Sunday, 30 May 2010

Le Royaume Uni...nil points!

Well almost. Poor old UK came last in the Eurovision Song Contest last night.
I hardly ever go out, but last night I was invited to a friends house for a girly evening. She is a long, lost schoolfriend I recently discovered thanks to Facebook!
I asked her via, Facebook, if we'd be watching the aforementioned competition. My comment was seen by some of the other attendees, (I hadn't met any of the other 'girlies') and so I was introduced as 'the one who wanted to watch the Eurovision Song Contest' which seemed to be a source of amusement to them! No. They didn't indulge my request. I did have a nice time though and listened to the results in the car on the way home. I caught the winning song, Germany, when I got back. I thought it seemed vaguely in the same vein as the Lily Allen/Paloma Faith styles that is popular nowadays. What did we have to offer? Oh yeah, a not-exactly-Stock, Aitken and Waterman composition a la eighties style. Well, I love the eighties, but really! Don't think we deserved to come last. Maybe it's because we should know better.
Other news:
Argos is selling tipi's half price. I think I'll get the small 2 person one (£25) for the garden. I have made them for the kids before and they love playing in them so maybe they'll enjoy that for half term and beyond. Should be more sturdy and practical than the ones I've made.
Hubby has just bought a chimenea for the bottom of the garden.
I'm going to go and sit with him now and watch the sun go down....

Friday, 28 May 2010

Debs Montage 5/28/10 at

I made this little photo montage after I saw it on Sarah Sellers' site.

We've been here before.

Yes. Another INSET day (teacher development day) and another trip to Manston airport. There are two museums there. Last time we visited only one of them was open. This time we got to look around the second one. We did have to pay but it was only £1 for adults and 50p for the kids. (Under 5's free). It was very exciting too. Much more to see.
The gift shop in the first museum was better though. I bought a CD of songs from the 1940's film and tv. It includes Norman Wisdom's 'Don't laugh at me'. Funny that - we were watching him only the other day when Henry was off sick from school.

Henry really loved this museum. You can actually look right into the fighter planes. They had some mock-up rooms from the 1940's too. I like that kind of thing. A kitchen was laid out with the food that was rationed in those days and games like monopoly that they played too. You could hear singing and Honor asked why they were singing when it was so terrible so we talked about the things people did in those days to keep their spirits up.

After lunch we moved onto Minnis Bsy for a bit of beachcombing. I had expected it to be quite cool on the seafront but it was very hot, with barely any breeze.

We collected a few souvenirs including these razor clam shells. I have a book called 'Homemade' that Honor likes looking at. It shows how to make a candle holder out of these shells so she saw these and wants to have a go at making one. I think we may need to go and collect some more later this week.
On the way home we stopped at Whitstable. Whitstable is a beautiful seaside town with lots of nice shops, restaurants and places to buy fish. We picked up some crab, jellied eels (Honor's idea!) and sea bream from the quay to have later... with some ice-cold sauvignon blanc! Mmmmmm.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Where the wild things are.

Let the rumpus start!

Small successes


Today I am joining in with Faith and Family's small successes.

1.) I looked after my Henry this week when he was poorly. We watched some films together including an old, black and white Norman Wisdom film to make us chuckle and caught an afternoon repeat of Jamie Oliver... which seemed to stimulate Henry's appetite back into action. He is now very keen to cook roast lamb with rosemary and garlic for the family. Can't argue with that!

2.) A joint success - I have been teaching Hope baby sign language (she is 13 months old). She has been using it alot this week to ask for a biscuit and let me know that her nappy needs changing. She is very pleased with herself, and I'm proud of her too.

3.) I cleaned Henry's room out today! Fantastic. Lots of stuff to send to the charity shop.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Looking forward.

