Monday, 29 March 2010

This is me bumping a previous post....

because people seem to have missed the previous one about Annie, entitled 'Ok. It's confession time!'

Annie's days out...

so far she has been to the vets for her first jab, a walk at our local woods inside mine and Jonathan's coats, to the power station for a HE trip (more about that later!) and a walk down the canal inside my coat. She has been admired and is loved by all and having a new baby in the house is proving to be less hassle than I thought. Well, so far at least!
I love these pictures!!
Annie, aka Digby!!

She's wearing an old sock with holes cut in for her legs!!!
I did start knitting a dog coat but it looked a little small and I need to start over. Ugh.
We've got visitors today, and no food in the house so I'd best be off to rustle something up!!!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Ok. It's confession time.

Instead of blogging about this....

Or this....

Hand knitted pressie for this little girl.

or about planting these....

or these....

Or about the planting of the potatoes down the allotment, or the trip to an FAI farm yesterday
We have been unashamedly playing with this!!!

I just don't know how she got here!!! Honest!!
It wasn't planned. Well, not completely anyway, and I can honestly say I was egged on by a few other members of the household!!! I didn't even drive there so Rob was definitely in on it!!!
I do not take full responsibility for the extra chaos we have probably brought upon ourselves, into our already chaotic home,
but DARN, she's cute, huh?!!!

This is Annie. A 9 week old Cocker spaniel. A companion for Louis and an early birthday pressie for me...well, that is how Rob justified it anyway!!!
She is settling in well and Louis and her are forging a good relationship. They aren't sharing a bed yet, but I don't think it will be long before she is able to snuggle up next to him at night.

So confession is over. Its out in the open. I am a Animaholic!!!!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

But on the flip side....

having teenage sons means that...

I never have to struggle to carry anything heavy (unless I want to!!!).

I can leave them in charge of bread dough or cakes in the oven knowing that they can check to see if they are cooked before getting them out.

I can text my 13 yr old boy and ask how many stitches there are around the top of his phone sock and get the correct answer!!!

I'm never short of volunteers for a trip to the tip!!

I can leave them at home knowing that they can feed themselves and look after the animals adequately, without having to leave step by step instructions.

they can go down to the local shop and do a good job of buying the right things or making an executive decision if the required item isn't in stock.

my eldest son can use a washing machine.

we can all have a good laugh and a joke together.

I'll never be short of a pair of boots to stick on just to slop down the garden in!!!

I don't always have to take everyone with me to run an errand.

I don't always have to be the one to run an errand!!!

It isn't all bad, see!!!

You know you live in a house full of boys when.....

you go to the bathroom and it is all steamed up. Window closed. Bath mat screwed up in a ball on the floor. Shower curtain all scrunched up in the corner so it can develop a good healthy mould covering. Swarfega tub still open on the side.....he used Swarfega in the shower????????

you look down the mud infested garden ( it is acually dry today though) and see newspaper strewn all across the 'lawn' and a dog poo in the middle of the path, and your 13 yr old hammering away in the shed at the obottom. I mean did he actually see it and step over it, or is he really that lucky?!!

Your eldest son gets out of the shower after a god half an hour (don't tell the energy police!!!), and still has a black neck from a day grinding and welding!!! And I mean BLACK.
To be fair he actually has showered, because he has scouts this evening, and I guess the necker will cover the unwashed section!!!

your teenage son comes home from the park last night with a dead pigeon he had shot with his catapault. One hit. Falls from branch to ground. THUD

you come home from taking your 9 yr old son to his swimming lesson to the sight of your teenage son squashing his face against the dining room window, in some form of greeting!

there is more mud in the kitchen than in the boot room.

the hand towel in the bathroom has a blackened section just about where everyone dries their hands! How can they leave a dirty mark if they have been washed?!!!!

you go into the kitchen after the boys have had breakfast and the butter and jam are both on the worktop with no lids on, the bread board and surrounding area is covered with bread crumbs, there is a ring of milk on the side and a light sprinkling of sugar enough for two cups of tea!!

the weetabix box that you checked was in the cupboard for breakfast the following morning is in fact, empty.

there is a carton of fruit juice in the fridge, but when you pour it out, it would barely fill an egg cup!!!

you can't remember what colour the soap was when you bought it....can you actually buy black soap?!!!

there are umpteen pairs of boots and shoes lying around by the back door all about the size of a small canoe!!!

tidying their room means putting all the items of clothing that are covering the floor, doing a really bad impression of a carpet, into the washing basket.

you ALWAYS have a washing pile the size of Mount Everest.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

An assortment of things.

This post is going to be an odd assortment of bits and bobs, I think. I can tell, because even now, as I am typing, I have no real idea of where this is going to go.
I just know that a post is overdue and I have a few photos to share, so I shall just make a start and see where we end up!
So firstly, a few pictures of our new member of the family. She travelled home with us last Tuesday from our friends where she wasn't really fitting in terribly well!! I think their words were unhandleable, which I am sure isn't a word!!!, and maybe even vicious was used too!! So, me being me, I lifted back the covers on her run expecting to see some kind of white sticky up eared rabbit, with pink eyes and big pointy teeth!!!
Instead I was greeted by this little lady...

