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Half Term At Home | Living Arrows 8/52 (2021)

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We were so ready for half term when it finally arrived. You know the kids are ready for a break when they can't be bothered with school work anymore, they are tired and whiney and if I am honest I felt the same. It had been a term of ups, downs and lots of juggling between home school and working but we got there in the end. Like most we had no plans at all and we planned on spending most of our time at home other than our walks, but it was nice not to have to worry about zooms and work for a week.

boy making pancakes


I am so glad we remembered pancake Tuesday. We do usually forget and then have to rush out to the shops to pick up some pancakes and toppings but I had already ordered them on the shopping so was very prepared. 

I gave the boys a choice of jam, Nutella, sugar, M&M's and Haribo. Little J decided to pile everything (except jam) on to his pancake and enjoyed every single bite. Big J also enjoyed his pancakes and was definitely the best flipper of the pancakes. 

Stepping Stones


We managed to head out for a few walks in-between wet and windy days as it is important to get out and about especially with little J as he has lots of energy to burn off.

Boy eating ice cream


One of little J's favourite things when we head out for a walk is to find an ice cream man or somewhere he can get an ice cream. He was so pleased when we visited a new park last week and there was an ice cream parlour. He always chooses bubblegum flavour if its there and he was pleased when it was. 

Odeon at Home ticket

brothers watching a movie


We finished off half term with a trip to the movies. This was in the living room but we made it extra special using the free resources from Odeon At Home. The boys had an amazing night with lots of cinema food, drinks and snacks and a very funny movie. 

Michelle
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All About The Art | Living Arrows 6/52 (2021)

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The countdown to half term has begun. There is just one more week of home schooling and it can't come soon enough. John and I work it between us and I am in charge of Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I like knowing that I am here to help little J when he needs me. On Wednesdays, Art is on the timetable. I am not the best at Art but little J seems to love it. 

boy painting

Last week little J was given a task of cutting out three pictures of flowers, sticking them on paper and then he had to match the colours by mixing paints together. I had no idea where to start but little J got stuck right in and starting mixing. He knew that all the colours could me made by using combinations of red, blue and yellow. 

flower painting
I am sure at some point in my past I knew this but it's been a long time since I have done art so I'm glad he knew the colours to mix and didn't ask me for help, I would have had to use my trusted friend Google. 

Michelle

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Another Weekend, Another Walk | Living Arrows 5/52 (2021)

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Another week has passed and the juggling of work and homeschool continued and we all couldn't wait for the weekend. Weekend means walk and this weekend we headed to the waterfront for a change of scenery. 

boy hiding behind a statue


We had some jobs to do around the house first so didn't manage to get out till quite late, I think it was almost 3pm. By the time we got there it was so cold and windy. It was the type of cold wind that hurts your face as you walk. We almost turned around to go back home to where it is warm but we know how important it is to get some fresh air and exercise so we persevered and we actually enjoyed it, in the end. 

Boy on a scooter


Little J took his scooter as there is lots of open space to scoot around and I was surprised how many young adults there were on skateboards. I suppose there isn't much for anyone to do at the moment so why not go skateboarding by the waterfront.

We had promised little J an ice cream but unfortunately the van was there but there was no one inside. Maybe it was too cold but he did manage to pick some sweets off another van selling lots of sweets and candy floss. 

As we were walking we saw lots of people holding Costa cups so we knew the Costa was open for takeaway. John grabbed himself a coffee. It was on those type of days I really wished I like coffee as it would have warmed me up. 

brothers hugging


After a while the cold didn't seem to bother the boys but I am really looking forward to some warmer weather. 

Michelle

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Snow Fun | Living Arrows 4/52 (2021)

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This past week was exactly the same as the weeks before with the juggling of work, home schooling and trying to keep things fun. We got to midweek and I could see that sitting at the table doing school work is just so boring for little J. He loves school but doing school work at home isn't fun. There is no one his own age to bounce off during class discussions, there is no one to play with at break time and there is no escape from us. He needs to see his friends, he needs to chat to kids his own age, he needs to be a 7 year old boy and as much as we all love each other he needs space and time away from us, its natural to need a break from people even if just for a few hours.

a boy making a snow angel in the snow


I was dreading the weekend if I am honest as there is no difference really from midweek to weekend at the moment. Every day feels the same however over night on Friday we had some snowfall. 

Our snowfall wasn't as heavy as other parts of the country but it was enough to perk up our moods and we headed straight out in the garden for some snow fun.

boy falling off a sledge


Little J didn't want to make a snowman, all he wanted to do was have snowball fights, make snow angels and be pulled around on his sledge. 

After a morning of fun we headed out for an afternoon snowy winter walk at Speke Hall. It was so lovely to see the hall and grounds covered in snow. We became members of National Trust just a few months ago and haven't had chance to visit many of the NT properties yet so it was nice to visit. 

man and boy having a snowball fight


We enjoyed snowball fights on the main lawn and enjoyed a walk overlooking the airport runways. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any planes take off or land but we did see some parked on the runway. 

Our walk was cut short when it started to hail and the temperature dropped quickly but it was lovely to get some much needed fresh air.

Michelle

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Trying To Mix It Up | Living Arrows 3/52 (2021)

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Last week was our second week of home schooling and just as I expected the novelty had definitely worn off and little J was not as keen or interested to get started on Monday morning as he was the week before. However he managed to pick himself up and get stuck in and seemed to enjoy some of the work set.

boy with sunlight behind him
At the moment we have no idea how long the schools will be closed for so we are trying to mix up the home school day as much as we can so he doesn't become bored. There is quite a lot of work set this time around and zoom calls at the beginning and the end of the day so he doesn't have a lot of free time. 

boy measuring out ingredients


One of his lessons last week involved measuring so we took it one step further and made some cookies. Little J enjoyed measuring the ingredients out and made sure we took lots of photographs so we could send them to his teacher. 

He has one scheduled PE session a week which encourages the children to head outside for a walk or bike ride or do an indoor PE / Exercise session such as PE with Joe. We have tried to make sure we get out and about at least 4 out of the 5 days for a walk or bike ride. We are lucky that we have lots of cycle paths and a park close by so it's been nice for him to be able to enjoy a bike ride locally.

boy looking at a computer screen


Little J is reading Charlie and the chocolate factory at the moment and was really keen to know what happened at the end so I suggested we watch the movie. I am a huge fan of the original so I popped it on and he didn't move all the way through, he absolutely loved it. He has also loved being able to bring his teddies to his homeschool lessons.

box of sweets


For RE he had to talk about someone he loves and we had a discussion about why he loves that person. I had no doubt in my mind who he would choose, his brother. To make it more interesting and fun he made a gift box which he decorated himself and we filled it with a few chocolates so he could treat his brother. 

two boys on bikes


Big J had a good week doing his university course online. It has been hard learning how to become a teacher through zoom calls but he has just found out that he will be actually going in to a school to help out until half term so is over the moon. It means he won't be at home during the day as much and I know the boys will both miss each other. They did spend lots of time together this past week both in and outside which I just love. 

Michelle

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Back To Home School | Living Arrows 2/52 (2021)

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Well things have certainly changed since last weeks Living Arrows post. On Monday it was announced that all schools were to close after being told the day before they were safe. We all knew a National Lockdown was on the cards and that it was going to be soon but it was still a shock. Home schooling began here on Wednesday and it was definitely more organised than the last time schools closed. 

at boy doing homework
Little J starts his day with a Zoom call. It's a chance to see his friends on the screen and for his teacher to discuss what she has planned for them throughout the day. It's a lovely way to begin his day but it's also so sad because I know how much he missed his friends last time and seeing them on a screen just isn't the same. 

After the zoom he has four lessons to complete. Maths, English, RE and then a foundation subject. The workload has been okay so far but I am expecting more this week now they have had a little more time to prepare. 

a boy doing homework
The home schooling isn't as easy for us this time around as parents as I am now in work. I was furloughed last time which obviously made it easier but now we are trying to fit everything in-between John's work and mine. 

