Friday, 29 May 2015

Bit of This and Bit of That

Literally, lots of bits of this and that today. All three of us were super tired today, after a series of days of busyness, and being out and about. So a mainly stay at home day today, with only a small outing to the library in the morning. 

J picked up a couple of Tudors books, this interest has spun off from a Minecraft Shakespeare Competition

As an introduction to Shakespeare J has also got Mr William Shakespeare's Plays. We found it a good simplified and introductory version of Shakespeare, in comic strip format, which appealed to J. It does still contain some of the original text, of the more famous sayings. J and I read Hamlet together. 

J also decided on a couple of Asterix books to read. 

He's also spent time (quite a lot!) playing Skyblock on Minecraft, including making a cobblestone generator. Plus watching Youtube split screen styley! 

Good old Stampy, in a Sky Den video. Plus Sqaishey Quack,  (I've been told to include Sqaishey Quack by J!) She can't be left out, as she's in the video too. He then said,  "the internet all links up somehow, it's like a giant spider web." Such wisdom from an 11 year old. 
So here are two of the YouTube Videos that J has enjoyed today. Based around the SkyBlock/Sky Den/Sky Island theme. 

S has spent time making chocolate chip cookies. Yum. Just what I needed with a cup of tea this afternoon. 
Chocolate Chip Cookies

She also found a book at the library in the same series she's had books from before. Previously she's looked at the dog and rabbit version. This time it was cats. S loves these books, as they contain stories of 'famous' animals. It lead to lots of googling and chats of various things. Our favourite cat that was mentioned, was Station Master Tama. Which also tied in nicely with our interest in Japan. 

It's Friday so there has been reading of The Pheonix. by both J and S. A year on and they both still enjoy reading it. 

J has been drawing.

Leopard Gecko Head

Chameleon Eye 

S has been designing, using the Top Model Magazine that she had a good couple of months ago now. She's just decided to pick it up again and design the outfits. One was a mermaid, tying in with the fact that S has been watching H2O again this week.
Top Model Design

Top Model Mermaid

It's the weekend, so tonight will consist of wine and watching Jimmy's farm. 

But that's another, bigger story, of the small matter of what to do with our lives...........
It's all a bit muddled at the minute, and confuddled, so we're fact finding. 

Curiosity Hub - Explore Mars with Lego Mindstorms

So we headed off to Horsham earlier than we normally do on a Thursday, so J and S could go to Curiosity Hub's Explore Mars with Lego Mindstorms.

More J's interest than S's but when I'd booked, S had expressed and interest in it, so I booked for both of them. I'm always of the thinking if you're not sure, go along and give things a go. That's the only way you work out your likes and dislikes. 

S was more nervous, and on the lower limit of the age range. It was for 10-14 year olds. S is 10, and J is 11. 

So I left them for nearly 2 hours, popping back a bit earlier at the end to see what they'd done. There was a room full of happy, animated, engaged  children. 

Both S and J enjoyed the workshop. As I thought J really enjoyed it and he'd now love a personal LEGO Mindstorms EV3. Inspired child. 

Here are a couple of photos from today's workshop. 

J has previously been to  Curiosity Hub 'Scratch' workshop, which has seen him carry on developing his Scratch skills since. He's now keen to go to 'create your own digital music' with sonic pi. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Staunton Again

We've been back to visit Staunton Farm again! With different friends this time and we braved half term! Yikes! Lots of people, but we survived. 

We home educate, but the children have a mix of friends, some are home educated too, some go to school. The friend we met up with at Staunton, we met at ballet class when S was 4. S's friend goes to school, so we normally meet up in the holidays. 

Another lovely day out, animals, indoor play, outdoor play, maze, ice cream. Fab. Plus there happened to be sheep shearing on today, which we watched for a while. J and S enjoyed watching the sheepdog at work. 

J and a goat!

S 'borrowing' J's hat!

It was busy though, we had to queue to get in and park in an over flow car park! Something we're not used to. Home educating means we normally visit places while everyone else is at school, and it's quieter, we like it that way. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Today we've met up with friends and had a lovely day out at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park Map

We set off on one of the walk trails, but turned back as the children were more keen to play in the Adventure play trail area, and then play in the woods, which they did for hours. With a break for an ice cream. They found an area for a den, and added to it, and it became the base for lots games. 
Woodland Den

We hadn't been to Queen Elizabeth Country Park before and we  loved it. £3 for all day parking, and lots of space to roam. Even though it's half term it didn't feel busy. 

We will definitely be returning. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

New Forest Visit

Hubby had a holiday from work today, to tag onto the bank holiday weekend here in the UK to make a long 4 day weekend. 

A couple of weeks ago I'd planned a day to the New Forest to tie in with J and S current interests. However J was unwell on the day, and we hadn't fitted it in since. So we decided to make a family day of it today instead. 

We didn't let the rain (that wasn't forecast!) deter us, and headed to the New Forest anyway. I knew though that the absence of sunshine would affect what we would see at the first place I had planned. 

First stop was the New Forest Reptile Centre. As long as you know what you're expecting it's a great place to visit, and we were there about an hour and a half. A volunteer kindly pointed out the reptiles that could currently be seen. We managed to see an adder, plus see and hear the natterjack toads. No luck with the lizards, it was just too wet today. Unfortunately the goshawk nestcam wasn't working today, but we did see the bird feeder cam which had a woodpecker on it. 

