Monday, April 16

Party Details

Here are some little details from Henry's Ninjago party.
We made invites on the computer.
I found a free Lego font here.
Changed Gatorade in to Ninjade with some home made labels and stickers.
We had: 
Kai's Fire Punch
Cole's Rock Water
Jay's Lightning Juice
Zane's Ice-Ade
I've made the labels free to download.  You can get them HERE!

 We made a Garmadon pinata out of a shipping box, that I weakened by removing some of the inside flaps and perforating the packing tape that held it together.  Otherwise, it would take way too long to bust it open!
I poked a hole in the top and threaded a hanger through it.

We filled it with goodies, covered it with black tissue paper and made details out of cardstock.
We decorated the patio with polka dot balloons and colorful bunting.
For our game, we had a scavenger hunt to find the four Weapons of Spinjitzu.  
I made the weapons with wrapping paper tubes, toilet paper tubes, cardboard, and masking tape.  The nun-chucks are held together with a chain of rubber bands.  I didn't want them to be too heavy, because I knew the kids would try them out on each other.  I sprayed them with gold spray paint, which worked like a charm.  
I forgot to get a picture before the scavenger hunt, so the weapons look a little beat up here.
When the kids first arrived, I had them decorate their own ninja headband with stickers and markers.  Then, I told them the story of Ninjago, because most of them weren't familiar.  I told them Kai's sister Nya had been captured by the Evil Lord Garmadon and they had to find the four Weapons of Spinjitzu (the scavenger hunt), fight Garmadon (the pinata) and free Nya.  
This is the map I gave to each child before the scavenger hunt, so they'd know what they were looking for.
Then, we headed out on the scavenger hunt.  I tried to make the clues really simple.  We had a lot of kids and most were under five.  So, the clues were things like "Take 25 steps toward the tree with a swing.  Look up to the sky to find the Nun-Chucks of Lightning".  I also made the kids practice their Spinjitzu spinning before they could move on.  
The game was a hit!
Lucy was very excited to be tied up and in charge of pulling the pinata rope.
Henry's cake request was very simple, which I appreciated.  We looked at lots of pictures online of Ninjago birthday cakes, but he really liked the ones that had real toys on them.
I had seen Lego candles on Amazon but they were ridiculously priced.  Then, on a trip to Target I found some similar for much, much cheaper.  
I do love Target.

For a little thank you gift, Henry handed out mini figures, stored in a Lego storage container.
I think everyone had a lot of fun.  The kids especially loved the scavenger hunt, ending with the pinata.

Sunday, April 15

All About This Boy

For the past couple of days, we've been celebrating Henry's first five years.
And, it's been great.
We kicked off his birthday with traditional breakfast and presents in bed.
The birthday boy's request: granola and an apple.
He wasn't really interested in the food as much as the presents.

We spent the rest of the day playing with new toys and getting ready for his Ninjago party.
We baked a cake (Funfetti was his choice) and made a pinata.
Larry's Pizza was Henry's pick for dinner.  And we were pleasantly surprised to find the Hot Springs Larry's even better than the Little Rock Larry's.

The Party
We started out with Ninja headband decorating. 
We roasted hot dogs, munched on brownies and chips, and chatted with friends.
Game time was a scavenger hunt for the four Weapons of Spinjitzu.  
Don't know what Spinjitzu is?  Click here.
First, the Nunchucks of Lightning in a tall tree.
Then the Scythe of Quakes, in a deep dark cave/crawl space.
Third, were the Shurikens of Ice, hidden in something that resembles an igloo.

Then, on to find Kai's Sword of Fire.  
After all the weapons were found, the kids had to save Nya from the evil Lord Garmadon pinata.

Cake and presents followed.

I think Henry had a really good time, which was the whole point.  
We sure love this boy.

Friday, April 6


 Grandpa is at it again!  Here is a hand made wand case he made from a cardboard tube.
 Someone special is getting their very own magic wand soon!  Someone with a birthday!
 Each wand he makes is like no other.
 Here are some he made last month for our Kentucky grandsons.
 One thing they all have in common is the heart of the wand.  It contains a little fur from our pup.  Go here for a tutorial on how Grandpa makes his wands. 

Wednesday, April 4

LIttle Bird Watcher

My ten year old grand daughter, Eva, discovered the joy of bird watching when she was visiting us over Christmas break.   When she sprained her ankle she parked herself in front of our dining room window where she could watch the birds at Grandpa's feeders. 

 She was determined to find a way to attract birds to her yard when she returned home to L.A..  Using her own money she bought bird seed and made some feeders.  City squirrels were a big obstacle at first, but she persevered and put petroleum jelly on the feeder ropes to deter the squirrels.   Here is her latest note to me on the subject:

Guess what?? Yesterday I was watching the house finches and thought, "Those two have mated so why aren't they making a nest when it is egg-laying season?"
Then I took a closer look and saw that one of them was tearing off a small twig on a tree and then they flew to a place in our persimon tree. I saw them do this again and with an excited jolt, I realized they must be making a nest!!
 A couple days ago, a new bird came to my feeder, a white crowned sparrow. Here are some pictures of them that I took.

 They are my favorite bird so far!! Anything new going on at your feeder?
And have you gotten a picture of those strange hummingbirds yet?

I am sad to report she later told us that a gust of wind knocked the half finished nest out of her tree. But once again we are finding ways to connect with distant grandchildren through sharing hobbies and interests and hand made gifts.  Trying to knit our hearts together across the miles.  

Tuesday, April 3

Bunny Bread

                       Nothing says Happy Easter like Bunny Bread in a bucket!
Made from a white bread dough recipe and brushed with egg glaze, the Bunny Bread gives kids a fun treat without adding the sugar count.
Dough bunnies are rising and waiting their turn for the oven.  Another pair are cooling on the rack and the cooled ones get fancy bows. 
 It is funny how each bunny takes on its own personality.   
 I usually make Teddy Bear Bread which is exactly the same as this but with round ears.
 Each bunny is given a little support with a trimmed Chinette paper plate and then wrapped in plastic wrap.  Ready for visiting grandkids tomorrow morning!  
Happy Easter!!

Bunny or Teddy Bear Bread Recipe
1 T. yeast
1 1/2  c. hot water
1/2 c. hot milk
3 T. sugar
2 tsp. salt
3 T. butter
3 + c. flour
1 egg

Sprinkle the yeast on the hot water in a mixing bowl.  And then sprinkle the sugar on top of that.  Let it dissolve while heating the milk and melting the butter.  Stir them into the yeast. Add salt.  Gradually add the flour half a cup at a time while stirring with electric mixer, waiting till smooth before next addition.  Use enough flour to make a smooth, soft, elastic dough.  Turn out on floured board and knead gently.  Dough should spring back when poked with a finger.  Place dough in greased bowl, cover and let rise till double in bulk, about 90 minutes.  Punch down dough and turn out on to floured board.  Cut dough in half.  Each half will make one bear. 

For one bear or bunny cut the dough in half.  One half will be the belly.  
With the other half, divide in half again.
One of those halves will be the head.
With remaining dough cut off a small piece, for the nose.
With remaining dough cute six pieces.  Form two balls for feet, two for hands and the remaining two for ears.  For bunnies, make dough into an elongated piece for bunny ears.   For bears, make a ball and then make it slightly flattened.  Make bunnies on a greased cookie sheet and cover and let rise, about an hour. 

Brush bears/bunnies with an egg mixed with 1 T. water.
Place raisins for eyes, nose and belly button.  I didn't use a raisin on the bunny nose. 

Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until bread is a rich golden brown.  Remove to racks for cooling.  Bread is best if consumed within a day or two.