Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Mika Grace Kelly

Everyone in our house keeps singing this song, since my sister emailed it to us and said that they guy in it reminds her of Dan! Right enough the chorus sounds just like him! What do you think? Listen to the chorus. I reckon Dan should try this one next time we do karaoke, although his rendition of The Darkness was hard to beat. This guy is how I imagine our Jimmie will be when he grows up!

Monday, 29 January 2007

I made Sushi!


Yay! I made sushi rolls! With a little help from Barney who ate most of the salmon whilst I was making it. This time it worked (last time it didn't) because Tesco have started selling the bamboo sushi rolling mats with their nori seaweed sheets. How clever of them! LOL. Barney loved them and scoffed three while I was making them, and Jimmie also liked them. Annabelle has yet to try one.

Sunday, 28 January 2007



Sprouted Chick Pea Falafel
We have been sprouting seeds and nuts for many months now. Usually I use them raw in salads and sandwiches. I never really know what to do with sprouted chick peas. It is possible to make hummus from them, but I wanted something different. I found a 'raw food' recipe and adapted it to make this falafels. I don't have a dehydrator yet so I had to lightly cook them. It was so simple to make and very very tasty.
Take a cup of almonds and blend them to a fine powder.
Then take a cup of sunflower seeds and blend them to a fine powder. Put both the powders into a mixing bowl.
Take a cup of sprouted chick peas and blend them in a blender. Then add to the same bowl as the almonds and sunflower seeds. Mix them all up and add...
the juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp of garlic powder (or fresh crushed garlic)
1/2 tsp of curry powder (or to taste)
1/3 cup of soya sauce or nama shoyu
enough olive oil to bind it
1 small onion, chopped and diced
Mix everything together in a bowl and then make into little burger shapes and lightly shallow fry in some olive oil. They should still be soft inside. Voila! Vegetarian burgers, or falafels. They were yummy!









Sprouted Chick Pea Falafel
We have been sprouting seeds and nuts for many months now. Usually I use them raw in salads and sandwiches. I never really know what to do with sprouted chick peas. It is possible to make hummus from them, but I wanted something different. I found a 'raw food' recipe and adapted it to make this falafels. I don't have a dehydrator yet so I had to lightly cook them. It was so simple to make and very very tasty.
Take a cup of almonds and blend them to a fine powder.
Then take a cup of sunflower seeds and blend them to a fine powder. Put both the powders into a mixing bowl.
Take a cup of sprouted chick peas and blend them in a blender. Then add to the same bowl as the almonds and sunflower seeds. Mix them all up and add...
the juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp of garlic powder (or fresh crushed garlic)
1/2 tsp of curry powder (or to taste)
1/3 cup of soya sauce or nama shoyu
enough olive oil to bind it
1 small onion, chopped and diced
Mix everything together in a bowl and then make into little burger shapes and lightly shallow fry in some olive oil. They should still be soft inside. Voila! Vegetarian burgers, or falafels. They were yummy!







Update - painting, cooking and forest parks


Last week Barney took a notion to do some painting. When I suggested he use a huge piece of paper he was very excited. Here he is experimenting with colours and sponges. He produced a fabulous painting which is proudly displayed on his bedroom wall.




Two weeks ago we went for a walk around Castlewellan Lake with my sister H and her fiance D. I've only just discovered the photos from it on Dan's camera! We had a great walk, with the kids. We found a little dark 'hut' made from tree branches which we stopped and had a picnic in. H, D, Annabelle and Jimmie all sat up in the branches to eat their food, whilst us oldies, and the littlest one (Barney) stayed on the ground.








This weekend we were childless! Yes! Annabelle went on a Brownie Pack Holiday in Bangor, and the boys went to stay with their Nanny. So last night we pigged out on a chinese take-away, watched a strange film from the video shop and didn't do much else! I was still suffering from the cold and didn't fancy going out, sneezing, blowing my nose constantly. This morning we got up when we felt like it, had a peaceful breakfast and spent the day chilling. Actually, I spent a lot of time doing housework, but it was nice to do it without interruption. Then this afternoon I spent some time experimenting in the kitchen with my new raw food book. I used one of the recipes and changed it to make my own. Now, its not strictly 'raw' because I don't have a dehydrator (yet!) but it is healthy, and made from sprouted chick peas. So if you want to see how this

turned into this



then visit my food blog.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Family Lookalikes

There's been a few emails buzzing around the family this week. I thought I'd post them on my blog and see what y'all think. We are going to go into the look-a-like business. LOL. Well, not me, I'm unique. But my Grandad and my sister.

