Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Last week, because of the snow, our friends couldn’t come and stay but we managed to meet up with them in Bristol at "At-Bristol" which is a great science museum. I’d never been to Bristol before it was nice to see the docks and Clifton Bridge, especially after reading the novel “Love Engineered” written by a friend of mine.

December 2010

Some of the home-ed outings this month. First a meeting at Bygones (Torquay) where the children dressed up and celebrated a Victorian Christmas. Then a “bring and share lunch and craft day” at a friends house where Fraser tried sewing, he wasn’t too bad. Our last home-ed trip of the year was to Killerton House.

So far this autumn/winter we’ve all had our fair share of colds and bugs which is not the norm for us but I know there are others out there suffering worse than us so we really don’t have anything to complain about.

In Paignton we avoided the bulk of the wintry weather, particularly during Devon’s heavy snow event of Sunday 19th into Monday 20th (Paul pointed out "with a brisk South Easterly wind persisting as the weather front crossed Paignton the relatively warm sea (compared to land) temperatures, ensured rain as supposed to the 10-15cm of snow that the rest of Devon experienced"). So far this winter practically all of the UK has ground to a halt with snow and ice which prevented our friends from coming to stay on the run up to Christmas.

Christmas was a quiet but pleasant family affair for us and Paul managed to have the day off again this year.

November 2010

We began with a home-ed visit to Exeter Cathedral and some family walks in our local area (Churston).

Got crafty when a friend ran a "wet and needle felting art workshop" which went down well, also the girls and some friends made cakes to sell at Brownies for “Children in Need” making £23.

Our Garden produced butternut squash which was made into a nice thick soup (Fraser’s favourite), also Cameron had his train track brace fitted, which is expected to be in for about 18 months.

Last but not least Fraser and Kirsty celebrated their 9th birthday.

October 2010

I’ve been trying to remember what we’ve been up to in October by checking photos and looking at the calendar to see what we’ve been up to.

A few coughs and colds were had this month and one day we were supposed to be going on a picnic but one of us wasn’t feeling great (can’t remember who). So instead we had the picnic in the living room and listened to our "summer garden sounds" CD . . . it was very relaxing.

The 20th of October 2010 was the pinnacle of the Girlguiding Centenary with a party for the girls from Torbay at the Riviera Centre.

Later in the month there we visited Berry Pomeroy Castle.

At the end of October during half term friends came to stay. We don’t get to see them very often so it’s like Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one for the children.

Friday, 5 November 2010

September 2010

We all went to the Scott May stunt show on the 2nd of September. It reminded me of the things Stuart, my brother, used to get up to on his chopper bike, beach buggy and motocross bike. High clouds brought a lovely sunset during the show, so in between bikes flying through the air I took photos of the sky.

Maisie started at Rainbows and later the same week went to her first Rainbows outing to the Zoo.

We harvested most of the sweetcorn and made corn soup (Fraser’s favourite).

The children attended the opening of the new library in Paignton and had their photo taken as the Mayor cut the ribbon.

Paul’s Mum and Dad came to stay for a few days we went walking, golfing and a visit to Buckfast Abbey (Paul’s Dad used to keep bees that came from Brother Adam).

Towards the end of the month the children and I had a home education day out at OrganicARTs West Town Farm, walking through a field of cows, looking at British native trees, digging up clay, making clay cows (from clay that had already been cleaned) and finding (well Adam found it) a wasp spider.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Summer 2010

Mid July I decided to take the children up to Scotland for an extended holiday, Paul couldn’t take that much annual leave (he flew up later), so I drove the 501 miles to Crieff where his parents live. I wasn’t sure if I could manage it but my Dad said I could, and Paul said your Dad is very cautious so if he thinks you can do then you’ll be fine. Our children are great travellers so there were no worries there and Cameron took on the responsibility of being the eldest male very seriously and was very helpful.

We stayed 2 nights in Crieff (trying not to treat them like a pit stop café) before going up to my parents. Our day in Crieff started with Granddad teaching Fraser how to play “The Entertainer” on the piano, then it was golf for the boys and for the girls (including Kirsty’s friend who lives next door to Harry & Mary) a walk and duck feeding. When we got back to the house it was a spot of lunch and relaxing in the garden. The girls picked raspberries from the garden and Grandma helped them make and bottle jam. They made cute labels and sold the jam to the neighbours and anyone else they could find. Even Grandma had to buy back a jar of her own jam. After dinner I took Kirsty and her friend to watch Harry run his dog training group (what a lovely group of people), which Kirsty really enjoyed being particularly taken with a friendly Golden retriever. She now wants a dog of course.

