Friday, 29 March 2013

Chocolate Easter Nests

We had fun this afternoon making little chocolate nests from Shredded Wheats and melted Dairy Milk.

We gave the girls three Shredded Wheats each to break into pieces, meanwhile melting an entire 300g bar of Dairy Milk over a pan of hot water.

Sebastian got the job of stirring the chocolate to make sure there were no lumps. He looked much more enthusiastic about it in real life.

The girls were very busy with their Shredded Wheat crushing.

They needed some help stirring the chocolate in but then spooned the mixture into cake cases and added Mini Eggs by themselves.

6 Shredded Wheats with 300g Dairy Milk made 20 nests.

Ta da!

I love the fact that Elizabeth is in the background there, licking the chocolatey spatula - best bit!

Easter Cards for Teachers

I gave Elizabeth some card blanks and some paint for her to make Easter cards/thank yous for the end of term for the staff at playgroup.

It all started well, she painted a patch of blue on the first card. Then the patch got bigger, and bigger and bigger. And soon it filled the whole card.

The next card was also blue. Then she switched to red. The last card was a blend of red and blue.

We had four heavily painted single-colour cards. Ah.

So, a few days later, I gave her my fabulous pearly acrylic paints in yellow and green and helped her to add daffodils. Not bad are they?

She wrote inside, "Dear [whoeverit was]" and "Love from Elizabeth xxxxxx". In between, I wrote whatever she dictated for the message.

"I hope you enjoy Easter. Thank you for another lovely term."

"I hope you enjoyed having me there"

And most surreal of all:
"I enjoyed the third week."

What about the rest?!

Yesterday we made more Easter decorations, this time using a Baker Ross kit involving coloured sand being stuck onto self-adhesive pre-printed designs. I was glad to have my friend round, helping.

Notice that the SUNSHINE was playing havoc with my photography!!! I am not complaining.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

An Eastery Sort of Tuesday

Yesterday, Francesca had made some playing cards, with which to play 'memory' - or they could be used for snap. The game caused tears (Elizabeth's) when Francesca shamelessly stole a landslide victory by being able to see through the 'cards' (bits of cheap paper) with the added bonus of knowing what she had drawn on the back. It was all very disappointing (for some). So today Francesca spent considerable time sticking her so-called cards onto actual card, to make into a fairer game.

Later, there was some playdough. Don't really eat it Sebastian...

I took the chance to make some hot cross buns.

After lunch we took Sebastian for a little ride in the pushchair, in order to detach him from my leg and stop him wailing. He fell asleep.

We came home to do some more of our Easter crafts. These are little round boxes to decorate as a rabbit and a lamb.

And these are decorations to scrape with a little wooden tool, revealing colours underneath.

Here are the tissue-covered decorations we made yesterday.

Yet more art was required so we did some ordinary painting. Francesca then decided to decorate the mask she had been given months ago. She's making it into a tiger mask. We Googled 'tiger face paints' to get an idea of how to transform a human-shaped face into a tiger.

Here's our Easter-art wall today. The big yellow and grey egg (surely you can tell it's an egg?!) is one Elizabeth made at playgroup. The card (next along from the tissue paper hangings) was from Francesca to me, which she had worked on for ages this morning. If I want, she says, I could make one back to her. I can take a hint.

Francesca went to her first ever Taikwondo session with daddy. She loved it! A new pursuit?!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Happy Monday

I've slacked off. It's Easter week. Time to relax a bit and start the Easter crafts. Plus Monday is TV day.

So we did some stuff in the morning - the violin was played, a builder came and constructed something in the living room:

Then we started our Easter crafts. Three little shapes: a bunny, an egg and a chick, with some tissue paper to scrunch and stick on, plus some googly eyes. It was great! They all loved it and I got to help too. Alas, the 'finished articles' picture is sadly lacking but they've gone up on the wall and they are colourful and fun.

And that was about it. We did go for a brief chilly walk after lunch, during which Sebastian fell asleep, then I sat the girls in front of the tv and got on with some of my own work. I feel like it's holiday time :)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Easter Pottery

Something's changed. Maybe it's just because I've let up with the whole Thou Shalt Practise Daily The Violin thing or maybe it's something else. Whatever it is, I like it. Francesca is a different little girl. Happy, relaxed, cooperative... Ok, ok, I know these phases last for a few days and then we move onto something else, for better or for worse, but at the moment, I like the way things are.

I like the work ethic. I like the To Do list and the determination to tick everything off before the end of the day.

Sure, much of it is 'cullring' and 'droring' but what's so wrong with that, at five?

Today we didn't have long - there was the playgroup pick up to do, coupled with a trip to get nappies, which obviously added on a bit more time Out of Office, as it were.

This afternoon was a done deal, anyway, with Art by Abuelita scheduled for Francesca (I don't know HOW they did such beautiful painting when they also had Sebastian to look after at the same time!)

...and there was an immunisation appointment for Elizabeth (she was so brave!). I took Elizabeth to a cafe afterwards, for a treat and we had a lovely afternoon together.

Anyway, not much time left for lengthy To Do lists.

Francesca spent a good part of the morning re-visiting some of the videos of tarantulas and adding a bit to her presentation.

