Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Snapshot Blessings

Painting fun with Mummy.

Pink toddler feet.

Miss Independent.

"You paint feet too mummy!"

On the menu for tonight's dessert.

Sweet smelling colour from the garden.

Dad made gluten free cheese bread.

Sunshine on a grey day.

View from my kitchen window.

Garden Bounty.

The wonder of wood.

Apple fritters not doughnuts!!


Joining Ginny and others for this week's yarn along:

I abandoned last week's fairy princess cardigan as I wasn't happy with the overall design, in particular the method for setting in the sleeves.  The thought of no knitting on the needles filled me with dread (I guess I have become addicted to yarn!!) so I managed to find this pattern late last night:

Admittedly it is officially a "boy type vest" but I reckon it will look super cute knitted in pink/cream stripes with orange edging, well that is my hope anyway!  I now can definitely see the benefits of having more than one project on the go, so I think a Christmas knitted gift list is now in order.

Not much focused reading going on at this end, I'm still trying to work out a workable home learning rhythm and am dipping into various reading resources focused on that task in hand.

Wednesday is Library and errand day so we chose our books for the week, then I realised I had forgotten our cards but thanks to the wonder of "Big Brother" technology the librarian was able to check out our books via the system, phew!!  During our visit Benedict had a hypo so I treated him with the usual fast acting sugar and we then stopped at Sainsbury's cafe for a quick and relatively cheap lunch.  The kids were still raring to go so our last stop before home was a trip to our local park for a swing, slide, rock and runaround.

We have resorted to one child friendly programme so that Dad and I can drink a cup of tea in peace!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Bike Riding and Den Building.

Having spent the last two nights waking with horrendous nightmares and worrying about the health and safety of family members, I decided enough already! and set about changing my proposed activities for the day. This morning  I took Pip to our recently refurbished local park and we watched the birds, listened to the breeze through the trees, counted seven passing trains and swung high and low on the big round swing.

After lunch Sara, Pip and I rode to our local Sainsbury store  a two mile round trip.  It was a first for me to have Pip on the bike seat and apart from an initial wobble as we were setting off, I settled into a comfortable rhythm. The ride back was quite arduous as the gears were not behaving and with that and a strong oncoming wind, my heart had a thorough workout!  I was very glad to be home and Sara was a great bike companion encouraging me on.

Whilst we were away Benedict worked on another complex Lego model and  some impromptu den building, in other words a great excuse to potter in Dad's workshop!  We had leek and courgette quiche with roasted asparagus for tea and by 7pm Pip was fast asleep, I think the fresh air had worn her out.

 Lego designing and building.

Only Benedict knows what is going on in this grand scheme!

A cheeky Miss P eating her tea.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Yarn Along - The Late Edition!

Once again I'm joining Ginny and others in a knitting showcase.  This entry is late for me as I was stuck in bed from lunchtime with an awful migraineIn the past I've managed to sleep them off but  those of late have been too painful/sickening so I used my time wisely and finished some baby knitting!  

Without further ado here is my contribution:

The knitting project on the needles is a cardigan for Pip and the pattern link is over here on ravelry: 

The project is knit in one piece and involves 265 stitches in the first instance and obviously is not a quick knit!  I'm now at the stage of decreasing across the row and sectioning the work into three parts, from here on in it should get a bit easier.

The other piece of completed knitting is for a newly delivered mum of a baby boy.  I'm involved in a cyber community of mums who are providing regular gifts and messages of support to this gal, who has been recently diagnosed with a serious medical condition.  I hope my contribution raises her spirits.  Here it is on its own:

The  vest is my go to favourite, The Milo by Georgie Hallam and the bootees are a BSJ inspired knit.  Both patterns can be found on Ravelry.

My current reading is "A Mother's Rule Of Life" by Holly Pierlot.  I'm on my sixth reading of the book and as of yet have not managed to implement any of the suggestions in the book!!  Not as a result of my own inefficiency I hasten to add, but external factors within the family, maybe this time it might be different.

As always go check out Ginny and the others at:

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

"Time" and Other Happenings.

