Thursday, 27 October 2011

Pumpkin muffins

1. Carve 2 smallish pumpkins, but scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and deposit in a small saucepan to boil for a few minutes and mash.
2. Mix 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of melted butter into a bowl.
3. Add 1/2 a cup of milk and 2 eggs.
4. Next add 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, plus 1 and 1/2 cups of self-raising flour.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes at roughly 190 degrees. The mixture gave us 12 good sized muffins.
6. Decorate them if they last that long!

Super yum recipe for getting a little bit more from your pumpkin carving, whether you're celebrating Samhain or All Souls, or just getting in on a bit of Halloween fun. My kids loved these muffins so we'll be making some more for next year (and the recipe is a good practical way to start working with fractions too!).

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Awesome Extended Family!

Family is one of the biggest blessings I have. My mum in particular is an absolute star, and I really couldn't do without her. Home educating is intense. Home schooling 2 kidlets, one with special needs, is even more so. Every now and then I need a break, and this is when the extended family becomes a life saver.
  My boys have just gotten back of their holidays. They went to Hemsby, near Yarmouth, and had a whale of a time with their Nanna and Great-Aunty J. I am so grateful to my mum on 2 counts.
  Firstly, especially as we have undertaken home education for the kidlets, our finances just do not extend to family holidays at this point in time. My mum's hugely kind action of taking the boys away on holiday has given them some wonderful memories. L won the competition for the best boy dancer, M won himself a necklace in the penny-slot machines, and both of them had an action-packed magical time away. The stuff of childhood memories, the kind of childhood memories I want for them.
  Secondly because I got a whole week to myself to do all those things that I normally don't have the time or privacy to do. I spent hours doing history research in the local library. Not for anybody else, but all for me, just because I have an interest in local history. I read piles of books at home too - some local history books, some plant botany and gardening books, some natural history books - I gorged myself on reading. I spend time just sitting in the garden... oh the bliss! It gave me time to dream big again and refocus on how important the job of raising my children is. That week off restored my energy levels like nothing else, and by the end of it I was desperate to get my boys back!
  I couldn't do this without my family. I feel no shame in admitting this and don't see it as any weakness on my part. Home educating my children is just a part of a whole philosophy on life for me. I see the family as oh-so important, but on a wider scale I believe our communities need building up again, both the importance of the extended family and the communities of place. I want my children to forge strong links with people other than myself! I believe that ultimately this will help them develop into confident and independent thinkers who take an active part in their communities.
  Getting this kind of help is not easy if you depend upon state help I think. Sad but true in most cases. The links I forge within my community and the bonds that have been forged within my family my whole life are those that catch me when I fall, and which let me free-fall when I need some freedom.
  Forging these sort of relationships within the wider community is not an easy or simple task but it is worth it, which is why I continue to try. I haven't got it all figured out, which is how I sound in this post! There are so many obstacles to this sort of reaching out - the subject of another post I think!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Label: good or bad?

Labels are one of those things that cause disagreements. Is a label helpful or worthless, or at worst is it harmful? I personally feel a label is what you make it.
  I have never been opposed to labels, and neither did I go out to seek one. But eventually a label helped us as a wider family unit understand better how to address the various issues that were part of our day to day lives.
 A child with or without a label is not a single unit - they are part of a family. So for some, while the label has nothing much to offer the child in any tangible way, it may help the child's family understand how to better relate to the child, and how to help them on their journey. I see that as no bad thing. A happy and well informed family has a better chance of raising a happy child. A label does not have to be limiting. It is what you do with a label that counts.
 When our family was first presented with a possible label I felt something akin to relief, because finally I had something to go on. Finally I could maybe understand why certain things kept happening, why all the usual rules of child rearing didn't seem to work. In understanding maybe I could help. I thought that if I could understand the source of Lamb's behaviours then I could help him find a way through them. For me the label gave us some power to work towards change for the better.
 We use a label as a key to understanding, and nothing more. Outside of gaining knowledge the label doesn't enter into our lives, because this  is our normal.
 Like so many other things, it's not the label that is bad in and of itself, it is what you do with it.