Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Everything Has Its Time...

To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under Heaven. 

This quote from Ecclesiastes best sums up our home ed journey at this point in our lives.  The curriculum has been shelved (yet again... sigh!) and I'm attempting to allow Benedict to "just be". 

I know I get the wobbles every time a "new term" begins but why should I?  Benedict has access to an exhaustive supply of books, craft materials, baking supplies, paper, pens, pottery clay and an oven fired kiln, a garden for bird watching and growing stuff, group activities and friends.  For now at least, this worn out "teacher" is hanging up her cap and gown and letting a little child lead instead. 

Here are some pictures of our past week:

 Dad and daughter time... Pip's very first train ride.

Playing with the the brio at the visitor centre.

Engrossed with puzzle building.

Pip and Grandad H opening belated Birthday and Christmas presents, from Uncle Andy and Aunty Catherine.

A Yabba duck and a ...

... build your own den kit!

A picture montage of the seasons calendar:

The pictures accompany the following poem:

January brings the snow
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings red hearts so bright
And newly dipped candles to give us light.

March brings the wind so cold and chill
Stirs the dancing daffodil.

April brings us sun and showers
And the pretty wild wood flowers.

May brings grass and leafy trees
Waving in each gentle breeze.

June brings roses fresh and fair
And the cherries ripe and rare.

July brings the greatest heat
Cloudless skies and dusty street.

August brings the golden grain
Harvest time is here again.

Mild September brings us more
Fruit and grain for the winter store.

Brown October brings the last
Of ripening gifts from summer past.

Dull November brings the blast
Down from the trees the leaves fall fast.

Cold December ends the rhyme
With blazing fires at Christmas time. 

That's all for now folks!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Did I Really Say That?

Springtime on it's way?  It's currently frost white outside my window this morning!  Ah, well I'll take the glimmers of warmer days as and when they appear.

Be Blessed San x

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Just Around The Corner...

... Springtime.

The birds were actually chirruping and tweeting at breakfast time this morning!

The weather was actually dry enough to peg the wash outside but I opted for the lazy, non - eco route and tumble dried.

My heart was uplifted when I spied this marvelous sunset on my way home from an appointment:

Pleasantly surprised with the quality as the pictures were taken using my camera phone.

On the home school front we have made good progress with our calendar, in fact it is finished!  Hope fully there will be a picture post before too long.  These past few days Benedict has worked hard with vertical math problems involving three digit addends, he also enjoyed cracking a maths code using a similar format.  Our current shared reading is Heidi by Johanna Spyri.  I originally began reading it as our bedtime story, but Dad has since taken over with this part of the routine, thus freeing me for other activities.  

Pip has enjoyed regular car time with Dad!  They've ran several errands these past few mornings thus allowing Benedict and I to crack on with home school.  After lunch Dad takes her out once again so that she'll have a much needed nap and afterward it is a trip to the playground.  One of her latest words is in fact roundabout!! Other words/ phrases for her latest repertoire include:  Railway and our particular favourite "nack bar" (snack bar)  for boo feeds!  Out of the mouths of babes as they say!

My TV treat whilst ironing this evening was watching " Miss Congeniality 2".  The last time I watched this was when Em was still at home, hmm must be seven years ago!  My doesn't time fly?  It was great fun to watch and lifted an otherwise dreary chore. DH's treat is to go into the cold workshop and hacksaw a piece of 5mm thick steel he picked up from a friendly local firm...

Friday, 14 January 2011

Tales From The Kitchen...

... and other stories.  As promised for Vanessa here is last weeks menu list:

Thursday: Lunch - Potato and Fennel Soup*, mixed salad and grated cheese.

              Dinner - Leeks with Greens*, Baked Spuds.

Friday: Lunch - Sandwiches and Plain Crisps.

          Dinner - French Beans with Tomatoes*, Cheese and Chilli Wedges.

Saturday: Lunch -   Leek and White Bean Salad with Mustard Dressing*,  

             Dinner - Cottage Pie with Three Root Mash Topping*

Sunday: Lunch - Five Root Soup with Bacon*, Homemade Bread

            Dinner - Stuffed Butternut Squash* and Mushroom Tart* 

Monday: Lunch - Lentil and Squash Patties* with French Beans.

