Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar

Lil GN and I read this together, just the two of us. I knew he’d be a sucker for Ralfy as he too has a healthy love of books.

5 carrots

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Homework Club

Lil D and I have formed a Wednesday afterschool homework club.

Our aim? To be unstoppable (^-^)

This week we had our first meeting and honestly, it was awesome.  I got to see her midweek and she got to go to a coffee shop, spread out and show off her learning prowess.

As we walked to our new study home she chattered about school and her excitement of being in the choir and orchestra.  It was so nice to hear about her day when it was fresh in her mind.  Asking how her week was after the fact doesn’t usually produce such detail and enthusiasm.

First order of homework club was to order our snacks.  No girl should have to work on an empty stomach.  As I waited for my coffee and she, her milk, Lil D counted my change – education straight away!

We went upstairs, chose a seat and as Lil D tucked into her fruit bread she noted that there was “another girl doing her homework”.  A student.  But it made Lil D proud to be part of something.  I rummaged through her books and found her homework diary waiting for her to finish her snack.  As she polished off the last crumbs and I got ready to start, she said “Not yet” at which point my heart sank.  Did she not get that this wasn’t a play date? “Lets take a photo of our first homework club” she continued – ahh, what a sweetie (^-^)

Homework diary checked, we started on her maths.  She was to write the number before or after the one in the question. No problem, except now I’m thinking she should have done the whole page.  *Sorry Lil D if you get into trouble (>.<)

Next reading.  Her homework diary said P28-32 – her book only had 24 pages.  Erm, am I totally clueless about primary school homework?  We read the whole book.  And it was fun.  Dino-sitting is about a dinosaur named Nutter who finds an egg then under the advice of others sits on it til it hatches.  Not into a bird as he suspected but a T-rex.  Lil D loved predicting what was going to happen and read each word with care.

Next she had a choice of a game or spellings.  Unsurprisingly she chose the game.  Little did she know it was a maths game (^-^) Connect Four – simply get four counters in a row to win.  Our twist was to roll two dice, add the numbers together then place a counter over the corresponding number.  Getting four in a row took a while and as we were using smarties as counters, we ran out of player specific colours fairly soon.  Lil D’s greatest joy was to suggest the winner gets to eat the smarties – pity I won (^-^)

Then came her weekly spellings.  In her homework diary a list of 15 words was pasted.  One to fifteen – I love it when a theme comes together.  Out came my alphabet magnets and whiteboard, to Lil D’s utter delight.  (Does she actually like school work or is it all for the love of props?)  As she sifted through the letters I timed how long it took to build each word.  After each build she wrote the word on the whiteboard with its time.  Hopefully the visual and physical building of the word will help fix them in her memory.

To finish we got around to vowels.  Her teacher had been reviewing them with her class last week and I want to be able to mirror what she’s been doing in class as reinforcement.  I started off by asking her to write all the vowels on the whiteboard.  She did so unfazed. I brought out a snakes and ladders board to practice short vowel words.  Roll the dice and read the word you land on.  To call attention to my point I had her identify the vowel in each word too. Easy peasy, but I won again (^-^)

So ended our first homework club.  A good 90 minutes of real work that felt like fun.  She asked if we would still be doing this when she was in P.5.  I hope so, Lil D.  What a great routine that would be. Until next Wednesday, my dear!

Weekend chess

Lil D loves a challenge.  D Daddy taught her well when it comes to being competitive- she can do the trash talk, can revel in victory and be gracious in defeat (though that happens less and less often these day).

She also wants to find as many games to beat her aunties at as possible!

So.  Papa got a chess board for Christmas.  Papa loves a crossword and claims to understand chess, yet he has had nine months to prove his skill and somehow avoided it.  Which is why it’s good to have dotes around- they will always want to try the new thing in the house.

Shortly after Christmas we experimented.  Lil GN loved the idea, but decided that rules don’t really matter when all the cool little figures could have a battle on the board.  So we played something, just not chess.  Lil C had no interest (much too busy making the other dotes laugh).  Lil D wanted to try it for real, but it was a little complex for her to keep inside her head.

Last weekend, a nasty cold put my energy levels low and Lil D suggested we try chess again.  Boy what a difference a half year makes to a dote’s tactical understanding.  Firstly we played a warm up game or two of draughts- where she obliterated me basically single handedly.  I’m no expert but really?!

Then came the main event.

The room watched.

D Daddy and I explained the rules, how the pieces move, how she sometimes needs to think ahead for her moves.

And then (with a little help from the audience) Lil D patiently took my pieces from the board and had my king in check fairly swiftly.  It was all downhill for my dreams of chess glory after that, and with some glee Lil D earned the right to say checkmate.

