Life

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My kids have recently discovered the joys of playing Life with Mommy.  We have the newer version, which is played a bit differently from how it was when I was a kid.  It’s still fun, though!  With my oldest being seven, I still have to provide a lot of guidance while playing.  Sometimes even I need to consult the rules.  I don’t think I’d try playing this game with a child younger than six.  The box says it’s for ages 9 and up, and 2-6 players.  The littler ones at our house enjoy driving the cars around while we play an actual game.

Rating:

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Ages:

8 +

Apples to Apples

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Apples to Apples is one of my favorite games.  It is so much fun to play with a group, especially if you know some of the quirks of your fellow players.  It is a party game in which players have a hand of cards which are all nouns.  In each round, an adjective card is placed in the middle of table.  Each player chooses one card from their hand to either match the descriptive word, or be a funny answer (my preference).  The judge for that round chooses his/her favorite card, and whoever put that card down, gets a point.  You can decide ahead of time how many points you want to play to.  The box says it’s for ages 12 and up, with 4-10 players.

Rating:

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Ages:

8+

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga – Wii

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Here’s another item that you can get for your Star Wars-, LEGO-loving child.  Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a Wii game that will satisfy both those obsessions in one fell swoop.  This goliath of a game has all six episodes on it, for your video-gaming pleasure.  The game is rated E10 and is for 1-2 players.  I find that setting a time limit works well for my boys, otherwise they’d play all day long.

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Ages:

School-Age +

Super Mario All-Stars – Wii

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I’m sorry that the cover of this game is so obscured by library stickers.  Super Mario All-Stars for the Wii is a trip down memory lane for many people my own age.  It has four classic Nintendo games (Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 & 3, along with The Lost Levels).  If you’d like to introduce your kids to what video games were like during your childhood, you will want to share this game with them.  I think I had more fun with it than my kids did.  Amazing how those nostalgic feelings come flooding in!  Bonus: it also includes a soundtrack CD.  All-Stars is rated E.

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Ages: All

Death on Naboo by Jude Watson

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of Death on Naboo before we took it back to the library, so the above is the best you get.  Another novel in the Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi series that we thoroughly enjoyed!

Ferus is now in prison, slowly wasting away, but still trying to plan his escape.  He learns that a former acquaintance of his, Clive, is also imprisoned and has been planning an escape for some time.  Together the two of them make a last-ditch effort to escape.  Meanwhile, Ferus’ accomplices are also planning to break him out of prison.  Their escape and rescue plans happen to overlap and they accidentally meet up and are able to work together to escape.

Naboo, Padmé’s homeworld is in the Empire’s sights as a world to be taken over.  Against the rules of the Senate, the Empire has been stocking weapons in one of Naboo’s main hangars.  Ferus travels to Naboo to keep Malorum from finding out the secret that he so desperately seeks.  He wants to destroy Darth Vader with it, but Obi-Wan warned Ferus that if that is allowed to happen, the future of the galaxy would be in great peril.  Malorum must be stopped!

Malorum makes it to Naboo and coerces the secret of Padmé’s babies from her grandmother.  Because of a staged power-outage he isn’t able to transmit the information and must carry it himself.  During the staged accidental explosion of the hangar (by Ferus’ accomplices and Naboo’s forces), Ferus confronts Malorum and the two duel.  Ferus is the better opponent and defeats Malorum, whose secret goes to the grave with him.

We very highly recommend the books in this series!  They rock!

Rating:

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Age:

School-age +

Underworld by Jude Watson

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I’ve gotten a little behind on our Star Wars chapter books.  We finished Underworld some time ago, and I didn’t bother to post about it.  We’ve just been enjoying our reading too much.

In Underworld, Ferus attempts to locate other Jedi at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.  It isn’t until he gets inside that he realizes he’s walked into a trap.  The Empire has spread rumors about the Jedi prison, luring free Jedi to their death.  In a sinister scene, Ferus encounters a room full of lightsabers, representing all those who’ve been caught so far.

Ferus and Trever then try their luck at finding a group of people called The Erased, those who’ve shed their identities and gone into hiding on Coruscant from the Empire.  They hear of a place called Solace and make it their goal to find it and see if any other Jedi are left.  In this adventure we encounter Dexter Jettster (diner owner) and a group of various other Erased.  They agree to accompany Ferus and help him with his mission.

The group makes it down to the crust of Coruscant, many levels deep, and finds someone to guide them to Solace.  What will happen next?

Another interesting thread to the story is the relationship and rivalry between Malorum and Darth Vader.

Rating:

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Age:

School-age +

The Usborne Book Of Peoples Of The World

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For a long time, Social Studies was a subject that mystified me in our homeschooling journey.  How was I supposed to teach it?  What exactly should I teach?  What order?  How could I make it interesting?  During my own schooling years, I thought Social Studies was a boring subject.  Leave it to the public school system to suck all the life out of a subject!  It wasn’t until my adult years that I learned how truly interesting history, the world, and different people groups really are.  Given the right method for relaying the information, Social Studies can be fascinating!

