Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sharing Interests

Emily's interest in football is still unabated, lol. She had a great time at football training in Friday and then on Saturday she and Jon went off to watch the match against Brentford. She can't wait to see the next cup game as Scunthorpe have been drawn at home against Aston Villa, so she's very excited about that! I think secretly Daddy's rather chuffed with Emily's new love. Undoubtedly he'd have preferred, in an ideal world, to be taking her to watch his beloved Reading FC - but that wasn't to be. At least she's enjoying watching Scunthorpe with him and is eagerly waiting to watch Reading on telly.

Meanwhile, I've developed quite an interest in Emily's other great love, namely a certain Mr Potter & Co. Having spent months and months and months being called on for deeply inventive pretends in the world of Hogwarts, I thought it was about time I actually read about the people I'm constantly pretending to be. So I started reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to Emily since she's read Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Azkaban herself and is starting Goblet of Fire. Well, I've got to admit, I'm hooked. I've read her over 150 pages of it in the last two days, which is saying something considering I don't normally like reading aloud all that much (Jon's always been the master storyteller in this household). I'm really, really enjoying it, which has surprised me. I want us to be up to date with the books by the time the final Book 7 is published next summer and by the time the Phoenix film comes out, which I believe is around the same time. Good job we're getting on with it then, given the 700 odd pages in Phoenix and 600 in Half Blood Prince, lol.

I've spent ages reading around all the various fan sites like The Leaky Cauldron and HP Lexicon and I'm utterly fascinated by all the theories about what will happen in Book 7. I'm especially taken with the various Professor Snape theories flying around. Emily and I have re-watched all four films this weekend looking for clues. Mind you, you can never have too much of the decidedly handsome Alan Rickman in those black robes and wig.....

It's a shame really that Emily's discovered Harry Potter so late.....it would have been fun to join in the excitement and detective work about what was going to be in the other books too, rather than now all we've got left is Book 7. Oh well.

Meanwhile: Sunday was my birthday and I have some lovely treats, including a beautiful ring that Emily had chosen herself and four fab homemade cards. There was a bit of unwelcome drama on Sunday, though - Emily went to the loo and found lots of blood when she wiped herself :-/// Bless her, she came rushing out of the bathroom all excited telling us she thought she'd started her periods.......okkkaaay, we thought as our seven year old disappeared before our eyes. As it happens, it wasn't that. It seems to be a nasty bout of cystitis :-(( It's mostly over now as she's been drinking tons of water, but that was a bit of a worry. Still, I guess we must be doing something right if she finds the prospect of growing up so exciting rather than something to be dreaded!

Friday, August 25, 2006

More Football Fun

Emily's new found interest in football seems to be continuing unabated. Tuesday night she and Jon went off to watch Scunthorpe play Lincoln in the cup. That was a really good one; 2-2 at full time, 2-3 after a few minutes of extra time but then finally a Scunthorpe 4-3 win after they scored twice in the second half of extra time. She loved that :-)

Today I've just waved them off again to the Scunthorpe United football training session. Forgot what the time was so we had a bit of a last minute panic finding football boots, then we couldn't find Emily's drinks bottle (think it got left at the ground on Tuesday night) and we seemingly didn't have ANY small bottles of drink in the house, nor any containers into which to put a drink...I'm sure we must have loads but of course when you need them IMMEDIATELY there's none to be seen. The general panic was much eased by Emily bursting into tears at the thought of being late. Yep, that'll help. Bless her. Don't think they will have been late in the end, but she shares my fear of being late, lol, which usually means I get to most places far too early and have to drive round in circles for a bit!!

On Wednesday we had a quiet day at home; lots of English and maths for Emily in the morning. She wrote some beautiful poetry on the theme of riddles and the elements and she also got to grips (well, kinda...) with equivalent fractions and simplifying fractions. She spent all afternoon doing secret arty crafty things ready for my birthday, so I wasn't allowed in the dining room for hours. Gave me a chance to get on with some work at least.

