Friday, September 29, 2006

Week ending 29th September, 2006

At the beginning of the week we recapped on the Autumn Equinox and managed to get around to doing some lovely Autumn paintings based on the style of Vincent van Gogh, a rather unfortunate chap we thought! K managed to get the swirly patterns in her art work using oil paints, similar to van Gogh's style in his Starry Night painting.

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B and K's van Gogh style Autumn paintings

We also chatted about Ramadhan, which started on Sunday, to see how much the children remembered from last year. They did pretty well remembering the Five Pillars of Islam - quite impressed. As we discussed it all, K and B drew round their hands on paper and used black pen to add beautiful henna (Mehndi) designs using the Indian traditional patterns which include hearts, delicate paisleys and lace and birds, to name just a few. Ramadhan information can be found here and also the Islamic Homeschool Diary blog captures it all very well!

The children finished off their Tudor projects this week by completing their Voyage of Discovery stories and learning a little more about the last Tudor, Elizabeth I. B found doing his discovery story quite hard, but his finished work (with a little tweaking in places - punctuation and stringing sentences together rather than using short sentences) was lovely. They both used lots of description in the work which I always encourage! During my clearout last week I found a poster of Elizabeth I in all her finery with discussion points on the back (very helpful), so we had a look at this and discussed why she named the "Faery Queen", why she was holding a rainbow, had a serpent on her sleeve and lots of eyes and ears on her dress! After taking some mug shots of B and K, they drew their own Elizabethan outfits around their photos with their own (and some pinched from Queen Liz) ideas of unusual design features that portrayed a meaning to the nation.

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The rosehip craft we started a week or so ago was also completed this week. The rosehips needed drying out in the airing cupboard once they'd been painstakingly threaded onto wire and I've now assembled the pieces and bent them into hearts. The idea for this was from "Twigs" website, kindly provided by the Learning Naturally blog. The hearts look absolutely lovely so we've decided to make some for Christmas gifts.

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One of the main things we've been playing around with this week is our little Junior Electrics set which we'd picked up for 50p from a summer car boot fair! It had never been opened so B helped me put it all together and then we all working through some of the experiments together. We learnt how to light single and double bulbs, make a buzzer sound, use crocodile clips to complete a circuit and understand parallel lighting circuits. K made a little cardboard house with tissue paper windows to demonstrate her understanding of this as she lit up both windows or just one at a time! Lots more fun to be had with this I'm sure.

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using crocodile clips + K's little light up house

I finally got around to ordering the Usborne 100 Science Experiments book from Amazon as our borrowed version had to make it's final trip back to the library. It is so well used I knew it would not be money down the drain. B seized the new book with enthusiasm and proceeded to do an air pressure experiment using a large bottle filled with water and a little plastic man attached to a pen lid. Once the man and lid are in the water and are floating, B was able to make them sink buy gently squeezing the bottle. All very clever, even P couldn't understand how this worked, but it's very simple (usually is isn't it!?). The pen lid is full of air which naturally makes the little diver float, but when you squeeze the bottle, water is forced into the lid, pushing out the air which then makes the diver sink. When you release the bottle, air returns to the lid to make him return to the surface.

We've started watching the Michael Palin videos, that have been lurking in my cupboard since they came out (in the 80's ?), of "Around the World in Eighty Days" based on the famous French book of the same title featuring Philias Fogg. We thought we'd make a project out of this as the children are showing an interest in some of the countries Palin scoots through. Unfortunately we haven't yet had time to delve further into finding more about these countries, apart from follow the start of this journey on maps in the atlas, but we intend to do more next week (she says!). So far they want to know about Venice, Greece (especially the rather strange traditions of the Evzone Guards!) and the Pyramids. This website is dedicated to all the Palin travels and I think it'll come in very handy for our topic.