In addition to our regular maths programme we have begun our main lesson work for this month, which focuses on time and seasons.  Yesterday we explored the different ways of telling the time and our associated practical activity was to make our own sundial:

 Such a simple activity but what a great visual way of illustrating the movement of time throughout the day.

Whilst Benedict was helping Sara in the garden Pip and I actually managed some quiet time together.  We set out the Happy Land village and it was lovely to hear Pip narrating little dialogues as she moved the characters around the play mat.
We had two sets of twins in one house, their Mummy and Daddy must have been very tired!

 "Say cheese!"

We had a rubbish clinic appointment and I left the meeting very disillusioned.  Several times Benedict's consultant proffered conflicting and ill informed advice and I repeatedly stood my ground and fought our corner. After having left the consulting room our dietician gave me a pat on the shoulder and reminded me that, I'm doing a great job and his kindness was gratefully appreciated.  To cheer ourselves we had coffee and gluten free cake at The Whaletail Vegetarian Cafe.

This morning we wrapped up the ten times table by using the Montessori multiplication board as our visual aid:

Benedict really enjoyed the therapeutic nature of placing a bead on each corresponding hole and observing pattern formation.  After this we worked on place value and addition of thousands, hundreds, tens and units; once again the Montessori tools came in very handy:

The individual tiles are a great way of assisting with "trading up" of numbers, so that 10 lots of 100 tiles are then traded for a singular thousand tile.  We filled the sheet with sums and written number values and decided to call it a day with regards to numeracy.

Our literacy work was "alphabetical order" and Benedict had to arrange words in dictionary formation.  The exercise became a little more complex when he had to begin arranging words with the same initial letter and was therefore looking for differences in the second/third letters of each word.  This exercise is fairly familiar to him, as we often arrange our weekly spellings into dictionary format as another way of reinforcing the learning process.
By now it was nearing lunch time, so we just had time to read two chapters of our shared reader,"Five On A Secret Trail".

After lunch Benedict and Pip had fun making a castle in the lounge using assorted furniture whilst I tackled kitchen clean up.  It was then time to undertake our practical activity for the afternoon and in a nod to the slighter colder early mornings/evenings we decided to wash our woolies the old fashioned way!

I am ashamed to say the water was very dirty and we had to refill the sink with fresh soapy liquid between each batch!  Note to myself - wash woolies on a regular basis!  Pip was very sweet she was wearing my as yet unwashed "glubs" and was very reluctant to part with them, only the promise of another available pair, would then see her placing them in the sink to be washed!

Free time heralded once more and both kids went in opposite directions, Pip shared some books with me and as always I'm continually surprised by this wee gal. We were reading the "Peepo" book and she announced, " That baby's blue shoe is missing!!" Not bad for two and a half, eh?!

After tea Benedict worked on the Seasons.  I made a list of family member's Birthdays and he had to name where they belonged on a Seasonal calendar, as well as writing about his favourite season:

"My favourite season is Winter.  I like the Christmas decorations and Christmas pudding.  In this season we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  The weather is cold at this time of year, so we have to wrap up warm."

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Happiness is ...

Trying to climb into the washing machine!

Sharing a Lego moment with our diabetes specialist nurse.

Knowing where you will be in a few weeks time... our big girl Sara will be joining the multitudes here, on the extended horticulture course; plenty of opportunity to continue daily battles with the elements and pests!

Taking the train with your big sister to the RSPB nature reserve at Leighton Moss and having yummy tomato soup and ham sandwiches for lunch.

Doing one's bit for the environment and spreading seeds!

Examining the seed pods.

Mud pie making.

An hour in the craft room making something totally mundane but necessary.  The happy thrifted fabric makes me smile and the quiet time with my Janome machine was a sanity saving moment.

Bamboo wigwam made by Sara.

Finally cracking the ten times table using multiplication/division and accompanying word and picture problems.  Not easy for someone with a slight maths aversion and suspected discalculia.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Assumption Day Tea and Craft

I'm hoping to adopt a weekly tea and craft activity, I've "borrowed" the idea from Dawn over at:
Sun and Candlelight

The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother as cited in the Catechism of The Catholic Church is as follows:

"Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory... and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror over sin and death.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians."

