Lego Adventures Series 1: The Race

We want to incorporate more creative writing into our kids’ homeschooling, so Josh and I decided to have our boys write or create a Lego Adventure every week based on a theme that we give them. We love what they do with the Lego Mindstorms, but we know how important writing and creative thinking will be later on when they are in college and then in the workforce. Writing is one of their weaknesses, and what better way to strengthen their writing skills than by letting them play with Legos?

This week’s theme is The Race. It could be any kind of race, not limited to just vehicles or race cars. They were to build a scene out of Legos and then write a story based on that scene. All four of our school-age children built a scene, but since Rhys (our kindergartener) doesn’t know how to read yet, we didn’t require him to write a story.

We also want to get our kids more involved in the blog. I think that since they know this is going on the Internet, they will work pretty hard on these Lego Adventures!


First, we have Rhys’ race scene. He thinks linearly so his race is in one line on the baseplate. I LOVE his little cat though! Isn’t it cute?



Somehow, Ian wrote two stories to go with his race scene. His scene was rather elaborate, but he is still working on his writing skills. I did not make any corrections so his stories may be difficult to understand.

I will post his original story and then his second story.


Ian is scared the big race is coming. The best racers are coming to race. You can be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. 2 Zanes are winning. Ninjas are coming. The big race is starting.ianrace2

Since Zane destroyed the ghost mech so he destroyed the ninjacopter so he built this. He’s Airjitzu now thouh. It’s been a long time since rebooted.ianrace3

then he combinded them to the ghost copter! then he added a simble (symbol).ianrace4

Now He’s Fighting. Airjitzu Zane flyer came to help. Zane was flying in the ninjacopter the (then) it brock. Then ghost mech fell on it. Then he went to fight. he won


Matthias built a different kind of race: an eating contest!

The Eating Contest

by Matthias


Today is the day of the eating contest. The participants are Matthias, the Mandalorian, and Cole. They will be eating two loaves of bread, three apples, three carrots, two pizzas, one chicken leg, a hamburger, a fish, and a bun. The prize will be a slurpee.


Matthias started first and devoured his two loaves of bread.


Then he slowly ate the two pizzas.


After that Matthias ate his chicken leg. He took a sip of his coffee then gobbled his hamburger. Then he ate his fish.

“Ugh.”, said Matthias. He was full. He just could not eat any more.


So then the Mandalorian started. He likes bread so he ate it fast. So he moved on to round 2.


Then he ate his chicken leg. But when he ate his fish he threw up because he is allergic.

Cole started next. He devoured all his food except for the bun.


So Cole won the eating contest and he won the slurpee.



Corran’s story is reminiscent of a Mario Kart race. I also laughed through most of it because it was hilarious. In a good way.

The Race

by Corran


On the day of the big race, Pig Guy was scared. He would be racing against the best racers in Lego Town, like the Silence and Minion-with-a-hot-dog-in-his-hand-riding-on-a-pig. At least he had his trusty apple. Oh, and a new, fast motorcycle. The racers would have to race around a track around Lego Town, through the beach, and then back to where they started.


When the horn sounded to call the racers to the starting positions, he went to get his motorcycle to his position. The light was red then turned green, and everybody was off! The first portion of the race was easy, just three laps around the park.


Pig Guy’s motorcycle was pretty fast, but the ninja’s car was right behind!


In the meanwhile, Minion-with-a-hot-dog-in-his-hand-riding-on-a-pig’s pig had wandered somewhere to find some carrots, so he was out of the race. The AT-AT driver’s AT-AT was kind of slow, but it could shoot lasers. The Silence had a fast Speedor, and he could shoot lightning. The ninjas were, well, a car full of ninjas.

