Thursday, 31 January 2013

January is no friend of mine....

I won't hide it, I HATE JANUARY. I love Christmas and the months leading up to it, halloween, bonfire night, Ruben's birthday, our wedding anniversary, Piper's birthday and then Christmas but I'm yet to love January. Its cold, its miserable, no one seems to enjoy it! So if I'm honest tonight and the 45 minutes that remain of January-I'll be glad to see the back of you all together. Bring it on because I LOVE FEBRUARY!!

We already have some great things to look forward to in February and the months that closely follow it and I'm ready to embrace the rest of the year with open arms, excitement and hope!

But despite my hate of this miserable month there have been some nice moments...




























So its not been ALL bad..

Windy walks and library days

Today we had a windy walk to the playground with the diggity dog, Daddy has been working away for the last two days and isn't due home until tomorrow :-( None of us find it easy without him here as we all miss him SO much, thank goodness for Skype! So I've been keeping us busy by seeing friends and today we had a very blustery walk to the playground. I was a little nervous taking the dog down the path again after the rather nasty attack on her last time but there were no such problems today and it was a lovely walk. The kind of walk where two happy sisters walked hand in hand ahead and chatted away happily whilst Ruben and I talked. Its nice when you get to have some real good conversations, and I find that Ruben prefers chats like this when he is outdoors and has my full attention. He really loves nature and discovering things and has been collecting lots of seeds and things when he has been on walks recently. He takes them home and likes to mash them up and see what's inside them, I think its great that he is discovering new things all by himself but today we had a chat about careful we need to be with berries and seeds and how dangerous they could be. We talked about how nature makes things bright colours sometimes as a warning sign and how things like mushrooms can look perfectly safe but then turn out to be deadly. All of this lead to a trip to the library after a lunch. Since we moved house we haven't visited our local library at all, we have had one trip with friends to the central library but that's all. So it was really nice to go back to our local library, the girls don't tend to get so many books out usually as according to them "they've read everything here" but it was lovely to see them both get a huge pile each of books, even Bailey got out some interesting and different books along with his Warhammer favourites!

I got some of my favourite baking books out as we seem to have been bitten by the baking bug here again, I think due to last weeks Comic Relief celebrity Great British Bake-Off. As we got home Piper decided she wanted to make a cake with pale blue icing, apart from showing her where the weighing scales were she completely baked the cake herself. Not something she does usually as she leaves baking to Cordelia but she was so proud of herself and is now planning what to bake next! We had friends over for tea so home-made pizza was eaten followed by lots of laughs and cake...I almost daren't say it but I'm going to whisper it quietly...very quietly...its been an almost perfect home education day....



Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Artificial blood!

Ruben has very recently been showing a great interest in science, it kind of comes and goes with the children to be honest but I feel quite comfortable with that and quite like the cycles of science we do! He has wanted to try some experiments and I'm in the middle of putting some things for him together that will interest him. But as always he wanted something immediate to hand (it would be great sometime if the children could give me a few days notice when taking on a new topic-but where would the fun in that be exactly??) luckily I had these Science Museum kits that I bought when we first began home educating....in 2008...!!! some we have used before now but some were also quite disappointing. This kit however captured both Ruben and Cordelia's imagination, I'm sure its nothing to do with my youngest daughter's love of vampires either :-/

I'd love to say that I knew exactly what they did but I was in the middle of something and when I turned around they had already made the artificial blood and were decorating Cordelia's hand with it! She left it there all day too....






Despite missing what exactly what they did I was more impressed and extremely pleased that they were actually doing something together! Cordelia and Ruben have always been very close and he adores her but Cordelia gets on so well with Piper that it can sometimes be hard for Ruben to get a look in with his sisters and he finds that very difficult. But this managed to untite them even if it was only for 15 minutes....

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Meeting up with friends & horse stables!

Today we went to meet up with my friend Mel and her two lovely boys, we managed to have a cuppa and a chat whilst Ruben, D and L all played together in the garden. Then we had a lovely walk up to the nearby horse stables. I have been looking at these horse stables recently as I priced up lessons for Cordelia. She has had them on and off for a while but I have never managed to find anywhere that I think just fits us perfectly. Which to be fair is not easy as the equipment and lessons are quite expensive. But after thinking and trying to work things out money-wise I've said if she has the equipment for her birthday in April she can start having a private lesson once a fortnight, which is just about manageable. The body protector in particular is so very expensive but I know it is something that for me, she HAS to have and I'm not happy with a cheap or second hand one. If Cordelia should ever, (shaking as I write this!) falls off the horse I want to know that she is wearing the best support we can afford. She is more than happy to have a body protector and helmet for her birthday anyway and super, duper excited about the prospect of getting back on a horse, its been a while for her. Her love of horses began at the age of 9 months and one of her first words was "Popo", she just adores them. No idea where it comes from because I am petrified of them!

