Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ten on Tuesday - tonsillitis and phonics

1. I now know what are the symptoms of tonsillitis. I'd never had it so when young sir was complaining about sore throat, hurting neck, tummy pains and had temperature I was completely puzzled for the lack of runny nose and cough (which are essential parts of my standard diagnosis of cold). On day two of extremely poorly child I saw his swollen tonsils when he was talking to me and I had an 'aha' moment.

2. The on-call doctor made young sir's day by giving him a sweetie and prescribing ice cream and a 10 day course of not so nice tasting penicillin.

3. After few unsuccessful (=spat out) spoonfuls of the medicine we resorted to the method of holding his mouth open whilst tilting his head up so he can't spit it out. He now holds his head up with his little hands by himself. I could probably tell him that he doesn't need to do it if he is not planning to spit the medicine out but it looks rather sweet.

4. Young sir is fascinated by cameras and whilst he was off nursery with the tonsillitis he played around with the old little digital camera we have and here are few of his shots:

 Watching moomins

 Cat eating

 Daddy leaving for work

 Self portrait

Kitchen table

5. We were given the five love languages book when we got engaged and found it very helpful. David's house group spoke about them some time ago too. Since we've noticed hints of young sir's love language and the contenders are words of affirmation and physical touch.

6. In his swimming lessons on Friday, he kept turning around sticking his thumbs up every time he did something to check if I thought he had done ok and if I stuck my thumbs up, he did a little celebration waving both of his arms around madly. Definitely words (actions) of affirmation coming through there :)

7. Yesterday morning we woke up to a quite an interesting exchange on radio four about phonics. It had some class lines but the best one of them all was 'pro phonics only person' saying "Mary is confused at lots and lots of different levels" to a lady who had PhD in phonics and was actually agreeing with phonics but dared to suggest it being used in conjunction with other methods!

8. The excitement from the allotment this week - I found eight parsnip seedlings after I'd completely given up hope on them and was about to dig up the bed and plant something else instead - thankfully the weather has been miserable so I hadn't had time to do so yet!

9. Young sir saw the olympic 'lamp' on Friday, the route went behind the school so they all lined up on a little hill on the school grounds and waved and cheered as it went past. One of the torch bearers came into the classroom with the torch too but much to young sir's disappointment there was no flame.

10. Some of you may have seen this picture of a little lamb being rescued on facebook. Three friends were out testing a new camera when they noticed a lamb in the water being tossed by waves amongst the rocks. Needless to say, the new camera got tested with these images of the rescue that have gone around the world! If you know Norwegian you can read of the rescue attempt here (or use google translate). There is something very touching about the images, just reminds me that we all need a helping hand or two at times!

Photos by Vetle Farstad

Here's other Ten on Tuesdayers:  HelenSarah, Jo, Lucy & Hannah if you want to see what they've got up to this week.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mary's Meals

Little things make a big difference. Martha Payne, a school girl from Scotland, started a blog about her school lunches which became an internet sensation. She had a link to a charity giving page for charity called Mary's Meals and has raised over £2000 - wow! Not bad for taking pictures of your school meal :)

The charity she supports is pretty amazing too. Young sirs school lunches will cost us £9.75 per week (I don't trust my ability to keep lunch boxes interesting so it will be school lunches all the way until his old enough to make his own lunch). But only for £10.70 you will feed a child for a whole school year in the developing country!

There idea is simple, partner with school to provide a hot meal for the kids. School admissions go up as coming to school means getting a meal. Education levels go up and the benefit ends up being far wider than just feeding a hungry child. They change the whole community.

For the cost of less than most of us spend on mobile phone bills a month you can make a difference too!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ten on Tuesday - introducing pedalling Speedy Gonzalez

Last week the combination of Jubilee bank holidays, half term and laziness lead to no Ten on Tuesday but this week I have no excuse so here we go:

1. The most exciting news is that young sir has learnt to cycle without stabilisers. He was fast before, now there is no stopping him! I can just imagine him repeating to himself 'I am speed, I am speed' a'la Lighting McQueen as he pedals along.


2. I heard something interesting on radio four this morning and thought it would make a nice sophisticated point for the blog - only I've forgotten what it was...oh well...you'll just need to take my word for it being something fascinating and interesting that I thought you'd enjoy reading...6.30am is too early anyway to retain any information.

3. I have made my second Herman the German. The first time we thought it was nice but not worth the ten days of feeding and stirring. The second time the verdict was still the same. Nice but nothing special.

4. My last years Californian poppies are putting on an amazing display on the allotment - just as well as nothing else seems to be growing this year.


5. Correction to the above: the retired old boys who spend all their days on the allotment have plenty of things growing but without greenhouse to nurse the seedlings and only limited time at hand the only thing that is doing well is potatoes.

6. The potatoes are doing so well in fact that we are tempted to plant an other bed of them...roasted tatters...mmmm...if there is one thing the English should be given credit for is the creation of roast potato...just the thought of crispy golden potatoes with lashings of gravy gets me salivating...

