Friday, 31 October 2014

Our Week Away

Despite my being ill again with another flu type virus, swollen glands and sore throat, we managed to have a lovely time with our family in Cumbria.  We stayed with Kath and MG.  The house has two bedrooms but Kath's room is huge and easily accomodates a king size bed with floor space for two sleeping bags, plus other bedroom furniture.  We took over her room and she bunked in with MG in the smaller room.

We spent a morning at the cinema to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2", not really mine or Pip's cup of tea, too noisy and the computer generated images were over bearing.  It is a miracle that Pip did not suffer any nightmares!  Benedict, Dave and his mum however enjoyed the film and it did the job of killing time on a very wet Tuesday morning!  Pip did have her treat that afternoon when the gals spent an afternoon crafting:



On Wednesday we took Dave's mum to a hospital appointment in Kendal, followed by a visit to Holker Hall.   We had thought we might partake in a halloween craft but it was getting late, so after a quick mad dash around the playground we all enjoyed a treat in the cafe:

 Conversation time with Nanna.

Yesterday was an at "home" day.  I think the constant being on the go and the packing, shopping and cooking had taken its toll and I slept on and off throughout the day.  I did manage to rally after tea and Dave and I went to visit some family members that we haven't seen in a while, it was lovely to catch up.

Today we had lunch with Nanna and Grandad H, popped by to see my parents in the afternoon and then made the most of the dry weather and spent some time at the beach:







 A silly beach "selfie", goodness knows how anyone manages to take a sensible shot of themselves!  Also extra long arms are needed to get everyone in the shot!!


 Playing a game of getting around the course without touching the ground and he succeeded!


 Working out a climbing tactic.

By now it was nearing tea time, so a sandwich and bagel tea was the order of the day and we lit our halloween pumpkin.  Mary was of course delighted with the funny face and kept saying pumpkin, pumpkin!  We left the lantern with Kath, so I am hoping it will get another lighting before the weekend is through:








Saturday, 25 October 2014

Helping :: Indoor Picnic

We have been getting ready to vacate the house for a week, as the WC is having a much needed overhaul.  Pip has been great helping to pack and clean and her reward was a game with Dad and an impromptu snack picnic in the afternoon:




 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Flow Charts :: Red Door Cafe

Benedict has really taken a shine to the Information Technology component of his curriculum and in particular has had great fun with flow charts:





In addition to using the text book we have also downloaded the recommended "Flowol" software and he has had great fun actually manipulating a simulated traffic light system not far from Dave's brother in Somerset!

This last week of the school term has been really tough on Pip and every morning we have had tears before school.  All the kids are just plain exhausted and ready for a half term break.  Our traffic system is worse than ever at the moment and we often find ourselves taking the "scenic" route home!  It was on one such journey that we found out about "The Red Door" cafe in Halton and this was Pip's treat visit after a long week at school:

 The cafe is owned by a husband and wife team and they also run a small gallery from two side rooms off the main eating area. Aswell as her many other talents, Lynn painted the picture displayed above.


 Beautiful wool rugs.


 Pip with a much needed orange juice.


 Orange and Almond Cake ~ I made this for Chanda when she came to stay in the summer!


 A really good decaf latte served in a really nice willow mug.


 "Slow Food" ~ all the food is cooked on this gas fired AGA, which means Lynn is in the kitchen by 6am every morning! 

 AGA cooking is a real art and I commended her on her cakes, scones and pastries.  They also cater for gluten free including making home made bread, so I am sure we will be back for a lunch time treat before too long.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Sick Day Treat


This little fella flew all the way across a very large pond to get here ... thank you Eva!  I know you had purchased him a little while back, but in fact he was meant to arrive here today as he has cheered me up no end.

  You see it was really a case of "as one goes down the other goes up", so Dave is back to his pre virus ambulatory self and it was then my turn over the weekend to get sick!  First a twenty four hour fever, swollen glands and horrid headache, followed by my back going into spasm and where the slightest movement was incredibly painful.  I even resorted to taking codeine which is unlike me, still I am slowly on the mend and that is all that counts.

As a result of my predicament, Dave had to cancel the neurology appointment as neither of us were in a fit state to make the hour round trip journey.  His next appointment is in a fortnight although sometimes we wonder is it really worth it, since the likelihood of him being offered treatment is virtually nil!  In other countries disease modifying drugs are being offered to those with progressive MS, but over here NICE ( National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) or as I refer to them as NSN ( Not So Nice!) do not regard such use as a valid use of NHS money :-(

Apart from the lovely bird winging its way here, we did have one more silver lined cloud and that was from a lovely friend who collected Pip from school and took her to a local community centre  for a play and after school snack.  Sallie also very kindly made our tea, a delicious leek and potato gratin, with bacon and tomatoes.  All Dave had to do was cook sweet potato wedges as an accompaniment!  I think the codeine is definitely affecting my thought processing as I clean forgot to take a picture of the meal, beautifully arranged in a lovely blue glazed casserole dish!  Here instead is the meal combo on my plate just before eating, it was as good as it looked:




We found some kindling and  coal this evening, which is much appreciated as the temperature has dropped drastically.  Thank God for toasty warm feet and a cup of gluten free barley cup!  Night, night xx

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Quiet

It is nearly nine in the evening and the house is enveloped in silence.  There are no pictures to share as I haven't taken any.  I think Dave is having an MS relapse which is not good, from his point as the person experiencing the daily struggles and from my view of having to watch him struggle and being powerless to do anything.  We have a neuro appointment scheduled for next Tuesday.

We have spent the last two weekends with Kath and Mary Grace.  The first so that she could work a weekend shift at work and the second so that she could visit some friends for a pizza supper and chat.  It was lovely to see them both, but the packing, unpacking and attempting to run things at this end has left me overwhelmed and exhausted.  I don't manage very well when I have to step outside "my box."

Depsite struggling with health issues and keeping up with the sewing work, we are still on task with the home school work.  It has been a blessing not having to "think or plan."  I check the schedule, dig out the work and we get on with it.  At long last, we have a system in place that works alongside the whackiness of our life!

I have a respite day tomorrow with a friend and since Dave is unwell, Sara and Tom are visiting, to help with the kids and make sure Dave is OK.  There visit will be such a blessing, as I have had this day planned since the beginning of the summer and it is a much needed chance for some quiet and peace.

You Tube videos have been a welcome distraction and The Art Assigment is just brilliant and definitely well worth watching.

My knitting and a hot milk are calling, love San x 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Finding Our Feet

After the chaos of the previous few weeks we are finally settling in to some kind of routine.  Our daily round is in part governed by Pip's comings and goings for school but we still have a good five hours each day to fit in home school activities and craft/business work for me.  It is a case of so far so good!

  Benedict would have begun secondary education this September and with this in mind, I decided it was time to ditch the unschooling which was not working and to follow a school based curriculum.  The course is specifically geared towards home educators so it is not jam packed full of activities, thus allowing us freedom to meet other folks, attend the fortnightly group if the mood strikes and to follow rabbit trails if a subject grabs our attention and we want to delve further.

We are currently on week three of a thirty six week course. Benedict has made good progress with the English, History and Science but the prescribed Maths course is a non starter!  Benedict was diagnosed with dyscalulia during the summer and as a result we are following a hands on approach to maths, using puzzles and games to reinforce learning.  For the first time ever he is enjoying number work :-)

Our history topic is Vikings (his favourite!), in addition to written work, he depicted a stone painting for art and is currently working on a viking chest.  Woa betide anyone who lifted the lid of the chest without permission form the chief!

In science we are looking at classification and to reinforce our learning we made a yeast balloon!  Sadly the balloon did not inflate as well as we had hoped, but I think this was down to the fact that the rubber material was quite rigid.







 

In English we have been looking at parts of speech and Benedict had fun making up silly sentences using various cards:
 






 "Time to check your bloods Benedict!"
 
