A week off for half-term

This week has been school holidays in Hampshire, so I took a week off to entertain the rampaging monsters otherwise known as my children.

As always, it’s been a fun mix of things. With a three year old and a seven year old, the general plan is to try something a bit different every day so they’re not bored by the end of the week.

We did a few arts and craft things. We made our own candles, melting down candle wax chips from Hobbycraft in a saucepan, adding colouring and pouring them into moulds. We did some sewing, making stuff like animal-shaped cushions.

We spent an afternoon mucking about with a camera and a microphone. Faith loves singing into a small USB microphone we’ve got, so we recorded her singing some of her favourite songs. Grace tried making a stop motion animation using her Sylvanian Families. It ended up being 25 seconds long, but between taking all the photos, and recording the voices and sound-effects, it took her ages!

Given Grace’s recent decision that she wants to be a scientist when she’s older, we tried to fit a few science activities in the week. I’ve blogged about two of the most interesting ones already – making a voice box out of a balloon and straws, and making an evaporograph from a sandwich bag, rubber bands and a plastic cup. We also tried a few other random bits and pieces, like making a race track for balloons from cheap thread and racing them across the bedroom.

The kids both love to eat, so we did a few food-related things. The all-you-can-eat buffet at the new Chinese restaurant in town was a good excuse for trying out a bunch of new food, as well as working on our chopsticks technique.

We made some odd things, like spaghetti threaded through hot dogs, and hand-shaped jelly using rubber gloves as moulds. We also tried some more normal things, like getting the kids to make their own pizzas, and squeeze their own orange juice.

The weather was rubbish, but we managed to do some outside stuff. We found a couple of geocaches – although the girls call it treasure-hunting in the woods! We also did the usual, like several trips to the playground, and rides on their bikes and scooters. Less said about Grace’s attempt to teach me to use a skipping rope, the better.

Because of the weather, we did more indoor-but-active stuff – a morning at the soft-play centre, a couple of trips to the swimming pool, as well as taking Grace to her usual gymnastics class at Knightwood.

The rest of the week was filled with random bits and pieces around the house: reading books together, playing board games (the favourite this week ended up being Marble Run, with Junior Scrabble in second), and watching a lot of Doctor Who with Grace. Thanks to LOVEFiLM’s streaming on the XBox, we had a movie night with popcorn and Gnomeo and Juliet (great film – a kids film that’s fun for adults, too). And we had Grace’s friend over for a sleepover another night.

I managed to avoid thinking about work too much, but did spend a few evenings writing a presentation I’ve got to give this Wednesday. I’ve been using Prezi since 2009, so have been keen to try something new. I used this as a chance to write a presentation in HTML with CSS transforms for the transitions. I tried a few techniques but settled on impress.js, a cool 3D presentation tool. I’ll have to see how it works out on an audience on Wednesday.

Amy was pretty ill, so I had the TV to myself for most of the week. Thanks to Netflix on the XBox, I finally watched Season 2 of Dollhouse (awesome!) and played a lot of Modern Warfare 3 (I finally prestiged!)

That was my week. On Monday, I’m back to work. A chance to relax and make up for a week with nowhere near enough coffee. 😉

(Oh – by the way, I should credit Roo with giving me the idea for a post looking back with rows of small square photo thumbnails, from his post this week on getting a very exciting new job)

2 Responses to “A week off for half-term”

  1. Pippa Woodford says:

    I liked Grace’s Sylvanian film… it is really cool. I am making my own Sylvanian wedding film and taking pictures. What software did you use for the motion and sound please? Thanks. Pippa

  2. dale says:

    Hi Pippa

    She took the photos with a regular digital camera, then I used iMovie to stitch them all together and add her sound.

    Best of luck with your film!

    Kind regards, D