Tools Of The Trade: Painting Without Trashing The Table

Need to keep your child's paper from slipping while they paint or draw?

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An inexpensive roll of blue painter's tape works like a charm and doubles as a way to hang the artwork when it's finished.

There's another handy tip featured in the picture above. Q-tips make excellent disposable paint brushes. In this case, we were working with primary colors and used on cotton swab for each color, but kids like to mix (kind of the point when working with primary colors and learning to mix the colors, anyway). Instead of giving the children access to the entire pot of paint, I pour it onto plates in small amounts. This controls the quantity used and keeps the original containers a little neater for future painting sessions.

sponge

Make friends with sponges. You can run them through the dishwasher to keep them clean or even microwave them for a few seconds to really kill off the germs if that's a concern (be careful when you pull them out, they'll be HOT). A moistened sponge kept next to messy activities allows a child to be more independent in cleaning up. It also gives you a quick way to mop up spills if needed. I like to cut my sponges in half. They're still plenty big enough for the job.

I cannot tell you how much I love this next item, but trust me and get yourself a giant roll of paper. It's a must-have in my opinion. We grew up with a roll of unprinted newsprint that I don't think we ever used up, but were always using. It can be used for wrapping paper, art projects, just let your imagination go. Right now, I have a smaller version on a spool I got from IKEA that's super handy. The spool was $6.99 and the roll was $4.99. Worth every cent. As you can see, we keep it next to a supply of pencils, pens, specialty scissors, and colored pencils. It gets regular use.

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Happy creating! Go get your craft on, kids.

 

Questionable Future In Beer Pong

It’s no secret ‘round these parts that my athletic skills do not rely on eye-hand coordination. Aerial flips on a narrow bit of wood? Fine. Hit a ball with a bat? Fuck no. Consider my philosophy on golf. If the sport requires me hitting a ball, then bystanders beware.

I do, however, have a killer serve in ping pong. I'm a fucking serving savant. Unfortunately, I’m so old that beer pong did not exist when I was in college. Or high school. Or middle school. Hey, shut up. Some of us were over achievers. I coulda been a contender!

The nice thing about having a killer serve AND no eye-hand coordination is that you rarely have to go past the serve into an actual volley. It’s all ping. No pong.

Friday night, I tried to teach my son this important life skill.

It’s going to be a few years before the verdict is in on the kid, but he amused the hell out of himself trying.

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Next time, I need to remember to put myself on the side of the table that has a wall behind me. I’m not into aerobics. Either that, or he needs to practice on a table folded in half.

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He managed to sucker his sister and some friends into a few games after I gave up on playing what can only be described as Ping-Pew.

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Saturday, we took it down a notch at the in-laws' where he practiced his pool game. As you can imagine, 9 balls and a stick + me = a frightening proposition. I spent my time in the other room. Any other room.

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Swallowed Up By Edumacating My Childrens

NCLB Ha!

Image by califmom via Flickr

I been busy y’all. Seems I done birthed some kids a decade or so ago. Now, they want me to teach ‘em some stuff. You can read all about it in my posts over at CalifmomHomeschools. Here are a couple of posts to get you started:

Homeschooling Two Vastly Different Children: Can It Be Done?

Getting Into The Groove: Week 2

Seriously, though, that’s why I’ve been slacking off over here with my posting. Peanut’s decided she wants to do some hard-core book learnin’ this year, and I am the official whip cracker (which is not the same thing as a redneck cracker. Boy did I find that out the hard way).

Plus, I’m still waiting for y’all to send in your photos for the poster child for our Find a Cure for the Humorless campaign. The hell? I made you a ribbon with my own shaky hand.

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I even came up with a couple of new options:

humorlesscure

humorlesslovesme

Now, do your part. Find us a poster child/adult/animal (I’m flexible, literally)!

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Mitch Hedberg is Educational

Although it probably wouldn’t work because I’m already married and eMusic is website. I don’t think Bob will give me a divorce just so I can marry eMusic. Can I marry a website? Because right now, I totally want to marry eMusic.

