Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Busy!

I have this plan to blog at least every Sunday but then life never quite goes how you plan it, does it? So this is a bit of busy post covering some of our activities and outings over the last couple of weeks.

 L had her orthopedics appointment, have to say the consultant was wonderful, great with children. We were shown into the consulting room and had to wait for the consultant, so we carried on reading a story, he came in,introduced himself and asked if he could listen to the story. After a couple of sentence he asked her a couple of questions and then could he have a look  at her toys feet and legs, putting L completely at ease by the time he examined her, couldn't of wanted a better appointment. Anyway the outcome of the appointment was confirming my suspicions of flat feet and hyper mobility, as they aren't causing her pain or stiffness at the moment, just some occasional discomfort and annoyance at her bendy ankles as they make her a bit wobbly, they won't do any treatment, just something to be aware of. I've had a date throughh for my next appointment for my drug allergy, unfortunately its not till January next year, hoping they will have all the answers then if not this could take years to sort out what medicines and anesthetics I can use safely. Feeling somewhat frustrated at the long waits, very aware that adult allergy services in this country are few and far between and those dealing with drug allergies are even rarer but it does mean real delays in treatment and even surgery. Anyway back to happier things, we are of to view kittens tonight so hoping they are ok and we can have new pets in a couple of weeks, I have very excited children here to say the least, the girls are counting down the hours till we see them! In trying to distract them we have been having fun making different paper aeroplanes and looking at how we can alter their flight path. Different size paper spinners and seeing which ones, spin better,how size and different materials affects what happens.


 We also made a tissue paper parachute, much to everyone's amazement it really worked even if it did have a few cliff crashes, aka the chair we stood on to launch the parachute.



Demonstrating jet propulsion with a balloon and a straw, which we repeated again and again, amazed the balloon didn't pop! L thought it was very funny watching the balloon whizz along the string.


Hubby had a Friday of work, the original plan was to do some jobs round the house, not urgent ones luckily but as the day was so sunny we decided on day trip out to Beale Park. Lots of animals and birds for the girls to see, otters and meerkats being their favourite, also had a train ride round the park.



Mongoose.


 We watched the otters for ages and came back to see them a couple of times, they are so wonderful to watch and love their faces.








Hellebore in the Japanese garden at Beale park were stunning.


 I have only just started reading Jane Goodall's a Reason For Hope, she writes in such a lovely way you just want to keep on reading, at the moment she is talking about her childhood, the time when Jane was little and took a handful of worms to bed to study and her Mum patiently explaining that they needed dirt and wouldn't survive in her bed! There are several other stories of similar incidences and then she writes about how she was so lucky to grow up in a household with a mother wise enough to provide nurture and encourage her passions, that children should always try their best, that she didn't stifle Jane's passion or indulge in senseless discipline. Her mother understood the importance of discipline but she always explained why some things aren't allowed etc, she was fair and consistent. You can see how her passion was there from such a young age and how her family supported and encouraged her, a remarkable story. On a knitting front, I have 3 works in progress, 2 baby cardigans and top for L, finished of this little cardi sirdar 1325, hadn't realised that what I thought was a plain pattern stripe between the lace was actually every stitch knitted through the back of it, gives the plain knitting more definition, not sure if the photo shows it that clearly.


Some photos of walk we had when M was at her gymnastics class, these are all taken by L, I let her have my small camera and she had a lovely time taking photos of her choice. Its great to get home and load up the photos not really having a clue what they will be like or exactly of what.












Sunday, 1 April 2018

Easter


Happy Easter everyone, we've had a lovely but very busy couple of weeks, we joined a friend for a visit to the Living Rainforest, the armadillo was out and about this time, which was great for the children to see. This months Eco Kids magazine has been on plants, lots on meat eating plants, so great for L to see the pitcher plant in real life and I had fun talking about and demonstrating some of the other meat eating plants. At home we spent some time watching some you tube clips on the venus fly trap and sundew as well as reading the rest of the magazine. We've also been reading Enid Blyton's Nature Lover book, monthly nature walks with Uncle Merry, I know I can see the difference in the dead nettles and a true nettle and how animals avoid the dead nettle as they think its a stinging nettle. This week we learnt that the stem of the dead nettle is square not round, luckily we have some in the garden to look at explore the stems and compare carefully to the stinging nettles. Just love the fact that I am learning alongside my children and then we cans share that learning with others.




