Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Masculine Art of "Crafting"

Crafting isn’t typically a hobby you hear men talk about. Hahahaha. Admittedly, it isn’t the most masculine of activities; however, in this post I’m gonna try to explain I enjoy it just as much as my kids. First, I’m not really talking about pre bought kits or activities. I mean I’m all for those too. I get them all the time for us to do at home. I’m talking about sitting down and using ingenuity to create something new. Since I don’t have my dad’s incredible woodworking skills, I stick with creating things that could be made with the contents of a preschool’s art supply closet :D hahaha. It’s simply creating things with your hands that makes your kids happy. It’s pushing your brain to think not only “outside the box”, but more like “I’m about to tear this box in half to build dinosaur legs”.

I think the reason I wanted to type on this topic is that I tend to meet new friends online quite frequently. One of the first questions asked when getting to know someone is “What are your hobbies?” I mean is it just me, or is that just the most uncomfortable question ever.

I mean should I just be honest?
“My hobbies include eating and thinking about eating.”

But seriously, whenever I get asked that question lately I find myself saying “Writing and Crafting”. Every time that comes out of my mouth, I always pause, run to the bathroom, lock the door, check to see if my equipment is still actually intact, and then breathe a sigh of relief that yes I still am in fact a man. Hahahaha. I’m just a dude that likes to make stupid crap out of cardboard, duct tape, and hot glue guns. So yeah, I want to kind of explain what I define as crafting and why Megows love it so much.

First off, I completely suck at traditional crafts things (making wreaths, festive decorations, handy DYI life hacks, cute little snack things, etc.). I mean I admit it; I’m legitimately terrible at that stuff. Side note: Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the kids have inherited that trait from me. I’ve seen some of the stuff that they work up and let’s just say that while it’s fridge material, it’s more “resting flat on the top of the fridge” kind of work... Hahahaha. I’m just teasing, they are super talented at everything. Duh, they are the best humans ever ;)

But for real, I think our craft projects are pretty rigged together and unique. When I say crafts, I use that term extremely loosely, meaning everything from costumes to outside activities. Pretty much, if I have to exert some amount of creativity and mental/physical effort than I’m feel I have earned the right to claim that junk as a craft that I did for my kid. For instance:

Friend: “So what did you do last night?”
Seth: “Me and the kids crafted last night!”
Friend: "Wow! That’s so awesome. You are such an awesome parent.”
Seth: “Welllll, not trying to brag but I’m pretty awesome at these creative activities.”
Friend: “I’m so jealous. How do you find the time? What did you guys do for your craft?”
Seth: “We did a culinary adventure. I just designed a little activity to expand their creativity and abstract thought to enhance their palette.”
One of my kids: “Dad what the heck are you talking about? All you did was let us dump sprinkles in our spaghetti while you watched funny cat videos on youtube.”
Seth: “Exactly. I crafted the crap out of you guys last night. Hashtag Pro Parent”
Friend: “Uuuhhh dude. Isn’t that your kid poking that dog turd with a stick?”

Ok. I'm just gonna list off a few of my favorites and talk about them :D 

"The Work Fort"

The kids had been begging for me to make them a fort in the backyard for months. Given that me building a fort would ultimately end up with me having a nail in my head and some sort of short term memory loss, I started looking for a better option. Then one day when they were at work with me, we found all of these old schedules mounted on foam board just sitting by the trash can to be tossed in the dumpster. So you can bet your butt, we grabbed that junk. So then I dawned on me that this would be the perfect fort! I grabbed some tape and markers from the desk and made a fort on my lunch break. They all decorated parts of it, and we put in a sunroof. :) 

"The Valentine's Boxes"

When I was a kid, I LOVED Valentine's parties at school. I got valentine's from pretty girls, a butt load of candy, but mostly I got to make Valentine's Boxes or Bags. I remember my friends just writing their name, drawing a picture, and being finished. Even as I kid, I thought that was lame. I would stay in from recess to work on mine. My favorite was to make boxes that looked like monsters. Making those things was just the neatest thing to me. Of course, when my kids got old enough I was ultra pumped about carrying on the tradition. Here's the boxes we did over the past two years. However, we are probably going to make some new ones for 2017.

I loved that Titus asked for "A Scary Shark with Bloody Teeth". HAHA! Yes!!

Stevie's opens to reveal the opening for the cards.


So you probably knew this was coming, but I LOVE LOVE making costumes for the kids. 1)  It saves money. 2) They are original 3) The main and most important reason, it's an excellent bonding experience and shows my kids I value and enjoy their company.

First, I'll talk about Titus's Ninja Turtle. It was supposed to be a birthday activity for us to do together. It was a Friday night, so I put on a movie for the girls while he and I worked to piece together a costume out of the supplies I had been collecting from around the house throughout the week. Well, he was overexcited and fell asleep about 5 minutes in. That's when my favorite part happened. The older two girls (Olive was asleep) turned off their movie and spend their Friday night helping make a ultra fun costume for their brother. That evening is one of my favorite memories ever. :)
The Supplies...

The Helpers...

The Happy Birthday Boy!

Next, I'll touch on Stevie's "Link" from "The Legend of Zelda" costume. Stevie Joy loves playing Zelda. In fact, her and I just played it together tonight. It's one of her favorite things to do with dad. Well, she was dead set on being Link for Halloween. We looked online and couldn't afford a decent one to buy. So we decided that we would built our own. It really wasn't that hard, but I just remember staying up late with her hot gluing the hat together and hunting in closets & dressers for all of the pieces we needed. The one thing she was a little bummed about was that we wanted a "real" shield and sword. After looking for a bit, we found a sword at a thrift store, so that half was solved. Then one day we found some rainbow colored duct tape like ultra cheap. So we bought it all, went home, and make her shield. This thing is pretty legit and took a serious beating over the past two years. She plays with it quite often and it is still standing strong. I just took the shield picture tonight.

Halloween 2014

This evening. 
Lesson Learned- Don't underestimate Duct Tape

Ok. I have way too much more to type, so I'm just gonna list some of my favorite costumes real quick... :) 

"Dress like a Senior Citizen Day" at school
Neela - Crazy Cat Lady
Titus - Everyone's Granddad that records every family event 
with his video camera from 1997

Stevie - Big Bad Wolf
(We literally made this the morning of) hahaha

And of course Titus as the Tornado for "Wizard of Oz" Day

I found this cardboard box and packing paper by the dumpster at work.
I just cut out a tornado shape with the cardboard, duct taped on the paper, spray painted it, added some fun details and velcro to the back and boom! 
Tornado Titus took about 45 minutes :D

"The BIG Fort"

We found some cheap PVC pipes and fittings and made a big blanket fort for quick and easy assembly.

However, I learned that the kids still preferred the original after using the BIG one a few times, so of course, we still rock regular blanket forts quite frequently.

"Neela's 'Aminal' Dance Party"

Last year for her birthday, Neela desperately wanted to have an 'aminal' dance party at our house. Of course, I agreed. It sounded fun and easy. Little did I know what she actually envisioned. Each party attendee needed a custom built costume, custom dancing music, and last but not least a dancing stage to be constructed in our living room. (no pressure dad) However, we pulled together and after about 3 days of making costumes and constructing what I think to be an epic stage, the party turned out great. I seriously just loved the little stage we made. <3 p="">

Neela helping built the stage

A cute little monkey, bear, and bat dancing away :)

Here's the actual video of the dance party if you are curious. 
It's only a few minutes long, but it's super cute.

Honorable Mentions

We make these Turkey Cookies every year around Thanksgiving.
We give them out at my work. They always make people smile :D

Our Resurrection Tomb for Easter.
We planted grass seeds on the hill and watered them everyday until it started to grow.
So neat to watch.

My Go-To Wedding Present:
So I started this gift over a decade ago. I used to just stuff a twenty in a porcelain figurine with a giant rock. I thought they would be able to figure it out. 

However over the years, it's evolved into a fun wedding night activity. So I collect supplies, type up instructions on how to play, provide them with all of the game components and put it all in a big box.

Pretty much, I like to view it something memorable people can do on their honeymoon 
(besides the obvious *wink wink)

The game is they each pick a figurine (I get them from the dollar store). 
Then they smash them open with the enclosed hammer.  
Each one contains a fun surprise. I just really like this little game and love to give it to couples. 

The game kit also requires them to wear the enclosed protective eyewear :D  haha

My majorly awesome cousin Parker and his beautiful bride Anna

So yeah. I've been typing for way too long to get to all of the stuff I had planned to include. Yikes. Sorry it's so long. However, here's my whole point of this post. Homemade things are the best. It doesn't matter if they look terrible or not. It's fun! 

Side note: I believe I talk about some other craft stuff in my History of Megow Birthday Parties post if anyone is interested.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!!

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