After that, she did some violin!! I kept well away as threatened/promised so I'm not entirely sure what she did or if it was in tune but the main thing is, she did it, willingly and, at no point did I become tempted to wrap the b***** thing round her neck. All was peaceful.

The other noteworthy pursuit of today was decorating the air-drying clay 'pots' that we made at the weekend. I got out my lovely pearly shiny acrylics again. I say 'pots' but some of them have a decidedly Easter basket feel to them.

Elizabeth chose blue:

And Francesca's is predictably pink:

I had them paint the clay one colour first. Once that's dry, we might have another session to add some detail. The owner of the third pot is a friend who came to play. She is planning to paint Easter eggs on hers. Francesca is thinking of something floral...

I realise, belatedly, that they don't look as photogenic as I'd thought. You should see the shine in real life! But it gives you the idea of work in progress.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Painting Eggs, Writing Stories, Tarantulas and More

Seymour has given Francesca a "Things To Do Today" pad onto which she has written her To Do list for today:
  1. get up
  2. get drest
  3. have brecfast
  4. wash teth
  5. tv til 9:0 clok
  6. to do list
  7. riting story
  8. lining abot tarantulas
  9. collage whith mummy
  10. play whith Sedastian
  11. droring
  12. cullring
All of which she was able to tick off by the end of the day. More on that shortly.

It was nice, her being so self-motivated. Notably, no violin, but I'm letting that go for a while. It's just no fun starting every day with a battle.

After half an hour or so of story 'riting' in which some incomprehensible things happened to a dinosaur, a dragon and a monster "who were NOT good friends" over a page and a half of A4, Francesca was desperate to learn about tarantulas.

For some reason, she is insatiably keen to find videos of a funnel web spider eating a bird. I heard several commentators say that this rarely happens - tarantulas tend to eat more rodents and insects than actual birds - but, no matter, Francesca is determined to find a video of some actual bird eating.

Now, I'm fine with the occasional British spider, even the big hairy ones. I'll happily capture them in a cup to take them elsewhere, although I'd jump a mile if they crawled on me. But tarantulas...

It wasn't my ideal topic for video footage with my morning coffee. I did try to steer Francesca in the direction of the cute water voles who were making the news today but no. Tarantulas it was.

So, I guided her through some of the less scare-mongering information about these large spiders, notably the BBC page on tarantulas here (we didn't watch the first clip...) and then I suggested we do something with all this new-found knowledge and make a Powerpoint presentation to show daddy.

Which kind of made me wince to suggest it because my computer has a version of Powerpoint that is SO Old!! and I wonder, should I be getting her to make a web page instead??? Anyway, we went for Powerpoint and I showed her the basics and helped her to make a few slides and import some images.

She made several pages and we will show them to daddy but not tonight as he didn't get home in time.

Sebastian has been quite grumbly and demanding all morning. I hope he doesn't get too fat while I keep fobbing him off with food.

Francesca and I added some more to her spring collage and I think it's finished. Oops - still no picture. Never mind.

Then it was time for Francesca to play with 'Sedastian' which involved dancing vigorously to Vivaldi's 'Winter'. Elizabeth was back at this point so she joined in too.

Sebastian wasn't much taken with this version of play. He'd rather have his 'daddy car' (as he calls it).

Daddy Car wanted to be photographed too.

After lunch it was time for the 'droring' and 'cullring'. Sebastian did some jigsaws.

The girls finished their seeds project, colouring in the last few sheets about photosynthesis, chlorophyll and cellulose. We listened to the photosynthesis song a few million times(!) and looked at some cellulose cell walls (onion epithelium) under the microscope.

I helped the girls to find sticks to support their little pea plants and showed them how to pinch out the tops. We even put more peas into soak so we can have a bigger crop.

By this time, Sebastian was really fractious. When time I came to showing everyone the timelapse videos of seeds sprouting, he was sitting on my knee looking like nap time. I popped him in the pushchair, coat on and everything, to rock him about a bit, but that didn't work. There was nothing else for it, we had to go out.

Ten minutes later, we were back, mission accomplished, with a sleeping boy and were, thus, able to do this:

Painting some blown eggs with my gorgeous shiny new pearlised pastel coloured acrylic paints from Baker Ross.

It was harder than I thought it would be, to acrylic paint on egg shells but it was fun. We're going to let our initial attempts dry before adding more coats.

Francesca has a special tiny egg that Grandpa gave her and, for Elizabeth, I blew an ordinary hen's egg.

At risk of this post becoming a bit listy again... Then Elizabeth did some 'cutting and sticking' - by which she means phonics work with more of her phonemes:

Francesca did some 'cullring'. By which time da boy had woken up all grumpy and was being pacified by CBeebies, so once the cullring had been acheived, the tv lured both girls in while I made omelette for supper.

So there you have it. Another day. And it felt like a productive one.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Seven Stories

I'm still pretty tired so let me just say "Seven Stories" and leave you with some pics.

We met the Gruffalo:

Actually, it was Elizabeth.

And we did some Viking training in a long ship. Even Teddy has her helmet on:

Francesca sat in the bow to watch the accompanying film:

Sebastian helped with the rowing:

And here are some trainee Vikings setting out on the Viking Trail:

And another:

Goodnight all zzzzzzzzzzzzz