Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Strange, snowy, sad day

Today has been a strange day - power cuts, snow drifts and a bus crash. Knowing such tragedy had occured so close to home, to people so young sobered us all a bit and the adverse weather and lack of power meant we had to cancel our activities, stay home and concentrate more on the basics like warmth, light and food.

Mollie decided to make the most of the snow and build some snowmen with Grandma. It was interesting watching her trying to figure out the best way to move the snowball, working out the correct pressure to move it but not break it, to consider what was hindering its process and remove it. The same problem solving skills will be of use in many situations.

The bus crash gave a very different set of learning oppertunities, from disscusions of how the TV pictures got from outside our house to on the TV so quickly, the difference between driving a bus and a car in the snow, why the former is harder than the later and how helicopters can take off in a blizzard.

The lack of electricty was ... interesting. It was a taste of what we have to come in our summer Georgian week, and made us realise just how much we depend on it, and how much we will have to think about changing our life to cope without it for a week.

So doing nothing actually turned into quite a lot.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Regular Activities

For blog writing, regular activities are a bit boring. Piano lesson, skating lessons, and riding lessons occur here with regularity, we do one or another most days, and sometimes 2 or 3 on one day.

These activities not only repeat over the weeks, but the actual activities are themselves repetative. We play tunes over and over, Mollie practises the same moves again and again, they trot round and round the indoor school. Progress occurs in tiny increments, that almost go unnoticed. Improvements are gradual, smoother transitions between paces, edges and notes.

But every so often there seems to be a leap forward - starting to canter, a new jump, the next piano book. They then seems like big steps, but really they are just the accumulation of tiny ones.

So, if we have days where it looks like we are doing nothing much, we are just taking baby steps towards the next great leap. I won't blog them all - we have quite enough repetion as it is :)

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Not here doesn't mean not doing ...

Sometimes, on days like today, Hannah is suspiciously absent from the activities. We have been busy cooking for Daddy's party and this just isn't her thing. She has shut herself up in her room, but she is far from idle - she is writing.

Writing is Hannah's great love. Stories, poems, plays - she is always either scribbling or typing away. She does lots on her laptop but really likes notebooks. These leather bound ones are esspecially nice and full of masterpieces.

Now we just have to work on the confidence to share her work with others ....

Friday, 26 March 2010

Yoghurt Cheese part 2

We made cream cheese from yoghurt a couple of weeks ago, but it was a bit tart for our taste. So, for Daddy's birthday party. we thought we would have another go.

We used the same equipment as last time, but instead of using the live organic yoghurt from the deli in Biggar we used Greek Style yoghurt from Yeo Valley.

Once again we put it in our cold space under the stairs and it was a great success. The cheese was thicker, creamier and milder.

This time we could shape it into a 'cheese'rather than putting into a jar. It tasted great for lunch, spread on tortillas and topped with roasted vegetables too.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Needlefelted Angels

Whilst mum went down to England to collect Grandma Hannah and Mollie went to their friends to make needle felted angels.

This is one thing we love about our Home Education Community, the sharing of skills. The girls escaped the long drive, learnt a new skill and got to spend time with friends. They even got yummy soup for lunch - what more could they ask for ...

Flatpack - an unexpected educational experience

We had to build beds today - Hannah's new one in Mollie's room, and the spare old one in Hannah's room, ready for Easter guests.

This proved to be a great learning oppertunity, covering a multitude of things. Translating the pictures into reality, orientating the pieces into the correct position, getting things at the right angle so the bolts go in and of course teamwork to make sure ev eryone is doing the right thing at the right time.

The endevour was sucessful and everyone has somewhere to sleep.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Skating Programme

Mollie is working on her first programme with Alice.
Step sequences, spirals and jumps.

Still needs a bit of polishing, and extending to 1 minute 30 seconds, but it's a good start.

Shed Science

As soon as I say we haven't done anything to blog about I remember we have. Well, I say we, Mollie and Daddy have cleaned out the garage.

