Sunday, 16 December 2012

With only 9 days to go....

Hello everyone!!

With only nine days to go we thought it was time to share our Christmas wishes with you.

We truly hope you all have magical Christmasses
filled with amazing memories which will last a lifetime!


The West Family

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Wow, it's been a while!


Good to see you!!

I keep going on to far away friends blogs to see what they have been upto,
Only to find they have not blogged in a loooong time.....
Then I realised, neither have I!!

So here we go....
We had a super fun summer, which included many fun activities.
My favourite had to be going upto Scotland with David.
We took a train and then cycled over hills and mountains, it was truly stunning!
When we arrived at our hotel we found it was a bit of a work in progress.
Not quite what we were expecting, but quickly settled in.

We spent the next day doing lots of fun activities, like;
Off road driving
Blindfold driving
Axe throwing

It was ALOT of fun!
Though I did make a fool of myself and set a new record at the place we stayed at.
How did I do that I hear you ask....
Well I got 30ft up a tree and then slipped and fell (harness attached)....
Upside down into a static caravan!
Slightly bruised but nothing more than my ego was!
 Oh and I won the Blindfold driving...
David by far won the axe throwing, which is oddly a relief....
If we ever need protecting he can do it!!!

That night we missed the "bus" to the nearest restaurant, uphill 2 miles away.
So we had to walk it, which was actually rather nice.

This was our lovely view!

The next day it was time to be packing up to come home (I think, I can't really remember).
On the way we stopped to take in the scenery a little
and enjoy the wildlife....

Who seemed to enjoy the taste of bike seat....

Crazy cow!!

We rode in pouring, no torrential rain.... we have never been so wet before!
Even enjoyed a few bolts of lighting while at the top of the mountain....
Holding on to our metal bikes, in shorts, and no cover!

We even Had time for a little fun...

(Sorry, we have a sick sense of humour!)

And just passed the top of that rather steep (much more than is evident in this picture)
We had a little moment of reflection...

It was an amazing trip,
Filled with some beautiful memories.

A perfect way to relax a little after what had been a 
slightly stressful start to the year.

Well plenty more wonderful memories to be made before the year is out.

Thanksgiving is coming up,
 (we know we are not American, but it is special to us as a family for many reason) 
David going to Scotland and China, 
Christmas work party.... always a wonderful way to kick of the festivities!,
Seeing Santa,
Christmas fair,
Stake carol concert,
School Nativities,
Ward Christmas party,
Christmas itself, for the first time in years just us!,
New years eve, and all the fun we enjoy with that.

I am sure there is much, much more too.

I love my family and the memories they have already given me and the ones yet to come.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Candles making

This week has been a fun week!
David & I have been busy bike riding and hiking (across over grown woods!), 
and having a lot of fun doing it.
This weekend though we enjoyed a lovely day at Clumber park.

We had planned on going bug hunting,
but ended up visiting the discovery centre and checking out their Bee display.

The children were able to observe the Bees being very busy!
Sammy informs me that the white bits in the comb are baby bees developing!
(my children knowing more than me begins!)

Micah rather enjoyed examining the Bees.
We had the pleasure of trying 6 different types of honey too...

we took a vote on which we liked the best and bought a jar,
we are saving it toward Christmas.
This is something we try and do every year.
We like to buy little special food items throughout the year at places we visit and have fun
 and save them to enjoy at Christmas.
That way we can remember the fun we had while enjoying the treats!

The children even had the opportunity to make their own candles!
Everyone loved doing this, even Oliver (2 years old) loved it and did a wonderful job.

I may be biased, but I think these are the best candles I have ever seen!!!

We then went and enjoyed a play in the park,
A BBQ, and some games in a random field near by.

England being England,
 we did experience a period of quick retreat under the boot of our minibus as the heavens opened.
(Thank goodness for needing such a big car!)
But when the clouds dispersed we were rewarded for our endurance with wonderful sunshine!!

Which Oliver took advantage of to steal Micah's bike...
Sadly for him he couldn't reach the pedals....
Lucky for him he has a very loving big sister!

We had a wonderful day and just as we had finished packing up
and driving out of the field the heavens opened and released a downpour
that would have made the most defiant of Brits go running for shelter.
It did create some beautiful rainbows,
which allowed for a spot the rainbow competition...
there were 6 rainbows spotted!

All in all a lovely day!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Beginning of the rest of our lives...

This week has marked the end to Cancer treatment!
For now and hopefully forever.
So here is our journey through Cancer in photographs...

The first one was taken straight out of hospital.
David had spent a whole month in hospital and undergone two major surgeries.

This one was just over a month later,
David lost sooo much weight that he needed a new wedding band.
I am pleased to report he has now gained weight again and is back in his old ring!

The chemo months...
These months saw David very tired and poorly.
But he was a trooper and fought through it and even managed to continue working...
in fact David being David he has worked everyday (bar the two days of surgery).

The best of course for last!
The very last chemo tablet!!!
You can easily see the relief on David's face.

I would love to have taken more and truly documented the journey our family has experienced this year,
but time and situation did not allow.

Through all of this I know my family has been truly blessed in ways we would never have realised had this opportunity for growth not come along.
Don't get me wrong, we would have very much loved it not to have been here in the first place,
but we have experienced to many wonderful experience and blessings and grown closer to wonderful friends and even made new friends because of 'vlad' visiting. 
(Vlad is the name we gave the tumour)

I can honestly say Heavenly Father loves us and is mindful of our family,
how humbling is that, to know, and I mean know Heavenly Father knows us and wants the best for us.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed, fasted, helped, cared for and supported our family.
YOU are truly a blessing in our lives and we love you very much.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Thinking about Christmas....

I know what you are thinking, already?!

Yes, this year we will be having an extra special Christmas!
It will all begin (as it always does in our house) at Thanksgiving.
We certainly have A LOT to be thankful for this year...
I can't wait to go and pick out our tree at the place we did last year,
That was sooooo fun!!!
We plan on being 'just us' for Christmas itself, it will be the first for many years!

But anyway that is not the point of this post....
Getting carried away again....
Ohhh I do love Christmas!
I am hoping that this year I can make the children a special personalised gift.
No idea yet what to do, but I think pinterest will be able to help there!
But making a personalised gift for 6 children takes alot of time 
so early prep is a must!

I was thinking about using David's wonderful writing and being funny skills to write the children a story,
and then I would illustrate it and get them priniting as nice hard back books.
Our children Love to read...

Obviously Santa will be bringing a nice gift too 
but I think it would be lovely for the children to have something 
that will last longer than plastic of the lastest game.

Must get my thinking cap on!!
Any ideas, please do share them!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Hello World!

Yesterday David started his (hopefully) last round of Chemo!!
It will be so amazing to be done with the Cancer treatments,
and be able to say, at least for now, we have won the fight!
Who know's what the future holds, but we are thankful for every extra day!

We made the most of the last few weeks,
(David's chemo was delayed for a couple of weeks due to a cold and then low white blood cells)
So as David actually felt pretty fit we made the most of it!
We went on hikes and bike rides and picnics.

Oh and tree climbing and duck feeding...

Every one had lots of fun.

Sammy climbed the highest...

But Oliver the Brave gave it a jolly good go.... 
I think this child is going to be jumping out of planes and other crazy things by his teens!

He is so blummin' strong and fearless!

The older boys have far more energy than us and tend to go weaving in and out of the trees,
walking at least double the distance we do.

We are a family who love to be outdoors!

We are very excited about the Summer holidays,
Lots more hiking, camping, sleeping on the beach, biking and picnics etc to look forward too!

Until then David will be doing alot of.....


When all is said and done life is pretty great!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

100 ways to spend the summer, frugal style!

I have been so rubbish at updating our blog, sorry for that.
We have had many ups and some crazy down's over the past few months.

At the moment I am trying to make plans for the summer!
Yep, it is not far away now, we are at the half term point which means its only a handful of weeks before the summer is here!!

(Little miss paddling pool tent making)

So what do you do to keep six kids happy during the summer?
Given that there are six of them, it has to be frugal too!
Hopefully with some research 
I will be better prepared than ever before!
Given that children slip in regards to education over the summer months 
we will be encouraging educational activities too.

 (littler miss Getting ready for a BBQ)

So far my ideas are as follows:

(Some of these our our family traditions to do over the summer)

