My dear husband, who I promise is an adult and contributing member of society, loves to play D&D with his guy friends. It is his ‘guys night’ and a bunch of his friends go off and have very creative adventures in the comfort of the livingroom **major bonus of being an adult, they don’t have to be banished to the basement**. I’ve played occasionally and it is fun enough, but I prefer to have the nice solo night at home where I get to eat a quiet dinner and watch whatever I like on tv.
Anyway, like all hobbies, there are tons of things marketed directly at them. There are the books and stuff, but then there are the extras and we are the proud owners of a very nice set of spell templates. They are nicely done truly – you put them on the playing board to show how far your fire ball or ice stream goes. They came on a giant piece of thin plastic so my first contribution to this was my ability to cut very nicely.
The issue becomes how to carry all these bits… For scale, that Capt America/Iron Man box is the length of a pencil (and is full of guess what; pencils!). Some of the spells are wide, some are long, some are very very small…. How to keep them all safe?
I happened to have a yard of super hero fabric and my machines were all set up so instead of folding laundry last night I made this;
Not just a bag! Imagine how big a fail it would be just put them all in a tote. The tiny ones would be gone, the long ones would be bent, and one can’t let an opportunity to make tiny pockets pass by.
First of all, I made the side and half the bottom open for easy access. Husband has big bear paws and if the chaos he leaves looking for a spatula in the drawer is any indication, he needs the ability to see all the pockets. There are snaps up the side of the bag and velcro on the bottom (wraps up and around so there is a more secure bottom). The pocket on the left is for the long thing things, across the bottom are all the large triangles and circles, and the wee little pocket on the top are for the little bits. There is also room for the dice and pencil box and probably a book or 3.
Do you notice more snaps? I decided that based on the variety of sizes, small things would get lost in each pocket and to indulge more crafting energy; all the pockets open up for easy access
So other than an oddly unfortunate fabric placement that makes all the small spells seem to be stored in The Hulks armpit, and, it isn’t lined, I’m very happy with it and more importantly so is he.
This took less that a yard and if I was starting again I would integrate the velcro better by just making the back longer than the front so it could fold up neatly. I thought of the velcro after when snaps were not really making it on the bottom once he asked to store more things.
Today’s post is based on product given to me by Oriental Trading company in return for a post. I almost feel bad because they are so fast and shipping and I’m comparably slow at posting.
*in my defense, they just pull from a warehouse and ship the next day, I have to wait for my heard of cats to be in a crafting mood. * Lucky for me, they inherited my love for crafting gene so far 🙂
I got quite a few things this order but my first goal was to get things that the kids could create gifts with. There is a TON of jewelry options but I settled on 2 kits and then some charms and cute lampwork beads, one that looked like apples and another set that were just pretty. I also got a few basic supplies like wine charm wire loops and necklace chords.
The older two were enchanted with the box of what can only be described as treasure. Both dove in to create teacher gifts and with zero guidance from me created wine charms with bits and parts I was not expecting them to use. It was ABSOLUTELY within their level (of age 6 and 8) to not just manually make it happen but to put together something pretty.
The Santa kit from the picture is actually too hard for them. I plan on doing them myself and they will find their way to some lucky family members. (here is where I hope my sisters are too busy to read my blog)
The final thing that I want to highlight is, according to Oriental Trading, another Christmas craft, but, I’m planning on wearing it year round. The safety pin in this picture actually also comes with a tiny nativity scene but for me, this is going to indicate my willingness to help anyone who needs it so I’m going to use that charm elsewhere. The safety pin symbol , I think, is a great idea in its simplicity.
I was very impressed with the overall quality. Makes me wish I had time to just sit and play with beads all day. I will settle for the time I have and I’m double grateful for the fact that I can put a pile of supplies in the hands of my kids and let them create.
Last year I did this too, but, it is so easy and the kids love it that I did it again.
The center part of the ‘turkey’ is a large lunch bag. I filled it 3/4 full of popcorn and crunched the end in on itself and rounded out the edges.
The legs are actually made from brown packing paper that came in an amazon box but could easily be from a strip of brown grocery bag. Last year I used small lunch bags but I didn’t have them on hand this year. My parents actually brought fancy turkey chocolate pops so I put them in the legs but you can fill them with anything. To make the shape we rolled the paper around a beer bottle, removed the bottle, then filled, then folded then end in on itself.
To make the white pretty end this year I used coffee filters that I cut the ends into a frill, but, last year I used normal white paper. I taped it shut around the ‘leg’.
I pulled out a tray, plopped the ‘body’ in the middle and squished the legs into it and it looked pretty natural. They are not even stuck together, just pushed into place. I think that will work better for eating it tomorrow, zero risk of ripping the bag of popcorn open when a leg is pulled off.
