Saturday, 27 December 2008
D went to his Spanish and not only learned the vocabulary for Christmas, but also some of the Spanish customs which was interesting for him.
While he was doing that, J and I had some photos taken in the park. The previous Monday we had done an interview for a local free magazine regarding J's success on MEND. We had been asked if we would be prepared to do the interview and J thought it was great. He is looking forward to doing more.
We measured him today, and he has managed to keep up the good work and has lost more cms from around his waist.
D has been painting again, though I haven't any pictures as we have packed up the front room for painting. J moved back into his bedroom on Tuesday after it was decorated and reorganised.
They spent some time with their father and grandparents and D went on a walk with them. The weather had been very wet and the stream was in flood. They all seemed to enjoy themselves despite the weather.
They have gone today to spend a week with their dad and are hoping to spend a day in London. I'll be able to update you with all their news in the New Year
Friday, 12 December 2008
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Tuesday the boys did some more maths. They seem to have the bug for it at the moment, and I'm not complaining. J even asked if I would print some off so he could do it in the park waiting for D on Wednesday.
However, Wednesdays plans were changed. Spanish was cancelled as the teacher was ill. This meant both the boys did maths at home and some work on simple machines. This included looking at a bicycle as it is made up of many simple machines put together. I wonder if what they learned today, will make it easier for them to put together the bike they've taken apart!
D also did some experiments on the tearing direction of paper. I am sure I've done it before, but I know he won't forget it now as he has done it on his own.
As I had done enough stew to last two days, D didn't do his tagine on Monday, we are looking forward to having it for dinner today. I will show you what it looks like and tell you if it tastes as good as it smells.
Monday, 24 November 2008
D had a go at ironing. He has done a little before, but this was the first time he had actually ironed clothes. I will never say no to help with the ironing. Maybe in a couple of years, they both can do their own clothes.Afterwards, D went through his Spanish and J read through the rest of his information sheets from MEND.
This was followed by some maths. They have even asked for some more tomorrow and as always, I am happy to oblige. The photo above and below is the snow globe J did. We bought them last week from Hobbycraft for them to put in their own photos.
Both boys chose which ones they wanted, and we printed them off. Using the template provided, they cut the photos to size and put them inside the aperture.
J chose one of Tugger and of himself ready to absail from the tree.
We bought a programme which gave us a few clues. At least we now knew there were three periods of 20 minutes.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
He made salmon fishcakes with roast potatoes and baked beans. We enjoyed them, and so did the cats.
Can't wait until Monday, Tatty is getting another night off as D is doing Moroccan Style Tagine.
Friday, 21 November 2008
We got to Spanish on Wednesday for D and it was a beautiful morning for J and I in the park. J made himself a net for catching fish out of a long piece of thin branch and netting he found lying under the trees. He has yet to test it.
In Spanish, D did more about birthdays and the date. It seemed quite a mouthful as he was telling us what day and date it was in Spanish.
Thursday, I was too ill to go swimming, so it was a quiet day at home. D got the guinea pigs cleaned out and gave them plenty of hay in preparation for the cold snap we are due over the next couple of days.
Today has been the only day that has gone anything like what we intended.
The boys had ice skating today so we went to the library first. J had another Bear Gryls book to pick up.
D spotted someone selling hot chestnuts. They have seen the pictures on old films of men selling chestnuts from their braziers and I had told them how I used to get them when we visited the British museum when I was a little girl. On a cold windy morning like today, these hot chestnuts were very welcome. We also had a visit to Hobbycraft and the boys have picked up a snow globe each. They have a space to put photos in, so now the next project is to choose and print some photos to go in.
While we were at ice skating, they were advertising some special rate tickets to watch the ice hockey. As the boys have said they wanted to go, we booked tickets today and are going to see a match on Sunday. This will be a first for me too, and we are all looking forward to it.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
We missed MEND on Tuesday, but D went to Spanish on Wednesday.
They are now onto months of the year, days of the week and birthdays. He had a little bit of homework to catch up, but he did this on Thursday. He will go over it all again at the beginning of next week as a reminder.
Though J was still not feeling well on Thursday, he wasn't going to miss MEND as it was the last one and they were having a food tasting session. This meant we had to do some cooking on Thursday morning following the MEND friendly recipes we had received. This is a walnut and apricot loaf that J made. It also contains apple. We should have used the zest and juice of an orange, but they had all been eaten, so we substituted apple juice. This went down really well and we are going to make it again for us.
