Holidays are Coming

Well, the kids and I are going to be making some of our gifts and  thinking about the people we are giving things to 🙂

I have thought up a bunch of things they can make with me including heating pads, bookmarks, ornaments, cards, muffins, etc.  So far, they want to make cookie cutter ornaments first. We just made a yummy smelling cinnamon dough from the book Mudworks this morning. We are going to cut them out this afternoon.

We are so fortunate to have as much as we do and I really want my kids to see the side of the holidays which is about caring for our family and friends and not so much about what they will get.

Here is a picture of one of our final ornaments:

Visit to NY

The day after Thanksgiving, we went to visit my brother and his family in Rochester, NY. While we were there we had spectacular weather for November!… warm enough to visit the Seneca Park Zoo which was free for us using our Happy Hollow membership.

I really like this zoo! It is set up with lots of trees for shade and many activities for kids to do along the pathways to the animals. They have a paved “stream” which was not running but the kids still enjoyed jumping back and forth across it and generally exploring. They also had a playground with all kinds of things for climbing including a giant “spiderweb” made of ropes.

Inside the cougar enclosure was a little viewing room accessible to the kids who could crawl in and out of it via tunnels. 

We stayed until closing and really enjoyed ourselves.

We Like Gulo Gulo

Gulo Gulo is a light, fun, dexterity game that can be enjoyed by anyone over the age of 3.

The basic premise is that while the Gulo gulos (wolverines) were busy stealing eggs from the raven’s nest, she made off with their baby. The goal of the game is to make your way along a tile path by plucking colored wooden eggs out of a wooden nest that is rigged with a pole-alarm system so that you can save the baby wolverine. The fun comes in when you realize that as an adult, you can play your hardest and yet the kids will often beat you because their tiny fingers can dig all around for the right colored egg, while a mere nudge from yours often topples the alarm. There are light decision making opportunities in the form of choosing whether to go for a color you know you can get or turning over the next tile in the path and having to try for the egg of the matching color.

The game’s length is easily shortened by using less tiles on the path.

This game can also easily be made cooperative as a family journey to save the baby.

The tagboard tiles, wooden eggs, wooden nest, and wooden pole-alarm are all very high quality. The wolverines, while plastic, are adorable and my daughter (3) often plays with them as stand alone toys.

Star Wars

A new fascination has taken over our house.  It used to be Pokemon, but now it is all about Star Wars!

The seed was planted months ago when my son (then 4) saw the game “Lego Star Wars” at a family reunion. More recently, his friend Z. brought it over to share.  Oh- the excitement!  Together, the boys played and worked at this game that goes with the first 3 movies.  Then, we gave my son the game “Lego Starwars 2“, which covers the second 3 movies, for his birthday.  Last week, the boys played for a bit with each game, showing each other all the characters they had purchased and trying to save up points for the ellusive few that remain.

Branching off from the game has been an interest in building all manner of Star Wars stuff from his real Legos, drawing pictures of the various characters and ships, and devouring all the books I can find at the library.  I never thought I would enjoy it so much.

I am really looking forward to seeing the movies with him in the future! 

Added comment- It really IS everywhere! Tonight we watched a NOVA special with a segment on robots interacting with humans.  They showed 2 clips from the original Star Wars movie and the woman who is one of the leaders in the field talked about how it influenced what she thought was possible in robotics.  She was 10 when she first saw it.