A brief spattering

We had a little bit of snow, not much at all, enough to create much excitement!

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It’s the fastest I’ve ever managed to get the little lady out of bed! She spent ages in the garden playing with the snow before school.  The little man is not so keen but got carried away by his sisters enthusiasm.

The school run was a trauma, the council don’t grit the road leading to school and its rather steep in places.  We had icy conditions with cars sliding and traffic backed up rather fast.  It was my day for traffic management, so I left my car at the top of the hill and walked down with the smalls. I was pleased I did! Ours is only a small school but everyone drops off in 20 minutes, its usually a well oiled machine but ungritted roads are a bit of a nightmare. A little bit of snow causes so much havoc in the UK but I still love it to bits!

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We had to pause to take a picture of the snowdrops, it’s become rather a tradition, the first flowers poking their head out after the dullness of December, it’s the hope of new life they bring.  We stop, huddled together and proclaim over them every year.  Beautiful.

I hope you are staying warm and safe and enjoying the snow (or your own weather) wherever you are!!

2014? No, seriously?

So here we all are, 2014…. It’s well underway already and has started well in our little corner of the world. So far, we are doing okay. *touch wood*

The year of the Horse… The international year of family, farming and crystallography!

The year is unfurling in front of us, as it always seems to do once you get past silly season. We have thought about holidays, discussed caravans and cars, locations. Got confused about where the first week of summer should be spent (Cornwall or Wales, I’d like to do both but they are both happening the same week!) Considered plans for evening entertainments, It seems that the small people are of a ‘scouting’ age. I’ve signed the little lady up for Brownies and the little man is chatting about beavers, he’s still a little young but almost there. The little lady is practicing hard for her Orange belt, the grading is set for April, she and himself have bought a kick bag to practice with.

I’m thinking of ‘sausage inna bun’ nights and perhaps a souper Sunday get together! I’m looking forward to a party in March for a 60th and wondering if himself and I might get the prospect of a child free weekend and if so, what to do.

Chinese New Year is almost upon us, one of the little ladies close friends is from China, in past years we have had parties and lanterns, red envelopes and Chinese crafts. It’s always a fun time.

2014 sees the approach of the Winter Olympics, a firm favourite in this house, especially the skeleton. The smalls loved the 2012 Olympics and all the excitement it generated. It will be their first Winter Olympics they are old enough to watch and enjoy. Russia is a fascinating place, I’m looking forward to discussions of culture, vodka, weather and much more as I’m sure there will be topics at school and much coverage.

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Pancake day seems late this year, march 4th, we don’t need an excuse for pancakes in this house, we love them, I think we may have to do a few trial runs 😉

And soon, before we know where we are, the snowdrops will raise their gentle heads, followed by crocuses, then daffodils….

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Some friends of our left for the US of A today, there have been tears. I’ve managed to hold back the floods in the face of my friends wobbly lipped braveness but the little lady has balled her heart out. We’ve installed skype on my iPad so she can gossip to her friend across the Atlantic. I have put CST time into my world clock, I can tell we are going to have some issues explaining that one! Anyway… We wish them well on their adventure and we will see you soon!

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!

I. Can. Jump. Hiiiiiiiiggggghhhhheestttt!!!!

Confounding weather….

We had such a busy weekend. It was the school craft sale! I’ve been madly crocheting away at things to sell since February for last Saturday and I sold a few things, which was more than I expected! Sunday was a wash out here, Mr.K managed to rig up a tent to carry on sanding down the rusting heap MGB roadster outside and the little man decided he needed to have his scooter put down to two wheels.

So, by the time my daughter had finished with Gardening Club this evening we all NEEDED to get a blast of spring air and to put in to play our ‘Home Sports Evening’ plan for the Mark Warner Holidays Active Family Challenge!!!

This week is

Week 3 (20th – 26th May)

Get sporty – active family healthy competition!

We had a brief conference about this one. We are (so far) a football free family, I appreciate that might change as the little man gets bigger but Mr.K is totally a petrol head. GP, Moto GP, two or four wheels, he doesn’t seem to care, as long as it’s charging around a circuit and there is (apparently) some skill involved, he’s happy…  I’m happy to keep it like that, so football was out. My daughter would have adored Go Carting, I remember what a speed freak she was on the pedal tractors last year. I’m not sure my nerves could take it!

I asked the small people “What would you like to do for a ‘home sports day?'” and they answered “LETS GO TO THE PARK!” Which is actually a pretty standard answer in this house.

So we went to the park…

There were five of us in the end, the little lady’s best friend and Mummy came too.

They scooted all the way there, the little lady was fastest. She is quite thoughtfully fearless when it comes to speed and has a great sense of balance. Unlike her brother who is cautious and has very little balance (and even less thought so I’m thrilled he is cautious!)Scooting on only two wheels was a first for the little lady’s friend, she did really well testing her balance and getting a feel for it.

All the recent mad sprouting of dandelions have now resulted in lots and lots of dandelion clocks, the race was on to see who could get the most seeds in the air at once! The little lady’s friend won that one…

Then we had, who could balance longest, can we balance better as a team, who can jump highest. Who can push the round-about fastest, who climbs the climbing wall quickest.

