Monthly Archives: February 2010

Potted Fairy Gardens

I’ve been trying to share these whimsical fairy gardens with you and Word Press is trying very hard not to!  First it wouldn’t post my photos and then it ate my entry completely and posted it blank.

Let’s try this again!

Pretend I say all sorts of fun things right here and there’s two really enchanting photos.  Then go here and here to see what they did.

Happy Sunday!



Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

A Visit to Antarctica

Okay, it wasn’t really Antarctica, but it sure seemed like it!

Sometimes you need a little sunshine, a change of scenery and a delightful child or two to put your insides right again.

I was feeling pretty horrible the other day because of the recent child abuse tragedy. I wrote articles and researched more than I felt I could bear and then I hist post for the last time of the afternoon and asked the kids who wanted to go on a walk with me.

Two fabulous girls said yes and off we went.

Anna brought a walking stick that she collected at Lake Superior last fall. During the whole trip, she kept a running dialog about its magical properties and an imaginary world she made up as we went.

It drove Victoria crazy.

Finally, we got to the end of the world. Or the end of the street, anyway, which ends in a cornfield. It also happens to be where the snowplows have pushed all the nearby snow, creating a pretty cool place!

Anna used her trusty stick to climb the side of it and triumphantly surveyed her domain.

Victoria is never one to take the easy way, so she decided to run up the side of it.

There was a lot of falling down.

She even got this close.  It’s very hard to grab onto snow!

Then finally, triumph!

Sort of.

Once the girls were finally on solid ground, they talked me into climbing up and joining them.  What another world it was!  The girls raced and ran and explored and we had a blast.

(See how the girls are standing right on top of the snow?  It is actually pretty deep but they are light on their feet and didn’t usually sink in, unlike their mama! Note to self:  eat less chocolate!)

Then we climbed back over and slid down into the real world again.  Even me.

I believe we have to do all we can to make the world a better place.  But I also believe we have to play and imagine and take time out to go explore Antarctica sometimes.

I also believe in lots of hot cocoa.


Filed under happy stuff

The Duck Song

Sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up.  Here’s a video that our family plays all the time when we need to entertain 2-year-old Alex or just get a smile. 

The girls and I even sing it while making supper.

It grows on you! 🙂

There’s also a sequel…

And a third!

Waddle, waddle…….


Filed under happy stuff, videos

A Challenge On Behalf Of Children

Many of you have probably heard about the little girl who was killed by her parents this month as a result of them following the Pearls’ advice in “To Train Up a Child.”

I wrote about it here if you’re not familiar with it.

People have been silent about the Pearls for years, even though they have been linked with a child’s death in the past and they advocate practices that many of us feel are heartless and abusive.  A few bloggers have spoken out against them and some (like me and many mothers I know) have boycotted some sites who were affiliated with them.

Too many of us have stayed quiet, though.  Some people think parents have a right to use this sort of “discipline” even if they don’t agree with it while others are just uncomfortable with the thought of speaking out against it.  People are finally starting to vocally call this system what it is, though — abuse — and are standing up to it.

I listed quite a few of them and quoted them here.

The book is online and I read parts of it to see if it was being misinterpreted, as some people are claiming.  People have said it contains “good things” too, but I didn’t see a speck of anything good.  It gave me a stomach ache and made me hurt for all of the children being raised in these methods.

There are triumphant stories of beating the author’s 4 month old baby with a willow branch until she learned not to try to crawl up the stairs, proud stories of the author’s daughters telling a neighbor mother that she needed to “switch” her 7 month old baby for crying because “if he’s old enough to pitch a fit, he’s old enough to be switched.”

Michael Pearl tells parents not not even wait until their children do anything wrong before hurting them because then they won’t be properly trained.  He teaches that his methods (whipping with plumbing line, branches, rulers and other instruments) should be used until parents have “100% compliance.”  He has advised parents they should continue until children are “too breathless to protest” and has said “if she can cry out for you it’s not hard enough.”

People online have said that they respect other parents’ rights to use these methods.  It should not be okay to respect a parent’s “right” to terrorize and abuse children.

I’d like to challenge everyone who has a blog or writes a column to add your voice on behalf of children against these cruel teachings.  If you don’t have a blog, speak out about it on online parenting groups, post against the Pearls on Facebook, bring it up in playgroups and churches.

Let’s flood the internet and our communities with people speaking out and calling a spade a spade.  It’s not a different discipline method, it’s child abuse.  It’s not Christian.  It’s evil.

If you’d like to put a button on your site, Muse Mama designed the one above that links back to this post about the Pearls.  Here’s the code:

<a href=”; target=”_blank”><img src=”; border=”0″ alt=”Muse Mama” /></a><br />

Thanks for listening, speaking up and being the kind of parents who give me back some faith in the world.


Filed under the big stuff

Paint a Glow in the Dark Sketch Wall

I love this idea that Magical Mama April passed on from Life Hacker.  We have lots of these little UV lights and use them for many fun things around the house (they’re wonderful for instantly charging glow in the dark items but also lots more).  How fun to have a whole GITD doodle wall!

Happy Wednesday!


Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

Quote for the Day

“You’re only given a little madness.
You mustn’t lose it.”

– Robin Williams

Happy Tuesday!


Filed under quotes

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

1.  Start a pride jar.  Every time you’re proud of your child, write the reason on a slip of paper and put it in a pretty jar. Encourage the kids to peek in their jars!

2.  Learn a childhood game you missed out on during your own childhood.  Whether it’s marbles, hopscotch or jacks, learn it along with your kids and play together.

3.  Send someone some happiness.  Help the kids make up an envelope of confetti, glitter, flower petals, artwork, etc. and mail it to someone who might need a lift.

4.  Gather a bunch of colorful fruits and veggies and some toothpicks, and make your own “Dog Food” style critters.  Take pictures and then gobble.

5.  Play charades.

6.  Invent an ice cream flavor.  Use vanilla or another basic as your base and then soften it.  Mix in your new ingredients and freeze for a half hour to solidify.  Be sure to name it!

7.  Have a dance off.  Put on some great music and challenge everybody to keep dancing.  The last one grooving wins the title (and maybe a silly prize).

8.  Mix tempera paint with dish soap and let the kids paint a cheerful scene on the windows.  Give each child one window to decorate.  The soap helps it clean right off with a wet sponge later.

9.  Go to an ethnic restaurant together and sample a cuisine you’ve never tasted before.

10.  Ask friends and family if you can take clippings of houseplants and start cuttings on a sunny windowsill in fresh water.  After they root, plant them and spread them throughout the house.  They’ll clean the air, look fresh and pretty, and remind everyone of the loved ones they represent.


Filed under Ways to make today magical

Lessons From Victoria

Victoria is 11 but sometimes I forget she’s not 17 or so.  Or maybe 34.  Victoria was one of those babies that people always said had an old soul.

Look!  At one day old, she was already deep in thought.

Over the years, we haven’t parented Victoria (or any of the kids) in a strictly mainstream way.  I’ve never been that big of a fan of mainstream things, and when it came to parenting I preferred to follow my heart.  I also followed the advice of lots of other mothers I admired and read an awful lot of books, but I picked books that followed my heart too.

Along the way, I got a lot of advice that I didn’t ask for, and I pretty much ignored every bit.

Somehow, despite my parenting all wrong as far as at least a few relatives were concerned, she completely skipped any terrible two’s, did learn to fall asleep in her own bed, did not in fact test her boundaries and has pretty much been a terrific kid every day of her life.

Best of all, I thoroughly enjoy being her mother.  We sit and have long talks.  We teach each other things (she’s already way better than I am at anything computer related).  We crack jokes.  She reads my blogs and asks my advice.

And yes, I give her chores and math problems (we homeschool) and have some rules that she’s not entirely fond of, but she has a say in all of that too and she doesn’t seem to mind any of it too terribly (other than the math problems).

Tonight we sat and read through an heirloom seed catalog from 2005 together.  We read some of the cool stories of the plant varieties and I talked about what qualities to look for in plants for our area and we made plans for summer gardens.

Almost every night, we have talks like that.  I love them.

People tell you all the time that you should parent this way or that way or some dire thing will happen.  People care an awful lot about how other people parent, I have to say.

I think the biggest parenting lesson I learned from Victoria is that there’s a direct correlation between how much time you spend just hanging out and enjoying your child, and how great your child will turn out.  Not just being around each other, but really talking and connecting.

And that it’s always a good idea to follow your heart.

Or it could be that she just has a great head on her shoulder.  😉

And yes, I thoroughly enjoy the other 3 children too, but that’s another post for another day (and I don’t have pictures of them with snowball heads on their shoulders).


Filed under the big stuff

Watercolor Snowballs

I know those of you in sunshine states are sick of hearing about snow, but when you have this much of it you tend to find a lot of uses for it!  Here’s what we did today…

Just go grab a pan of snow, pack it up into some snowballs and paint!  Store them in a bucket in the freezer or outside and then go have the most colorful snowball fight ever.  I recommend aiming for trees and houses, as frozen snowballs can get pretty solid.

Or you could have so much fun painting them that you let the rest all melt.

Guess we’ll have to do the snowball fight part tomorrow.  🙂

1 Comment

Filed under crafts

One for the Little Ones

We all have one of those sites where we can waste a lot of time.  For some of us, it’s Facebook games, for some it’s blogs, for some it’s gossip sites.  Here’s a site for toddlers to sit and play.  Based on the show BoohBah (is that even still on???), this colorful site takes your little one to all different pages depending on the clicks.  We particularly liked catching the apples here!

1 Comment

Filed under neat stuff elsewhere