Last of the Grey Yarn

I decided to make a baby sweater to go with the hat I made using up the last bits of leftover yarn from my son’s hoodie. the pattern is called “Baby Sophisticate” and is free on Ravelry. I couldn’t find matching buttons and I didn’t block it, but I passed it along anyway hoping it might still fit the baby for a little while. (And cuz my friend said it didn’t need buttons)

History of Video Games

My son has been asking questions about early video games lately. We looked up the first game expecting to find “Pong”, but learned instead that it was a computer program written by the military for an open house they held to show the neighboring community something hands-on. It was called “Tennis for Two”.

Later, a programmer at MIT developed “Space Wars” on their mainframe computer and it spread to other universities. Cost of the machines and their weight kept them from being viable as home games for the public. It took a television company willing to risk it to start the home video game revolution.

Last night we watched 2 documentaries on Netflix about early games and the inventions that changed them. Today, my son watched them again.

Pretty cool.

Rearranging

Moving furniture around often leads to changes in our activities around here. We finally put together my son’s desk/ table only to learn that it was not comfy for its intended purpose. Since it was already built, I decided to find a place in the house for it. It is pretty huge, so in the end it wound up nestled by our couch. It has been getting heavy use ever since.

Both kids seem to like doing written work there vs. in their rooms, card games and board games are easy because there is plenty of space to spread out, and toys we haven’t used in awhile are getting played with.

Hot Glue Gun

I have been meaning to introduce the kids to the hot glue fun for awhile but didn’t make a point of it until it was the best solution to one of my daughter’s projects.

Lately, she has gone beyond clay food miniatures and found a passion for making other doll sized things for her Polly Pockets and American Girl Doll.

She started with this shoebox bedroom for her Polly. It has wall hooks from bits of old hangers, a chair made from a Solo cup, a bed made with beads and cardboard topped with a blanket and pillow made from old t-shirts, and a table made of a bottle lid and some cardboard. Stickers decorate the walls.

Next she made some mini-cosmetics from buttons, craft foam, beads, BB’s, and duct tape. The hair clip is a mini clip. The fingernail clippers are there for size reference.

Then she used the duct tape to make a mini toothpaste and tooth brush for her American Girl Doll. This led to needing a sink! She chose parts she wanted to use but looked defeated by the prospect of gluing the beads, plastic cap, and cardboard with the glue she had been using. I decided it was time for the hot glue and showed her briefly how to use it. She took it from there 🙂

She has now made a sink and a toilet and is planning on making a bathtub from the box on the left. It will have an insert that matches the bathtub on one side and is blue on the other to become water.

Progress pictures:

Dragon

Background info- “Dragon” is a free app that lets you speak into your iPod and then transcribes what you have said.

The other night when my daughter and I were reading together, she said she thought she was a bad reader because there are still words she doesn’t know. I told her that there are still words I don’t know when I see them. This led to a discussion about the tools she can use for reading and spelling and just getting info in general that are almost always at her disposal.

First I talked about Google searches, Wikipedia, and YouTube, all of which she already uses. She said she had trouble once in a while because the spellchecker would sometimes turn her words into something else. Her example was Pikachu. She wasn’t sure how to start the spelling off and YouTube led her to peanut butter, lol.

This led to me bringing up Dragon. I wanted to see if the app would recognize the spoken word Pikachu.
It did! Dragon is a tricky little bugger though as you need to speak crisply for the best results. We played around with it for awhile, seeing what worked best and speaking clearly. Funniest moment award goes to her first attempt. It should have read:

It actually came up with:

Kinda the same, lol.

I think she liked using Dragon and she could read well enough to tell when it wasn’t correct.

The last tool the kids have is a talking dictionary that will read the definition of any words they get stuck on.

Weird Connections

The kids and I started off using polymer clay the other day and then wound up learning about strange meat products. Happens all the time, lol.

Here they are making colors and working on their designs.

My daughter was making miniature food again which led us to this.

She made potatoes and carrots and some breads and then she turned to the deli section.

What is “black pudding”?
Well, it isn’t pudding in our sense of the word…

It led to interesting discussions of other cultures and why things that might seem strange to us are part of everyday life elsewhere.

And of course, more mini food was created.

I Made Something I Pinned

Pinterest is great for craft porn, but I don’t follow up on most of the things I pin. Today, my daughter offered to clear off her bookshelf in her room which was serving as a divided fridge/freezer for her dolls so she could make room for….books!

I told her I had an idea that would let her keep it the way it was if she would like a bookshelf hanging on her wall. I showed her the picture of it on Pinterest and she was sold 🙂

We hit Hobby Lobby for 2 curtain rods and wall mounts and she picked out some fabric. I sewed the fabric into a simple tube and put both rods through the middle of the tube and then hung them up creating a “U” shaped pocket between the rods, perfect for holding her books.

She loves it!

While we were putting it up, she also decided to put up the curio shelves she got from my mom. She was so excited to search through her room for the perfect items to display!

When we were done, she poured through doll clothes pattern books and then read a story book to break in her reading nook.

Egypt

We have quietly slipped into our unit on Egypt and mummies to go along with reading the next Magic Tree House book.

So far we have started reading the book itself, looked up recipes to try together, watching some National Geographic specials on Netflix and played a card game called Mummy Rummy. We are looking forward to learning more and checking out the exhibits at the Cleveland Art Museum.

Here are pictures from the game. There are 5 artifacts in each colored group.

Incredible Growing Gator

Not.

Sometimes a science kit is better when it doesn’t work as expected. That would be this time.

Our polymer gator was supposed to grow rapidly over the course of a few days. We estimated how big we thought it would grow and measured it at the beginning and then on days after that for about a week. Based on the growing orbs and crystals we have used before, we had guesses of 6″ and 8″. The little guy started out at 2 1/2″ and only grew to 4 1/2″.

Definitely under our expectations.

It did open up our discussion about the scientific method and how you do tests to see if your hypothesis is right.

We decided there was something wrong with his tail and that he might have hit one of our targets if he had worked properly.

We definitely did not get this:

We got this: