Monthly Archives: September 2012

Chespirito & El Chapulín Colorado

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Chespirito & El Chapulín Colorado

Growing up in Central America, it was impossible not to know who Chespirito was (is!).  This Mexican television sitcom had a huge impact on my childhood.  I moved to Guatemala right before I turned 6 years old, and so watching TV was very influential in learning to speak a second language (I couldn’t figure out how our same TV set now “spoke” Spanish instead of English!)  If you have some Latin American influence in your life, it’s probable that you have heard about what I’m talking about, if not, let me fill you in!!

Roberto Gómez Bolaños, writer, actor, director, poet, comedian, and most successful creator of shows and TV personalities in Mexico, created a phenomenon with deep social roots that has extended through all Latin America.  His iconic characters “El Chavo del Ocho” and “El Chapulín Colorado” have become part of the Latin American culture.

As a child, I grew up watching all the shows on TV.  It wasn’t until lately that I actually did a bit of research on this “phenomenon” and have found some facts that really interest me and have given me a different perspective on this part of my childhood.  I watched the Biography Channel’s Bio on Roberto Gómez Bolaños here (in Spanish).  There are also some interesting articles on wikipedia on El Chavo del Ocho (English) and Roberto Gómez Bolaños (Spanish).

Here are some things that interested me:  Roberto Gómez Bolaños was born in Mexico in 1929.  He says that as a child, he was always scared, of things under the bed, of bullies, of everything: his life was characterized by fear, and that’s why he became a fighter (a scrapper!)  His father died when he was 6 and it’s evident that this was very difficult for him.  He was a rather short boy, but secretly took up boxing as a kid, winning prizes and everything without his Mom knowing about it.  He also played soccer of course!  He would go after the bullies now, but he says that it was inspired by his fear as a child.  (I love how this is portrayed in the character of  Chapulín Colorado!  It’s not just the biggest and bravest who can be the hero and save the day!)

Bolaños worked in radio and later wrote for some famous Mexican comedians.  At one point, someone started calling him Shakespeare-ito  (little Shakespeare) and then he just colloquialized it into “Chespirito”.  So it was the writer/actor who’s name became Chespirito (later on, it was also the name of one of his series).  I found it interesting in the Biography Channel’s Bio that they talk about how (in the “olden days”!) it used to be that The Comedian in a show would get all the laughs, and that they were quite jealous of anyone else in the show getting “their” laughs.  When Roberto Gómez Bolaños, now Chespirito, launched out on his own, writing and directing, he was determined to change that stereotype and create a forum where actors could share equally in the limelight and in “getting the laughs”.  When you watch his shows, it is obvious that he accomplished this, and the main cast of the show work together on the same level, each playing off the other, so that there isn’t just one character who hogs the whole show.  They would alternate and each get their turn in the limelight in the different sketches.

In the interview, one of Bolaños’ daughters comments that her father showed everyone that a sitcom could be both “clean & healthy” (sano) and a great success.  They are definitely family-friendly shows.  What we used to love was the versatility of the actors, as the main cast played in both series, Chavo and Chapulín.  The shows were composed of different sketches, with the same actors playing very diverse parts in the different sketches and series.

In 1970, Bolaños created the character of Chapulín Colorado.  (the next part is from wikipedia)  “The show’s success was largely due to the fact that it embodied many aspects of Latin and Mexican culture, while making a critique on the unrealistic image of superheroes. From the name itself to the slang and proverbs, Chespirito made a great effort to reflect Latin culture. Many of his characters’ names start with “Ch” (a separate letter in the Spanish alphabet) and several secondary characters with the Spanish letter “Ñ”.  The name translates literally in English as “The Red Grasshopper” (the word chapulín is of Nahuatl or Aztec origin, and a current part of Mexican Spanish). It is also known in Brazil as “Vermelhinho” (“Little Red”) and “Polegar Vermelho” (“Red Thumb”).