 
 Pip is working really hard at school and although she is happy to leave the house in the morning by the time we collect her at the end of the day she is shattered and very grumpy.  In addition to her time spent in school she also has weekly spellings, some literacy/numeracy homework and daily reading.  She also enjoys out of school activities, namely rainbows on a monday, swimming on a tuesday and ballet/tap on a saturday morning for an hour and a half.  Quite a lot going on I know, but I am reluctant to drop down on the out of school activities as she really does enjoy them.  She will be ready for her half term break at the end of this month!

I have been busy in the loft room.  Pip's head teacher has commissioned five medium sized japanese knot bags!  She took the bag that I made her to London a few weeks ago and had so many compliments that she ordered five for Christmas presents!  I also had a lovely chat with a family member over the weekend and she gave me the much needed  push, to think about my client base for the shop and finalise the website. So hopefully things should be live by the weekend.
 
We helped Dave's mum and dad celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday.  The reception was in the original venue all those years ago.  Mum had displayed pictures from the wedding but in between sorting out the kids and chatting I did not take many pictures.  
 






 The smaller cakes were yummy gluten free mini carrot cakes and they were delicious!

So that's me caught up!  Hoping to blog more regularly from here on! x

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Emma and Sister Morgan

It has been five years since Emma came home for a visit and waiting for her to make it through arrivals seemed like an age.  When she appeared I gave her the biggest hug ever, I did not want to let go!

 I sent this picture to Kath on her phone ~ she was shopping in Tesco when it came through and Mary Grace was trying to kiss the phone!



 Em and Sr Morgan who hails from Colarado.



 Meeting properly for the first time!  The last time Em saw Pip was when she was four months old.



We had an interesting journey home, Dave and I were both tired so several wrong turns were made :-)


 Still hugging, I could not believe she was "home"



 Saying Grace and serving salad and baked potatoes at 10pm!



Em and Sr Morgan stayed in the caravan.  The last time Em stopped it was in the folding camper and she mentioned this upon arrival, to which I replied that they had been upgraded and it was four star accomodation these days!


 Snapping away, again ...



 ... and again.  Photography and video editing is part of Em's work at The Home Of The Mother TV Studios.


After the wedding they spent a day in Pip's school sharing about The Home with the Key Stage 2 kids (7-11 years).  The kids asked some really good questions and it looks as if the school will partner with The Home's school in Equador.  Em shared a really sweet story over tea that night about a spanish boy having started at the school and  knowing very little English.  When they realised this was the case they spoke to him in Spanish and his face lit up!  After that they acted a translator for him when he was partaking in class discussion about their visit :-)

The week sped by really quickly and before too long, habits were washed and ironed, bags packed and passports/tickets checked.  The checking of passports is a long standing joke for the last time Em visited when Benedict was Pip's age he hid her passport as he did not want het to go!!  I had completely forgotten about that story.


 On the last day the two of them cooked potato corquettes and cheese/tuna omelettes for lunch.  We then made our way along the motorway to Ladywell Shrine where we were meeting some friends and the Sisters were also being collected by a family known to them in the Manchester area.  They would be taking the mega bus from Manchester to London the following morning, in order to attend mass at Westminster Cathedral and then fly out from Stansted later in the day:






 Canon Benedict Ruscillo was Fr Luiz' Uncle and he in turn is Benedict Luiz' God Father!  We chose the name Benedict as it is Hebrew for God's Blessing and Luiz as a second name was intentional, but we laughed when we also realised that he had been named after another priest too!



 Shrine to Padre Pio.





Our dear friends Aunty Maureen and Uncle Bryan.  They cheered our spirits when we had to say goodbye, which was the hardest thing ever and plenty of tears were shed.  As a treat they took us out for tea at a local pub near to their home and then we all attended evening mass at The Cathedral.  By then peace had been restored to my soul and I was able to give thanks for the many graces and blessings we had received that week.

God is good!