Monday, 19 September 2011

Barnaby Bear

This is Barnaby. He is the Year 1 mascot at the small person's school. This weekend, he came home with Alexandra for a visit.

He watched movies:

Had a bedtime story:

Went to dance class:

Went shopping (and nearly ended up with Toys 'R' Us as his new home), went to the Lunt Fort:

Played at the park:

And had a photoshoot with the small people:

He also had a present of a new blanket, from Alexandra, so that no matter which house he visits, he's always got something warm and familiar to snuggle.

I hope he enjoyed his weekend with The Wishes, I know the small person enjoyed having him here.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Summer Revisited #2

Another recap of things the Wishes have been up to whilst absent from blogland...

In the first week of the holiday it was my birthday - Yay! This was always one of the best things about the summer holiday when I was at school. We ALWAYS broke up the friday before my birthday. I never had to work on my birthday (a tradition I have continued into adulthood! :D) I had some lovely new clothes and the small people bought me some heated rollers.

On the Wednesday, I took the little Wishes to The Lunt Roman Fort in our village. They were running an archaeology event. This is where Alexandra enetered the competition she won. She also dressed up and made a roman man and woman which she has now stuck into her holiday book.

Alexandra the Celt.

Zachary the lion warrior (so tough, he can eat his own armour).

Alexandra's competition entry (she won a £5 book voucher).

The same day, as it was my birthday week, we went to Stoneleigh Abbey. A place I have never been to before. Strange as it is so close. We took the Jane Austen tour, perfect for my little treat :) It was very interesting and the rooms were lovely, but the lady who was leading the tour, did seem to go off track a couple of times and miss something out, then have to return to it later, so it didnt flow quite as well as you would expect. It wasn't really the sort of thing to take a small person and a smaller person too because I think they got quite bored, but they were very well behaved (until the very very end bit). I really enjoyed it though, and it's a place many grown up type people would enjoy seeing.

Stoneleigh Abbey

Bored small person
 I really would love to go back to see more of the grounds - we ran out of time, which was a shame because they looked lovely.

We also took our first trip of the school holiday to The Herbert Art Gallery. This week we went to the walking with beasts exhibition (like the TV series). Alexandra thought it was brilliant because she got to see Manny from Ice Age! We also made a woolly mamoth using paper folding and some fluffy fibres.

Mammoth making.

Walking with Beast Exhibition.
 We visited 'Wild Worlds' for the first time. This week was 'Ice World' (it's enough to make you want to revert to your child hood and go explore things in your own imagination). Zack was very unsure. It was kind of like "Really? I'm allowed to just go? You're not going to tell me off? Are you sure...?" but he soon got used to his new freedom.

The small people enjoying the wonders of 'Wild Worlds'.
After that gallery, we took the 'Precious Trails' treasure hunt challenge. We had to follow clues all around the museum and gallery until we found the final treasure which turned out to be a key (a printed one). Once you had solved all of the clues using your treasure map, you returned to the craft studio with your key. In the craft studio we made a treasure chest in which to keep the key. This was another free activity for the summer holidays. (I cannot reccommend the gallery enough for families!).

Treasure chest craft.
 The Friday, we went returned to town, this time to visit Coventry Transport Museum. I haven't visited here since it was all refurbished, and never with the children. We followed their transport trail finding pictures alongside the motors, bikes and other exhibits. We did old road sign rubbings, colouring in, and decorating a kaleidoscope.

Road sign rubbings.

Transport trail.

Kaleidoscope decorating.
 We also walked through their Blitz streets. I wasn't sure what Alexandra would think of it, but we had been talking about the Cathedral (as we had to walk past it going to the art gallery) so she was already starting to grasp the concept of what took place during WW2. She was fascinated and asked lots of questions. What the bomb shelters were for, why the windows had tape crosses on them, what the loud sirens were for, why did this happen, that sort of thing. I think she has quite a good understanding for her age. The Blitz and war was something that we discussed again later in the holiday.

Blitz streets.
To finish a lovely day, we bought retro sweets from the gift shop. We took Daddy a Dip Dab home (he's been going on about those since I met him in 1999!). Sweets are a lovely way to end a fun trip, but they're even better if they're old school!
And that, my dear readers, was then end of a packed first week of summer. Did you have any fun day trips over the summer?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Happy 86th Birthday

Today is my grandads 86th birthday. He always seems to get forgotten a little bit in comparison to my Nana. I think it's perhaps because he makes no move to remind anyone, whereas Nan makes a point of dropping not so subtle hints for a week or so before!

We are in the fortunate position to live in the same street as them, so we can visit as many times as we like. (My Mum lives down the other end of the road too!).

The small person made him a card:

Alexandra is all about numbers at the moment, so she insisted it had to have his age on. She used a card blank, a glitter foam pre-cut heart, a small blue feather, PVA glue and scrunched up blue tissue paper.
I made him a card:

This was made using a card blank, PVA glue, a fine liner black marker (for the strings, stitching details and 'happy birthday'), some white card cut into tiny circles (to create a clear space to write the lettering) and the patterned papers were cut from the front piece of a scrapbook paper pack (you know, where they show mini images of each of the papers).
The smaller person had help to make a card - his first ever crafting!:

Lovely messy handprinting :)
And the Bogert bought birthday cake :)

Grandpa, as he is known to the small people, has a very (very) sweet tooth, so he got some choccies too!

Happy Birthday Grandad, hope you've had the best day :)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Toddler Group Tuesday - Leaf Wreaths

As we're now moving into Autumn, we have been up to a bit of leafy craft at Toddler Group.

You need:
  • card/paper plates
  • string/ribbon/yarn
  • tape
  • glue
  • tissue paper/sugar paper/coloured card/felt
  • leaf shapes/templates
First you need a base for your wreath. If you are using paper plates, cut the centre out, leaving a 2-2.5" ring. If you are using plain card, find a large dinner plate to draw around, then a smaller plate to drawn the centre circle. Cut out to give you your base. (This is something you can prepare in advance for smaller children).

Use a short length (about 6") or the string/ribbon/yarn to form a loop. Stick this to the top of your ring using tape. This is your hanger. (It is easier to do this before decorating).

For the leaf templates, you can draw your own, find some leaves from outside to draw around or go over to kids craft weekly for their latest issue which is all leaf based and has some great leaf templates.

Using your leaf templates, cut shapes out of the tissue paper/sugar paper/coloured card/felt, whichever you have chosen. We have used tissue paper including some lovely metallic gold tissue. (This again is something you can prepare in advance for smaller children like we do for our toddlers).

Glue any combination of your cut out leaves all around the ring. Make sure you cover any gaps by overlapping. Once dry, it's all set to be hung up!

Alternatives for this project could be:
  • Use real leaves that you have collected on a walk.
  • If you use a strong enough glue, other natural items could be used to decorate the wreath.
  • You could add a lovely autumn coloured bow using ribbon or raffia (which would have been my preference this time, but we didnt have any to hand).
  • If you make the circle base out of something stronger like corrugated card, you can hang things like conkers from the bottom.
I'd love to know if anyone gets around to making this with their children, especially if you try one of the alternatives or have your own different take on it. Happy crafting! :)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Statement of Intent

95%! Woo hoo! I. Got. 95%. (for that assignment I was wrestling with). I can't believe it! That means my overall mark for the written part of the course is 88%! Well within a distinction/first  classification. Of course my exam score could tear that all down to a 3rd or worst of all, a fail :(

So, today I start planning my revision. This is my statement of intent. If I write it, it must be done...

Realist Novel -
  • Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
  • Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Literature and Gender - Undecided

  • The Rover - Aphra Behn
  • As You Like It - Shakespeare
The Romantics -
  • Wordsworth (early romantics)
  • Byron (late romantics)
  • Joanna Baillie
  • OR Mary Robinson
  • OR Mary Alcock
  • OR Felicia Hemans (undecided on the female poet)
Literature and Gender -
  • Any woman - Katharine Tynan
  • Wherever I Hang - Grace Nicholls
  • Ain’t I a Woman - Sojourner Truth
  • Goblin Market - Christina Rossetti
  • The Reincarnation of Captain Cook - Margaret Atwood
There. I have made my decisions (mostly). They are written in stone (metaphorically). And now when I'm getting distracted you can all kick me up the bum and remind me what I should be doing! :D

Now I just need to work out HOW to revise them. 4 weeks and counting...

Sorry for a relatively boring, non-crafty post void of photographs. Call back tomorrow for Toddler Group Tuesday where we're doing leaf wreaths for the start of Autumn.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Immense Relief. Maybe.

I am relieved we have survived. What a week.

We have (almost) survived the first week back at school. The small person has lost one pinafore dress, and gone through 2 others with dirt, she has scuffed her new shoes, left her new drinks bottle on the school bus, earned 4 house points (go green house!), signed up for choir, recorders and book club (thank goodness they're lunchtime clubs!), returned to ballet and tap and swiming classes, accepted a marriage proposal and is praying that Barnaby Bear, the year one mascot, gets to come home with her this weekend. Actually, it's more like she's certain he will, hopefully she wont be too dissappointed if it's not her turn. That's a busy week for an almost 6 year old.

The smaller person is really pushing the bounds of his current mobility and I fear it wont be long before he's motoring around the house on 2 instead of 4 legs. Oh boy. In the mean time, we've caged him ;D

Look at that sweet, sad little face! How can I not give in to that?

He is NOT a fan.

