Thursday, July 27, 2006

BBC - Skillswise

BBC - Skillswise - Homepage - Ace site! Ignore the fact it says it's for adults, it's perfect for kids too (about Yr3 upwards I'd say) - BRILL!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

School in Pictures,
because it's too hot to type much and I'm grumpy with the heat!
But I will say - Joel got 90% in his end of 'Grammar Skills' test today - I'm very pleased with him of course. It means he has remembered the majority of the year's work :-)
Abbie finished Earlybird Singapore today too - ready for 1A next year...not sure really...might have to do a bit more Miquon first, or I can see too much shouting on my part close up ahead!
Completed our plants project - YEAH!! At Last!! Now to assemble it all somehow...hmmm...that's a challenge!
Tommorrow - Weather to finish, plus last two pages of 'Write about my World', transitional 'Stile' books (one page of each book) and the last little bit of PM 2B, book 1. I Might let Boo go play with Phoebe (keep them out of my hair!), she's pretty much done really and even her handwriting is at a suitable stopping point for the year. Maybe just a little bit of maths spread about through the day - just to finish off the addition and subtraction section of Miquon red. That would take us up to multiplication, which would be a good 'revision' place to start back next term.
Turns out Jake has school on Thursday as well - poor little guy!

Phoebe beautiful colouring of Eddy's fish.
She really takes pride in her colouring and thinks about the colours. Notice the splashes of green on the side of the bowl - that's the algae that she always sees on the side of our tank!

Two strawberry cakes, one chocolate and one "rasperry,dark chocolate,strawberry, milk chocolate, orange and ribena" cake (notice the colours of the stripes on that last cake!)

Ellie hard at work with alphabet matching today
(this set was mine as a child!!)

All the 'school kids' hard at work.

Boo is playing on 'Arthurs reading games' and doing very well :)

Ellie still working on that puzzle...

Just look at the look on her face - such pride! :-)

As if that weren't enough of a challenge - on to the puzzles...

More gorgeous looks of achievement when she completed an eight piece puzzle all by herself :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Another Good One!

It all began nicely and ended nicely :-) Although we got off to a bit of a late start we still mananged to complete school work on time today. I think not having a playgroup run to do helped significantly of course. The kids are swimming through the tying up of loose ends stuff. I think we'll try to tie off 'plants' tommorrow morning and 'weather' in the afternoon, or maybe on Wednesday. Joel still has a couple of good activities I'd like him to do with that before he's done, but getting him to record anything is a bit tough at times. He's happy to do the experiments & activities, but the 'notebooking' of what he observes is a different story! Maths and English are almost there now thankfully and I feel that Boo is already nudging into year 1 work so I don't need to push her too hard really. She has already read three books for her library reading mission and Joel has read 2 - that 's a good start for them both I think :-) Jake has read one, but that's because he lacks enthusiasm for reading and also has school books to read, which, now he has gone up to level 14, are a lot more his cup of tea than they were. I personally
still don't feel that they match his ability, but there are a lot less books at each level, so he should go up through the scheme quicker now and then he will be free to read whatever he likes (amen to that!!)

Anyway, back to today... So when school was done we sat on the sofa and I read them all another chapter of "The Quigleys" - I highly recommend it and intend to read some more in the series. It is a very funny take on an average family (Mum, Dad, son and daughter- very average!) and the kids are loving it. Joel originally got it out of the library to read himself, but the chapters are quite long and I think he lost his nerve, but I saw it as a great book to read-aloud to him and Boo. I was right :-) I think I do have a good eye for read-alouds that my kids will enjoy, but unfortunatly have a nasty habit of falling asleep mid-way through about the 10th sentance! But with plenty of children crawling all over me today, clamouring to hear the next installment, I managed to stay awake!!

