December 5, 2019

My 0.02: Slimfold Wallet

I've been looking for a wallet which is:

  • Very small/thin
  • Not RFID blocking
  • Holds cash
  • Holds ~6 cards
I finally found one that works for me, the 

SlimFold Minimalist Wallet:

Also available at:

Only downsides so far are that the cash compartment is a little hard to use, but it's still pretty good.

November 30, 2019

Game in Early Stages: Big Bear Battle

Big Bear Battle

Years ago, my friend Joel showed me a video of bears in Canada similar to this:

The bears eat salmon as the salmon jump out of a river.

Some spots are better than others for the bears.  But choice spots may get fought over.

The thought of making this into a game of strategy intrigued me - every turn a bear can either:
1) Move to a better spot / fight for a better spot
2) Try to eat a fish
3) Rest up for a future try / fight

So today while the kids were doing arts and crafts, I was too  :) 

Months ago, I had ordered blank dice and pieces from The Game Crafter

And today I used a label maker to print on the side of the dice.  Each die will have:
1) 2 fish
2) 2 cards
3) 2 dots (for movement)

Inspire by Bunco, Yahtzee and Outfoxed, rolling dice is fun!  As is deciding whether or not to reroll. 

In the next few weeks, I'll try to make a board.  I'm imagining it being something that the bears walk around, and sometimes get bumped back to the start.  But once they're on the good spot, they should try to eat.  Kind of like SenetMario Party, Candy Land, and Hoot Owl Hoot.

I plan to use index cards for the first cards.  I'm imagining that game play is:
1) Roll the dice
2) Play a card
3) Do that action

where lots of cards allow re-rolling 1-3 of the dice.

Spots on the board may also "count" as one of the dice, so that you only need to roll 2 fish on the really good square.

I have yet to figure out how the battle works.  And if there are "jackpots", but I thought it'd be fun to post about a game which is just an idea, and update with any progress if it happens :)

Why the name?

It rolls off the tongue and is fun to say!

Lulu had a bear that she loved, named "Big Bear".

And I had fun once watching Dr. Cube at Kaiju Big Battel and it is a dice game.

November 22, 2019

My 0.02: Books for a K-1 reader

Mr Putter and Tabby is a great first chapter book

Princess in Black is an amazing series, with just the right amount of scary for the monsters.

Dory Fantasmagory is very funny, though with slightly more questionable content.

November 16, 2019

Game: Make 10

This is a game suggested by my daughter's 1st grade teacher, and I made a little variant.  It's fun to play and helps teach quick math skills.

It uses a standard deck of cards.

Put 6 cards face-up in the center (nobody has cards in their hand).

Kid goes first - try to "Make 10" by summing up the value of the cards.  A is 1, KQJT are each 10, so you can just say any of those cards and take it if they are face up.  9,1 will "Make 10".  So will "5,3,2"

Once you "Make 10", you get to keep those cards that you made 10 with.

If there's no way to Make 10, simply add 2 more cards to the face-up section in the middle.

Most cards at the end wins.

November 2, 2019

Game: Breakfast Report

Every night before I put the kids to bed, I tell them that I love them million billion trillion and kiss their heads.

I go back into my son's room and demand to hear the "Breakfast Report" from him, sometimes in a silly voice.  Mommy tells him what we're having for breakfast, and I ask him, and then he tells me.  It's silly, but it's become an important nightly ritual for us, and I highly recommend it :)


August 26, 2019

Fun Book for ages 4-6: The Book With No Pictures

My kids love the "Book with No Pictures".  It's super-fun to read, as the grown-up has to read whatever is on the page, no matter how silly!

August 25, 2019

Great Frisbee for kids!

One of my favorite things in the world is to throw and catch a disc (frisbee).

My kids are currently 6 years old and 4 years old.

A standard 175 grams is a bit much IMHO for that age.

I've had some success with other discs for them, but tried a new one this past week and it was a huge success (for backhand and catching):

July 13, 2019

Growing Butterflies

You can grow your own butterflies!

It's amazing!  There's a kit (above), and you have to pay like $8 for a cup of caterpillars.  You just wait - and then you see them in cocoon  on the lid of the cup.  You move the lid to the mesh bag, wait 10 days, and voila - butterflies!  They are wonderful and beautiful and we watched one hatch!

Then we set them free into the world, knowing that we raised them up right.

July 2, 2019

Game: The Hug Store

I sat in a chair, with my children standing in front of me, and said:
"Welcome to the Hug Store.  How can I help you"?

They giggled for minutes and lined up to place their order at the Hug Store.

We joke about what kind of hugs we have in stock and available - the best hugs include:
*The big hug
*Medium hug
*The elevated hug
*A bear hug
*An owl hug (for Lincoln)
*Turbo hug (lift in air, run around while hugging)
*20 second oxytocin hug (great for showing love with your spouse!)
*The poopie hug (where i hug and make a fart sound)

Hugs can come with optional accessories, including:

They make up their own hugs.

They took turns working the store.

It was their favorite part of the day, despite only playing for a few minutes :)

June 23, 2019

My 0.02: Arboretum

Overall: Solid game with 4 players. 

Design: The cards are beautiful, but a couple of the types of trees are tough to tell apart, especially with how shiny the cards are.

Rules Caveat: You can only score for trees that are in your Arboretum - you don't get points for anything not in front of you.

Review: It's a game of light strategy where you collect cards and play them in a path in front of you to score points.  The coolest dynamic of this game is that each turn you draw 2 cards, and have to discard one (which others can pick up) and play one (in front of you).  There's a tension between what to keep and what to play.

June 21, 2019

Dispute Resolution

There's lot of times when 2 kids each want to go first to brush teeth, take a bath, get a cookie, etc. Having a method for resolving those disputes is key - here are my favorite: 1) Flip a coin. (google will do this on the phone) 2) Rock, Paper, Scissors

Game: Apple-Pencil Game

I played this in high school at my lunch table. Someone holds the pencil, point up. Another person has an apple. Fujis work well. The person with the apple attempts to lob the apple into the air such that it lands on the pencil and sticks. If they succeed, they win, and the pencil-holder eats the apple (but not of course the pencil). If they fail, the pencil-holder hands the pencil to someone else and play continues until there is a winner.

Game: Sock Toss

Don't just put your socks in a drawer. Roll each pair into a ball, and take turns throwing them in the drawer from 5 feet away. It turns laundry into an Olympic event of fun and excitement! Alternate turns. Most in wins. Usually it's one miss loses. Step 1: Open the drawer Step 2: Get the socks Step 3: Sock Toss For extra challenge, close the drawer slightly :)

May 26, 2019

Game: Catch

It seems silly to post about playing catch, but lately we've been having a ton of fun with it.

A few things I found:

1) When starting, a balloon (without a string) is easier to catch than a ball since it is squishier and moves slower.

2) It's easier to catch a bouncing ball than from the air.

3) Soft balls that can be caught with 2 hands are pretty great.

4) Frisbees are hard to catch, though we've had some fun trying with these:

5) And there's always this too:

Game: Stop Maleficient (TM)

In this game, I'm actually Maleficient and I sit on the couch with the coffee table in front of me.

The kids have to throw the balls (we use the red ones from this):

Into the basket:

From behind the edge of the rug.

When they each get all 3 balls in the basket, I am defeated.

Until then, I sit on the couch.

In one variation I try to throw the balls back at them :)