Rushed days

Part of me dreads Mondays and Tuesdays as I spend so much time rushing around! But really once they are over and done with for the week I realise that it wasn’t so bad!

Maybe this week it is because yesterday wasn’t a rush at all.. we didn’t go to our friends house in the afternoon so actually only had the swimming lesson at midday and then nothing else all day. Well I say nothing else but all the kids all had some time on the computer, either on Reading Eggs or Khan Acadamy, and there was a good amount of playing with Lego, marble run and playmobil.

Today didn’t start terribly well as Thomas has been in a weird mood and by about 10am I’d ended up shouting at him for thumping Ben :-( He didn’t really improve all day to be honest and nothing I said or did made any difference. He really seems to be struggling to control his emotions at the moment and I am struggling to know how to help him.

When he is in a good mood however he is lovely!

Work-wise, this morning we all did some handwriting sheets and Jasmine did her French worksheet and a lesson on Reading Eggs. After lunch it was time for Thomas’ swimming lesson and again he did really well. His teacher is certain he can swim and it is just a confidence thing – I completely agree! So next week they are going to work on confidence with no floats, although I won’t remind Thomas of that just in case he gets too nervous.

After swimming the kids watched TV while I finished getting dinner ready, and after dinner it was time for Jasmine to go to Brownies. While she was there the boys tidied the toys and watched more TV. And then when we picked her up there was great excitement as she has the Brownie Bear! So now I have a week of photographing that everywhere we go ūüėČ


Alphabet Photography Project 3 | B is for



This has to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever enjoyed a BBQ.. overlooking Perranporth Beach, just a few steps from the caravan we were staying in. We thought we’d missed the chance for a BBQ on holiday as we forgot to pack our camping BBQ and the weather wasn’t great either. But we had one amazing sunny day and spotted this BBQ on our way back from the beach. It was a perfect way to end what had already been a wonderful day :-)

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Meal Planning Monday 5th October 2015

October already .. time to get the stews and casseroles going again! Luckily most of us here love a good veggie stew so I rarely get complaints! I also finally got round to testing my slow cooker this week (after I set it on fire on Christmas day last year!) Gordon fixed it months ago but I haven’t got round to checking it until now. It all works fine and cooked us a lovely soup on Friday, so I will be utilising it this week on the days I am normally rushing to get everyone fed at a decent time!

Here is what we’ll be eating this week:

Monday – Bean Stew

Tuesday – Quorn Sausage and vegetable casserole

Wednesday – Fajitas

Thursday – Toad in the hole

Friday – Quorn sausage paella

Saturday – Pasta crumble

Sunday – Veggie sausage rolls, potato wedges, beans/veg



No day the same

Friday¬†was much better than anticipated on Thursday¬†night with the sicky child! When she woke up the first thing Jasmine said to me was “I’m much better now”.. and she was correct! She was absolutely fine all day, so I have no idea what it was all about on Thursday¬†but thankfully it wasn’t anything major (or even minor really!)

Friday morning was taken over with maths and Reading Eggs. All three kids did some maths workbook sheets.. still the simple stuff and number writing practice but they all enjoy it and it really is helping them all. Thomas did a Reading Eggspress lesson. In the afternoon we went into Sutton for some shopping, including a few Halloween and Christmas bits from the 99p/£1 shops. Back at home Jasmine and Ben did a few minutes on Khan Acadamy before dinner.

On Saturday we took the opportunity to get outdoors while the weather is still warm. In the morning the kids all did some junk modelling and Jasmine did a Reading Eggs lesson but then after lunch (of delicious homemade onion squash and lentil soup) we went to Box Hill for a walk around the Play Trail.

Box Hill 1Box Hill 2Box Hill 3It was lovely to get outdoors and enjoy the last of (a very late) summer. The kids are all so confident and competent at clambering over, climbing up or balancing on logs and trees these days. At the end of our walk we treated ourselves to hot chocolate from the cafe before heading home, and the rest of the day was spent playing and watching TV.

Today has been another shopping day. We went into Sutton again for just two or three bits and ended up spending over three hours there, including a McDonalds lunch! But Ben got much needed new trainers, Thomas got a winter coat, I got some new exercise trainers and clothes, the kids all got new books (Happy Meal Roald Dahl ones plus the ¬£1 Happy Meal/WHSmiths ones) and we got the potatoes and face wash we’d actually gone in for! A successful trip all round I think ūüėČ

And now the kids are playing in the garden while Gordon tries to replace the log roll around one of the borders. Tomorrow it will rain,  so today they are making the most of it being warm (ish!)

Goodbye September, Hello October

Two very different days again. Yesterday morning we had two additional children here for the morning as we take them to forest school. In complete comparison to last week where all the five played really nicely together, yesterday was quite a lot harder. My three were all in an argumentative mood and the two additions found it hard to get along together too .. sibling war all round!

