About gingergnome

Child of God, household facilitator, mediator, nurse, chauffeur, fierce protector of my children ASD & NT. And in my spare time? I bake! I'd love to know what you think too ... and always read comments :-)

Mad about the boy …

A wee update on Son No1’s surgery.

An early morning alarm call woke Son No1 (and Mr GG & I) for breakfast before fasting began. If I’m honest, I think I was more apprehensive about dealing with the fasting than the surgery itself! It’s no mean feat keeping an ever-hungry, ever-growing teenager out of the kitchen.


hungry chicken GIF by Endemol Beyond
Grandpa and Grandma GG arrived at 10 to take Son Nos 2&3 off out for a day at the zoo (the joys of home education meant that this was a ‘day off’ for everyone!) and we set off for the hospital.

Hospital was mobbed! The waiting area was packed out and noisy which immediately cranked the anxiety up another notch or two … what if we don’t hear our name being called? It’s irrational I know, but I’ll always be a bit of a worrier!

img_4184Eventually we heard Son No1 being called … phew … and off we toddled to a wee room where he had to put his pjs on, get temperature, weight & blood pressure checked. Lastly some numbing cream was applied to his hands … apparently that was the worst part … so far!

Due to the busy-ness of the hospital Son No1 couldn’t get a bed on the ward until after surgery so we were back in the waiting room to wait … list began at 1pm and was done in age order so we were expecting a long wait.

Over the next couple of hours we saw the anaesthetist who talked Son No1 through the difference between using a drip or gas for going to sleep. We also saw the surgeon once again who reassured us he would definitely operate on both legs and, thankfully, gave us an idea of the time we could expect surgery to begin.

Eventually we were called for theatre … I was able to stay with Son No1 until he was asleep which was great. He opted for the drip (with a little encouragement from me!) but two attempts to insert the img_4183cannula failed so he had to have gas. There is something eerie about watching your child clutching a mask to his face and slowly drifting off to sleep … I can’t say I liked it!

Once my lad was asleep my nerves left me (although still kicking about as since then I tried to spell ‘failed’ with a ‘ph’, ‘cannula’ with one ‘n’ and ‘eerie’ with a ‘y’) and I felt incredibly calm until we neared the time to expect Son No1 back from theatre, then the time seemed to drag … so … terribly … slowly.

Finally we got word that Son No1 was in recovery and we went to wait in the room he’d been allocated. A very quiet, woozy boy was wheeled in, struggling to keep his eyes open and shivering in that horrible uncontrollable way that seems to happen after general anaesthesia. He rallied enough to give a couple of hugs then drifted off into a deep sleep so I took the opportunity to leave my boy and Mr GG and go home to relieve the GG grandparents from their duties.

img_4189

When I got back to the hospital the next morning a bright, sparkly, hungry boy met me with two new casts on his legs … he opted for the brightest yellow I’d ever seen which, given the weather warnings we’ve had lately is probably a good idea … he will never get lost!

Shortly after I arrived Son No1’s transport for the next six weeks was delivered and he practised transferring from bed to chair and back again.  All went well and, just like that, he was discharged!

There aren’t words for how proud I am of my lad.  I am completely in awe of him.  In the, little over, 48 hours since surgery he’s not complained once.  He’s mentioned a couple of times that he’s sore which is to be expected but no complaints at all.  It’s no mean feat for a teenager who’s been relatively independent to suddenly be dependent upon his parents for pretty much everything once again.  He has to bear Mr GG lifting him and out of our car as it’s too high for him to shimmy across using his arms.  He has to put up with my somewhat clumsy attempts at wheelchair pushing and I’m sorry to admit that, already, I’ve bumped him into a wall and squashed his foot in a door … I’m hoping practice makes perfect!

The next six weeks are going to be tough.  A real lesson in patience.  There is to be absolutely no weight-bearing until the casts are removed in early March and then the real hard work begins as my boy learns to walk properly for the first time.  We’re all adapting to this temporarily different way of life.  Our plans to have Son No1 pretty much living downstairs fell to pieces when his chair wouldn’t fit into our downstairs bathroom so he’s confined to living upstairs most of the time for just now and seems to be relishing the opportunity of having me, Mr GG and Son Nos 2&3 at his beck and call. 

For anyone, let alone a young person who has a diagnosis of autism and ADHD, Son No1 has coped brilliantly … so brilliantly that I’m tentatively scouting around the internet trying to find something to add to his collection of retro games consoles … he’s getting suspicious because of all my questions about them though … I’ve no idea where to look.

So, that’s us for now.  Academic work has been limited to just two days this week to give Mr GG and I time to recover and get our heads around everything as well as allowing Son No1 time to adjust.  The next two days won’t be taxing workwise but enough to get him into a bit of a routine again and let him see just how well he can adapt.  

