Saturday, 27 August 2011

Busy, busy, busy....

We got an Ikea draw set from the charity shop some time ago and it had been varnished and decorated in some animal stencils by it's previous owner and while we had always intended to redecorate it we had never gotten around to it until now lol....

We decied to give it a crackled paint effect but it didn't turn out quite right was supposed to look a little like this....

However, it turned out like this....not entirely the look we were hoping for and to be honest I'm not quite sure what went wrong; I've done this tons of times before and it's more or less fool proof.  Perhaps the glue was too thin or not tacky enough when the final coat went on....or maybe the varnish wasn't sanded off properly.  Nevertheless, they like it and here it is in pride of place sandwiched between the PC and the reading box, lol.

Lego has been busy with his 'D-Day' model and made the sea was made with sugar, water and food colouring and scrunching the tin foil up underneath gives it a 'wave' effect and I must say I am really impressed.  He researched how to make it on the Internet when I refused to buy 'fake sea' paint [or something] for £ he can be resourceful when he wants to eh!  Once it sets rock hard he will trim off the tin foil and paint some foam and crests to the top to add to the effect.  I must admit I'm getting quite excited about this model and can't wait to see it finished.

We were inspired by a Fiona on YouTube today to do some layering in the children's visual journals....they did them all themselves after watching the video with little input from me; except retrieving the materials, mopping up the spillages and the writing which they dictated - I was happy to oblige as it was almost midnight by the time the last coat had dried and they were tired!  They gave their pages a base coat of paint and when that was dry they chose a second colour and painted that over the page ad hoc.  They then tore up some paper and glued it on randomly over the page. After that they drew some 'patterns' over the pages in acrylic paint.  The writing, which was themed around an important thing that they had learned today, the went on top!  They were really, really happy with the results and so was I....we might have to do this one again!

The top one is Daisy's and the bottom one belongs to Crush; he is actually showing some artistic flare mashaAllah and gave consideration to his work with regard to the colours he chose, the way he wanted to put on the second coat [i.e. by flicking or splattering the paint], the patterns and how he wanted the writing to look - strange for a boy! or is it?

They also did some work on their Maths Whizz accounts [for the first time all Ramadan] and actually enjoyed it...a change is as good as a rest they say! We have also spent a considerable amount of time organising our classroom and sorting through the vast array of books we have....they seem reluctant to get rid of them and it's been quite frustrating to convince them that they don't need all of them and remind them that we have access to a vast number of books at a vast number of libraries! And last, but by no means least, Sprite made one of his infamous chocolate cakes which smells so yummy I'm off to get a big piece to have with my cappuccino, lol! Caio!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Too busy to post....

hummm, well almost!  We have all been very busy getting the back garden sorted...hubby laid the patio and we have all been helping to strip paint/repaint/put up fences/planting etc so the patio area of my garden now looks like this alhamdulillah.  There are still some bits and pieces to do and that's a lot of white space...I can feel a mosaic coming on lol...

However, the back of my garden still has a long way to go but that's enough for Ramadan inshaAllah..

 We have been making flowers from scraps [some of which you can see below] which was really fun and it was almost impossible to go wrong so they were really chuffed with the results...

 We also had a day at the National Space Museum again [thanks to our free annual pass, yippee!] so the kids could participate in the Lego building competition; the criteria for which was to build a space station out of available pieces. Here are their efforts mashaAllah,  starting with Daisy's


Next is Sprite's attempt...

Last but not least was Lego's space station!

Here is a photo of a piece of moon it may not look like much to you but it had Daisy transfixed for what seemed like forever; she just couldn't believe that here in front of her was a real life piece of the moon lol!

Here are the journal entries that Daisy [top]  and Crush did about their trip to the museum mashaAllah. They both used the certificate they got for taking part in the Lego competition as a background. The theme of the entry was collage and they both also stuck on their tickets with Daisy also cutting out one of the rubbings she did at the museum and Crush [quite inventively I thought] managed to acquire Sprite's certificate and cut out the Lego men and used them as decoupage pieces on the page.  Sorry about the oily patches they are from the marbling they did 2 pages previously!

