Friday, December 26, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All I Want For Christmas is You (Black and White)

I have been singing along to this A LOT!! It's one of my favourites. Join me ! :-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

I can't believe how quickly 2008 has gone. I expect because we are so busy. But boy have I enjoyed it. My mission today is to write an xmas letter for some cards I still have to send. I have my annual party on Monday so we are getting ready for that but still have a shift at the Lowry on Saturday and A singing in her Christmas concert on Sunday. Our rest really begins on Tuesday 23rd and will continue til about Jan 6th. I might try and fit in some hall painting then.
A week ago A, D and I went to Blackpool. A and I went to see the Kooks - who were awesome!! It was a bit scary as we started off at the front but I was being crushed alive - and I mean really crushed so I headed further back where there was room to dance as well. D stayed at my friend L's house who lives in Blackpool. The kid's Dad had M and J for the night but I relented and let him stay here with them as they were both really sad about it. Our home is so homely they don't like going to his!
After the Kooks when A and I returned back to L's we had such a laugh and a water fight ensued between L's husband and the older girls. We were up til 2 laughing. It is always so good to see them as the kids are all lovely and all get on so well together. They are planning on moving to Bulgaria in May so I am hoping to fit in some more trips before then!

Last weekend A and D travelled with my parents to visit my sister and their cousins. The car journey was stressful but they had a great time. Though I think D sometimes gets really Mum-sick (not home-sick, it's different!) as she phoned me several times each day. The day after they got back, A spent the night being sick - I think from exhaustion. This was tricky as we had our annual home-ed Christmas partythe next day and she was in the drama play there but she managed it and had picked up as the day wore on.
The party was fun but tiring. I suppose it is different when you help organise something. We ran a raffle to raise money for a memorial bench for our friend. There were about 30 families there but it all went smoothly and we were home for 5pm.
A then went off with my Mum to find us a Christmas tree - pics to follow! I love having a real tree - the smell is gorgeous! The girls' friend stayed over that night and we rounded off the eve by all playing who wants to be a millionaire. We allowed ourselves the use of books and rang many people - it was a real laugh. We even won the million! AND we now know Van Gogh's only painting to be sold during his lifetime was "The red vineyard"!!!!!

Yesterday a big group of home-educators went to see a fantastic puppet play called "The Man Who Planted Trees". The best show I have ever seen and I highly recommend it. We were even chatting with a guy on the tram on the way home as he was asking us about it. I'd like it on dvd so I am looking to source that.

So we have also had lots of carol singing and I have done very little shopping - I will probably finish it on Tuesday. We really have a small christmas here but we are all still happy. Best way to be really :-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I feel I should start a Christmas ticker but it will be here before I blink and I am not regular enough at blogging so it may still be on here in summer so I won't bother.
Back-tracking in no order ....
J has shingles! I saw a bad rash that was blistering on his right hip on Saturday. By Sunday it was spreading fast, he had a temperature and was very pale and in pain so I took him to a+e. It was really quiet and we were in and out in 2 hours. The doctor cam in and looked familiar. Turns put he is our GP! He wasn't sure what it was and gave us anti-biotics after discussing it with the paed registrar.He asked us to come and see him in the surgery on Monday. So J and I went back there yesterday. The rash was still getting worse so the ab's are not much good as it is obviously not bacterial. He was still unsure so sent us back to a+e to see the registrar. Well what a mess followed next!
After waiting at a+e which was very busy, the reg came and absent mindedly took us to find a curtained area. "I think this one is clean" she said. Gulp! I bloomin hope it is clean. I couldn't understand her English and frankly she was vague and eccentric. She confirmed shingles and I think implied she was going off to get a prescription - after asking IMO irrelevant questions eg. was his birth normal (he's 6 1/2 and has shingles .... relevance????) ages o my other kids ..... What happened next really upset me. We were int he end curtained off area in a 3 curtain room. They start wheeling someone in and shouting for resuss. We can hear someone suffocating/choking and see their feet shaking as they are rushed in to the curtained bed next to us. J was really uspet and hid his face in my belly and kept saying "Mum can we go now". I was so upset I took his hand and we upped and left. I don't know if the reg was coming back, she has my phone number if she needs me.
Now I know it is shingles I am dosing him up with homeopathy, vit C and echinacea. It is so sore and painful for him though but we just have to wait it out. I didn't realise kids get shingles but now I know a bit more about it.

Because the older girls had their lie 1 hour radio show yesterday they took M with them on the bus and minded her. They are great in a crisis at helping look after siblings. I had to get the bus to the hospital and back and so spent about £7 on bus fares yesterday. I am going to see my doc tomorrow and ask as the paed reg was there on Sunday why did they not look at J then to save us the trauma and waste of money yesterday!!

A has just finished another term at the Garrick. J and I watched her do her monologue, which was very entertaining. She still has a few more weeks at the Royal Exchange and the girls choir.
Lots of activities finish next week till after Christmas so our schedule will quieten down a little. I am looking forward to that.

My energy is a bit low as I got very ill last week with a violent stomach bug. I slept for about 36 hours and completely ignored the pots lol. I feel I am just coming out of it a week later. I rarely get ill other than migraines so I was not very impressed. Oh well if it doesn't break you it makes you stronger.

I was going to apply for a housing association house that is being built around the corner from here but they have closed the lists because the wait is over 10 years lol. I don't want to move from here but the rent is £600 a month so I hope when I go self employed they still help with it.
Yes I have some vague plans ......

To finish off for today here is a photo my niece took of J!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I used to blog so often but we have got so busy that I have to choose to do tidying or computer time. That also depends on who is queuing here lol. At the moment J is playing on Pokemon, M is upstairs in a darkened room (she is averse to opening curtains lol) and the older 2 have gone off ice skating.
What have we been up to?
Usual activities! D and M have been taking their twice yearly dance exams. M had her tap and ballet on Sunday. D did her first slowdance (like modern dance - not ballroom!) exam. Next Sunday D then has her tap, national, ballet and stage exams. On the remembrance Sunday when the girls were doing their exams, A was singing at the Manchester cenotaph with the Manchester Girls Choir. She is loving it and is happy that they get to perform. She loves performing :-) Later this month they have a gig at the Cathedral then in December at the Royal College of Music. A may not have any formal qualifications to her name but she is filling her time with other stuff!

Last week A and D went along to our church playgroup to help out. They had a great time and plan to go each week. They will take it in turns, one in the kitchen chopping fruit and brewing up for Mum's, the other helping the kids do crafts and playing with them. Obviously because they are home-edded they can help out with things like this in the day. It all adds to a rich social experience IMO.
A wants me to sort out work experience for her. I need to post on some lists about that.
A and D have been busy doing their arts award folders ready for assessment in January. That and planning their next live radio broadcast.
It does seem A and D do a lot which I suppose is normal as they are the older ones. M and J get to home-ed stuff and drama as well as brownies, beavers, junior strings, swimming and dance so it is not as if they have nothing.
A has been discussing college again. It is a difficult issue which I may blog on the other blog when I can lol. It is interesting to see the stress and pressure kids will put on themselves because of society and peer expectations and outcomes though. I used to thing teens had a great life an they do but there are always struggles.
My life is pretty good. I love my ju jitsu but worry about the injury rate lol. I am learning I have quite a high pain threshold though.
I had been contacting colleges about me doing s degree but I really don't want to do it before J is 11 and so am going to somehow go self employed when the DSS removes me from IS in the next 2 years. I am trying to flow with it as resistance is futile lol.
Lastly here is what D has enjoyed doing recently. Spending hours altering photos on their pc. Here is one she did for Aimee which I think is pretty fab!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chrissy Murphy

A dear friend and home-ed Mum, Chrissy Murphy passed away a couple of weeks ago. Our local group is looking to raise money to have a bench placed at a beauty spot Chrissy, her husband Robert and their teenage son Deiniol visited often. If you want to donate please visit this webpage or feel free to pass the link on.
Chrissy was an inspiration to all those that met her and is greatly missed.
Many thanks.
I am so looking forward to Monday evening ....... here's the reason why (cue huge grin!!!!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I really want to get into the habit of blogging more often. But then I also want to learn the guitar. And I NEED to trim all the hedges in my garden, weed it and vac the whole house ....... I like a challenge!

Yesterday I sent off my consultation response on no-one written off. It took me a while as it was the first time I had looked at the 118 page document and the deadline is today so I wanted to do it last night or I may not have managed it today. I am going to sit down later and read through info on the CME consultation. I actually think I will check the web page each week and respond to as many consultations as I can so at least I feel we are living in a democratic society!

The Birthday Girl!

Last Friday it was A's 15th birthday. We had a lovely family trip to the university museum. On the way there A, caught up in the student atmosphere (busy as freshers week has just been) declared how she wants to go! She is already talking about going to college in 2 years at 16. Her friend has started a performing arts diploma that A is very keen on. I have been explaining their options for some time now. I am not bothered about them cramming GCSE's in before 16. It is their choice and there is always a way if you want to do something. I have mentioned though,it may be useful if you are aiming for college at 16 to be doing some English and (A's dreaded) maths before then as I know the students are tested on both of those. It's all in the "might" stages and I don't want to rush our lives away but at least we are all aware!
Talking of studying, I have been looking at colleges and university. As I am aware my time of just being allowed to be home with my kids is nearing an end. When I am moved onto JSA in (maximum) 2 years I need to have something in place. I contemplated self employment but struggle to think what I could employ myself as! I have no drive for a career try as I might to locate one! I do however fancy being a student but need to look at the financial implications of that. If I still get rent and council tax I would go for it. I would need to do a one year access course then my dream is to do this degree! I suppose I like my older kids have to have a vague plan in mind now. That plan will involve the older ones looking out for the younger ones when I need to be out but they are all aware we have to do what we can to keep our family together. Nobody is saying "okay Mum, we'll all go to school then" - which I am very glad about :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Kooks

I just love the Kooks. Aimee and I are going to see them in December!!!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Excuse my rambling post!

I am sat here with a brew after having eaten my Sunday dinner listening to the chart show on the radio (currently at Madcon - good groove!). All the kids have nipped out for an impromptu game of tennis at the park. I think, looking over my shoulder despite some strange clouds there is going to be a nice sunset! Well that has set the scene here lol.
In an hour I am going out to do week 3 of a free self defence ju-jitsu course. It is good fun but I don't particularly like falling. I suspect there is a correct way to do it and I'm not sure I have quite got it sussed.

I had sorted out my computer again after thinking it had died completely. My friend thinks it's hard drive doesn't have long left. We shall see.
What is new here ... hmmm. The big thing this term (gah! schooled society/head...) is that J has started 2 activities which unfortunately both are on Thursday. This means I take him to the RNCM in Manchester for 4.30 where he takes part in the junior strings project. He had his first session last week. I told him I wouldn't watch (as was unsure if he would join in if I was there) but would be in the building. He was so brave. He went in, took his shoes off and when I went back over an hour later he was in the circle clapping, singing, joining in and he really liked it. The first year is based on music and movement and then in the second year they get given an instrument which he is excited about already! We then ran out of the building across the road and hopped on a bus to get him to beavers which he started last week. He is really happy with his new activities and asks when they are on again. I have told RNCM we would like to move to Weds as it is so much on a Thursday. After beavers, my Mum (who has done pilates in the same building) then takes him home while I do yoga there. This means we leave the house at 3pm. J gets back at 7.45pm and me at about 9.30pm.!!!!!!!
Because Thursday is so busy we have had to stop French which A is sad about but I explained sometimes we have to quit things for a while.

In fact I am going through an interesting phase right now. I want more time at home and less stress about structured work. I think we shall de-school again ..... until I notice all my autonomously educating friends are no more. But that is why if I stay in more and hang out with my kids which I find most enjoyable I am less likely to stress about reading ability, kids learning etc away from outside pressures. YES!!!!

A and D keep coming up with different ideas to make themselves famous. It is very entertaining. They are trying to teach themselves the guitar at the moment and writing songs. They haven't started on their drama arts award which has to have bits done by Friday so we will have a go at that this week.
My treat to myself this week is to leave the kids here and go off to the cinema alone to watch the new movie with Colin Firth in. I always feel weird going out alone if it's a school day but we are NOT a school family so their bloomin terms should be irrelevant to me. It is amazing how deep that stuff goes.

A had decided she only wanted to buy clothes from charity shops, car boots or ebay so she got some nice jeans for herself off ebay. They both need some shoes so I will take them to Soled Out as they have some good offers on. Can't face TKMax but would brave it if someone was minding M and J.

I plan on doing "a day in the life" in photos this week. I challenge my other blog friends to do it too. I might try and do one every month because it is very enjoyable. Or is it only me that thinks that? ..............

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It has been a strange summer. It has whipped by so quickly with IMO not much sun. As I type the sky has that overcast white/grey look that tells me winter is on it's way. I don't mind really. I actually like all the seasons but struggle with the adjustments. I must however get outdoors as much as possible in whatever season as it really lifts my mood. I think sometimes one can sit inside thinking it is gloomy but when you step out it is brighter than you first thought!

I am back-tracking with my calendar to pencil in events we have done! I am still not in the habit of blogging enough of what we do but I forget to write it down. I am too tired in the evening and should be in a habit of doing it over my cup of tea first thing....
Anyway, the girls attended the YHA holiday and had a fab time, climbing, kayaking, doing high ropes, team challenges etc. They actually could have gone away this week to another one but they both seem a bit under the weather from exhaustion and as they are doing 4 hours this week (an hour a day) of swim camp (stroke technique, diving, life saving) I suggested we had enough on! Well they do anyway.

While the girls were away, M, J and I went to the science and industry museum and had fun going on the steam train there. We bumped into another home-edder in the experiment kids area which was nice. We treated ourselves in the cafe to tea and cake. We tried to explore the underground (false) sewer but it really was very creepy. They have noises playing of horse hooves and scarey looking life size dummies stood near coffins and stuff. There was no-one else in that (underground) bit so we headed in and back out very quickly. I pretended not to be bothered but admitted to M and J when we came out how it had scared me too lol!

A couple of days later we went to the art gallery to see the Lauren child exhibition but it had been invaded by toddlers so we couldn't really get to much of it. I plan on going back next week when the schools go back as the exhibition finishes shortly after. We also want to go back to the Manga exhibition at Urbis. So much to do.....

We have been attending free squash sessions at a local leisure centre a couple of times a week over the summer. J has got to the point where he will join in too. The coaches are really young - about 17 and very nice with the children. I even got to join in which was a bit embarrassing when the kids I were with were almost semi professional rofl.

A has done another session of radio training and the next live broadcast will be in October now.

I had my 6 monthly work focused interview the other day. For a change the woman was lovely but she is leaving to do teacher training and thinks you can learn everything through drama. I liked her so much I rang back a couple of days later and took her contact details for our home-ed drama group. She was also a single parent and said if we need any advice on anything to ask her! My next step is to book an appointment for myself and another home-ed single mum to see our mp Beverley Hughes.

I have my niece here this week. It is so lovely to have her. We have some fab photos of her which I will blog when she gets home and e-mails them to me. She has had a busy week with lots of shopping trips. Today we are having a hoe-down/barbecue complete with line-dancing - the girls' idea lol.

Today we went to an organic grocery and went up on the roof. It was fantastic as they have a green roof with plants growing in the gravel. The best bit was the big pond they have built. All funded so they can attract the black redstart which thrives on brown field sites. Here is a lovely shot of one (not taken by me but from google!).

and some pics from the roof:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I am avoiding something I want to do be doing by blogging rofl. Actually for a VERY rare couple of hours I am ALONE in the house! I have had a bath, next a brew then I WILL do the exercise dvd I am putting off. I want to get my heart pumping as I can feel myself getting sedentary. Yoga has finished this month and weeding on my knees doesn't get me breathless so I am trying to do a dance workout of the girls lol.

Last week A, D and M took part in the Lowry summer school that was based on musicals. They were there every day 10-5pm and where absolutely exhausted by the end of the week. They had a fab time again and J and I watched the end of week show.

A and D had Saturday to recover and then on Sunday they went off to Leicestershire for a youth hostel activity holiday. I have heard bits from them as they cal me and tell me about zip wires, high ropes, sharing bunk barns with 15 girls! There has been a bit of trouble from one girl (who when found out they don't go to school) was saying that Aimee's parents shouldn't raise her like that blah blah. I think she is coping though. I will find out tomorrow as I collect them both at 3.

I have been doing some harvesting at the allotment. My carrots were beautiful but unfortunately the carrot root flies also thought so, damn them. Here is a photo of bits.

I still have sweetcorn, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, more beans, chard, spinach, lettuce to harvest from. I am soon putting in some winter crops of cabbage, kale and corn salad. All my beds are not in use. I have 11 so far of varying sizes and plan to have at least 16 done by winter. I will then cover them and maybe throw some manure on some if I can get round to it. I do enjoy weeding though. But only the kind where I am on my knees weeding a bed. Not the hack it all back in a field type. It is good therapy which let's be honest we all need!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I have returned and just about recovered from camping. Fun was had by all and we had only a tiny drop of rain the whole 5 days. So much sun we look like we have been abroad for 2 weeks. I can't remember the last time I had a tan but then when you spend summer at home it is easier to keep out of the sun. Not that you have that problem in Manchester where it is currently raining!!!

Some camp photos:

taking down the tent

some beach shots:

and tree girl:

This week my 3 eldest did 4 hours of cycle training with Bike Right and completed levels 1 and A and D also level 2 of Bikeability which is the old cycling proficiency. A and D now cycle to their friends but I prefer not to watch them on the busier roads lol!

Well I have updated for now. I will try and take some allotment photos for my next post. I am still slooooowly building beds. Hope I get them done for winter lol.

Friday, July 18, 2008

You see I spoke too soon about it all winding down .... I have decided this morning that I will go camping on Monday taking myself and 6 children on the train to Wales. My floor is covered in sleeping bags and camping cutlery. I have been out today purchasing gas and camp pillows. It is a lot to organise with only 2 days to go but I am enjoying the challenge and the children are all very excited! Photos to follow when we return!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hi everyone! I think I have sorted the computer with a different modem. Well I can get on-line now but haven't blogged.
Life is busy here though winding up for the summer. So french, drama, AP, singing stops for a few weeks.

So far A+D have lined up for the summer weeks:
cycle training
Lowry theatre summer school
YHA holiday
Possibly another summer school if I book it next week
swim camp/squash
M is doing the Lowry summer school and wants to do the other one too.
Jude will be spending all his time with me moaning cos his sisters aren't here lol.

A has carried on doing the local radio with friends. D has given it a miss. In November they will both be starting the arts award for drama which is like D of E but within the arts.
Talking of D of E they want to do that as well and A is doing her Baden Powell award through guides.

I think I need to fill my time with exciting stuff. I am still gardening/doing the allotment. We had a tour round a friends allotment last night. I came away with globe artichokes, onions, shallots, lettuce and we ate evening primrose flowers and berries. I then went to my allotment and planted some of said lettuces, mixed leaves and leaf beet. So far I have been harvesting runner beans, radish, peas and rhubarb but everything seems to be growing so sloooowly this year.

We have the girls friend here again this week. The older girls are plotting to tag along to a friends camp next week. I was invited to this one but have neither the energy nor cash for it. I really want a holiday with the kids but August is ruled out as it is too busy. So I plan to down size my tent that month and go somewhere in September. We may get on the camp in September that all my friends go to but we are on the waiting list for that one. Either way I will have a camp ready in reserve even if it is just my family but we would invite the girls' friends. I would like to run a not back to school celebration camp. It would have to be North Wales (as we want beach nearby) and accessible by train as we are without car.

My summer plans are to paint some rooms and sort out my garden and allotment. I suppose I can paint if it rains and garden if it doesn't lol

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Still haven't sorted the computer, it is getting very complicated and I have given up for now. I just access the web from other people's houses instead lol. Tonight A and her friend from Blackpool are heading up the road to my Mum's to have a night of music and msn while the house is empty as they are missing the internet!

This evening I have dropped M and D at their big annual dance show held at a boy's school. They are there from 6-10.30 tonight (the same yesterday) and 1-5.30 tomorrow. They are in classrooms next door to each other which I am glad about. I chaperoned the first show last night. The show went well but the noise of being stuck in a stuffy pokey classroom with 18 girls aged 10-13 all excited was terrible after a few hours. D was not well towards the end of last night and is very pale today. But she has still gone to perform tonight. I have mentioned it to the staff so she can have quiet time if it all gets too much. M loves it as she in a classroom with her friend from the dance school and they are all so happy to do this show. There is probably also the novelty of being in a classroom. Both my girls are in maths classrooms so maybe they will learn something from the wall displays rofl. Must mark that down for the LA!! I am going to watch it tomorrow with A. I feel bad as A's friend will have to stay home alone tomorrow as the show is sold out. I didn't know she was coming till the day before she arrived so I couldn't plan it in advance. These tickets sold out very quickly.
Bev Hughes was watching it last night. I should have took her to one side to ask about lone parents and their income cuts!

So it has been lots of performing, both on radio and in dance shows, recently. I on the other hand have been down to the allotment. I built a really big raised bed last week and sowed some rocket, dwarf beans and mixed lettuce leaves. I have also harvested some peas. I am so happy pottering in the earth. I wonder if I could get paid for working 16 hours a week on my allotment???
As you can see, thinking of how/what/when questions relating to my impending employment status once the white paper is issued on lone parents welfare reform is occupying a lot of my thoughts. Sometimes it stresses me and I find myself shouting more at the kids which then makes me more stressed. Sigh, gotta role with it and breathe more.
Lottery ticket anyone?

Monday, June 23, 2008

I am tired of blogging!

We had a day the other week when lots of "educational" things went on but I never made a note of them and now I can only remember bits. This is something I want to work on sorting out. I think it is a shame to feel I have to make a note of everything educational that just happens. Work books and schooling are so much easier in many ways. It is the things discussed that I forget.

Someone once said that even though autonomously educated children are chatting about educational topics, living life, doing days out etc, that so are schooled children AND they are doing academic work too.

I no longer class myself as autonomous - well maybe part time but I have been doing structured stuff with the kids. Autonomy doesn't work for us it just leads to a life of more struggle. I can honestly say if I could go back I would either purchase a curriculum or design one myself. I have done too many things out of guilt and reading the autonomous propaganda about letting kids play, they learn anyway. Well they do learn - maybe the exact channel and time of Hollyoaks every day and the plots of said soaps, but that is in my mind not an education.