There appears to also be a blessing of first fruits associated with the feast, so we celebrated with Strawberry Clafoutis and the thick Guernsey cream represented the cloud on which she was assumed into heaven!  We did actually manage to set the table with tablecloth and napkins, flowers, candle and a statue of Our Lady, but I forgot to take a picture.  Pip was quite sweet as she wanted Our Lady looking in her direction!

The craft activity was courtesy of Paper Dali, this lady is amazingly talented and her web site is a gold mine of information and downloads.

 Buttered dish lined with juicy red strawberries.

 Benedict mixing a thin batter to pour over the strawberries.

Bake in a moderate oven for about forty minutes... a really quick and easy dessert, it also works well with plums and cherries.

Whilst tea was finishing in the oven Sara marshalled the troops into action and they all set to with rakes on the newly cut lawn:

"The Dance of The Rakes!"

 Paper Dali Assumption craft all finished, the middle piece is moveable so that information regarding the feast can be displayed as Our Lady is drawn up into Heaven, ingenious!

Today was also our first day back in "home school" mode and once again the white box on wheels came in very useful as our portable school room!  Benedict worked on:

visual place value using the Montessori beads and cubes,

  skip counted in tens,

wrote out spellings for the week,

looked at speech marks and there place in the written spoken word

mental maths incorporating pyramid addition,

read from our Famous Five reader.

Not to be outdone Pip has been busy with her own programme of works, she had great fun playing with the gears set:

Concentrating hard.

She also recently discovered a new game which has become a firm favourite, "Crash, Bang, Wallop" soundtrack game by Orchard Toys.  It is just lovely to watch her concentrating hard on the sound and then identifying the corresponding object from the picture pile:

Sibling fun.

We also experienced a jaw dropping moment one night at tea when she proceeded to count the squares of chocolate on the table, ten pieces in all!!  I think she has inherited her Dad's maths brain... Benedict is very much like me, give us a good book any day!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

An Autumn Day and Yarn Along

Yesterday we had sunshine and warmth, today we have blustery winds and rain!  The drop in temperature called for a soup lunch with homemade bread.

I'm still in planning mode for the forthcoming term so my knitting has slowed somewhat, still I cast on for the second sock and it should be finished soon:

The book was a recommendation from my friend Eva over on

I read this book right through first time around and am now attempting to digest its meaning more prayerfully.  This book encourages one to find ritual and meaning in every day life in addition to that which is found in community celebration.  In short an endorsement to live one's faith whatever that might be in a very real and tangible way.

The fruit leathers from yesterday have dried well and have been a hit with everyone, the kitchen has had a permanent fruity smell all morning!

 Damson Fruit Leather.

In door play this morning looked like this:
Good old Lego they never tire of it!

As I write Benedict is currently at swimming and Pip is undertaking a much needed nap, must go and wake her though otherwise she won't get to bed this evening!
Go check out Ginny and the gang over at:

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Benedict swam the width of the pool unaided, yes!!  So pleased was he with his achievement that, during "play time" he just wanted to keep on swimming.

Pip had her first ever trip to the "fwimming baths" on Monday.  Terrible I know, she's two and a half and up until that point had not been swimming, let's just say "life stuff" totally got in the way.  Big sister Sara took her to the pool as I've been up to my eyes in paperwork, but I have hope that, I'll be joining them at the end of the week, even though my idea of fun does not include the word "swimming"

 Another first for Pip included a trip on mum's bike, only ... yes you guessed it, Sara was riding the bike!  Like, I say, I've been snowed under with that, folding white stuff.  I've tried having Pip on the bike seat, but my centre of gravity is off beam, so I'm hoping to pull her in the trailer tot once Dave finishes working on the wheels.  If all else fails, I'll buy a trike for me with a child seat attached!

Our last "first" is our tye-dyeing craft afternoon, it's amazing what you can do with rubber bands, a pot of dye, a batch of salt and a washing machine!

Togged up and ready to go.

Rubber band tying.

 All knotted and ready to dye.

Ta- Dah!  Circles...
 ... more circles and ...

... stripes.
As I write we have another batch of firsts brewing on the stove, Sara is in the processes of making her first ever batch of fruit leathers using the damsons, apples and pears from our garden.  Hope fully there will be some pictures and a progress report by tomorrow.