Immediatly following that it was swimming. I attached Boo to my bike today on our 'Trailgator' and tagged her along quite successfully. It never really worked with the boys because, as they could already ride bikes when we bought it, they would try too hard to counterbalance me and we wobbled everywhere. But as Boo can't ride herself yet, it worked well - UNTIL - on the way home (well to a friend's for a BBQ actually) everything went pear-shaped. My saddle went wonky (because Paul had lowered it earlier, after he had borrowed my bike some while ago, and not tightened it quite enough) and the 'hinge' of the gator itself went crooked on her bike (from the undue strain of mal-alignment I think), leaving her riding at a 45 degree angle to the road! We got off and walked the rest of the way needless to say and sorted it when we got there - or rather Paul did!

BBQ at our friend's was fun as always. Paul brought the kids home a bit before 10pm and they were in bed by quarter past. I came home about 10.30pm cause I stayed to chat with my friends a bit longer. (Paul's idea, not mine - I wasn't going to refuse of course. I am always reluctant to leave social events - he hardly ever is!) I am determined Jake will be so worn out by the time he and we finish school that he will be mellow and subdued enough to chill-out for two days before we go over to Jon & Jans for a long weekend and he has to cope with being the eldest of 9! He admits he finds it tough being the eldest at times because the little ones copy the 'naughty' things he does and then he gets into trouble for it. And true, sometimes those things would not be considered naughty if he were the only one around because he alone would be old enough and safe enough, but the little ones aren't. Bless him!

Blog, bed myself (now midnight). A very pleasant day :-) Keep it up kids !!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Simply Lovely Day.

Why can’t all days be like today? It’s been simply lovely :-) Not so roasting hot as to be unbearable either.

The day began with a leisurely get-ready for church (hence time to mini-blog this morning) and a jaunt to church with just the Jacob, Abbie and Caleb. The others went with P. earlier on the bikes. I was on crèche this morning, but that was fine as it was really just supervising the children playing because we are on ‘summer break’ in Sunday School too, so I just took them out to play in the garden (we use the premises of the nursery that is run on the college grounds).

After Church Jake went off to his friend D’s and then later (after a gorgeous chicken and salad lunch in the garden) my friend and I did a child swap. Abbie went to her’s to play with her eldest and her youngest (K) came here to play with P & E (K is 3.5, so right in between P & E). They had a lovely afternoon and although Joel was a bit bored (Dom’ is away so he couldn’t go there today) he did actually play nicely with the girls even though they are so young. It always amazes me how he can do that and if he is in the right frame of mind he is quite lovely with them. While the children played Paul & I chatted in the garden for about an hour about this and that, which was rather nice and doesn’t usually happen even on a Sunday. Then I hung out the washing, filled up the paddling pool and did a few chores, while P prepared for tonight’s service which he was leading. He then washed up the few dishes and I had a little snooze on the sofa. I wasn’t even really that aware of the children, who were all playing in the garden - in and out of the paddling pool and having a great time together.

Whilst Paul was out at the evening service Michelle bought Jacob home with D and his little sister A, who stayed to play for a bit in the garden. By now Abbie was home too, but K stayed for tea while her Mum went to back church, so now I had 9 children all playing in my garden!! It was a bit noisy, but they were all having fun together - particularly Joel as that was really the first time he had had anyone much to play with on his level for a couple of days, what with Jake being out all day yesterday too. It goes like that sometimes though. Other times it’s him that is consistently out and Jake that’s moaning he is bored at home. I did offer to play a game with Joel today, and suggested he got the Hama out, but he just wanted to hang about and moan I think - he was lucky I didn’t give him chores to do! Any other day than Sunday and I would have, but he got over it quickly enough and got on with playing, when he realised it wasn’t getting him anywhere, other than sent to bed!

Now it’s 9.30pm. The kids are all fast asleep. They have fallen asleep really fast tonight as they were all shattered from so much ‘nice’ playing I think. Jacob of course did spoil his day at bedtime and ended up with no PS2 time, or stories because, instead of simply getting ready for bed quickly when he was asked (which would have allowed him PS2 time) he stood and argued about it for about 5 minutes and then wasted time fooling around in his room with his brother, by which time it was time to hit the sack. Which he then had a tantrum about and lost his story too! But that’s him to a T - sadly!

