mercredi 7 octobre 2009

Picture Frame

Marie-Kate's 55,000 drawing of a girl and a house

I found this neat idea here to make frames for our numerous drawings that the children produce everyday

Alexis' picture frame and his his colourful pattern.

dimanche 4 octobre 2009

Marie Kate's Autumn Leaves.

While Alexis wrote a story and Gaby, Charlotte and Oliver completed their homework, Marie-Kate painted. I told her to think of the colours that you see in Autumn and to choose leaf shapes from the garden to cut out to make a Autumn Garland.

Garland (with autumn sun), drying in the porch

mercredi 30 septembre 2009

Sunday's Soup

My favourite soup tureen
After a hard day decluttering, we made a easy soup and the girls chopped up some melon and some mozzarella to make a salad for us all to share.

We're still eating outside, both for lunch and dinner, as the weather's still great. (probably will till the clocks go forward towards the end of October).

dimanche 27 septembre 2009

This Old House

Marie-Kate playing with her 1970's dolls house

Ok, it has taken a little time to have a routine since the children returned to school, but I think we're organised now. Five children , four different schools, four different timetables...
1. Oliver 7.20 each day to catch school bus
2. Charlotte 7.45 to be dropped in-front of college
3. Gaby and Alexis to be at school for 8.20
4. MK to arrive in class before 8.40

All children (apart from Oliver) eat at home... first pick-up is MK at 11.20, then Gaby and Alexis at 11.30, dart home, yummy(hopefully) food in oven and Charlotte who's home for 12ish.
Back in car at 13.10, drop-off Charlotte, the G and A before 13.30 and finally MK before 13.40... now I al able to recover, until I begin again at 16.20 just up until 18.00, no until dear hubby arrived home, usually about 19.30.

That's my average day, not that I'm complaining, it's just I
don't have time to check-out my favourite blogs, well at least just up until today.

What has changed?

I've decluttered ( especially in Charlotte's and Marie-Kate's room (that makes me feel so good)

A Corner of Marie-Kate's room

I've signed all school work in advance (quite a defeat for me)
I've cleaned the house from top to bottom. Just the garden to do, but not this week.

Post-Script: Today's Wednesday, guess what? The house is still looking good, even the girls room!

mercredi 9 septembre 2009

Candy Floss

That was one big candy floss

Every evening just outside our appartment in Barcelona, there was a fun fair. The children weren't interested in having a ride on a bumper car or any other of the rides for that matter, however, they definitely were in desperate need for a candy floss at the end of each busy day.

a little later

Alexis' eyes were bigger than his tummy, he just couldn't finish his candy floss. It was just too much for one little boy!


Barcelona is a 5 hour drive from our house, and after years of saying shall we, we actually drove there this summer. Why did we wait so long?

We got to visit some of Barcelona's most famous markets. Even bought some pata negra, a little piece though, when 1kg costs 170 euros you can only afford a small piece.

We visited the aquarium. We arrive there late, hoping it wasn't going to shut too early. We should have known, Spanish live and eat late, so the aquarium was open till 11pm, which was great for us.

We all loved the Picasso museum, even Alexis and Marie-Kate loved it just as much as the aquarium, so that's saying something. The queue was long but it really worth it( since then, we visited the Expo Picasso Cezanne in Aix en Provence). Alexis and Gaby have been producing Picasso style art work ever since.

Back to school

Ready for school? Not quite.
When I remember, and when I have time, I try and take a photo of the children on the first day of school. Gaby, Alexis and Marie-Kate started back to school last Thursday morning and as you can see by the photo, I remembered and found some time, shame though, they weren't happy at all. School wasn't the problem, my children love school, it was Gaby who had upset Alexis, hence Alexis' despondent look, and as for Gaby, her smile is as false as one can get.
Charlotte when back to college (3eme) for 2 hours in the afternoon, and Oliver to high school on Friday.
Now I have 4 school agenda's to check, 1 teenager to push to get his homework done ( MK doesn't have homework and the others are independant and organized).
O and C are the only ones that go to school on Wednesday's, like today. The house is so calm, no teenagers for another couple of hours...phew.

dimanche 6 septembre 2009


Spots...... They both are just discovering what it's like to wake up with a couple of new ones each day. It's their main subject of conversation apart from when they are moaning about their teacher's downfalls. They examin each others faces regularly looking for new arrivals, with comments like " Wow, that one enormous, you'd better go and squeeze it fast" (they can become quite revolting...) As they are both quite vain, they'll try anything to reduce their numbers.....After I took this photo, they applied a home-made facial mask that consisted of egg yolks and honey.....Guess what? Two weeks later, they still have spots, only this time, more!

jeudi 20 août 2009

Summer souvenirs: Leeds Castle

Before coming back to France via the Euro Tunnel we visited Leeds Castle which isn't in Leeds but in Maidstone! We had a great time visiting the castle and the grounds. The entrance fee as quite expensive for the 5 of us ( O and C stayed in France), costing more than £70. At least the children know the name of one English king, Henry VIII. Gaby has even written a story about him. She's always writing...In fact it was this week-end Oliver had his first homework assignment in French, using several chess pieces as the caracters (a king, a queen, 2 towers, a guard and another character of your choice) he said if could think of anything to write. Gaby looked at the subject and came up with something fast. I might post it on the blog (it's already be typed up by G on the computer).

Back to the castle, the grounds are so extensive, you would really need a whole day there to explore every thing. There's an enormous adventure playground for children, so big that we lost the children a couple of times, that was scary.

We enjoyed the castle visit too, the children had hidden objects to find in each room, so that kept them amused.

Summer souvenirs: Featherdown Farms/ Un Lit au Pré

We really enjoyed our comfy camping holiday in July.
Our tent was more like a house but with canvas walls and wooden floors, real beds, a flushing loo and cold running water, no electricity, no hot water and a wood burning stove to cook on. When it got dark there were oil lights and candles to provide light. which gave a lovely atmosphere. There was an honesty shop where you could buy meat from the farm, eggs (although you can also collect eggs directly from the chickens), ice cream, beer etc. The children loved to go there, choosing ice-lollies and treats and writing down what they took on the honesty list, after 5 days the list took up a whole A4 page! We managed to really relax and have fun with the children.

Summer souvenirs: Forever England

Gaby found another Jacqueline Wilson book to read (or two)

We found a great farm shop in Rudgick called secretts, if only we had one here in Sanary. Gaby's pictured above with her soon to be beheaded Gingerbread man.

It rained a little everyday. We got caught it a down pour on a 8 mile bike ride to The Red Lion village pub in Slinfold. The food was great, it would have been better if we could have eaten outside in the beer garden.
We did manage to eat in the field outside of our tent a couple of times. We had the place to ourselves....

Summer souvenirs: England

We're back from our last holiday this summer, now the countdown has begun to go back to school, only 14 days to go.

48 days since school broke up, 3 countries and over 5000 kms later, I thought I should blog a little about it all, before I forget...
Here's what we've been up to so far

Alexis discovered Cricket

The children collected fresh eggs every morning

Marie-Kate strutted round like a hen

Marie-Kate became a shephardess

If all the year were playing holidays; To sport would be as tedious as to work.
Si' l'on passait l'année entière en vacances; s'amuser serait aussi épuisant que travailler.
William Shakespeare

mercredi 12 août 2009

Summer Sewing

Gabrielle and I have decided to have a go at sewing. We found our old sewing machine in our much tidier garage recently, and she has been wanting to machine sew since then. I've probably done about one hour of sewing(with a machine) in my whole life and Gaby, never.

We are waiting for some books from Amazon to help us get started, they will be here tomorrow.......we couldn't wait till then without having a try.

What started out as a skirt for Marie-Kate became a dress.
Ok, I didn't really measure anything properly, and had to use school scissors to cut out the fabric, what a messy job, but Marie-Kate loves her dress and I can only get better with time, I hope.

Gabrielle's sewing at the moment, she wants to be left alone ( I 'm 3 metres away), photos to come soon....

mercredi 29 juillet 2009

Spray Painting by Alexis and MK

It's really too hot here to do much in the afternoon besides taking a dip in the pool or sheltering from the heat inside. So we try to do things before lunch.

As we are in the midst of clearing out the clutter from the garage to allow the children to have half of it as a hobby room, we needed a room divider.
I found and old sheet and the children found our old "Busy Book" that I bought for the children years ago and they decided to use an old spray bottle and some paint to brighten it up a little.

They had heaps of fun and still haven't managed to get all the paint off themselves.
Finshed Sheet, drying in the sun.

jeudi 23 juillet 2009

Gingerbread afternoon

Trying to keep the children busy and happy is really hard, especially when the school vacation lasts 8 weeks. The first two weeks flew by, we when to the UK camping ( yes, it rained everyday) and one week in Brittany, in all we drove 3868kms.

The children (even the teenagers) made some gingerbread human(ish) shaped biscuits.

Now we're off to clean out the garage, we're going to make it into a hobby room (too much stuff to get a car in there!)

mardi 21 juillet 2009

Wind Chimes

We've been pretty busy, no time for blogging. We managed to get a whole load of shells and decided to make some wind chimes. Charlotte really loved making them.

You need some shells, some string, a bit of wood, some old rope and a drill

I''ll post a couple of photos of the wind chimes in-situ when I have time.

mercredi 1 juillet 2009

Two male gerbils and their 5 babies

I always thought that Romain was a girl and my suspisions were corfirmed a little less than 3 weeks ago when Gaby shouted to come and see Romain because he had done some unusual caca's (her words), infact the pink things she saw, were 5 little babies. Daughter Charlotte who procured both Luca( the father) and Romain( now mother) and who had assured us that they were both males, tried her best to be surprised, but I'm not so sure.

Photos to come soon

School's out

Yippee, tomorrow is the last day of school before the long summer break. Our two terrible teenagers are flying "alone" to Brittany tomorrow to stay with the grand-parents for a couple of weeks, while we drive up to Calais and the Euro Tunnel to spend one week camping " à la ferme" on the Surrey/Sussex border. Camping without electricity was just too difficult of O and C to comtemplate, hence their trip to Brittany.

Gaby, Alexis and Marie Kate will be able to enjoy a real (organic) working farm, fetching fresh eggs each morning, reading, dreaming and playing, what bliss.

We don't even have to shop, the farm has a "honesty shop" where we can stock up on organic sausages, eggs, milk, cetera, the list is long.

On the way back, we'll go to Brittany and pick up Oliver and Charlotte and spend perhaps another week there.

Marie-Kate on the local beach (2007) just 50 metres from home in Brittany.

jeudi 28 mai 2009

Morning sailing and afternoon on the ile du Gaou

Marie-Kate and her kite.

As I said in an earlier post, I have been busy of late, after a morning of sailing with Gaby's class of CM1, I had to juggle lunch and hand over the children to French hubby, who was charged to take them back to school, leaving me time to go to a nearby Island where Marie-Kate was spending the afternoon with her class (moyenne section) all aged 4 or 5.
Christophe who helped the children with their project.

Her class have been learning about the wind, and they'd all made their own kites to fly on the Island
I think it's a butterfly

La Voile/ Sailing (Gaby's class)

Our little town by the sea

I have been busy lately with helping out at school with different activities, one of which is the sailing class, an easy job which consists of walking the 400 metres from the school to the sailing club, taking photos for the class blog and hurrying the children up at the end, to get changed so they get back to school for lunch or home-time (this isn't so easy, these kids talk a lot).

These guys are lucky to sail in spring and not the autumn

Just next to the sailing school I found this. Apparently this boat has been in this position for a year after a big storm caused it to tip over. Now, it's blocking about twenty boats that can't leave quay! The boat's owned by an association and they can't afford to have it rescued.

The class on its way back after two hours of sailing.