Monday, March 30, 2009

Leapster meets Didj

We have been a leapster family for a while now. My dad bought the kids one a while back and since then Boyo has progressed in math by leaps and bounds. Girlie has done well too but it really isn't her medium.

When the kids were little they watched the Leapfrog DVDs and that gave them a good idea of how the whole reading thing worked. The Leapster handheld games did the same thing for boyo when it came to multiplication. When we hit that section in his math book, I was so surprised that he already knew almost all the basic facts that he breezed though the end of the book with no problem.

But like all things, Boyo became too advanced for the Leapster games. So last Christmas I looked at getting him a Didj, being the next step up from Leapster without crossing over to a Nintendo DS which doesn't have educational games. But it was too expensive and the reviews weren't that great and it was too new so there were kinks to be worked out.

Last week when the kids and I were at Walmart (don't judge me it is a small town) we went for a walk through the toy aisle and low and behold- the didj was on sale for more than $40 off!! After a brief chat with Hubby, I picked it up and also an extra game for Boyo.

Boyo spent 3 days playing it consistently before the batteries wore out and had to be charged.

So There is the pros and cons for the Didj


  • Educational

  • Great graphics

  • ability to go online to change or adjust the level of difficulty on the problems

  • adaptable -it can be scaled back to Girlie or made tougher for Boyo

  • Lots of different math games


  • Expensive

  • not a lot of games yet and most seem to be math games

  • Most language arts games are not aimed at boys (Nancy drew is the only spelling game I have found)

  • doesn't come with a cover like the Leapster so screen can get scratched up.

All in all I really like the games, I wish that it could use the old Leapster cartridges but I see the difference in quality in the graphics so I understand why it can't be so. I really hope they put out more games and continue with more of the older grades (3+).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Princess Power

Hands of a Child was ever so kind of offer me a lapbook to try out and review. Girlie and I wanted to have a special day with BFF so with this lapbook in mind I called, made plans, printed and cut and got everything ready.

Armed with markers, construction paper, glue sticks and snacks, it was time!

Girlie kept a watch at the window for BFF to arrive, then once she was at the door it was a case of "I want to hide and surprise her." Eventually everyone who was staying was here and those who were leaving left. It was time to start!

Princess power is broken up into 2 mini lapbooks. One is on fairytale princesses and the other is on real live princesses. Since we all know that Girlie is a princess, it was easy to make the real live princess section about Girlie and BFF. The different secions we put on different colored pages.

We read a version of Sleeping Beauty that was different than one the girls had heard before, then we discussed how it was different and filled out the different minit books. After getting though all the wonderful minit books on the fairy tale princess, it was time for a break.

After a snack and some playtime, we pulled ourselves back together and started on the Girlie and BFF part. It was great fun listening to them talk about the different questions,

"Where were you born?"
"At a hospital, I came out of Mommy. But Boyo made Mommy cut open."

Once they finished all the minit books about them, they decorated the books while I fixed lunch. As I set out a lunch picnic in the living room, they finished up and I stapled all the pages together into a book. (we use construction paper pages stapled instead of file folders- it just works better for my family).

The girls played the rest of the afternoon and when BFF's mom came back, the girls didn't want to separate as they had been having so much fun.

I heard later that BFF's dad loved the lapbook, and Girlie was excited to show it to hubby and tell him all about her day.

Girlie liked that she could continue the fun on her own with the puppets that come with the lapbook. The stories that she came up with are incredible.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Princess Power

Hands of a Child has offered me the chance to test one of their lovely lapbooks. To that end, Girlie, BFF and I are going to have a girls day working on "Princess Power." We are going to lapbook about a fairytale princess and then do a seperate section on the little princesses we know (Girlie and BFF). I spent the past day or so cutting out many of the lapbook mini-books and getting everything ready. I hope the girls have a good time with this project.

Monday, March 16, 2009


My mom took me and the kids to Pittsburgh over the weekend. It is always such an adventure to go to the big city.