Yesterday we had a fab day; Emily's old friend Maisie came round at lunchtime and stayed until 8.30 so they had a wonderful play. Janette had to go to work but came back in the evening and we had a huge long catch up chat which was lovely. We don't see enough of them but we've all resolved to do something about that. The girls were very excited and couldn't wait to see each other, bless them. They made potions, played tons of football, raced on bikes and scooters, played with some very cheap imitation Floam (£2.99 in The Range as opposed to the ridiculous price of the real stuff, lol), dressed up, drew and bounced around acrobatically for hours. Wore me out just watching them!

Today is my Dad's birthday, so Emily rang him up bright and early to sing Happy Birthday :-)) We'd given Nana a secret bag of pressies to take with them (they're up at the caravan at the moment) and Gramps was really chuffed with his pressies and home made cards.

And summer's back! I love the autumn/winter and complain like mad when it's hot, but even I've been a bit peeved with the greyness of the last couple of weeks. It's not supposed to be like that in August. When I crave a bit of sunshine, you know it must be bad :-/ It's lovely and warm out today though so we may even stretch to a (probably) last paddling pool session when Emily gets back from footie!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Professor Snape's Potions Panic

Emily's had a fantastic day today and she's learnt absolutey masses about the properties of liquids and basic chemical reactions. We set up a huge day long role playing thing for her - Professor Snape's Potions Panic - and she LOVED it. I spent a while yesterday mixing various "potions" in secret and working out the premise of the day - basically, Professor Snape's first years had mixed up his potions bottles and removed the labels and he needed Harry's help to work out which potion was which. Emily and I spent virtually the whole day "in character", lol, her as Harry and me as Snape. I shall go a bit potty (ho ho) with photos here as we've had such a great day and I want to remember it on future bad days!

Here's the collection of potions which awaited a fully costumed Emily when she arrived in the dining room this morning ;-)
I'd created some prinouts for her telling the story of what was going on and with a great big table to fill in with her results as she tested the potions one by one for lots of different variables. She had to figure out what order to work in and how to conduct the various tests for: freezing point, density, acid or alkali, glucose present or not, residue when evaporated, flammable or inflammable, main ingredient water or not and what happens when you add acid to it. Very sensible, she decided to start on the freezing point experiment first and got out the batches of frozen potions Snape fortunately had left over from last Halloween ;-) During the morning she recorded the freezing point of each and noted which order they melted in.Next up came the test for flammability, which Emily decided to do by heating up pieces of toast, pouring a small amount of potion over each and seeing if they would light, Xmas pudding style.Next each potion was tested for the presence of glucose using Daddy's (oops, sorry, Hagarid's) diabetes blood tester, ROFL!! Next test was density - was each potion heavier or lighter than water? Emily remembered something we'd learnt before about 100ml or water weighing 100g so using a calibrated 100ml tube and Hagrid/Hedwig's postal scales, samples of each were duly weighed. For the "is the main ingredient water?" test we used the inventive idea of plopping a soluble aspirin into samples of each - if it fizzes, there's water, if it doesn't, there isn't. To test the PH and establish whether each potion was acidic or alkaline, Emily used two types of ph paper, the type with three colours and a scale on it and the pinky one that goes red in acid and blue in alkali (whatever the darn stuff's called, I've forgotten). Then it was onto the acid reaction test - what happens, if anything, when you drip lemon juice into the potion? And the final experiment - what kind of residue does each potion leave once evaporated? Time to get out my Dad's old store of tobacco tins, plonk them directly onto the gas light and find out! Will it be a caramelly goo, a white powder, a yellow powder or nothing?
So, with the results table now complete, Snape gave Harry Part B of the Potions Panic - it was all very well knowing the properties of each potion but we still didn't know what they were! I'd written a sheet of funny descriptions for each of the seven potions - Muggle Mind Reading Potion, Healing Potion 14: Broken Bones, Catmalia Potion, Birthday Wishes Potion, Pesky Pupils Punishment Potion, Dark Lord Cough Remedy Potion, Extra Strength Polyjuice Potion - which mentioned various of the properties Emily tested for and she had to use the descriptions from this extract of Snape's Top Secret Potions Manual to work out which numbered potion was which. The one Snape was particularly looking for turned out to be the Birthday Wishes potion which had the following properties - does not freeze even after being overnight in the freezer, has a neutral PH, is less dense than water, was highly flammable and contained no water - it was actually vodka, lol. The other potions were made of plain water, sugar water solution, sugar water and vinegar solution, salt water solution, salt water and vinegar solution and bicarb solution. The whole experiment/role play took practically the whole day but Emily learnt so much from it and we had so much fun!!

