Thursday, February 28, 2013

More Gadgets Galore

Grayson is a gadget guy ... when we needed a new thermostat, I shouldn't have been surprised when Gray brought home a fancy one. The Nest. It supposed to "learn" your habits and make auto adjustments and hopefully save some energy and money (that's NOT why Grayson got it though, he just thought it was super cool). One really nice feature it that it can link with our iPhones, and we can check or change the temperature from remote locations. So if we were gone on vacation, we could kick on the air conditioning a few hours before returning home. Sometimes, if I'm a little chilly at night, I like being able to turn up the heat without having to get out of bed (ok, that statement could be interpreted a couple different ways *Ü*).

Another techno item we got and now can't live without is our Roku. I know there are many options to stream Netflix (and we tried a few) but this one is our favorite! We purchased one a couple years ago, then upgraded as Roku added subtitle options (we love subtitles on our shows) and we wanted an HDMI attachment. In addition to Netflix, Roku works with other streaming options like Amazon, Vudu and PlayOn, all of which we are starting to experiment more with.   Just a shout out to their customer service too. We lost our remote ... you know, it happens (it still hasn't resurfaced). And while there is actually an app for the ipods that works, I did want a replacement. They were being sold on site for $9, regularly $15. I wanted to buy one, but they were out of stock. I asked if they would be getting more in stock before the sale price went back up and the lady I was in contact with said "you know, I have one sitting right here on my desk, I'll send it to you" ... and she did! Nice!

On my previous Gadget's Galore post I mentioned my new pedometer, the Fitbit. Well that was almost THREE years ago. The Fitbit is an itty bitty thing and I can NOT believe that I didn't lose it (or accidentally toss it in the washer with the clothes, there were a couple of close calls). It is still working, but I was noticing some cracks and splits. I wear my Fitbit 24/7 and wouldn't want to be without it, so I ordered the new Ultra. It does improve on the design (there will be no cracking or splitting on this one) and it also has an altimeter, to track elevation changes (not that I do much of that). I also bought Fitbit's Aria scale, which transmits my weight wirelessly to the computer. While the struggle with weight seems to be a losing battle, I really like the feedback my gadgets provide. 

Each of these new items gets daily use in our house ... I love them!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Happy Birthday to Callahan! February was a busy birthday month, both Callahan and Keaton were invited to a couple "late night" parties for friends. As Callahan's birthday rolled around, I told him too bad I was his mom because I just was not up for that! We actually spent the afternoon at the doctor's office getting an xray of his foot. It's healing, slowly. 

I didn't have many gifts for the kid. He got a big bag of Swedish Fish candy, additional episodes of favorite TV series, a couple Nike shirts. When I got a delivery that had some of the packing bubbles in, I was about to toss them to the nearest kid when I stopped ... another gift for Callahan (the kids do fight over them! *Ü*). We had some chocolate cake in the evening.

ahhhhh ... I remember this kid

Here's a link to cute Callahan pictures from birth until now ... 
(Facebook PhotoAlbum)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine Games

Cup Crash
The elementary has two official class parties each year, for Halloween and for Valentines. For the past several years, I've been a room mom ... thus, in charge of said parties. I'm always keeping an eye out for ideas. Pinterest has been a big help *Ü* I actually had TOO many ideas this year, and had to narrow things down to what the time would allow. 

One of the favorites (very easy to adapt to almost any holiday/theme) is Cup Crash (pictured above). Just build a tower of plastic cups, set a line for the kids to stand, and give them something to throw. The kids LOVE it, it's one of the favorite activities year after year. 

Cupid's Arrow
This was the first year I tried this simple "Cupid's Arrow" game. Just load an "arrow" (q-tip) into a straw, and blow, trying to get it to land in the bowl. You would not believe how FAR some of the kids could shoot these. And yes ... I was hit while trying to gather up missed shots. NOTE:  Straight straws, without the flexible bendy part are best, as the arrows will get stuck in the "bend" part. I know, simple load the other end ... but I chose to cut that part of the straw off to avoid any problems. Also, as a q-tip is reused a few times, the cotton expands and sometimes then gets stuck, so have plenty of q-tips so you can throw them away after a few uses. I was happy to find these cute pink ones for our party.

