Monday, 31 March 2008

Another afternoon free!

Well today my niece took the girls for the afternoon. Issy is doing a little dance for her theatre group (Hettie doesn't want to get up in front of everyone) and my niece is a dancer so she helped Issy plan a little ballet dance. So I found myself alone again. What did I do, well tidied and mopped through and sorted out business tax to pay, all boring but necessary, and I did get to do it all in peace. I also managed half an hour with a cuppa and rubbish tv.

This morning I got our new reward charts out. I think really it's way past time they start helping around the house and really they should do it without reward. But I figure I buy comics and dvds etc anyway and give Hettie some pocket money for helping at the weekend - so pocket money is now the reward which they can then spend on what they want. Or that's the theory!

They started with great gusto today!

I haven't taught Hettie to iron yet - that's for tomorrow.

Issy couldn't do the shoe rack, 'cos tbh she needs some help to start.

Surprisingly enough they were quite knowledgable about how to use the washing machine and sort their darks and lights. Mmm I think we could have started this some time ago!

We're on Spring Holiday so no official HE work today. A reader I ordered for September schedule was read by Issy about 10 mins after it came through the door! I need to go up a Grade or two for her, and hide the readers as they arrive. My Galore Park books (history & english) also arrived and I'm fairly pleased with them. So I may need to have a look at my curriculum again and tweak. Hettie will probably want to use them as well, 'cos dh spent some time reading them and they usually like the same type of layout when it comes to books.

I worked yesterday and dh & girls did the weekly shop. They made dinner, chicken, garlic bread, new potatoes and salad. It was an interesting salad, the girls did all the chopping and included carrots, about an inch thick, some apple and quite a few other things.

Dh actually sat with me for a while and looked at Sonlight and other stuff I'm dithering about. And looked at the curriculum I'm devising. So that was helpful. Surprisingly enough although he would have hated something like Sonlight he thought it looked good for Isobel, and didn't blanch at the cost LOL.

I'm off to look at my new books!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Alone at last .....

Its very quiet here, everyone is out. The girls are at theatre group for 3 1/2 hours (well worth the money) and dh is working at my mum & dad's. Therefore I have allowed myself 1 hour computer time and 2 1/2 hours housework - I really need a day for housework! This afternoon I plan to have a little rearrange of bookshelves etc. Unusually for me I was awake with the lark today at 7am, discussing re-arranging bookshelves - dh unkindly said could I shut up and go back to my normal pattern of sleep! Think I was disturbing his quiet morning time!

We went to the theatre yesterday with some of the Home Ed group to see the Birmingham Stage Company's version of Roald Dahl's Danny Champion of the World. It was brilliant and we all enjoyed it. They also bring the Horrible Historys to the stage as well, which are also excellent. Worth checking out if they're in your area.

We (dh & I) have decided that Issy needs to finish her last term if possible, although she's finding it hard going at the moment. But her regular teacher will be back after the Spring break and there's lots of fun things this term, so it will be a shame if she misses all the best bits. That said I am busy working on a curriculum for her now just in case we have a change of plan! So tune out now if you're not interested in home ed curriculums.

I keep going back to look at Sonlight. My main concern is it looks like a huge amount of work and is fairly expensive if we're not going to end up using it. I'm also torn at not wanting to leave our lovely Waldorf behind. But Issy likes to work, probably late at night - at 11pm last night she told me she was 'inspired' to write a story. I need a plan to fit both girls in or I can see us getting no-where, so I've been making up my own which as you will see I've 'borrowed' heavily from others.

Each will have a folder with plans and activities. Issy will probably be able to do a lot of hers with less support than Hettie needs. So in theory she can get on with at least some of it, allowing me to carry on with Waldorf with Hettie. Hettie then will have her folder so when I'm with Issy she at least can pick something to be getting on with. Hettie doesn't need to do the history work if she doesn't want to as long as she does her normal main lesson work. I'm using Grade 2 Waldorf for Issy's main work (lets face it I have most of the curriculum already). Its a 3 day schedule with 1 day that's for Home Ed group activities, and can be used as a 'catch up' day if needed. Leaving me 1 day and the weekends to go to work.

Main idea is morning verse, maths, read alouds will be together, as will arts/crafts in the afternoon. I'll swop history for geography every few weeks or so when I get that far, and the plan is to have week blocks for various festivals throughout the year.

