Heather started playing with the PBS Kids Scratch Jr. app in July. It's a visual programming tool which lets you do things with characters from PBS shows or create all your own stuff.
You might think this was something I proposed or encouraged, but I haven't had any involvement with it. She figured it out all by herself and wrote, produced, and voiced these videos (and several others). She's since gone on to creating (really simple) games--jump over the spikes; swipe the monsters with your sword, etc. It's pretty impressive.
These three videos are inspired by the TV show "Peg + Cat".
This first one, "The Dinosaur Problem" has no audio. But I think she really captures the styles of Peg and Cat. Download here: The-Dinosaur-Problem
And, the family favorite, "The Campfire Story." We regularly say to each other "I wonder what it's about" and "nom nom yummy." You'll understand once you've watched it. Download here: The-Campfire-Story
With Heather's birthday we've now celebrated the entire family's birthdays for 2020 in quarantine.
Her birthday was a work & school day. Much of the day was spent trying to get Heather to complete her school work so we could move on to fun activities. We eventually got on with things and the requisite treasure hunt was a big hit. This year's hunt involved playing a custom-coded guessing game on the computer, decoding a message encrypted using a substitution cipher, some math word problems, and completing some electronic circuitry.
Birthday dinner was McDonald's cheeseburgers (because what could be better than that?). Then she opened presents before having cake. Corinne thought up and picked out a Toothless stuffed animal (the dragon from "How to Train your Dragon") to give her and Heather is enamored of it. She puts one of her old nightgowns on it at night to keep it warm and it travels with her throughout the house during the day.
This year's cake was a white cake with vanilla-cream filling, chocolate frosting, and decorated with Andes mints. Unfortunately, like last year, she wasn't particularly thrilled with it. So she'll have to pick another new cake next year.
While we were eating cake she seemed a bit down. After some probing she admitted to having been a bit let down by her gifts. She liked them all, but was hoping for some Je-ne-sais-quoi delight that didn't materialize. And I know the feeling. I've had that experience too. It's not that there's some particular thing that you're hoping for (otherwise you could say so and increase your chances). You're just hoping for some unexpected surprise and it doesn't always happen (nor is it always specifically hoped for either). Some language probably has a word for it.
We'll see if we can land a hit at Christmas. I spent some time looking for ideas and think I found something that will fit the bill.
At Halloween Grandma sent Heather and Corinne each a $1.10 to buy something from the dollar store. Back in November we went over to the "99¢ Only Store" which is really the "99¢ and up store", but still has lots of 99¢ stuff. Heather and Corinne perused the aisles and then got to line up for their first store purchase.
Their understanding of how cash works is pretty weak since they never see it used. But with some prompting they each got through their transaction and are now the proud owners of these balls.
Heather came home from school to find her bedroom door had been "locked." But she had to wait for me to get home from work before she could follow the clues to open the door. (Meanwhile a plumber worked on clearing our clogged drain line, so there was plenty of entertainment in the interim.)
She followed a series of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" style "Listener Limerick Challenges" to find each new clue and solve a math problem to get the correct digit for the lock combination.
Inside she discovered her new loft bed, which she is ecstatic about.
We opened some more presents and then off to a late dinner at the Ale House.
After dinner, we had the Andes Chocolate Mint cake that Jess made: