How to host an adventure party

I mean, how to host a World of Warcraft party, but for sake of simplicity let’s call it an adventure.
Step 0.  At least a month before the party start saving your milk carton handles for shield handles.
1.  Order enough swords for all of the attendees.  Then take tissue paper and wrap it around the swords for scabbards.  It ends up looking very cool.

2.  Paint your treasure box.  Yes, it would have looked a lot prettier if I had taken control and painted it all myself, but then my kids wouldn’t have gotten to take part in the process.  Sometimes it’s about the process, not the product.


3.  Decorate your cake.  In case you were wondering 6 year old boys do not make for a very fancy and decorated cake.  There is however a lot of frosting involved.

4.  Clean the beaters.  This is a very important step.

5.  Get cardboard or foam core board and cut into a shield shape.  For sake of ease I just cut rectangles, all the kids cared was they got shields.

6.  Get out your hot glue gun and glue the milk carton handles on.  This is not a very strong glue, so they will break, but it works just fine for playing with, and they’re easily repaired.

7.  Now eagerly wait for your guests to hand them their swords.


8.  Practice your combat.  Make sure everyone knows the rules.

9.  Now comes the quest giver.  She came with the sad story of what was happening.  We had about 4 quests (5 if you include training).
A.  Rescue the villagers from the bandits.
B.  Retrieve the stolen medicine by ambushing the bandits.
C.  Get the secret weapon to defeat the bandit king.
D.  Defeat the bandit king.

Going left to right, top to bottom:
1.  Cowering villagers
2.  First fight
3.  Receiving medicine that we retrieved.
4.  Looking for the secret weapon by crossing the dangerous river.
5.  Turning in a quest.
6.  A dead bandit, don’t worry they keep coming back.
7.  Fighting the bandit king.


1.  Don’t have all of the older kids as bandits, the little kids don’t always herd well.
2.  Have a plan and stick with it.
3.  Our quests worked very well, that was a good plan, think through how you will move from quest to quest.
4.  Have simpler rules.  We tried a 3 times and you’re down rule for the bandits.  We should have gone with one hit.  Nothing to keep track of.
5.  Make sure everyone knows all of the rules, that went pretty well over all.
6.  Account for the weather.  We had originally planned for some of the bandits to be magicians and throw construction paper fireballs, but it was too windy for that.
7.  Plan in a water/snack break.

All in all it was a wildly successful party.  Every report I’ve heard was that the kids really enjoyed it, including the 20 year old who was just dropping off some of the kids.  He said it was the most fun he’s had in a while.  That’s saying something.

I’ll probably do a birthday memories post later this week, but I know some of you were curious about how the party went.  It was a blast, and I was SOOOOO tired afterwards.

Sometimes you have to let them lead the way

learning laboratory at mama smiles

009For Valentine’s Day they got some stuffed animals.  Now we were learning about birds and migrating, so we decided to migrate (this is actually a totally different post, but you need the background).  But, these migrating birds had babies, oh and picnics in the park.




I brought my old camera and let them take a lot of pictures.  Mainly Batman, the other two were way too busy with other important adventures.


So, Batman happily ran around the park taking lots of pictures of his Buzz Lightyear baby.



And that’s most of them.  Then we went through all of the pictures and he told me the story of his Buzz Lightyear’s brave adventures.


Now, I just need to print them off and write it all down.  Buzz is incredibly brave.  I mean amazingly so.

They’re getting tricksy

We recently installed DC Online on our computers.  Not too surprsingly Superman and Batman are very excited about this game and have happily designed their favorite heroes.


I got up this morning after an extra little nap courtesy of Princess and her coming down in tears and saying “I’m tired,” thank you boys for waking her, by the way.


Well, Batman quite happily ran up to me and said, “Mommy, Daddy made a fire.  When you go to sit by the fire can I play Iron Man on your computer?”


Tricksy boy, he knew I like fires and he was trying to lure me away from my computer.


Okay, regular posts will continue later.  But, this was just too funny not to share.

Look what Batman designed

This needs a BIG picture!

004I am so proud of him.  Back at Christmas time we went out to buy their presents for their Dad, and Batman was insistent that he wanted to get Jeff a game, and a game he could play with Jeff.  But, he didn’t like any of the games at the game store that he could play with Jeff.  Finally he saw a bag of skeletons, and decided he was going to make a game for his Daddy.

003The skeletons were going to be the bad guys, and of course we needed good guys for us to be.  He searched throughout the store and found the pewter figures, at first he tried to convince me we needed to get the Heroclix Iron Man figures……  But, eventually he ended up with getting two archers (one for Batman, and one for Superman), and a unicorn for Princess.  I convinced him that Jeff and I already had figures (which we do, Princess gave him a dragon for Christmas, and Sam had given Jeff and I hand-painted figures the year before he and Tara got married).

We got home and we disappeared into my room and wrote up the rules.  He created cards for each type of figure listing their movement, what their powers are, how much damage they do.  He explained what the goal of the game is, and how it is played.  Each of our figures has a special ability.  Princess’ unicorn can shoot form its horn and do a lot of damage.

Then he absconded with one of my pieces of foam core board I’ve had earmarked to make a puppet stage.  Now, I’ll have to wait for the next round of sales on those.  He drew a game board, and quite happily came back in and explained to me what all of the different pieces meant and then we wrapped it up.

049Game play, actually had very little to do with the rules he created.  Instead, it was more of declarations, “I shoot this bad guy,” and then the bad guy would be dead, and lots of rules added in.  But, it’s been fun to play with them, and has given Jeff and I many laughs as we’ve seen the different rules they’ve come up with as we play.

