Saturday, April 29, 2006

w/e 29th April, 2006

Good old St. George's day last Sunday, so we had a quick look at the story of St. George and the dragon on one of our favourite websites (Woodlands Junior School) and the kids decided to write their own hero and dragon stories. As B is very interested in flags and was pleased to see the England flag was involved in what we were doing, we also re-touched on the significant use of colour in flags (first looked at during our Commonwealth sessions - see previous blogs) with the help of Enchanted Learning. B and K took this in much easier this time as it was just the three of us, and they both designed their own flags using colours that had a meaning to them.

The weather is certainly Spring like at the moment, so we are making the most of it, working on and having picnics in the garden and going to the park to play in the sand. B enjoys the company of younger children so this is perfect for him as the only children (usually) around during the day are pre-school age. K and I had fun making a large rabbit warren in the sand, and K also practised her gymnastics by balancing on the small fence around the sandpit, doing jumps etc. Rabbits are on K's mind at the moment since we saw the beautiful Rex rabbits at the local garden centre. She desperately wants one but we still need to find a good hutch for Herrence (the guinea pig) as he needs to leave his indoor home soon (I would prefer him to be in the large shed as Billy (the rabbit) is). K drew a lovely little picture of Herrence this week, he is getting very friendly towards us and even let us feed him some carrot (he's refused fresh veg before now - very child like!).

I have been busy clearing a patch of grass for carrot seeds. K helped to get the earth prepared and she sowed the seeds and is asking to do more vegetable growing. We have tomato plants on the way, thanks to a friend, beans, salad and potatoes - this should keep her busy. Will need to get some netting to keep the cats off the fresh earth I think! We had the joys of the blackbird family close by while we worked today (see previous blog), and even witnessed a butterfly open its wings for the first time (it came out of the compost bin!). Jasper, the ageing cat, managed to catch one of the baby birds this morning. Luckily, he hadn't hurt it and so we were able to carry it back to the end of the garden, close to the nest, before any more damage was done. We weren't sure if the baby would be accepted back into the family if we had handled it, but we found mummy bird with the baby later in the morning, so all seems to be OK. Mummy bird was cleverly enticing the baby back towards home by using a piece of paper in her beak as bait. Truly amazing, don't you think?

K has been drawing lovely horse pictures for some time now, but she's just decided to offer her drawings to her friends on the horsey forum. A couple of them have requested pictures, and also one of her friends has asked to buy one of her home-made leather headcollars. As you'd guess, K is pretty chuffed about that. She also got results of a model horse photo show she'd recently entered and learnt that one of her horses had come second in one of the classes. Although no certificate this time for 2nd place, she's still pleased at the result.

Started our Madagascar topic and have found lots of wonderful information on the internet to help us along. We have been looking at the foosa, which of course features alot in the Madagascar film, and have been finding out about other creatures, big and small, that live only on this island.

We did lots of baking on Thursday ready for a picnic on Friday at a near by stately home (with the HE group). Rather than let the kids trudge around Sainsbury's for the necessary food shop, I decided to divide the list up, asking them to make their own shopping lists of the food we needed to buy, and they were in charge of finding the food on their list. The kids were great at looking at different prices and finding bargains, so that together with the weighing of ingredients for the baking, made a pretty good maths day all round! Baking went well and was completed by about 4 p.m.!

Lovely day on the Friday with the group. Visit to the home was wonderful and the sun shone for us and the wind levels dropped in time for a friendly picnic afterwards. Kids had great fun feeling the freedom of the great outdoors which made us all tired out at the end of the day.

K and I went to see Annie at the local theatre today. Two sisters from the group were in the show which made it even more special. Well done to them, a wonderful performance. K has decided that she'd like to try tap dancing and be in a musical like her friends!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Have a good week!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The most amazing thing!

