Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2 sleeps till Christmas and the ground is covered in snow...wonder if it will last and how much money the bookies are going to lose if it does lol.
The downside to the snow is how high I am having my heating turned up. I have now brought fleece blankets downstairs for when it all gets too chilly. The kids have spent lots of time playing in the snow which is great, particularly J who IMO needs to get outside and burn energy off, is doing so well now we have snow. Our road is inches thick in compacted snow and ice so the kids have taken to running up and down it with a sledge. I tried driving in the snow on the first day, down the main road before it was gritted. You couldn't even see the road markings and there was points where the car was sliding so it was not enjoyable.

Last Friday the girls performed their arts award challenge pieces in front of a small crowd. D did her dance and A did her radio play. A is particularly happy as she submitted her play to the Royal Exchange and it has been accepted by the young people's theatre group and will be performed there in May. She gets to oversee it and is looking to forward to it. If she sets her mind to it, I can see her doing really well in performing arts, she just is natural with it.
D has not been dancing for a few weeks as she seems to have a run of bad health. Not long ago she had a terrible eye infection that nearly resulted in IV antibiotics. Last Friday I took her to the doctor as she couldn't breathe and needed antibiotics again for a chest infection. She doesn't do well at this time of the year so I am off today to buy more vitamin C and echinacea.
J has had his share of ill health as he developed terrible exczema. I used some cream from the doctor to clear it up and he has since had a visit to the homeopath where he was issued tablets from a remedy that has only just been created - exciting stuff.
I also caught D's cough and cold but although it has affected my asthma slightly I am on the mend. I have recently taken up jogging 4 times a week and am happy that if I go slow enough I can do a circuit that is approximately 3/4 of a mile but could be more. I am glad the snow has co-incided with my cough so at least I have 2 excuses as to why I can't run.

Anyway, back to arts award. It will be finished and moderated by the end of Jan so the final push is on now to get all the info in the files. The girls have done the practical stuff but need paperwork in files to prove it, this they find hard yet I do not understand why. It has created stress as they sit on Facebook while I moan about putting effort in and getting results out. They are not result motivated and yet they need to be in some way or I am unsure as to what the future will hold. It is those days I find my choice to home-educated hard, but I won't go into it too much here, there isn't any point.

On Monday I had my annual Christmas party. There was about 10 adults, 20 children that all had an enjoyable time. Everyone brought food to share so we had lost of nice goodies.
Yesterday I took M,J and a friend to see Spaceship 87 at the Royal exchange. It was an enjoyable kids play but has yet to beat the Man Who Planted Trees which we just adored.

Off out shopping for milk and last minute stuff shortly. I am at the Lowry again tonight so it will be a late one as I am on sales for White Christmas so won't be in bed by 11 which Is what I need, then it will be CHRISTMAS EVE..


Saturday, December 12, 2009

So many blogs, so little time!

I went to an amazing event on Tuesday evening. It was a Copenhagen rally run by the DECC. Ed Miliband, the leader of Manchester council, Friends of the Earth Manchester and a chap from the co-op as well as a journalist from the Guardian were on the panel. They received questions for 2 hours about climate change and Copenhagen and it was really very interesting. I must admit, to not knowing it all as well as I feel I ought, but when statistics produced the other day saying more than half of the population don't believe in climate change I suppose I am one step ahead. I was amazed at how posh the event was, yes there were some eccentrics and a few woolly jumper types but on the whole it was quite an event. I didn't stay around afterwards for wine etc. as I wanted to get home, despite enjoying myself.

Further joy was to be then had because at about 10.45pm. Myself and my 2 daughters watched the parliament channel and the presentation of petitions against the Badman review. It beat any previous record in parliament for the highest number received on a single issue.... I still don't think it will make much difference though. Our numbers are comparatively few and the majority of the UK population will never get home-education or believe we aren't damaging our children. Because of this I do think the government will be able to bring in new legislation. I remember doing my sociology A level that when a sub-culture like ours got too noticeable and large it had to be reined back in and this is what I think they are doing, well that and making it too hard to actually do, which is another story!!

End of term shows:

J did his Junior Strings production on Wednesday. His Dad has been taking him each week, so it was lovely that I got to go this time as I watched him do his show. He performed a couple of songs and 2 basic violin pieces with his group. He is always nervous beforehand but is fine once they are doing it. I love the fact he has this opportunity that is subsidised enough that I can afford it. He now has a few week break.

Yesterday I watched M in her end of term drama production, a Santa play. The group has increased in numbers and worked really well together. The last Friday performance this year will be the girls who have their silver Arts Award showcase challenges to perform next week, then I am finished on a Friday till the 8th Jan. In fact I have from 24th December till the 8th Jan with nothing on and no-where to go which will be great. Lots of reading, sorting and planning going on.
I am however always reluctant to allow all day screen usage during term breaks, as the kids find it hard to turn them off during screen time. In fact our Freeview box seems to have lost a lot of channels but I really don't mind. I would say the computer is more popular but with 5 people sharing one machine, it can be a juggling act!