D made these vegetarian sausages. These tasted a lot better than we had expected, though I think they would be a lot better served with the tomato sauce suggested. We will try these again and see. The sausages were made using breadcrumbs, oatmeal, mustard powder, thyme, parsley and an egg yoke. After shaping they were dipped in the egg white and flour before being fried. Very simple and quick to prepare.
Monday, 10 November 2008
We acquired a kitten last week and we were expecting a girl, so when she arrived she was duly named Bella. Apparently a friends neighbour got her, and then didn't want her any more, so up the motorway she came to live with us. During last week I had a few doubts that Bella was a she, but this wasn't confirmed until "she" was sat with me yesterday afternoon.
I told D that Bella was more a Billy than a Bella and he asked the inevitable question, "how do you know?" Hence the biology lesson. Now both the boys have a very clear idea about the difference between boy and girl cats. This morning, we had a renaming ceremony.
J has decided he would like to be a firefighter, so over the weekend he looked at the requirements necessary. He has decided to keep up a fitness routine, work on maths and English, particularly his writing. It is great how much they will do when the motivation is there.
D thought he would like to do be a firefighter too, so this morning both the boys did some maths. D has decided he likes the three column addition and would like some more. It took a bit of time to explain that when he was trying to work sums out, it was acceptable to write the workings out on the paper. He seemed really surprised.
This afternoon we went and had a game of badminton. This had been postponed from Thursday, so I didn't want to change it again. J particularly was exhausted this evening. There was a mix up with the court when we got there, so we are very happy to have receive a voucher for a free court for our next game.
This evening D came and sat with me on my bed whilst I was doing my knitting. He did some more on his cross stitch cushion. Tomorrow I will get a photo to show how much progress he has made.
Tomorrow there are some animals to clean and a session of MEND. This is basically our last working session as Thursday is the farewell party. It will be interesting to see what we will discuss.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
We did some maths at the beginning of the week and D did his Spanish homework but missed his lesson yesterday as he wasn't up to it.
Tuesday the boys went swimming then this was followed by MEND, where they had another swimming session. The second hour was just a revision of all they had learned over the last couple of months. Unfortunately, they will be missing today's session at the supermarket.
D has kept up with his skipping, but we have had to rearrange the game of badminton we were going to have today. We were going to do this as it has been too wet for walking in the woods.
Apart from going to the library, we haven't done much else this week, though both boys have done a little stitching. Hopefully with a couple of days rest, we should be back into the swing of things next week.
Friday, 31 October 2008
This is a jelly that D made on Sunday. He even managed to get it out of the mold without any help from me. Sunday evening the boys watched Bear Gryls on television and then had to make their own shelter.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
First of all he washed and cut all the vegetables. He used-carrots, celery, garlic, ginger, pak choi, sugar snap peas, baby sweetcorn and bean sprouts. The salmon he cut into cubes. When he cooked the salmon he added sesame seeds then some soy sauce to the whole dish. It was served with noodles.
Delicious! These book marks and pencil topper where cut out when the boys did some work on medieval times a few weeks ago. We have just got round to laminating them.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Yesterday we were at the bus stop at 8.30 to get the bus and tram to get to the cinema. Yesterday we saw the Golden Compass. There was a storyteller there, so the children had a story before the screening.
Afterwards we went to Hillsborough for the boys to go swimming. That means both the boys have met their activity targets this week.
This morning, we were at the bus stop for 8.30 again for a repeat of yesterday, this time to see Horton hears a Who.
It was straight from the cinema to Sheffield ice as it was ice skating week. It was quite fun to watch the ice hockey team practising before and after the children were skating.
The other day we bought some sweet chestnuts, so I baked them today and the boys enjoyed tearing them apart tonight. This is the first time they have tried them. I have memories of walking by the British Museum in London, and my mum and dad buying them for me from the street sellers. They have their braziers with them roasting, fantastic on a cold day.
We are looking forward to a quieter week next week as the local schools are on half term. It means we don't tend to venture very far away from home.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
In his lesson today, D did numbers up to 50, the days of the week and more animals. He has two weeks now to reinforce these before his next lesson.
As we were sat in the park J was exploring along the river bank accompanied with the brother of the other boy who does Spanish with D. All of a sudden, they came running back all excited. They had seen a snake.
They weren't sure what it was so J and I did a search on the internet when we got home.
It was a grass snake. They usually live near water and feed on amphibians and occasionally fish. I have never seen a snake in the wild here, and am so happy that J has had the opportunity to have this experience.
After reading his survival books, he knew what to do had it been an adder and they had been bitten. J was so pleased that he was able to use the things he had read in a practical setting.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
The boys started the day with doing some work on the American Civil War. This lead to a discussion into the slave trade and the reasons why it was so hard for some people to give up. J looked on the internet and looked at some of the weapons that were used. It was quite an eye opener for D to realise that planes were not used in this war. I suppose with the news coverage of wars they see today, it is not surprising.
After this J and I caught up with our reading for MEND. It was all about portion sizes and it was very comforting to realise that on the whole, we were getting them right. We have made a conscious effort to reduce them over the last couple of months. J was pleased we didn't have to reduce any more.
After dinner, J caught the bus and went swimming for an hour before today's MEND session.
It was quite an emotional session this afternoon as we were talking about internal triggers for eating. The children were asked about bullying, the reasons for bullying and the effects it had. To show them that no one deserved to be bullied they were asked to say what made them special as individuals. Parents then had to say what made the child special and one of the volunteers did the same.
This process was to help the children realise it didn't matter what others said, they were special and shouldn't feel bad about themselves. I think we all sometimes have problems with self esteem and it is good to be reminded of our good points from time to time.
We only have two weeks of MEND left and I am pleased to say that J has enjoyed the whole programme.
Monday, 20 October 2008
This week is the first time we have attended in Sheffield and have managed to get booked into three showings. This week is going to be a bit hectic.
Today we saw Spiderwick Chronicles. This was followed by a talk from a representative from the British Board of Film Classification. She explained to the children why films were classified and how they received the classification they did.
BBFC have a website designed for children, so we are going to check it out later in the week.
After the film, we returned books to the library and then walked back through the woods on our way home.
D was really excited as he found a puffball. There is still a lot of fungi out there to be seen.
Friday, 17 October 2008
You may remember I said to keep an eye on the bits and pieces collected from our walk in Norfolk Park. Here is the picture D made.
The inspiration for this came from the fact that when D saw the twigs in the park, they were laying crossed over, looking just like a fish. The leaves were chosen to look like seaweed and the body was filled in using acorn cups to simulate the scales.
J's MEND nutritional target every week is to make a MEND friendly meal. Tuesday he made tuna pizza. He served it with corn on the cob-which he had to remove from the husk-and carrots. This was a scone based pizza so was quick to make.
J did all the weighing out and made the scone base. The tomato sauce he made from scratch too. It was a very delicious dinner and there was enough pizza for two days.
On Tuesday at MEND the children learned how to read food labels and for next week they have taken 10 items and checked the fat and sugar content to decide if they were MEND friendly or not. The target is to eat food that has 5% or below fat and sugar content.
The adults discussed the external triggers there were for good and bad food and activity behaviours. This was in preparation for the discussion on Thursday about the importance of the parents example.
Both boys have fulfilled their targets for activity and nutrition this week, so they got their reward of going to the park and their star. Every child on the programme succeeded this week.
J went swimming before MEND Tuesday and both the boys went Wednesday. D's Spanish was cancelled Wednesday, so it was an ideal time to go. Yesterday, we went to Hillsborough Park before we went to MEND.
D has started reading the book on Kenya and was surprised at the age expectancy of the population there.
J wants to do a project on what he has been learning from his survival books. On Monday we will go to Hobbycraft and get some card to make their displays.
As we were coming home the other day we were talking about animal tracks, so I have to do some printouts so they can try to identify them. I thought I would do the same with fungi and other plants. All this may have to wait for a week or so as it is Film Education week next week, and they are at the cinema three times.
J cooked dinner again today, but I forgot to take a photo. He did a cheese omelette with mash potato and swede, carrots and broccoli. It makes a lovely break for me and he enjoys doing it.
Monday, 13 October 2008
They were delighted that they managed to light kindling with a spark from the flint. However, they weren't able to light a proper fire. The little spark went out. This definitely is going to need some more work.
We also got some books on Kenya for the boys to do a project. We couldn't get any specifically to do with the Masai, so I think we will have to do a bit of internet searching.
After the library, we went to W H Smith. D needed some artists pencils and an A3 pad for some drawings.
This is D this afternoon. He was up on the shed roof for well over an hour concentrating on his drawing. This is what he came in with. This is his eagle.
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Saying that though, we are sad that Big Cat Diary is ending after tonight. We have really enjoyed following along all this week.
This evening D sat at the table and came up with this masterpiece. This is Sid Spider.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
If this little chappy has anything to do with it, there won't be many to find homes for.
I was so pleased that he was still coming back to collect conkers when the boys got home. It was so fascinating to watch him pick up a conker and position it in his mouth until it was comfortable then carry it away. We are waiting in anticipation to see how many conkers will still be there in the morning.
