Mud & Mischief

Just our way of home educating our three girls; assisted by an allotment, a Land Rover and a heap of ingenuity.

My Photo
Location: South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Monday, October 31, 2005

Very impressed & pumpkins too!

My Sonlight order just arrived. Am very impressed, especially as it was dispatched from the company on Thursday morning. Good ol' FedEx.

We've had a productive day, in spite of being wheel-less. I still feel like some has amputated a limb, but we're coping better than I expected. Did just under an hour of 'bookwork' this morning. We've got a couple of the 'Gold Stars' workbooks (think we picked them up in the supermarket way back last year sometime), and Myf did a dozen pages of the 5-7 one and Tea happily scribbled and coloured all over the 3-5 one. Hey, don't care what they're doing at the mo. As long as we're working towards the routine of spending an hour or so doing 'normals' every day, I'm content.

After that we whizzed down into the village to do library (taking back over due books), chemist (Piglet's excema stuff) and the veg stall (pumpkin!). Didn't have time to go to the post office as we had to be back for the Tesco shop arriving. It was late, but that didn't matter. We started carving our pumpkins. :)

Before: before

I grew the white one on the lottie this year, and the little diddy orange one was all the veg stall had.

During: carving pumpkins1dive in pumpkindo I eat pumpkin

And finally, after.
3 pumpkins flash

Although I like this one best, even if it is sightly blurry.
3 pumpkins

Fingers crossed Blogger doesn't blow a fuse, or fuse a circuit, trying to upload all of those! :)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Even more catching up

The past week - recapped for posterity.

Monday 24th - Bradway HE meet. Did lard bird food blocks and kids loved it.
Tuesday 25th - Sarah's for afternoon
Wednesday 26th - Nikki's for afternoon, followed by 'magic show'
Thursday 27th - walk in woods and then to other Nikki's, then home to harangue builders
Friday 28th - truck very poorly so Kirsty and Katy came to me and we had a lovely day with pizza and piggies and lots of adult conversation. Ish. lol
Saturady 29th - watched builders drink tea and lay a few bricks for 5 hours

Today, we had a good start to the day, the girls didn't wake up too early, even with the clocks going back. Grandma came to visit for an hour, first time she's been over in months and months, which was lovely. Then Sarah rang and said she had chocolate cake, so I said I had chicken, so we had roast dinner for two adults and five kids and it was lovely. My bestest, oldest friend was supposed to be coming up today with her hubby, 2 kids and dog, but she spent yesterday at the vet's with said dog and so couldn't make it. Hope Dordje gets better soon.

Have a lovely picture of the five kids, all sat in a row on the sofa, each with a baby piggie on their laps.
kids and pigs
Left to right we have Piglet, Tea, Dino, Mimi and Myf. Awww (Note Tea has wrapped her piggie up in her skirt, poor little sod)

And now, it's all quiet, the girls have crashed out, absolutely knackered, I've finished filing all the bank statements (yay!) and should really start on the credit card crap, but really CBA. So shall go make cup of tea, cut myself a sliver of that cake that Sarah left for me and have a think on the novel I'm supposed to be writing on Tuesday. So far I have a hot air balloon and a blacksmith. Suggestions anyone?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Order tracking and overdue catchup

Those few bits I ordered from Sonlight were dispatched on Thurs Oct 27 at 8.59am. I just checked on the oh-so-interesting tracking facility, and the parcel is in Nottingham! As of 4.17am on Sat 29th. I'm amazed.

Just wondering how long it'll take 'em to ship it the final 30 miles. lol

Have just realised that I've been blogging complete cr*p lately, and have hardly mentioned education. Well, it has been half term. At least, that's my excuse.

Today has been mixed. Apart from the hoo-ha with the builders, we haven't done a huge amount. I've best part filled another bin bag with paper rubbish, sorting out the piles of papers that have been sat around gathering dust for months on end. The girls have played, fought, whinged, eaten some, not drunk enough (as we're out of apple juice, oh the shame), argued, whined and generally driven me totally insane. I just know we're going to be stir crazy by tomorrow night. Even with a walk to the woods planned for tomorrow, after Grandma has been over to visit for an hour.

We had jacket spuds with cheese and beans for tea, with carrot sticks for starters and Myf helped me make pancakes for pudding, which went down very well. And they all ate everything, which is an improvement on the past two weeks. A scrub and teeth and then a couple of pages of Little House in the Big Woods, which is being recieved very well indeed. Myf keeps asking me for more, and she can now recap what we've read previously before I carry on with the story. I enjoy these books, and it's revisting my childhood every time I pick one up. Can't wait for Narnia, Famous Five (yes, I know, not PC but hugely enjoyable - at least, my 7 year old self loved them), Anne of Green Gables, Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, etc

Before lunch she played on a Garfield CDROM we bought a while back. She's flying through the Year 1 cd (I should think so too) and even did all the addition in the two additon squares she was presented with. wtf? just grids, 1 to 5 onthe first one, 1-8 onthe second one. And she did them. I am now extremely suspicious. Well, she didn't quite finish the second one, as the baby had a melt down so I insisted all electrical devices were switched off before I was tempted to hardwire Piglet into one of them. You remember how they powered the cities in Monsters Inc? That child could run Doncaster on her own when she starts screaming.

I did get a bit of unsolicited writing out of Myf however. She made Daddy a card, which read "To Daddy, I mis yuo. I hope you have a lovly taym in CroATIA love from" with lots of kisses. She asked me why hop didn't say hope, to which I pointed out it was a 'magic e' word, and then she asked 'lovely is a 'o' not a 'uh', isn't it? like love?" And the best bit was when she went to the big wall map to see how to spell Croatia. Hence the capitals for the last 4 letters. I was gobsmacked. And more than a little pleased. And also, quite relieved in a way. Maybe there's hope for us yet. :)

They're still here!!

I can't believe it, my builders are still here!

:::does little happy dance around the kitchen:::

I'm so pleased, I'm even making them a cup of tea (which I try to avoid doing more than once or twice a visit, as it slows them down even more) But as it's now 2pm and they're still laying bricks, I think they deserve it.

And it's not raining. I've got nappies on the line, I've nearly finished one of my knitting projects, the dining room table is completely clear and the girls have gone to bed after spending the last hour fighting like she-cats. I don't know what's got into them. Well, actually, yes I do. They've been watching television, and the difference in their behaviour is startling. And quite disturbing.

The last few mornings, as I've been so knackered, I've said yes to requests for having kids tv on. So it's my own fault really, as it's given me an extra half hour to wake up and shower and generally psyche myself up to facing the day. But in the end, it's been counter productive, as I've come downstairs to find them watching the pre-teen crap, instead of the fluffy cbeebie stuff. So Myf had a final warning this morning - I catch you watching that stuff again, and I will personally cut the plug off the tv. And they've fought and yelled and screeched (Piglet has the most incredible voice - first she screams and squeals like a stuck pig, then starts this growling wail - impossible to describe but it's got to hurt her throat).

However, I'm off to clean the kitchen, as we're going to do some baking once they wake up. Hopefully that will put them in a better mood! :)

Edited to say - I knew I should have kept my mouth shut. Less than half an hour later, they went. Ran out of sand, didn't have the stilsaw for cutting the bricks... and it's not even raining yet. :/

My builders are here!

Looked out of the window at 9am to see them both sat in the car having a quick fag. They then spent 20 minutes faffing with the cement mixer, mixed up a bit of 'gobbo', stood drinking the tea I foolishly made them, then said they were off to the shop at about 9.45. It's now 10.15 and they've just laid their first brick of the day.

Chief John isn't here though - it's his two sidekicks, both of which are a can short of a sixpack, bless. However, I don't care as long as they get all the brickwork finished today. That's what they said they'd do and so they better do it. If they come back to me at 12 and say, right we're off, we'll finish it off next time, I might just need restraining.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The expensive noise

Is back with a vengeance. So much so that I now know what it is and, more infuriatingly, there's absolutley nothing I can do about. Rear wheel bearing, for those who know about such things. Some small, expensive, round, metallic bit of the rear wheel assembly, and vital to the smooth forward motion of the vehicle for those who don't. I even dug out the Hayne's manual, fully intending on stripping the damn thing down and refitting it myself, but it's rated 4 out of 5 on the difficulty scale, and I don't have a bench press to squish the bearing back together. :(

So now I'm stranded for the next 6 days, until himself returns from his wanderings around the continent.

Guess I shouldn't have been muttering so much about my busy calendar! lol The Fates have a funny way of working things sometimes. Actually, it might be nice to know that we can't go anywhere, so can't agree to go/do/be anything apart from at home. Means we can do all the little local things I've been meaning to do - library, Piglet's prescription, post office, etc - as well as really get cracking with these mounds of paperwork. I hope nobody sneezes in my dining room today, or I'll look like I'm sat in a snow-globe.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

It's escaped me

I had something really interesting to blog about this evening, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. Shows how interesting it actually was then!

Normal headless-chicken kind of day. Got up, did breakfast/clothes routine thing, made Myf sit down and do some 'normals' (nothing normal about that child - wish those cuisinaire rods would hurry up and arrive!), then we wrapped up and went for a walk with the dog up to the woods and park.

