Friday, 25 April 2014

In which we mostly go to the park...

Warmer weather + friends in the street off school for Easter = lots of time just playing in the garden/street/park :)

We took one of their neighbour friends along to a home ed meet up in the park...




Later on at home we played with the Photoseed Minecraft app with some of our photos :)




Moppet had lots of fun (and made LOTS of mess!) with the water beads, which we haven't had out in a while but one of the boys came across...


...and she and Squidge snuggled up to watch some films.


Another day another park, and we met up with some home ed/Minecraft friends who we've only known online up til now, which was lovely and lots of fun :)



Moppet was excited to discover she could now climb up the bigger slide ladder on her own so she spent most of her time doing circuits of that :) Squidge loved catching her at the bottom!


Sprout was pleased to see that this swing had been fixed so they all had a few goes :)


We've had a house/garden full of neighbour kids playing all week, the K'nex has made a few appearances...


...cardboard boxes have become TVs, robots, picture frames, swords and Lego discos...


...and there's been running, jumping, cycling, go karting, sandpit digging, and tower building, not to mention Minecrafting, Terraria-ing, Skyping, own-rules Monopoly-ing and, of course, Lego.


Sprout agreed it would be a good idea to get a new Guinea pig friend for his remaining Guinea pig, Sapphire, so we found someone who had a girl to rehome and went to see her. On the way Sprout asked me about ECGs, and we also chatted about how, if we did take the new guinea pig home, we were going to accustom the two guinea pigs to each other and hopefully have them be friends.
On another car journey another day, he noticed some large farm fields that had big trees in the middle, and we chatted about how they could still grow crops, and the functions of trees and hedges remaining on farms in terms of biodiversity and the reduction in landslips and soil erosion. He wondered about the age of the trees and whether they'd been planted by the farmers or were there before the farms, and we chatted about the farm we've been to a few times near Market Drayton where the farmer's father had actively planted hundreds of trees around for environmental reasons. I told him about tree rings too and the things they can show, and when we got home I showed him this picture which he thought was pretty amazing (I can't find the original source for the picture but if anyone knows just let me know and I'll credit it)...



After a couple of days in adjoining homes, we introduced Sapphire and Emerald the guinea pigs. We'd looked up how to go about it and what to expect. There was an hour or so of scuffling around, sniffing each other's bums, and stopping for snacks, all while Sprout kept a close eye on them, and then they snuggled up together and went to sleep. Not as traumatic as I'd prepared myself for



Squidge and I picked up some bargain veg the other night (spent about £2 on a bag of carrots, a bag of parsnips, a turnip, 6 leeks and half a kilo of mushrooms) and did a bit of a batch cook with it together. We made...
- a variation on this http://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/view/recipe/mushroom-leek-pilaf mushroom and leek pilaf but with good old bog standard smart price rice
- a much smaller version of this http://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/view/recipe/spiced-turnips-and-chickpeas spiced turnip and chickpeas
- a variation on this carrot, parsnip and cauliflower curry http://www.riverford.co.uk/recipes/view/recipe/parsnip-carrot-and-cauliflower-korma but without almonds and with stock instead of yoghurt because I didn't have any
- some broccoli and parsnip soup (fry onion, boil veg with a few herbs, blend!)
- leek and broccoli pasta bake (I realised I had no cheese and precious little milk, so improvised with some dairylea triangles. Cook 500g pasta, fry a chopped leek, par boil a chopped head of broccoli, mix all together in an oven dish with six or so dairylea triangles and a splash of milk and a bit of salt and pepper. Top with grated cheese, and bake on gasmark 6 until the cheese is melted.)
- potato, leek and carrot bake. Pretty much made the same as the pasta bake, but with some fried onions in too.
We used up some fruit we'd frozen that was left over from one of his Weekend Box recipes too and made a crumble, and did last week's Weekend Box recipe too which was 'Cauliflower Burgers', which turned out to actually be pancakes but were surprisingly good :)


I had a bit more insight into how Sprout's reading/spelling/grammar is burgeoning (see here http://sprout-and-squidge.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/learning-to-read-without-being-taught.html?m=1 for a bit more info on how he's learnt to read without ever being taught) when I thought he asked me to send him the word 'addition', which I then did, and he told me no, edition, the one with an 'e'. That he made that distinction was a cool thing to see :)

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Camping and The Chocolate Holiday (ie Easter)

Lots of seemingly out of the blue questions from Sprout this week. They're not out of the blue, of course, just glimpses into his thought processes :) So... "What's three lots of eight? Then two lots of twenty four? Then another twenty four? So that's what Daddy Pig would score if all the judges gave him 8 for each one of three dives." (He's been sitting with Moppet sometimes when she watches Peppa Pig on YouTube.)

