Thursday, 31 December 2009
We've had a nice 'Make Your Own' pizza session. The breadmaker produced a nice dough and the choices were fairly ordinary - tomato/onion sauce, mushroom, red and yellow peppers, baby corn, ham, spiced chicken, mozzarella and grated cheddar. Oh, and green olives.
Everyone had a dough base and created their own, selecting from what was on offer - and I shared everyone's! It was jolly nice and there's enough left over for DG to take home tomorrow which always pleases him.
That's it really. I doubt I will stay away long enough to see in the New Year. But have a good'un, wherever you are and whoever you are with.
And tomorrow the New Year challenge starts . . . with a trip to my parents to hand over mum's share of the turkey and stock - weather permitting.
See you all next year!
And this is the same photo, edited, using Essentials 6. I thought it looked interesting.
I couldn't do what Maggie has done in a million years but I could do something less intense perhaps. I take a number of foody mags which I read with great pleasure - the likes of BBC Good Food, Delicious, Olive, etc, plus supermarket mags from Sainsburys and Tescos. I always see recipes that appeal , even getting as far as cutting them out sometimes, but I rarely get round to making them.
Also, most foody mag recipes appear online, so I could post links here.
I shall think about this one - it sounds good to me.
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Butter (about half the volume of the Stilton)
double cream (amount depends on how much of the above - it slackens the mixture and adds flavour)
and, to taste
freshly grated nutmeg
Soften the butter, crumble the Stilton and place both in a small blender and zizz until they are combined.
Stir in the remaining ingredients to taste, remembering that freezing and thawing does seem to intensify flavours.
I've frozen it in little pots/single portions.
So, on to today! DD and DG almost always spend New Year's Eve over here and we have home-made pizza. I know we do seem to eat a lot of pizza but for ages it was one of the few things DG would eat happily and so traditions were established. She's asked if a good friend can come round and share in it as well, to which I agreed, of course. So today there's three beds to make up, two bedrooms to dust and sweep and a downstairs to get back into a reasonably clean state.
I will go shopping, I think, to get stuff in to make fresh pizza toppings as well as other bits and bobs; the bread makes will make the dough for me so that's no hassle.
Apart from that, I must get some planning done. I've been very good at ignoring the fact that it wasn't finished by the end of last term but time is now getting very short and I must do something about it.
No kitchen stuff today, unless I find post-Christmas bargains in Morrison's. You never know! I've spent quite a long time in the kitchen, one way and another, over the last week or so. A day out of it would be quite nice really.
Better get going - I have to put out the wheelie bin!
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
And here is the proof of this morning's industry - lots of really very delicious soup which will provide me with some warming and filling lunches at school during the next few months.
I chopped onions, carrots, parsnips, potato, sweet potato and celery and simmered it all in butter until softening. Then I added boiling water and marigold low sodium vegetable bouillon, nutmeg, lots of freshly milled black pepper, a little salt (which I adjusted later), some dried mixed herbs and a good portion of dried red lentils. I left the whole lot to simmer gently for about half an hour.
Then I strained out about half of the vegetables and zizzed what remained into the liquid, tasted the results and did a bit of re-seasoning and diluting with more veg stock because it was very thick and I know from experience that it thickens more after freezing and thawing. Then I put the non-zizzed vegetables back and stirred them in. Usually I zizz the lot, but I thought it would be nice to have some chunks this time.
I'm going to freeze in single portions and to some I will add what remains of the ham and/or a little of the turkey retrieved from boiling the bones. Must remember to label carefully, as DD can't have any with meat added.
It'll be nice re-heated with a little milk or cream added. That's today's lunch sorted anyway!
Monday, 28 December 2009
- four ham, turkey and Stilton pies (single size
- four Christmas crumbles (a savoury crumble - single size)
- five good sized portions of turkey and ham savoury rice
- four portions of turkey in gravy
Yeah, sure . . . I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon away.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Looking at what I have in the fridge and pondering on lunch, I think I will make a sort of bubble and squeak thingy. I have potatoes, sprouts, parsnips, onion and carrot, all cooked. Mash them together with some nutmeg and black pepper and fry in a little turkey dripping. The red cabbage (which is simply gorgeous, thank you, Delia) can be heated and go on the side and the turkey can heat up in yesterday's little bit of left over gravy. Simply delicious.
Then, this afternoon, it's serious work dismantling the remains of the bird.
