Winter takes another flight and we take the leap….

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Once again, I didn’t manage to carve out any time for writing in the past couple of weeks. At the beginning of the year, I was full of ideas about blog posts I wanted to write and I promised myself that I would finally finish my last two travel posts  (yes, I do still plan to write them!), but thusfar none of this has materialised. 😦 It is just the way life has panned out this year….

We are slowly recovering from another bout of coughs and colds. The bugs are tending to linger on rather this year. I had hoped that the very cold spell we had would have killed all the bugs off, but they seem very persistent. My eldest still has a fever on and off, poor love.

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After enjoying some wonderfully warm spring days and feeling spring energy stirring within us, winter has taken another flight. It has been snowing over the past couple of days and is still bitterly cold. We even made a little snow lady, Erica 🙂

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My eldest reminded me that it was sunny on Candlemas (Groundhog) day, so it’s not really surprising! 🙂

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The snow hasn’t been deep, but it’s been compact enough to go sledging a couple of times. The Friday before last, my eldest and I went to the local park with our sledge after school on the off chance that the conditions would be suitable and luckily we were pleasantly surpised. We have a nice wooden German sledge that hasn’t seen much use, so it was a pleasure to take it out for a spin. 🙂 There were only a couple of families out as it was dinner time and getting dark, so by the time we left, we had the slope to ourselves. It was great to do something fun with my eldest, just the two of us. Lately we have rarely had the opportunity and I know it benefits us both.

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The week before last was quite eventful:

On Friday, we celebrated our wedding anniversary – 18 years – my, how did that happen?! Although we were both full of cold, we spent a lovely day together; looking at campervans :-), eating (tasty spicy foods), drinking (shots of lemon and ginger – very potent!) and mooching around town. It was just so nice to talk and be together. We haven’t managed to keep up our fortnightly dates for a while due to illness and other circumstances, so it was precious time spent together. We are hoping to get back on track with our dates as it is important to have fun together.

On Sunday, it was Mother’s Day. None of us was feeling ‘on form’, but my husband and daughters still made an effort to spoil me; with cards and a couple of sweet presents. I was very touched.

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I love my new cheery teapot for loose leaf tea and my new cup with its rounded sides – so wonderful to cradle in my hands. 🙂

 

My youngest made me this heart at school : she sanded the wood, hammered in the small nails and wove her chosen thread colours around the heart. A labour of love 🙂 My eldest has yet to finish her gift she says.

Speaking of an eventful week, on Saturday, we picked up our new puppy Millie!

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We have discussed at length over the years whether a dog would fit in our life or not and after much debate and discussion, we decided it was now or never. Our daughters are old enough now to be involved and help with a puppy and still have many more years at home to enjoy with her.  We made it one of our New Year’s Resolutions! Funnily enough, we have since discovered it is the Chinese “Year of the Dog”, so it feels even more apt that this is the year we took the leap! 🙂

We picked her out from her litter the Saturday before and the girls spent the week busily preparing for her arrival!

 

She is a Cavapoo; a mix between a miniature poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We did a lot of research before reaching a decision, because we wanted to be sure we found a compatible dog for our guinea pigs; without a prey instinct and a dog that didn’t need excessive amounts of exercise and was easy to train!

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She is nearly 11 week and is a real sweetheart. We are smitten! The first few days, she slept a lot and didn’t eat much. We think she was missing her family of origin, but she is much more active and playful now. Unfortunately she had an upset tummy the whole week, so I took her to the vet on Friday to be checked out. He gave her an antibiotic injection and some probiotic medicine and we hope to see some improvement soon. She found visiting the vet thrilling; meeting other dogs and being doted on by animal lovers. Everyone commented on her sweet temperament, for which we are most grateful.

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When we go out, we have been carrying her in my big knitting basket or in a baby sling as she is still too young to be put on the ground outside. She has been enjoying the view and being close.

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She has also travelled on the buses, been cuddled and doted on by numerous children at the school gates and even enjoyed a quick trip to the supermarket the other day, when our cupboards were bare!

