Saturday, 28 February 2009

Saturdays...

Saturdays for me are usually full of housework, which I loathe. Why do I spend all week running around squeezing in as many hours of work as I possibly can to earn money, and then spend my weekend doing housework? Today, however, was a good Saturday, we travelled a little further from home and discovered a new coffee shop, that added sprinkles on the top of the boys warm frothy milk.

We found a new hairdresser's {well gentleman's barber's that also did children!} that was full of lovely old things and two enormous old chairs and mirrors!

it even had a dog to keep us amused, oh and a stuffed duck and heron! and I even managed a quick 30 minute shop while the boys played in the park, to try on a few things in Cath Kidston ~ is this the best changing room you have ever seen?

Thursday, 26 February 2009

learn...

all of a sudden my eldest son has started to read, carefully sounding out words all by himself. When we drive he is reading road signs and posters and taking delight and pride in this new found ability. He has been at school for a year and a half now and the school "actively" encourages reading, he brings home new reading books and homework most nights. We have "actively" tried not to pressure him, not forcing homework when he is tired or simply doesn't want to do it, encouraged a love of books by sharing them with him ~ in fact we have probably been working against the school ~ making sure he makes the most of his childhood by learning to play, to play outside, to cook ~ there is plenty of time to become a rocket scientist!

This new found ability to read seems to have just happened all on it's own, he is still five and a half after all. The funny thing to me is that it has happened at the same time as his first wobbly tooth, it is as if now that his body is growing up, he is now ready to learn and somehow that feels just right. I am sure I have read something about Steiner teachings {I should read more}, that the body goes through phases, which is why they don't believe in teaching children to read until they are seven years of age and ready to learn. I read Nicole's blog here and took great comfort that my feeling that education steals away the best part of childhood are shared by others. I have also been following Eren's concerns about her childrens education and how she is researching the best options for her family.

I wish I could find a strength in my own convictions to know what is the best route to take ~ I suppose the most important thing at the end of the day is that they are happy.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

pie...

Pie is so good for eating on cold wintery days, actually it's good all year round but I do appreciate eating it more as the evening draws in and it is served with lashings of gravy! We made this pie 'loosely' following a Jamie Oliver recipe that he calls 'Kick-arse' Chicken and Leek Pie - the link is to a turkey version he did to use up Christmas dinner leftovers. It was good pie and obviously the decoration made it taste even better! There is a pub not too far from us that is famous for its two-in-one pie's, steak in one half with pastry top and cauliflower cheese the other side ~ sounds wierd but it really works and they do loads of other varities too. I think a visit following a long walk is needed!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

pancakes...

Pancakes for tea, as is tradition on Shrove Tuesday. With sugar and lemon juice... yum. The boys flipped their first pancakes too {with me holding their hands} ~ oh how I fret with hot pans and fast moving children ~ but worth it for their faces full of pride and achievement.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

today...

...I am loving moo cards perfect for using as labels for the prints I sell in my etsy shop.

...I am also loving the six small bowls with matching plates found in a antiques/bric a brac/treasure trove of a shop I have walked past hundreds of times and never gone in! All of these were just £2 ~ a bargain! and perfect for small hands and wintery soups and stews with their pine tree pattern. And some lesson's to learn about supporting local shops ~ especially this one on the high street, in the middle of chain stores. It is so important to keep our high streets unique and devoid of the cloned shops found in bigger towns and cities! As well as slowing down and taking time to discover and appreciate what is right in front of us.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

and will a beanstalk grow mummy?

this time of year is all about planning and choosing what fruit and vegetables we are going to grow in our tiny garden. This year may even be more exciting as there is a new allotment on the horizon, which will provide us with valuable growing space. The first warm day of the year finds us checking and turning the compost bins and we are rewarded with a beautiful sweet smelling, crumbly compost ~ made even better in the knowledge that it is made from our scraps, peelings and ripped up paper. We are each choosing the things we would most like to grow; Pete ~ potato's, beans and pumpkins, Me ~ courgette and peas, Alfie ~ broccoli and tomatoes and Ted ~ carrots {his favourite}. And if we plant the bean that we found on the floor we may even grow a beanstalk too, in the hope that we will find a GIANT at the top!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Ways of seeing myself...

I have enrolled on the 'Ways of Seeing Myself' e-course run by Susannah of Ink on My Fingers. I am not the most confident person in the world, nor am I one to appear in front of the camera if I can help it - so thought it would do me good! We have had our first assignments - photography and now written. The first is about our feet and taking a picture of them. I have mulled over this for the last few days... something arty - a picture in the street of many blurry feet going past, maybe get a pedicure? But as I pulled off my boots tonight and discovered yet another pair of winter tights with a hole in and two boys running round my ankles 'getting under my feet' - this had to be the picture that symbolises my life, in all of it's domestic charm! Floors that need cleaning, holes that need mending and surrounded by children - always. Like today I may share snippets of my journey on this course with you, but some I will not!

Monday, 16 February 2009

foraging bags...