We were trying to decide if this was the tortoise yawning or will you all please just go away and leave me in peace face, what do you think?





We also finally got to spot the sloth.


We went to the local vocational college last weekend for their open day, looking ahead for M, they do a wide range of sport, out door pursuits, animal management, horticulture, actually a wide selection of vocational courses, set in a lovely rural setting. The classes are small, they don't have a bell ringing for classes, they try and have a calm learning environment. We had a lovely chat to some of the team for learning support and feeling positive that this could very well be the right environment for M, as long as we can get all the support in place and in writing before she starts. For those that didn't know she did try school when she was 11 years old and it went very horribly wrong, she couldn't cope with the sensory overload, the lack of support for her and it sent her into sensory overload daily and her anxiety through the roof. So I really need to get the support in for her before she starts college so we do not have a repeat of school. I am trying not to worry but I am, its so hard at times when you know what support your child needs and how well she can do with the right support but it seems so hard to get it in place for her. Just looking at her drama, she managed a merit in her exams, she had fantastic support from her teacher, he was there just before her exam to run through any questions with her and to go through the results with her at her next lesson. They had lots of mock practises, everything was written down or emailed to her so she knew exactly what was expected of her etc, I am now crossing fingers that we can get the support in place for college. M is looking at performing arts or media studies, performing arts means she gets to use her dance and gymnastics at times, which she loves. Oh and L is ready to sign herself up for animal management course, she's not impressed she has to wait till she is 16 to do it!

L and I have been looking at plant life cycles, she has loved making these paper plate life cycles, she asked for more, so we now have on on sunflowers and turtles too. A nice way to look at and compare the life cycle of different plants and animals.


At some point towards the end of last year I lost my vibrantly flowering erysimum, haven't found any locally and decided to take a risk and buy some unseen on ebay, pleased with them so far, we have Night Skies and Paintbox. They look so pretty and took me a while to decide on which ones, there are loads of delightful colour mixes. My kitchen window sill has been taken over by them,along with kale, broccoli and tomato seedlings and the normal selection of herbs!


Some Easter painting, used the inner of a cardboard roll, cut in 3 and stuck together to make a rabbit out line, L has loved printing the rabbit shapes and creating scenes for them, they are her rabbits Rosie and Lucy.


Wet felting some eggs, they never quiet work out for me but the girls enjoy trying and maybe one day we will get it right. Today the girls had an Easter egg hunt in the garden, L has now hidden 10 little eggs around the house for M to find later, I am wondering how long it will take us to find them all, editing to add that as of bedtime tonight we still have 3 eggs to find and L isn't giving any more clues away. Easter cards made and a visit to grandparents this afternoon.


More recipe trying from Madeline Oliver, these are her falafel burgers, also made the kidney bean burgers, lovely but may need to buy a big food processor, mine is a little one that is great for blending baby food but a bit small to batch make burgers! We are loving sweet potato wedges at the moment the family cannot get enough of them.


 Ocean Waves is of the needles and blocked, now back to the baby knitting, though L has a list of things she would like made as well. Really need to look at my fabric stash and plan some sewing too.



Sunday, 18 March 2018

Egypt

 I had fun setting up a small world play for L, loosely based on the Nile and pyramids, we've also been talking about the river and why it was so important to the ancient Egyptians. She has a fantastic imagination so its a case of set the scene and then see where it leads her. Followed by snuggling up on the sofa to read lots of Egyptian myths, which she  has decided are rather odd at times!





At the beginning of the week the weather was warmer and the rabbits were a lot happier to be outside for run, they love hopping up on the trampoline and running around and around in circles.