So many other little things have been happening this week but they are just too numerous to list (don't won't you all falling asleep!), but finally, today, we had a group session all about insects. Lots of bugs were brought along for us to view and hold which fascinated most of us! Must admit I'm not really into these little (or not so little) creatures in a big way but they were interesting to watch and learn about. One young chap was brave enough to gently touch the tarantula, which made it jump, and made me jump too! Of all the creepy crawlies there today, the hissing cockroach was definitely the one I really didn't like the look of - they just looked kind of yuk (sorry to any enthusiasts out there), but I found the hissing noice (similar to the sound of the mechanism for a wind up toy) was captivating. We also got to see some beautiful silk moths, one of which unfortunately escaped, but these were truly lovely.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

National Moth Night - 23rd September

K and B were really excited about staying up late for this, not so much for spotting moths, just for staying up past their usual bedtime! Information on the event is here, also we used this website to set our moth "trap" (scroll down alittle to heading "how to attract moths").

So ... as soon as it got dark we dug out an old white sheet and pegged it to the washing line and secured it with bricks. To assist the moths, we even placed an egg carton on the floor in case they felt like staying for the night. Actually Allie found this very quickly and settled himself on it for a bit of shut eye!

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Everyone mucked in to light the fire basket using all the left over kindling, old shoes (which burn surprisingly well) and a couple of logs.

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We set a blanket on the floor, a few games to amuse us, some drinks and a good strong torch to shine onto the sheet, and waited ... and waited ... and waited! Luckily it was a warm evening with cloud cover to keep the warmth so we stayed out until the kids grew too tired to continue with their hopeful moth identification. It was such a perfect night that I reckon the moths had decided to party elsewhere as we did not spot, or hear, one single moth on our brightly lit white sheet, or even elsewhere in the garden! However, we did identify one cranefly (yes, just one surprisingly), and another of those rather yucky large brown crawly garden spiders, similar to the one B had spotted in the kitchen last week! K gave up at 9.15, B gave up at 9.45! We gave up at 10.00!

I'll be keeping a watch on the Moth Night website to see if others had a better turnout than us!

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Celebrating Harvest Thanksgiving

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.

We spent the whole of yesterday morning preparing a lovely harvest lunch for the three of us (and most of the afternoon clearing up!). K and B helped make some bread rolls the traditional way, using flour, water and yeast (rather than the usual cheating way of an "all-in-one" packet!), which turned out perfectly - fresh, warm and soft. K and I made a cheesecake using some of the blackberries we'd picked last weekend, together with some shop bought strawberries. We'd made a delicious cheesecake a few weeks ago, which we'd worked out to be a rather pricey dessert, and my friend T leant me a wonderful cheesecake book with lots of ideas which we'll certainly use soon. The recipe we used this time I'd found when clearing out some paperwork on Thursday afternoon. It's simple and a lot cheaper than the previous one, but certainly not as delicious! B and I made parsnip and carrot soup, again really simple to make and quick too. B did most of the chopping of the vegetables which he seems to enjoy.

Here's the recipe:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 large parsnips
3 large carrots
2 pints of vegetable stock
Black pepper for seasoning

Chop the onion and sweat it, covered, in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the chopped (cubed) carrots and parsnips as well as the stock and season with black pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Leave to cool for 15 minutes and then whizz it in a food processor or similar.

We set the table with our home cooked food and some candles for a really lovely lunch followed by a verse or two of "We plough the fields ..." and "All things bright and beautiful ..."!

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With all the cooking and clearing, followed by horseriding, we didn't get a chance to do our Autumn paintings. K asked what Autumn Equinox meant - here's a website that's quite informative. She also wanted to know what Pagan meant, Wikipedia provided a good description. Came across this site that will give you a Pagan name - just a little fun! Mine is "Europa Autumn Edain"!

