Craft Saturday – Heart Bar Friendship Bracelet

This week’s craft is a friendship bracelet. A Heart Bar friendship bracelet to be exact. You can find the pattern here on Bracelet Book.


Bracelet Book Heart Bar Friendship Bracelet

Here’s an example of what it looks like when it is finished. This photo was uploaded by BlackSkull.

Bracelet Book Heart Bar Friendship Bracelet example by BlackSkull


Friendship Bracelets are made for lazy summer days. They require more time than some projects and a knowledge of some easy knots and braiding techniques. But they are not expensive, making them a great project to get absorbed in.

The only materials required are embroidery floss, which cost somewhere around $0.50 a skein. You will likely only need to buy three or four skeins. This particular pattern is a bit more difficult than the basic striped friendship bracelets, so if your child has not made one before you could have them learn on an easier pattern. Bracelet Book has a good tutorial section to help you get started.

I hope you love this heart bar friendship bracelet pattern as much as I do. As always, we would love to see pictures of your finished projects. Be sure to check out Bracelet Boards other patterns for more inspiration. And if you’re looking for another craft try this magnetic crochet Katamari ball. Happy Crafting!

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DLC Content and Allowance

Just yesterday the youngest decided to buy Zeus for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal (PS3). He must have been eyeing that DLC content for a year now. But he never asked me even once to buy it for him. Allowance is wonderful.

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The Female Equivalent of Playing Video Games

Hats off to everyone here who is raising kids who know the answer to this question/don’t even ask questions like this.

To the moms and dads of girls who play video games: Well done.

To the moms and dads of boys who play video games: The best way to counteract what lies at the core of that question is exposure. If boys grow up seeing women and girls playing video games, they won’t think of video games as a “guy’s space”.

Reddit: The Female Equivalent of Playing Video Games

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Mind Your Health – Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers: Lesson 3

As I’ve talked with my eldest about how to be a responsible gamer in online games, one of the topics has been how adults take care of themselves, rather than over-relying on others. A good teammate doesn’t need the rest of the team to save them all the time. If you don’t want to be a drag on the group you are playing with, you need to mind your health.

Mind Your Health


Heal Yourself

When you play a video game by yourself, you are only responsible to yourself. When you play a video game in co-op mode, you are now responsible to those in your party. If your character dies in single-player, you simply restart. But if your character dies in multiplayer, your team has to either revive you or move on with one less party member. You become a burden to the team if you can’t keep yourself alive.

So watch your health bar. Heal yourself before it’s a dance between will the enemy kill me in one hit and do I have time to take this healing potion. Learn to carry as many healing items as you can stuff in your bags. There is no shame in healing early and often. A live player is always preferred to a dead player.


Preventing Damage Saves On Heals

Make sure your defense is where it needs to be for the enemy you are facing. Have the highest level armor you can, and tweak it to match what the enemy is throwing at you. If you are going into a mission where you will be hit with fire, make yourself strong against or immune to fire. Same for poison or ice or any other damage type. The better your defense the less you have to watch your health bar.


Don’t Take Damage Unnecessarily

It’s always best to play clever. Know your playing style and your characters strengths and weaknesses. If you are going to be a tank, be ready to hold the line and enemy in place. You must be a wall able to accept large hits. If you’re not a tank don’t stand up in the front line. Magic casters are called glass cannons for a reason, they are really powerful, but have low defense and will shatter if pounded on. If you’re not built for the frontlines, don’t be in the front lines. Healing yourself is important, but if you take damage constantly because of poor playing or mismatched class playing style, you aren’t doing yourself or your stash of healing potions any favors. And your team will definitely notice and may choose to not play with you again.


Healing Spells Won’t Make You Invincible

Spells can be very effective self-heals. But don’t assume they make you invincible. The echo-mending tanks in Guild Wars were famous not for being able to stay alive, but for over relying on a set of spells that made many players act like they could take on anything. They died. A Lot.


