Sunday, 29 November 2009

Crafty TV day

This is what we're having today - in front of the box, working on this years Christmas project (see below). We have about 22 of these to make and send off with cards (we've made the cards already - we usually do that in January!). So far we've made 8, but not all of those have the sequins sewn on yet, so today we really need to crack on.

A's concert went very well last week, and she really enjoyed performing. There are another couple of carol singing gigs coming up with the choir, so she's all excited about that. One of them is at her old school's Christmas Market, and the other is at the big shopping centre in Inverness.
We have also discovered that there is a local children's creative writing group, so A is going to go along on Monday and see how she gets on. She knows a couple of the girls who go, so that makes it easier I think.

I have been getting a lot of headaches over the last year or two, and just recently had a couple of attacks of a weird visual disturbance - a kind of curved, shimmery blind-spot. This lasts for about 20 minutes and leaves me with a headache and feeling sick and woozy. After a trip to the doctor I have discovered that I suffer from migraines, or 'ocular migraines' to be more precise. In a way it is a relief, as I had myself all worked up about brain tumours etc, but I just hope they don't get worse.
At the moment I take ibuprofen when it gets really bad, and the doctor said there were lots of different stronger painkillers I could try if things got worse, but I hate taking pills, and would like to find a more natural remedy. Am thinking of trying acupuncture. Any other suggestions?

Monday, 23 November 2009

Happy Day

No book-learnin going on here today - had a wonderful long walk in the sunshine, then a huge clearout of our bedrooms, including some furniture shifting. Feels like we have new rooms.
I've done some online Christmas shopping this evening, and have ordered in far too much chocolate (vegan_store is a very dangerous site!)*. Also some books and stocking fillers.
*just had an email informing me that the postal charge for our area is £11.99 instead of £4.95 for the rest of the UK - extortionate! How can they justify that? Wont be ordering from them again!!

Here are a few pics from our day:

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


We went off to Elgin on Monday, to go to the big library, but also with the intention of buying a chemistry set for A. This is what we came home with!

A was so thrilled to find it, her interest in forensic science and detectives is ongoing, and she is currently working on something for the next Quaker children meeting to do with solving crimes (I'm not totally sure what its all about, she had a long meeting with the adult who is taking the meeting and has been working on various bits and pieces for it. All I know for sure is that I have to bake some biscuits for it?!)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Another busy week!

I really feel I need an extra day in my week.

I was at a conference on Tuesday - 'Immunity From Pandemics: Protecting Yourself & Your Community', put on by the Shen_Foundation . Very interesting stuff with some excellent speakers. In particular Prof_Mark_Harrison from Oxford who spoke about historical perspectives on pandemics; and Dr Zaijin Ren who talked about her extensive experience of flu prevention projects in China, particularly in relation to use of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Meanwhile, Granny took A to see a play - Playing_a_round_with_Shakespeare , which they both enjoyed very much. I'm sad to have missed it myself, it sounded great - very funny apparently.

Choir and drama on Wednesday again - the choir have their first performance next Friday and A is very excited about that, and rehearsals for the drama performance (next month) are developing well. A and her friend are coming up with some great ideas about costumes and slapstick routines for their roles, they make a good comedy duo.

A had her third piano lesson and I am so thrilled with the way its going. Its not so much the level of playing (although she's catching on to things very quickly), but more the way she approaches it and communicates with the teacher. She is showing herself to be a very mature and intelligent young person, and I feel very proud of her.

On Friday we had a home ed group visit to Duff_House , where the children learnt about how it was used as a POW camp during WWII. The activity leader was really good - in character as a soldier, but not too shouty or intimidating. I think the kids had a lot of fun.
A certainly enjoyed it, and also enjoyed seeing a few friends again, particularly the girls who came over to ours a couple of weeks ago. She managed to have a bit of time with them after the group activity, and we're going over to theirs sometime soon.

A has spent this weekend with her Grandparents, and also had the chance to see her little half siblings and their mum. She's not back yet so I don't know how it went, but I'm sure they will have had a lovely time, and Nonna will be exhausted!! (but in a good way).

Friday, 6 November 2009

Films, drama, singing, piano-playing...

This has been quite a hectic week for us. We saw some films as part of the
national_schools_film_week , the first time we've taken part in this as we were away last year, and the Steiner school A used to go to (unsurprisingly!) never participated. It was very easy to book (online), they had no problem accommodating home educators.
On Monday we saw Kirikou_and_the_Sorceress , a fantastic West African film about a little boy born with the ability to walk and speak. Very different from the usual Disney/Pixar films we're bombarded with.
Tuesday Granny took A to see The_Secret_of_Moonacre , which they both seemed to enjoy.
Yesterday we saw The_Spiderwick_Chronicles , which I found a bit scary, although A didn't. Quite fun though.
Kirikou was definitley my favourite, A says Spiderwick was hers.
A also watched The_Cat_Returns , at home. I only saw tiny bits of as I was too busy to sit and watch it, but it looked really good, and A really liked it. We've seen a few of these Japanese animation films now, and love them.

A is having a great time at her new drama class, and they are preparing for their Christmas show next month. Its so good to see her enjoying drama again, she's been in various drama groups since she was about six and always loved them, but there was a bit of a gap where we couldn't find a suitable one, until a local class started up this August. One of her best friends goes as well, and they usually get together after class for a while, so thats a good arrangement for all.

A has also joined a choir, which I'm delighted about because I've been encouraging her to do this for ages (she has a great voice). Its at her old school, so she knows most of the people already, and is a mixture of adults and children which I think is really good. I drop her there and wait in the car - there's no way you'll get me singing (it would be very unpleasant for all invovled) - which is ok as I get to catch up on some reading for an hour or so.

And... I have managed to find a great piano teacher who lives just round the corner from us! I've been trying to find someone to give A piano lessons for months - asking around a lot etc - so its fabulous to have found someone so near. (I'm having to borrow the car every week for choir now as that is ten miles away and we have to get straight back for drama the same night, so I really didn't want to have to borrow it another night for another class.) The piano teacher seems very direct and clear in his approach, but in a gentle way. He doesn't 'talk down' to A, but treats her as the intelligent person she is, and already seems well aware of her tendency to panic when she gets things wrong, reassuring her that she's doing really well. She's only had two lessons so far, but I'm really pleased with how its going, and more importantly so is she!

Workwise, things are going well so far, although I still have panicky moments where it all feels out of control. I'm struggling with time management, but I knew I would, and I also know I'll get there and become more organised as things progress - I'll have to!
Trying to sort out the official stuff like Housing Benefit has been a bit frustrating (again - I knew it would be!) They like all the information to fit the boxes they have to tick, and want definite figures for earnings etc, which is all a bit impossible if you are just starting out as a freelancer! So I'm doing my best to give them as much as I can, hopefully it will all get sorted soon, as its highly unlikely I'll make enough to pay all my rent at this stage. That is the ultimate aim of course, but it will take a while to build things up.

Today was the first day this week we could just be at home, so we had some maths and English this morning - we've been working on place value for maths and A has struggled with this. I think its getting a bit boring for her going over it again and again, I've tried to find different ways of explaining it to make it clearer, but then I worry I'm making it even more confusing by explaining it differently! But I've found some games in this book which a friend gave me a while back that might help. For English A chose to use A Ladybird 'Grammar and Puctuation' workbook that Granny gave us (strangely I cant find a link to it!?). As workbooks go it wasn't bad, and A seemed to focus very well with it. In between all this 'sitting down learning' stuff has been much drumming and other percussion type noises going on in the kitchen, which is always good :0)

Baking Day

This was a couple of weeks ago, A decided she wanted to bake something completely by herself to take to Nonna & Nonno's. She did a very professional job, I just sneaked in to take a few photos.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Happy (belated) Halloween!!

I have had a sick computer :0(
I had to send it away to have some nasty stuff removed, but got it back today all cleared and protected.

We had a great Halloween, spent the day at a friend's party, tooks the kids guising, then my friend took her girls and A to a ceilidh (I couldn't face any more socialising, so stayed in with a DVD). We stayed over at our friends, and had a lazy Sunday - I left A there for the afternoon.

A's pumpkin:
a little bit of carving:

And you have a scary cat!
(the little one is mine)

Here are some wonderful ones we saw in a shop in York: