Trip to Falkland Palace…..twice.

We decided on Wed to take Granny a wee trip to Falkland Palace in Fife. It is such a beautiful palace set in the most wonderful grounds. We spent a happy 4 hours or so there investigating and learning. We didn’t realise at the time we would end up there twice in one week. During our first visit we lost Beanster’s favourite hoodie and despite kindly searching for it the staff couldn’t find it. We headed back the next day to look for it ourselves since we knew roughly the journey we had taken around the grounds and thankfully we found it. Beanster was relieved. Here are some photos of our 2 days. Unfortunately you can’t take photos inside the palace but the grounds are beautiful so there are plenty of outdoor photo opportunities.

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Day 1

Sisterly love. After looking inside the palace and seeing how people used to live when it was once occupied by kings and Queens we ventured out into the grounds to explore. 

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Getting exercise running. Our girls love running and today they did it hand in hand.

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Inside the glasshouse. Granny taught the girls the names of some plants. We also looked at the mechanism for opening the glasshouse roof.

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Watching the waterfall. Moo was fascinated with it.

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We played some games from the past and some newer games in the Orchard. Beanster used her technology skills to build an aeroplane model with the construction bits. We also discovered a small dog graveyard which Beanster and I talked about.

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We read some animal track information signs and then discovered a wasp nest.

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We found a wee bothy (where the hoodie was later recovered from) and the girls made a pretend meal for Granny and I. They included pretend spinach, kale, noodles and  rice in their offerings. We also found evidence that rodents had eaten in the bothy.

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We had a look for animals and plants we could identify in the wee ponds. Moo and I also had a chat about Pondskaters which there were in abundance.

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We had a look at the real tennis court, the only one in use in Scotland….

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…and we watched a mother swallow/swift feed her young. We couldn’t see the tail properly to identify the bird. You need to wait to the end of the video to see the mum come in.

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Day 2

After finding the hoodie and having another quick play with the outdoor toys we found a traditional ice cream cart….

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….and had some ice cream

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I then spoke to the girls about the types of houses found in Falkland, why the doors are smaller than nowadays and why there are letters and numbers over the door.

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We had a quick walk around Falkland before heading home. Granny and Beanster had a look in one of the antique shops.

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It is a lovely wee town and we will definitely be back again. Next time we will explore the town more and look at all the different houses and their features. Watch this space. 

A show, a birthday and some vegetables

This morning we were heading to the Edinburgh Festival with the girls to see one of our favourite singers, Nick Cope. He writes fabulous songs for children and he is funny too. If you have never heard of him you should do a quick google/youtube search. Our ultimate favourite song is ‘The baby’s done a poo’.

Here we are waiting at the front of the queue to get in.

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In our seats right at the front.

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The man himself.

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Beanster was a bit afraid that she was going to have to get up on stage.

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Moo was a bit sleepy.

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Audience participation (Beanster didn’t get up on the stage)

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He was absolutely brilliant and we bought one of his CDs at the end to add to our collection.

We then went and got a bit of lunch and had it sitting on giant pillows in a park.

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Beanster wanted her photo taken on top of a wall.

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And then we had a play before heading back to the car.

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It was granny’s birthday so we headed to her house to give her presents…

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and cake….

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Moo chose the cake and candles and was very happy when she got her slice.

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Later on the girls played in the garden.

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Back at home they opened up their own cafe and ice cream parlour and Beanster wrote the menu.

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Beanster and Mama headed out to the Library after tea to log Beanster’s last book for her Summer Reading Challenge. She will miss the award ceremony as we are away on holiday but when she gets back she has to go to the Library to receive her medal and certificate. Whilst Beanster was away Moo played in our Fairy Garden and made tea for an imaginary Auntie Alice.

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For an hour or so before bed Moo and I headed to the allotment to attend to some of our veg and Beanster and Mama went to check out a possible venue for her birthday party in a few weeks. Moo was very excited to see that we have got some corn cobs growing. This is the furthest we have ever got when growing corn on the cob. Scotland is usually too wet for us to have any success, maybe this is our year to taste one!

