Category Archives: Butterbean

A Gaggle of Groups

Thursday was Tots and Nots.  Bit late getting going in the morning, but SB managed to get a piano pratice in before we left just a little late. Once we got there SB was straight into Philosophy Club – apparently this week it was about the difference beteen hearing and listening. Me and BB sat and made a cardboard cutout digger  that Gina had provided the materials for. Sat and read with BB, played with Megablocks and playdough, had snacks, some playing etc., SB did a poem activity with Katy and some of the other kids. Recorders all round with Gina. Had intended to leave early enough to get home for a bit for SB to do a bit more preperation for her presentation for the next days HE group. But she wanted to do French as well so we ende up staying on for that.

Went straight onto gym via Pets a Home for cat food and Monster nibbles. Had the traditional ‘whats the best deal on catfood this time ‘  activity since they always seem to have a couple of  brands or another on a BOGOF or somesuch. This time, one of ou preferred brands was on a BOGOF that menat that buying multiple small packets was cheaper than buying a big sack. So me and SB pondered those for a bit.

Then we looked at fish, ahhh-ed over hamsters and other small furry things, found suitable treats/nibbles for Monster, put BB off from trying to buy uneccessary rabbit tat. Off to drop SB at gym and then me and SB headed off into town for a little bit of shopping (went into Millets for boot laces, BB came out with a fluffy fleece jacket….)  Sainsburys and then to the playground.

They are extending the gym, and the upstairs viewing balcony is mostly closed off. So me and BB have stopped staying at gym and watching SB as there isn’t much space. But it will soon be too dark to be going to the park and things so not sure what we will do if they haven’t reopened it soon.

Home for a boring dinner of pasta (not organised enough in the mornign to have anything else) and me and SB sat and sorted out final things for her presentation – some photos for a slideshow and questions for a quiz she wanted to do.

Viking and Saxon History

Another HE group, in another town. They have been doing monthly history session, where any kids that want to present something on the theme of the session. They started earlier in the year, but last month was the first one we got to and this was the first one that we have presented at. SB was inspired by a Making Viking Bread’ article in the latest issue of the Young Archgeologists Club magazine, so we used that as the focus. Though we couldn’t find the magazine last weeend and had to look up a recipe on the web.

H made the bread and butter with the girls last weekend. So we took that.  We took photos which SB wanted to display whilst she talked about how she made the bread.


She did very well at explaining what she did I thought, thought had to be reminded to speak up enough so people could hear. After that her and BB did a True or False quiz with soem questions relating to the food viking ate. BB was being the ‘glamorous assistant’ and showing the answers.


Though it was a bit of a comedy moment really as they hadn’t practised this. SB had coloured coded the True and False cards for BB green and purple, but BB didn’t quite have the hang of it :-)

We handed round the bread and butter which all went down well :-)

Other presentations included a Story and soup,  models of viking longhouses, about the battle of Hastings, the tale of Beowulf.

IMG_7101 IMG_7088 IMG_7100 IMG_7090

After the presentations was lunch and playing outside/chatting before hometime.

Home for a bit of playing and pottering about. They both got into a good Bob the Builder lego game so I left to quietly too it.

Then it was off out to BB’s football skills session and home to get dinner ready,  followed by a bit of flopping in the sitting room. Me and SB did a bit of her Meccano remote controled car before bedtime.

Tune in next month for the next thrilling instalment of ‘Daddybean does Blogging’

blogging out of turn!

chris is blogging thurs and fri – hopefully – as they were really great days! so i am going to make a start on today!

i got up really late as work has had my nose most definitely to the grindstone, and i had some sleep deprivation to catch up on! the girls were playing beautifully together, and although it is prob the KOD to blog it, they seem to have gone through their grumpy with each other patch and are enjoying each others company again. i *could* worry that this means SB is playing lots of ‘baby’ games with BB, but I like the games they play together, and i am not in a rush to push her game playing older!

We had some postcrossing cards arrive – woohoo!! so put them up on our display. this is gradually encouraging sb to remember continents, and what countries may be found where. OK, so we have not had any arrive from africa, antartica, australasia or asia, but we have sent one to taiwan and australia! SB has started writing more of them as well.

will start the day and perhaps rewrite as i recall! oh i think we started with SB doing recorder prac, and then duets with me as i had got a yamaha recorder treble to match hers. we love duetting. though gina says sb practiced stuff she has been able to do for ages rather than the new things! whilst we were doing this, BB got out a science kit – first electronics, and worked through the book making all the circuits [they are v simple, but i was still v proud as this includes putting batteries in!]
SB did some verbal reasoning and then galore park science – which had an experiment-recipe to make, so we got ingredients. SB fancied crafting before that though, and BB and chris went outside to mend her bike :roll: burst tyre from too much skidding!! SB made some dried flower pics which we laminated. unfortunately we seem to have destroyed the laminator when tried to laminate a sweetie wrapper pic. hopefullly chris will take apart and it will work again? we did a short piano practice, concetrating on rhythms.

