I’m a huge fan of brilliant children’s books, we have a bookcase that is bulging with them and I love curling up on the sofa with my gang for a mega reading session as they bring me book after book. We’ve been pretty relaxed recently with our home education, not really having much of a theme or a plan, just going with the flow. And although that has been working ok, I felt like we would all benefit (ok mainly me), from having a bit more of an idea of what we might be doing on any given day. So I decided to plan some activities for the week, and being the book lovers that we are, it made sense to base those activities around a ‘book of the week’. I strongly believe that good quality books are the cornerstone of a child’s education and that children should learn to read with ‘real books’ not phonetically contrived and usually utterly boring reading schemes. But anyway, I digress… I decided to start with an old favourite of mine ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. I love how it’s less of a book and more of a chant with accompanying…

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I read a brilliant post last week by Lauren over at Dilan and Me. It was about being kind to ourselves and how hard we find it to celebrate our strengths, instead berating ourselves for our failings, always self deprecating and never just accepting a compliment when it is given. It really got me thinking, because there is one area in my life that I absolutely cannot stand being complimented on. One phrase that makes me feel so awkward I would rather spontaneously combust than hear it. That phrase is… ‘you’re such a good mum’ Oh god, the horror. It’s like nails down a blackboard to me. Imagine someone saying it to you now… does it give you a warm fuzzy feeling or does it make you cringe? Do you feel the urge to burst into nervous laughter and shout ‘Noooooo, no I’m not. I’m terrible! I’m an AWFUL mother’? Because I do. Does your mind immediately present you with 6 recent scenarios when you felt like anything but a ‘good mum’ as you blush and think ‘if only you knew the truth’? To think that someone thinks I’m worthy of praise, oh It makes me feel so guilty. Because I’m not.…

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We’re still finding out feet with this home education thing, and every week we seem to try different things, from being more relaxed and going with the flow to putting a more ridged routine in place. It’s all about trying things out and finding out what work’s for us as a family at this time. I’ve decided recently that we need a little bit more structure to our weeks. just because I feel like I should be providing more interesting activities for the girls to do if they feel like it, and without much of a theme to base it around I wasn’t feeling very inspired. So I’ve decided to introduce our own version of a book based curriculum and see how we go with that for a while. The first book we are going to explore is We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen I’ve called our little curriculum ‘Read Explore Create’ because those are the three pillars of our home education philosophy I suppose and the three things that I want us to do every single week. So I’ve followed the basic idea that you read the same book every day for five days, and then there is one activity a day based around…

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Ever since we first became parents nearly five years ago, we’ve always had a family bed, whether we wanted to or not. Our babies have all been happiest snuggled up next to us at night time, breastfeeding is just so much easier when you don’t even have to sit up to do it, and even as they’ve got bigger there’s usually at least one of them that wants to spend part of the night in our bed. It’s not something that I want to fight against, if there’s one thing that I can do without in my life it’s parenting battles right? I’m happy as long as everyone is getting enough sleep and for us, bed sharing seems to be the easiest way for that to happen. The only times that it’s been a bit of a problem is when we’ve had babies that are feeding through the night. It would always seem to happen that I would have just settled Ernie back to sleep and one of the girls would then crawl in and wrap herself around me, making it difficult for me to fall asleep. Or when Greta was born and Mabel was a toddler, she would wake up and come in, see her sister was…

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I have a confession to make. One of those ‘I’m pretty sure this makes me a bad Mum but I’m going to carry on doing it anyway because I don’t know how to stop’ things, and I feel bad about it but, I’m pretty sure most of you do it too. I throw away my children’s artwork. I know, I know, I do feel really guilty about it but honestly there are piles and piles of it, if I started keeping it I’d need to buy a second house to store it all within six months. I mean I usually keep it for a while, and of course I do the whole, ‘Oh my gosh that picture is so good I love the colours you’ve used there!’ and then I prop it up on the side to ‘show Daddy later’. Daddy comes home and oohs and ahhs over the brilliant picture and then it stays on the side for as long as I can stand it before, making sure that no one is watching, I quickly stuff it inside a cereal box on my way to the recycling bin. But I feel guilty about it I really do. After all I…

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Well, I said it was going to get done every month so here it is getting done. I left it quite late as always, Mabel was poorly yesterday and my camera battery died so I have only managed to get these two photos with them all in the same frame this month. Mabel isn’t always so miserable/staring vacantly at scooby doo on the TV, but she was really suffering with a tummy ache and high temp bless her heart. I’d love to say that they also aren’t always in PJs/naked/scruffy looking, but that wouldn’t be quite as true unfortunately. Mabel was really excited about Valentine’s day and we had plans to wear pretty dresses and make jam tarts, but sadly it wasn’t to be. We’ve decided to postpone our V day celebrations until she’s feeling 100% better, but there was still a lot of love going on yesterday between these three. When Mabel was sad, Greta brought her her kindle and said ‘will this cheer you up Sissy?’. Greta was so proud of Ernie riding his little trike around, she kept saying ‘Good boy baby, clever boy!’. When I was giving Mabel cuddles, Ernie jumped ontop to cuddle us and…

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Saturday was an extremely lazy day in our house. Outside was bitterly cold, we were all feeling slightly under the weather and I think to be honest suffering with the belated January blues. January was actually a great month for us, we cracked on with lots of decorating in the house, we ordered new sofas and a new bed, we did some entertaining and spent lots of time with family and we still managed a couple of nice days out even though we were so busy. And when February came along we kind of ran out of steam I guess. The first week was a wash out weather wise and then the temperature dropped and being cold always makes me grumpy, and living with half decorated rooms is a little bit depressing to tell the truth. So we’ve been in a little bit of a February slump. So on Saturday morning we woke up and none of us really had any desire to get up and go anywhere so we had one of those amazingly unproductive days that make you feel a little bit guilty but at the same time you secretly love them. At midday we all ended up back in our new super king sized bed for random snuggles…

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10 years we’ve been together this year and I think it’s safe to say life is not quite as romantic as it once was. This time in our lives is not about wining and dining in fancy restaurants, nights out at the theatre, or even the cinema. It’s not about overnight trips away at a moments notice or travelling to far flung places just the two of us. The new experiences we are having together are much closer to home these days. We don’t have hours to talk of our hopes and dreams, our past and our future, we’re lucky to get through a sentence without being interrupted or forgetting what we were trying to say. This is not the time for Sundays spent in bed, we’d be quite happy with more than an hour before one of the kids comes in to join us! ‘Us’ these days means five not two. It’s hard to hold hands with each other when we’ve only four between us and there’s six of theirs. Six little hands, all needing a piece of us, it doesn’t leave much  time for each other. Life at the moment is chaotic, it’s busy, frustrating and sometimes relentlessly hard. But it’s still romantic… just in a different way. When you…

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