Our Super Hero Academy Party!


Super Hero Academy Feature Photo

We threw a Super Hero Academy Birthday Party this year for our son…..

 

Last year, we ran a Super Hero-themed party and you can read about it:

  • here (for how we did it, complete with tutorials on Super Caped Marshmallow Pops and activities),
  • and here (for all the funny stuff that happened at the party),
  • and here (for the pleasures and perils of the 150+ lbs of Super Cloud Dough at the Super Hero Party)!

This year’s Super Hero Academy Party was incredible fun to plan and throw.   Here’s what we did!

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We made our own pennants using materials from the local craft shop….just the pennants, stencils, glue, ribbon and glitter-   It’s a good, cheap way to personalize your party!

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***CREATIVE TIP!!! I never realized how easy and inexpensive a pretty name pennant banner was to make until my little sister asked me to make one for her daughter’s ENCHANTING Little Red Riding Hood Birthday Party!

You can see the banner for that party below and the gorgeous party in my sister’s post here. 

To learn about how we “Quilled Superman” to make that paper filigree rendition of our Super Son, you can go here.

We made simple vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting with golden sprinkles in black cups this year.   For the recipe we love, you can check out Recipe Girl’s excellent Wedding Cupcake recipe here!

And, those cupcake holders are made using Dollar Store candle holders and metal platters affixed with super glue!

We made a spiderman cake using the same Recipe Girl wedding cupcake recipe (only with a box of Devil’s Food cake mix).

 

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***CREATIVE TIP!!! I found Duff’s Candy Writer in black to be very helpful in doing the lines of The Spider Man. It hardens quickly and really helps novice cake decorators to stay within the lines with the buttercream frosting! A few moms asked where I found the cool black cupcake liners and those were also from the Duff line, as well as the really pretty gold, white and shimmery sprinkles! I found the Duff line of cake decorating items at our local craft store.

You can also go here to check out other interesting baking items from the Ace of Cakes guru’s line!

We used simple gold balloons, and a giant Spidey balloon visitor that stalked the guests from above…..

 

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About a week before the party, we had a painting play date where the kids had fun painting a bunch of boxes black with giant rollers.

***CREATIVE TIP!!! Get the kids involved in the large-scale painting activities and teach them about recycling and re-using items to make their Gotham City! Including them in the party prep is fun for them, builds anticipation, and cuts down on some of your work!

With a few swipes of white paint with a sponge brush, we had a move-able, build-able Gotham City for the kids to run through!

The Birthday Boy could teach Super Students how to chase a villain through the city streets!!!

The kids had a lot of fun chasing each other between the buildings….

….Where they played Super Heroes Vs. Villains.    The Bad Guys get wrapped up in the Super Heroes’ Crepe Paper of Truth….

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And Super Kids can learn to build their very own City!

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OR Batmobile!

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It’s a cool photo prop, too!

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***CREATIVE TIP!!! You can make Super Hero cuffs out of coffee cup sleeves and duct tape, and super hero capes from plastic table cloths! For other parties, cover the coffee sleeves with patterned duct tape to make trendy bangles!

 

We laid out a roll of plastic table covers in a sky blue color the Birthday Boy picked out with trays full of pre-cut cardstock shaped like Pentagons.

There were caddies full of safety scissors, glue sticks, markers, glitter glue and stencils for the kids to create their own personalized symbols.

Whenever we go to Starbucks, we always save our cardboard sleeves.

For the kids who wanted Super Hero cuffs, we simply wrapped them in gold or silver colored-duct tape!

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Busy Super Heroes can just fish a a cape or costume out of a SUPER HERO DRESS-UP BIN!

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The Lead Super Hero Instructor conducted an expert demonstration on how to make those “POP!” and “POW!” sounds for the others to follow!

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***CREATIVE TIP!!! Bubble Wrap can be bought in bulk at postal/mail centers where they sell it by the foot! Compare the prices at your local bulk warehouse or home improvement store! It is a super fun and low cost way to really entertain the kids! For $15, we found Green Lantern-hued giant bubble wrap at a local home improvement store!

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***CREATIVE TIP!!! A Bubble Blower doesn’t cost much and provides a lot of Summer fun. Kids can “Pop” the bubbles while they make Bubble Wrap Popping Sounds as part of the Comic Book Sounds Activity of the Super Hero Academy!

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And, then there is the leftover bubble wrap pre-school after-party…. :)

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Super Hero Training Academy 43

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My awesome hubby spray painted a skyline for the Punch & Hunt Activity we came up with to replace our normal pinata activity!