Lastly, if you see a luminous-yellow-legged boy in a wheelchair being pushed erratically along a pavement by a wild haired crazy woman then give us a wave before you jump out of the way … we’d love to say hello!

Advertisements

Courageous

 

And just like that, it’s Saturday again!

img_4177This week has passed by in a whirl in GGHQ … a phone call at 8am on Monday morning changed the course of our week and, potentially, the course of the next several weeks.

For several months now Son No1 has been waiting for surgery to fix an equinus deformity which has a pretty big impact on his right leg.  For more than three quarters of his life Son No1 has endured physio, splints, orthopaedic boots, casts and Botox in an effort to improve his walking and balance.  Now, at 15, he can no longer put his heel down at all on his right foot although he still can, with effort, on his left.  Surgery will, we trust, improve that for him although it sounds awfully invasive and painful.

So, after speaking with the hospital the previous week and being told it was likely to be March before surgery we got a call asking if Son No1 could attend on Monday (21st).  Obviously we grabbed the chance of a quick surgery date and the week passed in a flurry of pre-op assessments and preparing for our trip to hospital.  The surgery will be done in a nearby city and not in our local hospital so we’ve been busy organising childcare for Son Nos 2 & 3 whilst we are with our lad.  Mr GG will stay overnight with Son No1 in hospital and I’ll stay at home with our younger boys but during the day, especially on Monday, we’ll both be in hospital.

img_4179

We don’t know the extent of the surgery and probably won’t know until after it’s over.  I find that hard!  The consultant will definitely operate on the right leg but will examine movement in the left leg once Son No1 is under anaesthetic before making a decision whether to operate on that one too.  I’d value prayer that the right decision will be made … I don’t want my lad to end up having to face this surgery twice if once will do!

There are so many mixed emotions flying around our house at the moment.  Son No1 is incredibly brave but, although he doesn’t often admit it, he’s nervous (Mums can always tell!), Son No2 is anxious and worried for his brother and has been heard shouting that all surgeons should be sacked and Son No3 is keen to know what PS4 games will be available on the ward for his brother to play.  Mr GG and I alternate between being calm, anxious, pleased to have a date, wishing it was Tuesday and concerned for our son.  It’s been awful watching him struggling at times, even falling over randomly because he lost his balance.  No parent wants their child to have a tough time.  However, Son No1 is amazing, he’s brave, accepting and ready to deal with the next few weeks.

However, hospitals aside, our week has been pretty normal.  The boys have worked well as usual and are settling well into the new term.  Mr GG has continued working away creating or upcycling pieces of furniture.  Recently he stumbled upon a metal table frame which he is working on … there have been lots of ideas flying around for how he can make it into something practical, quirky and interesting.  I’ll keep you posted!

img_4176On the other hand, I’ve been distracted this week.  I’ve found it hard to settle and have been completely uncreative.  I’ve done no beadwork and haven’t even baked at all – things got so bad that Mr GG dug out the recipe books for inspiration and made some amazing chocolate & raspberry brownies.  However, I’m planning to redeem myself and make some soap this afternoon so all may be forgiven!

I began today’s post with a song by Casting Crowns called Courageous.  I love this song.  It’s challenging and relevant.  It’s here for my sons.  They are three of the most courageous and amazing people I know.  I’m grateful for every day that I get to be their mum.  I’m privileged for all the ways that they express their love for me (although I’d love it if they sometimes expressed it by tidying their rooms), I delight in the way they randomly come and hug me throughout the day, by the trust they have in me despite all the times that I let them down by being crabby or unreasonable.  Yes, I am blessed indeed.

IMG_1885 

Sorry, so sorry

I have to begin today with an apology.

Son No2 read my last post and had some constructive criticism that I need to address.  I am so very sorry for my errors!

Firstly, I told you that Son No2 likes to sit and chat to the chooks … he would like me to add that he also enjoys watching the chickens being put to bed at night and finds it hilarious when they flap about and run away … especially Minnie the Minx who hates bedtime so she runs and hides under the coop with her back to us.

img_1832Secondly, I omitted to tell you that Ivy the Terrible likes to yell. She loves to yell. She yells when we’re all indoors and she would like a cuddle (I kid you not). She yells when she is considering laying an egg although she’s quiet after the actual event. She yells when Beryl the Peril or Minnie the Minx are (in her opinion) faffing about and taking too long when egg laying. She particularly likes to yell at Minnie and has been known to screech in her face and frighten her out of the nest box. Ivy likes to yell.

Now that my conscience is clear I can tell you all about this week … hopefully this post will meet with approval after the scrutiny of Son No2 … but I’ll let you know!

