Thursday, 8 January 2009

The Early Dog Gets the Bird Cake, and Feng Shui 'Ice Blocks' Shortlisted for Turner Prize

Well, as you can see from the photos we're still heading towards an ice age...

Top of this week's activities has been 'chiselling out large chucks of ice from a frozen lake and building it into ice towers/sculptures'.

I reckon the final results are good enough to go in the Tate Modern (I'm a mother, so of course I'm biased). Not surprisingly the artists had to suffer for their work - cold hands, wet feet and runny noses - and their parents had to suffer too (as personal assistants, carrying around the sodden gloves from their mini geniuses). Ah well...all in the name of art.

'Ok guys, I might need a hand with this one...'

There's something decidedly Feng Shui about this one...
though I think the bit of frozen pond weed hanging out of the bottom wedge on the right might be blocking the energy flow {g}

Ah, that's better. Just pile it in a heap.

Turner prize, here we come...

One of my new year's resolutions (the resolutions which I keep telling everyone that I haven't made, but are such an ingrained habit that I suppose I subconsciously have) is that I would try and do a few small things with the kids every day.

Ok, let's get this clear. I'm a home educator, and home educators are meant to do stuff with their kids; isn't that what it's all about? Well, yes, and - er - no. As the lesser-organised home educators among us will know, the reality is that days sometimes drift by, stuff kind of gets done (but we're not sure by whom and how - the home educating fairy perhaps?) and things seem to get learnt (by a mysterious osmotic process that often baffles me) and then we look around and find that the children are a year older and we sit back and say 'how did that happen?'.

So. The idea that something 'planned' (well planned-ish) will happen each and every day is a bit of a novelty for our family. Not that we haven't tried before... And that's what I intend doing. Again. No doubt human nature will intervene and we'll slip back into our chaotic - but mostly productive - selves. Isn't that what new year's resolutions are all about? Making wildly unrealistic promises to yourself, feeling good cos you've managed to fulfil them (briefly), and then several weeks later drifting back into whatever you were doing before you had ambitious hopes for change. Until the following year, when you go through the process all over again... where was I ? Oh yes, doing one or two things with the kids every day. So, starting with good intentions...

Ds1 made a victoria sponge cake. Despite making a pig's ear of following the recipe (I was on the phone at the time, so he basically just chucked the whole lot of ingredients in the bowl and stirred it round - {g} - must be genetic!) it was a much better cake than most of the ones I've made.

And we made fat 'cakes' for the birds with veg lard and bird seed. We've had the bird seed in the cupboard for about 5 years. I'd given up feeding the birds as they never ate the food we put out, but since next door got 2 rotweillers and scared off all the cats in the neighbourhood, the birds have returned.

To bulk up the bird fat cakes I added some of dh's mixed raisins and nuts into the mix [shhh don't tell him or he'll start feeling even lower in the pecking order than he is already]. Anyway ds2 heated up the stuff and poured it into some yoghurt pots and we tied them to the apple tree (and my washing line) with string.

It's been too frrrrreeezing cold to go and examine if the birds have tried to eat any of it yet. It got the dog's 'seal of approval' though:Jack managed to get up on the table while the yoghurt pots were cooling and had a quick munch of the top layer! Could make the next few days' doggie walks interesting...

Yum! Bird fat 'cakes'

(Before the dog queued up for his tasting session)

And ds2 helped me cook pancakes for breakfast this morning. Not something I'd planned (so does it count towards my resolution?).

At that time of the morning I usually growl at anyone who comes near me in the kitchen, so it was a huge sign of my restraint and responsible parenting to put him in charge of a frying pan.

[We all know that cooking with kids is really great for them isn't it? Or so the parenting books say. Mind you, what these books don't tell you is that sharing a mixing bowl with a child has been known to cause long term damage to an adult's mental well-being]

ds2 pancake cooking (just before he burnt his finger on the pan)


Sam said...

I love the ice art :-)

I'm a BIG fan of the home educating fairy here. Organisation? Pah!

Philippa said...

Ha! Kids in the kitchen is a nightmare! I tend to stay well out of the way or I feel the need to keep reminding and telling them to take care. They get stressed and I head nearer to a heart attack! :-)
Sounds like a lovely way to spend your days! Keep up the good work!

Elaine said...

Ice art is brilliant.

Katie and Ben really enjoy being in the kitchen. I still have to help Ben a bit, but Katie's nearly 12 now and has got used to the odd mishap and makes the lovely cakes and goodies now without any help from me.