we then made the rock cakes – these show sediment being laid down over time and creating dinosaur fossils. good fun to make and eat! might remember that idea for a group geology session one day!

so we collapsed infront of tv to cuddle and snuggle, and sb broke the video – it has been a breaking kind of day! so i read rome in cross section to her and bB and we looked for and spotted things and related them to the roman mysteries books. finally watched some mickey mouse dvd, had dinner and then it was bedtime.

my evening work, again, has been home ed politics. making sure i have done as much as i can, writing to mp, dscf, select committee, filling out consultations etc and asking others too.

please, if you haven’t

the petition

the review

lets try and do a decent blog!!

chris and the girls had a busy end of week whilst i was away on a lovely course at Madingley Hall in cambridge. v fab!! I got to start an new book there, which i am REALLY enjoying.

on thurs they went into town and had a bit of a shop. SB is on the lanky side, so has great difficulty in finding trousers that stay up without having to bunch lots of material up either with with elastic or belts. so they popped in to next, and a small fortune later she is really happy! BB had boot heaven at clarke’s, but SB not so fortunate, as with an E fitting there seems to be no shoes for her. the specialist shop in town seems to have closed down, so a bit more of a search is in order :roll: i remember this from my childhood! They then went onto a home ed friend for a playdate before rushing back for gym.

friday. ah yes, a home ed visit to a local orchard. a yearly event where the rather long suffering owner drives round the home ed rabble on a wagon hitched to the tractor!! i have been before, and it is excellent. he is v informative, the children get to try different apples, including new varieties and old trusted, and also see the sorting bit. he makes juices as well. SB came back with armfuls. BB had her footie lesson later on and then both happy to see me :smile: we have found the yoga dvd, and both girls rather cutely did it. SB and i both had a giggle reading the bagthorpe saga – our bedtime story. SB has decided she is rather good at doing trances – i v much agree, having seen her trance for over 30 mins doing one maths sum!!

Saturday. we started with the quest seekers presentation at the library. a bit weirdly it started by a speech about how hard reading was and why most children don’t choose to do it – this may be true, but seemed an odd start to the thing. and anyway, mine love reading, and i imagine a fair number of the other questseekers do too!! BB won the questseeker raffle and got a little ball game thingy, and in the book sale i bought SB 3 of the Spiderwick Chronicles for 30p each – a bargain! also persuaded someone else to buy Azincourt, which i really enjoyed. we posted some postcrossing postcards on the way home and put up our world map with the received ones.

SB has done a fair bit of piano practice over the last 2 weeks, so we had a ‘lesson’ together, and she is really moving forward. i am hoping that the speed of progress when she practices might persuade some more practice!! we did some recorder duetting as well, which we both like. whilst sb did some other home ed stuff – maths and music theory – bb and i played with her farm animals. i think i might neeed to practice at this, as i am less and less fond of playing with things! SB got out a tescos elecetric fan kit, which she put together quite happily – bit like this one Ein-o’s Box Kit Electric Motor Electric Science. we then had a lovely time making cards for chloes birthday party.

Merry having rung, we realised to take an alternate road work free route!! and arrived second at the pool venue, in time to give a very pregnant Jax a hug! and for Big and SB to exuberantly greet each other, before all those staying at the manor arrived too. i loved the pool, a great depth baby pool for bb to manically swim in. as an aside, her swimming is really coming on – although it is still more drowning with style, the backstroke is particularly good! scarily, she actually dived in twice – eek! luckilly bellyflopping rather than smashing head on the ground. i got to chat to the babs a bit! the bigger girls were being crazy in the bigger pool, though SB, big and E were mostly playing with the floats rather than the long floaty obstacle course.

lovely time, i love swimming!! [though i actually didn't get to do much, mostly kept an eye on crazy bb!!] party tea at the venue and lots of the blogring were in attendence! said hello again to michelle’s friend B, who i have met before and like v much! [she should blog you know!!] the cake cutting was a crazy moment!! back to the manor and wine and chat and relaxing until suddenly it was midnight, and we drove home to the sound of kids snoring!

