Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Double Play-date

A friend asked me to babysit so the kids got a double play-date! Jordan and his cousin Mya both spent several hours with us which worked out really well since Jordan is one of Alex's best friends and Mya is one of Sabrina's best friends from church.The kids played hard. They destroyed the bedrooms then played in the back yard.

One of the boys from the neighborhood knocked on the door, so the boys took the Imaginext from the back yard to the side.

The girls stayed in and colored.

The kids had a great time and I got some extra spending money!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Modified Media Fast

For the month of January our family is taking a modified media fast. We will still be using our phones and have a limit of 30 minutes on the computer per day, (at home, obviously, Frank still has to work). The kids will not be using the computer at all unless it is for school. They will be allowed to listen to audiobooks- mostly children's classics that I want to introduce them to, but not necessarily read aloud.

Frank and I have watched the documentary, Captivated  and it has made us aware of just how pervasive screen time is in our own lives. We are far below the average statistics that claim; the average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of media. Yet, how often do I put on a DVD for Sabrina just to have a break then later realize she's watched it two or three times before I tell her to turn it off? Or let Alex play on Lego website without time limits only to hear him talk about nothing else the rest of the evening? Or I read blogs or get on pinterest “for a few minutes” that turns into hours?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a limit of the amount of total entertainment screen time to less than two hours a day and discourages all screen media exposure for children under age 2. Though our family's media time is far less than average it often exceeds their recommendations.

We have already experienced the benefits of less media since Alex has been grounded. He is playing in the back yard more, reading more, coloring, riding his bike, talking with us more, using his imagination more... In fact, Alex and Sabrina used their dress up clothes and put on a spontaneous play for us.

Some of the the things we have planned for January are; a neighborhood party, story-time, parks, playing in the backyard, reading, homemade play dough, painting, puzzles, games, events at the library, science experiments, puppet shows, dramas....

I do plan to blog about the experience. I am excited to start this adventure knowing that it won't all be smooth sailing; I am home with the kids all day and it is so easy to pop in a DVD to get a break. It is our hope that this experiment will bring us closer to one another and that when it is over we will be able to set clear boundaries on our media consumption.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Green Valley Library

We stopped at the library after visiting the Whitney Mesa Recreation Area. They had a table set up for kids to make a craft. Sabrina and Alex both enjoyed making a snowman scene.


Whitney Mesa Recreation Area

A mere five minute drive from our house is Whitney Mesa Recreation Area. We took advantage of family day to go hiking there and to visit the playground.

We started off on a paved trail, but soon found a more exciting dirt path. We hiked up hill, downhill, around boulders... We also saw a hummingbird and a roadrunner. It was quite an adventure- Alex zoomed ahead to discover new sights while Sabrina exclaimed over how treacherous the trails were.

The playground has a Southwest/ Native American theme. It is quite a nice playground. We were a bit surprised that we were the only ones there on a Saturday morning, but we weren't complaining. It will be a nice spot to meet friends or have a church potluck.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Stephanie Lynn Craig Park

We took the park challenge this afternoon. Stephanie Lynn Craig Park is named for a teen who succumbed to a rare form of cancer. The play ground is a small, but nice one. The kids enjoyed the sidewalks on their bikes more than the actual playground, (this time).

They had a blast riding down the sidewalk and yelling, "I love my Bike!" Their parents were a little bit nervous because part of the sidewalk was combined with steps- the kids' came close too many times for comfort so we made them put away the bikes.

After some grumbling both kids enjoyed the playground.

Alex faced quite a challenge in crossing the monkey bars; Alex style. Many times he got halfway then dropped, but he was determined to cross. As you can tell, he had quite a sense of accomplishment when he succeeded!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Game Night

Tonight, we tried out several of the new games we got for Christmas.

Our first game was our new Trouble game. As I mentioned in my last post; it is very cheaply made, but the game itself is still fun. It is a bit long for a certain five year old so maybe it will be a game for the three older Rendla's for now.

Next up was another new game, Don't Rock the Boat. It is a balancing game. Each player takes turns trying to place a penguin on the pirate boat without tipping it. Or that is how it is supposed to be played. The kids took great delight in making it tip which greatly annoyed me. If they try to actually follow the rules it will be a fun game.

We followed that up with our version of Sequence for Kids. We had a good time, but nobody won. I found the directions before we moved, but the games were already packed- hopefully I'll find them again.

Last, but not least was the much loved Berenstain Bears Learn to Share Game!

Game Night {{sigh}} how I want to love it. Yet, I get so frustrated when the kids won't listen or follow the rules or when they jump around and knock the board over... I am always glad when we have game night and I am always glad when it is over.


Cheaply made games

This is a review (rant) about how cheaply games are made!  We got a lot of new games for Christmas, including the Trouble game pictured above. The "board" is a piece of thin cardboard that I had to put onto the cheap plastic back ground. I cannot believe how the same game when I was a kid was so much better made. I've seen knock-offs that were better made than this game from a leading toy and game manufacturer! Shame on them for passing this piece of junk off on the public! I tried to send them an e-mail complaint, but I would have to sign up just to send them an e-mail.

I'm going to try to find one of the older, much superior version at a thrift store.


Merry Christmas!

This beautiful Nativity print is my Christmas gift. It is also a wonderful reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.

The gifts under the tree. Since the kids have an overabundance of toys we decided to cut back on the number of gifts. They each had eight gifts under the tree, which included those from relatives.  This excludes their bikes, some gift cards, and money that will be used to build a swing and a sandbox.

Alex and Sabrina mostly received games, some books, science kits, bikes, and a few toys this year. They were perfectly happy.

For Christmas dinner we had ham, Cornish Game Hens, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, crescent rolls, and pumpkin pie. YUM!

The kids had a very good time playing with their new toys.

After spending a quiet day at home, we ventured out for our Christmas Service. It was a great day. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas too!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve

As is our custom, we read the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible and watched The Nativity. Afterwards the kids received their stockings. Both children were very happy with their gifts.

Sabrina got several Barbie dolls, (the little girls) and games. (She makes the funniest faces when she's supposed to smile.)

Alex got some Lego-type figures and games.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Game Night- Hiss

Tonight we played HISS for the first time. The kids have played with the cards and enjoy making snakes, but tonight was the first time we played by the rules. I think I made a mistake in the timing- I pulled the game out as the kids were getting ready for bed. The game itself seems like one we will enjoy, when everybody is more in the mood to play.

Everyone takes turns choosing a face down card then we try to make the longest snake by matching colors. If a player cannot make a match he starts a new snake. Since this was our first time playing and we were playing with a 5 year old we didn't keep score, but I think we should next time.


Kids' Christmas Play

Tonight we had the kids' Christmas play; Sunday Night Live!  and a fellowship at church. It was quite funny.

Sabrina got to hold the sign telling people when to clap. She seemed to think they were clapping just for her.

Alex was one of the wise men, (in blue). He seemed to be the spokesperson for them.

As you can imagine it was quite a funny play. The kids loved being in a play.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Bikes for Christmas

The kids got new bikes for Christmas from Grandpapa. We got them a bit early because we figured there wouldn't be much of a choice left closer to Christmas and we needed the kids with us to know which size they need.

Alex has shown zero interest in bikes until recently. He had a couple of bikes when he was much younger, but he only rode them a handful of times. He much preferred his trike, (even after he was much too big for it) and his scooter. Now at 9 he's finally learning to ride a bike. Once he's mastered it, he will have a great sense of accomplishment.

Sabrina loves her bike. She has been begging for one for about a year. She took to it like a duck to water. She even brags about how she's better on a bike than Alex. I've tried several times to explain that he doesn't have training wheels, but that falls on deaf ears.

Thank you, Grandpapa for your wonderful gifts and for being you.


Friday, December 20, 2013

When the Boys are Away the Girls will Play

Frank took Alex to play practice while I stayed home with Sabrina. We turned it into a game night.

First we played the Berenstain Bears Learn to Share Game, which is a family favorite.

Next up was the kids' version of Jenga.

Finally we played the Learning Manners Picnic Basket Game.

We also played with the Little People Nativity. Sabrina loves for us to act out the story of Jesus' birth. Then I read what seemed like a million books, but was more like 15. Sometimes it's fun to have mother-daughter time.


Mission Hills Park

The kids and I went to Mission Hills Park today after grocery shopping. We all needed to burn some energy. We had a whole lot of fun.

I used Sabrina's smiling flower as I chased Alex. I told him not to let the smile fool him; it is a sinister flower. He really enjoyed me playing with him, (he's been a bit lonely since we moved).

Of course I played with Sabrina as well. Unfortunately, she decided to disobey me and try to slide down the very high railing with concrete steps- so she spent part of the time in time-out. Thankfully I was close enough to intervene before she hurt herself.

Looking at this picture makes me realize just how fast my boy is growing up. Somehow, he looks older in some of the recent pictures. I'd better enjoy playing with him while he still wants to just play and have fun.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Game Night

While the kids were doing other things Frank and I played Tri-ominos. We haven't played this game in a long time. It was a whole lot of fun.

After Sabrina joined us, we played her new favorite; Old McDonald Pop'N Match.

Alex joined us in time to play the kids' version of Jenga.

Our last game was All Around Town.

Game night is fun, but exhausting. By the time we played each game twice I was worn out.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Harmony Park

On Saturday, the kids and I dropped Frank off for play practice and went to Harmony Park.

I got plenty of exercise going back and forth between the kids pushing them on the swings. It was chilly so we didn't stay long, but we had fun.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Every year Ethel M Chocolate Factory decorates their cactus garden in thousands of Christmas lights. Last night we took the kids.

They got to pose with the Green M&M.

Then we did the tour and got our free piece of yummy chocolate.

We also walked the trails and admired the lights.

Before we left we passed out a lot of flyers inviting people to our Christmas Play. The kids had a great time passing out lots of flyers. Most people even thanked them, but one lady was rude to Sabrina. She had the poor kid in tears! I didn't overhear what was said, but Sabrina said the lady told her she didn't want the flyer and to go away. It took a while to calm her down and get her to pass out a few more flyers because I didn't want that to be her last one.