This week has seen the return to work after the Christmas holidays. Although there were some rumbles of discontent at the thought of having to get up ‘too’ early, all three boys were up and working with little complaint when the time came.  They’ve all worked well this week and settled back into the routine ever so well.

(Old photos, but I’ll not tell if you don’t)

Son No3 recently started swimming lessons so on a Thursday morning he is extra motivated to get all his work done before he goes to the pool. He loves the water and is really enjoying his lessons.  Lessons started again this week after the Christmas break and he was super excited about being back in the water.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that this week also saw my annual ‘dark day’, the day I remember the pain of losing our babies. I generally write something about my babies that day, not because I’m wanting sympathy but just as my wee memorial for them. I found this year harder than usual which puzzled me but I think maybe the fact that the Junior GGs are getting so grown up makes me realise that my babies would now no longer be ‘babies’ but turning into young adults.  Also, I think seventeen is a key age, especially here in the UK, as it’s the age when young folks can learn to drive and take on a little more independence from their parents.  I remember seventeen so well myself, I was incredibly excited about the freedom of being able to drive and, if my aging memory is correct, I had my first driving lesson the day after my birthday.
 

Earlier this week I saw this quote on Facebook from my favourite author, Sally Clarkson:

img_4165 

I love it.  This is something that Mr GG and I have held onto at times of heartache and, not least, through his bouts of depression and anxiety.  I can testify to the truth of this.  Over the years I have been given many opportunities to listen to, pray with, cry alongside folks who are grieving the loss of babies … I would never have had this compassion if I had not walked the devastating path of baby-loss myself.  I am thankful, not necessarily for the physical pain, but for the ways that my experience changed me and I am thankful too that my babies are safe in the arms of Jesus where, one day, I will meet them.

Alongside the ‘dark day’, there were many highlights to our week, not least the visit of a dear aunt and uncle who we have not seen for several years.  It was a delight to spend time with them, laughing, chatting, reminiscing and drinking tea together.  I have a wonderful family.

I had my first attempt at making face cream using essential oils this week.  I only made it on Friday so haven’t had much time to try it out but it looks OK and smells amazing.  I’d been wanting to try it for ages but I’m also trying to be measured in introducing DIY recipes to our family life rather than go diving in.  I’ve been using my own recipe of facial oil for the last couple of months which I’m really liking.  

Crafty-wise Mr GG and I have both had a couple of projects on the go.  I tried out a new bracelet pattern which I had found … once I’m used to it I’ll start adapting it and experimenting with different beads, patterns etc.  Mr GG also finished off a table he’d been working on restoring (now sold) and finalised an order he’d got to make a guitar pedal board (delivered and in use already).  We have a dream of one day living somewhere with room for a proper workshop as well as more land for growing fruit and veg … and more chickens … oh, and maybe a pig … and, well, some sheep would be nice … and ducks … and … and …

As a reward for a week’s work well done the Junior GGs had a trip to the local trampoline park.  Anyone who knows our family knows that Son No3 is a magnet for disaster. 

Image result for trampoline accident gif

Yes, as you can imagine our trip ended up with us dusting off our A&E loyalty card and paying a visit to the hospital.  I hold myself partly to blame for saying, just the day before, that we hadn’t been to A&E since beginning our home ed adventure. 

I’m thankful to say that Son No3 hasn’t broken any bones, he’s pulled a ligament and is ‘supposed’ to be resting for a few days.  Any tips on how to encourage a 10 year old boy to rest his foot would be greatly appreciated …

 

 

 

I’m still standing …

Did you miss me?

This blog post has been started, scrapped and re-started (and re-scrapped) dozens of times since I last posted.  Life has taken over, we’ve been wrapped up in learning and working and it seems as though the weeks have passed without me realising!

IMG_1961

In the past months (I can’t really justify saying ‘weeks’ really) we’ve celebrated birthdays (there are now two teenagers in GGHQ, gasp), wedding anniversaries (well, just one actually, 17 years with Mr GG!), Christmas and New Year.  We have delighted in academic achievements and rejoiced in how well all three junior GGs have adapted to the new routine in our home ed life.  We have had at least two ‘holidays’ – one spent glamping in Aviemore (stunning) and an incredibly lazy week in the beautiful Isle of Skye.  In the past months there have also been tears over the deaths of two much loved pets … sadly Pringle, Son No2’s guinea pig and Steve, Son No3’s hamster have reached the end of their wee lives with us.  There were many tears over the deaths, many discussions over what (if anything) would replace them and, no, we’re not replacing Pringle with a snake nor Steve with a budgie … my suggestion that a ‘useful’ pet like another chicken or some sheep, however, was not well received by Mr GG!

