Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Practicing Returning to the Real World

Mr Bogert is back in work, and we have less than a week before the new school term starts and the small person is oficially in Year 1.

I am choosing to ignore the fact we still have school items to buy. I am choosing to ignore that this also means a return to toddler group and the small person's out of school dance and swimming classes. I am choosing to ignore the fact that our living room is filled to the ceiling with the contents of the small person's room, ready for ditch or keep sorting. I am choosing to focus instead on practicing the organisation that used to be part of my day, before a thing called 'summer holiday' hit the Wishes house. Organisation was an essential tool in just surviving the week!

So today we (yes, we. The small person is capable of chores at her age) have been sorting washing, and putting wash loads on. We have been doing the washing up and putting it away. There has been ironing, toy sorting and general commands flung about the house.

I have also been soup making. I love soup making, it's so easy and most soups you can freeze for future use. Today I have made Sweet Potato and Pepper:

1 red pepper
3 other peppers
1 sweet potato
1 onion
1 stick celery
1 clove garlic (crushed)
500ml veg stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes
a little oil

Chop and slice all of the vegetables into small pieces.
Cook all veg in a large pan with the oil until softened.
Add the stock and tomatoes.
Simmer for another 5-10 minutes
Blend for a thick smooth soup. (or you could mash the vegetables for something more textured)

See, simples! (and it doesn't hurt that the colours look so pretty in the pan as they cook).

The organisation will continue this afternoon (and knowing my luck, into the early evening) with more washing and ironing, the sorting of clothes and putting away, and a huge chunk of homework for me and the small person. I have an assignment due a week on Thursday, related to the character, Othello, and Wilmore, a character from Aphra Behn's The Rover, and only have a vague floating idea, which I can't quite catch hold of.

The small person has her summer holiday project to finish to take into school. She has been keeping a diary/scrapbook of everything she's done over the holiday. She's managed to fill one book already! She really has done a wonderful job. It's something we chose to do, not set by school. It's been a great way to keep her occupied, practice her writing and spelling, give her space to draw, and also to reflect on her day. It will be really nice to look at when she's older too.

I'm also waiting in for a delivery. Not a crafting delivery, but it's still exciting to me. It's the delivery of my course books for October start course: EA300 Children's Literature. Then I just have to stop myself getting carried away with those books whilst I still have work to do on my current course! *(EDIT - lovely books have arrived! Sooooooo, much to read.)

In between all the mundane life stuff, I've been crocheting. It's something that is intended as a gift for someone, so I can't go into too much detail. It's white, and it's a simple project, but it does mean I am crafting on a regular, non-emergency basis again! Yay for the crochet! :D

Answers to yesterdays riddles:
"There was a king who had 7 daughters, each of the daughters had a brother. How many children did the King have?"
The King had 8 children: 7 daughters and 1 son, because each daughter shared the same brother. 'They each had 1 brother'.

"2 fathers and 2 sons went fishing together. They each caught a fish and brought it home. When they got home, they cooked the 3 fish. How can this be?"

There were 3 generations of family: a grandad, a dad and a son. So the Grandad and the dad are both fathers, and the dad and the son are both sons. 3 people, 3 fish.

Happy Tuesday :)

Time Travel Bank Holiday Weekend

We've been back in time this weekend spending time with the Normans and Saxons and the Victorians.

On Friday, Mr Bogert had to work. He was photographing another wedding, so while he was hard at work, the small people and I took a trip to Kenilworth Castle. We're English Heritage members, so we get in for free (free is my favourite price!).

We solved 2 of Godric's riddles so that he would tell us all  a story about a Lord and a Gong Farmer (person who's job it was to clear out the toilets - yuk!).

So tell me the answer to this: "There was a king who had 7 daughters, each of the daughters had a brother. How many children did the King have?"

and what about: "2 fathers and 2 sons went fishing together. They each caught a fish and brought it home. When they got home, they cooked the 3 fish. How can this be?"

Not too difficult, they were aimed at children, answers in the next post. We were also shown how to light fire the old way so that the master's food could be cooked.

We had to do a little school shopping too. The return to school is creeping up on us fast and we're not at all ready! That also meant plenty of homework on Saturday.

