Friday, 29 August 2014

Bread on Sticks and Fire Dancing Tricks

We headed to Fordhall Farm this week for a forest skills day that the kids had been looking forward to. Squidge and Moppet started off by showing Sprout the cob pig they'd helped with a couple of weeks ago, then they all played on the tractor for a bit.

Then we headed over into the woods and helped each other make some nettle string. They were pretty pleased with the end result!

They built a den for a while, and Sprout noticed these insects.

Then they helped mix some dough for damper bread...

...then watched while it cooked over the embers. 

On the way out they played in the community garden...

...and watched the pigs.

We escaped a downpour in the cafe, and Sprout got out his Science Focus magazine and read Squidge an article about the best way to win against houseflies :)

Sprout started the weekend pondering numbers. He'd bought a Halo minifigure and had been studying the little info sheet that comes with them, and there were Roman numerals on there. He talked to me about them and compared them to what he'd seen on clocks and then worked out what other minifig numbers were. He asked how many minifigs he could buy with twenty pounds, and I said ten. Later he suddenly exclaimed that he'd just realised that if one day he managed to save up a hundred pounds he could buy fifty of the Halo minifigs! FIFTY! And if he saved up two hundred pounds he could buy a hundred! 
He then borrowed my phone for a while and got far better photos of Mac than I've ever managed, he's always a featureless shadow for me!

The kids and their friends got the play dough out, and Sprout made this and told me it was Delsin Rowe's emblem from InFamous: Second Son. 

Squidge bought a new tiny wee toy gun with his pocket money, and he and Sprout and their friends had lots of Nerf battles.

We headed into Hanley for the production of Faust by the Southpaw Dance Company, and this is Moppet waiting for the show and wailing ghoooostly tooooiiilet, as you do. 

This photo has sneaked in the wrong place but Sprout asked for a loom band bracelet with the US flag on it, as he recognised that one of the packs in Squidge's big box had the right colours for it, so we found a tutorial online and I made it for him (close enough!)

Back to Faust, and it rained, the dancers pushed on through for a little while but it was called off about fifteen minutes in.

Enough time for Moppet to drink some rain though :)

Sprout had been reading on his smoothie carton in the car that bananas were berries, so we looked it up at home.

The next day was part of The Big Feast for Appetite Stoke, and there were a couple of things that the kids had picked out that they wanted to see, so we went back into Hanley. We passed a carousel on the way in so they hopped on for a ride :)

They found a shed with a film inside about pigeon whistles which they watched. 

While they watched that I wandered over to the Poetry Takeaway, and a lovely poet by the name of Laurie Balger asked me about the kids and our life, and then said come back in a little while.

We walked down to the Sugarmill to see this work in progress...

...and saw these couple of little ones on the way back up into town.

As we walked to the pop up cafe, we caught a performance by these guys :)

We found the Hunt & Darton cafe, and we were asked to put some music on the record player :) Sprout was excited to do it as he hadn't used one before, so he put on Aladdin Sane by David Bowie. 

We had a look at what looked like the menu and then realised was actually this bit of wondrousness :) (And Sprout did then order the battenberg so that he could so just that.)

The chalkboard behind us is where they ask each table to chalk their number of covers and their feedback before they leave :)

We had coffee served in an array of brilliant cups...

...and Squidge had a large fish of water with a shot glass!

The dancers from earlier arrived in this creepy guise.

Then we hurried further up into town for the main thing all three of them wanted to see, the fire breathing dragon we'd seen a few weeks ago at The Bell production.

When we went back to the Poetry Takeaway, Laurie had penned this (and yes, it made me cry ;) )

We drove over to Central Forest Park for Audible Forces by Oxford Contemporary Music, which was a collection of sound sculptures. We could hear a haunting sound coming over the hill before we could see the sculptures :)

And another pigeon film shed!

Another fairground ride for good measure :)

And a play on the playground too.

"Ho ho hooooo, I piwate!"

We stopped at the park cafe on the way back to the car, and I snapped this of Gruff with the kids, and I love how well it captures each of the kids' personalities :)

Sprout is still focusing on what he calls references, which are the kind of connections looked at here
He bought a pack of Scatter Brainz darts in Poundland and each had a different design, including, as he pointed out to me, references to playing cards :)

We went back into town for the second night showing of Faust as the kids (and us!) were excited to see the rest of the show. As we waited Sprout noticed the copper tables on the set...

...and talked about brass and bronze alloys and wondered if they were the same composition in real life as in Minecraft, so we looked it up. 

He noticed the coat of arms over the town hall door so we looked up what it meant...

Then he noticed a statue with the words for those who died so we could be free, and wondered what that meant, so we went and had a look and he took this photo of the other side and I explained it was a memorial for soldiers from the World Wars.

Moppet and I went for a wander and took this photo of the sunset over Stoke.

Then she got comfy as the show started :)

It was BRILLIANT. Slick, funny, enthusiastic, exciting, moving, just wonderful. As soon as it was over Sprout was asking when we could go and see them again as he loved it so much. 

We had a sleepy girl the next morning, so she did this for a while...

...then played on Toca Mini making some characters :)

Squidge looked at his Flip-o-storic book for a while...

...then we went round to a friend's house to play for a while. They chose a comic each on the way back, Sprout's had some Power Rangers stuff in it and some Lego stuff too. It had a big 'facts about Lego' article which said that there had been over 50 Lego videogames made, and he couldn't believe it was so many... he asked me to look them up. 53 in total! 

We had a home ed group trip to East Midlands Airport planned. They showed us round departures, then the kids worked out some items that aren't allowed on flights, and then did a wordsearch.

We then all headed over to Aerozone, their educational building, to play in Miniland which is a little version of an airport. Fun! X-ray scanner...


...and control room. This bit was Sprout's favourite, after Moppet finished here Sprout told me he was directing a plane full of people from Japan to Italy :)

They all coloured in a little toy plane...

...and Squidge and I made a loom band bracelet with the loom bands they'd made available (incongruous, but fun!)

They all tried to find where the destination markers belonged on the map, which was a bit harder as a section of the map was magnified so it looked nothing like the world map from home!

We came home at lunchtime as Moppet was feeling under the weather, plus the boys wanted to fit in an afternoon playing with their school-going friends before term starts tomorrow!

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