Archive for 2009

Learning a Glide Kip – it’s all about the Swing

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

This post has moved to – please go there for gymnastics updates.

How to import and export large datasets in mysql

Monday, September 14th, 2009

This post has moved to – please go there for programming tips.

The Essence of AJAX – How I learned it in an hour

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

This post has moved to – please go there for programming tips.

How to get your kids to clean the kitchen table

Monday, April 6th, 2009

First let me provide some context for this story. As you can see below, we have a collection of messy eaters. We leave food on the table after meals because the kids may return to finish it later. In this picture I found Hani cleaning up after everyone’s breakfast (he was hungry that day). There’s a tablecloth on in this picture but Nickalus used to use tablecloths to pull everyone’s bowl to him (the ones that didn’t fall off the table on the way) before he learned to get out of his seat, so we stopped using tablecloths except for special occasions.
Hani Eating on the Table
As you can imagine the table gets layers of encrusted food (sort of like stalagmites) that get thicker over time and become very difficult to clean. One day when Candice was talking with a preschool teacher, she learned about a good way to clean up tables with shaving cream.
All Five Kids Cleaning the Table
I even saw Demitri’s kindergarten teacher using shaving cream on a table with the students so they could write letters in it at the parents night last fall. So we decided we would make a game of it and have all the kids clean the table one Sunday morning before breakfast. We put all the kids at the table and squirted a bunch of shaving cream on it and told them to play in it. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I got a few good pictures.

Nickalus having fun with the shaving cream
Nickalus got some on his face and decided to try and lick it off – luckily his tongue is not long enough to reach. He must have gotten into some leftover pizza before breakfast that day, which explains the red sauce all over his face.

Demitri wants to wash his hair
Then Demitri had the great idea to wash his hair with the shaving cream – which is fine since then we didn’t need to use shampoo later 🙂

Nickalus wants to wash his hair too
Then Nickalus wanted to be like Demitri – or was it Nickalus who started it? I can’t remember. But Nickalus’ hair is so fine that he didn’t need any water to make suds.

Table is so clean you can see your reflection
Finally, after about half an hour of “cleaning” the table and subsequent baths in the sink for at least a couple of the kids (the ones with shaving cream in their hair also got their hair washed), we wiped up the table and it was so clean you could see your reflection in it!

How to Make a Wall-E Costume

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

We got the movie “Wall-E” for Christmas this past year, and the kids really love it.  We’ve seen it over a dozen times in the past few months.  One day when the kids were bored Candice got creative and told them they could make a Wall-E costume so they could play Wall-E (which means try to act, speak, dress, walk, and anything else like that character – in this case Wall-E).  So with their help and suggestions, she took an old laundry hamper and cut holes in it for the arms, head, and the door in the front (where he carried items in the movie, like the plant).  I took some pictures of our oldest son (who is 7) Kayin modeling the costume, which they have enjoyed for a few weeks now (even the babies try it on).

Wall-E Standing Up
Here is a picture of Kayin standing up in the costume. This is like when Wall-E is riding around on his treads exploring the world. Candice used some electrical tape to keep the edges of the holes from tearing more and it’s a nice border. With these colors it is a little like a pumpkin costume, but we didn’t have a dirty yellow colored one (which would match Wall-E’s paint better).
Wall-E Closed Up
In the next picture (to the left) Kayin is showing how the costume looks when Wall-E closes up into a box, to protect him when he is scared or when a dust storm is passing through. This is a rather round box, but that’s ok – some things are easy for children to imagine. 🙂

Finally, below Kayin is demonstrating the front door into which all sorts of treasures can be collected and deposited.
Wall-E Open
This version of the costume has no “floor”, so anything placed into the compartment will just fall to the ground, but that could be an improvement in version 2. The front flap is made from a piece of cardboard that is attached to the opening with electrical tape (or maybe black duct tape, I don’t remember). Like many of the best toys, this costume was home-made.