Monday, 28 February 2011

Blog Envy

Do you ever look at someone's blog and wonder why they've got a trillion followers and have fifty thousand billion comments for every post they make (even if that post is about ironing knickers)?


Obviously just me then.

(Did I just say all that out loud?)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Soul of Sunday

Ok, two posts in one day, I've obviously avoiding doing something that needs doing. But after reading the blog Ordinary Life Magic today I thought I would post my photo for 'Soul of Sunday'.
Maybe my 'Soul of Sunday' photo should be more...well...soulful. Or more picturesque. Or even beautiful.

But instead, this is what I saw today. Even though this view in my conservatory sometimes frustrates me - ok, often frustrates me - today I was at peace with the junk pile.

Why I never appear to get anything done...

...and why my house is always messy.

It's because I find things like these (see below) kicking around the house. Dd's 'Christmas' lights were hanging from her bed for several years until they started behaving strangely in December and we replaced them with some boring but cheap lantern alternatives.

So this bundle of lights has been sitting on the windowledge at the top of the stairs for at least 2 months now. Waiting for some purpose.

Instead of doing all the essential things I should have done today, I set about cutting the wires and making the dysfunctional lights into little perspex Christmas decorations.

The leftover wire I cut and bundled up as garden ties or general use.

To be added to one of my many piles of boxes of 'useful' things...

Which is why I don't have a tidy house and never seem to get around to doing all those things I probably should be doing.
I had finished cutting up all the bits of wire, had put them safely away in boxes and was feeling frugally and resourcefully smug. That is, until dh came in and said 'Oh. I could have mended those. It was only a loose connection'

I did mutter something about the fact that if that was the case then why had they been sat on a windowsill untouched for more than 2 months...and how he'd told me that once led lights go wrong there's no point trying to fix them...and something along the lines of 'if you'd told me that I wouldn't have cut them into little pieces and bought dd a replacement set of lights' in a polite restrained manner.
[Obviously although we live in the same house we reside in parallel uncommunicating universes and there are times when the everyday sentences that come out of my mouth slip straight under the male radar (because men really are from Mars) and disappear into intergalactic worm holes.]
'Never mind they were only cheap, you can get some more'
'Er actually no. They were expensive and we've looked everywhere and can't get replacements.'
So much for resourcefulness!
But, on the brighter side. Dd has been drawing:

And the kids brought back these free kits from our local science festival

The finished result

Engine meets Spaniel.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

I Spy with my Little Eye (Bottles)

I've been checking out the blog 'Counting Coconuts' recently. It's a blog of 'learning activities and ideas for toddlers and preschoolers inspired mostly by the Montessori method.' While browsing I came across a wonderful idea that I'm probably the last person in blogland to find out about: making I spy bottles. Instructions are here though we used the small plastic coke bottles rather than glass jars.

First I collected up a selection of small objects, the kind of things that sit in jars and pots on shelves around our house and have no real purpose but for some reason I can't throw away. Then I photographed them. (I could have simply listed them, but it's difficult to give some of the thingimagigs a descriptive name)

Then I gathered leftover (or mostly unopened and inedible) health foods from my kitchen cupboard, rice, barley, weird bird-food-looking stuff. Some we dyed with food colouring and left a while to dry.

Then we filled the (dry) bottles up with the seedy stuff, a layer of seedy stuff then a few of the items, then a layer of seedy stuff...

Then we glue-gunned the lids on to prevent frustrated people emptying out the contents.

I cut and pasted the photo of the objects into a word file, printed it out and laminated it.
I gave the laminated I spy sheet to the kids with a wipe-off pen in the hope it would keep them busy for a while.
'Are you sure you've put all these objects in?' they said, still looking for the coin and the nut.
They passed the bottles to the adults.
'Are you sure you've put all these objects in?' the adults said, still looking for the coin and the nut.
Yes yes I did put ALL the objects in. Even the coin AND the nut.
I think.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Mud. Sand. Water.

Plant science took a back seat on Wednesday as instead we headed off to a local nature reserve with two other families. Trudging through the rain and equipped with fishing net, catapult, saw, hammer, and crazed spaniel, I guess, we must have looked a strange bunch.

The very small pink thing on the ridge of the tall sandy cliff? Yep, it's dd, the child that tells me she's scared of heights!

It's at times like this I remember all that I learnt about soil erosion and mudslides at university.
Yep, that tree looks darn precarious to me. That's it child, just terrify your mother by standing next to it.
Water, sand and mud. The best combination of playthings.

Catapult boy.

Don't try that 'I'm not up to anything' look with me!

Those crazy home educating families head home.

If you've ever read Puss in Boots then you'll know that Dick Wittington always carries his lunchbox in a pink fishing net.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Plant Science 5: Plant Adaptations (The Fernery and more)

Our continued adventures at the Botanic Gardens.

Outside the greenhouses....

The fountain.

Seeds from the trees

And inside the greenhouses:

A giant citrus fruit.

The fernery:

Ferns, close up.

Just look at this amazing flower.

Ds1 said it reminded him of that really stinky jungle flower that only flowers once every hundred years. Thankfully this one didn't stink!

Plant Science 4: Plant Adaptations (The Palm House and the Lily House)

More photos from our outing to The Botanic Gardens. This time the palm house and lily house.

This bark reminds me of pregnant bellies.

Ooo...these pitcher plant thingymagigs are so cool. Big green pee pots on twisty stems.


The lily pond:

And this is how the pond looks later in the year with the giant lilies:

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Plant Science 3: Plant Adaptations (Desert Plants)

It's easy to forget the wonderful resources you have on your doorstep. After watching a few of the online BBC clips about plant adaptations it seems only natural to head off to our local Botanic Gardens.

It might be half-term but the miserable weather keeps the hoards of school kids at bay. It's only us mad folks who venture out to a garden in weather like this.

Photos from the 'Arid House'. No titles required, just an opportunity to marvel at the wonders of the plant world.