Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Another Sick Day!

I had all sorts planned today including an interesting craft relating to the story of St Micheal the Archangel since we are celebrating the Feast of The Archangels today here in the church.Alas it was not to be as yes you've guessed it himself is sick again!
Normal service should return tomorrow, Please God!

A Birthday Treat For Daddy...

... was a trip to Ravenglass and a ride on the steam engine.  Not just any old ride mind you, Daddy was invited to ride up front on the foot plate, needless to say he was one happy chappy.  Here are some pictures of our day:

Pip was desperate for a charge around in the car park after the longish car journey.

A welcome cup of tea prior to our steam ride.  Mummy especially was grateful for the warming brew, as she was still feeling slightly queasy from the car journey!

Benedict and Nanna H sharing a happy moment.

Pip fascinated with Grandad's watch.

On the move.

A hopping on and stopping off point, on the way back a walker joined the train at this point having completed his trek.  I bet he was glad of a sit down!

Pip munching on a crisp at snack time!

A very happy Daddy with the engine driver Peter.

After our epic trip we made our way to Millstones restaurant and craft centre for a well deserved lunch.  Sadly there was not much on offer regarding a gluten free diet, they did not even have baked potatoes on the menu!  So we settled for our usual emergency request standby and they managed to rustle up egg and chips for me and the kids.  The others fared better with there choices, Dave and Dad had Cumberland sausage casserole, mashed potato and vegetables and Mum had beef goulash with mash and veg.  We had our usual obligatory mooch around the craft centre and although we did not buy any crafts we were fortunate to spy some activity books for Benedict and Pip.

A very happy Daddy at the end of a busy day!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Another Sick Day!

Benedict woke this morning with a trapped nerve in his neck, ouch!  He's spent the day virtually horizontal with a scarf around his neck and a hot water bottle for warming comfort.  We kept learning type activities to the bare minimum so he practiced spellings, read from school reading book, made Lego models, watched River Cottage Everyday ( nutrition, money management,eat local,animal welfare and environmental consciousness) and EWTN Kids Faith Factory - My Catholic Family.  The subject matter portrayed was related to suffering and how we can unite our sufferings to that of Christ's, a timely topic!  The programme was then followed by The Divine Mercy For Kids, so I guess we can add Catechesis to our list of subjects studied today!
Benedict also undertook an online learning style assessment from Mercy Academy, recommended by a mum on this blog:
Untrodden Paths
Eva has  very kindly responded to some of my questions  regarding Home Schooling; it is lovely to have support from another parent on this journey.
The information gleaned from the assessment is very illuminating and now this Home School Mum has a lot of thinking to do!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Day Trippers

We spent the day with morning with friends and shared lunch together at a reasonably priced eating establishment.  Pip and I had a jaunt through town and bought our weekly veggies from the market and our much needed peanut butter from our friend's health food shop.  Just as we were leaving the town centre Benedict and I popped into Marks and Spencer and bought him a lovely warm winter coat, long sleeved T-shirts, underwear and comfy cosy furry slippers.  He was one happy chappy.
Upon returning home we were greeted to the news that, our part of the city was on alert regarding a bomb scare and we were awaiting the army bomb disposal team from Leeds!  Apparently this is the second alert in less than a week, doh my mind must have been elsewhere when the first incident occurred!!  Naturally this sparked a lengthy discussion on how to diffuse a bomb and all such other related information.  Thank goodness for Dad I say, as this depth of knowledge totally eludes me!
Benedict is currently watching another installment of Tin Tin, I can see I'm going to have to read one of the mysteries and see if I can set him some literary and numerical challenges related to the read.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Back on Track

Benedict is now finally virus free so we have once more begun incorporating home school into our daily doings.  Yesterday we took a long overdue visit to the library and came home with twenty books a piece, these should keep us busy during the forthcoming week.  Pip in particular was taken with a book called Rosie's Walk and she cannot bear to be parted from it:

Settling down to read.

