Super blood moon

Sunday night was the night of the super blood moon or lunar eclipse. The children and I had talked about it a few days before, what it was and how it happened. We looked at a lunar eclipse in an encyclopedia and found pictures of previous ones online.
As we had no reason to get up early on Monday I asked them if they’d like to get up to see it. All 3 older ones said yes, so we set our alarm for 3am. R awoke and came into our room at midnight to ask if the moon was red yet, I think she was excited!
When my alarm went off, we put on our coats and snuck quietly out the front door. The moon was big, round and a gorgeous red, and the sky was completely void of clouds so we had a magnificent view of the stars. There were literally billions of them, we could even make out the Milky Way. We are in the countryside and the street lamps go off at night, so there was no light pollution to ruin our view.

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Photo taken by Granpa

The children loved getting up in the middle of the night but we didn’t stay out long as it was quite chilly. We all went back to bed knowing that we could get up as late as we liked (or as late as the children allowed me to!)
It was a great educational experience and one I’m not sure we would have had if we had had to get up early for school on Monday morning.

My brave boy

Yesterday E went to hospital to have teeth removed under general anesthetic. I wasn’t worried about him having the procedure but I was quite nervous about how he would react when there. He’s had trouble with his teeth for a few months now, despite being really good at cleaning them and eating a good diet. The last few times he’s been to the dentist he’ has just curled up in the dental chair and grunted, refusing to let anyone near him. It was for this reason that we decided to have him looked at whilst he was asleep.

I’d discussed with E what was going to happen on the day and apart from knowing he would be unable to have breakfast he seemed OK about it. We were up and out the house by 7am and arrived in plenty of time so we didn’t have to rush and feel stressed before we had even got there. E had been to the ward last month for his pre-op assessment and to meet the nurses to try and help him feel a little easier about it. When we arrived we were shown to E’s bed and made ourselves comfy. It was really quiet and we had a whole 4-bed bay to ourselves.

The nurse came round to talk to E, put on his name bands and the ‘magic cream’ on his hands. E refused to talk or make eye contact with the nurse and tried to fight her off when she attempted to put on his name bands. He curled up in a ball and wouldn’t talk to anyone. After about half an hour, lots of gentle coaxing and patience we managed to get the bands and cream on him, although he wasn’t happy about and kept trying to pull them off. It was at this point that it was decided that a pre-med/sedative would be needed in order to do anything else.

The pre-med kicked in quite quickly and E became much more relaxed. It was interesting watch, it was like seeing someone get drunk really, really quickly. He started off with a little drunken grin, then his head seemed to get too heavy for him to hold upright. He started trying to get up but couldn’t control his limbs properly and kept face planting the bed, and almost diving head first off the end. I had to keep trying to get him to lie down, eventually he just became sleepy. It was then time for me to carry him through to theatre.

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I sat on a stall with him on my knee while the anesthetist put the canula in his hand, even though E was sedated he still tried to fight them off a little. In went the general anesthetic, he went limp almost immediately, and was whisked off my knee and placed on the bed and oxygen mask put on. His eyes were half open and he was drooling slightly, it was a strange thing to see. I left the room and went back to the bay to wait for him.

It was so peaceful in there I used the time to catch up on Twitter, Facebook and my emails and then read my book. Just before 10 a nurse came to let me know that E was heading to recovery, 4 teeth lighter but having had a really good examination and x-rays taken.

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My sleepy little man

When he came round he cried quite a lot, and kept saying he felt sick. It was 3 hours, a chocolate milkshake and half a muffin later when were allowed to leave and head home. E was sick on the way (thank goodness for the cardboard sick bowl I was given when we left) but once home he had a sandwich and chilled out on the sofa. By 4pm he was desperate to go out and play with his friends, but I was very “mean” and made him stay in to recover fully.

I think he coped very well in an unfamiliar place, with people he didn’t know and a very strange experience. I am very proud of my little man.

Two weeks of “home school” bliss

What an amazing two weeks we’ve had. Picnics, pond dipping, days out, playing with friends, baking, craft, history, reading and much more! We’ve been so busy, learned loads and had fun too.