December marked the first anniversary of our home education adventure.  There has been much reflection, many chats and discussion and the over-riding opinion is that the past year has been a great success.  We are all loving the freedom and flexibility that home ed brings to our lives.  There is something so incredibly special about being able to have guilt-free days off as a reward for working hard.  There is also something satisfying about watching children going to school when my own don’t have to!  I’m proud of how well the boys are learning, all three of them.  They are working hard, reaching and exceeding targets we set for them and one in particular, is well on the way to completing a full year’s work in two terms.

Becoming a home ed family hasn’t been completely straight-forward.  Workwise we are pretty much where I expected and, if anything, the workload on me is not as heavy as I expected but there are times when it’s overwhelming!  There are times when one of our lads misses the social aspect of school, he enjoyed the bustle of school but, workwise, he has done far more in the past terms at home than he achieved in over two years of school, something he recognises himself.   

I recently read a post on Facebook about the best and worst aspects of home education.  Many, many parents commented that the best part of home education was being with their children all the time and that the worst aspect was being with their children ALL the time.  I’d agree with this.  I love the company of my sons and I don’t get tired of them being around but I’ve found it much harder to achieve things at certain times.  It used to be that, on birthdays, I’d spend the time the birthday boy was at school to decorate his birthday cake … I can’t do that now as there isn’t school.  I also found preparation for Christmas much more difficult this year.  I didn’t have so many opportunities to nip out and do present shopping and wrapping was done sitting in my bedroom with my back against the door so that they couldn’t come into the room accidentally and ruin surprises!  These are such minor niggles though and compared to all the incredible benefits of taking ownership of the education of my children pale into insignificance.  I am also incredibly grateful to Grandma GG and Grandpa GG who take the boys for a few hours each week and I’m learning to use this time for ‘me’ not spend it rushing about doing housework!

Mr GG and I still yearn to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle although our garden has been sadly neglected over recent weeks … I have to hold my hands up and say I’m more of a fair-weather garden girl than anything, I don’t like being wet and cold!  However, I’ve started dabbling in essential oils and for the past wee while have been making my own cleaning products, including washing powder and fabric conditioner.  I’ve also been making hand soap as well, mainly in the hope of relieving some of the damage continual handwashing does to the skin of my lad’s hands … OCD is such a horrible illness, it breaks me to see the pain he is in, both physically and mentally.

Ivy, Minnie and Beryl still delight us every day.  They are amazing wee characters and provide great therapy … Son No2, whilst too nervous to venture too close to the chooks, spends time every day sitting beside the chicken run chatting away to the girls.  When we go out anywhere he goes straight out to see them when we get home.  Son No1 is a dab hand at catching the chooks to put them in the coop at night although he’s not so keen at getting up early to let them out in the mornings!

The past months have, sadly, seen a decline once more in Mr GG’s mental health and he has had to take some time away from work.  In times like this, manual labour really helps Mr GG mentally and he’s been using the time to be creative … he made some beautiful wooden Christmas trees which were really popular in the lead up to Christmas.  As I write he’s outside making a wooden compost bin for the garden and he also has several other projects in mind for the next wee while.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Watching Mr GG making and crafting has encouraged me to begin making jewellery once again.  I’d stopped making jewellery when Mr GG was first ill nearly five years ago and it’s been lovely to be creative again … so much so that I’m tentatively contemplating selling at craft fairs once more.

So, that’s where the Life of Five is now … we’re trundling along well, enjoying our new life, battling the gremlins that attack mental health and striving towards the dream of a more independent. 

Until next time folks … 

 

 

Top of the World

In previous years as the school holidays ended I’ve had a horrible empty feeling as I prepared the boys for going back to school.  I always grudged giving up so much time with my sons, especially when deep down I thought I could be doing more for them.  This year has been the polar opposite!  I was really excited about starting Home Education once more.  There was no school uniform shopping and, even better, NO SCHOOL SHOE SHOPPING!  Instead Mr GG and I were preparing workbooks and sorting out work areas for the boys.  Our return to HE was delayed by a week due to a very inconvenient bug deciding to knock my family down one by one but we’ve all rallied and work successfully began on Monday.

There aren’t really words for how proud I am of these three boys.  They’ve taken to the new curriculum so well.  They’re enjoying getting out for a mid-morning walk to stretch our legs and get some fresh air before getting stuck back into the rest of the day’s work. 

We’ve still several wee kinks to iron out.  Last year we tended to keep Fridays free for trips and things.  This year I’d love to do the same but, for the first few weeks at least, I’m planning that we work a bit more until we all (including me) get used to the new set up.   