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We also have spaghetti squash, pumpkins, butternut squash, courgettes (on the verge of becoming marrows), cabbage, onions, beetroot, cauliflowers, kale and potatoes growing nicely too. There are other things in too but they haven’t come on much yet.

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Oh, Beanster gave the local venue a thumbs up so now party planning begins…….

Summer Reading Challenge

Moo started a Lightning McQueen jigsaw this morning but she started to get into difficulties so Beanster came along to give a helping hand. They were very pleased with themselves when it was completed.

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We all headed out to the Library after breakfast so Beanster could get new books to complete her Summer Reading Challenge. She chose to go wearing odd shoes.

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She has now read 5 of the 6 books needed. She can’t read independently yet, but listening to lengthy stories or short novels and discussing them counts towards the challenge when you can’t yet read. Today she earned some stickers and a wristband for getting to book number 5 when she handed her record over for checking.

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Moo took a seat out for herself and looked at some books.

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Afterwards Beanster and Mama listened to some music being played by the Reed Band whilst Moo and I went to the local bakers to buy us all some lunch.

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On the way back Moo admired some hanging decorations and had a go on the swings.

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A bit of food perked the girls up enough to do some urban gymnastics.

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Listening to the Reed Band and also to  Mama playing the piano inspired Beanster to play her own music in the afternoon.

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In the evening the girls were full of nonsense, running around everywhere and playing all of the games. Beanster took herself back to the 80’s and wanted filmed jogging to help people to get fit.

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Tomorrow we are heading out camping so the rest of the evening was spent tetris packing. It was pitch black by the time we have finished.

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Wonder what wonders await us on the campsite?

Lightning McQueen!

After a morning game of Lotto we decided to surprise the girls and took them to the cinema to see Cars 3. This was Moo’s first trip to the cinema so we made sure she had some ice cream and popcorn to help her sit through a whole film.

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Both girls chose to dress up for the occasion, Beanster in her Anna dress and Moo in her rainbow dress. Within about 10 minutes both dresses were covered in chocolate ice cream!  Moo sat very well for most of the film. She only needed about 7 trips to the toilet! Beanster was her usual fidgety self but managed to pay close attention despite this. At the end of the film the girls danced around whilst the credits rolled.

Back at home Beanster asked to do some more Maths Seeds and Reading Eggs. Her initial sound knowledge, ability to count and to recognise number words are all coming on a treat and she enjoyed shouting out rhyming words at various points in the day. 

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Mama played a modified toddler friendly version of ‘Guess Who’ with Moo and she absolutely loved this. It allowed her to practise looking for and matching pictures and she is extremely good at this. 

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The girls and I headed out to the shops to buy what we needed for tea, but of course a trip to the shops always involves more than mere shopping. Our girls manage to investigate nature in the car park, improve their gross motor skills in the trolley area and Moo looked like she was reinacting a scene from ‘Titanic’….’On top of the world’

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As I made tea, Mama got out the scales and compare bears for the girls to investigate. It is always interesting to leave the girls with objects like these to see what they do with them. They started off weighing them, finding the lightest and heaviest. This didn’t last too long however as Moo wanted all the bears so an arguement developed. Beanster decided to give up and went back to her computer and Moo started putting the bears to bed then she did some jigsaws. We will get the bears and scales out again tomorrow to see if any further investigation takes place.

I wonder if any discoveries will he made.

Vane Farm RSPB Nature Reserve

Today we spent at Vane Farm RSPB Nature Reserve at Loch Leven, Fife. What a fabulous time the girls had.

First of all Beanster had her last Summer swimming week lesson and Holly, her instructor, said she did really well. Beanster has been trying hard to improve her breathing technique and breastroke legs. Today she managed to take 3 breaths whilst swimming before needing to grab onto Holly which was a great achievement. She and her pal R were also complimented on how great they were today at listening to instructions.

Back in the car we headed up the motorway to Loch Leven and the nature reserve. We needed some food so first of all we had a spot of lunch whilst admiring this fabulous view:

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As we ate we also watched the birds on the big screen live feed which was in front of us. Both girls also coloured in some pictures of birds, insects and wildflowers and Moo stuck hers onto the wildflower and bumblebee meadow wall.