He was a superhero who dressed all in red, with yellow shorts and shoes, a red hood, and bore a yellow heart on his chest with CH inscribed in red (akin to Superman’s “S”). He was conceived as the opposite of the image of traditional American superhero: a weak, ugly, fearful, clumsy, cowardly, short and foolish man, but in the end always overcame his fears to defeat his enemies.  For some reason, Chapulín is believed by people (in the show!) to be a great superhero, but they usually end up disappointed when they realize he is actually puny and timid. Despite this, Chapulín did try his best to help, and all his adventures ended well (though sometimes by sheer good luck or outside help.)

Seemingly parodying Superman’s “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive” introduction, Chapulín was introduced as follows in the show’s opening, reinforcing the idea of a barely powered hero:

Más ágil que una tortuga, más fuerte que un ratón, más noble que una lechuga, su escudo es un corazón… ¡Es el Chapulín Colorado!
(More agile than a turtle, stronger than a mouse, nobler than a lettuce, his shield is a heart… It’s the Red Grasshopper!)”
 

I went on to read more of the article, and I laughed till the tears came out when I was reading through the descriptions of Chapulín’s “equipment and weapons” here!  I remember how all the markets sold Chipote Chillónes (large plastic “Squeaky Mallets”) and Antenitas de Vinil (Little Vinyl Antennae) on plastic headbands and you would see kids everywhere with these “icons” from the show!

A year or two after El Chapulín was created, Bolaños came up with the idea for the character and later show, El Chavo del Ocho (I’ll post about Chavo tomorrow!).  “El Chapulín Colorado and El Chavo are farcical sitcoms: they rely heavily upon physical comedy, slapstick, running gags, literal interpretations, double entendres, misinterpretation (and even, sometimes, elements from the comedy of errors) in order to amuse the audience, and the characters and situations were mostly persistent (wikipedia)”.  Which made them great programs for a family who was just learning the language!  Each character’s theme phrases and actions were easy to pick up on, and bit by bit we were able to figure out what they were saying.  We really felt that we were advancing in learning Spanish when we started being able to understand the puns and plays on words and get the jokes!!

El Chapulín had some great phrases, some of which became a permanent part of Latin American vocabulary, and our family’s in particular.  (from wikipedia)  Usually, the show would introduce the characters of the current episode until one of them was endangered or victimized in some way, at which point they voiced the catchphrase “Oh, y ahora ¿quién podrá defenderme/nos?” (“Oh, who can save me/us now?”), or “Oh, y ahora ¿quién podrá ayudarme/nos?” (“Oh, and now, who can help me/us”). Chapulín would appear out of nowhere (usually tripping or hurting himself with something as he did), and say “¡Yo!” (“Me!”), to which the people in need would instantly yell “¡El Chapulín Colorado!” (“The Red Grasshopper!”) with relief, after which he’d be greeted by the victim(s). He always answered with his catchphrase “¡No contaban con mi astucia!” (“They did not count on my cleverness!”).

“Todos mis movimientos están fríamente calculados” (“All my movements are coldly calculated”)

“Se aprovechan de mi nobleza” (“They take advantage of my nobility”) — which he would usually say after an insult, like “We should’ve called Superman or Batman…”, or when he is forced to do something against his will.

“Lo sospeché desde un principio” (“I suspected it all along”/”I knew that”) — which he would say after someone pointed out something obvious that he had missed.

“¡Síganme los buenos!” (“Good guys, follow my lead!”)

From wikipedia, under outside sources: “The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening has declared that he created the Bumblebee Man character after watching El Chapulín Colorado on television at a motel on the U.S.-Mexico border. (This notwithstanding, the Bumblebee Man character also bears resemblances to an early Saturday Night Live recurring sketch with “Mexican killer bees” although the Chapulín character predated the SNL Character.) Simpsons fans sometimes call the character Chespirito, even though Bumblebee Man is only based on his character. It should also be mentioned that many Simpsons characters enjoy Chespirito/Bumblebee Man’s show; competing comedian Krusty the Klown watches one gag and remarks in admiration, “I gotta steal that bit.” Bumblebee Man’s show also features characters similar to Doña Florinda and Quico (with the inevitable stereotyping mustache), as well as Chómpiras. However, there is no real similarity between the character of Bumbleblee Man and El Chapulín Colorado.”

Something that I found out that surprised me (well, maybe it’s not that big of a surprise) was that the show El Chapulín Colorado was the first program made in Mexico to go International!  (It was with Televisa at the time).  Guatemala was the first country to buy and start showing the sitcom, and from there it spread to countries around the world including countries like the USA, China, Japan and Italy!!  It has been translated into 50 languages!  Interestingly enough, Cuba is the only Latin American country that has not (officially) bought/shown the series! 😉  The cartoon-sitcom The Simpsons has a character called The Bee Man that is a parody of El Chapulín Colorado, FYI.  Roberto Gómez Bolaños’ TV series hold the world record: 40 years of continuos airtime!!  🙂Chespirito is a part of my childhood and the Spanish language I speak!  I hope you enjoyed finding out a bit more about him!  If you are into paper crafting, here’s a paper cubee of El Chapulín Colorado for you to download and assemble!!

If you are really into this research, you can watch the Bio here: Aqui se puede ver el programa de Biography de Chespirito.  And here’s a site that has recent news about Chespirito Informe 21.  Apparently there was a rumor of his death being spread around, but it was just a rumor.

Fall.Photo.Shoot.

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So this is it.  Fall.  (It’s here, yay!)  I love fall, but I have been feeling very rebellious lately, and it’s not from the weather.  Guess I’m trying to find balance. (that’s a popular thing to say and it puts my teeth on edge just to write it).  I started realizing how rebellious I felt when we went on an impromptu picnic on Sunday afternoon.  We went to one of our favorite parks with buns and cream cheese and oranges and pepsi.  It is a very popular spot for wedding photography sessions.  On this beautifully hot day, there were no weddings around, but you couldn’t take 10 steps without stumbling upon little photography shoots. Shoot.  They were swarming all over the place!  The photographers with their big shiny cameras and huge lenses, crouched down cajoling little children to look here and there, placing stuffies and piles of leaves around their subjects.  The photographers were calm and smiling, constantly talking; the add-on people (usually moms) weren’t quite as calm, saying ‘do this and do that’!  The subjects were dressed up, some very dressed up in Sunday best and high heels.  Posing here by the bridge, now down by that bush, now laying in the fallen leaves and gazing up at the photographer, now down by the river, now gazing into each other’s eyes.

And I sat there in my picnic chair, the sun beating down on my back, and sulked.  As I watched all the activity, I despaired at the fakeness of it all.  Part of me was just soaking in the beautiful day and the leaves, but sadly, the other part of me was disgusted.  The posing, the cajoling….and the thing that bugged me the most was that everybody’s doing it.  As I have done so many times, in so many photoshoots.

We sat at the picnic table, with our humble picnic (first taste of chicken bologna for some) and watched as a group came right up beside us to bask in the leaves while the photographer snapped away.  They said that it would be quick, and that was fine.  It gave us something to watch while we ate.  It was fine, and surreal at the same time. 

I had my camera along, of course, but didn’t even feel like pulling it out of the bag.  Resisting “camera envy” was taking some little effort on my part.  I thought maybe my daughter would like to take some photos, after all, what a gorgeous day.  But the kids were busy playing with Henry.  It was so peaceful and relaxing.  I dozed off in a daze of autumn and cameras. 

Giving myself a shake, I got up and grabbed my not-so-very-shiny not-so-big camera and halfheartedly started snapping some photos of the kids, the leaves.  Almost forcing myself.  I started feeling a bit better when I lined up the oranges on the picnic bench: when in doubt, snap away at still life, that’s my motto.

My daughter came up with some ideas for photos which she took, like throwing leaves at the photographer. 