That is what I’d like to impart to my kids.  I want them to look at the world and people around them with curiosity and wonder.  I want history to be a living story for them.  To that end, I’m sticking with what has worked for me.  Textbooks are definitely out!  I enjoy historical novels, documentary-style videos, and kids’ books that are loaded with colorful, interesting pictures and informative text.  Another way that’s fun to explore different cultures is through their food.  It doesn’t get much more basic than that.

Peoples of the World is a book that we chose to sort of start us off on this Social Studies journey.  It gives a broad overview of the concept of people groups and culture.  It then goes on to each land area of the world, highlighting some general information about it.  The pictures are great and really enhance the learning.  There is also a nice map at the beginning of the book.

Rating:

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Age:

Preschool +

Non-Disintegrating Chalk Experiment

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We attempted to do an experiment with chalk, but it was a very sorry and disappointing endeavor.  I think chalk must be made differently from how it used to be made.  Do they make it with a different substance or in an alternate manner?

For the procedure we measured equal amounts of vinegar, water and lemon juice into three separate glasses.  We then put an equal-sized piece of chalk into the three glasses.  Then we let them sit for days and days, checking them each day to see if there had been any changes.  There were only very slight changes to the chalk, when supposedly there should have been at least one very notable disintegration.  You can see from the picture above that only a slight reduction in the size of the chalk was all we achieved.

Our first experiment was done using colored chalk because that’s all I had in the house.  When we didn’t get the desired results, we thought maybe the colored chalk was to blame.  We tried again with white chalk, but got the same results.  Our only conclusion was that chalk is made differently from how it used to be.  Not the funnest experiment ever!  :-(

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5 Educational Videos – pt. 6

National Geographic – Inside: Sumo Kids (1/5)

National Geographic – Inside: Sumo Kids (2/5)

National Geographic – Inside: Sumo Kids (3/5)

National Geographic – Inside: Sumo Kids (4/5)

National Geographic – Inside: Sumo Kids (5/5)

Son 1 requested that we look up some videos on Sumo wrestling.  I found this series of kids involved in Sumo and thought it would be a good introduction.  It’s rather a fascinating look at a sport that I really didn’t know much about.

Note: If you’re squeamish about your kids seeing boys’ buttocks or one passing comment from a boy about his “balls” hurting, you may not want to view these videos.

2014 Christmas Shopping – Thrift Store Style – pt. 4

Here is the Christmas gift haul for February.  Again, I had limited time, so I only made one stop.  The snow falling outside told me to make my shopping trip quick, so I wouldn’t get stuck on the side of the road.

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For myself (yes, I am buying my own gifts), I got a couple of clown ministry books and three others that I want to read.

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Three Star Wars, a Star Trek and a Pratchett.

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For Daddy, a Far Side book.  For the kids, two Star Wars, a Harry Potter and a Boxcar Children.

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Finally, a couple of baseball mitts and a baseball.  I have fond memories of tossing a ball back and forth with my sister when she was in softball.

The total for 18 items was $55.57.  Two items were half-off.  Final average…

$3.09 per item.

Sequence

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The boys and I really, really enjoy Sequence.  It’s a fun game that is complicated enough to keep adults interested, but simple enough that kids can also play.  Not too many games like that.  Our set came with a deluxe rubberized mat.

Players place their chips on the spaces on the board by playing a matching card from their hand.  Jacks are wild–either regular wild, or anti-wild, which removes a card.  The goal is to get five of your chips in a row, and then they are flipped with the white side facing up so that they cannot be tampered with.  Depending on the rules you choose to follow, you can play for more than one five-chip sequence.  If we’re playing a serious game, we play until one player has gotten two sequences.

Rating:

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Age:

Elementary +

Stamp Collecting

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Pictured is the lot of approximately 1,000 stamps my son and I bid on and won, courtesy of eBay.  I recently handed over my stamp collection to my son.  He had been asking for some time to start collecting something.  I didn’t have any great ideas at the time, so he took it upon himself to start collecting caps off of any and all food containers.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that those items are not typical collectibles and not worth anything.  He’s young, he’ll learn it sooner or later.

Fast-forward a couple of months, and I stumbled on a scrapbook album that I had started mounting stamps in.  My mother-in-law had given me an envelope full of interesting foreign stamps: different African countries, Bahrain, England, etc.  I mounted most of them at least a couple of years ago, then stuck the album on a shelf and left it sitting.  When I stumbled on the book again, I knew it would be the perfect thing for my son.  A collection that already had a head-start, was small and contained, not too expensive to start collecting, and actually interesting to look at.  He was excited to get my old album, and the next day we started checking out online auctions.  We bid on an eBay auction for 1,000 stamps and won it!  Hey–we were excited; not much happens at our house.  Cut us some slack.

The entire lot fit in a thick business-size envelope.  I really was expecting something larger, but I counted the stamps, and we received the correct amount.  I decided to store them in my cupcake transporter-box-thing, which has a lid.  The container should protect the stamps from food, beverages and little fingers until they can be sorted and mounted.  We did get a fair number of repeats, so we’ll probably just pass those on…