...first thing to cross of the list ~ number 25! I have found the most beautiful foraging bags made by Melissa of tiny happy. I have been looking for these bags for a little while after being inspired by this blog. They are gifts for some little children I know and I have put stickers in as well as vintage ladybird books, found on ebay. They are beautifully made from linen and lined, with a vintage button to finish and are plenty big enough for leaves, feathers, stones and seeds - all the treasure that little hands find on nature walks! Thank you Melissa ~ they are perfect!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

insomnia...

I can't sleep again! they say counting sheep helps? 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...nope...!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

goodbye...

Goodbye snow, hopefully you won't wait another eight years before you come back as we really enjoyed sledging! If you can choose where to go next, go to Australia and put out the bush fires please.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

dream...


"Real isn't how you are made" said the Skin Horse.
"When a child really loves you for a long, long time,
not just to play with, but really loves you,
then you become real."

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

read...


The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, gueens and whales
And treasured isles and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants...

from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Road Dahl

Sunday, 8 February 2009

snow...

and still we have snow, almost a week of school and work closures and more snow is forecast overnight - yippee! We have been sledging almost everyday, making our pilgrimage up to the highest point and the makeshift ski-slope that used to be the golf course! As we walk slowly on our way we smile and meet many other people doing the same thing, making the most of this very unusual weather. In the afternoon we come home and warm up with hot chocolate and comfort food like stew, waiting for us in the oven, making the house smell delicious as we fall through the front door in a tangle of hats, gloves and wellies! We fall quickly into bed in the evening nursing aching legs {I think that may just be Pete & I} and rosy red cheeks, hoping that when we pull the curtains back in the morning the snow will still be there and we can do it all over again!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

tag...

I was tagged by Ella...

Open the 6th picture folder on your computer, open the 6th photo and blog it. Write something about it. Then tag 6 more people to do the same

Well my sixth folder is a temporary one filled with pictures we had taken by a professional photographer Laura Leighton back in 2006. She had sent me some low res proofs to choose which ones I liked and this one was among them and not one that we chose in the end! Ted spent the whole session with his hand in his mouth and Alfie just wouldn't stay still, some things never change! I am looking at them now wondering why we disguarded it and some of the others too...!

Right now to tag six more peeps... I choose Melissa, Susannah, Nicole, Joanne, Stefani and another Susanna!

Friday, 6 February 2009

play...

"through observing and helping in the home, the child will start to reflect what he knows in his play"
You are your child's first teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Both my boys love nothing better than imitating our daily life through play. From an early age they have had brooms, dustpan and brushes and spades to play with. They are always ready to 'help' when I do housework too as it has always been part of their lives as much as mine. We have taken this approach with food too and our eldest has always helped prepare the meal and set the table, the youngest, to be honest, is a little less interested! They love the rituals, being treated the same as an adult and have 'grown up' cups {I use expresso cups, better for little hands}. I love taking a step back and listening to them, repeating the words I say to them as they play.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

burrow...

That night, and for many nights
after, the Velveteen Rabbit slept
in the boy's bed.

Soon, he grew to like it, for the
Boy made nice tunnels for him
under the bedclothes that he
said were like the burrows the
real rabbits lived in.

When the boy dropped of to
sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle
close all night
long.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

the votes have been counted...

and the results of my January readers poll have revealed...

41% of readers are from the USA
27% are British
9% Australia
8% Canada
& 12% other

what does this tell me? Well there are more Brits than I imagined, as blogging hasn't taken off here like it has in the US. With the majority being from outside the UK it has made me think about language, will I change my 'voice'? NO! but I will smile as I write trousers instead of pants, jam instead of jelly and chocolate instead of candy. The great thing about blogs is that it's not the language, spelling or country you live in, it's the comfort of finding the things you have in common wherever you live in the world. The world of blogging for me has made the world a much smaller place and I have learned a lot about other countries and cultures. I have looked on maps to find out where people live and ultimately blogging has made me want to travel to far off places and to meet people and the places they talk about and photograph. So thank you all - you continue to inspire and teach me every day...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

chest of drawers...

... this is a corner of my bedroom that I don't quite know what to do with. I inherited the chest of drawers from my grandmother, it is black and I hated it as a child and thought it such an ugly piece of furniture. I think it is beautiful now and although I'm not a fan of black furniture it goes with the black wrought iron bed.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Sunday, 1 February 2009

eggs-cellent!

I am a huge fan of Poppy Treffry's work and would love to own one of her pieces, maybe the tractor handbag or a flouncy bag of my own and I love all of the cosies. I have had a go at making an egg cosy myself, based on her fantastic who's the daddy? design, with a view to making a few more as easter gifts and because we love hard boiled eggs and soldiers in this house!

The one above is made with 100% linen, lined with a brushed cotton and lightly padded with natural wool to really keep those eggs snug as a bug. This one is a little wonky as everything I do is hand-stitched {still no machine} so packed with quirky imperfections! They should get better with practice!
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