Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Princess and the Pea

Last week was half term and the curtain went up on the pantomime that the kids had been rehearsing for and I had been prompting for these past few months. It was all very exciting and we didn't get to bed before 11pm each night! I wasn't permitted to prompt during the live shows but helped a bit backstage, however I got to sit and enjoy the show with the rest of the audience for the penultimate show. It was cracking! During the rehearsals, a couple of the actors gave very lively performances, but on the actual stage the rest of the cast really came to life and did a fantastic job. There were some very young children in the audience and when the wicked witch appeared, they were terrified and bawled their eyes out! Honor did very well with her dancing but Henry was hilarious, turning up in unexpected places (like, in the above pic, sitting on the Queen's throne) and at the very end, when the whole cast left the stage, he was still standing alone at the front but completely unaware. Then he'd look round and realise and go scampering off. I laughed 'til I cried!

Peg board fun.

Hope recently had her 2 1/2 year check up with the local health visitor and one of the things she was tested on was her fine motor skills using peg boards and pegs like these. She loved playing with them. I'd been meaning to get some for home, but hadn't seen them available anywhere. I eventually got this set on ebay for around £10.
With five boards, there were enough for the three children to spend quite a bit of time on their designs.
But it was Henry that was still engaged in this activity long after the girls had moved off to sing 'Barney' songs...
... and he filled up all these boards - using his left hand which was the injured one.

The peg boards are useful for a range of concepts such as repeating patterns and symmetry.
The set also came with some games ideas and I played Honor at four in a row just using some blue and green pegs.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Making a funeral wreath.

Last week was Supergranddad's funeral.
Mum put in the announcement 'family flowers only'.
Lots of people do this now, suggesting that donations be made to a charity.
It's a good idea, especially when you see just how much flowers cost.
When I looked up the cost of flowers to send, I was shocked but I wanted to send some so I decided to make my own wreath. After looking at some images for funeral wreaths, I came up with this one, inspired by a rosemary wreath I saw being advertised at $150!
First I bought an oasis wreath costing £3, and using greenery from the garden, pushed in the first layer working in an anticlockwise direction.
Then I made some fatsia japonica (also from garden) details at the top and bottom of the wreath followed by some lillies bought at the local supermarket - costing £5.
I filled in the rest with rosemary - also from the garden.
Total cost: £8.
I've no flower arranging training so I may not have done things as a professional would...
but, I thought it looked lovely and when I returned to the grave at the end of the week, the very expensive funeral spray (which did look fabulous on the day) had not lasted as well as my wreath which was as fresh as new.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Iron Lady.

Yesterday was Supergranddad's funeral.
Some of us rellies arranged to go to the cinema in the evening to see the new film about Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister.
It didn't exactly cheer us up though. The film mainly focused on her dementia and it was a very moving and convincing performance by Meryl Streep. Honor came to see it too. I think she found it quite hard to follow and I don't know that it gave her a good picture of what went on during that era, but she said it was interesting. She had heard about the miners strikes before from the film Billy Elliot.
I wonder if Lady Thatcher and her family have seen the film and how they feel about it.

Feast of St Brigid of Ireland

Today, 1st February, is St Brigid's day. At the weekend the kids and I made these crosses out of pipe cleaners as shown on the Catholic Icing site. (Please see sidebar for the link).
As Henry and his First Communion group have been learning about the Saints, we brought them along on Sunday to show the rest of his group. Some of the other parents who were brought up in Ireland were familiar with the tradition of cross weaving on this feast day.
Here is Henry's cross made out of the Irish flag colours.
I looked up the story of St Brigid on the good ol' internet to tell the children and picked out these snippets about her that I thought the kids would appeal to them most:
-her parents were baptised by St Patrick.
-she was a very beautiful girl who wanted to become a nun. But she attracted a lot of attention from men so she prayed to God to have her beauty taken away. Her prayer was granted so Brigid's father agreed to let her become a nun. As soon as she had taken her final vows, her beauty returned!
- While sitting beside the bed of a dying pagan chieftain, Brigid bent down and picked up some reeds that were lying on the floor and began weaving them into a cross and told the chieftain all about the life of Jesus. The chieftain converted to Christianity.
- Because she was so lovely and gentle, she reminded people of Jesus' mother Mary and is sometimes known as Mary of the Irish
-her parents were not married when she was born and she is therefore a patron saint of children of unmarried parents; also children with abusive parents and students.
- Her flower is the madonna lily.