Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter!!

Our Easter morning started as it does every year-early and with an Easter egg hunt. Hubby spent the night before writing out clues which had them working them out and running up and down stairs..

Until they found their stash of eggs including this gigantic handmade chocolate egg! My Father-in-Law won a charity raffle at work and had promised it the children if he won and so hubby picked it up earlier in the week and hid it in the garage-It was a big surprise!

Not that you can tell but this is me holding it the night before-it was so heavy!

Very happy children, they had quite a stash of chocolate this year so think we'll still be eating it in June!

After some eating of chocolate over last night's new Dr Who episode (a family Easter ritual) Ruben and Cordelia made some bubble blowing wands with pipe cleaners

They had lots of fun blowing bubbles in between nibbling chocolate eggs

Happy Easter xx

Friday, 29 March 2013

Soap Carving at The Grain Warehouse

On Friday we were lucky enough to be able to take part in a soap carving session with an artist called Sylvia. She was brilliant! Hubby was off work so he took Ruben into town for a while and Bailey stayed home to stock up on Xbox time so it was just the girls and I. Despite living in Sheffield my whole life I have to admit to hardly spending anytime at all near the canal, such a shame as its a really beautiful spot!

The girls were happy looking at boats for sale and suggested we buy one! I'm not very good on water so I'm thinking maybe not...It was nice to have a eek in the windows though and see how modern they are. We managed to find the Grain House despite not having a clue where it was. It was very impressive inside and Sylvia told us how the building was used and what the strange metal structures coming out of the ceiling were for-grain ! Which was then transported by canal boat to the mills.

Sylvia had been in the warehouse a few months (I think!) and Lush had provided her with two tonnes of coal tar soap, which in the store is black but Sylvia requested it in white. She had managed to sculpt all the pieces into this shape: Which I think looks a lot like a giant coffee bean!

The girls and I had a fab time taking chunks of soap and carving them into different objects.

Piper had a go at making chocolate bars, Cordelia made a worm coming out of the ground and also a sea sculpture with waves and starfish. It was really relaxing just shaving bits of soap off the block.

We were given lots of soap to take home with us and I'm tempted to get some soap oils and glitter and made some smaller blocks. I'd also like the boys to have at go but we'll see!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Easter Cakes & Crafts

I haven't done that much with Easter this year, its not one of my favourite holidays to be honest. The children enjoy it for the chocolate eggs but that is about all really-who deosn't get excited by chocolate. I think maybe its because we have an awful lot going on here at the moment and so its difficult to concentrate on much.

Ruben had his BFF over to play and they quickly disappeared upsatirs to play on their 3DS' together, playing Pokemon Black. So I got out some chocolate, cornflakes and mini egggs and the girls made Easter nests. Its very, very rare that we ever do baking without any actual baking in this house but to be honest it was a nice change and quite quick. The girls are perfectly capapble of doing it all by themselves so I could just hover around and take photos whilst they chatted and melted chocolate...

We messed around with my phones picture settings and the girls liked this vinatge looking photo. The cakesmanaged to sit for a whole 10 minutes before they were devoured, which is not to bad.

I found the girls some flowery patterned material so they could have a go at making some spring bunting. We haven't finished it yet though but I have a place in mind for a Spring display, we used fabric glue rather than stitching to make it a bit quicker-we seem to be all about the speed today! I think its because I've been tired and spent so much time cooking and cleaning the last few days, and I had a late night at the hospital with a friend. Six people and four pets in a house all day will create a lot of mess, washing and cleaning! I've been trying hard to make all our meals from scratch too which is lovely and tastes lovely but requires a lot more planning. The girls love being in the kitchen though and have helped me make lots of yummy soups this week.

Lots of our craft things were missing, like my material scissors and pinking shears which was a little frustrating but we managed without them. I'll hopefully put up a photo when its all finished.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Wintry Walks & Pokemon Cards

I have blogged recently about how Pokemon has made a very welcome return to our house, but I was really glad when the Pokemon cards also came back out. Hubby taught all four of the children to play the card game a few years ago, he is very patient and much better at grasping rules than I. He even set up a league that they could all play in together and they all loved it. It went on for quite a few months before it died out.