I have been so priviledged today. Each year we have a couple of blackbirds set up home in some thick shubbery at the bottom of our garden. Mum and dad blackbird are quite tame and often come close to the kitchen door hunting down food, and are happy to hop around the garden while we are working away close by. This year, the nest has been set up within sight from the garden bench at the back of the garden. A couple of days ago B and I were lucky enough to witness dad feeding, what looked like, two baby birds - something I, let alone B, had ever witnessed.

Today, while have a peaceful cuppa on the bench, I spotted three babies, two of which were perched on the edge of their nest. Mum and dad were hopping around finding worms, etc. and not caring at all that I was there. Suddenly one of the birds took flight (if you can call it that at such a young age), and went fluttering down near our old incinerator close to me. Mum stayed as calm as a cucumber, and started to feed the baby - it was truly amazing. Mum then started to pick young snails off the shrubbery and throw them on the floor using her beak to crack the shells to reach the food inside to feed the baby. As ageing Jasper (the cat) appeared I left to entise him indoors (he's still pretty good at doing nature's thing).

Later when I went out with camera in hand, mummy bird came and sat next to me on the bench, and baby (not sure if it was the same one), perched above me in the tree. Wow, what an experience!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

w/e 21st April 2006

B has once again discovered the keyboard in his bedroom and has been tinkering on it. P showed him how to do a scale using the correct fingers and B has been practising quite a bit. By the end of the week he was able to confidently do a run of scales using his left hand only, keeping beat and recording his tunes. K had a go but still doesn't show any interest in actually learning the fingering! She does make some good sounds on it though.

We discovered a new website to produce little dolls (in fact there are lots of them out there) and this has sparked a new interest for K. You can either dress a doll by clicking a dragging clothes, hair and accessories onto a body, or you can save a body and use a graphics/photo package to draw on clothes and body bits (!) which is what K likes to do. She's done several and has given them names.

B has been playing a game called "Speedy Eggbert" which he found on a disk at his Grandma's house and was able to find a website with the same game (we've put it up as our website of the week). At first I thought it was just another PC game, but in fact it's quite educational as you have to build your own game first before playing it. He's really into this now, and has also started building an Eggbert game in his room using blocks and marble run pieces with red pipecleaners (bombs), silver foil (water) and orange paper (lava). We hardboiled an egg and stuck yellow pipecleaners to it + a face to become Eggbert, but he began to smell after a while, so we've made a new one out of craft materials.

K is finishing off her Easter project (horses from around the world) which is very neat and full of information. She continues to enjoy her lessons at the riding school and is gaining confidence when cantering and is doing mini jumps now as well.

We made some lovely pictures using shavings of wax crayons on greaseproof paper then used an iron to melt the shavings to produce vibrant coloured melted wax pictures. We've also discovered, thanks to an interesting Tudor HE session on Friday, that you can melt wax crayons to produce candles. K did this and the candle is lovely (and it burns too). They also made symmetrical Tudor gardens using something called "magic maize" and produced their own butter. This was the most interesting and popular activity of the morning! You pour a small amount of double cream into a container with a tight lid, and then shake until the cream turns to butter. It tasted lovely spread on fresh crusty bread.

Have a good week.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Yummy, yummy Easter!

Having fun, fighting with the cricket set - no injuries though!

We've had a lovely Easter weekend, full of fun, warm sun and ... chocolate (and plenty of wine too on Sunday!).

After the lovely visit on Saturday from my folks, we spent Sunday afternoon at P's folks with his side of the family. Kids woke us at around 7.30 a.m. (not bad ah?) asking for chocolate for breakfast! This year they chose their chocolate treats, B a Mars easter egg and K a bigish chunk of Dairy Milk! We had a little chat about the meaning of Easter as they chomped away lounging on our bed. We had covered this earlier in the week and I'm pleased to say B remembered it was Jesus who suffered at Easter, not God, whom he originally thought.

