Monday, 28 January 2013

Two weeks of snow

For the past two weeks our lives were disrupted by the thick blanket of snow that covered Barnsley, as it did most of the country. We quickly found a new routine which included a daily sledging session.
With extra layers of clothes, thermals and a flask of hot chocolate, the kids could stay out for a couple of hours.

Home Sweet Holmes bobsleigh team

The kids progressed to jumps

Apr├ęs ski in the back garden.
We made German snow lights.

Two weeks of snow, gave us time to experiment with snow ice-cream flavours.

I'm going to miss the free ice-cream, now the snow has begun to melt.

Orange slush
(snow and orange juice)

And while the kids made ice-cream, I drank Baileys, without ice...

and all was well in our little world!

Making a Moshi Monster Moshling or glump

 I found these pom pom tree decorations in the sale for 10p each. 
As soon as I saw them I thought Moshi Monsters!

 Imogen thought they looked more like glumps. 
Anyway, the transformation from pom-pom to Moshi monster began.
And here they are...

Our Moshi zoo

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Winter Weekend in Whitby

Before Christmas we had a long weekend in Whitby, North Yorkshire.

We stayed at YHA Whitby which is an historic building situated on the headland, 199 steps up from the quayside and next door to the ruined abbey.
I wish I'd taken some photos of the interior as there are lots of original and quirky features.

It was the first really really cold weekend of winter. So we went into the Lifeboat centre, more to get a warm than look around, but it proved to be so interesting.
After the snow we have had over the last two weeks it makes this epic rescue more amazing to imagine:
'On the morning of wednesday 19th January,1881 a Whitby ship, the brig "Visitor" was being wrecked in Robin Hood's Bay.  The Robin Hood's Bay Lifeboat was unseaworthy and only a foolhardy fisherman would have ventured out in such a sea. So some other solution needed to be found. A telegram was sent to Captain Gibson, Harbourmaster at Whitby from the Reverend Jermyn Cooper, vicar of Fylingdales requesting the lifeboat be sent out as soon as possible. So began the epic eight mile journey over the moors to Robin Hood's Bay. The main problem was the huge snowdrifts. Yet the men of Whitby were not to be beaten. They used shovels, horses, cows and anything useful along the way. They tore through hedges that got in the way. The Lifeboat next had to be lowered down the cliff. It was an exhausting and traumatic event for those rescued. They were numb with cold and did not at first realize that they were rescued. They had virtually given up all hope of rescue. But the crowd made up for this. The thousand or so people who had helped clear the way and virtually the whole of Robin Hood's Bay erupted in excitement as the epic rescue was completed.' 
(source: Scarbrough maritime heritage centre)

Famous Coxswain Henry Freeman

 He was the first man to wear a cork life jacket, which saved his life in a tragedy in which all the other crew perished. They also had cork life jackets, but chose not to wear them.

When in Whitby a visit to Fortune kipper shop is a must,
 Fortunes smoke house was established 1872 
and is still run by the same family.

We had a lovely relaxing weekend, playing table football, snooker, watching Doctor Who Jon Pertwee from the 1970's and posing for photos...

On our final night in the youth hostel the torrential rain started. By the morning we were unable to get a taxi to the station as roads were already closed. Heavy rain persisted, this was the start of some serious problems for the historic fishing town...

 a hillside collapsed onto a row of traditional cottages
 later that week, they were demolished.

St Mary's churchyard has also collapsed down the cliff, disturbing human remains and damaging Fortune's smokehouse.

The big thaw is underway this weekend with heavy rain on top.
Let's hope things don't get worse for Whitby!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Pretty bubbles in the snow

Since the snow arrived we've been learning about Antarctica. 
Explorers such as Henry Hudson noticed that unexpected things often happen to common materials in the very cold Arctic climate.
Today was definitely cold enough to try this bubble experiment.

If you blow bubbles on a very cold day they act differently to bubbles blown on a warm day. They  don't float around, but shatter in mid air.
It wasn't quite cold enough(!) this morning, so we blew bubbles into the freezer, there is a definite 'pop' as they shatter.

 We tried blowing bubbles again later, and saw more of the shattering effect.
When the bubble is blown in cold air, tiny ice crystals form, which shatter the bubble. Also the warm air inside the bubble expands and the pressure increases.The cold air stops the expansion and often causes the bubble to shatter.

Reuben also found this icicle, which is now in the freezer for safe keeping.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Recycling Christmas cards - literacy and maths ideas

What do you do with all the cards once Christmas is over?  
Here are some ideas - you can take them as far as you want!
We took a selection of cards and started by going through them one by one, looking at them as though they were books and giving each a title. This produced lots of laughs, turning out to be great fun as well as thought provoking.

I then asked the children to chose a card that appealed to them and give it a title, list the characters and outline the story.  The next day the girls used their story planning to write the story in full.

 Jemima chose this card and wrote a story about some abandoned puppies.

Using a card like the one above, with younger children, you could chat about what is happening as a starting point and soon a story will emerge.

Name the puppies.
What are they looking at?

We also made jigsaw puzzles.
 The older girls and I looked at the Christmas cards and we discussed which cards would make easy and difficult puzzles. You can simply cut up a card into a number of pieces that your child can manage, or do what we did ...
 First, we cut the card into four pieces.

 Then into eight and so on, each time putting the jigsaw back together. We kept on halving the pieces until we could no longer put the puzzle back together.

Patterned jigsaws are more tricky to put back together than picture cards.

Reuben loved the jigsaw made from this card.

Can you think of a good title for the book with this cover?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Winter Wonderland Part 1 and 2

Rosanna is in bed and Geoff has taken Jemima and Reuben out night time sledging and star gazing. Although there's not masses of snow we are making the most of the shallow covering and having lots of fun. This morning I did think maybe we should do some maths before we go out, and then I thought not. The girls would have thought it a crazy idea and how many days do we have snow. And I knew lots of learning would take place outside.
We live opposite a nature reserve, although we often walk there, it's a bit run down, suffering from litter and vandalism.
 but today it was transformed.

 The frost and rime covered plants were amazing.
I sent my husband a text telling him we were in Lapland!

 The kids were desperate to start sledging, 
although I could have stood taking photos all day.


 Rosanna was mesmorised by the frost and rime covering the plants. Initially she'd be cowering as we'd walked past them, mistaking them for spiky thorns.

 We had the place to our selves, until a man with 5 dogs appeared, none of them on leads. At this point the kids wanted to leave.
I was just about to publish this post, when Geoff and the kids come back from night sledging claiming his photos were better than mine and since we are joint authors he can add his 'improved' photos...

So what do you think...
Hope we don't have to don sumo suits to settle this argument!


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