Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy Easter – a day of eggs!

Happy Easter

Today has gone on for ever it seems, so much has happened. One of those days where we have naturally covered so much. Plus a few surprises on the way!

We started off the day with an Easter egg hunt round the garden, which seems to have become tradition for the past couple of years.  Wearing bunny ears and an Easter bag to collect the chocolate loot.
Later morning and S comes down from her room having written herself a timetable and wants to do maths.
Digging a workbook off the shelf she wanted to do. She worked through it with Stu. This hasn’t been the norm in our home educating world lately, the winter has been hibernating, autonomous learning. Seems as the sun and spring arrive the children want a little more structure, at least for this week!

A bit of minecraft, involving  S and J  making a village, with shops. J has made the co-op, filling the shelves and making a working conveyor belt for the checkout. Using feed the beast,  minefactory reloaded and using the conveyor belt block apparently! His knowledge of minecraft is vast.
I went out to garden in the sunshine, bitterly cold, but sunshine nonetheless  I was clearing weeds mainly, and top dressing the blueberries with some fresh ericaceous  compost. I’m hoping for a better crop of blueberries this year.

While I was gardening, the children wanted to do some drawing with Stu, he drew a gorilla.
S did a lady next to an electric fan that’s billowing her skirt. She loves skirts that billow and flare out when you spin.
Plus a box with stars, she was trying out drawing cubes and then decorated it.
J got frustrated, it’s been a while since he has drawn and despite wanting to, it didn’t quite go how he wanted. So no pictures of J drawing was allowed!

Mid afternoon we had a surprise, Stu was about to take the puppies to the park. As he was about to go out the patio  door, we all looked out and there was a surprise, and a puzzled looking chicken on the patio in front of us! An egg! She really looked like it had taken her by surprise.

So the first of our chickens  to lay an egg, Elizabeth the proud layer! She’s a skyline. We brought them just over 4 weeks ago from martins wood farm, their website is great for information about all the chickens they offer.

The colour of her egg was the surprise, as skylines have an 80% chance of laying blue eggs, and we were in that lucky 80%. Elizabeth’s egg was blue, S was so pleased.

The only slight problem with Elizabeth laying the egg directly onto the patio, it got a cracked end, which you can see in the photos

After we got over the surprise, Stu, the children, and the puppies headed to the local park and I carried on gardening, there is a lot to do! I’m so looking forward to the garden being full of colour again, and our own produce.

This evening, Stu has been working with the children to create their own minecraft server. They’re just getting it up, and trying it out at the minute, currently all three of them are playing together. While I sit and type the highlights of our day,cuddling up to the puppies on the sofa.



Family Time

So my parents drove to visit us today. It was lovely to see them. Stu cooked a lovely roast beef with all the trimmings and I’d made mum a leek, potato and lentil cheesy bake, as sole vegetarian at the meal.

A sharing of family news and showing of photos of what we’ve been up to. Mum and dad always bring a newspaper, they like their daily newspaper. It’s a novelty for S and J as we don’t get one. J helped them with the crossword, and S read an article about cats and ‘cat nav’

Following the roast, we had a family game of tri-ominos, my dad won twice. Practical maths in action, particularly when J started adding negative numbers! Something he’s never actually been ‘taught’. We love the game.
Mum looked at the chickens, she declined going out to see them, but she will eat the eggs when they arrive! She doesn’t like birds of any kind, a bit of  a phobia really.

The puppies settled eventually. Nina eventually took treats from mum and dad, although was a little wary at first.  Treacle barks, partly because she’s nervous, partly because she wants attention, and even she gets confused ! She finally settled, and more! Laid on her back getting tummy rubs off everyone.


Perfect Sunday, except it’s Saturday, yay.

Another cold day, but sunny for a while. Always welcoming of sunshine. I’ve held back on the gardening so far, not much planting has gone on yet, too cold.

It was chicken clean out day today, nice fresh bedding for them. We’ve had them over a month now, so they will be approx. 20 weeks old now. Still no eggs, but they’ve all grown, Elizabeth is really quite big now with a big reddish comb, I’m sure it can’t be too long before she lays now. Next is twilight, who is a fair size and red comb but it’s not that big. Lastly Evie, the smallest, with a small comb that’s only just starting to go darker pink. I will have to get some current photos, last ones were a couple of weeks ago now, and I think they’ve changed since then. This one from a couple of weeks ago.
A family game of Risk, perfect for Sunday afternoon, except it’s only Saturday, great result. Loving the 4 day weekend. A surprisingly short game of risk! It normally takes us more than 1 day,  to complete, Stu won.  Lots of conversations sparked off while playing, spotting Japan on the board, led to talk of tsunamis, talk of bayonets, discussions about the fact our game had come from Los Angeles, years before the children were born. Plus lots more besides.
Excitement about the Easter bunny arriving tomorrow. Yes the children ‘know’, but S particularly will ‘believe’ in everything for ever, she loves the magic of it all. We have yellow bunny ears specially brought to be worn during the hunt tomorrow.