When The Artist Formerly Known As Chemo Boy (whom I now have a symbol for, check it out):

TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsChemoBoy

(although, I made it myself. So, I’m not sure if it means No More Chemo or No More Toxic Waste Dumps.)

anyway, when he got The Cancer, and I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate by dropping our external hard drive (with all of our backup data) on the floor, killing it dead, I never got around to re-downloading all of my tunes from eMusic. In fact, I put my account on hold (because they are so nice they actually let you do that) and just plain forgot about the whole damn thing until this week when I got an email from those lovely folks at eMusic reminding me that they were reactivating my account.

I’m sure it’s because they sensed my need for music, not because they wanted to go back to collecting my monthly fee. They strike me as a generous people. A generous people with good taste.

In addition to downloading the bazillion trillion million (An official number. I know because I was gifted for a brief period in early elementary school before I became too dumb and they kicked me out.) songs I had lost in the hard drive floor drop of ‘09, I also discovered some New To Me tunes.

If you’ll all just quiet the fuck down, I’ll tell you what I got. I said shush up. I’m still waiting. Hey, I’ve got all the time in the world over here. As soon as Johnny pipes down…well, alrighty then.

The DodosVisiter

The Dodos – 3 Individual Tracks from Time to Die: Longform, Troll Nacht, Acorn Factory

Mitch HedbergMitch Alltogether

Now, I’d never even heard of The Dodos prior to today. I know, some hipster just dropped his can of PBR. My deepest apologies. But, my Mitch download should compensate for any hipster offenses.

Truthfully, Mitch should have already been in my downloaded music. He should have been spending his nights spooning Stephen Lynch in the comedy section of my iTunes library. Alas, he was not. Poor Stephen’s been lying there bare-assed and cold. (I reverse-alphabetize the comedy section for spooning purposes.)

To do penance, I’ll spend the evening listening to Mitch with my son. I’m sure it’s totally age-appropriate. Hell, we’re homeschoolers. It’ll be an interdisciplinary course – history of comedy and drug education. Throw in some Salvadoran takeout for dinner, and we can make it a multicultural event. Don’t judge until you’ve walked to the minivan in my flip flops.

Great. Now I’m craving pupusas, and it’s all your fault for making me turn this into a learning experience for my kid. The things I do for you people.


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Tied Shoes and Ponzi Schemes

Tied ShoelacesImage by sobriquet.net via Flickr

I taught my son how to tie his shoes today. Not that two-loop fake tie, but the tie that actually stays tied. He’s 12. It was time.

When you’ve got a kid with dexterity issues, you put these things off. Aspies are notorious for having trouble with things like dressing themselves. Show me a teenage boy in elastic-waist pants with slip-on shoes and a collarless shirt, and I’ll bet my mother’s underpants he’s surfin’ the Autistic Spectrum.

Bug’s been having me tie his shoes every damn day before welding camp. (They require you to wear real shoes, hence the ties.) After exposing my crack to the crack smokers in the hood outside camp one too many times, I decided to teach Bug the real way to do this shit.

As we cruised along the freeway toward camp, I had Bug put his right foot up on the dashboard. “Okay, make a bunny ear loop thing using the right lace with your right hand and pinch it. Now wrap the left lace around that looped ear and shove a piece of it through…Oh, fuck. Hold on. I have to merge. Okay, make the loop again. No. With the other hand. A bunny ear. Here, let me show you with my iPhone charger. Like this. Yeah, I know it doesn’t look anything like a shoelace. Try putting your left foot up instead so I can see your foot better while I’m driving. Oh, nevermind. Let’s just do it when we get there. I don’t feel like killing a shitload of people trying to teach you to tie your shoes while I’m driving. Yes, you can turn NPR back on. Yes, I see the humor in the fact that his name is Madoff and he made off with everyone’s money. Do you know what a Ponzi scheme is? Uh huh. Yeah. Really? From a podcast? I see. Yes, I’ll help you with tying your shoes when we get there.”

We park. I get out. Ass crack exposed. I tie his right shoe to demonstrate. Bug does a fumble-fingered attempt at the other shoe, making the mistake of a too long second loop that results in the single loop final tie. We’ve all done it. It happens. I make him do it again. This time he succeeds.

As we walk into camp, I tousle his hair and say, “Bug, I’m glad you learned to tie your shoes. Now I know you’ll be able to move out of the house, go to college, and teach your kid to tie his shoes some day. Plus, it’s about fucking time.”

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Summer of '69: Charles Manson and Big Bird

Aldrin stands next to the Passive Seismic Expe...

Image via Wikipedia

Growing up, I thought it was cool that I was born in the summer of ‘69. Shit, they wrote songs about it. They did not write songs about the summer of ‘78 or the winter of ‘43. Hell no.

They named a sexual position after the year I was born, and a fairly enjoyable one, at that. It’s not like I was born in the year of the missionary position or the year of the doggie style. That would have sucked butt. Almost literally.

And, as this year carries on, I am reminded of all the cool and historically noteworthy stuff that happened in 1969. I like to claim that much of it was done in honor of my arrival, like the landing on the moon by Apollo 11 on July 20th. I mean, they may have had that scheduled already, but I doubt it. I think they held out until they knew I was safely on the planet and propped up in front of the TV.

Another debut of awesomeness in the summer of ‘69 was that little concert they held in upstate New York. They were going to call it Joe’s Folk Fest, but I convinced them that simply naming it after the town, Woodstock, would make it easier for people to remember after they’d smoked the mondo doobage. Unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t let me attend. They claimed I was too young to be hanging out with all those hippies. So fucking judgmental. It’s not like my hair was long. I didn’t even have hair.

The next most awesome thing about 1969 was The Street with its big yellow bird, his imaginary friend, and an angry dude in a can. Sesame Street debuted in 1969. By the time I could speak, I could tell you how to get there and which one of these things was not like the other. Sesame Street was my early childhood Xanax. And a bowl of oatmeal plus Sesame Street bought my mom another hour of sleep, making her an instant fan.

The summer of '69 also had it’s share of freaky history being made. I didn’t find out about it until I was older and we were no longer living in Los Angeles, which is a good thing given my tendency toward law-defying insomnia. I came home from school sometime in late elementary/early middle school and caught a little after-school special called Helter Skelter. It’s chilling tale about a scrot bag by the name of Charles Manson. My ass was staple-gunned to that TV.

It didn’t take me long to do the math, and the geography, and realize we had been living and breathing in the midst of this nutjob's insanity during my infancy. When my mom got home, I had some FUCKING QUESTIONS. She had this nonchalant answer, “I didn’t really know any of that was going on.”

HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST ON A FLOATILLA. She didn’t know it was going on? Didn’t know? Didn’t get the memo? Was living under a rock? Missed the evening news?

No. Not exactly. She was busy taking care of me. Her firstborn child. The kid who didn’t sleep. Ever. Night. Day. Ever. Not an unhappy baby. Just not sleeping. Also, sick. Me. With the mystery illness, at that point. And her, with no Twitter. No Facebook. No 24-Hour news channels. No cable TV. No VCR. Not even a remote control for the BLACK & WHITE TV.

My God how did she survive?

She survived by not knowing that CHARLES FUCKING MANSON WAS ON THE LOOSE. Because, quite frankly, do you realize how much Xanax would be required in L.A. if everyone had really been in the know? Judy Garland Trail Mix would have been flying off the shelves. Flying. And, I don’t think Judy wanted to share.

Summer of ‘69.

I was there.

Fillin’ up my diapers.

My mom was changing 'em.

But. I. Was. There.

Awesome year. Some cool shit went down. And some weird shit. Might explain a few things about me. One or two.

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Let's Get Back to Vaginas: Your Front-Butt Is Your Friend

Whether you call it a vajeen, va-jay-jay, or lady pita, it’s important to know some things about the vagina. Thankfully, the awesome folks at Midwest Teen Sex Show have an episode that will get you started with the basics. Dive on in.

So. Many. Awesomely quotable moments. Thanks, @NikolHasler. I sure wish y’all had been around when my generation was sitting in Sex Ed with the Health Teacher/Football Coach.

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