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!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Home ed week 1 overview

This week was such a contrast to the week before. We were a lot busier seeing friends than the week before but if I'm honest it was too much. We met friends in the park Monday, went to the library on Tuesday, met up for a not back to school picnic on Wednesday followed by going back to a friends house for more playing and the Thursday night we drove to Birmingham in the evening to stay with friends for a couple of days. I thought the kids would sleep well in the car. How wrong was I? Amelia-Lilly slept soundly but the boys maybe got half an hour and then had a second wind when we got there.

It was a busy couple of days that became quite stressful in the end. The friends we stayed with have a beautiful child free house and although we were very welcome there we were conscious of our whirlwind boys going through the house like Tazmanian devils! We did go to a farm on the Friday that was fantastic and we had a great time. It was good to be home though Saturday early evening and things have returned to normal somewhat.

I definitely noticed a difference with the boys behaviour by having so much on though and this week it will taper back to just having a couple of activities in the diary.

This week I'm hoping to get some activities lined up for Ethan and to start to work out our unit studies for the next couple of months. I'd really like to get ahead with my organising and then we can go with whatever else takes our fancy!

Here are a few snippets from our week.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

We officially home ed!

So it's official, we now home educate Nathan having made the decision three years ago to do so. It seems crazy that we're really doing it now though!

Yesterday we met home ed friends at the park and it was fabulous. Not another soul in there which meant the scooters could be abandoned for a good run around and we didn't need to worry about them. Our friends then came back to our house and played for a while before heading home.

I woke this morning to be told that Kenny and Nathan had been researching African tribes on the iPad already and Nathan wants to learn more. As luck would have it we're heading to the library this morning anyway so can hopefully pick up a few books relating to it. I also have clay so am thinking we could make mud huts too.

I'm very excited and also apprehensive. Our children's education is extremely important to us and there's always the concern of messing it up. Having read the recent changes to the National Curriculum and shortages in schools I can put my hand on my heart and say this is the best course for us.

I'm excited that Nathan has already found a topi she wants to explore too.

Here's to a great day

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The beginning.

I've been busy trying to decide on the themes that I want us to cover over the following months and making sure that we cover enough numeracy and literacy to keep Nathan from getting bored.

I've always loved the Montessori method and have just discovered this blog here that has the most amazing hands on activities. I'm not sure if Nathan will find some too easy but Ethan will definitely enjoy doing them which will be great. If I'm honest I do forget that Nathan is only just 5. He's incredibly switched on but I think he will enjoy this style of being able to choose activities.

We will be very eclectic with our home educating and I think thats the best way.

I'll be posting our themes hopefully over the weekend! Our first study will be on Sharks as its Shark week on Discovery so it will tie in nicely.

Back soon to update!

Lisa x

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nathan turns 5....

I always feel nostalgic and highly emotional when our children celebrate another birthday. I'm not sure why, maybe because it's another year passed, they're getting bigger and oh so independent.. I'm not sure what it is.

I've gone through the pictures on my phone and chosen a selection that cover the 5 years although we have so many thousand it's really tricky.

I'm feeling slightly nervous now as well as our home ed journey will now become official as he is of legal school age. It's quite daunting really, not that we ever doubt our decision, it's just so official now!

Here he is, our first born baby, he's growing up into an amazing young boy, he's caring, compassionate and highly sensitive. A beautiful character that also has a passionate feisty temper too. No idea where he gets that from.....
Ahhhhh a few through the years x

Monday, 21 July 2014

Meal Planning Monday

So here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday - Spaghetti Bolognese - nice and easy as the boys are butters after they finish preschool.

Tuesday - Fish curry - thermomix recipe

Wednesday - Homemade Tuna fishcakes and salad

Thursday - Sweet and Sour chicken - Hairy dieters recipe

Friday - Steak, some type of potato and veg

Saturday - Homemade pizza night

Sunday - BBQ

We'll also be making a frittata for lunch and some sort of cake/flapjack.


L x

Sunday, 20 July 2014

This weeks HomeEd set up

I finally pulled my finger out and rearranged the activity shelves for Ethan as well as putting out Butterfly Lifecycle corner together. The boys have been attending our local Montessori Preschool but they finish on Friday. Nathan will be turning 5 in August and will be the official school age and Ethan, well he just doesn't want to go anymore and would rather have fun being out and doing things.

With this all in mind I need to make sure we have plenty to do at home. Here are our shelves at the moment.

Transferring activity

Colour sorting and fine motor grip

Lacing card

Transferring, control of pestle and mortar and will smell amazing!

We have also been observing our caterpillars as they have rapidly grown and are now in their Chrysalides. With this is mind I set up a nature/science corner with a few activities.

A selection of fiction and non fiction books, the butterfly garden which we will transfer the chrysalides into tomorrow and their magnifying glasses.

Here we have the Butterfly Life Cycle cards and booklet purchased from here and also a Spielgaben nature card which helps with control of error.