I must just say a huge thank you to my Dad who came up with most of the potions ideas last week (ingredients and experiments both) and was a great inspiration :-))

At the weekend Emily spent ages making shell crafts using some of the tubs and tubs of shells we have gathered from various beaches. She made a load of things including my favourite, the Grandmother Shell Fairy:
In other news, today (half way through Potions Panic) we took Merlin to the vets for advice about his failing health. He's lost a LOT of weight recently and now has clumps of fur falling out too :-( The vet thinks it's either diabetes or a thyroid problem. They took some blood tests (£70!!!) and will get back to us in a few days. Whichever it is is going to be expensive...better look out how to claim on the hugely costly pet insurance he has.

We've had to cancel our plans to go away to the caravan next week, due to pressure of work. We do still intend to go, though, but we've moved it until the end of September. Have also been thinking a lot about Emily's 8th birthday. We've given up on the Disney world idea - simply can't afford it. We were going to go away for a few days to various places we've been meaning to visit as a birthday treat - but I've now discovered that all except one of the places we want to go to close at Xmas and don't re-open again AT ALL in January. Sigh. So it looks like we'll be staying put. I do have a germ of an idea swirling around in my head for a Harry Potter Sleepover Party but it's only an idea t the mo....and sssssh! It's a secret!

And so we progress towards September. Emily would be starting year 3 in September - no longer an infant, this would be first year of Juniors. Quite a startling thought, really. We're extremely confident that she's getting a far higher quality education here at home than she would be in school - but the social side of things is always a worry. Emily did admit the other day that she sometimes wishes she had more friends. That was a very sad, heart tugging moment :-(( Without a doubt I'd say the hardest thing about home education is the social thing. Unless you're a naturally gregarious parent, it is hard to find friendship opportunities out there. Emily now does loads of weekly activities where she gets to mix with other kids - football, yoga, tai chi, drama, ballet and karate and after January we can add riding in there too - but it's hard for her to break into a "proper" friendship with school children unless we happen to be friendly with the parents to begin with. Perhaps she is missing out socially - but then again, I don't think she'd have masses of friends (not real friends, anyway) if she were at school. She has a similar personality to me in that respect and I certainly didn't have any close friendships at her age. She has a great friendship with Romy so she's ahead of me there. It's a difficult one to call but generally speaking Emily's very happy.....so for the moment we'll carry on as we are and Jon and I will get our thinking caps on to ensure that she doesn't become lonely. We do have old friends coming round to play this week, which will help :-))

Friday, August 18, 2006

Busy Bees

It's been a hectic week, this one. Can't remember everything, but roughly:

Emily's enjoyed lots of footie practice and today Jon took her and Romy to the Scunthorpe FC training session again. Emily went in goal again and this time made lots of saves, diving about all over the place :-)) She was very pleased with her efforts this time round and is really looking forward to next Tuesday's local derby match between Scunthorpe and Lincoln.