Take Care of the Team

Healing yourself and being able to stay alive is great, but you will get brownie points for healing others. We’re not talking about being a healer class here. We’re talking about things like bringing Life Powder on a hunt in Monster Hunter. Nothing says “I got your back” like a teammate throwing the life powder before you faint. You only get three chances in Monster Hunter and each teammate who faints eats away at those chances. So bring as much as you can. And always look for group heals you can bring in whichever game you play. Bringing a resurrection item or spell on top of that is golden.


Sometimes You Fail

Sometimes, you just are outclassed and cannot stay alive. It might just be you. Maybe you brought the wrong armor for the fight. Or your friends brought you into a high level area to get you experience points faster. Sometimes it’s the whole group who can’t stay alive. Perhaps as a group you stepped into an area that is far beyond what you all can handle. In such cases, and believe me when I say everyone has them, take it as lesson learned and have a good laugh about it.

Hopefully this happens to you in a group of people who know that you don’t usually have a massively catastrophic fail. But if it happens to you in a group of new people, do not stress about it. As I said, it happens to everyone. And if you are playing with good people they will be understanding, have some laughs with you, and give you another shot at playing with them. If they ditch you, spew vitriol, and such, then you’ve been saved from playing with toxic people.


Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers

As our eldest goes online, I’ll be sharing with you the lessons I gave him about online gaming. At times these lessons will be from something that happened to him online. You can find these lessons linked under the Parent Page for the Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers series. I hope you find our journey into online gaming helpful for your own family.

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Strengthen & Condition

Small reminder to be mindful when picking or permitting games for your kids.

The games you let your kids play not only strengthen their talents, they also condition their behavior.

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Craft Saturday – Kirby Super Star Perler

If your kids are enjoying the newest Kirby game, Kirby Star Allies, as much as mine are, this week’s craft is a perfect fit. This is for all those kiddos who want to keep playing with Kirby after tech time is over: Kirby Super Star Perler.

These cute little Kirbys, found in the game Kirby Super Star, come from Gomennahty’s Tumblr account. Follow the patterns to create your Kirby perler.

Kirby Super Star Perler

Perler are a great afternoon craft. After you iron them together, you can hang them up on walls, turn them into magnets or mobiles, or use them in epic battles. My personal favorite is the green Kirby.

If you already have perler in your house, this project will cost nothing more than time and concentration. If you’re in need of perler supplies, this project can cost between $12 and $25. Trays of beads come in fun color or neutral color. You can also purchase extra pegboards and tweezers so multiple projects can be created at the same time. If you are new to perler beads, this kit has everything you need to get started.

I hope you have fun with these adorable Kirby Super Star Perler. We would always love to see your creations! Drop pictures in the comments if you want to share. If you’re looking for more perler projects try this Luma Star Perler. Happy Crafting, Everyone!

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Craft Saturday – Pokeball Pillow

If you or your kids love Pokémon, this project is for you. Look at cholyknights’s huge, fluffy Pokeball pillow!

cholyknight’s Pokeball pillow

Cholyknight created a pattern for this pillow and shared it with us on their blog. Follow this link to get the PDF file for the tutorial and pattern.

This project is best made with a sewing machine, but can be hand sewn if you do not have one. The fabric should cost under $10. Cholyknight rated this project in the easy range, making this project great for anyone who is new to sewing.

I hope you enjoy today’s super fluffy project. Please be sure to check out cholyknight’s blog for loads more craft projects. Happy Crafting!

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Craft Saturday – Slime Rancher Cross Stitch

Today’s craft is these absolutely adorable little Slime Rancher Cross Stitch from GrabBagStitches. If you’ve played Slime Rancher, these little guys will look awfully familiar. Look at how good the patterns based off the game characters look.


These are great beginner projects. They end up about 2 inches by 2 inches and use on average 5 different floss colors. The slimes can be cross stitched on fabric or on plastic canvas as they are shown here. They can even easily be translated to perler beads.

If you already have hoops and needles in your house, the cost for this project should easily come in under $10. Head to GrabBagStitches’ Etsy shop to see the whole line of Slime Rancher cross stitch available. If you think your child will want to stitch several slime, take advantage of their buy 5 get one free listing. 