Toward the end of the party, parents held up the skyline banner between all the little Super Heroes and a field of party favors for the kids to hunt once they punched through that skyline!

We liked this idea because the kids didn’t have to wait in line for their turn, and there were no swinging sticks endangering small children or adult knee caps!  :)

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***CREATIVE TIP!!! Get a huge roll of butcher block paper from a bulk warehouse for under $20 and use it all year for large arts & crafts projects like this one! For the Punch & Hunt, pull a length as long as your “hunting area” and use a brick or block of wood to shape your skyline to fill in with spray paint!

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***CREATIVE TIP!!! The Super Hero Punch & Hunt (A banner skyline that kids punch through before going on a favor hunt) is a fun alternative to the pinata!

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Even some feisty moms were ready for the Punch & Hunt!!! Ha!

We asked the older kids to save some of the items for the smaller ones as part of the “Safety Briefing”…..

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Meanwhile, behind the backyard fence….as kids began opening their Iron-Man shaped Gummy Treats….

Two masked villains plotted to STEAL Candy and Coloring Books!!!!!

They snuck into the backyard where the Super Heroes were playing with their bat slinkies and Captain America yo-yos……

EGAD!!!!!

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***CREATIVE TIP!!! A couple of parents in black with masks make excellent villains who can be foiled with some simple spools of crepe paper! Delightful for the kids!

BUT, HAVE  NO FEAR, PARENTS!  

THE SUPER KIDS ARE HERE!!!!

CREPE PAPER AT THE READY!!!

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THE VILLAINS SCATTERED FROM THESE FEARSOME FACES!!!

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AND BOOYAH!  

THE BAD GUYS WERE…..DEFEATED!!!!!!!!!!

ALL WRAPPED UP IN THE CREPE PAPER OF TRUTH!

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CANDY-STEALING CRIME JUST DOESN’T PAY, DOES IT?

GO AHEAD, VILLAIN!  

YOU CAN SAY IT!  

SO…UH…WHO’S YOUR DADDY, NOW???!!!!???!!!!

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And, THAT, was the final exam of our son’s Super Hero Training Academy!

Another Class of Super Heroes graduated and are now ready to defend party favor bags the world over….

And, we owe it all to our Birthday Boy,

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The Super Hero Extraordinaire,

The Destructor-Instructor,

The Master of All Skills Super Hero, 

And Our Beautiful, Wonderful Son….

 

 
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So, Until Next Year…..

Super Hero School’s Out!

:)

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Happy Super Hero Training Academy Birthday to Our Little Super Hero…

And To ALL Of Yours!

For MORE Super Hero Birthday Party Ideas, please check out my dear bloggy friends’ party ideas!

Megan of Coffee Cups And Crayons wrote about their fantastic Batman Party!

Super Hero Play Inspirations From Go Kid Yourself!

And you can always check out Critters And Crayons’ Super Hero Party ideas from last year!


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I Quilled Superman

We’ve dabbled in  origami and tissue paper crafting  but I’ve been intrigued by “Quilling” (kind of the art of twirling paper fancily) ever since I first saw it featured  last April,on the The Outlaw Mom’s Blog as part of her “CRAVE IT. COVET. LOVE IT.”  Series.

So, I bought all the stuff the craft store aisle implied I needed by its mere presence in the “quilling” section and promptly stuffed my own stocking with it.

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Our son’s birthday party is coming around AGAIN and he wants another Super Hero party.   We love themed parties and we love Super Heroes so we’re looking forward to this one after last year’s!

You can go here to see what it looked like (The Pinnable Post).  And you can go here to read about all of the funny stuff that happened at it  (The Un-Pinnable Post).  :)

 This year our 4-year old son is the primary Super Hero Instructor at his own personalized Super Hero Training Academy.  That post will be out sometime next month.  :)

We always try to create our own activities and props which saves a lot of money and also gets the kids excited and invested in their parties in the weeks leading up to the big celebration of their arrivals.

I reasoned that this was as good a time as any to try to learn to quill and make a Super Hero sign for our front door.

So, I sat down last night, read the instructions, messed up a few coils and then completed my very first quilling project!

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He’s not perfect by a long-shot.

And, I don’t really have any tips or tutorials for you other than it takes a few screw-ups to figure out how to get the coils where you want them at first.

And, there is an art that I have not yet mastered that enables one to emplace glue in a way that doesn’t smudge or crust or ruin the effect.

