. We had a play in the playground.

Where a certain young lady scaled up an eight foot slide, all by herself, and then made Mummy panic once she got to the top. Luckily Luke was on hand to guide her safely back down!
Two brothers helped with the swing.
We walked through the woods, where we found some trees with moss growing at the base. I thought they looked like they were wearing grass skirts, so Luke decided if they were doing the "hula" they needed to be decorated with "hula hoops" which he just happened to have to hand! The photo isn't that great, but can you see the hula hoop on the branch?
And of course if you go through woods, you can guarantee that a certain young man will be up a tree! It took him a while, but he got there! Nothing like bringing a smile to your face when an 11 year old runs across a clearing yelling "tree, tree!" when he has seen a suitable climbing tree!

To top the day off there was a game of cricket in the backgarden, with the chickens joining in! Some trampolining, sowing of onion seeds, and then Earth Hour brought a game of Shadows in the Woods!
So after starting off feeling low, we had a lovely day, and hope Spring will bring us more days like this.

Friday 26 March 2010

An update

Apologies for being so late about the season swap posting, but here is our season swap things from Lisa T, some wonderful sun plaques and a lovely spring egg. All helping to usher in a long awaited spring. Thank you Lisa.

Other things we have been up to this week, whilst I have been making a concerted effort to spend less time online. Alec found the Mais that has been sat on a shelf for years, and made this lovely Spring picture.
Also an Easter card for a friend, made whilst recovering from a throat infection.

Painting eggs to make cress heads

Ethan got a book about dragons the other day, with lots of models of dragons to make, so he has been busy.

At the same time, Luke got a book about drawing Manga, and here is one of his drawings.
Birthday cake was made for Stuart, by Luke and Ethan. Well, more specifically the icing was made by Luke and Ethan as they wanted to lick out the bowl!!
Pillow fights were had, with a fearless little girl in the midst of it all!
Recently I have been thinking about how life was before the computer. What I did, and what I do now. Whilst I have learned so much from the people I have "met" online, I think I spend way too much time on here, especially as I have 4 children to look after. This week I have tried hard not to whittle away the hours on here, and look what we have done! So, with a busy growing season ahead of me, and a family to nuture, I am turning my time to more productive pursuits.

Thursday 18 March 2010

second hand delights

Whilst looking for a birthday present for Stuart, I came across a lovely charity shop I had not frequented before, and look at these treasures!

Whilst I am not a fan of pink, at all, I saw these and instead of seeing the colour, I just saw beauty. I cannot work out whether to let Sophie have them for dressing up, or for party clothes, she has a while before they will fit her, but they really are stunning!

Some knitting patterns for some funky clothes for Sophie, and a foody book, as I always like to know how to make people feel better via food :)

I am loving...

... my Nan's recipe book. She would write down recipes she came across in a book for later reference, and I am currently borrowing it from my Mum. Nan died 22 years ago this May. There are things in there that remind me of my childhood, and it brings great pleasure introducing such delights as coconut/cherry slices to my children. My Nan would be so proud of the comments the children have been giving her. Not only is it nourishing (if a little sweet at times ;) )but it is connecting them with their past, with a lovely woman they never met, but who would have adored them all.
I love the fact it is all hand-written, all in lbs and ounces, and alot of it so simple to do. I hope over the next few weeks to share some of them with you. They are not necessarily healthy, but they are certainly, for me, so comforting and part of my heritage.

Todays offering is Laidlers Nutty Biscuits.

4 oz Margarine
3oz Sugar
1 tbsp Syrup
4 oz Self Raising Flour
4 oz oats
2oz coconut
1oz sunflower seeds
1oz sesame seeds
Melt margarine, sugar, and syrup in a pan
Add other ingredients and mix well
Shape into 24 small balls
Place on a greased baking tray
Bake at 170 C (gas3) for 15-20 minutes

Sunday 14 March 2010

Mothers Day Musings

This morning, whilst trying to get ready before our guests arrived, with a screaming Sophie wanting my attention, I got thinking. This was no way to celebrate motherhood. I had a house to tidy, a meal for 12 to cook, a husband who was not feeling his best, children being asked to stop what they were doing to help out, and no time for each other.