Reading to Benedict.
Benedict chose some interesting adventure stories and I found on his behalf a "Boys Book of High Jinks and Adventures"  and a variety of eco/ sustainable living books aimed at children.  I'm hoping one or two of the projects therein will inspire him.  His must have reads at the moment however  are the Tin Tin books by HergĂ©.  He is very fortunate to have inherited a selection from his big sister Sara and he is also watching a boxed DVD set on loan from our dear friend Beatrice.
We have also finally finished our thankfulness tree.  I'm very pleased with the result and Benedict had the brain wave of adding the sun, sky and the grass, it really brings the whole image to life and is truly a joy to see.

Benedict adding his thankfulness message.

Our messages read as follows:
Mummy is thankful for the gift of faith and God's mercy and forgiveness.
Daddy is thankful for blessings too immeasurable to count and for family.
Benedict is thankful for Pip and for his friends.
Pip is thankful for Benedict and Boo Milk!
Today Benedict worked on his weekly spellings using the Rummikub tiles as a visual aid.  We then took a walk to the local co-op and amongst other things Benedict purchased two small chocolate bars, one for him and the other for Pip.  We have decided to keep Maths activities as concrete as possible and shopping for one's own goods is most definitely tangible, especially when you get to eat the goodies later on!!
After lunch we looked at the receipt from the chocolate bars and using 50 one pence pieces as our math manipulative we double checked to make sure the correct change had been given.  Using the 100 number grid we placed a penny on each square to reinforce place value and counting practise.  We then talked about the fact that, 100 penny coins is equal to one single one pound coin.  Benedict checked the weight of both groups and concluded that, it was better for the pocket linings to hold a one pound coin as opposed to one hundred penny coins!  We also talked about buying items with penny coins and the difficulty it imposes the bigger the value of the purchases.

One hundred pennies on the number grid.
Using a similar principle we placed our two pence coins on even numbers and counted in twos as we went.  This activity enabled us to recap on our odds and evens lesson which had first been introduced prior to Benedict becoming ill.

Counting in twos and even numbers.
Other events that have occurred these past days are discussions about:  Electric Shocks and Static Electricity, Why do security guards wear crash helmets?  What to do when a bus breaks down and Do pigeons get neck ache?!!  Benedict also commented about his latest Tin Tin read entitled The Crab with The Golden Claws - the story was based around the smuggling of Opium.  He decided that, he did not like the topic of drugs but I was able to explain that, in years gone by opium was used for medicinal purposes for general aches and pains.  Like all things when used in controlled circumstances and for the right reasons, these medicines have there use.  Amazing to think that such a topic would appear in a children's series of writings.  I did Google Tin Tin and in the general knowledge section it did hint that, Tin Tin's character was exposed to darker adventures as the series progressed.
Our copy work today was the poem/hymn:
Come, you thankful people, come,
Raise the song of Harvest-home:
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker, does provide
for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own Temple, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home.
                H. Alford.

Vegetable and bean stew with cheese and chilli dumplings.
Stew base is onions, carrots, courgette and pepper sauteed in oil until soft.  Then add one jar of passata sauce and a vegetable stock cube in a little boiled water.  Mix well.  After twenty minutes further cooking time add a drained tin of pinto beans and mix again.
Dumpling mix is 100 grammes flour, 50 grammes of vegetable suet, salt and pepper, pinch of chilli flakes and 100 grammes of grated Parmesan cheese.  Mix well and then bind with a little water.  Roll small pieces of the dough into ball shapes and place on top of the stew.  Cook for a further twenty minutes.

Eve's pudding.
Stewed apple base, unable to give quantities as we are over run with apple sauce mix at the moment!
Topping is 125 grammes flour, 50 grammes sugar, 50 grammes butter/margarine, 2 eggs and vanilla essence.  Mix all the ingredients well.
Butter an ovenproof dish and line with the apple sauce mix and topped by the sponge topping.  Bake in a 180C oven for approximately twenty minutes or until the sponge is golden in colour.  Serve with custard, ice cream or cream.
All in all a good start to the week and long may it continue!

This and That

The highlight of last week was Benedict's investiture as a Beaver Scout.  He did very well saying his promise and eventually managing the three fingered salute!

Getting ready.

"Hurry up Dad this chocolate treat looks tasty!"