Ok so thats the theory. Will it work, who knows? but I'm thinking that if I say this is what we do they'll get on with it. Experience shows me if I say what do you want to do they amble about dithering, I dither and we get nothing done. Oh well I've had a nice time buying lovely folders, coloured stickers etc etc. Now for housework (groan) and C another new book just arrived throuh the door LOL

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Happy Birthday Grandad!

Happy birthday Grandad Tom (dad), 80 something years young (we won't reveal your age)
Love us xxx

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A Quiet Day...

Probably because Issy was back at school LOL. Hettie was really keen this morning to do some work. So we had a look at some times tables - again! Still on 3's but we're getting there. Then we carried on with our measurements block which I'm hoping to get finished up this week. We looked at a mile:

We did laugh and say this was a very thin, tall Roman pacing out his mile! Then Hettie wanted to finish building a Knex car she had started and do some colouring (Scooby Doo, not very Waldorf!) I think we were just enjoying the quiet. We carried on reading On The Banks of Plum Creek which seems to be taking forever to finish, after lunch.

I spent the spare hours working on a curriculum for Isobel. I'm trying to mix Waldorf with worksheets and a Sonlight approach. I know sounds mad but it is coming together. I've ordered some readers and read alouds from Amazon and am going to get a few bits from Sonlight. I'm thinking that Hettie liked lots of worksheets when she first was home ed and it gradually wore off and it could go either way with Issy, so I don't want to spend lots of money until I'm pretty sure of how she is. Books don't count by the way when it comes to spending, you can never have too many books!

I took a leaf out of L's book and tried to cut down on internet hours today and even got some ironing done! Good plan to self limit internet time.

The girls had their Brownie fete tonight, a very small affair, but they had all worked hard to get stalls sorted out. I did buy about 8 books for 10p each, all on my read aloud list!

Oh and yesterday I spent cleaning through again post party and wiping lots of smears of chocolate off door frames etc and realising its not a good idea to leave a chocolate fountain 'til the morning to clean 'cos the chocolate is rock solid!!!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

At Last ...

... we had some snow! Not much compared to some places around the globe but enough to make a snow angel, which was Issy's dearest wish! The girls jumped up to see what the Easter bunny had delivered and Issy promptly got dressed and rushed outside. Dh followed and as it fell more Hettie got her act together and joined them. All went well until the cold and wet suddenly hit Issy and she rushed back in crying because she was 'stinging'. Hot baths for all !!

I tidied and cleaned through before our family turned up to spend the afternoon and as it happens the evening as well, 'cos no-one went home until 10pm. Fortunately dh's cousin and SIL bought all the food. We set the chocolate fountain up later and they all stuffed themselves full of more chocolate - well it is Easter. The snow was gone by this afternoon! The children all played nicely together and the house looks vaguely like a bomb has gone off, but as the adults polished off quite a large amount of wine, I'm not too bothered.

Mmmm Yum Yum !!

J may have been the smallest but he ate the most marsh mallows!

My BIL suddenly became a maestro!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

What to do ..........

Well early planning is a must for this 'two girl' curriculum. Or we are all going to get in a right old muddle. So I've spent some of today poring over the internet again and my collection of books to try and cobble something together. I think I will probably buy some books & bits from Sonlight and try to follow the Waldorf themes for Grade 2. But it's still very much in the early stages, and no doubt will need lots of tweaking.

I found this link The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project which I actually already had somewhere, but I was looking at Ambleside Online (just in case Charlotte Mason was the way to go with Issy LOL). There's a book called Our Island Story by HE Marshall on there which is the history of Britain, but retold in story form and looks great.

The one thing I've learnt is you can't beat good children's literature and most alternative curriculums to the UK National Curriculum are full of great books.

Other than that I've been to Morrisons - twice - the first time it was so busy I couldn't get in, you'd think the shops were going to be shut for a week, not less than 24 hours. Finally tracked down some Easter eggs for tomorrow, I should have bought them weeks ago. Popped to my mum & dads, and started tidying 'cos dh's brother and cousins and families are all coming over tomorrow afternoon. Good opportunity to get the chocolate fountain out me thinks!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Best laid plans and all that....

