Sunday, 29 July 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons...

... remember to make lemonade!!

My Liesle cardigan is on its third frogging back exercise!  The first time I was tanked up on pain medication and totally knit the wrong size... I could've sworn I saw pigs flying that day!

 The second time I reached the part when I divided for the arms and was merrily knitting away only to realise I had made a glaring error in the pattern.  This is a pattern so simple that only involves one real pattern row and the remaining three are basically two knit rows followed by a purl row.  Not exactly rocket science, but sometimes the simplest things can be the most challenging, you see it's all too easy to let your mind wander during the monotony and before you know it, BAM!  your knitting is in a mess.

Just now as I was  thinking yeah I've cracked it I looked back at the instructions and then at the garment and oh dear, where are the buttonholes?!!!  It was a good job I'd been listening to this sermon:

So I smile and think, OK there's a lesson or two in here for me ... keep my mind on my work including God's will for me and to PERSEVERE AND GIVE THANKS IN ALL THINGS.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Twenty Six

Our first born girls reached an interesting milestone yesterday, they were twenty six on the twenty sixth!

We normally ring Emma on her birthday but she was leading a summer camp for girls in Northern Italy and would then be travelling to Spain for helping out with spiritual retreats and hospitality at the mother house in Madrid.  So once she eventually touches base back in Bergamo she'll get to open her birthday card and pictures from us all:

Happy Birthday Sister Emma Maria x

We were however blessed to spend the day with Kathryn, and both sets of grandparents in her new home and  despite it being her birthday she did us proud with a fantastic buffet spread.

Salad platter, cocktail sausages and pineapple and cheese on sticks, bread rolls, meat platter.

 Spicy and plain baked chicken.

 Birthday girl slaving over a hot stove!

Sara and Kathryn with the two Nannas.

My big girl and cheeky little girl.

The fantabulosa birthday cake made by Sara and Pip and decorated with chocolate sprinkled buttons and dolly mixture sweets, yum!

We then enjoyed a trip down memory lane as this gift re-surfaced from eight years ago and can now be hung in pride of place in the new home. Dave's mum had made for Emma and Kathryn a collage for their eighteenth birthday and the pictures below are a selection from that display: 

  In the picture where they are wearing striped sleepsuits, Kathryn is on the left and she's on the left again in the shot where they are washing up at the sink... her skirt is tucked into her tights!!

First Holy Communion from the left Sara, Kathryn and Emma.

A boat trip with Daddy, Face painting fun, A sleepover with a friend and that little bairn on the right is Benedict aged one!

All too soon it was time to head home but not before Dave managed to shoot this picture of Kath with her Grandparents:

Thanks for being such a lovely daughter and super sis, we love you!

Friday, 20 July 2012

How Much More

I posted the following  on my page over on this site:

Rest Ministries Sun Room

I've really been struggling today with that familiar black cloud that descends all too frequently. The continuous grey weather does not help, it dampens one's spirits and aggravates the pain.

Then of course there is the fact that once again I'm working the night shift attempting to stabilise a diabetic condition that truly has a mind of its own. The nine year old boy (where did the time go?) who is the bearer of such a condition is blissfully unaware of the night time trials and tribulations as he snores peacefully in his bed.

On and off throughout the course of today I have truly wondered "Where is God?" and "Does He truly care?" My prayer life has hit an all time low and there are many days when I fail to acknowledge His presence, so it is little wonder that the spiritual well is dry! However, God is good and as a result of something which happened only five minutes ago, He made himself known to me in a very tangible way.

Pip our youngest woke with a bad dream and I quickly made my way to her room to re-settle her, as I sat by her bed pondering my negative thoughts a "voice" inside my head reminded me of this passage of scripture from Isaiah:

Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands

Thank you God for those loving and encouraging words at a time when I needed them most.

