Friday, March 30, 2007

Mystery destination clues

(1) The mystery destination begins with G (yes D, you were right!)

(2) It used to be known by another name.

Any guesses now?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tevye's mystery destination

Today is Tevye's 50th birthday (what? half-a-century already?) and until a couple of weeks ago we were struggling to come up with a suitable way of marking the occasion. He isn't a party person, so that was out. Then suddenly a vague idea he had a while ago became a real possibility when he found ridiculously cheap flights, and he now has a special trip lined up to visit the city of his father's birth. Taking the whole family would be too much and it would not be practical for just the two of us to go, so he is taking his eldest nephew with him as a twenty-first birthday gift. In September they will be on their way here ...

Any one care to take a guess at their destination? If nobody gets it from the pictures, I'll add a clue in a day or two.

As for today, Tevye took the day off work and we celebrated with Danish pastries for breakfast (oops! sticky baby!) and a trip out for lunch.

Windows Vista again

... and then I promise to move on!

I did a little Googling and realised that the version of Windows Vista I have is Home Basic which, so far as I can see, does not do a lot more than Windows XP - making the pain of switching over fairly pointless. There is also a Home Premium version which is a much bigger improvement. Cheap laptops only come loaded with the cheap Basic version! If you are thinking of switching, either with a new machine or by upgrading an old one, it sounds as though the Premium version would be worth the extra cost. Be warned, though. I didn't have to look far to find upgrading horror stories!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Vista and Mac - Techie Stuff!

A couple of people have commented that they are thinking of getting Macs (Jenn, Suzanne ... waving!), so I thought it might be useful to give you the benefit of my recent experience.

I really like the iMac. The Tiger operating system is very slick. It is a perfect fit for our family as I have creative techie-minded children. They love using the computer to play with photos, make movies and so on. Angel likes tinkering with websites and editing music. Macs come with a whole suite of software (iMovie, iPhoto, iWebs, Garageband) that is streets ahead of Windows in this area. We like iTunes too. When asked both girls unequivocally preferred the Mac.

Even if we didn't like all the creative bells and whistles, the Mac is good to use. It is far more stable than any Windows system, and is not susceptible to viruses or spyware. Even Tevye, who is most definitely not a computer person, is finding the software quite intuitive. (We are talking someone who only has to look at a computer for it to crash!)

The downside of the Mac is compatibility. Once my trial periods are up I will have to pay for some "work" type software, even though I have a copy of Office for Windows sitting in my desk drawer. I like the iWork software that came with the Mac, but formatting does get slightly scrambled when transferring files to and from Word. If I want Office for Mac I will have to pay £100 for it. New Macs (the ones with an Intel processor) can run Windows software, but you have to put some extra software on first (Virtual PC?). I think you also then have to install a Windows operating system on the Mac to make this work. I decided my incompatibility issues are not big enough to be worth going down this road ... but it is worth bearing in mind that it is an option. In effect, any compatibility issue can be resolved if you are prepared to throw some money at it, but if you don't want to do that then there will be some frustrations.

As for laptops and Vista ... I ordered a Windows machine as a replacement laptop partly because I thought we would still need a PC and partly because I simply assumed a Mac laptop was out of my price range. Since then I've come to the conclusion that we could have managed fairly easily without a PC and discovered that I could have bought a reconditioned MacBook for not much more than the PC. Guess what I wish I had done!

Vista and a low spec laptop is not a good combination. Our previous laptop had a slightly slower processor and 512Mb of RAM. It ran Windows XP comfortably. I added extra RAM to the new laptop to boost it up to 1Gb, and it is still running much slower than the old Windows XP machine. Frustratingly slowly. We do have it set up for four separate users which slows it down compared to a single user - but then we had four users on the old machine too. Vista definitely has compatibility issues. Some software loaded fine (Office, printer drivers), some took a bit of fiddling around to make it work (Microsoft Money) and some simply would not work at all (a Calendar program, Maths2XL) despite being Windows software. I am also having trouble reading files from the DVD I used to back up the old machine. Ugh! Vista has clearly tried to copy the Mac OS - it has gadgets where the Mac has widgets, for example - but it is still a poor imitation. Maybe on a bigger, faster (desktop?) machine it would be better, but switching old files and software could still be frustrating.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Random Meme

Because I always appreciate a bit of eclectic trivia ...