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

We went greenlaning on Sunday in Elsie Mo, and returned to Aversley wood which we'd found before but hadn't had time to explore. The weather was gorgeous so we parked up close to the wood for a chilli and pasta lunch before our walk. We were lucky enough to pick loads of blackberries and a good amount of rosehips too. During our picking we saw rabbits being chased by weazles, a creature we haven't seen in the wild before. We also found some hornets enjoying the sap from the trees. Our walk was wonderfully peaceful, through unspoilt woodlands - a perfect afternoon stroll, climbing over fallen trees, investigating spider's webs and listening to the sounds of birds in the trees and the occasional cry from (what we believe) foxes.
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With thanks to the recipes and website provided by Learning Naturally, we have started to make rosehip hearts, which are still drying out in the airing cupboard. The details, together with some other crafts using natural materials, is here. With out left over rosehips I'm going to have a go at making apple and rosehip jelly. I used to make blackcurrant jam in our old house with the glut of blackcurrants we'd have each year from the garden. My first attempts, just after B was born, were fabulous enough to pass on as presents, but the year after things went down hill. The jam started off fine, but ended up rock solid within a day or two!

P had Monday and Tuesday off work. Monday was chores day for P and I, with P helping to sort out K and B's mini films. We've managed to transfer them from camcorder to PC and view them successfully, but B's needs quite a bit of editing which will take some time to do! We'd also like to add some titles and music to the finished version.

Tuesday we decided to spend the day out and about and headed towards Milton Keynes. On the way we stopped off at a nature park along the A421 for lunch (I don't remember the name of it and it's not on the map). Certainly a place worth returning to as it ticked all the boxes for us, cycle paths (and cycle hire), lakes, playground, cafe and park areas using natural resources. Once at MK we did a bit of Ikea shopping and took a peek at Hobbycraft, which, although full of craft items, wasn't as inspirational to K and me as we'd hoped. As we negotiated our way along the H (horizontal) and V (verticle) road grid to find our way out of MK, we were overtaken by a rather nice limo which we reckon held Mr. Robbie Williams heading towards The Bowl for his evening gig. Once out of MK, we drove to Bedford to try out the Oasis Beach Pool. A brilliant fun pool this one, a bit, but not quite as good as, the excellent Coral pool at Bracknell which we'd visited a couple of year's ago. Anyway, for a very reasonable family fee of just over £7.00 we enjoyed 2 1/2 hours of slides, sprays and wave machines. We all had a great time, B loved the wave machine and K loved the slides, especially as she could time herself and try and beat her previous miles per hour!

On Wednesday morning swimming was still the main topic of discussion so I decided to use the swimming pool as a way of understanding depth and measurement, mainly for B, to learn cm to m conversion. We all drew our ideal fun pool design on paper, coloured, labelled and then added our different depths at various points of the drawing. Yesterday we'd noticed that the depth ranged from 0.3m to 1.6m, so this was our guide. B did some conversions of m to cm and cm to m to show he'd understood it all. After this, K and B wanted to use their drawings to produce a 3D version of their pools using junk. This took up all the morning and was good fun, making water slides and different pools. When finished, their small dolls and toy soldiers had a fun time playing in the pools before the cardboard sections gave way!

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K's fun pool drawing

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B's drawing and 3D pool

K and B went to play with friends on Wednesday afternoon and I spent the time to clear K's bedroom, shift around her furniture and give it a much needed clean! It's looking so much better now with all her model horses, stables and scenes off the floor and sitting on a two level coffee table. We now have a good area of carpet that we can see and be able to hoover much easier in future.

Thursday afternoon I kept going with the cleaning bug and gave B's room a good tidy up and hoover. There as a pile of old flour mixed with plastacine left on the carpet after his mini film project which desperately needed hoovering up, and I took the opportunity to really clean his shelves and any working areas. Finished off tidying the front/office room, clearing out some papers that I knew I'd never read through and generally making work spaces neater. Feel much better for all that! This morning, after our normal "work" the children did a bit more of their Discovery stories and B did some of his Star Wars project. We also had a look at some optical illusions in the Usborne Science book and checked out this fun website.

Tomorrow we're going to have a baking day to celebrate the Harvest on Sunday and hopefully, if time is on our side, do an Autumnal painting to celebrate to first day of Autumn on Saturday.
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Sunday, September 17, 2006

All about France

Our first group session after the summer holidays was a great success. The new venue seemed to hit all the buttons and the children certainly enjoyed running around the enclosed outdoor space in the sunshine using the play equipment, playing football and using their imagination in the garden "hideout" area.

The theme this time was "France", with most families bring along an activity. Although I didn't get a chance to try them, the Tarte Tatin that the children and "E" cooked looked so delicious, we'll certainly try this one at home. Here's the recipe:

For the pastry:
100g butter or marg
175g plain/wholemeal flour
15g caster sugar
1 egg yolk

For the filling:
50g caster sugar
25g butter or marg.
450g crisp eating apples

Make the pastry as per shortcrust method. You may need to add some water too. Roll out and line your flan dish, then bake, at 200c or gas mark 6, for about 10 minutes, just to get the pastry baked a bit before you add the filling. Peel, core and chop the apples into slices, about 1cm thick. Line the part baked flan case with these. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the sugar. Heat until caramalised and golden brown. Pour over apples. Bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Bon appetite!

Our crafts included mini 3D Eiffel Towers to colour, cut and assemble, courtesy of this website, colouring pages to help learn some simple French words, two art activities to understand the work of French artist Henri Matisse, French songs to learn using a keyboard and various percussion instruments, as well as maps of the country, posters of French cheeses and information on the history of French cars.

It was also lovely to see some new faces. One family had come out of school the same time as us, a whole year ago, so it was good to catch up and see how they had been getting on at home. Here's to the next session!
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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back to maths ... moans and groans!

Tuesday - finally got back to doing maths on a regular basis, much to the kids annoyance, especially K! B seems to have forgotten everything (how do teacher's cope with the long 6 week break when childrens' brains shut down?) - rather than go too berzerk I left the room and screamed into a cushion! Allie the cat still looked startled though. Wednesday - better maths wise, B's brain is gradually reappearing, at least he can add numbers now! K not so good, did a recap on fractions and it seems we need to start all over again! Tomorrow - I've decided to spice things up and use a Domino's Pizza menu to aid their mathematical learning! This should work, although I'll probably end up having to order one or more to help them along!

Discovery stories are gradually coming on. We made a school like list of the kinds of things that may happen on a Tudor voyage of discovery. Some ideas certainly wouldn't happen like finding real life sea monsters (hopefully), but others, like becoming ill from the salted meat and fish (or animal bones as B insists) probably did happen, often! K and B used the Mary Rose website to recap on the crew of their galleon and other bits and pieces that may have been on board. They've each plotted their route to their new island on a world map (modern day version unfortunately) and checked out the continents their galleon would pass on the way.

I talked briefly about 9/11 with them as it is modern history and found the BBC Newsround site helpful with lots of photos and an animation showing timings of the tragedy. Didn't want to push too hard on all this as they are still young but in fact it struck up another brilliant discussion between K and me about the whole thing. This lead on to religions of the world, wars of the world, crusades of long ago, different cultures and how we should respect and follow the traditions of those in their own countries. K continues to amaze me with her forward thinking and clear cut ideas, I love having these debates with her. All the time we were talking B was drawing his version of the 9/11 tragedy, the twin towers, aeroplanes and general disaster. Unfortunately I can't find his finished work of art, I really hope it'll turn up in time.

B is into Duplo at the moment. No idea why he decided to pull it out from under his dusty bed, but he's been constructing since Monday. First it was symmetrical shapes, then buildings and today he designed a mine. He asked me what mines did, so after a chat we looked up some pictures of old tin and copper mines in Cornwall and talked some more about the people who worked in the mines and the dangers. K, feeling it unfair to send canaries to their possible death rather than relying on humans to sense danger, wants to know if more humans are born per second or more canaries! The things kids come out with!

Today is Roald Dahl Day. Must admit I haven't really read much of his work, but K has! Found some worksheets on the website and the children each designed their own sweet or chocolate, described it and drew a catchy advert for it.

