Thursday, 31 March 2011

Thursday evening

Things are so busy in the mornings at the moment, I don't seem to get the time to think about the blog update. Today was no exception, but I did get all my assessments finished and entered into the appropriate format. Phew . . . And Handy Andy did a good job with the lasagna, heating it up beautifully. I think it's going to have to be chicken on Sunday, a full roast chicken and maybe some roast tatties as well. That'll be a good test! Now I'd better go and do some house work. It's the usual Chinese and Chat here tomorrow and the place needs a tidy up (as usual).

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wednesday evening and Handy Andy

. . . aka the halogen oven. OK, so this evening I cooked four chicken thighs (free range, organic, happy chick ones) for about 35 mins at 200 C and they were scrummy. They were cooked in a glass bowl, no cover, and in an ordinary oven they would have dried up in that time. In Handy Andy they were succulent and moist, with a crisp skin that tasted wonderful! That's two eaten and two for lunch tomorrow! Where does the 'Handy Andy' come from - well the oven is an Andrew Jones make but the wonderful Cottage Smallholder calls hers Andrew, so Handy Andy seems the next best thing. Tomorrow is a simple re-heat of a lasagna. Must try a roast at some point.

Wednesday morning

I have no idea whether this will all come out as one huge wodge of text or as paragraphs. Here's hoping.

After seeing the video about icing in a rose effect I had to have a go, of course. The photos are what the results look like. Quite pretty, I think, although a bit ragged around the edges. These will freeze nicely and be there when needed.

The halogen oven has started its tests. Last night I cooked a jacket potato: quicker than an oven - and cheaper - but, obviously, not anywhere near microwave speed. However, as I don't like microwaved jacket potatoes, that's OK. This morning I tried 'boiled' eggs. No water, hence the inverted commas. I now know it makes nice hard boiled eggs! Oh, well, that's how we learn! The instruction leaflet and the accompanying book are both a bit rubbish so I'm going to have to trawl around the Internet and think about adapting my own recipes.

Now, what shall I try tonight?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tuesday morning

I really need to apologise for the lack of formatting in my last message. I did put the contents into paragraphs, really I did, but they don't seem to have come out in the finished product which looks rather solid. Hopefully, today's will come out OK. I've been watching some YouTube videos showing cupcake icing techniques. Some of them are so very clever and look beautiful. Nothing fancy with sugar paste, just creative swirls with an icing bag and nozzle. I particularly like the one that starts from the middle and ends up looking like a rose. As I'm hoping to have friends for lunch on Saturday, I must have a go and see if I can do it - I think I have an appropriate nozzle. And I must also find some alternative recipes for frosting. Plain butter cream is all very well but somehow it doesn't have the smoothness and glossiness that looks so attractive. I was bad over the weekend and bought a halogen oven after seeing some very positive recommendations from friends and acquaintances. It should arrive today (at school) which is most exciting. No, I have absolutely no idea where I am going to keep it: I think I will need to start a serious declutter before the house explodes! OK, well, I've put in paragraph formatting several times and each time it disappears again. I'm so sorry for the solid block of text (assuming it is still a problem when I publish) - it looks most unattractive in preview but I think the problem must be Blogspot end, not this end.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Monday evening

. . . and it was back up! I don't feel comfortable when the connection is down. It's amazing how even a techno-twit like me has come to rely on my Internet. This has happened before, pretty infrequently, to be fair. It's usually overnight and I probably only notice it because I go online so very early! People with sensible sleep patterns would never realise! I was glad to get to school and find that there were no problems there. So - after a really great weekend, it was back to work. The children were obviously affected by the hour less sleep - they were yawning and looking weary. No, it wasn't my boring teaching, what an idea!!!!! How could you suggest such a thing? This afternoon I was on the last of a four session course on senior managers and the early years. It was about transition and was very interesting although it could be highly depressing if one didn't realise that the course leaders are painting the ideal picture. I reckon we do OK really. So, we're now into the last fortnight before the end of term. It's been a long term, unusually, as generally this term is shorter. Easter being so very late this year means that the first half of the summer term is very short - just five weeks. Only two of them are complete weeks too. The first week is three days (Easter Monday and that Wedding), the second week is four days (May day) and the last week is four days (INSET). And then it's not so far off the end of the school year. No, I haven't started counting the days . . . Yet . . .

