Harvest Time

Harvest Time

I love this time of year when the leaves all turn beautiful shades.  James calls this my season because of my red hair, he often tells me how the season reminds him of me.  I just love all the different colours and shades that things go through as they disappear for the winter.  Harvest time is such a lovely time.  I have never understood why schools make such a big deal about it when the rest of the world seems to just keep passing by without even really being aware (unless you’re a farmer), but it is such a lovely thing that they come back to each year and it is so important for the children to understand.

I often talk to them about how blessed we are to live in this country, usually when it’s raining and we’re not so happy that it’ raining… we remember that it is a blessing to have rain and that it helps things grow.  We chat about the people who live in countries where they hardly see rain, and they struggle with their crops and many go hungry and thirst for water.  Looking back at our youtube videos as I try and tidy up our youtube channel I am so happy that we were able to pay for a water filter for a village as a family so that many could have clean water.  We did this as the fruit of our Ice Bucket Challenges together with my wonderful mother-in-law, you can find our videos here.

The Harvest assembly they did this year was taken by Isis’ class – Year 4.  It really drove home this message and spoke a lot about the need in other countries.  I was very happy with her performance, she gave it her all.  She stood out as usual as she had the main role and sang a solo but we would be just as proud if that wasn’t the case.  I couldn’t take any photos as I hadn’t asked permission of the school but I managed to grab a selfie of us afterwards.

selfie, dontcallmestepmummy, harvest time, blended family, step mum, school assemblies, compassion uk, water of life

Isis wrote about the assembly for me as she wants to start contributing to the blog :

‘I did a harvest assembly at school it was called ‘Harvest Hope’, I was the main part in the production, I was a boy called Jack.

I had to sing a song called ‘the cheese song’ I sang one full verse on my own and then everyone else joined in with me .
It was fun but at first it was a bit scary but it was actually ok i tried my best though.

Mummy , Judah , Eden came to watch.  Shayla was already waching because she was in school too but not in the same class as me.

She is in reception and I’m in year 4.  Shayla just 4 more years to go!
Finally it was finished and over with .
It was a fun show but could have been just a little bit longer.
The music backing tracks were lost so we had to sing without any backing tracks.  I did not know all the words without a backing track or music to listen to but i tried.
I had lots and lots and lots of fun.
It was a very good play and I enjoyed it.’

I love how she talks about how much she enjoyed it but was so glad that it was over with.  Think that’s the nerves talking.  They made her repeat her little solo at the end whilst the children all stood up to go out to their classes.  I’m so glad that Eden was well enough for us to be able to attend.  I’ve always been able to make Isis’ assemblies and plays and wouldn’t miss them for anything.  We are so blessed to have such delightful, entertaining children.  Judah did well through the assembly too, I only had to bribe him with packets of raisins but hey, if it works?  What else can you do with a toddler and a baby in an environment where they need to sit still?  No… seriously, if you know any tricks let me know (winks).

The school had collected lots of food in and were going to give it to the local food banks, soup kitchens etc.  it’s good that they make the children aware that this happens on our doorstep too as well as in other countries.

I love this time of year and will always look forward to a little bit of ‘Harvest Hope’.

Our Love Story – Part Two – trivial pursuit

our love story

Our Love Story – Part Two – trivial pursuit

So if you’ve read Part One of ‘Our Love Story’ you will know that James and I stumbled across each other online.  I was terrified and didn’t feel ready for a relationship at all and disappeared from my online profile hoping that was the end of it.

As I mentioned in part one we had a skype conversation so James knew my full name.  He tracked me down on facebook.  I got many friend requests that I kept declining haha.  I was ignorant (mostly petrified) and James was persistent.  At one point he decided to inbox me and tell me he had some clothes from his children that they didn’t need anymore if I wanted to take them with me to Romania.  I know, you’re confused, I haven’t mentioned Romania before….

I was going to Romania at the end of May as part of a team to work with ‘Romanian Relief’ this is a charity that works with orphaned (mainly via abandonment) children that are usually too physically harmed or disabled that no-one will foster or adopt them.  The system decides are beyond hope.  Sarah who runs the charity decided that no-one was beyond hope and set up her own children’s home that pays carers to live with, work with these children who would otherwise be left in hospital for most of their lives.  We were going to build a playground at the care home for the children.  We were going to gut out the gardens and create a landscaped playpark.  It was amazing, such a valuable experience, but anyway, I digress.  (Below are some photos from the Romania trip though, whilst I’m on the topic)

romania five
the finished play park at the back of the house
romania four
me and Lois one of the foster carers children
romania one
a little decorative touch inbetween two of the homes
romania three
showing girls aren’t afraid to get stuck in
romania two
using my weight to my full advantage, breaking up the ground was hard
romania six
gorgeous cheeky Viorel who didn’t let his development stop him from achieving anything

Somehow, in our Skype conversation this had come up, so James had remembered.  Very clever of him.  I decided that he must not be a strange stalker interested in me, as he is telling me about his children and offering some clothes to charity.  I was just being mean I decided and finally replied to his message saying that it was very kind of him to offer and I would collect the clothes at some point, or send someone else to do this.  I then finally accepted his friend request.

