Thursday, 19 February 2009

I look forward to meeting you someday.

My Ma has the 2 most beautiful looking dogs. They live in France though so I have never met them, but I look forward to the day I do. One is a jolly looking dog called Franck, who sounds adorable and amusing, but perhaps in the way a toddler can be, so that one is glad when 7pm rolls around. This dog is Bess, and I think of her as a proper doggy dog. One you can take for long walks and tell secrets too. The sort of dog who seems to notice sunsets and other works of nature. Having never met them this is largely speculation of course. But when we do get to France, meeting the doggies will be one of the highlights, and I hope I get to cuddle Franck, and take Bess for a lovely long walk.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Some things we did today

Today we baked a proper cake for the first time in ages. Dan got promoted from his usual tasks of buttering dishes and stirring and fetching things to official egg rbeaker, which he proved to be very good at. We are saving the cake til after dinner, which is very restrained of us.

Dan says the grated chocolate on top is little worms. I personally felt this to be a little offensive to chocolate but am prepared to admit that that might be OTT and so stayed quiet.

While I am cooking tea (sos mix meatballs - not sure how that will turn out yet) and writing this, Dan is playing with the hammering wooden shapes thing. He just showed me this and told me it is a man on a tightrope. I agreed that its really very good and so we are putting a picture of it here.

Also here is a jumper for baby which I finished last night, modelled by my Koala bear. I kept thinking it would go wrong, but it seems OK. I always think things are going wrong.

Something weird has happened to the layout today, never mind.

Monday, 16 February 2009

More love

How lovely to have an exciting bunch of beautiful roses to arrange from my lovely man, delivered to the door on the correct day and everything. Makes a nice change from the cheap carnations I sometimes buy, and then spend ages trying to arrange to make them look more exciting and plentiful than they really are. This photo does not do them justice.
Hope anybody reading this had a nice Valentines day too. Ben ended up doing most of the cooking cos my back and ribs and heartburn and just about everything had reduced me to a whinging ball of inactivity. Fortunately I had already made him a cheesecake, and am much better now.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Love is...

...a man in Mexican costume.
Ben might be a bit grumpy if he discovers I blogged that picture (don't think he looks here though), but we had such a laugh and he is so lovely I felt it must be shared with the world. I also felt it only fair that his parents get to see him with all that hair!
So, in preparation for the fallout, I am also sharing my advice for how to turn your man's frown upside down. All you need is a sandwich toaster, bread, cheese and onion sliced thinly.
Instant brownie points.

Friday, 6 February 2009

2 Floating Things - Boats and a Valentines gift for D

I'm linking this post to Unplug Your Kids because their theme this week is 'Float'!

I had a brief origami phase a little while ago, and thought it would be fun to make origami boats. Unfortunately the internet connection was down, but I managed to half remember and half make-up a vague boat thing. Once I had a passable prototype I had showed, and he was keen to join in. So I made another one and he copied with his own piece of paper. This was just the right level of challenge for him, it was pretty fiddly but he persisted and was proud of the result.

Why is water with food colouring in it so exciting? There's something very magical about it.
We didn't have any proper origami paper so just used notepaper torn down to a square shape. They floated very nicely and could be made to move around the bowl by flicking the water.

They got soggy pretty quickly though, and sank! But then learning about sinking is also part of learning about floating, right?

This was a fun quick thing to do after school. The boats might last longer if made of sturdier paper though. It kept us happy for 20 minutes or so!

Here are some origami links if you're interested:

Introduction to Origami and simple models

Some nice friendly origami patterns listed by theme

Some fascinating mathematical modular origami

And here is a Valentines floating craft:

My Ma always used to make sure there was a little gift waiting on the breakfast table for my brother and I on Valentines Day. We usually do the same for D, and I thought this year I'd make him a snow globe to go with his little collection from days out.
D's current collection (needs dusting):We have made these before at Xmas, and they are pretty easy.

