J. Is Out Of Town

J. headed out of town for the weekend to attend a wedding he is a groomsman for. Our friend Saundy, who was our best man, is finally getting married! I decided to stay home with the kids while he made the trek up to Michigan.

While he has been gone, the kids and I have been up to…

Learning and playing “Magic Hill”.

Basically, this is a game about getting to the top of a mountain. You can only go up levels by climbing on top of other players’ pieces or by using secret passageways you find along the way.

The game is interesting beacause the movements are determined by your cards. Each player gets 3 cards to start and 5 “goblins”, little colored playing pieces with 1-5 holes poked in the top. You play numbered cards from your hand to say which “goblin” to move and how far. For example a “1” and a “4” could be played to move your number 1 “goblin” 4 spaces or your number 4 “goblin” 1 space. There are also magic gems you can collect which let you hold up to 2 extra cards and give you more options in what to play. There are also secret action cards face down on the board which you flip over when you land on them. Some are good for you, like secret passageways to the next level up, a crystal ball that lets you turn over 3 of these cards to see what they are, or a raven that steals an opponents magic gem and discards it. Some are bad like traps that take you down a level or a twister that turns all cards back facedown and rotates the board 9o degrees. My memory stinks, so this one is a killer for me!

Anyway, the game was quickly learned by the kids and I think it will be a good challenge to play again.



My daughter also did a bit of dress up and created a crown to wear as princess. Here she is all dolled up.


We played bit of “Spore: Creature Creator” on the PC. It is amazing how fast you can put creatures together and customize them!






My daughter colored a new heating pad to match her room. She tried out the fabric pastels for the first time. They seemed to work pretty easily.



Swim lessons. The kids were their own class again and this week got a male teacher. They both liked him (although neither remembers his name) and he worked on helping them with their front crawl stroke. There are no classes next week and we will likely switch to the outdoor classes during the week for summer.

Both kids played DS games with me. “Pet Catz 2”, “Crayola Coloring”, and “Animal Genius” all got some play time.





The kids played with my son’s remote control Hummer (a gift from X-mas).


My son and I played our own drawn up version of “Zeus on the Loose“, a math game he saw me looking at online. Our version will be underwater themed (what else?) and we used his hammer-head shark as the object to grab instead of a Zeus figure like the original game. It was fun and he learned a bunch of new concepts like reversing digits and rounding to the nearest 10.


My daughter created a new vehicle for her Polly Pockets.



Both kids played around with the orange singles, tens, and hundreds blocks we have. They tried out a few workbook pages, then did some addition problems, then moved on to creating candy bars and gigantic jellies to sell to each other in a pretend store.



Today, we are just chilling and waiting for J. to come back home 🙂

Magic School Bus

My son still really enjoys the Magic School Bus movies and games. Lately, he has been working his way through the PC games we own. His favorites are the “Inside the Earth” one about rocks and minerals and a new one I got at the thrift store, “Dinosaurs”. As he has been working on them, he has gotten to play mini-games, draw pictures, and earn “prizes”. In the Dinosaur one, he earned dinosaur masks which we printed out. Here is my daughter modeling 🙂

Here is one of the drawing parts.

Crayon Physics

For all of you who have told me you found the “Fantastic Contraption” game I posted too tricky, I have another crazy game for you- “Crayon Physics“. Basically, you use the mouse to draw stuff to try to get a ball to a star. Sounds pretty easy until gravity kicks in 🙂 There is a free trial version which we did upgrade to the full version. The puzzles are quite challenging as you move up the levels and certainly get you thinking…Try It!


We used to go to the Cleveland Children’s Museum fairly regularly when the kids were younger. One of my son’s favorite things the last time we went was a computer program that lets you create kaleidoscope images. You get to choose what kind of symmetry you want, if you want it straight or skewed, if you want a black background or white, and then you get to paint using a color palette or objects like shells, flowers, fruits, and more. It is easy to use and makes amazing images. I found it at the thrift store the other night along with a bunch of other games and was hoping it would work. It does and both kids have been enjoying creating with it. My son asked me to take a picture every time he made one until I finally handed over my camera and let him shoot away. He took over 40 pictures. Here are some of my favorites. I especially liked seeing him make the ones with bilateral symmetry. He could “see” what the picture was becoming as he drew it.

Here is a shot showing the controls to the sides:

Here Fishy Fishy

I was going through some of the links on my website today and came across BigFish Games on my “PC Games” page. I then spent way too much time playing Fishdom. It is basically a “bubbles” game where you earn money from making sets of three and clearing levels. Special pieces and weird shaped boards make things trickier as you go up the levels. You can spend the money to build your own aquarium from parts. I got to level 18 before I ran out of time.

Try it 🙂 It’s free

Sleepover Fun

We had company tonight and the kids all had lots of fun. The boys played a bit of “City of Heroes” and “Spore Creature Creator” on the computer, some “Super Smash Bros.” and “Animal Crossing” on the wii, built with Legos, and then created a cool fantasy world complete with costumes and props. My daughter was included in the dress-up play and got to be the queen and overthrow my son, which included taking his costume. It was fun for me to get to hear them all playing so well together and it gave me some downtime 🙂 The boys took a little bit of time to settle dow to sleep, but when I checked in to ask them not to talk, I found my son reading to his friend and I decided to leave them alone.

The boys sharing J.’s computer:

The role-playing:

While the boys were building with Legos, my daughter and I played “Pokemon Sorry”. I am not the biggest fan of “Sorry” in general beacuse there is usually so much waiting for the 1’s and 2’s and because I don’t dig mean-spirited games with little kids. However, my daughter and I are selectively helpful when playing together and it evens everything out. I really do like the Pokemon version better than the regular version because there are special cards based on what “type” of Pokemon you are playing (your color). Here are some shots.