Tuesday, 28 April 2015


The Girl is currently working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Art & Design. This week's homework was to tea stain some paper and use it to create a piece that will go towards their final project. Here is a photograph of her work - shared with her permission :)
In the meantime, my not-quite-so-crafty Boy has been inspired to make mini weaponry after he saw this video on Youtube.

You can get free downloadable .pdf instructions by subscribing to Sonic Dad. There's also a selection of other freebies too.

We had a lot of fun with the glue gun even though we got a couple of singed fingers along the way - keep the aloe vera handy! It proved to be quite tricky in parts and Boykin definitely needed a bit of adult help. He was still very happy with the outcome and has been firing matches all round the house since :/

Hints and tips from Boykin:
Use coloured lolly sticks to save colouring in.
Number your pieces on the template and write the numbers on the lolly sticks too.
Trim the excess glue before it sets too hard.

His verdict - glue guns are amazing!!!!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Our Easter Traditions

I have happy memories of Easter egg hunts as a child, particularly one year's hunt that included  a new book. I really hope that I am giving my children similar happy memories of special celebrations.

Family traditions have been very important to my two youngest children over the years. They have enjoyed maintaining them and tweaking them a little as they grow older.

I can't really remember when we started the tradition of an egg hunt in our home, but I think it may have been after Boykin was born. I didn't go in for encouraging the Easter Bunny, but somehow The Girl took this myth on board. Consequently, a few years ago, I was very much surprised by her disappointment when I let slip that I laid the clues for the Easter egg hunt. Boykin, on the other hand, has never believed in the Easter Bunny and has always enjoyed the egg hunt just as much as his sister.

My mum still does an egg hunt every year for her grandchildren, very similar to the ones she made for me and my younger brothers - albeit with more eggs. It is noisy joyful mayhem. They all love it and very much look forward to it, even though there were often tears when they were younger when some cousins got quite a few more eggs than others. They have had to learn to share their winnings over the years.

Because there is a four year age gap between Boykin and The Girl, I wanted to make it fairer. I had to level the playing field somewhat so that one (The Girl) wouldn't end up with loads more eggs than the other (Boykin). So, I came up with the idea of cutting egg shapes out of cardboard and drawing pictures of the places where the eggs were hidden. Drawing meant that no-one had to be able to read, and the rough sketches meant that they were both as likely to be able to guess. At each destination, there were an equal number of small eggs to be shared and a new clue which they had to work together to solve. The hunt ended with a large egg each and quite often a present too. (Usually a book, sometimes audio books or CDs, but one year I gave them toothbrush sets). The whole Easter morning egg hunt event became a much more co-operative rather than competitive celebration.

 It's been a good tradition and they have both enjoyed it.

This year, however, there's been a slight change. The Girl is growing up. She's a teenager and doesn't always want to join in like she used to do. She is, however, really good at adding a certain flourish to the traditions in our home. This year, she took responsibility for setting the egg hunt. She drew pictures and wrote riddles on her egg-shaped clues, hiding the eggs in new places as well as old, tried-and-tested ones from previous years.

On Easter morning, she presented both me and Boykin with a basket for our finds. She collected her own share of eggs along the way as well, but I really loved how she included me in the fun.

I had my own Easter egg stash for once - the first time since I was a kid:) Yummy!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Competitions for Kids to Enter

Do your kids like entering competitions?
Here are some that are open to families and home educators in the UK right now.

Vegetable photo competition - I particularly like the idea of making a veggie animal :)

World Kids Colouring Day - closes May 13th - open to home educators as well as schools

Monthly Colouring Competition

Poetry Competition - children's section is free entry - closes 20th April.

Short Story Competition - closes 15th June

International Short Story Competition - closes 30th June

A Selection of Writing Competitions - open to home educators as well as schools. Click on the Parents tab and then click on Home Education in the drop down menu

Science & Engineering Competition - open to home educators as well as schools

Recipe Competition - open to everyone under age 18 - closes 31st August

*I have emailed the necessary schools competitions to check that home educators are eligible :)

If you know of any more, please post them in the comments :)

Good luck!