Netflix & SPC: The October Craft Mystery

Netflix & SPC: The October Craft Mystery

How often do you feel like you know what you’re doing as a parent? I mean, really, truly, you’ve-got-this confidence that you’re making the right decisions. I’d say for me, it’s about half the time. Sometimes this division can be broken up in time frames. Like, Julian has just started school and have I prepared him properly for what he’s got to manage when he’s there? Hmmm, really not sure. But in a couple of weeks, I think I can guess that I’ll feel like I’ll know better what time he should be going to bed, how much more practice he needs with writing his name, etc. Other times my clued-in/clueless split happens within the same hour. No, I will not make another dinner if Esme doesn’t like the one I made and I don’t know if I should let her pierce her ears when half of her friends have already done it. The truth is that no amount of studying parenting books, talking to your friends, or scouring the internet makes children less of a mystery in certain moments.

My current mysteries are like spooky bookends. Why do four-year old boys need to make toilet jokes part of every conversation? How do seven-year old girls suddenly know how to roll their eyes as a part of each mother-daughter exchange? I suspect that these classic behaviours will pass as unexpectedly as they arrived (if you’ve you’ve got five and eight-year olds and I’m wrong, just keep it to yourself, okay?). The other mysteries that have arrived in our home make me much happier: Busytown Myteries, for example. I’m old enough to remember when Busytown only lived in books. I loved pouring over them, with all their hilarious details. As I overhear my kids watching the new version on Netflix I always catch myself singing along to the theme song. “Everybody all together, solve the mystery with Huckle. You can solve one tooooooooo.”

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The show has also inspired lots of questions about solving mysteries and looking for clues. My husband and I decided to revive a classic mystery solving trick – the old invisible ink prank. You remember this, right? Give it a try, it’s as satisfying as it was when you tried it when you were eight. When you’d stopped eye-rolling. Ahem.

Here’s What You’ll Need

One sheet of white paper
One lemon
A citrus press
A Q-Tip or two

Here’s What You’ll Do

Use a citrus press or just your hands to squeeze the juice of lemon into a small bowl. You really only need a couple of tablespoons so a half lemon may yield enough for you.

Use your Q-Tip to dip into the juice and then carefully write out your message or clue on the paper. While the juice is wet on the paper you’ll you’ll be able to see what you’re you’re doing. Allow the juice to dry completely. It will disappear! Ooh, ahh.

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Now, leave your clue where you’d you’d like it to be found. Once it’s discovered the person who finds it will not be able to read the blank paper. But wait, here comes the trick. In the olden days of my childhood, you could hold that paper up to a light bulb and the heat would make the lemon juice turn brown. These eco-friendly days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a light bulb that generates enough heat so you’ll need to use the oven. Turn the oven on to about 350 or 400 degrees. Place your paper on a cookie sheet and turn the light on so you can keep an eye on it. Plus, set the timer for one-minute in case you get distracted. The heat of the oven will cook the lemon, turning it brown and making the message magically appear.

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7 Comments

  1. […] a great craft idea for your mystery night too? Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. How about that old standby – writing in invisible ink? Remember doing that when you were a kid? It was so much […]

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