Tag Archives: Gymnastics

Lego and Pomanders

Yesterday we were out all day, hence no post.  We somehow managed to leave the house at 8.45, it was really hard!  I don’t know how we ever managed the school run before…

The morning was spent at Sutton Sports Village where M had a great time trying out gymnastics, tennis and dance.  It was a free taster session to assess demand from HE families for certain sports.  Gymnastics was M’s favourite so hopefully we’ll be able to sign up for a class after Christmas.

After that we popped over to my father-in-law’s for a few minutes, hoping to see the girls’ Nanny and her sister who is over from Australia for a few weeks.  Unfortunately they were out so we left to go to a friends’ house we’d been invited to.

We spent a few hours at our friends’ house and the kids made paper chains and snowflakes, while we mums chatted.  M didn’t want to leave and it was 5.30pm by the time we got back.  I decided to treat ourselves to fish and chips and ice-cream.

Today was a bit slower: we made pomanders, played Lego, did some Reading Eggs and M finished the Year 2 level on Mathletics!  I decided to make a roast for lunch (why??) and it was all a bit hectic while I cooked so I put the telly on for half an hour which made D cry because she wanted to carry on doing Reading Eggs.

After lunch we headed for David Lloyd to do a few pages in the girls’ workbooks and then go to swimming lessons.  We got back at 5.30pm and the girls headed straight back to Lego and pomanders!

Actually, having written down all our activities, it doesn’t seem like a slow day at all…

Times Tables and Tears

As usual I started the day with a plan but the plan came to naught – I don’t know why I try to plan at all!  Anyway, in the end we had a very productive day so I can’t complain…

My initial plan was to go out around midday for a swim but the girls had other ideas.  First of all they needed to be persuaded that watching telly all morning wasn’t a good idea.  So then they wanted to do ‘exercises’ on our bed upstairs.  Its a good job none of our furniture isn’t posh as it tends to be used as gymnastic equipment rather than what it is intended for.  A man came to tune our piano today and the girls loved seeing the piano laid bare and pressed the keys to see what happens inside.  D insisted on showing him some of her gymnastics on the sofa and he was politely appreciative.

Later I persuaded D to read me two chapters of her Letterland stories, while M practised her 3 times tables upstairs.  D read really well and wanted to carry on but I thought we should finish before the flops started.  M came down full of joy at having learnt her times tables but when I tested her she again got upset because she couldn’t answer quick enough.  I tried to persuade her that she just had to keep on trying but she got in a huff about it so I decided to leave it for a while.

Both girls then wanted to do some colouring in their Tinkerbell activity books so I took the opportunity of doing a bit of research while helping them to sharpen their colouring pencils.  This site was recommended on Facebook today.  It’s been put together by a couple who have finished home-schooling and are offering a first year subscription of £1 to download their resources.  I didn’t think I had much to lose by paying £1 so I subscribed this morning and then set the girls to work on a couple of the English downloads.

A friend had lent me M’s old school’s curriculum and it said they would be learning the alphabet this term… (WHAT?!!).  However, I have recently been advised that it was badly worded and it actually means putting whole words into alphabetical order in readiness for using a dictionary.  Ohhhh, now I see!!!  So I set M to work on this using one of the afore mentioned downloads.  She had that sussed within 10 minutes.  What she would have been doing for the rest of the term I’m not quite sure!  I also got her started on a bit of creative writing using another download.  She has about as much interest in creative writing as I do… so she completed the task with minimal fuss, minimal interest and minimal creativity.  Hmm, something we need to work on I think.  Meanwhile, D was working on writing her letters in lower and upper case and then working out alphabetical order.  Having been initially resistant to trying something new (as usual), she was very proud of herself by the end.

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I went off to make some lunch and left them to do more colouring.  However, I got distracted by some magnets that had arrived from Amazon and had an idea as to how to enthuse M to learn her 3 times table again.  I made a fish template and then drew around it 12 times on the back of a cereal box.  Then the girls cut them out and stuck different coloured foil on the back.  I pushed a paperclip onto each one, then made a fishing rod using a stick, some parcel string, and some copper wire to attach the magnet.  Then I wrote out a sum from the 3 times table (without the answer) onto the back of each fish.  On D’s I wrote some simple addition and subtraction sums.  The girls had great fun fishing and working out the answers to the sums.  By the end of the game, guess what…?!  M had learnt her 3 times tables!!!  We were all overjoyed and D did a little song and dance around the room to celebrate while M sat and beamed happily.



Brain-dead Day

I’ve been fasting today and I have felt well and truly brain-dead.  I struggled to explain a Mathletics question to M: in the end I told her she’d have to figure it out herself or do something else.  Oh dear.  I almost fell asleep while doing Reading Eggs with D too.  I think I need to up my calories a bit so that I can survive HEing on fast days!