Sunday family Wishes visited Blists Hill Victorian Town, part of the Ironbridge Museum group. There were special activites related to Alice in Wonderland taking place for the bank holiday and children were invited to dress up for the day. I had decided it wasn't that important to dress up, but had a pang of guilt late on Saturday that resulted in me searching the house for possibilities. We settled on Alice and The White Rabbit.

Alice wore a blue dress that was bought by Auntie 'Potato Salad' Heather and Uncle Andy, with an apron from her dressing up box. This apron was actually mine when I was younger, made by Nana for a Victorian day at school when I was 7 (all things handmade get treasured in our home). I found a black head band and used a scrap of black felt to make a bow. And there we have it - instant Alice.

The White Rabbit wore a pair of blue trousers, a white shirt and a beige waistcoat which are his own. I found a scrap of marabou trim which I knotted up and tacked to the trousers for a tail. I used one of my crochet bows for the bow tie, tacked onto the shirt. We had the bunny bonnet left over from the May Fair fancy dress. The red jacket was part of Alexandra's ringmaster costume (that she's out grown). I took the black trim of the collar and cuffs, and folded up the tails to the inside and tacked it in place (I can return it to its original state if I want to). The only thing missing was a pocket watch, so I made this one from felt, stuffed with cotton wool (my stuffing is way way waaaaaay back in the loft), with a chain made from a length of crochet. He got lots of "Awwwww..." as we were going around.

We almost didn't make it after all of that. There we were sitting in the car, the kids dressed up. already late, and the car would not start. We couldn't even jump start it. The battery had completely had it. Mr Bogert saved the day though, running off to buy a new (pricey) battery and fitting it to the car.

First we had to visit the bank to exchange some of our modern money for old. (farthings, ha'pennies, pennies, thrupenny bits and sixpences).

We visited the Grocers...

..The pharmacy...

...The drapers (oh, the lovliness!)...

...The doctors (I could live in this sweet little house. I would redecorate though!)...

...The Fair...

...and plenty of other places. We also saw the King and Queen of Hearts at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party with Alice and the White Rabbit. The small people got prizes for dressing up, but didn't win first prize (well, what can you expect for a thrown together outfit) but the were quite happy.

Our last stop was to the Photographers to have our family portrait taken. We were shattered when we got home!

Today we went further back in time to watch the seige unfold at Kenilworth Castle. Several reenactment groups set up camp over the bank holiday weekend. We saw archers, trebuchets, ladders to scale the castle walls, knights on horses and the way the people were living in the camps.

This last photograph is a display of natural fibres dyed with natural dyes. Aren't the colours yummy? They've used combinations of things like madder, alum, copper and iron. I remember having to try different natural dyes back at school in A-level textiles, but I openly admit, I remember none of it, which is a shame.

A lovely way to spend a weekend, just sad Mr Bogert is returning to work tomorrow. How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, 26 August 2011

Jet Packs and Finding Planets

Another trip out with the small people in a bid to occupy them this summer holiday. Today we went into town and visited The Herbert Art Gallery. This isn't our first trip here this holiday, they have been rotating craft activites based on different weekly themes, so we've tried to get to a few of them.

If you have kids, and you're close by or ever visiting this way, you really should try and visit this Art Gallery. It's very family friendly and they always have extra activities over the school breaks at no charge (and it's free admission to the gallery, so, free day out!).

Alexandra followed thier 50th anniversary trail today, starting in the history gallery. She was fascinated with the ribbon weaving and really interested in finding out about the Coventry Blitz.

Selections of Ribbons on display.

War Toys - The Train is made from recycled objects (tin can engine, cotton reel chimney). The patterns were printed in The Daily Mirror newspaper to show how to make toys from old material. The dolls house was made by German prisoners in Coventry for a girl named Gloria, who's family had been kind to them.

As you move through the gallery, you move through the years. I couldn't help but think of Mrs Woo when I saw these exhibits! She's the retro-vintage queen :)

Crown decorating suggestion postcards.

Household items and an advertisment for Hillman cars (Hillman Imp) and Bendix washing machines.

The trail took us from there to the jaquard loom, then the sculpture gallery, the masterpiece paintings, and finally into elements.

Jacquard loom. 

In the Sculpture Gallery.

