Sunday, 29 June 2008

Fencing and Folk Weekend...

Hettie had her first ever fencing competition on Saturday, which meant she fenced Weds & Thurs night at her club. Friday night she was up from midnight til 4am, with excitement. Which meant everyone was a little over tired, but off we all went. It's great when kids take part in sport but lets face it, a tad boring when you're the parent sitting about! However Issy and I hung around nearly all day in support, we didn't make it quite to the end. Hettie was the youngest there and about a foot or more shorter than all the other girls! But she scored points for her team and they ended up with bronze medals - I should point out though that there were only the 3 girls teams!!

So we all had a lay in this morning and decided on the spur of the moment to go to the Leigh Folk Festival. Last time we went Issy was in a buggy! We had a great afternoon, met a few friends wandering around, watched all the morris dancing, listened to bands, danced, ate chips and finally after much queuing managed to get a beer!

Blue Candy Floss - the additives kept them going 'til the evening!

Our mate Pete on drums!

Issy just loved the belly dancers - so did I - the thin dancers got shoved up the back! And boy could those girls dance!

We didn't get home until late, but dh managed to chuck some pasta together for the girls who were surprisingly still hungry and I'm comtemplating the washing, ironing and housework I didn't do today!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Hiding Mr Ten...

As we seem to have been slipping into a more autonomous way of Home Ed I decided we needed to get back on track today. Tbh the girls have been playing so lovely together it seemed a shame to break up the many role play games they've been having, but they've had an unofficial break so back to work.

We started with some maths (and some groans). Fortunately Hettie pulled out her Singapore maths books and mainly got on with it herself. I say fortunately because Issy's maths is not quite up to the level school had suggested. She's also on 1b but was really struggling with understanding addition when the units add up to more than 10. So we used Base 10's and I explained and explained, and then explained some more. May have been bad teaching on my part but she just wasn't getting it. So I pulled out the blackboard (if we use the white board side we all get high on pen fumes) and taught old fashioned column addition. And we played hiding Mr Ten. Issy loved hiding him in the sum after the units kicked him out of their column and we made a little progress - hooray!

Language arts, english or literacy or whatever you want to call it went well for Hettie today. I was dumbfounded when she correctly named a compound sentence and tbh I didn't know that's what you called them myself. So heaven knows where she learnt that from. We read 3 chapters of Charlotte's Web while they made collages and both did their reading.

Piano was cancelled until tomorrow so we ploughed on (it was now mid afternoon) with some science. I'm fairly disappointed with Sonlight Science. Its bitty, weeks and weeks about birds, and so I'm now swapping it all about. So we watched the dvd and read the experiments which were all about skin and I found the pages in Usbourne Book of Knowledge to read. Then we did the experiments:

They painted caterpillars on their arms to demonstrate how skin stretches.

We took our fingerprints.

Now the good thing about Sonlight Science is the kit had all the bits we needed that I didn't have indoors so we could actually do it, without dashing to the shops. The girls loved the Usbourne book and they even liked the dvd, which is slightly odd! The magnifying glass was really great, shame the schedule is messy and to be quite honest boring. So I'll rearrange it.

They worked from 10.30 til 4.30 - Wow. Bet tomorrow they gang up on me!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Sweet Caroline !!

Last night dh and I drove up to the O2 Centre in London to see Neil Diamond. We've never been to the O2 before and it was so much better than we thought it would be. It's vast, and was a bit like a small village in a huge tent. Apparently there are 548 toilets in there! Lots of restaurants and a huge cinema.

It was rammed with people and we managed to meet some friends for a quick drink before we went in, and then separated off to find our seats. You're technically not allowed to take a camera, but hey this is my phone!! Our seats were terrific, just above the stage and boy, am I glad we weren't at the top which was extremely high up!

Every seat was full by the time it started. Although I was going to be quite sensible I'm afraid I leapt up and cheered with them all when he came on stage. All I can say was it was absolutely fantastic, we sang, cheered and clapped for two hours solid with no intermission. I can't possible decide which bit I enjoyed most, but have to say that Sweet Caroline had the whole place rocking and screaming for more. I had a lump in my throat when he sang love On The Rocks, it was so beautiful. Dh beared up well ;0)

Pics aren't very good as we were all sneakily taking them while a handful of security men tried to stop a million middle aged women using their phones!! I think they secretly looked a bit scared myself. Our nearest security man unfortunately tried to tell off the crowd to his left and promptly all the phones were out on his right. As he spun round all the people to his left promptly took out theirs! It was a loosing battle, but the poor lad tried his best.

