Monday, October 27, 2008

Puff and Pumpkins!

"Puff the Magic Draaaaaaaaaagon'
lived by the sea,
An audit in the Autumn mint
in a land called Hon-on -Sea"

It would appear there may well be another accountant in the offing here!!!! This is LMB's version of that childhood song that her daddy would be proud of!!
And here are my offerings for today, no words (well, bar these few) just photos from an exhibition we went on last night by the riverside. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hey there! You with the stars in your .......bum??? and a pumpkin pie recipe!

My son is a freak! It is official.
Meal times in our family are often of a hysterical nature - either humourous, or otherwise! Mostly humourous though! Master Beehive the elder was trying to keep up with the hilarity of his younger siblings crazy word misassociations today, and his freakish abilities were his party piece!
Master Beehive the younger has been in our bed the last couple of nights with a sore tummy. When I have felt it, it has been really hard and taut. As you know, this is my self-confessed vegaphobe, so I blame much of his difficulty in the relief department on his inability to eat much of the green stuff. Naturally, I diagnosed accurately, constapation, which I duly told him. I explained he'd have to drink or eat prunes tomorrow in order to encourage his bowels to get moving properly again.

Of course, this topic came up over the mealtable this lunchtime as I was encouraging him to eat a dahl and some beans that I'd made. Here I was desperately trying to explain he needed to get his bowel less sluggish.

"Why?" asks his older brother
"Because I have Constellations!" his sibling announces proudly!

Of course, we all fell about with this.

Obviously feeling out done in all this giggling, Master Beehive the elder proceeds to show us his party piece as those of you with siblings must understand the intense competition.......

My elder son can, not only bend his forefinger at the first joint only!!! He can cross his !!!!!!!

I am seriously doubting now that he is of my gene pool!!

And Halloween is only days away too!!!!!!!!

Oh and here is a quick recipe for a twist on Pumpkin pie as we've had three pumpkin inners to use up this week:

Pumpkin Meringue Pie a la moi.

About 2lbs of pumpkins1/2lb of brown sugarteaspoon of cinnamonteaspoon of ginger4oz of butter

Allow it all to gentle simmer until soft, then when it is soft and cool, put it into a food blender and blend until smooth

Then add two egg yolks and stir well. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to use it (won't last more than a day because of the egg!)

For the top topping!!

Make a meringue

Use the two whites and whip up into peaks
Add about 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence

Pour your pumpkin mix onto the pastry base that you can buy or make (pie case)Then put your meringue over the top
Bake in the oven for around 25 mins at about 375 deg F
Pumpkin Meringue Pie!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Who cares - I am candle calm!!!

So I have bought a new candle. I know, me, a candle!! I am not a fan of candles that smell, they tend to be really nauseous and sweet or chemical and overpowering, but this candle........THIS candle is my calm!!

Well, that's the idea.

It's a whopper of a candle, so let's hope there is a whop-load of calm in there. It smells really fresh and floral but not too much. Yup, of course, you'll get that - a written description of a scent for you to imagine and enjoy - riiiiiiight??!!

Anyway, Mr Beehive has been away again this week, so let's! I do believe the week was actually pretty uneventful, well apart from the fact that the lappy went down mid week so I presumed it was the re-router to the wireless connection - gosh that sounds like I know what I am talking about - shame of it is, I haven't the first clue so didn't even know what the re-router looked like to re-boot it. As it turned out, t'wasn't that at all, it was me being a dork and I pressed off the wireless button on the front of the computer - well duh, like I knew that was there?!

I had a mad crafting day yesterday, the kids were off school as the teachers were at a conference, so while they played, I sewed. Now I would show you the results, but......right now i can't find the cable to connect the camera to the computer and I think that is how the actual wireless button came to be turned off anyway while I was busy poking my memory card into any available slot........well, that normally works!
I made a sweet Christmas skirt and top for LMB, the underskirt for her 50's polka dot swing dress that I intend to make her and began hat number 5 for the Save the Children knit-one-save-one campaign. I'll try to remember to upload photos when I find the cable. I have a suspicion that it has been posted into one of the washing baskets of clean clothes that I have piling up in our bedroom.

How does one family produce so much laundry? I think my laundry basket is modelled on "The Magic Porridge Pot" and I have yet to find the words to get the darned thing to stop re-filling just as I get to the bottom.

