About us

We are a hard working, family of eight. Swimming in the sea when we aren't busy on our small holding. Daddy dragon has to work away a lot, so this blog is to let him keep up with our adventures at home.

Monday, 29 September 2014

What Chocolate?

"Nope, I definitely, certainly, absolutely did not see any chocolate. Not one singe piece."

(Neither she, nor the two year old hatchling, know anything about the cadbury hero wrappers all over the floor. Definitely suspicious, they agree...)

My Goal

The sky 02:30, 30/09/2014.

Remove artificial light, and the possibilities are endless.

My goal is to build a life I never need to have a vacation from.

Remove artificial constructs, and the possibilities are endless.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Seaweed and sunsets

The evenings are growing cooler.

An evening of sunshine saw us out front, collecting seaweed.

We found over twenty different kinds!

We told stories about the characters we saw in the clouds,

and made little crab kingdoms,

while many a laugh was shared.

One of those gentle Sunday evenings, such a gentle send off from summer,

and we are very blessed.

Guinea pigs

I am almost certain,

that guinea pigs,

are little joy producing

hair balls.

Who like snuggles,

and spend their lives,

making children happy

with their cartoon cute faces.

Today, I am thankful to the animals that share our lives,

and bring so much joy to the hatchlings.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Good afternoon (apple cake)

The winds are blowing, and the sound of the rain on the roof is soothing.

Lucky me, I have a big box full of apples.

Which I fully intend to make pies with.

However, this afternnoon felt more cake like than pie.

So I looked up a few recipes.

I have no sour cream for my normal german apple cake recipe, 

and I stumbled upon Mary Berry's aga apple cake recipe.

Oh how I would like an aga, and an apple cake, I thought.

Here is the thing, this aga apple cake recipe was lacklustre!

Hence, I made up my own! 

Sorry, Mary Berry, but seriously, no cinnamon, no brown sugar, no vanilla, or walnuts, and..

So I creamed 5 eggs with 350g of butter, some vanilla bean paste and a heaping tsp of cinnamon, some nutmeg and a tiny dash of mixed spice.

Then I added in 300g of brown sugar, and 100g of caster sugar, 

and when it was mixed in nicely I added 1 tsp baking powder, and 435g of self raising flour.

To this sturdy batter,

I added 200g walnuts, 130g desiccated coconut, 4 large peeled and chopped apples, and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon for good measure.

The schlepped the lot in the oven at 180 until it was cooked through.

It came out lovely, if I do say so myself, though I need not, if I want a piece before the hatchlings demolish the rest. 

Happy Friday afternoon! 

Perfect Morning

A perfect morning starts with gale force winds, peaches and cream porridge,

then stories and cuddles,

with two sticky boys and one fur ball.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Welly Boots 2014

Giving upcycling a try

I bought this cheap ugly chest of drawers a long while back.

Determined, that one day, I'd make them pretty.

If not, I figured no huge loss, but I wanted to have a try.

Hence, this last sunny afternoon, saw the hatchlings and I learning all things spray paint.

Made interesting with random 30 mile per hour wind gusts!

The results were exactly what I had hoped.

I am so pleased.

Now, I want to try fixing up everything. 

I feel a new addiction setting in.

So much fun.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Speaking intentionally

I am not as a rule, a shouty sort of person.

There are days though.

That get the better of me. 

And I need to renew, remind, and refresh my intention to speak as I intend to and not be carried away in the moment.

Today, was one of those days.

The hour between ten and eleven in the morning, I said all of the following in exactly this order:

Stop poking finger holes in the butter

Don’t sniff your brother’s butt

Stop licking the oven

Please don’t lick the turtle

That hole is not for your fingers

Don’t bite the chair

Don’t pretend to pee on your sister

Stop doing Gangham style without underwear

Don’t bite the cat

Stop licking your armpit

Why are you still naked

No naked Gangham on the table

Don’t try to lick your own butt

Take your foot out of your sandwich

Don’t rub your sandwich on the wall

The cat won’t even eat the cat crunchies, so stop eating them

No you can not take the ketchup to the loo with you

Don’t wipe your nose on the ketchup bottle

Quit singing songs about farts, poop, and privates

Where is the cat and the ketchup?

Who put the cat and the ketchup in the dryer?

Stop licking people

Don’t sit on your sister’s head

For goodness sake stop peeing in the mop bucket 

Put some underwear on

No welly boots on the bannister

Don’t pee in the storage heater

Don’t smack your sister with a coffee cup, she’s sleeping

Why is there poop on the stair gate

Take the guinea pig out of your pants

Hair is not a napkin

We do not put hair elastics on penises 

 Put some pants on!

This was recorded by hatchling no2, who was meant to be doing school work,

while I was trying to do phonics practice with hatchling no3.

