Just in case you don’t live your life on Facebook, here are a few fun things I shared there recently:
This made us laugh, even after we watched it 10 times. Maybe because our dog does the very same thing, and now we know what he’s saying. Our dog also talks, but he only says Mom. Now there’s one more ankle-biter following me around the house pleading, “Mom, mom, moooom, mom…”
I’m already plotting to acquire it for Calvin’s upcoming birthday. I have a Plan A and Plan B. Unless Perry vetoes it, you’ll hear about Plan A soon. I’m just going to say one thing right now: Lydia put me up to it.
Oh, and I have to ask: Did you enter my giveaway? No? Do it! Yes? How many different ways? Do more!
Maybe quiet is asking too much, but I would love your suggestions on how to keep 6 kids aged 4-10 gainfully employed. Caine’s mom, grandma and 3 brothers are staying with us while he is in the hospital, but his mom spends most of her time with Caine for understandable reasons. We don’t know how long they will be with us and I don’t want to plant everyone in front of the TV or video game console, so I would love to hear your ideas on what they can do indoors. Yes, indoors. The weather has been nasty. Yes, we’re spoiled and we call 40′s and 50′s in January “nasty weather.”
Here are my requirements:
Easy. Must not require a lot of hand-on assistance. Remember, I also have a 2yo and a very demanding baby.
Cheap. Must not require expensive or extensive supplies. We have lots of free paper, and I can spend a little on materials but not too much.
Clean. Must not be too messy. I’m hesitant to try anything that involves glue or glitter.
Entertaining. Must take longer than 30 seconds. :) An hour would be great. Even better if it holds their attention longer, but it can’t be too complicated or tedious.
Quiet. Well, a girl can hope…
Here is what we’ve done so far:
Paint! The kids got washable paints for Christmas and I already had a set of watercolors and lots of cheap brushes. They spent well over an hour producing various works of art, borrowing ideas from each other. I cut a large trash bag in half and taped it to the table, so cleanup was easy. I also made them all agree beforehand that they would do the cleanup themselves to my satisfaction or we would never paint again in my house. :)
Paper airplanes! I didn’t think of this myself, but it was great! The paper was free, and the airplanes are relatively safe projectiles for indoor use. If they’re going to throw things in my house, I’m glad it’s paper. There is lots of room for creativity and extended play with minimal mess.
Play store. I think that’s what they were doing, because I found handwritten “checks” and “money” on the makeshift desks when they were done. At any rate, they were quiet and occupied for quite a while. Our little ones also love to play school, although that might not hold the same charm for my nephews who attend private school.
Ideas I’d like to try:
Breadmaking. I could give each child his/her own lump of dough to shape and bake.
Paper plate masks. They could follow up by actually wearing the masks in their games.
Hide & seek. Our kids have discovered some fun and fabulous hiding places in our new house, and the fun could start all over again with a few new players.
Pop-ups. This is Kaitlyn’s idea, too. I think she wants to cut a very basic pop-up design (1 for each child) that the kids could then color in and play with.
Play dough. We could try an edible recipe, or just do the traditional salt dough. Cooked recipes make an especially soft, pliant dough that is fun to work with. Messy, but it should clean up easily if we keep it away from the living room rugs.
What else would you suggest?
Update on Caine:
His oxygen was decreased from 12 liters/minute down to 6 liters yesterday, but his breathing became labored so he’s holding steady now at 7 liters. He will need to get down to 2 liters before they move him out of the PICU into the regular pediatric ward, but he’s well on his way.
Last night and today he became much more active and alert, and is very smiley for his mom.
He also enjoyed Grandma’s visit today.
We think he was getting very tired from working so hard to breathe, and is finally feeling better because he’s not expending so much energy just to stay alive. He is also receiving 2 ounces of mom’s milk every 2 hours via a tube, so he’s a much happier little man.
The next step is to decrease his oxygen enough to allow him to move to the pediatric ward and begin nursing again. Thanks again to all who are continuing to pray for this precious little boy.
This one’s a little weird, but my little ones are loving it and maybe yours will too:
When I say weird, I mean the 13yo thinks the cute lil monster-characters are creepy, but everyone younger than her thinks they are adorable, and 7yo Rachael is hooked on the fact that she can make her own avatar.
In spite of the term reading games, Kabongo games don’t actually teach reading. Instead, they focus on the skills necessary for learning to read later: following fun instructions, sorting and categorizing objects by size, performing sequential operations, noticing details, etc.
The kids really enjoy the quirky colorful characters and settings, and I love that there are no dating ads for them to accidentally click like on so many other free game sites.
If you try it, let us know what you think!
We’ll receive a small compensation if you or your kids play Kabongo.
Remember the Remote Control Amphibious Airsoft Tank? Vision Forum no longer sells them, but our family has some to clear out.
I know I said I wasn’t going to blog in December, but there’s a whole stack of these blocking the aisle in our little library, and I would love to send them to new homes.
These tanks were the coolest toy in the 2010 Vision Forum catalog! They sold for the bargain price of $50, though they have a sticker price of $79. Here’s the deal: get 2 tanks, 2 controllers, and one charger for $30 plus $15 shipping.
These are huge fun! They go forward and back, left and right; they have lights; they shoot airsoft pellets from a gun turret with just enough force to sting a bit but not to do damage. They can also go in water as the name suggests, though I’ll warn you now that it does tend to cause problems if the tank turns over in the water.
They come in 3 different frequencies, so if you want more than 3 be aware that they will interfere with each other. This can be fun too, if you manage to turn your opponent’s tank on him. :)
An enterprising mom could use one of these to carry a note to a child in another room. That note could request a soda, because these tanks have 4 drink holders. Nifty, huh?
Caveat: these tanks were returned for various reasons, but we have checked each one thoroughly, discarding and replacing bad controllers, battery packs, etc. Boy, was it fun! Please check your tank on arrival as we will only offer a 7 day warranty.
Vision Forum started off the game with 2 touchdowns, one missed kick, and a safety. 14-0! They were psyched!
Several players had the shirts ripped right off their backs.
Then College Plus made 2 touchdowns of their own and the game was tied. Uh-oh. Vision Forum had 4 guys in their late 30′s/40′s. Could these old guys hold their own with a team full of 20-somethings?
Old guy #1 was a mountain of a man. I’m pretty sure they were scared when they saw him coming.
Old guy #2 was team captain. He saw plenty of action on the field.
Old guy #3 gave the speedy youngsters a run for their money.
Old guy #4 was mine. He stayed in for almost every play, and whipped up the crowd during his few minutes on the sidelines.
My hunney played both offense and defense and most of the time found himself lined up with not one, but two heavily muscled young men well over 6 feet tall. In spite of this, he held the line consistently and broke through quite a bit. He even sacked the quarterback once!
Of course he wasn’t the only star on the field. Andrew made 2 touchdowns.
And Luke may have been College Plus’s MVP.
Both teams played hard and gave it their all. The game began and ended with prayer, and fans freely fraternized with the enemy – er, I mean mingled and visited. We all had friends on both sides.
The kids had fun getting their t-shirts signed by team members and spectators,
My first beach post was sadly lacking in photos because the camera and computer were giving each other the cold shoulder. Now they have kissed and made up, so we can move ahead.
Bethany loved every minute of the day. She was equally content on somebody’s hip or on her own two feet. She was in the water, out of the water, watching us contentedly from her shady towel-tent, and napping while the rest of us played some more. She helped herself to an endless supply of animal crackers and sand-encrusted watermelon.
As you might have expected, The Boy was a crazy man. He ran endlessly up and down the beach, playing in the water, chasing the birds, taking care of Bethany, and smearing wet sand onto anybody who didn’t see him coming.
Rachael was as sweet as ever, floating and bobbing happily on the waves all day long.
The rest of the kids were a blur. They chased wildlife and waves, built sandpeople, buried each other, wrinkled their noses at the pit toilets.
Quote of the day: “Whaddya mean the bathrooms are too far? You can pee in this pool!”
I thought that was pretty clear, but maybe not. The Boy still came to me when he had to go. I told him he could go in the ocean, so he stood on the sand, dropped his pants, and went. That boy.
I asked you to check this post again later for more photos because we couldn’t upload from the camera til we got home. Now there are so many great photos, I can’t bring myself to bury them in an old post. They’re in a new one!
Today was our first-ever family trip to the gulf coast. We did go the beach once in Oregon 7 years ago, but it was spring and COLD. I don’t think anybody actually touched the water, and we only stayed for an hour or two. It was beautiful and frigid.
Today was different: not as beautiful, but the weather was perfect. Lest you think I’m complaining about the beauty levels, let me just say that oceans are like pizza and a few other good things in life: even when they’re bad, they good. And this was not a bad beach!
We aspired in a laid-back sort of way to leave the house at 6:30 this morning, but we didn’t actually pull out until a little after 8. That’s ok. We only had a 3 1/2 hour drive, so before lunch time we were pulling into Mustang Island State Park.
We packed a lot of food, but I think everybody forgot to eat. We’re bringing home nearly as much as we took. There was just too much to do!
The beach was nearly empty and we were able to drive right down to the water’s edge – as close as we dared. There were just a few other vehicles, spaced at intervals of several hundred feet. As soon as the engine was shut off, the kids were out the door and gone.
The water was perfect, and so was the weather. We swam and waded, sat on the beach watching the wildlife, splashed in self-made pools.
We realized we forgot to apply sunblock.
The wildlife was amazing! Each time a wave hit, the shore was absolutely covered with what looked like tiny polished agates of varying colors. They were pink, orange, purple, blue, yellow, green. But as we watched, they all disappeared beneath the surface of the sand. They were tiny clams!
We saw chipmunks.
We caught shrimp and hermit crabs. We spotted and avoided moonjellies in the water, and rescued them on the shore.
We realized that we had still forgotten to apply sunblock to the redhead.
We watched as graceful terns and huge, majestic brown pelicans dove for fish all around us. We were surrounded and stalked by gulls and more terns. We stalked a great blue heron, who casually lifted off when Megan was just 7 feet away. We saw what we think were varieties of sandpipers and/or snipes – can’t wait to get home and check the field guide!
Near the end of the day, Megan found a small but complete sand dollar.