We are made to think that "Mothers Day" is about mothers having a day off, putting their feet up, being waited upon, receiving gifts. I was beginning to feel resentful that I wasn't experiencing the putting up of feet, being waited on, etc, but in fact was racing around like a headless chicken!

Then I stopped, took stock of what I had. I am not only a mother, but also a daughter, wife, woman, grand-daughter. We were going to be having a family day, to include parents-in-law, aunt and uncle, my brother and mum, along with our own family. Yes, it would be hectic, yes, I would be tired by the end of the day, but what a wonderful way to celebrate family, togetherness, and a part of that is mother-hood, as well as father-hood, child-hood etc. I know the effort was appreciated by everyone, we all had a lovely day, despite the chaos at the beginning of the day, and so what if I wasn't able to rest, really I was in my element!

Friday 12 March 2010

Things that have made me smile

I am aware that there has been a certain negativity to things of late. It has not all been negative, here are a few things that have warmed my heart and made me smile.
A safari scene one Saturday, despite Sophie's attempt at "helping".

Sophie and Ethan playing farms. Playing on the big kiddies toys at a soft play centre with a little help from Alec.Taking the chaos of soft play in her stride.
A very patient Luke taking time out from drum practice. The sum of our parsnip harvest, eventually dug up once the ground defrosted! Very tasty though.
Sophie enjoying her new space to call her own.
Ethan off to school as an eskimo, with huskies.
As far as school goes at the moment, things are looking up. Luke is meeting with his teachers to look at what can be done to make it more interesting for him, and has already been put forward for a maths project on the gifted and talented programme. Alec's teacher was mortified that things were so bad for him, and credit to her she has really taken on board what needs to be done with him to engage him in lessons. Ethan still has days when he doesn't want to go, but these aren't as common, and we are making more of an effort at home to fit in the extra things they want to do, however, sleep tends to be the one thing that tends to get cut back on! I can tell this is unsustainable, but Easter holidays are soon, some good R & R is in order then.

Friday 5 March 2010

The decisions we make

Bear with me as I write my thoughts down. It may get a bit muddled, but that reflects how I am feeling at the moment.

Luke is despondent with school. He feels bored, hasn't learned anything this year (his words), but does not want to be home-schooled as he enjoys seeing his friends at school, which is an inprovement, as in the past it has been friends that have been causing the problems! So I approached the school to see what they were going to do about it. It's SATS year and I get the feeling they are going over all the stuff that will be coming up in SATS, but as Luke is working at a level beyond what SATS will test (in some areas) it is getting very boring for him. If we stimulate him at home, that will make school even more pointless for him, but what if he loses the interest in learning? We went through this last time he did SATS in year 2. I just hope the school can rise to the challenge he presents. The ball is in their court now.

Alec, is languishing in school. Spending his time daydreaming, not being engaged with, and consequently he still has not grasped spelling. I spoke to his teacher, as they had identified spelling as a weakness way back at the beginning of year 4. But since then, he has only brought two lots of spellings home, and his teacher had not picked up on it. I feel bad that it has got this far without me taking action.

I realise children learn at different rates, and spelling may come when he is good and ready for it, but for him to be spending his time daydreaming is just not on. When he is engaged with something, his enthusiasm is all consuming, and a joy to watch. He is supposed to be going to middle school in Spetember, and I am dreading it.

I would love to pull them all out of school, and home-educate. But I wonder if I am doing that for me, and whether it is in their best interests. How can I offer the range of activites that between the lot of them they experience in the course of a day. Could I get Luke through his GCSE's? Would I have the patience, especially with Luke as we clash at times? But then I have all these ideas I would love to do with them, but after school they just want to relax and have had enough.
Ethan asks if I can teach him, Sophie will be starting school at 4 years and a few days. I can find plenty of excuses to home-school but don't want to make the wrong decision and jeopardise their future. I wish this parenting lark was a bit easier!