Monday, 30 June 2008

Now A Proud Owner of a Ferrari

Today has been the first day for over a week that J has seemed anything like his real self. It is lovely to see him being able to enjoy activities again.

He was able to complete his woodcraft kit today. The main parts of the car body were connected to what he had already done. The front wheel guards were secured using wood glue so they wouldn't fall off.

Each wheel was made up of five pieces which were glued together. They were left to dry for a couple of hours.

Then J fitted the wheels to the car and voila! One ferrari F40 GT to grace my mantlepiece. It's taking pride of place.

Meanwhile, D continued with the next stage of his papier mache cup. The whole cup was covered in a layer of paper soaked in diluted PVA glue. This is drying so he can add another layer tomorrow.

Over the last week or so we have had some high winds and there was a casualty in the garden. Our poor bay tree was blown over and it's pot was shattered.

So we decided the bay tree needed a new home. A larger pot was partly filled with compost. The boys had carried this home one morning from the village shop. It was quite a way for them to carry such a heavy bag, and they did it just because they knew I was needing some. They can be really thoughtful at times.

The tree was placed in the pot, and then compost was put in to fill all around the edges. I am expecting some real growth on it this year as it grows to fill it's new pot. Hopefully with it being so much bigger, it will not get blown over in the next wind we have.

As J was feeling so much better we went to the park for an hour. On the way D spotted a butterfly which reminded us that the next Wildsquare survey starts tomorrow. It's all about moths and butterflies. We have to make some moth lures later this week.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

We Have Been Out!

It was a lovely sunny morning, and as we hadn't been able to get out all week because of J's hayfever, we decided we would go for a walk through the woods to the village shop. We weren't going to be out long as J's chest was still tight and he was still having some difficulty breathing.

We decided to go past the llama farm. The field was lined all along the stone wall with foxgloves. I have always loved foxgloves. Remember them from walks with my mum and dad when I was younger.

When we got to the field with the llamas, we just burst out laughing. They had recently been shorn and they looked so comical. Not sure you can really see from the photo as we couldn't get close enough.

Of course, once we get into the woods, the obvious thing to do is to climb the trees, what else are they there for?

The sun had brought out the clover and as I sat watching the boys, I could enjoy the hum of the bees. I love watching them working so hard collecting their nectar.

The amazing thing about nature is how it all supports each other. Here you can see a rotted tree stump provided a home for fungi. On the same stump there was also moss and lichen. The boys and I find this fascinating.

It was lovely to get back out, and we timed it well. We had thought we might go out after dinner but changed it to this morning. This afternoon the heavens opened and we would have been soaked. Got wet enough bringing in the washing!

Friday, 27 June 2008

Dr Who's Tardis

Every now and again D just needs some quiet time out to himself and one of those occasions was this afternoon. When I called him down for dinner he brought this down with him.

Last time we went to Hobbycraft, we bought a set of pastels. He has never used them before and this afternoon he got them out.

Using his Dr Who tardis money box as his model, he produced this masterpiece. I thought it was brilliant, even if it was in purple. Poor D loves art, but he is colourblind but it doesn't stop him producing some good work.

I wonder which dimension we will end up in tomorrow.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Culinary Delights

I would love to show you a picture, but it had all disappeared before we remembered to take a photo.

J had decided for himself what he wanted to cook and the ingredients he would need. He gave me a shopping list to make sure we had everything we needed.

He made a tomato sauce with tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. To this he added garlic salt, onion powder, sweet corn and tuna. He then heated it gently while he cooked some pasta twists.

After the pasta was cooked and drained he mixed it into the tomato and tuna sauce. To finish, he topped mine and his with grated cheese. D didn't want any cheese.

We all thoroughly enjoyed it, including Pickles and Misty!

I am now waiting in anticipation to see what D is going to cook.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Cooked My Own Dinner

Well J is still not very well and certainly not up to cooking dinner, so mum had to do it - again. He has promised he will be well enough to do it tomorrow, but we will wait and see. It's very unusual to see him curled up on the settee all day wrapped in his duvet.

