Saturday, 29 March 2008

The rambler returns

I'm back. Not quite rested and recharged as I had hoped but certainly feeling lighter and brighter for having spent more time thinking, communicating and decision making over the last few days.

The Home Front

It was over eight years ago when Craig and I decided to investigate the possibility of becoming respite foster carers. At that time we had no children of our own and while going through the process discovered I was pregnant with Hermione. We decided that the time wasn't right for us to take it further right then.

Recently, with seven years parenting experience under our belts and the children becoming increasingly less physically dependent, we decided it was time to look into this again. We embarked upon the assessment process and I have to say I found it very draining. It's not the actual process but all the emotions and questions it raises. We decided this week that the time still isn't right for us. Were we to proceed right now we would have to make too many compromises in relation to our own children. I feel we need to wait till at least all of their physical needs can be met by someone else while we are going through the training programme. I don't think we can revisit this one again till at least when Miles has weaned from the breast.

With the benefit of hindsight we would not have started the process again at this time. It's truly taken it's toll on me and that in turn has possibly impacted on all of us. I'm feeling sad, hopefull for the future and a bit steam rollered with this one.

The Garden Front

It's bad enough loosing sleep over the children but this week I lost a couple of nights over a hen - Henrietta our first crook chook! First sign of all not being well was when she laid a peach coloured jelly egg. It had no shell just a membrane. I picked it up from the nest and got such a shock I dropped it. I was even more shocked when it bounced off the ground to almost a foot in the air! Within a couple of hours she was listless, feathers puffed up, head tucked in and generally looking like she was about to drop dead any second. After many frantic calls to the vet the best offer I had was from a vet who agreed to see her but confessed to having only ever seen one other hen in his capacity as a vet, and from what I'd described said he hadn't the foggiest what was wrong. He did however say he could fit her in and that he would only charge me £40 to look at her because she's smaller than a dog! I decided that it wasn't worth the stress it would cause her of caging her up and transporting her to see this guy who knew nothing about hens but wanted me to pay him to view her. I put her in issolation and made her lots of warm pellet mash. I also dosed her with citricidal - great stuff which I'm forever giving to the kids if they're sniffly. Within a couple of days she was strutting her stuff again and we're all delighted.

The potatoes have been planted in a very large pot and two ripped ELC sack race bags. They'll be new potatoes, there won't be space to leave them to swell too big in the confines of their containers. We won't have as many potatoes this way but at least we will still have some without monopolising a fair proportion of the vegetable patch.

The seeds are all sprouting nicely on the windowsills. I really wanted to avoid trays on windowsills but with snow flurries all last week it's just been way too cold to put any outside. I bought a plastic cloche but we get a lot of very high winds round here and no matter how I staked it it uprooted and blew off.

As we become increasingly conscious of our food and the world around us my thoughts have turned to the lashings of honey the children have on their pancakes. We all have a bit of a taste for honey to be honest. I've decided that as in the case of eggs, if we wish to eat them then we should do what we can to see that the creatures providing it for us are treated with respect. As with all animal products there are some unscrupulous honey producers out there who will compromise the health of the bees in order to maximise yields. I'm going on a weekend bee keeping course in June. It feels a bit strange as I'm terrified of bees. Perhaps it's time to overcome that if we want to eat honey.

The Education Front.

I suspect that our recent involvement with the Local Authority Fostering Services may well lead to renewed interest from the Local Education Authority. I'm not best pleased about this. I can't say why exactly. I know my rights and it takes more than an officious official to rattle my cage. I know that I am meeting all of my child's educational and other requirements in an individual, responsive and compassionate way. I guess I just don't like the inconvenience of it all and the inevitability of judgements being made about how I meet my children's needs (be those judgements favourable or not I still don't like the idea of being judged in that very personal way).

Ho hum. What will be will be. Should they choose to visit it will be at a time when the children are out for the day. I will of course be home, with tea and home made cake on the table (never let it be said that I was inhospitable - even to an Education Officer), waving my carefully considered educational philosophy (must put that on the 'to do' list), displaying samples of selected work and ready to answer questions. If that fails I'll set the randy rabbit on them *grin*.

