Friday, April 27, 2007

A quiet week, or was it?

Work is falling by the wayside. There's no excuse really, the amount of HE stuff I have saved in favourites on the internet could keep the kids and me in work until we die! We've done maths most days this week - using workbooks without any tantrums. P decided to take Wednesday - Friday off work so it was a good excuse to not do anything too formal in the work line (that's my excuse!).

Having said that, we had a brilliant group footie session on Monday which B joined in. He's always been a dab hand (or foot?) at footie from a very young age and he plays left footed too so a couple of year's back we encouraged him to try a local under 8's team which turned out to be a disaster as he was just too shy to join in. He wasn't too keen on the idea of playing footie with a "coach" with the group, and when Monday morning dawned he greeted me with tears. Luckily he seemed to sort himself out emotionally and by the time we'd reached the venue and seen his friends he was away, not a care in the world. He loved every minute of it, as did all the others that joined in, listening to the coach and trying hard with the footie skills games and mini-match. Naturally we had to play footie together for the rest of the day (because he knew all the tricks and the rules and everything and well, I was just "rubbish" at footie compared to him!).

K had a sleepover Monday night and B and I went over to pick her up on Tuesday and stayed for a lovely lunch before heading home to pick up Allie who'd had his teeth seriously cleaned (and one extracted). This left me with a serious hole in my purse (this is happening a little too often these days), but at least he's a lot happier and no longer stinks of fish whenever he licks himself!

Wednesday P had his day off so we all headed over to our (hopefully soon) new village to spy on our (hopefully) new home, have a picnic (and play yet more footie) in the small park and watch the low flying RAF planes over the marshes practising their firing skills. Maybe from this you'll be able to work out where we're heading for (hopefully) soon. Lovely day, so warm, it's brilliant.

Thursday we did some "work" in the morning in the form of maths and also K and B started new mini-movies inspired by this wonderful website with lots of interesting IT things to do. K has filmed her version (using the digi camera and then we'll load it onto Quicktime or similar to spruce up). B's going to do his version either over the weekend or next week (we ran out of time - moving the figures a millimetre a shot takes a very long time!). After lunch K and B had friends over and I had a nice natter with one of the mums.

Friday - group session on the human body which was really well thought out and enjoyed by all. K certainly enjoyed making and eating a healthy pizza! Among other things B and his friends measured various bones in their bodies (and compared) and tried doing a pulse exercise but eventually we had to acknowledge that all three boys were dead, we couldn't find a pulse on any of them!

So, now I've recorded all the things we've done, it seems we have accomplished some learning after all!

Fun things picked up from other blogs are this and this. Not sure about the "snap shot" thing, it may get annoying especially when it's attached to all the photos. I'll have to remember to turn it off for them I guess. The "emotion" one is fun, it took a while to find the right one for my mood tonight. Perhaps "broke" would have been good after Allie's expensive bill earlier in the week, but the one I've chosen relates to the house move - we're getting bored with waiting!
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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wimpole Estate

Went here today - making the most of being able to get out and about before we (hopefully) move, 'cause once we do it'll cost a fortune in petrol to go anywhere!

We didn't go round the house just went to the farm to see the animals and also to have a picnic lunch and enjoy the continuous warm weather.

Would liked to have seen the walled garden too and also perhaps take a wander up to The Folly (there's a picture of it under "Park" on the website) which looked beautiful from the farm.

Here's some piccies.

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An excellent time of year to go with all the little newborns around. They were so cute.

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K and B found this prett easy to do, bet milking the real thing is alot harder.

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This is what K came for. There were three stabled and two working shires plus several ponies in the fields.

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K doing some donkey grooming.

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Another fun adventure playground. These swings show the difference in weight between K and B (they were like seesaws!)

When we came home P and I were sitting in the garden and noticed Allie being very interested in something at the end of the garden (at the same time there was an awful sharp squarking noise). We immediately thought he'd caught a young bird but on investigation it was a mother squirrel crying out as a warning to save her very young baby who was clinging for it's life under the garden bench. So tiny. With us standing there (getting Allie out of the way) mum came right up close and guided baby away towards the fence. Naturally mum was able to climb the fence in two seconds but little baby wasn't so sure footed and fell right by Allie's paws! Mum came back and picked up baby by her teeth and helped it up the fence and over the other side. Wow, how fantastic is that, in our own back garden. I don't think I've ever seen a baby squirrel before.

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Tudor puppets

Here they are:

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Henry VII and VIII

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Edward VI, Elizabeth I and Mary I (sorry not in order!)

The great Tudor family. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Am I living in a box, am I living in a cardboard box?"