There was no energy in me to set up a “family photo” to freeze this picinic day in time, propping up the camera and posing myself with everyone…..but old habits die hard, so they say.  “Everyone come over here and sit by this tree”.  Snap snap.  “Lean back and get your face out of the sun”.  But this time I didn’t bother to get worked up over it or even to command everyone to smile.  I just snapped away, knowing that the photos of Henry with his kids in the fall by the “Children’s Bridge” would be worth the effort….someday it would.This looks real enough.This is posed:Deep down inside, I know that if the camera doesn’t come out, I will regret having missed the priceless moments, and that’s why I need to make the effort.  To not miss those priceless photos:

When I was at home that night, editing the photos (yes, they are all edited. Everything you see online, anywhere really, has been edited -and touched up-FYI)

I started to feel better: about my skills, my camera, about the reasons for taking photos at all.  Even about the posing and stuff.  Kinda.

Funny thing was, right then my friend messaged me to ask if I could take their family photo the next day.  I said yes without hesitation.  We met at a beautiful park, along with scads of other “family photo sessions”, I tried to ignore the fancy cameras and equipment around me.  I was just going to do what I could and not stress (about camera envy, the fading light, my lack of experience, or anything else).  My friends kinda posed themselves, recreating poses that they had done in their wedding photos 10 years ago! 🙂  I tried not to be bossy, and let Henry try and get the kids’ attention.  I just snapped away.  And later edited.  And when I saw the photo of Michelle and Will, I knew it was all worth it.  When I saw on my computer screen the kids making funny faces, surrounded by their parents’ love and desperation, I knew that it was worth it, and that’s why I’ll keep trying….trying to not give in and give up.  (worth the posing, the dressing up, the fuss, the running around, the fake smiles, the “cheeses” and funny faces…!)

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 I’m still not sure if I want to do a “fall family photoshoot”….I just can’t decide.  (But if I do, I know who I’m going to call!)  We will see.  I’m sure it would be worth all the fuss, though.  I think.

it’s a Hot Dog Day!!

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I just want to say that my brother is a creative genius!  Oh wait, no, first  I was going to say Happy Birthday to him.  And to thank him for being such a great brother.  And say that he’s been a good little brother.  Then I was going to mention his creative genius.  Over the years we have enjoyed his talents, and I must say that my kids have the best memories in the world, thanks to his movie-making skills!  I thought that it would be appropriate to post this music video that he made for our little nephew (it’s one of the few videos that Dustin appears in, since he’s usually behind the camera!)  Enjoy!

Josiah’s Favorite Things from Dustin Siggelkow on Vimeo.

I was wondering where I could find an old photo of us together when we were kids…for some reason that’s not easy to lay hands on.  And then I remembered that I do have one close at hand….as close as my keychain!!  So I scanned these (very small) photos, remember, they are from the 80’s and have been in a keychain since then, so the bad quality (and fashions) makes them look positively ancient!!  That’s me in my pirate costume, my sister, my Dad and my little brother 🙂

And here we are, then and now:

I guess not a lot has changed, heh heh….except that nowadays we never fight! 😉  Have a super Birthday, Little Brother!!

love,

Denna

Mermaid Party

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Under the ocean blue, swam a mermaid or two, a school of fish, a sugar starfish, and an octopus cried boo hoo! (he was about to be mermaid food!)

For weeks my daughter and I had been planning her mermaid party (for her 6th birthday), and the day finally arrived!  Mermaid invitations had been sent out:

Everything for the party had been thought out, but we had to do all the decorating last minute! (nothing new there!) Our dining room was transformed into under the sea caverns.  Blue and purple origami fish swam by in schools (made by little mermaid’s big mer-sister!)Under the table was the Secret Sea Cavern, where the girls could hide, relax on some sand-colored pillows and blankets and watch some Backyardigans mermaid movies for a little while…This little mermaid was hanging around in her undersea world (hanging from some fishing line) She was the inspiration for this party!  See Mermaid Color Palettes.  Swimming by was her friend the Paper Jellyfish.Starfish crafts were popular and expanded the undersea population.  How-tos for crafts are here.Many of them drifted up into the “fishing net” suspended from the ceiling.Silver glinted off the walls of the undersea caverns.  (10 minute picture frame makeover: just covered up my wall-art with wrinkled tissue paper and ripped silver wrapping paper and secured with lots of green painters tape on the back!)A sandy sand castle complete with shells and starfish appeared on the bottom of the ocean, along with beach glass and that rock that floats: pumice…

