Baking, beading, bubbles and books!

Monday Woke up to lots of snow! Girls were in the garden by 8.15am building a snow lady!!

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Spent the rest of the day with Merry and the girls. All the girls got to make soap – a very basic experiment involving no dangerous chemicals!! It was one I found on the Science Museum website. Basically all you need is a bar of white soap, food colouring, warm water, rubber gloves, cutters and a tray. Grate soap and add small amount of warm water – mix should be firm like chewing gum, not gooey or too sticky. Add food colouring (and fragrance oil – we added some vanilla essence!!). Mix then mould into a shape or into a ball and push into a cutter, carefully pushing out. Leave to set on a tray. Simple (but rather messy!!) πŸ™‚

Poppy's soap

Amelie went a bit overboard on the red!! Looked a bit like a massacre when I was washing off the gloves!

Fran, Amelie and Maddy's soap

All the girls did some lovely Hama bead designs – Skye and Poppy definately got the Hama-bug again as when they got home they did even more – although they said that ours are not as good as Merry’s as theirs are all in separate colour pots which makes it easier!! Grrr!!

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Tuesday Finally finished Mill Girl and the girls wrote a book review (i found a template on the net which the girls were happy to use). They both did a lovely review in beautiful handwriting. One way of getting them to do literacy πŸ™‚

More hama beading with some impressive results …

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Poppy made macaroni cheese for lunch, completely independently and made from scratch. Delish πŸ™‚ Thank you Pops! Both girls made brownies – which get better every time!

They spent a lot of time looking at Grid Club – did some maths puzzles and watched history videos on Mary Queen of Scots, World War II. Poppy found an activity where you can design and print a chocolate bar wrapper which she enjoyed.

Skye had a drum lesson and is sailing through her book – my cousin is very impressed how quickly she is picking it up. She is still loving it which is great and knows exactly what she wants for her birthday!

Gym coaching in the evening then home.

Wednesday Whilst the girls were hama beading, we did a verbal literacy lesson, spelling, use of adverbs, tenses and imperative commands.

Poppy decided to make chocolate bars out of fimo to go into her printed chocolate wrappers – Skye did the same – their very own fimo confectionery!! They also made ‘fimo truffles’, which they tricked Wayne with when he got home – they were so realistic, he didn’t hesitate to pop one into his mouth and we all screamed at him ‘don’t eat it!!!’. Thankfully he saw the funny side – although did point out that he could have lost some teeth! πŸ™‚

Fimo chocolate bars!

Did some reading together – Skye was reading a book on Florence Nightingale aloud – I love listening to Skye read, she is so confident and has great fluency.

Skye helped me make dinner – roasted pepper and goats cheese tart – which was yummy! Its nice that Skye is helping to cook – its usually Poppy that ends up helping but Skye has been very keen of late πŸ™‚

Were intending on going for a walk but it rained most of the day 😦

Poppy came with me to Tesco and we had lots of foody conversations from getting the best value and choosing health snacks. Poppy is lovely to shop with – very rarely asks for anything and always very chatty!

Thursday Sadly had to wake two very sleepy girls this morning to go to Mum’s. They had a lovely day though, they wrote a book review on ‘Cleopatra’ which they read last week and surprisingly remembered lots of information. Watched Disney’s ‘Prince of Egypt’ and Mum read Michael Murpurgo’s ‘Cool’ to them – this is the book that Poppy has been reading, recommended by Skye.

They also had a lovely long walk with Merlyn and a play in the garden. All in all, quite a productive day!

Arrived home and the DVD, Roman Mysteries, has arrived for the girls. I think it was a series that was on CBBC – I stumbled across it whilst browsing the net and thought it looked quite interesting. We’ll see.