I hope you find these Slime Rancher cross stitch as adorable as I do. If your kid is ready for more challenging project, try this Deku Baba from Sirithre. As always, Happy Crafting!


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Finish What You Started – Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers: Lesson 2

Much of online gaming revolves around individuals working together to achieve a common goal. And like any team activity, you have a responsibility to be a present and useful member of your group. You cannot just walk away. If you’re going to play online you have to be ready to finish what you started.

Finish What You Started


My kid is about to be 14, and is starting to try out gaming online in Monster Hunter World. The rules of gaming change when your kid is ready to start playing online. For us. The parents. We have to adapt and change when our kids are ready to start trying on adulthood. We have to let go and let our kids manage themselves while we act as counselors.

What Parents Need to Know

When the eldest was little, I made sure our kids played quality games, didn’t spend too long playing them, played fairly when they were playing games with their friends, and took a break before they got overly frustrated at a game. Now that he is older, I have to give him room to try managing all those things himself.

When he was playing by himself or with friends in couch co-op, I could always tell them it was time to wrap up a game. But I can’t do that when he plays online. My kid can no longer just up and quit a game whenever I ask. He is now responsible to the other teammates he is playing with. If he is in a mission he cannot pause the game or leave the group. No one will want to team up with the player who leaves mid-mission to go eat dinner. That is not how adults handle things.

When our kids play online, we must remember that they are now a part of a team or group and as such have made a commitment to them. They must be allowed to finish what they started. We must let our kids to learn to manage their own time. They will have spectacular failures, but as my eldest likes to say, “I screw up here at home so I don’t fall on my face in the real world.”


What did I teach my eldest before he started gaming online?

You Must Finish Your Mission

There are going to be times when a mission slogs on and becomes boring as all get out. You can’t quit. You have to see the mission through to the end. Your teammates are likely just as bored and fed up with the mission as you are. Remember your commitment to them and finish what you started together.

There are going to be times when the leaders of your group bicker and fuss with your teammates. You can’t leave no matter how annoying they are. Some people are just not meant to be leaders. Recognize that these people probably fall in that category. Leaders don’t harass teammates. You don’t have to party with them again, but you do have to complete the quest you started with them.

There are going to be times when your mission fails and someone restarts the mission without giving people the chance to leave the group. If you have time and want to continue the mission, go ahead. But if you do not have time, by all means, gracefully let the group know you didn’t agree to retry the mission and leave. Good leaders will check in to make sure people don’t need to refresh their healing supplies or change weapons/character builds or even have a trip to the bathroom. If they don’t, then that is their mistake not yours.


You Cannot Pause a Live Game

Unless you are playing online by yourself, you can’t just walk away from your game and come back in a few minutes. There is no pause button in an online game. It is a live game. Time keeps moving forward. The first time you leave your character in a game and walk away to get a drink or use the bathroom and come back to find your character dead, you will learn that lesson.

If you are in the middle of something with a group and an emergency comes up and you need to walk away from the game, you need to communicate with your team. Let them know you have to go AFK (Away From Keyboard) and then try to park your character some place where you won’t be attacked. If your team asks why you need to go AFK, be honest without giving any  personal information. Most anything can be covered with “bathroom”, though try to manage that activity before you start a mission. If you don’t tell your teammates you are AFK, they may just leave you where you are and move on, leaving your character open to attack. That is your natural consequence for not being a good teammate and communicating with them.

Everyone who plays online has internet issues at some point. People are understanding when you get kicked offline. It’s so common that many games have ways to rejoin your group built into their game. Always try to get back in the game and let your teammates know what happened. If your internet connection goes out multiple times in a short time period you might just tell them your internet is not cooperating and call it a session. People will understand. And if they don’t, you don’t want to play with them anyways.