And this evening it's Doctor Who, which I wasn't able to watch on Christmas Day. Can't wait - I hear it was very. very good. There's also a programme about Torvill and Dean and the creation of Bolero. It must be quite old, but then so am I and I'm also looking forward to that. I think it's a measure of the impact those two young skaters had that I am quite confident to just mention their names and the dance and expect that most readers will know exactly what I mean.
If the two programmes clash, one will be recorded.
See - already I am feeling more positive - I can watch what I like, when I like. The fact that mostly I don't is neither here nor there! I am once again the master of my own viewing!
After the success of the potted turkey yesterday, I've been searching for some recipes for potted ham.
Most of them say more or less the same thing: use ham, butter, mustard, mace or nutmeg and blend it all together. The covering of the finished pate with butter stops the air from getting to the meat and therefore is a way of preserving it in the shorter term. That's also why it has to be packed down hard in the pot - it eliminates air bubbles.
I reckon that if I use small, individual pots for the potted ham and cover the surface with 'easy-leave' before freezing, there's no need for the extra butter to seal the top.
Yesterday's potted turkey will need slicing, wrapping and freezing in single portions too. Thank goodness for freezers!
The other main task, apart from catching up on sleep, is to deal with the turkey carcass. That will involve taking off all the remaining meat and then boiling the remains up with some herbs to create a delicious stock which can then be used for turkey hotpot and similar. Mum and Dad will take a good portion of sliced turkey home with them, of course, plus some ham, some cake, some pork pie, some pudding . . . and, if they will take it, a carton of cream. I grossly overestimated how much cream we would be using.
Looking at what's left, I can't see that I'm going to need to do any food shopping for weeks - which will be great for cancelling out the cost of Christmas! Helping to, anyway.
AND there's another week of holiday before the new term starts. Bliss!
Saturday, 26 December 2009
225g/8oz leftover turkey, brown and white meat
80g/3oz softened butter
quarter tsp cayenne pepper
quarter lemon, juice only
extra butter for melting
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend, leaving a bit of texture.
Pour the mixture into ramekins, packing down firmly and put in the fridge to chill.
When turkey mixture is firm, melt extra butter and pour over top of each ramekin to seal and return to the fridge to set.
This dish should be served at room temperature so take it out of the fridge shortly before serving.
Delicious and so very easy too.
John left earlier for his long drive back to Jedburgh. He left laden with all sorts of goodies - turkey, one of the frozen drumsticks, ham slices, Christmas pudding, mince pies, some of Mum's home-made biscuits, the top of DD's Christmas cake, a carton of cream, some beer and a bag of salad. If he did get trapped in a snowdrift, he wouldn't starve, that's for sure!
Today is going to be a restful day, I hope. I will drive off to Tesco or Sainsbury to feed the bottle bank and pick up a paper for Dad. Even if Morrisons was open today (which is isn't), it would be no use as they removed the bottle banks when it changed from Somerfield to Morrisons and didn't replace them. There's just about enough food left over from yesterday that I don't have to cook very much. I have some frozen roasties and will probably do some more carrots, but apart from that it's all left-overs. Excellent.
I have to decide what to do with the turkey. There's a lot of meat left over but I don't want a lot of single roast meals in the freezer. I will do some savoury turkey rice which freezes well and make some hotpots and I read a nice recipe for potted turkey which ought to freeze well in little pots. As well as that I'll trawl the internet, I think, for some ideas for interesting leftover recipes.
Happy Boxing Day to everyone!
Friday, 25 December 2009
Thursday, 24 December 2009
The coffee is ready to make, the table has been laid, all is ready for breakfast. After that it's some kitchen work - preparing the sprouts (yum, love them) and getting the turkey (poor mangled thing) ready for the oven, after which it can go out in the shed where it's pretty cool, freeing up some fridge space. Just about everything else is ready, apart from the parsnips and carrots, which I will do tomorrow morning.
Lunch is leek and potato soup which has already been made and frozen. It just needs re-heating, seasoning and milk and cream adding. There will be some grated cheese to sprinkle over, if wanted, and croutons and bread. Fresh fruit for dessert.
Dinner will be what has become a Christmas Tradition. DS and his partner make us pizzas - delicious home-made pizzas, and we have a buffet with some salad and garlic bread. We always try not to eat too much and usually fail dismally!
Apart from that, I'm still feeling quite tired as I continue to fight off this cold virus thing, so will hopefully be able to take some time to snooze.
