Monthly Archives: June 2010

Got Dust?

Magical Mama Nancy shared this poem and I had to pass it on.  It speaks to me!  Anybody who’s seen my living room will understand why.  😉

(Author unknown)

Dust if you must but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed.
Ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.


Remember, a house becomes a home when
you can write “I love you” on the furniture….

Who’s up for making some more messes (and then cleaning them up together)?  🙂  Happy Wednesday!



Filed under quotes

Veggie Match Cards, Mama Mojo and Perfume From Flowers

Katherine Marie Photography has the most adorable little veggie cards for you to print out and use for games like Concentration or Go Fish!  Click here to get your set.

In other news…

Nine ways to get your mama mojo back

and Making flowers into perfume

Happy Tuesday!


Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Hello magical people!  It’s the start of a fabulous new week and here’s some ways to make the most of it…

1.  Buy a pack of toilet paper for the sole purpose of goofy fun.  Wrap your kids up into mummies, make toilet paper streamers and run through the yard, toss it and see how long you can get the tail as you throw, experiment with getting it wet and having “snowball” fights with it… If you can, compost it when you’re finished.

2.  Take a field trip to someplace you’ve never been in your community– a factory, museum, or even an old graveyard.  Really explore it and talk about what you find.

3.  Play detective.  Take the kids to a “scene of the crime” like an empty lot or quiet park.  Give them notebooks and have them really look at the surroundings, then have them make up a story of what happened there based on the evidence.  There are two tire tracks but only one set of footprints, so one person never got out of the car…. have them come up with their own stories.

4.  Make a canopy out of fabric, sheets or lace curtains over your child’s bed.  You can make something for the night or something more permanent.  Kids love the privacy and the fun of canopies!

6.  Sit down and paint, sketch or sculpt with your kids.  Sure, you give them crafts to do but how often do you sit down for an hour and join in?  They’ll love the extra attention and you might not realize how much fun you’ll have!

7.  Look at old videos of your children as babies, and even of the times before they were born.  Talk about how you felt during those times and retell the stories that go along with them.

8.  Do three sweet things today for each family member.  They can be tiny little things, just something to show you love them that you know will make them happy.  Buy your honey a big bag of his favorite treats and bring it to him after supper.  Leave the dishes and go read a story to your toddler.  Give extra monkey hugs (in our family, we dip kids upside down and holler “monkey hug!” and swing them back up– then repeat until exhaustion), and so on.

9.  Have the kids put on a show for the family.  They can dance, sing, act, you name it.  Ask them to spend the day preparing it, then offer to charge admission after supper (to you, older relatives, whoever).  It can be a talent show, variety show, or whatever they like.  Help them put together costumes, music, and the works.  For little ones, you can do the same thing but scale down the preparation.  Let them wear tutus and spin around with scarves, then sing “I’m a little teapot” for doting onlookers.

10. Find a park that offers something different like paddle boats, horseback riding, or even horseshoes.  Spend a lazy day connecting and having fun.

What are your plans for making some magical moments this week?  Please leave them in the comments!

Don’t forget to take care of you!

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Magical Decorating Tip #1

Start collecting prisms to hang from windows.  Kids are enchanted by these “diamonds” and the way they fill the room with rainbows whenever the sun hits them.  Hang them by sturdy embroidery floss, high out of the reach of babies.  An eastern window will catch the first light of the day.


Filed under the little stuff

A Door to Anywhere

Daryl has been on the lookout for an old fashioned screen door for a play he’s putting on in September.  Last week, he spotted one by the street for trash pick-up and snagged it.  When he got it home, he realized it seemed to be made for very tiny people (!) and would not work at all.

A door made for very tiny people?  I immediately seized on it and asked Daryl to hang it up for us.

Three hinges and ten minutes later, we had a door to nowhere.  Or the back yard.  Or anywhere.

Daryl added a hook and eye screw so the door can be fastened against the garage when out of use.

We discovered that it made a perfect stage for puppet shows!

Or just make believe.  🙂

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that often the most magical things are things that other people would consider rubbish.  Whether it’s scrap wood painted bright colors and used as giant outdoor building blocks or old doors that lead to nowhere, there’s often pretty nifty stuff out there waiting to be imagined — for free!   🙂


Filed under happy stuff

Five Fun Crafts to Try Soon!

We’re back from Nebraska and I’m slowly catching up writing, laundry, gardening and mess making (ahem, I mean cleaning!).

While I’m doing that, here’s a bit of what’s on my crafty radar this week….

Homemade Puffy Paint

An oldie but goodie… Melted Crayon Art

Not a craft but a recipe we made last weekend… Monkey Squares (note that these contain approximately 85 billion calories, so don’t make them much!) 🙂

And two crafts from Filth Wizardry!

Giant painted blocks and tissue paper windows (I’d post some lovely pics of these with the links but she doesn’t allow it).

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a little boy to go play in the dirt with and another to get ready for a swimming test.

Happy Thursday!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Hello from Nebraska!  We’re on a mini-vacation to see Magical Mama Tiffany and her family.  We’ve had fabulous thunderstorms and much tea.  I’m not sure what’s on the agenda for the two days we’ll be here other than more rain and more tea, but that sounds wonderful to me.

So now, courtesy of me, Tiffany and Victoria, here’s a few plans for making some magical moments this week….

