Wednesday, 25 February 2009

More squares

As you can see, I've been busy with more of my squares for the crafty_blog crochet challenge. Trying a few different styles now, but they never come out as neat as the pictures in the book!

A has been back on the BBC_Bitesize site, quite enjoying the maths and science, but got very frustrated and annoyed with the English games. She found it all very rigid/limiting, and I could totally see why, for example - with 'writing a story' she had to fill in the gaps with a choice of several different words/phrases to make up either a scary, romantic or spy story. However, if she didn't put in the 'correct' word or phrase a page came up telling her she had got it wrong. This is what upset A, as she thought her choices were valid, but its difficult to argue your point with a computer!
She then tried the 'Argument' section, and was dismayed to find that you just had to pick out a prewritten point of view and couldn't actually write your own. I tried to explain that its probably difficult to allow any real expression of opinions within these simple computer games, and we came to the conclusion that they are probably not the best way of working on English for A.

It was good to see her working on the 'problem solving' activity for maths, as it was all about shopping: working out what everything costs and giving the correct money. A has always been pretty good at maths in the 'real world', its just the idea of maths as a subject that gets her worried, so I pointed out how quickly she managed to work it out and therefore how good she is at 'maths', which she seemed to acknowledge.

A has also been learning some sign language with Granny, and helped her with this theme at the Quaker's childrens group.

Another idea A has been talking about a lot is designing and making clothes. She has done some of this before, and definately has her own quirky sense of style, so I'm thinking of pushing the practical side of this a bit more - finding some projects she can work on where she has to follow a pattern, borrowing Granny's sewing machine - just to help her develop her skills.

Went to the theatre on Friday night, we took my Mum (as her birthday present) to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company's THE_BIBLE:_THE_COMPLETE_WORD_OF_GOD_(abridged) which had us all crying with laughter. Bit of a scary moment when they started dragging people up on stage for some very humiliating participation (I was sitting on the end of a row very near the front) but they left me alone. I hate that - I think I would just refuse to move out of my seat, although then you risk even more piss-taking.
Unfortunately after a lovely evening out we came home to some sad news - an old friend and neighbour from London, who was a regular visitor up here, had died. He was quite elderly, well into his 80s, and it seems to have been quite a peaceful passing, so I guess it was just his time to go. Still sad though.

I've been giving myself a bit of a hard time recently, and had a mini meltdown on Sunday, when I misread something and got myself in a right old state. Its interesting how quickly I can go back to that 'beating myself up' mindset. I have a long history of depression, although have been pretty stable for the last five years (thanks largely - I believe - to cognitive behaviour therapy), but I spent many years believing that I was the most terrible person in the world. It seems that small things can sometimes feed back into that, and drag me down. The difference now is I manage to bring myself back from it quite quickly, and sometimes can even laugh at the ridiculousness of it. In the past it would have just set me off in a downward spiral that could last weeks or months.
I think I am very lucky to be where I am now, I'm sure I will always have those depressive tendencies but I feel strong enough to manage them now. How ever much of a hard time I give myself, life is good.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

A foodie post

A vegan version of millionaire's shortbread, heaven. We had a lot of fun making these, I'd never made caramel/toffee before, and was convinced I would ruin my pan, but it was all fine. Will definately be making these again!!

And just to prove we do eat proper food sometimes, and not just cakes all the time - a lovely meal I made of roasted carrots and parsnips, roasted cheesey leeks (I used tofutti 'mozzarella style' soya cheese), and a tahini & tomato sauce. As A kindly pointed out, the sauce does look a bit like sick, but it is delicious.

Lots of other stuff going on. We started our 6 week astronomy class last Thursday, think we are going to really enjoy that. We've been looking at a few things online, including this, which is free to download and great fun. Also got some books out of the big library in Elgin with my home educator's card (I get to keep them for 3 months!). While we were in Elgin for the day on Monday we went to the Moray_College Fine Arts BA 3rd year's exhibition, some interesting stuff there. We also went swimming, which was a big mistake as it was half term so the place was packed. I suppose we're spoilt - when we usually go in term time its often practically empty.
On Saturday we attended a 'laughter clinic' workshop - hmmm... It was ok, the lady running it was lovely, but it didn't seem to flow, or come together (cant think of how else to describe it). I'm glad I went, as I find these sort of group workshops really hard and intimidating, so at least I feel I've achieved something in going at all. I don't think A got a great deal from it, but it was an experience!! Maybe I'm just too much of a miserable git to have got anything from it!?!
Other than that we are REALLY missing my Mum's car, doing a lot more bussing and walking (I walked about 3 miles to get to my pilates class last night). The sooner we find somewhere in the town to move to the better!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Look at the ice -

isn't it pretty ?

isn't it lovely?

