Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Buddies ~ chicks (and things that were funny)

**In September 2011 6 families got together and started Buddies Home School. Each week we meet in each other's home and follow a simple rhythm: movement and music, craft/ baking, snack time, free play and story time. Each part of the session is led by a different family. We are sharing this week's session with you here...***


 Today's Buddies session was all about chicks. Kirsten was hosting and 3 of her hens have recently hatched out broods.
We started off with our usual circle time singing lots of songs, many of which were about dogs (you know incy wincy dog and such like...which was funny) I'm not entirely sure we managed to sing one chick song, but the rest of the day was all about chicks...

We were a small bit unprepared for a craft so we painted paper plates yellow (and other colours) and stuck on cut out beaks and eyes to sort of be chicks.
The award for messiest today went to Susan, who shook one of the paint pens a little too joyously and covered the walls, curtains, window,
and little A with big, bright blobs of orange paint..
 (which was funny).

After painting the kids helped each other get ready to go out into the garden (which was sweet)

 and look for the chicks (who were very sweet).

 Kirsten brought out some feed and the tiny chicks were gleefully given handfuls of it by the Buddies.

We went inside the hen house to check for eggs. As Joa and little Z barged in, I saw 2 hens in the corner obviously trying to find a bit of peace to lay their eggs. One of them clapped eyes on the boys charging towards her and stood up in a flurry and as she did so an egg popped out of her. I swear I could almost hear her shriek 'Oh Sh*t!!!!'. It was like watching a cartoon (which was very, very funny)!
 We did find quite a few eggs and after a small bit of squabbling the boys brought them in to the kitchen while the other Buddies were busy with other things....

 Big M had found some super puddles and got rather wet (much to his surprise!), he agreed with his mum that a change of trousers would be a good idea and as she led him to the car he hopped straight in a big muddy one and splashed her completely (which was funny).
We ended the session with a great story called Slinky Malinky which Beth read to us and we all enjoyed.

It was such a funny session and I laughed so much. The only sad moment for me was when I realised that Joa and I only have perhaps 7 more Buddies sessions left before we finish :-( but still, we have the most wonderful memories!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

our island holiday

On Monday morning we packed up the car with three kids, three dogs and two adults, leaving just enough space for a change of clothes and our swimming gear and we headed off west for our first family holiday.
 The trip to our holiday home at Inish Beg was only really an hour or so long, but we made it an adventure in itself with car bingo games and sucking sweets. We also made a couple of stops on the way. The first at Drombeg to have an explore of the stone circle and settlement there. Over Christmas we all read The Boy with the Bronze Axe about Skara Brae on Orkney so it was wonderful to be able to take the kids to a similar settlement.
 In one of the pools there we found loads of tadpoles which was a great discovery especially for Benny who had been learning about them in his last week at school and had never seen real ones before. He spent the rest of the car journey drawing the life cycle of the frog to show us what he knew about it.

 Of course there were a couple of boggy bits and of course certain members of the family fell into them, using up the spare clothes we had brought half an hour into our holiday!

But it was sunny and warm and the blue skies were beautiful as we arrived in Baltimore. We spent an hour in the park there stretching our legs and playing pirates.
We found a little restaurant for lunch and visited a pirate exhibition the high light of which was the real, live pirate's parrot!
After stocking up on breakfast supplies and a bottle of wine we headed off to Inish Beg to find our holiday home. We can't recommend it enough if you are ever looking for a place to stay in west Cork. Our house was on the edge of the estate with a lovely big garden and paddock, perfect for the kids and dogs.
 We explored the house and relaxed in the sunshine, before heading off to the pool on the estate. That was lovely too. We had to book it in advance but this meant that for the hour time slot we had it completely to ourselves.
Refreshed and happy we headed back out for dinner in a lovely hotel on the edge of Baltimore. We had such a nice dinner and played crazy games of eye spy and ate and drank until we were fit to burst. It was late when we finished our meal, so late that Joa fell asleep in my arms while we were paying the bill. So we popped the kids into bed and Garry lit a roaring fire and we enjoyed our bottle of wine and a film.
The following morning we started slow and lazy, as holiday mornings should be. We decided to take a short ferry trip to Sherkin Island, only a 10 minute boat ride from Baltimore.
It was so much fun, Benny in particular loved the ferry ride. It was long enough to feel the sea breeze and be caught up in the excitement of being on a boat, but not long enough for them to get bored.
The sunshine was glorious and we walked a small way around the Island.
 The kids were getting hungry and cranky so we stopped at a pub for some soup and chips and the older 2 spent some of their holiday money from Bubs on Sherkin Island fridge magnets (the ultimate holiday souvenir!)

