Sunday, 31 August 2008


I had a late drive out last night to retrieve some papers in connection with the ongoing fire/insurance nightmare *sigh*. It had to be done. I couldn't have slept without seeing a bit more 'small print'.

Anyway, during the course of my late night jaunt I passed a house which had two Christmas trees up, fully decorated, lights and all - in August!

I know I'm stressed and feeling rather deranged these days but I know a Christmas tree when I see one.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Passage of time.

When we picked the red cabbages last year it felt to me like Miles was still my little baby - wispy hair and wide eyed innocence.

Today he was more of an action boy - big and strong, helping his mama to carry them into the kitchen using his wheel barrow.

Washed, chopped and blanched. The freezer is filling rapidly.

One of the highlights of Hermione's day was visiting a lady in a local care home who was celebrating her 100th birthday today. They had a chat and Hermione got to see her telegraph from the Queen. 'It was nice' she said, 'but not so nice as the cards that we buy from the Village Greengrocer.' You see, it pays to buy local *grin*.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


C is for caterpillars.

The only thing worse than finding this grizzly crew on your sprouting broccoli is finding them in a cake tin in the play room. I wasn't impressed. I'm naming no names but I have my suspicions.

C is for pure organic raw cacao butter. Transformed from a big chunk into dinky little cakes...

..even dinkier little shapes...

..and a body bar with rose petals and neroli essential oil.

The body bar hasn't photographed well but believe me it looks good and smells even better!

C is for Camomile, Lavender and Lime flower tea. A gift from a friend who knows of my love of lavender teas.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Bean Feast

The runner bean and broad bean plants were starting to groan so we had broad bean pasta for lunch and runner bean risotto for dinner. Thankfully I've not noticed any anti social side effects from our high fibre menu choice as yet.

Oh dear, no prizes for this photograph. Hermione complete with bowl of broad beans, additional arms and head.

We also picked our first pumpkin today. It's huge. I decided to pick it and ripen it inside because it had way outgrown it's sling and all of the other fruits on the plant were very stunted.

At Hermione's request I took a picture of her doing some 'work' today and have uploaded it here. She reminded me the other day that this did start out as a home ed blog. Hmmm, yes. But then we did seem to do more blog worthy stuff back then. Things became much more 'nuts and bolts' a few months ago and we were just about to launch into more creative and inspiring stuff when Craig's business burnt down and all my oomph seems to have puffed up in smoke too *sigh*. Anyway, here is Hermione illustrating the fact that we do still do some stuff around here.

We placed this ever so pretty card on the side board and admired it lots. One of Hermione's friends made it herself.

The last two days friends have called in unexpectedly. It's that busy sort of time as the end of the school holidays approach and everyone rushes to fit in get togethers before the term starts. Lovely times.

The children were ever so industrious this afternoon playing all sorts of things. This gave me a chance to investigate this seasons trends for our feathered (or not so feathered) friends. This is a picture posted on an ex batt list by a lady who runs this rescue centre.

What do you think? I'm just a tad concerned that the rabbit may feel left out.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Memories and making plans

I've spent quite a few quiet moments of late thinking of people I've loved and lost. People who've enriched my life beyond comprehension and helped to shape who I am today.

It's for this reason that I've decided to host an event as part of the World's Biggest Coffee Morning.

I'm not planning on publicising it on my local Yahoo groups as I wouldn't want anyone to feel obliged to come along. Supporting charities is a very personal choice I feel. If you're reading this and you would like to come then please just email me and I'll fill you in on the details.

A friend has already offered to make a huge chocolate cake and Nana has offered to make some of her very special low cal cakes.

Here's hoping to a cracking cake and coffee gathering!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Dressmaking, cake making and celebrating

What an action packed few days we've had. Here's a quick round up.

We attended a workshop called 'Top Shop Toy Shop' in which we snipped and sewed to make delightful dresses for our teddies. Hermione sat ever so patiently sewing for well over an hour. She completed the outfits with very little assistance.

We climbed to the top of the Baltic and admired the view up the Tyne.

It's a long while since we had been to the Baltic and it's changed. There's now a very child friendly area dedicated to learning. Lovely backdrop to sit and play.

Hermione made a huge cake.

We bemoaned the fact that having eaten our picnic in the car, we then discovered a picnicopolis of all things. Timing is everything huh?

We celebrated the life and works of Beatrix Potter with china tea, tales of Peter Rabbit, Two Bad Mice, and a couple of crafts.

Lots of fun and laughter!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Rainbow quinoa

We've had a busy day today. A very good day. I'm so pleasantly weary that I'll have to leave the details for some other time, but I just had to share the fact that I have found some Rainbow Quinoa seeds which are suitable for growing in this country - and some are winging their way to me right now!

