Something Old: The Dolls House.

Happy holidays folks!

Heavens to Betsy if it isn’t mid August already! This is usually where my mind runs over all the rambling stuff and spouts off about how I’ve not blogged in an age and all the stuff we’ve done and you all get bored and don’t bother reading the actual point about this post.

So I’m going to skip that bit…

Today, on the way home from a soft play morning (it’s raining and I needed a time out) we stopped at the local Dolls House shop. Actually we drove past like I normally have for the past 7 years and I suddenly though, hey! I want to go in!

My Dolls House, my favourite waste of money pre small people, is a 5 story, Georgian, elegant, thing of beauty (if you like that sort of thing!). Mr. K bought it for me in the days when we were endlessly trying to have a family. I’d always wanted one and this one called to me across the show room. I lavished hours on it.  It had pride of place in the front room and can be seen in some of the photo’s of me with our first precious new bundle nearly seven years ago.   It was much too big to remain in the lounge once we had baby stuff to deal with and it got relegated to the hall.  After a few years of getting a bit battered out there we moved it to the garage extension where it currently keeps a check on the ironing mountain (ie: Prevents it from getting any bigger due to it limiting the clutter surface available to me.)

I’m spending a bit more time in the garage extension these days as this is where my new Piggleys (The guinea pigs Dusty and Smudge) reside.  I think, perhaps, that this is why its been on my mind. And lets face it, with a nearly seven year old daughter, its a great time to get back into the hobby (on a much cheaper scale!) She claims to want her own for her birthday, she seems keen! I’m loving the idea of heading off with her to visit Dolls House shows and shops and displays *big cheesey mummy grin*. Last time I went to a Dolls House Show she was in a pushchair and an only child.

So we bought a set of bowls today and when we got home we got out all the pretty little things I put away in draws years ago and put the back in their places. To see where I am…

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The outside is the most battered, bless it. Three of the posts had been pulled off along with the right hand railing. The left hand basement is loose *big sad face* I might need a carpenter for that! (Smiles sweetly at Mr. K). The balcony is, I hope, in a draw somewhere and the roof never did get finished…

It’s no. 1970 (Ha! wonder why?) on it’s street, although I haven’t found a street plaque I like enough yet. The name of the house is The Rowans. The plaque at the top of the basement stairs says “Beware of the Dog”.

There is an side area to the basement which is perfect for a small gardening area.

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I made the roses myself.  The caldron sits outside the kitchen door, this needs some pebbles made to sit in it, just like the one i remember from my grandparents garden when I was small. The terracotta hanging baskets used to be stuck to the wall, as did the home made bird feeder just out of sight to the right of the table.

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My home made roses that need dusting (*cusses at the iphone’s inability to focus on the minature*)

The hall at the top of the stairs by the front door has a black metal spiral staircase which sadly got damaged during one of it’s moves. You can see the hole Mr.K made for it here, the plaque says “Duck or Grouse”

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The hall way lamp makes me smile because I know even I’d bang my head on that 😉

Oh… There are no dolls in my house, it’s my house, not some weirdo in ill fitting clothing made of wax. There are animals though.

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I have some terracotta tiles to lay in the kitchen, which is in the basement. I’m on the look out for an old farm kitchen style table and chairs to go in the gap. (Maybe, I’m not certain the kitchen units are right.) and of course it all needs a move about to fit when the staircase gets fixed *sigh* so much to do, so little time/money…

I love little food, cakes always look so scrummy!

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The blue and white bowls are todays purchase… Something New & Blue 😉

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and I love the mousetrap…

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The room next to the kitchen did get started, it’s going to be a wine cellar with a posh glass front. I may also make an alarm panel and a thermostat!

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The whole house is a project requiring love.

I have a few more pictures of the other floors I may blog sometime, if you are lucky!

Little Boxes… Days 2 & 3

Where does the time go when you are having fun!

So… Its been raining a bit eh? That’s why there were only 2 “out day” boxes….

