Tag Archives: Walking

Minecraft Minecraft Minecraft

The love of Minecraft continues… It’s been reignited by our being able to play multiplayer across our iPads which has made such a difference in how the girls (and me) play.

We’ve been working on projects together in each other’s worlds: the girls particularly love the wooden house in their Minecraft Construction book – I must have helped them to make it at least 10 times over the past couple of years but this is the first time we’ve been able to actually build it together.  D asked me to help her make it in creative mode, which meant I could lay the foundations and start building upwards, and she could then continue once she understood the pattern.  We finished it in under an hour – it would have taken at least 3 hours previously.  M then wanted me to help her make it in her world in survival mode – this was obviously much harder because it involved a lot of tree chopping but it was great to be able to do it together.

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Typically, our bedtimes are spent playing Minecraft or Terraria together too.  Last night M and I dared to increase the difficulty rating slightly to fight some mobs (and get bones so we could then tame a wolf and get a pet dog) – D found it too frightening and left the room. 😦  She was placated with watching Stampy while M and me continued playing.

D has gone nuts for Stampy, we all have to some extent but D has watched him for hours and hours whereas M and I have our limits!  His early videos contained a bit of swearing which the girls were intrigued about so we chatted about the words he was using, what they meant and why he was using them.  They took it in their stride. 🙂

Stampy has even inspired D to make her own gaming videos.  We don’t have whatever software you need for this so she asked me to film her playing a few of her games.

Coming off the back of Minecraft there has been lots of ‘how do you spell this?’ and ‘what does this say?’.  For D in particular I can see that she could begin picking up words from it – more so than if I was sitting and reading to her actually.  She has quite a strong fear of failure so it would be nice if it just ‘happened’ like that, rather than her sitting down and trying to learn to read.  To be honest, I think she knows more words than she lets on – she was reading whole sentences 2 years ago but now says she can’t read… hmm.

We’ve stopped going to the library at the moment – D doesn’t like going any more because ‘they’re too quiet’.  Even to the point where she stands outside the door while M and I are taking books back, ha ha!  Ah well, our library has a really good selection of books online (much better than in the actual library) so we don’t have a need to go there at the moment.  You can also download read-alongs so I got a couple of D’s favourites for her to look at on her iPad.

We’ve all been quite poorly with heavy colds since getting back from Spain so there’s been a lot of sitting around and tiredness.  Yesterday however, we made it out to Wimbledon Common.  It was glorious as usual and we had a good hour’s walk before the girls’ legs got tired.

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We would usually have attending M’s art class on Tuesday morning, but she appears to have gone off it?!  It once was her favourite class of all but it seems nothing is wrong with the class per se, just that she’s ready for something different.

We tried a ‘schooly’ type class in Kingston recently.  M responds well to a structured environment (whereas D definitely does not!) so I thought it would be a good thing for her to try.  Unfortunately it really didn’t go down well at all with M – with her information processing issues she really needed more attention and instruction than the teacher (an HE mum) could have given her.  Plus, she was learning about something totally new which meant she was struggling to understand a lot.  I’m so glad D and I stayed in the room because M got very tearful at one point and although she stuck it out to the end, she gave it a 4/10 so we decided not to go back!

It gave me renewed respect and gratitude for her art class and brownie leaders who do so well in making sure she understands and is happy.

History, Films and Maths

We’ve been watching a fair amount of telly over the last few days, interspersed with other activities.  I’m getting really into history documentaries at the moment – I prefer to watch them in the daytime, partly because the sausages sometimes take an interest and partly because I’m too tired to concentrate in the evenings.  This week I watched The World’s Most Beautiful Eggs: The Genius of Carl Faberge; Tutenkhamun: The Truth Uncovered; and Stonehenge: A Timewatch Guide. The girls tend to be busy when I watch telly which is nice as it means they can dip in and out of my programme, depending on how interesting they find it.

The girls, D in particular, have been watching all three of the Narnia films over and over and also Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2 – the questions that arise from films get more and more complicated!  M is starting to get a grasp on story telling and asks questions about certain scenes or characters and how they link into the plot.  I’ve said before that their telly watching isn’t ‘zoned-out-gorming-at-a-box’ type viewing: they’re really engaged and learning so much from it.  I sometimes use their film time to do some cleaning but recently I’ve been using the time to get some cross-stitching done so I’ve been around to answer tons of questions. 🙂

D was sick in the night this week – she appeared to be fine but a little tired the next day.  She spent a good couple of hours in recovery on Wednesday, watching Storybots Dinosaur Songs on YouTube.

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On Thursday we went to Wimbledon Common – it was absolutely freezing but D of course was boiling hot and took her coat of almost straight away :).  It was so quiet and peaceful there, particularly by the lake – it’s the first time we’ve been that way since D fell in and she was ok about it.  The entire walk took on a Minecraft theme with D marching ahead to collect diamonds and kill off mobs.

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We spent Friday morning at a friend’s house – after a bit of playing together and trying out their indoor swing chair and hammock, the girls got to work on designing t-shirts.  They had such a lovely time!

In the evening, in the middle of our bedtime stories, D’s new calculator arrived from Amazon – she was so excited and asked for sums immediately, M then wanted to join in too so I asked M the sum while D checked her answers on the calculator.  Hooray for maths in bed at 9pm. 😀

A Week in the Life of a Home Educating Family: Friday

This week has been very odd and I’m not entirely sure it was a great week to report on as it seems to have been quite a nonentity!  Next week looks much more exciting I can assure you…  At least you’ve seen how mundane it can be as a home educator, ha!

What I love about our life though is the little things: the tiny sparkles of funniness throughout the day; the joy I have in learning together with the sausages; the joy I have when they have learnt something for themselves; and the overriding fact that they are 100% happier at home than at school!

I’m not sure I’m going to continue my daily blog into the weekend: we have a big family lunch tomorrow (J’s parents have been married 60 years!) and M has two playdates on Sunday so I probably won’t see a lot of the sausages…

If you missed the previous days, please click on the links below:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


I come downstairs and write my previous day’s blog.


D comes down and has dressed and brushed her teeth and hair.  I love this new phase of hers as it’s so hard to get her dressed later in the day.  She watches Go Diego Go for a little bit and amazes J (who is now awake and working) with her animal knowledge.


M comes down and we have breakfast and get the bunnies out.


J gets the girls working on anniversary cards for his parents.  While they’re busy, I grab a shower and clean the bathroom.  When I come out, D is in the bedroom doing some colouring.  She tells me that the Spanish word for Grandma is Abuelita!  I love that her head is filled with random facts.  J leaves for work.


I make myself a coffee, M is just finishing her anniversary card.  She has copied their wedding photo and done a lovely job.  Then she starts on Minecraft.  We can hear D upstairs, she’s singing with an American accent at the top of her voice.


We leave for Wimbledon Common.  I’m amazed that the girls want to go, usually it’s very hard to get them out of the house.  They must be feeling as cooped up as me.  M loves exploring off the beaten path and we find a bush with 2 rosehips left on it, 2 dens made out of very large branches and a huge fir tree.  We end up at Putney Heath where there is a lovely wood and we play Sausage Spotting which is similar to Where’s Wally.

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Spot the Sausage…

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On the way home we look at the large houses in Wimbledon Village and M wonders why you would want a house that large.  I suggest that it’s to do with status and explain what this means.  This then leads on to whether having an unnecessarily big house is a good or bad thing: M is very interested in social justice.

We then drive past a woman in a burqa, which sparks a discussion on what the point of it is.  I try really hard to remain impartial during these discussions rather than imprinting her with all my views but I think I failed on this one!

We get back for lunch.  We have a quick game of Monopoly: M is convinced she’s going to lose (even though all evidence points to the contrary) so we stop and she watches Mr Tumble instead?  She hasn’t watched it since she was 2!  D watches Dora on Netflix for a while but soon stops to help me complete a 500 piece jigsaw we bought last week.  M also helps and D tells us both about a tomato frog that can be found in Madagascar – who knew?!


M decides she wants to bake: she begins making up a recipe using molasses sugar, flour, butter and vanilla.  She calls the biscuits Madagascar Mix-Up.  She really does find this sort of sensory activity therapeutic: it makes her so happy!



The happiness doesn’t last as she can’t wash the greasiness off her hands and it begins to stress her out.  She walks off in a huff, unsuccessfully slamming the lounge door.  I have to say though, her mood this week has been amazing compared to the last fortnight when she was becoming very hard to communicate with.  Luckily, she recovers quickly and comes back in to taste her biscuits and decides they need icing.  We spend the time up to bed watching Dora the Explorer (D told us that ‘lo hicimos’ means ‘we did it’ and ‘mochila’ means backpack’.


