Friday, 29 July 2011

Wallowing in Baby Bliss!

One week on and I am absolutely smitten with my baby boy.... before he was born I was unsure if I wanted a boy as having two girls already I 'know' how to bring up girls and wondered if I could do it with a boy. How daft of me... I can't think why I thought like that at all.... he's so perfect, such a peaceful little thing. He has amazing 'wakey' times when he gazes intently at me and we drink eachother in... just magical, I feel so blessed! These are rare pictures of him lying on our bed.... he's much more likely to be found in someones arms! Thankyou for all you kind wishes, Jenni x

Saturday, 23 July 2011

We Had Our Baby!

We are delighted to introduce our son!
We named him Idris Graham
He was born at eleven minutes past eleven
On Thursday 21st July
He weighed 9lb 9oz
Mum, Baby, Dad and Sisters doing really well!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Getting Hands on With Clay....

I have always loved ceramics and clay. I'm not particularly interested in the exactness of making tea-cups and plates...... I really love the organic, flowing, creative pieces that can be made with clay, and the beautiful glazes that can be applied. We have dabbled on and off with clay over the years, occasionally buying a bag of reconstituted clay from a local potter and getting together with some friends to explore it. Recently when my husband was helping his friend to build some decking, he got chatting with his friend's next door neighbour. They got chatting about gardening and swapped some plants, and then Al showed Dewi his pottery studio. Well to cut a long story short, we were invited to go along for a couple of hours to enjoy some clay and how could we refuse such a great invite??!!
First off, Al talked the girls through the 'story' of clay, how it came to be formed, where it could be found, he asked them what they knew and built on that. His love of clay came across so vividly and his enthusiasm was so infectious! When we went out to his studio, he showed the girls how to make a simple vessel by rolling a ball of clay and then pushing a piece of broom handle into it to hold it by. In the photo above, Faith is tapping her clay ball firmly with a wooden paddle inscribed with a pattern. Al has made a range of these paddles with either cut out patterns or things like nails tapped into them to create marks on the clay. He went through how to make and attach a handle that would hold whilst firing and I was impressed how the girls absorbed the information and made and attached their handles. So securely that they could hold their little jugs up by the handle without it breaking!

Al then opened up a sack of clay, told the girls to help themselves to as much as they wanted and left them to be creative. Above is Faith making a fairy house with a pond attached.....
Here Eve is making markings on a fish shape that she carved out of some rolled out clay....

Here is Eve again experimenting with making marks using the wooden paddles....

This is Eve's ice house with mother and baby polar bear....

And this is Faith's spider bowl!
Al was really taken with the girl's creative expression and they had a wonderful time. They took Al up on his offer of using as much clay as they liked and managed to secure themselves an invitation to come back again. Faith is just four but she concentrated for over an hour and a half before beginning to get fidgety. I honestly think that I could have left Eve there all day!

To finish up, Al showed the girls how to 'throw' a mug, bowl, vase and plate. Eve was really keen to have a go so maybe she will get to try next time!!! Throughout our whole visit Al and his wife made us so welcome, bringing out a tray of tea, juice and biscuits and being thoroughly lovely! Al was so interesting to talk to and really supportive of our endeavours to home educate the girls, which is really nice as home education is not so wide spread or well accepted in the UK at present.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sensational Clay

 We went to a fabulous hands-on clay exhibition at a local gallery today. All of the pieces were free to be handled and they covered the senses.... visual, textual, scented, auditory (none to taste but it was a public exhibition!!!) I love ceramics and this was so special as normally children are told 'don't touch' and it is all pots/bowls/plates/mugs/vases. I've never done such a photo heavy post before but really these don't even do it justice! Just feast your eyes.....

This sand was slightly damp and the wonderful shapes made prints in the sand.

The shapes were contained in this wonderful organically shaped pit made from red clay.

All these shapes were hollow and contained items to give them each a different sound.

This display of pizza-like creations was a glory of glazed and unglazed shapes, twists, blobs and more..... I took close ups of some of our favourites.

This was another set of shapes in a different sand pit..... I loved that they were just shapes for enjoying shape's sake and not 'functional'. We will definatley go back and I have some ideas to try at home too! This was perfect timing as we have been exploring clay recently (haven't posted those pics yet!).

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Letter Formation and Early Reading for Faith

Faith is working her way through set one of the Dandelion Readers and is flying along. She loves to read and whilst she doesn't remember all of the letters yet she just looks up at me for a prompt! She blends like a pro and it's lovely to see!

