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The Genial Hearth
I’ve just put the kettle on, join me for a cuppa and a chat.

Archive for May, 2007

The Wonders of Sunshine

So, we’ve been using cloth nappies again for a while. Bilby is still breast feeding, so her nappies are regularly interesting colours! And that doesn’t always change when they’re washed:-( There have been more than a couple I’ve hung out and thought that I would need to put them through the wash again… But I’ve hung them out anyway, because then at least I’ll know where they are. Without fail the sunlight cleans them up! I don’t remember being conscious of that the last time I was using cloth, I know I read about it, but I didn’t really believe it till I saw it for myself:-)

This Week

Our plans for
Week 5, Block 4 (Break Week)
This week we’ll be singing still, and hopefully baking muffins. We’ve started reading ‘Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories‘ and Puggle seems to be enjoying it alot, so we’ll keep reading that.

Macaroni and Cheese

I don’t feel as though I’ve ever really made a good macaroni and cheese. And it seems as though it should be within my grasp. Now, one of the recipe carnivals, has a macaroni and cheese theme. Surely I should be able to find something suitable there!


Week 4, Block 4
We didn’t get much done at all. The last few weeks have all been fairly similar (we’ve barely even sung:-( ), pretty much since we started swimming this term. The difference is that we have a lesson for Bilby as well—and it’s on a different day. The lessons are great, but I’m finding two days worth (particularly at the start of the week) really exhausting.
This week, we did manage to start singing ‘Arkansas Traveller’, and we’ve finished ‘The Little Prince’. There was also the cutting out. I managed to print out those sheets, but I’ve had trouble printing the ‘i’s. Puggle has been asking for this week’s letter:-) Fortunately, we have another week on ‘i’.

Christmas in July

I’m planning to repeat my Christmas in July idea this year.

July 15th is the birthday of Clement Clark Moore, credited with writing ‘ Visit from St Nick’ (otherwise know as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’)

It seems appropriate to celebrate Christmas in July around this time, so…
Christmas in July Craft Day
Sunday July 15th
1.30pm onwards
I am planning on using it as an opportunity to get started with Christmas preparation—time to make Christmas crackers and fruit mince:-) Time to start thinking about making Christmas cards (not sure that I’ll do that, but still) and time to start thinking about making Christmas presents.
I’ll make something suitably festive to nibble on (I think I have some gingerbread in the freezer), and maybe if the weather encourages it, some Spiced Apple Juice.
All are welcome even if you’re not doing Christmas craft.

Cutting Practice

Puggle has started paying attention to lines to follow when cutting out. I saw recently a reference to someone’s great cutting practice sheets. Sadly, I didn’t manage to find those ones. Instead, I found these (which are perfectly serviceable, just not the ones I was looking for.) When he pays attention, he’s quite good at cutting straight lines:-)

(I know I could just have drawn lines for him to follow, but after I’d looked for these other sheets, I was kind of in the mindset to print!)

Sounding Out

Puggle is really paying attention to what he is saying, and regularly asks what starts with a given sound, or what sound is at the start of a word.
We’re also spending some time paying attention to how we form sounds. Since I’ve been printing the alphabet letters for him to draw on, he’s started asking what words start with that sound, or what sound does a given word begin with. And he’s been offering suggestions. Some of which are very accurate, but others remind me that he doesn’t have a complete grasp on all sounds (although, they are age appropriate still), ‘W’ for Wooster (rooster, I know ‘r’ is one of the later sounds—and in fact, he does occasionally say it correctly) and ‘P’ for bus.

This Week

Our plans for
Week 4, Block 4
‘Sing, Sing, What Shall I Sing?’, ‘Hickety, Pickety, My Black Hen’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘Escape at Bedtime’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Miss Moppet by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: Arkansas Traveler
Composer: Robert Schumann
Work: Carnaval
Artist: JMW Turner
Work: The Fighting Téméraire
Art Activity: Make an Indian Headdress with paper cut feathers.
Cooking: Curried eggs


Week 3, Block 4
Not a lot got done (well, of my plans activities at any rate). He has done a lot of tracing ‘h’s. I still haven’t done the playlist. I’ll make a point of it by the start of the next block.

Pumpkin… no, Tomato Soup

Last year I spent some time trying to make tomato soup. I didn’t ever succeed in making something that really worked for me.

Last night I made my usual Pumpkin soup… but I tried a couple of different things. I wanted to add some beans so we could have it as a main course—just pumpkin is a little insufficient. I also wanted to try tomato passata rather than a tin of tomatoes—I want some of the bottles:-) and for future reference when cooking for those who can’t eat tinned stuff.

I think I’ve often done a larger batch (2 butternuts) and tins of tomato are about half the quantity of the bottles of passata. So this soup that I made turned into Tomato soup! Even better, it’s almost exactly what I was trying to get last year (think tinned tomato soup, one of my real comfort foods, sad I know).

I’ll do it a little differently if I’m making tomato soup, but here’s what I did.

Pumpkin/Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup1 butternut (normally 2, for tomato soup I’ll do half), chopped, peeled and seeded
1 onion
enough chicken stock to cover the vegies
3 or 4 shakes cayenne pepper (probably 2 or 3 would work better)
2 tins butter beans (I think this is just under 4 cups… I’ll have to check what that would be dried)
1 bottle passata (normally one tin of tomatoes)
1 small tin evaporated milk (not sure if I’ll leave this in for tomato)

Put the butternut, onion, chicken stock, beans and cayenne in a pot, and boil. Usually it’s in the order of 20 minutes or so—depending how the pumpkin is chopped. I guess if I start with dried beans I’d soak them and cook them and add the pumpkin for the last 20 minutes.
Blend this well. Pour in the passata and rinse out the bottle with a little water (if I’m using tinned tomatoes, I add them before blending). Stir well and heat. Add the evaporated milk and stir.

Be aware that the cayenne flavour develops over time. We had this again for lunch today, and it was definitely warmer than last night!

I served it with homemade bread.

ETA the photo.


So, does anyone want rocks?

We have two piles in our backyard (actually, some of them are now out by the letterbox) of rocks. There are a couple of bricks/tiles, but most of them are real rocks of various sizes. Some are quite small, but the rest range from between softball size and too large for me to carry on my own. They’d probably do quite nicely for a rockgarden or something similar. You might be able to use them as part of a wall (maybe around a firepit?).

They’ve been here since before I moved in. They were out on the verge near the curb to stop people parking there, but the lawn-mowing folks removed them and I’ve done nothing with them since.

I now have plans for that patch of ground, and I don’t want the rocks there.

Is anyone interested?

Rolling Over and Sitting Up

Bilby has finally worked out how to roll over and back again! Previously, she had been rolling one way, and forgetting that she could do the other…

She’s also now able to sit. For the last week, she’s needed some support, but she can now manage to do so on her own. Of course, she’s not entirely reliable, so we still need to stay very close by.

And she’s beginning to be really mobile. Not crawling as such, but she pulls with her arms, and pushes with her legs and gets around quite thoroughly. Certainly well enough to reach Puggle’s blocks to join him in playing:-) Fortunately, he’s generally quite happy to share them—so far!

Last night, she obviously rolled onto her front to sleep. I’m assuming that’s why she slept more deeply… she often wakes a couple of times before midnight, but not last night! I think it’s the first time she’s slept that way, she has tended to seem distressed after a long time on her stomach and not able to put her head down. This morning though, when on Puggle’s bed, she kept putting her head down and lying there happily, so I think that suggests a change.


The crafty among you (particularly those with children less than a year in your vicinity) should definitely check out this post (and then wander around the rest of the site). I’m thinking that Bilby might be getting a pair or so of these:-) I don’t usually sew clothing for children, owing to the speed with which I don’t get it done, but these could be quick enough (depending on the embellishments of course!) to be manageable:-)

You Can’t Stop the Murders">You Can’t Stop the Murders

Just bizarre!

This Week

Our plans for
Week 3, Block 4
‘Little Jack Horner’, ‘Hi, Hi! Says Anthony’ from My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
‘Land of Nod’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘Brother and Sister’ from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Tale of Miss Moppet by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: Arkansas Traveler
Composer: Robert Schumann
Work: Carnaval
Artist: JMW Turner
Work: The Fighting Téméraire
Art Activity: Make a hand print picture, make a hand print ‘H
Cooking: Curried eggs

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