D has begun to have an interest in papier mache and today began his first project.

This is the base for a papier mache cup. We had fun cutting out the pieces. All the template pieces had to be scaled up from the instructions in the book. He had fun multiplying all the measurements by four and using a right angle square and pair of compasses. Without realising it, he had had a maths lesson.

All the pieces have been glued together, held in place with masking tape and sealed with diluted PVA glue. Tomorrow it will be ready for the next stage.

D then read about the origins of papier mache. He always wants to know where things started, so if anyone can tell us who invented knitting, please let us know.

Hayfever Conquers All

The new medicine and eyes drops haven't really kicked in and J was worse Tuesday than he has been before. He now has earache too. This meant that we didn't go to home ed group today. That doesn't happen very often, so he must have been ill.

D and I went into town instead to see if we could get any yarns for our embroidery, but the shop we went to didn't have what we wanted, so the search still goes on.

He did come back with a stunt kite, and guess what? The wind has now dropped. I don't suppose he will have to wait long before it comes back looking at the forecast. Just hope the wind comes without the rain.

He has been doing some reading. At the moment, he's reading about pond insects. I think he is hoping we will get some on our pond, but it still needs a bit more attention first.

His cross stitch is progressing well too. It will look really good and he will soon be cross stitching the third petal.

Not sure what the plans are for today. We are still hiding from the pollen, but J will be cooking dinner. He doing something with pasta and I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Exchange Rates

Oh poor J. He got up this morning in quite a state. One of his eyes was stuck together and it frightened him because it wouldn't open. His hayfever just seems to be getting worse. Back to the doctor this afternoon for different antihistamines and eye drops.

J decided he still wanted to go to the park today, so he went and did his private study first thing this morning.

J is trying to build up the strength in his arms and shoulders so he can pull himself across the bars easily. Here are my two little monkeys swinging on the monkey bars having fun.

We thought we were off home for lunch when the boys decided to watch the bowling at the bowling club. They chose a vantage point in a tree. D wanted to know how you got to start playing bowls. I think we may have to make some enquiries.

Watching the news tonight the boys were staggered at the cost of items in Zimbabwe. It came as a bit of a shock to them when we did some research and found that $1 Zimabwe was worth absolutely nothing anywhere in the world. The few pennies D has left upstairs would make him a Zimbabwe millionaire.

It wouldn't be any good to him though, it would cost over £26 to buy a simple sandwich! Though we may be struggling here, you realise there are many a lot worse off.

Certainly something to ponder on.

D spent some time with me this evening doing his cross stich. He has now got 2 of the petals joined together. I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Green Fair

The boys worked really hard this morning so all the cleaning and animals were cleaned out by just after 10 this morning. They decided they would like to go to the Green Fair at Heeley City Farm. As we had never been before, we weren't sure what to expect.

We left to catch the bus at midday and the weather was not at all promising. As we were waiting for the bus in the rain, we were in two minds about going out or going back home. We took the plunge and decided to go, it couldn't be too bad, could it?

By the time we got off the second bus, the rain had really set in and it was really miserable, but we followed our ears and made our way to the fair.

On the way we went passed this stone bench. D noticed this and he thought it was "freaky". There was a mosaic set in the seat.

The were many different stalls at the fair, many to do with environmental concerns, lots of plants and the boys were pleased to taste the burgers that were being barbecued.

We caught the end of the falconry display. Unfortunately the rain was too heavy to be able to get any decent pictures.

I felt so sorry for the children that came on next to do their dance displays. They must have practiced for many weeks to perform today, and the weather was so unkind to them. They performed really well in the most difficult of circumstances.

We only saw a very small proportion of the stalls on display, but we were soaked to the skin and getting cold, so we decided to call it a day.

Heeley City Farm is on our list of places to visit, but J decided he would rather go there when the weather was better so we could enjoy it more. Think I agree with him.

Friday, 20 June 2008


Well the day definitely ended a lot better than it began.