HT: Elizabeth at Real Learning (and check out her lovely pictures of baby Karoline enjoying her first taste of apple)

1. What time did you get up this morning? Just before 8.00am (so much for my attempts to get up at 7.30!)

2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds. Not that I have many. A small solitaire diamond engagement ring, and another engagement ring with three small diamonds that belonged to my adoptive grandmother.

3. What was the last film you saw at the theater? Pirates of the Caribbean II.

4. What is your favorite TV show? I don't really have one. There are a few things I watch, but I'm very take-it-or-leave-it with TV. There is nothing I would care about missing.

5. What did you have for breakfast? A bowl of cereal and a mug of tea.

6. What is your middle name? Helen (after the same adoptive grandmother)

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Any!

8. What foods do you dislike? Cooked carrots and orange flavoured boiled sweets.

9. What are your favorite chips? That would be crisps? Brannigans Roast Beef and Mustard or Sensations Roast Chicken and Thyme

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I've pretty much switched to using iTunes and MP3 players rather than CDs. Current favourites are a Haydn Trumpet Concerto and a brass band version of the Helston Floral Dance (not Terry Wogan!). Nice cheerful music for spring ... dah, dah-da dah dah dah ...

11. What kind of car do you drive? Vauxhall Zafira, which I love. The convenience and flexibility of a seven seater with the ease of driving and economy of a five seater.

12. Favorite sandwich? Hot bacon on lavishly buttered bread with English mustard. High calorie, high cholesterol - but as we don't have bacon in the house because of Tevye I don't get it very often.

13. What are characteristics you can't stand? .Rudeness, egotism.

14. What are your favorite clothes? Anything soft and comfortable.

15. If you could go anywhere on vacation where would you go? USA to visit friends.

16. One random fact about myself: I always read in the bath. If I don't have time to read, I take a shower!

17. Where would you want to retire? Penzance, Cornwall. I want to be near the sea and I have wanted to live in Cornwall since I was a child.

18. Favorite time of day? .Late evening, when I get time to relax or collapse into bed with a good book or the laptop.

19. Where were you born? Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

20. What is your favorite sport to watch? .I rarely watch sport these days, but I love watching the Olympic Games, whatever the sport.

21. Coke or Pepsi? Both

22. Beavers or ducks? I was born in Aylesbury. Has to be ducks!

23. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Night owl. I don't do mornings.

24. Pedicure or manicure? Pedicure.

25. What did you want to be when you were little? Nothing in particular.

26. What is your best childhood memory? Holidays in Cornwall and the Isle of Wight.

27. Ever been to Africa? No.

28. Ever been toilet papering? No.

29. Been in a car accident? Yes, but only minor ones.

30. Favorite day of the week? Saturday.

31. Favorite restaurant? . For family meals Harvester restaurants.

32. Favorite flower? Daffodils

33. Favorite ice-cream? Mars bar ices

34. Favorite fast food restaurant? Local fish and chip shop

35. How many times did you fail your driver's test? One

36. From whom did you get your last e-mail? A spammer!

37. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? John Lewis or Ikea

38. Last person you went to dinner with? . A group of other mothers from Church

39. What are you listening to right now? .This minute? Nothing. Blessed silence! Baby asleep, eldest dd next door, dh collecting middle dd from athletics. Peace at last!

40. What is your favorite color? Yellow. Or maybe pink.

41. How many tattoos do you have? None.

42. How many people are you sending this to? As many as read my blog!

43. What time did you finish this blog entry? 8.15pm0

44. Favorite magazine: National Geographic

45. Coffee or tea? Both. I tend to drink more tea (with milk, no sugar), but a really good coffee is my favourite.

46. Do you tan easily or burn easily? Burn.

47. Do you color your hair? No. I have done in the past, and may do again as the grey begins to take over.

48. What was the first car you ever purchased without the help of your parents? A white Vauxhall Viva estate.

49. What is your most dreaded household chore? Unblocking sinks.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Windows Vist-blah!!!!

I do not like it, Sam I am, I do not like ... Windows Vista. Grrr! It makes my new laptop - which has more memory than the old one - run like a snail. It does not like my software. My software does not like it.

On the other hand I do very much like Maths2XL - now known as Conquer Maths. Not only has it reduced the trauma resulting from the combination of Angel and maths (if not quite eliminated it), but they are really nice people. I could not get it to run on the new laptop and phoned their help line. "Ah!" said a very man with a very nice Geordie accent, "let me guess ... Windows Vista?" Got it in one! "Mmmm" says he, "we've had a number of those lately. Don't worry, we'll sort things out!" He kindly replaced my discounted end-of-line CD-Rom version with a free subscription to their online program, which I can use on any computer, including my nice new iMac. To make my day even better, Angel then whizzed happily through a lesson on fractions.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What colour is your brain?

