Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Last week whilst we were in town visiting the swimming pool, we also called into the city centre and had a wander around the beach theme that seems to be running in a few city centres. To be fair, I thought it was a bit rubbish if I'm totally honest but the children enjoyed it. They chose to use their pocket money to pplay hook a duck and go on a few of the rides. Cordelia and Ruben won a toy each (very hard not to think they will end up in landfills and were very overpriced when your children are quite delighted with their prizes). Sometimes you have to let your children make their own choices in life even if its not what you agree with, best I learn this now and be the parent that I would like to be! Sometimes you have to learn to pick your battles.

Anyhow lots of energy was burned off and even more books were picked up afterwards in the library so I took 4 happy children back home on the bus, not a bad day at all :-)

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Reading, reading and a little bit more reading...

This week Ruben has read his first Level 5 ORT book! I'm so excited that he is making such progress, as I wrote about it before, I feel its a huge step for him and I really think it will be so beneficial for him to be able to read. He is actually really enjoy it and loves this series of characters. He is writing me little notes now too and the other morning he had stuck "Fun Zone" posters around the house which he'd wrote all by himself.
 We have also been continuing with our 100 book list too and have read these books that we ordered using the free library service. I really enjoyed all three of these stories but in particular loved the Dr Seuss book, it has such a lovely message in it. The "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" was fun to read just because of the pronunciation of some of the words, I think that was good for Ruben to see me making a few mistakes too!
 Piper has suddenly began reading every "Rainbow Fairies" book she can get her hands on. She bought lots in the library sale but has got 30 out this week between two library cards. Its so good that we are in two counties and therefore can use so many libraries. We went into town on the bus this week and after we called into the central library. It literally blew their minds the amount of books available! We haven't been in for a while and whilst we love our small local library, it just doesn't stock enough for the girls, even with the ordering service. I'm surprised Piper has come to reading these books as she has never been that interested in them and she is reading so many a day because they aren't very long.
 Cordelia has been listening to audio books as well as other reading this week too. They all seem to be having a bit of a "Jeremy Strong" phase at the minute. Yesterday I sat knitting in the room with all of us listening to this story and it was lovely listening to them laugh so loud!
Cordelia is also reading, "My Totally Secret Diary" which she ordered from our local library after seeing it in WHSmith. She has also got into the Glitterwings Academy books too.

Pom-pom creatures, US States & Pippi's Pie!

Ruben wanted to make some pom pom creatures for Daddy when he got back from his business trip so he sat very patiently with a bag of mixed craft supplies, that a friend had recently passed to us, and made these two sweet creatures:

Meanwhile Piper sat with the magnetic US States board and colour co-ordinated them aall before putting them all back in the right places. They love this jigsaw, we picked it up brand new from the car boot a few months ago for £2

 After she'd finished that she decided to help me with tea, we were hvivng Shepard's Pie so first we chopped all the potatoes

 Boiled them for 25 minutes
 Meanwhile we browned the mince
 Added the sauce (and no I didn't make this from scratch, its lazy persons pie!)
 Mashed the potatoes with milk and butter
 Added it to the layer of mince
 And sprinkled some grated cheddar on top
And baked in the oven for 35 minutes! It was rather yummy!

Cordelia had gone to the cinema with her best friend and so it was a very quiet day, you can see what she thought of the film HERE in her own blogpost.

Caterpillar update and Cinnabar Moth

Whilst I was hanging out the washing I noticed a very stripy black and orange caterpillar on the grass, it looked like a shaving of wood from a distance and I haven't seen one like this before. I asked the children to Google it and its a Cinnabar Moth, which was what Hubby found at the side of the road a few months (will try and find the photo) they are really beautiful moths, with really bright colours. According to Wikipedia they often starve to death because they eat so much and run out of food. They eat Ragwort, which we don't have in our garden, so we let it go on its way.
 The caterpillar house was starting to look rather disgusting and all but 3 caterpillars had turned into pupae so we decided it was time to clean it up. It was very, very difficult to remove all the pupae but it can't have been doing them any good being amongst all the poo etc that was in there and whilst we had been putting it outside, as it smelt awful, some ants had gotten and were eating some of the pupae, so it really was important to get them out. Bailey and I donned some plastic gloves and set to work. I wish I had a photo of Bailey because he did a really good job and we had such a laugh doing it but we were a little busy for photo's. After transferring the pupa too a plastic tub we put the 3 live caterpillars left in another tub with some fresh leaves.
 Bailey took this photo of the pupae in the plastic tub
 We then washed the butterfly house in hot soapy water and let it dry on the washing line for half an hour.

 After it had dried and looked about a million times better we began putting all the pupae back into the house. Piper sat with a tally chart as we weren't quite sure how many we had. Whilst Ruben helped me put them carefully back into the house.

The silk that they spin (am presuming its silk but not 100% sure) is really, really strong and they still had some of this yellow egg-like stuff stuck to them and their caterpillar heads, so it was a very precarious job. Still by the time we had finished there was 64 pupae in the now very clean/not smelly butterfly house. I really hope we haven't damaged then in any way and it would be lovely if we got 64 butterflies to release. Bailey pointed out that it was unlikely all 64 of them would have survived in the wild, so lets keep our fingers crossed. They are now being constantly watched so we can release them as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Tale of 3 teas.......

 With daddy not around for tea today I decided to make use of the bag of fresh tomatoes the children's great grandad had given me at the weekend.  They were from his greenhouse, which daddy had helped put up in the spring.. I've not made tomato soup from scratch before but it was delicious! Ruben helped chop up the tomatoes, carrot and spring onions from our garden. He did an excellent job.

Then he poured 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and we heated it up

before adding the chopped carrot and onions
We let them soften for 10 minutes whilst we got the veg stock ready. Ruben thought these were amazing! Little X's! He said they were like the X factor and as there were four of the cubes he decided to unravel a new judge each time. This is due to the girl's new obsession with X factor, they have been playing it with the Barbie's this morning and its fastly rubbing off on Ruben.

Then he dissolved the cubes into 1 and 1/2 pints of boiling water, being very careful of course
We added some chopped tomatoes with chilli to the veg as I had run out of tomato puree. And we added the fresh tomatoes and stock to the oil, carrot and onion.
He added it a bit at a time and then we let it boil for a few minutes before leaving it to simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Then
 I put it in the blender and re-heated it.
Meanwhile, knowing that everyone wanted pancakes for tea we made a start on them. Weighing out 8ozs of plain flour, sifting it, adding a good pinch of salt and then mixing it with 14ozs of milk, 6ozs of water and 4 eggs

Cordelia helped cook the pancakes as she loves flipping them! She does not like pancakes however and wanted a boiled egg and soilders for tea! So I set to work on that and even managed to have a sneaky pancake myself (with syrup obviously!)

Cordelia took this photo of me eating my soup, which was a little spicy thanks to the chilli but very, very delicious!