            

             


Now there have been some huge changes here, I hadn't written about them earlier as I was still processing and deciding what to do. Thursday was my last day childminding for the moment, my last family left as they are heading abroad for a while, they have been with me for nearly 5 years, there oldest is similar age to L. So its a huge change for L as every week she has her friend arriving, she has been very upset, as the girls were very close, so it will be tough for her for a while. I know I could easily fill the spaces left but as we are nearing exams for M, we've decided that for the next few months we will concentrate on the girls and their education and then look for more work in the late summer. It takes time to settle a new family in and I have high standards so feel I will be splitting myself too much at the moment. Though I know its the right choice for us at the moment this is the first time in 20 years that I won't have other children here, its left me with a huge mixture of emotions, more time to share with my girls and more space in the house, as there won't be all the extra that childminding needs but will miss the extra hustle and bustle of other children, the enjoyment of larger group activities etc. It will obviously mean less money too though we did have a treat on Friday as everyone was of work, college etc and took our first visit to a local trampoline park and fantastically we were the only people there, which was great, complete freedom. I am not sure who enjoyed it more, hubby wants to go back again and everyone else had a great time, M loves the long trampoline as she can practise all her flips etc, the men enjoyed trying to see who get who of first into the foam pit and L was just a blur as she bounced form one corner to another!

               

               



It doesn't really make up for L missing her friend but one thing I can now do, is set up lots of craft and science bits at a low level, as there aren't the babies to worry about. L was so excited when she came down Saturday morning to find lots of different things set up that she could just dip into, some she had seen and said she wanted to do others were my choice.  This is it after she had done a few of the crafts/activities.


 She loved making the sparkly dragonflies, we had to make an extra one as a gift for Nanny's birthday.


She decided the purple one was a monster dragonfly with extra eyes!


Science, we attempted to make our own scales and calibrate them with some little weights we have, ok the scales slightly failed as they kept tipping to one side, so made it a little bit difficult to weigh anything but L enjoyed the process and seeing what things weighed, what is heavier etc. We then spent time trying to guess which object could be heavier by looking at them e.g. a pound coin and a craft pom pom, great way to show that just because something is bigger doesn't mean its heavier. Then weighing them in our hands, to estimate the weight, before putting them on the scales to check.


Now M has come across a vegan you tube called Madeleine Olivia she has some lovely recipes on her channel, so we are slowly working through them, we loved her coconut dahl, even my meat loving husband was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was, good job really as it made 6 portions, so we had 2 days in the row (the freezer is rather full at the moment!)


 More cooking, M and I have been mucking around in the kitchen, experimenting with cheese and herb scones, recipe below. The mixture ended up a little bit too wet, to be rolled and out and a cutter used, so we just rolled them into a ball and pressed them down for a more rustic look. They made a very nice moist scone, which were a little bit too moreish!


Cheese and Chive Scones
250g wholemeal self raising flour
75 g butter
100g grated cheese
3 tbsp of chopped chives
2 eggs lightly beaten
4 to 5 tbsp milk
  1. Rub the butter into the flour, add the cheese and chives and mix.
  2. Add milk and eggs and mix well, roll into balls and gently flatten down and a baking sheet.
  3. Bake at gas 7 for 10 to 15 minute, until golden in colour.
We've had results back for all M's exams etc really pleased she got a merit in her LAMDA, pretty good going for first exam and she had a sore throat too. Highly commended in her Latin dance and bronze in her gymnastics, so a good week for her.

We had snow again this weekend, my poor daffodils are buried under it, just as spring was beginning to show lots of pretty signs it was on its way! We had a lovely walk on Sunday through the woods, L was a bit disappointed that the stream hadn't frozen over but enjoyed a paddle through it anyway.





Baby knitting and using up my odd bits of wool, another pink hat and a friend has announced she is expecting twin boys later in the year, so some more Teagan hats and then some simple booties as I had more wool that I thought left over.


Knitting Ocean Waves as a present for a friends 40th, nearly half way through it according to the amount of repeats the patterns suggest but I think it might need to be longer to make a good wrap, fingers crossed I have enough yarn! Oh and it should look a lot better once its been blocked.


More baby knitting, was asked to make this cardi, lots of knitting through backs of loops to give the added texture to the plain strips.