Sunday, 17 May 2020

The Lockdown Effect

 Just like Lancashire council our local borough offers a green waste collection service for a yearly fee of around £40.00.  Although we have two compost bins one at the front and now one at the back, the green bin is a great way of getting rid of larger woodier tree and shrub clippings so we don't mind paying the charge.  We do however mind someone else using our bin as a dumping ground for their garden waste (because the local recycling centre is closed) especially when it is soil which is not accepted in the waste stream, grr!! As a result, Dave left a post on our local next door neighbour site and the following morning our 'neighbour on the left' offered to help Ben dispose of the waste in the general grey bin:

Another lock-down birthday and this time it was my mum's turn.  We had a video catch up and sang 'Happy Birthday' on the day and her parcel home made bunting from me and a handmade card from Pip arrived the following day:

The scissors were out and it was time for another at home hair cut courtesy of mum!  I've managed to neaten Pip's asymmetric cut and thankfully it is almost all one length, much easier to style:

Last week's veg box brought a bunch of beetroot so a quick search on BBC Good Food and we found a recipe for beetroot and onion tart.  The pastry contained grated carrot and was soft and light.  Gluten free pastry can be notoriously temperamental and it can be quite tough if the dough does not contain an egg but not so with this mix, a real winner:

Ben and Pip's relationship has strengthened during this time and although they have their moments they do have fun together:

Another week over and a new one about to begin, even though most days feel like 'ground hog day!'  Slowly we are making changes to our weekly rhythm, Friday has been declared a 'do your own thing day' provided it does not involve video gaming!!  Saturday is family chores and pizza/soup day :-) and as from today we will be having a lunch date with Mum H at 12:30 pm every day.  This will have a two fold benefit, accountability for me to ensure that lunch is served in a timely manner and a good way to break up the monotony of Mum's day.

Hope you are managing to stay safe and well xx 

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Be A Lert

Don't go to work but if you can go to work then go to work but if not then don't go to work.

You are due in work tomorrow (Monday) but no wait that isn't right, make that Wednesday.  This only applies to England because Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are doing their own thing #stayhome 

Go to work but don't use public transport so you'll have to use your bike.  What no bike?  Then you'll have to walk and if you can't walk then use public transport.

Primary school children reception, one and six will return on the 1st of June ... Good luck with that one I've never yet known a school manage to control a case of head lice let alone a deadly virus and social distancing with four year old kids utterly bonkers.

If you're travelling from France or Ireland then hey you're welcome and you can bypass the fourteen day quarantine expected of other visitors to the UK.  After all the Corona Virus is a different more friendly version in those two countries.

You can now go out for the day as a family ... cue mass exodus to the Lake District and the seaside. Cumbria Police are warning against travel to the Lake District as the area is still dealing with overload of the virus.

You can meet a family member in the park but only if you observe the 2m rule and only one parent at a time, so Mum in the morning Dad in the afternoon then?

Above all don't forget to keep an eye out for that pesky virus #missionimpossible and BE ALERT :-)

Friday, 8 May 2020

Victory in Europe 75

It has been quite a lovely day, we have watched programmes, met with family online via zoom and enjoyed a WW2 quiz hosted by Kath and Mary, listened to stories of survivors and joined in with our neighbours having afternoon tea on the lawn.

 Chatting to our lovely neighbours on the left.

 The car was moved and we had the garden table on the front drive.

 Serving tea and chatting with ...

 ... our neighbours on the right :-)

 Yummy afternoon tea.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Manic But No Panic

Last Wednesday was a peculiar day and slap bang in the middle of all sorts of things going awry my email informed me of a sale in my Folksy shop!  Cue scrabbling around for wrapping and posting items, a quick lesson in how to make your own business cards and organising drop and go postage.  The item arrived on Monday and that very evening the lady in question (who lives on the Isle of Wight) texted and asked if I had anymore bunting for sale.  I did have another set of crocheted bunting, it had intended to be for my little purple shed (a 50th birthday present from Dave) which was left behind in the sale of the house and so the item was packaged and duly dispatched. 

 This morning I had another text from the same lady and she has commissioned another four sets of crochet bunting so more yarn has been ordered from Wool Warehouse.  In the interim I am making birthday bunting for my mum :-)  The sewing machine has also been put to good use, I made a tunic dress over the weekend as well as some knitting project bags to sell in the shop.

50th Birthday Shed Bunting

The boxed pleats were a bit of a challenge and since the pattern was from one of the many Japanese sewing books, there wasn't much in the way of pattern information.  The original dress resembled a tent!  It was meant to be loose fitting but it was positively voluminous.  Thanks to WhatsApp video calls with my mum in law we were able to work out how to redraft the pattern and after the 20th rehash and try on I have a wearable item!  It is still slightly too big but not stupidly so :-)

Obviously not staged in anyway and not the photos I would use on the Folksy page but just some quick shots to share with the WhatsApp family group.  The fabric was from Mum H just as the lock down began and she loved seeing how it had been used.  The only outstanding job is to fit the drawstring enclosure and take some product photos for the Folksy page.

I've not been the only one in a happy space!  One of my workroom windows is directly opposite Dave's workshop and it was lovely to see him tinkering in there one afternoon.

Both kids have been busy with their school/college lessons and various projects and we seem to have found a reasonable rhythm to our days.  This lock down thing isn't so bad after all :-)

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Scrabble Spelling, Scintillating Stone Age and a Scottish Shoogle!

It has been a bit busier than usual in the home school classroom, largely due to me actually having the time to plan some lessons!!  We had fun using the scrabble tiles as a way of reinforcing our weekly spellings; Pip definitely responded to the kinesthetic and visual form of learning.

You can just see Poppy 'on guard' at the front room window! 

 No paparazzi, it's a Monday morning and I'm already on my third mug of coffee!

I found an old Grade 6 Oak Meadow curriculum that we had begun using with Ben many moons ago and decided to put it to good use with Pip.  The overall theme is Ancient History and so we begin with the Stone Age.

This morning we watched a really interesting Youtube video about cave art and the cave in question was situated in Cantabria, Northen Spain, not far from Em.  We were also challenged to take a nature walk and try and find as many edible plants as possible.  We walked down Stone Lane which is a five minute walk from our house and enjoyed the fresh air and blue skies even though it was a very cold and blustery day.  The only edible plants that we could identify was nettle and dandelion, although we suspect that one of the flowers might be a wild garlic?

 Hand knitted rabbits

BBC Bitesize have also started online lessons this week and we joined in with the English lessons and even I learned about Modal verbs!! We also watched the daily science show courtesy of the Glasgow Science Centre and our subject for the day was Newton's Laws of motion:

 The chap fronting the experiments was fab and when one of them went hilariously wrong he said, " I'll just give it a wee shoogle!"  Pip, Ben and I were howling with laughter at this point but at the same time my memory was jogged.

When Mary Grace was born she was struggling due to swallowing amniotic fluid and whilst the staff were busy with Kathryn a Scottish midwife handed her to me and said, " C'mon Grandma you need to give her a wee shoogle!"  Meaning have her upright and jiggle her a little so that she can bring up the fluid.  It was lovely to hear that word and have that precious memory come flooding back.

Yesterday and today have been very similar in our rhythm, of main lessons in the morning and practical activities and a walk/ football in the afternoon:

Ben has been busy again in the kitchen and last night cooked a really delicious chicken and vegetable curry with home made onion bhajis:

We are half way through the week and on the home straight for the weekend.  When Em and Kath were small and Dave worked away during the week Wednesday was my favourite day; I'd made it through the week and only two days untill Daddy was home :-)  

Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, 19 April 2020

That Went Quickly

This week has positively flown by, we've roughly kept up with some form of school work even though it has still been the Easter holidays.  I had to laugh when I saw an Instagram video post of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talking about the importance of mental health during this time (that wasn't the funny bit)  At the end of the interview they were asked, "so how are you all coping?" and that was when they had admitted they hadn't told the kids it was the Easter holidays and that homeschooling was 'interesting' :-)

Building the raised bed

 Ben finishing the raised bed with the advice of Dave in positioning of the drill holes.

From the kitchen

  Easy Banana Muffins

70 grammes unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
190g flour
50g xylitol/sugar
2 level tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas mashed with a fork
2 eggs
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
130g grated/ finely chopped chocolate

Heat oven 160C and grease muffin tin or use paper liners

Whisk flour, xylitol, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

In another bowl whisk melted butter, mashed banana, egg and vanilla until blended.