During the quiet hour of my day,

because the baby was napping.

What I didn't realise, until it was played back, by hatchling no2, is how over the course of an hour my tone grew harder and louder.

Sharper, than I actually intend.

Or realise.

Far too frequently, I see that hurt look, on a four year old boy's face, when I am telling him off for the thousandth time, which is something else for me to work on, let alone, how much a tender little heart hurts with repeatedly being cut down by his mother's irritation, frustration and temper.

I don't swear or call my children names. 

I don't give them negative attributes or tell them they are worthless.

 I don't need to do that to see them look crushed, when I snap at them, exasperated by their abundant energy and enthusiasm.

Hence, today, I again find myself renewing my attempt to speak with intention, to protect and nurture these many blessing I have been given. 

Living Intentionally

This is the ferry leaving the pier an early morning, when none could sleep.

I thought I should do one of those mama confessional type posts.

You know the ones, where you admit, you haven't got it all together.

Well, here it is. 

I am struggling with the choices I make.

Not because they are bad ones.

In fact, it is the good ones, which leave me floundering.

Last year, we ran, ran, ran, the whole year long.

We did swimming, and girl guides, and dance classes a plenty.

We did trampolining, gymnastics, rock climbing, horse riding and choir.

There were drama groups, and science classes, and the odd library reading group. 

We ran so hard, chasing dreams, we didn't feel like we were stopping to live.

So I started thinking about how much we were giving up in the midst of our pursuit.

I started questioning, why it felt like we were taking short cuts to everything, even bedtime routines had become shortened affairs.

We hardly had time to say good night.

And I started to dread the days.

Waking up, wishing for the day to hurry up and be done.

I stopped living intentionally, and we hit survival mode.

This year, we are trying to find a better balance. 

I have severely limited the hatchlings in the number of activities they can take on. 

Nonetheless, there are so many interesting activities to pursue, and I find myself sucked in.

I want to give my children everything.

I want for them to be able to do it all, see it all, be it all.

When I ask them, what they want most, and the tell me, they want me.

Why is that such a struggle?

Why is it so hard to give them me, the one thing I actually always have to give?

I like it when you sit at the table and eat with us.

These are the words my son says to me at dinner tonight.

How can this be?

We have three meals a day together.

Nonetheless, I sit at the table and just be with them while we eat together, quite rarely. I serve them their meal, and flit about, eating by the counter. Fetching cups of water, picking up dropped forks, getting napkins, putting away items off the work surfaces.

I have gotten into the habit, that since I am not going to be able to eat from start to finish with out jumping up twenty times, that I shall not sit at all.

Not a great habit for my children.

There is a real difference in living intentionally, absorbing the time I have with them, being in the present with them, instead of flitting through my endless to do list. 

So, I am starting again.

You may find that the longer you know me, that I start again a lot.

I don't have it all together.

But, I am determined to keep trying.

When the hatchlings woke me up so very very early, and hatchling no5 wanted to see the boats on the water.

Out we went.

In the cool morning, with chocolate chip brioche and red grapes, to wave to the boat as it went off on it's journey.

To talk, listen and see a helicopter fly over.

I hope that little northward flying helicopter was not going to someone in trouble.

It was the air ambulance one, and we all said a prayer.

I really hope it wasn't needed. 

Home we went, to play and learn, work and enjoy the little piece of time we have,

and to try my best to live intentionally.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

My newest knitting partner

Once upon a blog, I put up photos of hatchling no5, helping me knit.

Somehow, he has grown and has significantly less interest in my knitting.

This little lady though,

is fascinated by wool.

She strokes it to her cheeks,

and runs it between her fingers.

She is a very sweet little knitting partner.

I am very blessed.

Monday, 15 September 2014

That time of year

Warm, cold, warm, cold and warm again.

The weather is bipolar, perfect for viruses.

Hence, today is going to be a snuggle up and watch a movie sort of day.

Hope you are feeling better than these two.

Happy Monday!

Little bit of effort goes a long way

We moved into our new home this summer. 

It has beena steep learning curve.

We found ourselves needing new windows. 

The double glazing had failed through most of the house.

However, the velux windows in the upstairs, are, so we are told, in good condition. 

They just don't look very nice.

And without some maintenance, they will develop problems.

Hence, I hung on for dear life, and sanded, and sanded, and sanded.

Then painted the first of the many windows.

Which is seriously, much harder than it looks, they are in the roof.


One pretty window!

I am feeling very accomplished, I didn't actually believe I could do it.

Well, it will be pretty once, I untape, and give it a little wash.

But, before I do that, the question I have is, to second coat, or not to second coat?

My knitting partner

Have to start them early.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

F is for frustration.

I have been busy painting.

A fourth coat on to out entrance hallway.

Which is quite something to manage, with six hatchlings.

None the less, there has been little in the way of disaster.

