Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Podding with friends

We're just back from a fabulous couple of days in the Lake District with four other home ed families.  We stayed in a small circle of pods at The Quiet Site near Ulswater.

The views were dramatic; so much so that two men and one child were inspired to hike up a lofty hill on a very hot day!

The way in which the pods were set out lent itself ever so nicely to communal gathering - to include pimms and champagne quaffing in the afternoon!  I'm so pleased we had a glamper in the group!  In comparison I even  managed to forgot to take a pan.

The weather was the hottest I can remember in a long while.  Certainly the hottest weather I have managed to be outside and enjoying in a good while.

The fort was the scene of numerous water battles.  Thankfully even soaked to the skin, the children didn't feel cold in the strong sunshine.  Their clothes dried ever so quickly hung over the trees so could be changed effortlessly when they were saturated.

This is what it was like inside our pod.  As you can see pod keeping was not top of my list.  Basically it accommodated our double and one single airbed with a wee space to spare.  There was an electric light and a spare socket.

Much fun was had with paddling pools and water guns.

Last but not least, here's a snap of the Quiet Bar, complete with large horn on the side.  Very rustic, full of dead animals in various arrangements, roaring open fire and excellent pear cider.

A wonderful time with wonderful people.  Hopefully we'll do it again.  xx

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Ferris Wheel

 As ferris wheels go, I think the one Craig and Miles rode today was rather special.    Were it not that I'm prone to motion sickness I too would have loved to have floated up and away into the leafy canopy of a local village green.

They had just managed to squeeze it in.

Fun fun fun!!!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Happy Days

A warming basket of logs.

A tidy playroom.

Eggy abundance.

Rare appearance of Stockmarr watercolors.  For a wee while I was One Of Those Mothers.

African flowers framed in black ready for joining.

Lovely dicky bird lights from Laura Ashley...shhhhhh..naughty indulgence I know.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

African Flowers

Thanks to the boundless patience of a good friend, I can now crochet African Flowers.  I'm spending every spare moment happily hooking and can't wait to see what they morph into. I doubt I'll stick with them long enough to make a sizable blanket, but I think a throw is looking like a strong possibility. xx

Sunday, 13 May 2012


 Just can't recall the last time I saw so many daisies as I have this weekend!  Blooming marvelous!

Friday, 11 May 2012


A wonderful work at home mama I know, is giving away the most beautiful soft soled little ones shoes.

It's easy to be in with a chance to be the lucky recipient - you just have to email her your choice and size, or leave a comment on her blog.

Please pop by her blog and have a look.  I only wish they had them in my size!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A day with my boy

 What a lovely day I've had!  Don't get me wrong, I love having two children, but, it is a luxury to be able to focus all of your attention on just one for the day.

Hermione and nana headed on out quite early on a big shopping spree.  Nana had promised to take Hermione to her favorite cafe, and also shopping for shoes suitable for playing dodgeball in.  Apparently it's just not de rigueur to be seen at youth group in Clark's trainers once you reach a certain age *sigh.*  Had they still fit she would have just had to buck the supposed trend and wear them, but since they were becoming small anyway, I let nana indulge her in some animal print baseball boots.

All shopped out with nana by day, she then spent the evening swimming with Craig, so, I've had my boy all to myself for much of the day!

So, what have we done?

We played on wii fit for half an hour and Miles rolled about laughing at my lack of balance and co ordination.  

We did some reading work (mainly Reading Eggs) and some maths (shapes, angles and language of chance).  At Miles' request we watched a BrainPop clip about the Bubonic Plague - not one I would have suggested myself, but come to think of it Hermione was always quite interested in this too.  I think it has something to do with the odd nose masks the plague doctors wore.  We looked at currency through the ages - from shells and seeds to coins and notes.

We had leisurely bubble baths and I didn't moan when the bathroom floor got soaked with boisterous wave making.

After lunch we ventured out to a one stop cake shop where you can buy everything you may ever require, including glitter which apparently is used for decorating cakes but is not edible.  As I understand it, the glitter leaves your body very much in the same form as it enters.  Hmmmm...sparkly pan!