The day after arriving at Mum and Dad’s in Stornoway the children and their cousins attended a Celtic Festival workshop which covered music, Gaelic singing, animation and stories about the Isle of Lewis.
On the Monday following we packed up and went to stay in Eoropie, (in the Independent's top five great wetsuit adventures) and Stuart, Angela and the children came over and stayed at various times during the holiday, Paul arrived the following week. The freedom up there is amazing, with kids able to play from dawn to dusk with not a worry. They never knew they had so many cousins (2nd, 3rd etc). We had days at the beaches, play park, walking round the Butt of Lewis lighthouse, visiting family and friends. We were supposed to spend the last week in Stornoway but decided to stay in Eoropie until the day before we left for Crieff, as the kids were enjoying the freedom, friends and fresh-air so much. One evening in particular stays with me when Mum, Kirsty and I visited my Dad’s cousin (she’s feels more like an Aunt to me). Some of my cousins were also visiting that evening and we all stayed for fellowship which was such a blessing.

All too soon the holiday was over and it was time to make our way South again. We called in to see my Great Aunt in Inverness, Kirsty had made (with a little help from Granny) her a lavender cushion with her new sewing machine. Two further nights followed in Crieff which coincided with Paul’s birthday and we went to see Toy Story 3 at the cinema.

After only a couple of days back in Paignton our church’s week long Summer holiday club started, with Maisie again celebrating her birthday at the club. During the following week Cameron attended, and passed, a Bikeability level 2 course (2 hours every morning). There you have it 5 days later and it was the 1st of September.

We harvested most of the food from the garden, and are just waiting for the sweetcorn, butternut squash and Brussels sprouts.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

What's in a name

Some of you may have noticed I've changed our web address and name. I thought it best not to have our surname all over the blog . . . so why fraoich and "thank you God that bananas are healthy".
Fraoich is the Gaelic for Heather and "thank you God that bananas are healthy" was Fraser's first prayer when he was about 3 years old, he used to say it every day for months. I was looking for a catchy title but cosy, quiet, home educating titles just didn't match our family. I was looking for great quotes but who better to quote than one of my children.

Days out with Dad

Here are some photos of the children enjoying a couple of days out with Dad to the Living Coasts Zoo and Berryhead while I stayed home and sorted, organised, planned, drank coffee and read other people's blogs . . . all research of course.

Friday, 11 June 2010

What have we been up to lately

Cameron got his new brace, he says this one is harder to get used to than the last one.
Kirsty had breathing difficulties which the doctor confirmed as asthma. Over the last couple of years she's developed allergies to cats and dogs, but fortunately
for her not horses.

We took Rainbows and Brownies to play crazy golf down on the beach boulivard. Luckily the weather was fine and we only had couple of minor injuries. Next week
weather permitting we're taking them rock pooling.

I also kept an ipsos mori's drinks survey diary for the week. During the survey I realised I drink too much coffee and not enough water.

When Paul had a day off we went for a walk in the Grove, Churston. The children are really beginning to enjoy going for walks in the country side.

We had a home-ed outing to Plymbridge to watch the peregrine falcons. I didn't know that they were the fastest animal on the planet (up to 200mph).

On the home ed front we read some of "The story of painting", painted a "storm at sea" (will post pictures later) and put a timeline on the wall in the upstairs hall. The children have also made their "own life timeline" and have enjoyed looking at their baby pictures and hearing the stories. We had started Maisie with "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" but I've kinda stopped it. She didn't dislike it but prefers flashcards. Paul was using the flashcards with her one day and she asked to keep the ones she got correct to make up a story and so started a new game. After one of the stories Maisie's question of the week was "Is jam good for you when you are dead"?

On the gardening front we have lots aphids and the ants are having a ball. I've ordered ladybird larvae to eat the aphids, but the question is when all the aphids have gone will the ants come back inside, I think I'll leave some aphids on the sunflowers. Cameron decided to make a "nutrient rich leaf soup" for the plants, however it stank and clogged up the watering cans so we gave up after a few days. Fraser's sunflower has flowered and I now have 2 red tomatoes and many green ones waiting to turn red. The tomato plant won't win any beauty awards (didn't realise that you're supposed to pinch out the middle shoots) but if they taste nice I'm not complaining.

