About Us.

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Essex, United Kingdom
We are a home educating family and we live in Essex. We took our six year old daughter (now 10) out of school September 2005. Our son is 4 years old and will also not being going to school at any point!! This blog was originally started to talk about what we do as a home ed family but over time it has just turned into a general blog which includes our pets, our family and our everyday lives. I guess our home education journey is just us living our lives anyway. If you have any questions or comments please email me at xscrunchee@aol.com

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Just a couple of things.

First of all I would like to let you know that my Mum has set up a chat board/forum to chat about tropical fish. You can find the link on the right hand side of this blog.
Feel free to join if you have a tropical aquarium, if you are considering getting one in the future or even if you're just plain nosey and want to have a look! lol  http://tropicalfish.freeforumhost.net/index.php?act=idx

As you may know, Emmie has her own blog (link on right again) and commented the other day that people can't be finding hers very interesting as not many people read it and leave comments apart from me and Nanny, so.............if you get a chance I know that she would love it if she had a few regular readers who wouldn't mind leaving her the occassional comment. She doesn't do great big long entries like me (so don't panic-lol)
and she doesn't really post that often so it would only be once a week or fortnight thing.
Thanking you all in advance (if you wouldn't mind popping on).  Here's the link-

Also sending out positive thoughts and good vibes to a friend of mine who is being taken to court by our 'lovely' LEA. She was in court yesterday, today and possibly for a few days more yet! So hoping that it all goes well and in her favour, she has a good case so I'm sure that it will .  (GOOD LUCK;-) !!!

Aaah, just noticed that Em has put wobblymoo's blog link on her blog, bless her. lol
(I haven't even done that myself, ooops, sorry Denise, lol   adding it right now)!!! LOL

Monday, 26 February 2007

Cryogenics, fish breeding, snakes and more.

Well, here goes. 
A couple of days ago I sat here and wrote a rather long entry inspired by Emmie having a day of asking sooo many interesting questions. I was happily typing away and at just gone 11pm I had finally finished. I decided to add a couple of photos to the entry and that's when it all went wrong. I lost the lot!! The whole damn entry dissapeared. Mmm, I was not to impressed. It was too late to start over so I just left it and thought that I would do it the following day, but in the end couldn't really be bothered as I think I was still sulking that I had messed up. It has taken me this long to get motivated to do it all again and if it dissapears this time then I will give up and this entry will never be read!! ('Let's hope!' I hear you cry)  lol

Anyway, the other day Emmie was watching Sponge Bob (just for a change lol) and one of the characters got trapped inside a freezer for years and years and when he was finally defrosted he noticed that everything had changed but he was still the same age etc as when he was originally frozen. This got Emmie thinking about cryogenics and she wanted to know if you can freeze people, if anyone has tried it, if they would still look the same when they were defrosted as they did before being frozen etc etc etc.
I knew the very basics but needed some help from Nanny to fill in the bits I was unsure of, so Emmie now understands the basics of cryogenics.

Next thing which happened was while at Nanny's house, her gouramis (type of tropical fish- see photo) started breeding. May not sound too exciting but it actually was fascinating. The male makes a little bubble nest on the surface of the water and then him and the female perform this little act where he basically folds himself in half around the female, she releases her eggs and he fertilises them. The eggs go floating off all over the place and the little male swims about and appears to be eating the eggs. It turns out that what he is actually doing is collecting the eggs and putting them into the bubble nest. Aaaah, bless him!! He will then try to 'see off' any other fish which come close to his nest. It really was a great thing to watch. Emmie found it amazing and considering myself nor Nanny had ever seen this before ourselves, it was pretty great!!

A photo of a honey gourami. Gorgeous init?

When we got home Emmie wrote a really lovely story about two flowers. The pictures were excellent too. At a later date I will type her story up and add it to the blog with a couple of photo's of her drawings. Emmie says that it is one of her best stories ever!! ;-)

At bedtime Daddy fed the snake, Booka. Emmie has watched Booka eat thousands of times yet still wanted to watch him eat his mouse. She stood there watching and giving me a running commentary. 'He's looking at the side of the mouse Mum, now he's going round to the back, now he's in front of it.'  lol
On this particular day Emmie decided to ask if Booka was in the wild and had to catch a live mouse, would he poison the mouse to kill it? So, we had a lesson on venomous snakes and constrictors and the different ways in which each of them killed their prey. We also had to discuss how Booka stretched his mouth so wide, the fact that he doesn't chew his food and how his muscles pull the food further and further down into his tummy.

