Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Day of the Dead

We've been looking at the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) and the various traditions behind it, the similarities and differences with Halloween and All Souls day. We decorated some paper versions of the sugar skulls, the girls are fascinated with these and love colouring them in, they did the same last year and

painted some cardboard rolls and then used black markers to decorate those with similar imagery as the sugar skulls we had been looking at.

Night time silhouette of an Autumn tree.

Can you spot the owl in L's picture?

We've had loads of beautiful spiders webs in the garden, tried to capture a couple.

On a crafting front I have finished the back of the pink dress and made a good start on the front, only knitted a couple of rows of the blue jumper but have started another project,  will write about that in a moment. I bought E Nightlights a lovely story book, only criticism is the stories are a bit too short for my liking but great for an imaginative, chatty child like L who is adding extra bits to it as we go.

 Sorted through my craft bags and found some wool that I had bought to make L a cardi but then thought I would look for something different and came across the Odila cape pullover perfect for her and just enough wool, well in theory a perfect amount will have to wait and see!

Finally got round to drying some of my herbs,been planning on doing this all summer but not got round to it, we have bay leaves, marjoram, rosemary and sage.

Joining Kat for unraveled Wednesday.

Sunday, 5 November 2017


Some Halloween crafts, did have plans for some others but busy week seeing friends and L found out a drawing book and has been busy with that and developed a real interest in the history of our planet.

L found a book called What Shall I Draw, it was her brothers and has been enjoyed by many children over the years, she found a page on drawing owls and she has drawn loads of them, can now do them without using the book. I have several kitchen cupboards covered in owl drawings now. On a reading front we are making progress, she is now picking up books and trying to read the few words she has learnt and is enjoying the learning to read process, lots of games, word searches, word puzzles etc to help her.

Now at the beginning of this week L and I read part of a book on birds, she had lots of questions that led onto us watching the first episode on The Life of Birds. Now this episodes talks lots about extinction and evolution which as you can guess it led to lots more questions, out came the prehistory books, talk about fossils and archaeologists, she enjoyed one of the mini excavation kits you can buy.

We have spent the last couple of night reading through The Birth of the Earth and Life Finds its Feet, lovely comic style books with lots of info in them, followed by you tube clips and more talk the next day, she is really enjoying it all and seems to be taking it all in, judging by what she is telling people and the questions she is asking. We have enjoyed the first 2 episodes of Prehistoric Park, having explained that it was all make believe as humans don't time travel etc but what they say about the diet and size etc is real. We have 2 more comic books in the series, the last one covers very quickly the evolution of humans. M is still working through her exam courses and we had a trip to town, mainly to the book shop to buy some revision workbooks , now M is a reluctant reader, so while I am looking at books and L is trying to read/buy every book in sight, ok maybe not every book but you get the idea. Found M sat in a chair reading a book she had found, first in a series about a school for spies, so brilliant, she came home with the book and is part the way through it already! Trip to the library this weekend and L has found loads of books on prehistory, volcanoes and the ocean.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Autumn Days and Diwali

We've had some damp cold days here and some glorious sunny days, so have been making the most of them and enjoying walks in various woods. On Monday we went to visit friends and took her dogs out for a walk, the girls loved this especially as they were allowed to hold the leads themselves, an adult had hold of L's leads as well but she is so happy she actually got to walk a dog, bless her. Tuesday home ed meet up at a local park, loving the autumn colours and at one point the wind blowing the leaves across the grass made them look like they are all dancing.

The girls choose to do some colouring while I read and talked about Diwali, they love these mindfulness colouring pages on Twinkl

 Wednesday we spent with more friends exploring the local stream, followed by a walk in the woods and a play in the park, home to some Halloween colouring.

A rather shaky photo of a robin, he kept popping down near us, like he wanted to see what the children were up to but not long enough to get that perfect photo, I do love robins.

I have watched Chris Packham - Aspergers and Me, very interesting, at times sad and others amazing, for those that can access it on bbc iplayer it is well worth a watch, he wrote this as a follow up to the program. Having worked with and having my own child on the autistic spectrum, a program like this is a really good thing in raising awareness.

On a crafting front have finished another Christmas present and started on 2 more both self patterning wool, one a very simple dress and the other a nice easy repeat pattern. Needing something simple at the moment as the cold I have been fighting of seems to be winning, might be more due now sorted out where M is going to sit her exams and so relaxed, not always a good thing. We had been looking at access arrangements as if she had been in school this would of been sorted out for her, trying to do it as a private candidate isn't so easy, we found two centres that will accept a private candidate with access arrangements but look at least a 90 minute drive. We had planned to go and look at one centre but the closer we got to the date the more stressed M got about it, she is real worrier when it comes to  leaving times and getting to places, we have it every week for drama etc even though she knows we are never late, she always wants to leave even earlier just in case. Anyway we spent a lot of time talking and have decided that it might be more beneficial for her to use a centre on our doorstep even if she doesn't have concessions of extra time etc as any concessions would of been wiped out with the stress of a long journey. actually the final choice was Ms and the the look on her face when she said local, was one of relief,  so fingers are crossed, it goes ago! The exams officer at the local centre so far has been very helpful and in theory we will register with them in December ready for June exams, oh my that seems so soon! M has recovered from her bad cold which is good news.