Gymnastics again today.  Girls seemed very tired before we even set off.  I was half wondering if we should go at all but I thought it would be a shame to miss it.  So the day was generally a quiet one (even J was quiet?!).  After gymnastics, the girls had a quick play on their ‘boat’ (I haven’t been able to sit in the lounge for 2 days now) and then asked to watch Tinkerbell.  It was pouring down with rain until about 4pm today so we did activities inside for the rest of the day.  These included Mathletics, Reading Eggs, LeapFrog computer and lots and lots of painting.  They have both painted a picture for ‘Fun Bum’ which is D’s new name for J.

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After that we had a game of catch and piggy in the middle in the hallway and then I went upstairs to sort out piles of clothes that are going to various places/people.  M fished around for long-forgotten toys in the toy cupboard while D very sweetly ‘read’ some old board-books to her toy.  And then it was D’s bedtime!  Where did the day go?

I played Jenga with M once D was asleep and then she read to me (at her insistence?!) for 10 minutes.  Tonight is the first night that she hasn’t cried or tried emotional blackmail on me to get me to stay up there with her.  Hoorah, we’re finally seeing progress.

So I was going to tell you about the funny/strange conversations I had with M yesterday before bed…  When we were in the coffee shop yesterday I was looking wistfully at the stationery downstairs in Tesco’s and remembered how a horrible witchy old lady made me empty out my pockets in her shop: I’d been staring at the stationery for so long she thought I had been stealing.  I recounted this story to the girls and M was fascinated by it.  She brought it up again once I had put D to bed last night and said if I had stolen things from the shop, would I have gone to jail?  Do police put things back that have been stolen?  And lots of other questions.  I even found myself explaining what a fence was.  M has always had an interest in the criminal underworld.

The other M story almost made me cry…  We’ve been reading Usborne’s Young Readers Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I adored this book as a child and I’m so pleased that M loves it too.  There is a bit in the story where the Sara’s father dies thinking he is penniless and his friend has to find her to let her know it was all a big mistake and she isn’t poor at all.  M didn’t understand why the man had to find Sara and I explained that when parents die they usually leave all their money to their children.  M very seriously asked “What would I do?  Would I leave D at home and go out with some money and ask someone else to look after us?”  I could have wept with the sweetness of it.  Not only because she immediately assumed responsibility for looking after D but because she actually thought that would be something she might have to do at some point and she was really preparing herself for it.  She then asked “So how do they [solicitors] know if you’re dead, do they keep checking every hour?”.  Lord love a duck.

‘This is my Mum, she’s the most boring Mum in the world’

This is what D was cheerfully telling the man at Timpsons today.  She also told him that J is the smelliest Dad in the world, so phew, I’m not a total loser then.

So after Timpsons, The World’s Most Boring Mum took the girls to Costa’s.  They were exhausted after an hour and a half of gymnastics.  M was a bit upset because today she wasn’t put in the same group as D during the activities.  I thought this was a good thing because she was doing stuff appropriate for her age but she disagreed.  However, she had cheered up after giggling at D’s antics in Timpsons so we had a peaceful coffee time.

While M was finishing her triple-choc muffin, I got D reading her Biff Chip and Kipper book we borrowed from the library as part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.  She was soooo proud of herself for reading her first book, and made it all the way through to the last page before having a flop.  Well done D!  M is also super-motivated to read for the challenge and chose Dr Seuss’ ‘Daisy Head Mayzie’ as her book.  It’s just a tad too difficult for her (mainly because there’s a lot of Americanisms in it) but she’s storming ahead with hardly any flops at all!

When we got back home, the girls played outside for a bit but they both got too hot so they decided to come in and continue playing on the ‘boat’ J had set up for them using the sofa this morning.  It’s not great when I want a comfy sit down with a cuppa and I walk into a room strewn with cushions, blankets and sofas turned back against the walls but oh well.  There’s a lot of talk of shipwrecks and pirates in their games recently, I think since watching Swiss Family Robinson in Nottingham.


After this, we did a science experiment!  Not our first, but this one I intend to do properly and get M to record the results in a science journal.  SO this is what led me to my idea: before bed last night, M and I were practising grown-up air kissing.  When she asked me why we do it I said I didn’t know so she guessed that it might be so that we don’t pass germs on!  It sounded like a very good guess to me so then I suggested that the British handshake was probably a terrible way of greeting people as you’re passing germs on that way too. This got me thinking of how I could show the girls all the germs that are on their hands and I remembered this.  So I gave the girls 2 slices of bread each and got them to rub their hands on the first slice before washing their hands and rubbing them again on the second slice.  Then we put the slices into separate labelled bags and M sprinkled a little water into each one.  Then M carefully got another slice of bread and put it straight into a bag without hardly touching it.  Then I put all the bags in a dark cupboard. I didn’t really discuss the rhyme or reason for what we were doing other than a basic ‘to see how much bacteria is on your hands’.  The girls were too knackered so I’ll go into it in more detail when we can see some results.

