December 02, 2008


Dear AWTM,

I would like to apologize for the present I gave you last Christmas. I had no idea.

You see, I loved the story of Pink Ninja wanting an activity set. It's one of my favorite kid stories ever. So when I found the foam nativity kits that you can build yourself, I thought it was perfect: it was both an activity and a nativity set!

I had never put together one of those kits before.

As I mentioned, I received all the Michaels store decorations for Valentine's Day already. Inclosed were several of those foam kits for pink gingerbread-style houses covered in hearts. It's my job to put them together for the store display.

I spent two hours on that house today. I am 31 years old.

The base of the thing was 10"x15". The house was a two-story castle with a turret and a covered porch. Covered in hearts. Which you have to individually attach.

Every time I tried to touch the roof, it fell off. And then the ceiling caved in.

You see in this picture of the little gingerbread house, you see how the seams don't exactly match up? Now try building a second story on top of that. And adding a roof with seams that don't match. I was ready to shoot myself.

And it seems I'm not the only one who's been in foam hell this week.

Two hours and a glue gun later, the Valentine's house is presentable. Provided no one goes near it, breathes on it, or even looks at it too piercingly.

And I still have three more kits to make.

So, AWTM, I am sorry if your activity set turned into an activity that made you want to kill me.


With photo!

Posted by Sarah at December 2, 2008 03:16 PM | TrackBack

Ha, first off, I cheated and used tape. Integrity, nope, not me, I used tape.

It was more frustrating for SR who is a DIRECTIONS kind of kid....

I think making the little people was the nightmare...

PN has her "activity set" from us out, I make her put it away at Christmas, and she protests heavily.

You will find when you have children, all sorts of simple activities turn into hell fast. Things like taking a simple toy out of a box, that some Sri Lanken or Chinese child has put twist ties on the entire thing....

no sweat...

It was the sweetest thought EVER.

Posted by: AWTM at December 2, 2008 03:57 PM

Oh my gosh! Thatís the gingerbread project they were out of at my Michaels. And after reading your post, Iím oh so glad they were!

I tried to sell the guys on the nativity scene, too, but it was a non-starter. Same with the snowman/Christmas tree set.

I canít even imagine having to put together a Foamie that people outside the family would actually see. Two years at it and I still havenít mastered Foamie building. Something tells me I never will!

Posted by: 9to5to9 at December 2, 2008 05:06 PM

When I went to Michaels (alas, not yours) on Sunday, I saw similar kits and thought, no way I could make one. I'm now looking at this page and thinking, you guys got any level 0 projects?

Lego is more my style, though I admit modern sets look too easy.

AWTM wrote:

You will find when you have children, all sorts of simple activities turn into hell fast.

At a party last Christmas, I found myself building and rebuilding a railroad set for a rambunctious kid. I was 36, and I wasn't getting better with practice.

Things like taking a simple toy out of a box, that some Sri Lanken or Chinese child has put twist ties on the entire thing....

So I'm not the only one who hates that. It's work to take those things out. Wasn't like that when I was growing up. I've assumed it's an anti-shoplifting measure. Is it?

Yesterday I was looking at some robot action figures on my bookshelf and wondering if I should put them back into their boxes. There's no way I'd twist tie them. A shame, because I did keep all the ties, even though I'll never use them again.

Posted by: Amritas at December 2, 2008 05:35 PM


It's my job to put them together for the store display.

I used to look at Lego sets or Transformers on display and notice errors: a car stuck halfway to robothood, etc.

Your story has taught me to be less judgmental.

I probably couldn't do any better with today's toys. I don't know about modern Lego, but I've had trouble transforming modern Transformers. That's another reason I don't want my bots back in their boxes. The twist ties were just the beginning ...

Posted by: Amritas at December 2, 2008 05:51 PM

Oh my gosh - I was laughing so loud! Now you understand why I cringe whenever my friends give the kids "projects."

Posted by: She of the Sea at December 2, 2008 08:40 PM

I *heart* you. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by: Susan at December 2, 2008 10:18 PM

I laughed out loud so Hubs made me read it to him...Now, we're BOTH laughing. :)

thank you for the forewarning...M1 LURVES her some activity sets!

Posted by: Guard Wife at December 2, 2008 10:55 PM

That was hilarious. I give my neice and nephew loud/complicated/messy toys just to annoy my sister in law. Like the color your own umbrella kit with the permanent markers. :) Why, yes, that is the sound of me going straight to hell.

I have to find one of these foamie projects.

Posted by: Mare at December 3, 2008 09:05 AM

sarah - i am laughing so hard. And laughing even harder at mare who is heading to michaels to stock up!!!

Posted by: keri at December 3, 2008 10:01 AM

Sarah? I used to work for the company that designed those and, at least 2 years ago, those were our sets you're talking about.

Hell. They are hell. Torture. Pure and simple. Nativity sets should be blessed. I told the designers and my boss they were EVIL for even putting them on the market.

And, you're crafty. Imagine me, someone with NO SKILLS tryin' to do those. I bought one for a 4 year old so we could do it together. Yeah, he took it away from me. Told me he's better off doin' it alone. He was right.

There is a reason I'm called the Anti Craft.

Good luck.

Posted by: Tammi at December 3, 2008 10:24 AM

A whole lot of 'splainin' going on. So funny.
I made a village for my kids out of posterboard, about 40 years ago. It went real well and lasted for years.
Foamies... I dunno. ;-)

Posted by: Ruth H at December 3, 2008 05:29 PM