Thursday, 14 January 2016

Resurrection plant time lapse

My son decided to buy a resurrection plant called Selaginella lepidophylla also known as rose of Jericho and dinosaur plant amongst other things and we wanted to capture footage of the plant returning to life. So my husband and children set up the camera to make a time lapse film recording what happened for them to keep.

The clip lasts less than a minute but captures the plant opening and is an amazing educational project for the children to watch again. Our camera battery ran out slightly sooner than we would have liked so we have added a photograph at the end to show the plant after 24 hours. The good thing about these plants is that they can be dried out and re hydrated again. Fascinating to see!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Just a quick post to wish you all a belated Happy New Year, give you a quick update on a few of our activities coming up to the Christmas season and to post a photograph of the handmade gifts I made for my children this year.

 I usually crochet the children an extra gift to add into their Christmas stockings but this year I decided to get out my sewing machine and surprise them with a soft character toy each from their favourite computer game or cartoon. I made my son an Enderman from Minecraft and my daughter a Lumpy space princess from adventure time. They certainly got more than a few squeals of delight on Christmas morning.

Just before Christmas we went to the Harry Potter Warner Brother studio tour and had an absolutely wonderful time. We got to see the Hogwarts Express which arrived earlier in the year and had the pleasure of seeing Hogwarts in the snow with all the sets decorated for Christmas. An amazing day for adults and children alike!

We also took advantage of the last sunny days of the year to go beach combing on a nearly deserted beach and had a picnic by the sea. Using some of the time to clear a bag of rubbish from the shoreline as we usually do.

To finish the day we visited the local sea life centre, a perfect way to relax in the lead up to the Christmas season.

So as you can see we are still here and I hope to be resurrecting this blog, adding more crafts, science and other learning projects with an added taste of our lifestyle too... Happy New Year from our whole family at Lightly Enchanted.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Pumpkin pancakes / flatbread

I do not know what to call these really, but we thought we would try something new with some of our left over pumpkin purée from the Autumn harvests. Where I live potato cakes are something to make with your left over mash potato and a little flour, so I wondered what would happen if I replaced the potato with pumpkin purée instead... I have to say the result was very tasty.

 I have started with  200g of pumpkin purée and mixed in about 200g of all purpose flour and a small knob of butter. I have said about 200g of flour because sometimes you need to add a little more to be able to knead it like dough, as that's the consistency you are aiming for. Roll it out to about half a centimetre thick and cut into your preferred shapes.

I have cut them in rectangle shapes so that they fit neatly on a lightly oiled baking tray and cook them in the oven at 200C for about 10 to 15 mins.

That's about it... very simple and very tasty especially hot straight from the oven spread with melting butter. My husband and daughter like to cut their's open down the side like the pocket in pitta bread and spread the butter on the inside. They are also a handy size to put in the toaster and warm through.

But however you choose to eat them it's a very quick and easy way to use up some left overs and has a very intense pumpkin flavour.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The end of Summer

Summer is well and truly over now and the leaves are starting to show their Autumn colours, so I thought I would share some of our summertime activities with you. We have been on all our usual adventures in nature as you may have seen in the 30 days wild project we joined in June, also trips to the Dinosaur adventure park and a theme park.

We have explored new places and had adventures on a prehistoric walk through ancient areas of woodland. We have also spent time exploring the countryside and the thrill of playing in fields of long grass.

The children gave themselves Summer challenges, my son's was a reading challenge to read the entire series of Harry potter books including the extra short books. This is a big challenge for him as he prefers to read fact books and encyclopedias so me and my husband joined him on this challenge to give him extra support... everyone finished this challenge in less than the three months given. He has now gone back to reading about Japanese mythology and his dinosaur research.

My youngest daughter had different challenges, she wanted to teach herself to weave bracelets, make wind chimes, hula hoop and juggle... all of which she accomplished with ease and has now moved on to learning musical instruments.