The staff at the horse stables were brilliant and even let us look around at the horses, which I found hugely welcoming, it seems like a great place for Cordelia to be and she loved stroking all the horses.


 Ruben shouted me over to show me this anvil that he had found. I didn't even know that was what it was called so I was really impressed that he did-how did he know? Lord of the Rings of course!
 On the way back Cordelia spotted this house name too, we also spotted "Piper's" crisps in the horse stables shop and a caravan called Bailey-seems like a day for names!!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow part 2..

I'd really love to say that today went much better than yesterday, really I would...

After yesterday I thought we'd go out without the sledge and just take the dog for a walk instead, already it sounds much simpler. Bailey, again stayed home, maybe its his asperger's that means he doesn't like the snow or maybe because he's just got some sense-who knows?.

First part of the walk went well, that's 5 whole minutes, then...disaster struck, compacted snow makes for slippery paths. Bang on his knee goes Ruben, tears, screams of "I want to go home now, I can't walk..." We ventured on nicely squishing him between mama and daddy holding both his hands. After a few minutes the whaling stopped and he went back to cuddling his soft Bulbsaur.

We turned around to come home (after my tree project photo had been taken) and then a rogue dog came running up towards Tallulah (our rescued Jack Russell) who was safely on a lead and attacked her!! I ended up having to kick the dog off her whilst the girls screamed. We hurriedly walked off after checking Tallulah was ok and the dogs owner came past us, I was so cross but managed to calmly tell him what his dog had just done. His response? He gave a nervous laugh and told us the dog had run off, yeah really we'd noticed!!!....

Back home and thankfully the day improved greatly....Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 watched, a mega long game of Warhammer played. We couldn't get Bailey to his warhammer group today due to the weather so hubby kindly had a battle with him. Cordelia helped me bake a chocolate brownie and a steamed syrup pudding for after our roast chicken sandwiches. Much more relaxing.

Piper also lost one of her bottom teeth (its huge!), but spent most of the afternoon doing Paper Fashions, which she hasn't done for ages.

Tonight we watched countryfile, which was in Exmoor and a place we'd visited in the summer on our camping trip "The Valley of the Rocks". And Ruben had an early night, he's shattered. The girls stayed up and we watched "Call the Midwife" together, they watched the Christmas special and really loved it. It nicely ties in with a place we're going to visit next week...weather permitting that is...









12 Month Tree Project Part 2

On going tree project...


This is my tree in January

Saturday, 19 January 2013

T'is Snow Joke

Today we dug the sledge out of the garage and walked to the farmers fields nearby so the younger three could finally do some sledging. Bailey really doesn't enjoy snow so he stayed home in the warm.

If I'm totally honest I wasn't looking forwards to it, call me grumpy, but it usually ends in the same way-with grumpy, cold children & tears. This year was no different. In his enthusiasm for snow my youngest boy likes to throw snowballs which is great except that means you get covered in snow, which then starts to melt equalling wet gloves/clothes. Not something he enjoys very much.

So it begins before we even reach the field, then we join all the excited, kitted out in ski gear holding coffee in exec cups parents also sledging on said field. Children happily sledging down the hill already, then it's Cordelia's turn. She falls out pretty much immediately and already the stropps begin, then it's Ruben's turn to go down the slope. He does his usual trick of throwing himself off the sled and into the snow, he doesn't just laugh & jump back up though, he lays for a few minutes and then he strops all the way to the bottom of the field in a huff. Now he's cold and wet, I try and cheer him up and encourage him back up the field to sledge with his sisters, which he eventually does. Piper meanwhile has had her go and fell off but just laughed and walked back up the hill. Cordelia is shouting at hubby whilst he is calmly trying to say why she keeps falling out and give her some tips to stay in the sled. Already I want to go home....

