As well as visiting the Panto in Nottingham- much enjoyed by all especially when Daddy got dragged up on stage in 'mistake' for Barney Harwood! We also had FIs Dancing show at the Ice Arena- dancing to Another One Bites the Dust and the Gangnam Style. My young man- with his first tie- took me out to dinner then accompanied me to the show. We noticed that Torvill and Deans costumes were on display in the foyer- which was quite a wow for me anyway.
And then those final few days before Christmas- centred around catching up with some family and relaxing, a few Christmas makes and traditions like watching the Box of Delights (I want to live at Seekings!) before new pyjamas and preparations....
A dreadful realisation (OK acknowledgement) of how far behind I allow myself to get....
Last month we spent a wonderful few days at Ironbridge in Coalbrookdale YHA with some HE friends
By the side of the River... bridge possibly just about visible.
Enguinuity- lots of button pressing/gadget pulling
Candle dipping at Blist Hill Victorian Town.
Highlights were the fact that a number of the musums were in walking distance of the Youth Hostel. Massive fun with lots of HE friends and a little wine drunk with the mummies (and some daddies!). We have taken out an Annual Family Pass- so we will be back again with Daddy in tow- especially as we have booked to go back to the YHA next June with the same ish set of people.
M takes the credit for this one! A simple sheet from Nature Detectives suggesting willow lanterns. A willow framework covered with tissue paper with a single leaf glued to each panel (obviously open to interpretation!)
A nightlight glued to the centre of each, plus a carrying pole.
Darkness and a wood to walk to and through
A storm kettle hot chocolate in the woods (cue extremely cold children). And Sausage and Chips on the way home......
The chaos and amazement of Slavas Snow show- from row 2- definately a good place to be!! The kids loved it- even some of the quieter simple quirky moments as well as the BIG moments. Very funny- TP has developed an excellent impression of Slava on the phone! And the big blizzard was breathtaking (literally- especially on row 2)- we had snow everywhere (even in my pants!!!! and down my bra!!!!) And the big balls bouncing around.....
We will go again -if it comes back- and take daddy too!
We have also done a new Forest School session- run by a HE dad- which was great. A nice smallish group with sensible non schoolish rules (not surprising that)- enough mud, smoke and dangerous tools to fill everyones excitement cup- hopefully running again after Christmas.
Otherwise SJ has been working for some Cub badges- his Home Help and Cyclist and Chefs badges. TP is slowly learning a few letters and numbers- very low key here and FI is having a huge leap forward in her reading skills- we have more or less abandoned the reading scheme and she has moved over to Rainbow Fairies (bleurgh- says mum- however it is what she wants to read!)- where she is sucessfully reading a few pages each day.
In family stories we have briefly stepped away from Enid Blytons Adventure series to cover the Butterfly Lion (prior to seeing at the Theatre) and have done a handful of David Walliams- some we enjoyed more than others. They do rather assume a 'popularist culture knowledge' and despite the fact that they seem to be being marketed as 'the new Roahl Dahl' they will date every quickly! Anyway-back to Enid Blyton and the Mountain of Adventure....
Halloween, to us, is a low key festival. We like to talk about it from the perspective of seasonal change and the day of the departed- so we like pumpkins, a little spookiness (in a kind, celebratory way- rather than a frightening scary way) and usually do some kind of trail to some goodies.
What we dont do is Trick or Treating- or anything related. I really hate having strangers banging on my door and hate that people do this to elderly people. I have no problem with people calling on friends or neighbours where this is pre-arranged or reciprocated.....
So Halloween was,for us, delivering FI to her Beaver party-whereby she also completed her creative badge- having spent ages making this cardboard farm- complete with ducks, campers and garden gnomes!
Then a Weekend of fireworks - both a public display (through our front window) to a family display- quiet with kids running around (no where near anything dangerous!!!)
I know that some parts have had terrible storms over the last week or so- but here in the protected Midlands we have really had quite lovely weather. I am at that time of year where I feel it all slipping away and desparate to make the most of these last weeks before the cold really sets in- hence a glorious autumny walk in Sherwood Forest. I love the mix of woodland there!
Shushing through leaves and children and daddies grubbing for acorns and toadstool spotting- it is a very good year for them!
A handful bought home and potted up- we have a wonderful little tree about two feet high potted from an 'SJ grubbed' Acorn when he was three.....when we move we will be taking!
As per usual time is flying- I just know that Christmas will be here before we know it!