sunday [btw having to blog with left hand only bb asleep on me and sb snuggled up also, watching jungle book - hard!!] anyway, i had planned to go to west stow for a reenactment weekend, but i had an unsettled night with lots of v unsettling themed dreams so had a lie in to recover – as did SB from having a late night. bb was up early tho. so i was a bit put out to have ‘ruined’ the day, but recovered! i discussed with the girls what fun things they wanted to do, and SB wanted to make the viking flatbread that was in the young archaeologists magazine. could i find it anywhere??? nope!! luckilly google to the rescue. the recipe galled for buttermilk tho… so we have made our own butter and topped up the amount of buttermillk with the first ‘washing’. we did do some of the butter in a jamjar for authenticity!! but the rest we did in the food processor, and is now in the freezer! SB then made the dough for the viking shardbread. we made one batch with honey, and the other with herbs, tried some each, but froze the rest to take to history group next friday and hopefully rewarmed there!! tasted delicious!! BB did some painting and stamping happily whilst we did this.

SB and i played bohnanza and landlock, she played castle keep with chris. i played an extremely long game of farm animals with BB. SB and i got the solar panels that we won on ebay to power a knex motor tried out, and thought what we might try and build – but didn’t! instead BB did some fimo-ing – piggies – and SB hama-ed some witches hats and we are all out of black. :roll: i seem to be constantly ordering from bead merrily!! think i might save up the order though!! i used some left out and hardening hama to make eyballs, teeth and worms beads for a scary halloween necklace! [having grumped at bb for starting something months ago and then doing no more so the fimo was dodgy!! Although our present to chloe had sparked some interest from SB, we didn’t actually get round to doing watercolour painting. nor the piano, maths and ballet practice we had planned. oh well!!

hoping for an early bedtime for the girls, but have, unfortunately, woken bb up, so not sure when she might fall asleep again! but an early out tomorrow.

A Funny Old Week

Well, I guess with Helen away most of the week in Italy ata conference it was never going to be a normal week, but still. I had vagur idea that I would try to keep the week fairly empty, have a relaxed time, get some housey jobs done etc. But was not to be.


Monday was my Uncle Robert’s funeral, and we were all going.  My Dad has stopped driving now, as it is just too painful for his arm to steer the car. A tad annoying really when you onky functioning arm stops functioning properly. So I hired an MPV to take us all , plus my neice Liana down to the funeral.

I relalised on the Sunday, that I didn’t really have anything to wear, at least in the legwear stakes. So headed to Tesco first thing on the way to get car to find something. Ended up with a suit, which was fine, except that in the shop it just looked black/grey next to all the others. In the daylight when I  it was a more browny colour, nice enough, but not quite what I had intended. Ah well.

Funeral was, in the context of funerals, good. Some affecionate and moving speeches from a Son-in-law and a couple of other people who knew him well. Some proper hymns to have a good sing to (if you are going to go to church I really think you need to have some proper hymns to sing) and a few hugs and tears. SB managed fine. BB mostly sat on the floor of the pew and coloured, but she was tired, and started to complain of being hot etc. in the church. But didn’t want to go outside with Helen, but fell a sleep after a bit.

The coffin was wrapped in a big picture of a steam train, and the organist played the theme tune to Thomas the Tank Engine at the commital at the crematorium – get the theme here :-)

He was a good man, with a strong faith. It does seem sad that after waiting years for a grandchild they probably had given up on getting, he only got to spend a couple of years with her. If you are somewhere else now Uncle Robert, I hope it is as good as you would have hoped it was.

After refreshments I had to take Stringbean over to Birchanger Services where I handed her over to Michelle. She was going to stay with them for 2 nights whilst she did a Sailing training course. I then headed back to my Aunts house for a bit. Took Helen to the tain station so she could go and stay in some posh hotel room at Heathrow. Eventally the remnants of the party headed back to our house, where we all went to bed pretty much straight away.


More driving about.

Took hire car back, did a bit of shopping, had hair cut, sat in cafe and drunk coffee, read The Gruaniad without any children - bliss :-) Home to find Butterbean has been spending Grandads money. Take parents and liana back to their house. stay there until time to take BB to her football class. True to form she did manage to somehow knock her head within the first 10 minutes – so ws of woith an injury having a cuddle.
But did convince her to go back and do some more . She almost finished the rest, but stopped part way through the short game they have at the end. She doesn’t like this bit as she can hardly ever get the ball, and if she does it gets tackled away fro her in no time. So basically runs around a bit and then gets bored :-)

Had dinner at the cafe there, a bit of TV and then bed for her. SB rang up from the Old Manor, upset becuase she had bashed her toe (a classic SB-ism) and wanted to come home. This wasn’t really that practical as they are an hours drive away and there was just me, and anyway I expected her to get over it and she did it sounds like. I guess this is something you need to learn to deal with really.


