Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas Preparation

Well finally a photo of the finished article- although not terribly flattering as it seems to be larger at one end than the other- but anyway all wrapped up now. Am very previous with the wrapping this year as I just know that December is going to be an awfully busy month- especially as we are going on holiday for a week. Terribly un-green- but we are taking them to Lapland- and it will be their first airplane flight- in fact they will be soo excited I feel for the rest of the passengers!
Have managed to finish my main project for the GP swap- a crochet applique picture plus a few other bits- am not sure 'how much' I should be doing- so I shall have to see what arrives here...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Meeting a Bear and closing a door........

 SJ has just spent a day at his local Scouting County Activity Day and has made all of the above- as well as meeting Bear Gryllis- the Chief Scout- which has entirely tickled him! I was rather disappointed to be working so I couldn't go along as a parent helper(!!!). Although I know he fancied some of the activities that were cubs upwards (bringing our child up to be too adventurous obviously!).
We have made a little start on some advent type activities (will have to be careful to leave enough for the advent activity calendar!)- these are cards for the Grandparents- fortunately all can be delivered as sending those fat tummies through the post would cost a small fortune! Had a slight panic moment when silly mummy applied the wrong glue- which started to melt the polystyrene- fortunately managed to wipe it off in time.
FI is looking particularly grown up in a new dress- bought in a small parcel from a GP mama- holding her fretwork pteranodon- decorated and now dangling over her bed.

 Well my main news is that we have finally closed the door- M went and had his small procedure and now it is seems right- particularly after a delivery I went to this week......but ohhhhh.

Anyway moving rapidly on........ I have a bedroom floor covered in crochet currently blocking- the completed ripple blanket and part of my GP winter swap ( the first time I have felt confident enough to offer something of my making)- I shall photograph when dry. Time is passing soo quickly- I have an amigurami snowman on the go- probably for our season table. I did plan to do some cross stitch- but I think I am not going to get around to that now.
My job list seems to be growing rather than shrinking- I am trying to be disciplined and move something forward each day. I have a couple more bags sorted for the charity shops- a few toys, a few books (mine) and bits of clothing from the children (can't keep it all for my sister- 'just in case')- I find it really hard sorting through this stuff- I find it difficult to move past the 'waste' thought- "it could be useful"/"they might still play with it again" etc. I keep trying to tell myself better to send somewhere it WILL be used/read again etc. And whilst we haven't bought them an awful lot for Christmas inevitably some homes will be needed...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Busy list in progress

 Finally my poor children get to try out papermache- it has been a 'promise' all year and a never getting round to it at the appropriate time. But I have to say that it wasn't as bad as I imagined- no disasters and teamwork was even demonstrated! This is the start of our Christmas activities- this is going to be a snowmans head- with a removable hat- similar to a pinata- but without the bashing! (Jane Bull- "The Very Merry Christmas Activity Book"- I do like Jane Bull- activities slightly more crafty in the process than some of the Usbourne books- where it is all about end product) Possibly heading towards our seasons table?- we'll see how he works out.
 It was really lovely to see them working together- helping each other. It was interesting to watch how their techniques evolved- SJ far more in there with his hands, whereas FI more refined and done with the brush!
But then FI is turning more into a lady and taking herself off for some quiet girl play.

My 'to do' list seems to be growing rather than shrinking- with various projects. Am planning on doing some gift wrapping over the next few days- so that it doesn't become a last minute panic and thus painful. I am slowly collecting 'bags' for presents to try to reduce wrapping paper- we have some large ones for big things and I did intend to make some more- but haven't go around to it- so that one may get passed over this year. I may start to pull out some cards too- I bought some of the colour in yourself ones and was thinking for some of the close rellies..... I know it sounds manically early to be this focused- but am very aware that we are going away for a week in December- so am 'losing a week' of preparation- in fact I have more preparation to do!! Anyway at least I finally seem to have got the blogging habit more ingrained- am actually finding it more enjoyable and achievable now it is regular updates rather than overwhelming life updates!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Busy evenings.....busy days

 Well a few busy evenings rippling and here is the completed- but obviously not yet finished article. I have really enjoyed doing this- enough to keep your interest there but not so complicated that you are constantly counting and re-checking. It is now fully finished with a blue border and the ends sewn in- just needs blocking- but may need some advice on that one! Off to GP forum. Now moved onto doing a snowman which maybe for the winter swap or a child- haven't yet decided- may well wait to see how it turns out....
 Well on the HE front I have been trying to get a little more organised after my phone call from the school nursing service.....if this leads to us being 'found' I want to have reports ready to go- so that it is not a stressor when we get THE LETTER (dum dum dum).
And writing reports made me realise that we were possibly a little lacking on a science front. I find this quite amazing because both M and I have science backgrounds and I know we are NOT lacking- it is more that what we have done is very autonomous and child led and therefore not so measurable- for example I know that SJ understands quite a lot about electricity- basic flow and insulators etc- rather ahead of education city science section about 'not tripping over trailing wires' etc and equally on a physiology front- he has an understanding of what kidneys do and that the heart and lungs have a double pump circulation so he is doing OK! But anyway I thought we should maybe go 'back to basics'- which is fine as I have lots of science activity books and 'strewing' soon led to interest. Anyway the delightful monster above was made to explore surface tension (worked briefly) but the funniest bit was when the big two decided to add 'lipstick' (wax crayon) to their monsters- gosh the shrieks of laughter- bless innocence! We also made soap powered fish to investigate overcoming surface tension- also very briefly worked (blink and you missed it!)
SJ is also quite into 'Grand Design' type programs (as is mummy!!) as demonstrated by how his house pictures are developing. The shape of this house is the Farmhouse at the camp site we went to in September- but this is the straw bale version! He is currently working on a new design- maybe I need to suggest Daddy adds in a few basics of technical drawing......hmmmm.
A lot of our more constructive Home Ed things happen when TP is at Playgroup (thank goodness for playgroup)- in case people are wondering where the three year old is, in all of this. Is great as I know he gets plenty of painting and sticking there- which means I don't have to feel guilty about not doing so much here with him. We used to do things like that in the kitchen- where we had a wipable laminate floor- but since we changed the kitchen we now have gorgeous slate tiles- which I don't want them painting over- so painting/modelling now goes on where the oldest carpet in the house is- which is usually fine for the older two- but not so much for Mr Flail-arms...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Winter Projects on the go.......