FI has just survived a Beaver Sleepover to The Deep in Hull- 100 excited Beavers on two buses sleeping (NOT sleeping in most cases!) around the fish, doing crafty activities- masks and T shirt decorating. A very tired little girl- who says she isn't!
We have been working on spellings and word families- fairly low key but making OK progress and have discovered the MathsQuest books -after numerous recommendation from other HE friends (when I say discover- I meant dusted them off seeing as they had been on the shelf waiting the whole time!).
We have been crafting autumn things- falling leaves and stained glass windows, Hama beading spiders and Halloween pictures.
Planning holidays over the next few months... A HE Youth Hostel Trip, a family cabin holiday plus a farm holiday with extended family next year and possibly a family PGL trip.
Booking Theatre tickets..... going to Michael Morpurgos Butterfly Lion this month and Slavas Snow Show next month and the Panto in December...feels like we have spent a fair amount of money recently!
Trying to move the house forward- bath panel completion in sight, front garden heading towards being a front garden, fencing serviced and completed (that was a big job) and hoping to perhaps put the house onto the Market in the spring???
where you find the children have been playing with the camera.........
Obviously lego is valued highly in this household....
In fact I think some of it is played with daily. We have a huge box of general stuff, Ms ancient lego railway set and then quite a few modern sets ( we tend to go for either Creator or City).
We are having a little- very gentle- push at trying to improve the older twos spellings- this arises from the fact that they have noticed their peers are writing more smoothly and longer pieces than what comes to our naturally. We have been struggling to find the right approach avoiding any learning 'by rote'- tried crosswords, hangman etc- am considering going back to word families- ight, aught etc
A birthday present for TP- I thought it a little beyond him- but careful support and the acceptance (from him)- that projects need to be completed over a longer time span - has led to an end effect that I think he can be proud of
More Narnia battles- occasionally with the odd plane or car involved- which isnt quite Narnia (of course neither are the guns that each plastic figure is sporting either!!)
SJ and his new CDROM for his birthday- a lego construction park- interesting alternate skills to platform games
Sometimes struggling with the 'how much time on technology' question- trying to make sure interspersed with outrdoor play and activities- as particularly TP would go TV-iPad- PC-IPad etc some days....
Very hard getting the balance- I know I am never happy! The flip side of going on holiday as everyone else goes back to school is that we miss all of the 'going back 'to the various activities- and thus all the letters and information sometimes too...
However a late summer holiday, with glorious weather, in Yorkshire cannot be sniffed at- especially when it involves fish and chips on the promenade in Filey- quite curious and vey unspoilt vintage place- lovely pleasure gardens and band stand etc- and better still free parking for a Motorhome!! A lovely day out at Bempton Cliffs where we saw thousands of gannets encoraging their fledgelings to fly and where the lovely RSPB staff were pleasantly surprised to have interested children sorting through their feather collections as well as borrowing the backpacks and spotting kits. We were also very interested in the abandoned RAF Bempton site adjacent to the bird cliffs. A visit to Burnby Hall with friends on the way home- lots of fish feeding.
FIs birthday present- lots of fun playing with colour options that she hadnt really though about before- love the 1920s headband too.
SJ and one of his complicated 'games' in the Motorhome- which involves using all the pieces of the games compendium that we have in there to turn into a huge Narnia battle....definately has rules that only he understands- any other mere mortal can never hope to comprehend...
Otherwise lots of scootering and making friends- quite some cross stitch for me and finished a few books -which was wonderful!
And so went a summer that flew past in a round of picnics, crafty fun, stories, scootering and chaos.....
A lovely late summer day out at Belton House- an NT favourite- meandering around the garden and maze ( and conveniently forgetting the adventure playground which gets sooo crowded on non school days!!!)- whilst SJ was spending the day with a friend made on his PGL holiday
A complicated dragon wooden model- which conveniently loses about four bit everytime one has to pick it up- but that SJ was so proud of...
An exciting step forward- a whole week away at an activity centre, by himself, on a 7-10 yrs holiday. Had a wonderful time but I think was ready to come home- got an almost tearful call the night before home- just tired and ready for a bit of normality I think...
Excitement of Raft Building, Rifle shooting, High Ropes, Climbing and Abseiling, Quad biking plus many more.... Talent shows, discos, films
Both he and FI would like to go next year.....
On one hand a glorious summer... long warm days, picnics and barbecues, swimming in the river. Free play plus a few leisure centre activities (got the balance right this year- not too many so we feel scheduled but enough to try a few new things), friends to play for young lady and a few play dates in return...
Then the other hand- freak rain storms and flash flooding (and mad children who love dancing in the rain)- we never have problems with rain/flooding however friends who live halfway up a hill (!!!!!!) have been flooded- the torrent of water going down the hill washed out a retaining wall and took a sea of mud through their house- such that they have lost their entire ground floor ( slight funny- mum was trying to keep drains keep as they saw wall going and shrieked to kids - 11 & 6 to take some things upstairs- they saved the Wii and the toaster!)
A little early... just because that was when we could be fitted in..... but a Pony party for a few friends. One very excited little girl complete with her Tattoo (from a Hamleys kit- glitter tattoos which last about a week)- which actually has looked quite pretty.
On her pony Oscar- who had definately got out of bed the wrong side and was really quite unco-operative!
TP on 'Misty'- who was a new Riding School pony and was thus being trained....
Great pony side party but not so great on the party side- a little embarrasing when the promised food as part of the package didnt materialise and you have eight hungry kids and a couple of bags of crisps and a few cup cakes.......never mind. And someone who didnt bother to turn up and didnt have the curtesy to let us know either before or after.........am soooo done with parties....but she had a great time and I think most of the kids did too.
Enjoying the summer holiday rest from the whirl of after school activities- even though we have added in some leisure centre taster sessions. Finally finished at Playgroup- mixed feelings on that one but will give us much more freedom- just need to have the AGM so I can hand on responsibilty of Chairperson (and free up a shelf!).
Exciting moments ahead for a certain big boy- a virtual friend had posted about her DD going to a summer camp- so I decided to show SJ and ask him if that would be something he would be interested in the future... at which he turned around and said he wanted to go this year,,,, BIG GULP..... ok then...... so he is off next Saturday for a whole week (some quite good last minute deals!)- so thats the 'party' issue dealt with on his front!!! So proud- this year he has mastered night dryness- enduring unfair jibes from his long dry siblings (not really mean but just niggly) so am glad that he feels ready to go off like this (doesnt help at cub camp- when your parents are the Leaders...)
Have been debating whether to take the children for the last few years and finally decided to do it this year! Great day- very well organised. Easy parking and prebooked tickets meant fast track entry. I decided just to do one day- but we could have easily spent both days there in order to do justice to it all. Of course as always I knew that the WWII stuff would be the highlight for certain family members! This was particularly nice as there was a 'German' contingent as well- as we always try to remember that both sides have their sympathies and both sides were involved in acts that are not particularly proudly remembered.
The American War of Independence- they were particularly intrigued by the Native Americans involvement- lots of booms and bangs and rifle shots
The highlight was a representation of the D day landings (without the beach!!!!!) with paratroopers parachuting in, followed by Allied landing, frontal assault from the 'Germans' complete with mortars/bombs and machine gunning complete with a low flying Hurricane 'strafing' the Germans- truly the Highlight for one particular young man.
Also very fascinated by the modern day media people who were flying cameras in the air above it all on radio controlled multi prop 'helicopters'
We will go back again next year- preferably with a second parent!
Gorgeous Highland scenery- on a beautiful Forestry Commission site- stunning walk- free parking, deserted, beautiful picnic facilities, compost toilet (kids always find them terribly exciting)- could have stayed all day
Continuing the beach fascination- a rocky/sandy beach on the Moray Firth near Fort George- another beautiful afternoon of wet mooching children, deserted beach so parents can watch from the bench next to the Motorhome- with a pot of tea- and actually talk to each other for once.
Dolphin spotting at Chanonry Point- am not sure which species was watching the other??
Children that actually like each other- everyone getting on quite well- when they arent arguing...
Another beautiful Scottish holiday- with a slight detour to Lincolnshire to the Memorial Flight to continue our WWII airplane obsession
Wonderful sunshine- hardly a midge- we went to the right side of Scotland this year! We totally beached the children out- if that is possible! Few quiet days in the countryside on a site in the grounds of a Stately Home. Then some wild camping on Rannochmoor (but still both a Tesco and an Asda Home delivery vans went past!!!)- up the beauty of the A9 into the Highlands and Invernessshire- where we visited Ft George and watched Dolphins swimming off Chanonry Point on the Black Isle...
Camping at Rosemarkie- 5m from the Sea- friends playing all day...Moving onto North Berwick and a huge amount of friends- whereby we lost them for most of the day (and half the night too). Lots of brown skin- rubbed skin from flip flops- buckets of shells.....
Exam done, assignment uploaded and now a rest and a hard think about whether to go further....
Some site scouting done and some long discussion re Future- just need to get house moved on a bit now- however Weather makes it too hot this weekend!