Loving these yarns, they are so soft to work with and rather pretty too.

Hedgehog and pumpkin completed, did try to add some shaping to the pumpkin but ended up looking rather bizarre, as in that odd the children found it rather amusing to say the least, so we went back to perfect round shaped one and they are happy with it.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Good Food, Good Company

M and I had a lovely, if some what mad morning with my good friend Mel, she has been promising to teach us how to cook real Fillipino food, so Sunday morning was spent int he kitchen making spring rolls and pansit. Lots of girly chatter and giggles, followed by a lovely lunch, what more could you want, planning another cooking session soon.

Have knitted two toadstools for our Autumn display, was going to make a little mouse and hedgehog but L asked if I could make a small pumpkin, that is now on the needles, hedgehog and mouse will have to wait. Have finished the front of the blue v-neck jumper and started on a sleeve, having popped into the craft shop for some thread, saw this pattern for a knitted short sleeve dress and thought it would make another perfect present for someone, chose the shade called Bonnie, very pink but have started knitting a few rows, it is such soft wool. Joining As Kat Knits for unraveled wednesday and Nicole for Crafting On

L has finished her cats of and is talking about making more or maybe some dog version.

Pictures by L, this her with all the dogs and cats she would like to have has pets!

Enjoying some geometry puzzles.

M is battling with a horrid cold and sore throat and trying to study at the same time, Tuesday she spent the day in bed as she felt so rough.

thought I would share a project a friend's daughter has been busy at, she has her own you tube channel with lots of different variations of slime on it, at some point we will have to give them a go.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Learning To Write

I know I have written about L wanting to read and trying very hard, even though I would happily have left it till she was older and how she enjoys trying to write but we have discovered she has a tendency to reverse her letters. Not a problem as such and lots of children do it but she notices as soon as she has done it is wrong but the harder she tries the worse the reversing gets and she gets annoyed with herself. This is something that we noticed in speech therapy too, the harder she tries the worse it can get, it is better to let her have a couple of attempts and then leave her for a few days and come back to it, rather than doing daily practise. So I have been working on fun activities to help her, like writing in sand, drawing them on peoples backs using her finger, we are working our way through the alphabet, so work on the new letter and review the letters we have already done. I read SLOAH's post on using rice instead of sand for the writing trays, I thought I would give I a try, nothing like a new medium to spark interest and it has been well received.

We made bread rolls in the shapes of letters and some we decorated with seeds to write out the letters and a happy smiley face.

Monday we enjoyed making letters using play dough, have beads that we could add to write out the letters in the play dough like we did in the bread dough.

L even tried to write out some words she has learnt and then went and wrote some of them down on a piece of paper. Followed by "Mummy I can't believe I can actually write real words" one very happy L.

L has been talking lots about the changing seasons, so she drew what happened each seasons. So in summer there are lots of flowers and she can have the paddling pool out, Autumn all the trees loose their leaves, winter Father Christmas and Rudolf and Spring we water our new flowers that are growing.

A good friend sent me this link to make cats out of cardboard rolls, L loved the look of them and we so far have 3 stuck together, waiting for the paint to dry, to start the next stage.

Tuesday morning we spent at the allotment and harvested another bucketful of carrots, the last of the beans and some peas. Have very happy rabbits, they love the carrot tops to say the least, nearly as much as they love the vine leaves of my grape vines! The afternoon spent at the park with lots of other home educators, lovely to catch up with everyone.

This afternoon, some fun watching dancing raisins, you need raisins and carbonated water, or some sort of fizzy clear drink. An object that is denser than water and has a rough surface,  like a raisin, allows for the bubbles of gas (carbon dioxide) to stick to the raisins and makes it buoyant and the raisin rises up, the bubbles then pop and the raisin sinks again.

Realised I haven't shared our menu planning for a few weeks, so here is this weeks meal plan.

Sunday - Roast dinner

Monday -  cold meat, pasta and vegetable sauce

Tuesday -  shepherds pie or vegetarian shepherdess pi

Wednesday - left over shepherds pie

Thursday -  ratatouille

Friday - macaroni cheese with spinach

Saturday - beef burgers or aubergine and kidney bean burgers, home made wedges and veg

Shepherdess Pie
1 courgette chopped
1 leek chopped (or use an onion)
2 carrots diced
125g mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
60g red lentils
60g green lentils
225g can chopped tomatoes
450ml water
1 bay leaf
5ml mixed herbs
 25ml brown sauce
200g can baked beans
900g potatoes peeled and chopped
25g grated cheese
  1. Put the potatoes on to boil, once cooked mash and add the cheese.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan, add courgette, leek, carrots, mushrooms, garlic fry for 10 minutes.
  3. Add mixed herbs, bay leaf, lentils, tinned tomatoes and 450ml water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4.  Add the brown sauce and baked beans and cook for 5 minutes
  5. Remove bay leaf and spoon into a dish, cover with mash potato bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the potato is crispy

On a crafting front have crocheted some more leaves to go on our autumn nature display, have plans for knitted acorns, toadstools etc.

Toadstool in the making, shouldn't take too long!

Embroidery is coming along slowly but least you can see the kitten appearing, even if it does look a little bit skeletal at the moment. Reading Unplug Your Kids making interesting reading but will wait till I have read more before I write a lot about it.