In my mind I was imagining Issy finishing school and joining in our dreamy relaxed Waldorf world, with the biggest problem being sorting how to teach one at Grade 2 and one at Grade 4. Issy has had two days 'sick' from school, although to be fair she was actually sick (once), and has joined in with us. She came to the home ed meeting on Wednesday and joined in making Easter cards, again thanks to one of our bigger girls who arranged it all and supervised. Then she went off to play. Hettie was a bit put out at her little sister hanging around!! It was a good meeting, mums and dads all got to have a good chat.

Before we went Issy partially joined Hettie and I with tables practice and ball throwing, and she read a Spring story. Then I set her up to copy a summary from the blackboard. I finished reading the story of Easter to Hettie. When we came home Hettie wanted to paint so we got all the stuff out and they painted. Waldorf works so well for Hettie it never ceases to amaze me, she decided to paint the crucifixion (not my idea). And put her heart and soul into it. She did a little more on Thursday and just has a bit more to finish.

In one day I began to suspect this was not going to be as straightforward as I hoped, especially when Issy declared 'I don't want to do all that rubbish Het does, I want to do proper work' Hettie promptly replied 'I want to stick with Waldorf'. Mmmm!! Mummy hit the internet and scoured the Structured Group archives, once I picked myself up off the floor - 'rubbish indeed'.

On Thursday when Issy finally rose she was ready to work. Unluckily for Hettie I had a plan. I decided after much searching that some structured maths would be good for independent work while I teach the other one. I found Singapore Maths and had placement tests printed and ready to go. It was recommended by another mum, thanks Carol!

Three things came out of this. One they're at the same level, Issy's maths isn't as good as I've been led to believe and Hettie didn't get stressed, managed to complete nearly the whole test and stuck with it. A year ago she would have been in tears. So much for independent maths! I've been umming and ahing about the Sonlight curriculum for Issy. Again thanks to Carol & Ruth for their help & advice. Currently I'm having a little play about to see if I can put something together myself, which incorporates Waldorf type blocks of work but with a more workbook type approach. I'll let you know what I decide, or should I say what Issy agrees to!

Today was house blitzing day. Dh worked all day and so I got stuck in. I managed to shrink Issy's bedroom curtains! But we did get it all done. Issy and I watched best of Riverdance, well I watched and she danced.

And here they are later, slobbed out watching TV.

Oh well such is the life of a home edding mum, no doubt it'll get sorted out or as Hettie said 'If she's going to be at home mum, we need a plan and quick!'

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Spring and Easter...

After we dropped Issy at school, Hettie and I had a little chat on the drive home about the point of learning and understanding about different religions. I tackled it from the point of BBC's Newsround programme which she watches everyday. For those of you who haven't seen it, its news for children and really very good. So we talked about various news items she had seen and linked them to different religions and beliefs. Fortunately she realised with a bit more knowledge she would understand the news better.

So instead of our usual 1/2 hour maths & verse, followed by main lesson work, we got comfy and I read her the story of Jesus and the crucifixion, and the story of Easter. The children's bible we have has little historical side paragraphs and present day pictures, which helped her understand this in an historical context. We had a good morning discussing what different people believe about Jesus, and ended up looking at Leonardo Da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper online. She likes Da Vinci, so we got a little art history in as well.

After lunch we started to rearrange our nature table. She ironed for the first time, the material we had bought, which was actually 2 nylon curtains. It's actually pale yellow & pale green. Sorry not a very good photo and we've not quite finished yet.

I still think Mother Nature is a bit scarey!

Then it was off to Brownies, where they made Easter cards. Thank goodness for our lovely Brown Owl who gave Issy lots of praise for arriving at the hall promptly with no help. They made some Easter baskets with chocolate eggs - devoured on the way home!

Issy had a little go at needle felting the other day and we had cut a little heart from her felt. We decided to put this in her doll I'm making, as it was my wool and her work we decided the doll's heart would be a little bit of both of us.

So now I need to get on with finishing her. Issy has designed and drawn pages of clothes she wants for her!!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Good fun today....

We had a really good day today - cue lots of pics! We arranged with the home ed group to go to Hadleigh Castle today for a run around and games. We all left it to the last minute waiting on the weather, but it was sunny so we set off with picnic. Hettie and I were the first there and it was glorious. The sun shone and we read about Hadleigh Farm being the first farm colony set up by the Salvation Army in 1886 and meandered up to the castle ruin.