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We went to a “Not back to school” picnic last Monday, played in the park and splashed in the river, seeing old friends and making some new ones. Home ed club Tuesday, where we caught up friends we’ve not seen over the summer, did experimental baking and made lemonade.

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Wednesday saw us on an amazing trip to Longleat Safari Park.
We had a wonderful picnic in the park with Aunty A and baby N on Thursday, the children all took their scooters to the skate park.
We had lots of learning fun on Friday playing Monopoly, the shopping game and other games too.

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Saturday we headed out with friends to Wilton House. It was amazing, the adventure park there was something else. We loved walking through the water gardens and exploring all the secret paths. We also reviewed the Head over heels about Gymnastics books, and spent lots of time doing handstands and cartwheels.

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Monday we learned about Henry the 8th and his 6 wives (and their fates), what his children were like and their rules as monarchs. We then made a Tudor style house out of cardboard boxes, we painted the windows with glow in the dark paint so they looked lit up at night time. At 8 in the evening R was doing a science workbook learning about plant life.

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Tuesday we spent the morning perfecting our salt dough recipe. R made a Minecraft ornament and we made necklaces too. In the afternoon we went to Nanny’s house to play and then the girls had their swimming lessons.
Wednesday we decorated our baked salt dough ornaments, baked cakes and made ginger biscuits. The children are getting quite proficient at baking with minimal help now. In the afternoon C next door popped in to try the cakes and have a cup of tea. Then she took E back with her to play there for an hour.
On Thursday we went to see Granma and Granpa and have lunch there. As Granpa is normally at work when we go to their house it’s a real treat to see him and the children all love spending time with him, playing computer games, Lego or make believe games.
Friday we went Pond Dipping at Avon Heath Country Park with some other home educators.

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This weekend we’ve spent time with cousins, and friends, helped out in the garden painting fences and pruning trees, riding bikes, scooters and rollerskates.

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It’s been really lovely watching the children learning, having fun and enjoying their childhoods.

My Random Musings

Head over heels about Gymnastics

I was approached recently and asked to review Head over heels about Gymnastics Volumes 1 & 2. The books arrived Saturday and the girls were keen to get started straight away, they enlisted the help of two of their friends as well. They took it all very seriously, getting water bottles and iPods, and going for a 5 minute jog around the block to warm up.

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They then set about practicing shapes and jumps, handstands and cartwheels. The books are great as they stand on their own so are easy to read while practicing.

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We all went out in the afternoon and we continued to try out our new skills. (I may have shown of a little with my one handed cartwheels!) We are a little way off the pair and trio balances , although S and her friend M had a go at a few stands, but it gives us something to work on.

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The books are really easy to follow, the children managed it without help, and the pictures are really clear. At £11.99 rrp each they are well worth the money, there is also an available App at £3.99. You can buy Volume 1: Boys & Girls Floor Skills here and Volume 2: Pair and Trio Balances here.

Disclosure: I received these books free to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am linking up with Random Musings

My Random Musings

Longleat

We kicked off our Autumn Term with a visit to Longleat Safari Park and what an amazing day it was. The children had been counting down the sleeps until our visit and were all very excited. On the morning I was up super early (for me!) showered, dressed and downstairs sorting the picnic and doing washing before the children even woke up. The guinea pigs were even woken up early to have a run around before we left.

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We arrived just after 10:00am, collected our tickets and went off to see what we could find. We saw the Otters, a Giant Anteater that was carrying her baby on her back, and Meercats having their breakfast of juicy live Meal worms.

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We rushed round to see what animals we could hold, on the way seeing parrots, goats, rabbits and tortoises. The first animal we held was a gorgeous Royal Python. She was only a small one, but we all fell in love. R loved holding her and Little S was smitten. Granma fell in love with a very large lizard.

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Next we did the Deadly 60 Challenge. As big Deadly 60 and Steve Backshall fans we thought this would be great. It was a little trickier than we expected and probably best suited for children 7 plus. We did have fun running around though and liked getting a certificate at the end. We then had a little look around the Postman Pat toy town.

