Sunday, 21 January 2018

January, A Rather Long Post!

I had planned to write a post at the beginning of the month wishing everyone a happy new year but time already seems to be rushing away! I'm sure I keep hoping, planning for a slower quieter life but life doesn't always go the way you hope does it! Anyway very belated happy new year to everyone.

We've had a very busy start to the year, with various appointments, routine dental appointments, L was booked in to see an OT and she has confirmed my suspicions that L also has sensory processing issues, we had reached the stage of wanting a  confirmation rather than us assuming. I also asked her to check out the way L walked, she is flat footed and has for want of a better description, very wobbly ankles, she was checked at her 2 year old check etc but HV wasn't concerned but it has concerned me, especially looking at the way the shoes wear. So yes the OT feels we need to see the GP for a hospital refer, would someone mind telling the universe that I really don't do hospitals, we seem to of spent enough time in them last year, let alone more appointments. Also our local hospital is an absolute nightmare to park in, when they closed one of our hospitals and merged it into this one, they wanted an extra 2 floors in the car park,this was vetoed my the local council, saying it was out of keeping with the area and it was on a bus route! There isn't even enough disabled parking most of the time for those that need it and I have a feeling the local residence would much of preferred more parking how ever it looked,knowing what the queues are like etc,just my little moan! Car is also due its MOT on Monday, I have a wonderful neighbour who happily will service my car and do a pre MOT check but my car is now 16 years old, so fingers are crossed.

Now I have been desperately trying to simplify my life though life seems to keep throwing up complications! We, well mainly me decided to menu plan for the month and do lots of bulk cooking, as this would reduce the daily time in the kitchen plus, time shopping, prepping food etc which would allow me more time to work with M. So nearly everyone has been involved in the food prep and cooking. O hasn't but between college 4 days a week, working 16 hours a week at M&S and what ever hours he picks up at the gym, he's not getting a lot of spare time, or what little he has is on his coursework and some socialising.  His UCAS application has been put in and he is very keen on doing a degree in biological sciences. So our menu for January is this, see below, it is not set in stone so some variation may occur, obviously there is always a vegetarian option but as most of the time that's just me, I have a variety of choice from meals I made in the freezer.

 So food sorted, I decided to sort out out my childminding paper work, minded documentation needs to be kept for 21 years and 3 months and tax stuff also needs to be kept for 5 years, so I have been religiously storing both. Which sounds great till I realised I had 20 years plus of accounts, so I spent a weekend sorting and refiling everything, way too much shredded paper at the end of it but now have all the child record forms etc filed in 2 boxes, tax in another, then various other legal bits in another, sometimes it would be lovely to have an office to store it all in but at the moment, my office storage is in the loft! Now just remind me when I put next years tax stuff away, I can get rid if an earlier set at the same time....

So lots going on now, compared to Christmas which was a lovely peaceful time, hubby had a few days of and wasn't on call out, so we could all relax. Christmas Eve we had a lovely walk after our evening meal to see all the Christmas lights, which was loved by all. Chritmas day was very wet, so we didn't get a walk but L had a couple of lego sets and thoroughly enjoyed building them all and Santa gave her the first book in the Magic Tree House series. This is the first chapter book we have read her and it has gone down well, I've since introduced her to the secret seven and today read a whole secret seven book to her today, she loves them, some of the time was spent sat cuddled up on the sofa reading them, other times she was sat colouring in and drawing but has regularly asked for more stories. We are also enjoying Woodland Tales by Enid Blyton beautifully illustrated with lots of animal facts woven into a simple story, perfect for my nature loving 5 year old.

 M the last couple of weeks has been up around 6 am weekdays to get on with her work, trying to get it all finished by lunch time,which she seems to be doing. We started this year using Corbett Maths 5 a day revision, which is a brilliant website with revision sheets and answers to worksheets, each day you have 5 mixed questions  to practise and revise. Answers are online and normally show the working out if you are stuck, along with a comprehensive range of videos on different topics to help and explain if you get stuck. The only think is I am not ready at 7am mentally to help her with quadratic equations, oops!

