Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Big Monkey really enjoys reading, last week when we went to the library she chose two books. She finished them the same day.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Can you resist the lure?

of a steamed up window?

Not these two.

And I can only resist because I am the one who has to clean the windows to remove the smiley faces and additions.
How about you, can you go past a steamed up window without drawing a face in?

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Making goo-slime

Thanks to Jen who shared a jar of borax with us we were able to make slime. First we needed glue, lots of glue but not the whole bottle so we had to measure it. Lucky that I kept that old measuring jug.

Then add water and stir to mix it all up nicely.

Colour is always a good thing and you can never go wrong with green.

Stir some more.

Then it's time to add the borax to the mixture. It turns into slime pretty quickly so it's good to be careful here.  Very exciting. At first it's a bit gloopy and not so nice but kneading turns it into good glibbery goo-slime.

Once it's ready you can pull it and squash it and scare Daddy.

A bit of a dance never harmed the progress of any science experiment.

The cookie cutters proved very successful, they turned the slime into tubes. They managed to drop little slime balls down the chute, it took a while for them to break the slime so we could watch it rolling down which was hillarious. Hand prints - always good.

A more detailed instruction can be found here at two posh lil' divas. Watch out for the bouncy balls coming soon...

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Our week in review

Outside our window: The orange balloon is still hanging on the cherry tree, slightly deflated and smaller now. The birds are singing and rushing between their seed feeder and a nip at the peanut cage. The magpies are annoyed that there aren't any worms anymore. They have thrown down the water dish to show their protest. I think I better get some more. Blue skies the last couple of days and the sun peeking out are very much appreciated. However it is very chilly and the forecast shows a few snowflakes for Monday. Big Monkey is carefully optimistic that there might be snowman building after all.

From the kitchen: Saturday: Pizza night as always, Sunday: Drumsticks with mushrooms, peas and potatoes and Apple cake with Lemon Curd Big Monkey and I baked in the morning. Monday was the Chinese Feast in honour of Chinese New Year. Tuesday: Chicken fajitas, very lovely but not much liked by the Monkeys who preferred to eat the Tortilla without the chicken. Wednesday: Chicken and Brokkoli, Thursday: Pasta, Friday: Lunch at the Waffle House, Ham and Cheese Waffles and Banoffie Waffles with Ice cream. Sausage, Potatoes and carrots.

In the learning room: Still Maths, we have been working on speed and used a timer to see how far Big Monkey comes in a minute. Not that far at the moment but still no mistakes in the results she gets. We will keep working on that. In other things we learned about China and proper and common nouns. We made fun sheets to come up with examples for each. Then we started with the 24 hour clock, which Big Monkey quickly understood. However, I realised that her counting in German isn't good enough for that, she can't count the minutes as the highest number she knows is 12. We're now up to 24 and in tens to hundred. It doesn't help that German counting is saying the units first and then the tens, exactly the opposite way to English. More eye rolling from Big Monkey ensued. We studied the Roman Gods and Goddesses and have started with the Roman Home at our trip to Verulamium.

We've been creating: Chinese Lanterns and a Chinese Dragon puppet. Little Monkey brought a ball of plasticine with things stuck in back from Messy Play. He loved it especially since it coloured his hands a fetching dark blue. I've started another attempt to get control over my chipboard stash. I'm absolutely positive that this is capable to procreating. How else could I have so much? It is also extremely good in finding hidy holes. There are by current count four spots I found it hiding. I had a ruthless cull and thrown out the weird unrecognizable shapes and all the Hallowe'en things because we don't celebrate it and I don't want it in my house any longer just in case it multiplies again. Now I'm painting the remainders and put them in a drawer. When this drawer is full I shall get rid of any that don't fit. Alphas go in the little boxes. That is the plan, at least and so far things move slowly in the right direction. I also finished the Christmas photos on my desk and surrounding. That included even a few from last year when I didn't scrap any photos. But now I'm over all the baubles, trees and lists.

Favourite things: Last Saturday Daddy Monkey and I had dinner at our favourite Japanese Restaurant. The staff have made little origami roses in aid of the Japanese tsunami victims.

Spring must be close. Please. No snow.

