Tuesday 30 September 2014

Fizzy, Foaming Fun!


When vinegar mixes with bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) an exciting reaction occurs. It fizzes and bubbles and it's fascinating to watch. It's a fun introduction to science for little ones. You can explain how when the vinegar is added to the bicarbonate of soda a chemical reaction occurs and produces the fizzy eruption!


I set up the activity on a plastic cloth on the floor. The bicarbonate of soda was in a tray and the vinegar was mixed with liquid watercolours in a muffin tin. I also gave the kids some pipettes to transfer the coloured vinegar to the baking soda.


The children were amazed at what happened when they squirted the vinegar onto the bicarbonate of soda.


This was the first time the children had used pipettes so I explained to them how they worked and how to use them and they soon got the hang of it. This was a great task for helping to develop fine motor skills.


                Soon the bicarbonate of soda became multicoloured!


                The mixture bubbled with eruptions everywhere!


The children played for a long time, especially D. T don't think there is any other activity which has held her attention for this long! She played and played until there was nothing but a mass of purple slime-like substance left. "Can we do it again tomorrow?" she asked.


Wednesday 24 September 2014

Cupcake case butterflies


We have been learning about butterflies recently so I decided we should make some. I scoured the internet and found so many great craft ideas. I loved these little cupcake case butterflies but they either used 4 cupcake cases to make 4 wings or 2 to make 2 wings. I experimented and found out that by folding them in a certain way I could make 4 wings using only 2 cases. Here is my tutorial.


Cupcake cases (2 per butterfly)
Wooden clothes pegs


                                First, get 2 cupcake cases.


                                Fold them in half.


Fold them over again with one side overlapping the other like this. See, It looks like 4 wings!


                            Glue in the middle.


                     Next, Glue a wooden clothes peg in the middle.


Then have fun decorating with glitter. Finally, use a gem as the butterflies head.



                               These are R's creations!


        These are D's creations! As you can see, she used a lot more glitter.


              This photo was taken by D, my little budding photographer.


B is for butterfly


So after spending last week on the letter A, we moved onto B. We had lots of fun thinking about which animals and objects begin with the letter B. First off was butterflies. The children love butterflies. There is something magical about them. The way they fly, the brilliant colours etc. We learnt about how caterpillars turn to butterflies with the help of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a classic children's favourite. A few months ago I made a felt boar for this story which you can see here.

I printed off lots of butterfly pictures ready for colouring in with pencils, pens or paints. I managed to buy these lovely watercolour paints from Lidl at a bargain price. This is the first time the kids have used watercolours rather than poster paint. They both loved it, and the results were lovely.


D was concentrating hard and really thinking about which colours to use and where to use them.


R had fun too. A great thing about watercolours is that they are not as messy as posterpaints!


Here are D's butterflies. I was really impressed with these. I particularly like the multicoloured  one in the middle


Here are R's butterflies. He started off well using different colours and then just painted all over in black!


Friday 19 September 2014

Apple tasting


Following on with the apple theme we did some apple tasting! For almost a year now I have been receiving fruit and veg boxes from the local farm. They are truly amazing and have revolutionised the way I cook by allowing us to eat seasonal, organic food. Recently we received a large fruit box containing 3 different types of apples. I've no idea which varieties they were but they were different colours which the children and I found exciting.

I cut up the apples and put them on a plate. Next I got a plain sheet of paper and drew a simple table placing the different apples at the top. Then, it was tasting time! I asked the children to describe the flavour, colour and texture of each apple and we wrote the adjectives down. After writing the adjectives in English, I then wrote them again in Turkish and finally in Zazaki (my husband's mother tongue). I wrote them in different colours to help keep the languages seperate. It was such a fun way to learn some new vocabulary. 


I've stuck the table on the wall under our alphabet coconut tree. I purchased the coconut tree wall art after seeing it here. We have the book 'Chicka chicka boom boom' which tells the story of all the letters climbing up the coconut tree. It is the first alphabet book I got for D and R and they absolutely love it. D quickly learned to tell the story along with me when I'm reading it. It's so catchy! This will definitely be a favourite book for years to come.



Wednesday 17 September 2014

A is for apple


Now that D has reached school age I thought it would be time to start teaching her the alphabet. She does not go to school as we have decided to homeschool at the moment. I feel the age of four, school age in the UK, is just a bit too young to start formal education plus after doing some research I feel that homeschooling is the best option.

It is hard to know where to start when you begin to homeschool so I thought it would be best to start from the beginning with the letter A. D practiced writing the letter as well as making it out of pipe cleaners. Luckily, D really seems to enjoy writing and has started asking me to write words for her to copy even though she doesn't know the alphabet yet. I taught her the sound of A and how 'apple' begins with A and we did some fun apple crafts.

The first craft we did was making tissue paper apples. I cut apple shapes out of white card and gave the children some glue and tissue paper. They soon got stuck in sticking the tissue paper onto their apples. R screw his up and stuck it on whereas D decided to glue it on flat.


D chose her usual colour to decorate the apple. Not sure I've ever seen an apple that colour before!


Next we made apple trees out of green doilies and red pom poms! I've had a stash of coloured doilies for ages but we haven't used them much. However, they caught my eye when I was looking for bit and bobs to use to make apples and I thought they would be perfect.


                      I think they turned out pretty well! 


      With a trunk drawn on the apple tree our crafts were finished.


Wednesday 3 September 2014


I learnt to knit as a child. I was always into creative things; knitting, sewing, drawing, painting. I remember my mother teaching me to knit the continental way where you don't need to wind the wool round the needle using your hand, you just hook it and pull it through with the needle (not sure if that makes any sense!). I remember knitting patchwork squares in the hope of making a blanket, as well as knitting scarves.


