Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Lilo Hits Double Figures!

How is it possible that I now have 5 children in double figures?!?!

Last Wednesday Lilo turned 10!


Did you hear me?

I can't quite believe that my baby girl is 10!!!!

It only seems like a blink since I was praying she would be born

and boy was she keeping me waiting ~ 3 weeks late!!
(2 months)

Seems she was chilled about being born ~ lazy even ~ and she is possibly still one of my lazier children, but also one of my most easy come-easy going.
(1 yr)

She fits in to whatever we're doing, and seldom fusses about anything;

She plays for hours in her own company (and that of her imaginary folks)

but is equally at home in a hub-bub of happenings and a crowd of people.

She is a loyal friend and is very sweet natured.

My dizzy little blondie ~ I love you VERY much!! :D

Oh ~ and just for fun... here's one of Chip enjoying some birthday cake!

Mondrian & Not very much else..!

First things first ~ our Arty blog bit...

Last week's study was Pete Mondrian ~ he did paint an eclectic mix of styles, but is arguably most famous for his blocks of colour, so that's what we went with (and, of course, it's the easiest to do too!)

So here's this week's offerings - which look rather fabulous all collaged together!...

Above, as you read; Minnie, Lilo, TP, Taz, Stitch, DD
Below is mine.

Tot-School ... (just a snippet) involved playing with the 'moonsand'. We haven't had this out for a LONG while as it is SO messy, but Chip thoroughly enjoyed playing with it and did so for a very long time ~ so I guess it was worth it! :D

MInnie has spent a good deal of the last two weeks making these ~ entirely by hand ~ for sale at church, to raise money for our Youth Mission Fund. If they sell well, she is considering setting up an Etsy shop...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just Another Home-Ed Blog....


Our weekly art project ast week was 'Pop-Art' ~ Andy Warhol to be precise.

This was SUPER easy...

Just print out multiple grey-scale copies of the same photo on the same sheet of paper and use whatever paint you choose to paint over.

Some of the children used poster paint

some used gouache

and I think maybe some used watercolours.

They all worked, but gave different effects.

Fun, easy, quick and with interesting results!



Joel had to put some food sources in some jars, block out the light (hence the tin foil) and collect some local pond-water!

Leave for a week and then take a sample of each (hold your nose!!)...

...and study the 'bugs' under a microscope!

We all enjoyed discovering what was under there, but I'd really love to be able to afford a better microscope ~ this one may look good, but it's not as good as it looks. It has a USB (hook it up to the PC) lens, but that was totally hopeless (as it has no means of adjusting focus!), and it simply will not allow you close enough to focus at higher magnifications. Shame. The most we managed to magnify at was 64x, but that was good enough to see a few different kinds of bacteria.

Of course there's all the 'other' stuff happening all the time that I don't take pictures of (because my kids get fed up of the camera in their faces!)...

Stitch has completed the second terms worth of work for his Yr2 maths ~ he just 'gets' it, which is such a blessing. I tell him what is required for the set page and he just does it. I barely have to teach him anything thus far. He has deduced his own strategies and naturally works from what he knows to calculate what he doesn't. He understands the principles of four basic operations and confidently works with money problems. He understands all 'shape and measure' concepts like symmetry, mass and distance, and can even estimate fairly accurately. 

Stitch is also chomping at the bit to get going with some 'real writing', but much as I don't stop him, I still am choosing not to give him much work that requires actually writing. This is because his pencil control is still quite poor and, not only is it difficult to read what he writes, but I believe his hand would tire far quicker than his brain would ~ which might lead to some frustration and or 'abrupt' work! For now he's doing a little handwriting every day to help his graphia skills (which are slowly improving at last), and he writes stories on Reading Eggs (typing not writing). He often listens in on All About Spelling and expresses regret that he stopped doing it, because now he'd like to be! Much as I can see it might be worth it some ways for him, I would struggle to know where to 'place' him now. The beginning would be FAR FAR too easy for him, but he would need some more of the foundational concepts to be able to jump in and work with DD & Lilo. I actually don't think he NEEDS AAS, because he is such a natural learner (for the things he chooses to learn), but I do think I will need to get something to stretch him more - very soon! Education City, Explode the Code and Reading Eggs (the Comprehension Levels) just aren't cutting it for him anymore.