We resisted the urge to buy any such sparkles.  I didn't want to risk an iridescent shimmer on my bog brush.  Instead we picked up some Jubilee bits, which was one of the main reasons we went.    One of Miles' little chums is hosting a Jubilee gathering and I would like to bake.  I know, I know, I could decorate with strawberries, blueberries and white butter icing - but then what would become of the Jubilee sprinkles?  Dilema solved; I'm now all set.

Back at home we chilled for a good hour or so with lego.  I was quite pleased with my creations even if I do say so myself.  What a luxury to be able to sit for over an hour just playing with lego; not playing with lego while also trying to put the washing away or keep Hermione right on whatever work she's doing at the time.  I realized that when you do it, and accept that's it, it can actually be fun.  I need to play with lego more often.

Later we baked fairy cakes.  Miles hates noise; he's nowhere near as sensitive as he once was to noises, but he tends to steer clear of the kitchen when there are any contraptions in action.  Since there was just him and I home it seemed like a great opportunity to gently encourage him to take control of the food processor, which he manged.  Slowly at first, with ears protected, but before long he had it at top speed and was screeching with laughter - success!

He topped the fairy cakes with the black regale icing and candy beads he had chosen at the cake shop.  I had serious misgivings about black icing but have to say it looked okay and tasted just like any other.

When Craig finally came home from work this was the wonderful sight that greeted him.  Miles was ever so proud.

With dinner over and Hermione and Craig out swimming, we pottered in the kitchen.  I turned to see Peckham (was to be David Peckham, but he turned out to be a she) wearing Craig's boots.  Well, she didn't really have them on but I had to look twice.

Recently Miles won a competition for a years membership of Listening Books and we snuggled down to listen to the first of four parts of Why the Whales Came.    I really should know by now to read Michael Morpurgo's myself before sharing with the children.  Don't get me wrong, he's one of my favorite children's authors, but it's not all fluff and ginger beer.  He tackles some strong stuff.  This was one of the few I had not read and on reflection I could possibly have left it another couple of years before sharing it with Miles, but we've started so we'll carry on.  We've chatted at length about the potentially scary bits and I think he's good.

I'm delighted Miles won this membership as there are some great children's books on there, including some educational stuff.  I have to admit though, I do find the site very tricky to use, but then that's probably a reflection upon me as opposed to the site.

Okie dokie, off to plan a luxurious day with my big baby in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Make Way For Ducklings

Looking at the pictures below I recalled the times I've read Make Way For Ducklings to both of my children.  Ahhh happy days.  I think I may just have to hunt it out tomorrow and read it again, although I'm not certain it will be as well received now that they consider themselves to be 'rather grown up'.  Oh, I'm sure they'll indulge me if I ask them very nicely, or alternatively ply them with warm milk and biscuits while I read.

Sarah, one of our beloved Muscovy ducks has been broody for weeks.  Awww bless her, she's been so dedicated.  She's scarcely left the nesting box; I've had to lift her out a couple of times a day and take her to the feed trough and water bowl.  Some hens and ducks will nigh on starve themselves to death and really jeopardise their health by neglecting themselves when brooding.  All her feathers were becoming skanky because she wasn't willing to splash in the pond.

I was so worried about her that I asked at our local wetlands centre whether they had any fertile duck eggs she could hatch.  I was worried that she would just sit and sit on eggs which were never going to hatch, as our only drake believes himself to be a cockerel and only mates with hens *sigh*.  I looked into those sad eyes and just wanted to make it happen for her.  I had it all planned as to how I was going to slip the fertile eggs under her.

A lady at the wetlands agreed to have some fertile duck eggs for me to collect the following week.

Well, anyone familiar with poultry can probably guess the rest.  I collected the eggs yesterday, came home, and there was Sarah grazing in the clover.  I waited but there was no sign of her returning to the nesting box.

So, I had a bag with seven fertile duck eggs on my bench and no broody duck.  Should I bin them and snuff out the little spark of hope within?  Should I get out the incubator and see what materializes in a few weeks time?  Yes, you guessed it.  We now have seven eggs in the incubator and all promises that there was no way in which I would add to my flock this year out of the window.

We occasionally visit a charity which has a farm for children to visit.  They have two ducks in a huge pen.  I'm going to give them a call and see if they could use a ducky donation.  Wish me luck!  We're running out of space in our duck house and there's no way I'm going down the Peking Sauce Route.

The eggs will take about twenty eight days to hatch.  We've not hatched ducks before and it's really quite exciting.  Actually, we've not hatched anything since our killer quail.  I think I was having a bloggy break at the time, but couldn't possibly fill in the gaps and recall that experience in any great detail.  I keep trying to erase their cannibalistic behavior from my mind!

I was under strict instructions from the lady who gave me them not to wash them.  Duck shells are more porous than hen shells and it could affect development.  I only hope that the dirt doesn't introduce nasty germs and also that it doesn't obscure the view through the Ova Scope too much.

On the subject of eggs, I must confess to having woofed up Miles' last solid dark chocolate egg together with some of his raspberries this evening - in his favorite bowl!  It's been a long day and this mama was in dire need of some fruity chocy joy...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Fun of the Fayre

 What better way to spend a bank holiday than with friends, watching Punch and Judy!

We get so accustomed to living in a politically correct world that I was quite taken aback by the liberal use of a truncheon!

All in all it put me in mind of a book I have just finished called Mad Mobs and Englishmen.  It's a critique of the riots in London and other English cities in 2011.  One of the conclusions is that the initial riot was sparked by insensitive policing.

The coffee cups are now sorted; I've moved on to wine glasses and candles.  Just in case it's not obvious, I'm rather giddy with excitement at having mastered crocheting a round!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Super Moon

 Last night Hermione and I set off in search of the Super Moon.   As the moon orbits, it's distance from earth changes slightly. Last night the moon was on a close orbit and it was also a full moon - very impressive!

I got it into my head that the best place to see it was probably at the beach, so, we headed down to the cliff tops to await the Super Moon.  It was impressive, much more so than my photograph would suggest, but we really need not have gone to the coast.  At that time, as it rose on the horizon, it wasn't entirely dark and that detracted form it's  beauty.

Late on, as I closed the curtains before turning into bed, it looked amazing, high and bright in a cloudless sky.

You can find a better explanation of last night's moon, and some wonderful pictures of it around the world, here.

The jar jackets have today been accompanied by coasters.  At the time I had my camera out there was only one; there are now two!  I'm having such fun with my new bold bright colored wools.  They were a real bargain at £1.49 per sizable ball.  Obviously, at that price they're low in wool and high in acrylic, but for coasters and things like that it's good to have something that will wash over and over.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Black Forest Gateaux - the way to an XXL Muffin!

The jar jackets are multiplying and I suspect little woolen mice may be too, now Hermione has mastered the art of making them!

Funny old day it's been.  The weather hasn't quite known whether to rain or shine so we've pottered at home doing chores.  There's lots of them right now; the house is still in a state of chaos!

I decided recently that on weekend evenings I would make a mundane main course and delicious dessert one night, with a big roast dinner the other evening.  I couldn't quite manage 'all singing all dancing' main and dessert for one sitting!

If you remember rightly I made a Baked Lemon Cheese Cake last weekend and Miles declared it  'disappointing'.  Well, this week I made Black Forest Gateaux with lashings of morello cherries and dark chocolate shards.   I even went so far as to melt the dark chocolate, spread it thinly onto baking parchment and chop it with a pizza slice once reset, (I suspect all the top chocolatiers use a pizza slice on the quiet!).

It looked very passable to me and slid down nicely with some soya cream.  So, what was the verdict?

'Please, stick to ice cream and apple crumbles mummy!'

My inner domestic goddess has been wounded and may retreat for some time, and perhaps that's a good thing, as while reading an article online which was supposed to make women feel good about their body shape, I stumbled across this frightful clip which has me (and no doubt many others) dashing out for Spanx Pants!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Jar Jacket

Here's my first jar jacket!  Not bad considering I didn't buy the wool till gone 3.00 this afternoon!

Finished just in time to dash into the garden and snip a couple of flowers before the sun went right down.

I've made this one slightly too slender.  It probably wouldn't fit over a standard empty jam jar but it's a good fit on a cordial glass.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Maypole dancing, tulips and teapots

 When I opened the curtains this morning my stomach lurched at the prospect of a day outdoors in the damp, bone chilling grayness.

I'm delighted I made the effort to find my mojo and get out of the door though, otherwise I would have missed out on a day surrounded by fabulous people, maypoling, tulips and exquisite teapots!

Truly joyous!  x