(Littler miss and Daddy fruit picking)
  1. Play at the park....maybe tour the local and not so local parks.
  2. Baking - maybe a nice service project?
  3. Readathon, I have a selection of books for each of the children and I will be giving them a folder so they can write a book report.
  4. Water painting in the garden
  5. A trip to the beach
  6. BBQ! Lots of them!!
  7. Outdoor cinema night - white sheet and the projector!
  8. Camp out
  9. Dance in the is England after all!
  10. Teddy bears picnic (even the older ones love these!)
  11. Random acts of kindness..... could be easily Incorporated several times over the summer.
  12. Library reading scheme - the library does this each year with a different theme and free rewards.
  13. Explore the outdoors - take a closer look at where you live, you might be surprised what you find.
  14. Nature walk - take a I spy list to check off
  15. Hike - England has soooo many wonderful opportunities for hiking!
  16. Sensory play - fill boxes with all different items to describe and feel
  17. More sensory play - try foods a selection of foods you have never had before. Maybe explore exotic fruits and vegetables. 
  18. Ready Steady Cook
  19. Climb trees
  20. Go fishing
  21. Lots of bike rides!
  22. No tea Tea party
  23. Messy photo shoot
  24. Watch the stars - let them have a stay up late night and play garden games until the stars come out.
  25. cloud watch, add in some I spy cloud watching fun to make it last longer.
  26. Build a paddling pool tent
  27. Kite flying
  28. Feeding ducks
  29. Making paper boats boats and racing them.
  30. Blowing bubbles and counting how many we can pop
  31. Fruit picking (one of our favs!)
  32. Make jams with the picked fruit (be careful, very hot!)
  33. Make yummy jellies with fruit picked.
  34. Make smoothies with the fruit picked
  35. Paddling pool fun, add the bath toys to make it last longer.
  36. Water balloon fight
  37. Fossil hunt, there is a fab beach in south shields in Lincolnshire that has LOADS!
  38. Become paleontologist for a day - bury some dinosaurs in soil in a box and let them search for them. Even better set dinosaurs in plaster of paris and let them dip and scrape them out!
  39. Make a play
  40. Build a tent in the house..... another rainy day one!
  41. Make pasta bracelets.... macaroni is brilliant for this.
  42. Have a family Olympics - add up scores as you go and have an awards ceremony.
  43. Have a murder mystery day (more for older kids)
  44. Play old fashioned board games
  45. Film night
  46. Family sleepover - all pile into the living room or Mum and Dad's bed and stay up all night (or as long as you can) and have a mid - night feast!
  47. Have a daily workout together
  48. Do yoga in the evening to calm everyone down after fun filled days!
  49. Make salt dough and design sculptures
  50. Paint canvases
  51. Write to Grandparents
  52. Write to missionaries or friends living away from home
  53. Write a story
  54. Create a funny family story taking it in turns to write the next line.
  55. Have an un-birthday party
  56. Visit elderly neighbours
  57. Surprise someone with treats on their doorstep, homemade makes it even better
  58. Make treats to leave on a doorstep to surprise someone!
  59. Make puppets
  60. Have a puppet show
  61. Take a drive to the hills and camp outside
  62. Write and deliver Sweet nothing notes
  63. Make a wind chime
  64. Decorate the play house
  65. Write a script
  66. Act out and film your script
  67. Go for a walk
  68. Have a homemade spa day
  69. Visit a museum
  70. Sand castle competition
  71. Set up a weather station
  72. Research a country and cook food from that country and try out some of their traditions
  73. Car boot sale - good chance for a clear out
  74. Spend car boot sale money on a trip out, maybe to the zoo or a farm...
  75. Silly photoshoot
  76.    Paint pictures
  77. Have a garden camp out party, sleeping bags, marshmallows, hot chocolate and maybe even a testimony meeting!
  78. Get together with friends for a picnic/ BBQ
  79. Make dream catchers
  80. Dictionary look up - give the kids a list of words and a dictionary
  81. Atlas exploring - Give the children a letter and ask them to find as many countries and cities with that later as they can
  82. Horrible histories - Give the children a period in history and ask them to put together a presentation board all about what crazy things happened during that time.
  83. Pick an artist and create your own work in their style....Jackson Pollock is always a hit!
  84. Become Wordsworth, write your own poems 
  85. Have a talent night, maybe toward the end of the summer so the children can show off the wonderful things they have been doing over the summer.
  86. Super bubbly car wash
  87. Make a wormery
  88.  Hunt bugs and identify them
  89. Grow Sunflowers, competition to see who's grows the biggest
  90. Have plant growing experiments... see if talking to plants really makes them grow faster or add food to some but not too others etc
  91. Make a family flag
  92. Make a family summer cookbook, create your own recipes and try them out
  93. Make sweets
  94. Learn skipping games
  95. Play hide and seek..... even Mum and Dad!
  96. Have story time!
  97. Have a random crafts morning - just provide materials and let them do as they please.
  98. Take fire men a treat
  99. Write thank you letters to your bishop, neighbours, family members or anyone who has touched your family in a wonderful way this year.
  100. Make sure you take the time to enjoy the memories you are making and journal them!

 (Littler miss and Little mister with Mummy on a bike trek)

 Well I hope this gives you some ideas, if you have any I could use I would love to know about them!

We hope you enjoy your summer planning,
and even more your summer!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

I Heart Faces - Beautiful B&W

This week's contest subject over at I Heart Faces is Beautiful B&W.
My entry is very personal to me.
On the 1st of February 2012 my families life was turned upside down by  a disease that touches all too many lives.
My Husband had his Cancer diagnosis confirmed.
After spending a month in hospital and enduring two complicated and huge operations my husband is finally home,
and we hope well on his way to winning his fight with Cancer.

We decided that we should make some kind of record of this fight for our children as it is now a part of who we are and our family history.
As I really rather enjoy photography we decided I would take a photo each month to keep a record of his fight and the effects it has on his body and mind.
This is the first photo taken just after he finally returned home after what has been and will continue to be a grewling and difficult fight.

After not picking up a camera for almost two months since this journey began it felt amazing to be photographing such an inspirational and courageous man.

Thank you for looking x