Sunday, 27 December 2009

Pictures of our crafty makes...

The last few posts have been lacking in photographs so I thought I would make up for it today, although there are still a couple more to do another day!!!
This one is our season table with the initial wintry feel to it.

Lots of hand made decorations this year...Rob made a wreath for the front door and we had some real greenery above the mirror in the living room. These snowflakes were an idea I 'borrowed' from Hannah, and we liked them so much we made some in different colours! If you look closely in the first picture you can see some of the paper chains too.

A two tone pink one!!!!

And a much smaller one for the tree in classic seasonal colours....

These are the home made edible goodies we made....truffles, iced gingerbread biscuits, lebkuchen and Jonathan's favourite, peppermint creams!! We packaged them up seperately and in different ways. I enjoyed making the little boxes and bags too!!

This is the celebration ring that I made from clay inspired by the wooden ones from Myriad. They are a lovely idea, but sooooo expensive So, failing to persuade Jonathan to make me a wooden one, I fashioned this one from the air drying clay we had. We used it for all three of the birthdays we had before christmas using the numbers that I made from clay to decorate them. William and David helped to paint those. I need to find some candles the right size for the holes that I made. We used cake candles in wooden holders that Rob made out of a length of Hazel, but they burn down too quickly. It made a nice centrepiece for the table on the day anyway, though.

The baggy Waldorf doll I made for my friends liitle girl designed to be a bedtime companion. A very soft squashy body ideal for cuddling.

The very simple Waldorf first doll I made for her wee one. At 5 months she is teething and so I'm hoping this will not only give her something to cuddle but something to chew on aswell!!!

And this is the traditional limbed doll I made for William. He has dungarees made from bits of old jeans, a t shirt from one of my old t-shirt's sleeves and his hat is an odd sock of David's!!!! Quite pleased with him as a first attempt at this style, although his head is a little should be a little rounder.

I always enjoy making and giving handmade presents. They always feel more special somehow.Jonathan and David loved their socks and Jonathan wore them every day for about 5 days!!!! I wish I had taken a photo of them on the first day he wore them, as they are now a little worse for wear! Photos of those and the hot water bottle covers I made coming soon!!!! I just need to start earlier next year!!!!
Receiving homemeade presents is always lovely too...some lovely hand knitted dish cloths from Hannah and a lovely little knitted elephant for Will. He's gorgeous xx

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Birthdays, solstice and christmas!!!

So, here we are.
Everyone is talking about being ready for Christmas yet here we are still trying to concentrate on Tom's birthday, which is tomorrow.
But we have had to do christmas preparations. There have been presents to make, package up, wrap and parcel up to post. A special consignment was delivered to my good friend Han yesterday, while Rob and the smalls went to the post office with the parcels for further afield.
Rob and Jonathan have their birthdays and then I get lulled into a false sense of security that Tom's is a week away. I started doing christmas things, we talked about the winter solstice and then suddenly I rememeber that it is his birthday tomorrow!!!! Eeek!!! Birthday cake is quickly baked, plans thrown together. A few presents wrapped and cards hastily made. Food shoppping was done this afternoon and suddenly we are here.
This strange day which I always feel should be Tom's birthday. He was born in such chaos around midnight that noone really knows which day is his birthday. The people present (there were quite a few!) seemed to all agree on just after midnight (12:03 to be precise for the record), but to me it always seems wrong that it is tomorrow and not today. He should have been born before midnight, long before, but I won't go into detail about that here. Then he would have 2 days between his birthday and christmas and it would be right....I was in labour all that day and that is when I think about his passage in to this world.
I brought Tom home from hospital on a beautiful frosty Christmas Eve, 15 years ago. This was my first experience of birth and motherhood, both of which started out as a disaster, but I have arrived at Tom's 15th birthday feeling proud that I have made it through many difficult and testing times with him firmly by my side. He has turned into a very mature, sensible young man with a great sense of humour. He is always there to help, can always be relied upon and has always been and continues to be, my right hand man.
He is paving the way for his brothers and I just hope that he continues on this path he has chosen. It cannot be easy being the eldest of four boys....(it certainly isn't easy being a mum of four boys!!!) but he is doing just fine!!
So here I sit unable to do anything constructive this evening as is true of many an eve of Tom's birthday thinking about the whole experience and wishing I had known then what I know now. But despite the delayed and consequently forced entry in to this world, the terrible experience of breast feeding and the upheaval that he experienced as a baby; we moved house more times than I care to remember, and he went to a child minder as a very small baby (don't ask!!!) and many other things along the way, he has turned out ok!!
I may have screwed up in the beginning, but I must have done something right along the way! So tomorrow we will celebrate Tom's 15th birthday.
And from today the days are getting longer and that has got to be something worth smiling about! It is funny how I wasn't as desperate for the Winter Solstice as I thought I was going to be, because we have been having this beautiful snow and frost for the last few days. The sun has been shining, so the normal dull and dreary grey of winter hasn't been hanging over us. Yes, I could cope with winter if it was cold and frosty all the time. It is the grey and wet I hate so much.
We have a decorated tree now. Paper chains and snowflakes up. A winter seasons table. Lights up in the dining room and kitchen bringing the magic to the most used rooms in our house and preents all wrapped. So preparations done, many of the handmade gifts I planned have been finished, and now it is time to just look ahead and enjoy the festive season.
Merry Christmas to you all xxx