Monday, 31 May 2010

A "bitty" week

Last week was "bitty" with Paul's dayshifts on Sat, Mon and Wed bringing a disjointed feel to the week. However we still managed to get a lot done with bike rides, post office playing, gardening, golf, glass painting, shrinkles, hama beads, computer club and reading.
Paul's car was out of action so he had the family car for work and on Wednesday we took the bus to get to our home-ed meeting. An army of Ants invaded the house, we tried everything from ant bait to vinegar and finally the last resort PRAYER . . . it worked. We still see the odd ant every other day but that's it, they've moved outside. I have to ask myself why was prayer the last resort, we sometimes make things difficult for ourselves by not turning to God in prayer first and He's not just there for the big things He cares about every detail of our great is our God!
This was also our "screen free week of the month" but I have to confess I was probably on the PC more than I should have been. With no TV the children decided to make a post office in the spare room and sent letters to each other. Cameron being the organiser/postmaster sold them stamps i.e. charged them for taking their letters to the various bedrooms.
Fraser took to using our old digital camera, mostly taking pic's of the family but also many strange things around the house. It takes some short video clips so he set it up to video him doing a high energy 30 second trampoline session complete with flips and Mario jumps.

Here is a small selection of Fraser's photos and video clips.

Luigi from Super Mario

Monday, 24 May 2010

Here comes Summer

Even if it is only for a few days.

these were taken at 7 O'clock in the evening

time for sandals

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Atmosphere, Art, Archaeology, Adventure and ANTS!

This week we've been looking at the different layers of the atmosphere, positive and negative space in pictures, archaeology and having an adventure at Compton Castle (see Mirjams blog she has better photos) and Woodlands amongst many other things.
Studying the different layers of atmosphere brought back memories of plotting tephigrams when I worked for the Met Office. I wasn't sure I'd remember how to plot them so went hunting on the internet, if anyone is interested here is the link. Paul says he still uses tephigrams every day at work, but of course they're all computer generated now. Also this week I decided to start Maisie with "teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons". I've had the book for ages and never used it, I've even been tempted to sell it. We'll see how it goes, so far Maisie seems keen.
On Friday Cameron had an impression taken for his new brace, this time it's going to be a twin block and he's due to get it in about 2 weeks.
On a completely different note we have ants visiting our home at the moment and they have taken a liking to my sunflower seedlings grrrrrr. I didn't think they'd eat them, but sure enough when I researched it on the internet it's not an uncommon problem.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Mermaid's Purse

Yesterday we attended the Dart Valley Natural History Home-ed group to search for "Mermaids purses" - Skate and Ray eggcases on Goodrington beach. It was a cold and wet day feeling more like March than May. John??? from the Shark Trust came along to show us some examples and explained a bit about the eggcases, unfortunately we didn't find any but it was still a good day catching up with friends. I didn't take any photos (too cold) but I did take some of us having hot chocolate when we got home.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Visit from my Mum and Aunt

At the end of April my Mum and Aunt came to stay for a week. Mum had been planning to come for a few months but it was a last minute decision for my Aunt. We were out practically every day visiting Becky Falls, Greenway (holiday home of Agatha Christie), The Otter Sanctuary & Butterfly farm and Longleat. I think Longleat was the highlight of their holiday, it’s so big we didn’t have time to go in the house (save that for next time). The girls had a go at holding snakes and tarantulas, the boys weren’t so keen. My Aunt’s flight home was cancelled due to the volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland but she managed to get home the next day.

Woodlands Adventure Park

The weather has been lovely this month (April) with no rain so far, but the water butt is empty so I’ve had to use the hose to water my plants.
We decided to introduce our home-ed friends from Holland to the delights of Woodlands, which seemed to be a great success


The children and I have become really keen on gardening, as I’ve mentioned before we have a paving slab back garden so we’re growing everything in containers. The books Patio Produce by Paul Peacock and Window-box allotment by Penelope Bennett have really inspired me. Gardening for me is really enjoyable and relaxing, we have woops of delight when another seedling emerges from the compost. It’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out as I’ve never grown anything before except bedding plants in a tub and the odd houseplant.

Otter Sanctuary and Butterfly Farm

One of our home-ed trips this month was to the Otter Sanctuary and Butterfly Farm (otters are my favourite animal). I thought “Ring of Bright Water” was going to be one of my favourite films until Mij was killed, why did they have to put that in the film?

