Tag Archives: Gardening

April/May Catch Up

And I’m back in the room.

Can’t believe I left 6 weeks between posts!  I just haven’t been in the mood and lost my blogging mojo for a while so this post will be a quick update on all the things we’ve been up to and then hopefully I’ll be in the mood to blog more frequently again.

We’ve had 3 lots of visitors – cousins & grandparents.

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D had a birthday party – she’s 7!

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The following week my parents took us to Spain and we happened to be flying on D’s birthday – she got a special mention from the pilot over the tannoy and he then invited M & D into the cockpit where he spent a long time explaining how he flies the plane. 🙂

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We had a fabulous week in Spain – the girls swam everyday; there was a gorgeous park next door to our complex with free range bunnies, peacocks, turtles, ducks and chickens.  M took the time to write more entries in her home-made Spanish dictionary, and she did a bit of artwork, creating this 3D hand we found here.

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On our return, we’ve had quite a few table activities going on – M has nearly finished her Sylvanian Family food and D has been creating (or directing me and Grandma) to make clothes for her toys using new fabrics and a sewing kit she was given for her birthday.

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D has created quite a few things recently – a Lego instruction book on how to make her ‘Moon on a Stick’

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She made a book about Cute Twitchy (her toy rabbit):

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And she has just started a new book which details her happy memories and dreams 🙂

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M has been gardening quite a bit – she loves helping me to prune our hedge at the front and we weeded her patch of garden together.  She really wanted to get a Brownie gardening badge so we planted lots of flowers and herbs to meet the criteria.  While we were preparing for the badge, I realised she had enough craft to get her craft badge too, so she showed all her achievements to the group this week and got the two badges she wanted. 🙂

There has been a lot of Minecraft and Terraria – we got the girls an iPad each which has enabled us to play multiplayer, which the girls are LOVING.  They frequently ask me to join them in their worlds – we’ve been adventuring, mining, killing mobs, making obstacle courses, playing hide and seek, building houses, structures and getting lost.

Here’s me enjoying Minecraft 🙂

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Art Class, Piano & the Tooth Fairy

I’ve had an interesting couple of days with the sausages.

D has restarted art class after a term’s break and absolutely loved it.  She obviously did miss me while there but I guess the fact that she’s with other children that she likes and doing art that she loves overrides that, which is just as it should be!  M was also pleased to be back but I get the feeling she gets more out of the actual art than the girls there, which is fine too.  In the car, I was noticing the difference when I asked them what they’d been doing – after school I would have had a vague “don’t know”, “I can’t remember” or “I’m not sure” – but this time M knew exactly what she’d been doing and could recount all the activities!  It may be because she wasn’t there for a whole day unlike in school but I think it’s also due to the fact that she is thoroughly enjoying herself and is engaged in what she’s doing.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they both produce this term!

In the car on the way home I began a conversation about prostitutes.  I thought it was high time since I’ve noted they’ve been alluded to in 3 films the girls have watched: Hook, Annie (the remake) and The Cat in the Hat.  M has been picking up on them in the films and asking me about them so I thought I would try and explain – I find the car is the easiest place to have long conversations and explanations!  She didn’t quite get the point of it all but I think I placed the thought well in her head and she will no doubt be mulling it over for the next year or so.

While in the car, M also decided on a ton of activities she wanted to do for the rest of the day, although there were so many I convinced her she could probably spend the next few days doing them.  They were: gardening, playing with the rabbits, playing Super Mario Bros, learning a new tune on the piano and helping me with my jobs!  I’m pleased she’s thinking about what she wants to do to fill her time as lately she’s seemed quite bored.

So that afternoon we all spent a few hours in the garden, preparing the girls’ plots for planting bulbs.  While gardening, I found some old poppy seed heads (tying in nicely to our seed conversation last week at the common).  M was delighted and spent a long time carefully pulling the heads apart and gathering the seeds together.  She was kind enough to share them with D and they both scattered them over their plots and watered them.

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That evening I also convinced M to sign up to an online Minecraft school.  She was a little unsure about it but I reassured her that she could quit if she didn’t like it and that we would start on the easy course so she agreed.  I think D might also be interested since the first session is about the space race.

Today we’ve been doing all sorts.  I had planned to go to Morden Hall Park but D point blank refused to go out!  So that put paid to that idea.  M was disappointed, as was I, but I could see that D needed a full day at home (perhaps recovery time from the art class?) and she agreed to going out tomorrow instead.  D watched a lot of My Little Pony but she also made a den in the bedroom, played Minecraft with M, and made a map of Canterlot (from MLP) after watching a video on Mystery Science.  This is another ‘school’ I have enrolled for, thinking that M might get something out of it (and it’s free!) but actually having watched some of the videos I think it is more suited to D’s way of learning.  I watched a couple of them with D and she immediately wanted to draw the map of Canterlot after watching the ‘Why is North at the top of the Map?’ mystery.  All roads lead back to My Little Pony!

When M’s cousin A visited the other week, A taught M how to play Frere Jacques on the piano.  M did have a term of piano lessons at school but her perfectionist side really struggled with it – she couldn’t bear hitting a wrong note.  However, her teacher was sorry to lose her and said she was really talented and that there weren’t many 6 year olds that could read music, play the tune and sing the song at the same time.  So the girl obviously has talent!  Anyway, after telling me yesterday that she wanted to learn a new tune, I said I would show her how to play Jingle Bells.  I was dreading that it would all end in tears but although she did have a bit of a flop when she made a mistake, she persevered incredibly well and could just about copy the tune after 30 minutes (we’re not reading the music, I figured we’ll go down that road at a later date if she’s interested).  So all in all it was a very positive moment!

Surprisingly, most of today was spent with the girls collaborating on a new Minecraft world and then playing together on Super Mario Bros, with M trying to teach D what to do.  There were a few upsets but at the moment I’m trying really hard to untangle these arguments with D.  They tend to be started by D because she forgets to tell M what she really feels and then gets cross when M doesn’t understand where she’s coming from!

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And finally, the major news is that D’s first tooth came out last night!  She is over the moon and was even more so to discover the Tooth Fairy really is real when she found 50p under her pillow this morning…

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Learning from My Little Pony…?

Yup.  I was a bit dubious about the girls’ new passion for My Little Pony: it looks cheap and trashy and is a little on the irritating side.

However.

The general premise of MLP is friendship, something both the girls could learn from (and couldn’t we all?).  The questions that have arisen from it have been wonderful to hear – in particular they’ve both been figuring out puns, emotions, emotional reactions, behaviours, jokes, personalities and so much more.  The MLP passion has led onto watching Equestria Girls (a similar, spin-off show) and playing a My Little Pony app on the iPad.  This game in particular is the first ‘slow’ game D has been motivated to play!  She’s been reading a little, figuring out how much money she needs to buy the next pony and generally showing an amazing, previously unseen, amount of perseverance. 😀

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In other news, over the weekend J took them to a friend’s house to play and on Sunday to a fun fair at Battersea Park; they’ve also been watching films, more MLP and helping me clean!

Today we’ve spent a day at home but most of it outdoors doing some gardening.  First of all they helped me prune our hedge at the front (a job I always save for them because they love it so much) and then they helped me weed their garden patches (which have been woefully neglected this year).  M is eager to plant some crocus bulbs in her patch but D seems to have lost interest so I might take it over instead.

While we worked, M was excited to see a little robin which came to watch us – it was just like in The Secret Garden. 🙂

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HE in the Spring

How different HE seems when the sun comes out!

We have barely used our official HE room in the last few days (except for M who is still sneaking about making my Mothers’ Day card).  Instead we’ve been in the garden: playing, building, chasing, weeding and potion making.

Our builder friend, P was back again on Thursday and M helped him to rearrange the climbing frame to her design.  We’ve now got a much roomier frame and a steeper slide!

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M also made a ‘potion’ using sand and various herbs around the garden.  She adores strong smells and spicy tastes and spent a long time feeling and smelling the plants.  In fact, at dinner yesterday she actually ate a whole black peppercorn to found out what it tasted like!

M continued to de-stone our garden to prepare it for planting in a few weeks.  We also have some lovely large decorative pebbles which she washed clean too.

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Meanwhile, D asked me to build her a den which she sat inside and did some painting on our water mat and chalking on a little chalk board I found at the back of the toy cupboard.  She drew a lovely picture of Oberon and Titania – Uranus’ moons!  Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it.  D continues to spend hours of her day deep in her imagination.  At the moment, the slide is upturned and has become her pirate ship: she can variously be found in the crow’s nest or swabbing the decks…

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J also took the day off on Thursday and he took them to the park, out to Wimbledon and chased them endlessly around the garden!

I decided on the spur of the moment to have one of our apple trees felled: we’ll be putting a garage up in the coming months and it would have been a bit too close to it.  Sounds a bit callous but the tree had seen better days.  So within an hour some tree surgeons had sawn it down.  We all had a little cry for our tree, particularly M who took it very hard.  However, it will mean that our other little apple tree will now have more chance to flourish.

I asked the tree surgeons to leave us some logs behind so that we can make a log pile house for bugs, bees and butterflies, and perhaps some space at the bottom for a hedgehog.

On Friday, M got started on making newspaper ‘poles’ for her geodesic dome.  I offered to do them but she insisted she wants to make it all herself (and then double checked with me that SHE would be the boss of the finished den, not D).  We came a bit unstuck with the design of it so we asked our friend Lisa over at An Ordinary Life for some help, and she kindly posted her instructions online yesterday!

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So that’s what M will be doing over the next few days.  She really loves construction, tinkering, fixing and building: she told me she wants to make a ferris wheel out of cocktail sticks and marshmallows next…

M has wanted to go ice skating for a long time now so we went back to Guildford Spectrum on Friday afternoon.  It is an utterly miserable time for poor D and I have to say it seemed a real shame to be going somewhere cold and dark on such a lovely day but M really loves it so I don’t mind going now and then.  I read Wonderwise books to keep D happy while M went round the rink – she skated for an hour before getting too tired to carry on!  Just to see the look on M’s face made it all worthwhile – she was beaming so widely it brought a tear to my eye!

We’ve only had one minor anger incident over the last 2 days and it didn’t last too long: I set the girls ‘life skills’ to accomplish, which are skills which they choose or skills that I feel they really NEED to learn.  D is making progress with hers, which is learning how to fasten her own seatbelt.  I haven’t set a task for M for a while so she asked if she could learn about the months of the year.  It was going well until there was a bit of melt-down.  I think it was a case of trying to take in too much at once.  So I just stopped immediately and packed her off for a bath – seemed to do the trick as she was chirpily chatting to D a few minutes later!  Phew!

I got an unschooling confidence boost yesterday as it seems D is teaching herself maths.  She voluntarily got her Arithmasticks out and wrote out some addition sums for herself to work out!  She was also beaming with pride when I wrote some subtractions out for her which she then got right.

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After the girls had got out of the bath I strangely started to get a stomach ache which became so bad I had to go to bed!  Very odd.  Anyway, the girls were gorgeous and were really excited at the prospect of doing all my jobs for me.  Adorable.