Mermaidy mirrors were around (dollar store) so our little mermaids could check out their face-paint (face painting by mermaid Avery)!Surrounded by sea friends, our little mermaids were starting to feel hungry….but not exactly for seafood!See some more under the sea party food ideas here.  Guzzling down the “goldfish guts punch” (named by Carrie….hey get out of that punch!), the girls also munched on veggies and octopus dip, “clam sandwiches” and other goodies like oatmeal sand dollar cookies.This is the octopus that was about to get eaten!!After munching away for awhile, the little mermaids smacked around the piñata for a bit….just waiting their turn….to rip up the piñata!!And after that, time to gobble up the purple octo pops that they had made during “crafting” time.The party favor bags (piñata bags) were really organza wine-bottle covers from the 50 cent bin at Michaels, just perfect colors.  Add a mermaid fin (glue or sew) and some fishy tags for great party bags!A few more crafting ideas:  cute clothespin mermaids….(painted body or silver paper wrapped body, glitter glue and ribbon)…and a bottle filled with sand, paper “lucky stars” and shells and a small paper boat (this would be more fun for the boys…if any were brave enough to show up at a mermaid party!)Wrap the end with “pearl” bracelets from the dollar store (I sure got a lot of use out of those bracelets!!)The girls (and I) decorated some cake box favors, and I made some to match the cake,

Here are some variations of mermaid cake.  🙂Ahh, we’ve come to the end of another party!  And I know the photos make everything look less crazy than they really were, but that’s ok.  My little mermaid and I had fun (and work) celebrating her birthday.  I think she’s already coming up with ideas for next year’s party…..!

Customize your Cake= Party Favor Boxes

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Customize your Cake= Party Favor Boxes

I have had so much fun with these little “paper cake slices”!  They are such a cute paper craft idea.  Since we were having a mermaid party for my daughter, I wanted to make them look like mermaidy cake!  I saw these printable cake favor boxes a long time ago and just drooled over them!  There are so many cute styles, most of them are already colored, but these ones have just the outlines so they can be colored in by you or your children.  There is also a spot for customizable text, so the birthday child’s name and age or something like that can be printed on the cake.

First of all, you can buy and get the download for the file for the paper cake favor boxes here from Paperglitter. I did that already, because I made a piece of cake for Guatemala’s birthday!!

Ending up with lots of mermaidy-colored cardstock from my other decorations, it was an easy choice to print out the cake boxes on shades of purple and green…I wasn’t worried about the paper being too dark to color in, because I have my new Prismacolor colored pencils! yay!  I printed out the boxes and candles…lots of them, because we ended up using them as a party craft and I also made favor boxes.  I pulled out my party craft tub where I had all the junk  stuff I used to decorate for the party, so there were ribbons, ric rac, glitter glue, all sorts of things!

At the party, the little girls went to town with markers and glitter glue on their cake box printout!  Some of them started the cutting-out (I think) but that job went faster with an adult doing it!  Here’s my daughter’s decorating job:It seemed like the best idea was to decorate the boxes before they were cut out and while they were still flat.Sparkle holograph wrapping paper was easy to punch out and paste on.  But then I was the one going to town with ric rac, rhinestones and my shell stamp and silver embossing powder…I like details!!! And when I get on a roll, there’s no stopping me!Oh! and seashells, for mermaids of course, glued on with some glitter glue.Use a circle punch for mermaid scales:(in case you are wondering, I glued the ric rac over the text that says “Tasya’s Mermaid Party” on this box).  After all the decorating is done and the glitter glue is dried, then cut the box out.I just used the tip of the scissors to score over the dotted lines, but you can also use a fancy scoring tool 😉This will make it very easy to fold up the box:There are only 2 spots that need some double-sided tape to keep them closed:I used my double-sided scrapbook tape,The end of the box stays open so you can fill it with treats. 

