Tag Archives: History

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. 🙂

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Old and New

Busy busy busy.  Too busy to write a blog and too tired to squeeze it into the hour I have to myself before the girls get up in the morning.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me – I keep waking up at crazy o’clock: 4, 5 in the morning?!!  What is that about?

I keep swinging between giving up this blog but then I love looking back over old posts.  This week D said she wanted to grow her hair as long as M’s and I remembered that 2 years ago M’s hair was short as D’s so I showed them both September 2014‘s blog posts.  They really inspired M to go back to some old activities – she tried the Alchemy app again, made gloop and iced cakes.

So that was the old stuff.  The new stuff was flying a kite!  We went to Camber Sands for a day trip on Wednesday and it was glorious.

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We had a recovery day on Thursday and M and I played an ongoing game of Monopoly, and D got back to Stampy/Sqaishey/Amy Lee/DanTDM.  D also did a very cute ‘secret’ picture for M.  There was garden play and testing out our new ‘Mood Maker’ nail varnish, which changes colour according to temperature.

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On Friday, we had friends over to play – there was Minecraft, Terraria and chase games in the garden.

In Minecraft land, D’s creativity knows no bounds.  At the moment her skin is a colourful version of Sqaishey Quack’s, and as Sqaishey’s favourite food is pumpkin pie, she built an enormous one for her to live in, along with a large Sqaishey bending over to eat it. 😀

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M has been working through the Great Fire of London Minecraft map: she has quite enjoyed it but at the moment is preferring to  work on her own worlds.  There’s been lots more redstone work: D creating secret doors and M creating colour changing beacons.  It really is beyond me!  D asks me to play with her in Minecraft quite a lot (even J has had a go too – D was in hysterics because he was so bad at it): sometimes I have to do a parkour course she’s created for me and sometimes she wants me to help her build something and sometimes we play chase – we run round and round hitting each other and I always lose. 🙂

M has started a pottery class – the same one she went to two years ago.  She’s working on a little pot with really intricate details.  She is also back at Brownies – the leader has told her she can stay until Easter which is wonderful news as she really doesn’t want to leave when she’s 10 in January.

Lastly, I went to ‘A Day with Sandra Dodd’ on Sunday – the first unschooling conference I’ve ever been to, the first time I’ve been in contact with loads of unschoolers and the first time I’ve met Sandra Dodd in person!  She was really inspiring and really good speaker.  I was also lucky enough to meet a blogger friend in person and make other new friends too – I absolutely loved it and hope it’s repeated next year.

Colour and Vision

On Monday we took a trip to the Natural History Museum for their Colour and Vision exhibition.  I love colour and anything to do with it so I really wanted to see this, and especially the light installation that had been created especially for the exhibition.  I figured/hoped the girls would be a little interested but took their iPads along just in case.

I find NHM to be quite ‘dry’ on the whole: it could do with more interactive pieces, which would really engage the sausages.  The exhibition could have done with some injection of life too.  Considering it was about evolution and vision, it was very ‘dead’: there were far too many glass cases of dead things, many of which made M and me baulk.

The art installation was beautiful and we all admired the changing spectrum of colours from different angles.

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D managed 5 minutes of the exhibition before collapsing into tears because it was so boring! 😀  So she played on Minecraft for the rest of the time.  Fair enough, it just wasn’t attention grabbing enough and the exhibits were too high for her to see.  M on the other hand, absorbed most of it – she asked soooo many questions and we chatted about evolution, the tree of life and the development of eyes.  Her favourite part was the only interactive bit – a computer game which tested how quickly you could spot a camouflaged crab.

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The past two London outings have shown me how ready and eager she is to absorb information now – the questions she asks are incredible and tend to get me thinking along lines I’ve never considered before!

