Thursday, 31 March 2011

Adventures alone

Myself and two good friends have entered into the London Moonwalk this coming May. We will be power walking around London with many thousands of other women (and men), to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.
I was talked into this event by my lovely cousin, and managed to get a further fourteen people to agree to join us. As I said we now stand at a group of three!
In the early days, I had thought I would go into this event with no training, I thought I was pretty fit as I dance for three hours a week and run several short wrong and stupid!!
Power walking uses totally different muscles to other types of training. So glad that I have realised that now when I still have time to work on my fitness and technique.
Anyway, yesterday I enthusiastically ventured off to Blenheim to walk the grounds.
Armed with my MP3 player and mobile phone, I strutted my stuff for about seven miles. It is a long time since I have ventured away from the usual butterfly house and main palace, in fact last time I want off the beaten track was on a sponsored roller skate for 'Ponies in need' with my lovely school friend Joanna.
What a beautiful walk. Walking is so lovely I have come to realise, and walking alone too. I think we all need to do it. I find myself gazing romantically at my surroundings. Blenheim is full of the most amazing trees. Ancient trees. Then there are the many pheasants, walkers, mum's pushing push chairs, jogger's etc. Being by yourself isn't lonely, (or I certainly don't feel it), it's therapeutic, time-out from the goings on of daily life. I sing, think, gaze in admiration at the world around me, give thanks for the beauty I am able to experience.
Towards the end of my walk it began to rain. Lightly at first and then it poured. The enthusiasm was not stifled by mother natures actions. Rain adds a new dimension and something else to gaze and wonder at.
Another day of romancing the ordinary..............

Sunday, 27 March 2011

It's finally arrived!!

I have really felt like I have been suffering recently. Not with illness but more along the lines of becoming totally impatient with the dull, cold weather and the grey skies. Finally after what seems, months of waiting, I have realised that it is here! Spring has finally come to us.
This last week has been totally beautiful with sunshine and rising temperatures daily. I've been able to centre my attention to getting out the gardening tools and digging the soil over ready to plant. I've even planted some seeds in trays in the green house and some flower seeds into a freshly dug bed. I am truly inspired to have a cut flower garden this year and praying for better luck in my attempts then last year. (I only grew weeds!).
I recently read that March is the time to laugh, play, make love and get out there and enjoy the new freedom that the season brings! xxxx

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The birthday celebration

Birthday's are marked, recorded and celebrated in many ways across the globe. I remember how special I felt as a child every year when my 'special' day came around. The excitement, the feeling of being really important, the extra attention you received and the lovely gifts of course!
When I met my husband in my late teens, he used to spend a whole week celebrating his birthday. Everything he wanted to do and did was excused with 'I am allowed, it's my birthday!'
But there was nothing that I remember from childhood that happened every year, no special ceremony or little event that took place. So when I had children of my own, I wanted to create something that they would remember, something that would be special within 'our' family unit. Initially it became balloons. The birthday child would awaken to find a mass of brightly coloured balloons tied to their chair making them feel like they were sitting on some kind of 'balloon throne'. After a couple of years this was added to with our birthday ring. (shown above).
Tim cut the wooden ring out at work and drilled the holes in it. I bought some lovely beeswax candles and brass candles holders from Myriad and places those in the drilled holes, then proceeded to make the felt characters using wooden dolly pegs, which also fit into the holes. A friend gave me a lovely ceramic rose-shaped candle holder, which stands in the middle.
Of course there is also the all important 'birthday cake', well that area of my life needs a little work to say the least, so we'll not go there!!
I would love to hear what 'special' things others do to mark their birthdays xx

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Days 4, 5, 6 and 7 on the 'Home Front'

Day 4
Fenton asked for Marmite on toast for breakfast this morning....not sure that Marmite was available during the war but hey ho! Couldn't believe that he left most of starting to look at left overs with a creative view....what could Marmite on toast become? (It became chicken food).
Today (Thursday) we are meeting with other members of our home school co-op for a session on 'The Home Front'. To us this is a review of life throughout the past week. My children are quite knowledgeable on the subject now. Living the experience is such a good way of learning.
Poppy and I both dressed up today, I even dug out a pair of those wonderful tights with the line down the back! (Have to confess they were severely laddered by the end of the day....not practical, perhaps the tea staining or gravy browning with the black pencil line was in fact more efficient!).
Ruby and Fenton gave in to peanut butter today.......then Ruby decided she wanted to be back on rations!
I, determined to see this through, looked on longingly at the bananas and cheese that friends devoured  next to me....I will not give in, they had no choice in the 1940's.
Dinner- some leftover stew from yesterday (I made vast quantities), with added curry powder, along with mashed potatoes.

