Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Fizz fizz fizz

It was our home ed co-op meet up this afternoon.  Mel set up little tables on the green outside the hall, and we did some science experiments.
I brought along the necessary equipment to make a 'Fizz Inflator'.  It was even better than I had expected.  Bicarb+vinegar+kids reactions never gets tired!  
Mel brought her volcano for more bicarb and vinegar fun.   She also had a cool experiment using red cabbage water as an acid and alkaline indicator.  I think we'll do this again at home.
On the way home we saw four swans flying through the sky.  They looked awesome!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin

Betsy and I made a three little pigs puppet set yesterday, inspired by this blog post at innerchildfun.  I offered her different materials to make the puppets from (card, felt or craft foam).  She liked the feel of the craft foam and chose that.
Betsy cut the straw and the sticks, and drew the bricks.  I helped with the pigs and the wolf, and she drew the eyes and mouths.
The play set turned out really well. We waited till today to play with it, once the glue was dry.
Freddie played the wolf, Betsy the pigs and I worked the houses.  I think we'll make another set, maybe the Billy Goats Gruff.
Freddie's been playing a lot of Dinosaur Strike on the Wii, with a spillover into us all playing fighting dinosaur games.  I have been defeated many many times!

I dug out some games that had been waiting for a moment of boredom.  The kids had a bendy straw building kit for christmas.  Freddie and I made a sort of double wheel with spokes.  It was one of those things that only diverts for 10 minutes, but seems to bring different elements of previous experiences together.

We played 3D snakes and ladders, and made some paper aeroplanes from the book I bought at the weekend.  

Betsy did some painting.  She said it was the best painting ever done in the world!

Our Grow Your Own Potatoes pack arrived last week.  This is our third year of doing it.  Today we put the seed potatoes on the window sill for chitting.
We just need to get some compost for planting them out in a couple of weeks time.  We'd better start thinking about the allotment soon too, growing season is fast approaching!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Adventures in quilting (rock and roll!)

I used to go out on a Saturday night, in the olden days.  Now I stay in and knit, or sew.  With a glass of wine by my side!

I've done the next two blocks of the Craftsy Block of the Month.  It was triangles this month, magic triangles for the first one and traditionally pieced triangles for the second one.

Here they are all together.  I'm very pleased with how it's looking so far.
I made a jelly roll race quilt top this weekend.  It's fab - one jelly roll plus 3 hours gets you this:
I've ordered some batman fabric to make the backing, along with some dark blue and pale blue.  It's coming from the US so I'll have to wait for a couple of weeks.  It's for Freddie, I'm really looking forward to finishing it for him.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Signs of spring!

Oh happy day!  We've had a stomach bug here in the last week, and then the kids didn't want to go out.  Today we finally made it out the door.

Spring is springing.  Today it was mild, sunny and fresh, perfect early spring weather.  I suggested  we spot signs of spring.  They were both reluctant but to my surprise changed their minds and we had a lovely hour or so of spotting.
We used the Nature Detectives download.  I love that website, so many great ideas and resources.
We saw everything, all practically on the doorstep.
Freddie spotted two ladybirds on the shrub in next door's front garden.  One was red with black spots, the other black with red spots.  It seems so early for ladybirds.
After lunch the kids played in the garden for the first time this year.  They found more signs of spring.  Unbelievably we found a (honey?) bee on the paving.  It looked very sorry for itself and didn't seem able to fly, though it seemed to have a droplet of nectar by the proboscis.
Freddie picked a leaf and I used it to transport the bee through the house to the front garden, where there is a heather in flower.
I hope the bee was able to get enough energy from the flowers to fly.

We mounted another rescue operation a few minutes later, when Freddie found a caterpillar on one of the toy trucks.  I don't hold out much hope for this one, as he looked like he had a pretty serious injury.
But it was moving, and we put it on a plant with delicious looking leaves.

So the kids played, and I got the garden table and a chair out the shed and sat with a cup of tea in the sun.  Lovely!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Longing for warmer weather

I'm feeling a bit meh about winter.  I usually feel this way in February, watching for signs of spring.  The days are longer now, which is very welcome, but I'd like a little warmth to go with it.

In the meantime, Freddie continues to play on the Wii *a lot*, and Betsy has been baking *a lot*.