Those who know me will understand why this is so exciting for me. I've a bit of a thing about my family having their ration of this wonder food. Just to think that this time next year I'll be harvesting it from my patch, fresh and full of goodness! I'm excited!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Swimming, petals, hangman and more

It's been a busy day here today. Between the four of us - Nana, Hermione, Miles and myself that is, we have managed to fit in a home ed social, swimming, story and music session, lots of games of hangman, discussions about vowels, Hermione's first successful efforts at crossword puzzles, glass painting and petal purchasing!

What do you think of my petals? Culinary grade lavender and rose petals from the health food shop in our local market. I keep opening the bags to sniff them. I've tasted them but think I'll stick to sniffing. I'm thinking dream pillows - perhaps they may help me to get some sleep. I've suffered from insomnia for years but it's particularly bad right now. I'm going to have a rummage through my fabric stash tomorrow.

Hermione can now swim 15 metres front crawl - without stopping or sinking. I'm ever so pleased and proud. To think that at the start of the summer she daren't put her face in the water and now she is diving down to the bottom of the pool to retrieve rings and swimming just fine. We're all delighted.

My sweet pea vase has been adorned with hearts and flowers. Very pretty.

Oh, and by the way, it's still raining. It's raining so much that we have been focusing our minds on how it may be for our ex batts when they arrive in October. Hopefully it will have stopped raining by then but it will be cold for the poor little scraps with hardly any feathers. A poultry yahoo group I am on has recently had discussions about jumpers for hens. Apparently some people really do put jumpers on their hens. I'm waiting to see some pictures and may post them here - but I doubt very much that I'll be getting my knitting needles out.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The rainy season

Chatting over dinner last night Nana remarked how the seasons seem to have changed here in the last three years. We now have winter, spring, the rainy season and autumn. It certainly feels that way right now. There are puddles on the lawn. Puddles in the patch. Puddles everywhere. Waterlogged. On the plus side the pumpkins are growing at a tremendous rate and we certainly won't be breaking into the second tube of suncream that I bought with high hopes a couple of months ago.

So what are we doing amidst the relentless rain?

We had family come to visit today. Three generations came to visit us and the house was alive with the sound of chatter, laughter and big thuds from upstairs where some of the children played hide and seek. A wonderful time which I hope will be repeated.

I have continued to amass special things in our special sanctuary space.

Original artwork by my sister.

Hundreds of essences in neat indexed boxes.

Even special places for those homeopathic potencies which should be kept apart from others - like this Plutonium 1M.

More cards.

Hermione has been spending a little time on this website. I'm not a big fan of 'computer aided learning' but have to say I do quite like this site.

This evening I plan to start a cross stitch which was gift from my sister and brother in law.

I've had it quite a while but I think the time is right now. Craig is working every hour of the night and day at the moment. I've professed myself to be a work widow for a lot of years but things are certainly ranking up a notch as he continues to try to sort out the nightmares that have descended upon us since the fire. I've lots of time to sit and craft right now. I've so much evening time on my hands I've even tackled those jobs which I thought I may never get round to doing, like sorting the dump that is the cloakroom. I may even tackle the stuff that has amassed on the top landing later this week. Or maybe not.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Unplugged Project - trees

The theme for this weeks Unplugged Project was trees.

We decided to talk about tree rings as a sign of interpreting a trees age and growth pattern.

We watched this Youtube clip and drew various illustrations of trees which had grown in good and not so good conditions, shwing the spacing of the rings.

We went out into the garden to look at some tree stumps we have but the rain is so heavy that we ended up just bringing a small trunk indoors to look at - it's certainyl not the weather to be clambering around in the mud with your camera - I suspect the neighbours already think I'm a bit odd!

It was interesting and I'm looking forward to doing more about this on a practical level if it ever stops raining.

Sunday, 17 August 2008


We tend not to take a break from *education* over the summer. The core stuff like maths and english just rumbles on. However, there always seems to be a lot happening at this time of year in the way of events, workshops, concerts and activities and these provide a new burst of energy and enthusiasm for discovery.

Take for example yesterday, the concert in the park. It wasn't quite as I had expected. It turned out to be hard rock but interesting, (note carefully chosen wording), all the same. Today while wandering along the swollen banks of the river we stumbled upon a little gem of a place where the children became enthralled in making Greek garlands and excavating skeletons under the careful and appropriate guidance of an artist. Then there were the sculptures, stained glass windows and beautiful voices of the choir boys as we passed through the Cathedral.

The upshot of this influx of experience and activity is that I don't feel under as much pressure to be preparing and doing. I'm able to kick back and think about other ways in which to enrich our lives.

This week I've been working on transforming our spare bedroom into a space of peace and tranquility, a real family sanctuary where each and every one of us can go when we feel the need for space and calm.

