Sunday, 20 December 2009

Garden Visitors

D went out and took some photos of footprints in the snow. I wonder if the moggie and the bird were visiting at the same time.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Twisted Rolls

We were going to get these on Friday, but D got distracted but he was in the mood for baking yesterday so he made some Twisted Buns.  In style, they are very similar to chelsea buns, but the filling is slightly different.  He had some"help" from 6 year old H from across the road, and I was amazed at how patient he was.

Can't wait until the next baking session-and it is so good to know they don't have to wait for me!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Where does the time go

It has been a very busy two weeks.  The boys have been doing their normal maths, science, english, history and Spanish, but this week in particular we have been out and about quite a bit.

Outings include:
Cinema-Glorious 39- this added to the boys knowledge about the lead up to the Second World War.  This was the first time they had ever heard about the appeasement policy.

Swimming-while there, one of the mum's lent us a DVD of Shakespeare retold.  We spent a couple of days watching modern versions of Macbeth, Midsummers Night Dream, Taming of the Shrew, Much ado about Nothing.

Bishops House-Tudor Times.  We learned about the fascinating history of the house and the family that lived there.  The boys got to try writng with quills and made lavender pomanders.  They were particularly fascinated with the cross bow, gun, and boots from the time, as boys would.  I found the embroidered bed cover, curtains and bed hangings to be more my thing.  It was fascinating to how the house changed over the years with the good fortunes of the family that lived there. 

Bloc- D did another day at the art studios.  They did about mirroring and experimented with drawing using a mirror as a guide and transposing patterns.  He enjoyed this day more than the first which must mean things can only get better.  They are planning more sessions in the new year.

Heeley Farm- they had an eco session at the South Yorkshire Energy Centre.  This ended up being very practical for us, as we came away with information on how to get our walls insulated with a grant.  The boys are now thinking up of more ways we can save energy and money!

D has also been baking again,  This time we had some plaited bread rolls, and very tasty they were too.  He has more plans for this week and hopefully, we can get pictures before everything gets eaten.

The boys have one more week before they go away, so we will be getting the house and animals all sorted before they leave.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Week Ending 29/11/09

Due to the horrible weather, we haven't been out much, but the boys have been busy at home.

D-Spanish-lesson, homework, online
     Science- life forces, electricity
   English-Romeo and Juliet-read again, started questions on first act
   History-castles, villages, middle ages, TV-Real life story behind Hunt for Red October (cold war history)

Next week looks as if it will be pretty much the same routine, but we are hoping that we won't get too wet and get out

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Not my children!

At least when the buy horrible things off the internet to eat!  D thought it would be an idea to try some worms and ants!

This is a barbecue flavoured worm crisp.  Despite the look on his face, these went down a treat.  He even took great delight in eating them in front of the girls from across the road.

The next delicacy were these chocolate coated ants!  Apparently, these have quite a strong aftertaste, so although they all got eaten, they were not that keen.  D is already deciding what to buy next.

Apart from that, D has been working on his Spanish and science.  He has done about life forces and the effects that drugs and smoking can have.  He even did some experiments in the kitchen to test the effects of burning and gases released.  He waited until I was in the bath, and then came and told me what he had done!

J has been doing maths, history, Romeo and Juliet-he has now completed the first reading of the play, and English.  He has been studying about descriptive writing.  As a prolific reader, he is well aware of the importance of descriptive writing, but would rather not have to do it himself, lol.

They have been to stay with their dad and grandparents over the last weekend.  They were meant to be going for a walk on Saturday, but as the weather was so bad, I am not sure if it took place.  If it did, I will be getting a lovely pile of washing when they come back home.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Beginning of November

This month seems to be speeding by without stopping to say hello.

A quick catch up of what we have been doing.

D is now doing Spanish on his own, hopefully a temporary measure until the New Year.  This means J and I are taking him and spending an hour in the cafe.  J is using this time to do History and it has been quite fun to have him on his own to concentrate on something he is interested in.

Both the boys have been doing some baking.  Unfortunately, the results got eaten before any pictures got taken, but Staffordshire oatcakes were a real success.  They went especially well with the honeycomb D bought from the health food shop.

Last Friday, we went to Doncaster Museum.  The fossils and the exhibition on flight were a hit with the boys.  They loved the computer flight simulation programme.  D bought a dinosaur to build and this is the result.

Getting the ribs in the right order was a real challenge.

