sophofbread’s Question Page

Hello world,

Just a quickie. As artybaker has mentioned briefly before she has a question book, where she writes down most question she asks herself and the answers. Questions she has so far include;  What is the difference between Great Britain, The British Isles and The United Kingdom? and Are slugs just snails without a shell? Well, I have decided to do the same thing just not in a book, I have added a new page – sophofbread’s Question Page and the way you get to it is; Hover over US at the top of the blog and then hover over SOPHOFBREAD and then click ‘sophofbread’s Question Page’. Ta da!! My first question is Why do people say ‘It’s the bee’s knees?’

Hope you enjoy,



Goodreads Reading Challenge

“And tell them all about the books you’ve read. Better still, buy some more books and read them. That’s an order. You can never read too many books. ”

Hello everyone,

That quote was from a book I have just finished reading – The Akhenaten Adventure (Children of the Lamp #1) by P.B. Kerr. It’s a great book and I highly recommend it. The last post on this blog was artybaker’s Books, Books, Books post and as we all love books here at home-ed heads I thought it would flow nicely into a post about Goodreads, specifically a post about the Goodreads reading challenge.

The Goodreads reading challenge is a very satisfying way to challenge yourself to read a number of books in a year (the great thing about it is that you pick how many you read). This is my second year and last year I decided to read 50 books and I read 60! This year I am challenging myself to read 50 again because I have narrowed down what I’m allowing myself to count as a book. Last year I read ‘I’m not Santa’ to plumblepie which is a 10 page picture book and I counted that (oops!). artybaker has challenged herself to read 36 (which is 3 a month) and mumlovesearlgrey has challenged herself to read 15 books. At the time of writing I have read 9 of 50 which means I’m 6 books ahead of schedule.

The most satisfying thing about the challenge, I think, is how it looks. On your goodreads homepage (when logged in) you see this snippet

goodread ss 2

and when you click on view challenge and then view books you can see the covers of all the books you have read so far. You can decide whether to count a book on your challenge by setting the date read, if you leave that blank then it won’t count towards your goal. Capture

There are lots of other things to do on Goodreads such as:

  • Taking/creating quizzes on all your favourite books
  • Read/write reviews on all sorts of books from fiction to non-fiction, ‘I’m not Santa’ to ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’.
  • Join online book groups
  • Discuss books you have read/want to read
  • Find great quotes
  • Make/read lists (e.g. Books people should read at least once, Good Cook Books)
  • Get book recommendations

To get you started I have tried to come up with some great books from some different genres.

Children – Switched (My Sister the Vampire #1) by Sienna Mercer (If you have read and enjoyed this series or Sienna Mercer’s other series, My Brother the Werewolf, then you may like to join artybaker and me at our book club on goodreads – My Sibling the Mythical Being)
Young Adults – The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride #1) by James Patterson
Dystopian – Gone (Gone #1) by Micheal Grant
Cookery – Step by Step Baking by Caroline Bretherton
History – The Story of Britain by Patrick Dillon and P.J. Lynch
Science Fiction – Spy in Space (Scott Saunders #1) by Patrick Moore
Ebooks – James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing (James Potter #1) by G. Norman Lippert
Sports – Up Pohnpei by Paul Watson
Hope you enjoyed reading this post and it will inspire you to read some more books this year. Thanks for reading,

Books, Books, Books!

Hey everyone, this is artybaker. I’ve had a lot of trouble coming up with a post for this week (well, last week: I didn’t manage one last Monday) . But then I came up with this. It came to me because I’ve been reading LOADS this year so far and I’ve sort of realized how much I love books! So in this post I’m going to do a bit of an article on books past and present, and hopefully teach you a thing or two about them…

What is a book?

Here is the Oxford Dictionary definition for bookn. a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers.

The History of Books

Writing with words was first recordedly invented about 5000 years ago, in around 3100 BC by the Sumerians, who lived in Sumer which is located in modern-day Southern Iraq. At first people recorded events and wrote tales on carved clay tablets. However, this can hardly be regarded as the first book, as there were no pages.

