Blogging the backlog!

I have so many days to blog from way back so I thought i’d condense into one big one so apologies if its a bit higgledy piggledy!! I have tried to include lots of photos to make it more interesting!

September 2009 – One sunny afternoon at the beginning of Septmber, the girls and I headed off to the park for the ‘Not Back to School Picnic’ and had a fantastic afternoon. Several families attended, most of which I had never met before, all with their own reasons and philosophies for home educating – it was really nice to gather advice and listen to how other families home educate their own children. The girls were made to feel so welcome and all the children played together as one big group! Lots of bubbles were being blown with lots of laughing, running and playing thrown in. We all had a lovely day.

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Continuing with our Celtic theme, the girls decided they wanted to make some Celtic warrior helmets. (Can’t find photos at the moment but will add them in when I come across them!)

They also made their own ’roundhouse’ in the garden which was a very messy experience!

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Making  a roundhouse

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After making the base for their roundhouse, they collected leaves and constructed the roof…

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Tied in nicely with our visit to the Iceni Village at Swaffham where they could see a full size construction of a roundhouse as well as a scaled down model…

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Lots of baking, following recipes, adjusting quantities, experimenting with alternative ingredients when we didn’t have what was required!!

Following a recipe

Making biscuits

Making biscuits

Skye did lots of reading, especially Horrible Histories. They both also watched the whole series, sometimes 2 or 3 episodes at a time – such a great series and they really do learn from it!

Lots of EC, Grid Club and Club Penguin! The girls love to use Pivot Stick Figure Animation (will try to add some examples soon!)

They also did some card making with beautiful results, so impressive that they actually sold all the cards they made and have been asked to supply more!

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Some examples of their finished cards…

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Poppy also tried her hand at a spot of hairdressing….

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October 2009 – More EC, Grid Club and Club penguin. Lots more baking, art and craft, letter writing and reading. Skye and I worked on fractions which apparently were too difficult and she could never understand them at school and so would never be able to understand them now – however 1:1, and 45 minutes later she had mastered it and went off to work out some fractions problems! Phew!!

Skye had a gym competition and did us proud. She was so nervous about it and spent the best part of the morning in tears insisting that she wasn’t going to go. However, she managed to calm herself down and gave it her best achieving a gold on beam and bronze overall!! She was proud of her own achievement but not enough to encourage her to stick at it – she has decided to move into dance and give up gymnastics. Quite sad as she is very good at it and has been doing it since she was 4!! But, if she’s not happy to carry on then its best she finishes on a high!

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Our little superstar…

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November 2009 – More EC etc……
Lots of art and craft…Poppy used art books from the library to brush up on her drawing techniques…

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…Skye used CD covers for her inspiration!!…

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Bonfire Night – the girls used the internet to refresh on what they know about the Gunpowder plot and found some great websites packed with information.

Later in the evening, despite the rain, we walked round to our friends for drinks in their ‘summer house’ whilst the children stood outside with sparklers! Watched the village firework display from their garden, in the rain! More sparklers then back home!

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Bonfire Night 2009

More baking…the girls experimented by making meringues for the first time, they were actually very good!

Carefully adding the sugar, whilst frantically whisking…
Whisking meringues - hard work!

The finished product which we took to my Mum and Dads and had for pudding with raspberries and cream – YUM!

Making meringues

Preparing for Christmas – the girls wrote out their letters to Santa.

December 2009 – Taken up mostly by Christmas themed art and craft, most of which has been blogged separately. Some of the things we did were;

Christmas Card Making – using watercolour pencils.

Wrapping paper

Fimo Decorations
Skye's gingerbread man decoration

Poppy's fimo Christmas tree decoration

Skye's fimo angel

Skye gave her fimo angel to my Auntie for Christmas and she loved is so much that she has asked her to make a whole Nativity to decorate a Christmas cake next year!! Note to Merry – might need to send Skye to you for a Fimo masterclass!!! 🙂

Christmas Cake – Poppy made our Christmas cake completely by herself, she also made two mini cakes, one for our neighbour and another for a friend of my Mum’s who takes the girls dog walking.

Christmas Pudding – The Christmas Pudding was so delicious that the girls have had orders for at least two next Christmas!
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Wreath – An order for two extra wreaths next year!

Felting

Sewing – Skye made a lovely decoration for her Nana made from felt and stuffed with rice and cloves – smells lovely!
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Christingle Candles – see below

Photography – took some lovely scenic photos round the village – it was our intention to enter them into a local photography competition but didn’t get round to it quick enough which is a shame as they took some lovely ones.

