It’s Marbleous!

When was the last time you played marbles? Have you ever played? Marbles is an inexpensive, fairly simple but fun activity for your children to play.
I personally do not recall playing marbles. I do remember watching other kids play the game when I was younger. My mom says I did play but I don’t remember it. When I think back on the other children playing, it always seemed like it took such skill and dexterity to shoot that marble and hit the other marbles.

One of the electives available for the Bear Scouts is marbles. Since we have completed just about all of our required adventures, I figured it was time to have a little bit of marble fun; therefore, the other night at Scouts, I taught the Bears how to play marbles. We played three different games. The first was marble toss. This was a simple game where you toss marbles into an egg carton and collect points based on where the marble landed. Another game, Archboard, required the boys to hold the marble in the traditional way and shoot it through the arches of a cardboard bridge structure. The last game and maybe the most fun game was just plain old marbles which is really called Ringer. We made a circle or a ring and the boys placed their marbles inside the circle. Each boy took a turn using his shooter marble to eliminate the other boys’ marbles from the circle.

The first thing I discovered is that none of the boys had ever played marbles. The second thing I discovered is that they loved playing marbles. They had so much fun that they didn’t want to stop when it was time to do something else.
If we’re ever at a point where our kids are not spending enough time away from their screens, pull out a bag of marbles (available at the dollar store) and have a bit of fun.

And the Winner is…

I was having a conversation with one of my grandsons the other day. He was playing a new video game and had just progressed to the next level. I noticed the next level would require him to fight a female player. I said to him, “You will never be able to win this level.” He said, “Why not?” My response, “Because you are not allowed to hit a girl.” He said, “What?! That’s not true.” I explained to him that it was indeed true in real life. Men are never supposed to hit women.

After this brief conversation, I began to think about how many of our young men have never been told they should not hit women? How many of our young men have never been told to be kind to women? How many of our young men are not being taught how to act like gentlemen? So many of the niceties of life seem to be lost. I consider myself a modern woman; however, I still appreciate a man holding a door open for me or offering me his seat on the train.

Think about it. Our grandchildren spend a lot of time watching movies and videos and playing video games where they are constantly being shown images that are not necessarily in alignment with what our family values are. It is imperative that we share early and share often the values that are important to us. I am thankful for my husband who is daily trying to impress upon our grandson what it means to be a gentleman and decent human being. Every day brings a new revelation and a new challenge but like the video game characters, we keep coming back because we are in it to win it.

The Tea Effect

The Tea Effect

How many of you have grandchildren who will eat pretty much anything? Consider yourself blessed. Our eldest grandson CJ is one of the most finicky eaters I have ever encountered. Most of the time, he will eat anything as long as it has cheese on it and is called pizza or has breading and is called chicken fingers. Of course, I am exaggerating; however, the truth is not far from this.

Recently, his grandfather had been working with him to increase his knowledge and use of table etiquette. The culmination of this education was a holiday tea party. My husband and grandson took a couple of weeks to plan for the big event. They even created a menu and ordered special blue teas from our favorite tea source- It was to take place the weekend before Thanksgiving.

The day of the holiday tea arrived. In addition to the blue teas, there was a beautiful display of fruit, mini grilled cheese sandwiches, triangular chicken salad sandwiches, zudles (zucchini noodles) in cream sauce, rainbow cake, danish, and cookies. No scones. I am not a fan. As expected, my grandson took two grilled cheese sandwiches, a couple of strawberries and a spoonful of blueberries. What took place next shocked us all! He reached over and took one chicken salad triangle. No one said a word and pretended like it was not unusual. When he started eating it, we all looked at each other; expecting him to put it down and say something to the effect of, “I still don’t like chicken salad.” However, that is not what happened. He gobbled down the whole triangle and proceeded to take another.

Of course, the tea was a success but not for the reason we expected. Was CJ willing to eat something different because it was wrapped in a different setting like the tea party?

The following day, CJ and some other family members were taking a road trip to visit family for Thanksgiving. Like many families, we always pack snacks to take with us and I thought it would be nice for him to have his own snacks so he would not need to bother his father with the “I’m hungry” song. As I began packing his snack he went to the refrigerator and pulled out the chicken salad to make himself a sandwich to take on the trip. I never mentioned the fact that I had asked him at least three times in recent memory whether or not he wanted a chicken salad sandwich only to hear, “Yuck! I don’t like chicken salad.” I didn’t say anything about the fact that chicken salad contained mayonnaise and onions- two of his not so favorite things. I just smiled at the fact that he now likes chicken salad. That means there is hope for the future. Maybe next time we can get him to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The Age of Technology

The other day, my eldest grandson mentioned that he wanted to call his cousins and video chat. His cousins live a few hours away and they don’t get together anywhere near enough. Of course, I said, “OK. Let’s give them a call.” Unfortunately, they weren’t at home and the call went unanswered. We went about our day.