We've also had swimming and ice skating.  This is the first time the boys have been ice skating for about five months, so they loved it.

It's back to a normal routine here this week, so we are off to take D to Spanish today.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Busy, Busy

It has been a really busy 10 days or so.  We have had the Film Education showings, though we were unable to get to yesterdays due to a bus strike.  We got to see G Force 3D, Bee Movie, Star Trek and Hotel for Dogs.

D has still been keeping up with his Spanish and is now doing irregular verbs.

On Tuesday, I spent the day with D and 5 other youngsters at a workshop at Bloc Project in Sheffield.  They had a tour of the studios, met a couple of the artists and had a look at an exhibition.  They then did a workshop with one of the artists and produced a piece of work using the exhibition pieces as inspiration.  The older children had been there the day before, and the two end products were completely different.  I hope to have photos soon, once they have been sent through.

Wednesday, we went and saw Skellig at the Lyceum.  There was a Q and A session with the actors after the performance which really enhanced the enjoyment of the day.  We even had a one to one chat with the actor that played Michael on our way out of the theatre.  J had already read the book, but he has got it out again since seeing the play.  As the play was written by the author, the performance was very true to the book.

As well as all the comings and goings, we have been reorganising D's bedroom.  He is in the box room and he had wanted to have his clothes in there.  We managed to get a canvas wardrobe and some drawers that fit.  Everything came out of the room, got sorted and went back in, a huge task.  He now has his bed, desk, chair, 2 sets of drawers, a wardrobe, bookcase and even space on the floor for a rug!  He must be happy with it as he has gone back to sleep in there and has been doing lots of drawing and painting.

Next week the schools are on holiday.  We are going to get J's bedroom reorganised so we should be ready to get back to work the week after.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Another week begins

These weeks seem to come round faster and faster. 

J did some Polish and D his Spanish.  To go with the viewing of Romeo and Juliet, J read the next act of the play.

Together we went through the online resources from Film Education for Star Trek.  This examined the advertising campaign that goes with films, from the posters, to the trailers and film clips. It was quite an interesting exercise to see how the information increases nearer to the release date.  It will make seeing the film more interesting as they will be able to pick out the bits they have been discussing.  They were struck by how little transcript there was for a two minute trailer, but how much information was given in that time.

D is still enjoying his bread making.  We had two loaves made yesterday.  This was a basic loaf, but he did add honey to the mixture.  It tastes delicious and I will be more than happy for him to take over the bread making duties.  He did everything on his own with no help from me at all. Nice to be redundant, lol

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Still Baking

We had a Spanish start to the day Friday as D decided to make churros.  They were really delicious.
It was a good start to the day as D then went on to do his Spanish homework.  J did some maths and we had another viewing of Romeo and Juliet.  They seem to have the Shakespeare bug as they want to see some more.  We are going to borrow the classic and modern version of Taming of the Shrew to watch and compare.

Good news for next week.  The bus strikes are suspended, so it looks like we will get to all the cinema bookings without problems. 

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The artist becomes a baker

There has been more maths and science work done here.  J has been trying to take the maths he's done online to paper.  The long multiplication looks different on paper, but he soon got the hang of it.  A little more practise will certainly come in useful. 

D finished his science workbook and the final test.  We are going to see if we can find him something else when we go to town today.

D then did some more pictures.  I love the dimension he managed to get with the hole in the ice.  It seemed to work out really well.  He has decided he wants to do art at college so I will be on the lookout for other art courses he can do in the meantime.

The lobster was done using water soluable pencils.

When we went to the library yesterday, all the books we had ordered had arrived, so J was reading Lord of the Rings on the way home.  The afternoon was spent watching Romeo and Juliet.  J is going to write a review. 

The viewing was interrupted by a power cut and D went and prepared Vetkoek, which is Afrikaans for "fat cake".  These are bread balls that are deep fried.

By the time he took this photo, six had already disappeared.  The rest were gone at dinner time.  Although it was a savoury dough, they tasted sweet.  I think they were confusing the brain into thinking they were doughnuts as the outside texture is the same.  I am hoping he will make them for tea on Sunday so we can have them warm with some homemade jam.

He has been going through the whole book, lining up other breads to make.  Methinks he will keep going until the cupboard is bare.

