Thursday, 8 January 2015

2015 Goals

As always it's been forever since I posted. I would say that I'll post every week but I'm not sure I will as there always seems to be something else I want to do.

Coming into 2015 and leaving 2014 behind, I did an awful lot of reflection. As I've documented on here before we had a lot of financial issues last year, near bankruptcy at one point and although we're in a better situation we now have a lot of debt. I've been reading up a bit on personal finance and my aim this year is to clear all our personal credit card debt (approx £14,000), and to also clear some of the business debt.

I'm yet to actually put figures to paper but I will definitely be posting progress on here, or alternatively start a separate blog as it will hold me accountable.

Homeschool wise, I recently read an article written by a mum to 6 kids about how you can bog yourself down with reading too much about all the different pedagogies in homeschooling. I'm so guilty of this. Constantly thinking I should be doing this or that and then feeling deflated when things aren't going how I think they should. Where did my goal of following our children's lead go? I've felt so snowed under with it all that I completely doubted our decision. I sat down, took a step back and realised that actually we need to just plug away, enjoying each other and building relationships until we find what works for us. This morning Nathan wrote the alphabet and a little note to his sister, he did a lot of maths sums, read a book, did his sight words and then we played lots of games. One was a rhyming matching game and I thought he'd struggle but he read the first half and then matched the second half. He completed the whole thing, helping his brother as he went along.

They also spent an hour working together making up different patterns from the Design and Drill set they got for Christmas. They worked together beautifully, in fact this morning was a morning where I sighed with contentment that just for a couple of hours there was peace and harmony in our house!

I've decided that I will be doing a lot more personal reading as well. I never make time to just read for the pleasure of it. I've written a list of all books I currently have and again, I'll post it on here. My aim is to read the books and then put them to one side to be sold at a car boot that I will be doing around May time which leads me to my next goal. Decluttering. We have so much STUFF. Stuff that never gets used and hasn't been used for years. Any money made from eBay before March will be used for our holiday to CenterParcs and after that it will be used for debt or savings.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

This week....

I always feel like we haven't really done very much. I'm not sure why. Probably because we don't sit down for long periods of time doing work book after work book. However when looking back through my photos I'm really pleased with all we have done. We've done 'normal' academics, Nathan's handwriting has improved so much recently. His mental arithmetic is also very good. Ethan loves to paint and potter around. He loved the little hammering set that I picked up on Monday. We also began weaning Amelia-Lilly and met friends at the park. Here's our week in  pictures.


Meal Planning Monday.

As much as I eat clean and train mean(!) I do keep my evening meals 'normal' so that the boys and I are eating the same food. I cook our meals from scratch and am a big lover of batch cooking. So the week we will have:

Monday- Butter chicken (without the butter) with basmati rice and veg

Tuesday - Homemade salmon burgers and Caesar salad. 

Wednesday - Mild chicken fajitas

Thursday - Homemade cottage pie and veg

Friday - Homemade pizza for the boys. Chicken curry for the grown ups :-)

Saturday - We are having a Halloween fancy dress party for the kids but there are an awful lot of people coming now so I'll be making pulled pork rolls, chunky chilli and rice and also sausages, baked pots and beans. 

Sunday - I'm hoping there will be plenty of leftovers. Otherwise it'll be roast lamb! 

Friday, 24 October 2014


Do you ever feel that you could have a friendship for life with someone and then all of a sudden for some reason you just stop seeing each other?

I'm not sure where this post is coming from. My heart mainly but it's been building for a year and I'm still sad about it. About two years ago I met a lady and her daughter. They too were going to/and still are home educating. We struck up what I thought to be a great friendship, our kids got on so well as well that it was a pleasure seeing them. It was easy company. There didn't seem any need to put on any airs and graces. We started seeing each other at least once a week, sometimes twice depending on the weather and if we had some good days out planned. She's so down to earth and relaxed that I always joked she was my yang.

