Tag Archives: Cooking

Grandma and Grandad

My parents came to stay for 4 days and we’ve been doing all sorts with them:

On Friday I had booked in an event at The Bank of England Museum.  It was billed as being for 5-7 year olds which suits both my two (as regular readers of this blog will know, M finds it hard to follow lots of information being given to her in a long stream so shorter, more simplified workshops suit her well).  Unfortunately the lady running the workshop was seemingly blind to the sea of 5-7 year olds in front of her and proceeded to give a 45 minute presentation aimed at 9-12 year olds (I know this because it was on the title page of her PowerPoint presentation!).  As such, we left after 20 minutes feeling frustrated and disappointed.

The museum itself entertained M for a bit but the interactive exhibits seemed to be too old for her (and me!) to understand.  M gave it a score of 5/10.

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D would much rather have not gone at all but gave the museum 10/10 because she got to play on her iPad. 😀

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The day felt a bit Mary Poppinsy so after the bank we walked up to St Paul’s Cathedral: Grandma and M sang Feed the Birds while D and I kept our distance.

On Saturday we had a trip to our local Costa’s, a trip into Wimbledon to pick up a clothes order for D (she looks so old/smart now!) and playing at home for the rest of the day.

Grandma showed M how to make drop scones; Grandad tried to encourage D to play her guitar (better luck next time, Grandad), we had funny face competitions, musical statues and card games.

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D has asked me to make another soft toy – this time it’s a pink Minecraft chicken.  Yes.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time on it already: the pattern has been done, the pieces cut out and some of the bits sewn together.  I can feel old rusty cogs grinding into action as I re-learn my pattern cutting skills.  This is D stuffing the chicken feet:

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M also worked hard with Grandma – pruning our ‘Sleeping Beauty’ hedge, much to our neighbour’s delight. 😀

I’ve recently taken up Face Yoga in an effort to release tension from my face (it’s working!). Both the girls have been having fun joining in, and it even led to M asking what a 45 degree angle is.

Grandma had recently learnt that Emily Davison stayed near us on the night before she died under the King’s horse at Epsom, so we had a chat about suffragettes with M (more links to Mary Poppins).  M has also recently asked about yellow box junctions, which led to a very long and detailed explanation and a diagram!

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We had a listen to a Radio 4 programme that Grandma had recommended – Word of Mouth on Radio 4.  I found an episode on Roald Dahl that kept the girls’ interest for a few minutes, particularly the story of what Roald Dahl said to Michael Rosen’s son when they met.

And then it was time for the Grandparents to leave!  Wowsers we packed a lot in.  They will be very much missed. 🙂

Books, Art, Maths and Awesomeness

I feel like I’ve had a very ‘lazy’ weekend, what with it being Mother’s Day, and I really couldn’t be bothered to do a lot.  Thus, the house is a shambles.  So last night I announced to M that today would be ‘Get Off Your Butt Day’, which made her giggle.  Every night she asks ‘what day is it tomorrow?’, or ‘what are we doing tomorrow?’ and last night she commented that she would really like a calendar in her bedroom because the first thing she thinks of when she wakes up is what she’s going to do that day.  So we discussed whether we should go out and buy one or make one like the one I do for our lounge.  But, VERY spookily, a large envelope was delivered today… addressed to M… with a Sylvanian Family calendar inside??!!!  There wasn’t any name so we don’t know who it was from but whoever it was obviously has some sort of telepathic sense!!  Thank you, whoever you are!

So today the girls have been playing all over the house – they helped me with some cleaning and tidying, then they got to work on turning M’s lower bunk bed into a den; then they have spent some time spying on me through their binoculars while I pretended not to notice…

We all went out as a family on Saturday morning for an English Breakfast in Wimbledon – it was delicious!  Then I had some shopping to do and M wanted to join me so we stayed in town and J took D to his Mum’s.  We went to the library and M chose a new book called Emily Feather and the Enchanted Door – it’s just right for her: a slightly complex storyline (anything simple gets critiqued and picked apart) and a mystery to unravel with a nice girl as the central character.  D is very into our book of Edward Lear’s Owl and the Pussycat and asks for it most nights – both girls can sing/recite it from heart, and it’s very cute to listen to them. 🙂

In the afternoon, we all watched quite a few videos on YouTube – Storybots, this heart transplant machine one and lots and lots of How to Cake It videos.  D finished her maths app with me and M cheering her on – as soon as she’d finished she wanted to start from the beginning again. 😀

D is still very much into numbers, sums and playing on her calculator.  She can now read numbers in their tens of millions and frequently asks me to tell her a number that she can work out.  Her sense of numbers is improving too – she can re-jig sums around in her head to make them easier, figure out multiplications, and she’s getting her head around sums involving negative numbers too.  When she’s not working out numbers she’s doing make-believe games or watching ‘Kung Fu Panda – Legends of Awesomeness’ on Amazon.

