Where Might I Have Been Today (Chin Chin)

I haven’t spun many words these last few days! So, what’s been going on? I can report that it has been raining lots. The children have all been playing up a bit before bedtime, even with going up slightly later. Thor Was the first to have his iPad privileges rescinded, until further notice I explained. Well, since then, each and every one of them have seen their screen time reduced to nothing. Mind you, daddy has allowed them to watch his big iPad. This means that at present Thor, Aaliyah and Caleb are watching ‘powder puff girls’ on the iPad and T and A (Tara and Amritsar) are gorging on ‘my little pony’ on the TV. This is where I am today.

We have avoided lessons thus far. Any mention of them has been seen off with the children’s scorn. Daddy taps away at his computer screen, moaning at me ‘why aren’t the children doing their lessons’! In a short while I explain. Tara is now crying. Don’t worry (a minute later), she is now smiling again!

John and I should have been sunning ourselves on South Beach, Miami today as yesterday’s flight would have seen us say goodbye to the children and our nanny Sindy and we were to jet off to South Florida. Sadly alas, in the event of the lockdown, a second holiday for us has been cancelled. We have not been away without the children since Hawaii three years ago. That’s if you don’t include the 3 nights in Venice. We are now pushing Virgin Holidays for a refund. They seem rather reticent.

Here’s to a time post lockdown and social distancing. This holiday might be several months in coming now, a bit further down the line, but things will turn around eventually. Don’t get me wrong as I love the children enormously and look forward to many sunny international beach holidays with them in the years to come. But that’s not to say that I wasn’t looking forward to 8 nights off with John, sipping cocktails in the hotel or perhaps a beach bar. So I raise my virtual glass of frozen strawberry daiquiri to you now! Here’s looking to the future!

A last minute moment! Caleb has just come into the kitchen and said ‘Alexa, please play Baby Shark’! Eek, yes, he has finally mastered control of the smart speakers! We are all doomed.

It’s a Dogs Life

Today I pay homage to man’s (and woman’s and children’s) best friend! Our family would not be complete without Remus and Gracie, our rapscallion hounds. Sadly no pictures of Daddy or Amritsar snuggled up to them, however I searched my camera roll for images of the dogs this morning. They are both very happy dogs and within that happiness, they share those feelings with us, their family! Incredibly emotional creatures, dogs. I know that I have published a few of these pictures before, but a collection of images works too right?

Breakfast Crowns

Every so often we have a small ritual in our house at breakfast time. When 2 or so cereal boxes are empty on the same day, Dadda gets out the scissors and we celebrate with ‘Breakfast Crowns’. They are so easily constructed. You can work it out by simply looking at today’s second picture! Go on, have a right Regal time!

A small video from last year when ‘Breakfast Crowns’ were quite the thing.

A Little Mayhem Before Bedtime

I might just be giving my age away here when I say that I am feeling rather nostalgic laying here, listening to The Beat’s ‘Hands off…She’s Mine’, I was a very young chap when the 80’s Ska revival took place! You can’t but tap your foot to such a cool genre of music.

Tara and Aaliyah are on the opposite sofa watching something on Daddy’s iPad and Thor, Amritsar and Caleb are playing mobile toy car speed track on Thor’s ride around buggy that they only just remembered had the concealed race track within it, thanks to me reminding them that is!

They were playing nicely in the entrance hall, they have now moved into the living room. Lots of debate with who goes next and where they are going to position themselves next. At present they are beneath the piano, ‘be careful, mind your heads’ I say remembering many minor bumps over the years!

‘Best Friend’ a classic track used in the sound tracks of many a movie has just come on! Did I say that I am feeling nostalgic. They are all running around the coffee table now. I love it when they ‘play nicely’ together. You would never know that 30 minutes ago both Thor and Caleb were fighting.

Oops, the harmony has momentarily lapsed and Amritsar has started screaming that Thor isn’t letting her play.

The Zen of young children seldom lasts too long. But then again, there’s always something else to move on to!

‘Save it for later’ just came on. These guys (The Beat) really do deserve a little credit – Respect! And maybe our crew too for playing so nicely ‘Hands off…It’s Mine’! Oh dear…

Just a Few Woes With It All

All sat quietly watching a movie now (though Caleb has nodded off). The struggles of their homeschooling lessons this morning, thankfully behind us. Another day of screams and tantrums once we had printed off their schools email attachments!