Unwrapped halfway there, because of the horridly unseasonal weather we're having. Yes, it was nice and sunny and warm, but it's OCTOBER!!! Hello? It's not supposed to be warm and sunny and nice to amble round in tshirts in. It's supposed to be misty and damp and a season of mellow fruitfulness. Nearly November kind of weather. Not warm enough to be spring time. And I also saw some very disturbing signs of how dreadfully skewed the weather is - we were picking leaves for the seasonal table I've set up for the girls. Yes, picking, as most of the leaves were still on the trees. True, some are colouring up now, but the oaks are still fully dressed in dark green, which is most bizarre. And whilst we were picking those oak leaves, I noticed splashes of acid green here and there. Next seasons buds are opening. There are tiny new pale green oak leaves at the tips of some of the branches and that is really, really not right. As soon as we get a frost, that's those new shoots shot. There's a very odd feel in the air and I don't think I like it.

Of course, one bonus to the good weather is that my builder finally turned up. And I was very nice and didn't give him half the bollocking I should have done, but he did admit that yes, they'd been a bit tardy, and yes, they'd finish it in four weeks. Better be a damn sight sooner, as it's 6 weeks till Tea's birthday and I want a party for her in the new playroom! So, Saturday 10th December it is. Fingers crossed, folks.

After our very educational walk in the woods, with lots of tree identification going on, discussions on why Mommy is so irritated with finding new shoots on autumn trees, and what exactly frost does to soft leafy things, we came home, threw dog int he house and took off in the truck to meet up with some local friends at a soft play centre. Managed to get in without paying, which was good, as we stayed for lunch and that was expensive. :( Then to toy shop to find Nikki's lot some birthday pressies, as I'd missed the boys' birthdays and it was Nin's 2nd today. Went to hers, had a coffee, and then came home.

And that ghastly noise is back. The expensive sounding one on the white truck. Different wheel this time. Nasty grinding shuddering crunching squeaking sort of noise. Not impressed. Was going to swing past a friend's garage on the way home but didn't want to drive it that much further. Which, in hindsight, was stupid, as I needed to go to doctors for Piglet's prescription, post office to post 3 letters and a parcel and Bob's is just a few doors down from there.

Instead I put the kids down for a nap and started cleaning the kitchen.

And now I've blogged and still can't remember what it is I wanted to say so I'll shut up and go excavate under the sofa. Just for the fun of it. :/

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Good start to the day though

Thought I'd better blog something a little more PC and cheerful. :) We had an excellent start to the day. I caved in to peer pressure and let the girls put the tv on. Which meant I got an extra half hour in bed before being leapt on by a starving two year old demanding 'bekfast now mommy'. Bad mother that I am. :)

After food, shower, clothes etc, I debated peeling the offspring away from the tv... my computer won, however, so they got to watch Cbeebies until nearly 11am! Doubly bad parent. However, I drew the line at Big Cook Little Cook - I can only listen to that theme tune once a month, so it got switched off as soon as they started waving bye-bye.

Myf then sat at my desk whilst I was clearing off the buffet unit and found a Sudoku.

"What's this Mom?"
"Oh, that's just a game." She says, blase...
"Really? Can I play?"
"If you want. It's just a logic game."
"What's that then?"

Cue a half hour session on Sudoku, and she completed half a puzzle, half of that on her own! I'm stunned. Here's a child who can't do simple addition, instantly grasping the concept of 'no two numbers the same in one column, box or row' and also, getting the idea of working her way through the possible options for each little box very quickly. It's no wonder I'm going grey.

After a hurried lunch (yes, doesn't time fly when you're just ambling along?) we zoomed over to Nikki and Emily's for cake and company. It was a lovely afternoon, with scrumptious chocolate cake baked by Emily. The girls all had a blast - Emily seems to own practically every single Polly Pocket house, mansion and compact on the market and my three were in raptures.

Then I went upstairs and found the 'stockroom'... oh boy oh boy oh boy. Jax, you think you've got books... think again! It was absolute bliss and I could have stayed there all day, working my way around the bookshelves (there's at least two in every room!) and the boxes of wonderful bits and pieces and kits and wands and all manner of fascinating stuff. Next time I go, I'm going to give myself plenty of time, and take a chequebook with me. lol

The girls abandoned the Polly Pockets in favour of the dressing up box and we had to peel Tea's outfit off her when it was time to go home. Will most definately have to do that again. Before we'd even turned the truck around, Myf was asking when we could go and play with Emily again. And I was very impressed it was Emily she asked to go see again, and not the kittens! Who were cuteness personified and very sensibly hid for most of our visit. Piglet is a little over enthusiastic when it comes to cats. Thanks for a lovely afternoon Nikki!

Odd evening

This should probably be passworded, but as Blogger doesn't have that function, I'll just warn those of you of a religious nature away from the following post. :)

We were invited by a HE friend to a 'magic show' at her church in Retford this evening. I was a bit reticent at first, but then thought, hey, magic show, what the heck the kids will enjoy it. So we went along, 6 till 8 she said, so we turned up at 6.40pm, after waiting in vain for the builders to arrive, and sat down to one side.

