Spore Creature Creator

Both kids have been using the free version on J’s computer for awhile and last night my son started asking how we could get more parts to built the creatures. We looked at the prices and it was only $10 to go ahead and buy the game. While I was downloading it, I decided to add on the “Cute and Creepy” pack as well. It has more parts and funny actions to go with them.

This morning I caught the kids making the baby throw up on the mom
You can also shock your creature with electricity and other strange things. Obviously, my kids have chosen creepy over cute so far.

Should There Be Limits…

to creativity?

Usually, I am all about the kids using art materials and exploring and making potions. In fact, I try to encourage it. Tonight however, I am rethinking for a moment. “Why” you ask? This picture might sum it up:)

In case you are sitting there puzzled wndering what in the world that stuff is, I will help you out. For 2 days she has been making some fabulous concoction out of toilet paper, soap, water, and bath gel. She squooshed it between her fingers and added stuff and squished and played. It was kinda neat. Until she took it in the bath with her. And it got in her hair. And that picture is after I spent 40 minutes combing it out of half of her hair.

Will creativity still reign? Yeah. In the end everything was fine. And I think she might remember this one for awhile…it wasn’t all that easy to get out.

Fool Me Once

shame on you, fool me twice…

What the heck is this about? Our roof again. When I first started this blog, we had ice fill our gutters and block the melting water underneath the thick layer of roof ice, causing it to come running down our windows and into our house. I saw the start of this happening again this year, but the ice was so thick, I guess I thought there wasn’t much we could do about it and I was blindly hoping some warm weather might take care of it. Not.

Instead I found the water coming in again and called J. at work right away. At least this time, we knew what was happening. A few hours on ladders with a pickax, hot water poured from a trashcan, and eventually hot water from the hose connected to our washing machine connection and we are back to normal and for now. Our gutter is working-downspout and all.

Thankfully, my husband is quite the gentleman and resisted any urge he might have had to say “I told you so”. He wanted to buy heated wires to lay in the gutters and I balked at the price and said something incredibly naive like “We can just throw some Ice Melt up there if it starts to happen again”.

You can’t see much in the pictures, I just took them to remind me to post. And to show the snow for those who live somewhere nice and warm.

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They Do Use My Links

The kids decided to explore some more of the links I added in the last update to my website. Here are some shots from “Sheppard Software”. My son really liked the animal games- foodchains, classification, etc.

After you put them in the right order, they animate it.

Here, you have to click on the right category for the animal before it gets away.

This one was sorting features into jars for each animal class.

My daughter played some animal games, then moved on to math.

Then an Earth Day page.

My son also played many levels of “Fantastic Contraption”, but I only heard about it after the fact so no pics.

Sore Throat

Both kids have sore throats and have been coughing so we stayed home today. My daughter decided to try to go without talking. She handed me this picture while I was on the phone with a friend. It is us cuddled up in bed together dreaming along with the mess that is my bedroom, including clothes, a stuffed dog toy, the litter box, our dressers, our laundry basket, etc.

She let me know this was what she wanted to do, so I cuddled up with her, still talking on the phone. Then she got up and came back with this.

I did get off. Then, this one.

I asked what she wanted.

I told her I thought we might be out and to go check

Then this. And this. And this. (hot chocolate and water with a straw and a slushee)

This one is her wanting to do something for me.

Sweetness.

Lists of stuff to do-fold shirts, do dishes, and ?

Note to her brother:

<img src="http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q307/kpasciak/blog2/P1010028-11.jpg&quot;

The Wedgits

The Wedgits I got for Christmas (and yes, they were for me… I have played with them at a friends house and I wanted a set) have been sitting around lonely, not getting much use until today. My son pulled them out and started playing and within minutes all of us were building and trying things out. The kids had me take lots of pictures because they didn’t really want to take things apart. I promised them that if they wanted to rebuild anything, I would have a picture to go from. Wedgits are fun.

Couch (my daughter’s reindeer) went on a rampage and destroyed it 🙂

Food

The kids and I have been trying to cook together more and I have been trying to get us eating a bit healthier again. Today, a friend told me about a recipe she likes for granola and I had to try it out because I LOVE granola. Here is the link she gave me for the recipe. We had to change a few things as I didn’t quite have all the ingredients, but it came out fantastic! The kids liked breaking up the nuts and measuring out all the seeds and oats. Here is part of the finished batch. It make lots!

My daughter and I made Mujadara (lentils, rice, and carmelized onions with spices like cumin and cinnamon). After we carmelized 2 onions, we were both eating them by the spoonful and decided to make another 2 so there would be some left when the rice and lentils finished cooking. This is a great dish and incredibly cheap. The learning tower worked great, letting her add more onions to the pot and letting her stir and keep track of the onions while they were cooking.

