Friday, 31 October 2008

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Winter brew

My winter brew arrived today - aka Pukka Revitalise Kapha Tea - a warming blend of cinnamon, ginger and cardamon. I was all prepared for the promised snow flurries with a glowing fire and mug of winter brew. As it was the sun shone all afternoon. Bright and nippy - but no snow. Ho hum!

I mentioned the other day that I had been thinking of online curriculums. I thought perhaps they may be the answer to our situation right now (child eager to do semi structured stuff with a mother who is often too stressed or tired to research and deliver the goods).

Funding is an issue. With this whole horrid insurance saga continuing I've certainly got no cash to splash. That certainly limits the options. I think the best online free stuff I came across was at Ambleside Online. Having said that I still struggle with the whole 'prepackaged' notion. I think it's what I want, I think it will be helpful, but then there are always parts that I don't really like and think could be better. I think I need to accept that we'll never be an 'education from a catalogue' or 'curriculum in a box' kind of family. I'm just too damn pernickity and contrary for that. All that said I think I will dip into the Ambleside stuff and use what I like - no need to throw away the baby with the bathwater as Nana would say.

Looking at the curriculums online has fuelled me on though. We've done quite a lot of French, work on the Celts and human skin this week in addition to our basics. There are also rumours of a household Diwali discovery culminating in a Diwali evening on Saturday night. That remains to be seen though. I think the trouble is I'm just not consistent these days. My energy is so up and down. I need a consistent flame in my belly not all this wishy washy stuff.

Anyone else doing/done anything for Diwali? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Halloween baubles

Miles and I raided the attic for some old Christmas baubles to revamp for Halloween today. We covered them in orange tissue paper and sparkly stars. I think they're quite pretty.

We had planned to go to the park but it was so cold. I don't ususally wimp about the weather but the cold snap seems to have come on so suddenly this week. The forecast is for sleet and snow tomorrow afternoon. I'm excited.

Hermione spent the day with a friend and her family. They went to Darlington Railway Museum and had a great time - apart from when the lady leading the craft activities accidentally elbowed Hermione in the eye! Ouch! Thankfully she was fine.

Monday, 27 October 2008


There are times when I think of Mothers as modern day alchemists

Shaping, directing, moulding and transforming

Tiny sparks of life into wonderful human beings

Transforming the every day into the truly magickal

The woes and fears into joys and courage

The crumbs and chaos into creativity

The scraps in the fridge into nutritious sustenance

Am I strong enough?

Wise enough?

Will I ever know?

Hung out to dry

That's the frivolous done for the day. Off to start on the necessities.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Apple bobbing, turkey making, pie munching...

We've had a wonderfully different week this week. We've really enjoyed having our guests to stay and have had lots of fun doing harvest stuff.

When you 'meet' people through the Internet there is always that question - but what are they really like? I'm not saying that people on the Internet are awful - not at all - I guess it's just not always easy to know if you will get along in real life with someone you get along with online.

I met my friend who has been to visit this week on a parenting site almost eight years ago. That was the good old days when UK parenting sites were supportive places to hang out. I thought I'd mention that as I think it is sometimes all too easy to dismiss the possibility of online life become part of 'real' life. Certainly you have to be careful, but there are some wonderful people out there and friendships to be enjoyed I think.

Before getting off my friends teenage daughter baked for me. She even taught me how to make pastry and not have it go all awfully crumbly. I know people are very quick to knock teenagers, and I must say that I don't personally have much experience of them, but in Nana's words my friend's daughter was an 'absolute delight' to have around - and I second that. I think it is wrong to take the behaviour of some teenagers and lump them all together as a 'bad lot'. People are so quick to generalise about teens - even if they wouldn't do so about others.

Pecan pie

My friend is a homeopath, counsellor and much more to boot. She is generous with her homeopathic remedies, words of wisdom and healing skills. My chests are now bursting at the seams with lots of new and exciting remedies to include luna, chocolate, MSG and much more. I feel clearer. Knots have been unravelled. I'm breathing easier.