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We spoke to a lovely RSPB volunteer and hired some Explorer backpacks and set out on our adventure.

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First of all we stopped to watch the birds at the feeding stations through an observation fence. Beanster used the identification book which was in her backpack to identify a Marsh Tit.

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Also in the backpacks were bug viewfinders and we began to learn how to use these. Both girls caught coloured flies in theirs, but we need further practise using them and being patient, as they gave up on using them soon after. Apparently it was taking too long to find interesting bugs!

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We found an area with den building opportunities so the girls added some sticks to improve a den that was already there.

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Next we headed to the natural play area to improve our gross motor skills and coordination. There were lots of wooden pieces to climb over and ropes to pull yourself up. Moo particularly liked going through the tunnels and down the hill then climbing the hill to go through the tunnels again. Beanster made herself an obstacle course and Moo had a snack and was the audience for Beanster as she ran. Afterwards we listened to crickets in the grass and Beanster found one really quickly.

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We next headed to the leafy loop walk where the girls found a seating area and put on a circus show.

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We found a bug hotel and then used it as a reference to build our own one in an area designated for this. The girls worked really well as a team to build a lovely bug hotel.

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We found a wind turbine and although we have seen these often as we go along the motorway both girls were fascinated by this one. Possibly because they saw it up close and were able to stand underneath. Beanster made up her own ‘turbine dance’ which she performed as she listened to the rhythmic hum of the blades as they went round.

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We had a quick look in the ponds but it was getting late so we decided to leave pond dipping til next time. Moo declared the pondweed to be yucky but it didn’t stop her investigating it with a stick!

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Swimming and Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway Museum

Today Moo went swimming with Mama.

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She was feeling confident and went down lots of chutes and did jumping in. The wave machine made her laugh a lot, even when the waves went right over her head. She has started to learn how to kick her legs and is happy putting her head right under the water. Clever girl.

Beanster and I headed to Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway Museum.

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We had fun changing the points and signals.

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We built and played with the train track and trains (and an earwig unfortunately lost it’s life in the process).

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We built our own digger train and train track.

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We enjoyed looking inside some of the old trains.

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Our favourite is always the night mail train. Beanster loves to sort the mail and we discussed what problems we thought the staff would find as they worked whilst the train was moving. We learned that if a piece of mail was filed into the wrong place it took a further 24 hours to reach the correct destination.

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We talked about the following tanks and goods trucks. Beanster did not want to be a worker on the train pulling the Nitric Acid tank.

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Beanster compared her height to the height of different wheels.

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And we enjoyed reading these signs. 

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Beanster had a go at pulling the point and signal levers.

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And just like her sister she enjoys a good old walk along a wall.

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Before we left we visited the model railway.

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And looked at one of the trains that was being fixed.

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After lunch both girls had a further go at their Roman Dig and unearthed a tablet and some coins.

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The rest of the day was full of pretend play, a shopping trip and tidying up. What will we be up to tomorrow?

Trip to the bookshop and Georgian baking

It was a VERY WET day today so we took a trip to our beloved independent book shop ‘Far From the Madding Crowd‘ to hear some stories and see BB the rabbit. BB joins in with the stories and loves a cuddle. We had a wee bag of kale for him as we have a dedicated BB patch on our allotment. 

A bit of the lovely reading nook where you can hear stories on a Saturday.

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Giving BB a cuddle.

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On our way back home we stopped to look at some classic cars. We compared this old Mini to it’s modern equivalent which we saw in the car park.

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Moo painted in the afternoon.

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Beanster asked to do some Maths Seeds and Reading Eggs.

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Later on Moo and I did some shopping and she loaded the conveyor belt for me.

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The girls enjoyed sticking Lightning Mc Queen stickers into their Cars collection book. Beanster is very good now at finding the correct box to stick her stickers on and has been practising reading and saying the numbers.

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We also baked, following the Georgian recipe for Indian Gingerbread which we saw at Callendar House. The girls particularly enjoyed using our metal weights and scales to measure out the ingredients. They packed quite a punch and both girls declared them yummy but a bit spicy too. ‘Less ginger next time mummy’ apparently.

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