Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Ah December. We have learnt about the history of christmas trees and carols, traditional festive food from around the world, the Nativity christmas story and other religious celebrations at this time of year such as Divali and Hanukkah.

We have made paper chains and put up the tree together, we have coloured and sent christmas cards, learnt to decopage and filled our decorated boxes with home made gingerbread. We have listened to christmas carols, christmas songs, watched many christmas movies and done secret shopping and wrapping.

We have enjoyed our advent calendars and have written wish lists, we have tidied and cleaned and sorted and prepared. Just letters to Father Christmas and making christmas crackers are left to do.

It's been a very quiet, happy and relaxed time this year... Astonishing how much easier the extra bits and bobs are to accomplish when there is no baby under 1 or bump in the family - I mean, who knew?!

We've even planned the next six months of monthly projects and have a VERY exciting trip to the British Museum planned for January!

Life is good at the moment. There has been plenty of sun and plenty of wrapped up trips to the park, and so on. I am a bit more tired than usual but then Hoofie has had the expected growth spurts, there are plenty of bugs going round as per normal and I think it's just the increase of hours of dark.

Oh - lots of card and board games going at the moment, especially now we've relaxed our table time for a few weeks. Lots of reading too. Lots and lots of reading - christmas themed picture books and poems of course, from our shelves and from the library.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Little Legs

Today I was glad for having a nearly-but-not-quite-yet 2 year old when we went to the park.

I was glad to have a legitimate reason to lag behind, to hear the joyful noise of the older children filter to me from a bit of distance, to have the constant bombardment fade away a little.

Well ok, it isn't constant. The intermittent frequency of it does seem to run awfully high sometimes though.

I do get overwhelmed with noise both audible - lots of noises competing at once, and visual - clutter.

Especially at this time of year when the hours of dark increase but the hours of sleep don't seem to, and the house is in constant disarray as things are tidied, sorted, added to, and so on.

What helped heal me today, to sooth my restless spirit was hanging behind with Hoofie, waiting patiently as he stumped along in his wellies in that teddy bear way that just-about-still-toddlers have, watching him poke at every leaf with his stick.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Last Week Roundup

Monday - We had a blissful table time which included christmas card making, lots of our current read out louds. We collected up christmas themed picture books and christmas music and also went to the park. After lunch we had a huge folding session and then settled down to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as being our first christmas movie for our topic this month. I took Fluff to his football class and did some writing and editing while there and Papacrow made dinner. After dinner Fluff and Wig had a bit of playstation and Papacrow and I watched University Challenge and Only Connect

Tuesday - We had our little nieces, S & E round. After breakfast we did some table time before saddling up and heading to the library - we didn't stop and play in the park as it was damp and cold, but we had a lovely time at the library and got back for a nice warming lunch. Then we watched Father Christmas before the neices got picked up, at which point we moved on to finishing off table time before screen time and then the usual round of dinner, baths, stories and bed.

Wednesay - After breakfast, reading and some free play I was working so the older ones helped the younger ones with table time and they also watched a Doctor Who Christmas special as part of our christmas topic! Home for lunch and we wrote the menu and shopping list. Wig took himself off to the warhammar shop as he'd booked in for a painting session and I took Fluff, Petal, Dot and Hoofie and we did the weekly shop. Back at home, everyone helped bring the shopping in and then they relaxed with screens while I put it away (with a little help from Trojan Hero) and cooked. After dinner, Petal, Dot and Fluff watched a Scooby Doo animated film and Wig, Papacrow and I had a game of magic.

Thursday - it was properly cold today - we even had to have the heating on during the morning! So we stayed huddled indoors and got busy with table time, the little ones catching up with work books and the older ones with their essays (on christmas trees and their origins) as well as the usual diaries, handwriting practice, reviews etc. Fluff, Petal and Dot also enjoyed doing several snap circuits and we did our usual read out louds and lots of christmas picture books. After lunch and tidying we watched the Muppet's Christmas Carol and then they all went off to their grandparents for dinner while I picked up Papacrow.