It's calm, cosy, comfortable and neutral. A place to sit and think. To 'just be' if that's how the mood takes you.

A lot of my things have been strewn from top to bottom of the house since we moved. This has meant that I've not been able to use them as freely and that's saddened me. Now a lot of my special things are in the space I've cleared. My masses of homeopathy potencies, my flower essences, gem essences, aromatherapy oils and other bits. My treatment bed that I use for reiki, my affirmation cards, soul collage work, inspiring reading and music.

I've laid out some of my Louise L Hay affirmation cards on a plate so Hermione can access them easily if she chooses to. I've also left out my very own 'book of answers' which I've compiled over the last few months from wise words given to me, poetry that's touched me, lessons learned through remedies etc.

I'm hoping now that the space is well used and that by being able to keep all of my remedies in an organised place I'll be able to use them more efficiently - to the benefit of us all.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Moving on up

I feel like I've made great leaps in my gardening and culinary skills this week.

Not only have I managed to make a sticky toffee pudding and acquire a petis fours baking tray, (sounds much more elegant that mini muffin tin don't you think?), I have also become the successful pollinator of not one but three pumpkins! What's more I've even 'slung' them as in with my other babies *grin*.

Here you have a couple of the little beauties, trailing the fence. I had to start them climbing as they were taking over the floor space. As they have started to swell the stalks have looked rather strained so I've popped them in what looks like a little pouch sling to take the weight and hopefully stop the stalks from breaking. I think it's kind of cute, but then I don't get out much.

My first mini muffin attempt which I hope to pack up and take with us to an outdoor music concert this afternoon - if and when I get my rear in gear.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Seasonal mantle

I've decided to make my mantle a reflection of the seasons. I'm forever dragging the outdoors indoors but it tends to end up here and there, as opposed to in one specific place.

This is how it looks now. Now I've finished a patchwork which I've been on with for ages I'm hoping to start on some sort of autumn garland. Any ideas anyone?

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Runner Beans

We picked our first crop of runner beans this evening. I'm pleased to say they were much bigger than these - but these did look ever so pretty.

Sadly they were disguised in a veggie curry. I despair at the undercover veggies and wonder if other cooks have similar problems. I have to say that Craig is the worst culprit. In the last few days I have seen him try to pick walnuts out of walnut bread, sundried tomatoes from sundried tomato bread, (I've been in a bread making mood) and even dates from his sticky toffee pudding! *Sigh*.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


A lady who I have never met gave me lots of educational books last week - including a fantastic set of over one hundred anatomy books for children.

The anatomy series is excellent. It's called How My Body Works, an Orbis Play and Learning Collection. We have made a start on the book about muscles this week and Hermione is enjoying it a lot. I'm sure both Hermione and Miles will get a lot of pleasure from them over the years to come.

There is something so special about being the recipient of such kindness and generosity.

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
The Dalia Lama

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Summer fun

Here's a round up of some summer activities we've been up to. I say 'summer' but there's certainly an autumn nip in the air this week.

We went to a magic show performed by Magician Marvin. Both the children enjoyed it.

Much to my surprise Miles was very taken with the slapstick, 'oh no he's not - oh yes he is' element. He even shouted 'well done' to the magician whenever he performed a trick!

We went along to a local Community Festival. There police were there with a police dog, there was a climbing wall, bucking bull, sari demonstrations, authentic Pakistani food for sale, various art and craft stalls and more.

Decorating biscuits at the fair.

Hermione had a henna tattoo, nails varnished and hair braided.

We went on a fairy trail in Saltwell Dene - in the pouring rain! It's a beautiful setting for a fairy trail.

We didn't see any fairies but we did see some signs of their presence.

We visited the Shipley Art Gallery and checked out an exhibition of giant porcelain vases by Felicity Aylieff. They were quite awe inspiring, towering above us. Wandering amongst them with two young children in toe made me a tad anxious.

We joined in a print workshop at the gallery. Hermione made a couple of stamps while Miles merrily stamped willy nilly. Great fun!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Unplugged - heat

The theme for this weeks Unplugged Project was heat.

Hermione placed two spoons in her hot chocolate - one metal and one plastic. The metal one got hot and the plastic one didn't. A very simple experiment in heat conduction. An experiment requiring minimum mummy effort *blush*.

We also rubbed our hands together very briskly and noted that they got warm. Friction causes heat. We did that one while drinking the said hot chocolate.

Goodness, what a laid back attitutude I'm developing to science.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Tea and cake

Nana has been ever so busy. Her cooking skills have always been in question around here so she decided to brush up on her cake making skills! I think they're great. They're for sale in our shop for £2.50 each to include post and packing.

Great for play, party bags, Christmas stockings (I know I know it's only August), weight watching friends or just to look pretty. Enjoy!