# Pyramid: Throwback Math Game

This game, in addition to cribbage (thanks English heritage!), were my constant companions as a child. These games also provided an incredibly strong foundation for math facts. I didn’t recognize the math benefits as a kid, but now I realize just how greatly games boosted my simple addition skills, and try to employ them in my own children’s lives as much as possible. I loved pyramid because it was a single person game, but not boring like solitaire. Seriously. I cannot comprehend how people enjoy solitaire forever.

You’ll need a standard deck of cards for pyramid. The object of the game is to remove cards in the pyramid by “making 13”. You make 13 by removing two cards at a time which, added together, equal 13. Set up your cards like this. One card is dealt face up at the top of the playing area, then two cards beneath and partially covering it, then three beneath them, and so on completing with a row of seven cards for a total of 28 cards dealt. The remaining cards are placed to the side face down.

Play begins by matching two cards to equal 13. Like the 5 and 8 on my bottom row.

Since you can only match cards that aren’t covered by another card, I couldn’t match the queen and ace until I’d removed the 5 and 8. Now that the first pair is gone, the only thing covering the ace is the queen it goes with, so I could match those second.

You can also remove any uncovered kings because those equal 13 all by themselves.

Play continues until you have nothing you can match. That’s where your cards on the side come in. Flip one at a time face up to try to match with the remaining cards in your pyramid. For an extra challenge, flip three at a time, but since I’m using this as a math game, I want as many opportunities to make matches as possible. The goal is to clear the entire pyramid. Any cards left in the pyramid count as points against you. For example, if I had my 4, 6, and ace (top two rows of my pyramid) remaining, my score would be 11.

For play with younger kids, remove all the face cards (except aces) and play with the goal number of 10. This is a wonderful way to really cement those all important sum of ten facts.

You can play competing games with as many kids as you have decks of cards for. My son loves trying to beat me. No. We aren’t Canadian. Brought those cards back from a trip with my sisters to our neighbor up north. My munchkins both LOVE playing games with their maple leaf cards. Do you have any favorite math games with playing cards? Feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments! I’m always looking for new games to play!

# Water Cycle in a Bag

Seattleites are overly familiar with the water cycle. Specifically the precipitation portion. Yet, carry an umbrella on the streets and you might as well wear a sign proclaiming “Tourist!!”. This weekend during our first soccer games (three of them…how is this possible given I only have TWO children?), my Tennessee transplanted friend commented on the rows of parents shielding themselves from the sweltering (70 degrees) heat, “This is the only time you ever see Seattle people with umbrellas…when it’s sunny.”.  Hahaha! It’s so true!

Back to the point. This cycle in Classical Conversations we’ll be memorizing the natural cycles and since it’s our second time through (how is it possible we’re entering year 4 of homeschooling?), I thought we’d add to our memory work with a little hands on example. I found a great idea (thanks Pinterest!) for a Water Cycle in a Bag that only needed a few supplies, all of which I had in the house already. Easy science that costs nothing? Boom. I’m in.

You’ll need a sandwich sized Ziploc baggie, 1/4 cup of water, a smidge of blue food coloring, sharpie (for drawing on the bag), and a piece of tape. Draw a sun and a cloud on the outside of the baggie, add the food coloring to your water, then the water to your baggie. Tape it to a window where you’ll get sunshine and watch the magic!

If you want to be really fancy, you can label your bag with the various parts of the water cycle, but I just talked to my kids as the process got going. Tiny droplets as water evaporates as it’s heated by the sun. The water turns from a liquid to a gas, but with nowhere to escape from the bag, it cools and turns back into a liquid (condensation).

The droplets that have condensed will continue to grow in size as more water turns to gas, and back to liquid. Usually this process is happening high in the sky, and we know it’s happening because clouds form as a result of condensation.

You can see that our droplets are getting larger. Actually, we were able to watch the condensation happen right before our eyes. Pay close attention to the video and you’ll see the droplets joining together and growing! It’s alive!! Run for your lives!

When the droplets get too big and heavy, they begin to drip down the sides of our bag, leaving trails behind. Precipitation happens exactly the same way when water droplets within clouds get too heavy and fall back to earth as rain. Conveniently, our “rain” fell right beneath our cloud drawing.

Who knew water evaporating, condensing and precipitating could be so fascinating? My kids check on our baggie about a dozen times a day and are making all kinds of connections to how temperature affects evaporation based on their observations. This little project has prompted lots of great questions and discussion — which for kids, is what science should be all about anyway!

# American Girl Doll Tutu Tutorial

My daughter enjoyed an American Girl Tea Party Birthday this year. For the full details on the party, you can visit Bakerlady for amazing ideas and printables.

One of the most entertaining portions of the party included 12 girls making these tutus together for their dolls. Here’s a step by step guide to recreating adorable and easy-peasy tutus for any 18-inch doll. No sewing required!

# Art for Kids Hub

I consider myself decidedly unartistic. I’m not sure that’s even a word. Spell check is giving me the squiggly red line. However various online dictionary resources tell me it’s an adjective meaning lacking artistic talent. So, I’m going with it. My art deficient self stumbled upon a YouTube channel that I absolutely love. It’s called Art for Kids Hub and each video gives step-by-step instructions for simple drawings you can do with your kids. Continue reading

# Cherry Blossoms

Spring came early in the Pacific Northwest this year. The flowering cherry trees were all confused by the unseasonably warm, dry February we had and bloomed wicked early. As a bonus gift from this premature Spring, I received the blessing of seasonal allergies. It’s the first time in my life I’ve been stuffy, red-eyed and generally annoyed over the coming of Spring. Uncool. Beautiful trees are not a sufficient trade off. Continue reading

# Devotional – Truth Is Not an Option

John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The truth will set you free. Such a simple thought.

There was a time in my life when I was completely trapped and ensnared by lies. When I didn’t know what to believe because there was such a web of deceit around me. It was horrible. Truth, however difficult to hear is always preferable than being fed a lie. Pacifying with untruth only delays the difficult conversation. Trying to bury the facts in a mound of misdirection and confusion just makes the truth harder to uncover – it doesn’t change that it is in fact the truth. Continue reading