We are working on a kangaroo lapbook at the moment. We're hoping to finish it within the next few days and that will no doubt be a post in itself.

Hermione surprises me every day right now with her new found skills and knowledge. She's really bursting forth and picking up momentum. She's like a snowball that I've rolled for a long while. At first you don't see that changes but suddenly it grows so much more with each turn.

We have talked about the way forward and Hermione has chosen for us to order more books from the Horizon series - a vocab and grammar one as well as maths this time. She's also keen to use a handwriting practice book, although I've not sourced one we both like yet. I must say I'm pleased with this new interest in pre packaged type stuff to cover the basic nuts and bolts right now. I'm struggling to keep up with her thirst for knowledge and activities at the moment. This way she can get on with some things quite independently while I'm busy with Miles or making meals. It also means that the time which I set aside in the evenings to plan educational stuff can be used to think about more exciting projects which are really tailored to what she's interested in right now rather than basic numeracy and literacy.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Blog Break

I'm taking my first blog break in over a year of blogging. Something to do with a discrepancy between energy and demands right now...

Monday, 24 March 2008

Unplugged Project - eggs

This weeks Unplugged Project was 'eggs'. We dyed our eggs with beetroot juice. We juiced the beetroots which were hanging round from last season and heading for the compost heap. We soaked/rolled the eggs in the juice for a couple of days. The results are patchy and not quite as vibrant as I hoped. Perhaps it may have been better if we had used white eggs?

We popped some white wool in the bowl too. It has taken on pinkish brown hue.

Sunday, 23 March 2008


T'was the night before Easter....

Preparing their baskets for the Bunny to empty and then hopefully refill. We have a tradition of saving all unsuitable sweets received as gifts to offer to the Easter Bunny, Santa or neighbours at Halloween. I like the children to know that these times are about giving as well as receiving - plus it helps to move on the stuff I'd rather they didn't have in a way which they are happy to do. Daddy Bunny had a feast last night *grin*.

As predicted by Daddy Bunny the process of preparing the baskets did lead to hyper night wakings and by 5.20 this morning I wished I'd had a cream egg for every time I'd been asked 'Is it time to get up? Will the Bunny have been yet?'

The children had a couple of gifts inside. A second hand game I found for Hermione which I hope will help her with her geography and a really sweet wooden game for Miles which I 'bought' through Durham Exchange Trading.

The traditional outdoor egg hunt took on a different turn this year in the snow. We've not hunted in snow before. I was worried Craig's big foot prints leading to all the eggs would give the game away but thankfully they didn't seem to notice amidst the excitement. Hermione whizzed round and filled her basket with eggs in no time leaving Miles to discover the other one and a half dozen at a more leisurely pace.

Back inside for what Hermione would term a 'family breakfast' - that means milk and cereal boxes on the table as opposed to a quick fill at the bench.

At the end of breakfast Craig glanced at his watch and it was five past seven. Yes it was a very early start! I'm exhausted and off to bed soon with my Easter gift from the Bunny - a copy of Good House Keeping magazine. A last minute panic buy from the Co-op late last night. Am I really more in need of Good House Keeping magazine than a box of chocolates? On second thoughts don't answer that. Daddy Bunny had better watch out, if there's a recipe for rabbit stew in there I may just have him in the pot!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Choccy creations

A rather large 'egg' cake and moulded carob shapes.

I hope the snow stops for the egg hunt and egg rolling tomorrow. Snow in March *sigh*. I've had to bring all the seeds in doors.

Thursday, 20 March 2008


This morning we read an adapted tale about the magical Ostara hare who could lay eggs. We took it from The Spring Equinox, Celebrating the Greening of the Earth by Ellen Jackson.

This afternoon Nana dressed Hermione's hair with pretty pink ribbons and her and I headed off to an Ostara tea party. It was an absolute delight. Embroidered table cloths, decadent cup cakes piled high on multi tiered cake stands, china cups and saucers full of China Rose tea, glimmering mini eggs whichever way you looked.

We even brought a couple of cakes home. Beautifully handcrafted.

Tomorrow we will have a big family meal together. I think the hare may pay a visit. I suspect he's going to bring Miles a potty book and Hermione a children's cookery book. We'll burn a white and black candle to signify the balance of night and day. Oh I do so love celebrating with family and friends!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Natures World, Raw Chocolate and the Sheeple

We went to a home ed gathering this morning. Very pleasant as always. Then we had a picnic in the Natures World grounds. What a fab place that is! Totally not the norm so far as parks go, much more interesting. We were there for over two hours and didn't see everything. Our visit was cut short by the rain.

We all had a great time - including Nana. It's awful when all the rides are monopolised by the seniors don't you think? As it was I think we were the only people there today so I'll let her off on this occasion.

We went on a hunt for the most dangerous animal in the world.

At the end there was a mirror with lots of details of how humans pollute the planet.

Miles was fascinated by the walk in talking compost heap.

It's basically a tunnel with bugs and bits of veg and things on the walls. There are sound effects with a voice over explaining that the sounds are the sound of death turning to life, dead things being digested by thousands of micro organisms and turned into something of benefit to the earth. Miles was reluctant to leave it and could only be tempted away by the goats.

Lots of mini beastie habitats, interactive structures and garden art.

When we arrived home I called Soo to let her know that our raw food order had arrived. The courier had hidden it in the old guinea pig hutch since we were out. She called in very briefly to collect it and returned unexpectedly a couple of hours later with the best raw chocolate cake I have ever tasted. I think she has found her new vocation in life as a raw chocolatier. I would have liked to have photographed he double tier beautiful creations but they were eaten within seconds.

Late afternoon Hermione headed off to Rainbows. Something isn't quite right there, that has been apparent for a while. Today when she came home she explained how she really enjoys the crafts and stories but doesn't understand the games at the end where everyone runs riot and will hurt each other if necessary in order to be the winner. Apparently girls who are polite and kind throughout the session turn rather vicious when it's game time. She asked why this happens. Why do they all follow each other and copy each other? Why do they all really really want to be the winner? Why do they pretend they like the games and join in when earlier they have told me they don't like them? Hmmm how do you explain sheeple behaviour to a seven year old? We talked about how lots of people feel better if they do what everyone else does - even if it isn't what they really deep down want to do. Not sure what will happen from here. I'm not going to pressurise her to go and secretly would quite like her not to if that's how it is, but I'll let her make her own choice.

Latest addition to the seasonal tree - decoration made by Hermione at Rainbows.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


I feel ever so blessed today having spent lots of time with good friends and having received lovely surprises.

A simnel cake complete with nest and eggs.

A posy of flowers.

Life is good but I must confess to feeling a bit frazzled and burnt out right now. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. As Hermione gets older her thirst for knowledge is growing and she wants to do more and more things at home with me. I'm delighted with her enthusiasm, and I look out there at so many wonderful resources to tap into also, but I just don't seem to have much oooomph right now. I'm just not pulling it together. Not sure what I need, tea and sympathy or a kick up the jaxi. Hmmm....

Monday, 17 March 2008

Africa - rainforest and poverty cycle

Well, here goes, a couple of months on, this is what I can remember of the rest of our Africa study.


We talked about the how we might feel in a tropical rainforest. Hot, sweaty and nervous about big spiders was the consensus.

We looked at some of the animals that thrive in the rainforest and played snap with some rainforest animal cards I had made.

We talked about deforestation and how that affects everyone - trees help to keep our air clean. We asked *why* people want to chop down trees in the rainforest and came up with quite a few ideas - to sell the timber, to make things from the timber, to make money out of the rainforest, to clear space for roads and houses to be built in the rainforest.

We looked at a wonderful youtube clip of the rainforest which sadly has since been removed by the video owner.

We talked about the Pygmies. They were featured in the youtube clip we watched.

