Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Slow and Steady Days

We are trying hard not to wind down here as May approaches and the new baby's arrival gets closer; we are very aware that we may have to take a "summer holiday" early, while we adjust to life, so in the meantime we are trying to keep going, despite it being harder work to get out and about. Yesterday we spent some time reading the magazines from the RSPB which the children were given at the Reptile Centre on Monday, and Grace then enjoyed doing the quizzes and activities (even though the competition was already out-of-date!).

Tuesday Drama Group was particularly exciting as it emerged that the hope is that the children will perform two (possibly three!) short plays on a real stage! Grace is thrilled to be playing the sun in one of the plays and an old woman in another, and she is really looking forward to having some "lines" to say again.

Sunshine girl
Today we visited Nannie, which is always a welcome treat, and did a fair bit of English workbook. It was a hard slog, because Grace is keen to read as much of it as possible herself, which is fantastic, but she does find it hard to maintain her concentration levels. When we got to the word bank section, I did suggest to her that as it was mostly copying, she might want to race me to see if she could copy out the words quicker than I could put away the laundry. I did specify that it still needed to be done neatly, but I'm still not sure whether racing to complete written work is "best practice", although it did seem to focus her mind, and there is no discernible difference in quality. It may be unordodox, but it seems to work for her, so we will probably carry on! 

When Grace was still only a baby, we made what I think has turned out to be the best Home Ed purchase so far; The Usbourne Books "Nature Sticker Book" (which seems to be out of print and has been replaced by this one ) and "Spotter's Guide to Nature". Whenever we go out and about, we spot plant flowers and birds and the children can add the appropriate sticker to the sticker book, and tick off when and where they saw it. We are learning the names of a lot of new plants, trees and birds, and the children are constantly on the lookout for a new one that they can add to the book. The spotter's guide is now really starting to become useful for identification purposes too; it has lots more plants and a whole section on insects which the sticker book is missing. I am finding that the information in it is more in-depth too, which is great now that Grace is asking more questions about it all.

Today we have also defined the term "an accident waiting to happen"! It is when a very small girl wakes up distressed, disorientated and really needing a wee, but is too confused to understand that she needs to sit on the potty. Luckily, she gave us enough time to have some terry nappies on hand to avoid said accident!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Ginger Beer and Reptiles

Yesterday's highlight was opening and tasting the ginger beer Grace made on Friday at our Home Ed Group. This was a great occasion, with Grandma and Grandad being roped in to taste too! Photos to follow when Luke shares them with me!

Today, we went into the New Forest, to visit the Reptile Centre. We were very lucky with the weather - torrential rain on the drive there and a thunderstorm when we got home, but for the duration of our visit we stayed dry, and despite the wonderful, informative, engaging volunteers warning us that we might not see much as it was cold and damp, almost all of the reptiles popped out for a sunbathe during the brief sunny spells.

Slow Worm


Natterjack toads mating


Jude checking out the various snakes and lizards
 Of course, there is always time for a little den building, which is one of Grace's favourite pastimes. She gets an awful lot out of being able to socialise with the teens too; she seems to really respect them, and takes in a lot more information when they read something to her or explain a theory.

Jude was being her usual, funny, little self - she is turning into quite the con artist! Just as we were about to set off for a walk, she announced that she needed the toilet. Despite having taken her only five minutes before, it's not something you ignore in a 2 year old, so everybody duly waited while I took her again. As soon as we got to the toilet, she started to take off her muddy boots and asked me to wash them! She had no intention of going to the toilet at all, but had figured out that I was more likely to take her than if she asked to wash her boots (she really hates getting her ladybird boots muddy!)!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Five Days in Pictures

Another exhausting evening, so here is the last 5 days in pictures. Normal service will hopefully resume soon....

Playing "word games"

Parking cars

Tuesday Drama Group

Piggyback rides

Sisterly love :)

Naked "rollerskaking"

Lashings of ginger beer

Making butter

Jude "having a baby"

Grace changing a book inscription
to include Jude...

Kings of the castle


Music making on the Pier

"We do like to stroll along the prom, prom, prom"

Tightrope walking

Massive splinter

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Operation Sleep Deprivation

Jude is on Day 2 of Operation Sleep Deprivation - still awake at nearly midnight for the second night running. I can't concentrate on a coherent blog post while she is awake, and I am way too tired by the time she finally goes to sleep at the moment, so I will update properly when she gets back into a normal sleep pattern. For now, I'm going to snuggle with my small girl and hope that a dark room and a cosy bed will work its magic (on me, if not her!).

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bank Holidaying

We had a leisurely Bank Holiday Monday morning, with a bit of gentle colouring before breakfast. 

Nannie and Abbie dropped in for a lovely visit.

After lunch we went to Littledown Park for our regular fortnightly group, Just Play. We saw a heron in the lake, and Jude tried a spot of gymnastics!

After dinner there was just time for a little wrestling with Luke before bed.

Easter Day

We don't celebrate Easter in our home, but obviously our families are still Christians or of no belief, so Easter Weekend is quite a big deal. My dad provided a massive Easter lunch of turkey and all the trimmings, followed by a hard-boiled egg hunt for the girls who were very excited to find his hand-painted eggs!

In all, they received a pretty good haul for Jewish children who don't eat chocolate! They also got Easter masks from Auntie Nicki, but chose for her to hold on to them so that they could make them at her house.

In the afternoon, we visited Great-Nannie for her birthday, and took her some home-made cards and white chocolate truffles.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Fun Day

We went to a Family Fun Day today. As is often the case when we all try to leave the house at the same time, the event was winding down by the time we got there, but nevertheless, we still found some fun things to do, and caught a bus back to our car park, as the event was rather further away than we had anticipated! Part of the reason we were so late is that we stopped off at a reptile and fish shop that Grace has been longing to go to for a while.

There was a TARDIS in the High Street, which obviously needed some small girls to pose in front of it!

At the Fun Day there was pond dipping (sort of), taxidermy, lino print badge making and playing...

This evening, we headed out to the New Forest for a barbecue with Auntie Nicki, Uncle Dave and Dave's parents and kids.

New Forest Ponies