Well the summer has past and I haven’t blogged about one of our most significant events. Rebekah hit 18 in July. Not quite sure how my first born got that old, it doesn’t seem very long ago at all since she was like this.

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Or even being a naughty as she clearly was here:

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There is a saying I have come across recently – The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short – and this definitely sums up how I feel just now. The baby years seemed endless and then the childhood seemed like we had all the time in the world to do the things we wanted. Then suddenly she wanted to do some exams and our carefree existence was suddenly taken up with past papers, exam boards and timetables. The last couple of years she has been working, volunteering and back to learning as she goes (as well as a few small diverse level 3 courses). Now she is 18, passed her driving test and is off to the big city to uni.

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I would have quite liked to have frozen time in the last year – it has been fantastic, no one doing exams, everyone at home but busy doing the things they were interested in. Now we have all change, Rebekah going, Ruth doing A levels at college and Jonathan starting on the (I)GCSE train, a very different year. But I have relished having one last year of some of the joys of home education of when they were small without so many of the stresses of little children.

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Writing about the passage of time of my family I feel quite emotional, but when people ask me if I’m upset Rebekah is going I honestly say no. This is very much the right time and the right thing for her to be doing, it is the natural way of things. She is ready to go and it feels right for her. I am slightly jealous of her though – I’d love the chance to do uni again right now! I’m sure I will have a cry when we finally leave her but I don’t feel like that now (some of you may remind me of this later if I fall apart as some of you are predicting)!

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We had a number of different birthday celebrations for her and I’ll post about them later

Once again I am very behind with my blogging.

A couple of weeks ago we hopped on the ferry for a very brief trip to London. We managed to go on a lovely calm day in the midst of all the recent storminess.

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We were hurrying over to go to my mum’s 70th birthday celebrations. My sister had organised a party for her and we decided we would surprise mum by turning up at the last minute.

We only arrived slightly before my mum did, so only managed to do a little to help. Jane and Jonathan with help from Michelle had done almost everything fantastically by the time we arrived.

We managed to help out a little in the kitchen though:

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Jane seems to be a little frustrated with me and Ruth nibbles a naughty bit of lettuce!

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The food looks great as it always does when Jonathan and Jane make it.

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The room was well decorated too.

 

 

 

 

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Mum started off the evening in character with a nice cup of tea.

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She had lots of her friends around her to celebrate.

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Mum seemed to be having a good laugh with us too.

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It looks like mum had a happy birthday

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Had our second picnic of the year today. I got out and dusted off my lovely tiffin tin (it was very dusty as last year was so wet we didn’t use it once).

  

We had a sunny afternoon in Puckpool Park – luckily I could sit in the shade and hide under my summer shawl. Had a great time with lots of Zonie friends and a great way to celebrate a couple of birthdays.

 

Jonathan’s actual birthday saw us at my Mum’s house in London (having spent the night before there and enjoying a lovely meal out with my family the night before at a little noodle bar Dim t  in Hampstead- great food and company always a good combination!). So Jonathan got to open some family presents before we headed out for the day.

  

We were in London to go along to the Big Bang Fair, a science fair with hands on activities and live shows. Our assessment of it was it was good for free but when we took into account the ferry fair and petrol it wasn’t such good value – however Jonathan had a good time and lots of science and maths was done and we met up with good friends there too.

  

  

  

We headed home and had Jonathan’s official birthday the following day. Everyone gets to choose all the meals on their birthday so Jonathan chose bacon bagels for breakfast, ham and cheese toasties for lunch and toad in the hole for dinner – all nice and easy which is always helpful – last year he wanted sushi and beef pie which was much more complicated (not to mention expensive). We did presents and cards after breakfast.

  

After church there was more food and then time spent making paper aeroplanes from Jonathan’s new book and then having competitions flying them – including one that involved needing to do a dance while you threw them!

 

Then a week or so later we managed to find time to fit in a birthday party. Jonathan wanted to have a magic cards birthday but also had friends he wanted to invite that didn’t have an interest in magic cards – we managed to achieve this by having two overlapping parties. Party 1 people had an hour of Lego (and youtube clips) and then pizza then home , party 2 people came to join in with the pizza and then magic cards then home. During this party I had a great time downstairs chatting with some of the mums and drinking tea – it’s great when the kids want parties that don’t involve too much parental involvement. My main involvement was sourcing the mountains of Lego from my friend and making a serious mountain of pizza.