Well, I say little but she is rather a large bunny and looks a little like a bear!! But she is gorgeous!!! Totally, 100% gorgeous!!
Anyway, I picked her up and she seems to really like me!!! So she is now, as you can see, happily pottering around in the garden and we are now a two rabbit family!!!
What on earth happened to my no useless pets rule? !!!
Yes, I know we could breed them to eat, but I'm really not sure we could eat such cute fuzzy bunnies.
Now if they were white with sticky up ears and pink eyes......

A few crafty makes coming up.
First up is Jonathan,s spinner (fishing tackle used for catching pike)that he made from wood and off cuts of catapault elastic!!! Ingenius!!!

This is David wielding his shield that he made himself.

His own idea (inspired by a computer game with roman soldiers), design and pretty much unaided...just a little help to work out which way to fold the tin foil around it as we only had one piece just big enough left!!
This is the handle on the reverse.

And this is a face flannel I made for Rob's mum in Cornwall.

It has a cat in the centre, just in case you couldn't tell!!! I also made some soap sacks that did turn out well in the end. I will try to get a photo of those on here but I forgot to take pictures before I posted them. Doh!!!
I have had some little labels made up to sew into my handmade things. You know the type. Like school name tapes but pretty!!
I'm thinking of setting up an Etsy shop but not sure how to go about that...maybe Ebay would be a start?
And of course, someone had a birthday didn't they!
Here he is blowing out his candles on his caterpillar!!!

He had some lovely to follow another day! My little man is 4!!!
Oh yes, and we now have a 5 bedroom house!!
Following Tom's accident the other evening, when he fell through the high sleeper on to the top of William, he has been evicted by William to the bathroom!!!
We are currently converting it, but it makes quite a nice little cosy room for him!! Don't worry, we still have a bathroom. I haven't quite managed to convince Rob to build a compost toilet and solar shower!!!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Sombre thoughts this morning.....

as we talk about the poor people whose house was destroyed by fire last night.

David and I walked to the Post Office this morning to post a couple of packages, and took a slight detour past the thatched cottage, that was.
It looks very sad this morning. No roof and as it had windows on the second floor that nestled into the roof (I can't remember what these type of windows are called...anyone?), you can almost see into the upstairs rooms. The house is set back from the road somewhat, but has another thatched cottage next to it, and also one behind it. They are so lucky that the fire was contained and did not spread.
I feel so sorry for the old couple that had to leave their house last night. We know that not much was salvaged from the building before the roof collapsed, and so my thoughts are with them. As an elderly couple they must have a lot of personal possessions that would be irreplaceable and be of sentimental and historical value. Or maybe I am assuming too much? Maybe they were not hoarders like myself and so many other people I know, but surely you cannot live somewhere that big, and be that age, without filling it with something? If not belongings, then memories.
The two older boys spent a long time last night watching the fire, and the fire engines relaying up and down the road to the local reservoir for water as the hydrants were not sufficient.
Tom was also an aid to the fire service last night by showing some of the non local fire fighters the way around to the back of the house as it is a very convoluted collection of houses.

And so we have talked about fire in the home this morning and about what you should do. We have talked about escape routes, closing doors and blocking up the bottoms of doors with clothes, the importance of getting out without worrying about personal possessions. These are, after all, in most instances unimportant and replaceable compared to human life.

So I guess, in a glass half full, as opposed to half empty, kind of way, we should be thinking how lucky the couple were to get out in time.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Today, my 3 year old son got up at 6am (as usual!!) and then I remembered that he was no longer my 3 year old, but my 4 year old!!!!
Today, Will carefully opened his presents and cards to preserve the paper and envelopes without eally being asked to.
Today, my 9 year old son answered the phone to his granny and then helped his 4 year old brother to chat to her on the web cam.
Today, David made jelly for his brothers birthday.
Today, my two eldest sons went for a long walk together with the dog.
Today, my eldest sons went to the local shop together to buy food for lunch and post a parcel.
Today, we had an unsavoury character knock on our door, and that of our neighbour, causing me to contact our local community police officer. My eldest son went to talk to our neighbour to make sure he was ok.
Today, I took my 9 year old to his swimming lesson and his older brothers looked after Will between them.

My boys are great!!

Today, my 9 year old son went to the shop for butter and seemed to take a very long time. He came running back, dropped the butter through the cat flap and ran off to play with his friends.

Or so I thought.

A while later, I looked out of the upstairs window to call him in, and he was no where to be seen.
But there was smoke and a fireman attaching a hose to the hydrant in our road.
Tom and Jonathan went out to look for him.
But couldn't find him.
We were all very worried. There was a lot of smoke and flames in the road across from ours.
I called his friends mum... he was already on his way home.

I was very cross but relieved to see him. I shouted a little, but only because I thought he had gone to play in his friends house or gone out of the close without telling me where he was, and I was worried.
He was very upset.
And then I found out.

It was him that saw the fire when it started (a thatched cottage).
It was him and his friend that raised the alarm.
It was David who answered when the fireman asked where the nearest hydrant was.

