Monday, October 31, 2011

halloween preparations

I do think that half of the fun in any celebration is the preparation before hand. As long ago as a few weeks ago we were thinking up costume ideas and gathering bits and pieces and crafting for that... Rebe, the witch on her homemade broomstick ( and Benny, the piece of ham (yes you heard right a piece of ham) trying on their costumes.

I don't like the idea of going door to door 'trick or treating', for us it's pretty much begging for sweets. When I was little we always did a party piece, sang a song or told a joke, but here and now the kids just hold out their bags expecting them to be filled. That makes me sad and I refuse to go in for that. So we reverse trick or treat. We bake and then bring our goodies to our neighbours (who know and are tolerant of the fact that we are a little bit weird). We knock on the door and we call 'Trick or treat, trick or treat, we've brought you something nice to eat'. We always get a lovely reception and I feel then it is a fair exchange that they give the kids a little something for their goody bags.

We spent the morning making scary bees wax monsters.

and bats.

We also took a long and very wet walk to the village to buy some icing sugar and to use up our excited energy. Whilst at the shop we asked for a couple of brown paper bags to decorate to gather treats in.

Look at those gorgeous rain made curls :-)
In the afternoon we decorated our biscuits, very simply with green icing and yellow icing.

Once that dried we used a tiny bit of black icing to make bats, spiders and witches flying in front of the full moon or horrible monster faces.

They were fun to make, used up many hours and tasted good. We made so many that we had plenty for visiting trick or treaters too.

I didn't get a picture of the kids in their full costumes, my camera battery died before I had the chance, but we have a Buddies Home School Halloween party tomorrow to go to and I hope my camera will be working by then and I'll have some pictures for you.

Hope you had a happy halloween :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

feel like blogging

Today I feel like blogging. For the past wee while I just haven't felt in the mood. Life has been really full and really wonderful and I just had no apetite for sitting in front of the computer, so sorry to everyone to whom I owe an email, they will come eventually.

We've been enjoying lots of goodness, the kids have been playing really well together. As Benny's language has developed so has his ability to enter into Rebe's games. Rebe and Benny as Julian and Dick on Kirrin Island

Much of Rebe's play is inspired by books and pictures that she sees. She is still completely in love with Enid Blyton's Famous Five. We have been reading the first book of the series as our bedtime book. A chapter a night (or if it's a really exciting bit 2)

On Sunday morning Rebe 'built' Kirrin Island in the kitchen. Benny arrived shortly after (as Dick) in George's rowing boat. Joa was delighted to climb up the rocks (the blue step) and join them on the island as Timmy (the dog). They played this game for quite a while, although they did spend most of the time arguing, but it was interesting to see how they resolved their play and their power struggles with words instead of full on fisty cuffs :-)

Joa also has begun to 'play' instead of just bimble about. He likes dressing up a lot and even crawls around on all fours pretending to be a cat sometimes. However his favourite game is still biting people's toes when they are trying to read a story on the couch ;-)

Rebe got a really wonderful (slightly belated) birthday present from my dearest, bestest friend today. It has sparked Rebe's imagination and she is forming plans and ideas that I am sure we will share with you at some later date.

Life for me of late has been full of health. I am still following an ayurvedic approach to health and living and it is just amazing.

A hearty vegetable stew with corn bread for lunch, so warming on a chilly autumn day.
I also made ghee today rather than buying it, I didn't get to focus on it as much as I would like, but I hope it'll be fine.

Craft wise things are also great, I have had 6 custom order requests for dolls. So exciting, and I am loving every second of making these dolls. I finished this one last night...

I'm so pleased with her and I am really looking forward to making the others. It does mean though that I have very little (or make that no) time for any other crafting, so I am not sure if my kids will get anything home made by me this Christmas.

But for today, and probably tomorrow much of this busy goodness has ground to a halt as this poor wee man struggles with yet another illness.

He has had a temperature all day. He has a sore head and a sore tummy, He's not eating again and not drinking as much as he usually does. All he wants to do is cuddle and read stories, which is fine with me and is all we have been doing today (well apart from trying to curl our toes up away from a biting Joa!).

Life is good here (illness aside) and I hope it is for you too


Friday, October 21, 2011

Buddies ~ ghosts and pumpkins

With Halloween fast approaching we did some lovely halloween themed activities at Buddies home school this week. It was Benny, Joa and my turn to lead the singing this week and we wanted to teach everyone a halloween song. After much debate and browsing of youtube we decided on a song about 5 little ghosts. To go with this song we made 5 simple little ghost props.

grab a child sized handful of wool roving or stuffing and scrumple it into a ball.

Place this in the centre of a (clean) tissue

Gather the tissue firmly around the stuffing an tie securely with white wool or thick thread. Leave one end very long and with a sharp and long needle thread the long end up through the centre of the ghosts head so that it will hang.

We glued on some googley eyes but these could of course be drawn on.

The song we sang went like this:

"5 little ghosts are we, flying round the trees. When people come round, listen to the sound Woooooooooo. 5 little ghosts are we. (take away one ghost) 4 little ghosts are we etc etc...

1 little ghost am I, flying through the sky. I'm all alone, I'll just go home. No little ghosts in the sky."

The Buddies enjoyed it and we also sang a few other songs too before donning our aprons to do some painting with Roisine.

We painted the paper mache pumpkins that we made last week. We also painted some pumkin shapes cut out of paper. Roisine had brought cut out eyes and green stalks to stick onto the pumpkins.

One of last weeks' paper mache balloons had collapsed but we painted it anyway...

And for one of us it was their very first time painting...