As we snuck in and sat down, the magician on the little box-high stage was doing tricks with a £20 note, and he started asking the crowd of kids in front of him what was written on the note. The kids were all sat on the floor in a semi-cricle around him, and the adults were seated on chairs, again, in a semi circle. There was a lot of shouting and heckling, the average age of the children in there was about 8 or 9. Then he started talking about the 'promises to pay the bearer' bit on the note, and I got a funny feeling. He told the kids that the reason that was there was you used to be able to exchange the note for gold, and so on. And then he moved on to how that promise on the note was now an empty promise, as it was old. But God never breaks his promises...

Yup - we'd gone to an evangelical 'magic show'. If I could have bolted for the door, I would have done, but the girls had gone into the crowd of kids with D's children and I was stuck. So I sat through an hour (yes, the show went on for over an hour and a half - I'm so glad we were late) in a hot room, feeling kind of out of place and had to endure the preaching. He did a few very neat magic tricks, to be sure, but they were all somewhat spoiled by having a moral to them. Here, let's take three ropes of different length and hey presto, they're all the same now - just like you're all equal... I can't recall the rest but had to sit there, suffering unpleasant flashbacks to my childhood and Salvation Army Sunday school.

Then they fed the kids crisps and fizzy pop (no added sugar of course - nothing natural in there) and the grown ups had tea and coffee and biscuits that had been iced by the kids club earlier in the day. And those visitors who had come with friends were exhorted to come and talk to the Pastor and his two helpers if they wanted to find out more etc.

I don't know what I'd expected, to be honest. I had had a passing thought about the possiblity of being invited to pray or to sing or some such, but I can ride through that (can't sing so don't, and if everyone else is praying with their eyes closed, they can't see you gazing vacantly around the room admiring the cobwebs).

I had turned down an invite to a ladies' night last weekend. Apparently it was women only, for a sit down meal and there was going to be a black gospel singer, which would have been fabulous to listen too - except not in a church. It makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Mainly because I've got my own personal issues with the church which don't need to be gone into in detail here. But also, because of the girls. I wanted to introduce them to each of the major religions in turn, (and some not so major), at their own pace and to do it logically and dispassionately. If such a thing is possible with a topic as fraught as religion. But then to have a grandfather boucning up and down on stage (yes he was a grandfather - his first grandchild had been born just after midnight this very day) telling my kids that this was the only way they could be loved and equal and saved and assured of a clean inside and a clean outside (done with a pack of cards) and that Jesus was the only one who could clean the stains off their insides...

I know there are flaws and good bits about each of the major religions, but I must confess to having the most problems with Christianity. Ironic that my name is taken from that, isn't it? Maybe one of the things I object to most of all is their drive to convert everyone to thinking the same as they do, and that once you do, you must make everyone else think the same way.

I am not a sheep! I do not want to be part of the 'flock' ffs. They even use sheep imagery. We need pastoring and shepherding and pointing in the right direction. Well, baaa humbug, I will not be herded. And I don't want my children to be herded, spoon fed or told how to act. I want them to learn how to think on their own two feet, to weight the pros and the cons and make up their own mind about what they feel and think and belive and trust in. Not to be led by the nose by some creepy guy with a uniform and a tambourine promising everlasting salvation if you'll sit on his lap whilst he reads you the parable of the lost sheep.

Sorry, ran adrift there. But you can see my point.

But, if at the end of the day, they want to be Christian, or Buddhist, or Jewish, or even Baha'i, then they'll have my blessing and we'll celebrate their high days and holy days, and they'll be welcome at mine with open arms. Just as long as they don't expect me to convert.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bloody Amazon

Now they've gone and lowered their limit for free postage.

Like I need any more temptation to buy books.

Her father's sense of humour

There's nothing more disconcerting that watching your two year old lying on the floor, flipping through a Gary Larson 'Farside' comic book, and laughing. And not just at anything - she'll turn through a few pages, then suddenly start giggling and stare at one page for a while, then turn a few more... it's really rather unsettling.

And all this whilst trying to explain to Myf exactly what a Weiner Dog is, and why someone would use one to paint pictures with.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Complaint address

I've had quite a bit of feedback about that advert, so for those who'd like to know, or even those who are just curious, this is the address for the Advertising Standards Agency. Just click on the big red button at the top of the page to start complaining! :)

Also, any suggestions on how to beat the principles of simple addition, ie, adding two single numbers together, the total of which is always 10 or less, into a stubborn 6 year old head would be gratefully received!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

First ever complaint

I've never before in my life put in an 'official complaint' (although the LEA are seriously pushing their luck). But last night I sent an email to the Advertising Standards Agency and had a rant about a radio advert.

And so far today, I haven't heard it on the radio! lol. I listen to Classic FM all day, every day. It's on in the kitchen, the car, the computer - I love it and the kids are starting to recognise pieces of music on a regular basis. The only think that irritates me is the adverts, but after a while, you get to the point where you can block them out and just wait for the next bit of music. But lately, there's been an awful advert on, which has actually made me turn the radio down whenever it comes on.

