Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Balloon lantern

Posted by Picasa
I love this little lantern come lamp shade. It's one of many reasons why I'm now keen to see out the summer and welcome the autumn. Miles doesn't get to see it in the dark as currently it's still light when he goes to bed.
They are very easy to make. We blew up a balloon and mixed some pva half and half with water. We tore up some tissue paper and added a few layers to the balloon. Once dried you can burst and remove the balloon. Some people use them the other way round to what we have and place candles in them. I didn't fancy this as a shade made from glue and tissue paper will of course be super flammable. Instead we have placed our 'balloon shade' over a tiny flat battery night light and it shines through beautifully.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Party on

Whoa, what a weekend! So much partying and booty shaking!
In the last couple of days we have been to a teddy bears picnic party to celebrate a friend's fourth birthday, a camping party to celebrate a different friend's fourth birthday and a surprise party for a friend's fortieth. Three totally different parties, three totally different groups of friends, three fantastic occasions.
Miles and Hermione were exceptionally taken with the camping party which included copious tents, bunting and a bouncy castle. Activities involved searching for bugs which had invaded the campsite (thankfully just toy ones) and dodging strong winds and driving rain - all in all an authentic camping experience which was great fun - particularly from where I was standing under the gazebo with a glass of wine in one hand and a hot potato wedge in the other. My kinda camping. There was also a lucky dip tent full of balloons and gifts which went down a treat.
The fortieth surprise party was such a laugh. A group of local home ed friends got together to plan a surprise for one of the mums. We thought about going out for a meal one night but then one of the mum's offered her home and the services of her husband - how very generous of her! Her husband happens to be a fabulous chef (that's his proper job, working in Michelin Star type restaurants) and he rustled up a wonderful feast of Indian food followed by the squishiest most divine chocolate brownie injected with vanilla baked cheese cake to follow. There was much talk of arm pit hair, (whether it is or isn't the way to go - with women sitting on both sides of the proverbial fence), how best to knit or weave a hot tub - that is if you can't find a suitable large plastic container and also five rhythms dancing.
Today we headed into town to partake in the 'Quiet Riot' which basically involved a whole load of people listening to their MP3 player and dancing on down in the street to their own groove. It was good. Following that we watched a variety of performances to include a street dance group, a fusion of ballet and bicycles, a flamenco dancer with a life size puppet and maypole anarchy. Two of my friends and one of Hermione's friends were in the maypole dancing. I wish I had their community spirit and energy. One of my friends in particular has been involved in quite a few scratch community theatre and dance performance. She's a star!

Off to crash now with some courgette soup.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 29 August 2010

They just keep coming...

Posted by Picasa
I turned my back for a couple of days and these courgettes had turned into marrows! Courgette recipes anyone?

Friday, 27 August 2010

Tape art

Hermione had fun transforming portraits from paper and pencil sketches, to coloured tape on a large white wall today. Another excellent home ed art session!

Crate stacking

Hermione climbed the crates as Miles and I stacked.

Wipe out! She got quite high before they tipped and came crashing down.

Miles gets kitted out for his turn and I'm feeling a little nervous.

Miles and the man on the end of the harness rope had great fun seeing how high Miles could get. By this time I was very nervous!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Dancing feet

After an hour long reflexology treatment and an hour long chakra balancing meditation, this careworn mama feels that she could dance, dance, dance....

Here's hoping I'll still be dancing after a day of abseiling, off roading, cart stacking and archery! Wish me luck *grin*.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Musings of a careworn mama

Without doubt, one of the things that I find most challenging about parenting is the way in which it's forever changing. Just when you think you've reached the top, you spot another hill to climb. It certainly keeps me on my toes! Also, as the children get older, far from needing less input in social situations, I think they actually need more.

We live in a society of peer orientation. By and large children look to other children as role models and as a source of guidance. They're leaning against other young shoots as opposed to great oak trees. Is it any surprise that many fall?

Thankfully Hermione loves to spend time hanging out with other children and adults together. Last night was a fine example. We met with a friend and her son and we went for dinner followed by a guided ghost tour around town. It was great fun and we had a wonderful time all chatting and laughing together. This is what I want for my children. I don't want an adult/child segregation; I want us to come together.

Of course, all this is not to say that I don't want the children to spend time alone with other children. I do want that and will continue to facilitate it. What I don't want is for my children to grow up feeling that parents, (and adults generally), signify rules and control, whilst their peers signify fun and wisdom. I can do fun too; whats more I can throw in the benefit of experience also!

Something I am noticing is that when children are small and they meet in group situations to play, the parents tend to be quite active in that play. They remain very connected to the children. As the children grow older the tendency seems to be for children to go off and do their thing and parents to chat together. I am beginning to question whether this is for the best. At what stage does the parent-child attachment dynamic change in social situations? Why does it change?

The local home ed community to which I belong has been presented with an opportunity for growth recently. It's exciting but scary. It's also very tiring as I toss and turn pondering balances and dynamics.