It all feels a little more introspect with the grey clouds outside and the rain pouring down. There seemed to be the feeling of a lot more freedom last week when we had the open back door and a garden full of brilliant sunshine!

To be honest, we are struggling with Thor when it comes to focusing. He chooses to disappear as soon as the printer starts up at 9am. And coaxing him back to the kitchen is such an uphill drive.

The three little ones have been at school for 8 months now, minus these weeks of lockdown of course. One of their exercises today was writing two sentences! I tried as hard as possible to get them to at least try, but nothing. I then thought to return to basics and get them to write down the alphabet. Thor once again went a.w.o.l. Aaliyah tried her best to copy the letters as I drew them. But poor Caleb just doodled and scribbled away, giggling merrily to himself as he did so!

I am beginning to worry that there won’t be any school before September. The children do need structure and I believe that we do not have enough of it at home with the way things stand at present!

A small positive to be found today is that I can share news on the potty front. And that is that we have retired ours, as of yesterday. Only the loo from now on for the little ones. I should also add that Aaliyah has been completely ‘dry’ for months now. Whereas the boys still rely on their nighttime pull-ups. Bravo Aaliyah, not a single mishap!

As ever, thank you for reading.

No More Mr Scribbles

Just a quickie today! It is late afternoon and I know that you are all busy enough (or maybe not)! This morning’s homeschooling certainly had its moments! We got through 2 of the 4 exercises with Tara and Amritsar and to be honest, just the one exercise with the little ones! I was grateful enough for that! Thor just flatly refused to participate.

On the art front however, Caleb is coming along slowly but surely! His scribbles generally end up on the tone of ever so slightly brown and mostly uninterpretable. But today saw his still life of 2 leaves (albeit on the small scale). It is a start, is it not?

Just One Of Those Days

It is a low news day today thus far! The not so famous five are all at present tinkering on their screens. The noise is a little loud! So I just told them to quieten down. Aaah, that’s better.

Lunch was a charcuterie with mozzarella, olives, and salad, accompanied by lashings of black current juice. Daddy is now mowing the lawn. It’s another hot and sunny day here in ‘The Shires’.

The girls are going on about playing chess later. Perhaps after Dadda has a sunbathe and daddy has finished his lawn.

A low news day for sure. Oh! I finally got around to changing the bedding. So, all clean and fresh. I just have to figure out how to persuade Remus not to treat our bed as his! I have pushed the bedroom door shut. That will stop him for now but it’s just a matter of time before one of the children walk in there and leave the door open! This said, he is at present residing in the spare room. I don’t blame him really. He’s just looking for a bit of peace and quiet. And that’s really, really hard to find in our house!

Slow braised silverside of beef for dinner tonight. Yes you’ve got it, with all the trimmings! Yummy! Thanks for reading.

A Lot Can Happen in an Hour

Have you ever tried to blow up one of those long modelling balloons? I have lost my voice and my head is aching, I actually feel quite sick. All I wanted to do was lie in the sun and improve my suntan!

We had finished a lunch of ham, potato and mayonnaise on sourdough with a pickle on the side. After which the children seemed content with raiding the recycle bag and making spaceships in the kitchen. In the garden I lay for what might have been 30 minutes. Daddy had just opened his parcel that had just arrived this morning! Within it lay his new set of hair clippers.

The children all came outside with bubble wands! My oh my, Amritsar’s bubble creating has vastly improved since last year. Even Caleb seems to have suddenly ‘got it’! 10 minutes of bubbles and screamies, they then give up on that and decide to build a house on the lawn with the cushions from the outdoor sofas.

Daddy walks outside with hair looking as if Tara has hacked at it with the scissors as she did to her siblings 6 months or so ago! ‘Can you help me out here’ Daddy asks me’! I turn over to tan my back a little. ‘Okay’ I reply ‘in a bit, I’m still sunbathing’. He returns inside.

