A wooly Christmas challenge

Where has the last week gone?! I think another round up would be in order but last week was a quiet but social week with lunch with friends a few times, dancing and the Breastfeeding peer support group I volunteer at so nothing particularly noteworthy to blog. Although at the weekend Sophia surprised me by writing M’s, i’s, a’s, o’s and b’s on her etch-a-sketch. Amazing what they pick up without you knowing! And yesterday I took Sophia and her friend to our Monday home ed group where they found a game in which you have to match letters to the picture cards and they both impressed me with their sounding out skills. Good times!

But enough rambling and onto the main reason for this post…

We are spending Christmas Day with some friends who live just up the road with their daughters; Sophia’s best friend S (same friend as above) and her baby sister T (who Isaac spends his time trying to poke and grab-but with love I’m sure!)

I decided a while ago to adopt the following adage for Christmas:

‘Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read’

And as such had decided to knit slippers for my kids and S and T (to fulfil the ‘wear’ element for mine) for Christmas gifts. However it is the 27th November and I haven’t started so my challenge is to knit all 4 pairs before Christmas. It should be doable especially as the baby ones are small but there are a few things on the patterns that I haven’t done before (cabling and I cords to be precise) so am hoping I master them quickly.

I am doing these for Isaac and T; both using wool from my stash- some pumpkin worsted weight for him and a variegated DK for her with pinks, blues and yellows. The pattern calls for DK so hoping that using worsted weight for his won’t be a mistake!

For the girls I have chosen this pattern to tie in with their love of dancing. S’s will of course be done in pink (her favourite colour!) and I haven’t decided what colour for Sophia yet-she claimed blue was her favourite colour the other day but do I risk choosing blue and then her wanting pink like S?! We’ll be in Exeter next week (Dan has to work there for a week so we’re going with him) so I might actually get her to choose some wool from one of the wool shops there and just not tell her what it’s for!

So I have made this challenge public in order to give myself extra motivation to get it done in time. I’ll keep you updated.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of my little man-Sophia is at her friends today so I’ve an afternoon just me and the boy which is lovely and relaxing-especially as he’s napping right now! (I hasten to add that he is asleep in his bed now…not pinning me to the sofa!)

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A round up

After saying that we’ve been all over the place for the past 10 days in my last post, I realised that we have actually still done a fair bit so thought would do a mini round up just so I don’t feel that I’ve totally neglected the kids with all the boat drama!

Last Monday we didn’t go to our usual
home ed group as I wasn’t feeling great so I pacified a disappointed Sophia by making shortbread with her ready for friends coming to lunch on Tuesday. I think she also played with play dough a fair bit and did some cutting and sticking. Seems like a long time ago but I recall it being a very gentle and enjoyable day.

Our friends came to lunch on Tuesday and she had great fun playing with R while his Mum and I nattered over tea and (burnt!) shortbread.

Wednesday saw us at the allotment pulling weeds, weeds, weeds whilst our friend J worked on the shed. Despite the weeds I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the garlic I planted is growing and so is the purple sprouting broccoli and kale – excellent!

I was a tad embarrassed when a friend visited us with her daughter and they discovered another few dozen potatoes buried in the soil…weeks after I harvested them! In my defence, it was torrential rain as me and Sophia had been pulling them up so we may have rushed the job somewhat. Wednesday however was glorious sunshine and a good time was had by all.

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Thursday saw Sophia at her ballet/tap lesson (a highlight of her week…every week!) followed by a brief stop in some local gardens before realising it was too cold for the babies and we all headed home.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were filled with cleaning the boat, showing people round, Church and helping a friend move – busy busy busy and not much fun for the kids but they were remarkably cooperative and I think just enjoyed having Dan around for an extra day.

Another noticeable part of the weekend (for me at least!) was the arrival of my new sling in the post. My wonderfully talented Mum has made me a sweetPod soft structured carrier; it is comfortable, convenient and I think…absolutely gorgeous!!

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Yesterday we looked at a few rental properties in the morning (just in case!) then headed to a friend’s house for lunch and a quiet afternoon play date. We were congratulating ourselves on the girls playing quietly together in the back room and BOTH the babies being asleep and anticipating a cup of tea and some allotment planning when the man arrived to install her blinds and woke both the babies – one of those comedy doh moments!

Today we had a quiet home day as I was feeling unwell again, Sophia did lots of puzzles, we read many many books, I watched a Winnie the Pooh movie with her whilst Isaac napped, we baked some little cakes and she spent a lot of time practising tracing letters and using stencils.

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So I think that’s me up to date. Next time I post I should know if we’re staying boat bound or moving. I’ve also issued myself a knitting challenge that I’ll make public to ensure I complete it on time! Exciting times (more the boat, less the wool)!

Playing the waiting game

Must apologise for my lack of blogging action this past week; we’ve been all over the place and have temporarily completely diverged from the routine we had slowly established and were enjoying (although we did enjoy some biscuit making, a day at the plot and having friends to lunch instead!)

As you, my dear readers, are probably aware, we currently live on a boat. We’ve been trying to sell her for almost the last 18 months and finally gave in and put her on eBay last week. We had been planning on buying a larger boat to live on but over the last few months we’ve changed our minds and have decided that for the time being at least, we will be returning to land. The reasons behind this decision warrant a lot more than just this hasty post but boil down to three main factors I think; Dan’s health, space for the children and what I deem to be the ‘other’ category that includes many things such as wanting a bathroom that you don’t have to put coats and shoes on to get to, ditto a washing machine, being able to shop more efficiently and responsibly, being able to host friends again, having a Christmas tree (that one is on me!) and if you ask Dan, getting pet rats (an argument we’re still having)!

We had viewings over the weekend (so now have an impeccably clean home!), I’m going to view some properties in the local area over the next few days and the auction ends on Wednesday so by then we shall know one way or another where we’re going to be for a while.

I’m not going to lie, the anticipation, the waiting does not sit well with me. I like to know what’s going on. I’ve wound myself up and made myself physically nauseous by thinking about it, checking the eBay listing, thinking about it, checking the eBay listing, looking at flats on rightmove, checking the eBay listing…and on and on…

So enough! I have decided to try and just stop. Stop thinking about it. Wednesday will come, the boat will either sell or it won’t. Nothing I can do now can change that so I am just going to try and stay busy and not think about it. So apologies for the boring post but thought I’d explain my quiet. Next time I’ll bring you more fun, more pictures of the kids and hopefully, some good news!

It’s a Blog Hop!

Today’s post isn’t really about home education, the allotment, the boat or anything that I usually write about but is instead an exercise in taking part in the wider blogging community through a blog hop. I was tagged by homelessmummy (ta lovely!) who was taking part in a blog hop started by saltandcaramel (which incidentally I hadn’t previously discovered but now have so thank you for that!) and decided that I’d also like to join in as who doesn’t like finding new blogs to read?!

So here goes…

– who you are

I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a Christian, a boat dweller, a knitter, a sailor, a talker, a reader, a maker of sweet things (when I don’t burn them!), an organiser, an obsessive tidy-away-er, a musician (at least pre children!), a gardener, a breastfeeding advocate, a baby wearing enthusiast and now apparently, a blogger.

– why you started blogging

I started blogging to document our home education journey for ourselves, to share what we do with interested family and friends, to hopefully join in the ever expanding virtual world of sharing ideas and to maybe even inspire other people who are thinking about home education.

– which post you are most pleased or proud of

Having only scribed 9 posts to date, I don’t have much to work with but I think I was happiest with this post about our allotment; putting it into words reminded me why we’ve been working so hard to keep our plot and inspired me to keep putting in effort with it, even when I’d rather stay at home with a cup of tea and my knitting!

– which post had the most response (and were you surprised by this)

Ditto above but my latest post here surprised me, although no one has commented on it and it has no ‘likes’ I had several friends and members of my family talk to me about it and I was pleased that they didn’t just think I was an emotional wreck wittering away on the internet for the whole (virtual) world to see! I was also a bit scared of posting it, I felt very vulnerable having done so, so I was happy to know that I hadn’t made a mistake in doing so.

– which blogs do you like reading (include links so that we can discover EVEN more new blogs!)

I’m going to re-hop to… www.homelessmummy.wordpress.com first because I’ve been reading her blog avidly. She’s blogging about her experiences as a single mother of two since being made homeless as they move through the system slowly. Her words move me, make me laugh, enrage me and grab my attention. Check her out!

My blogging obsession probably started with www.patchofpuddles.com so I definitely have to mention that. I found it whilst researching home education and have followed it ever since.

I’ve recently discovered www.caterpillartales.wordpress.com and www.pyjamaschool.wordpress.com which are both home education blogs which I really enjoy and have been drawing inspiration from.

I feel an affinity for www.zachaboard.blogspot.com simply because they are also a family of four living aboard a catamaran but love reading about what they are up to.

And finally, I love love love www.cupofteaandablog.com which is an Australian blog penned by my friend’s sister, she is hilarious and I think I like it especially because her stories about her eldest daughter remind me of Sophia nearly every time!

So that’s that. I have to say that I love how quickly you can get involved in the blogging community even when you are a complete noob so ta muchly!

