Posted on March 14th, 2011 - Fiona
Evening to all who choose to follow my chatter. Another action packed day which has disappeared in a blur! Again I am racing the clock….would really like to see waking the dead in 15 mins, lamb is bleating in the kitchen for her evening bottle but on the positive side I have 5 out of 6 kids in beds with a night night kiss and a reasonable stab at the evenings homework!
I do so love sunny days. Why is it that when we only have a few properties filled with guests we have the best weather, then when we are at peak prices and full to bursting in August it pours with rain! Anyway I am ever the optimist and determined we are having hot sunshine this August so panic not if you have booked then, Mistic Meg Cambouropoulos has predicted good weather!
Anyway the highlight of my day has to be my afternoon stroll around the farm before the children came homef from school. The animals like me were lapping up the suns warmth in various stages of afternoon nap. I couldn’t resist a few pics, they all looked so peaceful!
My excuse for the stroll, yes I need an excuse to drag me away from the computer, the house and daily chores, was to see Domino, our orphan lamb, who was spending her first day out with the other sheep and newborn lambs. She had an hour yesterday, but the children rescued her when the other sheep butted her on coming too close. Today we decided to let her tough it out for a few hours, but I just had to go and see how she was getting on. To my relief she seemed quite happy, a bit distant from the others but keen to become friends with them. She still ran over when I called and welcomed her bottle, only to act like a typical teenager afterwards, edging away from me and skipping back off to explore the field. I felt a little hurt at her lack of need for me but also very happy that she was so keen to intergrate with her own kind.
She is now safely tucked up in the kitchen for the night awaiting her last feed, but I am confident she will be ready to meet her new friends in the field again tomorrow.
Till tomorrow….keep following!
Posted on March 13th, 2011 - Fiona
Should you give your children money each week, at what age? how much? on what bais? What do they and don’t they have to pay for themsleves with it?
This is a a minefield of controversay which every parent will go through with their children at some stage. We all make our decsions based on very little guidance and a lot of peer presure from what others are doing. there is no right and wrong in this, we all just do what we feel is best. Would love to hear your views on the subject.
Just for the record ours get nothing without working for it. This may sound harsh but actually when you run a business like ours there are so many ways in which the children can help it actually makes it easy. Chores range from caring for the rabbits daily to manning reception, making kindling to sell and animal feed and of cause helping with changeover day stripping beds and putting on washing etc. As for how much, kindling starts at 25p per bundle they chop and tape up to £2.50 per week on the rabbits and up to the cleaners rates for cleaning a property to the full standard – only my eldest is up to this one and it takes him all day to clean a property as he is such a prefectionist – no good at all when we are busy! A day stripping the beds in summer and bagging up the laundry is £10. They are about age 10 before they can do this one.
What they are expected to buy with their money is also contentious, our eldest is saving to pay for a school skiing trip next year at £800 for which we have contributed £200. His friends apparently don’t need to pay for themselves so it is a bit unfair, but so is life and we feel he is gaining good experience and appreciation of money by working for this goal. He can make the target but will need to work his summer on the farm and cleaning. Om the other hand our 6 year olds are thrilled when they earn a £1 and head straight for the village shop to work out how many sweets they can afford. Fortunatley they are well known there and the staff are very patient when they try to buy too much or claim they thought their 10p was a £1 coin!
Posted on March 13th, 2011 - Fiona
Collected our boys from their scouting adventure after no sleep, soaked from the rain, freezing, exhausted….you get the picture! Still they were high on adrenalin and talked over one another all the way home about the adventures of the night, which team won, who could and couldn’t light thier fire, remember their knots etc. Needless to say within an hour of being home both were asleep!
Funniest thing was Felix waking at 4pm while I was cooking dinner and going to claim a bowl of cerial, swearing blind to me it was still the morning!
It was the most beautiful of spring days again. Perfect for the feedrun with our new guests for the week. Domino also made a guest appearance enjoying her first tractor ride!
Sadly I was unable to follow the feed run this morning as our youngest, Clio had her first tap and ballet exams. Gutted to be missing such a beautiful day we set of for the dance studio. It was smiles all round when she came out so hopefully it was all worth it – 2 weeks till we find out.
Chores on the farm in the afternoon and cooking super, clean plates all round and much retelling of scouting adventures and ballet moves!