So, today my feet are killing me but it was sure worth it, and I've been singing all day!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Back again!

It's just been work, work, work lately - me not the girls!

But as promised some piccies of our Ascot Day. It was in aid of breast cancer and was great value for money. We arrived to as much free Pimms and Champagne as you wanted and then had a fabulous 3 course lunch, then strawberries and cream, and then tea. We placed bets on every race, watched live on a big screen and I won a total of £1.84 - so not so good. There were about 200ish women there and my friend won the best hat, and it really was lovely.

Me in the green!

This was were we ate - and drank!

End of the day and me in the winning hat!

In fact at the end of the day we sat in the gardens swopping hats for some time, before the mini bus arrived to ferry us home, not looking quite as lady like as when he dropped us off !

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A Little Bit Of Dancing !

We had a little look at dancing around the world today. It was a little dry so I added some You Tube clips of various folk dances and then the girls pranced about the lounge!

We went to the shops to collect new Brownie uniforms which I'd ordered weeks ago and ambled about a bit. Popped into nannies to get the Brownie trousers turned up and hemmed.

Dh got home early and had a look at Hettie's electronics kit with her - she has had it since Christmas!

And a little bit of filn Isobel made this weekend in the garden, excuse the building site bits, we're saving them in case they come in handy!

If it was dark it could be the Blair Witch Project.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Times Flying By ........

Not sure where the time is going lately. Still we had a fairly quiet weekend, dh and Hettie went sailing on Sunday and spent the day having dads v kids races. Kids won, I think dad's got disqualified for cheating!

We spent some time looking at steam power using a little boat we have that runs from a tea light candle and wind power using a boat Hettie bought in Norfolk, which runs via a balloon. We raced them around the pond for a bit. This followed on nicely from looking at wind power at the windmill last week.

A friend of ours keeps frogs and Hettie had a hold, Issy wanted nothing to do with them at all. Obviously Hettie then wanted to keep frogs! No way.

African Bull Frog

Tree Frogs, Kermit and Fraggle.
On the school work front we've done fairly well this week so far. Issy is still finding it a little hard to concentrate, but I thing she'll settle down - hopefully she'll settle down. They both went off to Brownies tonight and enjoyed seeing their friends, after spending the afternoon at nanny's playing with a huge cardboard box.

I went last minute panic buying because I'm off to an Ascot Ladies Day, although not at Ascot but at a big posh Spa place, on Thursday. Fortunately I found a nice dress and bought it in the first shop. Great I thought and bought a pair of those huge knickers that go up to your bust to suck it all in. No I'm not posting a piccie of them and they cost almost as much as the dress.

Unfortunately the dress is white and green which meant finding matching shoes, hat and handbag! Would you believe it I couldn't find one pair of white high heels - I do live in Essex after all, and we are renowned for our love of these shoes. But after 2 1/2 hours I managed to get a green pair of shoes and bag, and a white hat. You wouldn't believe how many hats are cream, and how expensive those little feather things are. I flatly refuse to spend £15 on a feather on a hair slide! My nephew has just got engaged - lets hope its a summer wedding and I can use the hat again, which dh describes as a dinner plate on a head band.

So now I've read this back it sounds like an awful outfit but I may even post a piccie on Friday! Ok off to work out how to get this curly mop pinned under the hat.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Why Did I Think This Was A Good Idea?

When I started reading about Waldorf doll making I knew pure wool stuffing was the best and reading further, and looking at the price of wool to buy, I decided getting a fleece was the cheapest way. Also this is great education and good for farming work in Waldorf 3rd Grade. We had to wait for shearing to start and my MIL managed to get a fleece for us, which we bought home.

So today was the day to start washing it. Anyone thinking this is a great idea, it is but believe me it stank! Its fairly hard work as well.

