Tuesday, 29 March 2011

N has been making more decorations for her room

We made our hospital visit this morning (the early shift) and on the way home N said she would like to make some more decorations for her room. I mentioned some wire hearts that I had seen on www.themagiconions.blogspot.com (which by the way has some lovely ideas for homemade crafts). N said she would like to make some stars, so with the help of a star shaped cookie cutter this is what she made......

 Well four of them actually. Out came the bead box again and she threaded some beads onto the yarn we were going to use to hang the stars on her ceiling.
 This is how they look along with her dreamcatcher.....
 Next she wanted to make some bunting, we have loads of patchwork squares that I bought ages ago, she went off to choose some. "Mum I've got 34 of my favourites"........
 She used copydex glue to attach them diagonally over some jute twine....
the finished result has not been captured on film yet but Hubby has just hung them from the ceiling in N's room and they look fab. (I'm a little jealous, I want bunting in my room!!) I can almost feel Hubby's eyes rolling when he catches up on the blog!!! :)

Monday, 28 March 2011

we made our first dreamcatcher

 While sat in the sunshine this afternoon we decided to make a dreamcatcher. Here is what we did.....
"we need to find something round" I said. N came back with a fishing net minus the net. I had been keeping the hoop on a stick for making a sweep net to catch insects, but it seemed excellent for a dreamcatcher and I was impressed that N had not only remembered we had kept it but also knew where to find it!! After asking for Hubby's strength to prise the hoop from the stick we were away.
N sorted out some beads that she liked and some lace to cover up the rusty end of the hoop.
 and this is what we made. I love how it looks in the tree but with the UK weather its not practical for a tree decoration and anyhow it was made for N's room which is where it is now. Notice Pepper cannot resist getting in on any photo....
This evening N and I searched for dreamcatcher tutorials online, to see if it did actually turn out anything like it should and we found this .
Whilst we love what we made we thought those looked lovely too and will be attempting these soon.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

How hospital visits take over your life

For the last few days our life has been about hospital visits to my Mum (Grandma to N!!). It is amazing how it just fills up your day. I get up walk the dogs, do some laundry, housework and washing up, make lunch and then spend some time reading or playing with N, walk the dogs again, drive to the hospital, stay for visiting, drive home, cook tea, fall asleep! I remember10 years ago my Dad was in hospital for months and I was working full time then, that WAS exhuasting!  The trouble is when you get to the hospital, the person you are visiting wants to know all the latest news and everything you have been up to - its quite disappointing for them when you have no tales to tell (because you haven't had time to do anything), in actual fact they probably have more to tell you as they have been watching the news on tv and reading the newspaper!

She has her own little side room on the ward which has advantages and disadvantages; the advantage is she can actually sleep at night, the disadvantage is when you need a nurse, your alarm can be going for over 10 minutes before someone comes to see what the problem is :( I know they have a staffing shortage but in my mind its both dangerous (if someone was needing urgent medical attention) and degrading when patients are desperate for the toilet and nobody arrives. She wants to go home on Tuesday and hopefully she will be mobile enough for them to let her go.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A beautiful day for WWII Secrets & Spies Workshop

The sun was shining, there wasn't even a cloud in the sky, N set off with her ID card, pencil and WWII style rations lunch. We couldn't have asked for a better day for a group of home educated children to meet up in the countryside and run around on a secrets and spies mission. I didn't stay for the workshop, so couldn't get any photos of the spies in action.

However I could snap her when we arrived home. She had thoroughly enjoyed the day and was eager to tell me about everything that had happened including the bunker, the assault course, the hiding, the spying, the list goes on..... I am so grateful to the kind HE mum who organised this trip. My daughter was left totally inspired, and a bit more aware of just what spying during WWII involved.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

gardening, dyeing fabric and a much awaited Amazon delivery

A couple of weeks ago we fished out some old directors chairs from the shed and decided if we were going to keep them, they really needed some love and effort put into them, plus if we do them up it saves us buying a new bench for the garden!
The wood all needs staining as I bought them before I met hubby and they have never seen a paintbrush!
Anyway, I haven't got around to staining yet :) but thought today was the day for dyeing the fabric seats and backs as they have been bleached by the sun and look like this.......

 Not wanting to spend any money :) I used some dye that a good friend had given me last year for some tie-dyeing we haven't got around to yet.
 We stirred it all up.... the dogs never want to miss out on anything.....
 It is now drying out on the line, finished photos will follow. Not sure how successful its been - the colours are all different as the fabric had been so sun damaged ;)

The runner bean seeds N planted were doing so well that they were starting to take over the conservatory, despite recommendations not to put them outside before April, I have had to - they are just getting too big. Fingers crossed they will still thrive,
 The chitted potatoes were finally planted out today in the bags provided by the potato council. We are a week late but I am sure it will be fine, we'll just leave them in a week longer.... see I told you I was a bumbling gardener.
N has been desperate for a book to arrive that she ordered on Thursday. It finally came today, but kept us waiting until 6pm. N was so happy as she had been very distressed that it had not turned up and she had been desperate to read Poppy the Dogs Trust Dog. Needless to say that is all she has been doing since.

Monday, 21 March 2011

A trip to the seaside

We went to Southsea for the day,
we skimmed stones
we looked for fossils
we ran
we walked
we rolled down hills

Sunday, 20 March 2011

A Milestone Reached..........

Today was the 3 year anniversary of the start of our HE journey. N's last day of school was the 20th March 2008. Grandma commented yesterday it has passed very quickly and N's reply was "Yep and I'm never going back". I said "lets see how you feel as you get older". At the moment I certainly have no plans to be sending N to school unless she feels it is something she really wants to do.

We went to the Horse Trust in Speen this afternoon. It is a lovely place, they have over 100 horses there living out their days. We met our friend there, whose horse is retiring there after 20 years at Riding For The Disabled. We took along a sack of carrots. It is free entry, but as they are a charity they really appreciate donations. N does have a fur allergy with cats and horses being the worst reactions, but we haven't been near horses for over 12 months so it was about time we tested it to see if it was better. N got stuck in straight away and started to groom one of the horses......
Quite soon after she had an allergic reaction :( and we had to leave. On the way home we drove past Hellfire Caves which I have never heard of before. I have had a look at their website and it looks great, just not sure N is ready for that yet ;)  The allergic reaction had exhausted N and she came home and sat quietly drawing in the homeschool room. After our celebratory dinner we played card games and read another chapter of our book club book Dealing With Dragons, which we are really enjoying, its starting off as a great story, drawing us in right from the start.

Our first dog show.... all for comic relief

Yesterday we went along to the local Wildlife Park where they were holding a dog show in aid of comic relief. We couldn't miss this opportunity for a new experience - and the chance to win a rosette ;)
N entered with Pepper and I entered with Ralph - in the following competitions; waggiest tail, best biscuit catcher and prettiest eyes. Sadly we didn't win. Never mind, what matters is we think our dogs are great.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Fresh smelling dogs and other Thursday things

This morning the dogs were off to the groomers for a full wash and brush up, their hair and nails get more attention than mine :)
While they were out we began our mission to finish The Wishing Chair By Enid Blyton for the book club in the afternoon.
When Ralph came home he was keen to show off his new tidy outfit.....
 quickly followed by sleep, its exhausting being pampered you know.
 N and I took breaks in between chores in the afternoon to re-discover some card games we haven't played in so long. Here we are playing Old Maid.
Everyone arrived for book club mid-afternoon for a lively couple of hours :) Our next book is Dealing with dragons By Patricia Wrede. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Homeschool Room

The piano was finally moved yesterday afternoon, within 5 minutes of the 'Piano Experts' leaving N could be found in the Homeschool Room (as it can now be officially called), playing the piano while trying to keep percussion with one maraca and one 'rice in a plastic bottle' that she had quickly made while removal was underway. I really wanted to get a photo of what she was up to - but she heard me, turned around and posed :)
 Hubby and I were up until late moving furniture around, so that the house is somewhere near where we would like it to be.
I met a friend for a well earned hot chocolate and gluten free cake today at Aston Pottery, which is a fantastic place (not just for the selection of 6 different gluten free cakes - nowhere can compete with that). When I came home N had drawn a picture of black and white people in a rainbow world.
 She had helped her Dad finish the guinea pig run, photos to follow :)
After dinner we played Top Trumps and Monopoly. We do time limit it, as N loses concentration after a while but we did play for an hour this evening. I was banker but she was telling me how much change to give her (perhaps she thinks I will cheat and short change her) who cares it is great for maths and good fun too ;)
N won of course, she always completes her sets and starts buying houses before me, perhaps she is just lucky :D

The bumbling gardener part 2

There is a bit of activity with the seeds we planted.
The sweet peppers are just starting to sprout through.

The runner beans are growing great, although I am regretting sowing them in the pot provided already. Separating these runners is going to be challenging for a novice gardener.

These are growing well too, although we don't know what they are at the moment. The labels N wrote have been erased by the moisture in the plastic greenhouse:)

All the other seeds have been unsuccessful so far........ We are supposed to be planting out our chitted potatoes, but have been so busy we haven't got around to it yet.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Midsummer Nights Dream, Mint Footsoak & My Buy Of The Year

We went to watch the Shakespeare 4 Kids version of Midsummer Nights Dream today in Oxford and thoroughly enjoyed it. N had read the childrens book version in the morning to prepare herself :) We have seen three of these styles of play now and would recommend them to anyone. Some of the actors are recognisably the same which is nice for the audience as well.

Now I have promised myself (and my husband) that I would not be buying unnecesary things for the course of 2011 (apart from the Minnie Mouse hat I'm getting in Florida :) not joking) and we would try and make as many things from scratch as we can...(we may regret the guinea pig run, but he's working so hard at it)... but I saw this in a clearance shop in Oxford and it warmed my heart.
This is everything we try to do and encourage each other to do and I can't wait to get it on the wall of the homeschool room tomorrow when the piano is moved in :)

We finished off our exciting day with a homemade mint footsoak that N had read about in one of her books. Lovely.

