family · life

Not BJ’s

There are so many jobs for parents. Think about it from the time they are born until the time they move out of your house (and beyond) your job is to keep this person alive, that in itself is huge! But that is not the job I’m going to talk about today. Today I’m thinking about the job of parents to teach children to learn to laugh at themselves.

Yep, it’s part of my job to get my sons to see that life isn’t always perfect and when you step back at some of those imperfect times you will see that life is pretty odd and funny.

One way we do this in our house all the time is with pronouncing words. When the boys were little there were a few phrases that we loved and didn’t want to fix, but now that they are 9 and 11 we tend to point out these mistakes. I’m not doing it to be mean, but you can’t go to school saying things wrong. It’s just not a good idea. Often times they mispronounce words that they’ve read, but didn’t necessarily hear it spoken. Some words we can understand the mistake like mispronouncing countries on in the the former Soviet Union or Africa or some of the smaller countries even in South America. These are words that people do not go around using in their everyday life.

Many times when they say something wrong it takes me a beat of two to figure out what in the world they were trying to say, and then I’ll say… did you mean “________”. Or if I know the word right away I’ll just fill in the word and let the story go on.

Ok so this sounds like typical parenting, but there are times when we just have to laugh at it and those time tend to stick for a while in our family.

I’ll give you a funny story from the past that has stuck. One day Richard was making breakfast for dinner and Blake asked to help. Richard told Blake to get out the bacon. Blake went to the pantry and then asked where the bacon was. Richard responded by saying “In the cold section”. Well, Blake couldn’t figure this out so Colby chimed in and said that would be the fridge or the freezer, there is no cold section IN the pantry. Well to this day we occasionally refer to the fridge as the cold part of the pantry.

At the time, Blake didn’t think this was funny, but over the months and now years he has learned to find this story about him amusing.

I mentioned in my post yesterday about calling Costco “not BJ’s. Here is how that came about. When we lived in Orlando, we went to BJ’s Warehouse all the time, actually almost weekly. Well when we moved to PA, they don’t have BJ’s near us so we got a membership to Costco. Ok, fine, well and good…. so now we go to Costco, but for some reason I keep calling it BJ’s when we talk about making lists and items we need. The first time I did this the boys said “It’s NOT BJ’s” and without missing a beat I said… ok so what do we need at “Not BJ’s”. This annoyed them and they kept saying it’s not BJ”s it’s Costco. I would say yes it’s Not BJ’s. So now we often refer to going to Costco as going to Not BJ”s. There are still times when this annoys Blake (in his book things are right or wrong and calling it Not BJ’s is wrong), but we joke about it.

I want my boys to see that yes life is busy. Yes life is hard. And, yes you should strive to do things correctly, but when you don’t… it’s not worth getting upset about. it’s not worth stressing over. and more times than not later on you’ll look back and laugh.

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family · reviews

card games fun

I’ve mentioned before that we play a lot of games here. We try to play at least one game every night before the kids go to bed. Now, this doesn’t always happen, but it is the goal. So, this also means that over the years we have obtained a large variety of games. Today I’m going to share with you three new card games that we have acquired. One I picked up at Target, and the other two the boys got in their Easter baskets.

Image result for five crownsThe first one is called Five Crowns. This game is called five crowns because there are five suits in this gin rummy style game. The other unique feature of this game is each round is played with a different number of cards. The first round is only played with 3 cards and each following round increases by one card until you get to 13 cards. The other piece of this is each round there is a different wild card. in the first round you deal 3 cards and ‘3’ is the wild card, then four cards are dealt and ‘4’ is wild. This continues until you deal 13 cards and the king is wild. It is played with groups and runs just like other rummy games. Just like gin rummy you have to be able to play all the card in your hand down (with one to discard) in order to play down. We have been playing this game for a while and really enjoy this version. There is some strategy as well as some luck. You do keep score and the person with the lowest score at the end of the “king” hand is the winner. Make sure you read the directions because there are a few nuances that I didn’t explain here.

