Archive for the ‘child’ Category

Chalkboard paint

February 23rd, 2015

When you walk into my house, there is absolutely no question a child lives there. Other than the fact that most of the time, Olivia's toys are scattered throughout all the common areas and several rooms and bathrooms, we now have a big chalkboard painted on the wall at the entrance.


It's something I've seen on restaurants, offices, and stores, and have been meaning to do... for three years. I got the can of paint immediately after hatching this brilliant idea. It just took me some 1,000 days to crack it open. Ha!

Meya and Olivia breaking in the new chalkboard.

Meya and Olivia breaking in the new chalkboard.

It happened one weekend when my friend Kalei came to visit and then got bored sitting around. Kalei is Type A, needs constant motion, but hates the outdoors.

"Do you want to do some craft project? We can go down to Ben Franklin and find something to make," I suggested.

"Crafts? No!" she rejected.

"Do you want to walk or hike?" I offered.

"No!" she said.

"Do you want to go to the beach or pool?" I said because I was getting desperate.

"Diane. Do you even know me?" she asked.

Then I remembered about the chalkboard wall. "Do you want to help me paint my entrance way with chalkboard paint?" I asked.

Kalei got excited, and that became our afternoon project. Claus supervised and mixed up the paint while we cleaned, taped, sanded, and painted the wall. We thought perhaps he assigned himself the good job as supervisor. I'm grateful to Kalei because if it wasn't for her, I know that we never would have done this.


I felt kind of guilty because Olivia would want to paint with us, but I've learned as a mom that my energy and time is unpredictable, so I have to strike while the iron is hot.

Olivia was out with the babysitter, so I texted the sitter: "The foyer paint is wet. Don't tell Olivia we did this without her. Tell her the Paint Fairy came."

Two coats later, it was done, and it works like a charm. It was covered with chalk drawings within five minutes of me declaring it dry and peeling the tape off.

I thought our family could use it as a little message board (one that doesn't get covered up with clutter or blown away in the breeze) but I see it's found a primary home as an art surface. And that works, too!

Chinese New Year's bottles

February 18th, 2015

For Chinese New Year, Olivia and I made our friends bottles. We bought teensy little bottles, colored sand, twine, and shells at the craft store and made it at home.


It is the perfect project for a seven year old. I don't know about your kids, but mine loses patience and interest very quickly with any kind of detail work, so something that requires just mixing together a few simple ingredients is perfect.


I sometimes bead, so I happened to have little blown-glass sheep charms that I could wire wrap and attach to the outside of the bottle like a charm. This is the part where Olivia abandoned me to do all that tedious work.

Olivia enjoyed putting it together, though I was amused watching her as she started playing with the sand. I gave her a funnel to pour the sand into the bottle, and she experimented all kinds of ways with putting the funnel upside down, or filling the funnel all the way up and stopping and starting the flow of the sand into the bottle. Kid stuff - funny. Table was a little messy after, of course.

My bottle!

My bottle! My charm is a slipper.

The last step involved cutting out little strips of paper. The intention is that you write your new year's wishes on the paper, roll it up, put it in the bottle, and let it serve as a reminder to you all year long to achieve it. Kind of a Western version of a daruma doll.

I got excited about this craft project, so in addition to making mine, I asked Claus if he wanted one. He quickly answered no. Clutter and girly charms are not his thing. Then, Olivia decided she wanted to make one for Daddy, and he was all in. Cute.

So I've got my beautifully decorated new year's bottle, and I'm super excited about the Chinese New Year. 2015 so far has been fantastic, and I have high hopes it will continue through the Asian calendar!

Happy Chinese New Year!

The ol' ball and chain

January 21st, 2015

Olivia and I were at Ben Franklin Craft Store and she saw a cake topper in the wedding aisle. "Look, this guy looks trapped!" she exclaimed.


I went over to see it. There was a groom sitting, looking forlorn with a ball and chain around his ankle. There was a bride standing, looking victorious holding a key.

I explained to my seven-year-old, "This is a ball, and it's connected to his leg by a chain. It's called a ball and chain, and people joke that when you get married, you're locked in."

"But she's standing and she looks happy," questioned Olivia.

"Right. That's because the woman is usually the boss and she gets to decide when to unlock the ball and chain every now and then," I explained.

"Why is it the woman?" Olivia continued.

"Who's the boss in our house?" I asked.

"You," said my daughter without hesitation.

Now, honestly, I'd like to think we have an equal partnership. We are highly compatible. But I do think Olivia's answer is pretty funny.

"See? And when you get married, you have to find a man who lets you be the boss, too," I advised.

A lady nearby was listening and laughing. "I tell my daughters the same thing, too," she agreed.

Later, when we were checking out, the cashier recognized me from this blog. "I like your blog!" she complimented.

"Oh, thank you!" I smiled. "So you know this is the man I always make fun of?" as I gestured to my husband.

"Yes," she chuckled. "Now I get to meet him in person."

That's right. She's met the ol' ball and chain. Wait... that's me. So she's met the poor sap locked in with the ol' ball and chain. Ha!

Hawaii State Public Library System's January events

January 14th, 2015

The public library offers a number of free public events across its Oahu branches this month:

Mililani Library Presents Preschool Storytime Jan. 20 - Feb. 24 

Keiki ages 2 to 5, accompanied by a parent or caregiver, are invited to attend this free one-hour program and listen to stories and poems, learn finger plays, and sing songs.  A simple make-and-take craft will follow each storytime; crafts are available while supplies last.  No registration is needed.

Storytimes will be presented on January 20, 27; February 3, 10, 17, and 24. Contact the Library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.

Mililani Public Library is located at 95-450 Makaimoimo Street.  For more information, please call the Library at 627-7470.

Award-winning Band Performs at Aina Haina Library Jan. 21

The award-winning musical group Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem will perform in-concert at Aina Haina Public Library on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 2 p.m. in the Children's Section.   Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, from Middletown, Conn., performs music that combines folk, country blues, progressive bluegrass, contemporary pop, and jazz.

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Band. Courtesy Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Band.

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Band. Courtesy Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Band.

Band members include: Rani Arbo (fiddle, guitar), Andrew Kinsey (bass, banjo, and ukulele), Anand Nayak (electric and acoustic guitars) and Scott Kessel (percussion).  The band's CD Ranky Tanky (Mayhem Music; 2010 family album) won Gold Awards from the American Library Association, Parents' Choice Foundation, and National Association of Parenting Publications.  In addition to their performance, the band members will introduce themselves and discuss their style of music.

This one-hour program is suitable for all ages and is a production of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Outreach College-Statewide Cultural Extension Program. Funding is provided by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii, National Endowment for the Arts, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Contact the library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.   Aina Haina Public Library is located at 5246 Kalanianaole Highway.  For more information, please call the Library at 377-2456.

Make Unique Greeting Cards at Kaimuki Library on Jan. 27

"Creative Greeting Cards," a free craft program, will be presented at Kaimuki Public Library on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Adult Reading Section.

Greeting card. Courtesy: Sharie Torres

Greeting card. Courtesy: Sharie Torres

Sharie Torres, who has taught the art of paper crafting for more than 10 years, will demonstrate how to create three unique greeting cards.  Registration is required for this 1½-hour, hands-on program that is limited to 15 participants.  All supplies will be provided.

The Friends of Kaimuki Library is sponsoring this program which is suitable for ages 10 and older.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.    Contact the Library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed. Kaimuki Public Library is located at 1041 Koko Head Avenue.  For more information or to register, please call the Library at 733-8422.

Seminar for Inventors and Small Businesses at Aiea Library on Jan. 28
Inventors, entrepreneurs, legal professionals, and the public are invited to attend a free seminar on patent and trademark searching at the new Aiea Public Library (99-374 Pohai Place) on Wednesday, January 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the Program Room.

“Patent and Trademark Searching: Essential Information You Need to Protect Your Intellectual Property” will feature presentations by Tom Turner and M. Neil Massong from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, Va.; Len Higashi of the High Technology Development Corporation, Joseph Burns of the Hawaii Small Business Development Center, and Jayna Uyehara of the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Business Action Center.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Hawaii State Public Library System, the Hawaii State Library, and other donors are sponsoring this seminar.

Participants will learn step-by-step guidelines and strategies for conducting patent and trademark searches, and gain knowledge of lessons learned from local entrepreneurs.  They will discover ways to protect intellectual property rights, avoid infringement lawsuits, and learn how to launch businesses the right way.

Registration is required due to limited seating.  Call the Hawaii State Library's Federal Documents Section to register by Friday, January 23, 2015.

A seminar tie-in exhibit “Island Innovation: A Spotlight on Hawaii’s Patents and Trademarks” will be on display at the Hawaii State Library in January 2015.  The exhibit will showcase a variety of Hawaii’s patent products and iconic trademarks, from unique plants to familiar logos.

"Martial Arts in Chinese Culture" lecture on Jan. 31

Stanley Henning, a researcher of Chinese martial arts history, will conduct this free slide presentation on martial arts in Chinese culture.  Henning, who is also a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, has studied Yang Style Taijiquan and Shanxi Che in Taiwan, two popular forms of Chinese martial arts.

This one-hour program is suitable for ages 12 and older, and will include a question-and-answer session.  Contact the Library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.  The new Aiea Public Library is located at 99-374 Pohai Place.  For more information, please call the Library at 483-7333.

Meet Project Runway Hawaii Finalist at Kapolei Library Jan. 31  

Courtesy: Kini Zamora

Courtesy: Kini Zamora

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fashion designer?  Meet fashion designer Kini Zamora, a recent contestant on "Project Runway" Season 13, at Kapolei Public Library on Saturday, January 31 at 2 p.m. in the Main Lobby.

Learn how this talented local boy from Kapolei followed his dreams and overcame obstacles to become one of four finalists on the Lifetime Channel's popular "Project Runway" television show, and own two successful clothing lines in Hawaii.

The Friends of the Library Kapolei is sponsoring this free one-hour program for teens and adults, ages 12 and older.   Contact the Library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.    Kapolei Public Library is located at 1020 Manawai Street.  For more information, please call the Library at 693-7050.

Leading the witness

December 29th, 2014

Kids manipulate the parents into doing things, but it can go both ways. I ended up being very tired on Halloween night and didn't want to brave the rain to trick or treat. Mind you, I've done this every year for the past six years, and I remind myself that to feel less guilty for sitting this year out.

Trick or treating occurs at my bedtime. I get tired around 5:30 and I go to sleep at 6:30 p.m. 6:30 is when Olivia and our friends begin haunting the streets.

I had hopeful intentions of going along, but as the twilight neared, I told her I had to beg off and let Daddy just handle this. "No!" she pouted, and stomped her foot. "I want Mommy to go, too!"

Nice Daddy.

Nice Daddy.

"Well, if I go, it'll be a quick spin around one block and then we have to go because I'm tired. Or if Daddy takes you, it'll be the full neighborhood and playing with Amanda afterwards," I said. In the past years we've stayed out until 9:30 p.m. because everyone knows after you pillage the streets for candy, you and your friends have to admire the loot spread out across the living room floor.

"I want Daddy to take me," came the quick reply.

The Look.

The Look.

Claus shot me a look for leaving him high and dry - or sopping wet, as the weather called for. "No fair. That's like asking, 'Do you want a little bit of candy or a lot of candy?'" Oh, my husband. He is such a good man.

I've done this before. I wanted her to want to take a vacation in Australia so I showed her a picture of a kangaroo as a representation of the entire continent. That sealed that deal.

Yes, I'm guilty of leading this witness!