Posted on March 12th, 2011 - Fiona
Morning to everyone. A diary of life on the farm seams like a good place to start my blog….or it did this morning. Can’t tell you how much has happened since I started this first sentence and now it is 11pm. Managing a business, home and family with 6 children, should I really be surprised that all my ambitions to keep our facebook site, twitter and now blog upto date is a challenge? Well it works so long as I don’t need too many hours sleep!
Anyway not really knowing the protocol of blogging I am going to throw order out of the window and just pick a few of the days highlights. We had one of those early spring days when you really start to feel some warmth in the sun. Domino, the orphan lamb, joined my husband and 2 of our chldren to feed the animals early doors.
Watching them all enjoing the morning chores I had one of those reflective moments, you know the ones, when you stand back and watch and think how lucky you are. A great sence of pride and thankfulness of our lovely children and souroundings washed over me.
A blur of tasks filled most of the day from cleaning properties, feeding chidren, showing in guests answering the phone, email and such like, however I did have another success moment with our 8 year old Theo who took his shetland pony out on our most successful ride around the farm yet, we managed to trot and walk with no pony naughty moments for the first time, poor Domino (the lamb who insisted on coming with us) was quite exhaused at the end and downed a huge bottle of milk before settling down for a quiet kip in the garden. Not quite sure what the newly arrived guests made of Theo and I with Dinky the pony and Domino the lamb troting past thier properties!
Sitting here now at nearly midnight I can just hear the pitter patter of rain on the roof, not sure if I will sleep tonight,our older 2 boys are out on a 12 mile adventure hike with the scouts. I tell them its all good boy stuff and to have fun, but feel a bit of a hypocrite when I then return home and worry about them! Guess that is just what Mums do.
Posted on March 11th, 2011 - Fiona
Thinking about where to go on holiday this year with a young family? This is not an easy decision to make but probably the discussion of many a household over dinner. When you give up your precious time and dip into those savings you want to make sure what you come up with is going to be a real break for the whole family. Something for you, plenty for the children, practical with a baby and not too much on the pocket!
If this seems like an impossible task, take heart, the real holiday gems can be found closer than you think, a holiday in the UK could be just the ticket! Here in the UK there are some fantastic holiday spots such as The Lake District, Scotland, Devon and Cornwall to name but a few.
But what type of holiday to book….hotel, B&B, self catering or camping? All have their plus points…. Hotels can be great if you can afford a really good one, which specialises in children’s facilities, entertainment and meal times. Bed and Breakfast is more restricted with children as you loose the flexibility to come and go as you choose, but they are cheaper. Camping can be great fun, but probably best when the children are not too young. Self-catering can be a real winner for families from tiny babies upwards as you have the flexibility of home from home in a holiday location. But do look out for ones specialising in children and baby facilities and activities for maximum enjoyment for all. They really do exist without having to feel like you are in a holiday camp. Why not try a farm holiday or something with a pool, by the beach, play areas or if you are really lucky all of the above! Another tip on self-catering is to look for accommodation where the owners have small children themselves and live on site, then you know they are going to understand your needs and be best placed to meet them! Make sure there are plenty of free activities where you stay and that you are not expected to shell out every time you want to borrow a game or ride out on the tractor and check for babysitting, a night out alone can make it a real break at the end of the day for you as well!
Great accommodation makes a real difference, but location is also important. This can be different for different families so take some time out to think about what really matters to you. Do you want a feeling of peace and countryside, be close to a beach, or river with a good country pub in walking distance or would you rather feel the buss of city life on the doorstep and a plentiful choice of cafes, bars and restaurants? How long a journey are your children (and you!) comfortable with? If a really long journey fills you with dread look at destinations closer to home, or arrange to travel in the evening or very early in the morning when the children are more likely to take a nap and you don’t need to stop so often. This can also avoid the traffic if you are heading to a popular spot in the height of summer.
So where to find these holiday gems, try looking on the web site for child friendly or baby friendly accommodation. You will be surprised at the choice on the web. If you find the list overwhelming try narrowing the list by adding more criteria, for example if you know the area of the country or county you would like put that into your search, or the type of accommodation and the facilities you would like, the more specific you become the more manageable the list becomes. Another good route is via mums chat rooms or facebook, Mums Net and Net Mums are great organisations full of Mums with young children who will happily share thier holiday experiences and recommendations giving a personal recommendation for you. There is a perfect holiday waiting for you, look out for the tips suggested in here! Good luck and happy holidays!!