Here is a pic of Booka. Not a very clear photo but I will try to get a better one soon. Booka is a corn snake.

So, all in all quite a busy brain day. Not that the LEA would be impressed by any of this as none of it is written, it isn't part of the NC and they are so anti Home Education in this area that the fact that a 7 year old girl is so inquisitive, happy and bright is neither here nor there. But d'you know what? Tough titty!! Emmie asks so many complex questions and actually understands and remembers the answers you give her.
Who gives a stuff about similes, the area of a triangle and Pythagoras' therom? lol
Living is the biggest lesson of all. 

We done our hands up for home ed over the weekend. We are hoping to see them on the site soon. Aunty Nadine joined in too and Liam very kindly 'helped' her to colour hers in!! LOL

Yet another long entry but I tried to break it up a bit with some photo's so I hope it wasn't tooooo bad to read, (lol) but if it was, all I can say is...........................................................................................................................
Tough!! No-one said that you had to read all of it! If it was so boring how come you are still reading? Eh?     ;-)    lol lol lol

Jay xx
hehehe hahaha

P.S- I've added the photo's, now I just have to click 'save' so here's hoping it don't go and vanish on me!! lol


Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Pancake day today.

It's pancake day today. Not that I can be bothered to stand in the kitchen making pancakes but the kids love them and Em likes to help so I don't think I have much choice. (Well I have but I'd feel mean   lol)

Tomorrow I have a load of new plant coming which needs to go in my fish tank. We have a tropical aquarium in the living room, it's a lovely tank (240 litres) and it is in desperate need of new plants. Mum found a website which sells the plants at really good prices so we ordered a load of them and are aiming to have our tanks full of foliage. (Mum has the same tank at her house). Yesterday I bought some nice fine gravel which is really good for the plants roots to grow in, so today I am going to have to wash it all before it can go in the tank. It starts off so dusty and dirty, it needs loads and loads of rinsing before it can go into the aquarium.

Emmies fish are doing really well, they are swimming about quite happily and she still loves them so the novelty hasn't worn off yet!  lol

An update on the ants-
They tank ants are doing well, yesterday they had a nice juicy dead fly!! (Yummy)
Quite a few of them came out to investigate when I put the fly in, then they all start pulling it in different directions, trying to get it down the entrance hole. lol
As for the ants in the antworld ant farm, they still do not seem to be doing a great deal.
They rarely come to the food pot to eat and even though the queen is still laying eggs, it seems that perhaps she is eating some of the eggs or even some worker ants because compared to the tank ants-there are hardly any ants in there. I wonder if she eats dead workers when they startve to death because they are not bothering to get enough food. Weird really because they can get to the food-I've seen them in the pot albeit not very often.
Maybe it is just a bad environment to keep ants in. We'll see how it goes but come the warmer weather I may just release them outside and keep the tank ants as I would not want to keep them imprisoned in a torture chamber and if they are not happy, nor am I!!

Liam is still doing great with using his potty but it seems that the pants thing is a little confusing for him. lol
Every time I put pants on him-he pees them. Then, a while later he will ask for pants on because he wants to do a wee!! LOL bless. He'll get there.
He has also proven to me that he knows most of his colours even though he likes me to think that he doesn't!! The other day he was showing me blue, red, green and yellow toys. If he said the wrong colour I didn't correct him and after a couple of minutes he would correct himself and tell me the right colour.
Last night when I gave him and Emmie their Yakult drinks, one bottle had a green straw, the other a pink one. Liam told me, 'No green one Mummy, want pink one!'
Goes to show how much they learn even if you don't sit spoon feeding it to them!

Em is coming on in leaps and bounds, she can add 10 onto pretty much any number and know what the answer is, she can count her money in her money box and add it all up. (5p's, 10p's, 20p's. 50p's, £1 and £2 coins.) She can count a pile of £10 notes easily, she is getting to grips with analogue clocks and her reading/writing continues to improve.
Later today (I think) our next door neighbour is popping in with some worksheets for Emmie to do. I'm against tests and things but these sheets are simply part of our neighbours college work as she is training to be a teacher and is currently doing some work on Home Education and has put some worksheets together for Em to do.
I have explained to Emmie that they are not tests and she doesn't have to do well or try hard or anything, just have fun. Emmie is actually excited to do them and can't wait because she says she loves worksheets. lol
I wonder how college is going to portray HE?? I doubt they are going to praise or encourage it, after all they are training people to become teachers, they are not likely to paint HE in a good light are they? Tut tut!!

