Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Pow, pow and erm Splash!

After reading blueyonders blog which i love as she has got a wonderful outlook on family life i read her rubber band gun tutorial and showed it to my boys and partner, they loved the idea so off we went to the wood shop and my youngest eyes filled with delight as he looked around at washers, bits of wood and door locks!, he was amazed that his pocket money could buy loads of things to make from the woodworkers, a lot more than spending it on one toy in town. I was thrilled at this news as you can imagine. So with our wood and glue we went in search of rubber bands, this is crazy but at our local shops there was none to be found, but the great man from the cheaper market shop came to our rescue as he had thrown out loads the day before, we got a great stash of them and went home. The boys sanded the cut wood pieces even though they insisted they wouldn't get splinters if they left them! yeah right!

The boys happily chatting and sanding, the eldest in front of pic decided to make a cross bow out of pieces of laminate flooring and to my surprise made one all by himself and it worked really well.

Chris the youngest waiting for his daddy to nail the wood together "how long will it take". After waiting for the glue to dry and asking every few minutes "is it ready yet?" and me explaining to the boys how wonderful it is to spend £3.00 on wood etc and make 3 rubber band guns that they could have endless fun with rather than spending more money on one toy that will be put in a toy box forgotten for the rest of time to them, they were finally ready. We set up a cardboard target for them to fire at and away they went, they played in the garden laughing and praising each other (something that rarely goes on) for hours, oh the joy!
Then disaster, i should of seen it coming really,Chris was on a chair (a big leather heavy chair i might add) behind the target (this also was large so no chance of him being hit) when his biggest brother went to get his bands and bumped into the target which in turn knocked the chair and Chris over right into the pond! He came out looking like a swamp monster, wet through dripping in pond weed with his gun held up above his head - the only thing apart from his head that was dry! Quick rush to the bath and antiseptic on his grazes, he bashed up his arm and side pretty badly on the rocks.

Here he is after his hot chocolate showing me his grazes (note the dry rubber band gun on the sofa!) He was still cheery though even though in his words "i nearly drowned to death, but i save my gun". Now a week later all band are lost over next doors fence, in the bushes full of spiders- i wont be getting those! and up the hoover probably!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

High on a hill stood a lonely goat herd......

I adore Julie Andrews, love Mary Poppins and the Sound of Music, have both soundtracks on vinyl and bore my kids to death singing songs from both movies. So imagine my delight when I came across this video on another blog , it combines both Julie Andrews and the all time classic the Muppet's!! yippee, guess what I will be enduring my boys to when they come in from playing soldiers in the garden!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

lovely things to make you smile....

Shinzi Katoh is a Japanese Zakka artist of worldwide acclaim. He is based in Aichi in the central region of Japan where he has his own gallery, shop and museum. His designs are whimsical, childlike and gorgeous! All of his products are designed to be practical but also to make you smile and feel happy – that is the central theme of Zakka design and art. Now in the UK to buy online is this fantastic, cute, wonderfully glorious site . I want one of everything and normally when browsing all things lovely there are only one or two items that catch my eye, but this site is different everything i looked at made me coo with joy!
Look at the water bottles, how delightful! There are pack lunch boxes, glasses in all sizes, notepads, sticky tape, bags now on half priced sale , cups with little biscuit holders on top and a whole load of other things to dream over.

I really want the teapot and the lunchbox above, hopefully i can save up some pennies to treat myself to them or better still ask for them at christmas!