On Sunday, M and I went to the National Gallery for their free Studio Sunday class.  It was as awesome as the Drawing Sunday class we went to a fortnight ago!  First of all we looked at Luca Giordiano’s ‘Perseus turning Phineas and his followers to stone‘; then the children all had a go at making Medusa’s head out of Plasticine before going back to the studio to make Perseus out of wire and modroc.  It was the first time M has sculpted like this and she really enjoyed it – unfortunately they ran out of modroc so we didn’t get to finish it but I plan to get some to use at home.

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I think I can honestly say though that by far the most inspiring part of our trip was the model of Trafalgar Square, which M was admiring for about half an hour before the class!  She said that she would love to make something like this and I can well imagine that one day she will.

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M is SO Lucky

I can’t believe how lucky she is – truly.

Games that require no skill: she is likely to win.

Games that require luck and skill: she is even more likely to win.

She’s been asking to learn poker with me for the past few days but we haven’t got around to it until tonight.  So we got out our little Pocket Poker tin (found in the ‘Presents for Men’ section in WHSmith last Xmas: grr) and attempted to learn the game together using M’s ‘Card Games to Play’ book she got in her stocking this year.

We were three games in when she got a flippin’ ROYAL FLUSH!!!!  I think this may be a new interest for her. 🙂

Other than poker it’s been a fairly quiet week: we’ve all had some kind off low lying bug which hasn’t made us very ill but just quite tired.  We managed to squeeze a play date in with D’s best friend (D) and a trip into Wimbledon so that M could gather ideas for her birthday list.  M downloaded a sample Pokemon puzzle game onto her Nintendo 2DS that is so hard it makes my brain hurt – God she’s clever.  We’ve also been baking and cleaning – D is leaping at the chance to join in with either; learning new card games; continuing to build a cardboard boat and add accessories (like the treasure chest decorated by M below: the flower insignia is being drawn onto everything to do with the boat); thinking about and manipulating numbers (D is really into mental maths right now: the way she is beginning to work with numbers in her head is really astounding); and watching films.

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Next week our term-time classes begin so it will be back into our usual rhythm. 🙂

A Week in the Life of a Home Educating Family: Thursday 2015

I wasn’t planning on having a free day today but that’s how it turned out – I feel like we’ve had a great positive day though, even if it was another day indoors!

I you missed the previous days’ posts, please click here:

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

7am

I wake and go to feed the bunnies.  I get the shock of my life because Morris won’t wake up: he’s just lying flat in his tray although I can see him breathing.  I talk to him – no response.  I lift the tray out of the cage so I can reach him better and start stroking him to see if I can rouse him – no response.  I then think maybe I should lift him out and he jumps awake!  Phew. What was that all about?!  Then D starts calling down the stairs “Mum, why are you up so late?”.  Turns out she thinks it’s the middle of the night and was wondering why I wasn’t in bed.  She’s a bit wobbly after that and I feel wobbly after the scare Morris gave me.  We have a cuddle and sit and read a couple of Jake and the Neverland Pirate books together.  What a weird start to the day!

7.45an

M comes down and I make Coco Pops for her and porridge for D.  D seems to eat in cycles – one day she’ll exist on Hula Hoops and the next day she’ll have three full meals.

8am

I have invited friends over today so we set to work tidying up.  Both girls help me clean the bunnies’ cage out and sweep the kitchen floor.  Unschooling very much works on a ‘no punishment, no rewards’ basis – the girls get no rewards for cleaning, they do it because they want to.  They know I really appreciate it though and they actually enjoy the jobs they do, to the extent that they fight over it sometimes!

9am

Our friends have the same bug that D had so can’t come today.  Tidying is cancelled. 😀  I sit and have my porridge while the girls play on the iPad.

9.30am

D wants me to make a wig for her bunny.  I ask her to draw a picture of how she wants it to look.  D helps me to draw it out using tailor’s chalk onto red felt.

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10am

I go for a shower.  M practices piano while D plays with her bunny.

10.30am

M wants to learn a new tune on the piano so I show her the first few bars of Silent Night.  D interrupts and irritates M, so I distract D by getting her started on painting her treasure box.

11am

We start to make M’s cookie cakes.  D wants to join in but she doesn’t want to be friends with M.  M would like her to help but not if D is still going to be annoying.  They reach an impasse.  We decide that D should do her own baking so I get her started on some chocolate cookies.  Their Aunt Sh comes over for coffee and chats while we help the girls mix ingredients.

12

Aunt Sh goes home.  All the baking is out of the oven.  M practices Silent Night while they cool.  I begin all the clearing up from the morning’s activities in the kitchen.

12.30pm

The girls play with K’Nex while I iron and tidy upstairs.

1.30pm

I come downstairs to continue cleaning and check my to do list.  Since the girls are still busy I get on with clearing out a kitchen cupboard.  D paints another colour onto her box while I clean.

2.30pm

I finish the cupboard and sit down with a cup of tea.  D wants to do something so I make her a crown out of K’Nex.  She then wants a sceptre and orb made from it too so I do that.  Then she wants a coronation so I do that too!  We then watch Back to the Future 2.  D is insistent on not watching so I set her up with the iPad but she ends up watching and following the plot anyway!

5pm

I go to cook dinner while D puts on another film – Alvin and the Chipmunks – The Squeakuel.  M plays on Animal Crossing.

6pm

M Facetimes her cousin – they visit each other on Animal Crossing and time travel to Christmas Day!

7pm

D wants to continue painting her box and M is still on Facetime.  After D has finished painting (she has very clear ideas about how she wants things to look, but takes no time at all in carrying it out!) I encourage her to play with the Multi Cubes.  They haven’t been out for a long long time so she’s interested – she spends over an hour making a shape, which I point out shows off the 1 x table quite nicely.

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8.30pm

We go upstairs a bit later today as I get absorbed in reading a few blogs, M is busy finishing a Christmas card for her cousin and D is playing with the Multi Cubes.  I read Heidi to M and play on My Little Pony on the iPad with D for a while.

9.30pm

I’m back downstairs again and once I’ve done a couple of jobs I’ll be going back up again!

 

Cousins and Pyjama Days

Weirdly, it almost feels like we’re ready for a half-term holiday.  M looked so tired on the way to art class this week and I commented that she looked ready for a break, to which she replied “a break from what?”  Ha ha.  It’s difficult to take a break from being a life learner.  We talked about how much school kids need half term holidays – M has no recollection of how long the days are at school and how hard children have to work.

Even though she was tired, M still managed to complete her squirrel picture, which I think is wonderful – I love the detail and colour.

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Over the weekend, the girls went to Judo, followed by the park for many hours with J.   Also, M and I watched The Spiderwick Chronicles together for the first time and we both loved it.

On Monday, we all went out for a pub lunch to celebrate mine and J’s 13th anniversary!!  J had to get back to work afterwards and we went straight on to a playdate with M’s friend B from nursery days.  We spent hours there and the girls were really sad to go home so I have arranged for B to come to ours next week.

Yesterday, my cousin Z and her son (M) arrived and there was MUCH excitement!  Today we showed him how to do a pyjama day, sausage style (they are professionals at it after all) – so we did baking and M used an piping bag for the first time, I was so impressed with her skill!

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We did a lot of Minecraft: cousin M downloaded Technic Launcher on our laptop which is kind of like a souped-up version of Minecraft I gather.  It certainly got the sausages enthused.

We also watched a documentary on Netflix called Hidden Kingdoms.  I can highly recommend it, even though D ended up crying at the end because the Grasshopper Mouse decided not to return to his family and to seek his independence instead…

The three of them are excitedly chatting upstairs as I write this, even though they’re knackered – tomorrow will be interesting…

Subsidising Greggs

So D really knew what she was about on Wednesday (refusing to go out) and by Thursday she was ready to face the world again!  We needed to go into Wimbledon to get some clothes and shoes for the girls and as I had planned to go to Morden Hall Park the day before, I tagged it onto the end of our shopping trip instead.

In the car I told the girls I would buy them a doughnut from Greggs if they wished, which delighted them both.  D was asking why we had to pay for them so starting a dialogue on all the people, produce and services that go towards making a doughnut!  M went further down the line of questioning and wondered why the government couldn’t pay all these people so we could get doughnuts for free.  Smart girl. 😉

We whizzed around the shops (the sausages have no patience for shopping) and then drove over to Morden Hall Park.  I had remembered to put their bikes in the boot, thinking that there are some good paths for D to practice on and M to get up some speed.  As you can see by the picture below, I had no hope of keeping up with them…

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It was really really lovely to be out in the sunshine, and I did feel rather smug that we were outside, and then sad for all the school kids that were inside on such a gorgeous day.

We’re now on week 2 of our nature curriculum and this week is all about mini-beasts.  Urgh.  I was planning to fail on this one as I’m not a lover of bugs.  As we’re unschoolers, I’m actually following this curriculum for me, and if the sausages show an interest then they can join in too.  So back to the bugs, actually I figured I didn’t do too badly on that front because we came across so many while doing the gardening: M spotted a few and asked what they were called so I happily named them for her and that’s about as far as I’m willing to go on that one!

We stopped for a minute or two so D could climb a log and M could run around in a field, then M spotted some fungi growing on a tree and remembered (from our Wimbledon Nature Club days, 2 years ago!!) that it only grows on dead trees.

We then headed over to the playground and had fun on the zip wire (including me!), tyre swings and tree climbing.

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The sausages have been great friends lately, which is lovely as they’ve been getting on each other’s nerves for a long time!  When we got back home, they both got stuck into playing on Minecraft together (either sharing the iPad, or one on the iPad and the other on the laptop).  M has also been showing D how to play Super Mario Bros on her Nintendo and after a lot of tears, D finally made it to the end of level 1!  There was much rejoicing. 😀

This morning D wanted to make her current favourite thing to eat: brownie in a mug.  Sorry, no recipe link because it was copied from my sister’s ancient cookery book.  It’s amazing though because it only takes a minute to cook in the microwave.  D is getting very handy with a knife!

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There has been more Minecraft (so much so, that Equestria Girls has only been played once.  ONCE!!) and we also went out in the afternoon to our lovely social group, Curious Minds.

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And so endeth another week!

Baking, Films and a Cold

We’ve had a quiet few days, partly because of the rain and storms but mainly because of M’s cold.  J took the girls to meet M’s best friend B on Saturday and they were out for hours, allowing me to get on and do ‘stuff’.  But on Sunday morning, M came down looking decidedly ill so we decided to take it easy.

Apart from taking D out to see his parents, J worked all day so I looked after the girls.  We made crumble and chocolate chip cookies:

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M also wanted to learn a few French words in readiness for our holiday so she added a page in her homemade Spanish dictionary:

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While D finished her rainforest picture.  We looked up the patterns for a Blue Morpho and Monarch butterfly, and I helped her a bit with the wing shapes!

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By the afternoon, M was feeling a bit perkier and their Aunt Sh took the girls to the park.

On Monday I had planned for us to visit Raynes Park library (because the girls love climbing on the barrier outside!) but it rained all day so we stayed in and watched endless films!  Over the last few days we have watched: Cat in the Hat, Black Beauty (is that the saddest film ever made?), Secret Garden, Annie, Matilda, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Mulan and A Series of Unfortunate Events.  The girls are also getting into an Amazon series called Annedroids too.  As usual, there were countless questions arising from these films!

On Tuesday, M woke up in a very odd mood: kind of tearful but also angry and out of sorts.  By the time we arrived in Ashtead for her art class she was saying she had a tummy ache.  She still wanted to go in because she was worried she wouldn’t finish her Van Gogh picture in time.  I assured her that even if she doesn’t finish it before the summer term ends she can still carry on next term, so she decided not to go in.  Then we drove all the way home again!

The afternoon was spent watching MORE films but they also found time to do a Sticker Picture Atlas of the World and finish a card for Aunty S.  We have a lot of birthdays in July in this family so M (following my suggestion) has started making cards well in advance so she avoids the stress of not having the time to perfect them.

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I also made a pin board for M to do her times tables on, having been inspired by this blog. She really enjoyed it and grasped the concept quickly.  She has been desperate to learn the times tables recently so this tied in nicely.

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M was feeling ready for Brownies by the evening and we drove her there (storm still going strong).  They were doing an activity about pets so she took in a picture of Morris to talk about.  I have no idea how it went as M struggles to understand what’s going on or how to communicate it back to me (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – how on earth she managed day after day at school is beyond me).

On the way home a rainbow came out!  Me and D got very excited and it inspired D to make this!

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We really need to get ourselves to the library today.  M has finished The Magician’s Nephew (she really enjoyed it!) and we’ve tried returning to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and A Series of Unfortunate Events but neither felt right.  What we need now is Prince Caspian and the Return to Narnia!