Tag Archives: Minecraft

Halloween and Thunking

We don’t really celebrate Halloween in this house, not for any particular reason, it’s just never occurred to me to really promote it.  However, this year I thought the girls might want to pick their own pumpkin and carve it.  We had planned to go with friends but they were  poorly so we went to Garsons Farm on our own.

The girls were disappointed not to be seeing their friends but they really enjoyed it and want to go back again soon.  Of course there were Minecraft references while we were there and we talked about what was available to farm in Minecraft compared to real life.  We’re not big veg eaters on the whole so they’re not overly familiar with many vegetables and just seeing how they grow was an education!

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We found a pumpkin we liked the look of and D scrubbed it clean when we got home.  This afternoon I gutted it and M designed and carved it on her own:

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I didn’t realise that you can also pick your own flowers at Garsons – M was thrilled to pick a small bunch, and then had fun photographing them at home – she got really into positioning the flowers for the perfect picture and using the zoom function to capture the petal shapes.

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I’ve bought a few books recently and this one in particular was brilliant for keeping the girls entertained in the car:

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I love it!  It’s primarily aimed at teachers for group work with children but the questions in it are fantastic.  I’ve written recently about how M needs to be challenged and stretched more than she has been – I started to wonder whether some sort of maths program might suit her (as she’s also expressed an interest in trying Mathletics again), just to get her thinking through problems, but as I was perusing Amazon I came across this ‘thunking’ book – it was just what I was looking for.

The thunks I posed to both of them in the car were: ‘If I borrowed a million pounds, would I be a millionaire?’ and ‘Is Marmite nice?’ – they were the only ones I could remember from the book at the time.  They loved it and we had a really good rabbit-hole type chat.  Once D understood there is no right or wrong answer she had a good thunk too.  They were asking for more and more questions so I had to start making some up – next time I’ll have to remember to bring the book. 🙂

The rest of the week has been spent playing Minecraft and Terraria (of course) and watching Stampy (of course): this is D looking very autumnal and cosy 🙂

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M has been working towards a ‘Friend to Animals’ Brownie badge – the first part involves making a poster about a pet so M watched a YouTube video on how to draw a rabbit. 🙂

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I took D to the doctor’s to see about her never-ending cold.  He had no answers but suggested we try a nasal spray for a month.  D was worrying all the way home about it.  I chatted to her about what it would feel like and how she needed to weigh up the annoyance of her cold against being brave and trying the spray.  In the end I said I wouldn’t force her to do it, she has to want to it: her body, her rules.  When we got home she thought about it for an hour before deciding to try it out – hooray!  She is so full of fears I really didn’t think she’d go for it so I’m very pleased she did.

This week J and I celebrated our 14th anniversary together so we decided to take the girls into London to have a go on the singing see-saws in Leicester Square and then go for a meal afterwards.  Unfortunately I didn’t realise the square would close at 6pm (I don’t remember this happening back in my London-frequenting days?) so we missed it but had a lovely time at a restaurant afterwards anyway.

My niece has been in hospital this week – the girls have been full of interest about her poorly leg, and we were all worried about her too.  J got them writing and singing a song to cheer her up in hospital (I’ll spare you the video and just show a screen shot of the three of them) and they also made lovely cards for her.

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This week J has also had them doing a jigsaw and he took them to the park, managing to fit in playing around a very busy job – he’s a bit of a whirlwind. 🙂

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Phew – sorry for the long post, when I started out I didn’t think I had that much to write about!

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Growing Up

M’s will to learn is going from strength to strength – she is actively, positively, wanting to learn new things and to get a grasp on things she doesn’t understand.  It is so refreshing!

This week I bought a new STEAM book – sometimes it’s lovely to go through a book for ideas – I tend to feel overwhelmed when I look on the internet.  M saw me with it so we read through it together and she picked out 6 or 7 projects she’d like to try.  We were looking at an electrical project and M started asking questions about how electricity works – I seemingly wasn’t grasping exactly what she was asking and she was getting frustrated but we got there in the end: she managed to find her words and ask

“Why do things behave the way they do?”

Wow.  What a question!  I obviously didn’t have an answer on hand for that but we had a chat about scientists questioning everything and some of them even turning to religion for an answer.

She does seem so much older now she’s nearing 10 – she makes her own breakfast now: she toasts a waffle and sorts out her own drink.  She’s even been sleeping for 11/12 hours a night this week so I’m sure she must doing a lot of growing.

I’ve also noticed recently how amazing the girls’ vocabulary has become: we were doing some research on Terraria and noticed pictures of bunnies wearing party hats – the explanation read that they only wear party hats when there is a party on.  M asked “what qualifies as a party?”.  What the hell?!  Where did that word come from?! Meanwhile, D is wandering around on Minecraft saying “I’m looking for some flat terrain“.  It is all hilarious and super-impressive at the same time. 😀

This week the girls have been playing Terraria and Minecraft, trampolining, playing chase with J and playing with their cousin M, who has come to stay for a few days.

And finally, here is a picture of M dressed up as a dragon – J got out the long-forgotten dressing up outfits when I was out last weekend, 🙂

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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.

Glorious Google

This week, D asked me why Gloria (a hippo in Madagascar 3) was wearing a scuba diving mask when surely she could breathe under water?  This lead on to Googling (D says “can you ‘Google Up’ something, Mum?” like this is some sort of new verb she’s invented) how long hippos can stay under water while holding their breath.  Which led on to how long people can hold their breath under water for… which led onto learning about techniques for doing this… Which led onto a carbon dioxide explanation (M pipes up with ‘trees use carbon dioxide!) and the meaning of ‘acidifying blood’.  Glorious Google.

Other recent conversations have been about iron (we’re trying to ensure M eats enough iron everyday): linking it to Minecraft (imagine if we could EAT iron ingots, Mum?!’; linking it to our cast-iron radiators which we’ve been disconnecting and flushing to get them working again; Googling the 5 stages of iron overdosing after M was concerned she might eat too much iron, and amazement that we EAT metal!

I love these rabbit holes and connections.

Another thing Google is useful for is for doing research on a previously jailed sexual offender that your daughter wants to watch on YouTube.  That was D, wanting to watch L for Lee play Minecraft.  I was in a cold sweat wondering what I should do so I stalled her for a while by getting her to watch new Stampy videos while I panicked thought about the best approach.  In the end, I figured he’s unlikely to be displaying dodgy behaviour in his videos but I would be upfront about it to D.  So I told D and M that L for Lee did something horrible to someone and went to jail for it.  D wanted to watch anyway, M didn’t.  Questions from D: ‘But he seems really nice in the videos?;  ‘Do you think he’s still friends with Stampy?’; ‘How can he be nice and horrible?’.  I felt deeply uncomfortable about the whole thing but I knew that if I didn’t let her watch him then she would find ways of doing it behind my back anyway.  In the end she watched 3 of his videos and then returned to watching Stampy – turns out he doesn’t make very good videos – thank goodness!!

And finally, a gorgeous Minecraft creation by D. 😀

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Art, Trampolining and Minecraft

Our week has been a quiet one since the visit to London on Monday – the heat was too much to go out most days.  I had earmarked Friday as a day to visit Severndroog Castle but on the day itself none of us felt like going!  Such is the wondrous flexibility of home ed.

We’ve been doing all sorts at home though.  Tons of time has been spent on the trampoline – the girls have been learning a synchronised routine involving drops and spins and they love practicing it over and over.

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M has finished making her Sylvanian Families food!  She started the project 2 years ago so I’m impressed that she’s stuck with it and was motivated to get it done. 🙂 Each cereal box was made from tiny pieces of card, which were stacked together and glued.  The stacks were then wrapped in paper and glued.  Then M carefully matched the paint colour to the box label before painting, varnishing and sticking the label on.  Phew.  Next up is the shelves to put the boxes on…

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Once D saw the paints were out, she wanted to paint too and did this happy bunny in her art book – reminds me I really must clear a space on our table to have some art materials out on a permanent basis!

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D has been making videos of her toys playing and has once again requested to video herself playing Minecraft like Stampy does.  This week I have spent hours and HOURS trying to figure out why Minecraft wasn’t loading on our laptop and eventually got it working again!  Plus, after all my fiddling about, the laptop is working like a dream so hurrah for that.  The girls are loving playing on Minecraft’s PC version so I’m hoping to sort some recording software out for that soon.

We’ve had to deal with two deaths (in Minecraft) this week.  The first was quite dramatic – D’s house got struck by lightening, which caused it to set on fire, which in turn killed her cat, Mitty.  She was upset but not as much as I thought she would be.  We all set about making a grave for Mitty and doing a little funeral service.  Later on in the week, M managed to tame her first cat in survival mode but it disappeared when she took it out a day later.  She was so upset about it. 😦  They might not be ‘real’ pets but you still attach to them and feel their loss when they die.