I read another Rainbow Magic book to D and M listens too – they were both fascinated by these fairies a year ago and I can see the interest remains!  I read a fair bit of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but I can tell M isn’t in the mood to listen.  There is quite a bit of bickering between the sausages and I advise them to keep away from each other before I head downstairs.  Luckily, I know they’re sensible girls and they will keep themselves to themselves.  Usually they’re good friends but they can get on each other’s nerves which is pretty normal and healthy, I guess.

So endeth another week in the Sausage household!  I am looking forward to J being around at the weekend, and to a change in our dynamics: he always shakes us 3 up a bit. 😀

Love Bombing with M

Love Bombing sounds a bit like some sort of porn but it isn’t, honest.  It’s the title of a book written by Oliver James that I read recently.  The basic premise of Love Bombing is that for a day or two (or longer if you wish) you hand over control to your child and you shower them with attention.  This enables you to reconnect with each other, which is often difficult to do in our busy family lives.  No one else joins in – no partners, no siblings.  Just you and one child.  Your child has complete control over what you do/where you go during this time.  After reading the book, implementing Love Bombing plus daily half hour top ups pretty much sorts out most behavioural problems occurring!

So I explained all this to M and her little face lit up :).  I stipulated she could have a day with me (some do an overnight too but there’s no way our budget will stretch to that at the moment) and she could choose what she wanted to do, as long as it didn’t cost too much.  After thinking about it for a few days she decided she wanted to go foraging for berries!  So this Saturday we went to Morden Park!  D was a little wobbly at the thought of both of us going out without her but she rallied at the thought of having her own special day another time, and at spending the day with J.


We spent two hours walking around Morden Park, picking haw berries, elder berries, blackberries and rosehips.  M adored every minute! She became very good at berry spotting too. She chose to have two doughnuts from a bakery for lunch and then believe it or not, we were too tired to forage anymore.  M tentatively asked if we could go to a toy shop so we headed back to Wimbledon but then M decided she’d rather play Minecraft for an hour so I sat beside her with a cup of tea while she played.

After that we both felt refreshed enough to head out again (M gorgeously bursting with joy at the prospect of sitting on the front seat in the top deck of the bus!) and we spent a long time window shopping in Ely’s jewellery department before heading up to the toys.  She obviously didn’t intend for me to buy her anything but I thought I would as it had been such a cheap day out!

On our way back to the bus stop we spotted the library and M asked if we could go in and choose some more books for her reading challenge… eh?!  So we made a quick dash in there to grab two books before it closed.

M was so full of joy all day that I felt quite emotional at times – it was so lovely to have her all to myself.

A glorious day!

Sports Day and a Trip to London

Squeezing in a last post before we leave for Nottingham tomorrow – we’ve had a packed few days so here’s a round-up of what we’ve been up to:

On Wednesday afternoon we went to an HE sports day event at Carshalton Park, organised by Jo from 3 Kids and a Gluestick.  It was BOILING hot but luckily we were shaded by trees for the most part.  The races were great fun although the little ones (D included) found it difficult to understand that there were no ‘winners’ and that everyone got a sweet for taking part.  D refused to join in any races (in-line with her current fear of failure) and I didn’t push it and hoped she would enjoy watching the fun anyway.  Turns out she also finds watching M losing quite upsetting too and she got quite distraught about it :(.  I’m hoping that it’s just a 5-year old phrase!  Jo created some amazing bubbles which the kids loved, and I think M might be inspired to make her own, I’ve seen instructions how to do it here.  D was desperate to go into the nearby playground at the end of the get together and the girls were in there for another 2 hours – they looked like a couple of tomatoes at the end of the day!

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She whizzed through her books for the summer reading challenge at the library so we went to borrow more books on Thursday morning.  Last year they had a rule where you could only read two books for the challenge per library visit but this year they now allow you to borrow as many at a time as you want so we took out the remaining 4 books to read while we’re away.  M was pleased as punch to be chatting to the librarian about the books she had read!