Today, my 9 year old son was BRILLIANT!!!!

What a day, today was.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


So, following my visit to the ENT clinic yesterday, I have been told to rest. My mind and my voice!! So I thought that I would use the day to make a few gifts to pop into the post in good time for Sunday.
No, Carolyn, thnk again. Rest? HA!!
Rob took the boys off for a walk and I set to work on a pattern for something that seemed really fitting, and wouldn't take too much time or brain power!! I finished this one in about an hour or so. Pretty isn't it?

Well, I like it.

I don't like this one though.

I started on this second one, using slightly bigger needles and doing it in the round to avoid seams. But the darn thing has nearly beaten me!!!
I have got about half way on each attempt and then either lost a stitch (which in this pattern I am not finding easy to pick up) or just got distracted by the boys and lost my place. Arrrrrgh!!!!
I have unpicked it no less than 5 times. I started again on 2 of those occaisions and still I have not finished it.
It is like a personal vendetta now. I will finish this blasted little thing if it kills me. It may not have the delicate pattern on it like the original, and it may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but it will be fit for the purpose intended, and I hope the recipient appreciates the amount of anguish it has caused!!!!
I will finish it, I will. *grimace*
Rest and relaxation. A little bit of feel good, simple knitting. Yeah, right. The NHS have no idea, do they!!!!! Even knitting causes me stress!! I haven't talked very much though and I haven't shouted once!!! I'm a good girl, I am!!!

I'll post again another day with some more cheerful pictures and thoughts!!! Honest xx

Monday, 8 March 2010

Confessions of a serial hermit...

We have spent 4, yes 4!!!! days with other Home Educating families in the last seven, with another to come tomorrow!!!!! I mean, what is wrong with us? We seem to be on a bit of a roll!!
On Saturday, having to cancel our plans with Han for the morning, we ended up playing host to our good friends from Wales for the evening. A bit of a surprise since I didn't know they were up this way!!! They arrived with boxes of food which we prepared together, the kids all went off and did their own thing and then we ate in two sittings!!!!
And then today we saw them again and went to the woods, where we had soup and rolls, spiced fruit buns and chocolate cakes. They all played together on the rope swings, played tag through the under growth, helped the littlies along, set up a high jump with a log and searched for a missing pen knife!!

Socialisation? But what about socialisation? This is always one of the questions asked of you when you Home Educate. Today I took 8 children and one spaniel to the woods, and not once did I feel that I had taken on too much! They all played together. Paired off at times. Took it in turns to play with the youngest ones. Helped to carry the rucksacks (even after the contents had been consumed!!!) and all enjoyed each others company. And this from 8 children aged 3 to 16. 6 boys and 2 girls. There were hardly any cross words, and the few that there were, were between siblings, and perfectly usual.
Its been a grand week. I have loved visiting friends. I have loved entertaining friends and I have loved eating out in the woods. I have loved the conversations I have had with such an interesting and wonderful group of people.

PS All these photos were taken on my new phone!! I LOVE my new phone. Good photos, even has a flash and they upload really quickly!!!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Mastercrafts and Lark Rise to Candleford

I have just watched the 3rd episode of the Mastercrafts series on iPlayer. The first was green woodworking, something that is very close to our hearts in this family. The second was thatching which is something that David has an interest in, and the 3rd was Blacksmithing. All make for interesting viewing, especially for a Home Educating family of four boys, that are very practical minded.
The message that comes through in each programme is, as we already believe, that people like to do practical things. There is something more rewarding working with a raw material and making it into something beautiful, useful and individual. It reminds me of the reason for our home educating journey here. That the boys discover what truly make sthem happy and to follow that path, rather than end up at 40 having sat at a desk job that they hate for years, and then trying to change direction. It just isn't always possible to change route later on in life. Mortgages and family commitments can prevent it, and why wait until you have muddled through life for so many years before finding out what is right for you? Why should we be unhappy and just stick at something to pay the mortgage? I don't mean not to work hard, but why shouldn't we all be able to work hard at something we enjoy?
That is the main goal for our HE journey... for the my boys find the path that is right for them.
I have also been watching Lark Rise to Candleford. I didn't see the first two series. I didn't know it existed and so would dearly love to catch up on the series on DVD (my birthday coming up next month, so you never know!!!!) as I have really enjoyed the recent episodes. Something about rural life, in its day to day simplicity that makes me crave the next installment!!!
An episode recently showed a boy being pushed in a direction that he didn't want to go, academically and work wise. It saw him rebel against it completely and he moved out to follow his desire. Only by showing love and support for his needs, were his parents able to help him decide on the right path for him. Laying down the law and giving ultimatums did not work, and was a good reminder for all of us parents of headstrong children out there!!!
We have no TV licence as the amount of rubbish out there is massive, but occaisionally I find something worth watching, which is good for the knitting projects!! Good job us women can multi task!!!
It has been a good week socially for us. Two lovely wood walks and picnics with other home educating families, saw the boys engaged in activities with children and babies of ALL ages!!!

Long may we have sunshine and good friends!!!