An evening of TV, family watching The Cube.  Remembering to change the clocks that need changing, for the spring forward of clocks tonight.  Overall a very relaxing day. See you tomorrow.

Chocolate eggs

Today the children awoke here for the first time in several days. It was nice to have the hustle, bustle and busyness back. The puppies preferred it too, they were much more tolerable with extra strokes and training from extra people.

S wanted to make chocolate eggs today. We already had the moulds, purchased from Lakeland and I bulk brought chocolate, white, milk and dark, from Aldi earlier in the week. So we we’re all set.

For a first attempt we were very pleased. We only used the small moulds today, producing white, milk and plain little eggs. We even tried a bit of detail on a few of them, putting a bit of dark in first before we filled with white etc.

We’d brought some gift bags from Lakeland too. Sophs filled some for a couple of local friends, and for her grandparents. We then took a trip to the post office this afternoon to post one to her granny and grandad she’s just stayed with.

This morning, with very prompt arrival my dye for the curtains has arrived. Following decorating the dining room, rather than buy new curtains I decided to try dyeing the ones we had. I wanted them a similar deep red colour to the walls. So as the curtains are a light brown, mushroomy, fawn colour, I brought a bright red dye in an attempt to get a deep red colour. I’ve brought iDye True red, they are currently in the washing machine. I will give you my verdict tomorrow.

Looking forward to a 4 day weekend with Stu around, plus quite a lot planned for the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow a visit from the children’s other grandparents who are coming for a roast, and family day with us. First time they will have met the chickens too, which will be interesting considering my mother has a bird phobia, how close will she get??

Also today the children have played club penguin, minecraft and supreme commander 2 on the pc. We’ve been into the village, and the library is still not finished being renovated, and then we headed home via the park. When my fingers turned pink and wouldn’t move we headed home, I forgot my gloves!!. A playful bath, with proper hair washes and conditioning to combat the tangles, so they smell all lovely of lush now. Blues skies and fluffy white clouds to be precise! I love patchouli.



Butter wouldn’t melt

Well the children are still staying with their granny and grandad. After the initial splurges of contact from them I haven’t heard from them for 24 hours now. Guessing everything is good.

So I had plans in my head, sort everything out, yes everything!!! That’s how my brain works. I have been told I try to do much, what I can actually get done isn’t realistic and then I get fed up and frustrated. I had one of those days today.

A combination of too higher expectations and the result of two, yes two 7 month old puppies, one of which is currently in season. There is a common theme to their days, well kind of,  but also every day is different.

So the one in season has taken to being completely distracted in the garden, ‘forgets’ to do her business out there however long you stand out there with her! Then, that’s right comes back in and does a wee on the floor, and she walks and wees spreading it everywhere! There’s been 2 of those today.The rest of the time she’s been fine.
The other one has being angsty, pacing, whining, barking, and generally unsettled. We think there is a theme that she misses my husband when he’s not at home. Mainly because when my husband is here she is far more settled.
They’re now curled up either side of me asleep. Long may they stay that way! Cute, cuddly and lovely when asleep. Of course I love them but some days are tough, and today was one of them!

Tomorrow the children will be back, but maybe not till late. Husband works from home tomorrow, so I’m going to crack on, and get ‘stuff’ done!

I need to try and be more positive in myself. I’m struggling at the minute with a variety of ‘symptoms’ of generally feeling crappy. I’ve been to the dr.s before with the same kind of thing, My thyroid has always been alright, well all my bloods really. I’m generally fatigued and a bit low, general aches and pains, muscle cramps, headaches…… I’m pretty sure I’m not actually depressed.

I just feel overwhelmed, which is hardly surprising, 2 puppies who we’ve had since October. Both of which have already had their first season. This has created mud, mud, and more mud, every time they go out in the garden. Plus 2 children who are home educated, they’re easy in comparison to the puppies!! I love home educating, facilitating them, it just keeps me busy! Then a very supportive husband, who thankfully woks from home 1 day a week, but the rest of the week isn’t really here due to being out the house 14 hours+ a day.

Ok reading that back, it’s not surprising I’m tired actually. So I brought some vitamin D3 supplements today to try and help. I’m sure I’m not alone in struggling this winter? Just seems to have been so long and dark. I’ve also been looking at SAD lights but I’m not sure I have 30-60mins to sit next to one. I don’t generally sit for any length of time in a day unless I’m driving somewhere!       Plus quite a lot of money for something that may or may not work.?

Anyway so in an attempt to be more positive

I  ordered the dye to dye the curtains in the room we’re decorating.

I ordered some vit D3

I’m going to have a takeaway, wine, and watch tv with husband

Aldi Excitement

With the children away, I decided to make a trip to Aldi, I’d love to go more often but it’s just too far away for me to do regularly. I find it so much cheaper, it’s just a 20/25 minute drive away.  A boot full of food later, cupboards, fridge and freezer all stocked up. I also brought lots of chocolate ready to make Easter eggs, big and small with S when she gets back,  we’ve already brought some moulds from Lakeland.

