Showing posts from May, 2014

The Potion of Peace - aka World's Coolest Calm Jar

I'm sure that you've come across many pins and blog posts about "calming jars:" the basic idea is to hand an over-excited child a bottle filled with water, glue, and glitter and have him watch it until the glitter settles and the child is magically calm. To be honest, I haven't had stellar results with this strategy in our home, but the jars are undeniably cool to play with.
While browsing Instructables a couple of months ago, I came across these instructions for making Rheoscopic Fluid, which is immediately appealed to me as a "calm down jar on steroids." My son's upcoming birthday party gave me the excuse I needed to try it out, and I must say that it is even cooler than it looks in the photos.
Here's a little video so you can see the colors swirling...

Aside from obtaining the necessary mica powder, this is about as easy as it gets. Here's what I did

1. Colored mica powder. I got this set from eBay. Admittedly it's pretty …

A Simple Knights and Dragons Birthday Party

My eldest recently celebrated his fifth birthday with a Knights and Dragons party.
In keeping with my "Quick n' Dirty philosophy" of kids' crafting and activities, I planned a frugal, low-key celebration that, despite being postponed twice and nearly rained out, nevertheless came off remarkably well.

As always, over-thinking and over-planning is a serious temptation for me, and during the initial brainstorming stage I was in real danger of making myself crazy by biting off Way more than I could chew while also retaining my trademark calm and patience (heh heh!) - especially given the extra demands my very challenging 1-year-old is putting on me. Thankfully, I got 'hold of myself and scaled back Multiple times before the event actually occurred.

Here's what we did:

We invited our entire homeschool co-op, which consists of 15 kids: 4 1-year-olds, and the rest between age 3 and 6.  While this is a pretty big number, it was essentially non-negotiable given…

DIY Dragon Pinata

As my son's fifth birthday approached, he was full of ideas concerning his party. While most of them changed, wildly, on a daily basis, one thing he was quite certain about was that he wanted a pinata. A Dragon pinata.
I know they sell such things at the grocery store or Wal-Mart, but I wasn't very excited about them - either their appearance or the thought of spending $15 or more on something designed to be beaten to pieces by stick-wielding children.
On the other hand, I also wasn't terribly excited about spending hours and hours of messy crafting time Making something with the same intended fate.
Nevertheless, monetary frugality won out and I finally decided to give it a try.

Before jumping into the project I decided several things:
1) Set my own expectations very low. This is not an heirloom: it is for an easily pleased 5-year-old to beat apart.
2) Try to make something sturdy enough to hold candy, but fragile enough to actually break apart after a few whacks. (My SIL…