the birds and the beads

Well hello…it’s been too long since I’ve written. I just wanted to update on a few small but nice things we’ve been doing over the past few weeks.

‘Feeding the birds’… Now, I don’t know if we’ve actually fed the birds, or in fact if many birds are still around; such is my lack of knowledge of wildlife. But we made these bird feeders, using yogurt cartons…inspired by Gillian’s blog. Basically, melting lard (which stinks!) and mixing it with seeds, oats and nuts, then setting it in the fridge. We made three; one fell apart removing it from the carton so we hung two outside. 

I feel like I should be following up with a photo of some beautiful bird feeding from them in our garden. But we haven’t checked much…after a couple of days, they were still hanging there, looking untouched. And as I write this, it’s dark outside so I can’t tell you. But it gave us an activity.

It’s been Hama Bead Central in the house. Again, inspired by Gillian’s blog. I have heard of Hama beads before but for whatever reason, just not ever tried them or caught the vision! Well, after seeing photos of some, I thought ‘patterns’…….

and that means ‘Numeracy’ people!! 

We ordered a box of 2400 and got through them in the first day. So I ordered a box of 6000 and we haven’t got many left. I think I’m going to put the remaining few away for a bit. Man, they are addictive. But so fab! The older two have sat and concentrated on them for ages. Initially, they have preferred copying some of the suggested pictures of penguins, sea horses and princess ladies, but have latterly moved on to making their own patterns. Matt and I haven’t needed any persuasion to sit with them and do it ourselves. We talked about shapes, repeated patterns and symmetry.


Here is a selection (yes, just a small selection) of our work this week…

We are really into reading chapter books with the elder two at the moment. We have finished ‘Pinocchio’ which was really funny, fabulously written…and a bit scary and weird at times to be honest! Something that helped set the ball rolling in reading a book with very few pictures, I found, was that at the start of each chapter, there was a sentence giving you an outline of what was about to happen. That really spurred us on to read the chapter and created excitement and expectation in the kids. I am thrilled we have finished it. We are generally reading chapter books at bedtime when Matt can read to Joseph and keep Rafi happy (who generally just likes to eat books).

We’ve now started reading The Famous Five, book 1. They got the whole Famous Five and Secret Seven series for Christmas (thank you Oxfam Bookshop) so I’m looking forward to sharing those adventures. There seems to be a ‘read aloud revival’ going on at the moment, especially among the blog world. Loads of brilliant reminders about how important and wonderful it is for children to be read aloud to….even older children and teenagers who can read independently….nurturing family life and relationships as much as their own language skills. I find this really affirming because it’s something we do a lot of and we all really enjoy. I’m hoping to build up the hours we spend reading together even more.

I have finally finished my first ‘smelly old book’ (‘Winds of the Day’ by Howard Spring)…it’s taken a ridiculous amount of time to read, partly because I just don’t have much free time and partly because, although it was a relaxing and enjoyable read, it wasn’t gripping at any point. But I’m happy to have read it and now trying to decide what to read next….a shelf full of smelly old books eagerly await.

Wintery colds and coughs had each of us wiping out at different points this week. We spent three full days at home without going anywhere, but I was reassured by how much time we can now happily spend at home. On each of these days, I successfully ‘threw the kids out in the garden’ (lovingly, you understand) for at least half an hour. They like me to set the timer on our iPad for this. Even on a wet blustery day, they went out (heading straight for the tree house, armed with a flask of hot chocolate and three cups…I’m learning people!). This gives me some quiet minutes to sit down and recharge a little….my aim this week is to spend absolutely none of this time wiping, tidying or cleaning up, because before I know it, it’s over! Just sit woman.

I am a frustrated knitter at the moment, with many projects I want to do and many obstacles in the way….lack of knowledge, skill or the right yarn. I really dislike not having a knitting project on the go. I should probably just practice something while I wait. I’m hoping to get on with it more this week. I had a knitting class booked last week and had to miss it due to feeling grim…a bit poorly but more just sheer exhausted with looking after a poorly Rafi who was very clingy and whingey all week. So exhausting. We are all much better now 🙂

Our week finished on a high. We skipped their swimming class, not being well enough I decided, but then on a whim, I took them to the Bristol City Library. I had sussed out the joint the previous weekend and knew it had a great children’s area and I decided it would be good to just get out somewhere. We stayed, playing and reading in the library for ages, then ventured to walking outside passed the magnificent cathedral and fountains and up the hill, exploring more of the city. The kids were on such a high and we ended up having lunch out…one of those rare times where everyone is on super form, happy to be living with each other… and Rafi slept in the pram! So our Friday film didn’t get started until about 4pm and I felt we had certainly earned it after all that illness and hard Hama bead work 🙂

Hope to see you here again soon, thanks for reading x



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