With Love San x

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Yarn Along

I'm joining Ginny and others with this week's sharing of knitting and reading.  The project on the needles is "Liesl" by Ysolda Teague. and the wool is Patons Eco Chunky in light grey mix.   It's the first time I've worked with one of her patterns and so far so good.  The pattern is laid out in an easy to read format with the option of using a chart or written instructions for knitting the design.

On the bedstand is "A Parrot In A Pepper Tree" by Chris Stewart.  It's actually a sequel to his first book entitled, "Driving Over Lemons" which I actually haven't read!  This book was given to me by a friend and having read the back cover it reminds me of the Peter Mayle book "A Year In Provence", so it should be a lovely bit of light reading for a change.

The knitting magazine is called Simply Knitting and is a birthday and Christmas gift from my mum and dad in law.  I'm looking forward to trying out some of the patterns and have already tentatively thought of a small list of knitting projects for Christmas... nothing like being organised!

Other news:  the kids and I are slowly on the mend, I've filed and sorted all of this year's school work with only a few outstanding pieces of work to complete and the house has had a jolly good tidy, it was desperate for sure!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Catholic Woman's Almanac

Jenny over on this site Suscipio kindly asked if I would like to join in the Monday Almanac as a way of pondering prayerfully the week ahead, so here goes:

Moments of gratitude:

  • A tidier garden thanks to our friend and gardener John.  He is now back working after a long period of ill health and boy have we missed him.
  • Snippets of actual peace and quiet around the home - the silence was deafening!
  • Thankful for internet technology and PDF whereupon a knitting pattern can be printed and in the knitting bag within minutes.
  • Thankful for homeopathic medicines and the occasional dose of Calpol.
Beauty in the ordinary:

A clean house thanks to my friend and neighbour, some knitting on the needles and a part finished sewing project which needs to be finished soon as it's a present.

From the kitchen:

Trying to implement some of the menu planning and kitchen ideas courtesy of Aunty Leila is a mine of information and I love visiting her site for support and encouragement.


I'm attempting to join in with Elizabeth Foss in asking St Anne for guidance and support during this forthcoming year.  Emma and Kathryn share hers and St Joachim's feast day as their birthday.


On the rosary prayers which are an account of Our Lord's life.  I've been remiss in saying these prayers and they are such a lovely meditation.


Sharing Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome with Benedict.

I am reading "Saint Gianna Beretta Molla - A Woman's Life"


A whole load of things as I've just joined this site, all I need to do now is implement some of them!

Looking Ahead:

This is our last official week of "home school" and I had all sorts of things planned but sickness has taken over for the time being, so only time will tell whether any of my plans come to fruition.


Pip determined to read.

A boy at the end of the cub hike.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Unheard Of

Pip has been asleep the last two nights by half past six!  Mind you she is fighting a low grade fever and good old homeopathic belladonna came in handy yesterday.  Today she has eaten a bit more and managed to play outside but had definitely had enough by tea time.

I think I might have something similar and have had a sore throat and swollen glands since yesterday.  Any viral or otherwise infection knocks be back further and I couldn't even walk  into the kitchen to make any food. I've hovered between the sofa for knitting and the bed for sleeping.  Hooray for Dave and Sara who have tirelessly held the fort.

Friday, 13 July 2012

This Week

On Monday we had a visit from Uncle Andrew and Aunty Catherine.  We always have a lovely time when they visit and they certainly liven up the place with there jois de vivre and rightly so considering she is French!

Aunty Catherine and Pip playing the Manic Martians game.

 Uncle Andrew and Pip playing chase on the scooters!

Benedict was still struggling from off the wall blood readings so Tueday was a write off workwise.  His concentration was at an all time low and I was exhausted from several disturbed nights troubleshooting basal rates and high blood sugars.