But still we persevere and try patiently and gently to encourage the "fun" element of snow and sledging. As you can see by this photo of Ruben it doesn't get better and just ends in tears so we give up and walk back home, past all the excited parents/children coming past on the way to a fun afternoon of sledging....

Back at home and full of hot chocolates and fancy Cadbury biscuits and the grumpiness melts as we warm back up.

Tomorrow is another day, maybe sledging or maybe I'll stay home with Bailey in the warm with no stroppy children.....,







Friday, 18 January 2013

Biscuits, a new Tolkien book & more snow

Snow has stopped play here today! With heavy snow forecast for the next 3/4 days it seemed a bit silly to get stranded somewhere for the sake of Friday group. So we sadly made the decision to have a home day. Cordelia continued her plan of biscuit making and we very kindly helped her eat them!

Today we have done IXL, played Spore, turned Littlest Pet Shop into Lord of the Rings characters, drawn in the Top Model books, got back into Pokemon on the DS and in figures (oh goody more figures laid all over the carpet), had a very quick snowball fight outside (too cold to stay out for long) and I read Ruben his new book which arrived today "Bilbo's Last Song". It's a lovely book and a lovely poem all tied in nicely with beautiful illustrations. Perfect for younger Tolkien fans :-)

Its looking like a weekend of board games, sky movies & baking plus a sledging opportunity or two as this snow seems like its here to stay for a bit....









Thursday, 17 January 2013

Busy days and Poor Miranda!

As I went up to bed last night I found this gorgeous picture Cordelia had drawn me! She's so good at drawing especially horses, she'd left it on my pillow. Something she's doing regularly at the moment :-D
Yesterday we had to have the car breakdown company to the house because our family car wouldn't start, I have to admit to neglecting "Miranda" (as she's very affectionately known because her on board sat nav sounds just like Miranda Hart!) since hubby has a smaller company car it's easier to nip out in that than Miranda. So because its been SO cold and she's not been out her battery was dead, thankfully we have home start so they got her started and we took her for a run out. The girls and Ruben had a lovely afternoon at my mother in laws so it was very quiet here with just myself, Bailey on his Xbox and hubby in his office.
We're still continuing our daily maths practice with IXL and it seems to be going well.
Today I've been to see my BFF for a catch up, all by myself-benefits to hubby working from home! This afternoon Cordelia and I visited my friend Louise and her gorgeous baby JJ, feeling very broody now ;-) and had a lovely afternoon.

On the way home we popped into the supermarket, snow was starting to fall and the supermarket was busy, hardly anything left on the bread aisle but managed to get enough food to last us a few days, no mean feat for 6 humans, 3 cats and a tubby dog!!

Thinking tomorrow's Friday group may be off as the 5 day forecast is snow, snow and a bit more snow....since our road is already covered tomorrow is looking like a sledging kinda day....

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

This means War....Warhammer that is....

Yesterday on the blog I mentioned Bailey's Warhammer and thought I needed to show off his skills a little bit more...

He collects the Space Marines, Ultra marines and Dark Angels 40 k. He started collecting it when he was 10 years old but it only lasted a very brief period. We kept hold of his figures just in case he came back to it, which was a good idea because its SO expensive! Anyway he did finally come back to it last year and so his new obsession began, we've been through a few (not as many as Ruben thank goodness!) Thomas the Tank Engine, Transformers, Pokemon, Xbox (well that one is still ongoing..)

Luckily Hubby being the super dad he is, has managed to learn the very complex rules and regularly has battles with him. I've no idea how he manages to learn all the different rules or has the patience to play it but I'm in serious awe of him, games can last hours or sometimes even run into the next day...




For Christmas Bailey was lucky to receive quite a few new sets making his army quite powerful. He has spent quite a few afternoons this month patiently painting his figures.



His really made progress with his painting and I think it helps that he has found a local group that he attends weekly. All of his friends are either back in school or at college so its been a strange few months, although to be fair Bailey isn't really that bothered by socialising but this group has changed that. He really looks forward to his weekend group now and gets on well with the staff there and other members of the group. Some his own age, some younger and older. During the last week of the Christmas holidays a group member won a raffle and got to spend 3 hours whilst the shop was closed playing Warhammer on the big gaming boards, very kindly he invited Bailey to go with him, so the two of them got 3 hours of gaming with the staff-he really enjoyed himself. He spends a lot of time learning the rules and reading through the books and magazines and its become a really large part of his week.