Ahh… well done Lil D, well done.

An Introduction to the 80s

We can relive our childhoods. We’re so excited, and we just can’t hide it!

The dotes are *totally* into the same things we were into when we were young(er).

As we’ve seen they love Scooby Doo.  They also have a good time with Tom and Jerry, My Little Pony, Lego, Barbie and TMNT. Lil D’s playlist includes We didn’t start the fire by Billy Joel and to our eternal chagrin they all have a soft spot for Wham’s Wake me up before you go go.

It occurs to us that we have an opportunity to introduce more of the things we loved as kids. We hoped too much for NKOTB but our eagerness was detected and New Kids were dismissed with prejudice. Lesson learned, all future efforts will be casual, light, chill.

Saying that I really want to reread The Little Vampire with them.  It stands out as my gateway book to reading for pleasure.  My copy was also covered with I love Joey if I remember correctly (see above). How could they not love having a vampire friend? It has to happen.

I’m thinking I’m going to be Jem of Jem and the Holograms fame for Halloween. I only ever got to have Pizzazz in my childhood so a great wrong will finally be righted. And if Lil GN and Lil C wanted to be Elliot and Gertie from ET, I’d be ok with that.  I mean, ADORABLE (^-^)

Ringpops went down a treat over summer.  Lil D bought some randomly with her summer fund and shared them with her cousins.  They in turn had their mommy get some more.  Flying saucers next perhaps?

We’ve asked Lil C’s mommy to explain “A baby’s gotta do what a baby’s gotta do” (Our first day of school encouragement via Chuckie from The Rugrats) and we’re biding our time for a screening of Count Duckula after a successful viewing of DuckTales The Movie.

A scrunchie could easily be incorporated into Lil D’s stylebook but could we actually achieve the ultimate in this auntie’s 80s dreams? Can we introduce legwarmers? Watch this space (^-^)

Scooby dooby doo, we love you

Ah Scoobert, Scoobert, Scoobert…

Scooby doo

Why, oh why do we watch you endlessly?

Is it just because you are always there? – be it on a random freeview channel, or a dvd purchased for the princely sum of £3.  Old school, new versions, live action, repeats – it doesn’t matter, our dotes are hooked.

By *Jinkies* Scooby, you are the mystery!

Why do the dotes find you so mesmerising?! Why do even us aunties get sucked into wanting to know who is beneath the mask? (And how come more of the recently made episodes seem to have villains who are actually supernatural, and Fred much more capable of planning a good trap than I remember?)

Zoinks!

The dotes simply love Scooby. Love to see him get into and out of adventures.  Lil GN likes a good scary monster, so the never ending carousel of villains gives his imagination something to work with.  Lil D likes to take it all in, examine the plot and question for loopholes.  Lil C laughs as Scooby and Shaggy run away.  There’s something for them all.

And us, well, it’s Scooby.(Shrugs shoulders).  We’d kinda love it if the dotes adopted a few Scooby phrases…and we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those…etc, etc

Crochet dreams

Crochet, or to be precise amigurumi (crocheting super cute stuffed creatures) is my new favourite thing.   I have been searching for this, and didn’t even know it.

Between us, Bear is the creative one.  She’s a doodler, a crafter, a photographer, you name it, she will give it a pretty good go.  Me, well let’s say that I have a realistic grasp of my abilities.  But sometimes, I forget that and like to try.

So last year I took up cross stitching, and enjoyed it thoroughly.  There was a set pattern to follow and a limited number of stitches- it felt achievable.  But it also slowly dawned on me that there are few times in life you will realise you need something cross-stitched.  And only so much space to hang embroidery hoops (Note: none of my cross stitch artwork made it to the walls. Though it was cute).  That realisation means I have a drawer full of embroidery thread and not much need to use it.

Fast forward to July this year.  In a box from the Lucky Dip Club (a subscription box that sends curated theme boxes each month) there was a little pack from Tea and Crafting. It contained an amigurumi jellyfish, and all the bits needed to complete it.

Several hours of watching youtube videos and asking nanny (a super, traditional crochet-er) and I had just about figured out how to make a magic circle.  Days later I had ripped out and started again many times, but oncIMG_20150901_135814e on the right track it took mere hours to complete my jellyfish.  He isn’t perfect, he’s lost an eye already and he’s two toned when he wasn’t supposed to be, but I like him:-)

Since then I have found several bloggers with patterns I can follow *though sometimes the American instructions trouble my novice skills*, and have completed a bat (a halloween series may follow), some cute bows (future dote friendly hair accessory?) and several apples (because why not?!).

Anyone need a super cute Japanese style animal or anthropomorphic creature?