Debris Shelter Birthday

Posted By: Alis, Filed Under: Compass, forts & such, Sticks, wood

02.27.11 | Permalink | 30 Comments


Seth recently attended a Debris Shelter Birthday party hosted by the coolest mom on our hillside Stitch Diva!  If you want to learn how to make a proper British debris shelter, watch this kookey video.  Or you can follow along and see how the kids at the party built them.


First you start with a tripod of two short sticks and one long stick lashed together in a pup tent configuration.


Next you build the skeleton out of beefy sticks.


Then you haul whatever debris you can find to your shelter.


This is a great way to channel some of that hyperactive birthday energy.


Then you pile as much debris on the shelter structure as you can.  Or in this case your thoughtfully place the sticks 🙂


Finally you settle in for a rockin’ after party in your rad debris shelter!


The kids all got compasses with emergency whistles on them which Seth loved!  The birthday boy gets a big Boy’s Almanac thumbs up because he decorated his cake with bugs and a rat.  This is a photo of him liking the icing off the rat ~ yum!

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Great Wintry Expectations

Posted By: admin, Filed Under: mom, Winter, xo

01.08.11 | Permalink | 88 Comments


It’s the start of a new year. The tree and her decorations are taken down, we set out the King’s cake and simmer wassail on the stove as we undecorate. It is the twelfth night of Christmas. Ford unhooks ornaments that we made together when Chas was a newborn, little salt dough disks that we stamped lace and dots and little fingertips into, then painted with watercolors. His personal favorite though, a small gourd etched into an owl’s likeness, is gently placed among them. I walk around the tree, collecting lengths of tiny lights, still lit, already missing the smell of sweet pine needles in the house. It was a good, robust, perfectly manicured white fir, and it is still alive even though we cut it the day after Thanksgiving. We box up all the ornaments, tucking them all snug among each other, and place the eight year-old old cardboard box in the living room closet. Each of us gets a slice of the King’s cake, the dessert that begins the Mardi Gras season.

King's Cake

Chas gets the slice with the baby inside. He will make the King’s cake next year.

Chas got the baby in the cake (so he will make the cake next year) ;)

I sink down into the sofa, thirty pounds heavier now over the past nine months, and watch the weight of the boy’s unborn little sister shift across my belly. She is always awake, so eager she seems to be with them. Chas folds himself over her in an embrace, lifting up my shirt to kiss her unimpeded. There are only days to go. In many ways this year seems so blessed and fortuitous; so many adventures on our horizon that I’m giddy and yet, in so many other ways, I am in no hurry to birth. This brief, wonderful, healthy pregnancy has been a gift to us all, but felt especially powerful to me. I want to keep her close just a bit longer, in the chaotic orbit of her doting older brothers.

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That’s No Pinata…It’s a Space Station!

Posted By: Alis, Filed Under: Battle Gear, Crafts, decorative arts, Explosions

12.19.10 | Permalink | 35 Comments


Ok all you Red Leader dorks listen up!  If you want to earn some serious speeder cred with your Jedi offspring this is the project for you.

1.  Buy an over sized balloon, this should run you 25 cents.

2.  Tie parachute cord or the like around the balloon.  Alternatively you can set the balloon on a big bowl and start with the first layer of paper mache.  The actual hanging cord is applied later.

3.  Cut up *a lot* of news paper strips, but any paper will do.


4.  Mix 1 part flour with 2 parts water and blend.


5.  Slather the strips of newspaper in the mache mixture

6.  Apply the strips as best you can.  This is messy but insanely fun and gratifying.


7.  Let the first layer dry overnight.

8.  Tie another round of parachute cord around the ball.

9.  Since this makes the actual string enclosure that the pinata will hang from, make sure to tie the knot firmly at the top.

10.  Seal the cords in place with Duct Tape.


11.  Apply another layer or two of paper mache and let dry overnight.

12.  Cut a hole in the top of the pinata, remove the balloon and stuff it with candy.


13.  Paint the pinata with a coat of primer mixed with a little black paint so it looks light gray.

14.  Use compressed charcoal to draw on the geometric shapes of the Death Star.


15.  Use water and a paint brush to blend the shapes so they look shadowy and menacing.


16.  Note the freehand geometric patterns.  A salad bowl was used to trace the circle on the bottom.


17.  Hang it up on a tree limb and let the little Jedi “have at”!


18.  Be prepared, the whacking may feel like a great disturbance in the Force.


19.  As if millions of lolly pops, Laughy Taffy and Nerds suddenly cried out in terror and suddenly silenced.


Happy Sixth Seth Wars Birthday!


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