Friday, 20 September 2013

The best home ed group ever

The group at Camp Mohawk is back after the summer break.  And I'm so pleased it is!  It's monthly, and one of the highlights in our home ed calendar.  I was a little apprehensive after the issues that came up last time, with Freddie and some of the other boys.  But it was totally chilled out.  There was a very relaxed atmosphere, and all the kids attending seemed so happy!

Fred and I did have a brief chat on the way, talking through some options if he found things were getting difficult.  I'm so pleased it all went well - as we left he said it had been a great day (this gave me a warm fuzzy feeling!).

Aside from the little playground, big playground, soft play and dressing up, there were some activities on offer.  The kids didn't want to do belly dancing or owl pellet dissecting.  Betsy and Meg did tree faces from clay and found woodland items (leaves, sticks, acorns etc).  It was such a cool idea, and I'm going to buy some clay for us to do this in our local woods. 

The girls also did my craft session, the arm print trees and the leaf monsters we tested out yesterday.  

Freddie decided not to do any of the activities, and played, played and played some more.  He and his friends played an elaborate game where he was a king, who was eventually overthrown and then evolved into a guard dog.  The game wended it's way inside and out, through the fire pit area, soft play, the woodland.  He was so busy he didn't have lunch until he got in the car at 3.30.

Betsy also had friends to play with, and was off in the woods for a lot of the time.

Meg still isn't 100%.  She's much better than yesterday, and lasted until about 2.30 before she said she wanted to go home.  She went to bed at 6pm - here's hoping the long sleep helps her feel better tomorrow.

Betsy lost a tooth today, and swallowed it while eating a cookie.  Whoops!

I've been trying to pack, as we go away for a few days in the morning.  I think it's going to be a mad dash getting everything ready to leave first thing....

Thursday, 19 September 2013

On the go

We've had a busy day at home.  I've done a million loads of laundry.  Meg is still unwell.  Go Diego Go has been on repeat most of the time.

It's my brother's birthday this weekend, and Betsy helped me to make some brownies to send him.  At first she didn't want to bake, so I started it myself.  She joined me as soon as I started cracking eggs, she loves doing that!  She really got into it, and pretty much did everything else with a little help from me.  The recipe is from a children's cook book, and is perfect for kids - not too rich, and very easy to make.  I used chocolate chips rather than walnuts though.

While I was dealing with the washing, the kids were all involved with different things.  Freddie showed Betsy his new cool wind up toy that he got from mum yesterday.  It creates sparks, and looks very dramatic.  

Betsy decided to pretend to be a hippo, and had a long bath.  Freddie made an arena for the hexbugs and set them into battle with each other.  Meg played with a torch, and watched the hexbugs with Freddie.  After her bath, Betsy the hippo and Meg the baby jaguar made some structures with the wooden bricks.

After lunch I wanted to do a test run of the crafts I'm running at tomorrow's home ed group.  First we made some leaf monsters.  They are awesome!  Quick and easy to make, and pretty cute.  I dipped one leaf in melted beeswax.  I wasn't sure if glue would stick to it, but it worked.  Later I dipped the rest of the leaves for the group, as it preserves the leaves and the monsters will last longer.

Next was autumn tree art.  I'd seen a great idea on pinterest (naturally!) - an arm print in brown paint for a tree trunk, with finger print leaves.  I have some leaf-shaped sponges so I thought we could use those instead of finger prints.  I also wondered if some kids might not like to paint their arm brown, so I did one using a washing up sponge.

They all turned out great!  The girls loved doing the arm print, and I have a stash of gorgeous autumn colour paints, including gold.  They really enjoyed the sponge printing.

My sponge-printed tree.

Betsy's arm-printed tree.

Meg's arm-printed tree.
Now Meg has fallen asleep on the sofa, Betsy is playing Moshi Monsters and Freddie is at Jarvis's.  I'm hoping to go to see some friends this evening, if Meg is ok with Rob.  Fingers crossed....