Your Brain is Yellow

Of all the brain types, yours is the most intellectual.
You crave mental stimulation, and your thoughts tend to very complex.
Your thoughts tend to be innovative and cutting edge, though many people don't understand them.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about science, architecture, and communication.


I always wondered why people couldn't follow my train of thought. Nice to know it is because I'm innovative and cutting edge.

Hat tip: Kristen at Small Treasures

Flat packs and frustration

I am drowning in flat packed furniture! Since last year we have had an IKEA just 15 minutes away. I like IKEA, but a trip there always seems to end in a pile of flat packs. Yesterday's trip produced a computer desk and chair (very pink!) for Angel's room and a pile of green cushions for Star's. Why is it that assembly never goes smoothly? Angel and I struggled attaching the chair to its frame until a hefty kick finally clicked it into place. I have spent two evenings at my Mum's assembling a table and four chairs ... which went well until I got overconfident today and missed out a vital piece of metal ... then couldn't understand why the chair fell to pieces. And there are five bookcases still lurking in her garage, waiting to be put together and have boxes of books emptied into them.

Then added to the assembly difficulties is the need to save the planet. Our rubbish (garbage) disposal system is based on large wheeled bins (known rather obviously as wheelie bins) for non-recyclable waste and orange bags which we fill with an eclectic mix of recyclables. Over the past two days I have stuffed six large orange bags with cardboard packaging, all of which had to be torn up small enough to fit into the bags ... thereby simultaneously achieving environmental brownie points and aerobic exercise.

When not battling furniture and packaging I have spent the rest of today trying to set up the latest replacement laptop. It is pre-loaded with Windows Vista. With few exceptions Windows Vista does not like my software, or my software does not like Windows Vista - at least without a lot of effort and coaxing. I discovered I had backed up old Outlook files instead of the current ones, so have lost the entire contents of my inbox and all my saved emails. Among those emails was one with a registration code for Angel's maths program, which I can no longer open without the code. At least I hope that is the problem, as I can at least email to ask for a replacement code. It could be Windows Vista.

I now know one thing for certain ... I love my Mac! I have had to reboot the new laptop more times in one day than I have had to reboot the Mac since it arrived. An hour after getting the laptop out of the box, it had just about managed to complete its set up program. An hour after getting the Mac out if its box, the girls had finished making a movie. It took me a while to acclimatise and stop using Windows shortcuts out of habit, but the Mac operating system is far more intuitive than Windows. Admittedly some programs won't run at all on the Mac, but all those that do run without a glitch. If I have my way this laptop is the last Windows machine I will buy.

After today, I just want to escape from the assembling and configuring and get back to homeschooling!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Warwick Castle

Today we left Tevye at home overseeing the installation of our new central heating boiler (frustrating due to several technical hitches - we now almost have heat!) and took a trip to Warwick Castle where we met with an American homeschooling family who are touring the UK. I love it when I get to meet people I know from the internet face to face!

Apart from the fact that it was freezing cold, it was a good day. Unlike many castles Warwick is still intact and was lived in until the later part of the twentieth century. In the fifteenth century it was home to one of those historical figures once known to every schoolchild but now largely forgotten - Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, a.k.a. Warwick the Kingmaker. The castle is now owned by a big leisure group who have turned it into a major tourist attraction. We admired knights in armour ...

and the girls climbed Guy's Tower ...

Cherub and I stayed safely on the ground. 530 steps sounded rather too many for me!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Starting the day

Following my rather plaintive post about not being a morning person, Mary G started this thread at the 4 Real Learning Forums. It seems I am far from the only person who struggles to get going in the mornings!

I'm still pondering this one. Realistically, we have to do whatever schoolwork we do during the conventional school day because Angel and Star have so many late afternoon and evening activities going on. Now, I don't mind the girls sleeping in if they are tired, particularly if they have been busy the evening before. Angel, for example, rarely gets to bed before ten on Wednesdays because she has band practice ... and unlike me, she is not a night owl, so needs to catch up. If I am honest, though, I know that if I get myself going earlier and am up, dressed and ready to start the day by eight, then the day goes more smoothly, even if it takes Angel and Star time to catch up. Back in planning mode, I have worked out what I think would be my ideal routine. You can find it posted - along with the sadly unrecognisable reality - at my Bookworm's Diary blog. I know from experience that when I get into a routine it pays dividends, but also that once I get out of routine it is a terrible struggle to get back to it. Ah well! Hang in there!