My other stations were games I purchased from Oriental Trading Co ... between all the kids and the various classes, I know a small investment will get a lot of usage. Our other stations were:
Other games I was considering were ...
  • Don't Eat Pete (very cute free printable here)
  • Candy Stack (see who can stack conversations hearts the highest)
  • Chopstix&Hearts (use pencils as chopsticks to move candy hearts, who can get the most?)
  • Heart Lava (kids must use two large cut out hearts to race across the room)
  • Balloon Paddle: Make paddles with paper plates taped to sticks. Have the kids try to keep a balloon up in the air, don't let it hit the ground. 
  • Bingo (I have yet to find a Valentine set I really like)
I always like to have little extras on hand, to fill in if there is extra time (there was NO extra time at this party!)...  a word search, decoder game, or hidden picture (sign up for Highlights free PDFs every month, they are great). 

I happened to hit the store the day after Valentines and I couldn't help it ... I had to pick up some sale stuff for NEXT year (and the years to come). Maybe a puzzle center, who can assemble theirs first? Tiny tops, ... who can spin theirs the longest. Little frogs for a jumping race, stretchy hearts to flip, frisbees to try and land in a bucket or on a heart target. Make a ring toss game with heart bracelets and pencils (and plenty of pencils to use in the heart chopstix game above too).  This might be too much fun to keep in the classroom, maybe we need to host a valentine party at home too!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be Mine, Valentine

A couple years ago I took snapshots of the kids for their Valentine Day cards (see post HERE).  Landon surprised me this year by asking to do it again. So when he got home from school, I had him pose, I did it up digitally and uploaded it to a 1-hour place (as this was this night before the big day).  I think they turned out cute. 

There was another surprise Valentine's Day morning ... 
at 6:30 am, we had a visitor! Maga!

 We loaned her some of our cute glasses ...

The little boys were still asleep.
I told her she could go wake them up :)

Maga brought over the dipped pretzel sticks. I made homemade oreos, using white cake mix instead of devils food. I added some red food coloring to the dough. Even though it was NOT a strawberry cake mix, or any added flavor ... being pink, they seemed to taste a little fruity.

Gray brought me a box of chocolates ... he knows he can't get any ol' box, as I'm super picky. He has to go to one of the specialty shops and hand pick only the kinds he knows I like. The box is empty. I guess he was successful. Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lots of Legos

We've got a LOT of legos ... we pretty much have a room devoted to them (it was actually my scrapbook room, but when I didn't scrapbook for a couple years, the kids figured they could leave their lego creations out on the unused tables).

You probably know about Grayson's hobby ... Pinewood Derbies. Well, Gray found a site selling Lego/Derby wheel sets. It's basically just a lego block, with holes drilled in the sides, and special screw axles added to attach the traditional Pinewood Derby wheels.  He purchased several sets, thinking this would be a fun addition to any derby (or a fun activity all on its own).   He figured he could just raid our Lego stash ...

Funny how what LOOKS to be a TON of Legos, doesn't actually go that far (that and my boys weren't willing to have their creations broken down, especially when Dad indicated they might not even be getting the blocks back). So ... I jumped online and looked for lots of Legos on Ebay. They are still dang expensive! I'd watch and wait, trying to get them for around $7 a pound. I picked up a couple sets (about 10 pounds each).  The boys did love looking through the new blocks (and sneaking some of "Daddy's Legos" down to their own collection) and building some fun car creations. When Dad had a derby, they took a couple of the Lego cars and gave them a try (it's hard to get them close to the 5oz weight of a traditional derby car). 

We haven't tried a Lego derby yet ... but I'm sure it's coming up!

Just for MY reference too .... here a link to the Lego website, which has free online magazines, videos and games. Love Legos!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Off Track Time

Yup ... this was pretty much how we spent our off-track time. Sitting around the house, watching tv and playing video games or playing basketball on our indoor hoops. The weather outside was frightful, and we just didn't feel like going out. And without our friends (the DiFran Family, who had moved a few months ago) to motivate us, the boys rarely left the house. There was quite a bit of new snow ... but the pull of snowball fights, snowmen and snow angels just did not call.  During this super cold season, my boys were wearing shorts and T-shirts most of the time. Colton did get invited to go to a movie with Randon, but that was about as exciting as things got.  The boys never complained of being bored though, and there was only one day where they seemed at each other... they are good boys. I wasn't longing for the break to be over and for them to return to school. Phineas and Ferb was the favorite show to watch, and Minecraft and Pokemon were the popular video games ... and Scramble! The little ones are still quite active, and with them out of school, Grandma got lots of games in during the day these past few weeks.

Back on track now ... the boys weren't used to having to put on PANTS. Although they had been sleeping in, they got up ok. I goofed on their lunches, I forgot who's lunchbox belonged to who (Cooper almost got Colton's lunch, and yes, that would have been a problem). Back on track, back to the routine, back to carpools and homework ... and a quiet house for a few hours during the day.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Trophies or T-Shirts?