Isn’t that a cool board to make up?

Science Sunday: bats

After reading Christy of Superheroes and Princesses made this super cool bat.  I knew we had to make it.

Mainly because I had a bunch of empty toilet paper rolls sitting in one of the bathrooms.  But, I digress.

So, I made an executive decision to go back in our book to bats, and learn about them for a little bit, rather than continue for this week learning about insects.  Hey, I’m the Mom, and I knew I’d have at least one very happy kid.

And I did.

One of the big things we learned is that bats use echolocation to navigate around.  And when they “hear” something that sounds like food they start making even more clicking sounds to find it.

So, we, and by we I really mean the boys, primarily Batman; set up an obstacle course for our bats to navigate.  He took his “traps” (I think that’s what they were, maybe) and created an obstacle course of crumpled paper for the bat to navigate.

It was so cute watching them pretend to hear the clicks and say, “Oh no something is here, better go another way.”

Then we talked about how scientists studied bats for a very long time and figured out how to use their echolocation for our boats and submarines to use sonar.  Then they had to find a submarine toy and a boat toy and act out how they use sonar.


They also learned most bats eat insects.  So they cut up a bunch of little pieces of paper and said that was the insects for the bath to eat, then they stuffed it inside their bats.

There are some days I just love to sit back and see how their minds work.


And, if you’re needing a nonfiction bat book to read, this is one of the many we’ve checked out over time from the library.  It’s one of our most requested animals to find out about.

Thanks to Phyllis from All Things Beautiful for pointing out I forgot to put in the linky this week (and by the way if you head to her blog she’s starting up a cool mystery series for your kids to do too today, I’m gonna check it out later to see if my kids are ready for it).

My Most Humiliating Parenting Moment

Yesterday, Kristi over at Orange Juice wrote yesterday about Mortifying Mommy Moments, and asked about ours.  Well, I have two doozies of a story but they’d be way too long to put in a comment.


This first one happened back when Princess was just a baby, and the boys were almost two.


IBM's Spring Celebration 020 Now, my boys LOVE popcorn.  It’s one of the first words they learned how to say, more or less, along with such other important words like ball and dog.  Mom was way far down on their list to learn.  A fact I will never let them live down.


We were visiting my in-laws up in Dallas and walking through the downtown looking at stuff, and the boys saw and smelled their favorite food, and started yelling at the top of their lungs:

”PORN! PORN! PORN!”  And no matter what I did they wouldn’t stop.  I tried saying, “Yes, let’s go get POPCORN.” A little louder so strangers wouldn’t think I was teaching my almost two year olds about porn.


We walked across the street to the store and got in there, and it was packed.  It was one of those special “Go visit scenic downtown” days, so the downtown was packed and who wouldn’t want to go in an old-fashioned popcorn parlor.


IMG_0005 So, we stood in line for 20 minutes with the boys frantically yelling “PORN! PORN! PORN” at the top of their lungs, and me trying to calm them while saying “Yes, I will get you POPCORN,” and all of the strangers in the store looking at me with these eyes saying “What the heck are you teaching your children?”  And the almost as common, “I can’t believe she has that many young children” look.


So, that was story one.  Twenty minutes of kids yelling porn at the top of their lungs.


Story two.

or Why Not to Go Clothes Shopping with Your Little Kids.


Ikea & limc 083108 004 So, at this point in time Princess is walking, the boys are way too big to be corralled in a cart effectively, and I desperately needed clothing of some type or other.  I think it was workout clothing.  Being, the self-sufficient Mom that I am I load up the three kids, and we head off to Target to try on some clothes.  I get there after much searching find something I’d be willing to wear to workout in that doesn’t make me look horrible (I’ve decided that looking all horrible and clothes that are huge are a big demotivator for me, there’s nothing like seeing myself in a big wall sized mirror with my face all red and blotchy and wearing something that makes me look overweight, which I’m  not).


I head to try on the clothes, and think “I should go in this great big huge handicapped stall so I can fit all of us in there and the cart, which will keep Princess nicely contained.”  Great idea right?  Well, the stall didn’t have the best of latches.


IMG_1202 I momentarily distracted the boys with some piece of paper or something got started changing.  While I was in the process of putting on the horrible sports bra or some such; they opened the door and started to run out.  Now, what could I do?  I wasn’t about to run out into Target with no clothing on.  So, I’m stuck calling after them while frantically trying to put clothes on.


So, after throwing some clothes on, I ran out the door, gathered them up again, and then put them in the cart, much to their chagrin.


And never again did I go clothes shopping with all 3 kids.

They finally got to build their bears

This is why they were so excited to go on this trip.  Forget anything else, when do we get to make our own bear Mommy?



Can you imagine a fight here?  Princess wasn’t convinced of the type of bear, but finally settled on a puppy.  Grudgingly.





The little stinkers grabbed a couple of hearts for their bears.  So, those bears have lots of love in them.



A lot of love.  Can you see the grin on Superman’s face?  Seriously happy!





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And very very clean.  They scrubbed those guys!



Then very carefully dressed.  With much deliberation.  Then much begging for a lot more outfits and accessories.  A $35 car for a bear, ummm….. no.  Sorry guys.  Golf clubs?  I will end up stepping on them and breaking them, and then there will be many tears.




Three happy customers.  The boys haven’t let their bears out of their sight.  Princess…….  She’s not as attached, I almost wonder if we should have let her pick the one that looks more like a dog, but can’t really wear outfits.


Oh the second-guessing.


Finished bears, complete with hamming it up:

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