The Egyptians made papyrus roll from a plant native only to the Nile Valley. In 500 BC it began to override the clay method, although some people still used clay tablets for the next 500 years. Today’s form of paper was invented in China in about 105 AD and was first made with bark and hemp. This method spread to Japan around 610 AD, then to the Arab World. From there, it was introduced into Europe via Spain, but paper was not actually made in Europe until 1276 (in Italy) and not in England until 1495.

Today’s form of book – with turn-able pages and a protective cover – is called a codex (pl. codices) and was invented by the Romans evolving from wooden tablets. The first description of the codex book was written by Roman poet Martial in the 1st century; he described it’s convenient use. Within 200 years of it’s invention, the codex book was being used all over the world and the age of wooden and clay tablets was long gone. Some associate the popularity of this form of book with the Bible being printed in this way.

Today’s books

The codex book has to be one of the most successful inventions of all time, because it is still enormously popular 1900 years after it’s invention. Here are some facts about books:

  • In 2010 it was estimated that there were almost 130 million books in the world.
  • The average person reads around 5 books a year, but it is very hard to judge because lots of people read no books at all, and some read hundreds in one year.
  • The average novel contains 80,000 – 120,000 words.
  • The average novel contains around 600,000 letters.
  • The best selling book of all time is the Bible, but excluding that, it is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
  • The longest book of all time is Artamene ou le Grande Cyrus by Georges and Madeline de Sculdery. It has approximately 2,100,000 words and 13,095 pages.

Here are some quotes about books:

  • “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” – George Elliot
  • “A room without books is like a body without soul” – Cicero
  • “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx
  • “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges
  • “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them” – Lemony Snicket
  • “Books are a uniquely portable magic” – Stephen King

Our form of book has not changed for 1900 years. But the invention of the electronic book (commonly known as an eBook or e-book) in 1971 changed all that. Is this the start of the end of the codex book???

Thanks for reading! I should be back with a baking post next Monday.

My Beading

This post is the sort of thing artybaker would write about! Actually the stuff I used all belongs to her! So lets begin, recently I have been doing some beading. I have been getting my ideas from this book…

IMG_0735  100 BEADED Flowers, Trinkets and Charms by Amanda Brooke and Murr-Hinson. I haven’t actually read any of it I just look at the pictures which are very clear. Here are some of the others things I have been using –  A pack of 8 different colored beads, some Trimits beading wire and a beading rug (which I haven’t got any pictures of but is basically an A4 piece of felt to stop the beads rolling every where).


artybaker made a bracelet and then left all the things on the table. I saw it and was intrigued! I quickly had a riffle through the book and saw these which took be about me about half an hour to make, which I was quite proud of. It’s a bunch of bananas.IMG_0738

Here are some of the other things I’ve made… IMG_0740  IMG_0741IMG_0742IMG_0744 IMG_0745IMG_0746 I also made another ring; that one was yellow with a blue jewel but that was too small for my fingers so I gave it to plumblepie – she lost it!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this quick post, I will be making some more things so there may be another beading post soon. Thanks for reading, sophofbread.

A story I’m writing…

Hi, It’s been AGES since my last post so that’s my promise for one post a week out of the window! It was the combined problem of 2 things that stopped me writing a post. 1, Christmas; Christmas is always busy and this year was no different and 2, ideas or lack of. I had no idea what my next post would be about. But now xmas is over and artybaker has given me a few ideas, here is my post. Hope you enjoy…

For the last two years I have been planning and writing a story which I am still working on. It tells the tale of Danny Weller who is THE top dog in the town where he lives, West Street. Everyone is afraid of him even the teachers. It’s a series and in the first book Danny gets contacted by T.R.A.P- The Real Assasination Program. If he wants to join he has to complete a mission. You’ve had all the tales of good kid spies but Danny is a long way from good. See the story from another side…  Contains scenes of violence some people may find disturbing.

Here is a extract from the first book. ————————————————————————————–

The thing that Danny noticed first of all was the desk, bigger than his at home (and that was saying something) and the man behind the desk who had brilliant blue eyes, an evil grin and, Danny stared at it, a SILVER hand!?!

“Hello Danny, I’m Silver. I see you’ve met Rich.” The man who Danny now knew to be called Rich bowed at Silver and left the room. Even though Danny disliked Rich and he was obviously friends with Silver, Danny felt very alone as Rich left the room. “I see you got my letter, I have a bit of explaining to do don’t I Danny.”