Then... "I'm not really sure how nerves work. How does touch feel like touch?" Cue the nervous system, development of robot hands for amputees, nerve impulses, and a bit of philosophy :) Then later... "Ok, so now I'm wondering why an itch feels itchy." Cue pruritoceptors, scratching, parasites, evolution, histamine. 

Later... "Are there 24 hours in every day? Are the hours always the same length, because it doesn't always feel like it?" Cue perception, age, and a bit of space/time!

Also... "Does Google know everything?" Cue a chat about SEO, origin of website content, fact checking, absolute truths, and the Titanic :)

Oh and... "What's an abortion clinic?" Proof that these questions aren't always expected or easy!


Moppet has developed a Thomas the Tank engine passion, so we're lucky to have a little ride on one at the local supermarket :) She has the chugging and whooshing sounds down to a tee :)


We had a visit from their auntie and uncle, and went out for a meal (accompanied by the essential selection of restaurant boredom busters!)


At their grandma and grandpa's house they did an early Easter egg hunt...


...played some Simpsons chess (with Sprout's own rules, naturally) and some Hungry Frogs...


...launched the amphibious rover they built last week...



...strolled round the garden...


...read some fairy tales...


...introduced Moppet to Giant Snakes and Ladders...


...tried to beat their auntie at Connect 4...



...and did some hilarious egg and spoon races!


Back at home Gruff played some Minecraft with Sprout and some Fireboy and Watergirl with Squidge...


...and then, as is customary at the moment, spent hours on the trampoline :)


Squidge and his friend painted each other's faces... 


...then Sprout joined them and they did some more bicarb volcanoes.


Squidge played around with the Splitpic app...


We spent a very sunny afternoon at the park with some other home ed families...




Another afternoon was spent at a friend's house, and when we got back in the car this little guy was in there. We identified it as a shield bug, but weren't sure of the specific type, but their grandpa helped out via email and IDd it as a forest bug, presumably on a second breeding season as it was way too early in the year for an adult from the usual cycle. We kept him overnight and then released him in the garden. 


Squidge and Moppet set up a sweet shop on the drive and sold each other Haribo :)


We got invited to a little home ed camp in South Wales and had some gorgeous weather (in the day anyway, a tad cold at night!) The kids all had so much fun, and made some new friends too. Squidge struggled a bit on the second day as he was tired and torn between really needing some sleep and really wanting to play with everyone, which has given me food for thought about how to help him with that when I take them camping again this summer as it's likely to happen again at some point and without his usual surroundings I need different ways to help him.












Easter Sunday started happily with an egg hunt at home...



...but then turned sad as we discovered that Ruby, one of Sprout's beloved guinea pigs, had passed away in the night :( He had a pretty sad morning and spent some time building a gravestone for her and dictating to me what he wanted me to write on it.

He asked if he and I could go out in the afternoon so we did, and after a bit of a tough start we ended up with a lighthearted trip out, where he declared himself the king of burgers...


...we looked at this picture of a human nervous system (following on from the previous discussion about touch and perception)...


...watched and chatted about this video a friend had shared with us of a huge 2D Rubens Tube...


...watched another video from the same friend about gyroscopic precession, and chatted about Eric Laithwaite and maglev trains.


Conversation turned to the contents of gold paint (I can't remember how!)...


...and continued to the two episodes of Mythbusters that looked at the Goldfinger myth.


Back at home we did an egg carton chicken craft (aka a fab excuse to buy some Creme Eggs, as if we needed one).



Sprout's was 'a mutant bird'.


Apps this week have included Minecraft PE (which we hadn't used before but Sprout wanted to join in with others at the little camp who had it)...


...Fix the Factory...


...numerous Attack on Titan games...


...Dragon Box...



...and Plants vs Zombies 2 :)


We got some free seeds from a newspaper offer so the three of them and their friend planted some lettuces, radishes, peas and cucumbers, and planted out Squidge's bean seedlings from inside.


While we were out there we did the mentoes and diet coke fountain again...


...and I hid some (chocolate) pirate gold in the sandpit which they all excitedly burrowed for :)





Happy Easter everyone!