Saturday, 24 September 2011

And now we're back...

I'm just taking a break from sorting and putting away the Summer clothes, it flew by far too quickly! And we've already started with nasty bugs passing round the kids and adults :(
Well, I never expected to have such a big break from blogging, but I have. So I'll try and do a bit of a quick catch up and then get back to some serious blogging!!!!!
In August we had two family holidays in Norfolk, which added up to almost three weeks, and then we were busy busy busy in the garden. Of Course in the big garden there is weeding, cutting back brambles and harvesting of vegetables to be done.

I've been clearing back this patio area, maybe a wooden wendy house would like nice here!

We had a great pear harvest.

We also started work in the back garden. The children don't use this garden so much, so we have taken up one of the patio areas and today the firat blades of grass are appearing, which hopefully will make it more inviting. When I say 'we' took up the patio, I really mean Geoff, who at the moment has man flu!

Moving on to house stuff, we are the first family with children to live in this house, so some of the areas need to be made more child friendly. Also being a family of six, we need more than one loo, so builders will be starting soon.

Right now I need to pay for more space on the blog and then I'll see you all soon.

Enjoy your weekend.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Wasp nest

The wasp nest

I went for a walk to the footpath with my 2 sisters and brother. We took a ball and a hula hoop. Reuben and Rosanna were playing with the ball, Daddy was picking blackberries and me and Imogen were playing with a hula hoop. We rolled the hula hoop and it went into some long grass. So we went in to get it and before we could say “WASP!” they were flying all around us and in imogens hair. I started running home and daddy shouted to me to run home but imogen ran the other way. Daddy grabbed Reuben and Rosanna and ran after imogen so I had to run home by myself. Daddy had put on a new gate, so I couldn’t get into the house. I put my hand on the gate and jumped. Imogen, Reuben, Rosanna and daddy had ran to the house at the top of the foot path. I had four stings, Reuben had one sting, Rosanna had five stings and Imogen had lots of stings on her head and twenty wasps in her hair!

But we are fine now.

The end.

By Jemima Holmes.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Virus, skeletons and illness

As I sit and write this post it makes me smile to hear my four children laughing in the other room. They are actaully watching two delivery men trying to get a huge sofa through a standard front door across the road. A couple of weeks ago was quite a different story. Jemima had a really nasty virus which resulted in her mouth being covered in ulcers and blisters, which then meant she couldn't eat, so she got really weak and justed wanted to sleep. A final visit to the out of hours doctors found she had an infected throat and after 24 hours of antibiotics she began to feel better. The dynamics of the family were very different with Mima out of action. I thought, with a five year gap between my two sets of two, that Immy and Mima would be friends and so would Reuben and Rosanna. But they really enjoy all being together, often doing different things, but being in the same room or on the same sofa.
So to hear Jemima singing to Jesse J and playing with the others is brilliant.

When she was starting to feel better she made this model of a skeleton, which now hangs in the window with the Christmas angel!

We also made a model of a virus and the kids enjoyed chasing each other around with it and then passing on ear infections, nose infections etc etc.

The children then became interested in finding out more about the body and illnesses and we found this great website, with games, movie clips and quizzes.

The movie clips are very funny and informative and I really enjoyed watching them too!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

New baby doll

Today Jemima and her friend made this baby doll. They cut it out and sewed it together while me and Zoe drank endless cups of tea and chatted about anything and everything.
The girls came through to show us the doll. It's for the hospital they are going to run when they are older. Half of the hospital will be for dolls the other half for babies who's Mum's are in a coma! This is inspired by the book Jemima is reading at the moment - Whale Song by Jacqueline Wilson.

We had a great day of playing, but seven hours of play was still not enough!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Little Black Dress

Last year, me and the girls went to an exhibition of Viviene Westwood shoes. This sparked an interest in fashion design. So when the little black dress exhibition came to the civic in Barnsley we were all eager to visit. Would there be a Viviene Westwood dress?

Historically black dresses were considered to be the province of widows, women who had been married, who had had sexual encounters but were now unavailable. Black therefore was a very alluring symbol in this instance, suggesting sex and unavailability simultaneously.

After the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's observance of mourning dress set the cultural norm. The exhibition showcased black dresses from the 20's up to the present day, from designers and local fashion students.

dress from the 1930's


From fashion designers
and yes there was a dress by Vivenne Westwood.

dresses from student's

I love this 3D geometric design

Not sure if I'd want to wear this motorbike helmet!

There was also a screening of Breakfast at Tiffanys, which Jemima and Reuben watched.

Imogen and Jemima are really into fashion design. The top model range of design books are very good, they come with stencils, stickers and patterned paper. There are also tips on the website about how to create different looks.

One of the designs and a dress they made for a 'My scene' doll.

My fashionistas!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

What's in a pair of shoes?

It was a sad day for me.  This trusty old pair of trainers had been left out in the rain.  So not only were they misshapen,  covered in paint and full of holes but now they also smelt awful!  The reason I had already kept them well beyond their use by date was because they had belonged to my dad.  In fact they were they very trainers that he was wearing when he died nearly 12 years ago.  He was running into battle at the time.

Although that should be Battle with a capital 'B'.  It's the town near Hastings just outside of which King Harold also breathed his last in the famous year 1066.  My dad had just run the long uphill mile at about 6 a.m. and that was having already had a heart attack 5 years before.  

The trainers have gone (better to have worn them than to wrap them in cotton wool) but the memories will always remain.  Thanks to his ability to 'drop out' I have my Riverside Cottage Memories, and other startling highlights among the many were the canoeing trips and holidays

Scotland with the folding canoe.

Hampshire with the VW campervan.

France with some friends from Jersey where we then lived.
That's my dad on the right.  I don't think we all slept in that tent ...

... though I'm not sure if anyone slept in here!

So now it's our turn to pass on memories to our children.

For some reason, when I turned my back, Rosanna decided to remove her shoes.  She likes to go barefoot sometimes but the chicken area isn't really the best place.  Her shoes came in handy though ...

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Inspired by The Starry Night painted by Vincent Van Gogh.

We mixed thick poster/acrylic paint with a few drops of pva glue. Painted the sky and then used a fork to create the swirly marks in the paint.

This is the result...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mmmmm harvest's on the way


Come through the magic arch and see how things are going in Howarth Cottage Garden.
But make sure you pick up the orange bucket or watering can and fill it at the green water-butt - it's syphon fed from the four other butts down the side of the garage so still plenty of water - that's lucky because there is plenty of watering to do.

First stop is the greenhouse. On the cooling evening of a hot summer's day it smells beautiful when you walk in. The air, still warm and humid, contrasting to that outside and it's rich with the aroma of 'real' tomatos.

Straight outside the onions look like they are almost ready already.
They could have done with more regular watering especially the ones nearer the hedge which are a lot smaller than these and their stalk already withered. Notice that we are not perfectionists when it comes to weeding!

Inside the poly tunnel the courgettes have been going crazy.

And so have the nasturtia.

And so have the sweet corn.
They are having to bend over to fit their heads under the ceiling. But it's going to be exciting to see those tassels turn into cobs. Perhaps they will go straight onto the B-B-Q for a corn roast.

Outside, a good bit of pruning seems to have improved the pear harvest.
Last year the fruit were all a bit weedy.

And the hens are very happy with their new run. It is farther up the garden where there is more shade from a coppiced hazel and plenty of natural debris on the ground for them to scratch around in. I'd noticed that when the sun was very intense they were desperate to get into any shade they could. I guess it's because they are descended from the Jungle Fowl.

Now, look what Rosanna has brought home ...

... and she didn't even break any of the eggs (this time).

Mmmmm, Delicious!

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Long arm of the Law

A couple of weeks ago, we went to a police workshop for home educators. It was held at Barnsley football club grounds.
The morning started with a general talk about the role of police and then there were demonstrations and vehicles to look around.
Demonstration from the dog police dog handlers

We also saw a drug sniffer dog at work. The children were allowed to stroke the sniffer dog, but not the retrieval dog. By the sound of his bark, I don't think anyone would have wanted too anyway!
Next came a talk from the mounted police section. Jemima really enjoyed listening to the WPC. She was so inspiring, very quiet and gentle, but when it came to giving commands or shouting at the mock criminal, she was so assertive.
We sawthat two police officers cannot move a crowd if they are on foot, but on horse back they can do it with ease.

Police horses have to be so calm. At demonstrations, they may get bricks or fireworks thrown at them, as well as getting kicked and punched.

We even got to look in the Mayor's car

Taking a look in the riot van

Locked in the riot van.
I hope this is the only experience the girls get of being in a riot van!

Right we know what we are doing now, let's solve a crime.

Outfits and gloves so they don't contaminate the crime scene.

What a cute forensic investigator!

Looking for clues and making notes.

Crime solved just in time for the surprise of the afternoon...

a trip around Barnsley Football Club grounds.

We were taken round each stand and told out about the history, cost and capacity.

The managers dug out

Down the tunnel to the dressing room.

The spot where the managers are interviewed after the game.
"It was a game of two halves", said Imogen.

rubbing oils

and for any rival teams, here is Barnsley's tactic's board!

Happy home-edding


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