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

What is Home Education?

I think there are far too many people in our country, that do not know or understand the answer to this question, yet still make judgements without bothering to educate themselves about the subject.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Life in slow motion.

So, another week has slipped by without me posting anything.
This is the first year for a very long time that we have a christmas tree up so early in our house. I usually do the tree on christmas eve for a number of reasons. Firstly, I believe it is traditionally done this that right? or is that the yule log that I am thinking of? I can just picture people finishing work early on christmas eve and going to buy their tree on the way home to surprise the children. Not sure where i have the image from but it is quite an old fashioned image!! And secondly, we have three birthdays in this house before christmas with Tom's being the 23rd so I feel it is only fair to give him full birthday honours before moving on to christmas.
But this year, we have a real tree bought from the farm shop. I love real trees. So much nicer than the plastic variety, although I am quite attached to my own little one. We went to get dog and chicken feed and were greeted with a whole lot of trees stacked up against the hedges and fences. Every year we talk about having a real tree but never get around to it. But this year? Jonathan had found a twenty pound note in the gutter while out on his paper round, so we bought one!!! He didn't need much!!!
It has no decorations yet though. We hope to spend some time making some before getting my box down full of the usual ones. Most of those are hand made too but I thought the tree is big enough to take a few more than the little tree, and a good excuse to make some more. I like remembering how each decoration came about and adds to the magic of it all. I just hope we have enough lights to do it justice too!
We also gathered some fir and holly branches to make a wreath and some garlands, but we have yet to work out the logistics of those!!
I'm still busy knitting and sewing pressies and am hoping to at least get some finished in time.
I have another first too. This is the first year when I haven't actually bought a single christmas present by this time. I usually have a little stash going by now, and gardually add to it as I think of things, but there isn't a single bought present in my house yet!!! 2 weeks to christmas and nothing bought at all yet!
I have made mincemeat, but no christmas cake this year as it just isn't that popular in our house, what with birthdays in abundance too.
We are biding our time and it feels very strange. I have made a few cards with David, but it is all a little slow getting going this year. We have edible goodies to make but for obvious reasons can't do those until nearer the time, and my projects are coming together slowly.
Rob has been making an advent calendar with festive pictures of us and the animals in a big tree. I'll try and get a picture posted as it is quite hard to explain. We also have a fabric one that I made a few years ago that we put sweeties in, but it always seems to be problematical and actually Rob's pictures are more popular!!!! Today was Buffy in a party hat and blower, and yesterday we had Turq on skis!!!
There has also been some letter games here, with the montessori sandpaper letters I made a while ago. Will and David spent time finding objects around the room and putting them with the 'right' letter. We all enjoyed trying to think of objects for the obscure letters!!! Will is getting good at recognising them and can type all the beginning letlers of our names on the keyboard, saying everyones names as he does it. He also likes to sit and do typing on Word, asking what it is that he has written afterwards!!
Maybe a pictorial post next time!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Not the cold kind, (although we have more than our fair share of those!!!) but the blog post kind.
I really must get out of the habit of rushing to finish a post because I have to go and do something else.
I forget that there is a draft saving device that means that I can go back and re read and add in all those things that I forgot to put in first time around.
Like yesterday.
I waffled on about rats and totally embarrassed myself, but forgot to say about the wheat grinding that has been going on here recently. Lots of bread made from scratch here, and we have enjoyed watching Jimmys food factory on iPLayer, where he makes cornflakes. Mad, the amount of effort that goes in to making those little flakes. We are currently into porridge here. Cheaper, less packaging overall and less waste. Mot to mention warming and more filling.
I also forgot to say about the popcorn making yesterday, and the invention of a new breakfast cereal...popcorn and milk with sugar...yuk!!!!
I also forgot to post about the christmas sweet factory that was my kitchen a week or so ago...truffles, choc fudge, biscuits with melted sweets in the middle and pink coconut mice. All practice runs with gifts in mind. Of course these trial sweets had to be consumed by the taste testers and decisions made about which to make again and what to do differently.
I also forgot to post about the fact that Jonathan has finished reading the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series too now. Now we are all waiting for the purchase of the final one in paperback next year!!! This is such an amazing thing to be able to say about him as he has never been a reader and these are the first 'real' substantial fiction he has read. I am SO tempted by the hardback copy, but I must resist!
So many things that we do that I forget to share in detail. So many unwritten, but thought about blog posts in my head.
But if you are doing, you can't be typing about it!! Can you?
Home Ed is full of ups and downs. Periods of intense activity and serious lulls. But with so many children in the house these periods don't always coincide, making for a turbulant atmosphere on occaision!
Winter is the worst time for us. More difficult to be outside for any length of time. Such short days and long drawn out nights. I can be happy indoors for quite a while, as long as I have been out. But that isn't so for all of us. The boys seem to spend more time on the computer and watching DVD's at this time of year. Energy seems to be at a real low which stifles the creativity that I have. It is hard to do things in the evenings as I feel so tired, yet when I am wide awake I have other, more pressing things to do!! I think it is probably the same for all of us.
Looking forward to the winter solstice and the turning of the tide.

