Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our apps

So I had written out our list of Fire apps for an unschooling Mom on a forum and wanted to share it with another Mom again tonight. And I couldn't find my post. So I figured since I have to retype my list, why not do it here and then I'll always have it when the need might arise that someone else would like to see what apps we have.
Some are obviously geared more towards girls than boys but at this moment I'm lumping them all together in one list. And age range I have is 3 - 10.
Remember to look on Amazon for the free app of the day. That's how we have collected so many.
All the apps with Story in their name are great math (not that I care or focus on that) but some reading this might. And so are the ones with Cafe in the names as well.

Newly added as of 2/14/13: 

  • Golden Eggs
  • Angry Birds Star Wars
  • Candyswipe
  • Ten Monsters Come to Call (this is a book that my 3 year old likes)
  • Sling Bots
  • Zig Zag Zombie
  • Triple Town
  • Trains, Plains and Sea vehicles (toddler puzzles)
  • Moder War
  • Minecraft Pocket Edition
  • My Little Pony
  • Littlest Pet Shop
  • Pin Man (free edition)
  • Cooking Dash
  • Where's My Valentine
  • Happy Poo Jump
  • Jewels Mania
  • Candy Island - The sweet shop
  • My horse
  • Angry Gran Run (super fun game!!)
  • Bubble Birds 3
  • Pinterest (online pin board)
  • Brisksaber 
  • Temple Run 2
  • Extreme Road Trip 2
  • Star Girl

  • Monster Park
  • Monster Shooter
  • Awesome Monster Trucks
  • Monsters vs Humans
  • Style Me Girl
  • Word Search
  • Bubbles Burst
  • Shoot Bubble Deluxe
  • Ultra Dario
  • Jewels Star
  • Skylanders Cloud Patrol (awesome game!!)
  • Slice ice
  • Bridge Constructor
  • Angry Birds Seasons
  • Quell reflect 
  • Poke Fish
  • Fish Farm 
  • Air Penguin
  • Flow Free
  • Bubble Shoot
  • Highway Rider 
  • 100 Floors
  • Fluff Friends Rescue
  • Rotate and Roll free
  • Cows vs Aliens
  • Calculator plus (my girls love calculators)
  • Pix'N Love Rush 
  • Lep's world - My 10 year old loves this game. It's like a Mario game. 
  • Fashion Icon 
  • Ebay (my older two like to price compare here)
  • Email
  • Netflix
  • Amazon (my older two are always reading reviews and researching possible purchases)
  • Memo Calendar (super cool calendar that let's you write or doodle with your finger. The girls wanted a calendar to keep track of when they got their spending money - not earned for any purpose). 
  • Temple Run 
  • Little Girl Magic
  • Monster Pet
  • Pet Cafe
  • Hungry Shark
  • The Secret of Grisley Manor
  • Princess Puzzles
  • Cut the Rope
  • Mini Pets
  • Pix N Love
  • Drawing Pad
  • Pet Shop Story
  • Fish Adventure
  • Bird Land
  • Adventure Chronicles 
  • Holy Bible app
  • Monster Shooter - The Lost Levels
  • Plants vs Zombies
  • GoFun
  • Chocolate Kids Game
  • Three Little Pigs  - for younger kids
  • Tap Dragon
  • Kids Puzzles
  • Zoola  - for younger kids
  • Bunny Shooter
  • Dr. Panda's Hospital - for younger kids
  • Robinson
  • Battle Ships
  • Clown Ball
  • Pac-man
  • BT Handwriting Free (younger kids - is sort of a phonics and letter tracing app)
  • Cross Fingers
  • Zombie Cafe
  • Seven Stars 3D II
  • Front Runner
  • Tiny Village
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Restaurant Story
  • The Oregon Trail - American Settlers
  • Tap Zoo
  • Animal Find  - younger kids
  • Wild Animals - younger kids
  • Angry Birds Space
  • Cinderella Cafe
  • Tappily Ever After
  • Let's Bowl 2
  • Bakery Story
  • Alphabet Car - for younger kids
  • Step by Story Happy Family in the Kitchen - younger kids
  • Bing Animal - younger kids
  • FlipPix Art (there are others too)
  • Gravity Guy
  • Forest Defense
  • Doodlr free Ecards
  • The Treasure of Mystery Island
  • Hangman for kids
  • Sketch n draw
  • Fantasy Town
  • Pretty Pet Salon
  • Fashion Story
  • Real Jigsaw puzzles
  • City Story
  • Zoo Story
  • Cute Animals - younger kids
  • Birds the Word
  • Zoo Story 2
  • Cupcakes!
  • Fling
  • Farm Story
  • Shape Build
  • Toddler games - younger children (obviously : )
  • Find it 
  • Giraffe's Matching zoo - younger children
  • Wash the dishes  - younger children
  • Bubble Saga
  • Six Guns
  • Alphabet Find
  • Tank Hero - my son loves this one.
  • Papbatting
  • Monkey Preschool - younger children 
  • Stupid Zombies - my son loves this one too.
  • Furry Creatures
  • Veggietales - younger children
  • Draw Something
  • Jewels
  • Wolf Toss
  • Pandora
  • Monster Stack 2
  • Animal Hide and Seek 
  • Tap Safari
  • Bugs War
  • Stick Fighter
  • Samuri vs zombies defense
  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Fruit Devil
  • Frontline Commando 
  • Agent shooter
  • Bubble Crusher
  • Ice Age Village
  • Down on the Farm
  • Marvel's The Avengers Iron Man - more for younger kids but my son loves this.
  • Bubble Buster
  • Animal Memory
  • Wordsearh
  • Square wars
  • Paper Toss
  • Doodle Jump
  • Blossom
  • Fashion math
  • Greedy Spiders
  • Hamster Cage
  • Where's my water
  • The Mystery of the Crystal Portal
  • Success Story
  • Guess the Code
  • Glow Hockey
  • Speed Anatomy
  • Supermarket Story
  • Flags
  • Angry Birds
  • Notes
  • Fishing fever
  • Math bubbles
  • Harvest Moon
  • math lines
  • Memory
  • Magic Jigsaw
  • Kids Math Tetris
  • Easy Cupcakes

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My husband is Awesome!!

On Saturday, August 4, 2012 a contemplation from my daily devotion was:
Think about a close friend or family member. In what way does this person reflect God? Does some quality or personality trait speak of what God must be like?

The first person that popped into my head was of course my husband Bryon. And reflections of God in my husband began flowing from my hand all over my journal page.
Some of those I will share in this blog post.

I've been married to Bryon 16 years. We met at a bar back in my hometown. Yes a bar I said.
Who says you can't find true love at a bar? Not me, because I did : ). It was one of those moments where time slows down, everyone and everything else fades away and all you see is tunnel vision on that one person.
I went home that night and told my Mom that I met the man I was going to marry. And a year later we did just that in a candlelight ceremony on New Year's Eve.

Reasons my husband is Awesome: 

He is one of the coolest unschooling examples: 
He can totally shred on that guitar. All self taught at age 12. I'm not saying he's great because I'm his wife and I have to. He used what he taught himself as a career for awhile. He worked as a guitar teacher while being in a band full time as well.

He is accepting:
I love animals, him not so much. Before we had children we had 14 ferrets and 4 cats and a dog. Just to give you a peak into how into animals I am : ). He never said no about any of those animals. He helped care for them, played with them and of course helped support them. Many many years have passed and it's changed a bit. We have children. So he's settled into the I want to devote my time and money to my kids, not pets mindset. I respect that. But even so, he's still okay with us having some pets. We have two cats and a dog. He let me pick out Alice (my dog) as a gift one year. She was pretty costly but he said it was worth it if I really wanted her. He is so accepting of the animal lover in me and the kids.

He is a real life super hero:
He's a police officer for 13 years now. Prior to that he was an EMT.
He opted for a brave move testing for a police department 2800 miles away from the place where we called home. He got accepted. And the rest as they say is history.
This is a hard job. Anyone who doesn't think so is plum crazy. He sees all kinds of horrible things: Child abuse, murder, domestic violence, animal cruelty, sexual abuse, severe drug use, and the list goes on.  People hate him just because of his uniform. He's had to defend his life, taking a life in the process. He wears many hats, counselor, protector, sometimes jailer.  He is honorable, brave, dependable, and has integrity. 
A man changes being a cop for sure, how can you see what he sees not be changed? Yet he is still able to leave it behind and come home.
We talk all the time. About his shift, what he sees, what he does. He's not afraid to share that with me. I feel blessed that he confides in me. I am honored to be a police officer's wife.

He is a fun Dad: 
He is the kind of Dad who is always playing with the kids. He is a fun loving Dad. We went to a park gathering yesterday and aside from a quick hello to the other parents, he was off playing with our kids and the other kids almost the entire time.
When our 3 year old got upset at some point, and wanted to leave. He was the one right there stepping in to play with her, resulting in big smiles and giggles as they played together.