I wish I had read autonomous articles that state to be successful you have to take every opportunity you have to teach, teach, teach. If you come from working class routes as I do that isn't part of your natural make up and you have to make it become so. This is why most autonomous middle class educators say they don't teach but that is because they don't think what they do naturally is teaching but it is. I will write this up as an article and send it to some newsletters as I wish to help other newbies that think if you are available and have a rich environment your kids will just want to read/write/play with maths etc because it just is not true.

Ok off my soap box now.

My modem is not working so I am hardly getting on-line. I am at my Mum's but am off home shortly to do some reading instruction and workbooks with my kids.

The older girls are broadcasting live at 3pm today on All FM. I am looking forward to that!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Everything is going swimmingly here and busy as usual.

Recent activities:

i) M had a go at kayaking in the rain with a home-ed session. She had a wobbly lip before entering the water but I encouraged her and she absolutely loved it. She was a little cold but happy at the end.

ii) The girls are still continuing radio training and enjoying it. They broadcast live on the 23rd June and have the option of a regular show if they wish. They have been practicing with the help of a baby alarm and a box with levers on that they created!

iii) A, M and J had a session of squash the other day which we had not done before. I ended up coaching J as he got frustrated. M beat everybody including the coach, he couldn't believe she hadn't played it before. She might go this Tuesday to have another go at the club.

iv) M turned 9 on Thursday and we held her a birthday party on Saturday. The theme was nintendo so the kids dressed up accordingly. M had made a big pikachu painting and the kids had to pin the tail on. Bless her! With my 4 there was a total of 10 which seemed enough. The weather was nice for it too.

Along with these and the regular dance/drama/french/singing just to name a few, life is good. I'll update again soon lol!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I think I'll have to resign myself to monthly blog updates from now on. I spend so little time on the computer now and am really very busy.
I find myself wishing for more days in the week. Don't get me wrong there are quiet moments then there are also moments of dashing to one thing, home again and back out. The beginning of our week tends to be relatively quiet. Then we have outings on Weds, swimming, french, dance; Thurs, drama, papers and guides on Friday. Weekends fly by especially as A is working towards the end of term production with her drama group, and D and M working towards the end of year dance show, so Sunday afternoon tends to be my free time when I walk the dog along the river for an hour or so. I would do longer and may do as it gets lighter in the evening.
I was talking to some home-ed Mums I know and one was saying she had cut back and is in 2 days a week now. In fact round here it is a good week if you have 2 days at home lol, but of course usually there is shopping to do as well.

I have been having a hard time emotionally this past month or so. I won't go into it but it involves heavy family stuff. I have reached real lows yet I am carrying on.

I had my sisters 2 lovely children (she has 3 but my eldest niece stayed home to revise for her upcoming GCSE's!!)come to stay for just over a week. A and D were great with the entertainment and I provided all the motherly stuff lol. It was a pleasure to have them here and reminded me how J at 6 is challenging yet a 3 year old is so much more demanding. I love kids but am glad not to have to do all that stage again!!!!

J has had his 6th birthday. M's 9th is on the 29th of this month. I shall then have a 6,9,12 and 14 year old and I only feel 21 myself rofl. Hmmmmmmm, what else???
M and D have just sat there twice yearly dance exmas. D has one more to go. It was great because D has learned to do a bun in her hair and M's is too short so I just have to clean everything and hand it to them now!

I have purchased our first GCSE! Yes we got on that train! I have ordered an English pack for A from Little Arthur. Not sure when she will sit the exam but we are going to see how it goes. She wants to go to college so we are aiming for the English an Maths and maybe one or two more, finances and planning dependent! She and D have been doing hours off maths tutorials on a cd rom we have and managing it. D asked if she could do the maths GCSE now (she loves it) but I explained I personally won't be paying for any until each child is at least 14. I have to budget!!!!!

I hope the photo at the beginning inspires you to look up into the sky. For me there is nothing like hearing the summer swifts and seeing them flying overhead. Truly magical.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Well my computer now mostly works with bits of freezing. It is better than it was but still not perfect.

The past week has been taken up with bouts of illness. The kids all have had a virus the symptoms of which seem to be loss of appetite, chesty cough, exhaustion and fevers. J's temperature reached 104 last Tuesday. They are mostly recovering now but spend huge amounts of time lounging around in pyjamas. They have been going to a few activities but then come home exhausted. I am fighting it myself. I have the heavy chest and cough and feel a bit spaced out and my eyes hurt. I am trying to take it easy but I still went for an hour walk along the river yesterday - I love that too much to give it up - the dog was very grateful too!
I did also manage to get to the allotment last week and spent hours weeding. I find it very therapeutic sitting in the sun with a trowel, weeding away. I still need to sort out wood to line my plots with. I am making slow progress but never mind, I'll get there.

A and D are starting a 6 week (2hrs weekly) radio training course today with a group of friends. That should be fun. We are also looking to join in with home-ed cricket starting up soon as we don't do much sport and yet we do enjoy bat and ball type games.

Hopefully this week the weather should start to feel more spring like. It was so cold here yesterday I had my heaviest winter coat on! I think we all need a good summer to boost our immune systems. I don't think mine have built themselves up completely from the whooping cough yet. I am off out to buy more Vit C, echinacea and acidophillus today. My cupboard is really like a pharmacy now.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I am still without computer which is liberating. I do need to unsub receiving e mails from lists though as it is filling up my inbox.
I come to my Mum's, check my mail then delete history before I leave which strangely seems to be enough.

So recently we have been doing all our usual stuff.

