Sunday, January 24, 2016

Oscar's two years old birthday

I am getting too slow in writing on the blog, unfortunately, so I miss to write "at the right" time a lot of posts. In reality, I would have still Isabella's four years old birthday to mention, but I feel like that has really lost its timing.
I will try then to pick up with Oscar's two years old birthday. There should be also few things from Christmas to mention, but it feels already too old to be lifted up here.
This Oscar could appreciate already before the party. 

I should focus a bit on TipToi that is absoluted loved by both kids but especially Oscar. He sits for many minutes just exploring the books (this one, with "Woods" as theme is a birthday present) or the game we have. It is a very great toy for our kids so that can have an opportunity to learn italian and we really like because it is so rich that I am sure they will have hard time to get tired of it

For Oscar's birthday, we had few friends over for a little party. As I am getting bad in writing blog posts, I am also quite bad in taking proper pictures. I know I baked the cake (the same that I did for Isabella's four years old birthday) and thought I should take pics for the blog, but then I did end up with a picture with the cake ready to be put in the oven. And that's it.
Some new cars, a car carpet and some other cards related items. Did I say cars?

We had balloons everywhere and Oscar was happily playing around and eating a lot of apples and melon (maybe too much).
Isabella was having her friends over too, so she was quite busy as well. Their friends were kind enough to bring some presents for the little prince.
A classic from the 80s which I have been dreaming of having (and playing). Both kids love it, although they have some technical inabilities
Although we tried to contain the amount of presents, Oscar got spoiled with many things. Few books (he loves reading, so this is very well appreciated), some car and a tractor and few other games that I am showing with a picture.
Cthulhu is making an entrance in our equipment. We haven't yet introduced the world of Arkham to the kids. Maybe it is time? :) Picture is borrowed from the internet. Cthulhus is looking over Oscar's sleep right now.

Puzzle and board games are appreciated especially by Isabella (although they might be for her brother). In this case, the game on the left was a Christmas present for her, with aimed at learning letters, while the puzzle on the right was for Oscar (who spends most of his days counting in both languages up to 10 or 11...), so that he can learn a bit what the numbers he is saying stands for.
Finally, the cake. We had different cakes and a small buffet with cookies, some extra pastries and some small sandwhiches, As usual, the cake for the kids is the "official" cake and in this case it is a red currants pie, which I ate at a friend's place with the kids when we both were on parental leave and meeting regularly (sigh, I miss those days). Isabella fell in love and asked for the cake for her birthday and of course, I repeated the request for Oscar's one. As always, I tend to burn it, but maybe this is the key to success? No matter. It doesn't looks amazing, but it tastes as such (and I am bad in baking).
Red currants pie
150g butter
3dl flour
1,5dl sugar
1 pinch salt
1 pinch bakingpowder
5 dl red currants
Extra sugar to sweeten the berries

Turn on the oven to 225.
Mix the dry ingredients while you are melting the butter.
Pour over the mix all the butter and then press on a pie form. Put on top the berries and sugar.
Bake it for 20 minutes (and hope you don't get it burnt as I do ;-))

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Christmas gaming

It is nice that finally, with at least one of the kids, we can start to play again some board games and it is nice that she likes to play too (although when she is in a bad mood she has very hard time to accept to lose or the game rules).

This Christmas we have played two games: Letters to Santa and Sagaland.

Letters to Santa was a present we got last year, when we had our epic Christmas party.

Letters to Santa
The game is quite simple, but there can be some nice strategy played based on thinking how many cards are around in the game and also, observing a bit the other players' behaviour. The goal of the game is winning 4 game rounds. For doing that one can kick out of the turn the other players or by having the highest card at the end of the game.
There are 8 different types of cards and each of them has a specific action associated. Some of the actions can result in getting the other players out of the game, but mostly there are cards exchanges and views and if one plays smart, there is a good chance to be the winner. 
A minimum amount of luck is required, but that is ok, considering that the game doesn't become frustrating and still skills are valuable. 
A perfect quick family game that has conquered us all!

Sagaland is instead one present that Santa has delivered to Isabella. The setting is cute, based on the classical fairytales (Rapunzel, The princess and the frog, ...) and the mechanics are quite simple, although the complexity of the game can be high. Many different strategies can result in becoming the winner. 
On the board there are 7 symbols hidden under a tree. One card at the time shows which symbol one must search and "report" to the king in the castle. The winner is the one that has managed to collect most cards. 
To do that one should have quite good memory. But there are different strategies that can be applied, mixing bluffing with intuition and, thanks to the "magic" element, a good dose of randomness.
Sagaland board
It is not always easy to play with kids, because it is already complex to explain how one can roll and count the dice (there is quite some flexibility), but even though one doesn't explore the whole game depth with them, the game can still be intruiguing.
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