Monday, February 16, 2015

Just Art, Cookery & Science

This week in art we looked at colour value. It was a fairly simple lesson. Stitch had a bit of a melt-down over the drawing, but he got there eventually and then did well with the painting.

For Cookery this week we made butter biscuits. They were super simple and super-yummy! No decorating this time ~ they didn't need any enhancing :D. It's nice that my children now know that tasty things don't have to be iridescent colours!

Joel's science has been about osmosis this week and involved soaking an egg in various liquids over the course of three days & measuring it's girth each time: vinegar for 24 hrs (to soak off the shell), sugar solution for 24 hrs (home-made), and then purified water for a further 24 hrs. The result one seriously pudgy egg, which exploded in the sink shortly after being measured! I think he said it swelled by just under 3cm in total. 

It's half term this week, so the chids are chilling, and I shall be busy trying to get as organised as possible for Paul & my's upcoming Kenya trip. I can hardly believe that in 3 weeks time we will be there ~ sweltering in tropical temperatures! I'm excited and nervous in equal measure. I think I'm most nervous about the whole airport thing ~ crazy really, but I've never flown as an adult, and Paul has never flown anywhere other than Southern Ireland. It's a bit more serious if you catch the wrong flight, than if you catch the wrong train!! I'm sure we'll be fine though :D

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This week at our house...

ART ~ we'll start here because it's pretty :D

This week, we did 'Big Face' watercolours, which are meant to be sort of Eric Carle-ish; here's how they turned out (youngest to eldest this week) ...

We liked how, despite following the exact same instructions, we each ended up with faces that had distinct character of their own. 

Regardless of what I said last week, we did in fact make pastry this week. I decided that as I was going to cook turkey pasties for lunch anyway, we may as well make pastry and pies instead. So that we did and it was a very successful lesson :D

I gave each of them a bowl and the ingredients they needed, then I verbally guided them through the whole process. 

This point was the hardest, and I did assist a little with the cutting and mixing, but purely for the sake of their arms - the pastry was perfect.

We cheated a little and used bought puff pastry for the lids, but in all honesty, the shortcrust pastry the chids made had more taste and texture to it :D

Don't they look amazing! And they tasted fabulous too :D

I've bought a book this week and Abbie has decided she is going to work through it as part of her studies. It was originally an Irish Home Ec' textbook, back in the 80's. Although it's a bit dated, it is still a lovely text to work with, covering all sorts of different aspects of health & home-keeping :D

We have done a fair bit actually, but I've sadly not taken many pictures. I did take some today though, while Chip was playing with the Spielgaben. We were having some fun with spinning shapes and seeing how they looked as they spun. Chip was quite fascinated with this, but not as much as I thought he might be.

We did another lesson yesterday too, where he matched these 3D shapes with others the same, and began to learn the words for 'cube', 'cylinder' and 'sphere' (or Sophia as he says it). He did well, and still remembered the names today. Spielgaben certainly works for him :D

This week I have also put him on a trial of Busythings. Stitch and DD used to enjoy this site when they were younger, and it's exactly the kind of experimental learning that Chip likes. He has been very fond of PoissonRouge (and still is), but I think Busythings might stretch him a little more now. So far he is loving it :D. He likes Starfall too, but prefers to play the songs on there over and over, which can be a little tedious for the rest of us! 

Besides that, he is doing numerous drawings and trying to write things. His writing looks like some kind of binary :  l + 0 l 0 + l 0 . Then he looks at it and sees it is lots of ones, zeros and pluses and says he was writing numbers not letters ~ smart kid ;-)

Saturday saw the girls and I trawling the charity shops in our local town ~ which is pretty much a town full of charity shops, coffee shops, designer shops, and a great market! I need clothes suitable for wearing in 30+ degrees for 3 weeks, and the girls just needed to re-stock their wardrobes since they have grown so fast! Abbie has gradually outgrown most of her clothes, but they don't all pass well to TP, who is a completely different shape. TP has grown loads this last year too, and was running out of choices. Charity shops here often have some very nice stuff, so we can do a big stock up for a fraction of the cost of buying new. My problem is, I have personal issues with the 'charity shop' smell ~ it brings back memories I don't like too much, but sometimes I have to swallow that and just get on with it.  We shopped for about 3 hours, spent quite a lot of money, and the girls came home with a handsome stash and a 'new' coat each. I really can't complain.

I, on the other hand was less successful in my search. Why is it that all the plus size clothes seem to be made of nasty polyester/viscose materials? I wanted cotton and it looks like I'm going to have to buy new, or make do :(

Joel has his interview for college. He has applied to do BTec Level 3 in Music Performance. I'm hoping he will do well and win them on side despite not having a piece of paper to his name! Watch this space :D

Happy Birthday Boo! ~ 14 Today

I find it hard to comprehend how my beautiful little baby girl, has grown into this stunning, young lady ~ so very soon! 