I didn’t have a template- just an image in my mind of my little boy, wearing his beloved Clark Kent curl and his cape (which is why his initial is on the front of the costume)- so all I can tell you is that I built the  image as I went and then just filled up the empty space between the coils.

No real plan.

See how easy this is?

I only offer this up to you to show you that you can create some pretty cool stuff

if you’re willing to just dive in and screw up a few coils with sticky fingers before making something you love.  

I was “Super” intimidated by the look of quilled art before breaking out the tools- which explains why it took nearly a full month to just open the packaging and read the instructions.

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Our son is just tickled at this paper rendition of him.

It isn’t pristine at all.  There are definitely some amateurish flaws- but to our little boy, it is just perfect.

And, I am well aware that my lack of a template or clear artistic vision resulted in a bouffant resembling the fuzzy turban of one of Queen Elizabeth’s Palace Guards, or perhaps the image is less Superman and more Napoleon Bonaparte in his jammies….but, I only had two goals when I set out to make this for my little boy:

1)   Learn How To Quill and

2)  Quill a Clark Kent Curl

There is our son at the local kids’ hair salon where he asks for “The Clark Kent” haircut and they totally give it to him.

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And here is how I “Quilled” Superman’s curl to match my baby boy’s:

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There is still a lot of learning to be done when it comes to paper crafting- but I have to say, I think quilling may have just become a new hobby.  (Because I need another one of those).

Just, whatever anyone does, DO NOT buy me crochet needles or sewing machines or woodworking or distressing tools.  :)

I AM TOTALLY INTERESTED IN LEARNING ABOUT YOUR HOBBIES!!!  

WHAT ARE THEY?  

DO YOU DIVE IN OR DO YOU RESEARCH THEM OUT FIRST?

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If You Need A Great Photo Canvas Fast… {Sponsored Post}

Last week, I wrote about our experience at a local worldwide shipping warehouse, where a sweet nun laughed with me as my kids entertained all of the other package-waiters and only risked bodily injury once…I mean, I’m pretty sure it was only once.

The thing we were there to get was a canvas that had been shipped by a company called photo-canvas.com.

I was contacted to see if I might be interested in reviewing their product and services and after a very quick “Yes”, I was on my way to receiving something (in just a few days) that our family will cherish forever.

Having just returned from our vacation, there were many photos that I would have considered having blown up into a canvas.

But, when I came across this one, I knew.

I knew that this was the photo that is my son’s NOW.

On this particular photo day, our son wore his caped Batman pajamas, as he had over the last six months alternating between whichever Super Hero pajamas were clean.

As my kids and I headed from the mini-van to the gym, the normally crisp blue Virginia sky was a smoky swirl of grays and whiteness.

It  seemed to be an extension of the front of my little boy’s hyper-muscled Batman shirt which mirrored the same color pattern.

I was excited to catch this photo on the way to Spinning Class, but I was even more elated when my son let out a forceful roar at the clouds just as I clicked the button.

It was not a roar of anger or frustration, but it was one of spontaneous childhood joy.

And now, my son’s lively roar under that Batman-Gray sky is hanging on the wall of our play room where I smile every morning when we walk past it.

Our son is certainly  pleased about this pictorial homage to him, too.  :)

An honest review of photo-canvas.com’s service and product is that the company provided a fantastic product with smooth and responsive customer service.

The ordering process was intuitive and quick.

Delivery happened as promised (within a few days of the order).

And, the final result took our breath away.

I’m glad that I tried out the service because now I am a new customer. I’ve liked their Facebook Page to keep up with deals and specials.  I have also bookmarked the photo-canvas.com website because I’m thinking some smaller canvases will make excellent Christmas gifts!

Here is closer look at that fine canvas which I walk past each morning now on my way to a caffeinated cup of salvation.  Coffee used to be the thing that brightened my dawns, but now it is the natural light shining on my son’s forever-preserved howling face and symboled chest.

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This is a sponsored post.  In exchange for my honest review, I received compensation in product from photo-canvas.com in the form of one photo canvas.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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Girls Like Transformers, Too

On one drive-way chalk-drawing day, our daughter drew this:

I was very impressed by her rendition of Batman.

But, then she informed me that it was not Batman.

This was her BROTHER.

Hmmm….I cannot imagine why…

You might have noticed we’re mega-super hero dresser-uppers over here…

But, what’s interesting to me is that it’s not just our 3 year old son who is into Super-Hero/ Star Wars/ Villain/ Robot dress-up.

Our 5 year old daughter surprised us recently with an intense “PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE” need for a Transformers Bumblebee costume.