The economy savings, slightly outweighed by the non food items that find their way into the trolley too. Today I ended up with a door mat, Easter  bits,  seeds, and some tulips. Two bunches that compliment the newly painted walls in the dining room.
Home for the afternoon, where I noticed that Elizabeth the chicken was being a lot more vocal, she was also walking around and kept squatting. A bit of research on the internet later and it looks like she may be preparing to lay. That would be nice, we can’t wait until we get our first egg. She is the biggest chicken, and has the biggest reddest comb and wattle of the three of them. She’s a skyline, so has about an 80% chance of having blue eggs. Can’t wait to see if we are in that 80%.

By the power of technology, the children have their tablets with them at granny and grandads and must have sorted out wifi codes etc.. My children are very technology literate, J has probably surpassed my knowledge in this area already! He’s always sorting out minecraft mods, downloads, and combinations on the pc. and it all comes naturally to him. Anyway, I had an email last night from S titled love, and in it she told me she’d been bowling and had got 2 strikes. Bedtime phone calls are no longer, email and skype seem to be the current favourite.

Big bang fair – London 2013

Early start for J and Stu today. They headed off for the Big Bang Fair in London. A free event, which is always a bonus, about science and engineering. There were shows you could book but we seemed to miss those as they were already full but there was plenty to see just on the show floor.

The train only cost £8 as Stu already has a season ticket for London anyway.The trip also included the underground, which Jake was looking forward to.

So they got to see an eagle, which was real I can assure you but looks like a statue in the photo!

J got to drive a jeep over different terrain.

J and Stu spent most of there time in the technology section, and were both very interested in the 3d printer.

On the way home they popped into china town, and I benefitted from 2 tins of wasabi peas, a favourite treat of mine.

They said it was a good event, with hands on things to do. Definitely worth a trip to London for.

Meanwhile Sophie was busy on club penguin, and as she was getting back into it, I signed her up for a months membership.

We had a food shopping delivery, the ingredients for Sophie’s ice cream for her 3 course meal arrived. So we made ice cream. She had thought up a new combination of blackcurrant and toffee. We use an ice cream maker, lent to us very kindly by my mum. We use the basic recipe in the booklet that came with the maker and then adapt it to our own flavours.

So 1 small tin of condensed milk, 300ml of single cream, then we added blackcurrant hi juice squash to taste, and smashed up treacle toffee 100g. Stick it in the ice cream maker. So blackcurrant and toffee ice cream made ready for the 3 course meal tomorrow.

A variety of PC games!!

So today started with a game of supreme commander on the pc. Since we cobbled together another pc with a couple of new parts to use the TV as a monitor, the children have enjoyed playing various pc games together.

More minecraft for J,  his current passion.  So he’s updated to minecraft 1.5. but waiting for mods to catch up now! J loves mods so he’s playing the old minecraft versions with the mods he loves as well.

So today two that he’s used are, clay soldiers mod – good for making your own battle arena, and nice looking clay soldier characters apparently.

Also dr. zharks mo creatures mod – which adds in lots of animals, more food and weapons and lots of other stuff. This lead to a conversation about difference between leather and hides and tanneries. As both types of armour were available and we wanted to look at the difference.

He fed horses apples, so they became pets. He made one the same as the horse he rides in his ‘real life’  horse riding lessons, and a black one he named Black Bess, after Dick Turpins supposed horses name, which was actually a myth we discovered.

Minecraft is amazing. J can play on it for ages everyday and he can do different things, build and design different places. Play with his friends, sister, and/or dad. So cooperative and individual play. Also it’s led to lots of different discussions about ‘real life’ things.

Meanwhile S inspired by watching Great British Menu, and Masterchef this week, has decided she wants to cook us a 3 course meal. She’s devised a menu and we brought a few bits in the local village yesterday. Today she’s been refining it further and started writing menus. She’s planning on cooking it on Sunday.

Yesterday we got S a mirror for her room. A bargain from the charity shop at
£2. Today she’s been using it to practise her love of make up (Yes she is 8!) She decided to try out her blusher as eyeshadow just because. A pretty peachy pink.
Her love of make up has been there a couple of months now. It ebbs and flows, I’ve given her some of my old make up, blusher, lipstick that the colour didn’t suit and a bag to put it in. She got a trio of lip glosses for Xmas. Plus she brought herself mascara and red nail varnish with pocket money. I decided I know she’s young but she’s experimenting. If I said no, why would that be? Yes I’m her parent. But ultimately I don’t see it as harmful and make up wearing isn’t something I want to push underground. Much rather work through it with her. So I found some you tube links on make up application.

Other things from today include more pc use playing movie star planet together. The dress up game being a favourite. Followed by a sudden interest in club penguin, after not having played for months. Creating new penguins and the advertisement of a rainbow puffle!

An interest in Phineas and Ferb on TV led to me ordering some phineas and Feb books for S.

Early start tomorrow for J, he’s off to London for a father/son day. Leaving me and S and the pups here at home.