A few weeks ago Benedict was also a worthy recipient of another choc fest, when he learnt to ride his bike.  Here he is hiding behind a mountain of hot chocolate, whipped cream and chocolate buttons!!

Such an  event is truly blog worthy since sweets of any kind are such a rarity for him.

Other news is related to an assortment of sewing, knitting and crafting items which I have finally completed.  I devised my own sewing pattern some weeks ago and made an assortment of reversible toddler tabbards - great for mealtime mayhem and creative chaos.  I was very pleased with the results.

Front view in navy twill.

Back view.

The reversible image is this lovely jelly bean design.
I also managed to finish Pip's flower garland cardigan.  She really suits the colours and I'm so happy with the shaping that I'm in the processes of making her another one in a different colour scheme.

Lighting doesn't do justice to the main colour which is in fact a lilac!
I was also involved in the Green Parent Autumn Season Swap, I must admit my endeavours this time were no where near as grand as the Summer swap, just hope my partner isn't disappointed, especially since she was the recipient of the summer solstice quilt!  Any way it's the thought that counts right?

Acorn Bud Baby and Felted Leaf Card.
The verse inside the card read:
Midsummer past, the days reach out
Towards the Autumn glow
Of golden corn and falling leaves
That lead to Winter's snow.
So let us grasp the precious hours
While the season lingers on,
And keep the sunshine in our hearts
Long after Summer's gone.
       Ann Rutherford.
We were very lucky to receive two knitted gnomes and a trio of toadstools from our swap maker and the look on Pip's face says it all!

Playing with a toadstool.

"I love Mr Gnome Mummy"

Our Seasons Corner is nearly completes, pictures coming soon.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Autumn Days

All has been quiet in the school room this past week as Benedict has succumbed to an odd virus; nothing sinister, a bit of sickness, occasionally elevated temperatures and thumping headaches.  I would not be surprised if the sudden change in the weather and season is responsible for this current downturn in his health.  Think I'm gaga? Then check out any homoeopathy book and you will find all sorts of ailments that occur as a result of cold winds, temperature drops and seasonal changes!
This quietening period in our days has meant that, I've been able to observe Pip more closely and am constantly amazed by her good nature, sense of humour and her ability to learn new things quickly and competently.  Her latest interests involve making tea for her babies and mummy/daddy too!, attempting a wooden jigsaw on her own and spending quiet time looking at a book.  Her speech has suddenly blossomed and this past week she has added the words: mum, dad, Ba for Benedict, down, ta, out and more to her repertoire.  She still enjoys baby signing and has learnt the sign for please and thank you this week.
Whilst Dad pottered at home and looked after Benedict this morning, Pip and I went on a nature/season walk.  We wrapped up warm and followed a circuitous route near our home, stopping at the GP surgery to collect Benedict's prescription and also calling at the pharmacy to collect his medicines.  In between we chatted about the wind, watched the buses and cars go by and collected conkers both in and out of there casing, pine cones, leaves and tiny tiny crab apples.  Pip was fascinated with the different textures and Benedict was very grateful for his nature presents.
Due to the ridiculously early start to the day - 5:30 am to be precise - Pip shouting to get up and Benedict being sick!, I hadn't officially offered my day to the Lord but He in His wisdom afforded me the opportunity to offer support and encouragement to two of my neighbours; one at the start of the walk and the other at the end!  Seeing His grace work in those two situations truly reminded me of a word of encouragement offered to me at the prayer group on Monday evening - remember no matter what God is always with you holding your hand.  I needed to hear those words that evening and have tried to recollect them as I have gone about my daily living these past days.
Here are some pics of these past few days:

Elderberry Syrup and Apple Sauce.  Dave is an absolute whizz in the kitchen when it comes to preserving fruits and making bread.  Thanks to his sterling efforts we have jars of goodness tucked away for our own use, as well as gifts for friends, family and neighbours.

Comfort food for chillier days - toad in the hole served with green beans, mashed potato and apple sauce.

Quiet play.