He is generous:
He loves to give to our kids, to me as well. He told me that as a kid, if he asked for something, his parents would reply "What are you going to do for me?"
He loves to be able to give freely, not just material things. But of his time. Time with us and not away from us is a priority for him. You know you have a great man when he's texting you from his golf outing how much he misses you and the kids. I love that he does that.

He is passionate:
He still loves me just as much as he did when I was in my 20's. He still makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. Even during every pregnancy when I felt like I would explode. His interest in me never waned.
And he has such passion about life and living. He is passionate about golf. About being a good husband, officer, father, provider and friend.

He loves having me home:
Not in a "I like my women in the kitchen" kind of way. In a, I love how my wife is home with our children, and I love that she is home whenever I don't have to work, kind of way. And an I love that she loves being there kind of way.

He likes me:
So many wives and husbands don't like each other. They are not friends. He really likes me as a person. He trusts to share his burdens with me and his joys. His stress related to his job. He likes to spend time with me. He enjoys my company. He thinks I'm a pretty awesome wife. (his words, I swear : )

He is hot:
This might be cheesy but, when I look at him after all these years. I still get butterflies in my stomach as if I was that 20 year old girl again. He winks at me across the room and my stomach flip flops. He works hard on his body to be fit and strong for work, for himself. I always tell him he is like a fine wine. He gets better with age. : )

He is an amazing provider:
We are a family of six, plus 3 pets. And he works a hard job so that we can live this life. So that I can be home with our children. He loves that we homeschool. He puts that high on the priority list of important things. There are so many officers that have the big houses, the fancy vacations, cars, and toys, and are on the second or third wives. Yet we live a simple life. We realize that the truly important things that matter, we have in abundance.

He is a loving Father:
He didn't have the greatest model of parenting to follow from his childhood. So what he knows and pulls from are things that he would have wanted as a child himself. And he is always open to ways to improve to be a better Dad. And not only does he uses those skills here at home, but he uses them at work with kids he encounters that have some pretty messed up family situations.

He is Patient:
When I was younger, before we had kids, I was a pain in the ass. He never gave up on me and loved me anyway no matter what.
Present day.... the kids play and leave things about. My kitchen always has the "cooked in" look (is that a real term?). Even though he is gone for 10 hours 4 days a week and it would be so super cool of me if I always had the house in tip top shape for him to come home to. He doesn't judge me or harp on me if I don't. He is just chill and relaxed and accepting of me and my flaws as not the greatest housekeeper. But he gives me an "A" for all my
efforts in trying. : )

He keeps in touch with me:
During his shift or when he's out somewhere. We are always in communication with one another. Whether it's just a kiss via a text message or a hey this is what kind of call I just went on. We remain in touch through the evenings. It keeps us connected.

He Prays for me: 
Everyday he prays for me, for our kids, for our marriage. I love that he does that : ).
He prays with us everyday before he leaves for shift too.

He is just....amazing:
Our daughter Skylar was in the hospital 70 days straight subsequent to her liver transplant at the age of 2. During that time Bryon was also recovering from knee surgery and yet slept next to her in a chair bed for 70 days straight.
He made phone calls to the high ups in the police department because the hospital had put Skylar on "internal financial hold". They wouldn't list her until they had a promise of payment. It was Bryon's words that moved the department to act on her behalf. (They have a private insurance plan which is how the department was able to take part in this.)

He never left her and stayed with her the entire time. He advocated for her, fed her, washed her, changed her, played with her, got movies for her, was her constant companion, prayed for her, cried for her, cried with her, was scared for her, was six hours away from donating a portion of his liver to her. And he said goodbye to her the day of her transplant not knowing if he'd ever see her again.

He took 8 months from work to take care of us. I say us, because not only did Skylar need care. But I was a nightmare. I cried all the time. I was depressed and shocked by what we had been through. I couldn't be alone. He sat in the bathroom with me when I showered. He stood in the doorway when I did laundry.
He maintained Skylar's central line with such care that she didn't contract any kind of an infection as a result. He took care of all the medicines. He took care of all of us.


Of course marriage is never all moonlight and roses. But if God had designed the perfect husband just for me, it would be Bryon. He is strong where I am weak. He understands my anxieties and doesn't judge me for them. He is the man I look forward to seeing each morning. And the man I hate seeing go off to work each day. He is the man I thank God for.

I just love him.... and I am lucky to have him and call him mine. And that he loves me and calls me his.

Thanks to Jessica at Bohemian Bowmans for such a great topic to link up to.
Please visit her site to see the other great awesome husband link ups.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Gentle Role model

Today my Grandmother would have been 91. I miss her so much. She lived through the great depression. Raised four children, two of them a set of twins, ran a home, did the books for my Grandfather's businesses, helped him as he held positions in the Shriners and Lions club, raised money for charities and volunteered her time, babysat my brother and myself after school and all through the summer months while our parents worked. Her only sister passed away before I can remember her. She took care of her ailing father and mother, then lost her parents far to early. She was so brave. So kind, so generous and giving. Things she did, she did with a cheerful heart.

I have so many amazing memories of times spent with her.
She made this sandwich on rye bread with miracle whip, melted swiss cheese and boars head ham. I had that sandwich everyday at her house with a side of sour cream and onion chips and a can of soda (back then made with real sugar not this HFCS stuff). She would happily come out to the pool in the backyard asking me if she could make me lunch. She didn't mind serving me lunch on a fancy dish with a fancy napkin and a warm smile.
We had free access to her candy jar on the counter, no matter if a meal was coming. And she was happy to always offer dessert, no matter if we ate our dinner.

She and I would watch The Muppet Show, Love Connection and Family Feud as we nibbled on pretzels and ice cream.

She let me play with anything in her house, nothing was off limits. I got to wear all her jewelry, high heals, dresses, and make up. She let me pull everything out of her pantry to set up a grocery store. She let me use all the coin wrappers to set up my own bank. She even let me play in the fancy living room that most Italian Grandmothers would never allow kids into, where I ate chocolates and played the piano. She would take me on errands with her buying me treats as we went about our day.
She would make me a special plate of pasta every Sunday dinner, no pasta sauce for me.

She was such an amazing person. When I think about a gentle mother, she was surely it.
Every time I say yes to my kids, or do an act of service for them, and put them before myself, I hope my Grandmother is looking down on me and proud of me.

I miss you Grandmom. May the angels be singing your name in heaven today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Quite often homeschool parents are really focused on offering a host of classes or activities for their kids to partake in. Even in the local unschooling community I've found this to be more common than not. Sometimes I wonder if some homeschoolers feel that since their kids are not in school they have to be doing x amount of things with other kids outside of siblings and outside the home. That's fantastic if that's something your child wants to do. But how do you really know if it's something your child really does want to do?

  • Is it something they asked about? or is something you strongly suggested?
  • Are you the parent telling your child, they have to partake in something or they won't make friends?
  • Are you the parent trying to live out your childhood through your child? I've seen this happen many times : (. 
  • Does your child prefer to stay home when it's time for said class or activity?
  • Is it you, the Mom or Dad who feels the child needs to have that interaction to be "normal"? Or that you need that interaction yourself? Or time to yourself while they are in the class or activity?
  • Does your child cry or get upset when you bring up the activity or take them to it?
  • Would you make them stick it out even if they tried it and didn't like it?
Last summer my older girls who are now 8 and 10, expressed and interest in a clay class offered by the parks department. It sounded lovely at first. It was pretty much mayhem. Kids running everywhere, touching projects of other children, rude behavior directed at other kids, at their own parents, parents afraid to say a word of correction to them. Summer especially had a really hard time with it. She got pretty emotional and tears began to stream down her face. I'm not sure if it was just an overload of stimulation with all the craziness happening around her, or if she just felt scared that I might leave her there, or nerves about being with strangers. 

In reflection I didn't handle it well.  I should have been more understanding of what she was feeling. I should have walked outside with her and hugged her and just sat with her and let her cry if she wanted to and needed to cry. I should have used some active listening skills to help her (which I didn't know about at the time). That class session ended up having a good outcome though. My Dad who was visiting, came in the class toward the end and helped myself and the girls make some stuff. Then we left and went out to dinner with the rest of my family. 

Another night the girls and I were talking and I asked them what they wanted to do about the class. They were on the fence. They wanted to use clay but not in the class. And they wanted their projects. We discovered some air dry clay to use at home. And my brother picked up their projects for us on his way to work one day. So they got to paint them at home. These were solutions we came up with together. And everyone was happy. 
The reason I share this story is because I was reading a post from a Mom on Always learning tonight. She was talking about her kids and them joining activities. 
Here is Sandra Dodd's response which I felt was one of her many gems and wanted to share here. The part with the lines in front is the original post content Sandra is responding to. Sandra's responses are in italics. 

---=-, but every time I suggest something, no matter what it is, they refuse to
give it a chance.-=-

That sounds antagonistic. "They refuse" sounds more like you were pushing
something than "suggesting."