“Yeh!” Danny grunted.

“Cheer up, Dan we’re on the same side, you and me!” Danny snorted and hastily tried to turn it into a cough. Silver raised his eyebrows. “What side is that then?” Danny asked. Silver who had now stood up, walked around the desk and motioned for Danny to sit down. “We are…” whispered Silver, “TRAP,

t, r, a, p, The Real Assassination Programme. You are our newest member!” Danny stared at Silver, this man was mad. What was he on about traps and assassination? “So,” Danny started, rather nervously, “Tell me more about this – TRAP business.”

“Well…” Silver replied grinning at Danny, “The organisation of Butterflies, yes they really are as stupid as their name were really getting on the highest lord’s nerves and so he created TRAP. The programme is all about assassinating members of butterflies so us ‘bad’ guys can rule the world in peace – well that’s the gist of it anyway.” Danny stared, he didn’t know what it was about TRAP but Danny was strangely attracted to the idea. “So The Butterflies are…?”

“A load of idiots who are committed to ‘saving the world’ in their words, they fight against bullying, theft, crime, drugs, murder, pollution and us in the main.”

“I see!” Danny replied and he did, it sounded as though The Butterflies were something he and his family should be worrying about, he did not want any prancy nancy people coming and taking West Street away from him. He was nothing without his power and … his pride.


If you would like to hear some more please leave a comment. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed, sophofbread

Banana and Chocolate Chunk Loaf

Hi everyone, it’s me artybaker. Today I made a Banana Loaf Cake with Milk Chocolate Chunks. Here it is:


It’s a Mary Berry recipe that I added chocolate to. I got the idea when eating a banana and chocolate flakes yogurt and thinking how well the chocolate went with the banana. This is how I made it…

Firstly, grease a loaf tin with butter and line the base and two sides with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and preheat the oven.


Peel and slice two bananas and mash them up with a fork.



Chop up the chocolate into smallish chunks and set aside about 10g for the decoration.


Then measure out the margarine, sugar, eggs and flour.


Mix all of them with the banana except the chocolate chunks, there may be little lumps of margarine, but carry on mixing until you can’t see anymore.


Then stir in the chocolate chunks.


Pour into the prepared tin and smooth down as much as possible.



Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours. Towards the end of the baking time melt the remaining chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of almost boiling water.


When the cake is done, run a knife along the two edges that are not lined with greaseproof paper and lift the cake out of the tin and peel the paper of the base. Now, drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the cake diagonally in one direction. And your done!





Here’s the recipe for Banana and Chocolate Chunk Loaf

Ingredients: 2 ripe bananas, 100g (4oz) margarine, 175g (60z) caster sugar, 2 medium free range eggs, 225g (8oz) self-raising flour, 250g (9oz) milk chocolate (cut into chunks).

Method: 1 – Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, 160 degrees Celsius fan oven, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, gas 4. 2 – Slice the bananas and mash them up with a fork. 3 – Break the eggs into a measuring jug and beat with a fork. 4 – Put the margarine, caster sugar, eggs and flour in the bowl with the banana and mix until well combined. Remember to make sure there are no lumps of margarine in the mix. 5 – Set aside 10g of chocolate to use for the decoration and stir in the rest of the chunks to the main mixture. 6 – Pour into the prepared tin and smooth down with a spoon. Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours. 7 – Melt the chocolate you set aside earlier in a glass bowl over a pan of almost boiling water. When the cake is done, drizzle the chocolate over the top diagonally in one direction.

Thanks for reading!

My ‘home ed toolkit’

A collection of my favourite ‘tools’ that help support our learning lifestyle. Some are practical, some more abstract but all incredibly useful. The list is in no particular order…

