Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

Pencil sharpener

June 18th, 2014

Olivia's seventh birthday brought her a clutch of a dozen gifts from her dad and me, her grandparents, and some family friends. This doesn't include the birthday party that followed the weekend after the actual birth date.


She got up in the morning to a special breakfast cooked for her (we never do pancakes on a weekday), and then dove into her pile of presents. Honestly, some were bought expressly for her birthday, but some were items we've intended to give her for a few weeks and just decided to stick a bow on it and give her some joy in opening it.

Things she received:
2 jewelry boxes


Pierced ears! (favorite gift)


Hello Kitty hairbrush

Purple Japanese scrubby bath cloth (that she actually requested!)


Tote bag

Sticker set

Electric pencil sharpener

As she opened it if it was NOT from us, I would tell her who it was from. So, grandparents, Aunty Jen, Aunty Lea.

She opened all the gifts and uttered the appropriate gratitude noises... until the pencil sharpener, which was met with a flat and simple, "Oh."

I asked her which one was her favorite. Typical seven year old- she never distinguishes just one. If she likes it, she likes it and lists it. She doesn't get what "favorite" means.


"I like the stickers, the backpack, I love that you let me pierce my ears, the jewelry, the jewelry box, the wash cloth, the brush, and I love the kendama too. So pretty much everything but the pencil sharpener," answered Olivia.

The pencil sharpener. Of course. "Oh, that one's from your daddy," I smirked as I totally threw Claus under the gift bus. He stared at me then rushed over to pick up the package.

"Look! It's Titanium bonded! It has an auto-sensor shut off! An ergonomic space saving design! Any second grader needs a great pencil sharpener!" he pathetically tried to sell. Luckily his day job doesn't involve sales.

Nobody was listening. Olivia was playing kendama. I laughed at my poor husband. "Office supplies are not the most exciting gift for anyone, much less a seven year old," I reminded.

Lucky for Claus, part of the birthday day included me taking her to the mall to spend $30 on whatever thing(s) she wanted to pick out. I made sure to say the money came from Daddy. Saved!

Math skills

June 9th, 2014

Olivia is great with reading but not very great with math. Yet. At least, that's what I like to end the sentence with.

Every night Claus works with her on math. I don't like math either. He's such a good dad. She usually gives him a hard time and he plods forward patiently.

One weekend, her neighborhood best friend Kira decided they should create their own business selling crafty items. They invented bookmarks by picking hibiscus leaves and inserting a few beads around the stem, secured by a rubber band.


The girls spent hours making the leaves and then going door-to-door selling them for a quarter. I now have a dozen dead, beaded hibiscus leaves somewhere in my house, while my wallet is 12 quarters lighter.

To encourage her about real-life application for math skills, I told her, "This is why you need to learn to add quickly. This way, you can add up all the money you two earned, then split the pile in half."

"I don't need math," she insisted.

"How will you figure out how much money you got?" I asked.

"Kira will do that," she said.

"Well, at some point in life it might be nice to be able to figure that out for yourself," I pointed out.

"I don't care about my half. She'll just give me what she gives me," Olivia countered.

Oh, the innocence of children. If only life was always like that!

2014 Aloha Festivals honor Polynesian Voyaging Society's World Voyage

April 23rd, 2014

This year’s Aloha Festivals pay tribute to the upcoming worldwide voyage of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hōkūleʻa and its mission to promote world peace with its theme, “Maluhia Honua – World Peace With Aloha.”

Photo courtesy: Aloha Festivals

Photo courtesy: Aloha Festivals

“The 2014 theme was inspired by a song composed by Irmgard Farden Aluli entitled ‘For a Peaceful World’ and honors the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s mission to promote world peace,” said Helene “Sam” Shenkus, co-chair of the Aloha Festivals board of directors. “The mission of Aloha Festivals is to foster the Aloha Spirit through the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture and the celebration of the diverse customs and traditions of Hawaiʻi.”

To help spread the message and Aloha Spirit, Aloha Festivals is asking all Keiki (grades K to 8) and ʻŌpio (grades 9 to college) from schools across Hawaiʻi and Makua (adult Hawaiʻi resident) to create a poster that best illustrates the upcoming worldwide voyage to promote world peace and what “Maluhia Honua” means to them. The design must include the words: “Maluhia Honua.”

The design of the winning entry will appear on the official 2014 Aloha Festivals poster and be on display at this year’s Keiki Ho‘olaule‘a at Pearlridge Center. In addition, the grand prize winner will receive a $250 Royal Hawaiian Center gift certificate.

Entries must be postmarked by May 16, 2014 and mailed to: Aloha Festivals Poster Design Contest, c/o Communications Pacific, 700 Bishop Street, Suite 600, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96813. For entry forms and templates, visit

Ernie's legacy

December 20th, 2013

I mentioned in a previous blog that our family friend, Ernie, died. His hobby was to make dollhouses for children. He had such a soft spot for little ones.

He gifted Olivia one when she was born, and it was well-loved for years. In the past year, though, she lost interest in it. It was just taking up space in her room, so we decided to give it away.

I asked her half a dozen times over a couple week's period if she was OK with giving it away, and she said she was totally fine with it.

I looked for a new home, but not everyone has space for a four foot dollhouse, so it took a while. Finally, I met a preschool teacher, Ruby, who accepted it. She didn't have a lot of space in her class, either, but was touched by the backstory of who made it and why.

The week after I dropped it off at her classroom, Ernie died. What timing!

I mentioned it to Ruby, who was saddened to hear of the loss of her indirect benefactor. In his honor, she actually posted a laminated information sheet about Ernie on the back of the dollhouse, telling parents about his story and why this toy was so special.

I went by to look at it. Very nice; such a fitting tribute to a man whose life revolved around making people happy. I'm absolutely certain that if Ernie could know what was happening, he would love the idea that his handiwork will bring smiles to the faces of dozens of little children in this little corner of the world.

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Easy Halloween Science Experiments for Kids

October 30th, 2013

Glowing lights, eerie sounds and ghostly images - Halloween is the perfect opportunity to introduce science concepts to your children and explore changes in matter and chemical reactions. By using ordinary household items, parents can easily create these Spooky Science experiments compiled by the education team at Kiddie Academy® ( Set them up one at a time as boredom-busters, or incorporate all of them into a mad scientist-themed party! Your kids will have so much fun, they won't realize that they're learning.

"Conducting fun holiday-themed experiments allows children to use their senses to see, touch, hear and smell science concepts. In fact, by conducting these Spooky Science activities, children are making predictions, observations and testing hypotheses, just like real scientists," according to Richard Peterson, Kiddie Academy's vice president of education.

To download a set of free Spooky Science activity cards with full directions for five easy Halloween projects from Kiddie Academy, along with an explanation of the science behind the magic, visit the Kiddie Academy blog at:

Here's what you'll find: Bubbling Potion, Creepy Slime, Ghost Writing, Glow-in-the-Dark Mad Scientist Jars and the Ghostly Glove.

I checked it out and it looks really cute, like something I can see doing with my daughter. All are designed to be done with everyday materials and parental supervision (mostly to deal with any messes).