Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hunters and Gatherers

I don't know how to say this except to come straight out with it. There's a dinosaur lurking in my backyard woods. It's hard to say how tall it is because, so far, it just peers at me from a menacing crouch. The nose to tail tip length, though, is about nine feet. It appears to be constructed of paper mache, and there's a good chance that I made it myself. I'm not a teenager anymore, you know, and forgetting things is what I do best these days.

I have never regretted that my children are all girls. Yet I admit to occasional pangs of envy while observing the sons of my friends effortlessly sweep up bags of groceries, twist jar lids open, or shoo away a garden snake for their moms. At our house, all four of us girls huddled and squirmed together on the couch waiting for daddy to come home and transport a spider back outside where it belonged. Girls in a creature invasion crisis? Worthless!

But now I have grandsons! - big and brave four year olds who thrilled to the task of taking up shovels to venture into the woods to hunt and gather dino eggs. Grandma can't handle a dozen pairs of beady ping pong eyeballs back there after the next crop of thought-to-be-extinct reptiles hatches. My fearless twins have made certain that will never happen.

This is the story of how we accomplished that formidable task......

Gathering time on Dinosaur Day was noon. Lunch was in order. What better place for a mood-setting edible Jurassic park than my kitchen table?

Let's active mashed potato volcano is standard fare at a dino buffet. I guess it's because hot lava was a possible cause of extinction. Gooey tar pits didn't help early mammals stay healthy and happy either, but this curious gang doesn't seem troubled by the imminent danger. Must be that extra small heads encasing extra small brains = not a care in the world. Ah, to live like that! If only for one day!

A grove of bread stick trees provided a place to nestle a clutch of green grape eggs. It set the stage for the boys and their parents to graze on a meatball meal....if they could grab them before the four-legged carnivores did! But not to worry! The menu included something for everybody.......

The friendly Brachiosaurus eats shoots and leaves.

His companion, the ferocious T-Rex, eats, shoots, and leaves!

I'm actually a little annoyed at the Smithsonian Museum right now. They claim there were no dino bones found in the famed La Brea tar pits - only those of other species well after total extinction occurred. I didn't know that! How do I explain my chocolate-pudding-mini-Halloween-bone-sprinkled lake of doom to the boys?

"See anybody you know in there?"

Can you believe how realistic these candy rocks and pebbles are? They are filled with chocolate and taste great!

As soon as teams were sated with shoots, leaves, bones and rocks, real work for real men commenced......

Our egg dig was carefully planned. The boys were well armed with safari helmets, binoculars, and a sturdy transport basket. Just to be safe, grandma tossed in a pair of cute bottles for juice in case hydration was required, because......

What if the boys encountered a problem out there?.........

.......After all, our little hunters ventured into a suburban area not one hundred feet from the nearest house. They arrived slathered in sun screen and bug spray, toting maps, a set of walkie-talkies, parents to team with, and a pair of overly anxious grandparents who hovered with cameras and home made energy bars! Any wonder why I'm called "Grandma Dino-Maniac?" (That's Paleontolian for "nervous one who leaves no fossil fragment unturned!")

All geared up and into the woods we go!

"Take ten big steps, count twenty more....jump up and roar like a dinosaur! Stay on the trail that's long and narrow, dig where you see a big red arrow!"                                                                      

Mommy and daddy read clues from maps so digging took place only where evidence suggested there'd be a find!                                    

Walkie-talkies made it easy to contact brother for extra help as needed.

With a total of eight eggs from five digging sites
it felt good to take an occasional break.

Was curiosity one of the things that killed the dinosaur? We're not sure, but we were certainly anxious to see what was hidden inside those eggs!

Will you look at that?! Toys and Candy! Dinosaur stickers! Bubbles! Glow Sticks! Play balls! Star Wars toothbrushes! Matchbox cars! Freeze dried dinosaur food! Silly String! WOW!

How could we possibly be afraid of that prolific and generous egg layer who makes her home in grandma's woods? She's our big green friendly friend!

We introduced ourselves and promised to come by often to play. She bellowed out an affectionate roar, exclaimed that she'd love that, and promised us she'd make every Halloween an unforgettable candy-collecting experience!!

How'd you like to open your door to this?

"Trick or Treat!
Fill these pumpkins!
BOTH of them!
Or I'll huff and I'll puff and
I'll blow your house down!"

Dinosaur Day was over. I sat down to enjoy a moment's satisfied reflection. Happy grandkids a happy grandma make. That is, until a horrifying thought occurred. What if the boys are sent to Kindergarten Time Out for challenging teacher on the extinction of dinosaurs? What if they enthusiastically wave their hands to proudly tell that it's not true?....that they themselves dug dino eggs in grandma's yard as recently as this summer?

So now it's back to the drawing board. I need to create a small paper mache brain inside a small dino shaped head for myself. Perhaps one of those would allow me the stumbling, bumbling, worry-free "what's-that?-a-tar-pit?" bliss that those creatures enjoyed. If only that were possible! Oh what a happy Dino-Maniac I would be!

See Notes From A Dino-Maniac for further details on everything you see here!

The end!


  1. You are one amazing grandma! and I love the nod to Lynne Truss.

    1. Thank you! I have always been charmed by the title of Lynne's book. If I ever make a giant panda I can reuse the "eats shoots and leaves" commentary!

  2. I have been anxiously awaiting this post for what seems to be ages now. LOL you have outdone yourself once again! I already posted on FB to all my sons friends with kids etc to go see this...