All watched Masterchef – Poppy thought that she might like to be a chef but then decided that she couldn’t as she would have to cook meat! I explained that she could work in a vegetarian restaurant and so would not have to prepare or cook meat! She suggested that she could own a bakery as she loves baking cakes – she really does make great cakes! We were then discussing what she would call her bakery – suggested Popsy’s Bakery or Skoppy’s, if Skye were to own it with her πŸ™‚

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Last week catch up

Tuesday Feeling a little under the weather today so the girls have been pretty much left to their own devices. Skye has been teaching Poppy one of the dances she is learning in Freestyle and putting in some of her own choreography for the bits that Poppy is finding tricky! Skye practiced her rudiments for drums. Both girls did some reading and spent quite a bit of time on Moshi Monsters – they definitely get more from Moshi that Club Penguin – as they have to do maths, solve logic puzzles, develops IT skills, spelling, grammar etc writing notes to their new found Moshi friends!

Had a very quiet gym session – only 4 girls turned up but all worked very hard πŸ™‚

Came home and Skye helped me cook a heap of pancakes πŸ™‚

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Wednesday Wet and miserable day but we decided to stick with our plan to go to Hinchingbrooke Park with some friends dog walking. We picked up Merlyn and Millie and took them with us to the park. It was very, very wet and muddy!! Within 15 minutes of getting there Poppy was accidently pushed over and Merlyn had jumped in the lake!! Had a lovely long walk and just as we were about to leave, one of our friends girls fell in!! She was fine just a bit shocked and very cold – i think a lesson was learned there!
Got back to the car with very wet muddy children and a very wet muddy Merlyn! It was our intention to go to Skye’s drum lesson on the way back from the park but with a car full of wet children and dogs decided to go home. Put Millie and Merlyn into the utility but felt so guilty about returning Merlyn so Poppy and I decided to bath him in the sink!! Oh my!! Being a cocker-poo, he has very thick curly fur so Poppy spent the next hour drying him with a hair dryer and he didn’t mind one bit!

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Whilst we were having lunch, I popped in to check on the dogs – Millie has somehow contorted herself into the cats bed but I couldn’t find Merlyn – big PANIC!! Quizzed the girls, thinking they had let him into the house and then I saw the washing basket move – he was in there!! I think the lid must have been open and he jumped up and fell it, the lid closing after him! Returned the dogs safely to their owners and called in to have a cup of tea with Mum.

Poppy made me giggle today – I have volunteered to cater for a colleagues son’s 21st birthday party and after I had been speaking with my colleague on the phone, she asked what I was talking about and I replied that she had asked me to do something for her son’s birthday. She asked how old he was going to be and when I told her 21 her response was “he’s 21 and he’s having a face painter at his party!!” – not surprising that she would think that as I have never catered before – always face painted at parties!! πŸ™‚

Thursday Girls and Mum read a lovely book on Cleopatra which prompted discussion – I think Mum learned some new things today too :)! Started to sew their aprons from a kit they got for Christmas. Dog walking.

Friday Planetarium visit blogged separately.

Saturday Spent most of the day catering – really enjoyed doing it but being on my feet all day has given me such a bad back!! Girls were really good – entertained themselves for most of the day – mostly dancing!

Sunday Pottered around most of the morning whilst girls did lots more dancing. After lunch, Skye went to play frisbee on the green at the front of our house with a friend and later we all went for a lovely walk. Spent an hour at the park then back home to warm up!

Planetarium visit

Wayne and the girls dropped me off to work and headed into Peterborough for a visit to the Museum and its mobile Planetarium. First they visited the Cathedral and had a good look around.

Peterborough Cathedral

Skye and Poppy’s account of their Museum planetarium visit;

When we got to the museum we went inside the Planetarium which was a big blown up dome. To get into it we had to crawl through a tube – even Daddy! When we got into the dome it felt a bit like a Tardis – from the outside it looked small but it was very big inside. We had to sit on the floor, Daddy got to sit on a chair! They turned all the lights down and projected pictures of the planets onto the dome and told us interesting facts about them, one of them was that at 7pm in the evening on a clear night you might be able to see Mars glowing reddy orange. They turned all the lights off and showed all the stars. He told us about some of the constellations and pointed out how to spot Orion’s belt which we saw tonight! We thought is was great fun and interesting but the man who was talking had a funny voice which was a bit annoying!!