Something that works well is to buy velco fasteners, the round ones, from the dollar store, then cut the circles in half and use them to keep the box lid fastened but still openable! (do I make sense?)  And don’t forget to color or decorate the candles!!  It’s 2 to a cake, then they are folded and glued so that they are double sided, and they just fit snuggly into the slit on the top of the cake!  Love those candles!Rhinestones!!Here are my daughter’s assembled boxes.And some of mine:Taking it to the next level: hahaha! Something “extra” for those candles= ribbons and (dollor store) stretchy pearl bracelets:

Of course I tried to color the boxes to look like the real cake! 😉Also of course, I did a little photoshoot of the boxes.  I always do that and my kids know that I prefer to photograph “still life” because it holds still, unlike wiggly funny-face-making kids! ha.

If you group together 8 boxes, they form a paper cake!!  Can I say it again: I had fun with these cute little boxes! 🙂

Kids’ Under the Sea Party Food

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Kids’ Under the Sea Party Food

There are a lot of cute ideas for kids’ food and lunches out there.  Sometimes they look overwhelmingly difficult to put together….or maybe they all do.  But really, with just a little extra effort, food can really be made to look, well, FUN!  I think the coolest and craziest party food we had was the Giant Octopus swimming in Dip!!  It took about 10 minutes to put together, but looks fabulous!  All you need is 2 orange bell peppers, something for eyes, like black olive slices and dip!

In my all-time favorite, the dollar store, I had found some blue plates and a blue bubbly bowl and polka dot cup, $3.50 for all.  These were used for 2 “cake” stands.  Just stick ’em together with a bit of hot glue….so far they’ve been through several (hand) washings and different uses. the Fabulous Giant Octopus Dip (idea from the Disney Family Fun site):

I put a little battery operated “tea” light under the octo, to look like we were cooking him!! 😉So cute!  And then there were goldfish crackers, of course….And end-of-the-season plates and napkins that were on sale….that’s why it’s good to do a party “out of season”, you can find great sales!!  (I ended up doing a “summer” party theme in the fall, but the stores are still selling off their summer stock!)I had wanted to make crab croissant sandwiches, but the croissants we had were straight and not curved, so last minute our sandwiches turned out to be little clams with just their beady eyes showing (reminded me of the clams from the original Alice in Wonderland Disney cartoon!! heehee)We ended up having a mermaid party weekend, so what I didn’t get done for the first party, I worked on for the next day, but I’m posting it all together to make it look like I actually had it all together.  So here are the super easy crab croissants!!

gotta love them! and their easiness to put together!  filled with butter or herbed cream cheese.  Eyeballs are herbed cream cheese mixed with grated mozarella to make little cheese balls with a sliced black olive stuck on.  Legs are green snap peas sitting there, and the claws are strawberries (or could be red bell peppers).so yummy!! 🙂Along with the food, we had goldfish guts punch!  Ginger Ale with orange juice ice cubes and one drop of blue coloring!The food was fairly easy to put together, little kids are usually happy with fairly simple stuff…veggies and dip, plain sandwiches 🙂 I just love trying to give it that extra little twist, though!and then there was some cake!  This is the mermaid cake topper…..which eventually ended up on a cake…(my original idea had been to make one of these little mermaid cakes for each guest…but ran out of time!!  I would love to do that someday-for someone=make the individual mermaid (or dolly) cakes for someone elses’ party-hint*hint* contact me if you like that idea!)And these are some starfish candy pops….which weren’t actually handed out….I figured none of the parents would be upset if I didn’t give their kids a pure sugar coated candy pop…..what do you think?Fun, food and mermaids, it was a swimmingly mermaidy party.  🙂

Mermaid party crafting

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Mermaid party crafting

More mermaids! I know, I know, you feel like swimming away, but hang in there a bit more…just swim through a few more posts and then we’ll leave the mermaids far behind us and swim off into the wild blue yonder, or the sunset or something.  The point is, I’m trying to finish up posting about this Mermaid party!!  If you are planning on hosting a mermaid party, then I imagine you are taking notes on every post, “pinning” your favorite ideas, etc.  If you have no wish of ever hosting a girlie mermaid party (and are glad that you never were invited to one) then you can do one of 3 things:  stop reading posts until next week, or scroll through and imagine that it’s a Marine Biologist party or a Sunken Pirate Treasure party….or just grab an idea here and there and forget the mermaids and the rest.  🙂

