Monday, August 15, 2011

Small things and our celebration cluster...

On Monday 8th August, we headed out to the Miniature Pony Centre over on Dartmoor.  I had arranged it as a home-ed meet for the Teignbridge and Torbay group.  Things didn't start off too well when we got lost en route.  This meant that we arrived 30 minutes or so late and the group had gone in.

The centre was much smaller than I had envisaged, but it was still pleasant enough.  The kids enjoyed playing on the play equipment, but I couldn't help but feel sad that so often at these attractions the playground is the central attraction.  There are many free play areas around where we live and I do get a twinge of frustration when you pay an entry fee for a place to see the animals and it seems the focus of it is the swings and slides.  Still, the kids enjoyed their time there, that's the main thing :)

The ponies were ultra cute, the donkeys utterly sweet, and the rabbits, mice, goats, cockerels, etc etc, cooed over.

We didn't stay for as long as we could have, choosing instead to break away from the crowds and head for tranquillity and find a peaceful haven on the Moors for our picnic.  We found a lovely spot by a river.


On my birthday the following day we spent the morning at home eating chocolate :)  I got bought a beautiful Orchid by my family and my parents sung happy birthday to me from their home in Spain.  This is the second birthday I have spent without them and it still feels strange not having them popping by.  I did get a surprise visit from Mirjam, who came bearing chocolate, always welcome in this household.  After a bit of retail therapy, we went out to dinner in the early evening.  After debating where we should go (McDonald's was the preferred place of choice for a certain young man...), we ended up just popping across the road to the  pub.  Thoroughly enjoyable as always (no cooking or washing up is always a treat isn't it?)

We have two celebratory clusters in a year.  We have the Christmas cluster - with a child's birthday either side the big day itself, and the summer cluster.  My birthday is on the 9th, our wedding anniversary is on the 12th, and my husband's birthday is on the 14th.  This usually means lots of lovely meals out :))

On the 10th of August we sorted out the shed on the understanding that once it was cleared we could arrange it ready for chickens!  All didn't go to plan though (in our household, just what does go to plan?!)  The shed somehow got transformed from possible chicken coop in the making into Tiegan's crafty den.  Tiegan is now the proud (very proud) owner of her own little crafting haven, complete with table and chairs, shelving, and crafting stash galore.  She loves it.  We will be painting it in the near future, and I will be making a pair of curtains and some bunting to pretty it up.  Tiegan is thinking up a name so we can make a name plaque for the door and she wants a door bell fitting.  I love that something so simple has made her so happy, I wish we had done it a long time ago.

Now we just have to find another home for the chickens...*sigh*

On the 11th day of August, the clear up continued!  This time it was a blitz of the back room.  I am now the proud owner of an arty crafty space once again.  Now it's my turn to love it :)   It needs a repaint, but it's home to all my arty crafty stuff, with everything having its place.  So much easier to get into creative mode with everything at your fingertips.

August 12th saw our the celebration of our 16th wedding Anniversary.  We took a ride out to the Riverside Inn at Bovey Tracey, and thoroughly enjoyed the bargain Carvery (or the burger and chips in the case of Callum).  We loved that the puddings were well and truly ol' fashioned puddings!  With crumble, apple pie and custard, jelly and ice cream, and syrup sponge pudding just a few of the mouth watering desserts on the menu.  We ended the perfect day with a long dog walk as a family.

We went Blackberry picking on the 13th, just around the lanes of our village.  It was a gorgeous day, and we live in such a pretty place, wandering around is always so nice.  We have a large apple tree in the garden, so plenty of apple and blackberry crumbles and pies will soon be in the making.  There was a surprising amount of blackberries available considering it is so early, September is usually our annual picking time.  After a very long trek, we decided it was too late to prepare and cook the planned cheesy meatballs for dinner, so we went to the afore mentioned McDonalds instead.  Cue a very happy little man.

It was Lee's (husband) birthday on the 14th, so another day of celebration, especially as it was the big 40.  Nobody felt like going out for yet another meal, so I made a birthday cake and cooked the cheesy meatballs instead.  The cake I made was gorgeous to taste and cheap and easy to make:

5oz self-raising flour
6oz caster sugar
3oz drinking chocolate
5oz soft margarine
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons boiling water.

8 inch deep cake tin, lightly greased.
Gas mark 4 / 150 degrees, pre-heated oven.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix gently with a fork until combined.  Beat for 2 minutes.

Put the mixture into the cake tin and put into the centre of the over for an hour, or until risen and firm to touch.

Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

Decorate as desired.

I simply used a paper doily and sieved icing sugar over the top, then removed the doily and piped butter cream around the edges - less then 3 minutes to do but the result was quite pretty.

Can you believe that nobody had ever made Lee a birthday cake before? Never in his 40 years. I was saddened to hear that (we have always just bought a sponge or something), but from now on it will be homemade every year :)

We had a family tournament on Wii Fit (I won, just so you know), and then went out for a walk around Brixham harbour as the sun set in the sky.  Beautiful.

Today we went to the home-ed group meeting at a local playpark.  It was lovely and warm for the most of it, even when the grey clouds joined us.

I've just realised that Taisia is wearing the same dress as she did last Monday at the pony centre!  She does have other clothes, honest!

The only way to exercise don't ya know!
 Callum did rather a lot of this...

Wandering aimlessly around alone looking sad and lost.  Very unlike him.  By the end of our time there he was playing quite happily with one of the boys from the group so hopefully whatever he was thinking about has passed, but I shall watch future behaviours.  We ended our time at Paignton with a lovely ice-cream as we walked back to the car. Lovely how something so simple can bring so much joy (and mess!) to children :)

There will be an update to the Sir Bruce Cluckalot saga tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. Your photography skills are amazing the photos are lovely, be sure to post a photo of the finished craft shed - it sounds great