Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Feeling Crabby

I think it's a sign of spring that our hermit crabs have been a bit more active than usual lately. The other night, all four of them were accessible, so I took the opportunity to do some cleaning and remodeling of their tank.

I took all of them out of the tank and put them on a piece of newspaper. Lil' Kay was responsible for making sure that none of them escaped. I figured they'd be too afraid to even move, but sure enough, a couple of them got adventurous! They were even pretty curious about our cat Cheeto. They charged him fearlessly!

Pinchy seemed to be the most brave, so after everything was cleaned up and put away, I decided to see if I could get him to walk on my hand. None of them have ever done this for me. Usually, they just pull up into their shell, and I'm left holding a boring old seashell! This time, he immediately came out of his shell and started climbing on my hand and right up my arm! It's amazing what a strong grip these guys have!

Lil' Kay was very excited to see his pets actually DOING something. He's always been a little convinced that given the chance, the hermies would immediately clamp down on him with their claws, but after spending some time with them, I think we've dispelled that fear. He even let Pinchy sit on his leg and stomach. He was giggling nervously the whole time, but he loved it!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Good news! The guests at Lil' Kay's birthday party will not be bashing a giant peanut pinata! Godzilla now has a head and arms! That's right! I made PROGRESS!!
Mr. Kay helped me out by coming up with a plan for hanging the pinata. Since it involved a cordless drill and some engineering, I let him handle that part of it. He drilled two holes in the back of the pinata, and then threaded wire through both holes to create our hanger.

Using wadded up newspaper, masking tape and a poptart box, I created the base for Godzilla's neck and head. After studying a Godzilla action figure for some time, I realized that Godzilla's head is ridiculously small in proportion to the rest of his body! The neck and head were attached to the body using wide masking tape and the wire hanger was also brought up through the neck to give it a bit more stability. Lil' Kay was thrilled that his pinata was finally starting to look like a monster and not just two balloons taped together!

Once again, I wadded up newspaper and taped it all together to make arms. The trickiest part was taping them to the body.The last thing I accomplished on Saturday was covering the new attachments with a layer of papier mache. This was the hardest part, because the shapes are so irregular! I was also very concerned about the fact that the arms were still very wiggly. However, once everything dried. they were quite stable. I don't think I'm going to worry about doing another layer of papier mache over that. I don't really care if the arms fly off with the first whack!

So, the next step is to create Godzilla's legs and tail. His legs need to be fairly large. You wouldn't believe the thighs on that guy! And, we'll have to figure out the tail, but I'm pretty sure that will just involve more newspaper and masking tape. It's amazing that such a fun party game can be prepared with stuff you have around the house!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Start A New Project Instead Of Finishing The Old Ones Syndrome

Okay, I totally stole the title of my post from my friend Bren. But I think she'll be okay with it, because she's cool like that. I have a bad case of the Start A New Project Instead of Finishing the Old Ones Syndrome. Today, I went to the discount fabric store and bought some new fabric. (How cool is it that my favorite local quilt shop opened a discount fabric store to house all of their clearance goods?) Anyway, that new fabric made me think that I should sew up some new bags, and I haven't had that urge in months!

However, the problem with that urge is that I know it is probably there because I have two unfinished projects sitting in my living room. One is a Godzilla pinata for Lil' Kay's birthday next month and the other is a prototype for my sort-of-top-secret new product. Since the one project is sort-of-top-secret, I'll tell you about the pinata!

Planning a Godzilla birthday party is not easy. I can't just run down to the local party supply store and buy Godzilla themed plates and napkins and what not. I decided that a pinata would be fun for a bunch of 6 year old boys to smash and started looking for someone to make one for me. Then I thought, "Hey, I bet I could make my own!" So I did some research. The hands-down best site I found was Pinata Boy! Lots of great examples and instructions and tips. It definitely gave me the confidence to give it a go. I started well over a month ago...

The first step was to attach two balloons together to make Godzilla's body. Then we wrapped it in newspaper as Pinata Boy recommends. The entire time, Lil' Kay is saying to me, "This doesn't really look like Godzilla." Skeptic!

Next, we cut a bunch of newspaper up into long strips using my paper cutter. It was just easier than trying to tear them, and I was able to do several layers at once. The fun part, of course, was the actual messy paste part. We mixed together water and flour to make a paste that was the consistency of thin pancake batter. I probably got it a little thick on the first layer. It took a while to dry. I thinned it down for the second and third layers and things dried much faster.

So, now I have a giant hollow papier mache peanut. I haven't gotten any further. I need to make arms and legs, a head and a tail, but my motivation has evaporated. Lil' Kay keeps begging me to fill it with candy and toys. "Child! It's a giant peanut! I can't fill it yet!" My hope is that by blogging this pinata, I will feel obligated to finish it. Or you just might get to see birthday photos of the kids beating the crap out of a giant peanut pinata.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Egg Hunting

My hometown hosted their very first Easter egg hunt this year. At least, it's the first one that I ever remember. Since the community preschool/daycare co-sponsored the event and Mr Kay is the chairman of said preschool/daycare, we decided to forego the local egg hunt and head over to the event in my hometown. The nice part was that it meant Lil Kay could hunt eggs with his cousins and Grandma could watch all the grandkids!

The event was very nicely organized. The Easter Bunny was there, of course, but I think G-Mow the Grasshopper was more popular. That's probably because G-Mow is the company mascot for Grasshopper Lawnmowers which are made in our small town. Lil Kay was more afraid of the big bunny than he was of the giant grasshopper. Go figure!

It was a beautiful morning. The kids got lots of eggs and got to run off some energy. Very nice, considering that the next day, Easter Sunday, was cold and rainy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter Craft

So, I'm a bit of a procrastinator. I admit it. I usually work up the Sunday School lesson for my preschool class on Saturday night or Sunday morning. And this week was no different. It occurred to me on Saturday that next Sunday is Easter. At our church, we have an Easter service followed by a brunch, but no Sunday School. It seemed to me that my preschool class still needed to hear the Easter story, but I would have to do it a week early.
On Saturday morning I started doing some searching for a good Easter craft to go along with our lesson. Couldn't find anything appealing. I thought that maybe I'd be able to find a simple cross project in the craft department at Walmart, but had no luck. When I went to bed on Saturday night, I had a story and a coloring page, but no craft.
Sunday morning, I was back on the internet looking for a good idea and finally ran across this project to make a decorative cross out of egg cartons. Problem being that I didn't have any empty egg cartons. I had four egg cartons in my refrigerator, but they all had eggs in them. Fortunately, I only have two kids in my class, so I transferred eggs from two cartons into a Tupperware container. The entire time I was praying that we wouldn't have any visitors this Sunday.
The project actually turned out pretty cute. The boys always get excited when a project involves paint, and we managed not to make too big of a mess. The photo above is of Lil' Kay's completed cross. We found a spot to hang it once all that glue and paint dried.