Harvest time is such a busy time in the year whether you know it’s harvest time or not. In the UK, the kids have gone back to school and someone somewhere has a countdown to Christmas saying 17 Fridays left.
I grew up in a country where they harvest all year round and so there isn’t much of a celebration of all the hard work that has gone into growing crops. In fact, when we lived in London I still hadn’t heard of harvest festivals and so moving to the countryside has taught me a thing or 2 even thought I grew up in a farming community.
There are a couple of parts that are my favourite. Our village school asks the children to decorate a shoe box that has a connection to harvesting crops and pop some food items in. They are then later taken to our little church where the children sing and give their boxes as part of the celebration.
I know we usually have to give fresh food produce (well there are a few tutt tutts when there are tinned or other goodies) but I like to have a look with the boys and find items that have been harvested and in some cases gone through a production line. The reason being, is that I want the boys to understand that in most cases, something has been harvested before it became the flour or the cocoa powder. This year’s favourite was honey,
I didn’t think to take a photo until we had got to school but the boys chose 2 very different harvest boxes which took us 3 days to make (mainly for the paint to dry). The one is a tractor which has it’s goodies stored under the bonnet and the other is a crop sprayer.
The children did so well at the Havrest Festival service and they were all so proud of their creations – it was just lovely to see.
Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust
Bike n Hike 2015
The Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust has an annual charity event called the Bike n Hike which is to raise money to maintain the fabric of the buildings that have stood the test of time.
The boys and I started this in 2010 when our youngest was just 3. Whilst his older brother and dad cycled between the churches close to our village, I popped the then 3 yr old in the car and he cycled up the church lanes when we got to each church.
Well, 4 years on and we are still doing it! Except there is no car in sight.
Thank goodness the weather was kind to us this year as last year the mud literally put the brakes on us every 2 mins. We timed our route this year and it took an hour less as there was no mud!
We cycled a total of 5.35 miles, with 90 % on paths like the one above and ended up hiking in bits as the brambles and paths were overgrown in places.
But, we had a lovely time and stopped along the way to forage for blackberries.
You register with your local organiser so that they know who is cycling or hiking and get a form which is signed at most churches. Some aren’t manned, so you just sign the register on the door. We always ask the person who is manning the churches to allow the boys to write their own name down on the register and where they have come from and they are so friendly that they let them go ahead. We figure if they have done the mileage, then they can feel important to make their mark (figuratively and literally speaking!)
It’s a great day out and we met loads of bikers and hikers along the way who had done 1 church and some who had visited 29-30 which is amazing! We also seem to have an annual chat with the boys about why they are doing it for charity and what charity means.
Mumof2 Magic Moments
Usually, I already know what I am going to write when it comes to the end of the weekend and I have decided what Magic Moment I am going to highlight. These past few weeks however have been filled with them and so, I have decided to list them.
♥ Our boys had a little tiff (as brothers do). So the oldest one made a loom band with an apology note to his brother saying he was sorry he was hard on him but it’s because he is older. The younger one then returned the gesture with a loom band and a note saying he hopes his older brother appreciates the loom band. My heart swelled reading both their notes which were left in strategic places so that the other would stumble upon it.
♥ Both boys not only reached the top 100 students world wide in Mathletics (an online maths program), they reached numbers 1 and 5 in the UK and numbers 5 and 11 worldwide. This was by choice during the holidays and I had to drag them away to get them out of of the house.
♥ Our eldest son played in his first tennis tournament and was the runner up. We are so proud of the way he conducted himself. He has also been moved up to the next age group who are a whole head taller than him.
♥ Our youngest son is reading so beautifully and using big words in context.
They have both grown so much during the Summer holidays and we have had many more mumof2 magic moments. I have loved having them at home and really did wish for the holidays to be another 2 weeks. But, I think they were ready to go back to school and do some more growing.
So, in the mean time, I have their little box next to my bed, as a small reminder of how precious they are to us.
Cycling through Thetford Forest
Cycling is something that just happens in our family. We’re lucky enough to live in a quiet village and have loads of fields surrounding us.