There was not a soul in sight and we imagined who lived there and what they were like. The others soon followed and I have to say it got a little cloudy and very chilly. The kids all ran off despite us carting swing ball, skipping ropes, rounders bats etc up the hill. I'm quite getting into this picnic lark, not previously my thing pre home ed, and took flasks & tea making bits which kept us mums going! The kids were all playing an elaborate pirate game as far as we could see, so we had a good chat about a very wide range of subjects, and I mean wide!!

Walking up to the castle

View over the Thames from the castle

Castle ruins

We noticed a film crew and some people standing about. It isn't too unusual for photographers and people filming to be up at the castle so we didn't take too much notice apart from wondering what they were filming in passing. We ended up roaring with laughter about something and one of the film lot approached and said they were filming a documentry and our laughter was interefering with their sound recording - very nicely I might add - and we ended up chatting to them all. It turned out that some of them were the original members of the band Dr Feelgood. Well I'd heard of them but couldn't quite tell you what they sung etc, but I know a man who most definately would. So I got some pics.

About 1967/8

Two of them 2008 (doubt they'll ever read my blog and apparantly they're famous anyway)

When I got home and dh asked me about our day, I said we'd met some chaps at the castle - ha ha ha. I explained what had happened and dh nearly had a fit, especially when I said I wasn't quite sure who they were. He had me watching Dvd's, looking at album covers trying to work out which band members they were. Lets face it he wished he'd met them and we didn't really know who they were!!! He's gone on about it for quite some hours now. I did agree with him that we should have asked for free tickets for their tour, too late now. We girls had good fun anyway, kids were caked in mud and hopefully next time we go it will be warmer.

Just as a last note before I sign off, I've read a lot about Waldorf dolls and thought I might make one for Issy. So here is stage one which was one evening's work. She's really excited about it and is busy deciding what to call her and what hair style she should have. Hettie was looking slightly envious - she doesn't 'do' dolls - until I explained I could make a boy doll, and she said that would be OK.

I'll post more as she develops! Hopefully her looks will improve.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Menu planning ....

Not mine of course, but Issy's. While I was at work she played on my computer, probably no work left on it, and made a menu and place mats. Technically we planned the menu together, actually I told her what I could rustle up.

When we got home and all flopped in front of Tv, dh was chuffed 'cos Hettie watched a whole Grand Prix race with him. She was laughing because I told her the first Grand Prix she watched with him she was about 4 or 5 weeks old and he rocked her in a baby chair all the way through it, the following year when she was just over a year old he made a track from her Happy Street and she whizzed cars round, and so on through the years until finally today she watched it! Doubt she'll last the season - I never do!

Anyway us girls were all a bit peckish so we scoffed left over Chinese at half past three, which meant we weren't hungry til late, and dh tutted for about an hour at us all. Still we whipped up Issy's menu. She proudly announced that she'd 'stirred' the salad and we all praised her on her excellent table laying skills. She also announced she thought she might manage to keep her bedroom tidier with a star reward chart. Now I can't tell you how many times I've tried a reward chart. In fact when my sister stayed with us for a few months even she resorted to a reward chart. None have worked, however now the motivation seems to be there I'll go and buy another one tomorrow. After reading Mrs D's last blog post I'm thinking its high time we had a little 'help around the house' schedule. I'll post it when I sort it out.

Issy made some beeswax models this week, a butterfly and a chick in a nest for the nature table which is on this weeks list of must do's.

We're going to be doing some Easter Work this week, specifically about Jesus after Hettie told me Easter was about rabbits. I patiently explained 'you learnt about this in school' and started to retell the story when she asked 'so where do bunnies come into it?'. Now I don't have any religious convictions one way or another but there is a limit! She groaned 'You're going to get the bible out aren't you' - Oh yes I certainly will be.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Been busy ....

And I must have been because I just realised I haven't blogged for a few days. So what have we been up to? Well my friend came over with her girls on Thursday and they had a fab time, building dens in the garden and hanging out. We 'big' girls chatted and put lunch together. I had to pop to the school for a meeting about Issy and V babysat for me. You know you have a good friend when they babysit on a first visit !!! Thanks for that. Issy saw me at school and I got a phone call about 5 mins after I got home to say she was ill in the office so she missed ballet & came home early. Hettie had her piano lesson, coming along nicely, moved to two handed playing this week.

