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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kite Craft - from the Mary Poppins party

The Kite craft was fun for my girls and pretty easy.

The supplies I used are also inexpensive and easy to find.
kite string - $1 for 200ft. spool
bamboo skewers $1 for 100
plastic for kites - used 1 kitchen trash bag cut out 8 kites
scotch tape - $1 a spool
Glue gun & glue sticks
ribbon for the tail - $.50 a spool
cardboard for string holders - used the cardboard divider from a boardgame box, game still works fine and it was free and looks nicer than cereal box cardboard (you could use that and paint it if you wanted, or of course there is always cardstock in amazing colors and prints for you paper junkies out there).

I unfolded the trash bag out flat then folded it in 1/4 so that there were 8 layers of plastic (it was already 2 layers) then cut out a kite shape. At this point it may have been good to actually have a pattern of some sort, to make the kite perfectly even for the best flying, but I just cut it out without a pattern.

I cut the skewers to length for the cross bar (cutting off the sharp end) and fastened 2 together with hot glue to be long enough for the other stick, I later went back and cut off most of the overlap to lighten it up and remove the pointy ends. On one kite I used scotch tape to attach the bamboo sticks to the plastic which seemed to work fine till a particularly big gust of wind tore it loose. On the other kite I used hot glue at the end of each stick to attach the plastic, that held very well. I also attached the tails in the same way but I think a wider ribbon might work better as it needs to be weightier.

I unwound some kite string onto the cardboard where I had cut a notch for the string to go into and tied it around the card, then wound a bunch around so that I had enough for fun flying. Then I tied the other end of the cut string to the center cross of the kite tying it around both sticks, you should use a bowline knot for this if you want it to hold good, a square or granny knot will likely slip and your kite may escape.

Now you are ready to go fly a kite!!

The craziest part is that Miss 4 and Miss 8 think I am some sort of amazing genius because I made a kite, even though to be honest it doesn't fly that well. We are still having lots of fun, proof that you don't have to be perfect to have fun! (just make the effort to be a bit creative and you just might be magically "Practically perfect in every way" if you are brave enough to give it a shot)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mary Poppins Birthday Party

Miss 3 has just graduated to being Miss 4 so to celebrate the occasion we decided to have a birthday party for her. She wasn't sure what sort of party she wanted so I waited for inspiration.... Well finally 2 days before the party it struck me, a Mary Poppins party would be perfect!!!! She has been obsessed with the movie, asking to watch it almost every day (I don't let her watch much tv or movies at all, so it's not often that she actually gets to see it. We've had a lot of colds and flu lately though, so there's been more than normal, which I think has led to the Mary Poppins obsession.)

We were at the store and Miss 4 had seen the Mary Poppins Barbie along with Bert and Jane and Michael. She went into the kind of frenzy only a 3 year old could. I did not buy them at the time but thought the Mary Poppins one might make a good birthday present since she was so excited and obviously wanted it. Lucky for me, I found them at the Grocery outlet and they were a great deal, they even had all of them. So the entire set only cost me $30 instead of the $75- $90 they were at the toy store. I was really excited to be able to buy them, that's when the idea struck for the Mary Poppins Party.

So here's what I planned for the party... with just 2 days to plan and pull it together.

This part probably sounds vain, well at least it does to me, but since I love costume design and haven't been doing any plays lately I went with it just for fun. Besides, I don't remember ever claiming "not" to be vain. I dressed as Mary Poppins. Miss 4 loved the idea and told me I would be going away and that Mary Poppins would be at her party, she was so excited about it. I already had the coat and the right shape(wrong color) hat, and a black umbrella (although not a parrot handle on it), so I thought I should be able to pull an outfit together for the party. I'll tell you more about my costume later on, hopefully adding some better photos too.

To start the party off, the kids did sidewalk chalk drawings. I got the big box of sidewalk chalk ($5) and Miss 8 gave it to Miss 4 as one of her gifts on her actual birthday. For the party she was glad to share and have everyone doing chalk drawings with her. That part went well. Then the kids played on the swings for a bit, which was fine but I would have had them come in sooner if I'd known that most of them needed to leave early.

If you have seen Mary Poppins you may remember "Toppins toppins toppins a bag" Well I loved the scene with the snow globe and was trying to figure out how make snowglobes that were fun and not expensive. I was roaming the store looking for something small yet significant to the story to put in baby food jars for snow globes. Aha! Toppins! I decided to use Nickels and it worked out great! I did the gluing of the Toppins and the kids poured glitter into the jars of water I helped them put the lids on and ta-da! a snowglobe with toppins. Each cost me a nickel, the rest of the supplies were either on hand (glue & glitter) or recycled (baby food jars).