Well, it feels like it I must say and it's got so bad now that we have to stare at boxes when eating at the kitchen table which means our latest game at lunch time is ... do you know the correct order of the rooms listed on the boxes (with eyes closed, naturally). Sad to say I do, luckily K and B aren't quite there. Good for memory building I guess! So, when hearing the 80's song "am I living in a box" on the radio the other morning when driving home from dropping P off at work, it sparked a lot of laughter!
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We're feeling very unsettled at the mo. and it's getting worse each day. Living out of boxes is not fun, especially when you're trying to get some kind of teaching done! I was so pleased with myself for packing these boxes so well, but now I take all that back. Filling gaps in boxes with odds and sods is not good at all when it means you can't find anything. First problem: got the lawn mower (in the shed), can't for the life of me locate the lead, therefore the grass it getting longer and longer each day (I'll need to invest in a sheep soon). Second problem: have dug out the bundle of everyday work books and projects for us to continue with work wise, but I can't find all the decent paper for them to write anything up on (only scrap which looks like ... well scrap really). Also, I can only find four pencils which are getting a little blunt now and no pencil sharpeners/rubbers either - total disaster. There are many other problems but I won't bore you anymore!

There is one biggish problem that's looming. I'm running a session with another mum on Tudors in a couple of weeks. It was my idea as a recap to two fabulous Tudor sessions run last year in order for the children to remember stuff before a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Having problems thinking of interesting and different activities for the children to do and not being able to locate materials needed for anything I have come up with is putting me in a seriously bad mood! So, we have decided to do a Tudor puppet show. K, B and I did this before when running a session on the Commonwealth and it seemed to go down well so we thought we'd try it again. Having found the craft box and glue (yippee) we made puppets of the Tudor family, Henry VII, VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. K made Edward VI who resembles Hyacinth Bucket from the TV programme! The puppets look brilliant actually and it's given us something to work towards which is much needed.

Not much else has happened here really. We've done maths every day and some literacy too - looking at similes and metaphors which has kept us busy. We started by reading the beautiful Daffodils poem by Wordsworth and working out all the similes and mataphors used in this. We then proceeded on to writing our own poetry and finally we described a make believe person passing the details on to someone else to try and draw by using the description only! Very funny but wonderful use of words came out from us all in this game.

On the house front our new buyer has revisited us with 4 prospective tennants in tow! We've also had the valuation done on Friday, so hoping we'll hear something about how we're progressing by the end of next week.

My mum sent me details of the Daily Mail's free 3 month Family Rail Card pass - you can send up for it here - can't be bad.

Finally, K decided to do the cooking tonight and chose this Chicken Korma recipe from Sainsbury's website. Absolutely lovely - it certainly hit the spot - she's definitely got a talent for cooking fine food.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Stanwick Lakes

With this wonderful weather there was no way we were going to stick at home so today we packed a picnic and headed here for most of the day.
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It was busy, but K and B had fun until they wilted from the soaring heat. We discovered this park last September with the HE group. It has got to be one of the best play areas near(ish) to where we live - it is certainly worth the 40 mins or so drive to get there anyway.

The photos don't do it justice really. The park, or lakes, are huge and stretch for a long way - great for cycling, roller skating etc. The adventure playground, made mainly of wood with some plastic slides, is fabulous and so well thought out with climbing areas, sand, unusual swings, tunnels, netting etc., etc. They also have a moat around the play area with stepping stones - brilliant if you don't mind your kids coming out covered in wet clay (and are well prepared with a change of clothes in the car!). Finally, and best of all, there is a wonderful water section where you can really explore how water behaves when it falls, how you can change its direction, stop and start the flow etc., lovely and refreshing too in hot weather.
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Experimenting with the water wheel
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Unusal swings - I now realise how unfit I am having to push four young boys round on this thing!
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Moving away from this playground and after a short walk you come to a good obstacle course with more climbing, scrambling under nets, climbing over three different height walls, swinging rope - brilliant.

So, you get my drift, great place to visit! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, April 13, 2007

So, rather than move we went here ...

Barnwell Country Park.

It felt like we'd been cooped up forever and we needed to escape. With the weather absolutely glorious we packed a picnic and headed for this lovely park out of town for the afternoon.

