Monday, 26 September 2011

Book Sharing And Surprise Visitors

Pip's favourite book at the moment:

 "Children all over the world wake up in the morning and go to sleep each night, but they spend their days doing different things in different ways"

The portrayal of the young lad from England is a true yet dispiriting reflection of the average child here in the UK... go to school, stay in after school club, come home and eat tea, watch television and go to bed.  In recent days there has been several well written commentaries relating to "Toxic Childhood" and "Too Much Too Soon".  Our children here are suffering the detrimental effects of forced early years teaching and damaging attainment targets, emotional and behavioural problems are on the increase as is the accompanying mental health referrals.  It is at times like these that, I am glad Benedict is no longer part of the conveyor belt system.

Pip's favourite character in the book is a young boy from Morocco called Ashraf.  He works hard in school and loves his faith.  Prayer is mentioned several times over the course of his day.  The other children also take their chores and school activities seriously, no chance of lazing around in front of the CRT when the animals need feeding and the household chores need attending!  In all, a lovely multicultural read.

 It is Dave's birthday tomorrow, so a quick phone call from Kathryn resulted in an after tea visit from her and her beau Steve.  It certainly raised a smile for Dave, who did not have the foggiest idea that, such a plan had been hatched!

  Oldest and Youngest Book Sharing.

Pip still a little under the weather, she was a little bit sick this morning but I think it's just the rubbish from her cold affecting her.  She is still quite tired of an afternoon so a short nap of an hour has managed to help her get through the remainder of the day.

I had my meeting with the teacher from the learning centre and she confirmed my suspicions that, we would have a terrible battle trying to access extra help for Benedict, since the authority and the school had backed us into a corner 18 months ago.  She concurred that at present Benedict is best placed at home.  She has however made some helpful suggestions regarding strengths and weaknesses assessment, so that a personal plan can be tailor-made for him.

I am currently re-trying Benedict on a low carb diet to see if I can work out an optimum carb quota and stabilise blood readings.  I searched two forums last night, an adult and child related one with low carbing in mind.  In short it is a logistical nightmare!  The risk of severe hypo is very real hence I've kept his carb quota for each meal at 30 grammes, some folks are running on that amount for a whole day!  Not good if you are a developing child.

  The other quandary is that in order to meet the body's energy requirements the  fat/protein components of each meal are then converted into glucose.  This "glucose" conversion is an unknown quantity, and as such it is impossible to adequately calculate the carb/insulin ratio for said meals!  Still, it is early days and hopefully a pattern might emerge.  I cannot however see me following this diet with him long term, there are too many unknown variables. 

DH note re CRT; this is our alternative name for television, TV or tele, as we can speak to each other without small people knowing!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Friday Round Up

Benedict worked very hard at Shein's yesterday morning, despite having totally whacky very high BM's:

Concentrating hard.

Whilst he was away with Dad, Sara, Pip and I made Scotch Pancakes for a mid morning snack:

Pip had great fun whisking, mixing and then eating!  We forgot to take a picture of the finished articles, oops!

Pip and Sara then made a jaunt to out local park to collect further specimens for her assignment.  Pip is still currently recovering from a heavy cold/croupy cough so slept in the push chair on the way home.  She managed to acquire a friend from the park and here she is:

" Ladybird, Ladybird, fly away home..."

After lunch we decided to make the most of the sunshine and visited Leighton Moss Nature Reserve.  I wasn't totally enthusiastic as I was still suffering with chronic joint and back pain, but the sunshine lifted my spirits and as always the kids enjoyed their visit.  We also met up with our homeopath from years back, who having retired from her practice, now works in the visitor centre one day a week.  It was lovely to catch up.

It's a boy thing!  Skimming stones and digging in the mud.

 Pip pressing the buttons on the interactive wall in the education centre.

A level crossing wait and a passing train, a treat for the railway enthusiasts in the family!

Today Dave and Benedict visited Simon and in addition to lively banter, creatures and masks were made.  Pip and I went to visit Bea and her mindees, it was good to catch up.

A mask in the making.

Curly, whurly creatures.

At the risk of sounding a bore, diabetes still all over the place.  Finally managed to settle B at 11:30pm, having administered another corrective dose and set an increased basal, in the hopes of stabilising his blood sugars.  If left unchecked he'll start to burn ketones and could deteriorate quite rapidly.  It is now 01:00 and I'm about to check him again.  The house is tidy thanks to fly lady and so I'll hop into bed with some knitting, I think it'll be another hour or two before it's safe to leave him.  Knitting in this household truly is therapy!!  Bonne Nuit!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Blowing Away The Cobwebs

Yesterday Sara and I took the kids to our local park in the town.  Sara's practical work for this week is to collect, label and photograph her finds of conker seeds, leaves and any other relevant items.  It was a very blustery day but good to get out of the house.

 Chatting to a Mallard.

 Pip totally fascinated by the ducks!

 Pip and Sara hugging a tree.

