It’s that time of year again. We can spend half the day on advent stuff.

This year we’ve moved our colouring in to book form and I have one too :). Can still download the pictures from Activity Village day by day.


We do have a soft spot fo online advent calendars though and there are some good ones below.


NRich Primary Maths Advent Calendar

NRich Secondary Maths Advent Calendar


London British Science Association

Royal Institution – new video every day based on thermodynamics

Complete a different Science themed activity every day


Liverpool Museums

Fitzwilliam Museum – Cambridge


Project Britain – learn about Christmas in differnt countries


26 Stories – not strictly an advent calendar but set up like one 26 Illustrated Christmas stories (for older children/adults)


Exploring Nature,


Shape – every day is an artwork based on a shape

For Fun


Crafting fun from Red Ted Art

Games every day from the wonderful Norad Santa tracker

Last but not least by any means (you can have no idea how much work goes in to this every year!) an advent colouring page and more every day from Activity Village


We’re also intending to do a reverse advent calendar where you pack an item a day for our local foodbank.

Can’t forget the chocolate! Homemade calendars still going strong. I need to source more Santas as Jack’s isn’t symmetrical and that upsets him.


P.S. We did do stuff on Tuesday! Proper work too of the making notes for a writing project and making a powerpoint presentation sort of work. The sort of thing even none home eders would look and think – that’s education.  Doesn’t lend itself nicely to blogging though.  Sam did bake biscuits though.



Skipping along

When the best thing that happens in your week is delivery of a heated airer it is not a good week and one best skipped over.

On the other hand, those driers have massive queues (6000 people waiting for delivery when I rang a few weeks ago to enquire where it was) and I am sick of wearing slightly damp, smelly clothes so maybe I am not absurd to be excited by it.  Although getting excited over a clothes horse – even a fancy electric one, makes me feel incredibly sad and middle aged.

But doesn’t change the fact last week is best forgotten.

This one, fortunately, is better.

We’ll still ‘working’ but in a very relaxed way.  Jack is in charge of making sure everything on the timetable for this block is finished before the end of the week and Sam is just picking what workbooks to do, a few pages of a morning to keep things ticking.

And not forgetting we’re making lovely little card villages with our colourings from the Activity Village Advent calendar.

Monday morning was spent working and tidying, before Lisa and Harvey popped around for the afternoon.

Tuesday was the last Cubs before Christmas so we spent a lot of the day shopping for and making gifts for the leaders (and lots spare for us)

I will admit to being a bit lazy and not spreading the biscuits between 2 trays so they spread to one giant biscuit (these are ours – leaders got some that held their shape). They are cinnamon bread, although recipe there is off.  Not sure why as it is mine but… should have 150g of sugar in (I used caster this time as it came out of cupboard first, have used soft brown in the past), 125g butter and 4tbsp golden syrup.  And I used mixed spice instead of ginger but that was a feel like a change thing.

We started off trying to paint the details in a chocolate mould with different colour chocolate to make pretty chocolates, soon gave up and made chocolate mice (melted Dairy Milk and a dash of orange essence) which were much simpler.  Left over chocolate got tipped into lolly moulds.

Each leader got a mouse and some biscuits in a cellaphane bag tied with Christmas ribbon.

And of course cards.  Which we carried on with today and they finished everyone’s. I simply supplied a load of prefolded cards, some stamps and inkpads, sparkly pens, Tatty Ted die cuts and scrap paper and left them to it.  I just have to do my bit of writing and addressing them.

Cubs is only about 8 mins walk away but 4 mins into the walk there was a tremendous hail storm.  Really hurt and we were soaked through.  So Sam and I managed a hot bath (and left Pete to get Jack) and there was hot chocolate and biscuits before bed.

Today has all been about tidying up and getting ready to put up the decorations.  Well the ones in their rooms, not ready for downstairs yet.  A week before Christmas is plenty.  Unfortunately Sam started to get unwell as the day wore on.  His asthma has been bad for a little while but seems to be getting a cough/infection to go with it.  I came in from hoovering the stairs though to find that Jack was doing a good job of looking after him though.

Jack does deliberately wind Sam up a lot, but he is a very good big brother really 🙂

So decorations never made it up as Sam fell asleep while I was doing the final tidying up.  Jack and I spent a pleasant evening though, we played table football and Stratego and he had a go at some of the tunes from his new book.

He’re hoping Sam is on the mend tomorrow and we can potter on with of Christmas preparations.

Christmas is Coming…

…and over the last week I can feel the change as we take the foot off the pedal a bit.  Concentrating more on finishing off projects, crafts and socialising.

The game of the moment is ‘cars’.  They have spent a long time pouring over the atlas planning their round the world trip.

And Twister!

Last night was a christmassy night!  At Rainbows Sam joined in, making reindeer food.  Which we appear to have lost but probably just aswell as the glitter leaked through the organza bags I’d bought.  The church floor was very sparkly despite a lot of sweeping.

When we got home I sent them upstairs where they found I’d treated them to (much needed) new pjs and a not so necessary but much wanted Blue Nose Friend and a new book to share.  I got lots of cuddles (although Jack’s were by proxy – he sent Sam down to give me a cuddle when he found them and then I got a lot of cuddles from the rabbit) and thank yous.  I can’t surprise Jack very often anymore, he’s too old and cynical, so I love seeing his genuine delight.

They hung and filled their fabric advent calendars which I made many years ago now 🙂

And put up the Blue Nose Friend picture ones that I couldn’t resist.

Then we snuggled down…

…switched on the electric fire, turned off the lights and read our new book by torchlight.

Today they coloured the first picture from Activity Village’s online calendar.  Jack’s is an alien house and we are displaying them in the window. Sam is standing his up to make a model village.

We used the stocking frame from the Activity Village calendar to write their Santa letters.

Then Jack did a bit more work.  I’d said a mornings work of his choice so he wrote up a report about Eid as part of his Islam study (Cubs badge 🙂 ).  Then we cuddled up and read some of Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo, the book from Jack’s English chapter.  Lunch in front of Blue Peter.  Then they played ‘cars’ and computer while I fixed a very wobbly computer cupboard and wrapped 30(!) Christmas presents for the Rainbows ready for Santa to bring next week.




Colds, books and things to come

Apologies for short and rare posts at the moment. Have spent the last three weeks really struggling to shake off rotten colds and failing badly.

Then we’ve been distracted by bookcases collapsing which has resulted in a major clear out and furniture rebuilding/rearranging.

Besides our normal academic work much of what we’re doing I haven’t wanted to include on the blog for professional reasons.

I’m working on writing an Art Course for Activity Village, which involves producing pieces inspired by famous works using a range of art materials and approaches.  We are having great fun with this and the boys have produced some wonderful pieces.  Need to pick a Da Vinci as I really, really want to see the new exhibition at the National Gallery.

And of course Christmas is on the horizon! As everyone else has been making Halloween crafts we’ve been busy making a mess with glitter and sequins as we work on Activity Village’s Advent Calendar.

Really excited about this year! Helps that I’m way on course to have done my part by mid November for once, rather than struggling to stay a few days ahead 🙂  Adina has produced some gorgeous pictures (we don’t always do the colouring part but will this year – envisaging a big display in my front window). The crafts are lovely and simple, not that I’m blowing my own trumpet – but I am genuinely really pleased with them, boys have worked hard to help and had fun doing so (helped by payment by blue nose friends!).  And the printables we’re creating are lovely too, helped by some gorgeous illustrations that are a pleasure to work with.