Today was the very first time he has expressed that he would like to go to school ~ because he'd like to have more friends. Funny how my children always see school as a means to 'getting more' friends, and yet, in reality sometimes those friendships that might be formed in school would not always be wanted by us as parents, or helpful to the children themselves ~ and even less seldom do they seem to last beyond 'school' itself. I have a feeling Stitch would be popular enough (he's funny, and naughty!), but would struggle even more than he does at home, to focus on any given tasks. He would struggle with having less of his work available to him in computer format (he really does love to work on screens) and he would struggle to work for a full day! Yesterday, he managed to string his work out well into the afternoon and it was then a futile exercise to get him to into gear. Maths, his usually favourite and best subject, had got pushed to the end of the day by him, and suddenly it was a REAL struggle! He learnt his lesson, got Maths out of the way bright and early today, stuck to his 'schedule' and was finished everything by lunchtime! This really is the way he works best ~ race through and go and play!! I'm not sure a classroom could accommodate his need to do that and he would most certainly be held back in that environment. It's not happening. We chatted. He knows it's not. But we do need to try and find 'something' for him to be involved in - with other little boys especially (he's a real boy's boy iykwim) ~ now that he's dropped out of gym. I'm wondering about Beavers, but I'm just not sure it's his cup-of-tea, or that we have the time... I'll keep thinking...

I've STILL not done anything about calling the college re Taz ~ MUST DO THAT!!! Even managed to miss the last two open evenings due to excessive business on my husbands part! There is one more this month I think ~ must try to get to it!

H'Ed aside now (sort-of)...

Christmas is just around the corner, but not before we celebrate two more birthdays of the year! The minibus just needed an expensive repair, and was due a service, so we've had that done too, as we knew it really needed an oil change and a new tyre (or maybe two). SO, that leaves us PRETTY strapped this year. I think I might just have to get 'making'.... I should follow my oldest daughter's example ~ she has already finished making gifts for ALL her friends (and she's not short of them) and ALL her family - each something personal to them. She is amazing and SOOOO into Christmas :D So much so, that now she is setting about making more things that she can sell at church for our 'Care & Compassion Fund'.  She's considering it a practice run, as we are considering setting her up an Etsy shop as a means of earning herself some extra pocket money. She is my least ambitious child ~ outside of 'have a family and keep house' she has absolutely NO long-term thoughts for the future! With this in mind we figure a little bit of entrepreneurial training now might be a wise investment of time! That way she can maybe be a SAH,WAH Mum someday :D

That'll do ~ signing off now!


Monday, November 04, 2013

Creativity Catch Up Post...

The final couple of Romero Britto pieces from this postt

Click the pig to see the before ~ this is Taz's

 & DD's

And one more Picasso head...

Last week's work was based on Paul Klee's art. 

There's only 4 pieces as DD & Lilo were away staying with cousins for the week

TP & Minnie

Taz & Stitch

The art has been great,
 but there's also been a lot of Knex creativity going on here too, particularly over half term...

DD seems to have really got the hang of it now, 
and made these with very little, or no, help from anyone else.

Stitch made this (and a few other models I failed to photograph), 
so he's getting it too :D

It's funny how Knex has always been very popular here ~ 
perhaps it's the 'real' representation that they can achieve. 

Chip also likes to get involved in creativity, but sometimes I give him his very own 'messy play' ~ this particular day it was blue 'snow' (shaving foam and corn-flour). It was a very interesting substance to mess with ~ one second solid enough to make snowballs with, and seconds later stretching and oozing and liquidy again! Great fun!! :D

Linking in today to 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

If Money Were No Object...

Today I signed up with ToTs 100 and they are hosting a little competition that I figure it's worth taking part in, so this is my entry post.

If money were no object and I could design the garden of my dreams, right now, as this point in my life, I wouldn't worry about landscaping or a perfect lawn! I just want a garden that is predominantly a fun, safe space for my children to hang-out and play: somewhere they don't have to worry about what they do, or the mess they make! For the first time really, we live in a home with a garden big enough to do plenty with, and adjacent we have a field (of ferns for half the year) that the children are allowed to play in freely. There is a LOT we could do with this space...if money were no object!

I am very grateful that we already have a few things that make our garden fun and usable, but they are all second-hand! 

We have a second-hand, well played on,  metal TP climbing frame. It's still perfectly serviceable & we've sort of combined it with a mini ELC climbing frame to extend the fun a little. At one end are two slides ~ the one that's part of TP set, and another that is free-standing, but tucks up to the frame nicely and creates a dual-slide effect. The kids enjoy racing each other down :D 

We have a second-hand, 10ft trampoline (after our first one split in the middle when Daddy jumped on it one day!!). It's OK, but the safety net doesn't do up and that worries a little bit. It lives on tarmac, in a gap between our grass and the garages. I like it there because it doesn't kill any grass or need moving for mowing, but it does take up a useful space. However, I can't put it on the grass even if I wanted too, because our garden is too sloped and uneven.

We have a second-hand playhouse, which we were kindly given 2 summers ago. It's great. It's in good condition actually and it's green, so it blends well with the garden, but I have dreams for that corner...

So IF I could have anything and DO anything with our garden, what would I do?...

There are things the children would like... 

They have asked for a swingset forever! Paul has always been reluctant, but as the grass here is mostly clover and seems to be amazingly resilient, perhaps I could persuade him with these...

I might even get one of these too, to attach to the tree in the field next to our garden

I know the kids would be THRILLED with all of that!!

I'm also thinking about my bigger boys & my boys getting bigger! We had a football goal WAY back in our very first house, when Bugs was not even 5! It got tangled and mangled and didn't make it as far as even house number 3 - sadly, so it's LONG overdue a replacement. I'm looking at these ...

...thinking I love how they can just be lifted out of the ground for mowing (or other garden activities), the net is not going to get tangled and they are 6ft tall ~ so still plenty big enough for the teenagers and Dad to have a kick around! Two of these, that could be moved aside for other purposes, but could live in the garden full-time, would be brilliant!

Next I would LOVE to replace our current trampoline with a sunken one. Admittedly this would be a permanent fixture, but ultimately it resolve my worries over safety nets and would be suitable for all the children to just use whenever they wish ~ from the oldest to the youngest. So, one of these then...

I'd need to tuck it away in a corner (so as to have room for the games of football!), but our sloped garden wouldn't matter so much with this design, as we would simply sink it in flat and it would be fine!

With all these wonderful big toys, I'm wondering about the youngest children...

We have a little sand and water table, that we've had for few years now, that's looking tired and old. I'd LOVE to have a big sit-in sand pit for Chip. I'm really liking the look of this one...

partly because I like the idea of turning into a garden-plot for him when he out-grows sand play. He could grow whatever he liked in there and it would just look 'right' in the garden.

Seating wise, with a family of ten, we don't really have enough, so to solve that we have just acquired a lovely-but-needs-a-bit-of-work table and chairs set, and we have a worn out old picnic table for the children. It would be lovely for the small children to have something more 'them' sized, and this looks lovely...

In the corner of the garden, I'd like to replace our green playhouse/shed with one of these, just because I think the children would love it and they could move things out there that currently live in the house (dolls, kitchen...).

On top of all of this I'd like a big framed paddling pool ...

and maybe some go-karts for the team to hare down the hill on ...

And lastly, I'd like to add a little something for us grown-ups! ... I'd like a summer house, so Paul & I can sit comfortably and enjoy the summer in the garden, whilst we read or watch the children play, so I'm thinking, on that hard-standing (where the trampoline is atm), THIS would be perfect...

Of course, IF I won the competition I couldn't have ALL of this, but one can dream!

And here's a little picture to help you visualise the whole cha-bang (not drawn to scale or with any artistic flare)!!

“This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition”