Friday, 31 December 2010

Back to the wild

Our living trees made a return to the wild, (well, the garden), on the 27 December. They are looking perky and have pale green tips on many of the branches. We left popcorn decorations on them as a treat for the garden birds. Here's to a year of healthy growth!
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Thursday, 30 December 2010

Crafty Nana

I went out this morning to visit a friend whose sister passed away yesterday. Desperately sad situation. She wasn't old and in the space of less than a month went from being relatively well, to being diagnosed with cancer and then passing away. It's all happened devastatingly quickly. I only hope that in time the shell shock will pass and that the speed of events will be a comfort to loved ones.
While I was with my friend, a mutual friend arrived to express her condolences and offer her support. Whilst I was not the recipient of support on this occasion, (although I've had my fair share in the past), I felt pleased for my friend that there are lots of people who care and that I too belong to that same supportive community. We all moan at times, but when the chips are down.....
When I went out the kitchen table was covered in art stuff, glue and various pieces of Miles' art work on reams of lining paper. I returned home to find that not only had nana cleared the place up, but she had also made fabric table runners and napkins. I love them and only hope they look like this way for some time. Not sure how likely that is in this house with tomato ketchup monsters in residence.

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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Inner Christmas?

With the mini snot monsters safely tucked up in their beds, I decided to come on line and try to figure out how to cook up a storm for friends tomorrow evening - with limited resources in the fridge as Asda appears to have taken on a very liberal view as what may be classed as a 'substitution' in the order.

Well, I'm yet to look at any recipes as yet, (feel free to suggest simple yet stunning veggie or vegan cuisine), as I stumbled across a link to here on an email. It's made me stop and think as I tend to find this time of year to be a time when I feel most disconnected from self - battling commercialism, perceived duties, dilemmas and dare I say unrealistic expectations. Food for thought. Back to the recipe hunt...

T'was the day after Christmas..

..and all through the house, creatures were moaning.

Wipe my nose.

Pass my drink.

He's got more duvet.

Why don't universities do degrees in Playmobil construction?

It's a good job I love them, moans and all!
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Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my hat,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter nap.

Yeah - if only! Go to sleep my babies close those lovely eyes......

Merry Christmas everyone! Wishing you much peace, joy, love and laughter.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Angel voices

I have spent a beautiful evening at Durham Cathedral listening to the angelic voices of the choristers. When the service was over we turned out to find the city engulfed in snow. It was like being in a snow globe! Throngs of people wandered down the cobbled streets into the market square, coats quickly turning white and the flakes dancing in the street lamps. Ahh, there are things that money just doesn't buy ....

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Frozen tears

There is great sadness at our local Country Park. You can read about it here.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Yet more Winter Wonders

Babes in nativity.

Comfy cushions. I picked up the covers in a charity shop.

Paper picture lanterns glowing in the hearth.

Cheery mantle.
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Sunday, 19 December 2010

Winter Wonders

The holly and the ivy on high.

Flaming fir cones in the grate.

Chilly circles.

Oranges and popcorn.
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Friday, 17 December 2010

Immune boosting weather

"But mummy, I really like licking the frozen paddling pool with germs on."
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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Winding down

We're winding right down on the 'work' front here now. Hermione did her last maths for 2010 today. Tomorrow she will finish her current science unit and then all that's left is to complete our tour of Victoria's Empire and we'll be done. We have been watching this DVD presented by Victoria Wood. It's not the best I've seen of this kind, but interesting all the same.
Miles is spending lots of time talking science and begging to do more and more experiments with a science kit I picked up in a charity shop. It's the real deal with chemicals and all, so I tend to leave it to Craig. Experiments to test the handles on carrier bags is more my scene - and for anyone who may be interested Asda bags are stronger than Tesco. Hermione and I discovered that the other day.
When he's not absorbed in experiments or lego he can generally be found watching one of the 'Walking With' series. We now have Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking With Beasts and Walking With Cavemen. They are all exceptionally informative and I think they're great. I guess the only downside is that Nana seems to be a bit uncomfortable when they are on, particularly the Caveman one. Miles has not queried the whole evolution/creation debate as yet. I'm sure it will come. I'm only hope it doesn't come as he walks down the aisle as a shepherd this weekend. Timing is everything!
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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Gingerbread Latte

I've not been for a few weeks but I decided to drag myself along to zumba this evening. I thought it would be a good idea to try to shake the mince pie excesses from my booty. Unfortunately I arrived to find it cancelled. Thankfully there was a lady there that I know so we headed on out for a good natter and a gingerbread latte instead. Ho hum, I'm sure I'll have a whole lot more booty to shake by the time I do get there...

I'm not a big coffee drinker but I have to say that gingerbread lattes are really floating my boat right now. Go on, give it a try.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Festive Recital and living Christmas trees

Yesterday was our home ed festive recital. It was a wonderful affair featuring a Steiner inspired puppet show, performances on a variety musical instruments, jokes, songs, a performing Lego robot and a recital of Pussy Cat Pussy Cat Where Have You Been? by my own little star, Miles. Hermione chose not to perform this year - which is absolutely fine.

In addition to lots of great performances we also shared festive food, laughs and hugs. It truly was a special afternoon. Many of the children had performed in last years recital and it was great to see how they had grown in confidence and ability over the year.

Off to bed now. I've had a wonderful evening out with Craig and have perhaps drank one too many Slippery Nipples (even if I did only have one - that was possibly one too many!). I need to be bright and breezy tomorrow morning as we are going to pot up our Christmas tree.

I've been having a dilemma about the tree. We already have a small fir in a pot which I bring in at Christmas time, but usually our main tree is a felled fresh tree. I'm not happy about this but at the same time I'm not happy about artificial trees either. How to get around the problem of sustainable growth for fresh trees, or alternatively the petro chemical implications of artificial trees? The solution seemed to me to have a large, live potted fir tree. I have looked in the past couple of years but they have been ever so expensive. So, you can imagine, I was delighted when I spotted 6ft live trees in Wilkinsons for only £18. They have been harvested with as much of the root ball as possible intact so in theory they should re root and survive if planted on. Considering our cut tree usually costs about £30 this represents a huge saving especially if it roots and we can just bring it in each year for Christmas and leave it in the garden the rest of the time. Here's hoping it does prove to be a win win situation - lighter on our finances and lighter on our planet.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

An Enchanted Park

This was the first year Miles joined us in our trip to the Enchanted Park experience
which forms part of a local Winter Festival. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. We thought that last year was good but this year was even better!
Off to rest my weary bones now after a weekend of parties, ice skating, shopping, gathering winter greens and generally having fun. I wonder who is about to win the X Factor?

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Why were these cool 'roll up and put in your bag, after party pumps' not available when I used to party?

Hang on, I do still party. I've just had an afternoon of Agadoo and musical statues! No more need for party pumps though. Just think, had they been around a couple of decades ago I may not now have such knobbly feet. Not that my nobbles are anywhere near as knobbly as Posh's though.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Am I being a Grinch about this?

Warning, this is the annual pantomime moan. It may be that you wish to stop reading now.

Why do pantomimes, a productions aimed at children, include so much smut these days? I've just sat through an afternoon of Cinderella aka 'the floozy' and two ugly sisters aka 'top totty'. Hermione will no doubt have heard these phrases before and even if she doesn't understand them will know not to repeat them...Miles on the other hand may well call the next pretty little girl he sees a floozy *sigh*.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Monday, 6 December 2010

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The good, the bad and the downright scary..

The good - we managed to get out of the house today. Hooray! Craig dug my car out of the drive. We even managed to pass under the menacing icicles that now stretch all the way round the house, without being dripped on or speared!

The bad - we did all we could but Merlin gave up her fight. I think she's been a little flat for a while. I suspect the stress of the sudden onset of winter triggered her molt and it was all just too much for her right now. RIP my cheeky chook.

Now, here's the downright scary. Why did I abandon my principles about working animals in the face of festive cheer? Worse still, why did I allow this man who appeared to be a sandwich short of a picnic, lead my children off round Palace Green, in a trap drawn by two ponies which would have been more at ease in a bucking broncho setting? Very scary and I wish I had not succumbed.

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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Yay!!! Bring it on!!!

I've managed to bag a grocery delivery slot with Asda for the 22nd of December! No last minute dash around the supermarket when I should be drinking sherry and munching mince pies by the fire.

I'm not going to worry about 'the rest'. I'm so not going to worry that I haven't even dragged out the 'let's not worry about Christmas' book. It's just going to happen.

Did I mention that the children have decided that we should have a Victorian Christmas? I think that's to extend to decorations only, not food and gifts, sadly. Nana is using her period of convalescence to crochet tree baubles from scraps of wool. They're beautiful! Must get some pictures of them and the knitivity.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


I know it's been just a week but we're becoming seriously sick of the snow. I can't get my car out of the drive and three home ed events we had been really looking forward to this week have been cancelled due to the inclement conditions. Worse still, I have been persuaded to do what I said I would never do - allow a hen to stay in the house.

Merlin is a queer beastie. We've had her for about two years and she's never laid for us. She lays her eggs in obscure places and on the rare occasions that we do find them there is often loads and we don't know how long they have been there. Good job we love her. Well, in keeping with her odd nature she began to molt a couple of weeks ago. It always surprises me that hens molt in autumn (that's the norm) as I would have thought they would molt in summer when it's warmer. Anyway, Merlin has to go one better and wait till we have well over a foot of snow and night time temperatures of -9 *sigh*.

I don't have a picture of Merlin in her current condition but for anyone not familiar with a molting hen, this is what they look like. First they loose almost all of their feathers, then they become spiky like the picture above. If you look closely you will see that the end of the spikes are beginning to fan out. This will increase and they turn into feathers as we know them. Merlin is currently in the bald/very early spikes stage. She's been cowering and standing around like a statue outside so we have been bringing her in late afternoon and taking her out and putting her in the greenhouse during the day. She's smelly. I'll say it again, it's a good job we love her.

Thankfully the enforced reduction in life pace is helping to ensure that nana takes things slowly after her op. She's home and doing fine. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch and wished her well.

Hmmmm.... we've ice skated, sledged, bum skidded, snowballed, built snow men, dug numerous paths for our hens and bunnies, played hide and seek the icicle. Time for a bit of sunshine perhaps?

It's so bad round here that I had a call this morning to say that our local community hospital was closing today due to the weather. I was secretly relieved as I can't say that physio is my favourite activity.

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Advent Spiral

Yesterday we braved the snowy weather to join with some other families in walking the Advent Spiral. We waited outside of the village hall as the two ladies kindly organising the spiral made the final touches.

We all entered together and found the hall in darkness save for a couple of candles on the window ledges and a large candle in the centre of the evergreen spiral.

We each took a seat arranged around the spiral and listened as one lady told a story about a shepherd boy.

After this we all sang quietly as the lady leading the spiral presented each child in turn with a candle. The child walked the spiral to the central candle, lit their candle from the central one and then placed it upon a silver star within the spiral. The whole thing took place in silence save for the soft singing.

I didn't take my camera but the spiral looked almost identical to this one below.

Once every child had walked the spiral we silently filtered outside to be greeted by beautiful floaty snow in the darkness. We took shelter under some large trees while munching on star biscuits and drinking hot apple juice. A truly magical time.

Sunday, 28 November 2010