On Friday I went to work so Hettie went to grandad's and he helped her to build a bird box. She made it entirely from one plank of wood, measured and grandad helped her saw. He started her off with screwing it all together as well. But all in all she done a good job for her first woodworking lesson. We've just got to find a spot for it now and fingers crossed some little bird will take a liking to it!

Dawn very kindly passed this little blog award to me which was really nice of her especially as I enjoy her blog so much!

So now I get to pass it on! Very tricky to pick as I read so many blogs now. So I chose The Briar Patch, One Life, and Life in the Tall House by the Sea because I read them everyday and between them they never fail to make me smile and often laugh out loud as well.

Today I worked, dh and girls helped until they were all beyond boredom, and dh took them off swimming. Hettie has decided she wants swimming lessons again. Not quite sure what hour of the day we can fit that in on but I'll have a think about it. We had a Chinese for dinner tonight and watched 'Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Take Away' (the children love it) and I've just ushered them off to bed.

Oh that reminds me beds - dh bought a new mattress yesterday for our bed. I didn't think the old one was that bad, but I felt like the princess in 'Princess and the Pea' last night I was so high up. What with the new mattress and one of those Ergonomic pillows I bought from Ikea the other day I had a fairly strange but comfy nights sleep.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Books clubs ... and all the good things!

We met up today for the first official book club meeting, within our home ed meeting. J and F, two of our eldest 'teen' girls moderated the meeting, with the mums sitting on hand. But mums weren't needed as the girls done a great job without us. They led the questions and helped arrange for the next 2 months books so everyone's got plenty of time to organise getting the books and audio versions.

We also had a look at our mummified bits of apple which we found were actually doing it, but need a bit longer to brew, so to speak. Rates of change were different depending on where we had all stored them so we're going to look again in another couple of weeks.

One bad thing actually after all the rain yesterday the badgers had been at the new turf again!! I think there were two of them this time, so I admit to swearing profusely under my breath as dh went to fill the holes again. However we then found a dead badger in the kerb outside our house so I felt bad about cursing them. Unfortunately the very busy main road crosses the badger path which will have been there for centuries so its quite a common occurance here.

The good things. Well I was thinking this morning about all the good things in my life. Tomorrow a friend from our home ed group is coming over for the day with her girls who Hettie gets on really well with, and as it happens I really get on well with their mum, she makes me fall about laughing, so we're excited about them visiting for the first time.

Our business is going really well and so that's great. We're getting on with the garden and having some of our house re-decorated soon, which includes my bedroom at last. I have big plans. Our holiday is booked for the summer for Norfolk at my IL's and Devon, and hopefully my lovely dh & I are going to sneak away for a weekend together soon. Yipee!

Ok so Issy isn't sleeping too well at present, but she's reading well now (anything & everything) and learning everything fast. She's managed to get herself to Brownies, is enjoying her drama group and loves her ballet lessons. And Hettie is going great guns, learning poetry and times tables, writing again and has read a book to herself, which is a huge achievement for her. She's keen to learn again, not every day, but most days and is learning study skills which will see her through into the future.

Wow thats a lot of good things now I've sat down and thought about it, maybe I'll pin a list to the wall and remind myself of them more often.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Back to it ......

So this morning I decided time to get back to the real work, which didn't start off too well. We started with our ball throwing tables, great with 2's but had forgotten half of the 3's. Never mind I said brightly 'it'll come' which was replied with a grunt! I was going to tackle a poem but thought a tongue twister would be more fun and it was. I decided we would waltz around the lounge as a change from marching, decidedly more laughs.

We moved onto our measurement work and looked at measuring larger areas. Hettie remembered Pa Ingalls measuring his house in strides and we measured feet and strides, and she correctly estimated a yard to be 3 feet. I told her yet another King Henry story. So we measured our strides and the length from our noses to our thumbs, and learnt about a standard yard. Personally I find all the measuring a bit tedious and quite hard to liven up but she seems to be enjoying it.

Hettie wanted to make a beeswax nest for the nature table and we decided it would be a good idea to put eggs in until we see some baby birds about. She has plans for a 'mummy' bird as well.

Sorry the pics a bit blurry. I reminded Hettie the piano teacher will be back on Thursday and she promptly practised for half an hour. She's really quite good considering its only been 2 lessons, so I hope she'll keep it up. I have found out she prefers to practice on her own - without mum looking over her shoulder.

