Friday, July 27, 2012

Beachy Winter Morning

What a beautiful morning. It brings me so much joy to watch all these sweet children playing freely in nature.


I didn't realise how important freedom was to me until I had children. The idea of freedom drives many decisions we have made for them. That feeling of space, to be able to run, skip, hop, jump.

To breathe.

Kees has always been the sort of child who has demanded this. As a baby, he would get bored inside - I know that sounds crazy, but he would. He would cry inside, then I'd step out the door and he'd stop. Step back in, start crying, step out, stop! It often feels like the backyard is too "bound" for him. Even as a tiny tot, he'd be over fences and off down the street, or up on the neighbour's garage roof.

When my children are outside somewhere beautiful like this, their spirits soar joyfully. 

My Striated Pardalote!

Sorry Toad...

This year, our overarching educational theme has been the beginning of the universe and the evolution of life on Earth. I haven't really posted any of our activities because I keep forgetting. We are up to Stone Age people now. I did, however, want to share a very successful activity in case you would like to give it a go....or not.

Whilst studying Amphibians, I thought a toad dissection might be of interest and relevance to the children. It really was! The kids were completely engrossed (and grossed) by this activity.

So. First you need to duck and dive around the backyard with rubber gloves and a plastic bag, and catch a few of the pesky varmints. I should let you know that toads are a big-time PEST in Australia.

The most humane way to end their days is by popping the bag in the fridge for an hour or two so they can go to sleep - just ignore the rustlings - then into the freezer overnight.

Thaw them out, and you have your specimens:

We pinned ours out with sewing pins on the lid of a polystyrene fruit and veg box.

Yes, Tamara, to your undoubted mortification, they are my sewing scissors!

Max trying not to be sick. At the end, he got up the courage to have a go, and unexpectedly chopped off the toad's foot. It's always those quiet ones...

Just check out the concentration!

Lucy: "I've got the heart!" Mwahahahah...also one of those quiet ones.

Future brain surgeons? Or maybe they'll just be really good at "Operation"!

You can watch a short animated film on called "Cane Toad: What Happened to Baz" here. It was made by my brother and his friend, and shot them both on their way to brilliant careers!

Living it up

I felt lucky today, when Kees made me a cup of tea. I lay on the couch and read a magazine while my little helper did the whole lot by himself. And it tasted pretty good! I will definitely be encouraging this interest and I hope it will become a habit. ;0)

Straddie 2012

Josee, Peter and Stacey, hope these photos make you want to come and visit soon ....

Ah, Straddie. It was too, too lovely. I really found it difficult to leave. Thanks so much, Mum. xoxo

Monday, July 23, 2012

Easy Listening...

 Once a week a lovely friend and I swap children. This helps keep me sane.

She has recently bought a new house.

While these two beautiful ladies were trying to persuade their big brothers to marry them....with no luck...

I went to the toilet and found THIS!!

This has got to be THE coolest toilet roll holder, EVER!

Gosh, but it did make me laugh.

Who in the world thought up that idea?? There really are some brilliant minds out there: finding a cure for cancer, exploring the furthest reaches of space, creating solutions for global warming .... and inventing wacky bog roll holders! Three cheers for you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Blustery Days

Firstly, I need to say: I am totally in love with Jimmy's cuteness. I could just watch and listen to him all day. I don't know if it is because he is little, or because he sings "Jack and Jill", or says "creeped", or giggles his head off when we play Gorilla on the trampoline. There are so many things that make me die from cuteness overload.Jimmy is so lovely, he makes me want to have more babies. Somebody please talk me out of this. In light of overpopulation.

On this day, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon with some beautiful sisters at the park. The sun shone, the wind blew, the children played, we drank tea and listened to Jane's hilarious tales of skiiing. Please write a book, Jane! We say "kill two birds with one stone"; in Holland they say "swat two flies with one smack"! Kind of looks like two flies down there.... two very pretty flies of course. ;0)

Then it was time for everyone to scurry home to cosy dinners and baths. With a pot of soup all ready, we were able to stay a bit longer. Yay! I hate leaving at the most beautiful time of day....

So, the boys and I went for a walk. It was blustery and freezing and fresh, the sunset was crisp, clear and perfect, and I loved it so much!

Where we live, really cold weather like this is reasonably rare, so to me it is precious. We lived in London for two years and I just loved the seasons. Now, if I don't get a good "wintering", I miss it. A bit like a bulb that needs to get really cold before it can bloom. ;0)

In winter, I enjoy nothing more than a bracing walk out in the fresh air, with my warm coat and my face all nice and cold. If it's cold I love it, if it's windy too, I'm in heaven! What a great way to clear out a few cobwebs. I should do this more often. xx

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Water Cycle Lesson Plan

Well folks, looks like we've got MORE rain on the way, just in case we hadn't had enough already! So if your shoulders are drooping with dread at the thought of another few days indoors with your little treasures, fear not! You might enjoy trying our water cycle lesson plan!

This was the first website I used. It's very simple for little learners and has some good basic printables.
We read through those sheets, then did an experiment. You boil some water, hold a piece of card or plastic above the steam to catch it, then discuss how it condenses back into liquid to fall back down, like rain. This was a very easy but helpful experiment.

We enjoyed this catchy animated song about the water cycle on Youtube.

And this cool water cycle rap would be great for upper primary kids.

This little short animation is nice and simple too, while you're there.

We made boats.

Then the highlight of the day was the rainy walk and play.

We came home, had a hot shower and some lunch, then curled up on the couch to watch
The Magic Schoolbus - "Wet All Over".I'm so glad I found The Magic Schoolbus! They have episodes about all different topics and I plan on using them a lot.

Then we sewed some rain clouds. You need: grey felt, grey embroidery thread, scissors, sewing needles, stuffing, clear beads and clear thread (optional).

Lastly we made a rainy day soundscape, recording our voices singing "Rain, Rain, Go Away". We overlapped this with pitter-pattering, a rainstick and chimes to make our soundscape. The kids liked it more than I thought they would. I guess everyone likes the sound of their own voice. What's that? You don't?

We hope you enjoy learning about the water cycle as much as we did. Now that we've done it, I'll have to think up another way to embrace this week's rainy weather ...