Lego Mania – Making the most of the Pick a Brick Wall

To say that we “like” Lego Bricks in this house is a bit of an understatement — We LOVE Lego bricks.  In fact, we love them enough that I know you are supposed to say Lego bricks rather than Legos – I don’t remember where I read that – but it has to do with the name of the bricks.

Anyway – a brief lesson on Lego.  According to Wikipedia Lego began in the workshop of a carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1932 who made wooden toys.  The name Lego comes from the Danish phrase “leg godt” which translates to “play well”.  Lego began producing plastic toys in 1947 and then in 1949 an early version of the Lego bricks we have come to know and love was created.  If you want to know more about Lego – feel free to check them out on Wikipedia, brickipedia, or Lego itself.

If you are wondering why you are getting a history lesson on Lego it’s because I wanted to include a bit of history before I told you this really cool thing that we did.  🙂  This way you have your “learning” out of the way and now you can play!

The Lego Pick a Brick Wall!  If you have ever been to a Lego Store you have most likely noticed their Pick a Brick Wall.  It is usually a large wall that is covered in containers holding various Lego bricks.  Some stores have a huge wall, while others are a bit smaller, but large or small it is quite an impressive sight.

The real point of this post though is to help you make the most of the pick a brick wall.

Step #1 – Spend money at the Lego store when they are doing a “Spend money and get this box that you can fill up from the Pick a Brick wall” promotion.  So far I have only noticed these promotions being offered around Christmas time, but that is because I try to limit going to the Lego store.  I know, I know, if I LOVE Lego, why do I avoid going there?  Simple – it’s costs too much for me to go there too often.  🙂  Generally the promotion is something like – Spend $75 and get this box that you can come back and fill up after Christmas – the sad thing being that I have been known to come home with more than one of these boxes.

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Step #2 – After you get the “free” box – look at it.  Does it have a date on it?  Does the date state when you can come back to fill your little box?

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Step #3 – Come back during the time you are supposed to come back so you don’t arrive at the Lego store box in hand only to have them tell you – Oh sorry, that ended last week.  (No – this hasn’t actually happened to me, I may forget to mail the bills, or call the oil company, but I don’t forget when to redeem my Pick a Brick – Lego box.)

Step #4 – Plan to go when you are able to spend some time (figure an hour or so depending on how crazy you are) at the Lego store.  Also – don’t be afraid to be a little crazy.

Step #5 – Filling the box –

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  1. Determine the size of your box.  You don’t need a ruler for this – you just need to know how big your box is in Lego Size.  For example, the box that we had this year was 11 x 11 Studs.  How did we discover this?  Well – that my friend, is step 2.
  2. Start with a base of bricks – occasionally check this base to make sure it fits snugly into your box.  You will want your base to be slightly smaller than the box in both width and length – for height; you just need to make sure it is stable enough for you to  stuff it down into the box without it breaking.  (You will also want to be careful about ripping the side of the box – Lego brick corners can be sharp.)
  3. After you have built and inserted your base, continue to add bricks and other Lego elements from the Pick a Brick Wall by building onto your base until you have reached the top of your box.
  4. If you find yourself with a few empty spaces due to oddly shaped Lego elements (like fences, chairs or steering wheels, use the dead space to drop in studs, crystals, or any other tiny pieces.
  5. Don’t forget to build for the top of your box – our box had a peak at the top – therefore we could continue to build after reaching the upper edge by making a pyramid shape.

That’s pretty much it – but you didn’t think I was just going to tell you about it.  Wanna see my crazy side?

Prepare yourself

Are you ready?

Are you sure?

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
The Lego Box

The Lego Box

Top Opened - It's hard to see the pyramid shape from here, but you can see the tiny items that were poured in to the dead spaces.

Top Opened – It’s hard to see the pyramid shape from here, but you can see the tiny items that were poured in to the dead spaces.

And these were just the tiny studs and crystals that I put on the top.  This doesn't include the ones that were placed between fence elements and chairs.

And these were just the tiny studs and crystals that I put on the top. This doesn’t include the ones that were placed between fence elements and chairs.

Now you can see the small pyramid at the top of the block -- And you get your first look at the block - Notice how it is Box-Shaped!  :)

Now you can see the small pyramid at the top of the block — And you get your first look at the block – Notice how it is Box-Shaped! 🙂

After removing a few of the fence pieces from the sides, you can now see more crystals and the flowers that were hidden between the fences.

After removing a few of the fence pieces from the sides, you can now see more crystals and the flowers that were hidden between the fences.