We had a nice trip to the cinema on Monday. The older girls saw step up 2 and the younger 2 with me saw Horton Hears a Who which we just thought was fantastic. So I am looking into more dance classes for the girls inspired by their movie!

Yesterday was D's friends birthday so they came over to our house and we had a birthday buffet lunch and much DS gaming went on. I have to sort out getting J one for his birthday at the end of this month. Then I can get mine back and game away on AC!

I have been getting on with the growing. My peas are doing well and other seeds are starting to come up now. I had a great time in y Mum's grrenhouse sowing all my seeds : parsley, fennel, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, spinach, beetroot, basil, squash, borage, calendula. there was more but I forget now! I love gardening but only when it is not really cold out!
Today I spent 2 hours in the garden, weeding and trimming back a bush. It was lovely being outside and was very mild. I may borrow my Mum's car and nip to the allotment this evening. I like going in the day when it is quiet but as my Mum's car is only free in the evenings that will have to do. I won't mind once my plot is sorted but everyone else's are and mine is still a work in progress - due mostly to the fact it is a 10 minute drive from here. Still I have found the rent will be approx £13 for a year which is very cheap so I am happy with that. It is small compared to others plots but I need it small to be manageable.

Right, well I'm off to take M for her swimming lesson soon.
Tomorrow we have french and dancing then yoga for me! After that most home-ed activities start running again. We are off to the police museum next week. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Just a quick post to say that I am without computer for a while. It is not running properly and I don't know how to fix it! I am typing this at my Mum's where I have come for an hour to check my e-mails. I miss my computer .... it is a lifeline in our house.
I plan on doing research here and playing around to see how I can fix it! I shall keep you posted ... or start blogging again in which case you will know it's sorted.

For those with computer know how it takes about 10 minutes to get a page up each time. It has always taken 15 minutes to load all the stuff up when first switched on but it is now rebelling. So if you know anything that may help, please let me know!! Thanks xxxxx

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Well what a beautiful day it was today and I managed to spend quite a lot of it outside.

I decided to make nettle soup for lunch so I went for a stroll through our local cemetery. The sun was shining on me, there was hardly any breeze and there is just a riot of beautiful birdsong at this time of year that just lifts me.
I collected the nettles from a wild area then headed home to make lunch. Of course only I ate the soup. A won't eat any green soup, D just looked at it but it was very yummy and I have some left for tomorrow. I took a (blurred) photo of it before it was cooked and blended - you get a smoother end product than what you see in this photo lol.

After lunch we headed to the allotment which was really busy. I think the kids were disappointed as they are used to it just having a couple of people there but there was a tree pruning course happening and both the plots either side off mine are now being worked and their owners were there along with many others.

I met one of my new "neighbours" called Mike. He has had the plot for a month and already all his beds are professionally built from scaffolding planks and ready to plant. It put my scrap wood, un-level ones to shame but as long as I get to grow some stuff I'll be happy. I dug in a square bed and managed to nearly finish my longer one. I say finish as it is quite un-level so I will adjust that when I next go back. I'm not too fussed about it being level really though. Nature isn't level and immaculately tidy. I'd like to keep that theme going with my plot.

I managed about an hour and a half there and the girls planted 12 potato plants so it is a start. The kids then got bored so we headed home. Next time I might go alone and with a flask and maybe my wind up radio.

There is some really good stuff on Radio 4 isn't there! I want to listen to this about Dyscalculia tonight!

Monday, March 17, 2008

We have now added home-ed French to our weekly routine. We love it. It is run by a Mum who is French and she mixes all ages and has us repeating things in French, singing songs, and doing a run around warm up with instructions in French. It is an hour long on Thursdays and I find it is helping me brush up on my school French.
Consequently with swimming, lunch, French, then me taking D to dance then out to Yoga, I have to be very organised on a Thursday. Last week I had a bad migraine by 9pm as I had just not had enough to eat. I am getting bored with food as I end up cooking what the kids want and eating a bit but it is not really what I want. I plan to resolve this by writing a menu for me from my cookbooks today.

On Friday I clocked up about 3 hours driving as I dropped a group of 6 kids at a pool 40 minutes from here for their friend's birthday. I then drove back to Manchester and repeated the whole thing an hour later. The girls both had fun and the friend's Dad presented me with a big piece of cream cake when I arrived to collect them. That fuelled me for the drive home lol!

Spring is definitely in the air now, hurrah!
Yesterday the girls helped me make lots of little paper pots with this (borrowed from a friend and now on my wishlist lol). Today we plan on sowing the beans and peas and I await my other seed order from the organic gardening catalogue. I hope to get some potatoes in on the allotment but have not discussed borrowing the car from R so fingers crossed on that. I have also been building more sides for beds for the allotment so I hope to bed those in ('scuse the pun!). I ran out of one nail though so am off to the shops in a moment as I don't like unfinished jobs.

Other than that the girls are planning their summer holidays. Well we did see the sun briefly yesterday so that must have set the whole thing off rofl!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Okay, so it's official I am now 35!!!! I had a nice quiet birthday and love my new radio. I invited 2 local friends over and they came with their kids and we sat at a table of nibbles for most of the afternoon chatting. I have photos but will upload them later as they are still on my Mum's camera. I made a nice vegan chocolate cake and sang to myself lol - well why change the habit of a lifetime.

D had a bad knee injury last week when she fell over outside. She has had to miss dancing again. The poor girl is rather accident prone as her drama teacher pointed out. She has been using a crutch but after nearly a week can bend her leg a bit and walk again. She wants to go ice skating tomorrow but I'm not sure that is a good idea.
In fact now we have stopped doing the home-ed trampolining we are going to the home-ed ice skating tomorrow instead. The beauty is we won't do it weekly it will be dependant on the finances.