Here, she told me to guess what she was.  Can YOU guess?

Well, she’s a CAR, of course!

But, in truth, our daughter has a bit of a fancy streak in her.  She doesn’t like me to pick her clothing out, anymore.  The bohemian, rustic, matte and denim colors I love just aren’t sparkly enough for her.  She can actually become pretty upset when I pull out a gray shirt that she just can’t stand because it’s so ugly and plain.

So, this Transformer get-up naturally followed- and it just cracks me up because it is just the perfect blend of tough yet pretty, rough yet accessorized, strong yet color-coordinated…

 

 

That headband and matching gray bow that bring out the chrome of the robotic gadgetry….

The blingy necklace that perfectly accents the ochre-colored metal reminiscent of the buzzing critter that gives Bumblebee his name….

And a golden bracelet that sparkles like the headlights of the vehicle he transforms into….

And,  wait!

Is that a lego car she’s holding?

A lego-car building transformer for a daughter?  That is just perfection in carbon form, I think.

Well, sorta.

Once we get her brother to stop stabbing random strangers with giant forks in Home Goods while he is pretending to be Aquaman ( dressed as Thor, the Super Hero du jour, of course), I can say that I’m 2 for 2 on the Carbon Perfection Generator Meter.

 

But, then again-  That’s pretty darn creative of that little boy, isn’t it?

Alright, Alright.  I’m officially 2 for 2! 

:)

 SO….DO YOU HAVE MINI-SUPER HEROES, TOO?

DO THEY PUT THEIR OWN TWIST ON THEM? 

 

 

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It’s Hard To Be A Domestic Heroine…

If anyone has wondered why posts have been few and far between over the Summer, the answer lies somewhere between the zoo, the museums, the parks and the family we’ve been happily bouncing between on vacation.

But,there might have been a few other events that hindered more frequent posting.  And those reasons might have centered on some domestic challenges.  And, for once, I’m not talking about my dislike of laundry.

Take this, for instance.

That would be the kitchen floor in  my sister’s condo where I stayed for 4 days to babysit while she was away at a conference.

Did you know that if you can’t find the dishwasher detergent, that dishwashing liquid is NOT a good substitute?

ME, NEITHER!

Or, take this example:

That would be my other sister’s oven after I turned on the self-cleaning cycle.

I didn’t clean the grates of dripped angel food cake before turning it on.

Did you know that once the self-cleaning cycle starts, that you can’t unlock the oven door?

ME, NEITHER!!!

We figured that out as the smoke billowed from the oven and we watched in horror as each of the angel food cake glops reached flash point and burst into unholy flames.

The oven had turned into an un-openable fire place.

The best part?

As we ran out of the house, I yelled, “I’ve  got the kids!”

My other sister yelled, “I’ve got the dogs!”

And my other sister yelled, “I’ve got the cake!”

My middle sister had been eating leftover birthday cake modeled after a Girl Scout Samoa cookie

The recipe is totally awesome and was quite a bit of work.  I have to admit- It really would have been a shame to lose it.

Thankfully, the fire put itself out after a few minutes.

We re-entered the house once the orange glow in the oven window subsided.

But, then I was met with a new and very pressing challenge.

The velcro on our son’s capes was worn out and he was very upset about it.

So, I bought stick-on velcro.

That stuff doesn’t work.

And, I don’t sew.

So, this has been a great solution.

Fast forward to a rainy night where our daughter asked to have a “Thunderstorm Party where we make sugar cookies shaped like stars”.

We’re not at home and I had no cookie cutters.

So, we improvised.

Yes.  Mom of the Year used a red solo cup to make notional “sunburst” shaped cookies with her pre-schoolers.

And, yes.  They both belted Toby Keith’s “RED SOLO CUP!  YOU FILL ME UP!  LET’S HAVE A  PARTEEE!!!!!  LET’S HAVE A PARTEEE!!!!” throughout the whole process.

Remember that birthday cake my sister saved from the oven fire I started?

Here’s a pic from a few days earlier where we cut it at a Korean restaurant celebrating my dad’s birthday.

Please note the re-usable plastic containers on the table.

I grabbed those on the way out of the house to be sure we wouldn’t be eating the cake out of our hands at the restaurant.  Classy!

But, guess what?

I’ve learned something recently-

My lack of domestic skills is not really my fault.

It has proven to be hereditary.

Here I am about to blow out my birthday candles in the Costco cake my parents brought over and kept in the box.

Not that I minded….It tasted just the same to me.