We painted watercolour pictures of the rainforest. As we painted I chatted about the different canopies and long trailing vines. I think Hermione understood this and at times it seemed to be reflected in her art - but then add a bit more water and hey you could be anywhere! She said the trees in her picture were emergents. I think she just forgot to paint the canopies they should have been emerging from *grin*.


How do you explain the poverty cycle in Africa to a six year old? As simply as possible I figured. I made some pictorial representations of what I think are big factors in the poverty cycle. We talked about each in turn and Hermione placed them in various cycles, attempting to work out what exactly caused what. Not an easy one to fathom always.

We talked about war. There have been lots of wars in Africa. People are injured and crops can be destroyed. Money that could be spent on other things is used to buy weapons.

There are food shortages. Some people don't have the money to buy food. In some places food is not available to buy. It can be hard to grow things because of the climate. Some people are starving.

There is a population explosion. Despite conditions being poor babies continue to come and the population continues to grow. Food and medicine is in short supply but has to be shared between more and more people.

The climate is often very hot and dry. This makes it difficult to grow some crops. Water shortages. Not enough for people to drink. water crops, give to animals and keep clean.

Lots of people become ill - lack of food, water and medicine. Mosquitoes.

Africa Evening

At the end of all that Soo cooked us an African meal one evening with recipes from this book.

We had saffron rice and a chicken and peanut dish.

A vegetable bake.

A spinach dish.

Corn bread and fruity pancakes to follow.

Hermione had some rice and a piece of cornbread. Never one to experiment when it comes to food.

I thought the food was fantastic. The only thing that I wasn't so keen on was the African music which Craig had downloaded from the Internet. It was absolutely dire. He downloaded the first thing he came to and has since confessed that he only downloaded three songs and put them on random repeat *tut tut*.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Music concert, art detective, super sweets etc

Quick catch up on things we've done this week.

Hermione and Nana went to a workshop called Art Detectives at the Laing Art Gallery this week. It was an event organised by a home educating mum. Apparently they watched a video clip which was in news report style and then had to solve the mystery of who had smuggled paintings into the gallery. Sounded very much like a game of Cluedo to me. They enjoyed it.

I started a reciprocating arrangement with another home edding mum to do some sort of activity with our children. On this occasion she did some science stuff with the big ones while I watched the little ones. Next time the roles will be reversed. I was worried about how Hermione would enjoy it with someone other than myself in that role. I need not have worried. She had a great time. They did an experiment to find magnetic north using magnets, needles, compass, straws and a bowl of water. I'm hoping the arrangement will work well and that perhaps more will come of co-operative home ed arrangements around here. I'm not talking about 'sharing the teaching' as that isn't really the sort of approach we have here at home. I'm thinking more along the lines of parents possibly sharing a special talent they may have with a group of children or maybe more one off projects with other families like we did with Africa (second part still to be blogged).

Hermione participated in her first music concert playing the clarinet. She was a little nervous by all accounts but did ever so well. Sadly I had to stay home and look after Miles. I have gone to all of her dance concerts so she felt it was only right that Craig got to see her in this concert. She's ever so proud of the programme with her name on.

The herb patch is really springing back to life. The chives, mint and parsley are doing particularly well. This is the mint.

Last year I didn't use as many herbs in cooking as I would like. Often it's dark by the time I'm cooking dinner and I don't want to tramp across the lawn in my slippers. I thought I'd remedy that this year by planting out a basket to keep close to the back door. I've put in some herbs and I've left space for a nasturtium or two also. I love those petals!

We found a ladybird when I was trimming back old growth on the herbs. At first it looked dead but slowly started to move. We decided that perhaps it was time to get out the ladybird house which Nana received as a gift on her birthday. Here it is. Complete with one resident ladybird.

Inspired by Miles recent bout of bad health (I think he could do with a boost), a tub of cacao butter reaching it's shelf life and a youtube clip by Shazzie I decided to make some raw superfood sweets. I didn't have all of the ingredients so improvised with what superfoods we did have. I ended up with a one layer fudge type creation which Miles loves, I find quite tasty and Hermione won't touch. If only I could please all of the people all of the time *smile*.

