What we’re enjoying this week 20

I love the way Keziah placed the people in our nativity set…they look like they are lining up waiting to take a bow, knowing they are about to be put away for another 11 months. Boo hoo. I love this set and always want to keep it out…but it wouldn’t be special and enjoyed so much throughout December then would it?

Well, happy new year…..a week late, but that’s me! Here are a few pics from the last week of our 2013. 

Watching The Gruffalo…

We enjoyed a bit of Christmas TV with a big TV set borrowed from the office. It was nice to watch a few things together, especially the four part Nativity series which the kids hadn’t seen before. My other favourite is the Snowman..such wholesome watching! The tv has now gone back and we are trying to readjust our screen time again!

 I’ve made it about halfway through my first smelly old book!

It’s taking ages to read, mostly because when I get a chance, I’m more likely to pick up my knitting needles. But I’ve had at least one nice evening in front of the fire with the book. It’s written in a lovely old fashioned way but I’m still waiting for something significant to happen. It’s certainly not a thriller and maybe not being gripped by it is why it’s taking so long to get through! I will persevere….

We had a great tidy up on New Year’s Day. I love a good celebration clear up. Out with the Christmas tree, a little furniture shift and more toys moved into bedrooms. There is too much stuff down here and we need to spend less time tidying up! I enjoyed myself setting up a new book shelf and putting books into groups, where we have them….Topsy&Tim, Mr Men etc. 

We needed to open up the room a bit more so I can see where Rafael is heading and what he is chewing, now he’s on the move. I can’t take my eyes off him for long.

I knitted a few of these cotton face cloths for Christmas gifts. Not one of them was perfect…grrrr. But I enjoyed the knitting and could knock one up in a couple of sittings. They were nice wrapped in tissue paper and wool, with a lovely smelling soap inside. Ideally I’d love to make my own soap. Ideally….

I did a bit of reading up about making soap a couple of months ago and discovered it involves dangerous chemicals which shouldn’t be anywhere near children, so I was a bit put-off. It will have to be an exciting Saturday night activity with Matt. Well, I’ll let you know if it ever happens.

Spot the mistakes. Or actually, don’t bother. I should have given it a steam iron to finish it well but this was finished very close to the wire. When I took the photo, we were really supposed to be getting in the car to go…Matt was juggling all the kids and trying to get out of the house. I was really pushing my luck! 

I’ve found a knitting workshop on finishing techniques and correcting mistakes, which is just what I need, so I’m looking forward to that soon. I’m hoping for a lot more knitting and making this year. 

Well, I think 20 weeks in our first term here rounds up the ‘What we’re enjoying this week’ posts quite nicely. I’m going to try and write posts more little and often now, so hopefully I’ll be back here again soon.

what we’re enjoying this week 19

 

Well thank you to our friends for the idea of Robin finger painting. We used the idea to decorate some Christmas wrapping paper.

 

One little boy took the finger painting a bit further…

Some of our Christmas moments…

Wrapped presents waiting under the tree on Christmas Eve..

Finally opening stockings…they had been eagerly waiting from 4.45am!

Father Christmas understands my obsession with egg cups..

Rafael’s first Christmas present…

When I asked Matt to buy a Christmas present for Rafael earlier in the week, he came back with a Tommee Tippee cup! So I took great pleasure in choosing this gorgeous rabbit instead. The only thing I don’t like about this rabbit is that I didn’t make it myself! Maybe one day. He shall be named Rafi Rabbit I think.

We enjoyed simplicity this year. I have previously gone a bit bonkers with the present buying and later regretted it. The kids enjoy ripping off the paper of yet another gift more than what’s inside it, and everyone goes a bit crazy. It’s hard to change a habit but I really didn’t want all the stuff this year. They don’t want or wait for much generally (I’m not suggesting that’s a good thing!) and I wanted their Christmas presents to be few and treasured. I was really pleased that the few things they received were things they really wanted and are enjoying. We got it spot on. Zachary’s stocking had a wooden cube that you can change into robots and other shapes. It has kept him busy for ages, it’s a clever little thing.

 

 

 

Much needed socks! My that girl is fussy about her socks.

She is delighted to now be the proud owner of a recorder and periodically excuses herself from our company to enjoy it..

Joseph enjoyed using his new whisk. He has been asking to bake a lemon cake for as long as he’s been alive. Really. So we baked one quite spontaneously. He spotted the lemons in the fruit bowl so I couldn’t refuse him. The lemon drizzle cake recipe is from this beautiful book I received for my birthday in April. I’m embarrassed to say it’s the first thing I’ve baked from it, but we have been quite busy this year. It’s a beautiful book; the sort you want to take to bed with you and stroke (You don’t do that?)

When I showed Joseph the recipe, he wasn’t overwhelmed with enthusiasm. The appearance isn’t the sort that springs to mind when a child thinks of cake. But we know it’s lovely don’t we. I forgot to photograph the finished article but we did bake it, we really did. I don’t think Joseph has tasted it yet. I think that boy really does care more for the baking than the cake itself.

I’ve enjoyed a little of my Christmas presents…a set of four Taproot magazines I really wanted to sample, and some watercolours of my own…which the kids are helping me to use!

We had a fairly quiet Christmas week with much needed rest and not so much fuss. Some visits from family and a couple of friends have brightened our spirits and we are looking forward to a bit more this weekend.

Hope your Christmas has been a merry one.

 

what we’re enjoying this week 18

Somebody in particular had a very exciting weekend!

Such a full day with a trip to the museum and pizza restaurant. I just managed to keep this one awake in time for some cake…

Some favourite moments of this week…

My Shepherds…celebrating Christmas with other home ed families….

Making Christmas cards…

This was the result of Joseph’s unsupervised baking….a pretty edible, quite nice loaf of ‘bread’…It was so impressive we had it with our soup for lunch. We ignored the little bits of chocolate icing in it.

A couple of evenings with a hot toddy…

Discovering HorseWorld

A great play room with dressing up at Horseworld…

So, don’t mind if I do…

Lots of play and outdoors….leads to daytime napping in the car…means a late night for everyone….

And a sleepy pyjama morning…

We are ready for Christmas. The fridge is full, the carols are playing, the tree is decorated. Matt will have some time off work and we are ready to hibernate. I hope I will knit and read a smelly old book. We will watch some nice films…The Snowman is a favourite at the moment. I tried to have a candlelit bath late this afternoon and inevitably all the kids joined me, one by one. Uninevitably, we ended up watching The Snowman in the bath…! Maybe we will make that a tradition.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas… 

 

 

what we’re enjoying this week 17

Is this getting a little boring? More playgrounds, sandpits, crafting, playing… I just felt I needed to ask the question out loud. Blogging has so far been about more than sharing our story with anyone who wants to read it. It helps me process and think and, well, it refreshes me. I’d like more time to blog but more weeks than not, I just have time for this end-of-the-week summary. And I just realised I didn’t actually publish last week’s post – It was still sitting there as a draft. Oh how your week must have been empty without it! 

This week, I wrote a calendar for the kids….mostly for Keziah who likes to know what the plan for the day/week/year ahead is! Having said that, if someone else was in control, so would I! I wrote on the Saturday morning slot…’Mummy writing time’. Keziah read it out to Zachary, adding ‘she means go to Starbucks, Zachary!’ Hmph. 

The calendar was one of those moments of enlightenment….very simple but making a huge difference; to her anyway. A bit like the family menu. Less complaints and attempted negotiations when they know what’s coming.

We’ve had more Christmas preparations this week. My extremely clever 5 year old boy made this…

Now then. Yes, I could have sat with him one-to-one and showed him how to sew a button on properly, but really…well, I couldn’t. I was trying to help both Keziah and Zachary cut, sew and stuff their denim hearts, while trying to convince Joseph that I really couldn’t help him knit a big blanket right now and instead settle for ‘being a Witch’ (his favourite role play game at the moment). While trying to drink -and enjoy- a hot coffee (not choosing my moments well here). And I think everyone was whining. Oh, my ears! Rafi was having a nap but I had the feeling that wasn’t going to last much longer. The stress levels were a little high! I’ve decided I spend far too much of my life in a state of fight-or-flight. So I’m making more effort to do things I enjoy, like read and knit (Have I said this before? I have a sense of de-ja vu). I’ve been up early every morning this week. Rafi wakes me early to feed, but rather than trying to doze off again with him, I’m accepting it as a positive opportunity to start the day early and start the day well…and it’s a good thing. When the older kids wake, they’ve more often found me up, showered, dressed and knitting in my bedroom armchair (with a hot cup of tea; heaven). Yes, that’s how I like life to be. .

I’m getting there with the doll I’m making. I will show you it when I’ve finished…unless it looks as ridiculous as the last one, in which case I might not!

Monday was as close to a perfect day as they come. We went out pretty soon in the morning and had a great day at Puxton Park. It’s good to get out for the day on a Monday, I’ve decided. There was lots of the usual outdoor fun to be had…

After a LONG wait for any teeth to fall out, they started falling a couple of months ago (thank the Good Lord it was Keziah’s tooth that fell out first!) and now, we have both of them with Wobblies. (By the way, I LOVE the tooth fairy thing!) I’ll wobble yours if you wobble mine….

And can you just notice the matching head warmers, please. Knitted by my fair hand. No one else on the planet will have knitted their children such headwarmers with this wool. So, if you see three children wearing these, you know it’s us!