Yesterday, Dad emailed to say that they were setting off at a certain time and popping into Tescos before leaving Baldock. I gave them a short list of things I still needed. Neither of us remembered that 'popping into Tesco's' is not an option the day before Christmas Eve. So there was Dad, driving around the car park for ages, looking for a parking slot before they pushed their way through the crowds to get the few items they wanted. I think maybe if it had just been their things, they'd have thought 'blow it' and not bothered, but because they had a list of things for me, they felt they needed to persist. I bet today will be an absolute nightmare! There have been times when I have thought working in a shop would be infinitely preferable to teaching (especially around report times) but definitely not at Christmas. I'm very glad our Morrison's is not opening on Boxing Day and I hope that's the same for all supermarkets.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
So, anyway, I got some good sausages from Morrison's (that is NOT a contradiction in terms) which were pork and apple. Lovely big chunks of apple too. So I mixed the contents of a few sausages with what was left of the mixture from yesterday, added more lemon zest (yum) and some mixed herbs and mixed it all well. Then I made a half load of hot crust pastry and, instead of making the base, rolling the side and joining the two together (which is where I get a lot of leaks), I moulded it up the inside of the tin, so no joins until the top. The main problem with that is that it's all too easy to get rather thick pastry which I know my parents aren't fond of, but I'm hoping that this way there will be no leaks. It's now in the oven for its first baking so fingers crossed.
Jackie and I had a lovely time at the Magic Mushroom and then looking around the farm shops. Thank goodness the roads were all clear apart from my road and hers, so all was well. I managed a lovely skid on the way home, down my road though, as everything was freezing again by then. Thankfully, no other cars were about and it was controlled.
If you get the chance, do have a meal at the M M. Not cheap, but delicious and great service.
The turkeys have grown exceptionally well this year, so we have given you a larger bird than you ordered. This extra weight is, of course, free of charge,
I have a little more filling left over from yesterday and I'm thinking of getting some good sausage meat to bulk it out, maybe add some apple and spice for taste and having a go at another, more experimental one. Or maybe I should play safe and just use sausage meat and more bacon.
What a shame.
Recipe for Apple and Cranberry Chutney
Monday, 21 December 2009
So out I went, picked up DG, talked to DD, came back home, made some cheese rolls and a flask of coffee, got some books for her to read plus an old duvet and took it all round to her.
DG was as good as gold and let me get on with all my cooking stuff while he played on the PC.
Two hours or so later DG phoned from Quikfit - there was a problem with tyres, nothing too terminal in fact.
So today I have:
Saved a neighbour's car (grin)
Spent more than I can afford but got just about everything in for Christmas. I just have to get the soft drinks and I thought I would get them from Morrison's.
Made two pork pies, thrown one on the floor and dusted it down.
Made nine jars of apple and cranberry chutney for pressies.
Made some lemon and ginger refresher (a superb cordial that should help everything to settle well!)
Been a good samaritan to DD and DG!
I have NOT:
sorted out the bedrooms.
Quite a good day all found, I reckon, though. Just a shame about the mess in the kitchen.
6:15: Get rubbish out for collection Tick
6:30-ish: de-ice car and set off for Sainsbury's. Drop off key for plumber on the way.
See neighbour from over the cul de sac de-icing car. Neighbour gets into car, reverses out of his drive and attempts the slope up to the end of our cul de sac. Tyres skid on ice, not helped by some furious revving of engine. I go to help to no avail. Oh, for some sand or grit.
Fifteen minutes later I remember that I have a water softener and therefore some granular salt. Fair amount of granular salt is spread up the slops and around neighbour's car. Tyres are able to hold and off he goes. Off I go with no problems.
7:00: Sainsbury's opens.
I'm sure it did but I wasn't there until about 7:15. However, it wasn't at all crowded and I managed to spend a simply horrific amount of money on 'necessities' for Christmas. Now I have to unpack it all.
6:00: get dressed
Sunday, 20 December 2009
I have a set of wooden nativity figures which DG likes to play with. He turns them into actors in a play.
Wise Man: Hello, Joseph, what are you doing here?
Joseph: Mary has got one of the shepherds back at the stable and she thinks the shepherd is me.
Crumbs - that's a new slant on an old story.
Looks like DG and I do not agree on which figure is Joseph then!
DD is still fast asleep. She is sensible!
Yesterday evening was very pleasant. DD and DG were over and we had takeaway pizza. The Christmas tree is now assembled and the lights are on and very nice it looks too, even before the baubles are put in place.
We had a lazy evening watching Merlin (wonderful escapism and I'm so glad there will be another series) and then the final Strictly programme of this series. Some wonderful dancing, lots and lots of fun, glitter and sparkle, but what a shame the better dancer ended up in second place. Personality triumphed over sheer dancing brilliance this time, which I was afraid would happen after Ali was eliminated last week. Ah, well, it's supposed to entertain and that it does extremely well indeed!