On Thursday afternoon we went to M’s best friend’s house (B) for a few hours. The adoration between those two is still evident, they’ve known each other for years now and they get so excited when they get to see each other.  They played in the paddling pool, talked about Minecraft and Lego and made loom bands.  D stayed and chatted to the grown-ups :).  They are both very taken with B’s rabbit, George.  He is so laid back, M was able to stroke him for half an hour.  The inevitable ‘when can we have a rabbit’ question arose and I reminded M that she was supposed to be doing the research into what kind of pet would suit our family best.  I’m thinking that the level of interest into doing the research equates to the level of interest in actually looking after the pet and so far it’s not very impressive…

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On Friday, J took the day off work and we went into London with the aim of seeing the beach at the South Bank and the street performers in Trafalgar Square.  As it happened, neither were interested in the beach but there were some fantastic fountains nearby and if we ever go again we will bring swimming costumes and towels – J and the girls got totally drenched!  There was a ‘love’ theme to the South Bank – I’m not sure I got the point entirely but there was a lovely atmosphere.

We treated ourselves to coffee and cake at Le Pain Quotidien before heading over the bridge to Trafalgar Square.  There were lots of screams of excitement as the girls saw landmarks they recognised: London Eye, The Shard, Big Ben and telephone boxes.  After wandering around Trafalgar Square, we spied Big Ben in the distance so we walked down to it, getting a quick look at the Queens Calvary on the way.  All in all, we had a really lovely day out and the girls coped admirably with the walking and intense heat.  And we just made it home before the storm broke!

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The weekend has been chilled out – we visited J’s parent’s; watched bit of Judo on the Commonwealth Games; watched films; made biscuits; played Minecraft; visited the park; the girls helped me do some cleaning and now I’m off to panic about how little packing I have done for tomorrow…

One last note, it’s becoming apparent that D is beginning to ‘unschool’ her own bedtimes – she is becoming increasingly aware of when she is tired and when she is ready for bed, adamantly telling me when she is definitely not ready!  I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this as it also seems that she is ready for a later bedtime.  The knock-on effect of this is that M will miss out on her special time with me once D has gone to bed.  This is something I will re-visit after our holiday as I’m sure that all the sea air and the excitement of being with her family 24/7 will knock her out earlier than usual anyway!  These later bedtimes has also led to very cute ‘naughtiness’ where the girls chatter together, sometimes until as late as 10.30pm, giving each other sums to do…

Pottery, Leeds Castle and a Pyjama Day

Grandma is here again!  I had two very excited sausages awaiting her arrival at St Pancras station on Monday.


Then we headed off to pottery in Clapham and M got to take home her first pinch pot.


On Tuesday I had organised a day out for us at Leeds Castle. The four of us got in for £12!  £12!!  Ahh, the wonders of home ed never cease!  It was a wonderful day out: we had a long (for us) walk through the grounds; a walk inside the castle; a play in the playground; we watched a falconry display; got lost in a maze; had a ride on a boat across the lake and finished off with a ride on the castle train.

M was given responsibility of taking the photos: ‘looking at things’ is one of her worst activities on days out so taking photos kept her engaged for the day :).  She took over 100.. here are just a few…

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And a few of mine..

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All in all, we had a great day out and I can highly recommend it if you can get there.

Today the girls were tired and tetchy so it was a good job we had no plans and settled for a much-needed pyjama day.  It was still rather busy though.  The sausages began by showing Grandma how to make a loom bracelet, and then D finished off her space lapbook!  It was a culmination of hours and hours of work, but I’m not sure ‘work’ is the right word for it as she enjoyed it so much.


I wanted to get on with a bit of DIY while I had the chance today and M soon wanted to get involved so I let her finish off filling the holes on the stairs with wood filler – she absolutely loved it and I wish I’d given her the whole job to do as she really was good at it!


Then Grandma played ‘teacher’ and helped them with their Africa lapbooks (M doesn’t want to do it with me anymore so I think this is going to be an on-going project with Grandma).  While this was going on I was painting the floor of our landing and stairs – a seemingly endless job as I can only do one coat a day!

The rest of the day was spent with M playing Lego Harry Potter on Grandma’s iPad and D playing a very imaginative game of Cinderella with Grandma.

