Monday, 31 March 2014

Mother's Day Weekend

I had a lovely weekend, hubby wasn't working and glorious weather, couldn't of wanted more, well ok, the lie in, breakfast in bed and some new books to read, made it even better!

Last week with my own and the minded children, we all made Mother's day pictures, which involved a huge amount of giggling as they all have very ticklish feet!! We turned the footprints into butterflies and added a poem for their Mums. My own littlest spent ages after her initial foot printing, painting her own foot and then washing the paint of with a wet flannel and repeating this activity again and again, it was lovely to see.

Over the last couple of weeks, in between the rain and hail, we have been sorting out the tubs in the garden. We now have a mixture of flowers and herbs by the back door, the children are encouraged to smell the herbs etc. They have fallen in love with the dog statue and my own littlest loves to carry it around and I regularly find it in the rabbit cage, there is some toddler logic there.

The daffodils that the children planted in the Autumn, are coming up well, it is lovely to see a splash of yellow in the garden even on a dull day everything looks brighter when you have flowers to look at.

Some of our seeds have come up, all the flower ones but as of yet none of the vegetable ones have made an appearance, hopefully they will soon...

 We spent time up the allotment, clearing the weeds away from the strawberries and replacing some of the strawberry plants that we lost over the winter. There were plenty of ladybirds out and about enjoying the sunshine

and a couple of Tortoiseshell butterflies

After lunch, I had some fun making some Spring window decorations with my girls, I had seen butterflies made before and thought I'd give it a try, it worked really well and then decided to create a Tulip. I'm pleased with the result and will be making some more to decorate the window with. I will add a step by step tutorial, hopefully later in the week. 

We then took a walk along the river, in theory we had hoped to enjoy the sunshine but unfortunately the sun had disappeared and there was a strong breeze but we enjoyed our walk all the same and fed the ducks.

Then home to sit and read lots of stories to my girls, while Daddy cooked a lovely roast dinner.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Paper Making

Having spent the last week talking about rubbish and recycling, we finished of by making our own recycled paper. I don't think the children really believed me that we would actually manage to make new paper, ok the end result is very rough paper but hopefully they will be happy when they see it on Monday. We stared out with a selection of paper, a newspaper, kitchen paper and coloured tissue paper

The children ripped the paper into small piece.

We then put roughly a cup of paper and a cup of water in the blender

and then blended it until we got a fine pulp.

We then added another cup of paper and water and some coloured tissue paper to dye the paper with.

We then tipped the contents into a large bowl, the children explored the strange texture, you might need to add another cup of water, just so you have enough mixture to cover the mesh.

We then took our mesh frame, an embroidery hoop and some net curtain stretched across it.

The hoop is then dipped into the mixture, making sure the pulp covers all the mesh,

then lift it carefully and allow the water to drain away.

We then left them on a towel to dry, after an hour, I carefully removed the hoop.

It did take over 24 hours for the paper to dry, so not a quick activity.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

St Patrick's Day

As we did for Saint David's day, we are doing the same for Saint Patrick's day. We looked at where Ireland was on a map and answered the children's questions as to what different places are called.

The older children 8+ labeled their map, with where Northern Ireland is, it's capital Belfast, it's highest mountain, Slieve Donard mountain 848 m (2782 ft) and  where the River Bann was. We also looked at the Giant's Causeway and found some good information here and some lovely pictures. I then told them the story of of the Irish giant Finn MacCool and the Scottish giant Benandonner and how they had argument and started throwing rocks back and forth and that is how the Giant's Causeway was formed.

We made some tissue paper rainbows and painted a pot of gold. We talked about how leprechauns are shoe makers by trade and they store their money they earn in a pot in the ground. If you follow a rainbow to it's end you might find their treasure. If you catch a leprechaun then they have to tell you were their treasure is but if you blink or look away from them they will vanish.

I then read them the story The Night Before St. Patrick's Day . Which is a story about two children trying to catch a leprechaun but they don't realise how tricky they are.

We also had a go at mixing the primary colours to make new colours, which they loved. I also attempted this rainbow science it didn't work for us, but they had fun mixing the food colouring afterwards, which looked very pretty halfway through the mixing and very murky at the end!

We then made ginger bread biscuits in the shape of shamrocks and iced them in green and talked about how the shamrock is the national emblem of Ireland and could they remember what the Welsh national emblem was?

We made soda bread and it went very well with our chicken stew that we had for dinner that night.

I told them the story of Saint Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland, he brought Christianity to Ireland. A very famous story about Saint Patrick, is the story of him driving snakes out of Ireland, another story is how he used the shamrock to explain the trinity. He died on the 17th March in AD 461 and this day has been celebrated as Saint Patricks day.

We read Patrick patron Saint of Ireland after reading this story we made paper chain snakes to remember him driving the snakes away. There was also lots of maths talk, through pattern and shapes the paper made, comparing the length of the snakes, shortest, longest etc and how many paper chains they had made.

I found lots of other interesting facts here about St Patrick.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Eggless Pancakes

In preparation for Shrove Tuesday, I thought I would have another go at making my dairy and egg free pancakes, as last time the one child that they were made specially for didn't like them, though everyone else loved them. This time they loved them, so have frozen some for them to have on Tuesday. To freeze, I put a layer of baking paper between each one and then pop them all in a freezer bag, they don't take long to defrost. These ones are the thicker American style pancakes.

                                                    180g plain flour
                                                    10ml baking powder
                                                    250ml oat milk
                                                    15ml olive oil
Place the flour and baking powder in a bowl and gradually whisk in the milk and olive oil.
Heat some oil in a frying pan, cook the pancakes over low to medium heat.


when they are have bubbled and set on top, they should be a nice golden brown on the other side, flip them over and cook until golden brown on both sides

and serve with your favourite toppings.
Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.