We started both our boys off on the 3 wheeler scooters where you have to lean to turn. They were then upgraded to a balance bike at age 18 months or so and both of them just loved it.
For their 3rd birthday, they were given a ‘proper’ bike and with only 30 mins of ‘active help’ they were off on their own. No side wheels, no stabilisers. Just a helmut and a high vis jacket.
The bikes admittedly, have been used for more than one owner. We have high pressure washed and changed stickers, along with new lights etc.
The one thing we have felt is that our youngest son deserved a brand new bike for his 6th birthday. Not a hand me down. There are some things that just need to be new sometimes. So, we took him down to our local bike shop and he chose his very own bigger bike…WITH gears!
We also planned to collect it early, as we had my father-in-law over for a visit and wanted him to be part of the collection excitement too.
The very next day, we headed over to Thetford Forsest and had a super day climbing in the trees and then a lovely relaxed time cycling around the forest. Not only did he have to get use to 5 more gears than he had on his old bike, but brakes with his hands as his old bike had pedal brakes.
He did really well and a 5 mile ride on a brand new bike that was slightly on the big side was a walk in the park.
Recently, we’ve been asked a couple of times whether our boys are twins. They are age 8 and 6, so unless by some miracle that is possible…err..they aren’t.
They definitely are brothers, without a shadow of a doubt on the looks front, but they couldn’t be more different if they tried on the personality stakes.
Our eldest son is very much a black and white type of kid where the rules are the rules. He is determined and really hard on himself if things aren’t perfect. So much so, that yesterday he had the huff at the driving range whilst hitting golf balls. I managed to get it out of him that the reason he was cross with himself if that he couldn’t hit the balls as far and high as his dad.
I love the ambition and the fact that at 8 he thinks his can match his dad on anything he puts his mind to. I then explained that currently, it’s not a fair game as it’s like me challenging him to a race in my car and our son has to run. He finally got there in the end and reckons when he is 20 he will outdrive his dad on the golf course. I can’t wait to see it!
Our youngest son is more relaxed about things and with this approach many things come easy to him. Don’t get me wrong, he still gets irritated with himself if he can’t do something at times. But with his relaxed approach, there is a clown in the making.
We went for a ride through the forest last week on his new birthday bike and stopped for a drink and a snack. The next thing we know, he is lying on the floor, next to his bike, having a rest.
He is conscious of clothes and is the first one to tell me if he likes my shoes or hair. At the same time, he isn’t too bothered about looking (or being) silly.
We love both our boys just as much as the other and are so blessed to have them in our lives.
Magic Moments during Harvest Time!
First things first, I am not wishing our English Summer away at all! However, I do love this time of year when the crops have done all the growing they possibly can and the farmers are busy harvesting them.
The hive of activity around us at the moment, can at times be a little much when it is at 2am and then I have a word with myself and think it’s not all year round and 90% of the time we have such a nice quiet peaceful time.
Whilst it has been a bit on the chilly side for me, most evenings, we’ve had the most stunning sunsets and the best part was when the combine harvester had been, we popped into the fields to look at the patterns and watch the sun catch the hay bales whilst setting.
It’s been a time to just be and appreciate our surroundings for what they are.
That said, could we please have some of our Summer back!
Handle with care!
Our boys seem to have fallen in love with their travel pillows and insist on sleeping with them. I found our youngest one fast asleep with his gazillion toys and his handle with care pillow and it made me stop and think.
We’ve been really busy with loads of outdoor activities and adventures this summer. In fact, that is no change from any standard weekend and whilst I am thinking of it, a standard school week too!
The boys have been at a tennis camp this week, with the youngest going for 45 mins in the morning and the oldest for 3 hours in the afternoon (yes…3 hours and apparently that is still not enough according to him!)
Our youngest son has insisted on staying on to watch the older children for their 3 hours and then afterwards we have had a run around our local heath and flown kites. He is really good at sending his own kite to the skies and then casually lying down on the ground to watch it whilst he is flying it.
But, in all of the action, he has had a cough for a few weeks. Not one that keeps him awake at night but when he does cough it hasn’t sounded brilliant (what cough does!) So, I decided to get it checked out as he had had enough time to get rid of it. I also knew that the doc would listen and say it’s all clear when I know that it really isn’t.
We went to tennis and straight from there to the Docs and sure enough, we were told his chest was clear (surprise surprise as it wasn’t our usual Dr who knows our boys so well) but I had also mentioned that I was concerned about his ears.
Sure enough, the doc checked one out and it was fine but the other ear was red. Very red. I asked our youngest if his ear was sore at all and he said ‘No’. So we thanked the Doc and went to get the antibiotics.
This is the part where the ‘handle with care’ made me think. Ear infections are pretty sore and so we have been playing tennis, cycling, bouncing, discovering and he hasn’t complained once of his cough nor his ear. He has a super high pain threshold and of course doesn’t want to miss out on anything, yet he clearly must have been feeling under the weather.
Turning to the skies!
This week, we seem to have a bit of a turning to the skies theme. If you know our household, it’s a busy one! This holiday we hadn’t planned anything specific as the run up to the end of the school year was a bit manic.
It all started with a last minute trip to IWM Duxford as the weather was superb. Interestingly enough, we went on the Centenary Day for the start of WW1 and there was loads to do. The part I love is that the boys were colouring a picture in front of a Eurofighter Typhoon jet (as you do!) and then we had ice-creams in front of the Lancaster Bomber (again…as you do!) I am hoping in years to come that they will realise how special that is and treasure those memories.
We had also been to the local Kite Festival where we watched the displays to music and the boys flew their own kites too. It’s a great day out and thankfully the wind and weather were kind to everyone.
They also met up with the local fire brigade and got to sit in the fire engine. This was great as the boys were worried earlier in the week when we spotted a large fire across the field from us.
We had seen (and heard) the fire engine en route and were glad to see the smoke change from black to grey. Thankfully, no one was hurt and it was some farm outbuildings. The fire fighters let the boys put on their helmets and chatted with them when the boyshad asked questions about it and the boys told them that they were glad to see them as they were worried when they saw the smoke across the field.
So, it’s been a week of turning to the skies as they have certainly brought much excitement.
I was driving through the country lanes (as you do!) and thinking various bits and bobs when I spotted a field of red in amongst all the green.
So…I stopped and got out my car to have a look and lo and behold it was a field of bright red poppies. I am sorry my photo doesn’t do it the justice it deserves, but I stood for a minute or 2 just appreciating it for what it was and all it stood for.
This week’s Magic Moments entry is a short one because I am hoping the picture says it all.
Finally! Finally! If anyone has been following on my Facebook page (cough **click and like if you aren’t**) or Twitter feed…I have been counting down to the day school broke up for school holidays so that we can enjoy the sunny days that summer has to offer.
Don’t get me wrong, I love school days too as they bring a whole host of different things to enjoy. But, some of the reasons I love having the boys about during holidays include :
- Not having to rush about in the mornings
- Waking up and deciding what we would like to do for the day
- Pyjama / duvet days as a result of a decision in #2!
- Discovering new places to enjoy and returning to old spots that we love
- but mainly just being
So, with this in mind, we have hit the holidays with a bang and then next week, we’re planning on just relaxing and letting our bodies and minds play catch up. The weather has been absolutely magical with extra sunny days to boot. So we headed off to the Suffolk coast and enjoyed all that Southwold beach and harbour had to offer for a day trip (about a 2 hour drive for us). The boys had a whale of a time building sandcastles, throwing pebbles back in to the sea and most of all jumping in the waves and swimming in the sea whilst enjoying the sunshine. We then sauntered on along the harbour and scared the seagulls (sorry gulls!), played in the mud and devoured an ice-cream or 2 before heading back to the beach and cooling down with another bout of wave jumping. It was sadly, time to leave and the boys and I headed back home. I am pretty sure we’ll be back for our next seaside fix if we have more sunny days.