Need to go get my washing in now and wash up a sink full of cups and glasses. Then chill out with Paul for the evening I think. :-)



Was a very lop-sided day! After a busy morning we had a very quiet afternoon.

Paul was out for the whole day at a Trustees meeting for a local charity he is part of (CCC) and Jacob went off with friends to a birthday party - to watch “Pirates of the Caribbean” at the cinema and go to Pizza Hut. This left me with 5 others to troop the 35 minute walk up to ballet, so the girls could be part of a mini-show for us parents :) I did it more for their sake than mine in reality, as I’ve seen the dances a hundred times in recent weeks, what with exams and all! But it was nice to see how well Phoebe is doing too - it looks like she has some good potential, more than I thought Boo had at first.

Then of course we had to come back again! But not before a trip to the play-park across the road.

Then the afternoon was kind of empty! Phoebe asked me to read to her, which I dutifully did, but found myself slurring my words and nodding off. When the children all started bickering I decided they were hot and tired, so we all had a fairly lengthy nap (perhaps more for my benefit that theirs, but hey!) Anyway, I’m sure it did us all good. I’m not sure if Joel napped - I think probably not - I think he played with his magnetix, but that’s OK.

Jake stayed out for tea, at another friend’s house (good that he is so popular!), but came home just as we were going to eat - it ended up being a bit of a late tea in the end. That said the kids were still all in bed by 8.30pm - giving me lots of time to do the church newssheet, sort out my blog (which had gone really funny in IE due to me tweeking it in FF!), read around and play a bit (see last night’s entries!) and not go to bed until 4am!! (ooops - promised P. I’d go to bed with him last night and said  I wouldn’t be long when he went at 12.30am!!)

On the blog note. I can’t get my blog to consistently look right in FF, so if you are having problems viewing it in FF, I’ve found a little add-on which will allow you to view it in IE - in FF (if you get my drift?). In FF it looks VERY plain with no graphic at all - at least it does on my PC, but in IE it’s rather classy (I think!). SO - add the IE Tab from Moailla add-ons if you like to read things that look nice - it also helps if the fonts are a bit small/large, which I have found them to be at times.

That’s it - off to church now.

Who Do I Look Like?

Love this - and if it's true I'm in heaven!!

66% Charlize Theron
66% Shania Twain
63% Mischa barton (with two different pictures)
63% Kim Bassinger
61% catherine Zeta Jones!!!

and with a different Photo I got 67% Isabella Rosillini (which I think is the best likeness) and 55% Jamie Lynn Spears - who looks somewhat how I did in years gone by!

This is Funny!..

...And not that inaccurate either!!
Your walk is:

Take this quiz at

Ballet Girls

My girls had the chance to do a little show for us today at Ballet. And here they are, with their class, looking gorgeous! (Actually they didn't look as neat as usual because the morning was a mad rush)
The little girl label 'R' is Abbie's best friend :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Just For Fun!

How grammatically correct are you? (Revised with answer key)

You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

Congratulations! If your mission in life is not already to preserve the English tongue, it should be. You can smell a grammatical inaccuracy from fifty yards. Your speech is revered by the underlings, though some may blaspheme and call you a snob. They're just jealous. Go out there and change the world.
Take this


Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Just Too hot and Too Busy!

It’s simply too hot to work, but we’ve too much to finish up to not work – which is what I’d really like to do. I think if Jake were not at school right now I’d be taking a mini-break and finishing up when the weather cools a little. But the summer is looking pretty busy so I can’t see us doing anything schooly much – other than that which just happens – over the break.

So today we did maths and English (the normals). I’ve realised that although Boo’s reading is really beginning to take off, her spelling of the words she can read is not keeping up. So I guess next year I shall really have to start targeting her spellings a little more. We’ve really not concentrated much on that this year and I can’t remember it really being an issue with the boys – it seemed to just happen naturally with reading for them. Abbie is different though; she is not a visual learner, so I think photographing words in her mind is not going to do it for her. I’m going to have to find an alternative path … summer homework for me then!!