Just thought I’d mention a few crafts that went over well at the party.  Some little children’s parties have really gotten into the crafting aspect.  It just seems to work well to keep little fingers busy, if you have the patience to oversee the crafting and supply-buying.  I had to laugh when we were in the middle of our party, the girls were working away at something, and my 6 year old daughter comes into the kitchen and asks me very seriously, “What craft will we do next to keep the girls occupied?”  You hit the nail on the head, my little friend: keep them occupied.  I’m not really into let-them-all-run-around-and-yell-and-bounce-off-the-walls-and-furniture type parties.  Once in a while maybe…..

So….CRAFT is the word!  And the winner for the best all-around Under the Sea craft would be:

Paper Starfish!  And I’m proud to say that I invented this one all by my ownself (no ideas from Pinterest for this one!! insert proud but humble smile here.)

This craft works best if you just happen to own some fun paper-punching tools, and by fun I mean, punches that smaller hands can use without too much frustration.  Strangely enough, I have 2….one super old one that I bought at a garage sale because it looks like a Morse-code telegraph sender thingy….so it was originally bought to let the kids play with, and the other a mammoth Crop A Dile II, which has totally been worth it’s purchase (Michaels, with %50 off coupon of course. I needed it to punch through tin, many tins).

The easy to do instructions:  Trace out a starfish star onto a piece of cardstock (don’t complain that it’s hard to do, just try it, a star: a fat star: doesn’t matter if the arms are waving in different directions. If necessary, google an image!)  If the kids are into cutting, let them cut it out themselves, if not, it only takes a couple of minutes to do.

And now comes the fun part: let the kids go wild with the hole punchers!! 🙂 I can feel someone quaking in their boots.  Really, these little girls were very entertained by punching a bunch of holes into their starfish.  And the end result was cute enough to use as party decorations!!

Ok, there was one other result:  someone discovered that when you fling the starfish in the air, they kind of act like frisbees or boomerangs, so we did have a few minutes of flying starfish, but nothing was knocked over or anything like that.  Part of the party decoration was a large mosquito netting hanging from the living room ceiling, with the edges tacked up to the ceiling, so it looked like a fishing net, and when the starfish landed in the “net” it looked so cute, and turned out to be a not-so-bad game!!  So maybe that’s a little wild for you, but, I repeat, no one nor any starfish was harmed in this process and nothing was destroyed or dinged up.  So we were all pleased.Another idea was to make simple sand dollars with the hole punches.I was going to make octopus marshmallow pops for the party, but surprise surprise, I ran out of time, so decided to let the kids make their own, as another craft to “keep them occupied.”

The only prep work that I did was to cut a slit in the top of each large marshmallow, melt a little candy melt and put it on the end of the lolly sticks in order to keep the marshmallow safely stuck to the stick.  They sat out for a bit, so the marshmallows hardend up a tad, which helped when we were dipping them.Obviously we were doing this craft in the kitchen!!  I pre “piped” some purple melted candy melts into little legs on some parchement paper, they looked like stars.  So each girl dipped her marshmallow pop into the purple candy melts and then plopped them onto the octupus “legs” (which could have been made larger/longer!).

The eyes were tricky…..easier would have been buying those “pre-done” eye candies…..oh well!  I had to just let go of my perfectionist tendencies!!  The girls ran out to break open the pinata while the octo pops were “setting” then came back to eat them!The last craft we worked on were these cute paper cake boxes…the girls decorated them and then cut them out, then someone else assembled them….markers, colored pencils and glitter glue!!These little party favor boxes were so cute and fun, that I’m going to do another post about them in a bit, to let you know exactly what we did and where you can find them for yourself!! 🙂That’s a lot of crafting fun for one party, eh??!!  🙂  More mermaid stuff coming up…..heh heh heh.