Grandma is going home tomorrow (much to Granddad’s relief, I’m sure) so I will have to figure out what to do to keep the sausages occupied to take their minds of their misery…

Catching Up With What We’ve Been Doing

Well, after Spain, 3 lots of visitors, Easter, my birthday and D’s birthday, it’s now back to just us.  The girls have settled back into their old equilibrium of being best friends with the occasional fall-out and I’m back to my OU courses, planning activities and day to day stuff.

We’ve done a few activities in and around our visitors:

We started our food chain picture on the kitchen window, which nicely doubles up as a sun-blind…


The girls did some gardening with their Grandma…


And me & D did an enormous Jigsaw…


We’re off to the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition at the Tate next week so I gave the girls some shapes from Matisse’s Icarus picture to see what they made of them – they both came up with Rudolph!

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The Original…


Yesterday the girls dressed up as Tinkerbell and a pirate and we went out and about on their scooter and rollerblades, much to the delight of an elderly neighbour of ours!  We had a little chat with her and she confided that she is struggling to look after herself, her house and her dying husband :(.  Of course we offered our help and she said she would let us know if she needed anything.  Of course, I fully expect that she won’t.  M is desperate to do something kind for her so I will have to get my thinking cap on.


Today we had a trip to Wimbledon Common to go on a scavenger hunt.  We had to find something yellow; bendy; a leaf nibbled by a caterpillar; something lucky; delicate; and weightless.  D wasn’t too keen to go but as soon as we were out of the car she was like a dog let off a leash!

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This weekend they’ll be back to judo and I’m back to decorating!

Just a final picture of 5 year old D at her party 🙂


Mucus, Gloop and Other Activities

A quick post with a few pictures to show what we’ve been up to over the last few days with Aunty S…

The girls have been absolutely full of cold for quite a few days now and this was cause for D to get her body book out so she could tell Daddy all about mucus…


M has enjoyed playing with gloop…


We had a visit to Wimbledon Common…


M has spent a lot of time making plaster models by pushing toys into clay to make a mold then covering the clay with plaster of paris.  She has tried a dinosaur, a fairy and shells.  D pushed some bouncy balls into hers to make Mars and Jupiter.

M wanted to make up her own recipe so I put all our baking ingredients onto the kitchen table and let her loose.  I didn’t get a picture of the end result but I think she would agree it was pretty revolting!  D got straight to the point and made ‘chocolate soup’: it was made and drunk in minutes.

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The glue gun arrived!  We used it to finish off D’s rocket…


The girls, M in particular are struggling quite a lot with their heavy colds but we’ve managed to have a really lovely, laid back time with Aunty S.

Center Parcs 2014!

We’re back from a wonderful 5 days at Longleat Center Parcs.  Lots of swimming, playing, cycling, eating, drinking and laughing.

Daddy's list of jobs to do before we set off...
Daddy’s list of jobs to do before we set off…
M lost another tooth!
M lost another tooth!
The sausages in our much-loved holiday home
The sausages in our much-loved holiday home

We spent hours and hours outside in the parks…

And ate A LOT of deserts…

And we wrote our favourite things about Center Parcs on the kitchen chalk board.

We had a lovely lovely time and can’t wait to go back again next year 🙂



An ‘Exciting’ Visit to a Roundabout

D has been longing to visit Tolworth roundabout for ages.  Yes, really.  We drive through it every week on the way to our Thursday group.  They’ve recently redeveloped it with trees, fencing and stripey pathways which is probably why D was attracted to it.  I needed to pick up a bit of food to see us through until we leave for Nottingham on Thursday so I suggested that we visit Tolworth roundabout while we’re out.

So the girls had a quick run around on the stripey pathways, marvelled at the fact that they were walking under a road in the subway and held their noses at all the delightful smells which came our way.  Bizarrely, they actually seemed to enjoy the trip!!


We’ve had a very lazy few days as the girls are still recovering from a very full on Friday at a friend’s birthday party and then a very late night celebrating their Nanny & Granddad’s wedding anniversary at a restaurant.

Mentally, I’m done.  I am ready for the Christmas holidays!  For the next few days I will be packing and sorting until we hit the road on Thursday.  I don’t have the brain power to think about projects or anything.  I just want to sit down with a glass of ginger wine and watch a movie.  However, we have got one more VERY exciting trip before we leave, I will leave you on tenterhooks until tomorrow…

One last thing, here is a picture of the Christmas lanterns the girls made the other day.  Gorgeous, aren’t they?