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I have been trying to study inbetween attending to her. Luckily Millie still enjoys frequent naps!

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She will nap wherever she finds a cosy body! 🙂

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It had been so cold, we had to invest in a little jacket for her, as she is going to work with my husband three days a week and he works outdoors. The girls tried some dolly jumpers on her too, which are still rather large! At that point I started to fantasise about the jumpers I could knit for her next winter (hee hee!)

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She has even had her first taste of snow and seemed unphased by it.

 

I hope I haven’t gone overboard with the photos! I have really noticed how even the (seemily) hardest characters seem to soften when they meet a puppy. It is a real leveller and in so a real gift.

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In other news, my eldest, who is in the Fifth Grade of a Waldorf (Steiner) school, finished a Geography project on The Lake District. Each child had to choose a region of England to write a detailed project on. Their project needed to be beautifully illustrated and they had to design a poster and construct a model of the area. My daughter made a papier mache model with my husband.

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They presented the project to their class and once again, individually, to the parents  one evening last week. We spent 7 minutes talking with each child about their chosen project and sampling food from the area, that the children had brought in. My daughter made some Grasmere Gingerbread, with crystallized ginger and brought in some Kendal Mint Cake to share. It was a really fun evening and all the children talked confidently about their subject.

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I really appreciate how my sensitive children are building their confidence in this setting and how Steiner education encourages the children to be supportive of each other’s work. I was petrified of presenting anything as a child and still am, even as an adult (!), but my daughter took it in her stride and was more than happy to talk to the parents in this intimate, relaxed atmosphere. It was so lovely to see and it feels good to know she is in the right place.

And now we know so much about the region, we really must try to visit at some point this year – maybe with our campervan-to-be?! 😉

And last, but not least, my youngest finished her third knitting project: a little kitty 🙂

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And that’s the round up for the past couple of weeks. As for me, I am currently  making a couple of simple monk’s outfits and adjusting a Greek dress for both my daughters’ plays next week.

I haven’t been making much for pleasure, but I am planning to get back on track as I am feeling like creativity is rather missing from my life right now and things don’t feel in balance in that way.

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I hope you are finding plenty of time for creativity and are keeping well and warm!

Joining Crafting On at Frontier Dreams.

 

 

Warmth in the cold

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Finally, I am finding a pocket of time in which to write. It feels like ages, since I was last here and I must say I have missed it. As I wrote in my last post, we have been suffering from illness over here. As soon as I recovered – literally the day after I felt my energies return slowly, my husband went down with a heavy virus, from which he is only just recovering, almost three weeks later 😦 so all of February has passed in a bit of a blur….

Today is the second day of March and we have snow!!!

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It is so absolutely thrilling for us, having resigned ourselves to another winter without. What a gift! My daughters have been running outside first thing in the morning, to play in the snow and although there hasn’t been deep snow, they have enjoyed making snow angels, building miniature snow bears 🙂 and drawing a snowman on the snow covered pond…and throwing snowballs of course 🙂

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They had an afternoon off school and went sledging with Daddy (while I was at college). We have certainly been enjoying the snow covered world in all its beauty and wonder.

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Only the other day, as we walked around our local park, we felt that spring was in the air; the birds were very vocal,  the daffodils were out and the sun felt warm on our skin. I wondered about setting the Nature Table up for spring, but luckily didn’t have the time, as finally our winter scene has come to fruition. 🙂

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We may even have more snow tonight. Hurrah!

So let’s see what we have been up to in the last few weeks…hmmn…

We had our half term break after my husband came down with illness, which was lucky, in a way, as we didn’t have to rush off anywhere early in the morning and I was still not totally recovered energy-wise. We had a lovely break really: slow days, lots of cooking, making and baking and seeing friends.

After three weeks of illness and also missing Candlemas, I thought it was important to spend lots of time doing nice things together; to reconnect and to find the joy in family life again. We finally rolled some beeswax candles, that I had ordered for Candlemas and my daughters decorated them with beeswax hearts that they stamped out of these thin beeswax sheets.