The next game is called 3 Up, 3 Down. This game is a lot of fun. I will tell you one thing, it Image result for 3 up 3 down card gametook a while to understand the directions of this game. The first time we read the directions and tried to play we were a bit confused. Play this game you get dealt 3 cards that you leave face down on the table. Then you get dealt 6 cards. Three of these are placed on top of the 3 cards that are down on the table. The other three cards become your hand. The remaining cards are placed in the middle of the table. You then begin play. You can play one card out of your hand as long as it is the same number or a higher number than the discard pile. If in my hand I have  5, 5, 9, and the discard pile shows a 3 I can play both my 5s which is nice because you want to play as many cards as you can. You then replace the cards so you again have 3 cards in your hand. If you have 2, 4, 5 in your hand, and the top on the discard pile is a 7, you have to take the whole pile and keep them all in your hand. There are also clear, clear +1 and clear +2 cards in the deck and this takes all the cards out of the discard pile and moves the game forward. You keep playing this way until the pile with all the extra cards is gone. Once all the draw cards are gone you can finally play off all 3 cards in your hand. When this happens you then can start playing your 3 up cards, then finally your 3 down cards. Yep as I said it is tricky to figure out the first time, but once you do it is a lot of fun. We have played this with 6 people and with 4 people and it doesn’t matter it is funny either way.

Image result for no thanks card gameThe final game I’m going to share today is called No Thanks. This game we have only played with 6 people and I feel it is a game that is better with the larger group. With this game you are given a specific number of tokens and no cards are dealt out. On your turn you can choose to either take the card that is flipped up on the discard pile (and any chips on top) or say no thank you by putting one of your chips on top. This game you keep score of the cards you collect in front of you. If you get a run of 3 or more cards then the run is only scored with the lowest number of the run. Each token you have at the end of the game subtracts points from your score. Oh and on more kicker, 9 cards are counted off the deck to begin with so you won’t know if the cards you need to make your run are even in the deck.

I love when we find new games that are fun, simple, quick games. We love card games that keep score because you can continue them over a few days if needed. Do you like to play games? What new games have you tried lately?

**This post contains associate links. Thank you for your support. Please read my disclosure statement here.**

life

Looking into my rear view mirror at my week.

This week we have had all four seasons. On Saturday, we had snow. Sunday and Monday we had spring. It was warmer, but not warm. Tuesday we had temps that reached 78F. Wednesday and today we are having rain… lots and lots of rain. I guess the fact that its not cold enough to snow is one thing. If all this rain was snow… gesh that would be a lot of shoveling. But, it means flooding. We are appreciating even more that we are at the top of the hill in our neighborhood. There was flooding in the city of Pittsburgh this week.

Image result for pittsburgh flooding 2018

This week found me dealing with lots of workers, but the more that gets done the better. The more perfect our new home is for us! We aren’t done, but getting close.  We have picked the colors we are going to paint our living space. My kitchen, living room and morning room are all open to each other. We are going to paint most of the walls a color called cinnamon sugar. The large arch wall in the morning room (second picture is morning room, the all behind the chairs) we are going to paint elephant gray.

I’ve done a pretty good job with my new food goals. I’ve drank 70-90 oz of water each day. I’m eating more fruits and veggies. I’ve also focused on making sure I have protein in every meal, I need to find ways to do this at breakfast beside eggs. I hate having the same thing day after day after day. May have to start making smoothies again? Hmmm that’s a thought.

This week found us playing a lot of Uno. Recently we started playing Uno for points. When the kids were younger we would just play for fun. Now they are at an age where things that are more competitive are fun. And ALL four of us are competitive. We enjoy playing games together, but it can get a bit cut throat at times. The boys love ganging up on the Richard and I when we play games. Yesterday the boys and I played Rummy and Kings in the Corner. They couldn’t agree on which game to play so they decided that each time we dealt we would switch games. This was really strange as you had to keep changing your mindset on what you were playing.

I had to go get my fingerprints done so that I can volunteer at the boys school. The last few times I’ve done this (all teachers need to do this too) they have struggled to get my prints to read correctly. I’ve never had to go back and have them done again, but I guess I don’t have deep enough grooves on my fingertips. When I arrived I realized first that I was there on the wrong day or more specifically week… oops! I did get the results back that same day and even thought they struggled to get the machine to say my fingerprints were done correctly, they were able to get me my results!

The other thing I did this week was finally sign up to take my three teacher exams here in PA. I’ve sort of put this off on principle. I hate that I have to jump through these hoops. What other profession do you have to jump through so many hoops and yet get so little respect? The other thing is I still haven’t decided what I want to do. part of me wants to continue to stay home, there are so many perks to me being home full time. Part of me wants to go back into a public school classroom, it’s what I’m trained to do, and that salary would make life a bit easier. Part of me thinks I should look into teaching at a pre-K, private K or day care center, still teaching, but less stress! Well at least if I get my certification complete I will have choices. So I go in April, that was pretty much the first opening at the location I was comfortable driving to.

Well… I hope everyone had a good week. I hope you have a great weekend!

 

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Weekend update rambles

Happy Tuesday that feels like a Monday! This weekend was fun and busy. We recently No automatic alt text available.purchased Catan. We had been looking at this game since it is often recommended for people who enjoy playing Ticket to Ride. We started the game on Saturday and then put off finishing the game until Monday. This meant that the game lived on my kitchen table all weekend. It worked out since we went out to both lunch and dinner on Sunday.

For lunch we went to Dibella’s, have you figured out yet that we enjoy this sub shop? I actually had a chicken philly salad. This was really good. Even though I ordered it I questioned what it would be like to eat a salad with cooked onions and peppers on it. Let me tell you this was yummy. For dinner we went to Monte Cellos for pizza.

We have been having a ton of different trade people in our house lately. The builder is trying to finish off our list of must fixes from our 60 day walk through that didn’t happen until almost 90s days. We have already had the painter, wood floor guy, heating guy, low voltage install guy. Yesterday the cabinet guy showed up, but we didn’t know they were coming. Then they managed to not have the correct size cabinet doors. Today the electrician, fire place guy, someone to fix my stove top and someone to replace the cracked window.  I’m ready for all this to be done! (I had to stop typing in the middle of this post because other workers came to fill in the caulk on the trim of our slider and scared Dixie because they just showed up on the back steps)

This weekend we saw winter and spring. We had snow. We had rain. Today we should have sun and it’s forecast to get to 74F. I actually have the heat shut off and one window Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, food and indoorin each room opened up. We had to open the windows last night too. Richard was grilling burgers on the grill pan (we don’t have an outside grill yet, it’s on the list!). This set the smoke detectors off. So we opened up the sliders and a ton of windows to try to dissipate the smoke. The boys and the dog were not happy with the smoke detector going off. At least it wasn’t enough to set off the alarm system’s smoke detector and send the fire department!

Colby decided he needed to learn how to form the burgers last night. I love this picture I captured of Colby and Richard working on the burgers. Richard was having Colby put the dent in the middle to help avoid burger bulge.

After dinner, we started a game of Uno. I was saying to Richard that we need to learn some new card games. The nice thing with card games is you can keep them going day after day and still clean up the game and finish another time. We love to play hearts, spades, king in the corner, Uno, Skip-Bo, Phase 10, Uno Hearts, and Monopoly Deal.

Today was hard to get moving. I love having Richard and the boys home on long weekend, but the week always feels off. I never seem to know what day it is. We all struggle to get up and moving on Tuesday. But, at least it’s a short week! Hope you have a great Tuesday that feels like a Monday!

**This post contains product links. Please read my disclosure statement**

Uncategorized

Can we play a game?

I started my children playing board games when they were really young. Some of their favorites when they were little were Uno Moo, Zingo, Candyland and Richard Scary’s Busytown. I grew up playing games and wanted the same for my kids. As a teacher, I was often amazed at how many kindergartners entered my class and had never played a board game or made a puzzle. Both of these fun activities for kids encourage logical mathematical thinking. They also work on being a good winner and a good loser, these are skills that children need in life, that are so often not taught.

P1060965As my children got older, we started playing games every night before they go to bed. When we were packing to move, we had over 2 LARGE moving boxes just full of games, and we play them all. I’m always looking for different games that will be fun for all four of us. We are all competitive, and enjoy winning, but the children have learned to be both gracious winners and losers.

When the children were young we taught them it was ok to lose. There were a few times when we would lose on purpose, but not very often. This is not because I wanted to “beat my children in every game we play!” I’m not that competitive, but they needed to learn fair play. They needed to see that there is strategy to winning. They needed to see how games are really played. So yes, most of the times they lost, and often still lose, but they lost with grace. They learned to say good game after playing when they were very young (2 and 3). They don’t have to say it now, but there is still that implied reaction to playing. They learn to say good move when someone does something that is impressive.

When the children were younger, and even now when learning to play a new game, P1060963Richard and I will talk through the strategies used to play. There is a lot of thinking involved in game playing and if you don’t teach the strategies, they will not get better at playing games. They need to see that you have to often think a few steps ahead and not just move by move. They have to see that sometimes you have to sacrifice one play to set up for another one.

All these skills are ones we as adults use in every day life. We have to use the planning ahead when looking at schedules, budgets and other day to day items. We have to sacrifice one thing for another. We have to see that others can make good moves that might not be helpful to use, but we should still acknowledge the good move.

So get out a deck of cards, your old monopoly boards and any other games you like and play with your kids. It’s never too early or too late to start a love of board games.

Need a board game suggestion?  Ask, I have just a few!