An Interview with Thomas, aged 8

Following on from my last post with Jasmine’s birthday interview, Here is Thomas’… (last years can be found here)

  1. What is your favourite colour?
  2. What is your favourite toy?
  3. What is your favourite fruit?
  4. What is your favourite TV show?
    Fictional is Ninjago, Non-Fiction is Fierce Earth
  5. What is your favourite thing for lunch?
  6. What is your favourite game?
    (No answer)
  7. What is your favourite snack?
  8. What is your favourite animal?
  9. What is your favourite song
    Lego Ninjago song
  10. What is your favourite book?
    Lego Ninjago
  11. Who is your best friend?
  12. What is your favourite cereal?
  13. What is your favourite thing to do outside?
    Roll down hills
  14. What is your favourite drink?
    Apple juice
  15. What is your favourite holiday?
  16. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
    I don’t really take things to bed
  17. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?
  18. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
  19. What do you want to be when you grow up?
    Space scientist
  20. What do you want for your birthday?

Thomas 8

An Interview with Jasmine, aged 8

So last Thursday was Thomas and Jasmine’s eighth birthday! We’ve had a great, busy couple of days celebrating and today was the day for rest and recovery! On Wednesday, in between baking and decorating cakes, I asked them both their birthday interview questions. Here is what Jasmine had to say: (last years can be found here)

  1. What is your favourite colour?
  2. What is your favourite toy?
    Remote control stuff
  3. What is your favourite fruit?
  4. What is your favourite TV show?
  5. What is your favourite thing for lunch?
  6. What is your favourite game?
    Froggy game
  7. What is your favourite snack?
  8. What is your favourite animal?
  9. What is your favourite song
    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  10. What is your favourite book?
    The one about girls
  11. Who is your best friend?
    Tabitha and Tommy
  12. What is your favourite cereal?
    Rice crispies
  13. What is your favourite thing to do outside?
    Hunting for bugs
  14. What is your favourite drink?
    Apple and mango
  15. What is your favourite holiday?
  16. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
  17. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?
    Egg and crumpet
  18. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
    Bean Stew
  19. What do you want to be when you grow up?
    A zoo keeper
  20. What do you want for your birthday?

Jasmine 8

Excitement and countdown

It is birthday week this week. Jasmine and Thomas will be celebrating turning eight on Thursday. Eight! I can’t believe it! Thomas said today that he wished it was his birthday today.. well actually so do I and then the levels of excitement can begin to calm down again! They’ve been pretty high for a while but this morning we seem to have reached fever-pitch!

But back to the weekend… Well actually it was reasonably quiet (not counting the kids excitement!) On Saturday morning I took my mum and the birthday two to ToysRUs so they could choose a birthday present from her to them. Thomas chose a Lego Ninjago set and Jasmine chose a Little Live Pets Puppy. We decided that they could have their presents straight away as it seemed pointless to take them away and wrap them when they’d chosen them and carried them home in the car anyway! So once we got back home Thomas built his Lego and Jasmine played with her puppy, getting it to say all manner of hilarious things!

I went out in the afternoon to a friends baby shower and my mum stayed at home with the kids.

Sunday was even quieter and we didn’t go out all day (apart from my 6.5k walk by myself before anyone else got up – it was cold but always sets me up right for the day). The kids played Lego, I made a start on the birthday cake and we watched some TV (including watching the first episode of the BBCs The Hunt).

Today has been busier but just in a normal Monday way. Jasmine and Ben went swimming this morning. My mum came with us and they did spend quite a lot of the lesson messing about.. I guess in a way “showing off” because she was there, but right before the end of the lesson Jasmine finally put her face in the water, lifted her legs and swam, unaided, further than she’s done before :-) It was only a couple of metres, but we have waited so long for her to be confident enough to make the leap it was brilliant to finally see her do it.

This afternoon we did some science at home. We started off with the next mystery science unit, all about friction. This one wasn’t as good as the previous two but the kids still enjoyed it and they definitely know a lot already! And then, following from the Chemistry we’ve been doing on acids and alkalies, we made sherbet. I love home-made sherbet, and so do the kids now (although I’m not sure whether it was the sherbet or the fact that we gave them a lolly to eat it with!)

23rd November

While I was cooking dinner they watched some TV and then we read another chapter of Harry Potter before bed.