Out again. via the Park and Ride, where we met the Patch of Puddle gang on the bus, and then were reunited with SB in town. We were going to The Cloth Place, a project by Big wide Talk, the took over 2 floors of a lovely old building, that was a shop. Filled it with all sorts of cloth things – animals, vegtables, food, various props, and the kids get to use it how ever they want as long as they don’t hurt each other and repsect the stuff. I forgot the camera but borowed Michelle’s. She has been more organised than me and posted some piccies.

It was great fun :-) Afterwards we had a picnic in the park, including a good strop by BB as she chose a drink, and then wanted to change it after it had all been paid for and I said no. We then went to the Archaeology museum, which I’ve not been to before. And had an interesting hour there.

Then back on the bus to head home, SB to brownies and general flopping abolut until dinner and bedtime.


Yup out again. Kids all tired, and not wanting to get up.  Off to Tots and Nots, only really went becuase it was the 3rd and last of three sessions that SB has done on philosophy. They were finishing early as they were off to the Coth Place again. Then into the car, and the hour or so’s drive to my parents to leave them with BB. A short time there, then off again to take Sb to gym. They have started building work there and there isn’t much space on the balcony anymore so rather than be hot and squashed I popped into town, a little bit of shopping and another peaceful coffee :-)

Home dinner, played a game with SB, a bit of TV and bed.


Not out :-)

SB has commented that she gets given stuff to do while we do something else (!).  With all the other boring stuff of life that get in the way and never seem finished (housework, washing etc. etc.) I find myself ending up putting stuff off with them, so decided not to spend today tidying the house (sorry H) and spent mucho time with SB whlst BB was awayPottered about in the morning, a modicum of housework, reading and playing a game with SB, plenty of music practice. SB cooked lunch, where she learnt how to cook scrambled egg on toast. Then we spent all afternoon working on a project she has been wnting to do for the last few weeks. I won’t say what as it might give the game away for someone, but involved much sawing and nailing and gluing.

Once we had finished what we could, we needed to get a couple of bits, so off to the DIY shop. Then we decided to find somewhere to ahve dinner for a treat. Realised that we don’t go out in the evening much and din’t really know what was around that would have things SB might like. But found a pleasant Italian place, and a dinner with just the two of us, which was also rather pleaant.

Home, to SB’s bed time and me trying to blog a bit of the week, which I’ve managed just about  – shock!!

Shortly we are off to get BB, then this afternoon it is the carnival procession. SB is on the Brownies float and I think she might be doing a ballet display. Helen should be back homw sometime this afternoon as well :-)

A too much out-y week.

For a couple of years, the first Monday of the month has been a HE sports session, with sessions for younger and older kids, with the cut off age around 7-8. But the older session didn’t really get enough support anymore, so that has been dropped (just as SB has started doing them…..) . The re-jigged session now has Streetdance for older ones, followed by a younger ones sports session.

So it was off to that Monday morning. SB enjoyed the Streedance, BB enjoyed the sports, so that was good. SB has taken some stuf in her bag to potetially do after Streetdance, but mostly played outside the hall with some of the other kids, who she doesn’t really know so well as they ahve tending to do things aimed at the older kids. Not quite the normal attendees, so we didn’t have our usual playmates for a post sports park trip. I’d brought the bikes, so we went to the playground (busy as sunny and warm and the last day of school holidays by the looks of it for some kids) and then they cycled around the park paths. Where we discovered a little stream lake bit with some rather over fed ducks and geese who weren’t very interested some peanut butter sandwich leftovers.

Home, where SB did something of a booky nature (probably one of the VR or NVR books) before it was time to get ready and go out to Ballet. I managed to do passable pig tails in her hair.

Jax sent a fortuitous email that reminded me we were supposed to be going out on a trip the following day  ;-)


Was  a HE trip to Ecotech, which was advertised across multiple East Anglian groups and so popular they there is a second one this week.  It was a fair drive for us, but managed to get out pretty much on time (which was generous in terms of travel time). Combined with  quicker journey than expected we even had enough time to pick up a few bits in the next door supermarket before joining the group.

After an intro, we split up, out group did an activity building model wind turbines first.


It was fun, though for an activity that they must run loads of times I felt it was not as well run as it could have been. Maybe he was a bit unsure of dealling with such an age range of children.

We tested and modified  our various versions. The kids got to choose how they arranged the blades, Our first one didn’t work at all. I was an even pattern, though not with them eqully spread.


After a bit of reorganising and it worked:

THere was also a bit of fiddling about with the angle of attack of the blades with one of the other turbines. Bottom line was that the number of blades didn’t seem to make a lot of difference.

After this we had lunch (we had packed lunch, but the cafe seemed fine a reasonably priced)

After lunch we headed out side. Those seven and older could go up the inside of the turbine tower – 305 steps (the only one the public can go up it seems).