Monday afternoon

I'm writing this quickly from school before the caretaker chucks me out. My internet connection was down this morning so no blog - sorry! Fingers crossed it's back up again now.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday afternoon

Even later today than yesterday. So sorry, those readers who came along expecting an update this morning. My visitor has now gone, heading towards her own home courtesy of what passes for British Rail nowadays. Hopefully the journey will be easy, trouble free and speedy and I will hear of her safe arrival this evening. It's been a lovely weekend, thanks for coming.

Apart from that, what a glorious day it is today. Sunny, mild, fresh. And have you noticed how suddenly green tinted the hedges and trees have become? Wonderfully invigorating. If Easter was earlier, tomorrow would be holiday. because it's as late as it can be this year, there are two more weeks, as I have said before, but, with such lovely weather, I can't help but feel most holiday-ish right at the moment. I probably won't feel quite so free and easy tomorrow morning, but when spring stirs the blood, who can resist? Not me.

Photo: Spring springing in the garden.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Saturday morning

Apologies for the lateness of this. I was busy earlier, taking my friend to the station and then going shopping. I've been pottering around at home and remembered I hadn't blogged this morning.

I ought not to be on the PC. I have work to do - school work stuff, a right pain but it has to be done. I really ought to be doing it but, honest as always to my procrastinatory nature, I'm thinking about it! My friend gets back at about seven thirty so there really is time! Honest!

When she arrived, she brought with her a beautiful bunch of spring flowers, hence the photos. They looks lovely, sitting on the table and brightening up the whole room with their colour and fragrance.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday morning

Eleven more teaching days, that's all, before the start of the Easter break, which will be strangely long, what with Easter Monday falling on what should be the first day of the new term, three days back, then a royal wedding and a Mayday to create a four day weekend. I wonder if we ought to devote those three days to Royal Wedding Fever!!!
It's certainly going to feel very odd and not the dynamic start to a new term that one likes to get. On the other hand, I know that a number of my colleagues are very worn out and weary at the moment and perhaps the little extra will make all the difference.

Today is SEN day again. Hopefully, A will be back. The children missed her very much last Friday and we all hope to see her again today.

I'm looking forward to a visit from a good OU friend. She should be arriving this afternoon and will stay overnight. The house is rather a tip but I'm kind of hoping she won't mind that! Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thursday morning

Another chilly, misty morning that will probably end up as warm, sunny and cheerful, like yesterday. School will be strangely denuded today with the choir and several members of staff off to Wembley Stadium for a concert in aid of Barnados. The head is conducting, several staff colleagues are singing or playing instruments and it should all be jolly good!

Wish I could be there and hear them.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Wednesday evening

Well, what a lovely, fulfilling day it has been. After yesterday's cough, splutter, bone weary exhaustion I wasn't expecting all that much.

I was wrong.

Today was our turn to do family assembly. Dressed in their Victorian clothes from the museum trip, well rehearsed and sparkling with excitement, my littlies surpassed themselves. They were fantastic. I was so very, very proud of them.

In maths I tried something that I would never have though possible a month ago and they rose to the occasion magnificantly. Wow!!

I helped a colleague at lunchtime and she bought me a bunch of flowers. She wasn't to know that I just love receiving flowers. Thank you so much.

Staff meeting was based on SEN. I was a bit nervous about it but it was good. It went well, no problems. Phew.

So now I'm home with not an awful lot to do before tomorrow. I can rest and relax. I can get an early night without a guily conscience.

What more can any self respecting teacher want? It's been a lovely day. Now all I need is for the chesty cough to go!

Wednesday morning

. . . and a cold, misty morning it is too. I got a surprise looking out of the window this morning, earlier. I'm right on the edge of the town, there's one more house, then a road running at right angles and then it's farm land. I could see the road clearly and then there was a thick bank of fog over the fields so that I could see no further than the other side of the road. It's now creeping in and all around the houses and parked cars it's quite misty. It's also jolly cold; quite a surprise after the warmth of yesterday.

