We had spent some time yesterday putting up the Christmas decorations and trimming the tree:
As we were decorating I mentioned to Emma that she should be committing the ornaments to memory, since I sometimes wrote clues around them. (Hint #1)
Now I've been a crafter since my first popsicle stick napkin holder, and through the years I've gone through different phases, including a brief love affair with plastic canvas:
When I saw this ornament in the box I knew it would be a perfect clue. I got both kids' attention.
ME: Hey, check this out, Karl and Emma. I made this years ago from plastic canvas and yarn. The flag goes up and down and the door opens!
KARL: (politely) Oh . . . uh . . . cool.
This was Hint #2.
This morning I had to figure out some origami that would fold small enough to fit in the mailbox. I ended up making these tiny canoes:
Now when I pick hiding spots and write clues I usually envision how they might solve it. In my head, this clue's hunt would go something like this:
EMMA: Would you like to read it, dear brother?
KARL: After you, sweet sister!
EMMA: "Gloom of night won't stay the courier"? Hmmm, what a curious phrase. Let's see what Google says.
After discovering that these words were from the US Postal Creed, and then with the additional hints about the little green flag and red/white color scheme, they would immediately recall my heartwarming story about crafting a plastic canvas mailbox ornament.
Next, they would join hands, skip to the tree, and find the money.
KARL: What are these exquisite origami figurines? Why, they are miniature canoes! How charming!
EMMA: You have outdone yourself, mother dearest.
And then we would all spontaneously burst into song. Hark the herald angels sing . . .
Oh yes, this was going to be fabulous!
Here's what really happened:
EMMA: Karl, eww. Your breath smells like Cheerios!
KARL: (snatching clue) Let me see that. "I have a flag, it's small and green, Red and white are also seen, Worry not if you're a worrier, Gloom of night won't stay the courier"
EMMA: Well I have no idea.
KARL: "Gloom of night won't stay the courier" - that means it's something that's visible during the day.
EMMA: Everything is visible during the day.
Karl glared at her.
JOHN: Emma, that's not very helpful.
Uh oh. This was not going well.
I suggested that they use Google or their dad for research.
KARL: (crossly) Dad won't know it.
JOHN: (with dignity) I might.
They decided to look up "small green flag" and "red and white".
Huh. Didn't see that coming.
JOHN: Let's see - a courier is someone who delivers things. What would they deliver it to.
EMMA: A mailbox?
KARL: Are we supposed to walk down to the mailbox? I'm in my pajamas.
ME: No, I don't want to chase you down there with a camera.
I was floored that they did not remember a conversation from 12 hours prior. They actually wandered around the house looking for mailboxes.
JOHN: You know, Mom gave you a hint during our family activity yesterday.
EMMA: What family activity? Oh, decorating the tree?
They walked toward the tree.
KARL: (frustrated) There are a lot of ornaments on the tree and most of them are red and white.
JOHN: But they don't all have a small green flag on them.
FINALLY they figured it out. Karl opened the mailbox ornament and started pulling out the canoes.
EMMA: What's in there, Karl?
KARL: Something that's been folded a lot.
EMMA: What are they?
ME: They're canoes.
KARL: (crossly) They look more like kayaks.
ME: Man! You are a grump! Can you just pose for a nice photo and we'll call it a day?
Needless to say, there was no spontaneous caroling.
See you tomorrow for Clue #9.