The official basketball season is winding down. Colton's Junior Jazz ended last week, and with the final game came the TROPHY. Everyone in Junior Jazz gets an official trophy and the kids are usually pretty dang excited about them! Back when the kids were playing year round in Gene Fullmer, they would get trophies too ... while everyone would get one, they were different sizes and 1st place was bigger than the others.

Several years ago, when Callahan made the transition from recreational to competitive play, our team did end up in the finals. They weren't able to get the win however, so it was the other team who went home with the prize. It was t-shirts. I remember thinking "oh, just a t-shirt, not even a trophy" ... but I think I've changed my view on that!

The boys have received a number of T-shirts throughout the years. In the picture above, Keaton is wearing the T-shirt given after the Fall Superleague. They were actually 2nd place (but had the same number of wins as the first place team) ... both teams received T-shirts.  I thought they were pretty cool looking!

So while the trophies end up
sitting somewhere on a shelf gathering dust ...

The T-shirts do tend to be worn over and over again,
getting quite a bit of use. 
Even bright green shirts like the ones above.
(Spring Superleague 2012)

The kids have attended several clinics too, and often at the end of those, the kids are given a t-shirt. Again, I've noticed my kids do like them and end up wearing them a lot.  Many of the trophies ended up breaking and getting thrown away ... yet maybe my preference only holds for sports. I can't imagine not having a trophy for the pinewood derby! I don't think a t-shirt would quite have the same appeal there.  Also, if you look up in the picture of Keaton above, you'll see a medal hanging in the background (this was awarded to Callahan for his exemplary grades ... hmmmm, how do medals compare to trophies or T-shirts? WOULD a kid want to wear a T-shirt showing his academic prowess?)

What do YOU think?
Trophies or T-Shirts?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Winter Weather

Look at those red, chapped cheeks!
SO cold!

We've had quite a bit of winter weather this year ... lots of snow, the freezing rain, fog and frost. On one of the first big snows this year, Colton went sledding with Randon a couple of times, and then we all just seemed sick of the snow and stayed inside unless we absolutely HAD to go out (the kids were off track, so they didn't really need to go anywhere. They've actually been wearing shorts lately, and just staying inside.)

After the snow falls, the wind blows ... and it "sculpts" the snow. It's a little hard to see in the picture above, but if you look closely, you can see the snow is lower in sections (by the fence and the back gate) and built up into a gentle circular slope in the center.  In places the snow is just an inch or two, and a couple of feet just a short distance away. All shaped naturally by the wind ...

The morning  frost on the trees looks lovely ... and the few times there were blue skies and sunshine could make a world of difference in how an otherwise dreary day would feel. On some of the "nice" days, the boys actually went outside and played a little basketball (still in shorts and t-shirts, brrrrrr).

Here's Cooper and a nice snowflake he made at school ...

Is spring coming?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Superbowl Steak

As Superbowl Sunday neared, Callahan said "I can't wait for Dad's steak dinner" .... I had forgotten that for the past two years, we'd had a scrumptious Superbowl Smorgasbord. I figured I better let Grayson know the kids were counting on a yummy meal. So he picked up some steaks, I marinated some chicken, Gray mashed the potatoes. I actually added a little color (veggies) this year. Yummy!

We invited my folks out to join us for dinner. During THE game we played some games. The little boys "helped" Grandma out on Scramble (even though some of the games were against Colton and Cooper themselves), we played Racko Hi-Low and Progressive Rummy. It was a "super" night. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Junior Jazz Colton

When Junior Jazz signups came around ... I only signed up ONE Blackham boy! This was a change from last year (Callahan was on two teams, Keaton and Cooper were playing as well). This year, Callahan and Keaton were playing competitively with the high school prep team, and Cooper simply did not want to play, and I decided not to push him. So, Colton was our only Junior Jazzer this year (although Landon is reffing as he has for several years now). 

Colton played on a team with his buddies Randon and Bradley (they always play on basketball and soccer teams together *Ü*) and Randon's dad was the coach.  Sometimes watching kids this young play basketball can be a little painful, and some weeks our little team got creamed, but Colton always said he had fun and loved every minute. He was very sad when the season came to an end.  I had my video camera there for that last game, and it was one of the "good" ones ... if you define "good" as Colton making a lot of baskets. See him in action below!

Colton and Crew 
(we were missing a couple kids for the team photo)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...