Post Script added 4th Jan 2010
I am fully aware that drafts of the cold kind are not spelt the same way and appreciate the tact shown by all those educated folk reading this out there!!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A little random post

A quick chicken pic.

A quick duck pic.

A funny cow pic.

And a picture of two dolls my mum knitted for me years ago. I think that they are quite 'waldorfy', and if I remember rightly they are from a pattern by Jean Greenhowe. The clothes are removable and really are lovely. She made a great job of them and they have survived all this time! They must be 25 years old I would think.

Ok, so those pictures are a little random! They are some of the ones I meant to post a few weeks ago but didn't get round to for one reason or another.
Today has been an odd sort of day. One of those days when I didn't really have a plan in mind but it sort of developed all by itself.
This morning while I was making the porridge and putting on the bread dough, I saw a rat run across the we know there are rats around. After all we live in a rural area with fields behind us and lost of us keep chickens and have compost heaps, so I guess they are inevitable. But on my patio? I THINK NOT.
So we all got outside straight after breakfast and proceeded to have a re shuffle of the garden and a bit of a tidy up. He seems to have a 'run' that comes in under the fence from next door and then he must run along the fence under the hedge, where there has been plenty of cover from various things in the veggie canes and fence posts, pots etc So we moved all those out and made the area much more open..Jonathan has set one of his traps there, but I don't hold out much hope, as they are notriously tricky things to catch. I don't really have a problem with there existance, I just do not want them up by the house pestering the quail or stealing the rabbits food!! Poor Merlin. He is back indoors again now and looking quite smug about it too!!!
Jonathan and David were then outside finishing the tidying and making new bows, so it only seemed fitting that we went somewhere after lunch for them to use them. We walked across some stubble fields instead of the usual wood walk, and they had such fun firing their arrows and chasing after Louis as he ran off with them!!! We had an 'Alan' moment when Jonathan was shouting at Louis trying to get him to stop, and then at David to get his attention. It was a BBC animal antics programme or something. Meercats shouting Alan and then Steve. Google it and I'm sure the video will come up on Youtube. VERY funny. Very, very funny.
The boys are now playing together on the computer and have been for a long time. Tom has been outside fixing a few things on his truck that broke the other weekend at his off roading event, which went really well. He got 16 'punches' out of 20. They all have a card attached to the passnger wing mirror that they have to punch at various points along the way. He did brilliantly. Thanks goes to Mike who picked him up with the trailer and brought him home again!
David took part in a distance swimming event on Sunday and swam a total of 300m!!! I thnk he could have done more with a little encouragement, but the organisation was a little poor. He got a 200m badge and certificate and is very pleased with himself, never the less. As are we!!! He did really well, considering he had never done anything like it at all before and it was like the M25 in rush hour. 6 children sharing a lane, all going at different speeds and using different strokes. There wasn't enough room to swing a cat!!!! He kept having to dodge people and that made it difficult to concentrate, I think. But he did well. And really enjoyed it, too.
Right, off now to see how the pheasant casserole is doing. The latest in our free food. Well, I guess it wasn't entirely free, as Jonathan did have to do a fair amount of walking and bashing the undergrowth for the local farmer to get them!!!