Here's how to make one if you're interested. In the past we've made little figures and glued them to the inside of a jam jar lid to make a scene, but they always seem to come loose in the end. So this time I thought I'd use that shrinky plastic stuff to spell out the words 'I heart U', and just let them jiggle around in the first place. So I drew some hearts on the shrinky plastic and coloured them in with permanent markers.

Then I cooked them! I've found its good to do this on the back of an oven tray, because then you can wallop a wooden board on them as soon as they come out to make them nice and flat. After cooking they looked a lot neater I think:
Then put some glycerine, maybe a teaspoonful, into the jam jar. This isn't vital, but it makes the glitter swirl and fall more slowly like shop-bought ones. If it wasn't used the plastic hearts would probably sink immediately, and it also allows other heavier items like sequins and beads to be added. Then fill it almost to the top with tap water. Add some glitter, the hearts, and sequins or whatever. Screw the lid on and shake (over the sink if you don't want to make a mess) to see if the desired effect has been achieved. If not, add more glitter. If lots of glitter stays floating on the top, skim it off with a teaspoon. Fill it right up with water, carefully turn upside down, dry it off and squeeze plenty of superglue all around the lid to make it watertight. There is probably a better glue for this purpose, but I don't own it.

I hope he likes it! I'd better save up some more jars because I think he'll want to do again himself...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Sledging! Yay!

Grandad spent quite a lot of time pulling Daniel on the sledge. But Daniel was very brave and did some actual sledging down a slope too! He was a bit nervous as first but clearly enjoyed it.
Unfortunately I was excluded from the sledging itself due to my condition. But I enjoyed watching the others, and making extra huge snowballs for Daniel to pelt Grandad with.
Nanny sledged too. I don't think I've laughed so much for a while.
Hannah had to come too because she is the world's cutest snow dog. She loves it!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Proper Snow!

Today it is proper snowing! There are a couple of inches on the ground, and its been falling most of the day. It certainly makes for a pretty view from the kitchen whilst washing dishes. Although this is a picture from the front door, because my garden is not presentable.

B's parents are going to pick D up from school, and take him sledging on the downs! There should be just enough. I'd been planning on at least having a snowman making session with D this afternoon because there was no time for snow play before school, but this sounds really fun! I'm going to wrap up warm and come watch - not sure baby is up for sledging yet, though it managed some impressive gymnastics earlier.

Here is a colourful jelly I made yesterday. The green section was cooling when my brother visited yesterday, and he looked so sad when he realised it wasn't set yet. He gave me the disappointed look usually reserved for Ma which implied I ought to get out my magic jelly setting wand so that he could eat it all right then. Maybe sometime I will make a special one for his birthday with lots of stripes, he'd probably prefer it to cake anyway. Some of this is in D's lunchbox, I wonder if he'll even notice the stripey effect! It tastes nice.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

A colourful, snowy morning.

Yesterday Pa bought Dan a bag of mosaic tiles from the tile warehouse. What a great idea! They looked so pretty in their bag, like a great kaleidoscope of colourful shiny sweetie marbles. But flat, and therefore less inclined to end up in odd places.

They are very nice to play with. You can make patterns, or very slippery roads for making toy cars go fast, and pyramids are fun too. Quite good for maths thinking and spatial awareness too! But mostly they are pretty...

I think I might have to get some for myself. Playing with them makes me want to try mosaicing something...surely it can't be that tricky? Maybe I could get a little box or table from a charity shop and try it. I could make some nice road patterns, then there would be a permanent installation for car related activity. Dan has hardly stopped playing with them since yesterday morning, they have provided a more varied range of activities than any Christmas present I can think of, and he plays with them for hours on end! I had to stop him bringing them into my bed this morning while we watched power rangers though, that seemed a bit much.
Here is some snow against the romantic backdrop of our wheelie bin. It is the tidiest and therefore most photogenic thing in our garden. I did not, by the way, go out in it. I do not plan to either! I took the photo through the window!