The girls all had a go at making vegan sushi last Tuesday. They were running the Brownies' thinking day and were doing Japan and USA as their countries. So my kitchen appeared to have sushi rice all over and boy is it sticky. I still keep finding bits. It turned out rather well and I tried some. I loved the nori sheets but then I love seaweed - fab stuff. We are definitely going to make some again.

Friday was extra busy as we had drama in the morning and animation in the afternoon at a different venue. It went well. The young ones were making short animations and the bigger kids were mixing plasticine to make models they are going to animate. That is a slow process, slower then the animation as it takes so long to even get the stuff slightly warm.

I saw a great show at the Lowry on Saturday night by these guys. It was all about global warming. It certainly drew an interesting crowd as well which always makes for a fun night.

Other than all that we have been having sleepovers, guests, singing, quick draw art workshops etc. This week looks set to be as jam packed. I think I should just accept we now have a very hectic lifestyle and run with it!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This week has again zipped by and I can only remember chunks of it. I do know that I had a bad migraine on Monday or maybe Tuesday. Fortunately they are rare and I am okay now.

I managed to get out in the garden in the week and build 4 sides of a raised bed for the allotment. Unfortunately I won't have access to a vehicle next week to get them there but hopefully I can build some more sides here instead. I had started out measuring the beds but now to save wood I am building the sides determined by the length of wood. It is all scrap wood I am using donated by my friend. It has been quite rewarding sitting in the garden hammering and sawing. At one point J stuck his head out of his bedroom window and asked if I could hammer more quietly ....erm, NO!! lol!

A an D went to a book signing at the Trafford centre on Wednesday for an ex tits model who now has her own show. I think you know the one I mean!!! Don't want to mention her name on here as then goodness knows who will find my blog by googling her name.
Anyway they queued from 2pm even though the signing was for an hour at 5pm. The queue ended up massive with hundreds waiting (WHY????). A was very disappointed as said woman turned up 45minutes late and then hurriedly signed books without even glancing up/talking to/interacting with the people who had queued for hours. Apparently Billie Piper had been much more friendly. I explained to A that sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality. But they had wanted to go and had done it so there was some (strange) sense of achievement!

We had a great day yesterday as a home-ed Dad ran an editing/animation workshop for the kids. It was fab. M and a boy spent ages sat photographing toys and moving them a fraction. Windows movie maker (free!!!) was then used to animate it. The older one also had fun filming the same kind of thing only using themselves instead of toys. We were there from 10.30 til 2.30 and when I got home I downloaded Pivot for the kids to have fun with. M again made an animation last night that was very creative.

A and D went to watch a guides/scouts gang show in Altrincham last night. They didn't get back til nearly 11pm and said it was fantastic. They are all out now as I type at dance/drama. I was looking forward to a free Sunday tomorrow but the dance school has started scheduling extra dance classes to fit in show work as well as exams so my 2 children have 5 hours of classes there tomorrow as well as nearly 4 today!!! That should keep me busy lol.

All in good time to relax for my birthday on Monday :-)

Monday, February 18, 2008

I saw this on one of Gill's blogs. Funny how I consider myself a night owl (by default as kids keep me awake I should mention, otherwise who knows?) and yet I am an early morning time.
I like doing these little random quizzes. I always find it a bit hard though as sometimes none of the answers fit so I have to pick the one most likely.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Before I forget .......

I watched an absolutely fantastic programme on TV the other week. It was Dave Gorman America Unchained. I highly recommend it.
There is information about it on his website.
Wow, my energy is all over the place at the moment. Mostly I feel good but then the flip side is bouts of tiredness brought on by my own actions. I really seem to be doing too much so am looking at ways of structuring my week so I have more down time which sounds like a contradiction I know.

Today has been rush, rush, rush. We have had D's friend here since Sunday. The poor girl got homesick so wanted to go home today instead of Friday.

Firstly today, I had planned on going to the allotment to build some more beds with the kids help. I needed to do it there as I didn't know what size I had marked out. Now I know, I can do all the sawing and hammering here as the ones I am working on are about 1m square.
Anyhow the girls did a good job of hammering old nails and new nails into the bits of wood. As time was limited - we had less than an hour - we managed to get all 4 sides of a bed built but not bedded in yet. That will be next weeks job.
The other kids did some more moving woodchip for our path. These new allotments are constantly getting delivery of woodchip so we are stockpiling it for our plot. I don't think I will end up with so much room I can't manage. I calculated about 6 big beds (approx 2 x 1.5m each) and 4 one metre square ones. It won't make us self sufficient but we will be able to grow some stuff. I also want to join in on the home-ed one at the same site so we can get stuff from there too.

We rushed home after the allotment, the girls headed out to the shops and I boiled pasta! As soon as they arrived back from the shops and had eaten a bowl of food we rushed out for D's hair appointment .... which wasn't essential but she seems happy!

The plan for afterwards was for A and D to take D's friend to the train station from the mall... but then I remembered D has dance at 4 so A went on her own, bless her. I have pots to wash then will take D dancing. If A is not back then I will drop the little ones at my Mum's till she returns ... well if she is home, otherwise they will have to come with me.

It is all this logistical planning that I find quite draining!!!! But that is the reality of single parenthood and 4 children!
I now do yoga for 2 hrs on a Wednesday and Thursday evening which means being super organised and making sure food is cooked/nearly cooked before I leave at 5.30. Tonight it is baked potatoes, hotdogs and veg as the kids can manage not to burn this if they have to dish it up!

I will blog about my DWP interview on the other blog tomorrow!

ps sorry for spelling errors as Blogger spellcheck keps playing up on me - damn it!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

do you think if I went to the DWP and told them I wanted to train in NLP and EFT and offer it free they would pay for me??? Rofl!

