31 August 2014

Hello, September!

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And in the morning, August will have passed and beautiful September will be here. We saw out the Summer tonight with the Classical concert on the park, and huge crowds of people, and laughing children, and squeals at the fireworks, and Rowan's shoelaces coming undone at least five times, and Talia falling asleep on Martin's shoulders on the way back to the car. Perfect.

30 August 2014

Just a Week

The laptop broke, again. Talia kicked it off the armchair. This coincided with me wanting to spend the week pretty much knitting and watching Stargate, so you don't get a Seven Days post out of me this week. We spent one day at a Tesco home ed trip, followed by buying donuts from the bakery and finding a cool card game and some hippy kids clothes in a charity shop. The next day was mostly about the scooters and running up and down the hill at the park.

Then the weather turned damp and grey and cool, the air started to smell like Autumn, and we pretty much did painting, hot chocolate, lots of stories, and one entire day of the kids alternating between being sick and sleeping on the sofa (you would not believe how much tidying up I can get done when there is nowhere to sit down and knit).

Without Jenna in the house it is surprisingly quiet.

OK, not so surprising.

Morgan and Rowan get on much better when Jenna is here, so I thought they would be louder in compensation. We actually had a nice, sedate, week. My tidying of the bookshelves led to the rediscovery of form drawing and handwriting practice books. I set up Kerplunk at least thirty times (which then takes them about a tenth of the time to play that it took me to put up!) and read Elmer at least twenty times (Talia now recites large chunks of it by heart).

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24 August 2014

(Almost) Week in Pictures

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1. A poster by Morgan (with help from Jenna and I)
2. A birthday party
3. Bubba in a knitted dress
4. Creeper cakes
5. Waiting for the post office to open



23 August 2014

Belated Birthday Letter (Ten)

So, my Jenna-girl, I'm writing this a little late and will save it as your birthday post; this week with you away on holiday again, adventuring on a narrow boat with your grandma, has been a very strange week for me.

I have noticed all the spaces you leave, things that only you say and do, ways in which you make my life noisier and brighter and funnier. And at the supermarket I noticed how much more often I have to catch hold of a toddler hand to distract her from some act of destruction - how often you entertain, love, divert, and support your sisters without any of us really taking note of it until you aren't here. My evenings are quieter. Nobody flashes that quick grin at me over jokes that none of the others really understand.

You are ten years old, now. Ten. Even if I say it again I'm not sure it will sink in. You are lively and busy and witty and strong. You are thoughtful and sensitive and intense and loud. You challenge me to be a better person, and yet accept me just as I am. I can't imagine not being your friend.

I want to fill your world with adventures and joy. I want to be able to say yes more, provide more fun, support you better. I feel like I'm learning all the time and sometimes desperately trying to keep up with you - and already I am feeling the strange sensation of time running out as you need me less and less. These years of your childhood have been so short, and your teenage years are rushing towards us. Remember, please remember, how much I love you. I will try to find new ways and old ways to remind you every day. xx

22 August 2014

A Minecraft Party

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Having a birthday at the end of the Summer often means Jenna only has a couple of friends available for her party. She loves celebrating birthdays and wants her party close to her birthday, but this week is filled with last minute back to school preparations for so many of her friends and last minute efforts to go away as a family for others. So  I thought we might end up with twelve kids coming. Instead, our little house had almost thirty people in it. What an AMAZING birthday party!!

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(I had to bring out extra jelly and extra cake!)

We played "hunt the mobs" with little hand drawn pictures of a spider, Creeper, and Herobrine head. The kids did a *lot* of squealing and screeching and running around pretending to be zombies. We fired a paper fireball into a cardboard Ghast target. And ate every scrap of party food.

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As people started arriving I realised I hadn't really put any decorations up, so I grabbed a giant paper bag and turned it into a slightly wonky Ghast. It's still in the corner of the living room; the children have told me that it's their pet and it has to stay up because it likes living here.
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I also made two Minecraft birthday cakes (square sponge cakes with jam in the middle, white icing cut into squared icing "drips", and glace cherries on top). I didn't take pictures of them before they were demolished, I rather hope someone else managed to get at least one picture (I was rather proud of them)!