A bit later, I was checking email and noticed that we’d received a response to our earlier attempt at chatting. My daughter messaged us that the kids would be available soon. My grandson noted the time stamp of the message and said, “That was 22 minutes ago! That means they should be ready now! He called again and they answered. Today was a Batman adventure day and both households had bat caves and various Batman figures. Catwoman was even purring around at some point.  It was hilarious watching them trying to shoot batarangs and batclaws through the computer.   I must tell you that watching those three boys play over the video chat was both entertaining and a bit sad.

I am glad that technology is such that these children have the opportunity to play this way because otherwise, they would have nothing. However, it would be nice if we were not so far apart in distance. I watched my children grow up living away from their cousins and even though we visited the family often, the connection was never as close as it was for those who lived in the same town.

As a child growing up, I had two sets of cousins who lived near me. One set, we didn’t play with because of adult family member views and the other set consisted of a boy and a girl who were much younger than I. I never really played with them but my sister did. The cousins who were my age lived over six hours away. We visited during the summers and the summers were a blast but the rest of the year we didn’t communicate.  However, when we got together each summer it was like I’d never left. Imagine if we’d lived closer together.

Which leads me back to, I am glad the boys have technology.   The video chat is better than the phone because they can see each other. The video chat is allowing them to strengthen their bond even though they are miles away. There is something about that cousin relationship. It can be almost as strong as that for brothers and sisters but nurturing helps.  I can’t wait to see how their relationship changes as they get older.

Note: I taught my grandson how to use the chat feature. This way, he can call his cousins whenever the mood hits him.

Eight is Great

This week we celebrated our grandson’s 8th birthday. It is hard to believe that he is already eight. Time moves quickly and I always try to put a hint in a young parent’s ear to make the most of the childhood years because they go too fast.  Of course, this is difficult because parents are very busy working to provide the basics and trying to ensure their children have fun.

For the 8th birthday, my daughter and I took him to one of the Lego playlands. He had wanted to go for some time and we thought this would be an ideal time to make the trip.  Upon arrival, we picked up his adventure pass which gave him additional activities to do while he was in Legoland.  After picking up the adventure pass plus lanyard, we took a mini-train ride through different Lego adventures. This was very exciting! We were given star wands that we used to collect points during the ride.  We used the wand to point at different areas of the screen to generate points.  The train ride let us off back where we started and then we entered the land of Lego.

Legoland is split into multiple areas based on the Lego themes (ie, Ninjago, Duplo, and cinema). There is so much to do from the beginning that we found it very easy to stop at the building area and not go any further. Thank Heaven for the adventure pass (AP)! The AP was really helpful because it encouraged us to visit the different areas and get our pass stamped.  If you go, be sure to stop at the cinema and take in an interactive movie. Once we visited all the areas and had all the checkpoints stamped, we were able to pick up a couple pieces of flair for my grandson to add to his lanyard.

After a couple of hours playing Lego, it was time to eat. The great thing about being at the mall is that everyone can have their choice of foods. My grandson ordered his favorite, pizza.  My daughter ordered Chinese food and I purchased a veggie sub. After eating, it was off to gaming at Dave and Busters (D&B).  Believe it or not, this was his first time at D&B. Of course, he did not want to leave. 🙂 We’ll be sure to bring him back for a day of D&B.

On the way home, we discovered a popcorn store and decided we had to try it. Special treat! Not only did the store sell popcorn but it also sold the candy from the Harry Potter series. Yes, even the chocolate frogs. Being a Harry Potter geek, I was particularly excited about that, however,  we decided to stay away from the candy that day and just focus on popcorn. We let him choose his favorite flavor which turned out to be cookies and cream. I selected salted caramel and my daughter chose strawberry.

We were all thoroughly exhausted after the day’s adventures. The drive there and back was close to four hours (especially since we came back during rush hour). However, the celebration was not yet over. We came home to a mini celebration with just family, a specially decorated cake, and birthday presents which included a cool new desk (Succcess_Station) to be used in homeschool this year (more about that later).

Needless to say, by the time everyone left for home, grandma and pop-pop were done and wanted nothing more than to turn in for a good night’s sleep and we did.