The children have been practising their handwriting by copying their chosen poems into work books. After this I read some other children's poems to them and came across this lovely Haiku (which is a style of poetry writing) by Wendy Cope and remembered reading all about Haiku on another blog recently and thought it may be fun to learn more about it.

Shimming heat waves,
A hot pebble in the hand,
Light-dance on the sea.

This is our collective Haiku before we've learnt anything about it!

Bubbling farts,
Squishing air around my butt,
Revolting to the nose.

Now you wouldn't get away with that at school would you!? To all those shaking their heads saying "that's not Haiku", remember, we haven't yet checked out the correct way of doing this wonderful form of poetry.

Been doing some necessary chores to get ready for the new HE group venue starting on Friday. Popped along to our old venue in the park to pick up our mugs and necessary beverage packets and took the opportunity to walk around one of the lakes and have a play in the playground. We picked up some stray acorns and leaves and today made little acorn men which look cute. B and I designed mini tray gardens for them and K has started making a superb cross country jump scene for her model horses ready for another forthcoming live show.

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Also this week we met up with members of the group at Stanwick Lakes in Northamptonshire. Have never ventured here before but will certainly add it to our list of fun activities. Although I had the camera I forgot to take photos this time, but there are lakes (obviously) and cycle/pedestrian paths and the children played on a fabulous wooden activity playground and obstacle course. B and K enjoyed walking through the mini streams and muddy swamps the best! Weather was brilliant, the car thermometer read 32 deg! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Burghley ... again!

Summer has returned, yippee! Loved the mist first thing this morning which dispersed once the sun appeared. BBC said the temperature reached 26 deg. today.

Packed a BBQ and headed for the final day at Burghley.

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K managed to weedle her way to a good viewpoint next to the members enclosure to see a round of showjumping and also Zara Phillips who attended to do a lap of honour on her horse Toytown. She managed to take a couple of shots on the camera. After letting P have a browse around the shops we settled down for a nice BBQ and a little slob before heading back to the show for K to watch some of the pony and trap classes. The photo is taken from the youngsters class, they were all so beautifully turned out it must have been a nightmare to judge.

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Zara Phillips doing a lap of honour

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Left Burghley around 3 to get home to complete some major chores like an enourmous pile of ironing, cleaning out the car and Elsie Mo (still had lots of dried mud in her from the off-roading), make a cake for tomorrow, etc., etc. Anyway, Billy sums up how I feel now - I'm going to have a cuppa in the garden with P as it's still lovely and warm.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

We've been raspberry picking twice this week. K loves raspberries so much but they charge the earth in the supermarket for them. We went along to Hill Farm in Chesterton to pick our own (much cheaper and fresher). We've been here before to pick strawberries earlier in the summer, and at the moment blackcurrents, blackberries and sweetcorn as well as the raspberries are available for picking. It looks like they'll have another crop of strawberries ready soon too. The shop also sells other hand-picked fruits and vegetables and there's a meat shop open at the end of each week. All this together with a tea shop, fun playground and fabulous views of Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire makes for a good hour or so of cheap fun!

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Empty playground now the kids are back at school!

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K just loves sitting on the hill and taking in this view of Northamptonshire
(a photo just doesn't do it justice)

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The view of Cambridgeshire, not so pretty as it's quite built up!

Our work on discoveries and Tudors is coming together well. The children have both made their imaginary islands ready for discovering in their galleons they'd made using cardboard soup/milk cartons! B's is a cold, snowy land and K's is the opposite, a hot, sunny, tropical island. Next stage is to write an adventure of how they came to discover their new land, what they'll name it and whether they'll discover anything new to take back home with them!

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We've had friends over to play this week and B has also been to a friend's house too which he thoroughly enjoyed as it opened up a whole new world of PC games with Lego Loco! He so enjoyed playing this, building a whole new Lego train track and city that we managed to find him a version, together with Football Mania from Lego on Amazon. Lego Loco is a very simplistic version of Sim City which K is interested in trying out. Found our version 3000 lurking around under the desk so will have to put that on the PC for her.

