Monday, June 23, 2008

Too much Harry Potter?

My oldest has recently taken to listening to books on tape. I introduced her to Harry Potter on tape, read by Jim Dayle, and she's never gone back. We got portable tape recorders, battery operated, with handles, and now both girls wander around the house in a semi-daze, listening to their prospective stories. Wizard of Oz for the youngest, and HP for the oldest. She's gone through five, count 'em, FIVE HP books on tape in about two months time. And that's after listening to several of them over and over and over and over again. The last one she finished is The Order of the Phoenix and now she's ready for Half-Blood Prince. She gets to watch the movie after listening to the books. I am a huge HP fan. But hearing HP stories and the awesome Jim Dayle's voice in the background almost constantly is beginning to stir higher levels of madness in my house.

I find myself getting lost while driving to familiar places if I let her listen to it in the car. Because then I listen to the story and forget where we are going or miss off-ramps and such. It's truly terrible!

I have even found the words "No Harry Potter at the dinner table!" issuing forth from my lips! Imagine, not wanting to talk about Harry 24/7! Previous to this tape-recording period, I would not imagine not wanting to discuss Ms. Rowling's series til my children graduated from college (a yet distant dream). But now, I find myself with little to say on the matter as my child has asked all sorts of questions and upon watching the movies again with her or hearing certain parts of the story, I find myself nearly in tears over parts about love and friendship or involving characters who are not yet dead.

She listens first thing in the morning. While getting ready for bed. While taking a bath. This last is a problem as it causes her to take an undue amount of time preparing for the bath and then relaxing in the bath while not much bathing gets done, or done rather slowly. This proves to be a problem not only for the other bathers but also because we are currently in a drought and the less water used the better.

And I have even banned HP as a punishment when nothing else phases her! "What?! You hit your sister while watching Order of the Phoenix? You have to wait til tomorrow to finish the movie! There will be no sister-hitting over a movie, no matter which movie it is." "I don't care that she was being a pain and waving her fanny at you!" "No, I don't care that she was kicking you at the same time." "(youngest's name), don't kick your sister or wave your fanny at her!" And so on. Or I'll take her tape recorder away for some particular insolence. Oh boy, that brings the tears on like only taking away a beloved privilege or playtime with a friend can do.
So, I think I'm happy that they've discovered the world of books on tape, because it certainly is a marvelous one that I enjoyed growing up, and still do. But, is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? The sound of silence is precious amid the otherwise noisy voices and sound effects of literary cacophony. Fortunately, they have lots of other activities that cause them to run around, swim, hang upside down, climb walls, paint pictures, and such, so they haven't turned into complete turnips listening to books on tape all the time.

When it comes to audio books, old-fashioned cassettes are the best because you can stop and start them just where you want. Small, portable CD players with speakers are hard to find. I haven't seen any. My own CD player needs to be hooked up to ungainly but small speakers to be heard without headphones. The plug-in type of CD player loses its place when you stop it or remove power. Audio books must be stopped and started at the exact same spot. Even my ipod pales in comparison with the humble tape player for ease of use and portability, without requiring head phones. I hope they never do away with cassette tapes. I love my tape player!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In other surfing, I came across this lovely scarf while reading my amigurumi yahoo bulletin board and thought the colors, the photograph, was just really lovely. Looks very soft and would make a cozy, loving gift. From etsy shop Curls of Sunshine.

My good buddy at Keiki Gifts gave my younger thing Zooreka for her 4th birthday recently. At first I thought, "uh, parts" but then I thought, "ok, not that many". So we sat down to learn to play. It is supposed to be for ages 8 and up, but after a good deal of cheating on the 4 year old's part (she just loved to throw those die), she settled down and now plays with her 7 yr old sister and myself quite well. It is a very good game! Fairly simple and after weeks of play, I discovered that exchanging food, animal, and shelter cards at the Trading Post can teach some algebra. One animal card = 3 food cards, one shelter card = 2 animal cards, therefore, if you have 6 food cards, you can trade them in for 2 animal cards. And, if you want to buy a zoo exhibit (naked rats, tortoise, orangutan, etc.), you can with just food and animal cards even though you don't have exactly 1 shelter, 2 animal, and 4 foods.