So now it's a new day. The second day of the holidays, I suppose, although I always feel that Monday is when the holiday starts. My Christmas shopping list is getting longer and longer and I have decided to do it in two sessions. I think I will get to Sainsbury's very early tomorrow morning (it opens at seven) and get as much as I can, given sell by/use by dates, etc, then to a top up at Morrison's at some point, if necessary - it might not be necessary of course.
I've decided rather late in the day to make some apple and cranberry chutney. I braved the cold half an hour ago to ensure I had enough jars with fitting lids and will get the ingredients tomorrow. It's a bit heavy on the old cranberries, which are not the cheapest things in the world at the moment, but it will make a lovely family gift for everyone and maybe there will be a bit left over for me too. The recipe I'd like to use only has ginger and peppercorns so I'm thinking a star anise or two might give it a very nice ooomph. I'll try it anyway and see!
Today it's getting the bedrooms ready and finishing off the tree. I might also brave Morrison's for a paper and spoil myself!
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
We decided to remain open as long as we could and see how many teaching staff managed to get in. Although three teachers were late and one didn't manage to get in at all, everyone else turned up on time and we had a full school day. OK, so Liz and I didn't get our PPA, but there was nothing urgent to do so it was hardly a disaster. Faith was shifted around a bit, which she accepted with her customary good humour. A lot of the children were late as their parents thought the school would be closed, didn't check the usual sources, and only realised when the secretary phoned to find out why they weren't at school. And everywhere you looked there were rows and rows of wellies, joined into pairs with welly pegs.
And what a lovely day it turned out to be. By playtime the sun was shining with a few lazy flakes drifting by now and again. The snow was dry and powdery, no slushing whatsoever, so we all piled out onto the school field and had the time of our collective life. Irene and I were officially on duty but we were joined by all of the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 staff, plus a teacher from Key Stage 2, and the smooth, virgin stretches of snow were thoroughly violated (in the nicest possible way, of course). It didn't even feel all that cold as the wind had died down.
Christmas by Candlelight this afternoon was just fantastic too.
In some ways it has been a difficult half term, with our head being away for just about all of the time with acute bronchitis that turned into pneumonia. Natalie had to step up and become acting head, which I think she did amazingly well. I do wonder how much longer we are going to be able to keep her - she's going to make some lucky school a brilliant head in the fairly near future.
Everyone's been pulling together and there's been a great feeling among the staff generally (there's always going to be a few exceptions) which has created a cohesion and strength which I think is to be envied.
And today was the nicest end to the Autumn Term I can remember in all my years of teaching. I'm happy.
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter . . .
not so long ago!!
(with apologies to Christina Rossetti)
Ooooh, it does make me feel cold, looking out of the window. We haven't had much, we never do round here, so I'm guessing it's pretty dire elsewhere. It's cold and bleak and, with the wind, must feel extremely cold. I guess playground duty is going to be a bit of an ordeal today.
Another thing that happened yesterday is that the younger children had a surprise visit from Santa. A few of mine were struck by a slight resemblance to Mr Wood, a dad who comes into our class once a week for Reading Revelry.
Two little girls: Mrs Clark - is Santa really Mr Wood?
Me: What makes you think that?
T L Gs Well, he looks like Mr Wood.
Me: Oh - does Mr Wood wear glasses and have a long white beard and wear a red coat?
T L Gs No (with much giggling from them both)
Me: What do you think then? (I wasn't going to give anything away)
T L Gs It can't be Mr Wood, can it? Maybe it's Mr Wood's brother.
And off they went, looking very satisfied and happy.
However, some mini-cynics were less than convinced and, I suspect, muttered about it for the rest of the day!
I love infants.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Today was no exception. Key Stage 1 and Foundation Stage parties. All day!! This was the year 1 agenda:
9:00 to 9:30 - in the hall for games (and it certainly adds to the general interest when one of them is sick all over the hall floor!)
9:30 to 10:00 - back in the classroom continuing with games
10:00 to 10:15 - assembly (an oasis of calm)
10:15 to 10:45 - sorting out Christmas bits and bobs into named carrier bags to take home
10:45 to 11:10 (yes, way too long!) - playtime
11:10 to 12:00 - Christmas Quiz
12:00 to 1:15 - lunch time
1:14 - 1:45 - DVD
1:45 to 2:15 ish - cakes and drinks
2:15 to 2:45 - extra playtime (and it was so-o-o-o cold)
2:45 to hometime - DVD
And, worst of all - NO UNIFORM! ALL DAY!!!
