Precious Moments

The week before last we had our very first ever staycation.  It was to save money, but I personally think it would have cost less to have gone away on a cruise!  Well, not really but I’m thinking our staycation wasn’t a terribly frugal one 🙂  It was, however, one full of fun and laughter and spending lots of lovely time together as a family.

It got off to a great start with K12’s baptism, which we all, but especially the children, enjoyed:


We visited the Natural History Museum for the little ones to see the dinosaurs (post coming soon), and were so blessed when mum chose to join us:


It was so much fun having Gary along:



We also went to Wisley for an Easter bunny hunt with Leah and her lovely daughters, as well as fulfilling the older one’s wishes by spending an hour bouncing at Air-Hop (very expensive but they LOVED it!).  Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera so didn’t manage any photos 🙁

To finish up the week, we held a murder mystery party:


I have to admit, the most fun was had choosing characters and costumes.  Gary was a serious but scatty English professor; T was the butler; C was the flamboyant musician ‘Dee Minor’; L was the mysterious palm reader ‘Misty Visions’ whilst I was the house keeper, Miss Witherington:



Lorna and co joined us as the Inspector Dunno (Andrew):


And Em Fatale (Lorna) the murdered man’s now rich widow; Blanche Batters the cook (K12) and General Custard (B14):


There was much laughter:






And lots of acting in character:



I was surprisingly good as the bearded Mrs Witherington who was a little bit besotted with her dead master….

The evening was great fun, although I’m not sure I followed the story well enough to have been able to hazard a guess as to the murder (Dee Minor, as it happened).

We are currently studying the end of the seventeen hundreds this term, focusing on Jane Austin as our means to learn about this period in Great Britain.  During last week’s staycation we visited Jane’s family home in Winchester.  It was a really interesting day out, and even T turned to me at one point exclaiming how much fun he was having!  Here is the house:


Everyone piling out of the bakery:


In the garden:


And dressing up in the old kitchen:


I will be doing a full post on our visit in the next couple of weeks.  After we had finished looking round the house, we visited some lovely quaint tea rooms situated opposite, and ate the most delicious lunch, before heading home:


C, having finished the courses she was focusing on last term, asked if she might concentrate her delight learning on Jane Austin.  Between us, we came up with a fabulous project for her – she is to research and plan a Jane Austen party for her and L’s 14th birthday in October.  She is so excited!  This week she has been learning about all things Georgian and has come up with some great ideas for her and L’s birthday party, one of which is to create a newspaper full of ideas of food, etiquette, dress and I’m sure lots of other information.  She will make a few of these to give one each to the guests, a few weeks prior to the party (‘…so they all know what to expect, Mummy!’)

In addition, she has completed four Bongo lessons and can now play six  rhythms on her bongos.  She is LOVING it!  The lessons are very well taught, and she would recommend them to anyone wishing to play.  Each night she plays all the rhythms she has learnt, and she really is very good:


She also rewrote the African folk tale of Anansi, turning it into a play with music (specifically the bongos).  She is so excited about the whole thing I’m surprised she isn’t constantly falling off her seat with enthusiasm 🙂  She is keeping a scrap-book/ journal of everything she is learning for her African project and is basically completely in her element.

C also finished her (huge) story board for the six chapter book she is currently writing.  She certainly didn’t hold back, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy her barely contained enthusiasm for almost everything in life 🙂


T is learning all about the chemical elements of the periodic table for his Chemistry IGCSE.  He built them up using M’n’Ms (which he could eat at the end!):


He learnt the first twenty elements of the periodic table off by heart, completed unit three and sent off his end of unit work to be marked.  He has also been hard at his music, learning how to read music, composing his own worship song (which is just lovely), completing his online guitar lessons passing the exam and moving onto the next level:


He has also almost finished making his bass guitar, with just a bit of soldering to go (which Gary will help with).  He is so proud of his work, and can not wait to begin to learn to play it:

bass guitar

L has thoroughly enjoyed her art courses, producing some lovely work.  Here she is working on her Spring Mixed Media project:


And the final project, which she has kindly gifted to the little ones’ bedroom:



And her Drawing with Realism project, which was drawing an orange:



She also finished up her project from last term, drawing half an avocado:


I will be sharing her study of the famous artist next week sometime, but here she is working on it:


In the afternoons, L13 has been spending her time happily ensconced in her African Jewellery project (which reminds me, I must publish her post all about this project):


L still spends every spare moment crafting all her designs and is particularly enjoying the wire and cloth work which the African jewellery is demanding right now.  Here’s a close up of some of her designs.  It is such a joy to see her working quietly away, with such concentration and obvious enjoyment:


We have found an online college for her to study Art IGCSE from home, although it costs over £500, so we will be praying over the next year as to whether she goes to college for free or continues studying at home.

