Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Two days

We found ourselves at a bit of a loss yesterday for something to do; it was a stressful day - lots of little niggles which had us all sniping at each other, despite the beautiful weather. Eventually, the girls and I headed out to a garden centre in Wimborne, where they had a small play area, and some animals to make friends with. Grace really enjoyed seeing the farm animals up close(ish).

Pigs in the sunshine

Bertie the Goat
She also conquered the fireman's pole! She has been desperate to go down it by herself for about a year now, but has always decided against it at the last minute. Yesterday was the day! I probably could have convinced her to do it sooner, but I'm really glad I didn't push her; she was so proud of herself for having done it.

I have barely seen Grace today; she has been taking advantage of the Easter holidays and playing with her friend across the road a lot, and this evening, Auntie Nicki took her out for a cycle ride. Jude helped me cook for our Passover Seder tomorrow, and pottered about in the garden and living room. Every now and then she picks up a toy that Grace never played with, and spends hours with it, reminding me why I don't get rid of things!

Playing over the road
Toys Grace never played with!

Charoset cooking

Snacks in the garden

Monday, 14 April 2014

Nature Walk and Passover

We headed out this morning for an HE meet at Avon Heath Country Park. It's a great park with some really well thought out play equipment, but also some fantastic other "attractions" - a wildlife pond, a sand lizard enclosure and a fantastic wooded area for den building.

We were very lucky to catch all the endangered sand lizards awake in the enclosure this morning and to be there just as a Ranger arrived to feed them. He was delighted to explain all about them, and managed to catch a female who was shedding her skin, so Grace is thrilled to have a piece of lizard skin to put in her "treasure jar"!

Grace, Ranger and lizard

Lizard skin

Male and female lizard basking on a log

After a little play, we went on a nature trail, which was a circular route of about a mile. Jude managed to walk pretty much the entire trail by herself, facilitated by Grace getting lots of support and encouragement from one of the lovely teenagers, which meant that I could amble at Jude's pace (not that I can go much faster than Jude these days!).

The kids had to show their treasures to the Rangers when we completed the trail, and they all got a certificate, then we had a wonderful picnic lunch in the sunshine.

When we got home, Luke was in full Passover cleaning mode - the house is now spotless. We had a final meal of pizza before giving up wheat, oats, barley, rye and spelt for 8 days! We did the ritual of searching for the last of the chamatz (leaven) this evening, just before it got dark. In theory, that task is supposed to be done the evening before Pesach, but we couldn't work out why you would give yourselves an extra day of not eating grains, so we went for tonight instead. Grace really enjoyed looking out for 3 stars in the sky, to make sure we weren't too late starting.

Searching for chamatz with a
candle,feather and wooden spoon!

Burning the last of the chamatz

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Happy Sunday

Lazy Sunday morning....


Sunshine at Grandad's....

"Rugby" with Uncle Dave....

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Rockets and Fireworks

Yesterday we went to an amazing session at our Home Ed group, run by the science teacher father of some of the group. The children were looking at forces, and really got to grips with some great experiments.

Why does the ball stay up?

Bicarb and vinegar
One of the popping tub lids actually hit the ceiling, which was very exciting!


What makes the ball move?

Making balloon drag cars
 The climax of the session was making water powered rockets, which we set off in the local park. One made it right into the branches of a very tall tree!

Filling up with "fuel"

Adding the fins

Building the pressure

In the afternoon, Luke took the kids out for a cycle ride, and a bit of a tree climbing session! Grace is confident to climb significantly higher than she was able to before the winter!

Then a quick game of "Tell The Time", before dinner! I must try and remember that games have "seasons", as this is one which I almost gave away; the last time we played it, Grace found it very dull and gave up on it halfway through a game. This time, Luke says she was totally engaged with it, and enjoying working out all the different times.

 Today was a tough day. Jude started by pouring half a pint of milk all over the kitchen, and Grace had to remind me that "she's still just a baby really mummy; she didn't understand what would happen". She was grizzly all morning, culminating in a massive bout of tears and shaking, resulting in me needing to hold her until she eventually fell asleep on the sofa. We had planned to go out in the afternoon, but Grace was happy playing at her friend's house, and by the time Jude woke up, it was getting pretty late. Luke did some art work with both of them (brave!) and Jude got to grips with a construction set she got for her first birthday, which we had put away as it was a bit too old for her at the time.

Painting with Abba 
Jude's painting
New construction set

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Adventures of Lily The Tree and Grace The Dragon

The Adventures of Lily The Tree and Grace The Dragon.
By Grace Griffiss-Williams, Age 5 1/4

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a little girl tree and her name was Lily. She loved to play, but she hadn't got any tree friends, so she played with her dragon, Grace. When she started playing, she saw, in the corner of her eye, a little cottage near her house and she knew that in that cottage was a tree who couldn't find any friends, so she ran over with Grace the Dragon and rang the doorbell, and on the doorstep was a Mummy Tree. Lily and Grace asked the Mummy; "Have you got any children?" and she answered "Yes, I've got five children, but they haven'y got any friends". Lily went inside. Grace stayed outside because the cottage was too small for her. Lily and the children all went outside to play and the children noticed that Grace was eating the leaves of the climbing trees! They told Lily, and Lily took everyone back to her house. Lily stayed outside to make sure Grace didn't eat any more leaves, whist the children got some water and some dragon biscuits for Grace. They were very pleased that they all had friends, and they lived happily ever after.

Alternative Academics

A bright, sunny morning is always a good excuse here for a bit of imaginative play in the garden; Jude had fun "being a witch, mummy" while I hung out the washing..

Imaginative play here almost always takes the form of eating and drinking somehow, and this morning it was pretend cereal ("because we can't have cereal at Pesach, so we need more now!") and milk drunk straight from the little bottles.

Grace has suddenly got a taste for the academic again, just when I thought we were holding off due to general illness, and spent some time with me today doing hundreds, tens and units sums and lots of time with Luke looking at the area of squares and oblongs.

She also played (and beat) Grandma at both Connect 4 and Scrabble today (I helped her with some spellings and board placements for Scrabble, but she did think of the words herself).

In the meantime, Jude was quietly getting herself well and truly stuck in this chair:

She faced backwards on it, and managed to wedge a leg through one of the gaps. After about ten minutes of wrestling with her, we were surrounded by the party at the next table and all the cafe staff, offering suggestions, and eventually offering to break the chair! We finally worked out that there was no possible way that she could have got her kneecap through the gap straight on, so between us managed to hold her up sideways and wiggle it back through. She was unperturbed by this procedure, and started experimenting with her arms instead!

On the way home, Grace asked to play a spelling game in the car, consisting of picking a letter off the numberplate of the car in front, and spelling a word beginning with that letter. It's been quite a while since she last played that game, and I was impressed at how much progress she had made; last time we played she chose mostly three letter words, and struggled to work out how to spell them. This time she was choosing quite complex words, and at least making a stab at how to spell them instead of just saying she didn't know.

In the supermarket this evening, I found a form for a storywriting competition, which I showed to Grace with the intention of perhaps starting a story tomorrow, but she was keen to write it immediately, so we settled down to it. Ok, it was 8pm before we had dinner, but sometimes these things just have to be done immediately! I will be typing the story up tomorrow and sending it in, and will post it here when I have done so.