20 August 2014

Hogwarts

Around teatime on Monday, Jenna and Morgan asked me whether we could do an entire role play day - "tomorrow". More precisely, they asked for Hogwarts - letters, snack trolley, timetables, lessons, wands, dressing up, homework, text books, the lot. No small order, then! I ignored the niggly little part of me that wanted to talk them into waiting until we could "do it properly" and started planning how to deliver magic lessons that would feel real enough in our little rainbow coloured city terrace.
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In fact, I stayed up until 1am setting up a potions lab, testing my potions lesson plan, and writing text book pages to insert into any suitably sized old-looking book. Yup, I don't even have a working printer, so I really did have to reinvent the wheel so to speak (advice to anyone thinking this looks like a good idea, pop over to DeviantArt and find text book covers... I will at some point make up printable versions of my text book pages and lesson plans - 'cause I love you). ;) Oh, and Martin (bless him) spent an hour toasting paper in the grill so that they would have "proper parchment" to write on.

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The Hogwarts Express was our stair case, where they sat chatting until I came along with a tray of cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice, liqourice wands and every flavour beans (OK, that would be chocolate cupcakes, orange juice, and cheap supermarket sweets decanted into paper packets). First lesson was Ancient Runes.

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Then Arithmancy (magical meanings of the number seven) and Herbology (a trip to the park to gather plantain).
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(In the outer fringes of the Forbidden Forest.)
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Healing Plantain salve:
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And Potions class, where they had to work out what a potion was (well, it was indicator solution) by adding a series of ingredients to it and noting the results (an assortment of household ingredients labelled as potion ingredients, including vinegar, bicarb, and soda ash).
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Divination and History of Magic followed, and then I declared it time for an extra Muggle Studies lesson (ie a film) to take us up to Martin getting home from work! After all that, the evening's Feast came from the local chip shop - I couldn't even think about what to cook and hadn't planned that far!

(Next time, I'll need a working printer, and more than a few hours notice! Yes, I'm sure there will be a next time...)

17 August 2014

My Life In: the contents of my handbag

Here's my current bag - smaller and lighter than the giant mustard yellow one (which, much as I love it, is a little larger than necessary now that I'm rarely carrying cloth nappies around day to day).
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I didn't pre-tidy the contents or sift out the junk, this is actually what was in my bag this morning when I came to grab my project bag out of the top.
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Contents:
- One emergency nappy and a complete change of clothes for the newly-out-of-nappies Talia.
- Another pair of toddler socks, slightly too small for her.
- Three pairs of toddler pants.
- Two sets of babylegs (rainbow branded babylegs and a pair of cheap long socks with the foot cut out after Jenna wore them into holes).
- Half a packet of non-eco supermarket wipes, bought on holiday.
- A cloth shopping bag, my keys, wallet, and camera.
- Knitting project bag.
- Pacifica vanilla perfume.
- Rescue remedy.
- A large chunk of rose agate.
- Turquoise felted brooch for pinning up shawls.
- Cinnalou's glass bead bracelet.
- A few bits of general paper rubbish, gathered nature, some loose change.
- Plasters.
- Hair bobbles (three).
- Jenna's copy of "Wreck This Journal".
- Two of my large selection of notebooks; one journal I have not written in for at least three weeks and one scruffy general notebook with most of the pages missing and toddler scribbles on the front.
- A small yellow plastic Octonaut (Tunip) which Talia grabbed as soon as she saw it (hence, not pictured).

And inside the knitting project bag:
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- The shawl I'm working on.
- Plastic pouch with interchangeable knitting needles, a crochet hook, needle gauge, and a couple of stitch holders.
- Small metal tin containing tape measure, scissors, sewing needles, thread, a couple of buttons, and a selection of stitch markers.

What do you always carry? :) (And, am I the only one who is totally incapable of clearing out the random paper bags, receipts, and occasional clothing tags? My wallet contained several money off coupons which were over three months out of date!)

16 August 2014

Week in Pictures

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1. "Fuf-fy!" (Butterfly)
2. Blacklock shawl
3. Magic potions
4. Cheesecake
5. Playdough
6. Gradient
7. Flaming Ruby and Beads for Mamas pretties
8. Things I find in my bag
9. Cherry-coloured hair

15 August 2014

Whatever the Weather

Well, it's been a changeable week!
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