Skye managed to take a couple of photos from inside the dome…

Inside the Peterborough Museum Planetarium

Peterborough Museum Planetarium

After their visit Wayne and the girls spent the afternoon with Nanny – watched Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

They picked me up from work and we popped to a friend’s house for a coffee on the way home.

Colourful science

Realising we had no bread for lunch, the first thing we did this morning was to make some! Following on quite nicely from the experiments we did last week with yeast. Also made pizza bases from scratch, again using yeast. I have agreed with the girls that as it is half term for most this week, we will try to do lots of baking and experiments at home.

Skye making bread rolls..

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..and Poppy making the pizza topping..

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I read more of the Mill Girl to the girls this morning, although struggling with my cold which has appeared from nowhere!! Would like to get it finished this week if possible.

The girls watched a documentary from the BBC Life series on Komodo Dragons and I found a quick and easy science experiment whilst browsing the internet.

We took two baking trays, one round and one square, covered the bottom in full fat milk. Next the girls used a pipette to drop 3 different food colourings onto the milk, dotted about. Then dropped onto the food colourings a few drops of washing up liquid.. We learned that the washing up liquid attacks the fat in the milk, trying to break it down which caused the colours to scatter creating a colourful display! Simple but effective! They also noted how the reactions were slightly different according to the shape of the trays.

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Also lots of dancing, drum practice, sylvanianing, role playing and Moshimonsters…

It’s alive??!!

Surprise visit to Merry’s on Wednesday – some of the Latinetc group were meeting there and very kindly invited us along for the day. Helen was fantastic and took charge of science. The following description of events is largely taken from Helen’s blog (hope you don’t mind :)) Looking at microbiology, today we looked at yeasts. There was surprise that yeast might be β€˜alive’ so this wasn’t a simple chemical reaction. That actually what was happening was the yeast would be using sugar to fuel the division into 2 [actually this is a bit of a simplification, as yeasts actually bud off rather than divide like bacteria] that they are single-celled organisms of fungi. we knew what it was used for, briefly explaining that effectively to make the energy, a gas was given off as a waste product. They had quite a talk about the various gas possibilities, but mostly settled on CO2, partly because this is something we breathe out as a waste, and partly because Helen had brought along some lime water to test for co2!! So, into Helen’s new spangly Erlenmeyer beakers, they placed 5 spoons sugar, one heaped yeast and 250mls warm water and topped off with a balloon. Soon enough the balloons began to fill with β€˜the gas’ and then each got a chance to mix β€˜the gas’ with lime water – which rather fabulously went cloudy! and also to put a lit match into it – which very satisfactorily went out. So we learnt a bit about micro orgs, their needs, and waste products, and how to test for them. Fab!

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Whilst all this was going on, I kept the supply of tea going and prepared a pasta lunch for all.

After lunch, all the children did a bit of sampler sewing and Katy did French which whoever chose to.

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Left Merry’s to take Poppy to her riding lesson which went well although she has decided that she is finding the lessons rather boring (can’t say that I blame her, I have thought the same for the past few weeks but have not mentioned it as I have been happy that she has done something independently). Anyway, she has decided that she does not want to ride here anymore. We have a plan in place to ride elsewhere on a much more casual basis but which will include pony care, grooming and mucking out etc but this may not be for a few months. Poppy said that’s fine – she is happy to wait!! πŸ™‚

Wayne’s 40th Birthday Weekend

Got up bright and early on Saturday and went into town – the girls had a hair appointment and Wayne wanted to pop to the library. Then headed off to Telford to meet up with the Allingtons who were coming from France to spend the weekend with their family to celebrate their daughter’s birthday, which coincided with Wayne’s birthday so we decided to meet up for the weekend.

We arrived at the Travelodge at around 3pm, the Allingtons arrived just before 5pm. We all went to her sisters who lives close to the hotel for a glass of wine and cake. On the way back to the hotel we picked up some chips, took them back to our room and chilled out with a bottle of wine, chips and chocolate!