Friday, 22 August 2008

ARGH bloody slugs!

growing veg has become a passion of mine since trying to become more self sufficient, my garden is not huge and not very tidy but slowly it is becoming better, I'm having lots of ideas and thoughts about what to plant next, and each morning i go out and proudly look at my growing beauties! My runner beans have sprouted up to epic proportions, wrapping themselves around the bamboo wigwams i made, the carrots are almost ready for harvesting and the radishes, well they keep disappearing, those damned slugs!!, I'm becoming obsessed checking morning and night to catch the blighters and keep them from munching my veggies. The lettuces and radishes vanished after a couple of days, we tried the egg shell thing - didn't work, now we have tied copper wiring around to see if this works, it better do or i will be out there with a torch doing night duty!! Any ideas not involving jam jars and beer will be most grateful.On the upside, i got a £15 greenhouse in a sale and the whole family helped put it up in the pouring rain just to make me happy - how lovely! So after slug watch as the kettle boils in a morning, sometimes still in my PJ's i open up the greenhouse and an excited calm comes over me whilst i look at every tiny growing shoot, i know the tomatoes above are still small but i was late planting them anyway i don't care to much as they are growing quite quickly. The label on the side is not in case i forget what they are, its for the boys, it has some facts and tips on it.

Here is chris' (9 yr old) spinach, he only eats spinach and lettuce and the odd carrot and maybe a pea if he is feeling adventurous, so he planted these spinach above and lettuce below pics. This is his second lot of lettuces after the first slug theft we thought it best to keep them in the greenhouse until they are well established.

Turnips! tiny little ones just starting off, I'm waiting till they are a bit bigger to thin them out, to be honest we don't eat turnip that often so i thought it was a good idea to grow some, plus i think they are quite funny! I have been watching carol Klein's programme on BBC2 grow your own veg i love her enthusiasm and passion, its a great programme and she has a fab book too, really easy to follow for beginners like me.

As a family we already do the Eco things like riding our bikes everywhere, we don't have a car through choice, we recycle and reuse, i always say no to plastic bags, we buy as much fair trade and organic food as possible and growing fruit and veg has made me feel so much better not just because its fresher and better for us but because i am proud to see the little seeds turn into lovely plants and bear tasty fruit and veg and to see the boys faces when a new bud appears or how much something seems to grow overnight, its amazing.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

mucky boys and pretty flowers

I just adore flowers and our lovely local park is abundant with them at this time of year, they have a wonderful flower garden area with two ponds and beds full of beautiful flowers, the smell is wonderful, such a mix of roses, lavender, rudbeckia, foxgloves, echinacea, lily pads, water iris and many more.

The boys also love going to this part of the park for pond dipping, they have seen amazing dragon flies, pond skaters, frogs and newts and they love collecting them in water bottles and bringing some home to our garden pond, here are the three of them happy with their new "friends" on the way out of the park.

All good fun and best of all free - we like that! Also free but rather messy and something else the boys love doing is collecting motor bike boxes from the motor bike shop at the top of our road, the owner Robin is a great man and lets the boys have all sorts of treasure, boxes, bubblewrap, tyres etc. So they often go and get one of these boxes, they are huge and i normally have to give them a hand carrying it back down the road, then we struggle to get it through the house to the garden if its sunny, if not it turns into a walk through in the hall or a rather dangerous slide on the stairs! This day though it went in the garden, i cut windows out of it and the boys set about painting it in green emulsion

Hers Adam looking strangly clean (although he did have it in his hair) half way through painting the outside.

And Chris the rather messier one of the two mixing it up with green and black paint for an army feel.
Mmm, i can see now this was early on in the process, he got covered by the end of it, the bath water resembled the pond minus newts!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Homeschool, Q & A.

Im Just Saying wrote a blog post asking homeschoolers to answer some questions about homeschooling so today i will attempt to answer them even though we have only been homeschooling since april/may this year.

1. What was your motivation for homeschooling? Was it based on religious reasons? Was is it based on curriculum - did you want more freedom in choosing what your children were being taught? Was it based on socializing - wanting to have more control in the people with whom your children came into contact with? Was it based on logistics - the nearest school being 20 miles away? What made you finally decide to go this route?

We thought given the choices around our area for schools are poor and that the school the boys attended was not very good as there are many unsavoury children/parents that go there and we didnt want the boys in contact with such people, that in the holidays the boys became much brighter, happier children that we would not send them back to school. My eldest does attend school and i hope for the younger two to go to high school, so my ideas on homeschooling are not set in stone, its just whats best for us all at the moment.

