Thursday, 23 July 2009

Les Vacances...

The garden has been well-watered and entrusted into neighbourly and house-sitting hands, along with the guinea piggies and fish...

Some presents have finally been finished (sorry for the poor light, it's getting late) - perhaps a foretaste of our beachy holiday plans?

The essentials have been assembled and (I hope!) packed into the groaning car.

So, it's goodbye to our cool, flower-filled meadows and hello to another Featherglen family expedition, taking us to pastures new and old. We'll be back in a wee whiley! See you then, and have a wonderful summer.
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Sunday, 19 July 2009

Summer Pattern of Life

I don't really do structure, especially in school holidays, but Monsieur Featherglen and I realised that there some things we wanted to try and focus on a bit over the summer, so we've sort of evolved a little pattern for each day (well, most days anyway).

My boys are are only just getting into drawing and writing, and need a gentle nudge to pick up a paintbrush or pen, so we've been trying to encourage them to do that. It helps to have a good reason, such as making and writing birthday thank you cards - we helped out by scanning a nice drawing into the computer and printing it on paper which was glued onto coloured card.

Another thing we've been a bit more focused on is their French. It was much stronger when they were younger. Now English has become dominant, and as they both get Gaelic at school/nursery that has also become more prominent. So, over the summer we are trying to speak as much French as possible in our home, encourage them to respond in French and play lots of little games. My aim is to try and sew or draw each day - so preparing things for our games has helped me too! I had hoped to look at my Gaelic a bit each day too, but that seems to have fallen by the way a bit. Oh well, can't do everything!

And it's very important to have plenty of time just to enjoy summer days...
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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

And the winner is....

I can't recommend highly enough having a Postcard Competition! Usually our Postie, nice man that he is, brings nothing but ominous brown envelopes, not designed to cheer up a day. But YOU out there, well! You sent me all sorts of wonderful postcards. They came from North America (Canada and the US), Africa, Australia and Europe! Dolores card arrived first, Johanna's from Victoria Falls, Zambia, made me laugh the most (a baboon stole her lunch! Love that word 'baboon' by the way!) and Becky's from a wintry day in Australia arrived on an unusually sweltering morning here. But the winner was.....Erin from the US! When this arrived, I almost fell off my perch - isn't this the most beautiful thing to arrive (with no envelope) through the post? I imagine postal workers from one end of the world to the other saying "Wow!" when they saw it. And it arrived in an immaculate state too, so it was probably handled with care.

She even wrote on the back of it too! So a bag of goodies will be heading off on their summer holidays to you very soon. Thank you!

But some special mentions have to go to Grace for this fabbydoo mushroom print - and mushroom poetry to go with it. And see her blog for Meatless Monday recipes - more mushrooms, I'm guessing! I want to make her tostada recipe already.

And also a drum roll to Sfer for this with the words "Sometimes life seems nothing but scraps...think of what you're missing if you throw them away." A lovely card, scrapped and glued together, a real recycling special. Muchas gracias!

So ladies all, I will be sending you a wee card back very soon. Thank you so very, very much for participating and I will keep visiting your blogs too.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A Bit too Chicken?

Is it just me, or does anyone else find chickens inherently lovable? Despite looking somewhat ridiculous and appearing to not have much brain capacity, I can't help liking them. In fact I've almost forgiven some I lived next to a few years ago, for pecking up my precious seeds and pooping on my doorstep. But not the turkey. Ever. But that's another story.

We would really love to keep some, but we have a small but vicious problem. Pine martens. They may be little but they are also strong and very intelligent. And they also finished off a couple of sweet guinea pigs we were looking after for a friend while she was on holiday, which makes them completely evil. Sigh...has anyone got any ideas for keeping chickens out of the clutches of voracious beasts? Whilst giving the chooks a nice life too? Answers please!

Ooh yes, I almost forgot. Tomorrow I will be announcing the winner of my Postcard Competition. It's been very exciting getting your lovely cards in the post! All of them to choose?
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Sunday, 12 July 2009

Now we are Six

School holidays start, and naturally, after weeks of sunshine, it instantly starts raining. Non-stop. For a week. Oh joy! However, nothing can dampen a birthday celebration and even the weather cheered up a bit too. Now at the grand old age of six, my boy really knows how birthdays work. First request was breakfast in bed (our bed, so everyone could fit in). Only a bit of chocolate spread on the pillowcase... And some very specific present requests...

"Mum, can you make me a SamSam costume?"

"Mum, can you make me a knight costume?" And a cosy velvet cape with a furry collar - wouldn't mind one of those for myself actually. Goes with the quiver that was also requested recently...

Naturally a superhero/knight needs a quest. And some friends to help. So after a bit of shield decorating, face-painting and dressing-up we headed out in search of dragon eggs - left carelessly all around the woods...

We got attacked by a not very friendly dragon hiding in the heather - it got enthusiastically bashed! Just as well, it had lots of goodies in his belly...

Peace restored, it was back a bit of cake. Despite my love of all things homemade, I have to say I find birthday cakes a bit daunting, well, the fiddly ones anyway. This one was no exception. Especially as the electricity was due to be cut for several hours the morning of the party, and I found myself manically trying to beat the icing whilst throwing cocoa powder everywhere, as I realised I only had 3 minutes in which to take a shower! Still it worked out fine, I got my shower, the cake was very chocolately and the kitchen is almost clean....

The party finished with a peaceful campout in the garden, a nice bottle of wine for the grownups and a cosy campfire. And the sun even came back out for the weekend.

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