Half term is coming up soon.
I love the holidays.
So I have been thinking about what to get up to.
I could just leave the kids to it - they are very good at creating their own entertainment, but we also enjoy having a focus. I had a look at the website of the Maidstone Museum earlier. It is a very good place to take children... and free! Next week they are organising some workshops around the 1940's wartime childhood. So there it is. Our theme for next week.
I've also been looking at books and dvds that fit in with this and am considering buying 'Carrie's War' and/or 'Goodnight Mr Tom'. Perhaps we'll try out some wartime recipes, too. I've just been reading a little of an interesting blog by a lady who is living on wartime rations in a bid to lose weight. She has some recipes on there to try.
Here is the link:

Monday, 24 May 2010

An outdoor playroom

I recently bought another gazebo for the garden. It was meant just for special occasions. We put it up for the 'little house' party. Then I wanted to keep it up for my birthday. It is so lovely and practical I'm reluctant to take it down. Today I rearranged it a bit to make a little outdoor playroom. Hope loves the garden. 'Garden' is one of the few words she can say clearly. Her sign language is getting good though. She asked for a biscuit today using the sign and although she calls all flowers 'daisy', she uses the flower sign.
So I flicked through these 'little books' ...

while she and Henry played with a bowl of water!

Henry is here because he was sent home from school because he was sick. He was sick a couple of times and then slept for a couple of hours on the sofa. After that he seemed back to his old self. The dinner is nearly ready now. I have some gammon cooking in the slow cooker to have with new potatoes and salad. Henry is whining about being hungry. He seems ok, but my mother always applied a 24 hour rule whenever we were sick... nil by mouth (except for water). So, not sure whether to feed him - oh! what to do? what to do?

My birthday

On Saturday it was my birthday - and one of the best so far! We went out for a lovely cooked breakfast, had lunch at a medieval fair and Hubby made mexican food and margaritas for our friends later that evening.

Here I am having my lunch at the medieval fair. Not the usual burgers and candyfloss (though they were available), but lovely trout with pearl barley and yogurt. It was delicious. The baby thought so too!

Henry LOVES bows and arrows. He waited very patiently in line for a long time to get a turn at the archery with this very nice dutch man.

And later, Hubby bought them these wooden swords.

I got some lovely things too. Lots of beautiful flowers...

some towels from Mum and Hubby bought me and old 1950's style kitchen cupboard which I've been busy painting. I'll post a picture of that later. I got a few quid, too. That is going in a kitty to pay for a badly needed new shed for the garden.

My friends came over for some fab food, margeritas and.... some karaoke!
A very lovely day.
Thanks everyone... especially Hubby xxx

Monday, 17 May 2010


I like potatoes. I don't mind peeling them, but it is a bit time consuming and I prefer not to do it every day.
Like most people I look for ways to cut costs and time to leave more time and money for other things. Once every month I do a big order, on-line, from Sainsburys. That way I make sure I have all my essentials 'til next pay day and get free delivery. (And I don't have to drag a bored toddler around the supermarket for too long). I always go through their 'basics' range first. Some months ago I came across their bag of instant mashed potato. I can't remember the price but it is something like 20p! So I thought I'd buy a bag to keep in the cupboard for emergencies... like when we get snowed in. But since actually trying it, well, I now use it - a lot! Instant mash has apparently come a long way in the last ten years. I can hardly tell the difference from the real thing, especially if it has gravy on it. It is so quick and easy to do and one packet easily makes enough for 2 separate meals for 5 people.
If all that sounds a bit tacky, well, I would also like to 'big up' baby new potatoes for almost the same reason. They are not as thrifty, but they are easy to prepare - just wash, cut up and boil - and they are delicious with some lamb chops. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Rythmns, routines... and a new Prime Minister.

As I write this tonight, David Cameron is sitting in a big, black car heading towards Buckingham Palace about to be made our new Prime Minister. He must be so excited!!! I don't know whether to be pleased. We don't yet know what the terms are of this arrangement. I had voted for his policies on marriage and the family but it already sounds as if those have been compromised. Well. When did any politician ever keep their promises. We shall have to wait and see.
Anyway, back to life at 'Little House'.
I've been thinking about our daily routines. Particularly with consideration to waldorf style rhythms. I am at home with a baby who is moving into toddlerhood and it can be very challenging/tiring keeping her contented/amused while trying to get everything else done. To be honest it can be very tempting to stick on CBeebies to buy myself some time. I've been looking at the waldorf style wooden and felt toys on various websites for inspiration but, by golly, they are expensive. Way out of our league in terms of budget.
So I've not exactly come up with a solution to that situation but I did introduce a new element to our daily routine aimed more at the elder two. After dinner I like to try and get things cleared up as much as possible. So does Hubby, when he is here. I went up for a very early bath yesterday evening and I could hear Hubby trying to get tidied up. He was moaning at the children when they tried to get anything out of the cupboards to play with. "No! Don't get anything out!" So what are they to do. Again it is tempting to put the telly on for some peace. Well waldorf has a strong focus on creative development, arts and crafts, that sort of thing. So I want to try allocating half an hour after dinner to 'quiet time' when they do a quiet, not too messy activity. Tonight they were presented with a craft box and the activity of choice was an engraving art kit.

Here is Henry's. He uses an engraving tool to trace and scratch off the surface to reveal rainbow colours underneath.

Honor's was a bit more detailed - a silver horse.

They were both very excited about it! This worked well tonight in that it kept them quietly busy - just what I wanted. Honor made a real good effort to concentrate.

It didn't help much with the baby, though. The other two had to move themselves to the big table because she kept trying to grab their engraving tool. I put down these cushions for her to play on. She liked that - for about 2 minutes, but was soon grabbing at my legs as I tried to wash up.
I shall keep on thinking!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Little House on the Prairie birthday party.

Today was Honor-May's 'Little House on the Prairie' birthday party. My first tip for a successful childrens party is to hire a couple of flippin' brilliant adult helpers. In this case my good friend Lisa and Zoe the local Supernanny voluntered to become Mrs Oleson (actually Lisa was not very happy about that!) and Miss Beadle, the levely teacher of Walnut Grove. I, of course was Ma and Hubby was Pa... and we wore badges to prove it!.

Of course Ma and Pa were busy preparing for this for at least, hmmmmm 10 days beforehand. We put an advert on Freecycle for some hay bales and luckily a kind chap donated some which served very nicely as seating. The table is a pasting table with the legs cut down. We also had a CD of fiddler music playing in the background.

We started the Party with 'school' - groan! (You should have seen the kids faces!)

We have had a LOT of rain the last couple of days. The first activities were indoors. After being divided into two teams - the Lauras and the Nellys - the children were sent to school to do a wordsearch and a spelling bee. A spelling bee (for the English) is a spelling competition. I do not know why it is called a bee! The Nellys won.
After school the children had to do their chores. Well, that is how it was in 'Little House'. So far there were quite a few bemused faces as they wondered 'isn't this supposed to be a party?' but as they got stuck into making butter (shaking whipping cream vigorously in a lidded container) and washing very dirty baby clothes with bars of soap and a scrubbing brush it did look as though most of them were enjoying themselves. The competitive spirit had certainly kicked in and strangely enough the Nellys seemed to be the most determined to win. I was also amazed at how clean those girls got the baby's clothes. The Lauras only lost a point because there was a slight stain on one of the jumpers. But otherwise the girls got some very dirty clothes spotless!

After the 'chores' the teams did crafts - making peg dolls and lemonade. By now there were a few cries of 'is it time to eat yet?' Well, yes - nearly. The lemonade was put on the dining table. I had a box of Capri suns ready for those who might not like the lemonade but I think only 2 got used... and probably in addition to drinking the lemonade. I think kids are more likely to enjoy what they are eating/drinking if they have made it themselves.

After the food I announced the winners...
The Nellys! Typical! The losers, however, accepted their defeat (and their booby prize of a lemon) with good grace. The Nellys got a kit-kat!
I think everyone enjoyed themselves - I know I did!