In the end we did manage to cram in a cinema trip after all (compensation for missing out on swimming) - Emily and I went to see Lady in the Water which was exceedingly fantabulous indeed. Very "dark" and eerie, very, very jumpy, very haunting. Having seen it, I'm surprised it was given a PG rating....I know I'm out of touch but if films like Shrek and Ella Enchanted are PG, I can't possibly see how this one was; it was a heck of a sight more potentially frightening than any other PGs I've seen. Mind you, Emily loved loved loved it. Considering her age, she does "dark" exceedingly well, lol.

During the week Emily and Jon have been watching Titanic in bits here and there; again, a definite hit with Emily who's picked up an awful lot of information from it!

On Monday we went to the little local cottage hospital for an Xray for Jon's foot. Loads of space to park, in and out in about fifteen minutes flat. What a refreshing change from Scunthorpe's hospital nightmarish visits that last for several hours at least one of which can be spent waiting for a flippin' parking space! Tuesday I took Grandad to the doctors; the news there wasn't great. He's finally been put on thyroid medication after having regular tests for oooh, the last decade or so (feels like!) and he has been referred to a renal specialist due to failing kidneys :-( Dialysis was mentioned as a distinct possibility for the future. Wednesday, Jon went off for another blood test, thus completing our trio of health issues for the week, lol.

During the week I did lose the one pound I needed to lose to meet my first "stone before birthday" target....but then I promptly put it and two extra back on again for no apparent reason. Hrrrmphh. Never mind. I narrowly avoided throwing things and resolved to just grin and get on with it.

Merlin went missing for a very, very, very long time. Merlin eventually turned up. Sigh. Wednesday was K-Day - the year's anniversary of when we got the kittens. We made lots of fuss of them although we didn't get round to making them cards or pressies due to lack of time. Romeo has further developed his endearing sleeping habits. I don't think he was around his Mummy long enough to learn how to sleep like a cat, lol. Every other cat I've ever known has slept with their head on their paws, or in a ball, or slightly on their back or whatever....but not sprawled out chin on floor like this!

Clearly he thinks he's a dog. Mind you, Emily reliably informs us that Romeo can now say Romeo, bed, Daddy, hole and....wait for it.....elbow. The first four kinda made sense with his weird miaows, but elbow???

JuJu is on a permanent diet of butterflies, so it would appear. And Cassie-Cat just gets on with life, raising a weary but indulgent whisker at the antics of the other three.


Spent all day Wednesday on a MASSIVE tidy up and reorganisation of the downstairs dining room. Chucked out four black sack loads of junk. Cleaned, tidied, found homes for all the masses of stuff that had migrated down there from where it should have been in the upstairs junk room (sorry "craft room/stock room") or jumble area (sorry "Emily's bedroom"). Brought Emily's old PC desk and PC down into the dining room. Sorted out all the education resources onto shelves down there. It looks fab and it's really nice to work in. Result.

Discovered that I'm too cowardly to even attempt to hook that one up to our wireless broadband thingy - we have enough trouble trying to keep the two upstairs PCs stable on that, let alone adding another one. So, there's no internet down there but it's all running smoothly. The printer down there is a photocopier too so I can copy stuff for Emily on the spot without having to wade through piles of boxes to do it up here. She does have Word and Publisher on her upstairs PC (which is really our second office PC) but it was never really convenient/comfy to work on it up there. Now she's all set. :-))


Work has been absolutely manic, as anticipated. The general pressure wasn't eased when on Tuesday our business bank decided to bounce a £10,000 cheque which was due to be paid to one of our major suppliers. No particular reason. The funds were there. It was a "blip in the system" thing which should never have happened and indeed wouldn't have happened if their "24 hour business banking" was actually 24 hour. They apologised and refunded the unpaid item fee they'd charged us...but not before it was too late to reverse the refusal, which meant our supplier has had to represent the cheque which in turn has meant our account being on stop for a goodly while. Fantastic. Thanks, Royal Bank of Scotland.