Then the kids played for ages in the cafe play area while Rafi slept in the pram and I smugly read my book…for about 45 minutes. Lush.

Anyway, back to the sewing.

We made the denim hearts and stars for the Christmas tree at Matt’s workplace, which we had been invited to come and decorate (fools!)

So that was Tuesday’s adventure. Matt had booked us in when there were no clients in the office. Words were said on the car journey, explaining about the office workplace and people working quietly. It was fine and I think we brought some sparkle to the office…certainly we brought sparkle to Matt’s day.

And this week, Keziah and Zachary had their first Ice Skating experience. Oh so much excitement about this! They had a great time. There are now apparently aids to help young skaters, unlike my day when you just had to shuffle round the edge, holding on for dear life. I haven’t moved on much from this point so Matt took them. He’s a good skater (Unlikely, I know!)

 

 

So, I stayed home with the younger two and let Joseph do this….

So I could do this…

   

I’ll leave you now. Celebrations are about to begin for a very special girl who is 7 this weekend. Simple, small celebrations, but Oh we are excited! 

what we’re enjoying this week 16

Advent. 

This year, I’m unusually organised with present buying for Christmas. I wanted December to be full of Advent. Getting ready. Making, singing, story telling. So that’s a little of what we’ve been up to this week.

The Autumn table has thankfully made its exit, making room for the Advent table….

@

And our much loved and much played with Nativity Scene…

I am very attached to this Nativity set. It was bought for Keziah’s birthday by one of her Godmothers and, shortly after she turned three, she started playing with the little characters. It was her first role play and she seemed to leap off a diving board into a new phase of development and has barely stopped playing with little people and dolls since. She has loved its return this week. The peoples’ paint is very chipped….they have been well loved! Some of the stories made up with the characters of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Shepherds and Kings are delightfully hilarious. At least they usually have their ‘proper names’ now. They spent their first couple of years with names inspired by CBeebies programmes (the family shame!)

We have enjoyed opening advent calendars but I have to confess to, so far, failing miserably to read the appropriate Bible story, it’s sitting there looking very pretty. I promise myself it will be read this week.

We’ve enjoyed walking and sticks..

And baking nothing very Christmassy….My Dad used to make these for us, but I must thank my friend Gillian for reminding me they exist! Mars Bar crispy buns. They are delicious. Lush. The ‘Rich Man’s’ chocolate crispy bun. Forget the cooking chocolate or even Dairy Milk. Mars Bars are where it’s at. 

It’s quite difficult not to eat 20 in one sitting. Be warned.

Speaking of food, I tried to spice up the family menu last weekend. I made Tacos; with Quorn mince, guacamole, cheese, roasted peppers, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, soured cream, salsa. You know, all those things kids love (what was I thinking?!). I fully expected it to go down like a lead balloon. And it did. But Matt and I enjoyed it 🙂

And Rafi! I think he had his in a wrap to make it easier to hold. No salsa!

So we are, I’d say, almost fully in the Christmas Spirit, and our hands are busy…

 

I cut up an old pair of jeans for these. Thank you Karen for the idea!

And I am still loving reading my first ‘smelly old book’.

Wishing you all a good week.

 

 

 

what we’re enjoying this week 15

We’re on the move….

With a successful new ballet class for Keziah. She has waited so long for a ballet class, trying a couple before but them not quite working; being too difficult to juggle with everything else. She really loves ballet (like me!) and I’m hopeful this will be a great new addition to her week. New ballet shoes means dreaded sewing of elastic for me…as a rule, I hate sewing. I’m rubbish at it and it makes me cross! I only had a thin spindly needle, with no thimble (I’m sure you’ve bought me one, Mum; sorry I don’t know where it is!) and plasticky yucky thread….but needs must for a budding ballerina and I got there in the end, spitting and muttering under my breath….

And a successful new football club for Zachary this morning.

Yey for active groups! After a lot of searching, these are steadily coming along. Without school and in a new city, these groups seem even more desirable, as places to make friends. So now we have swimming, ballet and football. Tick, tick, tick.

And this little boy is going to be a mover! His rolling will soon become commando crawling I think. He’s already lifting his bum, trying to move around…

We’ve had some really lovely moments this week. A couple of mornings, the eldest three have played beautifully, building dens in the house…

Or even playing in the bath!

On both occasions, they all played together for ages, which is blissful for me! I love listening to them and it’s nice not having to referee any squabbles that might be getting out of hand.

Yesterday morning, I listened to them play in the bath and took advantage of the chance to read and rest….after a very bad night sleep with Rafi. He may be teething or may just get cold in the middle of the night. I’m not sure; but whatever it is, he just wants to come in bed with me and nuzzle from about 3am. So rest was needed.

I bought a few beautiful old books from the second hand bookshop at our local National Trust place. They were 50p or £1 each and are gorgeously old and smelly and I’m determined to read them all. I recognised a couple of them, others are new to me but sounded like a good old read. I’m using my iPad a lot to read blogs…which has become a lovely part of life….but there’s nothing like a good old book! Here are the new additions…

You can’t see the first one…it’s Sense and Sensibility, which I’ve never read (or seen the film). I’m starting with Winds of the Day, by Howard Spring. Never heard of it but I love it’s bright green colour and the first few pages are a lovely read. Have you read any of these?

One of our highlights of the week was, after buying these books, the children came to sit with me on a circular picnic bench in the courtyard. I had parked myself there, with my new books, while they played nearby. They wanted to pretend to be Mummy and each sat ‘reading’ one of the above books. We sat there for a good half hour, swapping and comparing, commenting and reading a little of these books. Zachary enjoyed spotting words he recognised and has since been fascinated with these ‘smelly old books’ as we call them! I helped him learn a random and rather complicated sentence, which he was very proud of. I read a lot to all the children but have not pushed at all for him to read these last few months, waiting for him to be ready and interested and motivated..knowing, as a mother does, that he wasn’t quite ready. It takes courage to wait but I have. And this week, I have seen the first sparks of interest and motivation. These I’m sure will ebb and flow, but I will tell everyone he learned to read with William the Conqueror!

The sketching was another highlight this week.

And Monday morning… some camping play in pyjamas, followed by tea and chocolate cake…I am enjoying breaking the rules of life (why don’t we eat cake at 10am?)!

And Rafael is loving tucking into his food!

You can spend a lot of money home educating your children! Well, I’m enjoying two new crucial investments….  A very warm coat and a very good flask!

What we’re enjoying this week 14

After a lovely long weekend spending time with family and friends back in Yorkshire, Matt has been off work for most of the week so we’ve all had more time together. Some days have been slow, others jam packed full of activity….Thursday was the latter. We had a slower start and made that mistake of inviting the kids to watch a film on the iPad while we got things ready to leave the house. The transition from watching media to coming back to the real world is never easy but everything seemed magnified on Thursday….everyone seemed to be having a meltdown about something….missing wellie socks, ill-fitting jumpers, not wanting to get dressed at all. Then, when we seemed to be getting near to the point of leaving the house, the knock at the door reminded me that I’d arranged our food delivery to come!

Well, we finally left the house without anyone seriously injuring anyone else..and made it to the stables, where a friend keeps her horses. Helping to groom them was a first for us all. The kids loved it, in differing amounts. Everyone loved the grooming and feeding and leading them to their fields. There were mixed responses to the couple of (friendly) dogs hanging out there. Our kids are so different in many ways and I am always in awe of that. I know nothing about horses…I have the MuckBoot wellies and that’s about it! All the gear; no idea. So, it was such a treat to have someone teach the kids a bit about them.

Keziah was particularly in her element!

I made a ‘note to self’ that looking after animals is not comfortable work…it was freezing!

I absolutely insisted that we needed to go to Starbucks to warm up before heading to the museum. Warm coffee!

We had our first trip to the @t bristol museum, which was fab! It’s a science museum which is great for children. Well, I presume it is aimed at children, although it’s fun for everyone. Museums just seem to do much better these days at being interesting for young people and get that most people don’t learn by just reading information….and touching and doing things is fun! I left my camera in the car (doh!) but we took a couple of snaps with Matt’s phone. They don’t do the museum justice at all…there is so much to do there. The kids want to go back now! Oh, and they do discounts for home educating families..yes please 🙂 

This was the construction area….we also made animated films, experienced ‘being in the womb’ (my favourite of course), made hot air balloons fly, tried out the Archimedes Screw, did a 3D internal organs jigsaw puzzle and watched food decay. From afar, I watched an eyeball dissection, but mentioned nothing of it to the kids…wasn’t sure how that would go down…or maybe I was just being a wuss! We missed the Planetarium show but will go back another day for that.

Our busy day was nicely rounded off with a trip to a shopping centre so I could try on some coats (searching for a very warm winter coat that will last me a while!) and a pizza restaurant. Yummy….even Rafi enjoyed his pizza! 

The slower bits of our week have been pretty normal for us….lots of craft. Lolly sticks, polystyrene balls…within hours of returning home, the floor looked like this..

And the table…

And my clean hand towel…

I’ve had a lovely day and been power reading this book . I don’t find much time for reading, although I love it. But every so often I find a book I really want to read and delve right in. I’ve been feasting on it today, knowing there’s not much spare time around here! And it’s making for some interesting discussion in the home.

See you soon friends x