The last time I did a 'through the years' birthday post for her, was on her 9th birthday and I all I wrote then has remained very much true.

So here is 10, 11, 12 & 13 (on or around her birthday)

There is increasing less trace of the 'girl' she was, but every evidence of the woman she is becoming. She is no longer growing any taller ~ she's fixed at 5'7" (ish) - taller than me; with size 6.5 feet, about which she is non too chuffed - being stuck at a half size is just plain awkward.  She has an elegant style and a happy demeanour. She can giggle with the girls and muck in with the boys. She can cook and sew, and her independence is growing. She loves to read and spend time with her friends. She works hard and is very creative. She makes me very proud to be her Mum :D

 ~ Another thing that is hard to swallow, is that by the end of this month all four of these, my eldest blessings, will be teenagers (and we still have most of those bath toys!!).

Happy 14th Birthday precious Boo!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Last Week

~ Last Saturday the girls and I went to get Phoebe a new phone, as her hand-me-down one died and she would be getting one in a months time anyway, for her birthday (as is our tradition at 13). We took the opportunity to grab lunch, a hot-chocolate and a doughnut together :D. Then the girls hopped on the bus to Chester to meet up with Abbie's BFF, and go to 'craft club' ~ they're getting so grown up!

~ Last week Joel decided to have some fun with a 'Sick Science' can crushing experiment, but it may need to be repeated as it didn't really work. Not sure why. Maybe water was not hot enough, or possibly the cans weren't soft enough metal. We'll try again with Coke cans.

~ Last week little man learnt to hop ~ he was a bit pleased with himself :D

~ Last week we embarked on a new activity to do together each week. The bigger chids and I have decided not to carry on with 'Igniting Your Writing II' any more ~ it's a good course, but we all feel the need for something more 'hands-on' and all the children do enough English and writing in other ways. Instead we have decided I will do proper cookery lessons on a Wednesday! Last week we had some left over chicken bones (from the night when Paul rescued my burnt meal attempts ~ see the irony there), so we made chicken soup. It was just going to be plain, but then I found we had some Thai spices and lemon grass 'flavour pots' in the cupboard, so we converted it to Chicken Noodle Soup.

I did very little towards this (I just chopped the mushrooms to oblivion and then did the bone picking towards the end, because the chids had run off to do some other work whilst it simmered) ~ and I have to say it was DELICIOUS! In this case many cooks did not spoil the broth ;-)

This week we're making biscuits and next I think we'll make pastry. The little chids will probably join in with those too. I want to keep a mix between savoury, sweet and 'staples'. I've invested in an old fashioned home-ec' book, so between that and Delia I think I should be able to teach them the basics that they may all need one day :D

~ Last week (and so far this week too) Chip has been BIG into wanting to know how to write his letters and numbers. At his demand we've done lots on paper; I've let him make up his own way a lot, because it's just good for him to play with emergent writing; and we've done some like this too ~ because it's fun. He tells me what to write in dots and I obey!

~ Last week IT SNOWED!!

Not for long, but big soft flakes fell for about 20 minutes or so. It was enough to cover the ground; enough for DD to make a tiny snowman; enough for some of them to throw a few snowballs at each other; and enough to satisfy their craving to simply stand in the falling snow!

Chip remembered how cold it was last time I think, so he was very reluctant to go outside. Instead he watched from the comparable warmth of the living room window ~ and then agreed to sit there for a bit while I took a few cute photos of him watching the snow fall ;D

When the snow stopped falling and gave way to sunshine, we came inside and painted snowy trees instead. By the time we were done the snow outside had all melted away :(. We were glad we enjoyed the moment while we could!

Artwork oldest to youngest (Mine, Abbie's, TP's, Lilo's, DD's, Stitch's and Chip's);

I just want to say that with Chip I learnt from last week, and only gave him a half sheet of paper. Then he set to work and did his almost ENTIRELY by himself (the last one). He drew around the triangle templates by himself, he drew the ground and the dividing lines by himself. I initially drew the tree trunks and stems, but he did ALL the over-lining by himself. He then chose all his own colours and painted it entirely on his own. When it came to the snow, he chose to do it multicoloured and arranged them where he wanted them, I just helped him squeeze the tiny dots of glue. I think his might be my top-pick of the week! I think it's incredible and I absolutely love it!

Joel chose not to do the watercolour work, but instead did a rather fabulous sketch of a turtle (using a tutorial book we have). 

 ~ This week has been a bit bitty so far, but the three younger ones did have fun with Steve Spangler's Coin Tower experiment (looking at friction and inertia). They weren't entirely successful with it, but had fun trying and I think Lilo did manage it in the end ~ when I wasn't videoing of course!!