Mum came over one day last week with a Dora the Explorer baking magazine.  I came with a Dora plate and some muffin cases.

Betsy was very excited and we made the muffins from the recipe inside.  Well, sort of.  We added cocoa powder as Betsy will only bake chocolate items!

We baked a few more chocolaty treats over the next few days.

We have this childrens cook book.  It's got a good brownies recipe in it, that isn't too rich.

We don't often use it for much else, but we tried a couple of the other recipes.

First up, biscuits.  They were meant to be ginger, but we ditched the spice and added cocoa!
They were very tasty.  Betsy cut out lot of hearts in honour of Valentines Day.  She wanted to do the dinosaurs for Freddie, and the 2s for her.

The next day we made a cake, from the same recipe book.

It's meant to be a sandwich cake, but as Betsy (and Freddie ) don't like icing or frosting or anything like that we made one layer only and left it plain.

It was delicious!

We did manage to get out of the door today.  It's been difficult - Meg's been sick, it's been so cold and the lure of the fire has been too much to resist.  But this morning the sun was shining, it was slightly less cold so we went to the playground.

The ice on the canal is slowly thawing.  Today we noticed lots of cracks and puddles.

We fed some very hungry ducks.

The playground was empty, which surprised me as it's half term.

We headed to the supermarket to pick up some batteries for the Wii remote (an essential purchase!) and stopped at the cafe there for a mid morning pick me up.  Meg made a break for the kitchen but I caught her before she got in a pickle.  Freddie and Betsy had their Costa snacks of choice (Freddie - biscotti, Betsy - chocolate brownie).  I may have eaten a caramel shortbread....

Although it was cold and windy, I was so happy to be in the sunshine!   Roll on the spring.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Beauty on our doorstep

We're so lucky to live next a canal.  At the moment it's so beautiful.  Large sections are frozen, with ice-free areas where the ducks swim.  On my way home from town the light was just lovely, so I dropped the shopping and grabbed my camera to take a few photos.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


We went bowling with our home ed co-op today, to celebrate one of the kids 5th birthday.  There were 15 children plus a handful of parents.

Meg made a break for the bowling lanes a few times, getting half way down before I caught her.  She was very interested in the whole thing, and helped bowl a few balls herself.

Freddie played the whole game - a first for him.  And he won!  

It was the co-op session after this.  We are looking at inventions and inventors in February.

We had cogs to play with, junk modelling, play dough, an inventions timeline, broken equipment to dismantle.

Betsy made a rocket.

One of the mums came up with an amazing baby carrier made from a pair of trousers.  She had a teeny pair of nail scissors to cut into the trousers, then ripped the fabric.  She tied a couple of knots, and then hey presto!  

What an awesome invention!  It was very comfortable too.

Afterwards there was time for a quick play in the (now very crunchy and frozen) snow before it got dark.

We're staying home tomorrow - Freddie is anxiously awaiting a delivery from Amazon.  Lego Pirates of the Caribbean are on their way...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

(I) Love hearts

We bought some new heart cookie cutters yesterday, so today we made some hearts to hang up around the house.

First they were used with the play dough.

Betsy and I made a window heart inspired by this blog though we laminated ours rather than using sticky back plastic (oh how I disliked having to cover school books in that stuff, it almost always wrinkled!).

I like how it turned out, I think we'll make another with red and pink.

Betsy made a valentines picture for Rob, with more tissue paper.  It's very sweet, I'm sure he'll love it.

I needle felted some hearts while Meg slept and the kids tootled about on the Wii and computer.

I made 3 into a hanging decoration, replacing the crocheted snowflakes that went up in December.

I'll make as many more as I can stand - I think lots of them piled up on the nature tray will look gorgeous, and be fun to play with and sort into colours.

Friday, 3 February 2012


We spent the day inside, by the fire.  We made things, and played.

I made bread, and had some homemade bread and homemade jam.  Yum!

Dinner was chickpea and vegetable curry, all creamy coconut warming goodness.  

Something else made me feel all warm and happy today.  My 365 Project book arrived!  I love it.  I made it through blurb and am really pleased with how it's turned out.

Truly a day of warm things, on a cold cold February Friday.