Day 2

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In case you can’t see, the picture is a teddy with a sore paw.

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Inside the box they found a hospital set of equipment, bandages, plasters, medicine spoons and a medicine syringe and the new Doc McStuffins DVD from disney. (This isn’t a review, I bought that because they love it!)

We had a large piece of cardboard which we drew the inside of the hospital on and the teddies all got put to bed and nursed back to health.

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With the 2 hour video and teddies breaking limbs and falling ill all over the place, this game lasted all day!

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It’s still raining but hey ho off we go! In this box they found a rubber duckie!

A local garden centre has a large lake, in the lake are huge carp, hence the box picture, we didn’t see any because they will be deep in the warmer water… But the ducks were really keen to see us!!

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A little too keen for my Sons liking as the nibbled his fingers!

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Gotta go now as the Day 4 trip needs to happen!!

Little Boxes… Day One

It’s here! The much looked forward to half term, time to relax and enjoy my small people whilst chasing around like an idiot! Half term is exhausting! How to teachers do it? I think the answer to that is training and preparation, so with that in mind and no training what so ever, preparation is my key to sanity.

My plan, now cunningly put into action, was to make 5 boxes, one for each day of the holiday with an activity/trip inside the box.

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Each box has a clue on the outside and the type of weather they can be opened in, the forecast today was snow, definitely a indoor kinda day, until it’s lying on the ground in a pristine blanket.

So, once they were fed, dressed and we had done a 10 minute tidy up and vacuum they chose a box.

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I think the beloved daughter swayed her brothers choice, she’s the crafter, the one who likes to stick and make but they both agreed, which is always a blessing.  This is what they found in the box.

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Hole punches and an origami set.

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So we punched and folded and had fun with paper for a few hours.

 

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Whilst it rained, then snowed outside…

After lunch they watched Cbeebies programs they hadn’t seen for months as they are now both at school, with such relish! Then they stuck and punched a little more and we made hedgehogs from bread dough.

 

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I’m really thrilled that today was such a huge success! Roll on box number 2!

Little Boxes of wonderment…

What happened to holidays being a restful time to recuperate? I suppose most of them are but Christmas? No… Not a chance. I’ve been especially worried just recently by my daughters lack of bounce. She was hit by a nasty cough just before the end of term and all over the holidays had one bug after another, a burst eardrum and sickness. We had to cancel a couple of days out and yet with the tide of excitement that Christmas and New Year brings there was no respite. Returning to school after the holiday she looked pale and exhausted. She’s not the only one, a lot of her class mates look lacking in their usual exuberance, it was one of those holidays where the activities and excitement along with illness just didn’t give them the chance to recover.

It’s three and a half weeks to half term and I’m wishing the time away, I want them home in the warm, recovering, taking it easy, getting the bounce back! So I’ve been thinking (it doesn’t always hurt *chuckles*) I need to come up with a plan to keep them occupied, yet not go too mad on the running around bit. February isn’t known for its marvelous weather so with that in mind I’m thinking pajama and duvet days, movies and popcorn. That of course, will last 2 hours *rolls eyes* so my strategy needs to provide them with interest each day for the 5 days Daddy is working.

So here it is…

I’m going to get 5 boxes, each with a theme on the wrapping outside and a picture of the weather, we ought to have a bit of fresh air on a good day! I shall let them pick which box they want to do each day and in the box will be a selection of activities. A film, a craft, building castles out of furniture and blankets, a toy suggestion or similar. In the good weather box we could go duck feeding or bike riding etc… You get the picture right?

I can’t help wondering if my control freakery has gone into overdrive with this plan, (there is a chance of course I wont carry it through) I do know it’s lessening the worry I have for her knowing I have a plan forming. That must be a good thing!

I’ll try and keep you updated on progress.

 

 

Bluebell Wood

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We are heading off on a round robin of visits this weekend, it occurred to me that I might just need to take my phone. Modern technology is so incredible isn’t it.