And then, there's GAMBLING!!! Okay, educationally speaking, it's really basic probability. The resource dice does not have random pictures on it as I originally thought. Since shelter is the most valuable, equal to 2 animals or 6 foods, it appears only once on the dice. Food, having the smallest value (like a penny), appears 4 times on the dice. Part of collecting resource cards is placing your token, or bet, on one of the resource pictures you hope the dice to roll to. So, although you are likely to roll a food (banana), are you gonna bet on the smallest value or the largest, shelter (tree), or the mid-value animal (paw print). It's pretty neat. And great to discover that aspect on your own, as opposed to explaining to players at the very beginning. They will probably get that all on their own. But my esteem of this game shot way up when I figured that out. Neat and a definite value. I can play Zooreka every day with those aspects!

Thank you, Keiki Gifts!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

This is the most awesome site I have seen in a long time. Great kid and parent projects, inspired by single parenting and things dads like to tinker with. Free pdf downloads of clear, simple instructions for a lot of really amazing stuff. Dads Can Do dot com. Wonderful Harry Potter stuff section. Amazing, simple, beautiful wands! And mini-spell book! And quills! Oh my!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

There's so much going on with the internet now, I just barely have time to check and respond to email nowadays. That and my computer has trouble reading my camera's memory card. So putting images on the net has been challenging. Haven't been reading or commenting on anyone's blog for a long time. Must get back on the writing horse and put some articles together - for the Hawaii WAHM blog and our state's 4H newsletter on the joys and challenges of camping with 3-6 year olds almost monthly.

I love to write and comment but I've been trying to keep computer time down to a minimum, handling MOMS Club board duties, organizing things, email, keeping track of our family's calendar, etc. I even stopped shopping online!!! (horrified gasp) That's really a good thing because I didn't know I loved to shop until I started doing it online. Yarn. Books. Craft stuff. It was out of control. With no children nagging and clinging to my parts, I could look and click and buy now at will. Wow. Talk about addictive, destructive behaviors. It's a good thing I never got into physically destructive things, cuz shopping online is bad enough.

It's hard to think about business things when there's so much family things to fill a life! Geesh. I marvel at women who were able to be SAHMs and then pull their heads and bodies out of full-time child care to join or rejoin the business world. Out. There. I don't even know if I could do THAT again. I mean, I shall never don pantihose and heels again. NEVER. Not even if it paid half a million dollars a year. And makeup, daily?! Like with face stuff...whatchu call, ummm, foundation? Nuh uh. Blech. To the male coworkers, I'd just say, "you first!" Women already have to sit to pee, lose bodily fluids on a regular basis, and wear extra underwear. We don't need to walk on unsteady sticks, yank on tight, uncomfortable stretchy stuff over our legs, AND spend our precious dollars on makeup and hair products too. Am I a feminist? Dunno. Did tell my oldest that she didn't even have to shave anything if she no like. We'll see how that goes.

Eh, aloha, you all. (You one, J?) ;) Got a family thing to work on before I try to stay up way too late watching the season finale of Grey's Anatomy and knitting socks or sewing cinch sacks. Kam swapmeet tomorrow morning for cheap, fresh carrots and cucumbers. I get wacky if I don't eat enough cucumbers. Sorry no peetchas today. Next time.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

We have decided that it was not a Hawaii Creeper as originally thought but a Mejiro, or Japanese White-Eye. The main differences being the Mejiro is the most common bird in Hawaii(!!!) and has white around its eyes, whereas the Hawaii Creeper is endangered and has black around its eyes. The Mejiro turns out to be a good bird to tame, very friendly and adaptable.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Want a fun game with real Local flavor? Try my new game "No Say Dat!" Local people, phrases, food, music and places are all listed on laminated cards with Zzzz words beneath. Try and describe the Target word, without using any of the words on the card. Website, pictures, two editions, templates, and PDFs all available from You can also visit the forum to see reviews and get ideas for other games to play using the game cards.

Last week we found a baby bird on the ground, blown out of its nest. I wasn't up to personally trying to feed the baby every few hours as my mom has successfully done, so instead I put it in our spare bird cage with the door open and a few potted plants to break the wind and help it feel more secure. For one whole day, its parents visited and even entered the cage to feed it, but my husband thinks it was seriously injured in the fall and as a result, the parents stopped feeding it after the first day. I found the little bugger make on the second day and disposed of the body before my girls saw its poor little lifeless body. Today we finally figured out what kind of bird it was. As a homeschooling assignment my daughter was to find and identify the bird on the Net. I'm reasonably sure it was a Hawaii Creeper.

Photo credits:
Hawaii Forest and Trail This site has some beautiful, closeup bird pictures.

In Jay Conrad Levinson's updated Guerrilla Marketing, he says an effective business blog has at least 3 postings a week. Jayne has nudged me into renewing my blog's activity by linking to it on her Hawaii WAHM site. Thank you, Jayne!