I have had a great start to 2016 and hope you have too.

1. I have managed to keep Christmas going and the tree is still up! Our house, our way! My home made Christmas cake went down so well that I am making more tonight yet again,

2. I have had lots of sleep and at times to suit me so including some naps in the afternoon.

3. Him Indoors is back to working shifts we are familiar with which helps me plan my day better.

4. I have developed systems for things like housework, correspondence, bills and so on using a little purple book with VIP on it. It is working wonders! I even have labels on things which is unheard of!

5. It seems to me if you expect good things to happen they have a habit of doing so.

6. I find myself letting something go and long past the time I should have done.

7. I am able to help others who are going through tricky times having gone through similar myself – we can all do this!

8. Home education is growing on me all the time. I have worked it out that it is a bit like Christmas in terms of setting what you want to do, when you want to do it and playing to people’s interests. My daughter loves art and science. My son loves music and games. You cannot approach them in the same way all the time and it is good to celebrate their individuality.

9. I have got my charity shopping down as it was becoming a bit over the top. It is an indicator of more balance in my life.

10. I am very much enjoying having a new washer and drier (one of those new-fangled safer ones) as both packed up over Christmas.

11. I gave a reindeer a new home because I felt sorry for him.

12. I have started to feel stronger about supporting my teen as he approaches exams and so on at the grand old age of 15 having reached out for support on social media. Always ask for help – people are keen to help and often your stupid questions are the same ones other people have and are scared to ask.

13. I am back to healthy eating with a veggie curry bubbling away as I write and with a new weight loss linky for 2016.

There are other things but I don’t want to bore my readers so that will do nicely for now and you have other cheerful things to read.

Ojo's World

Do you have tips for learning about maths?

Making learning maths fun is important I think. How many of us remain a little scared of all things numeracy? Is it really so terrifying and if we think so, what messages are we giving to our children? How many of you struggle to understand your children’s numeracy homework even at primary school age? Just me then?!

I have decided to incorporate things that I hope will make maths much more fun for both myself and the children.

It is important to have a laugh! Looking at answers people have given to exam questions can be fun. People can be very inventive when asked to “find x”. I certainly struggled to understand how numbers could sometimes be letters. How about you?

Keeping things simple initially helps – both myself and the children need to feel good about their ability to tackle maths. Set them up to succeed and as confidence grows, play with new concepts and tasks.

Accepting that times and methods have changed since you were at school. The positive spin on this is that it means your children can help explain things to you that you don’t get – they love that in my experience! Also you get to develop your knowledge which has to be a good thing.

Don’t assume everything was covered in the classroom. Check what they have and have not heard of and what methods they have used.

Consider the links between art and mathematics and music and mathematics. These may be the key to unlocking your child’s interest in numeracy.

Use everyday opportunities for learning such as shopping and cooking. Learning does not have to happen in a classroom style format.

Devise affirmations about maths with your child. I am using this more and more. Examples include “Parents and teachers make mistakes too” and “I am not bad if I cannot work it out yet”

One this home education journey of ours, I am working things out every day but I think if we share what we know that tends to be a good thing.

Do you have any tips on making learning about maths less scary?

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It is time for a new weight loss linky for 2016 – an opportunity for bloggers to kick start their weight loss and healthy living resolutions for a brand new year.

Welcome to Blogging to Jogging 2016.

I find weight loss and healthy living is always easier with a little peer support from online friends. Last year I lost nearly 5 stones and without online support I do not think that would have happened. Everyone needs an encouraging word, a great tip or some fresh ideas to keep us motivated.

So here are 3 questions for you.

!. What are your weight loss and healthy living goals for 2016?

2. What tools are you going to use to help you succeed?

3. What support do you need from others to help you make 2016 your best year ever?

I want to lose 4-5 stones this year

I have a variety of tools which I will talk about as the weeks go by

I need encouraging words on a regular basis – they make all the difference.

The Rules

Very simply, please comment on at least two other posts and more if you’d like to and grab the badge for your own post, linking one post per week. Tweet me (@kateonthinice) once you’ve linked and please use the #BloggingToJogging tag so that I can find your posts easily to RT them and you can also use the Twitter hashtag on Instagram if you have any relevant photos.

I am so looking forward to reading your talks of health, fitness and well-being. I promise to comment on each post and to promote via my social media networks.

Please display the #bloggingtojogging badge on your post.

Blogging To Jogging

From Blogging To Jogging 2016 is open from Monday morning until Sunday night for all your health, fitness and well-being posts so whatever your goals, healthy recipes or tips are, please do come along and join the party.


Here is something I do on the blog every year. It is good to look back and reflect on a whole year. It helps to put things in perspective. I always tag people to do a post using the same questions but anyone should feel free to join in. Just take the questions and answer them in a way that makes sense to you and preferably although it is not a rule say that the idea for the post came from this blog.

Here is my 2015

1. What was your happiest event?

Moving house away from that rotten place to a city by the sea and into a house of our dreams.