Do you go to a home ed group or other family group? If so, what is parent-child interaction like there? Do the children do their thing while parents do theirs? What do you find weakens or strengthens your community?

Sunday, 22 August 2010


I aspired to chaos (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) today. Sadly it had reached the stage where not even I wanted to be here. I hate domestic mayhem, it zaps my energy. Thankfully after a few hours hard at it I'm once again happy and chilled. By the end of tomorrow I may even be at the stage of having people over again *grin*.

Anyway, the children didn't want to join me in my large scale house blessing so instead Craig fitted up a new rope swing for them and a tree trunk to practice nail hammering. Thankfully that kept them busy for a fair proportion of the day.

Got to dash and prepare for the children going to a festival tomorrow. Life is so busy these days. Roll on September when life will hopefully quieten down again. It's great to see friends who usually go to school and to partake in loads of summer leisure and sports activities, but that all happens in addition to our regular home ed activities and meet ups as they don't stop for summer. It makes for a very busy period!

Friday, 20 August 2010


Yay! Disco!

I wish there had been wheelie discos when I was young. The children love it, whizzing around on their scooters amidst a barrage of flashing lights and cool tunes. I only wish I had the courage to join in *grin*.

Hmmm, now would I opt for a scooter or rollerblades?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

If you go down to the woods today..

..you better go in disguise,
If you go down to the woods today,
You're sure of a big surprise,
For every bear that ever there was,
Will gather there for certain because,
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.
Or at least that is till it starts tipping down and everyone is soaked through!!!! Not that Miles was particularly bothered as he had already fallen in the pond *big sigh*

Posted by Picasa

Monday, 16 August 2010

Where did I go to? (and other ponderables)

After a few years of flat out mothering, I have glanced up to find that going three years between haircuts and realising I have a hole in my shoes, is the least of my problems. I now realise I seem to have fallen into an identity pit! I would like a new bank account but my passport has lapsed and despite having moved years ago I haven't update the address on my drivers licence (naughty I know!). It seems that those without a valid drivers licence or passport are destined to run round in circles trying to figure out which came first - was it the chicken or the egg - or perhaps the driving licence or the passport? I'm exasperated. Honestly, I am me!

I'm sorely tempted to say, 'stuff it' and remain with my current bank, but following recent conversations with friends about what banks do with your money I feel driven to become more conscious and ethical in my banking choices.

Here's another one I've been pondering..how long did it take this heap of tiny pieces of metal ..

....to turn into something like this, modelled by my beautiful boy, when the Normans invaded our town this weekend.

Something else I have been pondering, and you may be able to help me out here, are those actually cherries at the top of my neighbour's tree? I think the picture below just captures one of the dazzling baubles. If so then how the heck do I get in and climb up to pick them. They keep glistening in the sunshine and calling to me.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Friday, 13 August 2010

Waiting at the Window

I had hoped to be able to tell you all about forest school today. Having pulled on our waterproofs and filled a flask with hot chocolate, we were ready to brave the rain.

Sadly, we ended up braving the rain by the roadside rather than forest school as my car died a dramatic death at the entrance of a roundabout. Thankfully we had a few offers of help and even got to ride in a break down truck, courtesy of a very kind man who just happened to be passing by and didn't charge me a penny for recovering my car!

Hopefully I'll be with wheels again come Monday. I hope so as there are so many places to go and people to see!

So, back at home, we watched the rain rolling down the window panes, reciting as best we could A A Milne's 'Waiting at the Window' - a verse which we have only recently discovered but like a lot.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Quick peek in the patch

The rainbow chard is looking incredibly pretty this year - almost too pretty to eat!

By far the greatest success to date this year have been the fine french beans. They just keep coming! Here they are climbing up to the sky.

Pumpkins are in the greenhouse this year. So far we have four set on the vines. Hopefully there will be a few more within the next week or two. This is the first year we have put them in the greenhouse. I'm hoping for a bumper crop.

I decided to treat the curly kale as a cut and come crop this year. In the past I've always harvested the whole head. It's worked so we have had a constant supply of kale for over two months with plenty more to come.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Shells, boats and sand casting

We decided to put away the prickly horse chestnut shells, fir cones and seed pods which had made their way onto the dresser. Let's not fast forward into autum, even if the weather is becoming more autumnal by the day! Instead we set up a seaside scene.

Miles helped make a paper sail for his shell boat.

We decided this was a good time to try out the sand casting technique which we discovered at our last art workshop. We half filled a take away type carton with damp sand and pressed it down smooth.

We pressed shells into it, leaving the imprints behind.

We filled it with modelling plaster and left it to set for a few hours before carefully turning it out and washing away the surplus sand. The final results have not photographed well. In reality they are gorgeous and much more defined than the picture would have you think.

I guess we could do this with fir cones, seed pods etc in autumn. Perhaps we could even do one with tools for daddy. I think drill bits and spanners could work well.

Posted by Picasa