Friday, December 03, 2010

It was blog or clean the kitchen floor, guess which won!

I had to document the amazing ability of a 12 year old boy to clean up the living room. The only thing missing is the 'before' picture. I recall the reward for this was some computer time.

And below are some of the various activities that go on, on our kitchen table, besides eating:

Some late pictures from Eid. I now realise that as long as it's pink, Biryani will be happy!

and now we have some hyacinths slowly growing, keeping the restless gardener calm(er). There's not much to do outside, what with the weather (snow being rather non-news I suppose in Sweden).

but these roses show the snow has come a bit earlier than usual

and here is a picture of one of the 'mobile nurseries' that they have in our city. I was on my way to order some new glasses. There is such a demand for childcare that they can't build enough premises and so bus the little ones around to different parks etc. It's quite a good idea, with on board tables/ facilities, but when I took this was maximum -7 C and they were all cosy inside the bus with the engine running. Not a soul in the playground nearby- I'm not surprised. As I was walking to the opticians I felt the rushing co-pedestrians thinking to themselves: 'Blimey, it's cold'. Waiting at the pedestrian crossing, I sneaked a quick 'dragon-smoke' breath, and then rapidly remembered I'm not 7 any more.

and now the shops have run out of sledges- well at least the reasonably priced ones- and we have only one intact, uh oh!
Anyway, now time to, er, ignore the kitchen floor a bit longer.......

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Out of the habit..

I have to admit I am out of the habit of blogging. There's still much going on, but with the children well into school and the fight for home ed seeming like eons in the past, the mental notes of what they're up to are not in the forefront of my mind. Other things are dominating, like what we're going to live off next year and where we're going to be living.
At the moment I'm in practically a hibernation mode. I slept before 8 pm last night and got up after 8 am. In between were quite a few stirrings from Hz, but I think I've caught something from him. He'd been restless the night before with a high temperature.
Hz is also being a challenge to get out of the house as he seems to think a nappy and boots is sufficient. He's not taking this grey, Winter thing easily. Similar to how the change to Summer wasn't accepted- he would never wear his sandals and wore his winter shoes the whole season. Maybe he'd prefer to live somewhere nearer the equator!
M had his tetanus booster yesterday and now has a very painful arm which is giving him an excuse to get out of most things. Poor him though, he felt dizzy and fainted this morning and bumped his nose resulting in a big bruise.
Today, Biryani found a maths workbook and filled in all the empty parts, quite voluntarily. H read a book with me which had a silly storyline to it- a boy flew a plane he'd found in his cupboard to the moon, which H found completely implausible (especially knowing how difficult it's being getting his Dad's plane up and running).
S is at a friend's place, probably playing too much XBox, his friend got a new game for Eid.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

I'm still learning...

The month of Dhul Hijr is coming soon, where Muslims who are able go for Hajj (pilgrimage). I never realised that these 10 days are so special too for those of us who can't make it. Here's a short video about it.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

or maybe not quite final..

These pics are about 3 weeks old, but the flowers are too beautiful to just remain somewhere on my hard drive.....

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Final snaps of colour..

The last of the flowers in the allotment, and gardens round our way.
Trees having their last fashion show before the curtain drops.
The days are pretty short round here,with S swapping leaving in the dark for coming home in it.
Winter is on it's way, I'll have to accept it, it's been nearly 8 years in Sweden and I should be used to it by now....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some random photos...

Just thought to post these before they are completely out of date. The first is of the fishermens' cottages in the centre of town near the museum area. It's a nice area to have a day out with the children. Hope we can get over the recent illnesses (H with croup and Hz with a cold) and maybe visit them again. Anything to get out of this place, the suburbs...
Hz is into his art and craft aswell, diligently scribbling and modelling plasticine. His speech is coming on in leaps and bounds, using little sentences, and he must say 'OK?/ OK' about 100 times a day. Do I really say it so much? he must have got it from somewhere!

Friday, October 08, 2010

My version of 'An honest day' done without notes so may be a blend of other days

Woke up, fajr

S is already about getting ready for school, get H up for Fajr, M won’t wake up. H decides his throat is too bad and takes a sickie. S leaves to catch the 2 buses to school.

Start washing off down in cellar.

M goes to school on school bus.

Hz wakes up, make some breakfast, make breakfast for little ones, porridge for hub. Biryani wakes.

Biryanis friend is dropped off, we bake cupcakes,I try to slip in some maths as in 3 times 4 slots in the muffin tray will result in 12 cakes. Goes over their heads, so try to intersperse some English to Biryanis friend as her family want to move to Tanzania (where Swedish isn’t widely spoken of course)Eat some of afore-mentioned cakes.

I go back down to get washing into drier/ start next 2 loads off.

Drink cup Rooibos and start to feel it’s sedative effects, but the washing must go on..

Make lunch for kids, forget to eat it myself.

Clearing kitchen up a bit(?) Hz decides to remove nappy, friend rings up, I can’t answer it. Friend rings again and we talk a little, Hz does a poo in his fresh nappy, have to call friend back.

Pray Dhuhr.

Somehow, with Hz in tow, I take out the recycling rubbish and put the dried washing in the baskets and leave in the hall for boys/ hub to bring up (noone in their right mind would steal our sheets etc would they??)

Hub and S come back, M soon after by school bus. The cupcakes numbers are dwindling.

Realise my light headedness may be due to the fact that cupcakes are not sufficient nutritionally, and eat leftover sausage sandwiches as a late lunch (not much better I admit).

Try to lie down and read some Quran. S’s friend comes over. Xbox360 is in full use.

Hz poos twice on the floor, patience is wearing thin at this in between potty training phase.

Pray Asr

Make evening meal, boy’s go out to corner shop for Jummah sweets (normally its Saturdays that kids get sweets in Sweden) and get to eat them after supper.

A small alteraction between H and M, more Xbox . Realise that they haven’t done any homework/ Quran, but it is Jummah and friend is over...

Hub lies down with Hz.

and I eat something and watch a halaqah on youtube, while Biryani covers the kitchen floor in all kinds of craft material, and happily paints one of the square tiles with pritt-stick. As I dutifully clear it up I try to focus on how beautifully she kept between the grout lines and not that it needed a scouring pad plus several wipes with a sponge to get it off.

Yell a number of times for boys to stop playing on Xbox. Should have been yelling at self to stop looking at YouTube and pray maghrib on time (was actually really confused whether I’d prayed it or not), it’s got much earlier recently,but astagfirullah. Prayed maghrib and Isha.

Finished off kitchen. Checked some blogs.

Must sleep. Make bread and jam for Biryani. Publish this.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The harvest still trickling in...

Don't get too excited, the pumpkins were not from our garden, but from a kind Canadian girl I met at a local harvest market/fest. However I was glad, even with my ailing memory, to recall that it's a good idea to stick them straight in the oven, and then cut them up as the skin is extremely tough. The flesh went into some soup which is the sort thing you need as the Autumn days move in.
The green leaves are New Zealand spinach, which have been a useful replacement for lettuce/ salad leaves and can be used as normal spinach. I try the to pick the leaves carefully so that the plants can continue to produce more leaves. Hz had other ideas and ripped a few plants from the ground. Admittedly this is a much more time-efficient method which I might adopt when my patience runs out.
The final photo is of H and M joining in (with a little coercion) in a cooperative game involving lots of various sized squash and bamboo canes at the harvest fest. The idea is each team member simultaneously uses his/her cane to pick up the squash and run up and down before the other team completes the task. The other team were mostly adults and they did manage to thrash our boys' team. It was quite painful to watch the shiny vegetables slipping between the canes every couple of minutes. However there was lots of concentration going on and I think they were happy with themselves just to complete the game, whether they won or not.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Would-be guest blogger: Hz

Mamma took me out today. She thought that my eyes had looked at the screen too long. We went to a place we go to fairly often. It's OK there, they have screens, you know. I managed to start up Explorer on a couple of the pooters but couldn't get to my favourite site. It kept giving this boring white screen with slots you could type those letter thingies in. The ladies who work there use this website all the time. I don't know why, it's totally unexciting. Anyway I decided to shut down all the computers in the place, bar one which was being used by another big person. The big people twittered to themselves as I skillfully manipulated the mouse. Really, all it takes is regular practice.
Then I found some strange shaped plastic items with big letters printed on them,which occur periodically on the shelves which house those rectangular cardboard things with paper inside. They were good for throwing, and generally scattering around the joint. However Mamma seemed anxious, the beads of sweat beginning to form on her brow, as she quickly slot them back inbetween the cardboard-covered things which this place is completely chocablock with.
The best thing today was the spinning rack full of CDs. If you spin it hard enough they all fly out and Mamma joins me in the pick-up-the CD game very willingly.
So I did like the trip out today, although the place could be improved by replacing those cardboard rectangles for something a bit more stimulating. Really, they take up most of the space. Now what was the name of that place, oh yes, the laibree.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's harvest time!