We also pulled out “The Sneaky Chef” cookbook and made the fabulous brownie recipe that includes spinach, blueberries, and wheat germ. They only made it 2 days, so I think the recipe is a keeper! And yes, the kids know what is in them…

The sprinkles on top hide the crunchy seeds leftover from the blueberry puree.

Mug Shots

Well, not quite…
Passport photos 🙂

Here are the pics the kids will be stuck with for 5 years. I know my son doesn’t look all that thrilled in his. You wouldn’t either if you kept sliding off a stack of phonebooks while a lady tried to learn how to use the camera. (She couldn’t get his head the right size until she finally went to get another person for help and they showed her how to move the camera forward on the table and use the zoom button)

Things That Swim

We played “Things That Swim” again tonight, but a different version than we have played before. The game comes with 3 sets of rules included and a spinner to play for points. We played the “memory” version of the game cooperatively without the spinner, each of us helping the others to make whole animals. I have always loved the graphics on the cards. They also have the animal names written around the pictures in many different languages. Here are some shots of the game.

New Door

My son’s door to his room has been broken for a long time. To make a short story long…the frame got damaged when he was 2 and he and I got locked inside accidentally when the door knob broke internally. It was an old knob and didn’t have anyway to unlock it once it was broken. A bit of drama insued as my 1 yo daughter was out in the hall and I had no way to get to her. I also had no way to open the door as the room was pretty darn well childproofed. I did manage to get the door bolts out of the hinges but had no leverage to get the door to come open. I couldn’t get the window open enough to climb out either, so eventually my plan turned to waiting for the neighbor to come home and screaming out the window. She looked alarmed and I am fairly certain she was concerned it might be a case of domestic abuse. She got her husband and he came over and broke us out with a crowbar…

Ever since then, it has been a matter of trying to nail the door frame back together from various angles to get it to hold up the door. Today, the door frame gave up for good and J. went out to buy a new pre-hung door after ripping off the molding and taking everything down.

We learned more fun stuff about our house, like we have 2 layers of drywall on one side of his doorway and one of them was butted up against the molding around his door leaving a finger-wide gap once it was removed. We also learned that instead of using stud wall construction, that wall is made up of a regular board turned sideways (as in fact are all of our walls on that side of the hall) The practical problem for us is that his wall is not even 2 1/2″ thick, whereas the pre-hung door is 4 1/2″ thick.

Ummmm…so in the end, the door is not going to go in today. Today we have a sheet hanging there. My dad has kindly offered to help us cut the new door frame down to a size that will fit in the opening. Hopefully we can get it done after Kalahari.

Stamping and Rubbing

Good kinda-clean fun 😉
The kids enjoyed using the stamps so much that we used them again today and then tried our hand at making our own from a foam tray, something I saw on another mom’s blog, but I forget where. All you do is use a pencil to draw on the foam and then put ink or paint on it and stamp away.

A camera, a girl, a ladder, and a mountain range.

Still in the mood for more art, they used the rubbing plates I had stashed away for just such a day and crated some interesting textures.

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Swim Lessons

For those of you wondering, the kids did go to their first swim lesson today. They had a blast. Both kids started off in the same beginner class, which was just the two of them and did a bunch of activities to gauge their level. Within 5 minutes, my son was off to join 2 others in the next class up. My daughter got the teacher all to herself for today 🙂

Originally, I wasn’t sure about where to do classes while we were searching. We had considered going to the Natatorium because we have a membership there, but it is over 30 minutes away and the classes are always full. The kids would also have had to go at separate times due to their ages. Our local community center won because it is 5 minutes away and both kids can go at the same time. Now we can add small class size to the list of benefits!!!

Another plus is they are allowed to stay in after class and have free swim so I think our Saturday mornings will be fun.

After class today, we ran some errands and headed out to lunch as a family because J. was home. Then we played some Pokemon cards with the newer decks the kids have.

Playing at the Natatorium

We didn’t make it on time for swimming today, but did make it in time to help celebrate our friend’s birthday. The kids got to play with Pokemon figures and DS games and play hide and seek and some other games by the treehouse.

Here are some of them playing zombie. They would get down on the floor and pretend to be dead, tongues hanging out of their mouths, and then get up and mock attack (?) one of the moms. The birthday boy is first on the left 🙂

Pokemon figurines are hiding in our Halloween bucket.

DS fun.

A New and Different “Pokemon Master Trainer”

I found a version of “Pokemon Master Trainer” at the thrift store the other night and it looked different from the version we already had at home so I picked it up. We got to play it last night for the firt time. In my opinion, this version is MUCH better. The old version (with the circle token Pokemon chips for those who also have it) was a bit slow for me. It seemed to take forever to get strong enough to battle the trainers at the end and often I just fudged the math to get the game over with.

In this version, you try to wind up with the most Pokemon Chips (PC’s) at the end. You start out with some chips, which come in 10’s, 20’s, and 50’s and have the chance to earn more throughout the game by landing on special spaces, getting event cards, capturing Pokemon, battling others, and even by the order in which you reach the finish line. You don’t know who wins until everyone crosses the finish line and you add up all the PC’s.