I am going to get evryone up now as the girls still ahve dancing and I potentially have firemen in UNIFORM calling round. Exciting for a Saturday!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I haven't got round to putting up a Christmas ticker and it probably isn't worth it. I am feeling very unfestive, probably due to lack of funds which means Christmas will again be a frugal one. I did sit through a showing of White Christmas the musical last week though as I was working the shift. I got a nice quiet door right at the top and only a couple of very late late-comers. I do like musicals but found myself getting a bit bored with this one. 2 hours long with obviously lots of dancing ad music. Aled Jones who is in it was very good though. I wondered how hard it was for him to learn all the dance moves as I am not sure he trained as a dancer.. but I could be wrong!

The girls activities here are plodding along. A is up to date with her Biology. She is also doing Sociology at college. I have discovered though that she is probably dyslexic which until she knew she had this she was fine but now seems angry about it. She is angry about lots of things at the moment and that is another to add to the list. I cope by removing myself from the house occasionally otherwise it drags me into it and I need to be able to keep a certain distance or I am no use to anybody!
The arts award that the older girls are doing is coming to an end yet we still have lots of stuff to get organised. This weekend I shall be writing them large TO DO lists as I want it completed. They have finished their part one challenges. A wrote a radio play and D choreographed a dance. For part two they are running workshops. A is running a writing one and D a choreograph your own dance one. They are scheduled for the 9th Jan - which is dragging me into 2010 before we are even there yet.

In fact I have to purchase next years calendar because I have dates that need to go on there now. In theory it would be easy to choose a calendar but I need one that has a column each for us. In previous years I have used this one

However I am now bored with this one so have been looking at others. Don't think I quite qualify for the Yummy Mummy one rofl, so I may be going to get the Organised Mum's calendar. At least I may feel organised of the calendar says I am :-)

Last week we travelled to Blackpool to visit my friend Libby who has just had her 8th bundle of wonder. Baby Tegan is now about 4 weeks old and was flying out to Bulgaria with her Mum and older sisters to join the rest of the family for the first time. They left last Thursday so on Monday we all headed to their Blackpool home to stay over and do lots of baby holding. She is sooo cute and laid back. I miss holding babies so it was nice to have a cuddle with her. J got to hold his first baby and was smitten. The girls had a great time as they stayed up with their friends watching movies and playing charades at 4 in the morning!! It was worth it though as they are such good friends and now won't see each other till summer next year. Some pics below :

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last night, M, J and I met SIMON KING!!!! I was sooo happy to meet my wildlife hero. We went into Manchester to the big Quaker building in the centre and waited for him to arrive at 7pm!!
We then listened to a question and answer session with him followed by a book signing where I also got a photo of the event. He is such a warm genuine, lovely guy and I will treasure the memory.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hello again!

I am still here :-)
I won't bother trying to update what has happened since I last blogged as it will all be too much waffle!

A is now 16 (yesterday)!!!
Last Saturday she had a big birthday party with about 30 people here of various ages. They all had a lovely time and most of them had gone home by midnight. A couple stayed over and there was not even too much mess to clean up. A has since been researching new things she can do now she is 16, we were particularly excited by the fact she can now sell scrap metal..... that will be especially useful! On her birthday, I had to work for a few hours (at a pub car park, joy of joys!!) but then when I got home, we headed into Sale together. We got some crisps, dip and birthday cake then sat in a cafe for a while. We carried on the celebrating later on by ordering pizza - which is something we rarely do. It was a very nice day and I don't even feel any older!! We also found out on that day that my friend had her 5th baby!! I have seen the photos and she is soooo cute. It is also A's best friend's new sister so that date in future will be full of celebrations for 2 families :-)

As my life just gets busier I have come to the decision to let go of my allotment. I just can't fit it in and often feel stressed that I haven't been. I don't really have enough time for the garden here so I am letting someone else have a go. I will one day again get an allotment but probably when I am no longer needed so much for the kids. Even though they are older I seem to be spending more time ferrying them to and from places. I suppose as it gets darker now, earlier, I don't like them catching buses alone so am just flowing with it!

We have new added activities now too. A does a writing course on a Monday at the Royal Exchange. She is also doing a Sociology GCSE at a college on Tuesday evening. A and M now have viola(A) and guitar lessons (M), on a Friday which has made Friday the busiest day of the week.
I don't mind being so busy but it does mean my days fly by which is not so good. I am still trying to get up earlier but not managing the 7am I would like. I attempt to go for a 20 minute jog/walk each alternate mornings which always wakes me up. I am considering having my iron levels tested as I do feel tired a lot. Something for the near future anyway!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The swifts are still here so it must still be summer. Today actually feels like it because the sun is shining for a rare change. Although when I came out from yoga the other night it was getting dark which made me think how winter is drawing in already!
I have baked potatoes cooking in the oven, A and D are at a friends, M and J have a friend round so there is lots of card and electronic gaming going on. I may tempt them out to the park or playing field later, I fancy stretching my legs. I am really into gardening at the moment as it is in dire need of weeding. My green bin is full though and only emptied every 2 week, I may start making a pile instead.
I probably need to phone the agency as there is a tile that has come of the roof that is hanging in the gutter. If it falls it could injure someone, but I need to tidy down the side of the house first. My ex has some scrap metal he dumped there which I may well try and take to the tip tomorrow. I asked him if he would do a tip run, he came round, spread the old inflatables etc over the tidy garden then left so today's job is to re-sort that.
I have a burning desire to learn some DIY as I hate when things need doing but I can't do them. The cupboard doors all came off in the kitchen but need wood screwing to them inside the cupboard before being re-attached as they chipboard has no strength to hold the screws now. But I worry about drilling into pipes... maybe I shall get shorter screws!

Summer term is here so the kids activities are quieter. J finished Junior Strings and will start with a violin in September. Fortunately they have moved his day so he can still do beavers on the Thursday which I am really glad about. D quit her Monday dancing so I have been able to go back to yoga.
Last week, M, A and D did the Lowry summer school where they helped write and perform their own musical. I really enjoyed the show at the end of the week and they had a great time, although getting up early to be there for 10am every day was something I think we would struggle with for many weeks of the year!
On Monday M did a day of percussion and dance with a friend. Theolder girls are booked in for a behind the scenes- technical workshop- at the same venue in a week.

A and D have been hanging out with their home-ed and their church friends separately. They have such a good time but we still have to fit in their Arts Award. I am struggling to make contact with a choreographer or a script-writer for them. We send off many e-mails and mostly don't get a reply or if we do it is a no. A challenge indeed which it is supposed to be!!! A is supposed to be writing and performing a radio play, and D choreographing and performing a dance. Not much work has been done on either and they are supposed to be done for Mid September... time yet as they keep telling me!

This week I took A here and she needs to go back and have some weekly treatments. I am also taking her to the Children's hospital for a heart check-up after some tachycardic events! Fingers crossed.

Right off to sort out those inflatables :-)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Another month has passed by and we are now officially in summer. It has been sooo warm the last few days that I have struggled sleeping even with a fan on me all night. Possibly not helped by the water bottle - that is J- that lies next to me lol. But then we are also getting lots of heavy showers so it is probably ideal weather for plants - especially the brambles, bindweed and thistles on my allotment!
I only seem able to get there about once a week at the moment and spend a good 40 minutes each time pulling the bloomin things up! I enjoy weeding the beds but it is the paths which need more wood chip on that they keep springing up from. I seem to have been a bit late in getting things in but I can still sow some mixed lettuce, radish and the like. It is the process I enjoy though, as much as anything I just wish I could get down there more often. Currently the kids have an activity on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. I am having to go to yoga now on Wednesday and pay for it now as D moved dance classes. Sometimes I nip to the allotment when she is dancing so I may start taking her earlier so I can get more time there.

A few weeks ago I went on a wildflower ID day course which I loved. I am so at home doing that kind of thing.... maybe when I am knowledgeable enough I can get paid for doing it! As you can see I am still trying to rack my brain on how to be self-employed or more accurately what can I do??? I have no particular skill unlike all my friends so it is challenging me and taking up my thought time. I have to have something I can do self employed as leaving the kids for 16 hours a week and home-educating will just be too much. I'm sure it will all work out some way. It has to!!

Yesterday the girls went to a science event at Liverpool university which they enjoyed. I am trying to get into the habit of recording the things they do each day so I have awritten record for the LA when they contact me but it is not something I am used to doing so it will take some time I have no doubt. They enjoyed Liverpool and A came home - as she does- with a Liverpudlian accent. She is very good at accents and it is quite entertaining lol. The house is currently quiet though as the older girls have gone to a friends gig in Marple and aren't due back til later when they will probably stay up late on Facebook. They have some new friends as they went on our church's youth weekend away and made lots of new mates. They have spent much of this week, texting and on Facebook. It is nice but I feel there is always a balance to be struck which can be hard.
They have to do regular work on their silver arts award which I think is interesting yet they are often reluctant to get going on it. Still, they want the end result which is the qualification so I guess they will have to put the work in. They have their last drama class next week when they have a small play to out on for the parents. I am looking forward to the summer break! I expect I will have a house full of kids playing which is nice though. I am planning on painting M and J's bedroom and hopefully the back room while over the summer break. I managed to paint the hall and landing with about 8 children playing in and out so the other rooms should be a doddle!
It is amazing though, how even though we home-ed we still seem to run to terms - I blame all the extra curricular stuff the kids do lol but they do enjoy it.

Anyway , quick post, now supper for the younger two needs doing. I have an early start tomorrow as am at a breakfast and 2 of the girls are dancing.
I must post some pics of our new pets soon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Well I seem to get on Facebook more than here and yet we are doing lots in life.
Today I slept in.... which I enjoyed but also lost time, which frustrates me. I had woken at 6.30 after a horrible dream of A having piercings done and screaming in pain and me crying. Gah!!!! She doesn't want piercings so not sure what that was about but it disturbed me. After dozing off, M ran in saying there was buzzing in her room so I checked for bees but couldn't find any. I dozed off again then til 9.30!!!!
I had requested some screen free time today so other things were done including trying out some drawing techniques, Ki-nex, Quizzmo, reading. The older 2 made a start at the Silver Arts award looking at reviews. They then navigated back to bloomin You Tube til they did some Maths from a WH Smith book. J did some reading to A. Not sure what I did, other than try and keep the peace.
I had planned a lot of gardening but am hampered by the weather which saw torrential down=pours here.
I need to start de-cluttering the back room but have to try and do one shelf at a time or I will not achieve anything.

Yesterday we had a big gathering here. Various teens hung out and went to the field to play girl v boy rounders, the girls won lol. I went into Manchester to return some stuff for A. While I was there we popped into a Christian bookshop which was just lovely and had a big ground floor with cafe. We shall definitely be going back. The price for a cup of tea was £1.10 which for the city is VERY cheap!!!!!
2 weeks ago M had her 10th birthday. The week before that I had run a joint games party for her and J (who is now 7). We had 24 kids of all ages playing games on our local playing field then we came back here for a brew. It was busy but lovely. Unfortunately our beloved guinea pig died on M's birthday which we all sobbed over as she was a much loved member of our family. We buried her that evening :-(
On a plus side we received a precious gift of 3 baby guinea pigs a few days later who are called Lilo and Scruffy. They are gorgeous and now live in M and J's room as it is the only room with a door the cats can't get through. In there we also have the 2 hamsters lol so it is like a private zoo. We have animal handling each day to make sure they all get some attention!

On Sunday my children were dedicated at our church and A and I had full submersion baptisms which were just AWESOME! I will post the video when I finally get them up-loaded off D's phone.

I am nearing the end of my accounts and book-keeping level 1 course. I have the exam in 2 weeks but haven't studied yet. It isn't really hard though so I reckon I will be okay.
There are lots of changes going on here and life always seem to go in the direction you least expect it but at least it keeps you on your toes!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hiya :-)
Well a blog post is obviously very overdue. I have managed to get to the computer but usually I go on Tribalwars to check our villages/send out troops/upgrade buildings. I do this first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Then if I go on Facebook I usually end up chatting with a friend. Or I change my status on Twitter. All these things are bitty and don't take up too much time but usually then there is a child queue waiting for their turn.
I am now grabbing my diary to blog what we have done in April!!
On the 1st April, A and D had a go on the cycling track at the Velodrome in Manchester. They were a bit nervous about it but after the hour were really happy and excited to have done it. Especially when I explained our gold medallist Chris Hoy had trained there and they had cycled on the same track! I hadn't booked M as her cycling is not up to that really. They don't do a lot of cycling mainly because I can't as Jude doesn't so M never really gets her bike out much!
On the 2nd J's beavers group were having a trip to a local fire station. As I had never been in one I decided to attend (and I took M). Can I point out my interest was purely educational and had nothing whatsoever to do with fire-men-rescues and pumps! It was fab and all the kids had a great time looking in the pumps and playing with the hose.

M has been to 2 fab birthday parties this month. She is friends with twins who had separate lovely parties so M has been to Tatton Park Farm and Stockley farm. Each time, when I collected her from the girls' house, I took J who then got invited in to play in their amazing garden that has a sunken trampoline and purpose built adventure playground at the bottom of it. We hung out there for many hours and I got numerous cups of tea made for me which was lovely as normally nobody here makes me a brew!

On Friday 3rd we went to a family fun event at our church which was great. We teamed up with another family and then competed in various different quizzes eg. guess the ebay buy it now price, label the UK counties, guess the celebrity face! We didn't win but had a really great time and got some chocolate eggs too!

Easter holidays were quite quiet for us so it is weird to be busy with all kids stuff again. I managed to get in making 200 paper pots and sowing approx 120 plants. I did lots of digging both here and at the allotment. I have now planted two big potato beds. M and J helped plant rows of red onions and today I did a bed of white ones. I still have one bed ready for carrots. I bought some fleece from the pound shop as I will NOT lose them to the carrot root fly this year! Seeds wise, in pots we have got sugar snap peas, broad beans, mangetout, beetroot, parsley, squash, sweet pea, wallflower. I can't remember what else off the top of my head lol. Productive growing month anyway!

M went away for a brownie pack holiday from Friday to Monday over Easter. I was worried she would be hungry as she is so fussy but she chose to go so I figured she'd either be hungry or eat lol. She had a great time though but looked exhausted when I collected her. She earned another badge for her sash :-)

April has been the month of hair! J had his long-ish hair cut really short which he loves and yesterday I got my roots done and a cut too. M is due to have hers done next week
Kids have been busy having fun. The latest craze here is making animations which I will post as soon as we have put them together.

The girls have their drama moderation on Friday for their arts award where they will find out if they pass - eeeek! Am sure they will though. Then we are heading into Manchester to see our friends who leave our country for Bulgaria (for ever, sob) in a few days time.
Things are always changing, it keeps one on ones toes for sure!


We did Earth Hour- turn your lights off!:

the girls did another Live Radio show (with home-ed friends) and created a facebook page:

Was that enough of a round up then? :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A bit of light relief!

You know you live in 2009 when...