On the tube, M wanted me to give her sums to work out – it was a good distraction from the heat and motion sickness she was suffering from.  She managed quite a few before her eyes became glazed and she just couldn’t even hold the sum in her head.  We had a chat about Aspergers and how she has a smaller working memory than a neuro-typical person.  Her diagnosis has been so useful to me in helping me to understand her more and to help her understand that other people have the same struggles too.

When we got back I put on my favourite ever documentary, ‘Colour: The Spectrum of Science’.  The girls dipped in and out of it while playing Minecraft.

Overall, it was a good day!  I think it’s a shame that NHM is so old fashioned – I think they need to up their game a bit.  It’s so exciting just stepping through the doors but I find it quite boring inside. :/ Though I was impressed to read that you can now tour the NHM on Google Street View so perhaps there is hope. 🙂

Not Back to School #4!

Yes, this is the 4th time we’ve celebrated Not Back to School!  I think I get more excited about it than the girls – they’re a bit ‘yeah, whatever’.  But I love the start of a new ‘school year’ – it feels lovely and fresh and full of promise.

This year we celebrated by going to Costa for their favourite treats and then onto the Museum of London to see the ‘Fire Fire’ exhibition, which is commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

It was a last minute decision to take them there after they both showed a lot of interest in it when the wooden replica of 1666 London was set alight on the Thames.  I thought the museum would be quiet with it being the first day at school but it appears a lot of schools had an inset day, doh!  D had lost her enthusiasm after a 45 minute wait to get in and then it all went downhill from there – the poor sausage was sobbing with the sadness of the fire and the worry that it might happen to us.  Nevertheless, M loved it and wanted to see all the exhibits and try on the clothes.  We had tons of conversations about it all and it was lovely to see M so engaged in history.

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We’ve been remarkably busy this last week, squeezing in playdates, visitors and builders in each day.

We had my cousin and her son here for 3 days and we whiled away our time at home playing Terraria, Minecraft, Geometry Dash, playing in the paddling pool, bouncing on the trampoline and watching the new Jungle Book film.

As soon as they’d gone we had a play date at M’s friend’s house.  We haven’t seen them all summer and the girls had a lovely time playing in their garden for hours.

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We had a quiet day at home on Friday.  D watched the usual Stampy/Squid/DanTDM videos while M played on Minecraft.  Aquila happened to arrive that day so I took the opportunity of reading it to them.  This month’s issue is all about the children of WWII – the girls already have a vague idea about it having seen it in films and talked about it.  It was, as usual brilliantly written but I got quite tearful thinking of all the children coping with war now.

On Saturday, J took the girls to the park and I took the opportunity of planning and writing out the month’s calendar – we’ve got some lovely things planned this month.  We only have two classes for M planned (pottery and Brownies), which would have previously sent me into a panic that we weren’t doing ‘enough’, but now I feel pleased that our weeks are so open and flexible. 🙂

Butser Farm and Minecraft

It’s been an odd week, it always is when we have no classes to anchor us.  Days drift and merge but time flies by so that every day I’m surprised when bedtime comes around. 🙂

This week has of course featured Stampy, a lot.  And Babbaville – the latest developments are that M put the finishing touches to her boat, adding signs so the Captain, First Mate and crew know where to sleep; she reorganised her department store so that items are categorised better; and we turned the difficulty level up to ‘high’ because M wanted to overcome her fear of mobs (it worked and we got some nice enchanted armour out of it).

A couple of really noticeable skills from all this Minecraft playing: we’re now really good at working as a team – helping each other, dividing up jobs, and playing to each other’s strengths; and maths – the other day M was working out whether it is better value to smelt with 9 pieces of coal or a block of coal (which is made with 9 pieces) – turns out the answer is a block.

Also, the learning threads that come from Minecraft – M wanting to know what the correct terms for the second in command on a ship, the crew and where they sleep; and D wanting to make her own iBallisticSquid soft toy, which led to a trip to Tooting Market to buy fabric (always an experience with all the produce and smells).  D helped me to draw a cube net for the toy pattern and then I spent almost a whole day (!) making Squid.  It is very much loved which is a relief as there were heart-achingly silent tears when she realised the Squid toys that iBallisticSquid was promoting (on a two year old video) were no longer available. Phew.