Benedict throwing leaves.
 Mother and Daughter snap happy moment.
 Pip desperate to see the view over Morecambe Bay.
 Puddle squelching... I needed to keep a tight grip on the reins for I'm sure she would have otherwise sat down in the water!
 Sharing a snack before returning home.
Today Benedict is at Shein's and Pip and Sara are at our local park collecting the rest of the much needed specimens.  Yesterday's trip out was lovely but I've paid a hefty price with my health and am very stiff and sore from the jaunt.  Benedict's diabetes is totally unstable and is affecting everyone in the family, with this in mind I've arranged a meeting with the head of the local learning centre for Monday.  I have plenty of questions and I'm hoping she can provide the answers!  If the outcome is positive then it is likely he will attend some sessions there on a regular basis.  We all need some respite from each other, and in the absence of a support network, this is our only choice.
On a positive note one of the mums from the GP Forum has contacted me and let me know of a home education group run by her every fortnight.  The venue is about a fifty minute drive and is doable so we will attend our first session next Thursday all being well.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


This is me at the moment, struggling with mine and family member's health issues and very little enthusiasm for home schooling, not great since we are only at the beginning of a new school year!  Several bloggers recently have written about burnout and how it can affect a family.  Well meaning friends and family members have advocated placing B in school/learning centre and shunting Pip through the system once she is old enough.  Right now I vacillate between agreeing to school and then disagreeing, so for the time being I know I have to sit tight until I reach as peaceful an answer as possible.  In an effort to raise my spirit's here are some recent pictures:

 Benedict working on his space lap book.

 Pip "writing"

 Benedict with his new art teacher Miss W.

 Benedict and Dave painting the new wood store.

 Three times table tackled.

 Pip's "quiet time"

 Puppet making with Simon.

 Sleeping Beauty.

 "Beary nice to meet you!"

 Sunday Steam Special.

Right I'm now off to bed once I've checked Mr B and tomorrow is another day, Thank God!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Mummy and Pip

Thursday is our usual maths day with Shein, Benedict worked on fractions and the two times table.  After a soup lunch Dave, Benedict and Sara went on an errand trip into town, this left me and Pip with time on our hands.  The kitchen was tidied, we walked in the rain to buy some butter and came home and made muffins.  Whilst the cakes were cooking we read from a "Rosie and Jim" story book and completed a Postman Pat jigsaw puzzle.

An almost "Ta-dah" moment!

Busy with the blue butter cream icing.

 Yummy cakes for tea... thanks Pip!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Unplugged Sunday: Be Prepared for the Trail: Make Your Own Bug Repel...

Unplugged Sunday: Be Prepared for the Trail: Make Your Own Bug Repel...: Written by Nicole Like many of you reading this blog, spending time outdoors is an essential part of our family’s soul-soothing, unplugged...

 Found this recipe and thought of my daughter Sara, who seems to be food for the garden pests!  I'm hoping to make a batch in readiness for next year, especially since she begins a horticulture course next week!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Blue Sky Thinking On A Grey Day

This morning we abandoned our nature walk as the rain was pouring steadily and heavily.  Pip and Benedict busied themselves with den making and soon it was time to take Sara to Myerscough College to hand in her bursary application.  Whilst they were away, I caught up with some sorting and planning for our learning activities this forthcoming week.  Here they are in the den area:

 Crazy Dudes!

We tackled our regular round of numeracy and literacy this afternoon. Benedict was visibly tired and blood sugars were a little unsteady, but despite this he soldiered on and we completed our target list in just over an hour and a half.

Our visual representation of the five times table using the Montessori ten and five bead bars.  Benedict finds it hard at times to grasp a pattern if spoken in rhythm or displayed in written format, so the beads are another valuable tool in depicting the required formation.

After shared reading and snack time, we worked on mini art project using  glue, salt and water colour paint.  We borrowed the idea from this talented mum:

and then worked in today's feast of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  Here are Benedict and Pip working on their creations:

 Benedict working on the blue stripe in her Sari head dress.

 Pip making glue splodges.

 Pip's finished salt picture.

This evening Benedict has been working on a self orientated learning programme.  It all began last night when he was drawing a variety of musical instruments and talked about "being in a band", and how that would be difficult since his close friends were at school.  I told him about a band called "The Gorillaz" who are a group of non public - performing musicians and  are  represented by four cartoon characters. We watched some of their you tube videos and then Dad found the video to "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles and "Brick in The Wall" by Pink Floyd.  As a result Benedict has named the band, produced tickets using Microsoft Word with help from Dad and his next task is to find a suitable soundtrack for his video.  It is so good to see the cogs of enthusiasm whirring and clanging!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Gluten Free Cooking...

... or how to make a complete mess in such a short space of time! 

Take one 10'x7' kitchen, add the desire to attempt a "Mother's Sabbath/off grid Sunday" followed by a "no-cook back to school Monday" and this is the resultant chaos:

 View from the doorway - cooking on the hob, stuff in the oven, pots and pans overflowing every which way and shopping still waiting to find a home.  Breath deeply and try not to hyperventilate!  Closer inspection of "Messy Sink Area 101":

Followed by:

 cluttered worktop and balancing act of cookery book and baking trays.  The baking trays usually belong in the oven, but as it was in use, they were dumped here instead.  Moving immediately to the right was this sight:

More baking trays, bread machine with bread pan and fruit and veg peelings waiting to be composted, eugh!  By this time I wanted to "pack up and go home", but like labour there comes a point of no return and you just have to keep on going, so pots were soaked, worktops tidied, shopping away and slowly things came together:

 Leek and potato soup with cream and nutmeg.

 Veggie Cornish pasties with cauliflower cheese and two vegetable and lentil shepherd pies awaiting a topping.

Sunflower and poppy seed gluten free bread and cheese and onion tart.

Finished veggie shepherd pies, one to keep and one to eat.

Ah, peace at last and two whole days of no kitchen duty for me, hooray!