Other than that things are progressing well. I've had an unfortunate run in the main Elysian New Age Shop, though - plenty of orders this week, but a full 50% of them have turned out to be people trying to pay with credit cards which have ultimately been declined, not authorised. Very annoying. We do get brief periods where that seems to happen. It'll pass.

Ah yes, education. There's been masses of that. Let's see: Emily's done loads of English and maths. She's sailed through the maths without a peep of complaint, which is gratifying if unusual, lol. Most of our English work has been looking at idioms, proverbs and cliches. She has read Usborne: What's Happening To Me? avidly and now has to write a review of it for the EO magazine. We've also had fun with loads of activities from this rather excellent book including lots and lots of logic puzzles and lateral thinking tasks. We've also done science experiments, art, some geography, tons of playing on zoombinis and Emily's also spent a long time on various PC encylopedias (if that's the right plural, which I doubt).

I've been planning work for September and I'm really rather looking forward to getting on with it, as is Emily. We're all set for a weather project, with the Romans too, a technological investigation into beams and support structures, and lots of Hogwarts-inspired chemistry-masquerading-as-potions science investigations too. And that's just for next week, lol.

Speaking of education, I've enroled on this Freelance Journalism course which is kind of birthday pressie, in a way. We're already doing quite a lot of writing but as I may have mentioned before, all of our clients have found us, rather than us finding them. This course came highly recommended and I'm hoping it will give me the confidence to expand that side of the business and go out there chasing some work.

So: it's looking good all round! :-))

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Weekend Doings

Emily had a strongly Footie Flavoured Friday & Saturday - on Friday she and Romy went to the training session at Scunthorpe United again and had a brilliant time. Emily got a session in goal which she'd been wanting to do. Bless her, she says it was much harder than she thought it would be but she's determined to keep at it. Jon was always in goal when he used to play so I can foresee lots of garden antics coming up.

Yesterday, Jon and Emily went to the fun day at the football club and to watch the home match against Crewe Alexandra. Emily had her face painted in the club colours and scored a goal during the pitch activities, encouraged by one of the coaches who recognised her from the Friday sessions. She loved it, again, and also loved the rare treat (well, never before in Emily's case!) of a KFC bargain bucket brought home for tea after the match.

Today Emily's been off to Hemswell Antiques Centre with my Mum and Dad to choose an antique ring for my birthday. It was all very hush hush but I gather she's thrilled with what she's chosen. Can't wait to see it!

Other happenings: last night was spent sat on the sitting room floor trying to fill in the dreaded tax returns. Oh, the fun. Thank Whoever it's only once a year. Still go the VAT to do though. This morning we had a torrential downpour which has resulted in lots of leaks right above our dining room window. We were just clearing that whole area ready to take Emily's computer desk downstairs (she does most of her work in the dining room now and it's time the PC joined her) - if we hadn't been there who knows what damage it might have done before being spotted. And what a good job it rained today BEFORE we put the PC right in the line of fire rather than afterwards! Mad rush to get lots of bowls :-( Don't know quite how that's going to get sorted out. Don't you just love "domestic incidents"??

I've lost another 3 pounds, which takes me to 13 pounds in total, just a pound short of my "lose a stone by my birthday" target with still 14 days in hand :-)) I'm very pleased with that. Might finally be getting somewhere in that department. Jon came back from the doctor's at the end of last week with a diagnosis of plantar fascilitis on his foot; we've got to get him for an Xray tomorrow to see how much damage there is and whether it's going to need treatment or not. At least he knows what's up now - at times he's been barely able to walk.

Work-wise things are absolutely manic. Jon and I are spending most of our waking minutes working like demons. We have an **extremely** large set of invoices to pay on the 31st August and a bit of a negative cash flow situation going on.......which is causing us some concern. It's all hands on deck for the next fortnight which means unfortunately I've had to cancel swimming, African dance and a cinema trip......but hey, we'll make up for it once this blip has passed. Oh the joys of self-employment!

Here's JuJu snuffling and suckling this morning....on Emily's back as she was playing cards, lol!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pleasant Days

Emily's been having a good week so far. Before I went out to the hospital on Monday afternoon I had "set" Emily a **LOT** of work, with English, Maths, Science and Art tasks to be completed. She settled down at the table downstairs, whilst listening to her Lemony Snicket CD, and made a start. I expected to come back and find her faffing about and playing with no work done - how wrong can you be! She'd done everything on the list - really, really thoroughly and well too - and said she'd really enjoyed being left to work like that and could we do it more often!! Bodes well for her self-motivation levels as she gets older and work gets more demanding, then!

On Tuesday morning we had a massive tidy up in her bedroom, pulled everything out to hoover, chucked out a big black bin bag full of stuff and reorganised things. Phew! It was hard work but Emily loves her new tidy bedroom......it's still tidy, too - but only because she hasn't been playing in it this last few days, lol.

Tuesday afternoon Romy came round to play and the girls spent nearly the whole time out in the garden mixing up various potions and concotions. On Tuesday evening, Jon took Emily to watch Scunthorpe v. Swansea - her first football match, which she was hugely excited about. Especially when they announced on the tannoy (twice!) her name and age and welcomed her to her first match ;-)) She LOVED watching the match and came home absolutely bouncing. They're going again on Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday we had a rest with a full day at home. We spent ages on French in the morning, learning lots of words and phrases to do with "Ma Famille". Emily also did a lot of English work, in particular analysing an extract from Robin Hood and writing about the characterisation and setting. In the afternoon we did various little science experiments, including copper plating a nail and making a balloon helicpoter. Emily let that loose in the garden after a few goes indoors....it was very windy and so much hilarity ensued when it got stuck on the roof of the garage........

Also yesterday, Emily had her haircut; it's back in a shoulder length bob now and she looks gorgeous.

This morning Emily and Jon went off to their last tai chi lesson for a few weeks and this afternoon Emily's done lots more work on her art course, including sketching a cereal box and all its accompanying detail in 3D. Work is absolutely manic leaving Jon and I with little time to draw breath, but all our plans are still heading in the right direction so life continues - amid lots of trampolining on the rebounder and various power cuts for no apparent reason - in a general air of otpimism :-)

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Round Up of Good News

Have just returned from the hospital with my Mum and Dad; Dad doesn't have prostrate cancer which is a massive relief :-)))) He does have a slight problem with his bladder not emptying properly, which is causing recurrent infections, but it's nothing serious. He's gone on a waiting list for a camera into the bladder type investigation but that'll be about another six months away.

In other good news stakes: I haven't actually lost any further weight this week, but I haven't gained any either and since my clothes are already feeling considerably looser, I'm a happy bunny. I knew the weight loss would slow down anyway - 10lbs in two weeks probably is a bit too much to keep going at that rate ;-) I'm confident that I'm on target for my initial goal which was to lose a stone before my birthday at the end of August.

And yet more good news of a personal nature: mother nature's decided I can go back to having a menstrual cycle after all, which is another big relief.

Even more good news, business wise; we've really got stuck in this weekend and have listed well over 150 new items on ebay.

I've got a little six month plan in my head which covers just about all areas of our lives and lifestyle....Emily's education, our business, our living arrangements/conditions, fertility, health, finances, holidays..... and am generally feeling very confident about it all. Which, prone to depression as I am, makes a bit of a change!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

A blacksmith in waiting.... Posted by Picasa

Putting a sharp point on the end of a poker rod! Posted by Picasa

Creating a garden lake/waterfall down the steps, lol! Posted by Picasa

Emily practising her footie Posted by Picasa

Football & A Forge

Emily's had a great time this last couple of days, with lots of exciting events. On Wednesday we went with Hazel and Romy to Anwick Forge for a blacksmith demonstration. The blacksmith showed the children from scratch how he made a beautiful rams head poker with lots of detail on it, then they (eventually! they were very patient!) all got to have a go at hammering something. Emily's very proud of the pointy bit she got to bring home with her, lol.

Can't believe it but blogger's refusing to post pics AGAIN. Every flippin time I log on I'm having this problem now. Will have to post pictures above here with HEllo again. Elle, if you're reading, you can download it free here and I think it has a step by step "how to work with blogger" bit.

Yesterday was tai chi in the morning, and then in the afternoon Emily worked very hard on the next bit of her art course; she had to draw her name in proper 3D perspective, which was an awful lot harder than it sounded and even got me confused! She still hasn't coloured it, will post a picture of her efforts when it's done. She then had great fun emptying the pool and creating a waterfall down our steps!

Today Jon took Emily and Romy to a football training session at Scunthorpe United. Emily LOVED it and can't wait to go back next week. Romy seemed to have lots of fun too so hopefully they'll both be going again next Friday. At the end of the session they were put into teams and played a little mini world cup tournament. Emily was in Italy (because she was wearing an Italy shirt, perhaps?) and was very chuffed indeed to report that Italy won. She came home wearing a medal and a grin that could hardly fit through the door and spent the next few hours in the garden putting me through my paces, lol.

Got a leaflet through today about lots and lots of activities on in Gainsborough. Rather annoyingly, though, we can't make it to most of them and some of the ones I did want to book for were already booked up. Still have booked Emily onto an African Dance and Drumming workshop mid August, which should be fun!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lammas spiral cookies Posted by Picasa

Burning fears in the barbecue! Posted by Picasa

Emily with some of her finished Lammas crafts. Posted by Picasa

Emily hard at work making her corn dollies and maize people to celebrate Lammas. Posted by Picasa

Lovely Lammas

It's bucketing down with rain and blowing a gale outside my window at the moment :-)) A little taste of Autumn, to relieve the drudgery of the non stop summer. Bliss.

Today we've been celebrating Lammas/Lughnasadh and the first harvest of the year. We've had a fab time making corn dollies (or trying to, it's a lot harder than it looks!!!!) and we "borrowed" some leaves from our sweetcorn plants to make some maize people too; those turned out rather well. I was going to put a picture here of Emily hard at work and displaying some of her finished articles but surprise, surprise, blogger won't upload pictures today. Again.

We read a lot about the background to this festival and some of the stories in the Circle Round book. After talking about the mixed emotions of gratitude for the harvest vs sadness at the loss of the sun and the fear ancient peoples must have felt when facing the end of summer, Emily decided to write down some of her worries on bits of card for a worry burning session out at the barbecue, lol. She held each bit of card in the flames and watched it burn, taking the worries away (fingers crossed).

We also made scrummy, melt in the mouth spiral cookies following a recipe in the Circle Round book. They were delicious and turned out really well. Emily says the light coloured swirls are the sun losing its power and the dark colour swirls are the darkness of autumn approaching. I'm not sure what they're *supposed* to represent, but her interpretation seems entirely reasonable to me. I'm going to try uploading the pictures via Hello instead; if all's well then they should appear above this post....

Meanwhile, I'm feeling rather pleased with myself as I've lost 10lbs in the last couple of weeks :-)) I'm hoping that a continued weight loss might kick start my menstrual cycle back into action as it seems to have gone rather haywire all of a sudden - haven't had a period for over 65 days now, which is just flippin' typical just now that we've decided to try for a new addition the family. **Frown** I've never had problems with that before, but rather worryingly I now seem to have most/all the symptoms of PCOS. Mind you, I thought that was something that was supposed to be present for a lifetime, not come on suddenly like this. I daresay it's not....but it's a niggling worry. You know what it's like when you look up health information on the internet.......it's so easy to imagine you've got everything under the sun :-(

Tomorrow Emily and I are off to Anwick Forge with Romy and Hazel for a home ed group event - apparently there will be crafts to do and the kids will each get to forge their very own metal snail, which Emily is hugely looking forward to. Should be interesting!