Minecraft’s creative side is obviously huge:  M made a replica of a road this week and D spotted a natural island that was the shape of a dolphin – we just added fins and covered it in blue wool.

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Onto real-world news – J has taken the girls to the park quite a few times, and also to the hospital to visit his brother (who is now recovering from a quadruple heart by-pass!).

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We have been on a trip to Butser Farm for a workshop organised by another HE mum.  We had booked it last year but M was too ill to go but we made it this time!  When we got there I was wondering ‘what was I thinking?!’ because there was FAR too much talking from the leader which didn’t engage either of my two (blank stare from M who couldn’t take in a word of it and D on the verge of tears from the boringness-missing-stampyness of it all).  BUT it all came together later on.  The girls did cordage, spinning, pottery (using real just dug up clay), copper jewellery making and clunching.

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It was an amazing trip but the following day D needed some serious Stampy watching to recover.  We had a birthday party to go to that day though but luckily our friend was thoroughly understanding of D’s need to escape into Stampy’s Lovely World – D was full of excitement about the party but in the end just couldn’t seem to cope with it.  She did enjoy swimming in their pool at the end though.

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M has been doing lots of paper craft – making tiny Washi Tape bags for her Sylvanians; doing her first paper cutting with my knife for J’s birthday card, and quilling.  I showed her how to use Instagram and Pinterest on her iPad and they’ve really inspired her.

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We also watched Star Wars for the first time to see what all the fuss was about (neither of us was that enthralled to be honest) and M asked to watch Doctor Who so we’ve started on the Christopher Eccleston series, which she really likes.  Unfortunately it’s far too frightening for D and even with headphones on she still ends up seeing images that upset her.  She won’t leave the room but I have to watch with M to explain what’s happening throughout so I think I will have to turn the sofa around next time we watch. :/

This marks the first time that M has requested to watch a film/programme she’s heard about, rather than the suggestion coming from me.  She’s noticing much more around her than she ever did before – I once commented that she wouldn’t ever be influenced by peers as she was so much in her own bubble, but this is no longer true: she picks up on every over-heard conversation and questions it, she asks about images she sees on the news, culture, behaviours and jokes.  She picks apart and examines everything!

And finally, we ended the week with a trip to the Common to meet friends we haven’t seen in AGES!  We had a lovely time and no-one fell in the lake which is always a bonus.

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Indoor Fun

I don’t know if it’s because the wobbly teeth are finally out or because we finally struck gold with a class that D likes or what, but things are definitely on the up!

On Wednesday evening we went to a new (for us, apparently it’s 90-odd years old but I’ve never heard of it!) class called Woodcraft Folk.  The premise is letting children be children and being close to nature so they do a lot of camping and stuff but in the main they do a weekly class in a church hall near us where they play games, sing songs and generally run around having fun.

Initially D wanted to sit on my knee at the back of the room and just watch but after 10 minutes she actually asked to join in!!  D?  Joining in a competitive game with a load of strangers?!  Whaaat??  She had a minor upset midway through and we had a quiet few minutes in an adjacent room and then she felt ready to join the group again.  M really loved the class too.  We found it a little hard to understand all the new games (particularly as the noise level was so high) but she didn’t panic and gamely joined in too.

It was all good!

The sausages have been watching My Little Pony Season 5 for the first time over the last few days.  I have to say there is less passion about it than before but D did several spin-off activities: like arranging all her ponies on a shelf I cleared for her in the lounge; making each pony their own ‘element’ to wear; and getting me to make a big Tirek puppet so that she could put on a MLP ‘season 6’ show about the ponies beating him. 😀

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M has been busy doing various crafts like decoupage and making Minions out of the Kinder Egg plastic containers.  Today they both spent hours remaking M’s Frozen Lego castle upstairs, meaning I could have a sit down and do some cross stitch and watch some telly!!  They have also both made bracelets using some old beads of theirs.  D did one with the name of her alter-ego, Dordy.  Dordy is hilarious but a bit naughty.

