Well, a friend turned us on to the “Teacher and the Rockbots”… CD’s which contain educational stuff set to rock music performed by a singer and some robots (what could be better?)    🙂

The kids listened to the science CD she lent us in the car all day today and LOVED it!

I found their website and they have samples and other stuff available.

If anyone is into creating music videos, they are offering $100 to create a video for one of their songs and then put it up on YouTube, etc. Details are here. It also links to 2 movies that have already been made.

Hope you enjoy!

Another Thrift Store Post- Games

I love our thrift store and I love board games, so imagine my delight at the beautiful bargains I scored tonight when I headed out just to get some time to myself.

Someone took exceptional care of the games…and ALL the pieces were there 🙂

Most of these are for slightly older kids, so I tucked them away for a rainy day.

Karambolage (HABA)      $1.40

This one is a dexterity “flicking” game where you score points by bumping disks of different colors into each other while trying to keep them in the ring. Dice determine the colors you need to use.

Gobblet                           $3.00

This one was a no brainer for me. My son is already pretty good at the Jr. version and I was looking forward to getting the full version someday. Basically, it is an elaborate Tic-Tac-Toe game.  In addition to playing pieces on the grid, you are also allowed to “gobble” your opponents pieces by playing a larger piece on top of theirs.

Magnastiks                        $1.50

This one is not really a game, but a set of base magnets with different shaped metal pieces that you can stack on top to make 3-D sculptures. When I was a kid, my dad had a special magnet toy with little metal diamonds that you could stack and pull into different shapes and we loved playing with it. This reminded me of it.  I think the kids will enjoy it.

Stay Alive  (MB)               $1.40

This one is a game I remember playing in 2nd grade on rainy days when we weren’t allowed out on the playground. It is a quick game of placing marbles onto sliding rows of a grid and then taking turns pushing or pulling the rows in an attempt to make your opponent’s marbles fall into hidden holes in the board. I liked it.  Apparently my husband did too.

Highly Suspect (HABA)     $1.70

This is a game I have only read about, but it looked interesting. The game play is unique because you tilt the board to move the pieces. The goal is to be the detective that catches the crook by winding up on the square next to him.

Stacrobats (Ravensburger) $0.70

This one is a balacing dexterity game. You take turns adding your color acrobats to the stack, trying to use all your pieces while not knocking any off.

Monster Special (HABA)   $1.70

This one is my favorite of the night! It has a fantastic board set-up with quality pieces and really cute wooden characters for the chef and the monster. The goal is to make pizzas with the right number of slices which might be easier if the board didn’t keep moving. The chef adds to the pizza while the monster is so hungry he eats some of your slices.

Drops & Co (HABA)         $5.00

I have seen this one in a bunch of catalogs, but cost would have been prohibitive.  It is a hands on game with a wooden board, rubber conveyor belts, and tin containers for catching the candy “drops”. You throw a wooden “licorice stick” to determine your moves.  You either turn knobs for the individual belts, move the tins, or move the “crackers” that are mixed in with the candies. The goal is to get the most candies in your tin and the least crackers.

Glacier National Park

We just returned from our family trip to Montana. I would love to share some of our pictures with you and hopefully add more details as time permits.

Heading out (our whole group):

Sprinkler and lodge at Blackfeet Indian Reservation (East Glacier):

Hike to Falls:

Playing Nearby:

Kids reunited after splitting up on a hike:

Forest Fire aftermath on road to St. Mary:

Many Glacier Hotel, sunset through smoke:

View from hotel balcony:

Waiting for boat trip to hiking areas:

View from the boat:

Hike between the boats:

Group splits up:

On the hike:


Playing in the water at Many Glacier:

Boat brings (8 mile hike) glacier hikers back:

Our family on balcony:

Pic’s from my son and requested by him (with his favorite lovies):

Grizzlies bears along the river:

Cows on the loose:


Sun Point hike:


Log my brother did not cross:

The one he did:

Car ride:

Logan Pass Visitor Center:


Ground Squirrel:

Big Horn Sheep:

Mountain Goat:

Car Pics:

Kids slept early one night:



Toad that the bird later ate in front of the kids:


Old forest fire area:


Going to the Sun Road:

St. Mary Visitor Center:

The Girl Gets a Haircut

After 4 years without cutting the back of my daughter’s hair, we finally did it. About 7 inches were cut off so now it hits the middle of her back and can still be put in piggytails 🙂  She wants to dye part of it purple or make a purple wig out of yarn to make her hair match her doll, Binni’s. I kinda like the idea of dying a little bit of it. I enjoyed “Manic Panic” myself when  I was younger. (A brand of temporary hair dye with amazing colors available)

The smell of burning, rotting tomato mixed with flowers

is filling my kitchen.

The smell of creativity, you might call it. Disgusting stench mught be another.

My son and I checked out a website link from a homeschooling friend this morning called Time4Learning. I know that a few of the local homeschooling families are using this program and I decided to read more about it. While checking out the boards and reading about the free trial offer, I found another website that looked interesting. It is called GeeART and it also offers a free trial.

We watched a bit of the free sample lesson together about art history and the materials artists used during different time periods. Something they made a point of again and again was how many oportunities opened up once paint was in tubes that could save artists lots of time from not having to make their own and that the paints became easily portable. Part of the lesson was about the different materials that had been used to create pigments in the past, from squid ink to berries to charred bones. My son decided that we needed to make our own paints, from nature 🙂

In come the rotten tomato and the white flowers to make pink paint of course! We mixed and squooshed and then heated it in the microwave (my son’s idea) and got a mixture that resembled in no way pink paint, LOL. Then we tried out a bit of beet kvass mixed with some ground eggshells which did actually yield a decent pinkish/purplish color and did not smell nasty!

Most Disgusting Thing Ever

Or very , very close.

When my kids were having milk today, they asked for straws and ice cubes which I gladly gave them. A moment later, my son made a disgusting sound and spit something out. A crawling caterpillar (larva) from the moths that have infested our kitchen had gotten into his mouth. I quickly checked the straws only to find that larvae were crawling inside some of them and they had sealed the ends with their threads.

So our cupboards are being cleaned out again, for the 4th time. The life cycle for grain moths is 6-10 weeks, so hopefully with some pheromone traps and a bit more patience we can get through this. This is apparently what we get for buying grains from the bulk bins. From now on, I will be freezing all the noodles and grains for 3 days before storing them.


It is almost luchtime and J. is on his way to go buy new ignition wires (or spark plug wires as they are also called). We found a website that shows how to replace them, so we are going to try it ourselves as last time the repair ran over $200 and the parts are cheap. Looking it up, I learned that you don’t even need tools. You simply pull one wire at a time and replace it. Hope it goes smoothly.

The knowledge that this will probably happen again if we continue to park in the driveway got me out cleaning the garage this morning. Although we theoretically have a 2 car garage, both of ours reside on our drive and the garage has been acting as a catch-all storage unit for our house. We have no attic, basement, or shed, so stuff like our Christmas tree, decorations, empty boxes, seasonal outdoor stuff, bikes, lawn tools, etc. have it pretty cluttered. Both cars will not fit in there on a good day, so I am trying to make sure that at least the van will fit (So far the wires on the blue car are fine).

While waiting for him to get here with the new parts, I have been updating my website again and cleaning out my “favorites” folders. The kids are currently getting along and have decided to teach each other new skills, so they are happily occupied. My son wants to teach all about “Super Smash Brothers” and is hoping his sister will take more of an interest in gaming with him. My daughter wants to teach him how to swing all by himself.

So far, this is what I have added (all on the Miscellaneous page for now).