It started off OK and they all worked together to build a den from chairs and blankets, but then they couldn’t agree who sat where. They played a game involving saving the world and were all using toy swords to fight off the baddies, until the baddies became each other and hitting began. Eventually it all settled down and the littlest two played with Playmobil while the bigger three did some drawing and writing and spent some time playing upstairs.

When I dropped them all off at forest school after lunch I forego my usual walk around Nonsuch Park in favour of a sit down with daytime TV and a cup of coffee back at home ūüėČ

After forest school we came home and watched the new Thomas the Tank Engine DVD for the second time this week, had dinner on time and the kids were all in bed before 8.30pm.

Today was an altogether quieter day – apart from the odd temper tantrum from Ben this morning.. by mid morning though calm had been returned. Jasmine went on Reading Eggs and completed lesson 116. Her reading is really coming on now! Thomas did some Khan Acadamy maths and then once he’d done enough of that he asked to do some maths worksheets as well! Ben and Jasmine played with the Zuzu’s upstairs.

1stOctThis afternoon we went to our home education group and the kids all joined in with the science .. making junk model boats and seeing what load of jenga blocks different shape of boat could carry. Such a perfect experiment for my three. Ben spent ages there!

When we got back home Jasmine did some Khan Acadamy maths and Thomas did a couple more pages from his workbook. They are only dong really simple stuff at the moment but even after two weeks I am noticing a difference in their basic maths knowledge. They could always do simple addition and subtraction etc, but now the knowledge is right there and they don’t have to work it out each time :-)

And then just as I nipped upstairs to the bathroom before I started dinner, Jasmine was sick :-( I have no idea what brought it on as she was fine just 60 seconds before! She was also fine afterwards and assured me she wanted dinner. So she made her muffin pizza with the rest of us and did a good job of eating most of it too, before deciding she felt sick again. We had a bit of warning this time so I managed to get her upstairs in time. She was also sick just before bed. I do hope it isn’t a bug.. she doesn’t have a temperature or any other symptoms so fingers crossed. But just in case there is any more, she has gone to bed with a bowl!


I feel like a taxi driver! Seriously, my days seem to be spent driving my kids from one activity to the next!

I think I am feeling it more today because Thomas had his first swimming lesson this afternoon, adding another drive to my days! We’ve booked private lessons for Thomas because I don’t think he would cope well in a group yet. All he needs is to build up his confidence and he’ll be swimming, but he needs one-to-one. And as if to confirm this, in his half hour lesson today he did indeed do some swimming by himself with no float! He loved the lesson, loved his instructor and is very happy with the whole thing :-)

But because of the timing of the lesson it gives me less then an hour from getting home to getting dinner on the table so Jasmine has time to eat before going to Brownies! I just need to remember it is all worth it!

Back to the rest of the week so far though. On Sunday we met up with friends at Garsons Farm PYO. In the past couple of years we have been to Garsons loads over the summer months but this year we went once right at the start of the season but haven’t been back since. Every time I looked at crop availability there were fields closed for regrowth, so it never seemed worth going. But another friend went last week and said it was still really good so we decided on a last minute trip. And she wasn’t wrong! They still have so much fruit and veg available it seems like the middle of summer, not the start of autumn! We spent three hours there and got onions, carrots, runner beans, spinach, beetroot, sweetcorn, onion squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, apples, blackberries and plums!

GarsonsAfterwards we went back to our friends house for a BBQ – making it seem even more like a summers day. If only the evenings were still warm hey!

Yesterday Jasmine and Ben had their swimming lesson in the morning, They both did well again, better than last week I think :-) They both did some brilliant floating and swimming on their backs – ears in the water and everything! Still with armbands though. Jasmine did tell the instructor that I don’t think you can learn to swim using armbands (that will teach me to air my thoughts in front of her!) and the instructor told her that while she agrees, because she isn’t in the water with them they have to be confident going under water before she will let them take them off. Oh well. She did get Jasmine to take them off at the end of the lesson and asked her to try swimming by herself. And she did try, bless her. But in the group situation with the teacher on poolside its just not as easy, especially with Jasmine who isn’t terribly confident or even good at listening/taking instruction. So she soon had her armbands back on. I’ve tried telling her that it is all about trying and if you go under you get up and try again. I do wish we could afford private lessons for her as well.. the group lessons will be much, much better once they can swim unaided.

After swimming we did the usual rush home for shower and lunch before going to Caterpillar Tales house for an HE afternoon. We did Chemistry – making invisible inks. The kids all loved it! We even made an iodine solution to develop one of the invisible inks.. now that was fun (and, like, proper real chemistry!) We even got them writing some of the experiments up afterwards.


This morning we did some more HE – handwriting and Reading Eggs, Thomas had his swimming lesson as mentioned, and Jasmine ended the day at Brownies .. busy busy!

Meal Planning Monday 28th September 2015

Last week went well meal-wise. It was nice to be back into routine and (mostly) things went smoothly. I was also reminded how well the kids eat when food is prepared from fresh ingredients and home cooked. They really do eat so much better, Jasmine in particular!