7. I love quirky stories in the news. This morning my eye was caught by this story of a vicar who is walking from Surrey to Holy Island to raise money for the modernisation of his church. You can follow his progress here.

8. After nearly six years in the North East we finally managed to have a day out in Durham (=one of the things we thought would be lovely to do before we moved up). It rained, a lot. But never mind, the cathedral was still magnificent and Henrik had fun running around the cloisters.


9. The wet (un-summer like) weather we are having is putting a bit of a damper on our plans to go camping down in the South West for two weeks at the end of this month...plan b is under serious consideration!!!

10. One of the things that amused me endlessly when I first moved over to England was how it was generally considered almost criminal to have the heating on outside October-March/April period. I have to confess to committing the unpardonable sin of having the heating on in June, yes, in June! What can I say in my defence apart from...IT WAS FREEZING!!!

And on that cheerful note, it is time to finish. If you want to read more Ten on Tuesdays have a look of what HelenSarah, Jo, Lucy & Hannah got to say for themselves.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Life is an adventure...

...only we grown ups often forget about that and make it all boring, sensible and serious. Young sir has daily encounters with monsters, pirates, imaginary friends and many other amazing creatures. My daily encounters are with the washing up and laundry - chores. He tidied up his room yesterday and even that was a big adventure, not a boring chore - the moment of greatest excitement was being allowed to hoover it all by himself (long may it last).

Kids don't dream of being mediocre, they dream big. Somewhere along the way most of us grown ups get trapped into the rut of doing the sensible thing, not what we dream or think would be exciting...the fear of failure gets too high and we end up not trying at all rather than trying, failing, trying, failing, trying, failing, trying and finally succeeding.

I watched young sir on his swimming lesson last week trying to pick up a ring from the bottom of the pool. The first time he did not get it regardless of his countless attempts. The second time at the end of the lesson when they did it again, he kept trying, again and again and again. He's inherited fair amount of determination from both of us and it was evident that the stubbornness genes kicked into play - he was going to get the ring no matter how long he had to keep trying. And when he finally got it after the nth time, the big beaming smile on his face was so touching and rewarding.

I often catch myself saying no to young sir, just because it is the sensible thing to do, not because there is any reason for it. Last weekend we went to the beach with some friends. The kids quickly discovered that the frisbee flies much further if you throw it down from the sand dune. And the sensible grown up in me was saying no (visualising all the possible scenarios such as a passer by being knocked out by this object hurdling down etc). Whilst the less grown up side of me was asking the question from Dr Pepper adverts 'what's the worst that  could happen?' The less grown up side won and the kids had marvellous time running up and down the dunes hurdling plastics discs down like missiles.


The challenge I am giving my self is stop and check whether I am saying no because it is one of those situations the standard grown up answer is no (or it causes too much mess for me to tidy up and I say no out of laziness) or whether I there is actually a real danger or serious consequences if I don't say no. More often and not I find myself saying no just because it seems to be the expected parenting response rather than for any real reason.

Life is an adventure but it is a choice whether you see it as one or not. Your situation will still be the same, it is your outlook that changes. Like Polyanna's rose tinted lenses, it is up to us how we see the world around us.

The older we get, the easier it is to select the 'sensible' option rather than dreaming big and taking the risk of facing failure before succeeding. Seeing things how they are rather than how they could be.

So here I am, at the start of another day. Choosing adventure - whilst doing the washing up. Choosing to keep dreaming - whilst hanging the laundry. And learning from young sir how it is done - whilst trying not to say no needlessly.

When you are four, life is not boring...each day is a new adventure...why should it be boring now?

(And yes, I know the house work still needs to be done, choosing adventure doesn't take away the washing up. It is all about the attitude you have, not what you do!)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Rhubarb ice cream

There is only so much rhubarb cake you can eat and to have a bit of a change in our method of consuming the allotment grown rhubarb we have been experimenting with rhubarb ice cream. 

It is delicious, I would dare to suggest it to be even better than chocolate ice cream...maybe...it's definitely simpler to make than chocolate ice cream so it gets the points there! An other bonus of the rhubarb ice cream is that you can't buy it in the shops. It's always nice to make something when you know you can't buy a better tasting version from the supermarket for half the price the ingredients cost you. A lesson learnt from my sad attempt at making houmous...it is the one thing that is guaranteed to be shop bought in this house every time!

To make rhubarb ice cream all you need is 4 stalks of rhubarb, 100 grams of sugar and 300ml double cream and you have yourself a yummee treat.

So here it goes:
1. chop up the rhubarb to chunks, sprinkle with little bit of the sugar, roast for 20 minutes (or until tender) in 180c



2. Let them cool down a bit and then pure, add sugar and cream and mix quickly


3. Put it in the ice cream maker and wait with a spoon in your hand for the pink creamy gorgeousness to be ready



We tucked in straight away so there is no beautiful picture of the finished product (hence the very elegant tupperware picture) so you just need to imagine a scoop of beautifully pink ice cream in a nice white bowl with strawberry on a side with maybe a mint leave or two to finish it all off. Maybe next time...