Tuesday, April 22, 2014

HTML Web Programming Course for Kids {FREE!}

I just signed Nicholas up for a FREE online course called HTML 101: Basic Web Programming.  It is a self-paced course comprised of 14 lessons.  It is designed for ages 9 and up.  

By the end of the class, Nicholas will be able to produce web pages that include style tags, tables, fonts, links, images, and videos.  It is very basic but what a great skill to learn at such a young age!

Computer programming is such a great skill to have because it is applicable in just about every field of study out there.

"Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains."   
Bill Gates, Founder and Chairman, Microsoft
I took several computer programming classes when I was young.  I remember taking a Pascal class over a summer when I was probably in middle school or high school.  I've taken a few other courses since then including a college level class or two at LSU.  While the specific coding languages I learned are not helpful to me as they are obsolete now, I did learn some great information about how computers work and I developed a good understanding of coding in general. I still apply this knowledge today as I write on this blog.

But don't take my word for it.  Check out this video below for insight from some of the leading computer programmers and engineers.

Interested in learning some basic HTML programming?  Click HERE to register for a free 14 class course!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

Happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny always hides a filled basket for each child downstairs.  But they can't go looking for the baskets until Mommy and Daddy are up.  Here they are running down the stairs to start their hunt this morning.  So exciting!

Nicholas climbed over all the furniture still piled in the playroom from the flood.  He was sure that his basket would be hiding behind the curtain in the playroom.  Apparently the Easter Bunny has hidden it there more than once.  But alas, it wasn't there.  

Our whole downstairs is still a mess from the flood so it was harder for them to tell if something looked a little different.  But Nicholas found his basket under a blanket by the fireplace.

Rachel had a harder time finding hers and even Nicholas tried to help her.  She finally found it on the shelf under the kitchen island.  She was so happy!

The Easter Bunny didn't seem to have as much in the kids' baskets as usual but sometimes even the Easter Bunny can get tired and distracted.

Both Nicholas and Rachel found little plush bunnies in their baskets.  We seem to have a lot of contact with baby bunnies these days so it was perfect timing.

Rachel keeps putting her bunny on her shoulder.  Does she think it's a parrot?

After munching on some candy, we settled down for some Eggs Benedict.  This used to be my children's favorite breakfast but now Nicholas said it has dropped to second place.  Now his favorite is breakfast burritos (which we made yesterday).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace invades MINILAND at LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW

We had a wonderful opportunity to preview the new large-scale, interactive LEGO model displays, chronicling the adventures of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth!

LEGOLAND unveiled their latest mural of the ultimate Star Wars bad guy - Darth Maul.  He really creeps me out!  This amazing mural was created with over 30,000 LEGO pieces and took over 400 hours to make.

My little Padawans had a blast with the thrilling Podrace with young Anakin Skywalker.

They had about 2,000 LEGO minifigs cheering them on in the race!

Nicholas had fun with the Droid Destruction game which is kind of like a Star Wars pinball game.

Rachel enjoyed the beautiful rolling hills of Naboo, with its ancient domed city (made entirely from LEGOS!) and cascading waterfalls. She launched the space ship from the hangar over and over and over again!  We just love LEGOLAND's interactive displays.  They are always so cool!

Make plans now to see this amazing Star Wars MINILAND exhibit.  While you are there, I have a challenge for you.  Can you find this Darth Maul fight scene?

We eventually left the Star Wars MINILAND and ventured out to enjoy the rest of the fun to be had at LEGOLAND.

My kids always enjoy building things with the giant LEGO bricks.  They fit together like real LEGOs but they can make some really big creations with them.

Nicholas loves this LEGO Chima guy.  He even has several of the LEGO Chima sets on his birthday wish list.

We spent quite a while in the LEGO 4D theater watching every single movie at least once.  

They never get tired of the 4D effects like wind on their face or "rain" falling from the sky.

The boys spent most of their time at the Racers station, building cars and racing them down the various tracks.  They could spend hours there!

Everyone loves the LEGO City Forest Ranger pursuit although Nicholas will soon be too big to squeeze into those little cars :)

The Star Wars: Phantom Menace display will be open through January 1, 2015.

Special Offers:
Save on tickets to SEA LIFE Aquarium Grapevine and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth with the 4 for $48 ticket offer.  For a limited-time get 4 tickets for $48!

