Skip to main content

Theme Week: Earth

You know how these things work.  The first week you're full of enthusiasm and do tons of stuff, and the second week... yeah.  Not quite so much.  It's not that we haven't done things, it's just that many of them weren't related to the theme.  So we made ice lollies, played with friends, took the car to the garage (not an expensive fix, fortunately), and occasionally squeezed in a few earth-related activities too.

Since I may have less to write about, I'll take a moment to mention my two main mayhem-reducing tools for the summer.

The first is a whiteboard, on which to delineate our day's activities.  The intentions being a) I'm forced to come up with at least a few things to do each morning; b) Toby has some idea what's going on in advance; c) Toby improves his reading skills.  We haven't used it every day, but I think it's achieved those goals when we have.

He's also been improving his writing; that says "car" in case you can't tell.
 
The other is a set of cards which I prepared in advance (get me!), showing things to do and places to go.  They're colour-coded into outings, outdoor activities and indoor activities, and Toby can pick one from the appropriate category (edited as necessary to the ones I'm actually prepared to do on any given day).  He really seems to enjoy that, and it's useful both when we're planning the day and during those moments when we've run out of things to do.  And it's so much easier than coming up with something myself, when my mind's a blank and all I really want to do is hide under the duvet.

So, back to Earth...

Activities

1. Papier mache
Believe it or not, there's actually a whole website devoted to papier mache, and I probably should have read their tutorial first.  We were aiming to make a globe using a balloon mould, but it's taken a long time to dry and sagged a bit at the bottom.  Looking at the instructions, I should have diluted the PVA glue less, and put on fewer layers.  Also, I should not have given Toby a bath before trying this activity.  You live, you learn.  Maybe we'll paint some rough approximations of continents on it one day.

No good taking photos when your hands are covered in glue, so this is the aftermath.
Drying in the garden

2. Chalk target game
This just sounded easy and fun, and you know, chalk's from the earth and we were drawing on the ground, so I shoehorned it into the earth theme.  The only thing I had to do in advance was buy some cheap sponges, but beanbags would be great too, if you had any.  We dipped the sponges in water to give them some weight - and besides, wet sponges are way more exciting.

My super-artistic target
Actually I think he may have been dropping the chalks in the water, which wasn't the idea at all.

Outings

1. Sharpe's Pottery Museum
A few miles away in the town of Swadlincote, there was once a thriving industry making... toilets.  And sewage pipes.  Oh yes.  The excitement never ends.  But the museum is free, child friendly, and has a cheap cafe serving rather yummy cake, if you can face that kind of thing after learning all about toilets.  We met some friends there and spent more time sipping coffee than studying sanitaryware, but that can't be a bad thing, can it?

2. Arbor Low Stone Circle


Not in the original plan, but Graham was looking for a place to walk this Saturday, and discovered that the Peak District has its very own version of Stonehenge!  Big rocks!  Earthworks!  Hills!  Beautiful fit with the theme, thank you.  Also it's very close to the top end of the Tissington Trail, which gave Toby a chance to whizz along on his balance bike, Graham and I a chance to have a decent stroll, and Theo a chance to snooze.

None of the stones are still standing, unfortunately
There's a circular bank, a ditch, and the ring of stones within that.
 
Theo, taken by Toby

Food

Well, it's got to be Mississippi Mud Pie, hasn't it?



9" pie crust (we used pastry but a biscuit / graham cracker base is an alternative)
4 oz / 1 stick butter
3 oz / 100g dark chocolate
3 eggs
8 oz / 1 cup sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup / corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter and chocolate together.  Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and stir in the sugar, syrup and vanilla.  Pour the melted chocolate mixture in and stir to mix.  Pour into the uncooked pie crust.  Bake at 180°C / 350°F for about 45 minutes until set.  Serve warm.

Eat with ice cream and a big smile

And I almost forgot to mention - this is my two hundredth published post!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride: Spiritual Formation Book 13

"Love is a sweet and pleasurable food because it gives rest to the tired, strength to the weak, and joy to the sorrowful. Love makes the yoke of truth easy to bear and its burden light." Bernard of Clairvaux was born in 1090. At the age of 22 he became a Cistercian monk, and persuaded about thirty of his relatives and friends to join him on this path. He became the abbot of Clairvaux when he was 25 years old. During his lifetime he founded many other monastic communities. This edition includes two of St Bernard's books: The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride and On Loving God . They are short books, with very short chapters, often only a page or so long. The first was written for his fellow monks; the second for "the illustrious Lord Aimeric, Cardinal-Deacon and Chancellor of the Roman Church", who had apparently been asking Bernard questions about the faith. What is the book about? Twelve Steps spends its first half describing what the goal of humility is, b

San Antonio

San Antonio is towards the south of Texas and feels very much more Mexican than American. The balmy evenings, the colourful Mexican market, the architecture of the buildings, and the number of people speaking Spanish around us all added to the impression. The city, in fact, grew out of a Spanish mission and presidio (fort), built in 1718 as part of Spain's attempt to colonize and secure what was then the northern frontier of the colony of Mexico. Texas was then a buffer zone between Mexico and the French-held Louisiana, and Spain was keen to cement her hold on the area by introducing settlers and converting the natives to Catholicism and loyalty to the Spanish government. The missions in general had no great effect, but the San Antonio area was the exception to the rule, growing into an important city with five missions strung out along the San Antonio river. The first of these, San Antonio de Valero, later became well-known as the Alamo, where 182 Texans died in 1836

Melbourne Art Festival: A Surprisingly Good Afternoon Out

Maybe it was the warm autumn weather.  Maybe it was the fun of peeking into other people's back gardens.  Maybe it was the novelty of standing with other people, listening to real live musicians.  Or maybe it was just the giant pink ice creams. Whatever it was, Melbourne Festival had turned into a surprisingly satisfying afternoon.  I'd seen the posters for it and thought it might be a nice change from yet another walk on a Sunday afternoon, but that was about as high as my expectations had been. When we arrived, the male three-quarters of the family were immediately pleased to see the signs for classic cars at Melbourne Hall.  Shortly afterwards, I was pleased to discover that there were only about half a dozen of them, so that we could rapidly move on to less mechanical works of art. The festival was spread out around the village of Melbourne, in churches, halls, and private gardens.  Melbourne is one of those fascinating places anyway, with archways and alleyways and houses