Turning 9 Years Old Really ROCKS!

Rachel wanted to have fancy tea party at home for her birthday party this year.  She had great plans for activities, games, crafts, etc.  I got exhausted just thinking about it.  Sometimes Mom just needs to hit the "Easy Button" and pay to have a party somewhere else so there is no planning and no clean-up necessary.  So Rachel had her party at Summit Climbing Gym in Grapevine.  It is a fun place covered with walls just beckoning to be climbed.

At Summit, there are several walls that can be climbed with auto-belay.  Auto-belay meaning that there is no need for another person to belay the line for the climber so the kids could climb all by themselves after a brief training course.  The auto-belay takes up the slack in the line as the climber ascends the wall and the counter weight gives them a slow and controlled descent.  

It was really fun watching the kids climb the walls.  They were helping each other and speaking encouragement when needed.  It was sweet to watch.

The more challenging walls require a human belayer.  Stuart belayed for kids who wanted to try some harder climbs.  Of course Rachel wanted to challenge herself and she did great!

Nicholas is a great climber too.  He likes the auto-belay walls but he likes the more challenging climbs the best.

There are a few other things you can climb on besides walls.  There is a big net and also this tall rope ladder.  The ladder is challenging because it twists and turns as you climb it.  It does require a person to belay for the climber.  Rachel made it up to the top!

There is also a line that they let the kids just swing on for fun.  Wheee!!!

It was time to take a break so we stopped for cake and presents.  Rachel wanted an ice cream cake with a Dallas Stars hockey theme.  The cake turned out really cute.  However, I had not had an ice cream cake before.  I was so worried about it melting before it was time to eat but I shouldn't have.  We got the cake out of the freezer a few minutes early and it was still a hard frozen block when it came time to cut it.

So we told Rachel to open presents first to give the cake a little time to defrost!  She didn't mind at all.  She was giddy to open her presents!

Although I felt bad for not having the birthday party at our house like Rachel had wanted, it turned out to be a really fun party and Rachel had a great time!  Sometimes you just have to let the Mommy Guilt go and find another solution.  An just maybe it will turn out even better than what you had to say no to.

The Pencil Grip and Ultra Safe Safety Scissors Review

Note: There are affiliate links in this post.  Thank you for supporting my blog!

We were asked by the Home School Review Crew to review some products from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  We received 
The 3-Step Pencil Grip Training Kit (aff. link) and The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors (aff. link).

Rachel struggles with handwriting.  She is left-handed and has always had unusual ways of holding her pencil.  I try to show her different ways to hold it but she keeps going back to her old way.  These pencil grips are a great tool to train children in how to hold a pencil correctly.  They are made of a flexible material but they are latex and phthalate free.  There is a hole down the middle of each of them.  To use, you simply slide the pencil grip on to any pencil or pen.  It helps to direct your fingers into the correct position.  And best of all, they work equally well with use on the right-hand or the left-hand!  There is an "R" and an "L" on each side showing you where to place the thumb for either hand.

The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit

The first pencil grip we tried was the Crossover Grip.  It is considered a training grip.  It has a kind of "super hero" cape over the fingers and provides the most structure and support for proper finger positioning.  It is good for preventing the fingers from crossing over each other which is exactly what I'm trying to work with Rachel on.

The next one we tried was the Pinch Grip.  This pencil grip is more of a transition style.  It has partial "wings' so it gives a little more freedom of movement yet still provides the structure and reinforcement to help the child place their fingers in the correct position.  I like that Rachel can see the correct positioning with this one.  I think it will help her to learn the correct placement of her fingers when she is not using the grip.  This one is Rachel's favorite too.

The third grip we tried was the Original.  It has the least restrictive structure yet still guided her fingers to the correct placement.  However, I did find that she would slowly let her thumb slide forward as if she were trying to cross it over her fingers.  She may still need some work with the Pinch Grip before using this one.  However, I found that the Original was nice to use even as an adult just because it made for a more comfortable grip for me.

I love that the 3-step training kit provides all three pencil grips in one package so you can try each of them to see which is the better fit for your child, or you.  These grips have even been recommended by doctors and physical therapists.  The 3-Step Pencil Grip Training Kit (aff. link) is available on Amazon for around $8.00 for all three. Be sure to also check out the great resources and free downloads on improving pencil grip at www.thepencilgrip.com.

The Pencil Grip, Inc. also offers some really unique safety scissors.  Rachel no longer needs to use safety scissors but we were interested in learning more about them because we sometimes have little ones over to our house.  These scissors are called The Pencil Grip Ultra Safe Safety Scissor and they are the most unique safety scissors for kids that I've ever seen.

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors

The blades of the scissors are covered by a clear plastic safety shield.  There is enough space to slide a piece of paper in but not enough space for a child to get their finger in it.  Take a look at Rachel's video review on these cool safety scissors:

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissor are available on Amazon for just $4.00.