2. Don't hate me for asking this. How to you handle socialization? What steps do you take to make sure your children are around other children and adults? Are you active in a home school group? Do you spend a lot of time at church activities? Maybe you utilize the local Y for activities and they meet friends there?

Where we live there are many children the boys play with every day and they have friends who come round too. We have just started to have meet ups with other homeschool families in the area. We dont go to church and the boys dont attend any clubs.

3. Do you use the public school system for any part of your child's routine? Some children here come to the school for band or chorus, or maybe for science class. Do you send your child to the public school to take advantage of any of their programs?

No as this would go against the belief i have about them mixing with unsavory children.

4. Do your children begin and end school at the same time each day? Do they have a strict schedule, at least as far as waking up and reporting to the school area of your home? If not, when/how will you transition your children into following a more rigid schedule - awaking at the same time each day so that they can follow a routine outside of the home like for college and work?
No, they dont have a set routine, we learn as we go through out the day naturally. They do have some time to do worksheets and spelling tests but this is not at any special time.
The boys will be well equipped with life skills enough to be able to follow a stricter routine if need be when they are older, just because they dont have to do things at a certain time they still have routine in other areas of there life like mealtimes and bed etc.

5. How many spelling bees has your child won? Oh, I'm kidding. We all know most of the recent national spelling bee winners have been home schooled children. I just wanted to throw a little funny in there.
We dont have spelling bees in the UK

6. Do you have a sense of humor? It's probably a little late for me to ask that but...
Oh god yeah a very big one and i think us homeschoolers have bigger ones than most parents.

How does a homeschooler change a lightbulb?
First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a
biography of Thomas Edison and do a skit based on his life.
Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with
dipping their own candles.
Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they
compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill.
On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of
money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill.
Finally, after
building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed.
And there is light.

7. Where do you find your curriculum? Do you shop for it and order it? Do you create your own?
We dont follow the curriculum but i do get worksheets from Enchanted learning, its just £10.00 a year.

8. Do you have any worries at all about teaching your teenagers the higher level math and sciences? I, for one, could not teach chemistry to my children but I could probably teach them calculus. Is this a concern for you?
Not really as i hope when they are that age they will be attending high school

9. What bothers you the most about the reputation home schoolers have? What things do you hate to hear people say about you for your choice? I really hope you don't say that it's my previous post.
I hate the way people feel the need to quiz my boys to see if they actually know anything, also the way they want a full commentry about what educational thing you have done that day and also and this is the worse one the way other non home ed parents ask how do you cope having them at home all day and then add "it would drive me mad"

10. Be honest, do you, at least in your mind sometimes, judge those of us who choose public school? Do you ever think we are making a bad choice for our children? Are you vocal about that disapproval?
Not at all everyone has a choice and thats up to them.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Happy, happy, joy, joy

This week I have mainly been getting into embroidery, I found my embroidery hoop whilst tidying out a cupboard - it has rained a lot here so I had to find something to do! I haven't used it since I was at college and had a white vintage sheet that warhammer paint spilt on some of it so instead of throwing it out i have been making cushions, this little birdie was too lovely to use for a cushion so I framed him instead.

Meet Henry the applique owl, he is my first cushion I made, I got the lovely retro ribbon from a little craft shop in my town, its full of all sorts of pretties and very inexpensive, I spend way too long browsing for things in it, so my boys tell me!

This one is for my mum, she adores flowers and I wanted to make her something really pretty so I edged it with vintage lace and pearl beads. I have added beadwork to the embroidery too and Im really pleased with the result, she is coming over tommorrow to collect it, she only knows I have made her something so i hope she will like it.