But, another day, I went to my parent’s house and found this- a nifty solution to channeling lamp light.

And, when my dad drove the kids one day, I found he had set them up with their own DVD shows…see the mailing tape holding the player up?

Well, I think that about sums it up.

I should probably apologize to the kids right now.

Their Papa is king of the jerry-rig and their momma has literally messed up Jell-O.

Did you know that tonic water has nasty-tasting quinine in it and is not a good substitute for sparkling water?

ME, NEITHER!!!!!!

So, in light of recent events, here is a small note for my kids.

Dear Kids,

I love you.  

Here are the things I promise to teach you in the coming years:

1)  Always have dishwashing tablets on hand.  

2)  Pay someone to come clean your oven.  Those things are dangerous.

3) While your oven is cleaning, have them do your laundry, too.

4)  And the dishes.

5)  There are many more uses for red solo cups than are traditionally considered.

6)  The coolest thing about quinine is how it’s spelled.

7)  Tape and aluminum foil can fix pretty much anything.  

8) Nevermind the packaging.  

9)  Should you ever feel domestically disinclined, it’s not my fault.

10)   It’s Papa’s fault. (Please see photographic proof above).

:)

SO, Are YOU a Domestic Hero or Zero?

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Giant Costumed Characters Are Just Not Natural, Mom!

Our 3 and a half year old son loves to dress-up like a Super Hero.

We are at the point where he has interchangeable Batman, Super Man, Spiderman, and Green Lantern outfits with capes that I attach with little velcro stick-on squares every day.

This is his newest obsession:

The ironic thing is that our son, the fearless and brave Captain America, loves to pretend he is something other-worldly and supra/super-human every second of the day (to include bedtime where he sleeps wearing quick-relase capes), but he is deathly afraid of any unnaturally large figures in real life.

Take, for instance, our recent Chuck E. Cheese visit.

That is our son cowering behind me, on the look-out for the imposing, gigantic rodent.

Whenever Chuck E. Cheese comes out to greet party guests, we know.

The entire facility knows.  All are alerted by the scream that would seem to signal some kind of mortal wound.

If he happens to be slamming gopher heads with that giant hammer when The Mouse emerges, he nearly dislocates his shoulders trying to get away- with instinctual fear-vice grips on the hammer as he tries to simultaneously dart toward us, his parent sanctuary from The Unnatural.

Last year, we attended a Chick fil-A family event.  One of the attractions was the gigantic cow who frolicked with the children as they colored pictures of his trepidatious bovine brethren wearing persuasive sandwich boards beseeching us to eat something, anything, but THEM.

The PR Manager thought it would be a grand surprise for our then 2 and a half year old son to  turn around to find the Chick fil-A Cow standing right behind him while he colored those timid creatures.

Oh, he WAS surprised.

The hysterics that ensued alarmed the entire restaurant.

Some families thought it was funny.

Some families thought paramedics must be on the way.

The PR Manager was horrified and worried we might sue for causing our child some sort of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Chick fil-A Cow was retired for the remainder of the event for fear of driving away customers because of our son’s unending wails.

And, just this past week, we attended a Christmas On The Potomac Event featuring human-filled characters from Shrek:  Princess Fiona, the Ogre himself, Puss & Boots and the Gingerbread Man as the kids decorated Gingerbread Houses and sat on Santa’s lap while eating peppermint cookies, truffles and cotton candy.

Sounds like fun, right?

 

Here’s who he was hiding from.

But, then again.

There have been indicators that our son could be forever averse to the Unusually Large & Scary.

A year ago, our son clued us in on just how terrified he was of a large tooth mascot for a local dentistry at the Children’s Museum 4th of July Parade.

I have to admit, that thing was pretty creepy.

I, mean-  cows who walk on two feet, a giant green hippopotamus-eared man with a speech pattern more odd than a toddler’s,  and a sleepy-eyed mouse who wears baseball caps and knee pads really just aren’t NATURAL.

We’re not too worried about it.

It’s a double-edged foam pirate sword.

One day, he won’t be enchanted by Super Hero dress-up and the passing of this phase will likely coincide with the day that he sees those huge costumed creatures for what they truly are:  just normal, everyday people who are probably sweating a lot under those cartoon layers.

 

HOW DO YOUR KIDS REACT TO LARGE COSTUMED CHARACTERS?

 

 

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Dress-Up: Embracing The Cape & Cowboy Boots

I imagine some folks might call our parenting methods a little indulgent when it comes to our high tolerance for pretend play and public appearances.