After clearing up we had a snack then off out to play in Susan's wonderful garden. The kids even got to collect the eggs laid by Susan's hens. The weather was fresh and they all came back in rosey cheeked for a wonderful story read by Zoe; Mr Magnolia's Boot by Quentin Blake.

This was also our first session when we had a full compliment, all six families were here and so we got a family portrait...

and look not one person is crying :-)

It's our halloween party next week and we're all looking forward to it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

'load of concrete you ordered!'

This is one of Benny's very favourite books at the moment. I got him for him for his Birthday in June and it is read almost daily. It is a typical gentle Shirley Hughes story of a family who builds an extension. They all help to dig the foundation but there is great surprise when the concrete lorry turns up unexpectedly and Jolly Joe Best pulls the lever with a 'load of concrete you ordered' and deposits a load of concrete outside their front door.

Even though the concrete is quick setting, they all work together to shift the concrete from the front of the house to the back and the extension is finished without any more drama. As I said it has become a firm favourite in our house and Benny has developed quite an interest in concrete lorries.

Whenever we see a concrete lorry on our travels we play a game: 'Oh no, it might be going to our house to deliver a load of concrete and we won't be there and it will set so hard we won't be able to move it and I won't be able to get the car into the drive...' (you get the idea). The kids love the thrill of this game, trying to reassure me that it is going somewhere else, but I know they secretly wonder has the lorry really gone to our house, will we be able to get home?

As we had no concrete lorry toy for Benny to play with we converted one of our wooden trucks...

and Benny is even lucky enough to have trousers with concrete lorries on them...

So imagine the delight in our house when we had to make 'real concrete'. In the previous post I told you about Andy's greenhouse. Well he had to move my washing line to put it where he wanted it to go. This meant sinking a new one.

He dug the hole first (sorry these pictures aren't great it was getting pretty late in the evening).

Then the concrete had to be mixed with sand,

water added,

and delivered. Of course each load came with a brrrrrrr and then 'Load of concrete you ordered'.

I love being able to bring to life these interests for the kids. Benny is still saying 'We made real concrete' with real wonder in his voice :-)

And because my washing line was out of action Andy strung up a line in the new green house. Perhaps over winter I shall just call it 'the wash house'. I wonder if that will annoy him ;-P

Other than that is has been a lovely weekend full of walks, visits to the beach, a birthday party, an ice cream at the cafe and lots of knitting and crafting and some yoga...

Hope you had a lovely weekend too :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

autumn life

I really feel 'in' this season, that I am experiencing it to the full. I suppose part of this is being much more tuned in to the world around me at the moment. But everyday I find my breath taken away by the autumn colours and beauty around me. I am taking a lot of time to just 'be' in the moment, to enjoy the kids and the world around me.
We are doing lots of autumny things too...
dressing in warmer clothes,

even the 'specials' have been dressed up in warm, woolie clothes.

We've been doing lots of indoors painting and drawing.

This is a picture Benny did of himself. He is just starting to draw figures, another aspect of his development just recently emerged. The dark shape in the tummy is a bug and look, his shoes even have laces!

We have been talking of Halloween. I asked the kids what they wanted to be, so that we have plenty of time to get costumes ready. Rebe wants to be a witch, good that's simple. We already have a witches costume made by my mum. Benny on the other hand wants to be 'a piece of ham'!
Hmmm, big painted piece of cardboard and borrowed pink tights and top perhaps?! Any suggestions?

At the weekend we thought we'd make some broom sticks to go with Rebe's costume. As I mentioned before the council have been cutting back the branches around the paths in the woods so there are plenty good branches lying around.

We cut some thicker branches of hazel to the right length.

gathered lots and lots of twigs.
These we tied onto the hazel branch with strong garden twine.

Of course we made two brooms, after all I'm pretty sure pieces of ham have broomsticks as well!

We stopped off at the little beach on the way home. Look at Joa in the background, he looks as if he's flying, but he's actually on his tummy looking into a rock pool (or is he flying?!?!)

We've not been the only ones hard at work creating. Andy has a couple of weeks holiday from work, and typically is working harder than ever. He is already dreaming of next year's garden and is building a really amazing green house.

It is really beautiful, he is so clever. It will mean we can grow a hugs amount of fruit and veg here next year. A lovely, dear friend has also offered us a row in one of their fields so we can grow a good amount of hardier veg outdoors there. Oh yummy I can't wait.

This also means that we can fill the planters he made last year with herbs and flowers which will be lovely. Rebe is planning a 'Guinea Garden': a space where she will plant things for the guinea pigs to eat (including dandelions). I love the idea of a guinea garden, I can imagine it with a beautifully painted little signpost :-)

All of this has sparked a re-newed interest in the garden and the kids are playing lots of planting and farming games.

Yesterday Rebe asked me to make her a toy squirrel. I found a little scrap of brown corduroy and made this wee guy...

She was very pleased, although has probably lost him by now. I love being able to make up little things like this, and I hope that it inspires our kids to think if they want or need something that they can make it themselves instead of buying it.

We made some little cats too out of beads and pipe cleaners. This one is Benny's. He called it 'Pisswick'. I have to say Benny is brilliant at naming things. I think 'Pisswick' is a classic, his other greats are: for his first pet (which will be either a guinea pig or a duckling according to him) will be called 'Green-a-go-my-eyes-number-six', and for the new black cat who visits us Benny suggested the name 'Smack-bum-Gilly'. If you ever need anything naming just ask Benny :-)

Craft wise for me I have just finished this sweater. It's a Sidar pattern and knitted with 100% merino wool.

It is not for us though but for a friend's son.

I'm now doing another rainbow gnome hat for another friend's son and I have no less than 4 dolls on order :-)

So, lots of autumn goodness here, we're enjoying it all to the full :-)