Wednesday, 28 July 2010

How Time Flies and Other Stories

Thanks to the skills of this mama at:Our Little Nature Nest  we gleaned her kindly shared information and worked on our life skill project for the Summer Holidays, that of telling the time.  We played a telling the time matching pairs game and looked at the clock story courtesy of the above link:

Mr and Mrs Time.

And when it all became too much, a mid afternoon siesta on the loft room floor!
Our weekly rhythm is working well and we have managed outdoor time most days - the other days have been pouring down wet weather, I wonder has Autumn arrived suddenly days!  Here are some pictures from a recent park visit:

Note the wellies!

Benedict lending a helping hand on the raised walk way.
Since we learn as we go we have not taken an official summer break and as a result we continue to plod along little by little.  Little and often works well for us, it keeps boredom levels at bay and current interests alive.  The weather therefore does not play a pivotal role in our plans and unlike those on a six week break we have the good fortune of grabbing sunnier days throughout the early autumn.  This is the first year where we will not be back to school in the September.  No school uniform or regulation shoes to purchase and no sitting in a hot class room for Benedict when the summer decides to put in a second appearance, as it so often does at that time of year.  For now however lunch time warming soups and bed time hot water bottles are the order of the day!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Pink Peace

We made play dough from this recipe:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 teaspoons oil
food colouring
In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, salt and cream of tartar.
  Make a well in the centre of the bowl and slowly add water, stirring into dry mixture bit by bit until well combined.
Pour in oil and mix; add food colouring until mixture is the desired colour.
Place mixture in a medium sized saucepan over a low/medium heat and stir continuously.  The mixture will begin to form small lumps.  Keep mixing until it comes together into one big lump(this will take 3-5 minutes).  Remove from heat immediately.
Carefully remove from the pan and place on a lightly floured surface; when just cool enough knead until smooth.
The peace comes through adding twenty drops of lavender oil to the kneading process, the tension melts away and the smell is soporific.  Great for overtired kids and crabby adults at the end of a loong tiring day!
The recipe was gleaned from: "Nanny Wisdom" by Justine Walsh and Kim Nicholson and the suggestion to add lavender oil was from Elizabeth Foss in her family homepage entitled, "In the Heart of My Home".

Mixing the dry ingredients.

All mixed and ready for the hob.

All finished and ready to roll!

With a little help from mama.

Pink Hair.

"Gently does it"

"Clever girl!"

This was Pip's first experience of play dough and as you can see it went down a treat.  This little one is growing up fast and it is such a treat to witness her development and to be able to record it here on our blog.  God is good!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Rainbow Rhythm

Inspired by this blog,  Mummy's Learning Too , I made one of these:

Our weekly rhythm
This colourful yet simple chart has revolutionised our working week and stopped Benedict from saying every day " what are we going to do tomorrow!"  Our market /field trip day meant a trip to a local farm shop followed by a soup lunch with Auntie Maureen and Uncle Bryan and then a nature walk in the back lane.  We saw Hawes, Elderberries, Purple Sloes, a rabbit trail and listened to the sound of baby birds high in their nests.  We managed to make it home before the heavens opened and it has rained none stop ever since!!
Today is baking day and Pizza Scones with Salad were on the lunch menu.  Once the breakfast dishes had been cleared we set too and using a child friendly recipe with only a modicum of help from me Benedict made our lunch!

This recipe was from the "Energy Balance Pack" supplied by the Flour and Grain Education Programme. It is a Key Stage 2 teaching pack relating to nutrition and health.

Weighing with an old fashioned weighing scale since our Rosemary Connolly Ener- gi scales are kaput!  A pretty good maths lesson and  balancing act!

Rubbing in the flour and butter.

Spreading pesto sauce on the base.

Topping of onion, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese.
The pizza was then rolled into a sausage shape and sliced into rounds.  The pizzas were a lovely pin wheel formation such a shame that I forgot to take a picture of them, doh!!  Whilst the pizzas were cooking Benedict cleared the pots, washed up, wiped the surfaces and made the salad for lunch:

Plenty of pots to wash!

Super Salad!
A very enjoyable lesson and lunch all done despite having had a  super bad hypo less than one our after breakfast!  Our diabetic nurse was visiting at the time and as usual, was speechless as to what was going on with the diabetes.  Typically since lunch he has had rebound blood sugars and been running amazingly high, ah well at least the sun is shining!!

Friday, 16 July 2010

A bit of this and a bit of that

We actually made the bold step of abandoning the household chores and ventured on a short trip to town for errands and recycling.  We all felt miles better for being out of the same four walls. goodness knows why I did not think of this sooner!!  We seem to be out of rhythm since our weekly home education group disbanded for the summer, so this morning's trip has been a wake up call for me to plan regular jaunts outside.  Let's face it the house always needs attendance, it's like painting the Forth Bridge, a constant rolling programme of maintenance and repair. My motto for the time being will be a quote that, is hung on my mother in laws hallway wall:
An immaculate house is a sign of a wasted life!
Our house will be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy!