1.  Chase fireflies.

2.  Make puppets and put on a puppet show.

3. Gather sticks in the back yard and some fun art supplies (paint, glitter, baubles…) and make magic wands.

4.  Bake cookies.  The more decadent, the better.

5.  Go strawberry picking.

6.  Walk around town adding food coloring to puddles.  Tiffany says, “Wouldn’t it be fun to go walking and find all different colors of puddles?!”.

7.  Use clean sand castle molds to make ice cream castles.  Decorate wildly and eat!

8.  Play the sock game.  Everybody puts on socks and sits in a circle, then tries to pull everybody else’s socks off while keeping their own on.  Whoever is last to have a sock on wins!

9.  Blow raspberries on everybody’s bellies.

10. Leave a candy bar and a note for the mailman.

And now, the house is filled with pirate songs and happy screams and I’m off to drink more tea and yap some more with Tiffany!  Have a magical week!

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Kids Only: What’s Your Favorite Chapter Book?

I heard from the author of the Fuse 8 blog yesterday about why she had not included all of the children’s votes for the 100 favorite children’s book list.  She wrote:

Well, just to justify the tampering, had I allowed every child vote to count (and initially I did) you would have seen numbers 1-50 consist entirely of Fablehaven, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, iCarly, and Rainbow Fairy sequels and series. In the future, I’ll have a better method for handling child votes. As it was, any child that sent me a vote individually counted. If they were in classes, however, then for each of their votes, two adults also had to vote. Not perfect, but amenable.

I responded:

So if you hadn’t tinkered, then the “wrong” books would have been chosen as favorites? Favorites are favorites! Perhaps what we need, then, is two lists. I would love to read the true list of what children pick as their favorite books even if we consider them twaddle, and I also would love to read a list of what adults consider the 100 best books.

I am not trying to be snippy or difficult, but I really have a problem with saying that children’s opinions don’t count, for any reason.

I find the 100 book list very helpful and plan to try to finish them all off with my kiddos by the end of the summer (or year at the least).  Luckily, we’ve read an awful lot of them so it shouldn’t be that difficult!

That said, I would really like to know what other books children would pick — even if they all would be books that grown ups might look down upon.

Please ask your kids and spread the word that I would love to hear their votes for their all-time favorite children’s books.  All respondents must be under 18 and they can vote for any book they please!

If books are in a series, I will count them together as such instead of making children pick just one book in the series.  I suspect the Harry Potter books and Little House books would have been higher up if they had been counted as one entry, for instance, and other series might have made the list if the whole series could be listed (such as the Paddington Bear series, Nancy Drew, Magic Treehouse and American Girl books, just to name a few).

That said, if your favorite book is part of a series you can feel free to tell me which one and I’ll make a note so others will know to check it out!

I realize that my little blog will not get nearly the votes and traffic of the School Library Journal’s, so please help spread the word so we can get as many book recommendations as possible!

I’ll leave the voting up till the end of June and then write up the results.  Perhaps I’ll do a parents’ book poll then.  🙂

So please gather up your kiddos and ask them to weigh in.  What’s your favorite novel or chapter book?

Victoria with one of her library piles


Filed under This and that

100 Favorite Children’s Novels

The School Library Journal’s Fuse 8 blog conducted a survey recently of favorite children’s books and these are the top 100 (after being tampered with so that children’s votes were not always counted — see the edit note at the end).

While I’m not a fan of the way the voting was done, I love any sort of list of good children’s books and I have a new summer goal — to have read all 100 by the end of the summer!

Since we have read so many of these already, that’s not actually too scary of a goal.  🙂

Want some new ideas for what to put on your library list (or to see how many you and your gang have read)?  Here they all are….

#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

#4 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

#5 From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

#6 Holes by Louis Sachar

#7 The Giver by Lois Lowry

#8 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

#9 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

#10 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

#11 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

#12 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

#13 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

#14 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

#15 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

#16 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

#17 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

#18 Matilda by Roald Dahl

#19 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

#20 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

#21 Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan

#22 The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo

#23 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#24 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

#25 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

#26 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

#27 A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett

#28 Winnie-the Pooh by A.A. Milne

#29 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland /Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

#30 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

#31 Half Magic by Edward Eager

#32 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

#33 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

#34 Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

#35 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling

#36 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

#37 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

#38 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

#39 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

#40 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

#41 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

#42 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#43 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

#44 Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

#45 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

#46 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

#47 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

#48 The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

#49 Frindle by Andrew Clements

#50 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

#51 The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

#52 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

#53 Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

#54 The BFG by Roald Dahl

#55 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

#56 Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

#57 Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

#58 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

#59 Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

#60 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

#61 Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

#62 The Secret of the Old Clock (The Nancy Drew mysteries) by Caroline Keene

#63 Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

#64 A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

#65 Ballet Shoes by Noah Streatfeild

#66 Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

#67 Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

#68 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

#69 The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

#70 Betsy Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

#71 A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

#72 My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

#73 My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

#74 The Borrowers by Mary Norton

#75 Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

#76 Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

#77 City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

#78 Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

#79 All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

#80 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

#81 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

#82 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

#83 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

#84 Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

#85 On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#86 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

#87 The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg

#88 The High King by Lloyd Alexander

#89 Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary

#90 Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

#91 Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

#92 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

#93 Caddie Woodlawn by C. R. Brink

#94 Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

#95 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

#97: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

#98 Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston

#99 The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

#100 The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

(I’d include a link to the original posting but the main site has been redesigned and all of the original links are no longer working.)

Any that you and your kiddos would add?


Filed under To do

A Quote for a Friday

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice ”

-Peggy O’Mara


Filed under quotes