My other problem is that even if she sleeps late, Angel gets going quickly once she wakes. Star, on the other hand, does not. She gets stressed when pressured to get everything (dress, hair, teeth, room) done in a timely manner. I get stressed when I find myself spending all or most of the morning periodically chasing Star to dress / brush / tidy. We have been working on this one for years without any consistent success. Again, if I am up, going and tuned in myself, I'm sure there would be a better chance of getting Star into a less stressful morning routine.

Big sister, little sister

I just watched Angel bouncing and twirling with a giggling, squealing Little Cherub. Then I turned on the computer and read these musings by Alice at Cottage Blessings, inspired by the sight of her eleven year old dancing with her nine month old sister. Since Little Cherub joined us the joy her big sisters find in her has been a constant source of delight, and I am so thankful that they have this experience of a small sibling at an age when very few of their peers know the pleasure of a baby in the family.

Alice goes on to talk about the worth of a mother's vocation, so often decried these days by those who see the choice of motherhood over career as a "waste". Speaking as someone with a dusty, unused doctorate on the shelf, I'm with Alice. No regrets!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Confession number 1: I am a horticultural disaster. Last week we attended a homeschool group session on plants. The girls were supposed to bring lists of ten plants found in their garden. Other than grass and weeds, we could boast the sum total of two. (In case you are wondering, daffodils and grape hyacinths, which are the only plants to have survived my black thumbs and Tevye's propensity for indiscriminately pulling out anything he thinks looks untidy).

Confession number 2: I don't get St.Patrick's Day. All that green and sentimentality for the emerald isle is simply baffling to this Englishwoman with no Irish links. Singing "Glorious Saint Patrick, great saint of our isle" at Mass seems kind of geographically misplaced in Bedfordshire. I do like St.Patrick, who is a great saint. It is just that the whole cultural thing that goes right over my head.

Nevertheless, a happy belated St.Patrick's Day to those of you who don't share my cultural inadequacy!

Ducking ...

Mothering Sunday

One of the cultural differences between the UK and the US is that we celebrate Mother's Day - or Mothering Sunday - on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally it was the day that anyone living away from home would attend their home, or "mother" church. Later girls working as servants would be given the day off to visit their families and take gifts to their mothers. In our family we don't tend to make a big thing of it, but I got a nice bunch of flowers, a card, and a spider plant carefully potted by Star :).

You can read more about the origins of mothering Sunday here. I wonder how the US came to adopt a May Sunday for Mother's Day?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy birthday Angel!

Since Thursday I have had a twelve year old. Only one more year and Angel will be a teenager (which I am thoroughly looking forward to as I refuse to believe the bad press about teens). Over the past year she has grown up so much. The little girl is disappearing fast and we are seeing more and more of the young woman she will become ... creative, socially adept, stylish (in a daughter of mine this is a shock!), financially astute, organised and generally fun to be with.

Last Saturday she had a movie and pizza party at home, and I was shocked by the sheer size of a group of eight 12 and 13 year olds. I remember when a children's party meant a lot of noise, but there still seemed plenty of space to absorb the numbers. Now there is still noise (they gave up watching the movie because they couldn't stop talking long enough), but they look as though they have swallowed Alice in Wonderland's "drink me" potion and grown too large for the house (or was it "eat me" that made her grow and "drink me" that shrank her?). Poor Angel was the exception, as much to her chagrin she has barely grown over the past 18 months while all her friends have outstripped her. I'm afraid nobody in our family does height!

Happy birthday Angel!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oh ... UGH!!!!

Today was one of those days ... as a result of which I recognise that the time has come when I simply have to get our days - particularly our mornings - into a proper routine.

If only I could start the day in the evening and work backwards. I am just so not a morning person!

Monday, March 12, 2007


Over the last couple of years I have become convinced that Latin is one of the most beneficial subjects to study. It teaches grammar, increases vocabulary, encourages logical thinking and provides building blocks that can later be used to learn other modern foreign languages. And it is the liturgical language of the Catholic Church for good measure.