Calmer days (mostly)

Thursday started quite positively and we all got on with some maths.. well actually, now I am remembering it didn’t start quite so well as all three kids needed help at the same time so I ended up shouting that one of me and three of them demanding help wasn’t going to work.. but hearing my cries Gordon came downstairs and sat with Jasmine so calm was restored pretty quickly! Jasmine did some simple addition and moved on to estimation and measuring, Ben did some simple addition with unifix cubes to help and Thomas worked on his three times table. At dinner a few days ago he suddenly told me that the three times table had a pattern.. odd, even, odd, even with a skip one each time. I had actually never thought about it like that before but of course he is quite right! And after just an hour of work on Thursday he can now do up to 3×7 by memory :-) His head for numbers amazes me!

There was one blip in the morning when Thomas got very upset because he perceived that Jasmine had done one of her maths questions wrong. Her and Gordon were estimating and measuring the door but Gordon hadn’t seen the arrow indicating to measure the width so they measured the height. Because I did it with Thomas last week he knew about the arrow and got very upset that Jasmine would get the wrong answer. He needed a lot of reassurance that as long as they estimated and measured the same thing the answer would be fine, and he was pretty adamant that it was wrong because the book said to do the width. I ended up explaining that, where the book said to use the sand table we had used a shelving unit and this was the same sort of thing.. it wasn’t wrong, it was just different. He did finally accept it but his mind was elsewhere for quite a while afterwards. Unfortunately, stubborn as he is, he wouldn’t stop doing his worksheets and so we struggled for a few questions until a compromise was made that he would work hard to concentrate on a few more questions and then we’d stop and have a snack!

In the afternoon we went to HE Group as normal. J&T did French .. colours this week. They got quite carried away with the colour blue/bleu and after their session they ran around for what seemed like ages shouting bleu bleu bleu (as in bla bla bla) at anyone who stood in their way. It did get rather annoying!

A little later one of the lovely mums at group had brought her mixing deck in to the group to let the kids see how it worked and have a turn. Thomas took a keen interest and had a couple of turns.. and it turns out he is pretty good!

19th November

Today has been pretty quiet. We went to the library this morning to change some books – I managed to return quite a few today that we’ve had for four or more weeks! I had a crazy idea that we’d only get a couple more each to bring home but of course that didn’t work and we checked out our full quota once again!

Once back at home we had lunch and then the kids went upstairs to play and stayed up there for ages! I did check on them at one point as they were really quiet and they were all in Ben’s bedroom and Thomas was reading a story out loud to the other two.. so sweet! I took the opportunity to get the sewing machine out and start in the drawstring pouches I am making for our advent calendar this year – I had the idea to make rather than buy this year as we got given lots of Lego recently and this seems a great way to pass it on to the kids. I managed to make two little bags before hungry children appeared asking for snacks.

Once snacks had been eaten Jasmine wanted to go on Reading Eggsress. She read three books today to earn eggs, She doesn’t have enough to buy the “pet” she wants but she is slowly becoming happier to save up and hopefully as we read more books her confidence will come.

Thomas also read a book on Reading Eggspress, with Grandma watching as I was cooking dinner.

We ended the day as normal, with Ninjago and another chapter of Harry Potter.


Days to forget, days to remember

Yesterday was one of those days I’d rather forget about than write about. But if I don’t write the negative stuff as well as the positive I’ll never see any changes (for the better or worse!)

It started out OK and we did some handwriting. Ben joined in but I only had one sheet for him. He was so keen though that I remembered about some CVC worksheets I had printed for him from Twinkl ages ago so he happily worked through three of them :-) Jasmine completed another few pages of her workbook. She has almost finished now and will then move on to joined-up writing. She is so excited! She loves handwriting! Thomas moaned as usual, but he did complete the two pages I had for him pretty quickly really. And then actually agreed to do one more sheet he didn’t finish last week!

After lunch we went to Thomas’ swimming lesson. He seemed happy enough and usually looks forward to his lesson and responds well to his teacher – one of the main reasons I have been happy to pay for the private lessons – but it didn’t turn out to be a good lesson. I always wait in the cafe while he has his lesson and I could see that he wasn’t listening very well but it looked to me like his teacher had control of the situation and by the end of the lesson I thought he’d done quite well. When I went poolside to get him at the end however his teacher wasn’t happy at all and basically said it had been a total waste of time :-(

It is so disheartening to hear things like that.

I had words with Thomas about it .. in hindsight not the best time to do it when I was so cross. He got defensive and by the time we got back in the car I was just generally cross with the world. So when we got home and the minute we walked in the door the kids started bickering .. well, lets just say I wasn’t in the right mood to deal with it very well!

The kids stayed out of my way – playing with Lego – until dinner time. After dinner we took Jasmine to Brownies and while she was there I asked the boys to tidy the bedroom. As expected they didn’t listen (I mean, why should they? I’d hardly been a perfect parent for the majority of the afternoon) so when we got home from collecting Jasmine I picked all the Lego up from the floor and took it off them. Thomas hated me once again.