 IMG_2110As a mum of three I find it hard sometimes to get one to one time with the boys.  Yes, I spend time with them at home but there’s always noise and interruptions … time alone, time to chat, time to laugh and just spend time together … that can be hard.  So, I’ve decided to take advantage of the days Mr GG works from home and take the opportunity to go out with one of the boys a week.  This week it was Son No3 … we went to a local garden centre (he wants a Venus Flytrap) and had snack there.  It was a real treat … for me at least!

 The latest Tinker Crate arrived a couple of weeks ago … it’s so hard not to push my way in and take over, they look so much fun.  This one was a glowing pendulum … so clever!  Son No3 really enjoyed building it and was fascinated with how it worked.  Great box!  We’ve still got a mechanical bird to build but when we started it the blueprint was missing … a wee email to the company got that sorted quickly enough but we’ve just not had the opportunity to build it yet.  I wonder what will be next!

 

 

Not content with allowing us a week to focus on HE, there’s been drama in the chicken coop … Minnie the Minx has gone broody.  She’s, mostly, a happy broody chook but she growls if Ivy or Beryl go near here when she’s sitting on the eggs she’s gathered.  I have to admit, though, it gives me the fear when she stares at me as move her to get the eggs from under her … fortunately Mr GG is usually here to do it for me!  I’m really hoping the broodiness doesn’t last too long … but maybe if she or one of the others is Attachment-1broody next year I’ll be able to persuade Mr GG to let us get some fertilised eggs for her to sit on.  To be fair, she’s not too bad … once we turf her out of the nesting box and gather the eggs we close the coop to stop the temptation for her to go back in and carry on nesting (on nothing) … she’s quite happy to potter about as usual during the day and when the coop is opened again late afternoon/early evening she doesn’t rush straight back in. 

 So, the first week of our first full academic year is over.  We’ve all survived.  We’re all smiling.  We’re all happy with how the week has gone.  We’re all VERY glad it’s the weekend!  For now though, I’m sitting back with a chocolate chip cookie and a cuppa, enjoying listening to the (generally) happy chatter as the boys play and discuss some new game that Son No1 has just bought. 

Until next week folks …

Breathe

Apologies for the lack of a post last week … life in GGHQ took a wee unexpected turn and writing ended up taking a back seat. 

We’ve been up to our usual high jinks over the past weeks never fear.  Mr GG took a week off work and we had lots of adventures planned.  However, our week didn’t turn out as planned and, instead, Mr GG spent the week visiting his doctor’s surgery as they tried to come to grips with why he’s been progressively more ill over recent weeks.

It turns out Mr GG has diabetes. 

It’s been a shock.  We’re generally a healthy family and things like this don’t happen to us!  However, it has.  And now we have to get our heads around how this affects us as a family as well as supporting Mr GG who can, thankfully, now begin the journey towards feeling well again.   Once again I’m thankful that Mr GG and I always approach things as a team … it’s important to us to work this way and it’s how we’ve got through so many different things.

 In the midst of the appointments and blood tests (he has to check his blood six times a day at the moment) we’ve managed to enjoy time with my cousin and her lovely family … Son No3 particularly enjoyed having cousins to play with and had a blast zorbing on water with them.

 IMG_2025

Our latest ‘self sufficiency’ challenge was making butter which was a fun experiment for us all to take part in.  OK, so we don’t have a cow or goat to get milk from and had to buy cream to start off with but the butter tasted amazing!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last time I wrote, the chickens were on lock down for medication.  That’s over now but, feeling a bit sorry for them afterwards, I gave them the bucket of kale that was growing beautifully … it doesn’t look so healthy anymore!

IMG_2018

All our workbooks arrived last week in preparation for starting back to home ed soon … our plan is to start back on 13th August and take an early half term for our family holiday.  The boys are all quietly looking forward to getting back into a routine although more loudly protesting that they’d rather stay on holiday!

 Lastly, just before I leave you all in peace for a few more days … we have finally bought a polytunnel for our garden.  I love it!  I planted lettuce in it two days ago and wee shoots are already peeping through!  I particularly love that we’ve got a polytunnel as it sounds way more smallholdingy than a greenhouse does haha.  See you all next week … when normal service may just be resumed!

 

Africa

 

 

Some readers may have noticed that I always use the name of a song as the title for my blog posts.  This week is no different.  Africa is the song choice for this week … chosen by Son No1 as it’s a song he’s enjoying teaching himself to play on the piano.  It’s also highly applicable as it bears no relevance to anything that’s happened in GGHQ this week … it’s not been a bad week, not at all, but it’s probably best described in this way  …

IMG_1961

Early on in the week while we were out exploring we found these teeny, tiny frogs.  There were so many of them hopping about around our feet and we’re all hoping we made it home without reducing the frog population at all.  The boys managed to catch some and hold them, they were the smallest frogs I think I’ve ever seen.  Son No3 was keen to bring one home as a pet but, thankfully, he realised we don’t have a pond and couldn’t dig one quickly enough so the idea was abandoned … phew!