Quite a busy day or two ahead. I could certainly do with a good nights sleep tonight. If only we could all snooze in the sunshine *grin*.

One of the highlights of the week for me was our new energy saving effort. I finally got the lovely big black shiny fridge I've been dreaming of (sad I know). Startled by the size of our electric bills Craig bought one of these. It soon became apparent that our old fridge freezer was costing us a fortune in money and costing the planet in carbon. Our new one is much bigger (helps cut down on the trips to the supermarket) but costs a small fraction of what the other one did to run.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Hot cross buns, telling the time etc

We've been comfortably occupied with Easter activities this week. I won't say 'busy' as it hasn't been. I like it when the pace is slow *grin*.

We put up our seasonal decorations. Miles was very enthusiastic, much more so than Hermione.

Nana has read the Easter story from The First Easter by Piper and Corke a couple of times. I worry that the Easter story is the stuff that nightmares are made of for many small children. This book approaches it sensitively. It does obviously talk about the crucifixion but it doesn't labour on that aspect, the focus being more on the resurrection.

We have done Easter word searches, played Easter word bingo and made Easter jigsaws. Today Hermione made hot cross buns with a little help from Nana. It was an all day job. They seemed to be for ever rising by the fire.

Hermione has also spent time each day this week reciting her times tables. She's quite confident with the two, three, four and five times table now providing she sings them in sequence. I guess the next stage is to be able to use them in a practical way by being able to dip into them here and there. The times table cd from the Early Learning Centre has been a great help.

She is also on a mission to master telling the time. A friend bought her a watch for her birthday and she has worn it each day since. I came across this game online the other day and she has come on in leaps and bounds since using it. Today she managed to score full marks on a game without any help from me.

I'm quite enjoying taking it easy this week. Nana is very involved in doing Easter things and the kind of stuff Hermione is asking to do (times tables and telling the time) don't really need any forethought or preparation on my part.

It made me laugh this afternoon when I walked into the kitchen to find Miles and Hermione sitting at the table with workbooks, playing schools.

I doubt that is a sight I'll see very often.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The daffodil lesson

Our kitchen smells really strongly of daffodils right now. We have two big bunches of them and they are in full bloom. The pollen is dropping. The smell is very pungent.

I was flicking through It happens in the month of March by Ellen Jackson last night and I read about how the daffodil is the flower associated with March.

Coincidentally a letter arrived today from Marie Curie, enclosing a daffodil lapel pin and requesting a donation. I've a lot of time for Marie Currie. They have been involved in the care of a couple of people who were very dear to me.

This afternoon we talked about the daffodil and what it signifies to some. We talked about hope and how for many the daffodil is a sign of hope. We talked about Marie Curie and how they cared for Craig's mum, who sadly Hermione never met.

We took one of our daffodils and shook it over a piece of paper. Lots of pollen fell out. We cut the bulbous part behind the flower in half and looked at the hidden seeds.

This evening I read The Daffodil Lesson out loud. It went down well. I hope Hermione takes on board the message. It's a hard lesson to learn but one which I imagine (not certain I have learned yet) could really enrich life.

The Daffodil Lesson

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are gone." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I'll come next Tuesday," I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

Well, we piled everyone in the car and headed out, but after just a few blocks of driving in that thick fog, I said sternly, (I always sound stern when I’m scared to death…) "Carolyn, please turn around."

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You’ll never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

Well, I gave her a good stern, motherly look, and resigned myself that I was going to die plunging down a steep mountain ravine in a car with screaming children in the fog and no-one would ever find us….

But then, before I knew it, we turned onto a small gravel road and we saw a small church just up ahead. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, “Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. There before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.

"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, almost fifty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world...

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal forty-five or fifty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting....

Until your car or home is paid off

Until you get a new car or home

Until you have kids

Until your kids leave the house

Until you go back to school

Until you finish school

Until you clean the house

Until you organize the garage

Until you clean off your desk

Until you lose 10 lbs.

Until you get married

Until you get a divorce

Until you retire

Until summer

Until spring

Until winter

Until fall

Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt, and, Dance like no one's watching. And start working on your goal! When? TODAY!