Travelling with Kids (great timing for me because we have a trip coming up):

Mom’s Minivan

Cat’s Cradle and other String Games



Letterboxing North America

Science Play:

Science Playwiths


Lego Physics

Math Play:

Absurd Math

Math Playground

Ahhhh… knight in shining armor is home. On to the van repairs 🙂

Summertime Flu

I got taken out for 2 days by a nasty  flu bug and am still trying to recover. It actually got bad enough for me to go to the ER last night hoping for IV fluids to help me get rehydrated. For those who know me, that meant it was pretty serious. I hate needles. I hate IV’s even more. I was grateful to have my last child at home to avoid any such things. Even ice chips weren’t staying down. Apparently sitting around in the ER for 3 hours without treatment was enough to heal me (insert sarcasm here). While sitting around unable to eat or drink anything, I guess my body finally let my muscles relax enough to not get sick immediately when I had sips of water once I returned home. (I chose to leave because I was getting so tired and weak that I needed to lay down and they had no idea of when a bed might become available and other people were still ahead of me) Anyway, so far I am keeping down homemade “Pedialyte” solution and feeling quite a bit better…


Home Made “Pedialyte”

2 Quarts Water 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt 
7 tablespoons sugar
1 packet Kool-Aid
1/2 teaspoon salt substitute*

*optional but provides potassium

Mix all together well and store in refrigerator for no more than 3 days. You can also freeze this into ice cubes to put into child’s cup or bottle. You can also make Popsicles from it.

I usually cut the recipe in half and make it in a quart jar.

Here is one of the get well cards my daughter made me (She started it and then came to ask me what comes after the “i”, LOL) :

Power Outage

The big thunderstorm that rolled through today took out our power for a few hours right after the 8 year old girl from across the street came over to play. Since we had such a good time making paper balloons last night, I showed her how to do it too and she was excited. She said she is looking forward to school starting so she can make them during her free period. While I was looking for instructions for her to take with her, I found this site, Origami Earth, which lets you print out a foldable paper globe along with the instructions!

Here is ours:

We also pulled out the cuisennaire rods for a bit and the two girls made pictures with them while my son was building with Lego blocks.

After the blocks, I scanned the bookshelf for more ideas and pulled out some of my favorite books. I asked the kids if they wanted to draw and when they said yes, I thumbed through “The First Anti-Coloring Book“, reading off the pages. We ran with the idea of drawing a robot that would do the chore that you hate most, which is kind-of funny since we don’t have chores  🙂 My daughter said she dislikes putting clothes in the washing machine and my son said he dislikes making war (I imagine so that he could make a robot who apparently does like making war).

After the rain finally stopped we headed outside to play on the climbing dome, throw the frisbee, and draw with chalk on the wet pavement.

The Incredible Machine- Even More Contraptions

My son has adored this game, “The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions” and the follow-up , “Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions” for about a year. We used to get them from the library on a regular basis, so I finally bought a copy of both games to keep at home.

Not only can you solve the puzzles that come with the games, you can also build your own “Rube Goldberg” type machines using all manner of parts from a drag and drop menu. My son has been playing around creating all kinds of backdrops and contraptions lately, most of which have either followed a theme (outerspace, underwater, etc.) or been chock full of moving parts not necessarily related to each other. Today was different. He actually put together this puzzle to get the balls into the containers.

The ball falls onto the lightwswitch, which turns on the fan, which blows the pinwheel, which turns the gears, which turn the other gears and causes the conveyor belt to shoot the silver ball  at the top into the pipe container. The mouse in the cage runs on a wheel which causes another gear to turn while the yellow ball rolls into the basket.

Origami and Bid Euchre

I took the kids back down to my dad’s house last night to get some more time with their cousins. When we got there, my step-mom was showing my nephew how to fold origami paper just as she had shown me over 20 years ago. To this day, I still remember most of the things she taught me and how cool I thought she was to know how to do it! We started off making paper balloons that you can blow up and then made some neat boxes with lids using wallpaper scraps she had reserved for crafting. The kids loved it! My son cried when it was time to go because he couldn’t find his “flag” paper balloon and had everyone searching ’till I found it in my bag. My daughter loves her box and wanted it with her to go to sleep last night.