We all finished Module four of Unit One of Exploring Africa, and we are learning so much!  During the next two weeks we will hopefully complete all of the activities and finish Unit One altogether.  This is such an in-depth, cleverly put together study, and is available completely for free 🙂  We finally reached the end of Lesson two of Who Is God? from Apologia, and began Lesson three which is all about what we allow into our heads and mind.  So apt for this season in the children’s lives.   During our Mystery of History lessons we learnt all about Bach and Handel and listened to the Hallelujah Chorus of The Messiah.  We also finished up our study of Abraham (for our ancient Israel study) by watching Abraham from the Bible video series.  In addition during morning meeting we all took it in turns to read aloud from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  C13 asked if we could watch the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice during lunch each day this term, which I (of course 🙂 ) agreed to.

The little ones have been equally busy with their dinosaur work (see yesterday’s post), learning about the rainforest, specifically learning about Columbia. A7’s reading and writing are improving the more she does, which is very gratifying.  We have begun a very thorough looking science course, which A7 in particular is very excited about.  I am reviewing it as part of the TOS review crew.  As I posted about the little’s work yesterday and have another post coming out next week, focusing on their South American study, I shall stop writing here, otherwise this post will be intolerably long (!)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of love and laughter.

Weekly Wrap-Up


  1. Loving the murder mystery pics. Everyone looks fantastic! Obviously a lot of fun with some serious characterisation!

    How marvellous to visit Jane Austen’s family home!

    Claire, you really do make learning fun.

    All of you are so gifted.

    Love and hugs from Coleraine Stewarts.


    1. Hello Auntie Sam!! The girls were so excited you left a message, they ran squealing around the house (that would be the older ones not the younger ones!) Thank you for your lovely comment and we all send love and hugs back! xx

  2. I can only laugh your thoughts about your less than frugal staycation. 🙂 I’ve had some staycations that were very frugal and others that ended up being pretty spendy!!

  3. Yay to K on her baptism. That is fantastic.

    I LOVE your murder mystery. It took me a minute to realize it was a picture of you. WOW! Y’all look like sisters! I wish you and Gary had taken a photo together. Everyone looks fantastic in their dress-up. What fun that must have been.

    Gracie is very j—— of your trip to the Jane Austen home. She would LOVE to go there. C’s project is very impressive. Can’t wait to see the final product. Bongo drums. Who knew? T’s guitar is coming along nicely. I am sure he is proud of it. It is quite an undertaking to build your own instrument. That will be something he will treasure always. L’s paintings and drawings are beautiful. She is quite the artist. Her jewelry is lovely and it really shows that she has quite a talent for design.

    I hope you have a most excellent weekend, Claire. Enjoy those sweeties of yours and give yourself a hug from me.

    1. I love your comments Donna, because you never leave out anyone 🙂 I read your comment out to everyone and they all said thank you! If you ever make it to England I will be honoured to take you to Jane Austin’s house 😉

  4. Well it may not have been cheap but I suspect you had more fun than many people would on a cruise! I loved all the pics and reading about it all, especially your starring role in the murder mystery. Doesn’t T look dashing as an Austen hero? I had no idea her house was in Winchester. Putting that on my list!

    1. I’m not sure I had a starring role, but I did enjoy donning makeup (really thick make up to hide the ‘beard’!) I never wear make up and on that night I found out why!

  5. Wow. Just, wow! If I had to choose a week to spend at your house, it would very probably have been this one (although it’s a close call with the Little House on the Prairie summer… and basically all the weeks…).

  6. The murder mystery looks like amazing fun. We’re all Jane Austen fans here and would love to visit her home. My 21 yo daughter is heading to England in a few weeks and I’m sure some Austen sites will be on her itinerary. The rest of us will have to live vicariously through her.

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