Day 5, 6 and 7

Well we managed to stick to our goal for the remainder of the week and our verdict is...that actually it wasn't too bad. I was rather over cautious with the use of eggs and cheese and we actually had some left at the end of the week. We also had some butter and quite alot of sugar too. I guess in the war years this sugar would have been reserved for making jam in the autumn as a way of preserving the hedgerow fruits.
On our final day we had a party to celebrate the end of the war. We decorated the dining room with red, white and blue bunting and held union jack flags. Rations continued for about nine years after the war had finished so we remained on rations for the rest of that day. Sunday lunch consisted of a roast dinner without the meat!

Thanks for reading....I will add photos when blogger lets me!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Life on the 'Home Front' continued....

Day 3

The children were packed off to my friend's house in their 1940's gear today and their packet lunches wrapped in greeseproof paper - this consisted of stale bread, apples, carrot sticks and cucumber!
Dinner - Vege stew with bread (more stale) and sausages (vegetarian ones for us). Fenton stripped the fridge of many of our rations this afternoon, gobbling up a large amount of milk, some cooking chocolate and the sausages!!! Three year olds...arrrrrr!!

Tim and I ate out for lunch today. You could do that during the war. Resturants weren't rationed and meals had to be capped at 25p.
We pretended we saw a soldier whilst out and gave the children a small pack of sweets each for a treat.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Life on the 'Home Front' continued....

Day two of our 'Home Front' adventures.....
We started the day with some lovely porridge with golden syrup. No one is complaining, it is amazing how easy things are when you don't give the children a choice of cereals!
We then proceeded to make some bread to hopefully last a few days and some tasty 'Anzac' biscuits (more oats)! So lunch consisted of fresh bread and salad. (we figured that if we could grow items we could have them).
Tuesdays we are joined by the children from another home schooling family, so we took the opportunity to focus on life on the HF with them too.
A member of our church came to the house this afternoon with her lovely husband to talk to the children about her experience of life during the war years. Joan had grown up in Salford, Manchester by the docks. Her talk was very interesting and kept all of the children quiet and rooted to the spot for almost two hours, even Fenton, who actually fell asleep!
The children had prepared many questions for Joan, who was thrilled to be able to share her experiences.
Dinner - Jacket potatoes with baked beans and salad. Normally we would have cheese with this meal, but not this week!
 Pud - Pancake day, so pancakes made with one egg and part milk part water. Not bad, in fact much better then my usual effort.

Just as the children were ready for bed this evening, we played the 'air raid' siren which we found online. Tim had padded out the area under the table in the dining room with blankets and cushions and had set up a lamp for effect. We read the children their bedtime stories in our make believe 'Morrison' shelter. Of course they thought this was great fun! (Anyone questioning our sanity yet??).

Monday, 14 March 2011

Life on the 'Home Front'

As part of our project on World War 2, we thought it might be fun and interesting to try living on war time rations for a week.
The children became very enthusiastic about this idea and suggestions about us all wearing 1940's clothes, playing war time games and living without certain luxuries began to come about.

So here we go with our week living on the 'Home Front'. Gas masks ready.........

Everyone is really quite excited about our weeks project, especially the fact theat official 'school work' has been suspended for the week (they haven't worked out that they are learning through experience on this one)!

Poppy and Ruby dressed up in their 'War-time' clothes for church this morning. Our family does a cake sale once a month to support a child in Bangladesh, so this month all of the recipes were taken from our war-time cook book. The parishoners were delighted, altough a little sceptical about the food! They all happily shared information about their experiences of the war years.

Once again the children dressed in their simple clothes and today carried their gas masks (well covered boxes made to look like gas mask cases).
Fen went off to nursery so we had the perfect opportunity to do some uninterupted learning.
We started our day weighing our our rations.
We are prediminantly a vegetarian family and were really quite taken back by the rather pitiful 1oz portion of cheese that rations permitted per person per week. Sugar on the other hand, was to us rather 'over rationed'. 12 oz per person per week. That's quite a lot, although everywhere you read they complain that it wasn't much!!
We spent the rest of the morning deciding what clothes we would need for a year in exchange for our 66 clothing coupons. Lots of compromising was needed here and it promted much discussion. Ruby's needs used a whopping 250 coupons!
Poppy worked out that she could have 1 overcoat, 1 jacket, 1 raincoat, 1 skirt, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of trousons, 1 pair of shoes, 5 pairs of knickers, 1 cardigan, 2 blouses and 8 pairs of socks.
Adults clothes used more coupons, so my list was rather more limited then this.
Lunch - the children requested cheese on toast for lunch - not happening! Two slices of cheese on toast would have used up a persons cheese ration for a whole week, so we settled for jam!
The children spent the whole afternoon playing on the concrete outside. They used chalk to create good old 'hopscotch' games.
Tea - Cheese, potatoe and oatmeal vege pie with salad. Tim took one look at this and announced that he needed something with it....! Urrr there's a war on you know!!! He hooked a mariners pie from the freezer - this is only day one!
Pud - Dried fruit fritters....Poppy rightly pointed out that the recipe for fritters was the same as that which we use for glue....! Tasted good though....