Our Christmas Traditions: part 1

For me Christmas is a chance to include a bit of magic in our lives and to spend lots of quality time with family. I am not religious, but I do feel that it is important that my children know the origins of the celebration and not just the current consumerism focus that seems to have taken over.  I find Black Friday intolerable and the Ps know that gifts do not always have to cost loads of money, if any at all.

All that said, of course making it magical does take time and money.  So today (the Sunday closest to 1st Dec) is traditionally our Christmas tree buying day; for the past few years we’ve visited a quaint little farm where we can buy the tree and get into the spirit of Christmas with their craft fair and Christmas activities.  This year they also had a Shetland pony dressed as Rudolph which the big Ps sat on – we’d assumed that the £2 per child would include a little walk around, but no! (Sometimes Christmas gimmicks really are a rip off!)

This afternoon was spent in the lounge with the fire blazing, decorating the tree with as many ‘balls’ as Piccalilli could possibly fit on (all quite low down!)

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I know some people don’t agree with starting Christmas until a few days before the actual day, but for us it’s all about having a magical build up to the big day and making the most of it while the Ps are young enough to really enjoy it.

Tomorrow our elf will arrive to begin our Christmas tradition part 2…

Let the festivities commence…

Today I was feeling a bit under the weather, so we gave Monday group a miss and had a productive day at home.

Dare I say it, but we seem to have inadvertently started Christmas in this home ed household! The first task was writing letters to the big man, as other family members have been asking for gift ideas. You wouldn’t think this would be such a tricky task but, due to recent birthdays and an abundance of toys in general, the big Ps struggled to come up with many ideas – sorry to disappoint family members but I think you’ll be buying some surprises! Piccalilli was adamant that she’d only like a Ponyo toy (phew!) and a lolly 🙂

 

 

At two of the groups we attend there are due to be some Christmas sales where the kids can sell items they have made.  So this afternoon we started making our products – bubble bath and soaps. Poppet is also keen to sew some decorations, so we have a shopping trip for material planned for tomorrow. I love the idea of the Ps learning about enterprise (maybe they’ll make millions and look after me and the Stinker in our old age!) and they really enjoyed discovering how to make the different products – I just hope they sell some!

In the past I would have said it was too early to start Christmas (and would hold out until December) but I think it’s perfect timing this year, especially now the weather has changed to wintry.  In fact I might turn our house into a grotto!  Anyone for gluhwein? Oh not me,  I have to wait another seven days! !

Nothing Days…

Do you ever book a date in your diary to do nothing? No matter what comes up, that day takes priority in the same way as if it was a friend’s wedding or a trip away… Today was one of those days for us, although we definitely didn’t do nothing!

We actually spent nearly all day in the garden, my happy place. The sun helped, but mainly being with my little family made me feel all warm and cosy.

We had lots of fun chopping down a tree – then the big Ps used the trunk as a tightrope and the branches to make dens (sadly most of my photos haven’t worked as I forgot to put the memory card in the camera, but we have a few from the Stinker’s phone!)

Piccalilli had a lovely time playing with the water while I cleared the allotment for winter and the Stinker chopped logs.

Everyone worked and played happily alongside each other until it started to get dark, when we came in for a yummy dinner cooked by the Stinker 🙂

The Stinker commented on how happy I am this evening, but of course I am – I’ve had a day in my garden. Our nothing day has been a huge success for reconnecting with each other and mother earth. Now I’m ready for whatever the next few manic weeks throw at me…

Weekly Review!

Today has been a hectic day of going to a baptism, followed by afternoon tea and then fish and chips at a friends house with the 3 Ps. The Stinker stayed home to play footie, but didn’t ’cause it was called off, so did jobs around the house! I’m exhausted so I thought I’d follow in my friend at Too Long Didn’t Write‘s footsteps (who is also doing the 30 Day Challenge of writing daily) and give you a round-up of my week…

So  Last Sunday it was all about how our lives seem to be going in Different Directions more and more these days, with Poppet heading off to Beaver camp while the Stinker spent time with Pickle and I spent time with Piccalilli.

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On Monday I reflected on Piccalilli’s language development in Language of love or hate?! and considered the need to begin assessing kids so young!

On Tuesday we had another visit to the fab museums in the city (Adventures in the City Take 2!) which thankfully went to plan with no illness or accidents 🙂

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Wednesday was all about thanking my wonderful mum for all her help over the years, in Mum’s the Word…

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On Thursday I enjoyed thinking about how I’m Feeling the love again… with teaching.

Yesterday was fantastic Forest School Friday… so I shared my thoughts on the importance of rewilding.

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I hope you’re enjoying my ramblings as much as I’m enjoying writing them (most days!!)

 

Feeling the love again…

It’s over a year since I left my permanent, part-time teaching job (after teaching for 16 years). I’m sure lots of people thought I was mad, as these sorts of positions are hard to come by, but I knew I’d be happier out of the profession…

Initially the plan was for me to do supply teaching for a day or two a week, but then Poppet’s experience of the education system started to go horribly wrong. I felt hypocritical about continuing to put her through something that I, as both her mum and an educational professional, did not agree with and had to leave myself due to stress and exhaustion ~ so to home ed.

Now the idea of spending my days cooped up in a sweaty classroom (I taught hormonal 11 year olds!) fills me with dread and, despite the fact that nanny is on-hand to help out with childcare (see Mum’s the Word), I can’t face the thought of supply teaching! Of course we could do with the money, but we can also live without it.

I am feeling the love with teaching again though and particularly enjoy researching and planning topics for the Ps (see Seven tips for ‘planning’ a topic), so much so that I’d even consider doing it for other people!

I am finally starting to feel again like that enthusiastic, 20-something teacher starting out ~ what I do is worthwhile; I am making a positive difference for the children I teach (mine in this case!); I have something to give. It feels good, but does it make me want to return to the classroom? No way!

Mum’s the Word…

For me, family has always been the most important thing. I don’t come from a large family and I often think this makes it easier to be close, as there are less people to share yourself between!

When we were kids, although we lived nearly two hours from grandparents and cousins, we saw them every holiday for extended periods of time. I always hoped that things would be the same for my girls and, despite having no cousins of the same age to play with, in some ways things are better. We only live an hour from family so the Ps get to see them regularly, particularly their nanny (my mum): she has visited us weekly since Poppet was born, helping out with childcare when I had to return to work after maternity leave with all three girls. Many of my friends comment on how lucky I am to have such a superstar for a mum, and I realise this is the case.

Since we began home edding, my mum’s visits are often my saving grace! If we’ve been having a busy week and I’m tired (That’ll be most weeks then!), I know I can have a bit of a break when nanny’s here – I’ve even managed to fit in child-free cafe visits with friends and long hairdresser appointments! Or I get to spend one-on-one time with one of the Ps, often Piccalilli, while nanny does baking  or sewing with the big Ps.

I also get to revert back to the rare position of being looked after by someone else, which can be a lovely feeling, especially when she likes to shop, cook and clean for me (or that’s what she tells me anyway!)

For me, the best thing about my mum’s visits are the chats – we’ve always got on well (even when I was a slightly rebellious teenager, I still enjoyed spending time with my mum) and I trust and respect her knowledge and opinion.

I can only hope that one day my girls will have their own children and will want me in their lives too.

Thanks Mum, love you xxx

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Adventures in the City Take 2!

After our previous visit to the City Museum going horribly wrong (see Good days, Bad days), we thought it was time to give it another go!

So today we headed into the city (in the car this time, just in case!) to visit the Folk Museum with our home ed friends. We arrived with no dramas and had the whole museum to ourselves – despite it officially being closed they still take educational visits, which officially we are!

20151117_113303 (2)As soon as we entered the door, the big Ps were whisked off by their friends to the very top of the beautiful Tudor building. After following them up slightly more slowly, to marvel at the amazing wooden structure, my friend and I sat (on a flight of stairs), observed and chatted. Initially the big girls wanted our attention – something they are all used to having fully in both our home ed households – but they soon organised themselves into a fantastic game of dressing up and playing home in the Tudor times! Piccalilli played around us with toy animals and food, occasionally requesting our input, mainly to retrieve an animal that had been borrowed by a bigger girl!

We laughed lots about the teaching and learning that was happening on our educational visit! Seriously though, I do think the girls all got a sense of what clothes and beds were like in the Tudor times 🙂

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We headed downstairs for some lunch, followed by some chocolate biscuit treats, followed almost immediately by five hyperactive girls… The rain had stopped so it was definitely time for a play and run around in the garden. More learning took place – playing with Victorian style toys, hiding in the Anderson shelter and discussing why the word ‘shop’ was spelled ‘shoppe’. We’ve covered so many eras today and we didn’t even make it into the retro rooms at the museum (so we’ll be heading back in a few weeks for a further educational visit!)

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Everything was going so well until tidy-up time, when Poppet decided that, as the oldest child, she should be in charge (as the photo above captures so well!) and so didn’t like it when Pickle started to put things in the wrong place in the shed! We heard a lot of screaming and their friends exited the shed very promptly with worried looks on their faces and it turned out that Poppet had punched Pickle (a regular occurrence at the moment sadly). Time to go home…

… But thankfully a less stressful experience than our previous visit and we’ll definitely be going again soon 🙂