Monday, 9 July 2012

Still Quiet

Yes.  Having had a few personal problems over the last year, I've not really had the enthusiasm for blogging but I'm OK.  It's nothing too serious.  I'm keeping busy and the family are all well.  I had a really great time earlier this month when my brother and his partner stayed with me for a couple of weeks from Australia.  Though the weather wasn't great (well, this is England) they enjoyed staying in my little caravan which I decorated British stylie with Union Jack bunting and vintage accessories which seemed to delight my new sis-in-law to be!  They went to see Coldplay in London and enjoyed our village Jubilee celebrations and provided me with some much needed support.  Thanks guys!
A lot of time these past few months has been spent sorting out a secondary school for Honor.  She has been very worried about moving on but is now very excited about joining a small, local grammar school and has already made lots of friends at induction days.  Honor has been working hard as an altar server at Church and is now being trained as a Master of Ceremonies, so we are very proud of her for that and as she will be leaving her lovely primary school soon, she has been very busy studying and rehearsing her script for the leavers' performance.  She is playing the part of Prospero in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest.  I delegated the role of costume designer to my mother and she has made a wonderful, magic cloak with hand sewn feathers and sequins on it!  I got a bit cross with Honor on the way home from school today because it sounded as though she is not taking good care of her costume and needs to be a bit more mindful of the effort that went into making it.
So, not long 'til the end of term.  Lots to do in these last few days....

Sunday, 29 April 2012


Well, I've not had much to say lately, have I?
But life has not been as quiet as this blog, with so much to sort out and not much time to slow down and take pics of everything.  I'll get back into blogging soon, but for now my attention is needed elsewhere. x

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Princess and the Pea

Last week was half term and the curtain went up on the pantomime that the kids had been rehearsing for and I had been prompting for these past few months. It was all very exciting and we didn't get to bed before 11pm each night! I wasn't permitted to prompt during the live shows but helped a bit backstage, however I got to sit and enjoy the show with the rest of the audience for the penultimate show. It was cracking! During the rehearsals, a couple of the actors gave very lively performances, but on the actual stage the rest of the cast really came to life and did a fantastic job. There were some very young children in the audience and when the wicked witch appeared, they were terrified and bawled their eyes out! Honor did very well with her dancing but Henry was hilarious, turning up in unexpected places (like, in the above pic, sitting on the Queen's throne) and at the very end, when the whole cast left the stage, he was still standing alone at the front but completely unaware. Then he'd look round and realise and go scampering off. I laughed 'til I cried!

Peg board fun.

Hope recently had her 2 1/2 year check up with the local health visitor and one of the things she was tested on was her fine motor skills using peg boards and pegs like these. She loved playing with them. I'd been meaning to get some for home, but hadn't seen them available anywhere. I eventually got this set on ebay for around £10.
With five boards, there were enough for the three children to spend quite a bit of time on their designs.
But it was Henry that was still engaged in this activity long after the girls had moved off to sing 'Barney' songs...
... and he filled up all these boards - using his left hand which was the injured one.

The peg boards are useful for a range of concepts such as repeating patterns and symmetry.
The set also came with some games ideas and I played Honor at four in a row just using some blue and green pegs.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Making a funeral wreath.

Last week was Supergranddad's funeral.
Mum put in the announcement 'family flowers only'.
Lots of people do this now, suggesting that donations be made to a charity.
It's a good idea, especially when you see just how much flowers cost.
When I looked up the cost of flowers to send, I was shocked but I wanted to send some so I decided to make my own wreath. After looking at some images for funeral wreaths, I came up with this one, inspired by a rosemary wreath I saw being advertised at $150!
First I bought an oasis wreath costing £3, and using greenery from the garden, pushed in the first layer working in an anticlockwise direction.
Then I made some fatsia japonica (also from garden) details at the top and bottom of the wreath followed by some lillies bought at the local supermarket - costing £5.
I filled in the rest with rosemary - also from the garden.
Total cost: £8.
I've no flower arranging training so I may not have done things as a professional would...
but, I thought it looked lovely and when I returned to the grave at the end of the week, the very expensive funeral spray (which did look fabulous on the day) had not lasted as well as my wreath which was as fresh as new.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Iron Lady.

Yesterday was Supergranddad's funeral.
Some of us rellies arranged to go to the cinema in the evening to see the new film about Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister.
It didn't exactly cheer us up though. The film mainly focused on her dementia and it was a very moving and convincing performance by Meryl Streep. Honor came to see it too. I think she found it quite hard to follow and I don't know that it gave her a good picture of what went on during that era, but she said it was interesting. She had heard about the miners strikes before from the film Billy Elliot.
I wonder if Lady Thatcher and her family have seen the film and how they feel about it.

Feast of St Brigid of Ireland

Today, 1st February, is St Brigid's day. At the weekend the kids and I made these crosses out of pipe cleaners as shown on the Catholic Icing site. (Please see sidebar for the link).
As Henry and his First Communion group have been learning about the Saints, we brought them along on Sunday to show the rest of his group. Some of the other parents who were brought up in Ireland were familiar with the tradition of cross weaving on this feast day.
Here is Henry's cross made out of the Irish flag colours.
I looked up the story of St Brigid on the good ol' internet to tell the children and picked out these snippets about her that I thought the kids would appeal to them most:
-her parents were baptised by St Patrick.
-she was a very beautiful girl who wanted to become a nun. But she attracted a lot of attention from men so she prayed to God to have her beauty taken away. Her prayer was granted so Brigid's father agreed to let her become a nun. As soon as she had taken her final vows, her beauty returned!
- While sitting beside the bed of a dying pagan chieftain, Brigid bent down and picked up some reeds that were lying on the floor and began weaving them into a cross and told the chieftain all about the life of Jesus. The chieftain converted to Christianity.
- Because she was so lovely and gentle, she reminded people of Jesus' mother Mary and is sometimes known as Mary of the Irish
-her parents were not married when she was born and she is therefore a patron saint of children of unmarried parents; also children with abusive parents and students.
- Her flower is the madonna lily.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The loft conversion

I mentioned before that we recently had our loft converted into an ensuite bedroom and promised to share some photos... so here they are! I took the photos last night so they are a bit dark, but during the day, what, with six velux windows installed, it is a very light filled room indeed. The only thing I disapprove of is that now, when I look in the mirror, I can see how old I look!
We were very pleased with the local builders that we used. They got on with the job, from start to finish without disappearing off to do other stuff, and were happy finish off the whole room including decorating and laying the flooring, it all within the budget.
They built in these wardrobes....

... and this little bathroom cupboard with glass shelves and lights in the shower room.
We love it! Thanks!!!!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Doubling dominoes

Oh, and here are some more maths bits that we did; finding different ways of making 12 and practising doubling numbers.

We use these dominoes that I purchased from a website called taskmaster. I own quite a few sets now including percentage calculations and fractions of numbers. I find them very useful.

Crazy about cuisenaire!

I'm getting more and more into using the cuisenaire rods with the kids to help them in their understanding of maths concepts. They are so useful and the children enjoy 'doing maths' like this.
This morning, Henry used them to learn about odd and even numbers...

... and number bonds to 10 using the rods to make '10' trains to match the orange rod.

He then recorded his work on the sheet.
Following this, we looked at adding some series of 3 numbers, 2 of which made 10 and then adding on the third number. He got the hang of all this very quickly.
Then we got out the base ten set and practised adding 10's and 100's to a variety of 2 and 3 digit numbers so that he could see physically how the numbers change in a specific place. He was then able to complete some number sequences easily.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


My granddad, or Supergranddad as we call him as he was a great-grandfather aged 95, died last Monday evening. He suffered a stroke a little while before Christmas and was unable to recover. He was very well cared for by my Mum and Uncle and the hospital staff, though it's been a very painful time for Mum and Uncle struggling with communication difficulties and watching him deteriorate and suffer. Now they are busy preparing for the funeral. I've been able to help a bit with this, but Mum and Uncle have most of it well under control.
Even though Granddad was 95 and had had a stroke, well, we knew he wouldn't go on forever, his dying still feels shocking. Age has nothing to do with it, his absence will leave a hole in our lives. Right up 'til the end, I could have conversations with him and get a more intelligent response than most people I know (no offense!) and he had a fantastic memory - puts mine to shame! And he kept himself as fit as he could too, working on his allotment, cycling, walking everywhere and wouldn't be beaten by his first stroke. The recovery he made from that was astounding. But this last stroke was too much for him and I'm glad that he's now at peace.

So, now, guess what? I've been trying to follow his example since New Year by trying to live a healthier, more active life. It's not easy and I'm building up slowly, but I have my bike out now and am using it. I don't get far. I am extremely unfit and I have to carry Hope on the back which adds to the weight. She'd make a good personal trainer as she shrieks "come on! go faster Mummy" and " we're not going home, yet!"
This afternoon I cycled up to the cricket ground where two new benches have recently been placed. One of them is in memory of the young lad, Jack, from next door who died just over a year ago and the other one is for Ricky, another young man from the neighbourhood who died last year.

I've just got back from another panto rehearsal with the kids. It's coming together nicely now and although I've seen it several times, it still makes me laugh. I'll be sorry when it's all over which won't be long now.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Scenes from Christmas - a late post.

Oh look. I've just found some pictures taken over the Christmas holidays. I know we are half way through January but I thought I'd share 'em anyway. I don't know if you have noticed, but it seems that public swimming pools tend to be quiet at this time, so we had a very pleasant time at this one in Deal, which had some flumes and a wave machine and a good toddler pool for Hope. I'm going to try and take her swimming more often.
These pics are from Boxing Day. Here's Auntie Vicky playing carols on the piano while we sing along.
I love this picture: do Jingle Bells again!
... blowing bubbles.
And opening pressies on Christmas day.

Hope loves her fairy wings and magic 'blond'!

Happy New Year.

I'm still here. Just had a little blogging break while getting through Christmas and New Year. Plus - we've had the builders in over the last few months converting our loft into an en suite bedroom. Hubby and I got to move into it over Christmas so we no longer share a room with Hope. Now we all have our own rooms. I shall have to post some pics soon. It's lovely to have our own space again, though the kids still manage to muscle their way in sometimes. For Christmas, Hubby bought me the first season of Lost and I decided to let Honor watch it with me, all snuggled up. Now she is totally hooked and we've stayed up really late some nights watching episode after episode. I'm still trying to make sense of it.
Honor and Henry are still involved in rehearsals for the local pantomime. I'm still enjoying the practise nights and have now been given the job as prompt. I have to really concentrate on the action and the script and it's not easy knowing if the actors have paused for dramatic effect or need help. I think one or two of those thespians get a bit irritated if I jump in too soon with their lines!

Apart from that, it's back to the usual routine.