             Dinner - Left over Cottage Pie with Baked Beans.

Tuesday: Lunch - Broccoli and Courgette Soup, Homemade Bread.

             Dinner - Quorn and Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice.

Wednesday: Lunch - Lentil and Vegetable Soup.

                  Dinner - Colcannon and Fried Eggs.

All items marked with a * are from the "River Cottage Everyday" Cookbook.

I have to say that, it's the first time in ages I've religiously stuck to a menu list and it's paid dividends as I was able to make best use of the oven (the mushroom tart and lentil patties were cooked on the same day) and even had leftovers in hand which saved the day when we had a clinic appointment for Benedict on Monday.

 This weeks menu list is as follows:

Saturday: Lunch - Mixed Vegetable Soup, Cheese and Onion Bread.

              Dinner - Tuna and Sweetcorn Stuffed Jackets, Mixed Salad.

Sunday:   Lunch - Leek and Quorn Pie,  Buttered Cabbage.

              Dinner - Chilli and Cheese Wedges, Scrambled Eggs.

Monday:  Lunch - Sandwiches, Soup and Crisps.

              Dinner - Veggie Mince Lasagne, French Beans.

Tuesday: Lunch - Build your own pizza!
              Dinner - Spicy Rice, Roasted Root Veg.

Wednesday: Lunch - Mixed Vegetable Soup, Cheese and Onion Bread.

                  Dinner - Cashew Nut and Mushroom Roast, Mashed Potato,

                              Seasonal Vegetables.

Thursday: Lunch - Leftover Lasagne.

               Dinner - Cauliflower Cheese and Baked Spuds.

Thursday is our busy non school day.  In the morning I take Pip to toddlers whilst Benedict and Dave do their own thing at home.  Dave is currently  working on a CAD drawing and Benedict is crazy about  weights and measures!   We need a quick heat through lunch so I try and include a casserole/lasagne/curry meal that will keep from earlier in the week.  Thursday is also our shopping day so the evening meal needs to be quick and easy.  On Friday we  have a vegetable box delivered from Abel and Cole; the quality is always good, they literally deliver in all weathers (even when snow stops all else!) and the box items challenge me to cook seasonal.

On the home school front I finally got my act together and with the help of Melisa Nielsen's Second Grade e- book and existing Oak Meadow info, I've put together a plan for the remainder of the year.  Please God, I know you're listening so help me be a patient and enthusiastic teacher!  Our topic for the remainder of January/early February is "Times and Seasons".  We made a good start this morning and worked together on our calender.  In addition to the regular information regarding general holidays and  the phases of the moon, we are hoping to celebrate the churches liturgical year with craft activities and special meals/teas.

To allay any possible assumption that, I truly have it all sorted at this end, here are some photos of last night's family messes around 9:30pm. I had two options, the first to spend another hour putting everything away or put on rose tinted glasses, pour myself a nice cup of tea and pick up my knitting needles!  I chose the latter and in truth it did not take long to sort the chaos this morning before Home School

 Sheesh, I cleaned the kitchen after tea but here we are post suppertime snack!

Ironing Mountain conquered but now it all needs putting away!

 Not great I know!  The Good Lord and His Blessed Mother sharing their space with Lego bits and Home Ed reading.  I comfort myself with the fact that, they are well used to everyday chaos, after all His first resting place was an animal feeding trough in a barn!

Home School prep on the nursing chair in the front room.

 Craft paper, magazines and other unrelated paraphernalia on the hall table.

So their you have it, just keeping it real folks! 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


That's me today! Of course Benedict is still rumbling around upstairs as I write, it is currently 9:45pm.  It doesn't matter what we do, he is incapable of settling at night -  I blame the debacle with the pump therapy for much of this night time fear associated with bedtimes.  Whatever the cause my patience is a big fat zero at this time of night, I have returned downstairs to thaw out by the fire (it can be mightily cold sitting on a landing just outside the bedroom door) and Dave is currently on his watch of the night.  Enough moaning, here is an outline of our day.