On Wednesday he spent the morning with Shein, working on various maths problems and after lunch both he and Sara walked into town and back.  They had a variety of errands one of which was slippers for Benedict, not a pair were to be found!  Apparantly it's supposed to be summer so they will not be stocking any until the autumn. If that is the case why has  the heating been on and soups and casseroles have been a mainstay?!!  We also celebrated St Benedict's day with a tea time treat of a roast chicken dinner followed by a shortbread pudding with apples and butterscotch sauce.  After tea Benedict took part in the end of year Cub sports followed by a sausage sizzle barbeque.  He certainly had a healthy appetite that day!

Yesterday we visited family.  Kathryn our lovely daughter came up trumps with a super home cooked lunch:  Beefburgers, garlic wedges and mixed salad, followed by pancakes filled with raspberries and custard.  Totally yummy!

  We then took the kids to the park and they had a good run around the adventure playground.

Still on the go despite having spent an hour charging around!

  By then it was time to visit my mum and dad for tea and as requested the kids had there favourite nanna meal of egg and chips!  I'd taken their jammies and after a bath we headed home.  Pip nodded off in the car and thankfully remained asleep even as I carried her into the house and popped her in bed.  An answer to prayer, Thank you God!

Today has been a busy day in the home school classroom.  Benedict has completed work in the following subject areas:

Maths:  Two maths factor online lessons and work sheets on odd and even numbers.

Independent Reading:  Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome.

Design and Technology:  Benedict has shown an interest in taking part in the young architects competition organised by the Telegraph newspaper.  He has completed his drawing and just needs to answer the associated questions.

Science:   He has worked on several questions relating to his study of fossils.  This necessitated him re-reading the information and finding the relevant answers.

History Narration : We read from this book "The Vikings, Fact and Fiction: Adventures of young Vikings in Jorvik."
In amongst the historical facts the book contains four seasonal stories and the first was entitled " Spring - A New Friend." Benedict narrated the story.

Faith:  We worked some more on preparation for the sacrament of reconciliation. We read from the story about the paralysed man and had to identify Jesus' first words to the man, which were " Your sins are forgiven my friend." We talked about the importance of forgiveness and being right with God over and above any physical healing that might be needed. Our bodies decay but our soul lives on forever and preparing ourselves for a life herafter is far more important than the here and now.

Working on his young architects drawing.

Pip has also been a busy bee.  This morning she went into town with Sara.  They travelled by bus and Pip walked across town to the various places on their list.  One of the places was the library to return some books and instead of borrowing Benedict's card, Pip enrolled for her first ever library card!  She had great fun choosing her own books and when we were having quiet time after tea, she was actually trying to read the words under each picture!

Having observed Benedict throughout the day working on his various subjects, Pip announced that she too wanted to do some fun sheets and she completed the following before bed: recognising the number one, matching pairs, recognising pattern and order and colouring in various objects red.  She also had fun earlier in the week making robot boxes from an art magazine and here they are:

A pleased as punch Little Miss PJ. 

Tomorrow Benedict has his Cub summer trip to Happy Mount Park.  I'm hoping the weather will be better than today.  The park itself contains a splash park, so it will be swimming trunks and towel if it is warm and a jumper and waterproof if not!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Brave Boy

Benedict had a clinic appointment today and in amongst the usual questioning, weighing and monitoring was the dreaded yearly blood tests.  I think we missed last year because he was so traumatised from the previous year but there was no getting away from it this time, it had to be done. 

 Typically I had no aconite or arnica in my bag but I did have some Bach Rescue Remedy but even that did little to quell the mounting anxiety.  I sat him on my knee and tried distracting him, but his heart was pounding and my heart went out to him.  The only thing that cheered him was the promise of lunch at Sainsbury's and the chance to buy a small box of Lego to add to his already huge collection.  Thankgoodness these tests are not a regular occurence, it has been a costly day!

Having his blood pressure taken at the end of the ordeal.

In spite of everything it was a perfect reading!

Well done Benedict Bear for being so brave x 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Our science this week has focused on fossils and apart from reading about them, there was a chance to "make your own fossil" using modelling clay and plaster of Paris:

Preparing the clay.

