Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Family favorite building toy...

For Bennett's birthday earlier this year, he received a set of Magformers. I had never heard of them before but I sat down upon pulling them out of the box and I was hooked. We spent the morning building and destroying. When Hunter got home later that day he scoured through the idea book that came with it and he was building the coolest things in no time. It had us captivated from three-years-old and beyond - that is a successful toy in my book!

The favorite thing to build is the ball. It's gets tossed back in forth until it breaks. It gets dropped off the stairs getting higher and higher until the catcher breaks it. Everyone always wants possession of the ball!
Life with Fingerprints: Magnetic Building Toys, Magformers
We are a mechanical family that loves building toys. We've got legos and blocks and even some magnet building toys. But nothing compares to the Magformers. Throughout the year, that toy seemed to be pulled out with every visitor we've had and everyone had the same reaction - "I've never seen these, but they're really cool." I joke that I'm an unpaid salesman for them!

I contacted the company recently and shared my love and experience and they sent me a new set to try out - Magnets in Motion.
Life with Fingerprints: Magnetic Building Toys, Magformers
This combines the ease of building with magnets but uses a gear system to create movement.
Life with Fingerprints: Magnetic Building Toys, Magformers
It takes the building to a whole new level! You can combine sets to make something even more grand. What's funny is we have an educational gear set and I always wished that they were magnetic so they could be used on vertical surfaces. Magnets in Motions is geared towards an older audience, it's perfect for Hunter. Bennett is a little young to set up the gears on his own, but once they're set up he loves making them move.
Life with Fingerprints: Magnetic Building Toys, Magformers
Life with Fingerprints: Magnetic Building Toys, Magformers
Life with Fingerprints: Magnetic Building Toys, Magformers
Life with Fingerprints: Magnetic Building Toys, Magformers
If you're new to Magformers I would recommend a basic set to start out with. These sets are a little pricey but they are worth it. We haven't had any problems or had any break and my kids are dropping them off stairs!

Seriously - just check out the reviews on Amazon. They've been reviewed hundreds of times with glowing recommendations, check some out here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ornament Graveyard...

Here's the first casualty of the holiday season...unfortunately it wasn't the last.
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In fact, we've had many casualties this year and I can't bring myself to throw away any of them. There's a corner on our kitchen counter that is currently serving as the ornament graveyard. A spot I put things I want/hope to fix - but in all likelihood they will sit there until I'm boxing up Christmas and at that point I'll be tired of seeing them and I'll throw them away without so much as another look.

I've made note as to how many ornaments I need to buy this year to break even. As well as a wreath. And lights. And a Christmas picture. It's been a rough year for the holiday decorations!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Family rappel...

Back in our dating days, Steve and I worked at a recreation resort in Zion National Park. For a summer we pretended like we were outdoorsy! And although most of it didn't stick, we did fall in love with the beauty of the park...as well as rappelling.

Our friends here in Arizona share our love for rappelling (although they embrace everything outdoorsy) and we've gone out with them a couple of times. While my sister was in town for Thanksgiving, we spent one morning rappelling.

Hallie has been before and she was anxious to get started and to go down the 120 foot drop with Steve and then her friend.
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Hunter was also anxious to go, although we didn't anticipate him trying it. Our friend was kind enough to set up a small kids rappel so the younger kids could go down a 5 foot wall. Hunter thought he was so big. After the first time going down he was ready to conquer something bigger.
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I knew he was capable of going down the big mountain, but we didn't think he would like it. He begged. He wanted to go down so bad. It was one of those moments as a parent that you think, "Kid, you have no idea how scared you're going to be once we get to the top of that mountain, there's no way you'll want to go down." So I agreed to go with him (going down with a kid takes some serious work and upper body strength because you're helping them out the whole time, and they don't typically come off that mountain very quickly!)

We climbed to the top and he looked out over the edge. I kept giving him every out - we could easily walk back down. But he insisted he wanted this so bad. We waited our turn and as we started to get harnessed up I thought he might start to get nervous. I was still trying to talk him out of it. But in all reality, he could do it physically and he was willing mentally and I knew he would be safe. So we went for it. The first five feet are by far the scariest as you back off the mountain and it was right after this that Hunter was ready to be done! At that point, it's easier to go down the mountain than to try and get back up!
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I did some coaching and sweet talking and he did great. My arms were as sore as can be as I fed his rope through slowly inching down the mountain.
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We made it to the bottom where he could relax. I asked him if he wanted to go again and he said, "No thanks!" Great. He had made up his mind he was going to do it. He did it and he didn't need to do it again! Some things are only taught by experiencing them. No matter how many times I told him, "Its a big mountain and it will be hard and maybe scary", he had to see for himself. I truly enjoy letting my kids make decisions in these type settings where I'm there to help, coach and somewhat control the environment for them while they learn that decision making process.
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Bennett on the other hand wanted nothing to do with the harness and instead played...and possibly ate dirt!
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Cannon was missing his nap time and wasn't too happy but food consoled him!
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Right before we were leaving I gathered my family together for a quick picture. My sister was behind the camera and after we go situated she realized how dirty Benentt's face was and started looking for something to clean him up. I stopped her. Just take the picture - this is how we truly are today; tired, dirty kids and all!
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas crafts...part 5...

We're getting closer to Christmas which means my crafting is coming to a halt as I prepare to send out Christmas cards, attend programs and neighborhood gatherings, etc. Here's my final craft for this holiday season: A 3 1/2 foot star that sits atop the entertainment center. This was the fastest and cheapest project out of all the projects this week. $4.50 and thirty minutes and that includes staining.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Holiday Star, Christmas Craft
I bought the cheapest 1x2 wood that Home Depot sells. Less than $2 a piece. I cut 5 identical pieces and laid them out on the driveway to form the star, no fancy angles, just 90 degree cuts. Once I had it lined up, I nailed (with my nail gun but a hammer would be equally as easy).
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Holiday Star, Christmas Craft
Due to the nature of semi-thick pieces sitting on top of each other, the last piece that I nailed wouldn't lay totally flat. So I used a scrap piece to shim it so I could nail it flat.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Holiday Star, Christmas Craft
Within 5 minutes I had the whole thing stained and my little sidekick never left my side!
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Holiday Star, Christmas Craft
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Holiday Star, Christmas Craft
Most the projects I showcased this week all reside in the entertainment center (that was nonexistent last year) - it took a lot to get it holiday ready!

Check out the other posts from Christmas Craft week
Christmas Crafts Part 1
Christmas Crafts Part 2
Christmas Crafts Part 3
Christmas Crafts Part 4
Christmas Crafts Part 5
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