Until, this evening. 

See that black speck.

Bad fly!

He was not stuck. So he zoomed about all angry.

Slamming his painted self into windows, walls, and the coats hung up on the wall.

Then he fell to the floor again,

Picking up more paint.

Little beast.

Tonight, f is for frustration, in the shape of a fly.

Thank you for my anniversary present, my love

Thank you for my anniversary present, my love. 

I can not wait to use it.

Did it mention how heavy it would be?

Not to worry.

I taught the hatchlings how to move heavy things.

Impromptu dolly.

Girl style!

Autumn has come to our home!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Winding down

It still amazes me, watching the drastic shift in the daylight. As we loose an hour every ten days, it feels dramatic. 

The children had been out running about in the field until past nine, fighting sleep, because they sun is too shiny, just mere weeks ago. Now, they are heading to bed easily by eight.

There has been this inner shift towards crafts, baking, puzzles and renewed feeling of wanting to get work done inside.

Not that we are not greatful for the gentle approach autumn is making.

Well, gentle towards us.

Just down the road from us, is a very large farm. 

It took the farmer three whole days to cut all the hay.

He was out cutting at 5am.

He was still out there at 10pm.

For three long, beautiful sunny days.

And then it rained, for four days straight.

Finally, a stretch of sunshine, and after two days of solid sunshine,

he drove out to bale it all, and the machine broke down.

Two more days he spent out there, trying to do what he could,

before the rain came back.

Which it did.

And now,

a flock of fat geese, literally thousands of geese, have decided to camp out on his land.

I can't imagine that is good, those birds soiling his hay.

I don't know how bad this is for him, but I am betting it is pretty awful.

While I don't mean to spread bad news, I just wanted to say, 

Little bit of humour

Rather funny choice for a dairy advertisement, don't you think?

Veggie Update

Hatchling no5 is at that precious age where articulates himself very well; however, certain sounds do not roll off the tongue quite so easily.

Hence, the hedgies are veggies in our house.

Many a Mr.Bloom song rendition is sung to these spikey babies.

They are growing and filling out quickly, just for our own recollections, these babies are 9 days old in the photos.

All three have homes waiting for them, so we have only a short while that we have to spend with them.

I have been trying to emphasise this to the hatchlings, as they have a tendency to accumulate creatures furry and feathered.

Well done mama veggie, you have such beautiful babies.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Preparing for Stoptober

This year has been such an overwhelmingly expensive year for us.

And the bills certainly are not shy about continually appearing through my letter box.

How about you?

Do you feel the same?

I find that the stores really ramp up their 'you really need to buy this' strategies in the lead up to Christmas.

It starts so early, too.

The Christmas chocolates are already out and have been for weeks.

I don't mean to sound pathetic, but I will admit, I find it hard not to spend money if I start to browse through the many shops, as they urge me to spend, spend, spend.

So, the last two years, I have just chosen to opt out.

I start in September by slowing down my shopping. 

I halve my budget.

And In October, I aim to spend half what I spent in September.

Essentially, cutting my weekly shopping to a quarter. 

Which sounds impossible at the outset, but I have found it has made me far more conscious of my spending into Christmas.

And truthfully, it gives me a little boost, to clear out the cupboards, and sell things on. 

If I sell £50 worth of old clothes, I can spend that.

I have wool to keep me busy, knitting gifts, old clothes to cut up and quilt, and many other little diy projects that I really can make do and mend, in order to achieve the results I would like.

Without any new expense.

And that food pantry and freezer, we all know how congested that can become. 

It has made sure, I actually use up what I have long since bought, on sale, and never looked at again. 

A bargain is not a bargain, if you never use it.

I have found that since starting this, we start off January, in good terms financially, and feeling hopeful.

The children too, really get into the spirit and this year have promised to do an inventory list for me of everything I have tossed into our pantry, so we can make the best use of what we already have.

So, this is us, one week in to our Slowtember, preparing for Stoptober.

Do you ever make an opportunity to reevaluate your spending, or re - focus your finances?

Mama hedgehog has had babies!

We've been a busy household over the summer, and in addition to the terrapins, we've welcomed three hedgehogs. 

Then, last week Henrietta Hoglet, gave birth to 3 chubby baby hoglets!

So proud of you Henrietta! I suppose a certain amount of praise should be reserved for the proud papa, but he is busy courting his new lady.

So wonderful, these little spiky blessings.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

New characters to our cast

This is hatchling number two.

A wonderful eight year old girl, who is full of love for most every creature.

And after a rather contrary, but heart felt plea, she has brought two new characters into our home.

A pair of seven (almost eight) year old terrapins.

Now, we have terrapins at level crossings,

and terrapins reading books.

Hence, we are officially introducing, our new cast members.

Who both need new names? 

Any suggestions?