Category Archives: October

Patterns, Weaving and Vomit

I’m able to sit here writing my blog in the middle of the day because both of my sausages are poorly.  Poor D has been very under the weather lately with a horrendous cold and she’s now onto her second bout of a vomiting virus.  M has finally caught the cold and sickness and I’ve got my fingers crossed that she’ll be well enough for her ballet production at the end of the week.

Last week, we all had a wonderful time when my cousin Z and her son MD came to visit for a few days.  In between a lot of Minecraft playing, we managed to squeeze in a day out to the Science Museum.  It was a bit more crowded than usual but this time we made it past the Pattern Pod and up to the Launch Pad, where the kids had a great time with the various experiments.  We also tried out the Red Arrows simulator which the girls adored and immediately wanted to go on again!

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Our guests left on Friday and we went out to M’s climbing class.  While there, another Home Ed mum was giving away some of her old resources and I picked up a lovely pack of shapes.  On returning home, the girls immediately began making patterns with them.  M has returned to these shapes again and again over the past few days.  She made a pattern (shown below) that has a 3D element – the blocks around the edge are like raised cubes and she says the taupe ones are water pots.

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D hasn’t been doing quite so many activities because of her virus but she’s still found the time to amaze J and other family members with her knowledge of the globe.  She also worked on her writing after finding a Biff Chip and Kipper activity book in her drawer.

M went for a sleep-over at a friends’ house on Sunday and came back with an idea (her friend’s mum is very creative) to weave with some electrical tape we bought from a pound shop recently.  This has sparked a weaving frenzy: she’s also started making a friendship bracelet and today began weaving ribbons until she decided she was too ill to continue.


Yesterday I got out my sewing kit to sew M’s name label into her outfit for the Alice in Wonderland ballet production. This sparked both girls interest and inspired them both to get their cross stitching out – I really must get my sewing machine up and running, I’m sure both girls would love it.  Here is M’s outfit – she’s playing a spotty dog in the caucus race – very cute!


M has been quite moody over the last few days – I’m not sure if this is linked to the illness or perhaps a sign that something needs to be adjusted in her life.  However, I did have a bit of a breakthrough last night (before the illness really set in) when I did a long ‘roughhousing’ (hate that word) session with her.  I know the importance of roughhousing with your kids, having read Playful Parenting, but I tend to leave it to J as it’s not really my thing.  But last night a tickle ended up in a full-on pillow fight on the bed and she really brightened up properly for the first time in days!  We agreed to do the same again soon 🙂

Adios Diego

Well, she’s finally left the sofa: D’s love affair with Go Diego Go has waned.  We knew it would happen one day but it seemed to happen so suddenly!  It started yesterday when a little voice said ‘Mum, what should I do?’ – and there was D, NOT in front of the telly!!  I haven’t heard those words from D in a long long time.

Not that I am complaining about how much telly she’s been watching: the knowledge she has of countries and the various animals in them are phenomenal for a 5 year old, plus there’s the Spanish she’s learnt too.  This morning she asked me to play a game where I have to ask her questions using our globe: she must know 30+ countries, a few ocean names, all the continents and a few animals that I’d never heard of before (a sea crate, anyone?).

She also put on a puppet show using some shadow puppets that I made last year – I’ve found a lot of the old favourites are making a re-appearance at the moment.


She got out her art book and began to draw a Halloween-inspired spider web, which encouraged M to do the same.

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And then she got out her Great Britain and Northern Ireland sticker atlas and got very involved looking at the various land marks.  We had an interesting diversion when I noticed that one of the stickers referred to treasure lost by King John in The Wash.  The sausages are fascinated by him due to Disney’s Robin Hood.  They were really keen to learn more about it so I got out a couple of books and read the relevant chapters to them.


It’s been a while since we sat around the table doing activities together, it felt like old times!  Being back in our front room also means they’re looking at it afresh and they both asked me questions about various pictures on the wall books, which led to conversations on evolution, extinction, why humans kill animals, what killed dinosaurs and quite a few more.

We had a visitor this week (Aunty S) that the girls were super excited about, and M made her a lemon cake, a card, and then a treasure map.  M helped me loads in checking the bedrooms were up to scratch (the bunk beds haven’t been used since Easter) and tidying up.  At one point I could hear a lot of whispering and sneaking about – the girls had done a massive tidy up job – and not just shoving things out of sight either, a PROPER tidy up – I was absolutely flabbergasted!!  Aunty S only stayed 24 hours but the girls got in a lot of quality time with her 🙂

We’ve also got my cousin Z and her son MD arriving tomorrow and staying for a few days – and the girls can’t wait to see MD!  He loves all things Minecraft so M came up with the idea of making him a Minecraft grass block, isn’t it great?!


It was not without it’s tears and frustrations but she was determined to do it and along the way she learnt about cube nets, measuring and is becoming more used to using a set square.

The activities continued up to bedtime with further old-favourites being pulled off the shelves and requests for me to read a few long-forgotten books too!

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D has already requested I do the World map jigsaw with her tomorrow morning and told me she didn’t want to watch Go Diego Go anymore as she’d seen it too many times….  Amen to that.

A Fort, Tropical Chocolate and a Rabbit Cage

We’ve had an activity filled week or so, well at least M has – D has mostly been on the sofa watching Go Diego Go and suffering from a horrendous cold!


M has been very busy with various activities: last week, we spent quite a bit of time building an enormous fort in the lounge (I found a large kitchen unit box on a neighbour’s skip!).  First of all, I cut a door in one side and the girls played ‘queens and guards’ for hours – M made D a paper crown, paper slippers, a scroll and then gave her an orb and sceptre.  D was very at home, sitting in her castle and ordering her ‘guard’ around.  They were having such a lovely game, I let them stay up late to continue it!  We also cut holes in the side to slot in Pringle tube cannons, so the girls can fire at anyone who dares to sit on the sofa.


The next day M and I decided to fully cut the door out and turn it into a working drawbridge.  Luckily, M had kept old school DT project which had a little drawbridge which we could look at for construction ideas.  M was in full engineering mode and was quick to correct my mistakes and come up with design ideas – she has a fascinating brain and is able to come at things from angles I hadn’t thought of.

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M has also been busy working on the next stage of her Sylvanian Families craft.  She’s completed the 27 food cans and now she’s making food packets. This involves drawing and cutting out many rectangles in card which then have to be piled up and glued together before wrapping in paper, painting and finally adding the label.  There are about 30 to make so I’m pitching in too.  M is becoming very adept at using a set square and measuring in millimetres!


With D being so poorly, it has meant I’ve had a lot of time to concentrate on M, which she has loved.  I can’t remember why we started this, but one evening I was showing M how to safely light a match and she became fascinated with the burnt remains of the match (which I thought was charcoal but it turns out the wood has to be burnt in the absence of air to make this).  There followed hours of mixing the ash with various substances from our science box!

She has also been loving her ballet class, and now has the ‘uniform’, which she adores.


This week, we got the opportunity to visit the WWF HQ in Woking to do a tropical chocolate workshop!  The children learnt about how chocolate grows in the rainforest, Fairtrade, recycled packaging and even got to make their own chocolate and box to take it home in.  The girls loved it, although D struggled to concentrate for the length of the session (if she were at school she’d be in Year 1 – I don’t know how any 5 year old concentrates for a full day at school – perhaps they don’t!).  Thank you very much to our friend for organising it!

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When we got home there was ENORMOUS box in front of the door – our rabbit cage had arrived! I had hoped on having a sit down with a cuppa but M was so excited about building the cage we got to work straight away.  It was very difficult and the instructions were appalling but we got there in the end – 2.5 hours later!  Again, M’s engineering brain kicked into gear – I really couldn’t have built it without her.  We were so involved in it, I completely forgot about ballet so we missed M’s class – whoops!


We’ve also squeezed in climbing, judo and

Isaac Newton and other Activities in Nottingham

Yet again I’ve left it too long between blog posts!  I will split the last couple of weeks into two posts so as not to make them too long.

We’ve been to Nottingham and back since I last wrote but just before Nottingham, we had a day of reading and climbing: I bought a set of books that were on offer from The Book People a while ago (I have since stopped looking at this site as it is far too good and I was spending far too much money there) and I decided to strew one of the books on slaves – ‘You Wouldn’t Want to be a Slave in Ancient Greece‘.  Anyway, no-one noticed it had been strewed so during our morning cuddle I just picked it up and started to read and the girls sat and listened with interest.  It is meant to be a light-hearted look at interesting aspects of history, but D and I found it very hard to read and we were both in tears by the end.  M however, who loves the macabre, was fascinated!  So I will be strewing more of these books in future…

In the afternoon we packed the car for Nottingham and went first to climbing, before driving up the M1 straight afterwards.


While in Nottingham we had visits from and to cousins, my nephew’s bowling party and my niece’s horse riding party, and two sleep-overs.

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M played quite a bit of chess with Granddad, working out moves from her ‘Find a Mate’ book that we bought on a chess course last year.


D played quite a lot of imaginary games with bunnies and dolls (in between watching Go Diego Go) and also put together this World Map with Grandma, which provided a base for her toys to travel the world.


The girls put on a couple of shows for us (D’s dance show was quite amazingly like break dancing!) and they both did a judo demonstration for Grandma and Granddad.


M also spent hours making a birthday card for her cousin with collage paper I had bought at Tate Modern a while ago.


We also made a trip out to Woolsthorpe Manor, which was Isaac Newton’s birthplace and his home for a few years in adulthood.  It was utterly fascinating: there was a converted barn where you could experiment with Newton’s discoveries and you could also look around his house.  Because we were visiting mid-week we could experiment with the activities as much as we wanted and had one-to-one attention from a very eager retired physicist who works there.

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We came back home with all of us feeling a renewed vigour for ‘doing stuff’ – well, M and I were anyway – poor old D has been too full of cold to do anything!  It is wonderful to have the support of my parents – I know I’m extremely lucky to have parents who can see the good in HE, can give me the break I need and are very much adored – thank you Grandma and Granddad!