Friday, 31 October 2008

Samhain activities part 3

So, the final part of our family seasonal celebrations found us making spooky Lady's Fingers for pudding:

And we made a bonfire - an inside one from paper and tissue paper due to my son's uncanny ability to injure himself:

And this is what it looked like when we placed the candles behind it:

Samhain activities part 2

The children's Samhain poems - this is my daughter's:

The Pumpkins Shine Bright

The lanterns are getting lit,
It gets really dark.
Firework Night is on its way,
The bonfires are lit soon.
The leaves are falling quickly.
People dress up and scare people.

And this is my son's (not quite so seasonal, but very definite):


I like engines,
Especially blue engines.
I like engines a lot,
I like all engines.

So there you have it. Part 3 to follow...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

I'm in The Mother!

It's always nice to get a nice thick brown envelope containing a good magazine, but it's doubly good when it's a magazine with an article you wrote in it!

Anyone who gets The Mother magazine, then check out my piece on page 12, The Birth of a Mother. Hope you like it!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Samhain activities part 1

So, we have bats made out of toilet rolls:

And masks:

Saturday, 25 October 2008

A thrill runs through the allotment...

What could it be? The whsipers started early this week, knots of people in corners - 'have you heard?', 'when will it be?' 'maybe the weekend...' and today, the wonder arrived! A big pile of manure! And it was a like a festival at the allotment - more people than I've ever seen there before at one time and a kind of holiday atmosphere with everyone chatting, making manure jokes and mucking in (ahem!) to get it shovelled and onto plots. Isn't it strange what makes people happy?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Feeling more positive

I'm generally feeling a bit more positive about things this week, despite having a really really awful night last night which ended with everyone awake, both children screaming, me really cross and shouty, and my husband rather bemused about what on earth had happened to kick it all off!

Otherwise though, the allotment is finally starting to look like I had envisaged it would - ie, nicely dug, covered in leaf mulch and planted up with overwintering crops. I think about half to two thirds is like that now, but there's still a lot to do, mainly round the edges, and I would like to get it under control before the spring growing season makes all the weeds grow again!

I had a long discussion with my mum this week about how the kids are doing, in terms of their development, education, social skills etc and she was really encouraging. Given that she's a primary school teacher with over 20 years experience, I feel she is in a position to know that the children are not falling behind where they 'should' be and although I know I shouldn't care about where they 'should' be, I find I can't quite let this go. Especially in view of all the doom and gloom spreading in the HE community currently due to the latest guidelines proposal and the potential impact of Contactpoint.

Our new HE group moved to its winter venue today and it worked pretty well. We actually had the entire soft-play to ourselves and even met another He-er there who knew nothing of the group and had come that morning entirely by chance! There seems to be a hard-core of fairly regular attenders forming, and they're all nice and the kids get on well, so I'm feeling quite positive about that too.

The cat's stitches are due to come out tomorrow too and she seems generally to be healing really well. I hope she can go outside again soon as I'm getting fed up with my bad nights being added to by the cat hurling herself noisily against the back door at 2am in a fruitless attempt to get outside.

I have an optician's appointment tomorrow so all this positivity will probably soon be punctured by finding out that my eyes are worse and that it costs a king's ransom for new glasses.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Last of the harvest & board games

I've just dug up the last of our potatoes on the allotment and am fantastically proud of how many we've managed to produce despite all out set-backs and difficulties. I've also dug half of the carrots and they've grown really well, I'm so chuffed. Now I have a much better idea of what grows well and what doesn't and will be filling the allotment next year with potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic and other root crops. I've just finished planting my overwintering onions and that half of the plot looks great, just like an allotment should! It's a shame about the other half, but we'll plod on with clearing that. Now that it's getting colder the slugs are finally leaving my pumpkin plant alone too and there are loads of flowers on it - we may yet get a few small pumpkins, though probably not in time for Samhain!