Yup, up there 

SB went up, BB wanted me too stay, even though there were plenty of people she knew staying down, so I didn’t.

So whilst SB was up the tower, we pottered around the bottom, looked around the organic veg garden, where the kids all got Rhurbarb leaves, BB’s lasted about 10 mins before she had mangled it too much. Waved at those up in the tower, a sat in the shade in the Willow den.

Friends :-)PullEcotech Wind Turbine, SwaffhamRun away.Waves :-)IMG_9399 

They finished up with a session on recycling, but we had to head off to get back.

We made it nicely in time. BB has started doing a Little Dribblers football skills course at the sports centre, which she was very excited about (after years of traipsing around after SB she is pleased to be doing her own things now.. Once the instructor realised that she didn’t really have much idea what she was doing, and wasn’t very good at listening to what she was supposed to do she was fine. It’s a 4-8 yo class, so a couple were they same age I’d guess as her, though a bit more skilled football wise :-) She felt a little left out as they all their football kit, so that has been rectified via Ebay for next week. I do find it a bit of a shame that all these things get so gender differentiated so early. There was only one other girl there, probably 7-8 and obviously been playing football a bit. Can’t believe there aren’t more young girls who would like to have a go if offered. 

Anyway, SB was pleased as she finally got to go and have something from the sports centre cafe, which BB has been doing whilst SB has her swiming lesson. SB watched a bit of BB, and then did some Getty and Dubay handwriting practice.  Then me and BB waited whilst SB did her swimming. 

Got home to find H already home (unusual for a Tuesday) and glad that dinner just needed warming up to be ready.


Was back to Tots and Nots which haven’t attended for a while due to the possibility of Chicken pox and needing to be careful becuase of family gatherings before and at Easter.SB did a long piano practice before we left, which made us a bit late.  SB made a fold out thing showing how the Union Jack is made from the different flags for each country, BB made a shield and sword which she then used to run around chasing people with :roll: Both got to do some recorder lesson with Gina, SB did a little piano, then we had lunch there before heading off to another new thing.

A new ‘multisports’ session started up earlier in the year, the replace one that ran before for 8′s and up, seeing as the older sports has stopped on Monday, SB wanted to try this. Shame that it is right the other side of town, so we had to drive 20 mins to get there. SB enjoyed the session, played a bit of hockey, did some basketball skills, though we had to leave just as they were to start a game, to head off to another town for SB’s Gym class. (of course it’s back the way we had come…) 


Was planning on not going anywhere, but realised we had something to take back to the Red Cross. Which sadly has temporarily moved from a 10 minute drive to a 30 minute drive.  SB did some of her verbal reasoning book, and some music practice before we went out. We headed via a Citylink depot to pick up some Amazon parcels. Then over to the Red Cross. Since we were out and SB had been complaining of needing new trainers we went shoe shop hunting. Had feet measured in Clarks, of course in typical fashion they only had hardly any she liked in her size (one in fact, and that was one with the funny bit in the heel with a toy in which she doesn’t like). The sales assitant also seemed to have a problem accepting that she didn’t want anything too girly – most had too much pink or purple, or where excessivley ‘boy-ey’ red and black, shiney silver etc which she doesn’t like either. Can’t help thinking that a they need to arrange to have a better system – there have been a number of times we’ve not bought shoes there just becuase the available selection was so limited. Though I do see you can now order shoes on thre website to try on in store.

However, BB was pleased as she got some ‘Croc’ type foam Doodles there which she really loves.

Headed off home stopping in another town, where we found some reduced price trainers in Millets for SB, and some Sandals in the cheapy shoe shop, didn’t find any suitable Crocs though.

Home where they sat and read various books from the Amazon Order before dinner.


We’ve had  a few car conversations on the way to various places. SB heard and advert for the National Lottery, so we had a discussion about how that worked, why you were unlikley to win the jaclpot and what she would spend £6 million on. An expensive trampoline and a dog apparently to start with.  Also somehow got onto what happens to all the male chicks and chickens that aren’t needed.

Forensic Fun

Thursday we were going to go to Tots and Nots in the morning, but we had had a rubbish night, with both kids waking up, bed moving etc. and  Stringbean still not quite right and seeming very tired. We also had something on in the afternoon and I thought that it might all get a bit much

So we abandoned that plan. I’d started reading some more of Inside the Beagle with Charles Darwin, which we had started the night before. We spent the next 2+ hours !  reading the book and talking about various bits :-) Butterbean sat and listened a bit, pottered around with Lego, looked at some books of her own etc. Lots interesting discussion about sailing boats, navigation, time, clocks, fossils, variation, species, islands, evolution, scientific evidence (which is why we spent so long). SB can happily read such books, but often prefers you to read them to her.