Sometimes as a mum it can all get you down with the kids arguing, the constant "I'm Bored" and the whinging but then things like this happen and it makes the day so much brighter. There was a shout of "Mummm" from the front room, and as I hear that at least a few hundred times a day, I wondered what it was this time, so imagine my suprise and overwhelming joy when my little guy had made me this out of bluetack!

I just had to get a picture, he was so pleased with himself for making me smile so much, but he makes me smile lots of times everyday, he says the funniest things that have us in fits of laughter, things like after playing with water "mum, do i have blood shock eyes?", or when we was having a serious grown up talk about the future I asked him what he wants to be when he grows up and he said after much contemplation " a tortoise". Its the little things like this that makes me so proud to be a mum and makes all the whinging worthwhile.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Im forever blowing bubbles!

With the lousy weather here lately, sunny one minute then pouring down the next its been hard to go anywhere for a day out, weve mainly been homebodies, keeping warm and dry. Tom (lovely man in my life) came up with the idea of making bubble wands out of the plastic tennis rackets that had broken and was doomed to a life in the bin, we used this recipe:

1/2 cup of washing up liquid

1 and 1/2 cups warm water

2 teaspoons of sugar

mix it all together in a plastic toybox and find as many round holey objects that you can and let the fun begin!!

the look on the boys faces as the bubbles flew higher and higher was awesome, we managed to make some really big bubbles, but if you have ever tried them capture them on camera you know how difficult it is, everytime i went to click the bubble popped!

Later on when the eldest came home from school he wanted a go but unfortunately it was pouring down - did this stop him? oh not a bit, but because of the rain and the silliness of them it turned into this
they thought it looked like snow, and eventually the garden and the boys were covered!

they came in and listened to vera lynn's "im forever blowing bubbles" but didnt like it so listened to the cockney rejects version instead and liked it a lot better!

Talking of all things bubbly you might want to have a look at my better photography over here

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

All things gorgeous

I just love anything for my kitchen at the moment and usually buy things just to put on the dresser and look at, but this juicer i could actually look at and use woo hoo! These come from another site i dream over quite a lot, check out the rugs they are divine.
oh my i love this egg cup, what a lovely way to brighten up boiled eggs! At £4.19 its a little treat to put a smile on my face - note to any family reading i want one please!

Look at the fab cushions i found today when i was having a tea break - ok really i was just being a bit lazy whilst the boys played outside at a great game called capture the flag with the neighbours children, this is the second day they have played it, i joined in yesterday and its great fun although im sure some of them cheat!

this Clarissa the cat cushion made by jane claire is available from a great website called not on the high street where you can find unusual items for your home, this one is £54.95 which is a bit too much for me to pay but i can dream or try and make something similar.

I adore this one even more, just look at the gingham!! Woodland floral is by the same designer and so cute.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Catching up with the garden

I finally managed to get out in the back garden as the sun came out and we didnt have anywhere to go, the boys are busy on projects and i was able to get round to some planting. the pic above is some lovely pineapple mint my mum bought me a while ago and now is by our back door on the kitchen window sill, its smells lovely and i love it in the meakin teapot!

I know this seems a little shabby but i call it frugal! i made a cloche out of an old kichen cupboard turned on its side and covered it with industrial clingfilm to keep it warm, in the little pots are carrot seeds and in the cut down milk cartons are runner bean seeds, i cant wait till they start sprouting, you cant see it in the pic but just above the milk cartons at the top is the old drawer out of the cupboard with runner beans in it and a wire mesh going up the wall for them to grow up. The milk bottles are an excellent recycling idea and for the past couple of months ive had a row of them on the living room window growing peepers from seed.

These are my pepper plants now ive transferred them outside, they look a little worse for wear as we had a massive downpour and something has been nibbling the leaves! Also little black seeds keep dropping off them, i would appreciate if anyone knows what this is all about to let me know as i cant find anything out about it.

My lovely alpine poppies have grown so much this year and have been in continuous bloom since febuary i have collected loads of seeds from them too, ready to plant for next year. I am slowly getting to see all the lovely flowers coming through as since ive lived here its been a very slow process getting round to the garden and making it into something nice.
My herb garden is another thing thats slowly happening, my basil died off even though when inside it was wonderful but some lemon balm and the lavender has grown really well. I love the smell of the lavender and cant wait to make some more sleep pillows out of it after it has flowered, you cant really see on below pic just how vibrant the colour is, its a gorgeous purple.
I have loads more to do in the garden and hopefully the weather will bless me with another fine day, weve had nothing but thunder storms and heavy rain, its really quite disheartening.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Shhh! im a year older

Well today it was my birthday and to be honest birthdays dont really bother me too much except obviously im getting older and according to my 10 yr old now im 32 i cant pull silly faces anymore- im meant to be a grown up!

I did have a lovely day though, apart from being woken up by two scrapping boys, still dont know what they find to argue about but anyway, after looking at my lovely handmade cards i got a special treat of scrambled eggs and toast in bed, this to me is a treat as it reminded me of being a kid, my mum always gave us scrambled eggs in bed after being poorly but today i didnt have to be recovering from an illness.

I popped into town after a lazy morning and bought myself (out of my birthday money off my mum) this gorgeous teapot from Whittards how cute are the ladybirds!

I also was a little naughty and spent the rest of the money on cakes and croissants and real butter from marks and spencer - this is to me another treat as i havent shopped in there for food for ages. Then my day ended with a scrumptious curry made by my lovely fella. Unfortunately me and the boys then watched the second part of flood ( a disaster drama on ITV) i spent most of the time trying to reassure them if a flood of that scale really happened we would be ok because i shall buy a boat off ebay and keep it in the attic - they didnt believe me because i never venture into the attic - i hate attics. Anyway i guess now at least one of them will wake up in the night crying and thinking weve been flooded!!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Native American day and tadpoles!

Wow, what a great day we had today, full of suprises. The boys got their first letters off their new penpals from America this morning, so they were excited as the penpals are home schooled too.
Then we had a look at the tadpoles we collected a few weeks ago to see if they had grown and they now have back legs, whilst looking at the tadpoles we spotted a frog, he must of returned from last year and lots of big water snails. On the downside we spotted a hole in the pond liner so that will have to be fixed, thankfully its near the top so the water hasnt leaked out.

After a question by my youngest about why didnt the cowboys and native americans live together in peace, we ended up having a long chat and listening to native american music and learning all about what really happened, we have a native american friend on the net thats been really wonderful. The boys then started on their crafts

This is half way through, they made shields, tommahawks, necklaces, wristbands and head bands, they learned about the picture symbols they used and decorated the headbands to tell the story of our family through the pictures.

we also made popcorn and i told the native american story about the spirits in popcorn.

The folklore of some Native American tribes told of spirits who lived inside each kernel of popcorn. The spirits were quiet and content to live on their own, but grew angry if their houses were heated. The hotter their homes became, the angrier they'd get - shaking the kernels until the heat was too much. Finally, they would burst out of their homes and into the air as a disgruntled puff of steam.

The boys played for ages after and they posed for this picture as they crossed weapon sign is the sign for freindship.

Hopefully we are going to make a teepee later on this week and carry on learning about Native Americans.

I found a great site full of games, recipes, stories, beadwork, arts and loads of other really interesting things. My boys loved it.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

moved from here

moved from my other blog you can see my other posts on there i have kept it online.
Just click on the title to go see

just another day in the life....

Mmm home made doughnuts!
my boys decided that today they wanted to make some stuffed animals, after being inspired by me, i made them each a toy for christmas, the two older ones got a robot, heres robbie the robot

i made him with just one arm as he had an accident in the factory!. So i printed off a free pattern template from the wonderful wee wonderfuls blog thats really a bunny, but we just used the body shape, and the boys turned them into penguins

i taught them running stitch and blanket stitch and how to sew on buttons, now they are so proud they want to make more!