Monday, August 13, 2012

Playing Games/Doing Jobs

Last week we spent the week camping with my husband's family - there are 40 cousins on that side of our family!  We were only home for a week after our baseball trip, and I spent most of those days cleaning and packing.  We camp a mere 9 miles from our house, so we end up taking everything and the kitchen sink with us.  Honestly my camping list is 7 pages long!
I decided that the kids could help pack their own clothes and the final cleaning chores before we left.  To keep them motivated, I came up with a little 'game' for them to play.  Each of them had a numbered list of 6 items that need to be done.  Then they rolled a die
and completed the corresponding job.  There were a couple of easy things like entertaining the baby and some computer time just to keep them moving.
Oh and the big green card were the jobs that needed to happen on top of the others, so we when they fought/argued/bugged me or each other the die was rolled again {4 of the extras got done}.
It was a success, mostly.  Kids clothes got packed and the house was left in chaos as usual...
Coming home feels wonderful - mountains of laundry, piles of dirty dishes, cluttered counters, filthy vehicles, empty refrigerator, and way too much stuff to do before I can do the crafty things I really want to do.  But the memories the kids have with their cousins are more than worth the work preceding or following this annual camping trip.
Now, I have many plans for these last few weeks of summer - more getting my house ready for the school year than running kids all over the place (at least for a few weeks)!  I am just about ready for the structure and consistency that a school schedule will bring, but for now we'll enjoy these last couple weeks - relaxing, swimming, organizing, crafting, non-routine, friends, sleep-overs, etc.  Just easing back into life at home!
How will you spend these dog days of summer?


Linked up to here!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review of Leapster GS {Promotional Post}

As a member of the Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to preview the Leapster GS hand-held system.  This product is designed for the 4-9 year old age group.  In my family  I have 4 kids in that demographic and 2 just on the out-skirts.  
I generally limit 'screen time' for my kids saving it for rainy, yucky days, or to give me moment of peace in a large project.
This past week, I was rather lenient in our rules, giving free reigns to explore this new 'toy.'  The timer was employed frequently.  As each of them took their turn, I helped them get started and set the device to the appropriate age/grade level.
I love that my almost middle schooler could enjoy several of the applications, but also that my 2 year old could cruise around taking pictures of any and everything.  The interface of the GS is very similar to the Leapster Explorer, so my kids had little to no transition.  Also, it is great that the game cartridges for the Explorer and the LeapPad will fit into the Leapster GS - so games can be used/recycled.
In the above photo, they were playing the Squirrels Summer Olympic games!  It cracked me up that the best way they found to compete was by holding the device in such a goofy manner. {I do think that since then they have figured out how to win with out holding it in this manner}
This item has a built in camera, motion sensor, and audio recording capabilities.  My kids think it is great because these features make is similar to what is on Dad's iPhone.
Several games were preloaded in the Leapster GS - including Splurge! a game teaching about water and the phases is can be found.  I love that there was enough information for kids to learn but not too much that it was overwhelming for them.  They really do not realize that they are leaning as they are playing and I am certain that the facts picked up in this kid of game will be retained through grade school science and beyond.  This game also incorporated this motion sensor as that is how the levels are navigated.
Honestly I wish I could write up each of the games on the GS, as it has been a source of continuing entertainment (and may a bit of arguing) for the past week.
The only complaint I have with the Leapster GS is how short the battery life is with this product.  I wish, wish, wish that sometime in the future LeapFrog would start including charging devices/rechargeable batteries in their products.  We will soon be investing in an A/C adaptor (and perhaps an additional device).

However, I would recommend this device to any parent considering a hand held gaming system.  We love LeapFrog products in this house and look forward to future opportunities to purchase their products.

***Note: This is a promotional post - I have received no instruction or coercion in what I post or write regarding the excellence (or poorness) of this product.  If we did not like it I would tell you.
In compensation for my review, I have received the device shown as well as 2 games.***
Linked up here!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Roman Shades {a great trade}

Disclosure: The pictures below are horrid - sorry.

So, I have this very talented friend - she does that crazy voo-doo stuff called Myofascial release.  Well, in actuality she started with reflexology and has over time expanded her expertise to include energy work, craniosacral therapy, massage therapy, organ manipulations, and lots of others that I cannot remember probably with much more scientific and professional sounding names.
One day she was at my house visiting with some friends and wanted the grand tour - boy am I glad I showed her around!  When she saw the shades I'd made for my kids bedrooms she wanted some for her house.  About a year ago, I made the first set for her boys room, and the beginning of this summer I finished a set for an other bedroom.
It is lovely to know that we can each give each other something that feels beneficial to the other!  I was so glad that I had appointments to use up when we had a bit of an accident with my youngest son this spring - those sessions gave me a piece of mind that his body was being helped to heal from the incident (plus you could see the physical result immediately).
I now have to make for the remaining rooms on the 2nd floor, hooray!  I did warn her that the sewing machine is likely put away for the remainder of the summer, but have no fear come September, I'll be itching to accomplish something again.

I have an appointment scheduled already - hey she's a hard lady to get into on a last minute notice, so I just make the next appointment as soon as I finish!  I can hardly wait to get there and relax - you see I usually use the appointments for myself {keeping a mother sane is truly priceless}.  But I will share as I mentioned above if the need arises.

***NOTE: I have decided that trying to take a photo of window treatments is beyond my ability - at least to take any type of decent photo.  So deal with the dark and funny colored pictures (the room is pink, and the photos off an iPhone).***

Possibly linked up to one of these!
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