By the time we had finished we were hungry so had breakfast :-) and the rest of the morning soon went with SB doing maths (until she got stuck in a sort of Limbo land where nothing much seemed to be happening, perusing a couple more books, while BB did some more fimo-ing and I got dinner ready to put in the oven.

Then a quick lunch and out. We were just in time, which then turned out to be plenty of time, as the time for the session said 1.30, but it was starting a 2, the time before was for setting the stuff up.

The session was about Forensic Science, normally the leader of the session spends all day doing this in school and we had a couple of hours – so it was obviously a bit contracted. Though the younger ones wouldn’t have coped with longer session though.

Basically, we had an introduction to some forensic techniques and did things like make paster casts of prints, took our finger prints (a little bit of chalk dust on the finger tip, push onto Sellotape, stick it to a piece of acetate sheet – look at with a hand lens.

IMG_6894 IMG_6897 IMG_6898 IMG_6907 IMG_6899

She showed us a simple DNA extraction from Kiwi fruit. Whizz up the kiwi with a bit of water and salt (to break open cell membranes). Strain the mixture through a cloth, and a bit of detergent to the mix, then carefully pour in a little methylated spirits to make a layer on top. you can see a some white stuff in the methylated spirit that is DNA.


Then they had to investigate a crime.

There was a sheet of suspects with  a bit of info about them. We had to look at 5 sets of evidence and try to wrok out who did it. Footprint, fingerprint, car paint, DNA, clothes fibre. We didn’t manage to get round them all (spent too long peering at fingerprints). But we did the footprint:


The car paint left on a wall:


And the fingerprints:


By which time it was time to go home, both kids were seeming a bit tired. SB in particular looked a bit pale and washed out when we got back. So they vegged a bit  once we got home before dinner. BB of course slept in the car so didn’t go to sleep til too late.


My parents were coming round, so tried to get a bit done before hand. SB did some maths, and read some bits out of her Encylopedia of Knowledge (or some such) which she had for xmas, and we tried to tidy the playroom. Was supposed to do some music but we had a phone call from H to say her Sis and family were stopping off on the way home from Centre Parcs. About 20 minutes later they appeared :-)

So they arrived and the kids were all off playing. A bit later my Mum and Dad appeared. A little while after lunch H got home as well :-) Once Sis and family had gone on their way, SB played kiddie Monopoly, can’t really remember what else might have happene. Parents stayed for dinner, then off to bed for children

Melrose 2009

well, where do you start? it was utterly fabulous. I have always been greatful to mrs muddlepuddle for starting out the melrose early years winter camp. this year was no exception. and we had snow!

we arrived just in the nick of time to put the pasta sauce on for the starving hordes, and well received! we met and gret [meeted and greeted?] new faces, old faces and firm friends, made from the very first muddlepuddle camp we ever attended 4 years ago [did i mention i was greatful?] then we got down to business, children playing elswhere and parents chatting, wine timing and playing games. the kids might call this ‘the snowy melrose’ but for us adults, it might well be ‘the games melrose’.

snow: oK, i am not going to do a blow by blow account – quite! we all had fun in the snow. the sledges [i got more off as it came to under a tenner for 2!] i bought at the last minute – and nearly sent back :roll: due to colour arguments – were well worth the pennies, and were used a lot every day by our kids and others – was pleased how well the sharing thing worked. the portico also brought sledges – rather cool silicon mat type thingies. so yes, snow was a key part of the melrose experience this year.

Gaming, was a v adult part of the experience! i really REALLY enjoyed stone age and Pandemic, and would be happy to play those lots. others played carcassonne and mission 44 and blokus, but i settled for those 2! lots of the adults got involved, and what with those stitching beside giving helpful commentary, it was all v sociable.

communal food was all delish. thanks to all the other makers. luckilly i didn’t over cater on the cooking front quite so outrageously. things to remember for next time 3kg rice is plenty. 5kg potatoes, 4 tins peas, 12 tins toms, 3 caulis, 1 tube garlic paste, 1 bag red lentils, 1 bag split yellow peas or channa, 10 onions, 1 tube tom paste, 1 spice pot bombay spices, 1 spice pot korma. only need 1 large yoghurt pot! with 1 little bag mint leaves and 1 cucumber.