Working on that balance

I spoke in an earlier post of trying to remember to slow down and pace ourselves, and then in my last post of a new home ed group that we went to this week. The two seem to be at odds in my mind. I am in danger of returning to my attitude of trying to fit in everything and not miss anything. I think it’s fair to say that as a teenager and young adult I was quite needy; I always wanted to be everyone’s friend, to be invited to every party, to be everyone’s confidant. I’ve started to see the same trait in Sophia and it has scared me. It wasn’t a fun attitude to life; always rushing from one thing to the next, never happy in the moment, never content with not being able to make everything perfect. It is an ongoing battle within me. As I entered the world of motherhood I realised that children being the little imitators that they are, I had to nail some of my less desirable traits on the head before they were picked up by the offspring. I succeeded in some areas – I will try more new food than I used to and seem to have overcome my (at one point uncontrollable) fear of being in an empty house. The stories of calling friends over to search my 3 storey house with a kitchen knife whilst I was alone or of my young sister making me cry (whilst I was a teenager) by hiding in a wardrobe in my room are ones for another post….

But this desire to be part of everything, to be liked by everyone, the constant worrying…this one is hard to shake. Sophia isn’t even 3 but on a few occasions has mirrored it back at me. So I return with a renewed vigour to working on it. I need to show her how to exalt in the moment, in the imperfections, how to not need to rely on others or things beyond her control for her happiness. As a family who love Jesus I want to teach her that he is the only person we truly need.

So with that in mind, I felt that I had succeeded in concocting a fairly rhythmic and relaxed week that worked for us. We were doing 2 scheduled groups, going to friends once or twice, having a home day and making some time each day whilst Isaac slept to sit down and do whatever took her fancy (reading, stencils, puzzles, reading eggs..etc) just me and her.

Then we were invited to this new group. And it sounds ridiculous, even as I type, to have been thrown into so much turmoil from it! I guess it’s just that it results in two busy days in a row for us and I know from experience that this doesn’t work for Sophia. But I really enjoyed it this week!

The kids made some bread together and whilst it was rising and baking we went out and they had a list of things to take photos of (something old, something special, something new, something blue, something dangerous….etc). I loved the insight into a young child’s mind; Sophia took a picture of a wall for her something dangerous because it was high, a picture of me for her something happy and a picture of the sea because it was sparkling (not on the list but my, that girl loves the seaside). We pottered down to the beach while completing the lists and they had a run around before heading back for a shared lunch and some stories before we left.

It was a really lovely morning but tired her out. Also, although there were other children her age they were all boys and she didn’t seem ready to engage in their more rowdy games, instead hovering back holding my hand most of the way (completely out of character for the most confident and chatty child I know who usually dives in with both feet without so much as a glance in my direction). I’m torn as I think it may tip the balance of our week into busy and am acutely aware that there isn’t much point in continuing to go if she’s not getting so much out of it. But on the other hand, she may have just been shy as it was the first week and she really did enjoy the activity of taking pictures….

So I have resolved that we will go again (if they’ll have us!!) and will make a decision from there.

But right now I am meditating on Proverbs 31 and in particular verses 25 and 26 and hoping I’ll find the direction I need:

‘Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.’

A little round up

We’ve been without internet for the past week (used up our months allowance on our Mi-Fi early-oops!) so you’ll have to forgive my absence and this post coming from my phone. I was getting ready to say that we’d had a quiet week or so since I last blogged but looking back we’ve actually been fairly busy (but not overwhelmingly so).

The weekend before last we went to Sophia’s friends rock themed 3rd birthday party. A great time was had by all though I think the adults outshone the kids on the costume front! Sophia did temporarily borrow a wig though and stopped head banging just long enough for me to get a quick snap!

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The highlight for all though was the piñata, lovingly made by the birthday boy’s Mama. Watching the kids whack that ball of fun was hilarious and I was inspired to finish making the one I started for Sophia’s party next month! I was also impressed with the combination guitar/train cake and had to share….

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Monday took us to our friend’s flat where we enjoyed a shared lunch and Sophia and her ‘best friend’ had fun with ink stamps and then made some beeswax candles which they then sent to their Grandma’s. I didn’t take any photo’s which is a shame because it was an easy but fun craft, one we’ll definitely do again I think. We’ve decided to try and meet once a week or fortnight specifically for craft or baking which I’m looking forward to as it was such a nice day. I saw a threading activity using play dough and spaghetti on Pyjama School that I want to try that looked like fun.

On the eve of Halloween we were invited to a party; I wasn’t sure about going at first. As a Christian we always went to ‘light parties’ and avoided the whole Halloween thing and the darkness that can surround it. However, I decided that it wasn’t really a big deal
at this age as she hadn’t even seemed to grasp that Halloween was an occasion, she just thought it was a regular party she’d been invited to. This may have been a cop out on my part but I figure we can talk about it when she’s a bit older and she had a great time at the party so think the right decision was made.

After that we’ve just been pottering, we’ve seen friends, Sophia has been playing with stencils a lot and seems to have resurrected her love of puzzles as well as wanting to play matching memory games a lot. We went to Magical Mondays yesterday where she did more stencils and today we went to a new home ed group that deserves it’s own post when we get Internet back on the laptop in a few days. Isaac has mostly been cruising, bouncing, giggling, following his sister around like a devoted puppy and snoozing….