Monday, 14 April 2014

Keeping Active

Well I got my exercise at the weekend all right.

On Saturday I walked Dot to karate while carrying Trojan Hero in the ring sling. After the class I walked them back home again, dropped them off with Papacrow and dug out my running shoes... Yes, I jogged back - it's about half a mile - did the hour long adult class, and jogged home. It went well actually, the way back was hard work - all up hill too - but I was pleased with my pace.

So I walked a mile and ran a mile, albeit with a nice break in the middle each time!

After some much deserved lunch, Petal, Dot, Trojan Hero and myself went and did the weekly shop - so that was more walking, plus pushing the trolley round - phew!

On Sunday I dashed about and did housework, and we spent a happy sunny morning and lunch at the allotment. Papacrow got some more potatoes in while I weeded, tidied, and dug up a big unwanted plant - that was hard work.

No wonder my mum thought I'd lost weight recently!

She was right too - half a stone has gone, without me really thinking about it - I expect all the ballet has something to do with it!

Monday, 7 April 2014


Already the ornamental cherries in our street are blossoming, which seems rather early - but I rather think I say that every year! We had a few warm days full of flowers and bird song and even left the skylight open all night - now we're back to chilly grey skies and rain, rain, rain.

The allotment is going well - we have potatoes in, and some raspberry canes from the next door allotment who were getting rid of runners! Still lots to do - a second greenhouse to put up, strawberries to weed and eventually net, more potatoes to put in, and peas to buy and plant.

This month we are looking at birds, animals, flowers - nature and spring in general, really, which is nice...

We've also been using youtube a lot - with the playstation we can watch it on the big screen tv, and we've discovered there is so much on there - all the BBC Farm series, all of Numbertime which you can no longer get - and Roo has predictably fallen in love with a Very Potter Musical!

Ballet, Football, Karate and Tennis are all proceeding apace, and most excitingly the new playground at our little local park is open! The equipment is really great, there's so many different things and ways to climb at a range of difficulties, we all love it.

Fluff is reading well and tackling a new maths workbook with ease. He also rarely needs to copy for his diary, just asks how to spell things. What's really interesting is that he made this step all by himself without prompting! Petal is coming along nicely and building on her phonics skills and whole word recognition - she might be reading before the year is out, actually. Dot is very interested in words and letters and doing lots of writing of strings of letters, as Petal was doing a little while ago. We're enjoying lots of books, both picture books and longer ones with less pictures.

We're working our way round the house decluttering and deep cleaning - as ever, there's lot going on!

Monday, 31 March 2014

March Book Log

A small book of cartoon strips called, I think, Impending Nuptials - stupidly I didn't write down the title and author before I returned it to the library! It was smart, poignant and funny, and I really enjoyed it.

The One World School House by Salman Khan.
Really really good. If it wasn't the library copy I would have highlighted most of it! Easy to read, inspirational and very useful - I have much more confidence now in techniques and routines that have being arising naturally round here but that look very different from mainstream schooling - now I have the knowledge and research to back up my gut feelings, which is nice!

English Downland by H. J. Massingham
Really finished this a few days into April, but I mostly read in March so here it stays! Beautiful book, old library stock and still with the original labels with info on how you must protect your book if it's raining, and what to do in event of infectious diseases. The text is rich and wonderful, and the subject is one of my passions, so I loved it.

Car Conversation

Wig: 'What's the name of the Russian president again?'

Roo & Me, together: 'Valdimir Putin.'

Wig: 'Ah yes, thanks.'

Me, in a puzzled tone 'But Wig, why do you NEED to know the name of the Russian president?'

Wig: 'Because I keep going to say 'Joe Stalin' instead!' *laughs at self*

Which left me still baffled - but impressed at their grasp of Russian politics!

Monday, 24 March 2014

And the greatest of these is love

I saw this Mother Teresa quote today and it really resonated with me -

'Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.'

And I looked round at the house and the piles of washing up and the table strewn with pencils and books and other various educational paraphernalia, and looked at the calendar full of sports classes and not much else and I thought - yes, that's one for me!

Because I'm at that time of life now where I have had to accept, however reluctantly that realistically some things are never going to happen. I'm never going to be the prima ballerina at the royal ballet. I'm never going to be a bus driver, given my rubbish depth perception.  I doubt I'll ever be a Hollywood stunt woman either, though you never know...

In some ways, this is freeing - as I was saying to my ballet teacher in my last class, it's more nerve racking performing and such as a child because there's still all this potential, all this opportunity, all this expectation that you might one day be something or someone or achieve something great. Once you get past your thirties no one expects anything - it's far too late for all that in many cases so you are free to do what you want and just enjoy it, minus a lot of the paralysing stage fright.

And this quote from Mother Teresa just tops it all off for me... It cements that what I'm doing, just the daily, very day grind, is great in itself because I do it with and from and in love.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Books, Books, Glorious Books

To my great joy, the younger ones - by which I mean Fluff (8), Petal (6) and Dot (4) are now magically older enough for longer stories at bedtime - ones that don't necessarily have pictures on every page, your longer than typical picture books, compendiums and chapter books and the like.

We've been enjoying quite a few longer stories recently - Petal's favourite at the moment is this beauty -

The pictures are sumptuous and many, the text fairy tale like and the story has the little people stealing away a child to keep them company on the long winter nights in their halls inside the hill. It has a cat, obviously, riddles, a wise woman and thankfully very happy ending that is totally believable and satisfying rather than syrupy. Full of British Folk Lore goodness!

To my even greater joy, Dot has completely fallen in love with Little Grey Rabbit!

We have an omnibus which is handy, as well as a handful of the nice childsize individual ones. We've had the party - managed that in one sitting which is impressive, they really are rather long as compared to your average picture book - and completed Wise Owl's story in two sittings. I adore these - such a huge part of my childhood, and a really important record of a rural life which must be pretty much vanished now.

Fluff particularly likes this -

This is an amazing book. Written as a bone fide late 19th Century explorer's journal, it charts the discovery and exploration of an uncharted set of islands that hold all sorts of fantastical wild life... The illustrations are amazing, and the amount of work put into the historical background and context is awe inspiring. It seems to be one of those books that is hard to get hold of, so if you see it - snap it up!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

House Work Hour

So spring cleaning fever has hit here at the crow's nest - boy did it need to!

We're getting daily and weekly tasks done all right, it's everything else- the endless de-cluttering, and the post winter de-moulding, and dusting - oh my goodness dusting - that sort of thing.

So I've revitalised the schedule and found an hour in the afternoon, 2.00pm to 3.00pm which I've assigned to housework. I've divided the house up into seven areas, assigned a day for each one, and I'm just going to keep on cycling through!

The kids have the choice to help me in my area, or just to concentrate on their bedrooms. Either way, no screens go on until their rooms and the common areas are tidy, even if 3.00pm - the usual switch on time - has already been and gone!

So far, it's working quite well.

I also had a brainwave regarding the clothes sorting and folding - I do a load or two every day, it takes minutes to sort and fold it straight from the dryer and wiz round the house putting it away. I can see it might get tedious at some point, but it sure beats it building up into Mount Foldmore behind the front room sofa and everyone pulling it every which way to find socks, and then grumping and moaning and it taking over half an hour to get it folded and away.

Work smarter not harder, that's my motto!

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