Saturday, January 30

What a lovely day! ;D

We had a lovely day today! It started out a bit rocky... I yelled so loud my head started throbbing and I was worried I might blow a vein, but hey, after that everything went MUCH better!! ;D

Things started to smooth out as soon as I decided that we would not be watching any more Saturday morning TV. Man what a load of LOUD, visually exhausting, commercially oriented, badly drawn, awfully written and did I say LOUD CRAP there is on television for kids on a Saturday morning. Just horrible. In the past I've let them watch it if only for the chance of a lie in but I've always inevitably paid the price by having a pair of hopped up crackpots for children the rest of the day.

I expected there to be wailing and screaming when I turned off the television, but, tellingly, there was no complaining at all. I think they both realise that it's junk, though they'd be loathe to admit it! ;D

I'd showed the children the video of the crazy machine to open the curtains and Jack was fascinated and watched it over and over again. They were very inspired to make a machine of some sort so I had them thinking about that for a while. Jessie worked on her marble run some more whilst Jack played in his room with his castle and I had a shower. Once I was showered and felt a little more normal I found a website online about the six different types of simple machines and we did some experiments to learn about some of them.

Here the kiddies are using a lever to lift a heavy book.

Here they are noting the difference in energy required to pull a small bag of rice straight up a pile and using an inclined plane.

I took Jack upstairs to get him dressed and Jessie got back to work on her marble run....

Jackster and I took the dogs for a walk in the coooold. Actually, really, it wasn't too bad and it was lovely to get out in the fresh air. I've been rereading some of Charlotte Mason's writing recently and it reminded me to make our walks more of a Nature Walk. I tend to let Jack's involvement in our day to day stuff slide somewhat. I don't expect too much of him which is a failing on my part. I need to expect MORE of him, then he will strive to learn more, won't he!

Anyway, he and I walked, hand in hand. We stopped and listened for birds. I taught him what a Cardinal sounds and looks like, we heard a Woodpecker and a Blue Jay. We observed some fungus on a tree trunk and noticed a tree had fallen down. We talked about the seasons and why there were no leaves on the trees, what happens in the summer time and why the water in the streams was frozen. We picked up sticks and locust tree seed pods, we collected icicles and noticed the patterns within them formed by the freezing, thawing and refreezing of the water. We noticed a small bush under which was masses of rabbit droppings and we decided that the rabbits must like to shelter around there. We scared up a large rabbit in our backyard on the way home and Jack carried in a big chunk of snow which had melted and frozen over and over again and was now almost solid. We looked at the icicles again indoors and noticed how rapidly they began to melt once they got inside. It was all fascinating to him and it made me so aware of how little one on one stuff I do with him. I used to do that sort of thing with Jessie all the time when she was small but never really considered that Jack would benefit from it. Also we usually all walk together and when Jessie comes too they usually run off and play. I enjoyed it today and felt good about the use of our 20 minutes outdoors!

Once home again we thought it was a great plan to make some cookies! Jessie had picked out a Vegan Snickerdoodle recipe

and we all got to work on making some tout suite!

We first had to wash hands of course! ;D

Once we'd made up the dough we had to roll it into balls and then roll them in a cinnamon sugar mixture and place them on a cookie sheet.. Jack rolled HIS into sausage shapes.... they tasted JUST as good! ;D

The cinnamon sugar DID make your hands a bit sticky though....!! ;D

After the cookies, why it was on to more machines! ;D We made a small little machine where a wind up toy pushed a marble down an inclined plane, the marble rolled along a little track made by some books on the table and then it fell off the table landing in a cup on the chair!! It delighted the heck out of Jack that the ball fell in the cup every single time!! ;D

Yup! It's in there!

We played around with more ideas, using steam from the kettle, using string to open kitchen drawers, sending something down a string to turn on the TV remote... and we played and played with it. I decided I'd like to move the furniture around in the living room so I did that, and vacuumed, and folded a basket of laundry... and made dinner...( Vegan Sloppy Joes... Yummy!) after dinner a quick bath for Jackster and then bedtime! He would not go to sleep tonight without having pretend ice cream. The kids LOVE pretend ice cream! They tell me what flavors and toppings they would like and they end up with towering cones of ice cream that I have to carefully deliver to them and they devour in no time flat!! Lots of fun!!!

All in all a really nice day. I realise how, in order to have a nice day, I have to spend all my time with the children, or most of it anyway. They really seem to enjoy it and maybe even thrive on it. Whilst I'm working from home it is just not possible for me to spend the time with them I'd like to, but hopefully, someday soon, I will get a grip on my work and it will not take so much time...and, since I enjoyed spending so much time with them today, the sooner the better..!!