Things we did: We went to St Albans and after the visit to the Museum we walked through the park to the Restaurant. On the way was a field full of "mole holes" that had to be inspected. Big Monkey insisted that she needed to check whether there was grass under the heaps of earth and that it needed rescuing. Little Monkey was happy to help. We also had to have a conversation with the local ducks and geese. The moment they spotted us they came towards us in a big line which had Little Monkey in fits. "Don't eat us! he cried. Don't follow us!" he screamed. "Shooo, shooo!" he ordered. They eventually lost interest.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Roman Verulamium

Today we took a trip to St Albans to visit the Roman Verulamium Museum. We couldn't have chosen a better day as it was sunny and relatively warm. Back in Roman times Verulamium was the third biggest city in England. The museum shows the everyday life, there are rooms of a Roman villa and exhibits of all aspects of life.

Big Monkey got a sheet to fill out. I didn't think it was that difficult?

Little Monkey liked the fact that there were drawers with exhibits that didn't fit into the display cases anymore. They were just at his height so he could easily open them and look without having to balance on his tippy toes.

For us no visit to St Albans is complete without a visit at the Waffle House for lunch. So we had a very nice meal there sitting in front of the big mill wheel.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Monkeys are everywhere

And they love bananas.

Our bananas had a funky pirate monkey sticker on this week. Very good as Little Monkey loves nanas as he still calls them.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Year of the Dragon

Yesterday was the beginning of the Chinese New Year hence we learned about China. We did some serious stuff of course like capital, where it is, what countries border it, the Himalayas and the like. But the main thing was the Chinese horoscope and the celebrations. We found out that Big Monkey was born in the year of the goat and Little Monkey in the year of the rat. Daddy Monkey and I were both born in the year of the dog. As this year is the year of the dragon we had to make a dragon.

Big Monkey designed it. Of course there was a dancing dragon performance. He even tried to eat our cake!

We needed lanterns of course which we made ourselves of course.

In the evening we had a feast, well, a take away but it was very good.

We had to do some science too because the egg finally popped. You remember the one from our soft shell experiment. Very exciting. So exciting we forgot to take a photo, mainly also because nobody in the house shared our enthusiasm. They all cried "yucky! put it away!" So I did and while I poured it out I suddenly remembered the camera on the table. Ah, well. But being good scientists we had made a drawing because that's what scientists do, you know. Proper outline drawings. So there:

We thought it was beautiful. Our egg. The egg white swirled around the yolk which was still a nice round shape.

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Party invitation

So here is my master piece: 

Little Monkey still loves Peppa Pig so he will get a Peppa Pig themed party. Therefore we also needed piggy shaped invitations. I think she turned out well, Little Monkey certainly loved it, he hopped in excitement. He is telling everybody now about his Peppa Party. Big Monkey is equally excited and has prepared a list of games to play like pin the glasses onto Daddy Pig, a treasure hunt to find Polly Parrot, pass the parcel, musical dinosaurs and what's the time Grandpa Pig. She's decided that the cake has to be chocolate, I'm thinking cupcakes. I'm sure we'll find a compromise, no rule that says we can't have more than one variety. But we agreed that we need Peppa Pig decorations and party bags, obviously. So a trip to the big toy shop is in order and we need to find a place that will blow up our balloons properly now that the local card shop has closed its doors.

Coin critters

We were learning about money and how to add all the coins up but Big Monkey got bored and rolled her eyes. So when I saw this idea on Jen's blog I thought this might be fun enough to go through the Euros too. The monkeys giggled a lot when they saw all the little critters I made out of coins. They decided that they critters needed way more legs than I had given them so we had to add a pair to each coin.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Our week in review

Outside our window: This week it was mostly grey and dull with lots of rain, the only bright spot an orange balloon that got tangled in that cherry tree. However, the first snow drop has made an appearance and the purple sprouting broccoli looks like it might this year actually sprout. The birds were extra hungry this week and we had to refill their feeders by Wednesday already.

From the kitchen: This week Big Monkey cooked omelettes for us. She did a really good job only a few mishaps with egg shell in the batter but that was easily rectified and she commented that this was the best omlette she had ever tasted. Monday: Tomato risotto which turned out especially lovely this time. Must be the homemade stock from Sunday's roast chicken I used. Tuesday: Kartoffelgulasch, childhood comfort, yum. Wednesday: Chicken Stroganoff. Thursday: Little Monkey announced in the morning that he needed, yes needed chips and he also asked for fish so we had fishfingers and chips with carrots and as a desert a lovely chocolate mousse. Friday: cauliflower macaroni, stewed plums with vanilla ice cream as desert.