It’s incredible what an effect gymnastics has had on their energy levels, D in particular.  Though today she managed to do the full 1.5 hours without sitting some of it out.  This afternoon she was good for nothing so I got them both in a very early bath.  M got out first and had a play on Numberjacks Mission to Learn.  Then I coaxed D out with a promise of making mine and J’s pizza… the girls loved doing this.  M tried an artichoke and was keen to try an anchovy but in the end neither wanted to eat the pizza as they are totally put off by tomatoes… sigh.


Had some very interesting conversations with M tonight, but I’ll leave that until tomorrow as I need to go to bed. NOW.


Well we’re back in London after an entire month away… the moths have been having a lovely old time without us and judging by the cobwebs, so have the spiders.  J has been pretty much working solidly for the past 3 weeks so not a lot in the house or garden has been touched for a month.  But he was very pleased to see us all, as were we!

Last week M’s first tooth fell out and I wasn’t allowed to tell J so that she could surprise him on our return, so here’s a picture of the gap…


Her new tooth is so much bigger and it’s hard to imagine how it will fit into her mouth but I guess she’s got a lot of growing to do.  She’s already grown 2cm in the last month?!

Talking of growing, while we were in Nottingham I devised a 2-week menu for the girls snacks and meals.  So far it’s working well, if only because it means I’m not racking my brains for what to feed them everyday – now I can glance at the menu on the wall.  M was tucking in to raw spinach and Pizza Express dressing for lunch today, we had both forgotten that she liked it!

On the subject of growing (again) while I was gardening I noticed that M’s courgette plant had taken on giant proportions while we were away – check out the scary courgette in the picture below, I’d guess it’s about 25cm long.  I cut off one of the smaller courgettes and asked M if she’d like to try it for dinner – she was really keen!  I sliced it and then M brushed it with oil and ground black pepper over it.  Being a courgette-hater, I tried really hard not to show my disgust but actually she put it in her mouth and said ‘yuk’ then described to me exactly why I don’t like it: ‘it’s all sloppy’. Yes. Yuk. Yuk. Yuk.


This week I booked the girls in for a gymnastics course at Tolworth Gym Club.  They were very excited about it, D said ‘you’ll be so surprised when you see me on the telly’.  I do wonder how children’s minds work: she must have thought she would be doing gymnastics like we saw on telly last year in the Olympics… Ha ha.  It was more forward rolls and learning how to somersault properly.

I stayed to watch them from a viewing gallery above the gym.  It was hilarious to see D running through her ‘I’m too tired’, ‘I don’t want to’ routine with the gym teachers.  She really doesn’t like being told what to do by anyone, or she claims she is being ‘bossed about’ and won’t do it.  At one point they were supposed to be running up to a block and leaping on to it: D was doing a slow walk with her head hanging down and then a half-arsed step onto the block instead.  Tee hee.  The teacher (a lovely young boy) turned D to face him and they had a little chat then they shook hands and she improved after that! I would love to know what magic words he used…

As for actual ‘school’ work, we’re not starting for a couple of weeks because of various classes and play dates going on.  However, the girls did do a bit off their own back anyway – D has been going water colour crazy and did some lovely rainbow pictures.  She’s done tons of them so when I suggested she paint something different she painted an incredible picture of a conch shell (I think that’s what they’re called: the ones you put to your ear to hear the sea).  I haven’t taken a picture of it yet but here’s one she did in Nottingham – she’s drawn a heart, lungs, diaphragm and wind pipe…



While the girls were getting ready for bed, D started looking at her counting poster: I showed her the tens column and then she read the whole poster from 1 to 100.  I made a big fuss because it’s the first time she’s counted to 100 and she looked so proud of herself!  Then M tried to teach her how to count in 5s and D immediately switched off.  It just goes to show that you can’t force anything on D but she will come to it eventually on her own.

While I was reading D a story this evening, M started on an activity book that a friend let me photocopy – it was given to her by her son’s school and it’s a good mix of fun drawing, reading and writing activities.  M set to on the writing and did some lovely neat lettering.  We looked at what she’d done and talked about which words would come 1st for neatness.

I know my two are quite academic but it still amazes me that they WANT to learn, especially when it’s quite ‘dry’ things like counting and handwriting… I breathe a sigh of relief when we have days like this because I can stop worrying that they’re going to come out of home-ed as a couple of thick-os 🙂