John and I are both key workers however we made a decision to keep little J home as the infection rate in our area is so high and we obviously want him safe at home. 

a boy reading
After he has finished his lessons we have been colouring and then also reading. He is reading Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and loves it so far. 

Once his school day is done we email all his work over for marking and he finishes the day with another Zoom call. It's a little catch up of the day and the teacher reads then a short story. 

boy on a zoom


So far little J is enjoying being at home and it is definitely the best place for him to be until this madness is over. 

Michelle

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The Fresh Sea Air | Living Arrows 1/52 (2021)

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Between Christmas and New Year was so cold and although we just wanted to stay in our PJ's I knew we needed to head out for a walk so little J could burn off some energy. Unfortunately we were placed in Tier 3 on New Years Eve so we are quite restricted for places to go. We decided to head to the beach and get some fresh sea air. 

boy with toy story mask on



When we arrived it was so busy, I guess everyone had the same idea as us. I suppose this will happen now, everyone will congregate in the same places as there are not many to choose from. We popped on our masks and tried to social distance as much as possible. There are only a few paths to the beach so that was hard but once on the beach it was a lot easier as there was lots of space.

boy writing name in sand
The tide was quite far out but the sand was nice and wet. I prefer wet sand rather than dry, it's much easier to walk on. Little J drew his name in the sand and then made up a game for us to play with his big bouncy ball. 

I did try and walk towards the sea but my wellies got stuck in sinking sand. Luckily I kept my balance and John came to my rescue. 

sunset over the beach and sea
It suddenly went extremely cold and the sun started to go down so we headed back to the start. We walked the longer way round back to the car to try and avoid any crowds. 

boy looking at the sunset



Although it was freezing it was lovely and we definitely needed the fresh air. 

Michelle

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Summer Holiday | Living Arrows 31/52

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two boys looking out to a lighthouse
Last week we should have been heading to Greece for our Summer holiday. Unfortunately like so many others our holiday was cancelled. It took us weeks to decide on Greece as we usually go to Cyprus for a beach holiday or head to Disney for some magical fun, so this would have been a new adventure for us. However things don't always go as planned and although we were a little sad at first, we have just got on with it, like pretty much this whole year so far. This year we will be enjoying our two week Summer holiday at home and first we headed to the beach on what was supposed to be a very sunny day, although it turned cloudy and tried to rain a few times but I suppose that's the Great British weather for you. 

Boy writing his name in the sand
Luckily for us the beach wasn't busy and although we are not the type of family that will sit on a beach for hours playing in the sand, we did enjoy looking at shells, throwing stones in the sea, we found a few crabs and a washed up jellyfish and of course we wrote our names in the sand. 

boy playing on an arcade machine
A visit to the arcade was next and it was extremely busy so although not mandatory we popped on our masks and headed to the 10p machines. Unfortunately all the 2p machines were being used but luckily we did walk away winners.

Boy running with a football
Before the weather decided to turn for the worst we found a large grass area and played some football. It was just us so we had lots of space to run around, play penalty shoot outs and have a picnic. 

It may not have been the start to the our two week Summer holiday that we were expecting but it was a lovely day and hopefully the first of many this month.

Michelle

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

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Town, Zoom and Milkshake | Living Arrows 28/52

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boy standing looking up
This week we had our first trip into town. Up until now we have had no need to visit any shops so have avoided our main town centre however big J was on the lookout for new trainers so we decided to head to town. Little J was very nervous but still wanted to go. Luckily this mirror illusion in Footasylum kept him busy whilst John and Big J tried on trainers. He couldn't work it out and spent ages staring at it. 

Town wasn't as busy as I had thought however not many people were wearing masks, I would probably say less than 10%. It made me feel a little uneasy and I was actually glad when we left.

Little J's class had arranged a zoom call this week and although he was very nervous he decided he wanted to take part. It was actually really lovely to see all the kids faces and how happy they all were despite being at home for so long and missing their friends. It's juniors next year for little J so it's big changes. I wish he was able to meet his new teachers and visit his new classroom like some other schools have done but unfortunately his school haven't given us that option. 

