Other than the party planning there have obviously been lots of wintry excursions: snowball fights, sledging etc. And speaking of making the most of the weather, a few weeks ago we made some giant ice marbles to put in the garden when the temperatures dropped below freezing - and we used them this weekend to decorate outside for Middles party. Making them was a bit trial-and-error - we eventually got them to work by putting a squirt of food colouring directly into the deflated balloon, then putting the neck of the balloon over the end of the tap and filling it with water that way (holding it so the weight didn't pull it off). We tied knots in the balloon necks and put them in our freezer. Friends who have also made them have tried freezing theirs in the garden once the temperatures dropped below zero, but I have heard that freezing them this way takes several days, and you can still risk having them explode due to not being fully frozen - so we recommend the freezer route (although of course, they may take several days in the freezer too)!
When not outside we've been enjoying lots of snuggly time indoors, including TV time, which led on Thursday to a lovely little project. As you may well know, we record plenty of programmes from the BBC2 learning zone, as well as CBBC and others, for learning purposes. Then it is up to the boys to choose whatever takes their interest. Last week it included an episode of "Finding Stuff Out" on volcanoes. Well that set off the day's activities nicely for Eldest and Middle. They drew some volcano pictures, they read the books we had at home, Volcanoes and Horrible Geography's Violent Volcanoes - and I found a lovely workbook resource on Volcanoes, from the TES website. (You have to be a member to download their resources, but it's totally worth joining for hundreds of great ideas, plus it's informative those of us who like to keep up to date with education in this country...). I said to the boys that they could do as much or as little as they liked of the workbooks, I just thought it would be interesting for them. Eldest whizzed through his, and loved it. Middle took his time and stopped when he'd had enough - he can pick it up again later if he likes. We could have made our own volcanoes (we have a bottle of red fizzy drink and mentos in the cupboard), but with all the snow on the ground expected to stay for at least a week, I didn't want the garden to look like a bloodbath for that long with red splashes all over the once-pristine whiteness! It sounds silly, but I know it would bother me... so we will be revisiting volcanoes at least once again soon, after the snow has all gone!
Eldest's 'Volcano' (sadly we cant find Middle's)
Middle's 'Great Grey Owl Hunting'
Eldest's 'Great Grey Owl and Lemming'
Mummy's 'Great Grey Owl'