back to reality!

I have to say, that my reality for the month of january has, on the whole, been a great big amount of coughing! Particularly for the first couple of weeks anyway! For DH, it has been a start of DIY spring with finally replacing the kitchen sink :) and BB has been struggling to return to the routine of some regular stuff that could be considered home ed!

we are concentrating on progressing with maths and eniglish this term. in part, because we have been doing division for ages as bb seems to have a pathological aversion to times tables. we are using conquer maths and some workooks and repetitioni. for english we are still using the collins primary english series. apart from that, lots of crafts, fact books and programmes, lego and museums.


SB in Spain – week 2 – festival of Kings

Clearly there isnt going to be so many words about SB in Spain as her Spanish hosts are not internet savvy types so I’m not going to get any photo updates or words from them, so relying on the odd photo that SB or SPD might post up, and words in our 30 mins phone call!

SB and family were v excited about the festival of kings. This is another christmas with present giving and socialisation and laughter. We had packed a lot of English gifts for all the family members we could think of, and some general foods for those that we might not as a ‘family gift’ . We also got a jolly ‘xmas’ theme t-shirt for SPD’s dad. Apparently he liked it a lot! SB got some gifts in return that she was v happy with, and also they have a lucky dip type thing for all the cousins, leaving her with a vibrating banana!!

the procession was excellent, and SB put a few photos of that up for us to see.



On the Friday, following a bit of a kerfuffle with getting all the documentation required for the Spanish school, she started there. So there is a first day at school photo! Life should settle down a bit now, as there have been lots of late nights and late starts.


SB in Spain – week 1

SO SB and DH had to get up at a very ungodly hour to go to spain by plane. she had a set of new luggage for an xmas present to set her up nicely. all of the flight and travel went v straightforwardsly. there was a little bit of a crisis over picking up the hire car, but it was all sorted out, and the drove to burgos, where she will be stating during the exchange. I have to say, that with such a difficult year, we hadnt expected SB to go out to Spain, and had thought we might just do a one way hosting. However, having met SPD and her mother, SB thought that it would work out, and was very excited and happy to be going.


when they got there, they went straight out for a meal with SPD and mum, and then wandered around the city a little bit, viewing the sights and getting a feel for where SB will be staying.



SB hasnt lived in a city since she was 4, and we are pretty rural. So will be quite different living in an appartment quite different! the evening was spent chilling in the appartment. The enxt day they went to a museum of evolution with SPD’s dad, and with quite a bit on humans. i would have loved it! DH and SB did, and DH was quite tickled by seeing SPD mooched in museums as much with her parents!


so finally DH hugged SB goodbye and made his way home. Good Luck and have a lovely time in Spain SB.

New Year’s Eve

We had a fab new years eve and day. we went to our friends’ house TB, played lots of games, laughed a lot, ate well, and drank in moderation :) . We all missed SB, but were sure that she was happy in Spain, and celebrating new years eve over there with grapes. it was great sharing this time together. now our kids are older, with some now in school, always doing multiple events at weekends and evenings, we seem to have less of these relaxed meetings than in the past. must try and build in more socialisation into our lives!



rest of christmas – the at home crew!

we had a bit of a ‘home and away’ scenario come tuesday. i was back at work, mum and dad had agreed to stay with M and E until weds, as DH was taking SB off to Spain and her en famille exchange.

so having had a goodbye to SB, the others had a chilled day at home, playing with lego, on the wii, generally being laid back after xmas. On the wed, grandad took them ice skating [i was the driver!] it was pretty windy, but dad and i found a sheltered place to stand whilst we watched them skate crazilly. only e and bb, as m wasnt so keen on skating. a treat at the cafe later and we were back home. mum and dad, m and e went home in the afternoon leaving me and bb to snggle and watch films on tv until dad came back at about midnight.


christmas 2015

I love christmas and always look forward to it. it is a celebratiion of family love and conviviality, warmth and light in the depth of winter. As BB pointed out, our family is getting smaller :( . We have lost over time Little Nanny, my sister and the FIL. Since my BIL remarried, and his new wife behaved somewhat disatrously over losing a game causing them to flounce out 2 years ago, they now don’t come (tho BIL knows there is a standing invite), meaning my nephew and niece now only come on Boxing Day. SO this year, in part due to that, and in part because I was working Xmas day, we decided to have 2 christmas eve’s and then run christmas on the 26th :) .

so it was lovely welcoming my mum and dad on the weds. I insisted since I was working the thurs and fri that they werent allowed to do tidying etc, and after all the house isn’t *that* bad! and i wanted to play games, chat and drink the rhubarb and ginger gin liquer I had bought, so we did that :) . In the late afternoon, SB’s boyfriend came over for a couple of hours, and survived the grilling/gamesplaying/baking [he made sausage rolls] trial of fire! SB decorated the xmas cake she had made, and we generally laughed a lot! work finished early on thurs, so nice to come home, and MIL had arrived, so more games and conviviality.


friday ended up being a bit odd really. I havent had to work xmas day for a while, so it was my turn. however, a 12 hour xmas shift is rubbish, and it is made even worse when it isnt busy [though that is good really] so that for swathes of time i was just catching up with paperwork. I did get a free meal at work [woohoo!] . However, clearly when i got home all this had been too much for the family, and BB in particular was quite unhappy, dad had been moochy, and they all thought it had been weird. oh well! father christmas had visited and left fantastic things – including pens ;) , puzzles, books, smellies and chocolate :) . He is certainly getting more practical as the years go by, and less edible ;) . SB got a balloon animals kit, and clearly entertained the masses with that. the lego and puzzles got bb through a lot of the day. i felt quite guilty in the end that it hadnt been possible to delay xmas day so easily in reality. it did mean that they got to watch dr who, as i try for a no tv but carols rule :) however, when i returned from work, i was given loads of hugs and cuddles and we got the xmas eve spirit going ready for xmas day!