We had many tomatoes on the allotment, it looked like it was going to be a bumper crop. August's rain put a stop to that and many had rotten before even ripening, so I decided to cut my losses and pick all the green tomatoes and make them into chutney.
It is actually quite delicious, even better than Branston Pickle if I do say so myself!
The balcony tomatoes were also disappointing but some have ripened and can be eaten in salads.
However we managed to aquire quite a bit of 'food for free': plums, and apples,
and I have my eye on the elderberries (that managed to avoid being picked by some crazy muslim woman making drinks out of their blossom) which may make a lovely pair with the apples I have left. We shall see if the energy exists to do this or that I buy the usual strawberry squidgy stuff from the supermarket....

Sunday, September 05, 2010

End of the Summer

This Summer has been characterised by : Chicken Pox, Weeding, childminder-run, car problems, and not making it to the UK.
Or if you look at it another way: immunity, harvesting lots of salad, Hz starting to speak Swedish, and maybe a bit of Sabr..

The photos above are mostly of the activity day organised by the recycling (rubbish plant) centre at a nearby nature area that we went to on the last day of the holidays. They are cooking bread on sticks over a wood fire and enjoyed eating it. The children and their friends who came along made some entries to an art competition using recycled materials . They used an awful lot of spray paint (much enjoyed) and glue, and it is questionable as to how environmentally friendly this activity actually was!! They climbed some climbing walls, S shot some targets with a real gun and they got a horse and carriage ride. There was an opportunity to get a bus tour of the rubbish plant which actually I am quite curious as to what they really do with out rubbish. But that'll have to be next year as there wasn't really so much time, and the thunder and rain arrived and we decided to go home.
The buns are the only bread I've cooked for ages, I've really got out the habit which is a shame. Time seems to be at a premium nowadays, as the infrequency of my blog posts indicates. I've been under the weather and went to sleep around 9 pm last night with the litttle ones!

The school run is now really complicated with 3 places to drop them at. S has now got used to his new school I think. On the first day it brought back my memories of starting a new secondary school, with all the different classrooms to locate, and different subject teachers. 3 days a week he starts v early( around 8 am) and this is pretty tiring, alhamdulillah. Anyhow inshaAllah things'll get easier, especially if S agrees to take the bus by himself.
Eid coming up and as usual I'm completely disorganised, but as I may not get a chance to blog before then, wish you a happy Eid and that Allah rewards you for your fasts in Ramadhan.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

It's still the Summer holidays..

The sole surviving sunflower plant has now bloomed and below is a few days later.

and Biryani is ever willing to get cooking

and generally make good use of the kitchen table...

as did H and M who leap on my sewing machine when it comes out for carrying out a few, boring clothing repairs.
and so we made beanbags in the spare minutes while they were waiting for friends to turn up. I'd managed to aquire some free rice from the corner shop as I'd noticed it was past it's date stamp. They would have thrown it away otherwise, so that served well as filling for the beanbags.

and the chalks came out at the request of our visitor, and were enjoyed by all.

Charlie and Lola Butterflies

and what's been happening otherwise? Well the education bill went through at the end of June and has basically banned Home Education in Sweden. Here is a recent article showing how the phrase 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' has not reached the Swedish government's ears.

We had a disappointing but not completely unsurprising experience when attempting to sort out some larger accomodation. A private landlord had a house for rent and agreed a time for us to have a look at the property. However as we drove up, gave us a quick scan and announced to us that it was already rented out, so we would not get a look in. This was possibly true that it could have been rented out within the space of 18 hours from booking the time, but I am surprised he managed to check their references and get contracts signed within that time. May aswell write on their adverts, instead of DSS, immigrants need not apply. Trying not to have a victim mentality here, just have to get on with it and hope and pray for something better, inshaAllah.

On a slightly happier note, Biryani and H began swimming classes today, although Biryani was not too happy in the water. She's been asking when her lesson is for the past few days, even waking me early this morning to ask again. She's been having to start learning the days of the week to get some idea of the time she has to wait. She's been all geared up with her new costume and shorts, beach dress and goggles- In the end it was all a bit scary and shivery I think, and I'm wondering if we'll be able to get her back in the water tommorrow at her next lesson. Otherwise she can just have a paddle in the kiddy pool, it's meant to be fun isn't it!?
Oh and Hz has now got chicken pox, so good job we didn't book any holidays away, alhamdulillah. It can seem like the holidays have to be full of excitement and fun, but having a real reason to take things easy takes off the pressure. I'm wondering if having this cloud of uncertainty drains the energy somewhat. However, of course, almost nothing is certain in this life...