Warrior Attire

Posted By: Alis, Filed Under: Battle Gear

06.24.10 | Permalink | 20 Comments


I was really interested in being a little boy mom *until* we hit the weapons phase.  Ugggg!  It’s just so boring around here.  Other adults assure me that weapons are a perfectly natural preoccupation for a five year old, but I’m skeptical because the subject matter is just so *dry*.

<end rant>

This particular assemblage was more interesting than usual.  The gear is comprised almost completely from household found objects.  It took Seth a good half hour to get everything gathered and hung in place.  Once festooned, he could not really walk too far because implements of battle kept falling off.  I tired to be serious as he leaned down, clanking to fetch the loosed item.  In fact, I had to avert my face many times because I could not stifle giggles.  Seth was dead serious about his weapons, I don’t think he even smiled once during this whole episode.

Lettuce knife mini sword

Assorted pot lid shields

Ikea stool cushion arm guards

Highlighter light sabers (I tried to tell him that light sabers are not really from the same “period” as conventional armor, but he didn’t buy it)

Mini wrench (for weapon adjustments)

<not visible>

Kitchen shears dagger

Fireplace poker sword

Fireplace shovel (for cleaning up the dead bodies ~ my personal favorite)

For about a week one of our lower kitchen cabinets (where the pot lids live) doubled as “weapons storage”.  This didn’t last long.  Chef organized  kitchen cabinets won out over junior warrior creative license.  I like to be open to sharing spaces, but lately I have had to draw the line ~ sorry lettuce knife, uh I mean mini sword!

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Baking Soda + Vinegar = VOLCANO!

Posted By: Alis, Filed Under: Experiments, Explosions, Necessary Provisions

04.13.10 | Permalink | 6 Comments


It’s so simple one can hardly consider it “post-worthy”, yet this is the stuff that little boys are made of.  Boys love a good dopamine hit, but the baking soda and vinegar volcano is a tried and true winner.  I rarely barter, but this volcano was a result of a little bribery on my part.  I can’t remember what I needed Seth to do, all I remember was the joy on the boys faces when I delivered on my promise and handed over the 99 cent box of baking soda.  I don’t go to Costco, but I have asked people who do go to pick up baking soda and vinegar in bulk for me.  I am planning on keeping my cupboards here at our new house well stocked with experiment supplies.  You never know when you will need to pull a volcano out of your hat.

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Snowball Warfare

Posted By: steph, Filed Under: forts & such, Snow, Winter

03.31.10 | Permalink | 10 Comments


Winter in central California is growing shorter every year. It’s wildflower time already! At March’s end all bulbs have withered to compost, all except the tulips, who for Easter have conceded to wait. Like last year, in order to feel the hint of a real Winter on our cheeks, we drove to the sierras for some fun in the snow. We would have been happy enough just to feel some frost in the air but were quite the lucky ones to have piles of old snow gleaming beneath 70F degrees of clear (for the most part) alpine sunshine! How’s that for the proverbial icing on the cake?!

No matter how much money you toss at ski school or lift tickets or airfare, nothing captures a child more joyfully than plain old snowball warfare. While the greedy man makes up ways to profit from the snow, children intuitively know how to have fun on the cheap. I trust their lead.

Just let them into the kitchen. Give them free reign to choose tools.

funnel cupsnowballs

Carry them outside in a large bag with a thermos of cocoa and a camera.

And let the games begin!


Little ones instinctively learn to hoard the snowballs while the older kids learn to pile the hoard atop an “ammunition sled” which they can push or carry around quickly from tree to tree


For adequate protection, one can multitask with said (and spent!) ammunition sled to improvise a “snowball shield”


While the others collaboratively mound the unused ammo snow into bricks for a serviceable fort.



100 years or so ago we’d have followed Beard’s lead and pulled together a flour barrel, a saw, a hatchet, some shingle nails and an old pine board just to make the artillery that sleds and kitchen tools provide but today’s kid has it made with a visit to any given thrift store or the local Freecycle list. I guess if one’s really pinched there’s always Big Retail –but honestly, sleds and kitchen utensils are a dime a dozen if you know where to look.

And snow? Well, I hope you didn’t have to drive 4 hours on the interstate in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get there!

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