Winter activity

What to do on a Winter evening when it’s too cold to play outside? The default activity is play on the computer or watch tv. However, mama was home alone with them last night and changed the mood from passive to active. That’s right.
First mode of business: complete two math worksheets. Get the brain engaged.

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Mission accomplished.
Second: help make dinner. And then get out the hot sauce to alert the taste buds. The second task was actually Mario’s idea. Ever since he tried hot sauce on an oyster cracker at Skyline, he’s been fascinated with the condiment and wants to put it on everything.

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Mission accomplished.
Third: create a game that requires the kids to burn some energy. This one was all Ri. She came up with the Repeat game where you had to repeat the exact slide that someone performed in their socks across the kitchen floor. When that went down in flames due to a conflict as to whether Ri performed a full 360 degree turn like Mario did, she made up another game. It was pretty simple. I hold a dining room chair and they run towards it. First one to the chair wins.

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Mission accomplished.

All in a day’s work

We got our Ri back today and it was so marvelous to have her running around the house. Our first activity was sled riding on Wyman Woods hill. It was quite a taxing event for Ri and me. We didn’t have any traction on our boots ( we wore rain boots) and the hill was icy in more places than not. We literally had to crawl up to the top of the hill from mid-way up because of the ice. People were laughing really hard at our expense. Meanwhile, Mario just cranked it up the hill without us and sped down on an old-school wooden sled that his friend brought to the park. Maria and I broke his red plastic slide within five minutes of arriving at the park when we tried to go down on it together. It cracked in 10 pieces and my bottom was soaked from Ri using me as her sled the rest of the way down the hill.

Ri was not as big of a fan of the sled-riding as Mario. She was nervous heading down the hill and tried to stop herself by putting out her hands and legs and then flipping over on her stomach and jumping off her slide half way down the hill. When she did go down properly, she liked it by the end of the slide but she had no desire to do it more than twice. She was much more happier making snow angels.

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Mario finally joined us after his friend left and proceeded to bombard us with snowballs. He even managed to get one down my pants, the bum.

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The kids played around in the snow a bit and then it hit them that they were freezing. They whined all the way to the car. Once home, they tore off their clothes and got in warm ones and we took down the tree. Yes, I am Scrooge as Jon says. Ri helped me take it down while Mario dropped pieces of an ornament that slipped out of my grasp to see how many more pieces he could see shatter. I did make him watch out not to step on the broken pieces….

They eventually got bored with that activity and decided to massage each other on our cushion in the front room. Maria belted out orders to Mario: “Massage my back, go higher, get my arm, now my head….” Mario smartly decided to charge her $20 and then she decided to leave the massage joint.

We got outside before the evening set in and built a snowman. Ri and I actually built it while Mario threw snowballs with Jon. Quite impressive snowman compared to our past attempts.

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After freezing ourselves again, we headed in for warmth. I decided to pull out Maria’s homework with the hopes I could get her excited about it. Somehow, by the grace of a higher being, she didn’t complain and even turned the page after doing the first set of problems. I wanted to set off fireworks.

We got stuck on one question involving a trapezoid and three triangles. It asked what traditional shape the four shapes could make. Jon and I thought about it and drew some things but couldn’t get anything. We were thinking triangle or square…. So Ri and I called in reinforcements – Peepaw and Mama Meg . We gave the scenario to Peepaw and he immediately thought that the shape would be a parallelogram. At the same time he told Ri that, I had drawn a parallelogram. Us Menkedicks are always on the same wave length. We texted the shapes to Peepaw and Mama Meg to see if they thought we were right, and Meg also came up with a hexagon. We are set!

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Talk about a full day – sledding, snowman building, breaking down the Christmas tree and ornaments, and solving math problems. I think it’s pjs and movie day tomorrow.

SumDog

Maria’s teacher this year is awesome.  I really like her a lot; she loves the outdoors, is green, and is supportive of helping out in the community.  She also values the importance of technology in kids’ lives and showed us a statistic during orientation that a majority of second graders will have jobs when they get older that we haven’t even heard of today.  Amazing.

Maria gets a range of websites and apps to check out that help her better learn spelling or math.  Some of the kids in her class love to get on them and play them all night.  Maria is not in that category; she would much rather shoot videos or read friends’ blogs (another cool thing that Maria’s teacher started up).  I have to monitor her at the computer to ensure that she is spending some time on these math/spelling websites.  One site is called SumDog.  It is a big hit amongst the kids at her school, especially the boys.  She was interested for a couple of days but she gets so frustrated when she can’t get to 1st Place that she gives up and moves onto something else.  

Mario, on the other hand, has the complete opposite attitude.  He jumped on SumDog a few weeks ago when Maria got off of it and started to play asking me what the answers were to the math problems.  After a while, I started to give him hints for how to figure out the answers because I could not get anything done while standing next to him yelling out numbers.  I told him to look for a “S” in “Smallest” or a “L” in “Largest” and then he would know whether to choose the smallest or largest number.  He ran with that advice and eventually worked hard enough to get in 1st Place. He was so excited.  Then he moved onto the “+1” series and began counting “5+1” and “3+1” on his fingers in order to get the right number.  Each time I looked over at him, he was hitting 1st or 2nd Place. 

He loves the game. Every day after school, he begs to play it.  I hope he is this enthusiastic about it when he starts kindergarten.  The other night I found Maria trying to log him in under her account so that she would get credit for playing – I really do have to watch that girl!