Later on, my son found his way to the TV for some “Super Smash Brothers” time with my niece and my daughter sang songs while my dad accompanied her on piano. It was so sweet to hear them together. While they were occupied, I had a chance to play cards with my aunt and uncle and my step-mom. It had been so long since I played Bid Euchre, I had forgotten the bidding rules, but they came back quickly. Euchre has always been kind-of a family game on both sides so it was fun for me to get to play again.

While we were out, J. got some time to himself to recuperate a bit from running the whole show around here while I was sick and from the weekend we spent with family and friends.

Family Reunion and Plug for my Website

We got to go down and see lots of family this weekend as several folks from out of town came to visit. My mom and my dad each had parties on Saturday, so we had a very long day seeing everyone! The kids did pretty well and really enjoyed seeing their cousins and mine and we got to play a few games which I LOVE…

I finally gave people my website address now that I have been working on it for a few months. I also let people know about the affiliate programs I belong to so if they purchase anything from the following online sites through the links on my homepage, the money will help support my website.

If any of you reading this want to go through my links, I would appreciete it!  🙂

They are all sites that I feel offer good value and service and I have personally bought from all of them except for the Discovery Channel Store.


Barnes & Noble

Funagain Games

Are You Game?



Live 365





Discovery Channel Store

The kids played lots of dress up games today. Below is my son being a “Chinese fighter guy”. (Thank you, Mom, for all the cool clothes for them) They have also been playing lots of make-believe games together and I could not be more HAPPY about it. They were in the bath for over half an hour pretending to be octopi and mermaids. I feel like I see the light at the end of the tunnel… or is that me just jinxing myself???

After posting this, I decided to edit it to add one of the not-so-sweet moments in our play today since usually everyone blogs about the good times. After the kids both dressed up like “Chinese fighters”, we played a game whose only rule was if you knock your oponent out of the ring, they join your team (kids’ choice). Anyway, the “ring” was the big pillow for all who have seen our home and I thought the idea was for me to be suposed to knock them out and claim them as my team. So I did and gleefully pulled them in and hugged them. My son was very cool with that play. He awarded me a gold trophy and the two of them silver medals. More hugging. Thought everything was good. Then I saw my daughter’s face go very sad. She had wanted to win after all. My son tried to tell her it was ok, that sometimes you don’t win. She ran off and grabbed a marker and I fully expected a picture of her crying which she has done on occasion when sad. Nope. Today, she went and got a bunch of pictures she had drawn for me of us together or just her smiling which said “Mommy” on them. Well, she turned them over and drew new pictures, wrote the word “Daddy” and then went around the house putting them in all the frames. Ouch! My feelings were actually hurt. I didn’t know my 4 year old had that in her.

Another Cool Thing About Batik

Around Christmas, I posted about a new game we got and were playing together and with my son, “Batik“. Last night, my daughter and I spent some time playing games together while J. went to the library with our son. She picked out “Batik” and after one game by the regular rules, she crafted a cooperative version, which I really dig) and then played with the pieces as though they were Tangrams…

Her rules were to take out a few pieces (I picked 4) and then you take turns trying to get ALL of the rest in. If you do it, you both win! Pretty cool 🙂

Here is one of her pictures:

It is a dog by the ocean with a lighthouse

Here it is after she took some waves and made ears 🙂

Bruised Thumbs and a Bruised Ego

So the kids have been doing all kinds of dare-devil climbing moves on our swingset lately and even on my daughter’s loft bed. (Today she called me in to show me that she had tied a jumprope to it and could climb down it using her hands- thank goodness it is only 4 ft. high!) Knowing they were getting so much into climbing, we decided to get a dome climber for the yard…

It came today and the kids really wanted me to put it together before J. got home so it could be a surprise…

This is what it looked like 20 minutes later when he got home 🙂




SURPRISE!, it was 8:30 when this was taken 😦

(and that was with Big Teddy Bear and Glasses Case’s AND J’s help)

It is incredibly hard to put together on our hill. We are probably gonna heft it over to the driveway on the side of the house and hope that the more even surface will magically make it easy to finish, LOL.

2 family reunions tomorrow, so it will be Sunday before we can finish it and get mulch for underneath. Fingers crossed please.