There is a gallery room filled with a play world called "Wild Worlds" for the children to explore. It's theme has changed each week in line with the gallery theme. This week it was space (as in outer). The lighting, sounds, fabrics and some of the objects change in line with the theme. It's really good fun because the kids get to use their imaginations to be whatever they want to be, go where ever they want to go, and play out any idea that is in their little heads. It's also tiny people friendly; Zack gets to crawl around the whole place without anyone saying "Zacky. Noooo."

Alexandra the Armless Alien.

Wild Worlds.

After becoming aliens, finding planets and setting up restaurants on the planets (!!) we returned to Earth long enough for the small person to make a jet pack in the craft studio. (A plastic bottle, 2 toilet roll middles, holographic paper, coloured cellophane and stickers).

After all the excitement we had to go school uniform shopping. We were trawling shops for hours (literally), and I still have to get trainers, school shoes, a drink bottle, 2 long sleeve blouses, black shorts and a tracksuit! The small person did get to spend her competition prize book voucher though; she chose Funny Bones: 3 books in 1.

We love Funny Bones in our house (We being Mr Bogert and me - the nostalgic grown ups) "In a dark, dark town, there was a dark, dark street, and in the dark, dark street, there was a dark, dark house...."

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Oh you lovely, lovely people

I have a lovely warm fuzzy feeling from finally catching up with my favourite craft blogs (since last November/December time). I must admit there was much to catch up on and some posts did have to be skim-read, but oh how I love crafty people.

I knew I'd missed my crafting but I didn't realise there was actually something 'missing' until just this week with my return to blog land. I feel like me again, and I didn't even realise I wasn't me, if you know what I mean?

So, thank you all for brightening my days.
Catch up with crafting may have a humanising effect on my pre-programmed mother/student/wife-bot self, but it does mean I am purposefully ignoring how much study I still have to do.

Since October last year (about a week before Zachary was born) I have been studying with The Open University towards an English Language and Literature degree. It's been challenging, time consuming, interesting and rewarding. I completed the first of 6 modules in June, and recently recieved my pass results. That was for AA100 - The Arts Past and Present, which covered a range of humanities subjects as a sort of introduction.

I overlapped that course with my current course since February. I am studying A210 - Approaching Literature (which is the last presentation of it. It has been replaced by A230 - Reading and Studying Literature). It's very heavy on the reading side. I have completed 6 out of 7 TMAs (Tutor Marked Assignment), and have one TMA remaining which focuses on Shakespeare's Othello and Aphra Behn's The Rover. There is dread sitting in the pit of my stomach which is a result of worrying about the end of module exam, scheduled for October. I have been recieving distinction marks for assignments and I just know my exam mark will drag everything down. This is the only module of the entire degree which will require me to sit an exam. The rest all have EMAs (End of Module Assignments), which are a longer more in depth version of the TMAs.

So, happy to pretend it's not really happening :D

My small person has completed her Reception year at school and loved every minute of it. To keep her (and her mind) busy over the summer holiday we have been doing lots of activities. I will catch you up on everything, but I will start by telling you about our day today.

In our village we have The Lunt Roman Fort. Today they were making Roman Gardens, so I had booked the small person a place for the activity. Her garden is brilliant! It has a gravel path, a little house, flowers, fences and two statues. One is of Hadrian (as in Hadrian's Wall) and the other is of Vespasian (I think). She really enjoyed making it, and the staff photographed her creation in case they want to use the image.

She also made 3 Roman's to contribute towards thier 'Century of Romans', identified and sorted new and Roman items into seperate trays and ran around the Gyrus talking to her echo.

The Lunt's Century of Roman soldiers (WIP)

Sorting objects.

Zachary has been practicing his balance most of the day too.

We had lunch at Grandma and Grandpa's house (my nan and grandad) where the small person did some maths practice (which may not sound like fun, but to her, it was), and painted 2 sun-catchers. We finished the day off with a Mickey Mouse DVD.

The small person has also had some good news. She got her own post today, and who doesn't love interesting, unexpected post? It was a letter from CADAS saying she had won their colouring competition. The prize was a book voucher, so we'll be spending that tomorrow on our trip (on the bus) into town. She was very happy with herself and had to let Daddy know straight away. Even if he was hard at work earning money. Her picture will be up on the web in the next few weeks. When it appears, I'll post a link.

So, a good day. And a really sunny blue skyed day too!