Friday, 31 May 2013

5 mile walk at Chatsworth Park

How did it get to be the end of May already? We have had a quieter week this week with some days at home after being so busy last weekend. Hubby and I started a new exercise program which meant we haven't really felt like much walking this past week but with a sunny day on the horizon after a week of mainly rain we took a picnic and did one of my favourite walks around the grounds of Chatsworth. Chatsworth house is really beautiful and quite famous, its even been on the Antiques Roadshow! It was built by Bess of Hardwick, we visited Hardwick Hall here and the grounds here before. Mary Queen of Scots was also kept capitive at Chatsworth several times. Its always a popular and busy place and as it was half term and sunny it was busy today.

Our walk took us around the outskirts of the grounds, so it meant apart from the £2 parking fee it was all free! The house and gardens are quite expensive for a visit and have to admit to never having been in.

The view from above the house and gardens


Hunting lodge and halfway point for our walk

We stumbled upon the Labrador trials in the grounds, teams from allover Europe came including Switzerland and Germany. The dogs had to run into the trees and find a dummy and bring it back. It was quite busy with lots of people and dogs.

We had a stop for lunch to rest our weary legs, hard work walking uphill in such warm weather.

What a beautiful view for our picnic spot!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Bank Holiday Weekend

Whilst I have no photos from the weekend, keep forgetting to bring out my new camera! we had such a lovely time that I just want to record it for memories sake! I did take some photo's of Ruben paddling but hubby deleted them off his phone by accident! So it goes.

Sunday we had a busy day with a morning full of car boots, the children stocking up on LPS and Pokemon. We had lunch and then met up with my dad, his partner and her son Russ, his wife Molly and their very cute baby. Plus  three extra dogs! That made for 6 adults, 5 children and 4 dogs!


We stopped to buy the children ice creams before setting off to walk up the side of Padley Gorge. It was a really sunny afternoon for the second bank holiday in a row! We stopped for a quick paddle in the water, the children trying to coax our very set-in-her-ways jack russell into going into the water, she did have a quick paddle but doesn't really like water. Ruben said it was very cold but once he got in we had a job getting him back out again. Back down the other side of the gorge and back to the car and back for a BBQ at Russ & Molly's house. A stunning house and the first time we have been there, the children really enjoyed talking to Molly, she is brilliant with the children and as she is a vet Cordelia is completely in awe of her! We had a fab BBQ cooked by Russ before coming home, a lovely afternoon.

Monday we had a bit of a later start before meeting up with friends back up in the Peak District. Weather was not as nice but we hadn't seen our friends in ages and it was so lovely to catch up that we hardly noticed the cooler weather. I don't think I have been to this part of the Peak District in all my life as I have been in the last month but it has been lovely. Forgot my camera again though!! After a picnic lunch we said goodbye to our friends and headed to see the children's great-grandparents on my hubby's side. As usual the children's great-nannan had made them lots of food to eat so they happily tucked in whilst we chatted about all the things we had been doing recently. The children are so lucky to still have their great-grandparents around, they have such great stories to tell and we always have such a lovely time with them.

Back home and we were all shattered after a busy weekend, its been lovely to catch up with family and friends though!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday Blog!!!

I can't believe its been three years since my first post on the blog here!

Little did I know back when I started the blog that hubby would get to be enjoying this home educating journey full time with us. We are nearly a month into our new life and its been brilliant. I'm so lucky to be married to my best friend and getting to spend everyday together as a family is wonderful. Hubby no longer has to work away so no more nights apart and the children are loving having him at home full time. If he pops out to the shop the children are like "when's he coming back? Where's he gone?" It's very sweet.

It's not been quite as laid back as we had hoped as the business has been much busier than we anticipated (but that's good!) and just as we were gearing up for more freedom it seems we had signed the children up for different activities. The good thing though is that it's meant we have more time to spend 1 on 1 time with the children. Something which has been difficult before with very little family support and hubby's stressful job. Things are good in our little corner :)

My MIL gave us some books and games from when hubby was younger and so we sat and played Journey Through Europe on a very rainy afternoon!

It's a really good boardgame-but then we are a boardgame-loving family so maybe biased! Good for helping the children learn countries in Europe and Capital Cities.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Places of Faith-Jewish Synagogue

The second visit on our places of faith trips, it was supposed to be the first but got cancelled so it was good to be able to visit. We came a few years back pre-blog (second place recently that was pre-blog) and it was a good visit but the children couldn't remember visiting.

We left Bailey at home as his brace was hurting and he could remember visiting last time, plus since his last trip to the mosque had him passing out I wasn't willing to risk a similar situation! 

Thanks to an incredibly delayed doctors appointment we arrived 15 minutes late! Seems to be becoming a habit, hope not. The Rabbi was very good about it though. He chatted to us about the Jewish calendar and how every four years they have a thirteenth month. Then we moved into a room which wasn't finished last time, it had a wall made with stone from Israel and then a map showing where in the world Jews from this synagogue originated from. The children liked the map and Cordelia took these few photos.

Sorry this one doesn't want to turn!

Plaques with the names of people and where they were from.

This sculpture was in the entrance hall and all the children were fascinated by it. The sculpture is of a burning bush and from the story of Moses who saw a burning bush on a hill, the fire did not consume the bush and when Moses went to to see for himself he heard the voice of God. The sculpture was made with one piece of metal and has the Hebrew spelling of  God on three of the leaves.

Ruben took these photos

Candelabra representing the 8 nights of Hannuka and how a small amount of oil, enough to last one night lasted for 8 until more oil was found. Ruben liked the windows which represent the material and bells on the scrolls.

