Saturday, 30 November 2013

Christmas Fairy 2013 - Day 2

When Sprout and Squidge got up this morning the fairy was waiting for them with a couple of Christmas trees and a couple of boxes of decorations! 



On went the Christmas music (The Pogues Fairytale of New York has been declared Sprout's favourite for the second year running) and they've been decorating their rooms ever since :)


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Minecraft Creeper Advent Calendar

This one was a little slap dash but the boys are excited at how it turned out so I thought I'd share it anyway!
I'd seen toilet roll tube advent calendars on Pinterest, and thought I'd put our own slant on it. They both love Minecraft, and I had lots of green tissue paper, so a Creeper face seemed like a good plan :)

First, the realisation of the unlikely scenario that between twenty four cardboard tubes there were about twenty three different sizes. Or twenty four. I don't know how. It adds to the homely look of the project I feel ;) (Plus obviously the kids couldn't be less bothered!)

I cut eight circles of black tissue paper about 4cm larger in diameter than the largest tube, and sixteen in green. I glued these with pva round one end of the tubes, and then glued them all edge to edge in Creeper face formation. While all this dried I covered a piece of cardboard of randomly indeterminate size in green tissue paper too, and then on a whim I cut a Santa-hat shaped piece of cardboard and covered it in red tissue paper and added a cotton wool ball on the end.
Leaving that all to dry, I printed off the list of activities I have planned for advent, and chopped them into strips.


Once all the glue was dry, I put the activity slips into the right holes (I know which ones they're in so if I need snow slime or marbling ink I can have it ready!) then glued the back of the block of tubes onto the big piece of green-covered card, then gently numbered the fronts of the tubes using marker for the green ones and chalk for the black ones. And voila! Sssssssssseason's greetingssssssss....



Advent Advent

Advent Advent, that month before advent where we fill the time between, "How long til Christmas??"-s with lots of fun stuff :)

We'd promised to take the boys I've skating again, so we did, and Moppet had her first go too...


... and we fitted in some bowling while we were there...



... and the boys played a version of pool that I can't begin to comprehend the rules of :)



Once Gruff headed off to work we visited the kids' grandparents, and Sprout set up one of his unique board games.


Squidge, Moppet and I had a rainy day at Apedale...


...he shared his supplies with her...


...and checked out the area outside his castle using his periscope :)


We saw this mosaic in the cafe which led to us chatting about the ins and outs of coal mining.



Back at home Sprout and Gruff had built this model Mini.


The boys had both expressed a wish to receive parcels, so I made some boxes up with things they're interested in at the moment: Colours for Squidge, with some books about colours, some rainbow colouring sheets, his iPad with some new colours/rainbows games on it, some different coloured paper, and some rolls of different colour electrical tape.


He made animals with the tape...


... and he shared some with Moppet who really enjoyed making patterns with it :)


Sprout's was gravity-themed, including a Newton's cradle, his iPad with some new gravity-related apps installed, an Isaac Newton colouring sheet, a couple of post its with challenges (go to the park and swing, get someone to throw you up in the air), a link to the Gravity Guy game for his PC, and an egg box containing a potato, a pompom, an angry bird toy, and some bullrush seeds for dropping out of a high window in a mock up of Galileo's alleged experiment.

Sprout was mildly interested (he mainly loved the apps), but Squidge was over the moon with his, so we followed it up the next day with a kitten themed box - a couple of kitten books, kitten colouring, kitten themed games on his iPad, the materials to make this little tpt kitten...


... and some paper, glue and bullrush seeds, with which he made this 'cat on a settee' artwork :)


Gruff had a few days holiday to take so he came along with us to a home ed group...


...and we went out for a meal (an exceedingly rare occurrence for us all to do together!)


This is Sprout's Manta Ray impression. He's loving the manta rays on Tekkit and has been watching YouTube videos of them too.


We also headed to Conkers Discovery Centre for my birthday, which was the first time we'd been since we had Moppet. She loved the plasma ball the most!


Here the boys are matching various birds' nests and skulls to the species...


...and here they all are after navigating the fairy maze :)


Despite it being positively icy, we spent a few hours in the playground...



...then we did the much anticipated barefoot walk. In shoes. Seriously, it was cold. 


The next day we headed to the Lego Discovery Centre, where Sprout and Squidge made a beeline for their favourite section, the build your own racing car.