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Dreaming of Colder Weather

This week has been all about coping with the extreme heat we have here in London.  We’ve been wistfully thinking about cool autumnal days and snuggling under blankets ;).

We even got our Christmas tree down from the loft this week (I can imagine your horrified faces).  We had good reason though: M is hand-felting a fairy for the top of the tree and we need to measure the top branch.  The fairy is coming on – she’s spending about an hour a day on it and has so far finished the head and is halfway through the torso.  As with most of M’s projects, she cries every time she does it but continues to plough on anyway…  She’s one determined girl!

We’ve been playing Minecraft together a lot: I have yet again made the huge wooden house from the Minecraft Construction book for D – this must be the 5th time I’ve made it now!  D keeps calling me in to her new house for ‘meetings’.  They’re very formal and don’t have a lot of point.  M has started a new world in survival mode (the much loved ‘Babbaville’ has got a bit boring now) and we’ve all been helping out in it.  I think she loves it mainly because she found a snow biome in it which reminds her of Christmas. 🙂

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We had our friends over for 2 days this week.  Apart from a bit of playing in the pool, there was much more indoor play this time due to the heat.  They had a great time playing Terraria together. 🙂

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We’ve watched Maleficent a few times this week and it’s now M’s favourite film.  D was unsure at first and watched with half an eye while listening to Stampy, but she watched it properly yesterday and seemed to enjoy it.  There were lots of questions from both regarding the motivations and feelings of the characters.  I love how they learn this way.

I’ve been wondering lately whether M is eating enough iron as she complains of being exhausted so often.  She did try eating more iron-rich food but we both kept forgetting.  Then a friend recommended a natural iron supplement so I suggested it to M and she said she’d rather change her diet.  So I’ve put a list on a kitchen cupboard of all the food she loves with the iron content alongside and she chooses what to eat to reach the 8mg she needs each day.  It’s working very well!

Friends, Films and Minecraft

We’ve had a lovely week, full of friends and activities.

The heat was incredible – we had friends over on Tuesday and we all had so much fun that they came over the following day too, bringing their paddling pool with them!  It was a two day marathon of trampolining, swimming, pretend play and ice cream with lots of chatting and G&Ts for me and my friend as we caught up on each other’s news.  At one point, J took the lot of them to the park, giving us time to soak up some rays uninterrupted for half an hour. 🙂

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On Thursday we had a meet up planned with other friends where the girls played on Terraria, Minecraft, bounced on their gorgeous trampoline and in their lovely pool.

I felt utterly zonked by Friday so we had a quiet day at home, watching YouTube videos and films.  We have really enjoyed the new Netflix film ‘The Little Prince’ and have watched it several times this week.  M adores it, D is not so keen – unsurprisingly since it deals with loss, an emotion (is it an emotion?  Or is the emotion ‘grief’?) that she finds hard to cope with.

However, after repeatedly watching Stampy and Squid play on a Hobbit adventure map, I suggested to her that she might like to watch a Hobbit film since The Battle of the Five Armies has just been released onto Netflix.  She was really keen and loved it even though we were all having difficulty following the plot having never seen a Hobbit film before.  I thought she might find it frightening given how horrible some of the fighting scenes are but no!

This week, D’s seemingly endless thirst for Minecraft YouTube videos has not only led her to feeling brave enough to watch a new film but she has also made me a Minecraft adventure map for me to play on (I was terrible as I really can’t do parkour!) and arranged for M and I to do Hunger Games on her world (I lost, what a surprise!).

M is also back on Minecraft after a week or so’s break.  She’s trying to get to grips with redstone and has so far managed to successfully copy a trampoline she saw Stampy make and use a daylight sensor to turn her lights on and off.  To me, it’s as confusingly overwhelming as electronics so I haven’t been a lot of help apart from finding how-to videos for her on YouTube.

Inbetween all the busyness this week, M has been determinedly working on a drawing for a Sylvanian Families competition.  She had to draw what she would do if she was in the Sylvanian Village on a summer’s day so she chose to be Freya, berry picking with her brother.  I am always astounded and so proud of how she pushes herself to get over hurdles: there were so many tears involved in the making of this but she carried on anyway!

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The girls’ aunt took them swimming this afternoon, on their return we all enjoyed the first episode of Season 2’s Wonder Quest.  This one was quite mathematical rather than scientific but the girls really enjoyed it and we’re looking forward to next week’s episode!