Joel is whizzing through money maths – he completely get the decimal point thing and is having no trouble with it – plus for some reason the very fact that it’s money, not just random numbers, motivates him no end. I can’t see us actually finishing 2B in reality, although we have already done the fractions bit, but it might mean we start next year lightly with the fun bit of 2B – time, measurement, etc… which in some ways would be a nice ease into Yr3.

Did another little bit of ‘plants’ today – might just get that done in time ready for sticking over the hol’s. Sadly though our beans don’t seem to be doing anything (the seeds were a year old though), so it’s a bit more ‘theoretical’ than I had hoped. At least we can look at last years pics for reference though and say that we DID do it hands on first :-)

I’m going to blog some pics of what we’ve been up to, as the study is the hottest room in our house and I’m cooking here, so I want to finish up quickly. The pictures say it all really.

"I Can Do Anything" poems
(finished off yesterday).

This one is Joel's.

This one is Abbie's

Today's Hydrometer reading
Dry bulb reading 50C, 'dew point' reading 29C = 30% relative humidity (that' pretty dry) and I really had to struggle to find a table that had calculations up to 50C!

And we've done these too (thanks Merry).
This sparkly dog is Phoebe's work (note the multi-coloured spots!)

And this one is Joel's - made for his best mate (bless)!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Post Script...

(image placeholder)

Writing “I am from…” has been very therapeutic, but I keep thinking of more ‘stuff’; more places I am from. There is SO much I could add still – and I might for my own purposes, but my blog stays as is. It’s fascinating what shapes us and what the pivotal points in our lives are. I’m sure we don’t realise their significance at the time – although I know I did deliberately choose some of these events as such. I think when I read mine it is pretty negative and doesn’t include much recent past (like the last 11 years), but in a sense that is not really where I am from, so much as where I AM right now! I know it’s turned out to be quite an epistle as it is, hence me leaving it alone now, but I’d like it to have included other events – birth of my first born and the impact of him on my life, being stranded on a mountain top in a hale storm at age 16 – alone! – homeschooling… there is so much, but I hope you enjoy what there is. I need to edit it – I’ve spotted a few typos, but it is readable and I have jobs to do, so I’ll try to get to it later :-)

I am from ... (thanks for this Jax)

I am from children around my feet from early till late. I am from computer screens and school books and an addiction to websites! I am from a happy marriage and a strong faith.

I am from galaxy chocolate and strawberry smoothies!

I am from the grey slabbed council house on a busy main road of an equally grey estate of houses that all look the same. I am from playing in the street with kids I didn’t really like and who didn’t like me and with ones that I adored and worshipped in the same breath. I am from owning my own key at the age 7 and using it to shelter myself and my best friend whilst our mums worked in dead end jobs on production lines and checkouts for pittance pay and little self-worth. I am from birthday gifts that took years to be given and when they came were never quite what I pictured because they were not what Mum really wanted for me. I am from stripping and painting my own bedroom walls when I was only 9 because I couldn’t bare the grubby, tatty paper any longer than the 4 years I already had and only then Mum deciding she would buy me the beautiful embossed pink paper I wanted, with birds and swans - and my Grandad decorating it for me! I am from staring out of my bedroom windows on a grey rainy day, as a lonely teenager of 16 or so, listening to Alison Moyer sing ‘I have a horror of this place, but I’m accustomed to it’s face and I am safe within it’s maze” on my stereo and relating so wholly to those words. Hating the only place I had ever really known in my living memory. I am from longing for the day I could set myself free!

I am from driving to my Nan & Grandad’s for Christmas in my Grandad’s car, with presents & luggage stacked all around me – born our of my mother’s inability to minimalise! I am from snuggling into my Nana’s bed in the early hours of Christmas morning to open my presents. I am from watered down Blue Nunn – just at Christmas, just for me! I remember the smell of my Grandad’s shoes in the vegetable cupboard! I am from laughter and celebration of New Year meals at the Bernie Inn in Windsor, indoor fireworks and “Auld Lang Synne” with my tipsy Mum and Aunt and Nan.

