Making Butter

This is something that I have wanted to do with Nikki for a while. A simple, easy (and tasty!) experiment that anyone can do at home.

First, we checked that Nikki had strong enough muscles, because making butter is hard work…

Nikki showing off his muscles in preparation for butter making.

Nikki poured some double cream into a jar and I secured the lid – with a couple of rounds of sellotape, just to make sure it wouldn’t fly off! Then we shook it, and shook it and shook it some more:

Nikki carefully pouring cream into a jar for us to turn into butter. Nikki shaking the jar of cream as hard as he can!

While shaking, we discussed where milk and cream come from and then watched an episode of Fixiki about whipping cream into butter. Unfortunately, it is only available in Russian language.

 

We took note of how the cream changed as we shook it. Eventually, we heard a wet thunk – we had butter!

After a few minutes' vigorous shaking we got solid, 'whipped' cream inside the jar.

After a few minutes’ vigorous shaking we got solid, ‘whipped’ cream inside the jar.

The cream separated into butter and buttermilk.

The cream separated into butter and buttermilk.

Eventually the cream turned to butter with a rather wet splosh.

Eventually the cream turned to butter with a rather wet splosh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drained the buttermilk out as best as best as we could, stirred in a little salt and put it in the fridge to cool. We made some savoury scones using the buttermilk and they were perfect to test the butter on. The butter has a very creamy taste, though adding salt reduces the cream flavour quite a lot.

 

 

 

Nikki taste-tested the butter on our fresh scones.

Russian School Certificate

Nikki had his last day of Russian School before the summer holidays on Saturday. They put on a lovely end-of-term party (it was going to be a sports day, but typically after a week of dry and sunny weather the rain came and kept us indoors) and all the children got a certificate.

Nikki received this certificate for attending Russian school this year.

More unusually, they were given their school reports attached to helium balloons. Imagine the chaos – especially when they started with the youngest classes… Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so I haven’t got pictures.

A Desk for Nikki

A couple of months ago, I decided that Nikki should have his own desk. Working at the dining table was getting frustrating – it seemed to accumulate books and artwork at an alarming rate and I felt that I was constantly clearing and cleaning it before and after meals.

Eventually, I found a desk that was the right size, colour and price and made it as a surprise for Nikki when he was visiting with his dad.

Nikki sitting at his new desk, drawing a picture, with correct posture of feet flat and supported and elbows level with top of the desk.

With our Spielgaben set under the desk as a foot rest and our spare car booster seat on the dining chair, Nikki can sit comfortably with good posture for writing – feet flat on the ‘floor’ and elbows at 90 degrees to the desk.

We keep all his drawing pens and papers, as well as any schoolwork we use regularly (like his maths, reading and handwriting books) in his desk and it is his job to keep it neat. So far, so good…

Nikki just loves the fact that he has HIS OWN DESK and because he no longer has to carry his pens and paper all the way across the room to the table, he is far more enthusiastic about drawing pictures and even doing ‘work’.

Goodness Me!

Oh dear.  I have completely neglected this blog for a month!

I’m not entirely sure why – I guess it started when the battery died on my camera and I couldn’t find the charger for a week…

We have been very busy and I don’t think I will ever manage to type up all the posts I should have written, but here is a little artwork that Nikki did on Friday:

A spread of three pages of artwork on a pirate theme, enhanced with pirate stickers.

The first picture is a pirate fish underwater (in a red sea!) and the other is a two-page spread continuing on a pirate theme. Apart from a couple of tips (how to draw the waves/palm tree/flying birds) Nikki did this all on his own. I am especially impressed because it is the first pictures he has done which involve a whole scene, not just a single person/object.

I am looking forward to what he manages to produce with the space themed stickers…

Reading Eggs

I haven’t been able to get on the computer much in the day this last week – Nikki has been enjoying Reading Eggs far too much! He has completed 21 lessons in 5 days of playing! It has been mostly revising letter sounds and blending, which he knows quite well, but he has learned a few new sight words and is getting used to the idea of reading sentences rather than just the individual words.

This is the reading monster he has created on the site:

Nicholas L.

And our latest progress report:

The learning report sent to me when Nicholas finished Map 2 of Reading Eggs.

We used a free code TEL225UK to get four weeks’ free trial on top of the standard 2 week trial you get for signing up with them.

So far, Nikki is loving it and the problems we had when using the site last year (games needing excellent mouse control to play etc.) are now no longer an issue for us.

Little Pizza Chef

This morning, we attended a pizza making workshop with a group of local Home Educators at Pizza Express. It was a really fun workshop and the children all really enjoyed themselves.

First we got a tour of the restaurant, including a brief introduction to the walk-in freezer. The tour ended with the chef, who taught the group what goes into pizza dough before showing off with the spinning-dough-toss. He let anyone who wanted have a go:

Nikki gave a good effort at tossing a pizza base.

