Spring Cleaning

The last two days have been really calm and happy. We are all very much enjoying being back in our small, secluded corner of Cheltenham. 

The day started at 6am to the sound of our very hungry chickens, who were voicing their discontent no end. At 6.15am I was so wide awake I went for a well overdue run, another thing I've missed while in Devon with the kids. By 8am the hoover was going and no, safe to say it wasn't me, I'm not that enthusiastic! Jenson was on some sort of mammoth cleaning session. Hoovering turned into moping the floors, which developed into tidying his room that extended to tidying our room too.


I wrote a curriculum for the week on Tuesday night and top of the list was spring cleaning our caravan, so after housework we all threw on some old clothes and got stuck into scrubbing it.

The children did a marvellous job. Jenson enjoyed being up the ladder while Wren preferred to have her feet firmly on the ground! Perhaps a slight error on her part as she always seemed to be standing underneath where Jenson was working and frequently ended up with flaky bits of paint landing on her head, which she didn't appreciate. 


After scrubbing all the old paint back, I hosed it down and the children got on with repainting. Jenson got on well with the roller while Wren made a good job of touching up all the dirty white areas. There was only minor touching up to do on my part, where the children had gone over the edges, but apart from that they were magnificent!

Now I don't want you all to think I was just idly standing around taking photos of my hard working kids. Oh no! There was much ivy to remove and it was creeping further and further over the body work of the caravan. We did come across a bird's nest however, so gently placed the ivy back over it and left it be.


Next on our curriculum was cleaning out the chickens. The children weren't much help, clearly tired by their exertions with the caravan, they opted instead to play with Lego on the patio.

Jenson did eventually show interest because I was screaming madly about how we had our first bantam eggs of the year! I'm hard to ignore when I'm excited! It is always so lovely to see the children getting involved with the chickens, who are wonderful characters. I was particularly pleased to see our sick chicken looking so wonderfully healthy again. Nursing her back to health was a great lesson for the children about how important it is to look after animals. 


Here is our haul of eggs.


Finally there was just enough time to rehang the bunting, which had fallen apart over the Winter, thus putting the finishing touch to our make over of the caravan!

I was very proud of the children and all the hard work they put in today.

Day 2 of our curriculum spring clean and what a gloriously sunny one it was too! First job was repainting the blackboard wall where the ivy had climbed all over it and I had stripped it back the day before. Jenson was very keen to do the painting so I left him to it while Wren and I did a spring clean on the caravan interior.

It had been an amusing start to the day, which had begun by finding more old clothes to wear. Jenson discovered his old school polo shirt in his wardrobe, which I had kept for sentimental reasons. It is the first one he ever wore and the only one that I purchased with the school badge on. It looked tiny on him. The fact Jenson now regards it as only fit for purpose as an old painting top made me smile.

What made me smile even more though was when I heard him shout, "Can I paint my t-shirt Mummy?!" Given we have no use for it I said yes, with the thought it might act as some sort of cleansing process for him.

How he decided to paint it was fascinating. I would like to point out that I had absolutely no influence over the design: it came entirely out of his head. Okay, so the black paint was the paint he had to hand but the red, well he asked me to fetch that out of our craft cupboard. It really is a statement isn't it. All in all I think it really sums up how he feels about school! 

Of course, in our curriculum, there is always time for self initiated free flow play, which is exactly what the kids did next. I got a brilliant video of Jenson shouting about how relaxed he felt in his 'outdoor house' as he dubbed it. 

Again, still plenty of time to feed the chickens. Three more eggs and a bantam egg! They were rewarded with their favourite treat: meal worms. For the first time since keeping chickens, today really made sense in terms of the children's connection with them. I guess they are that bit older but you could really feel the positive impact these wonderful birds are having on the children. 

Next on the curriculum was tidying up the raised vegetable beds. Jenson wasn't interested at all, preferring instead to lie on the patio and play with his Lego. Wren on the other hand was dead keen to help and together we removed part of our living willow fence to make access on to the beds easier. She also helped me to relocate a couple of rosemary and oregano bushes and helped to prune back the willow too. 

Worms were the biggest, most brilliant distraction for her! We found some super big ones that even had Jenson involved. At first they were carefully handled and relocated to our wormery, but Jenson soon took greater pleasure in feeding them to the chickens, who were most grateful!  

So, next job on the curriculum was tidying up the greenhouse and pulling out all the dead plants from last year. With a lot of brute force Jenson soon had them out in no time. 

He did continually complain about getting bits of mud in his crocs though!

Wren, clearly tired from such manual labour, turned her attention to watering the plants. It was something she did entirely by herself. I played no part whatsoever. She found a clever way to fill up the duck; latching it on to the tap of the water butt worked well!

Jenson meanwhile was feeling pleased with his efforts in the greenhouse!

Ta-da!! All ready for our new seeds, that we will be buying on Friday.

Finally, Jenson got a touch of inspiration from somewhere and decided he wanted to try and make something out of all the old junk from around the back of the house. He ran inside to grab his new tools we had given him for Christmas and made a start. 

He started out right by the greenhouse. He grabbed his hammer and waved it around uncontrollably above his head and far too near the glass for my liking. I quickly moved him around to the back of the house.

First of all, he wanted to remove all the old nails from a piece of wood. 

Next he wanted to cut it down into two smaller bits. 

Finally he wanted to attach both bits of wood together and make a Lego frame!

As you can see, Mummy has very poor handyman skills!

It's been a super couple of days that have felt very easy. Although there was plenty of fun to be had on the beach, Jenson is so thrilled to be reunited with his full Lego collection! He really missed it when he was in Devon. Lego is a real release for him and without it he can become quickly agitated. That pent up frustration often spilled over and led to some very difficult angry periods. Lego has been like a long lost friend for him: it never lets him down and is always there for him when he needs it. Roll on next Monday when we have our first ever structured Lego Club activity: balloon powered Lego cars!