Alphabet Photography Project | K is for…


K is forAs a family we love kite flying; we probably have 10 kites between us! This photo was taken last year on Epson Downs. There wasn’t quite enough wind to fly the kites for long but we got them up a couple of times and had a great day.

Linking up with Podcast and the Alphabet Photography Project

Meal Planning Monday 21st July 2014

Oh dear, I have missed Monday by 20 minutes! So just a quick post now..

Here is our meal plan for this week:

Monday - Pizza

Tuesday – Eggy bread, spaghetti hoops, sausages, salad

Wednesday – Pasta with lentil ragu, garlic bread, salad

Thursday – Sausage rolls, new potatoes, veg

Friday/Saturday/Sunday – weather and activity dependent meal taken from Toad in the hole, macaroni cheese and a BBQ


Our Home Education Week | Surviving the Heat

Its been a bit hot this week hasn’t it! Even when it has rained or thundered it has still been hot and the thunder hasn’t freshened the air at all. We’ve spent plenty of time outside, but also plenty of time indoors when it’s all got too much for us. While we love the sun and being outside, sometimes when it is this hot it is actually nicer to spend some time indoors next to a fan!

Monday saw the last Forest School of this term. Both Jasmine and Thomas were keen to go, which was such a nice change from the last few weeks and made the day much better. As it was the last session the leader had set up a surprise for the children. She met a lady the week before who has a ferret and a pole cat and had arranged for her to come to the start of the session with the pole cat! The kids all loved it! They got to hold it and give it  little treat to eat too.

During the session they made clay models. I think the idea was for them to make a candle holder as most of the other children came out with a citronella candle but Thomas made a dragonfly model and Jasmine made a moth bowl?! Unfortunately Thomas broke his model in the car on the way home but this gave us the perfect opportunity to do some clay modelling of our own later in the week.

Tuesday was a fairly quiet day. We went to Hobbycraft to buy some ink and then made our quill pens from the feathers we found last week at Ladybower Reservoir. Jasmine did some great writing with her pen.

On Wednesday we went pond dipping at the ecology centre. You can read all about that here.

On Thursday I was planning on going to Twins Club in the morning but the kids had other ideas so I had to cancel. We got the clay out instead and spent the morning making models in the garden. Ben made a few models with his piece of clay and then went back inside to play with the trains but Jasmine and Thomas stayed out for over an hour modelling and they both made some wonderful models. Jasmine made a dog, a tree, a toadstool, a bowl with fruit in and more, and Thomas made a house, our garden, a tree, a black hole and more. They had great fun using the clay and I found it interesting seeing the difference in both their models and how much they enjoyed it since the last time we used clay. Last time Jasmine didn’t like touching wet clay as it made her hands dirty (coming from the girl who loves mud!) but this time she had no qualms with it at all.


On Thursday afternoon we went to one of our local HE groups.

Both Friday and Saturday were spent at home. On Friday we spent the morning painting our clay models and in the afternoon I got the paddling pool out, and on Saturday we spent the day inside playing, resting and relaxing. The kids did all have some time on Reading Eggs and Cbeebies games with me. Ben completed lesson 9 where he did really well reading some simple CVC words although he is still needed a lot of help as, even though he can blend perfectly he isn’t recognising groups of letters together as a word yet. Jasmine completed lesson 97 about vowels, which she found quite easy as she knows them already from watching Thomas! She also read a book. Thomas completed a Skills Bank lesson, a driving test and read a book.


Today (Sunday) we have spent the afternoon at a friends house and celebrated Moon Day with them.. it was 45 years ago today when man first landed on the moon! We played some space themed games, made small rockets with old film canisters and alka-seltzer tablets and had a BBQ in a thunderstorm, although we did move inside in the end!


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Project 365 (2014) Week 29

Week 29#194.. a quiet day after our very busy week last week. I can’t even remember what we did to be honest but I know it wasn’t much!

#195.. usual Monday afternoon at Richmond Park while Jasmine and Thomas are at Forest School. Ben and I went for a walk around the gardens at Penbroke Lodge and I took some photos of the butterflies and flowers. We also saw a mouse hiding in a hole underneath a bush!

#196.. We made a quill pen from a feather. Jasmine was fascinated and really enjoyed writing with it.

#197.. Pond dipping at the ecology centre.

#198.. On Monday at Forest School, J&T had made some clay models but Thomas broke his in the car on the way home. While we were buying ink for the quill pen on Tuesday we also bought some air drying clay and today we spent the morning in the garden modelling. They all made some wonderful models.

#199.. we spent the morning painting the clay models we made yesterday and then, being the hottest day of the year, there was only one thing for it and the afternoon was spent in the paddling pool! They loved it, although as the afternoon wore on they moved out of the pool and into the tuff spot?! I think it was because the tuff spot was warm and the paddling pool was mostly in the shade by late afternoon.

#200.. We’ve had another indoors day today. We all struggle with the heat and it has been so very hot. When the game of trains started causing arguements I suggested Jasmine came and did some Reading Eggs with me. Through the afternoon they all spent some time on it and so each had a few minutes on Cbeebies games too.
TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Pond Dipping

Pond dipping.. one of the kids most favourite activities. On our first go at it, two years ago, we got the bug and it doesn’t matter how many times we do it, the kids always love it (well, so do the grown ups if I am being honest!)

On Wednesday we went to the local ecology centre with a couple of other home educating families. We took our nets and buckets and were looking forward to seeing what we could find. We’ve been pond dipping at the ecology centre lots of times over the last two years, but not since the beginning of spring this year so we were keen to see what had changed in that time.


The pond was full of life! We caught so much we had to empty the buckets a couple of times because they were getting too full!