It's a Lotto ad, and features a woman panting and screaming whilst giving birth to the 'next lotto millionaire' who then asininely asks 'where's the champagne?' I've had Myf asking 'why is that lady screaming Mommy?' and to be honest, it turns my stomach everytime I hear it.

I'm not sure why - I had a few moments of thought when trying to fill in the complaints box as to *why* exactly it was offensive. Basically, I think it's having something like the pain of childbirth belittled in such a fashion. It upsets my kids, makes me feel queasy and I can imagine how it would probably adversely affect a number of women of child-bearing age.

So I complained. And I wait with baited breath for their response. And those of you who know me will probably be scratching their heads in perplexity and wondering what on earth has got into me. Answer? No idea.

Bloody blogger

Why won't blogger blog today? I'm also doing a Sonlight order on Monday, and was wondering if anyone wanted to add a few bits to it, save on postage. But if Blogger won't blog, how are people to know?

Bloody blogger.

Things they say

"Tea, please don't say bloody," says I, cringing as the middle one is running around the bathroom, shrieking 'bloody water everywhere'.
"Yes, Tea," says Myf sagely from the bath. "There are some words we aren't allowed to say, aren't there Mom?"
"Yes dear."
"We aren't allowed to say holy cow, or bugger, or holy shit, are we Mom?"
"No dear," says I.

Don't ask me how I kept a straight face, but the effort nearly killed me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Expensive noise

Figured out that the noise coming from the white truck is probably expensive. Well, duh, that ain't rocket science.

The banging, scraping and groaning is coming from the rear passenger side wheel. Either the brakes are binding, there's a large stone or piece of flint stuck between the brakes and the disc, or, most probably, the brake pads are slipping in the callipers and catching on the wheel. The entire drive train shudders when it happens, the front end of the truck lurches to the right, as the rear left wheel is basically braked.

Sarah asked me if this was dangerous. Um, probably. Well, depends what speed I'm travelling at when the wheel jams solid, I guess. Or, if the brake disc shatters, depends on who is in the immediate vicinity.

You know, you spend all your time trying to hold everyone else together, but when you start to come apart at the seams, the buggers just come and nick your stuffing.

Laura's Star

Myf and I have just been to see Laura's Star as part of the Film Education week, and we loved it. And yes, we both cried. We've been home half an hour and Myf is still leaking occasionally. She gets very emotional when it comes to movies. For me, I think it was the excellent music. It was scored by Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, King Arthur, Thin Red Line, The Lion King, True Romance, Batman Begins, Pearl Harbour, The Rock, The Last Samurai, Hannibal... you get the idea). I love Hans Zimmer's music, reallyreally love it. And the bit towards the end, where she lets the star go, even though she loves it so much... well, not a dry eye in the house.

And, of course, after scouring the Film Education website, there's absolutely nothing on there for the film we've just seen. Sod's law that! However, they do have stuff for Nanny McPhee, which I fancy seeing. I do like Emma Thompson. Ever since I saw her on stage in King Lear in Birmingham with Kenneth Brannagh. We pratically bumped into her in the street near the stage door as she was hurrying into the theatre - "sorry, miles away," she laughed, and vanished into the building. Just struck me as very human and very civilised. And she's extraordinarily pretty. At least, she was 12 years ago! lol

Now, it's tomato soup for all (except Myf - we had popcorn!) and then we're off to Loubi's for the afternoon. She's about the only person who's had this bug that we can go socialise with. James spent the whole of yesterday with his head down the loo, or in bed. Only Myf to go, but I have a feeling that she's escaped the barfing bit. She felt a bit off on Monday night, didn't eat her dinner (macaroni - you know something is wrong if my kids don't eat their pasta) but was fine on Tuesday. Fingers crossed that was her through the bug. :)

Off like a headless chicken again today - need to go collect the orange truck from the dealers (just a bit of warranty work - and yes, it's pretty much all fixed and working again now, fingers crossed) and also, pick up a few bits for my white one. I had to go to Nottingham last night, at nearly 9pm. Was gone 10pm when I got where I was going as someone who shall remain nameless had printed all the directions out for me using Mapquest, which is next to bloody hopeless for anything more complicated than going to the local shops. The maps are out of scale, the directions are vague, listing only road names and not numbers, and so basically a 45 minute journey took me about 80 minutes. Got there, started swapping bits over between my old truck and the other one I'd gone to see, and the heavens opened. And someone who shall remain nameless had emptied the truck before going shooting last weekend. No brolly, no coat, (no maps - I'd already checked). I got soaked.

Bits swapped over (well, another story there but shan't bore you with that one) and I head home at half past 11... to be startled by a large, heavy grinding noise coming from the nether regions of my beloved old truck. I have never been so scared in my entire life. Not even when facing down a 2 year old charollais bull that was running loose in Worcester markets one day. And every time the grinding noise happened, the truck lurched and the steering when funny.