To go along with the "lets go fly a Kite" song I also had a kite craft ready but most of the kids had to leave early so we skipped it, my girls had a blast with it after the party though, so I think it would still be a good idea.

I made "spoonfulls of sugar" for the kids and they were a hit. (I did not give them any other candy or send home bags of candy like most birthday parties my kids have been to, so I felt like a spoonful of sugar was fun and not too much sugar really.)

Miss 4 wanted a barbie doll cake and we have the pan,(thanks to the Paisley Penguin! ;-) so I made a Mary Poppins cake for her. If you ever use a real barbie with the wilton doll cake pan you need to add a single, or double layer cake under it to make it tall enough for the barbie, also take a knife and cut a hole in the center to put barbie in. I might add that barbie was very clean before we put her in the cake ;-)I have to say that while I am capable of decorating cakes pretty nicely, a lot depends on the consistency of the frosting and amount of time I want to put into it. Lucky for me Miss 4 is not a critical child and was totally happy with the cake. If I'd had more time I would have made a little hat and certainly would have done a more professional looking job with the frosting (I actually shudder at the frosting on this cake). As it was, I used a 7 minute icing (that I will never make again) it was droopy and didn't hold the shape of an icing tip at all. Oh well it was cake and we ate it and now it's gone. ;-) None of the kids seemed to mind the lack of decorating perfection. I did get many complements on the frosting tasting really good and Miss 8 thinks it was the yummiest frosting she ever had.

Miss 4 was so thrilled with the Mary Poppins, Bert, Jane and Michael, Barbies, she has been playing with them for the better part of the last 2 days, along with taking swims with her new mermaid and playing My little pony. I think the ponys have been filling in for the Carousel horses with the Mary Poppins group too.

I think I'll write a couple Tutorial type blog entries showing how I made stuff for the party and the details of my costume (which I just might wear on a daily basis, but only if I find a good carpet bag). Hope this was fun for you, it sure was for all of us!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Thank you all for your sweet and fun comments about the vintage stove. It turned out that it was sold to someone else. It would have been nice if I was just told that to begin with, but we set up a time to go see/buy it and then got an email that the roomate had sold it to someone else. I was really bummed, but at the same time I did not have a totally solid positive feeling about buying it right now, although I knew it would not be for sale for long so might miss it if I didn't buy it. I prayed that I would make a right decision since the car needs weatherstripping and I really only have the money for one or the other now. I really do believe that mantaining what I have is more important than getting "new" things. That is good stewardship, and being responsible, but not always fun. My stove is holding out ok although it likes to burn things in the oven, often mysteriously, but it works and I can wait for the right time to buy a vintage stove, as long as I don't torture myself by checking craigslist for any great ones between now and then. ;-)

So now I get to be excited about weather stripping! Woo hoo! Ok it's feeling a little bit forced, but really that gets me that much closer to driving the car I like so much. No more foggy windows is a big plus there, after the moisture issue is fixed there will still be a few things that need done but I don't think they are going to be too complicated or expensive. Buying weather stripping is a commitment to keep the car though, Actually my last old car I bought the weather stripping and then we had a lot of problems with it and sold it for parts and I still have the weather stripping in my laundry room. Too bad it won't fit the DeSoto... I have posted it on craigslist a few times and one person offered me less than half what I paid, I probably should have taken it, I guess there aren't that many people who drive a 64 Ford Falcon Sedan these days. So I'm reconsidering selling on Ebay, I used to sell stuff on there a bit, mostly vintage clothes. But am a little more than disenamoured with the whole process of selling there, still I'm thinking about it.

My friend the Paisley Penguin got a new engine yesterday, it's quite lovely, I know cause Mr B helped her Hubs pick it up. We laugh a lot about how we used to want and expect fancy gifts and stuff that was in some way extravagant or at least impractical. However now we can truly be excited adnhappy to get something we need, like weather stripping or a new engine for your car. For my birthday this year I am asking for the electrical to be finished in the addition on our house. A few months ago I was hoping for the addition to be completed, but I have "awakened" since then and now just want to have something significant finished. The electrical is over half done now so it seems like it should be able to be finished by then. I hope I hope!!!!

I think the change in expectations has been good for me and certainly good for the budget, but I sort of miss the carefree spending of my pre-mommy days, at the same time I wish I had saved more of that money, or at least appreciated being able to spend it more than I remember.
I realize this is sort of a rambley post and a bit odd, I hope not too much so though.