Last week I watched a great video from NAMTA (North American Montessori Teachers Association) called - thieves!- "At Home with Montessori". It was three short clips of three different families with kids at 4months, 7 months and 15 months and the different home environments that they had set up for them. All the rooms were beautifully and carefully organised, as this was the prepared environment. I had to take a moment however to cough rather loudly behind my hand "bullshit"! because here they were showing these great environments with one child in them (two in the last one, but only about 10 months apart) with low level shelving with toys arranged on them (almost like ornaments!) and not a spot of clutter, paperwork, no knitting projects all over the place, no homework piles, no dog, no anything out of place anywhere and most importantly.......NO LAUNDRY?! I wonder if they will loan me their fairy? They could make a killing selling that secret, but then, I don't care - I have a candle!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Number 11 bus!

So, no post from me in ages, then two in the same day.

This is probably just because the last one was so ranty - kindofa blogger's guilt!!

Anyhoo! I just wanted to show you these pics - they are so autumnal.
We've been picking pumpkins today - from the garden primarily and then I took the smallest rugrat over to an orchard to do some apples too. So we have:

Our home grown pumpkins - we ended up with 7 or 8 I think - which kind of grew by accident from some fallen seed that fell near the compost and obviously thrived in that area. Now we just have to inform the landlord as to why all his berberis has been strangled *oops*

Green Tomato chutney by the bucketful! Seriously, these are jars four, five and six and there is still a bucket to go when I can summon up the energy!

Mushroom and nut loaf a la moi:

Handful of mushrooms

Handful of raw cashews, 2 handfuls of pistachios

2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper and whizz these ingredients in the processor.


about 2oz of grated cheese

A large handful of chopped parsley

4oz of melted butter.

Put the mix into greased loaf tins and push down firmly. Then I cook at around 380degs F for half an hour. It freezes quite well too.

This was LMB's Apple Crisp (well my version)

She chopped about 5 large apples that we mixed with lemon, cinnamon, ginger and ground clove powders (all of it mixed together was no more than a teaspoon!)


The topping is made from around 3oz oats, 2oz of flour, about 6oz melted butter, a large dollop of runny honey to sweeten, a small amount (2oz? ) of brown sugar and a table spoon of flax seed (for the health benefit bit lol!) and then we poured the topping over the apples and it will be baked when the loaves go in.

These pics are all "before" pics, so you can see them afterwards later!

The top pic will be roasted root veggies that have been tossed in oil, garlic and salt. I just LOVE the colours! There is beetroot, small potatoes, squash and parsnip........oh and I put in one small quartered apple too - just for interest in the flavour!!

As you know, I am not a cook that follows specific amounts and values, I know this is infuriating for people who have asked me for recipes before, and I apologise. I really feel that you are the best judge of whether something will taste good or not and you can only really destroy something with too much sugar or too much salt! Anyway, experiment, enjoy!

They F**K you up your parents.......

I fear this entry is going to be getting things off my chest that have been bugging me over the last few days.

First of all I feel compelled to mention how sad I feel that had I not miscarried back in March, our baby would have been due now. I can't mention it out loud in real life because........well, it isn't something you talk about! If you talk about a baby that never was...well, you come across as a bit "affected" by it all, probably depressed, you know what I mean (not how I feel btw, more how society views it), people don't know what to say to you. It seems sad that although our baby never made it to full term, s/he will never be determined by anything other than my memories - even Mr Beehive hasn't mentioned it. I suppose women are more attached to things than men can be? *shrug*. It isn't helped that we are now struggling to get pregnant again! I had read that most women who miscarry are generally pregnant again by the time their original due date comes around, I guess I am just not one of "most" this time, but it had given me hope.
My motto is generally that "life doesn't kill you it only makes you stronger" but sometimes, it just kills a little part of you. I am sure that our life right now, with all the uncertainty, isn't helping. I am just hoping that once we have some security about where we are moving to next and when that will be, everything will fall into place. That is tha attitude i am trying to keep right now at least.

My second rant of the morning (I am doing well, it's only 9.30am on a Sunday) is to the BBC headlines in the paper that declare than an "independent study" shows that boys are proven to be behind girls at school - even when they start at five

This, I have to say, isn't new news, people have known this for years. But read down. Note the paragraph that says:

"Children with two working parents tended to do better than others. They were four months ahead on vocabulary and two months ahead on visual tests."
Now, I am all for encouraging parents to return to the work place if they want or need to, but is there not a smattering of this sentence that irritates you? So for all of us SAHM's out there, who are educated and interested in our children's upbringing and development, apparently, according to THIS piece of tripe, we are doing our children a disservice by remaining at home with them. We should be putting them in day care from the start whereupon they are going to be four months ahead of their counterparts, because naturally, we never communicate with our children, we don't bake, garden, draw etc etc and a nursery with two or three carers (maybe all between the ages of 18 and 20!!) to 8 or 9 kids is a much more educational environment?!