We have also spent a lot of time at our local swimming pool, the children had so much fun and can all swim a number of different strokes and have hugely increased their water confidence skills.

Both children attended two activity club courses looking at different animals and their care which they found quite interesting. We also took advantage of the Heritage free open days and went to three museums.

The children love exploring museums, my grandmother used to take me around the strangers hall museum when I was a little girl and it is lovely that it is still there for my children to experience. This year we even played old games in the museum gardens.

We managed to find a newt, something the children had been looking to see in the wild which was quite exciting for them.

We have had a few new additions to our family too, after spending time with the reptiles on the animal care courses that the children completed we decided to add a snake to our family, my son already has a leopard gecko, which is fascinating, so learning about snakes would be just as interesting and something my husband has been wanting to do for quite a while.

This is a photo of our beautiful new Royal python when he first arrived, only a few months old. The other new arrivals are chickens, as you know we lost two of our older girls earlier in the year and were only left with one chicken. The remaining elderly chicken, Dotty, was very lonely so we decided to increase the flock.

It took Dot a little while to accept the new chickens, but after a week or so it all settled down. Dot is on the far right of the above photo, the black and white chicken is called Sylvie and the two reds are called Evie and Ginny.

That covers a few of our summer highlights, adventures and challenges... Preparing for winter has taken hold here and the last of the allotment harvests have been collected and preserving food is in full swing.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

6th Wedding Anniversary

At the end of June my wonderful husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, although we have been together many years longer than this. We like to make each other a gift based on the traditional gift guide, the 6th anniversary is... IRON!!.

For a very long time I had no idea what to make, iron seemed so hard and unyielding but then it struck me, an idea which should have presented itself sooner considering that I had studied geology for my degree... haematite is an iron ore and is available in many forms even beads! I had been looking at it so literally before and now it was so obvious.

I have made a leather macrame bracelet for my husband before and he loved it but it has got quite worn, so I thought I would make another one with haematite beads woven in. I have used six beads, one for each year of our marriage and each bead is hexagonal and magnetically drawn to each other.

In case you are wondering, my husband made me the most wonderful gift it was a wind chime made with iron nails all hand twisted and it makes the most beautiful sound. Follow this link if you would like to check it out.

I had the idea for my gift at the last minute so I was a little late finishing it, especially with all that was going on. It is the extremely busy time of year when we have four birthdays, three of those requiring parties, a wedding anniversary, father's day. We also sadly we lost two of our older chickens. Combine this with a rush to get the day trips and theme park visits out of the way before the schools broke up for summer and the '30 days wild' quest we were on and you have a very busy few weeks. I was very overwhelmed and nearly didn't make it through the last birthday but we have been having a rest and slowly starting to feel a little more relaxed now. Hopefully I will be able to get back on track with the blogging too.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

30 Days Wild - day 30

Today is the last day of the 30 days wild project and it coincides with my birthday so we have had a lovely day. I thought I would share some of the things we have been making for the wildlife this month to add to the ones we already have all over the garden.

This is one of the bee hotels we have made, we have a garden full of different types of bee house now, if you would like to make one my husband has written instructions for some different types here on his blog. If you build it they will come...

We have also made these garden charms, they look lovely hanging from the trees especially in the winter when the trees are bare.

We also make these pine cone bird feeders and if you would like to make the charms or pine cone feeders you will find them here.

Now the 30 days wild project has come to a close we would love to thank the 30 days wild team and the wild life trusts for bringing this challenge to us. Also a very big thank-you to everyone who has retweeted, favourited and liked our pages.

Monday, 29 June 2015

30 Days Wild - day 29

On our nature walk today we found a ladybird emerging from it's pupa, as you can see when they first emerge they are yellow. It takes a little while for it's wing case to harden and develop it's finished colouring and pattern of spots.

We also spotted some rabbits, there were quite a few young ones but they ran too fast for photographs but we did spot this older one hiding beside a tree almost invisible if you are not really looking.