Then we had who can whinge the loudest about coming home again…. But that’s just fine because it means they had a good time.

Watch out for the tweets about our activities on twitter (@kailexness) using the tag #mwactive, you will also find the other bloggers taking part of the challenge through that tag.

So next week we ‘Enjoy a splash about ’ with some watery activity…

I must admit, I can wait!

Splish Splash Splosh!

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.

 

 

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’.

Silent Sunday


Silent Sunday

Summer Diary W5 D3 – Pizza Diversion!!

Wednesday.

So we are back from out hols, the washing mountain is leering at me from the bathroom (camping washing is always so smelly!) and the cupboards are stark with their deep scary hollow emptiness…

*sigh* Domestic servitude bliss is once again the theme of the day. (I’m writing this Friday after getting caught up on a submission with a deadline and the washing is still not all done and the car is not fully unpacked #fail) So I pootle off to the supermarket because starving children are frowned apon and hungry husbands whinge too much, with one eye open for entertainment for the little lady. (The little man was deprived of telly for 5 days and was stuck to Nick Jr. with his eyes on sticks)

There were no peas for podding, no little colouring books, the bubble wands were reduced to 28p but it was raining…

and then I found this…

Those fabulous people at Jus-rol do a pizza in a box!!! Perfect!

Yes, I know how to make pizza dough *rolls eyes* and yes, pasata would be cheaper but This Comes Ready In A Fabulous Popping Tube!!!! With the cutest little pot of sauce!!!! Squeeee!!

Honestly, it’s time for them to go back to school I’m going insane 😉

Look what she made!

Nom nom nom…

N.B this is NOT a sponsored post, just a very happy find 😀

Summer Diary W2 D3

This delightful mode of transport is called ‘The Noddy Train’.  I have no idea if that’s it’s real name but 3 generations of my husband’s family seem to think it is and that’s good enough for me. It runs from the car park at the bottom of The Broadway all along the Spit at Hengisbury, to a rather delightful little dwelling of impressively expensive beach huts and a stretch of pretty (if a little pebbly) beach.  It’s one of my favourite places on the south coast, the lane the train runs along is mostly tree lined with beautiful views of Christchurch harbour with the Cathedral in the distance, we used to often walk or cycle down it’s length, often with our old dog, to meet friends on the beach pre-children.  Sunbathing topless, drink warm beer and enjoying water skiing or do-nuting off the OH’s little speedboat (how times have changed!)

So yes, today the smalls and I collected the MIL and went off to the beach!

I think they assumed that we would either be taking the train or the cliff railway because the Little Lady’s face dropped when Nana said “The beach is just down that path.” and I had to butt in with “We will be going on the Noddy train Nana!”

After making sure everyone had visited the toilet (why do children insist on weeing at every toilet you pass? Even the mention of the T word has my two in a chorus of “I need a wee!”) we got in the train queue and waited with an undercurrent of excitement for our train ride, the way only small children can.

Bags stowed and small people away from the gaping hole that served as a door we bumped our way down the track to the beach, waving and saying hello to everyone we passed.

It really is a stunning place…

Once on the beach the Little Lady cast aside her clothes and threw herself at the sea, the Little Man was happy to dig and make mud pies.

We had lunch.

and built a “Mystery Sandcastle Mountain” which super hero’s live in (apparently)

and then had to sadly come home which caused a few tears, they perked up a bit when the Chippy was mentioned and after dinner they charged around on their scooters out the front while Daddy met one of his website car people.

Once again I’m the last person awake in the house, it’s cool and quiet and quite lovely; but you know that thing that happens when you spend all day yelling at the small people to “Keep your hat on” “Drink something!” “More sunblock! You don’t want to burn!” and totally forget to wear a hat, sun block or drink anything yourself? Yeah that…. Mummy is a lobster!

Summer Diary W2 D2

A slower start today *sighs with relief* the Little Man slept in until 7am!

We had arranged to meet a friend and her smalls in the park and so set about bundling our needs into a blue ikea bag, I did think twice about taking the wave boards but the Little Lady was insistent, I do a fairly good impression of a pack horse it has to be said.

After a mad couple of hours splashing around and a game of spot our friends in the supermarket, during which the Little Lady convinced me we needed to have a BBQ this evening, sausages were chosen (the ones Daddy likes) and finger buns, I managed to convince the Little Man we already had plenty of Ketchup, we got home in time for lunch.

Once home they did some ‘quiet drawing’…


and had lunch.

and then Mummy got brave and allowed finger painting!

A quick trip to the shops with Dad to buy coals gave me a breathing space, they came home with a new game of Connect 4, we found this in a pub recently and the smalls adored it.

The BBQ was lovely, the smalls love ‘sausage ina bun’ with the last of the home grown potatoes in a potato salad, the Little Lady diligently cut some chives for it from the pot in the garden and then snipped them like Katy does with Mummy’s big scissors.

So another day successfully negotiated, I find myself sitting quietly this evening as the OH has crashed out asleep, feeling quite calm. It’s been a good day.