Levers, Crystals, Studs, Steering Wheels and Flowers - Oh My!

Levers, Crystals, Studs, Steering Wheels and Flowers – Oh My!

And as they say on all of the home design shows that I watch with my Mom when we visit her – here is The Grand Reveal!

Yes - it all fit in that little box - You just have to know how to stack it (and be slightly crazy enough to take the time to do it).

Yes – it all fit in that little box – You just have to know how to stack it (and be slightly crazy enough to take the time to do it).  The Blue lid that they are on goes to a large file box.

So – what actually ended up in my little box?  If you really want to know, I can tell you – (I counted – hee hee hee)

Lego Box Pick a Brick Contents: (the first number indicates quantity, the number in () indicates the cost per piece and the last number is the total for that element)

  • 134 Red Jewels (.15) – 20.10
  • 16 Mini Antenna grey/black (.20) – 3.20
  • 4 Steering Wheels (.30) – 1.20
  • 3 Red flowers (4pc) (.15) – 0.45
  • 18 White flowers (4pc) (.15) – 2.70
  • 14 Tan Palisade Brick (.10) – 1.40
  • 13 Clear 1×2 plates (.15) – 1.95
  • 10 White 1×2 radiator grille (.10) – 1.00
  • 21 Light green flat tile – (.10) – 2.10
  • 5 Brown seats (.15) – 0.75
  • 1 Orange 2×2 plate (.15) – .15
  • 9 Orange studs (.10) – .90
  • 10 Light green studs (.10) – 1.00
  • 3 Clear light blue 1×1 plates (.10) – 0.30
  • 6 Clear green 1×1 plates (.10) – 0.60
  • 32 Clear yellow studs (.10) – 3.20
  • 8 white fences (.20) – 1.60
  • 22 Blue 1×4 plates (.10) – 2.20
  • 14 Red 1×4 plates (.10) – 1.40
  • 6 Red 2×4 plates (.15) – 0.90
  • 2 Red 2×2 round bricks (.15) – 0.30
  • 3 Black 1×2 bricks (.15) – 0.45
  • 4 Dark grey corner pieces (.30) – 1.20
  • 10 Blue 2×4 bricks (.30) – 3.00
  • 24 Light Blue 2×4 bricks (.30) – 7.20
  • 6 Red 2×4 bricks (.30) – 1.80
  • 6 Orange 2×2 bricks (.20) – 1.20
  • 5 Grey 2×6 bricks (.30) – 1.50
  • 10 Army green 2×4 bricks (.30) – 3.00
  • 3 Tan 2×4 bricks (.30) – 0.90
  • 15 Brown 2×4 bricks (.30) – 4.50
  • 11 Light green 1×3 bricks (.20) – 2.20
  • 11 Yellow 1×4 bricks (.20) – 2.20
  • 4 Yellow 2×4 bricks (.30) – 1.20
  • 7 White 2×4 bricks (.30) – 2.10

For a grand total of 470 Lego bricks and elements, worth $79.85!!!

PLUS – it was fun to do!  That’s it for now – feel free to stop by for a chat anytime.  If I am not here I am building an 11×11 base block to fit into my box (or homeschooling, or playing with the kids, or cleaning the house or doing laundry – well you get the idea).  Also – I have a drawing going on for a Free Convention Registration for the 30th Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention – check out my Bounty of Blessings post for more details.

Have you ever built your Lego bricks so they fit in the box?  What fun crazy (family friendly) things have you done?  See you soon and until then – leg godt!

Bounty of Blessings 30 Days of Giveaways by HEAV and Convention Registration Giveaway!

So who likes free stuff?  Wait, wait, I am short, I can’t see over all of these hands.

Let’s try this again – who doesn’t like free stuff?  Oh, yes, much better.  I can still see.

April 1st is the beginning of Bounty of Blessings 30 Days of Giveaways when HEAV will be giving away all sorts of great things for the 30 days of April!  Keep an eye on the following sites for information about the giveaways and to sign up to win!


HEAV facebook

Need something to tide you over while you are waiting??  Of course you do – how about if I do a giveaway?

Bonus Giveaway from Homeschooler on the Edge

Send me your convention tips – you get one entry for sending me tips (one entry/person).  Feel free to send as many tips as you want (although you still only get one entry/person).  I will compile them all into a post to share with everyone.

Don’t have any tips to share?  That’s ok – send a question about convention.  Each person who sends at least one question receives one entry.  Each person that sends lots of questions receives one entry.

So just to clarify – if you leave a comment with tips or questions – you will get an entry into the drawing.  I know it sounds like I am beating a dead horse here, but the is my first giveaway so I want to do it right!