Using a shell to make the imprint.

Clay Imprint.

Cardboard ring to contain any spillage.

Mixing the plaster of Paris.

Waiting for the cast to dry.

The finished "fossil" colourfully decorated and now in our seasons corner at the top of the stairs.

Our geography topic this forthcoming week is all about the weather.  Benedict is obsessed in trying to predict the weather, especially if it is likely to rain!  Living in the North we've had nothing but rain!!  So we'll be using some downloads from a primary geography site aswell as some cool resources found on pinterest.  Between the two, there should be enough information to keep him happy.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Jodrell Bank and Other Stories

Yesterday we made a visit to here: I have to say it was very disappointing.  Not only was the admission expensive but there was very little to entertain a child of Pip's age.  The exhibits were split between two buildings which made it very difficult for Dave to be involved, so he spent his time in the cafe whilst I trundled around with the kids.  I really could have done with his input, for even though I worked with Benedict on our space lap book, planetary science was one of Dave's area of expertise at University.  It was frustrating for me, trying to read info for Benedict and keeping an eye on Little Miss PJ! 

The weather was also less than favourable as it poured down non stop throughout the visit, so the arboretum and children's playground was a non starter.  Benedict had a crashing hypo after having only walked a short distance, so an emergency trip to the cafe was in order to stabilise him, so more money spent, *sigh.*

There was however a nice moment in between all the chaos, when a teacher from a school party came up to me and commented on Benedict's thoughtfulness at holding the door open for him and the other children.  Not bad considering he was majorally hypo at the time!

Once home I did review the Jodrell Bank site and noticed that, there were plenty of interesting activities running during the summer solely for kids but I'm not sure I would want to pay the pricey admission fees.  I did manage to take some pictures of our visit so here they are:

Lovell Telescope

Letting off steam.

Feeling ghastly with a hypo!

Last week my time was spent proof reading Benedict's home ed report for this past year.  It consists of an overview of our educational approach, a day by day learning account including any sick days, photo collages of key events and a reading list of all the books read throughout the year - in short a twenty two thousand word document!  Dave says that my report is longer than his Masters dissertation! 

Front Cover.

An inside page.

Since I was busy elsewhere, Benedict and Dave were involved with a civil engineering construction at the bottom end of the garden.  Phase one is complete and consists of a raised timber decking underneath the lilac and damson trees.  Phase two consists of a lower platform on the left hand side, rope ladders, fencing and a roof structure swung between the trees.  Even though the structure is not yet complete, the kids have had fun playing in their new den area and have improvised a fenced area with the newly painted compost bin slats!

We have been TV free for this week too.  I wouldn't say that the kids were heavy TV watchers, but I've known for sometime that, TV viewing can have quite a detrimental impact on a child's development, especially someone as young as Pip.  Within forty eight hours I noticed she was not as antsy and in such a short space of time the kids have amused themselves in all sorts of ways.  The house energy has been calmer and we have had fun reading, crafting, jigsaw making and being involved with imaginative role play.  For my part I'd get rid of the big box in the corner, but I do have to concede that, Benedict does benefit from watching quality documentaries such as the BBC programme, Coast.  So TV watching for him will occur when Pip is not around.  So this is what happens when you are TV free:


... and quiet!

Thanks to another blogging friend Sarah  I had the pleasure of listening to Andrew Pudewa  speak about how boys and girls learn and why they would benefit from being taught differently.  Thanks to him, I'll forgo Benedict sitting down to learn... I always did wonder why he fidgeted so and was nearly hanging off his chair.  Apparently boys do better standing up to learn or leaning over the desk, or sitting under the desk mission impossible style!  Anything but sitting still on a straight backed chair.  If you want to check out the podcast entitled, " Teaching Boys and Other Kids Who Would Rather Be Playing in Forts"  it can be found here:

In short, another good week!