Today we ate pecan pie, popcorn, apples and pumpkin pie. We listened to stories of how leaves change colour, the first pilgrims and the Thanksgiving turkeys.

We made our own turkeys and 'thankful leaves' in between bobbing and ducking for apples.

Fun and laughter. The stuff of memories.

What's more, while I was bobbing and munching, business was brisk with a few enquiries about our pumpkins. It's not too late to order for Halloween!

I've been thinking this week about curriculums. Thinking that I would quite like some (free or low cost) pre thought out art/literature/nature based stuff to do. I just don't seem to have as much time to trawl the Internet for ideas and resources these days as I'm forever absorbed in this insurance dispute. I've received links from some home ed lists and hope to have a good look at them this week

Fossil Guide

Our free fossil guide arrived from the Open University today. I'm impressed. Just need some sunshine now to head out fossiling!

You can order a copy from here.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Wooly Pumpkins

Nana has made lots of little woolly stuffed pumpkins which I'm going to put in our shop later (need to check height etc) - £1 each to include p&p in the UK providing you buy three or more. Email me through profile if interested.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Pie in the making

I can see this one being a long job!

Having a lovely time with our visitors - who have just popped out to a local market. Wondering why on earth I had a dust stress before they came.

Yesterday we went to the launch of Walking with Witches written by our lovely friend Lynn. We've not read it yet but I would urge you all to dash out and buy a copy even if only to see Hermione have a mention on page twenty nine *grin*. She's very flattered about being a character in a novel but a little concerned in case it's made into a film and she has to appear on the big screen - bless.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Harvest mantle

Conkers and rose hips. A minimalist mantle for autumn time.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Harvest hob

Craig bought me two hand carved hens for our wedding anniversary. At first I was a bit uncertain as to whether I liked them but now I've lived with them for a little while I love them. They've both been in the hearth since they arrived but I've decided to move this girl for the harvest. Give her a change of scene so to speak.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Harvest home

In between playing in the park and having various stress attacks of the insurance induced nature we have started to decorate the house for harvest. Drying unappetising crab apples and stringing leaves. Still more to do but it will keep for a rainy day - I'm sure it won't be long till we have one!

Thursday, 16 October 2008


I Am the One Who is constantly juggling and trying to balance competing and contradictory demands in life - art and words by Don Nix

Hard at it here. So much to do - so little time - or so it seems.

The declination letter finally arrived from our insurers so now the work can really begin in respect of our appeal. Taking advice, more discussions with experts, commissioning reports and so on... I am so resentful of how this whole thing has taken over my life to a large degree and impacted on the personal connections I have with my children and friends.

Having a bit of a stress attack about home ed - or should I say the lack of it. We tend to follow a fairly autonomous structure at the best of times, (I think that is possible even though it initially looks like a contradiction in terms), but I'm painfully aware that I'm not really putting in what I should right now and that's making me sad.

On the positive side we have friends coming to stay next week and I am really looking forward to it - but am also having a bad bout of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). The house is such a tip. I only hope none of them have a dust allergy *blush*.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Autumn fires

I whiled away many an hour as a child tenderly attempting to restore a flame to burnt out ashes. There's something so fascinating and compelling about fire I feel.

After filling a huge bowl with the last few days windfalls I relented to Hermione's requests to light a fire in a rather careworn part of the patch.

Fuelled with leaves and sticks it was a very smokey affair. I hope no one in the village had washing on the line! The smoke stung our eyes as we hurried round the garden quickly gathering leaves to keep it 'fed'. Four of us, me, Nana, Hermione and Miles all working together for a purpose.

I think part of the appeal is the dichotomous nature of fire. A symbol of destruction, chaos and war. Yet then there are the purifying, cleansing flames. The eternal flames.

When we were done with gathering and fuelling Hermione poked around the remains for a long while, and at one point attempted to toast a rice cake on a skewer. Certainly not the sort of activity you see hailed in mainstream child rearing manuals of the day, but a rather wholesome and hearty way to spend an afternoon I think.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


It's not a feeling that I've had in a long while but today I felt comfortable. Very comfortable, with everything.