crafts/activities. three cheers for nattyandplusone [avoiding google hits there!!] for providing felting and a computer gaming workshop. both my 2 got a lot out of them. i particularly loved the care and effort and significant attention bb put into her dinodoor scene [shh, its a secret present for daddybean], and they both worked hard on their ideas and looks for the computer game. finally they, courtesy of bead merrily, fimo-ed for ages, particularly BB as SB was off playing and practicing for the show at the end of the week. i also fimo-ed some aliens, and did a special one to one workshop with Jpie on fimo snowmen.I also did an ad hoc activity, and prepared skye boat song for the instruments available. in the end it was done when none of the guitarrists, or my children, where present. oh well! however, fran did a fab job with the sightreading of a lovelty cello part, various adults held the tune, and various children played d and e at mostly the right time. we heard e’s glock for the first time too.

music: i got to play the violin some more with em. always a joy. we snuck off and remained hidden for a fair while until required to be parents again! next time, if fran there, may simplify the continuo and see if she is interested…

escaping the hostel. well, we didn’t do dynamic earth this year, and though i planned to visit jedburgh and mary queen of scots house, a migraine put paid to that. and somehow – prob due to the snow, we didn’t swim in galashiels either. However, chris, SB and the manor borns walked up to a trig point, and then scudded down on their bottoms in the snow! i had an amble around Melrose with merry and 2 of her girls, and that was about it for us as i failed to persuade SB to walk to trimontium.

playing: well, the girls appeared to do a lot of that. Seemed to be mostly very smooth as well with little flouncing and bouncing – always good. BB also packed in some TV watching. There was a cabaret at the end put on by the kids and compered excellently by gwenny – nice to see the portico holding on to their traditional roles :lol: SB did a fab gym routine and also a leaping lunatics dance, and finally a bit of recordering. after some rather good clowning act moments – including heckling by small – BB also did some recordering. lovely acts from all in it i thought.

challenging moments
: well, i thought i had better before BB was outed too!! ‘i’m not tired’ wail shriek and full tantrum. lovely! I saw you all giggle, particularly Marcus! to say that BB was challenged and challenging whenever she didn’t get what she wanted from her parents is an understatement. Luckilly no more than 25% of the time – :roll: but am wondering what she was doing when out of our view…

So there was melrose. do you wish you had gone? you would have enjoyed it!!

Going to The Dogs (as BB put it)

Unusually both the girls ended up in different places today.

Someone was trying to organise an animation workshop with someone from the university, using the UNI equipment, but in the end that didn’t happen. But another HE family said they have them round as they had been doing some animation recently and has stuff set up. So took SB to their house, where she quickly settled down to making a flip book (apparently it’s a horror one :rolls:).



Drunk a bit of tea, chatted and had serious house envy. They live in a lovely, built for them modern house, split level kitchen living area, glass wall, curves, high celings all that sort of Grand Designs sort of thing.

I swopped SB for another girl who decided she wanted to come to the dogs while her mum stayed and animated and we headed off. A popular event, must have been 50-60 people all told. The police showed of the equipment they have on their vest nowadays,


IMG_5794 IMG_5788 IMG_5792 IMG_5790 


talked about the dogs, answered lots of questions. Showed one of them attacking another policeman


and showed another dog that they use for finding explosives sniffing ou hidden little bottles around the room.


THe dog would sit and wait patiently once it found something, becuase all it was really interested in was playing with it’s ball after as a treat :-)

BB enjoyed it and seems to have prety much lost her fear of dogs, was not fazed by a big black Alsatian barking and attacking a man in the middle of the room.

Headed off back to see what SB had been up to. She’d finshed the flap book, done her own design for something to go inside a Zoetrope, and done some Lego stop motion animation. They’d not had time to finish off the latter into a movie, so we got a CD of the images, though the computers here don’t seem to be seeing any on there. A  quick more bit of tea and my lunch and playing before heading home. Another parent though had the best ‘chivving up the children’ line.

“Come on R and R, don’t you want to go to Africa” :-)

(They were leaving right then to catch the plane to go out to South Africa, where one of them harks from).

Dragged the kids away from playing, SB “I wish we lived in a house like that” :-) to head home to catch up with Helen. Which you can read about below :-)

It was quite pleasant only having one child with me for a bit really for a change.

Shopping, Pizza , Shopping

Started the day with a bit of online shopping, new waterproofs for SB,  socks, mitts etc. some waterproof walking boots for SB as an alternative for her to wellies (managed to pick up some Clarks shoes for her on sale for £15 last week, so was goign to get some other boots for her with the saved money, and got the boots for £15 as well, bargain :-) ) some shoes for me and other bits and bobs.

Got an phone call later from the second place, their order system had had some kid of fit and missed out sizes on some things and mixed up others (a pair of 36″ waist boots anyone)  :-)

Managed to get children breakfasted and dressed in 45 minutes, and SB managed a bit of piano preactice, so we got out in time to get into City 1 for a Home Ed group trip to a Pizza Express restaurant. They talked a little about the pizza making process, (for some reason I was a bit disappointed to find they don’t make the dough and tomato sauce on site – I doubt making a big batch in a factory is much different to making a big bacth in the kitchen, nor is it likley to be any different in any other big pizza chain), showed us how to make the dough into a base – SB was pretty good at that.