L and I have been reading the first couple of chapters of Story of the World the ancients, we love the ancient book, as it travels round the world covering lots of different ancient cultures, I add in lots of extra books, craft, activities, plus add in more British history. I've used it with both O and M as our basis for ancient history, now in theory the book is part of a history curriculum that is supposed to take one year, we take a lot longer, as we go of tangent and deeper in the periods of history that interest each child. For me the book is a starting point, with the history of the world laid out in order but its there for inspiration not put us under pressure. It helps us as it gives us a guide but at the same time we can wonder away from the book when needed My favourite saying is curriculum is there to help you, guide you, reduce your stress by reducing the work load as some of the hard work is done for you already,  not make you a slave to it and increase your stress as you panic to try and stay on target, OK GCSEs are a different subject all together but up until 14 the pressure is of, honest. Anyway, L has shown interest in cave paintings and has painted some of her own, lots of interesting talk about why they had to hunt animals, I don't think she has made the link yet with where the meat on her plate comes from.If it wasn't for her multiple allergies, I would carry her discussions further but at the moment they won't allow her to have a healthy vegetarian diet, so I feel we can only really skirt round the issue of the food chain, hunting for animals etc and hope she grows out of her allergies before the link is made, as she gets rather upset over it all. We've looked at and watched some short pieces on Skara Brae, lots of cave paintings and videos and books and the different tools they would use.

Then we had the clay out and I showed her how to make a coiled pot with the clay, lots of fun had rolling out the long snakes of clay and then trying to coil it round into a pot shape. Now just waiting for it to dry enough to paint.

M loves to put lunch together for herself and L loves it if she makes hers  too, picture below of one of her creations, you can tell why L loves it when M makes her lunch can't you.

I have finally finished the middle panel of the blanket I have been working on, it is way too much cabling for me and my wrists are rebelling big time, so it has taken forever to do, now working on the last panel, which is knitting up a lot quicker, cable only on every 12th row, so on the 10th repeat already, only another 20 to go!!

We've had lots of wet and frosty walks, the photos are from one of our dryer walks, as you know they love to explore the stream, this time they discovered how they could change to flow of the water with sticks and depending on how they placed the stick in the water, the pattern of the surface water changed, which they were very interested in.

Spotted one long tailed tit feeding on some fat balls that someone had hung up.


  1. Happy New Year Helen! Lovely to see you back! Sounds like things have been and continue to be full on - with quadratic equations before 7am- eek! Wonderful that your daughter is so motivated though. Sounds like menu planning is very wise. The books you mentioned sound good. We are reading the Famous Five at the moment and the girls love it. Enid Blyton was certainly a prolific writer! My girls also love nothing more than us reading them a story whilst they are drawing or colouring in (or more recently knitting). Well done with all that beautiful cabling- I can imagine your wrists need a break! It looks great! I love how your eldest daughter arranges her lunch on her plate- inspired! I hope your little girl grows out of her allergies - the animal/meat connection must be a difficult subject to navigate if you need her to eat meat for health reasons and she loves animals. Looks like you are doing lots of good work as usual. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Maths before 7am is not my idea of how a morning should start but oh well, will just have to go with it! Menu planning took a bit of an effort but has worked well, now need to think about Feb, Enid Blyton wrote some amazing books, love the way in some books she manages to get so much nature info in. I hate doing the meat/animal connection, as a vegetarian would be more than happy for her to join me but fingers are crossed she grows out of some of her allergies before she makes that link.

  2. Happy New Year to you too! Sounds like you've had a busy start. Your knitting is lovely & thanks for the stroll down memory lane. We used Story of the World for a while and both my kids LOVED the Magic Tree House series.

    1. Glad you enjoyed a trip down memory lane, its nice to do from time to time isn't it. They are both good series of books aren't they?

  3. I plan my meals a week at a time, I would love to a month long menu :) But out schedules are nutty so one week works for us, keep in mind it's just the two of us most of the time. Looks like you are having lots of fun getting into the groove - I love these January days immensely!

    1. I usually do a week but l life is a bit all over place and with 5 of us it seems to be working well, though a bigger freezer would be appreciated! Planning works well for me, its just making the time to plan ahead!