----=-Last week we took him to a 2-day workshop at the Apple Store (dh had signed
him up, without consulting him). Ds was very reluctant to participate, and right
before things were to begin, he actually had tears in his eyes. (when he went to
school and when he joined activities when he was younger, he never cried - it's
something new since we started homeschooling.) Anyway, things turned out ok
because they let my other son participate so he had his little brother right
there, and the activity turned out to be fun for him - making music and movies
on the iPad. But……-=-

BUT… why didn't your husband go with him?

How would YOU have felt if someone signed you up for a two day workshop (or a
one HOUR workshop) without asking you?

How would your husband feel if you signed him up for a two day workshop without
asking him?

As trusting relationships go, I think both of you are getting colder, not

-=- ds's behavior has become more extreme since taking him out of school and I'm
not sure how to help him. It used to seem that he was simply uninterested in
trying new activities. Now it seems to be a fear of social situations.

#1, you're making it worse
#2, he was bullied when he was in school
#3, he's 9 years old. Let him be home, at peace, until he himself wants more

-=-Dh was upset when he saw the way ds was acting.-=-

Your husband created that situation. I think any objective observer would have
been on your son's side.

-=- I feel pressure to have them interact more formally with others, to show dh
(and the countless others who ask "what about socializing?") that they ARE
socializing. -=-

People NEVER ask "what about socializing?"
They ask, "What about socialization?"

You and your husband are trying to enforce some "socialization." It is NOT

You should, as a family, find friends and do things with other people. Don't
send your kids out, school-style, to sink or swim in social situation. Be in
social situation as a group, as a family.

-=-and I'm wary of committing to things "behind their backs".-=-

You should have a firm policy and a moral certitude about not committing anyone
to anything, ever.

-=-From what I understand about unschooling, I should let the kids take the lead
and choose what and if they want to join group activities. But I think they're
not giving things a chance and missing out on social interactions and learning
new skills/sports that they would likely end up really enjoying. -=-

The misunderstanding comes from "take the lead."

You should be doing cool things WITH them, and your husband should be, too.

I think you and your husband aren't giving unschooling a chance. You want it to
look like school, where you stay home while the boys are off with kids their
age. That's not what unschooling looks like.\

Let your children be at peace, and grow into their own desire to venture out. 
The more you pressure, the more they will want to stay home. The more confident
they are at home, the more confident they will be when they want to explore.

There have been families throughout history where the kids only saw siblings
(maybe occasionally cousins) for years, who grew up with no neighbors within
walking distance, and they grew up fine.


My kids are friends with each other. They have some really touching amazing moments between them that really make a Mom's heart melt. As far back as I can remember we've always told them that a sibling is a friend God has given to you. My kids have waves of ups and downs just like any other humans. There are times they want to be alone and not play with each other. There are times they play for hours and the house is filled with happy giggles. There are times I find two of them snuggled in one of their beds late at night watching Netflix together. Or times I walk into someones bedroom to see everyone laying and chit chatting about their day so sweetly. 
On the subject of siblings....Siblings Without Rivalry is a great book for anyone who might be having issues with the sibling relationships of their children or to prevent you from causing issues between your children. And even to address ones you had growing up with your own siblings. 

I read a book in the beginning of our homeschool journey called The Socialization Trap by Rick Boyer. Sandra's post reminded me a bit of that book in some aspects. So might be worth a read for anyone interested. 

Recently my girls have each expressed an interest in trying another type of activity, in the form of swimming for one and gymnastics for another. Both sports that have come from their watching some of the Olympics. We talked about it a bit, told them what it would be like based on what each sport is and things they might expect, how to dress, the ages of kids,  and things that might be expected of them during the sessions. My kids like knowing information up front. They have decided they would like to pray on it for a bit and get back with me. Skylar (10) said to me the other day that if she brings something up like taking this class, or getting a new toy, book, etc., if she forgets about it and never talks about it again, then it's not important to her, it's a passing interest. And that if it's important to her, she'll remember and bring it up again to follow through. 

I took a few rabbit trails here, but in closing I'd say. Let your kids be however they wish to be. If they want to stay home and play with siblings, or even if they want to just be alone and enjoy the quiet. Don't try to change them. Even only children (of which I was one until my brother came along) enjoy time alone playing by themselves. 
Don't force something that feels wrong to them. If they want to pursue something, help them do so, but don't force it or direct and demand that they do it. Let them be free to be who they are, not how you wish they would be or how society says a "normal" child is supposed to be. They are perfect right where they are. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Since a new school year is approaching for many

Since a new school year is coming up for many, I thought I'd like this great blog post by a fellow unschooling Mom. It's not just for unschoolers but those new to homeschooling who might not know where to start.