We let our kids dress-up, fantasize, and imagine at will.  This might mean that we eat dinner with a Star Wars Clone Trooper for a month.

Which we did.

It might also mean that we take long family walks around the park with Spider Man.

Or that we help Batman in and out of his costume every hour on the hour for six months until he can figure out which holes are for the legs and which ones are for the arms….

It means being seen in public with a scuba-diving-on-dry-land Spidey-swim-goggle-wearing Super Man wearing flippers on more than one occasion.

 And, it can also mean other forms of Super Hero identity crisis- depending on which characters are being selectively marketed at the moment.

There will be a time when our son no longer wants to wear “Super Man Pajamas With the Red Cape With Cowboy Boots!” for the 13th day in a row.

It will mean that this sweet imaginative phase has passed.

…And, when that growing-up time comes,  I will remember my son standing on the sidewalk, looking over his shoulder at the wisp of  his Super-Cape waving in the Spring Breeze- and I will remember how he wildly laughed because he was flying with his feet on the ground….

Childhood Dress-up is a magical thing, full of imagination.

These are the times to celebrate.

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Moving The Sun: How Our Kids View Us…

I remember being a little girl and just looking at my father like he was the one with all the answers and strength and wisdom in the world.  Now, that I have kids, I’m seeing it all over again in the perceptions my children have of my husband.

My husband is pretty great.

This is a factual statement.

But, if you ask my children, it is very short of the truth.

In my childrens’ eyes, he is not just Super Dad, he is Super Human.

When watching Adam West in the 1960′s Batman episodes, one of the first observations our three-year old son made was that  “Batman doesn’t hab any muscles. Dada has muscles.”

True.  True.

Admittedly, by modern Super Hero standards, Adam West could have used a little more Creatine in his diet.

But, to entertain the conversation, I asked, “Well, who is stronger?  Kilowog, The Incredible Hulk or your Dad?”  The very quick answer was that Dad was, of course, stronger.

In my mind, I had another conversation with my son.  And, in my mind, I said things like-  “Yes, but can your dad, or The Incredible Hulk, or Kilowog, or Batman make milk with their boobies?  Nope.  Didn’t think so.  Score for the mom team.”

But there have been other times where my husband’s otherworldly powers have been summoned by our kids.

For instance, when we were driving down the road in the direction of blinding sun, our son cried out that sun was in his eyes and to move it!!!  When I expressed that I can do many things, but moving the sun is not one of them, he demanded that his father do it.  And when I informed him that even Super Dad  could not do that, he asked, “Well, can Dada’s truck move the sun?”   

It makes sense.

Dad’s truck can pull an RV.  Why not the sun?

And it is during moments like this that my mind entertains hypothetical conversations with my son about how cool his mom really is.  “Sure, your dad’s truck might be able to move the sun, son.  But, can Dad grow an entire organ?  I don’t think so.  I can.  It’s called a placenta.  And, it’s so cool that people actually make shampoo with it.”

La Bella Placenta & Vitamin E Shampoo with Panthenol

 

I recall another day, our family watched the movie Superman Returns.

There was a scene where Lex Luther had purposefully cut the brakes of his vapid girlfriend to draw Superman into a rescue.  Surprised by the authenticity of her mortal danger, the dingy girl pretty much hugged all over Superman and our daughter asked, “Why is she loving on Superman?”

In my mind, I thought, “Well.  Who wouldn’t?”  I mean, look at the guy.  But, I didn’t say that.

But, I answered, “Well, she was scared and Superman helped her.  She’s very happy.”  I might have also thrown in (under my breath), ” And, he’s also very handsome and strong.”

Our daughter responded, “Yeah.  Just like Daddy!”

And our son said, “Maybe Daddy will be Superman, too!”

And back into my mind I retreated and thought unspoken thoughts. “Yes.  Daddy could be Superman.  He is just as handsome and strong and helpful, but can Daddy OR Superman EVER grow a human being in their bellies?  Nope.  That’s only something Super MOMS can do.  The closest thing to childbirth for a dad might be the highly unfortunate incident of having to  pass kidney stones.  But, at the end of even that painful ordeal, men are left with a tube of asymmetrical crystals their bodies grew. But we women?  We grew YOU…..”

So, one day, after hearing about how dad was the coolest guy ever and (honestly agreeing wholeheartedly with the kids on that fact, by the way), I asked  my daughter for the first time, “So?  Daddy does some cool stuff.  What does Mama do?”