1. You go to a party, sit down and take MySpace pics.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. The reason for not staying in touch with your friends is that they don't have AIM/LiveJournal/MySpace/Facebook.

4. You'd rather look all over the house for the remote instead of just pushing the button on the TV.

6. Your evening activity is sitting at the computer.

7. You read this list, and keep nodding and smiling.

8. You think about how stupid you are for reading this.

9. You were too busy to notice number five.

10. You actually scrolled back up to check if there was a number five.

11. And now you're laughing at your stupidity.

12. Put this in your profile if you fell for it.
You know you did =D

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hasn't the weather been nice the past couple of days. I hung some laundry outside which was a real novelty. Today seems bright but cloudy. I had been meaning to do some gardening on Sunday. I was planning on weeding my strawberry plot but for some reason I felt exhausted and spent 3 hours that afternoon in bed and still managed to go to sleep before midnight that night. I think being so busy catches up on me so I am trying to go to bed as early as I can. Ideally lol this would be at half 9 but before I know it, it is 11pm! Where does time go???

A has a busy week this week as it is her last week at the Royal Exchange with 3 performances for the paying public on Friday and Saturday. Link for her play here. So she will be there every night now from 5-9pm. She is looking forward to it but it will feel like the end of an era for her. She has finally quit the Garrick - her Saturday drama as she was not enjoying it nor making any friends there. She has met a few people from the Royal Exchange. She went to see one boy who lives a short train ride away, on Saturday. His Mum drove her back home and came in to chat. She home-edded one of her sons for 2 years and was full of praise for it even though they are both in school now. It was refreshing!

I am taking D to have her hair cut today. I was A's turn last week. It shall be my turn next month after we have got through the expensive dentist trip due next week! Haven't quite worked out how to pay for it yet but am seriously looking into dental insurance.

The kids Dad has no job at the moment so is offered no help whatsoever. not that we get much when he is but I occasionally manage to squeeze some money out for the dentist. He has started seeing his ex again who lives in Hereford. He would like to live there I think so I am gently encouraging. The kids can have trips there whenever they choose. He is planning to go there on Sunday but so far only M is possibly going but she isn't too keen. Gah! Sometimes it was so much easier when he couldn't be bothered with them. Now he turns up when he feels like it and I never know when that will be. If he is in Hereford he couldn't do that... I think!!

Last night I stumbled on this conference I would LOVE to go to. It is in July so I wil see if anyone I know is up for going. I think the teens would love it too though not sure of the younger ones.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Please click on the light switch in the top right hand corner. I think it's pretty groovy :-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Yippeeee! We are finally in March and spring is springing. The shops of full of seeds and gardening supplies. I managed to get to the allotment and do an hours weeding. I love it when no-one is there and I can just kneel and weed. Such bloomin good therapy! The weeds were not too bad but my poor kale has been happily munched by slugs. Oh well, not much I can do about that!

There has been lots of gaming going on here both on screen and off. We seem to be playing lots of Uno and Go Fish. It's great fun as we all join in. The latest screen craze is this one:

which Jude found and I started playing to help him out. It can be quite advanced as you have to attack villages and work out strategy and how many men to send in. Looks fun but I spend all my time building up my defensive wall and reserves. Probably says something about my life lol.

I am off to college later today. The girls are doing their live radio broadcast at 2pm. Click here to listen. I have asked a friend to come round with her kids to mind M and J (as the girls normally do it) which has worked out well for both of us.
Off to rouse kids who need to practice for their radio show now!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Photo time!

The Twins!

The Girls

The Boys
I don't know about you but the blooming review seems to have taken up all my spare time. I didn't want to respond until I had read enough other responses. But yesterday was my deadline and I sat there filling it in. I finished by midday and was response number 1315. Funny to be given a number. Reminds me of the fact we are all numbers in a system!

Anyhow, I am back to near full health now. I have had a problem with my arm but I think it is nerve related and it seems to be getting better. Was worried I was going to have to miss the yoga/pilates/ju-jitsu I was doing but I think I will be okay! Phew! Of course having 4 children in the house, at least 2 of them are now a bit ill with minor colds although A has been displaying signs of man flu - yes it crosses genders!!!!

It has been half term week so a few activities have not been on. My sister came to stay for a few days so that was fab. I would not let her leave til someone had taken a nice photo of us together as we are rarely in the photo at the same time but we have succeeded! Hurrah! I shall post them in another post.
Squash has been on daily so we have been trying to get there. If you walk from our house it is approx 1.5-2 miles (at a guess). When my sis was here, my b-i-l took the small kids and we cycled there. Yesterday we walked but D cycled. On a bike it is so quick yet on foot it took me, M and J about 30 mins. Today I have the use of a car so it should be okay. I do encourage them (and not in the way the DSS encourages!!) to go to things like squash as it is good fun and involves lots of running around. I want my kids to be aware of exercise and it's health benefits and also because when you have done it it does make you feel good. Why do you think I do 3 classes a week lol.

Today's plans include re-bounding, a paper-round, sending off a bank account form for Trailblazers, some accounts home-work and some shopping. I think that is enough to be going on with don't you!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I am a bit under the weather at the moment. I could tell I was fighting a chest infection. I am okay but I have a bit of a cough so it altered my weekend plans. I was going to go on a 2 hour birdwatch then walk home (approx 90 minute walk) but it was really cold out and I didn't think my chest would benefit from that. Cold air does affect my asthma unfortunately - so I have also had to halt my running programme but plan on resuming it as soon as my cough clears. I am even struggling to get to my exercise classes. I missed ju-jitsu on Sunday as I wasn't up to it and my friend was skipping it. I have also joined a study group that meets alternate Monday's which is my yoga night. I have tried to do about 30 minutes at home today but it is not enough to keep me fit. I am going to try and arrange with the kid's Dad if he can run them to guides on Friday's so I can get to an ashtanga class then. We shall see. I want to do more exercise, daily ideally. I do try and walk a lot but I crave more.

I decided to walk to college yesterday. The bus costs me nearly £3 return and I knew I could easily walk it in 45 mins max. So I set off and stomped there. I timed myself and it took about 25 minutes so unless the weather is appalling I will do that each week. It actually takes the same time as getting a bus because I always get to the stop early anyway.
So we did 2 hours of cash books yesterday. The other women were saying how our tutor spends most of his time out of the class. I think he explains stuff than leaves you to it but is fine if you ask him stuff. I actually prefer this as I like doing study myself but I suppose if you are used to being taught everything it is hard. I have this book(but an older version) my friend lent me so I am using that for reference and actually find it enjoyable. We have no college next week as it is half term. This is fab timing as the girls have a radio session next Monday so I won't have to sort out any childcare till the beginning of March now. It also gives me time for the small amount of homework we have lol.

On Saturday I met with some friends to have a look at a local market that we will hopefully get a stall on, we then had a business meeting and have an appointment with an adviser to ask any questions to on Thursday. It is all picking up speed and we have to roll with it. We don't want it to slow down as we all have to be self-employed this year. I haven't got the will or the energy to fight for an exemption due to lack of suitable childcare. Even though there is a lack, I really just want out of the DSS IS/JSA system. I am heading to new paths and am fine with it. I think I find it easier as I have support of a few women who are all doing this together.
While wandering round the town and market, M and J were delighted we finally found a newsagent selling go-go's so they got some each. At least they were a bit happier then as they were bored of walking round a town and sitting with me at a meeting. They then went off to R's for a few hours. Apparently D likes going because they have a fire lol and our house lacks that cozy aspect!!!

Today the kids have squash, A then goes off to her theatre group. We then have a slight change of a Tuesday plan as I have managed to get tickets to see Horrible Histories WW2 (4 for £10!) so we are off to see that tonight instead of dancing and brownies. A can't come as they are getting close to their performance next month so she can't miss the session. Oh well, sometimes we have to make difficult choices!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


On Monday the girls headed off to do their live radio show. They were a bit nervous but prepared. Their friend R, who was doing their slot with them, had stayed over the night before so they could all have a run though. Apparently when they got there though, the guy who was supposed to be doing the technical stuff was ill and it looked like they would not be able to go live!
My friend J, who was there, offered to supervise as she is CRB checked so this was given the all clear and the 8 kids and 2 watching did a live one hour show. They were really chuffed at succeeding as they had to do the technical stuff themselves! I have yet to hear it though as I was at college at the time. Their friend in Warrington e-mailed in for the quiz and the kids Dad rang in for the home-education phone in. Everyone was definitely glowing afterwards!
D had at first said she didn't want to do the next show so I thought well okay as I need to sort out childcare for me going to college, at least if one of the older girls is home it'll be okay. Now of course, she had such a good time she wants to do it. Great! Well, I am happy she wants to do it but determined to finish this 16 week course come what may.

I had my first college session on Monday. I made sure there was packed lunch stuff in for the big girls. Then I coated up M and J and we headed off on a bus to my friends who was having them for the afternoon. When they were delivered I headed home for a quick lunch before catching another bus to college.
Turns out or first session was an induction, therefore very short. If I could describe the tutor it would be similar to Mike Reid when he used to be in Eastenders!!! I think the classes will be amusing to say the least.
Basically we were handed a 20 question maths test but we could use calculators. Then we were asked to write half a page about anything. Lots of people couldn't think what to write but I reeled off over half a page rant about the latest consultation lol. I had to stop myself. I wonder what the tutors reaction will be to that when he reads it?? I am sure I will get some comments as he doesn't seem the quiet type!
He explained how the course has a 100% pass rate and there is an extra 1hr class for those that want extra help. We have to do a 2 hour exam!!!!!!
He then took us on a tour of the college and showed us the cafe which is a blooming Costa one so expensive prices! I got him to enquire whether they had fairtrade tea and coffee lol. Apparently he said it is rainforest! This meant nothing to him but I was pleased anyway!
So I will be back there next week. I have decided to save the bus fare and walk though as it will only take me about 30 minutes and at least I can choose what time to arrive. If I get a bus I end up really early or really late. Walking means I get fit and can listen to music whilst doing it. It is weird being in college but I think I am going to enjoy it!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Just a quickie (as I have to go out ... in the snow-hurrah!!) but if you listen live at 2pm today to allfm you can hear the home-ed kids do their show :-)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oooh I discovered this site today. Not come across it before!
Well the big girls have just left for Playgroup. Lol it sounds funny saying that. Of course, they are helping out at playgroup (not attending it to play!!) ... but are probably playing as well, albeit with small children in tow! They love going but getting up at 8am knocks them out for the rest of the day. No stamina like myself who can ignore the tired feeling I get and keep going!! But they are younger and not as experienced as myself. While there, they play with the kids, do crafts with them and they take it in turn each week to be in the kitchen chopping fruit and brewing up for the adults. A good bit of work experience I think.

Yesterday we went to our local home-ed social. The kids all had a good time playing magic cards, pool etc. I got to chat about business plans with 2 of the women involved in the new group we have set up. It is important we keep the energy fresh IMO and strive for the next step. I am hoping then by October this year to come off IS as that is when they will want to start making me transfer over. At least I have this year to sort it out. I also count myself lucky that there are 4 of us working together on this with a view to helping others long term. I am thankful that I have older children who can help out with younger ones if I need to be out. It must be so hard if you are a lone parent , home-educating a child who is 7 and you don't have the support network.

Today I aim to be more organised! I have to take J into Manchester at 3pm then to his Junior Strings then hop on a bus to his Beavers. Last week even though I felt organised we ended up leaving too late to get the bus. We got the tram instead which meant we had to walk 10 minutes down the busy road upto the University. I actually prefer that though as travel time on public transport is less. I will just quickly compare costs:
Option 1:
Bus to Manchester
Cost: £3.30 adult ticket and 7op child. Total: £4
Journey time: approx 30 mins.
Afterwards then:
Bus to Chorlton, J ticket 70p.
Total Cost : £4.70

Option 2:
Tram to Manchester
Cost £2.20 adult ticket and 90p child. Total £3.10
Journey time: Tram 12 minutes, walk 10 minutes.
Afterwards then:
Bus to Chorlton, adult £1.70, child 70p.
Total cost : £5.50

Hmmmm so there is less than a pound in it but this is far outweighed by the tram being quiet and not full of school children who are very LOUD in the city (which Jude in particular hates).

Okay so the tram wins. It also means we don't have to worry abour missing our bus or it not turning up as the trams are every 6 minutes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oh my gosh you have to read THIS article about the attack on home-education - though he uses the US word Homeschooling. It is a good read but at the same time I am too angry to write much about it just now!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gah, learning html is not easy. I have this book which is great but I don't understand it lol. I am trying to get on the computer and try bits out but I feel like I am learning a new language and not understanding what is being said or what I am writing! I seem to remember Gill using this book so not sure if that would be easier???
I will carry on though!!
Today's plan (one of many) is to phone my local college as I want to enrol on a book-keeping course but I need to know how much it will cost before I head down there. They didn't seem to know last time I phoned so I am going to try again. It will be on a Monday 2-4pm which is the best time for a course. Not too early in the day and yet not in the evening (of which I only have 1/2 free a week anyway).

The girls are off to do a radio run through today. I had fun helping them come up with ideas for their 20 minute slot and then I tweaked and padded out their script for them last night. I really enjoyed it. I used to do radio myself - I wanted to be a dj till I met some nasty ones at (what was then) Piccadilly in Manchester. It put me off as you had to be super tough mentally and I was only 15 at the time and a gentle soul lol. Radio has changed a lot since then though. When I volunteered at the local hospital radio we had to use vinyl and wind back the record to the start. We also had no scripts so I think today's dj's have it easier. All computer done with producers and scripts. They can just turn up and read it out. Hmmm maybe I should go back into it lol.

We have a day at home today so I plan on doing some stuff with the kids, reading some more html, attempting a bank account form and fitting in 1 hour birdwatching as I didn't get round to it this weekend. We have lots of feeders out in the front garden - 2 of which M made at a bird event a week ago. I hope we have lots of little visitors to them.

Oooh and I must not forget most importantly right now, to do some reading about the latest consultation! That should keep me busy then!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I am just sooooo cold. I don't have my heating on really hot so obviously I am a little on the chilly side most of the time but gotta keep those bills low!
What have we been up to?
The older girls had to go to a new radio station last week to do some more training for their live show. The local-ish one they used to go to had lost it's funding so they have to go to one on the other side of the city now. They had a great time there though and have been planning stuff to take to a run-through next Monday. It is great that they are independent at travelling. I provide them with bus/tram fare and off they go. I must sort out under 16 passes though.

We had our first trailblazers meeting. I am going to set up a blog to record the stuff we do there though. I have plans for it and am sure to be able to fit it in and the creation of self-employment. I am going to lobby the government to create a brand new 24 hour day in the week so I can get more done. I mean they added a second at new year so it should not be a problem should it??