In the learning room: Maths, maths and some more maths, well every day a little bit. Big Monkey doesn't make mistakes but she is a bit slow so we're working on this. We've started the Romans, the toys the children played with and what everybody wore. We also made a fabulous experiment about calcium and created a soft shelled egg. The egg felt exactly like one of these rubber bouncy eggs one can buy in the toy shop. Amazing. We also talked about measurements and weighed various things and measured the length of tables, chairs and Monkeys.

We've been creating: Big Monkey drew a self portrait trying to keep in mind the proportions of the human body. She still finds it hard to comprehend on how long the arms actually are. Little Monkey created a lovely collage of nature things he glued onto cardstock. I finished my postcards for a swap and also made quite a few layouts and little drawings. Not to forget the all important invitations for Little Monkey's 4th Birthday bash. As we only invite four friends it was easy to make them myself.

Favourite things: My scrapbooking kit for January arrived one early morning, I didn't expect it this week so that was a very nice surprise. So lovely being able to have some new things to play with. Other nice mail was the big box that arrived from the company that makes plastic worlds, you know the one. It contains Little Monkey's birthday presents. I'll be looking forward to see his face when he sees his wished for dust cart. I found my Grandma's little needle point brooch and wore that most of the week. Big Monkey really liked it too and was wondering how her Great-Grandma could stitch such tiny stitches.

Things we did: Big Monkey was looking forward to see her friend for a sleep over she could hardly sleep in excitement on Thursday. Sadly though at 10 at night the little girl missed her Daddy too much and we had to do a late night dash to drop her off. Little Monkey had a little friend over for lunch and waited half an hour at the door worrying he might not come. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

Alphabetica Postcard swap

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Decopatch animals

Here are the animals the Monkeys did at the party last weekend.

First Little Monkey's tortoise:

And Big Monkey's elephant:

Meeting more friends

Big Monkey and I went to see Missus Wookie this afternoon to do some scrapbooking. We has so much fun I forgot to take a photo of us. We created quite a few things so it was a successful day. I thought I had deserved it as before that I had to go to for blood tests. Again. The hospital is close to Paddington Station and even I walked down this road many times before I never noticed the big lettering on this house;

Princess was surprised to hear of my little visitor last week. She had tried to entice goldfinches into their garden for a while with no success and gave up as the food got all moldy instead of being eaten. I thought she might now start to put some niger seeds out again but she thinks in her part of London there are simply no goldfinches. hmm, I'm only a 10 minutes walk up the road...

Meeting friends


Yesterday we met friends for lunch at Carluccio's which was a nice treat. Sometimes food just tastes better when somebody else cooks it. Big Monkey too enjoyed her lunch but found that the portions are just a bit too small for her now. I noticed that they also offer the regular dishes a bit smaller so maybe we try that. Hopefully these will fill her up.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Lego tower

Both Monkeys got a box of lego bricks for Christmas. So we decided to build a tower. A really big tower. As big as Little Monkey. 

But when the tower was bigger than he was Little Monkey got concerned that it might topple over and break. He didn't even want to be on a photo with it. He was worried it might hit him. 
(It might look like it but Big Monkey didn't try and pull him into the photo by his ears!)

Monday, 16 January 2012

A Birthday Party

We were invited to a 8th Birthday party of one of Big Monkey's friends. There was cupcake decorating.

And Daddy Monkey got to hold a little Baby Monkey Friend who clearly disapproves of the amount of coffee he consumes...

Little Monkey also decorated a cup cake, it was a bit more of delegation than hands on work but he ate it all by himself. We had to remove the orange glitter before I was allowed to take the photo as it tasted yucky and therefore should not be on the cup cake.

There was also a lady who did face paintings. Little Monkey chose to be a scary tiger.

And here is the Birthday Girl busy at work. The party was a Decopatch event, so the children were all hard at work decorating papier mache animals with pretty papers. Big Monkey made a very pretty elephant and Little Monkey took a while to be persuaded and then decorated a tortoise. I thought I had taken photos of their masterpieces but looks like I didn't so will have to do that later.