Ruben's BFF has really gotten into Pokemon and as is the way with this little man, anything his BFF gets into so does he! Its made a change that its Ruben who is an expert of something that his friend is into and they've had some very in=depth conversations lately with Ruben sharing lots of his knowledge of Pokemon. Ruben's very lucky to have inherited so much stuff-toys, books, games and more importantly knowledge. Its something that they bond over and with such an age gap its really nice because its rare.

Ruben wanted to play the card game again so he could teach his BFF so hubby happily obliged, I think he's rather pleased to have him playing again. The girls happily sat and watched too and even helped sort all our cards out into their different catogories-trainer cards, energy cards, dark, leaf, electric, water pokemon etc, etc-there is a lot of different types!

The girls haven't had much of a crafting phase recently, they have been playing a lot of Barbie and Monster High as well as online games. They like chatting to their friends online whilst playing "Howrse". Piper decided to get out the felt bag to make some accesorries for her Barbie living room.

Piper, Ruben and I decided to get out for a bit of fresh air and take Tallulah for a walk, it is still very cold out and lots of snow everywhere. Some of the snow on the fields is several feet high but it looks as if its slowly starting to melt. I love taking photos in the snow though, I think its the light it throws back.

When its just Piper and Ruben they have these amazing , imaginative conversations that usually involve Tallulah or "Chubb" as she is affectionly known. If you listen to them our dog is both insighful and very funny. I think its really sweet but it can get some strange looks when we're out, maybe because people have such expectations of children Piper and Ruben's age. They don't expect them to be being silly, doing voices and making each other laugh. Just because Piper is nearly 12 and a half doesn't been she can't be silly!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Cosmic rockets

Last week, before we were hit with such miserable cold weather, we had a rare sunny day and temperatures soared at a whopping 5 degrees-seems like a long time ago already.... Ruben found this cosmic rocket kit out, no idea when or where I bought it from but he was excited to try it. After working out what ingredients we needed-vinegar and bicarb of soda, we read through the leaflet which was about Sir Isaac Newton and his three law's of motion.

First Law:

I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Second Law:

II. The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector.
And the third law:

III. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Ruben found all this very interesting and we had a great conversation about gravity and the apple falling on Newton's head...

Here is our experiment: The bottom section of the rocket we put bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), then Ruben filled up the rocket 1/3 with vinegar.

Then it was time to give it all a very gentle shake, 2-3 times.


Outside we went as the instructions said it could reach 50 metres high, not reading this first it was Bailey who said "Mum, your going to need to get that outside!". Good job one of us had read the instructions thoroughly...

So we waited patiently whilst the rocket did....NOTHING!! Back inside and I put it in the sink to wash out and it exploded all over me much to all four children's delight :-) Not the best thing to happen in a belfast sink either but never mind.

Attempt number two went so, so , so much better and it did soar really high. Sadly it was far to quick to get a photo of :-(, we lost one of the rockets wings in a bush too.

Another two more attempts saw it flying into the bottom of the garden wall and exploding in Cordelia's hand, no one smelt very good that afternoon! Seems to have triggered the scientist in all of them now though....


The Hepworth

Last weekend we had a trip to the Hepworth Art Gallery in Wakefield, its our second visit here and we really enjoyed the first. The good thing about visiting on a weekend is that they have lots of hands on activities for the children to take part in the downside is that its usually very busy. Last year we visited just after the gallery had won an award and was on the local and national news so it was very busy, this time was a little quieter.

Beautiful blue skies seem like ages ago not just a week!

The gallery has this great portable art pod in one of the gallery and there's lots of different activities. Bailey and Piper were happy to wonder around and look through some of the art books whilst Ruben found these discs to build with and had a great chat with the lady in charge of the art pod. He told her about his Aqua-Zoo plans and she told us about an amazing aquarium in Spain (which I've since looked up and am putting on our list of places to go!). She told us that her friend helped make the Lego DS video games-so she had some very interested children then!    

Cordelia picked up a pack that meant she could draw different shapes and patterns on to a piece of paper with different coloured crayons whilst she walked around the gallery. There are lots of different sculptures by Barbara Hepworth around so you get lots of lines and curves and the views from the huge windows over the river all help to inspire.

This was her original drawing:

When she had finished drawing we went back to the art pod and she was handed a piece of Hessian and lots of different threads and felt to sew on as she pleased. She really loved this activity and it was so relaxing just sat watching her sew

And this is the finished piece:

I think its going to look great in a frame :-)

The art pod also has some great children's art books and Ruben and Piper really loved listening to this story:

The Pencil (0)
It was a really lovely story. We also had a lot of fun with this pop-up book:

Each pop up was beautifully crafted and you had to find a hidden blue number 2 on each one. It was such a clever idea, and here's me thinking the children are too old for pop-up books any more!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

More snow?!?! Longest Winter EVER...

We awoke to even more snow than yesterday, it has felt like the longest, coldest, winter in years. I was really hoping for some milder weather beginning soon what with it being the start of Spring but its not looking like its going to happen any time soon.

This morning we set off for a snowy walk through the village, we had a friend's card to post and the Tallulah needed to stretch her little doggy legs. We were only out for about an hour but its so deep it was so hard to walk in it and we were all shattered when we got back home.

It does all look so very pretty though, doesn't it?

Some rather beautiful views even if it was far too cold to stand and admire them for long. We are lucky to live near some beautiful countryside though.

Back home and there's nothing to do but bake!! I'm going to have to go and a serious Spring diet because all I have done the last few months is bake cake and biscuits, cook super stodgy casseroles and eat them all!! I think we must all really need the energy stores though, it really takes it out of you walking in this heavy snow.....

Friday, 22 March 2013

Friday without group..

There were some very disappointed faces in our house this morning when all our plans for Friday group and having my dad and stepmum over for tea were cancelled in a very quick 30 minutes. The weather was just so grim and the snow so thick and fast. I'm actually glad we didn't have anywhere to go-a bonus of home educating is not having to go out in this weather. Hubby popped to the shops for a few essentials-have I said how great it is he can drive now???-but other than that we had a quiet day in.

Today I felt very appreciative for food in the fridge, heating and electricity and a warm cosy house with lots of things inside to keep us all busy.

It was a good job hubby was working from home too as I felt so unwell I ended up in bed for a couple of hours. It's been a week of us all feeling under the weather one way or another, piper had another migraine-her second this month, bailey had a full day feeling sick with stomach ache then cordelia had the same. Hubby has been in pain with an abscess in his tooth and I've had a bad back!

Here's hoping for a much better week next week, fingers crossed.

Ruben and Piper sat and made some pokemon and lord of the rings cartoon strips.

Whilst Cordelia had a go with an ice marble by filling a balloon with water and food colouring and popping it outside overnight to freeze. Not sure if it'll work as I think water balloons would have been better but it's all in the name of science...

Tree Project Part 4..

Tree project part 4-oh look its snowing, again.....

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Pokemon and Lego Playgrounds

Pokemon is HUGE here again, it comes in waves and has done for a good six years or so between the two boys mainly but the girls also like to get involved. I've seen some pretty bizarre games of Pokemon and Barbie in the last week or so-who knew Ash had such a crush on Barbie? And who wouldn't want to go on a date with an accompanying Pikachu???

At least it is motivating Ruben to have some creativity time, he always completely immerses himself in all things Pokemon. So its quite a nice thing really and I've noticed a real improvement in his behaviour since the return of the Pokemon, which is such a relief as his behaviour was starting to become really draining. I'm trying to really enjoy and appreciate it whilst it lasts because it seems to come in cycles and there's been more bad ones than good ones of late.

Here is his Poke playground made from another favourite of ours-LEGO!

Squirtle and Charmander

Pikachu and Pidgey

Doduo, Rattata, Mankey and Bulbasaur

This is the boy who says he can't read but manages to know all of these names-bear in mind there are over 640 different Pokemon and he can find where they are pretty instantly in his Pokemon book. He is my little PokeMaster