And today is a birthday. This blog is now two years old! Many thanks to all readers, those who have been with me from the word go and those who have come along later. Hopefully there's been some good bits amidst the mundane, everyday ramblings! Here's to the coming year!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tuesday evening

. . . and I'm struggling to keep awake until something like a sensible time that will enable me to sleep beyond stupid o'clock tomorrow morning. I guess another fifteen minutes should do it! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday morning

Having been awake since stupid o'clock (aka half past two), I've managed to catch up with mailbox messages, do some planning and resource making AND tidied out the kitchen. Amazing. As a born and seasoned Put-Things-Off-er (what's the word - procrastinator?), I'm quite pleased that I've started getting prepared for a much welcomed visit from a good friend over Friday and Saturday nights. I bet there will be the usual last minute panic on Friday morning, but maybe it won't be as bad as it usually is. You never know! I can hope.

Today is PPA and coordinator time day. With only two more weeks to plan this term, things are getting hectic. I was looking back over last year's blogging and I note that at this time last year I commented that we always seem to hit the end of the Easter term at a run rather than having a gradual slow-down as we do for Christmas and the summer. I then commented that the children slowed down before the teachers! I guess it is going to be exactly the same this year - there's still so much to cover but there are already signs of a slight slow down in working pace from a few of the children and more will follow in the next couple of weeks.

And finally a comment on the Rosemary Conley Solo Slim meals - not bad, not bad at all! :0)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Monday evening

Home and exceedingly tired after a busy day. An early night calls, I think. And when I wake tomorrow morning I must do some tidying and clearing. I MUST! Why not do it now? Because I'm falling asleep, that's why!


Monday morning

A very quick entry this morning. Thankfully, I did sleep better last night and, although the cough is rather wearing, I am fit for school, thank goodness.

I have quite a lot to do this morning after a weekend of feeling sorry for myself, so must go and get it done!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sunday evening

Well, the cold really is gripping quite hard at the moment. I texted DD to let her know and she decided not to come as they have not long recovered from illness. Very sensible of her but I did miss the visit.

As a result, I have a very lazy day, to the extent of making it a PJ day. I did, however, get some icing done, using up some of the red icing I got for comic relief. I like the effect (see photos) but I want to learn how to do it properly. You can make wonderful flowers with sugar paste.

Hope I sleep OK tonight.

Sunday morning

I love mini muffin tins. The one I have was bought at a ridiculously high price at a Pampered Chef party and still looks as good as new, despite quite a lot of use over the years. The tin, combined with mini muffin cases and a bit of mixing and stirring, makes the cutest little cakes, just enough for a couple of mouthfuls (or one, if you like a mouthful). Another good thing is that a one egg mixture makes twenty four of the beauties with enough left over for one or two normal sized cakes, depending on how big the egg was.

I use the 'weigh the egg' method. First you weight the egg (in its shell). Whatever the egg weighs will give to the weight of the butter, sugar and flour. A large egg is around the 70g mark. I bung it all in a bowl with about two thirds of a capful of real vanilla essence, in goes the hand held beater and away we go. It takes about a minute. Finally, just before spooning into the cases, I add about two serving spoons of hot water, give it a final stir and that's it. Into the cases and in the oven for a ridiculously short time (watch them, they do cook very quickly).

The ones I've made today are destined for the freezer, for tea tonight with DD and DG or to be prettily decorated for the meeting tomorrow after school. I've been fiddling with making a sugar paste rose. Not the beautifully delicate, individually moulded petal type, but the kind that involves rolling a sausage, flattening it out, playing with it a bit and then rolling lengthwise into a sort of rose-looking thing. A cheat but a pretty cheat! So the meeting cakes will have a dollop of butter icing with a rose squidged on top. Should look quite nice, I hope.

Photo: One of yesterday's efforts, for birthday gifts and for thank-yous. The wire thing didn't work - the wire is too bendy. I must look around.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Saturday morning

I didn't sleep so well last night, despite the tiredness. I'm a bit hotty-cold and achey with a very sort throat. However, this being Saturday, it's not a problem as I can doze whenever I like and will definitely go back to bed in a little while to see if I can get a bit more shut eye.

When I last looked in Hobbycraft, I saw some shiny wire, very thin, that I thought might be OK for making cake decorations - flowers and a butterfly on one end of the wire, the other end stuck into the cupcake, if you see what I mean. So, between naps and rests I might have a go - if I feel up to what could be a frustrating experience. If it doesn't work, no problem. What's a bit of icing and a few cms of wire between friends, after all.

That's about it as far as weekend plans go. A shame about the housework, but that's an ongoing thorn in the flesh and won't go away! Better go and tackle that kitchen.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Friday evening

. . . and the weekend starts here. I'm bone weary and fit for nothing but rubbish TV, a relaxing book and a good cuppa.