SEA LIFE Aquarium
◦ Save up to $24!
◦ Available Monday, April 21 – Friday, April 25 and    
  Monday, April 28 – Friday, May 2
◦ Monday through Friday only
◦ Children 2 and under visit FREE
◦ Online only

LEGOLAND Discovery Center 
◦ Save up to $24!
◦ Available Monday, April 21 – Friday, April 25 and
  Monday, April 28 – Friday, May 2
◦ Monday through Friday only
◦ Children 2 and under visit FREE
◦ Online only

Purchasing an annual pass is the best way to play all year! For a limited-time SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center are offering discounts on their annual passes. New individual annual passes can be purchased for $35 and a family of four is $135. Discounted annual passes can be purchased online and in person at each attraction through April 30.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. - last admission two hours prior to closing. 

SEA LIFE Aquarium Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. - attraction remains open 90 minutes after last admission. 

SEA LIFE Aquarium & LEGOLAND Discovery Center 
Grapevine Mills Mall
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway
Grapevine, Texas 76051
Phone: 877-818-1677 

Happy Birthday Nicholas!

Nicholas turns 10 years old today!  Happy Birthday!!

It's hard to believe our little boy is 10 years old today.  What a wonderful 10 years it has been!  We have made some precious memories with this little guy but the time has slipped by too quickly.

Oh how I miss snuggling with this little cutie!

Yet, I'm so impressed with this fine young man and I can't wait to see all that God has in store for his life.  He makes us so proud!

It's been a crazy week for us with the flood and clean up and I really didn't get to do all of the birthday preparations that I normally do.  I still decorated his door with streamers.  He said he wanted green streamers but I had not had a chance to go to the store to get green.  I had blue and yellow so I wove them together and asked him to use his imagination :)

We tried wrapping his presents last night but I couldn't find the tape in all of the disarray in our home.  So I grabbed some sticky file folder labels.  Yes, it is lame but it is all I had.

What is wrong with this wrapping job, besides the labels for tape?  I have always been taught to wrap a present with the seam side down because it just looks nicer.  Stuart wrapped this present and he wrapped it with the seam side up.  He says that just makes more sense because you open a present where the seam is.  This way Nicholas can just open it up and see the top of the present instead of turning it over to unwrap it at the seam then turning it back over to see the top of the present.  Yes it makes sense but it was driving me crazy to look at the seam like that!

Nicholas woke up and of course the first thing he asked about was when he could open his presents.

I love watching my kids open presents.  The expressions on their faces are priceless.

Nicholas had a coupon for a free birthday breakfast at IHOP so we headed out for a real meal that didn't have to be eaten on our bedroom floor.

He ordered an omelette and hash browns.  What a big boy meal.

He used to always order the Funny Face pancake so I was sad to see he didn't get it.  But at least little Rachel still likes the cute little whipped cream face!

We only got a little bit of school done today.  It wasn't really because it was Nicholas' birthday but mostly because I was dealing with clean up issues and Serv Pro came back out to remove their drying equipment. Then we spent the afternoon with a friend at LEGOLAND Discovery Center.  

We still can't cook in the kitchen so we were heading out for dinner anyway and let Nicholas pick where to go.  He chose Rainforest Cafe.  The kids love this place! 

It is decorated like the rainforest from top to bottom.

All around the restaurant are animatronic jungle animals that occasionally come to life with sounds and movement.  I know the picture isn't great but we sat right under the gorilla.  I was really too tired to get up and find a better camera angle.

For dessert we got the special volcano dessert.  It is super big and very yummy.  All four of us helped to eat it and we still left a bunch on the plate!

Happy Birthday Nicholas!  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holding Little Ones

After our Community Bible Study class, we often go to a local Burger King to play with friends from class.  Today our new friend, Baby Samuel came along.  He is only 6 weeks old.  Nicholas hasn't spent much time around babies but he really wanted to hold Baby Samuel.  He thought it was fun to hold him and he had such a gentle touch.

After lunch we went to the park for our usual Homeschool Park Day.  At one point, Nicholas came running up to me saying that another little boy had accidentally stepped on a baby bunny and it was hurt.  He was very insistent that we had to do something.  He had heard the bunny squeal when it was stepped on and it really upset him.  

I got another mom to come with me and we checked it out.  It was a very young baby that still had the white spot on the top of its head.  We have wild bunnies that run through our yard every day so we have learned a little about them.  The white spot means that they are really too young to take care of themselves and need to be with their mommy.  

The other mom held the bunny and determined that it had a broken leg.  We talked to some of the other moms and found someone who has a friend who works in wildlife rehab and another friend who is a veterinarian so she volunteered to take the bunny home and try to get some help for it.

Nicholas has still been worried about the bunny.  He has such a sweet heart and a gentle touch when holding little ones.