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.

At Corfe we did a retelling of Roald Dhal’s The Twits.

The idea is that you learn the gist of a chapter and retell that part so we get the whole story told by a variety of different people. This year our story tellers aged from about 4 up to – well I’m 39 and there were definitely some older than me!

The style of the story telling varied from the expressive to the dead pan and from the completely learned to those who needed the book to read from.

This was our youngest story teller – she was brilliant.

Here are some of our other young story tellers.

And some slightly older ones.

And some attentive listeners

And a few of the more expressive story tellers.

So girls have dashed out to circus with Sue, for a change we’ll need to do the pick up later – usually we manage to not need to do any of the running about on a Thursday night -but tonight Martin will go out – I’m a bit rubbish at collecting in the evenings.

Martin’s meeting has arrived in the living room and it is now five to seven. Those of you who know me well will know that this means I will be settling down to listen to the radio. Jonathan has had a couple of late nights and early (for him) mornings so I told him he could listen to the Archers and then head off to bed. He stopped playing with the Wii and came and sat with me at the kitchen table to listen with me. He is also turning into an Archers fan.

I had been fiddling about with some oil pastels based on an idea from the art projects website. Jonathan liked what I was doing so had a go too.

This was my attempt:

This was Jonathan’s:

Now it was no longer early for bed – we had moved on from the Archers to Front Row and Jonathan had decided he quite liked The Unthanks. Art finished it was time for bed and a story.

Reading stories together is one area I feel I have failed a bit as HE mother. We have not read many longer books together – we just don’t seem to have consistent enough bedtimes. We are on our 3rd attempt at reading together The Lion Children we started again on our holiday on the Broads in October and have read no more since we got home! I hear other HE mums talking about reading together and wish we had done more of it. We read picture books togther and then either the children read themselves longer boooks or listened to story tapes. I have been better at reading to Jonathan than I was with the girls (Rebekah learned to read and Ruth listened to story tapes over and over – mostly the Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark, the Narnia series and then Harry Potter) but still not good at novels as they need to be read on consecutive nights or you lose the plot.

We have remedied some of these issues by reading a book which has short individual chapters which can stand alone. It also helps to fulfils Jonathan’s desire to learn about history. We are reading Britannia, 100 Great Stories From British History

I tried to get Jonathan to pose for me to take a photo but he wasn’t impressed as he wanted to find the story we were on and get on with it.

Then it really was time for bed!

One morning this week I had a chance to just sit quietly at breakfast time and realised that the table was full of my favourite things.

The first daffodils we’ve had this year:

A lovely scone with home made jelly (apple and sloe gin flavoured).

A tea pot full of Earl Grey tea – the tea pot is very very important to just how relaxing this feels.

I loved noticing all these things and it made me think about more things that I love that I could see – my red fleece blanket from Ikea which I snuggle up with every winter night and at camps, my brown teddy bear that Jonathan gave me and a book from the library.

Really want to spend more time appreciating my favourite things this year.

I’ve blogged every other day this week so I have decided to blog everyday for the whole week so we can have a record of a week in our lives.

So in the interests of full disclosure here’s what we did after I had blogged yesterday. the thing with home education is that many of us don’t keep school hours. So I picked up the girls (and friends) from expedition club. Bickered on the way home with rebekah about what dates we had agreed for what activities etc. etc. Quick dinner again – potato wedges, courgettes, reduced breaded chicken from Sainsbury’s and salad.

Then the girls presented the work they had done for the environmental science IGCSE – it was a week and half overdue! It was about birthrates and death rates and different climate zones. Jonathan helped out by explaining to rebekah how a key worked on one of the diagrams!

Then Lark Rise to Candleford this lead to lots of discussion about changing work practices, the industrial revolution and housing in the 20th century – the girls drifted away leaving Martin talking only to me!

So back to Thursday. The last of Jonathan’s circus course today. So there was lots of practising to do and a Splat challenge for Jonathan. I managed to sneak out to the lovely wool shop in Ventnor and buy some new wool and needles! Martin snuck out to the library – yes really – Martin who doesn’t read went to the library and borrowed an actual book!

Then we had to dash back, pick up the car from the garage, rush round Lidl to try unsuccessfully to get Jonathan some cheap shoes and get back for lunch. Ruth had left to go climbing by the time we got back and Rebekah had made some lovely sweet potato and lentil soup. Not sure exactly what the girls had done in the morning Ruth had done some Environmental science work and Rebekah appears to have reorganised her bedroom as well as sorting lunch.

Next up Rebekah was taking Jonathan to the local youth centre for a Lego play and Wikaniko reps talk. Ruth and I were doing felting with a couple of friends just some basic dreadlock hairbands.

Had a great time doing the felting – haven’t done any for ages and really enjoyed it – looking forward to doing my felt bag making course now.

Rebekah and Jonathan arrived home, Jonathan liked playing with my friends toddler for a while before everyone headed home and it was yet another rushed dinner. Martin has a 6.30 meeting and the girls need to get out for circus. So it’s pasta and pesto made more interesting by Rebekah doing some onions, sweetcorn and courgettes to go with it.

Dinner involves discussion about the too many things we want to do on Saturday – the protest against the cuts is definitely out, some want to go to Ian Boyd’s bird walk some want to do Roundabout exchange – cleaning hour needs doing and Martin wants to work on the van. We’ve been pretty busy all week so not sure what if anything we’re going to manage to fit in on Saturday – key thing is not to feel stressed and remember the value of idleness.

the council want to close nine of our 11 libraries. In protest many people on the Isle of Wight decided to empty the two libraries they want to leave – to show how two libraries will not cope with demand from the whole island. So people were encouraged to remove 30 books each (the max allowed on their cards).

Here’s Rebekah with her big stack of books:

book worm
Jonathan joining the rest of the family of bookworms (they are your kids honestly Martin!).

I thought he was interested in the Vikings and found this easy reader in the library for him, he told me he was actually more interested in the Romans so we’ll have to find out more about them instead. We’ve been looking at the lovely History of the World by Plantagenet Somerset Fry. Which we love for the time lines and that is not just European history and it has lovely pictures.