In my mind, again, I figured this would be a great confidence booster. I mean, moms do a lot of stuff every day-   Wage-earning moms and Stay-At-Home-Moms alike.  This mom-gig is a tough business.  I couldn’t wait to hear the answer.

And our daughter didn’t think for long before answering.

“Uh?  You are cranky and you drop things.”

Well, that’s just awesome.

It appears my double-X applies to more than my homogametic chromosome structure.

My hubby is definitely an X-WHY.

As in WHY is daddy Super Man and Mom is, well, Mom?

It could be the familiarity of being around Mom all the time.  It could be that Dad really is physically bigger and broader…(well, at least now that I’m not in my third trimester anymore.)  It could be that kids go through phases of idolization of strong male figures.   It could be a lot of things.  And, I’m not really concerned about any of them.

I write this only because all of these things come together in a very funny way to me.

I joke about it here and that shouldn’t be confused with any real envy of my husband’s Super Human-ness in the eyes of my kids.

I think it’s wonderful that he is so idolized. It is a lot better than the alternative.

Plus, on many levels, their dad is a pretty Super Guy.

But, one day, I’m hoping our kids will have kids.

And if or when those days come, I know they’ll look at their imperfect mom in a whole new way.

They are going to look at mom like she could have moved the Sun.

 

I know they will.

Because that’s exactly what I did when I looked at my mom through new mom-eyes.

*************************

Image Credits:  

Placenta Shampoo 

Superman

The Hulk

Kilowog

Woman Holding The Sun

Sun

Batman

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A Super Hero Birthday Party!

Our son turned 3 this year and he had his heart set on having a Super Hero Birthday Party!  It was a ton of fun to plan, and I think the kids had a good time, too!  I wrote about a few of the humorous mishaps at the party a few days ago.  Here, we’ll talk about what we did to pull it off and how you can, too.

I wanted to keep the party as simple as possible so we ordered a ton of pizza.  But, we had themed desserts, fresh fruit, whole wheat chips, pretzels, and chocolate displayed.

The desserts were Super Hero themed:

Original Batman Cape-Colored Blue Cupcakes

Our son wanted blue cake.  I decided to make a bunch of cupcakes.  I normally try to steer clear of boxed cake mixes, but I haven’t had much luck with cupcake recipes from scratch that come out moist.

I found this recipe on Pinterest for wedding cupcakes and I have to say that it is the most moist and delectable cupcake I’ve ever had.  I highly recommend this White Wedding Cake Cupcakes recipe from Recipe Girl.

To make 100 cupcakes, I used 3 boxes of moist white cake mix.  The recipe calls for addition of more flour, sugar, egg whites, sour cream, oil, etc….so it’s kind of from scratch.  :)  I added 3 teaspoons of Wilton blue food coloring to the mix before baking.  To decorate, I piped Wilton Buttercream frosting mix (that required butter and milk) on top and inserted Super Hero toothpicks.

Green Lantern Bark

To make the Green Lantern Bark, we used the same recipe as the one I posted about in December here.    The only change is that I replaced the German’s Sweet Chocolate with White Chocolate and added green food coloring to the melted chocolate.  We coated in green sprinkles before chilling and breaking it up.  It was a hit!

Marshmallow Super Hero Pops

I had planned to make Super Hero cake pops or lollipops, but realized we had unopened bags of giant marshmallows.  We used those, instead.  My kids loved these.

For the printable template I created to make the masks and capes for these, please click here.  There is a slideshow tutorial below that explains how I put these together.

I didn’t want to be running a bunch of activities during the party for the kids, but I wanted them to be engaged.  We decided to make several Super Hero themed stations that the kids could move to according to their interests.

The party was already at a park, and we had the requisite bounce house, but we added the following activities:

Grab a Mask From The Mask Tree!

As kids arrived, they could pick a mask from the mask tree.  We just used clothes pins!

Super Dough (Over 150 lbs of Cloud Dough in 3 bins)

This was a workout but totally worth it!  We already had three underbed bins that were long and shallow- perfect for an activity like this.  If you’re not famliar with cloud dough, check out C&C’s post on it here for the recipe we used and many others.  We used a large table cloth underneath the bins to keep the any mess contained.

Each bin was filled with 1 x 50 lb bag of flour mixed with approximately 10 x 14 oz. bottles of baby oil.  (I sought out the cheapest baby oil and flour we could find for this activity to keep costs down).

The litmus test to make sure each bin was ready to play and mold with was to use one of the repurposed yogurt cups to build a few molds.  If it broke apart, I added another cup of oil and mixed.