We caught lots of fish, a tadpole, lesser and greater water boatmen, a great diving beetle, lots of damselfly larvae, two dragonfly larvae, water scorpions, pond skaters, pond snails, whirligig beetles and probably more I have forgotten.

pd2I think the kids could have stayed by the pond all day but after a couple of hours we decided to move on to try and see some of the other things the ecology centre has to offer. As we were packing up the nets one of the children came and told me they’d seem a stripy caterpillar. I went to have a look and between us we found around 20-30 Cinnabar moth caterpillars on Ragwort. They are so beautiful!

PD3We walked around the centre, looking for slow worms and grasshoppers. We didn’t see any slow worms but did see a few grasshoppers. Jasmine decided not to try and catch any though because she was keen to continue round to the our next stop. We were heading for the log pile to find newts and toads!

The kids were soon turning over logs and seeing what they could find underneath. They were quite disappointed not to find many newts but did find some toads. Luckily though, Gordon came to the rescue and he went off for a wander and came back having found the newts hiding place! This made the kids day when he showed them where at least 20 newts were hiding!

PD4At the end of the afternoon I think we all agreed that was our most successful trip to the ecology centre so far this year. Everyone had a really good time and it was lovely to see the kids all working together and sharing their knowledge of the animals we found.

Of course, never one to miss an opportunity, I snapped some of the other animals I saw along the way too..

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Tutorial: How to make a feather quill pen

While we were at Derwent Reservoir last week the kids collected lots of large feathers they found by the water. Over the last few days we have been making feather quill pens with them.


Quill pens are actually very easy to make but it is definitely a job for the adults as you do need a very sharp knife to cut through the feather. We got the kids helping by asking them to strip the flights before Gordon did the cutting.

Here is our video guide on how to make a feather quill pen.



Alphabet Photography Project | J is for…


In Puddles, on spacehoppers, over logs, along stepping stones, into waves, being frogs, being rabbits.. my children are always jumping for some reason. They love it!

J is forand sometimes daddy joins in too!

Linking up with Charly and the Alphabet Photography Project

Meal Planning Monday 14th July 2014

I’m back after a week off meal planning last week. Well to be honest it wasn’t really a week off as I did have a rough idea of what we were eating each day but as we ate out twice and then were at my mums for three days I just didn’t bother writing it down!

This week’s plan includes a good mix of favourite meals and dishes we’ve not had for a few weeks. We still have some veggies left from our last trip to Garsons as well so there will be some salad included until it runs out too!

Monday - Satay with noodles

Tuesday – Tacos

Wednesday – Pasta Crumble, garlic bread

Thursday – Quorn korma with rice and naan

Friday – Veggie carbonara, garlic bread

Saturday – Jacket potato, cheese, beans

Sunday – Toad in the hole


Our Home Education Week | Around the Country

We’ve had a pretty good week this week. We drove to Eastbourne and back on Tuesday, then Sheffield on Wednesday until Saturday so we haven’t had time to get bored!

Monday was forest school day as usual. If you read my post last week you’ll know forest school hasn’t been going terribly well over the last few weeks however this week was totally different. After my conversation with the leader last week she found a wonderful way to engage Thomas and Jasmine and get them back in to the group. She took some stones in to the session and the children all made “Story Stones” and then they all came together at the end to tell a story as a group. It was a brilliant idea and Thomas and Jasmine loved it! This is why I love their forest school so much.. if there is a problem they find a way to make it better. They really think about the individual child and they find a way to work with them, quirks and all.

On Tuesday we went to Eastbourne. Gordon’s sister and family were over from Canada again and were staying with his mum for a few days. As we don’t see them very often, when they are in the country we always try to visit.

On Wednesday we drove to Sheffield to see my parents. We arrived around mid-afternoon and the kids went straight into the garden to burn off some energy.


On Thursday we went to Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. While us adults didn’t think there was much there (definitely not as much as I remember from when I was a child) the kids really enjoyed it and it was a good way to spend a few hours. I’m not sure how much they learnt though as they raced from one display to the next, asking questions but never really stopping for long enough to hear the answer! They turned the clockwork orrery in the Planet Pavillion and did a couple of puzzles on the interactive touch screens, they talked to each other through the whispering dishes, played some physics games by the Lovell Tepescope and explored the wonders of the universe in the Space Pavillion (as well as see themselves through a heat camera).


On Friday we went for a walk around Derwent Valley and Ladybower Dam (you can read all about this here) and then Saturday was taken up in the car driving home.

Things of interest to note this week are:

Thomas has been reading the bedtime story most nights. He has been picking up the ORT level 5 and 6 books and managing to read them fairly fluently on first look. I think it may be time to try and encourage him to read some harder books.

We found a grasshopper in the garden on Monday so Jasmine was very excited. As they went to the meadow with forest school in the afternoon she spent a good proportion of the session finding crickets and grasshoppers and teaching the others about them. She knows several ways of identifying whether it is a cricket or a grasshopper already and so I have bought the FSC Guide to Grasshoppers to add to our collection.

The kids have all decided they want to do a project on superheroes. They want to design and make capes and then I have to sew them onto t-shirts. I am wondering whether I could tie this in to a project on real life heroes such as policemen etc, and maybe this will help Thomas understand that “goodies” don’t shoot and kill people (he is going through a guns/shooting/killing phase at the moment and got quite cross when I explained that goodies don’t kill, they take the baddies away and put them in prison)

Ben counted to 20.

Finally, following on from last weeks post and a comment from Katie of The Gallivanters I am going to buy some pipettes, syringes, small bottles and cheap soap/smelly stuff for the kids to make potions without wasting whole bottles of hand soap down the sink!