Thursday we went to Burghley to see the opening day of the horse trials with its Dressage and Pony Club displays. We usually just go on a Saturday (P helps out as a Steward) but seeing as how K is so interested in Dressage and we had complimentary tickets we decided to go along and enjoy a quieter day doing a bit of shopping at the numerous wonderful stalls in between watching the beautiful horses and ponies. Went again today (Saturday) to see the Cross Country which is always good fun, but with all the crowds shopping wasn't so easy! May possibly go again tomorrow as the weather is holding and apparently Zara Phillips is going to make an appearance during the Showjumping. Will try and take some photos to display. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hit the town for once last week and had a browse in The Works, a wonderful shop that sells cut price books, games, stationery, musical instruments and art supplies. Their prices are always fabulous, but this time they had reduced most things further due to a looming refit. Picked up some lovely glittery wrapping paper, 5 different colours for £1.00 which the kids immediately "bagged" for backgrounds to various projects that they're interested in doing (like horses and space!), Engraving Art (where you use a special pen to scrape off the black layer to produce a silver or copper picture) for £1.45 and 99p each and some art supplies to replenish K's fast disappearing stock. The Engraving Art was fun. K chose a shire horse and B an underwater theme and although the package said 8 years +, B produced a wonderful picture. They were both so careful with their strokes and took time with their work. K hasn't finished hers yet but B's very proud of his underwater picture.

B has made all this characters for his film project as well as writing a brief outline of the story, and character descriptions. He's also painted three backgrounds to cover the story which is to be based in Greece, Spain and Finland, so he's also looked up these countries to find out a suitable background to paint! We've borrowed Grandma's camcorder so we can later edit the film on Windows Multimedia. K has been doing her own filming which we have yet to see, it involves her model horses and riders.

Our little caterpillar has now emerged as a lovely Great White butterfly. I checked on the chrysalis on the evening of Friday 1st September and had noticed that he'd "hatched" but I decided to leave him to settle overnight before telling the kids in the morning. The whole process, during which I, especially, learnt an awful lot (see previous posts), has been an eye opener for us all. K and B have finished off their diaries which not only told the story of our caterpillar but included poems, informative websites, drawings and computer generated images. Unfortunately however hard I tried to photograph our little butterfly, the camera just couldn't focus properly so we haven't caught a good snap shot of it. We do, however, have our second chrysalis nearing it's time to transform, so we'll try again!

Jasper is responding well to his thyroid tablets, although it is a struggle to get them down him twice a day! He's filling out already and appears brighter in himself.

Sunday we all went off-roading again, this time at Loddington, just past Kettering, in a disused wood. We thought we'd have fun with this, driving through the trees, alittle different for the ups and downs of the usual off-roading courses. Actually it turned out to be a nightmare! When we got there the chap at the entrance said we'd have to choose our course well as we are a long-wheel base Landie (rather than short, which means we're longer in length than some) and may not get round some of the bends! Anyway, we started off OK. Parts of the wood were quite muddy but we had fun driving through the dirt getting the car really dirty! We took a turning which was fine to start with but the tracks got deaper and deaper and we were finding the Landie tilting more and more to the side (which I hate) - kids thought it fun (to start with). At the end of this were two bends, a left or right, neither of which our Landie could cope with, however hard we tried she kept sliding in the mud. At one point, although the kids and I had come out to view at this point, I really thought she as going to topple onto her side! We had to back all the way back through the squelchy mud only to find at the other end she could take the hassle no more and got completely stuck! We had been told when we first arrived that the wood was old and neglected, not to hit a tree as it would probably crash on top of us, dead rotten wood everywhere. Here we were stuck and K was reminding us that the trees are creaking in the wind! Luckily with lots of dead wood around it meant we could throw lots of it under the wheels to help them get some grip in the swirling mud pools. Unlucky for P and me that we had to wade through the mud first (we had relatively old clothes on but hey, we looked a mess in the end). Eventually we got out (without any help from passers by or from two lads in a clean Discovery who decided they didn't want to get dirty), went a little way further and ... got stuck again! Wasn't even a bog this time, just no traction left of the wheels! After trying to get out of this one for about 10 minutes with me slidding down the bank twice, crashing on my hip at one point, we got pulled out - thanks chaps! Decided enough was enough, we wanted out! Finding our way out of a boggy wood with no directions was a bit hit or miss but we did it eventually. Nearly had one more mishap when the wheels hit a mud sunken tree stump and I had to guide P around it, once again nearly seeing the car slide down a bank, kids 'n' all! By this time B was in tears of fright, the three of us picked our way through mud and followed P who drove back to normal ground! The kids liked this bit, getting dirty! Lunch and home with mud flying off the wheels for most of the journey and strange looks when K and I headed for the loo at the services as we were caked in gunk! One last scare, lost the use of our brakes at a roundabout, luckily the car coming to our right side was driving slow - sorry mister, we didn't do it on purpose! Was glad to get home, throbbing head and bed! P, bless, cleaned the Landie, sorted out the kids and put the washing on. All night I kept dreaming I was being crushed by a toppling Landrover - so not the best of experiences!

