1. The rainbow loom can come apart and you can change the direction of the middle row. If you don’t have a child from ages 5-11 then you might not know what I’m talking about, but my once pretend and building play oriented two girls now spend their break time from homeschooling making bracelet after bracelet. We were watching one of  Ashley’s video‘s (she is the 10-year-old guru of rainbow loom bracelet making) and we couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong, we couldn’t get it to work. Seriously I was an engineer why can’t I do this??? Then we realized it came apart… I’m happy to say that I’m the one that figured it out and my daughters were ecstatic… but I’m not happy to say that it took me almost an hour. By the way if you are going to get your child a loom for the holidays.. get the real deal rainbow loom, my dad bought the girls the crazy loom (the one you get at toys r us) so they could each have one… it really isn’t as good and can’t do as many things, so they still take turns with the rainbow loom. Also my favorite bracelet is the nautique… it looks like chevron and I love the one my girls made.
rainbow loom bracelets2. You can make your own fonts for free… and it’s easy. Sassy Pants (age 6) is reading up a storm and I love it, but we are still doing several sight words a week. I saw that Moffat Girls (this woman is amazing!) had made a crack the code for sight words with pictures of an object of the sound of the letter (ie. apple for a, bat for b, cat for c, etc!) But I couldn’t use hers because we are working with a different set of sight words and it seemed like inserting in pictures for each letter of five words a week would be hard… but then I found Fontstruct. I created alpha code to use with the girls. The best thing is that it’s a font so I just choose it in Word and type the sight words (you have to hold the shift button down because I only made capital letters) and instantly I have a worksheet. Here is an example of our last sight word list ( sightwordbreakthecode2 ). You can download the font here. Put this file into your fonts folder – well just follow these directions. So you have to draw the font with little squares so the pictures aren’t great… the Y is a picture of a yo-yo even though it doesn’t look like it and the M is an envelope (Mail) but neither were a great choice, but what’s done is done. Remember to get the letters to print out you must have cap locks on or use the shift key. I hope you like it.

2. Girl engineers are awesome and I’m always excited about them. My husband and I have been helping at a local school that is starting a VEX robotics team. We have been having a lot of fun and I take my two girls every time. Unfortunately the whole team is boys, just perpetuating the stereotype that girls aren’t interested in engineering. However, an all girls FRC Team came with their amazing robot to show our team all of the cool things you do in robotics and it was amazing. My girls were enthralled and when they boys saw the robot do a chin up and shoot our frisbees they were amazed. It confirmed my feelings lately that encouraging girls in math, science and engineering is something very near and dear to my heart. I have to admit I was a little bit proud when my 8-year-old asked the team question after question.
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3. I love the card game golf ( I learned two days ago). It’s awesome, easy to learn quick and can be played by my 6 and 8 year old. It will replace our Phase 10 days!
GolfHere is the best explanation I could find, but we played that one-eyed jacks are 0 and two-eyed jacks are 10 but they still cancel each other out. It sounds complicated but is pretty simple when you are playing. As both a teacher and an engineer I think it’s really great to play strategy games with your kids, it helps them think ahead and try and hold several factors and thoughts in their heads at once. It also helps them develop thinking patterns and strategies that may help them in other projects. (We also love blockers, checkers, connect four and blokus and we can’t wait until the get a little older and play Settlers of Cattan and Bonanza).

4. I have learned that I can’t really blog and get stuff done and this makes me sad, I’m up to hearing ideas besides staying up really late like tonight.

5. I love making presents… I learn it every month… it’s my happy place and I hope that I don’t ever stop doing it. I made this pillow and little tiny princesses for my little niece. Lil Blue Boo is so awesome and made a free print out that you can use for a box o princesses… but mine were extra tiny so they are in a minimason jar and I had to set my printer to multiple so it made the print out half the size. I also made her a shirt and a chevron L pillow. I think if I had more time this is what I’d like to do, but I’d have to figure out my own craft not copy one.
IMG_6228DSC_0617[1]DSC_0638[1]5. I learned that I really love young adult literature and the somewhat cheesy movies they inspire. Since I don’t have too much time to read nonadoption related books I listen to them on my phone while running. Audible.com is an awesome Christmas gift to give to any runner’s in your family. I agree with Emily F. I think even though the actor that plays Peeta seems amazingly sweet and adorable, he was supposed to be blonde and bulky…  (Throw huge bags of flour bulky!) I did really like Catching Fire though and going with a big bunch of my friends helps.

6. Kristen Bell can sing. I loved Veronica Mars, and I will go on record saying it was the best tv show of all time. If you have room on your netflix que… give it a try you won’t be disappointed by the quick sassy humor and the thought provoking mysteries to solve. But Kristen never sang in it… but here she is in a Disney movie singing her little heart out and she pretty much rocks. And that group of girls and I will be first in line to see the Veronica Mars movie!!!!

7. There are so many amazing advent ideas out there so this might not be helpful but this year I bought Truth in the Tinsel because I’m really learning this month and the past several that my girls want my time not really for me to set up elaborate activities. It is worth the money to have someone else set it up and enjoy the time together and enjoy the Word of God together.