    I cannot BELIEVE how good you are at this stuff. That dino looks REAL. You could do kids parties for the stars in Hollywood and make a fortune. are related to the REAL stars and boy are they lucky ! :)

    Now listen I have an idea for the next know how they have those mysterious crop circles here and there around the world? Well I am picturing a crop circle or maze of some sort that you hack out of the woods in your spare time when you are bored, and then there is a huge alien spaceship in the center. ( one that fits in your garage first, of course ) Easy peasy...

    :) :) XXOO !! :)

    1. Debra, I always enjoy your lovely, funny, and creative comments! Thank you!
      Oh my goodness - what an idea! Crop Circles! With the ship that brought in the artists!
      If I ever get a burst of energy big enough to actually do this I am sending the ship to pick up you and Brent so you can join the fun!

  3. WOW what an amazing birthday party you threw!

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! Lots of work, but lots of fun too!

  4. You just keep raising that bar for all of us Grandmas and Moms, too! This is so awesome! I love that you are leaving it out so the boys can come back and play with it some more. Does this mean you give up the garage in the winter or is the dino going to become extinct with the first good snow?! You are awesome and Amara and I want to come to the crop circle party with Deb and Brent (and Kate, too!)

    1. Thank you, Kc!
      EVERYBODY is welcome to the crop circle party! I will send the space ship to pick you and Amara up!
      The dino will have to live in the garage. We are trying to nestle her into a corner so I can park inside!

  5. It is official, you are the best Grandma EVER! I am totally blown away by this post, I keep looking at the dinosaur and thinking - no way did she make that! And if that wasn't amazing enough, you go and do a big dino lunch and organise a massive egg hunt outside! Speechless. Your grandsons will remember this day forever, such a magical and creative day, I bet they had some exciting dreams that night! x

  6. Oh my gosh Joyce! What an amazing adventure! I knew it would be fabulous but yes you did it again! I agree with Debra, you could make a fortune with your parties! I have to say, I wonder at how you come up with all this, I would love to be able to brain storm with you because you are AMAZING! so much fun :)

  7. Joyce! Aha....I love knowing you, Joyce! I am in awe each time I read your posts and comments....but this is the best so far! This is genuine and authentic and full of YOUR joy as well as the boy's! Your family is so lucky to have you and your wonderful sense of playfulness!
    I am heading to Kazoo next month...I may have to head on up and meet Dino and you! LOL

  8. OMG you are the best grandma ever. (Hanging head in shame). I would make a dinosaur party for my grandsons, but I don't have a dinosaur - or a garage - and I don't have tiny dinosaur bones. LOL

    What super fun - and those boys are absolutely darling. How wonderful that you got the whole family in on it - you get A+ and two gold stars - which I'm told by my middle grandson, is the very best you can get.

  9. Oh, how much fun you guys must have had. And how creative. I'm so glad you guys got to do this. Have a great day.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  10. Wow! I think that is fabulous. You have given me some great ideas. Thanks for joining us at the Let's Get Social party. I am a new happy follower of you :)

  11. This party is just too cute!!! New follower! Thanks for linking up to Sunday Social at Call Me PMc

  12. Wow, what a party! Now I know what dinosaurs are extinct -- their eggs were too full of fun things to also have a baby dino in there!

  13. Whoa, lol, and my grandkids think I am amazing, I definitely will NEVER allow my daughter to see your post...the bar is raised WAY too high for me! I am completely fascinated with it all! Very glad I found you at the Grand Social over at Grandma's Briefs!

  14. This is absolutely amazing! Each and every detail and so awesome! I am blown away! :)

  15. This is too cool! I would never be able to pull off the total package the way you do, but I can pick bits and pieces to try. Maybe I'll start with the dinosaur eggs.

  16. Ciao! Ho scoperto il tuo blog grazie a "Angolo Creativo Blog Hop # 70"

  17. Ohmigosh, J, my daughter wants to come play at your house! The first profession she considered (at the ripe old age of 10) was paleontologist! She's wavering a little now, but still has a massive dino collection.

    Yeah, watch out with those showing up the teachers. My oldest got sent to the principal's office when he was in public school 2nd grade for correcting her about the word "lahar" (sp?) - lava flow. *LOL*

  18. What an amazing adventure! You reminded me of how much my son loved dinosaurs, but once my daughter came along, she just snubbed her nose at our collection of toys. It really is a boy thing!

  19. You are the most amazing Grandma! I so wish my mom would be all about theme's like I am.

    Your dino is amazing!!!! I so want to do a dino party to do a hunt like this!!

    Stopping by from Wildly Original. I'm your newest follower :)

  20. This is just awesome! What kid wouldn't love such a fun and creative grandma. Thanks for linking up with Consider Me Inspired and Clippie Dips! Have a great day.

  21. Wow that is an awesome party! My son would love a party like this. The kids look like they are having a blast and that decor is amazing. Especially that dinosaur in your backyard! You are definitely one creative and fun grandma!

  22. I know they had to be in Dino-heaven! Such cute ideas! Pinning to my party board; we may have a dino party in our future!

  23. You are really the coolest grandma Ever!!! This looks like so much fun, just look at their faces!!!!Love it miss J!

  24. I don't think I can add more to the above comments, but I know you must be the most creative, talented and amazing grandma ever!

  25. Oh my goodness is that a huge dino! So much fun!!!!!!!!!!