Then came the fun part:

At the end, all the children got a certificate:

Junior Pizza Chef CertificateIt was a lovely morning activity – we left the restaurant with pizzas in boxes just in time to head over to the park for lunch. What better way to enjoy freshly baked pizza than outdoors in the sunshine!

Dirty Money Experiment

Sometimes, Nikki puts things in his mouth that he really shouldn’t. Like marbles. Or pennies.

I keep telling him why it is dangerous to put small things into our mouths, but he doesn’t always remember. I decided to take a different route – pennies are really dirty and you definitely don’t want all those nasty germs in your mouth.

The experiment was simple enough – place the confiscated 2p coin that a certain monster was certainly not about to lick into a small cup with vinegar and leave overnight. Just to be certain that all pennies are equally grimy, we put a 1p coin in, too.

The two coins in their vinegar bath.

The next day, we compared the coins with some out of my purse and Nikki was amazed at the difference in colour:

The middle coin is a completely different colour to the shiny cleaned pennies.

We were rather surprised to find that the clear vinegar turned blue in the process, too!

The clear vinegar took on a distinctly blue hue!

 

Bank Holiday Fun

We have had a very busy week! It seems like I have barely sat down since Nikki came home Thursday night. Actually, that is a lie – Nikki barely let me get up on Friday as he spent most of the day curled up in my lap making up for lost snuggles. So I have been super-busy since Saturday.

I did a great big shop in Morrison’s while Nikki was at Russian school on Saturday, since they kindly sent me some vouchers for a bank holiday shop.  I was pleasantly surprised by some of their new cheaper range (it is not entirely made up of things you would only buy occasionally) and in general I seemed to get a good haul for my money. And a good job, too – we have since had to make two picnics, two packed lunches and a big family dinner on top of the usual weekly meals.

Saturday evening, we made a chocolate-banana train cake which Nikki was in charge of decorating:

Nikki took charge in decorating our chocolate banana train cake.

He found some Postman Pat rice paper cake toppers in with my cake decorating bits and so they had to be ‘passengers’.

We took the train with us to our first picnic of the week on Sunday.  Somehow I managed to take only one photo while we were there – Nikki gobbling up a bag of sushki (russian biscuits). He was rather possessive of them as I have yet to find them for sale in the UK so we rely on care packages from Moscow.

Nikki claimed the whole bag of sushki for himself (sharing only reluctantly if asked!)

On Tuesday, we met up with some other local Home Educators. We had an interesting discussion on food and digestion and made some dairy and gluten free cheese, which Nikki and I won’t be recreating any time soon, before playing for hours in the nearby park. We had great fun and Nikki made some new friends, two of whom gave us presents (some more wanted than others!)

We were rather excited to adopt one of our friend’s tadpoles, whom Nikki named John.

We adopted a tadpole and Nikki called him John.

Unfortunately, the stress of the journey was too much for him and although he seemed to be happily settling in to his new home, he didn’t survive the night.

Not to worry, because we also brought home Flounder:

Nikki holding his new 3ft Flounder toy (nearly as big as he is!)       IMG_1096

Yes, we were ‘gifted’ with a 3ft toy fish (I just can’t understand why they didn’t want it any more!) which I was not really interested in taking home. I told Nikki that I was not going to carry it on the bus for him, so he stubbornly declared that he would carry it himself. Surprisingly, despite it being nearly as big as he is, there was barely a single complaint  - even though we had to walk over ten minutes to and from the bus! Nikki really wanted that toy fish!

Despite being out and about almost every day this week, we seem to have done loads of cooking, too! The favourite meal of the bank holiday has to be our homemade burger dinner. The burgers cost less than 50p each to make and despite having visible chunks of onion and leek, Nikki enjoyed his so much that he asked to have burgers again for breakfast!

We followed it up wit h a not-quite Eaton Mess… yum!

We have also memorized another set of sight words – our tree is getting full!

Nikki has now memorized the ten words on his sight word tree.

 

For this blog post I was given some Morrison’s vouchers and asked to share my bank holiday weekend, a special meal I cooked, and a few words on my overall shopping experience. My opinions are my own. 

A Week Away

Nikki has been away with his dad all week, visiting with a group of Russian friends from Maria’s Children who came over to perform in part of the Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations in Stratford. Apart from being an amazing week of Russian language immersion, he’s been very busy!

He visited a falconry and was allowed to hold one of the smaller owls:

Nikki got to hold an owl at the falconry!

He went to a butterfly farm and revised all that we learned in our butterfly project:

He has also been to a regular farm - very exciting since he decided a couple of months ago that he’s going to be a sheep farmer when he grows up…