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We had a ride on the train seeing Dinosaurs, Pelicans, Sea Lions and Nico the Gorilla on the way. Then we went for lunch at The Tropical Storm Cafe, the children all enjoyed a big piece of fish with chips and beans and Granma and I had a Jacket potato each. It was really good food and gave us plenty of energy to carry on our adventure.

After lunch we headed to back to hold more animals, this time there was a Corn Snake. S decided that of all the animals there she wanted hold it would be the one that she could hold everyday at home. That’s right, she wanted to hold a Guinea Pig! A very lovely member of staff got out a blond Guinea Pig called Elsa for the girls to hold, later this same member of staff would help us again.

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The children wanted to go and play in the castle, on the slide and in the soft play area. The older children absolutely loved the giant slides and could be heard giggling from the soft play. The soft play are has been redone since our last visit and the children loved the new balloon area.

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Cheeky little monkey

Little S started getting quite grouchy and tired so we decided to get an ice cream and head back to the car to do the Safari. Our favourite bit, as ever, was the Monkey enclosure. The children all thought it was very funny when the monkey jumped on the car, Little S was laughing hysterically. One female Lion walked right behind our car which was amazing and the wolves seemed to be playing chase.

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Me trying not to look terrified!

After the Safari we went back one last time to see what animals we could hold. R really wanted to hold a Tarantula, when we saw there wasn’t one out that lovely member of staff came to help again. She bought out a female Tarantula called Georgina. R held her first while we all looked on. Then, determined to overcome my fear of spiders, I had a hold! I couldn’t look as she was placed on my hands, she was heavier and softer than I had expected but sat still. I looked at her but not too closely. My heart was pounding but I am so glad and proud of myself for being able to do it. Even Granma had a quick hold.

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With less than an hour left before the park closed we headed off to see the bats. They are so cute, with beautiful little faces. Then last but not least we went on the Jungle Cruise. For the first time ever I saw the Hippos, who at first looked like two big grey rocks at the waters edge. The Sealions were very talkative and the Gorillas were all active. It was a fantastic way to end our day.

I’m linking with My Random Musings

My Random Musings

Phoenix

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a Phoenix party. What is Phoenix? They sell greetings cards, stationary, giftwrap, games and more. It’s also a great excuse to get a few friends round for a natter.

I was really impressed with their products especially the range of educational resources on offer. I’d previously purchased a shopping game at a friends party, to play with kiddies. This time I have ordered a large map of the British Isles that the children can colour in and learn about where we live; a King and Queens poster to learn about the monarchy, as R is quite interested in history I thought this would be great for her. I also ordered the Cook’s Notes poster, this helps with converting weights, measurements and temperatures, and has instructions on how to boil an egg. This will be a great help in our cooking lessons as well as helping in maths when we learn about volume, length and weight. cooks notes

I really like the cards too, especially as most of them are blank inside to add your own message. They all have great designs and I definitely have a few favorites. There are some great cards for men, I always find buying cards for men difficult. They are all made to a really high spec. and if you buy 10 or more you get a discount. There are so many great products if I talked about them all, we’d be here for weeks!

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A great beard

Jess, who is my local representative for Phoenix, is really lovely and looking for special people to join her team this autumn. If you’re interested pop along to her website, it could be a really great job for a fellow home educator or parent as you could fit it in around the children.

My Random Musings

Not back to school

So the schools went back this week and everywhere suddenly went quiet. We had a very peaceful day at home Thursday. S asked to do some workbooks, a little maths and a little writing.

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We baked a cake and topped it with fresh strawberries. We played card games, and hide and seek, we read books, and ran around outside. It was a really lovely day.

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Over the last couple of weeks R achieved 2 certificates in swimming. Her 25 metre rainbow award and she completed stage 5 and has moved up a level. Her butterfly this week was particularly impressive.

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We enjoyed our first Not Back To School picnic with a local home ed group. We flew a kite, played, hunted for bugs and blew bubbles. A lovely way to settle back in to our after the summer break.

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Yesterday we went to Moors Valley for a “short” play and ended up staying over 4 hours! Poor Granma was exhausted. The children all made new friends on the adventure trail and didn’t want to leave.
All in all a lovely way to ease into the autumn term.