Saturday Risko kept the kids at a yarn store. Boyo has a "job" there pricing balls of yarn. Girlie helped him. From what I understand it was quite an adventure. There was the yarn store, food, parks, and finally back to the hotel. (thank you hotel staff that recognized my kids even if you didn't recognize the woman they were with and let them all back into the room- 2 thumbs up!)

Sunday my mom the kids and I went down to the strip district. It is a great fun sort of place. We explored the green grocer, the fish market, a Pittsburgh Steeler merchandise store (nothing in the kids sizes other wise they would have been sporting some steeler stuff today). Compared to our little town where food is either from the farmer's market , BJ's or Weis, this was a fantastic experience!

Girlie has decided that we should all move to Pittsburgh. She feels a real attachment to the town.

I told her maybe Daddy will take her to visit next time there is a business trip to CM.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th

As I was walking out of work this morning I wished one of my little guys a Happy Friday the 13th and since my kids were there (Hubby is off to Gulf wars), they asked why I said that.

Which lead to a conversation on the Templars, which lead to the King Phillip, which lead to the Holy Grail, which lead to crucifixion, which lead to the Da Vinci Code, which lead to rites and obligations of a Rabbi, which lead to sang rial, which lead to the Pope, which lead to Medieval Homeland Security issues, which ended with "What do you believe?"

And to think our drive home from work only takes about 4 minutes.

So Happy Friday the 13th, may you not have any Kings out to get you. And for the Templars- I'm sorry for your loss.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hair Day

So after taking the pictures of the kids and Mr. Bunny the other day, Girlie got fed up with the hair falling in her way (if she had tucked it behind her ear it would have solved the problem) but being 5 and a rather impatient sort of girl, she took the scissors and did some damage.
Friday we got it fixed. Here is Girlie before-

Notice the hair on the left side of her head? Hours later it was missing (surprisingly the stuff hanging in her eyes in the picture was still there. The logic of a 5 year old mind astounds me)
We went to the local hair cutting school and they couldn't figure out what to do about Girlie's fallen locks until I suggested this...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Owl Pellets and Mr. Bunny

We have had a great homeschool day. Currently Boyo is working on an animal study of animals in the woods. It is handy that we live in the woods, he can just look out the window or explore in the woods to get a feel for the subject.

One of the projects we are doing relating to woodland animals is dissecting owl pellets. Boyo and Girlie have done this before at the library science class. (Best thing ever that the library offers free science classes and runs then twice, once for the general public and once for homeschoolers). Two Christmases ago, Boyo got a owl pellet kit in his stocking. Yes, Santa believes in education. So today we cracked it open and started dissection. It was fun for Boyo and I. (Girlie watched as she ate lunch). We found a bunch of ribs, a couple legs and at least one jaw.

And for those who wanted more pics of Mr. Bunny:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow and lack of water

I have been trying to curb my whining. At 32 years old I am sure it is annoying to everyone so I try to count my blessings instead.
  1. I am thankful I have a job. (Even it is means I have to drive in snowstorms at 6 in the morning)

  2. I am thankful it snowed (because without a well pump there is no water and I could melt to snow to make water to use to flush the potty)

  3. I am thankful I read and memorized all the little house books as a child (so I can think about how bad it could be)

  4. I am thankful to have wonderful friends who come over even after a long day of getting ready for 6" of snow to say "yep, looks like the well pump is dead."

  5. I am thankful for friend who understands that I really want a flushing potty but I will wait until tomorrow, with good grace, because I know Mr. Fix-it Man was up at 1 am to push snow.

  6. I am thankful for my plumber, who is off spending the money he earned off us in November replacing all the pipes in the house, so that I could catch a quick visit with my friend.

  7. I am thankful that it is March and the snow can't last much longer.

  8. I am thankful that the well pump decided to go now rather than in Aug when we'd be at Pennsic.

  9. I am thankful that my kids helped me shovel and melt snow today. We actually have the driveway clear!!

  10. I am thankful for Hubby who stayed with the kids this morning rather than have them catch a ride with my boss to me at work in the snowstorm.

OK it does feel so much better to be thankful than whining. I challenge you to think of 10 things that you are thankful for when the world seems very heavy.