Project X Alien Adventures

My son and I have really enjoyed reading these books over the last half a term and we have only one book left (Tara’s Party, which looks okay).  Although he still needs some help, he can decode “morning”, “walks”, “could” etc. so it feels as though he’s really made some progress.

I ended up putting a thread on Mumsnet to see whether there were any other book sets that we could move onto.  The first few responses were that I should just take him to a library and let him choose.  There were a few responses that ended up being rather fighty about phonics.  However, a kind soul recommended these so I bought them.

Project X Alien Adventures
Project X Alien Adventures

The Book People are selling series 1 and 2 for £30, which is really quite a bargain.  They start at the Oxford Reading Level 7 (the Songbirds books I’d bought before went from 1+ to 6) and go up to 11 in the first series and up to 14 in the second series (by which time, presumably, he’ll be ready to read the King James Bible and Anna Karenina).

When I bought them, the Book People website seemed to suggest that there was no chance they would be delivered before Christmas.  However, when we turned up in the IoW, there were “while you were out” cards for the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of December.  O!  The shame!  Thankfully, the kind lady who’d been trying to deliver them still had them and said she’d pop them round on the 28th as she already had a delivery in my area then.  I gave her a bottle of wine to say thank you so I hope she isn’t too annoyed with me.

While we’re on Space, this is extremely cool.  Watch it with the sound on.

Build it up, knock it down

We arrived at Christmas and have now left it behind.  I’ve been staying at my in laws’ for the last few days (which was super) so haven’t been posting … and realistically, no one expects bloggers to post over Christmas.

We ate and drank (I drank all my father in law’s tawny port) and gave each other loads of cool stuff.

Like this!
Like this!

I’ve been jonesing to get the kids MagnaTiles for a little while ago but hadn’t because they had loads of other stuff and blah blah blah.  Both my son and daughter like playing with them (and so do I) – both have a habit of wanting whichever piece you have just added to your structure so it helps familial negotiations.

When you have finished, get your kids to knock your structure down.  They aren’t meant to last.

We’re nearly at Christmas

It’s funny but Christmas is starting to feel more like a destination than a time of year.  We’ve done all our shopping (I think), the marzipan is on the Christmas cake and my son had his last day at school yesterday.

Nearly Christmas?
Nearly Christmas?

My husband and son are going to see Star Wars this morning – I was meant to go too but my daughter is a bit poorly so isn’t going to preschool for her last day.  Perhaps we’ll put Harry Potter on the telly.

 

Mad Edwardian dinners

At the weekend, we had B and M and their kids round for a pre Christmas Christmas.  We thought about what to feed them and ended up coming up with this sort of thing – except ours was a pigeon inside a pheasant inside a duck side a chicken (I think).

This was it
This was it

We ordered it from the butcher, who deboned all the birds and did the stuffing.of each into the other.  I think we’ll be eating it for the rest of the week (which is fine).

It’s quite a weird idea but then most of Christmas food is quite weird.  Bread sauce?  Goose?  Once a year you are asked to cook an elaborate Edwardian dinner to serve to all your assembled relatives and friends.  It’s unsurprising that people talk about it as a Big Deal.

Raw - bring it up to room temperature and then cook it for 10 minutes per 100 grams
Raw – bring it up to room temperature and then cook it for 10 minutes per 100 grams

 

Christmas, travel chaos and the ability to get cash out

We are getting a bit more ready for Christmas.  My husband and son went to get a tree and wreath after school yesterday and we decorated it, which does make me feel far more Christmassy.

Our tree
Our tree

I usually think that, once the tree is up, there is a wreath and cards are on the mantelpiece, that’s enough decoration.  I know that other people do more – I mean, it could be possible to make our entire house into a delicious Christmas grotto.

Like this?
Like this?

I’m feeling incredibly sorry for all the people who need to use Southern Rail in the next few weeks.  Brighton Station (I am from Brighton) keeps coming up on the news about the strikes.  It’s all a bit of a disaster.

I’ve heard from my brother (he and my sister are in India for three months).  He said that they are having a good time but are getting a lot of hassle, he has to do all the talking and are finding it impossible to get money.  They can get a maximum of 2,000 rupees a day out (about £23 / $30 USD), which comes as one note and no one will accept it because they can’t give change.  We suggested getting US dollars but they can only get those if they have proof of travel within seven days.  I said that I would post them a envelope with a load of US dollars in but he said they’d manage.

There is a Thomas Cook, which will sometimes sell them more rupees but at present it is taking them an hour a day to get enough money out.  Only the fancy hotels will take Visa.

He said that they ARE having a good time; he just wanted a whinge.