Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm in Leeds

This weekend we headed into Leeds to visit Meanwood Valley Urban Farm. When I say we I mean just Phil, Barney and I. The big two boys have been away with their grandparents for a few days. We have been meaning to visit Meanwood Valley Urban Farm for absolutely ages but have never gotten around to it until now. Barney is at the age where he loves to see animals and can make animal noises and say a few names.

The twenty four acre working farm is fairly close to Leeds City Centre. It is a registered charity and is a centre for community and environmental work. The Epicentre a large wooden building; holds a reception, shop and various facilities including classrooms and meeting rooms. It fits in with the surroundings due to being made with local larch timber and is a sustainable building.

There are various animals to see including chickens, goats, pigs, donkeys, alpacas and sheep. You can buy bags of animal food at reception, the Ryedale sheep are particularly lovely to feed, they loved being petted and even wagged their tails at us. I could have taken one home!  As well as animals there are gardens to enjoy with pushchair friendly paths. There are birds to spot and even a large bug hotel. Benches are dotted at various points for a sit down or picnic and there is a (very reasonably priced) cafe. For children there is also a play area to enjoy.

At £2 per adult, 50p per child and under 2's being free the farm is such great value. The animal food is also just 50p. We enjoyed our visit to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm and will be heading back in the next couple of weeks with all three boys and a picnic for an afternoon of fresh air.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #26

Happy Monday! I am starting the week pretty refreshed and feeling much more comfortable now the weather is more bearable. Did anyone watch Glastonbury this weekend? I always love watching the well known acts and the more quirky ones. We did well with last week's plan,  instead of a full on roast dinner yesterday we had our roast chicken with rice and lentil salad.

I am looking forward to this week. Today we are baking with some cress the boys grew and eggs that they collected themselves. We also have a home ed picnic, strawberry picking, breakfast out and if the weather stays dry a visit to our nearest light railway.

Monday Pasta pesto with chicken left from yesterdays roast and some peas

Tuesday  Quiche, wedges and salad

Wednesday Fishcakes with sweet potato mash and green beans

Thursday Creamy bacon pasta

Friday Toad in the hole

Saturday Chilli with jacket potato

Sunday Pulled pork in brioche buns with wedges and corn on the cob

An InLinkz Link-up
Why not  check out my previous weekly meal plans?

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Amazing! Magazine The Most Brilliant Way to Learn

Sebastian is at an age where he loves magazines and will spend quite some time sitting and reading one. He was recently sent a copy of Amazing! magazine, an educational magazine aimed at children aged 6-11 to review.

In a world where we rely heavily on technology parents are often looking for ways to get children learning away from screens. This 36 page magazine is full of fun facts, articles, puzzles and activities and it's content cover all areas of the national curriculum.

Each month Amazing! magazine has a different theme , this months is Awesome Oceans. Previous themes include Ancient Egypt and Super Planets. For us as home educators this is a great way to introduce new topics, spark interests and explore the world around around us.
Inside of the magazine there is so much to capture a young mind. The layout is bright with fun illustrations and is easy to follow. Each part links to the curriculum with pages for literature, history, coding and art and design among others. At the moment Seb really likes finding out facts and how things work so he has been enjoying the science pages and also reading the story of Moby Dick.  He has also really enjoyed the puzzles though has needed help from us with these, being at the younger age of the magazines target audience.

As a mum I love that Amazing! magazine is gender neutral, there is no stereotyping and that is really important to me. I also love that the magazine has very minimal advertising. Often children's magazines are full of adverts but Amazing! hardly ever contains advertising and when it does it is usually from children's charity's and clearly marked as an advert, it is also on the outside of the back cover so does not take away from the magazines content.

If you like the look of Amazing! Magazine you can find more information and subscribe online.

**We received a copy of Amazing for the purpose of review,  all opinions are own own**

Monday, 19 June 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #25

Happy Monday everyone! What a beautiful weekend it has been and it looks set to be more of the same all week. Of course Monday is here and that means it is time for our weekly meal plan.

This week is going to be a bit different. Phil is starting the week with two night shifts and then the big two boys are going away with their grandparents for a few days so it will just be three of us at home for a few days. It is going to be so quiet! It is so warm today that I am just making pitta pizzas and salad tonight, I really don't fancy standing cooking in a hot kitchen.

Monday Pitta Pizzas and salad

Tuesday Cottage Pie

Wednesday Tomato and basil pasta

Thursday Take away

Friday Chicken burgers

Saturday M&S Meal Deal or similar

Sunday  Roast Chicken

What's on your meal plan this week?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Open Farm Sunday 2017 at Green End Farm

Open Farm Sunday is one of our favourite annual events and on Sunday we headed to Green End Farm in Wakefield for our third Open Farm Sunday with them.

If you haven't heard of Open Farm Sunday let me tell you a little more. The annual open day takes places in June each year and has been running since 2006. Hundreds of farms across the country open up their doors so we can discover the work that our farmers do. Each event is unique to the farm so events will vary but you can find out more information here.

