Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stackable Wizard’s Tower for a Hero Kids RPG Adventure

img_2545I recently started playing Hero Kids with my own little heros. Hero Kids is a role-playing game like  D&D (Dungeons and Dragons), but much less complicated and geared towards kids. They love it!

I bought a bundle of Hero Kids downloadable adventures via DriveThruRPG.com. I like that you can print out pre-designed maps and paper miniatures for all of the adventures, making game prep very easy. Sometimes I’ll color the printouts to give them an extra bit of zing, though it isn’t necessary.

After having a few sessions under our belts, I decided to create something personalized to play on besides the printed maps. The Wizard’s Tower adventure features a tower with three floors, so I decided to make a 3D, modular tower with stackable parts, complete with a rickety roof.

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It started as a simple idea, but as usual, I very quickly got carried away.
I used Amazon boxes and lots of hot glue to make the main structure. The pieces were sized and shaped to the printable playing mats of the tower floors.

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Save those Amazon boxes!

img_0788 For the rickety roof, I used a cereal box, painted and cut up into small squares, and tiled over rafters comprised of heavily glued cardboard strips.

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Painted cereal box for roof tiles.

Painted cereal box for roof tiles.

My favorite part of this project was making the stone walls. I blended a sludge of water and newspaper, drained off most of the water, and baked it into thin sheets, using this really cool method found here. I then cut the sheets into stone blocks and glued them all over the box with Aleene’s Tacky Glue. This was the most time consuming part, but I really like the way the stone walls turned out.

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Finally, I painted the printable playing mats in watercolor and glued them to the tower pieces. I still have some finishing touches to add, such as balcony doors, railings, a crooked chimney, and a grand staircase, but my kids (and I) were really eager to play, so I postponed some of these details so we could finally begin to battle our way up to the top of the tower. I do plan to add them later for use in other adventures. I’m thinking that my little players will be become caretakers of the tower while the wizard is off wizarding somewhere.

Keep in mind you don’t need any special props to run Hero Kids, just some standard six-sided dice and downloadable content at DriveThruRPG. If you or your kids want an easy entry into the world of tabletop RPGs, then stop what you’re doing, download some content, and start an adventure!

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Hershey Chocolate House 2015

One of our family traditions is visiting Hershey’s Chocolate World over the holidays to take the free chocolate tour, gawk at the huge holiday chocolate house, and generally overdose on cocoa. We visited very early this year while the house was still under construction. This bad boy is being decked out with over a ton of chocolate!Chocolate House_3 Chocolate House_4 Chocolate House_5

"Building supplies"

“Building supplies”

Unfortunately, we never made it back again to see the final build. We’ll have to settle for some Instagram pics and a time-lapse video of construction. I like to imagine that they let the Hersheypark’s ZooAmerica animals feast on the chocolate after deconstruction, but I’m sure it goes against their diets.

 See pictures of the 2012 and 2013 chocolate houses.

Running of the Goats

My family recently attended our first goat racing event in a small Pennsylvania town situated alongside the Susquehanna river. We had a blast watching people of all ages race their pet goats. Some folks were decked out in fun and gaudy costumes, and so were some of the goats! We got the feeling that the races were more about having fun and not so much about the competition.
Here are some more posted videos from the event:
One goat got a little too rammy and knocked over a judge. I hope all parties walked away unscathed!
I’d love to enter the race next year, except for the fact that I don’t own a goat of my own. Are goat rentals a thing?

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a…Drum Major?

I love 35 drum majors caught in the moment, a Drum Corps International (DCI) photo gallery of drum majors in moments of extreme focus, glory, and raw emotion. The drum major uniforms are fantastic, and the shots are perfectly timed to capture some really intense musical moments. Some of these young band leaders look rather like superheroes, evil villians, or full-blown rock stars. I was fortunate to be a drum major in my own high school band, many years ago. My uniform had a red Power Ranger concept art vibe to it.Drum Major I cherish the experiences I had on the field and can totally relate to the excitement captured in 35 drum majors caught in the moment. Even if you were never involved in marching band, you’ll still enjoy these great photos.

Gweek Podcast!

Gweek PodcastI am very excited to announce my guest appearance on the latest episode of Gweek, one of my long-time favorite podcasts from boingboing.net, hosted by Mark Frauenfelder and Dean Putney. My morning routine isn’t complete until I’ve had a few cups of coffee while perusing the latest posts on Boing Boing, and I never miss an episode of Gweek.

As an avid listener, I’ve often been compelled to run out and explore many a gadget, website, book, movie, graphic novel, or various other neat stuff recommended by Mark, Dean, or any of their interesting guests. It was a thrill to be a guest myself and share some of my own favorite things with them. I’d like to thank Mark and Dean for having me on the podcast. It was such a blast! You can read more details about it and listen here.