  

  

Then the final installment of his birthday was the present we had given him. It was a birds of prey experience with Haven Falconry. Jonathan and I were the only ones there and we got to learn lots about the birds and to fly them. It was great.

The Barn Owl- this was definitely our favourite to touch as it was so soft and its feathers were and was my favourite to look at.

  

The Harris Hawk – my favourite to fly

  

 The Kestrel – this little bird was Jonathan’s favourite to fly.

  

The Something Something Scots Owl from South Africa – beautiful to look at, Jonathan’s favourite from this perspective.

  

Finally a week and a half after his actual birthday we are finished with the celebrations!

 

Wow – we have had a ludicrously busy time since returning from camping in September. Every week has had about 5 extra activities in it on top of the usual and Ruth trying to do the hated chemistry revision, as such I am very behind on the blog and have missed out some brilliant experiences we have all had. So a quick overview:

Bristol:

Went to Bristol so Ruth could do a trip to ciromedia for an aerial course. Jonathan, martin and I went and looked at the local street art having got a taste for it in London. We also enjoyed a rather nice park – as you can see I have my “home educators” trousers on!

  

  

 We finally finished the van and even had the re-registration from the DVLA, so we spent the night in the van and then went to Beaulieu in the pouring rain with Martin’s parents.

General life:

We had sumo night at youth nite, Martin and Jonathan had a go. I made an autumn table mat that I was really pleased with.

 

 

London:

Another trip to London – this time with Rebekah and Martin. Had a lovely day mooching with Rebekah, great meal out with mum, Jane and Jonathan and then a great visit to Oasis college.

  

 

Rebekah’s Photography Project:

  

  

 Fire Station Visit:

  

Ruth’s Crafting:

  

Ruth’s Birthday:

  

Art Afternoon at Mike Rodriguez‘s art studio:

  

Jonathan had a lovely 10th birthday day on Friday. We always let the birthday person choose the food for the day, Rebekah and Jonathan plan this in great detail months in advance, Ruth doesn’t mind too much. This year Jonathan wanted a full cooked breakfast. then for lunch Sushi and for dinner beef pie. More meat then we usually eat in a whole week!

We had an early start so Jonathan could open presents with Martin around (he had to help move the IT stuff to a new office and so was heading into work very early and on a non-work day). Jonathan got a lovely lot of presents, lots of things he really wanted (I was particularly impressed that we sourced the elusive dairy-free white chocolate) and lots that he could play with through the day.

  

  

Then the cooked breakfast followed by lots of time spent playing on his new DS game and Minecraft.

Lunch saw my first attempt at sushi – I was quite pleased particularly given that I don’t have a rolling mat.

   

More playing and putting together the lego space shuttle and then beef pie with peas and roast potatoes followed by chocolate puddle pudding.

  

We finished off the day with Youth Nite at church, we took lots of cake and everyone say happy birthday to Jonathan.

Birthday lunch. Ruth wanted quite a low key birthday – we had the food she wanted to eat and watched New Tricks!

But on Wednesday we had her party – ice cream and Just Dance.

We also had cake – well cup cakes, Ruth was busy making them and practising with her new icing petal cutters.

My Yorkshire pudding tins have disappeared. I took one of them to church full cupcakes in and it has not been seen since. The other one more mysteriously was last used for cupcakes at home – and it too has disappeared.

So rather that buy new ones I thought I would give Yorkshire puds a go in the silicon trays I have had for a long time but only used for muffins.

They turned out looking good but had soggy bottoms.

The girls made banoffi trifles and even did a dairy free version for Jonathan – chocolate brownies (Ruth’s excellent home-made ones, dairy free toffee sauce bananas, whipped cream (or vegan cream) and for some a little Baileys (well Lidl’s cheap version), they were extremely yummy.

Ruth wanted a Mars bar cheese cake for her birthday cake this year.

And she got a cupcake stand for her birthday which she immediately filled with very yummy cakes – the chocolate ones have a vegan ganache on them.

This is the first really really successful loaf of bread I have made I used Paul Hollywood’s method and it was very very yummy.

This was the first year that we had lots of left over green tomatoes – I made 4 jars of green tomato chutney but still had some left over. So I used the method that my dad used to do to ripen them. I wrapped them up in newspaper and left them in the dark for a while. I looked at them every week or so much to my surprise a few more had ripened.