It was a fun game and faster than the old version. I, without handicapping myself, wound up with only one Pokemon at the end while both kids had plenty. I had lots of chips in my pile, but not enough to make up for it. I am looking forward to trying it out again!

The box

The board all set up.

My son asked what he won for getting the most points. I told him a trophy picture, hee hee. So, here is his pose.

Making Cards

The kids were excited to make cards for one of their friends today and I got out the stamps and stickers and markers and let them go at it. Here they are in the making 🙂

Yes, my son’s does say “I want NACHOS!” and “Don’t be afraid of ghosts, they’re dumb”. It is as unique as he is 🙂 And he said he wanted to help his friend not be afraid of ghosts anymore by making them silly.

Dot to Dot and Cards

A new “Highlights” mailer came today with a dot-to-dot puzzle and some “Find the Hidden Pictures” puzzles. My daughter had a great time with them, especially the dot-to-dot and asked for more. I had purchased a few books of dot-to-dots for stocking stuffers, but when I saw how stuffed they were getting, I had left them in our closet.

Today, I pulled one out for her and she went to town 🙂

These books are great because they are fairly small (6″ x 6″?), the numbers often go up past 100, and there are different types of puzzles. Some have you connect all the odd numbers first, then the evens. Some have you do a range of numbers first, then pick up your pencil and do the next range and then the next. Some have you connect the numbers without any dots! They are complex enough that you can’t tell what they are until you actually do them. And a special plus was Amazon selling them “buy 3, get 1 free”.

We played a card game tonight as a family called “Big Fish, Little Fish” which was a Christmas present for my son. It is a fast paced game with tons of cards, so we played as teams. There are not many rules, but there are also not any turns, so it was kinda crazy. The box says 6+ and I think for once it might be true for us. My daughter was a little slap happy about throwing in cards due to the pace of the game and I had to pick up the whole “pond” stack many times due to breaking one of the rules, LOL. It is cute, the cards are colorful fish and pufferfish and the numbers go up to into the 40’s.

The basic rules are:
Big fish (numbers) eat little fish.

Fish can only eat fish of a different color.

No fish can eat a pufferfish.

Pufferfish get played on the same color. (They act as “stoppers” and pause the game) If you play one, you get to pause and then play any card from your hand to start the next play.

More Lego

This time it is “Lego Factory-Digital Designer”, a free download from the Lego website. There is a link directly to the download page in the left column of my “PC Games” page. If you have kids who love Lego kits, this program will let them design their very own from templates and block parts. If they decide, they can actually order their creations as kits from the Lego store or print them out to keep.

My son played around with it today and made a guy in a fast food stand and 2 guys on the sides of some kind of weapon. Oh and that thing in the front is the speaker for placing your order.

Farm Day

Today was our day to drive down to Amish Country to get the milk and other stuff from a family farm for our co-op. That meant that we all had to get up early and get on the road. Things went pretty smoothly and our kids played with 2 of their kids in the snow while I helped load up all the crates. Here are some pictures from the road.






Here is my shot of some birds in a tree. When I first pulled in the drive, there were probably a hundred birds in the tree. When I lowered the window and got out my camera, they all moved over one tree. I sloooowwwwwly moved forward. They moved over another tree. I moved forward again. They all started to fly off. This is all I got, but in person, it was pretty amazing!

When we dropped off part of the order at our friend’s house, she invited us in for lunch and we ate Chinese food while the kids had Wendy’s and played. It was so yummy and very welcome. Driving days are exhausting. Luckily, they are only 4 times a year.

Clementine- Am I the Only One…

who has never really listened to the words?

I got a music CD that we used to listen to from the library to see if the kids remembered the songs on it. It is called “The Children’s Treasury of Songs” and we have a book that has the sheet music and some great art to go along with it.

I started the CD at “Red River Valley” because I knew my son liked it from the “Magic Tree House” CD of the Ghost Town book. Both kids did remember a bunch of the songs and it was nice to sing together. One thing I wasn’t quite ready for was the death in “Clementine”….you know the one about the miner, 49er…Oh my darling Clementine. You are lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry Clementine.

My son said “That can’t happen.””The only way you would be gone forever is if you died!”, which led to me explaining that is what happens and that the miner dies too. My daughter thinks that is amusing for some reason and it is now her favorite song on the CD, LOL.

While the boys played together this weekend, she and I sang all the songs in the book (40!) and tonight the kids both sang with me while my daughter danced around and my son played drums on his knees 🙂

It is nice to have the book to go along with it. We also have a beautiful “Lullabies” book with sheet music and artwork of mothers and children. I don’t know if a CD exists for it, but I am going to look it up. If it doesn’t, I am going to try to play the songs on my daughter’s keyboard. I think I have enough memory of piano to make a go of it…