Wednesday, 23 June 2010

We're all going on a ...

... virtual holiday!  Opening credits sung to the tune of Summer Holiday by Cliff Richard!  In an effort to spark a bit of enthusiasm in the learning room and round off the summer term, I had the idea to take us on a virtual holiday round France, Spain and Italy.  There is method in my madness, not only would we learn/improve our language skills but we'd increase our geographical and general knowledge too!  So with suitcases packed we headed by car to Plymouth and then on the overnight ferry to Cherbourg.  Our first stop after Cherbourg was to see the Bayeux Tapestry, we talked about the battle depicted in the picture and the fact that, in layout it was very similar to a comic strip!  Benedict then drew a picture of his own choosing and narrated the story linked to it.  I acted as scribe and he then copied out his narration.
We then called in at Lisieux and learnt about the saint responsible for "The Little Way".  Saint Therese learnt very quickly to see the good in each situation and tried to make the best of everything.  I was given the opportunity to practise such a response when I dropped Pip's dinner at lunch time!  I did not respond favourably but Sara came up trumps and through this experience Benedict was given the opportunity to learn the right way!!
Here are some pictures from our journey thus far:

Planning the journey.

Our trip to Cherbourg, including coffee and croissant for breakfast!



We are off to Chartres tomorrow to see the Cathedral famous for it's stained glass windows and a medieval Labyrinth.  With a bit of luck and glue and tissue paper we'll be making our own stained glass window and walking our own labyrinth, as well as eating crepes for tea!  Bonne Nuit!

Self Directed Learning and Moments of Peace!

Lego building and stickle bricks are the order of the day here at chez maison.

This little chap just lurves Lego!

It's been amazing to see Pip develop a keen interest in the stickle bricks, she will play with them quite happily for a good ten to fifteen minutes.  She's still a keen climber but boy I am glad that, she's spending more of her time in sitting down, quiet activities!!
Of course if you really want to glean a goodly amount of cooking time then you bring in the big guns!  Big sister Sara kindly gave some of her time and this enabled me to finish the tea preparation in peace:

I love the concentration on Pip's face, she is fast becoming a Lego fan!

Thanks Sara for being a super star of a sister!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Season Swap and a Solstice Supper

I finally completed my sewing project, a mini quilt entitled " Solstice Squares".  On the whole i was pleased with the result as it has been many years since I did any patchwork and quilting.  The "perfectionist" in me had to be quelled as I struggled hard not to rip out some of my work and begin again!!  Some of the squares weren't exactly square, ahem, but time was against me so I had to press on and get the job done.  I missed the solstice deadline by one day but I am hoping the recipient of my handiwork will be able to put it to good use.

The main block of squares.

Finished quilt.

The main block of squares and multicoloured striped border are highlighted by a thin cream band.  I think it works well and it has inspired me to plan another project in the very near future.
Continuing with the theme of multicolour, I made a lovely minestrone pasta dish for tea and it was well received by all:

Typically we all stayed up way past our bedtimes, but it's solstice day and since it only comes around once a year better make the most of it I say!!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Learning all the time

This has been the sub text for Benedict's home education report.  It has taken me a week to write it and it will be posted on Monday morning by registered post, to arrive on the doorstep of the LEA department the following day.  We had originally agreed to a visit but, after having received a rather interrogative questionnaire at the beginning of last week, both Dave and I felt that, it would be less stressful to submit a report.  Thank goodness we are not obliged to allow the LEA access to our home.  Our LEA unfortunately have a very bad reputation at the moment and quite understandably parents are choosing to send reports instead of having visits.
The report has enabled me to fully appreciate just how much learning Benedict has achieved in such a short space of time.  He isn't a workbook kind of chap but give him a set of Lego instructions and some pieces and he is away.  It is the first time he has tackled such a feat and we were all very impressed with the result:

Pip is also coming along in leaps and bounds.  She sings and chatters away constantly, often there is the beginnings of a recognisable words in amongst the babbling.  She is fascinated with Benedict's blood glucose monitor and knows how to use the machine!  She has also taken an interest in the garden, especially the watering:


Saturday, 12 June 2010

A Happy Birthday Boy

Benedict turned seven years on Friday 11th June.  He had fun opening his presents from mummy and daddy; more brio track and points, as well as an engine shed and turntable.  Nanna and Granddad H came to visit and stopped for lunch.  They brought with them a bag of books and activity sheets and a wind up torch.  The torch in particular was a real hit!  We had sandwiches and fruit and ice cream in the garden.  Pip as usual kept everyone on their toes and we took it in turns being on Pip duty!  Here are  a selection of pictures from our day:

Today we had some special friends visit and a little chap from Benedict's old school joined in the fun.  We had hot dog sausages in buns with a side serving of chips.  Pudding consisted of jelly and ice cream and a slice of chocolate birthday cake.  Benedict as usual got a bit giddy and helped himself to extra cake when my back was turned!  It was very difficult to gauge the correct insulin dose and consequently I erred on the side of caution.  This of course back fired and I've been chasing ridiculous blood sugars ever since!  Still, on the whole the proceedings went well and the party bags went down a hit - plain white T-shirt, a box containing transfer sheets and fabric crayons, a packet of chocolate stars, two balloons and a  piece of birthday cake.

A tiring but very enjoyable set of birthday celebrations.  Although we have other birthday's in between, the next big bash is Sara's 21st birthday in November, so at least I and the  bank account have chance to recover!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Surprising Saturday

The day began with Dave announcing that he had a 3 inch burn on his arm but can't quite remember how it happened!  He thinks it was the result of a steam burn from the kettle but as it was late last night  when he was making drinks  he thought nothing of it!  Pip also was not her usual self, she had started with  a croup type cough at the start of the week but during night she was definitely wheezing.  A trip to the out of hours GP facility resulted in  a burns bandage for Dave and a Salbutamol inhaler for Pip.  She was not impressed with the puffer tube even though it was decorated in teddy bears!  After several gentle attempts she has since become less suspicious of it and she has finally settled with easier breathing.
Benedict also was under par and slept for two hours this afternoon.  Needless to say as I'm writing this way past midnight he is currently watching a Rush DVD with Dave.  Not only is he not tired but he has had dangerously high blood sugars, so I've had to do a set change on the pump and administer a much needed injection.  Despite the hassles everyone is in good spirits.
I finally managed to continue with my emergency cleaning programme.  What is the emergency you ask?  The answer is: The house is/was filthy!!  The only rooms left outstanding are the lounge, stairs and dining room.  Am hoping to complete the jobs sometime tomorrow apart from the dining room which is at present the decorator's work space!
Our last surprise of the day was a phone call from some very dear Spanish friends who are in the area for the next few months!  It was so uplifting to see them all and boy had the kids grown so much in a year!

The Week That Was!

We should have been holidaying in a static caravan this week whilst our decorator papered and painted the landing, hall and stairs.  It was not to be and after spending the entire weekend washing, packing and unloading, within 24 hours of arriving I was undertaking the whole process in reverse!  Due to a mix up with the keys our decorator could not gain access to the premises, so on a Bank Holiday May Monday we made our way home.  We did stop at a Motorway Services half way through the journey and had a filling, tasty and reasonably priced hot meal.  It was a good job too as I collapsed into bed once home with a horrendous migraine and remained horizontal for a good few hours until the attack had ceased.  Here are some pics from our very short stay!

In the foreground is the frame from the wooden swing seat, Benedict and Pip loved this seat and of course we had to sing row the boat as they swung to and fro!

Pip considering the caravan steps.

"I CAN do it..."

"... nah!  Think I'll get down the usual way!"

Tuesday was my birthday so after taking Benedict and Pip to see a friend with her boys, we made our way to Barton Grange Garden Centre.  We bought a few items for the garden, some jigsaws for Benedict and a Mr Man Ball for Pip.  We just had to get the ball as she spied them stacked in a brightly arranged pile and shouted ball!!  We left our items in a trolley park and headed into the restaurant area where we ate lunch - herby lamb sausages and as much veg as you could eat!  We chose french beans, carrots, cauliflower cheese and new potatoes.  The meal was really delicious and although the table resembled the aftermath of a chimps tea party, there were clean plates all round.

Pip in the toy car shopping trolley.  An ingenious marketing ploy, it keeps the child quiet in the hopes that the shopper will spend more money!

On the way home we called in at Booths Supermarket so I could buy some very important supplies... in the absence of a birthday cake (my choice) I decided to have a cream tea instead.  Whilst other folk pottered around I set to and in between making a casserole I rustled up a batch of scones:

The finished result.  They tasted yummy but were disappointingly crumbly.  I used my never fail gluten free scone recipe, so can only assume it was the change in flour mix that was the cause.  Well that's my excuse anyway!
Wednesday we went to collect Sara from Nanna and Grandad's house.  We arrived in time for lunch and afterward Benedict practiced balancing on his bike and then we played a lively game of football.  In true footballing fashion Benedict and Granddad collided and littlest man came worse off - nasty skin graze about 3 inches in diameter, swelling and bruising.  Savlon cream and iced lolly distraction were doled out in generous amounts and whilst Benedict recuperated in front of a Wiggles DVD, I ransacked Nanna's fabric stash.  I've decided to take part in a Season Swap run by the Green Parent Forum and after spending a good week racking my brain an idea lodged in my head!  Although the brief remains the same the project has morphed into something far different from what I imagined it to be.  I am very grateful for my MIL sewing room and am enjoying being behind the wheel of a sewing machine once more.

Pip wanting in on the action!

Immediately after the collision caught on camera!

Thursday was our at home day.  Whilst Dave and Sara took the little one's on errands I was able to piece together my sewing project.  After lunch Dave and the crew worked in the garden and I continued with the sewing.
On Friday we visited some special friends and had a picnic lunch in the garden.