We were all to schedule, bags packed with towels, swimming costumes and food and off we went to the bus stop right on time for the 9.02 bus. As I was stood waiting for the bus I was running through my mind what we needed to do at the station-get tickets, get money out of machine and......oh. bother!

To save on the number of bags being carried, I had left my handbag at home, taking just my purse. I had realised the railcard was still in my bag, so D ran home to get it for me. The bus came while he was gone.

J and I decided we would walk down and get the bus the other side of the park. J went to check D was ok, and I began to walk down the hill through the park with all the bags.

The boys ran to catch up with me and at the bottom of the hill, D gave me the wallet for the railcard, only it was the wrong one-it was empty!

So now, we had to go back up the hill which isn't much fun when you're loaded down. I left the boys and the bags at the bus stop and went to get the railcard. This meant we then caught the bus half an hour later than we intended which meant it was very much touch and go if we would get the same train as all the others from the home ed group.

We arrived at Sheffield Interchange, ran to the railway station and joined a long queue for tickets. We ran down the stairs to the platform just as the train was leaving.

As we were texting one of the other mothers, we let them know what was happening, we would catch the next train one hour later. As we were on the train they let us know where they were located. There was a home ed group from Lincoln there, so when we arrived, both groups were sat together.

D used the time on the train to do some tin foil sculptures. He did a Yoda and Tiger Woods complete with golf club. Certainly made me laugh.

On the beach they found plenty of crabs. D spent most of his time looking for them in the pools by the pier posts.

Here you can see one of the mums having a quiet moment hiding from the sun. J had been pretending to creep up on her like a monster, and as he saw her move, he went running. She had thought one of her daughters was coming to play a practical joke on her.

We also had a ride on the land train. The owners were very kind and gave us half price travel. The children really loved the ride. They waved to everyone we went passed. The driver said it was the best run he had done. I am sure his ears must have been ringing with all the noise they made.

We enjoyed the obligatory ice cream and chips and the unexpected good weather. Not a drop of rain as some of the forecasts had predicted.

Going back on the train, there was plenty of evidence that the sun had taken it's effect.

We got home tired, but with the determination that we were going to make another visit to the beach.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Why Are Thursdays So Tiring

Last night I signed up to the Take A Stitch Tuesday on Stitching Fingers so D has decided he will have a go too. We are also going to do a seasonal stitch along. I think D will do some simple cross stich that he can design himself. We will give it some thought next week.

We did some shopping before swimming today, and as usual, we seemed to get more than we bargained for. We will end up with arms like monkies by the time we've finished.

The boys enjoyed another 3 hours swimming today, and I managed to finish the back of J's jumper I am knitting.

The parents were discussing what they were going to do about going to Cleethorpes. I think we will be going as the latest forecast is for it to be cool, though dry. That will be an early morning for us then, have to get the 9 o'clock bus.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A Crafty Day

We have a lot of craft bit and pieces, either in progress or to be started, so we are going to concentrate on getting some of these completed.

It's the ideal time as there are quite a few outings with the home ed group planned and the boys are still suffering a fair bit with hayfever. It seems to hit J at night time and is affecting his sleep.

Today J made a start on his woodcraft car kit. He would like to do carpentry, so we decided to do a few of the woodcraft kits as he would have to get used to working with small and intricate pieces of work.

He spent two separate hours doing this and this is the result. Considering the instructions are very basic, barely non existant, he has made a very good job. We are hoping he will be able to finish it in the morning before we go swimming.

D has two projects on the go that we want to see completed. He spent his first hour knitting his dishcloth. We went and escaped up to my bedroom and spent a cosy time knitting together on the bed.

During this time we were discussing the different thicknesses of yarn available and the guage of needles you could get. He fancies having a go at knitting with chunky on thick needles so it will grow quicker.

We are getting a few extra stiches along the way, but for his first attempt, I think it is excellent. Reminded me of when I was young and seemed to get extra stitches on every row.

During his next hour, we did cross stitch. He has now begun on the second petal of his daisy. Here is a picture of the progress so far.