Friday - full on, intense and thorough table including - well, everything, quite frankly. Plus we changed all the beds, vacced the house and I cleaned the bathroom and toilet. No, I'm not quite sure how we managed that either, but we did! I went to ballet after lunch while the teens held the fort and they all watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Another home edding kid was dropped round so she could walk to Youth Group with Roo and Wig (her mum couldn't drop her there as had other activities with other siblings), and they all played minecraft together before they went. Hoofie and the girls and I did the ballet rush and Fluff stayed home with Saurus. Papacrow got home and cooked fish and chips which was lovely.

We have the new syllabuses at ballet now, and they are fun! We usually do grade 5 work in the adult class (no wonder I struggle!) and the new grade 5 stuff is pretty exciting... lots of little frilly bits in between everything, if you see what I mean. Particularly for barre work. It's getting the old brain ticking along if nothing else! There was one floor sequence we learnt today that I can even (just about) name all the moves in - from the corner, step hop (all hops on the right), three step turn, step hop, three step turn, step hop, step step rellevee into fifth. Then to the left -arabesque leap, step step with arms in brava, arabesque leap on the other side, then round in a semi circle four step hops with the back leg in - argh! Can't remember the name but foot to the knee  - with arms out either side for the first two then fifth equivalent for second two. Then here's the tricky bit which I can remember but not do fast enough - hop in the left into pas de bourĂ©e, glisard with the right, essamble with the left. Phew! Ok, so I can't name all the moves properly but I do remember it and can name some of the moves and (sort of) do it. This is progress! It's been a fun year, with the ballet :D

Saturday - Papacrow was working, and Saurus and Roo were ill and mostly bed ridden with a fluey cold. The rest of us got up and had breakfast and toddled off to karate. I did a few errends in town with Hoofey but otherwise we sat and watched the class. After lunch I caught up with the washing up and then took Fluff, Petal, Dot and Hoofie to a christmas fair in the hall where we do ballet. We got a few nice things, and then went to the big park and had a play. We tried to pick up Papacrow but he wasn't done yet so I dropped them home and then went back for him. Strictly was great and we enjoyed Atlantis too.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Weekly round up

Monday - Sunny and mostly dry but dank and cold - the heating had to go on even before dinner time! In the morning we had lots of free play, card games, stories and looked at lots of clips of different musicals and various documentaries on the history of musical theatre on youtube before popping to the park before lunch to play in the play ground and have a little nature walk. After lunch we sorted and folded and I introduced them to the wonder and mad genius that is Starlight Express! Then we did table time, and after that they pottered off for screen time. I spent some time going over various things - english and essays mostly - with Roo and Wig and then I cooked dinner early before taking Fluff to football. Saurus was back from college so he and Roo held the fort for the ten minute delay before Papacrow got home. After dinner it was hair washing night and Wig watched Atlantis (he'd missed it on Saturday) and then he and Fluff played a little Lego Lord of the Rings on the playstation before settling down to read and then sleep. I watched my quizzes (University Challenge and Only Connect) and did some editing, Papacrow madly chased Nanowrimo words and Saurus and Roo watched Gotham. Hoofie was much more cheerful and much more himself today if still a little snotty. I felt a bit coldy, as did Roo and Wig.

Tuesday - we our little nieces, so after some free play and some table time in the morning, we went off to the park and the library. Back for lunch and various naps, we watched a little Nina and the Neurons, which was fun. I looked over Roo and Wig's work, did various bits with the younger ones that hadn't been accomplished in the morning and Saurus and Roo helped me get all the clothes boxes and bags out of the loft as they need going through again.

Wednesday - I was working in the morning, Saurus and Roo held the fort and helped the others with table time. They also watched some Walking with Dinosaurs which Hoofie particularly enjoyed. I was back for lunch and after that there were some Magic games, and then I took Fluff, Petal, Dot and Hoofie to the big park for a change, where we had a great time. It wasn't as cold today, more misty and dank. Papacrow got home early then he, I, Saurus and Hoofie all went to college for Saurus's parents evening while everyone else watched TV and Roo kept an eye on everyone. Petal and Dot also went downstairs to play with the downstairs girls where they had fun doing lots of treaure hunts! Saurus's tutor said lots of nice things about him and has not worries, so that was good, and we got fish and chips on the way home which we ate in front of Pointless and Eggheads, which was a nice treat, and Saurus even did the washing up!