I have loads of stuff that I could waffle on about, things the kids have said and done, what's been going on in general etc but looking at how much I have written so far, I fear that if I continue to bore you all, I may be responsible for putting you into a coma through boredom so I am going to shut up now!!
Before I go though, I would like to put a link here about a brilliant site 'Hands up for home ed'
If you click on the link you will see what it is all about, please join in as the more people that take part-the better.
There is loads going on at the moment regarding He and the law but I haven't mentioned much about it so far in this blog. I feel that there are plenty of people doing great things to try to make a difference, lots of people talking about it and stuff, and I don't think I know or understand enough to write about itall, besides I doubt very much that I have enough people reading this blog to make any difference and those who do read it already know what's going on no doubt .
Anyway, here's the link- http://handsup4homeed.blogspot.com/
Cheers for reading my ramblings everyone.
Jay xx

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Valence house workshop.

Hi everyone,

Well, on Thursday we went to the half term workshop at Valence house museum.
Emmie really enjoyed it. The project was making bird feeders and the session lasted two hours. Emmie made a fat ball, a seed feeder and also a book mark, painting by numbers card thing and a picture decorated with feathers and sequins etc. I will have to photograph them. Anyway, the workshop cost £2.50 and there were about 14 children there. Emmie would really like to go to other workshops in the future so I will have to keep my eye on what's coming up.

We nearly didn't get there though as we had a bit of a disaster indoors!!!!
I was rushing about trying to get the kids ready, the housework/washing etc done as well as cook chicken and rice for the evening meal (as I was having my hair cut in the evening and wouldn't have had much time to cook dinner when I got home so I was trying to be 'organised').
To cut a long story short, while I was in the kitchen Emmie called to ask if Liam was supposed to have 'that'!! I went into the front room to see what 'that' was. It was nail varnish!!! Little Liam had found a bottle of it in the fish tank cupboard (I didn't even know it was in there) and the little poppit had poured half a bottle of the stuff all over the black leather setee!!!!!
First thing I done was grab the pack of baby wipes and started trying to clean it off of his hands then the setee.
Too late, it dried almost instantly and it was not wiping off of the furniture!!!
I then ran upstairs and grabbed a bottle of nail varnish remover and carefully started trying to dab the stain off of the setee. Mmmm, that didn't seem to work neither, but the black from the leather was coming off onto the cloth.
I had a quick look on line to see if I could find some help. I read that the best thing to use is nail varnish remover or hair spray so I thought I'd give hair spray a try. BIG MISTAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!
The hairspray did not remove any of the nail varnish but quite successfully removed a thin layer of leather and left a faded patch!
In the end I decided that I would have to stick with the nail varnish remover working on tiny areas at a time. This, in the end, did work! However it took a very long time and did not remove every bit. Afterwards I had to put leather moisuriser onto the setee and pray that the leather was not to ruined.
What a nightmare eh? lol
At least it was only on the setee though and not in his eyes or something. It was my own fault, even though I didn't know it was in there-I should have been more careful I guess.

Anyway, after we got back from Valence I went to Mums, the hairdresser came and cut my hair and my sisters (Nadine) and we got home around 7 I think.
The kids wanted tomato soup for dinner so that's what they had.
Everything was going fine until I tried to dish myself up some chicken and rice.
Suddenly Emmie called out to the kitchen sounding very worried. I came rushing in to find that her whole cup of tomato soup had fallen over on the tray and ran all down the armchair, down the side of the seat cushion, all over the other cushion and onto her brand new grey trousers.
I began cleaning up and got Em to take her bottoms off, she then trod on the cushion and covered her socks in soup!! LOL LOL
As I was cleaning up I was laughing, all I could think was 'What a day!' LOL
Later that evening Emmie was chatting to me in the kitchen while I was putting stain remover on her trousers ready to go in the wash. She was happily chatting away and dancing about in the kitchen when she accidently danced into the dogs water bowl and tipped the whole thing over. Water everywhere, it ran under the bin, the chest freezer-all over the place so I had to mop it up and use towels to soak up as much as I could.

What a day indeed!!!!! LOL LOL

Friday, 9 February 2007

Roxie is home and more snow!