On Sunday I was watching Countryfile and there was an interview with a lady that set up the Pylon Apprecitation Society. D has had a fascination with pylons since he was about four or five years old after we did a visit to a power station. We looked at their website today and he would like to sign up.

After paying the one off £10 fee he will get a spotters guide so he will have a good reason for searching them out now. He always used to count them on the stretch of the M4 from Newport to Filton. I can see we will have to keep an eye out when we are travelling on the train now so he can tick them off his list.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Check The Pockets

You may remember yesterday we were in the park and D collected some pine cones. They were to go with our collection of interesting bits. Well, these cones very nearly didn't make it.

I had asked D to put his coat in the washing as it was rather grubby. I thought he was doing really well when I went to put the washing on this morning, as his coat was all ready by the washing machine. However, as I putting the coat into the machine his pockets felt rather bulky. The cones were still in there.

Here you can see the rescued cones in position on the shelf. Hate to think what they would have been like after a wash!

D did another row of knitting before we left for home ed group.

For the second week running, we were one of the first to arrive, it's beginning to become a habit. We were very pleased that it stayed dry for us all day, though it wasn't as warm as last week.

Arrangements were made to meet on Friday to catch the 10.11 train for Cleethorpes. We are going to the seaside!

Monday, 16 June 2008


The boys coped really well with the death of Bertie this morning. I think they were just so pleased that it was all over, they didn't want to think of her suffering.

We were off this morning to meet D's new Spanish teacher, it was going to be a planning meeting and just a getting to know each other session. The actual lessons will start in September.

Liz is very nice and very enthusiastic. She will teach D and another boy using games, songs and cooking, as well as oral and written work. They are really looking forward to it. Liz was also able to recommend a couple of internet sites to look at and showed us a few books that she had that were suitable for children. What was nice, she recognised that every child had a different way of learning and invited the boys to let her know if they were not happy with any aspect of what they were doing.

As her house was near the park in Oughtibridge, we went in there for half hour after we had finished. The boys did some climbing, went on the swings and walked by the river. We found lots of pine cones. D brought home some that the squirrels hadn't chewed. They will go with our collection of treasures from our walks.

After the park we went into town. We got some yarn and a pattern to knit a slipover for J and D also got a book of Spanish.

The book is the AA Essential Spanish for kids. He loves it as it has insults and jokes in. It also gives little snippets of information about things that are popular in Spain. He has been reading it all the way round town. I am hoping that as D is so enthusiastic, he will pick up the language fairly quickly. Just a pity he can't start until September.

When we came home, the boys cleaned and disinfected Berite's cage. Once it was all clean and dry, they moved the boys hamsters in. They certainly looked as if they were enjoying their new home.

Just before bed, D did another row of his knitting. The dishcloth is growing slowly but surely.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Ice Skating

Well, we are a bit late posting this, but the last couple of days have been rather busy and I haven't had much time to sit at the computer.

Friday was a very busy day. It doesn't sound as if we did a lot, but it took all day to do it. It's all the travelling!.

The boys started the day by cleaning out the hamsters, so we had to avoid the two balls rolling around.

Then we were down to the bus stop for half nine. Today was ice skating. It takes about an hour by bus to get to Sheffield Ice and today we were also loaded down with suitcases as the boys were off to their dads for the weekend straight after skating.

It was very quiet at the skating rink as it was only the home ed group on the ice. It definitely made it a lot easier to see where the boys were. They were on the ice for two hours and they love every minute of it although they usually complain that their feet are aching by the time they finish.

After skating we were off to the train station. While we were waiting for the train D did one row of his knitting and then he did another row whilst we were on the train. He said as he was going to miss World Wide Knit in Public day on Saturday, he was doing it today.

He is making good progress.

We received an email today. We have to meet D's Spanish teacher on Monday. Although they aren't started until September, she thought that it would be a good idea to meet up and have a chat. Will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

5 Times in 4 Days

J had another bad night because of his hay fever so we were off to the doctors this morning. It is making him quite poorly, but hopefully now, once the medicine has worked it's way into his system, he should begin to pick up quite quickly.

