I’ve been a subscriber of Family Fun Magazine for years. When it arrives in the mailbox each month, I flip through the pages and tear out crafts, game ideas, and recipes that I think would be really great to try. I envision myself building my own Blue Man Group tubes with PVC pipes, playing chop stick pass along at the dinner table, or getting the girls together for a rousing game of indoor foot volleyball. The torn pages sit on a desk in the kitchen. The months pass and the pages don’t move. Eventually, I throw them away and wallow in my parental inadequacies. Over the years, however, there have been a few pages that I have refused to throw away because the ideas were just too good to pass up. Today, I finally created the solar smores from the April, 2008 issue. Using a Dunkin Donuts box, foil, black card stock, a plastic sheet protector, and tape, Devin and I created an oven. We put the graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows in the box, closed the lid (which was cut open and covered with the sheet protector), and placed it in the sun. The foil reflected the sun directly into the box and the plastic sealed in the heat. In about 20 minutes, the chocolate was gooey and the smores were ready to eat.
If you'd like to try it (you really should), here's the link
Two sisters, one talk, two very different reactions.
When Jacey turned 9 two years ago, I gave her the option of either having a party or spending the night at a water park hotel with me. She chose the latter. I used the opportunity to talk with her about periods, breast development, and puberty in general. I bought “The Care and Keeping of You” by the folks at American Girl to use as a guide and help answer any questions that she may have had. I waited until we were at dinner, seated in a quiet corner. I knew that she would not want to have the talk in the hotel room because she would feel like she was being lectured and I wanted to keep a light, upbeat atmosphere. She was completely horrified by the entire discussion anyway. Her usually pale face became deep crimson as soon as she heard the phrase ‘changes to your body’. She avoided eye contact at all costs, kept her head down, and studied her chicken nuggets. After speaking for a few minutes, I asked her if she had any questions. She held up a French fry and said, in feigned astonishment, “Look how big this French fry is!” That statement told me that she was completely overwhelmed so I changed the subject. I added a few bits of information throughout the night and I told her to read the American Girl book to help her understand what we talked about. To this day, she still hasn’t touched the book. She still turns red when I bring up any female subject.
Here we are, two years later. I’ve got another 9 year old in the same hotel, listening to the same talk. Bryn, however, not only wants to learn about puberty, she wants to know more than I’m ready to share with her. When I told her about the option of wearing a tampon so she could swim, she declared, “Well that’s convenient!” She listened, giggled, and asked questions until she was confident she had answers. I awoke Sunday morning to find her sitting in a chair reading the American Girl book in the morning light.
In two years it will be Tori’s turn. She wears bras on her head and thinks armpit hair is hysterical. I can only imagine the questions and comments she will have for me. I better start studying.
We are the only family on the street without an Xbox, Play Station, or a WII. They have told me that they are the only kids they know without a DS. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that Todd and I would become sleep deprived from all night sessions of Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Guitar Hero. However, my main reason for boycotting the game systems is that I’m afraid the girls would lose their creativity. Case in point: Jacey has asked for a DS because she would like a game called Fashion Designer. The user can “create the perfect line of clothing by combining the latest cuts, colors, and patterns or style a model’s hair, makeup, nails, jewelry, and accessories.” With a stylus. Creating fashion designs without the use of an actual writing implement? That doesn’t sound very creative to me. So for Christmas she received the Project Runway Projector Kit. It’s fantastic. She can combine many tops, bottoms, and accessories to created hundreds of looks. She puts colors together that I wouldn’t necessarily think would match and makes some beautiful outfits.
Jacey’s walls are full of holes and covered in tape. My nails are worn out from scraping clumps of solidified glue off the table after one of Bryn’s hot glue marathons. The playroom needs to be sorted and cleaned every time Devin plays ‘secret agent’. The entire house needs to be bulldozed when Tori is done doing whatever she does. It won’t last forever though. Someday the walls will be patched, my house will be quiet and orderly and my nails will be manicured and pretty. But for now, Todd and I will continue the video game boycott.
During a recent cleaning frenzy, I came across this. It’s one of Todd’s baseball hats, stuffed and rolled into a ball. As I began to empty the hat and put away its contents, Devin shrieked, “NO! That’s my secret agent bag!” Of course it was.
I poured everything on to the counter and asked her to explain what each item was and what role it played in her secret agent game. Here’s what she said…
*Travel size Etch-a-Sketch to show her the next mission
*Magnet ball – power jewel
* Monopoly dollar bill – the serial number is her phone number (very clever!)
* Ripped off Barbie arm – helps her make stuff
*Skull ring – scares animals away
*Glasses (sans lenses) – that’s what secret agents wear