Thursday - after breakfast and some free play and card games, Fluff, Petal, Dot, Hoofie and I struggled out to Sainsburys and did the shopping. Roo and Wig stayed home and beavered through their table time and essays. When we'd got it all home and up the stairs and away, they watched a Walking with Monsters while I finished off and then we had lunch. After lunch I did table time with the younger ones and checked over Roo and Wig's stuff with them. We also had a lot of lovely read out louds - a bit of November from the Edwardian Country Lady's Diary, Winter Story from our Complete Bramley Hedge, some winter flower fairy songs from our Complete Flower Fairies and a few pages of What to Look for in Winter (ladybird). All have gorgeous illustrations and it was a lovely peaceful interlude! Petal and Dot also got crafty and Petal did a whole paper dress by herself out of her dress design book - this involved stencilling, cutting and gluing, and pretty fiddly stencilling and cutting at that, I was most impressed and she was pleased with the results! She did ask for help completing a difficult cutting out of a small bow, but otherwise it was completely unaided, I didn't even talk her through it, she worked out and did all the steps herself. As I said, I was impressed!
We had a tidy and then they all, Hoofie included, went to their grandparent's house to play with cousins and have dinner. I went off to have my tattoo finished off and got back for dinner, Papacrow beating me home and picking up Hoofie after his chips!

Friday - after breakfast and some free play we saddled up and went off to Hobbycraft for a festive nose around. I was a bit disapointed to be honest, I wanted lots of xmas craft kits - like 'make a fabric advent calendar in just a few easy steps!' and a big cheap boxes of festive coloured wooden beads. None of that sadly, though we did get some small boxes of various sizes to decopage. Home for some stories and lunch, then a catch up with Life Story (nature documentary) while I had a like down (a small post tattoo crash). Then we did table time, including continuing on the readoutlouds from yesterday, and I helped Roo with his essay crisis. Aunty A and cousins P and J popped round to play, Saurus got back from college, Roo and Wig went off to youth group and (eventually) I took the girls to ballet with Hoofie in tow. I brought Dot and Hoofie back home after Dot's class, chatted to Papacrow when he got back then hurried out to pick up Petal, and then Wig and Roo. Roo washed up after dinner and we enjoyed Agents of Shield - we all approve of the new Agent Bobby Morse (Mockingbird).

Saturday - Papacrow was working all day, and we had a leisurely breakfast and headed out to karate. Saurus was teaching the class as Sensi was away (at a tournament I think) and we had a few shinanikins with the swipe card, but it all got sorted in the end and he did really well - he ended up teaching the junior kickboxing and adult karate as well, which Roo also attended! The rest of us went and used up some Pizza Express tokens that Aunty Lib gave us that ran out today - everyone aired their best manners and we had a great time, picking up some dairy free chocolate Advent Calandars on the way home - hoorah! Then it was home for tidying and vaccing and some screen time. I popped out and picked up Papacrow, fed downstairs cat (they're away for the weekend) and then took Fluff and Petal and Dot to the theatre to see the Southern Youth Ballet - Copellia! We had a great time and Petal and I managed to name quite a few steps! We got home just in time for Strictly and Atlantis and then everyone tumbled into bed.

Sunday - Papacrow and I had breakfast in bed while the others had breakfast in front of the TV - Classic Trek! - so we all started the day with a little treat!  There was various little houseworky and planing things to sort out and then Papacrow went down to the allotment with Wig and Fluff to do a little tidying up and to check on the parsnips and swedes. I felt a little coldy so stayed home with Hoofie and the others who didn't fancy it - although it was sunny it was also quite cold. I finished sorting through all the clothes we store in the attic, a job that rolled on through lunch but it got done in the end, phew! I have a big bag of girls clothes to pass down to little nieces S & E, a big bag of baby clothes for my mum to send off to one of her good causes and some dead clothes that were holey, stained and/or had perished elastic to go to the recycling, and everything neat and in order in the attic. Wig and Fluff got some bits out that they needed, and I found some new (to him) trainers for Fluff that he needed - always nice when that happens! The girls got a few bits out too. We enjoyed some Country File after dinner, plus the Strictly results show. Senatra has been great but it was definitely her time to go - none of us wanted to lose any of the others!

