Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Seriously, you have to throw a bubble party. Coolest Party Ever. Seriously. Here's what we did:

1. Buy this book, which has tons of information on making the biggest bubbles in the world. It comes with a patented "Bubble Thing" which is absolutely necessary.

2. Buy the ingredients for making the bubble juice recipe in the book. Most of the ingredients are easy to come by (distilled water, Joy dish washing liquid, corn starch, baking powder). But make sure that you also splurge and buy glycerin. I bought a 16 ounce bottle from Amazon.

3. Clean two big five-gallon buckets. Multiply the bubble recipe to make six gallons of the bubble juice, putting three gallons worth in each of the buckets.

4. The Bubble Thing is awesome, but you probably don't want more than one of them, and it's a little hard for young kids to use, so make/buy other bubble wands. We had some normal plastic wands. We also bent a dozen wire coat hangers into circles. Paper towel tubes work surprisingly well, too, but they do disintegrate after a while, so make sure to have lots of them. Colanders are a ton of fun, too.

5. For the party, put the two buckets at opposite ends of the yard. Put all the wands in a third bucket in the middle. Lay out a pile of towels, for people to wipe their hands. We also put out some lawn chairs, but most people wanted to be in the middle of the action.

6. That's it! I had food and drinks in the house, but we started blowing bubbles on the front lawn as people arrived, so the food was completely untouched for at least an hour because everybody wanted to be near the bubbles.

It was awesome. Awesome! The big Bubble Thing was used mainly by the adults, and made bubbles up to twelve feet long or so. But even the three-year-olds were able to produce some bubbles with it, though smaller, and the bubbles stayed attached to the wand. Two-year-olds were able to handle the coat hangers very well, which made bubbles more than one foot in diameter and 2-3 feet long.

I read that bubbles this big could be produced with this particular wand and bubble solution, but I didn't really believe it until I saw it in my own yard. Thus, I feel compelled to show a few photos (with people cropped out of them, to keep my thin veil of fake anonymity).

Awesome, right? You could fit multiple children in each of those bubbles. Those bubbles were big enough that neighbors more than a block away were standing in their own yards exclaiming over them. And the kids had a blast experimenting with different ways of making bubbles and chasing them down in the yard.

You know you want to go and do this yourself. Best party ever!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

LL @ 3

LL turned three! This year marks the first time that he was at all aware of his birthday, and he sure made the most of it. He was so excited!!! Balloons! Presents! Cupcakes! Visitors! Parties! And we haven't even had his big birthday party yet. (We had a small celebration with just us the night of his birthday; he had a picnic in the park the afternoon of his birthday with one of his neighborhood friends; he had a party at daycare the next day; but his big celebration with lots of guests at our house isn't until this Saturday.)

On a related note: LL has eaten more sugar in the last 4 days than the entire rest of his life up to this point. If that is an exaggeration, it's not by much.

We always try to buy toys that are fairly low-tech (no batteries, encourage free play, etc.). I came up with a pretty good list of gift ideas, then gave them all away to other people who asked what he might want. For our gift for LL, I decided to get him some dress-up clothes. He loves running around the house in his Halloween costumes from the last two years, so I thought that it would be a good choice. Then I went looking for dress-up clothes. You know what's left after you rule out dress-up clothes in the princess genre? Almost nothing. You can buy individual outfits, but they're usually expensive (eg, a full pirate costume for $40). But it's really really hard to find a trunk of assorted dress-up stuff for boys, like you would find for girls.

Actually, even if I had a girl, I would be frustrated by this. The girl dress-up stuff is entirely princess stuff, slutty outfits, and high-heeled shoes. Kinda makes me glad that I have boys.

I finally put together a decent trunk of dress-up options. They're mostly hats, which are the best parts of dress-up outfits anyway. We have hats for: firemen, policeman, farmer, train engineer, safari person (?), wizard, race car driver, construction worker, pirate, and cowboy. There are also a few (rather silly) accessories: pirate scope, binoculars, compass, magic wand, glasses. And I got him a super hero cape.

LL is totally afraid of the super hero cape. I don't know why. He has yet to try it on, and he keeps hiding it. S and I have been wearing it around the house, because we think it is really cool, and we told LL that it gives you the ability to fly, but he wants no part of it. As far as I know, he doesn't know what a super hero is (he's never seen any movies or books with super heroes in them) so if he just didn't know what it was, I'd understand. But what in the world is making him actively hostile towards it?!?

Somewhat related: I asked LL what he wanted to be for Halloween, because I want to get costumes squared away now, before things get even busier around here (Jewish High Holy Days, S's parents visiting, me starting a new job someday). S and I thought for sure he would want to be a pirate, and I had already bought a companion parrot costume for Kermit, which I thought would be adorable, but then LL informed us that no, he would really prefer to be an owl.

Owl costumes are hard to come by. And most of them are ugly.

One more aside: I've been having way too much fun with joke possibilities that go along with having the kids dressed up as an owl and a parrot. I told S that he should dress up as a rock, so that they can be Two Birds and One Stone. There are also good possibilities if I can convince S to wear a George W. Bush mask. (You know, a bird in the hand....)

LL's birthday gift from Kermit was an abacus, because there's a picture of an abacus in one of LL's I-Spy books, and he loves to point to it and tell us that when he's older, he wants to have one of those. I couldn't really figure out what age is old enough for a kid's first abacus (it doesn't quite elicit the same debate as the appropriate age for a first cellphone) but I decided that surely three years is old enough. So now he has an abacus.

S is so thrilled that LL wanted an abacus that he now seems convinced that LL is going to, I don't know, reinvent calculus or something. I'm pretty sure that he just likes all the colorful beads.

For LL's party this weekend, at which we are expecting 12 (!) kids, our theme is bubbles. I bought ingredients to make several gallons of home-brewed bubble solution, we're filling some relatively untippable buckets with the stuff, and letting the kids go wild. I have a bunch of plastic wands in various sizes, but we also bent some clothes hangers into roundish shapes, and created a few more homemade bubble blower things with string and straws and the like. I'm very excited about it. I also predict that the adults have at least as much fun with the bubbles as the kids do.