We'll see how this week goes but with their daddy away working I've made sure we're pretty busy going out and seeing friends so it may be that these activities last longer than a week. Once these butterflies hatch out we're going on a new caterpillar hunt to start all over again.

Heres looking forward to an amazing week.

L x

Friday, 18 July 2014

Ethan turns 3!

Wow what a busy week. Our days seem to merge into weeks and before you know it we're halfway through summer!

This week saw our littlest boy turn 3. He's such a beautiful person, so kind and caring but also a little tornado as well full of energy and mischief.

This year has seen us have terrible financial strains due to all of our predicted work contracts being pushed back until the end of the year. This has meant us living off of our savings which have just about run out. Luckily it is now picking up and there is light at the end of the tunnel. It did however make us re-evaluate how we have been with money the last few years. Pretty frivolous. 

For Ethans birthday I had to look hard at what he would like, shop around and keep it to a minimum. He received his bike, this was in the sale and a fantastic price, a couple of Peppa Pig books and puzzles and the blanket that I had made for him. Do you know what? He was ecstatic and it was the best birthday/christmas celebration we have had. Nathans birthday is a couple of weeks away and the same will happen for him. If I'm honest I've always over bought because I thought more was better. How wrong I was. I can't wait for Christmas this year because instead of scrabbling to buy them loads of stuff they don't want I'm going with:

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read
One more thing to please

I've also reduced the amount I spend on my food bill by at least half if not more. That used to be outrageous, as was our wasted food. I will be meal planning every week, and even once our work balance is back to normal and we have managed to get out of the debt that has unfortunately built up around us we'll never go back to how we were. Do you know why? Because we're happier. We've had more fun and been more appreciative of everything we have.

I hope you've had a great weekend.

L x

Friday, 20 June 2014

Amelia-Lilly Mia Rye

Ahhhhhh she's here. Our beautiful daughter was born on the 2nd June via Caesarian section. She weighed a perfect 7lb 9oz and is doing so well.

Here's one of my favourite pictures taken at the birth.

We're all doing well and both boys are besotted with their baby sister. I'm happy to say that every single ailment I had in pregnancy stopped completely after her birth. Amazingly I have more energy even with the night feeds!

Have an amazing weekend. We will :-) xx

Thursday, 29 May 2014

And now the end is near.......

Ahhhhh my third and final pregnancy is drawing to an end. I haven't posted about it really. In fact I haven't really posted at all over the last 9 months. Why? Because I haven't wanted to post a constant stream of negativity!

I always said that I really wanted to enjoy this pregnancy as it was definitely my last. In truth I've enjoyed 5 weeks out of the 38.

Plagued with sickness, exhaustion, stomach issues, the most awful insomnia I've ever known and sciatica has all given me the shortest fuse known to man thus leaving my poor boys with a grumpy irritable impatient mum. So then I have the guilt.

To end it off I ended up in hospital for a couple of days last week contracting only to discover I had a urine infection. To say I was hoping I was in labour would be an understatement.

I've recently discovered the Law of Attraction and watched a program called The Secret. It focuses on positive thinking and your thoughts being your outcome. Maybe if I'd found this months ago it might of turned out differently. Who knows.

I'm hoping any damage I've done with my boys can be undone.

I'll leave you with a picture of me at 38 weeks. The next time I post I'll be a mum of 3 full of positive happy energy. Let's face it I can't feel much worse!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Meal Planning Monday 07/04/14

Last week we stuck to the meal plan every day apart from yesterday. Yesterday I ended up having the boys on my own for most of the day so I took us off down the beach and we had fish and chips.

This weeks meal plan looks like this:


Boys - Omlette and Beans
Us - Chicken Balti - Hairy Bikers recipe


Homemade Pizza


Chicken Traybake - Recipe Delicious Magazine


Meatballs and Spaghetti - Jamie Oliver recipe - Ministry of Food


Vegetable Biriani and Lentil curry - Hairy Bikers recipe


Pick and mix tea (party tea as the boys would call it)


Definitely roast lamb!

Hope you have a happy week. What are you eating?

Lisa xx

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Baking with my boys.

I see many pictures on blogs and social media with parents lovingly baking with their kids. This always appeals to me as I love to cook and bake.

My thinking is if they're involved then I can a) bake more and b) get some hands on fun going with them. Win win. Or not. The reality is they're super active, don't stand still for more than 5 minutes and expect whatever we are making ready for consumption within the space of time it takes before they are bored/hungry. This is never a long time. Cue melt down, strops and stress. How did I combat this? I stopped cooking with them.  Until this morning.

This morning I decided we'd bake chocolate chip cookies and we'd have homemade pizza for tea. So I chucked them in the garden this morning for a run around. Whilst they were out there I weighed everything and got it all ready for them. They came in, were delighted to be cooking and delicious cookies were indeed made. Happy campers all round!

Then this afternoon I got the pizza dough ready (read the bread machine) I got a selection of toppings prepared and again called them to the table to do as they wished with their own pizzas. Again everyone was happy. Genius!

We made good food, had fun and were all happy. A good day was had by all.