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Christingle Service 2009 – We made our way to the local church, for what I believe is the best church service of the year. The girls had prepared their own Christingle candles. It was quite odd for them I think as this service is led by the local school children and this being our first Christmas home educating, meant that they were onlookers – I can honestly say, they had the most smiley faces of all the children in church! 🙂

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Well I think that about sums up the last 2 or 3 months!! The conclusion being that we are going to have to start crafting earlier next year to make sure we can fit everything in! (Oh, and that I need to get better at blogging!!)

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Nos amis arrivent de France … à suivre

Ok, I admit, I had to use google translator for this title…‘our friends arrive from france…eventually’ – (Sorry Nicki!!)

Due to the heavy snow fall our friends arrival from France was somewhat delayed, so after hours of Skye and Poppy asking if they are nearly here, they arrived!! It was lovely to see them again – its become somewhat of a tradition for them to stay with us a few days before Christmas, en route to stay with their family.

We sat down for a leisurely lunch and had a good catch up – the girls played beautifully – as if they had only seen each other days ago, the reality being it was almost a year ago!!

We had a lovely walk in the snow…so Christmassey!!

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Love this photo…

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After a lovely evening meal together, we ventured out again for a walk round the village and ended up at the church for the carol service, we all got a fit of the giggles and the girls were all very tired so snuck out of the service after a couple of carols and headed home….After exchanging Christmas pressies, settled the girls into bed and the adults relaxed with a couple of drinks and more chat before heading off to bed ourselves, exhausted!

Wayne headed off to work the next morning and our friends left at around 9am to continue their Christmas celebrations with their family.

It was lovely having them to stay, only wished they had stayed longer! There is always next year!! 🙂

A bientot!

Party Time!

One of my favourite days of the year…our family Christmas get together. It was almost a full house, except my Auntie and Uncle who run a B&B in Wales, were unable to make it as my Uncle was not well enough to travel – such a shame but we hope to go and visit them around Easter time.

Its always a great evening, my Uncle organised the usual ‘treasure hunt’ for the children, although I must say this years clues were VERY challenging – even for the adults!! It always starts with a giant Christmas cracker, filled with goodies, then he gives each child in turn cryptic clues which lead to more cryptic clues and then eventually their reward which is usually a lovely little gift and a cash prize!!

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We had an added surpise this year of a visit from Santa, who arrived with a sack full of pressies for the children and a tin of chocolates for the adults!

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The girls made a ‘sleigh’ a pulled the baby of the family round the house!

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After clearning away the buffet, the adults gathered round the huge table for a game of cards, in honour and memory of my Nan – who loved to get a good game of cards going! I miss her terribly xx

Then its a gathering round the Christmas tree to exchange presents and after Christmas hugs and good wishes, we all head off home with very tired, but happy children 🙂

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Let it snow!

Early start – I ventured into work leaving Wayne and the girls snug in their beds – although they were very excited when I told them to look out of my bedroom window to see all the snow!!!

I had an entertaining day at work, one of my colleagues who is always up for a challenge, rallied round organising a ‘team building’ excercise of ‘snowman making’, great fun!! These were our efforts…

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It seems the girls had an equally exciting day, when I got home, they led me into the garden to show me their fantastic snow family…

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All their own work and I think far more creative and impressive than mine….. and how very cute!

After tea, we all got involved in using potatoes to print spangly gold stars onto packing paper so we could wrap all the presents to take to our family Christmas party tomorrow.

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Got the girls into bed at a reasonable hour as we have a busy, busy weekend ahead – our family Christmas party and our friends arriving from France to stay with us overnight on the Sunday 🙂

I spent the rest of the evening baking brownies and other goodies for the party – eventually went to bed around midnight!

Finding it hard…

Monday we agreed that it was best not to go to Merry’s – she wasn’t feeling herself and we had to interrupt our day to go into work for Christmas nibbles and to exchange Secret Santa gifts.

The girls have been so over excited about Christmas this year i think more than others….not sure whether being at home has made a difference. It’s really lovely to seem them so excited but on the other had we are getting very little ‘work’ done. I have been a little frustrated about it this week and finding it hard to deal with but I have plans for 2010!!

This morning they spent the best part of the morning making a ‘den’ in Skye’s bedroom and Poppy devised a password system on her ds – she tried to explain it to me but I couldn’t keep up! Before we headed off to work we had to do a post office run to despatch all the stuff I had sold on eBay! The girls love going to the office and had a great time mingling with my colleagues and being ‘Santa’s little helpers’ distributing all the Secret Santa pressies – I got a bottle of Baileys (which wasn’t Baileys) and Wayne got a mug that you can chalk onto! They decorated Wayne’s office with hideous decorations and made Christmas pictures which they stuck onto filing cabinets – lovely. They had a great time and loved the attention! Once lunch was over, before we took Skye dancing, we headed off to a charity shop to get rid of a huge amount of unwanted clothes, shoes and toys that I couldn’t be bothered to put onto eBay. All items were gratefully received.