As with most bad days however something good came out of it. I had seen this link from Hand in Hand pop up on Facebook at lunch time about helping children deal with aggression so stuck it on my wall to look at properly later and a friend commented that they were currently doing a course with Hand in Hand. We had a chat and I have decided to try it out too. She also recommended Laura Markham’s book “Calm Parents, Happy Siblings” so I downloaded it on to my Kindle and am giving that a go too.

Today has been a better day. It didn’t start terribly well for me as my alarm didn’t go off so I missed going for my walk. But I managed to get 5 miles in later on while the kids were at Forest School so it turned out OK!

We had our extra two Wednesday children today and it turned into one of those days where they all get on really well. They played nicely all morning.. started off with Lego and then we all did some crafting together. Lunch went down particularly well as I had baked cheese scones and rock buns 😉 And back home after Forest School they continued to get along and played Lego for another hour until dinner time. When I collected them from Forest School however I was told they’d been hard work.. Funny how things go like that isn’t it!

We ended the day with some Dreamworks Dragons, Ninjago and another chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

18th November

Building Bridges

Firstly, a very quick round up of last week after I failed to blog at all after Tuesday (with no real excuse either). The rest of the week passed without incident. Wednesday was Forest School, on Thursday we did maths in the morning and HE Group, including French, in the afternoon. On Friday we went to a friends house for lunch and afternoon play. Saturday was Gordon’s birthday and the Christmas light switch-on event in Sutton. We didn’t watch the actual switch-on (we did watch last year and it wasn’t anything spectacular at all) but we did go into town to have a look round the Christmas market and the kids wanted to go on the “land train” that was running up and down the high street. We also went out for birthday dinner to Frankie & Benny’s. Sunday was a pretty quiet day.. a late start followed by a quick trip into Sutton to get the shopping we didn’t get the previous day, back home to watch How to Train your Dragon 2 and then Sunday lunch at 3pm (confused the kids no end!). We ended the day by starting the second Harry Potter book.

Today has been a regular Monday with swimming for Jasmine and Ben this morning. Jasmine is still struggling with confidence and I wish I knew how to help her. She is SO close to swimming by herself.. I know she can do it, her teacher knows she can do it, but she doesn’t have the confidence to make the jump. It is very frustrating watching her. But that is why I am paying for lessons.. I get frustrated whereas her teacher is very patient.

After swimming and lunch we did the next Mystery Science lesson, all about bridges today. Jasmine and Ben really got into it.. Thomas not so much. He did enjoy watching the videos but when it came to designing his own bridge as per the instructions, he made one very quickly but wasn’t really interested in making it better. And then he got cross that both Jasmine and Ben’s bridges held more pennies than his did. And he gave up.

Jasmine and Ben’s bridges were really good though. They both took on board all the points in the lesson and designed bridges following the instructions. Their final (best) bridges held around 120 penny coins!

Unfortunately I struggled a bit to help all three children with bridge design and take photos, so no photos happened.

After science Thomas spent some time on Khan Acadamy, Ben peeled all the carrots for the soup, and there was a lot of Lego play. No Harry Potter at bedtime though as no tidying up occurred at all in the bedroom despite being given over 30 minutes with reminders every 5 minutes of what was required and the consequence of ignoring me. The Lego table got cleared (swept onto the floor by me.. I am hated once again). If anyone has any ideas of how to get children to listen to instruction and action it then please do let me know! At the moment all I seem to do is repeat myself over and over, get ignored over and over and then get told I am hated/horrible/annoying when activities get missed due to their inability to listen. It is extremely frustrating!


Meal Planning Monday 16th November 2015

Another quick one tonight because I need to write a catch up blog post on our HE/Diary too. Meals last week all went to plan. Meals this week are as follows:

Monday – Carrot, squash & lentil soup

Tuesday – Pasta Crumble, garlic bread

Wednesday – Macaroni cheese, garlic bread

Thursday – Fajitas

Friday – Quorn cottage pie

Saturday – Jacket potato, cheese, beans, quorn hotdogs

Sunday – Sausage and lentil casserole


Just regular days

Sunday was a very quiet day really. The kids played Lego, I made the Christmas cake, we watched TV.. the most exciting thing of the whole day was watching the movie How To Train Your Dragon. Even after watching all the Dreamworks Dragons recently the kids still needed reassuring that the film wasn’t going to be scary, but in the end everyone loved it :-) And as soon as it had finished Thomas asked if we had the second one! We didn’t, but I have since downloaded it to watch another time.

Monday was another regular day. Jasmine and Ben had their swimming lesson in the morning and then we did some science in the afternoon. We were going to go to a friends house to do it but she had to cancel at the last minute so we did it at home instead. We are still working through the chemistry set and we’ve got to acids and alkalis. We started by making some acid and alkali solutions (to use later), then we did a great experiment involving tasting lemon juice and then adding bicarbonate of soda and tasting it again. It’s a great simple way to show how an alkali neutralises an acid! This then led on to a discussion about sherbet and I realised that the kids can’t remember making it – we did it a few years ago. So that is on my list of things to do this week now!

Today we started with some handwriting and after the success of last week I was a little disappointed that Thomas wasn’t interested again. I did the same as last week .. copied a couple of paragraphs from a space book .. and he did do it but quite a fuss was made. Jasmine, on the other hand, did hers quickly and brilliantly :-) Once everyone had finished we made a quick trip into town for some shopping. Back at home for lunch and just as we were finishing eating Ben suddenly pipes up “Mum, my tooth’s come out but its gone the wrong way” .. It had come out when he’d bitten a piece of cheese and he’d swallowed it!

10th November

This afternoon Thomas had his swimming lesson and thankfully his teacher was there this time! He did some swimming on his back today as well as his front. Finally, this evening Jasmine went to Brownies, where they had a bonfire and toasted marshmallows.


Meal Planning Monday 9th November 2015

It’s been a while since I remembered to blog our meal plan for the week.. I usually remember some time on Tuesday! So 9pm on Monday evening is pretty good this time! Mind you, trying to do it while watching a Harry Potter film isn’t perfect either. So it will be short and sweet.. here is what we’ll be eating this week..

Monday – Tomato and mozzarella pasta bake, garlic bread

Tuesday – Bean Stew

Wednesday – Veggie Fried Rice

Thursday – Bean Stew

Friday – Veggie sausage rolls, mash, beans

Saturday – Gordon’r birthday so maybe take away

Sunday – Toad in the holemrsm




Maths, jigsaws, sparklers and Dragons

Thursday started with maths at the table. Thomas was in a very funny mood again and, while he did his work, he was quite loud about it and both Jasmine and Ben struggled to concentrate over his noise. They did well though and Jasmine finished her first workbook while Ben has just one page left – and he only left this because he will need some help with it and I couldn’t give him the time while trying to keep Thomas at a suitable volume!

Once they had all finished their maths the boys went off and did some jigsaws, but Jasmine stayed at the table and we did some French together. She did the “homework” that they’d got two weeks ago and she remembered all the numbers from 1-10! She did really well both reading and writing them too :-)

In the afternoon we went to our HE group. Thomas and Jasmine did French – they really are enjoying it! We made toffee apples and had sparklers for Bonfire Night, the kids enjoyed playing with their friends in the rain, and Thomas joined in with the science.

5th November

Friday this week was Library day. We returned 12 books this week and borrowed 10 more.. not bad at all! The kids chose their books – Jasmine was extremely happy as she found (well, actually I found!) some more “Read and Learn” books that she is so fond of. Thomas got more space books and Ben chose one about crocodiles and one about Fire Fighters. They all had a short turn on the computer, but as the forecast was for more rain we didn’t stay long.

After the library we did a bit of shopping and the kids all picked out a birthday present each for Gordon – it is his birthday next Saturday.

After lunch we all went to the swimming pool for Thomas’ rearranged lesson. I had texted his teacher on Thursday to confirm the time and had a reply saying yes, all was going ahead… Well, we got to the pool, Thomas got changed and then we sat poolside for ten minutes waiting! In the end I went to find someone – who turned out to be the teachers manager – and they said they’d try and get hold of him. Five more minutes passed and finally someone came to tell me they couldn’t get hold of the teacher but had another one who could stand in, but could only do 15 minutes as she had another lesson at 3pm! I was so cross! So Thomas had 15 minutes of a lesson and actually, taking into account all the waiting and uncertainty, he did pretty well. I don’t understand how someone can send you a text confirming a lesson and then just twenty-four hours later not turn up! It will be interesting to see what he says next week.

After the swimming lesson back at home all three kids had a bath and then watched several episodes of Dreamworks Dragons.. it has suddenly become their favourite thing to watch!

At bedtime we finished Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.

Today has been a quiet, lazy day at home. This morning I spent rather a lot of time in the kitchen baking and the kids played Lego. This afternoon I did some online shopping and some more cooking, and the kids did some more Lego playing and watched more Dragons on TV. And that has been about it really!

And now I must go and get lots of dried fruit and pour brandy over it because I am making our Christmas cake tomorrow :-)