Thor comes out screaming ‘blow up my balloon Dadda’, holding up a modelling balloon that had been hidden at the back of the cupboard these last 12 months! They are Completely impossible to blow up! I try to help however, almost haemorrhaging as I do so. I remember the entertainer ‘Mr Muddles’ from the children’s party last year and try to stretch the orange coloured balloon as I blow. I surprised myself! The long balloon is now inflated and Thor is a very happy chap. Caleb now hands me a green one. I take a breath, my head hurts, I blow. Slowly it expands – then POP! Caleb screams.

Daddy comes back out, his hair looking somewhat improved. Only some length now on the very back. His hair is looking a little like a ‘mullet’ at this point. Hmmmm. ‘I’ll help you with the back momentarily’ I say.

I look back up, there are 5 modelling balloons of various colours being waved at me. They are all screaming.

Daddy tries to shape Thor’s first, orange balloon into a sabre / cutlass. Thor screams ‘I don’t want that, undo it’. Daddy can’t.

My head is still pumping, I’m a bit short of breath. Caleb shouts something and we all look at him. He stares at Thor’s orange balloon that is now lying on the table. It explodes with a very loud bang. We all look at him and then each other. ‘Caleb’ I say ‘you really have homed in on your ability for breaking things’ I can’t keep a straight face at this point. ‘It seems that You just have to look at a thing now and it explodes!’ We all laughed and laughed and laughed.

Anyhow, moving on. I have just helped Daddy with his ‘mullet’ in the upstairs bathroom. Now looking much improved!

So much can happen in an hour, can’t it? Gotta go, Aaliyah is now screaming at high decibel.

The Friday Movie Matinee

As Tara vacuum cleans beneath the sofa cushions, I notice just how much white hair our rapscallion hounds shed! Definitely ‘shed loads’! I never see any of the black hairs though! Tara surprises me constantly. Mind you she ended up making farty raspberry sounds with the ‘Dyson’ just after this picture was taken! She is now giggling lots. It was hard to write this without using the word ‘Hoover’! I have to smile.

We have just ventured past lunch and we have a time of relative calm. I made chapatti (flat breads) for lunch. Not to eat with curry, but fill with ham, salad and mayonnaise. I rolled out 12 as thinly as humanly possible and layered 5 between sheets of tin foil for freezing and griddled the 7 for us to eat now. Doing this makes easy work of homemade chapattis at a later date. Caleb has come on in leaps and bounds! Not that long ago, his eating a lunch roll of meat and salad was an extremely messy affair. Today he coped admirably with the roll and no one spilt their tumbler of orange squash! Result!

The usual screams were had this morning when the schools daily worksheets arrived via daddy’s printer. We managed to get some of the work done, but their focus was short lived. However, Amritsar and Tara wrote wonderful stories about their favourite teddy’s having adventures. It’s funny to see in their relatively limited field of knowledge, how they shape their stories. You know, Christmas, Santa, a party, the shops and so on.

A movie matinee in Daddy and Dadda’s room shortly on the larger screen. It will keep them focused for a couple of hours. I found a bag of corn kernels in the cupboard, so homemade popcorn to be had if they are all good.

We were supposed to video call with a friend, Ameena this morning, but she did not call sadly. Maybe another day. She helped me with baby Thor when I lived in Bangkok back in 2014. We remained friendly over these few years. Mind you, she keeps asking when the family are coming to visit her in Thailand! Oh brother, the thought of our not so famous five running amuck in an aeroplane! It really doesn’t bare thinking about! A few years to wait until they are a bit less crazy!

Okay, got to go and choose a movie. Perhaps an update later in the day.

A Lūʻau in the Living Room (or Not)

A great idea was hatched in my mind this morning with having read fellow blogger Anna Dusseau’s homeschooling blog. One of her suggestions was themed rooms. If you can’t go away on holiday, bring the holiday to you! It seemed like a great idea. I remembered having purchased inflatable pineapples and palm trees a plenty, various birthday gifts for the children over the years. Please take note! Inflatables make perfect gifts for children as they are both fun and inexpensive.

Okay, you might remember that Caleb has always had a unique ability to break things! Big things, small things, plastic things and pretty much any things! Well, I just remembered where all of the inflatables are! Sadly with Caleb’s compulsion to bite holes in stuff, we are sadly only left with a single palm tree and a crocodile. So much for decking out the living room. Though, unbeknownst to me, Thor and Aaliyah made a small tropical island for the crocodile when I wasn’t looking! Ham and pineapple on the menu for the Lū’au. It might take you a moment to decipher what pictures are us playing games and which ones are the real thing!

The Dog House For Remus

Remus has been sent to the dog house! Not only has he continued to sneak off upstairs and lay on the bed in the spare room, but today saw him leave half of his lunchtime kibble and sneak back into the kitchen and gobble up all of daddy’s lunch! Daddy was on a phone call to our friend Carole and the crew and I had just finished ours. I was out of the room no more than 2 minutes. Damn that dog.

Today’s photo of Remus (with Tara) was taken exactly one year ago today! How time flies. Do you ever do that! Roll your camera feed back 12 months and see what you were up to back then? As well as this photo, I also found a bunch of footage of our crew playing in the garden that very same day, one year ago today! There was enough to cobble together a short video. Remembering back, Caleb had his broken arm and the day looked as gloriously sunny as the day we have today!

Homeschool Rules #1: 101

That dratted rainbow has showed up again! Oh well, that aside, I would like to thank Anna Dussesu, a real life homeschooler for her tips and ideas to keep the children occupied whilst learning from home! I have also heard through the grapevine that there might be a podcast arriving soon! I’m definitely looking forward to that. Thank you Anna. I will of course talk about that when it happens!

Her 101 ideas was published on 30th March, so I think we have a little catch up on our hands, don’t we? However. It is as long as it is wide at present!

Some worked for us, though given our younger age group, a few didn’t, so we worked through ‘playing pirates’, ‘pasta maths’ before we ate the pasta for lunch and then onto ‘put on a play’! Well Tara already had her favourite pirate costume on! And they are still playing ‘walk the plank’ in the living room as I write this post in the kitchen!

We also looked at insects though a magnifying glass. Well, the dead bumblebee we found on the windowsill at least. I am hoping that this persuades them not to freak out quite so much when they see insects! Sorry I have to go as all of them are now screaming and shouting at Daddy in the living room! Daddy has just told them that he is not playing anymore in a rather loud voice! I have to laugh… They all really, really like to play up for Daddy! I have just been in and threatened the ‘who wants their iPad tomorrow’ routine. They have all stopped shouting at Daddy! Off to bed now. Nite nite.

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

A Monday night in our house is very often a curry night! I won’t reiterate my ‘one sauce, several curries’ recipe, but I will say that I do not use anymore that a teaspoon or two of oil! I don’t over chilli, just enough to warm and harmonise my spice pallet!

Daddy and Dadda’s dinner tonight was a tender lamb curry (Rogan Josh), a large king prawn tikka masala, a very flavoursome dal, chapatti, poppadum and samosa. A real pleasure on the palate. Neither too hot, acrid or oily, which I have real issue with at many Indian take aways here in the UK. Never any heartburn with one of Dadda’s curries!

You really should come over for one of Dadda’s ‘Indian Curry Nights’ sometime! Now what’s the Hindu for ‘good appetite’?

The Queen of Bloody Sheba

It’s been 4 days now since Remus took up residence on Daddy and Dadda’s bed. As you may remember, the dogs enjoy the living room sofa, but the bed is out of bounds.

The bedding does need changing, especially now I guess. But I have turned a blind eye to Remus these last days. Perhaps we all need a rest or a change of scenery, so I have just let him chill upstairs. Gracie is as usual, my permanent shadow. But I am kind of missing Remus’s participation and his general annoyance! He just lays there, engulfed in bliss.

He’s barely been outside to do his ablutions! I really have to shout up at him at midday for his dinnertime call! It is really odd! He’s usually winding me up with his whining an hour of two before I give in to serving his bowlful of kibble.

Mind you, things are set to change tomorrow as I really am going to change those sheets and start a new regiment to keep the bedroom door closed at all times. But I’ll leave him there for now, laying on our bed like ‘The Queen of bloody Sheba’! (Please do excuse the language. It is purely there for dramatic effect!)

The Pop Band!

I have just been told that Tara wants to sing and play electric guitar. Amritsar wants to be the drummer, Thor keyboard, Aaliyah on the steel drum and Caleb on the maracas!

Maybe one day – hey! We all need to dream, don’t we?