Friday, January 29

Rolling rolling rolling......!

So we're still working on the marble run....!!!! It's a doozy of a job and Jessie is WOWing me with her "sticktoitness" ! I'm so proud of that kid. I told her she wouldn't have to do anything else for school all day long as long as she worked on that thing! Honestly it's firing up neurons she never knew she had! ;D

In a similar vein you have got to seeTHIS thing! A fantastic series of simple machines ultimately wind up opening the curtains in a distant part of the house!! We were fascinated! ( I especially love the chess pieces moving....! ) Jessie was totally taken with the entire concept and, before bed, had already envisioned two machines that might just work!! I'm excited to try them out tomorrow and of course, share pics! ;D

I'm really excited to think where this may lead. I really would love the children to have mechanical minds... mine.... not so much! ;D LOL!!!

Thursday, January 28

Run Marble...RUN !!!!

Last night, when the kids were in bed, my husband showed me something he'd bought for them as a surprise......


This morning I hid it under the couch and planned a treasure hunt for the kids ( which funnily enough involved them having to complete all manner of chores before they found the clues.....!!) until eventually the poor kiddoes found their last clue and dug the box out..!! Wheeeeee!!! We couldn't wait to open it up and get it going!! It looked fantastic !!! Yeahy!!! Except.....wait...... what the....????.... Huh???????


Yeah..... I hadn't noticed THIS little bit of information...........

And they meant little teeny pieces.... that were all the same. And all plastic. Fragile plastic. You know, the kind that the dog likes to chew or the kind that if you happen to accidentally STEP on one of the OVER 430 pieces it will break thus rendering your entire Mega Marble whatever the heck completely useless. Yep. That kind.

I was all for taking it back to the store.... what fresh hell IS this??!! But the kids persuaded me to keep it and I was having my own problems with the computer and so on... so.... meh... I let it stay. I figured maybe Daddy would have a clue how to put it together. You should have seen the instruction book for this thing!!! It's a gazillion pages long... Anyway, it turns out this Marble Run has proven to be just the thing for Jessie!!! She has taken to the project and spent hours studying the instructions, working out problems and building this behemoth. I'm really proud of the way she's sticking to it. This is the first time I've really seen her dedicated to something and it makes me feel great to see her figuring it out and not being intimidated by the immense job infront of her! It's not close to being finished yet but I believe she can do it and she's going to be so darn proud of herself when it is and I'm going to be darn proud of her too!!!

Way to go, Jessie!! and... watch out Marbles... you'd BETTER run !!!! ;D

A dinosaur train, a long earred owl, a swan and a bunny!

Today was NUTS!!! It was so crazy busy I didn't know whether I was coming or going most of the day! The phone was ringing off the wall, the kids seemed to be wanting this that or the other... the dogs, the computer, my job...!! Aie aie aie! Still we did have some nice moments! :D

Jack built himself a Dinosaur Train from the PBS kids show. He used our chair and the laundry baskets, yes,they are still in the living room..!! Here's a pic of him pulling the "whistle".....

But it's never fun unless you can get your Mum to ride the train WITH you... so here I am... obliging...!! ;D

Jack had his hair in pigtails overnight and wanted them in all day today... he'd seen his sister get her hair done and wanted a go too....

the trouble was, when we took them out... we got Jack the Horned Owl..!! ;D

That sort of crazy leads to more sorts of crazy.....

We did get some "work" done today though! Jessie did some logic puzzles from MEP maths, she read some books on presidents and on Kings and Queens of England. She made a couple of timeline cards and wrote a letter in really neat writing. The kids also used the books, Draw Write Now again.... today they drew a bunny (Jack )

and a swan.....

Lovely, aren't they!!??

Well I have to go to bed... it's so late...!! So much for my early night stuff!! This time of night is the only time I get to get anything done...but then I'm exhausted in the morning!! Ugh!! ;D

'Night all! ;D

Tuesday, January 26

Airing my dirty laundry in public, puking and piles.

My friend Lisa and I have agreed that we should invite each other and our respective husbands to our homes AND DUMP LAUNDRY ALL OVER THE COUCH...!! You know how you tidy the heck out of your house before your friend and her husband arrive and then when they go home the husband says things like... There's NEVER laundry all over the couch at Tiffany's house...!! Well in the spirit of keeping things honest and full disclosure, I invite you to my house and to bear witness to our "little laundry problem...." !!