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!

Now where did I put my gardening gloves?


Author Unknown

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Up close and grizzly

Not had a particularly blogworthy day today however we have had a couple of close up grizzly encounters.

Sitting in the living room today we noticed a big kerfuffle on the deck. The hens seemed to be fighting, which I've never known before. I dashed outside to see what was going on and they had caught a mouse and were fighting over it. By the time I managed to get them out of the way the mouse was dead sadly. I picked it up on a spade and Hermione and I had a good look at it. It looked really peaceful. It's tiny feet were amazing. It's nose, so clean and pink. It's whiskers so long and curved. We put it in the undergrowth behind our house.

This afternoon we were collecting sticks from under the trees when I almost put my hand on a partially decomposed black bird. I say partially decomposed as the head was completely intact but the body was a skeleton. How bizarre. This didn't hold the same interest as the mouse had for Hermione. I have to say it was altogether more grizzly.

Isn't nature a funny thing?

Monday, 10 March 2008

Unplugged Project - shiny

The theme for this weeks Unplugged Project was shiny.

We carried out a shiny spoon experiment. We looked at our reflection in a shiny spoon. Looking at the part where your food would go, your face looks bigger. This is because it is concave. Looking at the back of the spoon your face looks smaller. This is because it is convex. We can remember which part is concave and which part is convex because the concave part goes inwards - like a cave.

I could have made it more technical but that was about my limit for a Monday morning!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Woodland walk, Easter crafts, digging etc

Nana and I have done quite a lot of digging this week. Nana more so than me as Miles has been in need of lots of mummy hugs. I'm relieved we have now managed to dig half of the veg patch and still haven't skewered a hen or rabbit. They just won't stay out of the way. They wait poised ready to snap up any worms or other wrigglers we may unearth. The rabbit seems to enjoy the small roots. They've no fear whatsoever of the fork. They just dive on in there!

Hermione made a wormery this week. The picture is of day one. We can now see signs of soils being mixed and grass being pulled down from the top.

We went walking with friends in local woods. I say 'walking' but there was so many fallen branches after recent heavy winds that it turned into more of a 'yomp'. We rounded off with raspberry tea and carrot cake in the village coffee shop and I think a good time was had by all. I certainly felt invigorated and recharged.

Miles is feeling so much better than he did last week. He's almost back to his old self. I turned my back for two minutes while cooking lunch today to find him playing football with my chitting potatoes! Most of the shoots are now swept up and in the bin *sigh*. Never mind, I had to laugh, it's just so good to see him getting back to his normal mischievous self!

We made a start on Easter / Ostara crafts. I say 'we' but really Craig was in charge of this glue and glitter fest. Sitting up at the table, concentrating and taking it all ever so seriously, I see that my little boy is growing up fast.

I've been to the library for some books about Easter. Nana is going to spend time with Hermione this week talking about the Christian perspective. The following week we'll look at Ostara.

I'm feeling quite prepared. I have ideas about decorations and gifts. Not sure that I want to give any of my money to Hallmark so I'd best be getting on and making some cards. Also been thinking that I don't want to waste any eggs this year. I love painting and rolling eggs but my views about food are changing, and I can't bring myself to dash an egg down a grassy bank or leave it looking pretty on the sideboard till it's inedible. If we do go egg rolling, (which I hope we do), I think we'll use the plastic ones we use for egg hunts. Thankfully Craig had a misspent youth and is quite adept at blowing eggs apparently, so closer to the time that's what we'll do - use the eggs and dye the shells for decoration.

Thinking of this time of year as a child I recalled fond memories of dancing round the maypole on the village green. Over thirty years on I'm certainly not so light on my feet but I'd still like to do it again. I've been in touch with a lady who teaches maypole dancing and hope to organise something for later in the summer when the weather is more settled. I'm very excited about it.

Hermione was invited on Saturday to take part in a concert this coming Friday. She will be playing her clarinet. This will be the first music concert she has taken part in and she's very excited and a little nervous too I think. Much noisy pratice round here this week I suspect *grin*.