Fast forward a year and things started to change. She would cancel our plans and avoid making any. It was bizarre. Apparently there was nothing wrong. I saw her not long before Amelia-Lilly was born and asked what had happened. Apparently she didn't like the routine of seeing people every week. I've seen her once since our daughter was born and there's the odd comment and like on Facebook but that's it. I still feel really sad and affected by this. I'm not sure why. Maybe the realisation that I valued the friendship far more than she did.

I don't even know why I'm writing about this now. All this time on. Maybe I'm closing the chapter and trying to release the hurt I feel.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Days 2, 3 and 4 screen free.

It's actually been surprisingly easy. Yes they tend to need a bit more of my time but they're also quite happy to move into the kitchen to play near me if I need to get lunch or tea ready.

They're definitely getting on better with each other and they aren't being so angry or rude towards each other or me.

They've been picking up activities that they wouldn't normally think to. Out came the Hama beads today and Nathan sat for a good hour using them and Ethan and I worked on his design together.

We're definitely spending more quality time together and I'm happy that I made the decision to do this. Rightly or wrongly they were watching too much TV for my liking and their behaviour has significantly improved. They do still ask for it but they aren't constantly asking. There are no tears either and every bedtime has been much easier.

Here a few pictures from the last few days.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Day 1 Screen Free.

So the day started with Nathan talking about not having any screen time and all was good. We went to Drusillas today which is a local zoo to us. We have been members for 2 years and I renewed again today. They offer a 25% discount which makes joining again worthwhile.

As we were leaving Ethan asked for TV when we got home, I explained we weren't having any screen time for a while. Cue massive meltdown. It was hard. He was rude all the way home kicking my chair and calling me a stupid idiot. It was hard. Really hard.

Once we got home he had a nap but when he woke again he got angry about the TV. This is what I struggle with the most. He didn't like TV at all until March and even since then he would only watch a tiny bit. Recently though whether it's down to me being a bit lazy or them wanting to watch more, our screen time has increased. I have noticed a massive deterioration in their behaviour and they are extremely out of character at the moment.

After this though we had an amazing afternoon. The boys got on better, we spent time making puzzles, playing in the garden and then the boys started an art project that they worked on for over an hour. They are also wanting to work more on it tomorrow. Bedtime was much easier and nicer for us all as well.

I've received some negative comments on Facebook regarding me doing this and I'm really quite surprised to be honest. It's been suggested that it's a punishment. This isn't the case. My boys are just 5 and just 3. I wouldn't use the TV to punish them. I'm not, however happy with the change in their character. It's upsetting for all of us especially the boys.

I'm looking forward to seeing how our week unfolds and I'm enjoying spending more quality time with our family and watching relationships become closer.

Here's a few snippets of our day including their art project.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

We're going Screen Free.....

So after reaching a crescendo of a deterioration in behaviour, a constant "need" to watch TV/have the iPad, I have decided that for the next week at least there will be no screen time for the boys in this house. Some may think I'm insane, especially as Kenny is away from Tuesday lunchtime until Friday night but to be fair it's me that deals with the constant bad behaviour, answering back and general dependency on a screen.

The ironic thing here is that Ethan only started watching TV in March this year at age 2 years and 8 months. It used to drive me crazy that he wouldn't watch anything so that I could cook tea. Now he's constantly craving Ben & Holly and Peppa Pig. He's become rude and not the kind hearted little boy that we're used to.

Nathan, our highly energetic 5 year old would watch TV all day if he could, he's also experiencing a testosterone surge I believe but none the less his dependency on Angry Birds, Ben & Holly and pretty much anything else on a screen has hit an all time high.

I'm going to blog daily with how we get on (yes, really I will!) and I'm putting screen free time indefinitely.

They waste so much time staring formlessly at the screen or counting down the minutes until the next time slot that they're waiting their life away.

So now I will spend my evening making sure there are opportunities for activities that don't involve a screen.....

Suggestions welcome!