Monday, 23 January 2017

Frost Painting

 We have been making the most of the cold, frosty mornings here, the joy of finding frozen cobwebs and various patterns that the frost and ice create.

The children decided that the ice on the slide looked like a little ice forest and would the Snow Queen live there.

 They thought this one looked like the feathers from a bird's wing.

They decided to try and draw patterns in the frost but quickly realised it was way too cold to draw with your fingers but a small bucket with some warm water and a couple of paint brushes was a big hit. They spent ages drawing different patterns and seeing what would happen if they drew on some pieces of ice they found, also seeing how long it would take to melt holes int he ice with the water. They have realised that even the coldest water is warmer than the ice.

 Today we made some gingerbread biscuits, some in the shape of snowflakes for them to decorate and then a mixture of shapes and creatures of their choice.

At the weekend I had my first try and no knead bread, made lots of different types of bread over the years but this was very easy, ok the children missed the fun of the kneading but for quick, very tasty bread for the family it is brilliant. Now just made my third lot of loaves, keeps really well in my bread bag, now just to see how it freezes. I used this recipe for Peasants Bread and baked it in two medium sized pyrex bowls. think this will be replacing my normal loaf that I make.

L has taken to her knitting fork really well, she is pleased that she can sit with me and knit too.

Still slowly working through the knitting of the second panel for my blanket but also making a waistcoat for a wedding, for a friend's child, fabric is testing my patience, usually work with cotton rather than something that is very shiny and slippery but it is coming together ok, now just need to pluck up courage to do the button holes.

Linked with Frontier Dreams Keep calm and craft on.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Sparkly Drawing Tray

We often have a sand tray out for the children to write and draw in, brilliant when they are wanting to practise writing their letters and numbers. Thought I would put together a winter themed one, used salt and some silver glitter, it has been well used, for both writing and drawing.

Most enjoyed the wax resist painting, one wasn't so keen as they struggled to see what they were drawing but all loved the magic of painting over the paper and seeing their pictures appear, I can see them asking to do this again.

Cardigan finished for my friends Granddaughter

and there was more wool than I thought left over and managed to make 3 dish clothes, have been told they would make better face clothes because of the colour but as we have plenty of those, they will be dishcloths but then again!!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day by Ezra Keats was one of my favourite winter stories when I was little and a few years ago I found a copy to read to my own children. So thought I would spend some time exploring the story and various snow and ice activities with the children. M will enjoy some of the art and science activities and can add to them as she wishes. We have talked about some of the things she could research - Snow Bentley, how icicles and stalactites form, we also have a lap book we made years ago with O and M and thought it would be nice to bring that out  and look through it together.

My planning linked into all the areas of the EYFS.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

This week

This week, I have started making a list of garden/allotment jobs that need to be done and thinking about a planting plan. Need to decide if the green house is repairable or not, I have no idea how old it is, it was second hand when we first got it and wasn't in a brilliant state then and it has been taken down and put together a couple of times too. But it has done us well for over 10 years but have reached the stage last year were the metal door was refusing to close and a couple of roof panes have slipped again and the seals are going or have gone, as well as few other problems. Jobs so far are
  1. Order new seeds and buy seed potatoes, decided to try growing aubergines and peppers, we did peppers a few years ago and they were ok but need to start them of early.
  2. Plan allotment planting
  3. Sort green house, clean pots
  4. Prune apple and pear trees
  5. Prune grape vines
  6. Plant onions, aubergine and early broccoli
Think that will do for starters!

Our second story from A Year Full of Stories was from Germany (have realised that 2 of the next 3 stories are also from Germany, had hoped for more country hopping, should of looked more closely first but enjoying the stories). Thought we would look at the work of the artist Franz Marc, he was born in Munich in 1880 and a key figure in the German expressionist movement. Now my girls love horses so his many varies paintings of horses went down well with them, they chose the Blue Horse to try and copy, create their own version of.

L loved all the colours, so decided to paint a multi coloured horse, she realised after she had finished painting she had got carried away with how many legs she had painted, luckily she found it rather amusing.

M went for a more literal interpretation but got rather stuck trying to recreate the horses legs.

One painted by one of my minded children.

L then decided to paint a caterpillar with hairy horns.

We spent yesterday exploring the woods.

L spotted some fungi growing on a fallen branch, really do wish I could identify at least some of the mushrooms and toadstools we find on our walks.

I have been sorting through my wool basket, or maybe that should be baskets and found I had enough pretty pink cotton to make a friends Granddaughter to be a cardigan and the left over ball into some dishcloths. Have been told they look to pretty to use for washing up dishes but sometimes I think it is nice to have something pretty to do a routine job.