On a dark, cold, rainy night, on an unlit road through Sherwood forest. Not even a torch in the truck (he who shall remain nameless, etc etc).

Off to see what caused the noise - assuming we make it as far as Doncaster! lolol

Monday, October 17, 2005

Someone mentioned the 'C' word

Yup - Christmas. You know, it's only 10 weeks away. That's one fifth of the year. And they've already got bloody xmas decorations, cards, giftwrap and party booking banners up in Doncaster. There should be a law against having any mention of the C-word until Hallowe'en is past. Do we really want to spend 20% of our lives in anticipation of the most overly commercialised holiday in the calendar? Bearing in mind that it's only one day out of the year?

No, I didn't think so.

Bah humbug.

However, if anyone is reading this, I'd really like a little digital camera in my stocking, please. For taking to HE group, of course.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Cheesecake's new babies

babies dad
babies 5
babies and mom

These seem to contradict each other

You are a Logical-Mathematical Thinker
Logical-Mathematical thinkers:

* Like to understand patterns and relationships between objects or actions
* Try to understand the world in terms of causes and effects
* Are good at thinking critically, and solving problems creatively

Like Logical-Mathematical thinkers, Leonardo based his theories on evidence rather than speculation.
Other Logical-Mathematical Thinkers include Isaac Newton, Archimedes, Albert Einstein

Careers which suit Logical-Mathematical thinkers include Physicist, Chemist, Biologist, Lawyer, Computer programmer, Engineer, Inventor

You are a Naturalist Thinker
Naturalist Thinkers:

* Like to understand the natural world, and the living beings that inhabit it
* have an aptitude for communicating with animals
* You try to understand patterns of life and natural forces

Like other Naturalist thinkers, Leonardo longed to spend time in the countryside. He spent hours watching birds to understand how they flew.
Other Naturalist thinkers include Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Johnny Morris, David Attenborough

Careers which suit Naturalist thinkers include Biologist, Meteorologist, Forester, Farmer, Astronomer, Alternative therapist

Plus I got Spatial thinker too, which just kind of goes to show that I'm about as mixed up as I ever was.

This is me

You are Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Back in the land of the living


Feeling a tad dizzy and having trouble focussing on the screen, but I'm here. Went to bed when James got back at 5pm last night, and didn't get out of bed until 11am this morning. Apart from a couple of trips to the bathroom to stick my head down the loo, but hey, it was something to relieve the boredom.

Staggered through the shower and came down stairs to find clean kitchen, fed and dressed kids and man doing stuff with bleach. Fine by me.

And no guests today. Felt awful for having to cancel them at such short notice, but there's no way I would have been civil today. Bad enough that I have to consider a trip shopping, as we've run out of cereal, loo roll, lemon squash - you know, the essentials of life.

Oh - and Cheesecake had her babies last night. I went out and opened the hutch this morning to have a nose, and two babies fell out! Fished around under the hutch to retrieve them, and did a head count. 5 live ones and a dead one - figure it was still born by the look of it. But the five live ones are adorable. Shall do photos etc later.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hit the wall

Guess it had to happen sooner or later - have pretty much hit the wall. Body refusing to do anymore. Spent half the day in the vicinity of the toilet, either sat on it or with head in it. Feel absolutely appalling.

Managed to keep breakfast down for long enough to fly over to Retford farmer's market. Picked up a huge amount of quality, ethical meat; dropped off 1/2 of it at Nikki's before heading home. Made kids sandwiches between trips upstairs (corned beef was probably not the most intelligent of choices). Have thrown kids into bed, and sat down with cup of lemon and ginger tea, hoping that will quell the queasiness.

House is a pigsty, kitchen should be condemned, Kim & Aggie would faint at my bathroom... and I have 7 people coming over for Sunday dinner tomorrow. Joy.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Roasted bones and vegan cheese

I like food, so I thought I'd have a ramble about the stuff. Can't stop thinking about it, actually, as the house smells divine. I went to a local farm today, and bought proper bacon, real chicken and some home-grown beef, and asked for a couple of bones to make stock with. I roasted the bones and put them in my huge jam making pan (as none of the others were large enough) and now there's a gorgeous smell wafting my way as my fresh beef stock simmers on the hob.

But for the less carnivorously-inclined of you, I also made a vegan "macaroni-cheez" last night and it was really, really good. I swiped the recipe out of the Uncheese Cookbook ( bought for James' mum) and I told her I'd try a couple of the recipes out on my lot, before she attempted them. Well, was I impressed or what? Cook the macaroni as normal (don't overcook it - worst thing ever you can do to pasta is make it mushy). Make a roux with olive oil and flour (gluten free if you like), a little mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne. Add some dairy-free soy or rice milk, very very slowly until it's creamy and cook for a while. Then, add half a cup of nutritional yeast. It's quite extraordinary stuff. Mix with macaroni, bake in oven for 20 minutes or so and you have a very respectable mac'n'cheese, without a shred of dairy in it.

However, tonight's dinner was roast chicken, garlic and olive oil couscous and peas. And very nice it was indeed. Baked a butternut whilst the chicken and bones were roasting (very economically minded of me!) and shall make soup with that tomorrow for lunch. So off to load the bread machine before having a bath. :) Going to have an early night.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


But I've turned on the word verification thingy for the comments. How much spam is actually of any use to anyone? Do these people have nothing else better to do than irritate us?

Be warned, am very irritable at the moment. Haven't heard back from LEA, which I guess is a bonus. Posted Eyebal's letter a day late, but hey, what the heck. And my calendar is absolutely jammed and I feel like I have no time to breathe. At least the Diary of Activities that I sent in with my letter was pretty full up.

Just looking at my calendar and I've got the 17th, 18th and 26th of this month free. That's all. There is something written on every single other day. 3 days a week we're out of the house for just before 9am (ok, so Thursdays, technically, I don't have to leave until 9.15). This Sunday I'm doing a roast dinner for 5 adults and 7 kids. In my little house? There are three separate things happening on Saturday alone. And add to that the fact that James is off to Croatia for 9 days, as of Tuesday 25th. Yes, he is missing Hallowe'en and you have no idea how ticked off I am about that.

On a lighter note, I'm still waiting for my guinea pig to have her piglets! The poor thing is the size of a rugby ball and I'm looking at the calendar in some trepidation. Guinea pig gestation is between 52 and 70 days (7.5 to 10 weeks). And it generally goes that the longer the pregnancy, the more babies there are in the litter.

Cheesecake has been pregnant for 9.5 weeks. Now the average size of the litter is 2-4, but can be as many as 8. (I did find on one site a vague reference to the occasional occurence of 10+ piglets... but I shall ignore that)

Anyhow, watch this space and I shall post a few pictures as and when she pops. Again. :::sigh:::
This time, however, Moose is in a separate cage already, and shall remain there. :)

Friday, October 07, 2005

LEA looms large

I am sick to death of this LEA nonsense. It's not like I've haven't got anything else to do.

Have finally finished my letter (2 pages of irate rhetoric), and have an updated Educational Philosophy (2 pages, with references, web links and suggestions for books he should read!), a current Diary of Activities (2 pages, in depth) and a book list (1 page, but that's just the books from 2 shelves in the living room - I haven't listed all the ones upstairs or got from the library etc). Plus a couple of pages on Autonomous Education (for his information, as Myf is technically autonomous at present as we're not doing anything *formal* until she hits seven - in theory). I'm not bothering with a summary of the law EO style, as he's probably shredded more copies of that than I've had glasses of wine.

You reckon that's enough? I won't bore you, dear readers, with the entire body of text that is going to land on that irritating little man's desk on Monday morning, but I shall just cut'n'paste the final paragraph, as I'm fairly pleased with it. Any suggestions or modifications gratefully received. :)

Continual harassment of this nature, demanding ‘evidence’ that neither exists, nor is required, is detracting from my daughter’s education. Time that should be spent with my children is instead being spent drafting irate communiqués and compiling unnecessary lists.

Ok, so maybe I should rephrase the bit about irate communiques, but I was sooooooooooo right royally p*ssed off when I wrote it. :)

But on a more positive note, I had a houseful today and it was great. Sarah appeared first, with her two and Jax's two, shortly followed by Jayne and her three to collect a guinea pig. I went and fetched my younger two from playgroup and we had 10 kids and 3 adults squished into my little house. Well, the three older boys all went outside and did unmentionable things with water and mud and sand and building detrius and I think they had a marvellous time. Sorry Jayne! :)

When everyone had gone, I hoofed the three of them into bed for a quick nap whilst I finalised the irate communique, then it was off to the doc's for Myf, who'd been complaining of earache all afternoon. Waited half an hour for the doc to say there was nothing wrong with her - and she announced she felt fine. Earache only reappeared at bedtime, but it was swiftly chased in bed and I haven't heard a peep since.

After that we went and collected our veggie box from a friend who's started a local organic veggie box scheme, Bawtry Organics. At last, a local source! :) Scrumptious looking leeks and melons and a big box of fat avocados, glossy aubergines, punnets of rich brown mushrooms and baskets of lemons - there were boxes of fresh veg and fruit spilling out of her garage and it all smelled divine. She's at Doncaster racecourse this weekend for the food festival, so I hope it all goes well.

So now, time to print out the final draft (must post it on the lea list first) and then get an early night. Have a busy morning planned - have to do a bit of supermarket shopping (argh), present shopping, fill truck with gas (opposite side of Doncaster to me), fetch caravan (from top end of Doncaster), clean, load and pack said van, sort out pets etc and be ready to go down to B'ham for my brother's 30th all by 3pm. And do all normal feeding, dressing, chasing, etc of small children whilst I'm at it.