Tomorrow has to be a lot calmer. There's a Christmas sing song with 'acts' by each year group in the afternoon but apart from that it's all in class, hopefully pretty calm. As KS 1 coordinator, I have issued a decree that wellies and welly pegs must be brought in tomorrow so we can all go out and play in the snow at playtime!
Mind you, the way it's snowing at the moment, there might be no school tomorrow. That would be a great shame.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Happy Little Girl expressed the views of many of them.
H L G I'm going to make a snowman at sunset, just like our show, Mrs Clark.
Me: How lovely. er - do you think there's enough snow to make a snowman?
H L G (looking thoughtful) Maybe they'll let us go on the field. Then there will be.
I love the eternal optimism of children - there's nothing like it.
This afternoon it suddenly started snowing pretty hard. There was an awed silence and then one little voice started singing the snowflake song from our show and others took it up - just for a short time before they got on with what they were doing, but it brought tears to my eyes. It's moments like that that make me very glad I'm a teacher.
Look at the snowflakes falling down
Look at the snowflakes falling down,
From heaven to the ground.
And now I have a potato baking in the oven and a mound of grated cheese waiting to meet it on the plate. Comfort food for a cold day. Absolutely perfect.
Hopefully, today will be an easy day.
On the planning today is phonics, finishing of the Christmas story book, several one off Christmas sheets, a practice with the other year 1 class, a DVD, calendars to make and an extra playtime this afternoon. All I can say is I hope they behave themselves OK!
And then we have to wrap up the pass the parcels after school, by which time I suspect both Liz and I will be ready to drop!
That's the end of the Christmas term for you!!
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
I decided to do something I had intended to do on Sunday but didn't have the time - try out Nigella's version of roasties. I peeled one potato and cut it into wedges and parboiled the bits for about five minutes, no more. I think it was Nigel Slater who said that each bit should be about two bites-worth. I think mine were a little bit bigger than that but not too large.
While they were boiling I preheated the oil (sunflower oil) in a hot oven. After five minutes I strained the potatoes and let them air dry, then popped them back in the pan and gave them a little shake to ruffle the edges, I then tossed in a little semolina, sea salt and pepper, before placing them in the hot oil, spooning some oil over and placing the roasting dish in the oven.
And, you know, they were delicious! They tasted even better than the photo looks. That's definitely how I am going to do them at Christmas. I'll get them as far as the air drying stage beforehand and open freeze them so that they don't stick together. The semolina and seasoning bit I will do when I thaw them on Christmas morning.
However, I am now utterly exhausted and will have to sleep! I sincerely hope things pick up tomorrow - I can't take another day off with such a lot to do!
It's a right pain in another way too as I was due to go to our local nursery school for a meeting about a child who is joining us in January. I won't be able to now and I hardly think they would welcome my germs anyway. A day out of operation that I can't really afford, but there you go!
Monday, 14 December 2009
The Christmas roasties and parsnips are going to have to wait for another day!
Today is going to be a gentle day. A few bits of work and lots of art. I wonder how many children I will have in today. There were five away at the end of last week and several others looked a bit on the fragile side. We will see!
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Made and in the freezer:
DD's nut roast
DD's sage and onion stuffing
Leek and potato soup for Christmas eve
Delia's spiced red cabbage with apple and onion (utterly yum)
Made and in jars in the fridge:
Cranberry sauce with port and clementine
I still have to do the roasties and the parsnips, the pork and turkey pie and the vegetarian 'pork' pie. The latter two will take some time.
Unfortunately, as the day has progressed, so have the aches, the headache, the sore throat and the temperature. I hope a good night's sleep will see it off! I can't be poorly now, there's no time.
So all the plans have been deferred to today which are all based around preparation:
DD's sage and onion stuffing
leek and potato soup
I was watching Nigella Lawson's Christmas programme yesterday (in between falling asleeps) and she dredges her roasties in semolina, not flour. She says it makes them lovely and crunchy. I might try that today, with some for lunch, just to see, and if I like them that way, that's how I will prepare them.
When I was little we had some very specific and comforting rituals leading up to and during Christmas. As we got bigger, they disappeared and there seemed to be a sort of gap. But since I started being the hostess for the family in recent years, a whole new load of 'traditions' has crept into the season. All of the above - the preparations beforehand - have their own magic and pleasure; the tradition of putting up the tree as near as possible to The Day and no earlier -I'd like it to be a part of Christmas Eve, but DG helps and he and DD come over on Sundays - and getting all the familiar decorations up; the cleaning and tidying of the house in order to make room for all my guests and the whole school ritual thing. It all creates a familiar and welcomed pattern to December and is a great pleasure and comfort for me. We all need some predictability and routine and it compensates for all the hard work and worry!