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Yesterday we did some marbling for the children's art journals and this is the result...

And here is a great video about the art of marbling which was apparently started in either Turkey of Persia in the 1100's; the Turks developed a different type of marbling [called ebru] using thickened water which you can still see practised by specialist artists in Turkey today- see the video below for some art in progress!

We have also been watching lots of 'how things are made' videos on You Tube - we watched the intitial video in response to one of the children asking how glass was made.  They found them so interesting that they watched more and more of them.....learning that bubble gum was made of rubber and plastic has put them off of it for life alhamdulillah [I hate the stuff and chewing gum in the house is banned but at least now they agree with me, lol].

Other than this we haven't done much else as hubby had an exam today and I have spent a lot of the last day or so helping him to revise.  Back to normal tomorrow inshaAllah!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Doll's houses to dog fights!

Today we: fixed Daisy's dolls house furniture


...did bubble painting in the garden [which was a good thing as paint got everywhere and I had to hose down the patio - you can't do that in your living room can you?] for their art journals; again inspired by Umm Tafari  mashaAllah. The colours were not as vibrant as I wanted and I think this is because we used poster paint instead of acrylic paint but the kids like them anyway and really enjoyed blowing the bubbles too.  I am also not that happy with the way that the colours are going onto the coloured construction paper pages so may have to start using white paper and gluing it in but I didn't really want that...hmm!

We also started Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories as planned but unfortunately the illustrations didn't inspire them as I had hoped.  The children didn't seem to be too impressed with the first story either and I wish I had read it first but didn't as it is one of the books listed as a read aloud in the Well Trained Mind.  Anyway, here is what they did with their bubble painting:

This is just a highlight from Daisy's journal...she took the photo and I just like it!

Here is her journal page, inspired by the bubbles I guess...she did narrate a long story about bubbles and fish that she wanted me to scribe for her but she went far to quickly and it was far too long so in the end she just put 'fish blow bubbles'

Here is the page that Crush did [and it had to have some sort of gun in it didn't it!] and at the top he asked me to write: 'bubbles are great, bubbles are fun, bubbles are for everyone' - a poet in the making lol - and I loved his little popped bubbles!  The littlies are really enjoying the visual journalling so far and Sprite has even been joining in; only to 'help' them of course but both he and Lego have asked to do their own journal so I guess I will have to find some better quality paper journals for them to use by tomorrow, arggg!

On to Sprite [I won't forget him again after getting in trouble yesterday, lol] he did some more on his nature diary.  He photocopied some pictures of frogs and their life cycle and coloured them in.  One he used to put behind a frame that he heat embossed and the others he used to make a mini book of the frogs life cycle; I like it!  Tomorrow he has to complete the writing part of this topic inshaAllah.

Lego also completed his 'WW2 Aeroplane' booklet for his lapbook and the main background for that section; he scrunched it up and distressed it with inks [as he did the accordion booklet] as he wants them all to look 'old'.The booklet contains all the things you could ever want to know about the Yak-9 and the picture on the cover shows two Yak-9's in dog fight [bet you were wondering when that was going to come in weren't you? lol].

We read lots and lots of books today too and started to tackle the sorting and clearing out of our classroom/dining room in readiness for a return to a full days learning after Ramadan's a mammoth task but I know we can do it!

Lego has been trying to train his budgie to respond to voice commands and the budgie, Sky, of course is having none of it; it's comical to watch the battle of wills going on but Lego is very persistent and patient mashaAllah.  I also had to draw the line at Sky joining us for iftar as the guest of honor at the table!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Apologies Sprite...

I forgot to add the beginnings of your nature are some pictures inshaAllah. He was given, as homework for English, the task of making a nature journal which will be added to as they move through the book they are reading and this is his effort for that God willing.

Every page is made from a 12x12" sheet of paper and is folded to give a maximum of 3 pockets for tags and has a flap that opens to give two big spaces for journeling or photos. He learned how to make this pocket book from a You Tube tutorial [of the many, many available] and it was soooo much fun [although he needed help with the inches thang]; we also played around with the gluing an sticking of the pages for a slightly different look to each page. Sprite, is in the process of decorating the pages and adding information - he has only started the green page so far. Eventually he will make a front and back cover from card and the pages will be punched and bound together with string, ribbon or 'D' rings so that it can be added to if he wants...we'll see what takes his fancy!