I have just this afternoon submitted that dreaded Literature assignment. It has been my every thought this week, it's great to finally be free of it. Othello, Willmore: the rover, and masculinity. There was just far too much material to work with for my comfort. I have this problem when writing essays where there are several sources and entire texts to work with: I begin with a clear idea, which develops and snowballs out of control, until what I have written on the page is a mess of ideas only barely covering the initial ideas I had. If I have something smaller to work with like a poem or a set passage taken from a book or play, I find it much easier to deal with, less overwhelming. I'm not left at the end thinking I've missed so much out. I'm less than happy with this essay, but there is still that relief knowing that it is done and handed in. Added relief in the fact that it is the final assignment for this course! Yay!

Oh, but wait, there's still that blasted exam...

I'm going to keep the reading light tomorrow to give myself a bit of a break, then I have a day school on Saturday related to preparation for the exam - then the relief I feel right now will be washed away entirely to be replaced by complete and utter terror.

Sunday I'm taking the day off from study for a family photo shoot with Mr Bogert and then he's treating me to an evening of Laser Quest. Let off some steam and have fun shooting my husband and other appropriate adults with shiny lights :D Hopefully Mr Bogert will let me share a picture or two from Sundays photo session.

Monday it begins again, so the relaxed feeling I have right now is short lived. I'm going to make the most of it by chilling out in front of the TV with a hot drink and some crochet, and hopefully a Bogert when he returns from his Parish Council meeting (ummm, yeah, that happened during my blog absence too: Councillor Bogert. It's possible they don't call him that.). Happy Thursday :)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Toddler Group Tuesday

The very first day back to toddler group after the summer is always quiet. It's best to start with a quick, simple, non-messy craft project so this week we have been making magic wands.

  • A card or funky foam shape (we have used pre-cut foam for speed, but you can easily cut your own)
  • Tongue depressers (like lollipop sticks, but larger)
  • Glue or tape
  • Assorted stickers
We have used pre-cut stars, butterflies and flowers. You can use any shape you can think of.
Glue or tape the shape to the top of the tongue depresser and then decorate all over with stickers.

This can be taken further by using glitter glue pens, decorating with collage pieces, sequins, and any other craft supplies you might have around. Ribbons can be tied around the top of the stick, just below the shape.

Another variation is to print patterns on the shape with paint and objects like cotton reels. Sprinkle with glitter whilst the paint is still wet.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Summer Revisted #1

I can't believe the summer holiday is over. I had such big plans for the summer, and to be fair, I achieved quite a few, but it's gone by so quickly. School time is here again and I foresee much labelling of clothing and shoes in my immediate future....

We just made the school shoe shopping trip today. That was nice and expensive. We also bought new bags for swimming, PE and dancing. I'm disappointed they are bought and not handmade like last year, but I have just ran out of time. I'm hoping by Christmas to have made a set of bags to replace them, but including a few extras (Tap shoe bag, Ballet pump bag, both to fit inside her dance bag, drinks bottle bag, because it is compulsory to take a filled bottle of water to her school, 2 small zippy pouches for hair things, one for dance, one for swimming). We shall see if I can fulfil this one small goal.

Today was also a party day. One of the small person's school friends had a birthday party at Umberslade Farm Park. She was so excited to see her friends again ('cos you know, when you're 5years old, six weeks feels like six years) and even more excited to have a pony ride.

So, our summer? How did we spend our time? We made lots of visits to places that were running summer holiday activities.

The very first Saturday of the holiday we still had one last dance class to attend, and Mr Bogert had a wedding to photograph, so he dropped us off on the way. As we had time to kill after dancing but before the village bus came (It runs roughly every, ummmm, week maybe :D), and we have our English Heritage membership, we walked down to Kenilworth Castle.

Elizabethan Garden

They were running an archaeology event as part of their 'Time Travellers Go...' summer events. The small person took part in a tomb raider race, where she had to loot each different place using only a hook on a pole, and then race back to the finish.

Tomb Raider Race

She also learnt about how to uncover real objects by gently brushing soil/sand  away

Discovering buried artefacts

and that you must not pick the objects up, you must leave them where they are and draw them as they lay.

We went in Leicester's Gatehouse to do some drawing, then sat outside in the garden having a picnic. Luckily, we had nice weather!

Leicester's Gatehouse

Picnic time

On the Sunday we had Mr Bogert back, so we took a trip in the car to Ryton Pool. This is not far from us. There is a lovely big pond with ducks and geese you can feed, several walks where you can also take your bikes, a large grass area for picnics and games (frisbee, football etc), and a few play areas dotted about.

There is also a small cafe near the information hut, and a model railway, that when it is open the children can ride (for a small fee).

Unfortunately, the small person ripped her dress climbing a tree. Mr Bogert was worried it would be beyond repair. His only concern being 'she looks like a Rocket ice lolly in that dress'. It should be a simple repair (I hope) and then he can continue to call her 'Lollipop' or 'Rocket' when she wears it. That will make him happy.

We also managed to fit in a game of frisbee and nerf guns at the Millenium Field (in our village), visit my Dad and go for Sunday dinner at Mr Bogert's mum's house. A very busy start to our holiday - A for effort, Wishes :)