We have been impressed with products from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  We have previously reviewed their Kwik Stix Thin Stix.  Rachel loved them!

If you would like to read additional reviews on the 3-step Pencil Grip Training Kit or the Ultra Safe Safety Scissors from other members of the Home School Review Crew, just click on the banner below:

Ultra Safe Safety Scissors & Pencil Grip Training Kit {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

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Painting Rachel's Room

Rachel asked to have her room updated for her birthday.  She still has the baby pink walls that I painted before she was born.  I love the color but she says it is too "babyish" looking.  We worked for several days boxing up everything in her room and finding places to put the boxes in other rooms upstairs.  Oh what a mess our upstairs is!

She wants her new room to be turquoise.  She picked a medium shade but Stuart and I were concerned that the dark walls might make her already small room feel even smaller.  We encouraged her to at least try the lighter shade on the same paint chip card and then decide.  We bought small sample sizes of both paint colors and I painted a swatch of each on each wall.  You have to do this on different walls because the lighting will be different in different parts of the room so you want to be sure you like the color on all four walls.  

I let the paint dry then told her that it was about time to paint the second coat on the sample spots.  When I made it up to her room, I found that she had just finished painting the second coat all on her own.  She was quite proud of herself!  Notice she is wearing her cute little Gymboree t-shirt and skirt (NOT painting clothes!).  Oh that girl!

Of course, it took me a moment but I soon noticed that she made hand prints in the paint too.  She actually didn't make a mess with the paint so all is well and I'm glad she is having fun.

She decided to go with the lighter color turquoise.  It is a really pretty color.  She has been a great helper and she has done a lot of the painting herself.

Printables for Your Homeschool - Super Teacher Worksheets Review

As a homeschool mom, I have found that it helps to add a variety of learning tools to our school day.  Our regular curriculum is wonderful but the kids love it when I change things up a bit and add something new and different.  Rachel especially likes hands-on activities and worksheets.  

 Super Teacher Worksheets
As a member of the Home School Review Crew, we were given a one year individual membership to their online subscription to review Super Teacher Worksheets in our homeschool.  The printable worksheets cover a wide variety of subjects including math, reading, writing, phonics, literature, handwriting, grammar, spelling, science, history, geography and MORE!  They also have many worksheets available in Spanish.

Rachel is working on the Insect badge for her American Heritage Girls troop.  For the requirements, she needed to learn details about one particular insect.  She chose to learn about the monarch butterfly.  I was excited to see that Super Teacher Worksheets had several nature science items to help her out.  In their science section, I found an article that was all about monarch butterflies and it had some wonderful colored pictures as well. 

Rachel read aloud the article to me and then completed the corresponding worksheets.  Just having the article to print out for her to read was great because I didn't have to go searching all over the internet or make a trip to the library.  The worksheets helped to get her thinking about what she had read and served as a good review for her.

I also printed off the Butterfly Life Cycle booklet.  Rachel loved this!  She colored the pictures, cut out the pages, and stapled the booklet together.  She wanted me to make a video of her reading aloud her booklet so here she is...

As you can see, Super Teacher Worksheets is more than just fill in the blank kind of worksheets.  They have several cute booklets that kids can make.  They also have worksheets that have pieces that the child can cut out and use in matching games.  We also found this really fun QR code reader worksheet.  Rachel had never seen QR codes before so I explained that she would use the QR code reader on my ipad to scan the code on the worksheet.

The QR code took her to a specific list of three words to choose from to answer the problem on the worksheet.  In this case, the worksheet asked her to write the word that is a synonym for the word "fast".  When she scanned the QR code, the following list popped up.

Rachel absolutely loved this.  She now loves QR codes and she wants all of her work to use them in some way!

Over the summer, we studied US states and capitals.  There are a lot of games and printables on Super Teacher Worksheets that I used as a review for her.  Her favorite one was the "Cootie Catcher".  Do you remember playing with these as a child?

She would pick a color then move the paper puzzle back and forth for the number of letters in the name of the color.  When she stopped, she could pick a state and she had to name the capital.  She picked Idaho and then opened up the pocket to see "Boise".  How fun is that for reviewing states and capitals!

We will be going to see the play Mr. Popper's Penguins next week so we are reading the book now.  I just realized that the Chapter Book section of Super Teacher Worksheets has lots of great printables for this book.  They include bookmarks, vocabulary words, word search, and more all related specifically to Mr. Popper's Penguins.  Resources like this make my job as teacher so much easier!

Finally, there are also some fun things to find at Super Teacher Worksheets.  We played this Halloween Bingo game over and over the other day.  I think the addition of candy for game pieces may have made it even more fun.

I have really enjoyed having Super Teacher Worksheets to turn to for supplements in our school day.  An individual membership costs only $19.95 for a full year.  This gives you complete access to all of their great printables.

If you would like to read other Super Teacher Worksheets reviews from other Home School Review Crew members, please just click on the banner below:

Super Teacher Worksheets

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