For many years I didn't knit. Then when I became pregnant with my first child I took it up again. My first project was baby bootees. I managed to finish them quickly and soon went onto knitting baby cardigans. I liked the baby projects as they were small and quick to knit. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I loved to put my hand knitted items on my baby. There's just something lovely about seeing a baby in a soft, fluffy knitted cardigan, especially one you have made yourself.

I started to knit more and more, made a few things for myself and family members. I spent ages searching for patterns and looking at wool. And then i stopped. I got busy, didn't have the time. But I miss the hand-knitted things. I need to get back into it. I'm starting early as before I know it it will be winter, I'm sure. So, I'm going through my patterns and choosing which to make for the kids this winter. I definitely won't have time to make anything for myself unfortunately. I put all my own patterns in a file; I will get round to them one day.


Here is my current project; a pink cardigan for D. She requested pink, she always request pink!


As you can see, although I am following the pattern, I changed the stitch. I have an amazing book that I bought from a charity shop for £1 which tells you how to do so many different stitches. I love to customise patterns by changing the stitches. I normally do this if they have quite a plain stitch pattern. I like to make them more interesting to look at as well as knit.

I really hope I can get the time to finish it!


Monday 25 August 2014

Tissue paper sun catchers

These Islamic sun catchers look stunning stuck on the window which the sunlight streaming through. I got the idea for the mosque sun catcher from here. All you will need to make these is some black card, scissors, glue and tissue paper.

First I cut some shapes in a piece of black card to make a mosque shape.

I got another piece of card and cut a moon and star out. I have a star-shaped hole punch which I used to cut the stars round the outside.


Here is R showing off his handiwork.

D shows off her artwork half way through the process.



As I mentioned in my last post, we have just returned from our holiday to Turkey. These days, most of our holidays are to Turkey because we have family over there. My husband was born in a village near Siverek, a town in the South East of Turkey. He is Zaza, a Kurdish group whose native language is Zazaki. His family, however, have now moved to Izmir on the west coast of Turkey and this is where we go when we visit.


He grew up in the village and his upbringing could not be more different from my own. They did not have electricity nor running water. I cannot imagine a life without these conveniences. They cooked on fires, kept animals and farmed the land. He fondly remembers how his mother even hand-knitted all of their socks. He reminisces about how soft and comfortable they were. Furthermore, he never saw a TV until he was 10 years old! With such starkly different backgrounds it is a wonder how we ever met, fell in love and married. But we did and the rest is history.


I first went to Turkey 6 years ago soon after we married. It was an exciting time, I'd heard much about the place, the family and was keen to see everything for myself. However, I don't think I was quite prepared for it, it was just so different, but over the years I have grown to love it in a way I didn't think I would.

The touristic areas of Turkey are not hard to like. They are buzzing with people, bazaars and entertainment but the town my in laws live, it is a different story. It is quieter, more traditional and above all, boring. Well, at least for someone like me who is used to rushing around filling the day with work and activities.


This year we arrived at the height of summer and I spent months beforehand worrying if I had anything cool enough to wear. I managed to purchase some cotton skirts and blouses and these were the perfect attire for the hot weather, along with salwar, baggy trousers people like to wear in the village. Salwar are actually now one of my favourite items of clothing, especially when visiting the in laws when I spend my time sitting on cushions on the floor. Nothing could be more comfortable.

The first few days were difficult, the children had to get used to the lack of toys and activities, however, they soon learnt how to play without them. They had their cousins to play with and they thoroughly enjoyed that. I watched as, without all their usual toys and distractions, their imaginations blossomed. A stick became a fairy wand or a bat for hitting a ball. They seemed more interested in the world around them and spent more time in conversation. It made me realise, modern living isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I began to relax. I read a book for the first time in what seems like ages. I had all this time and I didn't know what to do with it. So, I just sat and watched and listened and took in all in. There was so much to take in. Their culture is so different to my own but it is wonderful to learn about the way they live and their ancient customs.


One thing I love to see is their way of food preservation. One day kilos upon kilos of tomatoes arrived and we all sat their on little stools in the garden peeling them and chopping them up. It was laborious but once you get into the rhythm of it something takes over you and you feel like you can't stop until it's finished. 


Some of the tomatoes they cooked on the fire in their outdoor kitchen (they do have a modern indoor one too!) and then bottled it up for the winter. The rest they turned into tomato puree. To do this the tomatoes are placed in large plastic bags and left in the sun for a few days, then they are crushed up and placed on trays. These trays are left on the roof in the sun until the tomatoes turn into tomato puree.


Another thing I love to see is how they dry out vegetables in the sun. The insides are scooped out of aubergines and peppers and these are strung up on the roof until they go all crinkly and dry. These can then be rehydrated during winter months when the vegetable supply is not as plentiful.

Apart from spending time at home with family, we also managed to go out into the town and look round the bazaar and shops. We went to the park one evening and I was surprised to see how busy it was late into the night! People tend to go out in the evenings as it is too hot during the day. This is something I would never do in England. Although the way of life in a traditional Turkish town is so different to life in the UK, I feel there are positives and negatives to both and both are great in their own way.


Friday 18 July 2014

Glitter heart stamp cards


When a special occassion arises,  the children like to give cards to special people in their lives. We always have lots of fun deciding how to make the cards; which colours, how to decorate and what to write inside. 

I have seen many posts all over the internet using toilet paper rolls bent into various shapes to act as stamps. Normally paint is used but today I decided to let the kids loose with the glitter! D was in her element; she loves sparkles!

These are super easy to make. Take a toilet paper roll and bend it into the required shape.


                                  Next, dip it into some glue.


                              Then stamp it over your card.


                          Finally, shake glitter all over!


                  Two glittery heart cards perfect for someone special!

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