Today as I woke with what I like to term a "puking migraine" as in 'I'll have to puke before I start to feel better'. My lovely family took wonderful care of me, bringing my drinks, keeping quiet, bringing me gum when I finally threw up!! Lucy, the puppy and Raindrop the kitten ALSO took care of me and snuggled with me as I slept. Lucy followed me to the bathroom, back to the bedroom, the bathroom, the bedroom...!! I honestly felt so loved today. I knew my Mum was worried about me, I had several people call me and when Rex told them I was sick, they asked me later how I was feeling and if I was better.... it's so nice to be cared for!! Anyway, it was about 3pm before I was up and dressed so the "Day of Tackling the Laundry Monster" got off to a very late start! Nevertheless the children and I were determined to make a go of it and we hauled every last piece of laundry down to the living room and we marveled at what a huge pile it made. The children leaped in it, buried each other in it, climbed in it.. They slid down the stairs on it, made hide outs in it.....until finally, big mean Mommy made them help separate it into colors and start the wash process!! In order that the day was not totally drudgery, we opened up our new Netflix of the Gilmore Girls and we watched that as we worked!! A MUCH nicer way to spend the afternoon!! We still haven't finished the laundry, there are a few baskets remaining, but man... you should SEE my lovely piles!! ;D

Some of the laundry....

Lorelei Gilmore keeping us entertained!

MORE of the laundry....

My GORGEOUS machines!!! I LOVE these beasts.... LOVE them!! I literally squealed when I first turned them on and they made a beautiful brrrrrING noise!!!!

Piles of piles.... Now all we need to do is get it all put away.....!!!

And one for the dog lovers.. she just looks so COMFY!! You would never guess this was the monkey that runs off for hours on end....!! **tsk** !!

Monday, January 25

Pinching a minute!

Today Jack was being something of a pest with not one but TWO pairs of tweezers. Maybe it's all little boys and tweezers, but the cats and dogs were not safe!!! In order to put the darn things to better use and to give me a MINUTE to concentrate I came up with a quick little plan! I found an egg box, tore the lid off and placed teeny tiny or tricky things in 6 of the cups. Jack had to TWEEZE the objects out of one cup and into another and then tell me which was easiest and which was hardest!!!

Fun eh?!!? You can't really see all the things in the cups but there was a brazil nut, a cheerio, a grain of rice, an oat flake, half a pistachio shell and a tiny round battery. He found that a Brazil nut was almost impossible for him to pick up but half a pistachio shell was the easiest thing!!! ;D It is so good for his dexterity to try games like that and he did it over and over again!! ;D

Fun, AND FREE!! ;D

Sunday, January 24

Sunday! .... um.... !!

Just a quickie tonight folks... I have a long and busy night ahead! Today is something of a blur.... it seems the morning was spent looking for our dog who wandered off and was gone for what felt like HOURS. She does that, Brecon, the dog at the top of the blog page. She will catch the scent of a rabbit or something and that's it... she's gone. Anyway, she came back and we went out to the shops. Great. Grocery shopping on a Sunday. What a way to spend the weekend hours!! Still, it needed to be done!! We spent a small fortune in Open Harvest, our favorite source for Organic and Natural foods... and we ran into several old friends, some of whom we haven't seen for over a year. Open Harvest is just that kind of a store. It's a rare day when I go in and DON'T see someone I know!! Anyhoo, after that I dropped Jessie and Hubby off at the library ( lucky buggers ) and I took Jackster to the super market with me. He is AWESOME when there's just the two of us and he was a really neat boy today. We then went to the pet store next door to get dog food. Man. The pet store is Jack's Kryptonite but all in all he was pretty good and we managed to leave without ANY yelling or tears... from either of us!!! We circled around and picked up the rest of the family and headed back home. Once the groceries were unpacked and the house was at peace the rest of 'em watched a movie whilst I started working.... and here I remain!!! I have made dinner in the meantime ( Beat the Clock Spinach Lasagna ) (Vegan ) It is SOOOO good!! I will share the recipe sometime... but Not Tonight, Josephine. I have also cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, blown a fuse from trying to run the kettle and the dishwasher on the same circuit at the same time... FIXED the fuse, bathed my boy, got him to sleep, chatted ( all too briefly for her liking ) with Jessie and eaten a rather large amount of Marzipan straight from the package.... but other than that it's been Work, Work, Work....!! ;P

Hope your Sunday was a nice one...!?!? See you tomorrow. Monday here is going to be Laundry day. All Laundry, all the time...!! ;D