As Pig Guy was about to round into the park, the Silence tried to bump him! Pig Guy’s motorcycle jumped over the curb and into a thorn-bush. As Pig Guy crawled out of the bush and dragged his motorcycle back on the road, the Silence finished his three laps around the park. Pig Guy would have to drive very fast to catch up. When he started driving again, he looked at his fuel gauge. It was almost empty! Pig Guy had forgotten to fill up his fuel tank. Just when his motorcycle was about to give out, he noticed a hose hanging off the AT-AT in front of him. When he took it and stuck into his motorcycle, he stole the AT-AT’s fuel!


Now he was back in the race.

The next part of the race was over the old bridge. Pig Guy had almost caught up with the ninjas, but the Silence was still far ahead. When Pig Guy started to drive across the bridge, it started to rock. The ninjas slowed down so that they wouldn’t fall off, and Pig Guy was able to catch up with them! He plucked a thorn out of his arm, and leaned over to stick it into the ninjas’ tire. When it popped, the ninjas flew off the bridge! Now it was just Pig Guy and the Silence.

For the final section of the race, they had to race across the Beach. It was starting to get dark, and Pig Guy couldn’t see very well. He could see crabs scuttling across the sand. In the distance, he could see the Silence. Suddenly the Silence got stuck on a stretch of wet sand! Now Pig Guy could catch up! As Pig Guy came next to the Silence, the Silence blasted him with lightning! Then he pulled away from Pig Guy. Pig Guy couldn’t see very well from the lightning. Coming up soon he could see the finishing line. If he didn’t do something then the Silence would win. Pulling his arm back, he threw his apple as hard as he could. It knocked the Silence off his Speedor, and Pig Guy was able to zoom by him. He had won!


Note: I know Pig Guy cheated to win the race, but that is literally what Mario Kart is like!


If you read this whole post, thanks so much for reading! My boys had fun creating these for us. I’m sure your kids will too!



Lego Mindstorms: Wack3m Robot

Update: Lego May have taken down the Lego mindstorms robot gallery so the programs are no longer available there.

For the longest time, I could not figure out where the programming for the robots on the Lego Mindstorms website were! I feel very silly now, but in case there is anyone else out there who could easily find the build instructions on the website but did not know where to download that particular robot’s program, here is how to find the programs for the “official” Lego Mindstorms robots.


To access the programs for the Mindstorms robots, download the EV3 Programming software under the Downloads tab. I tried using the app for accessing the programs, but I did not see a way to look at the “extra” robots on the app, only the 5 that come with the Mindstorms kit.


Once you have downloaded the software and opened it, the screen will look something like this. On the screen are the 5 starter robots. If you look at the 3 tabs near the bottom of the screen, one tab says MORE ROBOTS. Click that to change the options at the bottom of the screen.


It was like a revelation once I clicked that MORE ROBOTS tab. Two of the robots we had built were there: the PRINT3R bot and EV3D4. For this build, we went with the WACK3M bot. It’s an arcade-style bot that lets you play whack-a-mole.


Once you click on WACK3M, the screen changes to the Mindstorms programming environment. This particular build had onscreen instructions for actually building the robot and even let you run a few short programs to test your robot in the middle of your build, just to make sure you have each part running correctly.


In the above pic, Thias is building one  of the units for the WACK3M bot using the Mindstorms software. Usually, he builds them using the iPad, but I think this way might have been quite a bit easier.


In the upper right corner, you click the arrows to take you through each page of instructions.


Once you are done with your build, you can look at the programming. This one was working as is of course, so my kids went straight to playing.



The two-tired “wand” Thias is holding acts as your hammer for the game. All my kids loved the hammer and kept using it NOT as a hammer for the game.


Here is a pic of the completed bot. This was a pretty smooth build and my boys had few issues with it. They weren’t quite as fascinated with it as they were with the MindCub3r bot though. They did like that it told them their scores related to their reaction times.

All my kids were able to play with this bot though, so that made it a good build for multiple ages to try. They were all so crowded around it that I never got a good video of it working!