This was prompted because she bought the book, 101 Incredible Experiment for the Shed Scientist (I tried to put a link to Amazon but failed) and wants to set up a lab. as described in it. Our shed is a little small, a little full of garden tools and a little falling down so, spured on by the author's comments that a shed is a state of mind rather than a place, we are going to use the garage.

It was a good excuse to get rid of all the rubbish that had built up in there, packing boxes, outgown bikes and bits of tents we no longer have. Now she just has to find everything on the list to stock her laboratory and start experimenting.

I wonder if the garage is listed along with the house ?
Watch this space for the re-build photos :0)

Quiet Week

Well it has got to Friday and I realised that we haven't done anything to blog about this week. But that doesn't mean we haven't done anything.

We have had all the normal classes, skating, riding and piano, and the girls have continued working on their Conquer Maths. Hannah has been preparing some work for the Open University, she is applying for a place on one of their 10 point courses and has a poem to analysis and a letter to write. Mollie has decided to work on improving her handwriting.They have both been thinking about subjects for next months exposition and they have also been shopping for Daddy's birthday, met up with friends in Edinburgh and helped get the house ready for Easter guests.

So, while we have had no major photo oppertunities we have had a busy week. It's nice to list everything we have been doing because sometimes it can feel a bit like we aren't doing much when actually we are just quietly busy.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Cream Cheese

Given the reference to yoghurt in the title of this blog I thought we should infact include some. However don't get your hopes too high up, its not woven, but made into cheese...

We lined a sieve with a piece of thin cloth (an Ikea napkin I think) and poured the yoghurt in, rested the sieve over a pan and put the whole lot on the handy little shelf under the stairs (a very cold place in our house. By the next morning the whey had run off into the pan below and we were left with cheese in the cloth.

The cheese was a bit tart for our liking, but I think this was mainly due to the yoghurt we used - the next plan is to find some milder yoghurt and have another go. Maybe we will make the yoghurt ourselves first and then we can determine the acidity of it.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Girl Guide returns

Mollie has returned from Guide camp, with a rucksack bigger than her and a 'Guide Holiday' badge. She had a fantastic time doing crafts, making rafts and, judging from how tired she is, not getting enough sleep. She was very impressed they had her favourite Heinz tomato soup.

According to her, the best bit was going in the burn (I think that was when their raft sank) but the worst bit was the second night because she was missing us by then.

She is nearly ready for the big district camp in May now - she just needs to find a nice, plastic bowl to take to have her lunch in :)

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Big Shopping

While Mollie is on Guide Camp we took Hannah to PC world for a newe laptop as her current one is about to die and she really would be lost without one.

The model she choose was predictably at another store so she has to wait until Tuesday for it. But while we were there they decided to buy me a huge new TV for me to play my Wii on. I did have a nice TV for it but it was taken over by the PS3 at Christmas.

So in the absence of the new laptop Hannah decided to polish up her baseball skills on the Wii - and managed 3 home runs, a family record :)

Friday, 12 March 2010


Today was our first attempt at Exposition in Scotland, after having done it for a year in Spain.

Once we had got past the disaster of the hall knowing nothing about our booking we all decided to go to the park instead as it was a nice day. Julia did a facsinating talk on the probable evolution of Yoshi - it was really clever how she had applied the principle of evolution to a fictional chracter. Mollie then told us about beavers and showed her cross section model of a beaver dam. After that Hannah showed us slides on the laptop (luckily the battery was full)about Tudor fashions, followed by a talk about Hand Ba' in Jedburgh by Robert. His little brother Alexander then delighted us all by telling us how he had made a walking stick, and Eleanor finished the session off by telling us about scounting and the camps she had been on.

The audience all seemed to enjoy the talks, and we will definatly be doing it again next month ... we just have to think of new topics

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Home Ed group activities

Today we went along to the scout hut at Bonaly where Ruth, Jimmy and Andrea were running an activity making moving models using cams. Mollie worked with Afra and made a spinning ice skater. Hannah, who has little patience with this sort of thing watched Taegan make a box - in her words 'at least I learnt something, I didn't know how to make boxes before'. It was nice to see friends we haven't seen for a while, what with the bad weather and illness.

Afterward Hannah went to visit with Taegan for a while and Mollie gatecrashed Calum's birthday party. She had a great time playing with everyone, Calum's dad had made a treasure hunt for them and then they all tucked into pizza and birthday cake. Mollie's only complaint was there wasn't enough red pepper - I suppose we must be doing something when the children are compalin about lack of vegetables when presented with birthday cake :)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Riding Lessons

Wednesday afternoons are riding lessons with friend Taegan. This week the girls were given to choice to go out in the sun but chose to stay in the indoor arena practising their sitting trot. I think Hannah is getting impatient at the amount of time it is taking to progress on to cantering.

Little friend Afra came along too to watch her big sister Taegan ride, and was very amussed at the bigger girls going in and out of jumping position. After the lesson we took advantage of the nice weather and gave Zorro a good groom out in the sun while Afra had a pony ride around the complex.

Then we went back home. Mollie cleaned out her chickens with lots of help from Taegan and Afra while Hannah helped me make Quiche for tea. This was followed by fresh fruit and chocolate fondue, which was then liberally shaken by playing 'Just Dance' on the Wii :)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

One foot spin

Tuesday morning saw us back at the rink. Hannah has found the one warm spot in the place - the ladies toilets, so sits in there reading to keep cosy !!

Mollie has been working on the one foot spin for her Gold Star. You might think I was videoing so that she could assess her technique but no, she wanted to see if her skirt stuck out. It did, and she was happy.

Oh, and she did finally get the four revolutions she needed :)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Piano Lessons

Monday is piano lessons. Mr Gillespie comes to the house and everyone gets half an hour. It's great because we are in our own home and can be getting on with our own things when it's not our lesson. Plus we get a nice musical backdrop to work to - makes a change from Bon Jovi...

Mollie is working on Three Blind Mice, Hannah is playing Lightly Row and I get The Fifty-Ninth Street Bridge Song - which is much easier than last weeks Scarborough Fair.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Mollie has taken the oppertunity of a day at home to spend some time out in the garden with her chickens. We have had them since November and they have settled into their new purple home very well. I just wish we could get their neighbours, the moles, to behave as well.

All of them have adapted very well to the water container that came with their house. Despite having never seen one before they all managed to work out that pecking the silver bits at the bottom releases water for them.

Now they are laying well Mollie has started giving them a bit of mixed corn in the afternoons in addition to their layers pellets in the morning. It seems that Daisy is first in line for her treats, but Ginny, Bella and Henrietta are not far behind,

Mollie picked up this basket last week at Hampton Court. They informed us they were orginally used for selling grapes in but it is working very well for egg collecting now.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Bithday Celebrations

In (early) celebration of Hannah's 14th birthday we went for dinner, with friend Taegan. at the Witchery, in their secret garden. Very nice main courses were followed by delicious dessert taster plates which had minature versions of all the desserts on the menu - definatly better than having to choose just one.

Then we went on to the Edinburgh Playhouse to watch the Russian Siberian National Ballet perform Sleeping Beauty. They are in Edinburgh for the week but performing a different Ballet each night, which is why we went on Wednesday when Hannah's birthday isn't until Thursday - she has already seen Thursdays offering of Swan Lake :)

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Skating Classes

Today Mollie had her first session with coach Alice at Murrayfield ice rink. Given that she has only skated for fun since we came home from Spain she has remembered a lot, and from now on will be going every Tuesday and Friday for a lesson.

It seems she has almost finished the UK LearntoSkate programme, including the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards and will soon be able to move onto National Tests.