Goodbye Vina Cooke!

Heard some very sad news today-Vina Cooke (Doll Museum Cromwell) passed away it was actually in 2011, which was the same year we met her but we only found out today. You can read about our visit there in this blog post which is from May 2011. Piper had such an amazing day and Vina Cooke really took a shine to Piper. Reading this newspaper article we found out today that she used to go to a market stall in Newark called "Piper's Bazaar"!!!! And that's where she collecting began...so strange as Piper is just not a name you come across everyday and given that Vina was in her 70's that would have been some time ago. Small world.

If you google Vina Cooke, this photo of the girls with her comes up. I remember taking them with my mother in law and it was such a strange place, she was a very talented woman. The house (a beautiful old rectory) was literally jam-packed with dolls, prams, dolls, clothes, dolls, dolls, dolls. I remember asking if I could take her photo with the girls, I said "Can I please take a photo of the girls with you because your famous to them?" and she looked at me and said "Well I am famous dear" it really made me smile and stifle a laugh.. Especially when she had to check the photo on the camera to make sure she looked "ok". Very funny lady.

Sad to hear that all her dolls have been auctioned off, wish we had known as Piper and my mother in law would have loved to have gone to see/buy. She had some truly amazing collections not just of dolls but vintage clothes, vintage wedding dresses, silver cross prams...all sorts of things she was a real collector! And she handmade lots of dolls too, including lots of Princess Diana and Prince William when he was a baby.



Goodbye Vina Cooke and thank you for taking time to tell my eldest daughter "You will go far Piper I can see it"

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Painted eggs, Playmobil & a Water Horse

A slow start to this morning with it being so cold (-3), Ruben played on his Spore pc game for a bit. Piper and Bailey both did an hour on IXL maths. Bailey then proceeded to have a Warhammer battle against himself, it takes so long to set up, play & then put away I really don't know how he has the patience! But the weekend group is obviously paying off because he has spent hours learning the rules and painting his new figures. He got quite a few new ones for Christmas and is about halfway through painting them.

Piper and Cordelia took over the hallway to play Playmobil, piper turned her bank into a toy shop and cordelia used her vintage circus fence to contain her horses. Looked like a lot of fun and giggles coming from the hallway! Piper has been using her new Top Model pencils to colour in Top Model pictures and Cordelia has made a lovely picture for her friends birthday, she spent ages on it but I can't put a photo on incase they see it :-p

Ruben has spent most of the afternoon playing Moshi Monsters with his figures and super moshi HQ. apart from a small break where he decided he wanted me to boil an egg so he could paint it. This is his finished egg-complete with glitter! Who knew he could paint and use glitter without the words crossing my lips? I'm impressed. He's obviously already thinking about Easter....,

After tea we watched the film I bought Ruben for Christmas- The Water Horse. He's wanted to go to see the Loch Ness Monster for a while now and we still haven't made it up there (yet) so I thought this film might be a good idea. It's actually a lovely film and we really enjoyed it. The children were very excited to read the front of the DVD-WETA did the visual effects for the film, the same team who worked on LOTR-theres really no escape from it haha!! He's now sat watching River Monsters with daddy-they love this programme-I feel a fishing/loch ness trip coming on.....,,,









Monday, 14 January 2013

And the snow finally came!

Bless my youngest three-they were so excited to see snow when they woke up this morning. It wasn't very much at all though, it started snowing much more heavily at around 11am and when it stopped after lunch they fuelled up on hot soup and piled on hats and scarves and gloves and wellies and ventured outside!

Usually this lasts about 5 minutes before they get cold/bored/snowballed and come back in but not today! Today they stayed out for a good 30-40 minutes. Ruben just ran around throwing snow at everyone and anything-especially moi! And the girls built themselves a snowman. Before I could get a picture though he toppled over :-( so they moved what was left of him onto flatter ground a built him again. This time Cordelia said he was a Hobbit snowman because he was much smaller! Then the girls chatted about what Hobbits would build out of snow......

Cordelia took this picture of her deer enjoying the snow.

Back inside, gloves, hats & scarves on radiators and hot chocolates with squirty cream drank. Cordelia made a lord of the rings scene with the Lego and even made blood out of paper.

Then we had a visit from friends where the girls made snowflakes and lots of horse drawings & tickle fights with R were played. Before pizzas for tea and a much quieter evening planning an exciting trip next week......