Sunday, 31 July 2011

circus star challenge

for the kids' summer holiday, their library puts up the 'circus star challenge'. the kids are given an empty circus, they borrow books of their liking from the library and when they return them they tell the lady from the library all about the book they read. 

when they've read the first book & told the lady all about it, they can stick their name on '1' in the library and they are given some circus star stickers to put in their circus. same with book 2, etc until they've done 6.

 and then......... for their first assembly when they return to school, the head master reads out all the names of the children who completed the circus star challenge (i.e. did the whole thing for the 6 books) and they are given a medal by the library lady, who comes to the school especially for that occasion.

nice eh? but flipping heck. you try & get 6 library visits packed in as a full time working mother when you're also off to a conference for a week & taking them camping for 2. mega phew. forget it, is the answer. good thing their grandparents are such devotees.... :-) three cheers to oma & opa for their support! 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

DWZI / this week i saw...

some photographs on my blackberry i had completely forgotten i had! youngest feeding white asparagus into the peeler machine earlier this year. so apologies - about 3 months late - here they are (we had such a delicious meal!):

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Friday, 22 July 2011

DWZI / this week i saw...

my kids off to foundation and year 1 for the last time! my goodness how time flies. before i know it they'll be saying 'goodbye school'   Smiley i must confess i needed my sunglasses. 

not my babies - they were mega proud. youngest is more than ready for year 1. eldest is more than ready for year 2. i've got until september to get used to it... 

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Wednesday, 20 July 2011


every morning i take a latte into work in my wonderful thermos from Starbucks (best thermos ever. keeps my coffee lovely hot & tasting as if it has been freshly made for 2 whole hours! have tried about 20,000 other thermos' and none of them are any good. everyone just has to have this one. best £15 i ever spent).

on two mornings each week, my kids have breakfast club. it gives me an opportunity to be at my desk by 8am and the kids like it as long as they can scooter to school on the other 3 mornings.

breakfast club means - leave the house at 7.20. that means mega-efficient mornings: up at the first sound of the alarm at 6:30, shower, entice the kids to wake up & get dressed, brush teeth, quick quick quick, make their packed lunches, woops in the car & to school.

dunno wot it's like with your young ones, but mine don't do quick quick quick, especially not that early in the morning and especially not if they know i want to get out the door & breakfast club etc. of course - there are ways. so i have this rule that the first who is ready is allowed to make my latte and if they're slow then i'll do it myself. usually youngest wins that contest.

on this occasion, eldest really went for it. mega proud she was that she could make me my latte. and, because she was so quick, it actually turned out that i was the last one to be ready this morning. oops! can't really cope with that sort of thing. so........ rushed out, into the car, on the way to school. late again!

i soon realised i'd forgotten my latte. that should give you a clue exactly how rushed i was - i'm pretty dependent on the stuff. so i went: ooooooooooops! wot? said the kids - by then i had realised my mistake but of course it was too late & i had to 'fess up. 'forgot my latte......' i said (thinking, what is more of a time waster, buying myself one at the university or reversing on this horrid curvy single traffic lane with a trench and hedges both sides, about 2 miles all the way back home - i'll buy one at the uni) 'oh well, will have to do without today'.

at this, eldest's bottom lip began to tremble severely. 'but i made it for you!'

no arguing with that, i tell you. i didn't even try. i reversed all the way back, and doubly enjoyed my latte, knowing it had been so lovingly prepared by my little girl.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

how to make your own pirate ship / fairy wings

ok, so he moved out 9 months ago. he's still the kids' hero. saturday was spent with them proclaiming they had the best, coolest, superest daddy in the whole wide world:

Monday, 18 July 2011

green things

in our house we have adopted a rule from the kids' aunt: 'we always eat the green things'. the kids accept, unquestioningly, that carrots are green, as are tomatoes and cauliflower. they eat it, because they don't really mind and (i must confess) because i am the boss. still - their passion is for carbohydrates (eldest) and fruit (youngest).

today i had such fun with what turned out to be an inspired idea (i'm sure the more seasoned mother-readers amongst you will go 'doh!' but there we are). crispy duck with pancakes and hoisin sauce.

the fact their mother served them pancakes - wow! that was a whole big treat in itself (i'm not that fervently against pancakes - i just don't cook them that's all). Packing them with a variety of things - even better. My concession to eldest was the roast potatoes she was allowed to add (and as it happens she loves duck). Also I did not use the spring onions. But they happily added carrots and cucumber... such a fun meal!

going to try mexican enchiladas next weekendSmiley

Friday, 15 July 2011

DWZI / this week i saw...

eldest in bed next to me when i woke up in the morning! what a lovely surprise Smiley
it is quite rare for the kids to crawl into bed with me and when they do, it is around 'waking up time' - so they usually wake me up as they clamber in. on this occasion, i had not noticed her cuddling up to me at all.
so, curious, i asked eldest: 'when you came into my bed, was it still dark outside, or was it light already?'
she told me, very reassuringly: 'it was still dark mama. but i was not scared so it was OK'

