Tuesday, December 4, 2012

{36 Reasons} Make a Mess

(I definitely didn't take into account the "other" bloggy business that I wanted to accomplish during this 36 Reasons to Say Shehecheyanu project. So there's quite a bit of personal creativity involved to get other things to fit into the whole thing...)

I received two products in the mail recently, both involving a whole lot of craftiness.

The first is this Chanukah House from Manishewitz. They are so excited about this product that they're offering big prizes in their decorating contest...check them out on Facebook for contest info.

We are, um, not going to win.
In fact, I feel like we're in a Pinterest-fail-type situation here.

It looked so easy!

Totally not so easy.

We were given wise advice from a friend who has done this before - she told us to make it a multi-day project. Put the house together and then let it sit for a day or two to dry and harden. Good advice.

With my two able-bodied and pajama'ed assistants, we embarked on the building.
Quite a few of the pieces were broken in the box. Oops.

Then, a few days later....we decorated. That was really hard! We didn't quite have the right tools, I think, and we weren't quite prepared for how difficult it would be to make it look pretty.

David wanted to try and make it look like he was eating it.
It looks NOTHING like the box design...which, as I pointed out to my kids, was created by a computer artist. The stuff in the box...eluded me.

Okay, so here's my thoughts on this one.
I just don't get it. I posted about it to Facebook and got mixed comments from friends, some who thought it was really cool and others who were with me in their confusion.

Here's what I don't get:
Gingerbread houses are a tradition that has always eluded me in general. I think of Hansel and Gretel, and I know that they are a traditional Christmas decoration. They don't seem to have any religious significance, so that's certainly not my issue. I tend to shy away from projects that seem to be wasteful of food - I've never really met anyone who eats their gingerbread house. They're pretty but...

Here's the other thing I don't get. Aside from the Chanukiyot (menorahs) that we frosting-glued to the windows, what makes this house different from a Jewish house at any other time of year? I was so excited to affix the little mezuzah (we didn't say the bracha but we talked about it) which isn't just a Chanukah thing. I can't wrap my brain around the question...why a house? If this were a Sukkah kit, I'd get it. If it were a make-a-menorah-out-of-cookie kit, I might get that too. But a house? I'm a little lost on the significance.

In all fairness to my food-wasting concern, we did taste the house after building it. The kids really wanted to and I couldn't see any reason why not. They thought the frostings were awful and the cookie was super hard but tasted like graham crackers. We didn't eat all of it.

Overall, it was a fun project but again...I just don't get it.

The second product that we received in the mail was from Kiwi Crate.
What a fabulous idea - you pay for a monthly subscription and you get a "crate" of projects. If the monthly projects are anything like these - we literally had everything we needed in the box. I added newspaper and a scissors.

There were two projects in the box. We only ended up doing one because it was so much fun! I am planning to try out the other one during Chanukah.

We did Dreidel Spin Art - oh, it was so much fun! Messy, but awesome.

I loved loved loved that we used the crate itself for the spin space - no waste at all. My kids loved it.

Here's how it looked when we opened it.

Then we used up the rest of the paint to make the box beautiful...why not?
This was a fun and messy-but-contained and overall awesome project. All three of my big kids loved it.  (And yes, we did this one in our pajamas too! We only have limited time when Solly is asleep!)

My only complaints? The directions were simple and easy to follow, but there were no "suggestions" or "tips" - as we got started, I suddenly realized that we should put down newspaper. I didn't realize the kids might get paint splattered all over them, and while it did wash out of their hands easily, nowhere have I found information that it actually is "washable" paint. These are minor complaints, we had so much fun! (There is a "messiness meter" on the instruction booklet but it was awfully tiny.)

The other project is a menorah made using modge-podge and (included) LED tea lights. I'm sure it will be beautiful when we make it.

You can send gift subscriptions, or buy it for your own family! You can sign up by the month or for a yearly subscription. There are other holiday crates available too, and plenty of non-holiday stuff.  RIGHT NOW you can get $5 off gift subscriptions (3, 6, or 12 months), the code is GIFT.

Blessed are You, O God, who gives me the opportunity to have fun with my children, to create and do and learn and try and celebrate, who has made soap and water for cleanup and who has brought me to this day.


Rebecca Einstein Schorr said...

These are the moments of which memories are made. Your kids are sooooo lucky to have you!!

SMA said...

Thank you for introducing us to Pinterest Fail - we haven't laughed that hard in a long time!! :)


Sara said...

So, we do gingerbread houses only because my parents insist upon sending us kits. One year, they sent us a pre-assembled one which was actually quite okay to make. Every other year, it's been as you suggest: a several day project required, but if parents forget that, you have falling apart houses and kids mad that they can't decorate "right now." This year, I wised up and used a glue gun to glue the house together which only resulted in one house not making it. So annoying; this building tradition business. My kids do love it-and eating the candy off of the top (disgusting-how old and hard is that stuff??).

Anonymous said...

Well, we actually do eat the gingerbread houses in Norway :) We decorate them really christmas-y, with lots of cotton (snow) around, a LOT of candy all over the house which we attach with powdered sugar mixed with water. And on the 13'th day of christmas we break it with a hammer and eat it.. Trying not to think of the dust we might be eating at the same time ;)