Must work out how many more sleeps I have (as my littlies say).
Saturday, 12 December 2009
All I need to find now is a nice sage and onion stuffing as ours will contain meat! That shouldn't take too long.
Most of the residual clutter from last night is now sorted; all I really have to do is move some furniture and eat the leftovers, neither of which is going to be too difficult. So I can get to Morrison's and start preparing some Christmas food as well as having a good rest.
Should be a nice day!
Friday, 11 December 2009
So now I'm gradually unwinding. I can feel the tiredness creeping ever closer, slowly and silently.
And if I wake up at four, I will scweam and scweam . . so there!
Night everyone! Sleep as well as I know I will.
The shows are all over. Wednesday's performance went like a dream - smooth with no mini crises and the children sang their hearts out. I was so proud of them all. Well done!!
Better go and do some work, I suppose!
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
I have, of course, toasted them with something chilled, dry and white, so please excuse any resulting typos.
And that, as far as I know, is the last of my Key Stage responsibilities for this term. I can now relax!
Although - well, maybe not, thinking about it, given the state of my house and the fact that most of the KS1 staff (20 of them) will be coming round here for a takeaway on Friday evening. Secret Santa is NOT optional! A reasonably tidy house is also not optional, sadly!
I'm feeling a bit reflective. I've done this KS1 co-ordinating for almost a year now and I do think maybe I've made a little bit of a difference. I have some ongoing ideas which I now need to discuss at my performance management meeting, whenever that will be. Right now, it feels pretty satisfying but I don't quite have the courage to ask my colleagues whether they agree.
And finally - please spare a thought for P. She has had breast cancer and went back to her doctor with more chest pains on Monday. They got her a fast track appointment for some X-rays and tests today. I haven't heard anything but am seriously concerned. If you believe in the power of prayer, please do. If not, please send off some positive thoughts. P is a very lovely lady.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
One Christmas Show down, one to go! I will sleep very well tomorrow night! Tonight's performance was not without its mishaps, frustrating to us teachers but undoubtedly hugely appreciated by the parental audience. It's what makes a show memorable, I guess - so tonight's should be pretty memorable!
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Two more weeks, ten school days, before the end of term. Where on earth has this half term gone? It seems no time since half term and here we are, another sixth of the school year past and done. It's going way, way, way too quickly. Slow down, please, brake . . . woah!
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Each year at school we do Santa Mail. The children bring in their internal cards to post and Santa's Little Helpers sort them out and deliver them around the bays.
Each year the KS coordinators have panicked around looking for a suitable posting box which will not collapse under the wear and tear it gets.
So this year we've bought a couple of swing top plastic bins which can be used from year to year - that was one of the things I went in to get. And guess what - in Wilkinson's they have lovely Christmas red bins, so I don't even need to cover them! Excellent!!
Friday, 4 December 2009
Liz's class dance is just starting to take shape - I think we could do with another week but, seeing as the dress rehearsal is on Monday, we actually don't have another week!! I had two practices with them today and by the end of the second one they were remembering and starting to get it together.
The children, bless them, are visibly slowing down now. Colouring in, cutting out and sticking satisfies whereas two weeks ago they wanted and needed so much more. Bless them, they really try to give what I ask of them. This week they have been so messed about, what with me swapping with Liz's supply to take dance practises, plus all the other unusual and usual interruptions - and they still remain good tempered and eager to please. I am just SO very lucky this year. I wonder if I will get a class quite as lovely as this one ever again. I'm making the most of it . . .
And now only ten more days now until the end of term. Where has the time gone? One third of the way through this school year - absolutely incredible! Slow down - stop racing away from me . . .
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Things are ticking along reasonably well, although there's an awful lot to do (which is what I get paid for so I shouldn't complain, even if I do occasionally has a grumble). The good news is that our head is expected back today after being away since half term with pneumonia. The deputy has done an absolutely fantastic job, but it will be so nice to have S back again.
We had great fun yesterday afternoon, making hand and foot reindeer. Draw round a shoe for the head, round two outstretched hands for the antlers, a red nose and two black eyes, stick them all together and hey presto! They look jolly nice blue tacked up on a cupboard door too. And I was very impressed with how well the children all listened, went back and followed my instructions more or less independently. There were a few cutting out problems, but apart from that it was all their own work. My goodness, they have come on!