One Day at San Diego Comic-Con International…

We stood in a really long line to get into the Convention Center at 9:30 AM. Turned out once we got to the front of the building, we could go in any door. Note to self for next year: Come right at 9:30 AM (if we’re not trying to get popular exclusives) and walk right in from the other side of the Convention Center without waiting in line!

We took the trolley into downtown. Usually, we don’t have Comic-Con badges so we have no reason to be in the areas that are in the pictures above.

Continue reading

Prepared For Comic-Con?

Nope! Not even a little bit!

Tomorrow is our one day that we will be at Comic-Con International at the San Diego Convention Center. Will it be crazy? Yes! Will there be lines? Yes! Will we be taking a ton of pictures? Yes!

Please visit us on our Facebook page at The Geek Homestead for updates throughout the day tomorrow! We will try to keep it exciting!


Raspberry Pi

My summer project for the boys and me came in the mail yesterday: a Raspberry Pi. It’s a tiny computer (motherboard) that you can use to teach programming to kids. It also has many real-world uses. My real-world use for it will be to replace our huge computer tower that we have by our TV with this tiny computer.

We use the computer tower to access the internet through our living room TV, which is how my youngest child watches homeschool videos. We don’t really use the hard drive part of the tower, so I’d like to move the whole tower to a computer desk where it can be used as a computer instead of a media center. This credit card-sized motherboard can sit on a shelf¬† and be our media center instead. Bonus: more space in the entertainment center!

Before I do that though, I’m going to let my kids play with it first. I borrowed a book from the library called Adventures in Raspberry Pi.

I’m going to have either Corran or Thias (or both!) program through the book. The main programming language used is Python. Corran has already had a taste of Python and says it is a little bit harder than Java. That is okay. I think once he sees what he can do with this little computer, he will be excited!

I ordered our Raspberry Pi 3 Model B through Amazon for about $40.


I had seen pictures of the motherboard online but nothing prepares you to see it in person. It is tiny!


Four USB ports (we plan to use two of them for a mouse and keyboard) and Ethernet. There is built-in wireless but it is still useful to have the option for a wired connection.


Full-size HDMI port for hooking up a monitor or a TV.


Audio/visual connection and a camera interface (For the Raspberry camera).



The micro SD card slot is on the underside of the motherboard.

I think the Raspberry Pi also has some applications in robotics and possibly with our Lego Mindstorms robot. We are going to start with the programming part first and then go on from there. If I am able to use it as our living room media center, then we will probably need to buy another one or two to use for other applications!



Reveal the Geek: Lootcrate – Star Wars Limited Edition Crate

The second crate I ordered was Lootcrate’s Star Wars Limited Edition Crate. This one was more expensive than the Firefly Cargo Crate, but it also had more items in it.

We won’t be able to use two of the items until wintertime, but that is okay. They are still cool, and they seem to be good quality too!


The items were packed neatly into the crate. The box was yet another nice design so we are keeping it also!


Right on top was this adorable BB-8 3/4-sleeve shirt. I had to get size small because all the x-large sizes were gone. Either Corran or I will wear this shirt.


Isn’t this hat cute? We can’t use it until winter (and possibly not even then!) but it is still neat to have.


Here is Josh modeling the really, really long scarf that came in the crate. Isn’t he a handsome guy?


BB-8 as a mug. I’m not sure how easy it will be to drink out of, but we actually collect coffee mugs, so BB-8 will fit in perfectly!


I didn’t know that they made collectible quality Mr. Potato Heads! This Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head is a lot sturdier than the toys. He is standing beside Jayne Cobb on top of our homeschool bookcase now.

There was also a gadget bag. At first I thought it was a cosmetic or toiletry bag, but I guess gadget bags are a thing now!


A Lootcrate exclusive: Vader Down comic book


I’ve never seen a model like this before. It uses metal sheets instead of wood or cardboard!

The front and back of the full Star Wars Little Golden Book set. The kids aren’t allowed to read them unless we give them permission!


One of the reasons we want to keep the Star Wars box. This image of the Millennium Falcon inside the top cover was gorgeous.