It was good though - all the cakes went, they raised £51.80 and because the winner of the draw donated her winnings back to Comic Relief (thank you so much, A, for your generosity), the whole amount is going to be sent off, together with the results of the 'wear a silly hat to school' day. Really encouraging and well worth the extra work they took.

The cold is landing good and hard now. Sniffles and snuffles. I'm not the only one - it's going around the staff like wildfire, or so it seems.Let's hope it's short, even if it can't be sweet.

Looking ahead to the weekend, this evening is set aside for R&R, as previously mentioned. Tomorrow is devoted to getting the place back into some sort of order and then baking and decorating some rather special cupcakes (I hope they will be special, anyway) as birthday and thank you presents. Nice and relaxing and utterly satisfying.

Friday morning

. . . and the Comic Relief cup cakes are all done, iced and ready to take in to school. All forty one of them. Unfortunately, the cakes I made yesterday evening went a bit flat and, as always, the decorations are a long way from brilliant as you can see in the photo, but they taste OK, so no problems. As long as the money rolls in . . .

In less happy news whinge, whine moan, I've got another cold. The back is aching, the nose is blocked, the head throbs and the throat is sore. Now where did I put the paracetamol?

Right, that's got that grumble out of the way! Cheering up again, today is SEN day and there's a long list of stuff, as always, to get done, the most immediate being to prepare for a staff meeting next week. I have to day, this day of non contact is a boon and a blessing. How I ever did it before protected SEN time I will never know. Now there's two of us and we're still very busy. It's some law or other - work expands to fill the time available . . . so true.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thursday evening

It's been lovely chatting with the parents but extremely exhausting and so terribly intensive. All done now until October. The summer one is the formal reports and an open evening.

Oh, my goodness, I'm so-o-o tired. The second batch of cupcakes for comic relief is baking as I type and I will ice them tomorrow morning. I hope people buy them and contribute loads and loads of dosh for Comic Relief. It'll all be worth it if they do.

I am very much looking forward to a weekend with nothing much on. It will be wonderful to mooch around with no pressures and only the 'common tasks' to worth on. Bliss.
And just three weeks - fifteen school days - until the next break. Where is that time going? That's what I want to know.

Thursday morning

One down, one to go!
Last night's was the biggie. More or less solid booked from 5:50 to 8:30 and, as it turned out, I finally finished at around 9:15. Boy, was I tired!!

This evening it's earlier. Last appointment is at 5:50. There are far fewer and there's welcome gaps in between, meaning that I don't have to panic if I get a little bit behind. Phew.

And then, when I get home, I can relax by making a whole load more cupcakes and if I do them early, I can get them iced too, rather than early Friday morning. Great! I'm hoping people donate more and they raise a whole load of dosh for Comic Relief.

And then I'm planning a 'nothing much weekend'. Bliss!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Wednesday morning

It's the first of parents' evenings tonight. I think I'm more or less ready and, having got the books sorted (thanks to my wonderful team), it's amazing quite how much work they have done in a term and a half.

Tonight and tomorrow night are taken up and I also have to find some time to ice cupcakes for Comic Relief on Friday. I've done some and they are residing in the freezer. I finally went for a red and white theme so while some are red nose iced, others have stars, flowers, whatever - all with the same red and white. They look pretty good really and I'll try to remember to take a few photos on Friday.

That's it really. Life goes on. DD has a 'new' car. I am jealous. :0)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


This should really go in my 'other' blog bit . . .

I've bitten the bullet and, despite the cost and a freezer full of home made meals, I have decided to go back to buying in meals again. The food control has just crashed in recent weeks and I'm desperate to get back on track. Easy, surely? Well, no, it's proving to be extremely hard and is getting me down considerably.

I looked on Bodychef, which has stood me in such good stead in the past but the increased cost is wince-creating and I feel that I am priced out of this now. So I've decided to go for the Solo Slim meals from Rosemary Conley. They do a package of ten main meals for £30 (including postage) which seems pretty good. I will have to organise the lunches and breakfasts, but I think I can do that if the evening meals are done for me. So I've chosen ten meals from quite a good range and we shall see . . .

Fingers crossed for me, please.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Monday morning

Well, it's been a bit hectic this weekend, but I feel a lot has been achieved/done, and it's been worth it. So now it's back to school and a nice day's work planned for me and mine. My blogs are likely to be short this week, but I will be back! After this week, next weekend is going to be easy and relaxing and very unstressed.

Have a good day, gentle readers!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sunday - later than usual!

It's been a right day.

I'm trying to get ready for a couple of meetings and this morning I needed to get the printer - the new printer - up and running. So I started following the instructions and fairly soon it told me to put in the set up ink cartridges.
What set up ink cartridges? I looked and looked but there were none. OK, thought I, no problems, I'll go and get some. So I did, popped them in and was greeted by the information that they wouldn't do. Dear me, no, it HAD to be the SETUP cartridges.

At that point I uttered something mildly rude and decided to pack the thing up and go back to PC World. I have to say the staff member I spoke to was very good. No quibbles or sceptical 'are you sure' looks. They got me another one, opened it up at my request to show me that there were some, and redid the necessary paperwork with apologies.

Now it's all set up and working very nicely. It's noisier than the old one, much faster and the quality seems better. And I have some spares for when the cartridges run out.

But I really didn't have the time for all that!

Better get back to work now.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Saturday morning a bit later on

. . . and I've been a ba-a-a-ad girl! It's all Lakeland's fault, of course, it made me do it! They shouldn't be allowed to sell cupcake makers. If it wasn't Lakeland's fault, then it was DD's. She said she wanted one and it set me off! Yes, it did!

The better news is that I have got myself a new printer! In the end I went for another HP because I like them and they've always done a good job. But my goodness, how they have come down in price. Incredible.

I also got some T shirts as they were two for £10 in Bhs, lovely pastel spring colours too. And I got the bits and bobs I was expecting to find, so quite a successful outing (albeit expensive).

Better go and try out my new toy now.

Saturday morning

And. . .

I'm going on a printer hunt
I'm going to catch a big one
What a beautiful day!!
I'm not scared

As well as that, I'm off into town to pay in some money, I'm going into Lakeland to get sundry bits and bobs and, after trawling around PC World, I am going to treat myself to a look around Hobbycraft (yes, again). See, it is a beautiful day, whatever the weather says! And I'm not scared, but the bank manager might be!

I've just baked 30 cupcakes. No, I'm not going into business, no way, but I had an idea for comic relief which is this coming Friday (the cakes will be frozen until Thursday evening).
I bake cupcakes and ice them with comic relief related stuff (red noses, red hearts, etc). People buy one for £1.00 or more (more, I hope) and write their name on a cupcake picture to go into the Grand Draw! The winner gets a third of the money paid, comic relief gets the rest.

I hope it works! What do you think?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday morning

. . . and there's some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that my printer has given up. I was merrily printing away on Wednesday morning and between one sheet and the next it stopped and told me in no uncertain terms that there was no colour cartridge inside. Well, there was, of course, it had just been printing quite happily, but it does this occasionally. So I bought another cartridge that evening and installed it, only to be told the same thing. Grrrrr.
It's not an old printer but, to be fair, it was pretty cheap and does get a lot of use. I reckon it's just not worth what it would cost to get it repaired, so I'm replacing it and using the opportunity to get something that prints photographs a bit better so I can make cards from the less appalling results of my photography and editing. One of our local mums is a gifted photographer and I have just bought a card from her for Mothering Sunday. The photo is stunning but the actual making is very straightforward and achievable, especially now that there's a Hobbycraft on the doorstep. The other important thing is the quality of the colour printing. Now, I can't make myself into a good photographer but I can look for a printer of better quality than the one that's just died. So after school today I'm off to the local computer shop to have a nosey around, thanking my lucky starts that I am fortunate enough to be able to do this. I'm going to go for one that scans as well: that function has been so useful and I'd miss it very much now (and the space that having an all-in-one saves).

So that's the bad news.

Yesterday evening a group of us from school, who all live very locally, went out to the local pub (for want of a better word) for a meal together and a jolly good chit chat and laugh. Very nice it was too, a most enjoyable time was had. So that was good and I still feel the cheeriness this morning, even after an inadequate amount of sleep.

Also yesterday I received some good news that means I will be going to the O U S A conference at Milton Keynes this year. More about that at a later date. A friend has been trying to get me to go for years so she's pleased, she says, and it will be nice to meet people I've communicated with a lot online but never before met face to face.

And now it's Friday. SEN day and then the weekend. Four weeks and one day until the Easter break. The hyacinths are flowering in the garden. It's definitely warmer. Nice!

Photo: Taken in the garden, not hyacinths!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Thursday morning

. . . and it feels almost mild outside - well, in comparison to a few days ago, anyway. It's lovely to be able to give the children a choice of coat or jumper/cardigan and the ground is drying up nicely so they can play on the field again, thank goodness. It more than doubles their playing space and there are far fewer tumbles and grazes as a result.

Today is a full day with my class, yippeeeee, and it's games after play, another yippeeeee. Skipping today, which should be fun. I'm looking forward to it.

The meeting yesterday evening was good. Very helpful for us and, I hope, for the other school too. There should be more of it.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Wednesday morning

It doesn't feel nearly so cold this morning. There's no frost and no icy blast when I opened the front door. Walking to school should be considerably more comfortable than yesterday when it was shiver, shiver all the way and phew inside because the contrast was pretty noticeable. School can get very warm at times!

Wednesday is staff meeting day, of course, and we're having the get-together with another school that was postponed from before half term. I'm looking forward to it - it's always helpful to meet teachers from other schools and get a different perspective on how things are done, taught, approached . . . I'm sure I will learn a lot.
It should be good.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tuesday evening

I'm sitting here, in my 'new' computer chair, feeling sore and achey and extremely weary! I managed to got to dancercise for the first time in weeks and oh, my goodness, am I feeling it now? It has to be doing some good, surely? Please . . .

Weeks ago I noticed that there was a spare computer chair floating around the school, unused and, seemingly, unwanted. Several months ago, my own chair gave up the ghost, fell apart and refused to be re-assembled. Bye bye, chair! I've been using a dining chair in the meanwhile.
So I asked around about this chair and it seems that nobody wanted it but it was too good to just chuck. So I laid claim to it and now it's mine, brought home yesterday. Jolly comfortable it is too, although memories of certain Very Important People sitting in it keep coming to mind! Never mind, it's the sort of chair I could easily sit back and rock myself to sleep in, so no complaints from me.

Photos: it was a very cold morning this morning - winter or spring, I wondered?

Tuesday morning: pushed for time

. . . so this will be short. When I got home yesterday evening, I was so shattered I couldn't get my mind around preparing resources for today - and couldn't do it over the weekend because they very much depended on how yesterday went. So I've been very busy this morning

It was a wonderful day, the children looked delightful in their Victorian clothes, as did the adults, and a great time was had by all. There were some very sleepy little faces in the coach on the way back.
And for the rest of the week we have some clear and interesting activities based on yesterdays experiences.
What more could a year 1 teacher ask for, eh?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Monday morning and a trip into history

I'm all ready. The brown bread and butter is wrapped in paper. The hard boiled egg is hard and boiled! The cake and plums are all wrapped. There's water in a bottle (plastic, unfortunately) and the whole lot is in a hessian bag. We're off to Braintree Museum for an experience day today.

Somewhat less authentically, the camera is charged up with plenty of space on the memory stick and the worksheets, etc, are all in groups, together with pencils and sharpener. The risk assessment is complete and the sick buckets and first aid kits are ready and waiting.

It's going to be good!

Photos: Old ones from previous years.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday lunchtime: cakes for a meeting tomorrow

Do you think they will lighten the load?

Sunday morning

. . . and I was still awake before five, in spite of the (comparatively) late night. The witches had great fun, lots of laughs and chatter and I'm now looking forward to the next one.

I have stuff to do today. Pick up a laptop, do some baking (yes, more), put some stuff in the garden, washing, ironing . . . oh, and planning too, albeit only for four days.

Better get going then!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Saturday evening

. . . and the witches have met, I crashed at about ten (after all, I have been up since four thirty) and came home. The others are still over there . . .

Night, all!

Saturday afternoon - almost!

One problem solved, thanks to advice from a friend - you roll the icing out between two sheets of baking parchment of the ever-so-non-stick variety. I get mine from Lakeland (surprise, surprise).
I've just had a go, making some topping thingies for some cakes I will make tomorrow to lighten the load at the SMT meeting on Monday and it works. Thanks, Julie, you're a star!

I've just had a trawl on some sites and bought some holly leaf plunger cutter thingies.
Wrong time of year? - yes, I know, but I was looking for some before Christmas and do you think I could find any anywhere. No, I could not. It's obviously like clothes: you can only buy winter clothes the preceeding summer. You can only buy Christmas cutters in the early Spring. ;0)

Photo: in the garden.

