Building Dens in The Forest (Scouts)

We had a fantastic time at scouts the other evening. It was our last meeting of the term, and the theme was quite simply ‘build a strong and water tight den’…
The scouts thoroughly enjoyed it!









As you can see, dens of many kinds – and even a mini one to boot..!


Planting Day

With a trough and a bucket of soil, a bucket of water, some trowels and watering cans, and a few empty plant pots….

….Ted was kept very happy…



While investigating the plants, and having a munch on some spring onions, Alfie decided to replant a small bulb, to see if it would grow…

…and helped to plant and water some herbs….

….and watering the flowers with the hose pipe kept both boys very happy…


Leon, Alfie and Ted were given some seeds for Easter…

…and the oldest boys planted some seeds straight in to their own garden patches…


Their patches are already full with last years tulips, looking stunning…

….but they squeezed the seeds in between!
Maya’s patch was too full for more seeds. She already planted wild strawberries, petunias, carrots and tomatoes earlier on in the year….

…Leon and Alfie have also planted tomatoes, but they’ve been kept in a separate ‘cupboard’….



…and inside we have their petunias and lettuce growing…

…which we will replant outside tomorrow.
Meanwhile our apple trees are blossoming…

…and though our daffodils have gone over…

…it’s a great time for reading books about the flowers and vegetables that will be…


Busy End Of Term Days

The last two weeks have been crazily busy. School finishes soon, weekly activities too, and that means concerts and performances galore…
We started with Leon’s piano concert which was lovely. He played very well and I was very proud of him – but I realise we need to get our act together and buy a decent piano of some sort – he can’t use his undersized keyboard any longer….

We then had scout camp (which I previously posted about), followed by an ‘I-form’ dance perfomance by Maya’s school in the local shopping centre, her class evening picnic in the park, and the end of year school open house to show off their work (this year the theme was ‘Earth, Air and Water’)….and here is Maya’s gorgeous dragonfly she made….

Alfie has had two visits to his new school which he starts in August. At 5 1/2 he’ll be the youngest in the year, and we’ll be very sad to leave his parent co-op preschool…..

….but he is SO ready for school, and when I walked around the forest playground I realised how much he was going to love the space!
We’ve had a gymnastics ‘show’ from Alfie and Maya’s club. Alfie’s group had a rain theme, and their little forward rolls and attempted cartwheels were sweet to watch. Maya’s was a ‘rock chick’ theme, and she suited the look very well…

….while impressing us with her somersaults and dance moves. They both love gymnastics and will both be continuing next year!
The same weekend we had our lovely friends from London arrive, and we’ve been thoroughly enjoying their company, with swims in the lake….

….and trips to the park (which just happens to be Leon’s school ‘yard’)…


There’s been a couple of sneaky days off school to enjoy our friends…



….fun despite the rain….

…and even though it’s been full on with six kids in the house, we’ve managed to grab a minute or two of peace and quiet…

….and it’s been lovely but tomorrow they leave.
For us, the busy times continue with Leon’s class trips to archipelago islands (to investigate the sea life) and the technical museum, and Maya’s class who is right this minute on a trip to the reptile house at Skansen…

…and will be off to the beach with them on Friday to fly the kites they have made…
School is winding down, just a week or so to go, and we’re all looking forward to a long, and hopefully warm, summer…

Painting Outside

Ted really enjoyed using the brushes outside the other day – but it’s been colder, so we decided to try ‘big painting’ another way…..






I’ll probably do this again with Alfie when Ted is sleeping – Alfie barely got a look in as Ted’s brushes often waved in the wrong direction! ;()
But it was simple to set up, and fun to do – and right now that kind of activity is perfect for us!

Thinking Outside The Box (Or Den!)

Maya is one of the most creative people I know. Not only is she one of the most creative, but she is able to truly think outside ‘the box’!
This is an example of what I found the other day. A den, of a different kind….

Walls made from blocks, crates and tables (turned on their side mind, not as the base of the den)…

…and a roof made of planks of wood – and comics….


…plenty of space to hide inside…

…and of course, a little decoration..

Let’s hope she never conforms!

Scouting With Lord Of The Rings

Some months a go I decided to help out in Maya’s scout group due to lack of leaders – thus I became a leader – and now we’re a thriving group of 32 scouts and 8 leaders!

We just spent our first weekend camping together (though admittedly we did rent out a scout hut in case of rain!). As it turned out, however, despite an hours downpour at around 10pm, all kids except 1 slept in the tents! 🙂

We planned a weekend with a theme – ‘Lord Of The Rings’, and even though many of the children were not familiar with the story (including Maya), it didn’t matter, they got the gist of it any way!

We started with a visit from Gandulf who explained about the rings which were bringing bad omen upon the world and needed to be destroyed…


Each child was given a brass ring…


We followed a map through a forest where we ate our lunch ‘hike bombs’…

The ‘hobbits’ ‘scouts’ were told to watch out for the black knights, who were also looking for the rings. As they ate their lunch, cooked over a fire, two black cloaked figures walked by over the field in the distance….. (myself and another leader dressed up..)

After lunch the hobbits were divided in to their groups, each with a leader.
The first task was to walk across a swamp filled with snakes, holding each others’ shoulders, scarves over their eyes….

The second task was to make a necklace to hang their ring on. I don’t have photos of this as I was at the third stage!

The third task was to solve a code to get through the gate of Moria. The elfin queen was there with refreshments, guarding the gate, helping the hobbits to solve the code…

Once the code was worked out, the key to the gate was to say “friend” and walk backwards through the gate, down towards the stream. Then they needed to get over the stream, turn left and orienteer their own way back to the campsite.

Later there was cooking and eating by the fire…


…lots of energetic games…

…and finally a hike up to the top of the ‘mountain’ to throw the rings in to the fire (though actually, for safety’s sake, and to avoid the kids digging in the ashes the next day, the rings were threaded on to an iron rod and put in to the fire by a leader…)….


The kids were a little sad at having to ‘destroy’ their rings (as you can see in the photo above) – but fortunately, they all got them back the next morning in the farewell meeting!
And of course, there was lots of singing…

Despite many kids not falling asleep until midnight, all slept well (only one scout went home) until 7am, ate breakfast outside, packed up together, and went home contented.

Until next time!

On Making Dandelion Sorbet

I do wish I’d got a photo of these two when they were picking their dandelions in the sun!

They looked so colourful, one in bright blue, one in bright pink, surrounded by bunches of yellow! Unfortunately it was not to be – Ted was yowling like a pussy cat to go home having refused to eat his breakfast, and being hungry as a wolf!;()


Alfie has been asking to make dandelion sorbet all year – he still remembers making it with myself and Maya years ago, when he was barely three years old.
Step 1: Collect the dandelions
Step 2 : Snip off the petals (as above)
Step 3 : Put 5 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and half a cup of honey in a saucepan and bring to boil to make a syrup.
Step 4 : Add dandelion petals and simmer for an hour…

Step 5 : Use muslin sieve to filter out the petals….

….until you have just the liquid….

Step 6 : Pour in to container and put in freezer until frozen.
Step 7 : Decorate with dandelion flowers, eat sorbet and enjoy!


A Giant Cootie Catcher!

Maya always comes up with the most amazing things – often with a twist of eccentricity!
Do you remember those things we all made at school; the things that you fold from paper, ask someone which number they would like, count that number with the folded paper object, then ask them what colour they want – this proceeds in you opening up the flap of that colour and telling them something true/untrue about themselves – or in Maya’s case, telling them a specific thing to go and do…?

Well, if you’re not sure what I’m writing about, this is what I mean…

I’ve since found out, that in the US at least, it’s called a ‘cootie catcher’.

So Maya made a tiny weeny one…

…which proceeded in her making a GIANT one….

….which really works!



Dyeing With Tea Experiment

So we were back with the tea again today….!

Another selection of tea leaves and a few different tea bags. We’ve been lucky as our neighbour gave Leon three different packets of decaffeinated tea that she no longer wanted at Christmas time (he recently had a fascination with ‘tea’)….
Then we took a bowl of warm water and a square of white cotton…

…and used pipettes to add water to the tea…


20130514-211500.jpg see how it would dye our fabric..



The results? ‘Winter Spice’ (berry) tea turned the fabric a strong red, Green tea did NOT turn the fabric green, and ‘Sweet Honey’ tea did NOT turn it yellow – but ‘Decaffeinated Organic Tea’ turned it a deep yellow – while ‘PG Tips’ most definitely turned it a deep orange!
So there you go!