This afternoon I spent some time playing Rainforest Rescue (an eco-themed snakes & ladders game) with just my son, and it did make me laugh. He's only 3, so a little young to really get the hang of a dice-throwing game though he's very good at taking turns and counting along with his counter. But, he just couldn't understand why I thought he should slide down the waterfalls - his counter was a parrot and surely I knew that parrots can fly? So, I slid down them dutifully, as a tiger should, while he flew up waterfalls and won every game. He is so lovely.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Oh dear, another whinge

Feeling very low at the moment. Have just spent another weekend flat out, too ill to move, and still not sure what is wrong - migraines, labyrinthitis, a combination, no idea what has triggered it. Got to have some new glasses as I haven't had even a an eye test let alone new glasses for 6 years. Even the computer has a virus and is doing odd things. And the cat has a nasty abcess. All worry, as well as money we can't afford. Just when I think we're getting straight, something else seems to come along and kick us up the bum. I know I should be thinbking positive, but I'm too tired due to being ill and then being got up at 2am by my son who 'just wasn't tired' for 3 and half hours. Well, I was, but of course he wanted company. Surely the week must only be able to get better?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

An anniversary

Firstly, today is the first day since Friday that I haven't woken up with a vicious headache, and it's such a relief to actually feel vaguely well. Still tired thanks to my son and his amazing 5am starts, but at least not feeling like death. Hooray!

And secondly, it just occurred to me last night that my husband and I have been together 12 years this week! We're not really ones for celebrations of anniversaries but I am quite chuffed and also a bit surprised by this one - it has kind of sneaked up on us. 12 years feels like an achievement, a goodly chunk of time, lending a bit of gravitas to our relationship which is nice as I still often think of him as my boyfriend rather than my husband even though we are sober and grown-up parents nowadays and have been married for 4 years too.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A whinge

I've had awful headaches (and a migraine all day Sunday) since Saturday and and I'm really fed-up with it now. I'm not sure if it's my son's phase of not sleeping at night, the overcast weather, dehydration in the morning from feeding all night, or my wisdom teeth that's set it off (or maybe a combination) but I'm really fed-up with it. I don't like taking painkillers and due to still feeding, I'm limited in what I can take to fairly basic ones anyway which don't help much, but I've been in such pain that I've probably taken more in the last 4 days than I have in the last 4 years.
The last time I went to the dentist (in March), she said I might have to have to have at least 1 and maybe 2 wisdom teeth out and I'm terrified at the thought (general anaesthetic at hospital) but obviously if they're going to cause me awful pain, I will have to get it done. I had thought they were gradually coming through OK, and maybe they are, maybe it's something else that has set this pain off. I would get some cranial osteopathy for me as it helped the children in their teething, but we're rather skint now and I also need some new glasses and then there's Christmas coming up. Gah! And it's raining again and we're going to LLL this morning. It always seems to rain when we go there and it's rather a long walk so we'll get there soaked again.
Fed, fed, FED-UP.

Monday, 6 October 2008


After only 3 or 4 trips to the pool, my daughter is now swimming widths with armbands and treading water without, and my son is having a great time splashing about both with and without armbands quite confidently (not sure if he is actually swimming or not as he splashes around so much!). But if I had needed any back-up for my decision not to put them in swimming classes, it was provided today when some swimming classes were going on for school children in the other pool while we were there. I was actaully quite shocked at how bad they were - they did the classes in groups of around 10 children - the others had to sit in the gallery and watch until it was their turn - and even when the the small group was actually being taught, it consisted mainly of them standing around on the side of the pool while they ignored the swimming instructor and messed around until they got shouted at. Then they had about 5 minutes in the water, then out and in with the next lot. Several of them were watching me and my kids rather wistfully as we swam and played about. I felt really sorry for the kids in the classes, it certainly looked dull to me.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

New home ed group

I have accidentally co-founded a new home ed social group - as you do! I was just chatting with a friend a few weeks back about how it would be nice to have a small, informal, social kind of group nearby, made a tentative post on a local yahoo group, was taken up on the idea by another parent and lo and behold! - it started today. And it went very well - we met in a local park and around 8-10 families turned up which was more than I'd imagined. The adults and children all got on very well, so now it's going to be a weekly thing. I'm a bit stunned at how quickly it's all happened. My daughter is more than ready for this kind of thing and was in her element bossing, er, I mean, *organising* the other children. I did feel a bit bad for my son who would obviously die rather than be left out, but actually isn't really quite ready for this kind of thing yet and it was a bit much for him to cope with. I know how he feels. I'm shattered.