After our trip it was time to cobble together a quick lunch, egg and chips did the job!  Not amazingly healthy but darn good as a once in a while treat.  Whilst lunch was cooking I made best use of the oven and cooked a cottage pie for tea and a brown rice milk pudding for tomorrow's breakfast.  Whilst Pip was having her afternoon nap, Benedict and I played the Bus Stop Game by Orchard House Toys.  He won both games!  We then had a go with our new Djeco gel pens, they were brilliant to work with and the colours were just glorious.  Benedict was really taken with them and considering he normally hates colouring as it causes his hand to ache, he drew a lovely thank you picture for Nanna and Grandad H.
Whilst an art session was underway in the dining room Dave had the kitchen to himself and made apple jam!  Here are our pictures of the day:

Me reliving my childhood!  I love Mary, Mungo and Midge.

Benedict's drawing of a red cat by the sea and a whale rescue courtesy of the emergency services!

Our resident jam maker in action!

Pip baby wearing Ruby Buttons!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Art Attack!

Straight after breakfast once the table had been cleared and wiped, we brought down paper, craft books, glitter, glue, paints and brushes.  We all spent a very enjoyable hour painting and sticking.  I practised wet on wet water colour painting.  I was pleased with the result and have thought of a way of utilising my coloured paper in a  collage.  Benedict drew and then painted a castle scene and an underwater scene, he also had a go at splatter painting with the help of Sara.  Pip as usual thought it was a great idea to do a spot of face painting!  She did however settle to painting on paper and was enthralled with the mosaic sticking and glitter art.  All in all a very relaxing, uplifting and productive start to the day.

Benedict showing Pip the technique to hand printing!

A happy painter!

Mosaic in the making.

Colourful Chaos!

Under the sea.

King of the castle.

Leave them alone...

and at eight o'clock in the evening they'll decide to tackle a huge puzzle book of crosswords, anagrams and shape sorting.  Earlier in the day Lego constructions had invaded the house and mum was worrying slightly that, no "real work" had been accomplished!  Note to oneself quit worrying!!

Ordinary Days

Ordinary days : cleaning (a little), cooking (lots!), laundry, gardening, harvesting, bread making (thanks Dave!), Holy Mass (Sara, Benedict and Pip), visiting friends, Grandparents calling by, all amidst the chaos and unpredictability of chronic sickness.  During the difficult days arrow prayers are sent heaven wards at regular intervals and somehow, someway we make it through to the day's end.
"Here my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.

I call to you from the ends of the earth; my heart grows faint.  Set me high upon a rock; be my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in your wings' shelter."

Psalm 61 v 2-5

Pip helping Grandad mend the lounge door.

Outside art.

Trophy winner!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Colony Capers

Benedict and Dad went on the end of year sausage sizzle with Beavers.  Sausages were in plentiful supply as was good humour, silly songs and boundless energy from the little one's.  Here are some pictures from the evening:

The excitement is mounting!

Water pistol shooting to knock out a lighted candle.

Welly wanging on the top field. 

Edible shoe lace necklace.

Singing around the camp fire at the evening's end.

Convertable Currency

So what do you do with 16lb of red currants picked on the spur of the moment?  Be very grateful for friends who have access to a large supply of jam jars, are willing to buy sugar at the drop of the hat and spend a Saturday afternoon jam making in the kitchen! 
After an impromptu lunch of salad, cooked tomatoes, home made bread, freshly cooked gammon (courtesy of Aunty Maureen and Uncle Bryan) and preserved damsons and Cornish ice cream; Dad and Uncle Bryan spent the afternoon in the kitchen making the first of many batches of red current jam.

Uncle B at the helm.

Bubbling away nicely.

Bottled and ready for storage.

Pip undertaking the role of primary taste tester, as you can see she takes her job very seriously!

"Hmm... I'm a bit undecided I need just another taste to make sure!""

Emma's Day

Last Friday was a very special day for our oldest daughter Emma, as she made her three year vows as a religious sister.    In 2013 she will make her final vows and be a fully professed sister of The Home of the Mother.  We were unable to share in her day in a physical way but united ourselves to her spiritually.  Uncle Bryan and Aunty Maureen came and we prayed the joyful mysteries of the rosary:
Pip wearing her beads and listening to the Rosary.

After meal chats

Mucky Pup!

After tea we spied the berry bushes groaning with fruit and sallied forth in harvesting our hoard:

Benedict and Uncle Bryan concentrating hard

Dad doing his bit!

Pip helping too

All harvested... we filled six large bowls and collected 16lbs of berries.

In closing here is a special picture of our Em, taken earlier in the year when she was in Lebanon:


Sr Emma Maria of the Sweet name of Mary.

May God continue to guide you and bless all that you do, with much love Dad and Mum xxx