Did mass tidy up which took most of the morning, and then off to the grandparents (P's folks) to meet up with the family, including the cousins. Lots of PC playing and joyful laughter from the kids (more chocolate, and more, and more!). Sun came out after a lovely BBQ lunch (cooked outside, eaten inside) washed down with plenty of flowing wine (which I regretted at 11 p.m. that evening) - boy was I glad I'd forgotten my promise to drive us home! Kids ran around the garden finding mini easter eggs that I'd hidden - more chomping, then they continued to play - fighting this time, using the wooden cricket set (but just play fighting, I'd better add) and empty water guns. K actually played well with little 2 1/2 year old cousin A. She doesn't usually tolerate little'uns very well but did great this time.

Bed and sleep - and feeling alittle woozy!

Another nice day weather wise. Quickly stopped the start of a woozy head with paracetamol! Mowed the grass, back and front, and started to tidy the edges. Did huge wash load and changed the kids bedding. Let the rabbit and guinea pig out for a run around in the garden (first time out for the guinea pig, he loved the freedom to hunt down his own dandelion leaves). Made some lovely leek, potato and onion soup for lunch, and had the pleasure of watching a blackbird take a bath in our little waterfeature just a stone's throw from me. Best of all though, P was able to retrieve all my lost work and internet favourites - yippee, he's the best!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

w/e Sat. 15th April 2006

Still taking a break from "official" work this week and I've been amazed at how the kids have been able to amuse themselves and learn in their own way! Lots of socialising too this week, friends and cousins, so a busy but happy week all round (and the weather is finally warming up so we can get on with sowing our veg. seeds soon (once I get round to buying the compost, that is)).

Friends from the HE group came round on Tuesday afternoon and lots was accomplished. Doing scoubies, cooking delicious choccie biscuits (courtesy of Jamie Oliver), playing music on the keyboard, playing bowling on the PC, lots of chatting and a fabulous cushion fight. B went to his cousins house on Wednesday afternoon while K and I looked round a lovely 7 bed showhouse for decorating inspiration (didn't work, just ended up wanting the house!), visiting cute bunnies at the local garden centre and meeting three beautiful Hafflinger ponies and having a tour of a new stud and possible riding school just outside our area. On Friday, K visited another HE friend for more scoubi making and lots of playing with dogs, cats and rabbits! While she was there, B, P and I had a looked around a water garden centre (as B loves anything water based) with lovely tropical gardens, ponds, mini rivers and waterfalls. There was also three King Charles spaniels two of which took a shine to B and followed him around the centre (as B in also into dogs, this mini outing ticked all the boxes!).

B has been reading all about trains and drew out a mini track for one of his model trains. We may expand on this next week and add some paper mache hills etc., to add some interest. He's also into his PC bowling game and used old liquid yoghurt bottles and a large marble to simulate a real bowling alley. He seems to enjoy using this ("thud, thud" as the marble hits the skirting board) together with his punch bag ("doof, doof") early in the morning to not only wake us up, but probably the neighbours too! B's also continuing with his Easter project of making a poster about caring for guinea pigs. We found a lovely child friendly guinea pig site to help him along with lovely drawings and little stories too.

K has been making small dioramas for her models as well as some lovely medieval tack. She's also got back into making scoobies and has followed instructions to make a helicopter and mouse and designed her own scoubi rabbit this morning too. K's started a new website now all about making scoubies with step by step pictures and instructions to make the helicopter. K also made a cute short film on Billy the rabbit to put up on her forum for all the view!

K's scoubi helicopters.

Another warm day today, and my parents came to visit which is always lovely. Kids enjoyed the extra attention. Went to a garden centre to look at the small animals and see some rather famous sheep that had been on a film set yesterday for the forthcoming TV drama of Jane Eyre.

Have a good week!

Friday, April 07, 2006

w/e 7th April 2006

What a lovely week. Spring is beginning to bloom and the sun is throwing some warmth into the air at last. With no planned work for the kids this week they have spent quite some time playing. K with her horses, tack and rider making and B with drawing, armies and lego.

One of K's little men (looks abit like Michael Jackson I think!)

