Planting the Seed...

My boy has developed a new interest, which was initially germinated in school and then transplanted to the home environment.

It started with him 'transplanting' tree branches and flowers at break times, which then led to him being asked to join a new organic lunch-time gardening club. Clever school, they're so clever that they also roped me in!! I am very happy to help of course, even with my very green-less fingers!

The first real planting was 3 tomato seeds in a pot and this has been followed by more. Much more.

All this planting, germinating, transplanting etc; brought lots of childhood memories flooding back to me. Especially when he planted those damn tomatoes.

You see my dad, and his dad before him, were great growers of tomatoes and other vegetables, that they grew in greenhouses. Of sorts.

To clarify, we lived in a council house and had not much funds for expensive greenhouses, so my ingenious father, seriously ingenious, saw an innovative opportunity any time ANY of our neighbours were getting their windows replaced! You can guess the rest and it actually really worked.

He grew the most fabulous and tasty tomatoes but the greenhouse wasn't the only way that they were ripened. He used to wrap them in newspapers, when he plucked them green off the vine and he would put them in the hot press, in among all the clothes. You got more than a clean pair of knickers every time you went in there I can tell you! The tomatoes were also ripened by placing them on the windowsills, which varied depending on where the sun shone.

Silly me shared all of this, ALL of it, with my boy who found it both amusing and intriguing. I'd planted a seed of my own.

Within minutes he decided he was getting his own greenhouse....and that was final. Non negotiable.

So off he went and bought one, with his own money. I'm not a complete walk-over you know! With total insistence he put it all together himself....

He put all his plants into it...tomatoes, 2 different melons and a kiwi seed...don't ask! And also 3 trays of lettuce, carrots and beetroot! He has been watering them and minding them really well for all of last week. While they and the greenhouse somehow survived last Saturday morning's hail/thunderstorm and a nearby tornado they didn't survive heavy wind on Sunday night! Luckily it was just the trays that were left outside that night but they ended up in a total heap, all mixed up together.

I scraped up all the compost and in doing so I came across most of the lettuce seedlings and some beetroot ones. I reckoned as I'd previously saved a goldfish with CPR I could save some seedlings that didn't have any mouths. I mean, how hard could it be? So I just put them back in the trays and hoped for the best.

He was happy with that but it's not the same. They're not perfect, you see and he has to start again. Sigh. Which is fine by me, really, but we'll keep these ones too.

He minds them somewhat now and takes them in at night....and they take over the floor at the radiator,  the back door and my draining board! Deja vu all over again!

You can see that the lettuce seedlings are still going strong. The beetroot ones are also coming along but are so tiny that you can't see them here.

His tomato plants are doing amazingly well...

I'm so happy for him and happy to encourage his new found interest. I also look forward to eating his produce.

Just as long as I don't find any ripening tomatoes in my knicker drawer....


Helping One to Thrive....

There is no doubt that we currently find ourselves living in difficult times. Corporate entities and Government ministers were greedy and squandered all that we had. European Financial Gurus now inflict their harsh remedies in a misguided attempt to help us help ourselves, to once more thrive again as a nation.

But really, it's all about money.

No-one really cares about the 'little people'. The real ones affected by the current crises and who are living hand-to-mouth to try to feed and clothe their children. They have suffered huge financial hardships while the financial world gets full  protection. A recent report reveals that 21% of Irish children are going hungry to school or bed every  day.

However, no matter how difficult things are there are always others, and other countries, in worse situations who are a long, long way from thriving..

All those marginalised, wherever they are, need a voice and we need to help them to be heard.

There is a group that helps to do just that: which is 'a grassroots campaign of 2.5 million people committed to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable diseases.' 

The existence of this group was brought to my attention by the lovely Mich who blogs at Mummy From the Heart and who is about to become a Mum ambassador for this organisation.

One has a new campaign with a clear message called Thrive: Food, Farming, Future. This campaign  has just been launched and will run until 2015.

According to One millions of people are locked in a vicious cycle of  hunger and poverty.  Here are the figures:
  • More than a billion people, one in 5 of the world's population, live on less than $1.25 a day. A billion people will go to bed malnourished tonight. 
  • This year more than 178 million children, more than twice the number of children in the United States, will reach their 3rd birthday stunted. Their brains and bodies will never fully recover.
One calls on each of us to play our part in breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty, tackling it's root causes. Thrive reckons that if they achieve their goals by 2015 we could see 15 million fewer children chronically malnourished and 50 million people lifted out of extreme poverty. Impressive!

The goals of this Thrive campaign are ambitious and they admit to a new determination.

They aim to reach their goals by calling on African leaders, donor Governments, and the private sector to focus on 30 of the poorest countries that have smart agriculture and nutrition plans. Those plans are tested, costed and affordable. They need to be put in practice. For that, One says, they need two things: political leadership and financial backing. One's campaign will insist on both.

From reading this I gather that the means and intelligence are in place, they just need commitment and money from those in power.

Once again it all boils down to money.

For the Thrive campaign to, well...thrive One's voice needs to be heard.

We can help by joining in with our loud blogging voices.

 So, in the words of Reverend Shaw from my recent production of Footloose.....

'Speak up...... let the Lord hear your voice.'

If you're a blogger and would like to help spread the word then please feel free to write about this and to sign up to

All the information is contained in the links above and you can link your post to Mummy From the Heart's Blog Hop.

Thanks for reading :-)


Love Is...

Love is when your baby, upon waking after his daily nap, sets his sleepy eyes upon your watchful ones and treats you to the biggest instantaneous and toothless smile, ever.  

Love is when your toddler is always demanding of your time and attention..... and hugs and kisses.

Love is when your child at age 12 still wants your snuggles and kisses and still smiles when he sees you most mornings. Albeit with more teeth.

Love is when your child seeing you stressed, on occasion, offers you a snuggy, to 'make it better'.

Love is your child sharing his every screen achievement with you. In blow by blow detail. For an hour. At least.

Love is your child sharing his random thoughts and words with you. Constantly.

Love is when your child makes you laugh, out loud, with said random thoughts and words, no matter how inappropriate they may seem.

Love is your child forcing you to listen to what he has to say, making you realise that he too has valid feelings and opinions.

Love is your child constantly interrupting your conversations, just to be part of them.

Love is your child apologising for an earlier puberty fueled outburst. Sometimes.

Love is your child telling you, unprompted,  'you look nice in that'. And when you don't.

Love is your child thanking you profusely for allowing him spend his money on a much awaited and desired item.

Love is your child saying 'I love you mum'.... right before he robs some crisps from your plate or popcorn from your bowl

Love is him saying nonchalantly every time you say goodbye: 'bye mum.... See ya.... Love you'

Love is your child discreetly blowing you a kiss farewell. Well, he is 12.

Love is when your child randomly picks you wild growing daffodils on a walk home from school and presents them to you with some precious words that will remain private. In front of his friend.

Love is your child sharing his Easter Egg haul with you. In agreed, incremental amounts, naturally.

Love is .. not necessarily all about receiving Birthday or Mother's Day presents, or even an Easter Egg, from your child.

Love is all of the above.... and more.



Well, the excitement around here is never-ending (read into that as you will) and my last post An Easter Teaser was subsequently followed by an Easter Surprise!

And it couldn't have come at a better time, given that we have been house bound due to my poor boy feeling very under the weather!

Just when he was feeling very hard done by being ill on school holidays the Easter Bunny, very cleverly disguised as a Fed-Ex guy, called unexpectedly to our house on Thursday.

You won't believe what he delivered.

It wasn't an egg and it wasn't made of chocolate...

If you have the time and can pop over here I'll tell you ALL about it.....


PS: While you're over there, if you can make it, can you please, PLEASE follow and like etc? All links are on the sidebar!! That would make me very, very happy!! Happy Easter to you all :-)

PPS: Image Credit

An Easter Teaser...

This Easter break started with the best of intentions as all school holidays do and the determination to implement the Golden Rule was high on the agenda: Do everything and anything to limit Xbox Wars and indeed all screen activity. The best way to do this I find is to provide alternative activities, whilst also allowing 'free' days. Going on a trip every other day seems to me to be the perfect solution.