Deze week zag ik is een initiatief van Daan en Roos
(geïnspireerd op Jills Today I saw).
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Monday, 11 July 2011

the boss

mama, please can we have biscuits for supper? 'no. you can have one if you are still hungry when you have eaten your sandwich, the green things, and the strawberries.' (they knew that would be the answer, are entirely unsurprised and probably pleased they will at least be allowed a biscuit at some stage, and go about arranging their picnic with healthy food instead)

then eldest walks into the kitchen, looking slightly miffed. 'mama, why are you always the boss?' i must confess i don't like the sound of that and find myself quickly wrecking my brain for examples of situations where i'm not the boss. within a split second i realise those situations do not exist. could i come up with a more politically correct term? guide, mother...? hmm. that would be hypocritical because although i can be negotiated with, ultimately i'm the one who decides what goes. ok, i am always the boss - and although i don't like the sound of that, the alternative definitely sounds worse at this stage.

so i explain it is my duty as their mother to teach them what is, and what is not the right thing to do and how to go about deciding what to do when it is less clear what is (not) the right thing to do, so they willl grow up to be well balanced happy sensible lovely caring adults who do their best to do the right thing most of the time. and when she has learnt all that, then she can be the boss sometimes.

hmm. dunno whether that did the trick. she doesn't look as miffed anymore as she walks back into the garden... but maybe that is just because of the daunting job she can see i have ahead of me... Smiley

Sunday, 10 July 2011

attitude to life

this morning we went canoeing with a bunch of friends. great fun. most were 1 adult per child in each boat; somehow i ended up with 3 kids - a rudder at the front, a brake behind that, then eldest, then me. needless to say the others were out of sight in no time. turns out they had a near-death experience in a collision with a canal boat while they were not looking.

not us! we were far too engrossed with the ducks & at some point, the ducklings. rudder, brake & eldest  were determined to catch them in their fishing nets & i happily obliged when they instructed me to go 'left more, right more!' in their pursuit, which failed miserably of course.

Oh!! eldest complained. 'I wanted it for supper!'

she meant that. that's my girlSmiley

Thursday, 7 July 2011

DWZI / this week i saw... a lot!!

4 friends & their 5 kids for sunday lunch (with lovely peperonata, ham in coca cola, and lots of other delicious food including lemon meringue roulade for pudding...)

then my hairdresser during office hours because the week ahead couldn't possibly be survived without a long overdue haircut, and i have had the kids all weekend every weekend for some time....

then my beautician, to whom i said, in a moment of weakness, oh, all right then - let's go for it! she has been going on at me for years..... and i was too tired to argue.... OMG...... i'll never go to my beautician again when i'm tired & that's all i'll say about that one!

and then i saw that despite all promises, my gown when i was the university orator this week was not designed by vivienne westwood Smiley

i saw many happy students!

i saw two grant proposal deadlines looming; one down, one to go

i saw it is eldest's cake day again - they're in the oven

....... so i did not see a lot of my bed Smiley

and finally i saw:

rare jongens, die britten!
(of which, more, later)

Deze week zag ik is een initiatief van Daan en Roos
(geïnspireerd op Jills Today I saw).
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starry eyes

this evening i had a gala dinner. frantically busy at work, and the kids were being looked after by their dad this afternoon, so i literally flew home to change into my long dress only to fly out again straight away. quick kiss on juniors' heads........

well, that was the plan anyway.

eldest was wide awake in bed, determined to tell me her news. tomorrow she is going to spend a day in year 2. she proceeded to tell me every little bit of detail, a minute-by-minute account of what will happen on the day plus how to handle any eventualities. Just one example: if you happen to be at the back of the line up, and assembly has not yet finished, then you are allowed to go past the people and go into year 2. but at the beginning of the day the year 1 teacher will start by taking everyone into year 1 as normal. etc etc etc. the monologue went on for at least 15 minutes. i have to say i was grateful for the fact i did not miss out on all this by being home late from work; that she had actually waited & wanted to tell me all the details. however i must confess that at some point during her story i started to undress.

so then she asked whether she could see me once i was dressed up. my dress tonight was literally a very old, cheap & cheerful long but brightly (starry eye blue as it happens) coloured dress that i bought about 15 years ago. thankfully it still works wonders. i walked into eldest's bedroom before i left and did a little twirl. kids don't lie do they? her face lit up; she clearly approved. starry eyes, totally in love with such a beautiful mother. (somehow failing to see bags under my eyes, cellulite on my legs, belly fat, spotty skin, or any of my other flaws)

and youngest asked me whether he could please sleep in my bed tonight - which he could (and i look forward to joining him in an hour or so once i manage to send off my blmn grant proposal).

i'd like my kids to get very old. but for the time being i really enjoy them being this age!