Emmie was thrilled this morning because flat Roxie is home!
She arrived with lot's of photo's and booklets and bits 'n' bobs from Disney land etc.
I'm just relieved that she managed to get back. Poor Em would have been heartbroken if both flats went missing! So, Emmie has spent hours today reading all about Stockton in California, places of interest there, Roxie's journal, leaflets from Disney land and other bits like that. She now wants to look on her globe to see how much bigger California is compared to UK. I think I am going to buy her a large map to put up on the wall in her room so that she can mark different places that the flats visit.
I have never had any interest in geography whereas Emmie has always finds it fascinating. She loves looking  at her globe and seeing how far away countries are, how big/small they are, etc.

And yes, we have had more snow only this time it was really thick. It always looks so beautiful and clean when it is fresh.
One of my brothers (Gareth, 23 years) came round with my Sister so that they could all play in the back garden with Emmie, Liam and Charlie (the kids Daddy).
So, I wrapped the kids up warm-2 pairs of trousers each, 2 pairs of socks, T-shirts under jumpers, gloves etc.
Emmie was not happy at this point as she finds certain things uncomfortable and wearing layers drives her made! Her trousers were annoying, her socks were annoying etc. She is a very sensitive little girl, not only with clothing-just in general really. She cries if you get angry or upset with her, she cannot cope with annoying clothing labels or wonky sock seams, lot's of things irritate her. If people are unkind to her she gets really upset, more than average I'd say.  There is actually a website for highly sensitive people/children. People look as sensitivity as a negative thing, whereas I now see it as very positive and try to embrace it rather than put her down or try to 'toughen her up'.
I have always been highly sensitive myself  (often described as over sensitive, too sensitive, shy, etc) and it is now looking like little Liam may be the same, he gets stressed over his socks not feeling ok, his label in his T-shirt, etc. Charlie (kids Dad) is the odd one out in our house, he hasn't got a sensitive bone in his body and really struggles to understand how such small things affect us. He does see the funny side though and says that in the end he is going to be frightened to speak just in case he upsets one of us and makes us cry!!! LOL 
and            http://www.sensitiveperson.com/

Anyway, back to the snow! lol
So, eventually the kids were ready to go and play. This is the first time that Liam has been able to actually play in the snow.
They had a great time! I don't know who had more fun,  Gareth and Charlie or the kids!!  ;-)
So, they played outside for over an hour. In the end I had to call them in as their hair was wet, their trousers were soaked, their gloves were sopping wet, etc.
Neither of them wanted to stop playing, in fact they both ended up crying because they had to come in!  Bless-lol.

Like I said in a previous post, I don't care much for snow myself but it is lovely to see the kids enjoying it soooo much.


Yippee! I have been trying to figure out for ages how to have the pics with the writing instead of at the side. LOL

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Books, books, books.

Yesterday we went to the local library. It's been quite a while since we last went so Emmie was very excited to be going there.

Liam was a bit of a handful, he liked their 'puters' (computers) and seemed to be under the impression that it was 'his turn' to have a go on them. He spent most of the time we were there climbing up onto the computer chairs trying to press the buttons on the keyboard! He was not impressed when I kept getting him down and showing him all the different books. It was a bit of a battle but I won ;-) (just about) lol

While I was chasing Liam, Emmie was happily choosing books for herself. She got slightly carried away and ended up with 12 books. She says that where we haven't been for a while she wants to gets loads to keep her busy! lol
The books she has are all quite thick paper backs and I would guess that they are for much older children. Some of the words in the books are pretty hard, such as enthusiastically, peninsula, semitolerable, gourmet, nonchalantly etc.
She has no problem actually reading most of the words, (of course there are a few she really struggles with but I have to read them twice myself! lol)  it's the meanings she asks for. She just HAS to know what the word means in order to enjoy the story.
The librarian was supprised at the books Emmie had chosen and asked her who would be reading them all to her. Emmie proudly replied that she would be reading them herself and the librarian smiled and made a sort of snorting sound as if to say-Mmmm, I doubt that!
But there you go, they say ignorance is bliss and he looked pretty happy! lol
I don't feel the need to talk to people and convince them that Emmie is more than capable of doing certain things, if they wish to doubt her abilities, that's fine. Emmie knows what she can and can't do and I see no reason why we should have to justify or prove things to people. Emmie is confident and that's all that matters.
I have a feeling that 3 weeks is not going to be quite long enough for Em to get through soooo many books but I can always re-new them on line if she does need more time.
She has always been an avid reader and has read all of the books in her room, many of them over and over again. I think it's about time I had a look on ebay for some new ones ;-)


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