Also enjoying reading Braiding Sweetgrass, just read a lovely chapter called The Gift of Strawberries, she talks about how the nature of an object changes depending on how it comes into our hands, a pair of socks bought in a store do not have the same feeling as a pair of socks knitted by your Nan, that sort of gift creates an ongoing relationship. The same goes for our food they are a gift from the earth and therefore create a relationship with it, when you grow your own food you have a different relationship to it than the food you buy in a store. You can see this in the faces of the children when we go and harvest our fruit and vegetables. It is so far proving to be wonderful book, full of interesting stories that are very thought provoking.

The other book is Self-Reg, I have an interest in sensory processing disorder and anxiety in children, so far he has talked about how easily babies and small children can be over stimulated, how for some children the classroom is just too much sensory stimulation for them. How the constant daily triggers, sensory input can lead quickly to full blown melt downs and how a quieter, calmer environment is better for them. I don't think I have learnt anything new yet but enjoying the way it is written and always good to go back over subject even if you think you know it well.

Tonight we had snow, was amazed it settled at all, as it had been raining steadily all afternoon but it did the girls spent a mad hour playing outside, don't think L can really remember the last time we had snow, they enjoyed a snowball fight. It has stopped snowing now and looks like it might be all gone by tomorrow much to their disappointment.

Linked with Yarn Along

Monday, 9 January 2017

A Year Full Of Stories

Been thinking over the last few weeks on changing or adding to the ways I have been doing things with L, she is wanting to learn her letters now, which I am happy to do, had planned to wait till she was older but she is eager so will be led by her. She is really curious about the world around, loves maps and animals so was really pleased when I came A Year Full of Stories, a story from around the world for every week of the year. Using the story and then looking at that country on our Maps book and depending on what she picks out, asks questions about will then lead us into whatever activities we do or don't do. We will just see how it goes we might do the whole year or change depending on interest. Will probably still carry on some theme planning as well, as that works well with all the children, mine and the minded ones.

So our first story was Father Frost a story from Russia. So we snuggled up and read the story and then sat and looked at Russia in the Maps book. L is interested in the reindeer, kandinsky and the Ural Mountains. So first stop we went searching for Kandinsky's paintings on the internet, thought we would start with Squares with Concentric circles first. Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866 and his style of painting was expressionism and abstract art. M and I have had some interesting discussions on what that means and looking at different artwork of that style, not her favourite art period, she loves the impressionists. 

M wanted to try to copy this painting using chalk pastels, L decided to do the same, this is their interpretation.

 We then spent some time looking at some of his other art work before then finding some you tube clips featuring reindeer, L is happy now that she knows what sound they make but not too impressed that her new animal book doesn't have anything on them!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Crystals and Knitting

Working our way through the Mel Science kit, our snowy crystal tree, didn't quite look like the image on the box, lots of pretty snowy crystals but not on the tree!

Thought we would then have a go at growing some other types of crystals so had a hunt throw our science supplies and found some copper sulphate, which produced some lovely diamond shape crystals. The girls have loved doing these, so will have to look into growing other types of crystals.

New knitting project started before Christmas is make this aran throw, have had the pattern for a while but finally decided to tackle it, the design isn't tricky it's just the amount of knitting involved to say the least!

Have finished the first panel, which was actually quicker to do than I thought and have made a start on the second panel,which is going to take a bit longer to do as there is a lot of cable pattern.

Live simply so others may simply live, was a quote I came across before Christmas and is one I keep thinking about, relevant to my life now, as we try and declutter and simplify our life but also as a bigger picture on how our actions affect others. We have always recycled as much as possible but now trying to precycle and reduce the amount of waste we put out whether it's recyclable or not. Think this is something I started doing a while ago but didn't have a name for it, we bulk buy from our local butchers, which means the meat doesn't come in bulky plastic containers, would love us all to be vegetarian but that isn't going to happen for various reasons. Use washable flannels in the house rather than baby wipes for hand washing etc. I came across the eco egg before Christmas and decided to give it a try, we have used different types of wash balls in the past but never been really happy with the results but the eco egg is pretty good, on heavily stained stuff and sports gear I am still using conventional powder but even if I only use the eco egg for half our weekly washing it will still reduce the amount of packaging I bin. As M sometimes wears make up I bought her some lovely cotton cleansing pads with a cute little bag to wash them, she loves them.

Linked up with Frontier Dreams, Keep calm craft on