Other Thanksgiving prep is underway, we have all the food in the house and plans are detailed. Shopping was no problem and we found everything we needed in under 2 hours.
Now we just enjoy company and cooking!
Remember when Oriental Trading Company asked if I wanted a few things, no charge, from their website for Halloween in return for a post? Well, they liked me well enough to offer the same for Thanksgiving! This post is made possible by the lovely free things provided by Oriental Trading Company (who I also regularly give my money too)
In the spirit of ‘giving’, I looked at the selection of things on the website in the Thanksgiving area with an eye toward what I could share. I also remembered to check HOW MANY of a thing come in a pack this time (lesson learned….) and decided on a little thanksgiving scene kit that is a blank background and a ton of repositionable stickers. I sent them in with Zoe (teacher oked) and they used them yesterday in their thanksgiving journal project. They already write daily, this day just got special stickers!
Here is Zoe’s journal and another child’s. It is crazy to see how different two kids, both around 6, took on this assignment
This seems to say; Pilgrims came inside two ships. When they got there they couldn’t survive. The Indians helped the pilgrems. And that was how Minnesota came.
So given that she isn’t really all that up on the story, she was informed by the stickers about how many ships there were.
We may also have to work on some geography of where the pilgrims actually landed because it was not the shores of Minnesota…. (we are dead center of the north American continent). She has driven from MN to the actual coast of the country and knows how long that is, but, I don’t think she has a clue that pilgrims came from Europe and landed on the closest land to Europe. I do like that is looks like the Native Americans were setting up a nice buffet including pie and squash soup as the pilgrims were on their boats.
The other child also seems to have no reference to the actual semi-historical story but he does a good job describing his picture. “Today as you can see there are 7 peoples enjoying chickens, potatoes, turkeys, pies, corns, and grapes and pumpkins. He nicely pairs up some people with no regard for gender or race, I’m very cool with that and I hope it never changes in his brain.
I personally love 1st-grade spelling. Zoe is completely phonetic, the other child has a love of the possessive form instead of plural.
These come in packs of 12 so there were 3 extra that I gave to my girls. They are enjoying the longer term use of the pictures by changing them around now and then. The repositionable stickers are fun for moving but frustrated the school kids because they didn’t just stick like a normal sticker.
We have them hanging on the wall in our upstairs hall so we pass by all the time. The top one is Niamh’s, she decided that the women were cooking, the one man was bringing wood and the other man was taking a nap. She also filled the buckets with produce, nicely using storage….
Zoe is copying Niamh’s napping guy but decided to seriously focus on pies. At one point, everyone had a pie on their face. She also enjoyed lining up the pumpkins.
Fiona’s picture is next and I love her turkey riding the sun. She went more natural with the pumpkin placement but she does not care for corn, so, there is none used. She has actually played with hers most and has the little people talk and move around.
I’m happy with the quality, the stickers are a bit easy to rip as you take them off the sheet, especially the ships, but the majority are fine for even little 4-year-old fingers.
We got a selection of other things but I plan on using most closer to thanksgiving. I did want to get this up early enough so if you were so inclined to get this as an activity for thanksgiving day, or, to even use as kids placemats so they can play while they eat, you have time for shipping.
One other thing I got that I want to share is this cute set of craft bags. We are constantly needing to bring something somewhere, like to school, that should not get smashed into the backpack/bag so I usually use bags that I’m ok with never seeing again (but could totally reuse!). The fall decoration gives them a good lifespan for us, they are a more sophisticated version of a gift bag and could easily hold a bottle of wine or holiday cookies.
Oriental Trading Company, thanks for helping us look more classy! In looking for the link for the bag I noticed many other cute bags for other seasons. I think I’m making a shopping list now…. ::sigh:: free goldfish syndrome.
I’m glad to have this post to write today. I’m moving on from yesterday and election day. What I can do is what I’ve always done; support my local schools and town, keep an eye on the big picture, and know when I need to shout about something.
Some of this has been on Instagram or facebook but I’m going to collect it all here for those of you who only read “da-blog”. I miss my Thankful Thursday exercise because that was where I collected all the cool things that had been going on that didn’t totally merit a post but Thursdays have gotten crazy, however, there are no rules against Thankful Friday~ I could go with the Friday Followup to get the double letter thing… Anyway, in listy form, here it all is.
Costumes are complete! We have not worn them in their 100% glory yet because I don’t trust the blue leggings on the Poliwag until ‘real’ Halloween. Although the leggings I got for Niamh from Oriental Trading as part of my Halloween partnership have held up really well. We went to a local Trunk or Treat that had outside stuff and an indoor little craft and carnival theme.
I decided on doing a simple hood for the Dedene and Zoe wanted it to cover her eyes so I made cartoon eyes around the hole and it worked out really well. The Flarion tail is still a nemesis… I am getting pretty anti tail and wing. Love ears though, if it can go on a hat or headband I’m game.
Last week I talked about the distinct lack of kid-sized halloween shirts. I got 2 black and 2 white shirts, a roll of white lace and a remnant of black lace (all from Walmart so you can do this too). I made a template of the ghost from paper and then just laid the lace over it to cut them in rows. Started from the bottom row on the shirt and went up. I used the stretch stitch and only sewed along the top edge of each row except for the top row I sewed down the sides. For the witch hat I used a stretch stitch around the whole edge and then sewed on the ribbon. On Niamh’s I actually cut in an arch to make it look 3D but I’m not sure you can tell. The real win is that both girls loved them.
I actually posted a different picture of the ghost shirt first that has a Fiona in a grump photobomb and a friend commented “What I see is that is stinks to be youngest”. Fiona has about 15 different shirts but don’t worry, I took a picture of todays outfit too…
This is an “I dress myself” because that is a halloween shirt over a summer dress and you can’t see the watermelon seed leggings because they are covered by octopus leg warmers. Oh, and don’t miss the spider in her hair, thats why she is making that face, she is trying to show the spider.
Speaking of spiders in hair, here is a good and super easy hair accessory.
I did a normal pony tail and then put the spider on top and used a single clear tiny hair binder and it will stay on no problem. Zoe had one too but she was out the door already.
I’m low on spooky food this year. I’ve done popcorn ghosts and mummy dogs but mornings are too busy for crazy food every day. I might do more for real halloween…
And that is the week of halloween! We are carving pumpkins with vacation Mom this weekend and a few other little crafts.
Time for me to go collect the kids so sorry about the minimilally editited post!
This past weekend we had an important local event that drew friends from all over. The best part about a local event is that we get the opportunity to have houseguests and this time we went one step further and did a dinner party at a local restaurant post event where the kids were all left at my house. All 17 kids….
It started smaller, at first the teen daughter of the family staying with us volunteered to babysit her siblings and my three so we could go out. That grew to include another family with 4 kids and then another and you see where this is going. Fortunately, all the additional kids were 8 or older so not too much of a babysitting issue, and, of the 16 three were ‘responsible teens’ for the supervision side of the equation. They also all know eachother so that helped too.
What also helped was 8 pizzas and 10 packs of ramen. And Netflix and by a turn of fortune, a cool little craft.
The craft is courtesy of Oriental Trading who contacted me two weeks ago to offer me store credit in return for a post (and here is that post!). My love of oriental trading is well documented, just look at my puppy party, but don’t worry – my views are my own and that is what you get here!
When I got my store credit, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Literally… I actually got candy because who can resist eyeball candy? I also got bendy skeletons and both are safely hidden for Halloween night treats for the trick or treat kids. (I’ll let you know who wins this year; candy or toy). I also got what I thought was a single foam Halloween house but in what turns out to be a trend in me not reading the fine print, it was 12 sets of Halloween houses. That was a happy accident for me because of the incoming hoard of children!
So, we left the kids, the pizza, and the house kits and took our 25 person party off to Stella’s on 97. When we got back 3 hours later there was no pizza, no ramen and unfortunately no houses… on the positive all the kids supposed to be asleep were.
This apparent tornado zone was initially blamed on kids just being tired after a long day but then we reviewed the directions and saw that you need glue to make it work. I thought these were sticky pieces like other kits I’ve gotten, but, they do actually say it needs glue (sold separately) however in my excitement I just didn’t read that bit. To their credit, the kids did find glue and had made some progress but the littlest kids (under 5) lost interest.
I’m glad I am able to end this with a positive, the next morning Niamh went directly to the pile of parts and she and her glue and her relative peace of only 6 other kids in the house produced this picture perfect specimen. Zoe finished hers later in the day.
Moral of the story is I was right that my kids would like this craft, it definitely needs some concentration and mastery of glue. It would have been much easier if they were peel n stick but they did manage in the end.
The other goodies I got from Oriental Trading will pop up in posts over the next month including some leggings I got for their costumes from the costume center but I wanted to get this one up in case YOU want to order before Halloween. Put aside about 3 hours to jump down the rabbit hole of great ideas and fun projects, and, read the fine print…
ps. I was very tempted to get this because Zoe has been begging for a dog but I decided it was a tad too morbid for a 6 year old.
pps. Our house party grew and we crushed our sleepover record. We had our 5, another family of 5, 2 more teens, another couple and we had to actually look and make sure anther guy was not crashed under a table because nobody was sure if he left or not.