Of course, I am pretty sure that isn't what they mean, not least what they discovered. We are talking the outer realms of this, the parents that don't give jack shit about their kids' welfare who are at home on benefits probably versus the parents who have a norland nanny whilst they go out and work - not really your average picture!
I can't abide these "surveys" that, quite frankly, survey a small percentage of the population extremes and then print their "findings" in the national press (probably to suit the government so that more women jump back into the workplace a few hours after giving birth regardless, to ensure they don't fuck up their off spring!). I don't suppose for once there might be the opportunity to not have women feeling guilty for the choices they want or have to make.

"There are lies, damned lies and statistics!"

Finally, here are some of the projects I'm currently working on. The school is taking part in Save the Children's Knit-One-Save-One campaign this fall, so the everyone is frantically knitting newborn hats. No longer can you hear the sound of children's voices in the hall, all you hear these days is the clicking of needles lol! So, here is one of the four I have already made and the other photo is a new project I have started, my first bit of cable. It will be a scarf for Mr Beehive when I am finished. I love to knit in the evenings while I am doing something else, but unfortunately cable isn't very easy for me as yet, as I tend to lose my place, so this may or may not be completed before next winter!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Three-year old face off!

"My house is further than yours"

"No, mine is further than yours, we have to drive to our house"

"Well we have to drive to ours too, it's a long, long way" (bear in mind we are actually IN the car driving from said house!)

"Mine is a long long way too, very long long way"

"My dog is bigger than your dog"

"No, my dog is bigger bigger than your dog"

"No it isn't. Mine is a bigger bigger dog."

"Nooooooooo" (this child hasn't GOT a dog!) "Well, my mommy likes her house better than your house"

"Yes! My mummy is fed up living in our house."

Oh well - twas great entertainment for an afternoon, just as well I couldn't get the radio to tune in properly!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Getting life in perspective.

Well this week has been anything but dull!!

Last week we were all set to move to back England - we had a new, gorgeous house in the offing, a tenant on standby and things were looking up. Within less than 10 hours we were no longer looking to move to England, the tenant was refused her money from the council, so she has had to go and look elsewhere and the house we were hoping to buy is now a pipe dream once again! (Where DOES that phrase come from?)

I think this has set me up for my somewhat feistier than normal reaction to stuff this week: I have appealed against my grading for my final essay for my diploma *shock*, gotten involved in a dispute with someone on the internet and have just written a letter to Mr Beehive the elder's teacher asking to discuss his new policy of keeping kids in at recess when their work isn't finished.

I am not looking for a fight in all this, nor am I looking for some kind of selfish justice or retribution. I am just looking to be in control of that which I can have some control over.

I could allow my essay to be unworthy of the grade that I know it is worth because I don't challenge a point and allow my tutor to just hand me the same grade she gives me for every darned essay I write.

I could allow someone else's snap comments to go unchallenged because I am too intimidated or can't be bothered to get involved in the cause despite it being one close to my heart. If I don't challenge it I could then stick my head in the sand when the consequences of the snap comments lead to something that could have been avoided.

I could just watch my child suffer a new policy that has been put in place by a new teacher, or I could challenge it and suggest alternatives that could mean that all outcomes are met and everyone is happy and working optimally?

If I have learned one thing from last weekend when all this blew up in our faces is that life can be turned around in a nano second. Blink for a minute and you'll miss half your life or it can be whipped away from you in any shape or form. I know for many, many families worldwide, this last month particularly, that is just the case.

In the current climate it is very, very easy to feel pulled under, not just financially, but also with the weight of exterior influences - politics, global warming, money, housing etc. The problem is, if you let it get a hold of you, it doesn't want to let go. If you bury your head in the sand it will cover you up eventually and then you can't get free. I listened to a broadcast from the BBC world service yesterday and was, quite frankly, horrified to hear young teens and adults saying that they wouldn't be voting. They expressed no interest in politics or the candidates so would therefore not be voting, "it didn't mean anything to them", "it wouldn't affect them", "they weren't engaged in politics or the candidates"!!

Now, more than any time, is the time to stand up for what you believe in, use your vote, challenge decisions or things you don't agree with. Ultimately, life in it's naked and natural form, is mapped out for us and we can't do a blind jot about that, but we can take responsiblity for the things that are closest to our hearts and the things we do have influence over and do something about it before it's too late.

Yesterday I lay outside under a tree for half an hour. It was a glorious autumnal day. Have you ever seen the sky from under a tree, lying on your back? The leaves fluttering in the breeze, the sharp blue sky peeping through the turning leaves. The shapes of the branches, gnarled and twisted, each one totally unique and independent. I was watching things that were far more out of my control than anything I needed to worry about in my own life right now.

It put it all in perspective for me.