Sunday, 27 February 2011

N reading Sky News at the O2

check out N reading from the auto-cue!

I've realised something worrying......

I seem to be going against my inner beliefs and enjoying housework???!!!! Well I say enjoying I mean getting on with it without a member of my family (hubby) having to bend my arm behind my back. I've realised since losing all my weight that I don't spend half so much time sat on my backside as I have so much more energy. When I am scraping the carpet with my Pet Hair Magnet, I feel good about myself as I am getting exercise and tidying up at the same time. Somebody slap me.

We have been at the cinema watching Despicable Me, which was excellent I loved it (N did too!), moving furniture around following the 'decorating' in our bedroom which is still not finished! More tidying up outisde. N had a friend to play. N finished her sewing for our friends birthday
We put it in a frame for her.
The dogs ran around the lake again this afternoon, collecting as much mud and rain water on their body as they could, just so they could shake it all off in the kitchen when they got home. Nice, don't do that once the kitchen has been decorated!!! (Sink being replaced tomorrow - fingers crossed we can get that changed without damaging the worktop and tiles)
p.s we are going for the Witney record of how many rooms can be mid-way decorated at one time.

Friday, 25 February 2011

The adventures of the bumbling gardener and other things

This week seems to have flown past since the shingle episode on Monday.

Tuesday -  In theory we were supposed to be going to the Victorian Rag Balls drop in at the Banbury Museum, but after a VERY late night reading (by N) I decided waking her up early and driving to Banbury first thing was perhaps not the best idea. So we decided to go to Hilltop Garden Centre instead. We both really love the idea of gardening and I had promised N that she could choose most of the plants as long as that included some flowers for the front driveway and a climber for the back garden. In the afternoon N started sewing some favours for her Easter Party in April. M was helping his Dad coach the half term cricket academy this week so he was staying over for a few days. N loves having her brother around and when he came home from work they were playing lego together on the living room floor. N cooked honey glazed chicken for dinner and whizzed together some cream (to go with the strawberries and shortbread) that tasted like vanilla ice cream. Thanks to Jamie Oliver for that one. N has been enjoying watching his 30 minute meals programs. Of course once N was in bed Pepper and Ralph could have a turn at M's attention, and they made the most of it!

On Wednesday we planted the new plants outside. L and her boyfriend arrived in the evening. N was pleased having her brother and sister around.

Thursday L,D and N went to the cinema together to watch Gnomeo & Juliet, N couldn't stop telling us how good it was afterwards. While they were out I had taken the dogs for a walk around the Witney Lake. Ralph really enjoyed this new experience, and he was running around at top speed back and forth and round and round.

Today - Friday we put together a plastic greenhouse thingy which I have ALWAYS wanted (little things please little minds) out in the back garden. I am really pleased with how it is looking now  - very tidy! N and I planted some seeds - sweet peppers, cauliflower, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce and some flower seeds too. Which brings me around to the bumbling gardener bit - I'm not very good at it. I've never really had anyone show me what to do. I used to see a bit of gardeners world on a weekend on BBC2 when I was growing up but thats it! Two years ago (before the chickens really started to take over) we did grow cucumber, lettuce spring onions etc, but nothing seemed particularly sucessful. I am just hoping that practice makes perfect and eventually we will have a good crop of something. The best thing we have ever grown has been N's potatoes for the schools competition.
N has been continuing with the cross stitch for our friends birthday present - we must hurry up and finish - its her birthday on Monday. 

Monday, 21 February 2011


Basically I ache all over already so I think tomorrow morning is going to be a KILLER!

Yes we really did shovel all this shingle into small buckets, carry it through the house and re-arrange it in the back garden. Well Hubby did basically all of the carrying and tipping. All I did was the shovelling, but that is still hard work! It was worth it, the garden looks acceptable now! (and N doesn't have to wade through chicken poo with her friends to get to the trampoline)

"And what did the small people of the household do while all this is happening" I hear you cry. Pepper and Ralph went to the dog sitters for the day as we needed the front door open permanently for this job. They must have had loads of fun as they are fast asleep!
N had to keep herself amused whilst keeping a watch of the proceedings through the window. She completed a story she was writing to give to Jacqueline Wilson when we (hopefully) see her. She wrote another story for her guinea pig short-stories series. She read her book. She played on the computer. She rode her bike. ( she went outside for that) and then she helped me with the shopping at Lidl.

We rewarded ourselves with an Indian Takeaway, although poor hubby wasn't around for that as after all the hard work in the day he is coaching cricket 6pm until 10pm tonight.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

In too deep with decorating?

