Saturday, 31 October 2009

My top 3

John and Edward.

Whooooooooo hooooooooooooo!

It's getting bigger, this Halloween thingy. I've just been out this evening with a couple of my 'mum' friends, trick or treating in their neighbourhood. Their neighbours are mostly good sports who are prepared to entertain a bunch of gruesome, hyped-up, little dwarf monsters with candy. Yes, I said "candy"! Tonight I witnessed one of our little gang being severely reprimanded by his mama for using this Americanism. Jamie Lee-Curtis' hair would not just have stood on end but fallen out with fear altogether. But, hey, our lovely friends, over the pond, have given us more scary stuff than this Halloween palava to worry about... Hannah Montanna, High School Musical...

And, speaking of hair standing on end, I have just really enjoyed John and Edward again tonight on the X-Factor. Hubby has just got up to get the phone.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

More fractions and funny faces.

Continuing with the fractions and percentages work, Honor is working out questions relating to the fruit and bricks. She is pretty good with understanding maths concepts but seems to find memorising things like multiplication facts a lot harder which is such a shame because then she'd find this work a doddle. Henry can be seen matching reading cards to objects, focussing on colour words. He did this easily. The kids spent most of the rest of the day outdoors. It has been such a lovely, warm day. They played in the garden and made funny faces with the windfall apples. We popped over to Homebase because I want some more coat hooks put up in the hall for all their school stuff. However, there was nothing there I liked so we just enjoyed mucking about with the funny christmas toys that sing and dance when you press them. After that, we stopped at a really nice playground where they found a couple of other children to play with, collecting acorns and imagining they were characters from Fantastic Mr Fox. I attempted to get some much needed exercise by walking round the field with the baby as many times as possible. So now I can enjoy my Tesco value turkey leg, guilt free!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Take a pumpkin....

I like to get my money's worth out of a pumpkin so here's what we did with ours....
Henry made pumpkin pie. It tastes like custard tart - yummy.
Honor roasted the pumpkin seeds (and, incidentally, as it's cooking day, also made Nigella's breakfast bars). I reserved some of the pumpkin puree and mixed with baby rice to feed Hope - she was impressed! All served up with a glass of red wine.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


I've added a link in the side bar to a charity called HAPsI. Glenn became one of the trustees after seeing first hand the good work done relieving poverty in Southern India.

Day 2 of half term started with a lesson on.... half. Fractions and percentages is the topic of the week. The pictures show the kids finding different ways to cut a piece of paper into half. Henry's focus was to understand the meaning of half, recognise the symbol and write it while Honor worked out 50% or divided by 2 large numbers. Proof that you can successfully teach a mixed age class! Okay, okay, so I only have 2 pupils (so far!)
This afternoon we went to Wildwood. We are members. It only costs £5 per month, so, I think, it's well worth it. I forgot my camera, though, so no photos which is a shame because we got to see the grey heron close up and the beavers and the otters were out to play, too. The otters are my favourite - such characters. Hope really enjoyed it. She's noticing the animals now and kicks her legs excitedly. About three quarters of the way round (just can't stop talking about fractions!) Henry started to complain that he didn't feel well. He did feel hot and he's had a cold for the last couple of days so we came straight home and watched Ring of Bright Water - a lovely film based on the book about an otter by Gavin Maxwell. While we were watching, Honor asked me if the author was still alive so I looked him up on Wilkipedia. Turns out he was gay. So when he meets up with Virginia McKenna but turns to the otter and says "don't worry Mij, she's not my type" I understand what that was all about now! And, sadly, he died of cancer a few years later.

Monday, 26 October 2009

My beautiful girls.

Banyan Tree and Belgian Chocolates.

My good buddies, old teaching colleagues and godparents to our kids, Lisa and Glenn came over today. We'd not seen each other for six weeks or so and a few birthdays had passed so we had a bit of a pressie swapping session. Lisa is George Clooney mad so she got this mug and coasters. Glenn got a lovely cookbook by Antonio Carluccio - so can't wait for a dinner invite, Glenn!
And we went to see Beneath the Banyan Tree at the Gulbenkian. It was a great show, simple but very effective and just long enough for young kids..Glenn shared out his belgian chocolates
but dropped them all down the back of the seat. Good job we had Henry there to get them back!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Famous West Brom Fans

It's getting late, I know. But hubby just wanted to watch 10 mins of footie and I noticed Adrian Chiles is presenting Match of the Day 2. He's a West Brom fan y'know and my side of the family have been supporters over the past three generations, at least. So, I thought I'd google 'famous West Brom supporters' while He watches the Liverpool v Man Utd game. There IS an actual website for this! Included on the list is Dean Headley - we know him! Been to dinner parties with him! He lived down the road from my Mum for a while. And Dean, you're in good company. Allan Ahlberg who wrote Each Peach Pear Plum, Julie Walters, Lenny Henry, Cat Deeley and JUDAS PRIEST (!) are also fans.

X Factor

Just a quick one - really....

OK, so the twins (or the trolls, as some are calling them) are through again. When their names were called instantaneous cheering broke out in our living room. The contestants on this show are BRILLIANT singers - fact! But this show would not be half as entertaining without John and Edward.