This morning we worked on another math sheet, this time vertical addition using two addends but nothing to carry forward, as predicted Benedict seemed uneasy working with larger numbers but once I'd explained the principles involved he settled into the task quite well.  After this he worked on some literacy and geography skills and  then it was time for lunch.

In an effort to tire him and encourage Pip to nap we went on a route march!  It was me that came home shattered!!  Benedict grumbled most of the way and Pip refused to nap, thank goodness for Mary, Mungo and Midge, a kids classic from my childhood days.  We sat and watched two short episodes and I gratefully nursed a mug of hot tea.  By now it was tidy up and tea prep and so the troops were marshalled into action, it was all we could do to stop Pip falling asleep in her tea!  Little miss was asleep just after seven and little man is now snoring in his bed, 10pm!

I currently have an ironing mountain to climb and some school prep for tomorrow, I think I'll forgo the climbing expedition and work on the prep in between knitting a hat for Pip and catching up on the film Gosford Park that Dave and I have been trying to watch this since the start of the new year!!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Just Another Manic Monday!

  The day did start not as I had originally planned.  I did not manage to rise before the kids, as Pip woke at three am and fidgeted in our bed until six am, by which time Benedict woke with really high blood sugars and complaining of feeling sick!  Extra insulin was dispatched and Dave very kindly gave Benedict and Pip breakfast so that, I could catch up on lost sleep.

Despite my not surfacing until nearer nine am,  we were on with our home schooling within half an hour of my rising.  Whilst I washed the breakfast pots and threw in a load of laundry, Benedict read aloud from one of the books on loan from his previous school.  Pip not wishing to be left out sat and "read" her books beside him in the hallway.  Straight after we cracked on with our addition fact sheet from the website super teacher work sheets.  Benedict has really taken to this form of learning with regard to the Maths and is making steady progress in this area, in fact it is quite a joy to see him experience an " Aha!" moment and see his confidence blossoming. By now it was near lunch time so B helped clear the table and finish the last minute preparations.  Thankfully I'd had the foresight last night to bake the lentil patties whilst the oven was cooking our mushroom tart, so it was only a case of heat through and we were ready to eat.

After lunch we had an appointment at the diabetic clinic but before leaving the house we had time to find two winter poems to read and hopefully learn, brainstorm words relating to the winter season and print a header banner for our season's wall courtesy of Sparklebox resources.  Praise God our appointment went well and despite experiencing eight consecutive hypo attacks and over eighteen high rebound readings as a result Benedict's three month blood averages were still good and much improved on the October visit.  He was also a very brave boy and had an armful of blood taken, so that his yearly blood tests for kidney function and coeliac and thyroid screening could be checked, mind you his arm hurt for several hours after wards and he was decidedly droopy at bedtime.

I've just returned from Shalom Prayers, my Monday night oasis of peace and in filling by the Holy Spirit.  It has been four weeks since we last met and I think we were all ready for refreshing and renewing!  I'm very grateful for the love and friendship I have found within the group.  Today's meditation was :

"Beloved if God so loved us we ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God abides in us and His love has been perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as the Saviour of the world."

1John 4v11-14

Food for thought for this forthcoming week, be blessed San x

Saturday, 8 January 2011


When you are wanting encouragement on your New Year journey then check out this website, her photographs are breathtaking and her words beauty and eloquence itself:

Be Blessed San x

Friday, 7 January 2011

Normal Service Is Resumed

Too much of a good thing can become wearying so I breathe a sigh of relief as we begin the new year with simple food, a simplified budget (I'm only dealing with cash transactions as far as possible... the old ways are often the best ways; less bank paperwork and a real sense of where it all goes, gulp!) and hopefully a simplified home school routine.

On Tuesday Sara returned to her job as teaching assistant and discerning religious with the Daughters of Divine Charity in Norfolk.  It was a sad day seeing her go, I actually avoided the waving off at the station as I had an acupuncture appointment at the same time, phew!  Benedict bless him could not understand why once on the train and seated she would not turn and wave as the train was pulling out, we as adults knew and I guess she was finding it all as difficult as we were.  To counteract the sudden blues we all kept ourselves busy with little projects:  Benedict and Pip made Lego models and drew pictures, Dave kept a much needed eye on the little ones and I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom!  In truth it was not a total grot spot but it was good to clean areas so often neglected in the daily round, you know the fronts of cabinets, tops of things and the slatted blinds.  As the evening wore on the feelings of sadness abated and a peace descended on the household.