I can't help feeling we have a bit too much going on at once with the decorating,
  • the bathroom is nearly finished! to the independent eye it probably looks finished too, just a couple of things left
  • our bedroom, well what can I say, we have been sleeping in there for nearly a week without curtains (our room faces the road) poor neighbours!, no bedroom door (although that finally went up last night) and a strong smell of paint to wake up to every morning - that room still has at least another weeks worth of work left in it.
  • tomorrow we are starting the garden (no wonder everything takes so long - we do it all at once). We have two huge sacks (sack isn't the right word, stitch them together they would cover a Mini wouldn't they?!) of shingle at the front of the house that needs to be transported by BUCKET through the house to the back garden to cover up the mud monstrosity that was the chicken run. Ahhhhhhhh thats going to be hard labour! I think I might have a takeaway tomorrow night as a treat.
Meanwhile we still have to do all the normal things a home educating family does! Today N has written a story, sewn some buttons onto one of her fleeces to make it look pretty, sewn some more of her cross-stitch she is doing for a friends birthday, major tidy-up of her toys and has four bags for charity!, walked the dogs, played on the computer, drawing, colouring, prepared and cooked roasted vegetables for tea, and read through a folder of some of her old stories she has written.

Friday, 18 February 2011

the first term of piano lessons......

A day in the life of the two dogs in our house

Wake up at 5.00am, 5.30am and 6.00am asking for breakfast!

Chase balls around the park for an hour between 8.00am and 9.00am


chew each other's face


race aound the area previously known as 'the chicken run'

streetwalk at 2.00pm

beg for dinner at 3.00pm, 3.30pm, 4.00pm and 4.30pm


Wednesday, 16 February 2011


After SEVERAL attempts to load the Sky News presenting video that Niamh recorded in the Sky News pod at the O2 I have temporarily given up. Maybe the file is just too large for blogger? When I have a spare seven hours of my life I will investigate further and try my hardest to get it loaded for all to see.

Today N did some Titanic themed colouring for her project and typed a page of facts she had remembered from the exhibition. She read through a DK Titanic book that we had picked up from Oxfam ages ago.

She helped her Dad with the decorating.

She baked cookies for Book Club tomorrow.
We have been reading Little House On The Prairie for Book Club and lets just say that it has not been going well. The book is just not really grasping N's interest. Infact she refuses to read it which is very unusual for her as she loves reading so much.Which leaves me with a quandry.
a) Insist she has to read it - which has the danger of putting her off Book Club
b) admit defeat and shoulder the embarassment of not finishing it, when we started Book Club in the first place!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The way Saturday started it could only get better

I had a brainwave to take N and her friend to the cinema on Saturday to watch the £1 kids club movie Alpha & Omega. We got to the cinema and it was totally sold out :( At which point N just snapped into the form the old N that I haven't seen for a long time and hoped that she had grown out of. She was shouting at the top of her voice in the cinema, out of the cinema, through Marks & Spencers.....EVERYONE was looking at me thinking what a useless mum I must be not being able to control my daughter. I picked up milk and cheese in M&S and by the time I had got to the till N had calmed down and was begging my forgiveness. To the customers of M&S the damage had already been done! We went home and the girls watched a DVD here and played and jumped on the trampoline and all was well again! In the afternoon I was streetwalking the two dogs and someone stopped me to say how well behaved they are! Great. I don't care if no one ever says it to me again, once was enough for me :)

Sunday we drove down to the Forest of Dean. I gave Ralph some herbal Travel-eze anti sickness tablets I had found in a farm shop. I had been really pleased when I found them as the vets had told me there wasn't anything they could do. What can I say; I cannot recommend Travel-eze. they did not ease anything and Ralph was still sick 3 times on the way down. It doesn't seem to dampen his energy or excitement though. The squeaky toys that my mum buys for the dogs drive him crazy. (and us as they make loads of noise).

Monday was Valentines day and N made a card for me and Hubby. The only card of the day - as we had already agreed we needed to save money where possible. We took the dogs around the meadow all together in the afternoon. Hubby enjoyed seeing both dogs chase around together and both go for a swim. I had bought a lantern from the 99p shop for Hubby and N and they lit it down the park and set if off in the evening....

Today N and I went to London to see the Titanic Exhibition at the O2 Bubble. Hubby spent the day with the dogs. The exhibition was fantastic I am so glad that I decided to take N. She was amazed at some of the artefacts that remained intact from the wreckage. I am normally too tight to pay for audio commentary but decided to do it today and I am glad I did, they had chidrens ones which make it easier for the kids to understand. (and adults!!!) All in all I think we both had a good taste of what the ship was like before the disaster, what kind of people wanted to go on it, what it was like when the ship was sinking and how they recovered items from the wreckage - definitly worth the entry fee.
 by the way this model is not to accurate scale!
The missing crew member!