We are also working on letter recognition and formation still. Faith enjoys little booklets and we have moved on to these books from Sparklebox (you can download the whole set from the link at the top of the list of booklets) and these letter formation sheets. I thought the sheets looked rather boring but Faith insisted on doing every dotted 'b' before doing them herself and I was amazed at her steady pencil control and beautifully formed letters!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Exploring Fractions

We began chatting about fractions the other day when Eve was cooking with me. Her task was to chop each peeled potato into four before popping it in the pan. It provided a great opportunity to explore wholes, halves, quarters and eighths. I was pleasantly surprised (as I often am) about how competent Eve was with fractions after not having 'done' any for a while. We talked through the numerator and the denominator and how we know which number to put where. She wrote them out on some scrap paper from the recycle bag as we went! We touched on equivalents as well a little.

This morning I pulled out these fractions cards that I printed and laminated ages ago and Eve played around with them with her Dad, matching equivalents and putting the correct written fraction with the correct image. My only criticism of these cards is that they don't have all the section lines drawn in, for example one third has one third in green then two thirds in white with no dividing line. However, it is nothing a sharpie marker can't fix so not a problem for long!!

I think I will continue the fraction theme this week as Eve seems keen to continue. I have a few more resources ready to use:
I found a few more sites with plenty of resources and worksheets to choose from:
That should keep you all busy!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Baby Number Three

I always do a self-portrait the week before my babes are due and here is one for this time round! I am in my bathroom running a lovely deep bubble bath...... bubbles and the smell of washing powder are my cravings once again.... along with cucumbers and carbonated water. Very strange as I can usually take or leave cucumbers and don't like carbonated water normally either! Still what baby wants baby can have!!

I am writing this with my feet in a warm tub of water infused with ylang ylang, clary sage and lavender oils.... absolute bliss..... a good friend has taken my children out for the afternoon so I am alone..... apart from classic fm and a large stash of vegetable sticks and houmous!!

The oils have been provided by my hypnobirthing midwife..... ah hypnobirthing, for the first time I can honestly say that I am looking forward to giving birth! I have always looked forwards to meeting my babies but dreaded the birth but after one traumatic delivery and one c-section I can't wait. It has been a gift from God to feel this relaxed and positive, even if the birth goes topsy turvy the peace and tranquility in this pregnancy have been blessing enough! I feel empowered to say 'no' and to negotiate the birth that we need and want. My labour basket is packed with essentials to ensure my comfort as well as little bag for baby once I feel babe has had the length of skin to skin contact he/she needs. I am not bowing to pressure to 'hurry up' this time round!

Although babe will be sleeping in with us, I have cleared out and stocked the baby's room, and go there regularly to bury my head in little clothes and blankets and inhale deeply!!! I have so enjoyed getting out Eve and Faith's first clothes and blankets and washing them and putting them ready. The girls have loved it too! My mum has knitted a beautiful vest and cardy ready.... the same design as my gorgeous nephew Sam had when he was born in January! A dear neighbour from my childhood had a bushel of cardigans and hats knitted up by her friend for me.... all in different sizes and designs.... I was so touched! Mum also presented me with a huge bag of frozen home cooked meals for after the birth, they were so welcome!

I prepared all these things weeks ago, when I had loads of energy.... all gone now and my foot bath going cold so I shall sign off...... home schooling has quietened down as well as birthing draws nearer.... we are making the most of teachable moments and snuggling up on the sofa to read rather than planned lessons.... different but just as valuable and suiting Eve really well right now! I will of course post when we've had the baby!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

We Have Discovered Katie Morag!!!!

My Mum and Dad recently went on holiday to the Outer Hebrides in the North of Scotland, and they brought back two of these books for the girls. I can't even describe how wonderful they are. They have the most beautiful illustrations (see below) and use wonderful descriptive language with a few Scottish expressions thrown in also. The stories are based on a real life Island but the name is fictional and describe aspects of Island life. The stories are funny and engaging...... and my girls have fallen in love! I have since bought some more from Amazon and they are the mainstay of bedtime stories at the moment!

My Mum did a lovely activity with Eve, getting her to look at the map in the book and another map that Mum had brought back. Eve then drew her own map of a fictional Island and made a key on the back. She loved this activity and it was a great introduction to mapping. They also made 'porridgies' from the recipe in the book.... delicious..... even though nearly burned due to our crazy cooker super heating as it does randomly sometimes!