Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

Despite our disappointment at Fright Night the younger two were still very excited about Halloween, they decorated the house and Cordelia made some bats from black card to hang in the window. She put out some of the decoartions we have had from previous halloween parties too so the house looked very halloween-y. I love the zombie boxes which where an idea from P'interest last year.

All four of them had a great time doing their pumpkins and found some ideas online as to what carvings to do. Was strange not helping anyone this year, it seems they are all old enough now to carve their own pumpkins...

Bailey went for a Mario mushroom, Piper for Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time, Cordelia did a cat and Ruben started a Minecraft one but ended up doing a screaming man instead.

Thankfully there was no heavy rain this year which seriously scuppered last years trick or treating, the older two didn't want to go out so Hubby took Cordelia and Ruben and Piper and I were in charge of giving out our treat sweets, Bailey decided he'd rather be on his xbox! Cordelia and Ruben had a great time and came back with a pumpkin full of sweets and had lots of compliments about their homemade costumes.

Happy Halloween from Four Pesky Hobbits :-)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

What's with teenagers?

Had this blog post in my head a lot just recently, at this present moment in time I actually only have 1 official teenager. But I can't help feeling that I actually have 3 teenagers, its just that 2 of them are unofficial teenagers. Pippi is only weeks away from her 13th birthday (MUST NOT CRY thinking about it) so its not going to be long before half of my children are teenagers *GULP*. I could spend ages saying "How on Earth did this happen?", Bailey's college tutor told me I didn't look old enough to be his mum recently, I suppose it was a compliment but I certainly feel old enough to be. And as I very embarrassingly, asked a fellow home educated boy the same age as Bailey, literally 10 minutes after the above comment from his tutor, whether or not he liked "video games" (seriously I cringe every time I think about it)  I think I can assure you I'm definitely old enough. In my defense I was just trying to get Bailey chatting to some of the other students, epic fail. So I won't spend ages asking that question because I think I've established that I have enough parent years behind me.

So what actual changes when you go from having a child to having a teenager (or 3) ?

  • You may need to consider having an extra bathroom fitted, because if there are more people than bathrooms in your home then your in for a LONG wait for a shower. This is not just for teenagers girls might I add, my teenage son takes longer than anyone.
  • No one wants to do the same things as you anymore, this means two things really a) You either leave them behind or b) Take them and watch the misery on their faces. Neither options are great to be honest because with option a) You'll feel guilty and b) You'll feel guilty. So its a lose-lose situation.
  • Hormone roller coaster-really it isn't their fault and it can be interesting to watch them not understanding why they are being so stroppy....
  • Hair-its really everywhere, seeing your son with a beard is a bit scary but so is not being able to find an unused razor in your bathroom or your tweezers.
  • They smell, again not their fault but it really is your duty to deal with it or deal with other peoples reaction to the smell..
  • Periods-see this post for more on that
  • They borrow everything and return nothing
  • Half a conversation is the WHOLE conversation and if its not then you've missed something or they've got bored talking to you
  • Your no longer/ever have been cool, your just *rolls eyeballs for dramatic effect* old.
  • Department stores no longer stock clothes in store if your over 12 or if you are unlucky enough to have exceptionally tall children, then you have to try and find things in the adult section and pay adult prices for shoes and clothes even though they are 12!
  • Going to bed at the same time as your teenagers can be *awkward*
  • Not only will you have to deal with all these changes in your teenager but you will also have to deal with how suddenly awkward others are in the presence of your teenagers. People suddenly lose the ability to talk to your teenagers, why I have no idea, yes it can be a bit more hard work but I'm quite offended by how many people have ignored my teenagers of late! They don't bite you know..
These are just a few things that have really been floating around in my head, I thought it was just us to be honest. And I was starting to really struggle but then I chatted to some of my bestest friends who have teenagers and they basically said the same. 

What a relief *breathes* 

Autumn Walks at Linacre

Like I said we've been doing a lot of walking this Autumn! The long range forecasts are showing a potentially super cold winter so we're trying to get outdoors as much as possible and make the most of the mild Autumn weather. Linacre is a great place to walk and we did around two miles quite quickly round the reservoir. There has been lots of news stories recently about getting children outdoors more, I think its really important and I definitely feel it makes a huge difference to our children being outside. Their not always enthusiastic about getting out for walks so it does help if we are meeting friends too.

Cordelia took these photos:

As you can see it was a really beautiful Autumn day and I love Cordelia's photographs. It was supposed to rain but it managed to hold off until we got back to the car.

Walking, Baking & Building Dolls' Houses

October has very much been a month of walking and baking, feels like we are really settling into a much calmer Autumn after a very busy summer. We have met up with friends to go on walks too after a few weeks of illness and nasty viruses the children were desperate to see friends!

We had another walk at Sherwood Pines and the children spotted this recreated World War 1 trench, not sure what it is actually being used for though but it still looked cool!

The children spotted some frogs in amongst the mud

 And some more Fly Algaric fungi

Back at home Piper has really been concentrating on getting her Dolls Emporium Garden Pavillion ready for her dolls to move in. We took her to the Dolls House Emporium in Derbyshire, she thought it was brilliant and has picked out her dolls house for her birthday/Christmas present already. It takes so much planning and patience and this is something hubby is great with thankfully so he has helped her paper the roof, the walls and put the flooring down.

She has bought some furniture and also planned what wallpapers/floorings and furniture she is going to have in her next house. As the pavillion is only one room it was easier to plan out, the next house she is getting is 8 rooms so there is lots to think about. Its been a great learning experience for her and also lovely for her and hubby to have some dad and daughter time, he is very patient at this kind of thing, much more so than I.

We also said goodbye to BBC Two's Great British Bake Off last week sadly, its a programme that we love watching as a family on a Tuesday evening especially as it really gets us in the mood for baking. The girls and I each baked something for our little tea party to watch the final with. Piper made pink cupcakes, Cordelia made double chocolate cookies and I made lemon cake.

We even got the china teapot out for a cup of tea!

We really wanted Kimberely to win but thought Frances was really good too!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sheffield Fright Night

The weekend before halloween the children decided they would quite like to visit Sheffield's Fright Night, we had heard mixed reviews about what it would be like so thought it would be a good idea to give it a try. The girls and Ruben decided this year to make their own costumes instead of buying them or using older costumes. They can never find just what they want to use so this was a good idea and it was great to see them having so much fun making their costumes.

Piper, who is a  huge Adventure Time fan, chose to make a Lumpy Space Princess costume. She started with some cardboard which hubby helped her cut to shape then we found some purple paint-it had to be just the right shade of purple- and she made a start painting it.

Meanwhile hubby was helping Cordelia cut out some wings from cardboard. She laid on the cardboard and hubby drew around her.

Ruben decided on a Minecraft costume for halloween so he began with a cardboard box, hubby painted sheets of paper different shades of green and then cut them into squares. Ruben then spent a lot of time gluing each square on individually.

And here is the finished result:

Piper even made a special "bag of beans" out of a tin, just like in an episode of Adventure Time and we made LSP's headband out of some paper. Cordelia found a mask she liked in an antique shop but at £15 it was a little expensive, so she made her own out of cardboard and painted it black. I was most impressed with the wings she made because after she painted them black she spent hours cutting out feathers from tissue paper and gluing each on eon individually. Real time and dedication was spent on all their costumes which was wonderful to see.

Fright Night itself was pretty disappointing and not what we were expecting, it was a bit too busy for our liking and more about expensive fairground rides than halloween which was a real shame. I think for our children a trip to the US is the only way they are really going to enjoy Halloween......