IMG_1955

The chickens have been on house (run) arrest this week as they were having routine worming treatment.  This meant that they weren’t allowed any treats which did not go down well.  We’ve all been grumbled at and told off by the girls and if we went near them we were pecked.  Thankfully tomorrow is the last day and Monday we’ll be back to normal.  Beryl the Peril however, whilst voicing her dis-satisfaction, has proved that a week without treats has done no harm and produced these two massive eggs for us … I can’t help but think it must hurt!

Garden wise everything is rumbling along nicely, the last of the leeks were planted and we used an improvised tub having run out of proper tubs to use and being too mean to buy any more.  We picked the last of our raspberries and Mr GG added them to some delicious wild raspberries picked by my parents to make some jam.  It is SO good!  We also harvested the peas … which is a fancy way for saying we got half a dozen and rather than going from farm to table it was more a case of farm to mouth!

Our simple living efforts continue and this week I tried semi-drying excess tomatoes we had left over from the veg box we got from a local farm.  Personally they’re not my taste, I prefer tomatoes fresh but Mr GG seems to think they’re delicious and I’ll admit they look nice in the jar. 


IMG_1989

Halfway through the week the Junior GGs mentioned the ‘bored’ word … I’m surprised that they’ve not yet learned how dangerous this word is to use.  I always find something for them to do, somethingIMG_1976 they’d probably not choose … this time I set them to stripping the walls in the living room.  Now, this wasn’t planned.  Not at all.  To be fair, the living room is crying out to be redecorated but decorating is just a bit bigger a job than we’d anticipated at the moment.  However, the boys took on the challenge and we’ve now got paperless walls.  I’d forgotten how much fun stripping walls is so I think Mr GG is hoping they don’t mention the ‘bored’ word again next week or we’ll start stripping the hall. 

IMG_1977I have finally dug out my knitting once again and set to making some more squares for a patchwork throw I’ve been working on for, at least, a couple of years.  It’ll probably never make it to ‘throw’ stage as, the squares are all different sizes and I hate the sewing part … I keep promising myself to start sewing a couple together each week but something more exciting always distracts me.  Nevermind though, I enjoy knitting and feel ridiculously proud of the different patterns that can be made.  I’ll never become so dedicated to simple living that I start knitting jumpers for the boys so they can rest easy on that score.  Little knitting projects are fine for me!  I just seem to have a problem with the finishing part!

So, all is happy in GGHQ, life doesn’t work out as we always anticipate it and we go off on random tangents from time to time but the kettle is always on and we love it when folks drop in for a cuppa … hint hint!

IMG_1985

 

 

Simple Life

There is peace in GGHQ as I start writing today (oops, that was Saturday and now it’s Monday!).  Mr GG is outside mucking out the chickens, Son No1 is chatting online to one of his local friends, Son No3 is playing a game and Son No2 is watching television. 

We’ve had a fun week, quietly busy but also relaxing at times too.  The weather has been brilliant still although there were one or two wee much-needed rain showers.  Most of the GG family don’t like the heat too much and Son No3 has been overhead grumbling that he can’t wait until winter!

IMG_1889Mr GG & I have been looking at a curriculum we would like to use next term.  Unfortunately, and much to the dismay of the Junior GGs, this involves diagnostic testing to determine the level of work that will be appropriate for them.  The tests (four in all) have nearly been completed with just one left to do … it’s probably fair to say that they’ve not been completed with happy, contented hearts!

 The Juniors had a fun day at the beach with Grandma GG during the week and managed, between them, to bring most of the beach home with them … always, I believe, a sign of a successful day. 

 IMG_1894We had a visitor one day too which was fun … it’s been a long time since I’ve had a really little person to look after and this wee lad could not have been a more perfect houseguest.  He smiled and gurgled and waved and was fascinated with the chickens.  Son No3 was a fantastic helper and spent the whole time making sure our guest was OK.  It was so lovely to watch him … he’s desperate for a younger sibling (never going to happen!) so I think that was what encouraged him.

What else did we do?  Oh yes, we had a couple of days spent in and around the house as well as a lovely walk one day which involved lots of rolling down hills … I didn’t partake this time having learned my lesson from a previous time that didn’t end quite so well!

Mr GG and I are enjoying our ‘simple living’ challenge.  We’re getting used to thinking twice about things and, you know what?  At the end of the week we’ve done all we wanted to do, we’ve not always gone for the ‘time-saving’ options and we’ve not missed out on anything.  The challenge has really made us think about how often we would try to save time and end up more frazzled than ever.  

 So, when we made frog in the bog for tea (toad in the hole to those not in know) we didn’t opt for our usual choice of bought Yorkshire puddings but decided to make these bad boys!  Instead of keeping a jar of ready sliced lemons in the fridge, we sliced and froze them ourselves.

We even opted for the simple option when it came to cutting the grass this week.

 We’ve had a couple more harvests during the week … our raspberry plants have yielded this wee crop.  Not enough for jam but we’re planning to add to it and make jam anyway.  Also, I was ridiculously excited that the first pea was ready for picking … it made its way into the kitchen purely for the photo before being eaten … delicious!  Small beginnings but a step in the right direction.

The simple life is becoming more and more appealing (although maybe you should ask me again in winter!) and we’re enjoying making the best use of everything we have although, I do think Mr GG was taking things a wee bit too far when he tried to make himself sunglasses out of a plastic bottle … the only way to keep it on was to hold the sides which left him looking slightly reminiscent of Kevin from Home Alone!

IMG_1886 

 

 

 

Daydream believer

Hello folks!  Another week over and a new one beginning … just like that!I’ve been pondering what to write this week.  Not much has happened for me to report about home education … we’ve just been enjoying time in the sun and making the most of holidays … well, some of us have … to be fair on Mr GG, he’s been working hard as usual but this past week he was working from home which we all love.    IMG_1785One of the things I’ve noticed lately is how easy it is for us all to slip into an attitude of entitlement … I’ve been trying to foster a sense of thankfulness and gratitude in myself as well as trying to encourage the boys.  A wee while ago I shamelessly stole this idea from a friend on Facebook … 30 days of gratitude.  Most evenings, as we eat our meal, we’ll discuss what we’re grateful for for that day.  There have been some interesting ideas and it’s fair to say that Son No1 nearly spontaneously combusted when he was tasked with naming just one piece of technology that he was thankful for!  At new year I set myself the challenge of recording something I was thankful for each day … I’m pleased to say that we’re now more than halfway through the year and I’ve not run out of thankfulness!Mr GG and I have set ourselves a challenge to reduce our spending each month as well as reducing our electricity/gas bill.  I’m enjoying the challenge although it seems that ‘living simply’ seems to make for much more work! Naturally one of the first ‘cut backs’ has been to dry our laundry outside rather than use the dryer.  For several years I’ve opted to give washing dried outside a wee blast in the dryer as it seemed to help with Son No2’s hayfever.  For many years he struggled so badly each year, ending up with eye infections and, sometimes, eyes that were so swollen they couldn’t open.  It was awful.  However, ditching the dryer this year doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on him so it appears his susceptibility to hayfever has reduced as he’s got older.  Something to be thankful for! Simple living means I’ve been baking more which I’m enjoying.  I’ve always loved baking but tend to get caught up in life and fall into the trap of just buying biscuits etc.  One of the main things I bake is chocolate brownies … it’s a favourite of all three boys (well, four if you count Mr GG) and something I’ve baked with the boys so often that two in particular can make themselves with little intervention from me.  We also discovered lately that gluten free brownies are even more tasty that ordinary ones! IMG_1810In the middle of the week I discovered a full packet of Lotus Biscoff which were going out of date soon.  Rather than waste the biscuits I made fifteens which, in turn, left me with half a tin of condensed milk I didn’t want to waste.  A wee google led me to this recipe … chocolate chip cookies … they are awesome!  I’ve never managed to make cookies that had the right crispy/gooey ratio.  These do!  And, even better, the cookie dough stores in the fridge for a week so I’ve been able just to make as many as I need at a time to keep the boys happy.  Win win!  I feel virtuous that I’ve not wasted anything and the boys are delighted with an almost daily supply of cookies.Bread has also been something that I’ve been making more often.  We have a breadmaker but I don’t really like using it … it’s bulky and takes forever to use.  I found an easy bread recipe which I’ve been trying out and the results have been delicious.  Previously when I’ve made bread I’ve been able to set the dough on the dryer to prove but that’s no longer an option so I’ve taken advantage of the sunny weather to set it on the windowsill of our front room.  Mr GG assures me that our neighbours already think we’re a bit quirky (chickens do that!) so they’ll not really be surprised by us!IMG_1811We’ve already enjoyed some of the rewards of our garden in the past few days.  We have a lone blackcurrant bush (well, technically there are two but one is in the chicken run and only has two wee leaves left at the top … chickens do that too!) which has excelled itself this year.  While Mr GG loves blackcurrants, I can’t stand them so we weren’t too sure what to do with them … eventually we decided on jam … maybe seen as a bit of a waste of effort as this was the result, but Mr GG is enjoying it so that’s good enough for me (to be fair, he made the jam himself anyway).

 In this sunny weather I’ve been experimenting with infused waters rather than fizzy drinks or diluting juice.  Some have been successful, some not so much.  I’m enjoying gathering herbs and some fruits from the garden to try out and one of my favourites so far has been lemon, raspberry & rosemary.Our faltering attempts at making our garden pay are beginning to show results.  Some of the potatoes are nearly ready for digging up and we have a steady supply of herbs, lettuce and salad leaves.  Not everything is working out though … the tomatoes are stubbornly refusing to perform and have, so far, only produced one manky looking tomato.  The mystery veg that we planted looks like it’s possibly peppers … no fruit appearing but I’m fairly chuffed that we’ve managed to identify it.   The peas we planted are mostly doing well and I can see some pods appearing … few, if any, of them will make it to the table for, in a nod to a happy days spent with my Grandad ‘helping’ in his garden, I’m likely to sit outside and eat them all. IMG_1720Beryl, Ivy & Minnie continue to delight all five of the GG clan and have completely won over Mr GG who was adamant he didn’t want them.  They’re all laying pretty much every day and are ever so patient with me hopping about outside the coop waiting for eggs so that I can bake.  I have dreams of one day having meat chicks, and quail and maybe a pond for ducks, as well as an orchard with a bee hive or two, and a field with pigs, sheep and maybe a couple of cows (for Mr GG).  I can see me working in the fields in my wellies (pink of course, in a houseful of male-ness there needs to be some pink) and scooting about in my land rover.  But, for now, I’m content … I’m already seeing some of my dreams come true … home educating my awesome boys and chooks in the garden … truly living the dream!IMG_0016

Mr Blue Sky

And just like that another week ends. 

It’s been a stunner of a week even if there have been moments when we’ve felt like we were melting.  The GG household doesn’t really ‘do’ hot weather and Son No3 was heard grumbling that he ‘can’t wait for winter’ (I think he’s a wee bit like Grandfather GG).  It’s fabulous seeing skies like this though … I love it!

IMG_1805

We’ve had a mixture of a week.  Some lovely days out and some days at home enjoying our garden, our chooks and some shade.

At the start of the week we went to one of our most favourite places to go.  It’s not particularly beautiful but I love it simply because it’s one of the few places that my anxious Son No2 can go without worrying about anything.  All three of the Junior GGs are in their element on a beach so they were all content walking along searching for shells and other treasures, chatting about games and retro consoles (Son No1 collects retro consoles and had just bought a Nintendo 64).  We collected some teeny tiny shells … they’re amazing, so perfect and yet so absolutely tiny, it’s hard to imagine the little creatures that lived in them before moving on to a new home.

For weeks Son No2’s anxiety has been sky-high and his fear of germs, need to wash, worry about touching something that has touched something else that has previously touched something (I kid you not!) has been holding him back from enjoying pretty much anything.  When he was younger he had a fascination for mud and water.  I used to keep towels by the back door because there was nothing my lad liked more on a rainy day than sitting in the muddy dip under the swing and gently rubbing mud onto his face, over his clothes and, well, everywhere.  The water magnetism has stayed but the mud attraction not so much.   Surprisingly, I miss it! 

 So, it made my heart happy on Monday when I saw Son No2 paddling along in his shoes and then squelching about in the mud.  Everything washes and, once again, I was thankful for a sunny, cloudless sky to dry his shoes.  The shoes have since been worn to walk along a river so they’ve spent quite some time hanging about outside this week!

36372421_10160493163790305_7908727215209054208_n

This week also saw Son No3 acquire a drum kit … it’s currently squashed into his bedroom until we work out how and where best to have it set up.  He is so excited … the neighbours maybe not so much. 

We’ve enjoyed time out in the garden this week.  All of the fruit and vegetables that we’ve planted is growing nicely and there’s something really exciting about nipping out into the garden to gather something to eat (or make a cup of tea with) especially as we’re also getting (and eating) a regular supply of eggs from our chooks.  Over the course of the week I read somewhere that ‘smallholding is a way of life’ rather than dependent on how much land you have … I love that, our wee garden is tiny but we’re aiming to make it pay its way as much as possible.  That doesn’t stop Mr GG & I dreaming about having a proper smallholding one day but in the meantime …

Lastly, Son No3 tried out his latest tinker crate … an automaton.  He loved building it and is so good at following the instructions, asking for help when he needs it.  There are lots of good ideas for other automatons so I think that may end up on the plan for next week.  It may be a bit pricey but the pleasure my boy gets from building and playing with the tinker crates more than makes up for it.