Poppy spent the whole 45 minutes waiting for Skye to have her dance class doing her own dance routine, complete with walkovers and splits in the waiting room!! I really wish she would go back to gym or start dancing – she is really very good! Once Skye had finished, we popped to Wayne’s Mum’s for a cup of tea – Wayne was supposed to meet us there but got held up in Cambridge so went straight home instead. Desperately tried to get an idea of what Wayne’s Mum and brother would like for Christmas – they are the hardest people in the world to buy for and I really don’t want to spend my shopping day in Cambridge next week wandering aimlessly for something they might or might not like or need!! Anyway, got a couple of ideas which was good.

Once home Skye went onto Club Penguin – she is trying to upgrade her igloo and needs more coins!!

Early ish to bed for the girls whilst I did a bit of internet shopping!

Tuesday We have arranged to go over to Merry’s after lunch today. The girls started their morning with more Club Penguin! After breakfast Poppy decided she wanted to make a teddy bear. Had a quick look on the internet and eventually found a fairly straight forward bear that didn’t have moving joints and printed off the pattern. Poppy found an old pair of pjs and pinned out the pattern. At this point Skye walked into the kitchen and decided she wanted to make one too – so she went off to find herself an unwanted piece of clothing that she could hack into! I helped them trace around it as we needed to add our own seam line. They cut out the pieces and Skye decided that she would carry on with hers later but Poppy set to work stitching together its head.

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After lunch we headed off to Merry’s where the girls had a lovely afternoon playing playmobil, watching Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman and Father Christmas whilst felting their own Snowman and Father Christmas

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Poppy did the Snowman and Skye did the Father Christmas. I think they have done an amazing job. Thank you Merry for introducing us to this fantastic craft – we love it!!

Left Merry’s with Poppy, Skye and Fran to go to gym, dropping Skye off with Wayne at work. Coaching went well – had a really fun session being the last one before Christmas!

Got home and sat together to watch Jamie Oliver’s Christmas programme which was very entertaining even though he didn’t cook anything veggie!!

Sent girls off to bed and I blogged!!

TV inspired Christmas Craft

Started the morning with some reading and spelling tests. I used year 8 spellings for Skye and she got them all right – again!!

Last night I watched Kirsties Homemade Christmas which was fab, the girls watched it this morning and it inspired them to copy some of her ideas.

We made some salt dough letters

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which the girls painted…

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In between making the shapes and painting them, they made themselves a picnic style lunch whilst I made quiche for tea…

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They also wanted to make a Christmas wreath so we ventured out into the garden and took some cuttings of evergreens and berries.

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On the way to Poppy’s riding lesson we called into a florist to get ourselves some moss. They were so helpful! I told them what I wanted to do and even though they were very busy, they gave us a little demonstration and said if we had any problems we could go back! We came away with a pre-mossed ring and some wires. We also had to drive passed a little craft shop so we called in there to see if they had gold spray and some ribbon to string up our salt dough letters. Couldn’t help with gold spray so got gold paint instead and also supplied us with some lovely red ribbon. The lady was incredibly helpful and informed me that she runs craft workshops and would be more than happy to accommodate a group of up to 6 children and demonstrate something crafty. Took a leaflet and will definitely bear it in mind. There must be something in the air today – everyone is being extra friendly and helpful!!!

Poppy had her riding lesson on Pickles and did very well. Rising trot was lovely and she did really well on her canter 🙂

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On the way home we called into my Aunties house to borrow a pudding bowl so we could steam the Christmas Pudding that Poppy made on Monday. Arrived home, put Christmas pud on to steam for the next 2-3 hours and cooked quiche. All sat down to dinner. My dad arrived to fit sink into the bathroom, Wayne came home as a neighbour called round to collect a parcel so I cleared away dinner stuff and then we started on the wreath.

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It’s quite unbelievable how much foliage goes into making a wreath!! I had to go outside, in the dark, and fetch more….TWICE!! The girls helped to do the first row, by which time it was getting rather late so I sent them off to bed whilst I finished it off. It took about 2 hours but well worth it! I am very proud of our efforts!

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All it needs is some ribbon and we can hang it on our door for all to see! 🙂