We absolutely love attending because the boys get so much out of the event. They absolutely love looking at all the farm machinery and sitting in the drivers seat. There are animals to look at, feed and touch. There is the chance to learn about where our food comes from. They get to plant sunflowers and cress to take home. And there is a huge hay pyramid to climb. This year we got to see sheep shearing, seeing the sheep without wool is hilarious when you are four and six! The children were even given goodie bags to bring home with stickers, activity magazines and seeds.  It is such a lovely event for all ages and it is free!

The boys had a great day again this year. I think the highlight for Seb and Alex had to be going in the combine harvester, the look on their faces was pure joy at sitting inside such a huge machine. Even Barney enjoyed a play on the hay and shouting moo at the cows, I am sure he will be trying out the tractors when we come back next year.

Did you visit any farms this weekend?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Brilliant Books for Six Year Olds to Read This Summer

Seb is an amazing reader and will happily read a book in a day or two(or less). With summer coming up I have asked him to recommend some brilliant books for six year olds. These books are all good for reading independently or together and come personally recommended from my own six year old.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #24

Time for our weekly meal plan already. The weeks are just flying past this year. We did well with last weeks plan, i love it when everything runs smoothly. The salmon went down really well with everyone.

This weeks meal plan is a very easy one with lots of pasta. I cleared out my overflowing tins and jars cupboard this past week and found lots of bits and bobs to use up this week.

Monday Hot Dogs, potato waffles and veg
Tuesday Tomato Pasta Bake 
Wednesday Sausage, mash, veg and onion gravy
Thursday Slow Cooked Chilli and rice
Friday Tuna Pasta Bake
Saturday Homemade pizza, garlic bread and salad
Sunday Pasta pesto and peas

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Home Education in May 2017

Look at me being nearly on time to post a monthly update! This post was actually going to go up on Sunday but after the events in London on Saturday i decided not to post it and it has been a busy week (as always).

May has flown past, sometimes it feels like I blink and another month has gone. I think that is the way of life when you have children, the days can be long but the years are short. We had a week of a sickness in May which worked it's way through us all(bar Seb) so that was a bit rubbish. Apart from that it has been a really good month with some lovely warm weather and adventures. I often feel so lucky that we are able to head out and enjoy ourselves on a whim.

We have been out and about a lot.  As well as our regular things we have had days out at a vintage car show which the boys loved. There were also vintage buses from the local bus museum which the boys always enjoy because they get to go on them and sometimes have a ride.
We visited Hemsworth Water Park for a day,  The Hepworth for a printing session and the Marks and Spencer Archive for a home ed session about food science and taste testing chocolate puddings. We also went up to North Yorkshire glamping for 2 nights and spent a day on Scarborough beach and visited Yorkshire Lavender on the way back home, I definitely want to head back there.

There has been lots of time spent in the garden while the weather has been fair. Our plants are still growing beautifully, the boys are enjoying tending to them and seeing them grow. Our potatoes have gone crazy, the plants are the biggest we have ever had, I can't wait to harvest them. Seb has asked if we can make Leek and Potato Soup. The peppers, strawberries and flowers we planted are still going, i am hoping we manage to get something from them. We planted sunflowers at home ed group last month but for some reason only Barneys has grown (it's a good lesson to talk about why that may be) and we are hoping it gets big and strong.

Seb has been massively into reading this month. He is devouring books at the moment and it is lovely to see him so enthralled. He has read so many chapter books in the month including all three Faraway Tree Books,  The Wind in the Willows and the 13 storey tree house series. We have been reserving books at the library regularly, it is a struggle to keep up but I absolutely love seeing him so absorbed in books. We are working on putting a book recommendation post together so look out for that. I love talking to him about what is happening in the stories.

We have also been working through a Carol Vorderman English Made Easy workbook. Seb does enjoy a bit of structure at times so I try to make sure that I have appropriate workbooks and sheets available.  This particular book is good for looking at different sounds and types of words. I like that it is a quite a good mix and not repetitive. He has been enjoying pointing out compound words to me when out and about. We celebrated Elmer Day by making Lego Elephants and some Kandisnky inspired Elmers.

We have been talking a lot about fractions thanks to a maths game we picked up in a charity shop a few years ago which has been out this month. To reinforce it we made a big chocolate cake and cut it into fractions.  We all enjoyed that exercise! I also printed out some worksheets.

It has been quite a creative month too. Lots of drawing, writing, chalking on the drive, painting, baking and collaging. The boys are still enjoying experimenting with Hot Wires and of course creating with Lego.

June is already starting well so I look forward to updating next month.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #23

It's Monday morning again and that means sharing our weekly meal plan. To be honest we only ate half our planned meals last week, we had quite a busy week which included dinner out one night, switched another meal to fajitas for speed and a naughty Indian takeaway on Saturday night.

This week we will hopefully do better and stay on track. I picked up some bargain salmon and a pack of chicken sausages for just 50p so those are on this weeks plan. I am really looking forward to turkey burgers, Phil makes them and they are always really tasty.

Monday Chicken and sweet potato korma with rice
Tuesday Salmon, mash and green beans
Wednesday Homemade turkey burgers in brioche buns with chips and peas
Thursday Spicy Chicken Sausage Pasta
Friday Savoury pancakes with ham and cheese
Saturday  Fish and Chips
Sunday Cheese and tomato pasta bake with garlic bread

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