The winner will be choose on April 1st – The first day of the Bounty of Blessings 30 Days of Giveaways.  Be sure to include your email so that I can contact you.  If you don’t hear back from you in 3 days, another name with be drawn.

Bug will be the one who draws the name from a hat (basket, bowl, or whatever else I find to put a list of names in) and I am sure he would like me to mention that he really likes Thomas trains so if you happened to send a train for me to attach to your name . . . (just kidding – he can’t read yet, so there will be No cheating!)

Se let’s get those comments, tips and questions flowing!!  Yes – I know you don’t know what you are going to win – do you want to?

How does a Full Family Registration for the 30th Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention sound?

Convention-Gift-Certificate-SAMPLEThis includes All Exhibit Hall and Used Curriculum Sale shopping plus tickets to a Duggar keynote session.  Depending on if you are an HEAV Member or not this could be a $59, $69 or $79 value!  So – let’s hear those tips and questions!!


Confession is good for the Soul

Princess made her First Reconciliation last Thursday.  For those who don’t know, this was the first time she went to confession in our Catholic church.  We have been working towards this since last September.  2013-03-21 16.09.07

A little background on Princess –

Princess turned 8 last December.  She is Kindergarten, 1st grade, and second grade depending on who is asking and for what reason.  At our co-op Princess is in 1st grade because those are the classes that had music and movement and Princess loves to sing and dance.  At home she is working on Kindergarten reading because we were having issues with reading (more on that in another post).  At church class and girl scouts Princess is in 2nd grade, that is because that is where she fits for age and ability (except for the reading).

Anyway – Princess is also shy.  Princess is very shy.  Princess is super duper, ultra mega great googly moogly shy.  Upon hearing that she had to go to confession, BY HERSELF, there was panic.  It was at the beginning of church class when we found this out, so I explained to her that it was only September, and that she wouldn’t have to go for a long time and when it was time to go, she would be ready.

Because Princess isn’t reading a lot yet and because she didn’t want to go to class by herself, we decided that I would go with her.  I am there to help her with the reading parts, and I also help the teacher, whenever she needs help.  Princess’s teacher, Mrs. Boyles is an amazing lady, she talks to the children about God and saints, tells them stories, and, mostly importantly, teaches them how to pray and prays for them.

This year Princess has learned –

  • The Sign of the Cross
  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory Be
  • The Guardian Angel Prayer
  • The Act of Contrition

Whenever the kids in class are able to recite a prayer they earn a flower petal to be pinned on the bulletin board around their center.  The center is a circle with their name on it, so by the end of the year, as the kids learn more and more prayers they add more and more petals.  This means that they become surrounded by the prayers they have learned.  What a great image.  (Mrs. Boyles is a wonderful teacher.)

Princess has also learned about being thankful.  Mrs. Boyles has the children write things they are thankful for in their books at the beginning of each class.  At first, the kids did great, but then they started to repeat themselves.  In order to help them find more things to be thankful for, we had an excursion.  Each child received an empty bottle, we then took a walk around the parking lot of the church.  We walked around the parking lot 4 times.  After two or three times some of the kids were starting to wonder when we were going to be done.  Here’s the catch – the children were going to get water for their families, they were “walking to the river” – after four trips around the parking lot we arrived at the river.  We all came inside and Mrs. Boyles handed out bottled water to the children, they were to each take what they could carry (generally two or four bottles) – THEN we had to walk “back home”.  Mrs. Boyles had explained to the children that in other places you can’t just turn on the faucet and get water, you had to work for it.  The return trip with the water was understandable slower than the initial trip.  Some of the children discovered they couldn’t carry all of the water all the way back.  All of them realized how thankful they were that they didn’t have to go to the river to get water for their families.

Skip forward to this past Thursday.  It is time for Princess to make her first confession.  Over the year, Mrs. Boyles (and myself) had made sure that she learned and understood her prayers, knew what to do and even made sure that she had thought about why she was going to confession.  After all, at 8 years old, there isn’t a lot that Princess has done bad, but we are imperfect people, born into an imperfect world of sin.

Princess decided that she had to take a shower, wash her hair and put on a pretty white dress for her first confession.  She said she wanted to be clean on the outside when she went to get clean on the inside so she would be clean all over.  I helped her that day with her hair and tying the bow on her dress.  The night before we practiced so she knew what to say to Father Marty.

The thing that makes me smile is that when she went into confession, a little nervous, she went all by herself.  When she came out, she had the biggest smile on her face and both her and Father Marty gave me two thumbs up.  Reading is something that we will get to, it is something that we will figure out eventually, but I am not worried, because we are taking care of the important things first.  Without being able to read all of the words of the prayers, Princess memorized them all and now she will always have them with her.  I really enjoyed being able to go with Princess on this journey.  It was great to see her smile as she realized she knew the prayers.  It was wonderful laying down with her at night to listen to her as she would sing the prayers.  Congratulations Sweet Girl!  You did great!cross and bibleWhat experiences have you had this year with your kids?  I would love to hear about them.

HEAV Convention Registration will be opening ASAP!!

Are you ready to sign up for the 30th Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention?  Do you want to attend the entire three day conference for one low price?Anonymous_Slate_Apple

As an HEAV member you can register first and cheapest!  HEAV members can sign up for $59/member during the 3-day early preregistration!!!

As a member who is planning to attend this is the best time to register as the price goes up $10 for members ($69/person) after the early preregistration.

If you aren’t an HEAV member, you can register for $79/person.

No matter how you register this is still a great deal.  What do you get for this low price??

Now that you have registered for the full convention — (note – there is a shopping only + one workshop option for $19/member or $29/non-member, if you can’t make it to the whole convention, but we are going to assume that you are signing up for the whole thing because it is so worth it!) — the question is – what next?

Well – the first step is to decide who is coming?  Where you are going to stay and for how long you are going to stay?

  • Are the kids coming with you?
  • Can your spouse come?
    • Did you know that spouses are free!
  • Need somewhere to stay?
  • Do you have books, puzzles, games, and other educational materials that you want to pass along and make some money while you are doing it?
    • The Used Curriculum Sale barcoding system opens on March 25th!  Be sure to enter your things early – after all there is only space for 60,000 + items!!  🙂
    • And on the note of 60,000 + items, be sure to start making a list of what things you will be looking at to use for next year!  (More information will be coming about making lists in a future post!)
  • Do you have a high school student who is ready to graduate?  If so – first off CONGRATULATIONS!!!  You did it!  They did it! Congrats to you all!  Second — GRADUATION REGISTRATION IS SEPARATE FROM CONVENTION REGISTRATION!

Ok – so a quick review –

  1. Are you a member or a non-member?  (If you are thinking about becoming a member, do it now and save money every year at convention by joining HEAV before registering for convention.)
  2. Who is coming?  Just you, a spouse, grandparents, kids, next door neighbor?
  3. Where are you staying?  Coming with friends allows you to share the cost and share the fun!  Imagine getting back to the hotel room in the evening and everyone pulling out the information and new curriculum they found that day and telling everyone about it!
  4. Collect items to sell at the Used Curriculum Sale.
  5. Make a list of exhibitors you want to see. (Coming Soon – a whole post on what how to get the most out of the exhibit hall and all you need to prepare is a printer and some highlighters!)
  6. Make a list of items to look for at the Used Curriculum Sale.
  7. If you have a Graduate – be sure to sign up for Graduation in addition to signing up for Convention.

Ok – that’s it for now – this is post 2 of 30.  I am doing 30 posts in honor of HEAV’s 30th year!  Stay tuned to find out what return address labels, printer paper, 3 ring binders and highlighters all have in common and why you need to bring them with you to convention!

2013 Homeschool Convention

See you at convention!!  I’ll be there, without the kids (they spend time with Grandpa) and spouse (he has to work so I can buy more school stuff), but with my sister and mom, staying at my parent’s house, with lots of stuff to sell and buy at the used curriculum sale, but no one graduating yet!  How about you?

What do you mean it’s less than 12 weeks until the HEAV convention!!!???!!!

Ok, first off I have to apologize for my excessive use of punctuation.  If that is offensive to anyone, I am heartily sorry.  However, once you have gotten over the punctuation go back and read that again – it’s less than 12 weeks until the HEAV convention!


Now do you understand why I had to use all of that punctuation.

Ok – so starting, ummmm, well, not now . . . tomorrow? . . . maybe – ok – sometime this week I will begin out Countdown to Convention and in honor of it being HEAV’s 30th year, I am going to plan to do 30 posts about convention!  These posts will be filled with words, hopefully properly spelled words.  🙂

Anyway – Just to give you a little taste of what is to come:

HEAV Convention

And Many More . . .

Plus – I am working on a giveaway – it if works out, it will be a good one!!!  Stay tuned!

PS – As this is a convention post and as I already stated that I was going to have 30 get ready for convention posts AND since I told you about some of the speakers . . .

This one counts!

30 years —- > 30 Posts