D spent the rest of the morning in the kitchen with me and made some lemon meringue cakes. He used a recipie taken from the book "kids can cook" by judy williams. He did practically everything that was necessary, including all the measuring. The cakes looked and tasted delicious and were very lemony.

We had to go out this afternoon. Whilst out, we bought a new house for the rat cage. It is a log cabin. The boys were surprised when they open the box as they found it was all in pieces and they had to fit it together.

It didn't take long, and Misty lost no time in exploring her new home.

Today we had Cats on-again, the 5th time in 4days. The more they watch it, the more they seem to want it on.

The following is J's review.


By Andrew-lloyd Webber

Cats is a musical story about a group of cats called Jellical cats trying to find the cat that can be reborn to a diffrent jellical life.

Cats is based on a group of poems about cats. My favourite cat is Mistoffelees because he saves another cat called Old Deutoronomy. I also like a cat called
Mungo_Jerrie because he is very funny.

The most well known song in Cats is Memory sung by Elaine Page.

I went to see a stage version and i thought it was loud but wonderful.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


Both of the boys seem to be struggling with hayfever, and even though he had a really bad night, J was certain he wanted to go out today.

Before we met up with another home ed family, we went to WH Smith so J could get the next book in the series he has been reading. He was a bit put out that the next book in the series has not yet been published. It will give him plenty of time to reread all the books in the series again.

Today we were going to enjoy the outside space at Magna science park. The early highlight was the water park, and yes it was as cold as it looked. Fortunately, it did warm up later in the day and all the children brought a change of clothes.

There were many different shaped climbing frames, swings, bouncing equipment and sand pits. It meant that all the children from toddler to 11 years of age, were all able to have fun and play well together.

On this piece they could use the climbing wall or use the supporting structure to climb up. All the children seemed to love being in the top looking down on us all.

The boys played on this singly and together. They were able to make it spin round. J say when he came of the equipment, his legs still felt as if he was spinning it around.

This worked on a similar principle but was designed as a bucket seat. Although the picture of D, didn't come out, this was one of his favourite pieces.

Although they were playing and climbing, there were a lot of science principles involved in the motion and the shapes of the equipment.

They all had a wonderful time and the boys can't wait to go back to Magna to do the tour inside. We're hoping it will be very soon.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Bring and Buy

The teething problems with the weather station have seem to have sorted themselves this morning. It was recording cloudy with sunny spells which agreed with what we were seeing out of the window this morning. By this afternoon, it was glorious sunshine.

We had home ed group today, so we made our sandwiches and made our way across town on the bus to the adventure playground. For the very first time, we were early!

There was another bring and buy sale today. In total £115 has been raised to donate towards the playground.

All the chldren had a great time, especially as a new high platform had been built. As you can imagine, all the boys had to give it a thorough test.

We also arranged with another family to visit Magna tomorrow. We have never been there before, so we are really looking forward to it. Will let you know all about it tomorrow.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Rain Today?

As I was sorting out some bits for the Bring and Buy Sale at home ed group tomorrow, I found the weather station. We hadn't unpacked it from when we had moved.

The boys found some new batteries and got it set up in the bedroom.

We had woken up to blue skies, not a cloud in view, but according to the screen it was raining! Hoping it just a teething problem, but we will have to check it again tomorrow. Definitely no rain around here today.

Later in the year I am hoping to start an Open University course in Design and the Web. I have a file that I want to keep the paperwork in, and as it is recycled I needed a new cover. D was commissioned to design one for me.

I think it was quite clever how he has incorporated the web and colour. It shall take pride of place on the cover of my file. Hopefully, it will keep me inspired during the course.

We also weeded the garden and fed the fish in the pond. D keeps checking the progress of the pond plants we bought to encourage dragonflies. They are still quite small, so I think he will have to wait a while before they have any effect.

As we can never tell how long the good weather will last, we decided to make the most of today. We packed a picnic, a bat and ball, and went off to the park to spend some time enjoying the sun.