As we sat on the floor counting in french, chatting about skin and the Celts, I felt comfortable. As I checked the leaves for caterpillars before making Miles' green juice I felt comfortable. I felt comfortable as I tiptoed between the squashes, picking sweet peas and stumbled across a prickly cucumber - our only cucumber of the season.

As we played in the park, observed the leaves changing colour and munched chocolate cake with strawberries and bananas on top I felt comfortable.

I even felt comfortable as I vacuumed and mowed the lawn - well, half of the lawn - never do today what you can put off till tomorrow *blush*.

Wow, it's felt so good. What's more I think I can attribute it to something really simple. I've read the Conversations with God books before, but the other day I got an email which reminded me that Neale Donald Walsch said there is only one question that you must ask and that is what would love do? I've been asking myself the very question a lot over the past couple of days and it's really helped me to simplify *stuff*.

Wishing you all comfort by the bucket load.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Harvest Moon

Hmmm, not quite what I had in mind when I browsed Google Images for harvest decorations.

We don't stand on ceremony here but that's pushing the boundaries a bit I think *rolls eyes*.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Birthday Boy

From here to there in the blink of an eye.

My baby is three years old!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Insurance rant (I know - one of many)

It's two weeks now since we were told that our claim was most likely not going to be honoured yet we are still awaiting written confirmation together with their 'evidence'. Until we get that we can't start sorting our appeal.

Hey, no rush guys, don't break a sweat - it's just our livelihood and lots of jobs down the pan!!!!


Long shot I know but I feel I must ask - is anyone reading this a neurologist or the partner/close friend of a neurologist?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Round up

Time for a round up of bits and bobs.

Hermione has been put up a group in her swimming lesson. She is so pleased with herself and rightly so considering the massive progress she's made in a short space of time.

Some folks may recall that I wrote ages ago about a hall in the centre of town which the church had offered to rent to the local home ed community for a very small rent? Well that arrangement is looking more formal now and french lessons for home ed kids have started. Hermione went to the first one on Monday. She enjoyed it a lot and I am making a concerted effort to use what little french I do know around the house to try to encourage her - although she is probably sick of my attempts at 'my name is Claire' - something she already knows and doesn't need to be reminded of lots of times a day.

I decided a while ago to host a coffee morning and wrote about it here. Well, after much deliberating I decided to go ahead with it despite feeling rather crappy and not at all dynamic these days. I only made £15 but as Craig rightfully observed that wasn't bad considering I didn't really invite anyone *blush*. In some respects it then went from bad to worse as although the coffee morning campaign is organised by Macmillan I picked up my debit card and rang Marie Curie to make the donation. Doh! Never mind, still an excellent cause and hopefully the folks who did come along and enjoy Soo's rather excellent chocolate cake will not be too offended by my mistake.

Spent a lovely morning this morning wandering around a local woodland park with friends. The leaves are changing, times are changing. It feels scary but there's no stopping it. Time to leave go of the side and go with the flow.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Seeking sympathy and suggestions

We visited an indoor garden/museum at the weekend. Shortly after coming out of the garden part I felt a bit of an itching in my pants - rather like something was crawling up my leg.

Well, to cut a long story short I've been itching, scritching and scratching ever since. I have a collection of bites varying from pea to ping pong ball size in diameter - all bright red, angry and itchy. Did I say itchy? Very very itchy!

Here's a rather hazy picture of a couple of them. I was going to take a more clear snap but decided against it as it would reveal how long it has been since I've taken any deforestation measures.

I'm forever being bitten and always react badly. My GP has said I have an allergy to insects - which makes them more likely to bite me and me to react more extremely. I don't want to use insect repellent all the time because it's full of chemicals and stinks. At the same time I wasn't that enthused by Nana's suggestion of wearing bicycle clips on the bottom of my trousers at all times. Suggestions anyone? An essential oil or something?

We cleared the ball pool at soft play really quickly this morning. I think I had been clocked by some other mothers trying to scratch my legs discreetly but when Miles shouted, 'mummy get your spots out' that was it - we had the pool to ourselves!