Ooohhhh. What a shame. Thought Miss Frank were good. They are good! They're all good.

I wonder if next year the X Factor needs an almost 40 year old mama singing Duran Duran songs? Aren't we all bored with Mariah Carey a'likes?
Even though the clocks went back last night, we still found ourselves in a rush to get to church on time. The 28th October is the feast of St Jude and as our parish is the home to the shrine of St Jude, it was packed out with pilgrims. The priests have been advertising for new altar servers and Honor has her eye on that job but she's not sure about it yet.

Henry has gone for a sleepover at Nana's tonight as it is half term and, therefore, no school tomorrow. He only started school 6 weeks ago and seems to be coping quite well. Honor and I have been playing monopoly all afternoon and we are now watching James Bond. She keeps moaning that she is hungry and bored. Guess that's why they call 'em board games! (Groan) - Well it made her laugh as she reads this over my shoulder. Anyway, HM, not long 'til Daddy comes home from footie with a take-away. And we can watch the X-Factor. Who do you want to win? Oh, she doesn't know as she hasn't seen any of it yet. Wonder what she'll think of John and Edward....

Friday, 23 October 2009

Techno babe!

My sister-in-law, Vicky, who lives in Italy, just sent me an e-mail and mentioned she liked the blog. 'It looks very professional', she said. Well, "thanks Vicky!" Actually, I'm still having trouble getting the pictures where I want them to be and getting the text to match. That said, it really is quite simple using this 'blogspot' website with all its templates and gizmos. It's so amazing how far technology has come, particularly this last decade. Hubby and I recently enjoyed watching the BBC4 series Electric Dreams and especially the episode about the '80's. I remember my Uncle Ken owned a tv shop in town so we were lucky, in our family, to be among the first to get a Betamax video player. And then he gave us a Toshiba MX something or other computer that we fiddled about on, writing in BASIC code and getting, well , nowhere. So just look where we are now! Who'da thought it?

Thursday, 22 October 2009

I've had a bit of a tidy up of the autumn nature table. I got a little pack of animals from Homebase and added those. The children didn't notice. We've run out of Little House episodes to watch, so they asked to watch School of Rock (Jack Black) instead. They were throwing themselves around the room like loonies. I ordered series 3 from Amazon today, so hopefully the ongoing postal strike won't hold things up too much.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

So proud!

My big girl was presented with The Children's Trophy at school today. This was for her contribution at the village fete this summer. As well as producing some art work for the show, she took part in the country and maypole dancing. She also made teas with the Brownies and had to keep changing her uniform, from Brownies to school, according to which role she was in! Well done Honor!
Next week I am taking the kids to the Gulbenkian Theatre to see Beneath the Banyan Tree. It's an Indian dance and puppet performance by 'Hullaballoo' about a girl who moves to England from India and is based around the fables of the Panchatantra. So, not knowing what they're all about, I ordered this CD rom from Amazon the other day. In fact, I think it was only two days ago and it arrived today. So we can get busy learning about these stories before we go.
Another thing that arrived today was Henry's Davy Crockett hat. He is wearing it in the picture while he does his Kumon.
I have to go now and help Henry make scotch eggs and Honor make Moroccan chicken, as seen on Nigel Slater last week. Wednesday is cooking day!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Moving on up?

Hubby has been offered a job in Aberdeen. He needs to find out more but this could entail all of us heading up north! So I've been looking into this and, well, blimey, it's nearly in Norway, isn't it? Hubby says we can just pop across to see A-Ha. Yeah, but they're breaking up. Hmmmm.

Something to think about.....

Aren't googly eyes brilliant?!

I'd have loved to have gone on Dragon's Den as the inventor of the googly eyes! Honor and Henry have come in from school to decorate their paper plates for a Halloween competition. I have had no input in their ideas. They just got on with it while I fed the baby. This is Honor's. Not a bad effort. Henry, while I was distracted, poured most of the new tube of glue that I bought from Staples this afternoon (costing me a whopping £2.53) into the tub of green paint. He then proceeded to put as much paint and glue and stuff on his plate as possible. No real design, I guess you'd call it expressive art? So whatever has managed to dry and is still in place by Thursday will get handed in. They are all going to be put up in the Village Hall for Friday's disco. I remember the ones made last year were fantastic.

And doesn't Hope look gorgeous in her pink hoodie that I bought from the craft fair on Saturday? Just love those little cat buttons!

Little House.

I decided to name this blog 'Little House on the Lees' as a tribute to our family's favourite series. Honor read the book during the summer holidays and is now reading 'On the banks of Plum Creek'. We've also been watching the dvd box sets and are nearly at the end of series 2. When the kids come in from school, they do their Kumon, play for a bit or do an activity with me (Wednesday is cooking day) and then settle down to an episode of 'Little House' while I get dinner ready. They rarely watch any other tv now. I was happy for them to watch CBeebies, but as Honor got older she wanted to watch things like Tracy Beaker and Hannah Montanna which I find appalling and even more appalling was the attitude being copied by the kids. Henry still likes to watch Indiana Jones occasionally and is looking forward to the Star Wars films beginning again on tv this weekend. But 'Little House' remains regular viewing for all of us. Even I have managed to give up watching the soaps as I feel their constant presence in the house has a negative effect. Well, almost. I think I shall have to watch Eastenders this week - just to see Heather give birth to George Michael... and then, that is IT!!!!