This was a HUGE hit.  I offered parents the option to take some home with them in ziplock bags.  The kids got a little messy, but that was the point.  They had a lot of FUN.

The Craft Table

Repurposed Wonder Woman Starbucks Sleeve Bracelets 

Decorate Your Own Mask

We pulled Butcher Paper ($6.99 a huge roll at Hobby Lobby) across a picnic table and set out a basket of crayons, clothes pins, pipe cleaners, and glitter glue for kids to tinker with.

There were $1 roasting pans each filled with a different craft activity.

The kids made Wonder Woman Cuff Bracelets out of repurposed Starbucks Coffee sleeves and felt star stickers.  They also decorated their own masks using glitter stickers and art materials.

Face Painting

A couple of my friends agreed to help me out by doing the face painting station and they did a wonderful job!  All the kids were running around with vibrant masks at the party!

Pow! Bam! Pop!

Bubble-Wrapped Sidewalk

I think this was the most popular activity.   We purchased 100 square feet of bubble wrap for about $10.  The kids would hardly allow us to tape it down to the sidewalk they were so anxious to take off!

Our son led the hoard, covered in cloud dough and barefoot.  The best way to do this activity, I think.  The sound was fantastic!  It really kept with the Super Hero Pop! Pow! Bam! comic book theme.

Comic Strip Dress-Up and Photo Scene

I originally saw the idea to create a Super Hero Comic Book Photo Background on Pinterest here.   On a whim, and at the last minute, we threw this background together.  It was really simple to do and took less than 30 minutes!

To do one, just find a few cartoon images and import into powerpoint.  Expand the image to fit an entire sheet of paper and print.  I used colored tagboard to create the buildings and used a sponge brush to paint the windows and trees.  And that was that.

The dress up bin was there for kids to dress up and act out scenarios.  (Check out the slideshow at the end for some great poses in front of it!)

 

Super Hero Piñatas

We had a couple of  piñatas.  We learned a few comical lessons about how to run that event which you can read about here.    But the kids loved getting all the Super Hero themed loot and treats!

By the end of the night, our son couldn’t keep his eyes open.

He was just thrilled with his party and so were we.  Things went as planned  (well, with a few funny surprises) and I think the kids all had a good and memorable time!

You can see some of the signage we created and displayed throughout the party area with our son’s Super Hero dress-up image on it in the following slideshow.  It really tickled him.  You can also see more pictures of children doing all of the activities described above!

If you’ve done or are planning to do a Super Hero-themed party, I would love to hear your ideas!  

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Memorial Day In Laredo: A Visit to the Hispanic Medal of Honor Monument

Memorial Day In Laredo:  Hispanic Medal Of Honor Monument

 

We went to the Hispanic Medal of Honor Monument today to pay our respects and learn a little on this Memorial Day.  I had not realized that we’ve passed by the monument several times on our way downtown.  Positioned on the corner, behind a bank, of Matamoros and San Dario, it almost blends with its surroundings.  I’m glad we went-  It is quite a nice monument to Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients throughout our country’s war history.

The monument is surrounded by four colorful  mosaic benches that form a circle.  The benches seem to form a sort of symbolic shield to protect the monument, much as the servicemembers represented on the polished wall protected those they were fighting with and for.

In the center of the monument, is a statue of Private David Barkeley, our first Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient.  He drowned during the first World War while returning to his unit from a scouting mission.

My small children enjoyed bouncing between the mosaic tile benches and looking at the blue wildflowers growing underneath the three flag poles flying the American Flag.  I had to work a little to divert their attention to the statue.  I tried to put it all into terms they could understand.   I explained that the statue was of a Soldier who passed away like Quincy (our pet millipede) and that he passed away helping others.  This made him a hero.

My kids nodded like they understood. But, I wasn’t sure.  They went back to bouncing on the benches and watching the big rigs pass by on the highway.  (Safety Note:  You definitely need to keep tight hold of your kids since it’s on a street corner right off of the I-35 feeder road).

Afterward, we went to see the alligators at the LCC Environmental Science Center, ate dinner and dessert.  I decided to quiz my oldest daughter, who will be four soon, to see if she remembered anything about our visit.  I asked her to tell her daddy what we saw when we went to the statue today.  Our conversation went like this:

“What did we see at the statue today?”

“A SO-JER”

“Right!   And what did the Soldier do?

“He was good to people.”

“What do we call people who pass away helping other people?”

“SUPERHEROES!!!!!!”

Yes, that is exactly right.  We call them Superheroes.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day and that we continue to remember all the men and women who have fallen in service to the country.

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