Saturday morning - even later.

Blow it, I thought, and iced them anyway. They look OK as long as you don't look too closely! :0)

The first photo is of some of them. the second shows why you shouldn't look too closely! I have to work out how to roll out the icing using less icing sugar to prevent sticking - it marks the colour so badly.

Saturday morning - a bit later.

Ooops - I slightly overfilled the paper cases and now many of my mini-cupcakes have mini-muffin-tops. Drat and drabbit!

So do I make another batch or rejoice that there's a bit more space for icing? Decisions, decisions!
Photos: There was enough cake mix left to make a couple of bigger cakes for George. It's interesting how looking at the photos show up all sorts of errors - raggedy edges, icing sugar marks, etc. Room for improvement, without a doubt! I'm sure George will like them anyway!

Saturday morning

I was so hoping to sleep longer and wake later - should've known better, shouldn't I? I've been up for a couple of hours now but if I start getting tired at least I can pop back to bed for another snooze. That's one of the many good things about weekends!

I've just turned the oven on ready for those mini-cupcakes I will be making for the Witches this evening. I need to make some more little decorations too and I think I'm going to do a wee Internet trawl to look for more little cutters as the ones I have are rather limiting the decorations to butterflies and flowers! I know they're expensive, but a few at a time won't hurt the bank balance too much.

George comes today after a few weeks off. Another sign of longer days and stronger light is that weeds are starting to grow between the paving slabs, so I guess that will be his first job.

Well, better go and mix a cake.

Photo: Some of my mini daffs. Pretty, aren't they?

Friday, 4 March 2011

Friday evening

The end of what has proven to be a very busy, somewhat complicated and, at times, worrying and anger creating week - and I'm so-o-o tired!

Work has been great, really good. I have been extremely pleased with the children and the efforts they have made this week. I can see real and, in some cases, considerable progress and it cheers my heart. After all, the bottom line is that that's what I'm there for: to teach them so that they make progress. To see such clear results is most encouraging.

I had a meeting with the head today. As we were chatting about this and that she leaned forward and said 'I do like your necklace, it looks expensive, where did you get it!' Me, being an innately honest type had to admit that it was somewhere around a £5.99 job from Sainsbury's, but I was well chuffed with her remark as it's quite a favourite of mine and one I usually wear for special times. I immediately felt very much better dressed, of course!

I had to laugh this afternoon. On Monday we (Year 1) are all going to Braintree Museum for a Victorian Experience day to go with our current theme. I took my class for about twenty minutes this afternoon, to talk to them about what will happen, to make them aware of my expectations (behaviour, etc) and to show them part of a rather nice and simple book entitled 'Ragged Schools'. in order to prepare them for the role play lesson, which can come as a shock to some of the more - er - volatile members of the class. We got to a page that talked about how children were expected to sit up straight. If they didn't, they had to sit with their arms tucked behind a board to make them sit straight. As I read this bit and showed the picture I saw a 'whole class' movement in my peripheral vision (that vision that any teacher worth her salt has in abundance and without which we could not survive) and, when I looked straight at them, every child was sitting bolt upright in a way that would have rejoiced even the strictest Victorian teacher's heart.

So now I'm home. The weekend has started, there's no immediate planning needed for Monday and I have an evening out tomorrow to look forward to. I feel at peace with life (long may it last) and I intend to have a few glasses of something chilled and rose to celebrate.

Reminder to self: turn off the alarm clock!

Photo: flower stuff from the garden - a bit out of focus but isn't nature incredible? It's the centre of a primula. So small and yet so stunning.

Friday morning

. . . and SEN day, although, as I spent a lot of time earlier in the week on SEN stuff, I am taking some of the morning for coordinator time and PPA as a straight time swap.

PPA used to be on Fridays and it was jolly useful having it right at the end of the week with the next week's plans much more clearly defined at the end of the previous week than almost the beginning. Also, Y1 has an educational visit on Monday and it will be jolly useful to have the time to prepare the work sheets, etc, for both classes without needing to come into school tomorrow.