After our little stroll around the reptile/amphibian pods, we headed off on the Discovery Trail walk in the woods. This was fab, a fairly short, 1 mile (I think) walk, J and S ran free, played, looked, and explored. 

Hug a Tree


Baby Tree

After the New Forest Reptile Centre, we headed onto Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre, where we'd timed it to make sure we were there for the 1pm flying display. 
 The flying display was great, the handler was very knowledgeable and informative, and he showed four different types of birds, including Liberty, an Alaskan Bald Eagle. It was an absolutely fabulous display. There is a whole variety of different owls and raptors, including some babies, plus a reptile area. With three different types of Geckos, great for J. 
Liberty - Alaskan Bald Eagle

Leopard Gecko


Overall as I'd read on Trip Advisor, the buildings look a bit shabby etc, but we weren't there to see the buildings and I didn't expect "bells and whistles" and so with those expectations we had a great time. We spent a lovely couple of hours here. The main highlight being the display. 

After this it was a drive back to Lyndhurst for S's current interest, and a visit to a cafe. Such a hard one to fulfil, being forced to eat cake! We opted for Peggy May's CafeHubby and I had a cream tea each, Yum. J had ice cream, and S had a brownie. S liked the decor. 

Cream Tea

From advise somewhere (?) (I do a lot of research! I love doing it) we parked at Bolton's Bench car park, which is free and just a 5 min walk into Lyndhurst. Plus a great place to spot ponies. 

Once we were refreshed we headed back to the car park, and from there we went up to Bolton's Bench and sat under the yew tree. J and S ran up and down the hill, watched the ponies, explored. Pretended they were 'little foot' and 'middle foot' ! Basically just ran free. We also went for a walk down to White Moor, to visit the sand pit we could see from the top of the hill. 
Bolton's Bench 

View towards White Moor

New Forest Pony

After all that we headed home after a great day out in the New Forest. 

Once home, J and S read The Phoenix Comic that had arrived this morning. S has been looking through her horse and pony book, making lists of different breeds and horse behaviour. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Cantering Shopkins

See what I did there? Combined two events from today to make the blog post title! Go me, no faffing around trying to find a title today....

So as the really original, inventive and creative title suggests, the children have been cantering today. Well attempting to, they both managed a couple of strides. 

J and S had a riding lesson this morning, the best they've had in a long time, everything seemed to come together. This was J and S both trotting today. 

Before we'd even left for riding, J had been drawing.... A picture for me. 

On the way back from riding, we made a detour via the supermarket, on the hunt for shopkins. No luck, all sold out. So another detour on the way home via our local village shops. Where we were successful in buying a couple of small packs. 

Both J and S have been playing a shopkins game. Yes both my children, at 10 and 11 still play, and still enjoy it. 

S has been pouring over the little leaflet that comes in the pack listing all the shopkins that are available. Whilst looking through the list S discovered one of the figures is called Cheery Churro, which lead to searching what a churro was. A churro seems to be a wavy thin doughnut to me?! 

J has also been on Scratch making more games. 

I chatted with the children about a competition that had come across my radar. A making in minecraft competition, Shakescraft J is interested in entering.

J and S have both been out on their bikes, it was very windy though..... 

I've also received my emailed pack from the Wildlife Trust, for 30 days Wild in June. In all honestly we're quite nature loving anyway, but we're just going to use this format to help us focus a bit more.  

We've also watched the first episode of Secrets of Bones on iplayer, as it's due to disappear this Friday. It's fairly short at 30mins, but interesting. We're all interested in watching the other episodes too. So will fit that in over the next couple of weeks. In fact most of our dinner time conversation seemed to revolve around it. J and S eager to tell their dad about it. Seems they took a lot of the information in. 

Staunton Farm Fun

A very rainy, windy start to the day and I thought we were going to have to cancel our plans to meet with our friends (who blog here) for the second time. Last week I had a migraine and had to cancel, much to J and S disappointment. 

Anyway, they kindly invited us to theirs for play and coffee, if it was too rainy to head out. Which was great, as we really wanted to meet up. 

I promised that with a wave of my rainbow sparkly magic wand that it would brighten up and we would make it to Staunton farm. 

We arrived at our friends and after an hour of play, coffee, and cake, low and behold the sun came out. So we were able to head to Staunton for a couple of hours. The children fed the animals, and played on the indoor and outdoor play grounds. Us mums drank more coffee and ate cake! Oh and I took a few photos. Mainly of J as every time I went to take one of he girls they'd moved on. 

So this lovely photo of the goats, originally had S and her friend feeding said goats. By the time I'd pressed the button they'd gone and were at the deer instead.... Cute goats though.

The rest of the photos are of J with the animals, he loves animals. Goats and llamas are a couple of his favourite farm animals. That and alpacas. 

J feeding a goat
Cheeky Llama
Cheeky Llama

Who just wanted to be fed!

And have his photo taken! Strike a pose.

Strike a Pose!

After the farm there was a little more time for playing. Where J and S were introduced to Shopkins. Similar to Moshi monsters, but a new collecting craze of mini figures. They had great fun playing with them. As you've probably guessed from their name they're based on shop items. 

Once home J did some drawing based on the Shopkins. J seems to be in a drawing phase at the minute.