On Wednesday we made a much needed trip to the Health Food Shop and were rewarded with yummy fantastic peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.  Since I don't have the time nor the inclination to make my own PB I admit to being a snob in this department and only the real unadulterated stuff from Meridian will do!  In the afternoon we cleared out extraneous stuff from the cupboards and bagged items for the charity shop, I hasten to add none of the items were any of this year's gifts!!  It was either stuff the children had outgrown or not played with for some time.  Thankfully we are not owners of too much "stuff" as I have regular clear outs since we do not have the space to hoard.

Yesterday was Epiphany, so we pulled the last of the crackers after breakfast and set about the task of taking down the decorations and cards that had jollied the house for the past twelve days.  It was quite sad to see the tree go (as there is still a lot of life left in it) but to console ourselves we had arranged for the local hospice team to remove it, for which we paid a donation towards the hospice in return.  I think we will do things differently next time, as I read a lovely blog post that would see the tree placed in the garden and decorated with Winter treats for the birds and wild life.  I can imagine it would be a very uplifting sight to behold.

  Our bedtime story was " Babushka" as written in the book " Festivals, Family and Food".  In short Babushka is encouraged by a visit from the Three Kings* to go and worship the newborn King but instead she is preoccupied with her own festivities and it is with sadness they travel without her.  As each new Winter season appears she wonders if they will call and when they do not, she sets about on her own pilgrimage to find the King.  The story tells of her selling all her gold and finery. of making toys and decorating a tree in the hope of making a gift to the newborn King but all to no avail.  It is only when she has virtually nothing to offer but a small branch, a toy ball but much love in her heart does The Holy Family appear to her on that special night of Christmas.  What a beautiful story and such an apt reminder that, we too can be preoccupied with the busy-ness of our days and fail to meet the Christlike divinity in others; " Not now I'm too busy to play/make that phone call/ visit that neighbour/offer that prayer".  When we do this we lose those precious moments to sanctify our day and be a  blessing to others.  Right now I'm trying real hard to quieten the noise and listen to the "still small voice within".
*Actually, the Bible only mentions wise men and three gifts; over time popular tradition has decided that the wise men must have been kings and that each was associated with one of the gifts.

In closing some pictures of this past week:

Waiting with friends to see this production...

... a brilliant time was had by all.

Incontrovertible proof that you really cannot beat an old empty cardboard box!
"Light Fingered Lottie" trying to grab the camera.

Pyjama Days.

A rarity - Miss P having an afternoon kip!

The last of the Christmas viewing.

"I have my tray and ..."

"... you have yours!"

Meanwhile Mummy and Daddy enjoy five minutes peace with a nice cup of tea, bliss!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Year and New Beginnings

One or two folks in blog land have been pondering a "word" for 2011.  As I went about my chores last week praying on the go, various words came to mind - kindness, peace and gratitude, all equally worthy in their own right but still neither of those words sat right with me for this new year.  Ever hopeful that God always answers a prayer from the heart, I let the matter rest and knew that, something would present itself as one year faded and another began. True to His word I was given two words!!  "New Beginnings",  God is never outdone in his generosity!

These two words came into my heart after we had been praying the rosary with our dear friends, Aunty Maureen and Uncle Bryan on New Year's Day.   They epitomize all our  hopes for  2011 in all areas of our life - family, faith and home school.   Each new day is an unopened gift of treasures, it is a chance for us to journey with Our Saviour and Our Blessed Mother and in return we  offer them the gift of ourselves, the work of our hands,  our sorrows and joys. When we fail as so often we do, God is ever gracious and gives us the opportunity to begin again:

"If God is for us, who can be against us?
 He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Who shall bring a charge against God's elect?  It is God who justifies.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us"

Romans 8 v 31 - 37

So be of good courage and allow God to bless and minister to you at the start of this New Year.
San x