We dug out the swingball for the garden and have been having a bash around on it most days. B can play it for quite some time by himself and is getting very good at keeping the ball swinging. They both did some tree climbing which I captured on video (for once) and K managed to climb to the top of our buddliea tree and sit on the shed roof!

Jumping like horses

Disaster happened on Wednesday evening - my computer died a death - it is no more! Yep, it was pretty ancient I admit, but you kind of get to rely on it (a bit too much may be), then, wham, it's gone! Tears all round thinking what information I'd lost, kids stories and poems, email addresses and important messages and my marvellous collection of favourite internet sites (mainly to do with HE). Good news though, it means getting a new PC which will be sooo much faster than my old one and better looking I'm sure. Hubby hopes he can retrieve my work and internet favourites - let's hope so ... please!

Anyway, we've coped pretty well with one PC and in fact it's meant I've had time to play with K and B for a while on their own ... but I do miss it though!

Had a HE group session today about the Tudors, something I know little of I'm sorry to admit. Most of the kids seemed more interested in playing outside, especially K who found some wandering horses to check out close by! B enjoyed the freedom to run around and let off steam too! Activities were fun, making orange/clove pomanders, designing a family shield, throwing together a spicy apple stew and making red/white roses. B enjoyed using some Hamer Beads which he'd never done before, it got him still and in one place for a good 1/2 - 3/4 hour!

K had another group riding lesson today and did three lots of cantering which she coped with well. It seems a nicely run school with beautiful horses and ponies.

We bought ourselves a blow up punch bag, mainly for K and B (of course), to burn off their energy, but it's a good size so us bigguns can use it too. Unfortunately it turned up with a pin hole in the base (where you add water for stability), so we came back from riding to find the kitchen floor much like a small pond!

We've also been making little chick Easter cards for the relatives, so in fact it's been a pretty busy week really when you look back over it.

Have a good week!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

w/e 31st March 2006

Just to let you know. I've moved from another blog site and usually update my blog at the end of each week with what we've all been up to . I'm just too exhausted to blog each night at the moment, but this may change!

If you'd like to read my past entries, please go to

Anyway... here's the week's posting... finally! I seem to still be having major problems with blogger - I've just typed my end of week blog to see my sidebar had moved to the bottom of the page! What's going on here? Anyway, here we are again, hopefully it'll work. The kids have drawn pictures of themselves to put in the "profile". B's first attempt was quite frightening, so I drew the outline of his head to start him off!

We decided to make this our last "working" week before a break for Easter as our local schools have finished this week. I've given the kids mini projects in case they need something to do! B is going to find out about the care of guinea pigs (as he's just got one) and K is going to write about horses around the world.

Probably the best thing "work" wise that happened this week is that we've finally finished WWII! I think the kids did enjoy learning all about it, but it did seem to drag on. We ended it all by making a street party collage using old photos and hanging up union flag bunting!

K continues to make her mini horse tack and has started to make little pipe-cleaner/clay people which are brilliant and quite detailed. B decided to make a little man using a small bottle and pipe-cleaners (for arms) holding a stick rifle! He took lots of photos of him fighting other toys to make a comic book story.

K had her first group riding lesson at the new school and came away with a huge beam on her face. Next week she's going to do some cantering, which she's excited about. She's also done ice skating this week and gymnastics. We're trying to encourage B to do judo (or similar) to burn off all his energy, no luck so far - he'd like a punch bag though to practise on!

B is finding an interest in lots of things at the moment and is asking loads of questions like how trains work, the definitions of words, how the earth is like a huge magnet and that people just cling to it! We also looked at information on the Eiffel Tower this week as it was celebrating an anniversary on Friday, and we compared the height of it with a new tallest building going up in Dubai that will eventually reach 800m! B especially enjoyed finding out about other tall buildings from around the world.

Ended the week by visiting a local town fair which runs throughout the streets. It was wonderful seeing all the lights and hearing all the sounds. B actually went on some rides this time and had a go at a crossbow game. K won on a horse racing game and let B choose and keep the cuddly toy.

Bye for now.