so we were back on track saturday for our xmas day of loveliness. we got up early enough, and started making inroads into the huge pile of presents under the tree! everyone seemed v happy with presents. mum and I laughed at having got each other nearly the same thing! i was v happy with all the gifts i received, and v happy that the people i bought gifts for seemed to be v happy with theirs too. before long m and e had joined us, and BIL stayed for xmas dinner, which was delicious as usual :) . By now the festive spirit had well and truly rejoined us. So we had a lovely christmas day, even if it was a day late! and i think lots of joy and happy memories made.


we carried on on the sun and mon in much the same vein. making merry, enjoying each others company. playing games, making lego etc and eating a great sufficiency of good food.

so thankyou to my lovely family for a christmas full of warmth and light to chase away the winter blues.

running up to xmas

having got a bit behind on blogging, and so much has happened, this is going to be a bit of a quick one!

SB worked hard, predominantly on English right up until the weds, when people started to arrive for christmas. Since she was leaving for spain straight after christmas, will do no english out there, and as soon as she returns there will be a month before the exam. eek! fairly hopeful she will pass, but clearly she would like to do better than just scrape a pass in english. her maths practice papers are going well, mostly a’s, and some time before the exam with ability to practice when she is in spain, as that wont disrupt the language acquisition! the chem papers are at the c level, and thinking that she will pick that up with full on revision and past papers on her return, as this is just a learning thing and was where she was at when we started the biol past papers [albeit with a months more revision time] last year. she is good at head down working tho! she got the monday off, meeting up with friends including C from SOTP at a point chosen because it was roughly equidistant, and both could get an easy train journey there. They all had a lovely time decided to visit a museum of the civil war, and then do an historical building trail. Yep, my role as home educator here is done, she is a self educating teen :) . oh, and we played some games!


BB and I did some crafting. we carried on with the wire crafting that SB had done fore weds4ed. we also made hama bead stars and little angles and shapes out of choc coin wrappers :) ( these were quite inventive!) . we had planned to do some baking – which we did eventually. We made a mary berry recipe yule log. we have LOADS of eggs currently as the hens are all laying each day, so 21 eggs a week. What delayed us, though, was a sudden fault in the wiring, so we helped DH chase wires all around the house. he did find the area, though not the specific fault. it was a good thing tho, as it was the kitchen that was affected due to weird wiring of the past!


we also gave ourselves a bit of a treat and went to see star wars! we all thoroughly enjoyed it, so a good time was had by allĀ  :)

star wars

oh, and i bought some xmas jumpers in the sale on a whim ;)

xmas jumpersxmas jumpers

weds4ed and other bits and bobs

blogging on a roll today! SB is doing an english paper at the moment, so i am distracting myself from trying to help. so, what other things have happened? clear weds4ed. we had a lovely pre-christmas meet, where we looked at some properties of sulphur, and discussed how we made sulphuric acid etc whilst making plastic sulphur and a terrible smell ;) . we did quite well at it tho.


SB had a fab craft making xmas decs with wire, beads and bells


And afterwards they went skating whilst i had my mammo [unfortunately] and i didnt quite make it back in time to watch them skate. i did join them in the shop tho, and finished shopping for some luxury foods for sb to take to spain for her spanish family christmas.



SB and i went to a messiah workshop that had been advertised through the county windband. i think i forgot to say that SB got into the county windband – woot! and that she had a fab time on their first weekend just after xmas camp. DH took and brought her back, and we have no photos. She was feeling a bit blurghy with a cold and headache, so clarinetting all weekend wasnt ideal. still, she really enjoyed it.

it was unfortunate that so few people took up the messiah workshop that i think they changed it a fair bit. there were only 10 kids attending! when i had put in sb’s application, i said something about how much the messiah reminded me of xmas as a kid [i played it A LOT in the various orchestras i belonged to] so was told to bring my violin :) . clearly i am quite rusty, but i can still play! We had a fun morning running through the messiah and the pastoral interlude. [i would have liked for unto us as well...] really enjoyed it. lovely to be playing with daughter and also the home ed kids i see regularly . I snuck some photos :)


afterwards we walked into town and gave ourselves a treat lunch at the italian by the market, pizza and icecream – yummy :) . also popped into m and s to get some coins i had won on their silly internet game.


lovely spending some one to one time with my eldest :) she is very wonderful.

christmas is coming

and there is so much work to do! not helped by the fact that our electrics are old, and clearly put in by an electrician many years ago without an obvious plan. so DH has had to take half the house apart chasing a fault which was stopping the kitchen plugs [including oven] from working. argh! he has identified finally where it must be and gone for isolating that area, as pretty impossible to get to without demolishing the kitchen. argh some more! so some photos of nooks and crannies to celebrate his persistance.


in other news, we have gradually been becoming festive. the trees are up and decorated, the parcels are wrapped [on the whole] and we have been doing some festive crafting. not enough tho, as i am driven to help sb with her work so bb getting a bit left out. must remedy!