Add banana mix to the dry bowl then use fork to combine.  Do not over mix.  Stir in the chocolate and fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.

These muffins were totally yummy and we will definitely be baking them again.

 Butternut, chilli and peanut butter soup served with vegetable and sausage tartlets.

 Sausage and Veggie Tartlets

454g sausagemeat
1 Courgette grated
1 Carrot grated
1 Onion finely chopped
320g weight in puff or flaky pastry
Flour to dust

Preheat the oven to 200C

Place sausagemeat, courgette, carrot and onion into a bowl.  Mix well to combine.

Roll out the pastry and cut into rounds and place in a shallow muffin tea and then add small amounts of the sausage and veg mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  These are great served hot or cold.

Everyone tucking in to our Saturday night supper :-)

Monday, 13 April 2020

What Do People Do All Day?

This is a title from one of our favourite Richard Scarry books and it charts the activities of all sorts of folk through the course of their day, from mummy goat right down to Lowly worm :-)  So here is our family day as seen on the WhatsApp group:

 My sister in law Heather has been painting her mud room and adding decorative handmade touches such as cushions for the bench, cheery storage  baskets and smartening up the boot stand.  At the weekend she also finished the Easter wreath and made a cover for the top of the hallway radiator that was looking a bit shabby.  I think she is living her best lockdown life at the moment ;-)

(For some reason I hit a live record button on my phone, LOL)

I opened San's barber shop for business and had two very patient customers waiting on the doorstep.  Patience was the operative word as it took me over an hour and half to cut their hair, it was a case of watch the Youtube video, pause and hopefully remember the steps involved, LOL.  In all I think I did a pretty reasonable job and who knows by the time this lockdown is over I might be fairly proficient!

I wasn't the only one in the family running a hairdressing service, even Ollie had a haircut from either his mum or dad.

Kathryn spent the day decluttering and cleaning her kitchen cupboards,

So that's us a real family effort of keeping busy and positive during these rather strange days.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Happy Easter

Hallelujah, He Is Risen!

Thanks to the wonders of technology we joined in with the Triduum services from Maundy Thursday through to the Easter Vigil.  Here are some photos from the past few days:

 Our cherry tree in the front garden, Dave has been tracking its progress with a daily photo, I will have to make a montage and share later in the week.

 Home made lemon meringue pie, by golly it is long drawn out process!  Make the pastry bake it 'blind' then make the custard from scratch (separate the egg yolks, grate and juice two lemons, dissolve sugar in water, mix stir and heat) pour the custard on the cooked case, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, top the pie and bake on a low heat for 40 minutes.  It was totally worth the effort :-)

Doorstep delivery ~ a lovely friend dropped off some items that were missing from our online shop and here I am wiping everything down with a bleach solution.  To the right of me is our veg box delivery from Bradshaws.

A birthday room awaiting the birthday girl in the morning ...

... and here she is, seven years old, how did that happen?!!

Dave's mum challenged the family Whatsapp group to a virtual Easter bonnet parade.  Mary was off the bat with her rabbit crown and the rest of us finished our efforts either late last night or last minute this morning :-)

My lovely but very weary Mum wearing her crown, she had been up most of the night in terrible pain (currently awaiting a hip replacement that has obviously been pushed back).  It was a real family effort, my Dad made the crown, my nephew Craig aged 24 did the lettering and Mum added the artistic touch with the colouring.

In the absence of her usual Easter branches Mum niftily utilised all her Easter decorations that had been made over the years and three summer hats to complete this ensemble, genius idea!

And here I am wearing my attempt, thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, a home school craft cupboard and a friend sharing on FB how she had fixed her daffodil conundrum!

Here is the hat also doubling as our Easter table centrepiece.

 Thanks to Ben we had a delicious Lamb casserole, creamy mashed potato and broccoli.

 Our lovely church family at St T's dropped off this goody bag of treats, the card was drawn by the Vicars wife, Sara.  She is a really accomplished artist and author.

The crochet window yarn bombing continues, happy flower number one is complete and number two is currently a work in progress.  Hope the decorations in the window provide some cheer to passers by.

I hope and pray that you have encountered some moments of joy in your day xx