Candle light at the day's end.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Sick Day

Mum poorly yesterday with a migraine, so not only did Dad hold the fort and run the house ,but he also made an excellent stand in teacher!  Today it was Benedict's turn :-(  He woke at five am with a temperature and headache and has pretty much continued in the same vein all day.  This evening he has had two episodes of vomiting but I think this is largely due to swollen glands in his stomach, rather than a gastric bug.  When in sickness mode we manage the diabetes in a different way, so Dad has been dispatched to the local Spar for Coca Cola, Soft Mints, Ice Cream and Chocolate!!  Thankfully blood sugars are within normal range and there are no ketones in his blood, long may this be the case!

Practical Skills

" Charlotte Mason advocated that a child learn handicrafts - in her day these would help support and enable the child as they grew into adulthood.  Life skills are likewise important in teaching children to be industrious"

Simply Charlotte 

Life skills this week have entailed vacuuming, drying the dishes, gathering windfall apples in the garden and helping to peel and chop them, hanging out the washing and helping dad sand a door ready for painting.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Another Milestone

This past week Pip has been upgraded to dining at the big table!  As with all things she takes such events in her stride!

Not wishing to be outdone Benedict and Dad also get in on the camera action, crazy or what?!

Not Back To School Picnic

We travelled a fair distance to meet another home educating family and fellow blogger.  We were blessed with good weather which was an answer to prayer, as the previous day had seen high winds and constant rain.  The kids had a great time running around.  I would have liked to say that it was a restful time for mum but that would be a lie!!  Benedict refused to eat his lunch in one sitting as he would normally do at home, after all the other kids were grazing why couldn't he?  Needless to say I was constantly carb counting and administering insulin, not good!  Pip decided she would also eat on the hoof so I too wandered around with my tub of pasta salad and fork in hand. 
Where was Dave in all this?  He had done a sterling job driving us to our destination but upon arriving it became immediately obvious that, the picnic area was not accessible for him due to very poor mobility.  So much for a family day out!  He instead ate his lunch in a local pub and when asked later how was lunch his reply was " Shockingly quiet!!".  The final sting in the tail was the adding up of money spent on the whole day and the answer was frightening.  Mind you as I'm often telling Benedict it is okay to make mistakes as  we are given the chance to learn.  In future we need to plan more effectively when going out and Dave needs to swallow his pride and use either a wheel chair or mobility scooter to help him get around.  I'm always telling him they are ENABLERS not Dis- ablers!
Some pictures of our day:

Pip eating a homemade peanut butter cookie and if you take a peak in the bag you'll spy our foraged elderberries!

New Shoes, Red Shoes, Mum' Shoes

Repeat after me, " There's no place like home, there's no place like home..."

Thankful for...

... friends, family time, foraging and food.
We've been harvesting apples galore from our garden, which have been quickly turned into stewed apple.  The mix is popped into sterilised Kilner jars and a quick pudding or breakfast treat is rustled up at the drop of a hat.
Our hedgerow foraging has brought forth elderberries in abundance!  Aunty Maureen and Uncle Bryan foraged on their walks as did our lovely neighbour Yvonne.  We foraged further afield, on our recent trip to Darley Abbey Park, Benedict spotted the luscious berries just as we were leaving!  We also spied a huge tree full of Sloes but did not have the time or ability to carry anything else!
As predicted we have been blessed with  good spell of weather and have managed one or two short trips nearer to home.  We face a constant dilemma between needing to be at home for school and chores with the equally important need to be out in the wider world.  I'm sure somewhere along our home school journey I will feel more comfortable with getting the balance right.
Here are some pics from our past week:

Ready to forage.

Aunty Maureen in action.

I think this may be Ragged Robin.

Meadowsweet - this and other sweet smelling herbs were strewn on the floors to scent the air in the sixteenth century.  It is a shame that such a useful flower came to stand for Uselessness in Flower Language!

Benedict joining in with another boy who had also just learnt to ride his bike.  It is amazing what a bit of stiff competition will do to stir the spirit, as up until that point Benedict was reluctantly ambling along!

An afternoon visit from Nanna and Grandad N.

Pip just lurves her Grandad!

A fraction of our apple harvest!

The Crazy Gang!

Pip sharing Daddy's stewed apple and blackberry.