The girls and I had fun the other evening watching the snooker final. It led to googling after midnight on what snooker balls and snooker cues are made from. Then last nights discussions were of America's new president, slavery and what the word allegiance means etc. Never a non-educational moment here. I was even walking down the main road in Manchester the other week trying to explain the Gaza conflict to J(6)- who asked me about it as there was a loud demo going on outside the BBC. Sometimes I love this city so much. Amazing things are always going on.

The girls are off to a new event tonight run at the RNCM- which is a new group doing musical theatre. No auditions/skill level required just enthusiasm. It also coincides well with everyone elses activities. M is the only one that has anything tonight which is a half hour swimming lesson. I am then hopefully off to a meeting about our social enterprise we are creating - or planning to.
I am also checking out the local college for short courses that might be useful.
Not been doing as much on the computer training as I would like. I have also been trying to teach myself touch typing on the kids BBC website but then was ousted from the computer as all the children wanted a go.

So lots of regular stuff going on and not a dull moment. I am trying to work up the enthusiasm now to fill in yet another consultation on home-education. I think it will be a late night job though as that seems to be my best time to fill them in. Knowing me though it will be done near the deadline but you never know. I will definitely do it though!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I would like to share with everyone our hectic Tuesday afternoon and why I am grateful for my travel mug!!
Here goes:
At any time after half 2 I start preparing drinks bottles and snacks to take out while shouting instructions to kids to find socks, coats, ds's etc.
I usually then do one of two things: usher A and D out of the door at 2.45pm to walk the mile and a half to the leisure centre or I drop one of them there in the car (only if weather is bad) while the other stays home and waits with the younger ones.
I then pile 2 or 3 children in the car and drive to the leisure centre for 3.20pm. We have to leave here before the school on our cul-de-sac comes out as the traffic lights only allow 5 cars out each turn and everyone seems to get collected by car from the school.

Squash for older kids starts at 3.30pm while M and J sometimes join in with the warm up or play on ds's.
At 4.15pm older kids squash finishes and M and J get their go. I then leave D watching them while I drive A and another boy to the tram station. A then heads into Manchester for her drama group.
I drive back to squash.
Squash finishes at 5pm-ish. I then take D,M and J home - 5.20pm.
I place the oven on low and put veggie burgers in whilst requesting M finds her brownie outfit. D gets dance gear on.
At 5.30pm we leave to drop D at dancing.
Home again at 6.10pm when we eat burger on buns.

Out again in car at 7pm to drop M at brownies. From there at 7.10pm J and I drive straight to collect D from dancing.
Home for 7.45pm.
A texts me when she is on tram on way home and I walk and meet her at tram stop at about 8pm.
At 8.20pm I get back in car to collect M from brownies.
Finally home at 8.50pm with all 4 children and myself back under one roof!!!

It used to be even more complicated as M had swimming at 6pm but I have moved that to Wednesday. I also have to leave D waiting at dancing which is fine as she actually finishes at 7pm but I am dropping M at brownies then.

A is doing her last term of drama as the group only allows each child to do it once as it is heavily over-subscribed so this will be different in March when she finishes.
As you can see I am grateful for my travel mug as I am always taking brews out the door with me and having sips when it is safe to do so.
Food is eaten at different times by different people as and when they can fit it in.

This is definitely the busiest day lol. Thursday used to be hectic as J has junior strings then beavers and I then had pilates/yoga but it is only J who has something on I have to organise now.
I always congratulate myself Tuesday evening when everyone has been to and delivered home from their activities. And no-one is late for anything as I am fantastic at time-keeping.
Go me!! ;-)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Black Eyed Peas - Where is the Love MUSIC VIDEO

Very significant at the moment.

D has posted this photo on our desk-top. J and I adore it and keep looking at it. It probably only appeals to animal lovers though!!
Ooops, a belated happy new year everyone :-)
Today is D's 13th birthday. We have had a nice day of chilling and eating. D has spent LOTS of time playing with her new phone and this eve we are ordering pizza. Back to the new year exercise another day lol

We had a sociable evening last night as we went out to a late new year party. J stayed home as he was a bit off colour but he seems okay today. Consequently I had a lie in this morning till nearly 10am. I don't feel any less tired for it though which means it makes sense to set alarms to get me out of bed early. Back to my earlier alarm tomorrow as I have many projects that need attention. I was supposed to be at ju-jitsu tonight but have skipped it. D is happy though!

I have had to swap my yoga to Monday night now which works out really well as I no longer have such a rushed Thursday and can do the papers earlier. It all seems to be plodding along nicely and things are falling into place .
All the children's activities have started up now. M has moved up to full lengths of the big pool. She lacks confidence yet has the best technique. Her teacher is a darling though and so good with the children and M likes him.
A wants to do more physical stuff so I bought her and D an adult skipping rope and have been encouraging her to walk my Mum's dog. I have also located a free yoga class on Friday's too. I have a a plan to hire a sports hall and invent a game of non-contact rugby that we can all run around and play - all ages. I reckon the game already exists so it shouldn't be hard to work out.

Recently I set up a new older kids home-ed group. I am going to open a bank account and apply for funding so they can do fun stuff like archery, sailing. horse-riding etc. I shall try anyway.

Now D wants to go back on so I will lastly blog a photo of the birthday girl :-)