Issy managed to walk from her classroom down the corridor to the hall to Brownies today therefore allowing me to just drop Hettie at the back gate and drive away. It took a fair bit of persuading this morning, but with a combination of support from a stand in teacher, lady in the school office and Brown Owl meant she managed. So I popped to work for an hour or so before picking the girls up. Very luckily a friend donated some Brownie uniform for Issy. So I only need to buy trousers.

We had a letter from school about SATs tests today, asking that we don't take holidays etc etc and could we ensure children are asleep by 7 o'clock, in Issys case I presume they mean 7 in the morning!

Monday, 10 March 2008

A Blustery Day ...

Well the high winds and storms weren't too bad here, it was very windy and rainy but not as bad as some parts of the Uk. One of our mums in our home ed group arranged a sponsored fun day which was to have been in the garden followed by a picnic. Bravely she didn't cancel but transferred indoors. Well they skipped and fished (magnetic) and shot arrows (velcro) and a variety of activities for 2 hours. They wound down a bit towards the end but well done everyone.

Hettie bean bag throwing
Yesterday we slobbed out basically, 3 girls in pjs while dh went off to sail his new Mirror Dinghy with his brother - new to him not a new boat. It didn't sink so that was good and now Hettie can go out in it and learn to sail. We managed to get dressed after I had spent rather a long time on the new SHE forum which is going great guns. I tidied through and washed the floors and we decided we could eat left over Chinese for lunch to save going to the shops. We spent the afternoon building Knex and watching TV, and shared the last 2 bags of popcorn. Issy made some collage pictures as well.

Our first home ed book club meet is this week but it seems everyone has been busy reading Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl and there's a production of it at our local theatre by the Birmingham Theatre Company in the Easter Hols which another mum is arranging. Have to admit this was more luck than organisation by the mums !

What with going out today and last week for the day, and 2 home ed meets and my work, we haven't done any actual work for a week and a half which makes me twitchy. Although both girls have been a bit under the weather anyway, Hettie actually requesting medicine after she stuck her head under the tap to cool herself down! Still hopefully I can work from home tomorrow and we'll get something done.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

New Forums ...... Waldorf ....... and holidays!

I really enjoy the Structured home ed group, it has lots of people posting, lots of nice chat, lots of great ideas and lots of advice. Oh and loads more. So it seems today L and C have been working hard to set up a Structured Home Education Forum and a great job they've done. It hopefully will make it easier to follow threads of topics and cut down on emails. I've been at work all day but tomorrow I'll find some time to add links I've got. Good job girls! I should say I do enjoy other groups as well, obviously our local one I run with S.

As for Waldorf well I just thought I'd mention a couple of other resources I've found particularly helpful, i.e. I've actually used them :0) First is Eugene Schwartz Waldorf Curriculum Year by Year info free on the website, which I have used as a basic plan for a year of work. I have adapted it to suit us but gave me a good starting point. I also bought his Grade 3 CD (emailed to me) which when I first got it looked like a lot of pics of students work, which it actually is, but once I started Grade 3 I found I go back to that work over and over again, have picked up summaries, got ideas of what we're aiming for in our main book.

I quite like Eric Fairmans 'Volumes' - have a confession here I got all in a muddle and ordered Volume 1 which obviously corresponds to Grade 1, so then had to re-order Volume 3 for Grade 3 Duh! This is a book I dip into to check if there's anything I've not included.

I also enjoyed Donna Simmons audio talks for Grade levels and they are quick to download and fairly inexpensive. Although she goes on an awful lot about all the baking I should have done by Grade 3 and to be quite honest I need a recipe book for a fairy cake.

So onto holidays. When I met dh he had a lovely old VW camper van and we used to pootle off to North Devon usually twice a month and for every holiday we had from work. He surfed and I read and sunbathed. He did teach me to surf ut I did end up in hospital! Then Hettie came along but we carried on with the camper. We went so often the lady the owned the campsite babysat for us! Then Isobel came along and the camper van shrunk internally. So with heavy heart (and I think a tear) dh sold it and we bought a caravan, which we left in Devon. My sister moved to Spain and so we started going to see her, got busier, started our own business, and sold the caravan. Well actually dh sold it while we were still on holiday actually sitting in it.

But now after a long 3 year absence from North Devon we're back in August - hooray. Only a week but a nice little place right on the beach, walking distance from the lovely ice cream parlour & pub, and we'll be able to stop at some friends on the way in Somerset who we haven't seen for ages, which reminds me I must, must drop them a line to let them know we're coming or they're bound to be out!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Better couple of days!!

