Saturday, 28 May 2011

Art & Craft Exhibition at Blenheim Palace

On the way home from Newbury we decided to pop into the arts and crafts show at Blenheim for a couple of hours.  There were some fantastic displays and truly gorgeous things to purchase (if money is no object!).

N and I decided to try 'Pyrography'. The art of decorating materials with burn marks.

N chose a cow.....
 After you had burned your design onto the wood, you could colour it in........
 Next N had a go at the costume design workshop.
There were many more stalls to see and lots more to try so we are going back on Monday!

Sealed Knot - Battle of Newbury

Today we went along to the re-enactment of the second Battle of Newbury in 1644. I have always wanted to go to a Sealed Knot event and I finally made it! It's great to be able to talk to the living history people on site about what life would have been like.

 This lady was making lace, she told us it takes about an hour per inch of lace.
 Here is one of the Pikemen, their pikes were often 18ft long, they told us that this was one of the last few battles which would have used pikemen in the frontline.
 N with a musket!
 and a pike, probably the first pikeman to be wearing pink shoes!
 Period glasses; quite a few of the living history people were wearing these, N thought they were very cool.

We also met a lady using a Lucet, and she showed us how cord (to tie up corsets etc) would have been made. It was very similar to french knitting and a type of anglo saxon weaving we have done previously. Anyway N is very keen to purchase a Lucet in the very near future! 

There was also a lady making griddle cakes, she told us that a typical soldier would have eaten 8000 calories a day (mostly in bread).
 Battle scenes from afar; musket fire was all a bit much for N and we made our way back to the car.
But we did spot these before we left :)

Friday, 27 May 2011

Building & Baking Workshop

We were at the Cogges Manor Farm site again today for a Building & Baking Workshop. We had a great time and the rain held off too!!!

 Building the brick base for a clay oven
 Breaking up the hard lumps of clay
 Adding the clay/straw/water solution to the clay oven structure
 baking bread in the kitchen, here is N's covered in sesame seeds
 building clay reliefs....

 tasting the baked bread....

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Blenheim Palace, Cogges Manor Farm and Swallows and Amazons

On Wednesday we decided to have the book club at Blenheim Palace as it was such a lovely day and there is so much space for the children to run around. Now it may be ' a unique example of English baroque architecture set in 2100 acres', but when you are nine years old it is so cool to roll down the moat!

 We got our annual pass while we were there so we have so many more moat rolling opportunities ahead of us! Dogs are allowed on leads in the park land so that is another great place to take them for a walk.

Today was the first day of our 12 session course focusing on outdoor learning and philosophy at the Cogges Manor Farm site in Witney. Even with the rain we still managed to have a great day, and thankfully the sun came out in the victorian walled garden when it was our turn for the gardening. The parents and children were tasked with digging up all the existing plants and weeds and replanting new seeds and plants.
 N felt a bit sad about some of the plants that were being dug up and disgarded. There was one in particular that she liked as it looked and felt like velvet. One of the other mums told us it was called Mullein, we asked if we could take a couple home and try to save them............
Here they are, all we can do now is wait and see if they 'take' in our garden after being dug up and carried home by N. We looked Mullein up on the internet to find it is a proven medicinal herb backed by scientific evidence and legend has it that it keeps evil and bad magic away as well :)

We have started the new book for book club - Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. N seems to be really enjoying the first few chapters. I have printed a diagram of boat terms out for us to look at while reading it and we had to find out what promontory meant this evening as it is repeated a lot in the book!

Our next challenge is to try and drop that one into general conversation.

Monday, 23 May 2011

deco patch, wood carving, Grandma's, cricket and cats.......

We have been up to so much recently.....

N started a new deco patch project, we will post a photo once it is completed
 On Saturday we went along to a wood carving session that has kindly been organised for home educating families. On the way home we stopped in Abingdon and had a browse around the town. Saturday evening we were off to the cricket club for a bar-b-q, Hubby was celebrating another win!! Sausages and smiles all around.

Sunday we drove down to see Grandma.....
 As Hubby is extremely busy this time of year and does work seven days a week, we decided to make a new rule that Monday mornings be 'Daddy and N time', and he would try really hard not to book any work in until after 1pm.
N decided she wanted some cricket coaching of her own this morning followed by a picnic so that is what they did....
 obligatory dog photo :)
After lunch we were back to our cat project so after doing some other English work, N wrote a cat poem that goes like this;

Crystal is on her owners lap
purring softly in her sleep
she's dreaming about mice
just about to catch one
just about to creep
just about to jump on it
still purring in her sleep
the mouse was clever
cleverer than you'd think
you wouldn't even believe it
it jumped in the sink!
now cats don't like water
especially this cat
so she jumped up on the worktop
looked in the sink
the mouse had gone
quick as a wink!
Crystal was annoyed
and gave a little hiss
and then her owner woke her up
and gave her a kiss!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Felt Cat for the project

Georgian History Workshop

Today we went along to a Georgian history workshop in Oxford. N really enjoyed the day...

 Here she is as Anne a mill worker.
 Here she is with the Jolly Roger of Bartholemew Roberts (the most successful pirate in Georgian times)
 Making a Georgian lady's box
and a Georgian lady's fan.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Sleepover and a new project begins.....

Yesterday N had a friend to play and sleep over. They seemed to have loads of fun, but not so much that N forgot about her Dad......

here is a decorated gingerbread man she gave him, complete with note...

 This morning the girls were busy making spectacles and I believe playing opticians.....
 N then went over to her friends house to play until early afternoon!!

I asked N after dinner what she would like to do for her next project. "Cats" she said. Even if she is allergic it doesn't stop her loving them!
We threw ourselves into the project. We quickly found a blog that showed you how to draw cats and this is N's first attempt......
 I love it.
There was just enough time before bed for N to have a browse of some childrens cat-fact websites.
 I don't think Pepper and Ralph are very impressed with the new topic :)

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cookery Demonstration with Wilde Food

On Saturday we went along to Wilde Food ( ) for a cookery demonstration. I had successfully bid for the demo at the fund raising dinner for the Oxfordshire Cricket tour to Australia last year. N and I, and J and A had a fantastic time. Nicola Wilde showed us how to cook five dishes and then at the end we sat down and ate the delicious food. We were all VERY full!!

Seriously though, the girls had a really great time and thoroughly enjoyed it. Our hosts coped very well with two giggly girls (I am sure we are not their normal customers!)

J and I are definitely keeping it in mind for the future for a 'grown ups get-together'.

 Afterwards we found room (somehow?) for a milkshake at the Shake Shop in Witney

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre (and other news)

Today we went along to the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden. Its a very sweet little place.....

 N looking through some of Roald's photos. There was one of him with Walt Disney, which was of particular interest to us as N enjoyed the biographical exhibit and film presentation One Man's Dream about Walt Disney at Hollywood Studios so much we went in twice :)
 Here is N making a stop-frame animation in the story centre, it was so funny she made another.....
 Bottling dreams for the BFG. Mine involved me waking up to find everyone else had done the housework...mmmm
 N sat in Roald Dahl's chair.
We certainly did learn some interesting facts about him today.

In other news.......
N has sewn a black heart and lilac button onto one of her tops.

N and I joined a card-making club with N's Nanny. It meets once a month in Oxford. We really enjoyed our first time. N has been making cards ever since.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Cotswold Wildlife Park is the best medicine

We went along to the Cotswold Wildlife Park today to renew our annual passes, thankfully N was feeling significantly better. She was smiling and laughing and lifting Ralph up to look into the enclosures as he is not as tall as Pepper and can't see over. She said her favourites of the day were the porcupines and the tapirs.

We had enough money left over from our trip to the USA to buy a sewing machine (yay one that works!!), and N repaired one of her grandma's cushion covers with it later on in the day.

N's jet lag had been so bad that she hadn't even wanted to READ since we have been home, however today she was back reading aloud from a Jacqueline Wilson book.

It's so good to see her happy again. 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Coping with a child coping with jet lag

N seems to be suffering with jet lag. Sure Hubby and I are very tired, but N seems to be feeling thoroughly worse.
She is feeling so over-tired she is definitely not herself, she feels sad and can't seem to stop it. When it comes to bedtime she is so tired, she desperately wants to go to sleep, but can't seem too, which makes her more upset :(
Being away for so long as a group of 6 and then coming home to just the three of us, she is lonely and missing her brother and sister.
She has a friend to play today, so hopefully that will cheer her up :)
Does anyone have any 'natural' suggestions for getting her back to normal, and not feeling quite so desperate??

Holiday Snaps

 Here is N at the airport, very excited about the holiday and the Virgin freebies!!

The 'Epcot' photo
 Me at Hollywood Studios with my Kermit the Frog face painting and Disney Ears. No one else joined me wearing either- not sure why!!!!!! (and yes I wore those ears to EVERY Disney park)
 Everyone waiting to watch The Voyage Of The Little Mermaid show.
 This lady thought my ears were a good idea.....
 Celebrating L's 18th birthday before we left. (I finally got someone else to wear ears)
 Group photo at the villa before we left