Monday, February 4, 2008

It is all very quiet here. This is normal for most average households but here there is usually activity at this time of the evening, not least the girls grabbing food. However A and D went to stay at their friend's house in Blackpool on Sunday so their absence is very noticeable. They will be back on Friday but I am not sure how and when, the details will become clearer when I speak to them later on this week.

I have just watched wife swap on channel 4 on demand. I wanted to watch it as it was a homeschooling eco family that lived in Spain on a boat. I must admit that kind of low impact living really used to appeal to me (without the animal useage/killings of course). But really it doesn't any more. I do like some mod cons : my washing machine (though it is currently broken), running tap water, internet access, cooker that I can turn on quickly, electricity etc. though I am aware how privileged I am to have all that. Yes I am concerned about the environment and do what I can. I would love a more eco house with a wood burning stove that heats water, solar panels, wind turbine, rainwater flushing toilet etc but those are not things at my disposal right now. I can just about manage that kind of living when we are camping but it is then always such bliss to come home!

M, J and myself are having a quiet week with some social outings planned. Today they came to get some shopping with me which we just about managed thanks to the purchase of a veggie sos roll and a cheesestring. If I provide them with regular nibbles we can just about go anywhere!
Yesterday we went to a local water park and had hot chocolate and ice cream- their choice of course. Tomorrow we are going to an indoor play area for a couple of hours then on Wednesday a home-ed walk round a different water park. So a good combination of fresh air and play for all of us.

I have been doing lots of reading the past few days. I am reading this : to M and J as and when they will listen and this :to myself. Bliss, especially when done with a fresh brew and some chocolate!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A decided to host a poker party here last night. Well she decided on Sunday I think. I left it to her to arrange and invite people. I went and got my haircut that day and when I returned I realised I would be hosting 5 other teens that night! D went shopping with her friend and stocked up on olives, cookies, chocolate and pizza as you do.

My friend arrived in the afternoon which was nice. She left one of her kids here, then 2 friends of my youngest turned up for an hour or two. When their Mum collected them she dropped of a teen for the night by which time all were gathered in the back room complete with goodies and poker chips.
I provided sleeping bags and they sorted out the floor sleeping arrangement which meant they all managed to fit in one room. I could still hear them at 1.30am. I had said I didn't want cooking after midnight - mainly so I didn't have extra pans to wash the next day, and I do worry about safety. A is very prone to forgetting about food and has yet to complete the cooking of pasta without me returning back to a pan of disgusting over cooked white mush lol.

All girls were up and out of the house this morning for Ice skating. They left at just after 10am so I reckon they will be exhausted just about now. I am!!!
At the ice rink one girl banged her head on the ice, then D sprained her ankle on the way home running down some stairs. She now can't get around the house very well. We are off to a home-ed meet tomorrow and were buss-ing it so she will probably have to stay home, poor thing - but she likes that sometimes.

I have one extra child here now. I will drop her off later and combine that with some shopping and re-cycling. First I have to do a frugal menu plan and sew some brownie badges on a sash.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I am going to do lots of little blog posts so that I can remember the details better. I seem to only manage to blog about twice a month at the moment but that is fine. A spends evenings on here, or I am out so I only get chance in the day and even then not for very long.

The river Mersey was placed on flood alert just over a week ago. I have never heard of this in all my life here. We went down to the nearby playing fields - which if you cross, brings you up to the river bank. Here is what we saw :

We reckoned if we had a dinghy we could boat on it but alas we haven't. We tried a rubber ring on a plastic float but the kids just sank lol.

It was at least over the girls' knees at it's deepest part. My Mum's puppy loves swimming in it though: (erm, you will have to turn your head to view it, sorry!!)

She will really miss it when it drains away. We have had a couple of dry days here but it won't take much rain to bring it back to that level as the ground is saturated. I keep meaning to cycle up to the river to get a photo of it, so I will make that a priority!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Oooops I haven't blogged since last year. Well Happy 2008 everyone xxxxx

One if the reasons of my lack of blogging is my sister and family have been here since December 29th so the house is full and lively. We had a lovely new year's eve together with laughter, dancing and singing. We were like a bunch of crazy happy people but there was no alcohol involved!
Since then all the kids have been hanging out. There have been quite a few shopping trips with another one planned tomorrow.

Last Friday it was D's twelfth birthday. She is about five foot four now, size 7 feet and no longer fits children's clothes!!! We had another mini party on her birthday and then she went off to guides in the evening.
The next day I was up very early to take A to her first new drama class. It is about 7 miles away and we were there for 9am. I was really pleased to hear that she enjoyed it and is happy to go back next week. D and M also started back at dancing. They are having to learn new dances for the show in May followed by exams a week later so there is lots to remember.

Today I again had to get up very early as the girls were helping out at local stables and then getting a free riding lesson in return. I dropped them there for 9am and they were finished for half four. It mostly went okay and again they are happy to do that weekly. So our weekends have become very busy once more but the kids are happy.

A couple of home-ed events start up next week. We have a social meet up and drama class. The big girls have said they may not continue with the drama as most of the stuff is geared for the younger children. But we'll see how it goes.

I am looking forward to taking the children to see the stage production of the Snowman at the Lowry next week. I managed to get some free tickets and M in particular really wanted to see it so that will make a nice evening out. I am also looking forward to the return of my yoga teacher so I can get back to my classes, I am feeling a little out of shape right now and am considering joining the sports centre gym.
Talking of exercise, A in particular was looking to do some more so helping at the stables is great as they have to trot round the ring leading children. I am also looking at signing them up at the leisure centre gym as there is a children's section. But for now they have been doing lots of walking helping their Dad deliver 700 BT phonebooks with another 700 to do next week. Tis all go here!!!