Then we got to make up pizzas which they then took and cooked. They had a system of numbered hats so they could number the returned pizza boxes. It mostly worked, though a couple were mixed up. Had a little look rouind the kitchen area (pretty small as they basically just make up the pizzas in there)  - 4 minutes to cook a pizza in their ovens.


Kids seemed to find the big walkin fridge and freezer most interesting.

Then it was back to collect the pizzas. Not sure there was a massive educational value to the trip (making pizzas isn’t exactly something new to them) but I guess they got to see behind the scenes a bit and  have a bit of fun with their friends. And it was free (a bit of a promo for them I guess), so we got free pizza for lunch :-) Then headed off into town for a bit of real, in a proper shop, shopping

Ambled down the road a found a bench to munch pizza on. They are apparently looking cheerful :-) 


Finally found SB a new hat that she liked (another bargain as it turned out when we paid that it was much reduced as was aold stock from a couple of years ago) Though it was an adult hat, that only just fitted SB, so maybe that’s why it didn’t sell. But BB a fleece like the one I got SB last weekin a different pattern it’s just a fleece really, but for some reason it seems especially nice according to SB (BTW, any YHA members you get 10% off in Millets). BB doesn’t get that many clothes bought for her as we have so many from SB,  so when she gets something she gets so excited about it. I finally found some slipper-boot things that I liked, and we looked at various gloves, but none where waht SB wanted.

Went through the market and found gloves (she wanted some thin alternatives to her thick gloves) as did BB – fit her perfectly, which is unusal for a littlie like her (more excitement). A quick hit on M&S, and then it was time for a coffee break (SB had spied a Costa, and she knows they do nice cakes…) I’d said we could have a snack in a cafe if they were good whilst going round the shops. Quite surprsingly !! they were on the whole (a bit restless in M&S), probably becuase we were on the hunt for particular things, and tried not to faff around too much. And I had the buggy, which I can stick BB in.

A pop into Lakeland  on the way back to the carpark, where a bit tired children meant I wasn’ tempted to buy anything unnecessary (it’s an odd mix really I think of decent quality kitchen stuff, and all sorts of useless tat and gadgets).

As an aside, wondering what is the best rolling pin. I used to have a marble ones, which was good, though heavy and coould be too heavy for rolling somethings, but the weiht meant it rolled things out without a lot of effort.Have been using one we bought for SB to use and it’s really not big enough and is hard work rolling out things, I’ve bought a plain simple cyclindrical wooden one for now, but I’m tempted by one of the silicone ones like the Sil-Pin. The kids one is cute :-)

Just about got back to the carpek before it rolled into the next hour, and toolted home.

Kids where much more a of a pain at home (why is the default seemingly into argue about something, even when there is no need?). SB found a white board lurking, so wanted to draw on that, I didn’t feel like going and finding any suitable pens, but SB went and found some, so theyns  drew cats and things and argued over pens (plenty of them) cloths (how often do you need the cloth?)  and who knows waht else. I sat a read a few random books to them when I got fed up with it and had revived myself a bit with tea. But before we knew it it was time to head off for SB’sswimming lesson.

Out, back, Helen was home from work , chips for tea, watched Merlin, children in bed.


goodbye to a pink child and a blogiversary

when BB began her adventure in 3-dom, when you asked her how old she was, she would always say pink. the pink numberjack is number 3. although she still likes number jacks, she is now 3, and about to be 4!

interrupted for a news flash! BB has just proudly demsonstrated that she can lick her nose!!

well, where were we, ah, another year time! i am not a great writing sentimentalist. but these early years are fab for watching the changes. we started the year with BB certainly testing boundaries! [and our parenting skills]. we worked with her, and realised the triggers of tiredness, hunger and a need to be the equal of SB, so home ed books for her bought, and as and when she wants have been done. this has been with increasing frequency through the year. now, although she can’t recognise most letters, she will sound out letter sounds of words spontaneously and has a go at writing – both squiggles like adults, and will get a book to practice copying letters. she is a very careful colourer and artist. she sings beautifully, and she plays intricate games with her little toys. her request of sylvanians suited her well, and she is still playing with them, entirely ecstatically now [having woken up]. she is a joyful loving soul, and although she and SB have lot of birth and pack order issues still, i am sure it will sort itself out.

SO, BB, happy birthday for tomorrow, this year has been another year of blessing from your presence.