Manage Your Time

Don’t start a mission that will take 30 minutes if you know you only have 10. If you only have time for one round of the mission your group wants to do, tell them ahead of time. They may choose to not have you come with them because they want to do the mission multiple times. And that’s ok. They are not rejecting you, they are just finding the best fit for what they want to accomplish.

Sometimes in a mission things go sideways and take way longer to finish than they were supposed to. If that happens, tell me. Unless you have to be at the school for a band concert in five minutes, I will understand. Finish the mission. Sticking with a messed up mission to the end shows your character. And sometimes these are the funniest memories. Like the time I spilled a soda on my keyboard when I was leading an Underworld mission Guild Wars. My character could only throw off one attack and spun for the rest of the time. But I hung in there and guided everyone till we got our mission accomplished. And it was hilarious.


No Rage Quitting

I know that you are a teenager. You have tons of pressure from school, your social life, and your changing body and mind. Sometimes it’s hard to keep all of those pressures from causing a boil over. Don’t carry that into an online game with you. Please understand that rage quitting is unacceptable. It was never acceptable when you got frustrated by a game when you were little. It is not acceptable now. This is not something stable adults do. Oh we feel frustrated and we feel strong emotions, but the difference is adults know when to take a break. And if we become overwhelmed by our emotions, we make sure to finished what we started before we take our leave. When you’ve made a commitment to other people that’s what you do.

Now I’m not telling you to stay in toxic situation. If the team you’re in has gone toxic beyond repair, you don’t need to feel responsible to them. As long as you are not being attacked I recommend going silent, finishing the mission, and then blocking and/or reporting the player(s) who was being offensive. If you are being verbally attacked and there is no one in that group who you would want to play with again, you have the right to leave. Then block/report as necessary.


Playing Online With Your Real Life Friends

I hope you get to experience this sooner than later. Playing online with your real life friends is fantastic. You already have an established group dynamic. Things are easier to negotiate. Your friends are more forgiving of small mistakes. Laughter comes more easily and more often. This is really one of those life experiences I want you to have. When you’re playing online with your friends you will naturally feel committed to finishing whatever mission you start. There will also be an easier understanding if you need to leave. When it comes to partying up online with friends, the bare bones of this lesson of Finish What You Started is all you need.


Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers

As our eldest goes online, I’ll be sharing with you the lessons I gave him about online gaming. At times these lessons will be from something that happened to him online. You can find these lessons linked under the Parent Page for the Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers series. I hope you find our journey into online gaming helpful for your own family.



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Is My Kid Ready For Online Gaming? – Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers: Lesson 1

What age should my kid start playing online? It’s not an easy question for any parent. And like every kid, that decision will be different for each of them. For my eldest the time happens to be now. But what makes this the right time for him? How do I know that my kid is ready for online gaming?

Is My Kid Ready For Online Gaming


My eldest is soon to turn 14. I have not allowed online gaming before this age for several reasons. The main concerns were:

  • Online Predators
  • Toxic Gaming Culture
  • Game Age Minimum
  • My Kid’s Individual Maturity level

So what made me feel my eldest was now ready for online gaming? I felt we had had enough talking lessons about all the above topics, and had met the requirements set by the games themselves. My job as his mom is to make sure he is ready to go when the time comes for him to set out on his own. He needs time to have practical lessons while I can still watch over him and guide him when he meets inevitable challenges and struggles. And the only way to get those practical lessons is to start playing games online.

Let’s take a look at how we met the requirements of each of those concerns.

Online Predators

To handle online predators we took a two pronged attack. One was no online gaming. If a game had an online mode, no online play would be allowed. Break the rule and the game goes away. The only exceptions to that rule were games that were meant to be played online and had no communication between players, like Splatoon. This really was the easy part, and the most effective way to keep my boys safe.

Included in the no online gaming rule, was not friending anyone they did not know personally. Which means they could ask me if they could friend their best friend next door on their 3DS so they could play together, but they could not become friends with RandomGuy5 who showed up in their Spot Pass notifications.

The second prong was to educate the boys about online predators early and often so that when they did start playing online they were informed what to be aware of and how to handle things when they happen. I’m a very practical person so there was no messing with euphemisms or sparing my boys from the realities of life. Just calm, age-appropriate facts on the realities of predatory behavior. Both of my boys (all three if you include my husband) are Scouts. They received lessons about predators through Scouting, which for them started in first grade. But I included a lot on my own. I told the kids that I trust them, but I do not trust anonymous people online.

As they grew older the topic got more in depth, but the important thing was to have these conversations so they would be informed and feel comfortable coming to me if there was a problem.


Toxic Gaming Culture

Gaming culture varies a lot depending on the type of game you play. Any competitive game like Overwatch is going to have more toxicity than a co-operative game like Monster Hunter World. That said, you will find rude people in all walks of life and in all kinds of games. Knowing that this is how things are, I prepared my kids to be faced with this inevitable toxicity. We went over strategies on how to remove yourself at the appropriate time from a party that has turned sour, what to do if someone harasses you, how to block, and when to report. It would be unfair to send my kids into the online gaming world without first telling them how badly people can behave and what ways the gaming community deals with situations that go South.

I also made sure that while my boys were aware of how to deal with toxic gaming culture, that they were not contributing to it either. It’s important that they know how to behave like a decent human being in games as well as in life.


Video Game Age Minimums

Most of the more appealing online games actually have age minimums. As a parent it’s nice sometimes not being the one making the rules, but rather the one enforcing somone else’s rules.  It gets our head out of the game and allows for a cooler temperament. Which is great when you have a child who constantly pushes their boundries. For us, following age minimums for online games was easy to enforce.

That said, I have heard way too many people complaining about hearing “squeakers” in lobbies or how they had to play with kids. Sometimes people are not welcoming of the newer players. So even if your kid meets the age restriction for a game, they might face extra scrutiny because of their age. I made sure to let my eldest know that he may hear some of those comments. He doesn’t have to respond. If you’re there to play the game, then age or gender or race will not matter. Don’t respond to the toxicity, rest assured in your right to be able to play the game, be open to learning, and most importantly have fun.

My Kid’s Individual Maturity Level

One of the harder assessments, when you are determining if your kid is ready for online gaming will be figuring out if they can handle it. And by “it” I mean: Can they play games as a valuable teammate? Can they react appropriately to toxic situations? Are they emotionally ready to lose to other humans? Can they participate in a game on level with adults?

You know your kid best. Be honest in your assessment of their maturity level. Thrusting them into the online gaming world before they are mentally and emotionally ready will only set them up for failure. If you are unsure how they will do in an online video game, try this test. Ask an adult to play a board game with your kid. Like Uncle Joe who always plays to win and doesn’t go easy on your kid. You need someone who won’t make allowances for them being a kid. Does your kid play well, stay emotionally cool, and accept winning or losing gracefully? Then I’d say you just witnessed how they will behave online, where it is tempting to act like a jerk just because no one knows you. If they handle the test well, then they are likely ready to play online.


What’s Next?

Once you feel that your kid is prepared to go online, it’s time to find the right game. You might find your kid is a good fit to start on a game like Overwatch, which is a team-based first-person shooter. Or your kid might want to play an online role-playing game like Guild Wars.

For my kid it was an easy question to answer. His favorite game series had just come out with a new game, Monster Hunter World. We had never allowed him to play in the online portion of the Monster Hunter games before. He did have a lot of practice teaming up with friends and family locally. This was the perfect next step for him. Bonus points for the fact that it is a co-operative game. Instead of competing against each other, your team works together to bring down monsters. Not only does that bring down the incidents of toxicity, but it also means that people usually will show their best natures. With game picked and our eldest prepared, we are taking the next step and sending him out into the world of online gaming.


Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers

As our eldest goes online, I’ll be sharing with you the lessons I gave him about online gaming. At times these lessons will be from something that happened to him online. You can find these lessons linked under the Parent Page for the Guide to Raising Responsible Gamers series. I hope you find our journey into online gaming helpful for your own family.


This post may contain affiliate links





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