That was it then, he would comment every so often, I may comment on his posts, but I could see that he was a bit of a player and usually off on nights out, or with his children.  Sometimes he would be tagging other girls with smiley faces in his posts so I assumed that he was with someone.  He never stopped pursuing me though in small ways.  I can’t remember when we ended up exchanging phone numbers, but I remember him tormenting me when I was applying for jobs.  He told me he would come in whilst I was on a trial shift at a sandwich shop and request the most complicated sandwich he could think of.  He ended up being the person I called when I didn’t get the job and had a good old whinge down the phone to him.  I can’t remember how we got to that point, but I’m glad that we did.  I was still way too scared to meet up with him though.  He was still a random person I had met on the internet, but we were starting to form a friendship even if only online.  I was happy with it staying that way….

stay tuned for Part Three – we meet in person…

Water of Life – Compassion UK

Water of Life – CompassionUK

We were nominated pretty much as a family to do the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’  I have been watching the videos, reading the news articles – ‘Is it pointless?’ ‘Should McMillan have stolen the idea?’ ‘ALS needs awareness and money for research,’ ‘ALS give only 27% towards research of funds donated.’  I one hundred percent know that ALS did need awareness raising and I think the ‘ice bucket challenge’ has been awesome to do that, and has certainly had everyone talking whichever viewpoint they take.  Do I feel as though my money will make a huge difference this late in the game when where the money goes is in question anyway?  I don’t know.
I have been mulling over what we would do if nominated for a while.  So, I decided (and double checked with my husband) that we would donate to ‘Water of Life with Compassion UK.’  £48 covers the cost of a Water Filter that runs pretty much forever.  Anyone, who can get to it can use it for clean water.  It can transform an entire community.  We decided as a family and with my mother-in-law (who was going to donate to Oxfam for clean water, equally important but we had found a specific project so she joined in with us) that we would donate the £48 to buy a water filter.  The girls were so happy that as a family we had managed to provide this.  It feels as though we achieved something with our ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, something tangible.  Again not to detract from it’s original purpose as I thoroughly agree with the function it served.
 The girls were so excited to actually carry out the challenge.  To be honest, if it wasn’t for them I’m not sure if we would’ve gone through with it.  Judah did not enjoy it, he cried as he thought we were hurting Daddy when he created a big reaction.  Isis was amazing, she hardly reacted at all and trust me there was plenty of ice in the bucket.  I was very impressed with her lack of drama, especially as she usually needs a plaster if she scratches herself.  She nominated the ‘other mummy,’ Kerry her Mum’s partner, and Shayla-Rae.  When their Mum came to collect them I informed her they had been nominated *chuckles.*  Kerry said that they had been waiting for the girls to do it with them anyway, so that was nice.  The girls will be able to do it all over again.  The joys of being part of a blended family.
 My husband, ever the performer, made a very melodramatic video to stay true to form.  Judah was very upset though, I think Daddy’s acting, although completely unconvincing to myself, was too good.  He thought it was funny by the time we got to mine, but he didn’t quite understand what we were doing at first.
 So I guess in conclusion whatever anyone thinks, whatever your opinion we had fun completing this challenge and we managed to fund something substantial that we can remember for years.
Please feel free to comment below, I appreciate all opinions even if they are contrary to my own.


I can’t just do nothing!

I can’t just do nothing!

displaced children at risk
displaced children at risk

How many of us are absolutely horrified by what is happening on the news at the moment?  I have mentioned before that I have a faith on my ‘Ordinary Moments’ post (found here) and as much as this has been about standing in solidarity with those being slaughtered for sharing my beliefs, it has got to the point where this is about humanity.  I cannot abide what is done to the LGBT community in Russia, I am repulsed by what I see going on in Israel, but when it comes to children being systematically murdered.  I cannot stand by and do nothing.

I have seen all the shocking news stories via Facebook links, I have written to my MP, I have signed the petitions and tried to raise awareness through my posts so others can do the same, but it just doesn’t seem enough.  My heart has been broken and I have wept buckets, and even thrown up over some of the things that are happening.  The world is in a very messy state.  Friends of mine encourage me to pray, as a Christian I do believe God can move and change a situation if He so chooses so much quicker than I can, but I also believe that praying without actions too is not good enough.

My friend who saw my meltdown on Facebook shares my heart and we are going to be fundraising over the next few months in various ways to try and get aid across to those who have been displaced from their homes and are running for their lives.  We are planning bake sales etc in the children’s schools once term starts, an entertainment benefit (this is the best way my skillset knows how to make money after years as an entertainer myself and now as a vocal coach), coffee mornings and whatever ways we can think to raise money and awareness.

We will be donating all funds raised through the RedCross.  This post is just to raise awareness and please if you feel compelled to, click on the link above and donate too.  As always comments are appreciated and especially any fundraising tips and ideas for us also.