Maths today is repeating patterns, so they are going to decide on a colour pattern involving red, yellow, green, blue and orange, record it on a drawing and then use that colour sequence to make paper chains. Great fun again.
And if it rains this afternoon, they can carry on with their chains!
'Tis the season to be jolly!
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Yesterday evening I was all set for a reasonable bedtime and then something blew up on FirstClass which needed dealing with. Once that had sorted I went up, to find my brain whizzing around at full speed, worrying not only about FC but also about the Christmas Show, Liz being away ill and her dance, the first rehearsal today and so on. I've been involved in loads of KS1 shows in my time but this is the first one I've been responsible for and it's just a tad nerve racking. Anyway, I couldn't sleep so I came back down again. I finally got up around midnight and went to sleep at about 1-ish. I was awake at five. No wonder I'm tired.
However - the first 'stagger through' went very well indeed, Liz's supply teacher is a dance specialist so gave me some ideas, we got the backcloth made and the ticket-programmes sorted after school, Alison (blessings be upon Alison, TA extrordinaire) offered to do the reindeer food, my class' dance went really rather well and I even managed to produce a compilation CD that just runs through all the music one item after another. All in all, a good day's work, but oh, I am so very, very tired now. And now I MUST try to stay awake until about nine or I will be up way too early again tomorrow.
What a lovely change in the weather though - cold and sunny, thank goodness . . .
Monday, 30 November 2009
Oh, well - we'll get there. We have to!
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Apart from that I finished off the presents for my class and got them bagged. I'e done some washing and watched some telly. Nice and relaxing . . .
Yesterday turned into a PJ day again. That's two weekends on the trot. Not a good pattern either!
Today is 'get the kitchen sorted' day - if I feel OK. The aches and shivers are still here but I can at least do some of it. I have to! It's desperate in there. At least I'm unlikely to be tempted to go out - it's been pouring and looks as if it still is. Very November!
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Since then I've had fun downloading Sparklebox Christmas bookmarks to give to my class and making them Christmas cards and gift tags. I bought some polythene Christmas bags from Lakeland which I will fill with bits and bobs for each child: a bookmark, a candy cane, a party popper, a balloon, some choccie, a Christmas card . . . oh, you get the idea . . . all tied up with gold ribbon. They look nice!
And now I'm trying to summon up the energy to have a bath, get dressed and do some housework. Will I? Won't I? Do I care? Well, maybe.
Friday, 27 November 2009
PPA - good, we got all next week's planning sorted (most of it was done earlier, subject to my colleague's approval). Received some feed back from a colleague over some work sampling she did a few weeks ago. Froze on playground duty. Led a house quiz on Hanukkah. Tried to teach them the difference between a coin and its value. And this afternoon I did my KS1 co0ordinator duty with a very naughty lad from another class and had a much more successful dance rehearsal for the Christmas show - one of the things that has been keeping me awake.
And then an SEN review after school.
I'm glad that's all done! Now for the weekend and, hopefully, a little bit of a lie-in (and pigs might fly).
What's on the cards today? Well - PPA first. There's a dance rehearsal at some point. There's Golden Time. Oh, and Finishing Off. That last becomes all the more frequent as the term goes on and the children get tired.
And it's getting cold - on my playground duty day!
Thursday, 26 November 2009
I've given my poor supply cover the outdoor games after plan. It should be this afternoon, but I have an ICT lesson planned which I really, really do not want mangled in any way, so I managed to swap my morning session in the suite for an afternoon session.
Note to self: Copy next block of games planning!
And I MUST get the KS1 Secret Santa stuff sorted now I know who is coming to our social. It's all go!!
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
On the other hand, I am now getting seriously worried about my class's dance for the Christmas show. We still haven't finished it and have so much to do to get it all drummed into their heads. Extra practice, I fear! :0(
I'm afraid life is utterly overloaded with school stuff right now, so that's all I can write about. Boring but true!
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Apart from that, just another Tuesday
Update on pies: yum yum!!
Monday, 23 November 2009
And now they are back in the fridge chilling and later on one will be frozen whole and the other will be frozen with a slice cut out. Well, I HAVE to check that they're OK!
Apart from that, I think everything is now ready for school. I've even sorted out the books for Reading Revelry which is a minor miracle. When I get to school, I need to hunt out a letter from last year regarding Christmas show tickets - difficult because I have no idea where it is (I wasn't co-ordinator this time last year) and I need to turn the show script into little books for the narrators. It's all go, isn't it!
Sunday, 22 November 2009
The planning is tweaked, printed and sent to Faith, my regular supply cover. There's a few resources to make but they won't take long.
This afternoon I managed to get to Staples to buy the labels and small poly bags for the reindeer food we give out to all the KS1 children at the end of the term. The message on the label reads thus:
On Christmas Eve, before you go to bed, sprinkle this reindeer food onto your garden. The magic glitter sparkling in the moonlight and the smell of oats will guide Rudolph right to your home.
(not for human consumption)
Health and safety is paramount, hence the last little bit. I doubt the uncooked oats would do much damage, but I wouldn't advise the little dears to eat the glitter!
And tomorrow it's another new week. The timetable is becoming increasingly fragmented as the weeks go on and I'm trying to keep everything as even and level as possible. It's exciting enough without the daily routine going to pot! Ain't Christmas grand?
Saturday, 21 November 2009
I like to have the occasional rootle around Wilkinson's as well, and got more useful stuff.
And then I went into school to catch up on some work, which is a great relief.
So all in all, a pretty useful day. Hope yours was as good.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Just as well it's the weekend coming up! I have the joy of getting some plastic bags, some labels and some (cheap) oats to make reindeer food for about 180 children! And I have a house that will rot at the seams if I don't do something about it, fast! At least the planning is nearly done and dusted.
As every primary teacher in this country will know, it all goes downhill from hereon. Rehearsals, learning songs and words, more rehearsals, paper chains, cards, calendars . . . all the joys of the Festive Season in school! What a shame about literacy and numeracy!
Note to self: MUST get the Great Year 1 Christmas Tree Decoration Competition sheets copied and given out today!
Thursday, 19 November 2009
They look pretty good, all standing in a row on a black bin liner, drying in the air. Tomorrow it's photo time, plus finishing the associated 'paperwork', next week is painting and more photos, then we can use them . . . and that reminds me to stock up on paracetamol!
Maybe next year I will remember that it takes more than one afternoon!
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Imagine 28 paint brushed and lots of watered down PVA glue and bits of newspaper to be stuck over, papier mache style.
All I can say is - DON'T!!! Bloomin' Design Technology!
A brighter point. More really nice comments about my song. :0))) Every 'composer' likes to know that their work has touched people, however superficially. While some of my world is shaking, this really helps. And my year ones helped me change a bit of the working, so it's their song as well. :0))) Nice.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
When we do our KS1 Christmas shows, we do like to have a bit of nativity stuff in it - usually a tableau to some appropriate song. As it happens, Snowman at Sunset doesn't have an appropriate song (and the Nativity is an add on to the original anyway). So I set to on Sunday to write an appropriate song. It took me all day, on and off, and a short time yesterday on the school piano, finishing the harmonies (wish I had a piano or KB at home).
I started teaching it to the children this morning and not only did they love it, but also the adults in the hall also loved it. A nice boost to my self esteem there.
End of showing off, back to normal again now. Thanks for listening!
Monday, 16 November 2009
Oh, well, all sorted now!
Sunday, 15 November 2009
So, bring it on:
paying a few bills
Maybe I'll get the most essential bits done anyway!
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Not that it matters to me - I've decided to do something I hardly ever do. I'm having a PJ day so I won't be going out anyway. Lazy is the name of the game today. If I want a sleep, I will have one. No housework. I have to do some washing, but that's all really! I have no idea what's on the telly until this evening but I have some books to read and several comfortable chairs to read them in.
That's the life!
Friday, 13 November 2009
Then also add to that walking into an explosive situation when I finally got home and - well, it's just been One Of Those Days and I wish it had never happened.
Here's hoping tomorrow will be brighter . . .
Just checked this blog over and I've put 'Saturday evening' as a title. Ho hum!! Wishful thinking?
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Me: OK, what is it - sounds good!
Sunday, 8 November 2009
The show was pretty good and deserved better than the meagre attention I paid it through the first half. I saw most of the second half though and thought the ending, with its potential for embarrassment if badly done, was handled extremely well. The singing and dancing, as always, was excellent, and 'You'll never walk alone' caused the usual shivers to run up and down my spine.
I must just mention one of the performers. Stephanie Seal has been in more Arcadian shows than I can remember, so she's hardly a youngster. And yet she portrayed the young 'Julie' extremely well and without any overacting. A very talented lady with a stunning voice.
Thanks, Arcadians. I'm looking forward to the next one now.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Friday, 6 November 2009
Sorry, Mum. Sorry, Dad!