It's jolly cold outside at the moment. I opened the door earlier and closed it again, quickly. I don't think there's a frost, but the air does feel icy. Fingers crossed for sunshine to brighten us all up and to warm the air! With all the early flowers this year it's easy to forget that it's only the beginning of March and, possibly, there could still be some very cold and wintry weather to come. Let's hope not though - I'd much rather think ahead to sunshine and warmer conditions, sitting out in the garden and enjoying the fresh air, reading a book by the open window . . .

It's easier to feel optimistic when Spring is on the way. The flower in the photos was from the garden centre, but it's now living happily in the back garden and cheers me up each time I see it.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Thursday evening

. . . and my brain is reeling with EYFSP data, performance criteria, progress and performance scales and so on. Actually, it was interesting but hard, hard work on the course this afternoon. I did make one comment that was 'praised' so I obviously said something right there, thank goodness.
And the next one - the last one - is about transition to Y1, which will be jolly useful.

PE was fun, fun, fun. They were Victorian children so they all marched out in line, stood in rows and did 'drill' (sort of). The children thought it was great. Then I taught them how to play hopscotch and how to bowl a hoop. The fun made up for the fact that it was very, very cold indeed. For them, anyway. Almost I envied the little one with the broken arm who stayed in the warm.

I have some washing in the machine that's going through its fourth wash. I've been so busy I haven't had time to take the clothes out and hang them up to dry so they've just stayed in and got pongy, requiring another wash. I think tonight will be their lucky night!

Better go and do it then, before I fall asleep!

Thursday morning

First of all, many congratulations to Diane's son, who passed an important test yesterday and is now on his way to achieving his ambition. Brilliant.

It's very dull and very cold outside at the moment. Contrary to what iGoogle says, it's not actually raining in this part of the world - yet. Typical, of course, as it's Thursday and therefore outside games day. Fingers crossed . . .

This afternoon I am off to the third of a series of four courses all about managing Foundation Stage. Each time I go I learn more and more - it's extremely interesting and puts me well in the picture.
So that's me out of school - again! There are copious notes for my supply though. When one plans, one doesn't write everything down, just the bare bones, because it's all in ones head. The poor supply, of course, doesn't have this understanding and, sometimes, the 'helpful notes' can be very long . . .

And then it's nearly the end of the first week back. Where, oh where, has the time gone? Mind you, there's plenty to do this weekend, what with parents evenings coming up, assessments to do, etc . . . It's all go.

There is something to look forward to though. The Witches are meeting again, this time for drinks and nibbles, and a neighbour who moved away a while ago is coming too. Great fun all round!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I finished off the last entry with 'I'll be very tired by the time I get home this evening' and, indeed, I am, but nevertheless it has been a pleasant day for varied reasons, a few of which I can mention.

There was a meeting with a much desired outcome, lessons went well, the sun shone, life is generally looking up now . . . and I can get an early night tonight, thank goodness. All Good Things.

Sleep well.

Wednesday morning

After a good night's sleep things look much brighter again. I'm still unhappy about stuff, but . . .

It was a jolly cold night and I think there might be just a touch of frost at the moment. I have my window open a bit because I prefer a cold room and a cosy bed to a warm room and a sweaty bed at night: at one point the cover had come off and I woke shivering. it was nice to warm up quickly under the quilt again though - duvets are fantastic for that!

Today is a busy day with lots going on. Family assembly, ICT, library and PPA as well as the usual things. It keeps us all on our toes all day. After school K and I are off to our next Makaton session. I don't feel on top of things so much this time - there were a lot of words last time and I can remember hardly any of them. On the plus side, I've started incorporating some signs into the songs that we sing and the children are enjoying them. That's good.

I'll be very tired by the time I get home this evening!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Tuesday evening

You know how life can be plodding on quite nicely and then something happens to anger one unutterably? Not very nice at all.
On a brighter note, however, the photos are of the paper weaving which the children loved doing. Cheerful, isn't it?

Tuesday morning

. . . and I'm a bit weary after a long evening at the computer yesterday. Serves me right, I guess. Sometimes I just get going and go through the sleepy stage (around 8:30 for me) into a new wakefulness. It still doesn't stop me waking early though, which is a Good Thing because I want to wash my hair this morning.

Today should be interesting what with visitors to the school, PPA, etc, and more paper weaving this afternoon. That went well yesterday, but that was does to having enough adult hands on board to support and teach. Two groups to go today and that's done! The end results look very bright and colourful and should make a very good display.

Better go and get that hair washed now, before it's too late.