A Banana a Day

“The anagram game that drives you bananas!”

Resource-Review_logoNormally, I don’t like games. If I had to narrow down a reason for this lack, I would be hard pressed to come up with a solid answer. Generally speaking, I believe most games are just a little too slow for me. Each person must wait their turn before playing, which results in most players sitting around mindlessly waiting for their play. So, when a new game was introduced, you could say I wasn’t overly excited.

May I just say… this game is wonderful! Not only did I like this game, I haven’t stopped playing it since we got it.  Bananagrams is a fun-filled game where the action never seems to stop!

Played similarly to Scrabble, players must makes words with the lettered tiles given. The difference between Bananagram and Scrabble? All players play at the same time! Yup; no waiting. Each player is given a certain amount of tiles from which they must create their own ‘Scrabble-like’ connection of words. Need another tile, shout, “Peel!” Used all your tiles and ready to win the game? Shout, “Bananagram!”

What I appreciate the most about this game is it’s diversity. Beside the standard Bananagram game, players may also play Banana Smoothie, Banana Cafe, and Banana Solitaire. It’s fast paced, fun, and helps add those wanted wrinkles on the brain.


As an educator, I find Bananagrams very helpful. I highly recommend playing this game on a regular basis. Playing with the kids will increase their vocabulary, by watching you play they learn new words. Playing regularly will help them increase their speed and mental recall. Learning to negotiate the tiles will increase their critical thinking.

For the littles, we use this game to simply help them create words, without the necessity of connecting the words together. They are given a certain amount of tiles, just as we are. They, however, are simply asked to create words and play the remainder of the game accordingly. The only difference is their words are not connected.

So far, this game has proven tons of fun. So fun, in fact, that I haven’t even bothered to put the game away! It simply sits on top of our learning pile, ready to be played at all times.

Time to Chime In: Name your favorite word game and why you like it so much!

How Pinteresting: Losing my Marbles

One ‘pin’ a week; that is the goal. Nothing too fancy, nothing too far-fetched; just a good opportunity to finally test out a few of those Pinterest ideas and see which ones really work! Join along and chime in; let us know which projects you’ve been working on and how they’ve turned out!


Summer_PinterestMy kids like marbles. We own bags of them in various colors, sizes, and shapes. Each of my kids has a particular type of marble (color/style), so we don’t get them mixed up or confused. Heaven forbid someone grabs the wrong bag or accidentally ends up with someone else’s marbles in their bag! (laughing)

This week, we thought we’d try something a little different with our stash. (Well, actually mom had to go out and buy a new stash just for this project. I wasn’t crazy enough to suggest they give up their current collection.) We took our new set of marbles, baked them in a pan, and then cracked them in ice!

This was a very easy project. I can’t imagine a ‘pin’ being much easier than this! Here is what you need:

An Oven
A Pan
A Handful of Marbles
A Bowl of Ice Water
Necklace Attachments or Jewelry Wire

As I mentioned, very simply done. You bake your marbles in a pan at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes. Carefully remove your marbles from the oven and immediately dump them in a bowl of ice water.

Here are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Do this when your house is more open or when you have the air running; our house smelled like hot glass for a little while.
  • Definitely wear oven mitts when taking these out of the oven and do not touch the marbles themselves; they will burn you!
  • Make sure to put your ice water in a metal bowl; glass might break and, if the marbles don’t fall into the bowl correctly, you could melt plastic.
  • Watch closely and quickly. As you start pouring the marbles into the ice water, the marbles are going to crack immediately. This is not a slow process. The cracking took about two seconds when we did this project.

Attaching the jewelry pieces is pretty simple as well. If you don’t necessarily care to take this added step, no worries. The marbles are beautiful as is and ready to be played with immediately.

My kids really got a kick out of this project. My son kept thinking he had to be especially careful with his marbles, afraid that they might break if he dropped them, or hit them, too hard. While I don’t recommend hitting them with a hammer or anything, they seem pretty stable to me; there’s no worry of them coming to pieces.

Another successful ‘pin’. We are having so much fun testing out these ideas and projects!

Time to Chime In: Did you complete this week’s ‘pin’? Let us know how your marbles turned out and share your thoughts!

Care to participate in next week’s Pinteresting project? Take a look at THIS link to get a head start on next week’s ‘pin’!

How Pin-tresting: Messy Twister

If you are on Pintrest often, you might begin to notice a trend of “pinning” items, but never actually getting around to completing any! I know this was true with me. To this end, the kids and I thought we would make an attempt to work through quite a few of our “Beautiful Kids’ Corner” pins and have some fun.

Today’s “pin” of choice… Messy Twister!

Messy Twister #1 Messy Twister #2 Messy Twister #3 Messy Twister #4 Messy Twister #5 Messy Twister #6 Messy Twister #7 Messy Twister #8 Messy Twister #9 Messy Twister #10 Messy Twister #11

Playing Messy Twister is so simple. Take a Twister mat, four colors of paint (red, green, yellow, and blue), and have some fun!

Now it’s your turn! Let us know if you play and post a link in the comments below, so we can all see how much fun you had!

Let the Games Begin!

Tonight our homeschool PSP had a game night. The girls got creamed, but we had a blast.

We played several different games. A new one I have never tried before is Blurt! Based on definitions and descriptions, the teams blurt out the word described.

I confess, although I like games like these, my brain does not process fast enough to get the words out of my mouth before someone else already says them. The fellas killed us on this game, five times in a row! Ouch!

It is good, clean fun though and it does help to expand my little brain. Perhaps I need to play these types of games more often so that my processor will increase in speed.

Blurt Blurt 2 Poker Apples to Apples Outside Play

My husband was gracious enough to take the little ones outside for bit, letting them run off excess energy and be ready to settle down for the night.

Now, we are back at home and it is time to crash.

Is there a board game that helps stretch your brain?

An Apple a Day

Little Man PlayingAs I mentioned in a previous post, media is limited in our home. Our children are only allowed TV and “free play” on devices from Friday evening until Sunday evening. Even then, they are limited to how much time they get. At times, it can become a little hard to uphold these rules; especially when we develop mobile apps.

My husband is part of Ayars Animation, a small company based in California that develops apps for Apple mobile devices. To date, they have completed four apps and are working on a fifth. Their first app was the classic story, Jack and the Beanstalk.iPod

Working with Ayars Animation has been loads of fun for him. He was mainly hired to handle the illustrations for the apps, but it has become much more. Now, he has become instrumental in helping to develop future apps and the fine tuning of details.

The Tree I SeeOne side effect of developing these apps has been that we are constantly testing them out. Our children are often called upon to check for “bugs” and crashes. While the kids have a blast with helping out their pop, they are taking in a little more media than we often would allow.

It also means that they are being exposed to the world of Apple. Our children know their way around any Apple device that is placed in their hands and can sync any handheld with a desktop. They know iTunes like the back of their hands and, unfortunately, are up to date on the latest and greatest kid apps available. Pirate Puzzles

We now have a large assortment of learning apps, strategy apps, game apps, and book apps; our collection growing larger every day. The minute their friends get a new app, the kids are anxious to try it out.

Cozmo's Day OffAs it is the school year, I still refrain from allowing them to play with media during the week. However, testing does need to be done. We are trying to find a balance between the two; helping out Pop and yet not have media overkill. It isn’t always easy, but we are learning as we go.

However… It is Sunday and the house is filled with the sound of technology. Now, can someone tell me how I am supposed to get the Angry Birds theme song out of my head?