This afternoon we managed to get our walk in the woods. We were joined by a friend and her grandchildren.
We even managed to fill a small tub with blackberries. This year they blackberries are so small, you have to pick so much more to fill the tub. There haven't been many around at all. I should have enough to make a pound or two of jam and a blackberry and apple crumble which will please the boys.
As we were leaving the woods, D found this chrysalis on a sign post. I hope it gets left in peace so it can hatch in due time.
Friday, 10 October 2008
The first exhibit to catch the boys attention was the weather station. We had to check out the weather for various significant dates. We found out that the day my mum was born, 5Th September 1945, was a warm day for the time of year, very much like we have been enjoying this week.
We then spent some time looking at the Life of Sheffield. D really enjoyed himself working in the butcher shop. It was the interior of a shop that was demolished in Attercliffe. It had been moved and rebuilt in the museum.
I was soon called to see the boys, they were now Anglo Saxons. D even managed to get the shoes on too.
D then surprised us dressed up as an Innuit.
It was in this section the boys were trying their hand at working out the food chain, before we listened to a recording of traditional Innuit throat singing. J said tonight, he wouldn't want to hear it on a dark night. It had an eerie feel to it.
J spent some time identifying different minerals.
After a couple of hours in the museum, we went and had lunch in the surrounding park. The boys were delighted to find conkers. This small handful quickly turned.....
While we were at the museum, D bought himself this ant hill. He set it up tonight and is hoping to get some ants to go in it tomorrow. He wants to see them make burrows and watch them build their colony.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
From the library, J picked up the book he had reserved. It is Ray Mear's World of Survival based on the television series. It is really interesting as it is based on the experiences of native inhabitants of various countries.
This afternoon at MEND the children had to set themselves nutritional and activity goals. If they achieved these goals every week they were to be rewarded by the parents, and they would also get a star from the instructor. If they all get a star every week, they get to go on a group reward at the end of the course.
J has set himself the goal of cooking a MEND friendly meal every week, and to go swimming twice a week, as well as a walk in the woods. The reward would be for us all to go to a park. There are so many parks in Sheffield, we won't be getting bored.
Tomorrow we are hoping to go to Weston Park Museum and then go to the park for a picnic lunch. We are determined to make the most of the weather we are enjoying at the moment.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Apparently this archway is the remains of the Pavilion Tea Rooms built in 1910 to celebrate the park being given to the City of Sheffield by the Duke of Norfolk. This park was the first park in the country to be open freely to the public.
There is a bench just next to this, and it gives a perfect view of the city. It is a perfect spot to see the hills that surround Sheffield and the city nestled in the valley.
This avenue of lime trees were planted in 1841. It is staggering to think of how old these trees are and the stories they could tell.
Of course, no day out is complete without spoils. These are just a few of the things D picked up and brought home. Some of them are going to be used to make some art work, so watch this space.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Yesterday, the boys did some work on medieval times and D practised for his public reading he has on Thursday.
Today we all spent some of the day stitching.
D has now cross stitched his way to the centre of his daisy. It always brings a sense of accomplishment when he gets to another petal.
J has almost finished the body of the cat. He just has to stitch the white bib.
Tonight we got to watch Big Cat Diary on BBC1. Normal bedtime may be going out of the window this week so they can get to watch all the programmes. Watching it tonight has helped us to make the decision we will do a project on the Masai. The boys are interested in finding out how they live. We will have to make a trip to the library this week.
Friday, 3 October 2008
The boys did some work on parts of speech this morning, then D did his Spanish homework and J did his MEND assignments.
J went to the post office for me this morning to post a parcel, and he timed himself. It took six minutes in total. He had run all the way to the post office and a mixture of running and walking back. It is all uphill coming home. He said to me this evening as we were having a cuddle, that after 3 weeks of MEND, he could now run faster and quicker. I am so pleased that he is happy with the whole programme and what he has achieved. It will make it so much easier for him to keep up all the activity after MEND has finished.
D lost no time in going through the coins he was given. Using the book, he identified the coins and the values as of 1998. Here you can see how he has arranged them all on a sheet of paper with the values. He made the link with the age and abundance of coins and their corresponding value.
I have a lot of coins tucked away upstairs, so I might get them out so he can do the same with them. At tea time, the boys were eating yogurt and D decided to make a "telephone" with them. The boys didn't think they would work. They were surprised that I did the same thing when I was little.
They were thrilled at how the sounds were magnified along the thread. D said it was like a microphone.