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On Valentines, we went overboard with hearts, pinks and reds!

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For breakfast, we made pancakes and heart shaped waffles with fried apples and cinnamon which we all enjoyed.

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We also did a lot of baking – jam tarts, ginger biscuits…

and heart shaped rolls for dinner with pink (beetroot) soup!

I noticed that the girls really appreciated all these touches and they were very much involved in the making of all these edibles. I also made our favourite carob sweets, this time adding a cranberry to the middle and some chopped nuts, which made them extra special, we thought.

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I love these happy photos – the girls insisted on wearing the heart ‘crowns’ that we made with friends many moons ago (basically felt hearts, threaded onto red yarn).

We made each other gifts for Valentines.  My husband was in bed all day, but we opened his presents for him and put them, and his cards, by the window in the hope that it would make him feel loved.

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Below are the presents my eldest made us. My youngest made her sister the heart with the penguin on it,  so we all got a heart! There was a distinct dolphin theme for Daddy 🙂

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Here are my presents 🙂 Can you tell the girls know I love purple?! 😉

I  managed to knit up a couple of quick hearts for my daughters in the two nights beforehand. I didn’t have time or the headspace for anything more creative. They are pleased with them, which is all that matters!

My daughters also made cards for all the animals, including our guinea pig Bubble and our hen Delilah who died last year. Delilah’s has been laminated and is by her grave.

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Gosh just noticed how creased the tablecloth looks here – eek! 

The hens also have theirs laminated to hang by their coop!

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They still have their Christmas lights and baubles up too! Bless them they are so cold out in the snow, they have stopped eating and are just huddled up together looking miserable 😦 Any tips are very welcome.

My daughters have been playing lots and there were various scenes set up all over the house and garden! Things were feeling a bit chaotic, so I had a big tidy up today to create some order again. When the girls came home after school, they remarked on how much better it felt – like a clean slate.

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They have also been drawing lots and just being creative, which is always nice to see.

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We saw friends in the afternoons on quite a few occasions over half term, which was lovely, after having been stuck at home and reclusive for a few weeks. The girls enjoyed some dressing up with a friend in a local museum. 🙂

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Last week was a busy one for me, with lots of study and trying to sort our car out (the insurers wanted to write it off because of the cost of repairing it, but I have now found a local garage that will do the repairs mid March, with second hand doors, so hopefully that is now sorted.  It does annoy me how easily they write a perfectly decent car off  though….)

After the girls returned to school on Tuesday, I only had four days in which to study ten subjects in preparation for a mid-term exam – Cytology, the Skeletal System, the Muscular System, the Respiratory System, Cardiology, the Blood, the Digestive System and Digestive Pathologies, the Lymphatic system and Skin and the Endocrine System… you get the picture!!! Quite a bit!! I had hoped to have the weekend for further study, but my husband had not recovered yet, so I only managed a couple of hours each day really. This sort of intense study doesn’t suit me at all. I had another intense study session on Monday and my head was buzzing with all the information I had studied, so I had an early night and felt all I could do was trust and hope….

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The next day, it had snowed overnight and the world looked so peaceful and pretty, Unfortunately that didn’t mean peaceful traffic and there was a fair bit of tension involved in getting to the exam in one piece with the icy roads!! The UK is never prepared for snow!!

I think the exam went o.k, considering the fact I didn’t have enough time to study everything, with illness and half term and family life. I certainly had to reduce my expectations of doing well!!!

Afterwards, I took a walk outside to try to calm my system down and was so happy to hear the crunch of snow underfoot and to feel the crisp fresh air on my face.

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I missed out on sledging, but I enjoyed a walk around the college campus to take in the beauty of it all and breathe in deeply. I experienced a sense of deep peace, which I have not felt for a while. What a gift.

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Wishing you all a peaceful, gentle time, whatever the weather!