Afterwards N had a go at being a sky newsreader, reading from an auto-cue in another display at the O2 but I am blogging that tomorrow! I want to curl up with a cuppa and watch Biggest Loser (sky + from last night). did I mention I've lost 3 stone! Why not I've told everyone else, I should have asked N to announce it on sky news!

Friday, 11 February 2011

what the dogs get up to when I'm out!

We went along to funtime today and N had a great time. Her friends came back to play at our house.
This is the scene that greeted me when I got home - do you think that is Ralph's guilty look?
We have almost finished the shelf now it just needs a couple of coats of varnish....

Thursday, 10 February 2011

busy Thursday

It feels like we have been rushed off our feet today (although I am sure we haven't!!) We went into town this morning, N was armed with some belated Christmas money she had been given to buy something for her guinea pigs ( see her blog, scooted around the charity shops and went to Daisyroots to buy some purple and green deco-patch papers as we had decided the shelf was going up in the dining room once the decorating is done and therefore it has to co-ordinate with our crazy room.
N had a piano lesson.
We started deco-patch-ing the shelf (no imitation mahogany in sight!)
N looked after my friends guinea pigs....

Here she is with Gemma.
We finally worked out how to load videos to blogger see so N spent the evening posting on her blogs.
It's the Home Ed meet-up at Funtime in Carterton tomorrow, so that will be great to catch up with everybody.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

and the decorating continues......

The bathroom is coming along very well at the moment, but it always costs more than you expect doesn't it? I mean how do shops justify £30 for a decent toilet roll holder or toothbrush holder, I mean its only Focus after all. Still it should be good once it is finished!

The garden is up next, hubby has already started cutting down some of the chicken wire from the enclosure whilst waiting for some of the paint to dry in the house! I can't wait to have the space in my garden back. I bought some seed packs from the 99p shop ready for planting (lets hope they work!!) no seriously they should do I've seen the exact same packs in Focus for £2.99. N has received her seed potatoes in the post again from the Potato Council for the Potatoes for Schools competition.

I have taken down the rainforest wall in the dining / homeschool room ready for that to be decorated. N and I are in charge of decorating that room, mainly because its full of our stuff and its going to be a nightmare to do!

Here is a photo of the shelves we have just taken out of the bathroom (it really shows how shabby that room was!), anyway N and I have just painted one coat each of white acrylic on the shelves. One more coat tomorrow and we should be able to deco-patch it.
I have no idea where it is going to go once it is finished but I couldn't bear to throw it away! Pictures to follow of the finished unit. The other fixtures were taken down to the charity shop. I came back with a black wire mug tree that I am going to use for my bracelets!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Monday, 7 February 2011

Very Quick Catch Up

Theme of the day - TIRED!
Achievement of the day - Finally managed to book tickets for the Jacqueline Wilson session at the Oxford Literary Festival
Funniest moment of the day - Ralph jumping a foot in the air to catch his ball down the park and getting caught in the gale force winds and blown over
Challenge of the day - trying to find Titanic themed material on-line for a project as we are going to the Titanic Exhibition in London next week
Smell of the day - paint (hubby is decorating the bathroom)
Taste of the day - mini Daim bars (I can't stop eating them)
Yuk of the day - that's a tricky one between Pepper with sickness and diarrhoea and the Citricidal hubby just made me drink to help my sore throat

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Ralph's first swim

We decided to take the dogs to the meadows today, We haven't been all winter and therefore have never taken Ralph. He may have been there before we got him of course but I'm not sure on that.
It was thrilling to watch his excitement about a different large space to run around and he and Pepper were racing around in circles - they looked like they had a sugar rush from 10 lollipops! Pepper loves the water and she was jumping in and out, Ralph was watching her from the side.
We weren't going to encourage him in, as he is very short and would not be able to touch the riverbed, but after a few minutes of watching Pepper have so much wet fun, he jumped in and had a little swim of his own, to the squeals of 'good boy'!
Now he is fast asleep, exhausted from his new experience, and I'm looking forward to long summer walks by the river.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Its February

Its February and that can mean only one thing.... its my birthday! Here is what we have been up to so far.....
making flowers out of really long pipe cleaners of course - what else?!

making a gluten free birthday cake......


going along to the Bodleian Library Printing Workshop, finding out how books were originally printed. Here is N looking at all the letters......

arranging her name.....

here it is ready to be transferred to the press....

here is the finished printed piece....

bowling afterwards, (the workshop overran and we missed the start of the film at the cinema, so popped next door instead)

we played air hockey, those great dance machines and Pinball. N beat us at pinball even though it was only her first time! Then we went along to Frankie & Bennys for dinner and met up with the rest of the family. We had a lovely evening - even had balloons at our table!