  • Family meetings – A great tool to really help focus the mind. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the agenda beforehand and minutes are taken, by a willing volunteer, so we can look back at what we’ve discussed. It’s a great chance for everyone to share ideas and make suggestions for new ways of doing things. We talk about all sorts of things from outings we’d like to plan to meal planning to big family decisions, whatever anyone feels they would like to bring up. It gives us a chance to regularly review what we’ve been up to and make plans for future projects.
  • Room rescues – These are Flylady inspired and are about making ‘tidy ups’ less overwhelming and more enjoyable. Just set the timer for five minutes and the transformation can be amazing. It is great when we rescue rooms together, everyone gets involved and it can be lots of fun but even on your own using a timer just seems to get the job done so much more efficiently.
  • Clean canvases – Rather like room rescues, these are about making spaces more usable. When someone wants to get on with a specific project in a particular place then we endeavour to create a clean canvas where they can get stuck in.
  • Trust – Humans have an innate desire to learn and develop. The proof of that is everywhere but should you need reminding, just take a minute to consider the amazing feats of human history and evolution or, just spend a few moments with any baby or toddler to see the drive to learn in action. Since becoming a parent I have read loads of parenting books but many of them just haven’t sat comfortably with me. The ones I do love, and I hope to do a post listing some of my favourites sometime soon, are the ones that remind us to trust our instincts. Taking the time to breathe and learning to shut out some unhelpful scripts we have picked up along the way can really help us tune into that inner wisdom and have confidence in trusting ourselves, trusting our children and trusting the natural process of learning.
  • Connection – By this I mean the feeling of really being in tune with our children and developing a deep sense of closeness and attachment. Taking the time to get to know them as individuals and forging lasting bonds that enable good communication and respect to flourish. Developing that connection and providing our family with a safe and loving space they can always rely on gives them a secure foundation on which everything else can be built.
  • Kindness – Such an important concept. When I am floundering around, unsure of how best to deal with a situation if I can have the presence of mind to make the kindest choice then that usually feels like the ‘right’ one. Remembering that the connection to our children is what is really important in each moment helps to put this into perspective – this is what they will learn from and what they will expect of the world around them. Some might say that is unrealistic, the world is a harsh place and they might as well get used to it… not only do I have a more positive view of the world in general but also I believe that cultivating that expectation of kindness is a protective mechanism for individuals and for our global future. Abuse and violence will not be seen as a necessary evil and will not be tolerated, promoting the search for peace and building more positive relationship patterns. And getting back to the here and now…stress affects our ability to learn and we are all for learning here!
  • Strewing – This is an idea from the wonderful Sandra Dodd, you must check out her website – an absolute goldmine of useful information but beware you could be there for days! Somewhere on the site Sandra or one of her equally inspiring pals likens strewing to scattering rose petals in the path of someone we love – it’s about leaving interesting things around that may be picked up and spark someone’s curiosity or just brighten their day. It’s a lovely way to introduce all sorts of things…new games, pattern blocks, books that you think someone might love, unusual craft bits and pieces, retro technology, whatever you like and think others might too. There is no pressure or expectation on anyone else to do anything with the items but if they do…well then the fun can really begin!
  • Invitations to play – A lovely idea we spotted on the ‘Learn with Play at Home’ website. Like strewing but I guess a little more formal. Setting out all the necessary bits and pieces for an activity but still without any pressure for them to be used in any particular way. A game board could be left with all the pieces set up to start playing, or a collection of cardboard boxes and sheets could be gathered to enable den-making. Recently I left the following invitation on our dining room table and it was taken up with great enthusiasm. I’m sure one of us will get around to posting the finished map when it’s done.

map to colour

  • Presence – Actually showing up, but not just physically…it is so easy to wander through a day spending much of it in our heads mulling over to-do lists and fretting over things that are in the past or may be in the future. The first step is to notice when we are not fully present in the moment and then actively work at stepping out of our heads and back down into our bodies, paying real attention to the people we are with and the action that is happening right then and there. Sounds obvious but this can have such a powerful impact on how our days flow.
  • Community – Everyone needs support. Making decisions about how to live your life that may seem so far from what you see around you can really intensify that need. Close friends and family are so important and we love them dearly but in addition to this we may wish to seek out others who have made similar choices, who have experience and knowledge that may be useful to us in navigating these new paths. Community does not have to be local, we have gained so much from the national and international home education community and find comfort and confidence in their presence, although, of course, those local people are lovely too!

And there you have it, an insight into those tools that I lean on to help keep life sparkly here in the home-ed heads world. Of course there are many more that I could have mentioned and maybe some of those will work their way into future posts, but for now… have a warm and wonderful week.