Soap Making

After reading another home educating family's blog about how easy making soap is I thought we could give it a try. We have a couple of family birthdays this month and 'homemade soap' would be a sweet present.

After reading about it - I realised the hardest part of making soap in the UK is actually sourcing the materials. Anyway here is what you need........vegetable glycerin (we purchased the one suitable for sensitive skins) Natural colurant and perfume suitable for soapmaking - optional depending on how you want your finished soap to be. Some sort of mould for it - I did get a soap mould as they are for gifts, I thought they might be more likely to use it if it was standard soap size, but I also like the idea of using funny shaped ice cube trays.

Decide how much of the vegetable glycerin you think you need. This is definitely trial and error. Chop it up into pieces and melt it. (it takes a while on the hob, so we put it in the microwave!)
Once melted stir in the perfume and colour (again trial and error to see how strong a scent you want and how strong a colour).

Thursday, 10 March 2011


As a home schooler we take inspiration from various places, stories, nature, feelings, films, the list is endless. Today we have taken inspiration from.........

A Megastar Mysteries book N has been reading. It has spa treatment recipes in it. She has been waiting all day to do this! She had to slice the cucumber and soak it for 30 minutes first.

Also Jamie's Dream School was inspiring. The artwork from last nights episode was pretty amazing. We will be trying something similar once our room is finished :)

Grandma came in for a flying visit this morning. After lunch N worked through a couple of chapters of some science comprehension I had downloaded almost 3 years ago and had kept until the age was relevant. I wish I could remember where I have dowloaded it from (it must have been recommended through one of the yahoo groups) as I haven't got every chapter :(.

In the afternoon we walked to the local park with the dogs and N played with two 5 year old home educated twins that live locally. They are lovely and N enjoyed spending time with them.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

belated pancakes

Not to do anything with any sort of normality - we celebrated pancake day today instead.

Wildlife Park, N overcomes a fear and foiled by Scraperfoil

We decided to try and have a break from the decorating today, (although we do need to get it finished as 'what will be the homeschool room' is a pickle and we can't get to any of our projects). We took a trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park. Ralph had a lovely moment with the tamarins. They were intrigued by him and he was very interested in them. Usually having two dogs along with you can mean that you cannot see as much as you would like i.e restrictions on the parts of the park you can enter, and those you can -  the animals shy away when they see the dogs. However the tamarins were something different they were coming up extremely close and calling out their little noises. Ralph was calling out to them with a little whine, LOVELY. Here is a photo N took of a tamarin. Excuse the reflective glare :)

As usual Pepper was loving the penguins. Ralph gets annoyed he can't see :)

N decided today she would walk through the 'Madagascar' enclosure, with the lemurs. I can't go inside as  I have the two dogs so she has to enter alone. She is very wary of the fact that the lemurs are roaming free and she is on her own. I had a very proud moment when she wanted to go inside. They were just being fed and the park keeper gave her a little 'talk' about lemurs. She really enjoyed it and came apologising she had been in there so long (no need to) and telling me all the information about the lemurs. She said she will be going in again next time we visit.
This afternoon she attempted a scraperfoil. I want to know who can actually do these. They are so difficult. She has a few and she has tried them all and ends up frustrated that she cannot make it look as good as the packet shows it. I assure her even adults will struggle to make it look that good. Please leave a comment and let us know if you can do scraperfoil and what the trick is :)
Here she is typing a review of the Nintendo game Style Boutique. The dogs always like to get involved.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tuesday's developments

This morning all was looking good with the purple wall so we moved on to...

The green one - this photo is deceiving, its much brighter than this. I like to call it Hi-Vis.
We have had our first sprouting of the year - a runner bean.
In the afternoon N was outside over-seeing Hubby's attempts to build a guinea pig run.....
Well this probably has something to do with it - since when does sunbathing count as construction.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Now it is our turn to decorate

Finally the two bedrooms and bathroom upstairs are finished, so N and I can start on what once was the dining room, but will be no more:) Out with the dining table and in with the piano. But first we have to decorate. (in the colour scheme of the plastic drawer unit of course (green, purple, yellow))
After the preparation work which N watched me do, she got to work on the ceiling.....

After a few seconds she realised she is not quite tall enough to do it properly without falling over. This is her 'when can I start on the purple' face.
This is her 'yeah I'm rolling the purple and it looks good'.
Ralph has been driving us insane with his new obsession. An indoor ball. This is the one moment he stopped for a rest today......
That didn't last long. He has been repeatedly begging us to keep throwing the ball all day. Even when I was painting behind the door and so had the door closed, I could still hear him on the other side dropping the ball by the door :). By dinner time he was doing his trick of falling asleep standing up because he can''t bear to give in and go and lie down. Bless.