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Three days, all different.

Half way through the week already, it's whizzing by.

On Monday we went swimming with Caden and Miles.  It was our first visit in term time.  It was fabulously empty, the only other customers were under 4s with a parent or grandparent.  Betsy and Meg had a great time as usual.  Freddie got a bit bored after an hour or so.  It's time to invest in some pool toys.  I think I'll get some dive sticks and some super soaker balls.

Before and after swimming the kids had a run around the playground.  Freddie is outgrowing it, sadly.  He only likes the tyre swing.  It feels like juggling all of their likes and dislikes is heading to a more difficult place at the moment.  Something for me to think about.

Later in the afternoon we went shopping for hamster and mouse bedding, with no success.   We all liked looking at the animals in the pet shop though.  They have some adorable guinea pigs.  Freddie and I talked about what fish we would have, if we had room for a tank.  I like the little ones with a luminous stripe.  They had little shark fish too!

On Tuesday it rained.  I had planned to go to a pond dipping session at the local nature reserve, but the kids said they didn't want to.  Probably sensible!  We had a chilled out day at home, playing a game called My Singing Monsters, and a couple of board games.

Today we went to my mum's.  The kids played with the dog, went to see the parrot, played with the wooden train set, watched the Smurfs.  We went for a walk after lunch.  I wanted to collect some leaves for an activity I'm doing at a group on Friday, and mum has some woodland near her house.

It was lovely.  The kids love walking her dog.  There were some huge puddles to walk through.  The woods had lots of funghi to look at.  Betsy collected acorns and leaves, and she found a leaf that looked infested with something.  I'll do a google search later to see if I can identify it.

We stopped at the playground behind mum's house, but not for long as Meg is coming down with something (temperature, low appetite, no energy, rather unhappy).

Infested leaf

Freddie is enjoying me taking photos of him pulling faces at the moment!

 Meg and I found a daisy, surely one of the last of the year..?

 Back home, under the weather.  Poor Meg.

I really hope she isn't properly ill.  We're going on a mini holiday on Saturday........

Sunday, 15 September 2013

London, again

Rob's parents were in London this weekend, celebrating his mum's 75th birthday.  They wanted to meet up with us before they got the train home.  We decided to drive to Kensington Gardens, play for a while, and have a cup of tea with the grandparents sometime in the afternoon.  Good plan.

We didn't count on the fact there was a cycle race in Hyde Park.  This meant there was more traffic than usual, a couple of road closures, and general chaos.  It took absolutely ages to get there.

We finally made it, found a parking space, and made our way to the Princess Diana memorial playground.  I've been thinking about taking the kids for a while.  It was great - lots to do, interesting set up, nice cafe, lots of rocks and fences to perch on for the adults.

The kids really enjoyed it.  Rain kept threatening, but it stayed away for the most part.  Freddie did dare devil jumps off the pirate ship, and found a friend to play with.  Betsy jumped from the pirate ship and I was tasked with catching her.  Meg pottered around the slides and the swings with Rob.  We stayed for a couple of hours.

We walked to Kensington High Street for lunch at McDonalds, then back to the car.

We'd planned to drive to near Oxford Circus and find somewhere to park, and take the kids to look around Hamleys toy shop.  But oh my god the traffic!  It took an hour to drive two miles.  Agghhhhh.  So we ended up parking in the world's most expensive car park, just behind John Lewis on Oxford Street.  £5 an hour.  We stayed for a bit more than an hour.  Ouch.

But, we met Rob's parents in the toy section at John Lewis, had a cup of tea in the cafe there, and that was good.  She liked her presents, and was happy to see the kids.  They'd had a great time at the theatre yesterday, and a lovely lunch at Browns today.

By now the kids were hot, bothered and tired (the cafe was boiling), so we kept it quite short.  More traffic leaving London on the way home.  Now I'm exhausted!