November Book Log

New to me
Mock the Week - collected from the TV show
An impulse purchase from the Oxfam shop off their £1 shelf - an entertaining round up of jokes.

Henry to the rescue by Dora Thatcher
A series about a little red helicopter, I knew I loved them when I was five or six but I don't remember the actual stories, so I'm putting in 'new to me'! Certainly I didn't remember this one, which which I enjoyed

Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett
Short stories from his teenage local paper days, I really enjoyed this. I especially enjoyed the tales of the carpet people, I may have to read the books he then went on to write about them now!

Tales of Little Grey Rabbit - Alison Uttley
Sometimes only the old favourites will do.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Last Week Round up

Monday - Mostly taken up with Hoofie being ill, Papacrow out working, tidying the house and some table time. Kids also played a lot of monopoly and magic and I took Fluff to his football.

Tuesday - Hoofie still unwell and not sleeping at nights so we didn't have our nieces today and stayed in. The morning we mostly tidied and cleaned and watched some nature documentaries. In the afternoon we polished off our basics and our lovely hairdresser came and cut Roo and Fluffs hair and also mine!

Wednesday - Hoofie still snotty and unhappy although he was a bit more cheerful. I worked in the morning and in the afternoon we finished off table time and did lots more tidying and cleaning including taking apart and moving the sofa - rather a lot of stuff under there!

Thursday - Shopping in the morning, lots of tidying in the afternoon, then the kids all went to Grandmas while I went to the osteopath. Hoofie much improved today though still snotty - a better night last night by far.

Friday - Card games and table time followed by a flat inspection in the morning, which all went well. Hoofie still snotty but much much better and it was dry so we popped to the little park before lunch. The rooks were making an awful noise and we saw a large owl!!! A tawny I think, being mobbed by the rooks along with some starlings, a magpie or two and a whole sky full of herring gulls joining in. They drove it from tree to tree, it went on for ages - I felt very sorry for the poor owl, if rather excited to finally observe behaviour I've read and known about for years but never seen. The rest of the day was taken up with ballet and youth group, and we enjoyed Agents of Shield in the evening.

Saturday - Karate and errands in town in the morning - I'd saved up points and money for a new toaster! Not only did we need a new one but this one can toast four slices of bread at the same time AND it matches the pretty new kettle I got a little while back! Huzzuh! After lunch Roo and Wig went round to their cousin W's for a sleepover, Papacrow and I pottered about and made pizza and the others played computer games and watched some tv. We enjoyed Strictly and Atlantis in the evening.

Sunday it rained most of if not all the day, so we cancelled our allotment plans and played card games, read stories, did house work and snuggled in front of the tv. We were sorry to see Steve Blackshaw go in Strictly but he was definitely at the bottom of the pack, so it was timely.

Friday, 21 November 2014

You can have it all...

You just can't have it all in the same week, that's what I've discovered this month.

I've found I can do more than one thing, I can do two things in fact - but not more than that.

So I can high tide Home Ed like mad, AND write or edit a book.


I can high tide Home Ed AND have a really clean and tidy house.


I can have a really clean and tidy house AND write or edit a book.

OR (as I discovered this week)

I can have a really clean and tidy house AND a poorly Hoofie.

Both Papacrow and I have a had a great writing year, both of us madly writing lots of books - and boy could you see that in the house!

Vaccing, mopping, washing up and laundry has all gone on as normal of course, as has bed changing and a bit a of tidying here and there. But any further niceties like window cleaning, wood work and dusting - not so much.

So I've been grateful for an impending flat inspection (tomorrow! Think of us please!) because it's pushed me to do things that have been waiting for months - putting all the CDs away for example, and dusting and tidying my bookcase (that's blocked by our sidecar cot and was THICK with dust! Eeek!).

The house is also ready for xmas more or less now, and the rest of birthday season, so that's good. I'm looking forward to jumping back into more table time, crafts, art and such like next week as they've been a little neglected this week.

One thing that is obliging about housework is how it waits for you while you have better things to do like babies to rock and books to write - and it's had to be patient this time, let me tell you!

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