Oh, and post the damned letter.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Busy week

Have hardly had to time to pee this week. (I used to wonder what on earth people meant by that statement when I was a kid. Now, I know...)

It's just been one chaotic, headless day after another. Either in the car, going somewhere, coming back, taking something, round in circles. Preschool and playgroup and visits and shopping and lunches with friends and friends coming over and paperwork coming out of my ear.

Damn the Eyeball, too, as he's still demanding reams of written work, in spite of the letters I've been sending him saying we are of a broadly Steiner-Waldorf philosophical bent, yadda yadda yadda, no written work, yadda yadda yadda... and the man still wants to see 'artwork, which may be captioned, things she may have recorded, multiplication tables or maths concepts she may have recorded (she's 6!!!!)" I could go on.

But I won't as it all depresses me something bloody awful and I'm fed up of having to worry about him on top of everything else that's going on. I have till Monday to provide him with stuff, and as we're away all weekend, until Tuesday, I'd better spend tonight writing damned letters to the blasted LEA, when I'd rather be finishing off the cute little bear I'm knitting for a friend's 4 week old daughter, or lying in the bath reading my latest 'Grow Your Own' magazine whilst sipping a cold bacardi and coke.

Although the next letter is going to include words such as 'bullying' and 'harrassment' and the like. Not sure whether to include the bit about him contravening my Human Rights and all that (yes, there is a clause in there I can use :)

However, on top of Myf mastering the knit stitch at the start of the week, she also had a recorder lesson at Nikki's on Wednesday, in which she learnt the first three notes, G, A and B, plus was shown tenor, treble and sopranino recorders, as well as listened to Nikki playing some 18th C stuff as well as more modern - so I think that's music ticked off. We read some Roman books, but they haven't really inspired her.

I did notice, however, that in the last couple of history-ish books we've read through, she's been very intersted in what they've been wearing. Hardwick Hall fascinated her, mainly because of the dresses. And in the Women in Rome book we got from the library, she went looking for dresses and togas and what the different styles were called. Maybe I ought to skip specifics and get a book on fashion through the ages.

Made a hobby horse for Kindertots. It went down an absolute treat today.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Little bit of maths

Shortly after my last blog entry, I was trolling round the blog ring, and came across Hazel's link to the percentile charts. I had to print one out, and so we did a little maths. Everyone stood up against the doorway, and I marked their height on the woodwork with a thick black pen. That went down a treat - Mom drawing on the walls! (it was a dry-wipe pen)

Plotting the heights against the various ages, we find that Myf is between the 75th and 90th percentile, Tea is smack bang on the 50th - and Piglet is way off the scale. No surprises there then! And as Myf helped me read the heights on the tape measure, found the right numbers on the chart, and then helped cross reference them with their ages, I think that ticks off maths quite nicely for today.

It didn't help that Hazel also linked to a source of food. Spent a tad over £30 (!) at goodnessdirect, including some stuff for James' mum. I got her the Uncheeze cookbook for her birthday, as she's on a vegan diet (from the cancer clinic) and one of the main ingredients in a lot of things is nutritional yeast. And I found some on this website! So a huge thanks and a big hug to Hazel for pointing me in the direction of it. :)

Huge great big pan of macaroni and cauliflower cheese for tea

But Mom, we haven't done any schoolwork today

Uh, no, you're right, we haven't.

We've only played with lego, building small houses and perfect boxes that got filled with hama beads and turned into shakers. Boxes were only built using the principles of real brickwork, ie, each block must rest on at least two blocks beneath it, with 'breaks' not running upwards in one continuous line. In between times, Myf has suddenly mastered the art of knitting. She can do five or six stitches in a row, without dropping any or losing her place.

We then only played cutting and sticking, turning squares of sticky paper and sellotape into frogs, handbags and some bizarre game that only 2, 3 and 6 year olds can understand.

And then we only spent an hour (!) playing with Hama beads, Myf doing some intricate pattern on the six pointed star shape, and Tea making neat rows of maxi beads. Not entirely sure what Piglet was doing during that hour, but she was quiet in the living room with the basket of Barbie and Bratz dolls and nothing got dismantled, rearranged or destroyed, so that was a bonus. All whilst I spent a couple of hours on the phone to a local homeschooler, who is luckily over the border with regards to the LEA, bitching about said LEA and just having a generally good gossip and catch up.

And whilst that was followed by tidy-up time (complete with the sing-song 'this is the way we tidy up, on a cold and frosty morning) in which EVERY SINGLE BEAD got picked up and put back in the box, followed by a home cooked lunch of sunday soup (long story) and chicken noodle soup, I guess we haven't done any school work this morning.

Not done any housework either, come to think of it. Or laundry. Or even washed the breakfast bowls up.

Don't think that really matters though, eh? ;)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I do like this

The design more than the content. :)