Yes. But not when you are driving your Mum's car and hit a patch of black ice sending the car spinning like a waltzer to bounce off one kerb and end up at an angle of 45 degrees up a bank on the opposite side. That was our unwanted excitement on Sunday afternoon. The car is now a write off, and I am feeling very guilty about the whole thing, even though I wasn't driving fast or recklessly. But, as eveyone keeps saying - neither A or me was hurt, and there were no other cars involved, and that is the important thing. I just feel bad about all the hassle this is causing my Mum :-(
We did manage to get some sledging in with some friends on Friday (see below), and had a lovely night with some other friends on Saturday.

I sat and did my response to the government_consultation on home education yesterday. I had been putting it off because it seems so daunting and there's so much I wanted to say, but I finally got round to setting a couple of hours aside to really focus on it, and felt quite pleased with what I got down. I used Carlotta's draft_response a lot for reference (she is so on the case), but managed to get what I wanted down quite clearly and concisely (I hope).
A received her first copy of National_Geographic_Kids magazine, which my brother and his family subscribed to for her as a birthday present. Very impressive!
She has also been glued to another of her birthday gifts (from some friends) - Benjamin Zephaniah's Wicked_World. A had come across a couple of his poems in another book - an anthology of poems she has - and really liked them. She now reads his book every night and usually falls asleep holding on to it. I'm definately going to have to get some more of his books for her.
We did watch that new programme on Channel 4: Boys_and_Girls_Alone, the sort of programme about which my Mum would say "for goodness sake K, how can you watch this shit?". It is horribly fascinating, although I'm not comfortable at all about the ethics of making a programme like this with children, and cant understand why any parent would allow their child to participate, but it was certainly a good basis for discussions with A.
Before I finish I would just like to urge everyone to look at Debs' new site: Scarves_For_Survivors, a brilliant idea and a very worthy cause.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Crochet, cooking and cakes

I have been spending a lot of time recently making these lovely objects, for a project we are doing on A_Crafty_Blog. It took me a while, but I got there in the end!

A has shown a renewed interest in cooking, and cooked me this (sorry - a bit blurry) the other night. Its stirfried carrot and mushroom with Linda MacCartney sausages, and mashed potato. It was lovely! She has decided that she wants one day a week to be her cooking day. I reckon thats fine, so long as she learns how to wash up too - not always so good at remembering to do that.

This is part of our trek into town, which we do most days. We've been thinking about what we will miss when we move, in a way I will miss this walk, we have some interesting discussions and games along the way, but I wont miss it in the rain!

We looked at two flats on Monday, but neither had a big enough garden for the trampoline. A is saying 'lets just get rid of it', but come summer I think she would miss it. I would. So we'll keep looking...

We made these lovely lemon cupcakes today, I don't think they will last long! A has had a couple of friends round, so a few have gone already.

Lots of 'learning' has been going on, as always. Since the American election A has become interested in the black civil rights movement. She heard the quote about Rosa Parks, which led to discussions about what Rosa did and who Martin Luther King Jr was. I also found an old book of mine called the 'Piccolo Book of Heroines', which included a chapter on Angela Davis, so that brought in the Black Panthers, and fitted in well.

We have started our Italian course, I think its going to be a slow process, but we are having fun with that.

We are going to miss Neil Oliver and his History_of_Scotland on Saturday nights, really enjoyed these programmes. We did watch Charles_Darwin_and_the_Tree_of_Life with David Attenborough on Sunday, and enjoyed that very much too. It introduced some important concepts to A in a very accessible way. The following day I caught her singing 'All Things Bright and Beautiful', weird, I thought (we're not really a hymn-singing sort of family); then I heard her finish with '..and Darwin discovered them all' :-)
I'm going to let A watch Pollock tonight. I got it out myself to watch, assuming it wouldn't be suitable for A as its rated certificate 18, but having watched it I cant understand at all why it was given that rating, I've seen films rated 15 that are much more explicit. If anything I think she might find some of it a bit boring, but I know she'll love the scenes that show him working on his paintings. She really does love Pollock's work.