Here are the 3 pages we made so far with binding strip on the right and you can see the, as yet, undecorated tags in thier places.

Here is a page showing the flap open from the front side giving a photo/journeling space on the right and the pocket on the left.

Here is the same page with the flap open from the back side giving a 'double page spread' lol - sorry about the orientation of the picture!

Watch out for updates on his progress!

Peaks and troughs!

Well our slight peak has unfortunatelty troughed! What started out as a promising week education wise dipped with the return of my lack of sleep! But we have done this...

Inspired by Umm Tafari the two little ones started a visual journal however, they wanted to start it 'NOW' and I didn't have any spiral bound books but I did have some scrapbooks so we used those instead. The first one is Daisys, she did start off trying to do blow painting but the paint was too thick so she ended up scrunching up paper and dabbing, there are also some flowers made with thumb prints and some material flowers stuck on. I was worried that they would be dissappointed as the blow painting didn't work out but they were pleased with the overall result mashaAllah.

This is crashes journal, he wanted to do handprints on his and painted all our hands and made each one of us put some hand/finger prints on it somewhere lol...he even said that he wants to do a page inside on the theme of families with each of our handprints; I think he may really run with this inshaAllah.

Lego has actually started putting his WW2 lapbook together and produced these two mini books..the first one he put a lot of effort into and it looked great with some great but amusing factual writing [he is actually very good at writing mashaAllah]. The second one...well, it does what it was meant to do but the effort is just not there...this drives me made with him, he is so inconsistant with his work standards! Arggg, he can really let himself down sometimes.

We are in the middle of a garden revamp and hubby [for some strange reason] got the kids to dig this huge hole anyway, it got filled with water and they put their small dingy in it for a paddle...they really made me laugh, they were soooo happy floating on what was basically a deep puddle and it kept them entertained all day. They have also been helping hubby put up fences; apparently cementing and playing with hammers, saws and nails is so much more entertaining than maths and English!

Sprite figured out how to make a water pistol using a hydrolic could have seen it working/spraying but for some reason we couldn't co-ordinate the picture taking with the spraying!

I have been given a copy of 'Just so Stories' by Rudyard Kipling and the illustrations are beautiful - the photo doesn't do them any justice at all I'm afraid - so tomorrow I am going to read it before they start their visual journals to see if it inspires them at all.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Finally getting stuff done...

OK it's taken us [well me] a few days to get into the swing of things this Ramadan...I was ill the week before Ramadan, then we decided - because of the long fasting day here in the UK - to stay up all night and then sleep from fajr until dhur. Well that was the plan and everyone did sleep until dhur...except me! For some reason I was waking up at 7.30am and couldn't get back to sleep so for the first few days of Ramadan I was sleep deprived [about 4 hours a night] and a little tetchy to say the least. Well, now I can manage to sleep until about 11am which is just enough sleep for me to back on track, alhamdulillah. So for the last couple of days....

Lego has constructed most of the buildings for his D-Day landing model - built to fit his ready made army, as you can see!:

We completed our Ramadan bulletin board thanks to the very talented sisters at TJ Ramadan and Mini Mu'min for their wonderful downloads:

We also spent an afternoon at Watermead Country Park and visited the Climate Trail:
They played on a dinosaur [with cargo nets, woop!]
Learned about recycling and our contribution to the ozone etc..
They climbed long poles...
Rode a polar bear.
We [yep, me too!] walked a rope bridge across the river [it was very wobbly and I didn't like it *pout*, lol]
Then we spent an hour or two sitting in a quiet spot by the lake reading Quran, skimming stones, fed the ducks and swans and did some sketching....what a lovely day. The swans kept coming up on the bank to hear the Quran and scaring Daisy lol!

And Sprite built this bubble blower from a Robot Kit [there was a bit of artistic license in play there I think, I wouldn't go so far as to label it a 'robot' but he's chuffed with it nevertheless].

And that's it!