Yesterday we went to our home ed group and the kids all made fruit mummys from pieces of apple. We now leave for a week and hopefully should have one rotted piece and one mummified piece! My MIL and FIL popped round for a cuppa before they went home. Hettie went to fencing and managed to pass her Grade One, so that was great news.

Today we went off to the butterfly farm with the home ed group, and we had a great turnout. We were early (40 mins) but sat in the car watching a little sparrow popping in and out a bird box with bits he was picking up. Luckily we saw a pair of bullfinches as well.

It was a bit cloudy but lots of room for running around and we managed to see otters & meercats fed, a parrot type show, and got to hand feed the wallabies complete with baby Joeys in their pouches. They kept popping their little heads out and then disappearing again. We purchased a butterfly habitat kit which Hettie & Isobel have been nagging about for ages. We need to send off for our caterpillars now and hopefully they will turn into butterflies. Its quite a nice kit with good instructions for caring for the caterpillars and how to feed the butterflies for a couple of days before release.

My mum picked Issy up from ballet, as Hettie was having her piano lesson and then we pored over the Waldorf doll book (Making Waldorf Dolls) I have bought. My mum having been an expert toy and doll maker over the years. We discussed where to get sheeps wool for stuffing and my mum is going to see if my uncle can get me a whole fleece, & my MIL is also going to ask around. Then the girls and I can wash & card it. Sure I can get one from somewhere, thought we could try a bit of spinning as well. The one thing I love about Waldorf is I get to do all the things I like!!

I've been busy making some flower fairies for the nature table. Two daffodils & a violet so far. More to follow.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


... I'm worn out, lots of 'work' work to do and catch up on. We didn't have a great home ed day today which was my own fault really. We dropped Issy at school, her teacher is still off sick but at least we now have the deputy head teaching the class every day, she's had between 3 and 6 teachers a week recently. I came home and Hettie sat down doing a drawing and watching Tv while I caught up on emails, which is usual for us, but we usually start at 9.30am and today we didn't. I had some phone calls, she wanted to finish her picture and the morning drifted by. So basically we lost our Waldorf rhythm. She did manage 20 minutes of piano practice, after I reminded her the new teacher would be back in 2 days time and then we started work on times tables, no joy today, she just couldn't remember. So we gave up on that and started looking at verbs and nouns again. I got about 30 minutes before we gave up.

I decided I might as well get some of my work done and she did some sticking. Dh came home with a new hoover which was good. Then off to Brownies, with Isobel refusing to walk along the corridor to the hall without me taking her. So I had to park for 40 minutes and wait, then walk her along a corridor and then come home with no children. I told her next week she has to go to the hall without me, after all Hettie is there as well. But she did say she'd made some new friends so thats good as she finds making new friends quite difficult.

So all in all not a great day, but could have been worse. In the words of one of my all time favorites, Scarlett O'Hara 'tomorrow is another day'.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Happy Mother's Day ....

I love my home made cards every year, although this year Hettie really wanted to buy one so probably the last one from her. Isobel made me two, one at school and one at home. They both bought me a little pot with gerbera's in, which I had been told won't grow in this country. So I'll have to give it a go because I love gerbera's. Dh bought me the flowers when he did the food shop this morning and the two little pots they made at Brownies. They've got sweets in - yum. Hettie sat on Isobel's card before I opened it which caused a bit of a tantrum and Baby Born was sick on me (see below).

Had a good tidy through this morning as both nannies & grandads coming over for dinner. Everyone played scrabble (junior version) with Hettie after dinner and Isobel did a cartwheel show for us. It was her birthday party yesterday and so she had lots of new pressies to play with, including a new Baby Born outfit, and feeding equipment.

Now Baby Born I had resisted until Christmas. To put it politely I don't think any girl needs a doll that poops and wees, plenty of that when you get the real thing! The nappies cost more than real ones. Those of you familiar with this doll will know you mix up some powder with water to make the 'food'. Its not a healthy diet, ours hasn't pooped since Christmas and has severe constipation, despite continual feeding from Isobel. We'd run out of powder but she got some yesterday with a new bowl and spoon, still no poop. But when Baby came to give me my cards this morning she did sick most of it up over me when I sat her next to me. We may need to play doctors and nurses and operate if she doesn't go soon!