Offroading coming up this weekend - not so sure we'll be attending - let you know! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Room 101 and Fluffy Room idea!

Thanks, once again, to the lovely HE blog Othena, it got me thinking about Room 101 (and the fluffy version for nice things) and what we, as a family, would shove in these rooms. I asked each member, P (in his 40s), K 9 (whoops, that's something from Star Wars isn't it?) and B 7 (and me aged in my 30s) to think of one thing that annoys us with the world for Room 101 and one (although it became two) things for the Fluffy Room. Here's our answers:-

Room 101: Bum drivers (as I call them), those idiots on the road that drive so close to the car's behind that you feel like "gently" putting your brakes on to give them a "slight" fright!. I don't want to break the speed limit (too much), so don't force me!
Fluffy Room: My family (and the PC, naturally)

Room 101: People with lack of respect
Fluffy Room: PC and Landrover *

Room 101: "the people who keep building on all our lovely land" (little note here, her first choice was "B")
Fluffy Room: Model horses (and PC, again naturally) *

Room 101: (after alot of thought and after saying to him "not K") "burglars, because they should ask before taking things otherwise it's rude" (bless)
Fluffy Room: PC and games *

* I kind of had to ask why they didn't want to put their caring mother/wife into the Fluffy Room as their dearest keepsake. Finally K piped up "because we wouldn't beable to see you everyday if you were locked away in a Fluffy Room"!

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Verbal/Non Verbal Reasoning

This is something I hadn't really come across before and thought I'd check it out. I've been watching the two parter on TV about children trying to get into Grammar/Private schools (rather than go to their local Comprehensive) and having to take entrance exams. Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning kept coming up as papers the kids had to sit. Wondering what this was I hunted down a workbook in WH Smith today all about it. Poor loves, no wonder most of them complained of nervousness, it's the kind of weird, logical questions I do remember having to deal with in the 11+ at school (when the 11+ was still around to help those higher than you decide which secondary school you were fit for!).

Anyway, found this website with tests of the logical kind - have a go (click Main at the bottom of the page if you'd like to browse the site further and perhaps discover some more tests)!

The one I did had to be completed in a set time (and the clock actually ticks) which immediately made me twitchy, but actually, although I left out one bunch of questions as they didn't make any sense to me at all (at the time) there was plenty of time left over (and I should of checked my answers - I'd made some rather silly mistakes). I felt quite chuffed with my score at 56% (classed as good for age 11 I believe), I later felt rather bad having read on the EO forum two people getting 92% and 96% as I recall and P getting around 84%. Oh dear - don't think this is for me is it?!

To be honest it was quite good for making me think and I wonder if I would have done better without the timer. P reckons I just need practise (sweet), so perhaps I do, and perhaps I'll write out a couple a day for the three of us to have a jab at - can't do K and B any harm brushing up on their logical thinking skills.

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