14!

The Thursday before Skye’s birthday, Mum and Dad took the girls to Wells, Wayne and I joined them on the Saturday. The weather was fabulous for the whole weekend and we had lots of walks along the beach and through the pine forest.

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I love the beach huts 🙂
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My beautiful girls 🙂

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My fabulous parents 🙂

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Practical joker 😉
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Skipper loved it and spent hours in the sea 🙂

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And our little girl turned 14!

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She had a fabulous day and you can see some brilliant photos and read all about it here 🙂

Happy Birthday Skye. We are so proud of you and love you so much xx

Under the Microscope and other things

Last Friday the girls started back at the Wild Place and were busy clearing nettles and thorny bushes to make a pathway for the visitors to the country park 🙂 They really enjoyed being back although it was hard work and they came home with scratches and stings 😦

We geocached and visited family over the weekend, Poppy and I went on a bat walk and on Sunday evening we spent a lovely evening with The Manor Borns 🙂 Skye came away happy having purchased a telezoom camera lens from M 🙂

Monday and Tuesday the girls worked on lapbooks (Industrial Revolution for Skye and Owls for Pops), conquer maths, and reading. The have both decided to learn to speak Greek using the BBC site 🙂

Wednesday was first WedEd get together for ages, unfortunately minus Merry & co due to illness 😦
We started with some Monochromatic Painting. Using pre-cut some geometric shapes of varying sizes, they chose a shape and created an overlapping pattern on a sheet of paper. Next they chose a color and then changed the colour by adding only black or white to it. Once dry, outline the shapes with a black marker pen. They looked pretty good 🙂

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There was also an option to contribute to Sketch Tuesday but I think only Skye and maybe Poppy did this 🙂

We had a bag of apples from our tree that needed eating up and I did manage to collected a fair few elderberries on our walk yesterday so the kids made a huge apple and elderberry pie with home made flaky pastry. IT WAS DELICIOUS:)

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HH bought along her laptop and microscope and Em had a really great hand held microscope that plugs into the TV. They all disappeared into the garden to collect some things to look at. They all really loved this and sketched their results onto some Lab worksheets HH had found. The plan is to create a kind of portfolio 🙂

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Spider!

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Skye spent a lot of the day taking photos, testing out her new zoom lens 🙂 Sometimes you just have to contort yourself to get ‘that shot’ 🙂

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There was also some music practice, Skye tried out Em’s newest purchase 🙂

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Thursday the girls were with Mum and she introduced Poppy to calligraphy 🙂 They also did more lapbooking and Greek.

Friday was back to Arts Award where they learned about Folk Art and made some fab sculptures out of ‘junk’.

Poppy’s Folk Art Dog 🙂
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Skye’s Folk Art Mouse:)
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The even came home and wrote it all up! Our aim is to get everything written up and presented by Christmas in order to gain their Bronze award so we can start on Silver Poppy’s ‘German sister’ F is here 🙂

This weekend we have been busy decorating 🙂 I have painted the downstairs shower room a gorgeous purply pink although i am not totally happy with the finishing off – I rushed it and my edges are wobbly 😦 Wayne has started to tile the upstairs bathroom but we need my Dad and hisn tile cutter to finish off 🙂 Skye has gone to A’s for a sleepover and we were hoping to sit down and watch the last Dr Who of the series however the Weeping Angels got the better of Poppy and we had to turn off 😦 She really does not like them and was so desperate to watch it but couldn’t – maybe tomorrow.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Boring blog post 😉

Wayne and Poppy made Stuffed Mushrooms for dinner this evening 🙂 I wanted to keep this quick and simple recipe handy for future reference.

8 Large mushrooms
50g fresh breadcrumbs
50g grated cheese or parmesan
1 onion diced
1 clove of garlic
Olive oil

Preheat oven at gas 4

Wash and peel mushrooms, remove and dice stalks.
Fry onion and garlic in oil to soften, add chopped stalks for 5 mins. Remove from heat and add breadcrumbs and cheese.
Drizzle olive oil into an ovenproof dish.
Fill mushrooms with mixture and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with leafy salad drizzed with home made salad dressing of balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard and olive oil 🙂

Mmmmm mmmmm delish 🙂

RSPB Bat Walk

Last night Poppy and I went on a Bat Walk at our local RSPB Nature Reserve. On arrival we were shown how to use our bat detectors whilst waiting for others to turn up. We have never been to this reserve, despite being a short drive away. We started or walk whilst there was still some light. We listened and watched the rooks in the rookery, making a huge noise! We then stood by the lake and turned on our detectors, within seconds we heard the plopping and tapping sounds to indicate the presence of bats. Alison, our guide, identified them as Pipistrells, although we also heard and saw the Noctule Bat and possibly sighted a Daubenton’s bat which usually swoops low over lakes, canals and rivers. We also heard the ‘twit-twoo’ of the Tawny Owl but unfortunately didn’t manage to spot one 😦

The view across the lakes was absolutely stunning, it was a perfect evening with barely a ripple on the surface.

As we continued our walk, we stopped to look at some slugs in our path as we had a ‘slug expert’ with us and was very excited to see a tiger slug amongst others.

Part of our walk took as alongside the guided busway and as we walked we saw the bright lights of the bus approaching and so stopped to watch it pass. It doesn’t seem that it would be terribly interesting really, watching a bus, however in the environment it seemed quite surreal and eerie. Poppy said it reminded her of the Night Bus in Harry Potter 🙂

As we came to the end of our walk, we could see the bright light of the moth trap which had been set up. This was basically a bright light sat between two chairs and then a white sheet draped across and over the back of the chairs. Simon had caught a few moths for us to look at whist we enjoyed hot chocolate overlooking another of the many lakes on the reserve. We also took a few minutes to admire the skies although it was a little cloudy we could still make out a couple of constellations.

Alison was incredibly knowledgeable and informative and certainly new a lot about bats, owls, moths and other creatures found on the reserve. Poppy really loved her night out under the stars and is looking forward to going back again 🙂

Village show and apple picking

We entered some classes in the village show last weekend.  Skye entered a fantastic sketch, a handmade jewellery and a photograph, I entered a photograph and Poppy entered handmade jewellery, flapjacks and a photograph.

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Both girls did really well, Skye got a first and a third, Poppy gained 3 third places.  Apparently our village show has been running every year since 1898 and one of the classes was to make a garment and the class was split for married and unmarried women!

During the course of the day we did some tidying up of the garden, which started because I went to pick some apples from our tree which is rather large so Wayne hacked a few branches off!  We then dismantled the net around the trampoline as it was very tatty and the girls rarely used it because there being cobwebs and spiders on the netting and it was under the apple tree which restricted their jumping.  So after using the trampoline to jump and pick apples,  we removed the net and moved the trampoline 🙂   It has had lots of use over the weekend 🙂 We hung a swing seat that we had sitting in the garage for years from the apple tree, moved our garden seat where the trampoline once was.  We bbq’d and spent the rest of the evening sitting in our new garden ‘snug’.

Apples from our tree 🙂
apples from our tree

Chilling in the garden 🙂

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Sunday morning Wayne and the girls went off to a carboot and I took Skipper for a long walk up the ‘hill’ not really a hill, more of an incline to most but its our ‘hill’.   I saw lots of dragonflies and was disappointed that I didn’t take my camera with me 😦 I also passed a tree laden with elderberries – just need to remember a carrier bag tomorrow to collect them in and search for something to make with them 🙂

Elderberries

The girls arrived home from the car boot with a few bits; clothes, shoes and some other bits and pieces but they spent wisely 🙂

Wayne and I sat out in the garden and the girls skyped their friends for well over an hour!

The girls have started to settle back into a routine and asked me to re-do some tick sheets for them to work from. Both are enjoying conquer maths and really like the way each task is explained clearly. Skye has been taking lots and lots of photos, mostly of Poppy and has started her own photography blog, so please keep checking back to see how its going, she will be thrilled to have ‘visitors’ 🙂

There has also been lots of singing and piano playing and reading. I am currently reading The Hobbit to the girls as we are all keen to see the film when it is released later this year but really wanted to read the book first. I think I read it at school but can’t really remember it.

Not sure if I have blogged this before, sure I have, but Poppy has a German ‘sister’ through En Famille. She is so excited as we will get to meet her and her family next month when they come for a visit and then all being well F will come to stay with us for 3 months from January 2013!! 🙂

American Cemetery and Memorial

Skye and Poppy guest blogged today 🙂

Today Dad took us to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. We have driven past it quite a few times but never been inside. It was very peaceful walking round and made us feel a bit emotional, there were thousands of people buried there, it was quite overwhelming. The walkway was beautiful, there was a pond with an extremely long wall running alongside it with thousands and thousands of soldiers names who were missing in action.

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We then walked over to the visitors centre which had an interactive timeline that had only been brought in and installed this morning from America 🙂 It was quite interesting watching footage from the War.

We had a really nice afternoon and would definitely go back.

Not back to school

I can’t believe that had Poppy still been at school she would be starting her secondary education today!

The sun was shining this morning so after breakfast we went for a nice walk around the village, Skye took along my camera and took a few pics 🙂 We had a chat about what they wanted to do over the next few weeks, Skye is really keen to learn more about photography and is excited that her birthday is only days away and she is hoping to be able to save enough money to buy her own dslr camera 🙂 Poppy also enjoys photography and is more interested in just the photo taking rather than learning about photography at this stage but that’s fine 🙂 She is also really enjoying maths and was keen to have a look at Conquer Maths. They have both said they enjoy doing ‘work’!

Once we were home from our walk, Skye spent some time on the internet learning about aperture, then went off to do more photography using the manual settings on my bridge camera.

Poppy had a look at Conquer maths and really enjoyed it so will let her continue for a while with the free lessons and look at paying for it if she still shows enthusiasm for it 🙂 Skye liked it too 🙂

Skye and Poppy are entering some of the categories at the village show this weekend. One of Skye’s entries is a sketch drawing;

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and both are entering something into handmade jewellery (pic to follow) and also a photographic entry 🙂

They have also spent over an hour Skyping friends, more giggling and laughing than actual conversation but they have had fun 🙂

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I have enjoyed our not back to school day, almost as much as our pudding; delicious home-made apple crumble with apples from our very own tree….mmm mmmm 🙂

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