Angel's Latin experience was a brief and reluctant dabbling with Latina Christiana. Star sat in on those lessons and showed more interest than her sister, so I decided to make an early start with a more serious attempt at learning Latin for her. This year we have been using Latin Prep Book 1 from Galore Park - really intended for children a year or more older - and ... it is working!!!! She can translate simple sentences from Latin to English and vice versa, is grasping the use of different cases, and best of all, seems to be enjoying it. We are going very slowly, with anything from three to five sentences a day, but regular short lessons are paying off. This time round, I'm determined we are going to stick with the Latin. And on a day when we got off to a late start and other things were like wading through glue, it is good to have something encouraging going on!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another instrument

We are adding another musical instrument to our collection. I have decided to get in on the act with Angel and Star and join the brass band ... so on Wednesday a euphonium will be arriving for me to try out. In the little tinkering with brass instruments I have done I have discovered I am definitely a lower register person - I just don't have the right mouth for trumpets or cornets - but it remains to be seen how well I will take to it. I can get tunes out of Star's baritone (similar, but lighter) which is a start.

How glad I am that we have tolerant neighbours!


Today we have enjoyed a balmy spring day, with temperatures into the low 60s.

I love that feeling that spring is here and summer just round the corner. It may turn out to be an illusion, but at least we enjoyed the day. We went to early Mass (9am) as Angel and Star had a recording session with the brass band this morning (they record an annual CD as a fund raiser). After lunch we went for a walk round the local country park with Star, Cherub, A-next-door and her mother. Angel and J-next-door opted to stay home and sunbathe!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Changing gear

It is that time of year when I usually change gear with our homeschooling to kickstart things after our customary February slump. This year it wasn't so much a slump as a series of interruptions, but we still certainly need kickstarting. We have another 14 or so weeks of this school year to go, and now Grandma's big move is over we badly need to get back into a reasonable routine. Our week has also changed shape, in that we always used to take Thursday as a light day - on alternate Thursdays we went to our Catholic homeschool group, and on other Thursdays we usually visited Grandma. Now Grandma is almost on our doorstep we can visit any time and the homeschool group has recently folded, so we now have no regular daytime commitments (after-school is another story!). As we head into spring and summer I want to get into the habit of doing all our formal schoolwork in the mornings, leaving the afternoons free. This week I have been road-testing a barebones schedule, which seemed almost too easy! Maybe I am so used to having to slot around other commitments that when we have a run of free mornings it just falls into place.

The ebb and flow of having the girls working together seems to have ebbed again. They really are not in the same place at all as regards their needs, aptitudes and modus operandi. When they work together, even if the material is appropriate to both, they niggle each other and go at different speeds. After a bit of tweaking my experimental schedule now looks like this ...

Angel - religion and independent reading daily
Monday - maths, geography (Journey North mystery class), science (reading and notebook page)
Tuesday - French, English, history notebook page
Wednesday - maths, French, science (experiment)
Thursday - French, English, science (exercise from textbook)
Friday - maths, English, geography (reading and notebook page)

Star - maths, Latin and read aloud daily
Monday - geography (Journey North mystery class), science (reading and notebook page)
Tuesday - religion, history
Wednesday - religion, history
Thursday - religion (notebook page), nature study
Friday - geography (reading and notebook page), science experiment

When possible I will still be taking one of the girls to Mass on Tuesdays, which will mean working in the afternoon, but sometimes there is no Tuesday Mass and other times we have no transport, so in practice it only works out about half the time.

Now we are getting back into the swing of things, I will be trying to post daily notes on my Bookworm's Diary blog again from next week.


What happens when I let Star loose on the technological marvels of the new Mac?

She adds a new widget to her dashboard.

A whoopee cushion.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Good Lent, bad Lent

Some years - all too few! - I feel we have a "good" Lent. We abstain from certain things, we pray more, we go to an extra weekday Mass, I fit in extra spiritual reading ... and I get to Easter feeling that we have prepared well. More often, we have "bad" Lents. Good intentions fall apart, and we do only a fraction of the ideal. Life is busy, even hectic, and I never manage to carve out time for reflection ... sometimes I don't even slow down enough to remember I ought to be trying to find time.

This year is another of our bad ones We did manage to make our salt dough crown of thorns, and are removing a thorn every day (or sometimes a cluster of thorns when we have forgotten for a while!). We are using the new Stations of the Cross book by Christine Haapala as the focus for our morning prayers. We have all abandoned some little luxury. (What do I mean "little"? We are talking chocolate here!). I have read ... um ... two chapters of my Lent book. Time for quiet prayer? Nope. Extra weekday Mass? Nope (in fact logistics have meant we haven't managed any weekday Mass). Serious attempt at spiritual reading? Nope. But I am realising that even the little we are doing is enough to give us pause occasionally. Lent is still noticeably a season of preparation, and Easter, when it comes, will be more of a celebration because of it. I, at least, am just that bit more focused on my shortcomings than usual. Maybe even a bad Lent can be a good Lent.

