Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Flowers and a trip to the farm

While Isla had her last preschool adventure before the Easter holidays, Evie had fun at toddler group. She liked playing with the toy kitchen there, much as she likes playing with our toy kitchen at home. She also likes little cars that stick with magnets and the trampoline. There were a few other children there too of the same age as her. It wore her out for an early nap:

Andrew was poorly this week. I made a chocolate cake to try and cheer us up, which Evie certainly enjoyed. It was a really tasty cake using one layer of a Jo Wheatley chocolate cake and just some chocolate buttercream icing from our oven cookbook with some milk added. Evie now insists on using a cake fork when she is eating some cake......

Isla was poorly again this week. She felt well enough to sit outside and do some watercolour painting of flowers. This took her mind off feeling sick. In the morning before she felt ill, we had a friend round who Isla got on with really well and disappeared off with to play upstairs, only coming down for biscuits. We went for a short walk with the two friends on their bikes to see the ponies and go to the park. The next few days Isla got worse but now she is better again. Andrew is also getting better and so hopefully we won't be getting any more bugs for a while.

When our flower paintings had dried, we cut them out and stuck them to lolly sticks. We stuck sparkly Easter stickers to little jars as vases to display our flowers. Evie really enjoys stickers at the moment. We didn't get up to much else as Isla and Andrew were getting over their bugs. It has been really really windy here with a few hailstorms but we've been out in the sandpit a lot. Evie has helped wash some of our pots in preparation for planting seeds.

We made a special 'fairy garden' out of some pots, twigs, moss, soil, sand, seashells and pine cones. I found the idea on this website. On our holidays we have collected lots of shells, stones and some magical floating pumice stones and cuttle fish pieces which Evie liked playing with in the fairy sea. I made some little fairy dolls to cheer Isla up when she was ill. I got the idea for those from this website. I haven't got any photos of those yet but no doubt the fairies and fairy garden will appear soon.

Today we went to Bath City Farm. It was very busy there but we enjoyed the trip out. We saw pigs, cows, ponies, goats, chickens, guinea fowl, ducks and a bee! There was a great view of the city and we met up with some friends for a bit. There was also someone dressed as a giant dancing Easter egg which freaked the children out a bit, and someone dressed up as a Springtime wizard person. Isla was helped to make a little nest out of woven sticks and moss. She was photographed by someone for the local paper while she made it. The chocolate Easter eggs in the nest didn't last long! There were a couple of play areas and one had a stream with tadpoles in it. Evie enjoyed saying Baa Baa at the sheep and 'Bee' when I rescued a bee from near our picnic. She also says 'flower' in a very special cute way and does the same nose-scrunchy smile as Isla.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Travelling on a train for treasure and doing some science

At the weekend we went to Wales on the bridge. We rode the train and did the treasure hunt at Perrygrove railway and then visited the dramatic Tintern Abbey with Granny Ilene. 

The daffodils are coming out in the garden this week, and we have had tulips in the house.

We went swimming on Monday after dropping Granny at the station. We had had a brilliant time with Granny, particularly in the sand pit making pies and doing paintings together. At the pool, Isla practised some of her skills and Evie enjoyed being in the water for the first time in ages. She is now ready for arm bands but also enjoys sitting on the side and falling into my arms.

Isla and Evie had grown beards and moustaches later on:

We got the play dough out after dinner:

Evie walked a lot on the way to pick up Isla from pre-school. She spotted two ladybirds, a spider, a cat, a stone and a stick. She also pointed out the buses, cars and vans on the way. Isla had been learning about the best letter of all ('s') and had made bunny ears, done dancing and played with her friends. We had all seen a huge hail storm earlier in the day but luckily we just got rained on a little while walking home. 

Today we did drawings with some chalk pastels. We were drawing the flowers that we used in a special colour experiment. Isla poured and mixed some different coloured water and cut white flowers to put in the different water glasses. She thought that the flowers might change colour. We used a control treatment of colourless water so it was a proper scientific experiment and everything. Our results are due to appear in Nature next week.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Artiness and watching the eclipse

We have been having a brilliant week. On Monday it was rainy (again) and so we did lots of things indoors with only a brief walk/bike ride round the block. We made some chocolate dinosaur biscuits:

And then we did some painting and chalk drawing. It was nice to use the easel as well as trying some salad spinner art. Last week on another rainy Monday, we did a 'drip art' raincloud painting which Isla though was amazing.

Tuesday turned into a warm, sunny day. We went to Dyrham Park for a toddler session. Evie and I took the bus and then looked at the crocuses and primroses. We saw many bees. Evie made a straw hedgehog picture. She mainly enjoyed playing with stones on the path and the bus ride. Then we all played in the garden in the afternoon.

Wednesday was an exciting day. Isla got through her swimming lesson, then we went out for lunch. We met granny Ilene at the station and went home for an afternoon in the garden.

On Thursday, we went to the Holburne Art Gallery in Bath. We went to an exhibition called 'Gwen John to Lucian Freud' with many different paintings from modern artists. They included Graham Sutherland, Ben Nicholson and Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf's sister). There were also paintings by Walter Sickert, a sketch by Lucian Freud and a painting by Gwen John and one by her brother. There was a collage by Richard Hamilton which Isla liked. There was a large painting which Evie kept pointing at and saying 'baa baa' so it was apparently of a sheep.

There was a family trail to look out for different animals in the rest of the museum. We used large magnifying glasses to look at different artefacts including coins, trinkets from different cultures and miniatures. These were housed in drawers in one of the galleries and the children loved looking at the things down low and in detail. We tried out an activity pack for children which included a kind of treasure hunt that almost outwitted us.

This morning we went out to the park first thing with a colander and two paper plates. It was a bit cloudy but gradually felt like it was getting even darker. It got quite gloomy and cold around 9.20 and so we went back home after playing on the slide and attempting to use our colander and pinhole camera paper plates to watch the eclipse. After we got home and had some snacks, the clouds went away and there was a blue sky. We used the paper plates as a pinhole camera through the window and could see the eclipse taking place - the sun had a big bite out of it. Isla saw the image on the plates. I think Isla and Evie will remember the eclipse for going to the park with a colander and for it getting spookily cold and dark.