I am from gaining weight in middle twenty’s and then struggling to loose it thereon after! I am from nail biting, hair twiddling, finger picking nervous habits. Not of all of which I have, but which I fight hard not to have!

I am from a mother who never really knew she was loved by her father and whose mother over-mothered, such that mum never really grew. From a women who gave up her future for the boy she fell in love with, but who she thought could change to be her perfect man. From a marriage doomed for failure from the day that it began. Yet from a women who was strong enough to never tell the bad until I was old enough to hear it and who always encouraged me to maintain relationship with my Dad despite the pain it must have caused her. From a women who counted every penny to make sure there was food in the house and who sacrificed her very soul to that end. She bore the daily grind of jobs that sucked her dry and sought solace in her friends, but they kept her from me. I am from a women struggling with depression and a life of little worth, trying to raise me – her little girl – the best she knew how. I am from going to bed in tears almost every single night and of vowing to ‘make her cry, because she never does’ whilst she cried in silence too. I am from always being the one to do the running, and build the bridges in the morning – even when I knew I was not the one to blame, for I couldn’t stand the tension and the hatred to remain. I am from rules that never made sense and freedoms that made even less! I am from a mother who is trying so hard to make amends for things that were perhaps never really her fault in the first place, but happened more through circumstances and ignorance. I am from a mother who loves me with every ounce of her being, but with her my scars run deeper than even I realised till not so long ago. I am from a relationship of misunderstanding and of repeatedly hurting without meaning to. I am from a future where this is going to be different!

I am from a father who left for another when I was only 5 and I barely remembered his face. I am from a letter that I read when I needed to cry that he’d written when he’d emigrated just over a week, telling me how much he missed me and how he loved his little girl. I am from longing to hear from him week after week and willing the birthday present to arrive, though it seldom did. I am from wishing he would come and whisk me away to a better life. I am from wishing he would come home and yet not really knowing what I wished for. I am from rows I cannot remember and fights I do not recall. I am from an unfaithful father who I know in my adult years and who I recognise so much of myself in. I am from a man who cannot resist to pull things apart only to reassemble them to find out how they work. I am from a man with a quick temper and a need to forget and pick up like nothing has happened. I am from a coach driver whose has spent his life travelling the roads of this and other countries. I am from an ambition of my own to be a truck driver and be alone on the road and to travel. Maybe one day the last bit might come through.

I am from anger and quick temper in a father I hardly know and from struggling self esteem in a mother I am only now beginning to understand.

I am from a grandmother who just loved me so much as a child, who I always wanted to run away to and whose love was so unconditional. I am from a grandmother who with my adult eyes I can see as needing of the need she manipulates others into having of her. I am from criticism of my grumpy, sad grandfather who loved my Nana with all his heart, but who was grossly misunderstood and had given up trying to be, many years before I was ever born. I am from him; my grandad who sat in his chair every day watching horse racing on the box, ate fried breakfast every morning and smoke countless roll-up cigarettes, who worked nights all his life and slept all day so that even as a small child I learnt to be very quite in the house, who bathed only on a Friday before he went to play cards down the pub with his friends and who ignored the fact that everyone told him he smelt bad the rest of the week! I am from that man, who like the rest of his family, had little self worth and saw no reason to change anything. I am from listening to my family complaining about my grandad complaining! And yet I am from that man, who year after year would come dressed in a Santa suit and sit me on his knee on Christmas day, though I never twigged it was him. He would talk to me kindly and share a smile and gifts with me. He never was unkind to me that I remember – harsh at times, but not usually unfair. I remember that he loved me in the only way I think he could. He was the one who bought that Blue Nun at Christmas and he was my Santa, who kept the fairy tale alive in me long after my friends had stopped believing. I am from my grandfather who died very suddenly as he returned from getting his morning paper one day and collapsed on his kitchen floor having had a massive heart attack. I am from my Nana who is lost without him.