Sunday was a treat day and both boys chose a visit to the local milkshake shop. I told little J to just drink half of his shake as it was huge and it was late afternoon and I didn't want it to spoil his dinner. He ignored me and decided to hide it under the table and drank it thinking I couldn't see. He actually finished it all and was too full for dinner but he really enjoyed his milkshake.

Michelle

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

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Rain Rain Go Away | Living Arrows 27/52

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It's Monday again and we are on the countdown to the Summer Holidays. I'm not sure how different the six weeks will be to the last few months but just knowing it's Summer always make me happy. Last week was filled with the usual home schooling and trips to the park although the weather wasn't very kind to us last week with quite a few rainy days.

On Saturday we went for a walk and although playgrounds can now open, the playground was still closed in the park we visited. However as it was raining the exercise machines that are usually busy were empty so little J enjoyed having them all to himself. 



I was trying to last out till Autumn but I think if the rain continues I will have to get little J some new wellies as he has outgrown his. It wasn't long before the rain started to pour down and we had to head home but it was nice to get some fresh air despite the weather. 

Michelle

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

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A Different Kind Of Day Out | Living Arrows 26/52

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boy sitting on a wall at Alton Towers

Last week we decided to visit Alton Towers Gardens for the day. We absolutely love Alton Towers and have been Merlin Pass Holders for as long as I can remember. Telling the boys that we were going to Alton Towers even though the rides were closed was a tough challenge. They both looked at us like we were crazy anti prompted lots of  sighs of 'what's the point?' but they came along anyway and I know they both had a lovely day.

Alton is about a 90 mins drive from home but the roads were quiet and the drive was actually really nice. It is a drive we have done hundreds of times over the years but it seemed more enjoyable than ever.

Little J was actually really excited as we pulled in to the gates asking if he could looked at the rides before we headed in to the gardens.

It was so quiet when we arrived and we were able to park right by the main gate with only ten other cars in the car park.

As soon as we walked down Towers Street little J ran straight for the large area of grass in front of the lake and towers and just kept running. A huge grass space just for him as there was no one else there.

The gardens are beautiful and there was lots of areas to explore, lots of stairs to climb and tunnels to crawl through.

Was it strange going when the rides were closed and there were probably less than 100 people in the entire park? Yes, but it was actually really enjoyable and we saw a side to Alton Towers that we have never seen before despite going 5-6 times per year.

It was our longest day out since lockdown and we did lots of walking so we were exhausted when we got home but it was definitely worth it.

Michelle

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

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Mini Golf For Father's Day | Living Arrows 25/52

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boy playing mini golf
We found out this week that little J will not be returning to school till September. We have always had September in our minds but we also didn't want him to miss seeing his friends if some returned sooner.  We are really happy that everyone is returning in September and can now relax and try and enjoy this precious time together. 

As lockdown has eased we have been enjoying a few social distance days out. They are simple and close to home but we have enjoyed them so much. Last week we visited Tatton Park and to celebrate Father's Day we found a place close that was offering social distancing friendly tee off times for Mini Golf.

I was a little nervous at first as this was the first time we have done anything like this since lockdown but it was actually okay.

boy playing mini golf
We booked our time slot online, they were every 15 minutes and there were lots still available so we chose late afternoon. When we arrived there was staff guiding you to the mini golf and there were clear lines for where to stand whilst waiting for your time slot to begin. 

boy playing mini golf
Once we were on the course we just played as normal and then waited for the next hole to become clear as you usually would. Everyone kept there distance and for once it felt 'normal'.

The Mini Golf is just a small part of a bigger attraction / outdoor play area but everything else was closed. I'm not sure how I would feel visiting once the rest of the play area opens as we have been before and it's always packed so before it does open up again I think we will pop back for another game a golf. 

boy eating ice cream
Afterwards we enjoyed an ice cream and it was a lovely way to spend Fathers Day. 

Michelle

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

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