Does anyone else think my Grandad looks like Jude Law?






My Grandad, age 20








Jude Law









And my sister J. I've always thought she looks like Helen Baxendale, but now I find out that my other sisters also thought the same!

Can you tell which one is my sister and which is the famous actress???


This one definitely has a J look about it. She gives this scary look quite a lot.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Home Education Trip to W5 Science Museum in Belfast

Today was the day Barney had been waiting for since the excitement of Christmas had died down. The trip "with other children" to the W5 Interactive Discovery Centre in Belfast. W5 is one of the best places in the world for children, especially the young ones. It's like a dream land! And best of all, we always go on school days when it's so quiet that the kids have free run of the place. We were invited to attend this trip with a group of other Christian Home Educating families. I was pleased to see a few familiar faces there, and many new ones as well. It was a good crowd that attended and there were plenty of children of all ages to keep each other company.

Annabelle was delighted that her friend from Enniskillen had driven all the way to Belfast for the trip. I had told her not to get her hopes up that she would be there, but she was, and so I didn't see Annabelle for most of the day. It was great that she had some girl friends to go to the older, more educational, upper levels of the museum. Usually she gets lumbered for hours in the play area with me and Barney. I keep meaning to take her on her own sometime so that she can really make the most of all the wonderful things to do there.

This time was the first time that Barney has really relaxed in the place and just enjoyed himself. The play level of W5 is just amazing. It has a mini kids supermarket (Tesco) complete with groceries, till, shopping baskets etc. There is a play cafe, you can build a double storey house, drive a mini, play with water, trains, sand, dolls houses, explore a castle, watch yourself perform music on TV... I could go on. It's a wonderland for any three year old (even for adults!) But usually I have to go to every area with Barney and watch him. In the car on the way there he was so excited that he never took a breath, and constantly chattered. When we got there he ran straight into the mini supermarket and didn't look back. He was happy to know that I was sitting at a table with the other Mums, chatting. Every now and then he came to tell me something or show me something, but this time he wasn't anxious about getting lost, or not being able to see me. It was awesome! I was actually able to have a conversation (several actually) and not worry that Barney was lost somewhere.

There was a new 'thing' there that Barney loved. A huge (life size) wooden puzzle. It was a lady, "a Mummy" as Barney called it. You could remove each part of her body to see what was underneath. You could take her skin off to see her organs, and then take them off to see her skeleton. Well, Barney just loved this and many times I saw the staff putting the wooden body parts back in after he had left them piled on the floor. Recently he has taken a great interest in what goes on inside his little body. A few weeks ago I heard him telling his older brother Jimmy (with great delight and animation) that he has a little balloon inside his tummy, called a bladder, which holds all of his wee-wee's until its time for him to let them out! Cute?! I bought him a book in M&S about the human body. It has lift the flap body parts etc. I intended to keep it for a year or so until he was old enough for it, but he discovered it and spends minutes every day pouring over the book with a look of deep concentration on his face. Then he will ask questions like "what is that Mummy?... A brain? That's funny.... Do I have a brain? ... Ha ha, that's funny... What colour is my brain?" So the wooden body part puzzle was right up his street. Maybe he's going to be a doctor.