Today, we will be going swimming once we have been to town to find some more art supplies.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The artist returns

It was a very varied day yesterday.  J did Polish and D did Spanish to start the day. J  then did maths while D did his science. He got full marks for the test at the end of the section.

D then decided the paints were coming out and when I got out of the bath, he was half way through making the mask.

Once he had completed the mask, he did the painting of the boat using gouache.  For a first attempt at doing reflection, I think he did briliantly.  Can't wait to see if the paint box will be coming out again this week.

Friday, 2 October 2009


Wednesday D went to Spanish and then we went a gave the man at the library a hard time.  Poor man seemed rushed off his feet with people coming in and the phone ringing. To top it all, J had him looking for and then ordering Lord of the Rings.  Once he had sorted that, D decided he wanted the bread book out again that he had before.  Trouble was he couldn't quite remember the title, but the librarian found it eventually, and it's on order.  Just as he thought we were going, I asked him for a DVD of Romeo and Juliet.  Another computer search, and that is on order.  I think we certainly made him work for his money!

Despite feeling pretty rotten, and not at all like going out for the day, we had a fabulous time in York.

First up was a trip round the Jorvik museum.  I forgot to take my camera which was a shame.  D's face was a picture when he went in because of the smell.  I had a head so bunged up, I couldn't smell a thing!  We enjoyed the way we were taken around the museum.   We sat in capsules and were taken through a reconstruction of Viking York.

The boys enjoyed seeing the bones and all the information they could tell us.  D was particularly interested in how they reconstructed a face from the skulls they found.

We then went to DIG which the boys thoroughly enjoyed.  It was fascinating to see what trained people could read from the remains they found.  The highlight for the boys was the fosilised human stool!  It was definitely one of those things you had to see to believe.  It was huge in it's fosilised state, never mind what it would have been like to pass.

On the way back to the station, we stopped and listened to a busker in the shopping centre.  He was brilliant and considering it was the 1st October and we were sat with no coats in the sun, it was a lovely end to the day.

The boys decided they would like to go back to York for another day out, this time to the York Museum and possibly the Transport Museum again.

Today will be spent recovering ready for another week on Monday.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Just when you think you're in a routine.....

Last week started really well, but illness struck and it is a slow start to this week.

Last Monday D did some Spanish while J did Polish. J also did some online maths and then we all did some work on renewable energy.   The boys are now identifying which houses have solid walls and which are cavity by looking at the brickwork.  They have decided which forms of renewable energy they would like to add to the house if it was possible.  J even worked out that some forms didn't save the consumer much, but that it was for the environment that these changes were required.  The boys worked really well and we had fun doing it, which is the main thing.

By Wednesday, J's sore throat had progressed and he stayed home while I took D for his Spanish lesson and into town.

J was no better Thursday, so it was only D to go swimming and to meet up with some of the other home ed group.  After swimming, we went to Craftastic to stock up on some supplies, including fimo.

D made his models and gave them all away before I managed to get a photo.  My favourite was a sow with a group of suckling piglets.

Friday saw D with a runny nose and my throat feeling like sandpaper, but we did manage to have a productive day. J did maths online while D did science. He only dropped one mark in the review test he did too. Then J read the first act of Romeo and Juliet while D some physics. They both worked really well and managed to achieve quite a bit.

By Saturday I was really unwell and the boys looked after me really well.  They have both kept me supplied with cups of tea and have helped with the clearing up and the cooking.

I was still unwell Monday and as the schools here were off for teacher training, the boys spent most of the day at the park with their friends.  They cooked dinner between them too.  We are hoping we will all be fighting fit for Thursday as we are out for the day.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Friday, 18th September

Today saw the start of our new routine for this year. This is liable to change as other activities come online, but at the moment, we have decided to work in the mornings and afternoons are free time.

Friday was a good start. J did his online maths and enjoyed it so much, it was a struggle to stop him when D has finished doing his Spanish.
In a couple of weeks, we are going to see quite a few films as part of Film Education for Schools week. A couple of films have some online resources, so we did the ones for Hotel for Dogs.
After discussing the questions regarding trailers and what they set out to achieve the boys then set about drawing designs for their own inventions for dogs. They will do their own trailer once we have seen the film.
J designed a catapult that threw toy cats for dogs to chase, and D did a conveyor belt that took fresh steak, chopped and tenderised it, then put it into a bowl ready for the dogs.
D was then back to his Fimo. We now have a pig and a lamb joining our ever growing family and then this glorious giraffe.

This is actually a pencil in a holder. D found this quite challenging, but it was well worth persevering, it's fantastic.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Sheffield Wheel

The boys are back from staying with their dad. They went on several bike rides, but the highlight was the 'Thank You For The Music' concert in Hyde Park. They sang and danced their way through the whole show.

It was back home and to back to home. D had his Spanish lesson yesterday morning,but they had a treat in the afternoon.

We went on the Sheffield Wheel,which is here for a short period of time. We could see the whole of the city and all the greenery that surrounds it.

Sheffield is the fourth largest city in the UK,but every one of it's inhabitants are only a few minutes from some kind of woodland, park or even the Peak District. The spire on the hillside is in fact a column. It's the Cholera Monument.
This shows how high up we were. The shoppers seemed so tiny.

You can see from this picture, how much greenery there is in the city.

The white roof belongs to the Crucible, home of World Championship Snooker. I am determined to get there again this year.

Graves Gallery and Central Library, with the corner of Lyceum Theatre to the left.

The Town Hall

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Not Back to School Pressie Day

Monday was the day the schools went back and the day D would have started comprehensive school, so we had a special pressie day.

A lovely sight at 6.30 in the morning. The boys had expected to find everything in the bag, but a devious mum had hidden them around the house, so they had to search them out. They didn't find the last one until lunchtime. I had great fun watching, but J told me I can't do it again. Mmmm, we shall see.
Within minutes D had put together his jet propulsion rocket and was test driving it along the hallway.

It even had a ramp to go over.

And here it is, being blown up for another run. After it had had a few test runs, it got it's go faster stripes.
J spent the rest of the day with his head in a book. It was finished in time for him to start another one before bed. I think it was a successful day.
Tuesday was a bit of a low point as they had the dentist. D had a piece of baby tooth removed, as well as fillings, so he wasn't up to much for the rest of the day.
Wednesday was Spanish then a trip to town and the library. J had to pick up Lord of the Flies. I think he is finding that a bit harder to read than Animal Farm. If he completes it, he's done better than me, I just couldn't get into it at all.
They are now with their dad for a few days. A couple of bike rides are in the pipeline and then Sunday they are going to the Abba concert in Hyde Park. It is the first concert they have ever been to and they can't wait.
Next week, it should be back to work, work, work, lol

Thursday, 3 September 2009

A little light reading

All you parents out there will be very familiar with the hyperactivity that seems to hit after dinner before bedtime. It hasn't been like that for a long time, but last night, I was ready to send them to bed at seven for them to calm down.

It was like a tornado had gone through the house and then silence.

For some reason, J had decided he would do some maths, he even took it in the bath with him and D was doing Biology.

This morning, they got up, and with breakfast, the maths and biology is back out!

D also did some Spanish yesterday. His lessons start up again next week. He has some more to do today and tomorrow, then all his homework is done.

Romeo and Juliet has been floating around for the last couple of days too. Looks like the boys are ready to get their brains back into gear.

On the reading note, J has just read Animal Farm. He has ordered Lord of the Flies from the library and is waiting for that to come in.

We have been discussing what we will be doing over the next few months.

J-Polish, Romeo and Juliet, Maths, swimming, ice skating
D-Spanish, Science, Maths, Art, swimming, ice skating

J doesn't particularly enjoy arts and crafts, but I have a few projects in mind that might tempt him.

On Monday, D would have been due to go to comprehensive school. We are having a "not going back to school" pressie day to celebrate. We can't wait to find out what opportunities will open up for us this year.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Sheffield to Tinsley Canal

Yesterday, we went on a boat trip along the Sheffield to Tinsley Canal which was built in 1819. The weather was very kind to us, it was warm and the sun was shining. Space up front was limited, so I let the boys lo0se with the camera. All along the way, there were plenty of lily pads. Both D and I commented on the way they submerged as we went passed. Among the reeds, there were plenty of brown dragonflies.
There were plenty of bridges to go under, and at one stage we went over a viaduct. It did seem really strange to be going over the traffic. The canal along the viaduct was only just wide enough to allow the barge through. When the bridges were built, bricks were expensive, so they made them only as big as necessary in order to keep the cost down.
The canal was dug out by hand, which seems amazing in this day and age, especially as it is 14 feet deep in places.

This area was covered with lily pads. By the mooring posts were a pair of moorhens. The turning of the barge didn't bother them at all. They just carried on feeding.

On the way back, the boys were invited to the steering cab. It wasn't until I saw the photos that I realised how little space there was through the bridges.

You can see here how little visibility there is from the cabin. The boys came back with lots of facts and figures about the weight of the barge and the displacement of the water. The barge weighed 60 tonnes, so the water pushed either side was 30 tonnes. Being so big, the barge had right of way, as anything smaller was pushed to the side!
The boys have now come back and are calculating the cost of buying and keeping a barge on the water. They have decided it would be a perfect home for us. As they cannot keep a bedroom tidy, I am not sure how they think they could fit into a barge.

Here are a couple of D's latest fimo creations. We have the twins from Ice Age,

and Feathers McGraw from Wallace and Gromit.
They are of to a party this morning. Looks like it will be dry for the bouncy castle.

Friday, 21 August 2009

On a baking spree

It's been a few weeks since we posted, but the boys have been doing things. I just have to remember what! It's easy with D as he has been making lots of things.

A couple of weeks ago they both went to a play day at Hillsborough Park. They both got a medal for running the 1 km race. They also had a race on the climbing wall. They got up in 1 minute and back down in 14 seconds. They enjoyed the rodeo, water slide and gladiators. The weather was very kind to us too, the rain keeping of and it wasn't too hot.

We spent a couple of hours one day with some from the home ed group at the Peace Gardens in the centre of Sheffield. We took a picnic and the boys had fun in the fountain. This year we went prepared with towels and changes of clothes.

Here, not in any particular order, are some of the things D has been making. A pergamano card with coloured flowers and leaves.
Although I made the sauce, D made the pasta from scratch, and very tasty it was too. He has also made a sponge two days running. I am hoping we might get a different cake today.

We have also had a glut of fimo models, this is The Neptunian Slug, one of my favourites

Another pergamano card

A pergamano gift tag. I have lots of card stock gift tags, so I think some more of these may be coming up

A fimo Crater Creature

A red dragon

Brown bear

Martian Octopus

Uranium Big Foot-I love the feet on the front.
D has done a couple of fimo classes, one model still has to be baked, so once that is done, I'll post the pictures. There are still 3 weeks before the schools go back, so we are going to enjoy the more relaxed time together.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

They're Back

The boys are back from their holiday, together with a pile of washing.

They have brought back a variety of shells and this candle holder and pot that they made at Clovelly. The day after they returned, D went to another fimo class and made the twins from Ice Age.
He then went on a fimo binge and came home and made this selection of critters.

At this rate I am going to have a mantel shelf full of fimo creatures.
Unfortunately, we couldn't get D booked onto the sculpture summer school, they were fully booked. Never mind, I am sure we will find something to do.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

D's Banner and T-shirt

I met up with the other mum that was collecting D's bits from art yesterday, so sooner than expected, here they are.

The children spent two sessions making felt. D kept all his to one theme, smiley faces. The next week they had fun and dyed fabric. The last week he was there, they put the two elements together and made a banner. I now have to get some hooks to hang it on.

The last thing D did, was to paint a t-shirt.
What could I do, but laugh when I saw this. I do love his sense of humour, but believe me, there is an element of truth in this!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

D's Art Exhibition

As it was D's last art class last week, he brought home his work. They are in no particular order. D definitely has some that he prefers over others, but they were able to explore different styles and themes. There are a couple of pieces to come, but they weren't dry at the end of class. One of the other mum's will pick them up this week, and we will get them some time during the summer. I will show you them as soon as we get them.

Here is D's collection of art work from the last term.

Many of the pieces that the children did, were cut to size and formed a concertina style book. D decorated the front of his using different colour papers in ever decreasing squares.
I have another version of this striped style on the wall in the kitchen.

The mosaics are made from wallpaper. The print is from a paper doily

Experiments with ink

Of course, it always makes sense to have the title at the back, lol

As soon as we saw this one, we said sound waves, and that is exactly what it was.

The first lesson they had, they were asked to do some mood paintings. This is excited,

and this is sad.

This was done for shapes, obviously circles.

The great thing with what D has been doing, you can see the progress from one picture to another. The class had a vase of lilies on the table for them to use.

This was his first attempt, then one of his teachers, gave him some pointers on how to improve. This was the second attempt,

and this is the one I saw when I walked into the room. I was really impressed that D had been able to produce such a beautiful piece of art.