Friday, September 18, 2009

One McCoraline, hold the meatballs, please...

Jorja wanted to see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs today, so after the kids came home from school I took the girls to the theater. I was proud of my perfect theater timing - not too early, but early enough to beat the huge line that formed after we got there.

Things were great until I got to the front of the line and asked for tickets. "Sorry, we're not showing that movie today due to technical difficulties." What? That's a new one for me. I asked when they would be showing it, and was told that they might get a digital protector tomorrow to be able to show it. Hmmm.

So, Maysen and I led a sad Jorja across the street to McDonalds to get ice cream. They decided that the trip wasn't a complete waste. Jorja got a big vanilla cone and Maysen and I split a mint Oreo McFlurry.

On the way home, we stopped at the WalMart parking lot for a visit to the RedBox. We were glad to see that they had Coraline, which we'd been wanting to see for a while.

Pretty groovy show! Freaky groovy. Plus, it was only a dollar. Too bad it wasn't Monday or we could have used a free Monday code. (Did I mention I like free stuff?) It was better watching a flick in our basement theater anyway. Where else can your two year old dump out bags of popcorn and jump on a big air mattress during a show. Guess I'll be cleaning that up tomorrow...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dragon Wings

Maysen has decided that she wants to be a dragon for halloween. (surprise). A couple of years ago I showed her these cool wings that someone made and suggested we make some. At the time she passed on the idea, but that was mostly because she didn't want to have to open/close/flap them by having her arms tied to them. She, being my daughter, wanted them to open/close/flap by themselves via some sort of remote control.

So this year, we're going to give that a try. Our wings will be slightly scaled down so that we can make the frame out of those big paint stirring sticks they give out at home depot. (Free stuff is cool!) These should actually be a good size for her.

Today we started putting the different pieces together for the first wing - mostly just roughing out the idea. One of these wings will be hooked to each side of a backpack type thing that we'll make out of PVC pipe or a padded scrap of plywood, which will be strapped to her back.

This is what one of the wings looks like closed...

...and this is what it looks like when opened...

(It reminds me of one of those extend-o-glove thingies they punch each other with in cartoons.)

We'll cover this skeleton with some kind of stretchy fabric. To make it open and close on it's own, we're going to made what is called an air muscle, as described here or here. I think we'll only need one, and by stringing it between the two wings it should open them both when it contracts. We'll find out next week when we give it a try! It means we'll be strapping a paintball tank of air on her back, wiring it up, and letting her open and close the wings with the press of a button.

We're excited to be making them, and I figure it will be a good thing to show/use in the robotics classes I'm hoping to teach soon. Watch for updates soon...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sponge Hockey Makes Cleaning Fun

Yes, it has been far too long since I've posted on MTWD. The kids and I have been doing a lot of fun stuff, but I've just been too lazy to document it. Shame on me! However, today we had way too much fun for me to keep to myself.

Stockton wanted to invent a way to make cleaning fun. He had an idea to attach sponges on the bottom of our shoes and skate around on soapy water. I really didn't think it would work, but Publix was having a 3-sponges-for-a-dollar sale, so I figured why not.

With a little hot glue and some old shoes, we were in business.

I put a mix of classical piano, Nintendo soundtracks, and Charlie Brown Christmas CDs in the CD changer and cranked up the ice-skating tunes. The next step was to dip the sponge skates in a tub of soapy water.

Then we gave the skating a try. Wow! It worked a heckuva lot better than I thought it possibly could. We had a blast - skating, twirling, jumping and falling. Stockton loved pointing out that the floor was getting clean and that he didn't mind a bit!

The other kids were anxious to try. We didn't have enough sponge skates for everyone, but we took turns.

Even Steph got into the act! What grace! What style!

She is no match for my moves though...

Preston had a blast slipping around in his clothes too.
My favorite part came when I was trying to soak up a bit of the soap suds with a mop. The mop gave a nice hockey feel and really let you lean into the skates. We added a puck and ended up playing hockey for another half hour or so.

I believe I will need to pick up an extra mop and some more sponges next time I'm out. I'm pretty sure the kids will be asking for a rematch soon.

In the meantime, please enjoy a glimpse of this new form of performance art. Bonus points if you can name where the music comes from...