Sunday morning had a quick McDonalds breakfast (not a great fan of McDs but needed to eat before we went to Georgina’s bowling party). Nicki had booked 3 bowling lanes for the ladies, gents and children. All had a great time – Wayne won out of the boys and was very pleased with himself! πŸ™‚ After bowling we had a picnic lunch in the car en route to Enginuity in Telford. The girls absolutely loved it – not a huge place but enough to keep them occupied for 2-3 hours. Their favourite hands on exhibit was by far Power Valley which involved lots of water!

http://www.ironbridge.org.uk/our_attractions/enginuity/

Enginuity

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Skye turning a fly-wheel…

Skye turning a flywheel at Enginuity!

Poppy (with a little help from Nicki!) moving a locomotive…

Poppy moving a locomotive at Enginuity!

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped off to have a look at the Ironbridge.

Ironbridge, Telford

Ironbridge, Telford

View from the Ironbridge, Telford

Will definitely be re-visiting Enginuity along with all the other attractions at Ironbridge.

Once back at the hotel, the girls took themselves off into one room and the adults sat chatting in the other. Although we did get told off by the girls at one point for making too much noise! As it was Wayne’s birthday weekend, the girls and I had decorated our hotel room with banners and balloons and we got rather carried away playing ‘keepy uppy’ with a balloon and ended up in a hysterical fit of the giggles!!

In the evening we went back to Nicki’s sisters who had made dinner for us. After a lovely meal and lots of wine later, we got a taxi back to the hotel and fell asleep within seconds!!

Monday morning, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! – Wayne opened his presents – an ipod touch, which he has been incredibly excited about, an itunes gift card (perfect accompaniment), tin of sweets and bottles of bubbly/wine. We packed up our things and had breakfast at Nicki’s Mum’s, then, before heading home, went for a walk in the park – the girls had a good run around with lots of fresh air! A lovely end to a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

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Popped home and had time to unpack before taking Skye dancing. Spent the rest of the evening at Wayne’s Mum’s.

The last 2 weeks…

Monday Girls did maths and reading this morning, played Sylvanians and made a birthday card for Papa. After lunch we went to Merry and Co’s as the girls haven’t seen each other for a couple of weeks. However, when we got there, Merry informed me that she had a hospital appointment and would not be able to stay for a chat :(. Merry went off to her appointment and I stayed at her house whilst the girls played ‘shops’ for hours! Took Fran, Skye and Josie to dancing, then home.

Girls did more Sylvanian and Club Pengiun and played more shops!

Tuesday Today started with some Animal Crossing on the ds and Sylvanians. Poppy had watched a programme about double dutch skipping so we got out the rope and tried it ourselves – me included! Its sooooo tiring! Had great fun though!

I read more of the Mill Girl to them – we have neglected this book a little over Christmas but we are all keen to get it finished. The book prompted discussion on lots of things such as transport and lifestlyle. Poppy has requested that we have a Victorian Day at home – she is very interested in this era so think we will give it a go.

Skye had her first guitar lesson! She found it far more difficult than she imagined and finished her lesson with very sore fingers! Skye came to gym with us as Wayne was in Cambridge. Skye forgot that she hasn’t been to gym for 8 weeks and attempted a round off flic and consequently landed on her head! Tried another flic without the round off bit and with support from me and was fine! Left gym a little early to drop Skye at Scouts – she was really looking forward to this session as the had some gun dogs visiting!

Wednesday More maths and reading. We have copied Merry’s idea to encourage learning their times table by giving them each a sheet with the tables from 2x to 12x and once they are able to say it and know it they get a sticker and financial reward. Seems to be working. We have also produced one for European Capital Cities so have listed the country and the girls have to learn the Capital. That seems to be working too:)

Had a visit to the library today and took some maths books with us as we were planning to be there for a while. Skye chose some reading books – she wanted something funny to read so chose books by Michael Lawrence – The Killer Underpants and The Toilet of Doom – sound charming! Poppy selected a book on the Black Death and wanted me to read it to her. Skye was keen to sit and do some Singapore Maths – Skye’s confidence with Maths has grown so much this week, I think because we have let her take the lead on what she wants to do and most of it is recapping on stuff she already knows but it seems to be giving her so much confidence in her own ability that we are letting her carry on doing it that way.

Poppy also chose some Victorian themed books. Checked out and then went to Skye’s eye test appointment. Her longsightedness seems to be getting better – chose some lovely new glasses then headed off to riding. Poppy did really well – she was given Pickles to ride which she was very pleased about. She asked for a lead rope and as they had no one to lead, I went into the arena. After her first lap of the arena, I had a little chat with Poppy and she agreed that maybe she could go without the lead but wanted me to stay close by. Her turn to trot – she did a great job. They even had a go at jumping, she was one of two that were able to do this themselves without a lead. She was very proud of herself after this lesson. I just hope its given her enough confidence to go in on her own without me next week. We’ll see πŸ™‚

Thursday Dropped the girls to my Mum’s. We call this dog-walking day as that is about all they do! Lots and lots of dog-walking πŸ™‚

Friday Wayne and the girls did normals; maths, reading etc. Poppy made a lovely Penguin (from Club Penguin) which was very cute – unfortunately Wayne overcooked it!!

Poppy's fimo Penguin - slightly overcooked by Daddy

Skye did some guitar practice – not sure if its her thing, she doesn’t seem to be enjoying it but she’s having a really good go!!

The weekend My Mum’s birthday on Saturday so made lunch to take along to Mum and Dads. Girls spent most of the morning playing Sylvanians, Club Penguin and Moshi Monsters on the PC. Had a lovely afternoon with Mum and Dad then back home for a quiet night in.

Wrapped up warm and went for a lovely long, long walk on Sunday. Poppy found herself a huge piece of ice which she insisted on carrying home!

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Once back home, we warmed up with a milky hot chocolate πŸ™‚

The girls spent the rest of the day making things out of paper – oven, sink and drainer, cupboard, pots and pans, food etc!! Hardly saw them all evening!!

"Sink and drainer"

"Hob"

Vegetable soup, bread and water…

"Vegetable Soup, bread and water"

Monday Merry and the girls arrived late morning – not entirely sure what happened but the usual harmonious playing didn’t seem to work quite as well for a part of today 😦 However, after this slight blip the girls seemed to sort out their differences and had a lovely afternoon together. Merry took off with her girls and Skye to go dancing. Poppy and I stayed at home and had lots of cuddles and a lovely chat. She is feeling particularly sensitive at the moment – not quite sure why??

Tuesday Skye had another go at guitar practice and has decided that its really too tricky and does not want to carry on with lessons. I text my cousin to let him know of Skye’s decision and, being a self-taught, multi-talented musician, suggested that she might like to try the drums instead!

Poppy baked brownies. Both girls did MORE maths – I really can’t believe Skye – she just keeps asking for it!!! πŸ™‚

Really trying to encourage more reading – Skye is fine if she’s got the right book but Poppy takes a little more persuading but both did lots of reading today πŸ™‚

Took Skye to have her first drum lesson – she LOVED it! Thankfully we don’t have to rush out to buy a drum kit to practice on – my cousin showed Skye how to practice her rudiments etc using cushions! Will order her some sticks though.

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Dropped Skye with my Mum as she has swimming with Scouts this evening and Poppy and I went to gym.

Wednesday Girls spent most of the morning making a present for Wayne’s 40th birthday. Poppy made a lovely fimo VW camper van and Skye made a fimo footballer!

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Popped into town to collect Skye’s new glasses, which look lovely. I think she is surprised how much difference they make!

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Poppy had riding and did really well – although she feels she is still not confident enough for me to watch and so I went into the arena again. She really doesn’t need me there but I will remain until she feels happy again. The last thing I want is for her to give up because I have pushed her into something she’s not quite ready for.

Thursday The girls made a lovely birthday cake for Wayne and made ’40th birthday’ cake topper out of fimo! Walked dogs!!

Friday Wayne and the girls finally finished making the motorised Meccano cable car they started at the beginning of January!

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I arrived home from work and packed bags for our weekend away!