And I am from my great grandmother – my Grandma – who died when I was just 7 and for who I grieved deeply, despite hardly really knowing her. I am from her warm smile and her loving arms – those I do remember. And I am from her prayers! My Grandma was the only Christian in our family for generations and she prayed for me. I am from the pictures she would draw me and the bible stories she would send me. I am from waking up one Sunday morning, not long before she died, and deciding I would go to church. I’d never been before and I’ve never stopped (for very long) since.

I am from “could do better if she tried” and from “very clever, but lacks common sense”. I am from “always thoughtful of others” and from my English teacher’s comment on my senior report card (aged 16) “my A1 ideological student!” I am from the black and the white and the no shades of grey!

I am from superlification!

I'm from the south and the north. I am from bubble’n’squeak and from toad in the hole!

I am from a holiday in Spain with my Mum and Nana and Aunty. From Spanish tummy, pina-colada ice-creams and charming waiters. From my Aunty falling into the rear foot-well of the hired car in a blackout, shouting “I’m in the back” as we tried to work out where she had disappeared to! I am from another holiday in a farm house as a child, listening to the chicken being wrung for our lunch, stepping in cow pats in the dark and “can I borrow y’ur hairdry’r doock” and from walking across a stream on the Scottish border at Coldstream with my family, the same year some horrible murder had happened in that place.

I am from a strong relationship with my loving heavenly Father and that deeply held faith that has held me from despair at many points in my life. I am from a love that lifts me higher than the heights, such that I sour over the mountain tops in my life. I am from the constancy of the ever present arms of my God.

I am from the discovery of mountains when I climbed in my teens and of the exertion of the climb and the kick of reaching the top. Of hearing sheep bleating on the open hillside and swimming in icy cold lakes on scorching summer days, until my skin turned blue! And then of changing under towels hoping the boys couldn’t see!

I am from falling in love with a boy in my teens and nearly losing him to a different life. I am from fighting to keep him and from letting him go in fear he would never return. I am from walks in the rain to secret weekends in London, from rowing & snogging on rivers, to a meal in a quirky Italian restaurant, with a even quirkier waiter, 8 years since we were last away alone together. I am from knowing our love is secure after almost 11 years married and six beautiful treasures to share our lives with.

I am from being a trained nurse – and loathing the job. I am from being a midwife and loving the job. I am from the joy of lovingly placing a mother’s new child into her arms and seeing the elation that comes only in that moment.

I am from the birthing of my own six children, here, in my own home.

I am from waking up each morning to the challenge of raising my children to know the God I love. I am from waking each morning to the giggles of my girls and chatter of my baby in his cot, to my not-so-little boy all dressed in his smart school uniform, looking almost like a man now in miniature form and wishing that the years would slow down – just a bit! I am from the joy of watching my children take their first tentative steps, to seeing them walking and talking, reading and writing, and learning to be who they are destined to be. I am from being a Mum.

I am from the smell of lilies and the beauty of a yellow rose. I am from my wedding bouquet and the future it represents!

I am from a history I am not going to repeat. I am from a family that loves me without a shadow of a doubt, but for whom I sadly hold little respect. I am from a family over shadowed with unhappiness and low self-worth. I am from determination to cast a different mould.

I am from there and from here. Here is where I am from. It’s another story, a windy path unfolds, with the future held secret in its twists and turns. I am from my husband - the loving partnership of marriage that keeps me safe and bravely held to venture on. I am from my marriage and its ministry, as a pastor’s wife and mother, that shapes me and moulds me, and allows me to see with forgiveness the road that I am from.

I am from here; (photos to follow when I’ve racked them out of the loft!)

where to find the instructions
You might like to see here too. (the brewcrew blog)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Through the Looking Glass!

 Posted by Picasa

Just because he's gorgeous!!

 Posted by Picasa

Making Rainbows :)

Joel did this on Thursday, but I thought you'd like the pictures :)

 Posted by Picasa

Don't know if you can see this, but it was reading 50 C ! A few minutes earlier it had reached 52!

 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Me on a Summer Sunday

I sometimes sing in the band on a Sunday too :)