K and B had fun in the well stocked playground. B on the zip wire and K just galloping around and using the obstacle course for jumps!
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Wandering around the park with its lakes was pleasant too. In the bird-watch centre we had a fabulous view of a Canada Goose who had decided to build her nest right in front of one of the viewing windows. We sat for some time just watching her watching us, preening, rearranging her nest and moving about so we were able to get a wonderful view of her eggs. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

We also came across this stunning duck/bird which K managed to get a good photo of (it took many takes from her and me) and which one of the park rangers identified for us (but now we're home we can't remember what it's called). If anyone can help us out, please do. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Finally, we found these absolute darling little ducklings who were milling around right next to us with mum and dad close by with not a care in the world that we were so close to them.
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Lots of unanswered nature based questions arose today, so I feel some further investigation is in order!
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Thanks for the lovely comments but ...

we're still here! Boy, what a week we've had. Our buyer decided to pull out of the sale of our property on Tuesday, the very day we were supposed to exchange contracts. All very strange and he has really given us an explanation as to why he's put us through such heartache. The deposit money had been sent over ready for Tuesday morning and the remaining money had been arranged for completion yesterday, but over the weekend something must have happened for him to change his mind.

So, you can imagine how we all felt on Tuesday evening - devastated to say the least. Tears, anger and many hugs later we decided to try for another buyer rather than pull out altogether. We're lucky that the owners of our new house were willing to continue should we find a new buyer quickly. On Wednesday, the fabulous team at the estate agents pulled together and sent several new viewers round to see the house (in all it's glorious boxed up, filthy with dust, state) and by pure chance, at 6 p.m., we had found a new buyer. This is someone who was apparently keen on our property before, but was too late to snap it up! She couldn't believe her luck that it had come back on the market. She's also decided to use the same solicitor as the previous chap and therefore take on all the paper work and hopefully finish the deal in as quick a time as possible. Naturally we're over the moon but are trying not to get too excited, just in case!

Living out of boxes is interesting! If we ever decide to do this again, I will ensure that each box has a complete list of what's inside. Much to the annoyance of the K and B, I've managed to salvage their work so we can at least finish off the "light" project while we wait for a new removal date!Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, April 08, 2007

We're off .... finger's crossed

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B's Easter chicks with lost of character!

Hoping you've had a fabulous Easter! The weather's been just wonderful - we had our first picnic tea in the garden on Thursday and our first barbeque of the year today. The joys of sitting out in the garden with a cuppa watching the kids do some jumping over poles, listening to their chatter, listening to the birds and having the cat on my lap - bliss. But I can't make that cuppa last all day as we've been busy doing lots of this ...
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Actually I think I should make a career out of packing, I think I have quite a knack for finding the right item to fit into nooks and crannies of each box to make it all come together neatly, carefully and, well, just right. K and B seem to have the knack too. B packed a box of dolls house bits and worked it all out beautifully, and K has been in charge of boxing up her huge collection of model horses.

So, with P away (until two days ago) in Australia (on business, although we did have an excuse to go sightseeing as he kindly took a Flat Traveller from the States with him!) and me spending my days either on the phone to the solicitor, mortgage guys, estate agent, removal firm or the lovely people at the home we're moving to, I've also managed to continue, until the end of Wednesday, with some form of education for K and B. Here's a quick run down ...

We've completed another maths poster, "all about numbers", although this naturally could go on and on forever. We finished understanding mean, median and mode and used toys and games to learn it all. We've done more to our light project too, but haven't managed to complete it yet. We learnt that there are primary pigment colours (red, blue and yellow) as well as primary light colours (red, blue and green) and how they combine to make black (pigment) and white (light). Made a spinning disk to show this and also did an experiment to understand why the sky is blue and how this can change to red during sunsets. Also read a bit about shadows and the eclipse and made fun eerie shadow puppets to understand this more.
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B has started a new film on the PC having designed loads and loads of different Lego cars and taken photos of them. He's also drawn a couple of lovely Hot Wheels cars which he'd like to send in to the Hot Wheels magazine.
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We've done some marbling, at home and at a friend's house, decorated hard boiled eggs and made mini nests by weaving coloured wools on a simple cardboard circle template. All very pretty for Easter.
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K has been tending to her two Bonsai trees with enthusiasm and has been re-reading her Bonsai books to learn more about them. She's started a mini diary/note book on the art of it all and would like to try growing a mini tree from seed or take grafts to produce a two species tree. All sounds very interesting.

We are still watching the really good "history of trees" programme on TV on Monday evenings (BBC2 7.00p.m.) and are looking forward to this week's one about Scotts Pines as we shall have several in our new garden.

Think that's it. Had a lovely relaxing day away from the boxes in the house but tomorrow we'll be back to boxing and dismantling furniture with avengence. This will probably be my last post for a (hopefully short) while. We're hoping to move on Thursday, finger's crossed (exchanging contracts on Tuesday, again finger's crossed) and we'll lose our broadband until we've settled with BT and Sky after the move.

Bye for now - will hopefully have piccies of our new abode when I'm back on-line.

By the way, love the "word cloud" that appeared on Lucy's blog, you can do your own here.
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Sunday, April 01, 2007

B's film ...