Seeing people’s real joy in my weight loss with a special thanks to Katy Hill who gave me the self-belief to start the journey in the first place.

2. What was the saddest thing to happen?

Learning my brother is very ill and also knowing that I am unlikely to see him again.

3. What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?

Losing so much weight. Hugging Caprice. Attending my college reunion. Telling Carol Smillie I was an expert in wet knickers.

4. Who let you down?

I don’t think anyone let me down although perhaps this year I started to learn who my true friends are and who is along for only part of the ride.

5. Who supported you?

My husband and children.

My brother.

Special thanks to blogging friends as always but this year I really valued the support given to me by friends from school and college days.

Aunties SJ

Bloggers. So many do this throughout the year. I look back and remember so many encouraging tweets, offers of telephone numbers, emails and comments. I appreciate them all. They sustain me.

Home educators

The people in my local community who chat, call me “Sweetie” and make me feel that I have found the right place for me.

6. Tell us what you learned

That I have spent far too many years focusing on the past or the future rather than enjoying the present.

That life circumstances can change very radically and quickly and in the most unexpected ways.

That people were there all long just waiting for me to tap on their door.

That people who know me via social media and the blog often have a very restricted view of who I really am.

That I am becoming less comfy with sharing heart and soul stuff with people who are fundamentally strangers.

That I am rich in the ways that matter to me.

That those who have everything may still be deeply unhappy.

7. Tell us what made you laugh

Laughter is a huge part of our family dynamic. We do a lot of analysing of current affairs and television shows complete with strong opinions, wit and voices.

My undergarments falling off whilst I was facilitating at BritMums Live and thinking if they actually hit the floor at least it would e proof positive of the substantial weight loss.

Political cartoons put together by my left-wing teenage son and his general questioning of authority.

My tween son’s comic faces.

My tween daughter’s language.

Memories.

8. Tell us the things that made you cry

Reflecting on how much time I have wasted thinking I am not good enough when it is now clear to me that I am more than good enough and I make a contribution to the world just by being in it.

Missing people.

9. Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud.

My oldest son is easy to be proud of – handsome, intelligent, sensitive and caring. I was most proud when he summoned up the courage to ask someone out and she said yes! I also love how he regularly gives his spending money to homeless people and charities.

My daughter takes no prisoners and I love seeing that in her even if it is sometimes not easy to deal with. She remains creative and the best story-teller in words, films and songs. She is very political and I enjoy that she has firm opinions even when I don’t agree with then.

My youngest son remains gifted and good at everything he tackles. He is gorgeous, funny and a master at all things gaming.

10. Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.

Discovering the old me by sticking with my medication. It is good to have me back.

Keeping on keeping on through challenges.

Relaxing more about home education – a work in progress.

Losing loads of weight and inspiring others to do so.

Feeling the fear and attending the college reunion anyway.

11. Tell us the challenges you overcame

Moving away from an awful area.

Pushing myself outside my comfort zone.

Juggling it all and I have a lot to juggle.

12. Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2016

1. New challenges in my working life.

2. To continue to lose weight and get fitter.

3. To forgive myself and others for their imperfections.

4. To continue to build on friendships old and new. To learn who is worth investing in and who is not.

5. To inject more fun into our home education efforts.

6. To be more organised with domestic stuff.

Overall to build on the amazing progress made on so many fronts in 2015.

Over to you. Any blogger or reader can have a go at this one if they fancy reflecting back on the year. What were your highs and lows of 2015?

What are fostering facts and statistics and might they encourage you to look at fostering as a life option?

I was fostered at the age of 11 months and adopted a few months later back in 1970. I am always interested to hear about developments in fostering and adoption.

Local Authorities, with the support of leading organisations and charities such as Ofsted, the Coram, The Fostering Network and IFAs (Independent Fostering Agencies), play a leading role in securing a brighter future for children in care.

To give you an idea of how important the foster care industry is to helping these children fulfil their potential, Foster Plus have pulled together some facts and stats that will shed light on this vital service.

I urge you to read http://www.fosterplus.co.uk/2015-foster-care-facts-and-statistics/ which I think may hold some surprises for you.

For example I found it really encouraging that 52 per cent of fostered children remain living with their foster carers after their 18th birthday. That suggests something is going very well indeed. My adoptive parents fostered me first and I am aware how vital fostering was in providing specialist support for an abused person I know. Fostering rocks in my view and I just wish more people would look into it.

As I was fostered 200 miles away from my birth family, I have many children are now placed closer to home. 88 per cent are placed within a 10 mile radius of the local authority. I hope this enables closer relationships with family members or members of their support network where possible.

As a person who has several siblings who I have never met, I think it will usually be best if siblings are placed together so they can support each other through a time of upheaval and change. 70 per cent of sibling groups are placed together which seems a little low for me but perhaps there are good reasons why.

Please do check out the infographic and share on your social media accounts. You might encourage someone to look into fostering and down the line that too can lead to a safe and secure environment for a vulnerable child in need.