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D also spent a long time arranging her bunnies and making more Lego thrones today.  There is a whole line of royal rabbits living in D-Land now.

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M has spent a fair amount of time on Minecraft, finishing off her ‘cruck’ peasant house for her Castles and Cannons course.  Together we learnt how to make a fireplace (that didn’t set the whole house alight) and added other peasant ‘essentials’ like a table, herbs, straw bed and woolen blanket.

M has also done work with me towards her Interior Designer Brownie badge – she desperately needs shelving in her bedroom so we looked at what we could fit where and how big each shelf would need to be.  It involved quite a bit of measuring and quite a few tears on M’s part.  She still gets very tearful and angry if she doesn’t understand something immediately but luckily it doesn’t last too long and she can be pulled out of it with a bit of humour on my part.

Strangely, the sausages haven’t wanted to go out the last couple of days, even though the weather has been beautiful.  We’ve been so busy indoors though, which is obviously what they both needed.

 

 

Toys, Minecraft and Saving Up

How did it get to midweek already?  I keep meaning to blog more often but the days go by so fast!

Our weekend was spent mainly around the house although J did take the girls for a long play at the park on Saturday.  M was struck by a huge amount of lethargy on Sunday – it was v odd!  She was adamant she was too tired to go out so she played Animal Crossing, Facetimed her cousin A, watched films and played chess and Ludo.

The weather was beautiful on Monday and I had to go into Wimbledon for a couple of things.  M had already decided she wanted to buy some more Lego so she was very excited to come too.  D also came along and managed to walk all the way in without one grumble. 🙂  M spent her money on Frozen themed Lego which came with Elsa and Anna figurines – she is so chuffed with her choice and has rebuilt it twice already.  Usually she likes to build Lego sets and then sit back and admire them but last night her play developed further and she decided to narrate the story using her Frozen book and act out the whole film using her Lego!

Meanwhile, D had bought 4 more My Little Pony soft toys, which completes her set of ponies.  She is so pleased with them.  They have all had a wash and a hair cut already and now she is drawing out their ‘elements’ on card that will go around their necks.

After we had dropped M off at art class on Tuesday, we went to our usual cafe and D was telling one of the Mums all about the ponies’ personalities and the difference between unicorns, alicorns and pegasi – she has an impressive amount of My Little Pony knowledge!

M finished off her clay tablet at art class.  I absolutely love it!

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This week is the second week of M’s Minecraft course and her first assignment was to watch a video about peasants from Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives.  It’s a very good watch and Terry Jones is up M’s street, humour-wise – but she really struggled to watch for more than 5 minutes and ended up getting angry and upset about it.  I ended up watching the rest (I was finding it hard to answer all M’s questions as the subject is pretty new to me too) with the thought that maybe I could just summarise it for her to save her watching it again.  However, after a couple of days rest she was ready to try again and she managed to watch it all the way through!  What seemed to work was me pausing the video at intervals to tell her what was about to happen – she seemed to get less stressed about it all anyway.  She’s now got to make a peasant’s house in Minecraft using the information she’s learnt and she’s really motivated to give it a go. 🙂

I’ve been looking at our trampoline, which is well past it’s best, and wondering how we can afford to buy a new one and then I read about a 365 day saving challenge on a Frugal Facebook group.  You basically save 1p on day 1, 2p on day 2 and so on until you have over £600 at the end of the year.  So I emptied out my purse of change and the girls and I worked out each day’s savings (there were quite a few since we’re starting 2 months late).  It was an amazing maths exercise, not to mention learning the different coins.

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And to finish off, THE TOOTH IS FINALLY OUT!!!  Hooray!!

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