Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Food and Friends

These have been the dominant themes over the last few days.

The apples are starting to fall from Granny's tree, so plenty of pies and crumbles will be appearing :o)

I had a go at jam-making with some local blackcurrants - divine!!! Think I'll be making another trip to the fruit farm soon as five jars isn't going to last long (especially seeing as I've given 3 away already!) I do need a bigger pan though.

Picked up some broad beans at the fruit (& veg) farm, and made a delicious bean and mushroom risotto - mmmmm.....

Spent Sunday in Perth with some friends who were up from Norwich. Had a great time catching up and walking round the river.

More friends on Monday! Visited some HE friends over the other side of Inverness from us - beautiful weather and surroundings:
and lovely friends to play with:

and chill with:

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A is a Planet Defender!!!

She is! In the September issue of National_Geographic_Kids magazine. They have published a letter she wrote about her fund raising efforts for tigers, and a picture of her too - she's very excited about it all :o)

She's putting a lot of effort into fundraising at the moment, but for less altruistic reasons - she's after this game for her DS! So I'm getting lots of help with the housework just now. The house has never been so clean.

So, Monday felt like a fresh start after our longish trip away. First thing - maths! We're on decimals and fractions at the moment, still plodding along with smartkiddies, supplemented with related stuff from the multitude of maths resources I have (I'm obsessed). Then:

some story-writing...

and reading out to me.

A likes me to give her a list of titles to choose from, she writes some great stories, often very humorous. Spelling is still a bit of an issue, weekly spelling lists and tests didn't really work for us (of course they didn't, what were we thinking!?) so we are looking for another method to help A improve her spelling skills. I'm liking the look of spellzone, and would be interested in hearing from anyone who's used it??? A few people have recommended spellodrome, but it looks like a very competitive approach to me, something A would run a mile from.

We've also started reading To_Kill_A_Mockingbird together.

Next up was science, and an experiment out of this fab little book we got out of the library. Ours involved a toaster, some cardboard, and a pedal-bin liner:

switch the toaster on...

watch the bag puff up...

and its away!

So we learnt about air density, and that cold air is more dense than hot air. I love this book - after it describes the experiment step by step, there are two sections: 'why does it work?' and 'how does this apply to the real world?' - giving really clear, concise explanations.

A is back to all her groups/classes this week: drama, guides, piano. Piano is a bit of a bone of contention at the moment. She's not really enjoying learning, and sees it as Mum 'making her' do something. Its a difficult one - on one hand I can see her point of view, why should she be made to do classes she's not interested in? But on the other - she does enjoy music very much and has a real ear for it, it would be a real shame to waste that talent. I would never push her to do exams or anything like that, but reading and playing music to a competent level would be a great skill for her to have, useful in so many ways and situations. I think I may have to agree to stop the lessons, for now anyway, I'm hoping that at some point she will realise how learning music could benefit her.

I've been looking at college courses, ostensibly for A (yeah I know, getting a bit ahead of myself! But was interested in seeing the local intitutions entry requirements, and whether they are likely to be flexible for HE kids, and as A seems dead-set on drama courses I thought I'd do some early research. Looks pretty positive) but I ended up coming across an MA that I really want to do at some point. I remember looking at it when I finished my degree a couple of years ago and thinking 'this is the next step'. I felt really tempted looking at the syllabus this morning, but it would be crazy - I can barely manage my time with HE and working from home, taking on an MA course would be insane! But still, the longing is there... my time will come :o)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

hello! hello! hello!

Its good to be back! Not that we didn't enjoy our holiday - we had a great time - but we arrived home yesterday morning to glorious sunshine, and it felt like the right place to be :o)

Bit of a quick photo catch up then:

Our lodge and all our bikes at Centre Parcs (Whinfell Forest)

First time at CP - loved it! Loads for us all to do, and although it was the busiest time of the year it didn't feel too crowded. Not cheap though!!

The kids did loads of activities, some together and some not, here are a few that A enjoyed:
Pony trekking


CSI (!)

We also did roller blading, badminton and pottery painting, and the boys got up to some more daring stuff like laser quest and quad biking. I enjoyed a bit of nordic walking, and a spa evening with my Mum - loved those steam rooms. And of course, there was plenty of swimming, unfortunately this resulted in A's blue streaks turning a weird kind of purpley-grey colour, but she wasn't too bothered. All in all, a fantastic week, AND we were all still talking to each other by the end of it!

>After that it was on down to my brother's for a bit of chill out time, and visiting a few relatives. I did a lot of reading, got through Robert Harris's Rome books - Imperium and Lustrum, and also finally got round to reading The_Wasp_Factory by Iain Banks. It was recommended to me years ago by a friend who said "its definitely your kind of book", not sure how to take that now I've read it, but I suppose she was right, as I did enjoy it.

>Next up was the big family wedding that A had been preparing for for about the last six months, very exciting! It was a fab day, and I felt surprisingly moved seeing my little cousin get hitched.

False nails were required for the occasion - very grown up

A having a boogie with the bride

Then after a few more days with my brother and his family, we boarded the Caledonian Sleeper and came home. First thing we did was head down to the beach and have a paddle :o))