Saturday, December 26, 2015

Game Time

We played various games throughout the day, today.

Frank and I played Niya, which is a two- player game I got for Christmas. It is a matching game with the goal of getting four in a row or in a 2x2 square. Each tile has two features and players choose a tile with one of the features of the last tile played to replace with a token. I also played this game with the kids.

Alex wanted to play Catan Board Game. I have not played this game in so long I could not remember how to play. I will need to read the rules before I play again. I got skunked by both guys.

While the kids were otherwise occupied, Frank and I played the original Ticket to Ride.

The kids and I played Monopoly Junior. (Frank was busy preparing for tomorrow's services.)

I played multiple games of Gobblet Gobblers with both kids.

I also played Connect 4 & More with them multiple times.


Christmas Games

Sabrina got a Gobblet Gobblers game for Christmas. She absolutely loves this game, which is a twist on tic-tac-toe. It has the same set up as tic-tac-toe, but the bigger gobblers can swallow up the smaller ones. I have no clue how many times she has played this game in the last day.

Alex got a U-Build Sorry game. I was half listening to the conversation so I didn't read the instruction and we played how Alex explained. I will be able to give a review after I actually read the instructions for myself.

Although it wasn't a Christmas gift, I did take advantage of Christmas sales and a coupon to get Ticket to Ride Europe half off. It does play a bit differently than the regular Ticket to Ride. It has tunnels, ferries, and railroad stations added into the mix. I did like it, but I am not familiar with the geography, although I will be if I keep playing this game. It was fun, and will be more so after I get familiar with the location of the various cities.


Christmas Fellowship

We invited to church members who didn't have plans to join us for Christmas dinner. We ate all the turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, snicker doodles, and pumpkin pie we wanted. Then we sat around joking and telling stories. It was a whole lot of fun.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day- Gifts

We are having a very Merry Christmas and I hope you are too.

Sabrina was quite excited about her gifts especially her doll. She got a doll, doll clothes, Barbies, games, money (that she plans on adding it to what she saved for a Lego set), 96 pack of crayons, candy,  jewelry,  a Lego Elsa's Castle set, a porcelain doll, went out to eat, an acting class, and we will do something like laser tag with some money we got.

Alex was quite pleased with his Kreo Transformer sets. He got three Kreo Transformer sets, games, money, a sketch pad, audiobooks, candy, went out to eat, an acting class, and we will do something like laser tag with some money we got.

I got a beautiful notebook, a scented candle, games, a mixer (that I asked for), and a side table. I too am quite pleased with my gifts.

Frank got a DVD, Nerf sword, games, and a drawing. He was happy with his gifts as well.

For now the kids are playing with their new toys and Frank and I are about to start cooking for today's feast.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve- Games from Stockings

Alex got the game Left, Center, Right in his stocking. It is a dice game with tokens. Each player gets three tokens then rolls the three dice. If the player gets a left he passes a token to the player on the left, if he gets a right he passes a token to the player on the right, if he gets a star he puts a token in the center, and if he gets a dot he keeps the token. If a player has less than three tokens he rolls the same number of dice as tokens he has. The tokens in the center are out of the game and the game is continued until all but one token is in the center. It was a fun game.

Sabrina got the game Connect 4 & More in her stocking. It is a tile laying version of Connect 4. We played the four player version multiple times. The kids really enjoyed this fast paced game. The tiles have different backgrounds that have to be matched, but the goal is still to connect four.

Although Sabrina, (who loves making up stories) got an expansion pack of Rory's Story Cubes in her stocking, we opened a family gift of the base set and played only that. With Rory's Story Cubes players roll the dice then make up a story including all of the face up pictures. It was fun and since we homeschool I will sometimes have the kids write/type out the stories to practice writing/typing. (Don't be surprised if we end up owning the other expansions too.)

Later Frank and Alex used the miniature that Alex gave Frank when they played X-Wing Miniatures. Since I have not played this game I cannot tell you how it is played, but they seem to enjoy it.


Christmas Cookies

We invited the church members who do not have plans for Christmas to join us for Christmas dinner. So today we baked cookies! I baked Peanut butter cookies.

Sabrina helped make Snicker Doodles.

Alex helped make Chocolate Chip.


Christmas Eve- Stockings

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and I hope you did too! We watched a DVD a neighbor gave us about the true story of St. Nicholas, gave the kids their stockings, baked cookies, played the games they got, and really enjoyed spending time together.

I had filled the stockings months ago, in fact some of the stuff they got was from the day after Christmas sales. I couldn't even remember what was in them. Thankfully they were pleased with everything they got.

The kids wanted Frank and me to open the gifts they got us. We compromised with Frank opening the gift Alex got him and me opening the gift Sabrina got me. You can't tell from the picture, but Alex got Frank a miniature to go with a game they play. Sabrina was more excited than I was while I opened her gift to me; a beautiful notebook.

The rest of the gifts will wait until tomorrow morning.


Christmas Service - 2015

We had a wonderful Christmas service last night. We sang Joy to the World, read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke and finally sang Silent Night to candlelight. We also watched:
This video is a 3-minute drama about the 1914 Christmas truce. Truly the spirit of Christmas brings people together. Peace on earth and good will toward men.

game time

Frank and I played Ticket to Ride. I completed five routes and he still managed to win by a few points. This game is lots of fun. I think that Sabrina could play except that I think she would accidently knock trains off the tracks as she places her trains. The only way to find out is to let her try.

Afterwards I taught the kids to play an animal version of Old Maid. Instead of an old maid it has a skunk. Alex thought it was okay, but Sabrina liked it. (I got the game at Dollar Tree as part of a three card game pack.)


Tea Party

We had a tea party with the cookies that Annette sent us for Christmas.


Bass Pro Shop- Winter Wonderland

During the Christmas season Bass Pro Shop sets up a winter wonderland with lots of activities for kids. It is free, unless of course, you shop.

The kids had fun shooting wooden ducks with a toy bow. I would have liked to try it, but there were a lot of kids in line...

We also took the time to admire the huge fish aquarium.

Alex really enjoyed racing the cars on the track.

They enjoyed the electronic shooting game. Sabrina tried to talk us into getting her a BB gun.

Both kids had fun with the electric train.

Alex tried to run me over with the remote control truck.

We had a good time. We have done this several times, but I almost forgot about it this year. Thankfully, some friends mentioned that they went.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Monthly fellowship

Our monthly potlucks at church are a lot of fun. We often invite some of the other small congregations and some friends who belong to other churches to join us after their service. Good food, good friends, good fellowship!


Living Nativity

A local church does a Living Nativity every year. I was excited to take the kids to see it because they have never been to one. In fact, I was a kid the last time I went to something like this. It was a very special time. I hope to make it a family tradition.

Afterwards the kids were very excited to pet the animals. They were also quite pleased about the hot cocoa and cookies. We also ran into some friends who came for the next showing.


Games, Games, Games

We have been playing lots of games lately and plan on more because we are getting new ones for Christmas!

Frank and I enjoyed playing Battle Sheep several times. I have also played this game against Alex several times recently. It is a very fun game that has been played many many times and we have had it for less than a month!

I bought Carcassonne with some Christmas money I received. Since I picked it out I did not wait until Christmas to play it. It is a tile matching game and you get points for completing roads, cities, and fields. There are a lot of expansions, in fact two expansions were also included in the box I bought. I did not know if Sabrina would like this game or not, but she enjoyed it very much. We only played it once so we haven't yet figured out the strategy behind it and really just got a feel for the game. I think we will be playing it quite a bit.


We also played Kids on Stage Charades, which is a game I recently picked up at the thrift store. In this game the player spins the spinner which tells him which type of card to choose; Action, Animal, or Object. Without letting the other players see the card the player acts out what is on the card.  I like that it has pictures as well as words so even nonreaders can play. We have never played Charades as a family, but both kids love to act so they really enjoyed it.

I brought it to the church potluck for the kids to play, but I do not know if they played it or not. I plan on bringing it next time.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Benefits of Reading Aloud

Reading aloud to children has many, many positive benefits such as:

Larger vocabulary
Increased attention span
Listening level is higher than reading level
More likely to read for pleasure
Bonding with shared stories
Improved comprehension
Models fluent reading...

A wonderful resource for learning more about reading aloud as well as a book list is The Read Aloud Handbook. I highly recommend it.
Some of our personal favorite read alouds are:
Nim's Island, Nim at Sea, Rescue on Nim's Island
In Grandma's Attic (Christian series 1-4)
Caddie Woodlawn, Magical Melons (renamed Caddie Woodlawn's Family)
Little House on the Prairie (series)
Castle in the Attic
Milly Molly Mandy (series)
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Racso and the Rats of NIMH
The Ordinary Princess
Abel's Island
Rikki-tikki-tavi (a story from The Jungle Book)

Games- Teaching the kids to play Dominos

I recently picked up a travel size pack of Dominos at the Dollar Tree. They are very good quality for a dollar, (nice tiles, and have stickers that I don't think will come off) and perfect for taking with us when we go camping. They will also fit nicely into the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child next year.

Yesterday I spent a little time teaching both kids how to play. I think Alex liked it more than Sabrina.


Christmas Carols at Ethel M Chocolate Factory

Last night we met the choir from our mother church at Ethel M Chocolate  Factory. The chocolate factory has a cactus garden that they light up for Christmas every year and thousands of people come to see it. They allow us to sing and to pass out fliers inviting people to church. They even give those who participate a small bag of chocolate.

Of course, I took the kids to look at the lights and to do the tour. (I don't have a picture of Frank, but he was there too.)