Back Garden

During the Easter break we relaxed a bit from the formal home educating and spent most of the time painting the back garden walls. I’m trying to give it a Mediterranean courtyard look, making it a nice place to spend time. Last year when we bought the house the back garden was crawling, and I REALLY mean crawling, with maggots. I couldn’t let the children outside it was horrible, lots of power hosing and boiling water did the trick and so far they’ve never come back.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Great Spotted Woodpecker

There are plenty of birds in the gardens surrounding us, but not in ours (unless you count seagulls), I don’t think they’re attracted to paving slabs (we have no grass in the back garden) and noisy children on a trampoline.
I enjoy going to Stover Country Park and watching the birds while walking round the lake. This time we saw a great spotted woodpecker, I’d never seen a woodpecker before so this was very exciting for me and the children, I even think Paul enjoyed seeing it.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

March 2010

Fraser was enrolled in Cubs this month and we all managed to go along a see it, he really enjoys cubs. We went up to see Paul’s parents in Crieff for a week, fortunately we had great weather and managed to get outdoors every day.
With plenty of lying snow around a sledging trip to Gleneagles was a must. Unfortunately the top layer was an ice sheet and Fraser, yep you guessed it, came off the sledge and scraped his stomach as his jumper rode up.
Next was a day trip to the Beatrix Potter Centre in Dunkeld, where she used to holiday as a small child.

Back home and Cameron’s Lego Imperial Flagship arrived. He’d saved up his birthday, Christmas and pocket money to buy it. He started building it one evening and woke before 6am the next morning to finish it, I can’t remember the last time Cameron woke up that early of his own accord.
I’m thinking of putting a Lego creations page on this blog (if I can) so the children can post pictures of their lasted inventions.
We started planting some of our seeds, we planted a sunflower seed each and wait to see whose will grow the tallest.

Surprise visit

During the February half term we had a lovely surprise visit from friends from Cyprus (now living in Germany). They were the children’s best friends in Cyprus but it’s been 2 and half years since we’ve seen them. A great couple of days was had by all.
Our potato kit arrived from the “potato council", this got us in the mood for planting other things.

February 2010

Our evening “read a loud” book has been Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, as a result of this most of the games in the house revolve around pirates and ships. Cameron’s Lego creations all seem to have a nautical theme and Paul and Cameron watched Empire of the Sea (a BBC history of the British Navy). To round it off Paul, Cameron and I watched Master and Commander starring Russell Crow.

We’re finishing off our Rabbie Burns study and the children are planning their own study next. Cameron wants to do cats, Fraser is interested in Warner Bros (particularly Looney Tunes) and Kirsty plans to do horses.

The last couple of days Fraser has been really engrossed in building his meccano and “Build a Stunt Buggy”, which is great as he’s never really settled to do something by himself before, unless it involved computers or video games which are limited through the week.

The home-ed groups have been quite busy since the start of the year. We’ve met quite a few new families, all really nice, we’re so blessed. One family have just moved from Holland to a village very near us, their 3 boys have similar interests to our boys which is great.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Jan 2010

Yipee posting a blog in the correct year, just need to get the correct month and I’m on a roll.

January 2010

This year I decided to make Cameron a lego cake for his 12th birthday, it wasn’t as square as I would have liked it but it was a hit with Cameron and the rest of the family except Fraser who doesn’t like cake in any shape or form.
In the middle of the month all the children came down with an unusual virus they had really high temperatures and felt generally unwell, I think the boys are turning into men quicker than I thought as I’m sure it was “man-flu” they had ;0).
The Gymnastics club had an open day and display Fraser, Kirsty and Maisie were performing but Fraser had to miss it due to his virus.
We had a couple of home-ed outings this month one to the house of marbles in Bovey Tracey and the other to the National Aquarium in Plymouth both were enjoyable days.
The House of Marbles is a historic glass and games factory and is free entry, they had lots of things to see and sell and lots of things that could break.
My favourite fish at the aquarium was the long horned cowfish, they looked like something from a cartoon. In one of the tanks there was an octopus, when Maisie went to look it moved onto the glass, she thought it wanted a hug so gave it a hug separated by glass. A couple of days later Maisie and Kirsty made an under the sea picture.
This month we started learning about Rabbie (Robert) Burns and the children have learnt some of his poetry.
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