So, this is a bit of a test post and a bit of a ‘I love Bluebells post’.

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Now I shall run off to the lap top and see if it works….

The Tip of the Pink Iceberg

Dear Other Mothers of Daughters…

We all sit precariously on the tip of an iceberg, it’s dangerous up here but at least the view is pretty, unlike the minefield that I allocate to being a mother of boy’s, that’s a bit of a mud magnet; No, the view is pretty, so much more pink and sparkly from up here…

I’m just starting to feel the fear though… My daughter is 5, she has just started school and this term it is “Ohhhh Sooooo Booooring!” apparently this is the term where they get that it’s going to last forever and they have to do as they are told and it’s tough titty.

Then, this morning we had the jumper row. We have had a few tiffs over what clothes she wears, she needs guidance in the world of stripes and patterns and still has her fathers ability to pick the twp colours that clash the most whilst dressing; loud is good you know.  The school sweatshirt is a row that has been brewing for quite a while. Until today it has been cast aside every morning with protestation but today she’s sniffling a bit and complained of the cold so I told her she had to wear it.

“But it’s horrible!” The nose wrinkles and the curls shake.

“It’s not horrible, it’s just uniform, the other girls wear it. All the children wear it. You need it to keep you warm.” Mummy is using her reasonable voice, this should really act as a warning to any child, it never works though…

“S**** never wears her’s, nor does M****!!”

“That is up to their Mummies, I know for a fact the other girls do.”

“But it’s horrible!!!” Foot stomping ensues…

“You need to wear it all day otherwise you will get ill and not be able to go to school at all!” She seems to be calculating this… “You will have to stay in bed all day, no wii, no telly and I have jobs to do.” Dire threats indeed.

“I will take it off in school though.”

“If you keep it on all day I will find you some chocolate.”

“OoooooKaaaaaay.” Down turned mouth and grumbles but the jumper is on.

All the way to school I got, “I hate this jumper it’s horrible. I want a cardi like…” so and so…

When she got out the car and saw her little friends to show her Hello Kitty scarf, hat and gloves set off to she forgot all about the horrid jumper, we shall see if it stays on but I have come through my first clothing row relatively unscathed. I must remember to tell Grandma not to tell the story about turning her school waist band over 6 times to get a mini skirt in the ’60’s…

 

I was amazed the other week when she started using the shower on her own, I mean, I get to turn it on and put the mat down but she gets on with playing washing herself. I was happily putting the laundry away when I realised she had been in there 30 minutes.

“It’s time to get out!”

“One more minute!”

Ten minutes later…

“It’s time to get out!!!!”

“One more minute!!!”

Mummy turns the electric off, shower goes cold.

“Aw Mum!!”

I thought I has at least another 7 years before we got to bathroom hogging… not so. Then there is the flaming lip gloss make up muck and little pink sparkly make up sets… So far I have put my foot down firmly NO. but it’s only a matter of time, society seems to want my baby to grow up too fast so it can sell her products, well hear this society, this Mum is going to fight back a little! I realise it’s a fruitless endeavor and in the end she will do the things all girls do, that somewhere in the dim and distant past her mother did before her, it’s a delay tactic, I will let you know if it works…

So Dear other mothers of daughters… any advise from the tip of your own personal iceberg?

Got a cold bottom yet? 😉

 

 

 

 

Children Are Made Readers…

One of my most enduring memories of my childhood must be the image of my Mum sat on the sofa with a book. She is still, as she has always been, a huge reader. I’m not sure she is ever without a book she’s reading, except perhaps in that little lull you get when finishing a great story where your mind just wants to absorb what you have read and relive parts before moving on to the next.

As children we always had books. I have some of my favourites still, my Dad used to be able to read ‘The Trouble with Timothy’ without looking at the words and Mum and I are still searching for a penguin classic copy of “Ned the Lonely Donkey” & “The Discontented Pony.”

We have books as a family which I feel is like passing on an inheritance to my children, one of these being “Snow”

My step sister was given this book, pre becoming my step sister but we all grew up with it and I loved it, so much so I’ve purchased a copy for each of our families, my daughter has a copy which sits next to my new favourite “Tiddler” by Julia Donaldson, along with several of her others, Julia’s books are always a pleasure to read.

This week we started a new journey as a family, the journey into learning to read. I’ve had some mixed thoughts over the last term concerning this new adventure, perhaps they are the same as every other Mothers, perhaps not… I will share them with you and you can tell me.

I don’t often sit with a book, in the corner of the sofa like my Mother does. I’m there with my laptop of course, bashing away at the keys or, yes, reading something on it,  but it’s not a physical book.  We also have an Ipad and due to the way the world is, I have started reading the odd ‘book’ on that. That is all very well but it isn’t going to encourage my children to pick up one of their books… no, it’s all Angry Birds. We do have several educational games on the Ipad and she loves those too but it’s just not the same as wallowing in a bed covered in books. Perhaps I need to alter my behaviour…

As I grew I developed a love of books, I love the weight in my hands, the smell of the paper. Libraries and book shops are a treasure trove of wonder for me, I need to think of how I pass this love on to my children. It’s important to me.

School have been busy with the phonics, they seem to be taking a really sensible approach to it to be honest, they are doing a letter a week and really getting involved with it. It seems a more  thorough approach then some of the schools I’ve been hearing about, throwing 2 ‘sounds’ a week at R2 children, (but y’know I’m no teacher) apart from being rather over awed by all the motions and sounds (yes, me. She seems to take it in her stride 😉 ) I’m liking what I’m seeing. This is of course alongside numeracy, topics, pe, cooking and so much else my mind spins!

I was very concerned that she would have to coast wait while some of the others catch with her, she is the oldest in her class and a bright button.  Her nursery started sending her home with books over a year ago, she has already done the level of book that school is now supplying her with. This week she came home with one she has read before; but as she herself explained to me after just 2 weeks at school “Mummy, we know I can do this don’t we but Mrs ——- says I need to prove to her I can!” Which I guess is fair enough, it makes me think ‘Where’s the fire.’ as long as she is not bored and feels she is learning something and is happy at school she can learn at their pace. I can happily say this because I know that I personally will not be stopping reading our books at home together and encouraging her to try… Because I want to make sure they can’t just read; but do it well and become ‘readers’ and that is my task, isn’t it.

So here we enter the world of Biff, Chip and Kipper… I’m wondering if choosing pretty names for my children was an error 😉

And I’d hate to be a pushy Mother. Surely this way, with the slow and steady approach, there is no way we might miss something along the way. Is it not better to be  thorough?  To ensure she covers everything and totally understands each stage, rather then racing ahead just because we can?

I’m hoping that I’m the type of parent that whilst I’m not too pushy, encourages positively.  Because while I appreciate that childhood is a critical time for learning lessons which will set them up for their whole lives, it’s also the most magical and awe inspiring time of there lives too, this wonderful time of being loved and cared for, for playing and discovering, before all the pressure starts with exams, jobs, mortgages, life goals and all the other things that humans find to complicate our lives and make ourselves ‘happy’.

The New Girl…

I’d forgotten this feeling.

The loitering at the back of the crowd trying to be unnoticed feeling because you are the new girl, the nervously making conversation with other nervous looking newbies too…

I never liked it much and I’m pleased that it will probably not last long.

Last Friday, standing on a small patch of grass outside school waiting for collection time I heard one of the other Mum’s say “Well this is me for the next 11 years!” and my heart did a flip! It’s eight years for me, the little man starts school next September. Blige I thought, she’s right.

Quite a few of the Mum’s already know each other well, they are scattered through the villages around the school and have children the same age – obviously. They seem a happy bunch and very pleasant to chat too although I do feel like an invading ‘Townie’ I guess by large that is because I am.

The Dad’s loiter at the back too looking rather shifty and uncomfortable, so it’s not a bad place to be 😉

So we are cutting ourselves a little routine these two weeks of half days, flying out of the door at the last minute as ever, although the last minute is half an hour earlier then we needed to leave last year.  We park up on a handy verge somewhere and either play car roulette in the tiny country lane with the other parents as they arrive to drop off or charge down the cutest little ‘no vehicles allowed’ lane to the school where we bustle ourselves into the cloakroom and get the Little Lady settled at a table then my little chap and I charge off at full throatle to get him to nursery back in town. It’s all go you know!

And so this is the latest stage of my ever changing life, my role as Mummy the taxi driver has begun…

…but what about her? I can hear you asking… Well she loves it, adores her teacher, got a sticker today for “Being Good, Sitting Nicely and making the classroom Tip Top Tidy.”

No worries.

Moving into Week 2 with a clear head.

It’s Sunday and it’s been a great day.

Thanks to my understanding husband I’ve had some head-space today, I took the opportunity to dust the blinds and clean the front room windows.  Then I cleaned all the ornaments and re jigged our vast collection of books around the shelves a bit. It needed doing as my Bristol Blue glass was started to look like an archaeological find!

Doing chores like this so rarely reminds me that it would be easier if I did them more often, however I’m pretty well documented in my dislike of housework being #notadomesticgoddess I’d always rather be doing something more interesting and enjoyable with my time.  Like reading the wonderful article I found this morning via my new favourite website Advice to Writers  which was by Anne Lamott, it’s called “Turn off Twitter” in which she writes

at 80, will they be proud that they spent their lives keeping their houses cleaner than anyone else in the family did, except for mad Aunt Beth, who had the vapors? ……. but maybe accidentally forgot to be deeply and truly present for their kids, and now their grandchildren?

The main point of the article is about finding time to write, of course, why else was I reading it 😉 but squinting at the tiny screen of my HTC in bed this morning, reading this article, reminded me that with a little time management and some carefully employed entertainment for the smalls, I can find head-space in every day, if only for an hour.

During this quiet dust removing thoughtful activity it occurred to me that I might find it helpful to plot our course through the holiday with Diary type entries, they really don’t need to be very long, perhaps photographic or a few words here and there, it will give me a focus and the smalls something to get involved with too. Win/win? We will see. Now since I’m a blogger of sorts it seems natural to me to do that here. So I shall.

This is also a pivotal summer for us, my daughter starts school in September.  Putting the really tense battle to get her into the school I wanted for her behind us and moving on to this eventful day should be fabulous, she is more then ready to go and talks about her school or “when I go to school” daily.  I know she is going to change, to learn, be stretched, form friendships and perhaps opinions which are not the same as her parents, I’m looking forward to this with slight trepidation but I’m not going to be one of the clingy Mum’s crying in the playground.  She needs this. It’s another big step in the huge learning curve of making her a well informed independent young lady.

Excuse me while I have a wistful smile on my face for a few moments, I’d dearly love to keep her as a four year old for a few more years, the same as I’d love to be able to revisit the 10 month old her and have a cuddle and a nonsensical conversation like we once did. Sadly it’s not to be, all the more reason to keep a summer diary.

Knowing me I will forget, although I think it is important to make the time to do it, remind me to get on with it will you?

 

The Gallery : What I’m grateful for…

I’m so very totally and speechlessly grateful for my beautiful children… For all the hard work, noise, taxiing and nagging, they are supremely lovely, well behaved, gifted and loving.  My daughter dances like a angel and my son ‘huggles’ like a prince.

But you have seen them soooooooooooooooo many times! *yawn* so I thought I’d change the angle. Today (Tuesday 31st) my small people were given a camera for the first time. It’s Daddies birthday and we visited the New Forest Wildlife sanctuary, apart from arguing about who took what they did a pretty good job.

I present to you, today, a family outing as photographed by my children, who I am pride burstingly grateful for…

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Please take the time to visit The Gallery at Sticky Fingers (Wednesday)