It was actually a lot more extensive than when we last visited, and they enjoyed the new car ride...


... and Moppet absolutely loved the flying magician ride!


And here they are with, as Squidge told me, "A great big Santa." o.O :)


Sprout was pretty proud of his tower that withstood the biggest earthquake this table could muster...


... and Squidge and Moppet loved this little house that Gruff built them too :)


The boys were mesmerised by this fountain where the jets of water lit up different colours, and we chatted about fibre optics, dyes, and wishes :)


We wandered back through the Christmas market, went on a (very fast!) carousel, Sprout did some photobombing, and we headed home.


There were a few photo-less days then (while I swapped over to a new phone!), during which Sprout played lots on a new Minecraft server, Squidge played lots of puzzle games, there were lots of conversations, a few trips out, some chilled out days at home, loads of Lego, some floating experiments, chats with the guinea pigs, conversations about the evolution of birds, many quick fire multiplication challenges from Sprout to me, speculation about the new Lego mmo, some movie nights, a bit of drawing, some visits to friends' houses, a couple of play areas... then the run up to Christmas crept up on me :) I made this felt tree for Moppet (a wee cheat on the decorations, I cut some out but the rest I bought pre-cut or I was never going to get round to it!) I was saving it for advent but she found it and has had lots of fun taking all the decorations off and putting them on again several times already :)




They helped their grandparents decorate their tree (they have very exacting standards so start early lol). I think the highlight for all three of them was less the decorating and more going up the big ladder :)




Sprout's requested lots of Christmassy activities this year, so I have something festive planned for every day of advent, and I've made the Minecraft Creeper advent calendar, that I blogged about a couple of days ago, to announce the activities every morning. Squidge wanted to make his own, so he made this face that has outdoor activities in the eyes and indoor activities in the mouth. It's for Gruff and him to do some things together, which I thought was really lovely :)


Today was the start of our festive countdown, so I took them (well mainly Sprout) to see Santa, then when we got back in the car they found our Christmas Fairy waiting in the driver's seat with a candy cane for each of them :) There was a fair bit of laughing and winking between the boys asking how she could possibly have got there, so I suspect they might be helping me set up fairy scenarios for Moppet this year :)


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Lego Lamp and Slightly Damp

 The week started off very Lego-y, with Squidge and Sprout both designing their own Lego games, and then Sprout moving on to designing a town complete with mine.


 We got out a bath bomb making set we'd been meaning to do for a while, and they both made vanilla-scented bath bombs, Squidge's blue and Sprout's red.




We then had a crazy couple of days, meeting friends at a play area, spending the day at Waterworld when Ben had a day's holiday from work, and gradually ammassing Link to Hope boxes from really generous people, all ready to be shipped off to Romania ready for Christmas.The boys are very excited that it's looking like a giant festive Jenga :D


We were lucky enough to go to Alton Towers again this year for their fireworks display. It was such a fun (if extremely wet!) day, I had a lovely couple of hours just with Sprout where we went on all the things he's now tall enough to go on. He absolutely loved the Runaway Mine Train, and thought it was hilarious when I got wet on the Rapids :D

Here are the boys encased in ice...



...and learning to drive...


...and Sprout very bravely on his own on the Froggy Hopper as he was too tall (for the first time) for one of us to be allowed on with him and he was a bit daunted by that.


Squidge and Moppet waiting for Sprout to come out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...


...Sprout after we came off the Rapids, and just before he went and got his own back with the water pistols that overlook the ride...


...everyone mesmerised by the creatures in the Sealife Centre...



...Sprout and Gruff on the little pirate ship )which was a piece of cake to him now he's been on Blade!)...


...Squidge being a scurvy swaaaab...


...Sprout and Squidge duelling while waiting for the fireworks to start...


Moppet with her light up hair, which she quickly swapped for a sword...


...then on the rides in the dark...



...and finally the fireworks! They were brilliant (although they have been better before.)


A pretty restful weekend followed while we recuperated some energy, played lots more Lego, and answered lots of physics questions for Sprout (he has gravity on his mind again).


Inspired by this UFO lamp, Sprout decided to build one from Lego...


...and together we came up with this! The creativity is all his :) 


We put a push-light inside and put it on top of a glass, plus he put a red lightbrick up in the cockpit for even better effects :)