My birthday treat was a chinese takeaway on Saturday. It is ages since we’ve had one and I really enjoyed it! Our plan for Sunday changed at the last minute as well when we were invited to a friends house for a BBQ.. well the sun was shining so it seemed a waste of possibly our last BBQ opportunity of the year if we didn’t go!

So this weeks meal plan was easy to start .. yesterdays roast dinner was enjoyed today! Other than that, this is what our week looks like:

Monday – Quorn roast dinner

Tuesday – Quorn meatballs, spaghetti, tomato & vegetable sauce, garlic bread

Wednesday – Quorn sausage, mash, veg

Thursday – English muffin pizza

Friday – Macaroni cheese (for everyone but me – I’m going out for dinner!)

Saturday – Quorn Korma

Sunday – Meadow Pie


Alphabet Photography Project 3 | A is for ..


AWe were at Garsons Farm on Sunday and spotted this spider enjoying a bit¬†of lunch by the blackberries we were picking. I’m not a huge fan of arachnids really, but even I braved getting close enough to photograph this .. there was something so mesmerising about it.

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Up’s and down’s

After the busy-ness of Wednesday and Thursday it has been nice over the last two days to take things a little easier. Yesterday morning I went to a friends house for her Macmillan Coffee Morning. It was a lovely morning and¬†I enjoyed cake and cups of tea in relative peace while the kids played at home with daddy. In the afternoon we needed to go to the Chinese supermarket to pick up some ingredients for our dinner.. and this is where things went wrong. The kids obviously weren’t in the mood for shopping and were, in all honesty, horrible. It was so bad in fact that we left without half the things we needed!

Back at home and things didn’t really improve much and at any given point for the next couple of hours someone was either shouting or crying. Jasmine went upstairs quite upset, so I sat in bed with her until she had calmed down. I’m sure every household has times like that but even knowing that doesn’t make it easier! Anyway, once she had calmed down I decided it was time to approach the topic of the books I had bought for her recently, about growing up. She has been showing signs of this for a few months, with mood swings and other things, so I had been waiting for the right time to talk to her. She got very excited about having “special books” just for her and we had a good chat about the start of puberty and what she can expect to happen to her. I didn’t go into too much depth as I want to take it slow, but she was so keen and interested in it all I think we’ll end up covering more over the next few days.

The day did end much better though and Gordon managed to pull together a pretty good semi-chinese meal and then the kids did 15 minutes of Khan Acadamy each before bed.

Today is my birthday! So at breakfast I opened my cards and present. The kids (Gordon!) bought me a speaker/dock for my phone so I can listen to music in the kitchen while I’m cooking :-) After breakfast I managed to get all three kids to the table to do some written maths work. We are working through some very simple maths to begin with, mostly practicing writing numbers and going over simple maths facts. Thomas and Ben completed three sheets and Jasmine flew through four. Once they’d finished Jasmine and Thomas went on Khan Acadamy for 10/15 minutes each too while Ben did some wipe-clean alphabet sheets and activity books (his choice!)


In the middle of our work session Gordon had been to collect his sister from the train station – she is over from Canada and visited us today. The kids spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon showing Aunty Laura their great paper aeroplanes, until we nipped to the shops for a few bits including more birthday presents for me! (I got a new phone case)

Later in the afternoon we went to Messy Church where the kids decorated cakes, played in a tuff spot with compost and plastic animals, and joined in a  game of football. And the day ended, once the kids had gone to bed, with a Chinese takeaway as my birthday treat :-)

It’s been busy

It’s been a busy two days.. or it certainly feels that way anyway as I am shattered!

Yesterday morning we had two additional children here to play before Forest School. Luckily they all play nicely together and their morning was spent with cars, trains and Lego. They also all managed some quiet time colouring in. They kept each other busy and, other than a couple of minor disagreements that needed sorting out, I pottered around doing housework and laundry.

We had an early lunch that should have left plenty of time to get to Forest School for 1pm, but I still managed to be ten minutes late!

After Forest School we went back to our friends house, where they spent another hour playing together and with some other friends who were also there – this time it was outside on the trampoline and inside with Lego.

Back at home for dinner and TV before bed.

Today was a quieter start. The boys played while Jasmine went on Reading Eggs. At midday we picked up some friends and I took six children to our HE group. Jasmine and Thomas had a trial session of French today and they loved it.. Thomas came out calling “Bonjour Mum” across the room! After French they all did some Science – exploring density using marshmallows and water. And then it was back to the important business of play.


This evening just before bed time we managed to squeeze in 10ish minutes for each child on Khan Acadamy. They all love it! And I am amazed by Ben’s maths knowledge.. it seems to have come from nowhere! Only eighteen months¬†ago we were beginning to work¬†on numbers 1-10 and then today (after no input from me for several months) he recognised numbers up to 100 and managed to “fill in the missing number” 89, and correctly type it in, on a 100 square all by himself! He is also amazingly quick with addition and subtraction! He astounds me!