Another one of my favourite blogs (see side bar) is Unplug your Kids. The author there doesn't watch any tv at all. Her blog is all about how her family get along without it and is full of good ideas for projects for children to get involved in.

And, today, I've included a couple of pics of Hope enjoying her banana breakfast and looking at a touch and feel book.

Monday, 19 October 2009

I'm adding another link in 'my favourite blogs'. Blessed and Busy has some lovely ideas for autumn decorating, but I enjoyed Heather's post about fairytales. I used to read them a lot to Honor. She is a fantastic reader herself now and I pretty much leave her to it, but maybe she would appreciate me reading some of these again. I haven't read any to Henry (shame on me) so now I have a plan! I'll see how they go down - surely Honor may understand them a little differently this time.

Parents Evening

Here we are off to Parents Evening at the school. I'm wearing my new Moby Wrap to carry the baby. When Honor was a baby, I was given a lovely, traditional pram. I had been looking forward to strolling around with that. At that time we were living in a tiny, terraced house in the country and my car was a little Vauxhall Corsa. Unfortunately, there was no room for that lovely pram in either the house or the boot of the car. It ended up at my Mum's house, cluttering up her hallway for the next few years. I would drive to her house, put Honor in it and then walk into town, along the stream, to look at the ducks. Inevitably, sometime along the way, Honor would start to 'hoo-haa'; cry until I got her out and I would then have to carry her in one arm and push the pram with the other. Over the years I've tried various other buggies, all-in-one combos etc and bought a bigger car, but by far the best move I ever made in all of this was to buy a Kari-me sling when Henry was born. I still use that and this time around I have bought two Moby Slings in pink and black which are a little more 'glamorous'!!!! The babies love it, hardly ever cry or fuss in it. They like to be close to Mummy and enjoy being up high so that they can see everything going on. By keeping the wrap tied on, all I have to do is whip baby out of her seat and straight into it. No messing about with assembling buggies! We often get stopped by people out and about who like to talk to the baby. In particular there is an old fella who I often see in the supermarket pushing his wife in a wheelchair. He always stops me for a look (and his name is Henry, too!) So if there is anyone reading this who is interested in getting one, I highly recommend them. There is a Kari-me and Moby website. I got my Moby slings from Sasa slings. They arrived the next day and postage was free.

So everything was fine at school. Honor is good at French. Tres bien Honor!!!!

Hey! I'm back! John and Edward are still in the X-Factor and my blog is still here....waddya know!

Brrrrrr! It was chilly this morning. I didn't have too good a nights sleep either. The baby sleeps in our room and last night she fussed quite a bit and I ended up feeding her at about 2am. About an hour later my big girl was up complaining about some pain or other. Fortunately, hubby is working from home today and got the big kids ready and walked them to school while baby and I went back to sleep for another hour. She is, usually, a very good baby, though. Our first two, and especially Henry, did not sleep well at all when they were babies. So when I was expecting Hope we decided to get an Amby hammock for her to sleep in. It mimics the feeling of being in the womb and when baby wakes up and starts to kick, the hammock bounces up and down, lulling them back to sleep. I had read lots of good reviews about it. Well Hope certainly is a much better sleeper, whether or not that is down to the hammock I don't know. It is very convenient, it fits nicely into the corner of the room and is portable, so we'll take it with us when we go on holiday.

She's back in bed now, after some cereal (she recently started on the solids) and a good wriggle around on the floor. I'm going to drink my camomile tea while I do my Sainsbury's shopping (on-line, of course). It's Parents Evening at school tonight - will blog about that later!
Go John and Edward!!!!! (Don't think they'll win - but I could see them being presenters like Brian Dowling or Mark and Sam.)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Model Making

So, as I said, the kids have been model making while I play around with this and hubby is upstairs sanding down walls ready to paint. And then he walks in here looking horrified at the mess we've made? Hmmmmm. I now need to try and post a picture or two.

Why Blog?

Somebody asked "what about?" when I first mentioned that I might do this.
I came across the first blog I ever started to follow a few years ago. I did a google search for some Montessori resources/ideas and up popped a blog by a lady from Dorset who homeschools her two girls. It's a fascinating way of life and I've been reading it ever since. Homeschooling seems to be a lot more popular in America and I now have a few more blogs relating to that, Montessori (of which I'm a big fan), and in general the kind of homelife that appeals to me, in my favourites. At some point, as I get to grips with how this all works, I'll attach the links to my favourite sites. From following these blogs, I've got lots of really good ideas for all sorts of things and and their authors share links to other useful websites.

So I think it's time I had a go. Hopefully, this blog will be a lovely record of the things our family do together as the children grow up as well as developing my IT skills!

There we go... my first post. A brief introduction to this blog. If it makes no sense, that's probably because I'm also trying to supervise two of the children who are model making and painting. I will post about that soon!