The Ten Commandments written in Hebrew with a light that is always lit, it's a lightbulb rather than a candle due to health & safety.

The seven books of the Torah in the Arc.

The children were allowed to hold some of the items from the Arc, including this beautiful silver ornament (sure it has another name but it escapes me) which has bells on and allows the person holding it to alert everyone in the synagogue that the Torah is being carried through.

Ruben made me pose for this photo holding this very heavy crown that goes over the scrolls. He even told me I had to smile!

All synagogues have some kind of memorial to the six million Jews killed during the holocaust and this was there's, It has six lights. We have done quite a bit of work on WW2 and the holocaust and the girls have both read the Diary of Anne Frank. I think it's something we will revisit as it was a while ago now.

Outside of the synagogue with a friend we haven't seen in ages, was lovely to see them again.

A really informative visit, the Rabbi is brilliant with the children and answered all their questions. He chatted to them about racism and religion which I thought was really good and made a lot of points that I hope the children took on board, he told them how individual they all were and really made them feel very special. A really enjoyable visit that I'm glad we were able to make.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

New Braces & WW1 Project

Piper's second visit to Nottingham for the archives project. We came on the train today so had a full half an hour before the session started which was great as I hate arriving late. Meant we had a very relaxed journey and got to have a nice talk without any interruption-rare in a family of six!

Piper was put in a small group with four other girls which was great, their all still a bit nervous around each other but it's a good start. They'll be spending a lot of time together over the next year so hopefully will get to know each other better.

We had a visit to the conservation room, which was really cool-people dusting off documents from the 18th century! Cool job :) then a talk was given about why they were archiving the artefacts in acid free folders and on special paper if appropriate. Then the girls worked in two's/three's to transfer some of the paper documents into acid free wallets which gave them chance to chat and I got to talk to a couple of the mums there too which was nice.

The walk from the station to the archives by the canal

Piper/we had forgotten to fill her sheet in so we made a start on it on the train home after we'd had some lunch. The sheet asks what they hope to learn from the project, it's then filled in again at the end of the project. 

Meanwhile back at home hubby had to take Bailey for his brace fitting. Strange to not be there as I've done nearly all his appointments and its taken getting used to being able to share responsibilities but its allowing us more individual time with the children which is good. Bailey did not enjoy the brace fitting and point blank refused a before/after photo-suppose I don't blame him, I was the same. He's in a bit of discomfort and so I made sure we had lots of soup in as chewing is going to be difficult for the next few days. Glad it's finally done and fitted now, feels like there's been lots of waiting around and then it's all happened very quickly. Cordelia and Ruben were very good apparently despite it being a boring morning for them.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

National Trust Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey has been one of our favourite National Trust places since the children were very small, we used to go often despite the nearly two hours drive. North Yorkshire is a really beautiful place and we seriously considered a move there a few years back, not sure what changed our minds in the end but I'm glad we did because we might never have ended up home educating if we'd moved. Still, driving through the beautiful Knaresborough, Ripon and the outskirts of Harrogate was pretty cool, we must have another visit soon.

Fountains Abbey is a Cistercian Abbey, and along with Studley Royal Water Gardens & Deer Park is a World Heritage Site,

What better a place for the first day of their "new cloak" outing? Ruben printed off a map of Middle Earth- from Lord of the Rings-just for those of you who's children are not obsessed with LOTR!

Here are some photos which came out really well with the gloomy weather, making for a very dramatic scene.

The abbey ruins in the distance

The ruins

Having a huge Hobbit adventure amongst the arches and stairs of the abbey ruins

Bailey didn't want to wear a cloak sadly...But he did have a photo with his old mum-see how tall he is now? A whole 5 inches taller than me!!!!

The ruins are simply stunning and photo's do them no justice but I simply love Hubby's beautiful photographs.

Can you believe that this was built in a time before machinery and cranes to lift? Its all so beautifully symmetrical and so HUGE and grand. Its a bit overwhelming to be honest.

Makes you feel very small being stood in here.

Looking at the views..

Exploring the castle...I mean Abbey walls

She looked just like Arwen in the distance!

Look they even found a Hobbit Hole to inhabit!

Studley Royal Water Park

The statue of Neptune in the middle of the pond had to be positioned in place by a helicopter! Wish we could have seen that..

Time for a quick stop for lunch at the cafe, where we spotted some very cheeky Jackdaws

Before we had a walk through the Deer Park, lots of happy memories from when the children were so much smaller, they loved playing on the hills, climbing on the tree trunks and feeding the ducks. There were a few baby chicks today too.

Lots of cool bridges to climb over..

And a lovely time throwing rocks into the water and playing on the stepping stones until Cordelia's foot went in and Ruben went to "save" her and slipped himself and was wet through right up to his thighs... No injury other than pride though thankfully so a bit of a wet walk for him back up to the car via the cafe for an ice cream, that and a Pokemon chat with Bailey distracted him for soggy jeans.

A really wonderful today with four very happy children, Hubby said he thinks the cloaks are the best thing I have ever made and have to agree. Cordelia in particular was so excited and kept jumping off things to make her cloak billow behind her, so nice to see her just enjoying being imaginative and playing without feeling the need to be "grown-up". Some lovely conversations and much needed peace and quiet from all other distractions.

Back home and after tea and baths we all snuggled on the sofa with warm popcorn to watch last Saturday's Dr Who finale. 

The word of the moment seems to be "Drama-Bomb"-want to remember that so writing it down as its so random :-)