After a few hours of playing, chatting and having lots of fun we joined all the other home educators for lunch in Pizza Hut. That was an experience! Pizza Hut obviously knew that about 50 of us were coming for lunch because they had saved 3/4 of the restaurant for us. However, they did not get extra staff in for their usually quiet lunch time and one poor guy raced in and out of the kitchen preparing pizza's as fast as he could. We all sat where we wanted to. As you can imagine all the children sat together. And all the parents (Dad's as well as Mum's on this trip) sat together too. The lady I sat with said something that made me smile... "you can really tell that our home educated kids are lacking in social skills can't you". Ha ha. So true. That is everyone's first concern when we mention HE, but all our kids were sitting together, chatting away, socializing to their hearts content. When the waiter came to take our orders he said that he had to order and charge per table. When we pointed out that most of the tables only had kids at them, and that those kids were from different families, so he couldn't possibly give them a bill, well he was stumped. We suggested that he take orders per family, but he just couldn't get it. "The computers wont accept that, we have to do it by table". My friend pointed out that sometimes we have to adapt to suit different situations, but he just wasn't getting it. She suggested we give each family a table number, family number 1, family number 2 etc. "The computers wont accept it, I have to charge per table!" He he. Some people do not have the ability to think outside of the box. When the man sitting at our table politely said "sir, would you like us to take our business somewhere else?" the waiter finally agreed to take orders from each family. So daft. I was in stitches.

Finally we were able to eat, except we all went for the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. But the little man in the kitchen couldn't cook the pizza's fast enough. Hence you couldn't eat all-you-could-eat, because there wasn't enough to eat. It was more of an all-you-can-find pizza buffet. Still, it was all good fun and the kids had a great day.

Annabelle has now gone off for a Brownie pack holiday for the weekend. She was very nervous about going. I hope she enjoys herself. Jimmie will be going in to school tomorrow (Saturday!) to help with the open day. He is representing Geography, seen as he got the highest Geography grade for the term. Who'd have thought it eh?

Photos are below. There are two youtube videos of the kids at W5. If you want to see them click here for video number one, and click here for video number 2.





Thursday, 25 January 2007

Most recent photos

I haven't uploaded any photos for a while and so there are a heap of them freshly loaded onto the pc. And a few videos too. Scroll down two posts to see a video of Jimmy and his cousin B performing a duet. Scroll down one post to see a video of Barney's excitement after finding out that he would be getting the red plate for dinner. He developed a terrible fear of bath time recently. It was very bad. He would get hysterical, start shaking uncontrollably, cry and beg me not to bath him. Eventually I managed to persuade him to have shower instead of a bath, and he now enjoys a shower, even with hair washing. But this week I said that if he took a bath, just to play in (eg no hair washing) he could choose one of my Lush bath bombs to take in it with him. Like a flash he was stripping ready for a bath! He chose a Christmas Pudding bath bomb, got in, played for 40 minutes and smelled divine! I told him that he would get the red plate at dinner time to celebrate his bravery in overcoming his fear of bath time. He was excited, as you will see if you scroll down to watch the video.












Here is Barney enjoying his first bath in about 3 months. (Ah, yes, he did take showers)












Dan bought the kids some decorate-yourself ginger bread cookies. Barney just about managed to wait for Jimmy to get home from school to decorate them. They enjoyed eating them even more.




On Saturday Jimmy decided to spend the whole day dressed as Darth Vader.


On Tuesday Annabelle and I went shopping for Dan's birthday. She took a photo of me in Gap with an armful of girl's jeans. Um, yes, we really were shopping for you though Dan!



The raw food regime is still going strong. Anyone who has read my diet blog will know I've lost 5lb on it this last week and a half. Here are some raw food photos. The first one is what our weekly shop now looks like, and the second is a typical evening meal. And I'm off for another marathon belly dance session tonight so I'll be even fitter and trimmer tomorrow.
Don't forget you can click on the images to see the full size versions. That's it for now. Lots to do.

The Red Plate

I'm getting the red plate!

Kids performing

Last week my sister and her girls were round for the day. Here is Jimmy and his cousin B doing a little performance in Jimmies room.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

The saga continues

Well, this is the new blog, and we all now have new names (see in the left hand side bar). Thanks to those of you who still choose to read. The blog saga continues here at home and every day I'm asking myself if the hassle is really worth it.

The sad fact is that the very people I started writing my original blog for, have said things about it that makes it impossible for me to keep writing it for them. I had a long phone call this evening with one of these people and I'm not at all sure it was any use. When I tried to explain that the reason I started writing this blog in the first place was so they could get to know me and see our happy little family I just got a lot of abuse about the contents of my blog. Apparently it still wasn't very Christian in its content (I presume they did not read all the lovely comments that you all left for me). When I asked what exactly was wrong with it I was told about this particular entry. According to this person I was deeply un-christian and very offensive when I called Jimmy's old teacher a cow. (The very teacher who demoralized him, mentally abused him and stripped him of his self confidence). I tried to explain that it was just a matter of personal opinion whether this term is deeply rude and offensive, he just wasn't having it. Believe me I could have called her many a worse name than that! Apparently at that time they both developed serious concerns about my attitude and Christian walk. I can't begin to tell you how sick this makes me feel. That these people, family apparently, could think so badly of me. How am I ever going to be able to have them to stay and not be constantly worrying about what I say? But, calling someone a cow on a blog sends out a terrible message to everyone.

I don't know whats going to happen. It's obvious to me that this rift can not be mended by email, or by phone (since she slammed the phone down on me the first time), and since they live across the water its not as if I can just nip round to chat to them. Basically, she said a heap of nasty stuff to me on the phone, and when I challenged her and told her she shouldn't read the blog if she found it offensive she slammed the phone down. Then, instead of dealing with the issues and sorting it out, they have somehow managed to heap all the blame onto me, run with their own issues (eg take what I said and twist it till it means something else - so that they don't have to deal with the truth), and then lecture me and condescend me. How on earth did I manage to do nothing but be treated badly, and then made to feel as if I had done something wrong? Unless they can see the truth behind it all I don't know how it will be rectified. But I'm upset because even if they take back their original nasty statements, I will always for the rest of my life know what they really think of me, and be on edge in their company. It's just not nice.

This probably doesn't make any sense to anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about. Why can't everyone just get on with each other? What really gets to me is that they accuse me of not being a good enough Christian, but yet when faced with conflict do they act the way Christ would have done? Are they loving, charitable, forgiving? No, they are judgemental, cruel, un-forgiving, and unwilling to accept any fault. Plus they quote scripture after scripture as if that somehow makes them right. All it does is condescend and seem self-righteous.

I've had enough of it all. I feel like moving far far away and living on a desert island, away from interfering humans. Wouldn't that be nice?

Friday, 19 January 2007

Back to Belly Dancing

The second term of belly dancing started last night. Unfortunately only a handful of last terms students turned up this term, and the rest were all new. Which meant that we had to go right back to basics. It was a bit of a downer. After a term of learning all the basic moves and putting dances together we were taken right back to the start. It was really boring (although hard work and great exercise). The deal is that we have to complete the full year as a beginner before being allowed to join the advanced class.
Anyway, seen as there were only a few of us keen belly dancers the tutor made a deal with us. If we agreed to dance as group at the end of year concert (to be held in a posh Belfast hotel - tickets £25 per adult!) then she would let us go to the advanced class as well as our own beginners class at no extra cost. So we all agreed, because we like to think we are good enough to call ourselves advanced, and because the beginners class was proving quite dull. So, we will be performing an Egyptian fan dance. God help the audience. So for the next term we will be going to our 'paid for' beginners class, and then staying for our 'free' advanced class. Which is a total of 2 1/2 hours belly dancing. I tell you, last night I was ready to sleep by the end of it. The advanced class are learning to dance with finger cymbals, so we have to purchase a set of them.

Egyptian belly dance is quite different from the famous Turkish belly dance. Turkish dance is quite tarty and 'in-your-face'. Egyptian is far more polite, delicate, and feminine, much classier than Turkish, more like Indian dance I guess.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

My New Blog

Well, here it is, my new blog. There's not much on it yet. This time we will be using pen names to prevent people from googling us. At present if you google our first names our old blog comes right up. So please, if you are reading this and you know us, don't mention our real names in your comments. My new name is Bree because I love desperate housewives and I like Bree the best. My husbands new name is Dan - because he chose it. The children will be choosing new names too at some point.

Slowly I plan to copy the best of my old blog onto this one, to keep it all together.
Will write more later.

Bree (that feels weird!)

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Chicken on a skewer
This was so easy to make and the whole family loved it. I pounded some chicken breasts until they flattened, cut them into 4 strips, and pasted one side with a little tomato paste. Then I lay onto that a piece of bacon (cut lengthways), some fresh basil, and then would the chicken up and popped onto the skewer. They cooked under the grill in less than 15 minutes and were scrummy!


Fig and Almond Rolls
I've been reading a lot about raw vegan food and am slowly trying to implement some of this into our family meal times. This week I made these simple fig and almond rolls, which are both raw, and vegan. I simply blitzed some soaked almonds and some dried figs in a blender, added a tiny bit of water. Then I rolled the sticky mushy substance in some desicated coconut and chilled the little logs in the fridge. The kids loved them. They taste very sweet, but are so healthy that you could let the kids eat them from breakfast! Plus they took less that 5 minutes to make.
Chicken on a skewer
This was so easy to make and the whole family loved it. I pounded some chicken breasts until they flattened, cut them into 4 strips, and pasted one side with a little tomato paste. Then I lay onto that a piece of bacon (cut lengthways), some fresh basil, and then would the chicken up and popped onto the skewer. They cooked under the grill in less than 15 minutes and were scrummy!


Fig and Almond Rolls
I've been reading a lot about raw vegan food and am slowly trying to implement some of this into our family meal times. This week I made these simple fig and almond rolls, which are both raw, and vegan. I simply blitzed some soaked almonds and some dried figs in a blender, added a tiny bit of water. Then I rolled the sticky mushy substance in some desicated coconut and chilled the little logs in the fridge. The kids loved them. They taste very sweet, but are so healthy that you could let the kids eat them from breakfast! Plus they took less that 5 minutes to make.

Our lastest pics from January 07

I had a lot of photos to upload today and there were so many that I could put on the blog! Here are the best of the bunch...


Firstly, here is the photos of the fig and almond raw vegan tolls which I made. They were so simple. Basically whizz up a bunch of almonds and dried figs, add a tiny bit of water if needed and then roll them into some dessicated co-conut and chill in the fridge. They took seconds to make, the kids loved them, and they were so healthy I could let them eat as many as they wanted. Voila!



Last week I finally finished sorting through all the letters I have received from E in the last 2 years. They were kept in a paper bag, but it got ripped, and then Luke kindly opened every letter and separated them from their envelopes. There were 78 letters in total, 4 polaroid photos, loads of gift cards, a little angel and E's gold cross pendant which he gave me. He has had it since he was a child. Steve bought me a nice box to keep them all organised in, and I've numbered the back of them in case Luke ever gets hold of them again. So now they are in date order. It was amazing looking through them to see how much I had read and completely forgotten about. I received another letter from E this morning saying "there were only 78 letters? I thought I'd written nearer 2000!" He he.

Here is a photo of Jude making another one of her papier mache cats. This was taken yesterday.












As well as this one of Luke who was so proud of his playdoh tractor creation that he asked me to take a photo. This was simple to create as well. Take one 3 year old, 6 tubs of play-dough, one tractor trailer and a thomas the tank engine carriage. Bind all the ingredients together (not the 3 year old - he does the binding) and then you have a simple but effective master piece, worthy of a photo.





Before the Christmas holidays Jude did this little project as part of her home education. She has been reading a lot of history books lately so she decided to create this fold open history project. She basically created fold open flaps containing information about her favourite stories from history. The one in the photo is about The Battle of Hastings, and you can see king Harold made from pipe cleaners, tissue paper and a fluffy pink pom pom, at the side of the story. The other pages are about Hieroglyphics, The Two Margaret's, Anansi the Spider, and Leizu & the silkworm.


This afternoon Luke played with Sam's old collection of animals and dinosaurs, which he loves. I had wanted to sit and do something crafty with him, possibly a bit of painting or something. So we decided to make a little jungle scene for his animals to play in. I cut out a big box and stuck tissue paper for sky and grass onto it. Then Jude, Luke and myself set about turning it into a jungle. Luke stuck a few flowers on, a few fish in the pond, and made his own huge fluffy cloud before losing interest and asking us "is it ready yet? is it ready yet?" every 30 seconds. We may add bits and pieces to the finished scene at times. But it looks pretty good,
don't you think?