 Yummmm- have come slightly full circle on the preserving. Started off with chutney for a couple of years, then to a jam year, then to marmalade and jam and now back to chutney. Quite nice to do it this way as it means we have well and truly decided which reciepes we really do like and which we aren't soo bothered by. Soo marrow chutney- we had decided that this was our last try as we really were not fussed by any of my previous batches but this one truly smells promising- a mixture of marrow/pear/tomato and beetroot with cloves and allspice......
Even looks better than my previous marrow ones- which always looked a little washed out and always tasted very seventies- complete with raisins. I love most of John Harrisons book- but he does tend to dress his chutneys in a seventies style!
Anyway now to a shameful confession - I have just totally indulged myself with my annual Christmas magazine buy. I soooo love looking at houses dressed for Christmas- the colours/ the cosiness/open fires/hot chocolate/fir trees/snow......could keep going........ The Cross Stitch magazine is a new one to me as I haven't done much for many years- probably since teens when I was quite 'in' to it- but with some of the things the children have been doing and Kirstie Allsops series it rekindled a little spark and the 'giveaways' on the front looked interesting. I have 'Mollie Makes' and 'Period Living' on subscription. The other two home magazines are occasional buys (I also love the summery 'Victorian tea on the lawn' type features).
Another recent purchase- from a blog that I occasionally read- the title sounded just perfect but am very slightly disappointed (as I was also with one of her previous books)- probably not aided by all the 'yarn' projects being knitted rather than a mix of knit/crochet. Maybe I have done wrong by reading it all at once- so am going to try to read each month as they fall and see whether that feels better.
Am still trying to have a general declutter and a 'using things up' session

Gosh a whole blog post hardly mentioning the children..........

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

On construction toys......

 Good old playgroup!! On an aside- it always makes me smile as an 'unknown' HEing family- that I am also the OFSTED registered person for playgroup!! As chairperson it tends to involve a 20 minute chat everytime I drop TP off- and the big two revel in the chance to briefly 'return'..... In the said 20 minutes they did a 'sticking picture' each, a painting picure each and then made huge box model rockets each. Apparently this then started a trend amongst the playgroup children and the huge box of cereal boxes/ yoghurt pots etc was entirely emptied- looking at some of the creations going home that day to various households- I imagine there maybe one or two parents wanting to bless my kids!
 SJ and his beloved construction toys! Part of the evolvement in accepting having older children means- for us anyway- an acceptance that those gorgeous wooden toys- lovingly selected- just don't really do it all the time anymore. A certain amount of brightly colored plastic creeps into your life-whether it is Lego/K'nex or Meccano- and to be honest, SJ would be bereft if it wasn't there. Of course there are still things that you can do....... we have, so far, tried to avoid the media associated 'kits' and go more for the generic kits that come with 'mulitple model' instruction books, so that models aren't merely deconstructed and rebuilt- or even worse just stuck on a shelf gathering dust. So far we have found Lego Constructor sets to be good- charity/car boot finds even better- although lego seems to hold value well......K'nex seems more generic anyway- the above model is the church where Auntie A got married a few blog posts ago.....
I love the way that the models evolve over time- at home later FI produced her 'flames' to come out of the bottom of her rocket (each individually coloured and stuck on).
However the bit that I really struggle with is what to do then......when it is gathering dust and falling apart/when you have restuck an item on 13 times..... I try to take photos but inevitably they do get slyly split up into the recycling bin- sometimes openly. It is the same with the pictures- I take photos and keep a large folder for each child with a selection of landmark stages- but there are only so many that it is possible to keep.
Ahh the pangs of a guilt ridden mother....speaking of which I am trying to do a few 'crafting' kits with them in the run up to Christmas- ( I suspect there may be some more on the way then),,,,so spent the afternoon up to elbows in Plaster of Paris- need to go and turn them out now (quietly and by myself just in case they haven't worked)- if they work they may be turned into presents for the next post??

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Heading into November....

 Brave of Daddy!! On one of my work days- apple bobbing in our 'work room'- what we call our activity space (also known as spare bedroom- when visitors come.....)- poor old SJ was at slight disadvantage when it comes to bobbing- when you are minus your front teeth!! I gather this was the highlight of an otherwise challenging weekend!
 Another item from our busy list- an autumn leaf printing picture. It started off really well with the tree and the leaves and the bird footprints across the bottom- then they found paint brushes and carried on with brushes- so we lost the printing effect slightly- but that is fine- their picture.....
Dusted off our geometric puzzles and FI seems to have the hang all of a sudden- and really got into the pattern copying- although a little help required, especially with the trying to work logically concept. FI loves 'doing work'- is in her element when given a small 'exam' or copying text/spellings from sounding out - not a great fan of reading text- but ironically LOVES 'flashcards' type thing as I found when I was about to throw out some that we had received with a book- "Mummy, test me with the cards...."- "Ok if I must....".
We went to a spectacular firwork display at Bolsover Castle (EH) last night. It had some Guy Fawkes reenactments scenes with music and hangings, followed by the most amazing fireworks with music with an 1812 overture finale- spectacular and well worth the money-even though raining at points.