 Feeling a lot better we headed back to the pier to wait for the boat to come to take us back to Baltimore.


The journey back was just as much fun and just as breath taking as the way out, and for some of us it was very tiring all together...
 We returned to Inish Beg and drank tea and read our books. We also took it in turns to take the kids for short walks. I went with Benny to the main house in the estate to book the pool for the next day and to order some videos so we could have a cinema night. We also checked to see if the hens had laid any eggs but we were too late for those.
 Garry took first Rebe and Captain and then Benny and Maggie into the woods across from our house to look for the perfect sticks to make bows and arrows.

 Then he found some string in the car and helped the kids make the bows and showed them how to fire the arrows

 By this time Joa had woken and I walked with him to the estate and we looked at the sheep on the way and checked the hens (again).

 We headed back to the same lovely hotel that we had dinner in the night before. It was just as lovely and so much fun with Benny proudly ordering a 'point of Guiness' at the bar for Garry and everyone having a knickerbocker glory for desert.

After dinner we came home to have our cinema night. We had popcorn and orange juice (or wine depending on how old you were) and then we toasted marshmallows on the fire. Before the film ended both Benny and Joa had fallen asleep and were carried up to bed. When Rebe was tucked in too Garry and I watched Braveheart and finished off the wine and a sneaky bar of chocolate.
The next morning we extended our check out time to give us an hour in the pool. Then we packed up and managed to get this beautiful picture of all 8 of us before heading slowly home again.
 We stopped off in one little village for burgers at lunch time (at Rebe's request) and then found a really lovely beach for a good play and run around.


As is compulsory on holidays, we made one final stop for ice cream, rounding off what was for me the most special, stress free, happy holiday I have ever had. It was a very special time for all of us and I know we will all remember it forever.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

spring time


Spring is well and truly here, there is green everywhere, so fresh and full of life.
Seeds growing into seedlings, uncurling their beautiful delicate leaves, filling the window sills.
My body is also craving green; fresh green chard and sprouting broccoli and kale from the market are on my plate with nearly every meal.
We are outside in the fresh air as much as we can be, walking on the beach after dinner, grabbing a quick play in the park on the way home from school. The fresh air breathing energy into us and helping long, deep sleep. Along with this the children's play has deepened, they are so involved with their lego games and set ups. They are also really enjoying have space in their room to play quietly (or not so quietly if the lego man 'Ultra Magnus' is involved).
Joa and I went to our last playgroup today. I've been going to playgroups now for 8 years and I feel my time is at an end. Joa is happy with the Buddies group and will start pre-school after the summer, so it is time to let playgroup go.
We had a really lovely last session. We all met at the park and spread picnic blankets on the grass. We hid loads of little chocolate eggs and the kids searched for them.
 Joa loved it and repeated the game several times throughout the day hiding things like coins and then 'aha!' finding them again.
 He also quite enjoyed the opening and eating of the eggs, although this chocolate over load did result in a pretty severe case of 'the mega cranks'.

 My crafting is spring like too at the moment...

 I am making a lamb suit for Lambie...yes I know!... it's probably best not to question these things. I'll show you when I'm finished. Lambie is Benny's special and Rebe has asked me to knit a sweater for her special for our holiday.
Yes!!! We're off on holiday on Monday, all 8 of us, to a beautiful holiday house in west Cork for a couple of nights. We're so excited about it, counting sleeps and making plans!

This evening after dinner the kids decided they didn't want to go to the beach, but wanted to paint to music instead.
 Benny did this a few weeks ago at after school club and they have all been asking to do it since.
 It was lovely to watch, they were so engrossed in it and we decided to try to change the music and see how the paintings changed.

These are Rebe's paintings :
 Painted while listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons
 painted to Liam Clancy's Home From the Sea

 painted to Loudness' Rock and Roll Crazy Nights
I will be back here with pictures of our wee holiday next week sometime :-)