Friday, 25 October 2013

Imperial War Museum North, The Lowry

We set off to go to the Imperial War Museum North a few months ago but had car problems and had to turn back. So it was good to finally make it here! Piper has had an interest in WW1 & WW2 for such a long time so I knew it would be a hit with her. We did quite a big project a WW2 a while back now but Bailey and the girls still remember lots of it so it was good to reinforce some of that. Especially the items from the war camps-Bailey watched "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" with us a few years ago so it was humbling to see a an actual pair of striped pyjamas.

I think this was the most exciting bit for Hubby as he loves Harrier Jets!

I thought this canoe was a brilliant example of recycling/upcycling EVER. A canoe made out of discarded fuel tanks, it had been cut in half and welded together. Amazing to think that during such terrible times people can be so resourceful.

I think this was one item in the museum that I found really, quite upsetting. It is a piece of the World Trade Centre from the 9/11 attack in New York:

Not that I think other things weren't sad but as I wasn't alive during either World War is almost like reading a really sad story. But seeing this mangled piece of wreckage can put me right back in time to the moment I saw events unfolding twelve years ago. I was in my living room getting my shoes on and putting Piper's coat on, we were going to pick Bailey up from Nursery and I was pregnant with Cordelia. I remember calling hubby and work and trying to describe what I had just seen on the news. It makes me feel teary just thinking about it and I suppose that must be how people who did live through the War feel when they see things in the museum-they can remember them and so therefore relate to them much more than someone like I can. Food for thought.

When we did our WW2 project a few years ago I have to admit to learning a lot of things myself too, I became quite distressed by the war camps and Auschwitz but also fascinated. We even went along to an Anne Frank exhibition in Chester and we've read and watched the BBC documentary about Anne Frank. Even Ruben could remember some things.

This painting is called "The Death Cart" and is by an artist called Edith Birkin. It is both a shocking and fascinating painting:

Even more so when you read the artists story:

The Horrible Histories video was really good to watch as its projected through all of the central part of the museum so you don't have to sit in a small room. There was a video all about the impact of war on the local area too which was really moving.

We also went into the art gallery, I couldn't take any photos in there but there was an exhibition on entitled "Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War". It was really interesting and Bailey and I had a really good talk about how anyone can be a journalist/photographer/reporter now with smart phones.

We bought tickets to go up to the viewing platform, its just outside the entrance but still in the building, this is how high it is from below:

It seemed like a good idea at the time but I think I had forgotten how quite terrified of heights I am so when I got up there it seemed ridiculously high!!! And I did not like the mesh metal floors that you could see all the way down on (now really questioning my ability to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower next year!). The views of Salford Quays were very good though:

This tank was outside the museum and was an actual working tank that was captured by Royal Engineers in Iraq in 2003.

We had lunch in the car (it was cold!) before walking across the bridge towards the BBC media centre, we went passed the building where they filmed The Voice:

And in one of the buildings we found a tardis and two daleks in the reception!

We're pretty big Dr Who fans in this house

There was even the original Blue Peter garden, complete with a statue of Blue Peter dog Petra. My parents-in-law have a German Shepard called Petra so the children thought it was very cool.

This is the Imperial War Museum Building from the other side of the canal, its such an imposing building and was designed by Polish architect Daniel Libeskind, who was born in 1946, his family suffered a lot during WW2 and many members of his family died in the Holocaust.

The media square, we are planning a return trip here soon. We even managed to wave to Radio Six DJ Stuart Maconie-a longtime hero of Hubby-and he waved back at us!

The Lowry is just opposite the War Museum so we popped in there too, we haven't done anything about Lowry before but a friend had introduced me to his work a while ago and so it was interesting to find out more about him and his work. I think we all loved his paintings of the sea the most. Ruben thought a lot of his paintings looked very similar and the girls thought his paintings of "Anne" were a little strange. I thought his paintings seemed quite sad and he seemed a lonely man. Hubby hadn't heard of him at all before so he learnt quite a lot about him.

I really liked that they had a family gallery, that was very quiet and so we could sit and look out of the window and draw, it was very relaxing!

A really interesting and educational day out :-)