Monday, 27 September 2010

We Are Winners!

Friday was a very good day.

To start with I had a text first thing from a friend asking if her daughter could come over for a couple of hours. A was delighted to have a mate over, so maths and English went out the window, replaced by piano and guitar playing, and making up and filming a dance routine to enter a competition with. Happy girls :o)

In the afternoon a delivery man knocked on the door, handed me a parcel, and said 'I've got another, larger one in the van'. He wasn't joking - came back with an enormous box! I was desperately thinking 'what the hell have I ordered recently? Is this the result of some drunken internet shopping spree I've forgotten about??!' But no - it was the breakfast hamper I recently won on Hannah's National Breakfast Week giveaway, full of exciting new kitchen stuff:

and yummy cereals:
I don't often buy cereals, we usually stick to porridge or toast, so this is a real treat for us :o)

The other parcel turned out to be a prize for A - she had won a competition in National Geographic Kids Magazine (we're not sure which one as she's entered a few). Looking forward to playing with these:

Later on I had a phonecall from a very close relative to tell me that he and his partner had snuck off and got married that afternoon!!! They've been together about 14 years, and didn't even tell their kids until they'd done it! Very, very happy for them :o)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Guitars and monsters

Yesterday A had her first guitar lesson. We were chatting away to the tutor when we first went in, and he asked A "what year are you in at school?" So A did her usual "erm.." and sideways glance to pass the question over to me (she hates having to explain home education to people), so I said "well actually she doesn't go to school, we home educate" to which he replied "oh, so do we" !!!!! How amazing is that!?! They only live a few miles down the road and we've never come across each other. They belong to the same HE online network for the north of Scotland as us, but we've obviously never been to the same events.
Anyway, that got things off to a great start, I went off and had a chat with his wife while A got started on learning the chords for a Katy Perry song. I have a feeling this is going to work out well :o)
We may be needing a new, full size guitar quite soon though, as this one:

is a bit too dinky

We've also been doing a bit of sewing:

Manny & Bob

These little monsters (along with some brothers and sisters when we get time to make them) will hopefully be appearing in our Folksy shop once we get it up and running. There will be other bits and pieces too, some cards, and some of my knitting. I'll link to it once its sorted.

Spellzone seems to be working out well for A, she's able to sit and work through the units herself, without me looking over her shoulder, which I think is good for her confidence. When it comes to the maths programme she's doing she likes me there by her side most of the time. She still really lacks confidence in maths, even though she can do the work ok.

Granny is off on a cruise just now (get her!) so we have the car (yipee!) but I have no childcare, which is not ideal when I have to work. Even as I'm typing this I'm questioning whether it is so much of a bad thing - I always feel guilty about working because I think I should be entirely focused on A, even if we're not actively working on something together I feel I should be available in the background somewhere. But me working gives A time completely to herself to focus on whatever she wants to (today it was creating fictional characters - written details and drawings, painting, and guitar playing, also a bit of 'putting on make-up' too I suspect) which is probably a good thing.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Techfest in Aberdeen

We went to this last year and A didn't seem that impressed, so I was surprised she was so keen to go again this year. Anyway, I signed up for us to go with the home ed group, then realised our sessions would start at 9am, and seeing as we're a 2 hour train journey away we decided to go the night before and stay at a B&B. And of course we had to go out for a nice meal because it felt like we were on holiday - so a half day science festival turned out to be rather an expensive trip! Still, we had a great time, so it was worth it :o)
Our group was much smaller this time - 9 kids and 5 adults - and I have to admit I found that a lot easier, and had a good chat with the other parents there. A seemed to get more out of it too, I think this was because it was just a morning with 3 sessions, rather than four sessions with a lunch break in between as it was last year. They had an interactive 'bodyworks' workshop, a 'supermarket science' show with several other groups - lots of fun, and a session with 'Mr. Bug' where we all got a chance to handle giant African snails (slimy) and cockroaches (wriggly), and to meet a lizard, tortoise and a snake.
The whole event is well organised and run so efficiently, very impressive. We're both really glad we went.
Did I get any photos with all those fantastic photo opportunities? No, of course not :o( I was however suffering from sleep deprivation after sharing a twin room with A muttering and shouting in her sleep, and at one point knocking a glass of water across the room with her flailing arms - splashing me, my phone and my book, not a good way to be woken at 2am! So that is my excuse.

A is now talking about having guitar lessons, so thats something I've got to look into. She's finishing with the piano lessons next month, so I'm quite pleased she's decided to take another musical route. Her grandparents bought her a half size guitar a couple of years ago, and she messes around on it from time to time, mostly with her grandad who also plays. Its really nice for them to do this together, and I think he's quite pleased she's decided to have a go with proper lessons, so we'll see what comes of it.

I'm feeling a bit frazzled just now. I decided to try doing a bit of work for an American company who use lots of freelancers to write very short articles for online sites. The pay is really crap, but the format is very structured, so I thought if I got quick enough at producing them it might be an ok way to bring in a little bit of regular income. Well, after spending a ridiculous amount of time on a job that was going to earn me a little less than a tenner, then having it rejected and told to do a complete rewrite, I have come to the conclusion that it is just not worth it. I found it really hard trying to write in the company 'voice', when I am used to writing, don't know how else to put it - from the 'heart'. With all articles you have to have in mind the target audience and what the publication wants in terms of style and content, but you still write from your own perspective and in your own 'voice'. This just felt like selling my soul, and for very little!!
Part of me thinks I'm not really in any position to be so precious about it - I need to make some money! But I just don't think I could get to the point where I'm churning out pieces like a machine, about things I have no interest in, from some corporation's 'point of view'.

Monday, 6 September 2010

sunshine, and more jam

There's been lots of this lately:

which for us means more of this:

we do love our beach (I may have mentioned this before a few times!!!), especially now the schools are back and there's hardly anyone on it :o)
Friday we had a 'beach art' session suggested by A, followed by chips at the cafe (also suggested by A!). Saturday A's mate came round for the day, so we all headed off again - me armed with a magazine this time as I knew I would be surplus to requirements! All good though, I had a lovely lazy time reading and sunbathing while the girls were off paddling and doing whatever it is they do (I wanted to write 'playing' there, but it seems wrong now they are so grown up. They do still 'play' but I don't think they would call it that).
Sunday was a bit windier, so we stayed home. I had another blackcurrant jam-making session with my HUGE new pan, very successful :o) think I'm going to experiment with some other fruits next.

Today A is feeling a bit under the weather so has stayed in bed :o( not like her at all, she hardly ever gets ill. So our plans for the day have all gone out the window. I'm at a bit of a loss for what to do - Mondays are usually busy for us with lots of 'educational stuff' going on. I think because we don't have anything else going on on Mondays - no clubs or regular activities - we often really get stuck into what we're doing at home - projects or new interests. Mondays are actually my favourite day of the week because of this.
However, I'm not feeling that great myself - managed to slip on the stairs last night, ending up in a heap at the bottom - so I'm feeling a bit sore at the moment, maybe a quiet, restful day would be a good idea for both of us.