[Note: If this post turns out to be incoherent, it is because a herd of elephants went on the rampage above me. My yells of fear and reproach - lest the ceiling fall down - woke the Cherub. More yells. Concentration gone!]

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Elizabeth tagged me for this book and film meme.

Underline or put an asterisk next to all those books whose movies you have seen. Bold or highlight the ones you've read in a different colour.

1. Heidi (Johanna Spyri) **
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)**
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)**
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)**
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)**
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)**
9. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
10. Anne of Avonlea (L.M. Montgomery)**
11.The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
12. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)**
13. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
14. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)**
15. Chariots of Fire (Clarence E. Macartney)**
16. 1984 (Orwell)
17. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
18. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
19. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
20. War and Peace (Tolstoy)**(loved the BBC TV series)
21. Quo Vadis (Sienkiewicz)
22. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo)
23. The Robe (Douglas)
24. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
25. The Story of A Soul (St. Therese)

Hmmm! I started well ...

I tag anyone who wants to play!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How many is too many?

For no particular reason I found myself taking a mental inventory of the musical instruments in this house. We have ...

3 violins (1 full size, 1 3/4 size, 1 1/2 size)
1 cello (technically belongs to my Mum)
3 guitars (1 full size acoustic, 1 very small - 1/4 size? - acoustic, 1 3/4 size electric)
1 piano
1 keyboard
2 flutes (1 borrowed, with curved mouthpiece for young players)
1 oboe
1 trumpet
1 cornet
1 baritone horn
5 recorders (2 descant, 1 soprano, 1 treble, 1 tenor)
Assorted percussion (tambourine, wood blocks, bells, triangle and so on. Oddly enough, no drums)

How many musical instruments is too many? Is it possible to have too many? And what are the odds that Little Cherub will decide to play something we don't have? (Her sisters are rooting for trombone!)

My Visual DNA

This is very nifty! HT: Michele at Family Centered Life

And like Michele, I'd love to see yours!

Monday, March 05, 2007

I have converted

I have undergone a conversion ... a technological one. I have taken the plunge and this little beauty is now sitting on my desk ...
Yes, today I joined the ranks of Mac owners. I am still at the dipping a toe in stage and keep pressing the wrong buttons - not helped by suffering from cotton-wool brain as Little Cherub and I are both under par with some late winter nasty - but I think I am going to like it.

There were just too many people in this house wanting to use one laptop, and I'm afraid the laptop just can't take the strain. One died while under warranty last year, and our current one is about to be returned for repair or replacement (again!) because the screen casing cracked through after nine months and we can no longer close the lid or make anything other than minor adjustments to the screen angle. I'm hoping that now we are a two computer family (or will be once the laptop is back in the land of the living) we will have the best of both worlds - laptop flexibility and desktop durability.

My techie minded daughters are having a field day with the Mac. They were making movies within an hour of its arrival. Me? I'm still fumbling! All those years of Windows take a bit of unlearning.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

How "crunchy" are you?

How "crunchy" are you?

Me? I'm pretty crispy. I think when I first had Angel I was somewhere down in instant oatmeal, but I have got crunchier with each baby. A few more children and I'm sure I would have made it to whole-grain, though maybe not as far as super-nutty.

HT: Michele at Family Centered Life

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Confessions of a glutton

It is Lent and I have given up chocolate, in all shapes and forms. A bit of self-denial and self-discipline ... which I am afraid are not my strong points. Nevertheless, I am doing well with the chocolate and keeping to my resolution. I'm afraid, though, that giving up one thing is just papering over the cracks. I had to acknowledge to myself this week that one of my besetting sins is gluttony. First, there were the cream cakes. I bought a box of four to share with Mum, Angel and Star. It turned out Mum already had some cream cake in the fridge ... so I ate that, then ate one of the others later. I give up chocolate, then eat double cream cake. The next day it was cheese and onion rolls. Angel and I walked to the shop to buy some bread for lunch. She asked for a snack to eat on the way home. We bought cheese and onion rolls. I ate one. She ate half. I ate her other half. So much for self-denial and self-discipline.

So here I am, confessing to being just plain greedy. As it is Lent, I'm going to try to deal with the sin of gluttony by eating more simply and less indulgently. And I'm going to keep myself accountable by posting here.

I'll know life is back to normal

... when I'm back to blogging regularly!

Meanwhile, I'm still unpacking boxes.