We didn't get off to a great start with me having to constantly shout at remind him gently to get off that screen.... NOW, so I was thrilled that we had my Godchild's birthday party to go to on Day 2! Nothing would stop me bringing him to this action packed Wall Climbing and Archery party. Not even the Mental Health Merry-Go-Round that unexpectedly occurred at the same time. Screen avoidance took priority and thankfully alternative cover was arranged until my return.)

                           So glad he didn't miss this fun!

We hung out at home for the next couple of days, with me desperately trying to interest him in going for a walk! The irony of me shouting at him to get off screens from my cosseted position on the sofa, in front of my own laptop screen, was not entirely lost on me!

However,as the hours passed by  he found a nearby pal to play with outside, well for some of the time at least!

He has also recently found himself a new pastime, that of gardening and I will expand on that in another post! For now though  I will just share this photo with you. You see gardening requires a lot of planning and the best place to that is in situ. The fact that it was raining and getting heavier was irrelevant. Besides, an inner need for sensory input was also being satisfied and he was reading a gardening book. Yeah, I said reading! Who am I to argue with that?

I am not alone in my holiday damage limitation plans and the lovely Blue Sky and I had arranged a lovely trip so that our two boys could meet up....with not a screen in sight!! For miles! We took ourselves off to The Japanese Gardens in Kildare which included a tour of our National Stud. It was hilarious (and telling) that neither boy could see what one had to do with the other, but they enjoyed the day nonetheless! Blue Sky, Smiley and I enjoyed the catch up.

We were entertained by the guide.... who knew there was such a thing as a teaser in horse breeding? I almost felt sorry for their Tommy the Teaser!! We also met some interesting equines...

A Sculpture honouring their famous horse 'Sea The Stars' was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth on her visit here last May.

And here's the view from the inside....!

  And from there, with our new found gardening interest, we moved onto the much anticipated Japanese Gardens....

                                         Two boys...from Tea-House to Tree-House!

We had a very enjoyable day. I did this same tour on a school trip many moons ago but don't remember a lot about it. I do remember that I enjoyed the gardens but thought, in my typical childhood memory, that it was much bigger than it actually is.

Yes, many moons have passed and even this Rocking Retiree is happy that she's nowhere near old enough to enjoy this tree...

 Chair of Old Age

Some other time maybe, but not now. Definitely not now ;-)

Mind you, I wish I'd taken more notice of The Gate of Oblivion.....sigh!

So now, after all these fun-filled activities in our ever changing Irish weather, which saw us plummet from heatwave to hailstones in just one week, I now find myself housebound with a sick pre-teener. With four days to go to Easter Sunday.

Ah well, nothing for it. I'll just have to scoot over on my cosseted sofa to make room for my boy and his laptop!

Well, watcha gonna do?



Broken Bones

If you have broken bones, any day of the week, you can go howling in pain to the A & E Department of your nearest hospital. When you arrive there you may have to queue for a bit, well maybe a while. Okay, maybe a very long time. But you will be seen, you will get pain medication and you will have your broken bones mended.

If, on the other hand, you have a broken mind and are howling and mumbling in mental anguish, you may not take the simple route to your local A& E Department. Instead you must travel a far more circuitous route. Especially at weekends.

You must wait a while, okay a very long time, while the medics follow the various protocols in place.

Patient, carers and family get to sit back and watch that protocol ball ping around the numerous pin ball machines of the various branches of our health system. Meanwhile the patient continues to linger in mental anguish.

Eventually that protocol ball comes full circle. A day or two has elapsed, the patient is still howling or mumbling in mental anguish and medically things may have changed.

Now, and only now, do you get to go howling in pain to the A& E Department of your nearest hospital. When you arrive there you may have to queue for a bit, well maybe a while. Okay, maybe a very long time. You will be seen, you may or may not receive pain relief and your broken mind may have to wait a long time before it can be mended.

You may have to spend some time in the acute hospital, being treated for a medical condition which has psychiatric undertones.

You may even have to repeat the steps above a few times before you finally get to attend the correct health facility.

Or to get them to finally visit you.

Whatever their protocol dictates.

Then, and only then, may you receive appropriate pain medication and your broken mind may finally begin to heal.

I'll take broken bones.

Any day of the week.


Note: Image credit: