Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break

Things have been pretty slow and quite, but busy and hectic at the same time.

This past week has been especially nice. Jared had spring break, so we spent a few days in Cresco, well, to be more precise, we slept a few nights in Cresco.

We headed to Cresco on Saturday morning, then just hung out on Saturday and Sunday. Monday Jared, Emma, Gramma and I went to Rochester, MN to stop at the teacher store (which is actually called ABC Toy Zone)

and to see the Triceratops Skeleton that was on display.

We got to Rochester just in time for lunch, and decided to eat at Olive Garden.

It was kinda a cruel place for us to eat lunch considering Emma and I have been on a gluten and dairy free diet for just under 2 weeks at that point. Long story, which some of it can be read about here (it's a long post, and I need to update it).

After lunch (Emma and I had salad, the minestrone soup minus the shell noodles, and sauted shrimp and scallops), we went over to the teacher store. We call it the teacher store because Gramma has shopped there for years, and well, she's a teacher. The store has a great selection of toys, games, Lego, and other fun stuff as well as a huge selection of teaching tools.

Before leaving for Rochester, I told Emma she could use $10 from her savings account to get something (it had been a while since she had the opportunity to buy something for herself). She also managed to earn an extra $5 from Gramma. I wish someone would give me a quarter for every little bit of helping out I do.

So, with $15 dollars burning a hole in her purse and a HUGE selection of model horses, Emma was set. Da, being the wonderful father that he is, spent a large chunk of our time at the teacher store helping Emma with her math.

If you happen to have walked by the Schleich or Papo isle, this is along the lines of what you would have heard.
E- "If I get this horse and this horse, that would cost... $8. How much would I have left?"
D- "8, 9, 10..."
E- "$7!"

Needless to day there was much debating over which horse to purchase. She had it all figure out, then discovered the clearance horses at the back of the store and so they had to head back to the horse section.

We spent an hour and twenty minutes at the teacher store. Quite a bit of learning happened. Emma ended up with 2 clearance horses, and one full price unicorn foal. She was a happy girl.

Which is good, because we never made it to check out the triceratops. By the time we finished at the teacher store, we needed to head for Cresco so that we could make it to Auntie Sara's for dinner.

On Tuesday, Jared and I headed to Milwaukee, WI (a 5 hour trip, one way) so that he could ride at Rays Indoor Mountain Bike Park. We got sushi for dinner so I was a happy girl :) All in all, we were gone about 16 1/2 hours. We thought about staying overnight, but Emma has been super clingy lately still, so we figured she would be happier if we were there when she woke up.

She called at one point to ask if we could be gone all the next day too. She liked having Gramma all to herself.

So, on Wednesday Jared and I headed to Dechora (about 30 minutes away) to check out their Coop grocery store, and their sushi. I love sushi, and Jared does too now. Makes me happy.

Not quite 16+ hours, but Emma was still happy get Gramma all to herself.

Then we came home on Thursday. I would love to post some pictures of our spring break, but I don't think we took any.

Wait, I found some pictures!

Emma and Da working on the Brio Train Set (and eating a banana)

Emma and Gramma cloud watching. So much fun to listen to them.

Hope everyone is enjoying March!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How We Learn- Games

Stephanie, over at Ordinary Life Magic is organizing a series of posts listing tools that they use for unschooling. Knowing that every family does things differently, Stephanie has asked that others share their unschooling tools as well. Stephanie also gives awesome reasons for playing games as a learning tool, so I don't need to go into that (thanks Stephanie!).

The first topic is Games.
Emma and Da playing Mancala

I am going to be honest, we are not very good at playing games on any sort of a regular basis. At the moment, our games are stacked on a self in a room that no one goes in, so the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind" applies there.

I am working on it though.

In our house, games are played mostly between Emma and Da. It seems to be their thing. Da has a lot more patience in regards to making up rules (I tend to be a stickler, another thing I am working on). Da also has a lot more patience with the games we don't really like (but are Emma's favorites).

But mostly, game time between Da and Emma is bonding time. For Da, he sometimes has a hard time knowing what to do with Emma, how to connect with her. Games make it so much easier for him.

I do play games with Emma, and we will play games as a family, on occasion, but I don't like to infringe on Da's time with Emma. After all, if I play games all day with Emma, she isn't really in the mood to play more games when Da gets home.

Besides, we are usually too busy crafting to play games :)

So, here is our list (way less organized then Stephanie's, but that seems to be how we roll).

Simpsons Clue- Emma usually works with Da (cause he is way smarter than me and can explain things better than I can)
Blockus- Emma plays this with minimal help from us.

Pony-opolly- Jared and I find this game very slow and boring, but Emma loves it. 
Guess What I Am- A different take on guess who. 
My Little Pony- She liked this game mostly for the game pieces. 
(Go Diego Go is a puzzle)

Color Cubes- Patterns
Pick-up Words- A different version of pick up sticks, but the person has to read the word as they pick it up.

Scrabble Slam- We don't play the game fast paced, but with help and hints.

Pick-Up Words

Shufflers- We got this game from Gramma, and it is pretty old. Person cards are blue, verb cards are green, place cards are orange. Shuffle 'em up and make sentences. We added our own punctuation marks after playing a few times.

Mancala- Both Jared and I play this game with Emma (not at the same time-it's a 2 player game) Emma requires very little help. I suggested she try playing this game on her own, which she loves to do.

Mastermind Jr. Emma is really good at this game. So good that we are thinking of switching to the regular version very soon.

Rush Hour Jr.- We first started playing this at the gelato place. We quickly realized it was much less expensive to just by the game, rather than go to the gelato place to play it :) We have almost gone through the entire deck of puzzles. We love this game.

Guess Who- Gramma just gave us this game this week. Emma and I enjoyed playing it, but I am not sure if it will be one of our favorites.

Looking at our list, we really don't play a ton of games. Just goes to show, everyone has a different method for their madness!

Thanks for stopping by. If you are looking for more game ideas, head over to Ordinary Life Magic!