Ps. I have some much better, really fab, pics than these but as I don't have parental permission to post them, had better leave them out. Must say though that I loved the outfits that the girls wore and one of them even came with the Nellie ringlet hairdo. Cool!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Bon soir!

Oui, c'est un soir bon.

Just getting in the mood for the impending Eurovision Song Contest later this month. Yes. May is the month for many great things; typically devoted to Mary, bluebells, putting out the summer bedding flowers, my birthday, Honor-May's birthday (and that is how I chose her name... in honor of Mary) and... the Eurovision Song Contest. Well - I like it, okay?
Anyway. Hubby and I are still busy, busy, busy, preparing for our lovely little half-pint's party tomorrow. I've just finished preparing the wordsearches while watching Britain's Got Talent and Hubby is cooking more drumsticks and sausages... because when they came out of the oven they smelled so good we scoffed a few too many!
Honor had another party to go to today. T'was a skating party. There she is looking a little worried. I sent Henry over to Grandma's for a sleepover (so we could get a bit more done.) When I popped in later he came to the door wearing her gold earrings! Bless!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Party plans.

I'm a bit more relaxed about the birthday party, now. The plan is coming together. Just a bit disappointed that it looks as though the soap making stuff that I ordered online won't be here in time. So a contingency plan is needed. Perhaps we'll do some cooking instead.

At least I have a fair idea of what we are going to do, which is more than can be said for the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties.... hee, hee, hee! (see what I did there?)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Happy Birthday HM!

It is big sister's 9th birthday today. She got lots of books. I bought her the last Percy Jackson adventure, my Mum bought her a lovely box set of classics such as 'Treasure Island' and 'The Railway Children' and Hubby's Mum bought her another box set of all the Enid Blyton 'Adventure' series. As I've mentioned before, her party is on Sunday. Today we kept the celebrating quiet. After the younger two had one to bed, we cuddled up on the sofa together and watched a film with a choc-ice. I hope she won't be too tired at school tomorrow.

Here is Hope playing with her 'kitchen treasure basket'. It can be difficult getting on with things with a toddler hanging on to your leg, but this helps.

Small successes


1.) (Quite a big success, actually) I voted in the General Election. I haven't done this for many years. However this time I've made the effort to research the manifestos and while I (like most people, I should imagine) can't find a party that fully represents what I'd like for this country, I did come to a conclusion. Without being specific (!) I decided that while I think Gordon Brown possibly has the best strategy for coping with the recession; to vote for what I believe in the most and that would be marriage and the family unit. Even though, rather pessimistically, I think it is probably too late to bring British society back to the ideal of marriage, I felt that it was right to support it with my vote. I think the Government could save a lot of money spent on benefits and 'initiatives' to improve the welfare and prospects of deprived children if they simply supported married couples who work hard to support their families and inspire their children.

2.) I've managed to organise some bits and pieces for Honor's 'Little House' birthday party at the weekend, including getting a CD called 'The Best of Country Fiddle'.

3.) I've slept quite well!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Busy Bank Holiday

It certainly has been a very busy bank holiday. Aren't they always? Do we simply spend three whole days relaxing or do we think 'right, three days coming up. Let's see how much we can accomplish in that time'? Well here's the thing. Maybe it is Hubby that hopes for a bit of a rest but after 11 years married to me probably has come to dread the long weekend. Certainly something for me to think about, particularly as there is another one coming up very soon. But in the meantime I'm very delightedly posting about what my dear Hubby did accomplish this weekend.
Firstly though, we did have some fun when his relatives came to town for a family celebration. My super-dooper sister-in-law brought us a belated Christmas present. Look at this! A 'Little House on the Lees' house sign. So now we are official! What a lovely present. I nearly cried.

And now to the hard work. Lots of birthdays at the moment. Mine is coming up soon and this is one of Hubby's pressies for me. Another little gravelled area for my swing seat at the bottom of the garden.

Honor and cousin Eve are also celebrating their birthdays this week.
More presents were exchanged.

And here's the family party we went to. Looks like somebody had too much marshmallow!

So pretty!

So tired!