We tipped it out of the bag onto the decking.

We sorted one third into one laundry bag, and another third into another bag. Apparently it's good to lay it out and put it 'sheep shape'. That was fairly impossible to do. It was caked in mud, grass and poo! And was very, very greasy with lanolin. Third left over to wash tomorrow.

Then we did the first wash. We needed a detergent, not soap which would cause it to felt, and gallons of very hot water. Its a bit of an art, because if the water cools the lanolin sticks back on the fleece and goes hard apparently. If it's agitated too much it felts. This is the first wash.

And this is the first lot of water, it was revolting!

Finally after three detergent washes, 20 minutes each, checking the water isn't cooling so it doesn't felt, and scooping it out into the sink to change the water, we were finally at rinsing. We tipped it out of the bags, because it had shrunk considerably and we could manage it better.

Two rinses later we wrestled it back into the laundry bags and onto the decking. We spread it out onto an old towel to dry.

It took 2 1/2 hours. There are still quite a lot of gooey bits in it and a lot of twiggy bits but we'll pull them out when its dry. So what are we going to do with it. We need to card it now and make it all nice and fluffy. Then we can store it. Some we're going to dye using vegetable & fruit dyes and then the plan is to spin some as well. Hopefully they'll be enough for me to make a couple of dolls.

The fleece smells much, much better - but my bathroom smells like a flock of sheep are living in there!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Home Again ...

I drove to Norfolk, bearing in mind dh has driven every time we've been over the past 12 years, and didn't get lost once. Hooray! And we arrived late morning to lovely sunny weather. Nanny cooked a lovely lunch and the girls played in the garden. We had a walk around the local shops - full of bits for little girls to spend their pocket money on. Late afternoon when it cooled down a bit we went off to the beach and collected shells. The girls played on the sand dunes and had a great time.

The next day we went of to Bircham Windmill. We climbed to the top, not a good idea to look down from that high up. The girls made some bread and they bake it for them. Delicious smells wafted through everywhere! I left half a cake at nannys so grandad will have to finish it off!!

We got up to the little platform at the top.

From the first platform.

Baking bread.

Isobel did a little quiz.

Hettie, as usual, was like a magnet to the animals!

We had lunch at the windmill and then went off to a nature reserve for the Hawk and Owl Trust and saw the Marsh Harriers that are currently appearing on Spring Watch. No pic of them, just too far away for my camera.

Issy managed to capture this nice pic!

An obigatory game of Pooh Sticks!

We got to look at this lovely baby Kestral, just 5 weeks old.

On our last day we went to visit the Earl of Leicester - OK we didn't actually visit him, but nosed around his house and garden!! We didn't have time to go inside, but boy has he got some great views out of his windows.

Holkam Hall - nice pad!

One of the many garden views!

You can see more professional pics at there website here. We're planning to go back in summer and spend a full day there. Issy dreamed of marrying a handsome Prince and Hettie wondered how you get a job on a big estate.

And so it was time to come home again. I took a wrong turn and went 3/4 hour out of my way 'cos I got stuck on a major long road where I couldn't turn around Duh!! Still dh was overjoyed to see us again (well happy anyway) - for about 15 minutes I guess, when he disappeared with his guitar upstairs in the back room!

And no we didn't do any of the school work I took!!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Our Birds Have Flown The Nest....

After many days of frantic flying to and fro with beakfuls of caterpillars and worms, and lots of cheeping outside the kitchen window, suddenly silence and no activity. So we left the box for a week and half to make sure no-one came back and today we investigated. Fortunately all the babies have flown, but there were 4 tiny eggs left behind. Definately cold and left by the way!

The girls were made up to hold such tiny eggs.

We cleaned the box out and pulled the nest apart to see what our little Blue Tits had used to build it with.

Hettie got stuck in to have a good look.

So a bit of nature science today! We had a lovely sunny day today. Dh and Hettie were sailing yesterday and this afternoon. I did mountains of washing and ironing - a lot of it I watched all of Primeval weekend. Issy made a collage magazine which kept her busy.

We spent this evening packing to go to nanny and grandad's at Norfolk tomorrow - and by the time they read this we should be on our way! I'll ring you if I get lost.